HEAVY LIFTERS

…which end will you lift on?

Archive for the month “August, 2011”

THE LITTLE CHILDREN

Children are important to Jesus.  Like he said in the Gospels, “Let the little children come to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

In Africa, at least where I will live, the little children are marginalized members of society.  It is rare to see a child who is over the age of one with a parent.  I jokingly told my co-worker that once a child can walk, he’s on his own.  Although I said it in jest, my statement is pretty much true.  You either see tiny babies strapped to their mothers’ backs while she works, or little kids running amok throughout the village, with no parental presence anywhere.  Bigger kids are in charge of their younger siblings.

In a place where survival is so difficult, there’s not much energy left to show affection to one’s children.  When you’re spending all your time simply trying to eke out a living, there is no such thing as “quality time” with the family.  Love must be shown to your children by providing food for their hungry tummies.

When you give children even a bit of attention, they go crazy.  They are so starved for adult attention, they swarm you in order to get just feel little bit of warmth from you.  The instant you show affection to a child, he becomes your perpetual sidekick.

One little boy we saw frequently was a shy little guy who was about seven (although it’s hard to tell a child’s age, since they often look younger due to malnutrition).  I couldn’t understand him when I asked his name, as his speech capabilities were severely limited.  His friend told us that this boy was named Talata, and it instantly saddened me.  See, talata is the word for “three” in their language.  It’s as if this little boy’s family was too tired to even muster up the motivation to think of a name for their baby.  This is one snapshot to illustrate the value of children in my future home.

Now, while I’m living in Dallas completing my training, I am surrounded by children from many nationalities in my apartment complex.  Sitting at the tiny playground, I watch kids from Africa, Asia, and Latin America playing together.  I wonder how I can be Jesus to these little children.  What will ministry to these children look like?  This is something I’m committing to prayer, and I would also be grateful for your input.

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HOME

This has been a wild month.  Two and a half weeks ago, my roommate and I moved into our new apartment (on a Monday – blech!).   Two days ago, we had finals to close out our first one-month school session.  But, in spite of all the craziness, I feel like life has settled into a rhythm.

The picture of this sunrise (Yes, sunrise! Me!) just doesn’t do it justice.  It was worth stopping my morning preparations to step outside our front door and witness.  This sunrise was a lovely gift from God to remind me of His presence throughout the day.

Although our apartment complex is peaceful and safe, this photo doesn’t show what is happening outside the security gate of our complex.  See, we have chosen to live in an area of Dallas – you can read more about it here – where over 40,000 people live in less than 3 square miles.  For the most part, the population of our area consists of refugees and immigrants from various countries around the world.

Why do we choose to live in this place?  Our classmates ask us:  Why do you live so far from school (especially when gas is so costly)?  Well, my roommate and I desire to give feet to our faith and live life among “the least of these.”  We feel that, since we are training to go minister to people in a cross-cultural setting, we shouldn’t wait until we’re on the field to do just that.

So, I can’t wait to get to know our Burmese, African, Cuban, Latin American, etc. neighbors and start showing them Christ’s love.

In case you’d like to drop me a note, send a care package, or maybe even send a tax-deductible donation (made out to Pioneer Bible Translators, please!), my new address is:

Melinda Velasquez

6050 Ridgecrest #308

Dallas, TX  75231

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