Thursday, May 18, 2017

Life Transitions.......Reality Checks




 My ramblings of today………………..A heavy Heart with a Renewed Perspective!

These ramblings stem from LIFE......LIFE home and LIFE abroad.....Lots of LIFE, People and Observations! 

Some people I run into come from that “happy home” that is filled with love, good, sound teaching, loving discipline, and filled with joy and laughter. These people are able to “go out” into the world and LOVE! They bring JOY, Grace, Kindness and Mercy. They exhibit self-control, are flexible and adaptable to many different situations. They are accountable for their actions and create very little drama around them. They have learned effective coping strategies, they share their sadness, they know when to laugh and when to cry.
YES, there are people “out there” just like this!! I have met them, they are genuinely good people raised with a strong foundation of LOVE!!
It is the LOVE described in 1Corinitihains 13:4-7. It is LOVE that is patient and kind; Love that does not envy or boast; Love that is not proud or rude: Love that is not self seeking or easily angered; Love that takes no account of wrongs; Love that has no pleasure in evil and rejoices in truth; Love that bears all things, and endures all things.
I am blessed each time I meet one of these LOVING people J





I long to be one of “those people”, BUT the reality is I did not come from that strong foundation of love, nor did my forefathers. Thus, I come from a generation of  “survivors”.  We “survivors” did the best we could and reacted to the world according to how we saw everyone else react. We coped with LIFE using a variety of crutches including drugs, alcohol, sex, food addictions, lust, envy, jealously, fighting, anger, passive-aggressiveness, impulsiveness, gossip, greed, pride and delusions of grandeur. We were tough, hardheaded, simple-minded or just the opposite, passive, quiet, disengaged and introverted. We could “do life” on our own. We did not need wisdom, we already knew it all. We said “I love you” all the time, yet it was mixed with everything BUT love.  Life was filled with conflict and confusion. Our lives reflected the continuous drama associated with these behaviors.


           
This is the battle and confusion that I have been fighting my entire life. I share openly because I believe this “battle” effects the majority of society. My heart breaks for this fallen world! I know the pain that lack of true love causes. ALL of the broken pieces are due to behaviors that are the outcome of lack of love. We, have contributed to this broken world.



The Good News is, we can also take an active part in coming alongside and creating renewal. To heal this world, we have to walk in LOVE. We must know and believe that True, REAL LOVE only comes from our Creator, God!! HE has given us the TRUTH for life in HIS WORD! He shows us story after story the effects of the human heart that lacks love. He tells us what NON-LOVE, evil is. He teaches how non-loving behaviors will creep into our lives and attack our families. When we trust, believe and walk in obedience to HIS way, our hearts are renewed and changed. We can see the TRUTH come alive.

As it says in 1 Corintithans 13:11-12
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside childish ways. Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known”.

When we trust and believe, we put aside childish thinking and learn from our maker and LOVE is transformed into new hearts! I pray that ALL will go to HIS Word, the Bible for the wisdom we need to LOVE as HE LOVES US!

So I say to those “good” people, continue with the wisdom that you were raised with. DO NOT be na├»ve and take your upbringing of good, sound wisdom and love for granted and get caught up into following the culture. Just because the “culture” does it, does not mean that it right. In LIFE, there is a slippery slope that can quickly grab hold and pull you into a downward spiral. I say this boldly because I have  watched it happen. In my “renewed” walk, I have chosen to mix with those with a good foundation, yet have seen them get sucked in because they truly did not know or understand the effects of “NON-LOVING” behaviors. Be careful!! KNOW Gods ways, not the world’s ways J

 That's ALL :)


Friday, May 5, 2017

Whirlwind.......Home Now






After three months of waking up to a dark cabin with no windows and having to be presentable to go up and get a cup of coffee, I now wake to sunshine, trees, clouds and sky. I embrace my cup of coffee while laying in bed and listening, with no ear plugs, to HIS Word for me today and REFLECT on the “whirlwind” of these last three months.
Just my ramblings............My head is filled with so many stories of “LIFE” from people all around the world. We enter this vessel and “changes” begin. We see “LIFE” from a different point of view. We slowly begin to realize that “our” way is not the only way. We break down our “ways of thinking” and allow new perspectives to enter our hearts and minds. 





I left the United States at a time of political turmoil. The election period was brutal. To this day, there is so much unrest, fear and a general feeling of loss of control. People are angry and fearful, attacking one another both physically and verbally. Families dynamics were broken and heated arguments continue to escalate. So much  time is spent pointing fingers at others “differences” in opinions and not enough time accepting the reality that this is a broken, fallen world!! This is a period of history that everyone desires to “be happy” and are trying to control their situations. When “happiness” is interrupted, many fight any way they can to get it back, even if it bringing harm to others around them.

The word that continually enters my mind is “Oppression”. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines as.........

unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power
a sense of being weighed down in body or mind

You might think of “oppression” in third world countries, but we, in First World countries are weighed down as well with this false sense of the need for continued “happiness”. We live to create happiness and become so bogged down in attempt to get there that we miss the “big picture” of life. 

We miss that we are created for a purpose! The purpose is not a daily gain of happiness. Our purpose, as we share in the Lords prayer is “for His Kingdom to come and HIS will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. The earth is the Lord’s, not ours. We do not take it with us. We have a job to maintain it. 

Genesis 1:28 gives us our purpose......
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish or the seas and thy birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Then......HE gives us everything we need to do it! We may not all have material gain, what we all have in us are LOVE, Grace, Mercy, Patience, Kindness, Forgiveness and Self-Control. If we choose to set aside our pride and allow God to transform our lives, the burden of oppression is lifted. 

I’m reminded in Ecclesiastic 2:26 “To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind”.


For me........................



Each time I leave Africa, my eyes are wide open to the overwhelming “oppression”, the sense of being weighed down in body and mind. In Africa, the “weighing down” is due to the general need to meet their everyday basic needs. In America, all of our needs are met. Our weighing down is this false pursuit of “happiness” to give us contentment. 

I wonder.........what is weighing you down and keeping you from the JOY of the Lord and serving HIM?

Quidah........Slave Port in Benin
I know I am rambling! That’s what happens when you live between two different cultures. One’s brain opens up to more awareness that one can handle!

Through it all, I continue to be filled with Peace, Love and JOY as I know that God already knows all of my thoughts and has explained it all to me in HIS Word! Thus, I am feeling blessed to spend the next 5 weeks at home soaking in HIS Wisdom for Me and Recharging!




This poem, written by Beautiful Lyndy Cossey sums up my last three months and why I am returning to the ship for two more years.



Hands

When part of our body is hurting
We stretch out our hands to hold it
To staunch the bleeding
Support the wound
Enveloping it in love
There’s no question asked
We naturally just reach out
In love and care to hold our body

There’s a ship made of hands
That is reaching out
To where God’s body hurts
It brings love, care and hope
As the hands plow through the water
To where the body is hurting
To where it is bruised and sore
Hands reaching out to envelope
Those people with love and care
To staunch the bleeding, heal the wounds
Comforting hands
Strong hands
Loving hands
Supportive hands to those in need
To themselves, to those they love
To those they’ve never seen

I take a deep breath and sigh every time I read this! Yes, Yes!.....this is what I am to do with my life......reach out and "Go" to where the body is hurting! If it means sharing my home with 400+ people, sleeping in a bunk bed and waking to no windows, then so be it.....to know at the end of the day, at the end of my life that I served God and took care of HIS body.......what more Peace and JOY and "Happiness" could there be! :)

I send my Huge Thank-you to those whom supported me in this journey! 
Thank you for your Words of Encouragement, Your Prayers and Your Financial Support!!!

Just a glimpse of the last three months..........Pictures of LIFE!
Each with a story behind it :) Pictures from Mercy Ships, Life in Benin and A wonderful week spent with Beth and the children at the House of Hope in Ghana!


Quidah.......Slave Port in Benin










Local Nurses that I was Blessed to Share What I knew :)






Slave Port in Quidah, Benin.......Point of "No Return"
I recommend researching this.....Very interesting!
http://www.museeouidah.org/HistoryOfOuidah.htm


Community Health Education at the Hope Center. Always a challenge when their are at least five different languages spoken.
Talking about LIFE :)
Such a Blessing!!!
Lisa, My Lovely "Aussie" Roommate! She is still smiling after living with my snoring for 2 months :)
 


Official Good Bye Card!!! So I was told that I could not read it until I got on the plane.......Whoops, somehow it opened up that night as I got into bed......I had to read it........SOOOOOO Sweet!!!!! I was so BLESSED to work with such a GREAT GROUP OF PEOPLE!!!!!

These Lovely's visited me on the ship all the way from Ghana! Look how GREAT they look after 6 hours of African Travel!!
Last night singing HIS Praises!!!


My two Ship Daughters that God Blessed me with!!!! oxoxoxoxox

Here we go........OFF TO GHANA!! I LOVE this group!! We sang Praises to HIS name and Beth shared God's Word with us!!! The French Speaking taxi driver was a little grumpy when we jumped in, but after singing HIS praises, I could see him loosening up and relaxing. He smiled and pointed up as He recognized we were worshipping God!! 
I LOVE this GROUP!!! I was so blessed to work with all of them!! Each taught me a little piece of their culture :) 
Traveling to Ghana

Sunset at the House of Hope



Learning to carry EVERYTHING on your head begins at a early age :)
We walked this road everyday as we ventured into town. 
Such an AMAZING SWEETNESS AT THE HOUSE OF HOPE!! This is a perfect example of "coming along side" and meeting their needs. One cannot fix all the problems in the world, but we can "come alongside" and help to meet their needs :)
Hospital in Ghana
I moved from one bunk bed on the ship to another at the House of Hope!! Only the best for this gal :)
Perhaps one of the most JOYFUL days......This is Robert, the Bible Man! He is a MAN of God, completely sold out for Christ and filled with the Passion to provide Bibles and Share the Word of God to anyone that will listen! He travels for miles going from village to village getting the Word of God out! I was blessed to spend the day with him and Beth as they shared the Gospel at the local prison. On the way there, He broadcasted the Gospel from the speakers on top of the truck. I sat in the front seat and waved to everyone along the way. Of course, everyone smiled at this "white" woman waving to them!!
I was so amazed observing little Beth sharing the WORD with the Prisoners. I think her LOVE and Passion for God overflows from her and causes "AWE" in those that she teaches! These men had their Bibles and many were taking notes. I believe that could have sat there all day listening to God's Word for their lives!
Praise God for Robert and Beth!!! 

Sweet, Precious Children of God at the House of Hope!!

The Beauty of Ghana!!! 

Getting my dress made :)

Two Beauties!!!!

Tailor Made Dress!!

These sweet young men came up every night and we shared the
Word of God with them! Such a sweet treat!


So Beth said we needed to be to the bus station by 7:30 as it takes 4 hours to get to Accra. OK, I followed along assuming the bus would leave shortly after. Nope, three hours later we were still sitting there waiting for the bus to fill up with passengers. The bus was able to squeeze in 12 people and would not leave until it was filled. Men would sit in the seats as decoys, making you think the bus was almost filled. It was a competition among the bus drivers to get their buses filled first, thus lots of arguing going on around us. In the meantime, we were getting hungry. Hmmmmm? What to eat? the choices were found on the heads of those selling the food. So many choices.........hard boiled eggs, meat pies, bread, frozen yogurt, yams,.......over the course of three hours we chose them all!  I even went back for seconds!

A little while later, our bellies were full, we were hot, sweaty and tired......Beth pulled a scripture from Psalms that said that it was OK to pray out to God and complain and ask him to meet our need.......So she did, O Lord, we are hot, tired and sweaty. We desire to get back to the House of Hope before dark, please O Lord, Please fill this bus up. There is only one more seat left, please O Lord, please fill this seat! .............truly, less than 30 seconds later, a man jumped on and we were off!!!!! Thank you Lord!!!!!

Egg Sandwich!!!



Back Home and Blessed to see get HUGS from these Three!!! I brought them home a little taste of Africa :)


I could not resist making African outfits for Lucy and Isaac!! 


Safe and Sound and Tucked into the comforts of my home for the next five weeks! ......Time to Recharge and then off again for two years!


You can be part of this incredible mission as well. Please join me in prayer and/or financial support as we journey together being the hands and feet of Jesus. 
http://mercyships-us.donorpages.com/crewmates/KathyWagner

:) xoxoxoxoxo