Friday, July 15, 2016

His Hands Working in A Heavy World

The world is a heavy place these days. Sometimes I have to stop and remember that it has always been so; perhaps just in a quieter, less publicized form. Now, we get text alerts when there is breaking news around the world or we see it broadcasted live as it all unfolds. I think this adds up to a feeling of great oppression and confusion. For me at least, it leaves me breathless asking "what is going on!?" 

Today I took a drive just for the sake of clearing my head and to settle my heart. I live in the country so I decided to drive into the city for a change of pace. Usually driving to the city for me means running to a Dr. office or the grocery store and I end up rushing by the life taking place there. Today was different though. I went intently looking at what was going on around me. What I saw were people laughing together as they waited for the bus, road construction crews busily working hard to complete their task so that "life can move on", Trucks delivering goods to local shops creating commerce for our area, mothers and fathers with children in tow doing life together, youths hanging out because it's summer wading through the mirky waters of figuring out who they are and how they fit, houses being re-built after years of neglect and abuse with the hopes of a good life to come in it. 

We keep moving. We keep pressing on even when the news stands are full of hate, discrimination, violence, anger, and politics. Human kind was not intended for any of that. We need to move past the news and listen to real life. It is the half truth news that fuels dissension and upset of all kinds. We cannot get rid of the news or the publicity all together but we can work towards being selective about how we read the news and choosing not to judge until we know the story fully. There are some stories that we cannot fully know unless we go find out ourselves. Other stories we can get the truth through reliable social contacts who are, have been, or are working directly with those who are experiencing the news for themselves. 

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting with my friends Joel & Terri Shafer who are working in Fiji. They are currently on the main Island just "doing life" with the locals. 

Joel works with The College of Theology and Evangelism Fiji which is an organization of Ambassadors for Christ South Pacific. He has all kinds of jobs that they need him to do, everything from general contracting to electrical or vehicle repair and anything in-between. The need for trained specialists in these areas is very high in Fiji, Joel says. He is looking forward to helping the College build a camp this coming year. Please pray about going to Fiji! Maybe you have a gift that they need!  

Terri get's to see life from a very different angle as life in Fiji is very different for women than the life of a women is in America. They have plenty of responsibilities and much hard work in raising their babies and taking care of their home but it looks very different than it does for the American housewife; there are no carpools or PTAs, no it is a much less busied pace than the one we keep in America but no less full. Terri has had to struggle a bit to find her place there but she has so many wonderful gifts and God has opened just the right doors for her to be able to reach out into her community there with those gifts. She recently took a job housesitting on one of the neighboring islands, Taveuni, about an 18 hour boat ride away from Fiji, but the house owner paid for her to have a plane ride there so she should come. During her stay, she encountered a group of physicians who were in great need of experienced Operating Room Nursing Staff. Not only that but the particular surgery that they were in such a great need for at that time was one that Terri was well trained in; ENT related. There are no such things as coincidence, just a great God who aligns His workers at exactly the right time for the work He has prepared them to do. This was definitely one of those times. The Hospital group that Terri worked with is not a faith based organization but after that week, the staff and Terri couldn't help but sit around and tell the story over and over about how God brought her at just the right time so that lives could be saved and they could go on with their surgeries. Today, Terri continues to work with that Hospital group, The Loloma Foundation. In addition, Terri is working to get grants and funding to supply materials and tools for her to teach weaving to the local women. They have many old shirts, rags and such that could be washed and used to weave rugs and other handmade goods to sell. Having the ability to sell something at market for your family is very important for a woman in Fiji and the surrounding islands. Terri would like to give women there the tools and knowledge they need to be able to have these goods to sell in market. Please pray for her as she continues to work toward that effort. 

As I sat listening to the Shafers and all they have experienced in the 9 months they were in Fiji so far I couldn't help but reflect on our own life here and how being "plugged in" all the time steals the life out of community and really experiencing loving people without the lens of media on. It has been a good kick in the pants so to speak to remember to unplug more and just get into the world and experience it, pray for it, let God lead your experiences and follow His leading. He certainly knows what he's doing. Even when this world looks bleak from the outside looking in let's push past that and really dig in and get to know what it is God is at work doing and then join Him in it. 


For more information about the Shafer's you can follow them at: His Work our Hands