Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jesus- the comforter


God's timing is pretty cool because this week my life-group is memorizing Bible verses about God as the great Comforter. Through the Bible, God wants to comfort us with whatever hard times we are facing and he wants to just help us with our life. Psalm 46:1 says "God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble." And Romans 15:4 says "For Whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4. Thus the Bible was not written to condemn us or just to inform us- but to give us hope and comfort.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Isaiah 66:13 that says "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem." To me this is beyond beautiful because if you have a great mother, then you know that when anything goes wrong- whether you get hurt, have a bad day, or just need support- you can always run into your mom's arms and nobody can love you the way she does because no one understands you like a mother understands her own child. So if God would comfort me as a mother comforts her own child- then I can have faith- that if I run to God with my burdens, with my tears, with my stress- that He because He knows me better than myself- knows in which way I need to be filled and will comfort my soul and restore me within with gentleness, compassion, and love.

Proverbs 30:5 also describes God's word as a shield- which may on first impression not seem comfort-related. But when we think about how we are in warfare- a spiritual warfare where reality is often hidden and illusioned (the fight between Satan and Jesus for our eternal destiny) and often we are so distracted with meaningless things of this world- in this spiritual warfare, Satan is throwing things at us to try and destroy us. He is throwing temptations at us. He is telling us lies about our selves, about our sexuality, and He's trying to tell us lies about Christ Himself- yet God as the shield- would provide the ultimate source of comfort because He would be providing the ultimate source of protection. The shield takes our hits- covers us up with love- and says "I will take care of that today" so that we can be free of worry, stress, and evil desires if we only rest in Jesus Christ and His comfort and peace. 

Thus may we trust God to be our comforter, to be our shield, and to comfort us like a mother comforts her own child. And may we rest in God's peace in love.




What People don't tell you about missions

I'm crying because I'm struggling
struggling to focus
struggling to think
when my tutor points to the problem
that has the answers hidden
I just can't find it
and I'm embarassed
and I'm trying
but I just can't focus

And every class
stresses me out
overwhelming me with homework
and exams
I want to do good
but how is it I'm supposed to learn
to memorize all of this
and still keep a good relationship with God
and have friends too?
There are just so many things
I have to do

And I just don't want to be in school
But I want to do what God is calling me
But every day is so hard- a feat like the size of a cruise ship
And I'm like nobody told me it would be this hard to come back...

Nobody warned me that I would need counseling when I got back from missions
Because the things I saw and experienced would terrorize my heart and mind
And question my entire identity, family, and everything I've ever known
Nobody warned me about how my heart would be ripped apart
When I had to leave my sm family and Peruvians I loved
Nobody told me that my own culture wouldn't be so homey anymore

No I don't regret my experience in missions.
Because it changed my life for good.
God changed my life through a year of service- just like He's changing us every day if we let Him
I just wish someone would have warned me... that coming back from missions really is that hard. That it will probably mess up your family life, your friend life, your personal life, your health, and it will mess up your school. Beautiful messes for Jesus.



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Do you know God

Here are some questions that we as believers should be asking ourselves. Do we really know our Creator- do we have a true relationship with Christ?

1.Is your life marked by worship? 2 Kings 17:38-39; 1 Chronicles 16: 23-31

2. Is that worship marked by the spirit? The true believers' life will be marked by worship. Psalm 29: 1-11; Isaiah 29:13

3. Do you really have the desire to worship God? Where you want to fall on your knees and worship God? If that is absent from your life, then what do you have? Is your joy in Christ- or is it simply a routine/ obligation?

"I'm amazed that so many people in the church today want to go to heaven.Because heaven is only about God- the will of God- and worship of God. And yet in the church those three things are so often not even practiced- people will do everything in their power to avoid it."- Paul Washer

4. Who are you imitating? God or this world? Who do you listen too? Who do you dress like? Who do you portray in your actions? Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 5:1

5. Who do you glory and boast in? Do you glory in your own achievements (testing success, won softball games, or is your only boast in the Lord?) Jeremiah 9:24; Galations 6:14

6. Who are your sweetest moments with? What are the best times of your day? EGW says "Of whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and best energies? If we are of Christ, our sweetest thoughts are of Him."

7. If heaven just had God there and no riches, no beauty, no animals, no food, and some sacrifice would you still want to go?

"What part of your doctrine and what part of your life should be exported and what should be quarantined?"

8. What is your motivation for another day of life/ for living? Romans 15:4-8

** based off of Paul Washers sermon to college students: Do you truly know the Lord? (can be found on you tube)

I know for me, walking with God, is alot harder now that I'm back in college then it was in Peru. In Peru, I had abundant time for Bible study and prayer, fellowship with other believers, and service. But here I feel a constant fight for my time and focus- school work, exercise, friends, Jesus. I also find that it can be so easy to lose the meaning of worship- sometimes by dressing up and trying to look nice for a vespers or worship credit- or maybe just the atmosphere not being reverent enough, or my own thoughts being distracted by stresses or a long "to-do" list. But God is faithful.

We must constantly call out to Christ and re-surrender our lives to Him. He knows our sins, faults, and selfishness- yet He will never give up on us. He promises to finish the work He has started in us and He wants to remake our hearts and write in them His words and promises. Oh how He loves us- thus let us love Him- not just with our words, or occasional thoughts- but in everything we do- whether we are alone or in a crowd. Lord Jesus, may you come into to us and teach us how to know you better.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

May Jesus Be Enough for Me

May Jesus be enough for me
When I'm buried in the worlds deep suffering
On my hands and on my knees
Trying to serve the least of these

May Jesus be enough for me
When I face the enemy
Causing hunger, fights, and pain
May I never be afraid

May Jesus be enough for me
abroad or in my home
tears or smiling, dance or crash
My Jesus will be shown.

May Jesus be enough for me
When tests and classes just can't be
When life is just a misery
And I'm failing and running late

May Jesus be enough for me
When I've fallen to my knees
My heart is heavy; strength is weak
And I don't have a prayer to say

May Jesus be enough for me
When I've lost each game I've had to play
When I'm feeling empty inside
May Jesus still be on my mind

May Jesus be enough for me
When I'm missing intimacy
May I crave my creator instead of an earthly thing
May Jesus be not what I want but what I need

Philippians 4:19 "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."


Monday, September 22, 2014

Zephaniah 3:17

I found the most beautiful promise today from God's Word in Zephaniah 3:17.

"The Lord your God in your midst,
 the Mighty One will save;
He will rejoice over YOU with gladness;
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.

This verse says that no matter where I am the Lord is with me in my midst and He will always save me. He is Always going to defend me, always going to support me, always going to give me His hand when I'm falling or shaky. Not only that but He delights in me- I captivate Him and He sings over me saying "this is my child- this is my daughter."

I think often as girls we seek these saving characteristics from a male figure like a boyfriend or a father. We often see these guys as our protectors and we to look to them for approval, we look to them for help when we are weak, and we want them to save us. And I believe there is nothing wrong with letting a guy help us and that a true guy should stand up for a girl and fathers should love and encourage their daughters BUT I also believe so often because we as girls don't realize that we already have a Superhero and Super-Savior we try to make our boyfriends or fathers play that role- and I believe that's wrong. Guys aren't perfect and although often they want to help us- we can't expect them to always fill up our hearts with exactly what we need- that's what God is for. I believe that we are created with a longing for intimacy and the deepest intimacy we will ever find is in Christ. And only after we find that deepest intimacy can we begin to understand what real intimacy with a guy can begin to look like. So this promise is so fulfilling because no matter who you are, and if you have a great boyfriend or not or if you have a family- or even if you are all alone- God still wants to be the intimate lover of your soul. He seeks us- He loves us- and when we let Him into our hearts we will realize how crazy and mind-boggling this love that He has for us is- because it's unexplainable and inconceivable.

Then I love the part of this verse that says "He will quiet you with His love" because I think so often we get worked up, and I know for sure when I get worked up, we just want to get angry and upset and tell other people and throw a fit or make a scene. But God speaks in a whisper and He wants to quiet us. He wants us to have peace no matter what we are going through and He says breathe "breathe in my spirit" and perservere. In quietness- seek my face. And I love this because this is exactly what I need when I'm freaking out- I need God's peace- I need to stop and listen to His voice.

The third and fifth lines of the verse say that God will rejoice over us. God loves us so much that He will sing over us because He sees us as His beautiful creation.

So I pray that the promise of Zephaniah 3:17 can encourage your heart and that you will let God save you, that you will let God quiet you down when you are angry or stressed, and that you will realize God is so captivated by you that He is singing about you- His child.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Beautiful Mess



I am a mess.

Never before have I remembered being so "messed up". I can't focus; I can't say the right things to my friends; I can't do my homework or grasp complex concepts. I seem to constantly be on the verge of tears.

Have you ever let God mess up your life and remake it?

Although it's hard, I believe our messes- God takes and transforms to beauty. Through our weakness, He is strong. And He promises to hold us and give us joy when we are broken.

Zephaniah 3:17  The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;  he will rejoice over you with gladness;  he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

I pray that even on your worst days you would see the fingerprints of our loving Savior and how he is remaking you beautifully into His creation.

The Cost of Following Christ- dorm devotional

Matthew 6:24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Matthew 10:38
And he that takes not his cross, and follows after me, is not worthy of me.

My question is do you identify with these verses? Are you taking up your cross to follow God? Are you truly Jesus' disciple and are you doing what He calls you to do- which includes giving up your self and selfishness in order to follow Him.

Do you ever feel like theirs so many Christians and out of those so many Christians, it often seems that only a few of them are genuine. That so many of them are faking it, or living it because of their friends, or really not knowing what they believe but claiming the Christianity "safety net" so that in case God is real they can be "saved". In Revelation 3:16- it says that the lukewarm, that those who say they love God but don't really or those who ride the fence but won't truly sacrifice for Christ, will be spit out of His mouth.

Have you ever thought about the cost of following God? I mean yes God is wonderful and He loves us and He is our savior but He also asks that if we follow Him we give Him our everything.

Have you ever questioned what Go wants for us? What sacrifices do we need to make for God? What do we have to give up? Think about the rich man in the Bible. In Matthew 19 it tells his story and about how even though He had been keeping God's commandments- he thought that would be enough for God- but it wasn't. The Lord asked him to give it all up and because he was unwilling, Jesus said
 "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

God really does want our all. He is not happy with a five minute devotional thought everyday or the fact that we attend a Christian school or that we don't drink or party and we do our homework and get good grades. Let me remind you that in the end our grades won't matter, our popularity status and joker picture won't matter, but what we do for Christ or what we do for Christ will matter.

In college I've seen this sign that says pick two: good grades, social life, or health. I would dare to say that sometimes it truly is a dilemma like this and we have to pick our priorities. We have faith, health, school, friends, work. Who do you choose? Yes your in school and it's great to focus and study hard but I pray that you realize your identity in Christ is so much more than a student. 

What are you currently sacrificing for God? Have you ever suffered for Christ? And if you can't think of anything.. I just want to challenge you to really seek out yourself and your beliefs and question how well you know your Savior.

God wants to bless you. He loves you and He is so worthy of any sacrifice we can make- because He is indescribable. But I pray that you take the time to really look at the costs of following God and really say God what cross do you want me to carry for you? What do you need me to give up in your name? And then I pray that you would take up your cross and follow God because He will bless you so much more than you could ever dream of.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Help Me Find It


My Poetry

Introverted

There’s a peace I’ve come to know
When the noise all fades away
There’s a rescue for my soul
That shows me I’m still safe

Wherever I may be
When people say goodbye
I dream of a secret place
Waiting for a spot to hide

Alone
Alone
Alone
I’m finally set free
From people’s pressing wonders, questions
And every single need

Alone
Alone
Alone
There’s victory in my step
Because I’m by myself
All Alone

And I sing Hallelujah
And shout to the mountains
And dance around in circles
Run as fast as I can

I scream to the city
And strip- praise the Lord
Cause these people around me
Aren’t around me anymore

Breathe in Breathe out the air of freedom
The loss of need to impress or be
When I’m by myself
I find my true identity

If Only I Had the Words


This girl is crying because she wants to go home
If only I could tell her I understand
I could comfort her and be there for her
If only I had the words

This young mom is tired of taking care of her baby
If only I could encourage her
Ask her if I could do anything
If only I had the words

This baby is crying for reasons I don't know
If only I could say “baby what's wrong”
I could sing lullabies and tell him I love him
If only I had the words

I wish I could listen to each child's story
I wish I could help them with each thing they've been through
And the ways they have been hurt
If only I had the words 

Give me the words
Or give me something louder
Give me love that is stronger than words

* I wrote this poem while I was experiencing a language barrier volunteering as a missionary in Pucallpa, Peru. I was working at an orphanage and had so much I wanted to share with the children. Yet I was only beginning to learn Spanish.


My Mother Is A Giving Tree


My mother is a giving tree
She gave and she gave and gave
Her branches reached far across the horizon
She produced much faithful fruit
Bananas, strawberries, sweet mangos, and the bluest heavenly grapes

She fed the hungry, the weak, the distressed
She gave and her branches touched
Her fruit provided and made a difference

Though the giving tree grew tired
She could not faint nor grow away
Her roots were planted in deep pure soil
Firm with rain and love from His son above

She tree continued to shine, wave, and dance
Her branches waved despite storms and the weather
No matter what came her way
She stood firm in Christ




Hold me

I look at your face
And my eyes shed a tear
I know my life's good
But I wish you were here

I wish you could hold me
Could see me tonight
I wish you could promise
Everything will be alright

I wish I was little
Let's go back to naive
When trusting was something
I didn't work to achieve

I remember so much
But now our time is so short
I don't want to say goodbye
I fear it will hurt

Do you promise you'll miss me like I will miss you?
Do you promise my heart won't break with all I go through?
Do you promise you'll hold me with all of your might?
Even though I'm far away, I'll never lose sight...
of you.



Hearts in Our Hands

If I were an artist
I'd draw us together
Holding balloons
With our hearts in our hands
But as the wind blows
Our hands would let go
To chase the balloons
To where nobody knows

One day the balloon would go up high
So far away that we could not reach
We would jump
But we would fall
And then we would look at our hands
And wonder

We would chase the waves
And dance with the sea
And one day a heart balloon
would land in our hands again
And we would promise
That hearts last forever

Running

When things get hard or confusing
When you don't understand what God's doing
When you are not doing as well
Stop Running.

When you seem to have lost direction.
When your struggling to heed correction
When life is not perfection
Stop Running

When you feel upside down
When you seem to have lost your crown
When you just keep turning around
Stop Running

Stop running, my child. Stop running. Be still and know that I am God- Psalm 46:10

Do they see Jesus in me?

Do they see Jesus in me?

What do they think from my outward appearance? Who do they think I am? What do they think I'm like? Am I friendly or do I appear stuck up? Do they think I'm mean or nice? Do they think I have a relationship in God? Do they see Jesus in me?

I absolutely love this Christian band named Colton Dixon and one of my favorite songs they play is "Let them see you in me". I want to share with you the lyric video and I encourage you to listen if you've never heard it before.


Sometimes I look at other people, and wrongly, I judge them. I say "Wow that wasn't very nice of them or considerate of them.. they are not really like Jesus. Or I say wow they are really nice but I feel like that's just niceness I don't see the Jesus part- do they really care about them?" I think to myself- they seem so stereotypical- conceited- they wear makeup- flirt with guys- go to class- do they really love Jesus?

Then other times there are those people that seem like their walk with God is so great. They are always upfront, always leading, always writing on facebook about their faith- and then I see them do something wrong or talk about someone behind their back- and it frustrates me so much. It makes me angry and I'm like "you hypocrite".

But the scary thing is the way I look at other people is often how people are probably looking back at me. I mean I probably seem pretty normal too, I'm not overly friendly, if I'm in a hurry or anxious about a test I'm probably not that considerate, and on special occasions I wear make up and flirt with guys ;) I often wonder if people can really see anything different about me compared to the average person in the world who doesn't know god.

It made me really sad the other day because I told this guy that I worked at summer camp and he was like oh ya how is the spirituality there? And I made a joke and said that I was spiritual director (because I am). And he jokingly replied "Obviously not very spiritual then". Ouch! And I'm pretty sure he was just kidding- but it made me think...
I mean this guy has no idea about my faith. He knows me but we've never had those deep spiritual conversations- and often you don't have those with your everyday friends- so how would he know how my walk with God is?

How do we know? How can we tell someone who truly loves God apart from others who are just faking? Can other people see Jesus in me? And what can I do to be a better example of Him so that people can see I am a genuine person who really does care about God and wants to witness to them.

I love the book of First John when it talks about walking in the light and I think this is one of the clearest ways God explains sin and righteousness and how we should be able to discern a true believer apart from the world.

First John 2:3-6 says that this about the test of truly knowing God "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says "I know Him" and does not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in Him. But whoever keeps His word truly the love of God is perfected in Him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says He abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked.

Wow, I just find that so powerful.
1. If we love God we will be pure- we will walk like Christ- we will act like Jesus and talk like Jesus with the people we come in contact with.
2. If we continue sinning.. we do not know God. When we tell others I'm a Christian.. we take the responsibility of bearing Jesus' name and His character- and when we misrepresent Him- we can hurt other people's relationships with Christ.

I think a second way that we can see God in someone is their genuine love for each other. If you watch the way someone treats the unloved or the unpopular "the least of these" you can learn alot about if their love is genuine. God commands us to love the unlovable even when it gets messy and love is such a beautiful gift He gave to us and demonstrated by sending His only son on the cross.

I know that I am sinful and that at times others will not be able to see Jesus in me. But I also know that Jesus wants to use me- even though I am unworthy- and He wants to use you too- to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and in Samaria, and all the earth. That verse can mean in Jerusalem (your hometown with your closest family and friends), Judea (your neighborhood- those people you say hi too on the promenade), Judea (other Americans whom you may encounter at different times), and in all the earth (if you get to travel to be a missionary).

I don't think that on our own we really can be Jesus to other people. I think that people can only see Jesus through us.. when we let God work and we let Jesus reveal Himself through us. We're not gonna be superheros. We are weak, sinful human beings. But when we pray to God- Lord do your will in me and let me be a light in a dark universe for your glory, I believe He hears us and this is His desire for us to shine for Him. So may this be our prayer in Christ that He transforms us every day, teaches us who He is, and helps others to see His face and love through our sinful flesh. Thank you Jesus for being a God of love, passion, and mercy who never leaves us nor forsakes us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Just the beginning..

I went on a student missionary retreat this past weekend to this beautiful camp in Tennessee. On the retreat our leaders told us that our journeys as missionaries for Christ were not over, and that in fact, they were just beginning. I find so much hope and truth in this statement.

For me developing a relationship with Christ has brought me so much indescribable joy, peace, and true friends that because they are bonded in God are bonded to me like family. For me, it seems like God has blessed me so much more than I could ever begin to describe or imagine. And God just keeps answering my prayers and dreams and answering the longings of my heart- and I'm just so astounded!

No it's not always easy, but I always have peace if I call upon His name. He promises not to take away my struggles but to take away the worry of them. For He says "Fear not" which is so freeing and powerful- it's a gift- this courage is joy giving and as I overcome each fear of mine in His name I find life and life abundant.
And my God promises to satisfy each and every need- and He knows not just my name and my identity card number- but the deepest parts of my heart and soul. What a God I am blessed to call Savior.

Before I went to Peru, I thought my walk with God was adequate or maybe on a good day- advanced or educated. I thought I had experience, but the more I know God, the less knowledge I have and claim, for I learn that each day is only a new beginning, a new beginning, and a new beginning. And as God continues to work and reveal Himself in me- He trusts me with more and more gifts and opportunities to serve Him as I grow and trust in His name.

God changed me so much in Peru last year and it wasn't easy but it truly was the best year of my life and such a blessing to me. And while I was in Peru my biggest fear about returning back to the states was that I would forget what I learned in Peru and how I lived differently in Peru. But now I know that I will not forget Peru nor what God has done for me in my past. But instead, God will continue to build teach me: rock upon rock, toothpick on toothpick, or even marble on marble- if my walk's shaky- He will continue building.

I'm excited with how God has been leading me this year as I've returned back to Southern.To be honest, it's been really hard me: the transition from missions to school. The time I need to spend studying and focusing- when I want to talk to friends or talk about missions or serve. But there's two really cool ways God has opened doors. One of those ways is co-leading a life group with Bernice Bouzy (a dear friend from Peru) on scripture memorization and another way is starting a hospital ministry for kids called Com Passion. I'm really excited about the hospital ministry- that it's actually happening. I've wanted to start a ministry like this since I was really little. And now the opportunity has arisen to put on hospital shows for the kids and organize visiting groups is finally there- and Southern has made it an approved ministry- and we have 75 interested college students! So exciting =)


Friday, September 5, 2014

Peace for the waiting

The more I know about God the more uncertain my life and plans become

the more I make friends who are passionate about Jesus- the more I witness them follow God radically and go through times of confusion, and shortage, and danger, and possibility of failure, and insecurity. They forget their own plans and dreams and choose to wait in the uncertainty

but in the beauty of the Lord's Will.

I think that these times of waiting and insecurities,  times when we don't know what we are doing but choose instead to rely on God's providence and strength- these are the monumental cornerstones of our walk with Christ. They are the rushing waterfalls that will keep our spiritual lives growing and moving fast paced.

They are some of the hardest times. But I believe it's not until we really let God mess our lives up and take us to these places of insecurity, and doubt, that we really realize what a mighty God we serve and how little our plans and dreams are in comparison to Him. We realize that we are so small and can never conceive things in their fullest. Thus we never know the best things for our-self. But when we trust God- it's so hard- but He does things that seem impossible, beyond thought, and just miraculously crazy.

I think these "trusting God in the hard times or insecurities times" are different for everyone. It may be watching a loved one die and wondering how it could be happening. It may be not having a clear future plan- God may want you to wait and trust and follow blindly. It may be overcoming your biggest fears in order to truly see God's blessings. It could be anything hard- but anything God is calling you too and through.

For me, a big thing is future plans and what I'm going to do with my life. I mean this is college, the hot spot questions are "What's your major? How do you plan on succeeding in your life? Where do you see yourself in ten years?" And your expected to answer in a minute or under and for each aspect to make sense- to be sound and to seem financially stable.

But unlike us humans who always need a plan, we need a calendar, we want to know- because we want security- God doesn't work in our time. God says do what I have asked you to do right now. Follow me where you are right now. Listen to me right now. I will tell you what I want you to do today and tomorrow I will tell you what I want you to do tomorrow. And this is hard- this is beyond hard for me- but I am trying my best to follow God blindly.

I believe that when we wait on God- when we slow down- when we go through those hard times and really are challenged to trust Him to come through for us, He will. During those times when we quiet our thoughts and worries- we will hear Him whisper to us. And when we take His hand and say "I'll follow you", I believe He will lead us.

God, give me the courage to follow you even when I can't see where you are taking me. Please do your will in my life and thank you for the amazing friends and family you have put into my life who bless me so much. I pray you bless their lives and take care of them. God, give us the strength to follow you and tune our ears to hear your voice.

But the Lord is faithful, He will establish you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

You will keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because He trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3







Reverse Culture Shock- Week 2 of college

This week has been a really hard week for me. I've kinda just been readjusting into the college lifestyle and I've experienced like many mental breakdowns and just times of confusion. To be honest I wasn't expecting to have so many problems with this. I mean I've been back in the states for three months now so why is it all just hitting me? The thing is I was so blessed, because I came back from Peru to work as spiritual director and counselor at my favorite summer camp. So I was literally doing ministry all day long. I was busy and it was amazing. That ministry really helped to distract me from missing Peru and the work we were doing there for the people.

Now I come back to college lifestyle- and the attitude is different. The social life is just so hard for me because to be honest, even though I'm at an amazing Christian university, I don't feel understood by some of my friends. My experience in missions has given me such a different perspective of the world. While I'm in classes like chemistry, drugs and society, Microsoft excel I'm constantly thinking: how is this going to help me with what I want to do? How could this help me in missions or run an orphanage or work for a nonprofit?

Another thing is my focus for studies is really lacking. My values and priorities have changed drastically. I'm trying to focus on God and school and service but I definitely am struggling with putting the time in the books that I need too to get a good grade. It just doesn't mean much to me honestly- an A- like that's great, but who cares. And I know that perspective is terrible because I am getting an education- that many people in the world only dream about having. I just need to rely on God to restore my focus so that I can spend time in the books and try to work harder for my classes.

I know I am so blessed by God and so fortunate to be able to attend such an amazing Adventist University. It just really is a struggle!

Some of the things that really help me though are some of my friends. Some of them are really encouraging and understanding and listen to me talk about Peru. I could talk for hours about Peru- seriously. And I know they probably don't really want to hear that- but they are really kind. My Peru family also gets me through when I have a really bad day! I love seeing the ones that are here and talking to them and realizing we are all going through the same thing is really amazing.

I miss my Peru family so much and the intimacy we shared. We literally lived in one tiny house and did EVERYTHING together for eight months. We created a bond so much stronger than I can explain. We were bonded by Christ and truly are brothers and sisters in Him. I'm just so thankful for my SM experience in Peru and my year there and it was honestly the best year of my life =)


Monday, September 1, 2014

Sophists- "This is not a game"

Tonight I was studying Philosophy about the Sophists who were critics of religion and mastered an art of rhetoric called eristic. They were all about arguing, all about success, and their focus question of their entire lives was "How can I succeed in the practical affairs of life, or how can I play the game of life and win?"

How can I win? Is this some kind of game? Some kind of joke? Like the board game rat race are we literally running around and around in circles for someone's amusement maybe some gods or maybe life is a cyclical circle? I just can't fathom how someone can believe that and just what kind of a life this kind of thinking might make you live. This seems so extreme- so different- but then I think about the typical college student and the life they live and maybe just maybe many of them do live in college saying "How can I win?" "How can I win in life? How can I make the most money, get the prettiest wife/husband, experience the most success?" How do I really win?

And as much as I say "No I'm not about that. I center my life around Jesus Christ" it's easy to see how this illusion of life as a game can creep into our lives and really just destroy our focus. I LOVE having fun, and I love sports, and hanging out with guys, and doing totally crazy random things. I think their is nothing at all wrong with having fun- God wants us to be joyful and to build edifying relationships with others. But what if.. just what if.. we had so much fun, treating this life like a "game" and doing all this random stuff, and doing our "Top Ten Things we're gonna do before we die" list and studying so hard for school and winning that amazing boyfriend... that we totally forgot where we were, what we were really living in.

We aren't in a game! No this isn't a game at all. It's a war. It's a battlefield. And if Satan could get us to simply forget that we have a mission and purpose for Him and get us to simply play this game that keeps us busy all the time... We would just keep playing, kind of like those guys or girls that lay on their coaches for 4 hours a day and literally play away the day with video games, well that would be us- but with life. And then BAM- before we know it- one day life would be over- and we would realize we don't have multiple lives- just one life to live for God's glory.

And I don't know, as I think about missions, I can't help compare us typical American college students to other typical 19-25 year olds around the world and think about how different our life is from theirs. Surely they know that life is not a game. For if it was what would be the point in living? I mean this life thing is a mess- an R rated, killing spree, with divorce, messed up families, disease, child hunger, destitution.. This "game" just wouldn't be so fun for them.

My room mate was telling me about a sign she saw the other day about college. It said: Academics, Extracurricular, Health, and Social Life- pick two. As funny as that seems- it's kind of scary when we think about it. College is the time when we are deciding who we will stand for and what we will do with the rest of our life. Who will we follow? What will we give our time too? I believe that the devil loves business and he loves game making and deceit. He tries to throw out us so many "to-do lists" and random things: boys, hobbies, new things to try, clubs.. so that we can forget- this is the time for us to determine our life's FOCUS. This is not a game. This is war.

Last Saturday I got to go on an outreach retreat with some of the school's ministry leaders and it was so inspiring to see their commitment for ministry and living for Christ. The outreach leader gave us a solemn warning towards the end of the meeting and he said hey, I need to warn you. You doing ministry means other things in your life like sports and academics may seem to drop. But following God and spending time doing ministry is one of the best investments in the world.