Friday, April 23, 2010

My Family

One of the neatest things about the mission trip to Peru is the "family group." As soon as you sign up for the trip, the staff begins to prayerfully place each student into a family unit that consists of two leaders and six teenagers. The students have no say in the matter, they don't get to pick and choose who they want to be in their groups. It seems a little scary that you might get stuck in a group with (GASP!) no one that you know, but the experiences I have had with family groups have been so wonderful! You get placed with two awesome, godly leaders along with some sweet new friends. During the 6+ weeks of training and our week in Peru together, It was so great to be able to get to know my family better. Especially when we were doing ministry in Peru, we really got to see God at work in each other's lives. It is such a bonding experience.
I was so blessed to have two great men of God as my leaders this year. They were both my "adoptive daddies" for the week. : D On the last night we were in Peru, one of my leaders went around and affirmed in each of us what he saw in our lives, how he sees God at work. It was so special. He also had us each go around and speak words of affirmation and encouragement over each other. It was a great time if reflection at all that God is doing in our lives and I could have soared I was so encouraged by these fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I love each of them so much and can't wait to see what the Lord has for them in the coming days!

In the ATL airport about to leave the country! We were so excited!

Just the girls! We had some great "girls only" bonding time!

The whole group on top of a mountain in Lima

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Back in the Swing

This week has been hard, but also wonderful. It is hard being back in the real world after being in Peru. Being thrown back into the responsibilities and expectations is difficult.I find myself feeling extremely relieved when I get anything done. In my mind, its just one more thing behind me and one less thing to worry about. My mom reminded me today not to get caught up in checking things off the list, but find joy and relish in each the journey. I am blessed to have a mom who knows me well and can speak this wisdom over me.
I am struggling to maintain focused on much at all. I am still dealing with major imprints on my heart, placed there by faces like these...

I fell in love with these precious faces, these precious hearts. Jesus is what we have in common and that is a strong bond.

More stories to come...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Will Rise

I heard "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin on the radio last night. I love that song and it brought to mind something the Lord was laying on my heart before leaving for Peru. On Good Friday when we were worshiping at Passion City Church, Chris Tomlin started to sing this song and I just broke down. Absolutely cried my eyes out. First of all, they were tears of joy. I am overwhelmed by the thought that someday soon I will get to be face to face (most likely flat on my face) before my savior in Heaven. I can't wait for that day. There will be much rejoicing. Then, they were also tears of sorrow and heartache for this lost world; the lost that won't experience "Rising up with Jesus." Our world is so full of darkness and God is calling me to be a light. To feel that call so strongly, especially in being thrown into action in Peru- whew! That call be came so real. It was more than just a burden God was laying on my heart, he was laying the opportunity right in front of me to "go and tell". I was going to be getting on the plane the next morning. There was no turning back...

"I Will Rise"

There's a peace I've come to know
Though my heart and flesh may fail
There's an anchor for my soul
I can say "It is well"

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

And I will rise when He calls my name
No more sorrow, no more pain
I will rise on eagles' wings
Before my God fall on my knees
And rise
I will rise

There's a day that's drawing near
When this darkness breaks to light
And the shadows disappear
And my faith shall be my eyes

Jesus has overcome
And the grave is overwhelmed
The victory is won
He is risen from the dead

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Leading Up To…

It was an amazing week leading up to my mission trip to Peru. It was actually Holy week; A week of remembrance and contemplation of my savior dying on the cross. I was so looking forward to the trip. It was all I was talking about, thinking about, praying about. During that week, I was spending a lot of time seeking the Lord and his purpose for us in Peru. He was breaking my heart for the people of Peru. I had never been to Peru, never met any people in Peru. Yet, God was preparing me for ministry in this country. I remember standing in church, worshiping on Palm Sunday, totally heartbroken and thankful for what Jesus did for me. I was burdened for the hearts of those who don't know him yet. I couldn't wait to get to Peru!!! The night before I left for Peru, I was at Passion City Church for their Good Friday service. My family, closest friends and I worshiped for HOURS that night. I didn't even care that I was leaving the next morning or that I still wasn't done packing. I was busy worshiping the Lord and getting super pumped for what God was going to do in Peru! I looked at my phone on the way out and realized that we had been there for nearly 4 hours! Oh, how I love joining in with the Heavens in song!

How cool is it that the first day we were in Peru it was Easter Sunday?? We spent the morning riding busses around the coast of Lima and up to the top of the mountains where we worshiped. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Jesus rising from the dead! It was truly an unforgettable experience. We were able to be overwhelmed by a panoramic view of Lima and pray over the city. The Holy Spirit was totally present there with us. It was an amazing start to an incredible week ahead.

On top of this mountain, there is this huge cross. It looks more like a cell phone tower, but it is no mistake that it is this familiar shape. This cross stands overlooking the entire city and stands as a reminder of the light and precious peace that Jesus can bring. In this world that is filled with darkness, God is ultimately conqueror and will overcome it all. I believe in the early 90's there were some violent cults present in Lima, Peru. With evil hearts, these people would destroy cell phone towers, like this one, creating chaos and bringing a lot of unrest to the country. Now that those times are over, this cross continues to stand and to bring hope to the city.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Where Do I Begin?

It's been a while. I have not written much recently about this life that God has so abundantly blessed me with. Not that there has not be PLENTY of things to write about. Mostly I just cannot find the time. Well, get ready, because for the next couple of weeks (at least) I have SO much to write about. It's going to be more than just words though. This is a time on my blog that will include recording, an unburdening of my heart and powerful prayer. On Saturday, I returned home from a week-long mission trip to Lima, Peru. God worked in amazing ways on the trip. Many lives were changed. How can you not be moved by the awesome power of our God? And that is just the people who attended the trip. When it comes to the Peruvians, nearly 600 people came to know my Jesus. Nearly 600 people felt God knock at their hearts. Nearly 600 people will someday enter the beautiful gates of Heaven. Nearly 600. They are my new sisters and brothers in Christ. I am truly in awe on my face before God at what He accomplished through just a group of seniors in high school. We are nothing. It was not us. It was not me. All the glory be to God.

I went into the trip with few expectations. And the few expectations I had were blow away by day one of our ministry. My advice to anyone going on a mission trip: don't ever have any expectations. The only expectation that you should have is that God is going to do some amazing things that will blow your mind. I think the expectations I had going into the first day of ministry gave me a bad attitude. I am the kind of person that needs to be in control and needs to know the plan. I guess God had a big grin on his face in Heaven because at the end of the day he was telling me, give me all the control, baby girl, don't you want to see me do something big? To which I responded by throwing all of my expectations, control and plans OUT THE WINDOW. I have the biggest smile on my face writing this because in that moment I was RUNNING to that "window" to get rid of all that junk. I just wanted to see God work. Who cares about plans anyways? Right? Okay.

Here is a tid-bit I wrote in my journal at the end of that day…

I feel the most weak when it comes to being a missionary on this trip. When it comes to my thought life, everything inside me says that I am not cut out for this. I know that the enemy loves when I mentally beat myself up. But, God I know the truth. You have called me and given me a passion for the lost. You have given me courage to do things like travel thousands of miles to see others come to know you. Thank you Lord. Help me to always remember the truth.

Ugh. Looking back I can totally see that satan was NOT happy about us entering his turf there in Peru. That was a rough day for me. But thank the Lord, my eyes were opened to the truth and the rest of my trip was up hill from that point.