Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Third Day on the Second Day


Live Counter to your Culture.  I can't remember where I heard this phrase but I think it was at Brook Hills while visiting home in August.  

"To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him: if he is thirsty, give him something to drink: for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.'  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."  Romans 12:20-21

Are we responding in a manner that gives others pause when an offense is committed?  Do our actions and words reflect to a hurting world not just How to but Who to turn to?  We tend to see our enemy as anyone who opposes us.  I don't care what culture we live in, daily we are given opportunities to either reflect His glory or inflict our recourse.  Not just with folks at work, outsiders or non-believers but within our very own families and faith family.  Just this past week, I was tested in this with family back home.  I have a friend, a national partner and co-laborer that reminds and constantly encourages me to 'trust in Him', 'put it in Gods hands' and in his imperfect English to 'do the right' independent of anything else. 

Last week, we had a portion of a small group from Brook Hills, five guys, out to the cloud forest.  Aggregately, they were a picture of obedience ('do the right') in how they came together blindly as a small group, planned a trip serving together and then delivering one of the most impactful VBS events at multiple schools normally planned and executed by ladies!  Pretty impressive.  As its been said, guys tend to float through three phases in life: Struggle or Survival, Some level of Success and then a Search for Significance.  Our culture hates the first, is in love with the second and indifferent to the third usually until its too late.  This group has embraced the third at a relatively young age.  When living a significant life there is evidence and traces of your presence left behind.  They left their mark here because these Ecuadorian kids had never seen men do anything out of their traditional roles.  When you are living a significant life, you can't help but live and respond contrary to what the World expects! 

What impressed me the most was how they thought ahead with the future in mind for everything, ie. prepped, practiced, put props together and prayed.  As we played music while mixing concrete 'Ecuadorian Style' I will always associate them with listening to the group Third Day on the Second Day of the trip which also demonstrated the DNA of the group - looking ahead in obedience 'doing the right' to make significant impact contrary to how the World gives!


















Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Godspell

Hey for all those interested, all three kids will be in the performance Godspell this Saturday, April 27th at 700 PM Central Time.  You will be able to watch it live via the internet by logging onto the following website: www.alliance.k12.ec.  Once you get on the website of the school, look for another link that says Godspell performance and click on that to watch.  It should be up and running a day or so before.  Blessings. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

His sufficiency......

I wanted to share something with y'all that happened this week.  My position here is somewhat different than most typical ministries or missionaries in that it is a mix of leading short teams, leading personnel and directing resources to build, maintain and develop the camp while managing it somewhat like a business (very similar to the business platforms of the IMB).  Discipleship has been challenging because the ministry is atypical and we haven't had any permanent people working for us until recently. 

I've had a worker over the last six months that the orphanage provides that has been very difficult to work with.  The son of an orphanage worker, he often deceives or lies, needs constant supervision, probably functions on a 7-8 grade mental and maturity level, claims to be a Christian and at 24 already has a two year old daughter.  He has already been fired him once for dishonesty and blatantly not following direction.  I've attempted to coach him, get our orphanage director involved and share with him to no avail ie. no change in attitude, behavior or choices.  This past week he again defied direction while working alongside another orphan who was helping at the camp for a week.  Although we now have a national as the foreman of camp operations, this worker is critical to camp function in that he does most of the physical work.  Even with my leadership experience, I didn't know what to do or where to go with him.  Sunday, we were doing home church while listening to Davids sermon on the Sufficiency of Christ. He discussed 1 Peter 3 which talks about both submission to authorities and not being 'slaves to sin'.  The Lord gave me the answer.

I called a meeting with the worker, his father (who has been a believer for only 3 years) and his boss and my foreman (who at 35 is a very strong believer, leader in both his indigenous (Quichiuan) church and community.  As I began to share in spanish, he immediately denied wrongdoing, lied and took up a posture of defensiveness and increased hardness of his heart!  As soon as we began reading scripture though and how it applied to following Gods authority we saw three things.  His shoulders lowered, his eyes softened and his mouth became unclenched.  We watched as the Lord pierced his soul with the Word!  My brothers in Christ stepped in and explained to him, only as they could, using what I said - examples in cultural relevant terms and relating their own stories of struggle and triumph.  With tears in both his and his Dad's eyes, we witnessed him go from rebellion to submission to apology (which had never happened before) without prompting. 

I share this only because I'm constantly amazed at how many times we still look to our insufficiency or inability to impact others and not on the power of His Word or the sufficiency of Christ alone.  I am happy to declare I can't do what only He can!  The Word changes lives!  I'm so grateful for Him allowing me to be a part of what He is doing but more for how He shows He can do it with or without me.  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Camping.......

As Tim and I plan on heading out to go camping in the jungle, there was and is some camping happening right here at the Camp!  First, for a project with Gabe shot earlier, graded and returned this week, the kids 'camped' out here to use the facilities to shoot a video on Acts.  They all did a great job and we got a kick out of the funny gestures with Gabe's voiceover.  We were seriously impressed how the back drop of the camp catapulted you back into biblical times.  See for yourself:


video


Second, we are excited to host more than 150 young adult nationals from Quito, Guyaquil and the Oriente (jungle) this weekend.  It is encouraging to see Ecuadorians getting closer to God using the facilities that our friends have prayed for and financially supported!




Ampitheatre filled up

Trust fall 
All Participating
Trust Fall Seasoned Citizen
Leaders leading








Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Shoes



Recently, I noticed one day this past month a worn, discarded pair of athletic shoes thrown over the electrical wires just outside our gate and over the road that bisects the orphanage and the camp.  I thought nothing of it, just something to do when an item is no longer needed.  I had seen it a thousand times growing up outside Philadelphia (I was sure we invented this non-nonsensical, juvenile act of rebellion) until yesterday when a local friend informed me of its cultural meaning.  It never occurred to me that it was a sign, signal to others for a purpose.



"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matt 6:34



Recently, my thoughts have inclined toward preparing, saving enough money and sending Maggie off to college in 8 short months.  I'm not alone in this, (a friend recently shared the same concern he had for his kids in that regard).   Today's concerns, blessings and challenges take up more than enough conscious thought that 'worrying' about that which is out of our control makes no sense.  Should we plan ahead, absolutely!  How many times have we understood our current circumstances much clearer down the road through the prism of passing time.  But, the God of truth sees it all from 50,000 feet and we are just standing in the road.  One can see the curvature of the earth, the other as far as the corner.  He has prepared us to navigate our terrain, not HIS.  Our choice is worry or peace!  

The Lord has brought workers to help us to build both a physical and spiritual platform to share the gospel here.  In addition, he is closing some doors and opening others.  He has done it through people that neither asked, expected nor thought they could be used.  He has done it in ways that has challenged me to put my complete faith in Him and not in others, their abilities or the action or inaction of local leaders.  I love a common prayer here: "Muestrame tus sendas" (Teach me your paths).  Please continue to pray for specific needs that I believe follow that path: a local national Camp Director, expansion of the soccer league to younger kids, addition of a hockey/youth night on campus, a job for a worker leaving - Jesus, further development of other local national partners and locations to share the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ!

"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace."  Ephesians 6:14-15

Right now, we are thankful to have the resources, workers and blessings of God through His people to develop the camp.  This is enough for today. There is no need for Him to show me tomorrow.  We do have the choice of how we walk.  We can wear those 'shoes' fitted for his purposes or our selfish, self-satisfying ones.  Scripture assures me that the power to walk is found in the peace only He can bring. 

Our busy lives can blind us to the obvious markers or signals that we are given.  Sometimes, they sit directly in front of or over/above us without even knowing their meaning.
Those abandoned shoes hanging on the power line outside our gate were a cultural signal to let others know that there are things worth stealing inside. 
That may or may not be the reason the shoes were there.  It could just kids being kids.  I am thankful though for the friend who brought it to my attention and a little curious about the silence of others.  Most of all, I'm grateful that all of life's answers aren't found just 'hanging' around, blowing in the wind or based on our desires but are found bound in the truth of His Word.









Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013 - the Year of Communication

Although I am not one to make New Year's resolutions, I will, however be more intentional in the way that I communicate. Case in point:I am now FaceBook offical. (my kids are now groaning...can you hear them?) FB does not excuse the fact that I do not email regularly (news to some of you, I'm sure), my blogs posts are notoriously few and far between and my verbal skills could use some clarity. We have all heard it said, "communication is key." As much as I know and believe this to be true, I find myself at times having extremely poor communication with others.  Not only do I have "issues" with the whole English-Spanish thing going on, but there are times with my family, in my marriage, and with friends and co-workers that I feel I am Rapunzel locked in the Tower of Babbel. I am communicating in a babbling language. People may look at me, cock their head to one side, eyes contemplatively glancing upward, as if to say, "I have no idea what she is saying or where she is coming from." I, of course, have full knowledge of where I am coming from and in my mind am making perfect sense....why can't they understand ???
Our high school will be performing Godspell this spring. As musical director I have been pouring over the musical score. The opening song is Tower of Babble. Hmmm...pretty intriguing in my current state, wouldn't you say? The song begins with one philosopher from history (in this case, Socrates) and turns into a cacophony of various philosophers throughout the ages. Each of them is singing fragments of their respective philosophies: Nietzsche, Da Vinci, Luther. As the sounds and counterpoint build, the character of John the Baptist enters and blows the shofar 3 times to call the community to order. He then begins to sing a slow, quiet appeal: Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord.
Am I a cacophony of sound in God's ears? Am I relentlessly chanting my 'philosophies' and opinions? You betcha. God, in His mercy send a warning shot over the bow. A "3-blast shofar", if you will. Although my tiresome requests and somewhat unintelligible communication may be "babble" to others, God knows me. He understands me. He is patient with me. And of course when I need a "shofar time-out", I know His discipline in my life is always good. Abba Father is teaching me to be more intentional with my conversations. More patient in my listening. Like Rapunzel, I need out of the tower. 

Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord....now that's simple and clear communication!

 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Drawing Pictures

We are grateful for the four Brook Hills families with servant hearts that came, shared, loved, served and left a mark on all the lives here.  Although words don't do it justice, a clear picture imerges from the image they left behind while living out our daily lives simultaneously...

* Gods plan is better, more productive, fulfilling and infinitely more effective than our own
* Our first mission field is always our families
* He consistently proves HIS plan, purpose and provision for us, sometimes revealing it slowly
* Trust not in why or where you walk but in how

But, pictures do sharpen the focus and bring it into view.....

 Anita hugging newly arrived orphan Josue, saying goodbye begins with saying hello


Fall Concert, pouring into sometimes means pouring out 


Legacy minded Disciple Making - Father knows best

Bobby holding firm onto that which propels him forward - His joy!

Steele getting dog-piled, providing a foundation of support where once there was none

Ann with Baby Sam, joyfully carrying the burden of others

As I watch this video I am again reminded of why we are here.  Not to build, develop or provide a camp for teams to serve God but produce a place where families can come and model HIS love, communicate our worth to HIM and reproduce a picture of the character of God drawing others to be served by God!  
video