Sunday, December 13, 2015

{Untitled}

I honestly wasn't even sure what to title this post, because it is just a seemingly random compilation of thoughts I've been having about Moses, the Israelites, Pharaoh, and ISIS.

At our church here in Honduras, we have a song we sing about God throwing Pharaoh and his armies into the Red Sea when they were pursuing the Israelites. It is a very upbeat, joyful song, and from the first time we sang it, I had a problem with it. Yes, it is great that God rescued His chosen people, and I can rejoice in that, but when Pharaoh and his people were thrown into the sea, they died and of course went straight to hell because their hearts had been hardened to God. How can we sing and rejoice in the death of all those lost souls?

The past few weeks I have been reading in Exodus, and my housemates and I have been listening to a sermon series from that book. When I reread the story of the parting of the Red Sea and Pharaoh's death, those same feeling came up, but with another thought: ISIS.

Even though I am living in another country, I still try to keep up with the news from the US and world events so I better know how to pray for the world, and I've seen a lot of news about ISIS lately. And when I thought about God destroying the enemies of the Israelites, I also thought, "What if God did that for us today? What if He destroyed all of ISIS? Would we not sing and rejoice that we are free from that burden?" But at the same time, we KNOW that the members of ISIS are lost souls, who would also be on the fast track to hell if they were killed. Can we really rejoice in that?

I've also been reading this fiction series (which sometimes challenges me to think more that nonfiction books) about a Christian group whose job is to rescue Christian missionaries from dangerous countries and situations where they are being tortured or soon to be killed. But when this group comes in to rescue the missionaries, they do it by nonlethal methods. They use tranquilizer guns and as little violence as possible, trusting God to watch their backs and hopefully change the hearts of the persecutors in the process. I know that these are just fiction books and people would call it crazy to try to do that in real life, but doesn't the battle belong to the Lord anyways? If we would submit to him, won't He fight for us?  God has wiped out people groups before all over the Old Testament when His people turned to Him and trusted their battles to Him. And I have to come to peace with the fact that sometimes that is His will. But when we are fighting a losing battle against a group that is clearly against the people of God, I have to wonder what God's will is here, and if we are truly seeking it and following it.

Like I said, just some random thoughts of mine from the past few weeks. Probably not the upbeat "it's almost Christmas!" post you were expecting (but I will be coming home on Friday, so yay!). But please, pray for our country and our leaders, that we would find and follow God's will in this battle, and every other one we are fighting. God wants victory for us. Let's claim that promise.

"For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory." Deuteronomy 20:4

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from me and this class of 1st grade turkeys!


Give THANKS unto the Lord, call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the people.
And say ye, Save us, O God of our salvation,
and gather us together, and deliver us from the heathen,
that we may give THANKS to thy holy name,
and glory in thy praise.
1 Chronicles 16:8, 35

I will praise the name of God with a song,
and will magnify him with THANKSGIVING.
Psalm 69:30

Let us come before his presence with THANKSGIVING, 
and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. 
Psalm 95:2

Enter into his gates with THANKSGIVING,
and into his courts with praise;
be THANKFUL unto him, and bless his name.
Psalm 100:4

I will offer to thee the sacrifice of THANKSGIVING,
and will call upon the name of the Lord.
Psalm 116:17

O give THANKS unto the Lord, for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give THANKS unto the God of gods:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give THANKS to the Lord of lords:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give THANKS unto the God of heaven:
for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalm 136:1-3, 26

Sing unto the Lord with THANKSGIVING;
sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
Psalm 147:7

I THANK my God always on your behalf,
for the grace of God which is given to you by Jesus Christ;
1 Corinthians 1:4

For all things are for your sakes,
that the abundant grace might
through the THANKSGIVING of many
redound to the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:15

Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness,
which causeth through us THANKSGIVING to God.
For the administration of this service not only supplieth the wants of the saints,
but is abundant also by many THANKSGIVINGS unto God;
THANKS be unto God
for his unspeakable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:11-12, 15

Be careful for nothing; but in everything 
by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING
let your requests be made known unto God.
Philippians 4:6

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body;
and be ye THANKFUL.
Colossians 3:15

In every thing give THANKS:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thankfulness

Although Thanksgiving is obviously not a thing here in Honduras, we do celebrate a day of thanks at school, and so leading up to that, I have been having my older students write a list of things they are thankful for each day. Since we're all in the thanksgiving holiday mindset, I would like to share some awesome people I have been super thankful for the past year and a half.

I have to start with my mom. When I first broached the subject of teaching in another country for a year, I expected a major freak-out, but she was very calm, which was one of my first signs that this was the right thing to do. Although I know she's not 100% thrilled about me being so far away, she is 100% supportive and encouraging, and is always there when I need teaching advice or just a friend to talk to. I never really thought my mom would be one of my best friends, but she is, and I am so thankful for her love and desire to protect me, but also her willingness to give me up to what God has for me.

Then there's my dad. He's the one who always wants to know all the details. I think he's had to learn along with me that we don't always get to see all the details, but God does. I am thankful for his supportiveness as well. I got blessed with two awesome parents who love the Lord, and I am beyond thankful for both of them.

Rhonda Jackson is the woman who God called to start the ministry of Destino del Reino. I am thankful for her leadership, and her total obedience and submission in everything God has called her. She has an incredibly huge faith, and without her willingness to be used, this ministry would not be where it is. Her story has taught me to trust God more, and be more sensitive to His promptings. I am thankful she allowed me to come here to teach for a year, which turned into two years, which will turn into I don't know what!

Jenna is on her 5th year here, and I am so thankful for her experience so when the rest of us pester her with questions, she usually has the answers. I love her sweet spirit and her encouraging words. She also has an awesome faith that has challenged me in my time here. And she's the social butterfly of our group, so she draws me out of my shell a lot.

Bethany came the year before I did, and she is an introvert like me, so we understand each other. I assist her in her classes, and she in my 9th grade class, so I am thankful we can bounce ideas off of each other. She is a very deep thinker, and I am also thankful for the way she challenges us with the tough questions. Also, both Bethany and Jenna are musically talented, so I get doubly-blessed with random worship jam sessions at home.

Sheena and Kathy are the two older ladies who teach with us. I am thankful for their faith and life experiences, and the wisdom they share with us daily. Plus, they read awesome books all the time, which they then pass on to the rest of us :) The Lord knew what He was doing when He brought all of us to work and do life together.

These are just the few of the reasons I have to be thankful. God blessed me with each of you who read this and pray for me or support me financially, so thank you as well.


I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge—God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Tent in the Wilderness

Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.
Exodus 33:7-11

Last night my housemates and I listened to a sermon from Francis Chan about being awed by the presence of God. He talked about when Moses would go up the mountain and speak with God, and what an incredible thing that was for the people to see. And now, in today's world, each of us has the opportunity to go up the mountain ourselves every day, but we see it as a duty we have to fulfill, or something we have to find time to squeeze into our schedules. 

He also spoke of all the distractions in the world today, and how it is so difficult to focus just on one thing, spending time with God, when our culture has conditioned us to multitask everything. I can relate. I am a do-er. My brain is always thinking about the lists of things that need to get done, and it is so hard to shut that off.

I also came to the realization that when I pray, I don't always expect God to answer. I've held this false belief that it is too much to ask God to respond to me every time I pray. How did it take me this long to realize how crazy that is? Is anything too much for God? Shouldn't I instead be concerned if He wasn't speaking back to me when I pray? But by holding onto this thought, I fear I have often shut out His voice. But no longer. 

A few weeks ago when I was praying, I asked God to show me a verse, and Luke 5:16 automatically popped into my head:
 "And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed." 
This sermon brought this verse back to mind. In the wilderness there is nothing. No distractions. Nothing keeping you from spending that time with God. I know I need to find my wilderness in my mind, and in the silence, expect God to speak. Every. Time.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Flood

I've never really understood how a flood works. How can all that water just appear so quickly? How can you not realize what is happening and get out before it is too late? Houses and things will get destroyed, okay, but people downing? How does that happen?

Friday night seemed to be a normal night here. I listened to a sermon with my housemates, we watched a movie through headphones because the rain was too loud to hear the TV, and then I went to bed. It rains often in the night, I didn't think anything of it. Until the next morning when I got on Facebook and saw pictures of a restaurant we eat at occasionally on Sundays filled with water up to table height. And a school bus parked outside one of the bus stations underwater up to its windows. In the night, while I slept peacefully to the sound of rain, it flooded in Siguatepeque. People were forced out of their homes in the middle of the night. A family of seven that one of the missionaries here knows, drown. A video was posted of water rushing into the restaurant that was flooded, and it is crazy to see how fast the water rises, and how fast it moves. 

And this morning, a realization came to me. This is exactly how sin works in our lives. It starts as a little "rain" that may seem harmless, and suddenly you find yourself drowning in the midst of a flood, wondering how you got there, how it got so bad so quick. I know I have had moments like that, and I've heard stories recently of other people who could probably relate, too. Luckily, God is a good weatherman, and "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13). If we are looking for that way out when the flood rains of sin are coming down, we can trust that God has provided it. 

That's my random thought for the day. If you would like to help with the relief effort here, one of the missionaries has started a Go Fund Me page and is partnering with local churches to help out families who were affected by the flood. You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/z86men6k

Thanks for all you do. Our city covets your prayers. As I write this, it has started raining again. Please pray for God to hold back the rain so we can recover from the flooding.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Changes

Last night we had a special baptism and Lord's Supper service at church, and I was able to witness some of my students, both old and new, get baptized. Seeing them go through this ritual of dying to their old selves and being buried with Christ, then raised to new life in Him, made me really think of the changes I have seen in some of them. 

One in particular was in my 9th grade class last year. When I took over that class, I didn't really know what his deal was. He seemed lazy and uncaring to me. It was a little annoying, actually. But during those 5 months I taught that class, something changed. I don't know how or why it happened, but one day in a group project for missions day where his group had to research Islam and compare it to Christianity, the kid that never wanted to put in the effort stepped up and appointed himself leader of his group. He started delegating tasks and helping others in the group. I was surprised, but impressed, and made a point of telling him how much I appreciated him stepping up and being a leader.

This year this student is in my class of 10th and 11th grade students who have a lower English level and need some extra help. I also have one student in that class who is new to the school this year and has never had an English class before, so on the first day of class I asked if someone could translate for him. After a few moments of silence, and staring, and crickets chipping, this students I've been writing about volunteered. And he's been helping me out with the new student ever since, working with him on his vocabulary and helping him put sentences together. In English. This is a far cry from the kid I first met who pretty much refused to speak English to me.

Seeing him and these other students take this step of obedience in baptism is so encouraging. These students are growing and learning and teaching others, and I can't wait to see the changes God will continue to bring about in their lives.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Power

Last night, my housemates and I watched a sermon from Louie Giglio where he started off talking about "big words." "Power" is a big word, especially in the States right now with a certain big election coming up. "Power" usually comes with "control," another big word. Everyone wants control. We may not want control of a government, or a whole country, but at the very least, we want to think we have control over ourselves.

I've been reading a book called Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit by Jim Cymbala. In a chapter called "Controlled by the Spirit" he writes: "The irony of Spirit-filled living is that we have to give up power in order to gain a greater power." We want to have power and control over ourselves. Giving up control is scary. But giving up control to the Spirit is scary-awesome. How many times have I tried and failed to do things because I was trying to do them in my own power? What if I just let the Holy Spirit's power flow through me?

"Christianity is not a self-effort religion but rather one of power - the ability and might of the Spirit."

Thank God Christianity is not based on my ability and might! I have no ability except for that which comes through the Spirit. "For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13).

I know this is still an area of struggle for me. I think I've written about it here before. It's one of those things I have to keep surrendering to daily. But I'm realizing that might be a good thing. It keeps the Spirit's power at the forefront of my mind. When I start slipping and failing, I just have to pray, "Spirit, take back over." In fact, after reading this chapter, I've become a lot more intentional about doing this beforehand, even in the little things. "Spirit, give me your power to write these lesson plans." "Spirit, strengthen me to cook this dinner." "Spirit, work through me as I teach this class." This may seem silly, but if it puts me in the habit of focusing on and relying on God's strength instead of my own, then I'll do it every day. 

I would appreciate your prayers for me in this as well. Just whenever I come to mind, pray for some Spirit-strength for me. His strength is all I need.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Second First Week

And just like that, I have survived my second first week of teaching here in Honduras. And let me just say that this week went SO MUCH BETTER than last year. Actually having an idea of what you're getting yourself into makes a huge difference :)

Last year, I learned very quickly to rely on God for help with EVERYTHING, from lesson planning, to discipline, to actually teaching children who just stare at me when I speak to them in English. This year, with God's help and a year of experience under my belt, the first week of planning was a breeze, only had to deal with a few minor behavior problems of my talkative first graders, and I just have one class who stares at me when I speak (the 10th and 11th graders, go figure). 

We're all still getting to know each other, but I can say this year is off to a great start, and I'm looking forward to what the rest of it will hold. Now, if I could just get those teenagers to talk to me...

(my wall in first grade)

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I'm back!

Hello everyone! So after two months at home in the States and a break from the blog, I have been back in Honduras for a week and I have updates! I flew in last Friday, so we had the weekend to get settled back in to our home here before going to school on Monday for a week of planning time. We started out Monday with a devotional from our pastor and then we each got our school schedules. This year I am teaching first and ninth grade again, as well as a group of 10th and 11th graders who need some catching up on their English to get to where they need to be. I am excited about this new schedule, a little nervous for the new classes, but I know it will be great!

After the meeting time, we went up to the Teacher Workroom, which houses all the English resources, and found a TON of boxes of donations that arrived on a container from the States over the summer. We spent the rest of the day sorting through and organizing everything, and by the end of the school day almost everything had a place and we could actually sit down in their again!

Tuesday we stated with our training time. There are no new English teachers for this year as of right now (but if you know anyone who is interested, we can always use the extra help!), but there are three new Honduran teachers. We went over our manual again, and then we were split into discipleship groups which will meet every other Thursday to share areas where we struggle, study the Bible together, and pray. I was nervous to be in a group with four of our Honduran teachers, but I found out I LOVE my group. I kept up with the conversation well, and they spoke to help out my understanding. I know God is going to bring so much unity because of these groups, and so much growth in each of our lives. I am excited to see how this year progresses!

The rest of the week was spent decorating classrooms and getting organized for this year. Next week we will be visiting the homes of our students to talk with the families and pray for them before school starts back on the 31st. Please be in prayer for this new school year and everything God is going to do here. I'm excited to used by Him again for another year with these students.

To God be the glory!
Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Iglesia (Church)

Today was my last Sunday at Destino church until August.

Now that it's the end of the year, I'm pretty proud of myself. Most of the time I can keep up with the sermon pretty well, follow along in my Bible, and write down the main points.

But sometimes, I think I hear one thing, when really our Pastor has said something totally different. Which is still fine. I just take it as the Spirit speaking to me something I need to hear.

That may or may not have happened to me today, I'm really not sure. But here's what I heard: 

"You don't love God enough if you're living to please yourself."

I was taken aback at first. That sounds a little harsh. But as I think about it, there's truth in that statement. If I loved God fully, I would only live to please Him. So I don't love God enough. But does anyone? Can we ever in these human bodies get to the place where we love God "enough," the way He loves us?

I'd love to be in that place. And I'm going to continue working to get to that place. But I know I'm not there yet. I still struggle with the flesh and do things just to please myself sometimes. But I can look back on my past and see growth. I'm not in the same place now that I was. I may not love God "enough," but I love Him more now than I did, say, a two years ago. 

I am excited to be back in the States this summer with my family, and can't wait to see what the Lord continues to teach me and how He grows me there. See all of you in a week!

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Last Day of School!

Whoa! Again, I have to ask, how did I get here? Friday was our last day of school, which meant one thing: PARTIES!

Because I teach three classes, I split my time between three parties, not to mention to women from the government chose the LAST DAY of school to come observe in Prepa (Kindergarten) to make sure the kids were ready for 1st grade. 

From 8-9 I hung out with my 1st graders as we played at the park. Always a blast:



Then it was off to 9th grade from 9-10 while they had some time to hang out and practice for their end of the year performance later that afternoon.

At 10 I went to Prepa to display a little of my English-teaching-skillz before we started our party with hamburgers, coke, games, and ice cream cones!




At 11:30 I went back to 9th grade while they finished up eating, and the whole colegio (7th-10th) walked down to the church for the end of year performances. Each grade had a dance, and they were all pretty good. The band also performed two songs, and Bethany's before-school drama class performed a skit. At the end of the day there were a few tears as students said goodbye to each other, but otherwise it was a happy, fun day full of celebrating everything they've gotten through this year.

Now we have two weeks left here. Two weeks to undecorate our classrooms, curriculum plan for next year, prep for graduations, put on two graduations, and meet with all the parents to give out final grades. A lot to do in two weeks, but after everything else this year, I think I'm ready for the challenge! After that, I will be Georgia-bound for the summer. I'm excited for some time with my family and friends, and then to come back and do it all again next year!

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, May 24, 2015

An Eventful Week

What a fun time we had at school this week! The escuela had their first ever Field Day on Tuesday, so we spent the whole day playing games and handing out ribbons. Overall the day was a success, and the kids had so much fun. I think it's safe to say both the teachers and students were exhausted after the day was over!





On Thursday, the colegio had their Missions Day. Each grade researched the culture and religion of one country. My 9th grade class researched Lebanon and Islam. The research was rough (me trying to help them do research in Spanish!) but it all turned out pretty well, and I saw students step up into leadership positions I never would have expected.







In the midst of these two events, I started my oral testing with the Prepa and first graders on Wednesday, and we've had two visiting Americans with us to help us out in the school, which has been a huge blessing.

Its crazy to think we are about to enter into our last week of school, and after grades are finished and kids are graduated I will be back in the States for the summer. Time is flying! 

With all of the craziness, it's hard to remember to take time to slow down and just enjoy, but that is my goal for this last week: to not get distracted by all the tests and grades and things that need to get done, but to take time to stop and enjoy. I also feel the need to pour as much into my 9th graders as I can, as this will be the last week at Destino del Reino for some of them. I want to enjoy these last moments with them and help them to remember that even if they are not in our school anymore, there will always be people here that love them and are praying for them.

So here I go. Last week of the school year, finishing it out not with a bang, but with a breath.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"How did I get here?"

Sometimes, in the middle of a stressful week, I ask myself:

"How did I get here? What am I even doing?"

This was one of those weeks. Between planning for our first ever Field Day, getting exams ready, and helping 9th grade research (in Spanish) and get ready for Missions Day, I was stressing myself out.

But it's in the middle of these moments that I get sweet reminders from God. Yesterday, it came in the form of 1 Timothy 1:12:

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, 
who has given me strength to do his work. 
He considered me trustworthy 
and appointed me to serve him."

God is strengthening me. Each and every day my own strength fails, but His strength NEVER fails. I don't even know why I try to rely on my own strength sometimes, because I always end up running back to Him. Maybe one day I'll learn that lesson.

God has called me to serve Him here. He has trusted me with this work. And those times when I feel overwhelmed, I question His judgement: "Are you sure you should trust me with this? Are you sure I can handle this?" But of course, He's God, and He's always sure. He knows what He's doing, and He trusts me, so shouldn't I trust Him?

And so my response turns into thanks. Not stress, or worry, just gratitude. 

Thank you, God, for your strength.
Thank you, God, for your trust in me.
Thank you, God, for your call.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hermoso y Roto (Beautiful and Broken)

Last night, my housemates and I were going back over some of David Platt's points from Secret Church to digest and discuss a little more. We read through the awesomeness of who God is (creator of all, holy above all, just, good, and gracious) and then we got to who we are.

Beautiful, 
because we were created by this perfect God.
Broken,
because we have allowed sin to enter our lives.

And when we go back to the Garden, we see sin entered through a question: 

"Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"
Genesis 3:3

And so David's point was we take God's commands ("The Lord God commanded the man saying, 'From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat") and turn them into questions ("Did God actually say...?").

And therein lies the problem.

And so the question was posed: "What command from God do you most often take and turn into a question about God?"

For me, the answer came almost too quickly.

God says, "I know, and am doing what's best for you."

I ask, "Are you sure, God? 
Is this really what's best for me? 
I think I know better..." 

But let me tell you. It's getting better. I used to think I had life under control, that I could handle things. But control is always an illusion, isn't it? Things were never under my control, the God of the universe has always been holding me up. And living here in Honduras has made me release a lot of that false-control back to God, and respond to Him with:

Yes God, you are sure.
This is what's best for me.
You know all.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Testigo (Witness)

Witnessing. It's something we're all called to. No matter who you are, what you're job, if you call yourself a Christian, you also have to call yourself a witness. It's the one job that God assigns to every believer. The New Testament Lexical Aids defines "witness" as "one who has information or knowledge of something; hence, one who can give information, bring to light, or confirm something."

As Christians, we have the most important knowledge EVER. The knowledge of Jesus. And as David Platt challenged in Secret Church last weekend, how could we not share that? How could we not have this burning desire to bring others into the light that we enjoy?

My devotion this month is all about witnessing, and Beth Moore made a statement that really hit me hard. "When we're especially close to our spouses, children or friends, we tend to talk about them twice as much." And it's true. So then I have to ask, is it the same with my relationship with God? Are we so close that I can't have one conversation without bringing Him up, because He is so intertwined in everything I am doing?

Here is Honduras, this is a little easier. Everyone I am surrounded with on a regular basis is a strong believer who does nothing but encourage me in my faith. My whole purpose here is to share God, and I've seen Him do plenty of things worth sharing. 

But I can't help but think about coming home in a month and a half. Will it be the same? Will I continue to live out my job as a witness, or will I see this time as a "break" from the missionary life? Will I continue to share with others about what I've seen God do, or will I choose not to speak up because I think people won't care or won't understand?

The truth is, there are no "breaks." We are all called to be missionaries, and while I may be serving as a missionary overseas right now, this summer I will be a missionary back in my hometown. The lost, hurting,and confused aren't just here, they're there. And God doesn't want me to keep His works to myself, but He calls me to proclaim Him with reckless abandon. 

So will you pray for me to keep this mindset as I think about coming home this summer? And will you pray for me and encourage me while I'm there?

"I will bless the Lord at all times; 
his praise shall continually be in my mouth." 
Psalm 34:1

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Prayer Updates

Here's the realization Jenna, the other colegio English teacher, and I came to the other day:

Oh my gosh. We only have about one more week of real actual teaching left.

WHAT? Where has this year gone? This last partial is absolutely crazy and just when it seems like everything should be winding down, it's all winding up. Right now we're getting ready to write Sponsor Letters (which is no easy feat with Kindergarten and 1st graders who are still struggling with the concept of words in a whole different language), Field Day with the 1st-6th graders, Missions Week with the 7th-9th graders, review for exams, Awards Days for the school and colegio, and then exams, all in the next month! Not to mention a dental team will be here pulling kids out to work on their teeth one week (praise God!).

So with all that said, can I just ask you to pray? Pray for all the craziness that will be going on at the school in the next few weeks, pray for the kids, and pray for me and my fellow teachers, that we will keep our sanity and focus.

This year is going by in a flash, but it has been so great. Excited for all the experiences this last month will hold, and all the ones that are to come next year!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"Teacher, what is peace to you?"

"Teacher, what is peace to you?" 

That is the question I got from one of my sweet 9th grade girls this week. As we enter into the last couple months of the school year, it seems EVERYTHING is crazy, and peace is always just out of reach. But her question made me stop and think, "What is peace to me?" 

Peace is God guarding your heart and mind from all worry.
Peace is a quiet afternoon in the hammock with a good book.
Peace is a weekend at my grandfather's lake house.
Peace is allowing forgiveness to wash over you 
instead of holding on to bitterness.
Peace is keeping your mind focused on God, and trusting in Him, 
even in the midst of chaos.

Peace is not a feeling we can just conjure up whenever we need it, but a state we enter into through the blood of Jesus. Because of Jesus, I can have peace. 

Peace is also a Fruit of the Spirit, and one that I struggle with a little more than others. When you are a natural worrier, peace doesn't come easily (does it come easily for anyone?). Only when I make the conscious choice to allow the Holy Spirit to guard my thoughts can I truly find peace.

So I'd love to know your answers; "What is peace to you?"



Alexa 
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Día de Misiones (Missions Day)

On Friday we had a special day of school for the first through sixth graders called "Missions Day." On Thursday, the teachers spent all day (7 hours) decorating the classrooms to represent the countries we would be teaching the kids about. My group's country was Lebanon, but we also had Tibet; Libya; Chiapas, Mexico; and the Philippines.




On Friday, we all dressed in the traditional clothing of our country, and the kids rotated through each country for 40 minutes with their grade. For each group we told facts about the country, read a story of a missionary in that country, told them ways to pray for the country, gave them a traditional food item to try, a small paper flag, and they got to color a flag and map of the county. And then we started all over with the next group. Six times. It was an exhausting day, but we had fun, and I know the kids did.

The purpose of our school is to create leaders for the Kingdom who will one day go out and serve Christ as missionaries. Missions Day is just one of the ways we help the kids learn about other countries and they help they need. It is our hope that right now the kids are praying for the people of these countries, and even now are beginning to pray about where God will choose to use them when they finish school. It blows my mind to think that in six years some of these kids will be graduating and God could be sending some of them to Lebanon, a country they learned about in the sixth grade. But God has a habit of doing crazy things like that, and so we teach, and we pray that the kids are listening and will one day have the boldness to respond to God's call on their life, because I can tell you from experience, there is no greater thing.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Semana Santa (Holy Week)

This week was what we call "Semana Santa," or "Holy Week." I got to spend an incredible week in Panama with my parents to celebrate. Last Saturday I took a taxi to the bus station in Sigua, a bus to the bus station in San Pedro, a taxi to the airport, a plane to San Jose, Costa Rica, then the same plane to Panama to meet up with my parents who arrived there the night before. Dad had rented a car, and let's just say driving a stick shift all around Panama was an adventure all on its own! It literally took all three pairs of our eyes every time we got in the car to make it anywhere, and we made wrong turns more times than I can count!

On Sunday we went to the Gamboa Union Church with Tony and Lisa Amstutz and family, and after we visited the Miraflores Locks to see how the Panama Canal Operates.



On Monday we walked around Casco Viejo, one of Panama's old cities, and did some shopping.




Tuesday was a visit to the Summit Zoo (the monkeys are my fav).




On Wednesday we went on the awesome boat cruise where we got to feed monkeys that jumped in our boat and spend the afternoon hanging out in hammocks on this floating dock where we ate lunch.






Thursday we toured the ruins of Panama Viejo.




And of course we spent lots of time by the pool and out on the town!





Saturday we got up SUPER early and took our respective flights back to our homes, and I was reunited with my housemates in Honduras one again! 

Today we celebrate the reason we are alive, the conquering of our Savior over the grave. How thankful I am for what He has done for me, and that because of His sacrifice, I can look forward to death because I know it means I will spend an eternity with Him. A week in Panama may have been nice, but forever in heaven? Nothing could ever compare.

"Alive! Alive! Look what mercy's overcome! Death has lost and love has won! Alive! Alive! Hallelujah, Risen Lord, the only One I fall before! I am His because He is alive!" -Alive (Mary Magdalene) from The Story

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mi Salmo Favorito (My Favorite Psalm)

Psalm 34
Praise God Who Judges and Saves

David's song from the time he acted crazy so Abimelech 
would send him away, and David did leave.

I will praise the Lord at all times;
his praise is always on my lips.
(I pray for this to be my attitude all the time.)
My whole being praises the Lord.
The poor will hear and be glad.
(What an awesome testimony!)
3 Glorify the Lord with me,
and let us praise his name together.
(I want my life to invite others into worship with me.)
4 I asked the Lord for help, and he answered me.
He saved me from all that I feared.
(Most recently, I feared going to the Honduran doctor and having him cut into this infection in my leg, but I asked the Lord for help, and he answered! No knife to the leg for me!)
5 Those who go to him for help are happy, and they are never disgraced.
(The Lord is the only One who brings true happiness.)
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him
and saved him from all his troubles.
(Love that we can come before the Lord in full confidence that when we pray to him, he will answer.)
7 The angel of the Lord camps around those who fear God,
and he saves them.
(This is an awesome picture of a guardian angel.)
8 Examine and see how good the Lord is.
Happy is the person who trusts him.
(God invites us, not to just blindly trust Him, but to look at all He has done in the past and see that He is good.)
9 You who belong to the Lord, fear him!
Those who fear him will have everything they need.
(Respect the Lord.)
10 Even lions may get weak and hungry,
but those who look to the Lord will have every good thing.
(Even strong lions have to worry about food, but we can trust God to provide for us.)
11 Children, come and listen to me.
I will teach you to worship the Lord.
(What I am trying to do here in Honduras.)
12 You must do these things 
to enjoy life and have many happy days.
(A formula for joy!)
13 You must not say evil things,
and you must not tell lies.
(Being encouraging will make others happy, and through that make you happy!)
14 Stop doing evil and do good.
Look for peace and work for it.
(Sounds so simple, but sometimes can be so hard!)
15 The Lord sees the good people
and listens to their prayers.
(Such a blessing to have the ear of our God.)
16 But the Lord is against those who do evil;
he makes the world forget them.
(On day all the evil will be forgotten, and only the good will remain.)
17 The Lord hears good people when they cry out to him,
and he saves them from all their troubles.
(My God comes to my rescue!)
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted,
and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.
(Nothing can compare to the comfort of the Lord.)
19 People who do what is right may have many problems,
but the Lord will solve them all.
(He doesn't promise life will be easy, but He will be there to help you through it.)
20 He will protect their very bones;
not one of them will be broken.
(Thankful for God's protection over me.)
21 Evil will kill the wicked;
those who hate good people will be judged guilty.
(One day we will all be judged, and those not covered by the blood of Jesus will be guilty.)
22 But the Lord saves his servants' lives;
no one who trusts him will be judged guilty.
(Those of us who have trusted God will be innocent through the blood of Christ.)

Just some of my own thoughts about this Psalm. It has come up so many times over the years, and different parts have helped me through different situations and circumstances. What's your favorite?

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu