Thursday, August 16, 2012

recent goings-on.

A lot has been happening around here, so forgive me for disappearing for two whole weeks! I am trying to get back into some sort of routine, which has proven to be a bit difficult with all that needs to get done! But anyway, I had a few minutes free, so I figured I should catch you all up on the preparations for Africa!

The biggest thing that I have to share is: I am completely done with fundraising! Your prayers and generosity have been astounding, and I raised all $3600 needed for the trip itself, plus another $800 for the necessary vaccines. I still cannot believe it, actually! The fact that so many people helped me with the expense is such an amazing gift, and it reminds me that God indeed is in control. After all, I fully believe that I would not have reached this goal if He did not intend for me to go on this particular trip.

The team has begun to have conference calls once every other week so that we can all get to know one another a little better before October. I am really looking forward to meeting everyone because our stories are all so different, yet we are united in our love of Christ and our passion for the children of Africa. God has truly knit together this team, and I believe that He has equipped this group with a myriad of strengths so that we can effectively demonstrate His love in these orphanages.

Now that the Nehemiah study is completed, I am starting a book called "When Helping Hurts" by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett. It is one that Visiting Orphans requires us to read before our trip, and we will be discussing it further in later conference calls. I have a funny feeling that parts of this book will also apply to my work in the hospital... I'll let you know when I'm done reading it!

I will, of course, try to be better about updating you all in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please keep us in your prayers! Love and thanks to each of you!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

nehemiah: a heart that can break (session six).

Things I've Learned Lately [Session Six]

  • Satan likes to use our busy lives and our busy minds to help us forget what we're to be focusing on.
  • Nehemiah's story is about a sense of community even in adversity, and the building for tomorrow.
  • While we're still on this earth we'll always have pinnacles as well as valleys, languid days at sea and ones that threaten to break up our boat.
  • The priests, gatekeepers, and temple servants were strategic to the community as religious servants and leaders to help preserve God's heart as central to the city's foundation. How gracious that God did not intend for us to labor in isolation but intelligently created and gifted us with different personalities, skills, and backgrounds.
  • "Willing" is one of the hardest words of the Christian language and yet the one that holds the most reward.
  • "Never underestimate the importance of simply being physically present in the place where God wants you." - Warren Wiersbe
  • Sometimes obedience simply means showing up.
  • God began Nehemiah's journey at the broken Valley Gate and completed it at a restored one. If He did this, we have reason to hope that He will work with the same restorative power in our lives. Where the place we stand remains the same but everything around us has changed, this is full circle. This is a miracle.
  • Nehemiah's historical account tells us of real life: the miraculous, the mundane, and never-ending battle of staying the course of obedience.
  • When people can see the excitement that surrounds a project, it's much easier to get them involved.
  • The world doesn't need more wealth, strength, power, or skill as much as it desperately needs trustworthy people. Being trustworthy is a paramount quality because if a person is trustworthy, even their offenses or mistakes can be taken in this light. But if a person cannot be trusted, how can you put your hope in even their most elaborate gift?
  • "Spiritual growth is generally better gauged by the quality of what passes as normal than by the fleeting moments of particular uplift." - H.G.M. Williamson
  • Nothing is wrong with the spiritual highs we experience on the mountain peaks, but the way we live our daily lives down here at sea level reveals the most about us.
  • There is much to mourn over and much to defend in this world, but we can only do so out of a heart that can break. We must have hearts that have broken over our own sin. Only then can we be trusted with confronting for the sake of righteousness and to defend God's beloved people.
  • Let us never lose sight of the reality that heaven is a real place, and all that God has put in our hearts to do for His kingdom here on earth will one day translate into the New City.