Tag Archives: austin christian fellowship

(un)Commonly Discarded.

10 Jun

Creamy macaroni & cheese. Messy sloppy joes. Homemade cinnamon rolls. And always, veggies and fruit thrown in for good measure. Am I on a mission trip? You’d better believe it.

Ministry tools - of a different sort.

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Little is Much – Victoria

19 Mar

I love little fighters. You know the ones – the kids that seem to defy the odds every day. The children that keep saying, “I will not let my circumstances define me.” There are so many of them here in Guatemala. I remember years ago meeting a bright-eyed teen named Cecilia. She had literally grown up in government orphanages. But she was a tenacious girl, and she saw a life bigger than her cinder block and razor wire walls. It was that spirit that allowed her to live in a transition home with several other young women. I asked her what she wanted to do with her life, and she was resolute in her answer. “I want to be an attorney. I want to make a change in my country.” Continue reading

Little is Much – Jose Pablo

15 Mar

Never underestimate the power of little.

We watched through the window as the nine 3 and 4-year olds and their caregivers, also known as “mamas,” marched around the building to our door. This was a rare treat for them – an opportunity to be little chefs. Most of the children live at Eagle’s Nest, an orphanage nestled high in the hills overlooking Lake Atitlan in western Guatemala. The children’s home currently has 22 little residents, ranging in age from newborn to 13. At Eagle’s Nest, they are are provided more than food and shelter – the kids are given a good education, lots of love, and a strong foundation of faith. The children are reminded of their worth and value daily.  It is evident in their eyes.

Our “GuateMission” team from Austin Christian Fellowship had transformed the apartment below the orphanage into a makeshift cooking school for our special guests. The recipe was a simple one – some cookie mix we had brought from the United States, a few eggs, and sticks of butter. One by one, the children took turns stirring the eggs and butter together, and brave volunteers carefully poured the mix into the bowls. They waited patiently as the grown-ups then made sure the dough was blended, and each little chef took their turn with the scoops to transform that dough into perfectly round circles of sugary goodness.

Every child, that is, except one. Jose Pablo.

Making the perfect cookie.

Jose Pablo is only small in stature. Inside the bright, talkative 4-year old is a powerhouse of personality. He was the first to raise his hand to help make the cookie dough, and he was the first in line to scoop that dough onto the cookie sheets. And scoop he did – with no help from any of the grownups. His little face was intense as his little hands gripped the scoop with all his might. He first tackled the walnut chocolate chip dough. A smile and two lovely cookies later, he was ready to move on.

Sugar cookies meant more than simply scooping out dough onto a sheet. It also meant getting to decorate with stars and jimmies and colored sugars. Each child sprinkled and sprinkled and sprinkled.

Every child, that is, except one. Jose Pablo.

The little chefs design their special cookies.

When it came to decorating his sugar cookie, he made sure his would be noticed. Those little hands selected a purple star and three yellow jimmies to create a design that would be different from all the others. He giggled as the cookies were served, knowing there would be no mistaking his sweet masterpiece.

Delicious.

When the little chefs finally got to enjoy their creations, Jose Pablo relished his. When the children said their “thank you’s,” Jose Pablo’s was just a little louder. And this evening, when we said our goodnights to the sweet kids at Eagle’s Nest, Jose Pablo’s hug was big and strong.

Today, the power of little invaded my heart.  As I find myself once again wondering what good can come of the little things I can offer in this life, I am given a mop-topped reminder that even the smallest things – like baking cookies with an orphan – have the potential to make hearts grow. And that same mop-topped little chef reminds me to live big, even when life feels small. May I be willing to go first, unafraid to be different, eager to say thanks, and always ready to give big hugs.

Little is indeed much when God’s in it.

Grace.

21 Jan

It’s in the 20s outside, and I’m bundling up for a run before a day full of cooking begins. Tomorrow morning Courtney and I are catering a brunch for 150 women at Austin Christian Fellowship, and there are dishes to be prepped and cupcakes to be frosted and serving plans to be finalized. The run isn’t just for exercise – it’s to equip me for the Music City Half-Marathon in April and possibly (if I can figure out a way to make it work) for the San Diego Half-Marathon in June as I run for Team Compassion. The cooking isn’t just for fun – it’s to fund ongoing orphan care projects in Guatemala. When the running and cooking are completed, I’ll continue work on a grant proposal for Red Page Ministries, as we work to transform lives in rural villages in Romania. I’ll pack for my next mission trip. And I’ll finish my reading for Sunday night’s small group Bible study.

Everything has purpose. Everything has meaning. Everything is busy. So very busy.

I’m thankful the Lord knows exactly what I need, exactly when I need it. Today, He reminds me to take a moment and simply breathe. I encourage you to read Sarah Markley’s blog, and pray you’ll find in it the same sweet, calming reminder to find Sabbath not in a day of the week or an experience in church, but in sweet moments of the here-and-now.

I’m taking a moment just to breathe in grace and thanks with a song and a prayer. And I think I’ll slow down and enjoy the morning with a walk rather than a paced run.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

from The Confessions of Saint Augustine

How about you? How might you breathe in a little grace today?