Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Want to Be Like Pearlina

I recently heard about a black bear attacking and killing a hiker in West Milford, NJ, not far from where we hiked the day before. I couldn't help but wonder, "That could have been me."

Fear

Photo credit: Kevron2001/Dreamstime.com WalkingThroughtheWaterPhoto

That night, a special report interrupted the show I was watching to tell us that the U.S. launched an attack on ISIS in Syria. I couldn't help but wonder, "What if they retaliate and we get bombed?"
Fear

Then I saw a video of Stacy Dooley, a young woman whose town (Luton, England) was taken over by radical Muslim Extremists. And I thought, "That could happen here. It really could."
Fear

Meanwhile, Christians are being beheaded. And I can't help but think, "That could happen here. That could be me."
Fear

Meanwhile, a sweet and brave young woman from my town, Katie Meyler, has risked her life to go back to Monrovia, Liberia, where her Non-Profit Organization, More Than Me is stationed, and where she has lived for the past six or seven years. More Than Me helps get young girls off the streets (where many of them are forced to work as prostitutes just to be able to afford a glass of clean water) and into school. 

But Katie is doing more than that-more than me for sure! She was given special permission to enter a quarantined area to help the victims of Ebola. According to the MTM website, 

More Than Me  has formed the Ebola-Free West Point Coalition, a group of government, community and NGO partners to end the Ebola epidemic and stop the spread of the virus. The objectives of the coalition are simple: to provide information to the West Point community about Ebola and coach them on prevention, identify the sick, treat the ill, bury the dead, reintegrate survivors, and support the families of the affected.

Sounds anything but simple. It's heartbreaking to follow her stories. This is one of the more hopeful ones:


Pearlina (used by permission More Than Me Foundation)
Meet Pearlina. She's 3. This precious pearl watched her mother die. No one wanted to take her because they were afraid. 

Fear

It's not safe for her in the hospital and Katie and her staff are trying to find Pearlina's family. Meanwhile, she is staying in a quarantined guest house run by the MTM staff of social workers and other caring individuals. You can read more about Pearlina here.

After eight days, Pearlina tested negative for the virus. She is still being monitored, but they (and all of us who follow Katie's stories and pray for Pearlina) are hopeful.
Pearlina (used by permission More Than Me Foundation)



I am simply in awe of this young woman's bravery and compassion. I confess, I can't help but think, "I'm glad that's not me."


Fear

Black bears. 
Beheadings. 
Bombings. 
Ebola. 

Is it a reason to stop living? To live our lives in fear?

That's what the devil, the radical extremists and the black bears would like. To be paralyzed with fear. Afraid to go out. Afraid to speak up. Afraid to do the things we enjoy. Afraid to help. Afraid to hope. Afraid to live. To just give up.

But then I look at Pearlina. The joy amidst the sorrow. The laughter among the tears. Hope in the midst of fear. She is probably too young to truly grasp the severity of this epidemic. She only knows that someone reached out and plucked her from the darkness and devastation. Someone cares. Someone will take care of her.


In the face of my fear, whether it is real or imagined, I want to be like Pearlina. 

To be like a child. I choose to have laughter among the sorrow, joy in the midst of my fear. Hope. 

Because Someone cared enough for me once to pluck me from the darkness of my despair and my certain destruction. 


Jesus reached out his hand and I took it. He wasn't afraid of the possibility of catching a fatal virus from me. 

He took me, scarred, battered, dirty...a sinful woman...and he embraced me anyway.
He scooped me up, took me in and cleaned me up when the world was ready to abandon me.

And when I took his hand, I agreed to let Him take care of me. His Word instructs me to give all your worries and cares to God for He cares about you (1 Peter 5:7)


Photo credit-cBCritchley/Dreamstime.com-AutumnForestPathPhoto

When fear and anxiety creep in, I want to be like Pearlina. 

I want to fall into, trust and remain in the arms of my Savior. I want to laugh in the face of devastation. I want to have hope that the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic, like well-fed calves (Mal 4:2). 


I want to frolic like that. Like Pearlina.

Blessings Along the Path,

Song of the Day
I Am Not Alone (Kari Jobe)


If you would like to donate or become a partner with More Than Me, and help young girls like Pearlina, please visit the MTM website for more details. Meanwhile, please join me in prayer for Precious Pearlina and many others like her, and do visit the website if you have time. It truly is amazing what this young woman is doing for these girls in Liberia.

One more plug: Katie in the news-the Liberian Observer thanking World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for granting over 100 million dollars to fight Ebola in 3 countries---and Katie Meyler, for scooping up Pearlina when everyone else was ready to abandon her. Read about it here

Katie's Facebook response..."..she owns me that sassy baby girl."
God bless you, Katie!

Linking up today with Thriving Thursday, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Faith Filled Friday, Friendship Friday

2 comments:

  1. Such an encouraging post. You ended with one of my favorite scriptures. I have been singing it all week. ( John 4:4)
    I was blessed in my visit this week. Praying for your faith to rise up in the face of fear and give wings to hope that can not be deferred . ( praying that for us all).
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. Thank you Dawn. I love that scripture too. I put music to it years ago. That little girl has really captured my heart too.

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