Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fundraising in Full Swing

I think I mentioned in previous posts that I am going to Asia as a missionary in August. What a stretching experience it's been since I started fundraising! I've never had to do it like this before. I don't mind sending out letters or speaking at churches, but because I need monthly support I go and meet with people one-on-one. I procrastinate so much in this! God puts these people on my heart to ask and I just don't want to ask them sometimes. They aren't the people I'd pick because I either haven't seen them in ages, or I know their financial situation isn't the best. The funny thing is, is as I meet with these people God always does something! One lady couldn't give money because she is unemployed, but she knit me a prayer shawl. Another person couldn't give but knew of someone else who could. God is just so creative in how He cares for me!

Do I like fundraising? No, I hate it! But I know God will provide everything I need in the time I need it. Right now I need to just keep plugging along, keep meeting with people, keep sending out letters, and just wait and pray. God's not going to send me somewhere and not back me up with support. I'll do my part, and He'll do His part. We are a team.

If you know me at all, you know that I can drastically change subjects, and that's what I'm going to do right now. The first few weeks home have been really rough. I graduated from Elim about a month ago,
and the transition from Bible college to normal home life has been the strangest thing. I've gone from a lot of people everywhere, to much time alone, and brief times with family; chapel services four days a week, to one church service on Sunday; seeing my boyfriend everyday in person, to a skype call or phone call everyday (thank goodness for skype...I mean seriously!); sharing my room with an awesome roommate and best friend, to sharing my room with a giant teddy bear (whom I do adore) and maybe a few spiders if I'm lucky (that was sarcasm in case you didn't catch on); and finally having friends to hang out with almost anytime I want them, to searching for people my age.

It's been an adjustment from seeing all the negatives to seeing all the positives. I'm learning that the free time really is great! I've been cooking more (If you are wondering, those pictures are things my mom and I cooked together! An authentic Chinese dish and mango carrot cake. So good. I couldn't help but share the masterpiece!), playing music, and even gardening a little! My church is also starting some new outreaches and I've been able to get involved in that. New people are coming to my
church so I'm able to make new friends.

 I also feel needed. When I was at Elim there were so many people who wanted to lead worship or had a heart for outreach. Here my church is so small that they need a lot of help. It's so amazing to realize I'm filling a role, no matter how small it is. I know I can be a help and that God has put me here for a reason. Even though I'm fundraising in order to be a missionary, it's amazing to know I can be a missionary right here. This is my training ground. This is where I'm called to right now. I'm not just in a waiting period. This is part of my journey and I don't want to miss out on anything lesson God could teach me this summer.

 Instead of thinking the grass is always greener on the other side, take time to water your grass. The measure you put into it will be the measure it comes back to you usually. God has put you where you are for a reason. Wishing you were in some other time or place is just wasting your time and God's time. You can make a difference where you are, you just need to step out. Never believe the lie of the enemy that says you can't make a difference where you are. You can if you rely on the grace of God.  Be present.

"God is preparing a place for me tomorrow so I can be present today." - Jason Upton.

Be present today, and see what God will do in your life. Never shrink back from serving. Discover the needs around you and meet them as best you can.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

When Christ Shares His Heart with Us...

Today was a day that I could see the hand of God in a special way. I'm graduating on Saturday, so my roommate and I decided we needed a girl day. We will be away from each other for a long time, so this was much needed. It started out lovely. We drove, listened to music, looked at fun jewelry, got a green tea creamy drink (which was AMAZING!), and then we drove some more. The GPS randomly stopped working so we just started driving around. I didn't realize this, but my roommate was listening to God about where to turn and where to go. It may sound strange, but it was really happening. We ended up driving through this beautiful neighborhood, so beautiful that I wanted to live there.
After this we ended up at a Jewish Community Center. I'd never really been to a community center, so we went in. We came across two different art pieces. They both were menorahs, but each was marred and had barbed wire in the piece. It was in memory of the Holocaust. We went outside to a courtyard, and there on the wall was a list of names...people who lived in the area and how many loved ones they had lost in the Holocaust. There was one person who had lost ninety-four relatives...ninety-four. I can't even wrap my mind around such a huge number! My heart became heavy, and I suddenly realized we were there for a reason. I felt the heaviness of God's heart for His people, even now as they are hated by so many people. My roommate and I decided to pray. As we began to pray, I began to cry. These people whom God loves so much, are hated so much. They don't even know about Jesus, their Messiah, either. God longs to comfort them through His Son. As we were praying for them to know God, I was reminded of this verse: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me." Matthew 23:37. I suddenly realized that God gave me the privilege of knowing His heart. His heart was burdened for His people, and so my heart became burdened. I cried with my friend today in front of all those names of people who had been hurt deeply by others simply because they were Jewish. I was overwhelmed, not only because of the great pain that Jews have experienced over history and even today, but also because God trusted someone like me with the hurts and concerns of His heart. Who am I that He should confide in me? But today He did. 
As we sat and prayed there, suddenly my favorite Christmas song came to mind. It took on a whole new meaning as I sat before those names and sang, 
"O come, o come Emmanuel
 And ransom captive Israel
Who mourns in lowly exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Shall come to thee o Israel." 
This beautiful Christmas song suddenly became a prayer for the Jewish people, that they may see the hope that is being offered to them and that they may see God's great, deep, wide, and unconditional love for them. 
Today I learned a lot. Don't forget to pray for Israel, Church. They are still God's chosen people!