Ballroom Bird’s Nest

420593_10200698533813210_651053855_nFor I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippines 4:13, Geesh, at least there won’t be a bird on my head… Yes, this continued to run through my mind, and thank you Jesus for it.

When God has laid out something before you he’ll prepare you, and in the most creative of ways. He’s kinda awesome that way.

Before Christmas I was preparing to share my heart-publicly. If you’ve read any of my stuff you know that it’s quite easy for me to spill it all over a page. I tend to leave nothing unexposed. However, this was entirely different, this was me, in the flesh, facing a full sanctuary. I knew God had led me to this place, but holy-cats, did he know what he was doing?

In my preparations (who am I kidding… truthfully, in my panic) it didn’t take long for me to recognize the parallel between this moment and that of an experience almost three years earlier.

He’s good at that-reminding us of our past experiences, of the moments we’ve already survived.  Perhaps our past is laid out for moments like these.

Spring of 2013 ~ I received an email from the director of Camp Odayin (a residential camp program for kids with heart disease). It’s an organization that we’ve been a part of since our son Charlie was about five years old.

She asked if Charlie would take part in their annual fundraising Gala. She asked if he would be part of a “fashion show” to highlight the things campers do while at camp. He would have the theme “Nature” which would require a home made costume to reflect his theme. Most remarkably, she asked if he would stand up at the podium and thank donors for coming to the Gala.

Without hesitation he said, “sure, no problem”. We had just celebrated his eighth birthday.

The day of the event, I put together his nature threads with a glue gun, a vest, and a dismantled easter wreath. I glued a bird’s nest to the bill of a white baseball cap. I took apart the vines from the wreath and I wrapped his entire body in them, and with that we set out for a ballroom downtown.

My normally very confident very outgoing little boy kept looking at himself and then at me like, “Really Mom?” Once downtown, we peaked into the ballroom where there was hundreds of people in suits and cocktail dresses.

He was nervous, and I kept reassuring him that it would be ok, that he’s got this-no problem.

He trusted me, I’m his Mama and I led him to this place and told him he’s got this. Encouragement came for the handful of campers as they entered the ballroom for the fashion show. To end the show, Miss Minnesota, who was the MC for the evening, invited Charlie up to the podium. She was wearing a pageant dress, and of course a crown (could this moment seem any stranger?). She helped him get up onto a chair to reach the microphone.

I didn’t know what he was going to say, as my own words rushed back to me, I had told him to say just what was on his heart-and then I thought …oh Dear God, what was on his heart? He leaned into the microphone and said, “Well, I just wanted to thank all of you for coming- and yeah, well… I’m just happy that my camp is gettin’ a whole lot more money!”

…and with that the ballroom exploded with cheers, he jumped off the podium and enjoyed a round of high-fives as he made his way back to me.

It was a done deal. He said what was on his heart. It was the truth, his camp was gettin’ a whole lot more money. He was also the only one who could say it out loud, considering that he was eight and had a zipper-club scar down the middle of his chest (all the while covered in a dismantled easter wreath).

December of 2015~ So I was reminded of that moment, and I hung onto it as I prepared to share “just what was on my heart”.

My night turned out to be a blessing-not easy-peasy, but definitely a blessing. Holy-cats, He knows what He’s doing, and thank goodness I got to dress myself.

As we enter this fresh new year, who knows what may be in store. Let us find courage in Him.

“Thank you Jesus for your unending presence. Help us to trust in you, to find courage in you- wholeheartedly, in the way of a child, especially where it really counts, where perhaps you are leading us into something bright and new. Amen.”

Mindy Lynn Hilo and her family have been members at Easter for ten years. She is a conformation mentor and a regular contributor to Easter Praise. You can follow Mindy on her personal blog, Mindy’s book Embracing Charlie was honored with a Finalist Title in the Christian Inspirational Category of the 2014 USA Best Book Awards.

Rekindle Your Spark

In 2013 Pastor Kris sent me a text that triggered a passion for a country I knew very little about. Guatemala! This passion has been ignited the last two years by reunions with the women I traveled with in 2013 and visiting with Pastor Karen when she’s been in Minnesota. At one of these events with Pastor Karen in January she stressed the importance of those of us who have been to Guatemala in the past returning and she encouraged me to come back in October.

Not surprising, Karen couldn’t have been more right! I was surprised at the number of people, especially at Salvador Del Mundo, who remembered me from my 2013 visit. Oh boy was it fun to see individuals that I have developed relationships with over the two visits. One of those in particular was Nora. I was excited for the opportunity to visit with Nora and her family after seeing them at worship on Sunday morning. Nora had a kidney transplant in late August and asked that the delegation from Easter visit due to the amount of help we provided the family to help make Nora’s transplant successful. We met Ericka, Nora’s sister and donor, as well as the rest of the family. Nora and Ericka have both recovered from their surgeries and many thanks have been given to God and Easter for our prayers and assistance.


Delegation with Nora's family.

Delegation with Nora’s family

Nora and Erika with Easter Delegates in Nora's bedroom

Nora and Erika with Easter Delegates in Nora’s bedroom

Seeing other members of Salvador Del Mundo during our other two home visits and at worship on Sunday was great. The people of the congregation are amazing and so filled with God’s grace, our worship was so full with the Spirit and togetherness. During worship Pastor Tim, from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Durango, Colorado reminded all of us that we are different and blessed. He had each of us bless those around us with the following words “Jesus loves you … no matter what!”

Delegation at Edgar's home

Delegation at Edgar’s home

The women’s retreat was being held at the Lutheran Center in Guatemala City so worshipping at Salvador Del Mundo on Sunday was such a blessing for our delegation, the women and the congregation. After worship we had the opportunity to fellowship at a fiesta where even members of our delegation were encouraged to help break the piñata celebrating our visit, the women’s visit and little Diana’s 4th birthday.

Worship at Salvador del Mundo

Worship at Salvador del Mundo

Albert Schweitzer writes “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” For whatever reason, looking back on the time between that conversation with Karen and my visit with the Easter delegation, my light was fading. I’m not even sure I was aware it was until the people I met again or for the first time in Guatemala lit a fire in me. Now my once fading light is burning brighter than ever.

Sunset over Guatemala City.

Sunset over Guatemala City

Let’s pray – Father, thank you for the opportunity to visit the amazing country of Guatemala again. Thank you for rekindling my light through the blessing of people; the people at Salvador Del Mundo, the people at Maya Itza, the students at El Mirador School, and the rest of the delegation. Thank you for making each of us unique with our own light, may others have their flames relit because of someone.