Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lord, I have a heavy burden

Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." My vision for what God's will in heaven looks like is growing. It looks like freedom from the suffering of poverty and liberation from oppressive governments. It looks like an end to murder, rape and violence. It looks like perfect love casting out fear. It looks like unity with the Father, Son and Spirit. Yet, each day, I see how very far from that Kingdom we are. I see it in the eyes of my frightened clients who are deciding if they should have an abortion or carry a pregnancy. I feel it when I think of the children at Rancho 3m. I cry when I ponder the forces of hate, evil and sin in this world.

My friend Elizabeth introduced me to this song by Sara Groves recently. The lyrics capture my heart well. I have a burden to see the Kingdom of God come on this earth and I want to be among God's people who fought against despair and discouragement to bring the Kingdom to bear on this earth.

When the Saints

"Lord I have a heavy burden of all I've seen and know

It's more than I can handle

But your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones and I cannot let it go

And when I'm weary and overwrought with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard

I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

And when the Saints go marching in

I want to be one of them

Lord it's all that I can't carry and cannot leave behind it often overwhelms me

but when I think of all who've gone before and lived the faithful life

their courage compells me

And when I'm weary and overwrought with so many battles left unfought

I think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard

I hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

I see the shepherd Moses in the Pharohs court

I hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord

And when the Saints go marching in I want to be one of them

I see the long quiet walk along the Underground Railroad

I see the slave awakening to the value of her soul

I see the young missionary and the angry spear

I see his family returning with no trace of fear

I see the long hard shadows of Calcutta nights

I see the sisters standing by the dying man's side

I see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor

I see the man with a passion come and kicking down the door

I see the man of sorrows and his long troubled road

I see the world on his shoulders and my easy load

And when the Saints go marching inI want to be one of them"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lessons Learned at Rancho 3m

As I prepare to return to Rancho 3m this summer, I want to reflect on what I learned there in 2007. In the coming months, I will share those meditations here for your reading pleasure and, hopefully, spiritual encouragment.

Be well dear friends.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Back to Mexico in 2008

Dear friends,
Happy New Year! I hope that 2007 was a wonderful year and that 2008 has started happily for each of you. My year was a time of fulfilled dreams, big decisions, rocky transitions and blossoming hopes. In May, I began a new job as a Crisis Pregnancy Center Administrator and in July I traveled to Rancho 3m Orphanage in Guadalupe, Mexico pursue my long held passion of orphan care. I spent ten tiring days in Mexico, planning, organizing and implementing schedules and project assignments for our team of 49. I am happy to tell you that I will travel to Mexico again this year, from June 28 – July 5, with another energetic team from Cornerstone Church of Knoxville.

For those of you new to this expedition, Rancho 3M (Mexico Multiple Missions, Inc.) is a Christian Orphanage and School located near Juarez, Mexico. "The Ranch," as it is affectionately called, serves approximately 50 children ages 4—18 years old, who have been abandoned or removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect. At the Ranch receive food, shelter, education and love as well as the most important thing that they could receive in their lives: the gospel of Jesus Christ. While at the Ranch our team will plan children's activities as well as work on varied construction and maintenance projects. You can find more information on Rancho3m at .

Many of you took the journey with me in 2007. I had grand dreams of keeping you in the know by blogging at, if you have read the blog you know that I failed miserably at keeping you updated! A long-time friend told me six-weeks after my return, "Well, it would have been nice to get some kind of update on how it went." The main reason I did not update the blog was that I did not know what to say. I did not know how to sum up those ten days into a few paragraphs. The words of Psalm 68:4-6 landed hard on my heart one morning of the trip: " Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts; his name is the Lord ; exult before him! Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home; he leads out the prisoners to prosperity…" As I sat in the dessert of Mexico, this Scripture was coming to life God was providing protection and a home for these little fatherless ones, but there was a vast amount of brokenness left to heal. The term "orphan" now had a sweet faces, deep eyes and tragic, individual stories attached to it. This trip made the worldwide orphan crisis real to me and further confirmed that I want to spend my life caring for the abandoned and giving a voice to the voiceless. Proverbs31:8 tells us to, " Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute."

So, this is where the rubber hits the road, this is where I ask you to help send me to Mexico again. Generous friends and family members exceeded my needed funds last year. All excess money is donated directly to the Ranch. As a team we were able to donate several thousand dollars more than we expected. My hope is that we will be able to outdo ourselves in 2008. I am asking that you would support me with your prayers and also consider a financial contribution. You can partner with me by making a pledge of $50, $75, or $150 or by investing any amount to help me reach my goal of raising my goal. Trip cost this year will be $1000, but my goal is to raise $1500 by May 2008. The trip cost includes airfare, meals, the cost of construction projects at the Ranch and gifts for the children. All checks should be made payable to Cornerstone Church of Knoxville in care of Leslie Bowden so that you will be able to receive a proper tax deduction. Please contact me at and I will get you the proper mailing inormation.

Thank you so much for your consideration and please pray for me, our team and Rancho 3m. I also promise to keep the blog updated this year. In coming weeks look for stories and pictures from 2007 and plans for the 2008 trip. I look forward to talking to you soon and answering any questions you might have.

With my love, Leslie