Unfinished Stories December 8, 2017
Was Admon’s Hope Story Coming to a Tragic End? December 1, 2017
What Does Your Reflection Look Like? November 9, 2017
I feel called to be God’s image bearer.
I believe our lives are to reflect God’s love to others.
God chooses to use us, imperfect human beings, to radiate His love in the world.
We won’t do this perfectly, but we can choose to try.
What does your reflection of God look like?
Have you ever asked yourself that question?
I have a new way of reflecting God.
My reflection of God has changed because
I have changed.
God is actively transforming me from someone who was constantly
To someone who tastes and accepts God’s peace each day.
For many years,
I started my day in a self-imposed cage
Of impossible expectations.
I start my day floating in a still pool of water
With Jesus, my Savior.
Now that I have finally tasted and experienced His peace,
I get to share this peace with others!
I won’t do this perfectly,
But it’s finally at my disposal to share!
I want people to see God in me
For His glory,
For His good.
I cannot determine how or if they will see His reflection in me
Or what their response will be,
But I can plant seeds of hope and peace
By choosing to reflect God each day.
What does your reflection look like?
© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian
An Unexpected Journey July 19, 2017
(Thoughts from my May/June 2017 journey to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo)
It was a trip, a journey, I did not plan
But one I knew was mine to take
The gift of a journey
Far from family
Where would it lead?
Would it change me like prior trips?
Would it break my heart anew?
How would it fit within the Hope for Our Sisters mission?
I could not predict
I could not foretell
I could only say,
“Yes…I will go”
1 friend going in
10 friends coming out
A team of 11 formed through
Stories and prayers,
Laughter and tears,
Courage and celebration,
Food and sickness,
Dreams and heartache,
Lush landscapes and bumpy roads,
Languages and new adventures,
Plans and uncertainty,
Shared passions and hopes
An unexpected gift occurred on this unexpected journey
The gift of a moment, captured in time
Me surrounded by beautiful, joy-filled African children
The fulfillment of a vision God birthed in my heart seven years ago
What does it mean?
God will guide and time will tell
Could it be a reminder?
A reminder of the precious children of the next generation
A generation that is starting to see and taste more hope
A generation that can continue their parents’ work to drive culture shifts for beneficial and lasting change
A generation that can take hold of what their parents are unleashing today to establish a better tomorrow
A generation of precious and powerful change-makers
An unexpected journey with a newly-formed team
Returning home with hope for a
New day in DR Congo…A new future of
Written while flying back to America…
© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian
On The Outside Looking In May 28, 2017
When I turned 11 I found myself on the outside looking in.
I grew up in warm Southern California as the youngest of three.
I would describe it as an idyllic childhood…
Riding bikes with my brothers, lots of friends on our street and at school,
good grades, fun times of soccer and softball, and a loving family.
I also had a strong sense of who I was.
I felt anything was possible.
I felt I could conquer the world.
Then we moved…
My life was rocked to my core.
I no longer belonged.
I forgot who I was.
Moving to Texas at 11 is still one of the most impactful and difficult experiences in my life.
Not only did I move to a new town in a new state, but
I moved into a new and totally different culture.
I felt as if I had moved to a new country.
I did not have the right clothes.
My accent (or lack thereof) was wrong.
I even had different slang.
No matter what I did or how I tried to connect, I was constantly reminded that I was
An outsider looking in.
Once we entered Texas, I had lost my sense of who I was.
I did not feel valued but lost.
I felt as if I was stranded on an island, in the middle of an ocean.
Over time I found my way “in” through new friends
Who accepted me for who I was.
I made friends just being “me”.
I learned that I could overcome and rise above obstacles by being myself…
The one God created me to be.
As a child, I always cheered and spoke out for the underdog.
Now, I had become the underdog.
I had a new appreciation of the value of community and
This increased my life-long compassion for
Those on the outside,
Those considered less than,
Those considered not important or of value.
I should not have been surprised that the issue of fistula would resonate with me,
Even though at the time I felt it hit me out of the blue.
As I first read about fistula, the focus of Hope for Our Sisters,
I was not only struck by the injustice of the situation but
And lack of community
Suffered by these sisters of ours.
At Hope for Our Sisters we extend our reach beyond fistula surgery and prevention
By directly investing in each woman.
Just like you and me, each one of our sisters has value.
Each one of our sisters has a story to tell.
Each one of our sisters has a contribution to make.
Each one of our sisters has the right to rejoin their communities.
Each one of our sisters has the potential to change the world.
(NOTE: A session with the organization Resonate helped me tap into this story behind my passion for HFOS. I fully believe God broke my heart for this issue but I also believe He used this very difficult experience of mine to help fistula resonate with my heart.)
© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian
Motherhood is Eternal, as is Hope May 10, 2017
Hope is on the Way this Mother’s Day April 25, 2017
I am sitting on a train, headed from my job in the city to my home, where my daughter has a fever and needs her mom. But I am not worried. Help is on the way.
After an all-morning meeting, I checked my phone: 3 missed calls from daycare. My daughter had a fever of 102, and needed to be picked up, preferably within an hour. Unfortunately, it had already been an hour since they called. I checked the train schedule. A train had just left; the next one wouldn’t leave for an hour, and with the commute, I wouldn’t be able to get her for another two hours. I briefly panicked-what do I do? How do I get there in time? Then I took a deep breath and called for help. My mother-in-law works closer to my home, and I took a chance she’d be able to leave sooner than I would. She answered immediately, and in no time, she was on her way to pick up my daughter. She loves her granddaughter, and as much as it was a gift to my daughter to be taken home, this act of love was a gesture of love to me: “I will help you.”
Meanwhile, I had an hour to kill in the train station. I ate lunch. I bought some books for my daughter, a special treat to give her on her sick day home. And while I wished that I had been able to get there in time, I also felt deep gratitude that someone else who dearly loves my daughter was able and willing to step in and help. The message to my daughter was, “Help is on the way.”
And this is what God asks of us.
When our sisters are bleeding dangerous amounts during childbirth, suffering excruciating labors, delivering stillborn babies, and sitting alone in their huts, outcast and abandoned because of their leaking and stench, God turns to us. He says, My daughter needs help. I want to help her, but you can get there faster. Will you help?
When our sisters need emergency C-sections but can’t afford one at the only hospital trained to perform the surgery, God turns to us: My daughter needs help. Will you help?
When our sisters need education and skills to continue their lives after healing, God turns to us: My daughter needs help. Will you help?
Like my desire to be immediately by my daughter’s side in her time of need, God would love nothing more than to immediately pick up each and every one of our sisters at risk of, suffering from, or healing from fistula. So He has designed a way to do so: by calling us when His daughters are in need, the same way I called my mother-in-law. My daughter needs help. Can I send you?
Thankfully, my mother-in-law answered the phone, was able to leave work, and joyfully responded to my need-which, in turn, led to my daughter being taken care of more quickly. Had she not answered, or been too busy, or not been interested, I would have felt panicked. Had she said, “Not today, maybe another day,” I would have been crestfallen. I know that eventually I would have made it home, but it would have taken longer, delaying my daughter’s ability to get home, put on pajamas, and snuggle up to rest. And it would have meant that the next time I needed to rely on someone, my mother-in-law might not have been the first person I called. She might have lost my trust.
Clearly, a fever is not as serious as fistula. But as a parent, anything that ails your child can break your heart. And while I’m not God, we share this in common: we are both parents, and we both call on others to help us take care of our dearly beloved, spectacularly adored daughters. None of us can fill the role that God fills in our sisters’ lives, no more so than my mother-in-law can take my place in my daughter’s life. But in a moment of need, she was there. That tells my daughter two things: first, that someone loves her enough to be right by her side. And second, that her mother can be trusted-even though I couldn’t physically be there, I didn’t abandon her. I made sure she was taken care of.
So when our sisters need help, and God calls us to step in, what will we say?
For every daughter of God whose pain has become hope, and whose hope has become joy, I pray the answer is yes. By saying yes, we teach them that they are loved dearly by women around the world, sisters they’ve never met. And we teach them that God can be trusted-that He hears their prayers, knows their names, and will send help, if only we will answer the call. This Mother’s Day, let us honor God’s love for His daughters by letting them know that help-and hope-is on the way.
Written by Dianna Sawyer, Hope for Our Sisters Partner in Hope.