Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Florida Quirks

As some of you may know, Florida is a little different than southern California. Here are a few little differences or "quirks" I have noticed so far:
  1. Subways don't have avocados and if you ask for one you may get a really weird look and the comment "Avocados at subway? Subways don't have avocados!" (Can you hear the sarcasm???)
  2. ATMs do not dispense amounts divisible by 20 but rather in increments of $10, $30, $50...Let's just say it blew my mind that a $10 bill came out of the BofA ATM today.
  3. The weather is opposite of what it looks like out the window, at least for now...(i.e. It looked nice and sunny outside the window today and it was a brisky 40 something but yesterday it looked gloomy and it was a sticky hot mess)
  4. Intersections have ALOT of traffic signals...believe it or not I was sitting at a four way intersection today and it had 12 traffic signals strung along a wire over the intersection...maybe it's just me but I don't know if stringing heavy lights from a thin wire in hurricane and tornado territory is a real wise idea.
  5. People don't turn left onto streets with 7 lanes even when it has a center lane and is completely legal to do. When asked why they just say "it's dangerous to turn left onto a 7 lane highway." Imagine if we did that in Cali?! We would never get anywhere!
  6. Most swimming pools are completely screened in giving the appearance that you are in an indoor swimming pool but in reality you are outside with screens on all sides of you (including screens on the ceiling).
  7. There are no toilet seat covers....and if there are I have yet to find them.

Stay tuned for more in the next few weeks and months...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Discover NMSI

I am back from Discover NMSI. It was awesome, challenging, tiring, stretching, fun, filling and emotionally draining all at the same time.

I wasn't really sure what to expect but it was great.

We not only learned more about NMSI and their values but we had the opportunity to really get to know the people we were with and ourselves as well.

We were challenged to be real, to be vulnerable, to be open, and to be honest. It was hard to do, especially since I had only known everyone for 24 hours. With that said, I think the next 8 weeks is really going to deepen my relationships with everyone here even deeper than relationships with people I have known for a long time back home. It is both exciting and a little scary to open myself up that way but I know that my new brothers and sisters in Christ are totally trustworthy and caring so it should be an awesome time.

I do not know really what is coming next. Its weird not to know what is happening tomorrow but it is also great preparation for me because i am usually quite the planner. All I know is that COAT starts tomorrow at 8 in the conference room. That's it.

Thank you to all of you that have been praying for me and this transition. I can feel your prayers here with me! God is doing great things! I am all unpacked and ready to hit the road running. COAT here I come!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm In Florida

I have finally arrived in Florida for my first round of training.

I have 7 roommates....all of whom I have not yet met but seem really nice.

In 30 minutes we are meeting in the parking lot to go to a hotel for the next 4 days. I have no idea what is planned but I know that it should be fun. It is the "discover" version of training when we find out a little bit more about New Mission Systems International (aka NMSI).

Let's see where this adventure takes me =)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It's Empty

Over the last two weeks I have diligently been working on an important project. What is it you ask?


Okay, okay...I do love to eat but this was not my entire task. My task was to eat all the food in my refrigerator so that when I leave on Tuesday I don't have to throw out perfectly good food.

I am happy to say that I have accomplished my task. I have two lone lemons, 1 crepe, lunch for Monday and Tuesday, a bottle of unopened wine, some half & half, and a few cloves of garlic in my fridge. That's it.

You would think that this task would be easy but it wasn't. After all, what do you eat when you are left with lemons, garlic, and guess is make some kind of lemon garlic sauce for pasta?? As you can see...this game can get "interesting" to say the least!

But seriously, over the last two weeks I came to realize that I when say "I have nothing to eat" it usually means "I have food in the pantry and in the fridge but I just don't like my choices"

I also came to realize what huge privileges we have as Americans. As I was washing the fridge shelves I couldn't help but think how lucky I was to own one...after all, much of the world doesn't.

I also came to realize how much luckier I was to always have food in it...after all this is the first time in 2 years that my fridge has ever been truly empty...and it took alot of work and effort on my part to get it that way.

It made me realize how little I need to trust God to provide food for me but how much people in poor countries depend on Him for each and every meal.

Once all of the food was out and the shelves clean I noticed my water filter in the back of my refrigerator. I came to realize how blessed I am that even with an empty fridge all I have to do is put my glass in the door and I get clean filtered water instantly. People in other countries walk for hours and miles to get dirty water.

It made me feel like an ungrateful and overfed American and it made me wonder why if most Americans have so much, how come we give so little to provide for those who can't provide for themselves.

I challenge you to eat through your fridge...don't go out to eat if you don't like the choices, don't go to the store to supplement what you have in it already...just be creative and create meals out of all the food you already have. It will take you a few weeks but it will definitely give you a new perspective. When you fridge is finally empty take an hour or so and wash it out really good and think about what a privilege it is to have all you have.

Don't go out and buy food to fill it up right away. Let it sit empty for a few days and be open to letting God provide your meals for you. You may be like me and discover things in your pantry that you had no idea you had. The sad thing is even with my empty fridge, between my freezer and pantry I still have enough food to provide me at least 3 weeks worth of meals...and here I am still wanting to say that "I don't have any food in my fridge!"

If you take my challenge, let me know how it changes you...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's Important

Over the last few weeks I have heard some of my christian friends say that voting is not important because God is in control and has a plan.

I do believe that God has a plan and He is in control but as Christians who live in America we also have a responsibility to vote. We should not vote for selfish desires but how God would want us to vote according to His word.

Normally I am not one to talk politics, and if this offends you I am sorry, but I do think that many Christians believe they can be passive about their faith when God wants us to be about action. He said that a faith without works is dead.

Are you loving your neighbors as yourself? Are you loving people that may be different than you? This includes people that my have different sexual orientations and beliefs too. It doesn't mean that you okay sinful behavior but that you love on them as Christ loved on them when He walked the earth.

I challenge you to stand up for Christ on November 4th. I challenge you to vote as if God was standing next to you.

You do have a voice in this election...make it Christ honoring and not just people pleasing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's Africa Like - Part ?


Yeah! Believe it or not people visit Uganda not on missions trips but on tourism are the biggest reasons they will come:

1. White Water Rafting at the source of the Nile

2. Safari's

3. Gorillas

4. Bungee Jumping

Others include:

5. Mountain and Forest Hiking

6. Fishing on the Nile & on Lake Victoria

7. Bird Watching

8. Cycling

Who knew!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Tribute to Fennie

Fennie went home to be with Jesus today.

She is singing praises at the feet of her savior with no more pain or sorrow.

May we who are left on this earth glorify God because He is in control of all things and because of His great mercy decided it was better for Fennie to be with Him now.

Please pray for her family as they learn to live life without her.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

10 Days...

Wow...I can't believe that NMSI Training is only 10 days away!

As I sit in my nice cozy bed I run through all the things that have to get done between now and then:

  • Clean the house...coming home to a clean home is always better than coming home to a dirty one!
  • Get someone to pick up my mail cause the P.O. Box will only hold mail for 30 days :(
  • Get someone to turn on my car every so often
  • Pack stuff...What do you pack for 2 months??!!
  • Hang out with friends before I leave (every night is booked from now until then!)
  • Get everything at work in place for the SUB
  • Get well...Yeah...I'm sick again!
  • Eat the rest of the stuff in the fridge...A two month science experiment is NEVER good!
  • Vote By Mail...which involves reading about all the props...ughhhhhhhh
  • Work...I'm even working the day I leave!
  • ???? - I have this nagging thought that I am forgetting something else that I am supposed to do....Hopefully I remember before I leave!

Besides all the things I need to do....I am SUPER excited about going to training! I am excited about meeting new colleagues, making new friends, getting more direction, figuring out what still needs to be done, learning more about God and His heart for the nations, and getting one step closer to Africa!

NMSI here I come!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Exciting Rachel Update!

Rachel was fully alert this morning and responding to commands from her sister, Martha. She was able to shake and nod her head! The neck brace was taken off and the MRI revealed that her back was fine!

They are looking at the possibilities of moving her to a hospital closer to Simi.

Thanks for all your prayers! God is good!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ethiopian Food Night

Hey all...My days are running out! I am leaving for Florida in less than 2 weeks and will be gone for 9 weeks!

With so few days left it is hard to squeeze in hanging out with everyone before I you would like to hang out at least one more time before I leave you are welcome to come eat Ethiopian food with me in LA!

Here's the skinny...

Who: Anyone that likes to be adventurous and try new food!
What: Dinner with friends
Why: Cause its fun!
Where: Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant & Market (1036 1/2 Fairfax Ave, LA, 90019)

When: Saturday, October 18th - Most like around 5 or 5:30

Let me know if you plan on coming! We will try and carpool since parking may be a little tough.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Continue to Pray for Rachel!

Hey Everybody!

Thank you so much for praying for Rachel! Your prayers have been such an encouragement! Rachel still has a long road ahead of her though so please continue to keep her and her family in your prayers.

She has been moving a little bit more and has a nice tight grip. It is still mostly reflexes as she is still unable to follow doctor commands. She has at least one more surgery still to come in the next few weeks and probably will be in the ICU at least until that happens.

Pray for the doctors and nurses that they have wisdom in treating Rachel's injuries.

Pray for patience and peace for the family as they sit and wait countless hours in the hospital waiting room.

Pray also for the thousands of people that have been affected by this story that God would be given glory for all that He has been doing to restore my friend. May He be glorified through this tragedy.

I can't wait to see my friend dance, smile and laugh again!

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

Reaching the Unreached

I want to introduce you to an awesome ministry through Voice of the Martyrs.

It is called Bibles Unbound.

This organization's main goal is to get bibles into the hands of unbelievers in the most restricted nations in the world.

Right now they have missions in Columbia, North Korea, Egypt and China.

Believers in these nations secretly collect names of unbelievers that have shown an interest in knowing more about Christianity. The believers then send the names and addresses of these curious unbelievers to bibles unbound who in return either mail or "smuggle" bibles into these unbelievers.

What an awesome way to reach the unreached!

Check out the Bibles Unbound video and website and get excited about what God is doing through His people!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

UPGs...Unreached People Groups

I am in Perspectives at my church and let me! I have never looked at the bible in this way before...which is probably why its called perspectives in the first place.

Last night we talked about unreached people groups. There are still about 13,000 of them! The crazy thing is that only about 2.5% of all missionaries being sent out go to them.

Most missionaries go to places that have already been reached. This is because it is usually safer and its easier to gain access into the country. To get into a country that is restricted to the gospel you can't bank on your bible college degree...they won't grant you a VISA. Rather, you need to possess a skill (engineering, medicine, etc...) that they need.

Crazier still is that depending on where the people in these UPGs are, they only get the chance to hear the gospel once every 10 years or once every 100 years! Can you imagine that??!!

In America it is estimated that we have the opportunity to hear the gospel every day.

Lets face it, if you are not a Christian in America it is because you reject the gospel message every day in some form...

  1. you drive by your neighborhood church everyday and never go in
  2. you refuse to watch Christian pastors on television
  3. or listen to Christian radio
  4. you never read the tracks people hand you
  5. you refuse to walk into a bible bookstore
  6. you refuse to read the bible that is in the hotel room you are staying in
  7. or you refuse to listen to the good news that your Christian friend wants to tell you.

You have to do a lot of rejecting of Jesus to not be a Christian in America.

But can you imagine a place with no churches, no bibles, no Christian tracks, no Christian radio, no Christian tv, no evangelism, no praying...except for maybe one mention of Jesus every 1oo years?!

Its hard for me as an American to grasp that!

From now on when people ask me why don't I stay here and take care of the people here in America that need help...I am going to tell them about the UPGs of the world.

Now...some of you may be saying but wait...Uganda is not an unreached people are right...I am still praying and I have faith that God will send me where He wants me at the exact time that He wants me. Amazingly enough, most of Northern Africa are UPGs...I am going to wait and see what God does!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Where's your $$ Going?

Hey guys!

I have had a few people ask me something about my fundraising dollars so I want to clear up the questions so that everyone knows where it is and what it will be used on.

I have had many people either give one-time gifts or pledge monthly financial support. All money that has been donated is in an account at NMSI (New Missions Systems International). This money is only to be used for ministry. At this point all money coming in is being used to cover training costs, application fees, or travel to and from the training sights.

I am very much concerned about using the money given in a way that is glorifying to God. He is the one that has blessed me with it and I want to make 100% sure that I am being a good steward with what He has given me.

I will be creating my estimated monthly field budget when I go to training in a few weeks. It will be available for anyone that wants to look it over and make sure that my finances are being used appropriately.

Thank you for being concerned! If you have any other questions please let me know!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Don't Waste YOUR Life

Have you ever thought about your life?
Do you think about the legacy you will leave?
Will your legacy be one of aquired THINGS that you leave behind?
Or will it be one that CHANGES lives forever?
According to John Piper there are only 3 kinds of people:
  1. Goers
  2. Senders
  3. Disobedience

Which one will YOU be?

I don't know about you...but I don't want to waste MY life!