Saturday, July 20, 2013

Meet the Family (Continued)

Boys will be boys:
        Chris, like a big brother in the group. Chris has a deep passion to disciple those he comes in contact with and loves to see the name of God lifted high. There is nothing he likes more than worshiping and being alone with his creator. It is not unusual for us to find Chris sitting alone on the back porch, bible open in his lap, eagerly scanning the pages for more truths of God's word. An introvert by nature that has been forced to be an extrovert it has been fun to watch him come out of his shell and reach out in ministry to those around him. Chris has a serious demeanor yet a charismatic personality underneath, you just have to dig a little below the surface to get there.
         David,'s David. David's family is from Nigeria where he attended two years of high school. He loves a good laugh and you can often hear his all over the house: booming down the halls and bouncing off the walls. David has a passion for God and is highly energetic and can attract people just about anywhere we go. David loves to laugh and every conversation he has seems to point to God. He has a deep desire to see people know God personally and reaches out to everyone we meet.
         Sean, very sarcastic yet highly hilarious. Sean has a sense of humor and ease that he never seems to lose. When talking to him one can easily get confused as to being serious or joking around, but that is part of the reason we love him. Sean has a great way of connecting to older kids when he tells Bible stories and he never seems to shy away from the deep truths of scripture, no matter how difficult they may be to relate. Even when things appear to be going wrong Sean's wit stays firmly in place and seems to pull him out the other side.
          Brian, hilarious hilarious Brian. Brian is one of those people that others are naturally attracted too and love being around. He has the ability to make just about anyone laugh and have a good time. Brian tries not to take life too seriously and makes sure that those around him do the same. He is a great missionary in reaching out to kids who do not understand love and longs to help them see what it truly means. He is a nursing major, which fits his nurturing yet comforting attitude perfectly and I honestly believe he will go very far in life.
           Nick, very laid back. That pretty much sums him up. I've never seen Nick stress out about anything, but rather is always prepared for the ministry task ahead. Even though he only works with us on weekends his passion for Christ is very evident in the way he carries himself. He is a level headed leader on our team on the weekends and a compassionate friend all the time. He has the ability to make anyone feel at ease or comforted in their time of need and is very encouraging to those he meets. I believe he has the ability to change this community around for Christ and I cannot wait to see him do it.
        Nate and Alicia, our boss and his wife. Both of which have beautiful hearts for God. They will bend over backwards to make sure our needs are met and that we have what we need to minister. I don't think either of them ever rest but rather they continuously move forward in the face of opposition to reach a darkened world with the glorious truths.
        Zach and Eli, precious little boys. At ages 3 and 6 the world is full of wonder and excitement. I cannot wait to see how they turn out when they get older because currently they are both hilarious. They make everyone feel like a part of the family with their arms open wide to us everyday once we wake up or walk in from a long day at work.
         This is my summer family and I love them all dearly. I am so blessed to have each and everyone of them in my life.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Meet The Family

     I was sitting in devotion this morning with my team, laughing at everything that has happened this summer, crying together over hardships back home, praying and worshiping when suddenly it hit me. I have not introduced my summer family to everyone back home. I know I cannot do justice to each and everyone of these unique individuals but I shall honestly try.
     Let's start off with the girls:
     Lindsey, the attitude of our family. Lindsey is a beautiful and incredibly smart girl who just recently graduated with a four year in psychology. She has a laugh that can make anyone want to laugh right along but she also has a tough as nails attitude. We are constantly joking with each other in the house that we are going to get a "Lindsey look" (a glaring look that makes you feel instantly dumb). Even though she has an attitude to boot this little blonde haired green eyed beauty has the most genuine heart of most people I have ever met. She has a contagious passion for God, she has the ability to make anyone relax, have fun and dance, and she has a desire to reach out in new and unique ways to lost, forgotten, and abused people. This girl has taught me so much about standing up for myself and my faith but also about forgiveness and growth.
     Nikki, crazy Nikki. She has a four year in photo journalism and she has a true eye for beauty: not only for God's outward creations but for the heart of those she comes in contact with. Nikki tends to be our mediator when we have problems in the family and she seems to easily mend bonds by not taking sides but rather loving everyone equally. She has easily fallen into a big sister role and can talk to anyone and everyone whether through tears or smiles. This girl has a true talent for showing what love without favoritism is and is an inspiration to those she comes in contact with.
      Mary Jenn, our residential meteorologist. MJ is studying the weather quite literally. MJ has a true servants heart. She tends to be an introverted person but when you break through the outer shell you find a heart of pure gold. You find the heart of a girl that would literally bend over backwards to help anyone and everyone within her reach. Whenever we need the dishes done or sweet tea made she is the first to jump on the task without being asked or asking for any kind of recognition. She has taught me a lot about the heart of God and what it means to work behind the scenes and I have loved the opportunity to get to know her.
      Christina, Cray-cray Christina. This is our mother of the group. She has the most hilarious (yet sarcastic personality). Christina loves to reach out to those around her. She has an extremely and naturally comforting presence about her that makes one feel loved and safe around her. Whenever someone is going through a hard time she tends to be the one we turn to for solid advice. She has a love that reaches beyond words and goes straight to her actions. She has a deep love for Christ that manifest in the way she leads daycamps, the way she communicates with those on our team, and the way she lives her life in general. But, she is not your typical mother because she can light up a room with her crazy personality and constant ability to make a joke about anything and everything. This girl has taught me what it is like to enjoy Christ and to enjoy the circumstances he has put us in and I love her to death.
        Sara Beth, the beautiful one and only. Sara Beth is a social work major in hopes of going to grad school to be an adoption agent. Sara Beth's heart is beautiful and never full. She can always find space for someone else that she comes in contact with and never turns anyone away. She has a childlike attitude: one of wonder for the Creator and His creation. She has taught me what it means to stand in awe of God and to truly love. She has never met a stranger and has a way that makes everyone feel at ease around her. Everyone is her best friend because of her bubbly and warm personality and I truly believe that she will start a love revolution that will cross the globe. I am honored to call this girl my soul sisters. Those big brown eyes of her always look for the good and beautiful and those around her and she always seems to be able to see it, a skill that I am trying to learn everyday. Such an inspiration.
      It is time for work I would love to introduce everyone to the guys later.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Two worlds, One family

      "Being a summer missionary is..." Go ahead, finish the sentence in your own mind. Maybe you completed the sentence with the words unique, difficult, weird, fun, crazy, hard, impossible, exciting, or any other adjective you could think of to place there. I'll tell you that just about every word you could put in the sentence would be an accurate one. This life is hard, unique, difficult, weird, fun and crazy all at the same time. No two days are exactly alike (although many of them share many similarities). It is hard to get out of bed every day and constantly remind myself that it is a new day, it is a new day to love, it is a new day to work, it is a new day to teach, it is a new day to be present, it is entirely new. The Bible tells us that God's mercies are new every day (see Lamentations 3:23) and that means that every day we need to serve, work, love, be present with everything we have. Our hearts should be renewed everyday to serve, even in a world we do not understand. Every emotion, every tear, every laugh, every hug, every prayer, everything is new for that moment and I have to be extra careful to not miss it.
        The world I live and work in is one entirely different from my comfortable suburb life back home. Yes, I am still in America, yes I am still working with Americans, and yes I understand the traditional customs, but nothing about living here is the same as being at home. I work in an inner city housing community-a world light years away from my own. I see gangs huddled in the corners, I hear girls as young as eight talk about what has been taken from them, I see broken beer bottles smashed against the concrete, hungry children, fighting adults, houses that seem to be falling apart around the inhabitants. All of this only twelve hours from the comfort of my own home. How could this be? Does God love these people less? Did they commit some type of terrible sin to deserve all of this? The answer is a deep and emphatic NO! NO, God does not love these people any less-but maybe God's children do not love enough. NO, they did not (mostly) commit some terrible sin to deserve living like this-they were born into this life, just as I was born into mine. And, unfortunately, too many people write them off from a very young age, saying they will never be more than drug dealers or living off welfare and they do not try to invest in them. It absolutely breaks my heart. Maybe I am old fashioned but I believe in John 3:16 "for God so loved THE WORLD". NOT GOD SO LOVED THE WEALTHY, THE PRIVILEGED, OR THE EDUCATED BUT THE WORLD! So, what has gone wrong you might ask. Why do people have to live like that if there is a God who loves them so deeply. Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers, but what I can tell you is that he didn't create the world and then turn away. He is still actively involved in what happens here, He left his children here on earth to reach out and show love to a forgotten and hopeless world. I am so guilty of sitting on my rear at home, satisfied with what I have, but that life is empty, and it is a life I never want to revert to. I want to love with abandon, I want to serve until I don't have the energy to stand, I want to teach until my voice is gone, I want to see God back in his rightful place as Lord of my heart that controls my life.
         So, how could this be? How could a a nineteen year old girl reach out and make any kind of difference? Only through him. I wake up every day and realize that even if the kids I work with do not look like me, talk like me, or think like me they are still God's creations and He still longs to know them. That means we are one family. So, even if their world seems light years away from mine we belong to the same Father, and when I learn to function inside of that realization my life becomes so much easier.      
      I greatly appreciate your prayers, as does my team. Specifically we would appreciate prayers for energy, safety, and boldness as we are reaching the end of our journey.
In His Love and Service.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My God

      My God is beginning and end, He is the creator of the world and the author of my faith, He is loving and just, He is all knowing, He is beautiful and powerful, HE JUST IS! I have been blown away in the past few weeks as I have seen God move in this resort area. God is not like a human: He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He does not have favorites, He doesn't have a selfish agenda, He doesn't run out of love. Sometimes as Christians, especially Christians in America, it is easy to overlook how powerful God is. We live in a country where we can go hours, days, even weeks without acknowledging our Loving Father, without even so much as stopping to say a ten minute prayer, because we have everything we need to "survive". But, we do not have everything we need to truly live, we do not have what we need for true happiness, we have what we need for a life that leads to sorrow and death.
       As a summer missionary I have seen God do crazy things that I could not even imagine: I have seen Him answer prayers for healing as my team members heal from various accidents,heartaches and illnesses, I have seen Him break through hearts of stone on the beach, in daycamps, in the government housing community, and in the very lives of the people I work with, I have seen Him provide for our team, I have seen miracles. This week alone we have had seven salvations (I do not know the overall number for the summer but I know it is more than this). Every salvation has been an absolutely amazing: seeing a person walk from darkness in a world of hopelessness into a world of new life and joy, A LIFE OF FREEDOM is a breathtaking experience. We had three little boys saved in day camps in the mornings and four people saved on the beach (two of which were a fifty-four year old and her daughter). I assure you that nothing that has happened this week has been from ANYONE on our team: we have not done anything except be willing to be God's hands and feet. We have been praying for boldness and it has been granted, not in our power, but in God's and we are so honored and amazed to be a small part in this huge story of what He is doing on Earth.
       I will never again say that the God doesn't do miracles the way He used to or change lives because the SAME GOD that rescued the Israelites out of Eygpt, the same God who called Paul, the same God who fed an entire nation with falling mana, the same God who crumbled the walls of Jericho with trumpets and shouts, the same God who sent his very Son to Die on the cross and then rose him from the grave in three days CONQUERING HELL, DEATH, AND SATAN HIMSELF....THAT IS MY GOD! My God is amazing and all powerful, my God does not know limits, and my God is the same God now that He was then and not only can he still do these miraculous things He actually does them every single day. Unfortunately in America we have forgotten to look for Him. But, after what I have seen Him do this week I will never forget to look again.
        We still appreciate the prayers, we need prayers for protection and boldness as we go throughout our days.
Thank you!
In His Love.