Sell Everything You Have

The Rich Young Ruler

In the book of Luke, Jesus has a discussion with a rich young ruler. We find the young man asking Jesus what he has to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answers him by stating that he must keep the commandments. The young man then responds by saying that he has kept all the commandments since he was a young boy. But Jesus’ reply is the clincher, and one that is thought provoking: “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)

Do I Have To?

As we prepare for our move to Honduras, this thought has crossed my mind several times. Does God really want me to sell everything I have? And as many times as it has crossed my mind, I have shot it out of my mind just the same. I make excuses for keeping all of our possessions like, ‘We’ll need these things when we move back here.’ And to be honest, I really don’t want to sell everything. I like my things. But the truth is, they are just things; and I can’t take them with me when I leave for Honduras; and I can’t take them with me when I leave this earth.

Have a Little Faith

I get scared when I think about actually selling everything we own. I begin to worry what we would do when it was our time to move back here. I begin to doubt and I end up making excuses as to why we shouldn’t sell everything. But as I process these thoughts, I am reminded of several verses in the Bible where God mentions faith. One in particular is found in Matthew: “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30) This verse reminds me that I don’t have to be scared, I don’t have to worry, and I don’t have to doubt. He will always provide. This doesn’t necessarily make it any easier; and this is not something that I want to do. But I will continue to pray about it and continue to seek God’s will. Because ultimately it is His will that matters, not mine. And if I sell everything I own and give to the poor, He has promised me treasures in heaven. And I do believe that the treasures in heaven are worth far more than any treasure we have here on earth.

Chad’s Testimony

Last week some of you may have seen my post on Facebook about my life starting over 8 years ago. I’ve had a few people ask to hear the story and I’m guessing there are others who know only some or parts of my story. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail but I thought it would be good to give a brief overview of my testimony. I’m very open about these things so if you have questions feel free to ask.

The Begining

I got married when I was 21. It didn’t last long. A little over a year later I knew things were headed off track so I decided to ask what was going on. Her response, “Chad I don’t love you anymore and I’m leaving you after Christmas.” This was in November and by February we were separated and soon after divorced. I was quite literally destroyed and I didn’t have the tools to cope.

Coping

It wasn’t long and I started drinking and smoking pot. I knew what I was doing. In fact, I specifically remember thinking, “Wow, when I’m drunk or stoned I don’t hurt. I’m just going to do this for now until I get over this rough patch.” The problem is that self medication never works. It wasn’t long until I was using every day and it wasn’t just alcohol and marijuana. There are not many drugs I haven’t tried but cocaine became my drug of choice. I was on a slippery slope and my life was spinning out of control.

The Intervention

I knew I wasn’t long for this world. I thought I would probably die soon and in a moment of weakness I let slip to my sister that I was in trouble. It was a terrible situation I put her in but luckily, her love for me was stronger than the desire not to betray my trust. She told my parents and they arranged for an intervention.  March 18, 2002 I walked into a hotel room near the Sea Tac airport. In the room were my parents, my aunt and uncle, my grandpa and grandma, my sister, and a professional interventionist. The game was up. Within a couple hours I was on a plane to Southern California where I spent the next 42 days in rehab.

Life After Drugs

Rehab isn’t a magic cure. Basically it just gives you some time to get clean and hopefully some tools to deal with the brokenness that brought you there. My healing began in rehab but it took many years to undo the years of destruction. But we serve a good and mighty God. What the devil meant for harm He redeemed for good. I have been blessed to forge a path that others have since been able to follow. And everything that I lost God has returned to me. Today I have the most wonderful loving wife and an incredible little boy. It has been 8 years since I last touched a drug or a drop of alcohol.

If you wonder why I’m so passionate about serving God it is because of my story. I was broken but Jesus made me whole. Now I feel an unquenchable desire to give away what I’ve been given.

Life on the Streets

Life on the Streets

One of the outreaches that Manos is involved with is the street ministry. Many children and youth live on the streets because they have been abandoned. But some choose the life of the street to escape the poverty and both the physical and sexual abuse they receive at home. For years, Alvin has been visiting these young lives, bringing them food and juice, but more importantly love. He knows each of them by name and they all refer to him as ‘papi Alvin.’  Below is an entry from my journal on our night spent on the dark streets of Tegucigalpa, Honduras:

THEIR LIFE

After the trade school we came home and had dinner. Then it was time to go to the streets and hand out food to the people. This was definitely the most intense experience of my life. The first stop we made was kind of by a bridge. There were around 50 people, including children, that came for food. We brought bread, cream, and juice. They were constantly wanting more and more. They were so hungry, who could blame them? These people have nothing. Some have to sell themselves at an early age in order to survive. It is the only way they can get money. Several of the kids were high from inhaling glue. It’s the cheapest drug they can find; and the affects are staggering. We were just about to leave when more kids started showing up. I remember one girl whose name was Cynthia. She could hardly walk straight and her speech was slurred. When I looked at her, I saw something stuffed in her shirt. It was a bottle of glue. The high doesn’t last that long so the kids keep bottles of it tucked in their shirt so they can continually sniff it.  Such a sad sight to see.

JESUS ES MI AMIGO

We then went to another area where there were several street kids. The street is their home with a piece of cardboard for their bed. My eyes immediately went to a young pregnant girl. She was 24 years old and 9 months pregnant, ready to deliver any day. Besides the bump in her belly, she too had something stuffed in her shirt, which happened to be a bottle of glue. I noticed she was wearing a cross necklace. I told her that Jesus was my friend and He lived in my heart. She agreed with me. I only hope I see her in heaven someday.

HOPE

I can’t believe the life these people live. They sleep on a piece of cardboard on the streets. Yet I have a warm bed I get to sleep in everynight. A thirteen year old rejects food from us because she is waiting for a customer..she needs the money. Yet I eat three meals a day, if not more. And a father holding his 1 year old child is begging for money, using his child as a tool to get money for drugs and alcohol. My heart breaks knowing that baby is out on the streets. It took every fiber of my being to not take that child away with me. These peoples faces will forever be etched in my mind. And the one word that I have for them all is hope. And in Jesus we have HOPE.

Is Jesus Enough?

Is Jesus Enough?

This video was shown in our church service this weekend. In it I talk about the experience I had in Honduras during my trip in January. The following is my journal entry from the last day of my trip.

Monday, January 11 2010, 12:30pm

I’ve been to Honduras several times. I know what to expect. I know what happens here. I know the conditions the people live in. I’ve seen the extreme poverty and hugged the smiling, dirty kids. I know Honduras is one of the poorest countries, second only to Haiti, in the western hemisphere. So I wasn’t here this time to expose myself to a different world. I came this time with other questions. I was on a spy mission of sorts. I had specific questions. I wanted to know if I can work with Alvin. I wanted to know what work there is for us to do and is it a fit with our calling, gifting, and vision. I also needed to know if we are needed and wanted. That was my mission – to shadow Alvin, talk with him, and search out answers. But one thing I’m learning, when you are on an adventure with God, what you think you are doing isn’t always what He is doing.

The Question

Almost immediately when I arrived an idea was presented that became a kind of over arching question for the week. The idea is simple: is Jesus all we need? If we have Jesus and pursue him, do we need anything else – like counseling, books, programs, or any of the many things we use to fix ourselves? As a Christian I know the answer must be yes – that Jesus is all we need. But honestly, before I came I’m not sure I believed it. To me it has always been Jesus and (fill in the blank). Not to say God doesn’t use these other things or that we should just throw them all out. But what if we didn’t have all these professionals and programs? What if the only book we have is the Bible. Is Jesus enough to fix our brokenness? The people of Honduras don’t have anything else. They don’t have the option of getting counseling or going to rehab. Their pastors aren’t highly trained men with masters or doctorate degrees. All they have is Jesus. And if he isn’t enough then these broken and hopeless people are going to stay broken and hopeless.

What does it mean?

So this became my question that I asked the Lord over and over this week and it was also the question he was asking me in return. With each child I met who had been discarded, raped, or abused I asked God, is Jesus enough for them. Then he asked me, “Do you believe Jesus is enough for them?” For the girls of the Eagle’s Nest: Susan, Blanca, Kendi, and Hazel – is Jesus enough? And what does that look like for a 12 year old girl who has been raped by her brother, who’s only hope to stop it was to murder him? Here in Honduras she is one of the lucky few chosen to be part of a new family. She is being loved. She has people being the hands and feet of Jesus in her life.

Transformed Lives

But I didn’t just see people who need healing. I also saw people Jesus had healed. I met murderers, drug addicts, drug dealers, prostitutes, and gang members who all had their lives radically transformed by Jesus. They didn’t have AA or any other program. They only had a man who made Jesus real to them. Now each one lives their life sold out to Him. And God said to me as I met each one, “Jesus was enough for him. And Jesus was enough for her.”

The Answer

So I came to realize that Jesus really is enough. But now what do I do with that? And that was probably the most unexpected part of this trip. Like I said before, I’ve been to Honduras several times. I thought I knew what to expect. What I didn’t expect was to have my heart broken again. I didn’t expect to be so shattered by the stories I’ve heard and the people I’ve met who lived these stories. It was in this brokenness that God spoke to me with the final answer to my questions. He showed me that these people need Jesus. He showed me that we are Jesus to hurting, hopeless, and broken people. Then he said to me, “Chad, you and Trina will go and be Jesus to these hurting and broken people.”

A Life No One Should Live

On our last mission trip to Honduras, in 2009, I kept a journal from each day of ministry. Below is an entry on our trip to the city dump:

A Little Piece of Hell

Today was our last day of ministry at Manos. Alvin took us to the dump in Tegucigalpa. Nothing could have prepared me for what my eyes were about to see. Nothing could have prepared my heart for it’s brokenness. I was expecting a regular looking dump with a few people rummaging through the garbage. I wasn’t expecting to witness a little piece of hell. Words cannot even begin to describe what we saw that day. But I will do my best.

Just $1.00

On the way up to the dump, one of our Danish friends, Soren, gave us a description of the area, as well as the people that “work” there. People will go there to look for items to sell, as well as food to eat. They will make maybe $1.00 a day. Yes! Just $1.00 a day. And sometimes when looking through the garbage, they will find needles, aborted babies, bodies, or body parts. This is not a life that anyone should have to live. But in order to survive, this is what they have to do.

Seriously?

We arrived to the dump and my heart sank. Among the piles and heaps of garbage were hundreds of vultures, cows, dogs and human beings…all rummaging through the filth, all inhabiting the same place together. There were cardboard homes located in various places around the dump. We stepped out of the van and the smell took my breath away. I could almost taste it. We were told to not cover our nose because that would show disrespect to the people. When the people saw the van, they quickly walked toward us. Alvin had bought 200 bags of water to hand out. It was incredibly hot that day, so I can imagine their thirst. If someone wanted two bags, we didn’t deny them…how could we?

It’s Not Fair

My eyes immediately went to 2 beautiful little girls, Elsie and Estefany, who were just 9 and 10 years old and cousins. When I first came up to them they had pieces of underwear covering their mouths and noses from the wretched smell of the garbage. They were carrying big hefty bags and were literally covered in dirt from head to toe. They too were searching for items to take home and sell on the streets. They deserve better than this. But this is the life that has been dealt to them. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. But yet when I talked to them, they just looked at me and smiled the biggest smile. My heart aches for these girls and I cannot think of them without crying.

My eyes soon found a woman who was very pregnant. I went over to her and asked how far along she was. She was 8 months pregnant with a baby boy. I remember walking up to her and seeing the baby move in her tummy. I told her that I too was pregnant and she gave me a smile. I wondered to myself, how did I get to be so blessed? Why do I get to live my life the way I do, and she hers? My heart breaks at the very thought.  If God taught me one lesson that day, it was to be thankful for what I have. And today, I am thankful.