Saturday, October 22, 2011

Universal Translation

when you travel to other countries you deal with differences.
there are differences in almost every aspect of life.
different countries equals different cultures.
so when you start talking to people of another culture you realize that some things just don't translate.
ways of life sometimes are so different that you just avoid talking about it because it will only create confusion. it ends in laughter or awkwardness.
so there are basically some things that can't be translated from one culture to another.

going from America to Ukraine seems to present many differences.

what about from Heaven to Earth?
there are more than a few differences between His world and ours.
yet the incredible thing is that even though His world may seem so different than ours it translates into any culture, anywhere, in any language.

when I visit a home in this culture I may have trouble sharing things about my culture.
there may be confusion about certain ways of life.
but I can talk about Jesus and there is no barrier.
there is nothing lost in translation.

while there may be things about my life that come from my culture that are not to be applied to everyone in this world, there is something about my life that is meant for everyone, everywhere.
Jesus is universal and there is something in the heart of everyone that knows it, whether they want to admit it or not.

I need a translator to go from one culture to another for language barriers and explanations of the different ways of life.
there are so many different cultures in this world that I'm not sure they cn be counted.

however, there are really only two cultures: the Father's kingdom and the world.

those of us who claim to be a part of His kingdom get to be translators to this world.  
we may need earthly translators for languages of the tongue, but we get to help translate things of the spirit to earthly bodies who have souls crying out for spiritual life. just like I can't understand the Russian language without the help of a native, the people of this world don't understand the things of God's kingdom without the help of a native.

I would know nothing of God, His ways, and the gift of Life that He so freely offers me if He did not use His children of the kingdom to translate it all to me. i knew nothing. it was like hearing a foreign tongue with no translator.

how is this world going to know the Word of God and His ways if we don't let Him use us as translators? what good would it do me if I simply had a Ukrainian walk along side me, travel with me to schools and homes, but not translate anything for me? what good would it do if someone has a follower of Christ walk beside them, travel with them from place to place, but not translate anything of the Spirit?

God is so present in this world. His miracles are continuously occurring. He is reaching out for the hands of all His wandering children.

but no one can understand Him. He is from a different culture. He is speaking a different language.
just like we need language translators to go from one culture to another, so the world needs translators to enter the kingdom of God.
though i may not know every aspect or detail about God i think i am fluent in His ways, His truth, and His gift of grace. He has trained me to be a translator. the more i engage the more i will learn and the more i will be used.

will you join?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

on my face,soaked in tears

I just had one of the most intamite times with the Lord. It was unlike any experience  I have really ever had. I would love to explain and share, but I still can't comprehend it all. However, part of this time included a poem that He inspired me to write. I'm not sure if anyone will get it or appreciate it because it was literaly just penned. But I do believe the Lord never does something in a life just for that single person so for that reason I share it. After many tears and attempt after attempt to speak the name of Jesus correctly, my pen started writing. And the tears didn't stop till the end. Have with it what you will.

In Your presence
    there is no comprehension,
                  no way to contain.
The words You spoke,
    the beating You took,
             the blood You shed.
All done by the authority
     in Your name.

You promised the temple
     to be destroyed.
       to be rebuilt in just three days.
The mocks were made
      with laughing loud.
But on the cross you revealed to the proud
      that pride comes
                  before the fall.

They thought they could defeat You
    by putting You to death
But after three days
    You breathed new life
            with just one breath.
The temple was rebuilt
      not of stone, of wood, or clay.
The temple was made new
     it was rebuilt in You.
The stone rolled back
   and from the grave You walked.
The Savior was alive!
    the man that they
                once mocked.

Before You walked this earth,
    winning was the enemy.
But through Your blood,
      the Truth and Life,
he has no victory over me.
You sent the Helper to dwell,
       dwell in my heart,
                my soul,
                      my mind.
So with all I am
      and all I have
  please let us be intertwined.

Your death and resurrection
       are not just a story
They are the proclamation  of victory!
       Victory over the devil!
       Victory over the flesh!
       Victory each and every day!

Thank You for reconciliation.
 I submit my life to be
       in constant admiration.
Though I may fail
       and I may slip
Your love will never fail
     and I will never be
           let from Your grip.

In Your presence is where
      I want to be.
Fear and trembling, joy and singing
All of this I get to share
       with You
Because I am not chained
   or held, but in You
           I have been made free.

You took my place on the cross
     so have Your way in me
On this earth let me be
    the lips that speak Your words.
In this place let every
     heart and saddened face
               be renewed in who You are
So that each new life
     may be of You
             a living memoir.

Thank You forYour grace
     and thank You for Your love.
Please be my guiding light
    when darkness closes in
So that from the hands
      of the enemy I may
            ascend like a dove
Let me be Your living testimony
    to tell of all You've done.
To share with the world
     that each and every heart
          has already been won.

The Lord is Holy,
     Pure, and Strong
And all my days I
     I will work
to make that
       my life song.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pot Luck

Well my mind has been going, going, and going the past week or so. It's like my mind had a pot luck dinner and invited all its friends. A little of this and a taste of  that. Some things have tasted so sweet while others bitter. But my favorite is desseret. The sweetness of the Lord always finds a way to shine through. So grab plate and stroll down the table with me. Here are some samples of thoughts and events I want to share.

Language Barrier:
I have been here in the Ukraine for almost 8 weeks.
With this time I have been able to pick up a little Russian, a little.
I have interacted with people who speak English.
Communication has happened, but oh how I long, I yearn for more.
Frustrating and Beautiful all at the same time.
Well the Lord has His word to put in my mind on this.
He invited me to sit in His seat for just a moment. Sit where He sits and imagine His perspective.
I got a glimpse of the barrier between Him and His children.
we interact.
there is some communication..
He reaches to our level and communicates with us.
we pick up some things and ways to communicate.
but He longs for more, He yearns for something greater.
It cut me to my heart and lead me to prayer.
Sure I might not know how to fully communicate with my Heavenly Father, but He wants me to try.
He wants my frustrations. He wants me to think it through. When I can't find words He wants what I have.
There is no language barrier between us and Him.
so why have we created one?

English Teaching:
Max and I finally had our first interaction "teaching" English at a school.
we walked down our gravel road, stepped on the trolly, got off, took the wrong trolly, walked back to the stop, waited for te right trolly, and found our way to the school across town.
as we walked up to the door I heard a knock on the upstairs window to be greeted by waving teenagers. Exciting.
the two of us sat in the front of the class room with about 18 students between 14-17 yrs old.
we introduced ourselves and began a classroom discussion on home, family, hobbies, food, music, childhood dreams, etc.
most unexpected moment-a quiet girl sheepishly raised her hand to be the first to share about her favorite music. hard rock & heavy metal. the classroom was filled with laughter in surprise.
after our hour was up they asked when we would come back again. all was well and good.
we even had two students walk us back to the bus stop. I see good things.
Simon Says this week.

Spirit Train:
ysterday we headed back from Kiev. 12 hours later we arrived in Donets'k this morning.
I started getting a headache but chose to ignore it for a while.
the headache decided to also bring an upset stomach.
so I climbed up to my top bunk, placed a towel over my face to block out light, and prayed.
I have been challenging myself to resist selfish prayer and check my heart.
after reassuring myself that it wasn't selfish to ask the Lord to keep me from praying about not throwing up on a people filled train car I prayed and prayed.
the Lord provided and lulled me into a restful prayer time coupled with reflection.
I dreamed with excitement about future possibilities.
Spirit: "Ashley, what do you think about most often? What makes your mind tick? What do your daydreams paint a picture of? What does your hear burn for? Thos are your passions and dreams. Place them in my hands like I have placed them in your heart."
my family.speaking.teaching.shepherding.
sweet and sorrow family: some know Jesus, but are yung in His ways. a few laugh. others turn to opposite extremes. a couple hearts resemble stones. I want to pray with my family, not just be the one asked at holidays. I want to dive into the Word with my sisters. I want to worship alongside my brother. More than anything I don't want any of them to leave this world, face Jesus and say "I didn't know." while I walk this earth doing "ministry" in every other place but my family.
speaking: gives me more excitement in dreams than most things yet bring about more doubt and fear. Is that the enemy trying to scare me away from something incredible? Praying through that.
teaching: while I am not a master of much I would love to help teach those who are in a place I once was. I used to be void of the Word, empty of biblical principles, cold to the Lord's passion. I would love to teach on those things with the knowledge I do have, whatever that may be. And all the while the Lord will be teaching me in the moment.
shepherding: acoring to a recent spiritual gifts test this is my top. giving it a title makes me back off. knowing what it is ignites my heart. teaching others, living life with them, watching them mature, laughing and crying, praying, getting excited, oh!
the Spirit was speaking to me on that train.
I pulled out my journal and scribbled some challenges He gave me.
it was a beautiful, awkward place.
tears rolled down my face as a gained a burden for my family more than ever.
tears streamed as I was joyus and sorrowfull all together.

the sweetness in the end:
Jesus is Lord and He is making sure that I stay near.
when I was a new believer I saw people walk away from the church and then God as they aged far more often than I should have.
I feared that I would do that. I thought it was a way of life.
I wondered if I would say I was passionate and be faithful yet walk away in the end.
God is my caring Father who disciplines me in times of need.
Jesus is my teacher and guide.
and the Spirit is strong. He has His way in me through methods I couldn't imagine on my own,
the Trinity together is beautiful.
there is no walking away from life.
they have not become a part of my life.
they invaded my heart and transformed me, baptizing me in the Spirit and giving me a new life.
there is no walking away from life.
the only thing to take me out is death, which only brings us into a closer relationship.
He is the sweetness in the end, always.