God’s Eyes.

20140621-215249-78769878.jpgI pick up the pen to write again and it’s all too much. It blows me away. After reading the words I transcribed while in El Salvador, I am left dazed and amazed. I never realized until now that God answered so many of my personal prayers, that he placed such wonderful people around me, that he changed so many of our hearts.

It’s still too much and I want to take it slow. I want to breathe in every word and relive every moment as if it’s happening now. Because it’s a fresh breath blowing through me, a report from the place my heart lies. And you know what the Bible says:

“Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”(Proverbs 25:25 ESV)

And that’s how I feel. Because I am a thirsty soul. I am someone who longs for places far off. I am a traveller without a home. When I live in tales beyond my backyard, I am renewed. I am satisfied. I am happy and content and thankful—for a few moments anyway. I want to move so slow in these next few weeks at home that a snail could surpass me. I want to learn all that I can from these things I’ve experienced. And I want them to grow in me, that I might not forget, that I might be inspired to pray, that I might never give up.

You’ll hear more, but only when I feel ready, only when I’ve seen the whole thing from every angle and out of God’s eyes.

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Middle of Memories

imageDescribing what happened in El Salvador seems impossibly hard. Even after these couple days at home, I find it difficult to express the people and experiences I continually see in my mind’s eye. I don’t understand everything God did and the pieces don’t fit together like a puzzle as they should. I see snapshots only snapshots and two-second videos. I see a picture of a guy named Elias and another Ivy & I. I see a video, running slowly through my mind of us praying as one—voices, hearts, and lives lifted high to a God who understood both Spanish & English. Hearing words spoken to me by two women of God named Amy & Tammy, I am encouraged by the plans God has for my life and future ministry. I see smiles and laughter and moments which I will never forget.

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imageBut I’m not sure how to process it all; I’m not sure how everything fits into my life here in the States. I understood that God made me ready to come home, but to return here and live changed in what ways? Because I was changed—we all were changed. Through the Master’s Commision students and the times of prayer and the ways in which God individually spoke to us, we were changed last week. In the Master’s Commision students, we saw the fire of God and how it directed everything they did. We experienced the power of prayer when God healed people and breathed his Holy Spirit into us and answered the cries of our hearts. Many of us had a clearer vision of his plans for our lives. We heard God speak and we saw God move and we felt God grow in us, individually & corporately. And yet, how do we grow in and use those things here at home everyday? How do we live lives that reflect the changes he made in us? How can we stay the same, yet how do we live differently?

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I struggle with these questions. I don’t know the answers and every time I sit down to write, I feel more lost and confused.

But I do know one thing.

I know that he is enough. All we need is Christ Jesus and he will complete the work in us that needs to be finished. He will help us apply the lessons we learned and grow through the things we experienced. The only thing we need to do is invite him, like we did in the Prayer Tower. The God who met us there is the same God who lives with us here.

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In these past two days, I prayed. I sought. I asked. And he made himself know. He lifts my soul and uncovers the tools I need and reminds me of the lessons I learned. He shows up for me.image

I know he’ll do the same for the rest of us. We only need to let him in to meet & ask & share with him, because he will help us sort through everything we experience this past week. He’s God and we know he loves his children.

Make time to find him in the middle of the memories.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6 ESV)

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My Jesus.

At the beginning of each week, I find myself asking, Why am I searching for algebra’s lost Xs and learning about things I already know — like the Revolutionary War and speaking life to myself–? Why am I doing this all over again?

And God always answers, in some way or another.

This week — like a handful of previous others — an update pops into my inbox like a gift sent from heaven’s wide gates. It tells new tales of good conquering evil and of the Gospel spreading and growing in El Salvador, as this same Good News refreshes those who live on the volcanoe-top. Sporadically, these words Tammy Ogden writes bring tears to my eyes. I feel her stories burn inside me; I know I am working towards a life like hers. Truthfully, I see not only the Ogdens working for Christ, but also myself. I cannot say that I share their struggles in Kingdom business, but I want to join them, with all that I am.

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However, I have many years to wait. When God whispers my purpose, I don’t always like it; I have no excuse to quit if I really am learning for him!

In the latest update, Tammy said,

“As we look forward to the craziness, this we know: at the end of the day more souls will be part of the kingdom, more people will be challenged to go big for God, and Jesus will be made famous to the next generation.  This is why we do what we do, because we love him!”

And I am holding onto this as well. The work of my education does not directly affect the hurting, but it will someday. I’ve got to know that I’m called to go and heal the hurting as Jesus did and I’ve got to know that I’m working towards this everyday — Here. And now.

And I remember that I have only to survive three more weeks; then I’ll be a participant in the work of Christ with John & Tammy. I’ll be knee-deep in the messy ministry of the missionary. As I join twenty others, I know we will be changed and prayerfully participate in change for the Kingdom. Scaling the walls of darkness, we will set the captives free and bring them into our Father’s arms through interacting with kids and healing the hurting. God is good!

From the mission frontier, Tammy sends pictures which fill me with hope and life and purpose once again; I know I can march through all the goodbyes, Xs, and fears, like a good Christ-soldier. I pray my heart will be opened to this lesson of perseverance; I know I’ll need it out there in the world. And because of it, I’ll awaken one day and my soul will be satisfied in the face of my Jesus.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and 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. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV

We Fly.

20140228-193953.jpgWhen I returned from Peru, I had one phrase on my mind all the time. From this glorious trip, I took away a simple truth which has since been imbedded in my soul. Here on the verge of yet another international adventure, I find myself saying it again: God is good. I’m beginning to realize this in new ways with every new day.

I could go into detail about His goodness in my life as of late, but I won’t. If you pay close enough attention, you can see it in everything I write. However, I do want to relate the wonder of his blessings in each new adventure I take, including the one on the Central American horizon.

Last July, I went on my first international mission trip. I went to Nicaragua with the Beams, a family I grew to love. Happily, we set up medical clinics in two different schools. We played frisbee. We helped the hurt. We spoke Jesus. And I learned so much about myself and the world and this family and God himself. I knew that I was called. And after Nicaragua, I didn’t turn back, and I never will.

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In November / December, God opened up the French doors leading to Peru. As I booked my flights, there was not a financial strain. God blessed me to such an extent that I had no need to fundraise; I just booked the flights! It was a miracle. After I shared about my up coming plans, God inspired His people to give generously. God, through His church, lent me over seven hundred dollars more; I was amazed! I went and came back with a bank account still full — and a heart overflowing.image

Futhermore, another trip was waiting on me. The Saturday after I arrived home from Peru, I discovered that flights were booked for El Salvador. I was going with the Beam family, to serve alongside my favorite missionaries, because He so richly provided. That next Sunday, I spoke with Amy — the Mama Beam — and she said, “I feel like it’s just confirmation.” And I had to smile, because it was the truth. I knew God had called and kept and blessed me.

So. In a little less than a month, we will be flying. The Beams, my father, a host of other souls, and myself will be looking toward the shores of El Salvador — or an inactive volcano top, anyway. We will arrange more clinics so we can play more frisbee, heal more hurting, and speak more Jesus. In addition to this, some of our team will be participating in street evangelism through dramas. I am excited to share in both outreaches, and to grow intimate with another culture; this will be my third experience in less than a year. (God is good!)

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I am wild to live inside this new adventure. And I couldn’t be more pleased with the arrangements. I will grow to love this family more and find God in new ways and learn more about His world. God is good, and I’ll never stop saying it.

To El Salvy we fly!

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 ESV

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Rise.

It hit me hard, that Easter morning. We had gathered in a large school auditorium to celebrate our resurrected King. As I lifted my voice and my hands, I heard someone whisper. It was a sweet voice, singing a joyful song. Internally, it grew stronger with every external beat of the drum.

“Alive, alive, my Jesus is alive, alive forevermore,”

she sang, merry and happy and free. It was one of my translators — one of my friends. I set her voice on repeat, and it brought me back to a place up in the mountains — the Andes of Peru.

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I wanted to go back. I wanted to run “home.”

I prayed as the faces of my Peruvian friends flowed in and out of my conscious thought. I prayed for them and for my return, because being patient doesn’t come easily to this growing girl.

I am excited about God’s plans for this summer; I really am. But I want to go to Peru after this next trip. The doors seem locked and the way seems shut. But I pray anyway, because I’m stubborn and passionate and crazy like that.

Crazy like that.

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I posted this ^ collage on Instagram that Easter evening, knowing no one really cared and not caring that they didn’t know — didn’t understand. The caption I typed said, “…Because I just missed Peru today. Like crazy.” It was crazy; why would my sweet translator’s voice sing to me while we thanked God? It was crazy because it had been a crazy day; how could Peru be on my mind? It was crazy because I couldn’t explain it myself.

I’ve learned that my calling follows me everywhere. It is the bootstrap by which I pull myself up everyday. It is the purpose for which I work every week. It is my joy in serving my King.

Therefore, I’ll go back — someday. Someday, someday, someday I’ll kiss all those precious Peruvian cheeks again. But not until it is time — not until I am ready, perhaps. Lord knows when that will be or how long it could take. But in the meantime I’ll sing with a heart of gratitude — thanking God everyday for saving and calling and remaking me. Hearing that sweet voice rise with mine, I will sing:

Alive, alive, my Jesus is alive, alive forevermore.”

So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. 2 Thessalonians 1:11 NLT