I woke up this morning (Sunday April 9, 2017) at 5 am thinking about the year 1973 and I felt that I had to write some words down. 1973 was the year I was born, but also the year that defined my generation. There was a decision made that caused 1/3 of my peers to never exist; to never see the light of day. Fellow friends, classmates, athletes, artists, dancers, singers, movie makers, journalists, fathers, mothers, world changers, were never able to be seen, heard, smile, weep..., run, laugh, jump, play, love or be loved. They never had a chance to feel the dew on the grass as they ran barefoot, smell the lilacs in the spring, taste sweet lemonade on a hot day, hear the words of love from family, or see the myriad of colors in a sunset. They never had the chance. I am extremely thankful to say that I have.
I think about my life and wonder if I had not been so blessed to be born and experience the joy and pain of life. Life is not always roses and sweet candy. We have pain and grief to go along with the laughter and fun. Failure is as much part of our existence as success. We experience all of it in life, but at least all of us who are born into this world get to experience it. I miss the 1/3 of the generation that were not born. Oh, what beautiful love, sights and sounds they could have brought to this earth. Oh, I wish that I had met them.
I am so glad that I believe in redemption; that gives me hope that one day I get to hear them sing and watch them run.
One of the 2/3rds that made it.
I find myself sitting under a blanket of stars on a Guatemalan tropical cool night, a girl six years old finally finds rest in my arms. My heart is beating more slowly now and I am beginning to relax again. Minutes before this sweet child, so beautiful and serene was out of control. Hitting anyone around her, screaming and completely inconsolable. Before she was able to hurt herself or one of the other children in the children’s home I gathered her writhing body in my arms and calmly said,
“I will not hurt you, I will protect you. Let’s go outside for some fresh air.”
She continued screaming, “¡Quiero estar sola! Déjame ir!”
(I want to be alone! Let me go!) She hid behind her hair and put her tiny hands over her face to protect herself. I knew if I put her down in this state of rage she would hurt herself. I prayed a silent prayer to God, the true source of peace and strength and calmly yet boldly walked outside.
The cool night welcomed us. The moon shone bright over head and I sat down, with her limp resigned body heavy in my arms. I tried to calm my tense body through breathing deeply and she pressed her face against my chest to find another place to hide. I let her connect with me. Heart to heart. Our breathing synchronized like a mother and her nursing child. My silent prayers reached toward heaven and I felt love wash over us. As I rocked this child in my arms, my mind drifted to all the pain she had experienced in her young life. Domestic violence, poverty, neglect. Each scene played through my mind like a nightmare. I pressed pause, and prayed that the nightmare would end.
I carefully swept her sweaty hair from her face and looked at her. She was perfect. Her coffee cream skin shone in the moonlight. Her cheeks full and sweet. Her fluttering eyelids so peaceful. My heart expanded and welcomed this child in. I thank God that even though her mother and father have left her because of their broken hearts and lives that He would never leave her. God wants to spend time with this wounded child and I was the instrument He used to hold her in his arms and calm her fears.
Well The GOOD Shot is completed.
Matt Blacklock, made 7000 free throws on July 22-23 to raise funds for our children’s home in Guatemala, Casa Esperanza. His goal was to make 8000 free throws, but his body was exhausted and very sore. We want to thank everyone who helped and gave. We have raised over $6200.00 at this point, but are believing for more.
To watch some of the madness of 24 hours of free throws, check out the video links below:
The GOOD Shoot: Part 1 (by Jared Seitz)
The GOOD Shot: Part 2 (by Jared Seitz)
The Final 100 shots (Granny Style)
Peace is the fruit of our relationship with God. Peace is not the absence of conflict. Peace is not a beautiful beach hidden away from the cares of the world. Nor is it the feeling we get after we have successfully executed a well devised plan. It does not come from something we can create apart from God. Peace is a fruit of who God is.
"For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this body to reconcile both of them to God in the cross, by which he put to death their hostility." Ephesians 2:14-16
Jesus destroyed the barrier of sin and death, he removed the dividing wall that kept us from seeing God face to face. He is Son of God and Son of Man. He wants us to be one new man and no longer be separated from the Father. He did this by dying for us when we were His enemy. We try to find a way to appease the ones we have conflict with. I have tried to appease those I have conflict with. I determine what side I am on. I see my side as right and the other person's side as wrong. I can choose to stay in this cycle and not have peace. As long as I try to convince the other to be like me and conform to my way of thinking the wall of separation divides us. This was my plan to make peace. I choose to allow those into my life who have the same values and similar ways of thinking. I have believed conformity is unity. The absence of different ideas does not bring balance and peace, on the contrary it is dangerous. It puts me in the position of control and not in the position of a Son of God.
Jesus is our example. He called us to " do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should not look out only for your own interests but for the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4
Jesus came to destroy the barrier of us and them. His heart's desire is to make us one with Him as He is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus unclothed himself with his equality to God and came humbly and subjected himself to man. He lived in the womb of a sinner. He nursed at her breast. He did not think at himself too highly to grow up in a family and start from an embryotic state. He took the nature of a servant and did not fear that he would lose his identity by serving others. He first became obedient to death, then he humbled himself and died on the cross. He was naked, defenseless and had no self protection. He showed us how to put to death hostility and make the two one. To have peace we must die to how we desire to live and let the life of the Son of God and Son of Man be made new and complete in us.
I was out on a very rare run by myself in Antigua, Guatemala; enjoying the solitude and freedom of going where ever my feet led me. I decided to journey up to the cross that overlooks the city. As I was climbing the 250 stairs I began to think to myself about starting over. Coming to Guatemala 10 years ago meant starting over for our family. We did not know the culture, the language or where anything was. It made me think about Jesus who left His heavenly home and started over on earth. When you start over you cannot come as an expert, you have to come with a humble, curiousity that is willing to make mistakes and embrace the newness all around. I learned how to walk and talk here, how to act and how to love again.
I was out on a very rare run by myself in Antigua, Guatemala; enjoying the solitude and freedom of going where ever my feet led me. I decided to journey up to the cross that overlooks the city. As I was climbing the 250 stairs I began to think to myself about starting over. Coming to Guatemala 8 years ago meant starting over for our family. We did not know the culture, the language or where anything was. It made me think about Jesus who left His heavenly home and started over on earth. When you start over you cannot come as an expert, you have to come with a humble, curiousity that is willing to make mistakes and embrace the newness all around. I learned how to walk and talk here, how to act and how to love again.
Over 60 people (including Casa Esperanza) ran 646.4 km for the creation of a community soccer field in our 6th Annual The GOOD Run with Casa Esperanza. It was a great time. This year we moved the run to the big empty field next to the main Fe Viva base where plans are to develop a sport field.
Over 250 people doing over 129,000 jumping jacks for Casa Esperanza Children’s Home. The Goal was for one crazy man to do 100,000 in a week, but he soon found out that was impossible. Then many people came to his rescue and a wonderful thing happened: Everyone jumped!
The Children of Casa Esperanza ran in their 5th Annual The GOOD Run November 21, 2014. It was called Run for your Life, as the funds raised were for their home. every year they run to collect pledges for to help others but this year they ran for themselves. Over $13,000 was raised for this cause. This year this run also honored Pastor Edwin Asturias who passed away earlier in the year. He was an important person in so many peoples lives, including these children. Thank you for all those who ran and sponsored these kids.