Thursday, November 11, 2010

International Justice Mission

My favorite non-profit organization is, without a doubt, International Justice Mission. You should give them money, and lots of it because they're doing AMAZING things in the Name of Jesus. They're fighting injustice and I believe that through God's power, they're winning. 

I support them financially each month, and this is why:

Location: Bangalore, India
Date: November 4, 2010
Result: 15 slaves freed
Dear Ariel,
Late last week, 15 forced laborers were brought to freedom from the brutal rock quarry where they had been held as slaves. In the quarry, they faced physical violence and verbal abuse — and several victims had not eaten for days at the time of the rescue operation.
Breaking News from Bangalore, India - Nov. 4, 2010
Now free, rescued laborers, accompanied by IJM staff, receive their official release certificates from local authorities.
The rescue operation posed significant challenges for IJM staff and our local government partners. The quarry was located on a dead-end dirt road — the final mile of which was impassible by vehicle.
Despite these obstacles, IJM and the local government and police were able to rescue all 15 slaves — each of whom received official Release Certificates, which entitle them to critical assistance from the government so they can rebuild their lives.
Three children who were living at the facility with their parents were also released and spared a future of slavery. These men, women and children are now back in their home villages, and are enrolled in IJM’s long-term aftercare program.
Thank you for your recent financial support. The freedom these 15 former slaves now know is just one example of how your giving has brought justice to victims of violent oppression.
Laurie Hayes
Laurie Hayes
International Justice Mission

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One year.

On November 8th, 2009 - one year ago this Sunday - we held our first worship celebration services at Del Sol Church Northeast.

I vividly remember what it felt like that morning when I pulled into the parking lot. I remember what it felt like when we had finished rehearsing and prayed up and began to pace around, nervous as could be, wondering if anyone would even show up! I remember what it felt like at 9:29 am when it was one minute away from beginning our first service. I remember when I stood up for the first time and began to preach my first message there.

I can summarize in one word how I felt it all: TERRIFIED. 

And now, one year later, I can still summarize in one word how I feel: GRATEFUL. 


A year later we've got a much better handle on things now programatically speaking. Our services run pretty smooth, for the most part. Our kids ministry team does a phenomenal job - where kids don't want to leave because they enjoy it so much. We've had GrowGroups start up and are seeing people really open up and began to experience true Biblical community. We've served the community like crazy! We have THE best weekly and once-a-month volunteers that you'll find in any church. And I'm very grateful for all of that.

But more than anything I'm mind-blowingly grateful that God would, for reasons I just don't understand, use me and work through me and allow me to lead as a part of His beautiful bride, the Church. I simply don't understand that. I think about all my faults and sins and don't understand why so many people would follow my lead and go along with me on this journey to Love God, Love People, and Serve the World in Northeast El Paso. I'm astounded.

I just don't understand it all, but it's very humbling, and I'm VERY grateful.

Thank You my wonderful Lord Jesus for everything You've done through Del Sol Church Northeast in this year since we began this crazy journey. Thank You for leading us. Thank You for giving us vision and direction. Thank You for sending people who are far from God to us so we can lead them back to You. And more than anything, thank You for using me. I am so far from perfect. I can be such a sinful idiot. And yet, You still choose to pick me up, dust me off, and work through me. Thank You, my God.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's been a long day ...

Today started at 5:30 am for me. I got up, showered, ate, and headed off to meet my dad at Providence hospital and sit with him while he was waiting for his procedure. We waited for about two hours before he was taken in to the surgical suite. 

I'll be honest - I was doing ok up until after they wheeled my dad away into surgery. When I sat down in the waiting room, surrounded by strangers, I fought to keep from crying. I didn't know if I would ever see my dad again. Thankfully I had brought my computer and some books with me so I was able to start working and take my mind off things. 

After being in the waiting room for awhile and texting friends and family to give them updates, I walked down the street about a block away to the Baptist Student Ministry building where I was able to do some more work using their free wifi. It was good to be out of the hospital setting and to just dive into my work. 

By 11:15 am it was time to go back and get an update on my dad. I went back to the waiting room and about 15 minutes later, the doctor came out to tell me the good news that everything went well, they were able to clean out the clogs in his legs, and he would most likely NOT need another surgery.

Not long after that they called me back to walk along as they wheeled my dad to his recovery room. That was pretty difficult too, seeing him asleep on the bed with all the tubes and such all over the place. I could hardly look at him. We got to the recovery room and since he was asleep, I was gonna just hold his arm and say  goodbye - but he woke up so I was able to tell him the outcome of the procedure, and that I love him. He'll be staying overnight in the hospital and I'll pick him up tomorrow, mid-day.

As I walked to my truck, I felt like for the first time in days I was able to breathe again. The stress and anxiety seemed to melt off my shoulders and I was able to relax. I went to the office for a meeting and for what I thought would be just a couple hours of work. I ended up being there til about 5 pm. Naturally, I was little more than a semi-functioning zombie by the time I left the office.

I got home, wanting to take a nap but seemed to be glued to the couch in which I had sat down on to watch TV. Around 5:45 I got up, staggered to my bed, and passed out for about an hour. Then I woke up, showered, and went to get some dinner. Then I gassed up Sam, my truck, and came home. And here I am. And I am SO ready for bed and SO VERY ready for my day off tomorrow.

It's been quite the day, and I hope it's the kind of day I never have to live through again for many years.