Psalm 146:2 "I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live."

Monday, December 31, 2012

Walking In Grace Relieves Our Fears

Hi Everyone,

We know that grace is so important for salvation, because we are saved by grace through faith, Grace once we are saved relieves our gears because we know where we are going upon death when we enter eternity, we know that our sins are firgiven and that we are no longer under condemnation--just to name a few.

But grace is also is important in our day to day Christian living.  It relieves our fears of feeling like we have to earn other people's acceptance and performance. By walking by grace we are freed from having to think that we must convince people that we are someone that we are not. We don't have to waste time comparing ourselves to others or fearing what others think about us.We have nothing to hide. We are able to be honest and real before God--knowing that we are already perfectly loved and will never be loved any less.

Have a joyous year in 2013 walking in His grace!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Success in God's Eyes

So we all get these ideas in our heads of what success looks like in the Christian life and ministry--some people think it looks like the pastor that has the huge congregation, being respected  by the Christian community,  seeing people come to Christ, etc.

Ok a slight aside: There isn't anything necessarily wrong with these things,--again it depends and goes back to motives and what the source is. A big thing our culture needs to know today is that numbers do not necessarily equal success--is the big church big because it has solid biblical teaching and the believers are truly seeking after God, or is the church big because it is just a bunch of fluff that itching ears want to hear with a lack of scriptural content? Remember Jesus focused his life and ministry investing deeply in the twelve. Being respected in the Christian community isn't bad--but from what source of strength has the individual lived and why are they respected?. Seeing people come to Christ or being used to share Christ is an awesome privilege-and we should do so---but who brought the results? Sure God may have used you to share the gospel and build into someone's life, but the Holy Spirit did the work of bringing that person to the place where they trusted Him. So, it all depends-we have to be careful how we view things because the world's values and ideas can get so mixed up in our thinking and we may not always realize it.  

What is God's idea of success in the believer's walk and life? At least partially it is this: Do we faithfully abide and remain in Him? Do we allow ourselves to be a channel that He could work in and through?

This old hymn says it this way:

Words: Mary E. Max­well
Music: Ada R. Gibbs, Twen­ty-Four Gems of Sac­red Song, 1900

Verse 1
How I praise Thee, precious Savior,
That Thy love laid hold of me;
Thou hast saved and cleansed and filled me
That I might Thy channel be.

Refrain
Channels only, bless├Ęd Master,
But with all Thy wondrous power
Flowing through us, Thou canst use us
Every day and every hour.
Verse 2
Just a channel full of blessing,
To the thirsty hearts around;
To tell out Thy full salvation
All Thy loving message sound.

Verse 3
Emptied that Thou shouldest fill me,
A clean vessel in Thy hand;
With no power but as Thou givest
Graciously with each command.

Verse 4
Witnessing Thy power to save me,
Setting free from self and sin;
Thou who boughtest to possess me,
In Thy fullness, Lord, come in.

Verse 5
Jesus, fill now with Thy Spirit
Hearts that full surrender know;
That the streams of living water
From our inner self may flow.

*****************************************************************

The truth is that, most likely, some of us, if we are really honest with ourselves, aren't content with being a channel---we want to "do more," somehow thinking that maybe we can accomplish more in the Christian life. We mistakenly think that being a channel won't accomplish much, which is a lie that we believe.. True success is allowing Christ to live His life through us--and when this happens, more is accomplished by His power at work in us than we could ever imagine.

The last few days, I've started praying before I get involved in work responsibilities or participate in stuff--"Lord, I want You to do this in and through me--with Your strength and not my own," and I notice the difference---not because of me or anything that I do, but all because of Him-and what He does! The glory doesn't go to us as the channel-the glory goes back to THE Source.

The beauty of it all is that it isn't about us---it is abut Him. There is blessing in being a channel. We must abide in Him!

Abide In Christ--Part 1

Hi Everyone,

What walking in grace essentially comes down to is abiding in Christ.

John 15:1-8
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
 
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

**************************************************************

Contrary to a culture that promotes and rewards being as independent as possible, we  radically find that God's expectation of us as His children is one of complete dependence upon Him. Notice how the same thing in the passage above is stated one way in verses 1-4, and repeated slightly differently again in verses 5-8? This is extremely important to the Christan life--because Christ is our life--He is the source, and apart from him we have and can do nothing.

This is kind of one of those thought provoking loaded questions: How much of what we "do" in Christian living, Christian service, etc is simply the empty noise of our own self effort, done in our own strength, without abiding in Him?   OUCH! You see, if we are really honest in answering that question, it is probably a lot more than we even want to think about.

He only wants one thing: for us to continually and unceasingly abide, remain, rest in Him, allowing Him to work through us.

Which branch do we want to be?

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rest In Christ's Sufficiency

When we allow Christ to live in and through us, and stop depending on our own self effort our walk becomes one of truly resting in Christ's sufficiency. We can fully rely on Him to do in us what we in our own strength could never accomplish. We are able to rest in and live in the riches of His perfect grace.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Say Goodbye To Legalism

So when it comes to Christianity there are all these lists-you know--lists of stuff that Christians should and should not do--it might be your own list or one that someone else in a sense made for you--or just in general what you think is expected of a Christian,

For example--a big thing that Christians can legalistic about is having their daily quiet time reading the Bible every day. So why do we read the Bible every day? Do we do it because we are scared thst something is going to happen to us if we don't do it, or that we are breaking some law or expectation of knowing this is how we should perform?

The motive changes when we are allowing Christ as our life to live in and through us--for example we may still read the Bible every day--but we read it out of a motive of being in love with God --of wanting to know him better. It has nothing to do with "keeping the rules." We already know that whether we read the Bible or not, God isn't going to love us any more or less for having done so becaise we are already fully accepted and loved in Him. However, we are excited to read it as an opportunity to get to know Him better as a person and as a relationship with him, rather than just reading it because it is something we are "expected" to do.

So whether living by legalism or living by grace, we may be carrying out some of the same actions, but doing so for very different reasons.

We cannot expect to produce  in ourselves what only Christ living in and through us can produce in us. We weren't meant to live the Christian life taking the job upon ourselves that only Christ's life lived in and through us can do. Only He can transform us--the source is Him.

We can say goodbye to legalism because the Christian life isn't about us or our effort---it's about Him. There is no room or need for legalism in the walk of grace.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Danger Of Serving In The Flesh With Our Own Strength

Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."


"We are delivered from the law, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter" Romans 7:6.

**********************************************

The Galatians 2:20 verse so familiar to us--many of us have it memorized, but do we grasp the depth of it?

One of the major dangers that as Christians we can easily fall into is depending on our own strength and striving in the flesh rather than depending fully upon Christ.

Anytime we are doing anything out of our own flesh or trying to  "get victory"our own strength, it is not going to bring God glory-and it isn't going to work.. The only way to bring him glory is to depend upon him to do it through us.

Every time that we start serving out of our flesh in our strength it is as if we are putting ourselves back under the law. which we can never fulfill. Christ fulfilled the law, however, just because we are no longer under the law, this does not mean we should just live sinful lives.

We must abandon all self-effort.

Why did we have to be crucified with Christ? Part of the reason is that apart from Him there is nothing good in us.

The solution is not "trying to do better"--the solution is  depending on Him to work in and through us moment by moment. We must walk by Grace through faith.

Andrew Murray put it this way,  "Happy is the Christian who understands that his greatest danger is to fall under the law--to be eager to serve God in the flesh with his own strength. Happy is he when he realises that he is not under the law--which demands and yet is powerless through the flesh--but is under grace where he simply has to receive what has been given. Happy is he when he fully accepts for himself the promise of the Spirit who transfers all that is in Christ to him. Yes, happy is he when he understands what it is to live by faith--to serve, not in the oldness of the letter, but in the newness of the Spirit." (The New Life By Andrew Murray-- from chapter 26 "The Life of Faith")

As believers, there is nothing we can do to cause God to accept us more than He already has. We ARE accepted in the beloved.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Our Identity in Christ is REALITY

Hi Everyone,

So we all hear all this stuff about our identity in Christ---and it is a list that sounds so "nice"----but the rubber hits the road, do we really believe that it is true if us and that it is our current realty?

This list is not exhaustive by any means, but I am going to pick a few that have stick out to me in the past few days...especially because of how they relate to the walk of grace.

1) Do we truly reckon ourselves as dead to sin? Do we believe that we have died to the old man that we once were before trusting Christ? (This concept will most likely come up in later blog posts)

Romans 6:5-11 "For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 6:18  "You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."

Colossians 3:3-4 "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

Colossians 2:13-14  "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross."

2)  We are a New Creation in Christ--do we believe this?

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

3) We are Saints--Look at how many times Paul refers to believers as Saints in the New Testament (below are just a few)---Today so often as believers we refer to ourselves as "sinners saved by grace"--But God sees us so differently than we see ourselves--so how do we honestly see ourselves? We are clothed in Christ's righteousness.

Romans 16:2 "that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well."

Ephesians 5:3  "But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints." 

Philippians 4:21 "Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you"

Galatians 3:23-27"Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. 24 So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

As I said this list is not complete by any means--- but we cannot just give these things lip service and shrug it off--they are our reality if we ave placed our trust in Christ.  That reality is ours to walk out by grace in our daily living.

I am New

Hi Everyone,

I really want to get another blog post up later today, but based on everything I am learning, I woke up with this song going non-stop through my head---it isn't a hymn--it's a modern one, but it explains some things I will be explaining later on today and in continuing blog posts...very cool!  Don't read it fast--think about the words. (bold emphasis is mine)

Jason Gray - I Am New 

Artist: Jason Gray
Album: Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue

Now I won't deny
The worst you could say about me
But I'm not defined
By mistakes that I've made
Because God says of me

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I'm dearly loved
I am new

Who I thought I was
And who I thought I had to be
I had to give them both up
Cause neither were willing
To ever believe

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I'm dearly loved
I am new

Too long I have lived
In the shadows of shame
Believing that there
Was no way I could change
But the one who is making everything new
Doesn't see me the way that I do
He doesn't see me the way that I do

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I'm dearly loved
I am new

I am not who I was
I am being remade I am new
Dead to the old man, I'm coming alive
I am new

Forgiven beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy
Reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy, this is our new name

This is who we are now... 
Yes THIS is who we are now---more to come later on today :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Few Important Thoughts

Hi Everyone,

I've begin sharing some thoughts these past few days and am going to continue to share some things along the same lines in some subsequent blog posts.

I have three things to say first though:

1) In general, as believers, we can at times tend to make things much harder in our daily walk than God meant it to be for us. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Now, just because His burden is light does not mean in any way that we are exempt from trials or hard times--but God uses everything in our lives so that as a result we will be transformed to be more like Him.

2) There is nothing that can be added to what God has already given us. We have already been given EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness. (1 Corinthians 4:7, 2 Peter 1:3)

3) This for every believer---it is for all that have trusted Christ.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Let ME Do It

Hi Everyone,

So I went to immigration this morning----no I don't have my new migratory form yet-it will be awhile. But I had to give my fingerprints.

So, one thing about me is that some of things that involve fine motor skills can end up being on the challenging side for me....and I had to do all of my fingerprints--so I looked at the piece of paper and the ink pad at the immigration office with sheer dread, "How am I going to be able to do this. I can't do this my myself without messing it up!!! How did I do this last year??" I thought to myself.

I didn't say a word but the immigration official took my hand--"Here, let me do it-you don't have to do anything," he said calmly---and began one by one putting my fingerprints to the paper. "Whew!" I thought to myself.

But then, at one point I tensed up or something thinking I needed to help him out or something---the official once again said, "Relax--let me do it."

And at the same time as all this was going on, my thoughts turned to what I had been thinking about all the way to the immigration office--the walk of grace--and I have sooo much more to share about everything I am learning on a daily basis. (Get prepared for nearly daily blog posts again for awhile!)

So as the immigration official was taking my fingerprints, the thought came to my head that what the immigration official had sad to me in a sense is what God is saying to me and all of us in the Faith.  "Let ME do it---Trust Me--I don't need your help-I am God---you don't have to live the Christian life in your own strength--in fact you can't. Let ME live in and through you---what I want to do in and through you is so much greater than anything you will ever "do" for me."

Pretty neat huh?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Just LIVE By Faith

Hi Everyone,

So yesterday I sought to put the "walk in grace" concept into practice and for the fist time in a long time, I got through the day without getting all frustrated about my sin issues--but rather trusting God with them. It was actually quite a blessing---Can you believe that I had almost forgotten that life could be that way?

"The just shall live by his faith" Habakkuk 2:4.

"We are delivered from the law, that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter" Romans 7:6.

"I live; and yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" Galatians 2:20.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Walk of Grace

Hi Everyone,,

So, we get saved by grace through faith.

And somewhere along the way when it comes to our sin, so many of us get caught up in this idea that we have to live the Christian life by pleasing God and working at "not sinning."

But the more we "work on our sin" the more frustrated we become. Have you ever been there? I haven't been walking down this road of the faith that long, but I would honestly say the last year has pretty much been that way for me. You try to determine not to do x or think about x only to discover that you are doing the very thing you determined not to do all the more--ugggg!

We cannot conquer our sin by simply working on it--it just doesn't work.

The answer to resolving our sin is trusting God with it.

The Christian walk is one of grace and trust from start to finish.

God is the author and perfecter of our faith----just as we received Him by faith (trust) we must continue to walk in him. His burden is light.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Joys of Faith

Hi Everyone,

My birdie Faith continues to be a huge delight to me!

video
I think faith is actually a male (they say female cockatiels don't sing) because his favorite things to do are to eat veggies and sing away--an absolute joy to listen to and I am not tired of it yet. His singing seeems to calm Grace down from her screaming which started after Hope died.

video
He likes to snuggle too---sweet little thing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving! I certainly have a lot to be thankful for---Thanksgiving is a  special time--I remember three years ago being so desperate and without hope at this time of the year---and it is amazing three years later to the place where God in His grace has taken me!

I realize that it has been about two weeks since I updated my blog-there have been several reasons for that. Part of the reason is that I was busy trying to get my visa renewal in process, which I am thankful that it is finally in process, and should be valid for THREE YEARS!! (I am SO THANKFUL for the three years!)  I should get the new visa in a month or so. The process had literally changed about seven days before I went to immigration, so when I went to try to hand in my papers, I discovered that some things that I had "always needed before" were not needed, and others had to be re-worded according to the new regulations.

Because getting my paperwork in process took a little more time than I was expecting, I got behind on other matters that I needed to attend to regarding being  temporarily in charge of  our short-term worker department. So I spent a lot of this past week trying to take care of some things and make some decisions, deal with e-mail correspondence, etc.

Technically I was going to do something else related to short-term today but then I decided to accept the invitation of a husband and wife (my team mates) who are having a Thanksgiving gathering with the meal and all in their home with 20+ people attending.  So I decided that since I haven't been able to have a day off the last three weeks, I would take advantage of this after all.

Here is my contribution for the meal today:


Tomorrow evening I am helping with a children's Bible club that my church has started as an outreach to another community.

On Saturday I am inviting my youth group for pizza for lunch. We will be cleaning and decorating the church for Christmas in the morning

On Sunday we have my church's 25th anniversary celebration. We will be having a special service and a meal to follow.

Praise the Lord that Olga is doing much better health-wise!

Thank you for your prayers for all of these things and for something next week-I would appreciate prayers for a potentially hard conversation that I need to have.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving! May your hearts be overflowing with gratitude today and always to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Stand Firm Everyone

Hi Everyone,

I heard the news this morning about the election results and I just want to encourage us all to stand firm in the Lord and take heart. These are challenging times. Stay close to Jesus you all-we can't compromise for anything. God is in control. Every day is one day closer to our Savior's return, even though we don't know when that day will be.

Thank you for your prayers when I went to the religious affairs office this morning. Praise the Lord that things went really well! I was the first one to be attended to, and was able to submit my papers without any problems! Monday I am going to go, by faith trusting God, that the paper I have to pick up is going to be ready.  Please pray with me that it would be, Also pray that there wouldn't be any complications with picking up the paper because I may have to pick it up at a different office.

Wednesday I will be hopefully going to immigration as planned to submit everything else.

I also wanted to say that I haven't heard any updates about how Olga is doing yet.

 Thank you so very much for praying everyone! God is good and He is faithful!



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Visa Renewal This Week

Hi Everyone,

On Tuesday I have to give the devotional at the sending base--pray that God gives me whatever He wants me to share. I was thinking about doing something along the lines of :the Mind of Christ" or possibly "joy" but am not sure what it will look like yet.

On Wednesday I will be going to  the religious affairs office in Mexico city to try to turn in my paperwork so that I can hopefully get the seal pf approval from them to start my migratory form renewal with immigration. This will take a few days out of my already crazy schedule to get paperwork into these offices. Please PRAY that my paperwork would be accepted without any glitches and that the renewal process would go smoothly and quickly. Please also pray for safety as I travel to and in Mexico City on Wednesday and then most likely Friday or Monday to hopefully pick up the piece of paper that gives me approval to move ahead in the process with immigration. I will then go to immigration hopefully a week from Wednesday to submit papers there if things go smoothly.

Another prayer request: Please continue to PRAY for OLGA'S health (the lady I rent from). She still has this cough thing and she went to the doctor today and it has turned into bronchitis. She is staying with her daughter and son in law trying to get better in the meantime.

Pray for me as I try to work out the new schedules of the two short term girls that are here. (I really need to figure out their new ministry schedules this week) The couple that has been serving as the short-term coordinators start their furlough this week.  Pray for wisdom as I am responding to some e-mails etc at this time also.

I think i probably have another several prayer requests I could mention, but need to get back to work on some things. Thank you for your prayers!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Youth Group Tonight

Hi Everyone,

    The women's retreat went well-the spiritual part was excellent on the topic of 'change," given by our invited guest Marie-our USA sending base director. (Hmm I think we've had a lot of change down here lately)

    Tonight our clocks here fall back an hour (woo-hoo extra hour of sleep!)

     So last week I had to make a decision about which event i was going to attend this evening, and i decided due to various factors to go to youth group. Here are some photos-it has been awhile since I have posted anything like this.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Women's Retreat This Week

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your prayers for all the meetings I had last week. It was quite a full and busy week.

Today I have been trying to get migratory form renewal paperwork together. I don't actually go up to religious affairs for two weeks yet, but need to have some things done so they can be signed on Sunday.Please pray that all my paperwork will be submitted correctly the first time without complications.

Tuesday thru Thursday this week are days for a women's retreat as a the team. I am hoping this will be relaxing and refreshing, but at the same time I do NEED to talk and meet with some individuals at the retreat about things that are work-related. Pray that there would be opportunities to meet with the individuals, that God would give us clarity as we meet etc.

Saturday I am going to have to make a decision between 1) going to youth group 2) going to a baby shower to which the ladies from church are invited or 3) going to a Sunday school training teaching course. Unfortunately these things are all happening simultaneously.

Teaching Sunday School went really well yesterday--that was a praise!

Thank you for your prayers and I hope to be able to update more soon.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Meetings and More Meetings

Hi Everyone,

I have lots of various length meetings this week.

Monday Oct 15th is my day off but for the morning I go to prayer at church from 8-9 and then out to coffee/tea with someone from church  Will be taking my friend  Elizabeth for pizza for supper at 6:00 like we do once a month. will have to finish organizing the prayer day for Wednesday/print stuff off etc.

Tuesday Oct 16th-Sending base prayer meeting 9-11-business meeting 11-1 short term meeting 1--????

Wednesday Oct 17th Team half day of prayer 9-1 that I have organized. During the coffee break at the prayer day I will be having a brief meeting with the conference committee (Pray for us with all the planning we need to do over the next three months) Then after prayer day 1-3:30 I have short term training meeting and from 5-6:00 Bible study at church and then will run a quick errand between the break before-Wednesday night church service which follows at 7:00.

Thursday Oct 18th 10:30-11:30 meeting to finish evaluation time with the short term worker I am supervising--and in the afternoon there is something also

Friday Oct 19th 9-1 Meeting and work time for some specific things with our new leaders, 2 pm Lunch with a neighbor and a youth group leaders meeting at church to follow from 5-7

Saturday Oct 20th   I am helping be in charge of youth group that night because our youth leader won't be able to be there. I will be giving the testimony of my conversion to the youth-pray for wisdom to know how and what exactly to share, etc. I think I am leading a game or something also which I need to figure out what that will be.

Sunday Oct 21st-I am on for helping with Sunday school-just realized I will have to get the material on Wednesday night.

Sometime over this next week I need to start getting my visa renewal paperwork ready too Your prayers are greatly needed and appreciated. Pray that I would be able to focus and give each meeting//activity my best and that God would give me abundant energy and that I would not grow weary.  Thanks--will catch up with you all next week.

P.S. I know I am long overdue on my prayer letter but at this point there isn't the time to think about it. I will try to get to it in the next few weeks. Thanks for understanding.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Happy One Year With Me Grace!

Hi Everyone,

My bird Grace has officially been with me for one year today!

Congratulations Grace! I love your beautiful yellow long crest at the top of your head!

Below Grace and Faith (First photo together)




Tuesday, October 9, 2012

For Me This Is The Best Way to Take A Break!

Hi Everyone,

Here I am taking a tiny break to enjoy the simple pleasures of life! The question is which one of us had more fun or was it mutual?

video

I am getting the prayer day ready for next Wednesday, October 17th. Pray that as a team we would have an enriching day praying together.

I have several meetings the next few days and on Saturday I am planning to make lasanga at my house with one of the youth from church before youth group . I might be up for helping teach Sunday school again this Sunday also, but I am not sure about that yet-will talk to the children's ministries coordinator tomorrow to be sure.

Blessings to you all and thanks for your prayers! Do remember that if you have any prayer requests, I would love to be praying for you more specifically as well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Gift----Faith

Hi Everyone

There is a new member in my household again. On the second Monday following the Saturday that Hope died, I went to my friend who was the breeder-just to help her take care of the birds and to get more thoughts on bird care and stuff.

While I was cleaning the aviary she came upstairs and told me she wanted to basically give me a bird--and that I could pick one out. I tried to refuse--several times---but she insisted. She told me to pray and pick one out-all nine of the babies looked exactly alike----all white-what they call an albino color mutation--which isn't really true albino from what I understand, it just looks that way. (I always wanted one of these, but would have never bought one--they are pricey)

Here is the video of them that day at four weeks old-I started petting them all, which resulted in then crying for food, because they thought they were going to get fed instead. (I have discovered I can take very short videos to post on my blog with my camera)

video

I took one of them home for the night-and talked to Olga about it, which she was okay with me having the bird. However, the last thing on my mind was owning another bird--I think partly because I had loved Hope so very much and my heart just didn't feel ready for it at that point, plus the hand-feeding four times a day was not going to work in my schedule. So The next day I took her back and told the breeder that I would pick her up when she was completely eating on her own.

Well yesterday, the breeder told me the bird was eating on her own, so I went and got her on my day off.  So now I have a gifted bird in the household-I've decided to name her "Faith." Right now she spends most of the day eating, so we will see how this goes. The two seem to get along well so far.

Here she (or he) is:


Happy (almost) one year with me Grace (October 12th)-I hope that you like your gift!

 Who wants to see "Angry birds" live? Sounds interesting. Maybe I should check it out.  Yes announcements about events are often painted on the walls.


The beautiful rose I saw about a week ago in Olga's flowers!


Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mini Conference Update

     Hi Everyone,

      Psalm 133:1 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!"

     As you know, I have now returned from a 3 day mini conference with all of the Mexico team.  We spent hours working on how to improve our team structure and I am happy to say that God showed up in a real way, bringing our whole team into a unified decision.  It was really amazing to see God work and to be a part of what He was doing in my life and others' lives at the the mini-conference.

    Today was Conchita's birthday--so I spent a few of the hours of the afternoon with her. It was good to have some time together, and to see God's goodness that He has given her another year here on earth.

    Do pray for me, that due to a few different factors, I am at a place where my job description with the team here will be changing considerably. This is, hopefully, a good thing but there may be a few challenges ahead. Pray that I will be able to learn new responsibilities quickly once I find out what they all are.

   Thank you for your prayers everyone--and I look forward to updating you again tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mini Conference Starts Tomorrow

Hi Everyone,

For those of you hat are eagerly waiting a prayer letter update, I should be getting that out in October (hopefully.)

Tomorrow evening our team mini-conference begins. Please pray for us as a team as we have many important decisions to make and things to discuss. Pray that God would give us His wisdom and show us His will regarding many different matters. I will return from our mini-conference on Saturday evening September 29th. There will be no internet access these next few days for me,. Thank you for your prayers.

Pray also as I am on the conference committee for our week long annual conference coming up  in February 2013. I hope to meet with the other couple on the committee during a lunch break over  these next three days to begin planning because as of yet we have not started. Pray that God would lead us and give us concrete creative ideas, along with a theme for annual conference that will be a blessing and enrichment to our team.

This past week I've been helping my supervisors by typing up schedules, menu, etc for the mini conference, and have spent time with a co-worker that is being led in a different direction and leaving our field at least for now.

Looking forward to updating you during the weekend or early next week.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hi Everyone,

Today is Independence Day here. I will be heading to church for our typical celebration in a little while. I've been catching up on some things that were needed this afternoon (e-mails, computer stuff etc)

Tomorrow I begin helping with Sunday school at church, so I spent part of the morning preparing for that as well.

It was a busy week. I had meetings Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Then on Thursday and Friday I spent both days helping the short term workers with the buses (and learning myself also as the buses were in areas unfamiliar to me on the other side of town.)

Have a blessed weekend and day in the Lord tomorrow. Blessings to you all.




Thursday, September 6, 2012

Update

Hi Everyone,

The two short term workers that have come to serve with is arrived safely last night. Things have changed in my supervision role for Janina. I will still be meeting with her to pray with her and see how things are going, but partly because of changes in her locations for ministry, I am no longer in charge of the housing or her ministry schedule. I will most likely  these responsibilities again, after about two months. I've learned a lot about being flexible the past two weeks through all of the changes. Thank you for  praying for our short term workers amd for their time with us.

I am going to begin helping with teaching Sunday school to the 7-12 year old's at church once or twice a month. This will start on the 16th of September. Thank you for praying for me and that I would be able to communicate things clearly in Spanish and such. Thankfully this is for children so it should be easier in the communication sense of things. I am excited because our church secretary and children's ministries coordinator (the same person) is wanting to give me some training and things also so that will be good.

I got to share my testimony with her yesterday as we were discussing things in her office as well-so that was a neat time together.

September 15th is the Independence day celebration here so I will most likely be going to my church for their fellowship night that they plan for that evening, like we had last year.

Thanks for your prayers and for taking the time to read my updates. :) May His blessings be evident to all of you in your lives today!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Wedding

Hi Everyone,

Immediately after the events that transpired on Saturday morning, I began getting ready for my friend Myra and her husband Jose Luis's wedding. It was good to have a joyous occasion to celebrate.

Her father taking her down the aisle:


the couple listening to the message:


There are a few different wedding traditions here. One is that the groom will give to his wife arras which are 13 gold coins that represent that he is trustworthy and provide for her financially.(the coins are sometimes purchased by a close family friend or relative) The other tradition is that a " double cord" called a lasso is placed around the couple after they have said their vows, and it symbolizes their unity.


the beautiful flower arrangements on the pews


The very happy married couple:

Both the wedding and the reception were a very interesting cultural experience for me and I learned a lot of new cultural things.  It was really an honor to be invited and Myra's family received me so well.

Please pray for Myra and Jose Luis--I've been slowly having opportunities to share Christ's love with Myra for the last several months. Pray that the Lord would do His work in their hearts and lives--in His perfect time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hope

Hi Everyone,

Sorry for the lack of blog posts this week. This week has had a few challenges.

I can't remember if it was either Monday or Tuesday morning that I woke up and found my birdie Hope on the bottom of the floor.  Hope---the most tame of the two, the one that molted and that changed to having all of these yellow patches on her after I had prayed asking God for a yellow bird, and the one that has brought me nothing but sweet companionship and comfort when there were other hard times in my life these past ten months.  Out of all of the cockatiels I have had---I have bonded with, and honestly loved her the most.

She had been starting to get sick about a month ago hen I took her to Maria--the lady and my friend that I bought her from. I had tried a medicine that she recommended and thought it had worked.

So on that day it got crazy-I snapped into action--I  took pictures of Hope and Grace together and took this video of me with her--trying to think of memories and all that I wanted before things possibly  "got worse."


video

Here is a photo of her yellow patches.


Here is the last picture of them both together :(  --not great quality,  but it is so cute!  I love it!


 A few more pictures:  (yes, Hope was outside for these-cool huh!)



The next day, she was still quite alive so I took her to the vet----they said she had a cold and was curable--gave me medicine--told me to hand feed her and I went running around stores buying some things----and began the hand-feeding process.

And somewhere along the way that intense agonizing decision became a burden--you know the decision about "oh no! I'm gonna have to put her down," and "I don't want to do it too soon-how will I know it is time?" and "Lord, I just don't want to have to do this!" The emotional intensity of it all was incredible--My previous birds had always died instantly without suffering for a week. In the midst of it all I was trying to remain  very calm (not cry out loud), because I didn't want Olga knowing I was upset---I think when I am upset it is challenging for her.

But I am amazed--amazed that God allowed the perfect times when I needed to "deal with it," Olga would just leave the house at the exact moment to go do something. I saw God's hand all over this in ways that meant the world to me---and God even provided someone from my sending church who ministered to me in the perfect way----and really deeply understood.

One of the things that God did is that yesterday on Friday, my supervisor told me I could work from home. Yesterday morning when I had fed Hope, she ate a lot and all of the sudden got tons of energy and then proceeded to climb up onto my shoulder and stayed there for several hours (and this was when she could no longer climb up to the perches)! If I would have had to go to work at the office, I would have missed that precious time with her--God is so good! Another thing is that someone had told me it was "time to say goodbye" on Thursday, but if I would have "put her down" then I would have missed yesterday also. At the same time while all of this was going on yesterday, I was amazingly able to concentrate enough to finish a huge project for my supervisor that I had been intending to get to her earlier this week.

What started out as a prayer of "God, anything is possible with you--you can heal my bird" was over the week changed to, "God show me when it's time." And He did exactly that. The time was this morning--and it was just unmistakeable that by putting her down I was doing the right thing that was the best for her.

I haven't buried her yet--partly because Olga has too many plants planted right now---so I am going to have to do that--not sure where yet.

I just wanted to thank the handful of people that knew about this for your prayers that lifted me up this past week-there were moments of amazing peace in the midst of it that weren't due to anything changing in the circumstances--but to God's presence with me in a very tangible close way.

My other bird, Grace is soo quiet this morning--but he let me hold him for quite awhile (that doesn't happen very often)

Lord-thank you for giving me Hope--so properly named. We were just seven weeks short of having our one year celebration together---but the last ten months with her were an amazing gift from you-thank you so much! I wouldn't exchange those ten months for anything.


(the flower I just decided to bury Hope by)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Awesome Missions Sunday

Hi Eveyone,

Thank you for your prayers for our missions Sunday. With the movie I picked and the sermon, it was perfect-and there are a few people in our church that feel called to missions. My prayer is that one day we will have missionaries sent out from our church body.

I got up and introduced the video we showed and mentioned that if anyone had interest in missions they could feel free to talk to the pastors or me and a lady came up to me after the service and said she wanted to talk. So this Sunday we are going to go to lunch together after the service and talk, Thank you for praying for our meeting together that it would go well, that I'd be able to answer her questions and such.

I am still working on the same project for my supervisors that I was working on a week ago-hopefully I can get it semi-completed today (Wednesdays are either team meetings or my day to work from home)

Hope to see Conhita tonight. Haven't seen her yet this week.

Olga went to a conference and came down with something when she came back. Thank for your prayers that she would get better soon. I think this is the first time in over a year that I have seen her under the weather.

Blessings to you all-have a great rest of the week.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hi Everyone,

The concert last night was good-it was also a good thing for my Spanish.

Today I am doing various office tasks and working on something for my field leaders.

Hopefully I'll be able to spend some time with Conchita tonight-it has been about a week since we talked.

Here is a picture of my church at our sports outing after church last Sunday. It was a lot of fun to play sports, eat lunch, and hang out together. I am in the back row.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Celebration Update

Hi Everyone,

The El Monte celebration that we had n Saturday was really neat. Over 900 people came to celebrate with us. There was worship and several testimonies. I was in charge of selling beverages, so honestly I didn't get to pay a lot of attention to the service--every time I would start paying attention, several people would come up to buy things, but it was a blessing to be a part of the celebration and to serve others as well.  Here is a picture of me working away :) It was fun to reconnect with some people that I hadn't seen in a long time-and have fellowship with a few people that i hadn't met before.


This week I've been busy continuing to work on a counseling manual that i am helping out together in Spanish for my supervisor and typing up some material for pamphlets to print for the sending base. I am also trying to figure out a tentative schedule for Janina-the short-term worker that arrives in September. Praise the Lord that her housing is all set up now.

Tonight I got invited to a Christian concert (My first one in Spanish ever since being here) so since I didn't take Monday off, I will be going to that--hopefully it will be encouraging.

On Friday we are having a "Prayer chain" day at church--I am hoping to get there early enough to participate for an hour and then head to work.

Sunday we have a missions vision video that we will be showing as a part of the service. Pray that God would use it in people's lives.

Last Sunday I had something cool happen. An eleven year old girl from my church here told me that she sees how I left my country to serve here and that she wants to follow my example and be a missionary someday too.  It was kind of meat because her and I hadn't talked much before. You never know the lives that God is using yours to touch. So I guess we will see what happens and what God's plans are for her life as they unfold.

Thank you for your prayers. Blessings to you all!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Another Update

HI Everyone,
This past week was filled with activity and ministry.  This is once  again my reason for not updating like I thought I would have time for.

On Saturday a week ago Conchita had a belated birthday celebration for me and made her famous meatballs to celebrate. It was good to have time together and get caught up on the news in each other's lives since i had been away.

Monday and Wednesday last week we had Vacation Bible School here at my church and had 50 children attend. I was assigned to assist in the missionary room. It was neat to see a lot of kids come who didn't come to our church. Pray that God would continue to work in their hearts and lives. It was really interesting and insightful seeing cultural differences in how things were done during the week.

Last night I was at a friend's church for an all night prayer vigil from 6:00 pm to 5:00 am.I really wanted to share my testimony at one point but it got quite late and my thoughts weren't coming together. I sort of feel like a walking zombie from being awake all night today but it isn't anything a good night of sleep won't fix. :) It was really good to be a part of the time last night, and again just gain a new perspective on some cultural things. :)

I did make it to church this morning--It was a really neat sermon today about more practical ways to live out the Christian life on a daily basis. We have a pastoral team that switches off preaching on different Sundays, so the diversity of style and how each person communicates is refreshing.

Tomorrow morning on my day off  (Monday) I am taking my little birdie Hope back to the lady I bought her from to see if i can get some help for her red eye that irritates her something awful. I am praying that my friend Maria will have wisdom and something to help with this. There aren't really avian vets here so I am doing the only thing I know to do.

Wednesday this week it looks like I will be helping with another vacation Bible school in one of the communities that my church here as been reaching out to with bi-monthly Bible studies to see the Kingdom extended amongst people there. Pray for the group that is doing the VBS--I can only help one day and it is a small group--pray they would be able to work effectively together.

Tuesday Thursday and Friday I am at the sending base office. I really have a few things I still need to get caught up on yet from bein gone.

Saturday is our celebration service with the property at El Monte. God granted us favor in the legal case and the ministry team has been back on the property since July 12th. Pray for the logistics of the celebration event and that it would bring the Lord much glory.  Friday afternoon I might be going out to the property to help the team set things up and such, but I have yet to conform if that is what I will be doing.

So that is some of what is, Lord willing, on my agenda this week. Thank you for your prayers everyone! I am blessed because of you.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Trip Update


Hi Everyone,
Thank you for your patience in waiting for me to update this blog. I've been back a week from the trip to the Purepechas in the state of Michoacan, but I had several things that I had to finish before I would allow myself to update the blog. Thankfully I am now getting more caught up on things since getting back.

Here is a picture of the team that went on the trip!

We had the privilege of serving together in 6 different communities, putting five roofs on homes that needed fixing, carried out three children's programs, and held three youth events. The trip was an eye opening experience for me, and it was good to work together as a team..

Here I am wearing the typical Purepecha dress which was an honor!  (LOTS of layers of clothing!!)


I got to enjoy a little time with a kitten at a moment when I needed it :)


On our way back home we stopped at a national park in Morelia that had all kinds of natural beautiful waterfalls! (this video is side-ways-unfortunately I was unable to rotate it with software that would work for the blog) This waterfall was the biggest one-beautiful!

video

Thank you for praying for us-it was clear that God was with us the whole time and it was amazing to be a small part of being His hands and feet to those around us.

More updates on things since the trip to follow tomorrow!