Monday, August 13, 2007

Call to Action

1:34 AM
I believe in callings and I believe in purposes. This I believe is mine.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.

5 Aliens will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of their shame
my people will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
they will rejoice in their inheritance;
and so they will inherit a double portion in their land,
and everlasting joy will be theirs.

8 "For I, the LORD, love justice;
I hate robbery and iniquity.
In my faithfulness I will reward them
and make an everlasting covenant with them.

9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the LORD has blessed."

10 I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise
spring up before all nations.

~Isaiah 61


Monday, August 6, 2007

Home Sweet Georgia

12:04 AM

Well, I am back on the other side of the globe now. It was quite an ordeal getting here too! 17 hours of plane travel, plus more for layovers and ground travel, I have never been so excited to see my bed ever! It's weird though, being alone in an empty apartment after living with constant people for 9 weeks. The saddest has been when I started unpacking and found things I bought in New Zealand and wanted to share with someone, but no one was there to share it with. I'm definitely looking forward to moving back to FL and reconnecting with friends there.

Backing up, our final days in New Zealand were jam packed. We spent the last week at a beach house in Whiritoa, which is on the Pacific Ocean coast, for our debrief. During debrief we talked about the trip, how we felt about it and what God showed us this summer. It was a good chance to process all of our experiences and emotions about reentering a "normal" life. And when we weren't doing that, we were relaxing in a super nice house (it even had carpet!!). We also took time praying over each other and commissioning one another into life back home. It was a great bonding experience.

We got back to Auckland on Thursday night and had a great dinner prepared for us by our Iranian friend, Melina. Her food was quite yummy! It was sad to say goodbye to her. She really connected to us as a team, and we had a great time pouring into her and speaking truth over her. She and her husband are Muslim, and have been only been living in New Zealand for three years and have found themselves surrounded by a Christian community. It will be exciting to see what God does in their lives.

We flew out of Auckland at 6:00pm Friday night after a large farewell from most of the Mangere Baptist church family. They have been so supportive of our ministry and so invested in our lives that I feel like I've left lifelong friends there.

Unfortunately, I've been sick since about Thursday, and it made international travel even less exciting. But we finally landed in Atlanta at 9:00pm on Friday (gotta love those time zones!) We all went our separate ways from there, Rebecca and Jessie home with their parents, Julianna we had left in LA (not accidentally!), Michelle, Julie, and Autumn to the hotel debrief, and myself tagging along looking for a ride back to Gainesville, which thankfully, I got.

So now begins a new phase in my life - post New Zealand. I am heavily burdened by the things God revealed to me there, but I am struggling with complacency in everyday American life. I felt God call me into His heart of compassion and love the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61), but I'm scared. I heard Him challenge me about finding success in Him and not in the world, but my head won't let me. I have realized why He asks us to live in simplicity and was eager to do it, but now I look around at all my stuff and I don't want to part with it. I am hoping that this is just initial "culture shock" and God will continue to impress these things on my life, because He is that good to me. But I'll keep ya posted.

Thanks for making this journey with me. I am so grateful for your prayers and support. I am humbled to have even gone. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience! I'll be adding more pics so check them out!


Friday, August 3, 2007

Homeward Bound

2:04 AM
Tomorrow is the day! We fly out of Auckland at 6pm on Friday and I arrive in Atlanta, GA at 9:05pm on Friday! The magic of time zones... :) I can't believe this trip is over already! In many ways it seems like I just got here. But I am also eager to get back to the States and move home to FL to see family and friends. I am exploding with stories of what God has taught me and what I've learned on this trip. I can't wait to share them with you when I have the time to type them all!! Stay tuned for pictures and videos from the trip, I'm sure you will enjoy them! See ya stateside!!