Apr 202015
 

It is actually crazy to think that it has taken me this long to write a Mission Monday on a ministry that is such a huge part of my life. When the thought first crossed my mind the other day I was frustrated with myself that I hadn’t done one yet, but later the very same day I felt like Christ showed me why He hadn’t brought it to mind until now. His timing is perfect, as He constantly shows me and yet I have to constantly remind myself.

Just over one year ago, God placed in the position of being the Executive Director of Alpha Pregnancy Resource Center. Alpha has been serving its community since 1992, offering healthy relationships education, free pregnancy tests, pregnancy options information, parenting education & support, and post abortion help. As I prepared for last year’s annual fundraising banquet, which was themed around the history of Alpha, I was in awe of all Christ has accomplished through this ministry since the very beginning. It is an amazing ministry, and it is humbling to step back and see that He placed me here “for such a time as this”.

While I was previously aware of Alpha through my church, I had mentally boxed in what the ministry did in a small, neat package. But it is so much more than I could have ever realized without experiencing it firsthand. Even writing that statement brings tears to my eyes. I have seen how whether someone believes in Alpha’s ministry or is against Alpha’s ministry, it is easy to box in what we do. We try to encompass it all by saying “We not only serve and care for those that come in for pregnancy options information, but we continue to serve and care for them as they continue through their pregnancy and parent their child. It is important to us that we not only speak life in regards to the baby she is carrying, but also to the mother as we foster hope and support her.”

So what does this mean? It means that every person who walks through our doors, or calls on the phone, is viewed as priceless and we want to serve them as Christ would. Christ saw each person as an individual, unique and beautiful. He served and ministered to people on a personal level, he didn’t categorize people and lump them all together. He truly saw each person for who they are, and treated them as the priceless gem that they are (whether they realized they were priceless or not).

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,  “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”  John 4:7-29 (NIV)

So yes, while it is easy to list the services that Alpha offers (as I did above) and try to put the ministry in a neat, little box, it is so much more than that. I wish I could even vaguely list some of the things I have seen Christ accomplish through Alpha, but truthfully in such a small community the chances are too great that part of the story (even vaguely) could point to a specific client and we love our clients too greatly to risk that. What I can tell you is that I have lost count of the number of times that after a client leaves my eyes fill with tears and I am thanking God for how He is working in that client’s life and thanking Him that He allows us to be a part of that.

There is not a short supply of those that do not believe in what Alpha does, and recently it seems Christ has been showing me more and more of the firestorm against ministries such as Alpha. I knew that Alpha is not one of those ministries where a majority of people, Christians or not, agree that it is a great outreach and much needed. Instead, there is a defining line when it comes to the sanctity of human life and therefore there are those that vehemently believe that what we do is wrong. It is not difficult to come across biased blogs and articles about pregnancy centers in general, and see the comments of hatred that not only attack pregnancy centers, but also personally attack those of us involved in the work. Sometimes I have a hard time understanding it, but then I have to remind myself that it goes back to not being able to truly see what we do and that they also have mentally placed what we do in a tiny box and they have decided that it is evil. And honestly I don’t believe there is any point to commenting the truth, because until someone is willing to take a step back and be open to researching it for themselves from a neutral perspective then they are not going to hear anything that goes against what they have chosen to believe as truth. While it is difficult to read the comments and articles, it is a good reminder that this is a spiritual battle.

The tiny box that those who are against ministries like Alpha have placed us in is one of being an agenda-driven, pro-life manipulator and the service that they have an issue with is providing pregnancy options information. The truth is, whether you agree that it should be or not, abortion is as much of a legal option as adoption and parenting. That means that every pregnant woman that walks through our doors has three options- abortion, adoption, and parenting, none of which are easy. The truth, that those who oppose pregnancy centers do not see, is that we recognize that she has three options and that she still has three options when she leaves. She is going to choose one of the three options, and she is going to choose the one that she feels is best in her opinion. Right or wrong, we make decisions from our limited point of view at the time. It is easy to look back and think that we should have handled a particular situation differently, and often we can regret decisions we make. I can’t tell you the number of times I have read or been told that those on the opposing side do not want to talk about all three options, they want to talk about abortion which makes sense from the standpoint that is the only service of the three that they offer.  But women are smart and there is no reason why they should not be encouraged to take a step back from the crisis they are in, examine their lives outside of just this moment in time, look at all of the facts, and make an educated decision. That is what we help each woman to do with offering pregnancy options information. This life or death decision is too important to not offer each woman all of the facts. She can still choose any one of the three options legally, but it will be a decision that she didn’t take lightly and will know all of the potential risks. I understand that both sides of the abortion issue see the “facts” differently and disagree on what is true, but I pray that those against pregnancy centers will begin to see us by our love. It is out of love for each client that walks through the door that we offer help and education before they are in the situation of having an unplanned pregnancy. Out of love that we want to help each individual client take a step back and look at the big picture of her life and situation and make an educated decision taking into account all of the facts and risks. Out of love that we stand by her through her pregnancy and through parenting with education and support. And out of love that we offer support and help to heal if she chooses abortion and finds that she regrets that decision and is hurting.

You see, “pro-life” isn’t about being against abortion. It is about being for love. It translates into how we view every facet of life. From serving as a foster parent, to orphan care, to adoption. From how we view and treat someone who is homeless to how we view and treat a troubled teenager or someone society views as inferior. From speaking life to someone contemplating suicide to fostering hope in a hurting child. It is being for someone, not against something. It is about seeing every person, no matter how small or vulnerable, how Jesus sees them. Priceless, deserving of love, and worthy of His death on the cross.

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV)

“Babies aren’t constructed in the womb like a Chevy on an assembly line.  They develop more like a Polaroid picture.  Indeed, until a Chevy gets all the parts attached, it’s really not a car and can easily be scrapped to make something else.  However, like a developing Polaroid picture whose image is hidden for a time, a baby has all of its humanity at conception even though you can’t see it until it’s fully developed.” -Roland Warren

Christmas Mission Trip

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Oct 202013
 

I’m still here. I apologize that I have neglected blogging lately. I wanted to update you on one of the reasons I have been too busy to blog.

I am leading a mission team to Nicaragua in early December as a Christmas mission trip. We will be visiting a Center of Protection for girls that have been subject to abuse. The team will be doing activities with these girls throughout the week, and we will also be throwing a Christmas party for them! We are very excited to be sharing part of the Christmas season with these girls.

First, and foremost, you can pray for the team in the following ways: 1. That God will prepare each team member and also each child and adult to whom we will be spiritually ministering to during our visit.  2. That God will provide financially for our trip. Each team member needs to raise $1,500. That is quite a challenge! 3. That God will bless our journey, keep us safe, and move powerfully through our team as we minister His love, compassion, and grace in Nicaragua.

Secondly, you can be involved by seeking God’s direction in helping us financially. Would you consider supporting me with a financial donation of $10, $20, $50, or more? I have a donate link on my missions page, or you can mail any gift to Lakeside Community Church, c/o Tina Williams, PO Box 386, North Waterboro, ME 04061. Please make checks payable to Lakeside Community Church.

 

Thank you so much and I look forward to sharing all that God accomplished during this time!

Jun 102013
 

Last week I was excited to share with you an opportunity to partner or be part of missions in my home state, this week I am excited to share about missionaries in my own, small hometown! The Rosenbauer family will be going to Mophela, South Africa on a long term missions trip to serve at the Lily of the Valley Children’s Village. They will serve approximately 120 children that have been infected, or affected, by HIV/AIDS and specifically they will be house parents to 4-6 children. These children will be able to be in a two parent home, where they will be loved, cared for, and discipled to become leaders in their communities.

The mission of Lily of the Valley Children’s Village is “Sustainable, servant leaders for healthy communities.The vision is to raise leaders who embody patience, kindness, humility, service above self, truth, protection, hope, trust and perseverance. We see these as characteristics to be upheld in any position of leadership, whether that be in the classroom, home or workplace. We seek to raise leaders for every sector of society that will embody these traits and work together for a healthy community.”

I sat down with Michael and Lori Rosenbauer this evening, and met their daughters Eliana and Eden. It was amazing to see their passion for these children and desire to serve them, as well as see pictures and hear the account of their trip to Mophela, South Africa. Their testimony of how God led them to this point is inspiring. The Rosenbauers are currently in the process of raising the financial support needed for their mission trip. You can read more in their latest prayer newsletter update, or you can contact me and I will put them in touch with you, if you would like to hear more about partnering with them.

Meanwhile, you can hear from the Rosenbauers in this video:

May 202013
 

 

 Amani Baby Cottage is located in Jinja, Uganda. It was established in 2003 to provide care for orphaned or abandoned children.

Their website states:

“We can house up to 60 children ages birth to 5 years. Children are referred to us through the local authorities and the social welfare system. Many are orphaned when their parents die due to AIDS, birth complications or other factors. Some are abandoned in the hospital after birth. Others are found abandoned at taxi stops, in latrines, or on the street.

Our goal is that each one of them will find a place with a loving Christian family. To date, a total of 313 children have been cared for in our home. 80 of these have been reunited with their parents or extended family members, 123 have been fostered into new families, and 25 have been transferred to other ministry placements. We do not refuse children in fragile health, thus 23 children have died while in our care.   (stats of Apr 2013).

Amani Baby Cottage employs about forty Ugandan workers to care for our children, and also enjoys the assistance of a number of volunteers from around the world.

We operate under the covering of Total Family Outreach, a non-profit US corporation. Amani Baby Cottage operates by faith in a loving, heavenly Father who has promised to take up the cause of the orphan.”

I highly recommend reading about each of the children that are currently being cared for at Amani Baby Cottage at http://amanibabycottage.org/stories-of-our-children/

Information on how to volunteer can be found at  http://amanibabycottage.org/volunteer/volunteer-faqs/

Information on how to support Amani Baby Cottage financially can be found at  http://amanibabycottage.org/how-to-donate/

 

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27

 

Jun 052012
 

One year. So much can change in one year. One year ago today I was three days away from leaving on my first mission trip. I feared the flight. I feared being in a third world country. I feared being out of my comfort zone. I could go on and on with my list of fears.

A year ago an eleven year old  boy, named Emanuel, could not independently walk. A year ago a preteen girl, named Bianca, was guarded and less confident, yet compassionate at the same time.

Today I was shown some of the things God has mightily accomplished over the course of the year. Emanuel can now walk independently, although he still loves to be carried and held. If I remember correctly, he is also smiling a lot more and showing more emotion. He also now cuddles with people and advocates for himself as shown by his persistence to go outside. Bianca, has come out of her shell, she has come into her own and appears more confident. I’m not sure if she remembered me, but my guess judging by the hug she gave me when she was asked if she did, would be yes. I have been praying for these children, along with others I met not quite a year ago since leaving, so to see how God has moved mightily in their lives is amazing and humbling.

I have also seen some of the ways God has grown me in the last year. The comparison of where I was emotionally and spiritually at this time last year to now is like night and day. I can’t say how many times I was asked if I was scared as this trip grew closer and closer, but my answer every time was ‘no, not at all’. If anything the trip could not come soon enough. I hadn’t wanted to leave when the last trip came to a close and it feels like it has been longer than a year since I have been here. I couldn’t wait to get back. There are numerous ways God has molded me in the last year, to the point of not even feeling like the same person and never wanting to return to the old one. And I know He is faithful and is still molding this broken clay pot. Just when I started to think this trip wasn’t going to have the same ‘shock and awe’ as the last, He sent a devotion that may as well have been personalized for me and my biggest struggle, followed by seeing the differences in the children later the same day.

“What You complete is completely done.”

Jesus te amo.