Monday, March 26, 2012

Adventurously Expectant

We just sent off yet another amazing team yesterday! We had a returning team of 116 serving with several communities/schools/churches in the Trelawny, Jamaica area. I had the pleasure of serving with a small group of 15 which I called my own. :) We spent a few mornings with grade 5s of Hastings Primary school assisting in reading and math and our afternoons were filled with construction. We are working on an additional building for the primary school which is overcrowded. This group started this project exactly one year ago and this spring we poured the concrete for half of the roof. The other half and the floor should be finished by this summer giving the school an additional two classrooms next year! Overall it was an awesome week getting to know my little group, seeing old friends from last year, and worshiping and serving with the team as a whole!

The group's theme for their spring break mission trips this year was "Adventurously Expectant". Basically this means living an adventurous life for God and expecting Him to come through in big ways! As I thought about this theme and enjoyed the cool evenings, I would look at the stars and think about a practice of mine. When I was younger I would stand in my backyard in the country and stare at the stars. I remember "asking" God to show me a shooting star. . . not that I needed proof, but more as my test of sorts for God. I don't do it so often now, but I still have my moments where I sort of ask God to give me a sign. I can honestly say that I have never once during one of these tests seen a shooting star. I feel like I have the "expectant" part down, but sometimes not so much the "adventurous" part. I feel like often we ALL do this! We expect God to do something for us or speak to us but we're not willing to actually listen to him when He answers us. We ask for that shooting star or whirlwind to appear but instead God is in that "still, small voice" (1 Kings 19:11-13) and we don't recognize it.

So tonight as our group was debriefing our day (I picked up yet another amazing group of 10 yesterday) I had my back turned to the sky and was talking with the team. All of a sudden I could see a light in the corner of my eye and nearly everyone awed as this ginormous shooting star (or comet or satellite or whatever it was) streaked through the sky in bright green and red and finally disappeared. It was big enough that I had time to turn around and see it for about 2 seconds! What I find interesting is that I don't need a shooting star from God to show me Him. I see Him in front of me always and witness Him working in so many ways on a day-to-day basis! I know that when I live adventurously for Him I can expect great things! Try living your life "adventurously expectant" and see what you find!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

God sightings

Finished up my first spring trip yesterday and waiting for the second group to arrive shortly. The first group, from Hobbs, NM, arrived a DAY LATE! Their trip was cut short by US Airways because of mechanical problems in Dallas. So when they finally did arrive, at 8pm the next day, I half expected them to be down and out because of the delay. Instead they were extremely happy and upbeat and wanted to cut their beach day down if needed to do whatever needed to be done. Great attitude to have! And because of that attitude they had an awesome week! (check out their trip here) Met some amazing people and spent the week in one community getting to know the people there! Good times!

I was reminded, yet again, this past week that I'm spoiled! I get to serve on a new mission trip every week! Of course I have to do the leg work of getting their trip set up and details arranged, but even all this is in a tropical paradise. :) I don't have to struggle to find God. . . I get to see Him working in these team members each and every week and every week it's new people and a new trip. It's like life is starting afresh every week!

Pray for us this week as our group is over 100 serving with about 4 different churches and undertaking 6 different construction projects. You can keep up with what they're doing here if you'd like. My 6 weeks in Jamaica is starting to fly by now. Can't wait to see what else happens this spring!

PS - My MOM is coming April 1st! Her first time to Jamaica! That's a big deal!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Aaaah! Spring in Jamaica!

I had a friend recently ask me about my faith and "how do I know". This blog is for her.

I've been thinking about it since she asked me. . . because I didn't have an exact answer for her. She had recently discovered that her life was about to change dramatically. And apparently she was beginning to question her faith, or maybe she's just about to discover it? My uneducated response (after x amount of years at Bible college how can I say uneducated?) to her was, "I just know"! I told her that often it's not simple to see, especially when you're bogged down with the seemingly mundane tasks of day-to-day life. I told her that sometimes it's hard for me to really FEEL my faith. I KNOW it; but often I don't feel it. I told her that when I really FEEL it is when I experience it first hand.

First hand experiences

I've been in Jamaica for just over a week and I have yet to welcome a group of my own. In fact they come in tomorrow and we'll spend a week at the Grateful Hill Baptist Church near Discovery Bay. But for the past week I've been driving all over Jamaica making sure my spring trips are ready to go and getting some more info on some summer trips. And as I've been driving (with no radio) I've had a lot of time to reflect and I've thought a lot about this question, "how do I know?"

I'll tell you what. . . God doesn't yell at me any louder (or whisper to me any softer) than when I'm meeting with pastors who have such a heart and passion for doing His work! Nothing is more subtle than driving down the coast with the windows down and watching the ocean splash. Something as simple as a hummingbird buzzing around while I sit outside in my "office". And nothing breaks my heart and makes me FEEL God's touch more than meeting an elderly gentleman who takes care of his three young granddaughters while they all live in a small, one room shack at best! Those are the things that let me know I'm in the right place!

And out of all this comes my still uneducated response. How do I know? Because I know what God has called me to do and when I do what He has placed on my heart I FEEL Him smiling at me. My answer. . . LISTEN to what God is telling you; EMBRACE those times when you're broken and you have nowhere left to turn but to Him. He wants your attention! Then FOLLOW where he is telling your heart to go. Worst case scenario you go in the wrong direction. . . trust me, you'll feel it. And when you are headed in the right direction. . . you'll KNOW!