For the last three years, I have had the incredible privilege of skyping regularly with Tita Evertsz, the founder of our partner organization, Vidas Plenas. While the purpose of our calls is to make sure Lemonade’s fundraising and communication efforts align with the greatest needs of Vidas Plenas and to walk closely together in partnership, prayer, and love, I have personally been impacted by the faith and life of this dear friend.
A woman often compared to Mother Teresa, Tita is extraordinary. But she is also totally ordinary. On our calls, we’ve shared hopes, questions, feelings, and dreams. We’ve shared prayer requests and personal burdens. We’ve shared a burning desire to love God and follow him in every area of our lives.
Tita is an ordinary woman who said “yes” to God. Who has valued obedience to her Lover over convenience, safety, and ease. She followed him into a notoriously dangerous community and kept coming back. She woke up each morning asking for which steps she should take. She didn’t start out to build something huge or to be likened to Mother Teresa. She put one foot in front of the other, saying “Lord, what do you want me to do next?”
Tita is an ordinary woman with good days and bad days. Days with phone calls from prostitutes and muchachos saying, “Tita, I asked Jesus into my heart today!” And days where the death, sickening abuse, and immorality make her want to scream into her pillow. Days where she can’t wait to share a story of how God has moved and guided. And days where she feels weary and tired, with her heart shattered into pieces.
Like Moses, Tita doesn’t feel particularly special or qualified for her role. She is not immune to questions like this: “But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11).
Tita has taught me that I don’t have to feel strong, talented, or particularly qualified to follow Jesus closely. I simply have to offer up my weakness, my talents, and my all to him in full obedience.
For all of us who love the children and families in La Limonada, support the Vidas Plenas team in their ministry, and desire God to do big things through them, I have to ask these questions: What does obedience look like for you today? What might God be asking you to do as you follow his heart and seek to know him and make him known today?
Maybe you have obeyed him by sponsoring a child or joining a Service Learning Trip. Maybe you have obeyed by praying with the Wednesday morning prayer walk or sharing the story of La Limonada with a friend. Maybe you have mobilized your church or written a check. Or maybe there is something else God has laid on your heart to do? Would you pray about it?
God has used Tita and all of her team to plant seeds of hope, faith, and life. Not because they are extraordinary or so different from you and me, but because he uses ordinary people fully surrendered to him. And he wants to use you and me to accomplish his good purposes too – to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with him. We can start by agreeing with Tita, “Obedience is always better. I am more afraid of disobedience than going where God has led me – even a dangerous place.”
The example of obedience I have observed in Tita and her team has radically impacted my life. They have demonstrated Isaiah 6:8: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Lord, I’m following close. Take me where you want to use me.