Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Flash Mobs with a Purpose

       Last week on the European anti-trafficking day (October 18th) we saw God use His body to help increase awareness on the wide spread tragedy of human trafficking.  Our team in Romania helped with six flash mobs at four different downtown locations.  The flash mobs helped draw attention while flyers on trafficking were passed out and people were invited to a free movie screening of the Christian documentary "Nefarious" on sex slavery.  Praise the Lord, thousands of flyers were passed out and the movie theater was full.  Thank you so much for all your prayers!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sometimes God uses you just through showing up

       Every free Sunday night I have now I try to make it to the Romanian Church in Reading.  It is an awesome opportunity to build relationships with Romanians as well as be around the Romanian language.
This Sunday God used my willingness just to go for His glory.  Before the message began, the pastor asked a man I had never seen at the church before to translate for me.  He was very hesitant and tried to refuse, but the pastor was persistent. 
       The man eventually did come translate for me.  Struggling to find the words he constantly apologizes for not translating very clearly and not knowing how to translate some words.  I continually tried to just encourage him saying, “It’s alright.  You’re doing really well!” 
       After the service was over he thanked me.  He didn’t thank me for the encouragement or something I said.  He thanked me simply for coming.  He told me, “I had so much on my mind tonight that I would have spent the whole service thinking about my own problems.  Having to translate for you caused me to have to follow the service.  God really wanted me to hear this sermon, and He knew I wouldn’t listen unless I had to translate.”

Praise the Lord that God can use us in ways we can never plan for and strive towards.  

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.  Isaiah 55:8

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Increasing Awareness on Human Trafficking

(click picture to watch a trailer)

      Human trafficking is a serious issue in Europe.  The European Union made a statement that there are, “an estimated 880,000 victims of forced labor, including forced sexual exploitation. That is 1.8 persons per 1,000 inhabitants” (EU).  This year they have planned an Anti-Trafficking Day on October 18th for all of Europe.

       Our ReachGlobal team in Bucharest is involved in trying to network resources and organizations.  From Oct 14-19th, our group has planned flash mobs, videos in the subway and street performances to raise awareness and to encourage people to see the film Nefarious (excellent documentary about human trafficking from a Christian perspective) and other films.    Our team has rented out a 280 seat movie theater to show the film.  They are inviting all the churches in town to come to a concert and screening of the movie.  Please pray that God would stir hearts to come.  Please also pray that God would increase awareness of this issue and stir His body’s heart to action combating sex slavery!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

"I could look at you all night mommy!"


    I was recently asked how I like being a mommy.  Honestly, it is the hardest thing I have ever done.  I thought I was prepared, because I had a lot of experience with kids.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.  I was not prepared for how slow Beckham eats (most times he takes an hour to eat) nor for how much he resists going to sleep to the point that he could go a whole day without a nap.  While those things were and still are rather frustrating at times, I was completely unprepared for the sheer exhaustion that comes from night-time feedings.  
     Many nights I would plead with God to put Beckham to sleep.  It could take up to an hour to get him back to sleep in the middle of the night after he had nursed for an hour.  Falling asleep while holding the pacifier in his mouth to get him to sleep, he would stare wide eyed at me with a look of “I could look at you all night mommy.”  As cute as it was, I began to grow frustrated with my son and then even more frustrated with God.  “Lord, you are sovereign; You could put this child to sleep.  Why don’t you?  You promised to give sleep to your children and you are denying me sleep.  Why are you doing this to me?”
     This pleading continued for weeks until one night when I prayed, “God please put Beckham to sleep, I am just so tired.”  Then the Lord spoke.  He reminded me that He does not grow tired or weary.

     “Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired.  His understanding is inscrutable.  He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Isaiah 40:28-31).

     I can’t explain it other than the Holy Spirit began to work in my heart and that night my prayer changed to “God, You do not grow tired or weary and therefore I know you can give me the strength to stay up with this little guy.  Please give me the strength I need to care for him.”  He did.  God woke me up and enable me to gently care for Beckham in ways I had not been able to do before.  Since then He has continued to do so when I look to Him for strength.
     For weeks I wanted God to change Beckham so he would eat quicker and fall asleep faster.  Instead God showed me that I needed to humble myself and rely on Him for raising my son.  God has been teaching me that many times He doesn’t take the hardship away so that we will learn more about His character and how we can reflect Him to the world.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Learning to trust God


     “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 5:5-6

     I am not a patient person and never have been, yet my impatient tendencies don’t change the fact that God desires His children to patiently wait for Him.  In the last year this has resulted in a lot of heart ache and pain for me.  My emotional strain didn’t come because God asked for too much, it was because I wanted to resist the command to “Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage.  Yes, wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).  I knew that raising up a team of prayer and financial partners would be difficult, but I didn’t know it would be the most humbling event that has ever come into my life.
     In years gone past whenever I was asked how I made decisions I would say, “I ask the Lord for wisdom and then head in a direction knowing that if it isn’t God’s will then He will close the door.”  This year God opened my eyes to how deficient my understanding is of how He works.  What happens when God doesn’t close a door but things don’t happen as you thought they should?  In my case, what happens when I feel God leading my family to Romania by opening up all the doors and then He doesn’t provide all the prayer and financial partners we need as soon as I thought He would.  In years past I would assume that He is closing doors and leading my elsewhere.  
     Lately God has graciously been showing me that my entire understanding of how God works was built around my impatience.  I didn’t want to wait for God’s timing many times so I would move onto other things.  I would say that God isn’t opening doors and therefore He is leading me elsewhere.   Instead of taking the opportunity to seek God and trust in His timing I would impatiently move on.  
     So at 28 I find myself realizing that I never knew what it meant to trust God.  I never knew what it meant for God to be our “Rock”.  It means that when all evidence points in a different direction, when you can see no hope on the horizon, when you can no longer see an end to the hardship, then and only then do you see that only God is a rock.  God alone is the steadfast foundation we can rest on when all else points to despair.  
     After two months of traveling around the country Jamie and I have reached the point where we have contacted all the people we know.  Our team of prayer partners is now close to 400 individuals and we have 44 committed monthly or yearly financial partners.  We still need God to provide the other 67% of our monthly needs to serve full-time in Romania.  
     I can’t see what God is doing, but I know He hasn’t led our family elsewhere.  We are to trust that He will provide our all of our needs regardless of the fact that it isn’t possible for us to do so.   As Jesus says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).  Trusting God is an action not based on visible results or emotions.  It is an action that rests on the character of God.  It is saying that we believe God is sovereign, wise, loving, and good.  Trusting God is saying, despite circumstances and despite what I see I know that God is trustworthy.  

     “Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10