Sunday, January 24, 2010
What a great time and place. As my schedule has been lax , it's been an incredible time of introspection plus devouring Gods word through the medium of scripture and sermons. I have been contemplating my journey here and the events that led up to this : the planning , preparation + saving of money in the last year. I don't want this to sound like a broken record , but this should not be missed- the faith fullness of Godly mentors in my life over time in various arenas. I don't have the time to unpack all of that but observing the road here has made me look at my recent history. It started with my dear friend Judah on a rooftop while we where framing a house to tell me about a woman that needed teachers in China. China led to Australia and Australia opened southern Asia to me. Shortly after returning to the states I ended up living in Guatemala where God gripped my heart tighter than I had ever known and that experience left me wanting more. I came back and God led me to work with Junior High students, which is possibly better than any travel experience or adventure. Relishing the culmination of all of these joint experiences it's dawned on me more clearly than ever that my life is not my own. It never has been. To think about the road leading here in just the 4 previous years is to rob God of His full and deserved glory. Psalm 139 v 13 states that He knew me and knit me in my mothers womb, my story leading here isn't just a movement in recent history but a plan that was in place for this time and place well before my parents where even alive. My whole life, everything. Ahhh! Bask in the beauty of how small we (I) are , how freeing that is to come to that realization! I was created. Amen.
I'm doing what I was born to do , and there is such abundant life in that. Chasing happiness robs us of our JOY and purpose but thankfully I have a Heavenly Father (Hebrews 12) that was never ever , not even once interested in my happiness in light of His plan. I'm in New Zealand , right where I should be.
This last week I was approached by Willem a Baptist Minister here about working with the youth at their church. They have been praying for someone for some time and I just so happened to move across the street after "randomly" meeting Kiwis in Fiji. I have learned in my nearly 24 years that things like this should not be taken lightly but prayerfully considered. If God wants me there thats where I will be. If not it was great to spend time with a very neat family(s) of this local church and I'm being prepared for something else. Something stirred in my heart this week after listening to a MaCarthur sermon from 1986 about pastoral care, based out of the book of Timothy. I believe God is leading me to this , when and where I don't know but I need to be prepared. One of the things I lack (many other life things but just qualifications stated to Timothy) is discipline. I had to schedule my day out because not much is going on right now in means of structure. Gosh I need structure. Prayer would be appreciated in this area , especially as school starts next month and the load should be fairly tedious- then the prayer would be for time management, but right now please pray for discipline.
God is outside of time and my plans are not His. His are far better. Its been more freeing than ever to come face to face with the fact that Im not in control of anything and need to trust Him completely with everything. We don't wake up in the morning and tell our hearts to keep beating so why then do we lack so much faith in almost every area of our life by making plans to arrive safely and neatly to our inevitable death? Our lives are GODS. Sometimes in the course of our life we manage to give God a few minutes of our time like He should be blessed because we thought about Him- when He is the creator of the heaven and earth, it baffles me as to why I don't trust/seek Him more. Our lives are not our own. I want more of God, I need more of God... all the time and this realization has never been stronger. Another thing that has penetrated my heart is the need to spend much more time praying for others. If my life has not been an accident or a mistake that means I have met certain people for a reason and I must intercede for them (theology might be shaky in this section- but hey im going to Bible College next month ,no worries). I started praying for people ranging from the baby girl I helped in feed in Guatemala to Judah a spiritual leader of mine with much much more urgency. Life is so good . What more can I say? Gods story continues.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Above: View from SkyTower
What a truly amazing weekend. On Thursday I walked across the street from my house to visit Avondale Baptist Church (ABC... how cool is that acronym!) - the front office was closed as its summer holiday , so I emailed what I thought was the secretary and the Pastor responded warmly as did an elder of the church as well. That was quite a surprise. I'm looking forward to my meeting with the Pastor tomorrow (Monday) at 11. I'm excited to start getting plugged in here to the church local before school starts. It seems as the plan to evangelize with a friend* from the States didn't work out but new things I couldn't have expected to happen are coming into place.
* Due to the nature of where this friend is, his name has been changed for his protection*
I met up with Josh Best this weekend in downtown. We did some touristy things like go to the top of the Sky Tower which looks like a giant hypodermic needle... and normally I hate needles but this one was OK in my book. Quite amazing actually. From there we proceeded to "Burger Fuel" and we each ate a famous half-kilo burger that was a true monster complete with : beet roots , mango , onion , bacon , ham , guacamole , lettuce , tomato and pickles... truly an ambitious culinary feat. Wow. After that we walked to "One Tree Hill" which now doesn't have a tree on it after some vandalism. On this Hill that was originally a volcano you could see all of sprawling Auckland. I have come to the realization that this is one of the most beautiful cities in the world- Auckland boasts 30? volcanoes that make for grassy islands with houses all over them. Climbing this hill I couldn't help but feel like Frodo- but instead of fighting off wraiths to deliver the ring to the top of mordor we had to dodge a horde of wild sheep. I believe anyone from Northern California or Washington could really appreciate the landscape and weather here. After that we came back to his flat which he shares with 4 girls and 2 guys (all but one was a christian! neat group) and watched the Disney movie Aladdin which I had no idea I could still quote almost the whole thing even after not seeing it for 14 years? Great times .
Saturday Josh and I walked to his work upon arriving I was asked if I wanted to life guard for under the table cash that day as one of the guards was drunk. I thought it was bizarre that they would allow any guy off the street to guard- then I realized that all pools in NZ are a "swim at your own risk" event and guards cannot be sued if someone dies. That is very foreign to me . Josh (and I) having a standard Red Cross Life Guard training would put us ahead of 90% of the NZ "LifeGuard" staff. I had a blast lifting+running and swimming all day , I even met a few interesting "believers" outside the center in the park as I ducked out for an hour to listen to a sermon... I have since found out that it was an occult that approached me. At the pool I met some really neat Christians that shared with me the ropes of getting visas and my residency here. Very encouraging. Josh and us cooked up a feast that night and checked in early.
Today (Sunday). Most amazing day since my arrival. I went with Josh, Rebekah and Yuri to The Tabernacle Baptist Church or Tab as they call it and enjoyed the fellowship of Kiwi believers. It felt awesome to worship God! During the service we stopped and grouped up to pray for Haiti (2 years ago I met the directer of Yele Haiti relief program sitting next to me on my flight back from Guatemala and I emailed him today to encourage him as he was interested in God) and asked God for lives to be spared and the gospel spread. The pastor also announced a Church pic-nic following the service... After walking a kilometer to the park where the lunch was being hosted I found out shortly that it was a International Students lunch , but I was invited to stay. I talked with a woman named Lin (from Malaysia) that began to explain to me that this was an outreach to international students- what she didn't know was I was apart of this same thing in Port Angeles , using the gospel to teach students English. I was overwhelmed with awe of God! Even around the world I can't escape his plan for me. Lin began to tell me who the leaders where.... one of them included my future missions Professor at Laidlaw, Gordon that just so happens to be my neighbor in Avondale. We talked about God and my journey here and all the miracles to this point that have occured to get me here. I was so excited! After the convo I started mingling with the Asian students making friends with my terrible Chinese skills (that they acted impressed with). Incredible day! After the lunch was over Gordon drove me home and we talked about the condition of the Church universal and ministry. I keep seeing Gods hand in my life every step of the way , from provisions of a house to the incredible people I meet. God has stuff going on and now its seems the adventure just kicked into high gear. WOW. Sorry this is long (to those that made it). God has been teaching and revealing Himself to me in a beautiful way as He prunes the sin/junk from my life - like me worrying about how everything would work out here. That worrying showed that deep down that I still have issues of pride in my heart to deal with. After this last week I have learned that I need to completely trust in Him even when all looks like its lost. Im resting in this and His love and provisions are shining full brighter than ever as I continue to die (painfully) slowly to myself.
As I learned in Sequim and PA I can take on abunch of "good causes" and burn myself out so I count myself blessed that I have no expectations or commitments to any ministries in my life as no one knows me here. It provides a sweet opportunity to sit back (for a mere moment) and ask God , "what was I born to do, and where do you want me." The international student ministry seems like more than a perfect fit to my life and the fact that I was involved in that ministry back home and have lived/traveled in Asia giving me some credibility. But does that make it something I should commit to? That is me though , Im going to pray and ask God if this is where He wants for me to do lest I take on a "good cause".
... Friends? - is that to much to ask for? haha
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Above: Nadi, Fiji
If my visa doesn't come through- you might be seeing me home soon.
My address here is
Unit 3 / 151 Blockhouse Bay Rd.
Feel free to send carepackages with Dominos pizza in them.
The last few days God has really been working on my heart. He has been breaking down barriers of pride and I have come to the realization for me to be here will be a miracle. I took a step of faith coming here and now more than ever I have to rest and trust in His plan because what I see in front of me apart from Him would be impossible.
Yesterday I took great comfort in Numbers 11 . God has taken care of me every step of the way in this process and every barrier to this point has been broken down , for me not to trust Him now would be simply foolish and sinful. Its easy to tell someone to "stay strong" whip out a couple inspirational verses until it happens to you as I have learned. My God is huge and powerful so me fretting would be minimizing His power . Whatever happens will happen- my only duty is to remain faithful . Getting back to Numbers 11 the Israelites would constantly complain about how God provided (not on their timetable)and would overlook the fact that they themselves had never starved to death. I like the Israelites must not complain about my mana I receive daily but bask in the rays of Gods promises and the miracles that have occured just getting me here. All else is arbitrary. I feel much better today . I have been listening to a series on Ecclesiastes by my fav Preacher Matt Chandler and another comfort for me (as morbid as it sounds) is from Solomon as he says "all is vanity a chasing after the wind" to paraphrase some of his other wisdom literature "relax, you will be dead soon" ... and I take great comfort in that. The chief end of man is to glorify and enjoy God forever and that can be done whether Im rich or poor , starving or full - my life really doesn't matter as long as I'm serving and finding my Joy in God through Christ.
Thank you for all your prayers
A church and Godly male accountability
A job or 2
Enjoy a few pictures of Fiji... I found lodging there on the beach for $10 bucks a night!
Monday, January 11, 2010
After landing in NZ I stayed in the airport for nearly 10 hours waiting for Jackson and Nicola to arrive as their flight was delayed due to the hydralics on their plane going out 45min into the flight. During the wait I listened to numerous sermons until they showed up and the joyous re-union took place.
Life has just changed so rapidly in ways I could never expect or plan . The plan was for Sean and I to share the gospel around New Zealand but now is unable to come, leaving me here quite abit early without a plan or focus(don't get me wrong I know God is my focus) . Now I have quite some time on my hands (and my bike hasn't arrived yet) . I have been praying but Im not sure how to respond. I have an oppurtunity to take an ESL , English as a second Language- course so I can teach asian students here. Maybe Gods plan for me is to learn in this month so Im able to support myself down the road. Please pray for me for direction in this time. Anything can happen right now and I want to stay centered on Gods will.
Today I visited the Laidlaw campus for the first time and I'm fully excited about spending time here learning about my creator. It was absolutely beautiful and actually more than I expected! Tomorrow I put in my application for a student visa , hopefully it is accepted or this will be a real short trip to NZ . Even in all of this uncertainty there have been numerous incredible God things and Im going to share them now to showcase His power and to also remind me that me being here isnt a mistake.
2 days before New Zealand my car sells to a man that had been calling me about it (leading me on) for 3+ weeks.
First night in Fiji I meet a couple that lives outside of the college and is willing to host me for $40 NZD less a week than the going rate.
I find out the woman hosting me manages a school teaching junior high age asian students English - and it just so happens I have experience with both.
Today I find out that Nicola's friends brother leads YWAM for New Zealand, that was amazing to talk about.
There is more than that, but this is what Im holding on to in this brief time of uncertainty . I can be certain of Gods plan and that whatever happens- Im going to be just fine.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Upon arrival here I found an awesome Kiwi couple that offered to take me into their home in NZ just 6 miles outside of the college . Where im praying like crazy is that I could lodge at the school for just $35 more a week and it would include food and I wouldnt have to commute . At the same time the people I could lodge with teach english at an international school (right up my ally!) and it pays super well so they could be my IN . With school lodging I could pay for one month short of the semester so lodging there in the christian community might not be an option unless I can pay for more at a later date after I have a job . God has blessed me so much and all doors have been opened upon coming here im seeking His BEST for me , not just what is good at the moment. Please pray that lodging , money , job all becomes clear to me in His good timing . This isnt a super comprehensive update as the internet is suuuuper expensive . Pray that all these things become clear. God is soooo good. Im just as excited as ever. thanks for your support...