Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Main Thing



When people welcome us with open arms
To take away time from family, job & farms
We boast in none other than our King
And we keep the main thing the main thing.

When doors are closed and everyone hides
When soil is hard, and people are blind
To truth that opens eyes and sets them free,
We keep the main thing the main thing.

When we get to play with kids & see smiles on their face
When we get to teach them songs & play some games
When we get to swim in the river & throw the Frisbee
We try to keep the main thing the main thing.

When kids just stand there and watch everything we do
Whether it’s bathing, washing clothes, talking or cooking food
When their constant presence takes away from the solitude we need
Still we always try to keep the main thing the main thing.

When people are eager to hear about God’s word & love
When they want to follow Him whether times are good or tough
When they put their faith into the Gospel of truth that we bring
We definitely keep the main thing the main thing.

When people don’t want to listen & have closed hearts
When they let us in to talk, but their attention parts
When they simply don’t care & just want us to leave
It can be hard, but we keep the main thing the main thing.

When the team is unified in the name of Christ
When we all work together and are filled with life
With servant hearts and our minds set on the King
We sure do keep the main thing the main thing.

When attitudes flare and tempers are quick
When there’s constant exhaustion and people are sick
When nothing goes right and it’s hard to even call us a team
Only by God’s grace we keep the main thing the main thing.

When we finish up our work and the summer comes to a close
When we go back to normal life as we all head home
The mission doesn’t stop. For life we’re called to share this love & mercy
And in all of our days, we keep the main thing the main thing.

-Hannah G.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I will refuse to be silent



“I will not refuse the word of God, it is precious,” she said.

And I knew in my heart, and I knew in my head

That I will see this woman in heaven someday

But as I realized it, I was filled with dismay

Because even though this woman has opened her door

So many have not, there are so many more

Who don’t know God’s love, who are drowning in sin.

So many children of God who don’t know how to swim.

I walk around this place and I see dry bones,

People more concerned with earthly than heavenly homes.

I see hard hearts in desperate need of love

I see Satan at work and my flesh wants to give up.

But my spirit is fueled by someone greater than I

A man who knows what it is to die

And then rise to overcome the black of the grave

A loving father who seeks only to save

People all around the globe and being swallowed whole

Because they don’t know the good news, they’ve never been told

Father, may their blood be on my hands

If I let my own comfort take precedence over your command

I cannot save souls, only speak of your grace

Only complete the task given to me and finish the race

I pray that these people would open their eyes,

Would stop wholeheartedly buying the enemies lies.

But until the day you come again

I will refuse to be silent, I will refuse to give in.


-Morgan A

A {Pretend} Yemeni Wedding

Kasool, me, Samara, and Roobi
One of my favorite parts of each day is spending time with the women's children in their homes.  I always love being with children, but these Arabic kids have found a special place in my heart.  At one Yemeni home, Maria works with Alyan, Anna works with Haraz, and I work with the children.  Alyan and Haraz have four kids.  Some days I help the kids practice spelling, writing, and reading, but other days (my favorite days!) we just play.



One day, I asked them to look up a Yemeni song on YouTube and teach me to dance.  As they showed me how they danced at weddings, Samara and Roobi belly-laughed and Kasool tried to suppress her giggles at my dancing attempts.  Roobi dressed up in a beautiful little pink dress, complete with a "veil", and pretended to be the bride.  The girls took my hand and taught me the Yemeni version of line dancing.


At first, I was a little embarrassed at my white American attempt at dancing compared to their naturally beautiful, Eastern dancing.  But I realized my skill isn't what really matters.  What matters most is that my little friends see the love Isa has for them through the stories I tell them, the kindness I show to them...and my willingness to look silly by trying to dance like them.



Isa left His home in heaven and entered into our lives on earth so He could show His love for us and restore our relationship with Him.  God's plan for reaching the lost hasn't changed.  We can't show the great love of Isa by putting up barriers between "us" and "them."  


The Lord still calls us to leave our homes, our culture, and our way of life and enter into the lives and culture of those who don't yet know Him...and sometimes the best way to do that is through making a fool of yourself by dancing!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sing, dance, and pray!

In the time that we have been in Nashville, we've met people from Burma, Iraq, Thailand, Nepal, Lebanon, Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Egypt, Cuba, Ethiopia, and several other countries. We've been surrounded by numerous different languages, cultures, and of course beliefs. We've played with these amazing people, ate with them, sang and danced with them, prayed with them, and just listened to their stories. These past few weeks have opened my eyes to so much...to the realization that material things are really so unimportant, that smiling and laughing are universal, and that the lostness of this world is so real. However, meeting and worshipping with other refugee believers has been the greatest and most eye-opening experience of all. 

Praying together with a Cuban family, worshiping at a Burmese Bible study, and hearing refugee youth tell how they want to be missionaries, has filled my heart with so much joy. Yes, there is a lot of work to be done here in Nashville with so much pain and confusion, and often helpless and lostness among the refugee population. 

My heart is broken for the people here who have experienced so much pain without the hope of Christ, but this also makes me want to share my joy in Jesus with them even more. On the other hand, there ARE people here who get it...who, after everything they've been through, are still trusting in the Lord and praising Him. We even got the opportunity to hear an international choir comprised of the refugee kids we've met. I just know that's what Heaven will be like one day, where people from every nation will come together to praise our Savior, and I can't wait!

-Elizabeth


Highs & Lows



This week on the Ulot River we faced rejection & joyful reception. We’ve been unwanted by same & graciously hosted by others. We’ve felt heartache & elation, apathy & compassion.



Each night we circled up & came before the Lord together. Some nights our cries were from a dark place as we were so aware of being in the throes of spiritual warfare. Some nights they came from hearts made light by awe & gratefulness toward God, for showing Himself to us in powerful ways.


LOWS: 

  • Bring unwelcomed by the village authority, displaced & moved twice 
  • Facing many closed doors, many “I’m busy’s”, many who think that to know of God is to know God and are content to remain stuck in their tradition. 
  • Various team members struggling with homesickness or discouragement

HIGHS: 

  • Our new friend & sister in Christ who received the Gospel with joy and went that same day to share with her sisters & brother. She was baptized that same week. 
  • Discipling other new friends and believers. 
  • God revealing Himself to various team members & our shared joy & edification. 
  • People of peace 
  • Relief from the heat & the routine each afternoon by swimming with the kids at high tide

Over our mood swings, our changing circumstances, unpredictable people & our own fickle hearts… God is unchanging. Constant. Steadfast. True.


Pray as we go into these last two weeks of the summer, that our eyes would stay fixed on Jesus, the founder & perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)

Pray that we would behold Him, God over mountains and valleys alike, and that He would enable us to perservere.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

God is Sovereign



This morning we woke up to a true torrential downpour. Our clothes out on the line were soaked, some had even blown away! There was rain coming through the windows, and no refuge from the cold, damp wind. We did our best to keep our belongings dry, but most of our efforts were in vain.

As our attention turned from our immediate need of keeping out the rain to the anticipated arrival of Kuya J, Ate, W and the Alabama Medical Clinic team, we began to work that none of the villagers would be willing to risk the rain to see the doctors.  God is sovereign,” someone said in passing. 

It struck me then how often I use that phrase without truly acknowledging my helpless estate. In all my efforts to keep dry, I can’t stop the rain. We hurry about making plans to ensure we accomplish God’s will, all the while failing to see that God will accomplish His will despite our plans. But how great is our God that He has given us access to Himself- the one who commands the dawn to take its place, the one who calls the stars by name, the only one who the winds and the waves obey! We need only to ask and He has promised that we will receive!

We speak so often of God’s power in our future troubles- “No matter what lied ahead, God is sovereign!” But how often do we look around while the rain pours and acknowledge that we have no ability to close the flood gates? True recognition of God’s complete and present sovereignty should humble us to a place of total submission and prayer. But what a joy is ours that we are never along in the storm because the One how pours out the rain was Himself poured out for us and in return asks only that we abide in Him. God is truly sovereign but in His sovereignty He longs for us to bring all of our requests before Him and invites us to play a role in His redemption story even though we are the true “Waray Waray” the nothing of nothings… the very least of these. How great is our Sovereign Lord!
                      
-Kaylee