11/17/2016

Trusting God

One of the assignments in the 10th grade Apologetics course was to study 30 names of God in 30 days. The idea was to examine one name per day. The students looked at what each name tells us about God and how this characteristic should impact how we worship Him.

I began thinking through some of those names today. 


God is Jehovah-shalom: (God of peace)


When my mind is full of "what comes next", "what ifs", "what should I do", am "I doing the right thing," it can be hard to find peace or rest for a weary brain. However, the knowledge that God is a God of peace is not only reassuring, but it encourages me to lay my burdens (including worries) at His feet.


God is Jehovah-jireh: (God who provides)


The year so far has been challenging. There is a lot of work to get done in a day. Teaching chemistry and algebra II this year has been more than a challenge. Trusting God in the midst of stress is a battle that I lose sometimes. However, the knowledge that God is the one who provides is an encouragement to keep fighting that battle. He is the One that provides the ability to complete work at all. It is He who will provide me with the ability to learn and later teach that chemistry lesson that I am struggling with.


God is Jehovah-M’kaddish: (God who sanctifies)


When I lose that battle or others, I can know that God is the One that sanctifies. He is not going to give up on me until He finishes with me. He forgives me, and He is the only One who can give me the strength to win the battle.


God is Jehovah-Nisei


This name means “God our banner.” Under His banner we go from triumph to triumph and say, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). (by the Navigators, 2007)
When the battle is won for the day, I praise God because He is the One that gave me the victory.

Prayer Requests:
1. Teaching Chemistry and Algebra II is hard :)
2. Busy Schedule
3. Missing friends

Praises:
1. I am able to join my family in Alabama for Christmas!
2. Teaching 5th-8th grade science classes- It has been encouraging to have conversations about how perfectly God designed our universe
3. Students- I am thankful for the 10th grade students. They are dedicated to their work. Even though the content is hard, I can see them doing their work for the glory of the Father each and every day.

Resource: The resource that we used to study the names of God for 30 days can be found at the link below.
https://www.navigators.org/Tools/Discipleship%20Resources/Tools/30%20Days%20of%20Praying%20the%20Names%20and%20Attributes%20of%20God


8/20/2016

Small Things --- Big Impact

This summer has been wonderfully full and busy. I lived in Quito (the capital of Ecuador) for a little over a month. I had the opportunity to help out in the offices of Reach Beyond in Quito with paperwork and organization. I love this kind of work, so it was a lot of fun. However, I really missed home.

When I got back to Shell, I was really grateful for things that I missed. (Or things that were fixed while I was away) I thought I would share some of these with you. Many of them might sound really small to you, however, I can assure you, these small things can all add up to make a huge difference.

1) Church- Although I attended church in Quito, it was not my home church that I have grown to love over the last few years. My first Sunday back was so much fun. The amazing thing to me was that the church in Quito was an English speaking church. My church in Shell is all in Spanish. I couldn't believe how much I had missed singing the worship songs in Spanish. Even the greeting time (which is not my favorite) was fun.

2) Lower Altitude- Quito's altitude is over 9000 ft. After a month of being in Quito, it was so wonderful to be back in Shell (3,000 ft altitude). Breathing is so much easier here in Shell!

3) Being Home- I was so excited to be back home in Shell. I missed my apartment, my classroom, my church, and apparently the smells of Shell. (Well, maybe not all of them- dog poop never smells good). Let me explain. My second day back in Shell, I went on a walk into town. I found myself grinning ear to ear. Yes, I was excited to be back. But, what was making me grin was the smell of the street food being cooked. Now, the strange thing is, I don't usually eat the street food. (Street food is more likely to make me sick, so I tend to only buy food in restaurants). The smells of the cooking pinchos (meat on a stick) and choclo (field corn with cheese) smelled amazing. I thought to myself, I am home.

4) HOT WATER- Over the last year, my apartment has been having some hot water problems in the shower. My showers were luke warm at best. And we haven't had hot water in the sink to wash dishes in over two years. While I was gone over the summer, they worked on the hot water system. My first night back, I washed dishes with hot water, and the shower was almost scalding it got so hot!!! Hot water for showers and washing dishes is one of the things that I do not take for granted after living here in Shell.

How you can pray:

1) This school year comes with a lot of changes. I will be helping fill in for the principal while she is in the States for around 6 months. I will be doing all the administrative paperwork that comes with her job. We have a wide range of grade levels this year for only 3 teachers. So, I will be teaching 10th grade (Algebra II, Chemistry, Geography, and an Apologetics course), 5th grade math, 6th grade math, 5/6 grade science, and 7/8 Earth Science. I am excited about this new year, but I know that it will be very busy.

2) One of my best friends (the principal of the school) will be in the States with her son for 6 months. Her son will be having a surgery that he cannot have done here in Ecuador. I will miss her greatly.
Pray for Beth and her son Nanki as they leave their husband/father and live in the States for this long amount of time. Pray for them as he has surgery on his leg. Let me know if you would like more in-depth information on their situation and how you pray for them.
   
3) A family that I was really close to moved back to the States in June. They attended my church and helped me feel at home at this church. Although I now realize I feel at home at the church on my own, I am going to greatly miss this family and their friendship.

4/21/2016

God is Bigger!

On Saturday evening the country I call home experienced a 7.8 earthquake. Although the earthquake could be felt here there was absolutely no damage where I live. However, that is far from the case for so many people in the coastal region of Ecuador.  The stories that we are hearing (and seeing) of the affected areas are heart wrenching. Stories about children who are now orphans because their parents died protecting them bring fresh tears to my eyes as I write this. The real-life accounts of the areas where people have to go and look at the deceased to identify their loved ones are unbelievably saddening.  The official numbers that I am hearing are that around 600 people have died. However, there are many still missing. This does not even begin to mention the injured.

My heart has been extremely heavy this week as I think about and pray for the people in the cities. They have no electricity, no water, and have been experiencing multiple after shocks for days now, including some that qualified as earthquakes themselves. People are sleeping outside even if their homes were not destroyed because they are afraid another earthquake will occur that will destroy their homes with them inside. Ecuador is on the equator, which means it is very hot, and especially so in the costal regions that are at sea level. They have no electricity, no water. People are desperate. The pictures of people standing along side the road begging for a little water for their families are heart breaking.

Even though this earthquake has not affected our area, emotionally it is felt countrywide. Ecuador is not a huge country. Practically everyone in Ecuador knows at least someone who lives in the affected areas. I can’t begin to imagine the pain of not knowing if your family members are all right or even still living. The Spanish teacher at our school told me how her family has had no word from her aunt, her aunt’s children, or her grandchildren. They have attempted to contact everyone they can that might know something, and they have added their names to the registry that helps people find out about their loved ones. This is just one story of thousands.

As I have reflected on this tragedy and prayed for the injured and the families grieving the death of their loved ones, I have thought about what it would be like to go through this. Although the pain felt by all involved is tremendous, I can’t even begin to imagine going through something like this without a very real confidence in our trustworthy God. During our girl’s Bible study this afternoon we discussed how God is a trustworthy God. He is faithful and ever true. He is the creator and sustainer of all. We discussed how we CAN and should trust our God no matter what happens. At one point in the discussion I asked the girls if we can trust God even when bad things like the earthquake happens. One of the girls so rightly responded with something like, “Of course, because He is God. He created everything” Oh! To have the faith of a child. There is so much desperation, so many hurting, so many in need of a Savior. I know my God is bigger than the troubles. I know my God is there even in the sorrow. I praise God that the Word tells me that I can have this confidence.

In the midst of all this hurt, there are many nationals and foreigners rushing to the aid of the victims. My two neighbors are pilots with Mission Aviation Fellowship serving with a local Ecuador mission as pilots usually serving people needing to get in and out of the jungle areas. Both of these men are away from their families as they serve as pilots to fly aid workers into the affected areas. Fellow Reach Beyond missionaries are serving as doctors in the hardest hit areas (also away from their families). Many other friends of mine serving with other ministries are also ministering during this time. Pray for them as they serve. Pray that they will have opportunities to share the good news of Christ as they minister to the physical needs of the hurting. Pray for their safety in dangerous situations due to the overwhelming desperation of the people. 

If you are looking for a way to give financially to support the work that is being done to help the victims I have listed two reliable ministries below that are taking donations specifically to get aid where its needed most.

Samaritan’s Purse: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/disaster/ecuador-earthquake/

Reach Beyond:  https://reachbeyond.org/ecuadorrelief