A new worship song penned by a high school youth boldly asking “Use me, God”! And He does! God works through people.
Women gathered in a slightly older one’s home. Chocolate chip pancakes and an evening in the Word, in sharing, in tears, in joy. God gives rest.
Beautiful peach roses delivered amazing new neighbors. God brings joy.
Staff members gathered in prayer midday, back from Haiti, Colorado, Texas, beyond. God goes with and God brings back.
Stories from Haiti from two beautiful young women. Passion, joy, excitement. God makes alive.
A neighbor watching. Staffmates acting. God protects and provides.
Walking with my neighbor-teammate and his daughter on a morning commute. Pure joy in a three year old’s voice as she tells me about “white” day in preschool. God in simple things.
Same three year old removes her coat to show off her dress as bystanders tell her she’s beautiful … and she is. I look in her eyes and can tell she really believes it. Silent prayers lifted that she never forgets! God reminds, we’re beautiful too.
Kari Jobe on repeat singing “I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hands, lay back against you and breathe, feel your heartbeat. This love is so deep, it’s more than I can stand. I melt in your peace, it’s overwhelming”. . Sleep comes. God is near.
At some point during the last week of 2012, I got thinking about the concept that many bloggers use where certain days of the week are dedicated to a specific blog post type.
We have: 5-minute Friday – five minutes (and only five minutes) of unedited writing based on a weekly prompt Weird Verse Wednesday – Looking at a uncommon, not often quoted, or just plain weird Bible Verse each Wednesday Saturday Prayer – a quoted prayer posted each Saturday
… Among many others.
In hopes to blog more consistently this coming year, I decided I would start a God-sighting Saturday post.
God-Sightings are basically places we see God at work each day in our lives.
Each Saturday I will post one or more God-Sightings from the past week. Sometimes it will be a story of something that happened that week. Some stories may be related to my own personal life while others will be related to ministry at First Trinity. And some weeks, like this one, it may simply include a list of big or small ways I saw God show up in the week. My prayer is that as I do this, it will help me to keep my eyes open for what God is doing in my life and the lives around me!
Here are SOME of this week’s God-sightings:
– So many of the FT youth serving in worship… Especially after staying up half the night at the New Year’s Lock-in.
– Awesome adult leaders that were willing to stay up half the night with the high schoolers at the lock-in as well as those who helped prepare and decorate for the event.
– Pastor offering to help me carry stuff out to my car after church.
– a long Sunday afternoon nap!
– a day to do whatever I needed to do… Including rest
– friends to do life with
– the joy in greeting a friend home from vacation
– some fun goals for 2012
– lunchtime laughter
– watching the Haiti missionaries busy preparing to leave and while I’d of course love to go, being 100% content with not going … With knowing that when God said “not this year, Bekah” (and I actually listened) that it is TOTALLY a good thing for many reasons
– a day of unexpected motivation from start to finish (possibly divine motivation)
– people helping paint and fix up the house next to church that I’ll be moving into later this month.
– 20 people, 40 suitcases, TONS of donations filling the basement at church as our two missions teams prepare to go to Haiti
– recalling God’s goodness in my life as I glance through old journals as I pack up my apartment.
And a few more in pictures from the week:
Words to describe 2011 along with our hopes for 2012 from the lock-in
Reminders to SHINE!
Pictures of my beautiful niece sent from my beautiful sister
One of my favorite thing in Haiti this past week was hearing more stories about Haiti. Stories of the peoples’ lives, stories of God at work, stories of past trips. As Dan was sharing some stories one night from a previous trip he kept bringing up the phrase, “Think Like a Missionary.” I loved this concept and have to say that as the week went on, there were multiple times “think like a missionary” popped into my head and forced me to think outside the box a little. I thought I’d share a few examples:
The first situation that comes to mind is during our first VBS. We had brought a craft to do with the kids that involved making an angel necklace out of Ideal clamp paperclips a bead and some string. We debated back and forth whether to do it all at once to or to separate out groups of kids to go do it a few at a time. We ended up trying it all together since it was such a simple craft. This may have worked fine… if there were only 150 kids there. We only brought half of the supplies the first day because we knew we had other churches to go to later in the week but forgot to count how many kids were there before starting the craft. Opps. We very quickly realized, as kids were swarming us for more supplies, that there were MUCH more than 150 kids there! While very exciting, we had a problem on our hands. “Think like a missionary” popped into my head. The end result was cutting some of the longer strings in half with Pastor Allen’s pocket knife and using some of the extra “heads” (beads) we had to give to those who did not get paperclips. In the long run, it ended up with some kids only have heads and others having decapitated angels, but hey, the gospel was proclaimed and we chose to give God the glory and ask him to give us better wisdom to handle the next VBS in a better way.
The thing with going on a mission trip is that you plan and plan and plan… and then are flexible when plans change. On the schedule we had, that first VBS on Tuesday did not exist. This meant that we needed to figure out what we would do on Thursday when we were back at the same church, in Les Cayes, with some of the same kids, but also a lot MORE kids. We already didn’t have enough supplies the first time for a craft so we needed to figure out what to do. “THINK LIKE A MISSIONARY.” Our first task was to figure out a skit. Through prayer, a conglomeration of previous skit ideas, and some brainstorming sessions, God provided us with a fun way to present his saving grace in a way kids, who didn’t speak English (with missionaries that didn’t speak Creole), could understand. We also decided to make friendship bracelets for the kids because we had a ton of Embroidery Floss. So Wednesday night we set out to make 400 bracelets (we wanted to make sure we had enough). My camp experience had taught me the quickest, easiest way to make many bracelets in the shortest amount of time. Wednesday we set at our task and made close to 200 in about 45 mintues. But this wasn’t good enough for some of the guys on our team. After dinner, Dan broke out the drill. We perfected our system and before we knew it we had nearly 450 awesome bracelets ready to hand out to excited children the next day. 🙂 Now that’s what I call, thinking like a missionary. (Video of the process to come soon!)
One last example is simply in communication. We tried our best to learn some Creole before heading to Haiti, and some of the children have picked up some English here and there, but often, “communication” did not come in words. I am reminded of passages in the New Testament where Paul talks about doing whatever it takes to communicate Christ to people. Often on our trip, we were forced to “think like a missionary” and find new creative ways to communicate with the people we came in contact with.
The more I think about this, as I’ve written this post, I’ve realize how much I want to “think like a missionary” more and more in my everyday life. So often we keep God in a little box, we do things the same way because, we’ve always done it that way before. I am reminded again of the story that I talked about in my last post of the feeding of the 5,000. Jesus wasn’t asking the disciples to do some impossible task by feeding this people, though that is how they felt. Rather, he was challenging them to “think like a missionary” and turn to the one who has an abundance to give. Did Jesus feed the 5,000 people in the ways the disciples were originally trying to solve the problem? No, but there was enough food. Did we have enough supplies to make the craft the way we originally intended? No, but we had enough beads and string to send the kids away with something to remind them that God is always with them.
What is it in your life, and in mine where we need to start thinking like missionaries and turn to the one who may not always do things as WE think best, but always has more than enough?!?
Wow. There are so many things I’ve been wanting to blog about, but because of all the awesome things happening right now, I have has less and less time to actually write about it. So, before I forget what they are, I’ve started a list, right here on the blog. I hope to get to these things soon. Keep your eyes open and, if there’s something you really want to hear about (either below or something else), post a comment or something to bug me and maybe it’ll get here sooner rather than later. :)
More details about our 30 Hour Famine a couple weeks ago with the youth and some awesome places we saw God
The Crossroads CONNECT activity tonight as we learned more about Lent by talking about Mardi Gras and the masks we wear that God asks us to lay down during lent, and everyday, so we can see his love (To be written Tuesday)
When this finally gets published to the web, I will be in Ohio with thousands of youth (16 from First Trinity) learning about Jesus and praising Him together. I can’t wait to get back Sunday and tell you all about it!
Yesterday I asked you to finish the sentence, “HOPE IS….”
Today, I want to ask you to do something as well. It doesn’t involved commenting (unless you want to), but today, I want to ask you to pray for people in this world, specifically in your life, that need hope.
For those in difficult situations, ask God to surround them with the assurance that He is faithful.
Maybe those people you know that need hope don’t even know God and so your prayer would be that in the midst of their hopelessness they would find Hope in the salvation Jesus has for them.
Maybe people need hope in the midst of an illness or the loss of a loved one.
Maybe they need hope in a marriage that’s falling apart or a child that is making some difficult choices.
Maybe the person that needs hope… is you.
Take a moment right now and pray that God would reveal Himself as the God of Hope to those people.
Need some ideas of where to start? Here are a few groups of people that could probably use some prayers for hope:
The thousands of youth at the Acquire the Fire conference as we explore the theme “Collision: Mend the Broken” … that as they realize their brokenness, they would find hope in God.
The people in Haiti and other areas hit by natural disasters recently
People struggling with disorder eating, self-injury, depression or contemplating suicide.
We bring before you the people of Haiti and pray that you would provide HOPE. In a country that has needed so much help for so long, we continue to see devastation after devastation… an earthquake, the cholera outbreak, and now a hurricane on it’s way and those are only the “big” things. We don’t see the unbearable daily struggles these people face. We sit here far away in geographical distance… but for many of us not far in heart. We sit and we pray.
This country (and many others like it around the world) probably could easily sound a lot like Job asking, “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? (Job 6:11).
One thing after another after another keeps impacting the beautiful people of Haiti and it must be difficult to have hope… difficult to be patient. But, Lord, we have this promise from Your Word as well, “But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” (Psalm 9:18)
You have not forgotten the people of Haiti and you never will. Lord, I do pray that as they are afflicted in so many ways that their hope would not perish, but rather that you would restore their hope and that they would find it in You alone.
It seem like there’s no way possible people can survive. There’s nowhere to go… many of them are living in simple tents that probably don’t even protect them from a normal rain shower, let alone a hurricane. It seems hopeless… but Lord, we wait in hope for You, for You are their help and their shield (Psalm 33:20)
You are a powerful God and your Word proclaims that NOTHING is impossible for you. So today, we pray for safety and protection for the people in Haiti. Get them safely through this storm and continue to be with them as the rebuild and rebuild and rebuild their country. Keep them healthy despite the many illnesses going around. Lord, it truly does seem hopeless, but we know that YOU ARE HOPE and so we trust that all of this is in your hands.
All this, and so much more, we pray in Jesus’ Name,
AMEN! Let it be so!
(Side note: I will be out of town until Sunday. I’ve written a post for tomorrow and Saturday and hopefully they are set to post themselves on those days. But if it doesn’t work… don’t worry… you’ll just get three doses of hope on Sunday! While we’re on the subject of the trip, and of prayer, please pray for the First Trinity Youth Group and many more youth groups who will be gathering in Cleveland Ohio for Acquire the Fire this weekend. Blessings to you all!)
Where to begin? This is day 1 of a month long journey of intentionally looking at hope and I discovered something today. When you set out to focus intentionally on one thing, suddenly your eyes are opened to it everywhere. I feel like I could fill 31 days of blogging about hope just from the thoughts, ideas, Bible verses, stories and more that went through my head today alone. I’m not sure where to start but I guess if you boil all of my pondering down from today, I land on this one thought:
We NEED hope.
I remember my Musana kids and my trip in Uganda where I saw people who had nothing but where still able to live a joyful life because they had… hope. That’s kind of what “Musana” even means… sunshine or ray of hope.
I think about the upcoming trip to Haiti at First Trinity and continue to hear stories from the earthquake last year and even before the earthquake, the need is so great in that country. People simply are holding on and are able to make it through each day because they have hope.
I ponder what it would have been like to be one of those miners stuck in the ground for 69 days. I heard today that they were down there 17 days before they had any communication with anyone above ground. Hope for rescue, I’m sure, played a crucial role in their survival. I loved hearing that the camp they set up for the families of the miners was called, Camp Hope.
It would be easy to say “of course those people need hope; they’re from countries that are poor and they don’t have anything else. But I’d even venture to say that we almost are worse off here in America when it comes to lacking hope. We get caught so easily in Satan’s lies thinking that “things” and “stuff” and “power” and “control” and “relationships” and….. and…. and…. will give us what we need. But when the things break, the stuff gets old, we lose power and control, and that significant other walks away, we get caught in despair.
WE NEED HOPE.
And we need to find hope in something that will never move or break or leave. One of my favorite passages is from Lamentations 3. After 2.5 chapters of lamenting how horrible life is, the author suddenly switches his mindset and states:
YET this I call to mind and therefore I have HOPE:
BECAUSE OF THE LORD’S GREAT LOVE WE ARE NOT CONSUMED!”
Consumed. I feel that’s a good description of what it might be like to not have hope… consumed. But praise be to God that in a world that seems to be losing hope faster than the speed of light, we do not have to be consumed. For we can trust in the truth that God’s love for us is GREAT! Even if you have nothing else to hold on to, hold on to this fact:
YOUR GOD LOVES YOU!
That fact doesn’t instantly make everything better, and there still may be challenges to face, but what great HOPE is found in knowing that there is a God who is greater than this mess of a world we lives in and HE LOVES US!