2 Days // I didn’t ask for this.

My trip has been 100% covered in your contributions, and for that I am so, so grateful.

In the interest of transparency: I didn’t ask for this.

Just like the human body, 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 tells us that each part of the body of Christ has its own unique purpose, different gifts and talents and abilities in order to complete the mission for which it has been appointed to do. One body part cannot function without those around it, and without one part, the whole body cannot complete its mission.

There are some days where I look at this earthly body of mine and think to myself, wow. I am uniquely qualified for the assignment I have been given. More often than not, however, I look at this body of mine and think to myself, I did not ask for this body of mine.

I did not ask for a mind that keeps me awake at night, trying to think of ways to logistically house and feed every orphan in Swaziland. (I mean, come on, the military can house and feed hundreds of thousands, why can’t I?)

I did not ask for eyes that are drawn to the outcasts, the lonely, the ones most in need of attention and affection.

I did not ask for eyelids, the inside of which are indelibly inked with the images of painfully beautiful moments with my babies.

I did not ask for ears to which the sound of children is like the most beautiful of songs, ears that hear the cry of one child over the laughs and cheers of others.

I did not ask to find my heart walking around outside my body (click here) so, so far away.; a heart that is broken over watching these sweet babies fend for themselves, and grow up feeling unloved by parents, siblings, their Creator.

I did not ask for an immune system that might kill me in the US, but save me in a third world country.

I did not ask for a voice that does not shake when asked to speak in front of large crowds.

I did not ask for arms that can rock colicky infants to sleep.

I did not ask for hands large enough to hold that of three or four children at once, because there is a shortage of such.

I did not ask for fingers that could pluck guitar strings and teach children to sing of the Happy Day when Christ came alive.

I did not ask for a stomach strong enough to withstand the smell of un-bathed children, urine-soaked clothing, burning trash and feces.

I did not ask for long legs that can play soccer as easily as they can provide seats to two or three children at once.

I did not ask for feet that feel at home wrapped in canvas TOMS, stained red with Swazi soil, impervious to rocks, thorns and sticker plants. Feet that knew I was home the moment they touched Swazi soil.

I am clumsy and uncoordinated with these things that I have been given. Sometimes I get too wrapped up in what’s happening in front of me to see the ones most in need, or enjoy too much the sound of laughter to hear the cry of a child. Sometimes my heart aches more for my own circumstances, those that keep me up at night. Sometimes my immune system knocks me flat on my back (pun intended), and sometimes I can’t use my voice to speak up for my babies. Sometimes, my arms and legs and hands shake so much that I can’t hold a glass of water, let alone hold babies or play guitar. Sometimes, my feet get tired, and the Swazi soil washes away. Sometimes I forget the beauty of the sights, the strength of the smells, the depth of the feels.

It is on days like today that it is the very hardest to cling to the Cross, when I feel weak and powerless, undeserving of the gifts and talents I have been given in order to complete my mission as a part of the body of Christ. As a missionary, I have been warned that the enemy attacks when we are closest to Christ, when there is the most at stake, when we have the most to lose. It is in those moments that the enemy finds us the most vulnerable, because we never see it coming. Today is one of those days. I know the enemy is attacking, but knowing doesn’t make it easier to face. It is days like today that I think that this body of mine is more a burden than a blessing.

And then I remember: this body of mine is not mine.

I may not have asked for these things, but God did. Not only did he ask, he commanded them. He commanded ME. To go, to do, to love. To use this little ol’ speck of his great and mighty body to be a light in the darkness, so that his children might rejoin the Kingdom of Heaven.

On days like today, straight out of Ephesians, this is my prayer: that I might live a life worthy of this calling I have so graciously been given, even when—especially when—I fall short of the glory of God. So here I am. Lord, send me.

2 days, 14 hours, 21 minutes until I go.

Here I am, Lord. Send me.

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Thoughts on Today and Sponsorship

Author’s Note: This post was written on June 13, 2013 as a freelance piece for the Connection Pointe Christian Church Global Impact Blog. You can visit this blog to receive updates on our team’s trip to Swaziland, as well as other CPCC mission team visits to other parts of the world at www.cpccglobal.com

In the past year, there has been a slight change in the cost of sponsoring a child, and thus have been changed below. If you are interested in sponsoring a child, please visit http://www.onechildmatters.org/child-sponsorship-search.

I woke this morning with the words to the song “Kings and Queens” running through my mind: “little hands, shoeless feet, lonely eyes looking back at me. Will we leave behind the innocent to grieve on their own, on the run when their lives have only begun? These could be our daughters and our sons.”

Being in Swaziland is such a paradox. Here we are, these wealthy Americans, a representation of wealth and materialism, though unhappy as a general population, to help and support these Swazis, who as a whole have very little, want very little, help each other and are generally very happy people. We take a lot of things for granted in the United States, but the things that make the biggest difference here are the things I least expected. Washing my face, for example, or singing in the shower, without the potential risk of getting the “runny tummy” from unfiltered water. Refrigerators–we’ve been drinking lukewarm water because it is our only option. Good coffee, Dr. Pepper, and absorbent towels are all luxuries that I look forward to having as soon as I get home…and yet somehow, I don’t miss all the things I have at home, because I am seeing firsthand what the world is like. It is greatly, vastly different than seeing poverty in pictures or on tv. It is so much more real, painful almost, especially knowing what waits for me at home.

We’ve talked about sponsorship at church every couple of weeks, and yet there are still kids here at the Njojane Care Pointe (let alone the other 20 care pointes, in Swaziland alone) that don’t have sponsors. In all honesty, it confuses me as to how we have unsponsored kids. It’s only $39 dollars a month. Almost anyone can find $39 in their monthly budget. So maybe you skip Starbucks 2 days a week. Or you pack a lunch one day a week instead, or your family decides against eating out just one meal. $39 is nearly nothing in the US…you can’t even buy a full tank of gas with $39, but it is such a small price to pay for what sponsorship does for a kid: she can go to school. She gets 2 meals a day. She has someone who is forever on her side, praying for her, thinking about her, loving her…even if only from nine thousand miles away.

We had the chance today to sit down with our sponsored child and present them with presents and KFC (which is a huge hit here). Khetokuhle, my kid, was stoic and quiet…not at all what I expected. After realization that I was her sponsor, she was overjoyed. I’ve never seen a more beautiful smile. She loves Jesus. She likes to read and write, to sing and dance. Both of us were overwhelmed to meet each other. I realized she is a lot like I was at her age, and then I realized I could have been her. I could BE her. We could have easily been sisters, or mother and daughter, and that kind of puts everything into perspective. Audrey Hepburn tells us that, “As you get older, you realize you have two hands: one for helping yourself, and one for helping others.”

I strongly urge you to put those two hands together and pray about sponsoring a child. These unsponsored kids could easily be your daughters and your sons. Let us love them like they are our own. Let us love the least of these.