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We know that in ALL THINGS...
The week before last I was talking with a fellow missionary at the Micah Project and she asked me how I handle it emotionally when things don’t go the way we would like them to. 
 
Now let me backtrack a bit. You see, the business of loving boys who have been hurt and abandoned and abused by the ones who should have protected and cared for them growing up is a messy business.  Sometimes they have trouble truly receiving the love that we have to give. Sometimes they know they need what we offer, but the lure of the addictions of their past are too much for them to overcome and they succumb to the pull of the streets – and ultimately the enemy – and leave. Sometimes when they leave it’s just for a few days and then they come to their senses and realize that they made a huge mistake and come back home. Sometimes it’s more complicated than that – much more complicated. At Micah we normally only take one guy directly off the streets every several months because we want to give him time to detox and stabilize before introducing another newbie into the mix, which inevitably throws any sort of order and routine back into chaos for a little bit. But over the last few months we have seen the desperate needs of several young boys on the streets needing that chance, so we offered it to them… as many of them that were ready. Things were going well for a bit… okay, not for very long, before the first crisis hit. And after that another and another and another. New boys were detoxing from the effects the drugs had taken on their bodies. Boys that had been fairly stable after being with us for over a year now wanted to go back to the streets. And in the midst of it all, fourteen-year-old Jeferson – who had been on this same complicated cycle for the past year and a half and had been back on the streets again for the past few months – was shot and killed. 
 
The past few months have been hard to say the least. We have been grieving in more ways than one. We grieve Jeferson’s life cut short – the fourth death of a former Micah boy in less than two years’ time. We grieve poor decisions that lead to terrible consequences. And as a family, even as we look forward with hopeful anticipation for all that God will do through Micah Life in El Salvador; we grieve the loss of our close-knit community that we have left behind in Honduras.
So how DO we handle it emotionally when things don’t go as planned?

My response to her went something like this…
 
Sadly, it’s easy to harden your heart and want to stop pouring out love in an attempt to protect your own heart from being broken by the poor decisions of those we love. And I have often succumbed to this tactic. But I am reminded of a quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson that says “I hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it when I sorrow most; ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

We can’t stop loving these boys just because we selfishly don’t want to get hurt. We must keep pouring out love and trust that God will keep filling us with more love to give. I admit, I fail at this on a daily basis. After seven-and-a-half years of this roller coaster, not much surprises me anymore. But at the same time, I want my heart to break for the things that break the Lord’s heart.
 
For me personally, one of the characteristics of God that I feel most sure of and most comforted by is His sovereignty. I believe that He has complete control over this universe and everything in it. Yes, I believe He gives us free will, but I also don’t think we can do anything so bad that it surprises Him or thwarts His ability to work out any situation for our good and for His glory.
 
He promises “And we know that in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28 (emphasis mine)

So even when boys give up and go back to the streets, even when crises and bad decisions seem to rule the day, and dare I say it, even when a young man’s life is cut much too short, I believe God has a plan and a purpose in it all. Sometimes it’s hard to trust, because we can’t see His plan or His purpose in the moment. There’s a chance we may never see it in this life. But knowing that this is His promise gives me such peace in the midst of these storms. I believe that there is no situation or circumstance that God cannot use for our good and for His glory. So even when things seem to be going all wrong, we can still trust that He is sovereign and that He is doing something good, even if we don’t know what it is.
Fast-forward a few days from this conversation with my friend and of course I get an opportunity to practice what I preach…
Thursday morning my mom and sister flew in to Tegucigalpa as planned. We spent the afternoon and the next morning packing and labeling boxes as planned.
Thursday evening The Micah Project threw a lovely (and emotional) going away party for us as planned. (See the slideshow they made for us here.)
Friday afternoon the moving truck showed up and we loaded all of our stuff onto it as planned. And early Saturday morning we headed for the Honduras/El Salvador border as planned.
Then we got to the border and things started to not go as planned.
 
We arrived at the border at 10:00am on Saturday. After going through Immigration with no problems our moving truck was detained in customs. We had done everything beforehand that we had been told to do including a detailed list of everything on the truck that had been approved by the Salvadoran Consulate in Tegucigalpa, but for some reason the customs agents did not want to let us go. After 8.5 hours of confusion and paperwork and more confusion, they allowed us to get a couple of suitcases and Ian’s pack-n-play off of the truck and then sent it to be detained at another customs office closer to the city.  We finally arrived to our destination around 12:30am, but with little more than the clothes we were wearing.
 
And now we have begun the waiting game to see if and when our things will be released to us. Izzy has been back to the customs office several times over the past week and we are waiting to hear what is decided about how they qualify our belongings and what taxes and fees we will need to pay to retrieve them..
 
But even in the midst of this unfortunate circumstance, God has continued to show Himself faithful. Friends and family have offered us places to stay. They have lent us beds and chairs and linens and dishes and a small fridge to use so we can start staying in our new house. And thanks to the generosity of many, we were able to purchase a used car since we had to leave ours in Honduras.
 
Things have not been going according to [our] plan, but we trust that God is up to something, even if we don’t yet know what it is. We trust that He continues to be sovereign and that He is working ALL THINGS together for good. I think we are coming to terms with the possibility of never seeing our things again, although hoping that won’t have to be the case. Let’s just say if it had even crossed my mind that this might have happened, I would have packed very differently and brought a lot more of the most important things in the van with us rather than on the moving truck. But either way, we trust that God is working and we praise Him in this storm.
 
Thank you for accompanying us on this journey. We believe your prayers on our behalf have kept us going in the midst of many difficult circumstances. Please do not stop praying for us! We need your prayers more than ever.
 
Praises
  • We made it safely to El Salvador and are settling into our new home.
  • God is sovereign and good.
  • Many people have been very generous in providing for our lack.
 
Prayer Requests
  • A definitive answer from customs as to whether we will be able to recover our things and when (and that it won't be an outrageous amount of money)
  • Peace and continued trust in God’s hand at work
  • Our car in Honduras needs some repairs and then we need to sell it
  • For us to keep our focus on Christ and not on our circumstances
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We love you all and are so grateful for your love and support. We pray you are blessed knowing that just as God is in control of our situation, He is in control of yours, too, whatever it might be... so there's nothing you have to fear!
 
With love,
Izzy, Jenna & Ian Zaldaña
www.micah.life
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