And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What I have been learning lately!

I have gotten into the habit of neglecting contractions since I am speaking English in a country where English is not the first language of most of the people I come into contact with. As I wrote the title of this blog entry I had to laugh that I wrote "I have" instead of  "I've"...but it's probably a good sign of assimilation into the culture right? :)
Papa has been teaching me a lot lately and it's really cool to reflect on all that I have been learning. One really awesome thing that He has done is spoken to me about the verse that my blog is named after (Micah's written at the top of my blog). I didn't even realize it until the other day I journaling about the lessons I'm learning and He reminded me of this verse! So I'm going to share my thoughts on that verse...I hope you enjoy :)
Walk humbly- Papa has been teaching me so much about this specifically throughout JdTS! 2 Corinithians 12 is all about being used in our weakness and it is a passage that Papa keeps drawing me back to over and over again. Humility isn't being weak; it is acknowledging weakness and allowing Him to use you in spite of them. BUT humility is more than just acknowledging weakness; it is realizing your strengths are a gift from Papa meant to be used for His glory. The minute I begin to seek approval of my gifts is the minute I begin taking steps backwards, away from Papa's holiness.
Back in October when our speaker Dalton spoke he reminded us that there is one prayer that Papa will always answer because it can never be selfish. Put simply that prayer is the prayer to be more holy. One really important aspect of holiness is humility.
Humble me L0rd. This is my prayer.
Love mercy-This part of the verse is one I will have to be a bit more vague about, but it is definitely a lesson Papa is continually reminding me of. You know that passage that talks about forgiving someone 7 times 70 times. That's difficult. But that's mercy isn't it? Forgiving someone over and over again even though they don't deserve it at all. And loving your enemies? It is a bit backwards but if you are ever going to be able to love mercy, you must learn to love your enemies. I think how you treat your enemies is the best gauge on your faith and personally, that is sometimes a really scary thought. I'm learning that in the moments where all I want to do is treat someone how they "deserve" to be treated, I have to desperately pr@y for wisdom and patience and most of all...mercy.
Act justly-This part of the verse has stood out to me for obvious reasons. It is the reason I chose to name my blog after this verse, but when I began this journey over a year ago I thought Papa would teach me how to act justly by teaching me more about justice. Although learning about justice is certainly important, it is not the only thing that Papa has taught me about acting justly. I'm currently reading a book called "Justice" by Shelley Hundley and it has been really challenging! I highly recommend it! Through that book, Papa has shown me that in order to act justly I have to know J3sus as Judge. If I don't know J3sus as Judge then as I strive to be more like Him there is a huge group of characteristics that I won't be growing in, namely acting justly. That may sound weird but to better illustrate the point I am going to share with you a prayer that Shelley wrote in her book,
"J3sus, I want to know You as my Judge. Heal the broken and wounded places in my heart by revealing Yourself to me as the One who fights for me and will avenge the wrong done. Thank you, L0rd, for hearing my cry and knowing my sorrow. You love justice and will not forsake Your beloved ones. You are mighty to save, and the day of vengeance is in Your heart. You are a jealous Bridegroom who fights for His bride. Let this truth transform my heart and mind, and bring me more comfort, peace, and joy than I ever imagined possible. Thank You, L0rd, for being my Deliverer and my soon coming King. In J3sus' name. Amen."
Peace and love :)
I love this song by Norah Jones and reminds me of my prayer...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New home!

This past Sunday we moved to a new home!!!  It is a mis-ary's house and the atmosphere is so much more peaceful and as a result we are feeling a lot more rested and relaxed when we're at home :) The house even has a pr@yer room!!!! PTL :)
Our opportunities here are starting to open up and as we speak I am helping to design paintings that we are going to be doing in two Sunday school classes. I am really excited about the chance to do artwork and to help out a local chrch! In addition, we have begun working with another organization that gives adults with disabilities the chance to work each day. They make a variety of products from candles and candle holders to greeting cards and bookmarks. The atmosphere there is so joyous and it is so nice to join with the people there in laughter and smiles despite the language barrier :)
Papa has been teaching me a lot here. The biggest lesson I am learning is that I have to rely on him for my strength. Especially with the lack of sleep, Papa has been continually reminding me that it is in my weakness that He uses me the most.
Hopefully our internet will be up and running soon so that I can give a more detailed update and give a much better testimony to what Papa is doing in and through me here!
Be blessed with His Peace and Love today!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

lack of communication.

I want to apologize for my lack of communication the past few weeks. We haven't had internet since New Year's Eve and its difficult enough to keep updated on email while borrowing other people's computers let alone updating on here. So I apologize!
Life in the Middle East has definitely been interesting so far. It has quite cold and rainy (not exactly the desert weather you think of when you think of the Middle East haha), but I would rather be cold than hot so I am not complaining. Our team has been teaching English and volunteering with some other organizations as well as spending time with different friends we have met here. Unfortunately our opportunities have been limited because many organizations have been closed for the holiday season. The last Christmas celebration is this week so our schedule will definitely get busier! We have also decided to do our own project on the side to help us learn about the culture and to make something tangible to share with everyone back home. The goal is to make a short documentary and/or a book presenting an unbiased (or as unbiased as we can...) view of the conflict taking place here. Not only do we have some awesome ideas, but we are learning so much about what is going on here in the process. I can't wait to share the finished project with you all!
The culture is definitely different. Girls aren't allowed to make eye contact with men and women do not have as much authority as men. I'm still adjusting to the fact that technically 10 year boys have more authority than I do, but am learning a lot about humility in the process. :) Our housing situation has been a bit complicated and a lot of people on our team have been experiencing sleepless nights and nightmares. We've been pr@ying for freedom from that and are hoping to make some changes to our housing situation this weekend. Please keep us in your thoughts and pray that Dad gives us wisdom about what doors we should walk through.
Papa's peace and love :)
And some pictures...
The market!

Annemieke, Sonya, and I relaxing in the city :)

New Year's Eve. Sonya and I eating cotton candy from the back of some guy's was only about 25 cents! :)

Getting to hold a beautiful baby boy at a family that we met on the street's home.