Saturday, February 25, 2012

If I Could Be a Refuge (announcing big things)

sun appearing through clouds in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Like so many things lately, I've meant to blog about this topic since Christmas, when the enormous gift was placed into my hands. But time got away from me; I became busy, busy, busy.

But my friend, Jennifer Dukes Lee, just announced that she is going to Haiti on a missions trip.

And, well, I have a somewhat similar announcement, but it needs backstory.

Husband told me he was getting me a fabulous Christmas present and that it would be only one, but the one would be worth it. On Christmas Day, he handed me the last present. I opened it and this is what happened (dare I show myself in video?):


Long story short, Husband had begun the application process for him, 13 year old SD and myself to visit the sponsor child, "D," whom I have sponsored for the past 8 years. She is now 12 years old. "D" lives in Honduras!

And a few weeks after that video, we found out that we had been accepted.

Praise God! It was some of the best news of my life. Imagine: going to Honduras and meeting "D" and her family - people I've corresponded with for eight years. Back and forth, Spanish to English, English to Spanish, stickers sent, pictures sent, drawings sent. A little dark-haired girl growing up tall and leggy into a raven-haired pre-teen.

The journal that Husband got me in that video is proving to be a good process journal. I write in it my thoughts about going to a third-world country. That will be quite a life-changing experience.
But am I ready? I thought. Do I step so much outside of my comfort zone and step into a world I know nothing about? Wouldn't that be called presumptuous? Would "D" and her family look at us middle-class Americans and think we were uppity and rich? Suddenly, doubts plagued me. What if I contracted malaria? What if the dreaded traveler's diarrhea occurred by brushing my teeth with tap water (which can happen)?

Ah, you devil, I had to say outloud. Stop talking to me. I decided to listen to God's Word:

Isaiah 58:10 "And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday."

And haven't the poor and oppressed been placed on my heart so much more in recent months? Indeed, I wrote many blog posts about the need to reach out to the needy. The least of these have tugged on my heart for a long time. 
Psalm 10:14 “But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.”

There are so many things I want to tell "D." I am keeping a journal I want to have translated so that I do not pour a thousand words on the translator and overwhelm the dear girl.

I want her to know how much I think about her, how we all pray for her. I want her to know about the world I live in. I want to tell her how much God looks out for her and her loved ones. I want to tell her how proud I am of her for doing well in school and participating so cheerfully in church.

I want to hold her in my arms, this girl who calls me "Madrina," which  means "Godmother."

Think about that word: Godmother. In our culture, it means a person who the biological parents have entrusted their child to should they both die. In our culture, too, I think the "God" meaning of it has been all but erased.

Not so in Honduras. "D" and her family pray for my family regularly. They write how grateful they are for my love and prayers. They are so happy to love the Lord and that delights me. They trust me with their daughter and though I know I'm not the one who will raise her should her parents both pass away, I know that they look to me to be another "mother" who teaches her about God.

This trip is not just about the three hours we will be spending with "D" and her family. We are trying to find other volunteer opportunities and we doing some traveling. Just being in a third-world country that houses so many of "the least of these" will be a life-altering experience. I won't be able to encapsulate it in one blog entry nor will I be able to sum it up in a poem or essay. I think - no, I know - that I will be talking about this experience for the rest of my life.

We leave May 1st and return May 7th. But I know the journey is not confined to those dates. The experience will change me, grow me, mold me for years to come - hopefully for the rest of my days.

Lord, make me an Isaiah 25:4 woman:

“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall.”

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