Thursday, May 24, 2012

***Prayer Needed***

I'm just sending out a quick blog post to ask you all for prayer for a door that God has opened for both me and Anita. Next Thursday, me and Anita will be leading a workshop on Self Esteem in the slum community where we work. This is very much a step of faith and we need your prayers as we pray and prepare to give this workshop.

 This last week, as Anita has been seeking God as to how she could use her giftings and education to reach this community. She struggled to see how she could use her secular education as a Psychologist and combine it with a Biblical base. It then dawned on her that I had that Biblical education and that together we could combine both the Psychological and Biblical aspects of a wide range of topics. So she asked me if I would be willing to do that and of course I said yes! It really encouraged me to see another way we could serve the community.

 So on Thursday we will be trying this for the first time. In the morning we will be doing the workshop for anyone who wants to come and in the afternoon, we will be doing a more youth focused version of the workshop. So please lift this up in your prayers, that God would use this to reach a community that is so broken and that it would open more doors for us to form relationships in the community. We also plan to start doing workshops regularly in the future as a team so please lift up all that planning in your prayers as well!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Blessed are you when.........

This month has been an action packed month, I don't really know where to start but I'll give it a try! A couple weeks ago me and Anita were blessed to go on a retreat with the woman of our church. I hadn't been to a retreat in so long, so it was such a blessing to take some time away from it all and just draw close to my Lord. It was a time of reflection and refreshment. It was so nice to just be ministered too as opposed to ministering to others. The timing of this retreat couldn't be more perfect, as I was feeling quite overwhelmed by some of the events of this month and just needed time to recharge.
Me and the ladies about to leave the retreat!

 Some of the things that God just spoke to me during this month is that God ALWAYS works for the good of those who love Him. He takes each one of our situations or circumstances that we may see as bad and uses it for His good and glory. What we see as horrible, or what Satan sees as a way to discourage us, God takes each of these moments and uses it for His glory. God tells us in His word that when we follow Him, that we will be persecuted.......yet when we feel persecuted or feel like we are passing through the valley, it is so hard to understand why God would allow us to pass through it because indeed it is painful....and only through God's strength can we move forward.

 But His word tells us that we are BLESSED when we suffer hardships, that we are BLESSED when people insult us and say false things about us. It is so hard to even comprehend this concept but God always points us to the eternal and not the present. (Matthew 5) It's these hardships that make us realize that this world is not our home and that one day we will be with our Lord in a place where there is no more pain and no more tears. I don't only say these things to you or to come across as preachy, but I draw hope from these promises from God amidst my own hardships, and indeed I am aware that each one of us is in a battlefield. I hope that by being open about my own hardships, that some of you will be encouraged and find hope in the fact that we are all living in the same world and striving to please our King in a broken world.

This month, I found out that someone whom I had really poured my time into in the past, and someone who had already caused me alot of hardship in ministry, was spreading some pretty serious lies about me. Right when I thought, that the hardships with that person were in the past, something had to come back up, just at a time when I felt God restoring my heart and building me up in ministry once again. I found the strength to move past it in the moment and I really cried out to God to reveal the truth and that truly it only really mattered what He thought of me. I remained as strong as I could and really felt blessed as the truth seemed to come to light fairly quickly through some amazing people who stood by me that week.

Something good that came out through this situation, was just to see how many amazing people that God has placed in my life here in Costa Rica. For a moment, I was able to forget about the many hurts/deceptions that I have been through and was able to see the good in it all. I was amazed how much affirmation actually came through this situation. It was so encouraging for me this month to see that God has surrounded me with some wonderful God fearing people who were not only willing to back me up but who just really encouraged me.

One of the short term teams I translated for this month.

Satan may prowl around like a lion.....and indeed sometimes it seems like there are "wolves" everywhere but God's truth and promises stand firm......He is stronger than the enemy, He lights up and overcomes the darkness. This doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt....because it really does....but MY act of surrender and indeed MY act of worship by acknowledging the power of God over these things, helps me to reach up my arms to Him and reach out my hands to Him. He holds my ministry, He holds my heart, and he holds even my reputation in His hands. My purpose is to honor Him in all that I do. I seek to please my master and not men. I have hope and faith that God can take each one of these situations and use it for His glory and use it to shape me.

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

"The LORD is my light and my salvation--so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? Psalm 27:1

Prayer Requests:

1. Pray that God would continue to fill me with His strength, hope, faith and passion in ministry. Pray that these hardships would not stop me from seeing the bigger picture and continuing to reach out with His love.

2. Please pray for my residency application! I just turned in all my papers to immigration and am just waiting to see if its approved :) This would really benefit me and lower some of my expenses.

3. Pray for God's provision for me and Anita's daily needs and ministry needs.