Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lest we forget...

Today was a good day. Happy Kelsey's Birthday everyone! It was my roommates Birthday today, so to celebrate we went to Köln today, to see the 5 Christmas Markets that are there. So I played tourguide/translator as best as I could and led a delighted group of girls around the city that was originally an old Roman Colony. We saw many beautiful things, humongous Christmas trees, ate a massive amount of German goodies and had great fellowship.

This is something everyone should experience at least once.

While we enjoyed the magical experience, the Starbucks, and all the other shiny things there was an impactful end to our night. We were ready to leave a little early, so I found a train that left before we had planned. Coming up the stairs to our platform, I looked left to see if the train was coming, and it was. There was one major problem, an older man had fallen on the tracks. Why, we don't know, but we can only speculate that he tripped or slid or fell. The train was slamming on its' brakes, and three men were on the tracks, picking him up and hoisting him over to a few other men. He looked unconscious. Limp, with a gash about 6 inches long and four inches wide on his head. His head must have broken his fall. They were successful in getting him up and the train was able to stop in plenty of time. Thank God. And for a few breathless moments, all we could say was, "Jesus". Our immediate reaction was to pray, and while we couldn't think of what to pray, and were in a state of shock, we watched and prayed while this man's grown son cradled him in his arms, crying and asking for medical help. People ran for the first aid kit and paramedics. After we began praying, the man began regaining consciousness and moving. To our extreme relief. His head would not stop gushing. By the time we were boarding our train, his head was bandaged and the paramedics had set him up and were taking him for medical attention. We were all pretty shaken and continued praying for him and his family.

It stirred us, and we had a wonderful time of fellowship afterward, trading stories of how good God has been to us all. I love hearing those special testimonies of how God has provided, saved, comforted, healed and protected his people. I don't think 2 hours has ever gone so quickly in my life. We were united, by the blood of Jesus and the testimony of a God who is very involved in our lives. I feel like I needed today, to hear those stories, and to reflect on all those times God has intervened in a special way.

Let us praise him, Lest we forget Him. For he is amazing, and no one can compare to our great God. I love him. I hope you do too.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

God saves the day... err... year!

so, I don't know why I ever doubt God or become anxious.

long story. I wasn't sure quite what God was doing, but I knew that I was set up for a miracle. I had no money for next semester, so I was praying and simply holding onto faith that my God will supply what I need for the things that He has called me to. ie: Bible College.

I had possibly the worst morning of my life this Tuesday, ugh. After a long sleepless night of worry and anxiety mixed with prayer, I woke up 10 minutes before class. And it's a 20 minute walk to class. On the rainiest ugliest day ever. Not such a good start. James class that morning was amazing. My teacher, Hannah was speaking on the will of the Lord, and discerning his voice and direction as well as trusting him and planning accordingly. Leave room for God to change your plans! So, needless to say, this calmed me down. It was exactly what I needed to hear and set my heart at peace that God would provide for me here if he wanted me here.

I continued about my day, enjoying the rest of it. It was genuinely joyful after that. Well, I get home I have a vague email from my mom saying that she has tuition money for me. Shocked and confused I called her, and she told me the amazing news. She was suddenly reminded of a college fund that she has for me! I don't know how it was even forgotten about, but it was a great and amazing provision from God. It is miraculous how he can open our eyes and simply drop things from out of nowhere. All I have to say is, God is good, and he is so faithful to lead us and take care of what we need.

So take heart. be encouraged. God can and will take care of you too!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Auf dem Berlin Straßen

We hit the streets this week in Berlin. My team and I. It was bitter cold and rainy, but that didn't prevent the people from being out on the streets. We split up in small teams and hit up all the very touristy areas to spread the gospel, and we received mixed responses. For the most part, the people were all really open to talk, and some were excited and shocked to hear what we had to say. A few of my teammates had a one and a half hour conversation with a Muslim that was very encouraging.

The spiritual climate in Berlin is very dark, with only about 1% of the giant city professing to be Christians. Needless to say it was exhausting spiritual work those first few days. Oh, and I helped Tuukka (our Finnish outreach leader) lead worship for the small church on Sunday, and it went really well. The people were very encouraged by it, as well as the Pastor. All glory to God because we had very little to offer that day, and very little time to prepare.

The church was in a predominately Turkish neighborhood, and Pastor Paul's greatest hope is to start by reaching his neighborhood. On his street alone, there probably live about 2,000 people. Not to mention the rest of Berlin. About half of the congregation in his church is saved, and the other half aren't, but come on a regular basis. We can continue praying for them, and that they would truly come to a relationship with God, with the evidence of changed lives. They run a boy's club and a girl's club which a lot of the neighborhood kids attend. We got to meet some of these boys, and there is real hope in their lives. There seems to be a spark in them for God. The road will be difficult because they come from Muslim backgrounds, but they love the Pastor and being at the church. They are there almost everyday and act as if they own the place. It's a good thing, and they bring great life to the church.

The last day we met up to work with another ministry in their garden. They needed to have a couple fences removed and posts pulled out so that they could have another fence installed. It was totally an answer to prayer, cause they didn't have the time or the manpower to do so before the fence installers came. We had a great time working with our hands after all the spiritual work of the previous days.

All in all, it was a great trip of getting to know the church, helping them out, and being encouraged by the hard work that they are doing. God is surely glorified in their ministry, and it is a place I would love to go back to again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Berlin... reaching out.

It's that all, important time in the semester again. Headed on Outreach week starting on Saturday. We are going to take a wonderful, nine hour train ride across the country to Berlin. I am pretty stoked about this, as Germany is my favorite country ever. My team is 7 Germans, 2 Americans, and 1 Fin. So needless to say, I will be hearing a lot of German, and hopefully able to practice speaking more. We are going to a Calvary Chapel in Berlin to encourage the Pastor and do a lot of praying for the church and the city. It's a city full of Atheists, and some Muslims, so we will have a wide array of people to talk to. In the afternoons we will be going on the streets to talk to people, and playing soccer (YES!) with the kids. And, get this, I will be helping 2 other people lead worship... gasp. I'm kinda nervous about this. Please keep us all in your prayers, that God would use us to share the truth with people, and that we would really be help to the small church that is filled with people who really struggle. From what I understand a lot of the members in the church are new believers, so it will be a really good thing for us to come encourage them. Pray for smooth traveling on our many different train connections. Pray for great unity between the team and also with the church.

I am excited to see what God will do, and share stories with you all!

PS: It's been 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell! I hope to go see this, and other things on our last day there. Plus, the birthplace of Döner. Hello, does it get any better than cheap, delicious food mixed with history?


Monday, September 7, 2009

God spoiled me.

So I totally feel like God just hooked me up and spoiled me this semester. The blessings are immense. I have the best work duties ever!! Coffee Bar! So now I get to learn the fine art of espresso, and hang out in the cafe 12 hours a week. Thanks God. We had orientation today and I was quite pleased with my foam making skills. Hopefully they will be finely honed throughout the semester. :)

But seriously, I am blessed.

Classes started today. Woohoo! I love love love school, and studying and digging into the text and researching. And it can't get any better than studying what you love and what changes your life.

Sooooo... I am taking
The Gospel of Mark
Apologetics, (the reason and defense of the Christian faith. The same as a lawyer defending a client, for example)
James for Women
Missionary Biographies
and Missions

Which is a pretty sweet line-up and I am totally stoked about it.

I am praying for happy studies and sweet devotion times for you all with the Lord. Maybe I will post some of my exciting studies. We will have to see... Ciao.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Siegen isn't Siegen without the rain.

I'm finally back to my home away from home.

Oh, how I've missed it. It didn't really hit me that I was actually here until the rain came. It brought back all the multitudes of memories from the past two semesters. I have missed the people and the atmosphere, but at the same time it is so different. I'm sure once classes start and we get into the swing of things that we will really get to know one another well.

Due to the large amount of female students this semester, they put a lot of us in Apartments down the road, but I think I have the best set-up by far. I may be partial though. I have one roommate, named Kelsey, and we are staying with a couple from the church, in a little apartment down the road. We have a nice big bathroom all to ourselves and plenty of space to retreat to. It's quite lovely, and I am excited already. So, I am blessed, and super happy. I get to live my dreams, what more could I ask for.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Outreach 2009

Sorry this may be long and scattered. I will try to give you all the low-down in an understandable way. But first I must explain a few things for the sake of clarification.

Shevit Achim: The organization we joined up with. They give heart surgeries to middle eastern children who can't afford them. They send them to Israel, where they live in a home with some of the missionaries. They hear the Gospel there, and are sent back having heard the truth about Jesus Christ. There is great fruit from this ministry, and have seen many children and mothers saved. We were traveling with them thru here to do follow-up visits with the children and their families, to share more of God and to make sure all the kids were healthy. We handed out much literature, prayed with some families, and played worship in their homes. Our driver for the week, Canaan, was a believer who was formerly a Muslim. He was a worship leader and shared his testimony in many of the homes. Such a joyful man and a great blessing to our team. He was absolutely hilarious and definitely passionate about Jesus. He made constant jokes about terrorism (HA) and had an infectious laugh. We all miss him already.

Day 1:
Traveled from Germany to Diyarbakir, Turkey. Got in pretty late. We had some sweet time of prayer and worship, then wrapped our Christian literature to smuggle into Iraq. :)

Day 2:
Of course Kayla and my alarm was set to the wrong time and we woke up an hour late, but all was fine, and we set off in two taxis for an adventure to the border. When we stopped to eat (which we opted out of) our drivers shuffled us around, putting two of our guys in a car with some random Turkish guys. We eventually made it to the border and jumped thru their hoops for about an hour before they finally let us thru. Except two of our guys were abandoned by themselves for about 45 minutes and weren't sure where we were. No worries, we all met up, and squished 7 people into a 5 person taxi for a few hours. Painstakingly, we finally found our hotel in Duhok, which had been paid for already. One of the Fathers owned a hotel and paid for 2 nights of our stay! We saw the Lord provide in incredible ways all week. Starting with the meal we had this week. Another one of the Fathers owned a restaurant and fed us one of the most delicious feasts I had ever eaten in my life.It was especially delightful since we hadn't eaten in 12 hours. Food covered every square inch of the table. The people sure do know how to cook, and are the most hospitable people I have ever encountered.

Day 3:
We visited about 5 families in a row, and I have never eaten so much food. It is offensive if you don't eat what they set before you. So we had 5 rounds of water, pop, candies, fruit, and tea. At one house they served us a giant lunch too. We were nearly miserable with food. But we were really able to get to know what families are like, and able to minister to them. We left literature and worshiped with them. The whole culture is all about family, and BIG ONES. The Fathers were so affectionate, and the children were so well behaved and joyful. It was beautiful, and I definitely think we can learn some about parenting from these people. There wasn't a time when the kids couldn't interrupt whatever was going on to come to a parent. We also crossed the Euphrates river and saw the Syrian border.

Day 4:
Coolest day ever. Went to a little Christian village. If you look in the book of Nahum, you will read that this is the village he was from. It is stilled called the exact same thing, not to mention that it is a Christian village. They took us to the site where they believe they have the bones of Nahum buried. It is in a super old Jewish Synagogue, with original Hebrew on the walls. We had a guard with an Ak 47 who took us in, so we felt safe. haha. It was like walking thru the Bible. Nahum was sent to prophecy against Nineveh, and it was kinda crazy to see the effects of his prophecy are still standing. I mean, Abraham walked thru those mountains that we did. It's nuts to think about. The man whom we visited was teh security guard for the village and told us that in 2003 his village helped the American soldiers find Sadaam Hussein. They love Americans.

Shortly after we went to a village where some Yezidi live. They are a small tribe, basically a cult. They worship their ancestors, and are very superstitious. They took us to their site of worship, which was eye-opening. Kayla and I made some friends with girls near our age, and we all climbed up the mountain to watch the sun set. Be praying for these people, they are heavily blinded, and there is no one to reach them as of yet.
We ended the night in a bigger city. The ladies stayed in the home of a a wonderful Christian man with a beautiful family. He has been studying and helping the International Bible Society (IBS) translate the Bible into their language. He wants to see a Bible College happen there for people who wish to become pastors or teachers.

Day 5:
We visited the IBS to see what their ministry was all about, and met a really intelligent Scotsman who has been devoted to translating the Bible for many years. They have many books and literature and worship out, but their heart is really to see a strong discipleship of the people, and stressed the need for good teachers who can invest in the lives of the Middle Eastern believers.
We also got to go to a local Bazaar. Fun! There was a citadel that Sadaam built, and the people have all but torn it down in their hatred toward him.
This night we attended a Church service at the Kurdzman chuch. SO special. The whole church is made up of only native believers who were previously Muslim. They were so passionate about their faith, praying for one another, for Syria, and for us as the Western Church. They told us they pray for us often, and that we need it, because they see the moral issues in the churches. I was so humbled and amazed at how God uses believers all over the earth to intercede for one another.

Day 6:
Traveled all day, our last city. The ladies stayed with another family, Shorsh and Nancy. Nancy is American and her husband is from there, who speaks 5 languages and leads a home fellowship that he hopes will someday be a church. He has an incredible testimony that he shared with Kayla and I. Too long to write here.
Kayla and I had a great opportunity to spend the evening with the women missionaries. They had an awesome night of fellowship and graciously welcomed us in. It was wonderful to get to spend time getting to hear what life was really like living there. We heard of their struggles and their ministries. It was an eye-opening experience that allowed us to understand more of the culture that we wouldn't know just by sitting with families.

Day 7:
The last of the families came to us this day. The boys were staying at an office of one of the Shevit Achim workers, so we spent the day there, praying, reading, and entertaining families. It was a day of spiritual warfare, but we really came together as a team to hold up one another. We were so blessed with unity and the ability to get along well, even with our silliness and all. The Lord totally gave us grace to spend about 40 hours in the car that week, and not to get too restless. We got really close, and the time was filled with immense laughter.

Day 8:
We drove 14 hours straight into Turkey. It was rough, but we made it! That night I was able to share a short devotion and we spent some time interceding for all the many things we had seen that week, from the people, the missionaries and specific cities. The next morning we flew back to Germany.

So that is it in a nutshell. I am sure there is so much more I am forgetting, but it is a great overview! We were safe the whole week, and I was never once scared. We even slept well (on the floor).Check my Facebook for pictures!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Brand New Spring

I feel Spring in my heart this week. Though it does have to do with the amazing weather! I made it through a few stressful weeks, through prayer and just barely hanging on to sanity. My schedule is crazier than last semester for sure.

All my classes have been amazing though. I feel like I am learning so much, especially in my Inductive Bible Study class. I am learning how to read the Bible through context and other clues and hints. It's something that will benefit me for the rest of my life. I just love getting into the text, asking those hard questions and discovering new things I never saw. It's incredible, and I want to teach others how to do it.

On another note, I feel like I have been put in the pressure cooker. Literally, stretched to the max, and convicted. The Lord is so faithful to teach us, and to forgive. I'm amazed at how perfect he is.

Time goes so quickly here, I almost feel like I've entered a new dimension. We are over halfway through the semester already!! And I go to Iraq in 16 days! So please don't forget to pray for us. I will be sure to post photos and an update when we get back to Germany!

May God bless you all with his presence and great weather! Love Spring!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Outreach to Iraq

Well everyone, I have some very exciting news! I have been given the awesome opportunity of being able to go to Iraq for a week for outreach this semester. AS it stands right now, I have almost all the money I need to go, but I am sure that the Lord will take care of the rest of the funds!

We are still in the middle of planning everything, and I am sure some things will change. Currently, we are a team of 6 people. Our leader is Wolfgang Jung, who is a teacher at the school, and was previously a missionary for twenty years in the Philippines, and has been to Turkey before. We are planning to fly into Turkey and travel the rest of the way by bus into Northern Iraq. We are meeting up with a ministry who provides heart surgeries for childen who need them but can't afford them. It is based out of Jerusalem. We will be visiting these families and checking up on the children who have already recovered. It is a Christian organization, but we are not sure how open we can be about Jesus, so we will see how much evangelism we can do. This means we will be traveling through many cities and visiting many families. They say there are more families than we can visit, so I am sure we will be quite busy.

So, that is the short version. Our team will be meeting regularly to pray and to research the culture and everything necessary to have a smooth trip. We would really appreciate your prayers.

Some things to focus on...
-Travel safety and smooth transitions over the borders.
-Finances for the entire team
-Unity as a team
-Pray we would have a passion for the people and a deep love for them
-For wisdom and cultural sensitivity

I will keep you posted on things to come!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hallo Deutschland!


I am back here in Siegen, safe and sound. The semester is off to a busy start! I've already been settled in and had a week's worth of classes. I ended up in the same room as last semester, all the way up in the Attic on the 4th floor. There are less students this semester, so it feels a bit quiet, but we have been having a lot of fun getting to know each other and hanging out in our free time.

Last Saturday we went to Eisenach to the castle that Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German before the time of the Reformation. It was surreal, like walking into a bit of history. It only took him 10 weeks to translate the 27 books of the New Testament. Before we went, we all watched the movie about him, and I think I would've been his sidekick if I could've. It was pretty incredible.

So this semester I am stoked about my classes. They seem to fit nicely together. I am taking...

Church History with David Guzik
Daniel with Conor Berry
Womens' Discipleship with Hannah Berry and Inga-Lil Guzik
Nehemiah with Daniel Ganzler
Acts with Jeremy Kirby
Inductive Bible Study with Jeremy Kirby
(and I will be sitting in on the German class, to practice the language)

I am so blessed to be here and to have the opportunity to study the Bible. I am learning so much and I can see already how this will benefit my future.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I usually try to avoid Winter

... so far that hasn't worked too well this year. It's been in the negatives all week, but today we had a heat stroke! Positive ten degrees! :( Where everything in your nose freezes the second you walk outside. I'm sure Annie knows how that is. More snow on the way... ugh.

I am ridiculously well taken care of. God loves me and it's apparent. Being home reminds me how blessed I am to be surrounded with warmth of friends and family. God has been doing some amazing things in my heart, and we are on a new journey. Trying to move past things that are long past due. But I am sure of the victory. At the moment, I've got my toes dipped in the water, soon to be submerged.

Winter does things to people's minds. There's no beauty to look at, no sun to warm up your thoughts. I can't even go to my favorite places to pray for fear of frostbite. I see it all around me. I wish I knew the answers to those who struggle so much around me. So I offer my friendship and my love, praying it gives hope on those long days of darkness.

I nearly forgot this is what Lima is like.
Like a vacuum.