Monday, June 28, 2010

where the healing begins

My job description is basically this.
Create a space where people meet God.
Tall order? BIG GOD.

Yesterdays services were such a wonderful reminder that it's not about us... it's not our church, it is His church.

Most Sundays it is hard to know what is going on in the hearts of the people in the seats. We just have to prepare well and trust God to do the rest, but this week when people moved out of their seats and took on a posture of humility before God, I came undone.

And then in the evening as I seperated the hundreds of cards our congregation had written to the family of Kyron Hormon and the principal and staff at Skyline Elementary I felt incredibly blessed to be part of this community, even when we grieve together. To see mothers and fathers reach out to one another, and step parents sharing a story others cannot, educators feeling the weight of one anothers burdens. It was really a hopeful and sacred task.

I could make a quick list of the things which didn't go right Sunday morning.
But instead, I would rather make a list of the things which did.
I got to experience excellence, beauty, caring, grace, mercy, humility, authenticity, unity, service, creativity.

To see people connecting with their God, to see healing begin. It is rewarding work and why I do what I do. Sundays.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Love on her arm

Yesterday was a first! Molly got a tattoo. She has wanted one for quite a while now and has done lots of sketching and thinking about what to get. Originally 18 sounded a ways away and it was easy to put off thinking about it being a reality. Then she turned 18 and as is her way, she was deliberate and thoughtful about her decisions. She didn't just run out to get it, she kept debating what she would get that would have the most meaning. One day she KNEW what to get. The outline of Helene and a Scripture verse that means alot to her since her trips there.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
Romans 12:6a
When I think of tattoos I think about the permanency of them and how I'm fickle.
I also admire the idea of art that tells a part of your story.
I pictured wrinkled old skin with ink- not so pretty.
And, in Molly's case, I pictured her on her wedding day in a beautiful dress and wondered about how it would fit.
But when she chose Helene I settled in to the idea. I know Molly left her mark on the children of the island and that the island left it's mark on Molly's life and ministry.

The actual process of it was very interesting to me.

This is the map Dominic drew on the whiteboard at the clinic in June 2009 - Molly's first trip to Helene. We printed this out and took it in to show to the artist we chose, Lewis Hess, at Atlas Tattoo in Portland. We chose Lew because our friend Aria had a tattoo I loved and we wanted a great artist. Molly talked with Lew about the design and placement of the tattoo, the type of font for the script, every detail. She knew what she wanted. Then Lew traced it out for her to review and they tweaked it. Originally the island was upside down and she had to tell him about how to write out a scripture reference etc. Then you try the tracing on for size and tweak again. Obviously it's important to get it right! Then it's down to business. While he was working Molly explained about the trip and the island and why it mattered to her. I even overheard her clarifying what "Spring Break in Helene" is compared to other Spring Breaks that kids her age take. :-) Molly said it didn't hurt really at all. That helped me :-) It went very quickly and then it was done. We were so excited I messed up the angle on this... but wanted to get a pic of Mo, the tattoo and Lew! Looks like he's done this picture before. So yes, a trip to the tattoo shop was a push for my "different kids, different stuff" mantra. But in the end, I love the way Molly made her decision, what she chose, that she's happy with it and that we got to share the experience with her.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

it bears repeating...

This is a post from Father's Day 2009 - location, Helene, Honduras.
I was reviewing these because our youngest daughter Abby is there now. It says what I would want to say about my dad in tribute to his legacy to me.

Church here, reminds me so much of my home church as a child. You are encouraged to share your testimony, a song or some Scripture during the service. Tonight Molly and I shared the following with the island and our team at the midweek service.

Hello church, I am Janet and this is my daughter Molly.
I want to thank your church and the island for our experiences here the past two weeks.
One of the things which stands out to me about our time here is that every time we asked one of our guides or an islander during visitation what we could pray for, they asked us to pray for their unsaved family members. This was the first thing they would mention consistently.

This reminded me of my father who passed away a year ago this week. Tonight Molly and I stand and share together with you as a testimony to his legacy of faith. He fought cancer for over 10 years and when his health got to the point where he had to make a decision between “quantity” of life and “quality” of life he chose quality. I believe he did this because he had lived a full life and knew that all his children and grandchildren knew God as their Savior.

I remember the conversation where we discussed this decision and I asked him maybe for just a little more “quantity” he responded immediately with laughter and then this. (molly read) "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7.

Even though he never traveled to another country to do missions work, he and my mother have faithfully supported mission work around the world and I have felt his presence here so many times on the island; in the way our worship is similar, the hummingbirds at the clinic and mostly because he was like so many of you, a man and father of faith who served and loved his God, his family, his church and community.

So I want to thank you for your hospitality and witness to us as it has been so good to be here with you all. In closing I want to share some Scripture with this church. In my quiet time on the island I have been reading Paul’s letters to the churches he loved and this one reminded me of this church, which we now love.
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God's churches we [will] boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.
All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. [our] God is just: 2 Thessalonians 1:3-6a.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Two thumbs WAY up!

A couple months ago I went (mostly) barefoot for a day to support "one day without shoes" Between that experience and serving in Helene last June I decided I'd see if my community of friends could DO something to help. So, we collected change for a couple of weeks. I put a cowboy boot on the edge of the platform of church and people just kept giving and giving. We even extended the donation time by a week because I kept hearing from people that they hadn't brought their change in yet.

Today I heard from Anne May who with her husband Ian and family serve at the Karibu Centre in Kenya. She took the money we collected and bought 120 pair of shoes for the kids that the centre serves. Look at all these kids and shoes!

And there was some money left over so they were able to buy baby clothes for some of the new babies too! These are the new babies including Anne's new little girl, Ameena, born while they have been serving there!
Does it get any better than this? It's quite honestly one of the best feelings I've had in a long time, to know an idea became an act of love by a community. And as if that wasn't enough... Anne shared this video!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Suburban white girl rant aka myopia?

Our friends just adopted a baby from Ethiopia and when I went to the store to find something cute for Maleah... there's NOTHING but little white babies on cards and packaging for cute baby stuff. What is up with that?

Then yesterday I worked to create a media piece for Father's Day. I looked through a ton of pictures of children and here's what I found:
white kids are happy, loved and maybe pouty.
Non white kids are impoverished, sad eyed and rarely with adults.
What is up with that?

Is it a case of we take pictures of what we see?
I know there's some truth to this as I sit in my HUGE house in Beaverton, Oregon. But what if you are growing up a kid of color and this is all you see?
What if you live in the Jefferson school neighborhood and they are thinking of closing your high school because people dont want to go there?
Guess it was just a disappointing reality check for this clueless white American girl in Beaverton.
Molly and Andrea- Helene 2009

Bring Kyron Home

Tuesday night we hosted a vigil for Kyron Hormon, a small boy who disappeared from his elementary school a couple weeks ago. Three high school friends of Kyron's dad pulled together a vigil of hope at our church. It was a sad and sweet night. My staff teammates were all committed to other things so the little team that pulled this together served above and beyond under really tough circumstances and with little or no time to prepare. I was so proud of every one of them.

It was a surreal experience to be involved to some degree on this side of the lens. Protecting a family from people doing their job. Navigating speaking truth or saying "no" to a CBS reporter in a professional way when Mike and I have been following the story, on the other side of the lens daily. The courageous family did come to our church for the vigil and came out of the green room to join us for the vigil.

I love our church on Sundays, but it was such a sweet sweet night to feel like we were being the church more than doing church. I sat with three young moms who had no connection to the family or the school or our church, but loved praying with them and getting to know them a bit. I really hope they will come back on Sunday too.

It was very interesting to see 4 different news reports on the evening. What they chose to report, what went by the wayside. Click here to see one of the reports from the evening.

Anyone with information regarding Kyron Horman's whereabouts is asked to call the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office at (503) 261-2847.