Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Mystery

Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat!

So lately the ministry life in Racine has been very hectic. We have helped with 3 different Christmas pageants, had heaps of Christmas cards to send out, & shopping to do on top of our regular schedules. I have been doing a lot of recapping on this year & how weird it's been. This year is definitely one to remember.

At the beginning of the year I fell in love, I graduated undergrad. in May, I had a pretty easy summer with a wedding & spoke folk, my heart was broken at the end of the summer, & then I started team life which is an adventure all of it's own. The one constant thing in all of this has been my faith & God's love that I just really some times have a hard time believing in how amazing it is.

Earlier this week I was fed up with most every aspect of my life. I wanted to quit or so I said. The thing is I never really wanted to quit. I absolutely love the ministry we're doing here & the people we work with of all ages. Even after a stressful day because of whatever reason I enjoy it. Ministry is my life, serving God & others to share His love, that I don't understand, is my passion. I had hit a huge brick wall and couldn't keep going. Thankfully through much prayer & great friends I am working around this wall.

My week got even a bit crazier the next day. I was talking with a good friend and told her that even after all the chaos I still had a strange gut feeling that I needed to go on the winter Spoke Folk tour in Florida. I have been thinking & praying about this tour for a few months now & had so many reason why I shouldn't go and had myself convinced that I wasn't able to go. She suggested that maybe I should explore that weird gut feeling a bit more so I got done talking with her & called my good friend that is the tour director & told him my story. I cannot believe the one ministry that has changed my life so much I was denying myself to think about going on another tour. I decided a few days ago that I would be joining the FL Spoke Folk 07/08 tour because I really feel that is where God wants me.

Yes, it's crazy. I'll be home for two days & off to do more ministry. I have not been this excited about ministry in a long while. God works in awesome mysterious ways! I have no clue what this tour or the 2008 year will bring for me, but I don't need to. Today is what's here & I have given it my best. I pray that everybody has a great Christmas & Happy New Year. You don't need a new year on any calendar to have a fresh start. Each day is a fresh start because of the grace of God.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Are you ready? 20 days left

Life is here & now; it is right in front of you, behind you, all around you, & in you.

Each day people are starving, people are homeless, people are being shot at around the world. Today the big news is a shooting in Omaha, Nebraska. I'm sure this isn't a big news report around the world, but maybe it is. These things are only a few things that start to get a person down in spirit.

This isn't the season of low spirits though. It's advent, a time where people are awaiting the birth of God's son. The son of God that saved our lives. How could anybody not want to be prepared for that celebration? I know, not everybody believes in God, but I have personally explored other religious beliefs and Christianity is the only one that makes any bit of sense to me. The funny thing is that it is not the tangible facts that make me believe, it is the unknown & the unexplained. The miracles such as baby Jesus grew up to share & the simple miracles of people that still believe in a world of terror & harm. This is a world made of humans who only long to have all the answers so that things may not be horrible in any one persons world, but the thing is that no one human has all the answers to the shootings or the hungar or the homeless.

Are we prepared for baby Jesus to come? I have a secret that shouldn't be so much of a secret and hopefully it isn't. Baby Jesus, He's here, He's been here, all around, for hundreds of thousands of uncountable years. How crazy cool & confusing is that?! Baby Jesus is the reason we as humans have life so that life that is here & now & in front of you & behind & all around you & in you, all that is baby Jesus which in essence is God & the holy spirit. So when things start to seem so hard as they some times seem to this time a year more than other times, no matter what you believe, know that there is a HUGE celebration called Christmas ALL over the world celebrated in many different ways for the birth of this baby who left a powerful impact on the world & that you are invited to join in just by acknowledging that the life in and around you is yours given to you. It is a gift worth celebrating and giving thanks to Jesus by knowing each day that you've done your best in all you've been involved with no matter what & shared that bit of Jesus with all those you interacted with. Be joyful for all that you have.

My team & I are joyful for all the wonderful people we've been blessed to meet through Youth Encounter, through Racine, in the churches we're working with, and the worship services we've been able to go to. Each day may bring a different challenge, a different hungar, homelessness, shooting, but each day God is with us breathing into us giving us reason to be joyful. Be ready!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

sound of melodies

can you hear the sound of melodies?

This weekend my teammates and I went to see Casting Crowns, Leeland, and John Waller. John Waller is a new artist and was pretty good. Casting Crowns are inspiritational in their music & passion to serve & Leeland really was amazing. One of Leeland's best known songs is Sound of Melodies and in it they ask God if he can hear the sound of melodies being sung by His children. It was a really powerful hearing the song live.

Lately the sound of melodies in my life have been various. It has been the little things that have kept me singing in a sense. There is one little boy at Emmaus, our Wednesday church, that is a joy to work with. One particular Wednesday we were playing Connect 4, a classic game and he was so funny. It was a simple thing and just the laughter gave me reason to want to continue giving my time to the ministry. Then for Thanksgiving we, my team & the Wed. church, helped put together Thanksgiving baskets heaping with all sorts of food for different families in the area. It was such a blessing to not only be able to help donate the food needed for the baskets, but to help deliver them to a few families. There is so much love shared just in a smile and a few "thank you Jesus!"

The worship at the concert the other night was phenominal. The worship last night with several people that have been on a Youth Encounter team was great too. It's amazing to know how my sound of melodies is reaching people and most importantly God because I know all the people I've met have sang to me. Cheesy, I know, but that's how it is. If you are reading this you have helped shape me into who I am today whether through good or bad and I thank you.

Some upcoming funness with our team or other updates is that we have hosted a few of the traveling teams in the last month and one coming to us this week as well. It's been really good for us to interact with these friends since we are all working for the same organization and we only get to see them once more at debriefing next August. I'm very excited about this weeks team because one of my best friends from undergrad. is on the team. We have Christmas pageants coming up and our weekly schedule has become more busy with ministry opportunities such as helping with the Christmas pageants. We love this season & sharing the joy & anticipation of the celebration of the birth of our savior & are blessed to be able to share it with so many people.