Monday, April 15, 2013

Sending a piece of my heart to Guatemala

Before I moved back to my hometown in Southern Illinois I heard about a fabulous concert in Elkhart, IN. Actually it started out as just fabulous and then it became a once-in-a-lifetime concert, for me anyway. It was the Promises tour with Sanctus Real AND JJ Heller. At first when I heard Sanctus Real was coming to town, I was like, yeah. That would be pretty cool. But when I knew they were accompanied by JJ Heller... forget it. I'm so there. I was not even deterred in the least to know that no one was available to go with me. I was going alone but this show was being played for ME. Hello.

I started listening to SR when I was in high school. The coolest hippest station, 102.1 The Alien played their song, Say it Loud. My best friend and I were always jamming to this one. Loved it! "30 hour drive through the Rocky Mountains..." She bought me their CD, "Fight the Tide." And my love for them continued. ***WHHHHAAA A bug just flew into my eye!

Okay, I'm back. Now, JJ Heller. I was introduced to them in college by my dear friend, Jenn. I was going through breaking up with my fiance in 2009. You know that feeling you get when you're going through a break up and its like you forgot what it felt like to feel normal? It hurts so bad that you forget what day it is. It was then when I first heard Your Hands. Such a beautiful song. It spoke to my simple Sunday school self. It reminded me of the simplest truth of my faith. God is here. I am His and He is mine. Thats it. God used that song to lead me to the other side.

  Did I tell you I love Sanctus Real? As I've grow up their music has changed to me. It means something. I'm sure if you listen to Christian music at all you've heard Whatever You're Doing. A.MA.ZING. I have heard so many stories of that song touching lives. Its good. That song defined my transformation from struggling post college grad to "thriving" grad student. Thriving is a relative term... ;) Seriously that song encompasses my thoughts, fears, hope from 2010-2012.

Well, I haven't even mentioned Guatemala yet! I'm getting there! One of the speakers for the concert was a child advocate for Compassion International. Now, I actually have a history with Compassion. Flashback: I was a simple-minded, well-meaning high school student at a CIY conference. I was moved to sponsor a child, from Peru actually. I am not sure if God was telling be to do it, but I felt compelled. Who wouldn't? The stories of those children are so touching. I wasn't able to keep up with the payments. I felt so guilty about it. And as a high school student, thats what they were, just payments for something I'd signed up for. I meant well, but I didn't get it.

Since graduating in 2010, I have been trying to figure myself out. What is God telling me? What am I doing? Where am I living? (Resident of 3 states in 3 years, people. This is serious.) After talking to a inspiring woman I met in my last church, I have accepted that I am God's vessel. I am empty for Him to fill and pour out. I am made to BE Christ to the world. God has given me the responsibility to care for his people in whatever way I am presented. This lifestyle is a challenge. Everyday is a challenge. I like my time. I like my money.  I am learning what real stewardship is. More than my tithe belongs to God.

I knew this time, God was telling me to use my money to sponsor a child. I prayed as I listened JJ Heller and later the announcement was made that anyone choosing to sponsor a child tonight would receive Sanctus Real's new CD and get to meet the band. If that is not a sign from God that that is exactly what I was suppose to do, then WHAT IS?!

With that in mind, I'd like to tell you about the newest member of my family. :) Her name is Sheila. She is 6 years old and she is from La Trinidad, Guatemala. It was so exciting to look through the packet I got after I signed up. Her father is a farmer and her mother is a stay at home mom. She has 5 siblings. I am so pumped to support this little girl, write to her, and love her.

 Just 2 days ago I got an email from Compassion saying that they'd told Sheila that she has a sponsor. It gave me goosebumps. I came to the dining room table to eat breakfast with my family after reading that email and I cried over my raisin brand. She knows about me. She knows that someone is going to take care of her. She is going to have opportunities that she couldn't have without me. ME. Wow. Such a big responsibility. God has blessed me so much, honestly its an honor to give my money to help someone else. Now when I go to work, I do my job knowing that someone is depending on me. I have a purpose, even as a grad-student Aldi cashier. God has filled me and "my cup overflows with blessings." Psalms 23:5

The last song of the concert was Whatever You're Doing. I was already crying as they played. I didn't know how the show could get any better until Matt, SR's lead singer, welcomed JJ Heller to the stage to sing the last chorus of their song. Here I watched as two of the most influential musicians in my life sang one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard. I closed my eyes and I was alone with my God.

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