This photo is of Tom & Heidi Lonsdale who moved their family to Mazatlan, Mexico six years ago to start a cafe and share the love of Jesus to the community. They’ve “put themselves out there.”
Recently I took the TWELVE students to a monastery in Oceanside where we gave ourselves to a vow of silence for 24 hours. I gathered the team and said, “24 hours from this time we will get back together at this very spot. Ready!? It starts… now.”
This is the second time I’ve been on a monastery in this way. At first it’s a bit awkward. No eye contact during hallway passing is a bit weird. There’s of course the hours of solitude in gardens with no words. That’s truly amazing, but, most awkward are the uncomfortable meal times when you’re sitting across from others trying to temper the awkwardness by staring into your plate.
If we put ourselves “out there” with God, there is a point in our journey when everything changes. We let go of hurts and stresses, and grab hold of the overwhelming Creator of the Universe. We become alive and present with him. My goal is not to learn or attain anything in these endeavors. My goal is to simply “be” with the Creator and everything I need to learn or hear from him will happen from that place.
As I write this I am in Mazatlan, Mexico serving my missionary friends Tom and Heidi Lonsdale through their café called the Looney Bean (http://looneybeanmaz.jimdo.com). We’ve been ministering all over the city but our hearts have been left in the dump area. We helped mix concrete with shovels and built an extension off the house of an elderly woman who was hit by a car last year.
When the trucks arrive, families at the dump need to be close so they can gather anything of value from them when they drop material. They will take plastic, copper, and the gold in computer equipment or anything else that can be sold. Because the families need to be close to the action, they actually live in the dump. There is no electricity or running water and their homes consist of plastic or wood and metal all tied together to provide shelter. Their water is contaminated, stored in barrels. Tom and Heidi moved their family here to build a business that would give back to the community. They put themselves out there in a way most people wouldn’t even consider.
Families in the dump wash in and and drink the contaminated water. I watched a mom dunk her 3-month-old baby in a 5 gallon bucket for a bath. The kids are happy, even though they are likely to be hit by a car or get sick. The older mothers I talked with had lost at least half of their children for various reasons.
It’s critical that we set ourselves apart to God for him to speak to us and use us in any way he wishes. I told our team before we started, “God may choose to use us in big ways or small ways, but we are just a tool in his hand to be used how he wishes.” Putting ourselves out there may look small in the eyes of man, but trust me, it’s big in the eyes of God. And that’s all that matters.
This is a trip that will forever change the direction of my life. It’s one of those defining moments that would have never happened if I didn’t put myself out there. So today, wherever you are, put yourself out there. Give something to God that costs you something. Decide to go on a missions trip or reach out to the poor in your community as Jesus did so often. Or send a few emails of encouragement written in the love of Christ and see what God chooses to do with it.
Put yourself out there. Be dedicated to him, and be willing to do something that may be a little crazy. Just see what God will do! Watch the joy he will put in your heart.
If you’re interested in supporting the Looney Bean or learning more about Tom and Heidi and their family, visit http://looneybeanmaz.jimdo.com/.