Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Lost Are Found- Hillsong Live

Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new.
   It's bursting out! Don't you see it?
There it is! I'm making a road through the desert,
   rivers in the badlands. (Isaiah 43:19, The Message)
HALF-TIME. It’s a time to catch your breath. A time to recover. A time to review and a time to plan for the last half of the game.
Or, in my case:
A time to plan for the next five months of my life.
I have spent the last five months in New Zealand, and (as far as I know) the next five months of my life will be spent here. It is hard to believe that my journey is half completed. My heart is getting quite a work-out as I process this: half the time my heart quickens with joy at the thought of being home in 5 months, while the other half of the time it slows to a near stop as I realize that HALF my time is gone. WOW.
My last two weeks in New Zealand, what I categorize as my half-time talk, have been really full. Here is a rundown of my days:
Monday: Left with the IGNITE crew for Hamilton, which is a beautiful 6 hour drive away. (It is located in the northern middle part of the north island)

Tuesday: We began work early in the morning with the Hamilton Refugee Center. We led a program for 30 refugee students about health and goal setting. We played lots of games, and we got to play soccer together! During the game, it appears that my wallet was stolen. So, I got to go to the Hamilton Police Station- they were very nice : )
Wednesday: Day 2 with the Refugee students. We held a sports tournament between the refugee students and some students from a local Christian Camp. The students intermingled and formed good relationships, which was beautiful to witness. Working with the refugee students has really sparked an interest in my heart to work with refugees back home!

Thursday: We traveled back to Wellington, stopping by Lake Taupo to watch some people bungee jump! We got back around 4. I showered, unpacked my bag and then repacked my bag for my next trip! Around 8 PM, my good friends Matt and Jessica Christian came to pick me up, and then we headed to Wanganui. (a 3 hour drive north of Wellington)
Friday: After spending the previous night at Jessica’s parents house, Matt and Jess showed me the sights of Wanganui.
Saturday: Snowboarding on Mt. Ruapehu. It. Was. Awesome. It was a beautiful clear day, and the mountain was perfect.

Sunday: Snowboarding on Mt. Ruapehu. It. Was. Freezing. It looked like pea soup because a snow storm was closing in, and by the time we left the mountain our car had to be fitted with chains to get down the mountain. But I loved getting to snowboard for 2 days in a row!
Monday: We traveled back to Wellington. I loved spending time with matt, jess, and Jess’ whole family. It was such a full and exhausting week!

     Since last Monday, I’ve had a pretty relaxing week. We had a movie night with the youth group (we watched TANGLED, which is one of my favorite movies) and I did a few things around the Ignite office to help prepare us for the next Term. Liz, Doug, and I had a great meeting where we reviewed the last 5 months of youth group work. It was a really valuable meeting that gave shape to the upcoming months.
In the last two weeks, God has given me lots of opportunities to explore new parts of New Zealand, process the things he has been teaching me, and prepare me for what is coming next. I am SO excited about the next 5 months. God is definitely moving, uprooting, building, and replanting things in New Zealand, and I’m so thankful he asked me to be a part of it! And I’m so thankful for your support, love, emails, and prayers! They are all so valuable! May God bless you and open your eyes to the things he is doing around YOU!
Prayer requests:
1. Please pray for my health. I’m usually a pretty healthy person, but since I’ve been in New Zealand my body has acted like I have a very poor immune system. Please pray for healing over my entire digestive track.
2. Praise God for my friends here. He is using them to take really good care of me.
3. Please pray that the leadership of St. Columba (including me) would have discerning ears and willing hearts as we follow God into the new things he is preparing in Naenae.
4. Please pray health over these four pregnant women: Marvie, Mary, Jo, Ruth. They are all very dear to me.
5. Please pray for the students of St. Columba. Pray that they would be ENGAGED by the spirit, ENTHRALLED with the King, and ENAMOURED with our savior.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hookers and Robbers- Charlie Hall

Around here, there’s graffiti on the playground equipment. Any surface with a few flat inches gets marked by some local teenager. When I’ve noticed the graffiti in the past I’ve said “typical” with a deep sigh and an accompanying eye roll. Not anymore.
Last Sunday afternoon I went for a run. Ok, I’ll be honest—I went for a jog/walk. As I was jogging down a neighborhood street, I saw her. I saw Fey. She was a woman about 100 yards ahead of me. She looked about 70, and she was hobbling with a cane. As we came closer I wondered, “should I stop and ask if she needs help? Should I pray for her legs?” and as I kept on jogging past her I sort of shrugged my shoulders and decided that because she didn’t make eye-contact with me, she must not need any help.
Which, I guess, was an OK decision… but I couldn’t stop thinking about her! At the next intersection I made a U-turn and headed back down the street where I first her. After a few minutes I saw Fey again, waiting at a crosswalk. Even though cars were stopping for her to cross, she kept waving them on. And then, without even looking to her left (where I happened to be jogging at an ever-slowing pace) she reached out her arm towards me, motioning for me to come to her side. She quietly said, “come, come.”
So I went. And I got to help Fey cross the street. In our 30 second walk across the road I learned that Fey had spent a few months in the hospital and had recently been released. When we were safely across the street I asked if I could pray for her, but she wasn’t interested. She was interested, however, in knowing my name. We exchanged names, and parted ways.
After I crossed the street again, I noticed two tough-looking men coming my way. I thought to myself, “ugh, I shouldn’t have crossed the street yet. Oh well, I just won’t make eye contact.” That’s when God said, “actually, I WANT you to make eye-contact”
cool, God. real cool.
So as the men got closer, I smiled and nodded. And then one of the men said, “what you just did for her was awesome.” I was taken aback, way WAY back. I managed an “oh, um, thanks” and kept walking. WHAT just happened?
I processed a lot of things as I walked home. Here is a sample of my inner monologue:
Wow God, way to teach me a lesson about those two guys who I placed in the “do not approach” category. He noticed what I did, not only noticed, but said something. I mean, I was prepared to ignore those guys, walk by without even looking at them, let alone actually seeing them as people, as humans, as your children… and what about Fey? I thought I was being all bold and Jesus-like by asking “can I pray for you” and then she’s just like, “no thanks.” What? I assumed she would want to get away quickly after telling me she didn’t want prayer, but she stayed around to ask my name. She wanted to know who I was… Did I really care to know who she was? Thank you God, because I mean, who ACTUALLY gets to walk old ladies across the street nowadays?
Then the last question hit me and stopped my forward motion-
When do I take time to purposefully be in situations with people who are needy, who might actually need help crossing the street? Or need help feeding their children? or need help paying the bus fare?
It’s this last question that has changed the way I see graffiti. You don’t typically find graffiti in affluent neighborhoods, well-to-do parts of the city, or communities with in-tact families. Just like the two men, I quickly categorized the graffiti as something to be avoided, as something to turn my eyes from. I now interpret the graffiti on our playground equipment differently. It is the outcry of a needy soul, who lives on a needy street, which sits in a needy neighborhood. This soul says, “Please don’t turn your eyes away from my neediness.”
And when I take time to hear that plea, I recognize it as the plea of my own heart. When my heart is exposed, as it has been here in New Zealand, I recognize that at the core of my being I am in desperate need of the Love, Truth and GRACE so freely poured out from Heaven. I am almost embarrassed by my absolute need for God. My need is all-consuming.
and how perfect that we know a God who knows our needs before we know how to describe them, and who delights in supplying his perfect provision for all that we lack.
It is ok to be needy, and hungry for deeper life. Everything apart from God’s truth will tell you differently. Be strong, the world says. Be in control, the world says. Don’t stop striving, the world says. But the WORD says, “My Grace is sufficient for you, because my POWER is made PERFECT in WEAKNESS.”
to which our response should be
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the Power of Christ may rest upon me.”
I am weak! And I need Jesus!
p.s. if you haven't heard the song which is the title of this post, you DEFINITELY need to hear it. :) 
Exciting things coming up:
--Tomorrow Morning at church I will be dancing with 4 other girls to the song “Beautiful” by Bethany Dillon. Our ages are 23, 23, 16, 14, and 11. I am so eager to dance with them!
--I am spending Monday-Thursday in Hamilton working with Columbian refugees! Then I am spending Friday-Monday snowboarding at Mt. Ruapeha!
--Please pray for the work of Ignite. Pray that God will provide clear direction—we are making some big decisions about the upcoming year!
--Please pray for Abby Pa’u. She just had surgery- everything went REALLY well, but she is still quite sore.
--Please pray for St. Columba’s youth group. Pray that God would stir up passion in their hearts!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

All My Fountains- Chris Tomlin

Hello all!
I hope you enjoy this small view of beautiful New Zealand! Here's some Important/Just So You Know Information:
     Firstly, in the video, when I'm talking about the road, I meant to say that it's the road to the Northern part of the NORTH island, not the south island. Talking about a road to the south island is just plain silly.
     Secondly, the island is called Kapiti Island.