Wednesday, February 13, 2019

the best way to know you're desired


There are curves, turns, steep mountains, low valleys, and big bumps that I never saw coming.

I've been telling Him I'm sorry, that I know He deserves better. This doubt, these wrecks, I'm embarrassed for Him to see. But I've been showing Him anyway. 

He's been staring right at it all and do you know what He's been saying in response to my mess? 
"I love you, Abbie."

Jesus has so much mercy. 

My faithfulness wavers, my weakness shines bright, my questions pile high, I'm messier than I ever thought I'd be, but He continues to want me. The Maker of life, He wants me. 

To be desired: a need deeply designed into every person alive. 
Oh, to be desired. 

A couple months ago, I was in a long line waiting to go through immigration at the airport in Malaysia. The kid in front of me, about 13, was with his mom-a petite blonde with energy and stress, nice to talk to. We were the only foreigners in the line so we had conversation in our shared language. Speaking English is kinda comforting in some places. We talked about her husband's traveling job, how often they move countries, the boy's trouble keeping friends. The line went fast. 

I knew my time with them was coming to an end, so I said a few words about loving Jesus, then asked “Do you have faith? A religion of any kind?”  The blonde mom replied, “We don’t talk about that in our house.” The kid said he wasn’t sure what he believed, and he didn’t know much about Jesus.  Then suddenly, it was their turn to go see the immigration officer. I was out of time. I racked my brain, trying to think of a quick way I could direct the boy to the Gospel, maybe a link to a Gospel video or something. I was blank. 

My history with Jesus, the mercy He keeps wooing me with, it couldn't be expressed in my last few seconds with them. What could I do?

In-love God wants the 13 year-old kid from the immigration line, his stressed mom, the nations, and me and you, to be in a forever-long love relationship with Him. He desires us.

The deep need to be desired felt by all of us, it can be met to an extent by people. But only to an extent. Family, friends, lovers, it's satisfying when they desire us, but the need is deeper than they can fully meet. 

There aren't conditions to God's desiring us.  When we're weak and questioning Him, when we're strong and pursuing Him, His desire for us goes unchanged. And it reaches deep. What a comfort. 

It’s the greatest Story ever told. When believed and embraced, the Main Character of the Story, the God who became a Man, comes into our beings with His Spirit and changes us, changes our days, changes our eternities. To fill us with love. To marry us. That’s His aim.

"I'll put together a video with an easy link, then be able to direct people to the Gospel!" I thought to myself as the immigration officer stamped my flimsy blue passport and the mom and boy disappeared into the airport. 

Confused, messy, but in love with God, I've been sitting in my room putting together clips sent by my friends from Mexico, the Netherlands, India, South Africa, and several places in between. Together, in this film, we tell the Gospel in 4 minutes and 30 seconds so the 13 year-old boys in Thailand can watch. And so anyone else can, too. God wants us to know Him. 

 Watch it. Share it. Show it to your friends. Show it to strangers. Jesus is in love. 

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. You’re desired. 

God is love.
-1 John 4:8

p.s. the "easy" part to the link is coming with a website update in the next few weeks. 



Saturday, February 9, 2019

why birthdays show us Heaven and I’m feeling more hope

My latest and greatest plan, to treat people like it’s their birthday the other 364 days, too. Because God does. My latest and greatest plan is God’s oldest and goldest. Wow. What a rhyme. 

The guy to my right on the plane had the window seat. It was a short flight, a small plane, and I was thinking about Heaven and Hell. I was wondering why I didn’t talk about eternity more often.  

We all get a start day and we all get an end day. The in-between is up to us. 

I wondered about the guy next to me. Jesus was whispering to me that He loved him and wanted to spend forever with him. “Are you going to Heaven or Hell?” seemed harsh. And like, if I were the guy, and the odd blonde in seat 17D asked me that question, I’d turn and stare out my oval window for the rest of the flight.

So, I turned to him and chose these three words instead: “Jesus loves you.” He smiled and replied, “I feel like He may not always.” For the next 15 minutes, Ben and I talked about Jesus, shame, knowing you’re not doing a good job, and Ben kept repeating, “It’s my fault.” 

Today’s my birthday. Every year, this day is my reminder that I began. And that I will end. All the in-between, I want to let Heaven grow in me and spread around me.

I think Heaven looks kinda like a birthday party. Full of friendship thick and sweet, family excited about each other, hearts amazed by Jesus; I want every day I live to be packed with the same stuff. And not other stuff. 

Then, do you know what happened? Without any Heaven or Hell questions, Ben said, “If you asked me if I would go to Heaven today, I’d have to say I don’t know.”

When we venture out to love, pushing through the awkward and offering a “Jesus loves you” or a “Can I pray for you?” or “Here’s a present I thought you’d like,” He knows how to use it and let people feel His love. And how to make them aware of eternity. It’s already written on their hearts.*

I assured Ben that Jesus loves Him, died to take every bit of his fault, and is making a place for him in Heaven.  

The more I let God love me with His “Girl-you’re-amazing-and-I-love-the-way-I-designed-you” celebration, the more I want to spread all that celebration (Heaven) with everybody everywhere. 

Go with love. Jesus isn’t wanting to scare or guilt people into Heaven; He’s wanting to love them right into His friendly arms. 

I didn’t blow any balloons up for Ben, but I have started carrying a pack of balloons in my purse so now I’m ready for next time. Treating people like it’s their birthday shows them God’s way. 

Kara had a card waiting for me by the bananas this morning. Jessica brought over early-morning balloons and repeated hugs.  Meagan drove hours to be here. Dad took me to coffee. Celebration of life. It’s God’s way, His idea. 

“Hey! I gave your life a start and I’m so glad I did!” He sings to us. We get to help each other hear His song and feel His celebration. 

“Mom, she was excited. She’s always liked babies. You were her last one,” Dad said across the coffee table this morning as we discussed my birth.  

Some people don’t have an excited-about-who-they-are mom, or a kind-hearted Dad to tell them stories about their birth, but every human being has an excited-they’re-alive Maker. Let’s let each other know! All 365 days! 

Before we got off the plane, Ben encouraged me to keep “Spreading the love.”

Let’s bring each other balloons and take each other to coffee and tell each other how much Jesus loves us.

God, let Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven (how fun!).
Amen. 

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭

*we get to hear God’s voice! John 10:27
T

Monday, December 31, 2018

How We Can All Have a Simple, Beautiful, and Good 2019 (guaranteed)


We sat next to her in the nursing home dining room. She played with a deck of cards made for the blind, braille in the corner of each card. 

She's been my friend for years, and when I'm in the U.S., I find myself sitting with her, listening to her nursing home tales, the horrors of her childhood, how much she misses her husband, and how much she appreciates my visits.

She really wanted to win the card game because the prize was a quarter. She didn't win, but when Dad and I hugged her bye, we left her a couple quarters. 

That's what Jesus is like. And He's making me and Dad like Him. 

It's so simple. And beautiful. And good. 

We sit with Jesus, we read what He says in the Bible, we talk to Him about it, we tell Him about the struggles in our hearts, we live in friendship with Him, He drives us to nursing homes with extra quarters in our pockets, He flies us to India to stay in orphanages and preach the Gospel to people who've never heard it.
It's all together; with Him, and with people. 

Jesus leads some to stay-at-home-mom-life, others to working-60-hour-weeks-dad-life, and some to all-over-the-globe-and-always-changing-life. No matter where He leads, following Him is always simple, beautiful, and good.

Have you noticed that it's easy to let your life be consumed with 4,508,398 things besides being with Jesus? I have. When He starts drifting to the back of my mind, things start seeming less simple, less beautiful, and less good. 

Luke 10:38-42* describes the scene Jesus wants us to live in. A woman named Mary wanted nothing but connection with Him, so she sat at His feet and listened to Him talk. There were probably other conversations happening in the room, and I'm sure many other things she could’ve been doing. But she knew there was only one thing in life that mattered, and that one thing is what she chose.

My life, inside of me, I want to stay like that; leaning in and listening to His voice.

“I have many things to do, but you’ve reminded me to just sit before God,” said the beautiful old Indian lady at a small church in India where I shared about Mary of Bethany. We're all like the beautiful old Indian lady, with many things to do, but God wants to remind us regularly, there's only one thing that's needed. 

 Loving Him completely and wildly, it's what He wants. "First love" He calls it in Revelation 2. He warns us in that chapter that first love can grow cold, that we can forget Him, that burning hearts can get dull. We get busy and we get distracted.  

But we get to sign back up! He lets us come back to first love! He un-distracts us and sets us back on fire! I sometimes let my interior life look away from Him, growing dull and tired, but then He lovingly beckons me back. His beckon always leads me to loving Him more, and loving people more. 

He wants to be loved and that's why we keep breathing. There's nothing fancier, bigger, better, or more important than lovingly interacting with God and then lovingly interacting with people. Jesus said it really straightforward in Mark 12:30-31. 

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' The second is like it, 'Love your neighbor as you love yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

"Undistracted" is the word I want God to use to describe me in 2019. I'm going to live the year in love, with Jesus and with people. 
Will you choose to do the same?

Ask the Lord now, and then on a regular basis, 
"Jesus, help me to know how much You love me and help me love You back." 
Tell Him you want to obey the first and second commandments, and ask Him to help you. Read the Bible and have conversation with Him every day in 2019. It's simple, beautiful, and good. 



*As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”


Saturday, December 22, 2018

3 Incredible Steps to Help You with Sex and Christmas

Nothing can teach us about Christmas like sex work and a farm. 

Having just spent two years living in a red light district in Hong Kong, I was around a lot of people making sex decisions based on desires that had nothing to do with love. I handed those people cookies. 

Raised on a farm with pigs, I'm familiar with the smell of where animals live. Stink. 

The scent coming out of the hearts of people in the red light districts, I could recognize it anywhere. My heart's had the same aroma; farm animal dung. The fragrance of lust, jealousy, hate, pride; all sin smells like rivers of feces under the hog house, except worse. 

 Who would want to touch this place? Who would want to even look at it? The stench is thick. 

But then I remember Christmas.

Jesus, the light of the world, became a newborn baby and chose a stink and dirt-filled barn to be His first place to rest. His sweet, perfect, tiny God-body, laying there in the stench of animal manure. 

It showed us what He was aimed to do: make disgusting places His home. 

We've all got these hearts that have tendencies to get dirty, but what I'm finding is that Jesus wants to come in anyway. He enters the red light districts like He entered the dirty barn in Bethlehem, and like He continues to enter my own stinky messes. He loves being with us, and when we let Him, He cleans our stink. 

Do you want to have sex with someone you aren't married to? Or maybe you are having sex with someone you aren't married to? Or maybe you're super jealous and having trouble loving anybody? Or maybe you're just mean? 

Later, Jesus went to Matthew's home to share a meal with him (Matthew was a sinful traitor). Many other tax collectors and outcasts of society were invited to eat with Jesus...
-Matthew 9:10

I don't know what sort of feces is trying to stink up your heart, but I know the God who was born in a barn in Bethlehem. And He wants to come into that mess and rest there. He'll clean it if you'll let Him.   

Three incredible steps to help you with sex (or any other genre of sin) and Christmas; 

1. Recognize your mess
Examine your heart and get honest with yourself, then share those honest findings with God. 

2. Talk to Him about it
Tell Him what you're feeling, how hard it is, and everything else related to your mess. Depending on how far into your mess you are, you may need to tell God you're sorry (He loves to forgive). 

3. Invite Him in
Ask Jesus to come into your mess. Invite Him to clean it up and to help you listen to all the help and love He has for you. Ask Him to show you how much He loves you; pause and listen. Read the Bible. 

The Bethlehem Barn King sees you, sees your mess, and do you know what His Heart is filled with? Love. If you've been loving Him your whole life but find your heart in a mess, or if you don't know Him but want to, or if you're doing fine and dandy and mess-free and just want more of Him, invite Him in. To be close to you is what He wants this Christmas. 


After wrapping the newborn baby in strips of cloth, they laid him in a feeding trough since there was no available space in any upper room in the village.
-Luke 2:7

Then Jesus said, “I am light to the world and those who embrace Me will experience life-giving light, and they will never walk in darkness.”
-Jesus
John 8:12

Monday, December 17, 2018

making home


I had on my grandpa Carl’s cap, with a Delta pin from my nephew stuck in it, a bandana from my dad and earrings he made. The purple suitcase was a birthday present from my parents. Those jeans were hand-me-downs from my uncle Rance. My mom bought the shoes and that green scarf I stuffed into my suitcase was from my friends Brittney and Julie. My friend Kelley packed her bags the same day and we left together. 

I just moved back to America and am staying on my parents' farm. 

The little girl was sitting with her mom outside of the hostel in the red-light district. She was about four, from East Africa, and eager to make a new friend. She drew a picture for me on a scrap piece of paper. There was a house and grass, a home. I tucked the artwork inside my Bible. 

A couple years later, Jesus and I were talking to each other in the floor of a children's home in northern India, colored markers and Bible in front of me. Two girls from the home found me. I smiled, let them know they were free to use the markers, and kept reading the Bible. A few minutes later, I looked up to find my red-light artwork had new colors all over it, more houses and flowers added to the page. I smiled at the proud Indian artists and tucked it back into my Bible. 

Kids living in hostels in red light districts, kids living in orphanages, and everyone else on the globe- we all want a home filled with love. 

We're sons and daughters of the living God. 

He's safe and He's home. 

Home is something deeper and more than walls with a roof. The structure doesn't give the deep down feeling of home that everyone longs for. Only God does. Home is living with Jesus inside of us (John 15:4). He's looking right into all of our heart homes right now, wanting to fill them and make them more completely His, filled with His fellowship and with family. 

Beautiful, good, and forever; the home He's making in me. Jesus, the Homemaker King, is making home inside of His people that will last forever in Heaven. Colors, family, really good smells, twinkle lights, mercy, love that never ends; my home in Heaven is getting decorated and Jesus only decorates with unbelievably good stuff.

"My Father's house has many dwelling places. If it were otherwise, I would tell you plainly, because I go to prepare a place for you to rest."
-Jesus 
John 14:2

For two years, I spent a lot of nights in a lot of places, learning to trust Jesus as my home in the middle of the nonroutine. I started carrying twinkle lights in my purse. As days and nights stayed un-predictable, I found a safe place in God's presence. He's always the same, He's always comfort, He's always hope, He's always mine. I hang those twinkle lights and I rest at home, my heart filled with His love, no matter where in the world I am. 

Back on this farm I grew up on, in this house my dad built, Jesus is here with me like He is when I'm 8,013 miles away. 

On the flight that moved me from Hong Kong to America was my mom, dad, and Terry. Terry was a Chinese man who studied the scribbled Scripture I gave him, holding it in his hand like a mystery he was interested in discovering. He let me pray for him. A few minutes later, he said, “This is a very nice experience, you blessing me.” What God wants to do is bring Terry into His family, hold him on His lap, tell him how special he is, and make him feel at home.  That's what God wants to do for everyone. 

He puts home (Heaven) inside of us and then helps us share it with little girls in red light districts and orphanages, with co-workers, with neighbors, with Chinese men on planes. 

Heaven is made of family. On Earth, we get to experience Heaven through Jesus' company and then we get to bring Heaven into each other’s lives. 

Read John 14:23. Invite the Holy Spirit to do what He wants in your heart home today. Ask Jesus to show you how much He likes being with you, pause and listen. Then write a note, give a present, share your time, talk about Heaven; help someone feel at home today. 

-Jason Upton


No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.
-1 John 4:12

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Oh, Hong Kong


“But did I do a good job?” I feel like a 3 year-old. God’s not surprised, and He's giving me the affirmation I'm looking for.  

It’s been a wild two years and three months. 

It was an unpolished “yes.” But I handed it to Him anyway. He said “thank you,” smiled, and held it like a treasure. The good He made out of that jagged weak thing is still going. 

Years ago, in a time when thinking about the future created stress, I was riding on a bus in Hong Kong, wondering if I was supposed to move back here. I wanted to, but didn't feel qualified, didn't know how it could work out. On that bus ride, Jesus put a picture in my head that was so pretty and so big, it shoved all the stress out. I saw myself dancing like a little kid, standing on Jesus' Feet. He decided all the steps, and all the impressive graceful movements were His. I just held onto Him, and looked up into His face. It was easy. And He made me look like a good dancer. 

My parents are in Hong Kong with me right now. It's the fifth time they've flown across the world together to hangout with me. Five times they’ve taken off work, locked up their house, paused their lives, and loaded onto an airplane for a 15-hour flight to see their youngest daughter. They don't fly to where I am so I can impress them, but because they really like me. And they feel proud of me simply because I'm their kid. God's like that.

I've lived a messy, weak, regularly-falling-apart life in Hong Kong. Here at the end of my time in this city, I've been terrified that God is disappointed. 

But God's been silencing that fear with the most gentle and steady “Good job, Lover.” He calls me lover! And His “good job” has this sense that it’s not about the “job” but more about just the way I am. He's enjoyed our time together in this place. He knew how messy it was going to be when He moved me here, but He also knew I would look at Him and that love inside of me would grow. 

My first year living here was spent crying in the floor because I missed my family. But in the middle of my intense homesickness, I was helping start a safe house for girls leaving the sex industry. We named it “Family Home.”

Oh the things He can do with weak attempts to love! 

When I wasn’t crying in the floor, wondering what my loved ones were doing and how long I was going to have to live here, I was sitting in the living room with my new African roommates, eating with them around the kitchen table, hearing stories about their families back home. We read the Bible together, we worshipped together, we came closer to Jesus together. Before we knew it, we’d become our own sort of family with each other. When we let Jesus lead us, He will always lead us into intimacy with Him and He will always lead us into family. 

I’ve sat with Him in an attic in the Philippines, on porches in Thailand, in children’s homes in India, on an island in Malaysia, in gardens in Hong Kong, in a hotel room in Sri Lanka, in my farm bedroom in Illinois; these simple quiet moments have kept my feet on His. He's danced me through nations. Man I love Him. His eyes are made of fire and His heart contains endless wonder! Those morning memories we’ve been making for years; cups of coffee, colors scribbled in a journal, His mercy covering my failures, red words written in the Bible getting written across my heart; they’re our intimate history, they're our dance, and they're making family grow. It's really simple what He's wanting; for us to experience His love and to love Him back. Let's read the Bible! Let's talk to Him! Let's let Him dance with us!

My family has a lot more variety and color in it than it did two years and three months ago. People who give me money to live on, friends who pray for me, Africans who joined their lives with mine, colleagues who had slumber parties with me, ladies in prison who hugged me tight when I walked into their world, Indian girls who opened their hearts to Jesus in front of my eyes; I've got a lot of family. Dancing with Jesus has made it grow. 

He can take failures and make beauty out of them. I’ve watched Him do it for two years and three months. 

In a few days, I’ll be flying back to America shame-free, with His "good job" written all over my heart, sitting right next to my mom and dad.

"Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it produces many seeds."
-Jesus
John 12:24


*pictured with my Julie, my Brittney, and my Kelley (colleagues who became family), in a bus on our way to a slumber party

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Being Close : The Lovesick Evangelism Tour 2018

When we searched for and found two unreached people groups in India, we were chased out of both villages. But we left groceries, prayed, and learned more about God’s nature as a searcher. He’s searching for a Bride. 

We’ve been loving through Southeast Asia for 46 days today. After 13 flights and six countries with lots of kids, pastors, trash dumps, cries, support, and bowlfuls of rice; many more human beings know that being close to God and being close to each other- it’s the “being” He has created us for. 

Missionaries in India, raising their kids in a town that’s half Muslim and half Hindu, giving their lives away for their Muslim and Hindu friends to know the Savior of the world; they hosted us and fed us and let us into their extraordinary days. 

Kelley and I had a nasty fight in a small town in southern India. After several mean words were thrown, we turned our attention to Jesus, sitting at His feet in the hotel room with Indian horns honking loudly on the street, and listened for His voice. 

A taxi ride and few minutes later, we stepped out of the car into a parade; it was held in our honor by 70 kids who know how to launch yellow flower petals and drum a cadence and set off fireworks and squeal their affection all over us. 

God’s like that. We have a fight, our self-centeredness beams bright, and He throws yellow mercy-soaked flowers on our heads. 

Adam on the flight from Malaysia to Singapore, a young guy from England, just found out his dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He felt guilty that he’d started praying since the diagnosis, only because he wanted God to do something for him. “Do you think that’s bad?” he asked. I told him that big beautiful truth: “God likes the sound of your voice, Adam, and He likes hearing it even if you’ve been ignoring Him for awhile.” Adam spent the next hour asking questions about God and what to do with suffering. By the time the plane landed, Adam, Kelley and I had held hands across row 23 and asked Jesus to help Adam and his dad, holding them close. 

We went to a church on a mountain in Kalimpong, India. “I have many things to do, but you’ve reminded me to just sit before God,” said the beautiful old Indian lady at the end of the service. 

It was a simple sermon. And similar to the ones I’d been sharing around India- Jesus enjoys our company and wants more of it. As my friends and I prayed for the ladies, Jesus met with them and showed them how kind He is. They cried and He hugged. 

That little boy, about 11, wouldn’t stop holding my hand. We were in a church in a garbage dump in Manila. And there was a little girl, bright eyes and pretty smile, who was determined to stay by my side. She sat on me, hugged me, kissed me, smiled that smile at me. 

“Gosh. This must be a little glimpse of how God feels when I give Him my attention.”

God made us to be like Himself.

He is the loves-being-loved Lord Jesus. The reason I enjoy when a kid chooses to lather their love all over me is because I’m like Him. He loves when we love Him.

I didn’t know what to do so I started braiding hair. Those kids in the trash dump in Tanuku, India keep showing us God’s Heart. It’s got “the broken,” “the poorest of the poor,” “those who suffer” written all over it in all caps. I’m not sure her hair had ever been washed, but it’s now been french-braided. 

Pastors in India, driving a little car with huge pans of rice in the back to feed 200 hungry people every day, then going home to the 30 kids they’ve brought into their family; they drove us around and shared with us their dreams and showed us more of His hold-mankind-close desires. 

The missionary who hosted us in Thailand wouldn’t let us wash a dish. Not even one. We had hours to pray and eat and sleep and let Jesus hold us. 

Living at His feet, aware of His wanting-nothing-but-to-be-close-to-us style; He’d like to make it a lifestyle for all of us.  

Isaiah 60:13
“I will glorify the place of My Feet.”

I want to live at His Feet- looking at Him, listening to Him, feeling His eyes look right at me, both of us in love with each other. 

There sure isn’t anything wrong with praying before bed. But God wants more than that. In and out of approximately 452 cabs in the Philippines; many of the drivers responded to questions about knowing Jesus with saying they pray before they go to sleep. That’s wonderful. But He’s wanting un-interrupted, 24/7, love-filled dialogue. May He get it from all of us. 

Our team, comprised of beauties from Michigan to South Africa, have been warrior-esque. We have bonded and prayed and cried and gotten frustrated and learned and God’s made love inside of us grow.

There were other foreigners around, but that day, the little boy and girl in the Philippines picked me to be the recipient of their time and attention and hugs. Being chosen feels nice. 

Us choosing, volunteering, to give God all our love, choosing to be close to Him; it’s what He’s always wanted and it’s what He will all ways want. 

The Gospel is being preached and Jesus is getting a Bride. With my own brown eyes and small but growing heart, I’ve watched Him reach down and touch nations with fire-like affection. It’s quite a sight. There has been a large pretty assortment of people and churches involved in the Lovesick Evangelism Tour. Thank you very much. Jesus is excited about all of us and we get to live close to Him, in love. 


Isaiah 62:12


And you will be called Sought After.

Monday, November 12, 2018

hope sat the table


In one of my favorite towns in the world, in southern India, we took nine kids who live in the garbage dump out to eat. They wore their nicest clothes and hugged me so tight I thought my heart might explode all over them. 

I have no idea what it’s like to have a mom who makes me dig through the new garbage every morning and beats me if I don’t find enough sellable items. 

The kids had never been in a restaurant. Their eyes were wide and filled with wonder and it was one of the prettiest scenes I’ve ever lived in. They sat at the table as royalty, with their bare feet, and they ate chicken and fish and drank soda and Heaven’s symphony played a pretty melody that filled all of our hearts. The Great King smiled and nodded. 

What I do know is that we all need the same thing: love. And lots of it. And I know where it comes from. 

The smallest boy sat on Kelley’s lap. He’d never used a spoon before, but as he watched her eat, he wanted to try. He clutched it in his fist and, three grains of rice scooped at a time, committed to using that spoon for the rest of the meal. I think he could tell Kelley was proud of him. 

As they were loading into the vehicle to go back to the trash, the smallest boy, who doesn’t know how old he is (none of them do), kept clinging to me. I held him and kissed him and kept telling him, in my poor Telegu, “Jesus. Jesus is good. Jesus is happy. Jesus.”

Being in God’s presence-just being with Him, talking and listening-we experience love there. Friendship with Jesus fills us with more-than-enough-and-we-can-do-anything-because-of-Him love. I needed the little boy to know that. 

There was desperation in his hug. His arms were begging us to take him with us. To keep up this holding and tickling and loving. He didn’t want it to stop. We couldn’t take him with us, but the source of love, King Jesus, was going back to the dump with him. I wanted him to know this, and that he could talk to Him and trust Him and cry to Him. As I mumbled out my broken Telegu words, he looked up at me and shook his head in agreement. 

The little boy and his eight friends who are sleeping in the city dump tonight- would you ask God to protect them and to lead them and their families out of that place? 

If you want to give to the ministry that’s feeding and loving them, you can do so through this website, and write “hope” in the note. We will send it to them. 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 
‭‭1 John‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭