Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Growth Demands Surrender

"Growth demands a temporary surrender of security" -Gail Sheehy. 

Well this is my first blog post from Tanzania. I've been away from home for almost a month and in Tanzania for a little over two weeks now. How crazy good is God. I am learning and growing each day. Some days are harder than others, but in each day there is a lesson to learn and I am beginning to see that.

Since being in Tanzania I have met other missionaries from around TZ with the same heart as mine, to share the gospel and love people, I have stood in the Indian Ocean, I have been in many airports, slowly have been learning to speak Swahili and have been blessed beyond measure by the people around me here. 

Miriam (my ministry partner) and I have yet to begin working, because our Residence Permits have not arrived from the office. So as we wait for those we must wait to meet the people that we have come here to serve. As we wait we have been getting to know the family we are sharing a compound with. They are such a blessing and such a huge help when it comes to learning Swahili and the culture. They speak English and Swahili so we don't feel completely lost. :) 

God has been teaching me so many things. One of the main things comes from Jonah 2:8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."  I have learned that I have a habit of clinging to things that tend to keep me from serving the Lord fully. It's crazy that I have to be 8000 miles away from home to see that. But even the things that are good in my life become idols and interfere with my service to God. One is my family and letting God hold them in His hands, especially while I am here. Also friends and comforts of home. I never thought that I would cling to a hot shower or being able to just drink water from a faucet the way I did when I first arrived. The silliest things are things that have held me back. It's crazy to see that I measure my life on all the things I have rather than all the things I have given away. 

There are so many things I have to let go of, that each day I find something new that I want to hold onto and God keeps telling me "Child, let me hold this for you, Let me have this, so that you may walk in My way, in My Light." And each day is a surrender. And I have realized that that is something our culture is so keen on. All the things we have. that is what makes a person. We look at all the things a person gives away and think how great they are for giving, but how much does that person give compared to how much they keep?

"How different our standard is from Christ's. We ask how much a man gives. He asks how much he keeps" -Andrew Murray.

And in these past two weeks I see that I give little and keep much. Where I should keep little and give much, because I have been blessed with much. So each day for me is learning a new way of giving more. And I guess that is my challenge to you. to give more and keep less. 

Whether that is giving more of your time to others. giving more of your things to others. Giving without expecting anything in return. Giving freely, because God has blessed many of us with much, and I believe and am learning that these blessings I must give.

So as my journey progresses here in Tanzania I hope that I learn how to give more and keep less. 

   Trying to Surrender More,

  HIS and yours,


Friday, October 12, 2012

He is Greater

He is greater. He is greater. He is greater.

This is what I have been repeating to myself over and over again since orientation began and ended. He is greater. It seems that since I've departed home the enemy has done a good job at attacking my weaknesses. It's getting really frustrating lately. The main thing he has been using to distract me is missing home. Now I am sincerely and truly close with my family. I started missing them the minute I got on that plane. But I've done this so many times I wasn't worried about it. But now still being in the U.S. and not departing for Tanzania until Monday, it has caused me to miss home more. Because I'm still in America and I feel as if I am not doing anything. So the enemy has been flooding me with thoughts of home and tears and it has just been tiresome. Because I love my family and it's inevitable that I am going to miss them, but I want to get to Tanzania and start in on the ministry that God has so graciously called Miriam and I too. These idle hands are tired of sitting around and wondering what family and friends are doing back at home.

So He is greater has become a sort of chant in my head every morning I wake up and throughout the day. To constantly remind myself that HE is greater. "the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." I think all too often people don't talk about or address the heartache that comes with missions work or ministry work at all. Whether it's traveling overseas or working with youth groups or whatever it maybe, a burden gets put on your heart and big one, and sometimes that burden causes you to leave the things behind that you don't necessarily want to or ever thought you would have to. But that is the Cost of the Cross. You see, the cost is greater than what anyone ever talks about. But it says so in the world. We must lay down our lives, leave our families, we must go, and take up our cross and follow Him.

And yet the enemy is very clever at finding the things that are hardest to leave behind and using that against. Finding the weakness in missing home, in our questions, in our lives. The enemy is smart, there  is no denying that, he has been around a long long time, more than any of us. he knows this world well, because he has been cast down into it for so long. Knowing what makes humanity tick, and change and how to cause issues. And yet God is so much greater than him. God has it taken care of, God has already prepared the way. And sometimes there are times when we will question and wonder, and that is okay. But we must seek God even when we think everything is going smoothly. We must seek God even when things are going wrong. Seek Him at all times. Because He is greater than the enemy.

Better yet God knows the enemy better than any one of us. We can not best, we can not fight this enemy alone, only God can help us. So yes, I've been struggling in this waiting period. Trying to patient, trying to remember that what I am doing is for Christ and it is what He has called me to do in this season of my life. despite what people tell me, despite the lies the enemy tries to put in my head. This is where I belong. and I will continue to chant "He is greater. He is greater. He is greater." Because I believe and I want to keep believing, but also I want the enemy to see it. Not only in my life, but in the life of the ministry that God has called me to. because He is greater.

Whatever you are struggling with, whatever doubts or lies the enemy is sneaking in from your weakness. Take it to God, tell Him about it, because in our weakness He is strong, and in that strength He overcomes the enemy... Every time. He is GREATER!

Serving the GREATEST God,

 HIS and yours,


Monday, October 8, 2012

Twenty Two to Tanzania; today is a new beginning

Today is the day.

Today I turn twenty-two.

Today I board a plane to begin my journey to Tanzania.

Today is a step forward into a new life, into the life that God has for me.

I have prayed, packed, said goodbyes, prayed, repacked, cleaned, talked, cried, showered, and prayed some more. It seems like time has flown by so fast, this summer feels like a blur and so do all my goodbyes.

But today is about more than just the day. It's about the journey and new beginnings and being able to see for the first time in my life that I am different, that I am called to be the hands and feet of Christ, and that does not make me weird, or strange, or an outcast. Actually quite the opposite, even though at times I feel unwelcome and rejected in this world. God has taken me and brought me into His family and his loving arms.

The crazy thing about this is that through all the struggles and frustrations and happiness and emotions God has brought people into my life and taken people out of it. He has made me see the blessings he has given me, through a random interaction with another missionary on Twitter to long phone conversations from friends at Northwestern, to my family helping me calm my nerves and surprising me, to seeing who is truly there and who God has placed around me as support. And it's awesome. I am so blessed!

Today is a day that I stop looking behind me, stop thinking about what could have been and start thinking about what is now, what God needs me to do and calls me to do. I still believe that I am unworthy for this, but God often used the worthless things, He does not call the equipped but equips the called. And I think that if I thought I was worthy enough to do this, than I would be doing the wrong thing, or the right thing for the wrong reasons.

So my flight leaves in 5 hours and i don't know if I will be getting any sleep. but I just want to thank God and all the people who have been there for me since I mentioned the word Africa! To my mom and my dad and my sisters and brother. my aunts and uncles, my entire church every person who supported me financially and prayerfully to Kelsey, Sam, Danielle, Valor, Jeremy, Adam, Michael, Dan, Sean, Gee, Kate, Kristie, Jean-Jean, Megan, Leslie, Julie, Tj, Laura, Michelle, Laura, Lindsey, Anna, Charlotte, Amanda, Kayli, Nanner, Mario, Amy, Jason, Chelsea, Monsma, Chris, Ray, Hayley, Ben, Asher, Ashley, Val, Sadie, Becca, Jenna, Katie, Greta, Darlene, All the girls and two boys that went to Uganda with me, and so so so many many more people. (If I named all of them we would be here FOREVER!) To women and men on twitter I don't even know who have been praying and talking with me. I just love the way God has, is, and continues to use people in my life. It blows my mind.

I use to think that I wasn't worth anything. I constantly felt rejected by friends and by people in this world. because I didn't laugh at the same things they did, because I didn't get there jokes, because I didn't want to go out and do the things they did, because I dressed differently, because the things that I wanted to do never wanted to match up with the things everyone else wanted to do. But I have realized that I am worth so much more to HIM. that the world can call me worthless and people can reject me, but people's opinions are not important compared to Jesus. I am second next to HIM and I pray that I become more like HIM, that the world see's HIM. He says in HIS word that they will hate me, because they hated Him first, but I can take heart because He has overcome the world!

Life could not be any sweeter. God is calling us all to step out. We all have struggles and difficulties, whatever they may be, it's inevitable we are sinful human beings. But God takes us and tell us that we are worth something and that He has more for us than what we believe or even imagine. And when we take that step, that leap of faith. there is no telling where it may take us.

Might even be halfway around the world to a country called Tanzania. :)

  Soon to be Boarding a Jet Plane,

 HIS and yours,