Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Have you heard the one about...

If you are someone who has never left your country it is probable that you would have a skewed idea of what other countries are like. How they cook, what their bathrooms looks like, transportation, language, markets, smells, etc.

I have had the privilege of visiting a few countries. With each visit I become more aware of just how little I know about other cultures. I wish everyone could experience many cultures. It is a gift that will change your life.

I, ignorantly, assumed that it was Americans that didn't know about other cultures. My last trip to Tanzania showed me that this isn't true. (I don't know why it would be.)

These are just a few of the questions I was asked...

Does the washing machine rip your clothes? Does it get your clothes clean?

Do people walk? (As opposed to driving everywhere).

Are there orphans?

Does it rain? Is it cold? Are there mountains? Are you familiar with this kind of weather? (It was about 73 degrees that day).

Do people have HIV?

Are there thieves?

I have a big grin on my face I remember the times and places these questions came up. I'm glad I got to be the one to answer them. I fear that movies and television shows and music from America paint an unrealistic picture of life in the States - not only for foreigners but also for ourselves.

If you don't have the opportunity to visit another country I urge you to take the time to research a country you're interested in. Talk to people who have been there. Try find a restaurant that has good authentic food from that country.  Some of the best people to talk to would be missionaries. They see the heart of the country - good, bad and ugly. They know the people. The sights. The smells. The sounds.

I can never say thank you enough to those of you who pray for me and support me financially. Without your partnership I would not be able to do what I do. You all play a HUGE role in me getting to do what I created to do. I am blessed to get to travel the world and experience different cultures. May the Lord bless you as you invest in what He is doing in my life!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back.

Today is day 11 back in the good ol' U.S. of A. I am still adjusting and processing. One thing keeps coming to mind. There's no going back.

I can never go back to life before missions. Life before experiencing other cultures.

We sang this song at church on Sunday, "I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. Though none go with me. Still I will follow. No turning back."

At the sound of the first note of the song my heart jumped to my throat and tears filled my eyes. This song was a favorite of my late youth pastor, PT. As I reminisced about the few short years I had with him I realized that he is responsible for my missionary life. It was with him that I did my very first mission trip. It was a two week trip to the Philippines in 2001. My life hasn't been the same since. He showed me, not only a part of the world I have never seen before, but that I -ME- could some how make a difference. I could be part of God's plan to change lives, circumstances, communities, and generations.

Yes, I know there is work that can and needs to be done here. But God gives each of us an assignment, a role. My lot is to be an international missionary. There is nothing that compares to the feeling and fulfillment of doing what you know you were made to do. For me that is traveling to other countries and sharing Jesus.

Like the song says, no turning back. I've tasted and seen why God created me and I refuse to settle for anything less. Like the song also says, though none go with me still I will follow. Countless times I have felt like I'm traveling this road alone. Sometimes because there aren't many that choose this path and sometimes because people just don't/can't/won't understand. If following Jesus means that I will be alone on this journey-leaving my family, country, and comforts of home-  then so be it. I don't regret for a second the choice I've made to follow Jesus or to do missions.

My hope and prayer is that you, too, will seek what it is that God has created you to do. What is your purpose? Are you living that purpose? I have this theory. Whatever it is that you are passionate about- helping single parents learn how to budget, starting a group home, domestic missions, international missions, starting a non profit, teaching life skills to at risk youth, taking in pregnant teens, talking to your neighbors, interceding for our gov't/country, photography, sports, technology- whatever it is, THAT is your purpose. God has given each of us a passion. (And it may be something you're not good at doing so that you will rely full on Him). Some of us have suppressed it because it doesn't make sense or it's too late or whatever reason the enemy has tricked you into believing. As long as you are still here on earth God has an abundant life, adventure filled, purpose for you!

Pursue that purpose regardless of what society says or your friends say or your family. One of the many, many cool things about God is that He does 99% of the work. We don't have to be qualified or educated or equipped. All we have to do is obey. That's it. He will do EVERYTHING else. By everything I mean provide, equip, empower, enable, and cover you. He has more than enough and is waiting to pour it out on anyone whose heart is turned to him and is willing to obey.

I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back.