Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Year Ago Today...

Well almost exactly a year ago to the hour we were gathering at the church building about to embark on one of the VERY best journeys of my entire life. It's the one year anniversary today of something very precious in my world.

I fell in love with this country two summers ago when I came on a three week trip and my world got rocked to say the least. I saw things and felt things I didn't know how to express clearly to anyone but couldn't keep to myself either. So in the course of conversation I shared with people near and dear to my heart pictures and stories of these precious people in this precious land very inadequately but God did something absolutely amazing and touched the hearts of people one by one and by the time He brought His plan to fruition a team of 34 was formed to come to this land.

I thought that my tear ducts got yanked when I came to this country for the first time, but I had NO idea how hard they would get tugged when I got to watch people I love experience it for the first time. It will forever go down in my memories as one of the most sacred privileges of my entire life.

Is God cool or what because He's at it again??!!! These sweet people that I love a bunch went back with their pictures and stories and inadequately shared in the best way they knew how and God has tugged on some other peoples heart strings and they are getting to bring people they love with them to experience this for the first time. My words of wisdom for them is ... Bring your Kleenex's. There is something so incredibly precious about watching people whose hearts you know well bend down for the first time to touch a child's dirty cheek, or hold a hurting mothers hand while they prayed for her sick child, or hold a hammer and sweat themselves silly to build a house for a family who didn't have one earlier that day. Those are once in a lifetime firsts that are meant to be savored in deep places in your heart.

So in 16 sleeps some of my favorite people on the universe will be coming again to this country and they'll attempt once again to be Jesus' hands and feet in the lives of God's people living in this land and they'll be thankful for the privilege to once again go in His name.

We cannot wait to see them coming and would just ask that you keep them in your prayers as they plan in the last few days before they depart. Pray for safe travel and good health while they're here and a thousand other things that are important, but above all else please pray that God will be glorified...that by the things we do while they are in this country for 2 weeks that He will be made more recognizable in a hurting world!!

Monday, March 20, 2006

So True...

Am reading a book right now called "Outrageous Love" by Sheila Walsh and there was a sentence in it that I read last night before bed that is still swarming around in my brain tonight. It said, "Theological discussions provide a real great way to hide from a face to face encounter with the living God."

I am certainly a fan of being well read and well educated, of thinking and being challenged by scripture. I have been sharpened most by some of those discussions with people who are wise and offer great insight into so many spiritual things, so I am not condemning theological discussions by any means.

Just wonder if sometimes it isn´t so much easier to have a head conversation than to have a heart experience. Want more of the real deal. Want to be open to it. Want to be ready for it, to embrace it. If he wants to meet face to face I just don´t want my head to get in the way of my heart anymore. Just want to let Him be God and show up and remember that I am on my face before Him.

I want face to face.

Friday, March 17, 2006

For the Thirsty...

One of my dearest friends reminded me of this song today. Talks about what my previous post spoke of for sure. The lyrics are so true.

So for anyone else´s heart that just sometimes gets weary from watching the pain of the world and having that ache in your soul for Heaven and the opportunity to see Jesus´ face perhaps this can be your prayer in your time with Him this night.

May these words resonate with your heart and help quench your thirsty soul.

Thirst for You
by Cece Winans
album: Throne Room (2003)

We thirst for You
We search for You
In a dry and barren land
We're longing for Your hand
To guide us to
A place where You
Can cleanse us with Your rain...
Baptize us once again
We thirst for You

(Repeat Chorus)

Oh Lord we are waiting
Let Your river flow
Come flood our hearts again
Quench our thirsty souls

(Repeat Chorus)

(Repeat Bridge)

(Repeat Chorus Out)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I Still Thirst Too...

I sat down to read a friends blog yesterday and was just way touched by his honesty. In one simple sentence I think he summed it up well..."I've been a little dry lately too." Didn't pretend to be something he wasn't. Didn't act as though because he was attempting to serve God in this foreign country that is a privilege (and he knows that) that he felt full and on fire for Jesus every minute of the journey. Didn't pretend he didn't get weary. Just honest.

You know there are a couple words that I'm learning to love with all of my heart...honest is one of them. Real another.

You know what happened when I read that one sentence on his blog yesterday. It allowed me to say yep me too. God I am sorry but I have been too, fill me back up. That's what being real does. It gives others permission to be honest too.

I think we have a huge responsibility to help one another be real. Not by the ways we've necessarily attempted to do it as we brutally beat one another with our words, then with His words, and end up with a bitter distaste of what "religion" can sometimes become. I think we help each other be real by being real. Being honest. Being humble. Letting others in to where our hearts rest so they know the world won't crumble if tomorrow they admit that they don't have it all together either and wish they could do better.

Truth is...I get dry. I don't want to, wish that I didn't but I do. I don't walk this calling out well at every moment. I still complain when I shouldn't, I get scared when I don't need to, I get frustrated and angry with people and I am hesitant to let it go and love them, I want to go home some days when being so far away is super difficult. It's true ya know, we all do get dry. And you know what's better. That's ok. I think God appreciates our honesty cause it drives us to know we need a drink.

God we come again today admitting we still thirst...we long for Heaven in a world that is anything but. Oh there are glimpses of it here but there are scenes wrenched with pain as well and questions we can't answer, problems we can't solve, and sometimes amid all of our effort and our trying to do it all right we forget where to go to fill up. Maybe not even forget sometimes. Maybe just don't create time to do it. Maybe the world makes it difficult to do that. I don't know God. Here's what I do know. I need you. Not just want you around. Not just think life would be better with Your blessing and approval. I am desperate. I need You!!! We need You!!! Father help us to live with that stamped on our forehead, imprinted on our hearts, and lived out by our lives. Desperate for God. Nothing without Him. Thank You for creating within us a place that reminds us when we're thirsty for some time with our Father. That place that feels dry and leaves us longing for a drink. May we drink deeply from the well of Your love today God. Thanks for granting us open access anytime we humbly come realizing we'd die of thirst without it. We thirst for You, plain and simple that's it.

Thanks Joe for being honest.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Those Sweet Girls...

Well I talked to two of my very favorite little gals on the phone tonight. My best friend from home has these adorable daughters that I love with all my heart and tonight I called to wish their mommy and daddy a happy anniversary and in the middle of that got to chat with both of them for a while. They are delightful and each have their very own personality that is starting to just blossom all over the place. It’s so doggone cute to hear them.

So first was the oldest and I got to talk to Kylie for a little bit. I’m not sure where the little girl went but she’s starting to act so grown up and when I talk to her now it’s starting to sound so mature and it’s wigging me out to be honest. Tonight she says to me and they affectionately call me “Auntie Jen” which I love…”Auntie Jen…it’s really different without you around here.” To which I said well babe it’s pretty different not having you guys around all the time either, to which she replies, “yeah no one seems to be as happy anymore. I don’t know it’s just different.” Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, from an almost 12 year old perspective that was precious. Probably not necessarily accurate that my not being there could affect the joy barometer but in her eyes that is how she saw it. Cute. Not that I want people to be sad, but it meant something that she noticed that there was a difference in her world without me being around. Once again I was reminded of the importance in investing enough that when you’re gone a void is left because you took up residence whereever God placed you in life.

Then on comes Maggie Moo who is this spunky little full of life being that I just grin thinking about. She is adorable and is gonna need a leash that’s for sure. I tell Sarajane that all the time. Her will is like iron and someday that’s gonna come in so handy when the things she opposes are the same things her Father does. So anyway I hear her whisper to her mommy and daddy, “can I tell her the surprise can I???” and I hear her daddy say, “yeah you can tell her go ahead. So she says, “Auntie Jen (is that cute or what?) do you know what…I have some money that I’m going to give away and you know what I’m going to give it to? The children’s home. Guess how much it is? 20 dollars and I wrote you a note to go with it too. Want me to read it to you?” To which I said of course I do, so I hear this “Mama where is the note I wrote to Jen” and she finds it and reads it to me and it says something to the effect of We all miss you so much. I love you. Here is some money from me to help the children. When I get to see you next I want to give you a great big hug. I miss you Auntie Jen. I love you.

Sarajane had told me a while ago that they had each gotten some money from having their blood drawn for tests in our area due to C8 chemicals supposedly being found in our drinking water. Anyway, being the awesome parents that they are (and I mean that as sincerely as I know how to say it) Tony and Sarajane seized this as a learning opportunity and gave each of the girls some money to spend, some money to save, and some money that they must give to God in some way that they were able to choose how that happened. I hear them sometimes and I am so reminded of all the beautiful things they are having poured into them by parents that have a lived out faith. I love what they are giving to them! It is precious to watch.

God is gonna do big things with both of these precious little girl hearts I know it and I wait in eager expectation with a prayerful heart waiting for all that is to come.

And once again tonight I pillow my head reminded of the precious gift of just being loved. Simply, truly, and unconditionally.

Thanks Kylie and Maggie for making Auntie Jen feel way wrapped up in your precious ways of reminding me you love me. I miss you guys sooooooooooo much too!! You keep praying for me and know that I will as always be praying for you! I am sooo proud of who you are letting God grow you up to be! You make my heart smile.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Must Share...

So many things happen here in the course of a years time that if we´re not careful we miss out on sharing some of them with you all due to busyness or at moments a forgetfulness about the fact that it means so much to stay connected when you´re not able to be here to be to see it with your own eyes. Didn´t want this to be one of those times when I neglected to pass it on. I received an email from Gayle Davidson yesterday that I must pass along to you to read. She may post it somewhere on another blog but I fear that some of you may never see it if you didn´t go looking for it and it touched my heart in big ways and I didn´t want you to not be able to take joy in all God is doing as well.

Most of you have heard me or others share about the fact that a new part of ministry here beginning as of this week would be to remove rehabilitated ex gang members tatoos. A couple precious ladies flew down this week to work with Tim to begin that process and here are her remarks after Day 1 of this new ministry.

Have you ever had a day that is so out of the ordinary that you almost think that it isn't really happening? Today was one of those days. Full of surprises and and eye opening experiences that make you know that you are a part of Gods plan. It is great to know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be and the exact moment in time that you are supposed to be there. I feel so blessed to be able to serve in this manner. Tim Hines and Marilyn Gilroy and myself traveled to a local group today to remove tatoo's from rehabilitated x gang members. We spent the day with these men who have chosen to erase their past and to begin a new life. The programs in place are excellent. The people running them are caring Christian people who want to help people get a second chance. The x gang members are killled or arrested if they are caught with tatoos. So I expected some to just be taking advantage of the program to stay out of prison. I was very surprised. They truly did want a new life and had already started on that path. They sang songs in the lobby while they waited. Studied their bibles. Joked around and kept each other from being afraid of their turn. Committed men wanting to do right. One man just got out of prison 11 days ago. He has been preaching in prison for over 2 years and is living a life committed to God. He was an encouragement to all of us.

We met people with stories that would curl your hair and got to hear how they changed their life for good. They had overcome obstacles that we would never even be able to comprehend. To see a man with satan tatooed on his chest and be changed for God was such a contrast. It made us realize how much bigger God is than us. And how small we are when we do not recognize potential good in all people. The beauty of mission work in other countries is learning to love people no matter what the problem is, no matter what the past has been, no matter the backgroud. It can be the same in the places where we live, that we could only learn to look past the differences and love them like Jesus did.

I could not be any more blessed with a team. Marilyn puts people at ease and never gives up on whatever she is working on. She is always happy and not afraid to do what needs to be done. She makes it all fun in spite of all the work! She has been great to work with.
Tim was amazing. He talked to all the x gangers about the changes and put them at ease over the procedure. He feeds us, kept us hydrated, and kept us safe. The best part was Tim holding their hands when they were hurting. Distracting them with conversations so we could do our work. He made sure they weren't hurting and gave them comfort for their fears. I did not expect them to have any problems with pain. Never would I have guessed that the big bad gang boys would shed a tear or act like it hurt or act like they had fears. They are the same as us, with the same hopes and dreams. Fears and failures. They recognized it after they fell down and got up to fix it.

In short, it was a great day for hope. It was on all of their faces when they realized someone had bothered to help them. I absolutely love the work and pray it will be a successful program. Thanks for all your prayers.

Serving Him with you,

Gayle Davidson

Please continue to pray not just for those of us who are privileged to be a part of God´s plan here but most of all please pray for the continued changes in lives for His kingdom. It´s a terrific thing to be His hands and feet in a thousand different ways. I pray you are finding joy in being His slave right where you are. Continue to pierce these ears Father that the world may know that I live and breathe to serve You. Thank You for being such a gentleman and wooing us into Your arms. are much loved, don´t forget it!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Well it's been forever since I've posted something on here and I apologize for that. I think every person who enjoys writing, or at least finds some benefit in throwing down some ideas perhaps for the chief reason of sorting out their own thoughts finds moments when there's just a lull. It's not that I haven't been subjected to some really beautiful things lately. I certainly have.

I spent the weekend in Ft. Lauderdale with some people I adore. We went to a Women of Faith Conference and it was refreshing to some thirsty places in this heart. It's funny, I've been to so many of those, probably 8 or so by now and I love them. I always leave challenged, filled up, renewed, refreshed, and grateful to be God's girl. But this trip was different. Maybe my heart was just different. We walked in and sat down and from the first song that we sang my emotions were completely raw. I watched 16,000 women file into this convention center where for the next 3 days the chief goal would be to go deeper with God and I thought about how honored God must be to watch all of those girls bring their hearts to Him. I think I cried tears of joy with Him. Every lyric to every song felt like it meant more. Sitting beside people I love and praising God felt richer and I was reminded that you sometimes have to do without some things before you realize how to appreciate them. Let´s just say I´m learning...I´m learning how much I took for granted in a thousand ways. Thank You Lord for being patient and teaching me.

Yesterday my friend Brett came in to town to scout for a trip he´s taking in May. He is the hubby of one of my best friends from college and so we go back several years. He´s such a good guy and it was good to see him. Daisy one of the ladies who works for us is way connected to Brett and Jude and her kids adore them. So yesterday when I was on my way to pick him up from the airport I asked them if they´d like to come along. A field trip with a Honduran family is seriously more fun than most things I´ve ever done. They don´t experience the city much, never see the airplanes, you know all of those things. They were bouncing off the walls all the way to town and even the oldest boy who tries to be cool a lot you know that stage, this 13 year old kid that I just think is good stuff was sitting in the back seat on his knees watching out the front window talking all the way to town. Didn´t want to miss a minute of it. There are times when in the middle of life God reminds you, ¨Jen pay attention, this is the good stuff.¨ It was one of those days. We went to Pizza Hut for lunch and had the grande sundaes afterwards and they ate the whole doggone thing. It was GREAT!!! And when Brett came off that plane there was this momma and her three boys jumping up and down so excited to see this gringo that they love! I´ll never buy the line that short term mission trips can´t do much good. If you ask this family (whose background I don´t have time to tell at the moment) if their life has been changed every single one of them would say yes. The oldest boy was so near being in a gang and going completely in the wrong direction and he truly is one of my favorite people to be around now. Kind and polite and a smile that will melt your heart as you think about the goodness of God. Brett and Jude have had a HUGE part to play in that and it was precious stuff to watch them hug and hang out yesterday. Totally like God to merge two cultures, mesh lots of hearts and make something beautiful out of all of that. Good stuff!!! We all miss ya Jude.

Today I´ll be staying in Santa Ana for the first time since we´ve been here in my new house. I´m excited about that. I´m ready to have a ¨nest.¨ My bed is there waiting for me to sleep in it, you know all those kind of things. So pray for this next transition and all that comes with it.

Much love to you all and a prayer for blessings beyond your wildest imagination!