Sunday, May 04, 2008

Communities of Faith and Love

In this world of war and anger and hatred and prejudice and fear and doubt and anger and guns and greed and loss and cancer and depression and violence and sorrow and unspeakable acts of horror, there is hope. There is grace. There is love. There is mercy. There is forgiveness. There are people reaching out to other people and supporting each other and caring for one another.

Here is an example that is touching me deeply today. Start there and read the more recent posts. Go back and read a few of her earlier posts as well. It's an amazing, loving, generous, heart-melting story of inexplicable love. A woman in Maryland, whose name is Odette, left her children behind in Rwanda to make a life for herself and for them here in the US. One of her children is seriously ill with tuberculosis. Another woman, whose name is Jen Lemen, who also lives in Maryland, is going to Rwanda later this month to visit Odette's children and spread a message of love and hope. Folks from the internet, many of whom have never met either of these women or their children, have sponsored Jen's trip completely! With extra money for more blessings for her to share with the children at the school that Odette's children attend.

Jen Lemen has also asked for loving support for Jenni Ballantyne in Australia. (Jen Lemen is an inspiration to many people in this area of compassion for those whose lives intersect her own.)

Then there is Itiel, who has asked for support for the family of Muthudi.

And Patty, whose neighbor asked for prayer for her ailing father. The neighbor came to Patty because she knows that Patty is a praying woman. So why not ask the woman who has faith?

Ruth's granddaughter has holes (yes, multiple!) in her heart that are slowly being healed. May the prayers and the healing continue.

And I ask for all of you who read this blog and pray to lift up my son, Daniel, who has infections in both ears. Poor thing! He pleaded with us to take him to the doctor this morning, Sunday morning, instead of going to his team's baseball games. So for the first time in all our years as a family, we made an urgent care visit. My dearly beloved boy is on antibiotics again. (Why did I agree to allow this boy to go to school? Five years of cozy, simple, life-affirming homeschooling life in Charlotte; not one sick visit in those five years. That impressively healthy statistic changed this year, the year he decided to go to school! What was I thinking???!!!)

Daniel, just after the haircut that removed most of his blonde highlights.
Not a bad haircut, right? It was performed by yours truly!

There is so much love to give. There is so much love to receive.
There are communities of faith and love and hope springing up all around us.
What are we doing to extend those communities - and to welcome that love and faith into our own hearts and lives and communities and churches? What are we waiting for? What am I waiting for?

A better question is: when will it be my turn to share the love?

Actually, Kristiana and I are going on a love and faith-sharing adventure of our own. From Saturday, August 2nd until Saturday, the 9th, she and I will be in Nicaragua working at an orphanage, playing soccer, feeding hungry people, and otherwise living out the love and faith we profess. We will be making dozens of love notes and filling our suitcases with clothing and other little goodies we can share with the folks we meet there.

Are we scared? A little. I'm not outdoors adventurer! I don't like bugs. I'm addicted to my super firm foam pillow.
Are we excited? Very. I'm definitely a traveler and a seeker and a hugger and a lover of souls by nature.
We covet your prayers for safety, peace, patience, kindness, humility, and an inexhaustible supply of smiles.

Kristiana, my dedicated photography student, taking "an ant's eye view" photo for her class. Not my idea, of course.
No, she will not be taking her father's fancy camera to Nicaragua.

Where are you going to spread the love?
If not you, who?
If not now, when?

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