Sunday, December 28, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
If the devil were to write his beatitudes, they would probably go something like this:
1. Blessed are those who are too tired or busy to spend an hour once a week with fellow Christians -- they are my best workers.
2. Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked -- I can use them.
3. Blessed are the touchy who stop going to church -- they are my missionaries.
4. Blessed are the trouble makers -- they shall be called my children.
5. Blessed are the complainers -- I'm all ears to them.
6. Blessed are those who are bored with the minister's mannerisms and mistakes, for they get nothing out of his sermons.
7. Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his own church - for he is a part of the problem instead of the solution.
8. Blessed are those who gossip, in the name of "being concerned" -- for they shall cause strife and divisions that please me.
9. Blessed are those who are easily offended -- for they will soon get angry and quit.
10. Blessed are those who do not give their offering to carry on God's work -- for they are my helpers.
11. Blessed is he who professes to love God but hates his brother and sister -- for he shall be with me forever!
12. Blessed are you who, when you read this think it is about other people and not yourself -- I've got you, too!
Monday, July 14, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
My first door of opportunity was to co-lead a missions trip to Chilca, Peru with Gateway Church partnering with ChildReach Ministries. (if you want to read more about our trip in the entirety you can visit www.childreachminstries.org and go to the "Trip Updates" for June 7-14 Gateway Church/Livingstones Church.) What a door of opportunity this was for me. It was met with many fears and doubts that I could do it...but I couldn't do it, He did it through me! My joy came in seeing my teammates "get it"! Get what? A vision for the world, a love for people, and a deeper understanding of Who God is and how much He loves them! We even had one guy come to know Christ as His Savior on the trip!!!! WWOOOHOOOO!!! Angels rejoicing! It was such an incredible experience.
The last day of the trip, 2 of the ChildReach leaders approached me and were such a blessing to me. They both pointed out how they saw that Leading in Missions is a gift that God has given to me. Tears were welling up in my eyes as they were talking to me. Confirming over and over that I was in the right place and all that has been building in my life for the last many many years has been a work of Almighty God. I know that I have been called to live a life that is dedicated to helping others come to know Christ and to also lead people in gaining a bigger picture view of what this life is all about. I know that I have been called to mission work and that includes making Christ known wherever I am at whether it is Blue Springs, MO or the farthest corner of the earth where they have yet to hear the name of Jesus. I am called to GO! So to have these 2 men approach me and tell me that they had been watching my life all week and for them to recognize God's gifts in my life was HUGE! They began to offer several options to me to help me get involved deeper in missions and particularly with ChildReach. I have not made any decisions but am prayerfully seeking out what God has for me and am very excited about the opportunity that awaits!
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Alot of times I do what I did today...I ask, "Do you trust me?"...one client tonight was getting confused with all the questions I was asking her and finally just said..."you do what you think is best, I trust you completely." In the moment that she said that I was hit with a very powerful lesson...I love it when God does that! I was reminded of the battles I have been facing lately, questions of the direction of my life and where God is taking me....wondering what is ahead in my future...does He really know what I desire?...and in that moment, God says to me..."Amy, do you trust Me?"....uuhhh...yyeesss???...was my response at first. It hit me so hard. Just as I look at my client's hair, look at where she wants her hair to be...and then think the process through in my head of how to get there...step by step (I know the steps that will have to be taken even though I can't explain them to her, she wouldn't understand)...and then I ask her..."do you trust me?"
....same with my walk with Christ. God says clearly to me..."Amy, I understand your desires, I understand your questions, I know where your heart desires to be and I know how to get you there. It takes a step by step process and only I know each step you must take to bring you there. I do have your best interest at heart and although you can't understand My thinking and My ways...I do have what is best for you...but it comes down to one thing....Do you trust ME?"
Why is it so hard for me to trust the One Who sees from beginning to end of my life . He has the Big Picture view.
Makes me think of my first trip to Victoria Falls in Livingston, Zambia. I remember walking up to the portion of the falls that was behind our hotel and wow, I had never seen anything like it before. Amazing, powerful beauty. The Falls were so loud so striking, HUGE! The next day however, we took a helicopter ride over the Falls. ok, so what I had seen the previous day was huge, but to rise above the Falls and see the Whole picture...the entire Falls. What I had seen the first day was "1/2 inch of a whole foot" of the Entire Falls. Talk about getting a greater perspective on the bigger picture! What I had seen the first day of the Falls was Huge to me, but the Whole Falls was completely overwhelming. The lesson: I can only see what is right in front of my face when it comes to the big picture of my life. God sees the Beginning to End. (The Whole of Victoria Falls) In order to have understanding, I must rise above the view in front of me (get in the helicopter) and get His perspective on my life.
I must trust completely that He knows what the finished product will look like and although He can't explain the step by step details, He can be trusted!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Anxiety is defined as "distress or uneasiness of mind caused by apprehension of danger or misfortune..."
My mind is definitely uneasy tonight and I am looking to the Truth to calm my fears and still my heart...the verse that comes first to my mind is:
Philippians 4:6 "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."
Turn my worries into prayers...and supplications....(a humble and earnest petition...)...with thanksgiving. I am learning that this is one way to change my frame of mind. When I come humbly before God and lay these requests at His feet...I exchange the worries for His peace...His Joy!
Philippians 4:7-9 says..."And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you."
I cling to the words.."which passeth all understanding..." I don't understand many things right now and have a ton of questions...but those questions fade when I go back and consider the person of God. When I "think on these things...". What is true? God is Faithful, He cannot fail, His Word is true, He can be trusted, He will lead me, He has a future planned for my life, He is Love, He is Peace, He is Joy, He is a refuge and strength...the list goes on and on. "Shall keep your hearts and minds..." I think this was written specifically for girls. I need His Peace to keep my heart and my mind. I like how it says "shall keep..." It's a promise!....through Christ Jesus. He is my anchor to hold onto when I don't understand. He keeps my heart and mind at rest. I need to keep my eyes fixed on Him and Him alone. It's when I look around at everything else that I start to be anxious and to fear. My heart longs for peace.
Peace: calm repose, eternal rest, free of strife or discord, harmony in personal relationships especially with God.
That is what my heart desires tonight...peace from the battle that rages inside of me...I repeat the words "...do and the God of peace shall be with you." One action is required on my part..."do". Do what? the things that i have learned, heard and received. Simple.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
So, today has been a pretty crappy day...pardon my words...and it didn't start off that way, life happens.
So, as I have been "bummin" all afternoon, the Holy Spirit inside me says..."Why don't you leave the "stuff" and come spend some time with me?"...brillant idea!
As I sat down with my Bible, journal and music...I was reminded of what my dear friend had said to me earlier..."you gotta praise Him...no matter the circumstances, you gotta praise Him in the bad times too"...(how appropriate the song that is playing on my Ipod right now..."Oh Praise Him..." funny how God speaks!
So, I took my pen out and decided to praise God in the midst of my circumstances today...God changed my whole heart and perspective just by writing down 10 reasons to Praise Him inspite of my circumstances today...He reminded me of Who He is...He is the Almighty God, His power is limitless, He knows all things and is Everywhere...He is the Truth and has the ability to reveal it if He so chooses...He is amazing, He doesn't need me, He wants me...He can do ALL things, He wants to help me out, He desires to show me His power...He deserves all the praise, Every breath I take should be in offering up praise to Him!
I say all this to say, I propose a challenge to you...for one week take 5 minutes every day to write out 10 reasons you have to praise Him no matter the circumstance you are in in that moment and make sure they are different every day. You will find that your perspective on your circumstance will change and your faith will in crease in the God Who is the GREAT I AM!
I leave you with the words of this song...
"Turn your ear to Heaven and hear the noise inside
The sound of angels awe
The sound of angels song and
All this for a King
We can join and sing
All to Christ our King
How constant how divine
This song of ours will rise
Oh how constant how Divine
This love of ours will rise, will rise
Oh Praise Him
Oh Praise Him
He is Holy
He is Holy
Turn your gaze to heaven and raise
A joyous noise
The sound of salvation come
The sound of rescued ones
And all this for a King
Angels join to sing
All for Christ our King
Oh praise Him
Oh praise Him
He is Holy
He is Holy"
Will you join with me to praise Him?
As one let us sing...Oh Praise Him!
Monday, March 3, 2008
This was the verse that God gave to me before I left for Harmons, Jamaica...and this is the verse that He accomplished that whole week. This trip was amazing and I don't think that I can put into words all God did and showed to me, but I am gonna try!
Oct. of 2006, my friend Laci and my friend Becky from work went to Harmons, Jamaica with their church Gateway Church. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Laci when she returned home and the stories she shared reminded me so much of my own experiences in Zambia, Africa. She told me then that I needed to go with them the next time they went...how cool would that be, I thought at the time...14 months later, God made it a reality!
Laci & I
On Jan. 20, 25 of us left MCI for Harmons, Jamaica. I had many fears but new that God was bigger than them all...He conquered every one of them.
Upon arrival of Montego Bay and the drive to WonbyOne, all I could think about was how this place reminded me so much of Africa. The poverty, the people, the roads, the beauty. I was trying to take it all in.
When we arrived at the Harmony House, we were shown our rooms, 2 large rooms (one for the guys and one for the girls) complete with bathrooms and bunkbeds and then we had our first meal...Hot Dogs and pumpkin soup! mmmyummmy!
We unpacked the 50 suitcases we had brought full of supplies to fill the "Store" that later in the week the Jamaicans would shop at. Our night was completed when Laci got "floured", a tradition in Jamaica that the birthday (girl/guy) gets to become a "Whitee", basically, she got a cup full of flour dumped on her head all while we were singing "Happy Birthday" to her!
Monday morning...the fun begins!
Every morning, we ate breakfast on our own and had an opportunity for quiet time with God...the beauty was unbelievable where we were at! I will cherish those quiet mornings with the Lord! I was in a place where I could be still to hear His voice and see Him in everything! When you see God, you are never the same!
We had our first meeting with Lloyd Jackson, a missionary to Jamaica. He gave us a history of the place where we were at and then we were off for our tour of Harmons. We walked through neighborhoods and were able to meet several people on the way. The Jamaicans are very friendly people. We were shown 2 plants, one called "courage" the other called "leaf of life". Intresting..huh? Courage is like a poison ivy plant, only worse the burning sensation begins immediately, but wherever courage is, there is leaf of life and you are to break up leaf of life and rub it on the rash and it immediatly soothes it...very cool picture! We walked through many villages and met many of the Jamaicans. We were continually asked for "sweeties"...candy. Note to self: don't wear a backpack anywhere...they automatically assume you have some sweeties or something for them! The more I was asked for "things" the more frustrated I found myself becoming...and then God spoke to me...that is exactly how I am to Him...continually asking for things and not just being satisfied with Him alone...I just wanted the Jamaicans to be happy that we were there with them...and that is how God must feel towards me, He just wants me to be satisfied that I have Him and to not continually ask Him for things...He is enough!
After lunch we were off for our first afternoon of "service opportunities". There were several opportunities to keep us all busy all week long. I was on the Marl haul crew...hauling bags of rock up a hill...basically transferring piles of rock so that they would be closer to where they were needed for the foundation for a house to be laid. In our American minds, we sit there and think, you know it would be so much easier to get a bobcat over here and we could transfer the rock so much easier and quicker, but then we all would of missed out on the lessons we learned. Lessons of endurance, team work, unity, patience, not to mention the relationships that were formed in the process!
Marl Haul Crew
After our work afternoon...yeah!!! Shower time!!! It had been 2 days...and I didn't care that I only got 2 minutes in the shower...I was gonna make it work...only the shower didn't work...no water! lol...God is good! So, I bathed in the sink...figured the hair washing would have to wait! :)
After dinner they have what they call "Courtyard" time...a time every night where the Jamaicans come to the courtyard and we hang out with them...tonight was "Dance night"...and we danced the night away! At one point I had a girl on my shoulders and one in my arms...it was so much fun...these people are so full of joy and happiness...they blessed my heart so much! At the end of the night, lil Danika wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me on the cheek...in that moment, I felt the love of God through her arms and saw Him in her smile and in her eyes...
Lil Miss, Alayna and I
Heading out to the Marl Haul again...we finished the pile we had started on Monday and it was rewarding to see the fruit of our labor...on to the next pile, we lined up and began the process. This time the hill was larger and farther....during the process of passing the bags up the line, I found myself asking God...what is it you want to show me in this process? When we got to the finished pile, it hit me, this process was just like my walk with God, the more I add to my time with Him daily, the more my walk with Him will grow. You can't always see the growth process in the midst of it, but the end result is always visible and clearly seen. It takes work and endurance and perserverance, but when you push through it, you can see the end result and it is always worth it. Some times, you have to take time to rest, refresh yourself and then get back in the line to continue the process...just like my walk with Him, sometimes rest and refreshment is needed to continue on but when you don't give up you make it to the end!
Tonight courtyard was men's night so us ladies got together to plan ladies night which would be on Thurs. Emily, a missionary that lives there, came in to visit with us. She is in her mid 20's and her and her husband Mark have given Won by One a 2 year commitment. I am so glad that she came in that night, we were able to get to know her better and that evening was bonding for all of us ladies. It was so much fun to just share Christ with each other.
Today, my service opportunity was to help with the coffee bag sewing...I cut the burlap coffee bags that were to be sewn. Won by One has provided a market for the local farmers to sell their coffee on, they roast the coffee beans there on the mission. I had the opportunity to see the whole process, what the beans look like before and how they roast them and bag them...interesting process. I enjoyed my time alone that morning, I listened to my Ipod while I was cutting away and was just processing everything God had been showing me. Emily came in partway through and sat down and we talked away, sharing our stories and getting to know each other...I found a kindred spirit in her...I enjoyed our time of talking and it left me wanting more...she was such an encouragement to me.
This afternoon was our opportunity to go to the Infirmary, a place I will never forget. I don't quite know how to put it into words. It is like a nursing home but worse than you would ever see here in America. Yet, the people were so full of joy. I felt and saw the presence of God there. He was all over the place and I am sure if He was physically here on earth, this place is where you would find Him. We were instructed to go in, not be afraid and just love on these people...I loved it. I loved being able to go into the rooms and offer a hug, a hand to hold, a smile, a song, words from Scripture, yet what I received was so much more than what I had to give. I received uninhibited love, contagious joy, smiles like you've never seen...I saw Jesus. There is one man that I spent some time with...his joy was so contagious, he smiled like I had never heard before. He wanted me to read scripture to him over and over and his face would light up...wanting more. He couldn't speak, but his actions and his smile and laughter are forever a part of me. I want to spread the same kind of joy that he spread to my heart that day! He impacted me greatly and I will forever remember him.
What "Contagious Joy" looks like!
When we left the Infirmary, I was silent, I had no words to speak of what I just experienced. I had never been to anything like that before. I will never look at the elderly or handicap in the same light. The Scripture echoed in my head....if you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto Me...what makes me think I am any better than them? I'm not. Who am I to choose who receives love or a smile from me....I am no one...Why do I withhold the love of Christ...I am here to give it away freely...what kind of a job of am I doing? Does Jesus smile on me?
Tonight's courtyard was "Movie Night" and we all watched Cuthroat Island...I couldn't quite get into the movie...but it was still a good night to get to know the Jamaicans better. We popped a bunch of popcorn that we had brought down with us...they ate it up, so did we! My lil friend found me again...I let her braid and fix my hair, very lovely job she did! She fell asleep in my arms and I was loving every minute of it! God filled a void in my heart, the one that has not been filled yet by having children of my own. I learned that night that God will fill all the voids I have in my heart. The filling might not come in the package that I think it should, but He will fill it, because He fills it with Himself. She filled the "no children" void that I have and I felt God's love in my arms that night. A memory I will forever cherish!
Customer(s) at the Store
Thursday...today, my service opportunity was to help out in the store. We had brought down 50 suitcases filled with supplies for the Jamaicans to shop from. Their names get put on a waiting list and they have to wait for their turn to come up to be able to come and shop. WonbyOne has put alot of thought and organization into this project. I had the opportunity to really connect with the men and women that came to shop. I loved every minute of it! When we took a break, and after the doors had been closed, a woman came who lived about an hour by car away from there. She was crying, her home had burned down 2 days prior and they lost everything. We filled a trash bag and suitcase full for her and her 2 daughters. She was so grateful, thanking us over and over. We were able to pray with her and you could see that she had peace in her eyes that it was gonna be ok. I had to ask myself...would i respond in the same way she did..."Thank You so much, now, go help someone else..." Wow! I loved seeing God use the body of Christ to help her out.
After lunch, it was back to the Marl Haul, again! This one wasn't uphill though, which was nice. I really enjoyed being able to talk with Mike and Susan during this time. He was the leader of our trip, they are a very precious couple. It was another good afternoon of team building and hard work!
Tonight for dinner, we had "Meals on Heels"...where we were able to go eat dinner in the home of a Jamaican. I was with Laci, Vince, Kelly and Veronica and we went to Arlene's house. When we got there, the connection was made that she was Althea's sister, which was the house where Laci had eaten before. The meal was delicious! Fried Chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, green beans...very good! Her house was a "WonbyOne" home, one room. I was amazed at how much she had in her home and she was content with her one room home...very humbling. Laci and I went over to Althea's home, next door, after we ate. She wanted her picture taken and we then had a full fledge photoshoot...it was fun!
Althea & Arlene
Courtyard tonight was Ladies night. I found myself on the floor giving pedicures. I loved every minute of it! The little girls were hanging on my back, I can say now that I have given a pedicure with a youngun on my back...there is something about how rewarding it is to make someone else feel better...I loved it!
Me -n- Alayna
After courtyard, Laci and I laid on the back deck just looking up at the stars...something about doing that makes you see how small you truly are compared to our Great God! As we relived the stories of the day, we shared in laughter and I laughed harder than I had laughed in a real long time...it does the soul very good...laughter is like medicine! I will cherish this memory too!
Friday... Today, my service opportunity was to go to the house. It was pretty much finished and what needed to be finished the Jamaicans pretty much took care of. Towards the end, one of the Jamaicans looked at me, looked at the window, looked at the drill and then said....put the window together! Ok...here I go...I was glad I knew how to use the drill! A while later, after much sweat, dropping the itty bitty screws over and over and a few aaaaarrrggg's....Lauren and I completed the task...YEAH...I had a part in the house! After it was complete, the workers took us on a hike to show us the Bauxite Pit. A place where the land is depleted of alumina (which is in aluminum foil). The beauty was incredible, yet knowing that this process is not good for the Jamaicans, the dust effects their drinking water...was kinda sobering. Some of the Jamaicans and the girls jumped in the water...it was a relaxing end to a great morning!
In the afternoon, we had free time. I found Emily and we spent the afternoon sitting on her roof just talking. I am so thankful that I was able to meet her and form a friendship with her. God is amazing how He allows paths to cross so that the body of Christ can minister to one another! He is amazing! It was an afternoon of refreshment not to mention a great sunburn! Gotta love the white skin!
Me & Emily
After free time, we all walked to the house to dedicate it to the lady who would live there...it was cool to see a project completed!
House Completed and Dedicated!
Friday night was another awesome night, again. God gave me the opportunity to spend some more time with Emily and we were able to just spend time in prayer before His throne, giving our burdens up to Him! I will forever remember those talks on the rooftop!
When we were done, we went back into the meeting room which had been transformed into a "remembrance room" for lack of a better word. There were stations set up all over the room indoor and outdoor on the deck. Stations that had memorabilia and verses to remind us of what we had learned that week. To solidify the experiences and etch them in our hearts. We were able to go from station to station and solidify the memories and the lessons learned. A very powerful moving time. Everyone was quiet and very meditative. There was a station where you could write yourself a letter of the person you were coming on the trip and the person you were in that moment...and although I didn't have the chance right then to write a letter, I did on the flight home Sunday. After a while, we all were sitting in a circle and Joey read the scripture of when Christ washed the disciples feet...he then gave us the opportunity to wash one anothers feet which again was a very moving and powerful experience. It was humbling and uniting. I will never forget seeing the 4 fathers of the trip go and wash their child's feet. Wow! It was such an awesome way to end this trip. Those are memories that I will forever cherish!
Well, Loyd had us all excited that we were gonna be able to sleep in....WRONG! We were frightfully awakened at 6:00 in the morning to excruciatingly loud war cry/chanting a.k.a. sounds that made you think there was an attack of some sort coming through the gates followed by the song "Hey Mickey you're so fine..." yah, nice sleeping in...we then packed up and headed to Ocho Rios!
Laci, Me & Becky
Once arriving at the Silver Seas Motel...a half star motel with a 5 star view! We unloaded, found our rooms and went our separate ways. I went with a group into town to do a bit of shopping and to get lunch then we went back to get in the ocean. The ocean was so beautiful and I enjoyed the rest of the day just doing nothing but relaxing and taking in all God had taught me in the week. I was thankful for this day to soak it all in in such a beautiful place! That night we had some yummy jerk chicken pizza...wish I could find it here! We had our last team meeting down on the pier by the water. I remember Joey asking us...what are you gonna tell people about your trip? This is my answer....
God used Jamaica in my life to shake things up a bit. Before Jamaica, I was too comfortable and apathetic. "Doing Ministry" at the cost of my walk with Christ. God used my time in Jamaica to show me that He has an "out of the box" life waiting for me with my name on it...yet in order to experience it, I must change some things....like, fear of man vs. fearing God; my walk with Christ must come first every day...He is pursuing a love relationship with me; God has a plan for my life including missions right now...I don't have to wait!
Won by One has done an amazing job of providing a mission trip experience where I could be challenged in every area of my life in one week. I made friendships that are very precious to me. Won by One has a mission motto..."Changing lives by changing lives" and that was definetely accomplished in my life. The people of Jamaica are very loving and joyous people and I am grateful that I was able to get to know them. I saw Jesus in and through their lives...I have been changed and I pray that the fire inside me spreads and ignites fires in the lives of others to pursue Him passionately.
Susan, Me and Laci
Thank You God...for an awesome trip!
My God did that!
You can check out Won by One's website....
or read the blog from the team