An organic movement of people drawn to see the weak and vulnerable with God's eyes, and respond by faith with practical love.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Resting on God's Reputation

I feel like I spend part of the time bluffing my way through my story, and the other part blazing with God's goodness. Do you ever feel that way, or is it just me?

We all have dreams. If you don't, dig way down deep, sit still for a minute of your frantic day and let them resurface. My dream is to do something that matters, that makes a lasting impact. I probably wouldn't have picked Serbia on my own, not that I don't like Serbia I just didn't know where it was! But God has a way of taking our dreams and putting them in turbo drive.

What's the likelihood that I'll succeed in raising awareness about the needs of disabled people, living without sufficient support and care in a mental institution? Or bigger still that I'll raise awareness and inspire involvement from you? From a logical perspective it's pretty low. But thankfully I'm resting on something bigger than myself. God's reputation.

It's said of him that he's, "a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing... Psalm 68:5-6

Not me, I'm not capable of that kind of goodness on my own. I don't have enough power, or grace, or resources to be able to help the fatherless or lonely at all. But God does. So on the days I'm aware of my puny weakness I bluff and bluster, hoping I won't fall miserably on my face. And on the days my eyes shift from my frailty and look full-faced at the brilliance of God's wealth of kindness that's when my heart sings and I dare to believe.

On those days of faith I imagine that you and your friends will see what I see. That you'll look through a fuzzy photograph and be compelled to see a person of value and vulnerability. A person who tugs at your better nature. Who prompts your desire to defend and pray, who draws out your willingness to support and shoulder burdens.

I wish I had a clearer picture of these three friends!

If you would like to join me in a bold belief that God is the father of these little ones, who no longer have present earthly fathers, I would love your participation.

  • If you live in or near Alabama I am available to speak to your church about loving vulnerable people, and/or partnering with Mercy's Refuge. You can contact me about that opportunity. 
  • You can pray; that I will have courage, for God to bless us with resources beyond what we can fathom, for the people of Serbia to know God as their father, for good connections and conversation during my trip this July, for disabled children and adults at Dom Veternik to receive all the support and care they need. 
  • And of course you are always welcome to donate finances and services.

Together we can make a difference! Relying on God's promise to care for the fatherless, I am confident that he will be with us!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Mercy of Sponsorship

Ever since coming back from Serbia last October I've been praying about the best way to respond to the needs I found in Dom Veternik mental institution. There have been ideas, and whispers of ideas, but one has stood out above the rest. The most challenging one. Sponsorship.

This is a dream being birthed, it will grow and take shape over time. Here is what I envision at this point. A family will chose to invest in the life of a child or adult who lives without a family in an institutionalized setting. The family receives a brief bio and picture of this new friend; begins praying for their needs; sends notes, small gifts, and a donation to help improve the resident's care. Both are blessed!

The needs of the residents of Dom Veternik vary. There are young men and women who are ready to transition from the institution to a support home in the city where they can continue their education or work. The problem is funding. There are residents waiting for this opportunity but a lack of funding keeps them institutionalized.

A support home for Dom Veternik residents
There are also children and adults that will never be able to live without complete care. However, the amount of care they receive now is insufficient because of low staffing and financing. Their quality of life is poor, they are waiting in cribs.
A young adult resident on the immobile floor

In many ways they are treasures hidden in silence, until we choose to see them and invest. 

The idea of sponsorship daunts me because the amount of people needed to make it successful is large. Going out on a limb feels risky, and at times lonely, but big risks are where we reap big rewards. I know it is only by the leading and providing of God that an international sponsorship program can happen. I'm stepping out in faith and walking in that direction.

Those are the bare bones of the idea, but what about the heart? The reason I believe sponsorship is important is that it links our lives together. The weak and vulnerable are gifts to us, when we exercise our heart muscles of compassion we become better people. In turn, as we care for the vulnerable and take an interest in their needs, they benefit. It's a win win.

Adoption is thought of as bringing a child into your home to raise as your own. I love adoption and believe it's important, but I believe there is more to adoption than we imagine. What if adoption is taking up the cause of another person, what if it means working to defend them, sacrificing for their good when others won't. Many of the residents of Dom Veternik mental institution aren't available for adoption, but that doesn't mean they don't need families to love them. 

I invite you to join our team as we move forward to see with eyes of compassion, to love like Jesus, and to embrace the weakest. We need your prayers and your encouragement. If you are interested in helping get the sponsorship program off the ground I would love to hear from you! And of course you are always welcome to donate by using the Paypal Donate button at the top of the page.