Our family has been blessed to come along side a couple ministries serving orphans in developing countries.
One of those ministries, serving in Ethiopia, is called Bring Love In. I have written about them before. They are serving widows and orphans in a unique way, bringing them together in forever homes. I will share more about our involvement and the ministry at another time. Check out their new on-line store. They are selling really cool handmade leather cuff bracelets. They had 300 made for the first run and they are already SOLD OUT! But more are being made, so if you want one, still place your order - you just may have to wait a little longer.
The other project that we are involved in is coming along side an orphanage in Haiti. As many of you know, Lauren and I traveled to Haiti about a year ago. While there we made some very special connections and have continued to build relationships with these connections via email or phone.
I knew that before I made the decision to go on this Short Term Mission trip that I wanted to stay involved and help in some way. So, I have maintained my connections and for the past several months, I have been advocating for this small orphanage located in the city of Carrfour. The orphanage is run by Pastor Firmin and his wife. They have 5 children of their own and have taken in 12 children orphaned from the earthquake.
Their home was destroyed by the earthquake and they now sleep in temporary shelters on their house property. Since the earthquake, they have had only one team from the US visit them.
One of the last update I received was heartbreaking. They had been without food for several days and they do not have the funds to enroll the children in school this fall. This is highly concerning because as you all may know, education is the ticket to survival in a developing country.
There are days, especially when I hear reports of families in the community having to give up their children or children starving to death, I feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Honestly, there are days I wish I could just say, "I can't do it" and walk away. That's hard to admit. But a couple weeks ago I spent 10 days in a row with thoughts of giving up. 10 days where I was numb. 10 days someone was waiting for me to respond.
I prayed during these 10 days but still I could not feel what direction God wanted me to go with this project. It became such a weight on my life. I felt like the future of this unknown to the the rest of the world orphanage all in my hands. I came so close to not responding. I wanted to pretend that I did not know about them. I know this sounds harsh but after being unsuccessful with soliciting help from those who do know, I was feeling a little beaten down. Discouragement set in and took control of me.
Just when I was about ready to give up, I read something about fasting. It was at that time that I decided that I had not done everything I could. It took all the strength that I could muster out of poor discouraged little me and I fasted and prayed for Pastor Firmin's orphanage.
I fasted and prayed for 2 days. On the second day of my fasting, I received a call from my contact with an update. This is the same person who had been waiting 10 days for me to respond. He informed me that the orphanage had been without food for 3 days and on the 4th day, they were given food. The day that they ate was the first day of my fasting.
He also had another praise to report: the school principal at the school the children attend has agreed to let the children begin the school year despite not having their tuition payment.
I went from feeling alone in this battle to understanding that God has been there the whole time.
I have heard that the combination of fasting and praying are the only way to unleash certain demons. So I consulted with a very wise and Godly man, someone I can trust will speak straight truth. He said that he believes that fasting and praying does not unleash demons but instead fasting and praying unleashes "UNBELIEF". There is more that I learned from this conversation but that was the basis of it.
Through my feelings of discouragement, I started to lose faith and disbelieve. But through the combination of fasting and praying, I have truly seen miracles.
And there is more...
Steve and I have been discussing a long term plan to help Pastor Firmin and his community sustain themselves. We have some ideas but it will involve a lot of time and resources.
So this week, just one day after the amazing update from my contact person, Steve just happened to share something about this orphanage to someone during a business lunch meeting. This person has asked for more information about the orphanage and will consider financially coming along Steve and I to achieve this long term plan. We have submitted all the information we have and now we are waiting on a response. So, please all you prayer warriors out there, please pray that God will work through this business man's heart to help bring down the financial barrier that is keeping us from accomplishing a long term goal for Pastor Firmin's community.
I share this story about praying and fasting, not to draw attention to myself but only to show you how God really does work miracles when we believe.
I think about how close I was to throwing in the towel on this project. Just think how much I would have missed out if I would have chosen to limit God.
So, my questions to you is, "Are there things that you have thought about turning your back to because it's just too much?" "Are you limiting God to just the things that you can physically and/or financially handle?" "Or, are you trusting and believing in Him to carry out the work that He has planned in advance for you to do?"
Really ask yourself these questions when you are at a crossroads. Because once you turn your back, God cannot use you. Are you allowing doors to close? Or are you persevering through the doors that are open maybe even just a crack to allow God to accomplish more through you?