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Welcome

I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

4
Jan

outreach, prayer, and fasting

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”
Matthew 9:37

In this little pink house, nestled not too far from the crystal blue waters of the Bahamas, lives a 95 year old man … Brother Clifton.  You see, in the Christian community in the Bahamas, there’s an old school respect for addressing their brothers and sisters in Christ. I love that!

The girls and I went on an outreach program one morning with Clear Water Assembly of God, where we visited a couple other brothers and sisters in Christ, but first I’d like to tell you about Brother Clifton.

As I mentioned, Brother Clifton is 95 years old.  He’s also blind and bed-ridden.  He’s also alone.  He’s also hungry.  He’s also filled with a deep love of the Lord.

There’s a story in Luke 2, where Jesus is 12 years old and stays behind in the temple to learn from, and talk with the religious leaders of the time.  Mary and Joseph couldn’t find him and were worried.  When they found him, Mary basically scolded him and explained they were worried.  Jesus’s reply was, “Don’t you know I must be about my Father’s business?”

So as the girls and I were visiting these houses that morning, I would ask them excitedly … “Whose business are we doing?”  And they’d reply, “God’s!”  Why do I mention this?  Because when we walked into Brother Clifton’s small home, to find him bed-ridden and hungry … he was ALL about his Father’s business.

The church does this outreach once every week.  And they found out that Brother Clifton hadn’t eaten since the previous week they were there.  So when we arrived, we immediately asked if we could feed him.  But no … he told us to “take care of business first!”

He wanted us to first be about our Father’s business.

He wanted his spirit fed … before his belly was fed.

We read from God’s Word.

We sang worship songs.

We prayed over him.

We fed his spirit.

Then, we fed his belly.

Brother Clifton lives in this small house.  It consists of one main room and a couple of small bedrooms.  He is bed-ridden and blind, so stays in this bed all day.  I simply can.not imagine that.  His sister lives just down the road from him.  She’s blind too.  But she’s in a home being taken care of.  I’m not sure of the circumstances surrounding them and why one is being cared for and the other isn’t.  Right now the church is working to reunite them and get Brother Clifton into the same home as his sister.  At the very least, get them together for a visit.

Again … I simply can.not imagine.

After our visit with Brother Clifton, we went down the street to visit Sister Mary.  I simply fell in love with this woman!  Although old and living with not much of anything … she was full of spunk and a love of Jesus!  She’s one of the very few in the area that has been blessed with fertile ground.  She literally lives off the things she’s planted near her small home.  In one of the photos below, you can see where she has a mango plant literally growing from the rock!

Sister Mary was proclaiming the Word of God … singing His praises and goodness!  At the end of our visit, we asked her to lead us in prayer, which she did … and left me with tears rolling down my face.

The faith … grace … love that shines through.  We were on a mission to bless others that day … but God, in His infinite wisdom, blessed us!

And then there’s Brother Deacon.  I’m smiling just thinking of him.  He didn’t want to talk about anything else but Scripture … and he could quote it with the best of ‘em!  The first thing I saw when we walked into his tiny home, was his well-worn Bible sitting on the table.

Brother Deacon loved the girls.  He told them repeatedly to “Honor your mother and your father.”  He read Scripture to the girls and explained to them over and over how they’ll live a long and healthy life if they obey their parents.

I was so proud of my girls.  Even though they felt uncomfortable and out of their element, they were gracious, kind and caring.

The day before we went on this outreach, I talked to the girls about fasting.  I explained what it was and it’s purpose … and that there are many different ways to fast.  But the most important thing in fasting, is to know why you’re doing it.  Then I asked if they would like to join me in fasting.  It warmed my heart to hear them excited to do it.

We agreed that we’d do the fast the day after this outreach and we decided that we would be fasting breakfast.  I also explained that Hunter, being four, doesn’t understand fully what we’re doing … that I didn’t expect her to … and that she’d probably be eating something while the girls were hungry.  They bravely said they could handle it.

After this outreach, I talked to the girls about the people we visited that day … how they didn’t have much of anything … how Brother Clifton hadn’t eaten in a week and the pears we had just fed him would be his only meal that day.  And as we went into our fast the next morning, I asked them to remember the people we visited.  When their bellies would growl, or when they had the desire to eat … to instead pray for our new friends, to pray for strength and to give thanks for what we do have.

At one point, Hunter asked for something to eat so I took her into the kitchen and again explained what the girls were doing and that I’d like her to eat what she wanted in the kitchen, so the girls weren’t tempted.  Hunt was asking for some goldfish crackers and after I explained it to her, she said, “Well, I’ll just have one goldfish.”  So sweet to recognize the sacrifice she was willing to make in her four year old mind! {I gave her more than one}. ;)

We prayed the morning of the fast and even though the girls played and watched TV most of that morning and I would check in on them and ask them how they were doing … it wasn’t this great-big-drama-fasting thing.  It was a small … intentional learning moment in Christ.

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18 Responses to “outreach, prayer, and fasting”

  1. Billie says:

    WOW Traci! What an amazing experience that you gave to your girls. Thank you so much for sharing with us. You are an inspiration.

  2. marie says:

    beautifully written …so much for all of us to learn about love

  3. Cat Moore says:

    this really touched me. thanks for sharing. wow.

  4. I loved your pictures when I saw them on FB and love this even more with the words to tell the story… I think my favorite part is that even though your girls were out of their element they were gracious – go sweet mama!! You are setting a wonderful example for your girls :)

    Also… is that really a mango tree or is it a papaya {pawpaw} tree? It doesn’t look like the Nigerian mango trees, but the ones we saw {and climbed!!} were full grown.

  5. Kimberly says:

    I love your girls – I love your site – I love your intentions – and I love you! Thank you for teaching me something about prayer, meeting other people’s needs, fasting and providing inspiration to copy and share with my children.

  6. This is so eye opening of how we all should love Christ and all of our brothers and sisters.
    I have been reading your blog, in secret, until now. :)
    Thanks Traci!
    Erica

  7. tracie says:

    ooo … jessica! you’re right … it’s a papaya tree!

  8. obx888 says:

    New to your (wonderful) blog, and I am broken-hearted (in a good way) over these stories. Is there any way to make a donation to the church doing this outreach? You are leaving so many blessings not only for your children, but for generations to come after you depart from this earth to live eternity with our Heavenly Father. God Bless You.

  9. Heather says:

    I have tears in my eyes this morning. THank you thank you thank you!
    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, and I look forward to it every single day. I’ve started doing random acts of kindness for this whole year. I’m truly inspired by you every day. Everyday you touch a special place in my heart! Thank you!!

  10. heather says:

    Thank you for sharing this amazing ministry and these faith-filled, incredible people…your words and these photos say so much!

  11. Cindy B says:

    Tracie! To quote all of the above…”wow.”

  12. Melissa says:

    what an amazing way to make the pages of the Word come to life. i’m sure this left an indelible mark on the hearts of your girls. this life is ours to give away. we need to learn how to surrender, truly surrender to His will for us. I think it looks like what you’ve shared here…

  13. What an amazing experience for your family and for the people you are helping. I am blown away by the miracle of the mango plant, literally growing out of the rock. Your story has blessed my husband and I this morning as we read it. God is so amazing, and I love to read other believers stories on how he is moving.

  14. sarah says:

    Tracie, that is an incredible story. What an amazing experience that the girls will carry with them forever. And, of course, your gorgeous photographs tell an incredible story!

  15. dawn says:

    i am thinking that you are beautiful. that God has given you such an amazing heart and that you are teaching your girls to be beautiful too. and in a little pink house, borther clifton is never alone.

  16. Jessica says:

    Wow, Tracie, what a moving story and photographs! An incredible experience for you to be able to share with your girls. Again, beautifully written.

  17. Brenda says:

    Can’t wait to do more of this with you in Swaziland!

  18. Amy T says:

    My heart is full of so many emotions right now. You’re a beautiful woman teaching your children about the goodness that comes from the heart – something that more parents need to take the time to do. I cried reading this, and looking at these pictures, and thinking about how i complain at times about my circumstances, when really my life is so rich in comparison to some of the circumstances people live in. Thank you.

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