Resurrection Power

This Easter Week, I’ve been thinking a lot about “Resurrection Power.”  We use the phrase, but what does this really mean?  Scientists say the image on the Shroud of Turin (the cloth that covered the body of Jesus) was created by an extreme radioactive blast.  The greatest power on Earth.  Amazing.

In Resurrection Power, we see life triumph over death.  While this seems impossible to some, I witness this power over and over again in orphans and foster youth.  No where is Resurrection Power more evident to me than in their stories of choosing life.

The first orphan I met is our son Lawrence.  Lawrence came to the U.S. in 2006, at age 12 as a member of the African Children’s Choir and was hosted by our church.

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Lawrence was born an orphan.  His father died before he was born and his mother died in childbirth.  He was raised by a resentful older sister (his father was a Muslim polygamist with 46 children).  This sister imposed cruelty beyond imagine.  One night when he was small, she beat him all night long with an old umbrella handle — the wires of the umbrella tearing his flesh until he almost died of the blood loss.  A flogging.

He survived, crawled to the streets, and was eventually taken by a Good Samaritan to the local orphanage.

In 2008, my husband and I traveled to Uganda to see Lawrence and the choir children after they returned home, and Lawrence took us to visit that orphanage.  It was my first.

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And on that day, I learned what I didn’t know.

I didn’t know that nations were full of children without parents.

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I didn’t know a child could survive on one meal a day of porridge.

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I didn’t know that a school could have no doors and no books and no paper.

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I didn’t know the Resurrection Power deposited in the heart of an orphaned child by the One who loves him most.

We didn’t see Lawrence again for many years, but the love we felt for him, and what he taught us, opened our hearts to the family we now adore.  In 2015, we found each other again.  I sat on a porch one evening in Uganda and told Lawrence that he was the first boy we ever wanted to adopt, and tears dropped silently off his cheeks.

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Lawrence became our son that day, but he really always had been. Unfortunately, our laws and immigration policies believe that there is an age at which you are too old to need or deserve a family.  It’s a lie. And so while we may be separated by the Atlantic, our hearts are together always.

I have seen children rise from spiritual, emotional, and even physical “death” over and over again in the last 10 years.  Just like Jesus’s resurrection, I stand in awe of their courage and power.

Today is Lawrence’s 23rd birthday.  And he is still rising.  His heart’s desire is to help others show Resurrection Power.

In his own words:

I reached a point in my life where I thought I was the most useless creature on Earth, young as I was. I didn’t think there would ever be anyone who would come into my life, love me the way I was and most importantly restore my lost hope. Life was so tough for me on the street to the extent that I planned to commit suicide, thinking it was the best option rather than suffering all my entire life. Thanks be to God who brought a lady from nowhere just as I was on the plan of throwing myself into a fast moving car so that it could just finish me completely.

But later, through the new family that God gave me, my dream started of beginning a ministry, Hope for the Lost Ministries (HLM).  Many children in Africa live a life of hardship, struggle and suffering. This is because most of these children are orphans while others are vulnerable. The aim of HLM is to get such street kids from wherever they may be, teach them music and how to play live instruments plus performing.  Through these performances, the children will get donations and sponsors which will in turn help through their education and accommodation. The process is long and needs a lot of time but I believe God will provide. And more so, these children will be because we are.”

Lawrence not only believes in Resurrection Power in his own life, he wants to bring it now to others like him.  We are proud but not surprised.

I have seen children rise from spiritual, emotional, and even physical “death” over and over again in the last 10 years.  Just like Jesus’s resurrection, I stand in awe of their courage and power.

I am witness to the Resurrection through them.  And I am so grateful.

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P.S.  I wrote this blog, saved the draft, jumped in the car to go to small group, and the first thing I heard on the radio was Chris Tomlin singing “I Have Resurrection Power.” Can’t make this stuff up.  Here’s the song for your enjoyment: “Resurrection Power”

 

Three Little Children and One Big Miracle

I am going to tell you the story of three children who don’t each other, but whose lives and destinies are inextricably connected.

It all began one day last May when I was horrified to see this picture on Facebook:

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This little boy is named Irishura, and I was told his stepmother held his hands in the fire for punishment. (take a breath, she was taken to jail.)

After showing this photo to my Bible study group of powerful women intercessors, we all agreed to raise funds to help Irishura get medical care.  We were sure these terrible burns could lead to loss of his hands and perhaps a deadly infection.

And my wonderful friends rallied very quickly, praying daily, and we found a hospital in the U.S. to treat Irishura.  Then, as we began to move ahead with the plan, our contact in his country went to see him with some paperwork, and called me in shock.  He said Irishura no longer needed help.

“What?” I asked in disbelief.

I thought our phone connection had me mishearing him.  But it was true.  He sent a picture.  Irishura being held by his father.

IMG_7050Irishura had new hands.   Beautiful new pink hands.

I returned to my intercessors…”Ladies, what did you pray?”

“We prayed for healing of course!!”

So there you go.

“Your faith has made you well” said Jesus. (Matt 9:22)

My ladies believed…and God supernaturally healed Irishura.

But the Lord had more to this story.  He was leading us on a journey…

The same villagers who told us Irishura was healed, told us there was another girl in a nearby village who needed help with her burned hands.

IMG_7051And so we learned about little Jeannine, who had fallen into the fire during a seizure.

21211556_1498134598.6003_funddescriptionWhat remained for poor little Jeannine was an open stump, and suffering beyond imagination.  (These pictures are hard but so is the truth of this story.)

So we brought Jeannine to Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati, the hospital that had agreed to treat Irishura!

20479563_1863492760343888_3039297047350073981_nAnd her treatment was successful and she returned at Christmas to her waiting mom and dad.

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But while Jeannine had been in the hospital in her home nation, there was another little girl across the hall named Jessica.  When Jessica was four years old, she accidentally drank from a bottle that contained acid.  And she had burned away her esophagus and was unable to eat or drink.  She was being kept barely alive with a feeding tube and “mash”.

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Jessica is waiting now for her miracle.

Let me be real.  At this point in the story, I was tired.  It’s a lot of coordination and fundraising to bring a child from another nation.  When the local pastor in Africa asked me to also help Jessica, I was angry at God.  “I can’t do it all God!  I’m out of donors and contacts and I just can’t” I cried to Him one night before bed.

But, the very next morning, my niece wrote me and told me about her relative at a different Shriners.  She didn’t even know about Jessica…she was inquiring about Jeannine and was mixed up!  But wouldn’t you know that this other Shriners has one of the top esophageal reconstructive surgeons in our nation.  Yep.

And just like that, God went BAM and laid out the whole plan for Jessica.

Which brings us today.  Or should I say tomorrow.  Because tomorrow is my 56th birthday and what I want is a plane ticket for Jessica (and her mom).  Before she gets sicker, before she loses more weight, before she loses hope.

And so I’m hoping if you’ve made it this far in this story, you might consider giving me $56.00 to help Jessica.  If just 100 of my friends find in their hearts to do this, Jessica and her mom will be on their way to her miracle…a new esophagus and a new life.

Here is the link to give.

I’m really excited to help the Lord finish this incredible story.

Thanks for being a part of it.

Happy Birthday to me!

 

More Than a Wink

One of my goals is to tell you more of my “God Stories”, so in His unending graciousness, He started my year off with a great one.

I was invited last week to a meeting in Washington DC, that would be one of the most significant meetings I have ever attended in orphan ministry.  I did not think it was possible for me to be there, but God did a bunch of amazing things to allow me to go.

While on the short flight, I was nervous with anticipation, so I just put on my I-tunes and had some prayer and worship there in my seat.

And then suddenly I had a moment of regret, because I had forgotten my special cross!  I was given this cross in 1978 on the weekend I met Jesus.  Then I lost it for THIRTY YEARS.  And then God showed me where it was in 2007, after I rededicated my life to Him.  And it became incredibly special to me, because the back of this cross says “Christ is Counting on You.”

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So, now whenever I speak in a church or do something significant for the Lord, you will see me wearing it.  Here I am wearing it in Uganda in 2015, (with our foster son Lawrence.)

IMG_1279But, sadly, on this day it was still hanging on my dresser where I keep it now. (So it doesn’t get mixed in with my massive chunky bead collection).

IMG_8900I was feeling so sad that I forgot my special cross for this VERY IMPORTANT MEETING.  I got off the plane, jumped in an Uber, and looked up to see a sight that left me speechless.  In FORTY YEARS, I have never seen another cross like mine.  But there it was, hanging off the mirror of the Uber guy.

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And yes, he let me hold it and yes, my hands were shaking because I couldn’t believe it.

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I told him the story.  He said his cross is very old too.  And he told me his story, how his name is David and his father is Abraham and he was born in Afghanistan, and now he is an evangelist and has brought many to Christ.

My husband likes to say that sometimes God gives us a “wink,” a little sign, to show us He is listening.  But this was more than a wink. This was a big wave, a big affirmation from my Father that He hears my prayers, He is ordering my steps, and He is counting on me this year.

So, I pray that you get your own wink.  Maybe you’ve already had a great one this year…tell us about it in the comments.

Let’s all write our stories down, so we can see Him working, and as Mother Teresa said, be a little pencil in His hand.

Be brave…Christ is Counting on You.