Beck Wattier

What I’m Reading: Gladys Aylward, The Little Woman

Jul
01

Gladys Aylward
Gladys Aylward: The Little Woman

Gladys Aylward (1902-1970) left her home in London in her early twenties to pursue service in war torn China. Although fairly uneducated, having no ‘missionary’ training, and lacking any financial support, she felt God was asking her to go and teach the Bible and she simply went. This book is an autobiography of her story. From riding trains in the middle of a battle zone in China, to being held captive in Russia, to taking in Chinese orphans, to being approached by government officials to be a Foot Inspector…there is not one page in this book that will not consume your full attention. There are many spiritual elements and things to learn but at its core, her story contains all the elements for, well, a good story. This is probably why it was made into a film, The Inn of The Sixteenth Happiness in 1957.

I found myself greatly challenged by her life and her faith. She truly found what was worth investing in and she spent her life on it. We often think that doing this means taking on something large and grand. Reading this book you may be tempted to think her life was just that but as you read you see that she never set out to live a life that was book worthy, she set out to be faithful in each day and to each person she came across. We often don’t ‘go’ if we have to go alone. Gladys is a great example of someone who counted the cost and was willing to pay it. I couldn’t help but to think of the missionaries I know who are now on the field and how they need people to be behind them with encouragement, resources, and prayer.

Practically, at a hundred and fifty (small) pages, this book is an easy read for anyone; I read it in one sitting (about two hours). I would especially recommend it to anyone that is in a rut and needs a little heart stirring, to anyone who is in the middle of faithful serving and is feeling alone and weighed down, and to anyone who has heard God’s voice clearly but doesn’t see how things could possibly work out that way.

 

And Then They Sang A Hymn

Mar
06

The following is taken from Amy Carmichael’s book, Things as They Are: Mission Work in Southern India. It is easy to see why it caused such an uproar in the western Christian world. For many in the early 1900s, missions was considered a distasteful necessity requiring careful discussion. Amy broke this delicate mold. A lot of her writings are about her struggles with the tension of doing actual mission work and convincing people back home to support her and get involved. Here she mentions ‘tom toms.’ When someone died, these drums beat all night. On one evening, the drums of death awakened her to the specter of millions perishing without Jesus:

“The tom-toms thumped straight on all night, and the darkness shuddered round me like a living, feeling thing. I could not go to sleep, so I lay awake and looked; and I saw, as it seemed, this:

That I stood on a grassy sward, and at my feet a precipice broke sheer down into infinite space. I looked, but saw no bottom; only cloud shapes, black and furiously coiled, and great shadow-shrouded hollows, and unfathomable depths. Back I drew, dizzy at the depth.

Then I saw forms of people moving single file along the grass. They were making for the edge. There was a woman with a baby in her arms and another little child holding on to her dress. She was on the very verge. Then I saw that she was blind. She lifted her foot for the next step…it trod air. She was over, and the children with her. Oh, the cry as they went over!

Then I saw more streams of people flowing from all quarters. All were blind, stone blind; all made straight for the precipice edge. There were shrieks, as they suddenly knew themselves falling, and a tossing up of helpless arms, catching, clutching at empty air.

Then I wondered, with a wonder that was simply agony, why no one stopped them at the edge. I could not. I was glued to the ground, and I could only call; though I strained and tried, only a whisper would come.

Then I saw that along the edge there were great sentries set at intervals. But the intervals were too great; there were wide, unguarded gaps between. And over these gaps the people fell in their blindness, quite unwarned; and the green grass seemed blood-red to me, and the gulf yawned like the mouth of hell.

Then I saw, like a little picture of peace, a group of people under some trees with their backs turned toward the gulf. They were making daisy chains. Sometimes when a piercing shriek cut the quiet air and reached them, it disturbed them, and they thought it a rather vulgar noise. And if one of their number started up and wanted to go and do something to help, then all the others would pull that one down. ‘Why should you get so excited about it? You must wait for a definite call to go! You haven’t finished your daisy chain yet. It would be really selfish,’ they said, ‘to leave us to finish the work alone.’

There was another group. It was made up of people whose great desire was to get more sentries out; but they found that very few wanted to go, and sometimes there were no sentries set for miles and miles of the edge.

Once a girl stood alone in her place, waving the people back but her mother and other relations called and reminded her that her furlough was due; she must not break the rules. And being tired and needing a change, she had to go and rest for a while; but no one was sent to guard her gap, and over and over the people fell, like a waterfall of souls.

Once a child caught at a tuft of grass that grew at the very brink of the gulf; it clung convulsively, and it called- but nobody seemed to hear. Then the roots of the grass gave way, and with a cry the child went over, its two little hands still holding tight to the torn-off bunch of grass. And the girl who longed to be back in her gap thought she heard the little one cry, and she sprang up and wanted to go; at which they reproved her, reminding her that no one is necessary anywhere; the gap would be well taken care of, they knew. And then they sang a hymn.

Then through the hymn came another sound like the pain of a million broken hearts wrung out in one full drop, or sob. And a horror of great darkness was upon me, for I knew what it was- the Cry of their Blood.

Then thundered a voice, the voice of the Lord. And He said ‘What hast thou done, the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.’

The tom-toms still beat heavily, the darkness still shuddered about me; I heard the yells of the devil-dancers and weird, wild shrieks of the devil-possessed just outside the gate.

But why does it have me upset? What does it matter after all? It has gone on for years; it will go on for years. Why make such a fuss about it?”

"Give Big Like Jesus" -Elijah’s Project

Jan
15

When I was seven, I saw a commerical for the American Diabetes Foundation asking people to donate to fund research for a cure for Juvenile Diabetes. I took a hot pink sock and filled it with every penny I could find around the house. I don’t remember what happened to the sock full of pennies, but I remember thinking if I could fill it up and send it in, maybe it would help someone.

When I was twelve I had a pen-pal from India. Her family sent a letter out asking people to pray that they would have money to buy bibles for the school they were starting. I calcualted how much the bibles cost, and how much each person in my youth group needed to contribute in order for us to buy them. If we all put in a few dollars, it would add up.

When I was nineteen I learned about the water crisis worldwide and how simple it was to fix by installing wells in countries that had no access to clean water. I pulled my cousins together and we decided we were going to raise money to build a well. We various fundraisers and eventually several news stations and news papers interviewed me. Word spread, more people got involved and ou motto became “If everyone gives a little, we can change the world.”

Today I am twenty-six and as I look back over the last couple years where I’ve been working and fundraising for different projects in Uganda, Africa, I estimate that we’ve raised well over $100,000. It is incredible to look back over my life and see how God has worked to instill in me a passion to change the world and to do big things in His name. I can see how each step along the way, He has used each of these little projects (and many more) to spur me on and push me forward to even bigger and greater things.

All this being said, I want to share about a project my friend Elijah is working on. Elijah just turned 9 last week, and instead of asking for presents this year, he asked his parents if they could get people to donate socks, towels and blankets to a local homeless shelter. As soon as I heard about it I knew I had to share. It took me back to all these projects (and others) and how, because many got behind and supported me, the projects were succesful in helping a lot of people. So take a minute and read the interview I did with Elijah, and consider getting involved or at least sharing his story. I think you will be just as challenged as I was:

Rebecca: For anyone that doesn’t know you, tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you have any hobbies? What’s your favortie kind of music?


Elijah:
Anybody that knows me knows that I love sports. My favorite sport to watch is basketball and my favorite to play is football. I really like to pray, I don’t do it all the time because I’m caught up in everything else, but I like to pray about basically anything that’s going on. Lecrae is my favorite kind of music but NeedtoBreath is my favorite band.

Rebecca: So I think I know everything about what you’re wanting to do, but let’s start with you just telling me how you got the idea and what your plan is.

Elijah: Well, the idea came because when it’s your birthday, you get gifts. But Jesus didn’t get gifts, He gave a gift. We live by the interstate in Grandbay and basically everytime we go somewhere we have to get on the interstate so we see a lot of people walking around. I actually thought of the idea while we were on the interstate.

Rebecca: After that you started looking into homeless shelters?

Elijah: At first we were just going to collect a few things and take the stuff to the people we found around the interstate but then we looked into it more. I called the shelter and asked what they needed and this Saturday we’re going to have lunch with the lady that runs the shelter and take the supplies to her.

Rebecca: So what exactly are you trying to collect?

Elijah: Towles, socks, and blankets.

Rebecca: And how much are you hoping to collect?

Elijah: We’re hoping to collect a lot because there are actually two shelters we want to give to. The women’s shelter has showers and so they said they are always needing more towels. They said socks are good to donate because it’s winter and a lot of homeless people have to walk a long way.

Rebecca: Some people who read this may know your family already but some may not know you at all, some people may not be able to give something but they can still be encouraged in hearing what you’re doing. Is there anything else you’d like to say to people who are going to read this?

Elijah: Just that, you know, Jesus did something big. No one can ever repay him for that. So we should all try the best we can to give big like Jesus did.

If you’d like to get involved and donate towels, socks, or blankets let us know! We can plan to meet up somewhere or you could mail a check and we can go buy the supplies here. You can reach me on:
Facebook: Rebecca Wattier
Email: BeckWattier@gmail.com
Cell: 251-422-3071

You can also help by sharing this through facebook and twitter, or leaving an encouraging comment- I’ll make sure Elijah sees them all.

**The Nicholson’s started a new church plant in the midtown Mobile area last year, South City Church, where I’m currently attending. If you’re in the Mobile area and are looking for a place to plug in you can find out more info at www.SouthCityMobile.com **

Refocusing

Nov
02
Mrs. Shelia Buff, 55 next week, lives in a decent sized little trailer down a long dusty road in Cochran, Ga. With the most cheerful, good ole’ southern accent you could think of, we were greeted with hugs and ’I’m soooo happy you guys are here! I can’t believe it!!’
When you walk into ‘Mrs Buffy’s” house you feel right at home, like you’ve gone to visit your own grandmother. Everything was extremely comfy/cozy, the kitchen was decorated in apple-themed things with a small table in the middle. Made from scratch chocolate-chip cookies were waiting for us. We sat down and ate and talked while she walked around mixing up what she was cooking for dinner. She began asking about all the different babies and staff members at Sonrise. She began to share “I didn’t know why God was leading me to come and work at a baby home, I could never have children, every time I just see a baby I start crying, but I knew the very minute that i heard the church was taking a trip that I was supposed to go.”
She continued, “I was all excited about it till I got on that plane in ATL, then it all hit me, ‘Was it really God or did I just make this up?’ ‘Why a baby home? I can’t handle babies.’ ‘What have I gotten myself into. Oh well, only 9 days and then I never have to do this again.’” She said she continued to deal with all these different thoughts and feelings until they landed in Uganda and they got out of the plane. There is a very, very distinct smell in Uganda that can only be described as ‘Uganda’. I don’t know how to explain it, but when you step off that plane 1,000 things hit you at once. Mrs. Buffy described it as being able to ‘feel the country breathe’. At that time she said ‘Okay God, let’s do this.’
Sonrise has several college-aged Ugandans that volunteer full-time serving the baby home, helping with shopping, driving, cleaning, accounting, emailing, whatever needs to be done. These kids are truly remarkable, they work for free and they all have hearts of gold. They love these 37 children as if they were there own. Mrs Buffy said as soon as she was greeted by some of these volunteers, Aisha, Joseph, Jonathan and Ivan, God spoke to her heart and told her ‘They are why you’re here.’ For the next 7 days she loved on these volunteers, orphans themselves, pouring into them, encouraging them, listening to their stories and sharing her own. She cared for the caretakers.
This is a great story, heartwarming in itself, but what I found more challenging was the life of Mrs. Buffy now. it has been 3 months since her team came back but Uganda is still very present on her mind and her heart. As she walked us to our bedroom where we would sleep that night, we passed a hallway covered in framed pictures of her time in Uganda.
Jonathan is one of the volunteers at Sonrise. An orphan himself, he grew up in Northern Uganda where the rebel army has been reaking havoc for the last 15-20 years. He saw several of his family members murdered in front of him, his own mother tried to kill him because she didnt want the rebels to capture him. He has since been trying to care for his remaining family, cousins, siblings, etc, and in his ‘extra’ time, volunteering at Sonrise. Mrs Buffy shared that she felt led to pay for Jonathan to go to university, about $3000 a year. Damali was ecstatic. “He works so hard and is such a good guy, no one ever thinks about helping him, I can’t believe it, he will be so happy!’
She told us she was going to be moving soon. Damali asked her why and she explained “Well, I’m selling my trailer and moving into a smaller apartment closer to town. I can save on rent, on gas, etc so I will be able to send more money over there and hopefully come back next year too. When I came back I realized that I could downsize a lot and come up with more money to give.”
I’m sure there is a lot more to Mrs Buffy’s story, but I hope from this brief portion you are as encouraged as I was.This week has been very long and tiring. We spoke 8 times in 8 days and travelled 1550 miles by car. I have taken a huge pay cut because of all the traveling. The stress and pressure of trying to make ends meet is weighing on me. The not getting to see my church family and losing touch with friends is discouraging to me. But I was quickly reminded why we do what we do, why every ounce of energy poured into this ministry at Sonrise is worth it. The gospel is being spread. The good news that Jesus came and we are set free to live a life of meaning and purpose and passion. God is changing lives. And not just lives in Uganda but lives here, in the local church. People are being inspired and encouraged and moved to action. We are on a mission field right here on the home front, with a very important mission.
So please, continue to join in on this mission through prayers and encouragement. God is doing big things through all of our combined efforts and through your prayers and support you guys are just as much a part of it as we are out on the road, up on the stage, or in the middle of the village.