Monday, August 29, 2011

Slow Down Baby

I want to apologize to everyone reading this.
You only get the summed up version of all the incredible experiences.
For that I apologize, we get the best part.

This weekend we went camping with a small group of families and youth from the church.
Our time was spent in a quiet, secluded space in the forest next to a lake.
there was worship, prayer, stories.
I attempted to learn more Russian phrases which entertained the group alot.
while I didn't feel like I was able to communicate with the families as much as I would have liked
I was able to create some trust. As we lived together for 3 days they saw who I was as a person.
I wasn't just the American visitor,but instead I was the one playing with their children, rolling in the dirt as they climbed all over me.
I was the one was attempting to sing a song while max played guitar.
we were engaging on a different level.
while walls were breaking down, trust as being built in their place.

Today Alexander took me and max to visit some handicap children.
i had no idea what to expect going into it
i left with a desire to return as soon as possible
sure i can't say all the things i want to these children but the Lord blessed us with the ability to share smiles and laughs.
we heard each child's story and then gave them a new stuffed animal.
i heard the most precious songs sung by these children
i was filled with joy by a girl who couldn't speak
and more than anything i was humbled
at one point i held back tears while listening to a 5 year old sing a song about santa clause
the Lord displayed His beauty today.

Alexander is one incredible man.
His heart, his passion, his ministry all point to Jesus
there is no doubt in my mind tha the Lord will mold and shape me while working with Alex
He shared his vision for his ministry with me and max after dinner today.
I can't thank the Lord enough for this opportunity.
excitment can't fully describe how I feel.

here are a few pictures:

Susan(Alex's daughter),me, and Max at a Ukrainian wedding

Nadia(my new sister) and I on the trolly
eating cotton candy to celebrate Ukraine's independence

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First Impressions

Hello all!!

This may be short because we are laving for a camping trip soon and my computer batery is low. My converter broke and I can't charge my computer at my host home, only Max's... So here are some bits and pieces of my incredile experience so far.

Ok I have no idea what to even tell you! It's been about a week and a half here but I feel like so much has happened because everday brings something new.

Before heading to Ukraine Max and I did not get the visas that we wanted. So i made sure to have all the details I needed to be prepared for passport control. Well let's just say I was way more prepared than I needed and all the Praise goes to God. It was so simple it was ridiculous. We didn't even have to fill out immigration forms, just simply show our passports and tell them the city we were going to. They even laughed because we were the only Americans on the plane and we knew no Russian at all. Once they stamped out passports we walked to a trailer and grabbed our luggage off. No security or checks of any kind. We walked out and finally met Alexander face to face for the first time. Alexander is the Pastor we will be working with throughout our stay here. The aiport was a breeze and outside was relaxed with hardly any traffic. It was a great way to enter the country.

I got dropped off at my home and was greeted very kindly. Mama Tanya and two daughters Lidia and Nadia. Their friend Ina was also there to welcome me. Hugs and kisses brought me into the family. W shared a meal together as we attempted to communicate. Our new best friend is a Russian-English dictionary I purchased the day before departure.

Max lives with Alexander and his family who are absolutely wonderful as well. Max has a house filled with much more English than me so he gets a little deeper conversation each day, but I think I will pick up Russian much faster. We'll see.

Things we've done:
-went to a blind society meeting and shared pieces of our testimonies
-visited numerous families in need
-tea, tea, and more tea
-attended a Ukrainian wedding and reception
-played UNO so many times with Alexandr's family
-shared our testimonies in Aexander's church and sang a song for them

Things I've done without Max:
-attempted to learn new Russian words each day
-taken the local trolley to the super market
-walked through town to the small shops
-made a "Ukrainian pie" which is more like a sweet bread than actual pie
-let Nadia do several hair do's on me to help time go by
-and so many other things


I think what has been so incredible is the time of rest. While I may be in a new culure learning new things everyday I still get to rest. This lifestyle is more relaxed and easygoing. I have been able to spend so much time reading, jouranling, diving into the Word, and worshipping. Because I cannot speak Russian so well and I don't have anything of my own to rely on I am forced to lean into the Lord in new ways. In a way it's almost like I have left my home in order to find my true home in the Lord. I am more aware of each moment. My ears are cleared and waiting for the Lord's words. When we gather and pray I can't passively listen because the words are foreign to me, so I pray each time as well. I have been asked to share pieces of my story so many times here that I have to rely on Jesus to speak so that it is tuned tothe ears of those who will hear. I am learning a new way of seeking the Lord. It's refreshing and reviving. It hasn't even been two weeks yet. I can only imagine what the Lord has in store after a matter of months. Thank you Jesus for this opportunity!!

This experience isn't about me, it's about seeing God praised always. I love His creativity. Different cultures show it in beautiful ways. My prayer is that the Lord's evidenc in my life would become evident to those around me both in word and deed.

Thank you everyone who helped get me here through prayer, finances, and encrouagement. I ask for your prayers still.

-for open doors in the church
-creativity as we prepare to take on the task of reviving the youth
-of course, language help
-blessings for our host families
-and above all else that God would receive all the glory there is to be had.

I will share photos soon and keep you all updaed now that I have internet on my computer. Love goes out to all my friends and family.

Monday, August 15, 2011

You walk with me?

i've said my goodbyes to friends and i may seem heartless because i didn't shed a tear.
yes, i will miss my friends more than i can comprehend right now.
but i'm just not that kind of person.
i take time.
time for things to sink in a little.
the plane rides may consist of tears, the future is uncertain.

in church i found myself with tears streaming down my face during worship.
i didn't understand it at first.
fear? i don't think so.
rather i had this overwhelming sense of who God was.
and this realization brought about so much joy.
my God, the Lord of all lords, King of all kings, Captain of all captains.
Mighty Warrior, Creator of all, Sustainer, Savior to all the earth.
this God.
my Father and Refuge.
He has allowed me to be used for His glory.

so i couldn't help but cry.
an overwhelming experience of joy and unbelief all at the same time.

now the enemy tried to have me think it over after church.
was i afraid?
was i worried?
were those actually tears of joy?

so i thought.
am i walking i fear or faith?

if i were walking in fear:
the fact that there is more unknown than known about the trip would scare me
no visas? no way!
language barrier? make it a wall and stop me in front of it!
undetermined amount of time? undetermined mindset.

if i were walking in faith:
the less details i know the more room God has to show off.
language difficulties equals seeing God's creativity.
rather than seeing the negative i see the Lord and His nature.
i don't doubt myself because i can't do it anyway, so instead i ask the Lord to be Him through me.

i choose to walk by faith.
it is all for His glory so i shouldn't be trying to do it.
there is nothing in this world that the Lord can't handle.
plus the way i see it:
if we never step out of our comfort zone, if we never try something new, if we never step into the unknown, then we leave no room for God to be seen.
God doesn't work through our agenda, only His timing.

step out to step in.
 out of ourselves and into what He's doing.


we are about to start our journey.
please join our team by prayer.
thank you to all my incredible friends and family who have encouraged and supported this opportunity.

love to you,
now lavish it on someone.

Monday, August 8, 2011

please intercede

right now we are in limbo.

me and max are planning on leaving for the Ukraine on Monday.
our visa process is at a standstill.
it's a matter of communication.
so i have no other communication to rely on except between the Holy Spirit and God on my behalf.
i honestly don't know the words to say.

Romans 8:25-27

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

because of this i will rest.
rest in the Lord.
rest in His authority over every single thing.
His power to do as He pleases.
the fact that He holds this entire world in His hands
and while i might not be able to see past this week
He sees today while rejoicing in tomorrow.

Lord please have your way.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Lord's Authority

We get to walk with the same authority as the Lord because of Jesus.
Jeremiah 10 has alot to say about His authority.
Read it and rest in Him.

"Hear what the LORD says to you, O house of Israel.  This is what the LORD says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.
For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.
Like a scarecrow in a melon patch,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good.”
 No one is like you, O LORD;
you are great,
and your name is mighty in power.
Who should not revere you,
O King of the nations?
This is your due.
Among all the wise men of the nations
and in all their kingdoms,
there is no one like you.
They are all senseless and foolish;
they are taught by worthless wooden idols.
Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish
and gold from Uphaz.
What the craftsman and goldsmith have made
is then dressed in blue and purple—
all made by skilled workers. 
 But the LORD is the true God;
he is the living God, the eternal King.
When he is angry, the earth trembles;
the nations cannot endure his wrath.
  “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’”
  But God made the earth by his power;
he founded the world by his wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
  Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
every goldsmith is shamed by his idols.
His images are a fraud;
they have no breath in them.
They are worthless, the objects of mockery;
when their judgment comes, they will perish.
He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these,
for he is the Maker of all things,
including Israel, the tribe of his inheritance—
the LORD Almighty is his name. "