Friday, July 26, 2013

A Song for the Weekend

Do you ever have a song that has just grabbed hold of you and held you hostage?  This morning, Chris Rice's "Deep Enough to Dream" has arrested my soul and I find myself listening over and over to the lyrics.

One line that strikes me, in particular, is the imagery of the fly bumping the window for the hundredth time because "freedom calls from the other side."  That line has reminded me of how all of our spirits are held hostage here on earth until we are freed by Jesus. Jesus opens the window so we can fly free.

Today I find myself thinking of my Compassion children and how I yearn for their little souls to fly free with Jesus; to soar above their circumstances and to dream in the brilliant colors that Jesus has clothed them in. They are kings and queens, filled with inner beauty and light that no amount of poverty or circumstance can rob unless they give up hope. Let's help fill our children with the brilliant colors of Christ's love through our letters and support!

Need help getting started or know someone else who does? I have some free downloadable writing packets - print them, share them, use them and come back for more. Also, Compassion offers online writing--be sure to use that great, easy tool!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Jesus Loves the Little Children

"Jesus loves the little children...all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world!"

We used to sing that song in Sunday school when I was little. In fact, along with "Jesus loves me," it was the most frequently sung song by little children in the church as far as I can recall. I believed it then, as a small child, and I believe it now.

This morning I looked at my 3 year old son's sweet, innocent sleeping face and I thought about the millions of children living in destitute poverty across the globe. They are all equally innocent and deserving of love, yet they are there and I am here. I am able to wrap comforting arms arou

nd my little boy and reassure him, kiss his wounds, heal his heart. I won't always be able to do that for him but for now, at 3, I have his love and trust and his abiding faith that his daddy and I will care for him and keep him safe.

Unfortunately so many children do not have that magic elixer of a momma's kiss. Sometimes momma is already with Jesus, or sometimes hands that ought to be caressing, loving, healing are hitting in anger and frustration. So many parents can't reassure their little ones that it will be ok. For so many, it's a strugge to feed, clothe, house the precious little ones entrusted to them.

They are there and I am here. But I don't have to sit silently and mourn. I can make a difference. I can be the voice that cries out in the wilderness for these children. I can be the hope, the love, the healing voice they long to hear. So can you.

Yesterday in the mail I received the amazing gift of a lengthy letter from one of my correspondent children, Chavarro. It was an amazing letter, explaining to me that he would have a summer vacation (the letter was in May, so presumably his vacation has come and passed), and that he would spend it helping his mom at home. He likes pizza, hot dogs, and strawberry ice cream. He is a kid. Jesus LOVES him, and so do I. I try to bless him with photos, stickers, postcards, but mostly with words of love, hope, and encouragement. But it turns out, his words of love in return are an amazing blessing in my life and I find myself longing for letters from my Compassion children as eagerly as they long for letters from me!

I believe Jesus loves the little children, and I believe we are called to do the same. Please consider sponsoring a child and whispering words of hope into their life, and be amazed when you find that they bless your life even more richly than you could imagine!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Gift from India

It's always a great day when I get a letter from one of my Compassion children, but yesterday was an EXCEPTIONAL day!! Not only did I get a letter from my sweet correspondence young woman, Florance, but it was a THREE PAGE letter!  Given that I have some sort of virus that has me really bed and couch-bound for the most part, at least my spirits were lifted up by her words!

I was floored that Florance took the time to write such a long and giving letter to me. I feel like I know so much more about her today than I did yesterday. Besides calling me "Aunty" (which made me feel incredibly special), she expressed concerns about the weather here, and expressed surprised that I mentioned in a previous letter to her that I worry about her.

She mentioned a small birthday gift we sent her back in April, with which she purchased a pedestal fan... her description of how useful that fan will be in keeping her home cooler during the unbearably hot summer months was humbling, to say the least. And to think I was complaining about a few days of rain...

If you've never sponsored a child but are considering doing so...don't even think about it, just do it!  God will provide the means, and I'm here to tell you, these children will bless your life in ways you can't imagine.

Bless you, Florance, and all of my compassion family--my prayers are with you all daily!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Radical Obedience

It's awfully easy to sit in our comfy homes and preach about helping the poor, don't you think? I don't advocate "guilt gospel," but it's easy for me to tell everyone around me to be kind to the poor, to give until it's uncomfortable, to sacrifice in order to help those who can't help themselves... all while I sip my $4 Starbucks in my air conditioned comfort.
Street Child in Bangladesh (Wikipedia)
It's a whole other story to be so RADICAL as to ditch the comfort all together--even for a short time--and BE those whom you advocate serving. That's exactly what Jesus did, and it's exactly what Sango UMC church pastor Rev. Willie Lyle did a couple of weeks ago.

I read about this because Rev. Lyle is the father of a fellow dancer and she posted it to her Facebook page. When I read the article I was so deeply touched and impressed by his story I asked her if I could share it this week on my blog. I feel it's related very intimately to the message of Compassion, even if indirectly.

Rev. Lyle had just accepted a new position at Sango UMC and had yet to assume the pulpit when had a dream. In that dream, God spoke to him and suggested a radical experiment--to give up the comfort of his home and lifestyle for a short time, to experience the lives of those that he often advocated helping.

Rather than brush the dream aside, Rev. Lyle decided to listen and on Monday, June 17, his wife left him in downtown Clarksville, TN to begin his (albeit short) stint as a homeless man. From streets to shelters to church pantries, Rev. Lyle learned a great deal about what life is like for those who are down on their luck in America. Even more striking, he learned how the homeless are treated by fellow citizens, even Christians. In his words, "Generally speaking, people are not kind to the homeless."

According to the Leaf Chronicle, on his final day on the street--which happened to coincide with his first day as pastor of Sango UMC--Rev. Lyle lay under an overcoat under a tree outside the church doors as his soon-to-be parishioners entered the building. Twenty people offered him assistance on their way inside. Still unshaven, but wearing a suit under the overcoat, Lyle approached the pulpit and began to preach. As he did, family members cut his hair and shaved off the beard. His metamorphoses was completed during his sermon, and he went from the homeless man on the lawn to the new pastor of the congregation.

This radical approach mirrors his servant attitude. He told the Chronicle, "We are going to be a part of the solutions to the problems we face in our community. We are going to get our hands dirty as we live like Jesus and help others...God looks inside at our heart and sees the truth."

Wow. Wow, wow, wow. I'm inspired. Are you? Do you see how this relates to Compassion? We are called to sacrifice for His name. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Can we be RADICAL in our support of children in need? Please consider helping a child who needs you.

For the whole story, please visit

You can hear Rev. Lyle's June 23 sermon via podcast at