Tag Archives: HIV

burdens worth bearing

The cats are curled up like lazy commas all around the house and  I’m tempted to join them except  it would totally ruin my “recovery from jet lag” plan!

Instead, I find myself sitting here scanning through the nearly three weeks of pictures and the very real memory of it all hits me right between my breastbone and eyeballs: the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, the lives that were touched along the way.

The way my life was touched by theirs.

The faces.
The smiles.
The eyes.

Funny School Kids

The naked joy of uniformed school children in all degrees of dress, running, laughing and waving along roadsides strewn with trash.

The constant underlying tension of poverty and despair pulling hard against the unmistakeable beauty of life being lived more simply.

And how that strange medley of sight, sound and smell still gathers around the edges of each photo  taken in that land seemingly fueled by diesel,  dust and dung.

It gets on you. It gets in you.

It changes you.

It really has to and you sorta want it to even though you know… it won’t be temporary.

bearing burdens

I’ve done enough trips like this so that by now I expect and welcome the changes that must come in me as a result.

I’ve also learned not to exploit the situation by getting ridiculously sappy and over emotional (you can thank me later) while expressing what I know God did there– as if He doesn’t do amazing things right here or anywhere else if we only have the eyes to see that it’s not about the location.

I’m not here to say I’m moving to Africa (unless God calls us to) but I confess that I am being moved and I hope to never stop moving.

Let me tell you more…

a rebel with a cause

Five  random facts about Lorretta that you may not care to know:

1) Lilacs are my favorite flower. I’ll take a fist-full of lilacs over a dozen roses any day.

2) My middle name is Lynn…making me, yes…. “Lorretta Lynn”. My mother hoped I’d be the next Country & Western star. She tried naming my baby sister “Tammy Wynette” but …thankfully, no.

3) I skipped kindergarten, becoming the only 5-year old in first grade and sealing my fate for social awkwardness for the remainder of my school career and… possibly for  life!

4) I come ridiculously undone in the presence of Jelly-Belly jellybeans.
It’s not pretty people; all social courtesies go out the door. #donottouchmyjellybellies

Finally…

5) I have a warrior spirit.  I am a fighter….and a bit of a rebel…  with a cause.

a rebel with a cause

I almost joined the Air Force right out of high school and seriously considered the Peace Corps as well. Neither happened and I don’t quite remember why but in my heart, I knew it wasn’t a good fit.

I was right.

By God’s grace, I married instead and for many reasons, I  see how that decision has been used to hone my rough edges and temper this Warrior Spirit within me.

 

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My husband has a warrior spirit too. I oughta know; he’s fought for me.

This is the guy who wanted to be a war photographer.  Back in his photojournalism days, he loved being in the middle of that breaking news story or on the edges of that raging wildfire. He did join the Air Force and for a time, that experience took us on many little adventures.

This is a drawing from the journal we kept when the Air Guard moved us to Reno:

Reno or BUST 2

As you can see, it was quite the adventure, and the adventures just keep coming!

Nearly twenty-five years of marriage and the raising of three children have served to purge a great deal of selfishness and immaturity from us, leaving behind a friendship forged and tempered in the merciful fires of God’s testing.

It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t always been great, but it’s good and getting good-er all the time.

So why am I telling you all this?

 

Well, many years ago….yes, many, MANY years ago…God began to speak into our lives and gave us a vision. It was then that our walk with Him got real. We started seeking hard and praying together and in the midst of a very large move-of-God project, we heard HIS call to missions.
Unmistakably.
We got all excited. Hubby quit his job. We started our own video production company with a media missions emphasis and knew deep in our hearts we’d be on the field telling God stories in no time .
And we weren’t going to do weddings because only lame film companies do weddings. We were media missionaries and we were gonna do important God-work.

 

Which meant…. weddings. Lots of weddings.
And humbling. Lots of humbling.
And pain. Loss. Uncertainty. Fear.
Bad choices and  bounced checks.

 

Feeling….thinking, ” Were we wrong? Did we misunderstand God?” No, we didn’t misunderstand God but obviously… we needed some schoolin’… and some time.

 

MANY years.
It took every one of those bless-ed  years to learn what God’s call to missions is  not. To learn how to serve Christ alone, leaning on God alone.

To learn how to serve with a Spirit of humility, working hard at whatever God brought our way. Weddings, volunteer projects and short-term missions with (and outside of) our church, cultivating in us a sensitive heart for God’s people everywhere.

We’ve had to learn to do it joyfully, often thanklessly and with complete humility and integrity. We’ve had to learn how to fail, repent and rise and walk again.

Most of all, we’ve had to learn to trust in the Spirit’s leading and God’s timing–to hear his voice, and to take our eyes off our selves and OFF THE CALL (yes, off the call) and keep them fixed on Jesus and letting the ministry of the Gospel apply to our own lives first.

 

 Sounds easy, right?
A bunch of years people.
Apparently we rank up there with Moses and Joseph at the top of the class in the School of Hard Knocks and Great Love.

 

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the spiritual life
So we come to today with humble hearts. Because God is sorta “graduating” us to the next step. There’s more to this story (always!) than I can relate to you here and now but I’m grateful to announce that we
are going to to the field.

We are not moving …yet, no. But there’s a wonderful project I need to tell you all about, done through an agency I’ll tell you more about, working with partners and fellowships already in place and seeking to meet the needs of people all around the world.

It’s BIG.
It’s BEAUTIFUL
It’s so very GOD.

 

So with our 15-year old son we’re headed to Kenya and Swaziland! We’ll be gone most of July visiting and encouraging partners in the field as we seek to tell the stories of the lives being touched through Baptist Global Response and their hospice bucket project.

 

Hospice buckets….for the dying...from old age and terminal diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS is taking lives by the thousands every day in these countries. Swaziland alone is on track for EXTINCTION (no lie) if  something doesn’t change.

 

So we’re going to tell the stories of what’s being done to help and of the Great Healer and Hope behind it all.  We’re going to help connect people in need with people who care.

Can I be honest?  I’m rightly terrified.  For all the reasons I could be and should be, I go in fear. But my awe and trust in God is far greater. All I have to do is look back at what He’s done and see how He’s patiently prepared us for this moment.  Fourteen years.

And if God thinks we’re ready, who am I to argue?!
But we need you. We need other warriors.

Prayer warriors who will join us in praying for wisdom and discernment, for provision and protection as God sees fit.

We need prayers for our strength as we travel to places we’ve never been, and for our hearts as we seek to hear God’s story through the lives being touched by this project and changed by Him.
Then prayers to do His work and tell these stories well.
We’ll need prayers to discern what God’s next steps might be.
Join us?

 

open road of prayer

 

I hope so.

In the meantime….nothing’s changed. Not really. I’ll just be hammering away and telling the stories of our very real God, very real and present in my very real life today. And I’ll be telling you more about this adventure along the way.

And weddings….if you know someone getting married, we’ll gladly come!  After all, it’s where Jesus began His work as well.   Let’s celebrate!

 

In Christ alone,Lorretta signature