Friday, April 29, 2016

Sowing Seed and Watching Them Grow

"I do not sow my seeds on the rocks.  I sow my seeds on the good soil!"  These were the words out of TiCarme's mouth after we met with the director of the trade school where Lynx, one of our Haitian students is learning to be a mechanic.  We had just been told that he was at the top of his class, a leader and a great addition to the student body.  TiCarme glowed like the "mom" she is to all 100 of these students.

I spent 4 days in Haiti with Kevin and Sandra Ernst.  Kevin is a professional film-maker and is donating his time and talents to making a promotional video for Beautiful Response, our US fundraising side of this work.  I can't wait to see what Kevin produces!!  The goal was to capture the heart of what God is doing in Haiti through Help The Youth, and as the days progressed I could see Kevin and Sandra making that heart connection.

In the eyes, smiles and stories of the students and leaders HOPE shone through.  Here was an island of hope in the midst of so much despair.  These were lives impacted by the love of God and grace of Jesus.  At one point Sandra commented on the appropriateness of our name, "Beautiful Response."  She said, "It is the perfect name. You can't come here and meet these people and not have your heart changed.  You can't go away without responding to what God is doing!"  They weren't drawn only to responding to the needs...there are huge needs which can be completely overwhelming, but they were responding to the HOPE that exists because God is at work through the Haitian leaders and students.

Like TiCarme we sowed our seed in good soil when we invited them to join us in Haiti.  They are donating all of their time in Haiti and the time Kevin will spend producing the video stateside.  What a gift!  They are also committed for the long haul...hearts touched, beautifully responding, telling others!

Al and I covered their airfare and in country expenses, enabling them to go down.  We know it was seed well sown.  If you would be willing to help us with those expenses we would be most grateful!

Sowing Seeds and watching God produce a harvest is amazing!  What seeds are you sowing?

For those of you not sure of the structure of our partnership let me explain a bit:

Beautiful Response is a 501c3 organization that is committed to coming alongside indigenous missions and organizations where God is already at work through amazing men and women working within their communities.

Currently we have partners in Uganda...Raising Up Hope Uganda (RUHU) Caleb and Sonja Schut are the point people.
And in Haiti...Help The Youth (HTY)  Al and Holly Schut are the point people.

Our partners have the leadership, gifts and abilities, the knowledge of the situations and needs in their countries, and the faith they need to be used by God to bring change and hope.

We have been blessed and humbled to be called to come along side them to provide the financial resources and to be their friends, brothers and sisters, in this work.

For more information or to give online go to  Indicate if your gift is for Uganda or Haiti.  We also ask for your prayers for our friends and partners and for us, as we seek to do our part in this kingdom work.

UPCOMING TRIPS:  July 25-29 Young adult and family trip.
                                    November 14-18
                                    February 20-24

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Dreaming and Playing with God

Today I had lunch with my friend Marcia. Marcia is a character.  Marcia is 75.  Marcia is feisty.  On her bucket list is getting arrested for a worthy cause. Marcia works for justice for the homeless, the disadvantaged, the lonely.  She invites to her table those who will never be able to invite her to their home.  I got to experience one of those meals recently, and it was quite the experience!  Marcia is beloved.

Marcia had a dream.  She dreamed that she was walking on the beach, though it wasn't beach weather.  There were almost no other people on the beach, although she did see one man up ahead walking toward her.  She was frightened of him, but didn't have anywhere to go to get away.  As he got closer she realized it was Jesus and he looked sad.  With tears in his eyes he said, "Marcia, you don't play with me anymore."

Marcia thought about all the good and important things happening in her life. She is a busy woman. She is also a woman who has been diagnosed with cancer.  She is hoping she will live another 5 years.  That's her goal, reaching 80.  But she doesn't really know if she has 3 months left.  Thus, she is very aware of time and the things she wants and needs to get done, but she also realized in these most important times she is forgetting to have fun with God.

So she has made a decision to spend more time in the woods....with God, knitting and crocheting with friends...and God, and doing those things that make her laugh and bring her and God joy.  And she is trying to have fewer bad days when she is prone to saying bad words.  Marcia is very real.

I'm wondering how I best play with God.  One way is bird-watching.  I may have to buy some new binoculars.  I seem to have lost mine.

I'm wondering how you play with God.  How do you enjoy the presence of Jesus?  I'm wondering how you would respond if Jesus came to you and asked why you weren't spending more time having fun with him.

Are you aware of the Westminster shorter catechism question, "What is man's greatest purpose?"  "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever."  (Man's, as in humankind.)

No matter how many our days may be, Lord, help us to bring you glory and have fun with you forever!