I haven’t blogged in a while. It’s just something hard for me to do. There’s so much always swirling around in my head… and to stop, put those things on paper so that they make sense and then share it just seems overwhelming… but I’m gonna try it anyway! So forgive me if it’s inconsistent. I know some folks who write stuff every day and I don’t see how they do that!
Anyway, here’s a little secret I’m going to let you in on about myself. Something that I fall into the trap of believing here sometimes.
This is it: It’s impossible for this to ever work. It’s impossible that anything we ever do here will matter. It’s impossible for these boys to ever have a different life other than the one they have right now.
Ok, don’t freak out. Let me just say now that those three sentences I just shared are lies. They are big fat juicy ugly lies. But, I’ve got to be honest. Sometimes. A lot of times. I get really discouraged by the end of the day. After academy is over and all the boys have left and we can shut down, I just can’t ‘shut down’ all the way. I keep thinking about what was said or behavior problems or challenges that remain unanswered or new challenges that arose while trying to address another challenge or bigger issues within the community and the general level of mistrust and mean-spirited, fend-for-yourself attitude that so many people have and on and on and on.
But then I’m reminded and encouraged by songs like this one, by Elevation Worship called “Do It Again”. Especially these lyrics:
“Your promise still stands. Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness.
I’m still in Your hands. This is my confidence, You never failed me yet.
I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains. And I believe, I’ll see You do it again.
You made a way, where there was no way. And I believe, I’ll see You do it again.”
He can move mountains and he’ll do it again! You really should check out the song if you haven’t heard it. It’s here on YouTube: https://bit.ly/2hxNtk8. And it sounds even better in Spanish: https://bit.ly/2Uu7JIg!
And those lyrics lead me to think about this verse from Isaiah 43:19: Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
The Jason bible version would go something like this: “he makes streams in the desert and he makes a way in the wilderness. can’t you see? can’t you behold? he’s doing a new thing right now. watch and see! he’s doing it! He’s making new things happen now.” Right now in Travesia seeds are being planted, promise is taking root, change is getting ready. This verse reminds me and encourages that God can make the impossible happen. He is not hindered because something is ‘impossible’ for me. He can make a road in the thickest jungle and make a rapid, raging river in the hottest driest desert. So he can do seemingly foolish, unheard of, impossible things here too. I believe that. And this verse reminds me to keep looking for those new things that will spring forth.
And then that leads me to think about how God is in the business of doing impossible things… and how impossible that is to remember sometimes! I think about the story of Abraham and Sarah and God’s promise to them. God made a promise with Abraham to be the father of nations… NATIONS… that’s not exaggerating things. and that’s a little more than telling someone they’ll have a ‘big family’. but Abraham was old and Sarah was old. they couldn’t biologically have kids. but god made it happen! He took an old woman who had passed through menopause and a 100+ year old man and they had a baby! This brings me so much encouragement here.
I was recently listening to a john piper sermon and he was talking about this same story from the bible. He says this about the promise that God made to Abraham: “My (God’s) promises are not predictions of what may come about with your help. My promises are declarations of what I intend to bring about by my sovereign power.”
If god promises something, he won’t back out of it. he won’t change his mind on it. if he promises to give Abraham and Sarah a baby, he’s going to give them a baby! and he did! if he promises to work in this community and to be a light in the darkness, he will! that’s what I believe more strongly after remembering anew god’s promise to Abraham. I forget that a lot and that’s when the discouragement comes in. and I truly believe that apart from god moving in a supernatural, powerful, holy spirit driven way, this community will never get better. families will continue to flee the hopelessness and oppression that’s here. kids will continue to grow up in fractured homes not knowing that there’s more to life than just fighting for that day to get by. things will never ever ever ever ever change here…apart from Jesus Christ. I can stay here my whole life and do lots of ‘good things’. boat loads of others can come here and do good things: open schools, clinics, orphanages. The sky’s the limit, but that’s things won’t make much of a difference in the end unless Jesus is at the center of it all and is the real reason for those groups/missions/ministries/enterprises to exist here. This place is that far gone, that dark, that depressing, that oppressive, that impoverished. Travesia needs nothing less than the supernatural intervention from Jesus Christ to save them from their sins and to WAKE THEM UP from the blindness that they are living and walking around in.
And as I think about that I realize that this equally applies to you and me too! this world is fleeting and it’s not permanent. what happens after we take our final breath? after our heart stops beating that last time? I’m too self centered, too depressing, too serious, too lazy and too far gone… just like travesia. and so are you. it’s true whether you know it or not or again or not, that doesn’t negate the fact of the matter that it’s still a true statement. we are just like travesia. impoverished. desperate. helpless. we need someone outside to clean us up. to save us from what awaits us. to save us from ourselves! and that’s Jesus Christ! Only because of him can I say “I’m no longer impoverished, blind and helpless.” Only because Jesus Christ, in his grace and his unimaginable mercy, died for me and saved me from eternal separation from god. But more than that… he saved me so that I could live the way that I was meant to… in the way that God originally intended for his people to live: in connection and relationship with him.
So, Abraham and Sarah had a baby… against impossible odds. God stood by his promise and it came true. I strive to remember every day, often multiple times during the day… that God’s promises are true and he won’t forget them. Travesia needs redemption. These boys need hope. They need a future. They need Jesus. I want more than anything for them to know how much he loves them, that he created them, that he wants nothing greater than to save them from their sins, wants them to realize how deeply they need him and to ask for forgiveness, and that he wants to pour out love and mercy and grace through the holy spirit into their hearts and completely remake, renew, restore, and heal their lives. I want them to be made whole by Jesus in ways that they don’t even realize now that they need. I want them to have the peace that knowing Jesus brings… so that whether life is great or life is horrible, there is a joy that cannot be taken away. whether all their friends stick with them or abandon them, they are secure and grounded knowing that they have a true friend who will never leave them or forsake them. I want them to know the depth of his love for them. I want their eyes to be opened to how much value and worth they have and likewise how much potential and hope for the future they can have… but only in Jesus. he is the key. he is the center. everything that could happen and will happen depends on him and him alone.
I’m going to continue doing what I need to do here every day. I’m going to continue doing it, trusting and believing and holding on tight to god’s promises for me and for the boys at the academy. and I’m going to remember that if Abraham and Sarah had a kid when they were heading for the nursing home, then there just might be hope for this place too.