There has been a recurring theme in our hearts lately... investment. When you hear that word, do you think of the financial world? Do you think of money saved and interest earned? Do you imagine delayed gratification - sacrificing the use of your money so that one day you will have more?
Recently, I (Laura) have been in a season full of questions. God does know that I am an analyzer and a seeker who wants to follow His plan to the letter. I have been praying for clarity on several issues relating to the ministry of ROH and IVA.
One Thursday in early May, I was sitting on a wooden bench at IVA in the heat of a tropical Honduran afternoon. Rambunctious IVA students were screaming, dancing and trying to practice their routines for the then upcoming Mother's Day event. I was looking for some music on my computer to get the next group going and something caught my eye. A group of boys were out playing soccer on the IVA field, the kitchen work was being wrapped up for the day and chores were happening inside my classroom. In the space of the moment, God whispered to me... "these kids are worth the investment, Laura."
Wow... so this is what investment really means. These faces, these stories, these challenges that seem so insurmountable... these very ones are worth the investment of my time, my treasure and my life. And, if you are reading this, yours.
Here's the rub. Investment sounds so pretty, doesn't it? Investment sounds as if there is somehow a guaranteed windfall at the end.
Is that how we are to view the work of Reach Out Honduras? An automatic win? A guaranteed success in the eyes of the world?
Our students come from very hard places, some with stories that would make you shiver. Their culture pulls hard, terribly hard. And we lose some... we lose students to teen pregnancy, to the lure of an easier way, to relocation because their family has no ability to earn money here.
Is our investment failing?
Friends, investment is so much more. It is a risk, yes. We do not know the outcome. However, investing in the Lord's economy means that we put the results entirely in His hands. What looks like a failure to our human eyes may just be the beginning of His beautiful work.
Recently, I had the privilege to sit across the table from a friend who spent years in education administration. We talked and together uncovered a new meaning of 'success' for Instituto Vida Abundante and ROH. Instead of counting the losses and mourning those who won't 'graduate' with us, how about we look at the days and months and maybe even years that we were able to pour love into their lives? What if we define success as more than a diploma?
Yes, success CAN be a diploma or a college scholarship. But, what if success in God's eyes also looks like a student who can look an adult in the eye and communicate well? What if a good investment results in one who can write legibly? More importantly, what if the ultimate success is a student who can read and understand a page of the Bible for herself? What if His success looks like hungry bellies who do not have to worry about today's bread?
From today on, we choose to take the long view. We choose to believe that God has begun a good work in each of the students He brings our way. We believe that He has allowed all of us to be a small part of their journey without being able to control any outcomes.
As sponsors, donors and prayer warriors for Reach Out Honduras and Instituto Vida Abundante, we urge you to prayerfully do the same. Your investment is different than ours, but no less critical. Know that each dollar, each note and each visit is depositing seeds of hope into the lives of your 'neighbors.' You may never witness the return on your investment or the return may be much less than what you had imagined when you originally signed up to sponsor a child in a third-world country.
We ask for your prayers to keep our hearts focused with eyes to see that His idea of investment does indeed bring a rich return, even when it looks much different than we ever imagined.