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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Devotions and Testimony Tomorrow For Our Candidates

Hi Everyone,

Tomorrow I am going to be giving my testimony and devotions for our candidates that are hoping to join serving with us after the completion of their candidate orientation. I am also in charge of leading then in a half day of prayer as well. Please pray that God would direct me and that my words would be what He wants me to communicate.

One thought keeps going through my head "Go and tell them what God has done for you."

Thanks Everyone!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Amazing Opportunity for Conchita

Hi Everyone,

Conchita had an amazing opportunity today. She got invited to speak at a conference and I went with her and her husband. She did really well and has a few other possible opportunities to speak at a few retreats this Summer. It is so exciting to see God opening up some doors for her!

Today also marked the first time in one year of friendship together that we were able to physically get in the car and go somewhere off of the street that we both live on--a day I personally have longed for for a long time. She came away from the day very encouraged. Pray that God would continue to lead her into His plans and purposes.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Spiritual Retreat

Hi Everyone,

After our annual conference ended on Friday, I was in the car heading back home with my sending base leaders, and after praying silently for half the drive home, expressed to my leaders my desire to take Sunday and Monday off heading to Taxco, where I had gone with Olga in October, to get away and take a tiny spiritual retreat.

They gave me permission (so nice of then on such short notice), and I took off on Sunday morning fairly early. Beautiful flowers were in bloom in Taxco! I actually saw this tree as we drove in on the bus, and walked back a ways to be able to photograph it.

Next to the blooming tree was a church building and the service had just started so i walked in and joined. The worship (music part) was about 35 minutes long and was incredible. The sermon was about how God wants to use the times in our lives when we feel like we are in the desert to draw closer to Him and evaluate our relationship with Him and others. We were encouraged to take a brief time apart and get alone with God (Which was exactly why I had gone to Taxco in the first place.)

After the church service, I went hunting to find a place to stay for the night---amazingly I took the right toads (without exactly remembering the way) that led to the guest house which was beside the one that Olga and I had stayed in during our October vacation outing. I rented a room for the night, mostly spent time reading the Bible, praying, and planning for two upcoming prayer days in March and April that I am in charge of organizing.

When I went to sleep last night, everything was so calm--not only was there no noise from traffic, neighborhood etc, but I was calm and peaceful on the inside of my heart--in a deep way that I hadn't felt for awhile.

I came back today--and am soon to begin heading into the tasks of the week.

I feel really refreshed spiritually, emotionally, and otherwise. Hopefully I will be able to take a three day time off similar to this one in May--obviously I haven't discussed it with my leaders yet, but hope to later this week.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Gift of Friendship

Hi Everyone,

Last night I came home from conference and it was good to spend about three hours with Conchita. It had actually been about two and a half weeks since we had been able to talk because I had been quite busy with some things before our annual conference.

She surprised me with a Valentines Day gift which consisted of a balloon and a wall hanging that she wrote--and I will treasure that for the rest of my life. It is kind of nice here because Valentines Day here also carries the idea of celebrating friendship among friends and not just dating or married couples.

Conchita's friendship is a gift and I celebrate the times that we are able to share. Although we can't go and do things like shop together or whatever, I think we have learned the gift of listening and sharing with one another at a different level.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Worker Approved

Hi Everyone,

Things are going well here at conference. I have the surprise of internet access during break times (when it works.)

Earlier this afternoon I was given the privilege of being accepted as a "full status worker" on the Mexico field. This means that I have completed my initial orientation process and have been approved by my team members as they recognize God's call on my life to serve here and are appreciating my contributions to the team and other ministries.

In my missions agency we are known as "workers," so in a sense I am "a worker approved!" Praise the Lord! I had been waiting a few years for this day. It was a privilege to have the experience of being accepted with four of my other co-workers as well.

Tonight I am leading a prayer session with a few other co-workers as a part of conference.

Here is the picture of my acceptance when people were praying for me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Off To Conference

Hi Everyone,

I will get in touch with you after I come back on Friday from our annual conference, which starts tomorrow afternoon. Please pray for everyone in my team---that God would refresh us and give us much needed rest and good fellowship together.

Please also pray that the Lord would comfort a missionary couple with His presence as their six week old daughter was having various complications since her premature birth and went home to be with the Lord last night. The funeral was earlier today. Pray that the Lord would minister to her parent's hearts in this difficult time.

Thank you for your prayers everyone! I look forward to updating you all on Friday afternoon.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Serving Him Completely

Hi Everyone,

First of all, regarding my previous post, I would like to clarify that the focus was not so much meant to be "being in the valley as a lonely place" or "walking in the dark fields" according to the song, but rather my focus was the good that "valley times" truly can Be and how God is willing to use them if we are willing to allow Him to and keep our eyes on Him. Yes, as you have noticed, there have been some challenges lately, and while there have been some "low moments," It by no means signifies in any way that I am in "total despair" here. I repeat THAT is NOT the case.

On another topic-the world is really messed up to say we need "this or that" to be satisfied. We sometimes accept the way the world thinks without realizing it. There is nothing wrong with and nor is there anything wrong with serving Him completely-in fact it is an incredible privilege We don't need to "have everything" that the world says. (That statement in its context to me probably makes little sense to any but a few of you-maybe someday I will venture out and share full details.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Refined In The Valley

Hi Everyone,

The Valley Of The Shadow
Sung by Rhonda Gunn-Not sure if she wrote the lyrics as well.

Verse 1
I find myself here once again
in this lonely place
nothin' sustains me through the crushing wind
but Your amazing grace

though the dark is long it's clear to see
Your goodness & mercy have followed me

here where I learn to live & I learn to die
& my world & my flesh get crucified
& I am refined by the heat of the battle
but I will survive - You keep me alive
You wipe away my tears
I will not fear the Valley Of The Shadow

Verse 2
I walk the dark fields remembering
sunny mountain highs
while through the aching & hungering
strong faith grows inside

my reflection is clear in these waters below
but You lead me here to restore my soul

Repeat Chorus

I will not fear the Valley Of The Shadow
I will not fear the Valley Of The Shadow
the Valley Of The Shadow

We are refined and strong faith grows as we are refined---in the valley. It is all about the process. Sometimes God does his greatest work in us when we are at very low moments. the valley is a blessing in disguise. We learn to live for Him and die to self--and are transformed even more into the image of Christ if we allow Him to do so. And though the valley may seem like the unlikely place, there He restores us, for even there His goodness and mercy have followed us and He himself is with us. There is nothing to fear.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Finding Our Hope IN God

Hi Everyone,

I think I have touched on this before--but I have been thinking about it again-maybe I'll grab hold of the lesson the second, third, or rwentieth time around.

Psalm 25:5
"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."

Psalm 42:5 (same verse repeated also in Psalm 42:11 and Psalm 43:5)
"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

Psalm 62:5
"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him."

Psalm 146:5
"Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is IN the LORD their God. "

Our Hope has to come from God--and our hope has to be IN him. It is so easy in this world t let other things--even good things become our hope and satisfaction. God gives us every good gift, but we can't let anything get in the way of or take the place of Him.He is our hope and the source of our trust. He is our hope,--may our greatest desire always be Him.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is He Worthy?

Hi Everyone,

This is just some general missions discussion.

Lots of times when missionaries or workers overseas come home on furlough one of the questions they get asked is "Is it worth it?' Sometimes in the midst of their service they may also ask themselves the same question.

But if we are asking "is it worth it?" that may be the wrong question. The real question should be "Is He Worthy? The truth is even when the challenges come He Is worthy.

Lord help us to love you radically and serve you joyfully because You are worthy and that never changes!

(Some insight shared from my international directors)