Saturday, August 1, 2015

Psalm 37:3-7a
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him

This is what God gave me this morning as I (Laura Jane) wrestled with a few things.  I loved being a part of OAPY and now it is done.  What do I do now?  I am anxious to get to the ministry of Esperanza.  But what is that?  As Esperanza is in a time of change, we are unsure. So I trust in the Lord and I keep plugging in where I can be helpful while I dwell here at Esperanza and enjoy the solitude.  

Delighting myself in the Lord is an interesting concept to me.  Is it the same as loving Him or does it look different?  I don't know.  So I contemplate about it and delight in the beauty He has created around me.  When I delight in the Lord, He will guide me to the desires of my heart! That is a pretty awesome thing and, honestly, if I am delighting in Him what else could my heart desire?  I love this concept.  Once I take myself out of it and just delight in Him then He is all I desire.  My desires are His desires.  Cool! 

And when I trust in Him, he promises to shine through me like the sun at dawn.  And when the sun comes up here we all seem to wake up.  The dawn time is beautiful and peaceful time often.  Wow!  What a promise that I could be beautiful and peaceful to those I serve because of Jesus in me.  (Not sure anyone has even put peaceful in the same sentence as my name.)

I do have a cause that I would love to help grow!  The noonday sun is hot and hard to miss. It would be amazing if God helped make "my cause" enticing and known to those around me without me being annoying.

So I must be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.  I love this!  I can take a break. He knows why I am here and he knows how to best use me.  He knows how to make that known to those around me as well.  Later in Psalm 37 it says, "do not fret-it leads only to evil."  Well okay.  I should not fret, no need to worry.  Just trust in Him.

For now I make OAPY DVD picture movies and write each camper a letter with scripture God gives me for each one.  I stay in touch with each of them via Facebook and speak or write truth into their lives as we interact.  And I pray for them!  So rest assured, ministry is happening.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Copy and past this link and enjoy some info on what we offer here at Esperanza. The video will give you a good idea of what we do here and what it is like to live here! And you will get to see the kids enjoying some of our favorite spots here.
The kids at Cornwall Church are raising funds to help us rebuild our walk in fridge and this is their video. So proud of the kiddos and how supportive Cornwall is! We are blessed!!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Esperanza - Sharing burdens

Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

This is written on the mural that greets people as they walk off the dock at Esperanza. Esperanza is a place where people come to rest, start over, renew, grow strong. In our first month here, we have seen people rest, grow, change, and be renewed. We have heard stories of hope. We have seen burdens lifted.

One couple is in transition from mission work in Southeast Asia trying to ascertain God's next step for them. With their young son in tow, they arrived at Esperanza around the same time as us. We have had the honor of spending time with these two, listening to their stories, watching them recuperate from the bug that is traveling around Esperanza, and looking to God for direction for their immediate future.

A local woman also came to Esperanza shortly after we arrived. She brought her young daughter and younger son to find a place to work on some personal things with a couple of our staff. A friendship blossomed between her and Laura Jane and between her daughter and our twins. At one point, all of them were outside - moms on the grass, and kids, shirtless and in swim trunks, swimming in our wading pool. Later that day, the daughter brought a bunch of raspberries over to share with "her sisters". (She was including Wesley in that). In the two weeks that she was here, the staff, particularly the women, were able to encourage her in her life, her faith, and her future.

Today, I was able to listen to some of the women and men at Ehattis at church talk about hurt, broken families, disappointment, and being strong. And they thanked Esperanza for coming and being part of their lives, for being an encouragement to them. We were reminded that we are not coming to them bringing something. We are all in this together. We are the Church. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are one family. That's what we do.

As I listened, a picture of the Church began forming in my head. The Church is multi-denominational, multi-ethnic, and multi-lingual. There are many cultures, backgrounds, and expectations. Much like a blended family, we often bicker between the "step-children" about which theology is the "right" one. We argue like parents about what is right for our congregation. We protect "our kids" (those who believe the same as us) and struggle, at times, to love those not "biologically" connected to us (with different backgrounds).

But when you think about it, aren't we all here to be a lighthouse to those hurting, even if they don't share the same belief about the "right" size for a church? Aren't we to consider others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3) instead of making sure that we all agree on the proper timeframe of the Tribulation? That is why Esperanza exists. We may not all agree on everything - even what may be considered sin. But we do agree that people are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). He loves each person dearly, more so than any of us could even imagine. An immense, wild, just God LOVES us - you and me, your best friend, your worst enemy, the Pope, and each member of ISIS. He calls us to love others.

As the Church, we are a big, disfunctional, often in-fighting, family. At least we are when we think about ourselves first. But when we focus on others, on their hurts, needs, failures, and even successes, we become beacons of hope. We become agents of change in our world. We get to be part of the hope that allows one's strength to be renewed, that allows them to soar like the eagles I see here daily.

Last weekend, the women of Esperanza and 20 members of a mission team from Cornwall Church in Bellingham put on a Women's Retreat here at Esperanza. A couple of staff made the observation that the women who showed up were not the same women as those who left. Many came here that Friday burdened from life. There was a visible weight on them. When they left Sunday afternoon, that weight had been lifted. Through fellowship, singing, laughing, eating, and learning together, the Church was able to encourage each other, share the burdens, ease the load, and refocus. Strength was renewed and women soared home. Yes, many of those burdens were waiting for them at home. But God used His Church, people with different backgrounds, beliefs, and even nationalities, to share that burden and bring glory to His name.