by Sarah Langness
I might as well come right out and admit it: I am feeling sorry for myself. Because for the first time since 2001, I am not attending the FLY (Free Lutheran Youth) Convention. Six times I’ve gone; three as a student, three as a counselor. A majority of my family is in Estes Park, Colorado. Many of my close friends are there. People I haven’t seen in years, don’t keep in good contact with, but still consider dear to my heart – they are there too. But I stayed home. Back in February, when Jordan and I were praying about Zeke and I attending, we felt a peace about staying home. All I’d like to know now is: what happened to that peace?
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that for the past three weeks, I’ve been surrounded by people. Family reunions and wedding activities for two weeks in Minneapolis; then nearly four days of family visiting us here in Beulah. And now, it’s just me and Zeke. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son. But after so much activity, after that whirlwind of three weeks, it’s pretty quiet around here.
So in the midst of my moping, I’m reminding both my heart and my head that the Lord knows what I don’t know. Maybe He wanted us home because of that suspiciously snotty, sometimes congested nose of Ezekiel’s that hasn’t gotten worse but hasn’t gone away. Maybe He wanted us home because He knew those two weeks away really would be enough for us, despite the fact that I currently feel like we could be gone another two. Maybe He wanted me to stay home to remind me that I don’t always have to be in the midst of the “action”, of the exciting things. To remind me that there is ministry to be done right here at home in Beulah. To show me the importance of and power of prayer for a gathering that is 670 miles away.
“Devote yourselves to prayer; keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ . . . Conduct yourselves with wisdom towards outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt . . . ‘Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.'” – Colossians 4:2-3, 5-6, 17; NASB (emphasis mine)
Unfortunately, it’s always one thing to know truth and entirely different thing to believe truth. That’s what I’m working on right now. Who knows, maybe it’ll take all week for that to take place. But I’ve simply got to trust that God’s thoughts and plans are better than my own (Isaiah 55:8-9).
And I better be faithful with the time He has given me in the place He has led me.
The Pillman’s are so happy to introduce their new daughter to the AFLC and WMF. You can see more pictures of her and her new family here.
by Jonni Sliver
Sometimes I struggle to maintain a “Christian Attitude”. I know that doesn’t sound good coming from a missionary. I also know that my battle is not against flesh and blood, and that the families of the children we receive are sought after by the Spirit of God, the same as the children are. But there are times when the reality of what has been done to our little ones is just more than I can handle.
Emily is two and a half years old. She is an absolute princess – lovely, sweet, smart as a whip and affectionate and funny. She has been with us for nearly three months but it is just the last month that we have been able to see a lot of those qualities because she arrived in a state of near panic, trusting no one – step by step she opened her little heart to first one of the house moms, then another. Today she is open and trusting in all of us. That is why I was able to take her to a clinic this week to have tests run, this sweet little lady squeezed my fingers as the nurse drew blood and giggled as I turned a rubber glove into a balloon for her.
That giggle filled my heart but didn’t take away the anger because of why we were there. The tests are for HIV, Hepatitus B and C, and Syphilis (I mentioned she is 2 and a half, didn’t I?). She is with us because her father treated her in forms I can’t even talk about. She is also with us because her grandparents, who say they love their grand baby, feared their son more, and so let him take Emily for visits, even though the child cried and begged them to not go. Emily learned that adults can’t to be trusted.
Recently my devotional reading was in Exodus 22. The chapter is basic law, pretty cut and dry: if this happens, this is the penalty. That is until you get to verses 22-24:
“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.”
When talking about the defenseless, God takes the situation personally. He hears, His anger is aroused, He acts! As I read those words I felt something being released in my heart. God understood my struggles with my attitude. He understands my anger, because what Emily has gone through angers His heart too! On the other hand, He doesn’t ask me to act out my anger against what Emily’s father has done. He is able to settle accounts; He is responsible for bringing justice. What the Lord has asked me (us) to do is to minister His healing, His grace into Emily’s life (and all of our children’s hearts, no matter their age or scars). And that work is our privilege!
Editor’s note: Jonni recently let us know that this precious little Emily’s tests all came back negative! Praise God!