Start with Somewhere

Our church began going through the book Multiply in September, and for the past 8 weeks we have explored discipleship, the church, and our approach to God’s word. We have been going through the book in small groups, large community groups, and our pastor has been preaching on it from the pulpit each week. The discussions that have resulted have been fruitful, challenging, and encouraging as our church shifts to become a community of disciples who make disciples.

I wrote this story last week after a great discussion during my small group for our church-wide blog, but it turns out someone else had the same idea and beat me to the punch! As I read back over this though, I thought it could be encouraging for anyone who is desiring to learn more about God’s heart for the world and how we are called to get involved, so I decided to post it on here. 🙂 Enjoy!

We began our discussion about the Global Church last night talking about ways we have been involved in the past, and where we are at now. All of the ladies in my group understand that as followers of Jesus, no one is off the hook from participating in, praying for, supporting, and loving the Church around the world. We want to be involved, to be obedient, and to know what is happening with our fellow brothers & sisters. But, as we continued talking, a theme started to emerge.

“The world is massive – how can we possibly know everything that is going on in the Global Church?”

“My day is full as it is with work and kids and trying to even understand what is happening here in America – how can I add this on without becoming overwhelmed?”

“Those stories from Pastor Lon’s sermon on Sunday were so encouraging, but I have no idea where to find that information myself!”

All of this is true – the world is big, our days are full, and it can be difficult to find stories of what God is doing, especially in closed countries. And although it is daunting to consider trying to keep up with everywhere, we can start with somewhere.

Here are some of the ways our group came up with to get involved with the Global Church:

  1. Pick one country to pray for on a consistent basis. Maybe it is a country you have been to, or you know a missionary serving there, or it is an MBC partnership country, or you heard about it on the news, or you spin a globe and choose the country where your finger lands. However you decide, commit to praying for, learning about, and supporting one country in the world.
  2. Find your passion. There are a lot of causes around the world right now – nutrition/health, the fight against trafficking, clean water projects, advancing education, persecution, orphan care, adoption, and many more. What are you passionate about? Find out how the gospel intersects with these causes, and get involved by praying, giving, sharing, volunteering, and serving.
  3. Start Reading. Get a copy of Operation World and pick a different country every week or month to focus on. Follow Operation world on Twitter, or like their page on Facebook to read about what God is doing in many closed countries. Other great web resources are: International Justice Mission, Voice of the Martyrs, WORLD Magazine, CIA World Factbook , even Embassy/Consulate Websites.
  4. Get to know your neighbors. Chances are, living in the DC metro area (or wherever He has you right now), many of your neighbors moved here from overseas. Ask them about life in their country, if religious freedom is allowed, what the majority of people believe, what they personally believe, etc. One great tool is the Jesus Film Media app from Cru, which you can download to your smart phone or tablet. It has the JESUS Film and several other videos translated into over 1200 languages, which makes for an easy and personal way to tell them about Christ in their heart language.
  5. Partner with a Missionary. Whether you give of your finances, or commit to pray for them, or both, your partnership with them allows you to reach a part of the world with the gospel you could never impact otherwise! You will get to hear stories of God changing lives, and know that you were part of the story. Be encouraged as you read their updates, learn about their ministry, and join them in taking the gospel to the nations.
  6. Go on a Mission Trip. Find out how your church is involved in Missions, and step out in faith to join one of their trips, either locally or abroad. This is one of the most effective ways to gain a heart for the world. You will be wrecked in the best way possible as you see these places with your own eyes, serve alongside your brothers and sisters in Christ, encourage the local missionaries, share the gospel, get out of your comfort zone, and come home with a new perspective.

In his chapter on the Global Church, Francis Chan in the book Multiply says “We are here on this earth for His glory. God has blessed you so that you will use whatever He has given you for His glory, not yours.” Our motivation for loving the Global Church is to see God’s name made known around the world, to celebrate where He is at work (which is everywhere), and to bring Him glory.

What has He given you that can be used to bless and serve the Global Church?

 

Thankful Thursday: January 12th

Thankful today for…

1. Berlin, and all that God is doing in that city. Thankful that I get to be a very small part of it, especially in going back this summer for 6 weeks. Check out our summer project page here!

2. God being Jehovah-Jireh, my provider. A few weeks ago one of my ministry partners raised their monthly support by $25. Then yesterday I went in to re-sign my lease to stay in my apartment for another year, and they are raising my rent….by $25/month. And yet I doubt His provision? He knows what I need even before I do. Humbled.

3.  Time to see ministry partners! I am headed back to the south for the next 3-ish weeks, and I am so looking forward to sharing updates on the ministry and seeing so many people on my team. I am also praying for 10-20 new ministry partners to join my team!

4.  My passport that allows me to see so much of this grand globe. Off to apply for a new one today as mine expires soon!

5. Sushi. Soooo good. I’m really glad that sushi made its way across the pacific.

Guess What??

From June 9th-July 15th, 2011, I will be in……

BERLIN, Germany!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m going back, it’s true! For 5 weeks this summer I will be helping give leadership to the Berlin 2011 Summer Project with an awesome group of staff and students. I’m not entirely sure what all I am getting myself into, but I do know that I am SO EXCITED for this chance to return to this place that I love, to see the people so dear to my heart, to take students along and introduce them to this part of the world, to see where the ministry is at now in its 5th(!!!) year, to be part of the ministry for a time, and to just be overseas again.

I am looking forward to….Cafe’ Bilderbuch, Baraka, Habibi, The Brandenburg Gate, walking around the Freie Universitaet, S-bahn Cafe’, Neukoelln, Steglitz, Prenzlberg, Potsdamer Platz, movies at the Sony Center, Vapiano, H&M, Summer in Berlin, Alexanderplatz, Graefestrasse, riding the U-bahn, speaking German, even staying at the Amstel house. 🙂

I am excited to see….Andra, Richard, Ulrike S, Ulrike N, Julia, K-holla, Anne and Monte Keltner, Barbara K, Ulli T, Alicja, Enrico, IBCB friends, and sooo many others who are near and dear to my heart.

It has been over 2 years since I moved back from Germany, and I realize that so many things will be different upon my return. I am hoping, though, that some things will still be the same, and it will still be the city that I remember and love.

One hundred and one

Post 101 finds me in the midst of a startling revelation. I realized on Sunday that I have not been out of the country since May 2010, making this the longest I have been in America since my sophomore year of high school. Yes friends, it has been 10 years since I have spent 15 consecutive months in the US.

No wonder the traveling itch has been bugging me the past few weeks. And sad news bears that there are no plans anytime soon to travel across any oceans or borders. Every time I hear someone talking about their upcoming or recent travels anywhere in the world, I feel a longing to hide in their suitcase and go along. There are so many places I miss that really I could go anywhere pretty much and be at “home”. So, instead of traveling forward, I’m going to take a moment to travel back to those places dear to my heart. Bear with me, as I remember…..

Ukraine. I miss Vinnitsa, Litin, the Banana Machina, Pastor Pavel, cute Ukrainian children, VBS camps, listening to beautiful voices singing melodic praise to the Lord in the Vinnitsa Baptist church, ice cream, cows wandering in the streets, the complete ignoring of all traffic rules by drivers in the cities, squatty potties, little Babushkas with no teeth but strong hearts and real love for people, our translators, our host families, cabbage rolls and borscht, 6 year old artists, more kids coming to camp each day as the week progressed, cold showers, outdoor markets, parks that still have communist-era statues and memorials up, meeting at the church each morning to go to our different villages for camp, stories of God showing up in ways we couldn’t imagine, riding on scooters, stuffing 15 people into a 6 seat van, Ukrainian hospitality, Viktor and Jana and their family….I could go on and on.

One VBS camp...summer of 2006!!
Me and Sveta, one of the little girls who became my buddy for that week.
Another VBS camp, also summer 2006
The squatty potty at camp in Osalinka. Oh the memories of the squatties. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Africa. I miss climbing up the mountain in the village with Niger and Mahtombi, getting to know Elvis, Vovo, Xolosile and his family, the vast sky that never ends, dancing, singing, 5-15 year olds fascinated by my hair, 3 hour church services that include a conga line and 2 or 3 sermons, the accents of the Xhosa people, learning how to click my tongue properly, living with Ronnie and Janet Vehorn, walking and praying together in the early morning frost, playing soccer in the heat of the afternoon, learning to drive a stick shift on the opposite side of the road, hot fetcakes with peanut butter and honey, chickens laying eggs in the house, waking up freezing and going outside to warm up, sleeping 3 to a bed, expecting 150 children to show up for VBS and arriving to find the room packed with over 700, going to “the uttermost”, holding a lion cub, spiritual warfare, seeing people living in houses made of dirt yet with more joy than the richest people in America, going to Queenstown for fun, Christmas in July, tent revivals, swimming in the Indian ocean, sunrises and sunsets that leave you breathless, pineapple fanta….oh, there is so much it almost hurts.

Showing off our beautiful homemade skirts!
These little boys completely captured my heart. 🙂
Katie, Maria me and Maggie after swimming in the Indian Ocean! So exhilarating!!
The boys who played soccer every single day we were with them! So cute!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Germany. I miss Berlin and what a unique and international city it is, döner stands, the rich history of the nation and the city, Freie Universität, Richard, Andra, Ulrike x 2, Susanne, Sophie, Veronika and Jenny, Silvester Freizeit, Campus Meets Berlin, Haus Nazareth, Monte and Anne Keltner, the Ploners, International Baptist Church Berlin, currywurst, walking along the canal, parks everywhere, Milchkaffee, Kaffee und Kuchen, riding the Bahn, the Brandenburger Tor, Ampelmann, the S-bahn Cafe’, U7, Prenzlauerberg and Steglitz, Balzac coffee shop, Unter den Linden, the TV tower, the Berlin Wall, football (soccer) games, World cup fun, the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz, messing up when speaking German, getting it “right” the first time in German when trying to communicate, the seemingly never-ending process of getting a visa, moving to Neukölln for the second year on STINT, riding my bike around the city, the badeschiff (huge pool set in the river), retreats and conferences on the east sea and at the Cru castle, driving on the autobahn, traveling to other places in Europe, family visiting, Fassbender und Rausch, The Gedächsniskirche, the zoo, summer projects, spring break trips, Cafe’ am neuer See, rowboating around the lake with my little buddy David Sfura, Potsdam, Charlottenburg Schloß, learning to share the gospel in German, my team, Habibi, Baraka, Hermannplatz, free museums on Thursday nights, Berliner Dom, Half chicken and fries, Ritter Sport chocolate, Penny Markt, movies on the Beamer, Anne Keltners cooking, re-decorating my and Sarah’s room at Haus Nazareth, my favorite park in Steglitz, movies at Potsdamer Platz, shopping and gelato with Ulrike S, Cafe’ Bilderbuch with Ulrike N, gelato, people watching (especially tourist watching), races, Christmas, and life! Oh Deutschland, ich vermisse dich sehr.

Having fun with Tomi and Laura Beth trying on traditional Dirndl dresses!
New Year's Eve my first year!
Our first official weekly meeting, called FireAbend my second year!
Sarah, me, Andy and Dave moving into Haus Nazareth for our first year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are only a few memories, and a glimpse of hundreds of pictures, each reminding me of these places and people I love. The Lord has called me to Indiana for this time, that much I know. But oh Lord, please don’t let it be forever, for my heart belongs to the world.