Friday, July 3, 2020

Retreat and Reset

So much has happened since my last post!  It was early June that I made the decision with SAMS to shift to associate status.  This means that I'm not actively raising support and do not have any immediate plans to return to the field, but am discerning what the long-term will look like regarding my role in missions.

I had an overwhelming response of love and affirmation, which was an incredible gift since it was a very difficult decision to make.  One of my supporters who happens to be a relative, asked if I'd considered a sabbatical, even a short one, to get away.  Well, I hadn't mainly because I'd barely left the house for months!  But St. Christopher had been on my heart, and I really wanted to support them, so I called to ask about that option.

Later that day, I got an email from the camp inviting me to a retreat that weekend!  That led me to taking almost a week for a personal retreat.  That was not my plan, but how it worked out, and I am so incredibly grateful!  I've never had so much time like that.  I read several books of the Bible, my journal in entirety (which was very helpful), went through a debriefing SAMS had sent, and spent time praying and journaling.  I walked the beach twice a day.  It was just what I needed to gain perspective, and by the last day, I had a sense of direction for next steps.

The very evening I got home, I came across a French teaching position at a local private school, which led to me learning of at least four open French teacher positions in Charleston.  That's unheard of!  I couldn't believe it!  I ended up applying for two and accepted the offer at a brand new public high school in nearby Mount Pleasant.  I'm so incredibly thankful and recognize God's hand of favor and grace, particularly in His impeccable timing!  So now I'm looking for a place to live and have lots to do before we hopefully start on time this August.  That's it for now. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Great Expectations

Life has gotten extremely busy all at once!  I’m on Week 3 now of an LCC (Language and Culture Coaching) course I’m taking.  I love it so much!  It’s so wonderful to be back in the world of linguistics with other like-minded people to learn about something I’ve grown very interested in, coaching.   Not only is it useful for my long-term goal of being an LCC on the field, but I’m taking it for credit, which fulfills a requirement to keep my teaching credentials current.  The expectation up to this point has been that I would get a Visa by teaching ESL.

All of this is on the table right now as many things have changed in the world, including ministry plans.  There is so much that I don’t know and can’t answer, but what I do know is that I won’t be partnering with the organization I was intending.  That decision was carefully made with SAMS’ guidance after a series of red flags and some changes in the original expectations.  

On the one hand, the decision frees me and opens me to many possibilities out there, which I am currently discerning with SAMS and invite you to discern with me.  I solicit your prayers and welcome your input if you receive something.  On the other, it places new decisions before me.  I get excited about the possibilities even though there is a sense of loss with this step.  

I am amazed at the Lord’s timing for multiple reasons.  It couldn’t have fallen at a better time—when my family is grieving, when travel is restricted, when (at least for a short while) there was extra time to devote to prayer, worship, and time in the Word.  

I'm especially grateful for the last reason because somehow despite the fog and turbulence of life these past few months, some things have actually become clear.  First, I have confidence that I’m exactly where God wants me for this season: here with family.   Second, He’s helped me realize that location isn’t something to get too set on.  I’m still very open to SE Asia and know of at least one possibility that interests me, but I have accepted that the plan will look differently than I expected and prepared for, though I’m still discerning to what degree.

I’m incredibly grateful to continue to prepare by testing the waters as an LCC.  I have even gotten to practice on a fellow SAMS missionary living in Ethiopia.  While it’s a challenge since I've never even been there or learned the language, I love it and am so very grateful to have a context while I take the course.  (If you're wondering how I could possibly help someone learn a language I don't speak, it's a challenge!  But it's about helping with the overall process and locating resources, not instruction.)

Both in getting back to the language/culture world along with having daily devotions with my family--something new for us--I’ve found myself thanking God for giving me the desires of my heart.  It’s just like Him to bring sweet things during a time of stress, loss, and uncertainty.

I realize that I am not alone when it comes to loss and unpredictability in this season.  While we are all experiencing uncertainty right now and could be tempted to dwell on dashed hopes and frustration of the unknown, I’d like to challenge each of us--me first--to find peace and joy in  the knowledge that God has a plan and is able to orchestrate events in such astonishing, unexpected ways that we could never have anticipated or matched what He is doing to accomplish such great purposes for His kingdom.  Let us walk by faith and not by sight.  

Never doubt God's mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this.  He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination!  He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.  Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ--and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity.  Amen! Ephesians 3:20-21 TPT

Friday, April 17, 2020

Unreached People Groups

I've been sharing at different events, with some of you even, about unreached people groups.  A people group is simply a group of people with shared cultures, customs, and languages.  To give you an idea, "US American" is the largest people group in the United States. :). 

In SE Asia (I'm referring only to the 6 deaneries within the Diocese of Singapore: Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Indonesia), the smallest people group in any of these nations is 100 while the largest is over 200 million! 

Unreached people groups are populations who have little to no access to the Gospel.  They either have no resources including the Bible and/or few to no believers who can tell them the Good News.  Can you even imagine that?  It's hard to when we live in a world that has an abundance of both.

What do we do with the fact that Jesus gave his followers one task before He left the earth (and before He returns)?  ...To go and make disciples both at home (Jerusalem), with neighboring areas (Judea and Samaria), and abroad (the ends of the earth). [Acts 1:8]. 

In my opinion, a good first step is informing ourselves.  A good second step is praying for these people.  So, I'd like to share some resources with you to do just that!  If you're someone who likes analytical data, the Joshua Project is for you.  If you like to get engaged, I'd like to recommend you participate in Radical Secret Church a week from today on Friday, April 24 (hopefully it's not too late to register) who will focus their prayer time on the unreached church. 

Disclaimer: I normally don't recommend things I've not participated in firsthand,
but I've been affirmed by some reputable voices that this is solid and worthwhile!
Please note that this event starts late and goes into the night, far past by bedtime, he he.  It's intentional as many persecuted Christians do not have the freedom and opportunity to meet openly or frequently like we do.  

If you're interested in participating with me, let me know!  It's virtual, of course, and we're all social distancing; but I signed up as a small group (but paid the individual price, which is what you would need to do I think) and can see about adding members to my group.  Blessings!

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday

This week has been a slower pace than normal and quite intentionally.    I say intentionally because even when everything is shut down, it's amazing how busy we can get particularly with technology!  I've tried to embrace this slower pace to really give the Lord my time and attention.  After all, when else do we have so much time and permission to set aside to pray and seek the Lord like we have now?  Well, those of us who aren't on the front lines (who I'm praying for!)?

I've tried to read the Word more.  One thing I've been doing this week is in addition to other reading, starting my day with the Ten Commandments.  One day, something stood out to me that I've never noticed before, though I imagine it's been taught regarding the   fourth commandment about Sabbath.  I think I've always focused on the rest part and yes, to focus on the Lord and honor Him.  I personally love the benefits that our souls and bodies reap, too.  But I can't say I've ever honed in on the WHY.  He tells us very clearly actually.  I'm going to quote the Message version since that's what I was reading that particular morning, but it's there in the ESV and the KJV too. :)

"Don't ever forget that you were slaves in Egypt and GOD, your God, got you out of there in a powerful show of strength.  That's why GOD, your God, commands you to observe the day of Sabbath rest." Deuteronomy 5:15

Wow!  The Jewish people's resting takes on a whole new meaning when I consider that.  It actually displayed their freedom from slavery to the rest of the world as well as themselves!  In Egypt, they were slaves and didn't have the freedom to not work.  This would've stood out to others, and it would have been a beautiful freedom they had gained by God's deliverance from 400 years of slavery.  In essence, they would be manifesting through their rest, with their bodies, what God had done to save them.  To do this on a weekly basis, not just once a year at Passover, would create a rhythm of celebrating God's deliverance.  

As Christians, this very day, we celebrate the same exact thing: He has delivered us from the power and result of sin and death.  Our Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ, shed His blood on the Cross for those who believe in Him so that we will not be destroyed by the death that we deserve for the sin we can't escape.  I'm thankful that the Church continues to hold this tradition called Good Friday (though every day is a day to celebrate and identity with this).  I expect that as I observe the Sabbath going forward that I will keep this Fourth Commandment in mind and go beyond mere rest or worshipping the Lord with others, but specifically teach my heart to remember and celebrate His deliverance from sin and death.  This makes today and every day good indeed!

Friday, April 3, 2020

In Honor of Brad

I normally use this blog to focus on ministry, but as you can tell sometimes just share what's going on in the adventure of life.  We're whole beings, after all, and I think that all of life should be centered on Jesus--the mundane and epic, the trials and the victories, the day in and day out.

Today.  There was ministry stuff.  There was me videoing myself reading books to a 3-year old audience I can't see.  But that's not what I want to focus on in this post.  Today is my little brother's birthday.  He would have turned 30 today.  

Still learning how to grieve, but it's helpful to remember and celebrate life along with shedding tears.  For that reason, I'm going to post the "family reflection" I gave at the funeral service as a way of remembering and honoring him on this day.  Once again, a big thank you to so many who continue to pray for my family.  It has truly made a difference.

Note: Couldn't get the formatting (spacing) right.

I’m speaking on behalf of my entire family and would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming response of love that we’ve received from all of you this week.  We’ve been inundated with visits, food, flowers, phone calls, cards, texts, prayers, FB posts, and offers to do anything.  Thank you so much.  Thank you especially to St. Michael’s Church who has been incredible.  It’s really helped carry us during our time of need. 
I remember my parents telling me, Ashley, and Frederick right after Hurricane Hugo that my mom was going to have a baby.  What a surprise, but how special and exciting it was to us when Brad was born.  
When Brad was little, we would take turns trying to put him down for a nap.  My tactic was to tell incredibly long and uncreative stories to lull him to sleep by boredom.  One time when he was around 3 years old, Ashley and I were together with him on the bed.  I made up that some character was taking a very long road trip and started listing every state I could think of very slowly.  I started with SC, NC--about that speed--and went up along the coast.  His eyes were already closed, and he was drifting off by the time I got to the northern states.  When I said New York, his body jolted and eyes sprung wide open, and he said, “New York City!,” a line from the Pace Picante Sauce commercial.   

That was so Brad.  He was quick and so funny even at that age.   He had a way with words and could make everyone around him laugh.  That’s one thing I’m going to miss so much is Brad’s hearty laugh along with his sheepish smile.   

He was intelligent, way smarter than me.  He had the ability to memorize large amounts of information and then regurgitate it, even verbatim.  He was incredibly thoughtful and caring, especially in his gifts, which he often made himself, including the choker that I’m wearing right now. 
He was also protective.  The first memory I have of this particular trait was when Brad told a lifeguard at the pool that I was 16 instead of 21.  At first I was bothered that he would lie and asked him why he would say that.  In front of the guy, he said, “I didn’t want him talking to you.”  Then I knew that my little brother at age 11 had my back.  Speaking of backs, he was a sucker for back rubs.  His hugs were great, another thing I’ll miss about Brad.  
There were hard times—some really hard times—that we went through as a family, but we had some fun, special times as well.  We shared vacations when we were younger and many holidays and birthdays together.  This past Thanksgiving was especially memorable sharing childhood stories in front of the fire.  Like when Brad was on a hunting trip in Africa with Dad at age 12, and Dad got Brad to have a little fun with his fake tooth retainer.  Brad convinced the African children he had magical powers when he smiled with a mouth full of teeth, then discreetly removed the retainer so that the tooth seemed to disappear.  
Brad worked really hard to overcome the past and to be involved with family.  He loved children so much, especially his niece Grace and nephew Nicholas.  He had such an incredible heart for people and for animals.  His dogs, Gypsy and Obsidian, were everything to him.    
I’m thankful for the one-on-one times with Brad when he was younger, but especially the past few years swing dancing, the Pour House, Farmer’s Markets, and Pho Saigon, the Vietnamese restaurant on James Island.  I didn’t join him for any camping trips and music festivals he loved, but I know that many of you here have lots of memories from that. 

I knew before, and I know now that Brad loved me and my family.  He made sure to say that he was proud of me, and I made sure to let him know that I’m proud of him and love him.  I admire his endeavors to learn about greenhouses, growing different types of vegetables and herbs, owning his own businesses, but I am equally proud of his side jobs delivering wine and washing dishes because he was displaying humility and taking on responsibility. 

Within the past year, Brad shared with me how he really wanted to help people who had been in his shoes, so to speak.  He didn’t want people to have to suffer and knew firsthand the damage that addiction can do personally and relationally.  I really admire his heart to help others and try to make the world a better place.  

I wish so much that Brad could have known the peace, love, and acceptance that only Jesus can give while He was here with us on earth.  But I know God to be a God of hope and of infinite last chances.   Brad’s last week of life, he made every effort to make peace with friends, family, and God.  Brad literally reached his hands out to my parents and asked them to pray for him, which they gladly did and affirmed their love for him.  He contacted so many friends and family to settle things and make sure there were no problems with anyone.   
 When I learned what happened, I was devastated and even felt a little angry and definitely disappointed at God because I really believed in Brad and especially in God to get Brad through.  When I reread a poem I wrote for Brad in 2011, though, the Lord gently reminded me that we only truly reach our full potential when we join Jesus together with all of those He has rescued because that is the real destiny that God has for us: to be in relationship with Himself.  That is when we’re complete and the only place where we’re whole, free of pain or sorrow, full of perfect, pure love. 

While it’s so painful to lose Brad when he seemed to be okay and planning his future, let’s thank God for the good times.  Let’s thank God for Brad’s life and all who he touched during his time here.  Let’s thank God that there is hope, and let’s go to God to heal our pain.

We will love you, forever, Brad.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

In Our Spare Time?

Two weeks ago, I started a very part-time temporary job.  It's a long story, but I was needing something more consistent than dog and house-sitting as a source of income during my time in Charleston.   The Lord directed me to an assistant position in a 3K class at a local Anglican Day School.  In fact, when I contacted the director, they had not posted the need, but in fact did need a new assistant.   Just three mornings a week and no prep or take-home work, which would leave me with plenty of time and energy to focus on ministry.

I wasn't sure how I would make it my first day (which was extended a week because of my brother's death).  That Monday and Tuesday were really hard, and I couldn't imagine starting a new job.  I woke up feeling ready, though, and what a blessing!  It's the perfect setting because my mind was focused on 8 little ones who are precious and brought me laughs and joy.  That lasted two days before school was officially closed because of COVID-19.

I started the first week off with a stomach bug, but isn't it just like the Lord to use that to reset my prayer life, which had gotten out of whack in the previous couple of weeks.  I felt zero condemnation and was still communing with the Lord, but staying in bed for a couple of days really got me to go deeper.  I've spent a lot of time in prayer both for my personal life as well as for our nation and the world.  I'm thankful to have leadership who has called for national days of prayer and have participated in that.  

That first day of prayer and fasting, March 15, I received a verse from Isaiah 26:20 which says "Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by."  This helped me to go with what our leaders began recommending that very day (with school and other closures), and I've stayed put other than getting essentials when absolutely necessary and neighborhood walks.  

I'd like to share a link to an article I really liked this morning.  I think the article hi lights hidden sins (we probably wouldn't call them that unfortunately) that we need to repent of both individually, as families, and as a nation.  Let us use this unique time where we are forced to slow down and be still to draw near to the Lord and seek Him with all of our hearts.  Let us pray for those who are on the other end of the spectrum like medical workers, first responders, and food industry among others, who are working overtime.  

Back to my personal life: by the grace of God and I believe the prayers of so many, I am doing okay emotionally regarding the loss of my brother.  That said, I think it's been helpful to have a slower pace and also to be able to spend time with family whether in person or over the phone.  As always, thank you for your care and for your prayers.  The Lord be with you!

Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Worst of Times and the Best of Times

I'm not even talking about COVID-19, which is the talk of the world right now and the cause for our nation's Day of Prayer and Fasting today.  May we accept our role as God's people to humble ourselves before the Lord and repent of our individual and nation's sins.

I'm backing up to three weeks ago when I was getting ready to go to North Carolina for a security training.  As I packed and drove, I thought how it was the scariest thing I've ever knowingly entered into, at least that I can think of.  It wasn't the fact that I'd signed consent forms to be yelled at, (lightly) slapped/hit or roughed around, sworn at etc.etc.; but I had read between the lines and deduced that I'd have to stay up all night out in the cold.  Those last two things are torture enough for me; and I prepared by memorizing scripture and asking for prayer.

It was indeed quite an intense week, though I felt so thankful that I was there and doing it.  We learned a lot of "common sense" safety and security measures for everyday life, as well as uncommon situations for more hostile environments.  I won't get into everything and quite honestly haven't even been able to debrief yet.  The rest of the group did our final morning, February 29.  It was supposed to be a day of celebration for having "survived" the training which I did, thanks to your prayers.  Instead, it was the worst day of my life.  I didn't even go to our last class (to debrief) because I woke up to the news that my little brother, Brad, had died the night before.  It's surreal to be writing on my blog as one of the events of the past few weeks.

It was a shock on so many levels.  My head was reeling with so many questions, thoughts, and emotions as I drove back to Charleston.  As real and stressful as the challenges I had just faced and as thankful as I was for having made it through, everything I'd experienced was based on made-up circumstances.  My little brother's death was real, and I couldn't get out of it.

The next week was a whirlwind with many, many visitors, little sleep, and making funeral arrangements.  My family was overwhelmed with love from so many: old friends, new friends, family, and especially St. Michael's Church who has been such a huge support and help in my family's mourning, grieving, and healing process from Day One.  The Lord has poured out His grace, power, comfort, and love as He continues to work good out of a very tragic situation.  

Ironically Friday, March 6th, the day of Brad's funeral, though a very difficult day, was a very good day.  Over 500 people attended the funeral, and every single person I've talked to said how beautiful it was, even the most beautiful funeral they'd ever been to.  There was so much love and a message of hope.  From start to finish, God's Spirit was there, and the Gospel was proclaimed.  It truly was beautiful which is strange to write, but the most fitting word. 
Thank you so very much for your prayers for me during two challenging events--one that wasn't even real, another that I wish so much were not.  Perhaps I can share in more detail another time (perhaps not), but please know that your prayers were felt and known to me during the training and especially the week after, not just by me but by my whole family.  I worship the Lord with thanks for each of you--for your lives and your prayers.  Thank God that we have hope that no matter what tragedy or pandemic we're faced with, that we have a God who is faithful and that "the best is yet to come."  


Wednesday, February 19, 2020


Speaking of encouragement and support, it can take on so many forms.  For example, a friend of my mom's who participated in several of St. Michael's GIC events kept telling me that she had a book that she wanted me to read.  She would lend it to me if I thought I had the time, and there was a list of others who would also like to read it.  I agreed and am so incredibly grateful that I did!  It's called The Insanity of God by "Nik Ripken."  

I try to regularly read missionary autobiographies.  Not only do they provide wisdom, experience, insight, and inspiration; they also address the challenges, hardships, and struggles.  Even more, the book of Revelation assures us that followers of Jesus overcome Satan by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. (12:10).  When we share our stories with others, we are putting God's Word into practice and doing just that: overcoming our accuser and adversary, the devil.

One nugget (of which there were many!) was the power of praise through song.  Maybe it stood out so much because we were also talking about this in the Bible Study I'm doing.  Then I noticed that the Psalm I read a couple of mornings ago was addressed to the "director of music" or "choirmaster" depending on the version.  How cool if you're a worship leader for some of the Psalms to be addressed to your vocation!  

It's also encouraging as next week's security training approaches to be mentally preparing with a read like this that has hopefully toughened me up so that I don't cave on Day 1 (prayers highly appreciated!).

It's not an easy book to read, but it is incredibly powerful and inspiring and challenging in the best way possible.  It's more than one man's story, but a compilation of stories of our brothers and sisters throughout the world who have overcome and need our involvement and prayers.  In my own effort to encourage you, I highly recommend it and will link his website:  

Much to Be Thankful For

Things have started picking up as far as support goes.  I have a long ways to go, but I'm a "glass is half full" type. :).  I was so encouraged at a party a friend hosted a couple of weekends ago.  There was a nice turnout with 4 out-of-town friends who came and some others I don't get to see too often!  I was regretting having taken on making a Boba tea station for everyone to make their own as it gave me a lot of extra things to do on a very busy weekend.  Then again, it was so fun to introduce a room-full of people to an Asian beverage which has hit the streets of Charleston the past couple of years.  Another fun thing is that since even friends don't know my exact location, I can get away with representing different countries with my attire or snacks. :)

As far as the presentation part, I guess it's the teacher in me, but I really do like sharing with others.  There's so much I have to learn myself, but I focused on unreached people groups, the Anglican Diocese of Singapore (which is the Diocese I will be a member of), as well as some of the personal challenges I'm either going through or expect to.  I always like sharing, but to be surrounded by friends who have known me for quite a while was extra special.

I was also encouraged that a couple of friends at the party have offered to host another party for me, one of which we're in the thick of planning. :).  In the meantime, I've had a couple of donors increase and/or double their giving and several unexpected donors.  I am so grateful for the various ways that our God provides.  I've also been invited to a women's prayer retreat in March for them to pray for me during their Prayer for the Nations.  Just wanted to take the time to celebrate and thank God for His answered prayer, provision, and blessing and many ways that He's at work!  Thank you for praying!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


I wish I'd had the time to write stories from every day, but I'll share a summary of the week's events.

In addition to three services (8, 10:30, and 6:00), I represented SAMS at the Ministry Fair at 9:15 and gave a MAP talk at 12:30.  I was thankful for a small group of people who were able to hear more about SAMS and what I'm doing in particular.

Opening Day of GIC at the
10:30 joint service 

How grateful we all were for the ministry time that morning after the long Sunday.  It was sweet and special to have a time of worship, liturgy, centering prayer, and praying for one another as well as sharing Communion together.

That afternoon, I loved visiting some of the older members of St. Michael's at the Canterbury House. I hated to leave the two ladies I joined on the couch.  They were so sweet and interested in me as a person, and I felt their appreciation to be engaged in conversation.

Listening to a gentleman at the Canterbury House tell stories of his past service as a chaplain

That evening, we were welcomed to the rector's home for a nice evening to meet others in the Vestry and ministries at St. Michael's.

I was thankful for a morning off where I had time to sit in the Lord's presence, which inspired my Thursday night's visit to a life group.

We were invited to a staff luncheon where we had the chance to meet the staff.  Not only was it nice to have a meal provided, but meals are such a nice occasion to get to share with others to get to know them and just fellowship.

Or should I say Super Wednesday!  I visited the children first.  I decided to go all out and wear a Southeast Asian outfit a friend gave me a couple of weeks ago.  I had a few pictures of Asian children, a map, and asked how many of them had Bibles and why Bibles are even important.  Their answers were entertaining. ;).  I finished by explaining that's why I'm going, to help the people in SE Asia who do not even have a Bible, which is like food to our spirits, to be able to share the Good News with them.  After worship and a meal, I visited an Alpha group to share a bit about SAMS and myself.

The children liked the animated map of Asia that featured different animals.

It worked out to not have anything scheduled Thursday morning so that I could attend my weekly Bible Study with my twin sister who was in town and have lunch with her and mom.  That evening I joined a life group of young adults.  It was a really encouraging time.  I felt so well-received and comfortable to share what the Lord had put on my heart.  It's always refreshing to be in the company of those who are walking the walk as this group sure seems to be!

I joined several other mission partners for a couple of local tours.  We started with lunch at the Tri County Family Ministries who served us an impressive meal!  It's wonderful the ways they are ministering to the needy in this area.  Then we went to tour Water Mission which has grown over the years and continues to respond to disasters and countries in need of clean, safe water.

Water Mission Warehouse

That evening was the international banquet where Keith Wheeler--a man who has carried a cross all around the world--spoke.  I appreciated his childlike faith, humility, and courage to obey the Lord's call.  He shared how a guy earlier that day had asked him why he carries the cross.  When he asked him what he thought of, he said "Easy, Jesus."  Keith used some analogies to challenge him that most people see a cross without seeing Jesus at all!  After he spoke, the meal was so nice, and I was able to share what God is doing in my country of service in three minutes. :)

Saturday was the Women's Luncheon where I was one of two speakers.  It was an honor to speak and share about God's calling on my life and the process of what that has looked like.  In a nutshell, I shared that it actually hasn't always been clear, but out of my relationship with the Lord, trusting that I'm hearing His voice, and following how I believe He is leading me has gotten me to each step along the way.

Speaking at the Women's Luncheon
Last day of 3 services, India report, chill lunch, and debrief.

The problem with a summary is that I'm not really conveying the surprise and joy of so many "God moments," the connections, the richness of the fellowship, the family feel.  It was a long week, and I took a Sabbath Monday, but  "how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" as David said in Psalm 133.  I'm incredibly grateful to St. Michael's for the love they poured on us as mission partners and the way that they respond to God's call to mission locally (in Jerusalem), along the east coast (Judea and Samaria), and globally (to the ends of the earth).

You Never Know Who's Praying!

Saturday morning, the day before GIC began, I was sitting in the wooden pew next to a brother from Burundi.  So nice to get to speak French, yay!  So nice to be surrounded by such beautiful people from around the globe, around Charleston, and other parts of the east coast.  We were giving introductions and being told what to expect in the coming week, going over the group and individual schedules.  As we were making our way out, I recognized the young lady at the end of my pew, but I just couldn't remember how I knew her.  We both smiled and greeted one another, and she said, "I've been praying for you!"  

I was thankful that her next breath was the context of where we'd met: New Wineskins!  Then I remembered very briefly meeting her there.  She is a part of the LAMB Institute down in Honduras, a wonderful ministry that I recommend learning more about.  She went on to say that I was the only person whose name she put in her phone to pray for, and she did pray during my 3-week trip to Southeast Asia.  She was excited to see me again post-trip and to hear how positive the trip was and that I am now prepping and planning to leave this summer.

As we talked more, I learned that all of the missionaries with LAMB are SAMS missionaries.  Yay!  We decided to share a table together and then a room for our MAP talks.  It's so amazing how God interconnects us for His work.  He has the big picture in mind.  I'm humbled and blessed that he would put me on the heart of a then-stranger (though a sister in Christ and now a new friend!) to pray for me.  I'm incredibly grateful as that trip was a critical step in my future, not just deciding if I would return, but in future decisions once I'm there.  So thankful to a God who moves His people to pray and thankful for His people who respond, including you!

Our Help Is In the Name of the Lord

Last week was St. Michael's Global Impact Celebration Week where they hilight the call to mission for all followers of Jesus as well as their mission partners locally, along the east coast, and throughout the world.  I was asked to represent SAMS, which was such an honor.  

I have lots of history with St. Michael's having attended their youth group way back when, volunteering in college for the youth, and having been introduced to healing prayer ministry through them.   My sister used to be a member before she moved, and my parents are current members.  I sat with St. Michael's at both of the New Wineskins I attended!  Needless to say, it's a place I feel very connected to still.

As we met together last Saturday to rehearse and prepare for the week+ ahead, I was not at my best.   It had been a very rough week, and I was not feeling strong or ready for the intense week that lay ahead.  So what delight I had upon reading the Word that the Lord offered me last Sunday morning before the long day's events.  As I read each verse, identifying with David in the opposition and helplessness he faced, I found hope.   Each line was like receiving water in a dry land and food after a fast where each bite is savored.  

If it hadn't been the Lord who was on my side, I too, would've been eaten alive!  And just like the bird who had escaped the snare of the fowler, I felt caught in the enemy's trap, but was now being released by the mighty hand of God.  It wasn't going to be easy.  I had extra responsibilities throughout the week in addition to GIC and was physically low on energy.  Each day would require faith in this Word and trust to walk it out, but how wonderful that we have a God who is able to give us His Word as a weapon against our spiritual enemies.  He did not disappoint.  What an amazing week it was!  For those who prayed, I am so, so thankful!  Our help is truly in the name of the Lord!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Who's Timing?

One of my most pressing goals as the New Year began was to set a leave date.  Not just so that I can answer everyone's top question it seems, but to be able to plan and set other goals.  Just over a week ago, I was still hoping for April.  It wasn't seeming very realistic, though.

Last Sunday (a week ago), one of the Scripture readings caught my attention: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place." (Jeremiah 29:10)  While the concept of God's timing is nothing new and very often prayed about and acknowledged in my life, the Lord was hi lighting this to me.  I don't really understand it all, but throughout Scripture, I can see how God sets appointed times that are completed when the set amount of time passes. 

It's always good to allow the Word of God to speak into our minds as we are making choices.  I think that, along with some other counsel and circumstances, helped me to let go of April and consider July, which has been a second target.  (As soon as I set July, there's now a possibility of it being August, depending on a decision about another training...).

Then yesterday, the Old Testament lesson's reading in Genesis 18:14 was on this same concept: "At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son."  Okay, yes, Lord.  You have my attention regarding timing and that You have a set time.  May I not push or drag, but be in tune.  It's always been my prayer, but I'm needing to pray this not just for a leave date, but for all of the things on my agenda.

Speaking of my agenda, there's a lot going on!  I have a very full week next week at a missions conference where I'll represent SAMS and share about what I do.  There are all kinds of events, tours, meetings, meals, and a banquet in addition to the services.  I've also been asked to speak at the women's luncheon.  

I'm also thankful to be planning a few local events in February and March to get to share with friends and those interested in knowing more about SAMS or what I'm doing.  As time ticks without as much progress as I'm comfortable with, I confess the idea of God's timing seems like a nice thing to talk about, but harder to submit to.

But submission would do me well and is clearly a message to me as this morning's Bible Study "three-peated" the theme of God as the One who decides timing on matters!  I read, "After David was anointed by Samuel to take Saul's place, he humbly served and waited until God's appointed time to be recognized as king." (Joanne Ellison's Following the Call-Leading Courageously). 

Wow.  So, you can pray for me to not just be sensitive to, but submissive to God's timing in all matters including a leave date, planning events, and really every area of life.  Please pray, too, for the days ahead as they will be long and busy.  Thank you!