Monday, June 29, 2009

Von nach Deutschland!

Wednesday, we're off to Germany!

Thank you so much for the prayers already invested into this trip- your support is so humbling; I can't believe the number of you that have already asked how you can pray. Thank you, thank you!

I thought I'd give you a little bit of an itinerary so you could keep up with us and what we'll be doing while we're away if you wanted. The trip is a fortnight total- taking two days driving to get there and then two days to return. (Us Americans think that's hilarious- its only 12 hours! Just Orlando to Norfolk, VA. =)

The aim of the trip is building relationally. We would so appreciate your prayers along those lines. (And in case you're wondering, yes, most of them speak English.) The church in Hamburg, from my understanding, is wonderful, very large, and extremely interested in Sovereign Grace Ministries. We've been asked to visit and get to know the young people there in hopes that they'll come visit us and we'll be able to do conferences together, etc. (I say "we" as in "Christchurch" not "The GAP Team.")

Wed. we arrive in Dover and stay overnight at a local church there. (No idea how we know them.)

Thursday we drive to catch the ferry and go through passport control (please pray everything goes smoothly!) and arrive in Calais, France continuing on to West Dortmund where we'll stay in a hotel.

Friday we'll continue on to Arche Church (where we're staying) in Germany and do something that night with the teens/students/young people.

The next ten days we'll be serving at and attending youth meetings, Sunday morning's services, participating in evangelistic opportunities; with some canoeing, a trip to Berlin, and sight seeing around Hamburg thrown in too. Also on the itinerary is "Adventure Pools." No idea what that means.

On the 13th we head back the same way we came- arriving back in Newport late on the 14th.

And for the geographically challenged like myself, here's what that looks like:

View Larger Map

Auf Wiedersehen! Cheers!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Driving for the first time...

This week, Toms gave me my first lesson driving stick...on the left hand side. Apparently, I did ok...but...the lesson ended on a "down" note...

Next week's lesson? 


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pictures from this weekend

GAP Team High School Musical. =)

This weekend the beautiful Walti girls (Bethany and Hannah) are visiting from Italy. Their family moved to Udine from Orlando last September and I stayed with them for ten days in April. I love them dearly.

Bethany is on her way back to the States- moving back. Hannah came to "send her off." We are headed to London for a looong day really early tomorrow morning and we can't stop talking about it.

These girls are amazing; such a joy. I am regularly challenged by their humility, joy, love for others, and maturity. I want to be like them when I grow up. I'm trying to convince them to move here.

Thanks for sharing them with me, Lee and Jeannette!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Leah the evangelist

Yesterday was our last day at Bettws- video footage to follow in another post.

We had our second (and last) lunch club. It began with asking Bethan, a girl who asked the most questions two weeks ago, if she'd thought any more about our conversation. She said yes, and that Leah told her about Jesus again when she spent the night at her house...and they prayed together. That Jesus would forgive her for her sins and help her to live for Him.

Big smiles. She can't wait to come to church on Sunday.

Please add her to the list of souls to pray for!!! (Thank you for the ways you rejoice with me!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Go GAP Boys!

The boys go to footie every Monday night. (That's "soccer.") This week, we decorated our faces, brought oranges and cookies and went to cheer them on! They all scored a goal! We were so proud!!!

Ordinary GAP Family Life

Tuesdays in Pete's office. This particular day, we were listening to messages on eschatology. (All pictures compliments of Kat!)

Lately, we've had lots of fun times together as a GAP Team. I am getting sad that in a few short weeks, these friends will leave and won't be returning with me in September. Cherishing the last bit of time we have together. Family dinners at the Girls house, movies in our living room crammed on the sofa, going to the cinema, bringing couches in the back garden to sit in the sun and drink wine on a Sunday afternoon...ah, I love it.

The Uni dinner dance!

Last Friday we had fun setting up, decorating, getting ready, and then attending our "End of the Year" party with the Uni students. The theme was black and white.

After everyone had left at 1:00a, the GAP Team stayed another hour dancing just by ourselves! We had so much fun! Such a fun memory. (We then were at the Building at 9:30a the next morning to tear down and set up for Visitors Sunday!)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Poor, poor laptop

Well, my laptop charger died about 5 months ago...and Ivy's computer hasn't been working, so we've been using HER charger in MY laptop...and what do you know? Last night, was its last. The charger...not the laptop.

Thankfully, the guys were over for dinner and Taige was able to do all the "guy figure-it-out stuff" and we have another one ordered for very inexpensive that should be here in a week or so! (Yay for boys!)

All of that to say, don't expect any posts or replies to your emails or skype dates until then! =)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wash away Jack's sin.

In my texts to Leah and Cassie this morning concerning their ride to church, Leah mentioned her cousin was coming.

We picked them up at the Bettws High School Bus Bay. Jack, Leah's cousin who's in year 6, was with them.

After church, Ivy had something come up and wasn't able to join us- but Leah, Cassie, Jack and I went to McDonalds. I asked Leah how she invited Jack while he was ordering- she said, last night they were having a disagreement about if God was real or not...and she mentioned she was coming to church today...did he want to come. At first he said no, but then changed his mind. He came to the table as she was explaining agreeing with what she said. I asked, "So, do you still think God doesn't exist?" He said, "No, I do now." I asked why. He said, "What that guy said this morning-- judgment. It's real." I smiled.

We ate and Jack kept asking if we could do our Bible reading- I kept telling him, once we ate, we could get the Bibles out. (Christchurch gave them each one today!) He was eager! As we ate, they asked various questions about this morning's message, or about creation, or suffering, a few year 7 Bettws boys came in and started mocking us. As we began to read, they were calling Leah and Cassie Bible Bashers and making faces at them through the window. They responded really well and kept saying, "Ugh, never mind, let's keep reading." I was well impressed.

The mocking got so distracting, we moved to a corner where the boys couldn't see us. (And proceeded to look up verses about persecution and how we should respond to these boys.) It was amazing to me how quickly they accepted what Scripture had to say, and their understanding of various passages, and desire to work them out.

Jack was EATING UP the Scriptures so much that I just flat out asked him if he wanted to be a Christian. (I had hesitated thinking, "This just seems too easy...I must be missing something...") He eagerly said yes. I told him I would pray first, and then he could pray. Just ask God to forgive him for His sins- tell God he was putting His faith in Jesus and that he wanted to live for Him- however he wanted to word that. He looked nervous. Leah looked at him and said, "It's ok, Cassie and I have done it already." Again, I smiled.

I prayed. Jack prayed, "God, I just pray that you would wash away all of my sin." My heart leapt. I have no idea where he came up with that wording, but man, do I love it! What can wash away my sin? NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!

We sat in McDonald's reading the book of John for 2 hours. Each one borrowing my one pen as they underlined, circled, and highlighted different words. They got so excited that Old Testament Scripture was being repeated because prophecies came true. They loved it. Jack gets especially excited about the disciples- he finds them fascinating.

I was freshly convicted by their eagerness to read the Living Word of God. I was reminded anew as I answered a "suffering" question by explaining the story of Joseph, that God works in ways we don't understand. This is good for my soul.

I am more convinced now than ever that God works how He wants and when He wants regardless of what we think or feel. He doesn't need us...and that He uses us, is humbling, astounding, and something to forever marvel at.

Join me in continuing to pray for these three souls. That this is genuine salvation. That they would stand strong in the face of trial. That these seeds planted would be found on good soil. That their friends would be saved. That God would start revival in Bettws.

It's weekends like this, that I'm STOKED about staying here another year. God's kindness...that year 7 is the age group we're working with in Bettws...and that my LIFE girls are the same age. Ah, I have a vision to merge these two groups that Christ might be glorified. I have a passion to dive into Scripture with them and discuss Biblical Femininity and how it beautifully adorns the Gospel. I am amazed by God's kind sovereignty. He is worthy of Praise!!!

To Him alone be Glory!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Rejoice!!! (Pray hard.)

Last night at VJ (our last one on the GAP Team!) a few girls came up to me, having heard the conversation Kat, Ives, and I had with their friends at lunch club on Thursday. They were asking questions about going to hell. Ives and I pulled out the Bible and had almost verbatim, the same conversation as the day before.

As we talked, two girls from Thursday's lunch club came up. Leah and Cassie. Slowly, in the midst of conversation, everyone left except them. (Praise God, the Gospel was shared again to even more who came, heard it, and left. The Kingdom of Darkness is still plundered in them hearing!) Leah and Cassie kept asking questions about what it means to be a Christian and how to become one. Ivy and I just kept repeating ourselves, "Put your trust and faith in Jesus, and live for Him."

Ivy spent a few minutes sharing about the JOY we have in Christ. How we aren't perfect after we're saved, but how God is our help. I have never heard her articulate something so clearly and with such joy- the Holy Spirit was using her!

In God's kindness, I ran into one of the pastors in the copy room while I was doing something for Elso's graffiti section of VJ. I asked how else I could word the answers to the questions Leah and Cassie were asking to make it more clear. He encouraged me to ask them if they wanted to become Christians right then and there.

Lewis (an intern next year) spoke for the first time last night. He mentioned that we don't know when we're going to die and talked about two of his friends from high school who died unexpectedly at young ages. This really affected the girls. I was sat in between them and we talked about it after the message.

Leah said she was kind of scared of dying, but not really because Jesus paid for her sins, right? And looked at me to assure her. I said, "Well, are you a Christian?" She sort of looked around not knowing how to answer. I said, "Do you want to become a Christian?" She and Cassie nodded emphatically. I said, "Right now?" Again, eager nodding. I asked again, "You want to pray right now to become a Christian and give your life to Jesus?" They said yes. I said, "I don't want you to feel any pressure..." and they practically interrupted both saying, "No, no, we don't; we want to!"

So, I prayed with them. They weren't sure how to pray- they'd never talked to God I told them they could just repeat after me.

Afterwords, we went and got my Bible and sat at a table, and Leah eagerly was flipping through the pages reading bits I'd underlined and asking questions about them. She seemed hungry for it. Cassie was glowing with a huge smile- telling practically everyone who came to the table that she prayed.

They both said they're coming to church tomorrow morning, and Ivy and I have planned to go out to lunch with them after- get Leah a Bible (Cassie has one) and talk to them more about what this means. (...and yet, I still am learning what this all means...)

I have been sobered by my reading of Future Grace that just believing truth doesn't make us saved. So it is with joy, wise caution, hope, and excitement that I ask you to pray for these girls. Pray that their confession would be genuine. Pray that God would help Ivy and I. Pray that they would be numbered among the faithful on the Day of Christ. Pray for revival in Bettws High School.

Thank you for your support, and your prayers...they are making a difference!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lunch Club!

Today we launched our first Lunch Club at Bettws High School. We invited all of year 7 (whoever had questions about Christianity or was interested in a discussion) to join the GAP Team for lunch in a certain room.

For the girls, the conversation started off pretty bleak. It seemed like the two sweet girls who were with us, weren't as interested in Christianity as much as maybe having lunch with someone. We continued to ask questions and engage in conversation, but it wasn't headed anywhere fast.

Then, 5 excited girls came in the room and joined us. I'd love to get into the details, but I think it might bore you. Long story short, we opened the Bible to Exodus 20 and went through the 10 Commandments- explaining what those big words mean and trying to help them see how we fall short on each one and have broken God's law.

One girl looked at me as we got to the tenth one and had admitted "guilty" to each one...she said, "Does this mean I'm going to hell?!" It was encouraging to see that their eyes were being opened to our need for a Savior.

We were able to share that we are all headed for hell- its what we deserve...our only hope is Jesus. They sat silently, eyes wide, on the edge of their seats as I explained what it meant that Jesus came, lived a perfect life, died in our place taking God's anger that we deserve on Himself so we could know Him. Then, He rose again offering us life in Him. If we put our hope, trust, and faith in Jesus, and give our lives to Him...we are saved from hell.

We told them that THIS is why we came to Wales. We knew there were people here who thought they had to do enough good things or NOT do enough bad things to get into heaven...but we came to tell them that's not how it works. Jesus is the only way. They seemed to be beginning to get it...

Words do not describe the adrenaline rush and excitement we all felt as we left the building. Oh, LORD! Save them! The girls said they were coming again next week and gave us hugs as we left.

I can't stop praying for REVIVAL IN WALES. Starting in Bettws.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009



My heart physically hurts when I look at pictures of him. Ugh, how in the world am I going to make it through another year being so far away from him?!

::Sigh:: One day at a time. Grace for one day at a time.

I am learning about future grace and anticipating grace...this is what we call opportunity for application! Please pray for me.

Is he not stinkin' adorable?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Jonah Assembly

When the rest of the GAP team is doing their Bettws prep, my job is to work on assemblies. The Whale has been my favorite prop to make so far and I loved how the Gappers got so into their characters this time. 

Peter explained at the end how God is a compassionate God and how that relates to the Gospel. 

One of the pastors here, Dave Taylor, regularly makes the analogy of "sticky bombs" from Saving Private Ryan when the Gospel is preached. The "sticky bombs" (grenades in socks with tar or something on them--I haven't actually seen the movie) were thrown onto tanks, etc. and who knows when they'd go off and explode. Dave says that the Gospel is like that. We share it, we preach it, and God makes "it go off" in peoples hearts in His timing.

We talk about sticky bombs a lot when we do assemblies. =)

Sunny weekend in Newport

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly...SUNSHINE is in Wales! (I know, its like an oxymoron, right?!) 

On Friday, we headed to Oakwood (a theme park near West Wales) with our LIFE groups. It was sunny, warm, and beautiful. 

The "main" ride was Speed. A 92 degree drop- I was afraid until I saw it. 92 degrees, yes, but not very high. Huge adrenaline rush though! For some of the girls, this was their first time on a roller coaster!

(Vanessa and Susanna, all these pictures from the rides made me think of our adventures with Kelly Short- I think I still have some of those somewhere!)

I was surprised when Saturday was sunny as well! I met up with one of the senior teen girls for coffee in Cardiff (had a some-what awkward witnessing opportunity before she got there with 85 year old, Paulina. Please pray for her to be saved) and then the GAP Team went out to dinner with Mike and Sarah (I think Taige has that picture) as a "send off." The best pub around- beautiful scenery, excellent food, wonderful company. We laughed and mocked each other the entire time. ::Sigh:: I love it. The Paso's last day is Thursday. Can't believe how the year has flown!

Sunday we went to the beach with the Uni Students; "Rest Bay." Gotta love that. Kat, Ives, and I walked on the sand for about an hour. That will be a cherished memory. (Oh, the beach makes me miss Florida!)

And then TODAY when I woke up, and the sun was out again (or, rather, the sun wasn't covered by clouds and rain) I threw on my bating suit and spent the day in the yard reading, listening to my ipod, and enjoying the presence of the LORD. What a mystery that we can be near Him because of what Jesus has done. I just love it. I've been reading in Exodus about how the temple is to be built and what Aaron and his sons are to wear while offering sacrifices (this is when my ESV study bible is incredibly helpful) and I am not only grateful that we don't have to perform these same sacrifices...but am amazed and humbled that God came to earth to BE that we could enter "the Holy of Holies." Today as I looked at the picture drawn of what the temple was to look like- I noticed the curtain. The curtain that after Christ died was torn in two; Glory!!! Rejoice! It is finished! We can enter boldly into the presence of the Most Holy God because Jesus Christ has made a way!

I am learning (slowly) how to anticipate grace. It is a theme. This is my current prayer request. That in the coming weeks and months, especially the month of August, and then the next year...that I would be on the edge of my my "unplanned place" at my "unplanned pace" WAITING and watching and eager to see what God is doing and where He's working. Enjoying Him, delighting in Him, adoring Him, and rejoicing in His cross.

Thank you for your faithful prayers- I am regularly amazed by the amount of "I'm praying for you"s at the end of your emails. Thank you, thank you. It is humbling.

Missing you all dearly!