I am starting to work with a family where the mother is abusive, the father is an alcoholic and the children are all fearful, withdrawn and feel they have no value or worth and are not loved. I have spent hours trying to find resources for the family but in this area there are few. I finally got the child a doctors appointment where they confirmed abuse and gave me an official document stating that she had been abused. I then went with the “town judge” to sit down with the family and talk. We shared with the mother that this is illegal (which she did not know because when she was bad her mother would beat her to discipline her as a child). The father desperately wants to stop drinking but feels he can not. I am starting counseling with the father this Sunday and will be working with the mother as well to help her with parenting skills and also to just talk to her about the stresses of having an alcoholic husband. (she takes her anger out on the children much of the time). I will continue to work with the little girl in school as well. There is a rehab about an hour away in Ibarra that I found that is free for its services and you can stay up to a year. I am hoping the father will consider going if I can find a way to raise the 75 dollars a month the family needs to survive without him working. I have two short months to work with this family and I am praying that God would work miracles to restore this family as well as hopefully bring them to salvation.
Yesterday was amazing. Sue and I brought the little 14 yr old girl with us to Ibarra, the closest big city. She had only been there once when she was much younger. We took her to this luxurious fancy lunch place that has a water fountain and courtyards. You feel like your in spain, or another world when you are there. I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head when she saw it! The menu was 4 pages long and she just looked at is smiling. She had never ordered off of a menu before and was so overwhelmed by it. We ended up having to order her something because she just had no idea how to even begin. She had steak and eggs with papaya juice and flan for desert. Lunch for the three of us was 16 dollars (lunch usually would be about 4 dollars for 3 people so this was super expensive) and she was amazed that we would pay 5 dollars for her for lunch. Then we were walking around outside and it started to rain. I took out my umbrella and she just laughed and laughed at this. Shes never walked under an umbrella before. We then took a cab to the shopping center that has the “super maxi” which is the only grocery store within hours of pimampiro and we bought some of our American comfort foods. My little girl was amazed by this. She had never seen anything like a super market before. They had these little bags of candy with a little toy in it for a dollar so I let her pick out 5, one for her and all her brothers and sisters. She just looked at me in disbelief. This is a little girl who goes hungry many days of the week because her father spent all their money on alcohol over the weekend. I am sure she has never had someone buy her a bag of candy that cost a dollar before. I think my favorite part however, was where we left the super maxi and went to the bathrooms on the top floor. There was an escalator and she just looked at me like “what is that!!!”. I told her its how we have to get to the top floor. She had a death grip on my arm and almost fell which would have taken both of us down and she laughed the whole time. She is so incredibly quiet and withdrawn so to see these brief moments when she would just laugh or smile in disbelief was so incredible.
Today I was reading in Hebrews 7. Its an obscure passage about the priesthood of Christ. I wanted to understand it better so I read a sermon by piper on it. I have to say DesieringGod.org is quickly becoming one of my best friends down here. I love pipers sermons. They are fabulous. Anyway, the verse that piper focused on was Hebrews 7:25 “Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them.” Piper asks the question “saved from what?” the answer is God. Gods holy wrath against sin. The only thing that keeps me alive is that I have a high priest who stands between me and God blocking Gods just wrath and hatred of sin from giving me my just punishment. Not only this but I am able to draw near to this terrifying God who will act justly and punish sin. I can draw near to him and experience his love rather than his wrath because Jesus is living to intercede for me. And not only that but Jesus is praying for me to draw near to God and I am not left to my bent and sinful ways to try out of my own strength to muster up some affections to desire God above my sin which I clearly can not do. And its not that God is all wrath and Jesus is all love. It was Gods plan from the beginning to send his son so that we might experience his love while he still justly hates sin and pours out his wrath completely. He does not lessen or change the “wages” that he promised would be paid for sin. They are still paid in full by his Son who triumphed over sin and death and now stands between Gods holy wrath and my sin that I might be near God. Beautiful. The gospel never gets old.
Piper gave this awesome definition of salvation saying “The LOVE of God has rescued me from the WRATH of God in such a way that the JUSTICE of God is vindicated and the GLORY of God is exalted.”
I just love the gospel, and Jesus, and Piper haha. Anyway… all of that is to say that THIS is the problem with this family. Jesus is not their treasure so they are looking for life in broken cisterns that cannot hold water. They do not understand that they have a high priest through whom they can draw near to God and find streams of living water. Who needs alcohol when you have infinite treasures and satisfaction in Christ? But when you live in such brokenness without such a beautiful hope for eternity AND for today then why not drink away your problems? Why not bleed out your pain onto your children? Why not beat them and allow them to become objects of your wrath since you are one? Jesus is interceding on behalf of THOSE WHO COME NEAR TO GOD. 1. This does not say those who once had a spiritual experience and drew near to God at a point in their life. Its continual. If you are not continuously drawing near to God then the bible says you do not have salvation. 2. Jesus is interceding for those who come near to God which means He is interceding for his children.
So today I realized, then WHO is interceding for this family? Well…I am. Would God bring me to this time and place so that I would bring this family before the thrown of God in intercession? There is so much responsibility in that and at the same time no responsibility. God is the one who would put it on my heart to pray for them. He is the one who moves. It is always him yet I am still here realizing that I bring my prayers before Jesus who hears me and prays for me. I bring my prayers to God when I draw near to him through Christ and plead for the salvation of others. I am called to pray yet God is the one to move. Apart from Christ renewing their hearts and giving them eyes to see him they can not turn from their sin. Oh that God would move so that they might know the glorious riches of knowing Christ! Its one thing to see a little girls eyes light up by taking her to a nice restaurant and telling her you care about her and that she has worth, its quite another for her to come to know Jesus who so desperately loves her and for her to FEEL her worth and FEEL love in his presence. I can do and do and do but it is only a band-aid. The only real gift I have to offer her is my prayers and taking opportunities when God presents me with them to share with her the beautiful hope of the Gospel.