June 5, 2014
It's The Children Who Suffer
I would like to offer you a first-hand account from a friend of mine. Betty is one of the most obedient Christian women I know. She is in her late 70s and has served as my friend and mentor. She is always an inspiration, and as she tells her story of Christian service to these immigrant children, I want us all to let go of our political and social biases and see them as God sees them ... His children. Here is Betty's story:
I am sending you this because of what I saw and did this past week on my deployment for Texas Baptist Men Disaster Team. Let me say that during the more than 40+ years God has used TBM to relieve suffering and bring in His harvest, it is because we have not been a political organization. We have very capable people at the top who work with FEMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and governments around the world. We never go anywhere without an invitation, and when our leaders decide what they want us to do, and that we are willing to do what they ask, then the word is passed down to people called "White Caps", who then pass it on to "Blue caps" who supervise the many different teams and units who are staffed by "Yellow caps".
Now having given you that information let me simply say, unless you are a White cap, you do not have an opinion. You do the job, in a fashion that glorifies the Father, or you turn in your cap and go home. Otherwise we would not have been able to get in the many places we go, for each place has their own agenda. As long as we stick to ours, which in my case is to wash and dry clothes, and show the love of Christ, and sometimes in word, we do great things and God blesses. But we do not give interviews, violate anyone's dignity or privacy, nor speak our minds where it is not asked. So now please do not reply telling me what America should be doing, or how you would solve the problem. If that is your wish, run for office.
A bit over a week ago I received word from TBM that we were going to the [Rio Grande] Valley ... a total of six people headed out, not knowing what we were facing ... We worked most days until 11:30 pm before our tired bodies were put to bed; but still under His grace they continued to work.
But let me tell you that we cleaned the dirtiest clothes I have ever seen, worn by the most precious children I have ever seen. Their estimated ages were from infants to 14. At first we did not have close communication or interaction with them, but like each deployment when the officials know they can trust us, God opens doors. So by the time we left we were touching them, helping them, playing with them through those who could speak the language, and they responded. They were just children, much like yours and mine.
For one shining moment we had the opportunity to touch them with loving hands, good food, clean clothes, and smiles. Some of the children could speak English and helped us to translate so that we could speak with the others. They helped me say, with a word of love, that I had come to tell them Jesus loved them, had died to give them a relationship with Him, and He had sent me to tell them that. As I finished with each child, I would say to the one translating for me, "Tell them my prayers will go with them that God's love and protection will go before them", and one little girl said to the translator, "Is this America?" I wept.
It is not a perfect world. We can't save them all. But we can do whatever God allows us to, and work hard to honor Him. And it should not surprise you that the unsaved powers in our government learned to trust us, get out of our way, and let us do the jobs we are well trained to do. Even hardened Border guards lightened up. If even for a few days, they could relax a bit because we are there helping them. And in this atmosphere, God brings in the harvest both from the children, and from officials, who never thought they needed to seek God in the first place. By showing them the love of Christ, they want what we have.
Betty's email to me ended with these few encouraging thoughts: How you can make a difference is to pray, to give, and to go. This work is not for everyone, but it happens to be my journey of joy. If you can't go, you can pray; and when God provides you can give.
Secondly, you can seek the Father as to what you can do. The Scripture we lovingly call the great commission is simply our marching orders: As you go, teach them all you know of the Christ....that is a Betty translation.
In my more than 75 years of serving the Lord, and much of that in ministry, I have learned three words that stand me in a good place:
1. Sovereign: God does have the whole world in His hand. He knows what is going on and I can trust Him with my life. Sure, I work as safely as I know how, but ultimately His protection goes with me. Twenty-five years of working in infectious disease taught me that.
2. Holy: God cannot use me if my vessel is dirty. His love only seeps through when my life is broken, and given in service. In all the broken places, His love and grace flow out.
3. Relax: That means if He is trust worthy, and I am living my holy life, I can relax. Taking one day at a time. When I follow the first two, the rest of the way is a piece of cake. I simply do today, the job He gives me, in the way He provides. I take one step at a time, in the light, as He provides. I have learned when I get up and follow Him, the light always proceeds where I need to step.
Many thanks to the God we serve, and may all we do collectively, honor Him.
As you can see by this testimony, my friend Betty is a Godly woman. We all know that our immigrant "problem" will not be easily solved. But, through this experience, she has shown us that it is more important to carry out Christ's commission to teach the world about Him. Betty refers to herself as "a planter of the seed." She relies on God's higher power to water that seed and make it grow. But she knows if she doesn't plant, there will be no harvest. May we all have the grace to view all of God's children in this merciful light. Thank you, Betty, for sharing your experience and showing us the human and spiritual side of this crisis. At the end of the day, that's what counts.
Matthew 18:14 "So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."