Thursday, December 25, 2008

And he will be called...

"Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-

The people walking in darkness 
       have seen a great light; 
       on those living in the land of the shadow of death
       a light has dawned.

You have enlarged the nation 
       and increased their joy; 
       they rejoice before you 
       as people rejoice at the harvest, 
       as men rejoice 
       when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian's defeat, 
       you have shattered 
       the yoke that burdens them, 
       the bar across their shoulders, 
       the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior's boot used in battle 
       and every garment rolled in blood 
       will be destined for burning, 
       will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, 
       to us a son is given, 
       and the government will be on his shoulders. 
       And he will be called 
       Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
       Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

Of the increase of his government and peace 
       there will be no end. 
       He will reign on David's throne 
       and over his kingdom, 
       establishing and upholding it 
       with justice and righteousness 
       from that time on and forever. 
       The zeal of the LORD Almighty 
       will accomplish this."

Isaiah 9:1-7

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Two Weeks Notice

I know it has been longer than two weeks, but this crazy month has sure felt like it. After Thanksgiving I put my two weeks notice in at work. I had mixed emotions about leaving- sad to leave my roots. I started at Mother Frances OR two and half years ago. I had finally got comfortable with most of the doctors and surgeries. Most of my life was spent up there and my coworkers were my friends for the past years. At the same time of the sadness, I am so excited about new adventures and relationships made with Mercy Ships. It is what I've been looking forward to for a long time now- and its FINALLY here! 
One week was emotional for me and stressful of everything I needed to get done. Then this past week was better because of prayer, encouragement from others, and just keeping my focus on God and what He is doing in my life right now. So last weekend I packed up my place and said good-bye to friends and my life in Tyler to move home to my parents in DFW for a month. It will be a good time catching up on reading, my scrapbook, and with friends & family before I leave for Africa in 35 days.  I made one of those paper chains from elementary school days to help me with the count down! 

This passage encouraged me during my "roller coaster" month: 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 & 16-18

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you." 

"Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Counting on God

As you may have noticed (or heard), I added some new songs to my blog playlist. One song, "Counting on God" by Desperation Band, is one of my new favorites worship songs we just learned at church. By the way, it goes along with my last post about spiritual warfare. Its true we are not in a physical battle, but in spirit and I am counting on God through it all.  What joy I have to know I can find strength in God everyday and I don't have to worry about tomorrow!

"Counting on God" by Desperation Band
I'm in a fight not physical
And I'm in a war
But not with this world
You are the light that beautiful
And I want more
I want all that's Yours

Joy unspeakable that won't go away
And just enough strength 
To live for today
So I never have to worry
What tomorrow will bring
"Cause my faith is on a solid rock
I am counting on God

I am counting on
I am counting on God

The miracle of Christ in me
Is the mystery that sets me free
I'm nothing like I used to be 
Open up your eyes you'll see

I am counting on
I am counting on God

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spiritual "What"fare?

At Grace on Sunday, our worship pastor (shout out to Chris!) spoke about Spiritual Warfare and he made a good point: The topic is like a pendulum swing; its avoided or its overdone, but we need to meet in the middle. 
I spent my first three days of Mercy Ships training in class about Spiritual Warfare with expert teacher, Dean Sherman. Before Gateway started, I kept questioning why start with such a topic, but now I ask why did I wait to learn more about it. All over the scripture it mentions the struggle between the Kingdom and the world: this is spiritual warfare. The characteristics of the Kingdom (God) include love, serving, humility, justice, intergrity, Biblical truth and the world (Satan) is the opposite like selfishness, hatred, pride, rebellion, greed, and corruption. We need to seek to glorify God and be reconciled. The enemy's goal is to discredit God and divide people. Spiritual Warfare can be difficult for some, but I am encouraged to know I am equipped for battle and I know I am already on the winning side! Remember the Armor of God? 

Ephesians 6:10-17 (NLT)
"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in the dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on the salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Dean Sherman taught us so much in three days over Spiritual Warfare and just skimmed the surface. He encouraged us to "win the battle first and foremost in the heavenlies before fighting flesh and blood." I know the enemy will be fighting against me as I prepare to go to the mission field and while I am there in my personal life, thoughts, health, relationships, and my relationship with Christ. I ask for prayer for strength and boldness to stand firm in God.  Also, pray for discernment as I experience spiritual warfare in the African culture. Paul closes (so do I) in Ephesians 6:18-20 asking for prayer:

"Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God's mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God's ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Jeremiah 29:11

I am a planner. I like to plan way in advance. Although I procrastinate a lot too. I like to know if I have something to do, but I will wait last minute to do it. Weird combo. I like to know what I will be doing and be in charge of my schedule/calendar- life in general. Well, I heard today- Try to plan your life and God laughs. Its true, He has a sense of humor. 

Today, I had the privilege to share at Nurses Christian Fellowship meeting at the University of Texas- Tyler. To my prove my point- I stayed up until 3 am working on the presentation even though I knew months ahead about it! It was was so neat to go back to one of my "beginnings." I reluctantly started nursing school at UT-Tyler in 2004, but God orchestrated all the details for a reason. In my first semester, I was sitting in the same classroom I was today, listening to a presentation about Guatemala medical missions. I really wanted to expand my missions to medical trips since I could never nail in straight on all my Mexico trips. So I was part of the first group of undergrad nursing students to serve with Refuge International in Guatemala. In Level 2, before the trip I was in the operating room for clinicals (ironically where I work now) and I did not like it all- I was put in the corner, told not to touch anything, and not talked too at all. First day at the Guatemala clinic I was put in the OR- God's sense of humor. I shared with the students today my journal entry after the first day- 

October 27, 2005-
"I can't believe its only the first day! My legs ache as well as my back and feet. But its all worth it! I worked 14 hours in the OR today as circulating nurse. How excited I am for this opportunity. Maybe OR will turn out to be the place I'll end up after graduation. OR would come so in handy for the future missions work. God just keeps opening doors for me!"

I read that in amazement that God knew exactly where He wanted me over 3 years ago so I can be ready to serve in the operation room with Mercy Ships. I also found out what good support hose does for nurses on their feet all day! :) I read Jeremiah 29:11 in awe of God's sovereignty in my life as He promised Babylon after 70 years of exile. I love it how it puts that God has it all planned out. May this encourage you my friends as we trust God with our futures. 

"I'll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." Jeremiah 29:11, The Message

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ends of the Earth

Wow, I know it has been awhile since I've updated my blog. I have come to realization I am better with a pen & paper than typing a journal. Words come to me when I write by hand, but I just spend time staring at the computer pondering what to say. I also found out today, more than my parents check my blog, so I'll try to keep everyone up-t0-date on life and such. :)

So the past month I have been at Mercy Ships training, known as Gateway. This is for any volunteers going for nine months or longer. Since I am going for at least a year, I signed up for this Gateway to prepare a little more for the mission field. What I didn't know how life-changing this month will be away from my normal life. I kept a hand-written journal for the month along with notes from lecture and homework assignments. Over the next couple weeks I hope to read over it and share with each of you what God did in me at Gateway. I have had a nice long break from doing homework for almost two years since nursing school and OR residency, but this homework was about what I love the most- God and missions. Our first assignment was a journal title page- easy. I thought about why I was there at Mercy Ships and I used one of my life verses to be my title:

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8

I have always read this in amazement that this is Jesus' final words to his disciples before he was taken up to Heaven. This must have been important that he stated not only are they going to be witnesses in their hometowns, but to the "ends of the earth". I have always longed to serve at the "ends of the earth", but God has given me my "Jerusalem" growing up in Bedford and at Mid-Cities Bible Church." I see my "Judea" spreading out to Tyler & Grace Church where I have been for over four years. I see my mission trips to the ghettos of Mexico and Guatemala as serving in "Samaria". Now its hard to believe I'm going to the "ends of the earth" next year! Praise the Lord! I can't wait to see what God does in Benin, West Africa! :) 

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Partnership in the Gospel

Hello Family & Friends!
By now you must have received my first letter of many about Africa and Mercy Ships. If not, send me your address and I'll put you on my mailing list! I can't wait to keep y'all updated on what God is doing in Africa and what He is doing in me! I promise to keep my blog and newsletters up to date on what is going on in my life. I know it will be a challenge because life will be busy onboard the Africa Mercy and somtimes internet might not be working. However, I want to keep in touch with each of you because you are the reason why I am able to go in first place. I thank God for placing each of you in my life 25 years ago or even just months ago. I know I included part of this passage in my letter, but I truly pray this with all my heart for each of you.

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God." Philippians 1:3-11

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm going to Africa!

The week of January 26th, 2009 I'll be leaving for Africa with Mercy Ships!


The views expressed here are solely mine and are not the opinion of AWC/Mercy Ships.