A job, that’s what’s new!
I had an interview at a local home improvement store last week, and they offered me a part-time position. I haven’t started yet, and I don’t know the details of my schedule, but it’s exciting to see my prayers finally answered.
The Lord’s hand in this is really clear to me, for several reasons. First – it’s not the kind of job that would have first entered my mind to try for, but they were hiring, so I applied. They called me back and I stumbled through the preliminary questionaire. (On-the-spot questions? over the phone? with a complete stranger? Not my forte!) “Well, it sure wouldn’t be a surprise if they don’t call me back!” But they did. And they asked me to come in for an interview. When I did go for the interview, they offered me a position on the spot – which I certainly hadn’t expected.
‘Tis the season for a little year-in-review!
I spent three weeks in Missouri packing, cleaning my apartment, and saying good-bye to my friends at the Missionary Training Center and church. This wasn’t how I pictured spending those weeks. I’d planned to join my class in Oklahoma for the final part of our linguistics training. But linguistics is not my gift; that had become pretty clear. So, after praying about it, I decided not to continue with the course. Those weeks in Missouri gave me the chance to meet with some folks from West Africa, including one of the field leaders. That was a big encouragement and a confirmation that the Lord was leading me in that direction!
February – May –
It was a blur of job-hunting and settling into a new normal. But it was also a time of seeing God answer prayers: I had my interview with the West Africa leadership in April, and got my official invitation to the field. Around the same time, I found a job for the Summer…after over a year of praying for work! Neither waiting for a field nor a job was easy, but God’s answers and timing are always perfect.
Being a part of Sunday School again was also great! I love the kids. They’re like sponges, soaking everything up.
June and July –
I lost track of how many batches of cookies I made, how many stacks of plates I saw (and washed), or how many times we had barbecued hamburgers. But I do remember how my boss liked to sneak up behind us and scare us. I remember joking with the other kitchen staff and taking hikes with my roommate and sharing our life stories.
The whole camp experience was a new one for me, but it was a snake-free Summer, so all was well.
August and September –
Hurray for Summer-y things like a church picnic and an outdoor craft sale with a friend! Other happenings: settling in at home again, starting Firm Foundations in Sunday school, visits with friends, and wedding preparations.
…In which I traveled the farthest East I’d ever been. Three states in 10 days! Well, six states if you count my layovers. I had a few days to visit my Mom’s side of the family in Maryland: her very fun aunt and uncle; several cousins and their families; and my 94-year-old great grandma (whom I’d never met before). Aunt Linda even drove me up to West Virginia to see my grandpa.
Then I flew to Florida for a week-long workshop called “Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills.” Wow, was that a worthwhile week! It was refreshing, encouraging, challenging, and fun at the same time. While I was there, I got to visit a classmate from the MTC. I hadn’t seen her in over a year, and it was so fun to catch up. (Made me wish she lived closer!)
My youngest sister, Sarah, got married. It was a lovely day, thanks to many friends and family members who helped and/or joined us to celebrate!
Our Thanksgiving was a relatively quiet one, which was nice after all the busyness and excitement of the wedding.
More job hunting (no interviews…yet), more visiting, and a quiet Christmas.
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It’s hard to believe 2012 is almost history…
I wish the Lord’s blessings on each of you in 2013!
The song Labor of Love has been a favorite of mine this Christmas season.
It was not a silent night…
The town was full with those who had come to be registered for Caesar’s census. The crowded inn left them with no other choice than a stable. No soft bed. No room to call their own.
And gentle lullabies from cattle lowing in the stalls? – Hardly.
No midwife…no mother’s hand to hold…
Perhaps it all seemed wrong. This was no place, no way to give birth to a baby. Especially not this One.
…The baby in her womb, He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the Faith that could make the mountains move…
Could they understand the full impact of the miracle they were a part of?
…And the stable was not clean…
I think of the farm I used to work at. I picture the barn, with its hay, its layers of dust, and its musty smells. This is no place for a woman to give birth. My mind’s eye goes to the trough where we’d put hay for the goats. That is no place for a newborn. But it was in a manger – a feeding trough – that she put her baby, our King.
Sometimes I can hardly wrap my mind around the fact that God, the Maker of heaven and earth and us, chose to be born in such humble circumstances.
But I love that He did.
My youngest sister, Sarah, just got married this month. The wedding was held at our church, and it was so cool to see the love and effort that our church family put into making the day special. They were definitely a clear reflection of Christ!
The day went without any real glitches – something of a miracle for a wedding, I suppose! Most of our extended family was able to join us, along with friends we hadn’t seen for a long time. It was fun to have them with us for the celebration.
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Enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend, everyone!
At the beginning of last week, all the folks in this picture were strangers to me. But by the end of our time together, we were truly friends.
We were attending a week-long workshop designed to help us more effectively minister to others. The faciliators were refreshingly real and God-focused. And fun!
Colossians 3:12-14 was our theme for the week, Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Here is a sampling of the topics we covered: listening well, drawing people out, building trust, receiving confrontation well, managing stress, and being an encourager. The days were long, but they were generously sprinkled with skits, videos, and discussions as tables or pairs. We thought silently. We thought out loud. We laughed (a lot). And yes, we cried too. It was a valuable week, and I’m thankful for the chance to learn from (and with) so many others!
But that workshop was only a jump-start, a launching point. Please pray for me to actively listen to the Lord and put into practice what I learned in each area.
The other part of the trip:
I spent several days in Maryland before I flew down to Florida. I’d never been there before, but my mom’s aunt and uncle (whom I stayed with) gave me a fine introduction to the area: driving through green rolling hills, tasting Maryland’s famous crabs, and showing me two of the houses my uncle grew up in. It was also great to meet some relatives I’d never met before, including my 94-year-old great grandma!
The whole trip was a blessing. A good reminder of God’s care and love.
A year ago, some staff at the MTC hosted a West Africa Night (with info, q&a, and authentic meal!). Though I was not even remotely considering West Africa at the time, I went. God used that night to turn my heart in a new direction…and that’s where I’ll be headed next year, Lord willing!
This week I’m hoping to finalize plans for a trip in October. I’ll be attending a Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills workshop. The workshop has come highly recommended and I’m really looking forward to it.
Would you please pray with me for…
- good prices on tickets
- details about which route I should fly and who to visit on the way
- a heart ready to learn what God wants to teach me through this workshop
Yes, I’m home now. The time I had working at camp was definitely a blessing. Interacting with new people often teaches us more about ourselves – our gifts and weaknesses – and more about God. We have to depend on Him in new (sometimes uncomfortable) ways, but we also get to see Him work in new ways.
As I transition to living at home again and focusing more on Partnership Development, please pray with me about…
…finding another job (preferably part-time).
…wisdom in my priorities and goals.
…opportunities to serve and be a blessing at home and at church.
…having a clear vision of God’s “Big Picture” and how I fit into that.
Thank you! If you’d like to share how God is working in YOUR life or how I can pray for you, feel free to use the contact page to get in touch.
How many people does it take to reach a single tribe with the gospel?
Not just four, five, or even ten. Literally dozens of people play a crucial role in each tribal church that is planted.
Can you think of some?
There are translators and Bible teachers. Pilots. Mechanics. Supply buyers. Office workers. Technical specialists. Prayer partners, supporters, and encouragers.
To read more about the roles involved in reaching a tribe with the gospel – and the ordinary Christ-followers that fill them – check out the latest edition of NTM@work.
“Free [believers] respond with worship in everything. It is a natural outpouring of thankfulness and awareness of love and grace and truth. It isn’t mustered up; it flows out.
“We breathe in air and breathe out worship. We receive love and extend worship. We embrace children, offering worship. We comfort, we laugh, we mourn, we dance, we read, we dream, we exist – all worship. We pay the bills, we run on the treadmill, we enjoy a good movie, we make dinner, we welcome friends with open arms – worship, all worship. We send money and offer prayer and sit with a lonely neighbor, in Jesus’ name. We wait for love, we long for home, we pour out our hearts and hopes and fears and longing; we create with words and photos and colors and food, all beautiful acts of worship.
“But we don’t call it that.
“We call those things living. But when the Spirit of the living God lives inside of you, then your living is also your worship. What else would it be? ‘Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.’ (Romans 12:1)
“Worship and service are the result of knowing the truth about our new identity in Christ. Contrary to what the critics might say, understanding our new identity as believers is not a passive teaching focused on self. It is the very path by which Jesus is able show up in our lives.
“But trusting Jesus in this way can’t simply be a declaration of what I believe to be true. It has to have hands and feet. Sometimes my faith has to risk getting dirty and being ordinary. That simply happens in the everyday, living-life things. The mystery of Christ in you can be so easily overlooked because at first it doesn’t look mysterious.”
(Emily P. Freeman in Grace for the Good Girl)
Today, Jesus is not asking you to be a hero.
Today, He wants you to be His hands and feet. To first reach out to those around you, and then to reach out even further – all with His love. Who knows? You might touch a life all the way across the world.
For stories from others who are being the feet, you can visit: NTM’s news page