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Friday, November 27, 2015

Varlensly and Nelson

Varlesnly was 6 months old when she went into the arms of Jesus. I met her in June. She was a beautiful little girl, bright brown eyes, chubby cheeks, a piece of joy to all. There were some problems though. Her mom was young and uneducated. Everyone in the village begged for me to take the child. Everyone but the mom. For though it seemed like she didnt want her baby, I could see deep down in her eyes that there was a little love, a little hope. Everyday for two months I would go visit the family. The ministry provided formula and we constantly reminded the mom that Varlensly was a child of the King, made in His image, and worth more than gold. Things started looking up. I then took a 4 week long trip to the States to fundraise. When I returned, I received the news. "Varlensly te mouri. Li mouri Ellen, wi li vre." No I said. No no no. I just knew I wasn't understanding. I knew I misinterpreted the words I heard. "Varlensly died. He's dead Ellen. Yes it is true." Voodoo, so they said. "The dead who have already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive." Ecclesiastes 4:2 I wanted to take her home with me that day, but the mother said no. And there's nothing else I could do. Although I miss her sweet smile, her splashing in the bath, her little grin, she is with Jesus now, and I could not be happier for her. A few days ago the same type story was starting to play out. I was called to come in the village. A mother dropped off her 11 month old son at his grandmothers house and had not return in several days. Again, all the women told me to take Nelson home with me. But he had parents, and they were still responsible. The grandmother lives in a house smaller than my bathroom with no fourth wall. Only three standing. She had two outfits, a bowl, a cup, and a shredded towel. And now this baby. A part of me knew the mom would return and I told her we needed to wait before putting Nelson in an orphanage. La Limye decided to sponsor him monthly with the necessities he needs. His smile lights up the whole room. He can't crawl yet, and has no motor skills, but his two teeth are as white as can be and not a speck of malnourishment shows in his dark curly black hair. After a week, his mom returned. It was a beautiful reunion. She wants her baby. She truly loves her baby. She decided that if we can help her provide, then she doesn't want to put him in an orphanage. No body wants to give their child away. They just want help. And they are more thankful than anyone I know. Somethings are out of our control. Sometimes we don't get to decide. Some days we don't know the best solution. But God does and when we look to Him, and his perfect plan, it will be done. Even when we don't understand, He does. "And he took the children in His arms, put his hands on them and blessed them." Mark 10:16 Soon we will start a child sponsorship program. Please prayerfully consider helping these sweet mamas care for their little ones. Our website will be up soon and all information will be located on there. For now, pray, because it changes things.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

All in hope

" If missionary life is so hard, why do they do it?" Because we once met a man named Jesus. No matter how hard we thought Our lives were, We knew His was harder. But He full heartedly gave His all and served. Served knowing he might not get anything in return. "For God so loved the world that He gave.." John 3:16 He gave his all. His Son. He allowed beatings, torture, insults, persecution, even death to happen. In hopes, with great anticipation, that the sacrifice He made would change hearts throughout the world. In hopes that all His children would run back into His arms. He gave it all and it wasn't fair, but he did it anyway. And we don't owe God a thing. The gift of salvation is free to all those who believe. And after tasting such sweetness. After seeing such goodness come from the Lord. After receiving the free gift of eternal life. There's no other way we would want to live. We as missionaries desperately want homes for the orphans. We eagerly await for hearts to be changed. Seeds to grow. We try to carry the cross in hopes that it'll turn eyes to Jesus. Because He gave his all, it stirs in us a compassion for all. Serving at times is hard. We don't always see much fruit. We give, give, give, knowing we might not get anything in return. We usually don't and that's ok. Except for last week. Djouby is 15 years old. He sleeps on the floor in a one room shack with 4 other people. Djouby comes to my house 3 times a week for English class. He also comes for food. Last week I heard a knock at my gate so I went outside to give him a snack. To my surprise, he had a 4 foot tall sugar cane stick in his hand. "You give me food, I give you food." Were his words. And right when you think your works aren't working, He reminds you it's not about works. It's about grace. Hearts are changed only by the grace of God. And that's what it's all about. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9 And you can find this salvation too. It's in the name of Jesus. His love makes hearts leap. We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Peace that surpasses all understandings. Philippians 4:7 I am forever thankful for the Holy Spirit. He does all the work, I just walk around in circles. But it's not about us anyway. It's about him. Oh Jesus let it never be about us.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The voodoo man

Working in devil's territory is hard. Being a sheep in a pack of wolves is harder. But Jesus said it is worth it. My next door neighbor just turned to voodoo. I live in the middle of two villages, so he is my only neighbor. His house and my house. Side by side in the middle of banana fields. I have bible verses written on my wall, he has black flags on his. I have the beautiful sound of a keyboard, he has drums. I guess God got tired of me complaining about the 4a.m. Wake up call given by the lovely roosters, because now it's a little bell that "calls the spirits." There is no snooze button. For he rings it for hours everyday. He is dedicated. Very dedicated and it has convicted me. Because some days, sadly, I push God to the back burner. Some days "I'm too busy." And when that happens my prayer life sinks, my spiritual growth slows down, and my attitude slips up. For months now I thought I needed a friend. Someone to encourage me, someone to hold me accountable, someone to keep me focused. I think I found the friend. The witch doctor next door. Because when the candles get lit and the drums get loud all I can do is run and cling to Jesus. When the screams and wails get long and the ceremony smoke flows over my wall all I can do is run and cling to Jesus. Let me tell you about this man. He was made in the image of God. No matter how much witchcraft he does, no matter how many dark deeds for the devil.... He is still made in the image of God. And I see that. I see it in his smile. He is made in the image of God. A God who knows all. Who loves all. Who cares for all. So we must not judge him. "For he knows not what he does." Luke 23:34 We must pray... Because prayer works. I've seen it work, we just have to believe. Because he bends down and listens, I'll pray as long as I live. Psalm 116:2