Monday, August 9, 2010

Once our eyes are opened...

Proverbs 24:12 tells us that "Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act."

I know...

and you know...

and it's our job to make sure others know too.

I know in the past I have wanted to scream "WHY AREN'T WE DOING MORE?? WHERE ARE GODS PEOPLE? What is it going to take to make them wake up and what is it going to take to make them care???"

But what I am learning is that they DO care- sometimes they just don't know.

And, I am reminded that it was not all that long ago that I didn't know. Not all that long ago that when God opened my eyes.

Not all of us are able to travel and see for ourselves for one reason or another. And while hearing a story about a child suffering may break our hearts- the truth is, unless we come face to face with that suffering child, unless we walk in their 'shoes', unless we experience their pain-we often times just go on living our lives, feeling bad for them, but not really knowing what to do.

A group of us from our church decided we wanted to do something for the children at Adami Tulu preschool in Ziway, Ethiopia and raise much needed money for these children to attend preschool. My daughter, Addisyn, shared her heart and experience here. One way our church has raised money in the past is to have luncheons after service with a spread of food large enough to feed an army.

But Sunday we decided to do things a little different. Sunday, we decided to let our congregation experience the life of a child in Ethiopia.

Instead of the big spread of food- our congregation was asked to remove their shoes and socks before entering the fellowship hall. Rough, dried dirt had been spread all over the floor for them to walk on- and as you can imagine- it was painful. Pain much like the children in Ethiopia experience daily because they are in desperate need of shoes.
The air condition was turned off- it's August in Texas - enough said.
Doors and windows were opened and the flies were welcome to attend.
Instead of the typical big spread of food awaiting them they were given a simple bowl of bean and vegetable soup and a hunk of bread- closely resembling the recipe of that the children at the preschool are given.

No spoons...

No napkins....

No waste...
The little ones in our congregation struggled to carry their bowls and bread.

African music filled the air...

and awareness of the blessings often taken for granted filled their hearts...

They got it, and they know now...

and they did something about it!!!

I have mentioned in the past how blessed we are to belong to such an amazing church body. While small in size, they have HUGE hearts. What I love most about our church is that these people are not about prestige, impressing others with a big fancy building and state of the art sound equipment.
These people are real- admitting they need Jesus desperately because they are NOT perfect.

I absolutely adore our Pastor and wife, because they are the real deal. They are the first to admit their mistakes and even point them out. I believe this kind of leadership is crucial- because when people feel like they have to be 'perfect' to be accepted, and perfect to be a Christian- they are missing the whole point of NEEDING Jesus.

Our pastor even took a few pies in the face all in the name of collecting money for the preschool. :) Can you find a better guy than that?

And our children's pastor has grow to be one of my dearest friends on earth. She and I share a heartbeat for the least of these. She challenges me to be more than I ever thought I could. She challenges our kids to be more, do more, care more- and the seeds she has planted are blooming.
I am so incredibly proud of the youth at our church- just watching them in action points you straight to Jesus, and it's beautiful. So because of leadership in our church like this- good things are going on all over the place-and we are blessed to be a part of it.

My challenge to you is to let your congregation know. Ask for their help. Tell them, show them, help them know.
Because if you know...

you can help them to know...

so they can ACT.

I saw it happen, before my very eyes in my own church.

I saw heart after heart in love with Jesus and ACTING on it.

If you'd like to help the children at the Adami Tulu preschool you can send a donation to Lifesong for orphans at:
PO Box 40 · 202 N. Ford St
Gridley, IL 61744

If you'd like to learn more about God's heart on Adoption or how to get your church involved in an adoption ministry please join me at T4A October 2nd. You can sign up here.

image signature

21 comments:

Brent Riggs said...

Thanks for helping people understand this. Americans simply don't know how fortunate we are, even the "poor" among us.

Brent (Abby's Dad)
www.riggsfamilyblog.com

JG said...

What a great church you belong to! It's wonderful to see and hear about other members of the body reaching out!

Chris and Sarah said...

That's awesome! We just became part of a small church (came from a very large church) and I am so excited because these people have a huge heart for the orphan.

OK, I have a question for you. Did you get that verse off of RR or did you actually find it in a Bible? I have searched and searched to find it in any version of the Bible and I can't find it. I would love to know if you actually found it in a version of the Bible.

Divine Mrs D said...

I LOVE IT!! My husband and I were in South Africa and Ethiopia and have raised money a few times to send, but it's always been hard for me to figure out what to do next. I might be sharing this idea with a few people at my church and seeing if they'd be interested.

Anonymous said...

It truly is an EXPERIENCE that causes us to have an even deeper connection with Jesus.

StarfishMom said...

I wanna go to YOUR church!!!

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Now that was brilliant and AWESOME!

Love you - thanks for constantly being a voice!

Hugs,
Jill

Dave and jody said...

What a beautiful post! I would give anything to belong to a church like yours. i contacted our church about a year (+) ago about starting an adoption ministry and was told that "It wasn't a direction our church was taking at this time." HUH!? I belong to a "one church, multiple locations" church and it's frustrating. I recently contacted a leader in the church who in January adopted from Haiti. So i KNOW he has a heart for orphans. I'm hoping this next attempt at getting an adoption ministry/fund going will be met with success.

I'm so proud of you and your family! You guys are the real deal and SUCH an INSPIRATION!

Gabby said...

That was just an amazing experence. we were just gonna leave after church but when my dad saw that video y'all played he changed his mind and decided to go and donate money.

Alison said...

Wow! What an amazing church to let people experience something like that! So neat!! God is stirring hearts all over this nation to reach out and love the least of these!

Jessica said...

I've loved and shared your last few posts with several of my friends. You've put into words what I've felt since returning home in January with our girls. It just makes me want to live more like Jesus did.

Jessica
www.steadfastminds-ethiopia.blogspot.com

Andrea H. said...

Amy you have no clue how happy I am to you have connected so very much with your church and espically that they open their eyes and ears for what you have to say.

Jill Funkhouser said...

That sounds so fun to do. I love your idea. Thanks for the encouragement!
Jill

Anonymous said...

Thank you Amy for sharing in such a heartfelt way. We have read your post and shared the picturs with our daughter, Kensley. Last night she brought us all her money and a homemade card and ask me to send it to the little children at Lifesong...What a blessing!!


Donna
Alabama

Talley Images said...

How I long to find a church like this... glad someone out there is doing it... much love to you.

Mandy said...

Wow, that is so powerful. What a beautiful example to your church! You are right, if we don't experience it, we just cannot comprehend it. It's so easy to just feel sorry for others, and then go right on living how we always do, not doing a thing to help. Not anymore.

E.T.'s Mom said...

Oh, that gives me goosebumps. What an incredible idea and a heart-changing experience.

Susan said...

I have been planning just such an event for our church. Love your ideas. Planning on showing them and telling them about mud cookies. I think most people need to be shown and to experience it or it easily turns into a short emotional event and then life continues on as normal. However, once they have truly been made aware of the huge need and been shown that no you don't need to pay 70 dollars to get your hair dyed blonde....but instead could use your money for the Glory of God and to feed a family they tend to jump on board. Once they have seen they are responsible...faith without deeds is dead. Thank you for showing others and opening their eyes.
Susan
allee-fam.blogspot.com

Ethiopia here we come! said...

Thats a great idea. It really helps to put people in others shoes. We did something similar in our high school group. However, we had different tables recognizing the different poverty levels. We brought out rice for the "Africa" table. Then we walked past them serving the "USA" table with steak and all the fixings. The kids at the USA table could hardly eat while watching their friends go hungry. It was a real learning time.

Rebekah said...

WHY?!? Why are so many people saying, "I would love to belong to a church like that"? All churches should be like that... We live in an area where there are several "mega" churches. Why are we spending MILLIONS on buildings? What are we doing American Christians? We too were told 'NO' by our church when we wanted to take the people who were passionate about orphans and adoption and begin a work that would hopefully open up the eyes of others in the church and in turn change little one's lives. We were also told that, that was not the direction that they see the church going in..HUH?!? But they just spent two million dollars building a state of the art cafe in the church...essential for ministry, ya know? For various reasons, God has moved us to another local body. But I have to say that I have wept for the church in America. We will be held accountable for the ways in which we have used our resources. But there is hope! I can see eyes opening and hearts ready to see. I do believe that God is refining the church...
Sorry for the rant..just something I am passionate about..
Amy, thank you for sharing what God is doing through a small, but faithful local body!

Mama D.'s Dozen said...

I LOVE how this "luncheon" was put on! Wow!


Laurel :)