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Showing posts from September, 2008

Earthen Alter

As I was doing my daily devotions I read Exodus 20:24 that says in the first part, "Make me an alter of earth..." So I did a google search on what an earthen alter consisted of. An earthen alter would not have been practical for permanently settled people. This type of alter might be more indicative for a nomadic people who move regularly (missionaries.) You might be able to see why this "earthen alter" appealed to me. Remember, an alter is a place of sacrifice. We do not have to make animal sacrifices anymore, however, we still need to go to the alter on a daily basis. For me the alter is an earthen one, not only because as a missionary I move but this world is not my home so I do not want to have ties or anything permanent set up, figuratively or not. As I was doing my little study I stumbled across a poem written by G.K. Chesterton in 1906. It never seems to amaze me how so many times I can read things from such a long time ago but it seems like it could…

What Will Israel Have?

Exodus 14:30 "Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hands of the Egyptians..."

Exodus 19:6 "...and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you shall speak to the sons of Israel."


I read this article from BBC news (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7642090.stm) and found it disturbing that in order for Israel to have peace with the Syrians and Palestinians they must withdraw. If they withdraw from the land that was promised by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob what will they have? Pray for peace in Israel and that the Lord restores this country to the holy nation that it was meant to be.

Dos Cercas

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I worked, again, with the local King's Castle team that is from the church I am attending, here, in Costa Rica. I plan on working with them as much as possible. Today we worked in Dos Cercas, which is a community within Desamparados, in San Jose. The church I attend is in Dos Cercas and is in a middle class area but is a more dangerous area. I would like to add that middle class here is not comparable to middle class in the US. What we have been doing is going to different areas and setting up in a central location and then we go invite children to come to the program. We played games, had puppets, learned a Bible verse, and made a craft. It is very much like taking children's church out from the four walls of the church and bringing it to the streets. We had a great time with the kids and being able to help out the local ministry has been a blessing.

Parrot and a Tree

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A few days ago as I was getting ready for school I was startled by an overpowering squawking coming from outside of my window. It was so loud that I knew it could not be a normal bird. However, they can fool you because in El Salvador there are birds that squawk and sing like they are the most beautiful birds in the world and it is just like a common blackbird. So, I had to investigate and see what kind of bird this was. I have sheer curtains across my window so I could vaguely see something moving outside. I climbed onto my bed and looked out my window and sitting on the ledge was a big, green Parrot.

My teacher told me yesterday, in class, that the government gives away trees, for free. It is something they do to help the environment. Today I was working with King's Castle and in a park were two trees that had a white fence around it. Those are the trees that people have planted and are illegal to cut them down. This particular teacher also introduced me to a fam…

21st Century Slavery

Since moving to San Jose, Costa Rica I have heard some disturbing facts about 21st century slavery. Slavery, in the 21st century, is young girls being sold into prostitution. It is estimated in San Jose, alone, there are $2,000 girls sold as sex slaves. What can you expect in a country that prostitution and pornography is legal? What is really sad is that most of those girls are bought by American tourist. Costa Rica remains number one in central america for sex tourism. Go to this link if you would like to read more about this problem in Costa Rica (http://www.iabolish.org/slavery_today/country_reports/cr.html). There is hope and we can fight with our prayers and making people more aware of this situation. A great article about a girl who come out of a brothel can be read here http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/25/opinion/edkristof.php. The article ends with great words saying, "If we defeated slavery in the 19th century, we can beat it in the 21st century."

Representation

All we have to do is represent Him.

Hebrews 1:3 "And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power when He made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High."

I am only one,
But still I am one,
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something I can do. --Edward Everett Hale

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain. --Emily Dickinson

I Do What I Do With Great Conviction

This morning I was able to help teach an adolescent Sunday School class. I am so happy to be involved with a church and ministry here. I am incredibly privileged to, not only, study Spanish but work in the same ministry that I work with in El Salvador. The Lord is so faithful and cares so much about our needs and desires. He knew it would be hard for me to be away from El Salvador but has provided other opportunities to do what I love.

Ministry and Language School

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Today Jacob, Heather, and I worked with a local King's Castle team. It was so great being able to help them out in ministry and playing with the kids. They were all so sweet and it was neat to see different areas of San Jose. So much of this city is very different than El Salvador but we went to an area that felt more like what we are used to, as far as poverty goes. This is such a great opportunity to not only study Spanish, apply it, and on top of it being able to work with the same ministry as I work with in El Salvador.
After we finished up with ministry we took a bus, however, all busses lead to downtown San Jose and then you have to grab a different bus to get where you need to go. Since we were down there we went to the Central Market because we all wanted to buy some fish. We discovered a little treasure while we were exploring. We found a place that has a huge grinder and it grinds up peanuts to make peanut butter, fresh and organic. Not only that but super…

Christmas in....September?

Last year I noticed that El Salvador started celebrating Christmas considerably earlier than most of us in the States do. I believe we put a tree up in October of last year and I thought that was ridiculously early. I had heard rumors that in Costa Rica they begin celebrating even earlier. Yesterday, those rumors were proved true as, in some stores, Christmas stuff was already being put out.

The Ability to Learn Other Languages

We have started to get into some heavy stuff in Spanish class. It has not be frustrating, just difficult. However, it is so wonderful to hear words of praise from a teacher. My teacher told Debbie, my classmate, and myself that we both are picking up Spanish very well and she talked to all of our teacher's and they all agree that we are doing a great job. This same teacher, Miriam, also said that she can tell we are learning quickly and would be able to learn other languages if we wanted. This is not a compliment I take lightly because learning other languages is difficult but I enjoy it. It is great to hear such encouraging words. I could not help but smile to myself because I know it is not me or my mind that is allowing me to learn quickly but the Lord. I have been praying that I would retain everything that I learn and speak properly with the right accent. I have had many people tell me that they, also, have been praying for me. So I give God all the glory for allo…

Celebrating at the Beach

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We did not have classes today because it is Independence day so a group of us went to Jaco. It was about a 2 hour bus ride and only cost us a little less than $8.00 a piece. The beach was nice and tranquil. I was expecting it to be crazy but it was not at all. I had a great time. Toward the end of the day we watched the sunset, which was amazing. It started to sprinkle a little and then as I turned to look the other way there was a full arched rainbow. Not only did God give us a beautiful sunset, to enjoy, but also a rainbow reminding us that He never breaks His promises.

Critical Decision

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These are two little boys from Las Delicias in El Salvador. Please be praying for their protection and that the things of the world would not be appealing. They are Guardians of the Vision so I worked with them on a regular basis however, they live in one of the worst areas of El Salvador. Their names are Geremias and Pedro. Geremias, the darker one, has an older sister that is dating a gang member. Which means gang members will be hanging around these boys and they are at the age when they have to make that critical decision to stay with Christ or join the gang. It breaks my heart to hear this and I do not want to return to El Salvador and find out that these precious boys have fallen into the trap of becoming a gang member.

No Rain

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I believe yesterday and today have been the first days, since I have been in Costa Rica, with no rain. It was so nice when I woke up and the sky was blue and I could feel the warmth of the sun beating down on my skin as I engaged in my daily run. Usually, it is completely cloudy and cool in the mornings. I did a bit of studying and then went to downtown San Jose, which is less than a 10 minute bus ride from where I live, to purchase bus tickets for our trip on Monday. We did not know exactly where the bus station was located so we walked around for a while then called a cab to take us. There were so many people out and we probably sat in the cab for 15 to 20 minutes which was really annoying because once we arrived to the bus station we realized we could have just walked. However, we didn't know how to get there but now we do. I assumed there was so much traffic and so many people out because of it being Saturday and a holiday weekend. On the contrary, the taxi driver i…

Independence Day

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Independence Day is actually on the 15 but we had a "festival" at school today. We sang the Costa Rican National Anthem, ate traditional food, learned about the Independence from Spain, and saw a traditional Costa Rican dance. We also learned that on the 15 everyone stops what they are doing at 6:00 pm and they sing the National Anthem and all the schools do parades. Many people go away to the beach for the holiday which is what some of us are thinking about doing. Here is a link if you would like to check out more pictures. http://www.new.facebook.com/album.php?aid=58086&l=b303c&id=714759417

Burn In Me

For some reason the theme of "burning" continues to re-occur in my life. Burning is usually not a state of comfort and I can attest I am out of my comfort zone. The last two days in chapel the topics have been different but this theme keeps jumping out at me. Charles H. Spurgeon said, "As God puts his children in the furnace he will be in the furnace with them." In a book I recently read about Smith Wigglesworth this portion was engraved in my mind. God spoke and said, 'Wigglesworth, I am going to burn you up until there is no more Wigglesworth left; then only Jesus will be seen." During my prayer time a song came on by Merchant Band called Burn In Me was exactly my heart's cry.

Vs. 1
A reflection of You
Is all I want to be
The fire in You
Is all I need
I try on my own
And I fail time after time
Here I am lord and I give you my life

Chorus
Come in burn in me, Come in burn in me,
This fire that I see in your eyes is all that I need in this life,
Come in…

Hurricane Humor

I received this as an email and thought it was super funny. You may not understand a few of these things if you aren't from South Louisiana and have never been through a hurricane but it is still amusing.

Gustav’s Guide to Hurricane Survival

Lessons Learned During and After the Storm

The hurricane grouch quotient can be calculated by adding the number of children and pets in a home without power, multiplied by the number of days quoted on the Entergy telephone recording, divided by the number of fans or portable air conditioners powered by your home generator, (however if you were last in line at Home Depot and have no generator then multiply by the daily high for that day reported by either Pat Shingleton or Jay Grymes), then add the number of trips to the washateria and the days left until school opens. Discount by the percentage of time spent at neighbors who have power. Recalculate as often as necessary



No matter how many times you flick the switch, lights don't work without …

Allow Yourself to Be Led

Last night as I was walking with friends there was a topic of conversation that ministered to me. We were talking about how people ask us questions that we do not know the answer such as "What do you plan on doing next?" Or, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" My answer was, "Somewhere in the world ministering." How can anyone answer a question like that. If you could confidently answer it is probably not God's plans, but yours. So Joanna, a MA here in Costa Rica, said that the life of a missionary is like trying to put together a million piece jigsaw puzzle without seeing the picture on the box. Jacob, a MA to El Salvador, added and being blind folded and allowing someone to guide your hand to the puzzle piece and putting it in the correct place. I was thinking about that conversation this morning as I was doing my devotions and I wrote in my journal, "Having no clue what the whole picture looks like but simply trusting and allowing …

Market Adventure

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Today we went to the market, sort of, by ourselves. We met some friends last night and they showed us how to get where we wanted to go using the bus. It is slightly complicated because you have to change busses. However, we made it there and back all in one piece. I decided that I wanted to venture out and buy some things that I had never tried before. So I bought a herb and a vegetable in the picture above. I do not remember what they are called but the herb can be used in whatever you want and the vegetable can be eaten many different ways. However, I have decided to go the route of boiling it and then mixing it in with scrambled eggs.

Unity in Prayer

Psalm 133:1 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity."

There is something about praying together that brings a supernatural unity; a special camaraderie. You may not know the person but when you share personal requests and pray together, to our Saviour Jesus Christ, something happens; something changes. You still may not be the best of friends but there is a unity that comes by the Spirit. We have chapel every morning but Friday is prayer chapel. We divided into groups of people we did not know very well and took personal requests. We also prayed for our professor's, the elections in the United States, and the leadership and government in the countries we will be working in. It was a wonderful time of prayer and those in my group, even though I do not know them very well, I feel connected with them. It is so important to pray with one another. I challenge you to pray more with others. Not just in church services or cell…

Trouble Won't Go

I actually talked on the phone with my mom for the first time yesterday. She told me about the storm and started crying as she was saying how scary it was and how horrible and crazy Baton Rouge is right now. People are doing what they can to survive. God blessed my family because my mom was able to find a generator after waiting for more than hour in line. The few stores that are open are only letting about 10 people in at a time so I can imagine the line moves slow. However, having a generator means you need gas and everyone needs gas; but there isn't any. When one place gets gas everyone goes there and waits until it runs out. A girl that is here with me works with Convoy of Hope. She told me that they have a distribution point at The Hope Center on Rieger Road. I have been trying to call my mom and let her know that they can get ice and food there but now her cell phone is not working, so I can not get in touch. To hear how upset she is and not being there is really har…

The El Salvador I Know and Love

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I cannot begin to express how much I miss El Salvador. I miss the ministry, I miss my friends, and I miss the children. It has been so hard coming here from El Salvador. I am trying to become involved in some ministry as soon as possible. Just because I am studying Spanish does not mean ministry stops. It has been quite more of an adjustment than I expected. It is hard but I know the Lord is with me and there is a purpose for every season of my life. The purpose is for me to learn Spanish. Some of the children I was closer to I texted them when I was sitting on the plane waiting to take off to come to Costa Rica. I just sent them all a generalized text saying I would miss them and I can't wait to come back. Karen, my old roommate, teaches English to some of those children, and she sent me an email telling me to never doubt that I would be missed because those children cried when they read the text I sent them. Times likes these really makes you look forward to a time wh…

Sigh of Relief

I was able to get in contact with someone who was able to call my family and find out if everyone was alright, and they are. However, our house and yard did not slide by without some minor damage and major cleanup. They said that Hurricane Gustav was the worse storm Baton Rouge has ever seen. I have been reading 2theadvocate.com to find out what is going on in Baton Rouge. Now that nothing happened in New Orleans the National news is on to a new story. I have seen some pictures from around the Baton Rouge area and it does not look good. Even though I have heard from my family I still have tons of friends that I have not heard from being that the power is all out. There are also quite a few churches that support me and were in the areas affected, including my home church. Please specifically pray for Bethel Temple Assembly of God, First Assembly of God Vidalia, First Assembly of God Raceland, Cornerstone Christian Ministries in New Iberia, Freedom Worship Center in Galliano, Fir…

Reopening Old Wounds

Today has been a little tough for me as I watch the eye of the Hurricane go through my home town of Baton Rouge. The last contact I had with my family was around 11:30 am so now I am just watching and waiting. It was very hard to concentrate on Orientation today while my mind was wondering about what was going on in Louisiana. I am very irritated at the National news because all they talk and report on is New Orleans, which did not really get that much of the storm. When places like Houma and Baton Rouge had the eye go over and they barely mention that. In my weakest moment today a friend came over to pray with me and I just started crying because I was overwhelmed with emotion. Emotion from old wounds of the things that happened during Katrina, wounds of moving away from good friends, and the mostly wounds of wondering what is going on and if my family and friends are going to be alright. But I know that the Lord has them in His hands.