Thursday, May 16, 2013

our tea party

Last night Mike, Clive and myself served tea to the boys on the street.  It was COLD out there.  The thing that stood out to me was how cold the kids hands were when we got there and how warm they were when we left.  It made my heart so happy!  Pray that God will use our five loaves and two fish and multiply it in their hearts..... Enjoy! It is hard to get candid shots of these guys.  They love the camera.  :-)  



Clive with Nicolas.  Some of you who have been to KCF will know him from the beginning.  He lives on the streets now. 

Mike and Patrick.  Patrick is also a KCF alumni.  









If God is laying it on your heart to donate financially .... go to
 tscnyc.org / give / contribute to a missions trip / morales family zambia
Or you can mail a check or money order to 
Morales Family 
Times Square Church 
Missions department 
1657 Broadway FL 4
NYC, NY 10019
earmarked Morales family / zambia

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

'08

 I hope I am not boring you guys with all our family photos, but this is SO therapeutic!!  These are a smiggen of what we did in 08.  This is only half the year!  I didn't even touch the photos from when we went to the states.



 I think I can pinpoint where our burn out began.  It was at the point when I took these pictures!  LOL
A prize to the person who can figure out when I had last gotten my eyebrows waxed based on this photo.





This was taken at Brooklyn's 2 year birthday party.  
I just love Hannahs sweet little face!!



This one has been entitled "Tribal Baby"  She was the birthday girl.  
The many faces of Brooklyn
This one is gangsta..."YOU LOOKIN AT ME!?"
                                                                                                                 


SCARY CLOWN! 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

'07

I have written about some our experiences with burn out.  For me, one of the side effects of burn out is that I didn't want to look at pictures from that time.  But, since all that has come full circle and I have done the work in my heart that needed to be done, I have discovered all these little gems.  So I am going to do a series.   I have found some fun stuff!  
This was taken at the Kakabalika Child Foundation Christmas party 2007.  Hannah had just turned 3.     I call this one
"Are you gonna eat that?"


This was their first time tasting soda.  I walked into the room to check on things and I see this.  Don't you love how Hannah's eyes are rolling around in her head from shear joy?

I think the bottle was bigger than Brooklyn.  She was 18 months. 


If memory serves me correctly Amira drank hers in two whole swigs.  WOW!  Thats my girl!  She was 5 at the time. 
This was taken on my mom's porch weeks before we left for Zambia. 

Luis is carrying Brooklyn in a Chitenge fabric. 



We had something like 6 mango trees in our back yard.  Brooklyn wasn't seen with out one in her hand for the duration of the season.  


Thursday, May 9, 2013

a word from Luis

STREETWISE WEDNESDAY NIGHT OUTREACH

Had a little tea time with the boys on the street last night. It's getting cold here. There were about 12 to 14 boys, two of whom we've know since we came to Zambia in 2007. Among them, Julius, Nicholas, Patrick, Peter and Kunda. 

I spoke to them about being a survivor. Kunda has been on the streets for 11 years. Talk about survival. He is now 22 years old. I shared with them that we don't go to the streets because we don't want them to starve. These boys are resourceful. They know how to get what they want when they need it. We go to them because God wants them to know they are not forgotten, that there is another way for them. And it's nice to have a hot cup of tea on a cold night, with people who care about you. I did tell them that being good at survival doesn't guarantee that you'll live through the night, that you might not wake up because of roaming gangs. That each day is not guaranteed. 

Our goal is as dead people to reach out to dying boys. To offer them hope through what Christ has done in us. That's all. We want to see them get off the streets, and that will come, but God is first interested in the heart, and you don't need to be in a nice warm home to surrender it. He hears you wherever you may be.

Pray for guidance as we continue with these guys. Discouragement comes for us in different forms, and it can be easy to lose track of what and why we are doing what we do. We want to lose our lives so that we may find it, even if it means being in hardship 8000 miles away from where things are comfortable and make sense. We want to see God move in these boys lives and hearts, and know that another life will not turn into an anonymous body in a morgue, or an unmissed child being trafficked. This is their current reality, but it doesn't have to be. 

Thank you guys for supporting us. I received a phone call locally to encourage me, but we are thankful for posts and updates from everyone abroad. It keeps us connected, lets us know that we are not alone. Please continue to pray for us as a family. If you feel led to support us financially, please go to:https://www.tscnyc.org/donate_tsc.php. You can make a one-time gift and find our name under "donate // Missions -Missionary Support." God bless you guys... Lou

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

musings on forgiveness


Yesterday Luis and I had a wonderful experience!  During our burn out period we went through a pretty nasty and painful experience.   With out going into the gory details of what happened, cause that isn’t the point at all...we were finally able to sit and talk with the person. IT WAS AWESOME!!!  We looked this man in the eye and felt nothing but love and the unity of Christ.  What Satan had meant for our destruction, and for his as well, was turned around for all of our benefits!!! 

I learned something very profound.  In a hurtful situation, whether you are the hurter or the hurtee, everyone is a victim!  No one walks away from hard stuff unscathed!  We were hurt and so was our friend.  But healing came and God restored love and joy and peace.  It was AWESOME!!!  

Paul says in Acts 14:22 
“...We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God”  

Pain in life in a necessary component to the life of Christ being produced.  It is scriptural.  It isn’t fun!  No doubt!  But it is my opinion, NO, my firm belief that if our hearts remain teachable and pliable, if we allow God to get at the painful parts in our hearts, the areas that the hurtful experiences expose, then it will only end well!  It will ONLY end with us being bathed in the peace and joy of Jesus!  

If you are the hurter, may your prayer be like that one of Davids in psalm 51 
“Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit with in me!” 

If you are the hurtee, may your prayer be 
“You are the God who makes beauty out of ashes!  Don’t let me be found with the sin of bitterness in my heart!  Grant me the grace to forgive and to allow you to fight my battles for me!”

Take it from me, you DO NOT want to let the hurt fester in your soul!  I don’t know what you have been through, but Jesus does!  Forgiveness is not about the other person.  It is all about you!  It is about letting it go into the hands of Jesus and trusting that He will deal with the one who caused you pain.  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Musings on a Burn Out


I like war movies....I know, I am not a normal female.....Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down are some of my all time favs.  You know the scene where the guy has been on the front lines fighting for all he is worth?  (it is generic to all wars flicks) He is dug in and his entire universe  is all about survival and taking the hill.  He is filthy beyond words but there is fire in his eyes.  Friends are killed, casualties amass and wounds are acquired.    Fast forward to the end of the movie and we find our hero sitting under a tree sipping sweet tea and trying to make sense of it all.  He can’t eat, he has night terrors and he can’t relate to anyone....That my friends, is burn out in a nut shell.  

I don’t know if any of you out there have ever suffered from it.....if you haven’t let me tell you, it BITES!   The mental, physical, spiritual and emotional exhaustion that comes is horrible and monumental.  It is complete and it truly sucks every bit of vim and vigor out of the molecular structure of your being.  (did you like that word picture?)

Why does it occur?  Well, it is my opinion that it occurs when we choose to take on more than God has intended.  We feel the weight of the great commission on our shoulders alone and we adjust our lives accordingly.  As I am sure you can imagine, as a missionary living in Africa this is an easy one to fall into.  

Or we might be doing what God has asked, but we begin to take over and not consult the Lord on anything anymore.  “Its ok God, I got this.  You are busy with the Iraqi war and orphans in Afghanistan” become the attitude.  DUH!!  And highly stupid!...I know from personal experience! 

In 2011 Luis and I both suffered from SEVER burn out.  We went back to NYC in the summer a twitching mass of nerves and weariness.  I won’t bore you with all the details, but I NEVER EVER wanna be in that place again.  We did NOT want to come back to Zambia, but got back on that plane out of simply obedience.   

I am grateful for the experience though.  It has taught me to LISTEN, really LISTEN to God’s voice.  When we slow down enough to hear, we can get the direction and guidance that we need.  It has taught me the value of having God’s peace in a situation.  When we are sensitive to it we will know it in a given situation.  And we will know when it isn’t there.  Feel me?  If God's peace isn't there, don't go forward!  Plain and simple!  It is a good rule of thumb to live by.  

Through “burn out recovery” (sounds like I should have been in AA meetings) God has dealt with me on many levels.  My own desire to be noticed, to do it all because I need to know that I am significant, to make sure that this sacrifice we have made to come here will mean something.  Also I have learned the value of forgiveness.  In burn out hurt happens.  We hurt and we get hurt because the buffers of God’s grace are great disrepair.  Out of our own tiredness, anxiety and stress we lash out and say things that aren’t cool.  We get hurt because our own stress causes us to not see people through the lenses of God’s mercy and forgiveness.  

So, God has used it to my benefit!  For that I am so grateful!  He does make all things beautiful in His time, if our hearts are set on him and willing to let Him delve into the deep painful parts.

It is my firm belief that when we are moving with in the margins that the Lord has set up for our lives then we won’t burn out.  We get tired, yes....we need breaks, yes....but that is a totally different animal from burn out.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

CLIVE!?


I prepared my two little flasks of tea for the boys on the streets so excited!!  Mike (a man from our church who goes with us) came and we all got prayed up.  Then we saddled up and headed out to meet Clive (another man from our church)....Luis stayed back with our kids..we take turns

Anyway, let me cut to the chase....

We wrangled the kids and got them settled on some steps in front of a store and I felt led to ask Clive if he had anything to share.

... As far as informal ministries go, I think we win the prize.  We get prayed up for sure and stay in an attitude of prayer the entire time, but let the Holy Spirit lead.  If He wants us to hang out and goof off with the kids,we do.  If we are supposed to share from the Word, we share.  

But, I digress, back to my point....I asked Clive to share.  He is a very shy in the back ground person.  You have to listen carefully when having a one on one conversation with him because he is very quiet.   All that to say, when he opened his mouth and started to speak, MY JAW WAS ON THE FLOOR!!!! 
“Who are you and what did you do with Clive!?” 
It was FLIPPIN AWESOME!!!!  In addition to that I watched 20 rambunctious boys sit and hang on his words!!!!!!!!!  Jesus Christ showed up!!!  It was awesome!  I wont get into the African politics behind all this, but to see an older white South African man ex police officer allowing Jesus to love through him to a bunch of black street kids was truly an amazing sight to behold!  I just stood there with a big stupid grin on my face. 
Clive and Vera

As Clive was sharing I was praying the entire time and felt that we needed to wait one more week to give out the tea.  I asked Clive his opinion and he agreed with me and gave his reasons.  BTW, For all you Bible school students / future missionaries / ministry workers....unity is KEY!  Although Luis and I are the leaders of our humble little ragamuffin crew, God speaks to all of us and we have to listen to the Holy Spirit and to one another!  I felt a check in my heart and ran it by my team member.  Simple, end of story.  Keep your ears in-tuned to the voice of God and it makes life SO MUCH SIMPLER!  That little bit of 411 was free!  No charge.  

Be at rest, the tea didn’t get wasted.  Mike and I drove around a gave it out to various gate guards and security officers.   Sure made their nights!  


KEEP THE PRAYERS COMING! 
that we stay faithful with the bit that Jesus has entrusted to us 
that there is always divine unity 
that God moves on more people’s hearts to get involved
that God provided the money needed to purchase the ministry supplies. 
(a bus?  a store front?)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

hot tea and corpses


For a while we have been praying about when and how to start helping meet the streets kids physical needs.   How do we tackle the vast issue of homeless children in Africa?  God you have put this vision in our hearts, but WHERE DO WE BEGIN!!?

As Americans we are raised with the belief that all lives have value, meaning and purpose.  We are drilled from birth with the concept that no matter your station in life you can make something of yourself.  You can be someone and make a difference in the world around you.  It is one of the things that makes America so awesome!  Luis is a good example of that ideal.  He grew up with grinding poverty in Brooklyn yet was given all these really cool opportunities for education that are available to everyone.   He got a degree in art and today is a talented graphic designer with a hottie for a wife and three fantastic kids.  ONLY IN AMERICA BABY!!  :-)  

So, with that frame of reference, catapult yourselves with all your values and cultural frames of references and land smack in the middle of the involved, complex, sometimes impenetrable Gordian knot that is known as Africa.  It is a nexus of thought, feelings, and realities that the Morales clan had no foothold for.  Looking back on the almost 6 years we have been in Africa, I am grateful, so very grateful that God saw fit to allow our catapult to land us in the middle of a huge brick wall that said “WELCOME TO ZAMBIA”  As we slid down it to the sound of African drums in the background ending up in a heap on the floor wondering what the heck had happened, God was tearing down our expectations, our good ideas and intentions and building in us HIS expectations, HIS good ideas and intentions. 

Good ideas are fun, but if they aren’t God’s good ideas how far will they get you?

WHERE ARE YOU GOING WITH THIS MYRANDA!? 
Let me cut to the chase...

We have spent all this time building relationships and trust with the kids on the streets.   In short we have been faithful with the little bit that God has put into our hands to do.  Now, he has given us a bit more to be faithful with.  A few weeks ago someone dropped off a full fledged kit to serve tea to the kids.  She even put in some candies to hand out.  Luis and I both feel that now is the time to take things a step further.  So, now we are going to be serving tea on our outreaches and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  It is getting cold at night!

James 2:14-26 has been ringing in my ears for about a week now.   Break it out and read it....let me know your thoughts.  Specifically verse 26 rocks my world. 

The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. 
Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse. (the message)

I don't want to end up a corpse!! However, we NEVER want to get ahead of God’s timing!  As much as we love the kids on the streets, GOD LOVES THEM PASSIONATELY AND WITH OUT RESERVE!!!  Because if it is God’s idea to simply give out hot drinks and hugs, then someone’s life will be changed for it. 


If God is laying it on your heart to donate financially .... go to
 tscnyc.org / give / contribute to a missions trip / morales family zambia
Or you can mail a check or money order to 
Morales Family 
Times Square Church 
Missions department 
1657 Broadway FL 4
NYC, NY 10019
earmarked Morales family / zambia