Saturday, July 9, 2016

Changing Gears

James and Ellie Carr
After being on the mission field for about a year, James and I began feeling as if we could be doing more than we currently are.  We had been doing a lot of good and helpful things, but felt as if we had yet to fully dive into what the Bible says that we should be doing.  After many months of prayer, times of just listening for God's voice, and scouring scripture for answers, James and I came to the same conclusion.
As our Heavenly Father, God's love for
us is merciful and unending.  He even
created us in His own image!
We are still here to make disciples and share the Gospel with others- that is a non-negotiable command for all Christians no matter where they live or what they do for a living.  While reading the scriptures, however, we kept coming back to this theme of love God has for orphans and widows. God is referred to throughout scripture as both our Father and the Bridegroom of the Church.  Both titles are distinct examples of His unfailing and unconditional love for us.  Throughout the entire Bible we see this love especially exemplified in the form of God being a "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows."  This beautiful correlation is one that I continue marveling at.
As the Bridegroom, God loves us
unconditionally and for who we are,
not what we've done!
There are also various commands throughout the Bible to love, care for, and defend orphans (James 1:27, Exodus 22:22, Isaiah 1:17, and more).  God promises to be a Father to the Fatherless, but how can orphans experience His love and comfort unless they know Him personally?  While Romans 10:5-17 specifically refers to the message of salvation, I feel that verse 14 could also be fitting in this context, "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?"

Orphans obviously have very unique needs.  They lack parents to love, defend, teach, disciple, and even care for their basic physical needs.  Not only that, but in Guatemala, where we live, UNICEF has recently estimated that there are over 370,000 orphans.  To compare, the state of Georgia, which is significantly larger than Guatemala, has less than 2,000 orphans total (according to a basic Google search).  To make matters worse, not quite ten years ago, Guatemala closed all international adoptions due to corruption causing the system to back up even worse than it had been.  So the need facing us is great, and it is right where we are.

For these reasons and more, we feel extremely certain of God's calling in our lives to work with orphans.  With guidance and direction, we took the position of sub directors at a children's home in Guatemala called Fundaniños.  The home provides Christian care to between 40 and 60 abused, neglected, and orphaned children just outside of Guatemala City.  As sub directors at Fundaniños, our family will live onsite and James and have the resources and ability to fully care for children and lead them to know and experience the love that our Father wants to lavish on them as His sons and daughters.
Part of the Fundaniños property.

Will you pray for our family as we take on this new position?
- that the move itself would be smooth and easy
- that we are able to form new strong relationships with the staff and children in the orphanage
- that God would equip us to spiritually lead the children and staff there
- that Riley adapts to yet another move and huge change for our family
- that our family continues to serve God and seek Him first in our new position

We thank you so much for supporting our family and lifting us up during this next transition and next phase of service as we seek to make God's great name known and show His love to others through doing so.  We also want to stay in contact with our family back at home, so keep in touch through the Contact Us link above, and let us know what is going on in your life and how we can be praying for you specifically!

Much love,
James+Ellie


"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are."

1 John 3:1a

Home

James and Ellie Carr
Today we find ourselves packing to move yet again.  It is a chilly rainy Saturday just outside of Guatemala City as we empty out our closet drawers into suitcases and once again try to put all of our belongings into boxes while somehow keeping them organized.  Moving isn't a new thing to me, yet it is not the norm that I had hoped for my life.  Throughout my entire childhood, my family only moved one time, and I believe the same is true of James' family as well.  Once I reached college however, the concept of home became a more foreign concept.

With this being my fourteenth move in eight years, I'm beginning to feel that we have become some sort of nomads or wanderers.  Although I want to see it as though James and I have been very flexible and are constantly seeking and ready to follow God where He calls, this move has also been more difficult on me emotionally than others.

I find myself longing for a home.  I see Riley growing up faster than I could have imagined and I think back on my own childhood.  I always had a home growing up- a physical address that I knew, but more than that, it was a feeling of safety, warmth and relaxedness that accompanied the physical house.  I long to provide that to Riley.  I long to have a place where our family can grow and have those same feelings of warmth.  I wonder what Riley will call home as she grows up.




Questions like, "Where do you call home?" and "Where are you from?" are beginning to become more complicated than I expected, and know one day Riley will also be a little confused trying to answer questions that should be so simple.  Yet I cling to the hope delivered in God's word-



"Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? 
Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
 “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 
 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 
 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 
 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 
 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 
 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Luke 12:24-34
The house that will be our family's home at Fundaniños
I see the children we are going to be working with at the children's home and am grateful, however, that God has given our family a house to live in and love to bring us together.  That is more than most of those children have.  I also see and am part of a tight community of missionaries in similar circumstances as our own family.  I know that they face the same struggles we do and rest their hope on similar truths.  I know what God has provided our family with is more than what we need, and in His abundance we find comfort for today, hope for the future, and joy as a family.  We praise Him for meeting our needs on a daily basis, and the abundance of love He has put in our household.  We know that our treasure is in heaven and strive daily to give our hearts over to the Lord to bring glory to his name.  We find hope again in God's unchanging promises-

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself."
Philippians 3:20-21


Will you pray for our family as we transition this week to Fundaniños?

- that the move itself would be smooth and easy
- that we are able to form new strong relationships with the staff and children in the orphanage
- that God would equip us to spiritually lead the children and staff there
- that Riley adapts to yet another move and huge change for our family
- that our family continues to serve God and seek Him first in our new position

We thank you so much for supporting our family and lifting us up during this next transition and next phase of service as we seek to make God's great name known and show His love to others through doing so.

Much love,
James+Ellie

Addendum- These are completely my thoughts & feelings and things I am still processing throughout our journey.  It may seem as though I can easily throw a Bible verse out there and decide to base my hope, emotions, and even my mood on it, but rarely is that the case.  I spent the evening after writing this exhausted and in tears (as well as the next evening after that) longing for a stable home like so many friends back home have.  I can say with certainty though, that God has a purpose in drawing our family to Guatemala.  We can't always see why, or where His path leads, but we know that He does not make mistakes.  We fight to pick up our cross and seek after Him daily, and are spurred on by the encouragement and support of His church.

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