Living The Life That God Has For Us....

God's Plumbline Ministries is called to repair devastation in the lives of God's people allowing restoration both physically and spiritually. Providing creative solutions for employment, education and life skills allowing God to repair and restore hope.  Empowering each community to establish a secure foundation both inside and out, while keeping in tact God given talents and uniqueness, not focusing on man's ways but God's ways.  Developing working relationships within social and economic circles, working hand in hand with community leaders to bring the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Uno and Harley's Flight on Agape

Agape Flights has Gone to the Dogs!

As missionary Dan Lynch’s cell phone rang, he answered by saying, “No, the plane isn’t in quite yet, I’ll call to tell you they’re here.” A short while later, Dan’s phone rang again, “No they should be here any minute now. I promise I will call you as soon as it touches down.”

The King Air’s return mission flight on September 24th wasn’t a routine arrival; there were DOGS on board! And not just anyone’s dogs, these were the beloved dogs of missionary family Dan, Sheila Alyssa, Madisen and Parker Lynch.

As the King Air’s engines wound down, Dan called home to announce that Uno, their 65 pound chocolate lab, and Harley, the family’s 100 pound mastiff puppy had arrived safely! Harley was a special gift to the Lynch family from fellow missionary partners, John and Beth McHoul of Heartline Ministries.

The Lynch family is also known as “God’s Plumbline Ministries” an independent non-profit ministry with Heartline Ministries. For the last two years, Dan and Sheila served in Port Au Prince, (Tabarre) Haiti to establish a self sustaining sewing school for women. First, they started a math and literacy program so the women could read the sewing patterns, and then equipped the women with treadle sewing machines and the needed sewing skills. The sewing school is now run by three Haitian women who continue to teach more women. The women make and sell beautiful purses. ( The ability to earn money gives these women the ability to be self-sufficient, to support their families and to have the independence they need in a society where this is often difficult. Dan and Sheila praise God for His power to open the sewing school doors, be up and running and self sustaining in a record two years timeframe!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

black like me...?

The Blue Sweater
Blue Paint On The Road - Page 10
But don't pretend to be someone you aren't.
If you were at home, you'd celebrate with champagne.
If you want to remain happy and alive in this work, you need to reconcile this part of who you are and understand the inconsistencies with the work you do and how it all fits into your whole way of being.


One of my most favorite books is "Black Like Me".
I read it years ago, way before I had any intention of traveling to Africa or Haiti.
Yet, I still think about all the time.
I have always thought I would live in India or Indonesia and wonder how I grew to love Africa and Haiti.
In High school, I bought some of my clothes at Pier One Imports because they came from India and I loved them.
My dad asked my mom why I had to wear such wrinkled clothes?

While talking on the phone to my friend Lisa, I heard myself say, "yeah, the problem is I look like a white woman living in middle class America, but in my heart and mind I feel like a homeless Haitian woman."
There it was again, "Black Like Me".
We started laughing and pretty soon we laughed so hard we ended up crying.
Laughing one minute and crying the next seem to be part of this process as well.

I have been working on reconciling just who I am and what I am called to do with my life.
It's not exactly like asking the question, "when you grow up, what do you want to be" but sorta on the same idea.
Life looked much different when we lived in Haiti full-time, it was who I was and I fit.
Well, I fit as much as a white woman can fit in a nation of all black people, but I knew it was what I would do for the rest of my life no matter the color of my skin or theirs.

The process..........
I'm not sure I can put it in words.
My friend Helen says, it is more like deep calling to deep.
It is understood, not spoken - if you haven't been there you won't understand.
I say maybe and I don't know more often and I am slow to speak about my life and the life of others.
I have never walked this road, nor have I walked the road of others.
This is a walk of grace and faith.
Now it is mine.

This is about coming to terms with a life that I have more questions than answers.
Doing what I love with out fixing it and still loving it.
About not forgetting to be true to myself and what I love.
It is about the bigger picture.
Most of all it is about being comfortable in my own skin.
Skin that seems to not fit well more often than not.

Black like Me, maybe......maybe just Me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the lesson of a staple

I can pretty much tell you that having a paint brush in my hand can only mean one thing - I am going to be learning a lesson that has very little to do with painting.
I am not a good painter.
I am messy, I know it and I am OK with it.
These lessons began when I was in art school.
Back then, I felt creative and productive, these days it feels more like I am cleaning up someones crap.
Maybe it's my crap that needs cleaning up and it just so happens when I am painting I am finally still and can actually hear!
Either way, this isn't what I wanted to be doing, I had no grace for it.
It was going to take too long and I had a long "to-do" list.

Yet, the lesson was pretty straight forward - sin is like a staple.

With paint brush in hand, I stood in the porch feeling completely overwhelmed.
I started with this room because I could see this could be my favorite room in the house.
Maddie suggested we call it the "quite room".
A room just for reading, meaning, in no way shape or form was Parker allowed to come in and bug her.
Nice try Maddie!
For me, it was the room where God first started to bring restoration to our lives after returning from Haiti by replacing things we had to sell and/or give up when we moved.
He started with things that had been near and dear to my heart.
A few weeks prior to moving into our house He replaced our patio furniture, a.k.a. veranda furniture depending on what neighborhood you live in.
For three hundred dollars, a divine appointment and a fantastic garage sale, I had furniture I could have only dreamed of having.
It was not "just" furniture, it was a whole room full of furniture including lamps, tables, a topiary, silk plants and other nick knacks.

I just wanted to paint the stupid room and be done with it.
I was hot.
I was tired.
I had very little energy for the days and weeks of cleaning, painting and repairs that lay ahead in order to get the house ready.
I had done several walk through's surveying the condition of the house, I seemed to be walking in circles not knowing where to start.
I just wanted one finished room in the house and I wanted it quickly.
We had been living out of a suitcase for the past four months, vacation was over, we wouldn't be going back to Haiti, we needed to be settled.
Out of complete frustration I just started painting over what seemed to be five thousand staples that had been put in the window frames to keep plastic and fabric over the poor excuse for forty year old windows.
Why it was done this way was beyond me and it just made me crabby.
My goal was to get it off my list.
The quick fix wasn't working, the paint wasn't helping.
It still looked awful.
I put the paint brush down, went to get a screw driver and a needle nose pliers to get these stupid staples out.
One staple turned into ten, ten turned into a hundred very quickly.

It wasn't long before I could hear the Lord speaking to me about sin in our lives.
We believe our actions serve a purpose by making the best of a bad situation.
Our lives are like really bad windows that let the cold and heat in, we try "fixing it" our way.
Some sin leaves easily, while other sin is in so deep it takes some digging with special tools to get it out, leaving a deep scar.
Either way, it will take a coat of putty and the dreaded sand paper to fill in and smooth over the holes sin has left in our lives.
While we are being sanded, filled and painted we forget the Lord sent us his Son to do these things for us because of His love for us, and we end up looking like jerks in the process because we are in pain.
Suddenly what was once an empty, ugly space has the potential to be something beautiful.
The balm of Gilead has been applied to our wounds, we are walking in the desires of our hearts rather than looking and feeling like the walking wounded who are disqualified by their anger and actions that result from our sin.

Some will never know of our past, or what we used to look like.
As they sit with us, they are amazed at just how far we have come and would have never dreamed in a million years that these things could be true.
All along it was the Lord working in us, creating a room filled with beautiful things and divine appointments so that He can come and sit in the "quite room".

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Maddie's School Paper

Madisen Lynch
6th Grade Language Arts
Hightower Middle School

When you stare in the deep warm brown eyes of a Haitian boy, it is like a winter day, but you are inside, warm by a fire reading a good book.
Actually, your on the streets of Haiti where it smells, there is garbage everywhere, and it is hot everyday. Very Hot!
Haitians stare at you forever when you are waiting in traffic but then you start to move, so we are not going to go there,
Yet, with hands out, the Haitian children lean against our windows to see into our locked doors, behind the doors are you and your family but all you see are their sad faces.
"Mom, can I give this little boy some money?"
I asked my mother.
No, she replied to me.
"Why Not?" I whined.
It's because if they see you giving all the time they will ask you over again for more money."
Haitian money has an exchange rate of 8 to 1 right now so Haitian money is only a few cents.
"Fine", I mumbled to myself.
We finally started moving but I looked back and he was still standing there with that same sad look on his face.
It is hard for many children to grow up in a third world country.
In Haiti, many children beg for money on the streets to live each day.
My parents are missionaries and we lived in Haiti and have just come back to the States.
We are lucky as Americans when we get something like food. You eat some of it and then throw it away.
People in Haiti would love that in their tummy's.
So feel lucky for what you have.
I can't stop remembering that boys face.
It's like a bumper sticker on my brain.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Haitian Hobo

Sunday arrived and we set out with coupons in hand for what we thought would be a free trip to the science museum.
It seemed like it would be a fun thing to do, might I dare say, a "normal" thing to do.
Our plan was going off without a hitch, that was until we got to the ticket window.
It seems, we missed the fine print that said,
"everyone had to be a Bank of America card holder to enjoy free admission".
Since Maddie and Parker are only twelve and nine they are not card holders and fall into what is frequently know as the "loop hole" factor.
With an awkward silence now standing at the ticket window with us, the not so happy to be working on a Sunday afternoon employee just stared at us.
We decided that since we had driven all the way downtown, it was still a good deal, in a sorta, kinda, maybe way.
We handed over our Bank of America debit card, paying full price admission for two children.
As we walked into the wide open space of the second floor over looking the life size dinosaur we felt hopeful that this would be a fun day after all.

As we made our way around three sparsely filled floors, we found it necessary for a quick refresher for on just what exactly the Creation facts are vs the Big Bang Theory that was now being broadcast in surround sound as we watched a really lame movie on their version of how this whole thing here on earth got started.
This was clearly not what we had in mind.
We finally got to the "hands on" part of the museum, finally some fun stuff to do.
This helped redeem some of our expectations of what a science museum should be.
As we walked into the special exhibit for the day, there was a line of kids standing, waiting, wanting an adventure as well.
We made our way to the front of the line to find a lizard!
Hold the phone!! What the heck!
We are standing in line to pet a lizard?
Suddenly it was like I found the missing piece to the puzzle. This all started to fit together.
Why on God's green earth would a family just moving back from a third world country consider this to be an adventure?
We have lived in a country where lizards are part of our every day life constantly crawling across the walls of our house.
This was our norm,l not a special exhibit to stand in line for, and guess what, we didn't need a squirt of hand sanitizer after touching the darn thing.
This kind of stuff just wasn't gonna qualify as an adventure for our family!
The only place we felt normal in this bagillion dollar building was in the room full of artifacts and pictures from all over the world talking about the different cultures and their customs. The room was filled with clothes, instruments, jewelry and tools explaining how the culture functioned, both physically and socially.
I wondered about our lives and the lives of these different cultures without saying a word to my family.
Could we just sell all of our stuff, buy plane tickets to Africa and tour of all of Africa.
I couldn't understand why would we come back here to collect stuff so we could live here for awhile, only to sell our stuff again to live in another country and follow the call on our lives to work in different Nations.
What was God thinking? We didn't fit here and yet we are here for a season.
We left the museum headed to our favorite noodle house in a very funky part of town.
In the past, taking the peeps to a noodle house was off limits and reserved for date night.
Now, it was part of our Sunday afternoon adventure.
As we sat outside, I enjoyed the warm, humid Atlanta afternoon, I hate air conditioning that is kept on a meat locker setting.
I was still processing a few things, so I threw my unspoken thoughts out on the table about selling all our stuff and traveling across Africa.
To my surprise, the only question Maddie and Parker had was "can we be home schooled".
That went well.
We had finished our meal, making our way down the street to a real Ben and Jerry's ice cream store.
Everyone was eating their favorite flavor ice cream that was melting quickly as we sat outside again, this time on a roof top.
Parker, at the edge of the roof top said, "Mom, I hate to tell you this, but, they have Haitian Hobo's here".
If you think in pictures like I do, you know at this point I had to get up, walk over to the edge of the roof to see what on earth he was talking about.
Ah, yes, my children's first experience with a homeless man in the States looking in the trash cans for food.
I am not sure where he got the phrase, "Haitian Hobo".

It was ironic on so many levels, a homeless man looking for food in a trash can next to a Ferrari.
It was irritating to think we could have lived in Haiti for three years for what it cost to buy that car.
We finished our ice cream and made our way back to the freeway, we thought we would go over to see the Blood N Fire warehouse off of MLK.
As we drove through the streets some things looked familiar, but after being gone so many of the traditional land marks had been torn down.
This is where I should explain that odd things seem to find us no matter where we live.
Dan says, it is me, odd things find me, not him and that they are attacked to me in every way, shape and form.
It may be true!
As we made our way through the streets we noticed another "Haitian Hobo" standing on the sidewalk, pants down around his ankles, pooping!
Yes, pooping!
Dan's observation was the fact that he wasn't bending over enough to miss his pants and was unloading all over his pants.
Maddie was screaming - GROSS!
Parker said, I am just gonna pretend I didn't see that!
I was laughing so hard I was crying!
Thankfully, as we turned the corner we could see the warehouse.
The warehouse is not the best neighborhood in town, so we didn't consider it all that odd to find a brand new Elliptical machine sitting in the middle of the street with the timer still running.
We guessed it had just been stolen and left there for a later pick up.
Pick it up we need!
Stomachs full, heavy duty exercise equipment loaded, a good laugh for the day and quality time spent together.
We made our way north on the freeway.
Our adventure was over for the day, we had learned a great deal on our free adventure.
Some things in life are not free, we can't ever go back to the way it was, adventure is in the eye of the beholder and most of all we learned we are a family that has been put together for a greater purpose than living an average, normal life.
We look forward to the days of new beginnings and trust that God is the creator of all things, it didn't happen with a big bang, He has created the perfect adventure for us as family and as individuals.