Why Logan Is the Best Movie This Year

I went to see the new Wolverine movie called, Logan last weekend. Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled that we were going but I’m learning that relationships are a lot more  about sacrifice then they are about getting your way, so I went. We sat down in the theater, watched the endless amount of movie trailers, waited as the lights went down and then sat back to enjoy the movie.

By the end of the two hours, I had tears in my eyes and goosebumps everywhere else, I was excited, I was heartbroken, I was moved.

It’s rare that I feel this way after a movie. Sure there are movies that make you feel good inside and movies that challenge your brain capacity but rarely do I watch a movie that actually inspires me to do something or pursue my passion.

Now you’re probably wondering how I could be so moved by a movie about a superhero who has metal in his hands, I was surprised too. But while everyone else in the theater was distraught that this was Hugh Jackman’s last Wolverine movie and broken by the plot of it all. My heart was leaping for joy over the character of the little girl, Laur.

Laur reminded me a lot of the kids I’ve met in Haiti and my brothers and sisters in Peru. Laur grew up in a place without affection, she was neglected and abused and because of that she didn’t know how to love someone else.

For the majority of the movie, Laur doesn’t say a word. She is mute. This is common for kids of abuse or neglect. Either they are too far behind developmentally to have any words or they just choose not to speak as a defence mechanism. Some of the kids that come to us in Peru who should have words, don’t and let me tell you, it is a joyous day when you hear them speak or laugh for the first time.

Nurture and love can do wonderful things for a child. It is such a vital part of those early stages of life and if I child misses out on that, it will be a huge challenge for them to catch up to their peers developmentally.

One of the earliest things a baby knows to do when they are born is grasp onto a hand that they’re holding. I remember my brothers having a death grip on my hand when they were babies. Many times when a child is neglected or abused in their early years, they don’t know to do this. There’s a scene in the movie where Laur sees two mannequins holding hands and is confused. Later on in the movie, you can see her development progress to the point where she grabs for Charles’ and Logan’s hand.

I think the thing that got me the most about this movie was how they portrayed Laur’s ability to emote. Many children who have been neglected or abused in their early years don’t know how to cry or laugh, they only can express frustration and therefore scream a lot. For the majority of the movie, Laur can only scream in every situation, when she is happy, sad, scared, frustrated, she just let’s off this ear piercing scream. It’s at the end of the movie right after the climax where she cries for the first time.

I was crying right along with her.

I was crying for her and her story.

I was crying for the children I’ve seen and known that are so much like her.

I was crying for the children that I know are out there who need this love and care to develop properly.

I was crying because I realized again that I need to do something about it.

Three years ago this month Jesus put a passion in my heart to help children like this and to love these kids in such a way that heals their hurt and pain from the past. Jesus keeps reminding me through sermons and verses and pictures and people I meet but He keeps finding new ways.

This time He broke me through a movie, please keep breaking me, Jesus.

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To my sister

Growing up I had two little brothers. Those brothers still exist today, one is 14 and sassy and becoming a man and the other is 8 and crazy and loud.

They’ve been around for my whole life but when I was in my 17th year of life, I started to accumulate more and more brothers and sisters.

These kids were the kids we welcomed into our orphanage. There have been 17 new brothers and sisters in my life in the past two years. Some of them I have known extremely well, some of them are a bit distant from me because I live so far away and I love them all with the same wild and fierce love that I love my biological brothers with.

I feel so lucky to have so many people to love. I feel lucky to have such a big family and blessed that I get to be apart of everyone of their lives.

But today doesn’t feel like a lucky day.

Today, I am sad and I’m learning that it’s okay to be sad in public sometimes and today is one of those days.

Today, my one-year-old little sister got taken away and my heart is broken. There’s a whole back story into why she was taken away from us but I don’t want to get into that, I just want to write about my sister.

Dear Yuri,

I only really got to know your for two weeks, that isn’t a long time. And yes, maybe you weren’t the biggest fan of me and that’s fair, you had no idea who I was.

I had fun with you, Yuri. You are such a sweet girl. Full of smiles and that cute little chuckle.

You know eight words and they melt my heart every time you say them.

Mama

Dada

Chickens

Eggs

Hola

Ciao

Night night

Bubba

You sleep with your eyes open, you love riding around in your big stroller and pushing other people in your little one. You love the cats and try to hold them despite their desperate protests. You love cuddling and just being near people.

For a one-year-old, you’re so good at loving people.

You help calm people down if they’re crying and give them kisses if they’re hurt. You give hugs and smiles that could heal any wound.

Yes sometimes you can be gross, like the time you peed while walking down the hallway naked or them time you stuck your hand in your diaper to reveal that you had pooped.

We thought we’d have you forever, Yuri. But sometimes things change unfortunately so in that case, here are some things I want you to grow up knowing.

You are loved widely and oh, so deeply. You have people all throughout Peru, Canada and the US that love you and want you to succeed. You are loved by our little family more than you could ever imagine and most of all you are loved and known by the maker of your heart. He loves you and knows you deeper than any human could and I pray that you grow up knowing that.

I hope you hear the words, “I love you” every day.

I hope someone reminds you that you’re so, so beautiful.

I hope someone encourages you and reminds you that you are capable of anything.

I hope you know Jesus intimately and fully.

I hope you have a relationship with Him and that you walk with Him daily.

We miss you, Yuri, and because of that, my greatest hope is that we meet again some day.

All of our love forever,

The Blackburns

 

The Worst Form of Torture

I said good-bye to my family today.

Sometimes being a missionary or being connected to people who are missionaries sucks.

Being involved in any type of missions work requires a constant string of awful, heart-wrenching goodbyes.

I’ve decided that saying good-bye is a form of torture.

I’ve been involved in missions for nine years now, I’ve said hello and goodbye to hundreds of people who all have a piece of my heart.

I used to think that leaving and saying the lethal word, “goodbye” would be easier by now but I’m realizing that it always sucks.

Leaving the people you love always hurts you deep. It pierces your heart and makes you feel like the only way to express how you feel is to cry. But you don’t want to cry. You want to be strong for the people you love and let them know that you’re okay.

When I left Cuba for the first time, I sat on my bed and cried for a long time.

When I left Haiti, I cried for a week straight every night.

When I hugged my best friends and left for Peru, I cried as I walked away, forcing myself to not look back cause I knew how badly it would hurt.

When I left my family in May last year, I cried on the plane as I read the letters they had written to me.

When I left Canada two weeks ago, I cried as I walked away from my boyfriend.

Today I cried as my family hugged me goodbye.

Goodbyes never get any easier. We can trick ourselves into saying the cheesy line; “well it’s just a ‘see you later!’” But that doesn’t actually make anything better, it doesn’t take away the pain and the sadness of not being able to see the people you love, to hug them and hear their voice.

For missionaries or for people who have family and friends as missionaries, it’s just as hard to leave and say goodbye on the hundredth time as it was on the first time.

This is my goodbye to you this time Puerto Maldonado, Peru. I love you and I love that you hold my big, wild, crazy family. Until next time.

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Family
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Mom and Dad
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Dad
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Mom
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Little Brothers
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Caleb
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Jaxon
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The Littles: Maricielo, Ruth-Dany & Arnol
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The Big Girls: Cinthya, Aymee & Naisha
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The Babies: Yuri & Stephanie

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Struggling

I should be studying right now, I should be reading the countless pages of textbooks that are due in a matter of days but instead I’m struggling with the idea of love.

It seems that this is something I always struggle with. Maybe it’s because my goal in life is to love people, maybe it’s because so often I fail at that goal, maybe it’s because I’m still learning how to love people and maybe it’s a mix of all three.

I started at Bible College in September. I’m studying theology and missions and while my brain is continuously filling with new knowledge and facts, the greatest thing I’ve learned about missions is that we need to love people.

I’ve learnt that lesson time and time again and not only in class. I learn it in living in community, in living far away from friends and family and having to make an effort and I learn it in the relationships in my life that are constantly growing and developing.

I know I need to love people, I just don’t know how to and I know I don’t do it properly most of the time.

I think love and selflessness are the same thing. I think love demands selflessness. I think of my parents, giving up their time, sleep and money just so they could raise me. That’s selflessness, that’s love.

Being selfless is the hard part of loving people. I think we are so naturally inclined to think of ourselves first that we have to force ourselves to be selfless. It’s on the days when I’m sick or tired or angry that this is hardest but it’s also on the good days where I’m really happy, I don’t want to give that up to show someone love.

But then I think of my Jesus. The perfect, spotless, righteous King. He gave up His throne in the heavenly realms to come a seek me out. That’s love.

He endured the worst death so that I would never die. That’s love.

He gave up everything just to show me He loves me, so why shouldn’t I do the same for the people He loves?

We love because he first loved us.

“If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life and live in the pattern of gracious love.” ~ 1 John 3:17-18

When You Get to Worship Again

It’s not that you haven’t worshipped for the past nine months, you have, it’s just been different. Something was missing.

And then it starts and you realizing what you’ve been missing.

Your knees go weak and you try not to cry cause if you start, people will ask why and you want to keep this moment between you and Jesus.

You realize it’s not that you weren’t worshipping, but that it is a lot harder to worship in a language that you’re not fluent it.

You see, when you worship in a different language, it doesn’t come as natural because not only are you trying to pronounce the words properly, you’re also silently trying to figure out what the song is saying and sometimes you just don’t know. So you still sing, but not whole heartedly because how can you when you don’t know what you’re singing?

And so you’re in this moment, you can’t really believe it’s happening, you fully understand every word and you are so filled with joy you could start dancing around the whole room.

You sing with a huge smile on your face, as loud as you can, finally getting to worship your first love in your first language and you don’t think it could get any better.

And then they play your favorite song.

And you exclaim (accidentally) out loud that this is your favorite song.

And the words float through the air,

“You’re the Lion of Judah, the Lamb who was slain…” 

And you stand, but you really want to drop to your knees because the sheer weight of God’s goodness is just too much.

And you think to yourself that you always want to feel like this, so filled with joy and humbleness and awe for this man who loves you unconditionally and without limits and who blesses you in the most unexpected ways.

When You’ve Lost Your Identity

Going back is weird. I don’t really think we were ever meant to go backward which is why going back to the place you once called home feels so overwhelming and strange.

Before I came back to Canada, I didn’t think about how I’d feel when I couldn’t say, “I live in Peru” or when I couldn’t speak Spanish to people or take pictures with my monkey; all things that made me special and different in the eyes of my friends and people from North America. I didn’t think about how that would affect or bother me. But now that I’m home, I’m realizing how much hope I put in those things.

I put so much hope in being “different” that now, being normal makes me sad. This may be conceited but not having those things that make me different is hard to get used to and I’m slowly realizing how unhealthy it was for me to put so much hope and importance onto those things.

My identity should be found in Jesus, I know that in my head and in my heart but time and time again, I find myself putting my identity into other things, things that go away, things that don’t last.

I’m constantly learning that I can’t earn my worth, there’s nothing I could do to make my worth more or less, ever.

The only thing that gives me my worth is Jesus and his unchanging, unconditional, perfect love for me. That is the only thing.

It’s not the wealth I could acquire.

It’s not the things I have.

It’s not the moments I experience.

It’s not even the people I meet.

Because all those things will eventually disappear.

The only thing that will last is Jesus, only Jesus and that’s what I’m holding onto.

So This Is Love

Love.

Love used to be a hard thing for me to understand.

I thought I knew love when I fell head over heels for a boy when I was 12. I thought it was love because I liked the way he looked and because I wanted to hang out with him all the time, but that’s not love.

I thought it was love when I got new clothes or gadgets because I wanted to take care of it and use it all the time, but that wasn’t love either.

I thought it was love when I saw a commercial of a poverty-stricken place and my heart broke, but that wasn’t love because after the commercial ended or the picture passed, I’d go right back to my normal life.

This year, for me, is about grace but I’m learning that love and grace go hand in hand. You can’t have love without grace and you can’t have grace without love, it’s just not possible.

As of Monday, we have 6 kids in our home,

G, an 11-year-old girl,

L a 15-year-old girl,

R, a 9-year-old girl,

A, a 3-year-old boy,

K, a 17-year-old girl

And S, a 2-week-old baby.

We’ve been open since April 5th when G arrived and in this short month, I have learned so much about love and grace.

When I was young, I only knew how to show selfish love, or in other words, show love when you can get something out of it and I think it’s apart of our sinful nature to think this way.

When I met Jesus, I learned about selfless love, love that gives everything up just to make sure others are all right. Since then, I’ve been trying to learn it and practice it.

I’ve seen it in my parents who work tirelessly for my well-being.

In my brothers who defend me and protect me.

In my friends who stay up late just listening to me vent or cry when I’ve had a rough day.

In my Jesus who gave his very own life just to save mine.

But this past month has been wild and it’s shown me, more than ever, what selfless love really looks like in myself and in others.

Selfless love is treating lice and spending hours upon hours picking it out. (Not just once either, over and over and over again.)

Selfless love is washing the sore, covered feet of a child.

Selfless love is waking up in the middle of the night because the kids still aren’t sleeping.

Selfless love is waiting until they fall asleep because the jungle is a scary place if you’re not used to the noises.

Selfless love is still choosing to love even when they do wrong and hurt you.

That’s what love is, it isn’t an emotion like my naïve, young self thought. Love is a verb. It demands action be taken. It requires that something be done or said or practiced. Love is choosing to love every single day, even if you don’t feel like it, if you’re tired or if you just plain angry. True love is fierce and wild and has no restrictions or limits, it just keeps going.

This kind of love is so amazing to me because it doesn’t mean that your life will be sunshine and rainbows, it means quite the opposite really. This kind of love means risking your health, safety, even life but still doing it anyway just because you so desperately want that person to know that they are loved and valued beyond belief.

Selfless love.

I’m still selfish, I’m still failing but I’m also still learning. It may take me my whole life, but for right now I want these kids to know that with every little nit I pull out of their hair, with every foot I wash, with every ridiculous story I listen to that I am doing it because I desperately love them and because I want to show them that Jesus loves them even better than I ever could.

 

 

Why I’ve Become To Hate Three Little Words

I’ve become to hate the words, “it’s not fair.” Before I became a missionary, I probably said them a lot – more times than I’d be able to count. But now that I see what’s really unjust, I realize that I never had any right to say those three words because I had it good.

(Some serious honesty is coming up so if you’re offended, I apologize in advance…)

In North America, we can be so dissatisfied with our lives. We think we deserve every single good thing, and when we don’t get it, it’s automatically unfair. Who’s to say we deserved those things in the first place?

But now as my sweet new friend is sitting beside me sobbing, as I drive by houses made out of tarps, and as I see kids starving, I’m realizing what is really unfair.

Not being wanted by your family is not fair.

Not having enough money to put lunch on the table is not fair.

Not having proper healthcare is not fair.

Not having clean drinking water is not fair.

These are just some of the things that are realities for many people in developing countries and while we’re in North America, sitting in our Lazy boys, complaining that we can’t reach the TV remote, these people are experiencing real unjust because they don’t have access to the basic necessities of life.

(Maybe this isn’t a reality for all North Americans but I know this was my reality before moving. I didn’t understand and I took everything I had for granted.)

It’s not fair that the things I listed above happen, but they do.

Maybe I won’t make a significant change in my lifetime. But I’m going to try, I’m going to keep doing things and pushing on. If I only change one life, so be it but maybe, if we all just do one thing, we could bring more justice to this world and make the lives of those whom we’re helping a little bit better, a little more fair.