Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting Ready

It's almost like I am preparing to go back to school. Sometimes it feels like though the new year begins in January, for many of us we talk about September as being our new year. Women's bible studies usually start again, along with many other ministries, kids go back to school, etc.
For me, our summer missions conference is a perfect time of the year. It is a place to go and be refreshed in the Word, be reminded Who we are serving, taking time out to pray and ask the Lord for direction, fresh vision and even just take the year we had and bring it all before the Lord...sort of like bringing the dross to the surface. It's great also because we meet up with friends who are serving in different countries and we haven't seen them since the last conference. It's great to catch up and hear what the Lord's been doing in their lives, their churches, etc. It's also good because as people bare their hearts and share their struggles we are reminded that we are not alone in the battle. It's also great to meet new friends. I was so blessed this year to meet some really neat ladies and get to know some even better! It really was a blast!
The teachings we had were great! I love how the Lord just puts it altogether. He knows what we need to hear and what is going to encourage us in the coming year.
I love what was shared in one of the women's sessions by Inga-Lil...For every situation, every struggle, every everything, He needs to be enough! How I wept when I first heard that song by Chris Tomlin. "Enough" It's good to have the quiet time with the Lord and see that He really is enough. No matter what is going on in my life, struggles, challenges, finances, other's my Lord enough? Is Jesus my everything!
We start language school next month. I am pretty excited and yet a bit nervous. I have these thoughts about being the best student. Haha...I really do though. I am so praying for a supernatural gift for Jim and I to grasp the language and speak fluently to people! Pray with me for this gift!!! There is an older lady on my street who always say hi to me when I am walking to the store. She is so sweet and today she invited me for something to eat. We were having friends over for lunch so I couldn't go today but hopefully soon. This is why I want so much to learn to speak Italian. I don't want to speak it much better it will be to speak to this lady in her language! Well, the ole arm is about ready to give out on me. It's my right hand and wrist so I can't write/type too much. Guess I have to talk more LOL. Have a blessed day in the Lord! He is our refuge and strength! Our very present help in times of trouble!
*You can click on this to see it larger if you want *
oops I noticed I have one too many "the"s but I don't feel like fixing it :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

It's gonna have to wait

Well the ole blog (not me) is being a little rough around the edges tonight and therefore all the wonderful stuff I was gonna bring you will just have to wait til tomorrow.
Oh and is it sort of pathetic that I tried so hard to take a picture of my swollen and bruised arm/wrist/hand for you? What good is it if your friends can't pity you and ooh and ahh in harmony!!! It must be that it's my right hand and I can't hold the camera steady with the left and I dare not ask Jim to take a picture of it lest he think I have completely lost my mind....I think he's already wondering after the fall!
Oh well, I am sure to write tomorrow...or so I have the best intentions on doing so.
Conference was wonderful...still soaking it all in and seeing how it all fits into my life.

Til tomorrow my friends..............

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Heading out...

We are heading out to the Missions Conf in Austria today. It's my favorite time-a week filled with amazing bible studies, great fellowship, great food, worshiping the Lord!!!
I don't know who the speakers are this year. Usually we find out ahead of time, but I just can't remember who they are. I am sure it will be a blessing whoever ends up teaching.
A few weeks ago I was reading John 4. What is it that you usually think of when you read John 4? We know it is about the Samaritan woman-the woman at the well with different husbands and even a guy she's not married to at the moment. The great teaching by Jesus on living could we not be encouraged through His teaching!
Once again, I found myself amazed at His Word! Amazed that each time we read it, the Holy Spirit ministers to us in a place we hadn't thought of before. This time it was v4 that had me journaling away.
It's a verse all to itself. One little verse, one small sentence amongst some incredible dialogue. A little snippet at the begining of a chapter where Jesus would teach us the importance of how we are to worship Him.
He needed to go through Samaria. What was it that was so important? Why would He choose Samaria...a place that was off limits to the Jewish people. Who was He to meet? Perhaps if we didn't know the rest of the chapter we might think there were some pretty important people waiting to see Him. Perhaps there was a huge crowd of people awaiting His presence and they didn't even know it. Some big hoopla going on in the town and Jesus could go and preach and reach a whole bunch of people at one time.
Once we are familiar with the story, we realize there were no important people, no big crowd, none of that. There was only ONE woman at the well. She was just doing business as usual. To her it was just another day. But this day, Jesus Christ had need to be there.
This ministers to my heart so much. Being in Baja for 7 years in a small city, one that wasn't among the places people were standing in line to come to, makes me appreciate my Savior so much more. We often hear of so many wonderful events, churches that are doing this and that, having this guest and that guest, putting on concerts, plays, you name it, they are able to do it. One outreach team after another is just waiting to be invited to go and minister in these fun places. People want to go where it is exciting, where there already is a lot of action so they can be a part of it. There's nothing wrong with that at all. It is difficult to be on the other side. In the small place where maybe things aren't so exciting, the budget is whatever you have in your pocket at the moment and your email inbox isn't flooded with curious people wanting to know when they can come and help out in your church or when they can bring a team to your city.
But, Jesus had need! I love that it doesn't say that "and on the way to where He was going, He stopped off at Samaria for a drink of water". He begins the chapter with the fact that He had need to go to Samaria. Jesus is God! He knew there would only be one woman at the well and yet He had need to go meet her. He had need to meet and minister to this one person. He could have spoken those same words to a crowd of people but He chose to first say them to her. This really is awesome!
What do we think about ministering just to the one? If we have a bible study and only one shows up, do we cancel? I remember in Baja that exact thing happened. I was doing a summer study with the teen girls-A Young Woman After God's Heart- and this particular evening none of the girls showed up except Marla. After waiting a bit to see if the others would show up we came to the conclusion it was just us. Marla was ready to go home since "noone" was there. But, the Lord showed me that Marla was there-she was one and she was important. Yes, we had the bible study. Of course at the time, she probably wasn't thrilled since all my attention was on her :) But, I think it was important that she knew she was important. This type of thing happened many times in the 7 years I was in Baja. Women's study and maybe only one other girl and I would be there and we were both so wanting to just cancel and go home because we were tired but it always ended up that we were so blessed by the time we had to spend together.
Many times people wanted to start some home group or venture off into a neighboring village or city and would talk to Jim about it. It's one of the main things he shared with them-if you start it you must stay with it. Too many people quit because it didn't meet their expectation. I remember Jim always saying that you have to be willing to show up faithfully even if one person is there. Too many aren't willing to do that. They want great results. After all, in the book of Acts, God added to the church daily and so many people got saved....doesn't happen like that all the time.
We may never know until Heaven what impact ministering to the one had. Remember this woman went back to her neighborhood and told them all!
A crowd is wonderful, but it's not the only way. Having the pews filled in the church only mean something if the people in them are taking what they hear and learn and apply it and faithfully walk in the things they are being taught. Face it, there are all kinds of churches filled to overflowing with people. Does that mean they are more successful or better than the church that has more seats than people? Absolutely not!
What refreshment God's Word brings to us. I love how we are encouraged by it. I love how Jesus makes sure that we see different types of ministry-we see the crowds-crowds to the point He wants to get away so He can have some quiet time....but He allows us to see the one. He shows us that both are good and both are so important to Him.
Do you have need to go to the one today?

Monday, August 3, 2009

This and that

Today my house is going through a weird experience....there is noone here except Jim and I!'s the strangest feeling. We have had company pretty much since the end of April give or take a couple of days-enough time to wash the sheets, hang them out to dry and remake the beds! It's great though-we do enjoy sharing the joy of Italy and the work the Lord is doing with those we know and love!
I am still praying for a B&B although I think it would probably be a BL&D :)
Jim has been busy the past couple weeks. The Castle in Austria needed help in the kitchen so he is helping there a few days a week. It's great for him because he loves to cook! Hopefully by the time he gets finished he will want a little break from the kitchen and I can have mine back. It's great having a husband who loves to cook and serve, but I do miss planning my meals. Every now and then I have to give him the "Hey, I want to have my kitchen back" Oh the trials I must endure!!!
Speaking of trials, I went through a tough one this past month. Ok, well, comparatively speaking it's not a trial. In all honesty, it's not even close to a trial....but please sympathize with me...just a little ok. Well, here it is....I never thought in a gazillion years I would have had to do this but I did. I put it off for months, but the pain and the suffering was too much and I finally succumbed to my husband's request to put my pride aside and just take the plunge. I went, dragging myself behind him, afraid to open the door, but finally went in. At first I was ok, but then I had a few tears in my eyes as I handed my precious possession over to the lady because I............................deep breath now................................................................

Yep, after 21 years of marriage I had to do what I never dreamed I would have to do...but after not being able to wear my ring in the summer because my fingers swell up so badly I had to take drastic steps and go for it. And yes, I actually did cry. I know, I am such a baby but it was sort of psychological for me...anyway, I should be able to pick it up this week. Had to wait til pay day and it has arrived so I will get my re-sized ring back on my re-sized finger in a matter of days.

Another accomplishment has been made by me in the past couple weeks. Yes, dear friends, I am just mastering all types of things now that I am in Italy. Well, this one is a fun that had me laughing even though noone was around to join in. As you know, Rob and Denise bought a bike for me. I am determined to ride it as often as possible-skipping the walks to the store in favor of a bike ride. Riding along, waving to passerbyers, shouting a "ciao" here and there, a "buon giornio" or two, perhaps even a "buona sera" in the late afternoon. The other day I needed to go to the supermarket and rather than getting changed I decided to venture out and be as the Italians. Perhaps you have seen the movies where the Italian beauties ride along so elegantly on their bicycles....well what was I wearing you ask.......don't freak...........

It was quite the accomplishment if I may say so myself! I was cracking up as I tried to steer, keep the packages in my twisted basket, and hold my skirt down at the same time. Quite the picture!

August is a pretty slow month in Italy. The Italians go on holiday during the month and it is like a ghost town here. The beaches are crowded but the rest of the places are pretty mild! It is so strange not to hear a lot of noise around me! I kind of miss it!We start school in Sept. The town near us is offering Italian classes from Sept to June for only 24 euros. You can't beat that price! We may have to miss a couple classes here and there, but I am so excited to go back to school. We can't find much out until Sept 1 (they are all on vacation now) but the sooner the better!Well, I think that's all for tonight-my hands are tired, hubby is cooking some Mexican food and it's just about finished, so I will leave you for now.Praise the Lord for His goodness. He is our refuge and strength! Oh how I love Jesus, because He first loved me! Don't you just want to go on and on and shout out all His goodness!!!!