Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ocotal Area!

God is working mightly in the Ocotal area of Nicaragua. We are heading back out with 4 more teams to the same area in the morning. It is a mix of teams from different areas and a mix of ages so be praying for unity within the group.

We are passing out a study guide that one of the IMB missionaries made to go along with a radio program that will air for 12 weeks througout rural areas of Nicaragua. The guide shares the gospel and then also goes through some discipleship. This is great for rural areas that often don't have a church close enough to attend. It is also wonderful for those who can not read. Almost everyone has access to a radio.

Last week we had 2 groups in the Ocotal area and we passed out the study guide in 42 communities. Many people have already called the surrounding churches asking for information because they read the guide and accepted Christ. We had about 25 people accept Jesus just from the days we were passing out the guide!

Pray for us as we go back out. Pray for the Lord to open more hearts to the truth of His word. Pray for wisdom and energy for me and the other leaders as we have been going non-stop. I am so excited to see what the Lord is going to continue to do in this area and I am beyond excited about all that He has already done! Okay, more later... it is 1:00am and I am still not packed. Here are a few pictures from last week. (The first picture is of a couple of young men reading the study guide we had just given them)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

An Amazing Week!

I was so blessed by the team this week. It is such a sweet thing to spend time with others who are wanting evermore to be fully surrendered to the gospel. We had such awesome times of bible study, discussion, and encouragement. We went to Nawahwas and Las Canaes to spread the gospel. It was really sweet that one of the team members Jared had gone to Las Canaes a couple of years ago and there was only one believer. Now, the church is growing and the message is being spread. One of the men that walked with us from house to house had only been a believer for 5 months and it was incredible to see his excitement to share the bible with his community. What a sweet time for Jared to be able to come back once again and share the love of Jesus with this community.

I want to tell you about an experience in which God showed me a small glimpse into how He has compassion on us. One very hot afternoon (all days were very hot, it is 100% humity in this community and your clothes are soaked with sweat even if you are just sitting in the shade) we gathered together with the local Nicas for a fun game of baseball. I decided not to play and to spend some time with the locals who where watching the game. I met this sweet little girl!

Isn't she beautiful?
As she came running up to see us I thought to myself "what a pretty little girl." I saw her running towards me and and my heart was filled with joy to have the privlige to get to spend time with her. As she began to warm up to me she would jump on my lap or touch my hands or face. At one point I made her laugh and she threw her head back and giggled with a huge grin.

This is what I saw inside that beautiful little girl's sweet mouth.

My heart grimmaced, it actually ached for her.
Now, this is not an uncommon sight here in Nicaragua. In fact, her teeth are better than some. However, for some reason at that moment my heart hurt for her because of her rotting teeth. Even though these are her baby teeth and new teeth will come is likely they will end up in the same shape as these teeth. Many nicaraguans go through much pain and infection due to the rotting of their teeth. What God later showed me as I had some down time was that this is often how He sees me.

I saw this beautiful sweet child who my made my heart happy coming towards me. As she smiled that big happy grin my heart clinched because I could she the rotting teeth and I knew the pain she would have to endure because of it.

I think that this is maybe a incredibly small glimpse of how God must see me. I am His child, who make His heart happy, running towards Him and yet He can see the sin inside of me that is rotten and wicked and His heart clinches and aches for me because He wants the best for me. He loves me and desires for me to be His, to live in the grace and mercy He has freely given me through the sending of His son Jesus to die on the cross for me. Yet, I often instead choose to live in my rotteness - to pursue my own fleshy desires and to satisfy myself and I grieve Him because He loves me so dearly and has compassion on me. Yet, a time is coming, and will come when there will be no more compassion.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son to condem the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whowever believes in him is not condemened, but whoever does not believe is condemed already, because he has not believed in the name of the Only Son of God. John 3:16-18.

Whoever does not believe in the name of the Only Son of God is condemed already........that was me before I was saved, that was you before you were saved, that IS you if you are not saved. Jesus is the name of the Only Son of God and the bible says that Jesus states:

I am the way, the truth, and the life and NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH ME. John 14:6

We often don't like to talk about it so bluntly beacuse it seems like such as harsh gospel. Yet that is because we don't see it as it truly is....we all deserve Hell, we are all sinners and in His GOODNESS God has made a way for us to come to Him and be restored through his son Jesus Christ.
As I spent the afternoon with this beautiful little girl my hearts cry was , "please Lord open her heart to the gospel, save!" In your goodness and grace open her heart because my heart aches for her because of her teeth.....wait, rewind....did I just say her teeth?
Yep, it ached for her teeth and the pain it would cause her in the future. Oh, how much more deeply my soul crys out for her real future that will be after this life.

Those who do not know God will suffer the punsihment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord....2 Thessalonians 1:9

Your word says that you are returning and on that day you will judge. Oh, God open our eyes to the truth of the gospel! Let every believer take your word to be truth and share this truth with those around them who are lost and dying to eternal separation from you. Have mercy on us Father and open our eyes to your calling. You have called us to share the message of truth with others!
Please God raise up workers for your kingdom..... so that a little girl in a community that does not even appear on the map of Nicaragua may come to know you and then share you with her sweet little brother

and that he might share ....and on and on!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You can't outgive God!!!

Wow, things are moving fast around here. So much has happened since my last post. Teams are coming in and going out while so much is going on in the middle of their stay. My heart is ever more burdened for the lost. The harvest is ripe and the workers are few. Matthew 9:(36) When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (37)Then He said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. (38)Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field."

God is teaching me so much. Big, powerful thoughts...yet so simple. Such as, Do you believe the Bible? No, I mean do you REALLY believe the Bible?

If my answer to that is yes (which it is) then it must change the way that I live. It must change the way I think, act, pray, everything must change. I can't just live comfortably in my house, surrounded by all my stuff, and pretend that the bible and what it says is not impacting. It is impacting! It impacts everything! It impacts eternity!

I could go on and on about thoughts such as these because God is challenging me greatly. He is challenging me in many ways.... one way is through this sermon series/book. I challenge you to check it out! Here is the link to the videos or the book (Radical) which you can buy for around $12.
This is an 8 sermon series called RADICAL. So incredible, so biblical!

More about the series later! I am still processing alot of it myself and would love to process along with you if you have read the book or listened to the series feel free to leave comments.

On another note, God sure can give beyond measure! I never dreamed that through my obedience to God by coming here to Nicaragua that I would be blessed so amazingly. I have been able to see God's creation so clearly and so beautifully. I have been where few people have walked. I have stood on mountain tops and walked along the sea shores. I have prayed in wooden homes tucked in valleys holding the hands of people whose words I don't understand all the while smiling because I know that our Father in heaven hears and understands. I have held children in my arms whose little hands cling to mine and faces beam with smiles that we have come to their homes, homes that few come to visit. Oh, God...who am I that you are mindful of me? Who am I that you would desire to use me? I am in awe of your goodness.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him. (Psalm 8:3-4)