This is a recent video my son Joshua put together of some of our travels and life over the past few months.
“Please! Get me out of here! I don’t belong here, with these people. My children just dropped me off, with my furniture. I’ve never seen them since”. These are the words to us of an eighty year old man when we were sharing Jesus in a Convalescent Home. When he referred to “these people” he was talking about the dozens of folks sitting around in wheel chairs, half of them were despondent, the other half were so old they could hardly speak or hear. There was a courtyard full of furniture.
Walking into an old age home is a ‘Twilight Zone’ episode of epic proportions because it is real. You may or may not end up in one of these places but undoubtedly you will face the future shock of what old age will do to your body. One person after another told us how they had no life whatsoever. They are told when to eat, when to sleep, when to bathe, where to sit, etc. Never did I consider what this inevitable curse of aging would do to my daily existence. The one great joy that comforts me is having no regret.
Anna Marie is blind in one eye. She has nothing and no one. Every day she hopes someone will come to see her. So when a family of eight came to hear her story and share His story she could smile. We visited only a few Convalescent Homes. There are thousands! Many of them have far worse conditions then the ones we saw. These are people who were once 20, 30 and 40 years old. Then, such a time as this, a time when they would barely be able to function and would be completely alone, had never entered their thinking. One woman explained how she was pretty ‘together’, even as an old women, but then a boy hit her on his bicycle. She never recovered, mentally or physically, from that fall. Future shock is the moment in the future when you realize suddenly, you’re are in a state that you never imagined.
I imagine every one of these faces as when they were young. They never imagined they’d be sitting where they are in the way they are. Time is a vicious liar. It tells everyone that it is slowly walking you through this earth. The truth is… your time is flying by. From the womb to the tomb we are racing the clock. You may not take it seriously… but Satan does. He occupies your life with so many things to keep you distracted so you never consider your future shock. These people sit alone, each like un-watered plants, craving some attendance.What a privilege to share with those at the end of this life about eternal life. You can not change your past but you most surely can change your future.
One of the many reasons I just love my Elizabeth is that she is ever thinking of how to reach the lost before it is too late. She is an “evangelpreneur” (an entrepreneur for Jesus). She just looked up on line all the Convalescent Homes here in Chile and sent out emails to each of them offering our services and dance presentation. Not long after, some directors and the people in charge wrote back asking for us to come. She also emailed high schools and colleges, a couple of which we already went to.
We sow God’s Word in faith. We don’t see the end result. A gentleman came up to Sarah today downtown. He said “How can you guys say ‘no church’ when you yourselves must be apart of some church. She explained that we were just a family. Then he said “But then how can you do this all over the world?”. Sarah said “What? How did you know that?”. He said “I saw two of you on TV carrying enormous signs walking down the Pope’s route in Brazil. You weren’t carrying this sign. It had a message of born again”. So obviously he could read the message on TV. Can you imagine someone on the other side of the world reading about being born again and it causing him to seek Jesus without us ever knowing about it? Amazing. Who knows where else? God’s Word does not return void.
We have presented to five different prison groups since being here. Thanks to the persistence, compassion and vision of Ruth. Another place of future shock. They never thought then that they’d be here now. Many of them were peddling cocaine. Many of them here for murder. Some horrendous murder. Faces here and there with broken lips or nose, black eyes, scarred ears. Put someone in such horrible conditions for ten to twenty years and fights and violence are a norm. Regardless of how sin may manifest itself in a man, my goal is always to reach out to the person behind the sin. Love is the starting point. We have held in our arms many who are tormented by things they do not understand going on within them. So many guys surrounded by barbed wire and filth everywhere. Everyday the only meal they have to ‘look forward to’ is SLOP. Giant pots of “soup” full of corn and a gross yellow broth.
This last prison was amazing. The head Colonel, along with many guards, brought us into the center of the prison so we could reach thousands. To see him, the guards and the prisoners, and watchman on the guard posts holding machine guns, all laughing over funny skits we do, to break down walls of separation, is based on the Proverb “a joyful heart is good medicine”(Pr.17:22). We deal with many people from a wide spectrum of life but prisoners are like none other. They sleep on cement and wake up to the same nightmare because of just one tragic mistake. The shock to their “future” is unbearable. There is no other group of people whom both Jesus and Paul both singled out as a priority of care more than prisoners. God says “Remember those who are in prison as though in prison with them” (Heb. 13:3). Jesus says “I was in prison and you did not visit Me…” (Matt. 25:36).
Likewise at the women’s prisons. Most of them for running drugs but some for killing their husband or children. To dance “Salsa” with some and break the image of what it means to love Jesus is a remarkable blessing. Jesus wants them to know His dance, even in this place of mourning. These two beautiful girls begged the guards if after everyone left they could sing us this song. We recorded it. I hope through some means we can let you hear it.
It’s amazing. As Ruth and Elizabeth were finding out about a prison they walked on the street past a group of people with down syndrome. As they stopped to share with them they met the Director of the nearby school for people with special needs. It is a place that cares for mentally handicapped. He welcomed us with open arms. They were so grateful but nothing like we were. It’s like a down syndrome child is not self-conscious but other conscious. The simple love they give is so precious. This man has built this place and worked here for forty years of his life. He told us he had never seen anything like what we gave them. It was such a compliment because it is our heart’s desire to touch such as these with Jesus.
We went to a high school of about 1200 kids the other day and it was amazing. To be able to give out of our experience to those who are just heading out on the road of life is a divine privilege. After you leave a prison or school full of handicapped children you want to just cry out “Please people use your time. Use your freedom. Use your abilities. You don’t realize all that you have been given by God. To seek Jesus. To know Him. To love Him. To SERVE Him. To help the helpless.” Surely, selfishness is a plague from hell.
(ABOVE-Josh and David doing “The Dog” skit. You can see the guys cracking up.) You may think “I could never walk in ‘the anointing’ “. Neither can we. It is all about true humility and FAITH in the anointing of Christ. We are not sparkling icons but weak and worthless sinners. The one requirement is that you become “broken” (Gal.2:20/Jn.12:25). It is not an experience. It is a choice to break your ego. We live in obscurity. We are not waiting for anyone to recognize us. We hope someone may support us but don’t expect it. We live before the Lord.
Anyone can do what we do, if you are willing to pick up your cross and follow Christ. You could go to a someplace where there are people and pass out tracts. You could go to a shelter or Home and ask if you could visit people. It doesn’t matter how people respond or what they say. It’s about obedience to Jesus. If you were two people or more you could put together a little routine of jokes and maybe a little show involving a way to share Christ. Paul says “I can do ALL THINGS through Christ…” (Phil.4:13). He is not talking about doing things for selfish gratification.
When we show up at a presentation and the visual sight just freaks us out, we instantly recall the hundreds of times when the Spirit is always faithful. It’s not up to us. It’s up to Him to work through us. We may fail or succeed but we learn to obey. We are imperfect creatures preaching a perfect gospel. I can not say it enough “WE are not capable of these things”. One thing I can say is that we are not cowards. We will stand for Him despite our own fears (Matt.10:33 / Mk.8:38 /Rev.21:8). We are just an ordinary Christian family who love the Lamb and sing His song (Rev.15:3).
(ABOVE -Abraham on his stilts doing a skit with Sarah called SNOW from Isaiah 1:18.)It’s all about a right spirit. To be a son on a journey through this world requires transparency with the Father. He is the One Who will meet you in your fear and loneliness. His Spirit WILL comfort you! He will meet you where you’re at. Regardless of your sin. He is full of personal grace and creative love. But YOU must move out in faith.
There are times when we do not just one but two or three presentations in a day. If you had any idea what is required to do this you would understand it can be overwhelming. The difficulty is not just engaging hundreds of people, with the effort to love each one personally, but the logistics of trying to drive and find places in a foreign city. We deal with taking out and putting back in our van some seven hundred pounds of equipment, setting up our own ‘stage’ (canopy on a street) and maintaining an orderly transition from one skit or dance to another while organizing the many props that we use. Then putting it all back and doing it again. It is also no little thing to try to walk and manage a ten foot sign, in the wind, while trying to share with people. This is not boasting in our flesh but making it very clear that…
… in the Spirit of Jesus “All things are possible to him who believes…” (Mk.9:23).
It has been awesome working the harvest here in Chile for these past months. Quite remarkable what God has done. Especially just preaching Jesus on the streets. We are leaving here now and will back track a bit up into the mountains of Bolivia. We didn’t make it there before so we will go now. Snow is falling heavily there. What an awesome view out our window of massive snow covered mountains like in the Rockies. We are concerned about the roads and must be prepared for winter conditions.
Adam was the first to experience future shock. Sin is at work in the members of our body to bring about the curse of death.There’s one way out (Jn.11:25). Paul was so secure in Jesus he mocked death; “Oh death where is thy sting…” (1 Cor.15:55).
“Today”… you can prepare for future shock. “Today”… you can prevent future shock. Read Heb.3:15,4:7/Eph.5:14/2 Cor.6:2.
You may or may not be able to get into a prison, or detention center but what does it hurt to try? You may not be able to do this or that but what does it hurt to try? A blessing is waiting for you. If you can’t do so share with us to do God’s will. (1 Tim.6:18/Phil.4:10ff/ 1 Cor. 9:7-12). You can share in our labor by any support so that we can continue and not have to go back to work. You can do so through Paypal with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org Do something one way or another. Just don’t do nothing.