Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Thursday, January 06, 2005

What can I do?

When I was in Waco last weekend I got to go to Antioch again. I miss that church loads and visiting makes me want to move back to Waco!
One thing I love is that the church is so missions-focused. I have gone overseas with Antioch three times in five years, and each trip changed my life in some way. Sunday was the first time the church met as a whole since the tsunami disaster. Hearing about the devastation grieved my heart because I have good friends who plan to be missionaries to Sri Lanka soon. I also have a college acquaintance, Sohani, whose mother is one of the top government officials.
Antioch quickly gathered their resources and sent a team of 22 to work in Sri Lanka. Sohani's mother is heading up the aid work in the country and the team is working with her and her church. Plus, there's a medical team traveling to Indonesia to work for two weeks AND two more teams are being sent to Sri Lanka and Indonesia again next week.
These latter teams were in the early stages of formation at the start of the week, and all I could think about after attending church was how badly I wanted to go. Even though I've officially moved and the church is HUGE, I still have a strong connection to the church and many of the leaders, so I know they know me. And since I'm not working, I have the time to go. But I knew my parents would have kittens if I decided to jump ship and leave the country for the third time in a year. So I resigned myself to staying and put my application aside for now. But my heart is definitely with the teams over there, especially since I know most of the people who went.
Our pastor, Jimmy, said that when we hear about such devastation it's easy for us to get so overwhelmed we harden our hearts. I know that's been the case for me; that's why I haven't blogged about it. It's not necessarily that my heart is hardened, it's just that what happened is so huge I don't know how to respond. While watching the news, reading the online articles, and glimpsing the horrifying images I'm stirred to action. It's hard for me to just sit here. Yes, I pray, but my arms yearn to embrace those who are grieving and my heart aches for those who are broken.
Many have questioned God's inaction and God Himself, as people easily do after every disaster since the world's beginning. I don't fully understand it myself, but who am I to question God? All I know is that He grieves with those who are grieving; He desires to comfort the hurting and heal the broken.
So, rather than sit back and do nothing, I keep praying. I pray for the child now left an orphan. I pray for the father who lost his whole family. I pray for the family that lost their home. I pray for the worker who lost all means of livelihood. I pray for the parents who lost all their children. I pray for those who are lost, hungry, and hurting. What little I have, I give, knowing that that is all I can do.

If you are interested, the teams Antioch sent out this week send daily updates that are posted here. Also, the church is raising money to support those teams going out next week. All the teams are taking money with them to give immediate aid to those they encounter. Some people prefer to donate to small, private ministries/organization, like Antioch Ministries International (AMI), because the money goes immediately to help those in need and doesn't get tied up in a larger system. Also, AMI doesn't have to wait and assess damage before giving aid, like large organizations must do.
If you're like me, and you ache for all the children, Debbie Carona (whose son, Joey, is in Sri Lanka with AMI) of Highlander School in Dallas has organized a "teddy bear drive" to send teddy bears and other small stuffed animals to Sri Lanka. You can send bears to
Highlander School
9120 Plano Road
Dallas, TX 75238
Or, if your in the Waco area, drop bears off at Antioch's office (on 20th & Waco Dr.) by 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 10th, to be packed and sent with the team going out Tuesday.

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