Tuesday, September 8, 2015

When the Creative Juices Flow...

Here at the mission, as part of a way to reach out to the kids, we are allowed to have them stay on Wednesdays after school for the afternoon and evening. This past week we had 2 of the high school girls over. We played a game after our chores were done and then moved on to making popsicle coasters for cups. One of the young ladies was ready to paint hers. So we got her the necessary tools and she promptly put about a coin dollar sized amount of several colors of paint on the paper plate. For Jana and I’s coasters we used nickel size amounts of paint.

At first I wanted to say something, but I decided not to. We could put the extra she didn’t use back into the bottle, no problem. So she started painting and got several colors on. She was waiting for it to dry and she took her brush and began to swirl all of the colors on her plate together. I was a tad shocked and all I could see was a bunch of wasted paint.

Her colors made a weird brown and she began to add a lil to her coaster. Then she took paint and added it straight to the coaster, not putting it on the plate. I’m sure by the time she was done, she had added another inch to her coaster in paint alone. When she finished, the coaster actually turned out sort of cute. It had a rustic-y look with extra colors. She had a lot of fun making the coaster, start to finish.

I realized, the wasted paint didn’t matter. The smile on her face and the memory she made did. Sometimes in the moment, all you can see is the waste someone is making or what they’re costing you by using this material or this tool. What we need to focus on is the memory they are making, the smile they see on your face when they proudly show you their project. The encouragement they receive from you will last far longer than the scribbled picture or paint smeared coaster.

What I have written next is taken from the movie Me Again. So if it sounds familiar, that’s where you’ve heard something like it.

In 2013 the average cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is $245,340. If I did my math correctly, it comes to $1.50 per hour. For a buck 50 per hour, you get to watch one of the most wonderful miracles God has ever created. For one dollar and fifty cents an hour, you get to be a hero when you heal a scrapped knee with a band-aid and a kiss. You get to be the star of a little life, shape, mold, and guide that little life to become the best he or she can be. For $1.50/hour you get to have faith building talks with your teenager. Trust me I’m sure there were somedays my mom would have paid someone to take me away rather than raise me during my teenage years, so I’m probably not winning you over with those thoughts. But in the end, raising a child, whose life you’ve impacted over those 18 years, seeing their struggles, victories, failures, and successes, is it worth $1.50 per hour? I don’t know, you do the math.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Looking at the Little Things

     When I took the first steps to apply to come to Torreon, I didn’t know where it would all lead. Of course I hoped that I would be able to come down and serve, but what if God said no? After I sent in my application I prayed, a lot. I prayed God’s will be done. I prayed God would begin to prepare me for my time of service if it was His will I go. I prayed God would prepare my heart. And I prayed Isaiah 6:8 “Here am I; send me”. Now I am down in Torreon, NM, committed to spend at least a year of my life helping children, loving them, and showing them Jesus. All of my prayers were answered. I want to focus though on HOW God prepared me. 
                Preparation #1: Dealing with a variety of ages. Several months before I came down here, before I knew whether I was approved to go, I had the privilege to babysit 5 wonderful girls on a regular basis. The ages ranged 13 – almost 2. This year in school we will have 30 some students from K – 12. All with different personalities and interests. Through babysitting I was able to teach, direct, and care for 5 different age groups and 5 different personalities.

                Preparation #2: A.C.E. Curriculum. Had we not moved to Indiana, I would never have gone to Bethany Fellowship School. I probably would have never have done the A.C.E. curriculum. But because my God is big and great, He allowed me to go to Bethany School and have a good education but also get me used to the curriculum. The Torreon Navajo School uses A.C.E., granted its different being a teacher, but I don’t have to learn how the curriculum works.

                Preparation #3: A want to go. Ever since I was younger I have had a desire for mission work. Though I didn’t know where God would lead me, I knew I wanted to serve Him wherever He sent me. Along with that, due to hurts and heartaches, redemption and grace, I can understand better the hearts of those around me with broken homes. Do I know every detail? No, but I can help in the best way I know how.

                As I look back I see that God has prepared me all my life through for this moment. Right down to the sweeper! And no joke, the sweeper I used while I babysat is the same model that the mission has down here. The beautiful thing about life is that this moment right now is most likely preparing me for something else down the road. God is so good in that way!

Trusting God

    Dear Reader ~ I have now moved to Cuba, NM. I am down here for one year to teach Navajo children about Christ. So you will most likely now be hearing about my adventures down here!
    So as I have journeyed to the land of sage and cactus I have had to put my faith in a God who WAY bigger, more powerful, stronger, and mightier than I. At first it was easy, I had my mother and my sister here. So putting my trust in Him was fine and good! Then, they left. They went over 1000 miles away back to our homeland of 386 acres, 800 trees and 100% humidity (A facebook joke). And for once in my life, faith and trust were two difficult words to swallow.
    I KNEW God could keep them safe, provide for them, and comfort them. But I wasn’t on the plane, I didn’t know that they would be ok getting home. I couldn’t control any part of their safety. Everything was out of my control. As the days have passed it’s gotten a lot easier. The heart of my faith is there, not just my head. I now know and feel in my spirit that God will and is taking care of them.
    Adjusting to the land and the different way of life has been fairly easy. Am I homesick? Yes occasionally, but I know there is a God that holds me and my family in his hands and in 18 years He has never forsaken me. Just recently I felt the effects of being homesick in full swing. I didn’t know why I had come down here. Why had I chosen to leave friends and family to be with strangers in a foreign land? I opened my Bible to Psalms and found the 17th verse of the 25th chapter.
                The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses.
Well after reading that and then talking to Him by my bedside, I felt a lot better. Of course then talking to my mother 10 mins. afterward definitely helped.
   “God is good all the time and all the time God is good.” ~God’s Not Dead. Just remember as you go about your everyday, as you encounter disappointment, separation, sorrow, and discouragement, you have a God who will bring you out of your distresses. Trust that God with all your heart and you will have nothing to fear, and nothing to want.

Monday, May 18, 2015

That Perfect Love

As I babysit each week, the 4 year old is allowed to watch an hour of show per day. So sometimes we watch Disney movies, princess movies to be a little more specific. Which I enjoy as much as her for some I haven't seen for a long time. Though we can't always finish the movies, they have recently left me thinking about the perfect man.

If you have ever watched a princess movie, you know that no matter what, the prince/hero always has a bunch of obstacles to overcome. For example: Cinderella; Prince Charming goes through the kingdom putting the mysterious glass slipper on every young maiden's foot to find his true love. Sleeping Beauty; Prince Philip risks life and limb to go through a forest and fight a dragon just to kiss his love and save her and her kingdom. Hercules; Though this movie is about a guy, he of course meets the one girl he can't live without! Her life is taken and to save her he has to swim in a sea of souls to get her. The catch is, as he swims his soul is slowly sucked away and if he doesn't get out in time he will die. Well, as you expect, the last hope is gone and then WOOSH he pulls them both up and saves both their lives. Yea!

There point I want to bring out is that even at 18 years old, after watching Cinderella 3, I was left wanting a love story where love overpowers the biggest, most evil spell and everything is perfect in the end. Then I realized, love overpowers everyday in the little stuff. When a husband and wife argue or disagree but come together, even after a little time being away from the other and cooling off, and they work it out, love has just conquered. When something drastic happens to a loved one and the family grows closer, love has just conquered. When life throws lemons and the couple or family make lemonade, love has conquered. Love does not have to make leaps and bounds over evil or bad times to be proven strong and real. Love goes over bumps and potholes and proves each day that it is alive and well. There is no such thing as perfection in a relationship, but with God all things are possible, and its those days where the impossible becomes possible and the mountain becomes an anthill. Those are the perfect days that we need to cherish.

~1 Corinthians 13~

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Mother's Legacy

In church on Mother's Day we celebrated mothers and of course heard about different mothers in the Bible. Mothers such as: Hannah, Jochebed, Mary, Elizabeth, Lois, and Eunice. These ladies not only just mothers of famous God-fearing men. They are women who left a legacy that is to be followed by us today.

Hannah, mother of Samuel, couldn't bare children. She offered to God her child if he would bless her with one. God blessed Hannah with a son. To long for a child only to give him up after 3 or so years had to be so hard for her. But Hannah was not giving him up in vain, she knew she was giving him to God for God's service. Total sacrifice to God on Hannah's part produced more good fruit; 1: Samuel grew up to be a Godly man. 2: Hannah was then blessed with more children.

Jochebed, mother of Moses, also made a great sacrifice for her child. When Moses was born all baby boys were being murdered. His mother and father, for the sake of their son, hid Moses in the bulrushes of the river. Pharaoh's daughter found him and adopted him. Not knowing Jochebed to be his mother, the princess hired her to be Moses's nurse until he was old enough to not need her. Though Jochebed still got to spend time nursing Moses, she had to return him to Pharaoh's daughter. The faith Jochebed had to give up her son, knowing God would take care of him is powerful. It is recorded in Hebrews 11 that Moses's parents saw he was a proper child and were not afraid or the king's commandment. Their faith was strong.

Mary, mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, mother of John, were the mothers to two boys who became influential men, and one the Savior of the world. Both women had a great joy within their hearts as they carried their babies for 9 months. I'm sure they still had their struggles but deep in their hearts, knowing their boys were special, they had a love and a joy no one could steal.

Lois and Eunice, grandmother and mother of Timothy. These women were very important in the life of Timothy. They taught him faith in Jesus. Timothy did not have 1st generation Christian parents, he had a background of a faith-based family. If you are blessed with a background of a faith-based family you know those blessings of seeing Christ work in generation after generation. If your family is newer to the faith or you are the only Christian in your family, build that faith-based family. Show your children what God is all about that they may pass it on and you may become a legend for Christ.

There is something these mothers all had in common. Whether they raised their children for many years or only a few years, each mother was full of God so much that it spilled over into their children. A mother has a bond with her child that goes farther than any other bond. A mother invests in her child, prays for her child, cares and loves for her child. But the real challenge is to teach them a love for God that goes as deep as the mother/child bond. A mother's impression on her child will be the one that sticks the most.

I was blessed to spend the day with my Great Grandma on my father's side for a day. Her hands shook as she pulled her wore Bible off the end table. She could have read anything, watched something, but instead she chose to read her Bible. My Great Grandmother has been through a lot in her lifetime, but God has always been faithful and he continues to show that by providing for her and loving her. That is a testimony to me to always have faith in God. He will provide for u and take care of us. A few years ago my family visited Virginia for a wedding. My Great Grandparents on my mother's side were well known in that area so we had some connection to it. On the way home my mother made a comment about how everyone knew Great Grandpa's. But even though they talked about my Great Grandpa who was a minister, they really remembered my Great Grandmother. She worked quietly behind the scenes with a meek and gentle spirit and that's what people remember more than the sermons my Grandpa preached. The women of the Bible and the women in my life inspire me to be a better woman in Christ, whether I ever get married or not, I want t strive to be like these women in my daily life.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Be a Sidekick!

I babysit for 3 girls twice a week. On Monday the 4 year old and I went outside and jumped on the trampoline. As little girls do she began to be silly and asked what song she should sing. So I gave her a few suggestions. Among others I suggested If You're Happy and You Know It. The first two verses she sang just fine.

Then we got to the last verse and this is what she sang, "If you're happy and you know it touch your head. If you're happy and you know it wave your hands in the air. If your happy and you know it be a superhero. If you're happy and you know it then your life will surely show it. If you're happy and you know it be a superhero."

As cute as it was I wondered about being a superhero. Moms and Dads are superheroes to their children. Moms clean up messes, do laundry, keep everything in order and seem to never wear out (though they really do!). Dads go to work everyday and come home in time to play and then fight off the monsters under the bed. Can someone like me, average Jane who doesn't have a family yet, be a superhero to someone?

The definition of superhero is a very heroic person. So to a child I may make my superhero debut by killing a spider or catching a drink before it spills. But can I be a superhero to someone I've never met before? As I thought about this I thought about MY favorite superhero, Jesus Christ. Died to save my sins that I may go free. There are many fictional superheroes who save the world everyday from bad guys. My superhero saved the world once but saves me everyday. In reality I'm just the sidekick. I stay by Jesus's side, taking the Word to the people but letting Him do the real saving. I don't have the power that He has. The Bible actually talks about sidekicks, it calls them disciples.

 And I can do my job as a sidekick by telling a stranger about the one and only true Superhero who has the power to save them. Telling them that God has saved them from their sins, that they don't need to live in darkness. Telling them God loves them because they are His child. Then Jesus comes in and takes care of the rest.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Journey of the Clay

I would like to again tell you about the sermon we heard this past Sunday. It was very well done by Bro. Bob, talking about The Journey of the Clay. Here is a beautiful illustration of how we truly are clay in the Fathers hands.

Jeremiah 18:2-6
Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Isral

When Bob was a teenager he worked at a tile mill, where farm tile was made. Here is the process the clay went through before becoming tile.

Gen. 1 says man was made from the earth and just as man, clay is dug up from the earths ground.
Then the clay goes into the washing room. In big tubs of water the clay is washed and impurities like sand are separated from the clay making it more pure. When we accept Jesus into our lives He washes us with his blood making us more pure also.
The clay is then put outside to dry and once it is dry it goes through the crushers. The crushers crush the clay and not only break the large hard clumps of clay but the process makes rocks and other impurities that didn't come out during the washing process, come to the surface and leave the clay. Similarly, we often go through hard times and our spirit may be crushed but its all in God's plan and what we don't know is that we are one step closer and purer to Him.
Then the clay enters the "tub", a big vat with augers turning and mixing the clay and another big auger in the bottom pulling the clay out of the vat. A man then will stand above the tub and spray in water so it becomes the correct consistency to be able to be formed. We also again go through things in our lives that turn us and mix us so that we become more aware of who God is and how he will use us. He is preparing us to be used for his glory.
After the clay leaves the vat it then goes to the molds and is shaped. The clay runs on conveyor belts and is in one long string of tile. As it goes down the conveyor belt it is cut into the lengths needed for the tile orders, then it is separated. Bob likened this to when the disciples are called to be sent out. We aren't always made to stay with those we love. We may be called to go somewhere far away.
Bob worked as one of the runners. Runners would take the cut tile to train cars that were waiting to be filed with the tile. If a runner could tell the tile was too soft and not going to be useful he let it go on the conveyor belt and it went back around to the tub again to be remade, just like in verse 4 of Jeremiah: And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Sometimes we need to be remade and start over with God, being re-refined and being re-shaped in his image.
If the tile was good and fine, it was put on the train car. When the train was full it went down the track headed for the kiln. The kilns are extremely hot so that the tile dries fast and hardens. If the tile went directly from the conveyor belt, still soft, to the kiln it would bubble and be distorted. So the train goes through a tunnel of low heat driers. This allows the clay to dry somewhat before going to the kiln. God doesn't give us more than we can bare. If we aren't ready for something as big as the kiln, he wont give it to us.
Once the clay is ready for the kiln, it goes through and after it comes out there is a man who has a hammer and taps each piece of tile. Even if there is a hairline crack it will sound different. These pieces are then thrown on a pile and later crushed and used for things like driveway gravel. We will have many testings in our life. And my prayer for each of you is that you pass them and stay true to the One and Only, Jesus Christ!!