Dec 24, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Youngers

From our family to yours, 
We wish you a Very Merry Christmas! 
And pray these blessings over you:
May your hearth be filled to overflowing with the warmth and comfort that Christ gives.
May you love unconditionally, forgive radically and trust in the One who gave it all.
May laughter fill the halls of your hearts and joy hang down from the rafters.
We pray that the food memories of this holiday season would linger long into the coming year.

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año!

Oct 22, 2012

The Past Four Years

Many of you know Mark and I recently returned home to Honduras after a trip to visit family and friends in the States (the whole month of Oct). We had an awesome time running the roads, as my mom would call it, and sharing all about what God is doing in Honduras. We were blessed above and beyond anything we could have ever dreamed of in preparation for our expanding family (Baby Younger is set to arrive November 18th)!

While in the States, I had a chance to grab lunch with an old friend. Many of you probably know her, or know of her - Robin Rhodes. She was my mentor during my time as an Elevate Intern, with Healing Place Church. We met once a month for lunch and talked about life. Those were some of the best lunches I ever had, and not just because I was a starving intern!

So, Robin and I met up at one of our old favorites...Las Palmas, and had a great time catching up. About half way through lunch she looked at me and said, "Do you realize it has been 4 years since you moved to the mission field, fell in love, got married, and are now starting a family?" Honestly...I had not realized that all of those HUGE life changing things had occurred in such a short period of time.


Chances are that if you are following hard after God, a lot has happened in the past four years of your life too. Life seems to be a ridiculous adventure when you are sold out to His plans. Not all of it is fun, mind you...some of it can be quite mundane...but it is an adventure nonetheless.

When I started Elevate School of Ministry in 2007, I never would have guessed that four years later I would be married on the mission field expecting my first child. Only God knows what the next four years will hold for the Younger Family, but if the last four are any indication...we are in for one wild ride!

I hope you guys continue to ride with us!

Aug 28, 2012

Thoughts on Suffering

I was thinking of a friend this morning who is suffering. I know we all have people around us that are going through difficult times. People who's boat is being rocked by the waves of life and have little hope of the storm ever calming. Circumstances can seem so overwhelming at times that it feels like the rudder of life has been broken, and that chances are slim of ever finding true North again.

When faced with the suffering of others there are two roads we can take.

Most of the time, because we don't like being uncomfortable and vulnerable we take the well traveled grief-super-highway and offer some type of recipe/cure. A step by step guide that makes us feel like we consoled the person, and since it contains facts and scripture it feels like a good solid thing to say. You know, something like quoting Romans 8:23, "all things work for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose," and fleeing the scene.

But what if we take the path less traveled? What if we allow ourselves to walk down the darker road - the one over grown with brush and briars - and grieve with them? What if we could show the tender parts, the soft squishy pink vulnerable parts, the true weakness  of our humanity and just grieve with them?

I wonder what our Christian communities would look like if we grieved together, baring our weaknesses so that God's strength could shine through them. He is the one who comforts. He is the one who heals. He is the one who lights up the situation. Not us. All we can do as humans, even followers of Christ, is mess things up when we get our little glory-stealing hands on them. When we try to be personal saviors to those in need what we are really saying is, "I have the answer," or worse "I am the answer."

I don't pretend to have all of the answers, or even some of the right ones. I don't understand the complete theology of suffering. But I have seen the bonds of Christian Brotherhood strengthened when suffering and grief are met with true Christ-like compassion.

We definitely have a lot of food for thought in the following passage from Streams in the Desert:

If you aspire to be a person of consolation, if you want to share the priestly gift of sympathy, if you desire to go beyond giving commonplace comfort to a heart that is tempted, and if you long to go through the daily exchanges of life with the kind of tact that never inflicts pain then you must be prepared to pay the price of a costly education - for like Christ you must suffer. 
Fredrick William Robertson

Jul 18, 2012

6 Month Mini-Recap

I guess it is officially time to announce to the blog realm that I am pregnant...especially since I have been that way for 5 months now. I can't believe that time is passing by so quickly. This year has brought with it so many changes to my personal life, it has been so fulfilling in my marriage to Mark, and in out time of service in Honduras. It is hard to know where to start, or which stories to share since I have been away from the blog for so long. It seems that the world of social media has pulled away from the newsletter style of the blog and moved more toward instant updates via Facebook, Twitter and my personal favorite - Instagram (these go to my Facebook page also). So if you are wondering what I have been up to since the last blog click on any of the links above to get more up to date updates, lol.

At the beginning of this year, Mark and I set off on our journey toward parenthood. Little did we know that Younger + Stewart = very fertile soil. We conceived in February and were able to make the announcement to family and friends 12 weeks later. Try keeping that a secret for 3 months - who comes up with these rules anyway! Now, there are more things to think about. Not only do you have to think about fitting a newborn into your life, but literally how to fit the child and its stuff into a 1 room apartment. Good thing we have until November to figure all of that out!

I am so glad God designed parenthood to be a process - not just an instant event. He is a good planner. ;-)

So, now I do life and ministry with another person on board. And now that he - yep, it's a boy! - is moving around all of the time, I definitely know there is someone in there. If you look close enough you can even see him kicking and punching me - don't worry...I will spank him real good once he gets out.

We have had an amazing summer serving with Dr. Martin and Wendy. This year, we actually had 4 interns during the summer (which I am convinced God sent since I can't do what I used to do), and 1 of them, Tabitha Heirs (RN), will stay on until November and another one, Zach Gray (pre-med), will stay until May 2013. This is the first year we started off the season with Intern Handbooks, Volunteer Manuals, a devotional book written by Jack Dyer, and even a Missions Training workbook!!! I am so grateful to have materials to pass on to our volunteers now, thanks to Healing Place Church and Bay Community Church for sharing their resources with HHGlobal, so we could make a jungle version of these oh-so-important documents. We sill have a little way to go for things to be perfectly laid out, and once we get there I am sure we will learn some more things and want to change it up a bit. Don't want to get stagnant, ya know? So those manuals, were a giant step towards fulling Martin and Wendy's vision to create model that can be replicated in other Third World countries. Hooray!!!

We are also getting a little more tech-y with fiber-optic internet, internal document sharing networks, and back-up servers. Yeah, I just said that stuff like I know what it means! I am so grateful for my Do-Anything-He-Puts-His-Mind-To-Husband and others like Phillip Leblanc, James Gardner, Josh Foster, Dr. Cheri Leblanc, Tony Austin and all those that have helped us piece together the little bits of technology at the hospital. We really feel like we are taking steps to make the Jungle Hospital a cutting edge medical center.

On top of all of that, Dr. John and Mrs. Ana Tucher have joined the battle and are volunteering a year of their lives to help see patients at the Jungle Hospital so we don't have to close the doors when we are away doing community outreaches. And since Dr. John is an OBGYN, he will be instrumental in developing the Labor and Delivery ward of the hospital.

Mark has grown so much this year. He has become what Dr. Martin calls his "favorite APP" aka All Purpose Person. I know it makes Mark feel good that Dr. Martin trusts him to take care of things for him, and to make sure the hospital is safe and runs well in his absence. I really love and respect my husband, and I am so grateful that God saw fit for us to be together. AND I can't wait to see him become a dad...that is going to be so cool! Now he will have a fishing buddy for life!

Well, I had better cut this thing off! There is no way I can catch you up on everything that has happened in the 6 months we have been apart. I love you guys, and pray that you are hanging close to God!

Remember to check out those other social media links to have more frequent updates, if you so desire. 

Jan 4, 2012

Only a Fool...

I was reading this morning in a book recommended by a friend, The Power of a Praying Wife. It is a really good book, kind of like a devotional that teaches a woman how to go to God in prayer with requests about her relationship instead of trying to "fix" things herself. It teaches quiet submission, but not doormat cowardliness - if that makes any sense.

Anyway, reading the book every morning has been something I look forward to. The author's quick wit and down to earth answers are very relational, and you immediately feel a kindredness with her. BUT, there is a disclaimer in the beginning of the basically says that while reading through its pages, you will most likely be convicted - yep that's, the wife. And, it's true.

It's like sitting in a really good sermon, and saying, "I really hope so-and-so is here tonight to hear this." And then you get smoked by the Holy Spirit who says something to the tune of, "I hope you are taking notes for yourself. If not we are going to have to have another intervention, and it won't be the kind where you get to sit and listen to someone talk."

Yeah, that is what happened this morning, except without the dialogue. I am reading chapter 11, so I am kind of used to asking for forgiveness before I even get to the point of praying for my husband. The section that caught me was this one:

We have to remember that all men think they are doing the right thing. "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes..." (Proverbs 21:2). But God is the only one who can give true discernment. 
It goes on to say...
The bible describes a fool as someone who only "trusts in his own heart" (Proverbs 29:26). He despises wisdom (Proverbs 23:9). He always wants to talk and never wants to listen (Proverbs 18:2). In other words, you can't tell him anything. 
OK, so it's not like I run around yelling I hate wisdom. I don't verbally say that I trust in my own heart or that I am always right. But, if I take an honest look at my actions, at my body language, my motives in conversation...they are usually designed so that I come out on top - so that I am right and you are wrong. And if we expand that to all of humanity, like the bible does in Proverbs 21:2, you can pretty much extrapolate that everyone naturally thinks that they are right, and everyone else is wrong. (Only a wise person looks outside of himself for guidance - he asks God for discernment.)

Hmmmm...I bet the devil loves that one. The poor humans can't control their tongues AND they always think they are right. This should be easy. Let's go pick a fight. You know what? I will probably just happen on its own, and we can sit back and watch. 

The good news is, that with the help of the Holy Spirit we can recognize our foolishness. We can ask for forgiveness from God. And with the help of Jesus we can repent. The whole Trinity is ready to take action.

The book goes on to say:
[God] can give us wisdom when we ask for it. Wisdom brings success (Ecclesiastes 10:10), and it enables us to learn from experience (Proverbs 15:31)...The bible says, "The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10). 
So, we can start by praying that we will have the fear of the Lord, and that we will keep godly council. We can pray that the Holy Spirit will show us when we are trusting in our own hearts, and when we are leaning on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

The next time I am in a conversation,  I am going to hear the other person. Not just see my vision, not just force my opinion, or push for my way. Just listen, ask for discernment, pray for wisdom, and submit, knowing that in His sovereignty all things will work to the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

I hope you have an incredible day, and walk in wisdom!