Monday, January 21, 2013

Desires of My Heart

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 36:4

Sometimes you don't know the desires of your heart until they suddenly seem impossible. I've been learning that a lot since losing my dad. I didn't realize how much I wanted him to be there for whenever I get married, or even to see him be the grandfather to my children. Those things have just seemed so far into the future that I didn't focus on them. However, when they are now no longer possible, it's hard to accept.

One thing I knew I always wanted though was to stand with my family together in worshipping the Lord. Since Dad is now with Jesus, I thought it was impossible. However, God showed me that it's not.

It all comes down to a deeper revelation of worship. When we worship, we enter into the very presence of God. It's a sweetness that cannot be described properly in words. The Lord showed me recently that when we enter into His presence, we are right there where all those who have gone home before us are. Right where my dad is. So when I worship God, I'm worshipping right alongside my dad. Suddenly heaven doesn't seem so far away.

"With God all things are possible." Matt 19:26

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thoughts on Change

I realized that tomorrow was my original departure date from Africa for my visit home. It's strange to think that I would have been in africa still during these past fews months. I had originally planned to try and surprise my parents by coming home earlier then planned. However, that changed when Dad and I started planning a hunting trip together. We were discussing going deer hunting if I could survive the cold while sitting in a tree stand at sunrise. He was betting that I'd chicken out. He was probably right.

Not all of the changes in my life these past few months have been bad. (If you don't know, I lost my dad in a car accident at the end of August.) I feel like my family has never been closer. We've had a lot more get togethers with my aunts, uncles, and cousins besides just during the holidays. I didn't realize how much I've missed them over the years.

Some things haven't changed though. My heart for the nations hasn't. My vision for the rural villages in Zambia has, in fact, only grown stronger. I find that my passion for the work I'm doing with Overland Missions just erupts when I get to share it with others. It helps keep my focused on what God has called me to do.

Can we avoid change? Can we run from it? Never. However, God gives us the foundation to stand on when we face it- good or bad

Monday, October 1, 2012

If You Could See Me Now

If you could see me now you wouldn't shed a tear. 
Though you may not understand why I'm no longer there. 
Remember my spirit that is the real me because I'm still very
Much alive, I've just been set free, Oh, if you could only see! 
I have beheld our Father's face and I've touched my Savior's
Hand. All of Heaven's angels rejoiced as I entered the promised
Land. Beyond the gates of pearl I've walked on the golden streets. 
I've touched the walls of jasper and dipped my foot in the
Crystal sea. The beauty is beyond words and nothing could
Compare, I've even seen your mansion and someday 
I'll meet you there. Let Jesus be your guide because
His Word will show you the way! So please don't
Cry because we will meet again someday. 
-Author: Patsy Stambaugh Deskins

I found this poem today and it reminded me of dad. Even though I feel his loss so very much in my life, this poem was an amazing reminder of where Dad actually is at this very moment- in the very presence of the Lord. What a beautiful place to be!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Little Things

I used to think that the Lord didn’t care about the ‘little’ things in life. You know, those tiny details that sometimes escape our everyday notice. Or the things that we somehow get in our head that is for us to take care of. That they don’t really matter to the Creator of the universe. Maybe you’ve felt the same at some point in your life.
God revealed to me how much He really does care about those little things back in 2007. I was working on our base here in Zambia during hot season at a time when I was the only American on the base. It was probably the hardest 3 months of my life, but a time where I grew the most in the Lord.
I was working on our trucks, of which all broke down at the same time, leaving me as the only mechanic on base. Don’t laugh. ;-) It had been boiling hot for months, I had no clue how to fix the truck (big surprise) and was just absolutely grumpy. Flinging down the tools, I stalked from the warehouse to my tent. In the midst of my toddler-like temper tantrum, God spoke to me. He said “My daughter, what can I do today to make you smile?” His voice was so clear to me that I even looked around to see who was talking. Not seeing a single person, I almost decided that the heat was finally getting to me. However, stepping out in faith, I answered. “Lord, a huge rainstorm would make me smile. I want a break from this heat.” The Lord answered me and told me that it would rain. I was ecstatic! Immediately I thought that I needed to let our workers know in case we needed to move any equipment. However, I looked in the sky and only saw blue. I check the horizons and there wasn’t even a wisp of a cloud. Thinking that maybe it had been my own imagination, I walked into my tent to change out of my oil soaked clothes.
Not 5 minutes later, I emerged from my tent at the sound of a crack of thunder. There over our base was a large, dark cloud. The heavens opened and rain poured down on the base! I knew two things from that moment: Never doubt the voice of the Lord and that the Lord cares about even the small things in our lives. He enjoys making us smile.
One of my ministry leaders in Mahalulu experienced this same revelation the other week. Zambia has been in a drought and most of the streams that usually still have water have run dry. Crispen had planted carrot and onion seedlings, believing the Lord that his water source wouldn’t run dry. By the time the plants were large enough to transplant, the stream was completely dry. He told me that one would have to dig deep into the sand to get to any water. Deciding to shift his garden to a new water source, he concentrated on his onions, leaving the carrots behind until he could prepare the beds for them. A week or so later, the new garden was prepared and the onions were planted. When Crsipen went back for his carrots, he found his dried up stream filled with water. Not just a small amount, the stream was actually flowing with water! There hadn’t been a drop of rain that could have made this possible, only the Lord. Everyone has been looking for ways to survive this drought year and help solve the ‘water issue.’  We sometimes forget that God also has a plan because He cares that Crispen didn’t have water for his plants. It may seem like small to some but I saw the same smile on Crispen’s face as he shared this testimony that was on my own face when the rain poured down outside of my tent. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Celebrations

Opening Christmas Presents!
Today was my official first Christmas in Zambia! I was woken up by Nate (one of our volunteers) banging on my door at 6 am yelling "Merry Christmas!" If you know me at all, you know I am NOT a morning person. Perhaps if Nate was 4 years old it would have been cute. Not so cute for a 20 year old. However I was up and we gathered at Jake & Jessi's house to open presents with their two young daughters.  Eating swedish nut bread (my gram's recipe and my fav breakfast for Christmas) and drinking Cinnamon spice coffee, we exchanged gifts and watched the girls open their presents with great joy.

Our afternoon was spent with wonderful friends from town as we shared a large, and delicious lunch. My parents then called me using facetime for a video chat. I was able to watch them open the presents I sent. I love technology! To make it even better, I did a video chat with my entire family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents). It was so great to see their faces but it made me a bit more homesick then I already was. However, it's been a great Christmas and I'm looking forward to the upcoming New Year!

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Songs

driving through Nsongwe Village
I had a revelation while driving to town the other day. Have you ever noticed how many Christmas songs talk about snow and cold? White Christmas came on my ipod and I was singing along, but then I looked at my surrounding. There has never been a white christmas in zambia. Instead it's a very green Christmas. Growing up in Chicago, Christmas is cold and usually white. However, Christmas is during the summer for half of the world- Zambia included. While my family and friends back in Chicago are hoping for a white christmas, Jake, Jessi, and I are hoping for a wet Christmas. With the rains comes cooler temperatures. Dry days here are above 100 deg F- not exactly like the Christmases "I used to know." But what makes Christmas? Is it the snow and cold? Family traditions? Presents under the tree? Sure, I love all of the joys of Christmas but let's never forget our true joy: the birth of our Savior. So whether or not your Christmas this year is white, know that the true source of our joy is in Him. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Traditions

Every family has their own Christmas traditions. They're what we've grown up with, what we associate the holiday season with. It can be certain foods, midnight church services, Christmas carols, etc. You don't really realize how unique, and even how important they are to you until you're away from your family on Christmas for the first time.

This is my first year staying through rainy season (obviously also through Christmas) here in Zambia. The base is quiet, with only myself and another family making up the "foreign" staff. Jessi and I have been planning Christmas by combining all of our favorite traditions together. The first one has been the great cookie bake. Now my mom usually bakes the christmas cookies, while my sister, brother, dad, and I "help" as the taste testers. However, Mom isn't here so Jessi and I pulled together all of our favorite recipes (thanks, Mom, for sending the recipes for my favorite cookies!) and spent an entire day baking cookies. We started our baking day by laying out a game plan. After a short discussion of whether we should half the recipes or not (deciding on not) we starting the baking spree. By dinner time we had made about 20 dozen cookies. For 3 adults and 2 young kids. That's a lot of cookies!! Did we get carried away? Sure! The good part about all these cookies is now we have lots to share with our zambian and missionary friends here. There's nothing like the taste of your favorite, childhood Christmas cookie to make you feel a bit more connected to home despite the thousands of miles of separation.