Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen

Today I went to two very different church services. The first was a powerful reminder of the reality of sin in the world and in my heart and the power and hope of the empty tomb. The second was at a local Sudanese church. I followed the sound of the drums and music to find the room. I didn't understand a word of what was being sung, but I couldn't help but clap and move to the sound of joyful worship. I was there to hear my pastor give an update on his recent trip with WHM to Sudan and to be introduced to the church. Pastor Kevin asked me to quickly talk about my call to Southern Sudan. I stood up and really didn't have any idea how to convey what God has be doing in my heart over the last five years. I talked a little bit about how a conversation with Michael, a missionary with WHM, gave me a vision and desire to serve God in Sudan, and how I would be working to provide clean drinking water in the name of Jesus Christ. As I was talking, I kept thinking that I wasn't really conveying how big and faithful God has been in my call, or the heart of the vision for Southern Sudan. Michael and his family's prayer, and now mine, is that as communities receive food and water in the name of Jesus, they will see this as a sign of God’s gracious kingdom at work among them and that many will be drawn into that kingdom through faith in Christ. Well needless to say I am not known for my public speaking skills, but when I was done talking the people were so excited and clapped louder than I have ever heard clapping in a Presbyterian church for what God is doing in their country. (that is when I realized how silly it was to be worrying what I was saying, because it is all about what God is doing) Kevin then started to go over slides of his trip to Sudan. As he was going over slides, I could hear people saying that they knew the places in the pictures, and then someone recognized one of the men in the pictures. A beautiful dialogue started about what God is doing in Sudan and His faithfulness. Kevin told stories about the things he saw in Sudan including a parade of women who were praying for the gospel to be proclaimed in Haiti because they heard that Haiti needed the gospel. Well if I thought the clapping after I talked was loud, after Kevin spoke and prayed there was so much excitement, encouragement, and hope. I am sure this is just the first of many conversations that I will have with the Sudanese church, and I have a lot to learn from them. They were a true encouragement to me as I start my journey to Sudan.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What I Need

I don't like to admit that I need anyone. I often like to think that I am self-sufficient. Well that couldn't be farther from the truth. I am in DESPERATE NEED. I am in need of a savior. I am also in need of prayer, accountability, truth spoken into my life, encouragement, and so much more. The depths of my sin sometimes astound me. I am so good at deceiving myself.

Sudan is so beyond what I can even deceive myself into thinking that I could accomplish on my own. I have to rely on God. I am not enough, but Jesus is enough. And God will be glorified.

So here is where I ask you all for what I need. I NEED PRAYER.

Over the past few months the power of prayer has been so evident in my life. Not only has God been faithful and answered prayers in amazing ways, but so many times as I pray my heart is brought closer to the heart of my redeemer. Prayer is necessary, and too often there is not enough of it in my life.

Monday, March 17, 2008

God, Water, and New Friends

GOD: I am a missionary appointee with World Harvest Mission! Crazy. I will be serving in Southern Sudan to provide safe drinking water in the name of Jesus Christ for two years. Even crazier. After a week of being assessed and oriented I am left with these two statements. I am weak. God is good.

WATER: I could write a lot here about the living water that comes from within or God's provision of water throughout the old testament. I could talk about how Jesus showed mercy during his ministry on Earth. These are all great to talk about, but instead here are a few statistics from UNICEF.

Lack of safe water and sanitation is the world’s single largest cause of illness.
In 2002 one in six people had no access to safe water.
About 4,500 children die each day from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation facilities.

NEW FRIENDS: My new friends are the staff of WHM and the six other new missionary appointees. I could not be more different than they are if I tried. In fact, the psychological tests we took proved that. =) As we left to go our own ways at the end of the week, I couldn't help but know that we will prayed for. It was a truly beautiful thing to hear how God has been at work and faithful and to just be real with each other. *this is where everyone says awwww*