Friday, March 14

*TWANG*

My sister asked me what was my favorite/most-impacting lesson from Colorado. Then when I finished sharing about conflict, she asked about the next favorite.

Near the beginning of our time there, in the midst of our language learning weeks, we were given these wonderful short devotional-like lessons on adjustments to different cultures. One such lesson required a male volunteer who was bequeathed the name "Mr. Feelings." Mr. Feelings represents my feelings. Pretty simple.

Pretty soon one elastic colorful band was put around his waist, with two people holding onto it, on each side of him. They were instructed to pull the elastic band tight. This band represents expectations versus reality. At times our expectations may be greater than reality and therefore when reality is different than our expectations...TWANG...the elastic band snaps against our feelings.

But that isn't all. Another elastic band was placed around Mr. Feelings' waist, this one representing the paradox "Yay duck" and "Yuck duck," which as mentioned before, represents how in any situation we can and will have moments where we like one thing but dislike another thing. At times, it may be more Yuck than Yay...but even then, it's okay. It's good to acknowledge those feelings while they are present. But the Yuck-duck-moments still produce that TWANG...and your feelings are impacted.

Before Mr. Feelings could react a third elastic band was put around his waist. This time, it reflected wanting change or not wanting change. Naturally this comes through our desires and is connected to our feelings. TWANG goes the rope any time something comes your way that you don't want. TWANG goes the rope any time something you do want doesn't work out according to your expectations.

The last elastic band was placed around him, making the circle of volunteers, holding the bands around of Mr. Feelings, complete. This final band signifies other people's expectations on us, whether it is members of our families, friends, church, supporters, those we are ministering to, etc....As we fail to meet someone's expectations...TWANG! TWANG! And our feelings can be bruised from the repercussions of that!

These TWANGS happen naturally, whether overseas or at home. So how do we handle these TWANGS?  Well, we need to recognize that they are there...ignoring doesn't help. Then understand what you are feeling, and where there are core issues, work those out, if possible. They can be worked out through prayer, talking with friends, or readjusting our own viewpoints. Regardless, God is there to help...the Creator of our feelings!

Sunday, March 2

Not just a little

Don't you love it when God sends a reoccurring theme your way?

Today at church the message was from John 15:1-17...the whole "I am the true vine" passage. But the verse that stood out to me is verse 7:
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you."

And then I did a Bible Study lesson which referenced Luke 18:1-8, the parable of the widow who goes persistently before a judge until he complies with her request.

Plus a verse I have been mentally chewing on for some time is Ephesians 3:20:
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..."

Bottom line: God loves to give and not just a little. He loves to give big! He loves to bless His children.

Before you get frustrated, I know that there is always the question that if God loves to give and promises to give, then why hasn't He answered my heart's cry? Honestly, I don't know...I'm not God. But I have to assume that even if it doesn't seem that He is working, I can have faith that He is! I can also have faith that He loves to hear my requests and will answer each one, in His good time, according to His good plan!

So I've decided to enter a season of committing to ask big. I'm going to ask for miraculous healings, which my eyes have never yet witnessed. I'm going to ask for spouses (one for me and for a few of my friends). I'm going to pray for salvation, and finances, and jobs, and whatever else may seem hard or "impossible" because I know my God is able.

Saturday, March 1

Paradox

For every situation there can be two points of view. Two sets of emotions.

I'm currently in Colorado going through a set of training. I am so grateful that I'm here. I'm learning a lot and I'm meeting many great folks. But it has also been tiring and emotional.

When I was in Mexico, there were days I loved what I was doing and where I was, and there were other days when I wanted to drive home to Washington.

Two thoughts. Two feelings. Both occasionally present at the same time. Paradox.

At this training, they have shared that paradox is normal. They used two rubber ducks (a pair of ducks...pair-a-duc...paradox, get it??). One duck was nice and shiny with a friendly happy face. This was the "yay duck!" Then there was the duck that had seen better days. It was messy and worn...this was the "yuck duck!"

We were encouraged to understand that wherever we go there will be good times (yay duck!) and bad times (yuck duck!). And both are okay. Moreover, whether it's a feeling or experience, it's good to validate both the highs and lows as they are a very real part of our experience.

And in that, there's grace. For yourself and for each other.

Thursday, November 7

Highlights from the last two months

To give you a sense as to what I've been up to, I thought I'd share a few highlights:
  • I have been able to Skype twice with my Oasis friends and boys. That has been a lovely blessing although both times I have felt a bit homesick for them afterwards.
  • My friends and I had a taco night at which I was asked to teach my friends how to make homemade tortillas. The tortillas turned out beautifully. The tacos were delicious. The fellowship was great!
  • Coffee dates with friends. Coffee. Friends. Win-win!
  • Reconnecting with my church. There are many new people and so it has been great to meet some new people, while seeing other friends. Also having sermons and song time in English has been lovely.
  • Speaking of which, the sermon series that my pastor is taking us through. It is a series on the book and person of Nehemiah. Most weeks I walk away thinking that the sermon is so applicable to where I am in life: knowing what passions God has given me, praying, waiting, and speaking when the opportunity arises. It's been nice to have my heart for Mexico, especially the Oasis boys, reaffirmed through the sermon.
  • While in town, I am staying with a dear friend and her husband. She was my mentor for two years, I think, through which a great friendship developed. She and her husband graciously opened up their house for the 4 months (!!) that I am in WA. It has been not only a blessing but fun as well.

I think that is all for now. Hope you have a blessed day!

Wednesday, November 6

Two months

Hey Hey...I'm here, writing! (Hi Mom!)

I left Mexico two months ago to return home to Washington. Since arriving home, I had a few interviews and was just recently approved to return to Mexico as an Envision Site Associate...the "long-term staff" title. So now I am in the process of raising support in order to return.

If you know anything about the Christian & Missionary Alliance, you know that they pay their missionaries from a general fund that most church across the USA gives to. Therefore, missionaries don't have to raise support but rather can go out into their fields and do the work. However, even though Envision is part of the C&MA, the C&MA has decided that all Envision missionaries have to raise their own support. So I'm here...waiting and praying and sharing.

In addition to raising support, I am also ankle deep in Consecration...a 3-year long process that is like ordination. Well, technically it's not "like ordination;" it is ordination, however only guys (in the C&MA) are ordained...women are consecrated. *shrug shoulders* Anywhooo, this process includes much book reading, report writing and paper writing.

The rest of my time is filled with family commitments, getting together with people, going to the gym, and occasionally working at my previous job. There are days when I feel like I am drowning in commitments and just wish to shake it all off and start driving south.

Is it a surprise that I'm a bit homesick for Mexico? That being said, I have also enjoyed being in WA and reconnecting with friends, family, and my church. Blessings here, blessings there. God is good.

There's more I can share...and I'll my best to get some of those things down, sooner than later.