Here at Tirzah we are honored to have wonderful women like, Kristen Alvarez – founder of Love Dearly, who reach out to share their missions story. Thank you to Kristen for being a guest contributor and sharing an incredible story of calling and missions.
Sweat was running down my forehead. I was totally beat. Whenever I sat down, there were several kids on top of me who would cut off my circulation in several places. I danced and jumped around so much that my calves were burning. Prayed so hard for people who had no idea what I was saying to the point that my throat started to ache. I had to go to the bathroom so bad, but toilet paper was nonexistent. And yet, I was doing my absolute favorite thing. I was on a mission’s trip.
We were in an area that we have never been to. It was overwhelming how much the kids loved on us. How excited they were to see us. We just finished a kid’s service and were all satisfied at how well it went. Some women from the village cooked us a wonderful meal they were extremely proud of. We gathered into a classroom that was a quaint little room with barred windows, two out of four walls. One by one we received our food, one by one people became quieter and quieter as we quickly realized what was going on. Looking through each window were little eyes watching us eat. These kids had tattered clothes, dirty faces. They were lucky if they had a pair of shoes on. They were hungry. And here we were, eating this huge meal as they longingly watched us.
Tears streamed down our faces as we looked at lunch and realized our normality was craved luxury here. It became so quiet in that classroom; I kid you not, that you could hear a pencil drop. I think I heard my heart break. That moment is forever carved in my mind and has changed the course of my life forever.
I realized that we could minister to people. We could pray for people. Love on people. But we were missing an important aspect. These beautiful children were fed spiritually, but starving physically. How could they care what we were telling them if we weren’t showing that we cared by meeting their most pressing needs?
…for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink… – Matt. 25:35
I went home from that trip on fire. This had to change. I was going to be someone who transformed these kid’s lives. And with fire and God in my heart, I decided to start a nonprofit.
Well, the enemy stepped in. He’s such an annoying little guy isn’t he? The devil reminded me of how timid I am. I couldn’t run my own life, much less an organization. He told me this was a great idea for someone else- but not for me. And I believed him.
The next year I went on another mission’s trip and saw poverty like never before. I saw a kid sleeping alone on a broken card board box outside of a McDonalds. My heart physically broke. I cried and cried for a good ten minutes. Like ugly crying ya’ll. I knew that it was the Lord speaking to me that something had to be done. He had called ME.
I got back from that trip ready to make a difference. Again enters the pesky enemy. But this time, I turned to my Bible and spent time in the presence of God. I prayed for God to show me if this is truly what He wanted me to do and this idea wasn’t just ran on emotions. And guess what, God answered my prayer.
You know those people who have full conversations with God. Like a back and forth conversation that is so incredible? That doesn’t happen to me. I’ve never in my life had a full out conversation with God to where He responds and then I do and then maybe argue a bit. But He did speak to me. He reminded me of Moses. Moses was a murder. He had a speech impediment, orphaned, and a runaway. Moses was someone that no one truly accepted.
He reminded me of David. David- good grief he was a mess. He was a murderer, adulterer, and a liar. And what about Peter? He was a teenager, a liar, bigmouth, and a backstabber. God reminded me of countless people in the Bible who did incredible things. If we looked at their qualifications on paper- we would think God was crazy to use these misfits. But guess what- God doesn’t choose the qualified. He qualifies the chosen. God was able to use them despite their inadequacies. And they did pretty incredible things.
Then God threw a truth bomb my way. He said that He needs my faith, not my abilities. God can do whatever He wants through whomever He wants. He just needs their availability. If I doubt God can use me, I’m really doubting His ability, not mine. There’s nothing that God can’t do. And He sure isn’t limited by what I’ve done.
That struck me. I decided I was going to finish this dream (that I still thought was crazy) because it wasn’t about me. It was about allowing God to use me to change people’s lives. And Love Dearly was born. Currently, we are feeding 35 families in the country of Honduras and are quickly adding more families. I am blown away by what God is doing and what has happened as a result of stepping out, getting over my own insecurities.
In the area that we focus in, it is not uncommon for children to have to go to work instead of school. Many single moms are forced to work crazy hours in coffee fields. They rely on their children to bring enough money home to eat a decent meal. We strive to take the pressure off of that 8 year old whose been laboring all day in the hot sun. Strive to give them some since of security and let them know that God has not forgotten about them.