Help me see with eyes of faith. Give me strength to run this race. i will go Lord, where Your glory is unknown, i will live for You alone. i will go because my life is not my own. i will go...

Monday, June 30, 2008

I will fight for you...

At one time or another, we all have had "that" person or "that" situation in our life that tests our ability to obey God's command to "love one another." We've all faced times of testing and trial. Situations that bring us to our knees in prayer.

Have you ever had one of those days where your flesh so desperately wants to "fight" for you. To defend yourself, your good name. To make sure the truth is out in the open?

There are times when we do need to speak up, but there are also times when we need sit down and be quiet! What a dilemma!

Who is our God...He is the Creator of Truth. He is the utter definition of Truth. In the past few months the Lord has so specifically spoken to me about this....He has told me time and time again, "I will fight for you!" Somehow, amidst the shouts in my head that wanted to fight for myself...I knew I needed to step back, and completely trust the Lord.

The passage in Exodus 14:13-14 has always challenged me. Moses was speaking to the army of Israel & he told them, "Do not be afraid, stand firm & you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today...The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still." In the midst of these hard situations, the Lord kept reminding me that He would bring the Truth to the forefront...He would fight for me....I need only be still.

(Something else that's cool about this passage...the army of Israel was being pursued by the Egyptians. After Moses spoke these words of encouragement, the angel of the Lord who had been traveling in front of Israels army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved, and stood between the armies of Israel and their enemies, the Egyptians. The Lord formed a wall of protection, a barrier that the enemy was not able to cross. How cool is that!)

There have been days when I just cried out to the Lord. His response was, "be still." This was NOT easy for me at all! There were days when I just wanted to stand up, and take action. I wanted to defend myself. And again He responded, "be still." This was something I just couldn't understand. I knew what the Lord was asking of me, it just didn't seem to match with what my plan of action would look like. haha. To be still, to humble's not always as easy as it sounds. But it's what God was asking of me.

This week, I saw why I needed to be still in this situation. I could have never done for myself what the Lord has done for me. (haha, you're thinking, "Well yeah, that's obvious!") The Lord chooses how He wants to use us and how He's going to make an impact through us. He is always fighting for us and wants us to just stop, listen, and wait for Him to move.

I was so encouraged by this passage:
"I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:9-10

He has not forgotten about me...He chose me & He has protected me! He has again displayed His amazing love and faithfulness to me. How can I ever doubt that He knows what's "best" for me, and that He will uphold me through the storm. Thank you sweet Father, for teaching me once again how to put my Trust in You. You are so faithful!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shout Out to the Maryland Crew

Haha...I just wanted to say thanks to the team from Maryland. I would have loved to spend more time with ya'll! You were a blast to hang out with and I sure laughed a lot! ;) I know you were a blessing to the Sports Ministry! Thanks for working so hard! We would really love to have ya'll back again...before our term is over! Pray out it...we'll be talking to God about scheduling it in for ya, lol!

Can guys ever take serious pictures? (Look how cute we girls are!) haha....Late night games of "chicken foot" apparently bring out craziness. Justin, sorry for playing the "Upwards" version, haha! You know you're going to get a rice necklace in the mail one day....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Lord of the Harvest

Texans are True Servants!
Wow, the Lord truly blessed me this past week with a great team! Off the plane came a group of 10 from a small town in TX...but let me tell you, they sure brought lots of energy and passion to serve the Lord! I saw the Lord open doors in ways I haven't seen in a LONG time.

"...the Harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into HIS harvest field." Matthew 9:37

We have been praying, and petitioning for the Lord to bring Volunteers (& long-termers, Journeyman or Career people) to Colombia. Colombia gets such a bad reputation...but the truth is, where there has been pain, suffering and trials...there is also a great need for redemption & restoration. It has become more and more evident to me that the Lord is working here in Colombia, but especially in the mists of the displaced people groups. It will take a long time for us to reach them on our own...we need and pray for teams who will come and work beside us in ministry! On average, the displaced make less than $2 PER day. They have been forced from their homes, live in shacks, at best, and if they're lucky, they have running water. Not clean water...but at least it's water. Finding food to feed their family is a daily need...often a panic, that is always in the back of their minds.

"Then Jesus declared, 'I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." John 7:16

I'm often asked by Colombians why I am here in their country. When I tell them I'm an "M" & work with the displaced people groups, they usually assume I work with some sort of social program or feeding program. They seem shocked to find out I work with the "spiritual" aspect of ministry. Often, as strange as it may sound, if the person is Catholic, they give me a long lecture as to how social programs are more needed than spiritual ones. "So many people are starving...why can't you work with something like that?" or "How can you really help them by doing that?" (Yes, these have been actual responses!)

It's hard to convey the TRUTH to someone who's eyes are blinded, who's eyes have not yet been opened to the "verdad", the undeniable truth, that is God's Word.

For those who simply "go through the motions" of a spiritual life, they don't have a clue as to what kind of "alimentacion"...what kind of spiritual feeding...what kind of sustenance...what kind of fulfillment and refreshing comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

He is all they need.

"Jesus le dijo, 'Yo soy el camino, la verdad, y la vida. Nadie llega el Padre, sino por mi." Juan 14:6 (Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth & the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6)

And so the Lord worked....
As He reminds us in His Word, He will go before us and prepare the way for us....He most certainly did this week! We had a week full of Evangelism and VBS programs in different barrios of our town. Often when a big group of "Americans" comes into a barrio, the people are so excited you are there that they just "say what they think you want to hear." Unfortunately I have walked out of homes before, wondering to myself and praying in my heart that the person we just shared Christ with made a REAL & sincere decision of Faith.

This week was different!

I think the Lord gave me a little gift....He doesn't need to give me proof of true heart confessions...but I walked out of 4 homes (in a row) and praised the Lord for who I truly believe are 4 new sisters in the Lord! This continued throughout the week as teams continued to come back with amazing stories of surrendered hearts! The Harvest was Ripe! As our Texan friends & Colombian believers worked side-by-side to share the Gospel...hearts were open! One of the ladies just blurted out, "Oh wow...I just feel so relieved!" after she prayed the prayer of salvation! It was such a sweet memory as she literally felt her burdens "lifted" away! :) Also, through the help of a "person of peace" in the barrio, we were invited to enter the public school and present the gospel, praise songs and testimonies on 3 different occations to students, teachers and directors! (And given the open door to return whenever we want!) What a great God we serve!
Thank You sweet Jesus, for preparing the way for us! Thank You for allowing us to be part of what You are doing here in Colombia. It is nothing of our ourselves, nothing of our own abilities. It is all You. Use us, your servants, to make an impact for the Kingdom!

Laughter is the Best Medicine...
Wow, this team from Texas! I just want to tell you each THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! You came with servant hearts and flexible attitudes. You didn't complain when it was HOT, or when our plans changed for the 3rd time, or when the bus just didn't want to come back to pick us guys really displayed a Christ-like heart throughout the week! Not only did the people love ya'll...but I was so deeply blessed as well! I needed to laugh with ya'll, to be silly as we danced & sang to VBS songs...I may have lost my voice, haha, but it was such a blessing to my heart! I look forward to what I hope is a quick return visit! I'll be praying! :)

How can you not love a face like hers?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thrive in the Lord

(View of Centro, the "Walled City," from the Bay)

Hey ya'll....tonight I'm pretty tired, but I've had a lot on my heart lately. I said goodbye to my parents on Wednesday and walked home from the airport (haha, that's right...I live in walking distance!) I was thinking a lot about my life here in Colombia. Some of you know that serving here in Colombia is not always easy...I work for 3 different teams, therefore I have 3 different strategies to learn and 3 different "bosses," can get the picture how this, at times, can be pretty stressful, lol! I have a clear calling by the Lord and confirmation through His Word that this IS exactly where He wants me to be and serve right now. Walking home I was thinking about how "i" can't do this on my own...then the Holy Spirit reminded me,

"You are not alone."

My good God did not call me somewhere to then leave me! He called me and is walking beside me.

He is my Protector, Joy, Strength, Love, Encourager, Giver, Sustainer, Ever Faithful, All-Knowing and All-Wise God...the God in whom I desire to delight in!

He's always been by my side, it's just some days I choose to look within myself to make it, try to muster up enough strength to have a good attitude and push past the hard parts...instead of turning to the One who desires to be my partner in this. Thankfully, I don't get super stressed out about stuff & usually it rolls off my shoulders...but the Lord convicted me that I was simply "existing" on my own strength. He has showed me these last few days that He has so much more for me & for this time here in Colombia. He wants me to THRIVE in Him. He has a plan that is so much better than what my small mind can grasp. He is simply asking me to look to let Him guide me, encourage me, give me strength....daily! :) I know this in my head, but I need to put it to action! Please pray that I would daily walk in His presence & find my strength in Him alone.

"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn. Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord, our King, to the Holy One of Israel." Psalms 89:14

Friday, June 6, 2008

How Sweet to Fellowship with Family

My sweet parents are here in Colombia! What a blessing to be able to fellowship, relax and enjoy time together. We've spent time at the beach & pool, soaking up the sun (actually, it's an escape from the heat! My mom said she's NEVER been so hot before! haha!) What can I say, I live in a beautiful place, but also a place with hot temperatures & 90% humidity! My parents were excited to meet the sweet Colombian believers and IMB M's, and have enjoyed visiting the areas we work in. :) They have been able to visit the different areas I work at during the week, and meet the people we're teaching Chronological Bible Stories & Discipleship Materials to. We've also had a wonderful time visiting some of the "tourist" sites in my city and capturing the beautiful views through the camera lens. A Time of Refreshing...Please keep me in your prayers as I enter my busiest time of work, "Volunteer Season", where we will host MULTIPLE mission teams over the next 3 months. Please pray that this time with my family will be one of refreshing & rest, & that my time with my family & in the Word would strengthen me. I need this time with my sweet family & I'm so blessed they could come to be here with me! :) I'm enjoying every moment we have together! Here are some of our pictures so far....

Family inside the tunnels at Spanish Castle

Family Photo with the "upscale" part of my city in the background

Fish Dinner (teeth & eyes included!)
platanos (smashed/fried plantains) & oysters
How many people can you fit in 1 Toyota? *25-30 people!!!
House Church...outside with a group of displaced people
Thumbs Up for my from an area of displaced people

Group of Women & Children we are storying through the Bible with.
Thank You for your Prayers & Encouragment! :) Please pray for the displaced people in Colombia as the Lord opens their hearts to the gospel & changes lives!!