I’m super EXCITED to be back in Bangladesh for the 2nd time this year!! Not only do I love the people here, but I also LOVE getting to work with a wide diversity of people! My team for this trip consists of an American, Irish, Khmer & Bengali – a wide assortment of cultures, mindsets & abilities! Thankfully, all of them are very patient with me & eager for our grand adventure! We’re opening nightcare here very soon & very eager to provide a shelter with nurture & protection for the babies & toddlers of sex workers, while their moms work.
Last time I was here, they let me know that 7/10 babies & toddlers are on the bed with their mom as she works. So I’m very humbled & honored to provide a shelter to protect & look after these lovely babies!
Saving Moses is expanding nightcare this year & Bangledesh is on our immediate horizon!
I’ll keep you posted over the next few days!
Emily – no bats in the closet at the TD, this time ,)
When I travel, I often meet people whom I admire & my weekend in New Zealand was no exception. To be sure, the country is entirely magnificent with its natural beauty, but her citizens are equally as enchanting. I met folk who are respectful in their conversations & engagement with diverse cultures. I met people who have overcome adversities that would make your hair stand on end. I met people who have a deep love for Jesus & carry His heart in their daily interactions, eager to serve & express genuine love.
We all meet people who have warts & flaws, but let’s have the courage & determination to see past those shortfalls & see each person as a glorious creation of our loving Heavenly Father!
I’m presently in Auckland New Zealand & experiencing this beautiful country & lovely people. It always astounds me to see God’s ability for infinite diversity. I also love to see the distinction of cultures & there are heaps of cultures here! With the various cultures, you might have heard of the All Blacks, which is the national rugby team for NZ & wildly popular here, an integral part of the culture. Additionally, this nation has lots of nationalities including Maori, British, Indian, Polynesian, French & loads more. In some respects, I’m not sure that I’ve ever visited a place with more cultural diversity, except maybe South Africa.
In addition to the diversity of people, there’s also loads of diversity with the actual land (islands, volcanoes, mountains, beaches, plains & rolling hills). The weather is also quite diverse & seems to change almost by the hour.
New Zealand is thoroughly beautiful & full of life. It’s definitely a country that I’d like to explore with loads more time!
I’m waiting at an airport coffee kiosk to collect my coffee, surrounded by beautiful pictures of mouth watering tea, coffee, hot chocolate, espresso shakes, etc. We all know that they make these pictures so that we’ll buy the drinks, supposing that they’ll taste as good as they look. In my experience, this isn’t true. It seems like we’ve been trained to swallow image like cotton candy and still yearn for tangible substance.
I think the same idea holds true for stuff with Jesus. Let’s be careful that we don’t merely sell the sizzle of Jesus – His benefits, powers, etc but neglect to personify His substance in our daily living. Jesus is way better than images, illusions or elusive cotton candy. His extravagant love, is far more satisfying than words or pictures could describe!
At the end of last week, I returned from a whirlwind trip to Bangladesh for Saving Moses. In our short time there, we accomplished loads of stuff because I think that a person should do everything to maximize their time. Upon returning home, I find myself more than a little spent. I feel puny, my sleep is messed up, my emotions are everywhere & I can’t seem to quiet my brain.
Thankfully, I was able to join our entirely glorious Sunday School class yesterday where we took a deep dive into 2Samuel 7 – a chapter about David wanting to build a temple for God. The first verse of the chapter says that David had “rest on every side.” One of the ladies in our class observed how wonderful this would be to have rest everywhere in our lives! In our discussion, we camped on this idea for awhile & it was amazing!! As I thought about this, I felt the Holy Spirit say to me that this rest was available to me not only on the outside, but on the inside as well – rest on every side.
So let’s allow the Holy Spirit to give us rest, maybe more than any place, on the inside with our emotions, thoughts, desires, etc
I’m flying back to the US today from Bangladesh, so it feels like the day that never ends. When I get toward the end of these long journeys, I get really punchy & goofy. But I also try to keep things as simple as possible because my mental ability to do anything complicated gets close to non-existent. So “simple” is my operative word.
I think keeping stuff simple is generally a good rule of thumb. I remind myself that simple is loving God, loving people & loving myself. With all of our technology, communication abilities, etc, let’s never get so sophisticated & savvy as to forego the core basics that Jesus taught: love is the defining characteristic of anyone who follows Jesus!
It seems of late that I’m always going somewhere – AZ, CA, NC, PA etc & it feels like I’m in perpetual motion. This is good because I get to share about the daily & supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit. On the other side, I find myself desiring that peace from being still & knowing that God is. With all of the traveling & stresses of work, home, schedules, family etc, we would be wise to learn about carrying peace on the inside. In Job 20:20 it says, “Because he knew no quiet within him, he does not retain anything he desires.”
Here are some ideas about carrying some quiet in our heads wherever we go:
remember to give your anxieties to God
turn to God as a habit & not just in overwhelm mode
let those unexpected cancelled events give you some pause space – don’t fill your schedule to the gills
life has seasons, ebb & flow & we would be wise to go with the flow
it helps me, on occasion, to sit in my car for a few minutes, with no phone or music & just be still
I’m in Pittsburgh & the older gentleman driving me to the airport has blue eyes like my dad. He’s also kind like my dad was so this drive brings back fond memories. When I think about my dad, I often reflect on the Holy Spirit & how the Helper works in my life. In Romans 8, I learn that the Holy Spirit helps me know God as my Heavenly Father. In John 14, I understand that the Holy Spirit is my Heavenly Help throughout each day. I also understand, from John 14, that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, leading me into truth & away from deception.
My earthly dad was a big proponent of the Holy Spirit so it’s nice to have this gentle reminder as a whisper as I ride in the car with this nice older gentleman wth blue eyes.
Presently I’m in Cambodia & this morning I was meandering around one of the neighborhoods where we provide nightcare with Saving Moses. This is always a tough neighborhood for me because of the immensity of the needs I see & feel. But it’s also a warm place for me because of the people I recognize every time, their kindness & warm acceptance. So this morning I was in this neighborhood and kind of taking in everything again. As I looked down one of the alleyways, I saw a small women & waved at her. She smiled quietly back at me. I felt drawn to her, so I walked closer & greeted her in my limited Khmer language. She was warm but respectful so I kept walking closer until I was standing just outside the opening of the space of her home. She was friendly but not overly welcoming. I peaked my head around the corner & observed a woman trying to get herself into sitting position. I could immediately tell that there was a significant physical ailment by the degree of struggle this women undertook to sit up. No joke, it took her between 2-3min to get herself upright. I kept watching to figure out what was going on with her. Her belly was really distended, so initially I thought she was pregnant, but dismissed this immediately because this was something different. She opened her shirt at her belly, revealing a swollen stomach like I’ve never seen, ever. I forced myself to not pull back from shock & tried to process what was wrong. Because I was by myself there was no help for me with any conversation, so I just stood there for what seemed a long time, unsure what to do. As I got my bearings, I felt in my heart that I was to pray for her and that was extremely helpful because I wasn’t just a helpless spectator to her pain & struggle. I stepped into the room and asked if I could pray (by that time, my translator friend came to help me). I began praying for her & also listening in my heart on how / what to pray. Of course I wanted to see some immediate evidence of healing & she did express that the pain she was experiencing was diminishing. I’ll go back tomorrow & check on her.
Seeing things that are atrocious can shock is into freeze mode or we can look to the Holy Spirit to help us be vessels for healing & divine love. Let’s chose love rather than be repelled by sickness & disease!
I like to go fast – snowboarding, quick flights & speedy travel. In the last two weeks, however, our family has taken a “slower” vacation. We’ve driven from Denver, stopping to see relatives & friends, all the way to Washington DC. We are now driving back to Denver from DC. I’ve done the round trip flight from Denver to DC more times than I can count & it takes about 7hours total (including driving & airport security) to fly one way. In contrast, it will take us 2.5 days to drive from DC to Denver, with minimal stops.
Along this vacation, I’ve noticed some significant advantages to this slower travel stuff:
More time to think, pray & explore – rather than focusing on the travel, slowing down allows me the space to pray & process
Beauty in various forms – from flat farmlands to the Smokey Mountains & rolling forested hills of West Virginia, there’s beauty everywhere. Being on the ground let’s me experience this beauty & appreciate Gods immense creativity.
Deeper conversations – getting to chat with my relatives & friends face to face has been a great benefit to this slow down approach to travel.
There’s some good wisdom to the Simon & Garfunkel song, “Feeling Groovy”
Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
I pray that you can slow down & enjoy your weekend with the Holy Spirit!
We are in the middle of our annual family vacation & this year, we’re driving round trip from Denver to Washington, D.C. So far, we’ve stopped along the way to hang out with family & friends, enjoying some wonderful time to catch up & reconnect.
Driving is an interesting experience for me because I usually fly & endeavor to make my travel time as short as possible. This kind of travel is a dramatically slower form of getting from point A to B, so it’s an altogether different experience.
Seems to me that our journey with God has different speeds. We can go through seasons when it seems like we’re moving super fast & making speedy progress. Then there are times when things are going so slowly that it hardly seems like we’re moving at all. Maybe God is more about the fellowship with us along the journey rather than the speed at which we reach our destinations.
I like to go new places, so I’m currently enjoying our family vacation, driving from Denver to Washington DC & then back home next week. Presently, were visiting relatives in Missouri & Arkansas, so it’s an efficient road trip, seeing sights, exploring new places & enjoying some fun conversations with family. This idea about visiting new places is right in my wheelhouse: I like going places I’ve never visited before, full stop.
I think this idea is also relevant to our walk with Jesus. Sometimes it can be easy to get in a rut or even become complacent in our spiritual journey. So maybe it’s worth some time to think about how to freshen up your relationship with Jesus. Here are some possible ideas:
Consider taking a few hours this weekend to take a hike with a journal & take some time to listen
Think about some possible ways to serve others – soup kitchen, homeless outreach, take a missions trip
Slowly read a pet of the Bible that you’re not very familiar with, keeping a pen & paper close for observations
Look into joining a Bible study or small group to talk about some of Jesus’ life
Let’s be careful that we keep growing in our walk with God!
It’s time to come home. I’m in Cambodia w Saving Moses & a totally incredible team, but I’m ready to come home. I’m ready to see my husband & kids, sleep in my own bed, eat some peaches, drive my car, wear clean clothes & speak English really fast.
Sometimes I think we feel this way about our earthly living. It’s definitely an adventure to live the human experience with lots of learning, some challenges & many bright spots. But we are made for heaven & it’s ok to get homesick from time to time. Let’s remember, however, that there are heaps of peeps in our lives who need to have heaven as their home. Let’s remember to share Jesus’ love & truth with the people in our lives so heaven’s population grows. Let’s be sure to take lots of people home with us!
I’ve had the opportunity to travel all around the world with all kinds of teams but never like this team. I’m in Cambodia right now with our nightcare work here, one of the privileges we do with Saving Moses & I LOVE THIS TEAM!!!! Here are just a few things I love about this team: they’re flexible, they don’t complain, they’re eager, kind, patient & they love the people here! I also love that this team is all about reaching people with Jesus’ love. They aren’t put off by how someone looks, the smells or the poverty. This team is totally centered into connecting people with Jesus’ love & I couldn’t be happier to be among such a fine group who follow Jesus so passionately!
This summer, it seems like people are traveling more than usual – by airplane, car, train, bike, etc. While I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert traveler, I’ve had enough mistakes & mishaps to give advice from what a person shouldn’t do 🙂
Consider a few helpful tips:
Know where you’re going, or at least get the general direction clear – this relates to setting goals & achieving things as well
Patience & flexibility – enjoy the journey rather than bite your nails, you could likely have some fun experiences & meet some awesome peeps
Rest – Jesus napped on the boats when He traveled, so it seems wise to grab some winks along the way
Pay attention – listen & watch for the Holy Spirit because traveling can be an incredible opportunity to get closer to Heavenly Help
I’m writing this in Indiana, as I’m waiting for a driver to take me to the airport. I was waiting earlier for an interview & when I get to the airport, I’ll wait some more to get on the airplane. Seems to me that we often spend time waiting for various things – stop lights, job interviews, school acceptance, for the right mate, direction from God & heaps more.
Sometimes it’s easy to get impatient in the waiting times. So here are some benefits to help you while you wait:
Waiting gives us the space to catch our breath & collect our thoughts
Waiting can be the prep time we need for the next season of busyness, activities & responsibilities
In Isaiah, it says that when we wait upon the Lord, He renews our strength & we all need supernatural strength
I admit that I still like The Go Go’s, a pop band from
the 80s. Listening to them is like eating cotton candy: sappy & lite. They sing, “Get Up & Go”, a catchy tune with mindless lyrics, something about not going slow – a peppy little song.
Alas, I did not get up & go.
Recently I was supposed to go to Angola for Saving Moses but because of some visa problems & health challenges, I find myself at home, unexpectedly. It’s tricky for me because I like to get up & go. I like to be on the move. So sitting down & staying isn’t always my first choice. But there are times & seasons when God knows that what we need most is to sit & stay, even when this cuts against the grain of our personality.
So here are some benefits I’m realizing from this non-Go Go season:
I love the time with my family – listening, watching, cooking, cleaning with them & enjoying their company
More thinking: as if I needed more thinking, and yet this stillness affords me a depth that I don’t enjoy when I’m on the move
Quiet: not only am I appreciating the quiet on the outside, but I’m learning an internal quiet that is very soothing & wholesome
Heavenly Help: I’m learning a new closeness with the Holy Spirit that I’ve not experienced before 🙂
The verses God is speaking to me everyday in this season are Ps 131:1-2. Take a few moments to read these – likely God has some good for all of us even during a sit & stay season ,)
Before there were planes, trains & automobiles, people used camels, donkeys & the sandal express to resolve their transportation needs. So once upon a time there were a couple of guys walking from one town to another and a random stranger joined their pedestrian ambulation. There ensued a heated conversation about the current events of that time: something about a very magnetic man getting brutally murdered by the key religious leaders of the region & supposedy this murdered but magnetic guy had risen from the dead, according to the rumor on the street. The stranger seemed unaware of these current events, but somehow started a religious conversation that caused a holy heart burn in these fellow travellers. Long story short, these guys came to understand after Jesus disappeared that He was talking with them along their journey, even though they didn’t recognize Him. Luke 24
Just because we know about Jesus doesn’t mean that we always recognize Him in the events or journey of our daily living. I think that part of our Path to Pentecost is letting the Holy Spirit help us recognize Jesus better in our day to day existence.
The first person to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection was Mary Magdalene. Mary seems to be an unlikely prospect for Jesus’
considering that He could’ve appeared to some “higher quality” folk. In Mark 16:9, we read about Mary, “He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.”
Why would Jesus pick a former lunatic chick to make His first appearance? Why not Peter, who denied Jesus but was clearly a leader among the disciples. Why not Mary, Jesus’ mom? Why not John, the disciple whose love for Jesus was noteworthy? Why this Mary Magdalene?
I totally love that Jesus first appeared to this woman. I love that Jesus picked the least likely person who had possibly been the most deranged & to her He revealed His resurrected self.
On our journey to Pentecost, let’s allow Jesus into the “crazy” places in our lives. Indeed, Jesus is our resurrected Prince of Peace, the One who calms the chaos & dispels the darkness.
I’ve had my share of airport meltdowns. I still feel sorry for the poor flight agent who got an earful from me about my luggage being small enough to fit in the overhead bin. Then there was the recent dude who wanted to weigh my carry on luggage – no need to give much animation to that exchange. And yesterday, I was hostile with the guy who made my salad because he gave me the wrong salad dressing. As much as I’d like to explain & justify my behavior, it is neither excusable not justified, full stop.
So here are my lessons that you might find helpful sometime:
With the Holy Spirits help, there’s always more patience than pressure.
Check your attitude – it’s too expense nowadays to bring extra luggage
Keep grace & poise in good form: practice, practice, practice
Watch the monitors: keep alert to your thoughts & anxieties, sometimes they can seep out
Get in the right line: bypass those cranky conversations & opt to bring peace & abundant forgiveness.
Traveling these days affords me ample opportunities to walk the talk 🙂