Monday, November 24, 2008

New Friends!

Wow! What an amazing weekend! It has only been three days but I have seen & met so many great people. It started Friday when I was invited to attend a home group made up of people interested in missions. Most of them have been on a mission trip to the Philippians. One couple is in the process of preparing to go there as long term missionaries. Another woman will go on a short-term team to train pre-school teachers. Another person is hoping to ride his bike across America to raise money for missions. We shared a Thanksgiving meal together and then had a fabulous time of worship, discussion of Pastor Jim’s sermon & prayer.

After that time I “hitched” a ride to me sister’s where I got a personal demonstration of her Creative Memories scrapbooking things. Those of you who know me, know that I enjoy these creative …crafty things but envisioning the end product is not one of my skills. But it was fun to see what excites my sister. I also enter a drawing for some free materials. And surprise, surprise I won! My sister and my nieces swear it wasn’t rigged. I got a very cool album, papers & stickers. Now I just need some free time & inspiration.

Saturday & Sunday I spent most of the time at church. I set up a display on Poland and the work there & I was introduced at all 3 services at Eastside Church. It is amazing how challenging a 2 minute introduction can be. Pastor Matt said a few things and then asked me what people could pray for. It was as if he read my heart, so when I went to say something it was all I could do to not cry. And Pastor Jim reaffirmed me and Eastside’s commitment to me. It is the 1st time in a really long time that I’ve felt like I truly had a pastor: someone who is a mentor & father figure.
You know it could be perceived that being in 3 almost identical services could be boring. Yet I found myself absorbed by the worship in every service & being touched by something different in each sermon. Today I was stuck by the number of people my age and old who were jumping around in worship to Jesus like a bunch of youth at camp…ok maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration but not much. It is so nice not being the only one acting like a kid for Jesus.
After each service I met and talked to many people. Unfortunately, my memory is much shorter than I would like when it comes to remembering all the new names and faces. But along with the new ones I also was reacquainted with many old faces that I haven’t seen in many years. Out of those conversations came a request for prayer requests…so here it is…Furlough, The Field, and Redeployment:
1. Peace that everything is in my Father’s hands & I can completely trust Him with it.
2. A vehicle from January 1- February 25, 2009.
3. Finances to cover my uncovered medical expenses (deposit, co-pay, dental, eye exam).
4. Quality time with my family, primarily my nieces & nephew.
The Field:
1. The protection of the hearts, minds & spirits of the people of congregation in Nowy Targ.
2. A group of individuals willing & committed to build long term relationships with Poland & her people.
3. That they would grow stronger in their trust in Jesus & really learn to take care of/love one another.
4. A couple who has church plant experience to help to round out a church plant team in Nowy Targ…to mentor, disciple & empower the nationals to lead.
5. Strength & courage to pursue Jesus with their whole hearts, no matter the cost.
1. Clean bill of health
2. Clean out storage & have a garage sale of unnecessary items.
3. Support:
a. 5 churches committed to:
i. Pray
ii. Go
iii. Financially: @ $300/month
b. 40 individuals:
i. Pray
ii. Connect with individuals
iii. Visit
iv. Financially @ $50/month
c. Finances to-date - approximately ½

At the end of my day at the church I got to walk home in the warmth of a beautiful sunny day. Then I got to go to an international potluck dinner. If you have never been to one you should try it. Each person brought something that would be from their country of ethnic heritage. It was an amazing display of diversity.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Culture Shock

For me the biggest culture shock about being in the US is the spiritual life. I'm sure for many who live here it is easy to become discouraged by the deterioration of Christian values & in some cases even freedoms, but for me is it an oasis of rich Christian blessings.

Yesterday I had the privilege of going to Marysville for the 40th anniversary of Pinewood Elementary, where I was part of a team, 18 years ago (Yikes), that piloted the elementary school counseling program. But before the festivities began I got to spend the day in the local Starbucks. I tried to mind my own business but I was constantly being distracted by people: engaged in Bible Study, talk of what the Lord is doing in their lives, disciplining one another, or talk of praying for others that weren't there. These were people of every age and walk of life. A group of middle aged ladies for a day out. A woman teaching a younger woman how to live a life devoted to Christ. A group of teens just randomly talking about their lives and freely sharing their personal relationships with a living God.

It was amazing to not be the only one with a Bible and notebook sitting on their table. I don't know but as Thanksgiving draws near I'm always reminded at just how VERY blessed I am. All the opportunities, privileges and resources I have been graced with.

I challenge you to look for God's blessings in this day...and thank God and those around you.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

FMI Missionary Training in Orlando

I came here not know what exactly to expect. First, let me just say how grateful I’m to be part of such an open, wise, gifted and diverse family. Each person is a wealth of the Lord’s essence. After the 1st day it seemed that we had been here for a number of days as we had covered so much material. It truly is an intensive. I can see how much I have needed a “tune up”.
I have become aware of a lot of little things that have crept into my life that kept me from walking in the fullness of the Lord’s power, grace and compassion. It is as if the harshness of life has stripped away layers of who God has made me to be and left me with the lies of the enemy. These last few days have revealed my condition, brought healing and empowered me to implement God’s truth once again.
There is so much to say and process unfortunately there isn’t much time to communicate it. But one thing from Sunday: The pastor from Deeper Life Assembly Foursquare our host church here in Orlando give an incredible message about us being the lambs of God being sent among wolves. And that we need not fear or shrink back because we have the Lion of Judea within us. I realized how many times I had, unknowingly, backed away from believing God for more in Nowy Targ because I was afraid of other people or the reaction of the “wolves”. Somehow I expected that those in the world would be happy I was there and “warmly” accept me with open arms. I was shocked that I didn’t get the response I anticipated and I found myself hurt and discouraged. I believed a lie. The lie began with the idea that the world is a safe, friendly and accepting place. Then it took me to a place that said I am alone, stupid, powerless, and God doesn’t really see or care.
The truth is: Jesus said, “…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20b)
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13)
“Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things…we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2: 15-16)
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
I am a weak willed, redeemed, servant of the Most High God. He never leaves me, NEVER! I have the strength and power that has been given to me through the in filling of the Holy Spirit that the Son has sent to me. My mind has been united with the very Mind of Christ which enlightens me with all the wisdom and discernment necessary to navigate this life. Finally, Jesus Christ indwells me giving me to power to overcome all things.
Attached are some pictures:

Beth and Jonathan Hall
FMI Director of Missions

Mr. Missiology
John Amstutz

John & Sonja Decker
Practical Holy Spirit
Ministry trainers

Special Music by
Deeper Life Assembly
Gospel Steel Drum Band

These Teens Blessed us Missionaries with
The Old Rugged Cross
And another amazing piece