In Need of An Advocate

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August 5, 2011

Through most of the spring of this year, Damaris, one of our FH girls who lives with us, has been researching and looking for a good nursing school, perhaps a Christian school, in a place not so big as Houston. In May, as soon as she graduated from Lone Star Community College, just north of Houston, we traveled to visit two of the schools that looked promising. One school in particular, Mary Hardin Baylor, threw open their arms in welcome. From our discussions with the nursing school, it appeared that Damaris had been accepted into the school for the fall of 2011.


However, when we went back to UMHB in early July, for Damaris to register for fall classes, we were told that indeed, she had not been admitted into the nursing school after all. We had misunderstood. I watched Dama’s face and saw what a crushing blow this was—I felt it too. And I knew that in that moment, she needed someone who would stand up for her. She needed an advocate. I told our story and explained what we had been told and made clear the time we had wasted while trusting those promises and planning for that school. My words seemed to wash over the dean, and leave her a bit distracted from the needs of the Kenyan student in front of her– or perhaps she was simply puzzled over how to solve the problem. Dama has an advocate in the international advisor who heard the same promises that we had heard, but she was out of town. And we believe that God sent an advocate in the person of a university vice president who saw us in a hallway and asked how he could help and promised to look into the situation. Such gentle compassion! I did so long for an effective advocate who could work effectively in this situation that looked impossible.


Two thoughts: First, on Sunday, as we studied Job 16: 19-21 (NIV), I was reminded that our Lord Jesus is our true advocate, “pleading with God as a man pleads for his friend.” I have felt like I held Damaris’s hand in one of mine and reached to hold my Lord’s hand with the other, drawing them together—few words, mostly clinging, hanging on. And I know that truly He is the One who hangs on more tightly that I can.


Second, sometimes God calls a person or persons to be advocates on the ground. I know how very many times I was an advocate for my children as they grew up, and I can’t even count the times that Gretchen is an advocate for our Faith House girls as they meet doors that are slammed shut and face challenges that we can’t imagine. And, early Tuesday morning, after a long holiday weekend, the international advisor called from Mary Hardin Baylor. She had explained to the dean of the nursing school exactly what we had all understood. The dean will honor that understanding and Damaris is accepted to begin nursing school at Mary Hardin Baylor in the fall! God provided the right person to be His advocate at the right moment.


When you pray for Faith House and for the girls and for Gretchen, you are part of that holding on, clinging prayer for His advocacy. And Gretchen, in the daily challenges in Nairobi, is a constant advocate for our Faith House girls.

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