Often life is hard, but God is always good

Posts tagged ‘Mission trip’

Beautiful Dreamers

Photo Credit: Nicole Pierce

Photo Credit: Nicole Pierce

 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” Isaiah 54:2 (NIV)

“Ensancha el espacio de tu carpa, y despliega las cortinas de tu morada. ¡No te limites! Alarga tus cuerdas y refuerza tus estacas” Isaías 54:2 (NVI)

We are all dreamers – if we allow God to make us so.

Isaiah prophesies, “do not hold back”, and I think he is urging us to pursue our God-given visions.

The Holy Spirit stirs this ability in us to envision God’s purposes.  Another Old Testament prophet, Joel, proclaimed: “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28 (NIV)

Dreams and visions – Sometime they start insignificantly – just an idea that pops into the mind, or something one sees that stirs the heart.

Certainly, literal dreams come to us in the night, but for me, a dream was born when I saw a tiny ad in a Christian magazine for teens, way way back in 1978. “Get Dirty For the Lord!” it read – “Come Join Teen Missions International and Work Hard for God This Summer.” A flood of adrenaline coursed through my veins and so the adventure began – going to a foreign country with an organization I had never heard of before.

I spent the summer of my fifteenth year in Manaus, Brasil, a five-day river boat trip up the Amazon River. I learned to mix concrete, lay bricks, sleep in a cloth hammock, read my Bible daily, and get along with thirty strangers in primitive conditions. That marked the beginning of numerous missionary trips, life-long Spanish language study, appreciation of foreign cultures, and cross-cultural friendships.

I didn’t know all that lay ahead when I first saw that one-color, 1/8th of a page magazine ad.

We can’t see around corners, and I believe that particular aspect of “dreaming dreams and seeing visions” is meant to keep us humble and dependent on the Lord’s omniscience and the Holy Spirit’s filling.

So, my friends, whether you are young or old, keep on dreaming!

¡No te limites! (“don’t limit yourself!”)

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Do I Enjoy My Gifts?

Photo Credit: Hannah M. Covert

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! 
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house;
 you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; 
in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:7-9 NIV

So I speak a second language, with some gaps and imperfections, but enough to truly make friends. That is why I learned Spanish. The youth group at my church needed another adult to go to Mexico on the mission trip – a mother, a person who spoke some Spanish. So I went this month and now I am back and I am happy beyond measuring, overflowing with the goodness of God to open up another opportunity to go and make friends in a Spanish-speaking country.

Dylan, another leader on the trip who knows German from his missionary years in Austria, gave me the compliment of saying I expressed “Genießen” (Ge•nee•sen) a German word that means that I really really enjoyed every piece and every moment of the trip, which I did – every sweaty, tiring, stretching minute, and each fascinating person, interesting place, and real touch of the Holy Spirit.

What delights we are given every day. So small sometimes. So precious nonetheless.

My friend Carol recently wrote about her enjoyment of her surroundings: “Watching the rain roll in before supper time while sitting out in the screened-in sun room, the sound of the wind in the leaves, and soft little thunder that quickly passed over reminded me to just witness how everything shifts and changes moment by moment. Noticing these small parts of life instead of rushing around brings more ease and I feel like just being alive and awake is a treasure; nothing fancy -just paying attention with soft eyes of loving my life, as it is, in all its wonderful imperfections.”

God is called the Father of Lights in the epistle to James: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV

Savor the gifts.

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