Sunday, December 11, 2016

One Word 2017

As we are coming to the close of 2016, I have been thinking again about my one word for the next year. Many of you know I started two years ago choosing one word to be my focus for the new year, rather than making a bunch of resolutions. Actually, I guess it would be better to say I let God choose one word to be my focus. In 2015, my word was JOY. You can read there how I got started and chose that word.

Then this past year, 2016, I chose FREEDOM. Again, you can read about my struggles with this word. But I am happy to report, looking back, that I do see more freedom in my life. I wrote about some of my perfectionist tendencies, but by taking Sabbath this year, I have found so much freedom from the pressures I put on myself to get everything done right that minute! That has been the biggest source of freedom in my life, allowing myself one whole day to not work, just rest, even when I know there are still papers to be checked and grades to calculate before filling out report cards.

So as I have been thinking about my word for this year, and hearing what the Lord has been putting on my heart, I won't lie, there have been some arguments. I originally wanted my word for 2017 to be "hope." My devotion book I have been using is about "experiencing hope through Jesus' presence." So of course I've been reading a lot about hope, and I thought this would be a good, positive word for the coming year. I am looking forward to a year filled with different hopes.

But there was another word God kept bringing up, starting all the way back in September. I have written in my journal from September 3rd two verses: 

And so after waiting patiently, 
Abraham received what was promised. 
Hebrews 6:15

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14 

Along with the prayer:

Lord, I hear you telling me to wait. Even my Dove chocolate wrapper today said, "What are you waiting for?" What am I waiting for, Lord? You know I am not great at being silent and waiting, but I want to hear from you.

Then the next day, on my Facebook "3 years ago today" feed, this came up:
 
Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. Psalm 39:7
Perfect timing for a reminder not to trust in man's plans, but in God's. He knows what He's doing with me, and He will work everything out without any help from us.


And then again, 6 days later, another Facebook notification, this one from 5 years ago:

God will answer your prayers, and He knows when to give you the answer. Thank you, God, for making me wait for your timing. It's so much better than my own.

One of the teachers asked me after all this, "Do you think 'wait' will be your word for next year?" And I almost immediately said no. I didn't like that word. I don't know if I would call myself an impatient person, but I definitely wouldn't say I'm a patient person either. I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. But I think most of us can agree that we don't like waiting.

But still, that word stayed in the back of my mind, until about a month ago, when when Proverbs 31 Ministries announced an online Bible study they would be doing on Wendy Pope's new book, "Wait and See." I signed up, and even without reading the book, I received so much from that study. And that was all the convincing I needed that "WAIT" would be my word for 2017.

I'm still not sure what the Lord will do with this Lord, what exactly it is He will teach me. But now I am willingly "waiting" to see. 

"David was 10 years old when he was anointed king. He wasn’t old enough or experienced enough to be king. Simply put, he wasn’t ready for the throne. However, his time as a shepherd prepared him to be king. David did what he knew to do in order to prepare for what he did not know. In the pasture, he spent his days learning to recognize and obey God’s voice, two traits that would serve him greatly as king. God does most of His work in us in private. He meets us in the pastures of life with a desire to cultivate within us a heart like His. This may take years, as it did with David. Often, we would rather rush through our time in the pasture than wait there to experience His work. But it’s in the pasture that God is preparing us for what is ahead." 
- Wendy Pope

Anyone else have a word for this next year? I'd love to know what the Lord is choosing for you. 

Also, I'll be back home in a week, so looking forward to seeing a lot of you then! If not, Merry {early} Christmas!

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu
Image result for wait Christian quotes
 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Discipline

I haven't posted here much of what's been going on at school recently, so I wanted to give a little update. Year number three is definitely different from years one and two, mostly in good ways. After having been here two years, I feel like I understand more how things are supposed to go, which is a far cry from when I first came here and had no idea what to expect. Also, I'm feeling more confident in the language. I understand pretty much the whole sermon at church now, instead of just bits and pieces, and I talk more with the Honduran teachers because I don't struggle as much to find the right words or to understand what they are saying. (But trust me, there are still times of miscommunication where I feel totally dumb. God has to keep me humble somehow!)

One of the big areas I'm experiencing differences in this year is discipline. I posted briefly last year about some discipline problems here. My previous classes have of course had some discipline problems, but this year is somehow different. 11th grade is probably my favorite class (don't tell them I said that!) because after being with them the past two years they know me, and they're just a fun group of kids who (most of the time) know how to focus and work in class, and talk and joke around outside of class. I enjoy the relationship I have with them where they feel like they can talk to me. (Also don't tell them, but by having conversations with me about whatever random thing they want to talk about, they're learning English!) 10th grade is just a good group. They never argue or fight me on any assignments, but always listen and work hard without problems.

But 9th grade. This year, they have been a challenge. This group has some loud personalities, and they were starting to take over the class. And not just in my English class, but when I talked to the Honduran teachers, they said it was the same. I've had to become stricter than I've even before, which if course is not fun, but it is the only way to maintain some semblance of order in the classroom. And so of course, that led to constant complaints about how boring class is. My explanation that when I could trust them to behave, we would do fun things again fell on deaf ears. It got to the point where I dreaded going to teach that class because I knew it would just be a constant battle of me versus them, and I was allowing their negative attitudes about class affect me.

Luckily, our director stepped in, and this week we had a meeting with the moms of the two ringleaders in that class. For today at least, I saw a change when I went to class in the afternoon. I'm choosing to believe and trust God that He is working in that group of kids, and the class that graduates at the end of this year will be completely different from the class I started the year with. Because God is the only one who can change their hearts and attitudes. And I have been praying HARD for Him to do that. Soon haha.

So I'll let you know how that goes. For now, I'm looking forward to Christmas break (one month!) and seeing my family and friends again. Please pray for me this month, and specifically for the 9th grade class.

Image result for proverbs 12:1

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Martha, Martha"


Luke 10:38-42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Alexa opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Alexa was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Alexa, Alexa,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Have you ever done that? Put your own name in a Scripture passage and have it smack you in the face? My last blog post was on the Sabbath, and how I am trying to keep it this year. Last week in my discipleship group at school we read Luke 10:38-42, when Jesus is at the home of Mary and Martha. Ask me who is the one Bible character I relate to most, and its probably Martha. If Jesus came to my house (or anyone else for that matter), of course I'd be running around doing this and that "for Him," wanting everything to be perfect. 

But I have to stop and think: All these "preparations that had to be made," who says they have to be made? Did Jesus tell me to do all these things? Or did culture, selfish ambition, or just my desire to please others tell me these things had to be done? So often Satan can distract us with "good things" that we think we are doing for the Lord, when in reality, He never told us to do those things, and they end up taking away from our relationship with Him.

Another thing that strikes me in this passage: When Jesus finally speaks to Martha, He calls her name twice. Was she so busy that she couldn't hear Jesus call to her the first time? Do I ever make Jesus call my name more than once?

So often the Lord just wants us to sit at His feet and enjoy His presence, and actually give Him a chance to talk for once, rather than continuing to ramble on with our never-ending list of petitions. We ask the Lord to show up and speak, but how can He if we never stop? Stop talking, stop moving, just be still and listen. It may not happen immediately, but I can share from experience that He will speak. And there is nothing like it.

So I'm trying to work on my "Martha" tendencies. Or should I say, not work...you know what I mean. God is waiting on us to come sit at His feet. Can I encourage you to take some time to wait on Him, and just see what He does?

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu 
Image result for mary and martha

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Sabbbath Is For Your Own Good

Hello. My name is Alexa Lowery, and I confess that I am a bit of a workaholic.

I have a hard time relaxing until everything on my to-do list is done. If I do try to relax, I just end up thinking about everything I should be doing (which is not very relaxing, its actually very stressful). Sometimes I feel this is a good thing, because it helps me get stuff done. But add that to the fact that I can't say no to people when they ask things of me (which probably stems from my desire to please people) and I usually just end up working myself weary.

The Lord began convicting me of that a lot towards the end of last year. May was a whirlwind, as I was leaving two and a half weeks early, but was still trying to get everything done that would usually be done after the kids were done with school while teaching all my classes. I kept saying, "I'll rest this summer." There was just no time for it here.

And then I went home for the summer. And it was great. Wouldn't change a second of it. But do I feel like I "rested well"? No. There were too many people to see and things to do in those two and a half months that seem to fly by. 

Coming back here, I knew I would be teaching four grades, in addition to some extra school responsibilities, and I knew something needed to change. I needed to set some boundaries for myself.

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." 
Exodus 20:8

The fourth of the ten commandments the Lord gave Moses. But what does this actually look like? I know the Jews of the New Testament had all sorts of rules and regulations to ensure the people were "honoring the Sabbath," but Jesus said in Mark 2:27 that "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."

So I figured the Sabbath may look different for different people, and that was okay. There is no one "right way to Sabbath" (at least in my opinion).

For me, it means I take literally the command, "Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work." (Exodus 20:9-10) Those verses say to do ALL your work. The Sabbath isn't an excuse to not fulfill your responsibilities. It just means that the other six days of the week, I am completing my work so that I can look forward to my day of rest without lesson plans, grading, cooking, or cleaning. 

For me, it means I can spend a little more time in private worship and prayer, and listen to a sermon online. I love my church here and our Pastor, but there is nothing like singing, praying, and being fed in your own language. It's my own personal church time, here at home, before actual church out at Destino.

For me, it means time to catch up with family and friends. Technology is amazing y'all, and FaceTime is my best friend. I can see and talk to my parents, boyfriend, or actual best friend (who is not an iPad app, that was a joke!).

And sometimes, it means a break in the "Sabbath routine," like today. Today in Honduras we are celebrating "The Day of the Bible." And in Honduras, celebrating anything means parades! This year, our school's middle/high school marching band got to march in the parade. So of course I went to see and support them. 


As I said, the Sabbath has no "rules." You do what you feel like you need to do. Its only been a month and a half, but this already feels like a lifesaver. Yes, God knew what He was doing when He created the Sabbath for us. He knew some of us would have to be commanded to rest, we wouldn't just do it on our own.

And if you've never actively practiced the Sabbath before, can I encourage you to start? Your Sabbath may look totally different from mine, and that's fine! You do you. One resource I've enjoyed is called "The Sabbath Society" (www.redemptionsbeauty.com). She sends an email each Friday with some Sabbath thoughts/encouragements. 

Try it out. Let me know how it goes. Lord knows, it's for our own good.

Image result for isaiah 30:15

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Año Tres (Year Three)

I took the summer off from blogging again to enjoy some restful time at home, and after a jam-packed two and a half months in the States, I am back in Honduras, and have been for a week. The past week has been spent at the school preparing classrooms and plans for the students to come back in another week. I am excited about this new school year and everything the Lord is already doing.

This year I am teaching 1st, 9th, 10th, and 11th grade, in addition to becoming the English Program Coordinator. This will mean a little more work than previous years, but I am truly excited about each one of my classes, and how the Lord is going to use my administration/organizational gifts in the ministry. I am also living alone this year, and I know the Lord is going to use that extra time to speak to me and draw me closer to Himself, because He already has been! 

Pray for this next week, as the teachers go into the villages to visit the families of our students and pray with them before the school year starts, and pray for me to keep walking out the path the Lord has laid out for me by staying in the moment here. Looking forward to another incredible year at Destino del Reino!


Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Grace

I had a bad day this week. Actually, I had a couple bad days this week. But I also received a gift this week. A VERY generous, completely undeserved financial gift. 

But then, isn't that the definition of a gift? Something completely undeserved? What do I do on my birthday that merits a gift? Absolutely nothing. Christmas? Again nothing. And on this particularly overwhelming Tuesday? You guessed it, nothing. A sweet lady just felt the pull to give, and she had no idea what a blessing it would be, and what a lesson it would teach.

In the middle of this not-particularly-great Tuesday, and after already losing my patience a few times before noon, I got a text from my mom about this completely unexpected gift. And in the moment it floored me. But I didn't really have time to let it all sink in. But thinking back later, I couldn't help but wonder to God: "Lord, I don't deserve this. Especially not today. I know I have not been a reflection of you today (but to be fair, neither were my students). Why would you choose to use this woman to bless me with this today?"

The answer that came was simple: GRACE.

I have always struggled with free, undeserved gifts. As I have previously confessed here, I am a workaholic, and along with that comes the attitude that I need to earn everything. Love. Approval. Respect.

But grace.

Grace can't be earned. If it could, it wouldn't be grace. (Funny how that works.) This gift was a pure reminder of grace. That even in the middle of what feels like my worse day, in the middle of my bad attitude, in the middle of my struggles, God extends grace.

"But he said to me 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.'" 2 Corinthians 12:9

Am I perfect? Nope. But God's grace covers me (praise the Lord for that). And because of that, I am reminded to extend grace to others, even first graders who are just ready for summer, ninth graders who are completely missing the point, and everyone in between.

I hope your day is filled with grace today.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, May 8, 2016

End-of-the-Year Prayer Updates

As we get closer and closer to the end of another school year, I just wanted to share a few updates and things to be praying for as we enter into summer. 

The big event coming up is our Colegio Missions Day next Thursday. On this day, our middle school classes (7th-9th) will each present about one country's culture and religion, and how they would share the Gospel with a person there, and we will all pray for these countries. My class (9th grade) will begin preparing on Monday, and the other classes have already begun some of there work, so please pray for these students as they learn about these other countries and the problems the people there face (Ethiopia, France, and Syria). 

After Missions Day I will only have a week and a half left here since I am leaving early for my brother's wedding. There is lots to be done here in the time I have left, but I am also looking forward to going back to the States to celebrate with my family (and another two friends who are getting married in June. Wedding central over here!) So please pray for my return trip and a summer spent at home with family and friends, and opportunities to share about what God is doing!

But would you also pray for my students this summer? Summers can be a hard time of temptations with not being occupied in school everyday and being out from under the watchful eye of their teachers. And I have many students who will be facing the difficult decisions of what to do with their lives. Our first class of 11th graders will be graduating this summer, and the University at Destino will hopefully be opening in January. But this leaves seven months for these students to lose their motivation for school, or decide they would rather just get a basic job and work. Please pray for all the students to stay focused and motivated over the summer and come back (in September for the school, January for the University) with renewed purpose.

Thanks to all who are praying for me. I will have other updates to share when I am home. [insert suspenseful pause] :)

God bless you all, especially the mothers today!

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Rest and Fear

Last weekend, I participated in an online retreat for women serving overseas, and it was a wonderful time spent with my Savior. The retreat is called Velvet Ashes, and the theme this year was "Commune," which was exactly what I needed to spend some time doing with the Lord. I can't say I had any huge light bulb revelations, but the Lord just showed me more about myself, and Him, in some areas where I know I struggle, so I'd like to share some of those things with you.

Before starting the retreat, it asked you to reflect on how you were feeling, and what you wanted to get out of the retreat, and I wrote that I was tired and feeling to need to be filled with more of Christ, so I hoped this weekend would give me time to go deeper, to wait, and to listen to Him. Mainly, I just felt God telling me I needed to stop striving and just spend time enjoying Him and His presence.

The first main scripture of the retreat was Psalm 23, which is one of those super common passages that everyone has memorized, but is really awesome when you take the time to go through it slowly and let the words minister to your soul. I clearly heard the Lord's invitation to just lie down in green pastures as let Him lead me beside quiet waters as He refreshes my soul. He told me to stop working so hard, but just walk in the work He has already done, following where He leads me.

Confession: I can be a bit of a workaholic. I don't rest well. I'm not sure where it came from or when it started, but if I'm not doing something productive, I feel like I'm wasting time. I'm the queen of multitasking, and I have a constant to-do list running through my mind. But rest is one of God's commandments that He set an example for us in Himself. so the first thing God showed me was that I need to allow Him to teach me to rest in Him.

 
 
Another part of the conference involved listening to ten-minute testimonies from women who served as missionaries around the world. One of the women referenced Psalm 23 in talking about identity, and how so often we try to find our identity in the "pasture" we are in, rather than in the Shepherd. Reflecting on this is comforting as I prepare to come back to the States in 5 weeks. Sometimes, the "pasture" of the States is hard, because it's only a temporary, 2-month stay before I head back to the "pasture" of Honduras, which is hard for a whole different set of reasons. Then there are other, less-geographical "pastures" where I place my identity, like in people's acceptance.
 
The last part of the conference had you go through a journaling process about your fears. The first fear I identified was fear of the future, which I feel like is something that continually tries to take over my mind and is one of my more obvious fears. But then the Lord revealed to me a fear that I wasn't so aware of, and that is the fear of rejection, which stems from that desire for acceptance. I don't know where this came from or when it started, because I don't think I've always had this fear, but the Lord showed me all the areas in my life where I allow this fear to show up and take over: in how I interact with people, in how I do my job, even my fear of public speaking comes out of this fear and desire for acceptance. I want validation that I am doing a god job, on the right path, etc.
 
But the Lord says:
Find your acceptance and validation in me.
 
My desire for acceptance has already been fulfilled, because God says I am accepted by Him!
 
This post has turned out to be a lot longer than I thought I would be, so I'll wrap it up by telling you how God wrapped it all up for me.
 
The Lord has told me to embrace His rest and acceptance. I can rest in the truth that I am loved and accepted by Him, and I don't have to work and strive for His approval, or anyone else's. And when I remember this truth, He casts out that fear, and allows me to truly rest.

 
Alexa

Saturday, April 9, 2016

An Oldie But A Goodie

The Lord has shown me a lot lately, and a lot of it has been revealed through Scriptures I'm not super familiar with that He just brings to my mind and I have to go look up and read what it says. And so I am ashamed to admit that last weekend when I was praying and Jeremiah 29:11 popped into my head, my first thought was, "No, I know that verse. That's not from the Lord."

Then I stopped myself. REALLY? It's a verse I know so well. I've had it memorized for who knows how long, it's the theme verse for my mom's preschool at FBC, and I'm pretty sure I have it on a t-shirt back home. But in that moment, I actually took the time to stop and think about that verse, and what it meant to me. Here's what it says:


A lot of my prayers recently, and things God has been revealing, have been centered around the future (but that's a whole different blog post for another day). And typically for me, worry accompanies thoughts about the future. And so the Lord brought me to this verse, a verse I almost blew over because it's so common, to tell me to TRUST Him and HOPE in Him, because He has a great plan for my future.

How many times do we do that, just blow over a verse because we've heard it a million times, or had it memorized since we were 5 years old? I don't hate much, but I hate that! Those verses that we hear all the time are because they are AWESOME verses, and we memorize them because they are perfect PROMISES that we need to remember! 

-End Soap Box Rant-

Anyways, thinking on this verse and everything the future will bring, I realized that He didn't just give this verse to me personally, but it was for all of our "team." We all have future things we're worried about right now that comes with the "changing of the guard" for a new school year. So I gave this verse with accompanying notes to all the American teachers and the ministry director.

But the Lord wasn't going to let me forget this verse too easily. It was still on my mind as we started another week of school with an awesome spiritual conference on Monday, and on Thursday, when the Lord maybe thought I was starting to forget about His promises for my future, it showed up in my email inbox. (Side Note: I've decided the Lord uses my email to speak to me, but again, that's a different blog post for another day.)

The email simply had the Jeremiah 29:11 verse, and underneath it said:

Be encouraged today...

Your greatest days are not behind you;
they are ahead of you!

Encouragement. Another thing I had been needing recently. 

The Lord's plans for my future are so much better than anything I've already experienced in the past. The days are just going to keep getting better and better. And what more could I ask for my future than that?

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Perspective

Happy Easter everyone!

This has been the best Easter because my parents have come to Honduras for the first time to visit me! I took them on lots of adventures this week, but our favorite was probably Good Friday in Comayagua.

Comayagua is a larger city about 45 minutes from Siguatepeque where I live. Every year on Good Friday they have a large celebration of sawdust carpets, which are exactly that. Families or groups come together, plan a design, carve out wood stencils, and then create a huge "carpet" out of color dyed sawdust on the streets of downtown Comayagua, and people come from all over to see these creations. This was my first time as well ,and it was truly incredible. We walked around looking at all of these huge sawdust carpets, marveling at how long they must have been planning and working to achieve that amount of detail and perfection.

Some of the carpets had large ladders set up so that you could climb up to see the full picture of the carpet and take a photo. Below is mom on one of the ladders getting a picture of one of the carpets. 


Something funny happened as we were looking at one of the carpets. Dad and I walked up to one of these huge carpets, and almost immediately we saw the figures of Jesus and a crying Mary. It was beautiful. Mom walked up a few seconds later and looked at that same carpet, not saying anything. She took out her camera to take a picture of the carpet, and after looking at the photo exclaimed, "Oh, look! It's Jesus! And Mary!" (Dad and I may or may not have said out loud, "Well duh.")


But this got me thinking about perspective (hence the title of this post). Dad and I were standing at the right angle to where we had the right perspective on this carpet and could see the full picture. Mom was apparently standing at an angle where she didn't have the right perspective and couldn't see the whole image until she looked at the picture she had taken. We encountered many more carpets like this, where in the moment we saw pieces and parts, but missed a key component of the image.

Like this carpet, which says 
"Because of God's mercy, we have water." 
In the picture taken from one of the ladders, 
you can clearly see the shape of a water droplet under Jesus, 
but when I was standing next to the carpet looking at it, 
I missed that detail.

And in this carpet, you can see the image 
of the Father behind Jesus on the cross, 
almost as if God is supporting Jesus and holding Him up. 
Again, I missed this beautiful detail 
when looking at the carpet from my perspective, 
and only realized it later when looking at this photo.

So all of this got me thinking about perspective in a larger sense. How often do we look at things happening in our lives or in our world and don't understand, or even dare to ask God, "Why?" But the Father, looking down from His heavenly perspective in which He sees and knows all things, says, "Don't worry, child. I know what I'm doing. You can't see all the details of this beautiful picture from where you are, with your limited perspective, but from up here I see the whole thing, and what I am creating is beautiful. Trust me."

God is not only on the ladder. He sees the complete carpet because He also DESIGNED that carpet. He designed every carpet, and while we, who are just standing on the same level looking on, think we see the whole picture and know how it's going to turn out, only God really knows. And He is the master designer. 

From our earthly perspective, things may look a mess. We may be unsure of the design or how the carpet will turn out, but God has been planning things longer than these people have been planning these intricate carpets. And His perspective is perfect. 

So now I'm praying for new eyes, to look at things from His perspective. And maybe instead of asking, "Why?" I can instead say, "God, help me to see this situation from your perfect perspective instead of my flawed one." That will make this picture we call life so much more beautiful.

Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Missions Day Year 2 and the Call to Missions

Last Friday was Missions Day at the school, which I explained around this time last year in a blog here:

http://becauseofmynamematthew1929.blogspot.com/2015/04/dia-de-misiones-missions-day_11.html

This year, my group was representing Syria, a country that has been heavy on my heart recently with everything going on there. We shared with the students about the Civil War they have been in for five years, and the evil acts that ISIS is committing, even sharing with some of the older grades about the beheading and crucifixion of a group of missionaries there last October. And we prayed hard for this country.

Each of our rotations started with another teacher in my group sharing with the students about the life of a missionary, and she asked some of the older classes how many of them had thought about becoming a missionary. Let me just say that not very many of those 5th and 6th grade hands went up, and I can't really say I blame them. It's a scary thing to think about when you don't understand how rewarding it can be. And so I had the opportunity to share part of my testimony with these students, about how I received my call to the mission field.

Most of the testimonies I have heard of people who have been called into any type of ministry go one of two ways. Either they have always felt God's call on their life into ministry or missions and desired that for themselves as well, or they refused and ran from the call, saying, "God, I will do anything except that."

My story was different. I was never running from missions, nor was I actively pursuing it for most of my life. Before God called me to the mission field, the possibility of being a missionary never even crossed my mind. When I went on my first mission trip to Jamaica as a junior in high school, I fell in love with the experience and the work that we did, but even then the idea never came to me of actually being a missionary.

After Honduras, everything changed. God dropped this ministry right in front of my face. He called me. And who am I to refuse God's call? (I could also say, who am I to answer? But that's another post on my failings and shortcoming that God still mercifully uses for His glory.)

I shared this with the students, one of the times I can say that I have been completely obedient to God in my life. And I told them that they may not feel the call now, or may not even want to be called now, but God has a great plan, and I hoped that when/if God called them, they would be obedient and say yes to Him, no matter what that meant for the life they had pictured for themselves. Because trust me, my life is nothing like I imagined it would be at 24, but it's so much better because I know I am exactly where God wants me to be.





Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

Saturday, February 27, 2016

My Favorite Bible Story

Recently, I asked my older students to write and talk with me about their favorite Bible story, and almost all of them wrote about Joseph in Genesis and how he forgave his brothers and God had a plan in everything. I too shared my favorite story, and I thought I'd share it with all of you today, since it has come up in almost every song I sang at the Spanish and English churches I attend.

My favorite story, found in Luke 7, is about Jesus being annointed by the sinful woman. I wrote about this story almost exactly a year ago in the blog here

http://becauseofmynamematthew1929.blogspot.com/2015/03/perfume-tus-pies-perfume-at-your-feet.html


and now that I think about it, it's strange that this same story is coming up again at almost the same time. But anyways, here's a little of the story:


When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke 7:36-37, 48-50
This woman, with no concern for herself, "wasted" it all on Jesus. She gave it all. This is the kind of woman I want to be. This story is my favorite not because it gives me the warm-fuzzy feel-goods, but because it challenges me.
First, it challenges me to bring my very best to Jesus. Even the things I may not want to sacrifice to Him, He is worthy of them. The things I hold on to the hardest, He calls me to lay at His feet.
Second, it challenges me just to spend time at the feet of Jesus, worshiping and enjoying His presence. I know I can never do enough of this.
I am not very eloquent with words, but Christian song writers are, so I would like to leave you with the lyrics of those songs that touched my heart this week, two in English and two in Spanish:
The More I Seek You - Kari Jobe
The more I seek you,
The more I find you
The more I find you, 
The more I love you
I want to sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breathe, 
Feel your heart beat
This love is so deep, 
It's more than I can stand
I melt in your peace, 
It's overwhelming
Alabaster - Rend Collective
I am broken at Your feet
Like an alabaster jar
Every piece of who I am
Laid before Your majesty
I will bow my life
At Your feet, at Your feet
My lips
So lost for words
Will kiss Your feet, kiss Your feet
Oh the gravity of You
Draws my soul unto its knees 
I will never be the same
I am lost and found in You 
No Hay Lugar Mas Alto
(There Is No Higher Place)
My heart burns at your feet
I give what I am at your feet
It is the place of my security
Where anyone can show me
You forgave me,
I came closer to your presence,
You raised me up,
Today I bow to worship you.
There is no higher place,
bigger place,
than to be at your feet
than to be at your feet.
And here I will stay,
Prostrate at your feet.
And will I stay here
At the feet of Christ.
Traigo mi Perfume
(I Bring My Perfume)
I bring my perfume 
Today I want to anoint you
I pour out my heart 
In front of you Jesus 
And I kiss your feet in front of everyone, 
It's not important what they think of me. 
I kiss your feet in front of everyone, 
I just want to see you smile.
Jesus nobody loved me like this.
Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu