Jul 30, 2010

July in a nutshell

Hey everybody!! I know what you're thinking...well, not really; that would be creepy! But I know what I'm thinking: I've been worse with blogging over the summer than I was during college! This summer, though amazing, has been incredibly busy. God has definitely been growing me in ways that I never expected. In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been posting a whole lot about what God has been teaching me lately. Honestly, that was because I wasn't really sure up until recently. I couldn't see the big picture in what God was doing in my life, but He showed me when the right time came along & I'm looking forward to sharing with all of you soon =)

Well, this week has been great! Starting out with the girl's Bible study on Monday. A lot of the girls were gone to music camp at Northland, so we had a small group. We discussed Roman's 6 & what it means to be dead to sin, which was challenge & a blessing. I also took one of the girls along with me for a Walmart run; she has been going through a really tough time at home lately, so I was thankful for a chance to have a good talk with her while we were in the car. It's neat how the Lord opens up opportunities when we least expect them =)

Unfortunately, this week was filled with lots of hospital trips for our family. Last week, my big brother was bitten by a poisonous spider. Being the guy that he is, he didn't think too much of the spider bite until the skin around it turned black... never a good sign. Lol. He went into the hospital & got it taken care of, thankfully. I always worry about that boy since he's so far away from home. Then on Monday, my dad hit his leg with a chainsaw...yes, you read that right: a chainsaw!! NOT GOOD. Thank the Lord, he's okay. By okay I mean his leg is full of stitches, but should begin healing & he'll be able to go back to work again in a month or so. Please pray for him if you think of it.
 My older sister is now 2 weeks overdue to have her baby, so she's READY for a hospital visit =) Lol. Then yesterday I went to the hospital to get all of the necessary shots & prescriptions for my upcoming trip to Haiti. It was so cool how it worked out; the lady that gave me the shots was a Christian who has been to Haiti for missions trips every year for the past 5 years. She also went over shortly after the earthquake to provide medical care, so I was able to get a lot of helpful information from her. I only had to get one shot this week, but there will be 2 more follow ups, as well as medication for typhoid & malaria...the malaria meds gave me a fever today, so that was no fun =( But anyways, yesterday was a blast! After getting the shots, Krystle (one of my best friends) & I went to the mall & found some great stone wash jeans & neon t-shirts. They're having an 80's theme day at her job next week, so she needed some crazy clothes. Haha! After that we came back to our church in Chetek to play some music. The night before we had played around on the piano & decided that we would like to write a song together, so she wrote most of the lyrics & I worked on the melody. It's themed around God's amazing forgiveness & His sacrifice for us on the cross; hopefully I'll be able to share the finished song with you all someday =)

This weekend, I'm hoping to finally meet my niece, so hopefully I can share pictures of Peanut on here soon =) Other than that, relaxing sounds like a wonderful idea. Only a little over a week until I fly down to Ft. Pierce, Florida; from there I will meet the rest of the team & we will fly out to Cape Haitian with Missionary Flights International. I'll try to post more information about the trip soon, but if you all could pray for the 13 of us that will be going, I would really appreciate it =) After I get back from Haiti, there will only be about 2 weeks left of summer break. Crazy, huh? I think so! Well, that's all for now. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! Thanks for stopping by.

"Cast your burden on the Lordand He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22

Jul 18, 2010

Bridges Conference

Hey ya'll! As I shared with you last Saturday, I went to a Bridges conference that was taught by Foaud Masri, the founder of the Crescent Project. The conference was amazing & I learned so much about being an authentic witness & showing the love of Christ to my Muslim friends. Many Christians in America seem to be missing the opportunity that they have to share Christ with the Muslims that are right here in America. I was definitely ignoring that opportunity up until a short time ago. There is a community of over 400 Somali Muslims in the town where I work & I had gone years without reaching out to them. Much to my shame, I honestly didn't really think about it too much up until last year. Since surrendering my life to the Lord in the summer of 2009, God has been showing me that there is a whole mission field in the USA that is being ignored by the majority of American Christians. Most of us don't know very much about Islam, we aren't sure where to start with the gospel, or we may just be afraid after seeing all of the images that the media displays of radical Islam, so we don't feel confident about sharing our faith. That is what Foaud & the Crescent Project are trying to overcome. He teaches the basics of Islam, shares many testimonies of Muslims who have come to Christ, & teaches practical ways of building bridges between the gospel & the Qur'an. Not to compare the two, or equivocate them, but rather, to make your Muslim friend think & consider what he or she really believes on grounds that you can both understand & discuss. Consider a few of the beliefs we have in common: Muslims believe there is one god. They believe that Jesus lived the perfect life, is alive, & returning some day. They believe that the Injeel (New Testament) is a good book that Muhammad instructed them to read. We have some common ground to begin sharing the gospel, but you can't just stay on the common ground, you must "build bridges" to bring them to the gospel. The Bridges study is amazing & so helpful in learning to share Christ with your Muslim friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. After taking part in the study I understand how I can begin to share the gospel with my Muslim friends. We have such a fantastic opportunity to witness to Muslims without leaving our homes, so would encourage you to take that first step & start showing the love of Christ =) Here is a trailer for the bridges study if you are interested. If anyone has any questions, or if you would like to start your own bridges study, please feel free to email me or find me on facebook. I would love to talk with you!

Romans 1:16-17
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'"

Jul 10, 2010

....My bad

Once again, I have gone so long without posting that it would take a small book to catch you up on everything that has happened in the past week. My apologies. Haha! I will try to make it short =)

Last weekend was great! Fourth of July is the busiest time in Chetek; we go from a population of around 2 thousand to about 7 thousand overnight! Which isn't that many for a big city, but Chetek is tiny. One of those "blink & you'll miss it" kind of towns. Lol! I was able to spend a lot of time with friends & family & my niece also spent the weekend with us. It was a great time =) Here are some pics:

I got to take some pictures of Aubrianna while she was here. She is so photogenic!!
This one is my favorite; look at those baby-blues!! =)

Krystle's family serve as missionaries in South America, so she was excited to go to her first 4th of July in Wisconsin....However, it ended up literally raining on our parade. We still had a blast though! 

After we had lunch, Krystle dominated me on the Wii; that's us in front of our Mii's. Hehe! =)
I also got some pictures with my beautiful niece, Bri <3
I was trying to get her to wave, but she got distracted. Haha!

So the fourth was a lot of fun, but then it was back to work on Monday. During the last hour of swimming lessons, a little girl neglected to let us know that she had to go to the bathroom, & no, not just #1...#2!!! As if that wasn't bad enough, it wasn't solid. UGH!! Sorry, I don't mean to gross you out. Lol. So we had to close the pool down for two days; it was nice to have a day off, but still gross. 

Wednesday was great; we didn't have church that night, so I wen't over to the Somali apartments nearby with my friend Keri & her husband Paul. Keri & I had some fun "girly time" with a Somali woman named Rokiya, & her daughter Ubah while Paul played soccer with the guys. We did henna tattoos, which was really fun! They use the henna to dye their nails red instead of painting them, so Rokiya did mine. It didn't quite work though because I had on clear nail polish; the henna dyed my nails yellow & the red color bled to the skin around my nails!! hahaha! I looked like my fingernails were about to fall off from some weird disease. Lol. It should wear off within the next week or so though. =) Please pray for us & the women as we seek to build relationships & share the gospel. 

Thursday was another wonderful day. Something absolutely incredible happened! I got a phone call from the woman that is head of the scholarships & finances at Northland. Up until this week it didn't look like I would be able to afford to go back this semester. I still owed money from this past spring & I won't make enough this summer to make up the difference. I had an opportunity to go overseas to Dubai & teach English for 6 months so I wasn't too bummed about taking a year off of college, but I wanted to make sure it was God's will. I told God that I couldn't afford college this year & that if He wanted me back at Northland He needed to make it very clear to me. And God is faithful! I had around $9700 in scholarships & grants, but that still leaves a pretty big chunk left to come up with; the scholarship committee at Northland discussed it & they made me an offer. Without getting into all the details, I now owe $0  for this next year!! Praise the Lord!! Couldn't be more clear than that, huh? Thursday night I also got to go over to a friends house; she just got back from a 5 week missions trip across Europe, so it was a huge blessing to hear all about it & see the pictures =)

Friday after work I got to take some maternity pics of my sister, Rebecca. She is due any day now & I can't wait! (Neither can she, lol!) Here are some of my favorite pics:

   As you can see, she is gorgeous! So it was easy to get some great shots =)

Last, but definitely not least, today I had the privilege of going to a conference in Minneapolis with Paul & Keri. It was all about reaching Muslims for the gospel. It was a life changing day & I won't even try to cram it all in this post, but I promise I will talk more about it sometime this week. If you're curious though, you can check out the website here! I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking out Fouad Masri's ministry; it is incredible. 

Thanks for stopping in & catching up on all of my summer madness! I hope that you all have a great weekend =) 

John 1:1-5 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."