It started in Oklahoma. But if I am honest, I suspect it was already beginning long before that. (Read part 1 here.)
My last meal in Oklahoma City was an impulsive breakfast at a Guatemalan café just before my afternoon flight home. I stared at all the murals and wondered if indeed this place might ever happen to me. I spent the rest of that summer dreaming. And then on the whispered invitation of a whim, I applied to join the base and soon enough I was accepted, then suddenly dressed in my graduation gown, walking across a stage, moving back home, packing for Guatemala, and arriving in a country I had never before known to live in this house mostly full of people I didn’t yet know.
Sometimes that’s how life is. The best decisions are also the hardest ones are also the ones that made the least sense in the beginning.
This year has been one massive paradigm shift after another at the base in Guatemala. I have been here for about three and a half months… Things have changed more times than I can count. But I don’t think I’d have it any other way.
Over the last few months, I watched the way things started to align in correlation to our developing relationship with orphanages in the area but said nothing about that Tuesday in an Oklahoma City homeless shelter where prophecy was poured out underneath fluorescent lighting because it simply wasn’t time.
And sometimes that’s how prophecy is: God sharing his heart and inviting you to celebrate the delicate beauty of it before the promises bloom.
In this case, it was his surprise to reveal, not mine. There was no rush, no need to conjure anything up. I did not wait with baited breath. Because when they’re his blueprints, the building schedule will be right on time.
Now here we are making our way through May and I am thrilled to announce that yes, we are beginning partnerships with local orphanages and other organizations. Yes, we are building those relationships and seeking ways to develop discipleship. Yes, we are asking the hard questions, like:
What does it look like to love well? In what ways can we specifically honor these children—many of whom have suffered unthinkable tragedy and abandonment—and provide them with an atmosphere of stability and safety? What does it mean to be ‘long-term’? What is faithfulness on a practical, tangible level? What does it look like to adopt a child into my heart and be as present, as involved, as invested as I can be for the rest of their life? How can we improve already-existing ministry structures? How can we make this the best it can possibly be?
So yes, we are getting involved with orphanages. We’re listening to the Father’s invitation and as a result inviting others to know him, too. But no, this is not an orphan ministry.
These are girls and boys, daughters and sons, with names and birthmarks and favorite sweaters and talents and hobbies and dreams.
So, this is not an orphan ministry. Rather, we are a hands-and-feet, right-in-the-thick-of-it, figuring-it-out-as-we-go ministry. We are a sons-and-daughters ministry. We are a ministry of prodigals learning how to be children again ourselves, understanding what it means to come back home. And it is therefore our deepest hope to echo the Father’s faithful heart for the physically orphaned, the emotionally orphaned, and the spiritually orphaned.
“Once you were Orphan,” I hear him say, “but now you are Daughter. Once you were Orphan, but now you are Son.”
Join me as we pray and seek and strategize and plan. Join me as figure this thing out, as we stumble our way into spring. I’m excited to see where the Lord leads us, and for the chance to sing more stories of his faithfulness on the ordinary Tuesdays of life. It’s hard work, but it’s work worth doing. And friends, I’m all in.
These precious ones are the future. Old labels will no longer bind them. Freedom is calling. The offer is open. Will we answer? Will we start the conversation? Will we partner together as we show the next generation the way?
Such is the gospel. May we always be a people who say yes to such an invitation.
Photo by Kara Yohan