Sunday, February 21, 2010
Joy in the midst of Suffering
It is a popular phrase, "Joy in the midst of Suffering" but until you see it I don't think you can fully understand the power of God to bring peace to us. (at least that is true for me)
On Friday night I was asked to put together a 2 hour kids club for about 50 kids in a room that is smaller than most American living rooms for Saturday morning. Ok, I can do that, I have run kids clubs, camps, I was a Children's Ministry Director, and a Youth Pastor. Not a problem. And to tell you the truth it was not a problem. We made a ball out of a t-shirt and duck tape, balled up my socks for smaller balls, brought along a clothes line and a key chain ring for another game. I found a Bible story that was simple and relevant and we made a game plan. I was confident that we (my team of 5 and I) could pull this off.
But on the way to the club my emotions crept up to the surface and I found my self overwhelmed with tears as I thought about the kids we were going to minister to. Kids who have lost EVERYTHING, kids who have not had enough to eat in weeks, if not their whole lives, kids who have witnessed more death and destruction in their short lives than most adults ever will. My heart broke, even now as I type my heart breaks and the tears well up.
I lost my confidence, that I could hold it together. But God is faithful, we hit traffic, and by the time we reached Delmas 19 I had been comforted by my team and had managed to pull it together again.
When we arrived, things were already in full swing. Chairs in rows, filled with children 3-15 years old singing praises to God. My heart was truly blessed. We listened, and tried to sing along. Then kids took turns reciting scripture verses from memory! With such pride they stood up to share!
Then it was my turn to take the reigns. I took the stage, with my interpreter, Orange and retold the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. Then Linda (one of my teammates) wisely shared how we too had seen God meet our needs in a similar way this week. It was great. Then we sang, played games and sang and prayed. It was a beautiful morning! Filled with Joy and Peace that ONLY God can provide.
We spent the next hour or so taking pictures with kids, which they could not get enough of. We exchanged, smiles, hugs and love.
After the kids had been picked up we headed out into the Neighborhood of Delmas 19 to take a tour with the Pastor Absalom and his brother Orange of the neighbor hood they and the kids call home. They wanted us to see that this area had been missed by the distribution maps. Which means they have not gotten food or tents. It was once again heartbreaking. We were so devastated that we could not meet their physical needs, but we are making efforts to get them connected.
I promise you that I will always remain heartbroken when I hear a child from America complain their room, their meal, the latest toy. The kids we met, have nothing. And yet they have more joy and smiles, than any kids I have ever met.
PRAY for the people of Delmas 19!!! Who are sleeping under sticks and sheets, who have not had food to fill their bellies. PRAY that God will provide for them like he did for the 5000.
After our tour we were welcomed into Pastor Absalom's home, to visit with him and his pregnant beautiful wife. They fed us a wonderful lunch even though they have nothing. Our conversation was sweet.
Now I am off to church, to worship with people who once again have nothing but God, who realize that and love Him even more because of it! What a blessing. May you too be blessed today!