Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Plot Line Concocted by God

For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, 'They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.' And I will harden Pharaoh's heart and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and over all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” (Exodus 14:3,4)

It feels like this is the stage we are at with the birth center. We're out of the starting blocks, just like the Israelites were when they finally began their flight. We at Casa Compasiva have at least begun the journey 'out of Egypt' but now we are facing seemingly insurmountable odds. By this point onlookers might conclude that this is an ill-conceived plan and that we will be forced to abort. They might assume that the lack of committed, full-time midwives and the lack of sufficient funding indicates aimless, futile wandering around in the desert, with defeat as the end result. “ The wilderness has shut them in.” 

But ah, they would be so wrong! 

Now is the time for the Lord to rise up and contradict the naysayers, to get glory over all the impossible obstacles! Now is the time for God to show Himself strong—that the 'nations' looking on will know that He is the Lord! God orchestrated the events of Exodus 14 in such a way as to make it look like the Israelites were trapped between the sea and the pursuing Egyptians. He told Moses exactly how to camp facing the sea so that Pharaoh would conclude that the Israelites were trapped and desperate. He set it up on purpose-- framing the story in such a way that He would get all the glory over Pharaoh! 

So do you get it? Can you see what is happening here? God has been setting up this birth center story in a similar way, framing it to be humanly impossible. When we first started on this endeavor a year ago, we had one fabulous, committed, experienced midwife who planned to direct the whole project. It was still huge, overwhelming in scope, and ambitious-- but do-able. Too easily achievable on a human level for God to get the glory. So God had to up the ante! Lo and behold, that midwife's plans were completely changed by marriage to a wonderful man, suddenly leaving us with no director. In removing her from the equation, God raised the project description from do-able to difficult. Yet we were still instructed to go on-- right up against the sea. And now, in withholding money and committed midwives until the eleventh hour, God raises it from difficult to impossible. 

He is setting the scene, deliberately giving the impression that it is a lost cause. 

But what was the end of the story? Obeying God's instructions, Moses raised his staff and the Red Sea miraculously parted, allowing the children of Israel to walk through on dry ground. The pursuing Egyptians tried to follow and were drowned, the threat of defeat swept away in an effortless move of Almighty God, all to His glory!

So we will wait here in the wilderness with our faces toward the sea--appearing helpless and hopeless, with no route of escape. But God. And with God on our side, who can be against us?
Casa Compasiva-- for the glory of God!

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will work for you today... the Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14: 13 )

Praise God!

We are rejoicing in the following:
  • The prospect of some significant funding to arrive soon
  • A midwife coming in January to train our doulas (midwives' assistants) and get us on track for our target opening
  • Oaxacan nurse friends who will come in and do training workshops for the doulas in sterile technique, vital signs, etc. – to coordinate with the training from the American midwife
  • 25 year old construction guy willing to come and stay for as long as we need work done on the renovation
  • The promise of some other construction family groups planning to come in Jan/Feb.
  • A brand new oxygen tank and blood pressure cuff!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why Can't They Hear?

“I will bring you out...I will deliver you...I will redeem you...I will take you to be My people...I will be your God...I will bring you into the land...I will give it to you...I am the Lord” (From Exodus 6:6-8)

“Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.” (Exodus 6:9)

This is what happens to so many Oaxacan women here in Mexico. They might hear a gospel message, with all the good news of deliverance from the burden of sin, and redemption from meaningless lives of drudgery and sometimes brutality. They hear the good news of entering into a relationship with Jesus, but spoken in the context of their oppressive existence it does not compute. They do not listen “because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.

And that is exactly why we need to start a birth center here! So that right smack-dab in the middle of their miserable lives, right at the moment where the enemy delights in communicating messages of worthlessness and despair-- we intercept that message and exchange it for one of value and hope.

“Jesus will deliver you; He will redeem you; He loves you; He will be your God.”

And because these words are spoken gently in a context of compassionate ministry at their moment of greatest need-- somehow the women can listen and accept.

Father, please bring together all the resources and personnel we need for Casa Compasiva to open so that hundreds of women have the opportunity to come to faith in Christ!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

God is Throwing a Party...

... and He’s Inviting Us to Attend!

Ever since we began down this path following the vision of starting a birth center in Oaxaca, we have felt that it is not really OUR idea or OUR vision or OUR project.  This is really God’s idea—an idea whose time has truly come for the people of Oaxaca.  It is His idea to use excellent midwifery care as a tool to reach people for Christ. We can just imagine the joy that He feels as He anticipates mamas and babies being introduced to His Son while receiving compassionate, loving care! 

So we acknowledge that this is God’s idea, but at the same time we understand that God uses flesh and blood people to accomplish His purposes.  For some inscrutable reason, He has chosen to use us, and honestly, being the human instruments used to launch this project can seem a bit overwhelming at times.  Humanly-speaking, this project is HUGE!  It is far-reaching in scope and implication.  It has great potential for blessing…and great potential for failure.  It is challenging the existing, impersonal birth infrastructure and daring to say that God cares for these pregnant women and their babies.  It is David in a showdown with Goliath! 

This is a tremendous responsibility… do we really want it? All summer long, we wrestled with this question, but kept coming back to the fact that God had called us to participate in this dream.  As we heard Francis Chan say in a sermon, “God is throwing a party, and He is inviting us to attend!”  As we remember that this is His party, then we can also rest in the knowledge that it is His responsibility. He can take care of the details like supplying the personnel, the funds, and the equipment. We can relax and enjoy watching Him work the miracles! 

Does He still require the help of His people ?  Yes. Will it mean hard work?  Unquestionably! Are His people called to be obedient?  Of course.  Do we have the option to obey or disobey?  Yes …but if we don’t attend the party, we don’t get to enjoy His party favours! We don’t want to miss out on any blessing that He has in store for His guests, so we have chosen to attend this big Oaxacan birth center party that He is throwing and participate in the work, the fun, and the celebration.   

Will you join us?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

What is Casa Compasiva?

Casa Compasiva (Compassion House) is a Christian Birth and Midwifery Training Center due to launch in January 2011. This is an approved medical project of Missionary Ventures International to complement the ongoing ministry of MVI among indigenous people groups in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The mission of Casa Compasiva is to provide a place where pregnant women and their families can experience the love of Christ at this very vulnerable time of their lives.

From beginning prenatal care, through labor, delivery, and the postpartum period, women and their families are given love, support, and a biblically-based education.  It is a place where the good news of the gospel is proclaimed in both word and deed.  It also provides an ideal training opportunity for Mexican Christian women desiring to learn midwifery in a Christian context.