finding hope and sharing it

Out On A Limb October 31, 2014

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 12:25 am
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Out on a limb

I can’t do this. It’s not coming together. Maybe I got it wrong. What was I thinking?

These were my thoughts in September of 2010, three months after receiving my calling to raise awareness and support for women and girls with fistula. God asked me to invite women to serve in this way together, but I couldn’t find them. My hope, courage and boldness had transformed into despair, fear and insecurity. Not a great start, huh? But God had a plan for Hope for Our Sisters and He gets full credit for the fruit found along our path.

Looking at the last four years, God’s timely provision amazes me. Whenever I feel like I am out on a limb alone, He always finds me and walks with me. More challenging times are ahead, but I am learning to seek His presence, His fruit, in each moment. Saying Yes does not mean things get easier, but you just may get the chance to live and serve in ways you never imagined possible.

Encouraged by His presence, I continued to walk this new path and found that women started to hear the message and say Yes. One, then another, then a few more. Men also came our way. We now have Partners, Regular and new Donors, Directors, Executive Committee Members, Advisors, Prayer Warriors and a Hope for Our Sisters Team of over 50 volunteers! Real fruit!

I remember our joy upon funding our first 10 fistula surgeries as a volunteer organization. We thought the goal was unattainable. Then we increased our goal to 100 surgeries. Yikes! How was that going to happen? God, again, had a plan.

After becoming a registered non-profit in January of 2012, things took off in new exciting directions. It seems crazy to think that that over 250 fistula surgeries have been funded. At times, it is also hard to believe we traveled to Angola to visit Central Evangelical Medical Center (CEML). Not only did we view and participate in fistula surgery and meet with doctors and staff, we met 15 women and girls with fistula. Many of these women and girls are now dry! Incredible fruit!

Our Donors, Supporters and Team keep spreading ripples of hope. Hope is flowing into Nepal through prevention, a main reason we registered as a non-profit. We want to stop fistula before it begins. Hope is also moving into the Democratic Republic of the Congo through restorative care and skills training. Enabling women and girls to be accepted within society again is a passion.

HFOS is spreading hope. Hope is reaching women and girls with fistula, those at risk of fistula and those recovering from surgery. Hope is also penetrating the hearts of those who hear about fistula. Everyone who donates to and supports this cause does so because of hope. Hope also penetrates my heart when anyone says Yes to our sisters in whatever way they choose. Hope is on the move and it can change lives!

I almost missed out on this journey. I could have said No. God would have called someone else. I am thankful I said Yes and did not give up when I was out on a limb. In addition to doing such meaningful work, I get to watch God continuously turn my despair, fear and insecurity into hope, courage and boldness.

As I write this, I am very thankful for everyone else’s Yes for our sisters and HFOS! Your Yes has enabled hope to flow in life-transforming ripples. May the ripples keep spreading.

© 2014 by Brooke F Sulahian


Falling Into His Rhythm October 21, 2014

Filed under: Hope — Brooke F. Sulahian @ 5:31 pm
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Woman in boat

Exhausted. Out of breath. My arms ache from the strain.

I keep rowing with all my might. Got to get through. Got to get to where I can see the way ahead again. Got to work harder, faster, and better. Exhausted still.

I have been working so hard to get through this veil of haze that I have not heard it. Have you heard it? The small voice in the wind? The small voice of God inviting us to “Trust Me and fall into My rhythm.” “Trust Me and fall into My rhythm.”

I missed it again. Still rowing…still working hard…still getting tired. Exhausted.

I have been here before. I know it, but that does seem to not help. I guess it helps me to know that I will get through it again with His provision, but why do I get stuck using my own might, relying on my own abilities?

There it is again. The invitation. “Trust Me and fall into My rhythm.” “Trust Me and fall into My rhythm.”

I asked for prayer today. Needed help. Prayer works. This morning I stopped. I listened. The haze is not dark, but beautiful. I had missed that fact. The water is actually smooth with a slight current. I was acting as if I was rowing upstream against a raging river. There is a small breeze. I was too distracted to feel it.

I know I must do the hardest thing. For me, this is so very hard. I must let go. I must let go of my oars. Let go of my striving. Let go and trust.

This morning, I did it. I stopped and pulled my oars into the boat. I forced myself to lie back and let God push and steer my boat with his gentle breeze. No longer fighting…at least not in this moment.

I must to do this all day. Each day. I must choose to let go. He has a plan for me. I cannot live it out if I take over, if I try to do it on my own.

My oars are in my boat. Where are yours?

© 2014 by Brooke F Sulahian