Smacked in the head by a 2×4 part 1

I thought I would take a couple posts and share with you all the different things that happened in my life that God planned way in advance to get me to see His plan for me. I have always said that God has to use a 2×4 upside my head to get me to recognize something and I really think He did that….slowly, but He still did it.

I’m going to do this chronologically, because that just makes sense in my head to do it that way. In this post I’ll cover everything up until the recent past (past 5 years-ish).

In elementary school i was in the gifted program where we studied a new language every year. One year we took Spanish and my mom had me speak a little to her friend who new Spanish pretty well. The friend said I was good and encouraged me to keep studying Spanish.

In junior high they offered an after-school German language class for two days a week in 7th grade and then three days a week in 8th grade. It would allow anyone who completed it to move straight to German 2 in high school. I was apparently a big enough dork that I decided to forget my mom’s friend’s advice and i stayed after school to learn German which at the time had no real applicable use for me.

Throughout high school I finish 4 years of German and the desire to visit grew within me. My brother never quite understood why, but nonetheless the desire was there.

In my first couple years of teaching I was looking at Master’s programs, but had no real plan. I was talking to one of my co-workers who was also my Pastor’s wife at the time. She knew that I like technology and was somewhat knowledgeable so she suggested I get my Master’s degree in educational technology. I had no idea that was even a possibility, but sure enough it was.

I ended up getting my degree online through the University of Florida and the program they used to design their courses is a program called Moodle which is the same program I will be using to create courses while in Germany.

These events are just the beginning. Within the last five years so much more happened in my life that God planned to use to get me to see where He wanted me. Come back tomorrow to find out what He did.

New ministry timeframe

I thought I would take a few minutes and share with you my new ministry goal. There are several goals I have for when I get over to Germany but right now my priority is to get there as soon as possible. So what does that mean? Well, in order to get to Germany I have to be 100% financially supported of which I am about 65% of the way there. In addition to that I have to attend a training in either Colorado or North Carolina for five weeks. I need to be at 80% supported in order to register for the training. Here is what I am praying will happen and I hope that you will join me in this prayer.

Training:

September 16- October 26th in Union Mills, NC

Final Visits: All of these times below are estimates since I really don’t know when I will get to 100% funded, but my goal is to be completely funded by the time I am going to the training.

October 27th-November 10th – Toledo area

November 11th-November 18th – DC area

November 19th(ish) – depart for Germany

 

Originally I had hoped to be in Germany much sooner, but I am living every day in God’s plan. I am working towards the goal and am waiting for those people He has called to join my ministry partner team. Please join me in prayer for my current and future ministry partners.

My Commissioning Service

One of the steps that I must take before being allowed to leave for Germany is a commissioning service from my sending church. As part of my recent trip to Maryland, the church I went to for the seven years I lived there (South Potomac Church) commissioned me. For those who don’t know a commissioning service is nothing new. It is a time for a church or group of people to send someone to fulfill the great commission. Moses commissioned Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land in Deuteronomy 31:7-8. In Acts Barnabas and Saul are commissioned as well.

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. – Acts 13:1-3

To be honest I had no idea what to expect for my commissioning service.. I had never gone through a commissioning before and couldn’t quite remember seeing one either. I invited all of my ministry partners to come be a part of this service. The service was great. It was simple, but it was great. During each of the services they called me up along with any elders and missions team members that were there. Pastor Dave Huffman then gave a brief introduction into what I was doing and then I was prayed for by some of the most Godly people in the church. It felt good to know that the people in the church were joining me on this mission. I am proud to be serving God in Europe and being a part of South Potomac’s missionaries. I am also excited about seeing the amazing things God has in store for the people of Europe!

Let’s Catch Up! Oh, it’s been 9 years? Awkward!

 

“Let’s catch up!” I said, not completely realizing what that would entail. I didn’t realize that the two people I had said this to, would take me up on the offer and then catching up meant covering the last 9 or 10 years. Yeah, that’s the kind of friend I am and yeah, that’s the kind of humor God is using during this time of ministry partner development.

I am pretty darn horrible at keep up with friends. It’s not because I don’t care, it’s mostly because I just forget to call people or e-mail people, or hand write a letter to people, or carrier pigeon people or even smoke signal people. Ok, now I see the problem, I suck, plain and simple, but that is not the point.

The point is that while planning my current MPD (ministry partner development AKA support raising) trip I was not sure who I could meet with on my circuitous route. I felt God impress on me that I should reach out to people that I hadn’t thought about reaching out to before because it had been “too long.” I started to look at facebook and checked to see who lived somewhere near my route. I found nine different people, all of which I had not talked to in at least 3 years with the majority being 9 or 10 years and a few being since I graduated high school 13 years ago (Yikes!).

Here comes the awesome part! I contacted a bunch of people to see if we could catch up and/or if they wanted to start receiving my newsletter. A few got back and said they would love the newsletter and a few said they would love to meet with me and catch up. Last Friday I met with a girl I went to college with and hadn’t talk to her in 9 years and we had a great time catching up. The other girl I only knew through volunteering for a month at a Young Life camp 10 years ago next month. I met with her and her husband and it was amazing!

God was definitely in both of those meetings. I don’t know what the results of those meetings are quite yet as far as support goes, but I do know that I have a new found appreciation for catching up with people and being more intentional about my relationships with other people.

Thanks God, I needed that!

In an instant

Church yesterday was good, I mean really good. It was one of those sermons where the take away points were well developed and then they also connected with some things that I have been thinking about lately. The sermon was all about Paul and how he was the least likely to change and fall in love with Jesus and yet, he did. This made me think about a statistic that I was shown about the top ten people groups least receptive to the gospel according to the World Christian Database. They are:

Least Responsive Megapeoples
Country                       People
1. Sweden                  Swedish
2. Belorussia              Russian
3. Lithuania                Lithuanian
4. Poland                   Polish
5. Georgia                  Georgian
6. Yugoslavia              Serb
7. France                   French
8. Ireland                   Irish
9. Czech Republic      Czech
10. Italy                     Italian

This blog is going to be a simple one. All I am asking is for anyone who reads this to take a moment and pray for these countries. Pray that the least likely can be change, by grace, in an instant. Just like Paul, these people groups can be radically change. Join me in prayer for all of them.

“You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”

C.S. Lewis – Surprised by Joy

GEM and Europe

I want to take time today to show everyone just what GEM is doing in Europe. Often times when I talk to people about what I will be doing, I forget to get excited about what GEM is doing in Europe. I am completely excited about it, but too often I forget to convey that to others for one reason or another. It might be because I have told the story of what I will be doing about 3,965, 422 times (maybe a slight exaggeration) or it might be because I will be sitting at a computer most days, but either way I am excited and I want you all to know why.

First let me refer you to an article written by a GEM missionary and posted on GEM’s website. It is titled, “Europe is Ripe for the Gospel” and if that doesn’t get me and you excited then I am not sure what will. I encourage you to go read the full thing, but I will summarize it as well. Basically the author talks about a recent trip to four major cities in three different countries and the effects of their prayers during their 6 day trip. They prayer-walked (praying about an area while walking through it) for 8-12 hours and made a commitment to talk to interact in some way with 15-30 people each day. The author said he left the trip with four blisters on his feet. Their 6 day trip led to 8 people being led to a relationship with Christ. That is a pretty amazing average, two new relationships with Christ per blister!

What’s is so amazing is that is just one way God has been moving in Europe. Their are countless more stories from the other missionaries in GEM. Quarterly all of the missionaries in the field report back on what they have accomplished during the past three months. The graphic below shows the results of the survey that they filled out. Feel free to peruse the whole thing, but let me point out a few things. In addition to helping people start new relationships with Christ, GEM is also equipping others for ministry. The equipping and resourcing columns best represent what I will spend the majority of my time on. In 3 months GEM has equipped 1,491 people for ministry, Almost half of which were given reproducible ideas that could help them take their knowledge beyond themselves and 130 of those people definitely did share the tools GEM gave them. I think that is pretty cool and I can’t wait to help get that number even higher!

 

Prayer needed for Europe

My plan today was originally to write a comical view on something I saw on facebook the other day, but I will have to wait for another day to write that because something much more pressing needs my attention.

I don’t watch the news very often, or even read it for that matter so I have been kind of oblivious to the recent nasty cold streak happening across Europe. Calling it a nasty cold streak is putting it lightly. In case others of you are like me, I’ll explain the situation a little before I get into the reason for this blog. Over the past 10 days there has been record breaking cold weather throughout most of Europe, but especially Eastern Europe. The temperatures have dropped to -33 Celsius (-27 Fahrenheit) and some places are snowed in so supplies have had to be airlifted so the death toll does not continue to climb. Recent reports have said that the death toll has eclipsed the 300 mark.

The reason for this blog is to get more people to pray for the people of Europe. This is currently a very hard time for many families over there and it might get worse before it gets better. Please be praying for the families that have lost family members and for the missionaries in the field who may be caught in the bad weather. We all know God can use the craziest things to get people to see their need for Him, so also be praying that this tragedy can be used by Christians as a witness tool and let the church body rise up and help those in need.