Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A caffeine induced blogging escapade

So normally caffeine doesn't really phase me...it may or may not have to do with the fact that I pretty much drink straight espresso on a daily basis...but that's besides the point. Between the double macchiato, a very large to-do list, and a heavy heart due to some stuff happening back in the States, I decided what a better time than now to kind of process things via the ever so personal medium that we refer to as "a blog".

The last post I made was about the struggles of the weeks before. I wish that I could say that life got easier after that, but honestly, if anything, it got worse. It really did just seem like everything was falling apart and I don't know if I have ever been so close to just wanting to throw in the towel as I had been over these past two weeks. I could blame it on a variety of external factors that triggered all of the discouragement, but really, if I were to be brutally honest with myself, it was all self-inflicted. Now, I don't want to downplay the fact that there were other "forces" at work, but really I think the thing that got hit the hardest through all of this was my pride. I realized that the reason why I was struggling so much was because I was wanting to be "the golden child" and not for God's glory at all, but purely for mine. For people to be able to say, "Remember when Kelli had to run things, she did such an awesome job! It was the best furlough time EVER!" It wasn't for the good of the mission or the work of the ministry, it was because I wanted to add another notch to my belt of things I could do well. Even now, just typing it nauseates me. I never necessarily did anything flat out sinful on the outside, but on the inside...oh man! I would get easily frustrated, upset, etc... because people weren't seeing things my way or listening to me or respecting me (you like all those personal pronouns there?). I loved hearing "wow Kelli! You've got so much going on and you're doing such a great job"...I could just feel myself being blown up like one of those punching bag balloons... then the other day... that balloon popped...big time! I just thank God that I finally listened and allowed my eyes to be opened to how I'm not "God's gift to humanity", but honestly, a lot of times He uses me to test people's patience and grace even more than they test mine.

I'm reminded of how with teenagers they tend to act like they know everything but in reality they know nothing and they have a little bratty attitude about it all... yup that's been me. I've told people that I've been in a perpetual bad mood for the past three months, when really I've just been acting like a big brat to a lot of people. The taste of it all is just bitter and all I want to do is spit it out...I pray that I remember how nasty I feel right now and that whenever I think I'm "all that and a bag of chips", I better get ready. The Scripture of "take heed lest you fall" is definitely one that defines this season - you think you're above certain things, that you're the authority, that you're "too holy to do that", when really you're already walking right into that very sin you think you're above.

I guess the moral of the story is that I've been to the woodshed, and I pray that I learned my lesson, because this was not fun!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A tough few weeks

First off, you can always tell when I'm having a tough time by how rarely I write. I see that the last post I did was on the 4th, and it's crazy to think of all that's taken place since then. To begin with, I had to say goodbye to some really great friends! Judy and Malia left and then just under a week ago, I had to say goodbye to another good friend of mine, Jonah (he's the one who had broken his leg at the same time I broke my foot). Going through all the pains of goodbyes, especially with those who you may never see again can take their toll on your emotions for sure.

Along with the painful goodbyes and the personal struggles that have been happening. Ministry has also been tough. I've recently written about how there are these girls who live such terrible lives where they willfully choose to sin against God. Well, this week, I guess you could say that the prayers of "God, I don't know when or how I'm going to deal with these girls...", got answered. On Tuesday I had just said goodbye to Jonah and I had just gotten back from going and dropping Ryan and the Reeds at the half way point between where they live and Jinja, (so needless to say I was a little on the emotional side) and I had a counseling appointment. This girl came to me to tell me about how her cousin was living and how she had run away from home and so on and so forth. This girl's cousin has been coming to my Sunday afternoon Bible studies for the past two years, I knew there was something going on, but never had anything concrete about it...until now. We made the plan to do phase one of the confrontation process in dealing with sin, and so the girl and her cousin were to come and talk to me the next day. Well...on Wednesday, I waited for them to get to the church and the girl who I had been talking to found me and told me that they were on their way to come and meet with me when they were intercepted by a lady who lived near them who had had enough of what the cousin had been doing and started to beat the girl with a stick. So the girl and I hopped in the truck and ran down to where the girl was at, brought her, the girl's mom, and the lady who was beating her to the church. After about an hour and a half of talking, it was just cool because God totally was the one in control of the whole thing. The end result is that the girl has one last chance to prove herself and if she doesn't, then I'm taking her back to her mom in the village. As a way to provide some sort of control and accountability, I also now pick her up from home and take her to school and then pick her up from school so she won't have to flirt with temptation at those times....we'll see how this goes. I pray that she changes and starts to truly follow Christ, because it seriously breaks my heart knowing the life that she has been living and that she'll have to pay for that the rest of her life and if she doesn't change, she will have to pay for it for eternity as well.

Then while I was dealing with that, the names of two of my key guys were brought up as being part of that issue. So I had to talk to them as a sister in hopes that things wouldn't have to escalate to something more official.

Finally, last night, I was in the house and was informed that two girls had come to see me. I went out there and they said they needed to sit and talk about something. Their names had also been brought up while we were dealing with the first girl, and they started denying everything before I even had a chance to bring it up to them. I don't know the life they're living, but God does. They had come to try and bring accusations against another person, and it ended up with me giving them a very similar talk to what I had given the first girl and they were not expecting to have things go the way they did. But God was good and again He really just did the talking - I just was the vessel.

These things have been a long time coming. I've seriously struggled with not knowing what to do with these students for such a long time. It had always been rumors, but then it just kind of fell in my lap as to how to deal with it. In seeing these students living lives where they knew the right way to live, but instead lived to cater to the "flesh", I can now have new understanding about what our sin does to God. As I was counseling the first girl, one thing that really hit me hard what how she had welts all over her from where the other lady had been striking her with a small stick. I was able to tell her that the pain she went through with that beating was nothing compared to when Jesus was beaten to the point where the skin was ripped off of his back because of His love for her. It's really something that I will NEVER forget and I thank God for opening my eyes to the power of that example.

The book of 1 John talks about if you love God you will no longer choose a life of sin, I can point fingers at these girls all I want, but really, I need to examine my own life as well. The sin that these girls are involved with is just the same as when I know I'm not supposed to gossip or manipulate or have pride...and yet still pursue those things. As I told these girls, we are called to live pure, holy, blameless lives before Christ, ones where we are above reproach. Now as I'm telling these students that, I now need to practice what I preach.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"Open Air Preaching"

In the book, "Lectures to my Students", Charles Spurgeon devotes two chapters to "open air preaching". I won't lie when I was reading through this book and as I crept closer and closer to these chapters, I was somewhat dreading them because it seemed like the subject matter would be a little on the dry side to say the least...but boy was I wrong! It's funny because in America, we don't really get or look for opportunities to do ministry outside of our church buildings or property. If anything, we do something like street witnessing which is all well and good, but if someone doesn't want to be asked the typical ice breaker questions of, "so where do you think you'll go if you die?" or "Have you ever stolen something?", you're kind of out of luck. Spurgeon says a lot of common sense sort of stuff, yet I think it's stuff we need to be reminded of in this day and age especially. He wrote, "Not only must something be done to evangelize the millions, but everything must be done, and perhaps amid variety of effort the best thing would be discovered, 'If by any means I may save some' must be our motto..." We get so caught in our box of, "This is how we do things" that I think there is a large some of people who miss out on hearing the Good News of what Christ went through because of His love for us. That's where my excitement with this open air preaching concept comes.

As I am in the midst of reading these chapters, it was decided that our youth group would go on location and do our normal youth service in a place called Loco. It's only a couple of blocks away from the church, but there are so many kids who live there who would not come to church and so it was awesome thinking of the 70+ kids who were there listening to the youth pastor, Richard, lay out the Gospel for them...but I think that almost even more that comes the thought of the people who maybe were just listening from their houses or passing by, and the seeds that could be planted with them as well. I've come to find that the seeds sown by "accident" sometimes produce the most fruit. So it was just so cool to play a VERY small part in getting to see the opportunities getting outside of our comfort zones can bring. Now, each month our goal is to do at least one event like this so that truly, "If by any means I (we) may save some".


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