Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Restored hope

“Beautiful are those whose brokenness gives birth to transformation and wisdom.” 
John Mark Green

Packing for Cambodia was no small feat, the truth is that I was nervous about it.  The farthest I ever have gone before was Central America, but  I felt a tender nudging "trust me" I have something for you there.  

Cambodia was beautiful, dry and dusty.  Smoke filled the air as patches of land were burned traditionally for purification and planting as it was customary for generations. I found the people of Cambodia warm and friendly and rich in tradition.  I am so inspired by the local World Vision staff and their undeniable fierce faith. They felt like family immediately. 
Snacks for our journey 
  Bananas and fruit are staples here in Cambodia and they are good too.  Bananas are served regularly.  My favorite food was a bamboo stalk with sticky rice, coconut milk, banana leaves and black beans.  The style houses in the countryside were lovely;  they reminded me of tree houses made of one room buildings on stilts.   We were able to see one inside, where a lady said "excuse my mess", I smiled and said "It's a whole lot neater than my home".

On the very first day I heard one of the most amazing stories I ever heard.   This topic would be a theme that I would hear throughout our stay.  I kept hearing  "healing and transformation"  from the first story and it trickled down to the very smallest of speakers, the children.   A grandmother's legacy, a lost boy, a child who is broken, a listening ear, resilience in advocacy, neighbors sharing their land for the greater good of the community and restored hope.  

I was deeply moved by the traumatized look on a few of the children's faces. 

It's hard to explain,  kind of a far away longing look, 
I will never forget. 

Photo credit Jonathan Gomez  
A thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

"We are #chosen by God and have chosen to love him through the lives of precious children. Like a stunning flower in the midst of dark skies, our Creator has chosen each one of us".
Chaundra M Tangi

Photo credit Jonathan Gomez  
This photo and moment was one of my favorites. The World Vision Operation Director of this area trimming the nails of a little boy of parents that are dealing with domestic violence and alcohol abuse. He cares so much and told me a word that he has for the people here “transformation”. This is such a dedicated staff here in Cambodia, they have a really big heart for these children here. I loved hearing his heart for this work and I feel like transformation is coming from the seeds that were planted here. These kids here are so worth it! What they face just to learn and dream. The resilience of the grandmother’s stepping in to raise their grandchildren is beyond amazing and is mentioned many times by the staff here.
Unity and trust 

TEAM CAMBODIA. We are a group people who have come from different places and walks of life. Together we have a sage, a servant leader, a portal, a fierce one, a warrior, a healer, a defender, a peacemaker, a nurturer and a joyful one. We are many parts but 1 Body with the purpose to serve. This trip is over but we will always have Cambodia.
Jonathan Gomez

School is so much more than learning, sometimes it's a safe place to be away from abuse. 
"We had the sacred privilege of being present and listening. These strong and beautiful girls invited us into their lives and shared how lack of clean water impacts not only their present health and activities, but also severely limits the opportunity to live into their God given potential and dream for their future.  

A WV-Cambodia staff member summed it up perfectly this afternoon when she said, "They hear [the love of Jesus] with their eyes."  We truly witnessed Love lived out through multiple expressions of word, sign, and deed.

Sponsorship is transforming lives, bridging hope and opportunity to communities, and serving as a very real expression of who the Church is called to be. 
You can be a part of the story God is writing around the world".
Traci Espeseth

"Our team thanked the mothers for allowing us to come visit them, and encouraged them to keep up the good work. "From a mother to mother", I said, "you all are doing a great job!!!"
Photo credit Heather Maher
"As we wrap up our Cambodia trip we’ve been able to see the transformation that World Vision has made in the communities. The difference is night and day. The areas where the work has not begun are full of despair and poverty. The areas where the work is underway are full of joy and hope and we got a front row seat of the the stark realities. Thank you World Vision for broadening my world view and showing me the vision".
Photo credit 
Jonathan Gomez  
Photo credit Jonathan Gomez 

"Don't give up on your dreams, 
if you stay in school, study and learn, 
you can achieve your dreams". 
Jo Carlson 

Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
Bob Pierce

Still processing, most likely it will come out in a painting.

"I loved this precious baby! Met her at a Mommy & me nutrition class in Cambodia! World Vision was helping teach the community how to feed and keep their little ones growing healthy and strong".
Jen Parks

Some children did not know their lives would change because World Vision was bringing sponsorship to their village.
All things new!
In this reading camp it was bright and colorful, 
a huge contrast from the first places we visited.  

Father, I pray that your hand would be on this World Vision staff and your spirit would pour onto this land.  Search every nook and cranny for the lost and find the most vulnerable and heal every last child and heart.  I pray that the grandmother's resilience be rewarded with renewal in strength.  I pray that you would equip this staff for your work, protect them and their families.  Place them in your will for the coming wave of transformation and healing that will come to Cambodia's beautiful people.  
Do what only you can do!  All things are possible with God!
May this light spark  today!

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Cor 3:18
Sponsor a child from Cambodia 🤍

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.
1 Cor 1:10

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

All Things New

“Over rivers and valleys, mountains and plains—over all you have lost and all you have gained. Over all you have gathered, and all you let go, you have traveled at length through the wild of unknowns. And through all that is changing you can see you have grown. You have walked in the light. You have not been alone.”
Morgan Harper Nichols

I have been struggling to find a good word this year, I landed on renewal.  There are so many of us that have had very hard year this year and are just holding on to hope.   
I pray that anyone reading this will have peace and a hopeful outlook this year.

Hope and faith go hand in hand, 
kinship of sort,
Stepping forward (or hobbling)  
in the future where God already is and waiting for us.
He has been in the beginning and  in the end. 
The only real solid place to stand.
He chats every year until I look at him, 
then he looks up quietly with his nose up in the air.  
Nativity painting 2019

Change and renewal are themes in life, aren't they?
We keep growing throughout life.
 Susan Minot

“The self-renewing man (or woman)

 never feels that he has ‘arrived.’ ” 

John W. Gardner

Faith makes all things possible.
Hope makes all things work.
Love makes all things beautiful. 

A few times this year I had three different people 

speak over me that God was going to use my art 

and that I was just scratching the surface 

of what God wants to do through it.  

I admit it's hard to see that right now 

but faith is not a feeling 

but a step in a direction that I can't see. 

For we walk by Faith, not by sight

Hope on the horizon 

“The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” 

One of last year's paintings from a photo by World Vision/Jon Warren 
Every year I like to start the year with a walk on the waterfront.  I injured my foot (it's mild I think) and I thought I wasn't going to be able to do it this year. 

 I took one look at the weather over the next few weeks and it showed a long stretch rain so I figured I better hobble on over there now and I packed Titus in the car and parked in a different spot, very close to the middle of the path. 

I was greeted by the familiar chatter in the parking lot.  I really thought "It couldn't be". 
Is this the same hummingbird that is usually on the path?
Did it really met me where I was?

There is something really discouraging about starting a new year with an injury, but seeing this little miracle fills me with hope for the New Year. 

For an active person a little rest off my foot is not the end of the world, I know it could be worse.   There is always someone that has it harder than you.
Isn't that true!

“Learn from yesterday,
 live for today, 
hope for tomorrow. 
The important thing is to not stop questioning.” 
 Albert Einstein

 May God bless you and keep you this coming year.
Trust in the Father that loves you and will never abandon you. 
I wish and pray that this year will be a year of blessings.
New things and restored hope.
May it be filled with blessings, love, hope, true friendship, good health, your best work, joy, laughter, new experiences, faith and happiness. 

Have a Happy New Year!  

So we do not lose heart. 
Though our outer self is wasting away, 
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
2 Cor 4;16

Love each other 
carry each other's burdens
Lay them down 
at the foot of the cross
Have hope
Be grateful
Move forward

I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.

Ecclesiastes 3:10-12 (NIV)

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”

1 Peter 2 4-6