Tuesday, April 21, 2015

That Wild Joy

It has been a whirlwind month and a bit since our family said "Yes! Here I am... Lord, send me..." to an opportunity to serve the least of these, one that is absolutely outside my comfort zone.

This quote by Kristen Welch has been an invaluable encouragement...
Our yes to God should scare us.
Not to keep us immobile, but to keep us dependent on the One who asks us to say it in the first place.
Fear keeps us moving towards God.
Yes, there is fear in obedience. But peace keeps us on the journey.
And the joy that follows our yes to God is wild.
And, throughout this month I have indeed experienced that wild joy!

I am currently sitting in the hospital's surgery waiting room as I tap out this blog post. After waiting for almost a month, little Ochro is finally getting his open heart surgery today. It will be a long five to eight hours of intense waiting but we are trusting our Heavenly Father to bring Ochro through this surgery safely and successfully.

A photo posted by alyssa (@_godsgal4ever) on

As I sit here and wait beside his beautiful mama, as she takes a nap in preparation for a long night ahead... I am totally in awe of just how beautifully brave she is.

And this is why I am writing today. 

This beautiful new friend of mine has taught me a few things about being brave and about having faith and about choosing gratefulness. 

And... this beautiful new friend of mine is the reason for a big portion of that wild joy that followed our yes to God.

Little Ochro, his mama and my girl!

You see, when our family first said yes to this opportunity, never in my wildest dream did I expect that, at the end of this journey, not only would little Ochro go back home to Mongolia with a new heart but that his mama would, too!

This is the wildest joy... because Jesus became real to this beautiful new friend of mine, this very brave mama, right here in Canada, thousands of miles away from the comforts of her own home, a traditional Mongolian ger, in the middle of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.

Right here --- after she had the opportunity to watch the Jesus Film in her native language.

Right here --- where a Christ-following interpreter, a volunteer with Samaritan's Purse Children's Heart Project, invested in her and patiently answered her many questions.

Right here --- while being in community with Christ-followers who are being Jesus' hands and feet to her.

A brand-new heart... for my beautiful friend. Such wild joy. Such amazing grace.
Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone — and see — a new life has begun! ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17, The Voice.
I have literally witnessed this mama's transformation... from full of anxiety, to full of joy. This is what our Jesus can do and is still doing today, friends! 

Just. So. Beautifully. Amazing.

To top it off, we will have the immense joy of seeing her baptised before she heads back home to Mongolia! 

But as beautiful as this story already is, I can't hit the publish button until I tell you what my new friend has taught me in this short time that I've known her.

She's taught me what it means to be a brave mama...
This is a woman who calls the Gobi Desert home, who herds animals as a livelihood, who lives a nomadic lifestyle. 

At first, she couldn't fathom getting on an airplane, not to mention flying halfway across the world to a strange and foreign land where she doesn't speak nor understand the language. At first, she didn't want to come. At first, she wanted to send her son here with a relative. 

Yet, she finally chose to be brave, to step out of her comfort zone... so that her son could have a new lease on life. This is what brave mamas do.

She's also taught me what it means to rely on faith...
In this First World which we call home, we rarely find ourselves in situations where having faith is all we have to rely on. Our overly educated brains are always one step ahead of us. If not, Google always has an answer to our questions. It is not so for my friend. 

While I frantically google information so I can read about this particular open heart surgery for tetralogy of fallot, she just simply trusts that the surgeon will do his best job. 

While I queried the ER doctor over and over about little Ochro's recurring blue spells (also known as tet spells) which were becoming intense last week before today's surgery and about the risks of stopping all of his medications, she just simply trusts that he is getting the best care there is.

As our pastor was saying a prayer over little Ochro and my mind wandered in a few different directions thinking about the surgery risks, I look over and saw her simply trusting and fervently praying along. This is what simple faith looks like.

Little Ochro is not camera-shy at all. Here, he is having fun with CityNews camera man, Steve Boorne,
as he filmed segments on behalf of The Herbie Fund.

Lastly, she's also taught me what it means to choose gratefulness...
As little Ochro's original surgery date got cancelled and subsequently kept being delayed, days turned into weeks. I became increasingly impatient with each passing day and my first-world attitude of entitlement started to rear its ugly head. 

My friend, on the other hand, waited gracefully and patiently, and regarded all the medical care that little Ochro is and will be getting as pure gift. 

She exudes gratefulness... despite being away from home for almost two months now and will be here for yet another month because of the delay, despite being able to talk to her husband only once during these two months because their home in the Gobi Desert is not reachable via telecommunications, despite being terribly homesick. This is what choosing gratefulness looks like.

After just four hours in the operating room instead of the estimated five to eight hours, little Ochro is now safely out of surgery and his heart repair is a success. Thank you, Jesus! Please continue to pray for him, friends... that his recovery will be swift and smooth so that they can return to their family soon.

As much as we would love to visit Mongolia one day, the reality is that we may never see each other again in this lifetime after our friends return home to Mongolia, but I will always remember this beautiful new friend of mine and the joy that she's brought into our family's life and the valuable things that I've learned from her. 

And little Ochro will definitely forever have a special place in my heart. I so love this little man... he gives the tightest, most endearing hugs! And I can always lay claim to the fact that I taught him how to take his very first selfies! ;)

And it is wild joy knowing that there will be a day when we will all be worshipping God together again in the same place on the other side of eternity!

Oh, yes! --- Yeses to God can absolutely be scary, but the joy that follows is truly wild. I am so glad our family said, "Yes! Here I am... Lord, send me..."

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!


  1. Beautiful testimony - Praying for Ochro and his brave mama - both for healing now and as they travel home - that Christ's beauty would shine through them, and his aroma would seep from them.

  2. Praise God!!!! What a beautiful story of God at work. Thank you for sharing it with us. And I'll be praying for quick recovery for Ochro and a safe trip home.

  3. Praying for Ochro! God is so good!!!