Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tis The Season

Robin with the 'gaggle of children'

Tis the season.  We hear it over and over and over again during these weeks.  Tis the season to be jolly.  Tis the season to give.  Tis the season to make dreams come true.  Tis the season to be merry.   Tis the season to get together.  Tis the season, tis the season.  

I’ve been convicted this year more than ever that each and every day ‘tis the season.’  Christmas isn’t supposed to be celebrated just one day a year…it is to be celebrated each and every day.  It’s the reason we live – breath – and have our being.    

Christmas gives us hope, when our hope seems to have run out.  It gives us reason when there seems to be none.  It gives us determination just when we are ready to throw in the towel.  Christmas is the heartbeat of love and is vibrant around us, and when we submit to it, it’s even in us.  

I just finished visiting a very rural and poor area in Honduras.  It’s a place my husband and I happened upon a little over a year ago, one evening when driving home down a long winding dirt road, passing a mother with two little babies, one in her arms, and the other by her side.  My husband stopped and told this mother to get in the vehicle, we’d take her home.  She lives miles down this dirt road in a little community at the end of nowhere.  Her home consists of blocks with a roof and a pavement foundation, nothing else.  No water, no electricity, no bathroom, no kitchen.  But, she has shelter, and she has her children.  That evening started a special friendship…one that mainly consisted of my husband and I helping her out.  We would frequent her at her home, and my husband would always comment on the need for a church in that community.  He even blogged about it once.   This woman has a close friend who lives near her who is also a single mother, and somehow they ended up being a package deal.  

It was months after my husband’s death, and I had not been to visit these two families.  One day I heard voices outside my window, and when I looked up, there were the two mothers, traipsing up my dirt driveway with their gaggle of children. They did not come to ask for food, or help for that matter.  They came to hug me, cry with me, and let me know they heard the news, and they were so sorry this had happened.  They were in disbelief, as they said, “We don't understand why this would happen to someone so good to us.”  Then they asked if they could pray for me.  What?  These women that my husband and I had been ministering to now wanted to minister to me?  It was like our reason for living had been shown to me right then and there. 

You can imagine my delight when this last visit to their community a few days ago proved to be quite amazing.  One of those ladies now has a home church going on in her home!   

It’s when we don’t give up…when we keep on plugging along…when we keep loving even when we don’t feel like it…when we put others first…and when we don’t lose sight of His promises – that things really do change.  Tis the season each and every day.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

God With Us

By Jessie Fox
Imagine not being able to communicate your basic needs with your own mother.
Imagine not being able to communicate your joys and pains with your brothers and sisters.
Imagine your uncle leaving to another country, and no one ever telling you if he will come back or not.
Imagine your mother picking up the phone and horrified looks come across her face as she begins to weep. But you don’t know why...until you attend the funeral of your brother the next day. No one told you.
Imagine the life of a deaf person in Honduras.
Deafness separates them from communication.
Deafness separates them from family.
Deafness separates them from community.
But deafness does not separate them from knowing the love of Jesus.
In the Old Testament the Israelites were separated from God’s presence with a veil that separated the Holy of Holies in the temple.  And a “normal” human, like you and I couldn’t ever enter His presence. Only the high priest could enter and only once a year, and never without blood (Exodus 30:10).
Sinfulness separated them from God.
 …Until God entered our sinful world.  The Creator of the universe left His family, left His community (with the Trinity), and left His face-to-face communication with the Father.  For what? To enter our world, so that we would no longer be separated – that we would never be alone again.  He became “God-with-us”, Emmanuel.  And His death on the cross tore the veil that once separated us from Him (Mark 15:38).
My prayer this Christmas, for each of the deaf that have so often felt the sting of loneliness, is that they may feel and experience Emmanuel, God with them, like never before!

2 of our Honduran Deaf missionaries
teaching (in drama form) the story of
Christ's birth to 2 Deaf children
at a village program