Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Crisis of Time


Kevin, a first-grade boy, came up to me after lunch yesterday. He wrapped his little arms around my waist and rested his head on my stomach. As I hugged him back, he looked up at me and asked in his cute, Honduran, first-grader voice:

Why don't you come visit me more in my casita?”

He has asked me this before. Each time I smile and say that I will come soon. And I try. But time often gets in the way.


A couple of times a month, I am asked this question:

Bailey, will you give me piano lessons?”

Every time I hear it my heart sinks. My response is always, “If I had all the time in the world, I would love to give you piano lessons. But unfortunately, I can't.”


Last night, one of the North-American teachers walked home after a particularly difficult night. He was physically and emotionally exhausted. He had just spent hours with the children at the casitas, helping with some difficult questions and circumstances.

After sharing his heart with those of us who were in the room, he made a comment:

And if you walk up to the casitas right now, there will be at least 10 kids who are mad at me because I didn't spend enough time with them today. I feel like a one-man band. I can't do it all by myself.”


I live on the campus of a children's home that currently houses over 100 children. Of those children, 74 are my students. There is not possibly enough time in the week for me to spend quality moments with each child. And as a result, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and overworked.

I feel burdened for the hearts of these kids. I want to spend time with them and to know them each on a deep level. I want to visit each of them in their casitas, but I can't.

It is a crisis of Time.

I get up, I teach, I spend time with kids, I go to dinner, I go to bed. That's about how each day goes.

I think the most rotten thing about Time is having to choose.  

Do I to spend my hour before dinner with the teenage girls or with the younger boys? Do I choose to give English lessons to a woman who eagerly wants to learn, or do I lead a bible study with the teenage girls who are hungry for God's word? Do I spend intentional time today with the girls or with the housemothers or with my fellow teachers?

It seems impossible to choose. But somehow I do.

As I laid in bed last night thinking about the Crisis of Time, a verse came to my mind.

Matthew 9:35-38
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.'”

I am quite sure that Jesus felt like a “one-man band” at times. He was surrounded by sheep with no shepherd – by people who were hungry for truth, but he couldn't possibly see each of them. There wasn't enough time. So he trained workers, and he sent them out. Then his workers trained more workers who trained more workers, and so on.

It is a privilege to be a worker for the Lord here at Good Shepherd Children's Home.

While Time often overwhelms myself and my fellow workers, I am reminded that God is the one who will bring the harvest at its proper time. We are only seed-planters and seed-waterers. God is the seed-grower. 

And I pray for a plentiful harvest.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Real Talk

I love my job. I love my students. I love my kids here at Good Shepherd Children's Home.

I have been here for 5 months now, and my time for this year is halfway over. That is crazy to me!  As I look back on the past 5 months, I am content. The Lord has grown me and shown me His purpose for me. I feel useful to His Kingdom here at the home and at the school. 

I have had some amazing conversations with some of the girls about their faith, and I have talked with them about some hard questions.  I know that nothing in their hearts will change because of me. I am a Seed-Planter and a Seed-Waterer. God is the Seed-Grower. 

Can I get an amen?

I am content with how the first half of the year has gone.  But I am also evaluating my time and my efforts, and I know that I can do better.

I have been obedient in many of the things God has called me to, but I know that I can be obedient in so much more.

While I am here as a full-time teacher, my ultimate purpose on this earth is not to teach Music and English. It is to teach about the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.  Because I love them and desire the best for their lives here on Earth, I want them to have a great education -- and I hope that I can provide a well-rounded education for them in Music and English classes.  

 But I want more for them.  I want to prepare them for eternity, too.  I want to help them grow in their relationship with their Savior Jesus, because that is what will stick with them long after I am gone.

Yesterday, as I sat outside Casita 3 with some of the teenage girls I love, I started a conversation.

“I will give someone a Coke if you can tell me the Gospel.”

“What?” They asked, smirking.

“Do you know the Gospel?” I asked them. “If you can tell it to me, I will give you a Coke.” I replied.

Each girl promptly began her best attempts to win the contest. Each answer contained truths, but incomplete truths. 

One girl said, “The Gospel is when you tell others about Jesus.” Yes, I replied, but what IS the gospel that you tell them?

“It is that you give your life to God and he saves you.” Yes, but how?

“The Gospel is that Jesus died for us.” Yes! But why did Jesus have to die?

All of their answers were so familiar to me, because I used to be in their shoes. I knew a lot about Jesus and about the Gospel. But I had no clue how to present it to someone else. 

Once we had established that none of the girls could give me a complete presentation of the gospel, I asked them another question – still offering a Coke to whomever could tell me the answer.

The Question: Why did Jesus have to die?

(This is a question that I didn't understand for a long time, so I wanted to know if they understood.)

“To save us!” Yes, but why did he have to die to do that?

“God said he had to die.” Yes, but why? What was the purpose?

“So we could go to heaven.” Ok, but why did Jesus have to die for us to go to heaven?

Oh, how I sympathized with them! I could feel their curiosity growing as they searched their brains for an answer. Finally, on Yolanda's umpteenth try, she said:

“Well, in the ancient times, the Israelites had to kill lambs to wash their sins away. But now we don't have to do that, because Jesus came.”

She came the closest to a full answer, so I gave her a high five and told her she'd won the Coke.

Then I told the girls the Gospel.

We are sinners. Every one of us. There is no one that can say “I have never sinned.”

(Actually, one of the girls tried to tell me that she never sins. I promptly reminded her that she had lied to me just that morning.)

We lie; We treat others badly – whether in deed or in heart; We are prideful, we are selfish, we are rude. So often we want nothing to do with God. Because we are sinners.

And our sin deserves death.  (As I tried to quote Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death” to them in my imperfect Spanish, I accidentally said, “The glue of sin is death.” That gave us all a laugh. Then I moved on.)

Something has to die for our sin – something has to pay the penalty, and it should be us! The Israelites had to kill animals for their sins, yes. But it still wasn't enough. They were counted righteous by their faith.

But here's what happened. God sent Jesus, His son. Wholly God and wholly man, all at the same time. He never sinned, but he gave his life as the final sacrifice for all of us sinners so that whoever believes in him and puts their faith in him will have eternal life. We get to wear His righteousness, so that God looks at us on Judgement day and sees His Son.

Jesus died. For you, for me.

Then guess what? He rose to freaking life again! Why? Because he is God – and he lives for us, Interceding on our behalf before our Father in heaven. What a Savior.

I am leading a Bible Study on Friday with the older girls to answer their questions about the Gospel and to help make it more clear to them. I see myself in their confusion. I grew up being told about Jesus, and so did they. But like most of them, the Gospel didn't become real and personal until I was in high school and college. God used some special people during that time of my life to speak God's Word into my heart, and I pray that I can bring some of that clarity into their lives.  This is discipleship.