For the past two months or so, I have been wrestling over the concept of God’s love. It is a concept that I know in my head, but do not know it in my heart. It is quite easy for me to say, God loves me, but it is quite another thing for me to truly believe it. The past couple of weeks, I have been struggling to believe that God does actually love me, and not because of anything that I have, could, or would do, but because of what Christ has done for me.
Many times, I am very hard on myself. If I am not able to meet my own expectations, then I assume that God is disappointed with me, and doesn’t love me as much. The past few months, I have been learning more and more to place all of my trust in Christ, and to lean on Him.
I am still learning that my identity is in Christ, not in how well I perform at work. I am so thankful that God has been patient with me, and continually reminding me of this.
I would appreciate your prayers this week. I knew that it would be difficult moving to a new place, leaving behind all of my friends and family, and go to a place where people speak a different language from me. Sometimes it seems even more difficult than I had imagined, and this week in particular, I have found myself really missing my family and friends back in Las Cruces.
Today I was reminded of the situation King Hezekiah faced in 2 Kings 19. He has received threats from Sennacherib the leader of the Assyrian armies. Sennacherib mocks Hezekiah for his trust in God, and in the process mocks God. In fact Sennacherib sends a letter to Hezekiah telling Hezekiah what he will do to Jerusalem. The first thing that Hezekiah does after receiving this letter is in verse 2 Kings 19:14 “Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD.” It struck me that Hezekiah’s faith in the Lord was so strong that he took this threatening letter from Sennacherib and spreads it out before the Lord. He didn’t fret over the letter, he didn’t tear the letter up, and he didn’t respond back boasting in his strength. He gave the letter to God, and asked God to take care of it.
Right now, I have been challenged by some difficult circumstances. The key question for me is, am I willing to take these circumstances and place them before God, and say “here God, these are the difficult things going on in my life, they are yours to take care of?” Or will I allow worry and fear to control me. I want to say that I am giving the circumstances to God and fully depending on Him, but that would not be the truth. I long to have the faith to say to God, here are these challenges, I want you to take them, and I will trust in whatever You do.
I am reminded again of Philippians 4:6-7 where Paul writes, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I ask that you would continue to keep me in your prayers, and that you would pray that I would be willing to, like Hezekiah lay all of my burdens at the foot of God, and let Him take care of them.
This morning as I was reading through Exodus (2. Moses) 15, I was reminded of something very important. In the beginning of chapter 15, we see the first song of praise written to God for his deliverance from the Egyptians. But, immediately after this the Israelites begin to complain to God that there is no water for them to drink. Finally when they find water they complain again because the water is too bitter for them to drink.
This morning I was reminded of how often I am exactly like the Israelites. One moment I am praising God, and giving Him the glory, and the next moment I have forgotten all that He has done for me and being to grumble against Him. From this passage, I hope to better see when I am beginning to grumble against God, and when I see that to stop and give God praise. Because when we praise Him, we remember all of the good things He has done for us, and all of the grumblings become so small.
I hope that this can be a reminder to you as well to become more mindful of what God has done for us.
It has been quite a while since I last updated my blog. I am still alive and well!
Work has been going well, keeping me quite busy. I am still getting adjusted to the way things work within TWR, and still have a lot to learn. It feels good to have a job to go to each day.
I am thankful to have been able to find a church to attend every Sunday. I enjoy the fact that the service in bilingual. It is helpful for me as I am still learning German, and many times feel like my German still isn’t very good. I also enjoy that we sing songs in both English and German. The church I have been attending is quite small, averaging about 20 – 30 people a week.
I am hoping to take more German courses next month in the evenings. This would be from September until December.
This weekend I get to do some exploring with some visitors from some of our other offices in TWR. I still haven’t seen much of the city yet, so it will be fun to see what we find.
Finally, I would appreciate your prays that the Visa process would go smoothly.
This week I have completed my first week of German school. I know I am in the right section because I understand a lot of what is going on in class, but there are still times where I do not understand everything. I have really enjoyed the course so far, and even after a week, feel like I am getting a little better at German. Most of the people in the class are from the US which at times is a bad thing. There are times when we switch to English in order to explain something instead of trying to describe it in German. Thankfully our teacher only speaks with us in German. One thing that has helped me understand German better is having to explain some of the grammar to some people in the class. It always helps you learn something better when you have to explain it to someone else.
I’m thinking about creating a new page on the website where I will try to write a post in German each day for the rest of the month. I think this will help me get better at writing/reading German.
It has been a little over a week since I last updated my blog. I apologize for the delay, things have been pretty busy here. I have finished my first full week of work with TWR, and have recovered from jet lag. I am excited to be here, and looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in my life while I am here.
On Friday, I had the opportunity to see some of the software that I will be helping to develop in action. It was helpful to meet some of the people who use the software, and to here how they use it. I have been able to get a little better understanding of the bigger picture for the work that I will be doing here.
Next month I will begin language school. I am excited, but also nervous. Please keep me in your prayers, that I will be able to practice, and improve on my German.
On Saturday I decided to do a little exploring. I found out that there are several trails, in and around Vienna, so I decided to try one of them out. I am really glad I did! Below are some photos from my walk.
On Monday, I will be heading out on a retreat with the rest of the members of the tech team. I am hoping that it will be a good opportunity to get to know some of my coworkers better. I will make sure to take a lot of photos!
I am currently writing this blog post while sitting in the airport waiting for my first flight out to Chicago. I should be arriving in Vienna around 1800 Vienna time. It is exciting to know that the day has finally come for me to leave for Austria.
Please keep me in your prayers, that I would travel safely, and not run into problems at the different airports.
I look forward to updating my blog again soon. This time from Austria!!!
I have recently completed a training session in Peachtree City Georgia, called Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills(SYIS). Â As an introvert, I was a little overwhelmed the first couple of days of training. I did enjoy meeting new people,Â who are also missionaries. Most of the missionaries at the training were either in Africa, or were going to africa.Â It was encouraging to hear that others had heard of TWR and even mentioned how they appreciate media ministry. I evenÂ got a chance to practice a bit of German with a lady from Germany!
I would say that the training was helpful, and it will take me quite some time to digest all that was discussed.Â After a week of attending training for almost 8 hours a day, I am pretty tired, and look forward to catching up on sleep. As part of the training we were given a workbook. I believe that the workbook will come in handy in the future. I planÂ to work through the book over the coming months.
I will be home for only a few days, before I make a quick support raising trip. I will be meeting with a church, as wellÂ as a friend of one of my friends. Please pray that God would give me the words to share with the church as well as my friend’sÂ friend.
These next couple of weeks are going to be really busy as I will be in my youngest brother’s wedding, and then head off to Ohio to be in a friend’s wedding. This doesn’t give me a lot of time to pack for Austria, so I will need to start packingÂ very soon.
Some other exciting news, I have been able to Skype with one of my future roommates. I will be living in an apartmentÂ within walking distance of public transportation. I am very thankful to not have to worry about finding a place now.Â Please continue to keep me in your prayers over the next couple of weeks. My time in the US will be ending shortly. IÂ am very excited, but also a little nervous.
Over the next couple of weeks I will be doing some flying and traveling, so I wanted to post something funny that I read from a book called The Tin Soldiers by Andrew Schwab. So here they are:
1. Ticketing agents. Have you ever met a polite ticketing agent? If you have, it means they were just beginning their shift.
2. Flight attendants. Sure, they can be king and helpful. But really, they are just toying with you, acting as if they have been put there to serve you. In reality, though, they will poke and prod at your psyche, flaunting their power, nit-picking you about the 1/2 inch your seat is reclined, or how you are not allowed to use the restroom because the seatbelt sign is illuminated (even though your abdomen is about to burst). They will assault your comfort with comments on how your bag is not pushed far enough under the seat in front of you, even though they know NO BAH can actually fit in that space. Oh and sir, it will be nine dollars for those four crackers and five hunks of stale cheese.
3. Baggage handlers. Have you ever watched them “handle” bags? There is a reason why they are called “throwers” in the movie Fight Club
4. Gate agents. No, you cannot board sir. You are in zone 476. I have only called zones 1 – 475.92. And yes, you must gate-check you cell phone, wallet, and keys. And yes that means they will most certainly be lost. Have a nice flight
5. Pilots. Have you ever noticed they all tell the EXACT same joke at the EXACT same moment of EVERY flight. That is not coincidence. Nor is the subtle southern accent. Creepy.
6. Baggage Claims Office Attendents. While usually cheery, do you ever notice that there is never one iota of urgency in there attempts to locate your bag? No promises are made. No insight is given. No real information about the whereabouts of your lost bag is provided. You are left to panic for 2.7 days, which will pass until somehow miraculously, the bag is delivered from beyond. If you smell the bag, you will catch the faintest hint of sulfur.
7. The Security Line. Sir, please remove your belt and shoes and hat and skin and eyebrows and lips and arm hair. Sir, you have selected for a random screening. Please follow me while I unpack the entire contents of your bag and spread my germs all over them. Sir, please stay behind this line or we will have to put you in airport jail. IS this your toothbrush sir? I am going to have to run it through the x-ray machine. Sir, please do not cross the line. Now, I am going to have to ask that you lay on the conveyor belt while we pat you down and do an MRI, sir. You may need to fly standby on a later flight, sir.
8. Parking Shuttle Drivers. They always whistle. They always listen to jazz. They always have vacant, white eyes. They always have distant, vague, yet somewhat hopeful commentary, like just under the surface of their “have a good trip” is a promise that it will be your worst nightmare, and they will be laughing themselves all the while. They are, in fact, undead and zombified.
9. Connecting Gates. I don’t know why we even bother to hope that our connecting gate is nearby. Of COURSE it’s in terminal Q, a fifteen minute walk, or a seven minute train ride away. And of COURSE you only have four minutes to get there.
10. The “Arrival” Platform. My conversation with my ride, when I arrive at my destination, usually go something like this:
My Ride: “Where are you?”
Me: “I am just by the Delta sign by baggage door 127.”
My Ride: “I have driven by there nine times. There are no humans standing there.”
Me: “I have been standing here for an hour!”
My Ride: “Oh wait, I am on level Alpha, you must be on level Zulu.”
On a more serious note, last week I gave a defense of my theology paper for the EFCA License. The defense went well, and now I have to finalize some paperwork and send it in. Thank you for all of your prayers.
Well since today May 2nd 2013, is the 150th anniversary of Stonewall Jacskon’s flanking march during the battle of Chancellorsville, here’s a song for you.
I was recently reading through a devotional book, and came across something that sounded like it might be fun to work through to see some of the ways that God has designed me, and the interests that He has given me. With the ultimate goal of seeing what goals I should be striving for, and how I can better spend my time serving Him. I will be breaking things into 4 different categories; gifts: character traits and skills, passions/interests: things I love/enjoy/and maybe can’t do without, things that are stupid, and goals/dreams. (Some of these can also be funny.)
Gifts: Character Traits and Skills
good with math
Passions/Interests: Things that I love/enjoy/and maybe can’t live without
the American Civil War
hanging out with friends
the Colorado Rockies/Avalanche/Mammoth
Things that are stupid
analyzing a book I just want to read to enjoy (aka english class)
the New York Yankees
twitter for the average person
having 100s of tv channels with nothing worth watching
football players dancing when they score a touchdown
To use technology to reach people with the gospel
Become fluent in German
Create a Civil War game for the computer
Go Downhilling at least once
Make it to the top of one of the mountains in the Swiss Alps
to play lacrosse
I am still processing how to realize some of my goals, and recognizing which of my goals will glorify God, and what is a selfish goal.
If you have some time, you might enjoy looking at some of these different categories for yourself, and see how God has put you together.