Sunday, May 28, 2006

Road to Recovery

In a time when many people are talking about recovery of one sort or another, whether its recovery from drugs, alcohol, divorce, abuse, overeating, under-eating or even just plain recovery from life itself, many seasoned church goes need recovery from their church involvement. Those of us who have walked with Jesus a long time often find ourselves so consumed with “church life” we have lost sight of our True Love. I think for me, I have gotten used to adjusting to the expectations of what others have defined it means to be part of God’s Body.

In essence, we need to “recover” the original DNA of our first encounter with the Greatest Love of our life, Jesus.

I know for myself my heart and soul have been ravaged by “doing good” & “serving”. The heart wrenching disappointments of investing my heart, soul, & life into people who in an instead turn & reject me & the Lord I serve.

The weariness that comes from too much to do, too little time, & being too tired and overwhelm to do anything topped by guilt that rolls in light thick grey smoke across the floor, filling the room & over taking your joy.

In it & through it all there is a cry deep pulling me to “Return”. Often not know to what exactly. Just to Return.

Where? To What? Why? How?

“You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first…” Revelations 2:5

For a long time I knew & recognized where I had fallen from but why & how I really didn’t know or understand. I had “done” everything that was “asked” &/or expected of me & often more but I seemed to be lover than ever.

I found myself looking for “someone”…”anyone” to “help” me. My heart was crying out; “Don’t you see me? Doesn’t anyone see the needs?” My thoughts, attitude & emotions went from disbelief, to shock, anger, blame, & resentment. But repentance never crossed my mind – Why? I WAS doing God’s STUFF…wasn’t I?

“Repent”: Recently I realized that I needed to repent for putting the STUFF between me my truest love…Jesus.

“Do the things you did at first”
What things?
I’m going to church. I’m serving. I’m tithing. What things?

What did I do at first?

A truly repentant heart
Everything I did was motivated and empowered by the Love I experienced from Jesus.
The reading of God’s Word with daily anticipation of a visit of His visit
There is nothing like the thrill of meeting with friends who also were waiting daily for & experiencing the adventure of God’s greatness.

Everyday is adventure of the Lord’s daily guidance, provision, and leading; every change and difficulty an opportunity to see My God work.

Lord thank for your patience with me and my journey.
Help me to keep my eyes on Jesus

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ingemar Martinson

A Great Man of God
A Trusted Friend
A Faithful Servant
A Visionary
A Master Mentor
A Loving Spiritual Father

Last night I was shock to learn that Ingemar went home to his heavenly reward on March 10, 2006. I say shocked because for me Ingemar was someone who was some how more than human, which meant that somewhere in the depths of my mind it was impossible for him to not be around. Though I hadn’t spoken to him in years I always knew he was behind me and would be there if I needed a hand or advise.

For those of you who don’t know, Ingemar was the one who showed me how to work in Central and Eastern Europe when it meant crossing the Iron Curtain. I did a 3 month internship at the Solasen Training Center, under his leadership the summer of 1987. This was a difficult time for me because I had just been released from staff position at my home church. I had no career (I had resigned my teaching position a year earlier), no job, my apparent attempt at full-time ministry didn’t work out, and I was really beginning to question if I had any value in God’s work. Yet, I knew I had a call to Central/Eastern Europe but how? I really believed I was to build relationships with the believers. I had no idea what to do or where to begin.

Though Ingemar had only met me once he agreed to take me on for the summer at his training center. I was quite broken and confused when I arrived at the training center in Kolmarden Sweden. Yet I found myself accepted into a loving family at Solasen. I was content to serve in anyway possible. I enjoyed being able to pour myself into the manual work of clean bathrooms, peeling potatoes, cleaning guest rooms, setting tables & doing dishes. Actually, I preferred to hide in my work but that was not acceptable. They wanted me to be in relationship with them…to be a part of the family. They made me stop my work everyday and have coffee with them. Ingemar included me. from the very beginning, in the planning and organized of the activities. Like I said I would have been very satisfied to just do my “household” duties all the time but soon after I arrived Ingemar sent me as the Solasen representative with a group of Americans to Poland. I was responsible for the group: the contacts, money, everything. I really questioned his judgment …but he believed in me. During that summer he tutored me, directed and guided me but more importantly he encouraged the call on my life like a father. The Lord sent Ingemar to be the spiritual father to me that my own father could not be.

At the end of the summer we reevaluated my situation and our relationship. We were all pleased with our new friendship and how well we were able to work together. Though I desired to come back and Ingemar was open to that he encouraged me to start an extension of the work in the US. Thus, Friendship Ministries was born. In the early years we both travel back and forth a lot. I was learning all the time and he was teaching, encouraging, supporting, challenging. To say that I am a full-time missionary in Poland as a result of his mentoring would be an understatement.

Ingemar was a man a head of his time, who develop a Sister Church program with East/West Churches partnering together. He was often criticized by other mission leaders as to the wisdom (or lack there of) and risks of being groups of westerners into Communist countries to visit Christians. He was undaunted in his passion to keep our Eastern brothers & sisters in Christ connected to the great Body of Christ. Though the “Iron Curtain” has been gone for quite sometime now the impact of Ingemar’s vision on the lives of individuals on both sides will be felt for generations to come. I pray that that same heart and passion will always be at the very core of my ministry.

Thank You Ingemar!
Well Done Faithful Servant!

I will always be grateful for the investment you made in my life.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

My Sunshine/Son shine Room

It is hard to believe that we have been using the room in the basement for a month now. March 28th to be exact we had our first meeting in the new room where the group from Eastside Foursquare Church was visiting us.

The room in the basement got its name from the color that we decided to paint it. Because of its location and the fact that the windows are quite small there isn’t much light. After much discussion it was decided to paint it 2 shades of yellow. To me it felt warm and inviting like the sun and then realized that it was going to be used for the “Son’s” purposes. Thus the Sun/Son shine room.

Thanks so much for your prayers and support during this project. There is also a special thank you to the Board of Friendship Ministries for providing the funds for the materials for what has already been done.

I would like to show you where we have come from, where we are and where we would like to go.

What needed to be done & where are we at now?
1. The 2 small rooms need to be cleaned and secured (locks etc.) so that the items stored in the large room can be move. – Completed February 22nd

Room 1: used for bikes & seldom/seasonal used items. Room 2: general storage.

2. The large room needs to be cleaned out and consolidated into the small rooms.
In the beginning it really seemed like an impossible task. – Completed February 22nd 3. The large room needs the following:
a. Flooring – Completed March 27th

b. Wall board and insulation (sound proofing) – Completed March 18th
Due to the type of construction Styrofoam was used.

c. Sound proof door and locks – Due to cost a better door was purchased but not necessarily sound proof.

Still needed:
1. Secured door and locks for the storage room with bikes etc. Cost: $175 (must be custom made)

d. New windows – Installed April 3rd
e. Paint – Completed except for touch up after the windows were put in.
f. Tile for around the sink (we have a sink) – Not possible at this time as there is a problem with drainage.
g. Light fixtures – One was purchased but it is not possible to attach it to the ceiling with the sytrofoam insulation.
The Workers: h. Equipment Still Needed*:
i. Sound:
1. 2 Multi use speakers $500
2. Amplifier $650
3. 2 microphones & cables $130
ii. Projection: LCD projector to use for worship, showing films for outreach, etc. Cost $1000.
iii. Chairs: 10 + Chairs: Cost $150
*Note: All equipment will be inter-changed between this new location and the church in Zakopane as needed.

Currently: I have been transporting the overhead, overheads & chairs back and forth between the 2 locations, a couple of times a week.

If you would like to help with the costs of this project you may send your tax-deductible donations to Foursquare Missions International or Friendship Ministries, T.L. P.O. Box 8387, Kirkland, WA 98034 USA. PLEASE ATTACH A NOTE FOR THE NEW ROOM.