Saturday, January 30, 2010

The fam in Angel Fire: Day 3

We woke up today bright and early for a quick breakfast and then we packed up and cleaned up and headed out. Driving down the mountain, it was absolutely beautiful just seeing the fog in the valley and the snow drifts. We went and hung out at a little coffee shop and I realized that I actually do enjoy black coffee (I felt enlightened :) ). We then drove through Eagle's Nest and up to Cimmaron Canyon where we all enjoyed feeling a wee bit car sick but loved the views going through it. We went to our favorite place, The Lucky Shoe, where we played pool and ate the world's best Buffalo wings, and of course partook in Diet Cokes with cherries. We then made the trek back to Albuquerque. It was a short trip, but it was seriously just so perfect!

The fam in Angel Fire: Day 2

The second day, I finally woke up at around 8. Had some awesome food for breakfast and drank my coffee while sitting up in a little loft area overlooking the mountain and having my quiet time. I went to join dad and Keelan sledding outside and we all were out there for about an hour or so and ended with the boys and I killing each other in the snow. I sat outside and read my Bible for a while and then came in for a shower and lunch. We watched August Rush and just hung out while I continued to work on Matthew and reading the rest of the minor prophets. I wish I could have the words to describe the beauty that I experienced tonight. To begin with, I was able to finish reading the whole Bible (a little behind schedule, but nonetheless my second lap is complete). Then my family and I sat down to an awesome steak dinner, played a fairly intense game of Texas Hold ‘em (I had a beautiful comeback, and got second place), and then we all watched Julie and Julia. At one point I was sitting there snuggled next to my mom realizing that we were all there and just how awesome that was. These past two days really have been awesome family times, we weren’t rushing off to other places, and even if we were maybe doing different things, we were at least in view or ear shot of the others. It was the absolute most PERFECT family time that I could have ever imagined and I just thank God that He blessed us with this amazing opportunity that blew our minds, I mean even down to the amazing snow fall, it was absolutely idea. If that weren’t enough, I was coming to my room to get to bed and in the full moon light, I was able to see the silhouettes of some elk/deer coming up the road by the cabin we’re staying in. They seriously were maybe 20 yards away and they were just hanging out eating some dinner and there were about six of them. I was able to get my mom who in turn got Kyle up to see at least a couple of them before they got away. The clear skies, the snow covered trees, and the drifts of snow on the ground, not to mention the moon shining so bright it was almost like dawn with the hills around us and even being able to see the valley at the base of the mountain. A picture would do it absolutely no justice and I almost feel it would have been an insult to God to try and take a picture of that moment. Have you ever had one of those moments? It’s like He gave you that particular moment that truly could never be captured by camera and so it’s just one of those memories you get to treasure forever, that’s what tonight was for me. Maybe one day when I learn how to really paint, I’ll try and paint it, but until then my words are all I have. And even now as I’m sitting on my bed and the only noise I can hear is my fingers hitting these keys, it’s like I don’t want to break the silence, it’s a silence you can feel and almost like you’re at a museum or experiencing some special privilege that you have not right to interfere with. I love moments like these!

The fam in Angel Fire: Day 1

For those of you who don't know, for as long as I can remember, my family has made yearly trips up to angel fire. We don't snowboard or ski, but we do fish and know how to play some mean games of Texas Hold 'Em. Here are the accounts for our little retreat.

After a night of no sleep due to the wind, we woke up at about 4:30 and were out of Albuquerque by 5:45. Stopping at McDonalds for some breakfast we were all crammed into Kale’s truck with us kids in the back. We made amazing time and got into Angel Fire before 10 after dad having to white knuckle it through the canyon. Little did we know that we wouldn’t reach the cabin for still another hour. We tried to follow the directions, but ended up at a dead end and had to back out and got stuck in about two feet of snow. Praise God for there being a sporadic bar of service and we were able to call a guy who came and rescued us and pulled us out and then we were able to follow him up to the cabin. The cabin was absolutely awesome! It’s got the first floor which has a mud room and kind of a rec/bed room, the second floor has the kitchen, living room, and main bedroom, and then the third floor has a little loft seating area and two bedrooms and a little loft you get to from one of the bedrooms. We settled in and had tuna sandwiches for lunch and then we all just seriously collapsed while the snow was falling, fire was cracking, and music was playing. We had clam chowder in bread bowls and it was fantastic! We had brownie sundaes and then Keelan, mom, and I played some spades and headed off to bed.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"Who am I, that..?"

Both Moses and David asked God this very question of why He would bestow on them the calling that He did. This week was definitely one of those weeks where I asked that exact same question. God has brought so many insanely awesome opportunities to share Him with people that I can't even begin to tell you about it all, but just know that I'm sitting here in the quiet of the night in my bed feeling so incredibly humbled that He would bring about the things that He did in the past few days.

All that has happened kind of came to a head this weekend. To begin with, I was given the privilege of opening up for all four of the Calvary ABQ main services. I don't know if there has ever been a time that I've been so nervous. Give me hundreds of high school students and I'm totally fine, but put me in a room with hundreds of adults and forget about it. I wore my traditional African dress and for Saturday night's service it was seriously all I could do to not just stare at the audience petrified, and my heart seriously didn't return back to its normal rhythm until about an hour later. I also had my reception where I just shared about what God was doing and how He was using me in Uganda. I was truly amazed at all who came out for the event and all the work that so many people put into it, it still blows my mind to think about. I pray that those who came were able to walk away challenged, encouraged, and maybe even somewhat convicted about their walks with God.

Personally for me though, the thing that made this weekend absolutely awesome is how God showed (yet again) how much He knows and cares for me. Not only through all the love from the people I encountered, but how He allowed me to encounter Him. I was just talking to a friend of mine yesterday about how tired I was in constantly doing ministry (although I love it more than anything in the world). I told him how the countless meetings with individuals and sharing with groups was all starting to take its toll and that I was seriously yearning for a time just to be at His feet and to be refreshed. Well, God knew that's exactly what I needed, and He gave me not one, but two times of just that. Last night, we had a Vertical Leader's prayer and worship time and it was so cool just praying for the concerns of Vertical and just crying out to God in worship. Then, tonight, after everything else had happened, I went with my brother to the El Ray theater for the re-launching of Metro Calvary where Phil Wickham was the guest artist. During his extended worship set I seriously just sometimes couldn't get out the words as I was just able to have that time to reflect not only on all that God had done over the past few days, but also on just how amazing He truly is. He is so unbelievably good to His kids and knows just what they need and how to give it to them. As James put it, "every good and perfect thing is a gift from heaven" and that includes those amazing times of refreshing and reflection in order for us to have something to pour out to those He brings into our paths.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My morning in the "slammer"

For those of you who don't know, in Uganda, I was able to teach a group of about ten condemned ladies in the prison there. I looked forward to Tuesdays and my times with them more than words can say, getting to go in there and have their smiles, hugs, worship, and although there was a HUGE language barrier, we just really had a good time studying purely the Bible. Well, today I was able to experience jail stateside. It's insane how nice it was, I realize they were still away from their families with limited freedom, but it really was a thousand times nicer than even the schools in Uganda.

I had the opportunity to speak with two different groups. The first one, was just a small group of ladies (about ten) who CHOSE to come and sit in this little classroom. It was great getting to encourage them to be lights there and when they get out and to just stay immersed in their Bibles and how they have an absolutely awesome opportunity to study their Bibles in a way that some people only dream of. We ended in a time of prayer and seriously almost every woman there was in tears, it was pretty awesome to just see how God was getting a hold of these ladies.

The second group was a bit of a different story. This time we had a speaker and I was able to share with the entire pod (about 80 ladies), and I won't lie, my little naive self was having a bit of a freak out with some of the people I saw. They were so hard and bitter and just angry, totally not broken at all. There I just laid down the Gospel and also went into how God isn't like the fathers, step fathers, boy friends, of their past, that He would NEVER leave them nor forsake them, and just how much God really loved them and how they could draw close to Him and that there was nothing they could do to make him love them any more or any less than He did at that moment. I also just shared how they were in jail for consequences for sins they had done, and if they didn't come to Christ, they would have to face far worse consequences that would last a whole heck of a lot longer than their jail time.

I went there with no agenda and no idea of what all I was really going to say. Along with those things I also was able to share about Africa, but it was awesome because I'm a Bible teacher, and so these opportunities were a challenge, but a welcomed one. I'm so stoked about how God brought this about and how it truly was all Him at work.

I just ask that you pray for those who are not only in jail, but also those who go to minister to the inmates. Just like in Africa, anyone and everyone is allowed to have their time in the jail. Pray that the ladies ears are closed to the false doctrines being taught and that they would look to who He truly is and His Word.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Use what you got

So often when a need arises we tend to think, "I'll let someone do that who is better equipped to do that sort of thing." Just this morning reading in the book of Matthew, God just opened my eyes to a pretty intense lesson. In chapter 14, there is the very familiar story of Jesus feeding the "five thousand". The disciples went to Him, expecting that the people would take care of their own need or trying to make it someone else's burden to bear, when Jesus surprised them by saying, "You give them something to eat." This could not be more true in our own lives. We see a need, be it Haiti, our lonely neighbor, or an unsaved co-worker, and we so often go, "Oh, I pray that God brings someone to help with that", but then God surprises us with saying "you do it". We need to take more responsibility for meeting the needs of those around us, and not just material needs either. We try and be like the disciples, making excuses of "I don't have the money, time, education, etc..." but really God takes what we have right now to use it and He does that for His glory. So if a need arises and you feel God leading you to be that answer to prayer, don't be afraid, and don't give Him excuses, but in the famous words of Nike, "Just do it".

Friday, January 15, 2010

Back to the grindstone

It's funny how when people hear that I'm on furlough, the first thing that comes to their mind is that it's a time of relaxation and basically like a vacation. Honestly, when I hear about that I have to laugh. From talking about it with other missionaries and the experience I've had so far is that it is anything but a vacation. It's still ministry, just in a different place than I am usually at, and honestly I love it! I was dreading that these two months would be filled with all sorts of down time and that I wouldn't be doing very much ministry at all, but it's been chuck full of unexpected opportunities. Yesterday was an absolutely crazy day but I'm so thankful for each and every part of it. The day began with a coffee shop meeting followed by lunch with one of my girls. From there I booked it over to the elementary school that two of my cousins go to and was able to speak to their classes about Africa, and although I couldn't preach it up, it was still cool to kind of plant in these kids minds a bigger world view than they originally had. And when it was all said and done, there were sixty kids who were able to hear about what happens a whole world away and how blessed they are to live in a country like this, and have food, and parents which is something many kids in Uganda don't have. After that, I had another coffee date and then I was able to speak at the 50's Plus singles ministry at Calvary. Those people were so welcoming and it was such an awesome privilege to get to share what God was doing with all of them. By the time I had gotten home, I was absolutely exhausted, but so stoked on all God has brought my way throughout the day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Furlough "fun"

For those people out there who tend to romanticize the missionary life, I wish I could sit them down and tell them how tough it can sometimes be. There are few things harder in life than leaving the people you know and care about for two years at a time. This past weekend, I was able to spend time with several people who God has used in such huge ways in my life. I had planned to only be there for the weekend because I didn't realize just how hard it would be to leave all of them. I'm not complaining, or looking for sympathy, I'm just trying to be honest. Living for two months out of a room at my parent's house (which is awesome but when you're used to your own little place it's a little tough), and having basically a liquid diet of coffee due to all the coffee rendez-vous that come with furlough definitely help to keep me looking forward to the middle of February when I get to go home and resume a somehow "normal" life. But no matter how much I love the work I do, the continuous confirmation that I know I'm where God has called me to be, and the fact that I love the people I live/work with more than words can say, it's still incredibly hard to say good bye.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

confession time again

So although I love to be immersed in ministry, when it comes to my "down time" I'm seriously a very big homebody. I have friends who try and make me more "social", but the fact of the matter is that I just like to chill at home with my Bible, a good book, or a movie, and maybe just a couple of really close friends. I don't like big social gatherings all that much, I know that seems crazy to some people out there, but, well... that's just kind of how I roll. I've been in Montana a day now, and although it's only been just one day, this day is quite possibly one for the books as for what my idea of my "perfect day" would be. I just hung out with one of my closest friends and her baby, we just chilled in our pj's, watched movies, talked, ate good food, drank coffee, and all this while there was about six inches of snow on the ground outside. It was awesome and exactly what I needed to just kind of chill. I love how God gives us those little breathers and good friends to make those times all the more enjoyable.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The high life

So I've been in Phoenix for the past 24 hours or so on my way to Montana and then Tennessee and I've had the opportunity to stay in a very nice hotel (not my doing but a friend had hookups). While I was on this trip, I got a little glimpse of the life of the upper class, and I'll be honest to say that I wasn't very impressed. So often we live our lives with the "grass is greener on the other side" mentality, when really the "other side" isn't really all that great. I listened to people's conversations of complaining about drivers, went into stores where pieces of clothes seriously cost more than my first car, and went to restaurants where for breakfast alone you have to take out a small loan. Don't get me wrong, the hotel was beautiful and everywhere I went the staff was awesome because they were real people, but the people they served were far from that. Even while I've been here I've found myself almost needing to conform to the clothes, mannerisms, etc... of the people. It's all about image, and honestly it's very sad. I just think of how little it all means in the end, and that when it comes to eternity it's actually worthless. I'm not getting down on people who have money - if they do and they've worked hard for it and they don't let it rule over them, then high five to them, but I can definitely see how Jesus said that "it's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven", salvation is about humility about coming before God admitting that you are nothing and have nothing of value before Him and how you DESPERATELY need Him and when people can buy anything and live by what's in their bank account than what's in their heart, it is very hard to come to that saving relationship with Christ. You hear about outreaches all the time to the poor, and that's amazing, but honestly I'm starting to see that those who are "rich" are even more in need of being shown their need for a Savior. Anyways, just a though/observation/pondering.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Serving as Senders

Some people have the thought that missionaries are the "important" ones when it comes to the Great Commission, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Without the people who pray for, financially support, and encourage the missionaries, there would be very little effectiveness in the work the missionaries are trying to accomplish.

This group of people is comprised of the care team members for the Calvary Chapel Jinja missionaries. I cannot begin to tell you how awesome it is knowing that we have this group who has dedicated themselves to just serving us as senders.


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