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Friday, December 7, 2012

The Plague

The flu, which I will refer to as the plague, has hit our house. The girls started coughing on Monday, headaches began Tuesday night, and fevers and aching hit Wednesday. Hailee came home early from school on Wednesday with a fever of 104. When I was at the school picking Hailee up the receptionist told me 30 kids were out on Tuesday due to the flu. After she told me that I knew our odds weren't very high... I had a pretty strong feeling that Hailee did have the plague. I came home and made a doctor appointment for both girls, because Heidi has had similar symptoms but I wasn't sure if she had the plague or not.

We went to the doctor yesterday and I learned so much about the flu. Did you know you can have the flu and not always have fever? You can vomit with the flu as well. I learned so much... I was thinking we caught the nasty plague early, but come to find out this all started Monday with the cough. That was something else I learned... the flu comes in stages. The girls started with a coughs (which at first I thought was allergies and then I thought they had a cold)... and then BAM!, headaches and aching. Poor babies! They got tested for the flu (which really ticked Heidi off) and both of their tests came back positive and the weird thing is they have different strands of the flu. Weird right?

We have been blessed for a long time without being sick and to that I am very grateful. As I was sitting hear complaining in my head on how we have been dealing with different sickness on and off for about a month... I was quickly reminded on how calming our lives have been lately. You may wonder what I mean when I say calming... not busy, not rushing around, quiet. Yes, I may have been a nurse a lot and having to deal with things I hope I never have to clean up again, but I am thankful for times like this we get to sit at home, spending time together forced to stay in doors, and now the girls are starting to feel a little better and they are now painting together.

So even though we are dealing with the plague and in quarantine. I am thankful and blessed I get to be home with my two girls. (even though there is a LOT of whining)

"Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Friday, November 30, 2012

Adjusting

Last night I was asked by a couple friends if I have adjusted since returning home from Bangladesh... I asked them "Is my sleep adjusted?" and they said no. Have I adjusted to all I was exposed to? Have I adjusted to what I saw and came in contact with? Have adjusted to what God taught me and showed me? Have I adjusted to the shock of coming back into American society? The answer is NO! I have hardly any words on what happened to me over there.

Yes, I know how the American life is and what is "expected". I know... I have lived here my entire life and I should expect how I would feel when I came back, but I didn't. I never do! How can you? Is this making any sense? I don't even need to go to another country to be discussed on how we Americans live. I can simply go visit my Bhutanese friends and listen to their problems to get a good slap in the face. I can hear and see families struggling just to make ends meet or simply try to survive by putting food on the table for their families. This is the same thing I feel when I come back from a 3rd world country.

We have so much... we forget about it all because we have too much! I am not saying it is bad to have stuff, but what I am saying is it is hard to come back to this country after seeing that people in this world (the same world I live in, who have the same desires as me) don't have enough! They need some of our stuff. (I know, this is coming from my world view) But, the best thing is they don't really "need" the stuff, because their lives are good. Simple. They have smiles on their faces... even though they have to wash their clothes by hand and line dry it, even though they have no running water in their home, even though the filtered water they will drink is as dirty as the water before it was filtered, even though they have dirt floors, even though they have to wear the same clothes the next day, even though they live in a one bedroom hut full of brothers and sisters, even though they are unsure how they will eat the next night. This all reminds me of the story Jesus Speaks to the Rich Man in Luke 18:18-30...

"A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”

“All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
 
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

We are rich! No matter how much you make a year... you are rich! Who can be saved? We all can, but we have to give it all to God and say "Yes!" before we even know what He is going to ask us to do. God is BIGGER and has a BIGGER plan for our lives than living for money and earthly possessions. Nothing is in possible with God... He is everything and in everything.

Jesus + Nothing = EVERYTHING!!!

I am not perfect and I struggle daily with worldly desires, but the Lord is molding me, stretching me to the point that it hurts, but to that pain I am thankful. Sometimes I want the struggles of my friends half way around the world... but truthfully I would not want the same struggles as my Bhutanese friends here in America, because that would be too painful! Having to live here and seeing what everyone else has and me not having and wishing I had more... Maybe the Lord will make that happen, but right now I am thankful for the slap in the face and my eyes widened to this American view of the I HAVE TO HAVE BIGGER...

This blog entry may sound crazy to you or maybe it is exactly where you are at, but I would not be where I am if it wasn't for my Savior's blood that was spilt for me, or the grace He gives me everytime I mess up, and the house He is preparing with many rooms. This list could go on and on, but this is what is coming to me right now. Without Him I am nothing!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Forever Friend in Bangladesh- Mortuza

I am changing my blogging about Bangladesh up a bit, because one of the best things about this trip was being able to build relationships. Below are pictures of my brother in Christ, Mortuza. I first started talking to him through Facebook (a couple of weeks before we left). We had not met yet, but I was very excited to meet him. When we got off the plane in Dhaka and we gathered all our bags (which took forever) he was there waiting for us. This man took a piece of my heart while we were in Bangladesh. He is very special to me. From the very beginning of meeting him we were instantly friends. He would ask me all kinds of questions about America and our lives over here and I was very honest with him about how we live our lives. I hope I didn't turn him off from wanting to visit America one day. LOL! He would say "I have so many questions.". I would tell him "Ask all the questions you want."
We got to meet Mortuza's family at dinner in Dhaka our first night in Bangladesh. To be truthful it was not long enough to really get to know his wife and kids. I hope next year we will be able to spend more time with them. I would like to hear her version of being married to Mortuza, because I heard a little of his version of being married. Not bad... just a man's version.
 Here we are in Chittagong and the day before we went shopping. Gil and Brian bought themselves a lungi, so here is Gil getting assistance on how to put this lungi on. Mortuza jumped right in and showed Gil how to tie it.

 Here we are in Cox Bazar and we were on our way to the beach to check out the sunset and have a coconut. So, Mortuza and I shared a Tricycle Rickshaw (this is my name for it). Aren't we cute? I felt so bad for the little Rickshaw peddler, who had to pull us around. LoL! But, he did a great job! I paid him double for pulling us around. LOL! I think Mortuza thought I was crazy, but oh well. :o) Mortuza is truly a good friend. He took Brian, Andrea, and I to the market one night to buy some henna for the next day for the girls at the sewing center and we were on a mission! The next night I wanted to go shopping (because I had to buy gifts) and no one else wanted to go, so Mortuza took me shopping. Truthfully I think he likes to shop and plus he is so patient, so he is the one to go with on a night on the town. LOL!

 This man loves the Lord! He has been working for his Savior for a long time. Here he is at Cox Bazar sharing the story on Creation and he was gettin' down with sharing the Truth of creation. I am proud to call him brother and thankful for his willingness to get out of his boat to share the Truth in a country that is not always so easy to share the truth with.

So here it is... the 3 brothers, who stole my heart and Mortuza is the oldest. There really are no words to describe my love for these men. I truly see them as brothers... on the right is Joe (the middle brother) and on the left is Salauddin (the baby brother). I will talk more about the other brothers a little later, but the one thing that stood out to me is the respect the sibling have for the oldest... it is almost like they treat the oldest, Mortuza like a father. Salauddin and I were talking one night and he was talking about how when we (Americans) talk we might hit or touch the other person we are talking to and he said he would never do that to Mortuza, his oldest brother as a respect thing. I was very surprised by that and I caught myself several times during our visit in Bangladesh doing that very thing. It is amazing the things we do in our culture that we don't think twice about... for instance touching... a woman touching a man is WRONG and that was one of the hardest things for me. All I wanted to do was HUG! I couldn't hug or touch any of these men that made such a huge impact in my life... all I wanted to do was HUG! I cried because I could not hug (more on this later).
 
Back to my brother, Mortuza... the Lord has big things for him and I see it and I know it. I pray he will continue to seek the Lord with all that is in him. I pray he will not grow stagnate and that he will continue to spread our Father's Good News throughout the world of the lost and I pray for much fruit for our Father's Kingdom. I am thankful to the Lord for a man like Mortuza and I am thankful for His love for our Father. I pray the flame will never be burnt out, but that it would be kindled and burning hot. I love you, my brother.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Rejoicing in Thanksgiving

I have really been thinking about thanksgiving lately 1. because Thanksgiving is right around the corner and 2. because the trip to Bangladesh really makes you think about what you are truly thankful for. I am on Facebook and a lot of people are posting things they are thankful for... such as chocolate chips, cell phone, a comfy bed, and the list can go on and on. Don't get me wrong I am not criticizing and I too am thankful for those small things, but truly deep down what are we thankful for?

I personally don't think I am thankful enough for what the Lord has given to me. I take everything for granted... my kids, my husband, money, our house, my time, friends and family. We all do this... but every single moment of every single day we should be thanking the Lord for every little thing he has placed in our lives. Sending me to Bangladesh has opened my eyes and my heart... I can't stop thinking of His unfailing love and how He never gives up on me, but in a blink of an eye I give up on Him. He has shown glimpses of His glory to me and for that I am thankful. I am thankful for the moments that He speaks to me so clearly and even thankful for the times I don't think it is so clear, but my holy God choosing to speak to me makes me so thankful for my Father, who is jealous for me and never gives up the pursuit for me.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my Father's unfailing never ending love... a never ending pursuit for my heart. The desires He has put in my heart that line up with His desires... the awareness of how.. yes He loves me, but He loves others (such as unbelievers) so much too. The awakening of the Holy Spirit that resides in me and that I get to abide in. For this I am thankful.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chittagong, Bangladesh Day 1 Part 2

The were in Dhaka for one night and then we were off to Chittagong. It was a short flight and next thing we knew we were being greeted by our dear brother, Jacob. (more on him and his family later)
 

Jacob took us to the Guest house where we stayed for the next 3 nights, we dropped our stuff off into our rooms and went to have tea, while we were drinking our tea Jacob tells us there are 100 students, Campus Crusade for Christ staff, and Muslim men from the islands ready and waiting for us. We were like "Okay, what should we do?". Jacob said some like "I don't know, but they are all waiting so lets go!" We didn't know it at the time, but the Holy Spirit had a plan. We got to the church and there they all were... waiting for us.

This is the wall that goes around the church and school that is inside the compound. God is good and sovereign!!! Praise the Lord for these words and all who drives by can read these words!

I didn't know it yet, but this sweet lady on the right hand side of the photo will forever make an imprint on my heart. This is sister Lusi and oh how I love her! I am thankful for her example of how to love your family as God has intended a woman to love, for her big heart and hospitality has she made us all feel so welcomed as if this is our home, and most of all she showed me how to love my husband as I watch her love Jacob and how she took care of his needs no matter how little it was. I will talk more about her later, but I had to tell you how much I truly love my sister.
 Oh... this man in the middle of Traci and Gil... This is Zia, he is a true hero of bringing God glory even to death. I will share more on him later. But, this man bares the image of Jesus more than anyone we have ever met. (quote from Andrea)

Here is Brian meeting one of the Muslim men, who came from one of the islands. We were told these Muslim men had heard the Good News and some were possibly ready to be baptized... but this was not the case they were pretty hard core Muslims. But they were and heard to Good News. :)

Here we are going upstairs ready to break it down and share some of Jesus' goodness.

Here we all are about to start our day. I was nervous not knowing what any of this was going to look like. We truly had to trust on the Holy Spirit... nothing was done on our own will, but fully trusting His will.
Here is Brian being led by the Spirit and teaching from Philippians on unity. It was so good and we were all blessed!
Here is everyone listening.
 
After lunch (and eating with our hands) I shared the Bible story of the demon possessed man in Mark 5 and then Andrea shared her testimony of what Jesus had done in her life. Amazing story of God's love, redemption, healing, and hope. It was such an awesome day of God revealing Himself in a way we never expected. I am thankful for the way He wanted things to go rather than us leading through our flesh. I am in love with the these people and my heart is still with them.
 
After Andrea shared her story our sweet brother and sisters came up to great her with smiles, hugs, laughter, and love. To Him be the glory and honor forever and ever.
 
This is all for tonight and I will continue with more of my Father's great story tomorrow...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bangladesh Part 1

I haven't blogged in while because I think I was busy with all the new things going on in our lives and preparing to leave for Bangladesh. Our team left for Bangladesh October 27 and we returned home November 7. It was such an amazing trip and the Lord revealed Himself in a way I had never imagined. So, I am going to start from the beginning...

We left Houston around 6:30 p.m. on October 27 and arrived in Dubai 16 hours later. It wasn't such a bad flight because the plane wasn't full and we all had some room to stretch out. We arrived in Dubai and we had about a 7 hour layover and then we were on our way to Dhaka, Bangladesh. We landed around 9 a.m. on October 29 and headed to our hotel and rested up a bit. On our way to the hotel we were overly surprised how un-crowded it was and the streets were so clean. Then we remembered it was the holiday of Eid... I would compare it to how serious we take Christmas. Everyone was gone on holiday, no one was working... it is a 4 day holiday and everything closes down. So, it was kind of nice not to get stuck in traffic, but to drive some what normal. LOL! Once we got all our stuff upstairs we had the privilege to meet and eat lunch with a man named JayTesh. This man was in prisoned for taking Bibles to another country. He shared his story on how the Lord called him to the Muslim people even though everyone thought he was crazy, but he knew what he heard from the Lord almighty and he was not going to follow what others thought he should do, but he focused on God and his calling. JayTesh has started a ministry called Way of Life. Way of Life is to reach Muslim's to hear the Good News. He has planted churches, encourages believers, has conferences to build up and repair marriages, encourages the couples individually as they break off into men and women groups to encourage eachother, and has kid programs so the kids can be together as a body as well. JayTesh has big things going on, because he has faithfully followed our Father.

JayTesh shared his story of his imprisonment. He was traveling to a country to take Bible translated in this countries language. As he was going through security with his bag the airport security wanted to check his bag. JayTesh said okay no problem. Security checked his bag and found the Bibles and they asked him about them and why he had brought them. JayTesh told them and he came to find out it was illegal to bring the Bibles to this country and on top of that illegal to have the Bibles translated into their language. What JayTesh told us was this countries government wants to keep the language to itself... they do not want this language taken out of the borders of this country. I hope this makes sense... it is hard remembering all of these details, but anyways... JayTesh was unaware that all of this was illegal, but he was not worried. He was questioned and questioned and questioned about these Bibles and JayTesh calmly answered them with no worries or no fight. He said he was not worried. I am sure he is questioned quite often about what he is doing. LOL! Back to the story... it was a really long day of questioning, but then realty set in... the police came and arrested him. He was handcuffed for a very long time... he had to sleep on the floor in the handcuffs behind his back. He said he was so sore and it was so uncomfortable. About a day later he was put in a cell with about 30 to 40 people, and they all knew who JayTesh was from watching him get arrested on TV. He was popular! JayTesh was in jail for a total of 22 days and shared the Good News with all of them and 6 to 8 people came to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

Simply AMAZING! He was put in one of the worst situations and he used it for the glory of God's kingdom... He used every second to tell them all about Jesus. He knew no matter what happened it was the Lord's will. Who am I? Do I share the Good News every moment I am given? I take so much for granted and I don't have a clue how much I have been given and completely take advantage. It makes me sick to think about it, but it is reality and nothing better then it being thrown in my face.

My sister, Andrea shared with JayTesh what the Lord had prepared her to share from 2 Peter. I can't remember exactly what she read, but it was exactly written for JayTesh to hear in that very moment. Andrea did not give in and think about how crazy we might think she is, but she shared it because she trusted what the Lord had told her and prepared her to do. JayTesh was so overwhelmed by what she shared he was weeping with tears. We were all crying, because it was nothing more than the Holy Spirit swooping in and loving on JayTesh, who we had quickly come to love.

 
No words can describe or coming close to telling you how grateful I am to meeting this precious man. But, I am thankful for him and his testimony to God's will and grateful to have met him and to hear his story. It really puts things into perspective and for this experience I am forever changed.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Does it ever make sense?

I have an annoncment... Monday, Hailee will become a little Tiger at Katy Elementary. Shocked? You might be asking "Why?". Well first off I have been hearing the Lord bring up public school for the last month and I kept puting it off... thinking okay God we will talk about this later. The prompting became stronger and I finally shared it with a friend what I thought He was suggesting. Well then, homeschooling became a battle (and it was fine before)... Hailee was crying because of how hard it was, then me getting mad at her for the tears, and yelling (yes, I admit I got so frusterated I yelled). I was not feeling it anymore... I was not feeling at ease with it anymore. I asked Hailee the scary questions "Do you like Homeschool?" She said "Yes." then I would ask "Do you want to go to public school?" and she said "No." "Why" I asked. Her reply "Because the days are long.". We talked a little more about how we need to work together and make this fun again. Well, it didn't... it got worse! So, Bob and I prayed and feel at peace with the decision to send her off into the world.

To me, this story does not make sense... the Lord told us to homeschool, homeschooled for 2 years, enjoyed homeschooling, the Lord leading us a different direction, put Hailee in public school 4 weeks after the beginning of the year. I am sure the story will continue to make no sense to me, but it doesn't matter... it is God's opinion that matters, His story, and I feel good about His leading our family. I know one day this will all come together, and I know one day we will be rewarded for our "crazy" obedience. Just right now it is hard to explain, but it is so good!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The New Testament "Gamble" by John Lynch

Today a very good friend and I sat down and watched this DVD that was given to us to watch... it is beautiful and Truth all in one... it is about 45 minutes of your life you will not regret using to sit an watch this video. If you are interested here is the link to True Faced...

But this is what got me... The New Testament "Gamble"... so many people are unsure who God is... and this is it... perfectly said...

"The New Testament “Gamble” by John Lynch  <<<---- Click if interested to watch

“What if I tell them who they are?” What if I take away any element of fear in condemnation, judgment or rejection”?

“What if I tell them I love them, will always love them? That I love them right now, no matter what they’ve done, as much as I love my only Son? That there’s nothing they can do to make my love go away”?

“What if I tell them there are no lists? What if I tell them I don’t keep a log of past offenses, of how little they pray, how often they’ve let me down, made promises that they don’t keep?”

“What if I tell them they are righteous, with my righteousness, right now”?

“What if I tell them they can stop beating themselves up? That they can stop being so formal, stiff and jumpy around me?”

“What if I tell them I’m crazy about them? What if I tell them, even if they run to the ends of the earth and do the most horrible, unthinkable things, that when they come back, I’d receive them with tears and a party”?

“What if I tell them that I am their Savior, they’re going to heaven no matter what--it’s a done deal?

“What if I tell them they have a new nature--saints, not saved sinners who should now ‘buck up and be better’ if they were any kind of Christians, after all He’s done for you!”

“What if I tell them that I actually live in them now? That I’ve put my love, power, and nature inside of them, at their disposal?”

“What if I tell them that they don’t have to put on a mask? That it is OK to be who they are at this moment, with all their junk. That they don’t need to Pretend about how close we are, how much they pray or don’t, how much Bible they read or don’t?”

“What if they knew they don’t have to look over their shoulder for fear if things get to good, the other shoe’s gonna drop?”

“What if they knew I will never, ever use the word “punish” in relation to them?”

“What if they knew that when they mess up, I will never 'get back at them'?”

“What if they were convinced that bad circumstances aren’t my way of evening the score for taking advantage of me?”

“What if they knew the basis of our friendship isn’t how little they sin, but how much they let me love them?”

“What if I tell them they can hurt my heart, but that I never hurt theirs?”

“What if I tell them I like U2’s music too?”

“What if I tell them I never really liked the Christmas hand bell deal with the white gloves?”

“What if I tell them they can open their eyes when they pray and still go to heaven?”

“What if I tell them there is no secret agenda, no trapdoor?”

“What if I tell them it isn’t about their self-effort, but about allowing me to live my life through them?”

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mentally drained, but being fueled

So, yesterday I was mentally drained... a lot going on in life right now and a lot of Spiritual Warfare, but I am so amazed that I am loved by my Father, who fuels me with his love, discerment, knowledge, wisdom, and humility. How did I get through life before without Him? I have absoluetly no idea. Last night I met with a new friend and we talked about all kinds of things... and I have come to realize that the Lord leads us to people for just a time as this. He leads us to people for encouragement, wise words, past experiences to help us through what life is throwing at us right now. I have a lot of friends, but really I only have about 2 or 3 friends that I talk to on a regular bases... these friends I do life with and they know the details of my struggles and I know they are praying for me as I figure things out through prayer and the Lord's guidance. I was telling my new friend last night how thankful I am for my struggles that I have gone through... I would not be who I am today if it was not for every hurt, anger, saddness, depression, etc. I am overjoyed for where I am now and how my Father constantly is with me and leading me through the hard times and good times. I always say I look forward to the hard times in life, because that is when I grow the most and learn more about my almighty God. Praise be His name all the days of my life!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Learning by Truth

So it has been almost 2 months since I blogged last... it has been a very busy summer, but God has truly been evident. I have learned a lot this summer about his character, love, and how he has called us in righteousness. I have been overwhelmed by His presence through up and down times.

We have continued to go and visit the Bhutanese and build relationships... I have really felt the Lord calling me to do a Bible Study of some sort, but wasn't sure what that would look like or if the Bhutanese women would even be interested. So, I worked with Pastor Bhadra on getting the word out for me and we had a few Bible study meetings, but it ended up being around the time ESL classes were taking place. Then I heard from the Lord something a little bit different... reach out to the lost. I knew this from the start, but didn't think it was possible... well He gave me a vision and now it is up to me to go out in faith and trust in His plan.

In October, I will be going to Bangladesh with a team from my church to reach and love on the Jesus Muslims who want more and more of Jesus. We will be teaching them more in depth of the Gospel of Luke and I hear there will be many wanting to be baptized. A good friend of mine will be going to Bangladesh too and the Lord has led 24 Muslim women to a sewing center that a Jesus loving Muslim women has started and we will be going and making relationships with them and sharing our Jesus stories with them. We are going where God is at work and we are so very excited to see what He is doing in the 3rd largest Muslim country.

While I am trying to live my life for the Lord (well, my flesh gets in the way most of the time)... satan has been on attack. He has thrown a lot of things my way to throw me off of the straight path the Lord has laid out. All I can say is Spiritual Warfare has been on the move... and I will not let him win. I am of my Father... he has adopted me into His kingdom and I will never go back. I know where I was before and I was sad, hurt, depressed, and lost. I know who I am now... I am daughter of my living God... He resides in me... The Lord has called me in righteousness, He has taken hold of my hand, He will keep me, and make me to be a covenant to the people and a light for the lost. He is my Redeemer and nothing will take me away from Him. He is who I live my life for... on one else!

Of course... through the trials I am learning a lot and I am learning I am wrong, you are wrong, they are wrong... the only thing that is right is the Truth, the Bible. If whatever is going on does not line up with the very Word of God (changed or not changed... only God knows) then there is nothing right or truthful about what is going on. I am learning that the Word is it... It is God, the Word was there from the beginning and no one can argue with that because we were not there! Like I said, I have learned a lot... maybe not exactly how I would have liked to learn about all of this, but I am thankful for this moment. Praise be to God, my Father!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Unknown

Today was supposed to be my first day on the job (that the Lord has called me to do)... teaching the Bible to Christian Bhutanese, but come to find out this is not what happened today. Don't get me wrong I am totally fine with it... I know the Lord called me to do this and it is new to the Bhutanese and will get some gettin' use too. The Lord has been teaching me quite a few things lately... waiting on Him, being patient, having faith, and being flexible. None of these things do I like, but I am sure that is why He chose them for me. So today when the ladies did not show up... I was a bit disappointed (I am not going to lie), but later I realized (something else the Lord is teaching me) just because He has called me to something doesn't mean it is going to be what I think it should look like... it maybe something totally out of my comfort zone (which I am sure it is). I am not going to mention what I think it is until He shows me or gives me that oppurtunity. Anywho... While we were on our way to the car to leave... I remembered I needed to take this book What to Expect when Expecting to a young lady, who is expecting. I promised this book to her about 2 months ago and just now I am getting around to getting it to her. I know... I rock at being a friend! :o) Well of course there was probably a reason for all of this... she invited me in (which I was not planning on staying long) and she began to share with me about her problems. On top of all that is going on in her and her husband's lives... she is expecting her baby in 1 WEEK and she has NOTHING!! I know all you girls are gasping! But, most of all that just tugs at my heart is that she is scared... this is not like any first time mommy scared... it is a scared that I am a first time mom, I am having my baby in a different country that I am unfamiliar with, I have no idea if I should have this baby naturally or use drugs, my mom is not hear to help me, no mother-in-law to help me, my husband works nights what if I go into labor while he is gone, we have no car, etc. etc. etc...
I can tell you FOR SURE she will be in my prayers. And the most important reason she will be in my prayers is because she is not a believer... I want to say they are Hindu, but what do I know, but still no matter what little god she worships it is not the One True God and because of this she has so many worries. Yes, you could probably argue with me about the whole problem/worries thing that no matter what god(s) she worships there would still be those problems and that is true, but it is all about how you handle it... give it to the ture God or the man made god? I see these same problems this young lady is having in Christian homes, but in the Christian homes their is not all this doom and gloom... there is light in their faces, there is hope and faith that the Lord has got this in their lives. My sweet new friend needs this... she needs the Lord... and I know He desires her and her husband as well. She is going to be covered in prayer and I pray they go up to my Father as sweet enscense and that He would save her.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Reminder of the Scarlet Thread

"This is what God the Lord says-
he who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it,
who gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it;
"I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness;
I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and make you to be a covenant for the people
and a light for the Gentiles,
to open eyes that are blind,
the free captives from prison
and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
"I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not give me glory to another
or my praise to idols." Isaiah 42:5-8

"The God who made the whole earth and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'

Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone- and image made by man's design or skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:24-31

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beautiful Sister

Here is my beautiful sister, Harka, she is new to America and she is expecting her first baby in about 4 to 5 months. She has moved here with her husband and her husband's family. On top of expecting her first baby in a werid country... she can not hear or speak English. Personally...I would be freaking out!! But she is very pleasant, very sweet, and she will be an amazing mother. Even though I can not communicate with Harka as I would like I still have this pull to her and her family... they are believers in the same Jesus Christ as me and he died for her just as He did for me. So now we are family and I love her like my sister.

In this picture Harka is sitting by her 1921 Singer sewing machine that was given to Margie just for her. Before coming to America Harka took a 6 week sewing class and she knows how to work this "old" machine. For the longest time it was sitting in the corner because it was not working correctly, but thank the Lord someone knew how to fix these "old" machines and it now works like new! So, today after her showing me how it worked properly now I took her to Joanne's Fabric and she bought some fabric to keep her busy for a bit. :o) She also crochets beautifully and I hope to get picture of her work very soon and maybe... just maybe it will catch your eye and you may want to buy something from her. :o)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Can You Imagine?

After leaving the apartments where the Bhutanese live I am always left pondering my life, thinking of them, and consumed by my thoughts. Today I am thinking about a sweet family that is fairly new and how they are on my heart often. I found out today after asking a lot of questions what is going on with this family... my first question was "Are they going to start English classes?" Then I found out 3 out of the 6 have disabilities... 2 are deaf and 1 is mentally disabled. I was shocked, but then things began to make sense. The 2 brothers are fine, but one is in school, so that would mean there would be 1 person working out of a family of 6. Thankfully the sister and sister-in-law have a trade... they crochet and sew. The sister-in-law, who I care very much about, is very talented! After much thought and translation I took her to Michaels (a craft store) to buy some yarn for her to keep herself busy. I am now very anxious to see what she does with this new yarn. But as we were on our way back to the apartments from Michaels I began to think what if this was me...

What if I was deaf and sent to live in an unfamiliar place and no one spoke my language except for those who live in the apartments?
What about the outside world? Scary!
What if I was expecting a baby for the first time?
What if I was sent to this country without my own mom or sisters or brothers?
What if I had nothing to do and had no where to figure out something to do?
What if the food, housing, washing clothes and everything was so different from what you have known all your life?
Everything now... here... costs so much!
Just what if this was you??

My heart breaks for my new friends right now. I know they will adjust, but still this is what I think about right now.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Done A Little Different

This year we did Mother's Day a little different. We were invited to the Canaan Bhutanese Church to celebrate Mother's Day with them. I quickly accepted the invitation because nothing is like worshiping with people who have to constantly trust and have faith in the Lord for every day to day need. We as American that live in the well off city have so much money we don't know what to do with... if you don't agree with me I can quickly show you how privileged you are to have what you have. Anyways... this morning we got ready and headed off to the Bhutanese church. All the women were dressed to pretty in the Saris and where enjoying some praise and worship music. We couldn't understand any of the words, but they were praising the Lord the same way we do at our church but in a different tongue. One thing that was so different but so WONDERFUL... the Bhutanese had a time of Praise and Worship that was a little different than when we walked in... they would sing and praise and raise their hands and then the women leading went into prayer... it was an overwhelming moment of prayer... an up roar of prayer... it was all consuming and I felt the Spirit of God  swoop in... I was in tears praying the Scriptures I have been memorizing with my accountability partner...

"The Lord is the everlasting God;
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not grow tired or weary;
His understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases power to the weak.
Even the youth grow tired and weary
and young men stumble and fall, but
those who hope in the Lord will renew
their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles,
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:28-31

The other Scripture I was able to pray...

"Here is my servant, whom I uphold;
my chosen one, whom I delight.
I will put my Spirit on him
and he will bring justice to the nations.

He will not shout or cry out
or raise his voice in the streets.
A bruised reed he will not break
and a smoldering wick he will not blow out.

In all faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
he will not falter or be discouraged
till he establishes justice on earth." Isaiah 42:1-4

It was an over-powering moment that only could have been my God's Spirit and all consuming love that swooped in. I have experienced this once before in India after sharing my testimony and the women prayed over us. So amazing and I was blessed to be part of something so wonderful again. It makes me want more...

After the service everyone honored the moms. They had a Mother's Day cake and it was cut into small pieces and every mom got feed a piece of the cake by one of their children (I am guessing by the oldest child). I was told the reason for this was because we feed and take care of our children and this is an opportunity for the kids to show honor to their mom. So here is a picture of Hailee feeding me.

It was very interesting but very fun! Some of the kids also performed dances for us as well. I tried to download the videos but it didn't work. BOO! Oh well... it was amazing! Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful moms!!
 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Turning 30

May 11, 1982 is my birthday and today I turned 30. Yes... the BIG 3-0. I don't feel 30 and I hope I don't look 30, but who knows. Today I went to the gym and got a good workout in, then 2 very sweet friends took me out for a Mexican lunch, I then came home and took a nap, Heidi had her gymnastics performance tonight (that showed us all what she has learned this year), and then the storms hit and we were out looking for an ice cream cake, which we ate when we got home. Tomorrow Bob is taking me out on a date to celebrate this BIG day.

So many wonderful things and bad things (more good than bad) happened in my 20's...

My 21 birthday was AWESOME!
August 29, 2003 I got married to my best friend.
November 14, 2004 we had our first beautiful child, Hailee.
June 2005 we moved make to Houston (where I feel at home)
November 2005 we began to go to church.
We made great friends, who are now my brothers and sister.
In 2006 I became a believer in my Lord Jesus Christ.
We bought our first house.
July 6, 2008 we had our second beautiful child, Heidi.
July 7, 2009 I was diagnosed with Melanoma/skin cancer (which rocked my world)
I grew in my relationship with my Father and put my trust and faith in Him.
August 2009 I became Cancer-Free!!
March 2010 I got Baptized!
August 2010 I began homeschooling Hailee
March 2011 The Lord led me to Israel.
August 2011 We bought our second house.
January 2012 The Lord again led me to India.
After I returned from India I was told to help and love on the Bhutanese.

I know this doesn't seem like much and I know I have missed so much, but these are the highlights and in every single one of these highlights I can tell you how God was in control and moving. He was with me when I had absolutely no faith or trust in Him. He never ever gave up on me when I was shaken... He was standing strong and holding me up. I am learning every single day and moment about Him. I can't wait until the day comes that I will see Him face to face.

I am so blessed it brings me to tears. What have I done to deserve this? I have a graceful loving Father that is there for me and loves me when no one else is or does. Praise the Lord, Oh, my soul!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blessings We Forget To Appreciate



Here is a picture of 21 fans that the mission department of my church, Kingsland Baptist, donated to Loaves & Fishes to give to the Bhutanese families here in Houston. I am so honored to be part of a church that truly loves everyone... even if they don't fit into our light skinned community. Kingsland Baptist is here to bring glory to God by helping the widows, orphans, and oppressed, to serve and love on the nations here and abroad.

These fans will be going to the Bhutanese families and I can tell you from experience they are overly grateful to have some cool air blowing in their warm stuffy apartments. All the Bhutanese refugees (all refugees on that matter) come to America not knowing what to expect... in Nepal they don't have running water in their house, no toilets to run to in the middle of the night, no clean water to bath or wash dishes in... nothing is private (I am imagining). So they get here sometimes and can't speak a lick of English, don't know where to by food, but feel they are in luxury because they have running water and bathrooms in their very own house etc... this is the closest to heaven on earth. Can you imagine how they feel? But, when you have luxury... you will need money to pay for that luxury and money is not one of the things these Bhutanese refugees come over here with. So the most precious luxury A/C (which we consider a must here in Houston) will not be used because it is way too expensive. That is where the fans come in... they will use fans for their only source of coolness. So today we gave 8 fans away to elderly families, families with lots of kids, and families with babies. It was such a blessed day to be able to bless others.


To end this blog post I want to share this picture of these elderly Bhutanese man. Isn't he beautiful? This man is always smiling... and when you say Jamisee (I am totally spelling this wrong) meaning Praise the Lord he lights up like I have never seen before. He speaks absolutely no English, but one thing I do know is... we have the same Father and we both love Him so much!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

2 Different Boxes

I have 2 different boxes to talk about...

I have found out more about this Bible study I will be doing with the Bhutanese. It will be an inductive Bible study and we will go through the New Testament... one chapter at a time. Have you heard of Faith Comes by Hearing? If you haven't, it is these little Proclaimer boxes that are filled with the very Word of God in whatever language you need it in. This little box can run on solar power, or can be cranked, or can run by electricity... it is the niftiest little box. This little box I have speaks the entire New Testament in Nepali, so no matter what person is listening (English speaking or not) they will hear the very Word of God in their heart language. This Bible study will be beginning June 21! I am excited and nervous all at once. :o)

My heart aches for my new Bhutanese friends, who are Hindu, Tamang Buddhist/Buddhist (same, same, but different)... they worship gods that can and are not this loving One true God. They all have so much hurt and feel so uneasy and feel no worth. They don't know the Lord, who is the everlasting God and the Creator that created the ends of the earth, they don't know this over powering strength that only He, who does not become tired or weary, can give us. The One who promises us if we find hope in the Lord our strength will be renewed. They don't know this God. All they know are these empty idols... man-made idols that sit in boxes. I pray through this Bible study that God leads that many unbelievers in Christ will come and listen and that the Holy Spirit will consume them and penetrate their hearts like a double edged sword.

May He be glorified!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Our Defender through all circumstances

I heard this today at the emd of 'Everlasting God' and it is so true and brought tears to my eyes as I remembered yesterday...
You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on the wings
Like eagles

Our God, You reign forever
Our hope, our Strong Deliverer

'Cause You are, You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary

You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on the wings
Like eagles

From everlasting to everlasting
God, You are everlasting

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Life Changing

Today was AMAZING!!! God is up to some BIG things with Loaves & Fishes and in the apartment complex we love and try to bring glory to our Father. Today, there was word out that a family wanted to become followers of Christ, but then came to find out they are investigating Christianity. Margie (founder of Loaves & Fishes) gave the lady a New Testament Bible written in English and Nepali. Margie showed her places to read... now praying the Lord will bring her Spirit alive through the Gospel. While Margie was sharing her testimony... a lady (Hindu) who I have been building a relationship with for the past month or so was sitting there listening to Margie and her testimony and learning a little more about this Jesus. I know she is searching and wondering because she did not leave... she sat there and listened.

I have another friend (a Hindu) who I have come to love very much... came to visit and I truly felt something was not right with her today. I don't know what wasn't right, but I pray when I begin the Bible study with these beautiful Christian and hopefully Hindus that she will come and learn more about this Jesus. I pray she will come to know her Savior and her worth.

Oh yea... I forgot to tell you all... I will be beginning a Bible study pretty soon in the apartment complex where these women live. I will be doing studies straight out of the very Word of God and pray this will be life changing for all and bring the Bible alive to those who have been Christians for a while. My One true God is up to some amazing things and I am at awe that He has chosen me to ride along side of Him through this adventure!

Then my day ended on a sad and happy note... Margie and I went to visit a family in another apartment complex today. The mom of this family has 6 children (3 who are at school)... the mom also gets beat by her husband and he drinks away their money. So while we were in her home and watching the kids play with their new dolls that we brought Margie went "snooping" around the apartment. *On a side note... the mom does not speak English so there is no way to communicate with her and her needs unless someone goes on a snooping mission.* Margie makes her rounds and goes all through the house and the kitchen... she tells me that the family has NO food! Can you even imagine? Not being able to buy food because you have no money and no car and then having to walk with all 6 kids to the store, which is not close by? Margie and I made the decision that we were going to run to the store for her and buy her and her family food. Off we went.... we bought a BIG bag of rice (maybe 20 lb bag), apples, bananas, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, 2 bags of (hot) Indian chips, a big jug of water, tea, yummy sweet for the kids, milk, etc. We then took it to her and she had this smile that I will never ever forget... I think she was shocked and surprised. She couldn't speak a lick of English, but she didn't have too... it was written all over her face. I was in tears when we left the apartment and as I type this I am in tears again. What an awesome day to Praise the Lord!! He provide for this family by using us and our visit and I pray they will come to know Him and be able to thank Him for what He did. 

I will never praise any other name except, Jesus!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Completely how I feel... Nothing's Gonna Hold me Back

I am chosen, I am free
I am Living for eternity
Free now forever

You picked me up, turned me around
You set my feet on solid ground
Yours now forever

And nothing's gonna hold me back
Nothing's gonna hold me back
Nothing's gonna hold me back

My chains fell off
My heart was free
I'm alive to live for you
I'm alive to live for you
Amazing Love, how can it be?
You give everything for me
You give everything for me
Everything

You washed my sin and shame away
The slate is clean: a brand new day,
Free now forever
Now boldly I approach your throne
To claim this crown through christ my own
Yours now forever

And nothing's gonna hold me back
Nothing's gonna hold me back
Nothing's gonna hold me back

My chains fell off
My heart was free
I'm alive to live for you
I'm alive to live for you
Amazing Love, how can it be?
You give everything for me
You give everything for me

I'm free to live
Free to give
Free to be
I'm free to love you

      Monday, April 23, 2012

      My BIG God

      WOW!! It has been a long time since I blogged... I have been so busy and the Lord has been consuming me with His love and guidance. I have been heavily involved in a ministry called Loaves & Fishes, which loves, gives, and helps Bhutanese refugees. I have come to love these poeple so much and I truly know without a doubt the Lord has led me to this culture to share the love of Christ. I have been learning so much as I go and meet new people that speak absolutely no English, but I love them anyway... I love them because I know God loves them and He made them for a beautiful purpose. I have also made friends with the Bhutanese that do speak English and oh how I love communication and asking all kinds of questions. I believe my new friends are very curious about me and wondering about me life. I hope to soon invite them to come visit and eat at my house soon.

      The Lord has been ringing in my ear "testimony" for a good while and I have this urgency to obey and do it. I feel I need to share my testimony and what my Savior has done for me, but I know I need to be patient and wait. I know I am to share it with the Bhutanese women, but I need to wait for the right time and I need a translater... I do know without a doubt He will provide. I also feel very strongly that I am to share my testimony with my friends. I feel that so many are hurting and don't know what to do, but they will not share this with anyone because they think everyone else is "perfect" with the Lord. I know that sounds crazy, but admit it you were once there as well. Our testimony is so strong and He gives us each one to share and build up and grow the church. I know what I need to do and I have put the word out, so now I sit and wait.

      In October, I will be going to Bangladesh with a small team that will train national workers in the gospel of Luke. We will train them in this gospel because the Jesus Film (a key evangelistic tool) is helpful when local leaders understand the book in greater depth. They want to start teaching the women as well, so that is where I will come in. This trip makes me very nervous, because teaching is not my thing (so I think), but obviously the Lord knows what He is up to. So I am agreeing to His pursuing of my Spirit and I am with Him and having faith that He will provide in everyway for this trip. Man... what a BIG God I serve!

      So, this is what has been going on in my life for this past 2 months. He has BIG things goin' on and I LOVE being on this path and these adventures He throws before me.

      Thursday, March 1, 2012

      Growing Closer by "7"

      Hello Friends. Remember me? The Lord has been up to some crazy stuff over here with me. I have begun working with a ministry called Loaves & Fishes. This ministry serves and loves on Bhutanese Refugees. I knew the Lord was calling me to this ministry and as soon as I got home from India I got in touch with Margie Mom and I have been helping her ever since... I love me some Indians! On top of all this wonderfulness going on... the Lord has lead me to a book called 7 by Jen Hatmaker. It is about her journey of fasting from our over privileged and blessed lives here in America. Fasting from food, clothes, technology, etc. I am only on chapter 2 and I am learning as I go... about all she is fasting from. I will fill you in on it all as it comes.

      So, today was the beginning of fasting from all foods, but 7. A good friend of mine, Christi will be doing this right a long side of me. I am praying we both experience God in a new and fresh way by removing the junk we put in our mouth and focus more on Him.

      Here is my list of 7 foods I will be eating for the entire month of March:

      chicken
      bread
      eggs
      cereal/milk
      apples
      avocado
      tomato

      (I know there are 8, but don't judge) ;o)

      It also comes to mind that I will be losing weight as well by eating nothing but these 7 foods, but this is not a diet! This experiment is only to seek the face of God, to be consumed by Him, overwhelmed by Him, and learn more of His character.

      Tuesday, January 17, 2012

      Destiny

      These girls may have had a bad start to their life, but they now have a Destiny! This is not a home, but a place girls come to work and it is called Destiny... fitting name, huh? Here they have the oppurtunity to make money for themselves and their families, to get benefits, and also a way to help them fill good about themselves. We all fill good about ourselves after a good hard days work... right?

      Sorry the pictures are so tiny... I don't know what is goin' on. :o)


      Here is one of the ladies, who runs Destiny. She is standing in front of some of the finished products that the girls have made.



      This is a picture of some of the ladies getting a manicure done.



      This picture is some of the ladies getting a pedicure.



      Cleaning, massaging, and painting finger nail and toe nails was what we were about for a week and a half. :o)



      The finished product!


      The girls may of thought we were a little crazy, but thats alright. All we cared about was that we were loving on them, that they felt our love for them, and that we brought glory to our Father in heaven.

      Monday, January 16, 2012

      150+ Blessings

      Our second day of serving was spent at the New Hope school (in the morning) and then we traveled to our first after care home (in the afternoon), which we will call SunnySide. We knew that this home was going to have the most girls (150+ girls), but we were ready to love on them. When we got to the SunnySide we were a little early and they were still in class, so we were shown around a bit and got to see where they do their work... some of the girls sew and some stamp. Then we were taken to a room where they kept all their merchandise to shop. Oh yea... 13 women shopping can be dangerous. LOL! I believe we all bought something from SunnySide. When the girls were done with school they all met us out in the courtyard and we were over run by girls ranging in the age of 9 years to 18 years. All these girls had different stories... some were trafficking victims, some were taken from their families because they were not safe there and they had a very high possibility they would be trafficked, and some where in the after care home because they were orphaned or unwanted by their families. All very sad, but these girls had joy and a hopeful future.

      Once they came out we began to play games with them. One of the games was musical felt squares. LOL! Instead of musical chairs we put 150 felt squares on the ground and they were to walk around the circle while music played (and we would remove a couple squares) and when the music stopped they were to jump on a square. Well... the instructions given to them was some where lost through translation. LOL! The girls were hopping around from felt square to felt square and some of them would hop from their square to their friends square and then back to their square... it was so very confusing, so we stopped the game. LOL! Then we split the girls up and half of them played a cotton ball spoon game (I don't know the official name of the game)... everyone lines up in 4 equal lines and everyone has a spoon, then the first person in the line gets a cotton ball on her spoon and passes it quickly and smoothly to the person behind her without the cotton ball falling on the ground. The other half play a princess relay game. There were 4 equal lines and the girl in the front had to run and dress up with all the princess gear (heart glasses, headband wig, tiara, and wand) and then run back to the next person in line and take it all off for the next person to put it all on. That was a great game!

      I forgot to mention that there were also kids (3-5 years old) there... children to the girls that lived at SunnySide. As we were setting up the princess relay game they were wanting to play and all the girls were telling them to go away. These kids wanted to play so bad. Truthfully we had no idea there was going to be this many children... there was about 8 kids. So Janet and I took these little rascals and played Duck Duck Goose (which we had to explain without a translator) with them and then we played the cotton ball spoon game with them as well. They loved having their own special games. :o) But, wow did I wish like the entire trip I could speak Bengali.

      After the games we came back to the middle of the courtyard and all sat smushed and cross legged under these paved pavilion and watched some girls dance. It was so great to watch them dance and laugh and just be giggly girls. After the dancing we all continued to be close and "cozy" to here Barbara share her testimony. It was good and some girls came up to her later and thanked her for sharing her story. Then it was time to do a craft... my wonderful friend, Brenda came up with this really cute hair barrettes to make with the girls. Each girl got a metal hair barrette and 2 ribbons and then they weaved them through the middle of the barrette to make a braid type thing. It might sound easy with me explaining it if you have a clue what I am talking about, but when you have 13 to 15 girls in your group and we can't understand eachother except when they say "Auntie" (that is what they call someone older than them... like a teacher) it gets a little frazzling. On top of the communication barrier and not knowing how to do the craft very well the blood sucking mosquitoes come out with a vengeance. LOL! But, in the end all the girls eventually got their barrettes done and helped eachother and they were so proud to have made it on their very own. But, thanks Brenda!! :o) It was then time to leave and we would see them again the next day.

      The next day we went to Destiny in the morning, but I will blog about them in a different post... right now I am going to blog again about SunnySide. This time the girls were going to come out in 3 groups because we were doing manicures and pedicures... we couldn't have all 150+ girls out at the same time. Let me tell you all we were doing with their hands and feet... with their hands we were, soaking their fingers, removing their cuticles, lotioning and massaging their hands, filing/cutting their nails, and then painting their nails and added a decorative flower on them if they wanted. With their feet we had buckets and we would wash, clean, and scrub their feet, file/cut their toe nails, lotion and massage their feet and legs, and paint their nails and add a decorative flower if they wanted. Let me just say... Feet our a HUGE deal in their culture... especially an older person washing the feet of a young person. HUGE! Every single foot that we washed was a HUGE deal. They would make a sound or gesture everytime we would start someone new. On top of the feet washing being such a HUGE deal we didn't have any towels to dry their feet with after being washed so some of us used our shirts that we were wearing... and that my friends about did it!! They were very uncomfortable... but we then explained it is okay... and that we wanted to do this and it was our honor... they then relaxed.

      I was at the feet washing station the entire time at SunnySide and it was completely humbling. To even get a little glimpse at what Jesus did as He washed His disciples feet was so over the top. After each girl got her feet washed we went and dumped the dirty water out and refilled it with clean water and new soap, but let me just say the that water refill station was not close by. We walked to dump the water where the water pump was... this water pump was like what they had in the 1800's, and then we carried it back. The Lord truly was with me while I became tired. He rejuvenated me with strength to continue to love on these girls. By washing 300 feet and painting 1500 toes while at SunnySide I think I can speak for the entire feet washing crew (which was 4 of us) that it was a blessing to have the honor to love on them in a way they have never experienced in their entire lives.

      I know this is a very long post, but I tried to make it to where you felt like you were there. I may not of done a very good job at that, but there was no other way. We were unable to take pictures at SunnySide, so that is also why it was so hard to explain. I hope you understand and got something out of this post because really washing this many feet at this one home has changed my life forever!

      Sunday, January 15, 2012

      The Poverty We Don't Know

      I have so much to process, but the thing I am really trying to wrap my mind around is the poverty in Kolkata. We are so privileged here in America (even the poor)... we have freedom... they say there is no cast system in India but there is, we have clean water... they do not unless it is filtered, we have food (even the poor have somewhere to go here in America)... a lot of the people in India don't know where their next meal will come from, we have roofs over our head (not any kind of roof, but a roof where everyone has their own room)... a lot of the poor are living on the side of the road in a tent with tarps as their walls, we have hot water... most homes in India do not have hot water heaters and if they do it is only like 10 gallons (trust me it is not enough by our standards). My list can go on and on and on... we are so privileged to live in this country! Words will never be able to describe how privileged we are.



      This is very common to see bags of potatoes on the back of a bike. Bikes are a very important type of transportation.

      These children were just sitting outside of a business with no adult. This was another common thing to see... children running around on the streets with no adult, parent, or grown up.


      There is no law in Kolkata that says you can't pitch a tent and live on the side of the street on the sidewalk. So without that law people do just that.... they pitch their tent or gather boards to make their walls. They cook, sleep, and do life on the side of the road.


      With people living everywhere and anywhere there is no trash service, so naturally the trash would just go anywhere and everywhere. Behind the trash pile is the roofs of a little more permanent slum homes.


      Here this family doesn't really have a tent or boarded walls... they just live and do life on the side walk. They wash their clothes in city water and dry their clothes on the city rail. This is normal. Normal for the poor and normal for the not poor as they walk by.



      I will have to say... with so much poverty and hunger... there is so much smiles. The Lord is there in Kolkata just as He is here in America with me and you. We just have to sit and listen to Him and not let our distractions take over our God. I am not blessed... I am overly privileged. So as I contemplate all of this and try to make sense of it all... I am thinking about all I have... how can I give it to my new friends, who need it desperately for their ministries.

      Saturday, January 14, 2012

      New Hope for a Slum Village

      The New Hope School is the place we visited our first 2 days in Kolkata. No words could ever come close to describing what this school is all about or how God is working there. The school is in the middle of a slum village that practices Hinduism and these two people below were called to change this village for God's glory. They both have faith I have never experienced... faith that God will provide for it all. They both are very smart and have gone to school for different career paths then they are leading now. Pastor Rudra was an Engineer and has his Masters and Mita has just finished Law school. They have given up their worldly lives and worldly success to follow the One who truly only matters. They both have envisioned this school and that the Lord will overcome this village with all His authority and love. This is who and what these to wonderful people are about... I have been changed because of their story of faithfulness and I pray to have faith like them. I was privileged to serve along side of them as we helped them these 2 days. May the Lord bless Pastor Rudra and Mita. May His face shine upon them and bring them much peace.


      Pastor Rudra and his wife, Mita, who is the teacher of the school.


      Walking through the village.


      Walking through the village.



      Here are some of the kids greeting us as we walked down the road of their village. It was so awesome to be greeted with smiles and laughter.


      I know this is not the best picture of the school sign, but get the idea. All by faith in God's plan and His guidance.


      This is how they do school with the morning group. They sit in rows and do their work on the floor. They are happy little kids and so happy for what they have... and these kids don't have much, but they soak up in anything and everything you show them and teach them. Lord bless these kids and may they all come to know You.


      These kids did so awesome taking the paper off the back of these stickers. They did it all pretty much on their own... some did need help but they were determined to do it on their own. They loved all the different stickers and soaked it all up.


      Here is Lauren, one of our teen girls that came with her mom.


      Working on writing.


      Praise and worship time during chapel.


      Here is my knew DeeDee (big sister), Jill, who telling the Bible story on David and Goliath. Jill was so awesome and she blessed Pastor Rudra and Mita by sharing ways to help the kids better.


      One of the kids praying the Lord's Prayer. Everyday they prayer the Lord's Prayer... complete reverence to His holiness.


      Working hard on coloring a sheet talking about washing hands to keep germs away.


      My DeeDee, Brenda watching these kids and loving them.


      Working to hard! She was a great colorer!


      Here they are reviewing a Bible verse we taught them... "I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13


      This was one of the two crafts we had for them to do. No one complained about what color they got... they just were so grateful to get a hat to decorate and keep for their very own.


      They were all so proud of these hats.


      Aren't they so cute?


      Our driver, Shavik (I probably messed up is name bad), he was a huge blessing to us. He was an awesome driver, translated a bit for us, bought henna for us (an got a deal), we felt so safe with him, he walked us to our destinations, and protected us in unsafe places. May God bless Shavik and his beautiful family.


      The New Hope school has also begun a program for the women of the village, a sewing trade. Here in this picture Mita is sitting with a few women (more came later) and sharing a story about God. I am not sure what she was saying, but I can be sure it was to bring our Savior glory.


      Here a beautiful Indian women who is working on her lines and learning.


      This young lady in this picture is 19 years old and not married yet, but I believe God has big things in store. Another reason Pastor Rudra and Mita started this sewing school was 1. teach them a trade and to make their own money (eventually) but, 2. To teach them the Truth because once the wife of the house learns about Jesus' love then she will teach her kids and live it out to be an example for her husband and then by God's grace the husband may come to know his Savior as well.

      Aren't these ladies beautiful? The lady on the left was very happy and full of smiles and laughter. She was the life of the group and very talkative.

      This was day 2 and the craft for this day was making pillows. These pillows were fleece and had a rainbow pattern to help them remember the the promise of the Lord that He would never flood the earth again. They loved that this was made by their own two hands and that they got to take this home and keep.

      Everyday we were there they had a dance for us. This day they had a swing dance prepared for us. We were so impressed!




      Aren't they cute?


      This young man (whose name I can not remember... no matter if a name is in another language or not I can never remember names. This is something I need to work on) in this picture is one of two of the teacher's helpers and he is a blessing. He does not get paid for helping at the school, but he is a follower of Jesus Christ. His parents give him a hard time at home because they want him to work and make money and forget about his Jesus, but he continues to stay faithful. This is one of Pastor Rudra's disciples.


      Here Barb is working with the kids with the folder games. These kids could not get enough... they wanted more and more...


      We were supposed to visit the village again and show the Jesus Film in the school for all who wanted to come and see it, but God had different plans. When we arrived they tested the film and it was not working correctly. So our team leader, Kay kept trying. We prayed and had so many others praying for this Jesus Film and asked to Lord to give us clarity and wisdom on what we should do. The morning of the day we were going to show it Kay called Pastor Rudra and shared the problem we were having and he made the call to cancel the showing of the Jesus Film. We believe the timing was just not right... maybe the field is just not ready for harvesting yet, but I believe with everything in me that God has great things planned for this village and the school. I can't wait to hear and see the great mighty works the Lord will do. Until I return I will be praying for all His glory and might to shine through strongly.