Archive | July, 2011

Being part of God’s "just in time" compassion

21 Jul

Two weeks ago I needed some welding done so I went to a country shop that Bob (not his real name) owns. He is 74 and has been a faithful servant of the Lord, visiting Mexico regularly to encourage and support church planters. We spent a few minutes on what I needed then talked a half hour about ministry and the world's need for Christ.

Yesterday as we were preparing our eldest son to head to medical school (he left today) I called Bob to see if we could get a small welding repair on our son's car. When he answered his voice was broken and he told me of a tragedy that occurred just a day after I had seen him two weeks ago. Besides welding jobs Bob leases and runs large equipment. Some neighbors were walking by as he was backing up a big machine. His wife saw them and tried to get them out of the way, but it was too late. The machine ran over and killed a baby and severely injured his wife. Bob was as broken a man as I've ever heard. The burden of what happened has him in constant tears as he sits by his wife's side in the ICU, fighting for her life.

What can one say to bring comfort? Christian platitudes are clearly not what is needed. I did what should be for me (though too often forgotten) the most natural thing. I simply asked Bob if I could pray for him and trusted that God would give me the words. They weren't fancy, and really just came from my heart that was so heavy for this brother. I prayed just a few minutes, simple and short, asking the Father for mercy and grace. Bob thanked me and as I hung up I knew something special had just happened. I could have called anytime over these past few weeks, but God knew that Bob needed prayer right then. I have no idea how else he will give Bob his grace. I did know that I had been used in a small way by God to show Bob that there may not be satisfactory answers, but God is with him in this deep pain. My words were not what ministered to Bob, it was God's demonstration to him that in the valley, he is still with his children and he brings his comfort at the right time from the most unexpected sources.

Life goes on in Haiti

15 Jul

Life in Haiti can be hard.  Actually, for most it is hard all of the time.  Yet hard doesn’t mean it stops and people find ways to cope.  Life goes on.  Children are still children, needing love and a human touch.  Toys still inspire their imaginations and a smile crosses all language barriers. 

Though my purpose on this short visit is focused more on our long term team and its plans I have still been able to visit some of our friends here.  No matter how many times I come I am amazed at the reminder that God is still supreme even in the midst of seeming hopelessness.  He still has his people, his work, and his love evident in the most unlikely places. 

It is humbling to be part of a ministry that can have such impact on the lives of others.  A year and a half ago we weren’t thinking about Haiti.  Today the country and its people are part of our lives on a daily basis. 

Pray for Haiti. Pray for God to use us to accomplish his purpose and plan.  And pray for more workers to join in this amazing journey. The rewards go far beyond what we can imagine.  Certainly that has been the case for our family.  Could God be talking to one of your children? To one of your family? To you? 

Travel dissonance

14 Jul

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy travel. That's a good thing since I do so much of it. In fact I just had to have extra pages added to my passport for the second time. But sometimes I have to stop and think about where I am and where I just was then consider where I'm going next. If it were all in one language that might help. If it were all for similar purposes that would certainly make it more clear. But God has given me such incredible opportunities to experience variety in life that I have to laugh and just figure that life is nuts.

Three weeks ago I began with a couple of days with my wife of 27 years celebrating our anniversary by wandering San Diego's sights. A few days of meetings with my fellow international leaders were followed by a conference then several days with our mission leaders for Latin America. I was home two days then off to Atlanta where all six of us Duggans were in one place for 24 hours which won't happen again until Thanksgiving at the earliest. Then Matthew and I were invited by a friend to join him in Chicago for a couple of days and attend the U2 concert, all a generous gift from this very giving friend. Then a few days with my best friend for 37 years where went kayaking in the marsh waters of coastal South Carolina. Now I am in Haiti for a few days.

The next couple of months will see me in Colorado, New Orleans, Knoxville, Mexico, Atlanta, and Nigeria, all ministry related. It's crazy! It's fun! But it is also a bit tiring and challenging to balance family life and relaxation.

We moved to Charlotte in late May and I figure I've slept in the house we've been loaned a total of nine nights. Fortunately my family has been with me a good bit more than that! We are hoping to slow down a bit in late September and focus on the reason we are back…to connect with our supporters and develop more partnerships with people who want to be part of this great adventure. Before we know it Thanksgiving will be here and the Duggans will return to our Costa Rica home.