Tuesday, August 30, 2011

He is rockin' my world... Literally

Last week was a week to write down in the books... an earthquake and a hurricane all within five days. I see now that the Lord is preparing me for so much more than I expected. Being from Alabama, we never really talked about what to do during an earthquake. When the building started shaking, I had no idea what was going on- much less what to do! All of a sudden, the speaker announced, "This is an earthquake, get out of the building!" I'm pretty sure my heart was beating like I was sprinting, and not only that... my body may have been shaking more than the building itself. Ha. I am so glad that this happened for the first time in America. Since then, I found out that the Philippines frequently has earthquakes. I am thankful that I know that the door frames and outside the building are places of refuge rather than under a plastic table with a textbook covering my head.

The learning week was great last week too. We started off with the persecuted church. Whew! That gave me about a million more reasons to pray. We heard so many stories of the Lord's faithfulness throughout the world in situations that are far from ideal. I went on a nice drive on Wednesday and this was the beautiful sunset the Lord blessed me with!


We finished up the week learning about relationships from Tom Eliff. Here are five tools to have in your relationship toolbox:
  1. Forgiving- "An unforgiving spirit is like an acid that eats the container from the inside out."
  2. Breaking- Breaking the curse of words on your life... Weighing speech against the authority of Gods word and break free from curses. 
  3. Listening- it says "You are important to me." (among other things)
  4. Loving- Agape always emanates from a higher place.
  5. Thirsty- We do more damage than good when we don't thirst for God. Psalm 42.     
This past weekend was a great weekend to celebrate birthdays! Ester and Nathan gave us a reason to celebrate!  Yay! I love parties!! Friday night we played Laser Tag and went ice skating in town. Saturday, Nathan's mom made a delicious cake that looked like Madagascar's flag, and we had a hurricane party- complete with "pin the tail on the lemur."

Ice Skating!!

Happy Birthday, Ester!!

Laser Tag with my Divas!


Madagascar Bound!!

A nice game of Ninja!

Soon to be Mada Guys and a Filipino Gal.


 

"Teach me your way, O Lord, That I may walk in your truth, unite my heart to fear your name." Psalm 86:11 

"I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

"So I say with confidence, the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:6

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31

"O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" Psalm 8:9

Here's another awesome sunset from this week!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

let the lostness sustain you

I wish so badly that everyone could hear what I heard today. What a beautiful picture of Christ. What a beautiful picture of His eternal perspective. What a beautiful picture of His church.

We talked about the persecuted church all day today. Among the painful stories, hurting hearts, and an increased burden for the lost... we learned that the people who are the most persecuted are the ones who have never heard the gospel. It makes complete sense. Entire people groups are blinded to the gospel.

Persecution throughout the Bible is normal. The question is not "Why are they being persecuted?" the question should be, "Why are we not being persecuted?" When you cease to evangelize, you cease to equip the body for persecution. My prayer is not that persecution would stop... but that we would be obedient through it.  My prayer is that in persecution, we would be able to see this world in an eternal perspective. This life is a vapor.

The Lord is at work all over the world. He is going before us completely preparing hearts to hear the gospel. He is appearing to people through visions and dreams. He is healing the sick. He is calling people to Himself. He is mighty to save, and the harvest is ripe. The Lord continues to remind me that I cannot lean on my own understanding. I am moving to a completely new culture with completely different ideas and background. They have different interests and different traditions. The westernized gospel message... it doesn't cut it. (Piper's Thoughts). I pray that the Lord would rid us of our westernized thinking, and conform our minds to His idea of salvation.

Today has been an awesome day. It has been filled with so many tears, yet none shed without complete hope in the One who is all powerful. He is the Most High God, and He is mighty to be praised. Morgan and I have been listening to this awesome song all day long. Windows down... Music up... Stay Away From Jesus. The title may confuse you, but give it a chance- and you'll know more about my heart.

The needs of the lost exceed the needs of the witnesser.

Jesus, You are worth it. 


"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come."  Ephesians 1:18-21

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." Proverbs 3:5-9

Saturday, August 20, 2011

obedience

The pretty skies continue!

I'm still drinking out of a fire hose... but rather than dirty water, it's more like purple kool-aid...you know, the good stuff! 

Life here on the farm is so different than anything I've ever experienced. I am enjoying getting to know my fellow harvesters. This week we have been digging into Acts learning about church planting. I am so excited about the task ahead. Sometimes in class, I just want to jump out of my seat and go board the plane. We are learning how to effectively share the Good News with people worldwide. I have the coolest job!

I also got to play ultimate frisbee and footsol(soccer in the gym) this week. The games are pretty fun... and it's always so great to get outside after sitting all day! 

I learned two songs in Tagalog this week... they are pretty awesome.  I can't wait until I can have a conversation with a Filipino.

My quad-roomie saved some baby squirrels. Before she took them to the rescue center, we gave them a little lovin'.



And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only One who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17

"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?" Romans 6:16

"And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." Ezekiel 36:27
 

Monday, August 15, 2011

divas in dc

The Capitol Building



 


What a great Saturday! 

I went to Washington D.C. for the first time yesterday. I couldn't have chosen two better people to go with. Doug and Nathan kept me laughing the entire day. We started off the day with Shoney's (who knew they were still in business?) breakfast... and lets just say that people up north don't know how to make grits. I think my Daddy could have made better grits with his eyes closed and his hands handcuffed behind his back. We walked around the Washington mall taking photos at all of the famous buildings while enjoying some hearty laughs along the way. We saw protesters, foreigners, and a lot of tourists. We fit into the third category pretty well... the only thing we were lacking was a fanny pack.

We also got soaking wet in a downpour of rain... literally soaking wet. The rain just made the day more memorable.

Here are some things I won't forget: 
  • Jessie's Hair Salon.. specializing in curling and kinking
  • The back entrance to the train station... complete with a pipeline
  • Saturday morning yard-sales
  • Shoney's for breakfast... grits and strawberry covered bananas
  • Petroleum Pipeline
  • Kiss and Ride train station
  • A ridiculously horrible photo of us holding up the Washington Monument
  • Michael from French Paintings
  • A rainstorm while wearing white shorts
  • Willy and LeRoy
  • United Pursuit car ride home
  • Birds flying into the windshield and getting trapped in the parking deck

Great time with great friends.  

Doug and Nathan are awesome. Here are their blog links:

Doug's Blog
Nathan's Blog

Saturday, August 13, 2011

we believe that You are good

The sky is always so pretty here!


Jeremy singing... a children's book put to music.
One of my favorite couples here. They are awesome... and so are their kids.

Shot day!

Camouflage Band-Aids!

After the first round of shots!

Quad 20 lookin' fresh.

Two of my favorites... Uncle Doug and Baylee!
Gosh, this week has just gotten better! We've been learning some awesome stuff, and we are blessed with incredibly godly teachers. Our sessions this week consisted of spiritual warfare, worldview workshops, doctrine, and anthropology. We are studying Acts, and going through it each morning with Elbert. I got to play quite a few games this week... including indoor soccer, volleyball (I think I got a better ab workout than anything by laughing so much), and ultimate frisbee. I was so glad to have extra time at night this week to exercise. I also learned three new songs in Arabic this week. I can't wait to teach them to my Saudi guys in Auburn! We ended this week with a shot clinic. By the end my time at the International Learning Center, I will have approximately $1700 worth of immunizations injected into my body. Wow! That's a lot of shots... a few of mine today consisted of Japanese encephalitis, rabies, polio, and hepatitis B.

I have been enjoying the people here more and more. They are so encouraging, and it's cool to see the Lord uniting us through His Spirit.

The Lord is continuing to mold and shape me to be more like Christ. It's never an easy process... but I am being disciplined and pruned (John 15) for His glory and for His work. I am so thankful that we serve a good and holy God who wills to work everything for our good and for His glory.

This United Pursuit chorus has been ringing in my mind this week: "Lord, Come dwell with us we pray, as we sing your praise.... for You are good and your love endures today. We believe that you are good."




"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is FULLNESS of joy; at your right hand are pleasure forevermore." Psalm 16:11

"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power than enables him even to subject all things to himself." Philippians 3:20-21 

"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments, but present yourselves to God as those who has been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." Romans 6: 12-14


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

magandang araw


This week has been awesome. I am loving what we are learning, and it is going to be so applicable when we arrive in our new homes all over the world. Monday, we had an awesome speaker come and talk about culture shock and contextualization. Today, we learned all about the religions of the places we'll be going to. We also learned some history that will better help us understand their perspectives. It was a great day. I am excited about learning some Arabic songs for Sunday night worship, too.

I am also learning some more Tagalog! Here are a few new phrases: Tumatakbo siya. Umiinom siya.

"You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11

"At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak." Colossians 4:3-4

"Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ." 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5


Paalam,
Jess



Sunday, August 7, 2011

where He leads me, I will follow. what He feeds me, I will swallow.

Almost every night, we have a great sunset right behind our quad.




This week has been a whirlwind of a week. We have been so busy all day long. 

Prayer... Doctrine... Taxes... Benefits... Cultural Worship Planning... Setting Goals... Insurance... Jesus... Dinner at Elbert's House.


At the beginning of the week, we learned a lot about prayer from Tom Eliff. This guy is wise. A few of my favorite things from the two days were:
  • We don’t pray to get God’s attention. We pray because we have God’s attention.
  • The plans of God are revealed to the man or woman of God by the Spirit of God through the Word of God.
  • The importance of breaking up the Fallow Ground of your Heart.
  • Our prayer support is vital to having an effective ministry abroad.


Another exciting thing this week was planning the cultural worship service for Sunday night. I am singing in the praise team. First time singing on stage... that should be fun. Here are a few of the songs we are singing: Sumergeme, Tu és Santo, Celebrai a Cristo, y Abba Padre. Two songs in Portuguese and two in Spanish. I guess all of my Spanish classes are coming in handy.

So much to learn. So much to process. A little overwhelmed? Yes!

"Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."    
  Hebrews 13:20-21

Monday, August 1, 2011

divas and laughter

Happy Birthday, Zoë!

Diva Tats


Diva... not to be confused with DNA.

She's a diva, fa sho.

Last night we laughed, and laughed, and laughed.  Zoë celebrated her 11th birthday, and we threw her a birthday party! The room was filled with paper linked chains, tye-dye action, and too many dance off's to count. We laughed until our abs hurt. It was great. Above, you can see our new diva tats. 

We woke up this morning to house church and Isaiah 6. I love my seap (south east asian people) family... better known as Quad 22 or Double Deuces! 

"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22