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

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Danger of Disguise

     Guest blogger:  Mason Beebe, age 16 yrs.

     Recently, I read an article online about a certain social media application. The author was warning readers about the dangers of the application and his ultimate goal was to have the reader delete the app from their phone or electronic device. His argument against the application was that, when advertised, the application seemed safe, but under careful study the application is very dangerous. This bad application was being disguised with good advertisements.
     As you probably know, living in Ghana has greatly changed our view on American/Western culture and values, and most are not for the better. After living here in Ghana for some time, I realized that it is nearly impossible to truly see certain pieces of Western values for what they are until you are no longer immersed in the culture. There is so much wickedness in the country that people don’t see because it is disguised as something good.

     One of the pieces that has made me so upset is the complacency of the church. We have not taken our faith seriously. We don’t live like the prayers we pray or the songs we sing. We are not reaching the world as God called us to and what is even more saddening is that we are giving ground to horrible sins in our own country. A big part of this is the fact that we have not been looking past the disguises of sin.
     One example I can think of is the television show Duck Dynasty. It is being devoured by the Christian community because the people in the show claim to be Christians.  I realize it is a television show, but do you see the people in this TV show living out their faith? Do you think they are living in the way Jesus would have them live? I watched one episode where one of the characters paid $100 instead of apologizing to his wife. What is that saying about us as followers of Jesus Christ? Almost all of the characters spend money on a whim, buying things of worldly value. What does this say about what we value as believers?
     I know that one argument in favor of Duck Dynasty is that they pray at the end of every episode. Here in Ghana, there is a castle where slaves were kept before being shipped to countries participating in the slave trade. There is a room about 25’ by 15’ where as many as 300+ slaves were held in utter darkness in their own excrement for months. Right above this dungeon was a church where the foreign occupants of the castle would go to worship. So, since they went to church and worshipped God, did that make what they were doing to the slaves okay? Since they pray at the end of every Duck Dynasty episode, does that make what they do in the rest of episode okay? Where is the line of compromise?  Another thing to consider is will some Christians use this show as an excuse to be prodigal with the resources God has blessed them with?
     Another example of disguised sin in our culture is “Christian radio.” While we were back on furlough I was grieved and even angry by the worldliness of what was being played on the radio. The only “Christian” part of “Christian radio” seemed to be the music. What is talked about by the DJ’s is meant to entertain and nothing more. Every year one radio station does a cruise to help raise funds for the station. Do you think that this cruise shows that we, as followers of Jesus, are willing to give sacrificially? American Christians don’t seem to take what Jesus says and calls us to seriously.
     Not all sins in our culture are disguised. There is much wickedness in America that is held up for the world to see. But this evil is becoming accepted in the one beacon of hope for America, the church. American Christians are not simply buying into small disguises, but are being seduced to believe that extreme iniquity really isn't that bad. If 78.4% of America professes to be Christian, then how is this happening to our nation (U.S. Religious Landscape Survey)? We are warriors who have surrendered to the will of our enemy.
     I did not write this blog post so that you would stop watching Duck Dynasty or stop listening to “Christian radio.” I wrote this so that you would begin to examine things in America that are currently accepted as “okay” and decide for yourself if these things are truly good.  Slavery may have ended decades earlier if people had asked this question while they were worshipping above the heads of 300 captive people!  

     I wrote this post because I want to see the church in America rise up and do the Lord’s will. I want Christians not to be set apart just because they listen to Christian music, but because they do hard things and live out what the Bible asks of us.
     There is so much God calls us to in the Bible it can be extremely overwhelming. I have found that I cannot do everything the Lord asks of His people in His holy book. But God is rich in grace for my incompetence. He has shown me that if my heart truly desires to do the Lord’s will, and I put all of my effort into doing that, then He is pleased with what I do. I am not asking you to do anything other than seek the Lord. Study His word and His commands not so that you can get to heaven, but because God is so good and you want to please this holy and good God.
     God has given us so much. And even though we have turned our backs on Him numerous times, He still loves us, and He still is asking us to be a part of furthering His kingdom. Are you going to accept this incredible opportunity that God offers you, or are you going to continue living in comfort embracing any worldly pleasure life brings upon you? We don’t have long to take advantage of this opportunity that God offers us. Psalm 144:4 says, “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.”


     So are we going to continue buying these disguises that the American culture is creating for sin, or are we going to choose to look past these masks and see the sin that lies there? Then, are we going to just live with the knowledge of this sin, or are we going to fight it? Are we going to pray passionately for God to move? Are we going to fervently ask for God’s spirit to help us, and for His grace when we mess up? Are we going to live like Jesus meant what He was saying in the Bible, or are we going to read passages with tranquil pleasure thinking that the biblical mandates don’t apply to us? What are you going to do?

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
Psalm 144:4

Wednesday, September 18, 2013