Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I’m back and can finally say all the stuff that I had wanted to say, but couldn’t because of security issues.

First of all, I just want everyone to know that I can now go into more detail about where I was last semester, but I can’t publish it online or elsewhere. I still have to be careful because there are still missionaries in this very sensitive area of the world and I don’t want anything I do to jeopardize the work going on over there! In that same spirit, I would ask that everyone please be careful what they say about me in the coming weeks and months (prayer lists, internet stuff, etc.)

Sorry had to get that out of the way. Anyway, all the stories, both serious and funny, out of the way, i have several thoughts about my time serving that really stick out to me....

1. We talk a good game about how we’re “all missionaries wherever we are.” It’s so true, but do we really live it? Do we still put missionaries up on a pedestal? Do we live everyday intentionally, taking every opportunity to share the Gospel? The big difference between most missionaries and us is not that they have followed the call to go to another country (that is a big part of it, but there are missionaries in the U.S.) but that they have made sharing Jesus their main priority every day! They would look for opportunities, even try to create opportunities to share about Him! Wow! I saw this firsthand with the missionaries on the field and experienced the change in mindset that is required to live this way! It isn’t hard!!! It just requires prayer to see things the way the Lord does and surrender to His leadership! We are missing out on so much by not living this way!!!

2. Our supervisor told us from the very beginning “I know what you came here to do, but I have no idea what God brought you here to do.” It was hard for me to live out 4 months in that kind of attitude. We all have plans for our lives, for our ministries, really, for everything. I had good intentions going into last semester, but I still came knowing my plan and getting frustrated when it changed. We go through a lot of needless frustration every day because we are unwilling to surrender our plans to the One who knows best! We see changes as things going wrong when we should see them as God working and knowing better!

3. We get so used to hearing certain things and saying certain things that they lose their impact on us. A song that really meant a lot to me in my time there says:

You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, Christ is risen
Jesus You are Lord of All

Not that I haven't believed that before, but the words take on a new meaning when you're working with Muslims. First of all, in their understanding of Jesus, they highly esteem Him, but as a prophet, not a Savior. They think that we're on the same page because we believe in Jesus, but they completely deny His death and resurrection....which is pretty important to us as Christians. Also, the greatest sin to a Muslim is the sin of equating something else with God. "There is no god but god" is their profession of faith. Saying that Jesus is Lord of all is offensive to these people, just as we are warned in the Bible that the message of the cross will be. The message of the cross is controversial because it is powerful! We must never get bored with the fact that Jesus is Lord! This is perhaps the most powerful statement we can make! In fact, Romans 10 pins our salvation on confessing His Lordship and believing His resurrection! No wonder these two tenets of our faith are such stumbling blocks to Muslims and other faiths!

4. Islam is seen as such a formidable threat. I’m not trying to downplay how much it is taking over or anything, but we must not live in defeat! Have we forgotten that Jesus still has the victory? God is working in the Middle East, He is working in the hearts of Muslims, He really is the Desire of nations and the Lord over all! Muslims are seeking Him and He is revealing Himself to them in some awesome ways! We cannot give up on the 1 billion people taken captive by this deception! We must keep reaching out to them and supporting mission work. Which finally leads me to…

5. We need to keep praying, going, and giving to support missions! It’s hard to see the impact here in the United States, but I personally saw how much financial and prayer support is needed overseas. Living overseas is difficult and there were plenty of times that the only way I was able to keep going was in the knowledge that God was giving me strength because y’all were praying for me. We must keep praying for missionaries! Also, as a whole, we are giving less and less to missions at a time where God is really moving overseas! Funds for missions sending agencies are running low, meaning that less and less people are able to go on the field! We must give keep giving of ourselves and of our resources if we want to be a part of what God is doing all over the world!

Sorry this was so long! I truly want to thank each and every one of you who prayed for me, encouraged me, kept up with my blog, etc. It truly did mean the world to me and in times where things got hard I relied on and drew encouragement from you, the body of Christ. I think that’s how it should be. I love you all.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hello again!

Just to keep y'all updated (yesterday was a big day)...I was able to show the Chronicles of Narnia movie to my two students and their mother. Last night i was able to give them a copy of the book in their language and explain all the symbolism in it. i had lifted up this opportunity yesterday and asked that i would be able to share with boldness but also with gentless and i was really enabled to do so. i shared the message, all of it, but in a way that didn't estrange them or turn them off. I think they really got it! They really seemed to understand what i was saying and when i explained who the lion in the book was one of the girl's faces lit up and she let out a sound of surprise and excitement. They started reading the book as before class was over and i told them to remember what it meant every time they read it. Awesome.

Also last night was the night we celebrated the girls in my d-ship group memorizing psalm 19! All of the girls (and me and my teammate) got it memorized! i honestly don't think i've ever been prouder in my life of someone else. Think of the committment these girls showed! What i myself do here might not last, but His word remains forever and i Ask that what they learned this semester will keep changing these girls' lives for years to come!

Please be lifting us up as we prepare to leave this week. It' very hard to leave knowing there's still work to be done over here and it's almost unbearable to leave knowing that my students still don't know the truth. Please be asking for strength for us and for wisdom as we still try to share the truth with them.

I'm excited so excited to see all of you when i get back! Be prepared to keep getting updates though! There are a lot of thoughts i want to share when i don't have to worry about how to word things and say them safely! Peace!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hey again! This might be one of the last updates you get from me while I'm here! Crazy! I wanted to tell everyone how God has been proving himself faithful over here and also a few more ways that you can be lifting us up before we go.

Many of you know that I had the equivalent of about $300 stolen from me about a week and a half ago. This money was part of the monthly stipend i get for being here. I use it for food, taxis, and other necessities, so it going missing was really discouraging. I needed that money to live on for another 2 weeks! I saw how much i lacked faith when this happened. I knew God could provide, but my initial reaction when this happened was to panic. I decided to stop worrying and just pray and ask that God would provide. And He did. My teammate gets a monthly stipend too and so we just shared it. I don't know how it has lasted as long as it has, but God has really multiplied it and stretched it almost without our even realizing it. I appreciate those of y'all who have prayed for this situation as well. God is so good and so faithful.

As my teammate and i wrap up our work here, we ask that you'd be lifting up a couple classes that we are very strategically planning to share the message. On Wednesday, i'll be showing The Chronicles of Narnia movie to my two students who are sisters. I will also be giving them the book and explaining the message, the allegory, behind it. Also on Wednesday, my teammate will be sharing her story (t-mony) with one of her students. These are really great opportunities and chances for the message to clearly go out.

Also just keep our mental sanity in your prayers. I always get really anxious when i get ready to leave somewhere or finish something. I am having the same problems here. I couldn't tell you what i'm anxious about, but there's just a general sense of anxiety that is making me want to check out and stop focusing on the work here. If i ever needed to be concentrated on the work here, it is now. Thanks always for your prayers. See y'all soon!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Just wanted to update everyone on how things went on Saturday night with the songs and such. It was amazing! I was able to bring all the lyrics to the songs i sang and i was able to sing a song in their language! Singing and speaking in their language is so important. They know English well enough, but not at the level where something i say or sing in English can really connect with them. They knew exactly what this other song meant and i think (and hope) that it really stuck with them. It also opened doors for me to bring my guitar back again and sing more songs! I am so excited! Maybe the coolest thing that happened was that the 9 year old sister, as i was leaving, asked me if i knew any Britt Nicole songs. She said she really likes Britt Nicole! Britt Nicole is a C singer and i thought it was really strange that this girl had heard of her, much less liked her or listened to her at all. I am so excited that this door has already been opened! This could bring some awesome opportunities for me to explain the lyrics to her and since she already likes her music, she will continue to hear it and continue to remember what it means! Awesome!!!!

Besides that, not much has been going on. The last few days have been holidays over here (i feel like they have waaaay more holidays than we do) so i haven't been teaching and i've really been bored out of my skull. Today i start teaching again, so i'm really thankful for that. Our d-ship group is going great! We're starting to wrap up and talk about how now that i have taught them, it is their job to go and teach others. We're still memorizing Psalm 19 and i am so proud of the progress they've made and their committment to keep going. I keep Asking that they would be reminded of it every day and that they would see some way to apply it to their lives. I told one of the girls the other day that she will never regret putting His word into her heart and mind!

Thanks for praying for me! I need it these last few weeks as i try to finish strong. Col. 4:2-6

Thursday, November 11, 2010

great opportunity!

Hello Again!

A wonderful opportunity has just opened up that I want y'all to know about so you can be praying about it! I told y'all in my last blog that my students loved the song "New" that I let them listen to, and when they found out I played guitar, they wanted me to bring my guitar to their house and the play that song for them. I did last night and they loved it so much that they asked me to bring it back and play more songs for them. I told them that most of the songs I knew were about JC and that they probably wouldn't know any of them. They weren't phased at all by the subject of the songs and they asked if i could print out the lyrics and bring them so they could learn them! WHAT?!?!? Not only did they ask me to bring these songs in their house, they asked me to leave the words with them! What an amazing opportunity! I am currently in the process of selecting strategic songs that they will like but also will clearly present the Message. I also know a song about JC in their language, which is even better. Please be lifting up this awesome opportunity that I will have on Saturday.

Everything else is going well. We are having open doors with all of our students, but this family seems especially open. Thanks again for your encouragement and prayers for me. I will continue to need your prayers this month as i wrap up the work here (it feels like i just started). Thanks! Love you all!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I just realized that somehow all of my last blog didn't get posted. Sorry. Hopefully y'all got the picture of what i was saying. Haha.

We are continuing to have open doors with several of our students over here. The two sisters that i have mentioned several times are proving to be proabably the most interested students that we have. Every class we have with them (we have class with them 3 times a week) they have some kind of new question or we are able to get into some kind of good conversation. This is so exciting! On Monday we had a class where we talked about music and i specifically chose a few songs to listen to that i thought would bring up some good conversations. We listened to the song "New" by Bethany Dillon; they loved the song, but were kind of confused by the lyrics. They asked to know what the song meant. I was able to explain to them that the song was a prayer, that she was thanking God for making her new. I think they found this very interesting as they don't have this concept in their faith. They begged me to give them the song, so i'm going to tonight. Just Ask that everytime they listen to the song they will remember what it means. Their mother the other night also started asking questions and my teammate was able to engage in a really good conversation with her. This was surprising to both of us as we haven't seen any interest in her before. God is really working. We are also starting to teach a new family, and had the first class last night. We were worried that it was kind of late in the game to start a new class, but my teammate assured me last night that they are very interested in what we have to say and that even in the first class she had some great opportunities with them. This is nothing short of a miracle. Keep praying for our other two students as well.

Our d-ship group is going really well. The girls are still full of really good questions and are really interested in learning. We faced some problems with them when we had to deal with some of the stuff that happened at the sleepover we had last month, but we are beyond it now and i am really proud of them. Keep praying for them. They are putting themselves into a lot of bondage just with the stuff they put into their minds. This week we are going to talk about media, so pray that they would choose to listen to the truth instead of the lies the world gives.

Finally, just pray against discouragement for my teammate and i. Pray that we would have peace and be rested, and pray that we would be "bold enough in Him to speak as we should." I was hit the other day by the reality of Col. 1:6 over here. It is absolutely true and is being lived out before my eyes. Keep praying. You might not see the results, but you can trust that God is at work.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hello again!

I can't believe October is only a week from being over! The more time i spend here, the faster the time goes by. Everything is still going well and ever since last Wednesday when i was able to share with my two students about the Christmas story, i have had so many more open doors with them. First of all, i was able to give them a Book in their language. It's not a full Book, actually, it's a Children's Book, filled with stories and beautiful pictures. If they had known what it was, they probably would not have accepted it, but since it is in the form that it's in they were very interested in it and liked it a lot. They've also asked a lot more questions that i've been able to answer and explain. We got to talking about funeral customs for believers and i told them that we often sang at funerals. They thought that was very strange and asked about it. When i thought about it, i had to admit it was kind of strange too, but not when you think about the hope that we have! I explained this to them the best i could. If you could Ask just one thing for these girls, please Ask that they would continue to have questions and that i would have wisdom in answering them. I have another student too, but it's really difficult with her because she speaks absolutely no English and i know only a little bit in her language. She knows what i believe and how i act, but it's difficult because i want to communicate it verbally with her so bad! Please ask for opportunities with her too. Our goal with our students, besides of course getting to share with them, is to leave as many materials in their language as we can before we leave. We can say a lot while we're here, but His word is much more powerful than what we can say, and It can speak long after we're gone. It's such an encouragement to know that "[His] word that comes from [His] mouth will not return to [Him] empty, but will prosper in what [He] sent it to do and will accomplish what [He] pleases." It's so wonderful to know that whatever else happens while we're here, God has already promised that His purpose will be accomplished!

Besides all that, everything is going pretty well! Our d-ship group is still great, the weather is still slowly, but surely, cooling off, and we have our last public class tomorrow (that might not sound like a good thing, but it is....for so many reasons). Please continue to pray for me and my teammate. Often when the work is going awesome and is at a crucial point, the enemy does his best to discourage and to