We are half way through our team marathon! It has really been wonderful. We have all met a lot of new people and we have renewed friendships with a lot of folks that have returned to help us out. We have been ministering to the local community schools, building on the duplex, reorganizing the school, building cabinets, planting and plowing, and so much more. These groups have gotten so much accomplished while they have been here. I want to thank all the teams who have been here so far this summer. Thanks for coming, thanks for serving.
I have been really seeking the Lord about some things. Sometimes when we get over tired we feel it is the reason we are not close to God. But He is always faithful to let us wear ourselves out through circumstances that are out of our control to show us that is not the case. We have had several hard things happen this year. I am kind of like Jonah. I wait until I get in the guts of the whale, and then I pray.
When I was home we had some girls to take a" jolly little holiday ", and when I got back we found them. I was hoping that this would be the end of it but it happened again the next time I left the farm overnight. We got these girls back too, but it happened again with yet the younger girls who were learning by example. Their main reasons for leaving were one or more of the following:
1. Didn't like a discipline, ie raking, doing their homework over, etc.
2. Boy problems
3. The others said it was a great adventure.
4. Seemed right at the moment
5. They were bored.
I of course, was alarmed because I knew of the dangers on the road and in the streets. What could they be thinking??? This happened too many times. The last 3 girls left almost at dark. They were the 12 year old group. They left on a spur of the moment decision. These girls always had their chores done, always obedient, always kind. I thought they had been kidnapped. It never entered my mind they would leave on their own accord. They did have a flashlight, but it started raining and it dropped, and the bulb broke and they couldn't find it, it was that dark, and raining. They wandered around the cemetery, and the woods that were close to the ravines and the waterfall. Praise God that someone recognized them and called us.
During the time all this was going on, I have been dealing with one of our girls, who is going through some physical problems. We have been to 5 doctors and two neurologists. She has been diagnosed with a type of epilepsy. The doctors said it was some kind of tramau to the head. Apparently, she was dancing around and as she was spinning she hit the side of the wall lost consciousness for a moment. We have been dealing with other physical ailment and the doctors were saying the headaches were side effects of the meds, but apparently it was from the hit on the head. She started with the small seizures this past month. The meds were making her act extremely different. So we have been dealing with this in between the runaway situation. I have been praying for her healing and her condition seemed to get worse instead of better.
I was praying, but just in my spare moments when I was sane. So things kept getting worse and so I set aside all the things I knew to do, and do those things we all do to forget about what I was going through, ie read books, watch a video, or listen to music. Things kept getting worse so I decided to get serious with God so Then I prayed. I decided to read the New Testament in a week. I got out a book by E M Bounds about prayer. I started fasting meals, even when the teams were here and they were expecting me in the kitchen to eat with them.
I have come to the conclusion that I do a lot like the girls were doing. If I don't get the answer that I get from God, I take a jolly little holiday from God. I don't like His discipline sometimes, so I cut on a video. I don't see any results in my prayers so I get frustrated or bored and just check out of the praying closet. I may not leave my physical location but I take off just the same just like Jonah. I end up in a bad circumstance but thankfully I came to my senses and prayed. All the books I picked up had to do with prayer, discipline. Believe or not I found some Mark Rutland cassettes when we were organizing the library. They were tapes that dealt with courage, the adventure of pain and dealing with prayer. I had some young people on the bus look at me and my little Sony cassette player with a puzzled look on their faces as if to say, "what kind of machine is that?"
Anyway, things have calmed down here. We had one girl move back in with her grandparents way back in the woods. She thought she was going to be with her mom in the capital, and so did her mom but the judges said "No". So instead of leaving our farm for the city as she had hoped, she left to go to a farm further away than what she was already. Please be praying for her.
During all the things God was showing me, one of the things He has impressed on me was to love others more than I love myself. Everybody in ministry think they do that and feel as we are covered. But the other day I was on a bus. I had a seat right to myself and my back pack, where I had planned to stretch out for a long ride. Well this little bubbly girl who could talk faster than I could, sat beside me and told me her whole family history and the reason for her trip. Well because Natalie and I had made a quick change from one bus to this one, we didn't have time to eat. I thought to myself, "Well, I have some crackers and my water, I will be okay", but Bubbles didn't have any crackers, and I thought, "I have two packs, I will give her one". There were two packs but one looked like something you do to crackers right before you put them on top of a casserole. I took those crackers, and tried to eat them but just ended up crumbling them all over my black dress. I finally gave up and threw them out the window. Bubbles throughly enjoyed her crackers. Then Bubbles saw a young girl get on the bus that didn't have a seat. Bubbles invited her to sit with us in our two seat/backpack area. We drove like that for about an hour wih Bubbles sharing her family history with the young woman. She wasn't satisfied to share just her story but through my half coma-induced state, she wanted me to share my history with the young girl too. I dozed off somewhere in their excited conversation. When I came too my legs were asleep. It was like that the rest of the way home, some part of my body was going to sleep. When Bubbles friend left she started trying to call her Uncle. He wasn't answering. She was almost crying and saying, "What shall I do??" I don't know anybody in La Esperanza except for you. When the bus stops I will just be thrown off". I said "We need to pray." I sincerely prayed that we would find her uncle otherwise it looked like Bubbles was coming home with me. Every 15 minutes she was checking her uncle's phone to see if he left a message. Afterward she just kept lamenting, "What shall I do? Can I go home with you? Can we pray again? " I assured her not to worry, that I wouldn't leave her all alone on the streets. Well before we got off the bus at the chinese restaurant, I gave her a number to call if he wasn't there and reminded her that we were only a block away. So we got off at the Chinese restaurant to get something to eat. I supposed I should have asked Bubbles to eat with us but I didn't want her to miss her uncle.
Meantime, while we were waiting on our food and on a call from Bubbles, Tony and Phylis called. Tony is on our board and they were our ride home to the farm.. They had a flat tire and they had just used the jack on the flatbed earlier that day while working on the clutch. He asked if I could see if anything was open. Everything was closed at this point and so I left the restaurant on foot and Natalie our intern watched the stuff. It was threatening rain. I saw that the tire place was lit up. So I kept walking. It was the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship Meeting" They let us interupt their meeting and use` their floor jack. When we put on the spare, we found that it had no air either. So while walking back to the restaurant and talking to an elated Bubbles, who had jus found her uncle. When I got to the restaurant, Natalie and I traded places, She went to stand with Phyliss at the car and Tony rolled a tire all the way to the Texaco station to get it aired up. We got the tire and the rest of the chinese food and took off for home. God is very good.
So all is right with the world, except for while I writing this letter, I had a disgruntled girl come in and say that she wants me to talk to the judges because she needs to leave the farm because she
has one thing she doesn't like and it was when everybody has problems, when just a few want to be disobedient. I asked her if there was anything she was thankful for and if there was, carry the list and add the things she was grateful for. She sent the list back and she had listed that God has given her a nice house to live in, clothes, shoes, and a good life, health and friends. He has given me a lot of families that love me and a best friend forever. God has given me good friends like Morgan, Miss Beth Clayton, Miss Natalie, and a lot of them are my best friends. But in the last paragraph she reiterated that she didn't like it when just a few do wrong and others suffer for it. When she comes back, I will tell her I don't like that either, but such is the nature of sin.
I want to thank the Lizella team for all the great help they were to us while they were here. Thanks to Tony, Phyliss and Meagan for hanging out with us a little longer. Thanks to my home church, Crosspointe, Valdosta, GA Thanks to our interns, Natalie and the Botkin family who have been life savers these past weeks. Thanks to the board for all of your hard work. Thanks to all of you who love and have supported our girls and this ministry. God is doing so much here, and He is faithful to begin with me.:)