Answering The Call is an international missions organization dedicated to reaching people in difficult to reach places.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hydrate Me : Congo // Kamanyola, DRC 2014

We have just returned from East Congo! 

The situation in East Congo continues to be tentative at best. Despite lack of coverage from Western news sources, violence continues to plague the area. In fact, there were 31 fresh graves of people who were massacred on one of the roads we traveled. On this same road, the day before we passed, a vehicle full of locals returning from the market was attacked, leaving two people dead and four injured.

Isaiah talks about a time when darkness covers the Earth and deep darkness covers the people. It is such a time for East Congo. In the same breath the prophet says that during such darkness is our time to rise and shine letting His glory rest upon us. 

Our last trip to Kamanyola was just that, a chance for the light of Jesus to be reflected in a dark place and time. This is an area where one of our local partner churches oversees a feeding center and a new medical clinic. There is much to report, exciting stuff that God is doing. We had an amazing time with the women, victims of war. It was a time of forgiveness and healing. We were able to meet with the pastors and visit the feeding center. One of the exciting things we were able to accomplish was to drill a well in Kamanyola. Through partnership with TW Controls, a Virginia based business which brought dreams and expertise to DRC, we were able to bring clean drinking water to this area.

We continue to marvel at all God can accomplish through average people who have big dreams and a BIGGER God. We are blessed. This video gives a glance into our trip. Hope you enjoy it and celebrate with us that light is rising in the darkness.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

All-American Misfit

The Best Man I Know: A Tribute to my Husband 

[WARNING: This may be a bit mushy. It’s personal. It may not be appropriate for our ministry blog. But I had to write it. Feel free to exit now and visit next week for a normal entry.]

My husband left for Congo the day before our anniversary. Prior to his departure he wrote a tribute to the beloved people of Congo. I have subsequently written one to him. 

[Tribute: a gift, testimonial, compliment, or the like, given as due or in acknowledgment of gratitude or esteem.] 

Years ago we were going to work for a large missions organization. There was an extensive interview process which included a thorough personality profile on both of us. It was quite stressful and we waited on pins and needles in a dark room for the results. It was as if our life hung in the balance between the uncertainty of what we knew of ourselves and the uncertainty of what a stranger was going to tell us about ourselves.

The psychologist entered with our destiny in an 8x11 folder. As the conversation ensued I realized he was a little bewildered by the results. He explained that David was somewhat of an enigma, while I on the other hand was your typical All-American girl. I don’t say that to boast. Actually, it is somewhat of an embarrassment. What is an All-American girl anyway? My conjecture at the time was that she is one who follows the rules, perfect in appearance, performs well and a pleaser to all. I guess that could have described me. I confess at the time I took pride in the title. However, after many years of life, the title seems quantitatively shallow.

While I was deemed the All-American girl, my husband didn’t fit any profile on the printed handout. I think they were a little befuddled and weren’t sure how to sum him up. It beckoned me back to high school days when my friends could never figure us out. I think we befuddled them as well. To me, we made sense. Sort of. I believe the personality profilers conceded to the normalcy of my husband because I, the All-American girl, somehow gave him credibility. It became a big joke between us.

24 years after our personalities were analyzed, scrutinized, and summarized, I can honestly say neither of us fit a profile on a printed handout. We have grown through many mistakes, trials, errors, failures and successes. We are different and yet the same. I am not the All-American girl. He, however, remains a wonderful mystery to me.

I want to pay tribute this day, our 31st wedding anniversary, give testimony and acknowledgment of the esteem I have for the man deemed an enigma.

He is the best man I know. Perfect, not a chance. But a man, who after 31 years, I wish I could be more like. He has a pure heart and clean motives. He does not operate with a personal agenda towards people. He doesn’t seem to notice when others have an agenda with him. He would give you the shirt off his back. He truly loves the marginalized and outcasts. He doesn’t do things to be noticed by man. He lives what he preaches. He is comfortable in his own skin. He is an all-in-the-moment kind of guy whether it’s grilling for our church picnics, mowing his lawn, feeding his cows, courting his wife, hanging with a teenager, singing with orphans, preaching a sermon, talking to generals, laughing with buddies, cooking for his kids, or riding his bike through the Middle East. He can know your deepest, darkest secret, never speak a word about it and love you as if he never even knew it. He’s brave. He’s courageous. He takes risks. He fails. He gets back up. He is funny. He is a life enjoyer. He is original. He is loyal. He knows what it is to fall hard and therefore lavishes grace upon others. He won’t sell out a friend. He loves.

David, you are one of my heroes. You have been my saving grace in so many ways. You are not a copy, you are an original and that is beautiful to me. I love you.

Your wife
Written by Joy Fuller, 12 August 2014

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Allies on the Ground

Ovadia Ministries will be providing medical supplies to the newly opened clinic in Kamanyola and to the feeding centers. Ovadia will also provide school supplies such as pencils, pencil sharpeners and cinch sacks to over 400 children. Beyond the physical, Ovadia seeks to bring inner healing and empowerment to the women who have been victimized and discarded. Through prayer, friendships and absolute love I hope to help free these women from the shame and hurt they may carry.

Ovadia Ministries is rooted in Isaiah 61:1, which promises deliverance to those in the Lord. I hope to share my own story of rape and abuse and to tell these beautiful women that they are precious. That they are not defined by their pasts. They are a daughter of the King and they are wanted! They are loved. I had a vision where I saw a large piece of black coal in someone’s hand. The person starts to chisel at the coal. As each hardened piece breaks away, words fall off: Shame, Guilt, Ugly, Unworthy, Dirty, Unlovable, Useless, Unnecessary, Damaged, Broken. After these word fall away, a perfect, brilliant, shiny diamond is all that is left. The hand was God’s. He has broken all the dark labels attached to them. In Him, they shine! We all do.  

Africa is not everyone’s calling. But it is mine. God has an agenda for every person! When God considers a task, He searches for a friend of the Kingdom to join the fight. Who is willing? Who will be His ally on the ground? Who is up for a great adventure? If we decline, He’ll knock on the next door. 

“You are somebody’s answer. You are something’s answer. There is a problem out there only your presence can solve. There is a broken and wounded heart to which only you can administer healing. You are a voice to the mute. You are beauty amid desolation. You are not a victim; you are an answer. Imagine the power in this change of perspective.” (Fight Like a Girl, by Lisa Bevere)

When I read that…I went “WOW”!!! That is such a powerful realization, ya’ know? I found it flattering to know that God TRUSTS me not to screw up someone’s life – this person or people he has chosen for me - with my words or actions, but rather BLESS them, heal them, or make them feel the love they have never felt, that can only be by and through HIM! It made me excited…almost like a “TREASURE HUNT”!
Written by Angela Ross
Reference:  Bevere, Lisa. Fight Like a Girl: The Power of Being a Woman. Warner Faith, New York, NY. 2006.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Lament for Congo

God, whose ways are much bigger and much more loving than I can comprehend or understand.

I have seen your faithfulness all over the world and even in my own place. I have seen how you operate in the best interest of all, even when a long view is needed to understand. Is not the incarnation and the death of your Son in and of itself enough to prove this?

So then, Why Oh Lord does the suffering in Congo continue. While the world has turned a deaf ear nothing has changed. The children continue in their hunger. The women continue in their shame and humiliation. The men continue their pursuit of violence. The leaders, filled with corruption, continue to rob what is not theirs. Even those who live in wealth in the West continue to rape and pillage any resource available. You have said that in the last days their would be dreams and visions, surely this is not what you spoke of.

I have cried. I have prayed. I even once let my mind be bent in the identification with this suffering. I can realize it is not enough. Like Schindler, as he shed his watch that could have bought freedom for three more Jews, I also have failed.

Help, O Merciful One. Help me see this enemy as bigger than my indifference. Bring justice and righteousness to that place. Justice that isn't heavy handed. Righteousness which produces peace and most of all joy. You are a Father who loves all his children. Awaken those of your children who are sleeping and inform them of their brother's pain.

One day we will stand with you and praise what you have done in behalf of your people in Congo. That will be a happy day. On that day we will eat together, Me and Desire, we will laugh and there will be plenty. Then we will eat and laugh some more and You will laugh and eat with us.
Written by Dave Fuller, 06 August 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

Blurred Lines and Kindness

I had an interesting encounter with someone at a music festival last week. This girl I had never met made a harsh judgement against me for wearing a UVA sweatshirt. As she came at me, all I wanted to do was tell her why I was wearing the sweatshirt, “I have a serious medical condition I am being treated for at UVA,” knowing that would shut her down and give me the last word....I did not respond that way, but my flesh is ugly you guys. Thinking over this experience I started thinking about the culture we live in.

It is a cruel world that teaches tolerance, but not necessarily love. The line between Christians and non-Christians, sometimes so blurred, is becoming more and more distinct. It should be that way. We were called to live outside our flesh, extending the love and grace of God to all.

After the festival I came across a Tweet by Toby Mac.  “Be kind. For everyone you meet is in a battle you know nothing about.” As I read this quote, I began thinking about the profound truth in this statement. We should have this mindset walking down the street. We, especially as believers, should be extending kindness because the truth is we don't know anything about the day to day struggles of the people we encounter.

In a day where darkness is only getting darker, our light should only be shining brighter. We cannot blur the lines anymore. We must stand firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ that is truth and love, even if it seems we are standing alone.

We don't have to compromise truth to show love. The culture we are a part of can make us feel like if we don't agree with everyone's way of thinking then we are without love. That is not truth! Should we stand in judgement of these people? NO! We can stand on truth but still love.

In my measly seven years of marriage what I have learned about love is that love is dying to self, it is kind, and it truly is patient, but nowhere have I learned that love is compromising truth. If we compromise truth according to the world then we will find ourselves in a place where we have compromised who we are for ideals that do not embrace us. 

We can be a safe place for people in this cruel world.  Stand firm on truth and love, overcome your flesh, and be kind.
Written by Jes Machia, 04 August 2014