Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rule Number 1: Flexibility

On our mission trip to Louisville, we had at least two people who had never been on a mission trip before.  Even for those of us who had been on a few this was different.  We got to interact with so many different cultures in such a short amount of time.  It was a great experience for all of us.

Day3: This was our first day of actual mission work.  And let me tell you, it was a doozy.  We were originally supposed to do some work on a playground, and that changed into working on a community garden.  But by the time Monday actually rolled around, we were going to be meeting Nepali people (Bhutanese Nepali to be specific).  So, that morning we met with the resident Nepali expert, Woodrow.  Let me tell you about Woodrow.  He has been a Believer for about 2 years.  He brought some of his international friends to church, but could see they weren't really being reached where they were at.  So, in the last year, he has immersed himself in Nepali culture and has learned much of their language.  He would take us to an apartment he knew Nepalis lived in, open the door without asking, speak some Nepali and then drop two of us off and go with the next group.  There were some very awkward silences where the language barrier and the sheer strangeness of it all had us quiet.  But there were some very good conversations as well.  The Bhutanese Nepali people were all very welcoming.  It was incredible getting to share the gospel with some of them.  That night we met with the couple who was working with Turkish refugees in their apartment complex.  We enjoyed a meal with them and got prepared for our task the next day.  We also played soccer and chilled on some swings with some new friends in the park area of the apartment complex.

Guys playing soccer.  Woodrow is on the far left.  I think he put shoes on just to play because he normally doesn't wear them.  Some of the guys we just met, but we would see them again.

Swinging with some new friends.  How Jessy got to be the lucky one to be pushed by a 6 year old girl I don't know.

 Day4: We spent Tuesday morning prayer walking and then going door to door doing surveys.  Lee wasn't feeling well that morning so unfortunately he missed out.  We weren't having any luck for a while and then we were able to go through the whole survey with two people.  A Nepali man and a Turkish woman.  Both were very open to what we had to say, so we left the Jesus Film with them in their language and prayed that God will work in their heart.  Well, all good things have to come to an end, and the manager of the apartment complex ended our surveying sooner than we would have liked.  We then went to a Turkish restaurant and it was wonderful.  Our waiter was great and Josh gave him the Jesus Film to watch when he could.  That afternoon we went back to the same apartment complex because we had a lady ask if we could do the survey later.  Our friend from the park the day before was there and he invited us into his home.  Tarek's family is from Iraq and we spent the whole afternoon visiting with him and his wife and trying some Iraqi food.  It was a great afternoon.  That evening we went to a Hindu temple to see how they worship.  Then we split up into smaller groups and went to eat some Indian food.  I discovered I handle Indian food much better when the sauce is on the side.  We handed out another Jesus Film to the waiter and then headed home.  A very eventful day and a great one.

Our table at the Turkish Restaurant
Toasting our apple juice at Tarek's House
The Girls!
Some more prayer requests for Louisville:
Pray for spiritual growth and courage for the recent Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu background believers (Colossians 4:2-4).
Pray for more pastors and church members to engage the nations ("the harvest is plentiful the workers are few" Matthew 9:37).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The International Trip in the US

I figured it was probably about time I wrote about our Spring Break trip we took last week.  Lee and I were super blessed to go to Louisville, KY to work with international folks.  And you're thinking, "how big of an international population is there in Kentucky."  You'd be surprised.  Here's some numbers: People from 100+ nations live in Louisville, at least 96 languages are spoken in the Jefferson County public school system, over 1000 refugees are resettled in Louisville each year, and representatives from multiple unreached people groups live in Louisville.  How crazy is all that.  I got these facts from the People Teams Initiative group which is trying to reach international people in Louisville.  While working with this group we were able to work with people from several nations.  A lot happened on this trip so it's going to take more than one blog post.
Day1: Travel...boring except for the 90 mph winds attacking our bus
Day2: We spent the morning worshiping at Sojourn Community Church.  We witnessed two people who were passionate about God's work in their lives get baptized.  We also had communion where we actually broke bread and could dip it in wine (although I chose the grape juice because I think wine is icky).  Both the baptisms and the Lord's Supper were a great reminder of what Christ has done for us.  Neither one saves you, but both are essential to be obedient and love our Savior.  That afternoon we got a small orientation and we attended worship at Antioch Church.  A different style than Sojourn, but the same passion for the gospel.  Antioch is a multi-cultural church that reaches out to the nations represented in Louisville.  Oh, and we had the Lord's Supper again!  Score.  Sunday was a great start to our week.

Each night we talked about our day and did a little devo.  Our topic for the devotionals was prayer.  Here's some ways People Teams Initiative asks us to pray for Louisville:
Pray the Holy Spirit would draw many to repentance and faith in Christ among the nations.
Pray believers would boldly share the gospel with wisdom (Ephesians 6:19-20).

And I'll leave you with a few pictures, one of which I stole off Facebook because I hardly ever take pictures
Lee pretending to think hard about something

Me and my roomie for the week, Jessy! (Thanks for the pic Lilly)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Do As I Do

I meant to post this a few days ago.  My bad.  We all know I can be a little slow at getting things done.  Right now I'm uploading my wedding pictures on Snapfish to get prints because a year and a half later we still don't have ANY (but hey, I'm getting 100 for $5 - well, about $6.50 total).  I also have a Groupon sitting in my inbox for a canvas to go on our mantle.  Maybe one day I'll learn.  So, as you know I'm working through memorizing Philippians 4:4-9.  I'm on my last verse so here it is:
The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.  Philippians 4:9 NASB
Basically Paul is saying, you've seen me walk in Christ's example, now you walk in mine.  I take two things from this.  One, we should be walking in the footsteps of more mature Christians and we should be setting the example for those that are less mature (I guess that's two really so we'll call them a and b).  Are you in a position where you're living life with a body of believers, being encouraged by those who are older, and lifting up those who are younger.  Christianity is a personal thing, but it's not a private thing.  Fellowship with other Christians.  Two, not only is the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds (vs 7), but the God of peace Himself is with us.  I'm no New Testament scholar, and these may actually be saying the same thing in ancient Greek or whatever, but I think it's a neat concept.  God doesn't just give you things, He gives you Himself.  How incredible is that?  The God of the universe wants you!  That definitely blows my mind.
Well, I've learned a lot from memorizing this passage of scripture, but now I have to figure out where to go next.  Any suggestions?

Good Times, Good Times

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's Your Niche?

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted.  Not a lot has gone on really.  This last weekend it was beautiful outside so Lee and I offered to take his boss's son to the park.  I think Lee just needed some slide time.  So we packed up Hero, picked up one of our favorite two year olds and headed to the park for some play time.  Hero got a lot of attention from the little kids which he handled very well.  Although if he knew they all thought he was a girl dog he might have been offended.  He was blissfully unaware, however as he soaked up the attention and the sun.

In case you never noticed, Hero has large ears.

Our lab is moving into a new building in which we each have our own desk and computer.  That's right, I have my very own cubicle!  I have to drive everyday which is kind of stinky, but at least I can park right outside the door and so far it's still free.  I'm trying to think of creative ways to decorate my cubicle (which is difficult since I'm not creative).  Luckily I have the internet.  I found some creative blogs that had the idea of making a dry erase board from a picture frame.  Dry erase markers work pretty well on glass so I thought I'd give it a shot with some twists.  I used a collage frame and scrapbooking paper and this is the final creation:

A good place for reminders and to let people know where I am.

Not too shabby for the non-artist.  It was super easy too, which is my kind of craft.  I've been having to remind myself that it's okay to not be the super crafty type.  I've got friends making jewelry like my sweet friend Jessie.  And I've got friends that are amazing seamstresses like Ashley.  I'm a little jealous of their awesomeness, but I've never been great at that stuff.  I don't mean that I won't try those things (see above dry erase board), and I'm definitely going to get some use out of my sewing machine, but that's not what I'm going to focus my time on. We have to spend our time on what we decide are our priorities (making jewelry, sewing, coupon-clipping, housecleaning) and try out the rest of the domestic duties when we have time.  I've started working hard on saving money by looking for deals and clipping coupons.  And I always need to work on keeping the house clean so we can invite people over as part of our ministry.  I know there are differing views on the Proverbs 31 woman.  Some think she's an unattainable ideal that gives us low self-esteem because we'll never live up to those standards.  Some think she's just an example of what a godly woman should be and we can pick and choose from her characteristics.  I honestly don't know if she was a real woman or just an idea, but just as all Christians should strive towards the goal of being more Christ-like, so should all women strive towards the goal of fulfilling the description of a godly woman. 

Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30 NASB

So create a list of your priorities of being a godly woman (including, but not limited to being a godly wife and godly mother) and work on the things that coincide with that goal and put aside the things that don't.  Above all else seek God and desire to walk in His ways.

P.S. If anyone was curious, I've received my first $5 Amazon giftcard from Swagbucks and I've ordered another one.  If it's something you decide you want to do click on the link above.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What's On Your Mind?

I'm a big fan of Beth Moore.  On her website she has challenged her readers to memorize scripture.  I've tried memorizing scripture before but unfortunately I don't really stick with it.  When it comes to a point in conversation where scripture is relevant I usually say something like "there's a verse that says something like this, somewhere."  Not particularly useful.  I'm trying two things differently this time.  I'm moving slower.  Beth's plan is to memorize a new verse on the 1st and 15th of each month (while continuing to work on the previous verses).  Just two verses a month, easy!  I just type it in my handy app and I go through the verses each day.  I'm also working through passages of scripture instead of plucking random verses out of context.  My first passage of scripture is Philippians 4:4-9 which I started at the beginning of the year.  For those of you that are good at math, that means I'm on verse 8, and I'll finish up this passage this month!  Philippians 4:8 says:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  NASB

This idea of "dwelling" means to meditate on.  Now, we normally don't like that word because it sounds too "new-agey."  It really just means to reflect on something.  I like the definition, "to consider as something to be done."  Not only are you thinking about those good things, but you're thinking about doing them.  It's a pretty logical conclusion that thoughts lead to actions (whether good or bad).  If this is the case, don't we want to be filling our minds with the good things.  Renewing our minds even:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2 NASB

When we try to change a bad habit, we have to replace it with a good habit.  It's the same with our thoughts.  We have to train our brains in that way.  When I catch myself thinking something negative, I try to think of something positive instead.  Scripture is a positive thing to fill our minds (hence the scripture memory plan).  When I think of something that would hurt someone's feeling if I said it out loud, I should think of something encouraging instead.  Sometimes we're surprised when words we think come out of our mouths as well.  Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to worry about hurting someone because we've banished all those mean thoughts away.  "Dwell on these things."  As a good place to start, the most positive thing we can think about is the cross.  Talk about turning something horrible into something good.

19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.  Colossians 1:19-20 NASB