Again or New

There are two types of people in this world, the sentimental-tradition making type and the experience seeker.

The sentimental person will experience something enjoyable and immediately want to make a tradition of it.  Let’s do this again every year....until we die.

The experience seeker, like me, always wants to see and do new things.  They experience something enjoyable and they make plans to do something equally as amusing but complete new.  Because new is fun.  New builds character and widens horizons.

This is me.  I love new.

I don’t like doing things twice.  I don’t even like watching movies or tv shows more than once.  The words “series premier” always catches my ear.

Side-note: The movie that you can never watch too many times - The Jerk.  Always funny.  Every single time.

There is one area of my life that I’ve went against my natural instincts of “new.”  That area is ministry.

Ministry requires stick-to-it-ness.  I can’t speak for all ministries, but in my ministry to inner-city, consistency is a necessity.

I am constantly put in the position of representing Jesus to children who are use to being let down.  Used to being told one thing and delivered another.  Used to the feeling of disappointment from many, if not all, of the adults in their life.  I have heard children tell me promises of birthday parties when mom gets paid, promises of new bikes when the the taxes are filed, promises of gaming systems when dad gets out of jail, and promises of dad coming to visit at the end of the summer, well maybe at Christmas.  

The last thing I want to be to a child, who sees promises flop like a dead fish all the time, is someone who offers an empty promise.  If I say I’m going to do something with or for a kid at my church, I better go down trying to make it happen.

Another ministry that requires my consistency is the mission of caring for orphans in Ethiopia.  Last year I went on a mission trip to Ethiopia with our adoption agency.  

God did some pretty miraculous things through our mission team’s effort.  I am still in awe of how God moved to provide some big things for the children in a girls orphanage we visited.

Not only were we were able to take 31 suitcases full of supplies and visit 8 orphanages, we were also able to be a piece of raising enough money for all 350 girls to get a brand new mattress, a sheet, and a blanket.

The mission team that went a month before our trip had been the first mission team invited to visit the orphanage that houses hundreds of girls.  They had spotted some urgent needs that they hoped we could help with.  The two biggest needs were beds and latrines.  Around half of the girls didn’t have a bed, the girls that did have a bed were sleeping on old mattresses, some of them without bedding.  The other problem this mission team spotted was the bathroom situation.  The orphanage houses 350 girls, with only 3 toilets.  My family has 5 people and 2 toilets.  350 to 3.  5 to 2.  Those ratios are not even close.  The fact that all three of these toilets were on the fritz at the time of their visit is completely understandable.  Africa’s use of European plumbing + 350 girls?  Those toilets don’t stand a chance.  A latrine is a solution.  It is less fussy and gets the job done.

Our agency put out the word about the need for beds, and within days, money was raised for all the mattresses.

In a fish and loaves type miracle, our mission team had quite a bit of money left over at the end of our trip, and we were able to leave the money in Ethiopia for someone to be hired to construct a 3 stall latrine.

Earlier this month, I received word that the bathroom facilities had been completed, and seeing the picture of the completed brick building with a slanted roof and three baby blue doors was just beautiful.

I could say, “Well I’ve done the foreign mission trip,” or “I’ve been to Ethiopia,” or “I’ve seen the orphans.”  You might even been asking yourself, “Why is she going again?”

Let me tell you that not going again would be my human nature response.  Honestly, I’m even dreading some of the experiences I had, because they were heart wrenching.  I looked into eyes of children who are not having all their emotional and physical needs met and only had a hug to offer.  That wasn’t fun or satisfying.

But not going again is even harder to face.  Not offering those orphans my consistency seems wrong.  They don’t have parents, not even promise breaking parents.  They deserve so much more than I could ever give.  My 10 days isn’t even a blip on their existence, but it is all I have to offer.  Not putting my willingness into God’s hands and allowing Him to move and meet more needs seems selfish.  I saw so many needs.  I could list to a hundred and not be done.  I can’t imagine not trying to meet a few of those needs.

So I am doing something again.  I know God will be faithful to provide beyond my expectations.

This album released while James & I were on our honeymoon.  We hunted down a music store so we could buy it.  This Sunday was our 18th wedding anniversary.  Venture out, see the world, but always come back to the song you are singing.  That is life.  I'm glad to live it with my husband James.