Nothing-Something

 

I don’t want to sound like a crashing cymbal
I don’t want to be some empty noise
I’m down on my knees Lord I surrender
Jesus help me to love with a love like Yours

Whether in the church or not, you have probably heard or read the “Love Chapter” in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13.  It’s a great wedding passage to have read and my husband and I even wrote vows related to it.  Super holy, right?  The problem I have had over the last few years is I just feel I can’t live up to that.  I’ve been challenged to try and I want to try, but Lord have mercy, it is HARD!  It’s a lot of pressure, it’s a lot of work, it’s a whole lot of hard and I’ll be honest, most days, I’m not up for it, most days I fail pretty miserably.  I have to think that God knows that.  He knows we can’t live up to this in the slightest.

But I also know, it’s a cop-out to just not try.  It’s good to realize that we can’t do it.  It’s good to realize that no matter how many times we read the passage, not matter how many times we try and fail, it shows us our constant need for something bigger than ourselves to invest in us so we can invest in others.  We can’t live up to this kind of LOVE.  You may think, wow, you are just setting yourself up for failure.  I would like to look at it in the way that I am keenly, KEENLY aware of the fact that if I try to LOVE with the kind of love described in this chapter and other passages throughout the Bible, I WILL fail.  But when I realize that, it makes me go to the source of LOVE, Jesus Himself.

Do I have a step by step idea of how to love this way?  I wish I could say yes because I would probably be a millionaire by now.  Honestly, I am just trying to daily figure our my own constant need for Jesus to love.  But one thing I do know is that this doesn’t just happen.  It is work, it is hard, it is messy and it shows us our true selves.  But in realizing our frailty and necessity for Jesus every minute, we begin the process of learning, yes LEARNING how to love like this.  This is an everyday decision.  It’s a day-in, day-out decision to invest in the pain of loving others.  It can be pain.  But it can beauty and joy.

This song, Nothing, Something, WOO, it is something!  The first time I listened to it, I was just unDONE!  I knew the impact and the NEED for LOVE to rule in my life.  I warn you, don’t listen to it if you aren’t truly ready for some work in your life, for some realization the constant need to be better.

The most holy person you know is broken, we all are and we can all do well to realize our brokenness so we can love each other in our brokenness.  To love each other in our pain and joy, our mountains and valleys for the simple reason that WE are loved in ours.  So listen.  Let the words really sink in.  Don’t listen to this as we a lot of times read the “love chapter”.  Really listen and let these words penetrate the places that need love to be better, to love better.  Our weaknesses make us realize our need and our weaknesses can help us love better.

The bottom line, no matter what I do or say or try or think I am or think I’m not.  Without love, it’s nothing, NOTHING.  Don’t just gloss over that.  NOTHING.  But if we have love, maybe the lives we live can be something.  That is my prayer, my plea, that even a little that I do will mean something because love is behind it, in it, around it and through it.

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JIREH

18-20 And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God to no end. You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.                               -Phillipians 4:19-20 (The Message)

I’ve heard the Abraham and Isaac story a hundred times.  Any good church-going, Sunday-school attending kid would, right?  Maybe it takes more than just hearing or reading the story once we get older.  When we experience life, we need more than just Sunday school answers to wrap our head around things, yes?  Maybe it’s just me…

In Genesis 22 we read about Abraham and Isaac.  We read some, but there isn’t a whole lot of insight more than the words.  It didn’t talk about what the night before they set out for Mount Moriah.  Do you think Abraham slept?  Was it a restless sleep or maybe there was no sleep at all.

Abraham obeyed.  I imagine that even Abraham, a man loved by the God of the universe had to fight against anything natural in himself to just stay in bed that day.  His heart had to just be aching.  Even knowing the Sunday school answers (that God is sovereign “El Elyon”, Lord and Master “Adonai” and “El Shaddai” Pourer-forth) could he really go in to the day with unquestioning obedience?  Even after Isaac asked him about the burnt offering, he tells him, “God will provide”.  Was Abraham pleading with God during that hike to provide, SOMEHOW, provide?  But Abraham wasn’t naïve to who God was.  He knew God, His character and the promises that surrounded Isaac.  It begs the question that I wonder if he thought what a waste it would be to kill Isaac now.  All that he had endured just for it to end like this?  In Hebrews it sheds a little light on this subject.

Hebrews 11:17-19:  By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[a] 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

Maybe at some point he just realized that even if he was killed, maybe God would bring him back to life?  At some point Abraham must have reasoned that God would indeed provide.  What a welcome sound to Abraham’s ears to hear a ram, caught in the thicket.  What relief he must have felt.

That place would forever be known as a place where God will provide.  God provided for Abraham, He provided His only son for us who deserved death.  He offered His son to die in our place.  The ram for Isaac, the spotless lamb of God-“was the only provision of Jehovah-Jireh for the sins of the world”.

I remember a Sunday school song

Jehovah Jireh, My Provider
His Grace Is Sufficient
For Me, For Me, For MeJehovah Jireh, My Provider
His Grace Is Sufficient
For MeMy God Shall Supply All My Needs
According To His Riches In Glory
He Will Give His Angels, Charge Over Me Jehovah Jireh Cares For Me, For Me, For me
Jehovah Jireh Cares For Me

  • I checked out a little bit where provide comes from when it comes to Jireh. The literal translation means “to see” or “to see to it”  Similar to what Hagar says of God in Genesis 16 calling Him, “the God who sees”.  Jireh can also mean in Hebrew perceive” and “experience.”

When Abraham calls God Jehova-Jireh, it isn’t him saying it willy-nilly, selfishly to just ask to give me stuff.  He is saying

“You see/experience all this need of mine and make provision for it.”

It is deeply personal.”

God’s provision and how that translates in to our lives is seeing and experiencing our need and having a provision for it.  He cares.  He cares enough not just to see your need, but also to provide for it in every way.  It isn’t always how we imagine, but it is done in a way that is for us, not against us.  Yes, he cared enough about us to give His only son to pay our price of sin, but He also cares enough to provide for your daily needs in life.  Nothing is insignificant and nothing is small.  He cares.  Just imagine what that means for a minute.  He cares about wild flowers and sparrows, enough to provide for them, imagine the care He takes for YOU if he cares that much about birds and flowers.

I encourage you friends to go deeper than just Sunday school understandings of stories in Scripture.  When we face the messiness of life (because it WILL happen), we have to rely more on the knowledge of personal understand of God’s character than the heady, logical, sometimes insignificant words and understanding we have.  Our God is for us.  Our God cares so much for us.  He provides rams instead of death, He provides His own son in the place of sin.  He care about flowers and sparrows and He has chosen you, He knows you, He loves you.  When you call out to Jehovah-Jireh, it is more than just someone that provides, He sees, He cares and it is personal.  Live in to Jireh and the significance of His presence in you.

Here is a song that has given words to sing over myself every day (yes, it is on repeat that much in my house) to know that Jireh is enough.  I know who I am in Him.  May you speak these words over yourself today.

Some quotes are taken from To Know Him by name by Kay Authur

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First Day of School

It is that time of year where we see all the back-to-school pictures and we don’t want to be any different, but maybe for different reasons.  We want to CELEBRATE that the kids are going back to school IN PERSON!  It is a reason to celebrate!  It has been a year and a half since our kids have been at their school.  Simeon is starting 6th grade, Esther is starting 2nd grade and Ephraim is starting 1st grade!  Yes, they will be masked, yes, they have bio-security measures as they enter school (alcohol on the hands and temperature taking before entry), double the amount of hand sanitizer but they are together and we celebrate it!  All teachers are vaccinated!  This is a big step here in Ecuador!  Celebrate with us!

We wanted to do something this year for our kids, praying verses over our kids each day as they go to school.  Something we have seen in them is that the pandemic has created anxiety, fear and worry and we want to combat that.

Simeon:

Philippians 4:6-7Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Esther:

I AM KNOWN, LOVED, FORGIVEN, REDEEMED, CHOSEN, FREE, A CHILD OF GOD. …See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…1 John 3:1

Ephraim:

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

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Baños 2021

With our recent trip to the jungle, we were also able to spend a couple of days in Baños, one of our favorite tourist areas in Ecuador to do some extreme sports, hiking and just enjoying time together with friends.  We were so thankful our friends were able to go with us, Rolando, Diana and their three children.  We are grateful for space and time to be able to rest and rejuvenate.

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Vacation #2

Yes, you read that title correctly, in August, we were able to take TWO vacations.  For me (Kim), this is one of the few vacations where I can remember coming back not feeling like I needed another week after vacation to recover.  We were able to experience a lot of amazing things that we all enjoyed, including being with new friends for the week in Misahualli and further in to the jungle to Bellavista.  We were able to fish for piranhas (Simeon was so excited), try new foods, experience church in the jungle (that tooks 2 hours to get to), ride in canoes, swim in rivers to flow in to the Amazon, see Arapaima (which we have only ever seen on T.V.), rest, relax, read, play games and do life together with friends who have become like family.  We are so grateful for this time.

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Galapagos: “a little world within itself”


August was quite a full month…of vacation!  Yes, you read that correctly.  It is not often that you read that from our family, but we took some much needed time to rest, relax, explore, rejuvenate and be together as a family, thanks to the stimulus checks during the pandemic.  Originally, we planned to go to the Galapagos in June, but since the whole family got Covid-19, we postponed the trip until August.  We were so grateful we were able to do that.  The trip was amazing, so much so, our kids said it was better than DISNEY!  WOW!  Chalk one up for the parents, right?!  Joel and I thoroughly enjoyed it too and it was wonderful to see the kids just enjoying and taking in every experience!  Most mornings we would wake up and say, “well, we don’t get to see or do that everyday!”  Some of the highlights were being so close to all of the animals including sea lions, marine iguanas, lava lizards, sea turtles and SHARKS!  We were able to snorkle every day and most days we walked well over 15,000 steps, some days over 25,000!  You can see some of our pictures below and if you check out our Facebook pages, there are lots of fun videos as well! 

Arriving in Santa Cruz

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July Update – Lot’s o’ News!

We apologize for being a bit out of touch.  It’s been a busy past few months for us with a lot of ups and downs.  Additionally, the Covenant’s Blog service that this blog is hosted on has not been working properly the last couple of months and so we actually haven’t been able to do new blog posts here anyways, that is technologically speaking, so we are going to take the opportunity to catch you up on numerous fronts here in this update.

 

We a reeling this past week after learning of the resignation of our greatly loved Executive Minister of Serve Globally, Al Tizon.  He is a man who we have learned a lot from and for whom we have a lot of respect.  It was very hard for us to come to grips with his resignation, especially as everything has been met with a mix of sadness and confusion.  That said, we will be praying for him in his next steps.

 

Many of you may not be aware but we helped my (Joel’s) dad, Earl, transition into an assisted living facility in the Dallas area of Texas earlier this month, which is about 5 mins away from my older brother’s house.  We had decided a few months ago that it was probably best for him as his mobility was starting to decline and we were getting increasing concerned about his falls.  We feel that this will be a safer option for him.  We are sad to see him go but will definitely cherish the time we had this past year and a half living with us.

 

Kim took Earl up to Dallas in this transition but also spent a week with her best friend Christa in Evansville, IN.  It was a special time for them both as they were both encouraged by just being with one another for the week.  They really don’t get enough time together.

 

As we mentioned briefly in last month’s newsletter, I got a really bad case of covid and was hospitalized twice in the month of June.  I can say that I have never experienced anything like that health wise in my life previously.  It started out as not being too big of a deal with just having body aches and a loss of smell and taste.  However, I soon quickly declined with needing oxygen.  After that I got a stomach infection and pnuemonia which is what caused me to need to be hospitalized.  My three days in the hospital were some of the worst days I have ever experienced though most of it is a fog at this point as I was also experiencing “covid confusion.”  Thankfully after my three days in the hospital, I was quickly on the mend and was back to normal after about another week.  I need to wait to get my vaccination until 90 days after this hospitalization though covid vaccinations have picked up quite a bit in Ecuador and a lot more people are now getting vaccinated.

 

I think I will stop the updates at this point as there is more we can share but this has gotten long enough.  Thank you for reading and keeping up with us and especially for your prayers!

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Summer FUNd for the Santiago Partnership

Don’t let a world-wide pandemic and social distancing prevent you from serving and being a part of international missions!

During the summer months which is the high season for international mission trips, we think of all of you folks a lot and have missed you coming down to be a part of the amazing work that has been happening in Cayambe. Maybe you would be interested in this mission work directly without having to travel here? Maybe you have some extra funds that would have gone towards transportation costs to Ecuador that can be used for this kind of mission work?

Watch the video:

Introducing to you our “Summer FUNd” which we are affectionately calling a list of needs that we have over the summer months. Here are the different areas where the Summer FUNd will be used:

  1. Summer FUNd Outings – A gift of $1,000 can cover the costs of 1 to 2 Special Summer Outings for the kids in the Home for At Risk Children. It’s been a tough Covid-colored school year for the kids in the Home so giving them some special outings over the summer months will go a long way to lift their spirits and give them a break from the routine within the Home.


  2. Summer FUNd Construction — We have been working on the construction of the 2nd Floor of the Home for At Risk Children for quite some time now as this process has been delayed as a lot of the teams have not been able to make it down due to the pandemic. However, the need is great for our staff of almost 30 employees to have offices as well as storage space. We’ve been using what little extra funds we have had to continue this process; however, a gift of $750 will go a long ways to make progress on this construction. We’ll keep you updated on the progress of the construction.

  3. Summer FUNd Guinea Pigs — Our Project Director Rolando Escola has a vision for self-sustainability for the project that includes starting a Guinea Pig farm on the land that is above the Home for At Risk Children. Wouldn’t it be so cute to see the kids in the home helping take care of Guinea Pigs to sell for a profit towards the goal of self-sustainability? Give a gift of $500 to go towards the fence needed to put around the property as well as the initial purchase of Guinea Pigs.

  4. Summer FUNd Community Construction — Many of the community partners we serve through our community programs have homes that are far below the poverty level, often without windows, others having a plastic tarp for a roof, in some cases only Help the project serve its surrounding communities by providing support for homes that bring dignity and comfort. Your gift of $250 will go a long way to help build these homes with a purpose.

Maybe your church or youth group, instead of coming to Ecuador this summer, could pick one of these initiatives that you would like to take part in and help raise funds similar to how you would if you were coming down yourself. Would you be willing to consider this opportunity?

When you are ready, click the Donate button below and select the appropriate amount and put “Summer FUNd” in the section where it says, “Personal Message.” Here are the gift amounts again:

  • $1,000 for Summer FUNd Outings

  • $750 for Summer FUNd Construction

  • $500 for Summer FUNd Guinea Pigs

  • $250 for Summer FUNd Community Construction

 

Donate

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Anniversary Celebration

At the beginning of June, we had a big party in Cayambe! We had the opportunity to celebrate anniversaries of the project. We were celebrating the Medical Clinic being open for 5 years and the Home for At Risk Children for 4 years! We celebrated with over 100 invited guests from near and far, many who came down from the communities we serve up in the mountains. We also had distinguished guests from Government Entities as well as other NGO’s. The festivities began at the Home for At Risk Children where we prayed for the Home and released ballons to commemorate. Then we formed a parade and walked down to the propery of the Iglesia Emanuel and the Medical Clinic and met with all of the invited guests in the soccer coliseum where we could spread out for social distancing.  Kim shared a reflection on the role of women in the project and in the Bible. Special awards were presented and gifts were given to community members who arrived. It was a great celebration of the amazing work that has been accomplished over the past five years.

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Medical Caravan in Oyacachi

About two months ago, the Medical Clinic completed a Medical Caravan in Oyacachi seeing 102 patients which included 62 child wellness check-ups and 40 women’s heath check-ups.  Kim was able to serve.

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