Monday, December 24, 2007

I Love Home

I made it home to Sacramento for Christmas! The flight was uneventful, sat next to a talkative fellow. My favorite part was arriving in the romantic Sacramento airport & seeing my family at the bottom of the escalator holding signs for me. I was the only one with signs. :)


We hung out as a family today, ran last-minute errands & baked with mommy. I found out that my dad is a pretty decent skateboarder (I brought mine home and he spent a considerable amount of time riding around). We went to church tonight for Christmas Eve service & decided to unwrap gifts as a family because my mom works tomorrow. Love it!!


video

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Yay for Kate!

I live with 2 amazing girls, Brynne and Kate.
It's great. We have a blast together.
Brynne and Kate were roommates last year at Master's, in the room directly below me. Kate has been dating this guy, Josh, for a number of years now. Brynne just started dating his brother, Zach, in Septemer. Since Kate & Josh have been dating for a while now & Kate is done with school, she was kind-of expecting an engagement soon. They have talked about marriage, but she really had no idea how or when Josh would propose.

Well, he did! On Friday night.
Yay for Kate! She's engaged!

Of course, being a girl, I will post the few details that I know. Since Kate is back home with her family & Josh, I heard the new from Zach. Here's what I know:

Josh took Kate on Friday night, her 1st night home for Christmas vacation, to the place where they had their first date together. I forget the name of it, but it's a resturant in Hollywood where all the people who work there since opera. Apparently it's a really mellow, low-key but romantic and nice place. So they were sitting in this upper balcony thing & at the end of the meal Josh told her that he had to go pay for the meal. Kate was just left looking around and waiting for him to arrive back. Before she knows it, Josh is on the stage at the place with his guitar singing her a song that he wrote for her. Then he asked her to come down to him, got on one knee, professed his love for her & asked her to marry him. Of course she said yes & the rest is history. Yay for Kate! We'll be watching a lot more of the wedding planning channels, I'm sure, and making mad wedding plans. I'm excited for what the Lord has for them!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tribal Living

Man, I'm such a lame blogger. Sorry my entries can't be as thoughtful as Becca's or as witty as Phil's. I don't even have cool pictures like Sarah. Alas, such is life.

I've been thinking a lot about life lately. I was talking through my week with Summer last night & realized how much thinking time I have. I mean, really. Who has that? About a month ago Krystal (mother of 2 boys, 3 and 1) was expressing her frustration toward not having time to think as a busy mother. I understand her frustration to some extent, having familiarized myself to the job of motherhood. But the reality is that I'm only a part-time mom (in perspective), and she is a full-time mom.

One of my favorite parts of the day is from about 7:40 to 8am. During this little block of time I'm driving--by myself--from Chatsworth back to Stevenson Ranch. Sometimes if there's traffic I'll turn on a podcast or listen to a sermon. Sometimes I'll listen to music (lately, Bebo's Christmas album). And every once in a while I'll call mom during that time. But most of the time I drive in silence. And I think.

I distinctly recall sometime last week thinking, basically complaining, to the Lord:
"Lord! When can I get to the mission field? All I want is to live among nonbelievers and preach the gospel to them, holding their salvation in prayer to You."

I shut right up after I thought about what I was thinking. That's exactly where He so intricately has me right now! I am not in a land that is foreign to me (though sometimes LA can feel like it), and I have many friends who are close by. Not to mention having my church family mere minutes away. I've been compiling a list of similarities between tribal living and my job now:


  • nonbelievers

  • helping raise children

  • dependant upon the Lord, daily

  • shedding tears

  • missing my family

  • living among them

  • no more "personal" time

  • literally giving up my life for them

  • providing for their basic needs (and then some...)

  • under authority

  • partners in the ministry (Kara, Bible Study, roommates, etc.)

  • learning new survival skills

  • time management

  • self motivation

  • chronological teachings

Last night Claire even told me that she wants to be a Christian. !! This will take time, of course. We're not all about "praying the prayer" for assurance of salvation in this tribe. Her faith will be tested over time and our conversations pertaining to salvation will, no doubt, be interrupted. Such as living among a tribe would be. It's just a different tribe than I had envisioned. Good thing that God knows best. :) Maybe if I can get them to comply, I'll take pics of the kids in tribal gear...

Friday, November 30, 2007

B-A-K-E-R-S-F-I-E-L-D

So most of us can agree that Baskersfield is not the most desirable of places to dwell. However, I have a soft spot in my heart for the HUGE cow-town because people whom I love live there. But I'm not gonna lie--I wouldn't choose it for myself.

In honor of Bakersfiled I link you to this video.
Click here.

(Sorry, I can't figure out how to put it directly on my page. But I promise that clicking the link is worth it!!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Confessions of a Christmas Chorus Consumer

I was hanging out with a friend on Saturday night and they admitted that they started listening to Christmas music already. I just laughed and looked at them dead-on replying, "I started last week."

If you know me at all, you know that Christmas music is on the "Recently Played" list on my iPod--year round. I used to be one of those who held out for Thanksgiving to come around before listening to Christmas music. Then I learned. I learned that Christmas music (GOOD Christmas music) is amazing! It's good for an every-day pick-me-up, encouragement to fellow brothers and sisters, and there's no good reason to hold that back 10 months out of the year!

Well, friends, I must admit that my favorite Christmas song OF ALL TIME is "O Holy Night." Ok, not much of a confession. BUT my favorite favorite version of this song is recorded by N'SYNC. Yes, you heard me right. N'SYNC. Now there's a confession. This version is so good that I guarantee you that you won't regret downloading/purchasing it. Go for it.

This year has been no different; I listen to selected Christmas songs year-round. O Holy Night by N'SYNC is among them. Needless to say, I was really excited to see one morning in Starbucks that Josh Groban has a Christmas album out this year. Alas, I did not want to pay $20 for it at Starbucks when I was sure to find it at another larger department store. So I set out to the bookstore where I had credit to.

As I was browsing the favorite Christmas albums at the bookstore I turned to check out and saw hiding low on a shelf the Christmas album recorded by Bebo Norman. He's definitely not as well-known as Mr. Groban, but good, nonetheless.

I thought to myself:
Oh, Bebo!
I haven't heard him in a while.
Since the CD is on sale for only $11, why not?
Bebo is good and Christmas is good. Together, they've gotta be good!
So, I buy the Bebo Norman Christmas CD also.

Of course I pop Josh's album in first.
It's pretty typical, I must admit. After a few songs I got bored (not that it's not quality, but I personally think that it lacks a bit of personality). So I put Bebo's CD in. Ahhhh, it was so refreshing!

Reasons I like Bebo's Christmas CD:
#1 and #3 are my personal favorites
his voice is quite pleasant to listen to
he plays his own guitar, which is doubly impressive
he focuses on worshipping the Lord throughout the CD
there are typical Christmas songs recorded, but not the annoying ones
the CD was quickly snaked by Summer and has been passed around our group of friends
it was on sale at the bookstore

I highly recommend the purchase to add to your Christmas collection. It's worth the investment. Actually, I listened to it for a total of 2 days and haven't seen it since (I wonder who has it now...). I didn't even have time to load it on my computer!

Visit Bebo's website here and taste it for yourselves!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Blog Time in the City

I used to sing this song to Olivia & Abby whenever we had to do something I knew they didn't want to do. For instance, I would sing this little line, "Bath time in the city." Or "Nap time in the city." It got them to like the activity more than if I didn't sing the song. Thank you, Child Development. :)
In honor of spending the ENTIRE day with Olivia & Abby today, it's now blog time in the city. Man! This is the nicest that I've ever "vacationed." I am on the job in Chicago this weekend. I've never been here before, and this city quickly became a spot that I would really like to come back to. Alright, so here's the details:

We left out of Van Nuys on Thursday mid-morning. Don't worry, we chartered a private jet. Since they are smaller planes (ours sat 8) we could fly higher and faster than commercial flights. That was the beauty of it, really. We were in the air for only 3.5 hours. And there was no check-in or security to go through. After landing we headed straight to the hotel, which is the nicest that the family's even stayed in. It's on the top, 46th floor of downtown Chicago. Our views are of the lake and the city. It's pretty decent. We spent the rest of the evening walking around in the city and to dinner. Bed was practically calling to me by the time we were done. On Saturday we visited the American Girl Place and had tea with the dolls. As a little girl I pretty much always dreamed of doing that. It was so cute! We spent the afternoon walking around again and a little bit of time at Navy Pier. Now, that's fun! After a quick dinner we attended the USC pep rally at another hotel a few blocks away. I'm not gonna lie--I thought the pep rally was going to be one of the lowlights of the weekend, but we had a blast! I got to sit on the floor in the front row with the kids and we were literally feet away from USC's full marching band, cheer squad, etc. For the first time since high school, I actually miss school spirit! It was so weird to be at another college's pep rally, with so many different ages there. As I was sitting through it I realized that all these people, regardless of age or race or status in life, were all gathered for the same purpose: to get hyped up about a college football team. They were all literally worshipping it! I must admit that I was not slow to put up my "fight on!" sign. But really. What were we all doing? Worshipping USC. Pretty sobering. Afte the pep rally we stopped on the walk back at Ghiradelli's for some ice cream...mmmmm!

Today, Saturday, is game day. The parents and 3 eldest children left with 3 friends for South Bend, Indiana. They left me with Olivia & Abby. We had a blast! First we went and did some returns/exchanges at a couple of stores and then wandered around the city streets. Chicago is such a neat city! Of course it has the common thread of most major cities, but to me it felt like a combination of the other big cities I've been to before. Here are my observations: The atmosphere reminds me of St. Louis. I think the waterfront might have something to do with that. The shops and people remind me of San Francisco (minus the hippies--I think that's a California thing). The fashion is from Los Angeles. Definitely Los Angeles. The city street layout is really similar to Sacramento. Maybe that's why I felt so much at home here.

Tomorrow we're seeing Wicked on Broadway and then catching the plane to go back home.

Right now I'm just chillin' out with Olivia & Abby, waiting for the fam to get back. It's been a lovely day. I love these girls! It was fun walking around the city and hearing people's comments about the girls. They rode around in a double stroller, Abby in her USC cheerleading outfit. Many people wondered if they were twins, and my constant reply was, "No, they're a year and a half apart." No one asked if they were actually mine; I guess they just assumed they were. It's common. One mother even asked me how I liked the stroller that I had. I told her that it's been nice for the 2 days we've had it (it's the hotel's stroller).

Oh-I forgot the mention the whole reason we're here: USC is playing Notre Dame right now. They are the biggest rivals in college football. What's really cool is that my friend Kevin swims for USC, and they raced Notre Dame last night. Kev said he did pretty well; 1st in breaststroke, but he's still recovering from the mountain biking accident. If he gets in early enough to Chicago tonight we get to hang out!

I'll try my best to post some photos when we get home!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dallas: Postponed

Sorry it's been practically a century since the last post. Many things have been going on recently, namely, the new job has started. Things are busy. I am definitely enjoying having my own place to live and can't wait until the roommates move in (Kate Montana & Brynne Edwards)!! I spend most of the day here at the house with the family, or just Abigail (the youngest). We do things like clean up, make sure everything is ready for when everyone comes home, run errands, and play. Three of the four who are in school started at Legacy this week. The oldest will start middle school in one more week.

Things have been busy with the job, but so good. I've had ample opportunity to catch up with close friends back in LA, too. Church was amazing (of course) on Sunday; thanks Dr. Behle! I left thinking that I wanted to get a master's degree in Philosophy now. Which brings us around to the topic: Dallas. Many of you know that I had planned on starting grad work at DTS right away. And the whole time I was in Papua New Guinea I kept telling the missionaries and friends there my "plan" on doing grad work--starting part-time and finishing full-time in a few years. But the more I repeated it, the more I thought about it.

And the more I thought about it, I talked to other missionaries about it.

And the more I talked with seasoned missionaries about it, the more I found myself praying about the decision.

And the more I prayed about the decision, the more I was convinced that this is not the right time for Dallas in my life.

Not only did I begin to realize the realities of my new job and living in a completely different and new way than every, but I also realized how much time I want to spend on another degree in Biblical Studies--or anything for that matter. The whole point of being a student at Dallas is to study the Bible more than I had studied it at Master's. I don't want to breeze through the classes. I want to take expository classes and not counseling classes. I want to learn about how Habakkuk or Jeremiah did missions. Not Hudson Taylor or Mary Baker Eddy. Those things are all good and great to study, and I have definitely taken advantage of time spent studying them at Master's. But I'm ready for just straight Bible.

That's where one of the main thoughts lies: Dallas will not allow me to be in the program I desire to be in. Still. They have very legit reasons for this, and the staff I have talked to about the subject have been nothing less than listening and mindful. I really appreciate all that they have done for me. But at the end of the day, we still do not see eye-to-eye regarding my particular education. This has been a huge factor in the deciding process. Before going to Papua New Guinea I was ready to just "deal" with this difference and pursue the program that Dallas thought best fit for me.

However, in spending time with seasoned missionaries who have been through Bible education and have seen entire tribes to salvation, I really questioned the necessity of a master's degree in Biblical studies. Many of the missionaries were SO encouraging and told me more of the realities of educational needs before coming to the field full-time. Guess what. My background already meets it. Their advice to me was: just come. We need people now. You understand all that is necessary to present the gospel to a tribe. New Tribes will train and equip you for the parts you don't yet know or understand (the missionary training aspect of it).

Alas, talking to these missionaries really made me think and pray more about going to Dallas, or even pursuing another degree at all. None of the missionaries necessarily discouraged going to Dallas or pursuing grad work. But they all definitely encouraged me to get to the field ASAP.

The first week I was home from Papua New Guinea I called and talked to my advisor at Dallas and explained the situation to him. We decided that postponement until January was the best decision for now, and we will be thinking and praying through this semester for the January decision.

That's that. I am not at Dallas...yet.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Blessings "in Disguise"

I have recently been reminded that the events in my life that I see as "crosses" or "hard times" should truly be seen as huge blessings. I was thinking about the phrase/concept of "blessings in disguise" yesterday. Ahh, the beauty of it all. The Lord puts things in our life--all the time--to be blessings to us. This could be financial security, a nice family, a lovely day at work, etc. But how are those events or things any more of a blessing than the traffic jam we get stuck in, or the miscarried child, or waiting on a relationship to happen? Just because the first set of events are more comfortable and enjoyable, they are considered "blessings?"

Sometimes we find out later why God might have "allowed us to go through" unpleasant events. Because an airplane flew into the office building while you were still stuck in the traffic jam. Or because the young woman who endured the miscarrage is only 14 years old. And perhaps you find out later that the man you want so badly to pursue you needed a few more years to grow in his relationship with the Lord (as did you). These are what we all--Christian or nonChristian--think of as "blessings in disguise." But why? Why would God disguise a blessing from His children? Would it not be more glory to Him that we recognize these more difficult times as blessings from Him?

I dare to propose that we have become blind to His blessings. We prefer our own comfort and reputation over God's sovereignty and glory. I am not without fault by any means. Clearly, I am seeing various situations in my life through my own lenses of preference, seeing and seeking what I want over what the Lord requires of me. I think we can all use a little divine help in seeing every single event in life as a divine blessing.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Need a Wife?

My sister came across the following, and it was so funny that we both posted it on our blogs!

Enjoy....


Top 15 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife

Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she's yours. - (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)

Find a prostitute and marry her. - (Hosea 1:1-3)

Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock - Moses (Exodus 2:16-21)

Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. - Boaz (Ruth 4:5-10)

Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. - Benjaminites (Judges 21:19-25)Have God create a wife for you while you sleep. Note: this will cost you. - Adam (Genesis 2:19-24)

Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman's hand in marriage. Get tricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for the woman you wanted to marry in the first place. That's right. Fourteen years of hard labor for a wife. - Jacob (Genesis 29:15-30)

Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law's enemies and get his daughter for a wife. - David (I Samuel 18:27)

Even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you'll definitely find someone. (It's all relative, of course.) - Cain (Genesis 4:16-17)

Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest. - Xerxes or Ahasuerus (Esther 2:3-4)

When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, "I have seen a ... woman; now get her for me." If your parents question your decision, simply say, "Get her for me. She's the one for me." - Samson (Judges 14:1-3)

Kill any husband and take HIS wife (Prepare to lose four sons, though). - David (2 Samuel 11)

Wait for your brother to die. Take his widow. (It's not just a good idea; it's the law.) - Onan and Boaz (Deuteronomy or Leviticus, example in Ruth)

Don't be so picky. Make up for quality with quantity. - Solomon (1 Kings 11:1-3)

A wife?...NOT! - Paul (1 Corinthians 7:32-35)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Creative Responses

Well...I've been back in the United States--CA to be exact--for a few days now. Naturally, I have had more than one opportunity to share about the past two months of my life lived in Papua New Guinea. The first memorable one was on the plane ride from LA to Sacramento. I ended up sitting by a friendly couple who were on their last journeys of a week-long honeymoon to Fiji. I started the conversation by asking them, "Are you from Sacramento?"

husband: Well, outside of Sacramento, in Folsom.
me: I'm in Orangevale! [neighboring towns]
wife: Oh! Where are you coming from?
me: Papua New Guinea.
husband: We're newly-weds coming from our honeymoon in Fiji.
me: Congratulations!
wife: What were you doing in Papua New Guinea?
me: Missions work.
wife: Oh! That's amazing. really rewarding. you know, when I was your age, I did many volunteer trips around the world. It's so nice to be able to live in foreign places and give back to people who aren't as well off as we are. really rewarding. I went to blah blah and blah. really rewarding. I even got to work with Mother Theresa.
husband: Yea, she even keeps a journal record of every day of her life since she was like 12. Someday we're gonna make it big by selling her adventures to a movie producer. Then I won't have to work anymore.

We made some more small talk about how they met (match.com--you should try it) and what they do in Sac, etc. Then he fell asleep, I looked out the window and she read some random book. At the end of our flight they wished me "the best of luck" and I will probably never see them again.

I had a similar conversation with the nurse at the doctor's office this morning.

nurse: What are you here for?
me: I am requesting a throat culture because my throat has been sore for 3 days now and I know that I have been exposed to many people with Strep Throat in the past two months.
nurse: Yea, Strep cases have been unusually high this year, especially for it being the summertime. How do you know you were exposed?
me: Well, I was in Papua New Guinea with a group of people and there were about 6 of them who had Strep by the end of our time together.
nurse: How long were you there for?
me: Two months.
nurse: Why?
me: Missions work.
nurse: [surprised look] That's nice. That's great! It's so rewarding to be able to help those who are less fortunate than us. Good experience for someone young like you, too. Do you plan on going back?
me: Absolutely.

What strikes me the most is that the trip comes across to most people as me doing something for myself. Most people who do not fully understand the concept of mission trips have the concept in their mind that I/we have something better to offer the "less fortunate." Maybe I should change my response. Because in reality, the only thing I have better to offer anyone is the saving gospel message of Jesus Christ. My way of life is not necessarily better than the national's way of life in PNG. Maybe more comfortable, or more convenient, but definitely more complicated and more options for choosing sin. It's not rewarding to help people live more comfortably. It's not rewarding to ask for support from believers, attempting to convince some that the Lord is leading the way but you need their resources. It's not rewarding to have intestinal problems and be exploding out both ends in a foreign country--far from home and mom. It's not rewarding to have to be wearing a long skirt 24-7. It's not rewarding to risk your life driving on a dirt road that hasn't been scaled in 13 years in the pouring rain at night )and sheer cliffs on either side). It's not rewarding to hear the cries of women as they are being beat in the dark stillness of the night. At least not eternally rewarding.

But what IS eternally rewarding is giving up all that the Lord has chosen to tangibly bless me with--home, comfort, freedom, possessions, safety, and even life itself--to live a life that reflects the testimony of Christ's death on the cross and to prayerfully teach it to those who have never heard the message of salvation through Christ alone. It is rewarding to see a tribe, or even one person, come to know and love our Lord, to know that that one person will not spend an eternity separated from their Creator in an evil, undesirable place. It is rewarding to sit among a congregation of tribal believers and hear them sing--the same, ear-piercing tune--of praises to Jesus for salvation. It is rewarding to walk down that same dirt road for the last time and know that the nationals who live in the nearby villages will see you again in heaven. It is rewarding to know that none of this can be done apart from our own Creator, God.

I did not go to Papua New Guinea for some sort of "self-improvement" plan or to gain a "new perspective" on life. Yes, the Lord did improve my relationship with Himself as I continued to be humbled by Him. And yes, I did gain a new perspective on my own selfish life. But at the end of the day, I went to Papua New Guinea because I knew the Lord was leading me there, and His purposes became evident to me as I lived there and served Him in whatever way He asked. I am not certain if I will ever go back to Papua New Guinea, but I would take the first chance I received. I am not certain that God is asking me to serve Him full-time cross-culturally, but I will go at the first calling of His voice. I am not certain if I will ever see many of the people I met while in Papua New Guinea, but I trust God that He will bring many of them to Himself and we will be worshipping Him in heaven.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Last Day at Home

Well, friends. This is it! I leave for LA again tomorrow afternoon, then head out of the country at 1:05am on Wednesday morning with the rest of the PNG team! I really have no final thoughts. Things at home this week have been pretty neat. I got to catch up with important people in my life: the Pray's, Jenessa Stieglitz (girl I discipled for a while), Pastor Duane, Mamma Orme & Patty Anne, Samantha Berman, Tamsen, and the like. I really have nothing to say on this post. Kinda weird. Hope you all have a great next couple of months, and feel free to keep in contact while I'm in PNG! My temporary email address over there is: itf_kate_wright@ntm.org.pg.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Other Blog

For those of you who are not aware, I have a separate blog now for PNG purposes. There is a link for it on the left of this page titled, "The PNG Blog." Or to view it, you can click here. I have been rather inactive on this blog due to being active on the other one. I'll try and post before I leave on Monday, though!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

PNG and then...Uganda...with the parents?!

Yet again this post is missions-related. Recently I've been thinking about where else I would like to visit with the purpose of exploring career mission work possibilities. Uganda is the pick of the year. Sometimes I feel guilty for thinking about where to go next since I haven't even gone to the first place yet. (Only 8 more days!) The discussion came up at the dinner table tonight. Dad was saying how he was bummed to not have met Tatlock at graduation on Friday night, and then he asked if Tat has kids. "Why yes," I said, "he has two of his own, a daughter from China, and is going to Uganda in a few days to, Lord willing, be in court over the adoption of a brother and sister pair from Uganda." Dad's eyes got big and he got that excited look on his face. It was pretty cool. Then Dad asked more about adopting kids from Uganda so I told him about the Gunderson's recent experiences and how pretty much anyone at Master's is hooked up with the Hurleys there. Then I was telling them about my own curiosity about Uganda and the recent thinking through of visiting the Hurleys next summer. Dad was full of "um-humh's" and "okay...s." Then I asked, "If I do go, would you want to come with?" I think that question really threw him off, because he was pretty much speechless (anyone who knows my dad knows that this is not like him at all). Here is a summary of the rest of the convo:
D "With you?"
K "Yes."
D "Me and your mom?"
K "Oh, sure. Why not?"
D "Hmmh. We'll have to think about that one. When are you thinking of going?
K "Oh I don't know. I'll have to be in contact with the Hurleys for starters, and then see when TMC is sending their team out."
D "Well, Uwe [his German brother] is coming in July, and Megan will have Cal Poly orientation sometime in August or September, so we would have to squeeze it in in June?'
K "I'll do some research and we'll talk about it further."
D (to mom) "Could you do it all over again?" [in reference to adopting children]
M "It would be more like ...blah blah ... because we already know the majority of how to do it."
K "Well, when Adam, Eric and Jeff went last year, I'm pretty sure they went primairly for the pupose of exploring ministry opportunities in the country."
Whaddya know? God might be planting seeds of opportunities for my parents and/or I to go to Uganda next summer. !! Seven years ago, I would laugh at this idea. Our God is crazy wonderful! Small disclaimer: for those of you who read this blog and I don't even realize it (Uncle Roger & Aunt Khym, Sharon, etc.), there are no plans thus far, and we're just thinking and praying through it at this point. Heck, maybe I'll be cannibalized in PNG and everything will change. Not that I'm hoping for it or anything, but we have to keep in mind the work of our sovereign Lord. The disclaimer is so that rumors aren't started: "Jayma, did you hear that Mary is going to Uganda?" or "Dad, what do you know about Steve and Mary going to Uganda?" Just FYI: these are only thoughts at this point. Thanks for helping me out. :)
As PNG nears, pray for health. I contracted Laryngitis last week during finals (though I had no exams myself) and have been ill for 9 days now. I have a week to get better. It should all be good as I learn to depend on the Lord in new ways.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I'm Coming Home!!

Watch out Sacramento--I'm coming home!
Many would expect me to write somewhat about graduation that takes place in less than 10 hours, or perhaps some reflections on this past semester and/or year. Quite frankly, I am surprised that I am not writing of such things. The reality is that I'm just ready. Ready for:
- no more dorm life
- living with my family again
- the beauty of NorCal
- rest
- grad school to start
- visiting my home church
- being with old friends
- sitting on the front deck in the morning with my Bible
- spending time with Tamsen
- reflecting and thoughtfulness about this past year
- journaling
As I spend last hours here at Master's, this is what I'm going to miss:
- Summer and the capacity in which we have grown close
- all the girls I've had on my wing: Erica, Angela, Melissa, April, Katie, Jessica, Anna, Paula H., Paula K., Whitney, Brittany, Ellie, Gwen, Jenn M., Jenn W., Natalie, Stacey, Joy, Lexi, Jenny, Lindy, Caitlin, Brooke, Kelley, Shelsy
- being roommates with Stacey Cherry
- living next door to Dave & Tricia
- being under the leadership of our Dean Staff
- chapel three times a week
- spending weeknights with Kara
- lounge duty (just kidding!)
- the brother RA's: Christian, Robby & T-Bone
- running to the gate
- excellent classes, especially with Dr. Baker
- random dorm life like mattress surfing with 3rd floor boys & dorm war with Hotchkiss
I have nothing else to say. If you are in Sac next week, give me a holler and we'll have to hang out. Otherwise, I'll catch you on the flip-side.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

the least of these

As usual, missions is on my mind. Why? Why go? Why not stay? Why go one place and not another? Why go to a country where the gospel has been presented and not to unreached people? Why even leave the country God has sovereignly placed you in when there is so much need/hurt/opportunity for the gospel? How does one equip themselves for missions? What training is required, suggested, or just practical? How do you know if you are "called" to mission work above anything else? If all Christians "go" to the field, who is going to stay back and send them? Do you have to go if missions is just something you're curious about, but not sold on? Are short-term trips profitable? How? What is the biblical demand for missions, and how does that apply to my individual life?

There are probably about 1,000 questions of this sort that can be asked. And mind you, have they ever been asked. The most recent one on my mind is: How much longer until I can go? I have thought a ton about being adequately equipped for mission work, whether it be in Bible translation, orphanage work, or inner city ministries. My conclusion is that there is a certain amount of training this is wise to participate in (hopefully the agency you choose will train you) and it is good to have some sort of formal biblical training (such as Bible school or an equivalent). And then there's training in certain fields to be had--for the medical missionary, the ESL teacher, the Bible translator, etc. But how do you know when enough is enough? Granted, we will never be adequately equipped in the sense that there is always something to be learned and we are not perfect. But is 2 years as an undergrad Biblical Studies major with an emphasis in missions enough? Some days I think so, and other days I know that it's not. That's why I want to go to grad school. Being in a program to study strictly the books of the Bible and theology would be ah-maze-ing.

But then there are men like William Carey who had little to no training as we know it today and are the fathers of modern missions. Or someone like Mary Slessor probably did not need a ton of training. Brad has told me as well as others that the more training/schooling we have, the more opportunity there is to become distracted from the goal of going. Sadly, I have already observed this in my own life. Rachel told me that her passion throughout college was Bible translation, and she was almost just waiting for an opportunity to pursue that. But 8-10 years later she's still here, and still has a passion for it, but does not see that type of work in her future anymore. A few years ago someone asked me what would happen if all the Christians in the world asked themselves "why stay?" instead of "why go?" in regards to cross-cultural missions. I bet that if we evaluated why we would stay, the answers would be primarily superficial and meaningless compared to the gospel.

I do not know how many of these questions can be answered, and with only one answer. I am coming to realize more and more that mission work is a step of faith. Actually, it's many steps of faith, just one at a time.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Final Days

I want to start with the small yet significant disclaimer that I have had about a trillion things to post about this past week. Alas, God had other things planned for my time (His time, really). There have been some rather enjoyable, sobering and thought-provoking things in my life this past week. This is including but not all-inclusive to:
  • youth group - learning to pursue my girls with the love of Christ and thinking through discipleship with them more seriously; learning from the areas that I have failed with them and looking forward to the potential direction(s) God may be leading our relationships
  • chapel - one of my favorites here at TMC is almost over in my life; thankful for the opportunities to learn from wise men about life and God's Word and wondering what life will be like without it
  • leadership - taking a step back and observing those in leadership in my life and being so thankful, humbled & blessed to be able to be led by them: Tatlock, Joe Keller, Summer, Dave & Tricia, Pastor Bob, Roger, Tim, Andrew, Eric & Jeneane, etc.
  • Bonnie - Joy's mentor from church; spending time with her on Sunday afternoon and really being encouraged by her heart for ministry and obedience to the Lord to just "go"
  • Dallas Seminary - praying about the decision to go there or not, and then what program to be involved in
  • friends - as with any major change in life, one's friends usually take a change; thankful for the people the Lord has let into my life, and thankful to discover the new relationships He has for me; looking forward to being involved in some of the same lives past graduation as well as keeping up with friends I have known for years (going to SLO next week!)
  • SLS - servant leadership staff, thankful for the opportunity to serve on campus in a unique capacity this year and thankful for Joe's questions at our last meeting on Sunday night; still thinking through the difficulties of serving both on SLS and in the local church (at the same time, not that one or the other is difficult in and of itself)
  • Revelation - I summarized the book for Monday night class, the first time I have really read through the entire book; very sobering and thought-provoking, sometimes confusing but makes me just stand in awe of our Lord even more
  • Papua New Guinea and Uganda - in other words: missions; on Sunday I had the impulse to go to Uganda, maybe because of the ways that so many people around me are involved in the country; preparing spiritually and tangibly for Papua New Guinea (19 more days!)
  • graduation - finally. what are my thoughts? they're all mixed. it's rather bittersweet. I should write more about that, but later. May 11, 2007 at 5pm.

"I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil ... I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first ... He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."
- Revelation 2:2-7

May we not forget our first love, especially in the midst of God working in and through our lives.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Spam

I pretty much hate these, but then I was remembering the days that Scot Bernhard used to spam my email and think it was funny. In honor of you, brother, here we go:

1. Grab the book nearest you, turn to page 18, line 4?

"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me..." from Twelve Ordinary Men by MacArthur.

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What can you touch?
Nothing. But I am pointing out the window if that counts for anything.

3. What's the last thing you watched on TV? Technically, I watched Freedom Writers on the TV last night with Bailey and Summer, even though it was a movie.

4. Without looking, what time is it? 4:40pm

5. What time is it actually? 4:44pm

6. Except for the computer what can you hear? The song, "Give me Jesus" by Jeremy Camp, the a/c and the breeze rustling the trees outside my window.


7. When did you last step outside and what were you doing? Just about an hour ago as I was walking from the Library to home, ready to take a shower after my run (went running before the Library).

8. Before you started this survey what were you doing? Straightening my hair and getting ready for Amber's bridal shower.

9. What are you wearing? Flip-flops, jeans and a t-shirt (imprinted, shhh don't tell)


10. Did you dream last night? Not that I remember. But the night before that, my roommate threw one of my pillows at me while both of us were sleeping because she thought I was a machine gun in her own dream (go figure...)


11. When did you last laugh? When I saw Robby coming down the hill to go running as I was coming up. We always laugh (usually at Robby).

12. What's on the walls in the room you're in? A map of the world and pictures

13. Seen anything weird? No. But I'm sure we're bound to see weird things from our window tonight as the night life at TMC comes alive. :)

15. Last film or video seen? Freedom Writers last night. But before that, I'd have to say the announcements video in church on Sunday (I know, I'm sheltered)

16. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight what's the first thing you'd do? I would need time to think about that one. Hopefully, I would donate it all. There's just too many options for giving. Ask me in a later post.


17. Tell me something I don't know about yourself? Most people don't know that I play the guitar. Ummm, my RA team calls me "Mother hen" and claims that I know everything.

18. If you could change one thing about the world regardless of politics what would it be? That they would all know Jesus and Him crucified, hands down.

19. Do you like to dance? I think this is a rhetorical question. Heck yes I like to dance! I'm a little rusty on the skills, though. Something about being on contract...

20. What comment would you like to make to George Bush? I’m praying for you.


21. Your first child is a girl what do you name her? Oh I care for many names: Natalie, Rebekah, Stacey, Machenzie, Macy (yes, Prays!), etc.

22. Your first child is a boy what do you name him? Same thought process: Caleb, Matthew, Grant, Todd (from the Christie Miller Series, of course!), Darren, Scott, etc.

23. Would you ever consider living abroad? Are you joking me? Hopefully it's only a matter of time...

24. What do you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates? "Well done, good and faithful servant." duh.

Monday, April 23, 2007

And then I found $5.

Now for the 3rd post of the day...
Well, the helicoptors settled down and I haven't heard anything else.
Praise Jesus for safety.

Foreign Plane

Just saw Angela in the bathroom and she said that there is a foreign plane in our area that is unchartered. There are a ton of helicopters outside. Interesting to think about. My reply was, "well, maybe we'll be bombed and all die. I wouldn't mind going to heaven right now." Angela chucked nervously and said, "don't say that."

Makes me really think about what's important at the moment.

Maybe it's just someone who is lost. Maybe not.

I'll keep updates as I hear more.

Just Give Me Jesus

I have been listening to the song for a while now, and the more I listen to it, the more profound and meaningful it becomes. Ponder these lyrics:

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus
When I am alone
When I am alone
When I am alone, give me Jesus
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus
When I come to die
When I come to die
When I come to die, give me Jesus
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
You can have all this world,
But give me Jesus
Is Jesus all you want?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Jan, the one-woman panel

This morning was Youth Sunday at church. The youth groups took over "big church" or main service and ran the Sunday morning worship services! In the context of CoC, this means that our youth band (Rob, Andrew, John, Kayla, Anna, Kristen and I) leads the congregation in worship through music, and the kiddos--junior high and high school--sing as a choir on stage with us. Then Roger delivered an awesome message from Luke 13:1-9. It was titled, "Right with God, Ready for Anything." He referenced the events that took place at VTech on Monday as well as other life situations. Rog also talked about living in light of eternity. It was such a good reminder of true repentance and change, for the purpose of being right with God and thus ready for anything that happens in life.

Now moving on to another post about MHBS (Margrave Home Bible Study, after our leaders: Eric & Jeanene Margrave). We had another fabulous night at Jan's, of course. There were only 10 of us total this week, which seemed like a drastic difference from our record attendance last week. Regardless, it was good and we learned a lot digging deeper into Rog's sermon and edifying one another.

Becca, Maria and I went to Jan's early tonight. As we were leaving last week, we had the thought that we wanted to know Jan better, to sit at her feet and learn from what the Lord has done in her life. So tonight we went early to Bible Study and did just that! We asked her questions about her childhood, years in college, early marriage and how the Lord brought her from Souix City, Iowa to Santa Clarita, California. By the time for treats and testimonies (that was for you, Robby) after Bible study, she expressed to us how much she enjoyed chatting and we set up another time to get together! We were pretty much Titus 2-ing it up. It was kind-of humorous because we told her how much we had just learned about her, and her reply was that we barely knew anything thus far! I will think about lessons that I learned from Jan tonight and post it later (Lord willing). In the meantime, be thankful for and take advantage of time you can spend with those who are older and wiser than you.

Senior Comp is on Tuesday from 9am-12noon. I will be hiding away in my room until then. Pray if you remember!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

three and-a-half hours

This is going to be an interactive post. I pose the question:
What could you do with your life in 3 1/2 hours?
Here's what I came up with:
  • drive more than 1/2 way to home in Sacramento from LA
  • go to Santa Monica in rush-hour traffic and come back
  • study for Senior Comp
  • record one song, completely mixed and everything
  • read any given book that is assigned to me for class
  • write the third of four papers for Foundations of Science (and still have time)
  • hike the longer hike (6 miles) of Tasley Canyon, driving included
  • sew a dress from scratch
  • nap :)
  • help Summer pack her apartment
  • sit through Monday night class (NT II with Dr. Hutchison)
  • read through all of the Psalms and Proverbs
  • go to one of Ryan's baseball games and then dinner with the fam afterwards
  • pack up my dorm room, entirely
  • post about 23957 blog posts
  • attend a class of Elementary Greek, summer session
  • and probably a lot more than this

The reason the time frame of 3 1/2 hours is on my mind is because I just spent that much time at Bible study!! Yay! I knew that we spend a lot of time at Jan's home on Sunday nights, but tonight I officially realized how much it really was. We start at 5:30 and stay at least until 8:00, and I personally don't usually leave with Becca and Maria until about 9:00. !! I know. It's amazing. Why is our Bible study so amazing, you ask? Well, mostly because it's a group of amazing CoC people in it. Tonight we had about 15, which I believe was a record. We are led by Eric Margrave in an in-depth study of the morning's sermon. It also helps that our pastor is a phenomenal teacher. Actually, all of our pastors are. We've been going through Philippians with Pastor Bob recently (past year). Today was Philippians 4:10-13. Read it and be challenged. I am so thankful to the Lord for Church of the Canyons, and MHBS!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

the gospel

I'm not one for linking much, but I believe we could all benefit from reading today's entry of Gunner's blog. I have nothing else to say.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

the new look

Hi friends. Yes, I have changed the look of the blog. The dark colors were getting hard for my old eyes to read. Maybe some of you can relate. I was also exploring some other good blogs and decided that I like the browns better than the blues. Not that all this is necessary or anything...just to satisfy some curiosity out there (namely, Summer's).

On another note, I am meeting with Tatlock this afternoon to discuss further PNG agendas: support raising, contacts, travel itinerary, etc. There has been no word from either of the Busers yet, so things are still up in the air as far as where I will be June 29 through July 19. Maybe Tat has some insight. I'll let y'all know when more info is available.

I've been reading through Gunner's blog and his and Cindi's time in Uganda with Judah and all else involved. Reading his words makes me so excited for PNG! I had lunch with the lovely Rachel Smith yesterday (she's our secretary for Student Life, even though her official title states otherwise). Sitting at the DTR tables over a meal in the caf create for some of the best conversations (even if you're not DTR-ing). At one point we were discussing what it looks like to obey the Lord in the area of being sent as a missionary, and what it looks like especially for single women like us. She has a passion for Bible translation as well, and it was so neat to hear her words and testimony of why she is not in the Bible translation field now, and why she doesn't think that's where the Lord is leading anymore, even though it's still a passion of hers. It was such an encouragement. I look foward to more times with Rachel.

On the mission side of things, thank you to all who are praying and who have been led to support this trip financially. I am greatly indebted to you all. Plans are coming along just fine. It's hard to believe that I am supposed to leave from LAX in less than a month! It seems like so many big things have to happen first, and I must admit that PNG is not always the first thing I think about every day. First there's the Senior Comp exam to pass. It takes place on the morning of April 24th, if you remember to pray. I have to pass it in order to graduate, and it's an exam of 18-19 essay question about the Bible. All the potential questions are accessible, and I have been studying for weeks now. Needless to say, I pretty much have to know the Bible. An example of some of the questions are:
- outline Genesis, Daniel and Romans
- give biblical and extrabiblical support for a young earth, universal flood
- identify over 40 theological terms
- define the Documentary Hypothesis (authorship of the Pentateuch)
- present the gospel message (harder than you think)
- explain the classic rational arguments used to defend the existence of God
- compare and contrast various views of church gov't
These are only some of the many questions. I am confident in the Old and New Testament sections, so these next two weeks will be focused on Systematic and Practical Theology.
Then after Senior Comp is over, there's graduation! Woo Hoo! Graduation thoughts are bitter-sweet, and I should write more about that later.
Then I have to go home, unpack, and repack. After about 10 days at home in Sacramento, I will fly from Sac to LA and meet up with the rest of the kids going to PNG from the states. We have a 24-hour team-building time in LA (Manhattan beach bonfire included) and then we leave the next morning! I'll leave PNG on July 19 and come back to LA on July 20, then catch a connecting flight back up to Sac.

Sorry today is so random...I wasn't really expecting to post much at all, but now it's a done deal. BTW, feel completely free to post comments if you have questions or anything of the sort. I would love to clarify anything that might be confusing!

Have a wonderful day, friends.

PS-I realized I never told you the outcome of the computer proficiency exam. I passed! Yay.

Monday, April 9, 2007

More Yosemite

Saw Dave in chapel this morning and all I could think was, "Dave! I miss you!" It's true...we had such a blast! In honor of our dorm staff team here in CDub, here are more beautiful pictures of us all. Plus, I know the fam can't wait to see them.

When we first got to Yosemite we stayed in cabins at a camp just north of the park. (We stayed there because we got there at about 12:30am on Friday morning. Who wants to set up camp then?) Tricia, Dave, Robby, Monique and I got up early in the morning and went to go scout out a campsite actually in the park. Monique had never been camping, so we had to give her the experience. This is Monique and I in the car waiting for the rest of the gang. Can you tell how tired we were?


Above we have me, Summer and Monique getting ready to leave for the hiking adventures of the day! This picture was taken at our campsite (isn't it beautiful?) as we were packing up lunch and all that fun jazz. We actually got the group camp site that was away from the other people and right next to the river. It was great.


Here we are: me, Bri, Summer and Monique with the beautiful Yosemite backdrop. This was before the adventures began.

Monique really likes taking pictures (can you tell?) so here we are again: me, Christian and Monique. T-Bone sneaked in the background of this one.

About 1/2 way up to the 600 stairs I was leading the way and saw this rock protruding into the trail. I turned around and held onto it as I yelled, "It's okay, Dave! I got the rock!" So Dave then wanted to help the scene and T-Bone posed as we took the picture. Good thing Dave and I were there to rescue T-Bone from the falling rock.

So after we climbed the 600 stairs and were ready to head back down the mountain, we partook in a little snack of oranges. This is Bri and me making orange smiles. We were extremely excited to be heading back down.


The boys posed for their CD cover here at Emerald Pools.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Overwhelming goodness...it's crazy wonderful.

Church
Thank you, Pastor Bob. It's fun to take note of the phrases he uses in sermons (like "crazy wonderful"). I have been overwhelmed by the Lord's goodness for about 2935 days now. This semester has seemed particularly difficult in working with girls on the wing, watching brothers and sisters in the Lord give in to sin, being confronted on my own sin, failing the Lord, and a myriad of other circumstances. Sin is gross and it messes us up! I ran into Siona in the caf one day early this semester and we exchanged the typical "how are you...good...how are you...good" conversation. As he hesitated in replying that he was doing "good," I asked, "Are you, really?" His response was, "You know what Kate? Even though crazy and hard things are happening in and around us, the Lord is still good. That makes me and everything else good." I think I just walked away from that moment stunned at his honesty and truth. Thanks, Ona. All this to say--since that 48.3-second conversation, I have been more aware of the Lord's goodness in this life.

Easter
Today is Easter. I heard the gospel message twice at church today(once in youth group and once in main service), and one of our high schoolers asked after youth group what the point of Jesus' resurrection is. She was having a hard time working through what that meant for her own life. I realized as she was asking this how much I take the resurrection for granted. Last night Summer and I were listening to How Deep the Father's Love for Us and pondering the different lyrics. That's the point of the resurrection. Because without the resurrection, we have no hope. Jesus merely died. "...and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins" (1 Corinthians 15:17). It was my sin that held Him there. It is wounds that mar the chosen One that bring many sons to glory. Charlie told us in youth group today that we get our English word for Easter from the Latin word for "east," which is the same word that means "rises" (for example, the sun rises in the east). How appropriate. How can we not see the Lord's overwhelming goodness in the resurrection of His Son?

Yosemite
We went to Yosemite Thursday to Saturday with the brothers.
Here we are right after the tunnel where everyone gets out to take pictures:
from left to right, bottom row: T-Bone, Monique, Summer
top row: Dave & Tricia, Bri, me, Robby, Christian


For those outside of the Master's bubble, Dave is our dorm's men's Resident Director, and Tricia is his lovely wife. They live in-between my and Robby's wings on 2nd floor. Summer is our women's RD who lives above Dave and Trish on 3rd floor. T-Bone and Monique are the Resident Assistants on 3rd floor, Robby and I on 2nd floor, and Bri and Christian are on 1st floor. Summer had the grand idea of going with the brothers to Yosemite to hike Half Dome, and this weekend was it! Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the cables were down for the season, so we ended up hiking up but not all the way to Half Dome. This bridge is the farthest we went. Dave & Christian are about to toss the log over. Bri and I tossed a stick about the size of 1/2 our arm over to see how fast the river was going, but it immediately was sucked up into the water, never to be seen again. So as we were looking for something bigger, Christian joined the forces and found this dead tree lying on the ground. He and Dave were the only ones strong enough to lift it. It was pretty cool to watch it be tossed and turned down the falls.
My favorite memories besides the big hike on Good Friday was climbing lower Yosemite Falls and watching Christian and Robby pose at the top of the rocks as superheroes, playing Mafia after dark and just plain hanging out with everyone! God has granted us an awesome brother-sister team this year in His overwhelming goodness.

May you go today or tonight or this morning reflecting on the Lord's goodness--not only in the circumstances of your life--but also in the fact that He sent His Son to die for our sins and to raise on the third day, conquering eternal death and separation. On my behalf. On your behalf.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Busers

I made contact with Brooks and Brandon Buser tonight. They are the sons of Brad Buser, who was one of my professors last spring. I'm sitting in on Brad's same class again this semester, Cross-Cultural Church Planting. He's pretty much the one to blame for my opened eyes to unreached people groups (besides the Lord's grace, of course). Brooks and Brandon both live with their families in PNG and are career missionaries with NTM as well. I contacted each of them in regards to the possibility of me living with them after Interface is over. That's all for the PNG update as of now. Continue to pray for my own patience and reliance on the Lord.

I've been listening to John Piper's Desiring God radio podcasts this week, and he's expositing Romans. Yesterday and today were spent in Romans 8:28-30. As a counseling major, or as any Christian here at Master's, we use these verses quite frequently. I confess that hearing them has become quite routine--especially verse 28--and I have personally grown complacent in my understanding of them. However, Piper shed a whole new light on them this week. He taught on the doctrine of glorification from these three verses, pointing out that the reason we know that all things work for the good of those who love God is that one day we will be found with Him in a glorified state. Verses 29 and 30 are the foundation for our faith as believers in the promise of verse 28. Just some thoughts to ponder. I highly recommend the past two days' downloads.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

waiting

Hi friends. It's been too long since the last post. Sorry. This is partly due to the fact that not much has changed in regards to PNG. Still waiting to hear on the go-ahead or no-go from a certain family in regards to staying with them after the first six weeks at Interface. Still praying and waiting and trusting the Lord in this aspect. I think the Lord has been teaching me leaps and bounds about waiting. Over spring break, as most of you know, I heard back from Dallas Seminary and they want clarification on my education and how it will help ministry goals. I am in no-man's land about where I will be living in PNG during the month of July. Yes, there are thing that I can do about things such as these. I can write a letter of appeal. I can contact so-and-so. But I as I was praying through these thoughts I really just had a burden that the Lord was telling me to wait. To wait on Him and His perfect timing. I have been taught so much about God's sovereignty and speak of it often whether in counseling situations or conversation with friends, and now is the time for me to put it into action personally in my own life. So that's where the standing is with PNG. I am leaving from LA on May 20 and coming back to LA on July 19. What happens in between those times only the Lord knows.

On another note, I was catching up on Gunner's blog, and he posted the other day something quite intriguing: RA interview questions. Because they provoked so much thought in my own heart and I think you are more inclined to read them here than following a link to his page, I am re-posting them. These are not staple, run-of-the-mill questions, because they were not included in my own interview a year ago. That's the beauty of it. The RD's ask whatever is on their hearts that might expose the potential RA's heart to them. Read on and be challenged:

1. Are you hard to lead?
2. What are some things that you know well but you're not putting into practice?
3. Tell my why I should follow Christ.
4. How do you fight against apathy when you're consistently in a Christian environment?
5. Are there any fractured relationships in your life right now?
6. What makes you laugh?
7. How do the people around you know that you love them?
8. How do you think the Lord has humbled you the most over the past year?
9. How would you minister to people who are spiritually comfortable and who don't care about things of the Lord?
10. What have you risked for Christ?

Friday, March 16, 2007

one of those days

I cried a lot yesterday. It was just "one of those days." I am writing about it today because I was so physically, spiritually and emotionally exhausted by the time I got home last night (last night of being home, too) that I had nothing to give. The day was extremely sobering. I spent an incredible amount of time wandering around aimlessly--outside, inside, to the front deck, down the street, back again--just thinking. The weather is beautiful and my heart was full. Being around people that I do not normally see (family, old friends, neighbors) causes me to think. I think about their salvation and if I will see them in paradise. I think about my responsibility to share Christ with them. I think about my own relationship with the Father and how my actions reveal my true heart's intent.

There was a skateboarder coming towards me as I was walking down the street. His iPod was in, backpack on, and he seemed to be content in boarding down the hill to whatever destination. Out of habit I looked him in the eye, smiled and nodded as our paths crossed. He looked at me with a bit of confusion in that split-second. I wonder if he knows Christ. I wonder if I'll ever see him again, to be able to ask him that question.

I have shared with some of you the spiritual pull on deciding how cross-cultural missions fits into my life. As college comes to an end and more and more options become readily available, I often think about taking the step of moving into career mission work. In eighth grade I read Jim Elliot's biography and discovered my heart for unreached people groups. Sure, I get to spend part of this summer in that exact context, but that's not a lifetime. How does a believer determine where God wants them? Summer and I talked about this on Wednesday night. We were talking about not being sure what the future holds (are any of us sure, for that matter?), and that not being sure is living by faith. This is what God requires, and this is what we should be ecstatic about. Why am I not?

I got an email from Brad Buser yesterday. He is probably the person I have discussed this most with, and his words became very real to me:
"I DO understand your fear...but you'll regret at some level letting that fear hold sway over how you serve your King. To look you in the eye and say what I'm saying here would be hard, I care much you don't think I'm reckless about what this could mean to you...but you must move forward with courage and conviction with what God has shown you is important to Him. As I said in class and say always....read what Jesus said and do it. Someday we'll ALL be standing before the One who left heaven alone, came and walked with those who didn't understand or appreciate him, died for us...and gave us the incredible privilege of working for His honors sake. Hold back nothing girl...You're crazy to be afraid...but it will be shortsighted to let those fears impinge in any way on what He might have for you. Keep in mind...He's a wonderful, good, understanding Lord...but He must be Lord first."

I got to visit the Jordan family last night--sat out with Lance and Meredith and had dinner with the girls. Times like that spent with people such as the Jordans are cherished deeply in my heart. Meredith and I talked about fears and desires and how they all play into God's redemption plan for the world. Like Brad wrote, it will be shortsighted to let fears impinge in any way on what God might have for us.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

JMK, the wasp & Dr. Wong

Many unexpected things have happened within the last 24 hours, and I would like to tell you about them, for the purpose of praising God's faithfulness in our lives.

First, Jake Keller (JMK) stopped by last night after a short choir concert. I thought he might be coming by, but I was really surprised that he showed up (I had my doubts, buddy). We had a sweet time chatting with my parents and then late into the night. It is so great to be able to hang out with a long-lost brother and have purposeful conversation. I'm sad that we don't have more opportunity to cath up during regular life, but these times that are few and far between are held dear. I was encouraged to hear about Creekside's youth group and where the Lord is working in the lives of my former junior highers (Jake took over my role when I left for Master's). I am glad they are still in good hands with JMK and the other leaders. Thanks for stopping by, Jake!

Second, Jake left late (and we stood outside talking for another 30 minutes or so). I came back inside and went to pull the blinds in my room, only to feel a sharp pain in the pinky of my right hand. It felt like a bite, so I turned on the overhead lamp and saw a mark, and pain was beginning to spread to the hand. Since black widows are known to reside in my house, I ran to my parent's room and said as calmly as possible, "Mom, I got bit." My dad jumps up and says, "What!?" Then I start crying because I think I am about to die while mom takes me to the kitchen sink to run cold water over the site of pain and dad goes hunting for whatever it was. He found a wasp, and the pain stopped at my wrist, so we assume that I was merely stung. Obviously, I did not die; 4 ibuprofen and 2 full-strength bennedryl did the trick. The finger is still swolen, but that's about it. It was funny that I had just commented to my dad at dinner about how I want to be able to write with my left hand better, and he asked why. This is why. So that when I get stung on the right hand, I can still write. The reality of God's control and sovereignty in the seemingly little moments became very real to me. I'm really thankful that it wasn't a black widow.

Third, I had a Dr. appointment this morning at 10. Due to the strength of the 2 bennedryl, I did not wake up until 9:15. I headed right over to the offices and had a great checkup. I had forgotten that Dr. Wong is a believer, and we talked a bit about missions. (If you are reading this, Dr. Wong, thank you.) There have been so many opportunites to share the gospel and be encouraged by fellow believers through preparation for this trip!! Yesterday I saw the eye doctor, and he is definitely not a believer. While he was giving me advice about making my "story" of PNG known after the trip, I simply told him that I am not striving for my own glory, by for God's. I do not know how much of that he understood, but God promises that His Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11).

These are three of the surprises that God has placed in my life in the past 12 hours. I am thankful for every little thing He places in our lives for the greater purposes of His glory.

Monday, March 12, 2007

What is love without much risk?

I stole the title from song lyrics by Bethany Dillon. Her words have been heavy on my heart these past few days. I wrote last Wednesday about the PNG visa only being valid only until July 19. On Thursday afternoon I met with the missionaries I am supposed to be staying with after the Interface program, the Swansons. We started out talking about my extended stay, and how it is not going to be possible with the Swansons or their tribe. There are very wise reasons behind this, and again, I am driven to trust in the Lord. What more could I ask for? There are a couple of more contacts being made as you are reading this, so be sure to check back for new updates.

I was SOO encouraged by converstaion and time together with the Swansons (if you are reading this--thank you, again). I walked back up the hill afterwards in tears--not because I was sad about not being able to stay with them--but because of their heart for unreached people in PNG. Christ's own heart really shone through their words and attitudes and decisions. They are driven by the love of Christ in them, taking the risks necessary to show this love to people who do not know it. I so desire to follow long and hard after Christ as they do. There is absolutely nothing worth staying for here in America, in the light that there are people who have not heard the gospel in other lands. This brings me back to Bethany's thought: What is love without much risk? My answer would tend to be that it isn't love at all. Our example of love is God. And God risked His own Son so that we might know Him and know love. I do not mean to judge the level of one's love by the amount of risk involved. That is not the point at all. However, I do see appropriate to think about how much we are risking of ourselves to love others.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles

There was a statement said in church this morning that provoked me to go back in previous studies and look up the biblical method of mission. I took the class entitled "Biblical Method of Mission" from Tatlock last spring, and the following is just a condensed version of notes on the theology of redemption. Small disclaimer: I am by no means a theological scholar or expert in Biblical studies. The purpose of this is to clear confusion in my own heart and provide opportunity for you to learn alongside me.

In this class I learned the method of chronological teaching of the gospel account from Genesis to Revelation. I briefly wrote about this in a previous post having to do with telling Ryan (4 years old) who Jesus was. Yea verily, I will be addressing the theology of redemption and chronological teaching hand-in-hand.

Creation & Fall: Genesis 1-3
God created everything (angels included) and delegated authority. Lucifer asserted his independence by saying "I will make myself like the Most High." Creation was attempting to be like the Creator. Other angels followed and an alternative kingdom came to order, resulting in competition for the glory of God.
see: Ezekiel 28:12-16; Jude 9; Isaiah 14:12-14; Revelation 4
When God created man, He allowed man the freedom of choice. This is because true fellowship involves moral choice, and true worship is granted to us because God gave man and woman this choice. Man and woman asserted their own independence. We are familiar with the fall of man--the choice to sin--the choice of seeking to be the ultimate authority. Satan is cursed and we see the first entrance into physical death.
see: 1 Timothy 2:13-14; Genesis 3:1-4; Romans 1:18-25

Reconcillation: Genesis 3
It is God Himself who alwasy initiates the redemption of man. This displays the missionary heart of God. God is a missionary God. He came to seek and save the lost. God initiates, extends, provides, and grants reconcilliation. Verse 15 is the reference to the promise for reconcilliation. The "seed" is the protoevangel, the first of the good news.
See: Luke 19:10; Luke 15, Ephesians 2:8-9

The Flood: Genesis 6-9
God is giving man a second choice to worship Him. There is a promise to not destroy man (totally) through natural disaster, and a future plan is now to redeem man (the time we are currently living in).

Ethnic Peoples: Genesis 10-11
Here we read about the emergence of different ethnic peoples. They are motivated to build the Tower of Babel to keep themselves together. God had instructed them to "go out" and "subdue the earth;" however, they chose to function in direct rebellion. Thus, he confused their languages. They were forced to separate, and we are now pursuing these nations. (Side note: the only time this was counter-acted is in Acts 2 at Pentecost.) After the confusion of the languages the people began to extend the work of the nation of Israel.

5 Covenants
1. Noaic Cov: Gen. 6:18-20 and 9:9-17
No more total destruction by flood, but there will be another dstruction.
2. Abrahamic Cov: Gen. 12:3; 15:18 and 17:3-7
Covenant not to destroy, but actively rescue mankind, to restore a right relationship with God.
3. Mosaic Cov: Deut. 5:1-21 and 29:10-13
Law given to the Israelites who are called His chilren.
4. Divinic Cov: 2 Sam. 7:12-17 and Psalm 132:1-4
The second aspect of the two-fold kingdom restoration plan (man's redemption as well as the redemption of God's kingdom).
5. New Cov: 1 Cor. 11:25-26 and Heb 8:8-13
His children are no longer under the Law, for grace now governs their relationship with Him. A mediator is no longer needed and they are allowed a personal relationship with Him.

Establishing Israel: Ezekiel 38:12
God placed them in the center of the land (earth) geographically (in the middle of valley and trade routes). They were to become lands of commerce, trade, conquest, etc. This allowed for several cross-cultural exchanges. Israel's role is to be the "nation of priests."

Examples of Gentiles in the OT:
- 2 of the 5 women mentioned in Christ's geneaology (Mt. 1) are Gentiles, Rahab and Ruth.
- Samson marries Delilah in 2 Sam. 13:5-14
- in Ruth 1:1 a Jewish woman and her 2 Moabite or Gentile daughters-in-law. Ruth chooses to identify herself with the Jews and worship their God. She chooses to be grafted into the Israelite race.
- The story of the Philistines in 2 Sam. 4:1--5:12 against the Israelites. The P's capture the Ark of the Covenant and add it to their collection of gods. First their main idol fell over prostrate to the Ark and then the idol fell and its head was broken off.
- Psalms 2, 22, 47, 50, 67, 72, 96 tell us that God is exalted above all else and that all the peoples praise Him, "Let the nations be glad."
- Solomon offered a prayer of dedication to the temple (1 Kings 8:22 and 2 Chron. 6), validating that the temple belonged to the Gentiles just as much as it belonged to the Jews.
- a pagan queen came to investigate the person of and faith of King Solomon, eventually coming to faith (1 Kings 1:10).
- Rahab in 2 Kings 17--she was a Gentile! The blessing of salvation is not only for the Jews.
- the beautiful story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). Elijah demonstrated that Jehovah God is One, true God, and that there is only one God.
- Elisha is a Gentile military officer who represents God (2 Kings 5)
- Hosea is a picture God wanted to illustrate to Israel about their own idolatry. It illustrates that God will always be faithful to His covenant, and this is a reminder of God's covenant plan (the New Cov).

**The whole OT lives in a missionary atmosphere and is brought to life with the love of God of the whole earth for all His children:
Micah 4:1-4; Habakkuk 2:14; Haggai 2:7; Zechariah 2:10; Malachi 1:11

First to the Jews...
Romans 1:16, 2:10
Matthew 10:18-23

then to the Gentiles.
Luke 10:1-17
1. proclamation of gospel to be accompanied by works of compassion
2. leave the people who do not receive the message
3. the gospel is not limited to only the Jews
4. this number actually symbolized the number of the Gentile nations (72). Compare with Gen. 10 ("70 Gentile peoples")
Matthew 10:5-6
1. the need is urgent, time of opportunity short
2. preaching is to the Gentiles, too

Jesus' Earthly Ministry
Luke 2: Simeon had waited his whole life for this moment
Luke 4: Christ's first ministry speech. The chooses 2 OT examples to tell the crowd that the Gentiles will be saved, but his own hometown will reject him. He confronts the Jews on their pride, limited view of the Blessing, etc.
Luke 10:25: singles out the Samaritan to be the example (1/2 breed points to those who are despised)
Luke 11 (Matt. 8): Christ is telling the Jews that the Gentil has greatER faith and that we will be seeing Gentiles sitting in heaven with the Jewish patriarchs
Matt. 12:38- pointing to the Gentile revival
Mark 11:12-19- the actual location of the moneychangers was in the portion of the Temple called the Court of Gentiles. They were violating the cov.

These are only a few thoughts. I was just thrown off by the statement that redemption of the Gentiles, the "mystery," was a surprise to the Ephesians/New Cov believers. Clearly, it was not. I have more references on this if you would like the extended version.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

flexability is key

I have been learning firsthand what the phrase "getting there is half the adventure" really means. Somewhere early in my missions education I learned that a missionary must be flexible with their plans. It just naturally makes sense. And if you think about it long enough, we should be flexible as believers in general. Not as a cliche, but as a reminder, I quote Proverbs 16:9, "The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Though we may have something in mind--a plan for anything taking place in our lives--our sovereign God overrules our plans to fulfill His purposes. In light of this, I received news this morning that I will not be allowed to stay in PNG as long as originally planned. For whatever governmental purposes, I am not able to obtain a visa that lasts for more than 58 days. Thus, I am required to leave the country on July 19. I understand that my departing flight will be on that day, but again, the Lord may have something else in mind. I'm not going to pretend, but this saddens me a little bit. I was really hoping to stay in PNG for as long as possible, living and learning, living alongside like-minded people for the greater purposes of God's glory. I really have no idea what will happen upon my return to the states, other than debriefing with Dr. Tatlock. I now have an extra 6 weeks of summer break. But obviously, the Lord has bigger plans in mind. I am reminded of another Proverb, "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes..." (3:3-4a). There is a myriad of possibilities that could occur during this time, and even the current information has a possibility of being changed. The purpose of this is to keep you updated in prayers and our focus on God's greater plan of redemption for the world.

I read this post about living a missional life in the area of spending and think you too might be encouraged by it.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Happy Birthday, Daddio




Today is Dad's 48th birthday. I have thought of reasons why I admire my poppio:

- he loves Jesus. Reilly, what else is there?
- he is adventurous. I credit my own liking to the great outdoors and desire to take the unbeaten path to all the times we went hiking as kids.
- he loves mom more than any other earthly thing. Not only has he set the example for men around him, but for his 4 daughters as well.
- he plays guitar. Pretty much anyone who can play guitar somewhat well is cool. He used to make up songs for us about chores or naptime or anything. In the old house, his guitar hung in the family room and he would play it quite frequently.
- he is a PE teacher to elementary students. I have watched my dad be a teacher in many different capacities, from high school to 5th grade. Because of things I have seen him endure as a teacher--things that most people are not aware of--I have no desire in me to be a teacher myself. He has an admirable job.
- he never wanted sons. This is rare among men, I know. I can distinctly remember dad talking about how he prayed the 4th baby was not a boy (this was before we found out it was a girl). Even our dog is a girl. Maybe dad never wanted the competition a son might bring. :) Now if you ask any of us girls, we've always wanted brothers.
- he can strike up a conversation with anyone. Dad is not a social person in the aspect that he goes out a lot or attends social events frequently. However, he is extremely social in the aspect that he can carry a conversation with anyone he meets, never allowing for awkward moments. Talking just comes naturally to him!
- he knows something about everything. Dad is the man to go to for a question about anything, whether it be the name of Paul Revere's horse or how to bud a tree. I know, right? Who really takes the time to study and read up on those things? Only dad. He could probably win Who Wants to be a Millionaire if he wanted.
- he is a servant. I think I learned servanthood from dad. When I learned about servanthood in the Bible (Philippians 2:1-18), I realized that this is the example that dad had been setting for me my whole life.
- he trains as a cage fighter. I know what you're thinking: "What?! Your dad is a cage fighter?" Allow me to explain. He started out in Olympic Style Taekwondo, and after obtaining an black belt and taking some years off to train for a cycling race, he got back into martial arts. But he wanted to study Brazilian Jui-Jitsu. So he goes 3-4 times a week to a gym and trains with guys who actually participate in real cage fights. They're a lot younger than 48.

Those are just some of the characteristics that I admire about my dad. He has been the most excellent father, husband, and leader to our family. I love him! Happy birthday dad!


Other friends who share this birthday: Chrislyn Wilder, Becca Boone, and Clinton Magee. Happy birthday, all!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Lounge Duty


I do not ever recall meeting someone who enjoyed or looked forward to lounge duty. Here at The Master's College lounge duty includes the following responsibilities:

- be in the lounge 10pm to 2am
- keep it quiet during that time frame
- make sure PDA is kept to a minimum
- kick out people who are too loud or disobeying rules (watching movies w/external speakers is the most common)
- night runs: collecting curfew sign-ins at midnight
- imploring fines to those who come in late or forget to sign in (which is an adventure in and of itself)
- making sure the upstairs study lounge is kept library quiet at all times
- close both lounges (kick everyone out, clean up, rearrange furniture that has been moved, turn off lights) at 2am

I personally think that lounge duty is one of the more sanctifying experiences of my time here at Master's. As an RA, I have this responsibility every other week (praise Jesus for the co-ed dorm that we split responsibility with...otherwise we would have it every week). I knew of this duty going into the job, but I did not think it would be as stretching as it really is. Most nights are not difficult as far as keeping people calm and collected. Until the night that Hotchkiss men run in with their Super Soakers and proceed to empty them upon our lounge attendees here in C-Dub. Besides night runs and the possibility of someone not being here (and then having to track them down after they are over 45 minutes late), the hardest part is staying up until 2am. I am a person who functions best on 9 hours of sleep per night, and this is just not a reality on lounge duty nights. I once heard Piper speak on the topic of sleep. He commented that needing large(r) amounts of sleep is something he fights for, because he believes that he is less prone to sin when he has adequate sleep. I concur. It sure is a fight the next morning to wake up at a disciplined time, because my body wants more rest though it knows that I have a whole slew of things to get done that day. And I am more prone to napping in the afternoon, thus throwing off the sleep schedule for about a week. I have a bad attitude about lounge duty. It's pretty annoying when I am waiting for someone to leave the lounge at 2am and they just want "8 more minutes." Or when there are 7 people in the downstairs lounge, with a grand total of 1 actually doing something productive. Last year in chapel Joe made the comment that nothing good comes after 11pm. I am beginning to believe this more as I do lounge duty. I just want you to be in on a little part of my life. Jesus calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Now is the time to mourn. :) Really, though, God has allowed this process in my life so that I might rejoice in all things and fight my own desires and swear to my own hurt. Like I said, lounge duty is a sanctifying process. Then there are the nights when this happens, too (see picture above). Dave Hulet is our men's Resident Director. Yes, this is his car. Yes, it is in the lounge. Those nights of lounge duty just might be worth staying up for.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mortification According to Amos

I looked up the word mortify and found 3 different definitions:
1. to humiliate or shame, as to one's pride or self-respect
2. to subjugate (the body, passions, etc.) by abstinence, ascetic discipline, or self-inflicted suffering
3. to practice mortification or disciplinary austerities
I have been thinking about the mortification of sin in my life most recently. I am quickly becoming convinced that Christians (in America, especially) are not appalled by their sin as the Lord is. Ecclesiastes 3:8 calls for an appropriate time to hate. I believe that the action of hating sin falls into this time frame. The minor prophet Amos preached to the Israelites, "Seek good and not evil, that you may live...Hate evil, love good..." (Amos 5:14-15). Amos was a prophet under the reign of Jeroboam II, which was a time of peace and prosperity, but also during a time that the Israelites lacked true worship and justice. Their worship was ritualistic and routine as they were not pursuing the Lord with their hearts (4:4-5; 5:4-6). Why does God have Amos tell the Israelites to hate evil and love good? Probably because hating evil is hating evil in all capacities, even in our own hearts and lives. If I truly hate evil, I will hate it anywhere I see it. If I love good, I will love it in whatever capacity I am able. Sure, I hate things that are evil (murder, separation from Christ, etc.), but does this really mean that I hate evil? Not if I do not hate the manifestations of it in my own life. In chapel at the beginning of the semester, Joe proposed the thought that "struggling" with sin is merely "putting up" with sin. When I am putting up with sin in my life I am not hating evil and loving good. Ridding of sin takes mortification. It takes hating all that is evil, not just evil things, and loving all that is good.

Postings