Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Living it Up!

So this past weekend Josh, I, and our interns/volunteers were all in need of a break. So we took Saturday to relax and reunited that evening for some gumbo fun. We have two interns (who are engaged by the way) who are from Louisianna and they made for us a traditional dish called gumbo. It was delicious! The following day, Sunday, we headed down the mountain to an excursion called 27 Waterfalls where we played in the river for 2 hours cliff jumping, watersliding down natural waterfalls, climbing up waterfalls, and goofing around with each other. It was perfect! Then we headed to our favorite beach, Cabarette, where we hung out until dinner. The water felt like bath water, the wind was in good form therefore allowing kite surfers and wind surfers alike to get good action on the ocean. It was so fun to watch all that talent on the water.

Josh and I feel refreshed and renewed and are having a wonderful time with our new team. Included in this team (of 61 people) is a woman who was a missionary in Mexico for 20 years. She has been such a light and source of wisdom, insight, and great stories.

Josh and I have been without our jeep for about 3 weeks now as our mechanic has been slow on repairing it. So we've become quite Dominican in these past several weeks as we've been carting our laundry in baskets, small matresses, 40 lbs bags of dog food, and groceries on the bag of our moto... we must be quite a site. We checked in on our jeep AGAIN today and it looks like we should have it by the end of the week... but who knows really, that's what he said every other time (sigh).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Forgotten God

Forgotten God

I have been reading the book “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan and have been intentionally wrestling and challenging myself with the things that he writes about. Grappling with these things has been so impactful and amazing to me that I really want to share them with you. If you haven’t read the book yourself I whole hardly recommend it.

“Reversing our tragic neglect of the Holy Spirit” – is the tag written below the title of the book. Francis Chan sheds light on American Christianity and its lost condition from the Holy Spirit. The book was not written from a denominational bent; merely just a man seeking what Jesus meant when he said to the disciples that it was better that he leave so the Spirit could come.

With Love

“Without Him [Holy Spirit], people operate in their own strength and only accomplish human-size results. The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation.”

America breeds independent, individualistic, I-can-do-it-myself type people. Asking for help or relying on others is typically considered a weakness and not valued in our society. But that’s not how it was meant to be. We are to rely on the Holy Spirit for his guidance and assistance to accomplish greater things. Sure, as humans we can perform tasks and do things, but with God those actions are brought to a powerful level with larger impact.

“But when believers live in the power of the Spirit, the evidence in their lives is supernatural.”

What does that mean – live in the power of the Spirit? It means to allow the Spirit to fill you up, to trust in Him, and to give Him your life. You do this by reading the Bible, praising God, praying to God, investing your life completely in God. When you do this you will see a changed life. A supernatural life. A life fragrant with passion, joy, and purpose.

“We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God.”

How many times… how many times have the words come out of my mouth “I did, all by myself”? How many years have I spent relying on myself, doing it all myself without consulting God, without asking him for help? The difference is unmistakable when I involved God in my life. The burdens aren’t as heavy, I experience 100 times more joy, and the outcome is better. I do not want to do it all by myself ever again.

“If it’s true that the Spirit of God dwells in us and that our bodies are the Holy Spirit’s temple, then shouldn’t there be a huge difference between the person who has the Spirit of God living inside of him or her and the person who does not?”

Ever since I read the story in Exodus about Moses having to wear a veil over his face because it was glowing after having spent time in the presence of God, I knew that I wanted that to be me. I wanted to glow. I wanted people to know that I had been spending time in the presence of God. To this day I still pray that. I know that I have fallen short of being a glowing light for God… many times. But as I read this it encourages me to push on and glow. I want to be different. I want people who don’t know the Lord personally to see that there is something different in me; and most importantly, I want them to want it.

This list isn’t exhaustive. But it’s a glimpse at the way that God is shaping, challenging, and stretching me.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer is Here

Themes from the past several weeks:

Lots of rain (which means dirty water)
Lightning storms (gorgeous bright skies)
Booming Thunder (Lucy finds safe refuge in our closet during these)
New Interns/Volunteers (fun, great talks, desserts)
Summer Program (we're back in the swing of another great summer!)

The picture below is of our interns (minus one) for the summer. We're all doing great and having a great kick off to the summer.

The first day of each team is spent in orientation. We give them samples of Dominican coffee called "cafecito"

Below Josh is teaching them the Dominican greeting (for guys who know each other, they will rub each other's bellies)

Right now we have to volunteers living with us. Angie and Jeff. They're both wonderful people and we enjoy having them with us. Angie was an intern last summer for us and Jeff interned for us from January through April and now he's in the volunteer program through the beginning of August.

This year I am running an activity called "The Cross: Letting Go" where the purpose is for each participant to consider their own personal "race". We're all in a race for something and as Christians we are called to run the race for Christ and pursue Him with our total being. So the activity is centered around the race and realizing what extra baggage we're carrying around with us as we try and run the race. Then everyone has the oppertunity to nail these things (for example: greed, lust, pride, anger, hatred, lack of forgiveness, etc.) to the cross symbolizing their commitment to God that they are going to work hard at running the race without letting themselves get bogged down by that thing. And should they pick it back up again, once they realize it, they will hand it back over to God and continue running the race with endurance.

Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.

~Romans 6:12-14