Saturday, June 30, 2007

3 more kids were removed from their home yesterday by Social Services. When I arrived, their auntie had just told them what was going to happen, and they were all crying. How can a 4, 6 and 7 year old be expected to understand all of this? I walked into their little house and their mother had closed herself off in one of the bedrooms, and the three children were altogether in the tv room - the two older girls sobbing hysterically, and the youngest boy just sitting, staring at nothing and stroking the teddybear he was holding in his lap. I had brought over a care package - paper towel, cleaning supplies, dish soap...I set it down in the kitchen/laundry room/storage area and picked up one of the girls and just held her. Within minutes my shirt was soaked through with tears and snot, all flowing from her face freely. I added my tears to hers, because there were three children calling for a mother who was geographically 6 feet away, but emotionally unreachable. She would not console them. I did my best to hold all three at once. I tried to pray, but I couldn't. I was weak. Nothing came out, but there was a lot being said in my heart.

"So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought..." Romans 8:26

Afterwards, I was talking with the Lord, sharing my heart and the brokenness therein. It is wrong that there was no one to comfort these children. After all, they are caught up in a situation that is out of their control, one that they didn't create. They were all alone in grief and uncertainty and I don't want children to ever be alone.

In response, He said "I didn't leave them alone. I sent you to them."
I said, "their own mother neglected them"
He said, "I sent you to hold them tight like a mother would."
I said "there is no one to share their burden - no one around here has given them a second thought"
He said "You will remember them. You will grieve and mourn and intercede for them. That's why I brought you there - it wasn't just to drop off paper towel and dish soap. "

When I was living in Vancouver, one of the lessons the Lord taught me, is that the most valuable thing I can give to others is myself. Not a cup of coffee, although that's nice, or a sandwich or a coat. I can give any or all of those, or a thousand things more, but there needs to be an ever-increasing measure of me in there as well. Arms that willingly hold tightly to a despairing child, a heart that actively chooses to let the life of another flow over and shape and disturb mine.

I'm learning continually not to walk through life and ministry unchanged and intact, unmarred and antiseptic, but to embrace the tears, the snot the blood, the crayon and pudding stains and the sweat - and to consider each a badge of honor in service to my King. God knows it ain't easy. But who signed up for easy?

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm in his hands ...

Wow. Do you ever have a season where everything is so busy that you just do not know how everything that needs to happen will, but it does ? These seasons remind me that I am not in control, and that is comforting !

We have been working 14-16 hour days lately and have a ton of stuff to prepare for camps, upcoming business and life in general, and I just can not see it all coming together ... but it does. Somehow the Lord, who's name is faithful and true, allows everything to fall into place like we know what we are doing, it is amazing.

Next week we start our camp season and through many challenges everything has worked. Our last hurdle was finding a place to give every kid a medical exam to make sure they were fit enough for camp activities, this one was a burden because without the exam kids can not go to camp. So with a prayer and only one phone call it is done, our local Salvation Army shelter is going to provide medical exams for every kid. God Bless The Center of Hope!

Next week Captain Pobjie, the hippest Captain in the south, will be joining us to help until she leaves for her next appointment in the UK. God save the queen, and Sandra too.

God answered a big one, we have received financial support for our community house ministry and can start paying the rent on time now. The community house is a two bedroom house in the 'hood that is set up for our youth to hang out with Jesus and us too. Plus we were given 10 brand new "to us" computers, a $500 gift card from our women's auxiliary and lots of kool-aid. Heather has started a book club, which is all the rage, and we are believing for some air conditioners next.

You can pray for our van please, we are two cylinders down and four to go. I joked yesterday that it was only the dog hair holding her together. We named our van Ruth so if her name sake proves right she will make it through the desert.

Hi Mom.

God is so good to us I can not express it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"Let Go and Let God"

Yesterday was my hardest day. Ever.

Three of our little neighbors were removed from their home by Child Protective Services. We've known them since the start, and they've been loved dearly by every single missionary that has ever been a part of our team.

Rob and I walked them to the 'waiting white car', all of us holding hands. The little boy did one last back flip. The girl wept because she was old enough to understand what was happening, and the middle child gave us a painting he had drawn earlier that day.

We did our best to reassure them, and spoke soothingly about what to expect in the days to come, better lives, full tummies, clean clothes, good sleeps and God's big plan for their lives.

And then it was time to walk away, and let them go.

Sometimes people remark that they admire what we do, and the faith it takes to do it, but this is the most faith I've ever had to muster up and assert for anything, ever - because it's not just about the "Letting God" part so much this time but all of the "Let Go" that's involved.

For me, this is a real faith lesson - believing that even though to release them to the authorities felt like a hard, awful thing to me, and to them, that likely it was also the moment and event that God has been waiting for, to to some major transformation in their lives, and in the life of their Mom.

So even though it's cliched, and has always seemed kinda hokey to me, just for today, I'm gonna Let Go and Let God.

"...And where I cannot see, I'll trust, For then I know Thou surely must, be still my All in all."

posted by:
Heather Dolby

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Need Knows No Season

Saturday was great !

In our city this year, due to cut backs, there will be no kids sent to camp.

In our community we have a handful of kids that went to youth councils and were forever changed by the experience, with many lives being won for God - and 3 months later, still holding! Since then, all of our kids have been begging to go to the 'week long youth councils' that they heard about from the other delegates - youth camp, at our division's Camp Walter Johnson. In fact, since March they have been asking about it almost daily, so when the word came down that there would be no money for kids to go to camp this year our hearts dropped. Heather and I gave each other that look, the one that said "I don't think so !" and began sharing with the Lord our hearts and minds on the subject.

Later that day we fired off a few e-mails and then gave God room to move ... a few weeks later we got permission for our youth to fundraise their own camp money, and Saturday was our first day hitting the pavement.
We started with one location, 5 kids and one afternoon, and as a result, all 5 kids will be going to camp this year, (Praise God,!) and will have enough money left over for proper clothes to take with them. We have permission to continue through June and July and now every single kid that wants to go to camp will.

Heather and I were thinking of the early Army, where everything was dependent upon divine provision, where officers often never received pay, and when they did they divided it amongst their community in need. Everything was difficult, except winning souls for Jesus; this seemed to happen naturally. Why ? God blesses sacrifice with eternal currency.

God Bless Harris Teeter, the grocery store that are allowing us to fund raise at their locations.

Friday, June 15, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Police are working to solve a murder after a man was shot in north Charlotte.
When police arrived at the scene in the 2200 block of Alma Court around 5 p.m. Thursday, they found the victim shot in the abdomen.
He died at Carolinas Medical Center a few hours later.
Police have not released the man's identity.
They do not have any suspects yet.

There have been several murders here this summer and it always amazes me that afterwards everybody just goes on with business as usual. In the neighborhoods we grew up in a murder would devastate an entire community for months or years but here after the police tape is thrown away everything just returns to normal, children playing where a corpse layed, mothers hanging out laundry where a forensics lab was set up all with an eiry air of routine. You will notice the address as being one house away from our community house where the children of the 'hood gather for worship and play. It is their reality that murder and death are cultural norms, that 70% of them will never make it past grade 10, that 30% will be arrested and that 5% of them will get life, 1 in 3 will experience sexual abuse, 85% of the girls will be beaten Etc.

Now that being said, we do not live under that reality, Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, to set the captive free, to trade glory for ashes and freedom for shame.

I am challenged to continually walk by faith not sight knowing that sometimes what I can not see is more real than what I can.

Open the eyes of my heart Lord.

Monday, June 11, 2007


I was talking to God this morning and He reminded me that, " without Faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please him."

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

... So God was wondering what I was believing for lately. He reminded me that he can deliver immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine. He reminded me that I can still serve him with a realistic faith and that I can even be his child with an average faith level. But, for him to say " Oh yea, good job." It requires of me to believe for something bigger than I can fathom.

What are you believing for ?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Thank God for speaker phone. And big barking dogs...

This is Heather by the way - Rob's been posting for the past couple months as I've been off the blogging radar. Until tonight that is.
What a weird week it's been!
Rob did a great job of catching the vibe of yesterday - in spite of the attempts to intimidate us and shut us down, we pressed on and had church anyways and it was one of my most favourite Saturdays EVER!

Tonight was a different story indeed.
Rob had taken the Junior Soldiers on an outing for the evening and it was just me and Samson the dog at home. We were doing fine until I heard a noise that sent the dog careening towards the back screen door (Which is sortof a misnomer seeing as there is no screen, just a big open hole where a screen should be).

Turns out that a group of boys was wandering through the neighborhood throwing firecrackers through open windows.
All that might seem harmless except that one of the houses caught fire. Happily, the kids that lived in that room were with Rob for the night, so they weren't harmed. But the room was gutted - mattress, clothes and all of their belongings. Gone.

Of course, down here, theories and rumours circulate rapidly and after talking it all over with some folks, it dawned on me that those same boys had been quietly poking around my open screen door tonight. I can't lie, won't even bother trying. The thought of someone wanting to do harm to us like that for some laughs got me good and mad.

I got back home and really, everything after that just went south. There were creepy people wandering around, hanging at the crackhouse and I was paranoid that any minute something fiery and explosive was going to come sailing in a window. It didn't help my imagination any that the dog was barking up a storm. It was really freaking me out! Then I started to get angry that I felt unsafe in my own home. Ooo that made me mad! Rrrr!!

So what do I do? I put out a prayer request of course...

I called up Rob and the Junior Soldiers and told them what was going down in the neighborhood. Then they began to pray.
They're fierce you know, our soldiers, when they get to prayin'...Rob just went and put the cell phone on speaker and they passed it around. There sure was some holy fire on those prayers...

I felt covered and so much better after we had all prayed, and I hung up feeling fortified, justified and gratified, determined not to let the devil get me down.

Friends, I know that Light belongs in the darkness, and that God has sent us here to open the eyes of our neighbors so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God.

But it can be really overwhelming to see the degree of degradation and darkness that is around us - especially in the children.

Please pray for us, that from God's glorious, unlimited resources He will empower us with inner strength through His Spirit, and that Christ would make His home in our hearts as we trust in Him, and that our roots will grow down into God’s love and keep us strong.


Acts 26:17

Ephesians 3:14-17

Saturday, June 02, 2007

A B&E Blessing ...

I love community !

O.K. so this morning Heather goes over to get the chicken wings out of the freezer and comes back with bad news. " Rob, the community house has been broken into and trashed." " I have called 911 and the police are on their way."

So, I know this seems bad but this has been one of my favorite day's ever. After the police left we continued our day. The door frame is kicked in and a window is broken. One T.V. and a CD player were missing and the computers were thrown around. Firstly, every computer still works perfectly; nice.

O.K. here's the awesome part, shortly after the police left all the Parents, drug dealers and brothel owners decided to do a sting operation. So they hit the neighbourhood black market asking if anybody had TVs for sale. They narrowed the search down and got the word out to the thief that he should look out ! Before we knew it some how our TV and CD player were back sitting in an abandoned car out front, so we have everything back and all is well.

What a blessing to see the community come together in the cause of justice. People normally to be feared by society at large raced to the defense of our community house which serves their families, they did what the police could not and actually "did justice." Everything was back in our possession within two hours.

I never thought I would enjoy getting robbed !