Sunday, April 4, 2010

Food for thought....

The question has come to me for the first time this year....what was it like at the grave the moment of Christ's resurrection? He was the only One there. What did it look like? Sound like? Smell like? feel like?

Will we know this one day in Eternity? Or is it such and intimate moment that will forever be between the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit)?

Oh the mysteries of our Lord, and His great love for us.

Happy Easter, dear ones.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Several Thoughts....

In January I got an e-mail from Paulette Carson of Beautiful Gate Translations, wanting to meet and talk about potential opportunities for her ministry in Romania. I met with her and some other ladies and had a great time. A little while later, I went to Houston to meet with her and a gentleman who has a ministry to addicts, with whom she is hoping to merge ministries. Paulette and I also met with the Jones, my former college ministers and some of my favorite people on the face of the planet. I didn't, and still don't know why I went to Houston (besides the fact that I had never been there and I wanted to meet the addiction ministry man AND spend some time with Curtis and Amanda). The Lord knows, though. It was a good time.

While in Houston, I got to spend some quality time with the Jones. I don't think I have told y'all how much I enjoyed staying with you guys and how much fun I had. Curtis and Amanda graciously listened to my story of what I had experienced in Romania and made me feel so special with their verbal affirmation and the time that they gave to spend with me. They invested a lot of time in me while they were in Irving, and they are super wonderful people. (This means HUGE things to me since my main love language is quality time).

I was invited to stay with them on Saturday night and go to church with them on Sunday. As soon as we walked in the door from dinner on Saturday evening, it seems a switch went off and they snapped in to action...their 4 year old Jackson and 1 year old Annabeth were in bed within 10 minutes. I was amazed at their awesome parenting teamwork skills. They patiently listened to me recount much of my time in Romania, and I believe it was the first time I had gone through that story without shedding more than just a few tears. I am so humbled that they felt so badly on my behalf, and also that they shared with me a time that they had a similarly trying experience. That Sunday, I went to service with them and their Sunday School class. I had always wanted to visit the church from which many people at my church in Irving have come. I wasn't surprised when they tried to talk me in to moving to Houston, because it had happened before, and I would even do it if I had a job down there.

Needless to say, thank-you, Amanda and Curtis for opening your home to was a special time.

More recently, I have been continuing to grow and heal and be more active in the job search for a teaching position in the DFW area. I have loved reconnecting with my class at church and continuing to make new friends. Starbucks is alright, it's a job with benefits and that's about it. I have to remind myself that my co-workers are just as lost as the throngs of people I walked through at Piata Victoriei in Bucharest at rush hour, and that they need Jesus just as bad.

Lastly, I had the privilege of babysitting my sweet niece yesterday evening for a few hours while her dad and mom went on a date. As I was feeding her, a few bites in to her spaghetti, she looked at me, folded her hands, bowed her head, and said, "pray." So we prayed. This happened about five or six more times, and even though I thought it was cute and funny, we didn't run out of things to pray about. I took the opportunity to pray for her salvation one day, that God would draw her close to Himself as he is even today, and that she would grow up to be a warrior woman who loves Him more than anything. Her 18-month old mind doesn't understand these things yet, but even still, I was so amazed at how sweet she is...not just that, but I was more proud of her parents for her persistence to pray than I was of her....They certainly are teaching her the way she should go.....

Monday, February 22, 2010

I guess I owe y'all a post.....

Well it's been close to 6 months since I've touched this blog. These months have been filled with questions, tears, healing, forgiveness, answers, restoration, and the beginning of moving forward.

When I first returned, I wanted so badly just to get back in to the groove of the "normal" life I had before I ever crossed the ocean....I got re-acquainted with my family, friends, and church home. I had three weeks with my parents, who came up for a visit (they had planned on spending half their time here, and half their time in Romania visiting me). I got a job with the same company I worked for in college. I bought a car and totaled it 6 weeks later. I bought another car. I took a class to move towards getting my alternative certification to teach. I took my certification exams, and passed them. I was in my old roommate's wedding. I spent Christmas with my brother, sister-in-law and precious niece. I spent New Year's Eve with my class from church. I started making new friends. I made a goal to run a 1/2 marathon this upcoming December.

On the outside, it would seem that I've gotten it all back together, and that's what I want people to think. But the reality is that, even though my life is almost back to normal, I still have questions. I still struggle to forgive. Some days, I still feel broken.

I know that some of my questions will never be answered. I understand that every day I have to choose to forgive. I am confident that God is healing my heart and putting me back together.

God has been gracious to give me people who are willing to listen. I have been able to talk through and process several times, and with each time has come new understanding, and a step closer to whatever it is He's taking me towards.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm content. I will always live with questions and He will continue to heal me. But the other day I realized that I'm at a place where I haven't been in a long time. I'm at a place of contentment, knowing that I can't change all of my circumstances, but God is working through them, and it feels so good. He is restoring me. I will never be the same person I was before I went, but I'm ok with that.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I've been back for a month now

I'm a terrible blogger. You would think that as the job search has been slow, and I've got no excuse except that I've been catching up with my niece (who turned 1 today!!), that I would do a better job at updating. The truth is that I have wanted to post, but I just can't find the words to express the things that come to my mind and heart as this transition is taking place.

I still know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I made the right decision to come home. I have a car, a job and a place to live. I have friends and family around supporting me and lifting me up.

I'll write more about what's bee going on since I got home, but please continue to pray for me as I continue to get re-acclamated to life here in the States....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Some News

Dear Faithful Prayer Partners,
Again, forgive me for not being very good at keeping you updated on what has been going on with me. Much has happened since my last update, and big change is coming up.
This is not an easy letter to write this time around, but after much prayer and consideration, and after talking with many wise people, I have decided that it is best for me to return to the United States. I believe that this is the best thing for me right now, as I will have the opportunity to grow back in to the person I was before I left the States, only with more hard lessons learned and this experience behind me.
I am not giving up on my calling, nor am I copping out. I believe that this upcoming chapter in the States, though I don't know how long it will be, will help me grow in to a person who can be more effective in future ministry.
I thank you for your fervent prayers for me, as I know that they have brought me this far. Please continue to pray for me as I wrap up these last two and a half weeks here in Romania and get ready to go home. Pray that the Lord would provide the perfect job for me. Please continue to pray for my colleagues here in Romania and all of Europe, as this is a very difficult place to penetrate with the Gospel. Please also continue to support my colleagues who work for IMB and remain here doing the task that they have been called to.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Current Favorite

So my current favorite album to listen to is called "Waves of Grace" by Grace Community Church in Brentwood, TN. The worship team from this church came and led myself and almost 1000 other colleagues in worship last month in Greece and they definitely did an amazing job. They taught us my new favorite song (I think I had sung it or heard it before, but now I really remember it...) and so now I can't stop listening to the whole album. It is available on iTunes for $9.99 and it is well worth the 18 tracks of old songs, new songs, and Scripture.

My new favorite song is "Never Cease to Praise" by Jeff Bourque:

May we run this race
May we keep the faith
May our eyes be fixed on Jesus
That we'll not lose heart
In our struggle with sin
And through suffering know endurance.

May we arm ourselves
With the mind of Christ
To rejoice in trials and not be surprised
May our hearts be so consumed by you
That we never cease to praise!

May the words we share
Be your grace and peace
May our tongues speak your proclamations
That the many parts
Of the Body of Christ
Be affirmed in their right relation.

As we long and wait
For the groom to come
May we learn to love and spur eachother on
May our hearts be so consumed by you
That we never cease to praise!

When that day arrives
And the race is won
When our friefs give way to deliverance
We will fully know
As we're fully known
All our groans will end as new songs begin.

And a multitude
From every tribe and tongue
Wearing robes of white will stand before your throne
And our hearts will be so consumed by you
That we'll never cease to praise!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Very Belated Post on Greece...

Well, friends, the last time I posted I was getting ready to spend 2 weeks in Greece. The first week was big conference for those of us working throughout Eastern Europe for a time of fellowship, meetings, and worship. The week was amazing and it was so wonderful to worship in English and be able to know fully and understand what we were singing and know every word that was being spoken over us. The speaker was really good and brought us some good messages, as well. I loved every minute of the fellowship I shared with some old friends, new friends, colleagues, and even met some distant relatives!

After the week of meetings and fellowship, two friends and I took off and went to Crete for a few days. We spent a couple of days in Athens on either end of our trip, then took an overnight ferry to Crete. The overnight ferry was THE WAY TO GO. We were able to get to Crete and not have to pay for another night of a hotel room. We took the overnight ferry back, as well, though the second one was not nearly as nice as the first one.

On Crete, we played lots of cards, took a bus to a sandy beach because the one we were staying by was only rocks and pebbles, and took a three and a half hour boat tour of two small islands right by the north coast of Crete. We had so much fun relaxing and had a great vacation.

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few pictures....Ok more than a few...

Inside a tunnel at the ruins of ancient Eretria, Greece. This was close to our hotel for the conference.

God gave us some beautiful sunsets...this was only one of them!!

The Theater of Dionysos on the way up to the Acropolis.

What? I was there? For real?!?! Yes, me in front of the Greek Parthenon. It was incredible. My favorite part was when the wind blew, it sounded like music coming from the way it blew through the columns. The scaffolding may have had something to do with it, but I don't know. I like to think that the wind blew long ago through the marble columns and made "music" the same way I heard it in 2009. Amazing.

The other side without as much scaffolding in view. It still amazes me that this was built so long ago without machinery. Also, I never though I would walk on or see anything older than the Mayan ruins I used to visit as a child in Central America. This was like a dream....

The city of Athens behind me. The Acropolis is on a hill almost in the middle of the city and the city goes on forever it seems in all directions. Amazing....

The Olympic Stadium. The old one. There were two pigeons here having a race that we watched. Yes, Pigeon number 1 won, even though we don't know where they were supposed to be going. Haha, it was quite humorous.

The view of Mars Hill from the Acorpolis (Acts 17).

This is said to be the exact spot where Paul stood and saw the temples to other gods in Acts 17 where he was so moved to speak to the men of Athens, including Dionysos, who was saved and this contributed to the further spread of the Gospel throughout the known world at that point. It was neat to stand there and see what Paul would have seen, hear what he may have heard, and appreciate that he was so moved to speak God's word....

Funny story. If you have ever been to Guatemala you will recognize an item in this picture. The orange quilt made of guipils (Mayan blouses) sewn together and dipped in orange dye. I had an interesting conversation with the vendor about that particular item. I told him I knew where it came from and that it came from Guatemala not Greece. He asked me how I knew and I told him how I had grown up there and knew how they were made. He would not let down and tried to convince me that "they make these in Northern Greece, too!" I decided to let him think what he wanted but still wonder how many Guatemalan quilts people have bought thinking they are from Greece.....

The Port of Pirraus and the city of Athens at dusk from our boat headed to Crete!

The old Venetian port/harbour at Chania (pronounced Hania) town in Crete early in the morning. This was beautiful.

The lighthouse at the interance to the harbour.

Olives and Tzaziki sauce. doesn't get any better than this!! We ate all of those olives between the 3 of us, by the way!!

The little white church on a pier at the sandy beach we went to. We walked out there and it was beautiful.

The first glass of orange juice I ever remember enjoying. I guess back in the day sometime I experienced some bad orange juice, and have never liked it since then. But I figured that since I was in Crete, which is known for oranges (and olives), I would at least give some of the local faire a chance. Man was it good!! I loved it!! Now the problem is that no orange juice that I drink ever again will live up to this!

And finally, our poor map of Athens when we were finally finished with it.