We're not a "flashy" ministry. . .

We are not a very exciting ministry.  We are not called to do dangerous things or go into remote places (at least not yet).  The stories we have to tell are often repetitive and at times mundane.  I can't even often show you pictures of cute kids to tug at your heart strings because we often work with adults, or with children whose privacy we guard for one reason or another.

Sometimes I wish we were more flashy, that we were doing things that would be more exciting and interesting to those of you not living here.  I miss the days when I was free to travel around Guatemala, often with Dick Rutgers, and tell fantastic stories of God's provision.  God still provides, even in miraculous ways, but the provision is pretty low key most of the time.

It's easy for me to get my nose out of joint (a fancy way of saying resent) that other ministries often have exciting things to relate on their Facebook posts and get a lot of positive feed back. Much of what causes my heart to sing in ministry is pretty tame.  Who really cares that both boys in school passed all their classes for the first time, that Fidel is friendly and communicative now and smiles more easily, or that Roberto has gained weight so those who knew him in his previous home would not recognize him now.  What do I have to share that anyone really wants to know?

Fidel just celebrated his 33rd birthday and will
complete five years of living in Casa de Esperanza
on Aug. 28
And this is when I commit the sin of comparison which poisons my ministry and my soul.  I knew I was struggling with "something" feeling like we weren't doing enough, but not knowing what to do.  Then I read this blog post by the wife of one of the men I call "Pastor" and it became clear to me.  I compare us to other ministries and find us lacking in our activities.  I even compare myself to other ministry leaders and feel I fall short.

I see what they do to minister, the risks they take, the places they go, even the way they raise their funds (even those that claim they are not fund-raising are doing so by the stories they tell--and there's nothing wrong with that.  We need to make needs known so God can meet them).  And I feel that I am not enough, don't do enough, am not what I "should" be.  And, as Val says in her blog and my friend Judy has warned me before, Facebook can be the biggest instigator of this sin of comparison.

So, my friends, I am writing this to publicly repent and refocus and ask you to hold me accountable to be who God has called me to be, not who He has called someone else to be.  I am asking you to challenge me to hold faithful to the mission He has imparted to our ministry:  "To improve the lives of the poor and disabled, now and for eternity."  

I promise, even if I think things are uninteresting to you, to write more about what God is doing here to bring this about.  Not to bring glory to us (especially not me--please, I am no hero) but to His Name.  I promise to write and share more not to gain the approval of man but to show the faithfulness of the God who called us here.

This year, as I prayed for a word to guide my walk in 2018, I received the word persistence.  I thought, okay, that's like perseverance, right?  But I felt God in my heart telling me no.  So I began to study the meaning of the two words.

Perseverance implies not giving up, to keep on doing even in the face of opposition. Persistence can and often does have a negative connotation, implying stubbornness and unwillingness to change.  It is an inner attitude as well as a outward stance to maintain what already exists.  To keep on even when it seems that nothing is happening.  To stay the course.

I am to persist in following the first mission statement which God gave to me personally in 2010:  "To glorify God by serving the poor and disabled in Guatemala."  I promise to fight the boredom and routine that can be the enemy of this persistence and tempt me to seek out something more novel and exciting.  My goal is to live here each day in peace and joy, in obedience to who God has called me to be.  Can I urge you to do the same?

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