Sunday, May 2, 2010

the woman who said 'no, thanks' to madonna

i've been putting off posting an update from our trip to mn for the orphan summit because, quite frankly...i don't know where to begin...


let's see if i can keep this simple and still relay the impact of the past few days...


the summit began and ended with a specific word to me from God...keep your eyes on ME.  


literally the first contact that amy and i made when we walked in the door on thursday was a precious, spirit-filled woman named lisa.  she had started an orphan ministry in zimbabwe a few years ago...her story was an amazing story of faith...traveling to a foreign country having no idea where she was going or what she was doing but believing that God was leading her to something that he wanted her hand in...as a result hundreds of orphans have been helped.  lisa's biggest piece of advice to me - '...stay in love with the King.  he will remind you as he always reminded me - keep your eyes on me and i will keep my eyes on the kids...'


fast forward...final session at the summit - john piper.  i keep saying that he was the 'exclamation point' at the end of this event...i don't know how else to describe the impact of his message on me.  i could write multiple posts on that one message but let me just highlight one point from pastor john's teaching on hebrews 11...God is better than what life can give and what death can take.  in other words...faith in God means loving Him more than anything (including our orphan ministry)...to me that means pouring out my life in obedience to God's calling on my heart and then leaving the results (triumphant or tragic) up to Him.  And in order to do that...in the midst of overwhelming need and obstacles at every turn...God reminds me that the best thing i can do is...keep your eyes on ME.


so as i seek to do that (and i hope that many of you will hold me accountable on this) i humbly witness the 'Father of the fatherless' unfolding very specific plans for the BLOOM project.  amy and i are literally on the edge of our seats ready for what's next!  over the next weeks i will be rolling out some of the specifics of what we've learned and where we are heading.  i invite anyone with a heart for orphans (which is hopefully all of you : ) to join in the adventure...more to come on that...


just a couple more highlights from summit...


...mary beth and steven curtis chapman demonstrated inspiring authenticity surrounding the loss of their daughter and their deep love for orphans...


...don't let the smiles fool you - our brains are mush!  amy  and me on the last day of summit...
...and finally - the woman who earned the title position for this blog post - theresa malila.  this woman is doing amazing things in malawi where she runs an organization called somebody cares.  as i look ahead to the work we plan to do in burundi i was hanging on this woman's every word about how to do ministry in africa...she knows her stuff!  her programs have ministered to HUNDREDS of villages (which means THOUSANDS of families) over the past 12 years.  she believes so strongly that children in africa are better cared for within communities and families that she told madonna 'no thanks' when she offered to build her an orphanage...now that's a woman who knows what she's doing!  
her quote - 'i am an insignificant woman who has been raised up by God for a significant purpose.'  
God - please let my heart reflect this!