Monday, December 5, 2011

Expectation of the Gift

We all are in the midst of the "Holiday Rush" as so many call it. Black Friday, sales in every store and lots of planning for the Christmas season all are consuming more and more of our time. We all fall prey to the advertisements and ads that seem to fill every inch of the page, both printed and electronic!

Yet, those of us who know the TRUTH, know what this season is really about. We all know that we are approaching the date on which we celebrate the incarnation of the God! You and I say to all of those around us that we are focused on the real reason for the season. We talk about the hype and share our opinions about how we all are too focused on the "mas", the more of Christmas than Christ. Yet, we all also are searching for just the right gift this season.

Last night I enjoyed a great time of fellowship with friends around a meal and an anticipated announcement. We eagerly awaited the news and announcement that would cause us to celebrate with shouts and excitement for the future. I am reminded of all through the Gospels and the New Testament we read of the coming again of our Lord. I am eager for the day!

Today I am being worked over by the Holy Spirit concerning my excitement for THE DAY! Each week we gather for worship with the Body and have fellowship with the whole assembly of our local church. We should eagerly anticipate the gathering of the Body each week together with the same anticipation of the gifts we will give and receive on Christmas day. We really should gather and talk about, search for, seek out, everything we can that tells us of the Day we will meet Him face to face!

Today as you look forward to the gift of Christmas, anticipate the celebration with family and friends, eagerly wait with expectation the time of celebrating with those closest to us Christmas, look forward to the day we all will gather with HIM!

Are you looking forward to the day we all will be with Him? Do you anticipate Sunday gatherings with eager expectations? Are you seeking, studying, discussing every detail of the coming events of corporate worship, small group gatherings and holiday celebrations?

Let's all look to the days ahead with such an eternal expectation that every holiday occasion becomes a Pre-Eternity celebration. As you join with family and friends this season, talk about the greatness of our God and how we look forward to the day that He comes to get His church and we all are with Him for Eternity! Let's live in full expectation of the completion of the gift that was bought on Calvary's cross for each of us! Celebrate His Coming Again!

In His Eternal Grip,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

When Helping Helps!

For many years the church in the US has been sending short-term mission teams all over the world to do ministry in various contexts. The method of serving has not always been helpful though. In fact sometimes the helping we have sought to do has ended up hurting the long-term ministry on the ground. To this end many have recently become more aware of the motivation and methods of doing global missions in various contexts. Some books and articles have helped bring this concept to our attention.

Last week we as a ministry were able to join the church in Guatemala and see how helping helps. Our team last week was able to do several things during our week in Guatemala that clearly were seen as help to the local church and ministries in Guatemala. I want to share these ideas with you today to challenge the short-term team leaders, participants and supporters to ask the right questions to lead to effective ministry support on the field.

Our partner church in Guatemala is Jerusalen Church where our staff family, Greg, Kathy, Hannah and Haleigh Brown have begun investing their lives. This church is an amazing servant-filled church with a passion to reach their community and the indigenous Mayan communities of Guatemala. Through a patient, intentional development of a complimentary partnership we have been able to hear their heart and see their vision for their country. It has taken a couple of years of asking the right questions and seeking to humble our US pride to hear the real needs and desires of the ministry the church is doing on a regular basis.

We have been blessed to walk a road of church planting from the beginning in a community just outside the city known as Sacajvilla. this past week we were able to join the Jerusalen Church ministry team to provide a Festival Biblical infantile (FBI) event that ministered to the children and teens of the Lantana community within this village. We were also able to literally walk with the local mission church into the community on home visits and share the hope of the Good News with many families as we shared a bag of food to help sustain their lives. It is such a joy to walk with the local church and allow them to lead the work of ministry on the ground. this is a challenge for our task driven US short-term teams who want to feel "productive" and "busy" for the Kingdom. Yet, the reward comes in watching the faces of children like Evan, a severely handicapped boy in a remote region of the village, explode with excitement as pastor Juan, the mission church leader from Jerusalen Church, walks into his home and loves on the family! When these great men and women of the mission church open the door to these humble houses of tin and cardboard the lives they are touching come alive with joy and thanksgiving.

This trip we were also able to carry with us 160 pairs of new shoes from Soles 4 Souls to share with the community. As we journey through the airport and to our field of service, the thoughts of how we will see faces light up for joy because we bring them shoes fills the team's thoughts. Yet, when we arrive, the church has a plan of ministry that does not allow for the giving away of the shoes. this is an internal struggle as we walk with the local church throughout the week. Then mid-week I am struck hard at the core of my motivation as i hear our host pastor share they have been collecting shoes for the community and have a list already of names and sizes of people within the community they are planning to give new shoes to the following week!

What a great God we serve! He had a plan for the team who has the resources to bring to the local church what they need to fulfill the vision for ministry they already had received from the Father. The lord had it in the works already to provide shoes to this community, He simply wanted to demonstrate Psalm 67 to us by using us to provide resources for His ways to be made known and His salvation to be shared through the local church!

This week I sit at my desk with a new understanding of how helping does help. I see in a fresh new way how when there is need within the body there is a provision for that need within the body. Last week the need in the local church in Guatemala was to complete a list of needed sizes of shoes for a community in need. This week the local church has the resources in hand to complete its mission. Thank you to Soles 4 Souls for allowing the body in Guatemala to receive the much needed shoes to finish the task they had been called to by God. I pray that as we continue to serve the church in Guatemala, we will help them by selflessly giving to them the resources for them to reach their community! I realize it is not the typical experience to carry the six bags of shoes through the process only to hand them over to the local church and walk away. yet this week I am learning how Helping helps the local church fulfill its role within its own context as the avenue through which the Gospel message is spread. I realize that I do not need to be seen or heard or thanked by the child who will receive the shoes we carried to Guatemala. I need to support the work of the local church and allow them to give shoes and serve the community for the sake of His great name and for the sake of His Gospel.

Helping helps when we serve the local church and support them as the agent of transformation used by the Holy Spirit to reach their world. Helping helps when we teach His Word to the children and teens of a village who will share what they learn form us to their families and friends and be used by the Father to reach their world. Helping helps when I am willing to ask the right question, "How can we help you do ministry that God has called you to do in your community?" Helping helps when we are willing to become the support crew for the local church to fulfill its mission of reaching its world and teaching His Word in their communities to grow the Kingdom! Helping helps when we are willing to listen to the needs of the local church and promote their ministry through their faith family members! Let us all be willing to help in a way that helps!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Psalm 67 Follow-Up

Yesterday at The Church at Brook Hills, our pastor David Platt shared from his heart the message of Psalm 67 and how that applies to our going to the nations. I agree with David that a clear understanding of this Psalm should motivate us to GO! Not just go to church. Not even just to go on a mission trip. We should be motivated by this Psalm to go to that place of servant sacrifice we all know we should go.

Being a servant is what we saw in the model of Jesus' earthly ministry. he went to the hurting, hopeless and helpless. Jesus spent His time on the earth ministering to those who needed hope the most. At the same time he invested His intimate time with the twelve men closest to Him. If I believe this model to be accurate about Jesus' life then I should seek to follow this model in my own faith journey...right? If this is the model I am to follow then we must ask the question how should I follow?

In Matthew 5:17 Jesus spoke to His disciples and said, "Follow me and i will make you fishers of men." Where did Jesus go? But, more pointedly, where is He going now? Jesus is in the slums of Kampala, Uganda among the street children and forgotten orphans of that city. Jesus is in the dump in Guatemala City among the desperate families surviving on less than $2 a day. Jesus is in the villages of northern India among the thousands of rural people seeking truth in a god who will answer. Jesus is in the hills of New Mexico among the Navajo teenagers who are searching for some reason to continue to live. Jesus is among the indigenous people of each region who are looking for a Savior whose name they have never heard. Jesus is all over this globe among the desperate, forgotten, impoverished people groups.

One Way Ministries 2012 Trip Schedule
January 3-14 New Mexico
March 3-10 Guatemala
March 18-24 Guatemala
March 31-1 New Mexico
May 26-2 Guatemala
June 2-9 Guatemala
June 16-23 New Mexico
June 23-30 New Mexico
July 7-21 Africa
July 14-21 Guatemala
July 21-28 Guatemala
August 24-27 Guatemala
October 6-13 New Mexico
November 3-10 Guatemala
December 26-2 Africa/Uganda

If I am to "follow" then I must go where Jesus is! In the words of an old Gospel song, "Its time we the people stand up for what is right...its time we squared our shoulders back and raise our swords to fight...for the Bible is my weapon ...and the Spirit is my shield...the Church needs more of its members to be workers in the field." We have been promised a blessing that no one can take away. The blessing of grace poured out on us without measure is being poured over our churches in America! It is time we stand up for what is right and become a bride on the move!

For far too many years the church has remained silent...or at least real quiet in our culture. Many of us have never even shared one-on-one with another person the entire Good News of Jesus. It is time you as a follower of Jesus follow Him into the field and serve the world in which we have been planted. This will require sacrifice! Jesus taught us to serve and to sacrifice. He showed us how to live and how to die! But Praise be to God He did not stop there...He showed us how to live again! As Nicodemus heard the eternal impact of the rebirth we hear the resounding echo of the saints of old shouting AMEN to those amazing words, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." We hear the Samaritan village of the woman at the well shout in unison," we no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."

It is time we sacrifice our comfort for the cross! It is time we give up our plenty for His power. We must sacrifice our excess for their eternity! Yes, as Psalm 67 teaches us, our abundance is provided by the Father to us so that His ways will be made known and His salvation will be shared with all! The eternal opportunity of the world is literally within our own check books! Where is our excess being used and we can determine where our hearts are being drawn! Are we really living within the necessary level of our provision and sharing the rest of what the Lord provides for the sake of eternity around the world?

Can we really call it sacrifice when so much is gained by our giving? Jesus taught us the value of laying down our lives, everything we have for the sake of those who need what we have to give! How then will we lay down our lives for the sake of those whom He has entrusted into our hands? How will we show the eternal significance of the Savior of the world? How can we serve the world by going to the places where Jesus is and following Him? Or should we ask, how will we go?

Many opportunities are available for you to join a ministry, a missionary, a church planter, a servant, a team, a church. It is not a question of whether or not there is opportunity. The question is will you go right now? in your heart will you commit to allow the Father to guide your heart and carry you to the slums, the dump, the hills, the valley, the village, the city streets, the house across the street? Will you commit today and take action on that commitment? We have been blessed beyond what we need for the purpose of carrying the Gospel to the people all over the globe who need to hear of His judgement and His grace. Come on and join us as we walk into the field and become His hands and His feet! Go!

Friday, October 21, 2011

2012 Summer Internship

Are you a student searching for a way to serve Christ?

Join us for an internship in 2012!

Interns are a vital part of our ministry. Through their servant leadership,
we are able to lead teams on the ground, in mission sites, to fulfill the plan of
Reaching the World....and Teaching the Word!

Interns go through an application process and
are selected by our staff and board members.

If you are interested in being an intern next summer, please go to this link and download an application packet.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New 2012 Calendar

We are blessed beyond words for what Christ has done through the ministry this year! He has shown us His perfect timing in so many situations, His provision and His grace. We thank God for those of you who gave of your time, your money and your servant hearts to join us in the field and better serve His kingdom. We could not have done it without you, THANK YOU.

In obedience with His word, we will travel again this year and seek to serve the desperate, forgotten people groups of the world. We ask that you examine your hearts and ask Him how you can serve Him in 2012? Maybe it is to stretch yourself... to go beyond what is go to Guatemala or Africa. Maybe you feel you need to stay within the US this year, we can accomodate trips right here in New Mexico. Maybe it is being a financial sponsor for someone else to attend a trip. However God is calling you to serve....we ask that you pray earnestly, follow your heart and step out. He is waiting for us to meet Him in His plan.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria and to the ends of the earth" Acts 1:8

We are pleased to launch our NEW 2012 calendar...

January 3-14 New Mexico
March 3-10 Guatemala
March 18-24 Guatemala
March 31-April 7 New Mexico
May 26-June 2 Guatemala
June 2-9 Guatemala
June 16-23 New Mexico
June 23-30 New Mexico
July 7-21 Africa
July 14-21 Guatemala
July 21-28 Guatemala
August 24-27 Guatemala
October 6-13 New Mexico
November 3-10 Guatemala
December 26-Jan. 2 Uganda

Please look over it and see where you can be of service.....

Many Blessings!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today is the Day...

Well it has been quite a while since I have written a post on the ministry blog site...and today seems like a good day to do so...9.13.67 began a journey that has brought me to this day some 44 years later and greatly blessed! I have seen many things change in my lifetime. I have watched the gallons in my gas tank decrease as the dollars out of my wallet have increased. I have seen the country move further out and the city seem closer in than ever before. I have felt the days weigh heavier on my stature and the burden of performing daily grow lighter and lighter.

The Father has chosen to pour into my life in s many ways and through so many people. As I reflect today on my birthday I realize God has blessed me beyond belief! It is hard to imagine having so many people wishing you a happy birthday would call you friend! blessed I am to have had so many people touch my life! I am so overwhelmed with the number of people who have been a part of the journey so far.

Today as i walk this road of faith I realize today is the is the day to say what is on my is the day to share what is on my is the day to speak those words that God has planted deep in my soul through the years of investment and impact from all of the wonderful people He has used to shape and mold my life into what it is today!

Jesus is the Way is what is proclaimed in John 14:6. Whether you believe all that the Bible has to say or not, the only way to the throne of grace is through the way of Calvary! All sin will either be pardoned at the cross or punished in Hell for all eternity! Today is the day to settle that issue for yourself. If you are reading this, you now have no is the day you have been touched by the truth of His Word made alive in Jesus! The sin debt you and I have been born under is not eternally held against us! The Good News of the Bible is that Jesus paid a debt you and i could not pay and bought us freedom from sin and death! We have the opportunity to have our sin debt pardoned by the cross and not punished in Hell!

Today is the day for you to settle it forever...Today is the day to not think about it, wonder about it or dance around it! Today is the day to recognize you have no choice but to sin and fall short of every measure acceptance Gods has, yet He has provided a way! Jesus came so that we would have hope beyond this sinful life we were born into. Jesus came as the eternal Redeemer of all creation! Today is the day you can see your sin as the thing that separates you from His grace and confess your sin to Him. Today you can confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord of your life and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead as a victory over death, Hell, and the grave for you. Today Jesus can redeem you from eternal punishment to set you free to live eternally for His great glory!

Where are you today? Not where are you sitting right now as you read this, where are you in relation to eternity today? Have you confessed and been redeemed for all eternity? Has Jesus become your way? Are his ways being made know in all the earth through your life? Is His salvation being made known in every occasion of your journey in this world? Today is the day! Today you can be set free! Today you can confess and believe! Today is the day!

Even though I was born this day 44 years ago, May 29th 1979 I was born again and set free. Free to live a life He has planned for me. I am not wealthy in this world's eyes. I have not been a glowing example of success in the standards of this world's economy or success. I am not the expert in any field or skill. I have not accomplished great things for mankind that have changed the way this world lives. I am not known by famous people all over the world. I am not comfortable with a retirement plan and security of daily provision in my bank account.

I am a child of the King who knows, my past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure! This is the day to celebrate the joy of my salvation and remember I have a redeemer who knows everything I have been through, everything I will face and will walk with me through the fire to the end of the age and beyond! this is the day of salvation and the day to celebrate LIFE!!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

God's lessons from the summer

I was going to post this when I got back from Guatemala, but I got busy and forgot so here it is...

God taught me so much this summer, but the one thing that He has been working on my heart is waiting on His perfect timing. God showed me last summer that He wanted me to move to Guatemala to do mission work, but He has me back in the states to finish school until He calls me there. It can be really hard because my heart longs to be there. I think about Guatemala everyday and all the love that the people there have for me, but God says wait because I know what is best for you right now and I know what I have planned for your life.

This summer God allowed me to do mission work in New Mexico for two weeks and mission work in Guatemala for three weeks. I wanted to stay in Guatemala for the whole summer, but that was not God’s plan. He had me going to New Mexico. When I first got to New Mexico, I dreaded being there. God turned that around. He showed me that I was not there for myself, but for Him and His people. Later in the first week of the New Mexico trip, God showed me why He brought me to New Mexico. There was a girl there about my age that was going through the same mess that my birth mom went through. I could tell that this girl was longing for hope. She said that she read the Bible, but they were just words on a page. We gave her another Bible and she said that she was going to read it. I was really encouraged by that, but what gave me the most encouragement was one of the people on the Texas team, Mikki. When we got back to the church that we worked with, she asked me questions about my childhood life. I told her the story of my birth mother and all the things I went through. We both cried our eyes out and then she told me her story. She said that she was very encouraged to hear my heart even though I went through some hard stuff in the past and it showed her that adopting kids going through hard stuff was good. She said that in the past, she would be scared to adopt kids going through stuff I went through. I believe that was another reason God brought me to New Mexico so my past could help her see that kids going through hard things like me needs a loving family and that we are not bad people. He also opened my eyes and showed me that I could help people that are going through the same stuff I went through and experienced.

God did some amazing work in Guatemala. He opened the hearts of the lost and they surrendered their lives to Christ. He allowed me to share my life with some high school kids. There was one school we went to that was close to the church that we worked with. One of the ladies on the team was telling a Bible story and the guys in the back were cutting up and acting like fools, but once I got up there and shared my story they stopped and listened with open ears and an open heart. I could tell that they were taking in every word by the faces they were giving me.

I am so blessed to be able to travel and share the Gospel with the unreached and lost people. I consider my life as an Esther. Like in the Bible, God allowed her to be picked as Queen to help her people even though she hated the idea. As for me, God allowed me to go through those hard times so He could use my life to help His people. What a powerful God we serve and I will be waiting on His perfect timing even when it is hard.

“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” ~Esther 4:14

~Brittney Cleveland

Saturday, July 23, 2011

As I awoke Friday morning and was preparing for the day, I prayed that God would let us be sensitive to His Spirit as we went out and finished out our last day of ministry here in Guatemala and on the field this summer..I prayed that lives would be changed, hearts of our team and the hearts of those we were going to visit. Well, God is good and to Him be the glory for everything that happened yesterday!

During the morning we broke up into two teams, each going to do four home visits. On our first visit, we were able to pray with and encourage a sister of the church who had just recently lost her sister and was struggling greatly. God, being the awesome and sovereign God that He is, equipped our team with just the right people. One of our team members lost her dad as a child and was able to relate to the struggles of this woman. Our second visit brought us to a Catholic couple who had been in and out of church a lot. The gospel was presented to them and they prayed for the forgiveness of their sins and confessed Jesus as their true Lord! We continued on to our third visit then and met an older lady who was a church member who had not been in a while. We walked in to find her reading her Bible! As we began talking with her, she shared with us that due to her diabetes and bad knees she isn’t able to walk to church anymore. Hannah Brown was in our group, and she shared with the lady about how her diabetes can be a daily struggle for her as well. She prayed for the lady and you could feel the Holy Spirit in that home, uniting us as believers..encouraging one another like scripture calls us to. Then, we gave the lady a food bag and she immediately began to weep tears of joy and thanksgiving. Our whole team was in tears by the time we left. To see how much a simple food bag can bless the life of someone like her was truly a moving experience. Then on we went to our last visit. We visited a lady who was in desperate need of a job and who continuously needs strength to provide for her son, Kevin, who is in the daycare at the church. Again, one of the team members shared very similar struggles and was able to relate to this young woman.

To God be the glory!! All through this summer God has shown us how great He truly is. In America, we have doctors and running water and access to food, so we don’t really need God for a lot of things..we may not necessarily mean to, but we do not depend on Him! So, it was incredible to see the faith of some of the people we came into contact with this summer. These families have to depend on God for everything, every day! What an inspiration and motivation it was to see the faith and hospitality of the people in Guatemala. Even if all they had were dirt floors, they would offer any seating that they had and make us sit.

This last day’s experiences were just a glimpse of how God moved this summer. My prayer as I travel home is that God continues to speak to me by His Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church. I pray that as I obey the guidance of His Spirit, I continue to learn to truly trust in Him through experiences like these this summer.

Romans 12:9-21
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”


Thursday, July 21, 2011

God's work this summer :)

This is my last blog post and the summer is coming to an end. God has taught me so much this summer. One thing He has taught me was to wait on His timing. I am a very impatient person. I am ready for Him to tell me to move to Guatemala, but I know He has a plan for me while I am in Alabama. I don’t have much to write about so I will post pictures to show all the work God did this summer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

God's work in the next generation..

Tomorrow God is going to move in a mighty way. He has an incredible plan, and is going to work powerfully in the lives of those He allows us to touch and speak to in Lantana. I am amazed at the work He has been doing here, and am preparing myself to be absolutely awed by the power of His name tomorrow. He has placed mighty men and women of faith here to whom He has revealed what He is doing, and what He is about to do in Guatemala. They are praying and acting out of obedience and belief. Jesus is being made known among the nations! We have been blessed to have the opportunity to pray over the next generation of followers of Jesus Christ, to lay our hands on them and be used to pour His love and power upon them. When we pray, God hears us! My prayer for this summer was that God would perform the miracle of rescuing sinners and redeeming them… I have seen Him do this. When we praise, God hears us! Worshiping alongside believers from all over has been a wonderful experience… To truly worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). When we seek, God hears us! God has caused me through the Holy Spirit to seek Him and His wisdom. And He has heard me. He has revealed Himself, His purposes, and His ways. I have heard His voice and have come to know Him even more. God has shown me this summer what He can do with faith like a grain of mustard seed – He can move mountains. The enemy has attacked, and will yet attack in a multitude of ways, but God will have the victory because Dios siempre gana! God always wins. Please pray with me for that victory tomorrow and days to come in Guatemala. Pray for Pastor Morales and his family, for the Brown family, for their church family, those who God has planted here. They need His strength! Apart from Him we can do nothing. We should go out relying completely on our Lord. One plants, another waters, but it is God who gives the growth. Please pray for healthy and plentiful seed! Please pray for pure and clean water! Please pray for God to give that growth! I would encourage you, don’t just sit back and watch as others plant and water… God has commanded you to do the same. Join Him in His work. Listen to His voice and obey. Pour yourselves our and give it all to Him who is worthy! Think in terms of eternity.
"If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?" –David Livingstone
“…For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Today we did home visits once again in the community of Lantana. We broke into three groups, each visiting two different homes before lunch. My team was welcomed in the first house by a lady and her two (very shy) children. As we shared with her, it was evident that she understood what we were sharing with her. However, she also shared that she attended a Catholic church. The more we talked with this lady, the more clear it became that she had head knowledge, but there was a disconnect between her head and her heart. We gave her a food bag, and she was very grateful. We prayed over her then, but I ask that you continue praying for her. I pray that she comes to realize that it’s not about a religion! We often here the phrase, “It’s not about a religion, it’s about a relationship” and that is so true! However, so many people fall under that false teaching.

The second house we visited belonged to a mother of three precious girls. The family was all believers in desperate need of encouragement. As we began to ask questions about their life and how we could pray for them, their need for encouragement became more and more pressing. They had recently moved to the community and the daughter was struggling very much with the move. She was 15 years old, and dHaleigh was able to share with her about their move to Guatemala and how she understands the girl’s struggles. She prayed for her, and you could feel God encouraging presence there. The mom also shared with us that they weren’t really going to church anywhere since they were new to the community. What an opportunity! As we presented the food bag to this family, the mother and the older daughter immediately began to cry. The mom shared with us that they have been struggling very much economically, and just this morning she cried out to God…telling Him that they were in need of food and His provision..and then we showed up only a few hours later!! How great is our God! We prayed over the family and after a few more minutes of talking we went our way. Then, during the afternoon two teams went out to do more visits and a team of us stayed back at the church to hang out and love on some of the neighborhood children. A few minutes into it, the family showed up! It was such an encouragement to see them already eager to get involved with the church.

Being in these homes really brought things back into a much needed perspective. Many of the families we visited today live on only a few dollars a day. Many do not even have any type of flooring. Their homes are a few pieces of tin nailed together and many have dirt floors. The houses are typically just one big room, with a few beds along the walls. And we complain about our orders at a fast food places being wrong….the line in Starbucks is too long…and continue and continue to spend our money in foolish ways, not truly recognizing the significance of what $20 could do for the families here.

My prayer as we wrap up our time here in Guatemala is that hearts would be changed. Not only hearts repenting of sin here in Guatemala, but hearts of the heart, as we head back to the states would become aware and changed. I pray the images we saw today will never fade away. I pray we always remember the bigger picture of why we’re here…to give everything we have in service to God! He gave us the things we have for a reason, and we are using our resources oh so selfishly! We must learn to give, give, give, give, and give some more..not of just money, but give our love and time to the people who need it.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:5-6

Monday, July 18, 2011

God uses my past

So this afternoon, we went to a high school close to the church that we work at. It was really cool because these kids were close to my age. We told them a Bible story and then I got to share my testimony. I have shared it before, but this time it felt different. When one of the ladies was telling the Bible story, the boys in the back of the room was playing and acting up, but once I got up there and started telling them how Christ changed my life, they sat up and listened. It was really cool to share my life with them and they listened. It would have been totally different back in the States. The kids in the States would have played and acted up the whole time. I really love how God allowed me to use my past to share with those that are going through the same things I went through. I know God never wanted me to go through all that mess, but He is using it to bring him glory so I believe God wants to me share my story with you. I grew up in a non-Christian home. Both of my parents were druggies and were always drunk. My father was never around. My mother was abusive and hated me. She always slept with many men and they were abusive also. My grandmother was a Christian and would take us to church when my mother let her. My mother didn’t believe in Jesus and always told me that what my grandmother believed was not true. When I was 11, I went into foster care. My foster parents showed me the love of Christ and how He loved me. At first, I was confused because I never really saw what love was really like. I went to a Christian class and a year later I surrendered my life to Christ. I was then adopted at age 14. Now Christ is calling me to mission work. He is calling me to Guatemala to share my story with those that went through the same things I went through. So God has changed me in ways no one has ever seen and I praise Him every day for it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Psalm 108:3-4

“I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” Psalm 108:3-4
This morning the team and I got to live that Scripture out! God again gave us the amazing opportunity to worship alongside our brothers and sisters in Guatemala. We gave thanks to Him among the peoples and praised Him loudly among the nations… It is always a unique experience to worship at New Jerusalen. As Lindsey has already blogged, it truly is like a glimpse of heaven! For me, it also raised the awareness of other believers all across the globe who are worshiping and seeking after Jesus Christ just as we are. It is such a beautiful thing when we all come together and are connected by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us because of what Jesus has done for us. Guatemalans are especially good at being incredibly warm and hospitable. It is definitely something I want to take back with me!
This afternoon was different than any of our other days with the church there because for lunch we got to serve them. Or at least we tried to. Haha, we had trouble getting them to just sit down and let us take care of it! This is the place to learn to be a true servant. Their hearts are so generous and loving! It can be overwhelming.
I am excited about this week. God has already shown Himself powerful, completely sovereign, and that He is at work here in many ways. It is a huge blessing to be able to join Him in His work and be used as instruments, knowing that we are totally incapable of doing anything of our own strength, but that it all comes from Christ in us. We can rely on Him, because He is faithful! I have come to know Him on a much deeper level as I have seen and experienced Him in so many ways. What a gracious and patient King we belong to! May we strive to live as the body of Christ, daily pouring ourselves out for Him so that He can fill us back up. Remember to pray for the nations!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

When we pray, when we praise, when we seek...God hears us!

This morning as we were talking with the team as they prepared to leave, I really got to thinking about everything God has been teaching me so far this summer. When we debrief with a team before they go home, I answer the questions knowing that I’m not quite going home yet. However, this morning I realized that the summer is almost over. Just one more week left before we travel back the Turners and then back to Tennessee for me.

God has really been opening my eyes recently to the true power of His word and prayer. They seem like such simple things, but so often we do not give them enough value.

Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” And then Paul continues and says, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving (4:2).”

When we debrief, JT often asks, “What is one thing you’ve learned on this trip that you can do and take home with you?” For me, one answer would be to pray more intently and intensely. How powerful would it be if we as a body gathered more often to pray!
Another thing that I’ve learned is how much more you can learn when in a true sense of biblical community!! Being surrounded by other believers during the entire course of the summer has had such a huge impact on me and what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown! The time has enabled me to share with others what God is revealing to me each day, which has helped them to challenge me to live out what I’m learning. How great it would be to have that at home! This time together has also shown me how powerful prayer can be when done together with the body more often. I have learned so much from other believers by being around them on a daily basis, living and sharing together. Even just this morning as the team was preparing to leave, I had a really great conversation with one of the lady’s who has shared some of the same struggles as I have. And how great it was to see how God has worked through her life and to learn from some of the simple things she shared with me just about life in general!

My prayer as we wrap up this summer and spend one more week in Guatemala is that God would place people in my life at home that I can have that daily communication with. People to continually pray with, share with, and people who will challenge me. My prayer for this week is that as we go into homes to encourage and share, God would continually show us people at home who need those same visits, that same encouragement, and that same prayer. I pray that our hearts would be sensitive to His spirits’ leading this week. I pray through everything that happens His name will be glorified...and that we will come to know Him by experience as we obey Him and share His name in this nation.


Friday, July 15, 2011

God's Blessings

As I sit in Guatemala, God reminds me of how blessed Americans are. Kathy Brown told me about a home that she visited today. It was of a little girl named Alma, who is 13 years old. She was so excited to hear that our team was coming to her house. We did go to her school, but since she can’t walk, then she can’t go to school. She has to stay at home and take care of her little siblings while her mother is at work. This story just brought me to tears to think that this little girl is longing to go to school, but she can’t. Looking at how the people live here also brings me to tears. God has blessed us so much, but yet we Americans are so unthankful. God has given us a nice house to live in and three meals a day sometimes more. He has given us good health, but yet we still want more. It hurts me to hear how a person in America spends their money when there are people in other places that are dying of lack of food. The pastor also told us today that he and his church were praying for us and our country. Wouldn’t it be cool if people from America say the same thing? This is what has been on my heart for a while and I felt that God wanted me to share this with all of you who are reading this blog.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

To listen & obey...

This summer God has grown me so much! He is teaching me to listen to Him… To really listen to Him! And He has taught me to say “yes, Lord!” In New Mexico, He enabled me to obey His voice, and I was blessed to be used by Him to share the Gospel with the people there. Yesterday was a different and completely new scenario for me though. He impressed upon me that one of the team members needed to share their testimony with the class in Lantana, but it was suggested that I share mine, so I agreed. In agreeing, I disobeyed God. He had already told me the other person needed to share. But I, in my haste, failed to heed His voice. As I shared my testimony, it felt wrong, and I have never struggled so hard with my words. I learned in New Mexico to jump up and share, but God taught me yesterday that there are times when I am not suppose to share. I am suppose to insist on the person God has planned to use to share what He, in His sovereignty, has given them to share. Because of His power, He can still use the things I shared with the classroom yesterday, but because of my disobedience, they did not hear all that they needed to. They might have heard part of it, but not the entirety. I am so thankful to have learned from my failure. And I praise God that He is mighty to save, regardless of our failures. This experience has opened my eyes to a lot. And this summer has been an incredible opportunity to grow in Jesus Christ and His word. I am blown away by Him… I have been seized by the power of a great affection! I am striving to listen, and to be still and know He is God. There are times we all need to stop doing, and start being. We need to stop the clamorous, selfish prayers and listen to His voice. We keep on asking Him things, but never stop to hear His response, because we are too busy repeating the question, or asking the next. The conversation must become two-sided instead of one! God is speaking.. May we listen and obey.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
-Morgan Eberts

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our day begins by doing VBS in Lantana. We share a Bible story with them, testimonies, and do a craft. We play soccer and other games outside with the children at the local school. What an experience! The children are so well mannered and so attentive and ready to hear what we have to share. What an opportunity God has given us to be able to work with the school there! After a good morning of VBS at the school, we go to a local house to eat our lunch. Then the rain begins. Rain, rain, and more rain. We had planned on doing several home visits this afternoon and giving out food bags, and our chances of being able to do that seemed like they were getting more and more slim. Everything between the rain troubles..made it seem as if nothing was going to come of our afternoon.

As always though, God has different plans…part of our team goes back to the house to work on the van, and the rest of the team toughed out the rain to go on three home visits. As the afternoon progresses, we begin to learn a LOT.

I think our team realized how the church in America fails so often at truly living out the word of God. When we share the gospel, so often WE speak, not letting the Holy Spirit guide us. So often, we give our own opinions and don’t even share scripture with those we are in contact with. So often we pressure people into repeating a prayer when it is not a prayer that saves! It is through the power of God’s word, yet we rely on our own words and methods when trying to share the truth of Christ……then, sometimes we wonder why there isn’t more of a response…..but we must realize, did we do the talking or did God’s spirit move through us? God’s word is enough!!!!! As a church body, we must work on this issue together, praying that God would teach us how to share with obedience as in scripture. Tonight as we talked, God really opened our eyes and really helped us to realize our failures and mistakes. Now we must be obedient to study in scripture how we are to share with sound scriptural truth. My prayer is that God continues to work on our hearts, and as the week continues we will be sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit..following it and not our own ways.

As I was reading God’s Word today, I came across Romans 8:38. It says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This verse really hit home. Nothing can separate us from God’s hands. Once we are His, then we can never leave His hands. This verse can be very comforting when we are going through some hard stuff. We can always remember that we will always be in His hands and that He will always be there for us when we need Him. What a wonderful God we have that will always love us even when we sin against Him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We are three days in as a team and are already beginning to feel like family! The biblical community is already taking place, and it is wonderful, as always! Today was the team’s first day doing VBS at New Jerusalen. The day starts out with prayer as we wait for the arrival of the kids, and before we know it they are pouring in the doors, smiling and looking at the “gringos” with curiosity and excitement. One of the most amazing parts of the day is at the beginning, after we have sung the silly songs with crazy and tiring motions, they have the kids sit down and close their eyes. They then play a certain song, and as it plays all the members of the team move among the kids to lay hands on them and embrace them as we pray and cry out to God on their behalf. During that time today, I really felt the Holy Spirit moving. I know He brought each and every child there for a very specific reason, and He is already at work in their lives. I know that from those little boys, He will raise up bold leaders who will proclaim His truth and His Gospel. He will raise up godly men He is going to work through to bring the people of Guatemala to Himself. And from the little girls, He will raise up strong women of faith who will raise their children in the admonition of the Lord and share the Gospel in love. Though there is a language barrier, you can tell the kids know what is taking place and they, too, feel the Spirit moving. In that moment, He is the one touching them and embracing them! It is a joy and a blessing to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
The beautiful thing about today is that we had planned to go to a village called Lantana, but through a series of events were unable to. As someone in the group said, while we had to go to plan B, it was still God’s plan A! He never goes to plan B because He is in complete control! Just listening to the stories as we debriefed tonight reaffirmed that God’s will was accomplished in His way and His timing. There was so much packed into today that I do not have the time and space to describe it all to you, and it is only the first day! I know and expect to see great things from Jesus and the power of His name this week. Please join us in prayer for the work God is doing in this place. To Him be the glory!
-Morgan Eberts

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Glimpse of Heaven.

1 Tesalonicenses 5:17 “Orad sin cesar”

As we drove to the church this morning with Greg and Hannah Brown, I was excited to be back at the church again...for several reasons. When we walk into the church, the local church family greats us with hugs and kisses and they have the most sincere smiles. As worship begins, God’s spirit fills the place, and how AWESOME it is! Even though the songs are in a different language, I enjoy it oh so much. Without knowing the words, it gets my mind focused in a way that is impossible in the states. Without knowing the words, I am not distracted by the insecurity of my voice or the people around me. I am focused on the God who created the world. The God who is in control of all of us. The God who put us here together to accomplish His work this week. The God who gives us so much when we deserve nothing. This morning’s worship was so powerful for the fact that we were singing together (trying our best anyways)….in a completely different language, and the experience is truly like a glimpse of heaven. All of us praising together...I can’t wait for the day when there is no language barrier and we are all together in Heaven on our faces praising our sovereign God!

As the summer continues, I am realizing more and more the true power of prayer. God has really opened my eyes the past few days to how much of a lack there is of that..prayer. True and sincere prayer. What would happen if we as a body prayed together on a regular basis? What if we gathered together in true biblical community, not just on the field, but at home, and prayed together? Paul tells us to pray without ceasing! Rejoice always!

Tomorrow we begin our work out in the communities. Please be in prayer that the Holy Spirit would move and that our hearts would be sensitive to its’ guidance. As we have mentioned, not our plans..but God’s! In chapter 2 of 1 Thessalonians, Paul is speaking about his ministry to the people there. In verse 8 he says, “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” We must give everything! As Greg and JT have been sharing with the team, we have to leave it all here. If we pour out everything we have, God will then fill us up again. However, we have to pour it ALL out before HE can refresh us again!

-Lindsey Clayton

Saturday, July 9, 2011

God's plan not mine

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

I have really taken this verse to heart after God called me to the mission field. I was seventeen years old when He called me to mission work, but I did not want to listen. I thought I had my own plans for my life, but God said no you are going to do what I want you to do. So at age nineteen, I listened to what God was saying. He wanted me to do mission work in a different country. I thought it was Africa, but He was really calling me to Guatemala. When God called me to Guatemala, it was if He spoke it to me. It was as clear as daylight. I am not sure of what He wants me to do in Guatemala, but I know He will show me in His perfect timing. Until then, I will learn Spanish, pray for His plans for me in Guatemala and do the mission work He is calling me now to do.
~ Brittney

Friday, July 8, 2011

It all depends on perspective...

As I sit here in Guatemala sifting through the many thoughts in my brain that I want to type up for this blog, Proverbs 27:1 is what God has laid on my heart. It says, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” He has been hammering this into my mind and my heart and teaching it to me through things that have taken place this summer. God has impressed upon me that I really am not guaranteed tomorrow! Therefore, I need to be living every moment pouring myself out, serving Him for His glory. I need to be making most of the time by making Him known, like Paul who “decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified”. I need to jump at every opportunity He gives me to share the Gospel with those around me. Evangelism is the one thing you can’t do in heaven! He has given me many opportunities, and I have told Him “no” or “not now” far too many times. It is time to say “yes, Lord!” It is time to put aside the pride that prevents us from speaking when we most need to, the pride that causes us to do things for our own glory and not for the glory of Him who made and redeemed us. Instead, let us embrace perspective which puts everything in its rightful place, the perspective which shows us that this life is not to be wasted, but used to serve our Lord and share Jesus who is mighty to save, the perspective which enables us to use our time wisely. May it clear our minds of the things of this world and focus us on eternal things – on kingdom work! We need to lose our pride and win perspective.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Summer Thus Far...

The summer thus far…

As we pack and prepare to leave for another two weeks in Guatemala, my mind reminisces about the summer thus far. The past few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions. My heart has rejoiced over seeing God move in numerous ways, my patience has been tested, my heart has grown close to team members and children in both New Mexico and Guatemala. Most of all, I’ve grown more and more thankful for everything Christ has given me that I do not deserve. Hearing about the poverty in Guatemala was one thing for me, but then seeing it with my own eyes has put a whole new perspective on things. Hearing about the wild fires here in America was one thing, but then hearing from two ladies in Red Hill (a community we did VBS at in New Mexico) about the smoke was another story. They said just the week before we got there they could not even go outside because the smoke was so heavy they couldn’t breathe! This summer has made me so much more thankful for the small things. Even the time I spend with the Turners in between trips has been a learning experience that I am SO thankful for. Being an elementary education major and a girl who can’t wait to have children of her own someday, it’s been so awesome to see parents with Christ focused minds like theirs as they raise five children. They do such an incredible job! I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a family with such sincere love for Christ and each other.

We’ve kept pretty busy, often times only getting a few hours of sleep. We’ve shared many laughs (often deriving from the lack of sleep), and shared quite a few tears. We’ve seen God do only things He can do…we are doing some work, but His name is getting all the glory! I am so thankful that He has allowed me to be a part of the work He is doing this summer, because with or with us He is going to work. How awesome that He has given us the opportunity to join Him!!

As I pack my clothes and bags for Guatemala, I know that He is not done yet. I pray for hearts of the team members joining us the next two weeks. I pray that together, we work with our minds focused on the eternal picture. I pray that our hearts will be sensitive to listen to what God is doing in Guatemala. I pray that His spirit will guide us in all that we do, and that we remember our purpose for being there. I pray that hearts in Guatemala will be open to us and most importantly to the love and forgiveness of Christ. I pray that we remember that whether we are in Guatemala, the airport, or at home, that we are ALWAYS witnesses, reflecting Christ…..

“For those who live according to the flesh set their mind on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their mind on things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” –Romans 8:5-6

-Lindsey Clayton