Saturday, July 21, 2012

trust in the LORD.

It has been a crazy week at Ruel Foundation! There are 3 new babies, all of whom have pretty serious medical conditions and are malnourished. The newest, baby S, is 2 months old and weighs only 4 pounds.

Last week, 2 babies had to spend a few days in the hospital. One of them, baby C, was running fever as Lauren and Tin Tin began their night shift. It's not uncommon for the babies at Ruel to be sick, but around midnight it was clear that the medicine was not helping baby C, and this was more serious than an average fever. They went across the road to wake the Ruel supervisor, who decided baby C needed to go to the hospital. 

Megan went with her to hold baby C, and ended up spending the night with him there (at this hospital an outside caregiver has to stay with the baby at all times). She didn't have time to get money, food, or the phone before she left Ruel, and the Calapan hospital was much different than anything in America. There wasn't much she could do for baby C. She had to depend on the Lord in a completely foreign, scary situation. But she came back to Ruel and shared with the team how He completely provided. Other caregivers in the hospital brought her food and bedding and encouraged her. Baby C's condition improved a lot over the next few days, and both babies were able to come home from the hospital.

The Ruel nannies all shared with me how they have been learning to rely on the Lord's power and not their own strength or knowledge. As the once-foreign rules of childcare become second nature, it's tempting to put your confidence in your own skills or knowledge. But in the past week, the nannies experienced emergency situations where they didn't have the answers. As in Megan's story, they had lean on the Lord for strength, wisdom, and healing. Being used by God isn't a matter of being smart or brave, but coming to Him empty and willing to be filled and poured out.

Life is fragile - especially life in the form of a sick, malnourished baby. Please PRAY for continued healing and strength for baby C and T, who were in the hospital, for baby S, and for baby L, who has congenital heart disease. Pray for wisdom for the doctors and caregivers at Ruel. Pray for Megan, Cat, and Lauren to put their trust in the Lord and depend on Him daily as they continue to work at Ruel.

Here I (Media Mary) am with baby L - she got very upset any time I tried to take a picture
 of her by herself, so this is the best I could do. :)

(Im)possible Prayers

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." -Ephesians 3.20-21
As of today, Nehemiah Teams have one week left on the field. In my experience, the last week is a weird one. It's hard to be all there, wherever you are, when a different life is awaiting you in one week. It's hard to stay focused when you're sick, tired, or maybe just tired of rice. It's hard to say goodbye to people you've shared life with for the past 2 months, not knowing if you'll ever see them again. The enemy uses all these things to distract us from our purpose, whispering convincingly that seven more days won't make much of a difference.

Well the enemy is wrong. And here's where you come in. 
You, the prayer support, the people who have gone to war on your knees all summer for every team in every country. This last week matters, and your prayers still matter. I would like to challenge all who read this blog to spend this last week praying for the impossible - or the seemingly impossible, because all things are possible for God. That passage in Ephesians says that He can do far more abundantly than ALL that we ask or think. No request is too great. No heart is too hard. No task is too daunting. Our prayers can never be too big. God will always be bigger.

Pray that God's Word would continue to go out and not return void, but accomplish His purposes - check out what Isaiah 55 has to say about that! And pray for what happens after this week, after the teams leave. We are all just a small part (an important part, but a small part nonetheless) of God's great plan for the nations. He was at work before we got here, and He will continue to work when we leave. Pray not only for these specific teams and this specific time, but for His grand plan to bring salvation to the nations.

Approach the throne of grace with confidence this day, this week. I thank my God for you!

Father of the fatherless

God is doing great things at Gentle Hands!

Remind baby P, who was severely malnourished and had worms and TB when she came to Gentle Hands nearly 2 months ago? She went home to her family yesterday worm-free, taking medicine for TB, and weighing a whole lot more than when she came! Here she is with Ate Tasha - she looks like a different baby!

Pray for P and her family, that they would be diligent and able to take care of her at home. Pray that they would see the Lord's hand in the situation and would come to have a true relationship with Jesus because of it. Pray that Gentle Hands could continue a relationship with this family to share Christ with them. Pray that as P grows, she would would be physically strong as well as strong in the Lord!

Praise God for how He restores life and health.

Also, be in prayer for several children at GH who may be adopted soon. It is difficult for foreigners to adopt from the Philippines; for many the process takes years. But things look promising for several cases at GH, which is really exciting! Pray for paperwork to go through, for the courts to process things quickly, and for the kids to be adopted by loving Christian families.

God created us for family. Adoption is a picture of how God adopts us into His family, giving us the right to be His children and heirs with Christ. That's just cool.
"As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him." - Psalm 103.13

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Post from Samantha

Dear God,

You are so good. I understand what that means more now than I ever have before. Whenever I am discouraged, You are faithful to encourage me right away. I've seen Your Presence with us so clearly and I thank You for that. You know every anxious thought I have and You are quick to remind me that You created me the way I am for a purpose and that You walk with me always. 

I see Your Spirit in my teammates, in the hearts of the people we are sharing with as they recognize Your Truth, and in the prayers You answer so faithfully. Many times I catch myself feeling discouraged or frustrated, but discouragement is not from You, God. You have had the best in mind for us from the beginning.

"And the Lord said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence."

Exodus 33:19

God, continue the work on these rivers. You have a big plan for these people. Show them Your goodness. If they see that, there will be no choice but to praise You.

I love these people, but how much greater is Your love for them. Thanks for filling my heart when it needed filling. He who promised is faithful. I pray we never doubt that. Grow Your Kingdom. Show Your goodness to the nations.

I love You,

Prayer Requests for the Riverboat Teams

Pray for Ate P, an encouraging woman who has started holding a Bible study in her home each Thursday evening. Pray that she would grow and be strengthened as a leader.

Pray for Naynay D, who was baptized and has started attending the Bible study with Ate P. Pray for the Lord to continue solidifying her faith and revealing Himself to her.

Pray for Kuya J, a Barangay Counselor who is a strong leader in the community. He has already started studying his new Bible on his own. Pray that he would understand the scripture and be strengthened to obey.

Pray for Naynay B, a woman who shows love and discipline to the children of this community. She has told us that she has trouble understanding the scripture, so pray for clarity as she joins the Bible study with Ate P.

Pray for V, a young lady who has been leading a Bible study for the youth. Pray that she wouldn't be discouraged because of her age, but that she would be filled and eager to continue in her ministry.

Pray for Ate M, a community leader who works closely with the Barangay Captain. She shows a lot of interest in learning more and in being baptized.

Pray for Naynay M, who didn't attend our group Bible study until the last day. Pray for understanding as she studies the Word, and for a motivation to meet with others.

Pray for Kuya H and Ate A, a loving Christian couple who used to live in Manila and greatly desire to be a part of a church in their barangay. Pray that they would be bold and motivated to become leaders.

Pray for Naynay I and Naynay F, two women who seem to have a gift for gathering people together. Group studies in their homes grew throughout the week, and combined for a church service on Sunday with 17 adults in attendance. Pray for their personal growth, and that they would continue to encourage others. Pray for those attending the Bible studies throughout the week - that the Lord would continue to work in their hearts and draw them to Himself.

Pray for Ate N and her four-year-old daughter, J, who has cerebral palsy. Ate N shows a lot of interest in the Bible, asked for a list of verses that she could read. She struggles to discern between so many different teachings that she has heard, and doesn't know what to believe. Pray that God would continue to provide for them as J get older.

The Power of Prayer

God is making it exceedingly clear that He is the one working in Eastern Samar. He never ceases to remind us how small we are, and how great His plan is. He is humbling us and revealing to us His faithfulness in new ways every day.

There are countless ways that He has moved, and every one of them points to His power. We have prayed for specific people to be raised up as leaders, and we have already heard about their growth in the Word and their obedience to follow Christ. We have seen their Bibles getting use and their community growing. They've even gone out of their way to travel to us, tell us about their Bible studies, and thank us for coming to serve. The Lord has used them to encourage us.

God also challenges us and gives us growth in prayer. In prayer, we act on our faith. We've entered so many homes to tell people about Jesus, and encountered extreme physical ailments. Even people who don't know the Lord know to ask for prayer. James 5 tells us, "the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick," and, "the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." In that dim thatch room, laying my hand on a woman who had suffered a debilitating stroke, I quickly realized that I don't often pray by faith.

So I changed. I prayed for God to move in her life. I prayed, in the name of Jesus, that He would heal her and be glorified. I've lost count of the suffering people I've prayed for. There always seem to be more, and my faith is tested every time.

We don't always see God's response, but we can know without a doubt that He is faithful. Naynay S has had a cyst in her nose for the past year, and has also suffered from strokes which have impaired her control over the right side of her body. She was unable to leave her chair, so we went to her home daily, to share what Jesus has done for her and pray for her health. Before too long, her cyst disappeared and she regained her strength to walk! The next day she was baptized!

I don't fully understand prayer. I don't know exactly what it does or why it works, but I know that it holds incredible power. When God moves in response to our prayer, He is not working within our frame of reference. He is giving us an opportunity to more clearly see Him working. I will never cease to fervently pray, and when my God answers, it is only He who will receive the glory.


Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance. I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance, and need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
 Philippians 4:11-13

When I think about this verse I think of how God has humbled me this summer. These children are all living in a children's home but they don't see it that way. They see it as one big family. They are happy and fun loving the majority of the time. Unlike myself at times, they don't complain. about their circumstances. They just learn how to embrace their situations in life.

I was adopted when I was some of their age. So when I found out I was going to get to work in an orphanage, I got really excited. I just knew  I was going to be there for children who have been through similar circumstances.

I did not realize that the children would be teaching me and blessing me! These children have shown me that no matter my situation in life; I can always look to God and think positive.

The staff have also blessed and humbled me. Most of them are my age and younger and they have dedicated their lives to these children. That has motivated me to do more when I am back at home.

I have learned so much from this journey, whether it's  been teaching in a Filipino school, singing specials in church, sharing my testimony or just hanging out with the children and staff.

I have greatly enjoyed my experience here and truly feel blessed that God chose me to be here. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Pray for the children that they would come to know Christ.
Pray for strength and endurance for my team.
Pray for the children's homes needs to be met.

God Speaks, Time to Listen

I want to share some of the occurrences here in the Philippines, but for the moment I'm going to share something God is saying to me. I feel it's a great time to share so you can pray with me and keep me accountable to praying and seeking God's will in this calling. Here it is—

On March 30 I wrote this in my journal—"I believe I am more called to the people here in the U.S. It won't be easy by any stretch, maybe even harder with my own people. God has the power and God has a plan, let's do it."

Ever since I wrote this, and before, I have been praying like crazy about where I should follow God after college. Should I follow in my parents footsteps and go international? I always thought I would because that was my childhood. I almost felt as if I was opposing God if I didn't go overseas. I felt as if I was opposing my parents. I quickly learned this to be false from both. I knew my parents wouldn't oppose my decision to stay or go as long as I was seeking after God, and actually, my parents began to teach me through their decisions that staying was okay, it was necessary and in just as high demand. Actually, this was God teaching me through my parents, so that's how I got my response from both.

Why did I believe going overseas was my only option? I guess I felt as if staying in the comforts of America was a cop out. That I wasn't putting my life on the line for God. I wasn't dropping into villages in the Amazon or seeking the large numbers of Muslims in the Middle East then I wasn't doing anything significant for God. I'm serious, this was the thought I fumbled around with in my mind. It may seem outrageous, but if you think, yes you, you might have had the same thought. We have to go to far places, eat strange animals and learn a new language to be on mission with God. Wrong.

God said this to me—"how about you let me make the decision and I tell you where I want you?" And I said, "okay, that sounds perfect to me." So, what is God's decision for me? Well, I believe he has called me, as I mentioned on March 30, to work with my own people in America and to work with internationals coming into our country. Where in America? I have no idea and that detail isn't important right now. All that I know is that God is making His call clear. That "to the ends of the earth" includes America, my home, and the people are just as deserving of the Gospel and there must be workers at home as well.

God broke through to me when we read a devotional here in the Philippines as a group. It was about our role in world evangelism and I love how it categorized and described the calling I feel. It's called "welcoming." For those peoples coming to America from other countries, they need to hear the Gospel and no one can share with them if everyone has left home and gone elsewhere, right? So, it made sense to me. "Welcoming" was as much a needed task as "going" was. Those internationals coming here, well, they can learn what Christ did for them, be changed forever, and return home to share. And not only is "welcoming" limited to just internationals, but we can "welcome" our own people already living America into the Kingdom of God.

So, it all came together. God put it all on my plate and asked if I wanted a bite. I'm grabbing my fork right now, and placing my napkin in my lap because it could get messy at times, but it's gonna be the tastiest plate because God served it to me. (maybe I went overboard with the analogy)

Anyway, let me offer a passage that has comforted me in this decision.
 "The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike." 1 Samuel 30:24-5 

I like this passage because it comes from a story about David and how his men are arguing about who should receive the treasures of plundering a city. And David settles the argument by saying those words, that both are important and needed. Those at home and those abroad. However, I offer a quick word of caution. For those who stay and don't work as if they were abroad, who revel in the comforts of home and never reach out to love those in need spiritually and physically, your judgment is coming.  "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:15-16

Make sure you are called by God wherever you go. I'm sure God has called me to remain in America for now, so that's what I will do.

Monday, July 16, 2012


We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all.  

-Isaiah 53:6

Friday we visited a worship service that was held in honor of Prodigals. Prodigals is a program here in Winston-Salem that helps men struggling with addiction to alcohol and drugs recover not only physically and mentally, but spiritually. It is a program that teaches these men about eternal healing, not just temporary relief from their pain.

The man in this picture has about a week before he finishes the Prodigals program. He bravely stood to share his story. He told us everything, about the drugs, the alcohol, the bad relationships, and about his friends that have overdosed and died. He said, "Without God I would not be alive today." He told us that there was just something different about the love he received at Prodigals. It was given without anything expected in return, it was constant, it was deep, it was like nothing he had ever seen before

Almost immediately my heart began to twist and turn as I realized how similar our stories are. Before I started college I was wandering so far from God. I struggled with alcohol, sex, drugs, and cutting for many years. I remember falling to me knees in tears the day someone shared with me the news of our Lord, the story of love and forgiveness that I desperately needed. This man reminded me of the joy that rushes into your soul when you realize that someone out there that not only died for you, but will never leave you or stop loving you. Knowing that this man had found that joy, and was so eager to share it with others brought tears to me eyes. 

Overwhelmed, and probably looking really crazy since I was crying hysterically by now, I ran up to him and gave him a big bear hug. When I could finally get words out, I told him how proud I was of him. I told him to never be ashamed, but to keep proclaiming what God has done in his life every chance he gets. 

 Lets admit it, we are all prodigals. We have all wandered far from God, and we have all sinned. God in His mighty love and grace chooses to seek us, restore us, love us, use us, and even call us His children! We are all unworthy, but I pray that we would never be ashamed to tell of what God has done in our lives. Let us be humbled, that Christ might be glorified in us. Let us share our stories of failure, that we might tell of Christ victory, and how He has been mighty to save even the least of us wandering sheep. I pray we would wake up every day with a renewal of that same joy and realization of what God has done to bring us into this family. 

Where the Grass is Green

     On Thursday of this week, we were sitting in a field when some “shepherd” boys came up to enjoy the shade and listen to our Bible stories on the radio. Cameron, Olivia, and I sat there enjoying the shade while the kids huddled around our little speakers. Every now and then, one of the boys would realize that a few of the goats and sheep they were in charge of was feasting on the millet plants in the fields and would have to run over to corral them.
    As this was a clear hindrance to the boys’ listening and understanding the stories, Olivia and I ended up taking a couple of sauras (the sticks they use for herding) and keeping an eye on the flock. This proved actually very entertaining for us; in heavy Southern accents we would scold the animals who were constantly trying to escape our set boundaries and venture into a field, threatening to put them in time out or throw our “javelins” at them. At one point, Olivia said, “I see you trying to get away, goat! Why don’t you just be happy where you’re at?! There’s plenty of green stuff right here!”
     Between Olivia and me there has been a significant amount of discussion on how to know where God wants you to be serving and what our potential futures will look like. This conversation is not necessarily unhealthy, but as it is, we are in West Africa working in a village with around 500 lost Fulani people. It’s true that the plants in the field are good for eating, but right now, the Shepherd has us in a place with plenty to eat. How foolish would it be for me to starve standing in the middle of a field gazing over into a place that I simply cannot walk into?!
     In the latest of our beloved David Platt podcasts, he cites what Paul says in verse 20 and of I Cor. 7: “Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called.” So, we began praying that we would be fully present with the people here and not miss the opportunity He has given us through this summer. In answer to that prayer, I have been given a deep love for these people that I had not experienced before. I genuinely look forward to spending time in the bush, and when I’m not there, I can’t wait to get back to those people to let them teach me their language and all about their families and themselves as I try to teach them about Christ.
    One of these people for whom our hearts absolutely break is a deaf man, Ibraheim, that we met last week. We are fully aware that not every single person in our village will come to know and accept Jesus; however, we at least want to give everyone the chance to hear to Gospel so that they can respond one way or another. “Abundant seed sowing” has been one of our primary purposes from the start. But how will this man ever hear? He doesn’t seem to have any solid method of communication; obviously, American Sign Language is not an option (not that any of the three of us know how to sign anyway). We honestly don’t have an answer but are praying that the Lord would somehow allow his ears – spiritually and/or physically – to be opened.
We have many other friends who we have also been praying for as Olivia and I are finally capable to communicate well enough to branch off from Cameron and sometimes each other to do our own sharing. Thus far, that has gone well. We haven’t seen any conversions, and may not while we are here, but we are certain that the Lord is working in this region and are sincerely thankful for the chance to join Him in that.
Prayer requests:

The Housa team: The 18 summer missionaries we met are broken up into teams of three, so they cover six different towns in addition to helping with clinics twice a week in the main town where their supervisors live. Pray that God would continually be working in each of their hearts (encouragement, love for the people, etc.) and bodies (many of them have suffered various minor illnesses lately) and that their respective ministries would be effective and fruitful.
Our hearts: We are beginning to truly walk in the love of Christ toward these people, but it is still a challenge when we have people ask for material things daily and even steal things from our hut. Pray that we would continue to be transformed into His image and that it would truly be Christ who lives in us.
Our ministry: Though most are open to listening to our tracks, we are unsure of how many are actually listening and understanding. We recently had some women excuse themselves from the area where we are sharing the Good News for prayer time to Allah. Pray that the Word would not simply be falling on deaf ears and that we would have discernment to know who is actually interested so that we can be more effective with our time.
Language: As we seek to build more relationships with the people here and share with them more, language is becoming more important. We would love to be able to actually discuss with them what they are hearing when we share our pre-recorded tracks. Pray that the Lord would grant us increasing understanding of and ability to use the language for His glory.
Ibraheim and his family: When we actually went to the compound of the deaf man, we found that his wife is also sick. We asked around the village and got no conclusive answer as to what is wrong, but she had an enormously swollen eye and laid inside her hut while we were visiting with her three young sons and their friends outside. Of course, there are obvious physical needs in this situation, but the spiritual needs are greater. Pray that God would have mercy on this family and bring healing both spiritual and physical.

Message through Eldora

Do you ever tell people about Jesus, but forget to tell Jesus about them? I find myself doing things like this from time to time. Sometimes I get so caught up in what I'm doing that I forget about what God could do. Sometimes I try to work so much for God, that I forget that He is supposed to work through me.

I met a lady named Eldora this week at a place called Bethel Colony. She was such an inspiration to me and she shared with me the story of how her and her husband had been serving there for 26 years, helping men struggling with addiction. She had come through many trials in her life, but still remained faithful to God. I thought, "Wow, what a testimony of perseverance." 

Knowing I would most likely get busy and forget to pray for her later on I asked if I could pray over her right then. It felt like an out of body experience as I prayed for her for a very long time, which being that I had just met her was kind of out of character for me. (I don't normally think praying is something I am very good at, and I had actually been discussing with my team earlier that it is probably my weakest area of ministry.) 

When I closed the prayer, she looked up at me and said, "You are such a prayer, I don't mean to puff you up but you are such a beautiful prayer." I honestly did not know what to say. I just thought, "Hmm...interesting." When I got home I shared with my team that I felt like God had sent me a message through this sweet lady. 

I felt like God was using her to remind me of the importance of prayer. Every day when I wake up and set out to share the love and story of God with others, the most important thing I can do that day is pray. I am a doer, so it is hard for me to step back and pray before rushing into things. I often get in this "Can-do" attitude where I somehow think that spending more time with people will help them more than prayer will. 

God has been teaching me how to reverse that notion, and reminding me that as a missionary prayer is not only important, it is vital to everything that I do. It is my mission to pray, and prayer is what fuels my mission. Loving people, telling people about Jesus, it is all great, but what are my actions without the Holy Spirit? What can I do to save people? I can do nothing, it is all God. 

I am praying that daily God will remind me of the importance of prayer, and how that plays such a big part in mission work. Pray for my team that we would all remember that, and we would in turn help the people we disciple to see the importance in prayer. 

North Carolina Prayer Update


-Baby Richard (the baby we helped deliver) is healthy and at home! We attended a prayer service over him yesterday!

-Bible studies are going well with the Nepalese group, and Karenni girls group. We have one boy in the Nepalese group, and one girl in the Karenni group that we are working with and training. They are going to try leading this week's Bible studies, and both have expressed that they would be interested in leading those when we leave.
-God has been teaching our team a lot and shaping us through the group meetings we are having.
- During VBS at Southside, there were 6 children that accepted Christ into their hearts.
-We made it through community: serve week, coming out of it seeing how amazing God's works are when we are willing and how He takes unworthy people like you and me to further His kingdom. 

Prayer Requests:

-Perseverance for the team to finish strong as we complete our mission. Pray for God to keep us strong spiritually, and be spirit led in all we do.
-Guidance in how to wrap things up, and leave the people here in good standing to continue studying the word, and in turn be on mission themselves.
-Leaders from the Nepalese and Karenni people groups that can disciple others.
-People who are already leaders  in these groups to be encouraged, and that God would equip them to continue serving.
-Maw Reh, a 24 year old Karenni man is planning on attending Seminary in hopes of becoming a missionary, and is currently working on getting his GED. Pray that he would overcome the language barrier and be able to accomplish the goals God has for him.
-Sickness in our team. Jillian was very sick this week with food poisoning. I was hospitalized yesterday with an intense bleeding spell after rupturing a cyst. We are both feeling much better, but please pray God would hold us together physically during our remaining time here.
-We have a new Nepalese family, and a new Karenni family coming to America this week! Pray that we would overcome language barriers and be able to love on them and share the word of God with them. Pray that they would not be afraid but feel welcomed and safe.
-That we will get something out of our time here and we will rest in the fact that God placed us in Winston-Salem for a specific purpose. Pray that we will not look back on this summer with feelings that we could have done more, but that we finish saying, "God showed up." and that we will look back saying we gave it our all.

Only Through Him

Each day is so different. Each morning when I wake up I ask God to help me love these children even more today. I have been amazed that in such a short amount of time I have grown to love these children as though I have known them their entire lives.
There are 25 beautiful faces. 25 smiles that truly bring joy to my life. God has been so faithful  in supplying me with His love in order to pour out even more each day to His children.
I know that on my own I could not do this, but God has said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that his grace is sufficient for me, and that His power is made perfect in my weakness.
My purpose in being here is to speak and live out the truth of God’s saving grace to the children at NFFF; through games, devotions, homework, and tucking them into bed.
Something I really love about the Filipino culture that I admire is their ability to love others. Even when they only have a little bit of something they will pass it around so that each child can take a bite out of it. They are unselfish and this has greatly challenged me.
Some days we help out at the preschool the children attend. I love the days I go the children’s school mostly because of the extra time I get to spend with them. Also because it is a neat chance to bless the teachers. I have been teaching English, Science, music, and art.
We recently began doing evangelism in college classes. It was an intimidating experience even though the freshmen were only 16 years old! This opportunity has opened my eyes to see the need for evangelism. I could not believe how open they were- allowing me to share my testimony and take away from their class time!
God is so good and so faithful! Only through Him can I and receive love in this capacity and be stretched and still find so much joy! Only through Him can these children be so amazingly blessed. Only through Him can I be halfway around the world and yet feel right at home.

Please Pray! That God will continue the work He is doing in the heart of the children, staff, and out team.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stronger than the Biggest IF

We were sitting outside in a gazebo, the sky was threatening rain. We were about to leave for community outreach, if it rained we would get wet. If it rained there might be no children. If it rained it would be uncomfortable. And muddier than it already was. If it rained. If. So very many ifs.

I sat trying to discern the skies, would it rain. How hard would it rain? What would happen? When the team leader, sweet Brittney said we would go. Rain or not.

So we went. And it did not rain. Children came. Praise songs were sung. The story of Jesus’ birth was told. An explanation of the gospel was shared. 

I could not help but think of Samuel J Mills Jr. and his words, “We can do it if we will.”

During this summer each team has been met with many ifs, each has been given chances to make the intentional choice of building the kingdom and working for the Father’s glory. Each team has also been given opportunities to buy into the the ifs, the can'ts, and the why nots. 

This time, the if was small, a simple chance of getting caught in the rain; but I cannot help but think that it is in the day-to-day ways that we devote our lives that truly is testimony to our beliefs.

The teams have about two weeks left on the field. Many of them are tired. Dirty. Homesick. And all those ifs that distract from their purpose and goals seem louder and bigger.

Please pray for them, pray that the Nehemiah Teams around the world are stronger willed than even the biggest IF.

Ask God to let them finish strong having been carried along by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Intercede on their behalf for God’s loving kindness to be evident in their speech and behavior. Pray that they experience joy unspeakable and that “streams of living water" really will "flow from within" them.

Beg God for a harvest. Pray for new believers, as they are being discipled. Ask God for leaders to be discovered from this harvest/discipleship time and put into positions of ministry where they can be used to bring glory to God.

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