Saturday, June 1, 2013

Summer Missions... from Home?

Hello, all!

As many of you know, I will not be going on a missions trip this summer, but will instead be attending Camp BIMI, a missionary "boot camp" in Tennessee. Even though I will not be going on a foreign missions trip, I am trying my hardest to be a missionary right here in Millbrook, Alabama, and wherever I go this summer.

There is a ministry that has been on my heart lately, though. I have been reading BIMI's (Baptist International Missions Inc.) magazine updates and have stumbled upon a ministry that you and I can be a part of -- without ever having to leave the comforts of your sofa! This is a Bible distribution ministry. There was recently an Indonesian Bible project that was so successful that it provided a Bible for EVERY STUDENT IN INDONESIA! Isn't that incredible? And Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world!

Now our focus switches from Indonesia to the small group of islands of Fiji. You can see by the picture below that Fiji is located just to the east of Australia.
The missionaries in charge of this Fiji Bible Project are attempting to distribute 230,000 Bibles in Fiji, allowing every student on these islands to own a Bible. For just $2, you can put a Bible in a student's hands. Will you consider donating to this Fiji Bible Project this summer?

The missionaries have put a recent update on their blog Fiji Bible Project saying that they still lack $10,000 of the $464,000 they need to raise. Also, the Fijian government has placed a tax on these shipments of Bibles amounting to $48,000. Please pray either that the government will drop the tax or that the $48,000 will be raised for this tax. 

So how do you donate? There is a donate button near the top of the missionaries' blog. Also, for those of you living near me, I will be taking donations and applying them to this fund as well. I hope to be able to do a few fundraisers this summer to raise money for this incredible ministry. 

Please pray that God will continue to bless this project, and please consider being a part of it yourself! 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Zach

Yesterday I went on a date with a special guy named Zach. Zach has autism, and that was all I knew about him before I spent the day with him at a go cart track. To be quite honest, I was excited, but very apprehensive about what this day had in store for me; but by the time we parted at the end of the day, my entire perspective of Zach had changed. We had a blast! Together we rode go carts, soaked each other with bumper boats, played like kids in the arcade, stuffed ourselves with sweets at Golden Corral, and ended the day singing Disney songs on the bus ride back to campus.
It was during this bus ride, though, that something went wrong -- not with him, but with me. Earlier that morning, I had texted a friend saying that I was going on a date with an autistic guy. I thought nothing of that text until the reply came -- just as Zach was holding my phone listening to my music. I didn't know I had a text until I saw Zach remove the phone from his ear and look at my screen. His happy countenance changed immediately, and he said, "That hurts." I took the phone from him, curious as to what this message said, and then my heart dropped to my toes. The text said, "So how did you end up on a date with an autistic guy? Does he like you as more than friends?" I looked at Zach, who was shuffling uncomfortably, then back at my phone, at a loss for words.
It was Zach who spoke first. "She just doesn't know me."
A spark of revelation flickered inside me. "That's right, Zach. She doesn't know you at all." I immediately began to text a reply to my friend. "He asked me to go on a dating outing with him just as friends. We had a blast! He is so much fun!!!" I showed the message to Zach, and he nodded his approval. After I sent it he asked me to send another. "Could you tell her that I'm only MILDLY autistic and that God has been gracious to me by making me less autistic than most autistic people?" I smiled and sent his message.
After that fiasco, I looked at him and said, "Zach, I want to thank you for asking me in this dating outing. You are my very good friend, and I can't think of a better, more fun person to go with to a go cart track."
He smiled. "You're my really good friend too."
That day will forever be etched in my memory. That was the day that Zach "the autistic guy" became Zach "the guy who knows EVERYTHING about comic books and video games", "the guy who loves America and isn't afraid to share his political views with any and all", "the guy who loves to have fun", "the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. of go cart racing", "the guy who can read a stack of novels in 30 minutes and be able to tell you all about them", "the guy who 'eats his money's worth' at Golden Corral", "the guy who knows every Disney song by heart (and has a mean Gaston impression)", "the guy that makes me laugh." Zach went from being "the autistic guy" to being my friend.
My judgment was clouded prior to yesterday, but Zach taught me that autism doesn't define a person. The more I pondered this concept, the more I realized that we as Christians do this so often -- not to people with autism, but to people with sin. We look at what people wear/say/do, and we immediately label them. We steer clear of them because we aren't like them. But if you will recall, you used to be like them; but praise God that He didn't judge you like you are judging others. He looked past your faults and died for you, and He wants you, in all your disease-ridden self, to be with Him always. Now look at those we judge. He wants to be with them always too. Can't we suck up our pride and love them instead of labeling them?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Call to Cameroon?

I honestly thought that God's provision before this trip to Cameroon was a sure sign that He would distinctly show me where He would have me go as a full-time missionary. I was wrong. There was no "calling" to Cameroon. There was no kick in the pants. No "spiritual revelation." But God did teach me something much more important. Steve Anderson, a missionary who gave the devotions on the trip said this: "All too often, peoples' mindset is, 'Lord, I'll stay, but I am willing to go wherever you want me,' when it should be, 'Lord, I'll go, but I am willing to stay if you want me to." That was me. "I am willing to go." But being willing to go and going are two different things. What is the Great Commission? Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. Was God asking us to do something? No. It was a definite command. There was no calling. No kick in the pants. No spiritual revelation. He just wants me to go.

Maybe I'll be in Ghana working with the people of the Adutwi village. Maybe I'll be in Cameroon, working with Rosemary to start a school for the Muslim Fulani people. Maybe I'll be in Uganda, rescuing women from prostitution. I don't know where I am going. I just know I am going. I will simply walk through the open doors God puts in front of me, and it will be up to Him to shut them.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cameroon 7/13/12

What do waterfalls, balloons, babies, marriage proposals, pigs, big balls, mud, rain, potholes, and bucket showers have in common? They are all found right here in Cameroon!

Man, today has been crazy but so much fun and rather bittersweet. The kids get so excited when our rickety white bus bounces down the road to HBS. I love how close I have been able to get to my class of young ones. One of my kids came up to me yesterday morning and hugged me and said, "Good morning, Madame!" -- reminded me of Ghana! And oh my, if you could only see these kids' faces when they open their prize bags at the end of the day and they see a beanie baby, you would probably lose it right there. One kid came up to me crying after dismissal. When I asked him what was the matter, he choked out, "Auntie, a man stole my toy." Oh, if I had seen the guy that did it, I would have given him a piece of my mind! We gave the kid another beanie baby and helped him hide it in his shirt. In what world would a full-grown man steal a toy from a child??? In this one. It's a dog-eat-dog world over here. If you see something of any value, you take it. It is so sad.

video

The teen rally in Bambili last night was crazy! Some of us had probably 100 kids up the hill from the rally giving them the gospel, playing games, and getting nearly trampled to death while making balloon animals! At one point it was so suffocating that Caleb took off running and yelling. It was so hilarious to see nearly all 100 start chasing him through the field. When it was time to start heading down the hill back to the youth rally, we quickly realized that we could not go back to the church with 100 kids tailing us, so we started walking the opposite direction toward the house. Eventually the kids dispersed. Caleb and I decided to walk all the way back to the teen tally (I had left my bag in the church, and Caleb was watching one of the national's child). So there Caleb and I are, walking down the muddy streets of Bambili, carrying a little black kid. At one point we passed a group of 4 women, whose mouths were wide open in amazement. When we got close to them, we heard their conversation -- "How can that happen? How can that happen?" -- as they pointed to the child in Caleb's arms. We realized quickly that they thought Caleb and I (two white people) had somehow produced a black baby. We laughed and explained to them that we were just watching the child for a friend. One of the women, seemingly full of hope at this news, asked me if I would marry her son (not an uncommon question here if you are white). Caleb was quick with his reply, "Sorry, we are married." I think Caleb has, at one point or another, claimed to be married to every one of us girls.


Last night our good friend Hillary gave his testimony and thanked us for our willingness to come here. He then presented each of us with a necklace. These nationals have stolen our hearts.
Hilary and the guys really bonded.
It is hard to believe our work here in Cameroon is drawing to a close. We had 320 kids today at HBS. I was so thrilled to be able to lead 5 of my kiddos to Christ today. One of them was not even a child at HBS. She was just standing nearby when I was sharing the gospel. I could tell she was extremely interested in the good news of salvation, and was so excited when she approached me and asked if she could ask God to save her.

Emily and Caleb share the gospel with some kids at HBS.

Me and Hope, a girl I led to Christ.
This afternoon was spent chillaxing after a long, taxing week, then we headed out to the parents program in Bamenda. About 25 made a profession tonight.


These past two weeks have been so tiring, but it has been so fulfilling doing the Lord's work here in Africa. Now without further ado, I am going to bed. Tomorrow is gonna be a BLAST! Waterfalls baby!

A Lesson Learned

Yesterday God encouraged me so much through a man named Justice. Justice received Christ a few days ago at the youth rally in Bamenda. He is attending a local university and is not a permanent resident of the village. Justice is an incredibly cordial individual, and our team has simply fallen in love with him. We were so thrilled to have him become our brother in Christ.

Honestly though, I never expected to see Justice again while I was here, but he proved e wrong. Justice showed up at HBS yesterday, ready and willing to serve. He jumped in to help wherever he was needed, and in so doing was a huge blessing to so many. I was thrilled to see so great a change in someone in such a short amount of time. That is the work of the Spirit and He alone.

This instance touched my heart in more ways than one. It also left me feeling guilty of my own shortcomings, and it left me realizing what service really means in America. Service in America is sometimes elevated to a god in and of itself -- a goal that many Christians supposedly set for themselves but never attain. Service! Service! A living sacrifice! We hear it preached from the pulpit every week, yet we never act on this important message. I realize now that if we are truly surrendered to Christ, a willingness to serve follows NATURALLY! In light of what Christ did for us, sacrificing of ourselves is our REASONABLE service.

There is a man here named Cleopas who has probably spent a week's worth of wages to come help with HBS and the teen rallies. I am floored by the willingness of these people, and am ashamed of myself for my lack thereof.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cameroon 7/11/12

Today's HBS was slightly less hectic than yesterday's. We got a few things nailed down and ended up telling a good number of kids to take their baby siblings home and come back. However I still ended up holding a toddler for the majority of the time.

Quince, my little handful.
The youth rally was totally amazing! God held off the rain for game time again. At one point it was literally raining all around us, but above us were clear skies. While pastor Quilty was preaching, some of us were praying fervently in the back room for souls to be saved. When the invitation was given, many people came forward to be saved. I got to lead 2 small boys, Peter and Junior, to the Lord.

God has proven Himself so faithful on this trip. I have more to share from today, but I will save it for tomorrow because I am literally falling asleep as I type. : )