Saturday, June 4, 2011

One word

 Change.

Several years ago, I was in a Bible study led by my then Rector, Fr. Paul.  He handed out a small piece of paper and instructed us to describe Jesus in a single word.  One and only one word.  For example, you might write "love" to describe Jesus.  We all struggled, some tried to craft a question to get permission to use two words or a short phrase.  Fr. Paul was firm (quelle surprise!) and restated:  One word.  Try it, it is hard to do.  After we had completed the exercise he explained that everyone reads Scripture through a unique filter or perspective.  Your word indicates your filter.

Since then, I have often applied this exercise to people.  So, tonight was "Suzy Night" at Casa LAMB.  Suzy and several of her girls spend an evening with the groups singing, praying, talking, and answering questions.  Tonight she brought two guests, Reina and Jasmine.  Reina, 18, is well known to anyone who has been here before.  She lived at the Children's Home for 7.5 years, returning home in January.  Jasmine is 20 and has known Suzy for many years.  Jasmine's son, Lester Alexander, lives at the Children's Home.

The living room at Casa LAMB was stuffed with people.  25 (mostly teens) from St. Paul's in Summerville, SC, Reina and Jasmine, Diana from Vermont (here for a couple weeks,) Mari and Sammy (so cute!) Elsa, and me.  After some songs and prayer, Reina started her testimony with Diana translating.  Reina shared a recent life lesson with the group.  After all her years at SBV she had changed alot.  She assumed that her family had changed also.  In January, when she turned 18, she decided to move back home with her mother and older brother Jorge.   Suzy implored her not to leave... Reina since has regretted this decision.  During Holy Week, they went to Comayagua to visit the rest of their family. While there, Reina realized none of them had changed.  They were still drinking heavily, disrespecting her and enticing her to join them in their dysfunctional behavior.  After her mother left, Reina stayed for a longer visit.  Her first cousin tried to molest her.  Reina became very emotional so we took a song break (more on that later.)  When she composed herself she encouraged us all to listen to the advice from people who love us and to know that we can change ourselves.  She reminded us that when we change, others may not.  Hang on to your new self and relinquish the old.   Reina is a beautiful girl, a young woman of deep faith, hope and full of potential.  She is my Honduran daughter!  My one word for her is Promise.

Jasmine gave us her autobiography, detail by horrifying detail.   At 7 she was living on the street.  She prostituted herself, was raped, ran through a litany of drugs she has taken including crack and heroine.  She was kidnapped with a gun to her head, jumped out of the moving car and dodged the bullets aimed at her as she escaped.  She has been offered and rejected Suzy's help over and over and over.   But now, she is in her 7th week of a 3 month Christian rehab program.  She has earned a higher status of "collaborator" in the program.  She told Suzy she wants help learning a vocation when she gets out.  Her goal is to become healthy and stable enough to regain custody of Lester Alexander.  She, too, talked about change..how it is the Lord Jesus who leads us all to a changed life.  Three months ago she was sitting in the same living room, high on drugs, belligerent and surly.  Last night, still fragile, she was self-assured, loving, and full of resolve.  A changed person.  My one word for her is Determined.

And my word for Suzy?  Perseverance.  She never gives up on these lost lambs.  So many times they have broken her heart and yet she is always there when they seek her out.  She seeks them out when they are distant to remind them she is always there, she loves them and that they are precious, beloved children of God.


More about the song break.  A 15 year old, Liz, on the team performed a song she wrote this week, inspired by the team's experiences.    The second verse goes like this:

I thought I'd be the servant of God
I thought I'd be the one changing lives
Boy, was I wrong
They changed me. 

My word for Liz is Messenger.  She has much to say to us all.  

My one word for my experience in Honduras is Change.  My first trip in March of 2007 changed me in profound ways.   We see the change that love, God's first and then the love from the people of LAMB, works in the children at the Children's Home and the El Cordero school.  We see the change in the adults in Flor and the teens in the Alonzo Movement whom the Lord has brought to us.   We see miracles every day.

My one word for Jesus?  Redeemer.  He can and does redeem anything and anyone.  No one is is beyond His reach.  Alleluia, alleluia, Christ is Risen.  The Lord is Risen indeed.  Alleluia.

Suzy singing in prayer and Lucy, one her of miracle children

Beautiful, poised, precious Reina

Jasmine and a picture of her son.  When she opened the gift of the framed picture she exclaimed, "This is the best gift I have ever received in my life."
Liz's song:


You walked through that door
Don't know what's in store
Had no idea that in a week
You would change me

I thought I'd be the servant of God
I thought I'd be the one changing lives
Boy, was I wrong
They changed me. 


They're beaten and bruised everyday
They're just trying to find a way
Tears filled my eyes
They're so young, so innocent and kind


You found a way into my heart
Even though I was falling apart
You broke down those walls through tears
Washed away my fears


They can't understand
That God has a plan
They can't understand
That God knows their plan

You found a way into my heart
Even though I was falling apart
You broke down those walls through tears
Washed away my fears

Someday they'll understand
That God has a plan for them...


1 comment:

  1. You know... it is terribly dangerous when I stop by and read your blog. It always makes me wish that I could go back now. Please tell everyone I say hello, and the kids that Dulce and I miss them dearly.

    Is there music for that song too? Could I use it? We have a young adult ministry in the church where I work, and change would be a good word for a lot of them as well.

    Thanks for sharing your words and experience. Many blessings.

    paz,
    Eric

    ReplyDelete