It is my absolute delight to introduce you to my sweet friend, and guest blogger, Susan Morris (www.susanbeth.com). Susan and her husband pastor Amplify Church in Jacksonville, FL and Susan is an active member of the Leading and Loving It community where she and I received our introduction. Susan is one of the sweetest most passionate women I know living her life trying to put her hands to the things in God’s heart… but I’ll let her share her own story!
A year ago I was immersed in wedding details for one of my daughters and had never even heard of World Help. I had however been part of Leading & Loving It, a community of women involved in ministry and have led one of their Connect LIVE groups the past several years. I had been looking forward to attending their retreat again last Fall, but due to putting some things aside in preparing for the wedding I felt like it wasn’t something I could do at that time.
Because of that decision I missed hearing Noel share about World Help and an upcoming L&LI trip to Guatemala. It wasn’t until after the first of the year that I saw something about the Operation Baby Rescue Project. I knew immediately I needed to go. I also knew that I didn’t have the money budgeted to go on a trip that was now quickly approaching.
It’s funny now looking back out at how everything played out…
I created several items for my daughters wedding and a few people had inquired about ordering pieces from me. That idea did not appeal to me at all, until the moment I read about this trip. I decided to create and sell custom art pieces to raise the money needed for the trip (out of my comfort zone!)
I was able to raise the funds to go on the trip. One of the highlights for me personally was getting to know Noel Yeatts. In a world that often glamorizes strength and beauty in a self indulgent way, I saw in her, womanhood at it’s finest. I saw a devoted, loving wife and mother who was passionate about what God had put in her heart. A woman who was willing to get out of her comfort zone, rally the troops and lead the charge to get a job done!
Noel spoke into our lives throughout the trip and she continued to speak into mine afterward from her book, AWAKE – Doing a WORLD of Good One Person at a Time (which you need to get if you haven’t already!)
One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “Do you want to be safe, or do you really want to change the world? The conflict is that we want to be brave, we want to take risks… but we also want to be safe. The problem is we can’t have it both ways.”
Even though many people I know would consider me a risk taker and brave…I knew deep in my heart I was still playing it safe.
I remember sharing with Noel the very first night of the trip that I had asked others to pray I would not be overwhelmed with the need before me, making it unable to see anything else. It is easy to become paralyzed by the enormity of it all.
That prayer was answered… I saw so clearly in my time in Guatemala that it takes each of us being obedient to what God is asking us to do. Only then can the miraculous happen. I made a decision to be obedient no matter how insignificant or how huge that looked.
The day after I got home from the trip, I made my commitment to raise money to rescue five babies, representing each of my five children. The total amount raised would be $6000, which seemed insignificant and HUGE all at the same time.
Another one of my favorite quotes from AWAKE is “Doing a world of good is oftentimes just doing what you already know how to do…”
So that’s what I’ve done…at AMPLIFY where my husband and I pastor we have Amplify LOVE Projects, so Operation Baby Rescue has become one of our projects. We made #amplifyLOVE shirts and coffee mugs with proceeds going to rescue babies.
Our family also owns Reach Destiny Arts, a Dance Studio lead by my daughters that has nearly 200 students associated with it. We have created a fun way to donate to OPERATION BABY RESCUE by buying a Pointe Shoe and the students writing their name and amount on it to hang up on the walls of our studio.
At this stage, we have rescued two babies and this just by doing what I’ve already been doing. Nothing spectacular or special! People you know want to make a difference…they’re just waiting for you to show them how.
I specifically took a picture of my feet on the ground in Guatemala because I knew once my feet were on the familiar soil of home it would be easy to forget. The following is a blog I wrote a week after being home about that picture…
I had the opportunity to share about my week with my church family on Sunday. I wore these boots and I told them why…
I’ve been on several trips to other countries where you see such heartbreaking need all around you. I know that my life and perspective has been shaped through the years by these experiences. I wore these boots on Sunday as a reminder that as much as I was moved to make a difference in those moments standing there in Guatemala, life back in my “normal” can soften the urgency over time.
I snapped pictures while I was there and as I was scrolling through them just hours later they seemed unreal. I wonder if it’s because it’s hard to process the reality of what I was seeing?
I don’t know.
But I do know, I want to remember…
I want to remember the mom that walked with her children 3 hours one way so they would have food for the day.
I want to remember the filthy dirty plastic 2-liter bottle that her child held up to me to fill that I’m pretty sure he had just picked up in the dump that was a few feet away.
I want to remember the precious babies being held by brave moms choosing to leave all they have known to do what’s best for their sick children.
I want to remember the scared little girl that was probably going to lose her infected left eye due to not receiving treatment early enough.
I want to remember the joy and gratefulness on the faces of the people in the village where we dedicated a well so they could have clean water.
I want to remember the little boy in the plaid shirt that came and sat by me and melted my heart.
I want to remember that my feet stood on this soil and in that moment I knew I could make a difference.
You can too.
To help Susan raise money for Baby Rescue, visit http://lali.worldhelp.net/susan-morris