Friday, March 27, 2009

This week

This week has been an unusual one. Tuesday I started having some sort of cold/sore throat thing, and it began affecting my voice. Yesterday I felt like I screamed the narration of our 2 Easter assemblies, and today I crackled and squeaked the gospel to Katy when we met for coffee- I was practically whispering by the end. She is not yet saved but says she's "leaning" towards Christianity. She's been coming to VJ and VJxtra since January. Please pray that the LORD would open her eyes to the amazing and wonderful news of Jesus Christ's finished work on the cross! I get such a high every time I recount with another what actually took place when Jesus paid for our sins...its absolutely incredible.

I'm finding so much hope and peace in the Truth that the power to change hearts is not in me...but in the Gospel and the Word of God.

Easter Assembly (taken from a book):

At the end, Elso explained the sketch (skit) and preached the Gospel.

Tonight we had LIFE and even though the girls weren't very talkative during our discussion time, I had some really good conversations afterwards. God is at work! Glory to His Name!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Card Making Day

Yesterday the year 7 and 8 LIFE girls came over to make some cards! For their mums (today is "Mothering Sunday") or friends who encourage them like Paul was encouraged by the Philippians. (We're studying that book of the Bible together.)

And Carys did some hair wraps

We become our mothers, don't we? Oh, I hope so.

Girls after my own heart. We sat around talking for a very short while before all laying down and attempting to abosorb color into our ever-so-pale skin.

And tacos for dinner!

Most of the girls had never seen hard tacos before- so funny!

Oh, these girls are SUCH a joy to me! Usually people joke with me when they hear I've spent all day with them, "Oh you must be exhausted!" "Make sure you get some rest!" "Oh my goodness, ALL DAY?" But in complete honesty, I have more energy after I've spent time with these girls. It is an utter joy to see the LORD at work in them- no matter where they are in their walk with Him. Some of them haven't begun yet, others are incredibly far along for their age...yet, to see His grace actively pursuing their hearts, opening their eyes, making connections between Scripture and real-life...its incredible. I feel so honored to be a spectator of the Almighty's work in each of these girls. And its after days like yesterday that the cost of being here can't even be felt. It is outweighed by joy.

::sigh:: God is so kind.

Happy Mum's Day!

Happy Mum's day to the best mum in the world- no matter what country you're in!

I love you.
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday in Cardiff!

Yesterday, in a fun and unexpected way, Rachel, Rowanne (Ru), and I decided to take the train into Cardiff!

We had fun accessorizing.

And eating sweets.

We went to the cinema to see a film...

And ended the day at Starbucks! (Thanks, Mom!)

What a wonderfully fun day getting to know these girls better and just have a good laugh. It is so encouraging to see God at work in their lives, and the way they pursue humility and glorifying Him at such a young age. They inspire me.

In God's kindness which never ceases to AMAZE me, on the way home, we had an opportunity to share the Gospel with a man named Kevin. He was drunk, so I'm not sure how much he actually understood, but the Gospel was preached nonetheless! We were able to give him a Bible (God's Word does the work!) which he promised to read-- please pray the LORD would save his soul!

He asked us afterwards what song he could sing for us, and I asked for the Welsh National Anthem. But, that video is not as funny as this one-- if you even think this is funny! Kevin's the one walking around in the black jacket.

Yes, the guy at the end almost mooned us...thankfully we had warning in enough time to not be SCARRED!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gap Team Video Update!

Make sure you stay tuned at the end for the bloopers!!!

Gap Team Video Update

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Minorly Big News...

Well, about a month ago Pete Greasley, the senior pastor here, offered me a position working at the reception desk in the church office and continuing to work with the teenage girls at Christchurch for another year after the GAP Team was over. Ya... Took me about a week to get over the shock; I'll give you a couple seconds.


So, after lots of prayer and really helpful counsel, I did accept the job officially last Tuesday.

Part of my job will be to work myself out of a job for next year. Replacing myself with University students who are able to care for these girls in an on-going way. We'll be going through Janelle Bradshaw's "Young Women's Discipleship" which I don't think I could possibly be more thrilled about!

THIS is the reason I got facebook. Several of the pastors encouraged me that it is a great way to see how the girls are doing and communicate with them in ways they're already communicating with their friends.

Christchurch is providing me with a car for the year- so kind of them. (ha! learning to drive stick- which I don't know how to do- on the left hand side, mind you, while driving on the left side of the road?! I am grateful to have been able to be a passenger for a year to "get used" to the differences a little bit- even if being a passenger means risking my life with Toms as the driver! ;)

I plan to live with one of the families in the church- so excited about doing that again. My job is a paid position, so I don't have a need to raise financial support.

The pastors have thought of everything to ensure I'll be taken care of. They have been so generous throughout this entire process.

I am so excited! Indeed, it is bittersweet as I do miss the States and all of you very much, but I am thrilled and humbled by this opportunity and what God is doing over here!

My hope is to visit the US of A for the month of August (this year) and see as many faces as I can before returning to begin working here in September. I then hope to be back for a couple weeks around Christmas, and then maybe another trip next Spring. Maybe some trips in between there (or substituted) if close friends get married or something. (I'd love to do some hair in those trips!)

My parents are the most supportive parents in the world, and they are behind me 110%- excited for me and with me, praying their hearts out.

...just wanted to keep you posted!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jules!

So, to embark upon the task of drawing your attention to God's active grace in your, well, overwhelming. It's everywhere, Jules.

I can't tell you what an honor it is to know you, to consider you a dear friend, let alone to be considered a friend BY YOU, to have lived with you in the same room, (shared closet space, shampoo, jewelry, clothes, etc.)...and to be continually living life with you- even if its currently 4,000 miles apart.

Like I said on the phone the other night- when I talk to you, there's no "foundation" that needs to be laid down again- no matter how long its been since we talked. There's no need for unnecessary explanations-- you get me; I get you. That's just it. Friendship ordained by God- what a gift.

I love, admire and respect your consistent and faithful pursuit of purity. This pursuit was not something that began when a boy entered your life-- its been pursued for years. In your dress, your thinking, your relating to others. Your desire to adorn the Gospel and not draw attention away from it and to yourself is evident. I love how you fight against compromise- you are regularly in conversation with your parents and submitting to their counsel- regardless of what others around you are doing, saying or wearing. I also love how you fight your emotions. You desire to be governed by objective Truth found in God's Word more than what you subjectively feel. Even in very difficult situations.

I have seen you grow in humility before God in a tremendous way over the last several months. There is a deep, quiet peace and patient joy that seems to cover your speech. It brings glory to God.

I have also seen you grow in discipline. Juggling your many jobs and responsibilities around the home in addition to being pursued by a boy- surely you are embracing the truth that God's mercy to you is new every morning. =)

In all seriousness, I could go on and on...and I haven't even gotten to how much I love you yet! I love joking that you're my half sister. I love that you know so much about me, and I, you. You are dear to me. Praying you enjoy looking back over your life and being amazed by God's faithfulness to you- and then being filled with HOPE that He is unchanging, and will be faithful again and again!

Love and miss you deeply! Happy 21!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Vandalism Evangelism

Ok, not really.

The master and his canvas...

The medium...

Instruction to kids...

End of the day.

The last two weeks at Bettws, Elso has taught our class how to graffiti. He's done a great job talking about the importance of taking care of property and how the art of graffiti is ruined when its used as vandalism. My camera had no battery today, but these pictures are from last week.

We got stuck in a load of traffic this morning and unfortunately missed assembly and the beginning of class. Instead of going straight into our workshops, they had us help with the kids in a normal subject and classroom for an hour. I am excited to report that the LORD, in His kindness to me, gave me an opportunity to talk to two girls about the recent assemblies and what they "reckoned" about Jesus and who He is. It was the highlight of my day. By mid-conversation, two other girls had joined our table asking questions about God. In moments like that, I rejoice over delayed mornings due to traffic! The Gospel wasn't preached to 150 year 7 Bettws kids in an assembly as it typically is on a Thursday morning...but that doesn't mean God's not at work in their hearts! Please pray for Jordanne, Annalise, Roxane, and Shannon; that their eyes would be opened to their need for a Savior, and that they would put their faith in Jesus Christ- who Himself is our only Hope.

Little side note: Just found out today that there are little bios of the Pastoral Team and GAP Team on Christchurch's website. If you're interested, the link is here. Contrary to all appearances, no one on the GAP Team is actually quite this pale.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

His sacrifice, not mine.

On Sunday we heard a message that I have been so convicted by. Basically one of the points at the end was:

When you talk to others, what is the focus? Do you draw attention to His sacrifice, or yours?

Far more often than not, even in my thinking I take note of what sacrifices I'm making. What's uncomfortable. What I'm missing out on. What costs me.

INSTEAD, my focus should be on the Master! The perfect Savior who sacrificed more than I could imagine- first in even COMING to earth, let alone what He did on the cross...leaving my small "sacrifices" too small to even notice when compared to this great love with which He loves me! The generosity of the LORD in what He's given me-- and continues to give me based on Christ's life...its amazing!!! Why don't I let that captivate my attention and transform my thinking?!

How helpful. How convicting. How refreshing to have my crooked thinking straightened by Scripture. Yay for grace to change!!!


Side note:

Tonight I got to talk to Hallye on the phone. The 5 year old of one of the families I used to live with. She started telling me a "bery bery serious" story...and my favorite line was:

"You know the thing on top of the thing?"

I was tempted to just say yes. =)