Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

In words an eight year old can understand

I had a fun-filled afternoon with my eight year old granddaughter L and her younger step-sister E. It was fun to experience life through the eyes and interests of children: snacks, puzzles, reading (classic Beatrix Potter), coloring, swimming (lots of jumping, splashing, and calls to “look at me, Nonna”), a movie, and more snacks.

We talked about fancy words like impertinent and fortnight as we read The Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin.

We looked at paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. E’s picture for her mom looked like Van Gogh’s Starry Night, which prompted our art search. L then wanted me to show E pictures that Picasso drew of a woman looking straight at you and sideways at the same time. She proceeded to draw one for me, a la Picasso, and it was so good I had her sign it!

Movie selection: The Prince of Egypt, and they were glued to the screen!

We’re kind of an eclectic bunch around here.

Even more fun, though, was my granddaughter choosing to put together the puzzle of Africa, asking me to pull up a map on my iPad so that she could get the countries in the right place. She does this really quickly these days, by the way. Especially compared to the first time three years ago when she dumped all the pieces on the floor and it took forever to figure out where all the different countries are!

Then, finding ways to explain the length of the flights I will take to get to Uganda: “the first one is just two or three hours; the second one is eight hours, one hour longer than you spend at school; the next one is another eight hours; and then the last one is one hour.” That was followed by pulling out the iPad once again and showing her a map of the world and the places each flight would take me. What did we used to do without the internet?

In the midst of it, I had a chance to do some conflict resolution, and talk with them about honoring and respecting one another. As an aside, I let them know that this is some of what I’ll be talking about with people in Uganda, too. L knows that I work with Lead Like Jesus, and she is quick to talk with me about Jesus. I love that!

Finally, we decided we want to get together and make paper bead necklaces like the ones I bring home from Uganda. That has to wait for another day, but hopefully very soon!

In the midst of our fun activities, I learned of another donation toward my trip, filling my heart with thankfulness for those who support me. I am beginning to believe that once I get to Uganda, I’ll have money enough for a place to stay and meals! (Latest update: $2660/$3900 raised, waiting on $1240 to come in. Still plenty of time, my flight doesn’t leave for another two weeks.)

In reality, I know and trust that since God is the one who has invited me to come to Uganda, He is making the way and will provide the resources we need.

Faith like a child, that’s what we’re called to, right?




Living in the Overflow


Years ago, I made this clay vessel at a retreat for pastors. That day featured meditation, journaling, Scripture reading, prayer, and recommitment to God’s shaping, filling, and using us for His purposes.

Today, after an extended Uganda phone call, I am humbled to realize how God is fulfilling His call in and through my life. Time after time as we meet and talk together, we realize how God is causing us to be more and more dependent on Him, placing longings and needs in our hearts, then fulfilling them as we gather together to talk, pray, and plan. It isn’t just that He is shaping us to minister to those we will work with in Uganda. It is how He is using us to minister to one another as we prepare to go.

This is the dynamic He intends for all of life, for us to turn to Him, to invite Him to fill us with His Spirit, then to allow His love and Spirit to overflow through us into the lives of those around us. His supply of living water is never ending. Are we thirsty enough to drink deeply from Him, to allow Him to satisfy our thirst? As we do so, His Spirit will flow into and through us into the lives of others.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living waterwill flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.–John 7:37-39 NIV


I stand amazed!

Do you ever simply wonder and worship?

This has been an incredibly challenging week for me, yet in the midst of it, I have sensed God’s presence, His power sustaining me, and His love cushioning me.

Most of you know that I am working on my Master’s Degree, and that I am at seminary for an intensive Old Testament seminar this week. I am loving it, and it is killing me! I am not as young as I once was (shhh, don’t tell anybody [looks around quickly to make sure no one is noticing]}. But God is seeing me through, opening my eyes to new spiritual perspectives, showing me ministry opportunities, reminding me to lead like Jesus, and encouraging my heart and weary body.

Tonight, our group has completed our paper for tomorrow’s presentation, and all we will need to do is print it in the morning. This may not sound like a lot, but believe me it is! Each day, we have tackled a new research project, gathering and indexing sources, creating an annotated bibliography and writing summaries. Each time, God has spoken to me and strengthened me in the midst of my research! I am so blessed to be able to study Scripture at this level.

God is amazing! And I stand amazed at His grace in my life!


Tonight is my first chance to sleep since arriving in New Orleans on Sunday, so my post will be short and sweet. God is teaching me how to keep going under unrelenting pressure, showing me that He is able to carry me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, even when I am far over my limit. No one likes being in these situation, but sometimes life hands them to us, and I have been surrounded again today by incredible friends and family members who literally prayed me through some really hard hours of physical exhaustion and academic pressure for my workshop here.

I am so grateful for you (you know who you are!) and I am so grateful for a Lord who know what it is like to be pushed beyond human limits, what it feels like to call out to the Father, and to give everything to keep going and accomplish what God has placed before us. I never want anyone to have to go through times like that, but let me say from my recent experience, when your strength is gone, it’s really good to be able to call out to Jesus and to find yourself surrounded by friends and people who love you.

May you be surrounded by His love!

Craig’s post and Tifah’s song contain powerful messages that speak to my heart in light of yesterday’s Colorado tragedy. They also speak to my joy about returning to Uganda, this time with an awareness of the challenges we will face. I commend Craig’s blog and Tifah’s song to you. Be blessed.

Clearing Customs

There is a phrase in Mandarin Chinese, bei xi jiao ji (悲喜交集), meaning “mixed feelings of grief and joy.” Grief and joy aren’t commonly thought of as partners, but when faced with loss, cross-cultural workers need to understand that one doesn’t necessarily cancel the other one out.

Expressing Grief

Dr. Steve Sweatman, president and CEO of Mission Training International (MTI), says that the call to take the gospel of Christ to another culture “inevitably is a call to sacrifice, to losses, to things that you will have to leave behind or give up.” This sacrifice takes many forms, and MTI has identified five categories of loss experienced by Christian cross-cultural workers. They are

  • a stable home
  • identity
  • competence
  • support systems
  • a sense of safety

In an audio presentation at Member Care Radio (entitled “Good Grief“), Sweatman also discusses the differences between concrete and abstract losses felt by cross-cultural…

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And the answer is…

Come August 10, I am going to be seated on a plane going to Uganda.

As recently as yesterday, I told my boss that I was 98.5% sure that I would not be going to Uganda. I left the Lord that 1.5% opportunity to change things, but had become more at peace with the idea that I would be supporting the team through prayer here in the USA. I wasn’t unhappy about it. I wanted to be wherever God wanted me to be. Quite frankly, I was looking forward to a slightly more relaxed schedule for finishing writing assignments for school and writing projects for Lead Like Jesus.

Then, this morning, as I was praying for a friend who is in Africa on a mission trip right now, and also about my possible trip and our team, Matthew 9:35-38 came to mind:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

I thought about the people of Africa crying out for the Lord’s intervention, about all of the Christian ministry going on in the various countries throughout the continent, and then sent an email to our team with the insights that had come to mind and the prayers that I was praying.

In checking my inbox, I found an email from friends who wanted to donate some money toward my trip. And then came an email asking me to call another friend, who told me that she and her husband wanted to support my participation, also. And all of a sudden, as only God could do it, the finances were in place. That left only a conversation with God, my husband Dave (who volunteered to donate the small amount remaining), at which point I realized that God had indeed made the way clear, followed by other close supporters and friends, including my daughters. Now it was time to contact my friends and team leaders and tell them the good news. And then to tell all of you, whoever you are.

So…gulp…I really am going back to Uganda. God has done exactly what I asked Him to do. He placed me on people’s hearts and had them contact me to ask about my trip. He brought me to the point of total surrender to whatever He wanted, and then He made His answer clear through Scripture, His Spirit, and His people. He has assured me that when August 10 comes, my place will be on a plane bound for Uganda, and another exhilarating experience of total dependence upon Him and seeing Him work in marvelous ways! What a God He is!

Disturb Us, Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storm will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push us in the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ.

Originally penned by Francis Drake, yet timelessly stirring.

My heart is disturbed and thoughts continue to stir about Uganda. How God will work this all out, He alone knows. I am keeping my heart attuned to Him, my mind focused on Scripture, and working to be ready to fulfill my role behind the scenes or on the ground. He is busy advancing His plans for His world, and I want to be caught up in what He is doing.

Where do these words find you today?

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