Saturday, July 13, 2013

Creation: Mexico Trailblazers

Mexico is very geologically diverse. There are roaring oceans, calm fresh water lagoons, soaring mountains and a vast assortment of both animals and plants we've never seen before.


We've tried fruits we've never heard of and vegetables we've never seen. We've walked on dirt roads next to goats, sheep, cows and even donkeys. 

This amazing abundance of creation inspired me to write this poem. 


Creation

Mountains stretch from east to west, 
Trees scrape the horizon,
Waves crash on sandy shores,
And winds guide their paths.

Dolphins emerge out of the depths,
Critters peering from below the surface.
Turtles make homes on dry land,
And seagulls swerve back and forth in flight. 

Who controls the patterns of the waves,
Or tells the sun when to rise?
Who alone can number the stars,
Or hold the galaxies in His hands?

You sit in the heavens and do as you please,
Painting the glorious picture before us.
Your swift strokes create the landscape, 
Your sketch brings life to the creatures. 

You mold us together like clay,
Hold us over the fire and form us.
Before we were formed,
You knew us entirely. 

Who else is like you, O God,
Your praise you give to no other. 
Let us bring glory to your name, 
Lest the very rocks cry out! 


Pray that the people here would also see the magnificence of God's creation. 
Pray it would lead them to worship the Creator, not the creation itself. 


Obedience In The Small Things


As the smell of Thai food fills the air I am being reminded of the simple things in life. Sharing a meal together, laughing, reading together, and talking about the great things God has done this summer. I began reading through the blogs from other teams around the world and have been encouraged by how God moving in each place. Even in the states, God does amazing things through simply spending time with Him and time encouraging each other.
Throughout the summer I have put a lot of pressure on myself to do things for God when all he calls us to do is to be obedient to Him. Whether that means building relationships with internationals, picking them up from the airport, going out on the streets, or just helping a family with things around the house so they can be more effective in ministry. All God wants is our hearts and our obedience. Missions are not about what we can do for God. Missions  is about letting God open our eyes to a need and letting Him change us and use us for his purposes so that He may be glorified, no matter what the task.
Eating Thai Food for lunch

As we’ve worked with the Tolars this summer, I have had the pleasure of watching a family do ministry; as well as just be a family. Daniel and Lacy have 7 children, 2 of which are from Thailand, living here temporarily.  Rescue1 is being run out of their home since its U.S. establishment in 2011. They earn their support by faith that God will provide financially for their family each month. Since they are faith-based, none of the money that is given for ministry is used for personal needs. It all goes back into the ministry of Rescue1.

It is amazing to see how God provides for the Tolars and watch how they live out their faith every day. Whether it is loving their children, going out on the streets to do outreach, or giving a trafficking 101 presentation, it has been a blessing to witness and work with such an amazing family this summer.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35

- Chelsea

Show and Tell

Zim gives us a new adventure every day.  God reminds us every day of His glory and sovereignty, but also how desperately the world needs hope.  We strongly and thankfully ask that you pray for the people we've met that we've been able to share the Gospel with.  Many of these people we know we might not see again, but many we see on a daily basis.  We ask that God continues to work in their hearts, and for the people we see daily, that He continues to use us to speak to them.  

Please pray for the orphan ministries we're working with, and the lasting impact we can have with the kids with only a week left of ministry.  Also, pray for unforseen issues with ministry pertaining to issues surrounding the region, and that we're able to continue as planned in our areas of service.  Be on the lookout for more pics/posts over the next couple of days!  

Meeting kids for the first time at EW Childrens Home.

Taking a walk to the "local" dam during a visit to the Bush.  Many of the surrounding villages must walk nearly an hour to fetch water from the dam, which is also used to water livestock, do laundry and bathe.

Caitlin and one of the cihldren who attends the VBS type outreach projects.
Working with kids during a local outreach. 

Working with Form Zeros (Kindergarteners) during a trip to the Bush
Washing hands- pivotal prior to EVERY African meal
Clashing Cultures = One Body of Christ

Waking up from a night of sleeping under the stars in the Bush

Candle-lit church service
 
Walking on paths of African soil.  Zimbabwe hasn't seen plentiful rain since
January, which promise for dust covered everything, anywhere you go.

Bonding with friends before a night of sleeping under the stars.
 
Starting off what should of been a 3 hour car ride into the bush,
 which ended up closer to 6.5 hours.

Women washing at the base of the dam.

Taking a stroll during one of our visits to the Bush

Prepping for the 4th...a lack of white chocolate calls for
crafty thinking.  We went with yogurt.

Huts at one of the Orphan caring centers

Junior Church



Jillian and I have been given the opportunity to teach junior church at Molokai Baptist on Sunday mornings.  We have the children from pre-k to second grade. Thus far, the children have been attentive and well-behaved. More exciting than that, some of these children are from the children's camp we worked a few weeks ago. They remember us, and we are continuing to build the relationships that we started weeks ago.  We only have one week left to teach, making a total of three Sundays. 
 
Please pray for us and this upcoming Sunday. We will be wrapping up the Gospel story. Pray that the children would listen and understandPray that seeds would be planted. The Lord is at work in the children's lives here in Molokai. 

-Sarah

Prep for English Unification Camp


We have been in pretty much the same routine these past several weeks.  Waking up early on weekdays to go to school, and hanging out with students during free time and at home. We have all been blessed with some great relationships with these students, and have had numerous opportunities to share our faith or have Bible studies or just ask them how they feel about God and Jesus.  

Today was actually the last day of school, so now we will be almost entirely focused on preparing for English Unification Camp.  In the past this camp has always had a huge effect on the students, many say that this camp is where they met God for the first time or that it is where they accepted Christ's salvation.  For the teachers and our supervisor, the weeks before camp are full of preparation, planning, paperwork, etc.  As a team we have been building some of the games that will be used to help teach English in one of the camp workshops.  We will all also serve as small group/team leaders during EUC.

How you can pray:
  • That God would begin working on the hearts of all the students who will be attending EUC. 
  • Lift up everyone who works at the school, our supervisor, and our team as we prepare for EUC. 
  • About 10 - 12 students are graduating and preparing to enter university, applying for university is even more difficult, stressful, and crucial in SK than it is in the United States.  So pray that God would be with them throughout the application process and that He would keep the faith of those who are Christians strong while they are in college.  It is possible that some of the graduates are not saved, so pray that instead of being less open to God while they are at college that they would be pursued by God and any believers they encounter at school

-Ethan

John 14:18

I have told 111 people the gospel in the past 2 days.

As I anticipated being able to share the gospel with these kids in the classrooms and with the teachers while we at lunch brought me very mixed emotions. I’ll start with the positive.
The story of Jesus is absolutely groundbreaking. Being able to start from the beginning of creation and work my way to Jesus dying on the cross for the sins of the people He loves is a privilege and joy. Its rare in America that I’m able to share with anyone who doesn’t already know the story of God, and its easy in America to get used to it. But when you’re telling the gospel for the first time to a group of students, you realize over and over again how amazing the story is. Watching their faces light up when I talked of the power that God had, and the way that he spoke creation into existence was a precious gift.  And then watching horror strike their faces as I told of the pain that Jesus had to endure on the cross also reminded me of what a price He paid for us. The ones that listened were mesmerized by the story. They asked questions. How could Jesus come back from the dead? Why would He care about me? How did He make me? How does he remember my name if he’s made everyone? 
It was a precious time I will not soon forget when I was able to answer their questions. To tell them that Jesus loved them because He was love. To tell them that Jesus is stronger than anything, even death. To tell them that Jesus never runs out of time to care about them. Declaring truth to a people lost in a religion that offers no hope. It was a privilege that I pray I’ll have the opportunity to have again.
But my heart broke as many of the students refused to listen. The first class I shared with Monday morning was the most crazy I’ve had since I’ve been here. Children screaming. Rolling on the floor. Hitting each other with chairs. Dumping the contents of my purse on the floor and ripping pages out of my journal. They were not in the mood to listen to what I had to say, or probably what anyone in the entire world had to say.
But we told them anyway. Most of the kids were drawing on the board by the time we finished the story. Not a single child was in their chair. The room was a mess and my heart was broken, but we got through the entire story. 
I did something that I had promised myself I would not do after I finished talking to them. Right there in the front of this crazy and chaotic mess of a classroom, I cried. I wasn’t weeping. I wasn’t out of control and most of the kids didn’t even notice, but tears I had fought since my arrival here were shed. My heart was broken for these kids. My heart was broken for how poorly the morning had started to go, and my heart was broken as I realized that there was nothing I could do to make them listen. There was nothing I could do to calm them down. I felt completely useless and alone. Then, something I did not expect to happen happened. See, most of the kids act pretty naughty but they smile when they see me and if I talk directly to them, they usually will respond pretty positively to my presence. Most of the kids. Really, all but one of the kids. There is one little girl, who was in the classroom that morning, who has been nothing but angry with me since the moment I walked into that school. She rolls her eyes when I talk. She rolls her eyes when I stand there. She knocks over her desk when I ask her to write. She hates me, or so I thought. But, as I stood there, tears starting to come out of my eyes, she looked at me. She looked at me, and her face softened. She rolled her eyes, walked over to me from across the room, and gave me a hug. It was quick. If I would’ve blinked, I probably would’ve missed it. But she gave me a hug and changed everything. It was the blessing from God that I desperately needed. The little reminder that even though all of this felt like it was for naught, His ways are higher than mine, and His plan cannot be thwarted.
The translator called me over a couple of minutes later, and showed me where one boy had written, “Jesus loves me" in Thai on the board. The sentence was directly under a drawing of some cats fighting that he had worked on while I was telling the gospel. But he heard. Even if his heart wasn’t changed in that moment, and even if he wasn’t really paying as close of attention as I would’ve preferred, he heard me say that Jesus loved him.
All I can do now is continue to live out the gospel in the time that remains here. All I can do is pray for these kids and tell them as many times as I can that Jesus loves them. All I can do is trust that God would not have brought me here for no reason. Please continue to pray for the other girls as they share the gospel on their given days. Pray for the translators who have been working so hard and who, I’m sure, are very exhausted. 
John 14:18
"I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you."

-Allison

A Very Merry July 4th in the Philippines

It had to be bacon-wrapped to be American
Maybe you think we don't have time to be celebrating holidays here or maybe you think we deserve the day off. Well neither of these things are true. We had plenty of work set out for us in Bonifacio, but we still managed to have a very happy July 4th.

I had to wear my American Flag bandana, bought here in the Philippines, all day to represent the country. We held multiple Bible studies that day and did a lot of work for the kingdom. Amidst all the work we made time for play as well; it was our first time out of country during the 4th, but that's no reason not to  celebrate!

Because the Bonifacio team has a refrigerator, we were able to buy bacon, french fries and hamburger meat. The only logical conclusion from this is bacon-wrapped hamburgers. Because we lacked toothpicks, we used decapitated matches to pin the bacon on. Brent and I took charge and made a successful meal, complete with cold root beer, pineapple, smores and of course, a show of fireworks.

-Brian & the Bonifacio Team




Rai Rai, the Filipina of the team, loved her very first smores. 


Giving the word on Independence Day





Not pictured: Root beer, smores and fireworks.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Seasons


It has been said that for everything there is a season. Seasons come. Seasons go. Some are good, filled with joy and laughter. Others are filled with sorrow. Some are just different. Here in Molokai, we are entering a different season. Today, we said good-bye to our now dear friends from a college in California. They have been serving alongside us since day one, and now, their time has ended. We go from having a group of ten to a crew of three. It is almost like we are stepping into a new adventure. Life as we have known it for the past month will be different than the next three weeks. We will miss having Jessa around to talk away the rain clouds or having Jessica around to give back massages. The change is not bad, just different. We have made some great friends that we hope to keep in contact with. We have learned so much from each other, and it is my privilege to call them my friends.


Now, it is time for us to readjust to our new lives here. Time to keep on going, in spite of sadness, and finish what we have came here to do...spread God's love to the people of Molokai.



Please pray for:
  • Our friends as they travel back home
  • Our new ministry opportunities (more to come about this)

  • Opportunities to minister to the people here

A Nation Divided



This week has been so great! It's the students last week of the school year so we are soaking up time with them while they are at school. Monday a couple of people helped with worship IN KOREAN. It's always fun attempting to sing along and worship God together. Today we got the chance to go to the DMZ with all our students. It was just so interesting to think about if my state was closed off and all my family and friends were there and I couldn't go back. It's hard for us to imagine but it's what many of them have to struggle with. However, they have the hope of unification of Korea. This is a daily  prayer request our team has. Not only so these students can be reunited with family but that the gospel might be able to be freely spread to their people. Join us in praying for this.

Our big English Unification Camp is coming up soon and we still have a lot of work to get done before then. Pray for us as we are preparing for camp. Pray that many students would be able to have a real relationship with Christ and that God would use this camp in that process. Thanks for the prayers.

-Team Korea