June 26, 2009

More news from Peru

Here's the latest from Melissa, who tells me she's able to read all your comments from Peru, so be sure you leave some encouraging comments for her...

It's been a full, wonderful day. We started out by going to a couple of soup kitchens, which were really just shacks. I have lots of pictures. The ladies hugged us because we brought them rice & oil. Then we went to a school to share our testimonies again. I went into 6th grade classes. We had one teacher who told us that he always tells his students to put God first & help people. We had another teacher get saved, and many of the kids said they did, too. It's different here, though...so it's hard to know if they really did, but we could look at some of the kids and just tell that they did.

Then we went to a military training center. And guess what I did...I did a parachute training jump from a 5-story tower! I think there were 21 of us who did it. It was so much fun! We jumped down and it was sort of like a bungee jump, then it caught us and it was a zip line down. You should have seen us! But the best part was seeing these men get saved, and the commander crying when we gave him some money to meet the needs of his troop. They invited us back, so we're going Tuesday. They want us to see their museum and visit their store. I've got to make sure I get a souvenir from there. I have pictures to prove what I did!
Please keep praying for our parachute-jumping-gospel-preaching-mission-going friend!
~His Girl Amber

June 25, 2009

Peru, Day Three

Ahoy, Mateys! It's His Girl, the Bloggy Pirate, here to update you on Melissa's mission trip to Peru! I was so excited to hear today's update. It sounds like she's having an incredible time, learning, loving, and leaning on God. These are so much fun to read and I bet you'll think so too- keep praying!

Today was AMAZING! We actually were able to go into a public school and share Jesus in the classrooms! I can't imagine ever doing that in America, but they welcomed us. I was able to share my testimony with a group of kids in 6th & 7th grade, and saw many professions of faith. Later we went to one of the many shanty towns and shared. We only got 1 block in an hour, because we were stopping to share with so many. I had 3 young girls (ages 11, 12, and 14) that drew my attention, and I witnessed to them. All 3 accepted Christ, and they say they're coming to church Sunday. I asked them to sit with me, and I hope I see them.

This country is so receptive to the gospel, but there are SO MANY people to reach. It's a gigantic work, but we have a gigantic God!

I have devotions tonight, and am praying that our team will have a wonderful time of sharing. I'm sharing the PERU acronym with them. I can't wait!

Day 2 in Peru

hi guys, it's the bloggy pirate, His Girl, here... Melissa asked me to post this for you~ please remember to continue to pray for our friend...

Day Two of our time here in Peru has been full of activity and emotion. After a good night’s sleep and morning devotions, we said goodbye to our youth team led by Beverly and Jerry. They’ll be away from us until Monday, and we’re looking forward to hearing how God works through them. We loaded the bus to travel to Gamarrah and hand out tracts & Bibles. I was listening to worship music on my iPod and looking at the Andes Mountains through the window. We hadn’t gotten very far on our journey when I heard a song with the line I will lift my eyes to the Maker of the mountains I can’t climb. I wrote in my journal, God, 14 million people in this place among the mountains – it’s a mountain I can’t climb, but YOU can!
As we went into Gamarrah, I was completely overwhelmed by the number of people. Dirty people. Hopeless people. Hungry people. Never in my life has anyone chased me across the street to get a Bible. The tracts and Bibles we had in our hands were like a treasure to them. Something valuable that they wanted to make sure they had. Between yesterday & today, we’ve handed out over 10,000 tracts and Bibles. Noone on our team has seen anyone throw it away. In fact, we see them reading it immediately…and in those times when we can’t find one of our interpreters, we feel completely hopeless to help. A mountain we can’t climb. Yet God is climbing it. The tracts we are handing out have the phone number of the printing company on the back. That company received approximately 15 phone calls today, asking for directions to the church.
After lunch, we stopped for Brother Mike and Pastor Rob to buy provisions for one of the holding tanks. We went to the tank, expecting to find many abandoned babies and to have a chance to love on them. God had other plans. The babies and toddlers had been moved out because of the flu, so we played volleyball with the young girls there. Their laughter was beautiful. After the game, Jasmine shared her testimony. I watched as some of the girls snickered and paid little attention. But there were some who were desperate, who hung on every word. Their faces revealed lives tougher than any of us could ever imagine, empty hearts who need the love of Jesus. After Pastor Rob explained how they could be saved and led them in a prayer, many of them said they’d prayed with him. Of course, we don’t know…but we are trusting God for the harvest.
Yes, the mountains here are large, but they are not bigger than the Maker. May He continue to move those mountains…not in our time or in our way, but in His.

June 24, 2009

My first blogjacking

Is it really blogjacking when you've been authorized to take over someone's blog? No? Well, that's okay. I'm going to pretend anyway :) I like idea of being some sort of blog pirate, aaaarrrrrg!

Silliness aside, I'm writing now to tell you that I got my first email from Melissa, the real author of this blog and my dear friend, yesterday. It was so nice to hear from her and she asked me to pass her message along. Without any further ado... here's the latest from the mission fields of Peru:

Had a great 1st day! I've had only a little sleep after LONG day of travel. We arrived here at 3:15 AM. After playing with the toddlers for a while, we left to go to the Presidential Palace Plaza and hand out tracts. We were able to give out about 1,000 tracts and saw a couple of salvations. Wednesday we get to visit schools and give our testimonies. The poverty here is overwhelming ~ people are hungry for the Lord, though. I will share more as I can.

I am sure you are all with me in being so proud of our friend Melissa. She's being so brave and obedient and I just know that God is going to do such a good work in her! Remember Melissa, her mission team, and her family back at home in your prayers today. I'll be back to post more as the emails come in.


June 22, 2009

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane

There are people in this world who like surprises. I am not one of those people.
- Annie Reed (as portrayed by Meg Ryan in "Sleepless in Seattle")

Ditto, Annie.

And yet by the time you read this, I'll be on a plane to Peru. I can't think of anything more surprising, actually. Even though I've gotten all the confirmation I needed.

I'm excited, nervous, apprehensive, joyful, and just plain scared. My emotions have been all over the place. I'm sure it will be that way for the next 10 days.

I'll have limited internet time...and only then if I can swipe someone's laptop for a bit. So, I'll be emailing my dear friend Amber, and she'll post updates here. (It takes me forever to craft a blog post, and I know I can email her my ramblings & she'll turn them into something beautiful and thought-provoking.) Our church will also blog about our trip...and one of us will post those links.

So, friends, I'm outta here. Coveting your prayers and trying with all my might to remember what God showed me last week:


And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."
- Isaiah 6:8 (ESV)

June 21, 2009

In Case I Needed Confirmation

I was a little unsure about my quiet time Friday. After my lesson on PERU this week, I didn't know where God wanted me to go. (I'm not really into "Bible roulette"...blindly opening my Bible and figuring that must be where the Lord wants me to read.) I didn't have any clear answer, and finally decided to go back to 1 Corinthians, which is where I left off before the Seeking Him Together study. As I was opened my Bible to begin flipping pages, this is what I found

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" - Romans 10:14-15 (ESV)

HELLO. I'd just spent the last two days grappling with my decision to go...was it really God's, or just mine? Because, if it was God's, would I really be so close to calling the whole thing off?! As I poured over this Scripture, I began to cry. I could hear my Father saying, This is all Me.

So, then I knew I needed to pray for His strength. I turned to 2 Chronicles 16:9 (one of my favorite verses)

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. (ESV)

For "whose heart is blameless toward him", my new Bible gave a reference to 1 Kings 8:61

Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day. (ESV)

And you know anytime there's a "therefore" you need to see what it's "there for", so I backed up

...that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. (v. 60)

Looks like I'm going to Peru, friends!

June 19, 2009

The Disappearance of God by Albert Mohler

I had hoped to read this before I leave, but I'm looking forward to it when I get back!

From the publisher:

More faulty information about God swirls around us today than ever before. No wonder so many followers of Christ are unsure of what they really believe in the face of the new spiritual openness attempting to alter unchanging truth.

For centuries the church has taught and guarded the core Christian beliefs that make up the essential foundations of the faith. But in our postmodern age, sloppy teaching and outright lies create rampant confusion, and many Christians are free-falling for “feel-good” theology.

We need to know the truth to save ourselves from errors that will derail our faith.

As biblical scholar, author, and president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler, writes, “The entire structure of Christian truth is now under attack.” With wit and wisdom he tackles the most important aspects of these modern issues:

Is God changing His mind about sin?
Why is hell off limits for many pastors?
What’s good or bad about the “dangerous” emergent movement?
Have Christians stopped seeing God as God?
Is the social justice movement misguided?
Could the role of beauty be critical to our theology?
Is liberal faith any less destructive than atheism?
Are churches pandering to their members to survive?

In the age-old battle to preserve the foundations of faith, it's up to a new generation to confront and disarm the contemporary shams and fight for the truth. Dr. Mohler provides the scriptural answers to show you how.

You can purchase Dr. Mohler's newest book here.

I'll be back tomorrow to share some final thoughts before I depart.

June 18, 2009

Leaning on His Understanding

Last night, I was at the end of my rope. I was ready to forget this whole trip, stay home and feel sorry for myself. I'm trying to let go. Really, I am. But my work week has been horrendous. CJ's preteen attitude has been rearing its ugly head. And I'm tired of not seeing my man for more than 10 minutes a day. The enemy was more than glad to give me valid reasons to give up. Reasons I can understand, that make total sense. You see, going to Peru...I don't understand that at all.

I don't understand why God would call me

a small town girl who's scarcely traveled away from home
to leave my family behind for 10 days
to go to a foreign country
where I don't speak the language
to try to tell others, in just a few minutes, how Jesus saved my life
when I don't even walk across the street to do that.

I don't understand why God would choose me

a mother without much maternal instinct
to stay in a children's home
and minister in a holding tank for abandoned children.

I don't understand how God can use me

a broken vessel with such limitations
to spread His agape love
to a country that so desperately needs it
but no more than my own country, my own town.

I've tried to wrap my brain around it all, and I keep coming up short. It just doesn't make sense to me. Which, I know, is why He reminded me of a familiar verse this morning.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. - Proverbs 3:5 (AMP)

Even though this journey makes no sense to me, it makes perfect sense to Him. And that's all I really need to know.

June 17, 2009

Letting Go

In our final team meeting Sunday night, our pastor warned us that the enemy might be launching an all-out assault this week (if he wasn't already). He wasn't kidding. This week (all two days of it, as I'm writing this) has been brutal. I'm getting it from all sides, and feeling beaten down. But I'm not giving in.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair.
- 2 Corinthians 4:8 (ESV)

My initial response has been to buckle down and try harder to make.it work. It ain't happening. Spinning my wheels, elevating my blood pressure, and running around like a crazy woman to get everybody taken care of accomplishes nothing but increased frustration. I've got to let go of the control I think I have.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. - Matthew 11:28-29 (ESV)

I've been rebelling against Jesus' yoke, wanting to handle it all on my own. I've worn myself out in the process. Now I'm too tired not to put on His yoke and let Him do the work.

Three days of work. Four days to get CJ ready for summer camp. Five days until the trip of a lifetime. It's in your hands, Lord Jesus.

Preparing. Expecting. Relinquishing. Tomorrow, Understanding.

June 16, 2009

Great Expectations

As CJ would be sure to tell you, I have high expectations. (Not her most favorite thing about me, to be sure) It's true...I do. Which worries me a little about this trip. Last year's team saw 1,100 - 1,200 salvations in 10 days. I've been expecting God to repeat or surpass last year's work.

In Acts 3 (v. 1-10), the man at the gate expects Peter and John to help him financially. Instead, they heal his body. His expectations weren't met. Was he upset? No...in fact, just the opposite. Verse 8 says he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. He expected one thing but received another, which was a greater blessing than he'd ever anticipated.

As I've prayed about my expectations for this trip, the Lord reminded me that only one thing need be expected:

...it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. - Philippians 1:20 (ESV)

As I said yesterday, these 10 days of my life are going to be full of the works that He's already prepared. My only expectation can be that, as I seek to walk in them, He is glorified.

May it be so, Lord Jesus!

June 15, 2009

The Final Week

One week from today, I'll be on a plane to Peru. Seven days. I'd calculate it in hours, but that's too much math for my brain.

I can't believe it's come down to the final week of preparation. Our team had our final meeting last night. It's really almost here.

I'm feeling the need for this week to be different. There's still work, home keeping responsibilities, and getting CJ to softball and tennis. R's working 12-hour shifts nearly every day. Life is crazy.

But amidst all the routine busy-ness, this week will be set apart. God's given me a beautiful acronym for how I should pray this week.


As I sought Scriptures this morning on preparing, I was asking God how exactly I can prepare any more for this trip. He's provided the finances (thank you, Jesus!), I've updated my shot records, gotten my passport from storage, and made all the arrangements at home that I possibly can at this point. Logistically, I feel well-prepared. Once again, He reminded me that the preparation's not up to me.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

God has already prepared the works. I am to walk in them. I declared 2009 to be the Year of Trust and Obedience...and I've learned a lot about trusting. Now it's time for the obedience. As I endeavor to obey Him in this mission, I know that I've got to be praying and seeking Him like never before. So, this week...

~No blog reading. The only blogging I'm doing is prayer requests
~No book reading, except my Bible and A Praying Life.
~No computer, except as absolutely needed to pay bills, email my itinerary to prayer partners (if you'd like it, please let me know), and provide updates here.

Those are the changes He's put before me so far. There may be more to come. In the meanwhile, I'm praying for eyes to see the works He's prepared. I don't want to miss a thing.

(Note: if you're new here, you can read about my trip by clicking on the label "The Mission" below.)

June 9, 2009

It's All About Grace

Sorry I'm late today...been at 5th grade graduation & awards all morning. No time to post, but I did want to leave the spot to link. Since Mr. Linky hasn't been very reliable lately, just put your link in the comments.

Remember our questions:

1. How has your understanding of grace been helped or challenged this week?

2. How can God's grace help us overcome temptation?

3. Read Hebrews 4:15-16. What insight does this passage give us about how to get more of God's grace?

I'll be back later to add my own.

June 8, 2009

Seeking Him, Week # 5 Discussion Questions

Today's entry is short, sweet & to the point. Put your thinking cap on...here are this week's discussion questions about Week #5, Grace:

1. How has your understanding of grace been helped or challenged this week?

2. How can God's grace help us overcome temptation?

3. Read Hebrews 4:15-16. What insight does this passage give us about how to get more of God's grace?

Oh, and for some good reading, click here. This article, from Nancy Leigh DeMoss' True Woman site, made me think of our group.

June 5, 2009

Let the Summer Reading Begin

School's out (for some of you lucky folks, anyway)and it's time for some summer reading. That's cause for celebration (well, any reading is cause for celebration for me!) Here are a couple of books I've got on my summer list.

~Saints in Limbo by River Jordan. My friend Lisa's review piqued my interest. From the publisher:

Ever since her husband Joe died, Velma True’s world has been limited to what she can see while clinging to one of the multicolored threads tied to the porch railing of her home outside Echo, Florida.

When a mysterious stranger appears at her door on her birthday and presents Velma with a special gift, she is rattled by the object’s ability to take her into her memories–a place where Joe still lives, her son Rudy is still young, unaffected by the world’s hardness, and the beginning is closer than the end. As secrets old and new come to light, Velma wonders if it’s possible to be unmoored from the past’s deep roots and find a reason to hope again.

~Stealing Home by Allison Pittman. I just finished this book (the second I've read by Pittman). My review will be coming soon at 5 Minutes for Books, but I'll whet your appetite here:

It’s 1905 and the Chicago Cubs are banking on superstar Donald “Duke” Dennison’s golden arm to help them win the pennant. Only one thing stands between Duke and an unprecedented ten thousand dollar contract: alcohol.

That’s when sportswriter David Voyant whisks Duke to the one-horse town of Picksville , Missouri , so he can sober up in anonymity. He bides his time flirting with Ellie Jane Voyant, his unofficial chaperone, who would rather hide herself in the railway station ticket booth than face the echoes of childhood taunts.

Ned Clovis, the feed store clerk, has secretly loved Ellie Jane since childhood, but he loves baseball and the Duke almost as much–until he notices Ellie Jane may be succumbing to the star’s charm.

Then there’s Morris, a twelve-year-old Negro boy, whose only dream is to break away from Picksville. When Duke discovers his innate talent for throwing a baseball, Morris might just have found his way out.

Four individuals, each living in haunted isolation, each harboring a secret passion. Providence brings them together. Tragedy threatens to tear them apart. Will love be enough to bring them home?

~Sea Changes by Gail Graham. Jennifer reviewed it here, and is sweet enough to mail it to me.

~The House in Grosvenor Square by Linore Rose Burkard. It's the sequel to Before the Season Ends, a book I loved. You can win both over at the Summer Fun Giveaway at 5 Minutes for Books.

So...what are you reading?

June 2, 2009

Seeking Him Together: Week 4

I've been MIA in our study lately...leaving poor Amber to carry the load. Fortunately, she rocks and is able to handle it quite well! I'm thankful for that, because things here are just crazy busy and the computer is low on my list of priorities. Not necessarily a bad thing, EXCEPT WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO CO-HOSTESS A BIBLE STUDY!

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me. I can't promise it's going to get any better until I get back from Peru, but I still love you all.

So...Week #4 was all about repentance. Amber pulled some great questions from the Seeking Him Together portion of the week (again, if you're not reading that part of the study, DO IT. Some amazing questions and insights there). Question #2 grabbed my attention.

When God brings conviction of sin to the heart of one of His children, what does it tell us about Him?

I would say the key thing I've learned in this study is that revival begins with God...His invitation and His work. I have to respond, but I can't initiate revival in my heart. Part of my response is honesty (and though I never did get to write my post on honesty last week...WOW! It was a great week, wasn't it?!). When I'm honest with God about my sin, He will bring conviction.

You know, being honest isn't always comfortable. During Week #3, I was convicted... in spades. Still, I didn't want to risk being honest. I was being eaten alive one painful bite at a time by a secret...but I was convinced that getting it out in the open would be much worse. Finally, I responded to God's conviction. I repented and put it all out on the table. The relief was immediate.

Again I was reminded that God loves me too much to leave me where I am...Praise His Name! He has something better for me than cowering in fear. The conviction was tough, but repenting brought restoration and strengthened both an earthly relationship and my relationship with Him.

This post on discipline versus punishment primarily speaks to parenting, but can also be applied to our spiritual lives. God uses conviction and discipline to make us more like Him. How we respond to Him is our choice, but we will not experience true revival without repentance.

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. - 2 Corinthians 7:10 (ESV)

Do you have any thoughts on repentance? I'd love to hear them! If you're part of our study group, the link for this week's discussion is here. For anyone who's not following along, feel free to leave a comment.

Up next - Week #5, Grace.