Author SAM DONHOWE
co/authored by Shari Tvrdik
It was Sunday evening and the service at the La Paz God With Us Church was almost over.
I was thinking about what the afternoon would hold for me when all of a sudden the Pastor mentioned my name:
“we have a donation of clothing and shoes that needs to be delivered next Saturday to a village near Puno (southern Peru). The village has been affected by heavy frost this winter. If anyone wants to sign up for a brief trip to send relief to these communities, please talk with Sam”.
I stood up and waved as if I knew what the pastor was talking about, while silently unsure of what was happening and not knowing what the Lord had in store for me.
I spent the next week coordinating the arrangements for the trip (with all the flaws of Bolivian logistics),
I found out a little more about the situation in the region that we were about to visit.
It was a precarious time for the people living there.
Livestock, mainly llamas, had died due to the frost. There were children and the elderly in these communities who had taken sick with pneumonia.
The following Saturday we gathered the small team of five Bolivians and two Peruvian volunteers. After a 7 hour uncomfortable van ride our team arrived to the village of Crucero, which lies three hours north of Lake Titicaca.
This was absolutely not where I had planned to be when I arrived to church six days ago a beautiful Sunday morning.
However, I was thankful for the unexpected.
As we began to hand out the medicine, Christian literature, shoes and clothing to the people, I was reminded of what I read in the Bible during my quiet time earlier that day.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25: 34-40
The scripture which had been simply in words read in the morning, became living letters to me that afternoon.
I looked for Jesus.
I should see Jesus in these people and care for them as if they were Jesus himself.
So many times I want to see Jesus in the important people but instead I must train my eyes to see Jesus in the needy and weary.
Perhaps we would run to these uncomfortable places,
to these hurting people,
if we truly believed His words.
Author ERINN BORG
Erinn Borg is the Cup of Cold Water Ministries short term mission trip scholarship recipient from 2017/2018. She traveled to Haiti with her High School Superintendent and other students from Parkview Christian Academy. Here's what Erin has to say about her experience as a learner in Haiti.
I've been to Haiti twice with two drastically different experiences both of which made me fall even more in love with the country and its people.
The first time I went to Haiti was the first time I had ever been out of the country and I was terrified but thoroughly excited to see what God had in store.
We spent the whole time at and around Good Shepherd Orphanage.
I and many others had our first street ministry experience and every single one of us ended up in tears as we witnessed the love of God in people who lived such different lives than us. I fell in love with our translators and the children at the orphanage, many of whom spoke very little to no English, and I promised myself that I would be back.
This year we almost didn’t get to go to Haiti, there just weren’t enough people interested and me, Hannah, and JD (my team mates) cried together at the news that Hannah and I would not get to be reunited with the people that we missed so dearly and that JD would not get to be introduced to these precious people.
Shortly after, however, my team leader and high school superintendent, Ms. Benson, came to the three of us and said that if we still wanted we could go with her but it would be drastically different from what we had experienced before; we all agreed immediately.
When we got to Haiti, as warned, everything was different.
We spent only a day at Good Shepherd with another group and then we were off to the mountains to help at Alpha and Omega School.
Even though we were warned, Hannah and I struggled at first with adjusting but quickly realized that we couldn’t be selfish, we were not in Haiti for us we were there for God to do His work through us.
Once we embraced that truth we fell in love all over again with a different side of Haiti and with new people.
We saw the city life our first time in Haiti, but it was the rural life we were introduced to the second time.
On our last day Ms. Benson decided she wanted us to see two other sides, the richest and poorest of the country so we had a balanced view of the nation we had been spending our week in.
We spent the whole day driving and what we saw was breathtaking.
I'm grateful Ms. Benson gave us this opportunity.
If I were to take one lesson from that day it would be this: God touches everything, Christianity is not just for the U.S.A., just because others' lives are different and plagued with different problems does not make them less beautiful. We are made in God’s image and that image is amazing whether it is poor or rich, sick or healthy.
That is why I go to Haiti, because I see God there. He loves those people and I too have come to love them.
Thank you to Cup of Cold Water Ministries for the financial donation to help ME GO where God called me to serve this summer 2018.
Author: Shari Tvrdik
The following is an excerpt from a letter submitted to Little Pink House of Hope, written by Shari Tvrdik, Cup of Cold Water Ministries missionary to Mongolia.
“Of course,” I laughed to myself.
Of course Dr. Jeanne is a red head.
Only a red head would travel to the Mongolian slums with stage 4 cancer.
I knew red heads, more on that later.
It took grit for Dr. Jeanne to come to my aid on the other side of the world.
Grit and courage.
Dr. Jeanne came at a time in her life when her days were important.
I remember feeling overwhelmed by her gift of days, to me, a complete stranger.
She came because I needed a psychologist .
Well, not me actually, at least not right then.
An entire nation needed a psychologist.
I had been working in the slum district of Mongolia for six and a half years as a missionary to the suffering poor, and especially the street child. It became obvious to me that the greatest need surrounding me, apart from Christ, was mental healing.
Trauma was everywhere but there was nowhere to go for help of this kind.
The problem was that psychology was yet an underdeveloped field in Mongolia. As much as we wanted to help and heal the children, we were simply not equipped to handle the sizable pain they needed to work through in order to overcome and thrive.
I imagined the miracle first, because that is where everything beautiful first springs from.
Faith is something first hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. (Hebrews 11:1)
I "hoped for" an experienced psychologist to come to Mongolia (for free) because we had no funding to pay for it. She would train our psychologist in trauma therapies, our psychologist would begin to reach the broken hearts and minds of the children and the nation would be turned right side up.
But it wasn’t.
What experienced psychologist would want to spend her time and money traveling to the unpopular destination of the Mongolia slum district?
It looked bleak.
And then the miracle unfolded in the most unexpected way.
“Shari, I’ve got her!” It was Cup of Cold Water Ministries Director Dan Hennenfent, emailing me from the USA.
“Her name is Dr. Jeanne, she has thirty years of experience as a psychologist specializing in trauma therapies especially with children”
My heart jumped inside my chest.
“Here’s the catch” he wrote.
“She has stage four breast cancer and traveling might be a challenge, but she is willing to go for it anyway.”
The world muzzled my hopeful soul.
I thought of my mom, the first red head I'd ever loved.
The mammogram machine.
That look in my dad’s eyes.
Her last breath.
My sisters sobs.
We had all stood outside the house together. Circled up at sunset because that’s when she left us. The setting sun glowing up the yellow autumn trees.
What had just happened to us?
I hate cancer.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring her here.” I typed out to Dan.
“It’s dangerous. We do not have reliable doctors or hospitals.”
And then I added with my mind made up, “please thank her for considering it.”
I hit SEND and felt the sadness.
It was Dr. Jeanne who replied.
It is on my bucket list to give something of myself to someone who needs it. I’d like to come.”
A few months later, against all my better judgment and despite my fears, I stood waiting for Dr. Jeanne outside the arrival gate in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia,
The red hair hit my heart.
I loved her immediately.
I held her close when I greeted her, like I had found a treasure.
I squashed down the what if’s about the coming two weeks and chose to entertain the idea of what a miracle Dr. Jeanne's arrival truly was.
Dr. Jeanne outworked me in those two weeks. She had a plan and she didn’t want to waste time. I could blame her cancer for the naps she took each day, but when she slept I slept too, from the sheer mental exhaustion of her many classes and trainings.
She blew my whole team away away, so much so, that I often forgot about her cancer.
When I hugged her goodbye I was without words. How could I express to her what her gift of days had meant to us?
Dr. Jeanne’s short term mission work in Mongolia reminds me of the planting of a forest.
The work to make the ground just right, the toiling and the tilling, the planning, or perhaps one never purposely plants a forest, perhaps it starts with a simple seed.
Her plane left the runway taking her from those seeds and returning her to her family in the USA. She left Mongolia with the same kind of hope I had as I "imagined" her arrival.
Faith, the substance of things first hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.
I imagine again, one day, long after we are all gone, a lush forest will be there.
I wonder, will anyone know about the small redhead from the United States who gave from what little she had to spare to come and push those first seeds into the hard soil?
Children will be healed from the inside out. Dr. Jeanne left a legacy.
She taught me through those weeks in Mongolia that it is possible for your darkest hour to hold the greatest gifts you have left to give.
Dr. Jeanne told me about the Little Pink House of Hope as we traveled from one meeting to another on a rare hot afternoon in Mongolia. It was an organization which awarded dream vacations by the sea to people in various stages of cancer. They provided all the food, housing, entertainment and even doctors and nurses so that the families could create a beautiful memory together.
“I’m not a water girl.” She giggled.
“I’m not one who likes to get in the water but oh,” and here she paused looking out the car window. I watched Dr. Jeanne as she slipped away somewhere far from the dusty streets of Mongolia.
“Oh how I love to just look at it, the big wide ocean, and feel my smallness. Somehow it makes me feel safe to be so small.”
She told me how she would love to bring her three children to see the ocean one day. She wanted them to know it, the bigness, the whole of the sea in front of them.
I imagined her standing by the ocean, telling her children how small they were in the Great arms of God.
I decided that day I wanted to try to help Dr. Jeanne get there.
I have returned to the United States.
Although I don't have cancer, I do have a bucket list and one of the things on that list is to write to you about this amazing women, in hope she may be awarded your vacation by the sea.
Yesterday, I asked Jeanne to come over so I could interview her and write this story.
I hugged her without that red hair, for it was all gone now. She still felt like a treasure in my arms.
“I’m not afraid to die, “ she said.
“I just don’t want to leave my children.”
Mei Mei, Jackson, Makaia all three adopted by Jeanne because that’s the woman she is.
“Why do you want this vacation Jeannie?” I asked her.
She replied, “I want to make a memory a really beautiful cancer free memory.”
And then she smiled, “But even if it’s not cancer free, it will be a memory of all of us small by the sea together, and that’s enough”.
And this is the way I can help her, to tell the story of Dr. Jeanne. On behalf of the street children in Mongolia, and a missionary who needed a miracle, would you kindly consider choosing Dr. Jeanne Wysocki for a Little Pink House of Hope.
There is no soul more deserving in our eyes. Sincerest Gratitude,
Dr. Jeanne Wysoki and her family were awarded the Little Pink House of Hope vacation in April 2018.
She showed them the sea.
In loving memory of Dr. Jeanne Wysocki 3-18-1962 - 1-26-2019
Author: Amber Werner
I told the women in the prison that I had been a foster child. That I was made to feel unlovable and unwanted by a previous foster parent. I talked about my joy when I was adopted, only to have that family fall apart because of alcoholism. I told them that I had let my past wounds lead me into a life of drug use.
I, too, have been arrested and that only by God's grace was I able to turn my life around.
Today I was in a woman’s prison in LaPaz Bolivia. I was escorted there by John and Carmina Donhowe who have been lifetime missionaries with Cup of Cold Water Ministries. The Donhowe’s translated my testimony for the imprisoned ladies.
“It is only through God that we can find our worth”, I continued.
"If we look to others, we will always be let down and disappointed. Our past sins do not define our future. God already loves us and forgives us even before we ask for his love and forgiveness.”
At the end of my story I asked if anyone had questions.
One woman asked if I had been given any gifts from God. I answered that at my home church I am famous for my hugs. So the women started lining up for a hug from me! I hugged the first woman and she immediately broke into tears. I could tell that she was feeling God's love. Peace flowed through me. Then the second woman in line came up for her hug and the same thing happened! This continued for all of the 20 or so women that were there. They even left the chapel to find their friends to get a hug from me!
One woman in particular could not stop crying. She kept saying "forgive me, forgive me" over and over. I told her that God has forgiven her sins and that she is His beloved daughter. These women are so thirsty for God! They are crying out for His love!
Today exceeded my expectations by far. I feel so blessed that God used me to show His love for these women in prison.
…I was in prison and you came to visit me. Matthew 25:36
AUTHOR DAN HENNENFENT
“Dad, just stay very aware of who you meet on the new flight.”
Those were words of wisdom from my son Luke moments after I cancelled our Tuesday flight and re-booked another for Wednesday. UPS has been playing ping pong with the passport and Bolivian visa of my traveling partner and CCWM Secretary, Glenn Harms.
So is God’s hand in this circumstance?
I feel something like Gideon when God whittled his army from 32,000 down to 300. (Judges 7:1-6) Originally there were four people from the CCWM board on the team going to Bolivia to help celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Life and Truth school.
Then the first one dropped, then the second one. With only Glenn and I left, the passport situation became more grave as it’s 10 day journey wore on. They believe that it has two bar codes on it, so the automatic sorters send it back and forth with no human intervention.
Convinced that I could pick it up at a regional UPC sorting center this morning (Wednesday) for the flight this afternoon, I was looking forward to the overnight flight with Glenn to LaPaz, Bolivia.
Who will we meet?
What will be the ‘good’ for being delayed by one day?
But like Gideon, my team has been whittled once again.
The passport is still missing and I’m traveling alone today.
Staying very aware of whom I might meet on this solo flight.
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9
Field Report written by Dan Hennenfent
Soi Cowboy in Bangkok, Thailand is a block long stretch of neon
with bar after bar packed side by side on both sides of a very narrow street.
The ‘traffic’ going up and down Soi Cowboy are men, sometimes walking alone, or pairs, and sometimes in packs of eight or ten.
On the “front porches” of the bars are tables, bar stools an occasional dancers pole, and girls. Many girls that are barely clothed.
Through the front door of each bar (which is really just a curtain) is loud disco tech music, lights, a dance floor and more girls with less clothing.
It’s on the front porches on the outside of the bar where our mission team
has spent time getting to know a handful of the women whose job it is to get men to buy over priced drinks.
Members of our team, working in groups of two or three will buy a girl a drink, which really just buys us the privilege to visit with her for ten or fifteen minutes, but that is long enough to let her know that someone in the world really cares about her.
When it goes well, a girl will agree to meet with us the next day over lunch or other social way and the conversations go deeper. The ultimate victory for us as an outreach team is to introduce them to the women of The Well, servantworks.com a ministry to bar girls in Bangkok. So far this week there has been one victory! Our team is working on number two right now. What are the lives of one or two Thai bar girls worth?
The blood of Jesus!
Stories From The Past
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