Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wherever you are...Make Your Mark

"All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor,
the very thing I had been eager to do all along."
Galatians 2:10 

It is almost midnight here is Ethiopia
We just got back from a true Ethiopian dinner- with dancers and all!
It was a long, exhausting day so it was nice to sit down 
We ate, we chatted, we made new friends

I still cant comprehend that I am in Ethiopia, Africa
But then we leave to go to another organization and I remember 
I am around children who have been abandoned 
Children sold into labor because parents cant afford them
Children who dont know who their parents are
Children who dont know where they will sleep that night
Children who have no shoes, holes in their shirt, dirt on their faces
Children who dont know Jesus' love 
Children who dont know any love 
Children who are hungry and HIV positive 
I knew my heart was going to break 
And it did, it does and will continue 

However, I was not prepared for the overwhelming brokenness 
I see poverty worse than I ever imagined
The streets filled with mud, people, animals and trash
No movie, no story could ever prepare me for this
This was a breaking of the heart I was not expecting 

Today we went to an organization called Make Your Mark
MYM provides education, food and encouragement in an extremely poor areas in Ethiopia
A story of an American couple who take care of young boys off the street
They started in America and were later called to start MYM in Ethiopia
Today we painted and played card games with the boys - then Trent and Carmen shared their testimony  
I sat there in tears as they shared a story of God's salvation, Grace and Forgiveness
They way that God changed their lives and is now using them to change lives in Africa was inspiring
I look back at what God has done in my heart to get me here and it amazes me
But my love, my belief and my faith increased as I listened to their story and how God moved 

The best thing about Make Your Mark is everything they do points to Jesus
They share about His love, His grace, His forgiveness and redemption everyday 
That no amount of addiction can fill their voids or fear
I heard these boy's stories- Horrible stories on the street 
Is this really happening in the world? 
But after a couple months of being around shown protection, grace, forgiveness and love
After a couple months of being in Make Your Mark
These boys start to believe the Truth 
That no amount of darkness can chase away The Light
They still may be poor to our world's standards 
But they are joyful
They are being restored
They are feeling love, peace and grace 
They know Jesus is the only way, truth and life
Only God

God used Trent and Carmen's story not just to show me how BIG He is, 
but the fact that God can use anyone, anywhere for His Glory 
Carmen and Trent were called to Ethiopia to serve and impact lives
They knew that God had a specific plan for them in Africa

Not everyone is called to serve in Africa
Not everyone is called to start a non-profit
Everyone is called to serve, love and make an impact
Everyone is called to point others to Jesus- in the way we live, talk and act
Everyone is created for a specific purpose for His glory 
And we are all called to obey when He calls like Carmen and Trent

Wherever God calls you right now, Africa or right across the street from the comforts of home  
Make your mark on this BIG world we live in
I promise you when you say YES to God He shows up
He moves in ways we never imagined
He gives more than we ever imagined 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Ephesians 3:20 

So, as I sit here in Ethiopia listening to the comforts of Chris Tomlin 
I still am unsure exactly what my purpose is for this trip
I am still uncomfortable being away from home

But I know God was expanding my world view
I know God was going to use my breaking heart
He is expanding my territory for His Glory 
He was placing children and women strongly on my heart
 I know He was placing Africa on my heart for a reason
Maybe God needed to send me across the world to remind me how big He is
He is a worldly God, not an American God 
Or maybe He needed me to be obedient and say Yes to Him
Whatever the purpose,  
He is showing me that the poor and least of these are not just in my neighborhood or in Africa
They are everywhere in this broken world 
No matter where we are in this world we are called to love
We are called to serve  
Serve the poor in money, poor in shelter, poor in love
Whatever it is, everyone in this world is poor without Jesus

To find out more or give to Make Your Mark click HERE

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