Freedom

Many of you have heard me talk over the years about our work on the Thailand/Burma border, about the need for Jesus there and the many people who have been rescued. Life Impact International is a ministry that we have partnered with. Empower International has helped this ministry from their first days and we believe so strongly in what God has called them to do. Please watch this video about what is happening here in Thailand and please pray for Life Impact, Empower International and the many other ministries working to free children from slavery and horrific lives.

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Provision

Upon hearing that I’m a missionary, people are always curious about my finances. They ask, as sensitively as they can, how I can afford to be on the mission field. When I mention raising support, people tend to cringe and almost always ask if I hate it. 

As shocking as it seems, I love raising support! I encourage every missionary to raise support instead of relying on themselves to provide finances. There are two reasons why I believe so strongly in the idea of raising support from individuals and churches.

First, I love to see how God provides. I believe that God has called me into mission work. I believe that it is His will that I am in Thailand working with Empower International. I believe that God doesn’t want me to be poor, but instead wants me prosper and not be lacking in any area of my life. And I believe that God always, ALWAYS provides when we are in His will! God is not lacking finances or anything else, so of course He will provide all that I need. The fun part, is seeing where His provision comes from. 

I have been doing full time mission work for over ten years and there hasn’t been a single day during that time where I haven’t had food, water or anything else that I needed. God always provides. Occasionally an unexpected financial need will arise that I know I cannot afford under normal circumstances. But, without fail, the money always arrives, often before I even have a chance to start wondering where it will come from. 

Last year my computer died and I admit, I stressed a little bit. My computer is my link to my family and friends in other parts of the world. It’s where I store and edit all the photos I take. I use it to write ministry newsletters and plan events. I use it to process all the accounting for the ministry. It’s a part of my daily life so I sat down and prayed. God knows how important my computer is to my life and ministry, so He provided. Within a week, a friend had donated enough money for me to buy a new computer!

Some people think that God doesn’t care about the small things in life but I believe He does. God wants me to be happy and He provided my dogs because they bring me joy on a daily basis. This month my dog, Gracie, got sick. After taking her to the vet I found out that she needed emergency surgery to save her life and it was going to cost a few hundred dollars. Normally I wouldn’t have that much money that wasn’t already budgeted for something else, but this month I did. This month my support came in and there was a few hundred extra dollars. I wasn’t sure what it was for but I put it in savings, knowing that God knew what it was for. And I was able to provide medical care to save Gracie’s life, plus extra to bless the people who helped save her. God cares about my dogs and wants me to continue to have the joy in my life that they provide.

Seeing God’s provision in my life is exciting and fun! 

Second, I love the relationships that are built through support raising. Some times being on the other side of the world is hard. It gets lonely and I fear that the longer I am gone, the more I am forgotten. The phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” definitely rings true, it’s part of human nature. But there is a bond that is formed when someone believes in me and loves me enough to give me their hard earned money. There is SO much joy and thankfulness in my heart when people give towards my life and ministry. There are no words to describe the love I feel towards my supporters, I just want to bring them all to Thailand so that I can hug them on a daily basis!

A few days ago a new supporter emailed me about monthly giving. He said that he didn’t want to set up automatic donations because he wanted a reminder to say extra prayers for me on the 15th of every month. This made me happy. Not because of the monthly donations but because I know that his family will not forget me. Our friendship will continue and I can count on his family when I need extra prayers.

My supporters are the first people to request time with me on my trips to America. And I love it! Relationships are so important and these are holy, God-filled friendships that will continue no matter how long I am gone. 

Those are the two main reasons that I love raising financial support. God always provides!!!!

Called to Love

I believe that God called me to ministry around the age of 5. In elementary school I knew that when I grew up I’d be in ministry. In my late teens and early twenties I ran from that calling and tried to live outside it. I believed that there was nothing special inside me, that there was no way I could change the world. But luckily God knew what was inside me much better and He never gives up on His children. He spoke to me on a daily basis, no matter how many times I ignored Him, until one day I listened. I was 22, sitting on a rock in a quarry in Mexico, and I decided it was taking way too much energy to ignore God. So I opened my heart and listened.

That was the day that my life began to change. I use the word “began” because in no way did I instantly become perfect. My life is in a constant state of changing and learning. I am on a continual journey of learning God’s will in my life. I will achieve perfection one day when I join my Father in heaven, but until then, I am flawed. I have hang-ups that trip me up on a regular basis. But I never stop trying to overcome them. And luckily, God never stops providing what I need to overcome and succeed. 

I am called to love people. It sounds simple and some of you may argue that loving people is not really a calling. But I joyfully disagree! Some are called to be pastors and healers, I am called to love. It’s what I’m good at and where my gifts lie. So I love people and I love loving people! I open myself up to the work of the Holy Spirit and He shows me who needs to experience His love, through me.

I believe that every one of us has a calling from God. Do you know what yours is? Are you living your calling? Or are you living outside it? 

I ask because, as someone who has done both, I’m here to tell you that living your calling is so much easier than than living outside of it. Your life can be extraordinarily blessed beyond measure! And even better, you can be a blessing to the world! 

Open your ears and heart to God’s calling on your life and you will never EVER regret it!

 

Extraordinary

Now and then, in the midst of life, I stop simply to thank my God. My normal life is an extraordinary life and I am SO very thankful. Never in my wildest dreams could I have created my life.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing special about me on my own. I’m far from perfect. I’m an introvert with a bad case of OCD. I prefer to be behind the scenes as public speaking makes me feel like passing out. I’m not particularly creative or beautiful or talented. I’m not an inventor of life changing ideas. On my own, I’m ordinary.

But with God in me, I am extraordinary. I am blessed. I am successful, maybe not by the world’s standards, but by the standards that count. I’ve seen miracles. I’ve experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in ways that can’t be explained by earthly methods.

So I stop. I take a deep breath and look around at the many blessings in my life. And I thank God. Over and over again.

>A Story of Victory

>If you like to read blogs, you should definitely follow my friend Karyn and her blog Girl of Cardigan. She has an honest way of writing that always leaves me pondering the meaning of life. Or the meaning of fashion. Or ways to save money…

Anyway I was catching up on her blog tonight when I came across this gem. It got me thinking about the victory that we already have in God. I’m going through my own personal stuff right now, we all are. And I’m really good at putting my struggles in perspective when I’m hanging out with orphans, rescuing people from the sex trade or in general just surrounded by a godless people in a godless nation. (That last sentence makes me sound way cooler than I am, definitely not tooting my own horn!) But I get home at the end of the day and I curl up in bed with my dogs and all my personal stuff comes rushing back in. How often do I acknowledge the victory that is already mine and give it all to God? Not very often. It’s more likely that I fall asleep pleading with God to fix all that is wrong and give me a little peace.
But the victory is already mine, the battle has already been won. God doesn’t need me pleading and begging for world peace, He’s already got it in the bag, without my help. So I am trying to learn to give everything to him and rest in the victory He has given me. Seems much easier to do it His way.
Before I sign off, I have to share my favorite part of Karyn’s post which I am still pondering (go read the whole thing!):
So often I look at people and forget to notice that they are more than the moments I’ve witnessed. We’re all wandering around with our baggage and our scars, and each one of us will remain a total mystery to a huge percentage of the folks we’ll meet. It’s comforting and terrifying, this knowing that we have all had to do our own overcoming, that each of us is breakable, that we have all returned from our own unimaginables.

>Identity in Christ

>There’s a moment when you suddenly realize that you’ve placed a large portion of your identity in a person rather than God. Unfortunately that moment usually comes when that person fails you. Fortunately there is a God, the only true God, who is waiting to make you feel whole again. How lucky are we?!