"He must increase, but I must decrease."


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Where Did My Expectations Go?

Once accepted on the World Race, one of the first subjects we are asked to write about on our blogs is our expectations. What do we expect to encounter? Do? Gain? Experience? Whatever our expectations, we are encouraged to share them, though, not required.

This is a snapshot of what I expected from my time on the World Race. Now, I will admit that I was an avid WR stalker. I had read many a blog from Racers on the field, getting ready for the journey, and back home. I had a pretty good grasp on what to expect, and that was to expect nothing and everything. When it came down to it, though, I knew I had expectations for the Race and myself.

I look back on this post now almost two years later, post Race, and I can see how God truly did bring each of this expectations to life, sometimes by seemingly tearing them apart. I expected a lot from God, because I knew He was bigger than any expectation I could have, and He met those and even went beyond them.

So now, in this moment I pose a few questions to...myself.

Where have my expectations gone?

Where is that spirit of expectancy?

Here I am seven months off the World Race with no sense of expectancy of the God I saw work mightily for the past year and a half. Oh, yes, I know He is working, and He is going to do amazing things. That's not the expectation I am missing.

Every expectation I had for the World Race was so big, yet He them in a way I couldn't imagine and so much better than I dreamed. I am amazed as I remember, yet also dumbstruck. Not a single one of those expectations is limited to the World Race. Those can still be realized right now, in the everyday American life.

Why haven't they happened yet?

The answer is, because I no longer expected and searched for God to move in the every day.
My God is still the same. He is still able to do whatever needs to be done (and sometimes what wants to be done) for His children and His church. I think it's time I stopped filing things away to pull out and remember later, and put my expectations back on the table.

Starting now I am laying out my expectations once again. I expect God to continue what He has already begun, because that is who my Jesus is. He is a fulfiller of promises, and He finishes what He starts!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I crave foreign language. I realized it last night as I listened to two ladies converse in Spanish. I realized it when I landed back in the States where I was comfortingly surrounded by English yet uncomfortable. I realize it now as my heart aches and my tongue twitches to learn a new language.

I could go out and learn one, perhaps through a program or something, but that just wouldn't be the same. It would lack the hospitality of being invited into another person's world, the laughter of a miss pronounced word, and the joy of finally understanding a phrase.

I suppose along with missing the beauty of other languages, I miss the people that speak them.

Monday, November 30, 2015

My Christmas Wish List...seriously

As this holiday season has rolled upon us I have found myself somewhat excited but also overwhelmed. After spending this past year outside the United States, being thrown back into the materialism is slightly disturbing. Don't misunderstand me, I am super excited to be with my families, but I will miss the simplicity of not being constantly bombarded with the idea of needing or wanting stuff. As I've thought about it these past few days I have decided to make up my "wish list" just a bit differently. There are a few things I want or need, but if you were to ask what I really want here it is.
*Prayers and/or a donation for Together We Can Haiti and the Agape House
*Prayers for Bolivia and Hermano Lucho
*Prayers for the church in Huanuco, Peru
*Prayers for Paz y Esparanza, Bob and Lori Leek and MPF, Rachel and Ivan and YWAM Ecuador, and Inca Link in Ecuador
*Prayers for Pastor Ghent and his family and Bethel Chapel Mission in Malawi
*Prayers and/or donation for Kids Alive Zambia and the children there
*Prayers and/or a donation for Mark and Helen Begerly and my squadmate Jen Kaiser in Zimbabwe
*Prayers for the KJ Center in Malaysia
*Prayers and/or a donation for Lighthouse in Action in Thailand
*Prayers for the Roeung family in Cambodia
*Prayers for Daniel and Esther Ahn and the Vision English Café in Vietnam
*Prayers and/or a donation for Children's Hope Ukraine.
These would be the best gifts anyone can give! Gifts like this are actually helping the people that need it. The exciting part is I know exactly where these gifts are going and have seen first hand the way they work. It would bless me so much to know the people and places I love are being so blessed!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November 11th

Today is a special day. Some people know what today is. It is a day to celebrate one thing. Well, today is actually a day to celebrate three things. Two of them are for all Americans and the last one is for a certain set of people around the world. What could these be? I'm glad you asked.

November 11, 1620
A great day in history, especially American history. Just two days before (Nov. 9th) the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock. Before disembarking the people of the ship, who were not all there for the same reasons, realized that they were not where they should have landed and therefore were under no set government. William Bradford and several other men realized this was no way to start a new settlement and on this day 1620 the Mayflower Compact was drafted and signed by the whole ship's company.
Today marks a great day in history. Though still under the reign of the king of England, this was the first form of self government written in the US.

November 11
First set apart as being the day World War I ended, sixty years later it became what it is now. This is the day we honor all veterns of every war. This is the day we specifically set aside to say thank you to every life lost and life lived for our freedom. It definitely should not be only one day out of the year, but even so, make sure to remember and thank all those who have fought and are fighting now. They are the people who make this nation great.
There is a new campaign to turn on a green (the color) light today and keep it on for all veterns as a way to say thank you. While it should not be a replacement for an actual "thank you", I like the idea. As the ad says, our veterns are most camouflaged when they are at home living their lives. Let's show them our gratitude.

Like I said before, only a select group of people will know today in another light. Those that can be called "the Wild Ones" that have left a  life of normalcy to journey deeper into the heart of God. These Wild Ones have heard a call and answered it. Today is not so much a celebration or memorial of a certain day in history for these people, but it is a reminder of the call they answered. Today is World Race Day. The World Race is a program of Adventures in Missions in which you travel to 11 countries in 11 months (11n11) doing missions. It is so much more than a mission trip, though. The World Race is a challenge to go with God on a specific journey around the world and deeper into His heart. Only a few are called to it, those can tell you that it changed them in some way. Those "Wild Ones" may not celebrate this day, but my guess is that when they catch a glimpse of the date at some point, they will remember and perhaps have their own quiet rememberance.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Am I Part of Something?

I have been home from the World Race now for four and a half months (WHAT?!), and I often find myself wondering what exactly I am doing here.

On the Race it's easy, sometimes, to say I'm part of something more. Even if it was setting stones for a path in a camp in Bolivia or allowing a child to "fix" my hair in Zambia or just showing up at a café in Vietnam to say hi to a lady we had met earlier in the week, I always knew that God had me in that moment for a reason. Here in Georgia, USA I find it a bit harder to see how I'm part of the bigger story.

These days I'm teaching in a preschool and once a week attending a Bible study. My life is routine and pretty normal compared to a World Race life, and I have gotten lost in the routine. It took a conversation with a former squadmate to inadvertently remind me.

What I'm leaving out of the story is that God placed me here. God knew that I would be teaching three year olds letters, numbers, school manners, and more. He knew that I would be attending a Bible study that is actually the start of a new church. This life may not be as in my face as the World Race, but I am still very much a part of God's story.

God used a squadmate to help me see that but it was a journal entry from Zambia and the conversation He and I had following my reading it that helped me understand. On the Race I was actively pursuing "deeper depths" with God and He was constantly showing me something. After reminding me of that He asked me why I would not pursue those deeper depths now. I walked in faith; I allowed God to take me deeper into His heart then; why not now?

It doesn't matter where I am, what I'm doing, or who I am with, God is still God; He is still writing this story, and He is still using me- even in the smallest part. He still desires to take me to deeper depths.

I am part of God's Kingdom.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Life of Repentance

Before I was a Christian I lived a life of sin, but when I became a Christian I lived a life of repentance. ~A.W.Tozer

On the surface this quote sounds nice, and most of us would agree with it. A lot of times people equate repentance with forgiveness. That thinking is not necessarily wrong, after all, God does say if we will repent He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. So a lot of people would say, to live a life of repentance is to live a forgiven life and stop there. We cannot just stop, though, there is a deeper meaning to this "life of repentance". You see, repentance does not equal forgiveness. They go together, but they are not the same thing. Repentance is a literal turning away from sin.
Picture it like this. You are walking a path in the woods. As you go farther down to path you reach a split with a sign that says do not enter on one side. You choose the blocked path. As you continue on nothing seems wrong until you suddenly stumble across a bear trap (you know, the kind that can break your leg). You have another choice, keep going or turn back. Perhaps you choose to skirt that trap and continue on, only to find the path and even the woods are filled with them. You realize your error. Now you still have a choice continue forward or turn back. To repent would be to turn back and return to the correct path.
To live a life of repentance takes on a whole new meaning now. Living this life (aka. the Christian life) literally means to stop, confess the sin, seek forgiveness and completely walk away from it, constantly.
No matter the perceived size of the sin, it still has to be done away with. I know this is a hard lifestyle. We as people stumble and fall, but God will forgive us when we ask, and He asks that we repent too. He will pick us up, clean us, and mend the brokenness. He may leave a scar as a reminder, but He is faithful, just, and merciful.

Let us truly live a life of repentance as we constantly turn away from sin.