random thoughts

How are you stepping?

I got a text this morning from a #village member. Because of the time change I got it early in the morning and did not see it until I woke. Attached to what they said to me personally was a photo of their devotional from the 9th. (The day they sent the text).

PVWC5761

They were saying they thought of me when they read it, and explained why. I read it and I wept.

It has been a difficult few days for me. I’m tired, my heart is weary, and I have felt anything but worthy of this time I have in Israel with My Father, My Savior, and the sweet Spirit. My heart is heavy with burdens of others in my village, in this world, things that He is working out in me.  I look around and see division, evil, the lost who are blinded, hurts and suffering. It makes me long for heaven. It makes me long for the Messiah to return triumphantly and end the drama of this world. But at the same time my prayer is He would delay so that more would come to know him as Savior.

I am grateful for this perspective, especially in this divided place that is Israel. It feels like a game of walking across the ice some days… Muslims, Jews, Christians, Palestinians, some who know the Savior as Lord, some who don’t. You can’t tell where anyone is in their heart. Unrest feels on the brink moment by moment in crowds of people.   I am continually amazed that our Father is NOT UNAWARE of ONE person. He knows each and every heart that walks this earth. He works. The Son intercedes and waits. The Spirit comforts, convicts, speaks truth. Not just here. But the whole. Entire. Planet.

Yet He speaks to me intimately. His child. Compassionate and Gracious (Ex 34). And I am humbled. That He holds my hand. That He shepherds me. That He chose and adopted me (Ephesians 1)  He does the work. I didn’t do a thing to earn it or make it happen.

And because of that I think, how can I NOT do what He asks? Follow Him. Be His. Whether it feels easy or hard. And while the view on the mountain top is beautiful and quiet and breathtaking….getting to the top of the mountain will take your breath away. It will exhaust you. It will be painful. Trust me, I have walked up hills here that do that. MOUNTAINS will really do that to you. Even if you walk circular paths up the mountain, you still get exhausted. Actually that way is further on the mileage meter. It is quite difficult to walk straight up a mountain. We forget that. Sometimes the path that feels like it is going no where is really just the path circling up or around to where He wants us to be. If we chose, we would try to race up the mountain which is dangerous and also stupid.

He knows best. So trust Him.

In the journey rest in walking with Him. Listen to the lessons He speaks. When done with the view continue to listen. Be prepared to do the work in the valley too. He doesn’t operate differently because of locality. It is often us who do. He is consistent and patient. We just need to pay attention to Him in it all.

Whether we are in the waiting that often feels painful and too quiet or rejoicing in what feels like an arrival or the end of the waiting…He is Aware. Psalm 139:2

As we take steps, stop, wait, run, crawl, or simply stand…We do it in Faith. Faith He imparts to us. 2 Corinthians 5:7

May our view wherever we are not be so telescopic, microscopic, or narrow we fail to see the view of right where He has us. Even in darkness He is our light… so that we can see. May we rejoice wherever He has us that He is there. We are never outside of His presence. He said so. John 8:12 Psalm 36:9 Psalm 139:11-12

So I say all this to say, no matter where we may be, may we see His hand. Not what He is doing next. Why He is doing what He is doing. But His hand that supports us. His hand that holds us. The hand of our Father. Our Shepherd who loves and cares for us. Who speaks our name and calls to us. Psalm 73:23 Psalm 139:10

May we quicken our pace with anticipation of what He has for us in our next steps. 

May we all Be His.


collision

This was a blog post I evidently worked on during a week or two in the US after my first 4 months in Honduras. 

 

There are moments in life where things seem to collide.  Some call it coincidence.  Some call it Karma.  Some call it fate.  I call it the hand or plan of God. 

There are times when there is an undeniable theme in our lives.  Sometimes it is sweet things like grace. Provision. Love.  Sometimes it is Sin. Forgiveness (when you don't want to forgive). Patience. Longsuffering.  We love those lessons that seem like a balm.  But not the ones James speaks about that build up things in us due to trials or because of our sin.  Those we can live without, right?

I shared with you guys about the Cross Centered Life.  It is still a theme.  One that I am learning more about daily.  How to cling to the cross in a new way that is freeing.  Freeing from the junk that distracts my heart and screams that it (or me) are more important.  Freedom from legalism.  From the way that we too often live in- the world's way. 

I found my book "Embracing Obscurity" when I came home and started reading it again yesterday.  I didn't take it to Honduras because I thought surely I wouldn't need to finish that book in Honduras.  There is nothing but obscurity to embrace there.  Oh. So not true.

Since before I left Honduras last week the Holy Spirit has been whispering truths to my heart and shining his Holy Spirit life on sin and just simply the ugly things I have clung to.  And this week with the Cross Centered Life continually before me, comments from friends that love me enough to be honest and not leave me like I am and in reading Embracing Obscurity I realize God is slowly wrecking me.  Breaking me down so He can put me back together whole. 

I am learning I have a long way to go as far as dying to self goes.  So very far.  I would glady hear and obey God's call to go to Let's say "AFrica" than to just let the guy beside me have the right of way when I am impatient and in a hurry. (EO Example)  I am not afraid to do the mundane.  The behind the scenes work. But when it comes to someone infringing on my space, my stuff, my way sometimes I bow up like a small kitten staring down a great dane. Selfishness and Pride. I chose who is "worthy" of my time and sharing His love with. I am a jerk and a hoarder of good things. 

It is not comfortable. It is not easy. I try to hide how I really feel, but He knows. And He loves me and calls me to more, to change. To be like Him. 

 

Note from June 2017- This is clearly not done...but it seems like something I want to share. Because I still struggle with it.  I am still humbled by seeing how He worked in my life then, how He still does.  How He loves me when I feel unlovable and completely selfish.  But that is His nature.  To love and work out His best in our lives.  For His Glory. So yes, Holy Spirit do that.  


Love shows Up

I recently went to surprise my friend for her 40th birthday. I had planned the trip 4 months before. Because of winter storm jalepeno or whatever it was called, I moved my flight up because of a possible ice snow whatever situation in Atlanta. I had been caught in an ice situation the week before so I didn’t want to relive flying 1000+ miles out of the way to get there.

So I left work earlier than anticipated and flew to Ohio. My flight was delayed, no big. Picked up my rental car- a sweet NEW rental car. Google maps led me astray and on a crazy route until I corrected it… I was on my way to the restaurant she told me she was meeting up with some college friends. But then she wasn’t there.

So I killed some time going to WalMart to pick up necessary items- Dr. Pepper and some yogurt (late night snack). All the while hoping she would be at the restaurant (There were two and I was guessing on the location) and also hoping she drove her car so I would know without going in and looking I found them. I saw her car, parked and even saw her through the window! So I went in to surprise her. I anticipated after the shock wore off a bit they would invite me to stay but I had decided to go to her house and wait. I didn’t know them, and it was their party and I didn’t want to mess with it.

I went in and surprised her- I said Hey and she freaked out and said “What!? Why are you here!!?” I said “It’s your birthday week, why wouldn’t I be!? And I love you!” And basically left and drove to her house.

On the way to her house I started to think about her and her friends and praying for their time together. That it would be encouraging, the gospel would be spoken, and lives would be changed because of it. I also started thinking about why I decided to stop at the restaurant. Well, it was on the way home. And it was way more fun…she never would expect me to show up at TGIFridays on a Thursday night. And I didn't want to sit and wait at home for her without seeing her first. But mostly because it wasn't what she expected. 

My motivation for coming her birthday week was really just to help her however I could and tell her I love her. And it occurred to me that is just what love does- it shows up. I told her that the next night. I just wanted her to know that I loved her, and the Father loves her. And love just shows up. Over the next couple days we had several conversations and it came up in conversations with others about God’s presence and who He is. And How he shows up.  He is present. And rarely it's how we expect it. 

On the way home from Atlanta after my delayed/cancelled flight I was thinking about what “Love showing up” really means. It often costs more than we think it will. In my plan to come I knew her husband was taking her out overnight Sunday night. I kept the kids and had plans to do some things Monday so she wouldn’t have to deal with them before my flight out that afternoon. As Sunday night went, my throat started hurting more and more and by Monday morning I really felt terrible. I could have backed out and texted her and said I can’t do it. But I had committed to it. And love honors commitments. It’s what love does.

I couldn’t help but think of the cost as I left on my delayed flight to Chicago. In Chicago my flight was delayed then cancelled. I could have slept in the airport for 7 hours and caught a flight out but I felt terrible so I got a hotel to spend the night. Then flew out the next morning- missed work and finally got home at 3:30. And then had to drive to Montgomery 30 minutes after I got home then and back to Auburn. Still not feeling so good. So it cost more money (hotel and lost work time), time and energy than I anticipated.

As I drove from Atlanta to Auburn then to Montgomery and back to Auburn I just kept coming to what it means for Love showing up. Love to be present. And how much the Father shows His presence to us. I can’t help but think of the cost it required- Christ coming to the earth, His life, His death, His Victory over death and sin in his resurrected life. That the Holy Spirit has come to us, he is given to us day by day and moment by moment. That Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and intercedes for us. The cost for all of this, and continues to take.

Sometimes in our preconceived notions we seek to love people. And to love people well, like Jesus. But then things get difficult or hard or messy or cost too much we want to back out. To say it’s not worth it. And I am so very grateful that our Father in heaven didn’t say it’s too hard, it’s not worth it. He didn’t say it and he is still not saying it. Every single day and moment in ways that we don’t always see or even imagine He is still pursuing us.   I am thankful for the way He reveals His presence to me.   Like a bird art display in the Chicago Midway airport, a song on my ipod that reminds me of who He is, the truth he brings. Conversations about my R2D2 carry on that lead to conversations about Him. The way that He provides, humors, and delights. The way he gives us desires of our hearts, because when he placed those desires in our hearts, of course He will fulfill them. Because I asked Him to give me his desires. The way He consistently shows Himself. Because He is love. And love shows up. Even when we don’t always expect it. And usually not in the way we think He will.

I am grateful. I am blessed. I am humbled. Because of His love I have life. I have hope. I have His continual presence. I have just what I need. Because of Him.  

Ephesians 3: 14- 19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Be His.


why I do it

As I read things on twitter, or hear stories of people going to India, some tribe in Africa that has no bible, some place in China, or some far away place  people are going to areas where no one has heard the name of Jesus I feel like I am not doing enough. 

Let me explain.  I am in Honduras, in a pretty cushy 3rd world situation.  I have american flushing toilets, water that´s drinkable out of the faucet, and power most of the time.  I talk to kids about Jesus a lot, go to church 2x a week and am surrounded with talk about God with Us-Emmanuel.  From time to time we get kids who haven´t been to church, some of my teens dont really want to go to church here, but most all know about Jesus.  And I can´t help but think maybe I should be somewhere more difficult, trying to tell people about Jesus who know nothing of him. 

Then I read an article like this.  Street Kids

 

And I think about an encounter I had last summer. 

I was standing in the airport like I do about once a week.  Waiting for an hour or more for the team members to come out of baggage claim and customs.  A boy probably 12-13 and just about 4 inches shorter than me comes up to me.  

He says (in spanish) "Hi.  How are you?"

Me- "I´m good, how are you?"

I´m good.  My name is Carlos and I live on the streets and my life is very hard. 

I´m sorry Carlos. Why do you live on the streets? (I´ve noticed his eyes are just jumping all over the place)

I do drugs. (He shows me his hands all covered in scabs and glue, and in the scabs and glue is dirt and sand).

I tell him I am sorry that his life is hard and he lives on the street. 

He tells me "Do you know Jesus?" me- Yes I do.

He then tells me that Jesus is the only reason he is alive and it makes it better.  Then he looks down and sees something sticking out of my cargo shorts pocket.  "Is that cookies?" No, its peanuts.  Do you want them?  His eyes get big and he says "Can I have them?" Yes. As I pull them out of my shorts he holds up a small plastic bag with some limperas (honduran money) and a clif bar (an American evidently found him before me).  I have to drop it down into his bag because he won´t even take it from me.  He tells me thank you and takes off.  

I think he left in a hurry because he knew he would be asked to leave if he stayed too long. In my bad spanish I said "Good luck!"  I had suddenly forgotten how to say God bless you.  

As I stood in the lobby waiting it just suddenly hit me.  Carlos (I couldn´t remember his name later so I named him in my heart Carlos) is or could be one of our kids at Emmanuel.  And it was all I could do not to cry in the lobby.  It just broke my heart and I prayed for the Father to watch over Him.  

From time to time at the end of orientation I tell this story to teams that come.  Not to make them feel sorry for the kids at Emmanuel, but to have them understand that some of our kids have been like Carlos, on the street, hooked on drugs, with no one to care for them.  Some willingly have gone into the streets because they think it is better, some have been put on the streets, some the parents just do not care for them, can´t afford them, so they end up making poor choices because they know little else to do. And we have kids that come to us- from the police, from family services, from other centers.  We have the opportunity to care for these kids.  To teach them about true Hope- salvation in Christ, a Father that cares and loves them like no other.  

Our time with these kids is short.  Sometimes it is just a few years, sometimes it is 15 years.  But I am often desperate to know how to talk to them, to teach them, to show them the greatest need and desire in their heart is for love...that only our heavenly Father can fill in Christ´s salvation.  To know how to get them to hear this in their hearts and believe it.  To live in it in such a way it changes them for life.  That when they walk out the gate their difficult life will be somehow a little better because they know the Father is for them and with them no matter where they go.  The Holy Spirit is their guide and comfort.  The trinity doesn´t fail. 

It´s in these thoughts that I know I am where I am supposed to be.  Caring for kids that cannot be cared for by others.  Some orphans, some kids under protection from those who seek to harm them, some kids who just can´t be afforded by their families, some who have a new man or woman in their home who doesn´t "want someone elses kids".  My heart is here to love them, be frustrated by them, to teach them, to hopefully point them and grown them up in the Cross. 

I´m grateful for teams that come to help us do that.  Invest in kids for eternity with the truth of God´s word and His love.  I´m grateful for people who pray for me regularly-it is only because of Him that the weight of this work doesn´t crush me. It is only because of Him I begin to know what to do day to day.  I´m grateful for those of you who send financial gifts.  If the money stops, I have to leave.  And I am not ready for that.  

Please keep praying.  Please keep sending money.  Please keep the kids of Emmanuel and the streets of Honduras in your prayers. 

Be His. 


peeps like Jesus

I know! 3 posts in one week.  Well, due to the marvels of technology I am typing this up on Tuesday to post on Friday.  Welcome to the future.... haha It's the best for getting stuff out there when I have the brain cells and time to type them up....

 

One of my favorite things about my friends and the people I call my #village is getting to watch them be like Jesus.  Not only to me but to the people around them.  

I have a friend that talks about how she walks and prays around her business.  That when the Lord tells her to crazy stuff like for a building that will be free, she prays because she knows that He has the money.  And If He tells her to pray He has reasons.  So she prays. And daily serves her clients.  And prays for and sometimes with them. Always seeking ways to share the Love of Christ with them. 

My friend Kory from Texas (I always say that in spanish now and it makes me laugh and thought you needed to know) is such a sweet servant.  On her recent medical trip to Honduras she not only did eye exams for some of the team, but also the hotel staff as well.  She was so excited just to see what she could do to possibly help them out.  It was a joy to watch and to help her a little with the spanish. And the simple joy she has for life.  To know that the Lord sent me to her not just for a job, but for community, and at times words I needed to hear about the things we have in common. 

My friend Carrie (Bufanda) is constantly going from one side of Ohio to the other to pray with people.  Not only because she is prayer ministry leader but because it is her heart to do it.  Not only for those sick but those with broken and hurting hearts and issues that seem large...but In Him they are completely conquerable.  To pray before service for who would be there, those who were sharing, and what He would do.  It was a joy to stand next to her a couple of weeks ago as someone sought her out during ministry time for prayer.  To watch her get on her knees and pray and see the joy on her face to know the Lord healed the woman.  

My teacher friends who teach, love and pray for their students.  The ones who have a goal to make sure every child leaves their classtime each year knowing there is a Savior who loves them and wants to draw them near. 

My friends in school trying to get their degrees so they can finish and get to whatever is next.  To have the official papers to get to do what they desire to do. To see them struggle through the work and the decisions simply to be obedient to what He has for them.

My life is crazy.  It is rich and thick with people who live in work in different cities, states, and even countries.  And it overwhelms me to tears to know that I am blessed to know them, call them family and friends and be encouraged and challenged by each of them.  By their love for the Savior and King and their love for people.  It makes me miss being with them just because they look like Jesus and make me to want to be more like Him.  

I´m grateful. 

Let us all be His. 


the rest of the story...10 things missionaries won't tell you

Contrary to popular belief, I have not fallen off the face of the planet. I just came back home to Honduras.  And since we have teams almost every single day this summer I have been a little busy. But all is well in Emmanuel and God is great to us.

 

With that being said I wanted to address a post that blew around Twitter and Facebook lately.  It was a post by Adam Mosley Called “10 Things Missionaries won’t tell you” It blew up so big he had to shut down his blogpage temporarily and use another.  The original post is here:  http://www.trinitykenya.com/10-things-missionaries-wont-tell/  Please take a minute to read through his post so you have appropriate context for my comments below. 

 

I wanted to address a few things to those of you who know me or other missionaries.  We don’t all feel just like him. But sometimes we do a bit.  Please don’t assume he speaks for all of us.  I know he doesn’t fully speak for me.

 

1. THEY DON’T HAVE THE TIME OR ENERGY TO WRITE…BUT THEY DO IT FOR YOU

I often feel like I have disappointed many of you because I haven’t written on the blog or posted an email to my supporters.  But I don’t write because I feel obligated.  I write because I want to share what God is doing in my life.  With the kids, in my heart and to share the good and hard so that you can pray.  And for those of you who financially support me I want to see what your investment is doing in lives on this side of heaven.  And I often find it difficult to summarize time around here, but I never dread it, because it is sharing what our Father is doing in this world. And some days it is hilarious and wonderful and somedays it is heart breaking.  Those things are often hard to put in print. 

 

2. FACEBOOK “LIKES” DON’T PAY THE BILLS

3.  THEY ASK FOR MONEY BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO CHOICE

 

I will address these two together.  At times it is difficult not to focus on the financial aspects of being a “self supported” missionary.  The need to rely on individuals and not an organization to send a set paycheck each month.  However, for me I consistently try to trust the Lord to provide for my needs.  And He does.  Although some days when people say things on facebook or wherever the human fleshly not trusting side wants to say “put your money where your mouth is” But that is a judgment from me.  Often times the people who don’t send a check are ones who pray a lot and even ask others to give or pray for me.  So it’s not always about the dollars.  And the Lord is faithful, when I need the money it comes.  When He tells me to share a need I have that is financial, I do.  I never feel I have no choice.  It’s not up to me.  If He wants me here, He will enable me financially to stay here.   And I know it is a joy for me to be able to financially partner with people serving in places I couldn’t serve.  Eternal impact with physical blessings we have received. 

 

4.YOU’LL NEVER HEAR ABOUT THEIR WORST DAYS.

I had to laugh at this a bit.  The Missionary according to Adam says “This has been a challenging week.”   So true.  But isn’t this what everyone does?  Who really shares via email to a group of people or on a blog post about their worst days?  Why do we expect missionaries to?

I am often hesitant to share about my “worst days” because it is hard to summarize the events that happen that create difficulty here.  It’s hard to frame the context of those events.  It’s hard to share in a way that you would really understand.  It’s not that I think you will try to talk me out of being here.  Or I am afraid to share but often just don’t know how.  I typically share these things in person or on the phone.   Some days I just need to end the day on my knees to set it down at the feet of the Father who knows what is going on and has the plan anyway. 

I do have people that I communicate with on the really hard days that remind me of truth and keep me grounded in the word and the character of the Father.  And sometimes I just need to vocally decompress and just say “Today was hard.  Or it just really stunk.”  Then hand it over to the Lord and do what He says to do with the next day or moments.

 

5. THEY NEED A VACATION…BUT WON’T TELL YOU IF THEY TAKE ONE

7. “GOING HOME” IS A LOT OF WORK. 

I’m going to comment on both of these together. 

Because people send missionaries like myself money to live on I know it is often difficult to feel the freedom to do something that sounds selfish like take a vacation or buy a plane ticket to somewhere nice to get away.  However I have never had one person fault me for doing something that is refreshing and restoring to my soul.  I have never heard anyone speak ill of another missionary for doing so.  The only time I have heard of such was a family that posted more about vacation time than work time.  From their blog post it was never clear that they actually did any work.  (I am still unsure what they ACTUALLY do! Haha And it’s not because they cannot share for safety reasons.)

It is sort of work to go home. 

Right now for me I have to leave Honduras every 4 months.  That means leaving my coworkers with my work load and feeling guilty for that.  Then feeling the SELF IMPOSED obligation to see as many friends and family and supporters as I can when I am home.  I often feel guilty if I have been in the states and not seen some of you in some form or fashion.  However I never have been made to feel guilty by anyone.

It is hard to be away from my kids.  To try to share what has been going on here.  To try to share what I need prayers for.  To share the bigness of what God is often doing here or I pray will be doing.  To travel here and there and be on the road and in the air.

But in this struggle I see the Lord.  I see community.  I see how He is working and growing me and my kids.  And although it can be tiring it is a blessing because I WANT to see you all.  To hear about YOUR life (my life often is all I think and hear about!) To hear what God is doing in YOUR life. 

I am thankful that many of you know that sometimes I just want to go to the beach or lake, or spend a day chilling with a friend somewhere kinda alone.  And I am thankful that many times you all bless me with free trips or places to recharge and just be loved on without obligation.  I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me through you. 

 

 6. HOSTING TEAMS IS A NIGHTMARE

I cannot say that I agree with this.  However there are individuals sometimes that come with set things they will do to bless us or the kids that create more problems than good.  But every missionary and organization has different needs and expectations for teams.  Some are not like us and don’t regularly have teams and open communication.  I am not afraid to let someone know that the idea they have may leave negative effects or be counterproductive.  But if you desire to take a team somewhere please insist that the country partner be honest with you about what they NEED and be honest if you can fit that need.  Perhaps you cannot.  Perhaps your funds would be better used not on a plane ticket, bus, and lodging but paying for food, clothes, or other needed things for that organization.

I personally love teams because I can challenge them with the word and thinking outside of the parameters they may be thinking to see a larger context to their service and future service to the Lord, whether at their hometown, nationally, or globally. Is it difficult so sometimes be continually teaching the same lessons but to different people or groups? Yes.  But I find Jesus said a lot of the same things to folks during his ministry.  So I'm just going to keep going and challenging people to be like Him. 

 

8.IT’S EASY FOR GOD TO TAKE A BACK SEAT IN THEIR LIFE.

Reading Adam talk about this broke my heart for him.  It makes me realize the context of some of what he says comes out of this. 

Missionaries are people.  And people often forget that the priority is time with the Father and in His word.  Out of this time is the wisdom, energy, and fruit in which we live our lives.  We don’t take the time we need then we often operate out of the wisdom, energy, and fruit that WE possess.  And that doesn’t cut it.  My prayer for Adam and every Christian is time grounded in the truth (That’s the bible yall) so we can be filled up overflowing types.  I say this knowing that time in the word doesn’t make us perfect or everyday full of rainbows but it SURE does change the context with which we live and view our days.   That our work would delay for a few minutes so we can take the time we need with the Father first. I have a friend that will ask "How is your time with the Father?" and it is often because I am being overly grumpy, or judgemental or negative and I haven't spent adequate time with Him and my view and heart is not in the right place. 

 

9. IT’S HARD TO TRUST PEOPLE

This also hurts my heart for Adam.  But I know it’s true.  Somehow as missionaries we are considered persons to share every detail of our lives suddenly and trust anyone who approaches us to partner with our organization.  On a personal level to find people we can be honest with about the ugly of life. 

It’s hard to have people disappoint us.  Christians and brothers or sisters in Christ especially.  I pray that Adam and other missionaries who have experienced the level of broken trust he has can have this repaired and healed by the Lord and Adam would find trustworthy partners and people who can walk with him.

I am grateful to have such a great variety of supporters that I know pray for me.  And here at Emmanuel to have coworkers who are trying to do the best for the kids and the Lord.  Do they disappoint? Yes Do we disagree? Yes.  But we are after all human.  So I pray for Godly wisdom for those moments and situations and walk on.

I am grateful also for the people who I know have my back and my heart.  Who challenge me when I am stupid, selfish, or just wrong.  Those who point to scripture to be the standard and guide.  And that pray with me and for me.  Not just saying they are praying but actually sharing WHAT they are praying. People who aren't afraid to share their lives with me that we can struggle to be more like Him together.  And get in each others faces with the truth to leave a conversation changed.  

 

10. THEY ARE LONELY.

This point, like point #8 makes my heart hurt for Adam.  He acknowledges that it comes from neglecting time with God and giving up on people… of course he feels lonely. 

We all do. Don’t we? 

One of my biggest fears in coming here is that I would be forgotten.  That people who I love back home would have events and activities in life that I would miss and never even mention it to me.  That they wouldn’t miss me at those times.  Holidays, celebrations, dinners together.  That I would be forgotten in their prayers. 

I have to surrender this to the Father time and again.  I will miss events.  I will miss holidays with people in the states.  This is what He has called me to.  But THEY will miss the blessing that events here can be.  Time with my friends here and the kids I love.  Too often we only see what we DON’T have.  Not what we have been given.

I am not going to lie…My heart leaps when someone emails me, sends actual mail through the container or someone coming down, sends a text, photo or video just because.  Or when they share that the Lord had them pray something specific for me.  Or just to remind me of a simple truth.  I LOVE hearing about YOUR life and what you are up to.  It not only makes me feel not so “alone” but also reminds me life isn’t just about Honduras and Emmanuel! Haha

But I am often reminded I am never guaranteed to be remembered.  Or not alone.  Or healthy. Or whatever physical thing we think we need.  I continually read in scripture the promises that when we speak Christ and Him crucified, resurrected and living that we will have problems from the world.  That John 16:33 says we WILL have trouble.  But I can take heart because he has OVERCOME the world.  That the eternal world coming will never hold tears.  And because I am the bride of Christ…I know I honestly am never ALONE. 

 

In summary I will close with this.  Let’s just be the body of Christ to one another.  When we think of someone in prayer- tell em.  When we think we ought to share something with someone, a word, money, a hug, a joke, a card, a physical possession- share it.  When someone needs a minute to talk or pray- give it to them.  If we want to be like the Acts 2 church- then lets be the Acts 2 church. (Added later: And let's be real when we need something.  It's not honoring to Christ to do things in our own strength when He has it in the plan to use someone in our walk. Let us share real life.  Because Jesus shows up when we are real with one another)

We are all on a mission in Christ.  Some just are further away, speak another language, and are seemingly more out of their comfort zone.  But I bet if you looked He can use us all for eternal things daily.  So let’s encourage one another with the word to Be His.  And do His work.  

 

Grateful and blessed by Him through each of you.  Let’s keep after the prize.  Him. 


first world probz-parking

Let me set the stage for this little story.  I am on my way to a local church (not my own) to share with a sunday school class about Emmanuel and what I do.  I pull into a less than half full parking lot.  There was a red Jeep Cherokee in front of me.  See photo below.

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He pulled into that area where the silver car is in this photo.

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 The space to the left was empty.  The space in front of it was empty and there were two girls standing in that spot talking.  Oh and It is raining.  I noticed as I began to pull into that spot and pull through up to the further on spot that the jeep was putting his reverse lights on.  Mind you that car is completely over that triangle and in no way in the spot that I was pulling into or through.  I heard a car horn honk.  I thought they were just honking at the girls.  

I pull up and park.  Next thing I know the guy in the Jeep Cherokee pulls up in front of me...stops.  Rolls down his window. in the rain mind  you. And then says "I was going to park there!" and he said something else as he shook his head in disgust and seeming amazement as he drove away and parked somewhere else. 

My first thought- I had no idea dude.  If I did I woulda totally let you park here.  Theres about 40 other spots for me to park in.  Second thought- wow.  It's not that important.  I am just going to CHURCH.  Third Thought- wonder where He stands with Jesus.  Maybe he's going inside to find a relationship with Him.  

As I got out of the car I could hear him talking with someone about how rude I was for taking his spot.  Part of me hoped that he was going in the building where I was going so I could say something to him about it.  I wasn't bothered at all.  Just very surprised that somehow he decided the spot next to where he parked had his name on it.  And that he got so upset.  And i just wondered why he didn't just pull up behind me in that spot where the blue car is in that photo. 

So moral of the story- even people going to church, and sometimes maybe especially people going to church need a little understanding and lovin.  And college ministers- (I don't want to call anyone out by name here...) I have a trip I can arrange for your college students to help them adjust their worldview a little bit so maybe parking spots won't be such a big deal.  If I coulda I woulda gladly given the spot back and gone on about my business.

My Dad said maybe that kid had been watching Fried Green Tomatoes.  I am still laughing.  Merry Christmas Christmas eve yall.  


home away from home

Well, I am on day 5 of my trip to "home."  And it is weird.  Just strange.

Wednesday I flew into Atlanta- found out if you don't have a connecting flight you go to Terminal F to do passport control and customs and walk out of the airport, even though I flew into Terminal E.  Praise the Lord for that.  Cut off so much time, even got a ride from a shuttle guy because it is a LONG way to walk. Met up with my long time friend Victoria and picked up Kalli.  It was great to see them both.  As I told Victoria- she will have a big crown in heaven that she will get to hand to Jesus from all my neediness when I was younger.  Good grief, I cringe at how my life was back then. Ended up sleeping terrible- just a lot going on in my head, and Dad picked us up Thursday.  I went to my Global Entry appointment and headed to Auburn.

Got to stop by Doggie Momma's (Christi and Wayne) to pick up my clothes i had stored out there and said hey to her for a minute.  Then I drug Kalli around Auburn to do various things. I got to spend a little time at Sporty's with the kids before I headed to pick up a Jeep that Brent and Keri are graciously letting me borrow.  Had a fabulous dinner with my parents and Kalli then finally at some late night point went to sleep.

Headed to Montgomery for my hair cut, snuck into Grandparents day at Ansley's school (they let me in, but I am not a grandparent...), and had a great lunch with Robert and Margaret.  Then met up with my sister Stina and headed to NOLA. My sweet friend Torie came over from New Iberia and we had a great time.  Ate seafood, beignets at Cafe DuMonde and stayed up too late.  Then killed some time around NOLA saturday morning and went to the Superdome to see Trey Fetner and the University of South Alabama Jags play Tulane.  It was great to see him play, and to see him pray for team mates on the sidelines.  I love that boy.  Such a competitor on the field and a man after God's heart on and off the field.

Yesterday was a great day at church.  It was just good.  Lunch with my sunday lunch crew, a nap on the couch at my favorite den out in Beauregard and then some more really good church.  Then an excellent dinner at the Millers last night.

Then this morning- woke up feeling terrible.  And with a general overwhelming anxiety and feeling of fear.  Can't explain it.  Kind of how I felt some days before I left for Honduras.  I don't know if it has been the going through some of my belongings here and being overwhelmed by the volume of stuff I still have left or what.  Perhaps it is the uncertainty of what all I have going on this week.  Perhaps it is just because even though I am home I don't feel like home.  My heart longs to be with my girls- even with all the frustration and struggle that comes with being in Honduras it has become home.

My friend Kalli shared on her blog about a staffer at Emmanuel saying how people at home can't understand how it is at Emmanuel.  And in some ways it is true.  I can try to explain how it is, but unless you have been there and lived in it, you just can't quite understand.  But I guess that is just life in general.  I am even unprepared for some questions about Emmanuel- yesterday a friend asked what surprised me the most about Emmanuel and I just couldn't come up with a good answer.  It's hard to summarize how life looks and feels now.

But on the good side- I picked up a small book when I was waiting for my driver to pick me up last wednesday Called the Cross Centered Life.  So good.  Basic yet life giving word.  And yesterday at church the sermon was the Cross centered life- discipleship. (you seeing a theme yet?) And I just got a new bible study I ordered.  Not on a biblical character.  Just God.  And the Cross. Good stuff.

Woke up this morning to Daddy washing and waxing the Jeep that Keri and Brent loaned me for the week.  That's just how he is.  Such a servant.  I don't deserve the grace and mercy and patience that I recieve from him.  And his wife.  Better to me than I ever deserve. 

It HAS been good to spend time with villagers here.  I miss seeing you and your kids and just being in the middle of everything.  It's been great to watch Kalli's journey through the week as well.  It's just so sweet to see how God is sorting out details for her day by day.  God's plan is always best and perfect and I just love to see Him work! Please join me in praying for her as she interviews and hopefully gets a job this week. 

I have a village gathering.  If you haven't gotten my email and are interested please let me know so I can get info to you.  Would LOVE to see your face this week before I go back on Saturday. 

I blew up Twitter this weekend in NOLA.  But have taken very few photos since.  Will try to post some before I go back this weekend. 

Be His.


Andi Longest Day

Can I just share for a minute about how ridiculous God is? I can? Thanks.

There is a team here this week from Opelika.  First United Methodist to be exact.  I have been there once.  For a youth event.  I believe that it was after the youth minister came here for the first time.  I didn't realize that until I just started thinking about the one time I have been there.  Anyway...So it seems that there is an event this week that someone (Queenie) wanted to make sure to celebrate...so she tried to get in touch with one of the team members.  Turns out that the team member- Trincha got the email after she was here.  I didn't know about this. Til tonight.

I was invited to eat with the team tonight.  I thought it was since I work with the teams and help them with some details excetera.  One of my volunteers who is a church member said that they wanted me to come on my Wednesday but we are having a house dinner that night with the volunteers so I went tonight.  After dinner there was an announcement made and sweet people with a rice krispie treat on a plate with a fire out the top came with the 55 people in the room singing.  Happy Birthday.  Yes.  My birthday is this week.

I was blessed and embarrassed.  Then Gary Fuller (yes. the MAYOR of Opelika who is here this week with them) asked me to come up.  He had a declaration to make.

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Then I got the key to the city.  Amazing. 

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Then Trincha called me back up and presented me with a purple baggie of stuff.  Turns out said bag was full of love- notes and little scriptures and crosses and general Agape love.  I was feeling blessed and love by a room full of people I didn't know.  And as I sat there and talked with folks people would come by and throw things in my bag.  I had no clue what was in there.

Then we went down to the gym to have team meeting.  Sarah Jane the team leader asked me to share my testimony.  I did.  Only cried 3 times (I have a tendancy to have God well up in my heart and come out my eyeballs...just can't help it when my heart is full).

Then when I got done they presented me a cute bag made out of bandanas...and you know I love a bandana...full of goodies.  Muffin mix, oreos, granola bars, socks, soap, lotions, toothbrushes and who knows what else.  And then she asked two of the men to come up and pray over me.  (Killing me...so blessed already just by their presence and bags of goodies).  And let me tell you those two men stood over me and I could feel his tears fall on my head as he prayed over me.  Done.  I am undone.  By God's people- my family in Christ and just their kindness. 

I came home and went through my bags of goodness and just were so blessed by their prayers, scripture, kindness and blessings.  Tangible and untangible gifts. 

I am not here for what I get out of any of this deal, other to be more like Him.  But I am thankful for days that make me feel loved and blessed and want to be more like Jesus because of it.

Good day.  Turns out that the key to the city just so happens to open the greenhouse here at Emmanuel.  I had to give it back.  Indian givers.  Oh wait...Opelika is the indian name for Big Swamp.  It all makes sense now.

Blessed.  So blessed. Jesus. that's all


its moments like these...

There are moments here at Emmanuel that I wish I could just video as I see them in my head or heart so you could see them. There have been many this week.

The rainbow on the south side of the campus early one morning. As I sat on the laundry steps with my head girls and Elvia. As we prayed before we opened the doors for the girls to come out the rainbow just got more vibrant. And my phone and small camera couldn’t take it all in justly. Thankfully one of the FBCO team got it. And ironically I am in the photo trying to take a photo of it. Glory of and to God for his creation.

Moments this week of discussions with my girls. From the funny to the serious. The heartbreak of discussions and new understanding with my girls. Of the work that the Lord is doing here. Day by day, moment by moment. One girl in particular has captured my heart’s attention this week. We had a discussion Tuesday night and Wednesday just before I left to get team members in Tegucigalpa she told me she was angry and frustrated. I briefly spoke truth and love to her but had to go. When the bus drove by my yard I saw her with her head in her hands. I wanted to stop the bus and just sit and pray with her. Today we talked about it and I explained to her that we have to put things down. We are to lift them up to the Lord for Him to care for or set them down at His feet sometimes. He gives us burdens to bear but we often are just to turn around and lift them up to Him. We cannot do it on our own.

I have been sick this week. Monday my throat hurt and my head and it was just too much for my brain. Monday night two sweet friends in the volunteer house made dinner for me. Tuesday was a tad better but my throat hurt. Wednesday as I went to Tegucigalpa I felt worse and worse. And when I got home I skipped church to take drugs and go to bed. But the longer I laid in bed the more heavy my heart became to just ask someone to pray with me. Not for me, but for my girls, for my yard. So two roommates came in and I said can we please pray? We did. My body still felt terrible but I felt I had been obedient and my heart felt lighter. I just wanted sisters to join me in praying for God to work down there. I woke up Thursday feeling better. As the day went on ( I had to go to Tegucigalpa again) I continued to feel better and better. By the time I got home Thursday I felt like I could run a marathon (no. not really). Come to find out that two girls came in my room and prayed over me after I went to sleep the night before. And I know people at home were praying. So grateful for people who trust and believe and are not ashamed to walk in the way of people who pray. (did that last sentence even make sense?) Anyway….grateful for my roomies/housies.

Friday morning one of our big boys got his left hand cut open with a chainsaw. There is some discrepancy on how it happened from the stories I have heard. I think that the boy that had his hand cut open isn’t entirely sure what happened himself. He was working with one of our men cutting wood and the chainsaw bucked or something. One story is that the boy was trying to protect the man and stuck his hand between the man and the chainsaw. Either way…it was ugly. I was standing in the office when the radio started chattering/yelling. They needed a doctor in the clinic. Dr. Harper is here until Monday and he was standing about 40 yards from the clinic. And he had a radio and was saying “I am right here and it’s locked” So he started up the hill. Mommy had a nurse and the key and was on the way. It seemed that everyone arrived at the same time to the clinic. I ran out the office to make sure that the nurse I knew was nearby was there. She was so I went up to see if she needed help finding things. So we went in the clinic to find things needed and get set up for when they carried the boy in. I ended up getting to watch how God had arranged things… The drugs that had just arrived the day before with people, the sutures someone brought the day before from a veterinarian friend, the fact that Dr. Harper is here only from Thursday to Monday. It was a privilege to watch and hear them discuss some of this as time went by. At the end of it I just asked those in the clinic if we could please just stop and pray. If nothing else, I just wanted to thank the Lord and ask that He would keep the boy’s pain and infection less. My heart broke for him. He is the guy who usually goes with our driver to pick up teams in Tegucigalpa when I go in. He is funny and has a good heart. Blessing to watch how God took care of him.

And then I come to this point…the point I was at last night. After seeing all that I have seen this week, I just wish I could share with you how I feel and give you the reel of film that plays in my head. I see often how God takes care of these kids. How he protects us/them from so much here. The fact that I have 100 girls in my yard and there is so little drama/sickness etc. But I often see the darkness that exists here. I feel that I am continually fighting that unseen force that the bible speaks of. And I know it is not about me but I have felt this week that I have been personally fighting. Being sick has been a hindrance just to be able to love on my girls and at times speak to them…when one’s throat is on fire you just don’t want to talk. And I have been trying to get movies converted to go watch one with them last night. I found out about an hour before that the converter only did 10 minutes of the movie. Fail. So then I tried to get a new converter and such… it still hasn’t worked. But that’s just a small thing. And then last night my ears started hurting again, draining down my throat that has had mucus running down it for the past 2 days since my throat stopped hurting.

So last night I just felt done. Overwhelmed and weary of the fight. I needed to just voice this to a person outloud. I wanted to just be home for a minute so that I can sit with you and try to explain how much I love these girls and boys and how I want victory to reign in this place. How I want Satan (who is a butthead, but in the end defeated) to have no place here. No place, no voice in my girls lives. How I have seen God answer so many prayers this week yet I am begging Him to answer so many more… Grateful for your prayers. Your partnership in the gospel. Grateful for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and how they work to bring glory, salvation, truth, freedom to each of us.