Monday, December 31, 2012

Year in Review

I cannot believe it's December 31st, 2012! What a year it has been. I feel like a roller coaster describes this last year so well. It has been up and down, a curve here, a dip there, speeding up at times and others I crept slowly to the top waiting, and still waiting.

Over this past year, God has taught me a lot about depending on His will instead of trying to tell Him my own. It has also been 12 months of amazing memories that I will hold on to for a long time. I will forever remember my trip to England and Ireland with Laura in March and specifically the flight back to the states, thinking the next time I fly international will be to the missions field. Last year I reflected on camp with ten girls and our nightly guest of a rat and black widow. This year I reflect on camp and think how God worked in and through the distraction of stomach sickness. (Probably something I will think about in years to come and possible see a lesson God was teaching me)

What exactly has God revealed to me about His will for my life over the past year? Well first, I was in Charlotte, NC for 5 days in May learning about SIM as well as searching for what exactly God wanted to do with my life. I left that training in love with SIM, and even more in love with God. I knew He was going to move mountains after that time, I had no idea at that point just how emotionally and spiritually trying the next few months would be as those particular mountains began to crumble. On July 24th, I received my signed placement agreement with Kenya! I was and still am so excited that God is sending me to Kenya, and He is growing my heart more and more for the people and culture that awaits me in the coming months. Then, the first 2 weeks of November, I returned to Charlotte for specific training on building relationships, orality and the Gospel, dealing with stress, computer encryption, saying goodbyes, child safety and a myraid of other things to prepare for cross cultural ministry. I returned with a passion to share about Kenya and what God is calling me to do. Over the last year He has grown in me a trust with finances, confidence in asking for support, and faith to let Him figure out the details. 
As I think back on this last year, I see segments. Jan through April, hope with no vision. May through July, patience with His plans. August through December, preparation and letting go. One of the most amazing things I can thank God for over this last year happened just over a month ago, peace with being single. Since I was a little girl I have dreamed of a wedding and a houseful of kids. I thank God that He has placed in me a spirit of peace about singleness as I make this move overseas.

As I think forward to the New Year, I see 6 months of continuing to prepare to move and my first 6 months in Africa (so exciting!). As these last 30 days of December have flown by with the help of the holidays, I am a bit timid to ring in the New Year. But it's coming whether I like it or not and more of me is excited than is not.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” –Isaiah 52:7

As I move into 2013, I sense that these next 6 months will be like climbing to the top of a mountain. And the goal to get there is July. I get to be beautiful feet on “the mountain” that I see God sending me to. The mountain is not a barrier, it is not something I must go around, as the childhood book goes, but rather I must climb, for my goal is at the top and the footprints as I get there, will be beautiful. And I also know my God will carry me through this time of preparation and into His glorious purpose, for He reigns!

Kenya…here we come!

Friday, December 28, 2012

heart reflection Part 2

Here is the first heart reflection post.

Missions update:
*Training at SIM was a huge success. God prepared me with so much knowledge and encouragement to walk through this support raising time as well as transitioning to the field and working through the culture shock that is bound to happen.

*I have pledged 10% of my monthly support and my one-time needs are coming in.

*I have a couple presentations set up for the New Year where I am so I excited to share my heart and passion about this journey.

*January 7th I begin my final course at the seminary I will take before leaving, Inductive Study… I’m really looking forward to it.

*Inside, I am a complete mess!

And this is my(Paul’s) prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of inside, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ-to the glory and praise of God. –Philippians 1:9-11

The last time I reflected, there was just over 300 days until my faith departure date. As I sit down to write this reflection, there is just over 200 days. How fast time flies! In the last 100 days, my last Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have passed that I will celebrate here in the states for awhile. That’s a lot of holidays to process! In between all the celebrations, there have been many more constant realizations of “lasts”.

There have been moments of time where I think moving to Kenya and teaching is not that drastic of a change. Other days, especially after reading books about reality there, it hits me that I will not be as comfortable as I may think. When I say 18 months, in my head, that doesn’t seem like a lot. But every once in awhile it hits me just how long a year and half really is. After Christmas Eve and Christmas day, I had one of those painful reminders, “I’m really going to miss these people!”

Not only am I trying to work through the emotions of lasts, of wanting the most out of each time spent with people, I am also working through trusting God with the finances to get there. Just like the realities coming to life above, this trust is the same. There are times when I can say without a doubt, “I fully trust Jesus to provide the people and finances to make this happen” no emotion at all. And there are other times when people feel the need to add up the total cost and say “wow, that’s a lot of money!” My bible study yesterday morning reminded me that when God asks us to join Him in something, it is God-sized, boy does that feel true!

I have also been wrestling with God in prayer over where I may be teaching when I get there. There are days when I just want to say, “God, don’t tell me, surprise me, just get me there and then tell me.” And then there are other days when I’m begging Him to tell me each and every detail. Lately, I’ve succumb to allowing Him to lead me step my step, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments when I want to know more! My friend sent me a song, it’s amazing and has been my prayer for the last few days, here’s the link to the YouTube video. Help me Find it by Sidewalk Prophets
Help me Find it Lyrics
I don’t know where to go from here, it all used to seem so clear, I’m finding I can’t do this on my own. I don’t know where to go from here, as long as I know you are near, I’m done fighting, I’m finally letting go.
I will trust in you, you’ve never failed before. I will trust in you. 
If there’s a road I should walk, help me find it. If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment.
Whatever your will, whatever your will, can you help me find it, can you help me find it?
I’m giving you fear and you give me faith, I’m giving you doubt you give me grace. For every step I’ve never been alone. Even when it hurts you’ll have your way, even in the valley I will say, “with every breath you’ve never let me go."
I lift my empty hands, come fill me up again. Have your way my king, I give my life to you. I lift my eyes again, was blind but now I see, cause you are all I need.
I appreciate your prayers as I continue to journey through this move. It’s without a doubt God’s plan, and I’m (most days) completely willing to go. I’m excited to go, for the change, for the adventure, for the newness, for the moments when I will know without a doubt this is what He has created me to do. But I also know that as the days continue to slip away, I may struggle, I may fail, I may cry, I may want to change my mind, I may want to say no, but that is my human flesh. The Spirit within me is breaking me each day, He is growing me, refining me, strengthening me, so that together we can accomplish great things to His glory.

I’m definitely getting restless to go. I’m not fully ready, God is in the process of building up an amazing support team willing to journey with me. I’m sure these next 200 days will be full of moments where I can do nothing else but surrender to and praise Jesus for what He is doing. As I sit in the quiet, feeling His presence, the stress, overwhelming feelings, the to-do list fade, and I am reminded of Paul’s prayer, that my love for God may abound as I grow in my knowledge of Him as I experience Him daily, and through that I will be able to discern exactly where He wants me to go and what He wants me to do, every day, every moment, until the day of Christ.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

favorite Christmas ever...2012

Anyone that knows me knows that my #1 love language is quality time. And I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas, one that was about Jesus and spending quality time with those I love. I don't think I could have planned the last two days any better myself. I'm pretty sure this was my favorite Christmas ever and one I will remember for a long time!
It began at Shadow Mountain for the traditional candlelight service. My church family and I enjoyed singing Christmas carols together, reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 aloud, and of course lighting our candles and singing "this little light of mine". Tears rolled down my eyes as I sang, asking God to carry my candle into the world so that He may be made known to those who have never heard. I enjoyed this special time between God and I, as I got the opportunity to reflect on what exactly He had done for me, come down from Heaven as a baby, live a perfect life, and be willing to die on a cross so that I can one day spend eternity with Him. What a sweet time it was.
After the service, I met my Dad's side of the family at PF Chang's and enjoyed a very nummy dinner together. The fellowship was amazing as we laughed and shared memories of our years together. My brother and I reflected on our time afterwards and he said it best, "everyone legitimately was excited to see each other and spend that time together." After dinner we went back to my Aunt and Uncle's house (my cousin and I took the long way), ate a few sweets, made coffee and sat on the couch and watched old family videos. One was from Christmas when my Grandma was still alive and I was the only grandchild (24 years ago) and another was clips from my dad and Aunt's childhood. We also watched videos from our annual Lake Powell trip, what an amazing time laughing and reflecting on such amazing times together!
Photo: Our Christmas tradition!  Thank you Danielle Warford!!
Christmas Eve night I spent the night at my parents house (tradition since I moved out) so that we could open presents together as a family and enjoy breakfast together. I enjoyed this special time with just my family as we gave to one another because we wanted to. My favorite gift from my parents was not a present under the tree to open but rather money donated to my support account. I love you both and thank you so much for your love and support! I made monkey bread, a new tradition as of two years ago, and we devoured it pretty quickly. Such a great way to start Christmas day!
The rest of Christmas day was spent over at my Mom's parents house with her side of the family. Because we don't exchange gifts anymore, we decided to spend that time playing games together. It may of been a bit difficult to get everyone seated to play, but once we did, bunco was A LOT of fun! I enjoyed the quality time we had together, making memories that I will forever remember. And the food never disappoints at Grandma's house, no matter who makes it. My dad cooked the turkey and carved it for the 27th year in the a row! The sweet potatoes were by far my favorite!
And now I am enjoying my all-time favorite Christmas movie, Home Alone. It really is the most amazing way to end such a wonderful two days. Knowing that I won't be here next year, I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas. I love my family and I love the memories that we made this Christmas. I feel very loved!

Monday, December 24, 2012

this will be the sign to you

God calling Moses to the mission field has been my go to reading when I am questioning myself at all. A few months ago, one of my best friends read Exodus 3-4 to me, replacing Moses with my name and Egypt with Kenya. I relate a lot to how Moses felt as He received His calling from God to go and rescue the Israelites from Egypt. And these 2 versus spoke clearly as I have been asking God for a sign regarding my ministry in Kenya.

“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I, that I should go to Pharoah and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’
And God said, ‘I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.’” –Exodus 3:11-12

From my study bible, sign is defined as “A visible proof or guarantee that what God had promised he would surely fulfill.” A miraculous sign(Ex 4:8) is defined as “A supernatural event or phenomenon designed to demonstrate authority, provide assurance, bear testimony, give warning, or encourage faith.” That led me to Gen 15:8 (from the note from Ex 3:12) where Abram says, “O Sovereign Lord, how can I know…”

Which then led me to think, where can I go to find out the end of all these stories, to get a good idea of how God viewed their faith in these callings. Hebrews 11 of course!

By faith Abraham…was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful… (v11)
By faith Moses…regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ…because he was looking ahead to his reward. (v26)

And then a song came to mind, Step by Step (by Michael W Smith)
I will seek you in the morning, and I will learn to walk in your ways and step by step you lead me, and I will follow you all of my days.

The past couple weeks, I have been seeking God about a possible change in regards to ministry in Kenya. (More details to come) But I have been praying consistently for God to reveal His will to me, that He would speak clearly, that I would be listening and that He would direct me to his perfect will. I have no doubt that God will bless whatever decision is made, but every step so far on this journey has been so evidently clear that I felt He should answer in the same way. But Saturday morning as I opened up my Bible to Exodus 3, verse 12 caught my attention.

this will be the sign to you…that I have sent you…when you have brought the people… you will worship God on this mountain.

this will be, future tense, after the event, you will know by this sign, that I have sent you, because you will worship me. Moses had no guarantee before going to Egypt, he got no sign from God (other than this encounter) that this was what he was suppose to do. And I think it’s kinda comical that God tells Moses that He will get a sign from God, but that sign will be Moses worshipping God on that mountain AFTER Moses completes the task! Did you catch that? the sign, will be Moses himself worshipping God, and He won’t get it til after the mission is accomplished!

Which is where the song comes in, it reminded me that God doesn’t usually give us the big picture, He asks us to walk by faith, step by step, leading us and all He asks is that we will follow.

I couldn’t help but stop and sing that song to God as I felt He was finally answering my prayer. And He didn’t answer it in the way I thought He would(of course!), with flashing road signs saying “THIS WAY!!” but in a sense I did get my answer, just walk, step by step, in faith, follow me where I lead you. I know in a few years, when I look back at this time, I will probably laugh at myself for not seeing God so clearly, but I also know in a few years, I will look back and worship God with a whole new perspective as He is refining me through this process. My life is literally in His hands, I will continue to walk step by step to Kenya, what He chooses to do from there, only He knows.


I am so grateful for you, for the relationship that I have with you that allows me to have access to God the Father. I thank you Holy Spirit for the way you illuminate your Truth so that I can know God better. I thank you God for the plan that you have for my life, the desire to use little me to accomplish plans so much greater than I could ever begin to imagine. I pray Lord God that you would continue to walk me step by step, that you would help me not to walk ahead of you, but that we would stay in stride together, through this life. I am excited for all the amazing ways you will show up, just like you did for Moses so long ago, to show not just myself, but those around me, just how real and active you are. I thank you God for the people you have brought into my life who provide so much encouragement, who you use to speak truth to me, and are desiring to be apart of this journey. To hear the words, “you are our favorite missionary” totally confirms in my heart and that you are working not just in my life, but in so many around me.

Thank you Lord Jesus for the way you are working in people’s hearts to give financially to this ministry. It is so encouraging to talk with people about how You are asking them to give, and being able to answer their questions so that You can be glorified. I pray Lord Jesus that you would continue to move in big ways, that you would continue to confirm your hand on this ministry and move and that every step that is made, I can give you the glory each and every time! I praise you for where I am today, for the team of people who are praying for me, for this ministry, and for the kids and families in Kenya. I praise you because you are God, Holy, Powerful, Sovereign, Almighty, and yet you know me by name, you created me for this purpose and you are personally working in my heart and life to fulfill your great plans. I pray Lord Jesus that you would continue to make known your ways, step by step, and that I would by faith, surrender each day to your plans.

In your mighty name I pray,

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"They won't be expecting that" video

A friend shared this video on her blog and I wanted to share it too! Enjoy, you won't be expecting this! :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

217 days.

Let’s say I have a faith departure date of Tuesday July 23rd, 2013

23 days in July
30 days in June
31 days in May
30 days in April
31 days in March
28 days in February
31 days in January
and I’m writing this post on the eve of the 18th of December so…13 days left in December

217 days. I might start crying. And it’s completely mixed emotions. As the Christmas season has quickly come and it’s already the 18th of December, the fact that next Christmas I won’t be here is sinking in. Time with family and friends, Christmas parties, and traditions seem to have a greater impact on me. My heart is heavy, both for not being here for future holiday celebrations, and also for the burden to bring the good news to these amazing people.

The reason for this Christmas is to celebrate the birthday of our Savior. It amazes me that people who don’t believe in Jesus, don’t accept him as God, or don’t even know about him, celebrate this holiday with the giving of gifts, coming together with family, and sharing a meal. The wise men brought Jesus gifts on that first Christmas and we have continued that tradition in honor of the great gift He is to us. What a great opportunity to share the gospel with those who don’t believe!

Over 2,000 years ago, God, through the working of the Holy Spirit, placed God the Son, Jesus, into the womb of Mary to become God in the flesh, born of a virgin, to fulfill the prophecy of so many Old Testament Scriptures. 2,000 years ago this happened, and today we worship and adore this Jesus who is fully alive in Heaven waiting for the time for His Father to say, return, go and get my children, and bring them back to live with us for Eternity. This baby, fully God and fully man, bore my sin on the cross, died, was buried, and 3 days later rose, showing His power by conquering death. Jesus reigns in Heaven, and is my Redeemer.

200 days now seems like nothing, in comparison to 2,000 years ago. In just over 200 days I will leave all that I know, all the relationships I hold so dear, and go and by the grace of God build new ones. I pray many of those people will come to know Jesus by doing what He asks me to do, leave everything and follow Him. I pray that I can be His hands and feet to the one’s in need, I want to give my life away for the kingdom's sake, and shine His light in the darkest places of this world, in His name. I will carry with me His mercy to the broken-hearted, those in need of being rescued, and I ask Him to lead me to those who need to know Him. Here I am, Lord, I will go, send me out to make You known. 2,000 years ago Jesus left all He knew to come and make new relationships, do whatever His father asked of Him, and found the one's who needed His father's healing. What an amazing illustration to get to follow.

“We enter the world to be a redemptive agent for the world on behalf of God…we live by spirit filled action.” –Mark Driscoll’s definition of a missionary. We are an agent, a tool used by God to bring people into His kingdom. And we move, do, act, filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus is our example, He came, lived in communion with God, completely abandoned to His Father’s will, and ultimately completed His call perfectly. We may not be perfect, but thank Jesus that we have a perfect example, and that He has shown us how to do it. Through His Word, Psalm 37 has reminded me that He has set, put or given me desires, a calling, which is to bring the gospel to the people in Kenya who haven’t heard of Him. He gave his life for me, I desire to give my life for Him, whatever that means.

Therefore, I may be sad that this is my last Christmas home for a year, I may be sad that time with family and friends is limited to 217 days, I may be sad that traditions may not happen for 18 months, but nothing can replace the joy I have knowing that I am giving my life over to my Savior for His leading. Nothing makes me more excited than to know I am completely willing to allow God to lead me, whatever that may look like. This life is not about me, this ministry, this move, the financial and prayer team is not about me, it’s about Jesus! It’s all about getting Jesus’ name to those who don’t know Him. I hope and pray that if God is calling you to be apart of this ministry, that you will obey Him, whatever that looks like in your life. I pray that you will be drawn to my Jesus who I would give my life for, at any cost, for His name’s sake. He was once a baby, but I worship Him as a risen Savior, a faithful, mighty, and wonderful Redeemer.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Carry your Candle

God has been bringing Psalm 37 to my attention throughout this last week. In the normal, day to day, we pray a prayer of thanksgiving for our food, in the mornings, we may thank God for a new day. Maybe something frustrates us, and we remember to go to God with our problems. But when there is something big going on, prayer becomes a moment by moment necessity, whether to keep our minds focused, or to keep our hearts calm. This last week, prayer has kept me going and I have been praying the words of Psalm 37 over and over. 

"Delight (surround) yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness SHINE like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." v.4-6

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him..." v. 7a

"If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm." v.23

"Wait for the Lord and keep His way..." v 34a

In verse 6, it says He, God, will make my righteousness shine. And that made me think of Luke 8:16, "No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead he puts in on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light." There is something about the light that has caught my attention. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."  As I pray and ask God for continued direction, I must remember that His Word is my guide. Through the Bible and the Holy Spirit, I can become convinced of the plans He has for me, so much so that I have no desire but to want them. Which is where the song lyrics below come in. Both of them have spoke so much truth into my heart over this last week as I remember that there is darkness in this world, and He has called me to be a light. He has called me to carry my candle into His world, so that His name may be known. And  therefore, I pray and ask God to send me out. I have said from the beginning, Jesus I want to be your hands and feet, and here is a beautiful song that puts that cry of my heart, into lyrics. And once again, I am reminded to shine my light that He has burning inside me. 

I'm praying, I'm reading His word, and asking the Holy Spirit to convince me of what He has for me. I am continually reminded that God has plans that I cannot fathom, but what He has revealed is a desire to go; to go to Kenya, to teach, to shine the light He has placed in my soul, to be the hands and feet to those who need His loving touch. I am willing. That is all He is asking of me right now. 

Father God, there is a candle burning brightly in my soul, wanting to know you more, wanting to share the knowledge of your love with those who do not know. God I am willing to go, to carry my candle, to hold it out so that all can see it. God, how lit is my candle? Can you see it burning? Is it burning for you? As I was driving home the other night, I was wondering from heaven, how many people who call themselves Christians, followers of you, have a candle that is burning within them, bright enough for you to see it. Desiring to do your will, wanting to get the good news of Jesus into the world. God my heart breaks to know there are people in this world who do not know you, whether they have never heard of you or have refused you, they are there, and they need to know of your love. Help me God to shine my light bright for you, wherever you have me, so that you will be known. God I give you my life, use it for your glory, so that your kingdom is furthered, whatever that looks like. I desire to shine my candle in the darkness, so that people can see it. Send me out to go light your world.

In Jesus name,

There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
There is a Spirit who brings a fire
Ignites a candle and makes His home

So carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle, and go light your world
Take your candle, and go light your world

Jesus, Lord of my salvation, Savior of my soul
Send me out to the world to make You known
Jesus, King of every nation, this world's only hope
Send me out to the world to make you known
Send me out to the world

I wanna be Your hands & feet
I wanna be Your voice every time I speak
I wanna run to the ones in need
In the name of Jesus

I wanna give my life away, all for Your kingdom’s sake
Shine a light in the darkest place, 
In the name of Jesus
In the name of Jesus.

Here am I, I will go
Send me out to make You known
There is hope for every soul
Send me out, send me out

Friday, December 7, 2012

breaking the barriers of “fund” raising

When God began to seriously open doors to Missions, I have to admit the part I feared the most was raising support. I have no fear about getting on a plane and traveling hundreds of miles to an unknown culture, a different language and for who knows how long. But depending on other people’s hard earned funds to go towards “my” ministry… that just seemed wrong. How wrong my thinking was!
About a week ago I began a book by Betty Barnett called “Friend Raising: Building a missionary support team that lasts”. Between my training with SIM and her book, my whole idea of raising support is completely different. I now am very comfortable sharing about my ministry needs, which include both prayer and finances.

Fund. I don’t really like the word because it implies that it’s about money. This ministry is not about money, it’s about people, it’s about Jesus and seeing people know Him. Instead, I like to use the word SUPPORT. Support implies more than just finances, it’s about a group of people, invested in something, who pray for and give towards a goal. What is our goal, to bring the gospel of Christ to the nations (Matt. 28:19). We are all striving towards one goal. I’m so glad I’m not in this alone.

So here it is! In order to buy my plane ticket I must have 100% of my one time needs and 80%(or more) of my monthly support pledged. I have a faith departure date/week of July 22-26th in order to do language school for the month of August and begin teaching the 1st of September.  

One time needs: $9,186.00One Time Needs
27% Training, support raising, immunizations(ouch!), and language study
65% Plane ticket to Kenya, Visa, Baggage, and 1st months support
8% Housing set up & spiritual life conference

Monthly needs: $2,866.00Monthly Support
49% Salary/housing (this comes directly to me each month)
14% Admin fees (encouragement, processes donations, books my tickets, did I mention encouragement? and so much more!)
10% Ministry Needs (school supplies, travel to school, security)
12% Medical Insurance
11% Taxes
4% Retirement

The numbers may seem high to you, but as I was given the breakdown during my finance meeting at SIMGo, it was amazing the peace that I had knowing this was God’s money. I have complete trust that He will nudge hearts to give to this amazing ministry in Kenya. I feel so honored that He is entrusting me with these resources.

What has gotten me to this point? The way He has proven His faithfulness in the past. One clear example I remember well was about 3-4 years ago, I lost my nanny job after the father lost his and I filled my time looking for jobs and volunteering at church. Just when I thought, this is the month, I do not have enough money to pay my bills, God provided a job, a job that provided just enough money, literally down to the dollar, to pay my bills for that month. And since that month, He has provided each and every time. He has abundantly blessed me and I joyfully give back to Him.

onebodymanypartsWhether by prayer or financial giving, you become just as much apart of this ministry as I am. Picture a body, God has called me to be the hands and feet, the one moving to Kenya to work directly with kids, sharing His love and truth with them. And in these next few months, He will be calling many people to be the arms, legs, stomach, heart… you get my point. And as you pray and give, you become a part of this ministry, and He promises to those who give, they will be blessed. He is building a support team of people praying, of people financially giving, and me going so that He can be glorified. 

This isn’t about money, it’s about Jesus. It’s about giving glory to God as the Holy Spirit works in people’s lives (including mine!). I pray my testimony, this journey, and my faith will bring God much glory. If any of this becomes about me, feel free to call me out. If what I say doesn't involve Jesus, I am doing something very wrong.

Thanks to many of you, kids and their families in Kenya are going to be blessed with hearing the gospel, many I pray will receive His free gift, and become brothers and sisters to each of us who have already placed our lives in His loving hands.

Is God calling you to give? Are you wanting more information about Kenya? See the links below to follow up, be obedient to Him, and together, we will get to see Him do amazing things! Once again, thanks for praying for me, for this ministry, and especially for the kids in Kenya.

To give to this ministry, click HERE. One time needs and monthly gifts are both welcome!

I would love to meet for coffee, a meal at your house, or something creative… to share more about this amazing ministry. Click HERE to email me.

Prayer Request: Pray for wisdom and obedience for me. God has asked me to continue to align my life with His plan, not the other way around, and it’s definitely teaching me what the word flexibility means. Pray that I would be in His Word often and that He would provide an answer in a very clear and decisive way.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

hidden with Christ in God

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. –Colossians 3:1-3
1. Set your hearts on things above. (striving)

2. Set your minds on things above. (concentrating)

3. Your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (hidden & concealment)

Upward & Forward. With so much on my heart and mind concerning Kenya, this passage I read last night in class hit home. The unrest I’m feeling has to do with what I have set my heart and mind on. I’m striving towards July 2013, I’m concentrating on leaving for Kenya. My heart wants to love the children in Kibera already, my heart wants to grieve for the situations I’m going to see, my heart wants to feel that burden to understand. My mind is full of conversations that could take place to raise a support team, it’s full of names of people I want to connect with, it’s getting filled with knowledge of Kenya from resources I have gathered. But where is Jesus in all of this?
Even though Jesus is the reason why I’m striving towards leaving in 2013 and concentrating on getting to Kenya, I have left him out of the details.

Galatians 4:10, You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 
Galatians 4:18, It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.

Paul reminds me in these verses from Galatians that as I strive towards Kenya and concentrate on what needs to get done, I am "observing" this season as if it is my god. Paul reminds me a few verses later that its okay to be zealous, but do so with a heart and mind in Christ. As I celebrate what Jesus is doing in this season, I must remain zealous for Him, for His purposes, for His glory, not for Kenya. Paul reminds me in Colossians to look upward and forward in everything I do here on Earth. All I do should be focused on Christ, his resurrection and His placement in heaven. As I work on details of getting to Kenya by July, I must constantly remember why I am doing this, who I am doing this for, and where all the power is.

With Christ. I am not doing this alone. In God. Every step, every detail, conversation, gift, thought, to-do, should be done with God as the center. This is no one’s fault but my own.(check out this amazing song by Matt Redman called Never Once... I blasted it in my car shortly after posting this the first time :)... it fits perfectly!) But as I reflect on how I have been doing it, I want to now look upward and forward, I want to begin moving with Christ and as God as the center. My heart can look upward as I focus more on my relationship with Jesus instead of what He is doing for me. My heart can look forward knowing that God can use these next seven months as a time for me to know Him more. My mind can look upward and release the stress, the weight that this is all on me, my mind can let go. My mind can look forward and remember that this is all in God’s hands, this is all in God’s timing and this is all in His power.

As I look upward and forward, I must remember I am only promised today, I must focus on today, and if Jesus was  to come back today, what would I care about? It wouldn't be Kenya anymore, it would be my relationship with Jesus. This is a marathon towards heaven, not towards Kenya. I must act, respond, and live as if it’s about Jesus, all the time.

There are 25 days until Christmas, 25 days celebrating the birth of Jesus. I look forward to these next 25 days where houses decorated with lights, cookies being baked, and families coming together are just a few of the many reminders of what this season is all about, celebrating His birth. Jesus is our ultimate gift anyone could ever want, and I’m so glad I chose to receive it! Christmas is about Jesus, Kenya is about Jesus, my life is about Jesus! What a sweet reminder He has given me today.

As I was sharing my heart this morning with my dear friend, she told me an illustration that fits perfectly with this thought of looking upward and forward. I am a swimmer, I have been trained, I have trained others, I have confidence in my abilities no matter what may be in front of me (thanks to water polo for this one). She said to picture myself going out to sea. Before the calm of the ocean are waves (and in SD right now, they are quite big...see exhibit A below...)
OB Pier 12.1.12 photo thanks to my amazing Mom!
...intense waves at times! And in this season ahead, He has equipped me with Himself to get through the waves that will hit me, that will cause me to want to give up, that will challenge me, that will grow my faith, and ultimately, when I get through the waves to the calm of the ocean, I will look back and praise Him for how He got me through. Right now, I'm walking towards the waves, I see them, not quite sure how bad they will hurt, or how I will get through them, but He is with me, He has equipped me, He has proven His constant presence in times past and I will rely on those as I move forward. My Missions testimony is a constant reminder of this journey being about Christ and His timing and I must constantly remind myself of this truth.

This next season is no different and I must remember Galatians 4, this season is about being zealous for Jesus as He moves me to Kenya. I get to do this whole journey with Jesus, no matter how much longer He has me here on this Earth, we are striving together, we are concentrating together on the goal, the party in Heaven, and the best part is He is allowing me to be apart of bringing more people to this fabulous party!
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