Monday, September 28, 2009

Missionary Spotlight Monday: Praying for Honduras and Bolivia

As a missionary with World Gospel Mission, I have the privilege of working with a tremendous network of people who are advancing the cause of Christ around the world. Not only are they American missionaries, but many nationals are trained to do the work of the ministry as well. Though we may not meet face to face, they are part of the team just the same.

Throughout the week, I receive prayer updates from various fields via e-mails from headquarters. This week, I received two sad updates. Would you join me in praying for Honduras and Bolivia?


HONDURAS:

WGM has an "arm" of ministry known as
Men With Vision. The Honduran field recently elected their first MWV national President, Marcos Canales. Sadly, while Marcos was coming out of some meetings at his local church, a passing motorcycle rider shot and killed him as he and his family walked toward their car. The motorcycle rider apparently wanted his computer and cell phone.

Please pray:

-for his family He has two small children ages 6 and 2. Pray also
-for his church family
-for clarity as decisions are made about filling his position.

BOLIVIA:

A retreat for national pastors was held last week. Sadly, one of the pastors was hit on the road by a log truck and died yesterday. The pastor’s name was Siprian Vargas. The information I received from headquarters mentions his wife and one daughter. I am unaware of any further relatives.

Please be in prayer for:
-the family. His wife, Marcelina and their daughter. Marcelina does not read, so pray that their daughter will be able to help communicate with well between all parties involved in the proceedings that need to take place. Pray for peace.
-Pastor Siprian's church
-the national church in Honduras. This is the second pastor associated with the churches WGM works with to be buried in a matter of two months.

In both of these tragic situations, will you also join me in praying for the missionaries that serve in Honduras and Bolivia. Pray for them as they minister to the families and churches involved in these situations. Pray for guidance and direction as they speak truth and life into a situation that is dark and difficult. If you want to pray for them by name, check out this page for Honduras, and this page for Bolivia. Thanks for praying. I know God is still in the business of working ALL things together for good.

Friday, September 25, 2009

If I had an iPhone...

I could have a lot of fun with this topic, but I will stick to the purpose of what made me think of it.

If I had an iPhone, I would have taken a picture and immediately posted it to Facebook, Twitter, and my blog, asking the question, to no one in particular: "does this drive anyone else crazy?" But, I don't have an iPhone, so hopefully my words will paint a picture in its absence.

My mom and I went for coffee this morning, and decided to venture across the parking lot (in the rain) to peruse the aisles of a certain store, that shall remain nameless. The door said, "NO FOOD, DRINK, OR ARMED WEAPONS" or something to that effect. The only important one at the moment is "NO DRINK" allowed.

So, since we had our coffee (the first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season, I might add) we decided to try someplace else where we were welcomed, with our drinks, with open arms. And upon finishing said drinks, we returned to the store with strict rules and regulations regarding what was (and was not) allowed to cross the proverbial boundary between enjoying your coffee in the rain outside and enjoying some cheap things no one really needs to buy inside.

I was not finished with my drink, and was not about to throw it away. So, I decided to tell myself to be SUPER careful, and allowed myself to break the rules. Just this once.

And, to my utter dismay, as I was perusing the aisles of cheap items that no one really needs to buy, holding my Pumpkin Spice Latte ever-so-carefully so as to not spill it, a lady walked past me with a DOG in the shopping cart. A dog. Really? So, (store that shall remain nameless), you're telling me I can't have my coffee, that is harmless to those around me, but she can bring something in that one: poops, two: pees, and three: is a potential allergen to shop with? That makes total sense to me.

And, I must admit, that after that, I had a calm, cool, and collected speech prepared to give to anyone telling me I had to leave because of my coffee. And it would end with, "I'm not angry. I'm just sayin' is all." The end.

Ummm...about that

I just checked to make sure the Thursday blog posted, and realize I have not written anything since LAST Thursday. And I wanted to clarify something:

My life is kind of boring...you know, routine. Same ol' stuff. But in the midst, I have been thinking a lot about a lot of things. Which will be written for your reading pleasure quite soon. I just know it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Whoa. I almost forgot today was Thursday! It's simple things that I'm thankful for today...and some simply profound things as well.

I'm thankful...
1. that we put out our boxed Christmas cards at work today. (I may have a problem. And I hear admitting it is the first step to recovery.)
2. that tomorrow, I will have my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. And I may (or may not) listen to Christmas music on the way there.
3. for friends who are passionate about life, truth, grace, and seeing those things come alive in this generation.
4. for a mom who goes to play BINGO with my 29 year old brother on a Thursday night and lets me laugh at her.
5. that one of my dearest Christmas traditions will not be thwarted this year by repairs being done downtown.

6. that the rains have begun coming in Arua!! You have surely heard me ask for prayer in this area whether here or through my newsletter. THANK YOU for praying!!

7. for new friendships that come in unexpected seasons, in unexpected ways. Thank you Jesus!

8. for the constant, faithful, persistent love of God.

9. that Blogger tests my patience really well. Sometimes, like now, I want to throw the computer out the window because the format is all over the place.

10. for 4 year old birthday parties and friends who are really like family.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thankful Thursday...and East Coast Wrap (up)

So, I realized it's taken me almost 3 weeks to fill you all in (and I know you care about every event and detail, yes you do) on a trip that lasted a week and a half. And that's borderline ridiculousness. So, I'm going to combine my "Thankful Thursday" with the wrap up of my east coast trip. Bear with me...there are a lot of pictures. And even a video. I hope you enjoy.

I am thankful for:

1. Friends to get lost in the woods with...and Garmin.

One day, we took a break from camp and went to the Ferg's house to swim. On the way back to camp, the road was closed and we had to "find our own way." We turned down a paved road, and Scott got Garmin out of the glove compartment to help guide the way. All was well until we noticed Garmin was leading us down the paved road that then turned to mud, which then turned to sand. And, yes, the roads had names. And thus began our Non-African African Adventure. I call it that because it felt like we were driving in Africa. Only without the cows and bicycles everywhere. Check out the video...you'll be able to see a bit of what I mean. But, of course, the camera was not on during the BEST examples. (Always happens that way. ALWAYS)


This is Scott and Meg...before the adventure REALLY began.

video

(One thing you have to know is that the Rambo's blog is called 'On the Road With the Rambo's')




(It had rained HARD the night before, and at one point, the water was all the way across the road. After this picture was taken, we discussed trying to figure out how deep it was. And as Meg and I were discussing this, Scott made the executive decision to GUN IT across. Ummm...let's just say the splash of the water came up over the driver side window)





We returned safe and sound. And look at the excitement on our faces. Let's do that again! And we will. In Africa. I'm sure of it. :)

2. Friends who change tires and help me laugh about a sad situation.

If you recall, in April, I encountered a punctured tire in Troy, Alabama. AAA saved the day that time. Well, needless to say, I now know that as I travel, I should pray specifically for my tires. And that it is my job to let anyone who will listen know that New Jersey has very sharp sewer drains.

After camp, I was following the Hallahan's to their house for a few days of R & R before heading home. Enter extremely sharp sewer drain. It wasn't even a fair contest. My poor tire crumbled under the pressure. (Punctured under the pressure is more appropriate.) The good news: I now have 2 new(ish) tires on my car. Nevermind that they were both obliterated and met their untimely demise.





Who needs AAA when Josh Hallahan can save the day? Thanks, Josh!



And instead of being sad over a flat tire and donut, we decided to have donuts with my donut. I love friends who can help turn a sad situation into a positive one.

3. Amazing people who graciously offer to pay for said tire...teaching me about giving and receiving in a way I couldn't have otherwise learned. Thanks Mark and Brenda. It truly meant the world.

4. For two boys who make waiting for said tire an adventure.



5. Lazy nights with Team Uganda.
Have I mentioned how thankful I am for Team Uganda? This photo is so telling. We had just finished dinner, and were enjoying a relaxing evening together. We are so comfortable with each other. And at various times during this night, each of us came to the realization that this will be a reality in Africa. (and we pointed out some of the differences...we may not be watching the Phillies, and the power may be questionable, but we'll be together). As I have said, they are truly becoming family to me. And I'm forever grateful.





6. New friends...and Philly cheese steaks
After church on my last Sunday, we got a group together to go to Philly for the day. We had such a good time. Here is a picture of my "new friends" and I just outside Jim's, home of the best Philly cheese steak. Since I've tried all of them. (Not true).


(Interesting fact: The kid in the red shirt, upon hearing I am from Indianapolis exclaimed, "OH! You're from Maryland!" Ummmm...No, actually. It was so funny.)

7. Having "nephews" to watch grow

Missionary kids call other missionaries "aunt" and "uncle." So, to the missionary kids, I am Aunt Jamie. Here are two of the MK's that I love so dearly. (You've seen pictures of the Ferg girls and Seth-Man).

Timbo and I playing with the tool bench. Check out that smile. It will melt your heart.


Caleb, standing in the window to get a better view of the kids at camp.

And this concludes the longest blog post ever. If you've made it this far, you're either a glutton for punishment, one of these children's parents, really bored, my mom, or a really good friend. Thank you, and good night.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Missionary Spotlight: Team Uganda

Those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning (all 2 of you) will remember me introducing you to "Team Uganda" back in January. We had some hilarious times in the snow (check out the video of Josh Hallahan and I making snow angels), talking in the kitchen, and beginning our training together.

I realize I have yet to really introduce you to any of them besides the Hallahan's. So, today will be a short and sweet mini-introduction. There will be formal introductions in later Monday blogs. But I'd like you to meet Team Uganda.

Scott, Meg, and baby Tim















When we live in Uganda, Scott, Meg, and baby Tim will be in Arua with me. Their focus will be on pastoral training and women's ministry. (Scott will be training pastors and Meg will be doing the women's ministry, just to make that clear.) And baby Tim, well, he'll just be being cute and making friends with African and missionary children. They currently live with Scott's parents in New Jersey. Will you pray for them as they travel and raise their prayer and financial support? And I can't wait to tell you about our first "Non-African-African-Adventure." But you will have to wait. It's a good one.

THE HALLAHAN'S
Josh, Kelly, Caleb, and Seth



You've met them before, but I thought you should see these pictures from our time at camp. If I learned one thing from being in New Jersey, it was that they sure do love the Phillies. And if you say anything about the OTHER team that is found in Pittsburgh, it could be grounds for removal from all friend lists in some people's minds. The picture to the left is Josh and Seth watching the Phillies game on TV. Yes, they start them young. Seth-man was saying, (or trying to say) "GO PHILLIES!!" when I took this. And another thing I learned was that Caleb (pictured with me to the right) does not go far without his backpack of cars. On the way to the chapel one evening, I noticed we were "matchy-matchy" with our backpacks and had to get our picture taken. Will you continue to pray for the Hallahan boys? They are traveling and need great grace being away from normal schedules and routine.

THE FERG'S
John, Nancy, Carlie, and Jamie

This family is so precious to me. I adored spending time with each one of them, getting to know them more. John is one of those people who could read the phone book and you'd laugh. So funny. Nancy is a fantastic listener and is quite witty. She loves Jesus and it is so evident that she desires to follow His leading. Their girls are so spunky and full of life. Carlie was so gracious to french braid my hair 43 times a day (slight exaggeration) because I couldn't stand to have it in my face. She has a great heart and I know God will use her in big ways in Uganda. Jamie is so full of life! Oh to have 1/3 of the energy she has. She loves people, and I can see how God will use that to further His kingdom in Uganda. Will you pray for them as they continue to travel and raise their support? The girls have start school this week, and it will be their last school year in the states for 2 years. Pray that His peace and presence would be very real to them.

NOT ABLE TO ATTEND CAMP: PAM WILSON

Pam Wilson was at training in January but was unable to make it to New Jersey for camp. We missed you, Pam!! Pray that Jesus would open doors for Pam to share the heart God has given her for the people of Uganda.

We will all be back together in November for a missions conference in New Jersey. I'm sure there will be far more updates and pictures, maybe even some video, for your enjoyment. I praise God for His provision of amazing teammates who have truly become like family in this journey. What a FAITHFUL God we serve.

Up next: Lost in the Woods-GPS to the Rescue!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Links I love

In the past few days, I have had a few links come to my attention that I would love to share with you.

1. What's it like to live in Africa? My friend Emily, who is in Tanzania right now, has a very humorous way of bringing words to life. She recently blogged about what living in Africa is like, and oh, how she has it absolutely correct. Please read this blog, and know that one year from now, this will be my life. :)

2. Youremyhealer.com This site is a site featuring Kari Jobe, a worship leader out of Gateway Church in Texas. The song Healer, sung by Hillsong as well as Kari is the basis of the video testimony on the site. Below the video, people post prayer requests as well as testimonies of God healing them. As I watched the video, my faith in the God "who heals ALL our diseases" (Psalm 103:3) grew. What a reminder that He is still in the business of healing and restoring!

3. Toby Mac - City on Our Knees This song, recommended by a great friend of mine, is a must listen. What a prayer for unity! It's my new fave. :)

4. Ever wonder what I was like as a child? I'm convinced this child was me. Only I would have been asking questions. I love this, even though her voice is kind of high pitched. If you don't at least smile, I question if you are human.

That's all for now. I'm hoping to be back on the regular blog train next week. Monday's "Missionary Spotlight" will be a bit different, but will highlight more of my trip out East visiting with some of my missionary friends. Have a fantastic Sunday!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Looking Back

I have to admit, I woke up this morning much the same as I woke up on this day 8 years ago. It was like any other day. There is not a calendar hanging within eye shot anywhere in my house, and my travel calendar that I essentially live by these days was safely tucked away for another day. I had let the date escape me. Until I turned on the news. It was then, that I remembered.

9/11/01: I remember.
I remember skipping my 9:25 class because I had a test later in the day, and hadn't read all of the book I was supposed to read. I remember walking out of my dorm room to begin laundry across the hall. And I remember watching in horror as the second plane hit. I remember the words "This is no accident" coming from the mouth of the news reporter. And I remember wishing someone was there to watch with me. Everyone else was in class.

I remember the flow of people coming back to the dorm, having no idea what would greet them. This was in the time when Facebook Twitter, texting, and all of the instant information giving avenues we have today were not around. If I remember correctly, few people had cell phones then...at least not many of MY friends did. I remember standing in the lounge of our dorm with people I didn't know, watching the horrible scenes flash across the screen again and again. I remember a special prayer service at 11:00 where we prayed for the victims, prayed for the families, prayed for peace. In the midst of so many questions and in the midst of fear, we came together as one. Standing room only. And we prayed. Dr. Rader gave word that there were still some relatives or friends of students that had not been reached. And I remember it hitting home. These were people my classmates knew.

Later in the week, we held a prayer service around the flag pole. I remember a plane going overhead, and I flinched. Even in Wilmore, Kentucky, the sound of a plane rattled me. I remember calling my mom eventually, and I remember being sad that I didn't do it sooner. I remember watching members of congress singing "God Bless America" on the steps of the Capitol building. And I cried. For the first time throughout the whole ordeal, I began to see hope again. I saw a light at the end of a dark and death-infested tunnel.

On this September 11th, eight years after that fateful day, I find myself in disbelief. Disbelief that it has been that long. But also in disbelief that it happened at all. Whether we like it or not, whether we knew people on the planes or in the buildings or not, that day marked us. There are images from that day that will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Fortunately, in the midst of the atrocious there are images of action. In the midst of the barbaric, there are images of bravery. And in the midst of horror, there are images of hope. Hope that the story can end differently. Hope that there is still good in people. Hope that there is One who sees, who knows, and who has not abandoned us. Hope that turns darkness to light. Hope that brings life from death. Hope that there is One who brings good. Yes, even in the most death-infested situation. I hope...and I remember.

****My friend Esther brought this website to my attention today. What an amazing challenge to continue to pray for those whose lives were truly turned upside-down that day.****

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Delanco Camp, NJ


August 16-22 were landmark dates for me. They are the dates that mark my first true "church camp" experience. I (along with the other members of Team Uganda) spent the week at Delanco Camp in Tabernacle, New Jersey. Aside from it being 432 degrees almost every day and the flesh-eating mosquitoes, it was an amazing experience.

The theme of the week was "Mission 1:8," taken from Acts 1:8 that says, "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." The focus was how each of us are called to be missionaries exactly where we are. There were around 60 campers, all going into 5th, 6th, or 7th grade. I was given the opportunity to teach a class, and talked about how before we can go into our world to tell people about Jesus, we need to begin to believe that He is who He says He is, and that we are who He says we are. Simply put: Who is God? and Who am I?

During my second class "Who Am I?," I had the students write on a mirror some of the things that are said to or about them that are not in line with what God says.

Then, after talking about who God says we are and looking through scripture, they erased what they wrote before, and wrote something that was true...all while looking at themselves in the mirror.

Throughout the day, there was a lot of free time to spend outside playing games with the kids, catch up with Team Uganda, and, oh yes, SWEAT. Did I mention it was 432 degrees when we were there? And if it wasn't, it sure felt like it.

The Beach

Me, Jamie Ferg, and Carlie Ferg
These girls are so fun! And what a blessing to be able to serve Jesus in Uganda with them? Pray for them as they finish this school year, their last in the states before heading to Uganda.

The Ferg Family - I love them. That is all.

The Bridge over Lake Agape
Team Uganda
I cannot tell you how blessed I was to be with them for a whole week and a half.

Each night, Kelly Hallahan (the evangelist of the week) challenged the students to Acts 1:8 living. What an amazing thing it was to see and hear how 5th-7th graders heard and responded to God's call to be Jesus with skin on wherever they are. Will you help me pray for the students at this camp (and all summer camps) who are heading back to school? May they continue to have a passion and zeal to show their peers the life they have in Christ.

Still to come: Members of Team Uganda narrowly escape New Jersey Woodlands. Brought to you by Garmin. Also, New Jersey Sewer vs. Mitsubishi Galant. Sewer-1, Galant-0.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

East Coast (Part 1)

You may have noticed I have not posted anything in quite some time. The last two weeks have found my feet in 5 states, and my car with more than 2,000 new miles and 1 new tire. Yes. One new tire. Oh, how I love to visit tire stores in foreign states. (I promise a full story, complete with pictures later.)

But in the interest of being chronological. Since you care.

I started my journey east and stopped first in Dayton, Ohio to visit with a college friend and her husband. We had some amazing pizza, watched preseason football, and partook in another American summer past-time: garage sale-ing. (How do you spell that, anyway?) I even tried buckwheat pancakes for the first time! Not bad...but I prefer to get my fiber in other ways, thank-you-very-much.

After leaving Dayton, I headed to Myerstown, Pennsylvania. I have made this drive many times on the way to Philadelphia, but never alone. It was quite strange to pass landmarks along the way and not have anyone in the car to play "Hey, remember the time..." with.

Upon arrival in Myerstown, I was greeted by the oldest child of some friends I've known for years. The last time I saw her in person, she was not even walking. And now, she's almost as tall as me, and carried my stuff into the house for me. Really???


Jonathan, Christian, and Jazmine Royer

Christian lost his first tooth while I was there!! We even got to sing a song I learned while teaching Kindergarten. Never thought I'd pull that out of the archives.

Rodney and Mosel Royer
I've known them since 1999. And their children officially made me feel old.

We had a great time catching up and laughing about old times. Mosel and I even watched Elf Saturday night. She had never seen it, and I just "happened to have it with me."


The next morning, we went to the Fireplace for church. This church is part of the international network that my home church is a part of, so in a lot of ways, I felt right at home in this congregation. I was given the opportunity to share a little about where God is leading me as I prepare for Uganda, and was so blessed by the missions heart that is already present in that church. Thank you Fireplace! I pray Jesus continues to bless you richly! After church, I had lunch with Mosel and headed to New Jersey...home of my first church camp experience. Oh yes. More on that later. The end.