Monday, November 05, 2012

Anyone?? Hello??

Ok... So I haven't blogged in a long long time. Does anyone still read this or have it on their RSS feed?

Just wondering before I start writing again.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Learnings From My Third Trip to Rwanda

This trip to Rwanda was very different than my other 2. On the first two trips we did a lot of assessment. They were extremely difficult, b/c we were not sure what we were seeing. We did not understand the culture, we had trouble communicating and getting clear responses.

This trip we spent the first day and a half on the field hearing reports from pastors, trainers, and a doctor of what the PEACE Plan is already doing and what is working in the Karongi District. They were telling us everything we needed to know. Sure... we asked clarifying questions, but the guessing game was gone.

We got to see some "best practices" already in effect at the Kibuye hospital. We heard from trainers who are out teaching hygiene and cleanliness to church leaders who are teaching their congregation. We entered homes with OVC (Orphans and Vulnerable Children) who were being helped through their church by donations. Donations that come from churches to churches, without a middle man or administration costs being taken out. Homes that are held accountable by their church to make sure that funds get spent as agreed upon. Homes that were struggling, now striving for a better and hopeful future.

We did train pastors for 2 days. What was different this time was that though the first day was full on lecture of what Purpose Driven Church is all about, the second day was group think. We broke the pastors and leaders into groups of 3-4 people and had them take practical application in their culture of the concepts from day 1. We used the structure of the 5 purposes and had pastors share ministries or programs they have as part of that purpose that works and a new thought or idea of how to bring focus on this purpose. It was beautiful to see the interaction between the groups and their ideas. Everyone was taking tons of notes!! That is always a good sign :)

Lastly... the team. We were all so different with such different backgrounds and even passions. It was so cool to see how the overall trip was not perfect for any one of us, but had elements that touched each of us. Dad got to train pastors, Ken and Laurie got to spend time with kids, and I got to sing and process much more. No one got sick and down for the count and everyone got along the whole time. We each knew our part and played it well.

I can tell you that I have grown a ton as a team leader and person since my first international mission trip in 1998 and even since my first trip to Rwanda in 2006.

Here are just a few lessons to share:
1. Having a good translator is SOO important. This can make or break a trip.
2. You have to laugh everyday. In past, I was much too serious about things. Though we are fighting a huge and serious battle for souls... people have to have a break and have fun.
3. People need clear roles established before you get on the field. Who is the "money man", who is preaching, who is teaching, who is doing music.
4. Know the SHAPE of your team and pray for opportunities for everyone. Though we all want to be in our SHAPE the whole time... it was beautiful to be able to step aside and watch others be in theirs.
5. Training is not about learning everything you can, but filling your quiver with as many arrows as possible. So that when you encounter something... you know where to go to get the information you need.
6. There is no such thing as too "prayed up". This last trip I saw so many prayer requests we never thought to ask for answered. So ask for them... and more! Ask expectantly!
7. Ask. If you see something, need something, want to do something... just ask. Those you are working with (especially in Rwanda) are willing to do it or make it happen. We did an impromptu church visit, a visit to the market, and even laundry done. We just had to ask.

If you have more questions about this trip... just email me. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

40 Days of PEACE: Day 12


Truth: God invites you to be a part of His grand adventure.

(from journal entry when I originally did this study in Fall 2005)
I often wonder what the soundtrack of my life would be. I know praise music would be a large part, but so much of the emotion and depth of a story can be manipulated in the music. Would a Star Wars, John Williams blaring french horns theme be there? Or a nice Craig Armstrong of George Fenton love theme? Would it have a liet-motif of hope, peace, & joy? I would like to think so. God is the ultimate composer of the music for my life, because He knows where it is going and when it ends. He could foreshadow and build themes. I wonder if he is building a love theme that I have not realized yet with a man. An action score for some adventure I am embarking on. A sad tune for loss I will feel soon. Whatever comes, I am comforted by the fact that God knows. He loves my story and my song. Through Him, it can play brightly for others.

Monday, June 27, 2011

40 Days of PEACE: Day 11


How would I live differently if I really believed that I was uniquely qualified by God for a mission here on earth?

I know that I would talk about Jesus more... not just church. I talk about church a lot. It is not only where I go, where my friends are, but my work. I need to talk about Jesus and my relationship with him, not just His church. It's like only talking about the bride at the wedding forgetting there is a groom. It is ok at first... but come on... people get tired of it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

40 Days of PEACE: Day 10


Even the church I grew up in said it... "Every member is a minster". But how many people believe and act on this?

There is a belief that missionaries have to be trained in seminary and receive a "calling". Though I think these are both great things for career missionaries, it should not stop lay people from participating in missions. It is not an excuse to forget the calling all Christians have to minister.

God does not call the equipped, but equips the called. We are all created for ministry (Eph 2:10), saved for ministry, (2 Tim 1:9), called to ministry (1 Peter 2:9-10), authorized for ministry (Matt 28-18-20), commanded to minister (Matt 20:26-28), prepared for ministry (Eoh 4:11-12), needed for ministry (1 Cor 12:27, and accountable for and rewarded according to our ministry (Col 3:23-24). (page 46)

So let's get going... this world may seem big and scary... but my fear (in reverence) of the Lord is much bigger than anything this world can offer.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

40 Days of PEACE: Day 9

(Ok... so I know my days are not being consecutive... but I just want to try and get through them all before I head to Rwanda.)


Today's reading is just so beautiful. Here is what really stuck out to me:

"God will use you on mission despite your weakness. In fact, God will pour His grace so fully into your life that even your weakness will reflect His strength. It is the grace from God that you carry with you into the mission field, and it is this grace that energizes the Good News you carry to people who desperately need to know about God.

God doesn't need you perfect for your mission because He is an all-powerful God capable of using anything and anyone for his purposes. But equally as important, He wants you - beautiful, flawed you - to show others that He is a God of redemption, a God of second chances who cares about the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, and the prisoners. You go on mission as a living monument to God's grace and your weakness, your flaws, your worst mistakes give to God as He works through you to bring others with weaknesses flaws, and horrible mistakes into His family."

Lord, I have so many weaknesses. But I stand strong in Love knowing that no matter what I do, have done, or will do - God loves me. His love for me is unchanging. So my prayer is knowing this does not give me or anyone else permission to do wrong, but passion to do right.

Monday, June 20, 2011

40 Days of PEACE: Day 8


Truth: God calls you by name to join His mission in the world.

"If you don't know who you are, then you're vulnerable to other people telling you who you are. But the concrete, solid truth is that you are who God says you are and no one else has a vote in the matter." (pg 38)

There is such strength and power that comes from knowing who you are. And it is great to be reminded of it. So... HEY... YOU... YEAH YOU!!! YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD. BELOVED. UNIQUE. CHOOSEN. AND HAVE A PURPOSE. NO ONE ELSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD IS LIKE YOU AND CAN DO WHAT YOU WERE PUT ON THIS EARTH TO DO. SO... DO IT! DO IT ALL FOR THE GLORY OF THE ONE WHO MADE YOU!