At last month’s FOH Annual Board Meeting, we opened with a listening prayer. This involved each member of the board and our current program director taking 30 minutes to spend with God – not asking Him for anything but, instead, listening to His direction and guidance. One member noticed a theme occurring – many of the “answers” coming from this prayer were words that began with the letters “pr”. These were words such as prayer, provision, protection, promises, praise, and pressing on. It is our desire to share with you how these words inform our work at Field of Hope.
Provision – Faith Meinzen
Recently, my husband Steve and I traveled to India to see if and how Field of Hope could continue its work through the Bethania orphanages there. We had installed drip irrigation at the Boys’ Home in Kannivadi shortly before several years of drought, which had dried up the well.
When we arrived, we were greeted by the boys’ smiling faces. This we have come to expect. What we did not expect was to see a field full of green pumpkin plants, paired with young papaya and drumstick trees. How could pumpkins, papayas, and drumstick trees thrive without rain? It turns out that Eduman, the new director, had worked for World Vision for many years. Not only had he learned to empower women and children, but he had also honed his agricultural knowledge and skills. So Eduman and the boys had planted each pumpkin seed and small tree in a small crater surrounded by dirt. The boys carried water from the tanks that were purchased each week to these plants, and the plants were thriving. In the meantime, the boys were learning about agriculture and feeling very good about the garden and themselves.
In Field of Hope, we train locals to train their fellow citizens in agriculture and finances. God has provided us with the perfect combination of faith, compassion, knowledge and skill in Eduman. Thank God for His PROVISION!
Prayer – Dan Strempke
God’s desire is for us to pray!
Paul writes; “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)
So God wants us to pray, and to pray in Jesus name. Jesus prayed, and he taught us how to pray the Lord’s Prayer. Yep, He made it pretty clear.
I so appreciate C.S. Lewis’s writings, but it usually takes several rereads before I can understand his depth and intent! I particularly like his quote below on prayer: The first three sentences modeling how prayer should be instinctual, an involuntary action like breathing and our heart beating (and I have a long way to go here); The last two sentences giving his perspective on the impact and value of prayer (this really resonates with me);
“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.” ― C.S. Lewis
I pray that I will pray as Paul directed, that through the Holy Spirit it will change me.
My ask is that you would please pray for Field of Hope, that in doing so our hearts and minds will be led by the Holy Spirit to serve in a way that will glorify God.
Promises – Kelly Huenink
Field of Hope is thankful God’s promises are ALL true and cannot be broken.
I once read a book called “Faith of Leap: Embracing a Theology of Risk, Adventure and Courage” by authors Frost & Hirsch. The title implies that the core part of the “leap of faith” is the LEAP! They emphasize the idea that life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
As Field of Hope sees growth potential and opportunities to expand ministry, we have decided to take a huge LEAP! We are choosing to trust in Jesus’ promise in John 14:27:
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
We know the Lord goes before us and is with us, so we move forward in confidence that so long as we are acting in obedience to His will, he will catch us as we LEAP!
Praise – Mike Hafner
Praise is one of those topics that, in my mind, is completely misunderstood. I think there is a strong faith component to Praise that needs to be incorporated in the definition. Let me explain…….
Several years ago, I came across a book that really changed my life and opened up not only a different way of looking at life, but also how God deals and communicates with us. The book is Power in Praise. It is a very short book, but very powerful. From that book, I have come to have an entirely different view of Praise.
I think the real root of Praise is the Faith it takes to Praise God in all things, no matter the circumstances. That takes great Faith to see that even in the most difficult challenges we face, we need to Praise God.
You might ask, how can we do that? It makes no sense to Praise God for the ugly things that may happen in our life. Perhaps a better way of looking at it is to put it this way…. that no matter the circumstances we face, God can cause good to come from it, if we have Faith in His provision.
Easier said than done? In some cases, yes, but…even when we are in the midst of a terrible struggle, even when the walls are closing in, even when we are about to give up, try your best to whisper Praise to God Almighty for what He will do with this present difficulty. Believe me, your challenge will not go to waste; in fact, it could very well bring you to a new place in your relationship with Him.
First, God is thrilled when he hears our words of Praise when we are going through difficult times. He knows at that moment that our Faith is well-grounded, and that we trust in Him in the midst of the challenge. I have seen it over and over again, when looking back at a problem in my past, God was able to cause good to come from that problem. He is faithful!!
Also, Praise changes us. It may not change our situation, but it will change our outlook, it will change our attitude as we Praise God for his solution and outcome to something that looks impossible to us. Just like prayer changes us, Praise does the same.
Finally, Praise confounds the devil. The devil uses challenges, difficulties and struggles to disappoint us and discourage us. He is pleased when the situation pulls us down and causes grief, anger and sadness. When we Praise God in the midst of the issue, it throws the devil off balance and puts the issue directly into God’s court.
Since the inception of Field of Hope, we have encountered numerous challenges and struggles that were anything but pleasant to go through. I can honestly say that we came to view these issues as terrific learning experiences. In the midst of those situations, God always gave us instructions on a better way. In fact, we came to expect that when we were struggling with something, we knew that God had a better plan.
So right now, think of the situation you are facing that is causing you to be disturbed. Don’t dwell on the struggle, but pray to God for His mercy and for understanding, and thank Him for what He will do with this challenge. Ask that this challenge not be wasted, that we will grow as a result of it and that God will use the situation in a mighty, powerful way for His glory and expansion of the Kingdom.
Protection – Cathy Hafner
From the very beginning, we have felt God‘s protection over Field of Hope. This protection has always been accompanied by prayer, provision, and praise!
When we were setting up the nonprofit, God protected us every step of the way by providing experienced people to lend us their advice and expertise.
Before every trip, petition for protection has been a major component of our prayers.
In the early trips in 2010 and 2011, as newcomers to Uganda, Mike and Brandy were protected from illness or harm in their travels. Since then, although both Brandy and Mike had to deal with malaria once, God protected them by providing good people who made sure they were provided the best treatment quickly.
They have been protected on the long drives and the flights in small MAF Cessna planes, even when the roads were dreadful and the weather was terrible. And even on the road, when a vehicle had a mechanical breakdown, God protected them by his provision of just the right driver who could get the vehicle running again. We have also had stories of interns and team members being lost in the bush but receiving God’s protection and provision in finding their way to their destination.
One specific instance of protection was when Mike was in the car in Kampala. It was rush hour, and the roundabout on their route was very slow moving. The general protocol was for people in the roundabout to gradually give way as others entered, but as they were driving through this roundabout, the person slowly but deliberately ran into their car and then raised a big ruckus. When the policeman arrived to help settle the matter, Mike’s driver Bonny did his best to reason that the other driver was at fault. Thankfully, God provided Mike with the proper driver, Bonny, who was able to mitigate the situation and keep everyone safe. Thanks to God’s provision of an experienced driver and the money needed to get him out of a bad situation, Mike was protected from a worse outcome.
We sense God’s hand of protection in his gentle guidance, as new partners and programs are considered and sometimes tabled when we did not feel this was the right time, direction, or partner.
For all past protection we praise God! And we will continue to pray for protection and provision for our Ugandan team, our partners, the people we serve, our university interns, and our volunteers.
Pressing On – Steve Meinzen
Since I chose to blog about ‘press on’, I decided to check for synonyms of those words. The synonyms that struck me the most were persevere and proceed. Since my wife, Faith, and I have been concentrating our Field of Hope work in India, we recently traveled there. Through the 21 hour trip, we persevered. Through the malaria meds and spicy foods which made for gurgly stomachs, we persevered. Through the 5 year lack of monsoons which dried up the well where we had installed drip irrigation at an orphanage, we persevere. When approval for the building permit takes way longer than expected at the new girls’ home where we will install fruit trees for food and sustainability, we persevere. When the orphans and Bethania staff who we partner with in India receive anti-Christian persecution, they persevere.
And that is where the second synonym of ‘press on’ comes in. Why do we proceed? We proceed because the plantings are thriving at the boys’ home in spite of the drought under the able supervision of the new director. We proceed because we witness the dedication of the caring Bethania staff at all their facilities and are encouraged by it. We proceed because of the thirst for agricultural knowledge that farmers expressed in village meetings. But mostly, we proceed because God promises to be with us as we reach out to others with His message and love.