Sending love across the globe:The energy in compassion

Sending love across the globe:The energy in compassion

The room was filled with whispers and giggles. As I looked around me, the kids were all sprawled out on the floor of the church sanctuary. Some had concentrated looks, others were squealing in delight at the progress being made-yet others were waiting anxiously for me to come and see their poster boards they had just finished.

You see they had all just learned about other kids across the globe-kids just like them. Except there was a huge difference, the kids they had just learned about were living in refugee camps, or fleeing as refugees to other countries-leaving behind clothes, toys, friends, a life.

My friends-the kids in Tres Rios community do not have it very easy either. They are growing up in a neighborhood where poverty, drugs, and crime are the norm. But I wanted them to know that the atmosphere surrounding them does not have to define them. They can be world changers, right where they are- even in this neighborhood.

We explained as gently as possible the crisis in the Middle East to all of the kids. At the end, I asked them their thoughts on what they had just learned. One child raised their hand and said- “We need to pray for them.” Yes, oh yes how spot on.
I asked them if they knew of ways we might help make a difference amidst the crisis. Shouts of ideas began to bubble up out of them as they took turns talking over one another. “They need clothes, we can fill a big truck with clothes for them!” Others said, food, toys, water, medicines, etc.

I was grinning from ear to ear as I heard their ideas. I loved them all. However, one very sweet voice suggested the one thing we all know is needed most. It’s the one thing that makes all the difference. It’s the one thing that shatters darkness.The sweet voice called out ever so simply- “love.”

Doesn’t that just mark you? No long winded answer on love and how and why-just simply stated. It came from a place of pure innocence, a perfect resting place of hope.

So we got out the poster board and crayons and let their imaginations take them away.Tears sprang to my eyes as they were met with smiles, enthusiasm and creativity.

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The kids came up with ideas to host fundraisers in order to send money to organizations we knew who were doing something for the kids, just like them-across the globe. All their own ideas! We gave no hints, help or suggestions. I genuinely wanted to know their thoughts and if they could respond, what would be their response. A child’s response to a hurting world is powerful.

 

I was so impacted. They weren’t sad, scared or consumed with a dooming sense of helplessness. There in the midst of glitter and glue, crayons and markers- change was happening.  A change coming from little minds working away and I saw what He sees- faith like a child.

To a child, faith is so easy- so simple. In one child’s mind, why not drive a truck full of clothes to Syria from Costa Rica?! To him, this child-distance, money and time have no factor. Their hope was contagious. They were not focussing on their own lack of clothes, some even suggested they could run home and grab (what little they had) of their own clothes to give away.

What would the world be like if children were consulted more on world affairs? The innocent responses while so simple, are often the most accurate. We forget that some of the greatest answers are found within a simple idea.

Oh I know there seems to be a lot of complexity in the world today. Between social media, world news and local news-anger and hate are loud. But not this day, this day the kids chose hope and love. At the end of the day-hope and love are louder.

The energy in the sanctuary was exciting as the kids of all different ages were full of ideas, of hope. And there, I felt it. I mean I really felt it-the energy in compassion. It’s transformational. We stop thinking about the sadness and the despair. We stop thinking about the lack and the worry. We simply start thinking like Jesus. Our hearts beat hard for Him-for His hope.

We are praying and loving our family from Syria and Iraq all the way from Tres Rios, Cartago, Costa Rica.

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Rice, Beans and Miracles Unseen

Rice, Beans and Miracles Unseen

I believe that miracles happen everyday but so often we don’t see them. A set back or an obstacle can occur and we become focused on a solution or the lack of one.
What if the only solution you had to a problem was a miracle?

Many years ago, I had the privilege of helping a friend who had started a feeding program and day center in a small town of Nicaragua. Our location at the time was a small place with limited space and one tiny bathroom. The roof was completely made of metal and the average temperature was 90 degrees. One particular week, the power and water had been turned off in the whole city and it was on day three of no power and water that we had the weekly scheduled feeding program.

We only had twenty kids signed up to eat that day. It had been a long, exhausting week and our small team of four had been spread pretty thin. Two hours before the children were to arrive, I sent the team off to grab lunch and run some errands, while I stayed behind with the cook to help feed the kids.

The time came and children began to arrive and with all twenty accounted for, I began to hand out plates of rice and beans. I was so relieved that due to the lack of resources we had exactly enough to feed everyone. As the kids were lining up with their plates, there was a knock on the door. I opened the door to find ten more kids piling into the tiny center. Not even five minutes later another knock and even more hungry faces entered. Before I knew it, more knocks came and we had four times our  original number of children to feed. It was chaos. I came into the kitchen to let the cook know about the new arrivals and was met with absolute panic as she informed me that we did not have near enough to feed them all.

I looked at all the kids staring up at me expectantly. I couldn’t call anyone because phone lines were down. I didn’t have any cash on me to buy anything. I was out of options. I turned back to the cook and asked to see the pot of beans and rice. There it stood with the evidence of what she had said, we barely had enough.

I remembered the stories I had heard of people praying over food and God miraculously providing. So I prayed, “Okay God, we have to feed these kids. I pray that you provide food for every child here and increase our supply.” I waited, nothing happened. I am not sure what I was expecting, maybe the rice and beans to miraculously rise right before my eyes and come spilling out of the big, black pot. I had prayed in my heart language (English) instead of Spanish, so the cook looked at me with such confusion. To this woman, I appeared crazy kneeling down, talking to a pot of food on the ground. Crazy or not, I believed that God would help us feed every person there. I was desperate for Him to provide.  I turned to the cook and said, “Give an equal portion to every child and we will believe that all will eat today.”

We scooped out plate, after plate, after plate. Every single child that came that day ate not once, but twice. It was the craziest thing. The rice and beans were still the amount we started with and never changed in quantity even after every child ate twice! I couldn’t believe it and neither could the cook. We sent home leftovers for all of the children and we still had some in the pot.

That night I marveled at the miracle I had seen God bring to our humble, black pot of rice and beans. I knew the provision didn’t just come because of a need but because  of the love of God. He knew that it might be the only meal some children would receive that day. It always broke my heart on the weeks we had no leftovers to send home to those particular families. However, that day was different, that day we had more than enough for leftovers.

I pictured God’s absolute delight in loving on those kids and watching my shocked face every time I peered into the pot to see the quantity never seem to decrease.

While I have never seen beans and rice multiply quite like that again, I have never doubted that it could happen. When bills come rolling in, supplies are low, the van has a mechanical issue, or the washing machine has broken down, I remember that miracles happen.