Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A few recent photos

September 2008 Prayer Letter

Most of life is lived in the tension between knowing that God is taking me somewhere and not knowing where I am going. It is in this tension where we find ourselves waiting, often in silence and sorrow, on the instruction and promises of God. Here we remember the things he spoke calling us into the journey; here we contend with the seeming evidence that his promises are not true…We see hints and glimmers of what was intended, but the distortions of our veiled eyes, this world bent frame, or the illusionary, mocking ways of evil cause us to doubt what we see and hear at every turn.
Jan Meyers, Listening to Love

God has been taking me somewhere these many years but I often feel like I do not know exactly where he is taking me. He has brought me to India, to Kolkata, to a place of death and destruction to show me the life and hope that is possible for those bound by its darkness. He has brought me here to community and intimacy in friendship among His beloved poor to be apart of the body of Christ in this place. But sometimes, I still wonder where He is taking me.

I have been in a season of brokeness here and I have asked God so many times where are you taking me? I have been asking God about his promises for me, about my unmet desires and hopes and dreams. I have been wrestling with what it means to lose my life here, so that I might gain it. And the response came through Dad earlier this week as I shared my broken and over burdened heart, “God is not asking you to lose your life to India, Sarah, God is asking you to lose your life to Him.” The response is simple and easy from the outside, but inside this season of doubt and fear, I have been struggling to lose my life in battle that was not mine to fight. I have been struggling to lose my life, manage Sari Bari, care for the women, care for the WMF staff and in that pressing forward, working harder, I have only burnt out. I have come so far to the end of my rope, that I have gone beyond it to the point where I have nothing to hang onto at the moment. Nothing but Jesus.

So I am re-evaluating and ready to choose a different way of being in Kolkata. I am giving up “trying”. I am laying down working harder for the freedom of these beloved and choosing to allow God to take the reigns in a new way, a life submitted, I can not do it anymore way. And God is speaking His gracious love over me reminding that I never had to do it, the job that fills my days was always His. The chaff in my heart is being burned as I try to lay myself down at His feet. And I must say that “the life giving fire of the Spirit has rarely made me comfortable…it consumes everything in its path. When I’ve tried to fill the charred places with my own efforts—trying to be a better friend, (a better leader, a better servant), trying to be more loving---I have missed the point: Love wants to fill me, to take control….The spirit has something else in mind. Instead of my trying harder, the spirit wants me to rest, releasing the life of Christ in me (Meyers).”

Blaise Pascal wrote this prayer:

Everything that is not God, is unable to fulfill my desires. It is you alone that I seek, that I may have you. O Lord, open my heart…Enter in, as into a strong man’s house. But first bind the strong and powerful enemy, who is tryrant over it. Take to yourself the treasures that are there. Lord take my affections which the world has robbed me of; spoil the world of this treasure. Rather, continue to posses it, for it belongs only to you.

“This man was experiencing a holy resignation, a holy giving up. He had fainted. He could do no more, offer nothing more, he could come up with no other devices to battle to try to please God, nor earn love (Meyers).”

I am experiencing a “holy giving up.” I am giving up the heavy burden for the easy yoke, a yoke that is shared and where the burden is on Jesus’ shoulders not my own. I am not giving up my calling or vocation in India just the way I do it. I hope you pray with me in this season for something new as I seek to break free of over-responsibilty and trying to please God, and be freed into His love in a new way.

I am coming home this fall for a season of rest and renewal and to share my heart with the church and gather a larger community of supporters and prayerful senders to hold me up for the many years in Kolkata that I hope to remain. While I am in the states, I will be pursuing some intensive counseling to deal with issues of post tramatic stress due to the intense environment in which we live. I will spend time with family and loved ones soaking in the embraces. And I hope to be able to share with several church communities in Oregon and California.

I have continually struggled with financial support in the last several years and I know that many of you find yourselves also in difficult financial situations, so I struggle to ask again for your support. I am looking for 50 people who would be willing to support me on a monthly basis for $10.00 a month or 25 people who can support me for $20.00 a month. This extra $500.00 a month will cover the regular deficit in my support account. I am currently raising about $1000.00 a month which covers my living expenses and taxes. The additional support will cover required annual travel for visa runs, annual spiritual retreat, retirement, health care and health insurance, and development (language and spiritual development resources). My immediate needs include funds for a ticket to the states ($1600) in November, a very overdue Physical check up ($300) and funds for counseling expenses ($500) while I am home in the states. If you are able to support any of these needs with a one time financial gift I would really appreciate it.

You can give through the Word Made Flesh website or you can set up a automated deductions through your checking account (you can call WMF to have the form sent to you by mail, 800-279-4543) and then return the form to WMF, P.O. Box 70, Omaha, NE 68101. Or you can mail a check to the same address with a note that the funds are for my support account.

Thanks for your love and support in this season and in the year past and those to come. Jesus sustains me and you make my presence here possible in so many ways.

Much love and respect,