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.

Jan 9, 2010

Back in the Office

I found things a little different when I returned to the office in Honduras. While I was away we received a container of office supplies, equipment and medical exam room furniture. The container in itself was a major feat...the items came from my mom's office building, Kevin Lalonde lead a team of people to collect and pack the goodies (2 full storage units worth) and HPC paid for storage and shipping of the items.

So while I was in the states the fruits of our labor landed in Honduras and the Williams family along with our HHG interns made multiple trips to bring the equipment up the mountain and unload it into the clinic. They have all been working non-stop trying to get it situated into the the clinic. When I was away Wendy called me on skype telling me that they had set up my office! She was so excited to tell me that I would return to a desk, filing cabinet, a garbage can all to myself and a REAL office chair!!! haha...it may not cound like much but I have been working with a plastic folding table and metal folding chair so I couldn't be more happy.

I wanted to share my new office space with you...so take a look!

My new desk! (notice the org charts on the board behind the desk...we are coming up with our "Dream Team")

I also came back to a Christmas present...a doll they found in the grocery store. Her name is actually "Healthy Heather" she has food strapped all over her and when you press the items she tells the listener why the different food groups are important. And the BEST part...she is bilingual! haha...they said she looked just like me, so they had to get her for me!

It is definitely great to be back and I can't wait to get my office space set up and bring "Healthy Heather" to the schools next year to teach the students about healthy eating! haha

God is so good!

Oh...here is the prayer calendar that highlights some of our needs at HHGlobal and the things that we will be seeking God for as we bring in 2010! Thanks for standing with us! Just click on the image for a closer look!

Jan 4, 2010

Breathe Deep

I feel like I can finally breathe deep again. It seemed as though there was so much tension before I left...leaving things undone and people unseen always takes a toll on me. I know that once I get on the road things will be better...once I start the physical journey I will be able to breathe deep.

Once you are on a plane things take on a totally different perspective. The things you forgot to pack, well...you just forgot to pack them. The things you didn't have time to ship will be there when you return, and although you will have to live without them for a little while it won't be forever. All of the little gadgets and trinkets that seem to accumulate in your space, suddenly don't seem important as you make your way to where you belong.

I can't explain the feeling I have. I am sitting outside now...listening to the sound of the rain on the tin roof drown out the music coming from my computer speakers. My dry skin is soaking up the humidity and my lungs are breathing in the heavy, moisture laden air. I am being refreshed along with the dry ground. Where there have been deserts, there will now be rivers.

Of course, I am sad to leave Louisiana, but it was time to return to my home away from home. As I begin to prepare for the next season of intern schedules and group itineraries I will need you more than ever. We will begin a time of prayer and fasting as a group. 21 days of praying, setting aside time for the Lord and preparing for the new year. If you would like to join us, please feel free. I will post a prayer calendar that has specific requests we will be praying over from Jan 10-31, so if you want to stand with us in prayer you are more than welcome!

I am settling into my new apartment, so I hope to have pics or even a video (internet willing) up here soon, so you can see my new crib!

I am so glad to be back! And I am even happier that you are back with me!!!