Saturday, June 30, 2012

Pastora Alicia

I remember last June when I was here having a conversation with Jim and TKay and Rob about the need for a local church to partner with here in this community. The need was something that we sat in a circle and prayed for, I gotta admit my faith was so small that day, I have been blessed to see with my own eyes a year later what God was already working on with the blessing of Pastora Alicia. Her church meets in Lomas de Marchan, very near to the home. She is pastoring the children and staff here at Hannah's also. Not to mention the countless people in the communities surrounding and her ministry extends to pastors in churches nearby. I have watched her over the last couple of weeks and have had the privilege to sit down with her and TKay on multiple occasions as we meet and seek God for the areas of community ministry here. I'm humbled everytime I'm around her, I desire to be close to her (wishing so bad I could understand everything she says) and I love seeing the Spirit of God surround her. He is what makes her move. She has a heart so big that beats in tune with the heart of God. Her compassion and passion for people is contagious! Her joy cannot be contained. Yesterday we saw once again her "walk of faith" (as Dave shared last night). Yesterday was a holiday here so the schools were out and we'd been planning an all day of ministry in a nearby town called Mala. Pastor Alicia's heart was to go there and pull along side 2 pastor friends one whose church was established but needing help with a children's Sunday school, the other needing greater help as it's a new work in a community where many do not even know the church exists. (with our North American perspective we would never probably venture out to do something like this without making sure all our ducks were in a row first, right?-not with Pastora Alicia-she showed us yesterday what faith with shoes on looks like.) We faced many obstacles trying to get there...arriving 2 hours later than planned only to find that the first pastor wasn't there. But that didn't stop this precious Pastora...NOPE! she took off on foot and by golly she hunted that pastor down 30 minutes later bringing him back in a moto! I love the importance of making sure hat there is a local pastor in each location we minister in so that when we leave, the people of that community have a face and church to connect back to! There continued to be more obstacles but we saw God prevail and we had an incredible mid-morning of service and ministry...I enjoyed seeing the church youth leaders from Pastora's church and our group integrate and minister as one body. The plan waste eat lunch together, have a time of prayer and intercession for this community and then move on tothe next location. We had the prayer time and lunch and were on our way to the next location for the next campaign and Pastora's face said it all when we pulled up and there was no one at the church...looking back I see her devastation was because he heart (of a pastor) was to help this church, to breathe some life into it, and she was disappointed that it wasn't going to happen (at least not this will happen in Gods timing). From my shallow perspective it could have been seen as a "fail" because there was lack of communication prior to make sure all the details were lined up...but I believe the greatest lesson God had for us was to see Pastora's heart and that she truly ministers by walking in faith. She is led by God and she doesnt worry about what the outcome will be...she leaves that up to God. She is pastoring me while here. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be under her leadership! I am looking forward to more opportunities next week to serve with her and her church group(another wonderful group of youth leaders whose hearts are precious!) never did I see coming the blessing of meeting this woman of God and getting the opportunity to serve with her! (oh, did I mention she's a single mom too!-she amazes me! Christ in her amazes me!) Gloria a Dios!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

strong start-half way-strong finish, I have a confession to make...(besides the fact that it's been forever since I've blogged, I know, I'm sorry, I'm journalling and I promise to fill all the gaps from the last couple of weeks in at another time...promise!) but really my confession is: there are days (like today) when I haven't got a darn clue what it is I'm doing (in terms or leading) and you know what...(thanks to the encouragement of other leaders here) IT IS OK! I don't have to have it all figured out...I don't have to be the perfect leader because you know what...God's Sovereignty RULES over my feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. God is not looking for our perfection (only He is perfect) I believe He looks for us to be persistent in our pursuit of Him. WHEW...I feel better now that that's out! :) Today is the half-way point of our program with these girls...I find it no coincidence that God chose today to teach me this lesson...His timing: Perfecto! One of the greatest battles I have faced on this trip has been insecurities and feelings of inadequacy when it comes to leading...if you would've told me that would be what I'd face I would of laughed and said..."no way!" I'm confident as a leader...I know how to do this...I've battled insecurity before and won...I've got this! WRONG! Never fail to remember that the enemy is REAL! his roar is paralyzing...he has a mission to carry out...and he knows your (my) weaknesses. He can find he tiniest crack in your faith and turn it into a crack the size that an earthquake can alert! Be aware of his tactics...STAND on Scripture and never think you've arrived...that my friends is dangerous ground to walk on. Being the half-way point I wanted to blog about my team. I've learned and have grown SO much from living in this community. My life has been shaped in ways I never dreamed. I have been challenged, encouraged and inspired as I watch these girls wrestle out what God is doing in their hearts. We have been having individual evaluations all week and it's been great to hear where they're at and what God is showing them. I'm humbled to be here. Tonight we had a team time to share what's on their hearts...(they were super excited when they saw the nutella and animal crackers waiting for them in my "home" room-I got to host everyone-turns out I'm not the only nutella addict!) my heart was smiling so big the more everyone was's taken 4 weeks to get to this point...and I'm so excited to see what the next 4 hold. God is working! Pray with resounding theme tonight was that many of us feel like God has us in a place of decisions to make...learning to be still and listen doesn't come naturally but we are all being challenged to do so. Life here is full. It's busy-maybe even busier than at home! It's challenging and rewarding. It's down right exhausting at times but at the end of the day, my heart is joy is complete and I have complete assurance that I am exactly where I'm supposed to be. Not saying there aren't days when my feet get a little shaky walking on the water...but it's then that He gently reminds me (like today) that it was HE Who called me to get out of the boat and walk toward Him...and when I don't FIX my eyes into His face, it's then that all I see is the waves and wind. Just like I'm sure it was for Peter to walk on the water, this walk of faith has been exhilarating and full of adrenaline is constantly on go! BUT- it is a daily walk of faith. Can't just walk one step and be done...gotta keep putting one foot in front of the other to walk WITH Jesus. I don't know about you but I long to be out of the boat on the water where He is! I'm so grateful for this team and this opportunity to have my walk of faith challenged and shaped. This team ia a blessing and we are looking forward to a strong finish! To sum up where my heart is I'm gonna borrow the words of a book I'm reading, my heart is "forever ruined for any other lifestyle"...I don't have this all figured out and I'm ok with that...I'm ok with my weaknesses being exposed, I'm ok with saying...I really don't know, let's figure it out together...I'm ok with having weaknesses that force me to my knees daily and give me an offering of worship to bring to my Lord...I'm ok because in all of this, I've found a life (of faith) that has "forever ruined me from any other lifestyle."

Saturday, June 9, 2012


If I had to sum up the last week in 1 word it would be that: REALITY. I've been meditating a lot on that word, especially since Wednesday Night when Jim spoke to all of us about it. 1st he had us name a reality in our life. Then he walked us through Scripture starting in Genesis to Revelation about what realities are in the Bible. I'd already been thinking a lot about reality and after his lesson it almost has {in his words} made my head hurt trying to wrap my brain around realities. One reality I have come face to face with again on this trip is how wrong my thinking has been at times, towards culture, towards people, towards Scripture...this past week has been eye-opening in seeing realities of this place, of people, and of God in a whole new light. Let's face it, we all could say, things are not always what they seem to be...and you really don't know about anything till you have "walked a mile in someone else's shoes." Not that I've even come close to walking 1/10 of a mile in these precious people's shoes...but I do believe God has given me a glimpse of the reality of life here. Jim and Tkay are such a precious couple...I am learning DAILY from their wisdom. They are both feet, both hands, ALL IN in what God has called them to do here. They have been so gracious to invite us into their home and make us feel like it's ours. They are imparting truth and wisdom into my life and sometimes I don't even think they know they're doing it. They have taken time to educate themselves and pass that knowledge of this place on to our team...again, eyes have been opened to the reality of life here in this place. I'm so grateful for them...and feel very blessed to serve with them. The staff at Hannah's has been very gracious to welcome us into their home too. The reality of them is that they truly care for the children. I see it in their faces as they pour out love to the kids and to each other. It's such a blessing to give and receive love from them. One of the staff members seriously had the most contagious laugh ever...makes me smile just thinking about it. Another staff member is shy but always has a smile and can always be seen listening to worship music as she works...she graciously gives and gives. I think I might be putting on some weight due to the reality that one of the staff members is an excellent cook! She made a dish this week that was beets/carrots and 1 other thing I can't remember at the moment served over rice and with MY FAV....MAYONESA! Oh man, I was in heaven with that reality...:) Another staff member may not realize it but she is helping me learn my spanish as I am trying to really listen to her as she talks...who knows, maybe I will be a little more educated in spanish when I get back! The reality of them all is that they are very precious people that love God and are pouring His love out in this place. Some highlights from my week have been our worship/discussion time every see walls come down {in my own heart and in others} and to literally feel God's presence in this place has been a beautiful thing to witness. We celebrated 2 of the kids and one of our girls birthdays this days are always fun! Homemade pizza!!! {that's always a highlight} earthquake...yep, you heard me right...we experienced that reality yesterday morning just 30 minutes before going into discussion time where Dave had already talked about using an earthquake as an illustration in the lesson...{as if God was 'bout I show you one to make it more real...} it was an eye-opening experience of the power of God. Yesterday our team marched in the parade {something that my church group has been able to do before} and a highlight for me was getting up early to braid the little girls hair before they left for school...this year I actually's always a great experience, one that leaves a body tired but a heart full...another highlight has been time spent one on one with my team...getting to know the girls and their stories and seeing how experiences in my life have built up for this time and place. A big highlight and reality that I feel like God has opened my eyes to see is that HE IS IN EVERYTHING. Daily I am humbled at how Scripture {HIS WORD} is connecting on so many levels...from Scripture that friends at home are emailing me that connects with our worship songs or our listening to a message from Joey that connects with hearing a song that speaks the same truth as something I would have read that day or earlier in the week...or how God gives me a Scripture in my quiet time that lines up with something that one of the girls needs to's been comforting and encouraging to hear His voice and see Him at work. I'm humbled by my God that is so intricately involved of every detail of my life...who am I that He would love me so tenderly. There is so much to think about when I contemplate reality and the greatest reality of all that I am drawn to is the reality of what Christ did for me and for you when He went and stood in the place of blame for us. I'm humbled and overwhelmed and feel very loved and full of hope by that reality. It's what makes me get out of bed every day and know that because of that reality, I can walk with purpose, I can live a full life {not free from trouble or pain...but full in knowing that no matter what, He's got a plan}...that reality is what makes me want to in turn be like Him and give my life that, I have found freedom, I've experienced joy, I drink in the simplicity that it offers and my heart bursts inside because I desire for ALL to know the same reality is true for them too...He cares, He loves, He's in control, He's got a plan, He's relentlessly pursuing each of us...He will make a way...He's full of grace...and one day...HE will come again, just as He said...and the reality {that my heart and mind cannot fathom} of eternal worship at His throne will finally be complete.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sweet Spot

Definition of sweet spot: the spot on a club, racket, bat, etc., where a ball is most effectively hit. The words "sweet spot" have been resounding in my heart and mind the last couple of days as I stand in this place. I'm humbled by my God who does have perfect plans for me, for all His children. I keep saying to myself, "is this for real?" and He keeps smiling down on me saying "yes, you're right where I want you to the sweet spot of My plans for you." It's an incredible place to be! I've found myself looking back over the last 6 years of my life and I see (now, though I didn't then) the thread of His master plan weaving in and out of my journey. From the call to missions, in Zambia Africa in seeing a girl (from the states) hosting teams at the airport on that trip and thinking...I'm going to do that some day...(insert my role here now) to being introduced to ChildReach Ministries in 2008 here in Peru and being asked to pray about of God would have a role for me here with them...(He was just setting the stage for right here right now) to Having a picture of me (from my 1st trip to Peru) be used as a marketing tool for what then was a vision called Reach Teams and is now today the MDP: mission discipleship program that I'm privileged to co-lead(who would've ever thought when those marketing post cards were made that where I am today would be the fruition of that being led to sell my house in 2010 to be free to serve more in missions...and it's because of that freedom that I can be here today...I'm telling you when I think about the journey...I get down on my knees and repent of my unbelief in the One Who is the perfect plan Maker for me. Has the road been sweet the entire time? No and I'm not so naive to think that it will ever be disciples of Christ, the path was never easy in Scripture...but even though there has been much pain, some "suffering" and a whole lotta "ummmmm, Lord, Your sure You know what You're doing?"...I wouldn't trade any of it to be in the sweet spot I'm in today. A place where I'm getting to go deeper into Gods Word more than I ever have in my entire life...a place where I getto take the lessons learned on my journey and invest them into he hearts of 7 precious girls who are desiring more of Christ...a place where I get to learn from 3 great leaders of God...a place where I'm getting the love dumped on by precious children...a place where life as I know it was forced to stop so I can hear His still small's a really sweet spot and I'm drinking it all in and my thirst is definitely satisfied by the livin water! As you read this, my greatest prayer is that you would know that God doesn't have favorites...I'm not special by any means...if you are His child, He has a sweet spot of life planned for you too...ASK HIM TODAY! and be ready to get your thirst satisfied too...there is nothing else in this world hat can satisfy like Jesus! Get your glass out and drink up! And don't compare your sweet spot to others' I've learned that everybody's sweet spot is individual to's finding what you were made for, what you were put on this earth to do and then embracing it with both arms...if you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, I'd love to help you find the Answer hat your heart is crying out for...HIS NAME IS JESUS, and He is my Sweet Spot! Amy (