Thursday aftre:noon from Amy Rose

When my friends who have been on mission trips before said the only thing to plan is for change, I had no idea the extent of it.  We are in another hotel in Mek’ele and everyone seems pleased with the move and at least on the mend if not 100% yet from illness.  We have not done a lot of the teaching that we hoped to do, but you can see God’s love and spirit working in these men at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  I also feel like God is doing a work to open my eyes to the way the rest of the world lives.

We were very excited to get to do a first CHE lesson with the visually impaired group yesterday.  They wanted to learn about dental care.  I got to help since they were down two team members.  They had a good laugh as I brought around the plastic mouth to demonstrate how to brush your teeth.  They probably thought we were crazy and thinking about it in hindsight, if I had never seen one before, I may have laughed at it as well if someone handed me a giant plastic mouth.

If you have never worked with anyone who has a disability, I highly encourage it.  They are amazing in the fact that other abilities are so much more heightened.  We had the opportunity to visit their homes and they led us from the orphanage where we did training to almost a mile away with twists and turns down roads, through a locked gate, all while holding a conversation.  I can barely walk in tennis shoes, knowing and seeing where I am going without falling.  Three girls live in a shack that used to be a toilette and was cemented over.  The three of them sleep on one “mattress” on the floor together.  They are clean and happy and it looks like their accommodations are better than most of the other visually impaired.  They have a strong desire to be taught something that will allow them to support themselves and you can tell just from our short interactions with them, they are very bright and capable of doing something amazing.  I hope next time I come back, we have found a way to teach them so I can buy the things they have been making to support themselves.

Thanks for all your love, support and prayers.  Amy Rose

transfore:mational communities

Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer’s new book “Transformational Church” is pretty solid at describing the heart and soul of the churches that are making an impact in their place and people.  Here are some statements from their research that define the heart[s] of the church[es] leadership and people that are making a huge difference in their communities:

  • “Our leadership senses a call to our local city or community and not just our church.” [71% strongly/ agree]
  • The activities of our church are designed to relate to the type of people who live in our city or community.” [64% strongly/agree]
  • Our church views itself as existing for the sake of those in our local city or community.” [75% agree]
  • “Our church leadership understands the cultural context surrounding our church.” [77% strongly/agree]
  • Everything we do is in the language and culture of the people we are trying to reach.” [58% strongly/agree]

We need to be intentional to get here, for sure.  It’s all too easy in church to be myopic and consumed in our own programs, assuming that the community will be thrilled to come to us.  We all know this, but only a few really get it.

Let’s seek to freshly get beyond ourselves – no matter how much you already get this.  And maybe we’ll find Jesus as we get out there as we serve.

sre:ving it up in grand river!

Everybody can SERVE!

It was a great day last Saturday in Grand River, OH – about 50 adults and Kids took to the streets as Grand River Community Chapel to SERVE!  The church I grew up at in Ohio – Leroy Community Chapel- is re-planting an old church in the little town where our family business is.  My dad has been praying for this church to be re:planted for almost 30 years, and this last weekend the church we simply “introduced” ourselves to Grand River as people who love Jesus and want to SERVE the people/needs of the community in His name.

Pastor Mark and crew Serving and Giving!

I’m really grateful to Ben Rogers@HPC and Charles@Bayside for teaching me how to Serve missionaly in a community and I’m excited to see how it is working itself out for the Kingdom of God in a little community in NEOhio!  Please pray for Pastors Mark, Tom, Jeff and their team as the re:plant this little church in Grand River OH – that God’s work might reach many who’ve never heard the grace of forgiveness that ONLY comes in the person and work of His Son, Jesus.

Dad, Jp, and Kip in front of the GRCC building!

re: Haiti day #4

April 10, 2010  – 9.37am – waiting on the tarmac of the PaP airport AA#816

it’s my 5 year old Crusoe’s birthday today, and i am leaving Haiti, feeling like i’ve seen a ton of needs and not done much to help it this week – such is the nature of a setup trip i guess.  i’m praying that our work might become a blessing as GoGlobal teams start to arrive even this next week.  i’m not sure that i like being the outsider though:)  coming in for a quick visit to the country, not really understanding ‘how it is’ … having all kinds of thoughts and solutions as an outsider – some helpful, and some not…  having been the missionary in the country for the last 5 years, it’s a new role for me.

even more than that, it’s been really hard to not read my Swazi style/expectations/ understanding into life here in Haiti.  for that matter, its hard to not look at things with your American/Canadian/western eyes, or whatever frame of mind you might have, and miss the real issues.  in the line this morning at the airport, and all week really, with dozens of relief workers, i heard and participated in a number of conversations about ‘the way they should be doing it’ … and “the problem down here…”  i guess you can’t slam relief workers and missionaries for trying to figure out the best way to do something … but as for me i sure wish that ‘listening and serving’ came more easily than ‘talking and elevating my ideas’ do.

so here it is:  what would you do if you were here … as a Haitian living inside the disaster.  what would it be like to be from the church i visited yesterday:  the pastor and his wife were leading a discipleship class with the 20 elders/leaders of the church when the quake hit.  In an instant all the leaders were gone from this life – called home into eternity.

all your church’s leaders now have widows and orphans.  maybe your husband or wife is one of them.  who does the funerals?  not the leaders – they are all dead!  all the schools are closed – the kids are hungry and you have no way to provide anything at all.  as you continue to work on the rubble by hand, you try to ignore the reality that five of the church leaders bodies still lie buried in rubble beneath your feet – 3 MONTHS later, you still haven’t found them.

the church rubble 3 months later with 5 church members still lost inside

there is no equipment rental place around to move the concrete, not that you could afford it if there was one, so you use your hammer and chip away at the giant pile of concrete day after day.  you are still sleeping in a tent out of fear or another quake – there is no expert seismic report assuring you of relative safety, and so you [and all your neighbors] don’t even plan on rebuilding because of your fear.

take a minute to actually try to put those shoes on for a day.

and then pray, and give, and go as God leads you.