Sunday, June 28, 2009
In the New Living Translation, the Bible tell us: James 1:2-5(NLT) - Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. 5 If you need wisdom – if you want to know what God wants you to do – ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. As I watch the days get closer to when I leave for China, I'm also more cognizant of the fact that Satan is on the prowl. He's already begun attacking me through people I least expected. Though the attacks hurt, I know I'm not to take them personally, but to remember the bigger picture...that we fight against principalities and powers, not against flesh and blood. Satan is quaking at the fact that I'm going to China to share Christ. He does not want the name of Jesus to go forth. So, I'm trying to learn to count it all joy when I face things like this, but it's hard. It's difficult to know that I have such a wonderful opportunity ahead of me and at the same time to face such opposition. I've asked my friends and family to be diligent about praying for me in the days ahead because I know the attacks will increase rather than decrease. I'm trusting that God has allowed this time of testing to occur in order to grow my faith in Him.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Things to EXPECT emotionally:To miss my family, church family and frie
To cry a lot
For my heart to be softened
Long chats with the Lord
To sing to the Lord a new song
That the Lord will birth new songs in my heart
Lots of reflection time
To see God in creation that will lead me into His presence
To lean upon Him even more than I currently do
That there will be spiritual attacks
That my heart will be broken to the things that breaks the Lords
Things to EXPECT in the team:
That we will see a empowerment of the Holy Spirit
That we will break down walls together in Jesus name
That we will see miracles
That we will be united together through the power of prayer
To go through hard times together
That we will hurt one another but be able to forgive before the sun goes down
That love will be written on our hearts
That we will all try to respect one another
That will speak words that will only uplift and encourage each other
That we will all be friends for a long time after the race is done
To share our deepest thoughts and emotions
To see change in all of our lives
To see vulnerability
To share everything just like the Acts church
That we will all use our God given gifts and abilities
That the Lord will use our team to make deep impact inChina
Things to EXPECT on the field:
To be stretch
To be exhausted
Have an emotional breakdown sometime on the journeyTo love unconditionally
To learn to listen with my heart
To hold people in my arms
To cry with people
To see injustice
Make new friends from around the world
Things to EXPECT that are typical of me:
To make a fool out of myself
To fall many times
To laugh and make fun of myself
To be a little afraid and unsure of myself
To make fun of myself and laugh things off
To get confused
To get lost a time or two.
I EXPECT the UNEXPECTED. Who knows what God is going to do while on the trip. We are all just a bunch of crazy, foolish, radical, revolutionary people with a heart to serve the Lord and to build His Kingdom. Some may call us strange but deep down they know that we got something they don't. We will influence, we will bring change, we will break chains. Are you excited yet? I know I am! Can you hear the sound of revival? Holy Spirit unleash your power around us.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
It's just 16 days until I leave for China! I'm so excited, but very nervous too.
As I think about the people I'll be working with, I'm reminded of Romans 10:14, "How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?"
People we see every day are living a life enslaved to sin. Their sin will one day lead them to an eternity in Hell. Without the saving grace of God, no one can escape this fact. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
We were all once ignorant of this gift of grace. The only way the lost will ever know the gift Christ has provided for us, dying on the cross to save us from our sins, is if someone shares it with them.
We are commanded by Christ to spread His message of salvation with all we know. Matthew 28 tells us to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As we go, we are to continually make disciples. It is our duty to tell them, not only with words but with our actions.
As I go into China, I want to focus on how I felt when I first received His gift of grace. I want to share that wonderful experience with those I meet. Even if I can't use actual words to convey this message, I pray God will use my actions to show His love and concern for others. The Bible says "how beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of the good news." I want to be counted among those who have beautiful feet...do you?
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I just got through meeting with our team leader to discuss some of our lesson plans for the trip. As we went over the plans, she told me that we had to take all references to Scripture out of our powerpoint presentations. While I was very sad to hear this, I did understand since we're going into a communist country. You may think, "how will they share the gospel with no Bibles and no other tools to witness like tracts, etc." but don't worry...we have Christ inside us! We carry Him with us no matter where we go! Those we come in contact with will be able to tell something is different about us just by the way we act and treat them. That old song verse "they will know we are Christians by our love" is so true...so very true!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
John 15 has always been my favorite chapter in the Bible. My life verse is John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches. If you abide in me, and I in you...you will bear much fruit - for without me, you can do nothing." Learning to be "just a branch" is a hard thing to do. It's so easy for us to take care of things in our own strength instead of just being an empty vessel through which Christ's life and stength can flow.
Andrew Murray tells us when we feel that we can not or do not know Christ as we should to remember that it is His (Christ's) responsibility to make Himself known to us. He doesn't do this in thoughts or conceptions but in a hidden growth within the life that is humbly and restfully and entirely given up to wait on Him. As the Vine reveals Himself in the branch, thus comes the growth and fruit. So...I'm learning to be content in just being a branch. How about you?
Monday, June 15, 2009
Today I received an awesome blessing! I needed 100 toothbrushes to give out to the students I'll be working with on my mission trip. One of our goals is to teach them about personal hygiene. I had no idea where to get that many toothbrushes and then, it hit me...you need to call a dentist. The only person I knew who worked for a Christian dentist, was a sweet friend of mine from church. I emailed this wonderful lady and was pleasantly surprised when she emailed me back stating that her employer, Dr. Taylor, had opened his heart and willingly agreed to donate the toothbrushes. This is just a constant reminder that God really does care about every need we have and if we trust Him, He will meet those needs in His own way and in His timing. I am very thankful that Dr. Taylor has a generous spirit. I know that God will bless him richly for his kindness. I can't wait to see the look on his face when I send him pictures of the students in SE Asia with the toothbrushes he has donated. Thank you, Dr. Taylor, and God bless you!
It's been a while since I've updated this blog and I apologize for that, but things have been very busy in my life. There's so much to do to get prepared to go on a mission trip. There are team meetings and planning sessions...learning the language of the country and more!
Learning a foreign language is difficult at my age! I learned Spanish when I was in high school and still remember a lot of it, but this language that I'm currently learning is very, very challenging. I am just praying I can learn key phrases like "where is the bathroom?", "I am an American", "where is the embassy?", you know, all the important ones!
Besides learning the language, I've been trying to come up with my lesson plans for teaching. I'll be teaching a variety of subjects that revolve around etiquette and manners. It's a challenge to find fun and creative ways to teach students how to set an American table or how to use proper phone etiquette, but my ESL training should help in this area.
As the days draw closer, I can't help but rely on God even more than I have the day/minute/hour before! I feel so inadequate to do what he's called me to do, but I guess that's a good thing because it just reminds me that I can't rely on my own strength to do this...I have to trust in and rely on Him. I can only be a branch on the vine...a branch through which His powerful life flows...just a branch...that's a very sobering thought, but an excellent reminder that it is not me who is going to do this, it's all about Him.