Saturday, October 12, 2013

God Can Change Your Heart

     When God calls you out of your comfort zone, what is your first reaction?  Or when you “get a word” from your pastor's sermon and you KNOW God is speaking to you directly, what do you do?  I’d love to boast that I immediately jump into the obedience pool but that is generally not the case.  I prefer to “wrestle” with God a bit before I surrender. 

     This summer my family and I had the opportunity to travel to Soddo, Ethiopia, which was a trip 12 years in the making.  When my husband, Mike,  began speaking of doing “medical missions,”  back in the day, my initial reaction was to freak out and think of all the negative outcomes that surely would ensue.  That spiritual battle for me was difficult and I knew that if God really wanted us to go and do something like that, He would have to change my heart.  And that is exactly what He did.  It wasn’t an overnight “transplant” but rather it took a few years of me getting into His Word, seeking Him, and getting to know Him more.  And as you all know, the more you KNOW Him, the more you LOVE Him, and the more you LOVE Him, the more you TRUST Him and are willing to do whatever He asks because after all, He is GOD, our Father,  and He knows best!  

     I remember vividly, the moment of surrender for this particular assignment.  And in my spirit, I said, “Yes, God, I will surrender to medical missions.”  I had no idea when and where He would send us but I had a strong suspicion, it would be Africa. That was back in 2005.  I have found that He often wants us to have a willing spirit before He gives us our exact itinerary.  That way, faith is required.  LOL.  But I settled it with a “Yes” and now we would just wait for the details that would come in His timing.  

     In July 2012, we began to sense Him urging us to get ready.  He lead us straight to World Medical Mission  in Boone, NC, which is a branch of Franklin Graham’s, Samaritan’s Purse.  Their soul purpose is to connect doctors, dentists, and nurses with hospitals all over the world for short term medical mission trips.  They said they needed us in Soddo, Ethiopia, so we traveled there this past summer and worked for 15 days.  From the moment we arrived at the hospital , God’s compassion and kindness was extremely evident.  As Mike did surgery on a backlog of patients with fractures, Molly, Jonathan and I worked at the Hope Learning Center which is a school that teaches English from the Bible.  And God gave us a love for the people like I’ve never experienced.  We miss them and continue to pray about them constantly.  They have asked us to come back and we are inquiring of the Lord as to His will.  

     All I can say is that God KNOWS what He is doing.  We must give Him access to our guarded hearts and let Him change us.  If we don’t, we will miss out on the glorious works He created for us to do. 

     It doesn’t matter where He calls you, go! It’s all a big deal!  If it’s to share Christ with your relative, go!  If it’s to serve your neighbor, go!  If it’s to heal a relationship with someone He’s laid on your heart, go!  If it’s to start that ministry burning in your heart, go!  The point is to go and do what He calls us to do.  For that, we will have no regrets.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Medical Mission Trip

Trip Report –World Medical Mission
Soddo Christian Hospital
July 29-Aug. 13, 2013

My family and I traveled to Soddo, Ethiopia, in order for my husband, Mike, to work in the orthopedics department at Soddo Christian Hospital for a short-term medical mission trip.   The fact that this hospital was a haven of hope for the injured and sick, spoke of His great love. 

We stayed in the guesthouse which was very nice.  It was on the hospital campus so the “commute” was only a 2-minute walk to work.  Mike stayed very busy doing surgery every day as the need for orthopedic surgeons is great.  He enjoyed working at Soddo and did see a lot more trauma than he sees in his practice in the United States.  He loved all of the hospital employees including Dr. Duane Anderson who is the full-time orthopedic surgeon and learned a lot on the job. 
He was asked to speak in chapel and share some of his testimony which he did on Aug. 7th.  He also participated in weekly bible study with some of the hospital employees.

My daughter, Molly, stepson, Jonny, and I helped out Jackie Anderson at the Hope Learning Center, which is a school on the hospital campus that teaches English from the bible.  The students (ages 10-18) were a delight and we had an amazing time getting to know them.

We also volunteered to do various odd jobs and were able to organize the resident’s medical library by unboxing and arranging medical journals.  Jonny was also able to travel to the foot clinic and pray with patients while Molly and I traveled to a pre-natal clinic and assisted with blood pressure readings as well as fetal heart rate monitoring.  Both of these “daytrips” were out of our comfort zone but God gave us the confidence and equipped us to help out. 

We all thoroughly enjoyed our time in Soddo.  It is definitely a special place and the full-time missionary docs and their families were extremely kind and welcoming.  We are inquiring of the Lord as to when and if we are to return.

Friday, September 6, 2013

God Is In The Granite

Just wanted to write about a recent incident where God answered my prayer in His perfect timing.  I realize that this is a bit of a frivolous story about a first world problem but nonetheless, God is in the details and cares about anything that makes us anxious and is so willing to jump in and help.  I believe God when He says in Philippians 4:6ish, "Do not be anxious about anything.....but in prayer..., present your request to Me," no matter how "unspiritual" the request may be.  If it brings anxiety, I'm allowed to pray about it.  Super cool, eh?!

That being said, I was invited to attend the "templating" of our new countertops at a granite yard in Florida while working on a kitchen redo project.  Clearly my salesperson, Mary, had no idea the "can of worms" she was opening by inviting me.  For some reason I had been unnecessarily anxious about how this particular granite, Golden River, was going to translate once it was cut and seamed because it had an unusually large pattern and was extremely "veiny."

As she began to lay the "pattern" on the "fabric" it wasn't at all lining up in the way I had envisioned it.  She was laying the "sink and cooktop area" on the "golden" parts I loved so much which meant they would ultimately get cut out!  I tried to explain to her my exact thought/design/visual process.  I wanted more "golden" than "river" and showed her what I meant by that.  We both held the template and placed it on as she drew the outline.  I was seriously feeling overheated as we were working outside under the hot sun and there was no where to cool off.  I literally began to pray for God to strengthen me and her as I did not want us to pass out from heat exhaustion.  And then I prayed for Him to intervene and work out the template pattern for His glory.  A few minutes later, a man named Stuart came out to help.  I didn't see Mary call him out to help us but I KNEW he was sent from above as an answer to my prayer. I was extremely grateful as he took over the project and was making it work to my liking!  The thought to pray for God to give him great wisdom like Bezalel (in Exodus 36), the skilled builder of the tabernacle in the OT came to mind.  I quickly got out of the way as he began to alter the pattern placement on the granite.  While I had removed myself from the project as God clearly had everything under control,  a worker named Gino came out to eat his lunch and we began talking.  He told me that he had been on the job since 1:00 a.m. and had just found the time to take a lunch break.  It was now 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon.   He told me that he had been working 90 hour weeks as the business work load was unbelievable.  I felt terrible sorrow for him and all of the workers.  Business was great but they did not have enough employees to handle it.  It reminded me of the Israelites having to make bricks without straw!  I knew I had a new prayer assignment.  I began to pray for all of the employees to know God and love Him and find their strength in Him and then I prayed for qualified and experienced granite workers to come along and help balance the workforce and workload.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, the granite installation was complete and needless to say, it looked amazing.  I give God the glory for the beautiful job the workers did and I am grateful to Him for taking care of the details.  I'm not sure about the situation at the granite yard and how the employees are faring but I know God heard my prayers and I TRUST He is working on their behalf.  Bottom line:  I am learning to take it all to Him and trust that He cares about my concerns and is willing to reveal Himself when I humble myself and ASK for His help.  This is a good thing and HE IS AWESOME!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day Pajama Party

For a year of new beginnings, I'm off to a slow-ish start.  It's 2:19 p.m. and I'm still in my flannels.  It's not that I'm an over-acheiver on any given day, but this feels absurdly wrong.  So much so that I've just asked God to TAKE OVER this vessel and this day and do what He wishes if anything substantial is really going to be accomplished to kick off this new year.  I'm actually at the beach. On vacation.  So it shouldn't be a biggie that I'm in a freeloader fog. It is vacation. And a holiday.  As I peer out the sliding glass doors I see quite a few people playing outside on the beach, fishing, surfing  and whatnot along with two brave souls who have even dared to venture into the chilly Atlantic Ocean (OVER-achievers). And, yes, the sound of motorcycles with riders going somewhere important no less are heard from my abode. But as I lay here cozied up in my bed, I wonder if anyone is really accomplishing anything or if I'm just suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out).  Yup, that's my issue.  Wait. Hold up. I just noticed some crumbs in my keyboard and I managed to flip it over and clean them out.  I think my day just took a turn toward production.  Happy New Year, Y'all!

p.s. Fast forward 8 hours.... Just for the record, God did take me up on my invitation to TAKE OVER.  How do I know?  I had THE BEST EVENING!  Mike, Molly, mom and I made a plan to visit dad at his "rehab" facility (the learning to walk and build muscle kind), go to dinner at a great restaurant where the food was especially delish, and then see the movie, 'Parental Guidance' where we all LOL'd histerically. My mom hardly ever agrees to see movies in an actual theater so I knew He was working out the plan when she said, "yes," but the non-stop laughter confirmed it. My afternoon/evening morphed into a God ordained joyful plan where I knew without a doubt that HE was with us.  It was extra special for some reason.  Maybe just because I invited Him in. Wait, did I just stumbled upon my New Year's resolution?  To invite God to "make my day" every day.  Expect it! Witness it!  And be mindful of Him and KNOW He's in it? Maybe He just wants to be loved and actually inviting Him to participate in my life grants Him that desire. Does this mean I'll get dinner and a movie every night this year?  Probably not.  But knowing God is directing my steps as I invite Him to do so reminds me to stay close to Him. As communication increases, so does joy (and laughter!). Our relationship can only grow closer.  Love Him.  Dialog with Him.  Invite Him into the pajama party and see how He wants to rock your day. Every day.