Sunday, July 26, 2009

Costa Rica!!!

Like any mission trip, I again experienced God's faithfulness and experience His great love for us. Something about other cultures just gives me a sense of how big my God really is. I told the rest of the youth group how I just felt at home when I got there. It wasn't anything really special, I didn't feel nervous and never felt uneasy. I felt so comfortable with the culture and really felt like I was home. This was the same feeling I got when I went to Africa as well. It doesn't really feel like anything out of the ordinary or crazy, to me it just feels normal.
Before going I was kinda of worried about the language barrier, but once we left that was no longer a thought. I knew God would use our group to reach them. Once we got to Upala, where we served for 5 days, it was something beautiful God had created. It was awesome communicating outside of words and the challenge of communicating was exciting. I surprised myself with how much I could understand, or should I say that I understood anything. The people there are so open with their homes. One day we split into groups of two, me and Andrew were together, and we went to a families home. Neither of us spoke Spanish and the people we went with didn't speak any English. It was the best experience I had out of the whole trip. It was so awesome to communicate and see the beauty in their culture.
Another awesome thing was working with the kids. Those of you who know me well know my heart and passion for children. Also I have a passion for people in need, so working with the kids was awesome. Costa Rica is not a third world country and by many cultures standards they are well off, but they still had so much less than I did. It's awesome to see the joy in the kids faces and how the simplest thing's bring them the most joy.
Then the last 2 days in Costa Rica our group was able to experience and fulfill our need for adventure. We were able to see and enjoy the work of God. On Thursday we went zip-lining in the morning and then in the afternoon went white-water rafting. It was such an amazing experience and it was absolutely incredible. Then on Friday we went to the Pacific Ocean all day. Me and Andrew rented surfboards and I went surfing all day. It was incredible. The first time I went we had little 2 foot waves. Here we had 6 foot waves, and the surf shops were saying that they were some of the biggest waves they had seen. Needless to say I got the crap beat out of me, but I was able to get up 3 times and rode plenty of waves on my knees. It was such a rush and for me, there is no better way to soak in the beauty and power of God. It was incredible.
This is getting really long so I'll wrap it up and you can ask me more about it if you want to hear some stories. Through this experience, I felt my heart in the mission field. This may have just been a result of being on the trip, but over the past 3 or 4 months I have been feeling a stronger and stronger pull to go into full time missions. No matter what though, I know God is going to do incredible things in my life. So many times I plan out my future, but God is just laughing saying, "You of little faith, I have so much more in store for you. I have huge plans for you, if only you trust and rely on me." So that's where I'm at now. Continue to pray for me and for our youth group, that we could take this experience and the passion of the people there, back to our home church and light a spark in our church. God bless!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Time for a Revolution!!!

For the first time in a long time, I finally gave myself a chance to just relax and meditate on what God has given me. Saturday night around 3 in the morning I went outside and just sat for about 45 min. It was so good to just gaze and marvel at all God has created. It gave me a chance to just think about all God has blessed me with. After coming off a hard week it was just what I needed.
Earlier that day I started reading Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. This book has challenged me in so many ways. He is so radical in what he does and many times I questioned if it was too far out there, but then I started thinking about Jesus and the disciples and how radical they were. Jesus hung out with the homeless, the disciples gave up all they had and walked away from their jobs, and many were arrested. So why is this so crazy for us Christians? Why do we look down on people like this?
One statement made in the book was from a different author saying that Christians try to make the Bible sound complex so we can sit and try to understand what is being said, but honestly the Bible is clear and straightforward, but we don't want to read it like that cause then it convicts us to take action. Then I started thinking why I am not more bold about my faith. I'm scared of rejection and humiliation. So that's how I show my gratitude to a man who suffered more humiliation and rejection than anyone who has ever lived. He served with his life and here I am scared to serve.
It's time to step up and take action, to really die to myself and to serve my God with all I am. To testify to all I meet about how great of a God I serve. It's easy to say this though and quite another to act upon this. So this is my challenge for all who read this, along with a challenge for myself. Maybe your sick of all the challenges that those around us give, but think about the God we serve and how mighty He is, and then think about the sacrifice Jesus made so we could have eternal life. The least we could do is share what we believe. It's time to step up and be bold, no matter what the cost here on earth, I'm looking at an eternal life!!!