a quick update

I have been in Africa for almost a month now.  I think I’ll hit that mark next week.  It has been a whirlwind.  Within my first two weeks this was the count: touched down in 7 countries on three different continents, crossed 7 time zones, been in all four hemispheres and spent more time in airplanes than I care to count!  It has been great though.  I honestly can’t complain about anything. 

The first 9 days were spent in my city getting acclimated to life there.  I love it already and feel comfortable calling it home.  After the short intro to the city, I was off to training in Zambia.  Yesterday finished up the first portion of 40/40.  The week was full of learning about African culture and interacting with people from local communities around Lusaka.  A friend and I were partnered with a local Zambian woman, who took us out each day to meet and talk with her neighbors.  To say I learned a little bit would be a huge understatement.  It was so helpful!  Each day was focused on learning something new and with the intention of building relationships with people that would eventually lead to an opportunity to share the Good News with them.  Saturday I was able to share the Creation to Christ story with three women.  Ask that the truth of that story becomes real to them.  The Father did amazing things through our group this week!  Praise Him for the lives that were changed.    

Tomorrow, we make our trek to the bush!  At 6:30am (which is 11:30pm for you CST folks!), our group will board a bus for a 6-8 hr trip.  During the next two weeks we will be learning about life in a more rural setting.  To end the time there, we get to spend a long weekend with a Zambian family.  I’m excited for this next leg of the training.  There will be stories to share, of that I’m sure! 

When I get back to my computer, you’ll definitely be getting a more detailed update with pictures!  So, check back again in about a month. 

Thank you for continuing to lift me up, even though I haven’t been able to communicate much lately.  I am grateful.

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we are the Body.

I haven’t been to a church in two months.

For the last nine weeks, I have been a part of a small group.  During training we were divided up by affinity groups and we met almost daily to dig deeper into the Word.  It was an incredible time of growth and learning, as we lived life-on-life with each other.  We met as a group for the last time this past Thursday.  Needless to say, I was somewhat uneasy about jumping back into “big church” my first day back home.  To go from 10 people in a very intimate setting to several hundred in a large building is somewhat overwhelming.

My uneasiness was completely unwarranted, however.  As I walked through the doors this morning, I was greeted by friends who: wanted an update on my life, told me how they had been keeping up with my newsletters, and had been lifting me up during this time of transition. What a huge encouragement.  As if that wasn’t enough, I got to speak in Spanish!  I had the opportunity to talk to José Henríquez, one of the 33 miners trapped for 69 days in Chile.  What an incredible testimony he has to share.  Our God is faithful!  He and his wife, Blanca, will be going to Africa later in the year, so it was neat to be able to share with them (in Spanish!) a little about where I’m headed.

As the service began, I found myself fighting off tears.  This was the last time I’d stand and worship with my church family for a while.  I tried to take it all in.  Looking around, I saw faces that have walked with me as the Lord has revealed His plans for me, encouraged me during the rough times, challenged me in my walk, and made me laugh until my sides hurt…and I was overwhelmed with thankfulness.  At the end, as we were singing “Jesus Paid It All”, a friend next to me tapped my shoulder and asked if he could pray for me.  So, we walked off to the side and knelt down to pray.  My “M” pastor soon knelt at my other side.  There are no words to describe the feeling when friends have surrounded you and are lifting you up before the Father.  In that moment, my heart was full.

Today was a sweet time of worship with the local Body.  I praise the Father for STBC and all that He is doing through them.  And I look forward to partnering with them over the next several years, as the Lord uses His people to reach the unreached of West Africa.

Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church, thank you for loving me.  And thank you for your prayers, encouragement and support as I go out.  Thank you for investing in me.  My cup runneth over.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

 Hebrews 10:24-25

 

Round Two.

This is my second time through orientation, here at the Farm.  It seems that I’m better prepared this go-around to take in the massive amount of information thrown our way.  The classes are the same and as are some of the presenters, so one could easily make the assumption that it might be pointless to sit through the sessions again.  However, I’ve found that the opposite is true (for the most part!).  The sessions have served as a good refresher on things I’d forgotten since last time.

In the first three weeks, we’ve covered: ch planting, learning how to live healthy overseas, malaria and how much you don’t want it, the worldview of animism, abiding in Him (Jn 15), personal discipleship & how to help new believers grow, and we’ve dug deep into Acts every morning.  It’s just been good.  On top of all the classes, there are some pretty incredible people here to hang out with and learn from.  The Lord has brought us all here from our own crazy corners of the world and given us each a passion to see the nations praise Him.  It’s encouraging.  It’s challenging.  And it’s just what my heart needed.

During the Animism workshop we got to watch a video of an animistic people group hearing the good news for the first time.  Incredible.  There are so many things within current worldviews that provide amazing bridges to the gospel.  While watching the movie, I couldn’t help but think of the verse in Ecclesiastes that says “he has placed eternity in the hearts of men”.  There are bridges, we just have to take the time to learn the culture.  The only good message is not in the delivery, but in the reception!  If you have half an hour you should check it out, if you don’t – at least start the first one.  Here’s Part 1 (the remaining 3 parts are on YouTube):

 

This week was full of information, and I’m still processing through things.  Hopefully I’ll be more on top of blogging now.  Next up on the blog: Scripture Memorization.  The Lord has really used it lately to rock my world.