Saturday, February 14, 2015

And then He picks up the pieces

It's been over 6 months since I moved out of the orphanage where I used to live with my 10 little (or not so little anymore) pre-teens.  I figured it is ABOUT TIME that I updated the world on how I'm doing, where I'm at, what I'm doing, etc.  So here goes...

I feel like a completely different person than who I was 6 months ago.  God has truly been hard at work to restore my heart, my passion, my vision and hope.  This fall was a really difficult time for me personally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally and vocationally. I basically had everything that I held dear to me stripped away in the blink of an eye 6 months ago and it's been a long road to climb out of the pit that I found myself in.  But I can honestly say - it was worth it.  I'd do it all over again if given the chance.  And I'm grateful for the prayers and support of so many of you over the past few months.  Any process of refinement, I'm learning, requires the removing or burning away of some parts to leave a more polished finished product. I believe, from experience, that this process is often very painful.  I found that as I fixed my eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith as I endured trials and really difficult circumstances - God was able to use it to make my faith more mature and more complete.  

A passage that really encouraged me during this time was John 15:1-2. I've always thought this passage to mean that whatever or whomever doesn't produce fruit will just be cut off and disregarded.  That's not what this passage is saying.  It says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He lifts up, washes off, props up EVERY branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he cleans so that it will be more fruitful."  We all get a little muddy from time to time. Who among us doesn't get covered with our own sin, mistakes, pain, lack of vision, etc and just can't stand up anymore?  When we get to that point - when we can't stand up - the Bible says that God himself will lift us up and wash us off and prop us up so that we can bear good fruit.  That is the gospel.  And that is just beautiful.

So in summary, I feel restored, renewed, revived and refreshed. Praise God!

I still live in Monterrey and I still work full time for Back2Back. 

I have several roles here that I'm pretty stoked to be a part of...

For the past 6 years, I've led the charge of B2B's child sponsorship program at Casa Hogar Douglas (where I used to live) and continue to do so today.  I love getting to celebrate each kid's individual birthday and help sponsors connect to their child.

Every now and then, I help out when Back2Back mission teams visit Casa Hogar Douglas.  A few weeks ago, I got to help pour a concrete roof, which is a real treat for me as I love concrete work.  I also had the privilege of helping some ladies do an extreme home makeover of sorts of one of the boys' dorms - we removed all the mold that tried to make its home inside the the bedroom of 9 teenage boys.  Mold lost. We won.

The most exciting however is the team that I get to work with to train and equip caregivers in the children's homes to provide trauma competent care to the orphans we serve.  This effort is very near and dear to my heart because I know firsthand what it's like to be a full time caregiver in a Mexican orphanage.  These caregivers need love, support, encouragement, hope, ideas, understanding, and practical applications of best practices in dealing with very difficult kids.  We are revising existing training programs and approaches to try to best share what we've learned with the caregivers here in Monterrey.  Some of this is done in more formal classroom settings and other times it's more personal - one on one with caregivers.  What is just so cool is that I now have the opportunity to honor the lessons my boys taught me through their past trauma, behavioral outbursts and difficulties by sharing that experience with others – Back2Back staff, children’s home directors and caregivers.  I want to give life to caregivers in my interactions, conversations, and trainings.  Pray for us to be life givers.

So there you have it.  I'm alive and well.  God is good even when everything falls apart because He is a God who picks up the pieces.

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