Tuesday, October 16, 2018

meet John

Meet John.  We don't know much about John other than he was a child living on the streets of Lusaka.    John represents the face of countless thousands of children living with out care and nurture in Zambia. 
On Saturday the Streetwise Outreach team was out hanging out with the kids and saw John.  Long story short.. in the course of their time on the outreach that day John died.  He was there talking with the team and his friends and then he simply sat down and died.  No warning, no fan fare....one minute he was there, the next he was gone.  

MANY thoughts and emotions have run through my mind since Saturday regarding this.   As you can imagine it is difficult to find the words to express how heart sick this makes all of us.   The senselessness of it...the brutality of it....it makes my head spin.   

Tim, the outreach leader, reported to us that while it is heartbreaking and sad and just awful beyond words,  he was glad for the reminder about WHY Streetwise exists.  Tim and the team have jumped into action to comfort the kids and simply be there with whatever is needed.  They are loving the kids where they are....in their pain...showing them the dignity and kindness they deserve while the kids  mourn the loss of their brother and friend.  

The work that is being done through Streetwise is beautiful, painful, gritty, raw, real and amazing all at the same time.    It is heart breaking.  It is satisfying.  It sometimes makes me want to run and hide and pretend that I didn't know the stories that I do, and it humbles me to the core that we have been allowed to be a part of something so treasured and special.  

Can you do me a favor?  Please share this story with your friends!  Please help spread the news about the homeless kids in Lusaka.  The more exposure the issue gets the more help that comes and that means that John's death will mean something!  

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

if wezi could speak now......

A short time ago Luis and I attended a funeral for Wezi Nkana.

Wezi was an incredible, tiny little ball of fire and energy.  She stood 5'2" in stilettos, but what she lacked in height she made up for in spunk.

She was a strong independent career woman.  She was well educated and made much of her time on earth.  By Zambian cultural standards Wezi was a trail blazer.  She proved that women here have moxi and can do what ever they set their minds to.  

She loved God deeply and that made a mark on those who were around her.  She loved EVERYONE well.  She gave all she had and trusted God for everything.

You get the picture.....Wezi ROCKED!!!!  

At her funeral I observed something that struck a chord in me.  Those who spoke of her life didn't speak of her earthly accomplishments.   It was mentioned, but it wasn't the focal point.  No pomp was given to the fact that she had a good job at a prestigious bank.  Brief mention was given to the education that Wezi received growing up.  HOWEVER!  Much was talked about in regards to her character and her ability to love and her devotion to Jesus Christ.  

Wezi lived a life for Jesus and the legacy she has left is a beautiful one!    On earth we should make the most of the opportunities we have to do the best we can!  With hard work and determination you can do anything you set your mind to.   Wezi lived that and defied cultural odds set against women.  

The hard work and determination you give in life should REFLECT a life well lived with and for Jesus Christ!!!!!!  Wezi did all she could for the glory of Jesus and for the honor of His name!  She lived well and she lived huge because she understood that it would "echo in eternity" (quote from GLADIATOR)    

Wezi lived well because she KNEW the promises of Jesus to be true!  She knew that her hope in God wouldn't let her down and that one day her pain, her trials, her heartache would be over and she would hear WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT!!    

Wezi is living now at the throne of Jesus, rejoicing and full of life and love!!  She had hope and that hope was fulfilled!!! 

I ask you now.....  Do you have hope?  Do you know the One who loves you deeper and wider than anyone or anything ever could?  Do you have an anchor in the storms of life that will see you through?  

If Wezi could tell us now what she sees, what she feels and what she understands she would say DON"T GIVE UP!!!  KEEEP RUNNING FOR EJSSU!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

a hot mess

I just had my birthday this past thursday and it got me thinking......What I wish my 43 year old self could tell my 23 year old self......

           I was SO insecure as a 23 year old.  I was uncomfortable in my own skin, so unsure of myself and desperate for approval.  I wasn't content to simply be Myranda and enjoy that time of my life.  I let everyone think I was sure and confident, but inside I was scared someone would figure me out and call me out as a fraud.  Little did I know that no one was actually paying that much attention.  Others had lives and issues of their own they were working out.

             Because I was desperate for approval and recognition I wasn't ok to let folks see my warts and bumps.  I wanted to portray the perfect Christian image, not understanding that no one was expecting that from me.....What folks want to see is TRUE and SINCERE transparency.  Honesty about the condition of my heart and the journey that God has me on is what encourages others around me and forges bonds.  I mean, for realz Nacho, doesn't it make you feel better when you realize NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE DOING!?   NO ONE HAS IT TOGETHER!!!!!  WE ARE ALL A HOT MESS!!!  But for the Grace of God I go!

I would actually go on and on but I think these two point hit the high lights.    Here I am.....20 years later....a husband....a dog....three kids.....

I am a hot mess most of the time,  I hate baking, I can't sew and I suck at house work......BBBUUUTTTT  Jesus sees me as I am, Jesus rescued me from myself and delivered me from my sin and made me new and fresh and clean!    Jesus has taken my hot mess and has made something beautiful out of it that brings honor to Him and the beauty of it is this.....I DIDN'T EARN IT!  I DON'T DESERVE IT!  My sin kept me separate from Jesus, but His grace made me worthy!  His blood shed on the cross has given me a fresh clean bright future!  I have Hope because of Jesus!  I have purpose because of Jesus!  

If you don't know Jesus yet WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!!!!!!!!!!  Give up the fight and let Him take over!!!



Wednesday, August 1, 2018

a hero of the faith

Meet Eileen Bender.   Eileen is a 90 year old dynamo.  She body surfs, plays squash and enjoys life and everyone in it.  She is one of the purest hearts I have ever met and I wanna be her when I grow up!

I met Eileen about 7 years ago when I was feel very fragile and exhausted.   Life was feeling very shaky and uncertain and I was dangerously close to a break down.  I heard about a ladies bible study that meets weekly here in Lusaka so I decided to attend.   I sat next to Eileen and she was asked to pray to end the study.    She didn't pray with great Pentecostal fire, but there was confidence and peace and authority oozing out of her.  I don't remember what she prayed for, but I do remember that for the first time in a long time I felt safe.  The extreme lack of anxiety and the surety in the fact that God was hearing her every word made me ugly cry all over the couch we were sitting on.   Eileen simply reached over and patted me on the leg and let me boohoo.  She didn't try to fix it for me, she didn't expect anything out of me, she just sat there and loved me and that was all I needed.

My daughters and I were privileged to be a part of her 90th birthday celebration last week, and what a celebration it was.  It wasn't big and flashy at all, that wouldn't be Eileen.  It was a simple, kind,  gentle affair that honored an amazing woman!   I watched Eileen go around to all the guests and offer a kind, personal word and a hug to each one.  I was touched and humbled by this "seemingly" slight woman.  Eileen has learned to see people and God sees them.  Eileen LOVES everyone around her because she KNOWS that she is loved by a God who sees her deepest heart.

One thing I am certain of when it comes to Eileen Bender........
                               Heaven knows her and Hell is scared of her!

She is a hero of the faith!!!!   HAPPY BIRTHDAY EILEEN!

Monday, July 16, 2018

winter in lusaka

Right now it is winter in Lusaka.  It can get down to about 40 degrees Farhenheit at night.  Sometimes its goes down as far as 32 degrees Faranheit.    Imagine being outside in that with nothing but a thin t-shirt and a ratty pair of shorts to keep you warm.  

I have personally witnessed kids wrapping themselves up in enormous plastic bags to keep warm.  It just about tore me to pieces.  Can you help us change that?  

A young man came to visit us last month from the states and he raised $200 to buy coats for the kids on the streets.    We were able to buy 25 from the second hand shops here in Lusaka.  

It was such a treat to see the look on this little guy's face (pictured in the black and white photo).  DOESN'T HE LOOK SO WARM AND TOASTY AND COMFORTABLE!!??  

We want to raise enough to give coats to 50 kids.  Can you help?  A 10$ donation will ensure that one little kid (like the one pictured above) will get to sleep warm and cozy.    Thats a good way to spend 10$ if you ask me!   And I give you my personal guarantee that 100% of the donations will go directly to the children!  

If you would like to help us help the Street kids living in Lusaka you can simply go to paypal and use streetwisezambia@gmail.com

Saturday, June 2, 2018

we are the music makers we are the dreamers of dreams

Meet Michael.....street name Tata.   He is roughly 18 years old (many of these guys don't know how old they are).  This past Saturday Michael was maimed by a train.  He was high on drugs and exhausted from being up all night running from place to place to avoid being arrested and fell asleep on the train tracks where many kids spend their days.   It is in fact the spot where we conduct outreaches to the street kids.  Michael was so deeply asleep that he didn't hear the train coming.  In the end he has lost his arm and three toes.   In my opinion, it is miraculous that he didn't loose his life!  

Our team has been to visit him in the hospital and we are seeing to what needs he has and we will walk with him as far as need be to make sure that Michael knows that he is loved and cared for and that God's hand is on his life.   Would you pray for him?  Would you pray that God uses this horrific incident and make something beautiful in his life?  Would you pray that we can learn what his situation is exactly and that we can help him effectively?  We want our helping to point Michael towards a life with Jesus.  We want to see him walk with Jesus and be restored to his family.  

It is interesting to me the timing of all this.  We have worked out tail feathers off to put an art show featuring Streetwise Craft Co products.  The aim of this show has been to tell the story of the street kids and to put them in a beautiful colorful light.  We want them to be seen as beautiful and vibrant.  We want people to see the art work and be inspired to want to help the kids on the streets.  We have been planning this show for months and now this came up two days ago.  

It has been a stark reminder to me that the hard work we put into our work has eternal significance.  That the work we do represents lives and the value of those precious lives.  
 This is a small sample of the pieces we have prepared.  

I understand that some of you may not be able to buy a piece of art but you want to get to involved somehow.  How can you do that?  SIMPLE!  Two ways....
                                                          your time 
                                                          your resources.  

Your time can be given by coming to the Streetwise center in Kalingalinga and going on outreach with us.   If you are unable to come on outreach you can give toward the outreach.  We buy food and provide medical care for the kids every week.  If you are interested in learning more about that you can inbox me at streetwise@gmail.com for details.   And most importantly we need you to PRAY!!!!!  Precious kids like Michael are facing obstacles that most of us will never be able to comprehend.  Please pray for them!  Please pray for us as we go week to week!  

Thank you for taking the time to read this!!!!!!  Please pass it along if it has touched your heart!!

We love you guys!!!!

If you are interested in giving financially you can to to tsc.nyc  Click on GIVE and follow the prompts to MORALES FAMILY / ZAMBIA  or you can give through our paypal using streetwisezambia@gmail.com 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

what is one life worth?

Remember Bruto?   I introduced him to you a few weeks prior in my post entitled "WHAT HAPPENS WITH YOU BUY STREETWISE"

It that particular post I told you that Bruto has been living on the streets since he was 8 years old.   He came across our radar a few months ago and we have been talking with him, working with him and making sure he knows how loved he is.  

Our outreach coordinator Tim Phiri spent a lot of time with Bruto gaining his trust, taking him for medical care and loving on him.  Through this we learned that Bruto really wanted to get back to his family so we stepped in to help.

Tim and a friend took Bruto back to his family earlier this week on one HUGE epic journey.   Hitch hiking, arrests, getting stuck with a drunk driver in the african bush and an emotional street kid just scratch the surface.    Tim tells the story way better that I could.

At one point Bruto and Tim were stuck in the middle of no where and Bruto started crying.  Tim (who is about 20 pounds SMALLER than Bruto) turned to him and said "WHY ARE YOU CRYING!?  YOU HAVE BEEN LIVING ON THE STREETS OF LUSAKA FOR A LONG TIME!  I SHOULD BE THE ONE CRYING RIGHT NOW!"  

Needless to say they found the family and a beautiful reunion took place right before their eyes.  Tim said that the uncle had been looking for Bruto to no avail.  He wanted Bruto back and loves him very much.   Many tears of joy were shed by everyone around.

After years of living rougher than anything I have ever seen and beyond my personal comprehension....living with crushing loneliness, rejection and pain.......Bruto has found a place in his family again.  WOW!  

Luis and I have been humbled and amazed at the lengths Jesus will ask us to go through for one persons life.  Bruto, no doubt, is worth the time, energy and resources it took to get him home.  Tim had no clue what they would find on the end of their bus ride.  Would his family want him back? Would they even be alive?

All he had was a burden that God had placed on our hearts as a team that we needed to step in and help this lost lamb find his way home.   And despite all the obstacles that were thrown in their way to get them to stop they FOUND HIS FAMILY IN THE MIDDLE OF NO WHERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (tim wasn't able to take pictures for various reasons)

You wanna know something........this epic journey for Bruto was made possible because you guys purchases Streetwise Craft Co products.  Bruto is one of the many thousands of reasons we work like we do to create a piece that you will cherish and love.

When you purchase Streetwise Craft Co originals you are DEFINITELY making a difference in the life of a precious soul who desperately needs to know how loved they are!

Thank you for all you do!

If you would like to donate to what we are doing here in Zambia please go to TIMES SQUARE CHURCH tsc.nyc ......click on GIVING and follow the links to MORALES FAMILY / ZAMBIA


meet John

Meet John.  We don't know much about John other than he was a child living on the streets of Lusaka.    John represents the face of cou...