Monday, November 25, 2013

Hope never gives up!

Photo Credit:  Children's Cup
God remembered us when we were down, His love never quits.  Psalm 136:23 (MSG)

As I looked down at her leathery hands, I silently prayed for them.  Her strong palms gripped the wooden paddle and agitated the water in preparation for the day's meal.  She made it look so easy as if any willing heart could do the same.  

As I watched her silently make the boiling brew behave and I said another prayer for strength. As my hands started to cramp I spoke over her weary hands that gripped hard.  I was thankful that her hope hadn't given up, and that for today she had enough love to start yet another meal for the countless sea of hungry faces.    
I looked down at her calloused feet which spilled over the worn souls of her shoes.  I saw the roughed up places on her heels and her toes were spilling over the front.  A little bit of her heart was showing, obvious she had walked a mile or two in that pair.  I said another little prayer for her feet.

She is one of many who speak hope into the lives of children who come looking for another scoop of food at the Children's Cup CarePoints.

One of the strongest statements of faith I saw in Africa were from the most silent women I met.  Because of the hope from their hearts and the service of their hands, I will never be able to look at cooking the same.  They are the backbone to the feeding program for Children's Cup.  They work long hours, putting their heart and soul into every meal and give the best customer service known to children.

Their nurturing hearts stand in the gap for the hungry, serving the worn, the weary, the weak, the orphaned.  No one is turned away from a bowl of hope.  Their dedication spans the many traveled dirt roads that feed the hungry, speaking literal life to the children.  

If I had some Olympic gold medals, I would have needed a load of them.  I wouldn't award them for their skill, not for their culinary delights, but for their stamina, courage and strength to stand in the face of adversity to speak hope into so many. They volunteer for this duty to bring hot meals to each and every tummy.

What makes a granny or momma spend hours upon hours working to make bowls and bowls of hot fortified rice for so many?

It's not the pay, or the benefits package.  Not for any reason than to show the true nurturing and tender care of our Savior.  They are the face of Christ, and with each bowl they show the Love our Father has for each of us.

These mothers roll up their sleeves and serve the only hope and Love they know.

The CarePoint's strong spirit is dependent on "Maghees" (Mah-Gays) who willingly serve hot meals without the modern convenience of a microwave or oven. The blisters on my hands are finally fading from the hot liquids that splashed on them while helping.  I will never forget the heavy cauldron lids, nor their eagerness to pluck chicken feathers and gut two dozen hens.

Day after day I watched them, served alongside them, and saw the hope they cling to every day. There was a day when a group of cooks simply sang a chorus that boosted my faith more than any sermon.  

I took notes.  

"Never give up....Never give up....Never give up!"....a simple chorus that still sings in my soul.

Hope doesn't give up!  Never give up on the hope we have in Christ.  

I thought about the times I have wanted to give up and walk.  And yet....they sing....Never give up.  This band of hope spoke encouragement to me with their chorus of praise about our Faithful God.

Don't give up!  Hope hasn't and won't give up on you.  Even when you are ready to give up on yourself.  Even at your lowest, Love and Hope haven't and won't give up on you.

Hope's name is Jesus and His name is something to serve as well as cling to.  So always remember to look to the Lord when you want to give up.  Let God lift your head to see the hope He has for you, no matter how worn and weary you feel.   

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