Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Missions, Moving, MBI


Something I've never been extremely fond, but it seems like things never stop changing. Two big things have changed and are changing for me right now

1) My family has moved from Pine Trail Camp to the Presbyterian camp for the summer.
2) I will be leaving mexico and starting formal education with Moody Bible Institute.

These are both good, but hard things for me to process. My family moving is really hard because I have been here in Mexico as they are doing the majority of the packing and settling into a new house. Pine Trail has been my home for the past 13 years, it's full of memories and holds a special place in my heart. It's hard to imagine not going back there and continuing in the camp ministry.

I will be doing my first year of studies with MBI online and then move to their Chicago campus to finish my degree. This is going to be a crazy change for me. I have been on the mission field for close to 3 years now, the lifestyle in mexico and missions is completely different compared to that back home. It will take a while for me to adjust and remember how life works back in "normal life".

When I was first confronted with all the changes I freaked out, but as I talked about it with some of my friends I realized they were echoing some of my same thoughts, fears, and frustrations. It's scary for out lives to change in such big ways.

But it's all part of growing up.

I recently did a lecture on the book of Colossians with the CSBS here in Mexico. One of my favorite things I got out of studying it this time was how important thankfulness is. There are 6 commands to be thankful. Each time in reference to who God is and what He is doing in your life.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

It seems like those without thankfulness are susceptible to falling into doubt, frustrations, and maybe even turning away from God.

I found this to be true about me. I was forgetting to thank God for what he has given me. I was forgetting to thank God for the amazing changes he was bringing about in my life. I just cried and kept asking Him why he was changing my life in such drastic ways.

So I started to do something simple, started walk in thankfulness. When I find myself getting overwhelmed (almost everyday lately), I stop, run to the prayer chapel on campus, and take some time to just sit in thankfulness. It's surprising how much of a difference it makes.

I still don't enjoy the change, but the more I get used to it, the more excited I get about it. I'm excited for the direction God is leading our family. He is giving my parents the chance to take their amazing skills and love for camp ministry to new places. MBI is going to be an incredible time of focusing on studies and where God is going to lead me with that.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Positive impact

It's been a busy spring time! The YWAM Tijuana base is in full swing with Mission Adventures and Homes of Hope. The C-SBS started classes and study on the New Testament. I've moved around a couple times and taken on the running of the Hope Cafe. 

The past three weeks I've had a great time working on a small part of Mission Adventures by directing the Passion Play. I love getting the chance to use my love of theater and drama to depict what Christ did for us. We have been getting an amazing response from the kids in Mission Adventures.

(The passion play cast)
The CSBS has started the last semester of the school- The New Testament semester. It's so refreshing to study the life of Christ and the growth of the early church through the selfless acts of the apostles. Yesterday I taught on the background and culture of the books Luke and Acts. In two weeks I will teach on the books 1st and 2nd Thessalonians. 

(This is the CSBS at a Passover
 dinner we had)
After Christmas break I moved back on campus, there wasn't any staff housing available at the time, so I was housing with students. I had to move around campus a couple times in the past couple months. Yesterday I moved into a house off campus with another staff girl. It's a super cute house and I'll post pictures soon! 

Last year, during my SBS, I became addicted to caffeine  I blame it on the late night studies but also on the campus Cafe. I started working there last year and fell in love with the art of making good coffee (and drinking it). The next little while I will be taking over the running of the Hope Cafe because the lady who is in charge is taking leave to have a baby. 

(Caramel Macchiato!)
As you see, I've become extremely busy this past month. I'll be honest, I sometimes don't have the best attitude about it. I'm tired and would really just like a moment to go lay on the beach that I see everyday. But I also know that this season of busyness is going to slow down soon. So I drink another cup of coffee and get back in. Not because I feel obligated, but because I see fruit coming from hard work...
Kids in mission adventures are walking away realizing that their life was empty and they are ready to do something more.

The students are gaining so much from the bible school. I get to walk alongside them and watch them grow in their relationships with God. The school is a chance to pour yourself out for 9 months and walk away with truths that will shape the rest of your life. I love seeing the word of God set people free from lies they used to believe and give them practical ways to live out the truth. 

Moving has been frustrating and exhausting. Last night when I moved into my room that had closets I almost cried. I've been living out of suit cases and moving around so much.  I'm so grateful and happy to be in a permanent place that I can call my own.

It's my favorite thing to create an atmosphere in the Hope Cafe where people love to hang out and be a part of a community of joy and peace. 

God is teaching me a lot through all this busyness. A big thing is just knowing that life is so impermanent. God could send me to the other side of the world and my time here in mexico will end. I want to be able to invest and pour out my best while I'm here. 
Part of being able to pour out my best is knowing when to rest and when to keep going. In those times when I have to keep going I'm learning to rely on God's strength. Because really guys, I'm not capable of doing all of this and make a positive impact without the help of God

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Does that put the fear of God in you?

I don't know why but I keep putting this blog update off. I have tried a couple times to write one but then never get very far because so much is going on that I just don't know where to start or where to end.
Now I know, putting it off doesn't help because then more goes in my life that I would like to write about. And now there is over a months worth of things that I would like to share with you! Don't worry, I won't go crazy and will stick to some of the main things that have affected me.

After Christmas break the CSBS students started their studies on the infamous Prophets of the Bible. The school has had an amazing line up of teachers to help bring these unclear and baffling books to life.

Ron Smith, the founder of the SBS, was one of those amazing teachers that really brought understanding to the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel. One of his favorite lines being "Does that not put the fear of God in you?". His point always being "Everything you do teaches", which is not something that's easy to live by. For some reason most people (myself included) like to believe that no one is watching them or that no one is affected by what they do. I'm finding that to be far from the truth, and that truly everything I do teaches. The times that I'm in front of the class teaching, or mentoring students doesn't teach as much as my actions in day to day life. People are paying attention to if I complain while doing dishes. Girls will be listening to see how I talk about my body or others. It's those day to day things that have the greatest impact on those around me.

I taught on the book of Nahum, which speaks on the judgment of God against the evil city of Nineveh. I had great time teaching and I'm finding it easier each time to stand in front of the class and teach. The book of Nahum challenged me to really think on how much of my life am I really giving to God. Am I prideful because I am a missionary and already giving a lot of my life to God? Or am I striving to give the best I have to God?

These past 8 weeks have been quite a journey for everyone in the bible school spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Its been heavy work load and a lot of deep messages that go straight to the heart. The students here are determined to make it through and it's been incredible to see the ways that God is speaking to them through the hardest part of the school.

Thank you everyone for reading!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another year of trust

Hello Friends!
I am back in Tijuana, Mexico after a 2 week break to Michigan for the holidays. It was great to spend time with my family and catch up with some friends. By the end of my break I was actually ready to come back here to Mexico and start working again. I guess I got all the time I needed to rest be ready to go again.
One of the things that came up while I was home was what my next year was going to look like. For some reason it feels like every time I go home I feel this pressure to know what my next 5 years is going to look like. It's unnecessary, but all the same I end up trying to plan and figure out my life whenever I have time to do so.
Unfortunately all that planning and worrying doesn't usually accomplish much. It seems like every time I make a plan it some how gets changed at the last minute. You would think that I would learn and stop trying to plan things out and just go with the flow, but I don't. It seems my default is worrying instead of remembering how God is leading me to where he wants me to be. A few years ago I would never say that I'd be living in mexico and loving it. Going to show that if I followed my initial plans that I set up I wouldn't even think of living in Mexico. Yet here I am, loving life and following God.
I believe I wrote around this same time last year (I guess my thoughts go in cycles) about learning to trust God with my future. One thing I remembered today is that God loves me, and wants to see me do the right thing. I could easily say that I did the right thing coming here to Mexico, because I feel so blessed. Though I believe that if I had gone a different direction, while earnestly trying to follow God, I would feel blessed there too. Because no matter what I choose, God is still a good God. If I make a wrong decision He isn't going to make me suffer, He is going to try and lead me and bring me to where I'm supposed to be.
So here is to another year of trusting that God is going to open the doors to where he wants me to be. A year to trusting that if I do make a wrong decision God isn't going to abandon me because I know that he has never, ever done that. A year to enjoying life and giving God my best.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Help me with my Photography!

These past couple weeks have been full of some of the sweetest moments and some pretty tough ones. Being in another country, away from family, over the holidays has never been easy for me. I deeply love my family and our family traditions for the holiday seasons has always been something that has brought me a lot of joy. So being away from my family during this season wasn't the easiest on my emotions.
On the other end of that... I was just telling God about they way I was feeling about how much I miss my family. And almost everyday since then God has shown me how he has given me another family here in Mexico. We don't have all the normal traditions but there are certainly lives changing! The YWAM Tijuana campus pulled together and we put on a thanksgiving dinner for the homeless of Zona Norte. It was incredible as 500 homeless men, women and children sat down and enjoyed a thanksgiving meal they otherwise would never of had.
It was beautiful as a man who used to live on the streets of Tijuana gave a testimony of how God turned his life around and is now a pastor. After he gave his testimony many stood up and asked God to become part of their lives too. I was filled with so much joy as I watched all these men and women sitting down to a meal to be served and instead of them waiting in line for the food WE were waiting in line to serve them.

So now Christmas time is around the corner and I'm coming home for Christmas and New Years! I'm very excited to come home and see my friends and family.
I would like to ask for your help while I'm home. My sister in law had this brilliant idea of how I could raise some financial support while I'm home.....
Family Portraits for "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" greeting cards. If you have procrastinated pictures for this let me help you! I love taking photos and I'm always looking for those who love to have their pictures taken.
I'm home from the 18th of December till the 3rd of Janurary. If there is a date in there that would work for you let me know! I would love to meet with your family, share a little bit about my missions work and have a blast taking your pictures.

Prayer Requests
1) The people of Zona Norte who gave their lives to Christ would continue to see Him and search for Him

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mario of Zona Norte

Hey Friends! I just wanted to share a quick story about something that really touched my heart the other week while doing ministry in the Red Light District of Tijuana.

The picture above is a man name Mario that lives on the streets of Zona Norte. He comes to the park every Wednesday when our group gives out soup.
This one week we had a guy from our ministry share a message and play worship before we served the soup to the homeless. Mario and I were just chatting before this started and I found that not only did he have a physical disability that caused him to need a walker but he also has a speech impediment that makes it hard for him to speak. Only about 3 words of a sentence are clear.
When worship started we stopped talking to listen. As I was standing next to him I noticed that he knew the worship songs and was doing his best to sing along. It amazed me as I watched this man who could barely put two words together, and not really even sing, give his best to worship God.
So I think, do I, who lives in a beautiful place, eats food everyday, and am in very good health give my best to worship God like this man who has nothing compared to me. Too often I don't.
Later on Mario and I prayed together and the only thing he asked me to pray for was that God would forgive him. I wonder if that is what I would ask from God if I didn't even have a home to call my own and was begging for food on a daily basis.

Mario challenged me in how much I really give in worship God and what I truly should be seeking when I've already been given all I need to survive.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Joy instead of mourning

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me in any way during my time here in Mexico.

These past couple weeks have been full of meetings, classes, studying, grading, working, ministry and tons of little details that fill in the gaps of time.
Usually during times like this I get tired and grouchy. But I really believe that God is fulfilling the verse that he gave me for this season of my life in Mexico
Isaiah 61:1-3 
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."
Before I left for Mexico I asked God for a verse to dwell on and think about as I go through my year here. I believe that God has been so faithful to turn mourning into joy, in myself and to the people that I am able to encounter. 

Doing what God has called me to has filled me in inexpressible joy even though it is tiring. People have come up to me and told me that they can see that I am growing in joy and peace. They say that because of the work that God is doing in me they see my ministry is becoming fruitful. I believe that a lot of that joy has been present because of the prayers of my friends and family. Prayer is such a vital part to the ministry I am doing here and without I would wilt. 
So thank so much for praying for me. 

Prayer requests: 
Increased joy and peace 
Healing from sickness (there is a flu going around the missionary base)