Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kenya [2 Weeks and Counting]

Man oh man, am I ever excited for this trip! Two - yes TWO - weeks from Friday I will be boarding a plane with an incredible team of servants to share the Gospel in Africa. Everyone keeps asking for an update, so thought I'd try to organize some thoughts and put them on here.

From a logistica/detail standpoint...
-Passport updated.
-Vaccines done.
-Time off work granted.
-Necessary clothing purchased (yes, I am now the proud owner of some kickin' ankle-length skirts).
-Travel gear acquired.
-For my team specifically, schools have been targeted and kids are being prayed for.
-Necessary supplies for in-country are being secured.

-The team is incredible! Our larger team is broken down into smaller ministry teams. The one I am part of, which gets the opportunity to work with 1500+ kids, is seriously wonderful. From the first time the 5 of us ladies met, it was clear God had ordained for us to be together. There is something special happening there, and we haven't even set foot on a plane. The hearts of those ladies blows me away and the love and eagerness felt is palpable. Hearing their testimonies and stories of how God called them on this trip brought me to tears multiple times and reminded me of the utter awesomeness of our God.
-Warfare is underway. Believe it or not, I am grateful. The enemy wouldn't be messing with us if there wasn't a reason to be doing so. The battle underway is a sign God is already working in our lives and the Kenyans and is preparing a way for His glory. That being said, there are real and legitimate anxieties amongst our team. We are encouraged and keep praying through.
-I have had some wonderful conversations with friends, coworkers, family, and strangers about our trip. The whys, the whos, the hows have given an opportunity for God to be talked about. I am grateful.
-Personally, prayer life is ramped up and thoughts/Scripture on orphans/widows is always on the forefront of my brain. It's definitely significant. I have a feeling that my understanding of adoption into His Kingdom by the blood of Jesus Christ is about to be blown away as I relation with these kids and widows.

-My dad and I have had so many answer God's prompt to support us for this trip. We are incredibly grateful!!! BUT, we are still lacking the full funding. My dad is in need of $1500 and I need $450. We would love for you to join in prayer for His provision and to prayerfully consider helping us finish out our goal. We would love for you to be a part of what God is doing in Kenya!

Click here to support my dad:

Click here to support me:

We trust in God's timing, in His way. We are beyond excited for this opportunity and cannot wait to share the Gospel, follow the prompts of the Spirit, and love like crazy.

Thank you to so many for continually asking about such a large part of my life. Keep asking, keep seeking, keep growing.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Round Three

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, it's that time of year again. No, not for a crazy list of resolutions. But for the third year in a row...the word.

A word that I want to embrace in the year ahead. A word I want to take meaning for me personally as I live out the next 12 months. I'm not alone in this. Several friends post their words to Facebook. Some write about them, such as this dear friend of mine. Some, as in my case, share them around a fire pit on New Year's Eve.

Last years' word (or two), hope infusion, was a unique one. Still processing all it meant to me as I learned the true definition. Some scripture that has been an answer to the seeking...

Hebrews 6:11, 19, NASB
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end...[t]his hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us...

1 Peter 1:3-5, NASB
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Whew. Now THAT is hope.

And now, without further ado, this year's word....drum roll please......


The word first caught my eye several months ago while doing some morning reading.

Colossians 1:9-12, NASB
For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

As I read and re-read these words, I noticed the use of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding together. Paul used them separately but in conjunction with each other. They occur frequently in the Bible together. They seem to have similar meanings, but clearly they don't mean the same thing, or else only one word would be used. It led me to ponder if you can have one without the other. What would it be like to have wisdom without understanding? Can you have understanding without knowledge? Which one comes first? A little browse through Webster's Dictionary doesn't really clear it up for me. And besides, that's a worldly definition. I think what I'm searching for involves a more spiritual definition. It sounds funny, but I'm searching to understand understanding.

Some research from this site, Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, gave me some clarity.

As they put it...

"Knowledge - the facts (Proverbs 9:10, Proverbs 18:15, Colossians 2:8, 1 Timothy 2:4)

Understanding - the ability to translate meaning from the facts (Psalm 119:130, Proverbs 3:5-7, 18:2, Philippians 1:9-10)

Wisdom - knowing what to do next, given an understanding of the facts and circumstances (Ecclesiastes 8:1, James 3:17)

Those with knowledge are able to collect, remember, and access information. But, it is possible to have knowledge and lack understanding and wisdom. Someone might have the facts, but not know what they mean or what to do next.

Those with understanding are able to extract the meaning out of information. They "see through" the facts to the dynamics of what, how, and why. Understanding is a lens which brings the facts into crisp focus and produces principles.

Those with wisdom know which principle to apply in a given context...Those with wisdom know what actions to take next. They do the right thing in the given situation. In contrast, there are many who have great knowledge and understanding but who consistently do the wrong thing." (emphasis mine)

They go on to point out, you don't always grow to encompass all three. Sometimes you need outside sources (oftentimes people) to glean the wisdom of how to apply your knowledge. Likely, understanding is gained in the process.

But it takes experience to understand. All the facts in the world, or Bible for that matter, don't mean much without application. You've gotta put them to use.

Not perfect use. Not for me anyway.

But then, mistakes lead to a deeper understanding of grace, right? Maybe I'll have to take notes from this girl, whose word for 2014 is "grace" and make it my word for next year.

But for now, I'll focus on understanding. This past year has been one of soaking in facts. Leading to a little bout of blogging silence. The whole year, in fact, produced fewer posts than any other year I've been writing. Maybe that's why I sense a pull towards understanding. The knowledge (facts) gleaned in the past year has been hard to convey because of...a need for more understanding?

As I recently wrote in my journal: "...So I can gain understanding. That's the word for this year, I think.  Moving from knowledge to understanding. Moving from head to living it out. Praying for opportunities to live out the things I'm learning. Eek, that doesn't sound as hunky-dory as I'd maybe like. But a hunky-dory life isn't one surrendered to the Lord."

So, for 2014, I'm shakily but excitedly saying goodbye to hunky-dory.

Lord, help me.