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Guest Blogger – Carolyn Skaar, Thirst Missions

By November 4, 2014August 4th, 2015Blog

Today’s guest blogger is our bookkeeper here at Thirst Missions. We hope that you are encouraged by the story of her first trip to Belize.
The date was January 8, 2012 that my father passed from this life into the loving arms of Jesus.  The days that surrounded that event are best described in this poem that I wrote just following his journey home…

Dark Days Filled with
The days were dark
even though the sun shone bright and the moon filled the night sky.  There he lay with peace covering his face;
one foot on earth, the other stepping into heaven’s gate.  There we gathered, grief filling our hearts
and brokenness covering our faces; one foot on earth, the other reaching
desperately for heaven’s gate.  None of
us wanting to let him go, and all of us wanting to stop his pain.  Each of us carrying our grief like a heavy
sack on our back.  Yet, each of us
becoming freer as the brokenness went deeper and deeper into the crevices of
our hearts.  After all, brokenness snaps
the cords of sin that run deep in the human heart.  Jealousy wilted, envy fell flat on its face,
and unforgiveness melted in the love that swept over us all. If only we could
live always in that broken state where sin runs wildly away from hearts that
weep.  If only we could have lingered
longer in that tender place of peering into heaven’s door where sin and pain
live no more.  Life moved on after death
took him away.  It had to; our time has
not yet come.  But, all of those things
learned on the dark days must be remembered, and must remain in our hearts.
Brokenness frees, Brokenness heals, and
brokenness saves us.
Those days of
darkness were some of the holiest moments of my life, that is, until I landed
in Belize…the land of the beautiful 2 years later….

From the airport we loaded up on a big bus to make the long journey from Belize City all the way up to Orange Walk. My eyes were saddened and my heart crushed by the depths of poverty that stretched across the land.  But, I was equally as touched by the richness of love and generosity that I saw in the hearts of these people. God’s love poured out of their tender spirits and drenched my heart like a soaking rain on a hot, dry summer’s day. January 8, 2014 was the day set aside for hospital visits for our group in the city of Orange Walk; a place that I could never have imagined that I would be, let alone on the anniversary of that dark day when my dad left “his earthly tent”.  Something in my spirit moved when I found out that we were going to be visiting the sick and lonely on that day.  I knew that it was no accident and that God had something special planned.  I will never forget the fear and feelings of inadequacy that raced through my heart as we walked into those hospital doors.  What do I say to these broken, hurting and needy people?  How do I share my heart with people who may not even speak my language?

I should not have worried….God was already there!  He supplied all that I needed as I approached
that first hospital bed with a young lady recovering from the hard work of labor.  I held her hand and told her that God loves her. This young mom had no husband to be at her side….shame hung over her like a heavy blanket. My daughter, Micaela joined me and attempted to share the verse in Galatians about none of us being worthy of God’s love or mercy.  We both cried and failed to read the verse aloud.  Sometimes words just don’t amount to much and love just has to spill out in tears. Bridget took the Bible and read the words that we just couldn’t. We prayed for her and this new little life that lay sleeping all pink and peaceful at her side.  Meanwhile, Pastor Chi and his niece, Noelly were lighting fires in human hearts all around the room.  In the end, 6 people gave their lives to Christ that day and even though my eyes drenched with tears, my heart nearly burst with joy!  My dad’s day of death had now become the day of salvation for 6 souls.  The journey did not end here though.  There was one man whom I talked with that day who was so uncertain about accepting Christ. Again, you could see the feelings of unworthiness and shame from his past hang around his neck like a thick wool scarf.  I lacked so badly in explaining God’s love and forgiveness to this dear soul. I tried to explain the depth of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness and again, that verse in Galatians came up to explain that no one is worthy of this kind of love, but he just could not fathom this. Finally, I simply asked if I could pray with him.  When I asked him what he needed prayer for, his reply was to pray for the needs of Belize as a country.  I honored his wishes as I prayed, but I also prayed for God’s love to touch his heart and heal him deeply.  After I finished praying, he looked at me with these pleading eyes that I will never forget and he asked me if I could come back again sometime. It was like our conversation was not yet complete and he knew it, but our time had run out.  We had to leave the hospital in a timely manner so that Pastor Chi would be allowed to go back in again in the future.  My heart broke as I agreed that I would certainly try and I left that hospital with a very heart.

The next day I told Pastor Chi all about this man and I asked if he would go back with me to see him.
I was certain that if he had the chance to speak with him that he would be able to lead him all the way to salvation’s door and straight on through!  I was hoping so badly that we could just get in the truck and go at that very moment in order to stop this haunting, pounding of inadequacy racing through my soul.  Instead, Pastor Chi needed an ear and a heart to be available to share his heavy concerns about his school and all that was taking place.  I listened intently and promised to uphold him and the burdens he was carrying in prayer and the afternoon slipped quickly away.

Two days later, Pastor Chi called Ashley to request that I go back to the hospital to find the man that I had told him about.  Evidently, the Spirit would not let this go and moved his heart to go back even though it was just 1 ½ hours until we had our final worship service at his church. Luda and Perla picked me up at the hotel as the sun was setting in the western sky. Feelings of fear and inadequacy swirled through my mind. Again, I cried out to God the whole ride to the hospital as questions tormented my mind….Would he still be there?  What will I say?  How do we help him understand?

Finally, we arrived and walked straight into the men’s ward of the hospital.  It was very busy and every bed was full.  I walked straight up to the bed where my friend had been only to find that he was no longer there.  My heart broke. Another man lay in his place.  Pastor Chi wasted no time and began to share the gospel with this man and his wife sitting by his side.  Not only them, but 2 others gave their lives to Christ in our brief 45 minute visit.

Never have I seen someone use their gift of evangelism as effortlessly as I saw Pastor Chi.  God’s work is not done for him at that hospital in Orange Walk. I pray that the Lord will continue to work through him to light the fire of salvation in many more hearts to come.  I believe that one day my friend who I did not find, will meet up with Pastor Chi and will come to understand how deep and wide the love of the Father is for him.  God is the hound of heaven and he will pursue him and help him see the truth that will set him free!

The moon shone bright in the night sky as we journeyed back to the church for our closing worship ceremony. As my time in the land of the beautiful was coming to an end, I could only imagine the party that was taking place in heaven as these 4 new names were being written in the Book of Life. I could not help but wonder if my Pops was watching this whole thing unfold and laughing with that deep laugh of overflowing joy that I can only imagine fills the throne of Grace.

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