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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Order My Steps and Guide my Socks


Some prayers I pray daily, without fail. One of them is this: “Lord, please establish my thoughts
and order my steps this day.” Such promises are in His word, and I believe that every day when I
pray this prayer, God does just what it asks.

One recent morning, I put on some warm, fuzzy purple socks to pounce around the house in. I
wore slip on heels to work that day and totally forgot to take off the socks. About halfway to
work, I happened to glance down, and I almost stopped the car as I noticed my purple socks—
glaring. So I thought, “I’ll just stop by Walgreen’s and get some knee-highs.” Driving down the
street rocking my praise, I hastily turned into what I thought was the driveway for Walgreen’s.
Instead, it was a closed restaurant. Just as I was about to drive out of the parking lot, I noticed
a homeless woman, who seemed to come out of nowhere, and she and I both just stopped and
stared at each other. I knew in that instant this was a meeting God had gently guided me to. She
slowly walked over to the car as I rolled down the window.

I immediately asked her if she was hungry, and as she nodded I proceeded to give her most
of what I had packed for my lunch. She was so excited and asked if I were a “God person.” I
said, “Yes Ma’am, I am.” I asked if she knew that God loved her. “Oh yea; I’m still alive.” I then
steered the conversation to the Bible, specifically Romans 10:9. She said, “Oh I know all about
that,” and she kept mentioning her “brother” who was really beat up and bruised and suffered a
lot. It was almost as if this brother she spoke about was Jesus Himself—whom we know suffered
greatly on the cross as payment for our sins. Since she “knew all about Romans 10:9,” I asked
had she actually done what it said. Her response: “H--- yea!” We had a good laugh.

“I’m thirsty,” she said. I had two water bottles, both less than half empty. I poured one
into the other and gave it to her. Her grin widened. “You got a lot of clothes," she stated
emphatically. "Don’t you? I need some clothes; I’m freezing.” I remembered I had packed some
workout clothes for later that evening, so I handed her the bag and informed her that she now had
a new T-shirt, pants and socks. At the word “pants” she lit up like a 5-year-old, which made my
heart smile. With the biggest grin, she declared that God had blessed her that day. I responded by
asking if I could read some of His word to her. So we read a little. She asked me for the third time
if I had any (Christian) literature. She seemed just as eager to have the literature about God as
much as the food, water and clothing. I was so enjoying meeting Gigi.

As a parting word, I told her that Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to
one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25: 40). I explained to her that
in other words, everything I had given her this day, I was really giving to Jesus ... He was the
one who used me to bless her that day. At those words, she closed her eyes, and she had the most
peaceful countenance. She asked for a hug and I obliged. Yes, she was dirty, and her hair needed
a wash badly, but that didn’t matter in that moment. I knew that Jesus would have given her a
hug, too. In fact, He did—through me.

I knew that the Holy Spirit didn’t want me to change my purple socks that morning; He knew I
would want to change them and attempt to stop at Walgreen’s; and He knew I would make the
mistake I did—and find Gigi. He needed to bless one of His children. When you find yourself
in a strange place, don’t always be in such a hurry to leave. Stop, assess your surroundings, and
consider the possibility that you may be just where God wants you. He may be using you to
give Him food, something to drink, and clothing for His journey ... that He takes every day and
distributes as needed … as He walks with—and sometimes carries—His precious children. I’m so
grateful that He guides our footsteps, even when we’re wearing purple socks.

For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger
and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in
prison and you came to Me
. Matthew 25:35-36

Saturday, April 7, 2012

PERU BOUND IN 2012 -- ONCE AGAIN!


PERU BOUND ONCE AGAIN – FOR THE 8TH TIME!
MY 10-YEAR-OLD SON IS GOING FOR THE 2ND TIME

Hello Family, Friends and Missionary Supporters,

I’m excited to announce that June 1-9, 2012, will be my eighth missions trip to Lima, Peru! I’ve been traveling there since 2005, and I’ve loved every minute of it—God has shown Himself in mighty ways on these trips. My last trip in June 2011 was very special because my son went with me for the very first time. He loved it; I don’t think I’ll be able to go back anytime soon without him!

We work mainly in the area of San Juan de Lurigancho, the largest district in Peru and home to the poorest of the poor, with many eating only one meal a day. Trust me; you haven’t seen poor conditions like these in America! Many live in what’s called squatter homes, which are actually huts made from bamboo, cardboard, tin, tire rubber—whatever the people can find—and most are without electricity or running water. About 49% of the people live below the poverty level, and of course unemployment is very high. The needs are vast, and we seek to meet as many needs as we can—naturally and spiritually—through hope, healing, love and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

WHAT DO WE ACTUALLY DO WHILE IN PERU? HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:
·         Visit orphanages like the Hope House home for girls and Centro Shama, a boys home – last year we planted a garden, painted, leveled a volleyball court, and allowed the kids to go “shopping” for goodies like clothing and toys; of course, all prices were $0.00!  Jonathan had mega fun at the home for boys! And he was brave enough to give a five-minute encouraging word from John 14 about trusting God to the girls.
·         Visit Pat’s Place, a shelter for abused women and children – we pour on the love, gifts and hope by having most of our meals and meetings there, as well as several activities. Jonathan was incredible with the kids. There was a precious one-year-old reaching up his little arms for Jonathan practically every time he walked through the door!
·         Visit the Villa La Paz Medical Clinic, free care, room and board for about 50 kids with serious conditions – we fellowship and play with the kids, and of course, hand out goodies.
·         Speak at various church conferences throughout the Lima area, where we minister with skits, testimonies, prayer and of course, the word of God.
·         Perform street drama – we literally find conducive  areas on the street and perform several skits, eventually leading up to a main skit which points to Christ. Afterwards, an invitation for salvation is given, and you’d be surprised at how many come forward, right there on the streets! Local church representatives collect contact information for follow up and invite them to church. All kinds of amazing things happen at these street drama sites. Jonathan was able to show off his drama skills!

Would you like an opportunity to help sow a seed in God’s Kingdom? You can do that by helping us go once again. The cost to cover airfare, food, lodging, local transportation and materials for both of us is $3500. Great news: we've raised nearly 1/2 of this amount, praise God!!

Will you support us in raising the remainder? No amount is too small. If God places it on your heart to donate, please do not hesitate—obedience is a great thing. We need to have all monies in by May 4—just about three weeks away! However, we need significant deposits in now for group travel arrangements. God continues to use me in Peru. On the last two trips of 2010 and 2011, I was a guest speaker at a couple of churches along with other missionary speakers, and many people submitted their hearts to Christ. Your support will help to bless so many.

Your check or money order should be made payable to “Crosspoint Ministries” (www.crosspointmissions.org), and please mail it to me at the address below so that I may record and manage incoming support. You may use your donation as a valid IRS tax deduction. Thanks in advance for your prayerful consideration to support us. Contact me with any questions. If you like, I will be glad to send you a self-addressed stamped envelope! Just email me your address. We hope to hear from you very soon!

Charged to uplift, encourage & inspire,

Vanessa Burke          
3502 Peachtree Park Dr.
Atlanta, GA 30309

vanessaburke@clear.net