Monday, June 30, 2008

Africa Bible Study

As most of you know, I am a part of an African Bible Study where we are reading through a book called "Serving as Senders"...

This book is awesome because while there are some people that will actually go there are so many more people that are called to stay right where they can and "serve as the senders"

What does "serving as a sender" mean??

It's support...and there's not just one type of support BUT many! You have:

1. Moral Support
2. Logistic Support
3. Communication Support
4. Prayer Support
5. Financial Support
6. Re-entry Support

It is said that for every missionary on the field they need a team of at least 9 people to send them.

Romans 10:12-15 says:

"For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?"

Notice, it doesn't say "and how can they preach if they do not go" says "how can they preach unless they are SENT". Before I started reading the book, I never noticed that verse but now I see its importance.

If you want to serve as a sender, we would love to have you as part of our Africa group...we meet every other Wednesday (7pm) in West Simi...This week we will have the couple who run the Mossyfoot project in Ethiopia sharing more about their ministry. We would love for people to come out and encourage them.

Let me know if you are interested and I will get you the details!

Man's plans - God's provisions

On June 1st I placed an ad in Cornerstone Classifieds about my condo being for rent. A friend of mine who is going to help me manage it when I am gone saw it in the classifieds and called me with tips... Basically, the conversation went like this:

Friend: "What is the monthly expense on your place?"
Me: "$2100 OR $2200 if you count furniture"
Friend: "That's really high for your area and for the current housing situation"
Me: "I know but whatever I don't get covered in rent I have to make up with fundraising"
Friend: "I realize that BUT you may not get anyone calling you at that price"
Me: "Well, maybe I should wait a few months and then lower the price"
Friend: "Yeah but if you wait to long to lower it you may miss the summer window, that is when most people don't want to miss that"
Me: "You're right...maybe I will just wait one month and see what happens"
Friend: "Okay, wait a month and then seriously think about changing it."
Me: "Okay"
Friend: "Here are 3 other sites that you can list it on that will attract more potential renters...1, 2, 3...
Me (thinking to my self)...."AHHHHH, this is going to be harder than I thought...can I really do this!! What happens if I can't rent it...worry, worry, worry....stress, stress, stress"

When the conversation was over I did go and list it on the 3 sites... I felt good about it but still had a little fear when I did it...thinking "what if I have a bad renter?", "what if it doesn't rent?", "what if I can't cover my expenses?", "what if I don't have anyone to support my ministry financially?", etc., etc., etc....

God: Shaking his head up in heaven saying, "My child don't you know that I hold all things in my hands and I have this thing under control...don't worry just trust in me!"

Last night I went to bed and didn't think much about it...
This morning I woke up and had an email from a sender I didn't know, it just had a few words in it, they were:..."Hi, I am interested in seeing the place you have for rent, can we set up an appointment, I am interested!"

Me (thinking to myself again): "Why do I doubt God....look at what happens when I just trust...He shows Himself, His power to do the "impossible" and reinforces yet again that I am right where I need to be and doing exactly what He wants me to do!" Thank you Lord...and forgive me for my little feable mind that can't always comprehend how amazing and awesome You are!

Man's plans are never as good as God's provisions!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wait on the Lord

On Friday night I had the opportunity to speak to our singles group at church. Being a teacher I am used to speaking to kids on a daily basis but when it comes to adults I tend to get a little nervous. I knew it was coming for a few weeks so by the time Friday rolled around I was a little nervous and still not 100% sure what I wanted to say.

A friend of mine lovingly told me not to screw it up but also encouraged me with a song called "Wait on the Lord" which reminded me that God's timing is perfect and no matter what I do I can't screw up His plans.

Friday I wrote up a few little talking points but when it came to speaking I didn't even use them. The funny thing is I can't even remember half of what I said but I know there were a few scripture verses in there. I was worried that everyone would see my nervousness rather than my heart.

Afterwards, friends of mine said it was great and that my heart for Africa shone through...some close friends of mine even mentioned that they learned more that they weren't even aware of. I know that it was God speaking through me and I am truly blessed to know that whenever God asks me to do something He will always be there to help me through silly it was of me to be nervous, God's plan is so much bigger and better than me and my feelings!

I am happy to say that as a result of me talking on Friday I have 3 new friends that are being soooo supportive of my ministry. It is amazing to see God raise up people for this ministry. I am going to sit back and see what else has in store - He never ceases to amaze me!

Friday, June 20, 2008

What's Africa Like...Part 2

Okay...the anticipated part 2 of what Africa is's topic:

Music, Dance & Praise

My Observations:

  1. Church may have posted times but it usually starts late and runs REALLY late
  2. 3 or 4 hour church services are the norm...not the exception
  3. Worship time at church consists of aerobic exercise that will leave you really sweaty and really smelly!
  4. Drums and Rhythm are a must!
  5. Most muddugavus (black people) have the rhythm
  6. Most muzungus (white people) don't have rhythm, even if they think they do!

Welcome to Sunday Worship...Africa Style!

Before joining a dance off competition...think of the competition...(They may be young but they have the moves!)

It's harder than it looks...and if your back is anything like mine make sure your chiropractor is close by and prepared for an emergency adjustment!

Drumming may look easy but if there was a drumming version of American Idol I would be on the "look at these losers who think they can drum but can't" episode...

Gee...I don't know about you but I feel really out of shape after watching those...I think I'm gonna go for a walk...See ya later!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Welcome to the Rollercoaster Ride!

So it's amazing how much free time I have now that I am on vacation from work and DONE with college...I find myself trying to find ways to keep myself busy but many a days go by where I couldn't tell you one thing that I got accomplished that day.

As a result of my boredom, I have been doing a lot of reading...I am reading 5 different books right now and learning amazing things from each of them. So book #3 I am going to mention to you is called "Serving as Senders". It is super awesome because I am learning what missionaries go through and what they need to successfully fulfill the calling God's given them.
The thing that surprised me in this book was the Roller coaster Ride of emotions that a missionary goes through. I wanted to share it with you so you have an idea where I am and where I may be going during my own little roller coaster ride through this missionary life.

The straight line at the bottom represents "normal living" taking into consideration that normal living also has ups and downs, the ups and downs represented here go beyond those found in normal living. Right now I am in the "B" section as I prepare for field training and church approvals... Keep your prayers coming!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Prayer Cards are Here!!!

Prayer & Support Cards are now available! Get em while their hot...or cold..

Front of the card:

Back of the card:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Answered Prayers

So how do I know that Africa is where God wants me...

Have you ever had an ah-ha moment where you know without a doubt that God wants you to do something?? Being that I am generally stubborn God did an equivalent of a finger poke for the last few years and I knew in the back of my mind that was what I had to do BUT when I didn't pay attention to it he basically had to smack me upside my head...


It was through the story of the rich young ruler... You may know it, you may not but basically... The rich young ruler wanted to follow Jesus so he went up and asked him...Jesus told him to sell all he had and follow him. The young man, being rich was sad by this, loving his stuff more than Jesus, he turned away and went back home saddened. Jesus goes on to say that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to inherit the kingdom of God. God laid it out clear as day during my devotion time and hit me with the realization that I have two choices:

1. Follow God and His leading to Africa OR
2. Turn away from God and follow my pursuit of worldly happiness by staying here

The choice for me is clear: Me or God and well, I HAVE to chose God, no IFs, ANDs or BUTs.

Since I have chosen to follow Him in this leading He has been faithful to work EVERYTHING out for GOOD!

Here's whats happened so far:
  1. By God's grace my boss allowed me to start my 8 week vacation in the fall 2 1/2 weeks early...She could have said that I already had 8 weeks and said too bad but she didn't...Thank you GOD!
  2. I was accepted into NMSI's training program and am ready to go in the fall, plane ticket and all...Thank you GOD!
  3. Friends of mine out of the blue said I could rent my place now and stay with them to save up some money...Thank you GOD!
  4. I wasn't sure what to do with my furniture so I was mentioning to different people that they could 'borrow' a piece here or there if they needed so I didn't have to pay to store it. Two friends of mine just got married a two weeks ago and they need furniture...Out of the blue they said they wanted to help me out by supporting me financially...they offered the exact amount of money I need to pay my furniture bill every month!...Thank you God!
  5. A friend of mine from my childhood church is a deaconess on their board...when she heard about my trip she got together with the missions board and they will be reviewing my plans and will be considering supporting me financially...Thank you God!
  6. I have had two friends volunteer to watch over the rental stuff when I am out of the country so I do not need to spend any money hiring a rental management company...Thank you God!
  7. I had a friend express interest in helping me relocate to Africa by flying with me and taking stuff out...Thank you God!
  8. I have missionary friends already in Uganda who said I could stay with them for awhile if I don't find a place right away...Thank you God!
  9. I joined a community group that just so happened to be studying a book called "Don't Waste Your Life"...which discusses the exact issues that I am being faced with right now in my preparations to move...Thank you God!
  10. I also joined an Africa bible study who started reading a book called "serving as senders" and I am having the opportunity to learn about missions work (i.e. what awaits me when I am there, when I return, and how my friends here can help me) - It's info that is so critical to my understand of what I will be experiencing in the months and years to come...Thank you God!

Isn't it amazing how God answers prayers when you are walking in His footsteps!! I am so encouraged by the last two months and can't wait to see what God will do next...

Here are some continued prayer requests:

  1. Finding a reliable renter for my condo
  2. Completing necessary missions applications and interviews so I can have Cornerstone be my sending church.
  3. Finding the right "job" in Africa
  4. All the lose ends: Raising financial support for the trainings and for my monthly expenses once in Africa, Raising up prayer partners, obtaining a non-paid leave from work, housing in Africa, obtaining a Visa, and Wisdom in decision making.
  5. Continued strength and the wisdom on how to speak to non-Christians who don't understand why I have to go (especially for close friends and family members who are trying to talk me out of it)

When I think about the task before me this next year I am so glad that God has promised in His word not to give me more than I can handle! I never thought I could handle something this huge but God has, and will continue to help me EVERY step of the way...whether I am walking alongside with Him or He is carrying me through!!


Saturday, June 14, 2008

What's Africa Like...Part 1

I get asked this question a lot so since I don't own my own video camera...I will rely on some youtube videos to try and answer that question...


The Rules:

  1. Man with the biggest tires wins
  2. All of the road is free driving space no matter what direction you are going
  3. When passing...honk, swerve and cut-off
  4. Pedestrians right of way??? HaHa...refer to Rule 1
  5. The Side of the road is for passing...or for forcing slower traffic to the side...not walking!
  6. No helmets, seat belts, or car seats required
  7. All cars or taxis should be occupied fully!

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION...At its best?? - Judge for yourself =)

Here's the View from a Motorcycle Taxi (aka Boda Boda):

If Taking a Van Taxi (aka Matatu), make sure you get on the right one...

AND finally...

If you are riding in a Matatu...Don't expect a personal space bubble...You may in fact have a stranger on your lap at the next stop!

Stay tuned for more answers to the popular question..."What's Africa Like?" in the near future!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Don't Waste Your Life!

So I know I mentioned that I read Francis Chan's "Crazy Love" book which totally chewed me up and spit me out but I am also reading another book, John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life" and just in case you are wondering....that one is giving me another good beating!

Now, I am one that likes to share, so rather than being beaten around by are some "nuggets of knowledge"...or dare I say "daggers of truth" that I have learned so far.

Either way, I hope they challenge you as they have me, and they call you closer to the Savior and His desires for your life rather than your own!

  • "the power and the motive behind taking risks for the cause of God is not heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God's good will, but rather faith in the all-providing, all-ruling, all-satisfying Son of God, Jesus Christ." p. 90
One of my prayers has been that when people look at me they will see Jesus in me and that my "risks" won't be self-serving but God-serving...if you ever see it as otherwise...please call me on it!

  • "[I]f we look like our lives are devoted to getting and maintaining things, we will look like the world, and that will not make Christ look great. He will look like a religious side-interest that may be useful for escaping hell in the end, but doesn't make much difference in what we live and love here. He will not look like an all-satisfying treasure. And that will not make others glad in God" p. 108
WOW.... I don't want my life to make God look like a side-interest!

  • "Using our possessions in a way that makes the most needy glad in God would save us in more ways than one. It would confirm that Christ is our Treasure...and it would transform our society" p. 114
Hummm...How can I make this practical in my life? I thought of some ways...but I would love to here some other ideas...Any thoughts??

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Think of Me

One of my favorite songs is called "Think of me" by my pastor's wife Lisa.

Our church put this video together at the beginning of last year to share a vision with us...loving our neighbors like ourselves. One way that our church implements this is by giving away 50% of our church's income to people in need. I love this because if we truly treat others like we would want to be treated we would treat everyone equally. I am no better than anyone else on this planet...No one!

Since we should treat everyone like ourselves, is it really loving to keep 90% of what you have for yourself and only give your leftover 10%? this video and let me know what you think:

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Vision In Ggaba

As many of you know, I have been to Ggaba Uganda twice on short term trips. I partnered with Africa Renewal Ministries (ARM). I was able to visit and/or work at the places that ARM runs...Specifically Bethany Village, Ggaba Community Church, Wentz Medical Center, the CHF House and Ggaba Bible Institute. A guy at my church (Dave Philips) is the founder of Children's Hunger Fund (CHF) and he put out a video showing the many exciting things happening in Ggaba. I wanted to share it with you so that you get a better idea of what Ggaba is like and the things that are taking place there.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Forms, Forms and More Forms

I am amazed at how much paperwork it takes to be a missionary!

For NMSI I had to fill out about 7 pages of paperwork and I just received the forms from Cornerstone.....any guesses how many pages that one is????


Yeah, 20 pages... Pretty much anything you would ever want to know about me and more is on that form. I feel sorry for the poor souls that have to read all of it because let's face it, I am about as boring as a bowl of plain cheerios with a few nuts thrown in to keep it semi-interesting!

Ink pen here I come!