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. 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

O Love...

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

George Matheson said about this hymn:
My hymn was com­posed in Scot­land on the ev­en­ing of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone at that time. It was the night of my sister’s mar­ri­age, and the rest of the fam­i­ly were stay­ing over­night in Glas­gow. Some­thing hap­pened to me, which was known only to my­self, and which caused me the most se­vere men­tal suf­fer­ing. The hymn was the fruit of that suf­fer­ing. It was the quick­est bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the im­press­ion of hav­ing it dic­tat­ed to me by some in­ward voice ra­ther than of work­ing it out my­self. I am quite sure that the whole work was com­plet­ed in five min­utes, and equal­ly sure that it ne­ver re­ceived at my hands any re­touch­ing or cor­rect­ion. I have no na­tur­al gift of rhy­thm. All the other vers­es I have ever writ­ten are man­u­fact­ured ar­ti­cles; this came like a day­spring from on high.

Friday, January 18, 2013

India - Part 3

Red or black, everything matches, shirt, pants and scarf.
The color is specific to the god(s) - male or female.
The out come is the same.
Forty days of fasting will achieve favor in the after life, you must do this fast three years in a row.
I wondered if I would dare mark myself it this way – wearing my convictions, literally. 
Do we, in this culture, mark ourselves this way?
I mean...believe in anything this much.
I guess a handful do on Ash Wednesday.
I don't know about you, but I am not leaving the house dressed like that.
Maybe by not wearing our convictions we are quick to say things like:
"you can see it in our actions" or 
"we are marked and different by who we believe in".
This. This is way more than a bumper stick kind of belief.
Women shave their hair off, bringing it to the temple for an offering.
I had to ask for clarification, really, they shave their hair off?
India is know for women with long beautiful hair and all I could think was, 
"Ain't happening here, I am not shaving my head".
I am thinking, wondering, if we had to wear our convictions in public would they mean so much more.
- - -
Car horns, bus horns, train horns, truck horns.
It's loud and distracting. 
What do they mean?
No one moves quicker, no one is startled or jumps at the sound.
No one seems to be too moved by the sounds.
Unless of course you are the guest.
At first, you are offended by the sound.
Should I you be?
Maybe, but the rules are different here.
No hand gestures seem to follow the sound.
The sound of the horn only seems to say, I am here, don't move suddenly in ANY direction.
- - -
You can’t wear shorts.
 Yet, men wear a tiny little towel of sorts wrapped around their waist with a dress shirt. 
A dress shirt that has seen better days.  
The men who wear them seem to have grown smaller over the years. 
They are almost invisible it seems.
Becoming smaller than children, not in size, only in mind.
Their dress shirts may have fit tighter and had more color.
  They carry a walking staff once used to tend sheep. 
A fringed towel is wrapped loosely on their head. 
They have salt and pepper beards, piercing eyes that seems not to be all that trusting any more.
The women seem more at peace with it, the getting smaller part.
Their faces are different.
They don't seem so out of place.
I wonder if in their younger days these men dressed in red or black.
Did it matter any longer?
Would they have fasted those one hundred and twenty days.
Would they want them back.  
- - -
Always a pot of Chai brewing, always time for a cup. 
A milk film forms on top of each cup and sticks to your top lip. 
Each cup smells of spice, so hot you burn your mouth the first fifty times trying to keep up with the drinkers. 
Chai is to bring peaceful thoughts to your day, causing you to pause, to think.
I love Chai.
- - -
Hindu chanting at night makes me think of torture in POW camps.  
Day and night it is almost never quite.
For such a quite people they make so much noise.  
Most of it seems to be a ritual. 
However, there is one chant that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
Some kind of horn, a deep long drawing sound.
There is, nothing peaceful about it.
- - -
Riding on the streets in the auto rickshaw it hits you.
In the air there hangs a smell that sticks in your nose and throat, holding them for ransom.
It lingers, not allowing fresh air to enter bringing freedom to your lungs.
You believe this is what death smells like....and it does.
- - -
Many forms of Gandhi still walk the streets. 
Some are real, some, some are not.  
Thin tiny men dressed in white, bald headed, a walking stick in hand. 
Round glasses too big for his face. 
More than once I have done a double take. 
Yet, I have seen no Sisters of Charity, only the good mother in statue form.
I am sure she would hate seeing herself in gold.
- - -
There is a bathroom in my room, for this I am grateful.  
The gift of hot water, priceless. 
The shower has no basin, water is free to fall in the whole room. 
Water makes it's way out of the confined room ensuring a mini floor washing daily.  
There is again the smell.
There are no closed drains, so with each burst of water the air is filled with  “the smell”. 
Not the street smell, this one will allow for air to come in your nose and mouth.  
Because this is an open space, it is open to ants, hundreds of them. 
Without knowing they had made my towel their new home I grabbed my towel after my priceless warm shower, it had been a long hard day. 
As I dried my body, I was rolling ants across my back. 
The pain was instant.
Hot and burning.
I didn't know about the home I had disrupted.
I was truly sorry.
I would pay for this mistake for a few days.
I was now red in color, not in clothing choice or religious convictions.
I needed a horn to do the yelling for me.
I needed Chai. 
Someone get me Chai - peaceful Chai.


Friday, January 11, 2013

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

We celebrate all kinds of days. 
Birthdays, Valentine's Day, Grandparent's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day. 

Today is "National Human Trafficking Awareness Day".


There are 27 million "slaves" in the world today.
That is more than any other time in the world.
The account of Moses say, he and Aaron lead 2.5 million out of Egypt.
Yes, that seems crazy too.
What about all the work of William Wilberforce?

Are they the same thing?
What does trafficking and slave labor look like?

Human trafficking
The illegal trade of human beings mainly for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor.

A system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work.

You don't have to look very hard.
Here are a few pictures of what it looks like today from the lens of my camera:

This young lady has a long story to tell.
Not so different from all the other girls that live and work with her.
She sells herself to take are of herself and her children.
Children that have been taken from her.
Children that she wants back, two young boys.
She makes $60 U.S. per month which pays room and board.
She can see up to ten men per day.
None of her earnings are applied to her family debt.

Crossing from Cambodia to Thailand. 
You can see children pushing child across the border in a suitcase.  
Are they playing? 
If they are playing, let me ask you who taught them how to play that game?
Are they begging? 
What about school?
Who is taking care of them?
How do you account for all the middle aged white men crossing the borders on daily basis.

In many developing countries you will see child caring for children.
Children forced into labor at very tender ages.
I was told this is part of their family culture and how they "pay back" their family.

In some cases children are left at the border.
Sitting all day long, begging, medicated.
If you are a parent you know there is no way you can make a child sit still in one place all day long.
So, where is the mother?
You guessed it, selling herself as well.
The sadder part to this story is that there is a generation of children who have not learned to interact within a family let alone with other people.
They are RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) children. 
Hundreds of them. 
The don't learn to walk, talk or develop social skills at a normal stage. 

When you buy clothes at a "big chain" retail store for dirt cheap and the tag says "made-in" (insert any developing country) have you thought about where they are made and who is making them?
What if you added one dollar to the price and that dollar went to the person who made it? 
This is what "cottage industry or sweat shops" look like.
No fans, no running water.
 Just men and women sewing piles and piles of clothes, all day, every day.
They make about $2.00 per day in most places.

This week I heard it said, "awareness is doing something".
I pray that we can do so much more than just one day devoted to awareness.