Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Car

Well the Lord seems to love stretching my faith...I figure I'd better learn to enjoy it. With my personality, I tend to LOVE fun in everything I do. Even if something in and of itself isn't the most enjoyable, I'm usually able to find some way to bring fun into that too. So if the Lord intends on making this a life-long habit (as I've heard He's prone to do...) I figure I'd just better find a way to bring fun into this too. It'll make it so much more enjoyable along the way... and plus, if I'm having fun, it's easier to have faith too! Ok, bunny trail aside, here's why the whole thing came up:

I've been praying for a car for months now, and apparently the Lord just doesn't think I need it quite as badly as I think I do. I've been looking at several I found on craigslist and they just keep falling through. I thought for sure I had found one that looked GREAT! The guy selling it was saving it for me until I got back from my trip to Atlanta, but when I got home and called him, he said that he had decided not to sell it after all. So here I am again car hunting. I know the Lord has just the perfect one picked out for me... I just don't know where it is at the moment. So I'm waiting...

Actually, that's another theme for me these days. Patience. While I've been trying to work everything out with my ministry in Uganda, it has been impossible to get ahold of my contacts in Uganda. I'm going to try calling them internationally tomorrow morning... but it has definitely been a test of my patience waiting for everything to come together. I think this is possibly one of God's ways of telling me to slow down. I tend to see a challenge or a goal and then relentlessly pursue that until it's accomplished. However, there are times when I need to just sit back, take things a bit slower, and wait on the Lord. I think now is one of those times. So here I am Lord! I'm Yours to do with whatever You like, WHENEVER you like! You just keep doing what it takes to teach this stubborn girl that You alone are at the wheel! I'll stop trying to be the backseat driver now.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Final Thoughts

I just finished up my 2 week missionary training today. I have to say I am so sorry to leave these wonderful people. If anyone is looking for a mission board, check into Biblical Ministries Worldwide! (They will be very proud of me for joining their recruiting effort! :)) I have learned so much these past two weeks... things about me, and things about what to expect in my ministry.

Funny moment from this week:

One morning I got all ready to go. I showered, dressed, had breakfast, and had gathered all my gear. I stood at the door all ready to go, and very proud of myself for the hustle I had made in getting ready. Suddenly a strange feeling washed over me... I was forgetting something. I went through my checklist. Key. Check. Laptop. Check. Notebook. Check. Minty-fresh gum. Check. Suddenly I realized... My SHOES!!!! I couldn't well go traipsing around Atlanta without my shoes! Feeling foolish, I hurriedly grabbed my flip flops and ran out the door. All the missionaries got a hearty laugh that day at the image of me wandering around barefoot without a clue what was wrong :) I assure you, I don't act quite that blonde all the time... but occasionally it gets the better of me!

Serious moment from this week:

I have to say, it's tough to choose. While this week was full of its fun, laughing times, it also had an abundance of stretching and growing times too. One thing I realized was just how much the Lord has been leading me and guiding me without my direct knowledge. This past semester I applied to 4 different mission boards and have learned so much through each one. The Lord has provided so many contacts and resources through those boards, even though I can go with only one. Through my interaction with CTEN, I gained valuable knowledge and experience in formulating an overseas budget. I also gleaned great cross-cultural communication guidance and insight. From my application to BMW, I gained 2 weeks of incredibly valuable training as well as many priceless friendships. If I hadn't been pursuing Deywa (even though it eventually didn't work out), I might not have considered Tentmakers and BMW for my mission board, and now I'm a missionary with one and trained by the other! I just love looking back on the incredible ways the Lord has cared for me and guided me. I know this is just a taste of what's to come. I also know that there will be times in the future I will need to be reminded of the faithfulness of the Lord, just like the Israelites.

Now, as I start out on a new, unchareted path--deputation--I'm tempeted to shout as Teddy in Arsenic and Old Lace did: "Charge!!!"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Monkey and the Fish

Why did the monkey help the fish by taking it out of the water?

Sounds like the first line of a joke, doesn't it?? It's actually a study question from a cultural adaptability story. I'll share the story here, but in the mean time, if anyone can think of a good punch line, share it under the comments section!!!

The Monkey and the Fish:
A typhoon had temporarily stranded a monkey on an island. In a secure, protected place, while waiting for the raging waters to recede, he spotted a fish swimming against the current. It seemed obvious to the monkey that the fish was struggling and in need of assistance. Being of kind heart,the monkey resolved to help the fish.

A tree precariously dangled over the very spot where the fish seemed to be struggling. At considerable risk to himself. the monkey moved far out on a limb, reached down and snatched the fish from the threatening waters. Immediately scurrying back to the safety of his shelter, he carefully laid the fish on dry ground. For a few moments the fish showed excitement, but soon settled into a peaceful rest. Joy and satisfaction swelled inside the monkey. He had successfully helped another creature.

The moral of the story: Always ask the fish first! :)

Ok, seriously, we were discussing the need and criteria for evaluating other cultures. Going into a different culture creates a myriad of opportunities to misjudge and misunderstand the culture. If we're not careful, it's possible to do serious harm to others as well as your ministry just as the well-meaning monkey did. On the other hand, it's possible to go to far and adapt too much of the culture. Can you imagine what would happen if the aforementioned monkey decided he was going to live and breath in the water all the time, just like the fish? I've grown up my whole life desiring to be African, but when it comes right down to it, I won't want to take part in every part of the culture. Just as I have to be discerning about my American culture, I will need to be just as discerning about my African culture. So if you all would like to start praying for wisdom and discernment for me, especially in regards to culture and working with the nationals, I would greatly appreciate it!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I just flew into Atlanta today for a missionary training school with Biblical Ministries Worldwide. Long story short, I was unable to attend Tentmakers' training because of my finals week at school, so instead I'm getting schooled by BMW. It's a two week program, and it definitely promises to be intense. The sessions range from prayer in ministry to fund-raising, to inter-cultural communication. I'm staying in a guest house of the mission with 2 couples and another gal my age. It's interesting how much more I evaluate what I say and do when I'm living with strangers. It's definitely humbling and convicting. How I long to reflect Christ in EVERYTHING I do and say, and not just be careful because I'm with people I don't know.

Quick prayer request: I'm trying to buy a car to get around for deputation. I've been praying about this for months and I MIGHT have found one. It's a 1994 Camry that I could get for $1600. Please pray for wisdom on whether I should buy it as well as God's provision for the finances to buy it. Thanks everyone!

More to come soon!