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, March 31, 2012

In the Kingdom of Wonder!

I'm safe! I'm alive! In case you haven't heard by now, I am living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with five other lovely girls and volunteering for Daughters of Cambodia. So far it has been an amazing experience. It's so strange how comfortable I am in the Asian culture. Someone asked me how I was adjusting to the new culture and quite honestly I couldn't think of what culture I was adjusting to. Finally it hit me, "oh yea! I'm in a completely new country, most people take time to adjust..." I'm not claiming superhuman-ness. There has definitely been some adjusting like time, language, etc. For some reason (probably God), it really hasn't phased me. I think that is a good sign that maybe I'll be coming back here someday. Or perhaps its just the result of the subconscious knowledge that in approximately 4 weeks I'll be back on American soil with all my friends and family. Or most likely a combination of both.
My first week here has been an interesting one. It hasn't been a normal week at Daughters so besides intercession in the morning, I haven't had any official tasks to do; however, this coming week I should be getting into more of a routine. I'm secretly excited to be doing data entry and analyzing some surveys. I'm a nerd. I know. It's cool how God has given me a way to contribute that fits right into things that I'm passionate about (research and prayer!).
Transition to my next random thought... Cambodia's nickname is the Kingdom of Wonder.
It's kinda funny; but also kinda fitting because my time here is a time of wondering (pun intended) and praying. This is a season for me to really seek God and His heart for my life. What I'm starting to realize is that He trusts me a lot more than I trust myself. Why is that? Why does he allow me to make decisions for myself? Sometimes I think life would be a lot easier if He simply told me what to do and where to go next. But that's the beauty of God isn't it? He loves us enough to give us choice. He loves us enough to allow us to make decisions and to meet us in the midst of them. This morning in my quiet time I came to a simple, yet powerful revelation. I need to stop praying for God to make decisions for me. I need to stop praying "Are you absolutely sure God? Really?" I need to stop being a Gideon asking for just one more sign. He knows my heart. He knows that deep down in my core I want to follow and glorify Him. And for some undeserved reason He trusts me.
The God of the universe trusts me.
I can't get over it.
BUT instead of sitting around in wonder second-guessing Him, I need to put on my big girl pants (trousers for all you British folk) and trust Him back. I need to pray USE ME in whatever decision I make. 
So that's my prayer today. "Use me Lord."
Have peace, give love, and be used by God.
Katie :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Listening and Action

This morning I had the privilege of speaking at the Anglican church just down the road from base. Different members adopted different YWAMers while we were on outreach to pray for us individually. It was such a privilege to be supported not only by my churches back at home in the states, but at my home here in New Zealand. Unfortunately, my prayer partner couldn't be at church today so I thought I would post my little speech on here for him. Also, it is a good summary of the things we did/I learned while in Israel.
What exactly did we do? That's a much more complicated answer than it is a question. We did a variety of different ministries ranging from working with people with disabilities to doing home visits for local church members to helping out at a shelter for women and children refugees. As I mentioned in previous posts, we also had the privilege of painting two Sunday school rooms.
Our main ministry, however, was relatively simple. We listened. Early on in our ministry, we made it a vision that we wanted to hear people's stories regarding the conflict regardless of our own personal beliefs. We wanted to hear stories from both the Israelis and the Arabs, the Christians and the non-Christians, because at the end of the day, everybody wants to be listened to, encouraged, and loved.
Through that God also taught me a ton about listening to Him. I felt myself drawn to the story of Samuel's calling in 1 Samuel 3:2-9. One thing my teammate Cody said that really stuck out to me was that we should ask God to hear clearly. So often we ask God to speak clearly, but that's not the problem. He speaks clearly (as you can see in the story of Samuel's calling). He's God. We don't hear clearly. My prayer has been help me listen intently and hear clearly.
To end I want to share with you a journal entry I wrote fairly early on in outreach about injustice.
Justice defined by Miriam Webster is, "The principle or ideal of just dealing or right action--conformity to his principle  or ideal; righteousness." How do we do that? How do we mold this into our outreach? I'm not quite sure, but I think one of the first steps is to recognize what injustice is. I think injustice is a lot more difficult to define than most people think. I think one of its most fundamental qualities is that it is undefineable; it skirts below the surface of onlookers. It rears enough of its ugly head for the outside world to acknowledge its existence but never enough to move them to action. People never know the full extent its oppression. Ignorance is bliss and throwing money at different causes every once in a while is enough to calm the discomfort of the unjust suffering inflicted upon others. For me, for us, that is not enough. Action is mandatory and we are not satisfied with allowing our teammates to remain on the sidelines anymore. Injustice isn't just in Israel and Palestine--it exists all over the world. The longer we allow injustice to creep just below the surface, the more we allow it to ferment and multiply. This is a chance to tear through the surface, to rip through the facades that we, that I have created. The process will be messy. The healing will not happen overnight. But the alternative is worse. If we continue to ignore injustice, the fermentation will seap up from below and, without our awareness, will infect every inch of our lives rendering us incapacitated to help not only those "others" who suffer, but ourselves.
This is my challenge to you all: Listen to others, listen to God, and allow Him to call you to action.
Peace and Love :)
And a little piece of Palestine to leave you with... :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where I've been.

I realize that technically most of you don't even know where in the world I have been the last few months. Well this should tell you :)
In Cesarea at Peter's home and the temple.

 Floating in the Dead Sea...

At the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

At the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

 Eating granola. haha

But in all seriousness, these past 6 months I have been on an incredible journey. I began in New Zealand, traveled  to Israel and Palestine,  now I'm back in New Zealand once again, and in less than two weeks I'll be venturing to Cambodia. I am beginning to realize is that this journey has very little to do the places I've been (or will go), and but it has everything to do with the God that I serve. During our time of debriefing yesterday we were asked to write down the most significant journey we have been on the last six months. It was a difficult question for me to answer because quite honestly it is impossible to pick only one journey. I have been on hundreds. Journeys to stronger intimacy. Journeys to deeper revelation. Journeys of learning. Journeys of struggle. Journeys that are coming to an end. And journeys that are only just beginning.
I am well aware that when I get back home I will be answering the question "How was your time overseas?" quite frequently. I also realize that although most of you genuinely do want to know the answer to that question, it will be impossible for me to really answer that question. To any of you. Even those of you who want me to sit down and talk to you for hours and hours upon end. It is simply impossible. And for some reason, it makes me overwhelmingly sad. Not because I can't tell you all the hilarious stories (although that is a bit sad). I'm sad that I can't tell you all that God has taught me and done in and through me these past few months.
It is incredible the work He has done in my life. And the more I grow closer to God, the more I realize I know so little about Him. I feel like the moment I stop hungering to know Him more, is the moment I take my last breath. I want to spend every moment of the rest of my life seeking after Him. And I want to spend of the rest of my life sharing my experience of Him with all the world.
If you don't know God, find Him. If you don't deeply desire to know God more, beg Him for hunger.
Because without Him, the journeys of this life are really quite meaningless.
With Him, they are eternal.
Peace and love.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

World, I am not done with you yet.

After several months of pr@yer. Lots of emails. More pr@yer. And LOTS of trust, I am super excited to publicly announce the next step of my adventures overseas....I am going to Cambodia!

Early on in DTS, Papa put it on my heart to go to Cambodia and so, I have been pr@ying about going to Cambodia since the end of October. At first I was hesitant because at that point I didn't even have all my funds for DTS and the thought of raising more money seemed overwhelming and nearly impossible. I continued to pr@y about it though. The more I tried to push the thought out of my mind, the more Papa reminded me of my calling to go there in this coming season by swinging open lots of doors.

As I have contacted various organization there, Papa has opened the door for me to work with an organization called Daughters of Cambodia. They provide opportunities for both healing and job training for women who have been rescued from sex trafficking. (You should definitely click on the link to hear more about their heart for these women!) Not only will I have the opportunity to spend time interceding for the women there, but I will also be able to work with their social work department! The more I pray about it, the more convinced I am that I am supposed to go. I feel like my time there will shed a lot of light on my future plans. The work they are doing in Cambodia is definitely the type of work I see myself doing long term and I so excited about this opportunity to help out for a few weeks.

I will be heading to Cambodia from NZ and staying there for just under 4 weeks before returning to NZ for a few days of rest and then...HOME! As excited as I am to be home with the people I love, I know that Papa is leading me to Cambodia for this tim. I'm not quite done traveling and serving the world yet.  Continue to pr@y for me as I prepare for my time there and wrap up my time in NZ.

I'll leave you with this. Papa asks us to love him with all of our hearts, minds, and and strength. He can ask us to do that because He has already loved us with all of His heart, with all of His mind, and with all of His strength. It's mind blowing. Live in that truth today!

Peace and love!