Expounding on a Vision

About a week and a half ago I shared a vision that I had that facilitated us moving to Addis Ababa and also about the death process that God took me through in considering working among the poor and children.    It is hard to imagine how God would take a guy like me who didn’t even volunteer in our kids ministry (true confession…shameful to admit, yet true), and who had spent much of his life minimizing the role of children in The Kingdom and The Church and somehow overlook those blind spots in my practice to call me to work among children in a very direct role.  Yet, that’s where I found myself.

Within a very short window of time God began to show me through His Word, what His heart was for children, the vulnerable, the voiceless, and the forgotten.  I had for many years had a heart for the poor which I had acted on, but had somehow overlooked children in the mix.  I knew they were there and in need, but I always responded to them with a professional emotional distance – Until.   Until, God started to break my heart for them.

This is why I think the vision was so powerful in getting us here, but also in shaping how we do what we do. He spoke in a way that circumvented my usual tendency to ignore the child.  He made it so that I couldn’t ignore them any longer – now I would have to do something.

Today, I’d like to share with you some of the practical things that I feel God was showing in that vision that help shape how we work today.

I was simply walking.  I think that there was something to be said for the passive stance I was in as the vision began.  It is a reminder that it truly is God whom we partner with.  He just calls us to show up and to be open. Then He will do His work in and through us.

The children came.  They just showed up. And then as word spread, more came.  It was as if God had directed them to be there at that place and at that time.  This has been a pivotal issue for us.  When we’ve tried to go out looking for moms and children to be in the project, we have failed miserably.   Yet, when we have prayed and then engaged with whomever arrives at our gate, we find moms in dire need.  One of our staff members said, “It is as if God sends them to us.”  I think he does.

We walked together.  There was nothing sexy or fancy about the ministry.  All it resembled on the surface was a companionship for a stretch of the journey.  It just looked like relationship with very little tangible occurring, yet gradually the children were becoming whole.   We walk with moms and their children – and God in His Sovereignty ministers to them along the way.

All of the children were made well.  In the picture God was not just touching the spirits of the children, but rather He was meeting them holistically.  The lame were healed.  The fatherless were fathered.  The hopeless had hope.  The naked were clothed.  The oppressed were freed.  The hungry were fed.   He met their needs wherever they were at as we walked together.  I believe that God has positioned us in such a way that He meets the needs of the vulnerable and voiceless through us in very practical ways, while He is bringing about an overall transformation of their hearts and minds.

We walked a defined distance.  It stands out to me that we did not walk together into the sunset.  But, rather God had these children walk with me for a short distance while He touched them, before He brought others in to do the same. This greatly shapes how we do ministry.  We strive to not build dependency, but rather to help these moms and kids to move toward sustainability.  We are not here to rescue them, but rather as a partner that is helping them to depend on The Lord and become sustainable in and through Him – the only One who can rescue.   We imagine that we get but a few years to walk with these families, but the changes can remain for a lifetime.

God is in the process of bringing these things into focus and calling them into existence.  We are grateful to Him for the way that He loves those who live on the fringe so much that He moves on their behalf.   He is the Father to the Fatherless and the One who sets the lonely into families.  He is the defender of the weak and widows, The God of Justice and The One who is making all things new.  Praise be to Him.

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