Mexico Vision Trip – Come

 Culture Shock  -the feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, a way of life, or set of attitudes.

I believe that I have had more trouble adjusting back to life here in the states than I did in Mexico. When I returned home, I had difficulties focusing on school. I kept getting distracted and my mind wouldn’t stop wandering. I seemed to be only half here.

So, I started to think about why this was happening. Is something going on in by brain that is keeping me from thinking straight?  What happened in Mexico?  What did I see there that could effect me in this way? 

As I was thinking those thoughts, I felt the urge to write a poem. For me, writing poems are one way of expressing one’s thoughts in a creative manner. You have to plan your thoughts and ideas in an organized way. This can be a little harder than just writing everything out normally. It makes you really think about what point you want to make.

Through writing the poem, I realized what was part of my problem. The problem became clearer as the words flowed out.

I now knew the plight of the orphans. I had begun to learn how to help them – and I wasn’t doing anything about it. Yes, I had been to Mexico for a week and played with the kids. I had fixed up part of their homes and encouraged them. But, now that I’m back in the states, what am I doing to help them – solving algebra problems?

I felt that I was doing nothing to help them. And, that perspective transferred over to everything else I did. School felt meaningless and I felt lazy when I was reading a book or just relaxing. I had identified my problem.

So, after reading my poem again, I realized that there are things that I can do to help the orphans around the world right now. I can raise awareness of the plight of the orphans and I can encourage others to go and serve them, as well.

 

Come

Come. Come and see.
I beg you. I plee.
Come and see
The poverty.
The tattered bed,
The weary head,
That wonders…
“What is my purpose?
Why am I here?
Does anyone care?”
Come and see.

Come. Come and care.
Show a child that they matter.
Show them they are special-
That they are better
Than what other people say they are.
Come and care.

Come. Come and serve.
Fix a fan. Build a house.
They deserve
Much more than this.
More than dirt and grime.
More than dust and ash.
Come and serve.

Come. Come and play.
Bind up wounded hearts
By kicking a ball
Or throwing darts.
And, oh, when you call
Out their name,
You are saying,
“You’re important to me.”
Come and play.

Come.
Come and see.
Come and care.
Come and serve.
Come and play.
But, come in love.
Not in selfish ambition
Or to make yourself great.
Come to make God great.
Come to change lives
With the power of the cross.
Come.

Hallelujah – The Story of the World in a Song

If you have been following my blog for long, you might have been able to tell that I love songs. I love singing songs, listening to songs, dancing to songs, etc. 

One day, I was listening to the Casting Crowns playlist on my phone, trying to relax and dwell on the truths revealed in the songs when Halleluja came on. I recognized the song. I knew the name of the song. But I guess that I had never listened very attentively to the lyrics before. As the first verse started, I was hooked onto the song. I love this song now.

The song tells the story of the world.

Verse 1: God creating the world

Verse 2: The fall and redemption through Jesus

Bridge: The return of Jesus

And, in between each of these pieces of the story, God is being praised and glorified.

Here are the lyrics and the video for the song…

Hallelujah Video

Hallelujah
Hallelujah

On the morning of creation
Father, Son, and the Spirit rise
As they set the world in motion
The morning of the first sunrise
A symphony of golden sunlight
Dancing in the Father’s eyes
He gazes at His masterpiece
As all creation cries

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Man shakes the fist at heaven
The breath of God still in his lungs
A brokenhearted Father grieves
In love, He sends His only Son
He was bruised for our transgressions
Crushed and buried in the ground
As the sunrise finds an empty tomb
The redeemed of God resound

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Holy quiet grips the night
The morning of the last sunrise
Broken slumber, blinding light
Nations tremble at the sight
The Son of Man just split the sky
Every saint and every scoffer
Every king and every pauper
At the name of Jesus, all fall face down
From holy ground, we’ll rise
To meet the Bridegroom in the sky
From Earth to Heaven reigns the Son

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

 

 

Mexico Vision Trip – Reflections

 

A child looks out her window, sitting on a tattered, worn bed, wondering what her purpose is in life – wondering if she even matters. She has never had anyone say to her, “Good job.” Never has anyone shown her love. All her life she has always been told that she is stupid and good for nothing. 

Is this how children deserve to grow up – wondering why they were left at a children’s home or an orphanage?  Or asking why their parents don’t care enough to take them back home?

No! But, unfortunately, there are over 140 million orphans in the world. These children either have no parents, have parents who can’t support them, or parents who just don’t want them. 

This breaks my heart. But, it breaks these children’s heart more than mine. It rips their hearts in two when they find out that they are not wanted or cared for.

(It is important to watch the video for the rest of the post to make sense.)

That is what we did that week we were in Mexico. When we went to the children’s home, we played volleyball and soccer with the kids, showing them that they matter to us. We painted their nails in order that they might know that they are loved. When they drew a beautiful picture or did a fantastic cartwheel, we told them so. 

Also, to show that their safety and needs were important to us, we painted their dirty walls and cleaned out their rubble filled back yard.

What I learned this week is that no matter what language you speak, what you look like, where you live – we all want to laugh, have fun, and be loved. But, most importantly, we all need a Savior. We are all sinners and we all desperately need Jesus to save us.

 

 

C. T. Studd Quotes – #3

   The previous C.T. Studd quotes we looked at were

  • If Jesus be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.  C.T. Studd Quotes – #1.

  • Only one life, ’twill soon be past only what’s done for Chirst will last.                                  C.T. Studd Quotes – #2

   Ok. So today we are going to explore this one…

Reflections: Studd says here that he would rather “Run a rescue shop within a yard of hell,” than “Live within the sound of church or chapel bell.” This shows us his heart for the lost and his desire to share the gospel with them. I pray that God will give me the same desire and heart for His children around the world.

The Very Next Thing – Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns has just recently finished a new album called The Very Next Thing. I was originally just going mention the song Make Me a River, but I realized that almost all of the songs have to do with missions or God’s glory. Here are four of them…

  1. The Very Next Thing 
  1. Make Me a River
  1. What If I gave Everything
  1. No Other Name

   (I included the lyrics for this one because a couldn’t find a lyric video.)

One name holds weight above them all
His fame outlasts the earth He formed
His praise resounds beyond the stars
And echoes in our hearts
The greatest One of all
His face shines brighter than the sun
His grace as boundless as His love
He reigns with healing in His wings
The King above all kings
The greatest One of all
Lift up our eyes, see the King has come
Light of the world reaching out for us
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ, our God
Seated on high, the undefeated One
Mountains bow down as we lift Him up
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ, our God
Find hope when all the world seems lost
Behold the triumph of the cross
His power has trampled death and grave
Our life found in His name
The greatest name of all
Lift up our eyes, see the King has come
Light of the world reaching out for us
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ, our God
Seated on high, the undefeated One
Mountains bow down as we lift Him up
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ, our God
The earth will shake and tremble before Him
Chains will break as Heaven and Earth sing
Holy is the name
Holy is the name of Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
The earth will shake and tremble before Him
Chains will break as Heaven and Earth sing
Holy is the name
Holy is the name of Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Lift up our eyes, see the King has come
Light of the world reaching out for us
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus Christ, our God
Seated on high, the undefeated One
Mountains bow down as we lift Him up
There is no other name
There is no other name
There is no other name
There is no other name
Jesus
 

C.T. Studd Quotes – #2

   So, the last quote we looked at was

If Jesus be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.  C.T. Studd Quotes – #1.

   Here is our quote for today…

Reflections: Like the fist quote, Studd talks about how we should live our lives. He said that “No sacrifice can be to great for me to make for Him.” This quote reminds me that, in brief-

   Life is short. There are a lot of things that you can do with your life. But, only those that will make a difference that will last forever are those that are done for Christ.

C.T. Studd Quotes – #1

   At Perspective’s class a few weeks ago we learned a little bit about C.T. Studd. He said some things that are worth spending a few minutes pondering. Here is the first quote …

 

   Reflections: Jesus Christ died for me. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for me – He gave His life. I should be willing to go wherever He calls me to go and do whatever He asks me to do. I should be willing to live a life that reflects and glorifies Him in EVERY way.

 

Missionary Interviews #1 – David and Zoe

 

   I was so excited when I found out that I would be able to interview David and Zoe*.  I appreciate their insightful and helpful answers! This is the first missionary interview in the series, so, let’s begin…

How long have you been serving?

   We have been serving in missions for 18 months.

Where have you served?

   We have been serving in Western Asia.

When did you first feel that you were called to be a missionary and how did that lead into what you are doing now?

   I first felt called to be a missionary in my mid-20’s when I took the course, “Perspectives on the World Christian Movement.”  I learned from a number of missionaries throughout the course about God’s heart for the nations and the various roles in the Great Commission and also the various organizations there are in missions.  Currently, I’m a church-planter serving in an unreached country that is only 0.005% evangelical Christian.

What does your job entail?

   There are a number of aspects to my job.  I’ll arrange it sequentially.  Firstly, in order to be a missionary full-time, I needed to raise financial support.  My wife and I spent over a year meeting with individuals and churches sharing the calling God had on our lives and the opportunity to partner with us financially and answer questions people had.  Once we departed for the field, we had to set up our lives and adapt to the new culture.  So we were (and are) learning and thinking about how the common person lives and how we are to adapt accordingly.  Next, we began (and are continuing) to learn the native language.  This takes years to accomplish and varies based on the difficulty of the language.  Our desire is to become proficient enough to communicate the gospel without significant barriers to understanding the message.  Furthermore, our job is to preach and share the gospel.  Once people believe, our job is to disciple, equip, train, and gather believers.  It’s incredibly important that we raise up national leaders so that the church can grow and multiply through the native people. As the church grows and matures, we are to discern when to fully hand over leadership to nationals.  Once that takes place, we come alongside the church and offer support and encouragement in order that it may truly be an indigenous church.

How do you think that your specific role in missions is especially important?

   All people play an important role in the church and in the great commission.  Church planting among unreached people groups is especially important though because people in our country do not have access to the gospel and Jesus told us to go to the ends of the earth.  People are born, live and die without hearing about Jesus in some parts of the world.  Therefore, it’s vital that missionaries bring the gospel to them that they may be saved by placing their faith in Christ.  Further, we don’t see that our job is complete until those people who do come to faith by our evangelism are gathering and are worshipping in the context of a church.  We don’t want to simply lead them to faith and then move on, but rather see them worshipping with other believers and recognizing that they are an essential part of the body of Christ in the context of a local church.

Do you have a story about how you have seen God work through your role?

   We are in the early phases of church planting, but have seen God begin to plant seeds with our language helpers and teachers.  Just recently, my wife began meeting with my teacher from my language school at a local university for private tutoring.  My teacher said that she knows whether or not a student is a missionary within a matter of minutes of meeting them based on the expression on their face and their attitude.  She said that she just notices a difference in their life.  However, this is the first time she has ever had a missionary student in her home for tutoring.  We have been explaining the gospel to her, and she said it’s the first time she has been able to understand the joy that missionaries have in their heart.  We are thankful for all of those faithful missionaries who shined the light of Christ.  We are hoping to see by the fruit of their lives and ours, along with our words, that she comes to faith in Christ. 

What training did you have to take for your job? (college degrees/classes/working with people on certain things)

   I went to seminary and received a master of divinity degree.  However, it was not absolutely essential that I get the degree in order to do my job, but I highly recommend biblical education.

What tips would you give a young person or anyone who is interested in this role? 

  1. Pray. I recommend the book Operation World.  It’s a prayer guide for all the nations.  You can learn a lot about the world through that book, pray accordingly, and God may prompt your heart to a particular field.
  2. Prepare to be challenged.  Missions is a very difficult job (but incredibly rewarding as well) and people need to be ready upfront for a challenge.  Life is full of challenges, especially for those who serve the Lord in ministry.  It’s His way of molding and shaping us to be like Jesus.
  3. Serve in ministry in your own context.  It’s important that you learn how to minister in your own culture and language before attempting to do it in a foreign one.
  4. Talk with your pastor before you seek to go to the field.  Having their support and blessing is crucial.  Unfortunately, some pastors in the US don’t have a heart for missions, and if that is the case, it may be more difficult to get to the field or have their blessing.
  5. Take your English grammar classes seriously. It sounds like strange advice, but if you have to learn another language, it’s helpful to know your own language and how it works really well.  It will benefit you when you study a foreign language eventually.
  6. Study your Bible.
  7. Read missionary biographies and texts for ideas and encouragement.

Is there any way that we can pray for you and the area you work in?

   Pray as we continue to the learn the language in Western Asia.  We really long to be proficient in the language so that many can clearly share the good news and eventually plant a church.

 

   David and Zoe have a great task before them. Please take a moment to pray that the Lord will give them the strength and perseverance to continue the job which He has given them – to make His name great.

*These are pseudonyms for security reasons. 

Introduction to Missionary Interviews 

 

Missionary Interviews – Introduction

   Missionary Interviews will be a series where I will … (you guessed it) interview missionaries. There are so many different jobs that missionaries do. There are translators, nurses, pilots, mechanics, and even computer programmers who serve God by using the skills they have. And, when one is looking at the career options within missions, it can be quite overwhelming.

The neat thing is that God has given us specific gifts and talents which will equip us to complete the task/job He has planned for us to do.

Why Am I Doing Missionary Interviews?

If you are like me, you have (or when you were younger) flip-flopped between what “I want to be when I grow up” many times. For me, though, I have always known that whatever my profession was, I wanted to be a missionary.

So, I thought that it would be a great idea to interview different missionaries and see how they serve God in a specific area. Also, I would like to discover how they came to know what God wanted them to do for Him.

Now, I understand that God has called us to do His work in many shapes and forms. For some, it may be mission work. But, for others, God may have called them to be a light shining through the darkness in their neighborhood, workplace, or school.

Even if you do not feel called to be a missionary, I would like to encourage you to still read the Missionary Interview posts. It is always beneficial to learn about how God is working all around the world.

What Exactly Will Missionary Interviews Be Like?

For the Missionary Interviews, I will be asking different missionaries questions about what they do, why they believe their job is important in missions, what kind of training they needed for that job, etc. I will also ask them to share their “missionary journey story” and tell about how they were called into missions.

I am so very excited about this new series and can’t wait to start! 

Posts in this series…

#1 – David and Zoe: Church Planters

Jesus, Come Into My Heart. Amen.

    “Jesus, come into my heart. Amen.”

   That was the prayer I prayed about twelve years ago on February 28, 2005, two months before I turned three. It changed my life forever. Now, you might be thinking, “Huh? Why would Alyssa want someone to come and live in her heart?” And, that’s what I’m going to tell you in this blog post – why a girl of 2 would want someone to live in her heart… 

   Our world is amazing. God created everything just by speaking. 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
~ Genesis 1:1-3
   God is holy. This means that He is perfect and never does anything wrong.

 “The Rock [God], his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he…” ~ Deuteronomy 32:4

   Also, He wants us to live with Him in Heaven forever.

   But, we break God’s law and disobey His commands. We are all sinful. Sin is anything we think, say, or do that breaks God’s law in any way. Exodus 20:1-17

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. ~ Ecclesiastes 7:20

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ~ Romans 3:23

   “Wait a minute,” you might say, “I’m a good person. I hardly ever do anything wrong.” 

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. ~ James 2:10

    This verse means that if you break one law, even a so called “small sin” such as a lie or a mean thought, you are guilty of breaking all the laws.

   This creates a big problem. Because God is holy, He cannot stand sin. He must punish it. And, the punishment for sin is death. 

For the wages of sin is death, ~ Romans 6:23a 

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins ~Ephesians 2:1

   We are spiritually dead in our sin. There is nothing we can do to save ourselves. 

   Do you know what? God loves us even though we sin. God loves us so much that He made a way for us to live with Him in heaven forever. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. He took the punishment that we deserved. He died in our place.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8

   How could Jesus do this and how is He any different from you and me? Well, Jesus is God incarnate – God in human flesh. He is totally  God and totally man. He had a body just like us, yet he never sinned. He lived the perfect life we could never live. This allowed Jesus to take our place. God punished His Son instead of us. 

     Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose again three days after He was buried. He defeated death and conquered the grave! 

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures
~ 1 Corinthians 15:4

   What do we do with this? Jesus died on the cross in our place so that we can live with God forever.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  ~ Romans 10:9

   We need to confess our sins, repent (turn away from them and toward God’s ways), and trust in Jesus’ work on the cross to save us.

  “What must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” ~ Acts 16:30b-31

    So, when I said “Jesus, come into my heart,” I was, in a way, saying, “Jesus, I believe that you are God’s Son. I believe that You died on the cross to save me from my sins. I can’t save myself. Jesus, I put my trust in you to save me. Please come and be the Lord of my life. I put my life in your hands, Jesus.” 

   Now, I have told you why I asked Jesus to come and live in my heart. But, I have not explained how or why this decision changed my life forever.

   When I trusted in Jesus Christ as my Savior, God sent His Holy Spirit to live inside of me. He does this for all believers. 

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. ~ John 14:26

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…” ~ Acts 2:38

   The Holy Spirit reminds us of different things that we have been taught about God and His word. 

  One of the other ways that my life was changed is a sense of peace and God’s presence in my life. When I am afraid, I can pray to the Lord and read the Bible. This peace that the Lord gives is nothing like you can ever have without Him. It is the kind of peace where even if you are to die in the morning, you aren’t scared and you know you are in God’s hands.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. ~ John 14:27

  This is why, after I gave my life to Jesus, I was able to say “I have Jesus in my heart!” As a two-year-old, I could know that Jesus was really alive and that He was my Savior. He gave me joy, joy that only those who are saved by Christ’s blood can experience. He gives us joy and peace in all circumstances.

   So, through moving, missing friends, and loosing those whom I care about, Jesus sustains me and gives me the strength to live for Him. 

   And, this is why and how my life is changed by Christ’s sacrifice for me.

For His Great Name
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