Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why we're in this ministry...

Today, the Lord reminded me why we’re in this ministry.

During an orphanage visit, I sat down and talked with 6 kids about their stories, why they are in the orphanage, and what their hopes and dreams are for their future.  They were mostly pretty open about the pain and difficulties that are in their past.  And they were all cautiously optimistic about their future, yet tempered in the scope of their dreams. 

The openness was rare – I’ve never had that kind of discussion with a group of kids here before, and even our mentors were amazed that the Holy Spirit offered opportunities for ministry.  One kid, a 17 year old boy who will need to leave the orphanage this August, shared his story.  It involved abandonment, pain, and 12 years living in an institution.  He was strong yet quiet, and the Spirit nudged me that he needed much more attention.  I encouraged Yasha, one of our male mentors, to sit and talk further with him, and he found that the boy’s mom just died 2 years ago.  The pain was coming back – this is why most of the kids won’t talk about their past.  We promised to pray for him, regularly be there for him, and offered to talk whenever he needed. 

Yasha was visibly shaken when we got in the car to return.  A 33 year old follower of Jesus, he still gets overwhelmed by the stories of pain and suffering that these young people are living.  And yet, he continues in his calling to love, support, minister, and reach out to these kids.  He has a hard job, but I’m so glad the Lord called him to do it.

When I returned home, I found out that Satan has, yet again, attacked my family back in the US while I’m gone.  This is a normal thing for us now – it seems that every time we are blessed with big steps in orphan ministry the enemy attacks us back at home.  Every time I travel, we’re hit with sickness, physical issues to our house, or poor teenage decisions.  As much as I try to coordinate things and minister to my own family while I’m away, it leaves my wife, Lisa to handle these things firsthand.  It gets old.  It’s painful.  It’s intended to make us feel alone.  It’s distracting (I think this is the purpose behind it).  It makes me so ticked off with the devil.

So… I pray.  I call in the troops of friends and family to step in.  I pray some more.  I call often and try to offer support, solutions, and love.  I cry.  That my family hurts.  That I can’t be there.  That there is a price that’s paid for ministry.  That there’s a target on the backs of those that serve the Lord.  And that there’s a target on the backs of their loved ones.  And I keep praying.  What else can I do?

And then the Lord reminds me of His own family and the price that was paid.  That He had to watch while those He came to save beat, mocked, and nailed His own kid to the cross.  That He had to listen to His Son’s cries on the cross, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?  That He had to wait for 3 days until Jesus was lifted up, and with that truly accomplished the goal of salvation for us.

It makes me call to the Lord for His imminent return.  I want Him to come and take us away from all this junk.  I want the pain to end and for Him to wipe away all our tears. 

BUT… there are a few that need to know Him first.  Before you return, Lord, hold off just a little bit while we bring your living Hope into the lives of those in our path.  We love them, dear God, and we know You love them.  Hang on while we share Jesus with them – in our living room, in the schools, at church, on airplanes, in forgotten orphanages in small mining towns in Eastern Europe.  As much as we want you to come now, there are still so many that need to hear.

So we continue…

If you can help out financially, now would be a great time to do it.  There are many opportunities, but very limited resources.  Please give at http://www.youthreach.org.

Or you can sponsor a child, personally showing the love of Christ to a specific orphan in our ministry.  Please consider joining us at http://www.youthreach.org/orphansponsorship

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