Thursday, November 7, 2019

You & Missions??

To someone who has never gone on missions or is wondering what it is all about, let me tell you how missions has changed my life. It’s about being able to hold a baby while the wind and sand blows in your face. It’s about hearing the sweetest giggle. It’s about being able to physically change a building. It’s about prayer walking. It’s about doing the little things and serving any way you can. The Lord has given us all abilities to use for His glory. You don’t have to be anyone special! Being able to serve on 11 mission trips from serving in Mexico to NYC, to the Philippines and Thailand. The Lord has been faithful to provide for it all. Despite my fears and worries, He was [and still is] in control of it all. Do not be scared to take that step out of your comfort zone. He calls us all to serve.
Philippines 2019

-Kerstin N
Thailand 2018 & Philippines 2019

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

He is THE WAY

This picture is one that will always stick out to me from this summer. We looked not for our own way, but THE Way for guidance, peace, and at times, sanity. We’d literally scramble through the pages sometimes to try and remember scripture to help answer questions!
God is so much bigger than I can ever image.
My eyes have been opened to the spread of Jesus’ name to all the nations. 
His grace is sufficient. 
The cross was enough, and His word gives life. 
Seek Him today. 
Thank you Jesus for the grace you so freely give. 


And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God,
that you may know that you have eternal life.”  
-1 John‬ ‭5:11-13‬

-Amelia
Stand in the Gap Team
Philippines 2019

How many stranger's homes did you stay in??

Finally getting to share some of the faces I got to encounter and love over my 2 months in Southeast Asia. We backpacked from village to village, stayed the night in over 20 stranger's homes, and used the same 4 shirts and 3 pants all summer joyfully. :)  SO blessed with joyful and flexible and loving friends to do it with that passionately poured into everyone we met!

-Kimberly
Explorer & Evangelist Team 2019

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Relationships that Continue...

Some things in life come and go and I’m thankful for this friendship who has remained constant.

Since returning from our trip this summer, the devil has tried to get his foot in the door what seems like greater than ever. Struggling with insecurities I haven’t dealt with in years, believing lies about myself, and getting caught up in the worldly “standard” that I don’t measure up to.

Thankfully in this season, I have this sister who I can always count on to be honest with me and push me towards the cross above everything else.

Whether exploring a new city, going on mission across the globe, or watching Survivor while eating Hibachi... I’m thankful for this Jesus-loving friendship today! 

-Lauren
2019 Tropical Harvester Team
Philippines

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Have you ever seen a hyrax??

This morning during my quite time, I came across Psalms 104 which speaks of God’s creations. All of the animals and the landscapes that He has made that bring glory to His name. 

There was an animal in Kenya called a hyrax. These animals were everywhere and one of the funniest memories I have while I was in Kenya was one being on the roof and everyone thinking that it was going to attack at any moment. 

Psalms 104 talks about how God has provided for the animals that He created and in verse 18 it says “the cliffs are a refuge for the hyraxes.”  How cool is it that God provided the cliffs as a refuge of protection for these animals. If God cares so much even about the hyraxes well-being then think about how much he cares for His children and wants to provide them with abundantly more. In Leviticus 5 it talks about how the hyraxes are considered unclean. Yet God still cared and provided for them. It’s so amazing that we too, unclean sinners, can be
washed clean by His mercy and grace. God’s plans for us is exceedingly more than the hyrax. I’m thankful for God showing me His compassion and just how much He loves and cares for His children this morning.

-Madison W.
Camp & Community 2019
Kenya

Friday, October 11, 2019

Consider it pure joy

This summer we were given 26 Bible verses to learn and one of the first ones I memorized was James 1:2-4... Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of all kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. And let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Whenever my faith was tested this summer I would always think back and remember those words. I do have to admit a lot of times I did not have the right mindset and would get frustrated when opposition stood in my way and forget the truths that God tells His children. I would always tell my girls this summer that God would be with them through their hills and valleys. He would be with them through their highest of highs and their lowest of lows. But I would often forget that truth myself.

Ever since I have been home from Africa, I have had a lot of anxiety from transferring to a new school, adding a major, transitioning back to “normal” routine, and just the daily stresses of life. James 1:2-4 has been continually coming up. We were given the book of James to write an exegetical paper on for one of my Bible classes, so after reading James daily I have had the ability to meditate a lot on God’s promises that are seen in James 1:2-4.

Although in the midst of our trials is not very pretty or fun and it can hurt a lot, but when we endure the suffering just as Christ did for us, there in that valley, our faith is strengthened which is such a beautiful thing. But we can’t just endure them, God tells us that we must endure our trials with a joy that is genuine. Pure joy is found only in Christ, who came and gave himself for us. I am often guilty of looking for happiness in things that the world loves, but joy that is genuine comes from knowing God and seeking His will for our life.

James then goes on to tell us in verse 12 “Blessed is the one who endures trials, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him”. Our pain has a good reason, God has promised us that if we endure our trials with joy that we will be rewarded with the “crown of life”, which is forever with Jesus, how awesome is that?

So, if you need an encouragement today, know that God promises us that our pain has a purpose. It is there to stretch us and grow us. It makes us into the Christian that He has called each of us to be. What’s so comforting is that we do not have to suffer alone, God does not abandon us during our hard times, He is with us and He is guiding us. Rest on the truth of His promises. The same God that was with you on your hill will be with you in your valley. Praise Him for your trials, because there is purpose in your affliction.

-Madison W.
Camp & Community 2019
Kenya

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Goodness of God

This phrase was an anthem for my team throughout the summer. On our first Sunday in South Korea, our worship leader sang the Bethel Music song “Goodness of God.” Unknowingly, these lyrics would become a team bonding focal point, a source of encouragement, and a ministry tool. Since our team was comparatively smaller than others, it was so evident that the Lord had strategically given each of us talents and gifts in areas where the others lacked. Luckily for Julia, myself, South Koreans, and Filipinos alike, Makenzie was blessed with such a beautiful voice. 

So since we didn’t have access to music for 2 months, Makenzie filled that void. Let me explain further... Afternoons in the Philippines are hot, and for me personally they were the time where most of my spiritual battles took place. I remember vividly laying next to Julia under our mosquito net listening to the constant sound of geckos and roosters. We were exhausted. We went many days prior to that specific day without “siestas,” because the children were always begging to play Pato, Pato, Manok (duck, duck, chicken) and obviously no one can say no to those precious faces. So, while laying on our bed mats, Makenzie sang “Goodness of God” on repeat (because we couldn’t remember or look up lyrics to other songs). I wouldn’t have had it any other way because the Lord met us in our physical and spiritual valleys that afternoon and many other similar July afternoons. 

By the end of the summer, we were able to teach our South Korean and Filipino teammates the lyrics as well. Then our Filipino translators began teaching/sharing this song with our church children, high school students, and other people living in our island village. 

After almost two months back in the States, it is so easy to look back and see the Lord’s hand, faithfulness, and goodness in every small detail. This song continues to remind me of my experiences in Southeast Asia, my teammates who became some of my very best friends, and the work that still needs to be done in SE Asia. I deeply long to be back on my bed mat singing this song or playing Pato, Pato, Manok with the barangay children. However, I understand that the Lord has each of us placed in strategically different regions around the globe for our specific purpose in fulfilling His kingdom ministry. So, in this transition phase I am encouraged by the bond created over lyrics to a song, but more importantly I am encouraged by the eternal impact that one summer, one team, one song, and one God will have on people in South Korea, the Philippines, the USA, and all over the globe in the coming months and years.

Team with their Philippine church family
I love You, Lord
For Your mercy never failed me
All my days, I've been held in Your hands
From the moment that I wake up
Until I lay my head
Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

I love Your voice
You have led me through the fire
And in darkest night You are close like no other
I've known You as a Father
I've known You as a Friend
And I have lived in the goodness of God, yeah!

-Camden Studstill
Multinational Advance 2019, South Korea & Philippines