I’m not a fan of stuffed animals. I don’t really have a good reason other than that they seem to always be in the way. I’ve even been known to pass them off to other kids when my own children weren’t looking (don’t judge, I know you have done it too.) So you can imagine everyone’s surprise when I brought home a giant teddy bear. You know, the kind you see in movies, that is as big as a person. What would posses me to go against this uncalled for dislike of stuffed animals? My child needed it. And like any mom, we will do anything to help our children. When Isabella came to our home 4 and half years ago she rarely cried. If she was scared, hurt or upset, she would retreat into a little shell of a person showing no emotion and not moving for hours on end. I longed for the day that she would cry and tell us what was wrong. Months and months later, when those tears and anger came, I would wish for the silence again because boy can she cry… for hours. And then the anger began less frequent but more extreme. Little scratches on her face, pinching her legs, banging her head. It was hard to watch. And so, the giant bear was introduced and given the original name of “Feelings Bear.” He was placed on a mat in her room where she was free to express her anger. He is great at taking the beating. Isabella would sit in his lap and rage until she was ready to do her deep breathing exercises. Sometimes after hearing crying for two consistent hours, I wondered if this “phase” would ever end or if we would hear fits for the rest of her life. But yesterday, she asked if she could give Feelings Bear away. The time has come that she doesn’t rage as often, although we still see tears a little more frequently than most 7 year olds. She no longer needs to hit something to get her anger out, or pull the bear’s fur. Isabella always expresses her emotions loudly. She laughs big, she hugs hard, she cries with her bottom lip sticking out and she wants everyone to know when she is angry. This may never change. I am not sure we want it to. It’s part of who she is. But just as God continues to mold me, as her mother, He is molding her into his character. He is using us to teach her appropriate times for anger and good ways to express this. Correction is never an easy process and we never seem to learn quickly but progress is so sweet when the journey has seemed long.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I have been back to Honduras. I was glad to get to go home and spend time with family and friends for a while. I already miss them, but know there are several things to prepare for in the next couple of weeks. I’m ready to take on whatever comes!
Now it’s back to finishing what the Lord has started, and I’m pretty expectant to see what happens. It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update. For many reasons I have struggled with what to say. Because if I’m honest, it hasn’t been easy. It’s gotten more difficult as time as gone on. The newness of it all has worn off for the most part, but I’m sensing a new season beginning here. There have been many changes, some that I’m a bit apprehensive to adjust to. I feel completely out of my element. Even more so than I did when I first arrived ironically. The first two months were really an adjustment and just trying to get comfortable anywhere. Now I am full of questions concerning the future. The questions could go on and on. Really, it’s been just me challenging Him a lot. Questioning His motives, making sure He knows that I’m, well, me and am too structured to be here. Or too narrow-minded, or too weak. Oh and I want things! Yeah, I want things and have desires so I like to remind Him of that too. Like He doesn’t already know. It got more confusing as I went home, seeing other options open up, and realizing how much I am missing in regards to spending time with my family. It’s only been hard because I am a person who likes to plan and know the next step. For anybody that walks closely to the Lord, you will realize that He will ask you to drop your plans sometimes. He will ask you to drop everything and trust Him. It can be scary, but also relieving once you just give everything over and let Him do it. He kind of knows what to do right?
So all of this in regards to ministry and trying to figure out what I’m really fully called to do has been difficult. It’s been a mental war that I’ve been fighting for weeks. You could probably gather just from those questions how much this has caused me to fear. It has made me fearful to invest, fearful to get too close, and always looking for the greener grass somewhere else. I have had to be reminded of the fact that He clearly called me here over a year ago. God has been so gracious to me here too. I have never felt so close to Him in my life, because I depend on Him in a different way now. I have seen Him give me the grace to get through each day over and over again. It hasn’t been easy, and I ask for your prayers because I’m battling. And in the midst of my personal battles, there has been so much change here for the past couple of weeks. Before I left to return to the states, the political climate here was pretty heated. Riots were breaking out, causing panic and chaos in many of the bigger cities. We were under a nationwide curfew for a couple of days, which limited our opportunities to work with others here. I am glad to say that everything has calmed down for the most part and we can start meeting with villages again. We will begin preparing for several teams to come down here and serve within the next couple of months. I also am excited about the possibility of a young woman, Aaliyah, coming here to serve with us in March! Please keep all of the teams and Aaliyah in your prayers. I know that these next few months will definitely fly by as we prep and stay busy. Along with all of this, I am looking forward to the opportunities of teaching. My need for the Word has increased since I’ve come back, and I am glad to be able to join others in studying the Bible. The Lord has been showing me how much I really need to depend on Him to do anything. This is not an easy process, but I am falling more in love with studying His Word because of the struggle. I can’t be more thankful for the ways that He is equipping me as more opportunities to serve here are opening up. I have begun meeting with a student here too and can’t wait to see how God works through our study together. I don’t doubt that the Lord will use that time for each of us to learn more about Him and to share Him with others. I’m also looking forward to teaching a class at the bilingual school soon! I will be temporarily teaching a Psychology class while Kristi has surgery in the states. Keep her in your prayers for the next 6 weeks!
***Please also keep the village of Cenicera in your prayers as they are mourning the loss of a young boy, Raul. He joined us for children’s church almost every Sunday. I can’t imagine the grief his family must be feeling, as well as Melyssa and Frank who have known him for the past three years.***
I am grasping more than any other lesson that I have ever learned is that nothing is profitable or fulfilling without the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life. He really makes it easy to trust. He’ll give you the grace and faith to do whatever He asks you to do. Truly. If there’s something that you’re fighting, struggling with, striving for, or hurting over, give it to Him. He wants your full trust and does the rest. I just want to encourage anybody and everybody to trust in a faithful God in a fragile world. Trust Him over the fragile state of your heart. He knows best. I’ve been coming to a point where I crave nothing more than to be near Him, no matter where He takes me. I am hopeful that this will only lead others to desire Him as well, in whatever way He wishes to accomplish that. Thank you all who have been praying for me and this ministry. I am grateful to you all. 2018 will be a great year!
My scripture for 2018:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Tonight I was reminded of a couple things. The first is that life is precious and fleeting. We had to go to an accident scene and retrieve passport information for the embassy for a lady as well as see if we could identify the husband that was in the morgue. Really not a fun night. At the same time, I am thankful that we were able to help the family of this husband and wife. The second is that God called us here as family. This is harder than most people realize at times but I am assured that my kids are growing in ways they would not otherwise grow. When we were called to go to the hospital (and later the morgue), it meant leaving dinner partially cooked and the kids on there own for a while. One kid had lice that needed to be treated, another was in tears over homework and the third was trying to handle it all while finishing dinner. It is always hard to leave my kids in such a mess. And yet, these are the times when I see the person God is molding them to be and that I assured WE are in this together. The crying child, Emma, who feels everything deeply, asked how the man was and hung her head when I had to tell her that neither he nor his wife made it. He was a stranger to her and yet she hurt for his family. Tyler, the child that was trying to hold it all together, who was sending me SOS texts but in reality, had it under control and was ready to help clean up the kitchen after everyone was in bed. And of course, God didn’t just leave us here by ourselves. A good friend responded to the SOS messages and went to help after we had been gone awhile. I guess all this to say, sometimes I feel that we neglect our kids when times of crisis come up but tonight I saw how times of crisis grows us all. Sometimes being a missionary family means we minister along side each other, and sometimes it means my kids growing up a little faster than they should. Just my little thoughts from our ordeal tonight. And yes, one kid still has lice that I didn’t get to treat but there are worse things that could happen.
Posted by MCCAYLA FLEMING on OCTOBER 29, 2017
Life in Honduras has been different for sure. There’s so much happening here. It all seems to run together when I try to recall all that I’ve seen. There are so many small moments and events that have happened. It’s easy to get in a certain mindset to where you become desensitized to everything. What always puts it all back into perspective for me is when I hear the Gospel being shared. I’ve seen a few people come to Christ, and I can’t express to you the emotions that I felt to see them come forward in faith. I’ve seen these moments, while I’ve seen others simply praying through their struggles. It is truly a privilege to get to pray with them. What I’m learning in ministry, is that brokenness takes on many forms, and reaches every aspect of life that it can grab a hold of. I’ve seen brokenness in expected forms, and brokenness in unexpected forms. What I know for certain, people are people. We are all broken.
I think that’s what I want others to understand more than anything. Though there are differences, it really isn’t completely different from home for me because broken people are everywhere. I’m able to say this because I have gotten past the physical appearances of circumstances. I don’t walk in a village anymore solely worrying about how they eat or how they live the way they do. Not to say that I don’t care about those things, because of course I do. But what I’m saying is that there are even more pressing issues in their own minds. Broken families, split churches, past wounds, a series of abandonment for many, and hearts thirsting for more. Just like any of us who thirst for more. There is a story behind every face, and depth to every problem.
I guess that’s the point I’m trying to make. I don’t expect to come into a person’s life to fix their problems. I think that’s the stereotype of missionaries. We’re supposed to go in and “fix” problems and put a band-aid over things. We come in, build homes, feed people, offer medical assistance, and leave feeling as if that’s all they needed. Those are all wonderful things, but they are only truly worthy when the goal is to make Jesus known. For any other reason, they are just good deeds. If what we do is without love, we are truly nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:2) And if I truly love people, I would offer them a drink from the well that would forever satisfy their thirst…
We don’t have the ability to fix people, and to think that way will always be humbling. I don’t have anything to offer anybody but Jesus. Anything good in me is because of Him. I think the hardest part of ministry for me is worrying about performance/results. I think often that I’m not doing enough because I’m not called to preach, I don’t share the Gospel everyday because I don’t have the language, I don’t know if I have anything to contribute, I don’t know if I’ll be able to connect with somebody, and I don’t think that I have anything to relate to with others. You know what I keep seeing in that last sentence is “I” and all the ways in which I lack. Shows how much I have. So even in ministry, even being in a foreign country depending on the Lord, I let myself get in the way all the time. I can’t explain to you how disappointed that I’ve been with myself, but God is GOOD. So good, and I don’t want to get in the way of how He wants to use and shape me. I want to see others be shaped by Him too because it really is beautiful. Painful, but wow is it worth it. I can look back, see the person that I was years ago, and am thankful all over again for the ways that God has dealt with me. I have found my joy in sharing with other people the goodness of God.
If any of you are discouraged in your walk, me too. Sometimes I feel lonely, unworthy, and can see all of my faults in my face. It’s frustrating. But what I truly want, the very thing that is deeply rooted in my heart, is to see others come to know Jesus. The greatest desire that I have is to be able to look at others and to feel nothing but a fiery desire for them to know Him. I’m praying for that persistently.
So that basically means saying goodbye to my feelings, or making excuses as to why I can’t initiate conversation, and goodbye to all the reasons that I can’t move forward due to my past. I can truly say goodbye to it all. It’s hard to believe because I’ve seen myself at my worst and that keeps coming to the surface, but I want to leave my past behind and press forward…
I know God has me here to serve this ministry. Help them with the day-to-day tasks, help with the financial tracking, and to help plan trips. These things and to join them on the field. That is what I came to help here with, and if can’t do the simple tasks out of love, I am nothing. The opportunities that I have had to get to know people and to simply walk with them has been great. I hardly know how to share it with others back home, because it really is a collection of small moments and interactions. I hope to build relationships with others to the point that I can share more with them. I’m thankful to be here and to have met so many different people here. They are beautiful people. I’m thankful to be apart of an amazing ministry here that chooses to walk alongside people, make disciples, raise up leaders, and share the Gospel. I hope this is encouraging to somebody who may feel like they are not doing enough. God wants to shape you, He’s never through with you, and He wants to use you despite the ways you lack.
I want to mention to you a few people that I would like others to pray for. Alex is a nine year-old boy who is from a village called Rancho Obispo. He can hardly use his voice, and we have taken him to a doctor a few times. Every time he has put up a fight and is too afraid to let the doctor examine his throat. Please pray for him as he possibly receives treatment in the future. I would also ask for you to pray for a woman named Estella. She is an older woman in San Pedrito, who has an amazing amount of faith, but is very sick and can’t get out of bed. I have been touched by her sweet words the few times that I’ve been around her. Finally, I ask that you would pray for Cenicera. This village is special. I love all of the villages but there’s something about this particular village that I feel led to pray for. Please pray for their church and for God to bring a pastor to them soon.
Thank you for reading!
I sat across from a young man this week that said, “I am supposedly a Christian and look what I did.” There is no “supposedly.” Hear me now, fellow child of God: We are not Christians because we are perfect. We are Christians because we know we are not perfect and we have a savior who cleans us. Thank God for this! As someone who grew up in church, I can tell you that this is hard to believe. We are taught that we should be full of love, joy, peace, patience, kind, good and well you get the idea. And yes, we should. But this doesn’t make us a Christian. It is a reflection of our time with Father. Our judgement of Christians young in their faith (regardless of their age) does nothing but speak against the gospel. The entire gospel story is not what you do or how you act but what Christ has done. May we remember this when our fellow brother stumbles. And may we remember it when we stumble. And then remember it as you stumble into the Father’s arms.
As mature Christians, this is precisely the time that we come alongside our little brother and sister and catch them as they stumble. This is the time that we hug them and clean their wounds and lead them back to the Father who is so patient with our failures. This is not the time that we cast judgement, or gossip or lecture. We were once a young child too and am thankful for those who helped me grow in my faith through their encouragement and love. I am thankful that my status as a believer is not dependent on my behavior but on my heart; on my desire to please God. I am beyond thankful for a Father who forgives over and over and over. Who has lead you through this path? Who are you thankful for?