Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Commandment, Not A Calling

Guest Blogger: Victoria Vazquez, Age 18 years

What would happen if, as Christians, we all got up and made disciples of all nations? What would happen if we all went and cared for the least of these? What if we fed orphans and gave them homes? If each one of us who claim to be Christians proceeded to go, as we are called, then there wouldn't be thousands of fatherless, starving children... The bible tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. It tells us to care for the widows, orphans, and the least of these. It tells EVERYONE to go and do this. 

I have always lived in America with a mindset that I was not American. I did not believe myself to belong to a culture that always wanted more. I did not want to belong to a culture that had a passion for comfort. My heart would break as I was reminded of the starving children in the world and my overflowing table. I would be reminded of the fatherless children and the way I many times took my own father for granted... So now I am in Ghana and I feel more American than ever before because I feel as if I am not doing enough to share the love of Christ.

I have been pushed beyond my borders in my fears, hopes, failures, and everything one can think of. I have cried and wept for a hug from home thinking I could not take on anymore. I have curled up in the arms of my Heavenly Father countless times seeking a comfort and peace that only He could provide. But there are others who die for professing the Gospel... There are others who are persecuted, killed, tortured... I want to do more, but honestly I do not believe I can take on anymore. In reality, I could not even take on this trip in itself. God has shown me that I am no longer in control, but have to render control to Him, the Great I Am; and honestly, I would have it no other way.

A few weeks ago, the older Beebe boys and I stayed at Nyame Dua, an orphanage in a rural village. We were able to love on the children there and play with them. It was a blessing to be the hands and feet of Jesus there. The night we stayed there the power went out. I recall already being a little freaked out to sleep in a room by myself with the Muslim prayer call going off right outside my window, so this power outage was NOT in my plans. We sat outside in the dark night with the kids and watched the bright lightening in the sky. This was the same beautiful sky in America. God is the same there as He is here. That night I rested peacefully knowing that no matter what was to come the same God who had taken care of me all my life would continue to take care of me in Ghana.

The next day was one of tremendous humility and heartbreak. We were able to visit a little girl named Victoria who has a powerful story. Let me tell you about Victoria...
Victoria's grandmother was carrying baby Victoria when she fell into the sewage-filled gutter. The grandmother continued to have problems after the fall, so it was assumed that little Victoria was a witch who had caused this turmoil. Victoria was not fed by her mother and grandmother; they would simply send her out to collect water sachets to sell and feed them. While Victoria was out collecting and doing this gruesome work, she would beg for food to survive. Victoria has since then been sponsored and now attends school. Victoria has hope now!
When we went to visit Victoria, we asked to see her school. As we walked through the village to see her school, she was sneered at. Many did not believe someone as poor as her deserved to even walk with "Obruni's", white people. As she was sneered and jested, the little girl did not say a word; she took the abuse silently. This little girl has a tremendous story of despair yet full of hope... A young girl with the same name as I, a totally different story, but loved and cherished by the same Almighty God!!!!

After returning to Nyame Dua, we asked a beautiful thirteen year old, named Sophia, if she would share her story. She responded with silent tears. She could not even fathom to put her story to words because there was so much pain from her past. She is only thirteen years old... I do not know her story, but I can see the pain and hurt that still haunt her. This young girl is now sponsored and attends school! During my stay at Nyame Dua, I was able to go and see the classroom where my young friend learns. I was also able to help her with her schooling. Her passion to learn is extraordinary.

Every month, we celebrate the birthdays of the children at the orphanages GMI and Nyame Dua. Something so simple, but yet it makes the kids feel so special. This past Saturday we were able to take the younger kids to the beach for this special celebration. The beach did not have the expected clean, white sand, but on the contrary, it had trash filled waters and a seaweed, trash covered sand. Personally I found it very gross, but yet these children were having a blast! So many times I take that cleanliness for granted, yet these children were thankful for the opportunity to simply swim. WOW!

As we were at the beach, I watched young Cynthia (13 years old) act as a mother to this little girl. She didn't really know the little girl on her back, but all she knew was that she was crying and needed to be held. When little Sarah fell asleep in Cynthia's arms, Cynthia backed her and that was that. Cynthia is a skinny, 13 year old and to carry a kid on her back for a few hours was extraordinary. I pictured my 13 year old sister back home and realized culture hadn't made her step up like that. The perspective and contrasting pictures were something that made me desire a deeper understanding of Ghanaian culture.

After the beach, we returned to GMI and simply spent time with the kids. One boy was glued to me for most of the afternoon. This little boy was named Emmanuel. He wrote me a letter and simply talked to me. Emmanuel was used to stir something in my heart that I simply cannot explain. So many kids are like him, tender, sweet, and loving, yet they have no family. How much would it take for us, "The Church", to step up and give a family to these kids? Why can't we depend on God and go for it? I pray that we can not only continue to sponsor children, like my young friend Emmanuel, with food and schooling, but that we can step up and offer a family to them.

Being in Ghana has changed my perspective on the world. It is no longer my safe zone to step up only when I am convenienced by it;  it is my mission field. And what is my mission? To love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, and soul...and then to love my neighbor as myself.  We are called to care for the widows, orphans, and least of these. We are called to go and do something about the brokenness in the world. We are called to care for these children like Emmanuel, Cynthia, Sophia, and Victoria. Followers of Christ, it's time to step up. Let's do something.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love, and of self-discipline." -2 Timothy 1:7

"Jesus looked at him and loved him. 'One thing you lack,' he said, 'Go sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." -Mark 10:25

What If There's a Bigger Picture?

I found this blog post that was written after in January of 2013.   (Yes, over 1 1/2 years ago!) Since it was never posted, I thought it would be a treat to look back on God's goodness today.  Enjoy...

My sister, Kelly, and her entire family spent two weeks with us over Christmas.  We ministered side-by-side and spend long days together at outreaches, orphanages, and with children in various parts of the country.  Having them here was refreshing for us because it was the first time we have had with family in over six months!  Oh, it was such  blessing to be together.

Sister and sister
Father and son (and a baby that needed to be held)
Cousin and cousin

The entire time they were here, our family was blessed to serve alongside them.  Every day we shared devotions together, we talked about what we were seeing and experiencing together, and at times there were a few tears.  Serving the needy at Christmas, in a country where Christmas is "just another day," caused us all to look at the holiday with new vision.

Christmas Eve, we showed the Jesus Film in a local fishing community, Maamie.  This village is located on the borders of the capital city of Ghana, but you would never know it.  This community is known for its "free sex night."  People come from all over to participate in degrading acts on this night set aside for sin.  Sadly, this has caused the village population to be strewn with children many times more numerous than the adults.  Most doorways are scattered with 4-6 children to the one mother living in the room.  It is a very sad area.  During the Jesus Film, hundreds of people gathered for the viewing. Children dressed in rags squatted on the ground to watch the film.  A few older children arrived in only their underwear - the image of one older girl in particular, has never left my mind.  Kelly was handed a baby as we arrived, and she spent the evening holding a mother's newborn.  I sat on the ground with the children - one on top of another.  The little ones were fascinated with our skin and kept poking our arms throughout the movie.  Even with all the distractions, I prayed.  During the film showings, this is my main job - to pray.  With Godwin on my lap, and Braden, Sam, and Wes close beside me, I prayed in my spirit for all of the souls around me.  At the end of the film, the pastor gave an invitation and many received Christ on Christmas Eve.  Friends from Fairview UMC had donated Bibles, and we distributed about 30 to the new Believers.  We pray God's presence will ultimately change this community for His Glory.

On Christmas Day, our families served together all day long.  We didn't stop to open gifts in the morning, but we did peek into the stockings Etornam made for all of us!

Everyone's favorite gift was a new Ghanaian scrubbing sponge!

On Christmas morning, we served at an MLI Outreach back in Maami - the fishing village desperate for Christ.    On Christmas morning. we walked through the community inviting people to come to the Outreach - evangelizing as we walked.  We played musical chairs with the kids, helped serve a warm meal, played soccer with the kids, helped organize clothing before it was distributed, etc...

The silly band bracelet from Sam is the only gift these kids will receive on Christmas day.

Follow Leader Lenusia and dance your heart out!

What a FUN Christmas Day!

Wes playing Musical Chairs with all the kids.

Braden lasted until the very end.  He was second in the Musical Chairs Competition!

John tries to maintain order in the chaos while holding a baby on his hip.

MLI's Wahab and Patrick greet everyone and make the children feel so special!

Faces of beauty surround us Christmas Morning!  What a blessing!

Walking onto the futbol field.  Precious!

Christmas outfits are rare in Ghana.
Thankful these children received needed new clothing at the Outreach.

After leaving the Outreach, we headed to GMI Children's home to spend the afternoon with the kids.  Going to an orphanage on Christmas Day was very fitting.  What a reminder that God, in His grace and mercy, came down to us and adopted us into his forever family?  We are no longer orphans because of Jesus Christ.

The table is set, the food is served, the Christmas dinner feast is about to begin.
 Zach enjoys the mango.  Yum!
The tiny GMI Christmas tree with a paper star and two ornaments!

Ryzach and Kofi - overjoyed on this day!

Blessing and Believe celebrating Christmas!

Johnson and Cynthia are excited!

The beautiful gift from the O'Leary family was on display.  It is a collage of all the children from GMI who have been adopted and are now home with their families.  Precious!

The way boys play!  Flying!

Christmas dinner - pineapple, mango, rice, chicken, and avocado!  Wow!

Mason and Peter - big buddies!  Always!
All of the children received new hand-sewn outfits from Feeding the Orphans.  Thanks to everyone who sponsored kids this Christmas!!  What a blessing to receive a new dress.  You made it possible!

Through the generosity of God's people, gifts were given to everyone at GMI.
Every child, no matter the age, received a gift.
Every auntie and those working in the home received a gift.
Everyone in this home felt the love of Jesus on this special day.
I've never seen so much JOY!
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of your Son.  
His love abounded today.
 Everyone was blessed!

All of the children were so happy.  Sylvester held his new blanket as a cherished gift and loved his new Christmas outfit, thanks to FTO.

This Christmas was set apart from every other one in my life.  The only one that could vaguely compare was when Reid's father, his sister and her husband and Reid and I stood in a soup kitchen serving the homeless on Christmas day.  We'd skipped opening gifts to go out and serve others.  That day was 16 years ago.  We've enjoyed our friends from downtown spending the last three Christmas's with us in our home, but being in the soup kitchen 16 years ago is the only Christmas I can remember going OUT to serve others.

On this Christmas day, we spent all day OUT serving others.  Our family had been immersed in poverty serving the least of these.  We had been blessed to experience it with my sister and her family.  The children in Maamie had so little.  Yes, we had served them warm food today, but what about tomorrow?  The nearly naked children received needed clothing.  But what about when they outgrow it?  For the children who received Christ, who will take them to church?  Who will encourage them to grow in the Lord?  Who will train them and equip them?

As it was time to depart GMI, all of my emotions came to the surface.  While at the orphanage, my mind raced to thoughts of my own boys and tucking them in,  Will the children here be tucked in on Christmas night?  Will someone kiss them on the forehead and tell them each Jesus loves them?  Will they be told they are special and created for a purpose?  Will these children know the depth of the love of Jesus?

The children in Maamie and the children at GMI all received a Christmas gift, but the tears silently dripping down my face made me realize that the ultimate gift every child needs is the gift of Jesus.  No earthly provision compares to the eternal gift of a life with God.  Rust and moths will ultimately destroy everything of this world.  Nothing else lasts.  Only Jesus is forever.

I didn't want to leave the orphanage.  I wanted to stay and tuck the children in.  I wanted to tell them more of the Christmas story.  I did not want to leave them as orphans.  (John 14:18)  It hurt to walk through the gate and step into the car.

Everyone else must have felt it too, because it was a long, quiet ride back home.  I wondered what everyone was thinking, but I was wrestling with my own thoughts so I never asked.

What if there’s a bigger picture?
Find More lyrics at
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose
That I could be living right now
Outside my own little world oooh, ooh
My own little world woooh

Father break my heart for what breaks Yours
Give me open hands and open doors
Put Your Light in my eyes and let me see
That my own little world is not about me

What if there’s a bigger picture?
What if I’m missing out?
What if there’s a greater purpose
That I could be living right now
I don't wanna miss what matters
I wanna be reaching out
Show me the greater purpose
So I can start living right now
Outside my own little world whoo
My own little world yeah yeah
My own little world whoo whoo

Today, April 10, 2014 - After Kelly and John returned home, their hearts continued to break for the least of these children.  They are now pursuing the adoption of a little boy, Gobi, from Uganda.  We are praying for everything to happen quickly so he can come home to them soon.  It will be a blessing for God to grow our family, yet again, with another child through adoption.  We praise Him!

What is there is a bigger picture that my own little world?

The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.  
Psalm 33:11 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Our God, A Mighty Warrior

Friends, our apologies for the massive absence from our blog.  There are plenty of excuses we could list, but most would appear unbelievable to people who have never lived in a 3rd world country.  We truly have been overwhelmed, and it there has not been time to write.

Our God is moving and He is doing great things.  We praise Him for everything.  However, we have been facing some challenges that have also been distracting.  At times, I find it hard to consolidate my thoughts into anything that makes sense.  Tonight, for the first time, Victoria Vazquez will be sharing her experiences from her first 13 days in Ghana.  She will be living with our family through the end of April.  We rejoice Victoria is with us, and look forward to everything God will do in her life while she is here.  Victoria, the Beebe family welcomes you to the "adventure of missions." 

Guest Blogger:  Victoria Vazquez, age 17 years

I have restarted this post so many times. I do not have words for the emotions overwhelming me and the thoughts racing through my mind. I simply let the Lord write my words and pray that He is glorified in this post. Today is Day 13 of my stay in Ghana, and I shall rewrite the devotion for this day given to be by a dear friend:
Many times in life we try to fight our own fights and try to win with our own power. But all Christ asks of us is to be still. Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." If we just trust in Him and be still, He will provide.

As followers of Christ, we are always in a battle because Satan constantly attacks us. Here in Ghana the battle is exposed because there is no American dream to mask it. I have been a witness to people's battles with poverty, injustice, and starvation. The hurt and pain these people undergo everyday is devastating.

Today I went with some cadets for their practice, as they will be in an Independence Day parade Thursday. I boarded a school bus, which is a giant van, and went into a town with these kids. Since I am white, many school children flocked me the entire time; however, this is normal. There was one girl who constantly kept asking me for food. There was also her sister with a case of Down Syndrome who was running around with only a raggedy shirt to wear. As I asked, it came to my knowledge that these girls' parents could not afford to send them to school and they were both very hungry. When the little girl saw the bus leaving and realized we could not give her any food, her little face cried and cried. The boy, who was with my school, whom had translated for me told me his story as well. He had a younger brother, but their mother could only afford to send one of them to school (him). His father had died and now he had a stepdad who came home angry and would harm them... As I write this, my heart breaks; is this reality? However, God is taking care of them and I will be used by Him to love and help as many children as possible in my time here on Earth.

Previously, I had partaken in Feeding the Orphans food deliveries to families. One place we went to deliver food was built on trash and sewage.... Human beings lived in this filthy place... However, it was beautiful to see the hope some of these people had. Christ was their hope!

There was also a little boy that we visited in the hospital who was suffering from kidney failure. He was found alone in the hospital and had to be transferred to the best hospital in Ghana or would have died. I praise God because He is the greatest Healer of all who are taking care of Emmanuel (the little boy). I was able to visit him in this new hospital and was shocked. The best hospital in Ghana looked like a hospital in America from the 1920's. There was no sense of hygiene, personal space, running water, or even up-to-date procedures/instruments. I questioned how anyone could possible receive care in a place like that... Then I had to take a trip to the hospital.

Last Friday night, I was bit by a two-headed baby snake. I didn't think much of it until my leg started going numb. Long story short, I ended up at the best hospital in Tema. I praise God because I was able to bypass protocol, aka the 3 hours of waiting, since Godwin's wife Lenusia was a doctor and she was with me. As I was being rushed to the hospital and my leg was going numb, I had a peace, but when we went into the hospital and I was given an IV, terror overwhelmed me. I was surrounded by very sick people in a third world country in a very run down hospital... This time the lack of hygiene, personal space, or up-to-date instruments was affecting me! I sat in a plastic chair with bugs falling from the ceiling watching the nurse open my anti-venom with rusty scissors, and I wondered when the last time she washed her hands was (the hospital had no water), but God showed me: This is why I was to serve medically. This was why I was to go into medical missions. WOW. So at that moment, He gave me a peace because he was giving me a patient's perspective in a third world country. This was the perspective I needed to ignite my passion to serve medically in third world countries and share the gospel that way.

Less than 24 hours after this snake bite, I was in my second wreck in Ghana. We were rear-ended by a tro-tro (a large van that carries people for a small price, like a public bus). Through this experience, it has appeared that the Ghanaian government is very corrupt. Officials have been previously bribed to side any which way, even if a person's driving harmed someone else. Foreigners, especially white ones, seem to be targeted and are thought to be very rich. I do not see a sense of justice, but is that not why God is just? He fights for us, we need only to be still. Thank goodness!!! The one who created the Heavens and the Earth is fighting for me, what can stand against that? Nothing.

So what has all this taught me? Well one, that God is protecting me. That wreck could've been so much worse. The hit should've caused the back glass to shatter and that would've harmed many of us. That hit should've also injured many on the over packed tro-tro. I have also learned that God is bigger than any fear. My biggest fears involve getting bit by something and having to go to the hospital. They also involve getting in car wrecks... Funny how both of those things happened in less than 24 hours. God has brought me to a deep dependence in Him. He is my everything and He is all I want now. He is my very best friend.

In Ghana, I have been overwhelmed with the contrast from here to America. Kids are eager to learn here! Many do not have the opportunity to go to school, and in America many take school for granted... Many take family, food, clothes, and lodging for granted... Most of all, there is no strong motivation to GO and serve and help the least of these. My passion to serve has grown and not only do I depend on God to take care of the many I meet here, but I depend on Him to protect and fight for me. He is the lover of my soul and He is enough for me.

I do not understand what God is doing in me. I feel unworthy to be here, but I trust Him. He is doing something great in me and I pray that He is using me. He brought me here for a reason, and He is in control!

"And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." - Philippians 1:6

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Playing with the Spirits

This may not be a popular post, but here's some PERSPECTIVE from Ghana...

Here in Africa, we live in a world where we try to share about the One True and Living God. We attempt to educate people with Truth from God's Word. One of the challenges we face is the mixture of Christianity with tribal religions. Worship of idols and sacrificial offerings are common place. The use of curses, juju (black magic) and witchcraft are known. Some of the stories we have been told have brought us to tears. Literally. Pastors work diligently to help people recognize the need to depart fully from things that are not of God in these practices. People can not call themselves a Christian if they still participate in the practice of worshiping other gods.

Recently, there was a festival for the gods of Ghana. One night, our car was surrounded by people in a frenzy worshipping a local god - a gold idol carried on the shoulders of the people. Traffic was halted and it seemed like at least one thousand people were celebrating in the streets. Men walked beside our car carrying guns, and people knocked on the windows of our blocked car. The darkness of oppression could be physically felt. Evil - something not of God - surrounded us! Since moving to Ghana, this is one of the only times I have felt afraid. While driving, my hands were visibly shaking. Evil.

Recently, there have been FB posts about Halloween in America. Fright Nights and Zombie Celebrations seem to be something that Christians are participating in. Where is the fascination with evil and death coming from? Blood and gore? Haunting spirits? Fright Nights? Witches? Friends, it is not of God! It frightens me to know that Christians in America would take part in some of these things. Do you realize what spiritual powers you are invoking? Why is there such fervor around death, murder, spiritual powers, etc??? Where is the intensity for desire to celebrate evil coming from? Do you realize there is witchcraft happening in America too, and children are being used in ritual practices? I know this firsthand!


As Christians, I implore you to diligently ask God to search your heart about participating in some of the things that clearly depict the evil of our enemy - anything to frighten - fright walks, scary caves, etc... (our God calms, protects, and comforts), anything glorifying death - zombies (our God is the God of LIFE), anything celebrating the murder of human life (our God is the Giver of Life) anything dabbling in spells, curses, etc... or speaking to the spirits of those who have died (our God has warned us not to participate in such things), or anything that does not glorify God - DEPART FROM IT, and GUARD THE HEARTS OF YOUR CHILDREN! Parents, YOU ARE THE WATCHMEN ON THE WALL for your household!

Living in a culture where I am continually aware of the spiritual battle raging over me, my focus has intensified toward what is not from the Lord. Yet, many things are no longer seen as "evil" but cloaked in the desire for "fun" and "entertainment." Twilight books are best-sellers and Halloween is the second highest retail holiday in America. As a Christian, this is what frightens me and causes me to tremble.

So, while children in the USA trick-or-treat in their new $30 costume, we see naked children in the market. While kids there enjoy their bag-load of candy that will last for months, we hold children who have not eaten any food for days. While people there celebrate being frightened - and even pay money to be scared out of their wits, we comfort people who are afraid a curse has been placed on them - because that is reality. While people dress their children up as witches and wizards, we have witnessed the reality of witchcraft and the detrimental evil it causes - even years later.

This post is not sent in judgement or condemnation. It is a cry of intensity from my heart. A plead to "TURN AWAY! COME BACK! FLEE FROM EVIL!"

Celebrating some of the things listed above is akin to worship. Part of your life is given, part of your monetary resources are given, part of your attention is given...and once given, it is gone. Our life, our time, our money, our focus are all offerings. I pray Christians will not become like the idols - with blind eyes, deaf ears, and mute mouths. However, the contrary action is for "you who fear the LORD," to "bless the LORD!"

"The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
They have eyes, but do not see;
They have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them!
O house of Israel, bless the LORD!
O house of Aaron, bless the LORD!
O house of Levi, bless the LORD!
You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD!"
(Psalm 135:15-20)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Plight of the Orphan

Guest Blogger:  Mason Beebe, age 16 yrs.

What is our ultimate goal as Christians? What is the most important piece of our faith? In His word, God asks us to do so much it is overwhelming. And it is so easy to get caught up in whether we are or aren’t doing these things. But I think the biggest and most important part of our faith is our relationship with our Holy Father. This relationship is what will drive us to do the things that God calls us to do. If we truly have a relationship with God, our service to Him will be out of love for Him, rather than doing just so we can get to heaven.

     About a month ago I left to spend three weeks in an orphanage in Bolgatanga. We live in Accra which is in the very southern part of Ghana, and Bolgatanga is in the very northern part of Ghana. Basically the entire country of Ghana was between where I was in Bolga, and where my family was in Accra. It was so hard to be away from my family. My brothers have become my best friends, and not having them around was depressing to me. It was in the midst of this hardship that I found my true need for God.

     Even though my soul was in turmoil, I was able to minister to the kids in this orphanage in tremendous ways. Even though most of the time the children drove me crazy I was able to love them in a way they do not often experience. Living under the same roof as these fatherless children gave me a whole new perspective into their lives.

     At this home there are two small boys maybe 3 or 4 years old named Bright and Marvin. When we first arrived in Bolga these two boys cried about everything. It seemed they had learned that no one wanted to listen to them cry, so they could cry to get what they wanted. And the older kids catered to them when they threw a fit. This got under my skin, and I began being rather harsh with Bright when he would start crying. One day when he was crying about something silly, I bent down to reprimand him. As soon as my face was on his level I almost couldn’t speak because I realized that he looked very much like my little brother Godwin.

    Realizing this gave me a whole new perspective. I would not treat Bright that way if he was a part of my family. And this is when my role in that home really hit me. These kids have no one to stand up for them. They have no mother or father to defend them from mistreatment. This is the plight of the orphan. Not simply that they have no one to tuck them in at night, but they have no one to raise them in the ways of God, no one who will help them in times of trouble, and no one to encourage them when they are hurting in their soul. It was hard enough for me being away from my family for three weeks. I can’t imagine being without a family for a lifetime.

     It was amazing to see how much just my being there impacted the kids. There were a couple times when I left the house for a little bit. When I returned one of the kids would see me and run out to greet me, followed by the rest of the mob. It reminded me of the times when my Dad would get home from work and I would run out of the house to give him a hug. I did not feel like it at all, but I am probably the closest thing to a Dad these kids have ever known.

    I know you are probably just waiting for me to bust out the story about something amazing that happened while I was there. Well, honestly I don’t have any incredible stories. My ministry was loving on the kids in simple ways and the biggest one was just by being there in the first place. Leading devotions, playing soccer, walking to church, taking them to the hospital, telling them goodnight, and going on walk to name just a few of the ways in which I was able to minister.

     So how does the first paragraph of this blog post fit in with everything else? As I said earlier being in Bolgatanga was extremely hard. I was able to truly feel my need and dependence on God. My relationship with God is what got me through that trip. There were many times when I was ready to pack up and go back to Accra. But God gave me the strength to get through the trip, and he gave me love to satisfy my needs, and then even more to share with those children. It was hard, but Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for me. I was making a small sacrifice for Him.

     Please don’t think I am trying to hold myself up as an example of how every Christian should live. I am messed up. I struggle with sin. It doesn’t always feel like God is with me. I am not special. I hope you read this post and are challenged to dive into God’s Spirit and be engulfed with a love for Him. Because that is where any form of missions needs to start. If we aren’t doing it because we love God and we want to glorify his name, we are doing it in sin.

     There are 153 million children in this world who have no earthly father. They have no earthly being to love them, care for them, defend them, or raise them up. But our God is so good. He has not claimed the rich and powerful, but he has claimed these children as His own. He has said that He will love them, care for them, defend them, and raise them up. Isn’t that amazing? Just thinking about that puts a smile on my face. This world is not without hope. And God offers us a chance to play a part in redeeming this world. Don’t you want to be a part of that? Is that not the most amazing and fulfilling duty we could ever be asked to do?

     I don’t want to see the church rise up and love orphans if they do not truly love God in their hearts. For that is at the very center of what we believe. There is a passage in Matthew that talks about the day of judgment and how there were people that did works in the name of God, but that was not enough. God wants us to love Him, so that when the road gets rough, we don’t give up and quit, but so that we draw from His strength and love to keep pressing forward.

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
    maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Psalm 82:3-4

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Praying for a Miracle

"This child is cursed!"  
"He is talking to demons!"  
"Don't go near him or touch him - he is of the devil!"  
"His mother is cursed.  Someone performed magic on her while she was pregnant to give her a child that is not a human being!"

"The thing needs to be killed!  Look at his head - it's deformed!  Kill it!  Kill it!  Kill it!"

These were actual words spoken over this little boy.  The villagers were making plans to end his life because his head is misshapen.  People did not believe he was human, but did believe he was possessed.   He would sit alone without being fed or even touched because everyone was so afraid of him.  His mother was shamed within her own village, ostracized from the others because of her strange looking baby.

Now, meet Shadrach.  This child doomed for death was rescued by Daddy Paul.  Daddy Paul runs two orphanages here in Ghana.  When Daddy Paul heard about the situation from one of his Aunties, he made the 18 hour trip to the village to stop the madness.  He volunteered to take care of the child to save him from  his certain future if he remained in the village.  The people were relieved to be rid of the cursed "thing."  Paul's strongly stated to the people, "This child IS a human being.  He is a child of God.  You can not kill him!"  Daddy Paul brought Shadrach into Nyame Dua in Bolgatanga and Auntie Juliana has been diligently caring for him ever since.

Our family met Shadach about a month ago, and we all fell in love with him.  He is such a precious child.  However, because of his fused skull, his brain is not growing properly so he has some continual struggles to survive.  Breathing is laborious for him.  The first day I held him, I could not contain my tears listening to the child gasp for air.  It was heartbreaking.  

That day Daddy Paul had taken Shadrach to see some of the finest doctors in Ghana to see what could be done to help the poor baby.  The doctor's answered, "Nothing can be done for him here.  He needs surgery, but he will need to go to another country for this to happen."

We are now praying for a miracle.  We are praying for a family to step forward in faith to adopt this precious child of God.  He was rescued from death for the future God has planned for him, but a family must faithfully be willing to help find him the medical help he so desperately needs.

Our son, Mason, recently spent three weeks in the orphanage where Shadrach is living now.  Over the 21 days, Mason fell in love with little Shadrach.  He kissed him on the head several times a day, and on the day we made crafts, Mason made one for him knowing he would not be able to do it.   While our family stayed at the orphanage, Shadrach melted into a special place in each of our hearts.  Shadrach is one who deeply stirs something within.  You look into his face and wonder, "How could anyone ever want to kill this child?  The Lord has created him perfectly for His purposes.  He has been knit together by God. Oh, how could people view his life as one not worth living?"

We now daily pray for little Shadrach.  We are praying for God to lead someone to rescue him again.  Without adoption, nothing can be done to help him here in Ghana.  The medical facilities and expertise simply are not found here.  Daddy Paul has spoken with the Social Welfare Director and Shadrach should be granted a medical visa to help expedite his potential for medical help.  Honestly, he needs it soon.  The longer he waits for someone, the longer his brain growth is stunted.  

Friends, we are praying for a miracle in this little boy's life.  There are people on both sides of the ocean praying for this precious child.  We truly believe he has been saved for God's incredible purposes.  Nothing about him is a mistake.  Everything about him cries out, "I have been created by a Heavenly Father whose ways are not always understood, but whose ways are always good."  (Isaiah 55:9)

Please pray for baby Shadrach.  Please pray for a family to be led to adopt him  Please pray for him to receive the medical help he needs in the time he needs it.  Please pray for him to know the love of his Heavenly Father.   Until God provides the miracle of needed medical care, please pray for Auntie Juliana as she cares for him daily nurturing him in the love of Christ.

It's horrible what Shadrach endured as a baby in this culture.  It's atrocious that people would believe he is cursed because his head is misshapen.  It's unbelievable that people would actually make plans to kill this poor child.  But, in our country, if a woman is pregnant with a child testing positive for Downs Syndrome or perhaps a misshapen head, and a doctor suggests an abortion, it is equally as horrific - perhaps more so.    But there is no outcry.  There is no longer shock.  We are desensitized to the value of a human life.  To think that a child created in the womb in the image of God is something to dispose of grieves my heart beyond belief.

As you pray for Baby Shadrach, please join us in praying for all of the babies who are "formed differently."  Please pray for people to have an understanding like Daddy Paul's.  May God give people the courage to say, "No, this child is a human being.  He/she is a child of God formed in the image of our Creator.  He/she does not deserve to die."   

Please, please, please pray.

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:13-14