Communal Bathing

In a mountain stream in SouthEast Asia, I came upon a lady collecting river moss to make sushi wrappers. Seeing that the task looked tedious I decided to “help her”. I staggered behind her on the slippery rocks spending more time regaining balance then collecting moss. She continued her work as precious laughter intermixed with words I could not understand. I am clueless as to what she said, but her face led me to believe she found me humorous and lovable.

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We filled her bag and waved goodbye. Not long after as I was sitting in the natural hot spring tub at our guest house (missionary life is rough), there she was again. She had come to the river, like all the villagers, to take her bath. Now I had never really been exposed to communal bathing, but I learned most women manage to bathe while staying covered. The older ladies, however, find themselves beyond modesty and they bathe topless! My new friend happened to be old….

She spotted me in the hot tub and her and her friends moved there bathing spot close so that we could continue our bonding. Then she jumped up in the hot tub with me and took a big cup and poured the hot water over me. Even if I had known the language I would have still been speechless. I  laughed awkwardly as my new little topless Asian friend “helped me get warm!”

ImageMy coworker Andy says “Nudity builds community!” While I am not yet sold on this fact, I do know that I love that woman. I know that she comes to the forefront of my prayers and I know that I wish more than anything that she knew the Lord. My lack of language and the strict government watch held my tongue captive. Yet in the simplicity of picking river moss, cooking rice, defeathering chickens, modeling traditional clothing, fluffing cotton and yes even communal bathing, communication and relationships formed. I pray fervently for the day we can stand a top those mountains proclaiming truth, but I am thankful for the silent messages shared between two women and the privilege to pray for this woman everyday. 

 

*I feel as though this title might get almost as much attention at Surviving the Bush Commando did two years ago! The mission field puts you in some strange positions*

Bobby Pins

It seems like all other things in life bobby pins come in seasons. I have noticed that at times my hair routine seems to consist of rummaging, raking and resorting to stealing my roommates bobby pins. And then other times, like today, I find bobby pins under my sink, on my desk, in the dresser drawer, on my floor board, in my makeup bag and generally in all the places I searched for them yesterday. Why is it that some days we search with such intent and drive and frustration, only to come up void and other times, when we are barely looking, our hair clip container brims?

“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10

Maybe it is time I get my hands off of the desperate search and let the Lord bring a bounty of bobby pins ministry to my attention!

My Prayer

The Lord has been gracious and faithful. I just returned from two weeks among my family in West Africa. The Lord showed his vibrancy and presence in an unforgettable way that has left its permanent mark on the team and the villages.

To read more about the trip check out my latest newsletter here!

Just before I left the capital city for the villages the Lord gave me a  prayer that resounded through the trip and echoed upon my return. I think I’ll just share it with you. I pray that these words remain on my heart and my lips…

1-2-12 On the Rooftop overlooking the City

“He will stand and shepherd His flock in the STRENGTH and MAJESTY  of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his GREATNESS will reach the ends of the Earth and he will be their peace.”  Micah 5:4-5

Lord you supersede all that we could ever do or say. Your words bring me to my knees in awe of your royalty and beautiful reign.You took the wretched world upon your back and your heart and then seeped peace throughout the Earth. As I sit here on the edge of the “ends of the Earth” I rest in your promise that your greatness will reach and your peace will swell out of the dry and brittle land.

Lord I beg of your power and mercy. I pray that you would flood our temple and be a beacon in the darkness that pierces the very souls of the beautiful West Africans. In light of all that you have done and accomplished for us all you require is for us to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you.” (Micah 6:8) Yet I find myself here prostrate and begging you to help me live justly, love mercy and walk with you.

I pray that your truth would sound as drums of truth…Lord, we beckon your power here now!

The Lord was faithful in all that I asked. The movement, power and peace that now live in the small African villages are a beacon. There are still struggles and thousands without access to the Gospel, but God still reaches out further and further. I am realizing more day by day that this prayer is relevant on and off the field. I ask that if you are serious about the movement of the Gospel that you will join me in this prayer for the people of West Africa, for your neighbor and for yourself.  In all things may Christ be glorified!

Kelunka Training Village

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:32-34 and 39-40

The pages of the Word unfold countless tales of faith that enabled mere men to conquer kingdoms and return the nations’ to the heart to God. The author of Hebrews recounts the mighty acts of the weak believers who became our benchmarks for spiritual giants. With each account the author credits the true beauty and mighty force…faith. This sweet mercy of God that allows us to forge ahead and render mountains for His glory has been the trait that ushered in His name through the ages. Throughout scripture God gives these weak workers bold words that build a calling. Yet, in order to hear the call they had to first be silent and listen.

Listen…we hear a multitude of sounds in each millisecond, but do we really listen? Are we able to silence the madness and the ruckus to understand the call? Our Father cries out for your heart, the nations moan in the reality of their captivity and the church whimpers with a deep need for community and movement…do you hear it?

During the last month two teams come to Kelunka Training Village and tune their ears to the heart cry of Earth and Heaven.

Since I joined staff here at School to the Nations my first order of business has been repackaging and designing our village training program. The Lord laid listening on my heart and through my travels I have seen the power of listening in action. The planning was fun but I was so blessed to be able to pass on the words the Lord had entrusted me with through the trainings this weekend

 I drug the teams through intense discipleship and extreme challenges to prepare for the battle they will face as they venture to the lost and hurting world. The teams have prayed, practiced, explored, laughed, rested and listened in faith so that the King’s call may move us in mighty ways among the nations.

The biblical examples of small and grand faith in Hebrews 11 give hope and direction to us today. At School to the Nations we get the privilege of training today’s Gideons, Davids and Isaiahs. Men and women who grasp the strands of faith and humbly say, “Here am I. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) I hear the Lord echoing His joy over today’s servants willing to go. I hear Him whispering the promises of the immeasurable goodness He has prepared ahead for those who move in faith.

Please be in prayer for the Convoy of Hope team leaving for Haiti this week.


Please be in prayer for the School to the Nations team headed to Mali, West Africa this winter.

Chasing Goats

Well I’m back! 8 months, 13 countries, and 4 continents later I am still alive. Countless days of trials, loneliness, wild encounters and beautiful people have led me back here…right here to southwest Missouri. While I find myself in the same town, surrounded by similar people I realize it is not the same…I am not the same! The Lord has changed me and guided me to a place in full time ministry. This blog will now be a place where to share all the adventure, struggle and lessons ministry and life brings.

Lesson/Adventure 1

Day 1 I showed up to my phenomenal job at School to the Nations  expecting an exciting day where I began my job and dug into some good cross cultural ministry. As I rounded the corner I saw three goats from our training village staked up. My “exuberant driving” frightened the goats and sent them tearing across the field. Day 1 in ministry…first task…catch the goats. My lovely coworker Tessa and I chased the silly animals all around the camp and finally tied them back up. I learned my first essential lesson in ministry…do what needs to be done. My first day and every day since then has had the joy of expected assignments. Whether chasing goats or designing a challenging lesson on tribal living my job never ceases to surprise and exceed my plans. I LOVE MY JOB and I cannot wait to share more with you.But tonight it is late and for now I will leave you with the joyous image of two young women on a new adventure, in a new career chasing scrawny balking goats through a 29 acre camp!

 

Surviving the Bush Commando

Remember the days of summer as a child. The time when you only needed one outfit because you were just going to keep getting it dirty. The time when all you had time for was playing outside with your friends. Do we even remember the time when a box could entertain us for hours and we thought a new toothbrush was a great gift? Simplicity; a concept the Lord brought me back to half way around the world.

With packing complete and goodbyes waved, I boarded the plane for the simple life. After 36 hours of traveling, I breathed in the beautifully pungent smell of Africa, a smell I have come to love. Our team sat and watched the luggage belt go round and round for nearly an hour until we concluded that 11 of our bags were still sitting in Paris. We listed all the things in the bags that we really needed (like  solar panels and underwear!) and we prayed for the Lord to provide.

However, tangled up in the American life, we had no understanding of what Jehovah Jireh, my provider, really meant. A day later I headed to a small village with only the things I had carried on. The Lord had provided. Down to the last packet of oatmeal, the Lord had divinely orchestrated our every need.

Surviving the bush commando comes down to one basic word: simplicity. The Lord is crying out live simply, simply speak, rest in the simplicity of your call amidst the complexity of your world. I thought that in my 50 pairs of shoes and cabinets full of kitchen supplies, I had acquired my basic needs, but away from the media floods and the consumerism there is a place of peace, of satisfaction; a place where I finally understood the Lord’s provision. For when I had little I could call mine, Jehovah Jireh shown clear! As I sit in the Finland airport on my way to India with only the things on my back I have no fear and no desire for the things I a do not have; I go with an eternal promise what more could I need?

Love ’em Fiercely but Hold ’em Loosely…

What do people mean when they say they want to live to 120? From my observations old age doesn’t look that appealing. Maybe what we are really trying to say is we want to LIVE life. We want to have the time to travel a bit, love a lot, be loved even more, pass on some genes, climb a tall mountain, ride a raging river,  calm a troubled child and most of all leave a legacy. But then if we are counting on 43,800 days of life we may never get started before it is too late.

Africans live life. In the middle of disease, dirt and death I see real living. Yes they strive and still have little, but they love and they embrace community with all that is in their being. To my Malian family all things find significance in human interaction. They have taught me what living looks like… it’s giving from your nothingness, it’s bringing out the drums and dancing when your friend arrives,  it’s holding hands on a hot day, and it is investing when you know you have to say goodbye. Oh how they love… they love so feircely but they hold you so loosely because they experience the reality of this world. So now I say love people so fiercely it hurts and hold them gentle enough so not to restrict their wings.

So here is to living life…even if just for another day. Here is to waking up passionate for the Lord and oozing His love out of all our broken places.

Long Time Coming

Bewildered is to be amused, baffled, surprised, captivated, perplexed, befuddled or enchanted
This is me, a little confused but always captivated by glimpses of beauty. Enchanted by fireflies, vintage lamps, and African dirt, amused by getting caught in the rain and the tickle of grass between my toes in a life perfected by a creative Author. I get all wrong and occasionally right but I find it’s in the bewilderment that I learn the difference…

So I have wanted to start this blog for forever. I want this to be a place to share little snippits of what our awesome God speaks to my heart. I am not overly wise or wonderfully articulate but I love to share the little sparks of knowledge that the sweet Lord whispers. I hope that through my ponderings and wonderment of this complex life you may find snapshots of yourself and glimpses of our loving God. So welcome to my blog I hope you find it a cool splash of water in this steamy summer.