Dec 27, 2010

Merry "Far-Away" Christmas

So, of course Mark and I are navigating this marriage thing, and this missionary thing all at the same time. This was our first Christmas as a couple, and although we had a great celebration with the missionaries here in Honduras...we were both missing home. It is a strange thing living on the mission field.

Visitors often ask me what it is like living in Honduras, and I have to tell them the truth, "When you are there you miss here and when you are here you miss there. You always feel split right down the middle."

This Christmas was no exception. Well, maybe it wasn't a 50/50 split for me...more like 70/30 and the bigger part was on the US side. Last year I was with my family in the States for Thanks Giving AND Christmas. The year before that was my first Christmas in Honduras, and everything was so new and adventurous, that the sting of loneliness was kept out of the picture.

I am learning a lot of things:

  1. I am complete in Christ no matter where I am or whom I am with.  
  2. We are in charge of establishing the traditions in our own families. (It just so happens that I have a family of my own now, and although we are still a small part of our bigger families, we have to start setting up our traditions as "The Youngers.")
  3. There must be space in your life: space to breathe, space to rest, space to be with Him. 
  4. Sometimes it hurts, and that is OK.
There are some other lessons I am learning as well...but they haven't quite defined themselves yet. But those 4 are pretty BIG all by themselves. They are all difficult for me to grab on to, and even more difficult to implement in my life on a practical level.

I am so grateful for my family that understands I am where I am supposed to be. I am so grateful to God, who continually confirms that for us in undeniable ways. It is all about Him anyway.

So Merry "Far-Away" Christmas! I love you guys and gals, and I miss you train loads. I hope your New Year's plans will include Honduras in some shape or form. Live blessed, not busy.

Dec 8, 2010

Where did all of the margin go?

November 14, 2010 was my 2 year anniversary of living and working in Honduras. I didn't realize that it had past until today...December 8, 2010. Not that it is really a big deal, or that I would have thrown myself a party or something, but I think that missing it is an indicator of the business of my life. I missed a couple of my friend's birthdays, and my dad's...life is a little out of control.

I am not sure what is going on. Everything seems to be in the air above my head, just out of reach, and then WHAM, one of them comes crashing down and that is the one I rush to work on. What is happening to me? There is no focus, there is no planning...it is all damage control.

I think there is some unspoken pressure for me to perform. I am "fresh" and "new" to the mission field, so I feel like I am supposed to work harder and longer than anyone else. I'll be honest, this pressure doesn't come from anyone but me. I keep asking myself, "Why am I so tired?" Maybe it is because I have been running non-stop for 3 years. I have got to find some sort of order before this whole thing comes tumbling down.

So for the next how ever long it takes, I am going to be focusing on not burning out. If I go down, I am no good to anyone. I can't hold myself to some unachievable standard, and then get upset when it doesn't work out. I crave encouragement from people, approval and verbal affirmation - but that shouldn't be what drives me. I think I need to realign. I have got to find some margin - that space between you and the end of the rope. I can't keep going all the way to the end of my limits, over and over again, and expect not to burn out.

If you are praying, pray for clarity, for God to show me what is driving me to perform. This isn't going to be easy, but I don't think I am alone in this struggle. Maybe we can walk this road to discovery together.

Nov 8, 2010

Good Bye and Then Hello Again

I have never had someone close to me die before, until yesterday morning. This is a very difficult thing. I know what it feels like now. Maybe I can be a comfort to others one day, if I can ever stop randomly crying. 

Jordan Gautreau and I went to Elevate together. He was like a little brother. It really hurts to think that I won't hear his goofy laugh again, or see his sincere smile. Jordan was one of a kind. 

When we were in internship, he would eat other people's expired food with relish. He would watch it in the staff refrigerator until that fateful day when it would go out of date. And then...he would eat it. Yogurt was his favorite. I think he survived Elevate from eating other people's expired food...that, and Cooking for Christ leftovers. 

He was always ready to laugh. A giggle, a chuckle, or a full out belly laugh were always just right under the surface.

For most of the time I knew him he looked homeless. Long shaggy hair, giant beard, he wore clothes that didn't fit him...and had questionable hygiene...and then it was like the style button was finally turned on. I came back from Honduras to see that he had turned that ho-bo look into something fashionable, something all his own. 

We had a huge garage sale to support our mission trip during the internship. And I think Jordan tried on every item he thought was cool. Even if it was 10 sizes too small, or smelled really, really bad. He loved to dress up. He took it to the next level. He became whatever he dressed up as...he acted the part, looked the part and it was incredibly hilarious. His last exploit was Wolverine, and he WAS Wolverine.  

But, out of everything I remember about Jordan. I will remember his love of Christ and the lost. He was easy to read. If you knew him, you knew that you could read him like a book. He wore his emotion on his face. He was real. His love for God just jumped off of him. He took service beyond the second mile. He was always ready to do whatever anyone asked him...and with a great attitude. 

Mark and I got to see him last week when we were in town. I will cherish those moments. We were at HPC a lot, and of course we saw Jordan everywhere. Sometimes, I think he lived under a stairwell or something. Every time we saw Jordan, he would come over and hug us. He said, "We've got to get them while we can." He said that because Mark and I were returning to Honduras, but now I will remember those last hugs, because he has left us. 

I know that there will be tons of people in Heaven because of Jordan. 

Welcome home Jordan. We will miss you, but I am so glad that we will see you again one day. 

Oct 21, 2010

The Youngers Global DOT COM


I have been super busy around here for the past couple of weeks. It was like all of a sudden a "productivity bomb" dropped on me and there wasn't anything I could do about it. We reopened the outpatient clinic at HHGlobal, so that meant early mornings and visiting patients again. I have been doing tons of computer work trying to get a hold of our growing inventory of medicines, supplies and donations for the school kids. We are also trying to revamp the website, catch up on blogs for the ministry, and of course, shuffle things around in storage (our favorite rainy season activity).

On top of those projects, I am now a wife. 

Hey, no laughing!

So about 6 months ago, I could come home from work -dead tired at 9pm- and eat a bowl of cereal for dinner, shower and be in bed by 10pm...that wouldn't be much of a home life for our new family. Learning how to manage time is always on the top of the list. I am a planner...married to a non-planner. 

Learning how to live together is a lot more than figuring out where you are going to keep all of the socks, or not fainting at the grocery bill when you can't just by cereal and milk anymore. Marriage is about sacrifice. It is about dying to self all of the time...it is about being like Christ. I hope I get better at that.

As we combine our material things, we are combining our internet things as well. We are launching - drum roll please - theyoungersglobal.com. Our new internet home. I will still be here at hlstewart.blogspot.com, but now at one location you can link to both of our blogs, see updates that affect us as a couple, see pictures, donate, get prayer requests, and much more. 

So here's to getting married and starting life with someone else...together...even on the internet. 

Oct 14, 2010

No Weapons

I have been getting a lot of prayer requests lately. Most of them have been to health related problems, and I find that kind of interesting since I work at a hospital where our mission is to bring health, hope and healing.

It would be easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of suffering that happens in this fallen world...
It would be hard to read all of those requests...
There would be too many needs...

IF....there were not a God.

I am so grateful to know that my God is bigger than all of these prayer requests. On top of that...He knows each person individually, and can minister to them in a completely personal way. He has promised to hear our prayers, He has promised never to turn His back on believers, and He has promised that He WILL be there when we are united in prayer.

When you look at God through the clouds of your problems it may be easy to lose sight of Him. BUT if you look at your problems through the love of God Almighty you realize that no weapons formed against you will prosper.

Oct 2, 2010

The John 10:10 Equation

The Day after I posted the "Should I Stay..." blog, Mark and I were talking about the gospel John and some things he was reading in Hebrews, Heb 10:19-23 to be specific. With the story of the disciples trial fresh on my mind, and the last thought of the blog still on my heart, I listened to him read out of Hebrews...and things started to fall into place for me. I wanted to share what I wrote in my journal with you.

The idea of God always being with us, is so big to me. But more than that...maybe we should realize that we are always with Him. That was like a light bulb turning on in a dark corner. Showing me that I was walking in the right direction, but now that I can see where I am going...my path is brought into greater focus.

See...this circles back to humility. I was, in my own prideful way, saying that God was with me. He is, yes, and He will never leave me nor forsake me...but the revelation that I am also with Him...put things into better perspective for me.  John 15 talks about the concept of us abiding in Jesus and Jesus abiding in us. That if we are going to be truly fruitful in this world, we have to abide.

Jesus being with us is only part of the equation. The other half, is that we are with Him!!!!

Ok, not there yet? Hang with me.

Here are the notes from my journal:

  • He is not only with me, I am with HIM...in HIS throne room.
  • We must be in the right place of humility all the time to live in His will....to abide in Him. 
  • Saying, "He is in my heart" makes Him seem small...in reality I am in His hands. I don't carry Him around, any more than He carries me through life. 
  • I am not His keeper...I am His vessel. 
  • Mother Teresa said, "I am only a pencil in the hand of a writing God."
  • "He must increase, I must decrease." John 10:10
  • TRUE Humility is the key...identifying your right position under the all powerful creator God. 
OK...so after reading those notes again, I went for reinforcements. I blogged about my love for Andrew Murray and his book Humility, a while ago, so I went back there for a reference. His definition of humility is this:
Humility is the place of entire dependence upon God...It is not something we bring to God, or that He bestows; it is simply the sense of entire nothingness that comes when we see how truly God is everything. When the creature realizes that this is a place of honor, and consents to be - with his will, his mind, and his affections - the vessel in which the life and glory of God are to work and manifest themselves, he sees that humility is simply acknowledging the truth of his position as a creature and yielding to God his place. 
It is the last line of that paragraph that is so powerful to me! If we are to really understand that the glory of God lives in us and manifests through us, we must find our right place of humility before Him. So in true abiding - God is in my heart, but I am also in His hands. It is a 2 part equation, that uses the entire power of the Trinity.

Check it out:

Submission to God, in surrendering everything, to be His hands and feet through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, is only made possible through the sacrifice and blood of Jesus. HA!   Hallelujah!

That, for me, is huge, and I wanted to share it with you guys too. So beautiful is the plan of God; it is such a tapestry, rich with the colors and patterns only known to the artist. Oh to be a thread in His hand! Lord, may the color of my life bring you pleasure, and may it be long enough to make the connections you seek.

Sep 27, 2010

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now...

"If I stay there will be trouble....if I go there will be double...." Remember that song?

There are so many decisions in life. Some are little, like..."what will I eat for lunch"...some are big, like "should I move my family to the mission field?" It is true that decisions affect the people in our lives and can create chain reactions that go farther and wider than we can imagine. So how do we know in which direction to go?

I was reading in John the other day, about the time when Jesus walked on water: John 6:16. I pictured myself as a disciple. Jesus had just fed 5,000 people and sent them away so he could have some time alone.

In this story, the disciples wait for Jesus at the docks until well after sunset but when he doesn't come back they take off in the boat for the other side of the lake. Here is where they get into trouble. A storm catches them in the middle of the lake, and as they struggle against the wind and waves they see what they think is a ghost on the water. Of course, it isn't a ghost...it is Jesus, and once they realize that it is him, "they were eager to let him in the boat."

That last line reminded me of how often in life I leave Jesus behind, not waiting for him to help me make decisions. And then...when I am in trouble...I am "eager" to turn to him so he will save me from the mess I made.

So what do you think...should the disciples have waited for him at the dock? If they would have waited...they may have had some valuable time with Jesus. He only had a 3 year ministry, so I can only assume that every minute was valuable to him.

But if they had waited for him...they would never have seen him as master of the wind and waves. Maybe the decision wasn't the important thing...maybe they were supposed to know Jesus was with them all of the time, regardless of his physical presence.

Will we ever truly understand the fact that He is always with us? That we have authority over things of this world because He lives in us? I am not sure I will ever get the immensity of that statement, but I am willing to get to know him better, as a person, as the son of God, and as my Savior.

I would love to know your thoughts.

Sep 8, 2010

Remembering Times Past

Yesterday I found something really special in the reception room of the hospital: a Scofield Reference Bible in the Authorized King James Version, of course. The first printing of this Bible was in 1909 by the Oxford Printing Press. I don't know when this copy was printed - but it is in great condition, so it can't be that old.


The thing that makes this Bible so special to me is that it is the same edition my Great Grandmother Addie Semion used to read. I recognized the spine of the book immediately and when I opened it I almost expected to see the birth dates of my aunts and uncles written in the front cover. The typeface was so familiar, and I closed my eyes and let myself drift back to when she used to read the Word to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. If you slept over at Maw Maw Addie's house, you were going to listen to her read the Bible every night. There was no option, but you know...I don't ever remember any of us putting up a fight.

We almost awaited it eagerly. We would all pile up on the green vinyl sofa-bed in her living room, pull the handmade patchwork quilts up around our shoulders, prop up on our elbows and listen. She would read from no where in particular, sometimes she took requests - and we always wanted to hear of the epic battle scenes, or the famous stories of Noah's Arc or Sampson and Delilah. She would also share with us, the notes at the bottom of the page, and it was from her Bible that I learned what those little numbers in the middle meant. She would flip back to the concordance, and show us the maps at the back of the book.

So...what did I do...standing in the reception room at the hospital...holding this little link to my past? I took the Bible. The Bible is the most shoplifted book in the world - it's true. Ha Ha...I am not really sure if this is stealing. I am still working on that one. I can't ask permission because Martin and Wendy won't be back from the States until Friday, so until then...I have moved it to my apartment for safe keeping. :-)

The Bible even smells like Maw Maw's house - like an old library, and I like that. There aren't many things I have to remember her by, so this - while it lasts - is very special.

So here's to past traditions, and to making new ones. We get to decide what we pass on to our children and grandchildren...so what will it be? What traditions are you making in your home?

Aug 26, 2010

Apartment Tour

So, here's to married life! It is like having a sleepover every night with your best friend. The only challenge so far has been...where to put all of our stuff! haha

I thought that you may want to see exactly where we are living now. There are tons of different types of living quarters on the mission field. There are mud huts, wooden houses, concrete structures; there are dirt, cement and tile floors; glass windows, screens or wooden shutters...the possibilities are endless. So I wanted to you have the grand tour of our home.

Mark and I are living in the little apartment on the 2nd floor of the HHGlobal dormitory. When groups are here we will be like the live in supers, lol...ready to fix shower head heaters in the middle of the night and enforce the no girls in the boys room rules. :-) Right now however..we are just enjoying our space, and still trying to get everything in it's place!

So here is the Vitrual Tour of the Younger Dwelling:

The Kitchen

The Bathroom

The Exercise Room

The Office

The Library

The Living Room

The Entertainment Center

The Bedroom

Mark has already started making some improvements to our living space, to make it a little easier for 2 people to live in here at the same time! We absolutely love our little place, and we are already making some great memories here!

We are so blessed to be living and working with the Williams and HHGlobal! We can't wait to see what God is going to do next!

Aug 11, 2010

What Can I Say?

With the past few months so full of blessing I am having a hard time deciding what to blog about. We finished an incredible summer season with HHGlobal. Our team really pulled together in the last few months. It was a tough time of stretching and growth for us all, and we really hope me made the Father proud.

At the end of July, all of my free time and thoughts were totally consumed with my fiance Mark and the upcoming wedding. There wasn't a minute that passed without thinking of him and thanking God for giving me such an incredible man to do life with. OK enough mushy stuff =D

I returned to the States on July 24th, just a week before the wedding. I couldn't have had any better help with all of the wedding arrangements. I really don't feel like I did much of anything until that last week. It was so much fun to help put together all of the flower arrangements, bows, backdrops, and table decorations. I felt like I was setting up for Live the Dream or another HPC event...except this one was my wedding! haha

It was so great to see my family and friends from all over the place come together with Mark's bunch. My mom and Mrs. Karen (Mark's mom) are already planning some joint family adventures...I just hope we get to be a part of some of them ;-)

Mark and I left for Honduras the morning after the wedding. We went home to Rio Viejo for a night and then left for Utila, Honduras the next morning for a few days of honeymoon bliss. Check out our Facebook pages for some great pictures of that island paradise. Then we spent a night in La Ceiba, thanks to Martin and Wendy and the Lee University bunch, who went in together and put us up in a beach front hotel!

We have just been overwhelmed by the generosity of God's people. We are completely on cloud-9 right now...and not sure if we ever want to come down. It feels good to be home. Mark is settling in nicely, and I pray for him to find his place. He is making friends fast and taking the bull by the horns.

It also feels good to be back at the blog. For a while there wasn't time for anything...sleeping and eating were on the necessary list, and everything else fell by the wayside. I am looking forward to this season of planning and asking God to give me creativity for the future.

I love you guys, and I can't wait to share more with you!

Jul 17, 2010

Provision



Here is a picture of God's provision! Mark is having a garage sale today in Addis to help raise support for our time in Honduras. This is a picture he sent out last night at midnight. God was still providing donated items for the sale! I love our God!

Thanks to everyone who is helping to make our first year together on the mission field a success. We love you guys!


Jun 30, 2010

Faith and Obedience

Last night we had a time of devotion with the Lee University students who have been here serving the medical needs of the community for the past 2 weeks. We talked a little bit about our internship program at HHGlobal and our 2 summer interns Chad and Heather Jo, AKA Chepa, shared a little bit about how they came to be in Honduras.

They shared about obedience and faith. It was so encouraging to hear those words come from the youngest members of the meeting. Chepa talked about how she came to Honduras following God's call on her life, and Chad shared about the faith that it took to get him back for his second tour of duty this summer. In all of this I see God's faithfulness. I see His hand for sure...shaping the young lives around me. I pray for the courage to be obedient to Him. I pray that I have faith to trust in Him...not only for my provision...but for that of my new family.

I am learning so much about God's love for us though my relationship with Mark. I think I will learn a lot more as the months turn into years...but right now, I am learning that it is a bit more difficult to trust God with those that are closest to you. For some reason, I can trust Him without a second thought when it comes to my well being or provision, but it is more difficult now that there are 2 of us.

Lord, please help me to trust you, no matter how big my family becomes. Give me the faith I need to continue to serve you. When I say the words "I trust you" please make them true. I stand on your word, and I believe in your promises.

Jun 2, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

We are burning up the trail to Los Limpios this week! This is one of our favorite places to go. It is about an hour and a half into the jungle, and the children there are just beautiful. We took the education team from Jubilee out there yesterday to teach the kids the hygiene program and share the Word with them. They were so receptive!

We are going back today...to the same village. We are walking the road again...turning it from a road less traveled into a road of hope! Today we are going to paint the kindergarten "classroom" and make some repairs to the existing structure. The kids meet on the back porch of the building, right next to the pile of sand and broken blocks that will one day be their classroom.

We have never gone back to a village 2 days in a row. I can't wait to see their faces as we walk in!!

This is going to be so fun.

May 28, 2010

Thanks!

I have learned a lot this week. I had a day off...I wasn't sure that I knew what it felt like anymore. Dr. Martin gave the staff a day of rest last Thursday, and I was so thankful. I don't know what it is...I hate the idea that I would need a day off. Does that make any sense?

I guess it is my pride that keeps me thinking that I should be able to do it...or it is the Enemy who tells me to keep going and ignore all of the warning signs.

Every now and then I forget that we are in a spiritual battle here. We are in a fight to keep our sanity sometimes, and have to go back to the basics of truth. We have to remind ourselves what is true and what is not.

Please, don't go another step forward without coming back to the truth of the matter. God loves you. He cares about you...not just in an employer-employee relationship, but He really cares about your heart, your head, and your body.

This week was a great reminder that God's work will continue to get done. None of it is dependent on one person. We are integral parts of the team, but the team looks out for each other. So I wanted to say, "thanks" to Martin and Wendy for giving me a day to get some personal things done. I went to the city and bought a mattress for my new bed and I did a little shopping. :-) It felt great to get some things scratched off of my personal list.

The HPC Construction team just left, and we are welcoming a team from Jubilee Church tomorrow afternoon. We are 5 teams into our 6 team stretch and our season of 10 summer teams. God is doing so many things around us! It is amazing how much is getting accomplished. Praise Him!

May 11, 2010

Jairo and I

Rebecca snapped this photo of Jairo and I the other day in clinic! I just wanted to share it with you guys :)

Thanks for posting it Becca!!

May 10, 2010

Day in the Clinic

It has been a while since I was able to spend some time in the clinic. I did a little bit of translating today for the nurse practitioner, Eric McCraney. He did an amazing job diagnosing and teaching the patients about their conditions. It felt really great to be with the patients.

There was so much pressing.

Food to put out.

Projects to start.

People to direct.

Translate.

Plan for the next team.

But then...in the midst of the craziness. I see two of the people that always steal my heart right out of my chest.

One, an 18 month old boy named Jairo. He was not wanted by his mother. She barely fed him, and hardly ever touched him. A woman took him in as her son, and brought him to us for help. He is thriving now...although he was sick with a fever today, he was clean, clothed and well fed. Weighing in at 20 pounds! I took him into my arms and held him until he fell asleep, resting his head on my chest.

Another, a 17 year old girl named Elsa. She is from the village of Paraiso. We saw her for the first time at a brigade in her village in March. She is disabled, mentally and physically, so she was left by her mother...and gets passed around between "family" members. She was brought to the brigade because she wasn't having a period, and her care taker was concerned that she was pregnant. Thank God, she was not. We saw her a few days later at the clinic, and determined that she wasn't having her period because she was severely malnourished. He lower legs were 3 times their normal size because of her protein deficiency. We gave her baby formula, because that is all we had to supplement her. We gave her and her care taker clothes, soap, shampoo...anything we could give them to bring her back to see us. Today she came, and she had gained 4 pounds! Her legs were no longer swollen, but she still wasn't having her period. Another pregnancy test, another negative, Praise Him!

While we were waiting for her test results, I took her to the patient bathroom and we brushed our teeth together. I showed her how to brush and we talked about when she needed to do it. She picked out a neon green toothbrush. She was so excited. My heart broke and was put back together and flew right out of my chest again.

Jesus is here, and anything can happen.
Jesus is here, and anything IS happening...right HERE!

Thank you Lord, for today. Thank you for letting me see the fruit of your work in Jairo and Elsa. Please bring them back again. Let us care for those who have your heart.

I wish I had pictures to show you. Maybe one day I will get the courage to ask Elsa to take one with me. I feel that our relationship is too tender...I do not want to exploit her. She is a doll, and makes my heart smile at her gentleness. I wish I had her heart...so ready to love others. So quick to smile.

May 8, 2010

Two Schools Come Together

This past week we had a team from The Life Church in Memphis, TN come and serve with us in Honduras. They helped us roll out our new education program for the students in our area. This program involves 3 stations with hygiene related activities, one art project, games and a creative gospel presentation. 

The last day the team was with us, we had the honor of traveling to the village of La Colorada. This day was special for so many reasons, but one that stands out to me is that we were able to serve 2 schools at one time. There is a village deeper into the jungle than La Colorada, at least 2 hours deeper in, called Los Planes. The teacher from this village brought 20 students of all ages, plus 7 graduates from his class last year, down to La Colorada to participate in our program. 

This is a picture of all of the students, the 2 teachers, and our team from Life Church. 

Here the kids are learning about healthy eating...and YES...that is the "Healthy Heather" doll!!! But we renamed her "Sarita Saludable" so the kids would understand the rhyme in Spanish :)



Here the kids are coloring pictures with hygiene related items. Even the boys enjoy this simple pleasure of making something pretty.



Here Rebecca and Michael are teaching the kids how to brush their teeth. The kids actually do the activity so that we can show them how much tooth paste to use and how to brush the right way. 

We have plans to further expand the program, and when we have larger visiting teams we will have more hands to help with bigger schools. I am so excited about what God has in store for these kids this year. We hope to reach every school twice with the education program, and help the teacher with small repairs to their classrooms and give them donated school supplies. 

Apr 25, 2010

The Long Truth

Last week at clinic I prayed...nothing spectacular, you know...just a prayer before a normal day at clinic. Or so I thought. Sometimes, you get what you pray for, and it takes you by surprise. Sometimes, your spirit prays for something that your mind doesn't even recognize is for you.

I have been at the computer for the past two weeks. Planning the summer team schedules, brainstorming on new ideas for the education programs we will host, making brigade fliers, posting newsletters on the HHG website... and a zillion other things, like trying to plan a wedding in 3 weeks. I have been there so long that my feet are swollen from sitting in one spot, haha...sad but true.

But the prayer...the prayer was that we would taste just a little bit of how God longs for His people. That we would be moved to love them like He does. That somehow...in this mess of a world we would be able to really love.

Tonight, I am broken. Tears fall from my face, as I realize how much he longs for His people. How he waits for them. Isa 30:18 says, "Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you." (NASB)

That word, doesn't mean longing in the way most of us know it. This word doesn't refer to love, or waiting on a marriage, or the way humans love each other. No, it is much deeper than that. This word paints a picture of someone all tied up in knots. Have you ever had that feeling? Sure, I think we all have...but the difference here is that He is all tied up in knots waiting to be gracious to us! Gracious - show pity, direct favor to, or have mercy on...unwarranted compassion.

The Creator God is all tied up in knots waiting to direct favor, have mercy on, and show pity to His creation. He waits on high for opportunities to show us this godly love...and so often I would rather sleep than to accept it. So often...the things on my to do list over take the Maker...they press into the margin of my life.

Tonight, what if we chose to accept? What if we sought Him out, and gave Him the opportunity He's been looking for. I pray that you all taste this longing. This bittersweet, painfully smooth, all tied up in knots feeling that our Father has for His children.

Would you choose to long?

My greatest peace comes from the fact that I know the longing will end in such sweet surrender...when He comes to claim what is His. Oh, what a day that will be!

Apr 9, 2010

When Two Worlds Collide

Ok...so I have been avoiding the blog sphere. 

It is true. I admit it.

Something absolutely incredible happened in my life last week, while I was in the States. Then....I realized my blog world was about to run smack into my real world. Now let me explain, before you think that I have been keeping things from you.

Y'all know that I don't really keep my thoughts to myself...it's share and share alike around here, but some things are kept so far down in your heart, that you dare not share them with the world. They are too young and tender, or they are too sweet and vulnerable. Which ever the case may be, this week one of the desires buried deep in my heart sprouted up like a big TREE and now there is no way I can get around sharing it with you.

On April 3rd, I got engaged. 

There, I said it. 

Breathe...Heather...breathe...

Some of you may be scratching your head, going "umm, was she dating someone?" Those of you who also know me on FaceBook have probably seen the changed relationship status and 5 million comments, and decided to do a little snooping on Mark Younger's page. 

Opps...I said his name. 

Yep, there it is. Now before you go doing a word search for "Mark Younger" in my blog history, I will say that I did write about him once. He came to serve with us in August of 2009 for a couple of weeks and I slipped up and blogged about him. There were countless blog entries that were inspired by my relationship with him, but I would never let you know which ones they were. There I go again, keeping secrets ;-)

We have been friends for a long time, then we were best friends, and now we are getting married.

Here is a picture so you can enjoy the moment with us. Thanks to all of you who helped pull it off, and to those of you who knew it was about to happen, and didn't spoil the surprise. It was an incredibly special day for us (ahem - Mark and I) and I am so glad that you could be a part of it...even if it is though the blog or FaceBook!



I have a feeling you may be hearing more about "us" as life goes on, especially since we will be beginning our life together on the mission field in August. 

So, remember this day friends...when Heather's two worlds collided. The day when the deepest desire of her heart made headlines on Heather's High Points!

And...

PS...I don't want this to turn into a wedding planning blog or anything weird like that. I am still me, you know. So don't go getting all worried.

Mar 27, 2010

Reconciliation: Heart and Mind

I was journaling this morning...yes...I have a journal too. Not every thought that passes through my head is blog worthy, so I have to have a collection point for most of the emotional rubbish :) So...I was journaling this morning and I think I realized something...

The verse God gave me for this year is Psalm 40:8 "I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your law is written on my heart." Ever since I started truly following the Lord, I have had joy in my life. I was pondering this thought and reflecting on my life a long time ago. The part of my life when I was doing everything I could to run away from Him...short of denying His existence. There was no joy in that time. Of course there were moments of fleeting happiness, short lived pleasure and bits of self-satisfaction...but they never lasted. They didn't remain.

This morning, I think God showed me that the reason I have joy now, is because the things I am chasing after in life (my hopes, the things I have faith for, the work I do, my heart's desires) were all put there by Him. They are the things He wrote on the tablets of my heart, way back at the beginning of time. Now that I am running after the things that He designed me to run after, there is joy. Not only joy, but confirmation from Him which is super cool!
Once God reconciled my mind (what I though supposed to happen in my life) with my heart (the things He planned for me) I was able to really understand Psalm 20:4 "May He give you the desire of your heart, and make all your plans succeed."

It is a beautiful day! Thank you Lord, for causing me to desire the things you have planned for me. Thank you for giving me joy!

Mar 21, 2010

You might be a missionary if...

I would hope that most of my readers have a heart for missions. Whether you want to be on the mission field one day, hope to go on a short term trip this year, or feel called to support missionaries...this blog is for you! Because of your heart...I have devised a list of things that may help you decide if you have the heart of a missionary.

Here we go!

You might me a missionary if...

  1. You talk about food all of the time...even while (um...especially while) you are eating.
  2. Bodily functions work their way into your normal, everyday conversations. 
  3. You wear things that other people think are weird...and then start a fashion trend... albeit years later. 
  4. You can have complete conversations in movie quotes, and everyone listening understands what you are saying. 
  5. Dancing in the office is a weekly occurrence.
  6. You can't have a conversation without using facial expressions, sound effects, hand signals or different tones of voice. 
  7. Your work and your life cannot be separated. You can't "turn-off" the passion for your purpose in life. 
  8. Your first reaction to almost any situation is laughter...even if you just laugh on the inside where no one else can hear it. 
  9. You have a passion for telling other missionary stories, complete with the mannerisms stated above in #6.
  10. People back home think you are weird...they love you, but they think you are weird...and then when they come visit you, they still think you aren't normal. 


Sure my experiences on the mission field have been limited to our specific geographic location, and the short time I have lived here. I am hoping to put more of these together...maybe it will become a regular blog entry. Who knows?

I hope they made you laugh...laughter is good medicine =D

Have a happy Sunday!!

Mar 18, 2010

Oh, for the love of books!

I realized something about myself today. Not only do I like books, I love them! Sure, I like the way they look on my bookshelf. I like the weight of them in my hands, and the way a good hardback feels kind of cold against my stomach when I have to put it down and rest for a minute. I like seeing them stacked up on my desk, begging me to pick them up and leaf through a few pages.

I even like the way they smell...shh...don't tell.

So, what's the big deal? Right? Why would you write a blog about loving books? Who would really want to read that anyway? Well...um...I am asking myself those questions right now. Why would I?

I think the realization behind the realization is that my love of books stems from a love of information. I love having access to information...though books, through people, through the internet...I am infatuated with learning, but it doesn't stop there. It's not good enough to just learn something. It must be documented and filed in some sort of retrievable system.

Ah-ha! Now I remember where I was going with this! A few years ago we did the "Living Your Strengths" test. It is a souped-up personality test that helps you identify 5 major defining characteristics of your personality. I mean they are really right on. Of course, I ended up with all of the nerdy ones like "Learner, Intelligence...etc..." but the one that links me to the love of information is "Input." I learn it, I write it down, I catalogue it, and then I file it.  Sitting at my desk today...I realized I was surrounded by filing cabinets. I had to laugh out loud. At home, my journals and bibles have post-it note flags marking verses and notes from past sermons that I want to be able to find quickly.

Now, I sit at my desk in my apartment surrounded by stacks of books, journals, and photos. I sit with 4 tabs open on my internet browser (Amazon.com, Blogger, Flowerdust.net and Facebook). I sit in awe that God made me for this job. He knew that there would be a need for a person to collect information for HHGlobal and put it in a usable format for others. He knew that he had to create a person with all of the nerdy characteristics and just enough personality so people could stand to be around them (most of the time).

Detailed...our God is so very detailed. Lord please help me to use the characteristics you have given me. Help me put the energy in the right places. Keep me from getting lost in the details and the tedium, so I can see just enough of the big picture to move toward it. Help me realize that you've got it all under control, anyway. Thanks for letting me be apart of this... nerdy-ness and all.

Mar 16, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things...

My Chacos...the best sandals/flip flops I have ever owned. I got them on clearance so that makes them even better...who cares that they are a half size too small?? The best feature of all...I can slide them on and off at the door so I don't break the cardinal rule: No Outside Shoes Inside! OR I can strap them on and wade through the rivers!!!

 BABIES!!! I love the babies...and I love that Becca loves them too. One of my favorite jobs is loving on the ones society says aren't worth loving. This baby girl was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome a few weeks ago at our hospital, and this week we saw her in the village of Paraiso, where her family lives.

Mantequilla cookies...they taste suspiciously like Lorna Doone shortbread cookies, and everyone who comes to Honduras to spend some time with us, gets hooked!! Go for the gold!


Picture taken by Becca Oliver

Duck, Duck, Goose...AKA Pato, Pato, Gonzo...even though the kids never quite get what they are supposed to do, it is incredibly fun to see them chasing each other around the GIANT circle. A personal favorite is picking 4 kids to play simultaneously and watching them try to remember which spot they are supposed to sit in!

Picture taken by Becca Oliver

The students...they are really starting to get the information. It is slow, but the effort is paying off. I am so honored to be apart of something that will affect generations to come. Teaching them basic hygiene will equip them to live healthier lives and maybe...just maybe they will teach their kids to do the same!

Mar 13, 2010

The Battle for Obedience

Today the fog never left the mountain tops. It has been a cold morning with the threat of rain looming, and I have hidden away in my little sanctuary of a room...stealing a few hours to myself. I can't help but feel the twinge of guilt as I sit here and write...this is a battle I fight in my heart and mind so often: there is always so much to do and never enough hours to do it in.

This week we had an incredible team from Bay Community Church. Out of all the groups that come to serve with us...this church is most like HPC. They have incredible hearts to serve and their work is backed up by a spirit of excellence that is hard to find in this world. After a full day's work we were all sitting around talking about what we saw...just decompressing. We ended up on the subject of obedience, and how important it is to be obedient to the call God has given us...and how important it is to figure out what that is. Sometimes people come to the mission field and leave with a sense of guilt...that their lives are too blessed...and I want so much to tell them that they are blessed to be a blessing...they are a pipeline from God to those who don't yet know Him.

Anyway...that night I remembered something I learned a long time ago. Kim Braud was teaching a missions class for the Elevate interns. She asked us to write down the reasons we thought we were being called to the mission field. We all began scribbling in our notebooks, writing down all the honorable reasons we thought we should "Go therefore..." After a few minutes, she said...and I am totally paraphrasing since it has been almost 2 years since I was in this class...if you wrote down anything else besides "to be obedient to God" then you need to check yourself.

WHAT?!?!

I thought my answers were pretty good...you know...meeting the needs of the people, showing the love of Christ...etc, etc...all the good things that people think missionaries do.

But Kim had a point. She was trying to get us to realize that if you go to the mission field (whatever that looks like in your life) with the idea that YOU are going to meet the needs of the people - you will be overwhelmed by those needs. If you go with the selfish ambition that YOU are going to do some good - then you will be overtaken by the enemy. BUT if you go because God told you to go - then His grace will be sufficient to keep you there...and just maybe you will bring HIM glory.

So...back to the battle I fight on a regular basis...you may be familiar with this one as well...how do you come up against all of the needs that you face every day? In the States, there is a bit of a buffer between daily life and the harsh needs of the poor, but here...they are in your face all of the time. You see them, you touch them and you definitely smell them...and my heart breaks for them...and then breaks again when I realize that I can't do anything for them except put one foot in front of the other and walk that path that God has laid out for me.

Be encouraged...the BEST and most amazing thing you can do in this life is to live the life God intended for you to live. To catch it like a football and run like crazy for the end zone...giving a stiff arm to anything that tries to divert you from the goal.

So, how do I fight the overwhelming needs surrounding me? I remember that my first responsibility is to the Lord...to be true to Him. Then I swallow hard and take responsibility for the things that He has put on my plate. Is it hard? Yes. Is is a lot of work? Yes. Do I always feel confident that I can do it? No. Does He show up? EVERY TIME!!!

Mar 10, 2010

Paradise

We are hosting our first medical team of the year this week. I am having a blast translating for one of the doctors and loving on all of the people. We are hiking out to the village called "Paradise" tomorrow, and I can't wait to see all of my kids again. This village has some of my favorite people and some of the most beautiful kids you have ever seen.

I just wanted to let you all know that I haven't forgotten about you this week! haha...God is doing so much in the people and in the hearts of the group members. We are happily exhausted at the end of every day, knowing that we gave our all and that God is going to fill us back up again!

It has been an incredible week!

Mar 1, 2010

Oh...My Heart

I haven't forgotten what it feels like to capture the attention of 50 school kids. I haven't forgotten what feels like to teach them things that we call basic, and yet have an incredible impact on their quality of life. I haven't forgotten what it feels like to give a child anti-parasitic medicine and vitamins, and then to find them an inch or two taller just a few months later. 




When pencil boxes and a pack of crayons light up the face of a child...it creates a spark in my soul that turns into a roaring blaze. My heart beats for these kids. My heart beats louder and stronger each time I visit a school and bring a basic hygiene lesson. I know that if these kids can catch the importance of washing their hands then they will live a better life.

What? How is that possible?

We live in an environment where basic hand washing means the difference between a healthy child and an unhealthy one. Hand washing is the main component in keeping kids parasite-free, which means that they will get more nutrition from the foods they eat, their immune systems will be stronger and they won't get sick as often, and they will do better in school because they will have energy to learn and study...there are so many things that hinge on good hygiene.

Me practicing hand-washing with the kids. They count to 20 seconds as they rub their hands together...laughing all the way.

After almost 5 months of waiting, my heart started beating again this week. As the kids yelled "Miss Lila" from the streets and asked me if I was bringing vitamins to their class today, as I gathered the kids and began the lesson...I came alive again. We gave out a ton of stuff: vitamins, tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap, band-aids, alcohol wipes, pencil boxes, crayons, bouncy balls and toy cars. BUT the most important thing we gave out that day was hope. Hope in a better life - one without parasites, at least for a while. Hope in a future, maybe one with an education. Hope for the healing of a nation through it's children.

Dave Ohlerking told me one time, "Train the children in the way you want the nation to go," and we are trying to do just that!

Feb 22, 2010

Rejoice...it's a command.

This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad it in it!


Today we are hosting a dental brigade from Seacoast Church in Charleston, SC. It is nice to have old friends return and to meet new ones! We will be running like crazy to keep this machine going! This is our first group of the season and a great chance for our HHG team to pull together.

I love foggy mornings on the mountain. You just know it's going to be a beautiful day when you see the sun rising up behind the clouds!

Feb 17, 2010

Full Circle

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit my home town, and opened the door for God to reenter my life. While the city was reeling from the disaster my future church (HPC) was serving it up hard, and I was trying to figure out what really mattered in life. I ended up staying at my grandparent's house in Ruston, LA for about 3 weeks, and while I was there I painted my Grammy's favorite Bible verse on a beam in her kitchen.

"...As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

It kept me busy, you know? Having a project to complete, kept me from being lost in the feelings that were trying to take over my heart and my mind. The verse kept me grounded...little did I know that God's word was taking root in my heart.

This week I got to paint another verse on another wall. We have an incredible world map mural on the second floor of the dorm that was painted by Rob and Michelle Gros, from HPC. We always wanted to put a verse on the map, but we couldn't decide on the right one or where to put it. However this week, we made a decision, and I got to paint a part of the most incredible verse on the outside wall of my apartment.

"For God so loved the world..." John 3:16


As I was working on the map, all I could do was pray that whoever saw those words and saw that map would realize how big God's heart must be to love the whole world. I hope it reminds me to love more, just like the verse at my Grammy's reminds me that my love for God will changes the lives of my family and... my family's family.

Sometimes we just need to reevaluate and remember what really matters in life.

Feb 8, 2010

Catching Up and Stepping Out



The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. Thanks to our interns we are getting a ton of work done around here, and the place is really starting to shape up! We have been organizing cabinets, hanging signs, decorating rooms, picking our fabric, building frames, not to mention running an out patient medical clinic! Here are a few pics to catch you up:

Michael building a frame for one of our pictures.


Jerri showing Wendy how to staple down the canvas.

 
Me "Vanna-Whiting" our favorite picture of the river!

The dorm pantry that Becca and I organized!
(These are just the spices people...we haven't gone grocery shopping yet!)

The first church service with all of our team: past, present and future. 
(Just so you know...I was telling a joke and using my hands, of course.)

Of course, I have been learning a ton of new things. Having extra hands around all the time, kind of feels like you have a team here all of the time. It takes so much planning to stay ahead of the game. I am learning to manage other people's "To Do" lists...hopefully utilizing their natural gifts, stretching them into new areas and challenging them to go the extra mile.

I will start teaching intern classes tomorrow, and that is definitely WAY outside of my comfort zone. Now I know what Solomon felt like when he asked God for wisdom. He didn't know what it would take to be king, he was being stretched into a new role and knew that he would need God's help. I feel the same way. I know I am here to serve, I know I am here to help the interns get the most out of their experience here, I know God wants to use me to shape them...and that is extremely humbling. I feel a great burden to pass on the things I have learned from my mistakes, and the things people have shared with me about their mistakes.

Someone told me one time..."There isn't enough time to make all the mistakes that have already been made, all over again. We need to learn from each other. We need to share our failures and our triumphs so that others can use them as stepping stones, and go farther than we could ever go." I am inspired by that quote, I am driven by it. I want to be a "passer on" of information, no...not just of information, but a heartbeat, a vision, a flame. I just hope and pray that I will be a good pipeline for His word and wisdom to travel through.

Please pray that I would not be overwhelmed by all of this new stuff. I am trying to get smaller, so God can get bigger, but honestly right now...I feel smaller than I ever have in my whole life. I know my God is big, and I know He has me in His hands...I just don't feel them around me. Refine me, Lord. Let me be tested and prove pure. You know my heart and my motives are always for you. I need you.

Jan 30, 2010

Without Hope...What are We?

Has anyone ever said to you, "I didn't want to get your hopes up?"

I have been thinking about hope lately.

We are doing this Bible study on Esther right now, and the first session gave a random scripture reference to Roman's 15:4, which says, "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."

A couple of words jumped off the page to me that day: endurance, encouragement and hope. So, what did I do...a word study, of course! It seems the root of that word hope is simply the expectation of good. The opposite being the expectation of evil, meaning fear. If finding out that the opposite of hope is fear wasn't interesting enough...the word endurance in that scripture means, "a patient, steadfast waiting for." Leaving us with the last word, encouragement, "consolation and comfort."

With all of that said...what this verse is really telling us is: "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through a patient steadfast waiting for and consolation and comfort of the Scriptures we might have the expectation of good."


So the Bible was given to us to teach us, and as we wait patiently and expect good things, we can be comforted by those who have gone before us. 


I really like that we can expect good things. If we don't expect the good things in our lives, are we doing the opposite? Are we expecting evil...are we living in fear? So my question is...what are we without hope? ...hope in eternal life, hope in love, hope in our savior, hope in (fill in the blank).

So to all of those people who say, "I didn't want to get your hopes up" I say "too bad they already are...and I planning on keeping it that way!" haha

Jan 24, 2010

How far would you go?

I have been at my computer so much in the past few days that I don't even want to be sitting here writing this blog right now. It's true...especially since I just wrote one yesterday and I feel like I am cluttering your inbox with nonsense. But still I must write, because the words won't leave me alone. They keep filling my mind and I won't rest until I make this confession.

Tonight we prayed as a group for God to give us a word for 2010. Not necessarily a goal, but a guiding light, so to speak...something that could always be on our hearts and minds as we did our work, hiked to villages, ministered to the people, and just plain served.

In 2008, our word was catapult. Remember that one?

In 2009, we were saturating our area with the love of Christ. That was awesome.

But, we still hadn't settled on one for 2010...or (and this is my confession) I didn't want to accept the one He was giving.

As Kevin prayed at the end of our church service, he heard your Spirit say that our word...or words for 2010 were "growth, stretching and enlargement." My first reaction was "yuck". I am being completely honest, here. I think there was a part of me that was trying to hold onto the idea that this year would be easier than last year because I have a year under my belt. I wanted to think that I a foothold, you know? I wanted to think that I knew what was coming but... I also knew that I was ignoring the Holy Spirit.

Maybe ignoring is too harsh, but I definitely didn't want "enlargement" to be our word for the year, because that involves pain, that involves new ground, that means things that aren't in my comfort zone will have to become my comfort zone. Looking back over my journal entries and blogs, I can see how God was telling me that all along...even yesterday's entry hinted at that "sleepless nights and sweaty days"...maybe I should read my stuff more often.

I guess it ultimately comes down to a choice. How far are we willing to go? How far are we willing to let God go with us and in us? How deep will we let Him dig? I remember a lady, named Charlotte, prayed for me in 2008 and she told me I was going to be like a piece of taffy. That I would be stretched and pulled and twisted. And that God would take me as far as I was willing to go. 

So, how far are we willing to go for the cause of Christ? Hopefully as far as it takes to make us like Him. God, please forgive me for closing my ears to your words. Give me the courage to let you stretch me. Let me be soft and supple like a piece of taffy. I know I can trust your hands to pull me in the right direction. Search my heart and purify it. Create a clean spirit within me. Keep me humble and teachable.

Jan 23, 2010

History lesson...and lots of others, too!



I have pretty much been working at my computer non-stop the past few days. I revamped the blog (looks nice, right?) and I have been working on the HHGlobal blog as well. When we changed the name of the organization, Martin and Wendy decided it was time for a whole new look. So, we got a new logo, new colors and a new website and blog to go along with the new name. It is a pretty sweet package if you ask me!


Becca painting the new logo on our meeting room wall!

So for the past few days I have been moving the old blog archives into the new Blogger blog. Unfortunately, our old blog host doesn't allow for easy exporting, or at least this girl didn't know how it could be done...so 'copy and paste' was my only option. 68 blogs later, all of the HHGlobal history has found its new home!!

I feel like I have lived the past 4 years all over again. I have seen Sam and Rachel grow up...birthdays and Christmases, braces and school days, trips to Wal-Mart and Cracker Barrel, breakdowns and blessings, buildings coming up out of the ground, old interns and new interns, VEHICLES, teams and teams and more teams...WOW. I feel so blessed to be a part of this ministry, and blessed to be with them now...writing what will soon be history.

I have such big feelings about 2010. There is such a heavy expectancy on my heart...and sometimes...it is all I can do to not run screaming. It may sound funny but it is true! I really believe God is moving BIG time here, but it will be different this year.


3 of my favorite people: Wendy, Claudia, Me, and Martin. Right after our 3 day planning session for 2010!

We started our Thursday Bible study with the missionary girls on the mountain. We are studying Esther. Man....I love that book. I have always been drawn to the mystery, drama, action and romance captured in its pages. But you know what...Esther carried the responsibility of the outcome on her shoulders. Did God call her? Yes. Did He equip her? Yes, again. Did He deliver her? Of course. BUT....He did it all behind the scenes. He did not part the "Red Sea" for her. He did not write anything on the wall. He worked through a scared girl who's only qualification was that she was willing.

I think that God is going to move in this way in 2010. I know He will be there with us...but I also feel like we are going to have to dig in deep and work like we have never worked before. Our capacity as a team will be stretched, our unity will be tested, and we will have to rely on each other to help carry the burdens.


Getting to know each other through personality testing! 

I read something the other day, I can't remember where it was, or who said it...but I have been thinking about it ever since...It said..."God does't call the qualified, He qualifies the called." This is the year of qualification, and it will come with sleepless nights and sweaty days. Lord please be with us. Please send your prayer warriors to help carry us. Please give us the courage to stand and not run away from the bigness of your dream. Keep us close to you. Keep us humble and wanting more of you. We are hungry and thirsty for righteousness.

Jan 20, 2010

Faith in the Dark

Through all of this fasting somehow I feel a bit farther away from God. How is that possible? I thought sacrifice and quieting the voices around you was supposed to allow for a greater intimacy with Him. I thought there was supposed to miraculously be more time to be in His presence, but I am finding that it is quite the opposite.

Not that I thought it would be easy...I just thought it would be different.

It seems that there is something robbing my time from me. I feel like I have to do everything in a hurry. Why is that? Have I not slowed down from the crazy Stateside pace of life? I mean...I even cook my dinner in a hurry, so I can wash the dishes in a hurry, so I can take a shower in a hurry, and on and on it goes.

So, just now I clicked the icon on my browser that says "Streams." It is my shortcut to the internet version of Streams in the Desert. Honestly...I have not been clicking it very often. I read the entry for January 20th (I still can't believe it is almost February!). The devotion was about sacrifice, and it used Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac as an example of God's economics. Abraham gave up his only hope of a name for his family, and in return God gave him descendants numbering greater than the stars in the sky...with one of them being Jesus Christ.

Why, then, is there fear in my heart? Why is there doubt? There is a seed of distrust in my soul...a small voice that says "if you don't make it happen...it never will." There is a voice that tells me I have to strive, that I have to work, that I have to force, that I have to take back the things I gave to God a long time ago...but I know that is not who I am. So, I am taking a stand. No more will I allow that doubt in my life. It seems that my orphan heart is trying to return with all his friends, and I just stopped him at the door.

We can trust God...even in the dark. We can trust Him, even when the mist is so thick that we can't see the ground in front of us. We can just walk out in faith that God is there. I know that He loves me, and I will trust Him always. With questions unanswered and dreams tucked away in my heart...I will have faith, even in the dark.

Jan 19, 2010

Jose's Gift








The Ghost

Link to The Ghost Series at www.lifechurck.tv

I have been listening to a series called "The Ghost" from Pastor Craig Grochel. Last night I listened to session 2, where he talks about who the Holy Spirit is...and what He is like. I think sometimes I forget that the Holy Spirit is a person. I forget that if I ignore Him...He will most likely go away.

Holy Spirit, please forgive me for the times I have ignored your whisperings. Please soften my heart again to your guidance. Let me feel your nudges and hear your still small voice. Be with me like you promised in the beginning...never leaving me nor forsaking me.

This was the general feel of our group prayer this morning. It was a time of repenting and a cry for a renewal of our relationship with the Spirit of God.


Jan 14, 2010

One More Answered Prayer



Today our prayer request was for team unity. With that said...let me walk you through our day together.

7am - Call from Wendy, while I am still laying in bed..."The container is in Las Mangas and will be here in like 30 minutes! So much for sleeping in today and having a nice breakfast, huh? Go wake up Evie and Brandon and get them over here! I'll call the interns."

7:20am - Everyone is on the porch ready for action...stacking chairs, moving furniture, cleaning the courtyard and making the place as ready as possible to receive a 40x8x10ft container's worth of stuff.

8am-ish - Call from Dr. Martin..."The truck is stuck and can't get up the mountain! I've gotta go take a look." Meanwhile...the team is waiting patiently on stand-by...for a half-hour...then an hour...without complaining everyone disperses to try and get some other work done before arrival.

Noon - The container arrives with about 25 volunteers from the community to help us unload it. So our team works alongside community volunteers to unpack and organize all of the equipment.

2pm-4pm - The empty container was unloaded off of the 18-wheeler truck bed.

6:30pm - The container was reloaded with non-essential supplies and equipment. Items were organized and put away, and the courtyard looked better than it did before we started.



All I have to say is...that God definitely answered our prayer for greater team unity, and He went above and beyond that to include the community! I feel like our team pulled together today in a way that hasn't happened before. Just one more miracle to add to the list today!

God is sooo good!!!


Jan 13, 2010

Earthquakes in the Area

A friend sent me an email asking if we were affected by the quake in Guatemala, and my reply was a light hearted, "Was that what I felt the other day?" As I looked up the news on the 4.9 that hit the border of Guatemala and Honduras I saw that the people of Haiti are trying to cope with a 7.1 earthquake that hit their capital city.

Please be in prayer for that country. I don't think there is another place in the world that cries out in desperation quite like Haiti. There is such a lack there. Such an overwhelming need. Please ask God for mercy and that the people would turn to Him in their time of need.

Pray for their government and that help comes to the people through the Church. Can they see that they are not forgotten? Can we show them? Oh, how my heart aches with compassion for them.

Jan 11, 2010

Cold Compassion

We are coming together as a team here at HHGlobal and realigning ourselves with God and His vision for our lives. We have been praying over a list of things each day and will continue to do so for the rest of the month. It is amazing what a difference prayer can make in the unity of a group. I can already feel us being knit together as a team...as a family. It is such a desire of my heart for us to serve the people of our community but I also want us to be able to serve each other...Jesus even said that others would know us by our love for each other. WOW, what a challenge.

Today our prayer request was to have the compassion of Christ. Haha...I think that one deserves more than a day of contemplation and prayer! What a big request. What is compassion? What did it mean in the scripture when it said that Christ had compassion and healed them all? As I seek God for the answers to these questions and countless other unspoken ones in my heart and mind...I can't help but wonder how having compassion will change my life.

Are we really willing to feel for others? Are we willing to let ourselves be touched by their circumstances? Compassion is a word that means you feel it in your guts, like someone reaches inside of your body, grabs a good handful of your insides and squeezes the heck out of them. Are we really willing to open ourselves up to feel anything at all...let alone the trials and troubles of others?

Compassion is mentioned 98 times in the NASB translation of the Bible. 2 main definitions of the word are:
  1. Mercy, kindness or goodwill towards the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to help them.
  2. To be moved as one's bowels, for the bowels were thought to be the seat of love and pity. (This is the grab hold of your insides one)
So to have compassion means to literally feel someone's circumstances in such a way that you are moved with desire to help them. Not helping out of obligation or guilt...but true want to help them.

Last night it got into the upper 50's in Rio Viejo, which is pretty cold for these parts. I was shivering in my bed (under 2 blankets, a sheet and fully dressed in long PJ's). As I was praying my way into sleep asking God to prepare me for the next day, I said a selfish little prayer to keep me warm. Then Jesus asked me about all of those sleeping outside in the cold...He asked if I wanted them to be warm too?

Thank you Lord for reminding me of the least of these. Thank you for keeping me humble before you and for helping me to be centered on others and not myself. Help me to be compassionate like your son, so much so, that I give my life over to the desire to serve them.