Friday, November 8, 2013
Transitions and Transformations
The word transition continues to be a huge part of my life right now. There are so many changes taking place almost on a daily basis that I can hardly keep up. I have found myself on this narrow path that He has led me to and is leading me through. The world may not understand this road but deep in my heart I am sure that I am right where He placed me. How can any of us know that we are on the right road? Peace. There is a peace that passes all understanding and that’s where I am. I find myself in a place of complete awe in the Lord and all that He is doing around me and in a place of full reliance on Him.
So what has God been up to in this little part of the world? A lot. Most of you know my heart for children and youth. In a country were 37% of the population is under the age of 14…I see why God chose to place me smack down in the nation of Honduras. A nation that statistically is the most violent in all of the world. A nation where corruption, gangs, and drugs are prevalent.
I am still serving full time with Hospital Loma de Luz. God opened the door for me to step out of the role in hospital administration and enabled me to continue in the job I originally came to the field to do, that of visitor coordinator. I have other duties within the hospital as well, but this is my main task.
The dump ministry continues to grow and transition as well. Right now I am doing a whole lot of wound care. Not being a medical professional this has been a bit challenging with some of the children and adults who come to me. Infected insect bites, gun shot wounds, and even a heel that was barely hanging on to the foot are just some of the things that have had to be treated from my bag of donated over the counter medical supplies. God quickly graced me with the ability to see things that in the past would cause me to pass out. Loving people by touching their physical needs has opened the door to strong relationships and even more so has opened up their hearts to Jesus. I am so thankful to continue to be a part of the lives of the people who live in this community built around the garbage dump. In the midst of the trash, stench, and dirt is God’s heart.
From the ministry in the garbage dump, God began to stir my heart towards the adolescent boys who are growing up and making bad decisions to join a gang. One was even a pastor’s son! One day this pastor’s son began to cry as I ministered to him about bad choices he was making. Through his tears he asked me to help him. He was willing to change but would have to leave the dump in order to get away from the gang. I had no answers. I could find nowhere, no one to take him in. Most facilities are full and have waiting lists. I kept coming across the same thing. Another young man from the dump somehow got my cell phone number and would call me desperately seeking help to get away and out from under the gang….and I again felt helpless. God began to stir my heart to do something for these wasted and broken lives.
God began to clearly define things in my heart and at the time I just really didn’t understand it or know what it was for. He kept reiterating to me, rescue, restore, reconcile. Over the years the picture became clearer. This was what God was calling me to do. This was His will for my life and for what He clearly designed me for. I could see how God shaped me and prepared me for what is ahead of me….even in some of the most difficult places of my life.
It started with a ten year old boy named Carlos. He showed up at the dump. He was sleeping in cars and porches. Adults and children would come to me and say he was abandoned and that I should help him. I would try to talk to him but he would run away. One day I saw him standing in the door of a child molester (in the dump). I yelled to him from my truck. I told him that I was going to the mall to eat lunch and invited him to go along with me. He jumped right up into my truck and off we went. I heard his story. I did what any Christian or any person would do for that matter. I took him home with me. Of course I was told that I couldn’t keep him and that I would have to take him to child welfare. I really didn’t know what to think about that, but it sounded like the right thing to do. So, with a bit of a heavy heart, I took him to child welfare. Long story short, child welfare without my even realizing it at the time made me a foster mother and placed him in my custody. Most things like becoming a foster mother within child welfare in Honduras takes a lot of red tape and is a long process. I was a bit surprised by what God did but was so thankful.
Not long after receiving Carlos I met a wonderful young lady who works with street children in the city of La Ceiba. Through her ministry efforts, I received my next two boys who were both street children. A friend of mine called me some months later telling me about a street child she had met and took home….but her husband wouldn’t let her keep him. She asked me if I would consider taking him in. I kind of halfheartedly told her that I would come meet him. I did and knew the minute I laid eyes on him that I was supposed to take him. More similar stories such as this, two years later, and I find myself today with 8 boys….8 boys that God went walking through the highways and byways and found. Because of His great love for them, He rescued them. He has restored them and reconciled them to Himself. I can clearly see the plans He has for their lives. I can see their giftings and His calling for each of their lives. I am overwhelmed at how they were all discarded and given up on and how encouragement, love, and hope have transformed their lives. My boys are between the ages of 11 and 17. Most are in the first and second grade as they never have been to school. Five minutes ago, I had four little boys at my feet excitedly telling me that they have passed to the second or third grade. Hallelujah!
With no extra support of any kind, my boys and I live on the financial support I receive from my friends, my family, and about 3 local churches. Child welfare here in Honduras has not and does not offer financial support to me. I do not see and cannot fathom how we are financially making it. My food bill jumped to $1,000 per month. My electric bill has tripled. My washing machine and dryer have broken down due to the sheer capacity of laundry to be done. All of this is a testimony of God’s provision. His heart is so towards the broken, the poor, and the orphan. His word is also full of promises to those who love and serve these that are close to His heart. I have witnesses it and my life is living proof of this. We have never missed a meal and somehow make it month after month.
Even more proof of God’s provision is the 40 or so acres of land He has given us. Yes…given us….free. With all of these things God began to stir in my heart, there was this vision of a farm. A farm that was supposed to help teach the boys responsibility, provide food for our home, and to help the boys with inner healing. God over and abundantly brought this to us. We were given clear title to the land even after we were told that the title could not be put in my name. We have miraculously seen God knock down or solve every obstacle that has stood before us with regards to this land. And, He continues with His provision. My home church graciously is helping us with the first project of getting a proper road constructed from the main road up to the property which is about 1 km up a steep mountain. The road work is going on right now. I do not have words to adequately express what my eyes behold when I see all that He is doing. It is just that….it is what He is doing….not my will….not my plans….certainly not my intellect…it’s all Him. I am completely undone by His love, by His heart, and by His provision. I am so humbled to be a part of these little lives that He has placed in my home and so humbled to have a front row seat to their transition and transformation.
So….this is just the short version of what has been happening. I hope to soon introduce to you each of my boys and tell you a bit of where they have come from. I post almost daily on Facebook. If you would like to keep up with us on Facebook, my screen name is Lisa Graham Bradley. I have a blog that I am trying to update more frequently. It is www.lbradleyinhonduras.blogspot.com. You can email me with questions or suggestions any time, firstname.lastname@example.org and should you want to attempt to skype, my screen name is jlisabradley.
I am eternally grateful to all of you who have walked out this calling to the nation of Honduras with me over the years and who still continue to walk it out day by day. Blessings upon blessings to each of you.
How you can help:
*Pray for open hearts to God’s working in each of our lives
*Pray for LOVE to continue to be lived out here among each of us….even on the hard days.
*Pray that God’s light would continue to shine brighter and brighter here in Honduras
*We need help in the area of construction. Even if you could advise from a far…..It would be a huge help.
*We need house parents and/or house moms. The vision is for small family homes on our compound with a mom or a couple leading and loving each small group of boys.
*Agricultural help-We have cocoa trees, mahogany trees, pineapples, oranges, lemons, avocados, bananas, and more. A young farm just starting to produce. Again, even if you could advise from a far it would be a great help.
*Tutors-Since my children are older and in elementary grades, we really need help tutoring. We tutored two of our boys so well that they both were bumped up a year in school!
*Administration-We need organizational and administrative help as we are just starting out and there is much to document and keep in order with running a farm.
*It will take $26,600 to bring electricity up to the home site.
*I am still working on obtaining more quotes but it will likely take the same or a little less to finish the house that has already been partially constructed.
*I have two wonderful farm workers that came with the land. Their salaries are $3,828 each (I have two at present) per year. These men are from way up in the mountain above our property. They are humble and already very protective of us.
*I have two Honduran women who help me with cooking and cleaning for the boys and their salaries are $200 per month.
*Food for my 8 boys is currently costing $1,000 per month.
If you are able to make even a small donation to the needs of Bethesda Home for Boys, your gift would be greatly appreciated and utilized to offer a better life for a child who previously had no opportunities in life. Donations should be made payable to and sent to:
International Gospel Outreach
PO Box 1008
Semmes, AL 36575
Be sure to include a note stating that your gift is for Bethesda Home for Boys-Honduras. IGO gives 100% of your donation to us and you will receive a receipt for tax purposes.