Saturday, June 6, 2015

Getting settled

Hey everyone,

Team Med. is finally here and getting acclimated to the culture and everything. Yesterday we went out on a scavenger hunt around our city to get accustomed to the metro and bus system. Though I won't say we perfectly know how to use it... I think we get the jist of it. Last night we went to our supervisor's house to talk a little bit more about what we will be doing this summer. We met his family and some friends, and his wife made us an good ole' southern dinner. We talked a lot about our summer, and a lot about Ole Miss football. MW was in heaven.

Today we are helping with a local children's ministry. Please pray for our team to continue to grow closer, and to accomplish what the Lord has sent us here to do.


Sending them off!

Join us in watching the send off of the 1:30AM bus trip
to the ATL airport.

The Cost

"Aiyah* (name changed for security purposes) is interested in the Lord.  She knows she needs Jesus, but she knows if she chooses to follow Jesus that her family will kill her."  

Those words have been echoing incessantly in my heart.  I woke up many times during the night, with my heart pierced and aching because of those words: "Her family will kill her."  I don't know how to do this.  I don't know how to tell my friends about Jesus, knowing there is a high probability many of them would lose all relationships with their family and, potentially, even their life if they chose to follow Jesus.  

When I say, "Jesus is worth my family," I mean that Jesus is worth being away from my family for two months, not that Jesus is worth actually having all of my family ties severed.  When I say, "Jesus is worth my life," I mean that Jesus is worth me losing my life choices, not that Jesus is worth actually losing my life.  This reality of family & separation, life & death has forced me to reevaluate my faith.  In the West, we like to take the words of Jesus and make them all figurative.  We like to soften the harshness of Jesus' commands and twist them into enabling us to "Christianize" what we're already doing.

In Luke 14:25-33, Jesus tells the large crowds following Him that, unless we hate our family & our own life and carry our cross & follow Him, we can't be His disciples.  He reminds us to count the cost of following Him.  Jesus tells us, "Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be My disciples."  In Matthew 10:37-39, Jesus tells us that if we love our family more than Him, we are not worthy of Him.  Jesus tells us, "Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."  What a far cry this is from walking down an aisle and passively accepting Jesus into our hearts while changing nothing about our lives.

What would happen if we believed Jesus actually meant the words He said?  How would we live our lives differently if we believed that Jesus seriously meant that many of us would literally die, losing our life for His sake?  I long to live like this is true.  The call of Jesus is not the call to riches and comfort, but the call to die.  Church, we must start living like this is true.  The ability to live our lives in a way that is for the glory of God and the good of the nations depends on it.  

I cannot look Aiyah* in the eyes and tell her that Jesus is worth losing her family and her life if I haven't also counted the cost of losing my family and my life and determined that Jesus is worth it.  If we do not love Jesus more than our family and if we do not take up our cross and follow Jesus, we are not worthy of Him.  May that truth penetrate our hearts, minds, and lives. May we truly follow Jesus, living and dying in a manner worthy of our resurrected Lord.

Northern Thai arrival

Just a quick note to let you know the team made it safe and sound. They had a good, uneventful trip, and even slept some on the plane. I picked them up at the airport at 3 PM and we traveled 3 hours by van to our final destination. I tried desperately to keep them awake through a meal and then got them to bed by 8:30 PM. They were exhausted, but thrilled to be here and can’t wait to see how God will work in them this summer.

Thank you for allowing them to come and for all that you did to get them here. Continue to pray for quick adjustment to the environment, culture, host families. Pray we will all be close to the Lord and follow Him to discover people who are ready to hear the Gospel and respond in faith.

In Him,

M & L

A Small Taste For What's to Come

Hi all!

So today was certainly an adventure, our first full day here in Tacloban! And tomorrow we head out at 6am to continue our journey. It's from there that each team will go their separate ways for the first month of ministry. 

I wish I could tell you all the details of what happened today but unfortunately it's 11:13pm and sleep is a must at this point... but never fear! I'm here to bring you 10 photos from our arrival and quest into Downtown Tacloban instead.

I hope you all enjoy this small taste of what we were blessed to see and experience. I wish I could have put them all up!

Please be praying for our safe travel Saturday!

God Bless!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Northern Thai Challenge Team: Meet the team

Hello family and friends,

Welcome to our blog spot! We are super excited to spend our summer in a brand new culture! We appreciate all of your prayers in advance.

"So the Lord has commanded us, saying, 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" - Acts 13:47

  • Team leader
  • From Ellisville, MS
  • Attends Jones County Junior College
  • General Studies Major
  • Fun Fact: This will be his first out of the country experience!
  • Team member
  • From Moselle, MS
  • Attends Jones County Junior College
  • Christian Counseling Major
  • Fun Fact: He enjoys to making everyone laugh!
  • Team member
  • From Petal, MS
  • Graduated from Jones County Junior College
  • Will attend University of Southern Mississippi
  • Speech Pathology Major
  • Fun Fact: She likes BSU, ping pong, tennis, old people, and the nursing home!
  • Team leader
  • From Petal, MS
  • Graduated from Jones County Junior College
  • Will attend University of Southern Mississippi
  • Public Relations Major
  • Fun Fact: She loves to dance and sing karaoke and could eat spaghetti for every meal!
  • Team member
  • From Philadelphia, MS
  • Graduated from East Central Community College
  • Will attend Mississippi State University
  • Secondary Education Major
  • Fun Fact: She has never flown on a plane before!  
  • Team member
  • From Kennedy, AL
  • Graduated from East Central Community College
  • Will attend Mississippi State University
  • Secondary Education Major
  • Fun Fact: She tore her ACL just two weeks ago, and she will have surgery upon returning to the states!
We ask that you continually pray for God to strengthen and unify the team by his Holy Spirit as we search for people of peace (P.O.P.) in Northern Thailand.

Love in Christ,
N. Thai Team

5 Days A Family

 Meet TEAM 6! The Explorer/Ev Team heading to SE Asia...

Team Leaders:
Will (back/left) Loves to watch and learn about history. His hobbies include soccer, hiking, basketball and hammocking. He attends the University of TN at Chattanooga.
Kate- (front/middle/left) A fun fact about Kate is that her grandma dated Elvis. Her hobbies include waterskiing, wakeboarding and painting. Kate just graduated from The University of Delaware.
Wess- (center/left/middle) Works as a server at Chili's and at a local clothing store in Monroe, LA. He enjoys hanging out with friends, meeting new people, and trying new restaurants. He is currently studying as a nursing major at Monroe.

Team Members:  
Dylan- (back/middle/right) Can sing his ABC's backwards. He enjoys sports, hiking and reading. He is also trilingual. He currently attends the University of Kentucky.  
Tyler- (center/right/middle) Is a HUGE Star Wars nerd. He enjoys drinking coffee, theater performances, playing the ukulele, photography and writing. He attends TCC.
Nick- (back/middle/left) Nick plays guitar and is in a band on his local college campus called "The Rojects." He designs websites, loves the gym and playing ultimate Frisbee. He currently studies at the University of Delaware.
Kensey- (front/middle/left) Would love to go to space one day. She enjoys choir, theatre, hiking, dancing and going to concerts. She graduated from Wallace State and is furthering her education at the University of Montevallo in the fall.
Bryce- (center/middle) Enjoys being active. He plays ultimate Frisbee, volleyball and just about any sport. He attends East Community College and plans to transfer to MSU next spring.
Emily- (front/left) Has been to 10 states and 4 countries outside of the U.S. She enjoys discovering new music, reading in her hammock or having a good conversation at the local coffee shop. She attends Anderson University in SC where she is working on her undergrad in Christian ministry.
Collin- (back/right) Weirdly loves accounting. He also enjoys swimming and playing guitar at the same time... (only kidding). He currently studies at Baylor University.
Coty- (center/right) Enjoys playing basketball and spending time with his friends and family. He can also count to 10 on one hand! He currently studies at Blue Mountain College.
Jenna- (front/right) Has been snorkeling with manatees in FL. She enjoys reading, writing and acting. She currently attends the University of Mississippi.
Matt- (center/left) Has never blogged before but is this summers media guy. He enjoys anything outside such as fishing, hiking and running. He also enjoys a good book. He has studied at Columbia State in TN.
 Lift up our team in your thoughts this summer, that God may continue to strengthen the unity of our team. We've grown close already and hope that as we praise God as a body of believers, we will gain the favor of ALL the people we are privileged to meet. 

Let the Little Children Come

Kaylee (left) and Hannah (right)
Team members
Kaylee Penick - Martin, TN | University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Hannah Nette - Birmingham, AL | University of Alabama at Birmingham

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14).

Pray that many children in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire would come to know Jesus as both Lord and Christ!

Meet the Thai Dorm Team

Hello friends and family,

We are so excited to finally have contact with you and we look forward to keeping you updated as our summer progresses. So far during orientation we have bathed from buckets, washed our clothes by hand, dominated nearly every team building activity, studied Scripture together, and started founding these relationships that are sure to last a life time. Our team is comprised of two different groups going to teach English in Thai schools. At this time we are still unsure about specific details of our assignments, but we are all eager to get started! Here is a quick introduction to our Thai Dorm teams:

 Thai Dorm: Tribal

Haley: The Haitian Gone Asian
Haley is the team leader for the Thai Tribal Dorm. She goes to Mississippi State University and studies Elementary Education. In addition to wrangling children, Haley enjoys intense tennis matches, taking long strolls through campus, and sinking her teeth into a fresh, crisp dill pickle.

Liz: The Disney Princess
Liz studies at Troy University, emphasizing English and Teaching English as a Second Language. When she's not singing to small animals, Princess Liz likes to paint, write, read, listen to music, and speak Mandarin Chinese.

Thai Dorm: Government

Mo: The Peanut Butter Lover
Mo attends Baylor University where she spends her days dissecting different languages as a linguist. Apart from this she also loves to bury her nose in a good book, catch a quick nap, and climb rocks like a pro.

Alyssa: The Rice Enthusiast
Alyssa is the leader for the Thai Government Dorm and is a student at Columbus State Community College and spends her time learning about Early Childhood Development and Education. When Alyssa's not cooped up in a classroom, she enjoys to be outside, watching movies, or eating ice cream.

Abby: The Golden Lioness
Abby is an English Education major at Lee University. Surprisingly she is able to do activities outside of her reading for school. If you catch her on the rare homework-free weekend you can find her hiking through the mountains or swimming in the Tennessee creeks.

We all are experiencing excitement, nerves, and mixed feelings as we begin this journey. Please be praying for the following:
  • To delight in the Lord daily
  • Team unity
  • Guidance for our leaders
  • Good health for all teammates
Thank you all and we will keep in touch!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Play Ball!

     Greeting from C and T ! Together we form the the Pearl Island team that is seeking to engage an UPG in Southeast Asia. Throughout our endeavor, we ask for lifting up. Lift us up in boldness to proclaim the truth in both deed and word. We thank you in advance for your support to see the Father's kingdom come on Earth as it is in Heaven! 1 Corinthians 15:1-5   

Say Farewell to the Gospel Globetrotters

From Left to Right: 1st Row: Bekah, Deanna, Allison, Chloe, Allyson 2nd Row: Rachael, Austin, Jadon, Kason, Carson

"Missions exists because worship doesn't."  -John Piper

Our goal this summer is to introduce the hope and truth of the gospel to the people we meet in the Philippines. The end goal is for all nations to bow before the throne of God in worship, and missions will be no more. As we spend our summer working toward these goals, pray for our health, safety, and unity as we trek through the Bicol region. As we use healthcare to provide physical and spiritual healing and play basketball to build relationships, pray that the people of the Philippines will be open to the true word of God.

Team Leaders:
Austin is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and is studying Biology at Mississippi College. A fun fact about him is that he was a Boy Scout for one day. His favorite Bible verse is Romans 10:14-15.

Kason is from Austin, Texas. He is majoring in Computer Science at the University of Texas (hook em'). A fun fact about Kason is that he collected gum wrappers in high school. His favorite Bible verse is Acts 20:24.

Team Members: Allison
Allison is from Huntsville, Alabama. She attends The University of Alabama (Roll Tide) where she studies Nursing. She likes hiking and taking family vacations. A fun fact about her is that she has not drank soda or tea in seven years. Her favorite Bible verse is Colossians 1:28-29.

Bekah is from right outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is studying Biology on the pre-physician's assistant track at Mississippi College. Her newfound hobby is hiking when she has free time. A fun fact about her is that she is fluent in sign language, and she can also lick her elbow. Her favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:38-39.

Carson aka Shamgar (See Judges 3:31)
Carson is from Tyler, Texas. He attends Texas Tech where he is studying Exercise and Sports Science on the pre-physician's assistant track. He enjoys rock climbing and being outside. He is most excited about getting a haircut from a Filipino barber. His favorite Bible verse is Psalm 34:22

Chloe is from Houston, Texas and is studying Nursing at Mary Bardin Baylor. A fun fact about Chloe is that she is not actually from America, but is from Canada, where she lived for the first 11 years of her life. She likes to spend her time by the lake. Her favorite Bible verse is Psalm 119:9-11

Deanna is from Greeneville, Tennessee and studies Nursing at Belmont University. She enjoys reading and watching Netflix (just finished Arrested Development). A fun fact about Deanna is that The Band Perry's dad was her pediatrician. Her favorite Bible verse is 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Jadon is from Landover, Maryland. He is studying missions at Faith Theological Seminary. He enjoys playing basketball. A fun fact about him is that he has visited all 48 states in the continental U.S. His favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6.

Rachael is from Culleoka, Tennessee where she lives on a sheep farm. She is majoring in animal science on the pre-vet track at the University of Tennessee at Martin. She spends many of her mornings running. A fun fact is that she is allergic to mammal meat. Her favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 27:19.

Mentor: Allyson Johnson
Allyson went on the same Nehemiah Teams trip to the Bicol region two years ago (parents, be comforted. She came back alive and with all four limbs). She attended college at the University of North Alabama and the University of Alabama in Huntsville and is now a nurse practitioner in Florence, Alabama. A fun fact is that the animal she is most afraid of is a cow. Her favorite Bible verse is Hebrews 10:12.

Commitment Night

I need Him... I need you.

Monday night candlelight commitment time
Team sharing during their commitment time

A Day in Their Clothes

A Day in Their Clothes

         A Sudanese daughter. A mother from Eritrea. A Burmese man. An Ethiopian woman. Each of us was assigned a new identity and nationality shortly after arriving in Nashville for job specific training. The first step was to make it through a mock interview to receive permission to come to America. After several failures, we were finally granted consent to come. However, that was not all. Each team member spent the night in the home of a refugee family. These families fed us ethnic foods and spoke their native language. The next day began with a language lesson taught completely in Swahili, and each member was given a bus pass and told to navigate through the Nashville while wearing various ethnic clothing.  Because the buses ran slow, we only rode it once and walked everywhere else. By the time we reached our final destination, we wanted nothing more than to sit and sleep.

To be completely honest, I wasn’t very excited at the beginning of the simulation. I thought it would be enough to simply “know” what the refugees go through. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. It’s true when people say you must walk in their shoes to understand where they come from. While I will never truly be able to understand everything these precious people have experienced, my eyes were opened to just a small portion of their world. While I am already homesick, I will be home in two months. These refugees will most likely never be able to go home. 
The P52-Nashville team asks that you pray for God to use us in making America a place the nations can call a new home.

Bonjour from the Abidjan Students Team!

Lee (left), Hailey (middle), Carley (right)
Team members

Carley - Florence, AL
University of North Alabama

Hailey - Atlanta, GA
Charleston Southern University

Lee - Hernando, MS
Southern Methodist University

  • Pray that God would create white-hot worshipers of himself in Abidjan.
  • Pray that local believers would be encouraged by the sure, sovereign coming of God's kingdom. 
  • Pray that we would boldly share the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit with all gentleness and respect.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Meet the English Center Team

(L to R)
College: University of Texas at Austin
Major: Human Development & Family Sciences
College: Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK 
Major: General Business
College: Auburn University 
Major: Mechanical Engineering
College: Texas A&M University- Commerce
Major: Liberal Studies with an concentration in photography
We have had a great time at orientation. Our time was filled with bucket baths, sleeping on the floor, team building, and tons of useful teaching. We are so excited to hop on the plane and head to the field in less than 24 hours.  Please be lifting us up as we take our two day journey consisting of four flights to get to Southeast Asia. Also pray that we can adjust well during the first few days on the field and that jet lag and culture shock would not distract us from doing what the Father has planed. And most importantly that God would be working in the hearts of the people we will meet and preparing them to hear the Good News. 

Here with our mentor Jordan. He has served in the city we are going to twice and it was great to receive advice and hear first hand stories from someone who has gone on this trip before.