Posts Tagged ‘praise’

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

Overflowing

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

 

35 Days and Counting: Prayer and Preparation

Tropical 5

 

Tropical 3Today is five weeks from my original departure date. Can you believe it?

I say ‘original’ departure date, because at this point it looks like I’ll need to leave a day earlier or later to adjust for airfare increases. (Airfare for Aug. 1 has increased by $600-700, but if I travel on July 31, it’s $400 less than originally budgeted.)

So far, Lead Like Jesus has received $1250 toward my trip. I will need another $1000-1100 before I can book my ticket. I’m trusting God to work it all out. (You can donate at Lead Like Jesus. Remember that even a little helps a lot.)

In the meantime, I have completed my packing list, and am inventorying the teaching materials I have available from our last trip. I am also working on the lesson plans for our facilitator training, along with being part of weekly team meetings.

We met Maureen, a new team member, on our conference call today. Maureen, a board member with African Missions Outreach, has a passion for Africa and is eagerly looking forward to her first trip to the continent. It sounds like I will learn a lot from her since she has done undergraduate studies in African history.

The Lord is impressing on me my need to pray, write, and prepare. Will you join me in prayer?

Prayer focus:

  • Financial provision
  • Wisdom
  • Bonding for team members

 

Fun, Frenzy and Focus

This past weekend, both of my daughters were in town for a baby shower for my youngest daughter who is expecting her first child and our next grandchild.

It was wonderful having both girls home again, to watch their interaction, and to enjoy the incredible women that they have become. We shopped for maternity clothes and party goodies, prepared for our guests, had dinners at favorite restaurants, went swimming, and caught up on favorite movies together.

Our youngest leaves in just a few hours to return to Austin, TX, where home, husband and puppies eagerly await her return.

I am so glad that we had this time with the girls, and that we took time to enjoy one another as a family. They, and their families, are one of the joys of our lives!

And now the “I’m leaving for Uganda on Friday” frenzy has officially begun! I finished revising a participant guide last night so that it can be printed in Uganda. Who knew that converting a file from PDF meant that it incorporated all these hidden codes that would make one keystroke change things in random parts of the document? Evidently, everyone who has ever done a project like this, which now includes me. Color me wiser for the experience!

Today was our final “final” team phone call, I think. Last minute printing projects so that we have all we need in the early meetings and more remote locations. The latest calendar adjustments, sharing last-minute information about snacks to pack, picking up bottled water in Amsterdam, coordinating when and where we will try to connect as we start our journeys to Uganda from Minnesota, Missouri, Florida, Kentucky, and Alberta, Canada.

I have 1400 pages of reading, 15 pages of writing, and 65 devotions left to complete. Realistically, I hope to have 1/3 of that done before I leave, and am praying for internet connectivity that will allow me to submit seminary assignments from Uganda.

Oh, and I have to pack. But first do laundry. And pay bills. And go to the bank. And pick up some toiletry items. And get some blood work done. And finalize my registration and financial arrangements for the semester that begins as I am in Uganda…I guess I had better get going!

First, I am going to enjoy the last hour or so with my daughter, and have some lunch. I’ll begin posting daily prayer requests soon. For now, let’s start with focus and being present in the moment. Thanks for being on this journey with me!

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!

Surrounded

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!

Expectations

Expectations can be a tricky thing. I awoke this morning, expecting to drive from Orlando to New Orleans to take a weeklong seminar in Old Testament studies.

At the end of the day, I am in New Orleans, but instead of driving with a friend and fellow student, I ended up flying, being picked up from the airport by another friend, having dinner with friends at Whole Foods (mostly vegetarian, and tried some new Indian dishes, which was fun), then Starbucks with those friends, and finally checked in to my guest room on campus, only to realize that I forgot to stop and buy contact lens solution. Another seminary friend to the rescue, and I am all set.

Along the way, Facebook friends prayed for me, and another Florida student called to see if I needed to connect with a group of students who were driving from Central Florida. Along the way, too, I had to ask people to pray (easy) and for specific help (like a ride from the airport, not so easy). I had to make my needs known so that others would know how they could support me, and then I humbly and gratefully needed to accept their help as a gift from God (like I’ve had to do in terms of the financial support I’ve needed to be able to return to Uganda).

Instead of spending dedicated time with one friend, at the end of the day, I am newly aware of how connected and supportive the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary family is. I literally would not be here today without the NOBTS community.

I think this is what Paul meant when he said we are to love one another and carry one another’s burdens. I am so grateful for how people reached out to support me, and I’m thanking the Lord for how willingly they reached out to me.

Expectations? I didn’t expect today to go like it did. But the Lord knew what today would hold, and His hand was evident as my day unfolded. I did expect that He had a plan, that none of this surprised Him, and that He would show me step-by-step how to move through the changing circumstances. And He did. What a gift?

Those are the same expectations that I will take with me to Uganda, and I know He will exceed my expectations there, too!

What expectations do you have?

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