Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not Doing Enough

Do you ever have that feeling like you're just not doing enough? I've had that feeling BIGTIME lately. And it's not just in one area of my life. I feel like there is so much more I should be doing than what I'm doing.

I picked up a woman who was walking in the rain and gave her a ride to her destination a few weeks ago. It felt good. I suppose that's the "reward" that you get when you do something you know Jesus would do. But it was such a small thing. The thing is, when you get a taste of something nice you want to get another taste, and another taste. I want to do more than just give someone a ride.

I see supposedly homeless people on our street corners often. Sometimes I give money, but I want to do more than that. I want to give them part of me. I want to be that person that stops the car (despite people honking), and asks the person to come home and have a meal with me. I want to give the guy who says he "Will work for food" some work in exchange for $40 worth of groceries. I want to give the really old guy I always see riding his bicycle, my time. I just want to sit and talk with him...learn his story...and share mine.

Giving the lady in the rain a ride was a start. But now I feel even less adequate when I pass those on the street that need my time and caring much more than my $1 bill. Lord, help me to become BOLD for you! Help me to stop caring what people think if I stop traffic to minister to one of your children. Take away the fear that society wants me to feel if I offer to bring one of these people into my home for work or a meal. Give me courage. I know you don't lay opportunities so strongly on my heart only to have me ignore them. I know that the safest place in the world is in the center of your will, despite what society would say about bringing some of these people into our home.

I've been having lots of "Africa/orphan/adoption" dreams again lately. I know that the Lord expects some sort of change in me or in what I'm doing when these dreams come. I know He's preparing me for a new area to minister. I just don't know the details.

I've begun to look at the possibilities of adoption programs in other parts of Africa. If there is a need in Ghana--one of the most developed countries in Africa--there must be a need many other places as well. The problem is that it's kind of scary for me to think about a new place...a new set of circumstances...a new set of rules to follow. Most scary is the prospect of traveling to one of these countries by myself to learn more about the possibilities. At the same time, if I know from previous experiences that when the Lord calls me to check things out in another country I feel peace about my own safety. It's just knowing that my family here would be worried sick that makes it hard. Let's just say that I had a GREAT time in Haiti but it may have taken 5 years off of my mom's life.

Even in Ghana, I don't think I'm doing enough. How can you "do enough" when there is so much to do? Things haven't been going perfect for our most recent families--which makes me feel that I have failed them. We failed at opening minds enough in the Upper West region to allow adoptions, despite our best efforts. There are always ways we can improve what we are doing as far as the adoption program goes. But also--how else should we be ministering to those in Ghana? What area of that society have we failed?

I'll tell you one thing that I'm hot-under-the collar about right now. In Ghana it is the practice that if you go to a hospital to give birth, you must pay the bill before you are allowed to leave. This results in new mothers and their babies literally living in the hospital for weeks and months--until someone can scrounge up the money to pay the $50-$75 needed to pay for the delivery. And we're fooling ourselves if we think these moms and babes are getting comfy beds and cafeteria food while they are "locked" in the hospitals. I think it's safe bet that the sleep in straw mats and have food brought by family members.

To me, this is a crime! I understand the problem--if that mom and babe leaves you will likely never see them again so the hospital has lost all chance at getting paid (and they deserve to be paid). But really? Keeping moms basically imprisoned? There must be another way.

If I were brave I would start a new NGO in Ghana. It would be an NGO created to do several things for very poor mothers. First--we would pay the discharge bill for moms that cannot afford to pay it on their own. Second, I want them to have a safe "transitional" place to go between delivery and feeling fully recovered--if they had no family support to help with that. Third, we'd set mom up with a basket of baby-care items to help get her started (medicine, name of a doctor, vaccination schedule, blankets, clothes, etc.). Third, we'd help mom and baby sign up for National Health Insurance Plan (and pay the small one-time fee for them) Finally, we'd give basic parenting information and give them numbers to call if they need help (for general parenting, for placing the child for adoption, for a safe place to stay rather than on the street, food assistance, etc.). For maybe a total of $200 per case, we could really give these new moms the support that they so often do not have. Maybe we could keep these families together just by giving them a bit of much needed pre- and post-delivery support.

Anyway...I'm not doing enough. I just know it. There's another "thing" (or "things") the Lord is preparing me for.

You know what I think about from time to time? When I was 18 and at summer church camp (Falls Creek) I felt a very distinct call into my life into "long term missions." I wonder if there will ever be a time in my life when the Lord finally says it is time to answer that call. Or is this--my life right now--what He means as my missions field? Hmmm...



Christy O 9:06 AM  

This could be your mission field, working on all of this. You don't have to be physically there all the time to be doing the missions. You are working to get it all going, look at the needs and stepping forward. That is serving all these people. We all know that there isn't enough being done. I struggle with that all the time, having seen what I did in Ethiopia. How do we all deal with that? The huge need all around us? We have been foster parents for six years, and for the majority of that time, our foster beds have sat empty - supposedly there is a significant need, but we are not being used although we are available. How do we handle that? I so want to help, but don't know how to reach those who need help. Everywhere we turn there is something to do, but sometimes it is finding the way to do it, letting enough people know that we are available. We are very interested in adopting a child with special needs, but just cannot seem to move forward. We have special things to offer, but seem to be stonewalled. I don't understand it. Yes, we too are not doing enough, even though we want to! It is frustrating, sad and really wrings us out.

Heather 9:52 AM  

Eric (this comment is for him),

Warning! The last time I had one of those 'I need to do more' thoughts, we ended up on this journey to adopt 4 more cuties. Just thought I'd give you a heads up, just in case you need to buy some bunk beds or build an addition!! Hey, that's what you get for marrying such a tenderhearted, compassionate woman!

Heather Sears