In crossculture. Peoplewatching. Community in the two-thirds world and other places. About questions too: "Higher up and further in!" with an outreach twist? How?

Posts tagged “God’s Love

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Market Yesterday! We’re loving’ this aspect!

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A quick thought, quote and photo. For today. For us.

“Growing in faith, hope and love by BASKING in the presence of God” -SDH-pttu. by Adele Calhoun


the world has SO many different kinds of people! one of the kinds is “contemplative”!

are you a contemplative type of person? am I? here’s a beautiful little excerpt from Adele Calhoun, in her book Spiritual Disciplines-practices that transform us.   When I read it, one friend in particular popped right into my mind; this friend is a CLASSIC contemplative!

“A contemplative person recognizes that every experience offers more than meets the eye. They know that “bidden or unbidden, God is present”. Consequently, contemplatives are open to seeing the unseen world. They sift the days for symbols, and scan the sunsets for meaning. They enter in to the being of life, alert to transcendencies in ordinary things. They believe God may be found and reverenced if one is prepared to notice how marvelously mysterious and personal life in this world is. So contemplatives invite us into the moment and tell us to be. – p. 49 under “Part Two – Open Myself to God”.


Children talking with God…

Every afternoon a call of “A la mesa!” rings out and echoes around at five o clock.  All forty-some children, and about five adults gather around plain long wooden tables, set with faded plastic “Sleeping Beauty” placemats and a plastic cup of hot sweet tea and one “pancito” (a small Bolivian bread roll). Nobody starts in on their food and drink.  An adult designates two kids to lead in prayer one after the other.  The children’s prayers usually run along the lines of ” Thank you for Auntie ______, Auntie________ and Auntie ________, and please help nobody to have an accident, and thank you for the Program and for the food and, God, please help and give food and clothing to all the poor people out there in the city. Amen.” These children don’t think of themselves as poor!  I love to hear them pray. Often, their prayers contain special little pleas for safety and protection for themselves and for each other, and VERY often they pray for themselves and their friends (all there – they act like brothers and sisters with each other) to not be hungry.  They DO experience hunger, and rather frequently.IMG_2093


Food and Drink that Nourishes and Delights!

Mathew 5: 6, in The Message “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God; he’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.”


God has filled the world with all manner of delights.

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peonies in Pike Market, Seattle

“God has filled the world with all manner of delights.” – author unknown    peonies in Pike Market, Seattle


God has filled the world with all manner of delights.

IMG_4637

peonies in Pike Market, Seattle

“God has filled the world with all manner of delights.” – author unknown    peonies in Pike Market, Seattle


Ektachrome scanned slide of Chuquisaca Quechua Boy, @ 1990

“For YOU created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise YOU because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from YOU when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious are YOUR thoughts to me, O God!”  Psalm 139: 13 – 17a.


A Unique Adventure God Gave Me, Part Four.

When all the pieces of the bed paraphernalia and mattresses were plopped down in the open “patio” part of those rooftops,   my co-worker and I picked up the first of the two bunks, intact, and tried to move it into the family’s tiny, windowless room.

It would not fit through the doorway!  Hmmm. Back it went to the open-t0-the-sky, junk-lined patio area of the rooftop.

Meanwhile, our children’s mom was trucking!.  Excited and happy to be “getting” the bunkbeds and mattresses, she acted like a little drill sergeant, directing her three young ones to move the boxes, bags, piles of dirty clothes and other paraphernalia including a rack of fruit and rice, a bottle of oil – there WAS a tiny, old-as-the-hills rickety gas burner for cooking behind the door of this family’s room.  All that stuff had to be moved out of the room, temporarily, to make space for the new beds, which would BARELY fit, theoretically, with only five inches between them and the family’s old, original bed. The door to the home would barely open!

I followed the children’s lead, grabbing some bundles and piles, and taking them out of the room.  The kids had started placing the stuff carefully in the center of the tiny narrow hallway, that had other rooms lining it on both sides.  As I started to set down my load of junk in the center of the hallway, the door on the other side started to open but, since it opened outwards, it couldn’t get more open than a crack, because all our stuff was in the way!  A man and a woman stuck their heads out the crack of the door, trying to see what was going on!  There I was, standing right THERE in front of them!  Their eyes opened WIDE IN WONDER!  ( Sometimes, I look different, to people here! Obviously a foreigner.)

Again sending God a quick prayer in my heart, I smiled as widely as I could and said, “Buenas Tardes!” (Good Afternoon!)

I added, “Sorry about all our stuff in the hallway – we’ll have it out of the way in a moment!”

They kind of smiled, nodded, and closed the door again!

Because the bunkbeds wouldn’t fit through the doorway, we had to spend the next two hours taking them both completely APART again, lugging the pieces into the family’s room, then assembling the beds, drawers, ladder and mattresses en situ!

 

Meanwhile, it got dark outside.  The smell of dirty laundry, old food, and unwashed bodies was overpowering. We heard johns and women coming and going through the hallway. The children accidentally dropped, and temporarily lost, one of the long metal principle bolts to hold the bunk beds together. They, and we, searched the property in the dark for it, for about forty minutes.  About three-quarters of the way through the process, the children’s mother decided she should serve us something to drink.  Thankfully, it was lemon-flavored soda pop, handed to me in an old metal cup.  There was absolutely NO way, that I could see, to politely turn it down so, again, I prayed to Jesus to keep me from catching any germs from the cup and from people’s hands, and I gulped down the sickly sweet fizzy drink and said “Thank you”.  I felt nauseous and weak for awhile and sat down; there was no where else to sit except very gingerly on the foot of the old bed.  I kept praying, in my heart, and averting my eyes, from a HORRIBLE huge poster that was up on the wall above the head of the old bed.  Extremely pornographic.  When I wasn’t praying, I kept thinking of our four young children, LIVING in that environment, for their whole lives so far. I’m learning that some things in life are almost too sad to contemplate;  instead, I quickly give them to Jesus, trusting Him alone.

It took us forever to get those bunkbeds put back together again. None of us were very good at carpentry or mechanics., As we were nearing the end of the gargantuan, tiring task, little R., the seven-year-old brother, walked back into the room from the darkness outside, and took a huge, deep, exaggerated, leisurely breath of air.  A huge grin split his little face, and his eyes sparkled.

“What?”, I murmured to him.

“Now, my room smells like WOOD!” he announced happily!

R. was right.  The room now smelled like fresh sawdust, and varnish. We all smiled.

The last washer and bolt screwed tightly into place, or at least screwed loosely into place, and checked, we triumphantly together with the three children carried and handed the two light, new foam-with-fiber mattresses onto the bunks.  My co-worker looked at little G., the boys’ sister.

“G., which of the two bunks do you choose for yours?”

Quick as a wink, the answer came; no hesitation for her – she KNEW what she wanted.

“The top bunk”

“The top bunk it IS!” we cried, and she climbed up there, happily and proudly, as her brothers moaned and complained, only a very little, that THEY had wanted the top bunk.

We felt we already had enough relationship and accountability with the children and their mom to then speak, primarily with the mom, for several minutes exhorting the children to keep coming to the outreach, the mom to keep coming to help with the food preparation for all the children, and for her to keep making sure she sends her children to school, and that they work hard in school and on their homework each day.  They stayed in intense eye contact with us throughout this “lecture”, nodding their heads also. It went really well, that part.

The mother was in the room with us, several other persons were standing in the dark hall outside, looking in, listening.  We were there, the three children were there, and other children were in the small doorway, looking and listening in.  My co-worker looked at me; I felt that I knew what she was going to say, and started praying that Jesus would give me the words and use powerfully for good,in the lives of these individuals, what was going to happen next.

“We are going to pray.  Lady Ninadesusojos, would you be willing to lead us all in the prayer?”

“Yes, I would!”

Our three kids bowed their heads; their mother copied them.  Several adults in the hallway took off their hats and bowed their heads! The children clustered in the doorway, copying everybody else, bowed their heads.

I prayed.  I felt the Presence of Christ there with me, with us.  A tremendous happiness filled my heart!

We said “goodbye”, shaking hands all around. The children and their mom said “thank you” over and over again.  The children hugged us, over and over again, and accompanied us out of the property and half-way down the street, waving, and waving and waving goodbye.

We walked home.

The End.


A Unique Adventure God Gave Me, Part Three.

Alright, well, to take up where I left off before, the rickety narrow steps going up to the rooftop/second “storey” of the big, open, multi-hovel brothel where our four children lived with their mother had VERY uneven steps, plus only had a railing on one side.  As I carried the heavy end of one wooden bunkbed up those stairs, 12-year-old M. carrying the other end, and going first, I had to try to lift the weight up high so that my end of the bed would fit between and over the railing, and the dangling poorly strung electrical wires and chicken-wire netting above the adobe bricks used to delineate the edge of that property, from the next one, and also, for sure, to deter thieves who might try to climb over the wall to steal people’s natural gas cooking stove tanks.  All of a sudden I heard catcalls, whistles and “Que macha!” (“Wow, what a jock”).

The catcalls and remarks were being addressed to me, because I was carrying one end of a heavy wooden bunkbed all by myself up some stairs.  I ignored the remark and prayed in my heart, “Jesus, protect us all three, and help us to get these bunkbeds delivered to these children, and help us to shine your LIGHT in this dark and awful place!”  I felt a little more calm after that, even though my heart was pounding and sweat was breaking out all over but that was because of the weight of that bunkbed and the fact that it was a very warm summer afternoon.