This morning when I opened the back door to Let Gracie out, I inhaled deeply.
The air had a slight fogginess to it. Not as much as earlier in the week–but there it sat, misting on the property boundary. Like it had already been up at the house and was excusing itself before the sun brightened the day. It was cloudy though, so not much chance of seeing sunshine today.
As I inhaled, a familiar smell teased my nose: outdoor cooking, old wood burning, possibly, a distant field from days ago finally filtered down to our area, and I smiled.
Bolivia. That was my first thought. I stuck my head back inside to where I could see Jeff as I said –“Hey, it smells like Bolivia this morning”.
I know we live and work here. We both love our jobs, who we work with, and what we do. But we also have a purpose and goals to see more –young and elderly alike, experience their first mission trip.
Focus Forward Ministries, Inc. has a heart that wants to encourage others to get out of their comfort zone and help their neighbor….the one who lives an eight hour plane ride away. Focus Forward is blessed to currently be working in three countries: Bolivia, Jamaica, and Uganda.
Still though, my heart sees pieces of Bolivia in my mind often throughout any given week. So the smell this morning really gave me a hunger for our friends and family there. (If our Bolivia family are reading this–please know you are all thought about so much every week!).
From the very first trip I took, it has always been about the children. Yes, we build churches. But for us, our goal has always been to help the next generation find and know Jesus–and it often takes place in the church buildings we help build. We do our best to get involved in the schools surrounding the new church construction. And we return to all our other schools every year. We have always sought God for the place and time to do what He has called us to do.
Lately, I’ve been seeing the most horrifying and heart rending scenes on social media regarding children.
The exploitation and mind altering to cause children to want to alter their bodies–the devil is at work. Society tells them they can be a boy if they want–or a girl if they’d rather. I told a grandson today as we were discussing some of the evils this generation is seeing–that these people who were manipulating children’s minds would burn. The physicians doing such would also–I’m only judging by what I’m seeing and hearing.
I remember the shock and sadness that overwhelmed me the first time I saw a beautiful little girl who looked to be about five years old, dressed up in ruffles of taffeta, similar to a type of costume worn generally in parades in Bolivia, dancing on the sidewalk. With her CD player, she was dancing and appeared to be completely alone. But her “owner” was within eyesight I am quite certain. She was there to collect money. She danced for whoever would give her coins to clink in the can that sat on the sidewalk. Even better if the money folded.
I looked around in anger. Honestly–at that point I had never in my life seen such a thing –had heard about it but never witnessed the exploitation of a child before. The missionary leading us that day (2011) described to us what was going on and urged us to walk on by and not pause. I remember there was sadness in the eyes of the little girl. She wasn’t holding a doll and playing in her yard–she was dancing a provocative dance to allure the attraction of whoever was willing to watch and pay. Sick.
We are right there. In America, we can no longer hold our head up and say, “not here, buddy”!
It is here! It has been for many years–it’s just more out in the open now without regard to others–shameless disregard for the innocence of the children.
In my kitchen window I have four little glass votives. I light them sometimes to highlight what is going on in the early morning at our house. They are almost burned down, but easily replaceable. Our prayers are just like these little candles. Giving a light in the darkness of this world and we have got to make sure the prayers continue. When we see the light running low–the call to action is to be ready with the next candle to light. We need to pray while we can. We need to go while we can. We need to speak and share and sow the seeds of the Gospel, while we can. The day is coming when we won’t have the privilege to do all the things with the freedoms we have so enjoyed in America.
Friend, I don’t know what kind of reminder you need in your life to pray–but we have eleven precious grandchildren from age 21 down to 3–and they are reminders enough for me that this world is shaking up in such a way it should keep us in our prayer closets. They are the generation that will experience this last day revival- Let us pray it down on them–let us be ready to experience it ourselves! Let us live by example the readiness of heart and spirit to go to the ends of the earth if God calls–to share the Gospel with those who have never heard.