Monday, October 29, 2012

Diamond in the Rough

Diamond in the Rough:  in a natural state without decoration or other treatment.
 I will go before you and make your rough places smooth. --Isaiah 45:2

If you've been around here for awhile, you're familiar with Jogma. She is 18 years old and in the 12th grade in Liberia. If you've been around here for years, you might remember a quilt that Jogma made a few years ago. Her 'Wisdom of Heart' quilt raised $1400 to make a house a home for the children at Danny Feeny Memorial Orphanage Home! At that time, Jogma had never met the children at Danny Feeney, but she was proud that her handmade creation could benefit other children living in an orphanage about an hour from her own orphanage. {Jogma's first quilt is extremely special to me because I LOVED the quilt, but someone else won it at the auction. That kind and generous woman gave the quilt to me, and has since passed away. I cherish that quilt!}

Fast forward about a year to sometime in 2010. Jogma started to ask me about the older girls at Danny Feeney, and wanted to know if they could sew. After a few conversations, Jogma started taking the 1+ hour drive with me to Danny Feeney every week and began to teach the girls there how to sew. Jogma loved teaching the girls something that she loved so much, and I think she forgot about that $1400 that helped move those girls to a new and safe home that they could call their own.

Now, in 2012, Jogma began to work on her second quilt for me to bring back to auction off at HeartCry's annual Pasta Dinner and Silent Auction. Jogma began to cut and sew and create. Jogma never measures, always makes up her own designs, and does everything with a foot treadle sewing machine or by hand. I would sit on the porch with Jogma's infant son Joshua on my lap while she worked on her latest quilt. We talked about school and life and sewing...and there was plenty of laughter! Jogma finished the quilt and gave it to me just before I left Liberia in June. I packed the quilt in my suitcase and it set out on it's journey back to Georgia to be a part of this year's auction.

This year's auction is on Friday night. We have sold out of tickets for dinner, but we would LOVE for you to come and participate in the auction, as well as to learn more about the orphanage that New Hope works with in Haiti. The doors open at 6pm and the auction opens at 6:30pm. This year's live auction items include: a 5 star quail hunt and overnight lodge stay, a NASCAR VIP experience and a helicopter tour and overnight stay at Chateau Elan; along with great silent auction items too! This is a night that you don't want to miss!

Jogma has no idea that her Diamond in the Rough quilt will be a part of the silent auction, and that this year's proceeds will be used to move over 100 children in Haiti to their new orphanage! Yes, for the second time, Jogma's quilt is going to help children move into their desperately needed new home! I cannot wait to call Jogma and tell her the story of quilt, and how she has changed the lives of orphans living half way around the world from her in Haiti! Please join us on Friday night, and be apart of the the story!

What: HeartCry's Pasta Dinner and Silent Auction
When: Friday, November 2 at 6pm
Where: New Hope Baptist Church-Rainbow Room
Fayetteville, GA
Why: To build a new orphanage in Ganthier, Haiti for the children of Masion d'Enfants par la Foi

You can also join us on Saturday, November 3rd for HeartCry's 'Footsteps for the Orphan' 5K. All proceeds from the weekend will benefit the kids in Haiti, as well as HeartCry's ministry. You can register for the race here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

If I'm Honest...

If I’m honest, this past month or so has been extremely difficult. So many thoughts, feelings and emotions have been swirling through my mind and heart.

If I’m honest, there is not a day that goes by that my mind doesn’t tirelessly try to think and plan and question and problem solve. My mind can be consumed with thinking.

If I’m honest, it’s hard. Really hard.

If I’m honest, some days I have to remind myself of all of the things that I’ve experienced over the past five years--yeah, those things really happened! Some days it’s hard to believe, and other days I thank God over and over again for all of it!

If I’m honest, I feel alone. I don’t feel like anyone understands or relates. And when I’m questioned, I usually just cry because I don’t feel like I can adequately explain things and I don’t feel like people can or will understand.

If I’m honest, I’m scared! My mind immediately flashes back to March-May...when things were unbearable. When I thought I couldn’t take anymore, but things kept coming. I don’t want to walk through another valley like that again.

If I’m honest, I’m all over the place, and I don’t have my things all together. I don’t know what I’m doing, and I feel totally unqualified.

If I’m honest, I feel a great deal of pressure. Whether it’s real, or imagined, I feel like alot of people are watching and waiting. {Even though it drives me nuts...thank you!}

If I’m honest, I really miss Liberia...especially the people!

If I’m honest, I am desperate for community--people to share life with. People to laugh, cry, hope, dream and grow with.

If I’m brutally honest, I don’t want to do it alone. I want a partner to share it with.

If I’m honest, I need your prayers! I feel like I’m quickly approaching a crossroads. Actually, I know I’m there already. It’s time to get with the program, to do this...or not do this. It’s overwhelming.

If I’m honest, I hope that you’ll join me. I cannot do this alone. There is so much praying and planning and work to be done...and I need you! {But don’t all raise your hands at once, because right now, I just need your prayers! I’ll let you know when it’s time.}

If I’m honest...really honest...I’m standing on the ledge, and I just can’t jump. It’s frustrating--I know God is faithful...He’s been faithful time and time again. I can also see down the road and it’s SO good--I’m living purposefully and lives are being changed...but it’s still hard....and that’s ok.

If I’m honest, sometimes you just have to be real and honest with the people around you, and this is my ‘safe place’ to do that...where I won’t just start thank you for listening!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What is IT All About?

[My favorite road sign in Liberia was always a reminder: Do Not Stop...Keep Going]

This...all of all for You. It's about being so close to You that nothing else matters. It's about the hunger and thirst to know You more. It's the desire to be in the middle of You moving and working and being a part of that. It's about going outside of myself and letting You use me to do incredible things. It's about loving and serving others. It's about slowing down, living simply and loving deeply. It's about knowing You more intimately and making my heart more like Yours. It's about sharing Your incredible and unconditional love with others. It's about You and Your power and Your glory. It's all about You!

It's about kindness and compassion. It's about being rooted in Love. It's about all things working together for good. It's about learning, growing and stretching. It's about worship, praise and thanksgiving. It's about a real God, who longs to walk in the garden with His children. It's about delight--delighting in my Savior as He delights in me. It's about seeing truth, beauty and hope in the world around me. It's about being a city on a hill. It's about Light going into the darkness. It's about pure and faultless religion. But it's not about "religion"'s about relationship. It's about calling and conviction. It's about the Body of Christ and fulfilling my role within the Body. It's about the opening of eyes, ears, hands and hearts. It's about love--not Hollywood love or fairytale love; but life-changing, deep-to-the-point-of-painful Love. It's about generosity and using my blessings to bless others. It's about declaring the Word of the Lord. It's about You, Lord. It's not about me, us, a church, a denomination, a number, a statistic--it's all about Jesus! His love, grace, mercy and power!

Use me...use us...use the church...use all denominations...use the Body of Christ to speak up, to speak out, to love unconditionally, to listen, to encourage, to change lives, to bring hope and healing, to break chains and bring freedom. Help say yes!

Jesus, bring Heaven to earth!

[excerpt from my journal on September 26, 2012]