Smell Like the Sheep

I’m about to get very real with you. Today the Lord is asking me to stretch beyond what I think I am capable of. He’s asking me to carry more than I can handle and give a little more than I am able. But He knows that He is able and that’s what matters. I have been asking the Lord each day during this Lenten Season to take me deeper into His Heart, and today He said, “Ok, I’ll take you up on that request.”

About a week ago, a friend of ours showed up at the door saying that she thought she was pregnant and she was scared. We tried to reassure her through her tears as the pregnancy test revealed what she already suspected. This would be baby number 5 in a family living in extreme poverty. Most days they don’t have any food to eat so they go asking around to family and friends, which usually brings them to our door. I’m not going to lie, there have been many times that I have been annoyed or frustrated that they were “back again” and would make comments like, “didn’t we just bring them a bag of food?”

Last year, my missionary sister Andrea had felt moved to really befriend her and work with her, trying to help make a difference in her and her family’s lives. She was able to make some big headway throughout the year, with a huge victory of getting one of their little girls enrolled in school. Both our friend and her husband never had the opportunity to go to school, which has ultimately landed them in the situation they are in. Anyway, while I was always blessed to see Andrea’s interactions with our friend, I usually kept my distance and never got too involved.

As Sheila and I talked and prayed with our friend last week when she learned that she had another child on the way, we assured her that we would be here for her to help her get through the pregnancy, making food for her each day, if need be, and even be at the birth that she was so afraid to have to go through alone. (Her husband was not happy about the baby and said he would not be there with her for the birth.) Now it was getting personal.

In our community prayer time we have been praying that we would know how best to help them, and that our desire to help would not just be lip service, but that we could allow ourselves to be inconvenienced to be able to truly help them. This morning we read from Acts 4:32, 34 which says, “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common…There was not a needy person among them…” I had to admit that though I don’t have a ton of possessions, I still have a tendency to cling to and protect them, just like my three year old with her toys when her little sister is heading towards them! And though within our little community of missionaries in our house, I can say that I share and don’t have a needy person among us, the same is not true when I step out of our door.

So God was kind of kicking my butt this morning in morning prayer, and then we had a little group study of Joy of the Gospel with our Mexican missionaries. This little part just seemed to be glaring me in the face…”An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. Evangelizers thus take on the ‘smell of the sheep’ and the sheep are willing to hear their voice.”

You see, up until today, I was still thinking it was enough to make my friend some eggs and tortillas and give her a prenatal vitamin whenever she stopped by for a meal. I truly do want to help her, but just with the least inconvenience to my own life…after all, I am 8 months pregnant with 2 little ones of my own and we are only going to be here for another week and a half before we head back to the states to have our own baby. I kept reassuring myself that I was justified in this feeling and that I would definitely try to help her more when we returned in May. (Like I’ll be more able to help when I have a newborn!)

Then, my amazing husband, who sometimes drives me crazy with his confidence that we can do anything, visited her house today. He’s visited many times before and has also been praying about how we can help them to get out of the filthy situation that they are living in. But today he came home with a plan and called a team meeting to discuss it. Apparently our friend’s husband had left a few days ago for a rancho and she didn’t know if/when he would be coming back.

Erik proposed that we try to help her by first, emptying their house out, putting in a tile floor and cementing the adobe walls to keep the rats out and make the house easier to clean. We would sort through the piles and bags of clothing and stuff just cluttering the house and help them to organize the clothes into things that fit each child and even make shelves for each of them. All of this is doable, but will require them to be out of their house for a few days. So, we invite them to stay in the mission house with us and we bring all the clothes to wash and sort as well. While they are with us we will teach them how to keep good personal hygiene, how to cook a few simple meals, and possibly start some sewing lessons to hopefully eventually provide some income for our friend.

So, when will all this happen? Tomorrow! We start tomorrow. I was sitting listening to the plan and was loving it and terrified by it at the same time. I was thinking, “God, I’m too tired to do this…I barely have the energy to get through the day just taking care of my own girls, let alone trying to teach our friend how to better take care of her children. Plus, I have to get things ready to leave for a couple months and help prepare for the group that will be coming the day that we leave. How can you be asking this of me right now? But there was no denying that God was giving me an opportunity to really “dive deeper into His Heart” with this one and the readings that we had just finished reading this morning were ringing loud and clear in my heart. So I, and the Papuzynskis, agreed to the plan and Sheila and I promptly went over to see if our friend would agree to doing it.

She was surprisingly excited about it and willing to live by our schedule and guidelines for the next few days. Erik went and talked to the guy who will be doing the work in the house and he said he could start tomorrow. So here we go! It’s going to be an adventure! Please pray for us as we try our best to love and serve our friend and her family during this time and that this can be the start of a new life for them.


~ by martinsonmission on February 25, 2015.

5 Responses to “Smell Like the Sheep”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Erik and Bridget. Thank you for pouring out genuine love and for sharing your journey through writing. We will continue to lift you and your whole community up in prayer!
    Savanna McHenry Lomas (Covecrest Summer Staff 2009)

  2. You and your family are amazing and inspirational. God never, ever gives us more than we can handle, but frequently gives us just enough to remind us we can only do it with His help. We’ll be praying here.

  3. Brig, I am also amazed by the way you guys serve and love. It is truly inspiring (and convicting I must say!) to see how you let the Lord work through and in you. Be assured of the Cove’s prayers for y’all!

  4. Loving you all through this journey dear friends. You may smell like sheep but following the Lord’s calling will bring the scent of roses to your humble shelter. Please pray for us, as we prepare to feed over 50 women & children at a homeless shelter on Easter Sunday. The harvest is abundant the laborers are few!! As with you all, with the Holy Spirit all things are possible!! xxxoo from Alabama!!

  5. We want to thank all those that support us through their prayers and finances! Without your generosity we wouldn’t have the opportunity to help those in need and bring them the love of Christ. We pray that you feel apart of this mission just as much as we do. On behalf of our friend and all those like her, THANK YOU!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: