Friday, July 25, 2014

Somethings happening in Sajcavilla!

Today was a great day in Sajcavilla.  Many children were able to feel the love of a team who loved them through lots of playing and laughing and teaching.  I have watched smile after smile grow across children’s faces as our team has been the hands and feet of Jesus this week.  The responses of the children confirm the authentic love and compassion being shared each day!  For the second year, the Brandywine Grace Church team has been an awesome partner in the field serving alongside the local mission church and our ministry.  In addition this year we have had some dear friends join this team, the Abercrombie family from our church in Birmingham and Jerry Flummer, chairman of our board.  This team has served well and the impact will be felt for many years to come!

Because of the sacrificial serving of so many teams like this one, we are seeing something stirring in Sajcavilla.  After four years of walking faithfully with Iglesia Jeruslan and Pastor Morales, things are starting to happen in Sajcavilla!  At the beginning of the week we were welcomed at the sector three school with news of Marybelle’s healing.  Today we began to discuss the numerous surprise blessings that seem to be popping up in Sajcavilla.  

News of the principal, Gladys, of sector three school giving her heart to Christ was the first news that launched us into a wonderful week.  Then the news of Marybelle’s healing continued the blessings.  Today we were hearing from Pastor Morales that Marybelle shared with him she had prayed to invite Jesus into her heart as her Lord just this week!  And then before the morning was over Pastor Morales was able to share with another teacher, who asked for prayer, how to invite Jesus into her heart.  The news of these decisions in combination with the changes we see in the attitude of the entire school, coupled with the growth that is happening in the local mission church leads me to share with you that God is clearly at work in Sajcavilla!  The Holy Spirit seems to be moving in a way that is transforming lives and setting captives free.  

There are eight women who are leading Bible studies in homes all over the community being discipled by a precious couple from Iglesia Jerusalen, the Romeros.  There are two couples meeting with Pastor Morales on a weekly basis being discipled and mentored into strong faithful leaders in the mission church.  There are over sixty children gathering each week for church under the leadership of our friend Carla from Iglesia Jerusalen.  Plans are being drawn up for building a church / feeding center on newly acquired property for the mission church.  Construction materials are being priced and planning is under way for the first three structures to be built on the property this year if possible.

God is at work in this Mayan community.  He is showing some of you what He is about to do there, so that you can join Him in His work.  Now will you obey and join us as we equip and encourage the church in Guatemala to reach their world and teach the Word!  We are recruiting for the November trip to Guatemala now.  Our hope is that enough people will join us and help raise the necessary funds to begin construction with two small houses and a bathroom as well as a perimeter fence as soon as possible.  Our desire would be to work in Sajcavilla with a large team in November anchored by a medical team to serve the community through the clinic.  in addition it would be so amazing to have enough on the team to accomplish construction projects that week toward the completion of the perimeter fence, houses and bathroom on the property.  In addition we are looking for a ESL team to assist in equipping the teachers at sector three school to continue teaching small amounts of English to the students.  This is an idea that comes out of what they are already doing and is a way to assist in better equipping them to teach, while sharing with them further the love of Christ.  

These opportunities are only the beginning but are essential to the continued relationship in Sajcavilla.  Please take a moment right now and pray for the mission church, the teachers and the members of this community who are being touched by the grace of the Lord through the local church.  Pray for wisdom as we seek to support and encourage the work of the local church through helping build up a permanent base of ministry for the mission church in Sajcavilla.  Pray for the resources to be provided and the workers to go to the field and serve.  Pray for leadership on the ground to continue to grow and become stronger.  Pray God will show you how you can best be involved!  

In His Grip, 

JT Turner   

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Powerful Prayer and Victory In His Name

The day is long past gone and the night has settled in on us with a cool breeze from the mountains.  The heat of the day was a reminder of the warmth of the Son when He is at work all around us.  Today the Lord reminded me of His awesome power to transform and restore lives through prayer.  All of us who call ourselves Christians say we believe prayer works.  We all talk about prayer being the vital link between us and the God of heaven.  We all would recount stories, whether ours or others in our circle of friends, of God answering prayer with miraculous results.

Today I became a witness of the real authentic power of the prayer of a righteous man which brought about an awesome response of God!  In June of this year, just a short six weeks ago, I stood in Sajcavilla with a precious teacher form sector 3 school who was in need of surgery.  Marybelle shared with Pastor Morales, Greg Brown, Jason King and myself her struggles with a pain in her stomach that had been causing pain for quite some time.  The doctors had determined she needed surgery to correct a hernia that had developed high in her stomach and was affecting her breathing, and eating.  She was struggling with a great deal of pain.  She was also worried about the surgery and what would happen afterward.  The concerns of whether she could continue to teach or care for her own children was weighing heavy on her heart.

We gathered around Marybelle and lifted her up before the Lord all together.  Pastor Jason King from Grace Baptist Church in Oxford, AL was with us on this trip and prayed for Marybelle to be healed and the pain to go away whether through surgery or if the Lord wanted to simply remove it!  We all encouraged her and helped clean her classroom after we prayed over her.  She thanked us and went on to prepare for her class.

Pastor Morales visited the school last week, middle of July, to check on teachers and make arrangements for an upcoming visit by our team.  He saw Marybelle at a distance and spoke a greeting to her and she quickly responded with a warm hello and I'm doing fine and then went on quickly to her class.  Today, Marybelle came to Pastor Morales to share with him that she was sorry for not coming to speak with him last week but she had something wonderful to share with him.  She shared that following our visit in June she went to the doctor for the surgery and was sent home!  The doctor said you have no need for surgery, your hernia is completely gone!

As if this miraculous healing was not enough, Matybelle went on to share with Pastor Morales that today she was reading from James 5 and realized it was the prayer of a righteous pastor in June that had been used by God to bring healing in her body!  Amazingly she had been reading from James 5 because in June Pastor Jason King had brought Life Journals he had led his church to have printed in Spanish, which had been given to her by Pastor Morales earlier.  This Life Journal had been a resource she had been using to read the Bible and pray since God had healed her.  God used the passage for today's reading to show her that it was the power of prayer that He used to heal her!

It is sometimes the faithful acts of obedience that leads to the Lord answering prayers and healing lives in miraculous ways.  Yes, miracles still take place!  God is still healing people today!  Today we saw a healed healthy Marybelle full of life and light from the saving power of Jesus Name!  It is through the Name of Jesus that life transforming power impacts the desperate life seeking to trust and have faith.  Marybelle is a living example of His power of prayer and victory in His Name!  Rejoice with us today for the awesome power of the God of glory and His power over sin and sickness!  What an awesome God we serve.  God is good...all the time...all the time...God is good!  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Daily Life and the Daily Disciplines

Years ago I was able to sit and listen to an amazing man of God speak about his life and how difficult it was to learn the simple lessons of faith.  I recall thinking how crazy it was to hear him say these things, after all he was a great man of faith and his life was an example of that truth.  Many years later I read of his struggles early in his faith journey and I began to really relate.  God used those struggles in his life to teach me important lessons about the daily disciplines of life.

Growing up I had an incredible opportunity to me influenced by several older guys in my youth group.  For some reason these guys were willing to let me tag along on several events that later would change my life.  One of those events was a concert that several of my friends were going to and I went along thinking this would be cool.  I knew the artist well and knew it would be an incredible experience.  Little did I know how much his life would impact mine.

I will never forget sitting in the upper level of the Atlanta Civic Center and looking down on the stage to see a single piano with no top on it and a mic stand with a monitor.  That was it!  Nothing else on stage, no band, no big sound system, no special lighting.  Then while we all were still talking to one another in the room a man walked out sat down and began to play.  After a few minutes the room became hushed and the piano was all we heard.  The music coming from that piano was like nothing I had ever heard before.  His ability to play was so incredible that many in the room just stood to their feet in awe of the God-given talent we were all witnessing.  I will never forget being at that first Keith Green concert and truly experiencing God in the midst of the music.

Years later I read of his struggles with his faith journey and recall specifically his struggle at one point with daily time with the Lord.  I know as many of us who seek to follow Him closely find out along the journey it can be rocky at times.  Daily time with the Lord can become a difficult thing to remain focused on and keep consistent.  I recall Keith Green sharing that struggle with a close friend at one point.  It was like his prayers were bouncing off the ceiling, he shared.  Any one ever felt that way?  I know I have.  However, the question from his friend threw me off at first.  Keith's friend asked him about making his bed every day.  At first it seemed like a very silly question until the friend connected the dots.

The daily disciplines of life are the framework upon which we hang the daily disciplines of our faith journey.  These daily disciplines of life will be clear outward indicators of our level of discipline in our faith journey.  This truth has rocked my world more than once in the past thirty plus years of this journey.  You see, if you and I do not develop good daily habits of daily life, we will more than likely not develop good daily habits in our faith journey either.  As I sit here and write these words I am reflecting on the journey and recognizing the times I have struggled and the times I have felt like it was all working well.

Man I am so thankful for the patience of so many people in my life in the past.  I reflect on my journey and realize just how stubborn and arrogant I must have come across as I struggled through some of my years of faith journey and even ministry.  Throughout the past couple of years the daily disciplines of health and exercise have become much more important to us as a family.  Many of you have followed the journey.   I have learned through the mental battles to run and eat right, that the disciplines of faith are even more work and of even greater importance than I understood earlier in my journey.  In fact the journey of running has greatly helped me understand how much more effort I need to invest in the disciplines of this faith journey.

You see, if I do not make my bed every day, then I begin my day with a lazy, unorganized approach to the day the Lord has granted me.  This attitude will affect every other area of my life.  This laziness then spills over into the time I devote or do not devote to the Lord and His Word.  This lack of being in His Word then affects what I am able to hear from Him and how I am able to understand what He desires  for me to do with my time and resources He has gifted me with this day.  This then leads to a lack of organization and management of my time throughout the day which causes me to be wasteful and irresponsible.  The dominoes just keep falling throughout the day.  Eventually it becomes a pattern of behavior that is very hard to break without a swift and strong rebuke from the Lord!

How are your daily disciplines of daily life?  How are your daily disciplines of your faith journey?  Are you seeing the fruit of the Spirit growing in your daily life?  Are you becoming more like Jesus every day?  Do the things that weigh heavy on the heart of God seemed to be weighty subjects of your conversation with Him?

I will be the first to admit I struggle with the daily disciplines of life and faith.  Yet, God has granted me a helper in this journey and I am so thankful for the passion for discipline that my wife has.  I have learned so much from her about the daily journey we are walking together.  I long for the day when the daily disciplines of the faith journey are as natural as making my bed and brushing my teeth!  Today will you join me in seeking to be disciplined and lets all Make Our Beds!

In His Grip,

Monday, July 7, 2014

How Big Is Your Sky?

Every year I spend a few weeks in the southwestern part of the country among first nation people.  This year I was able to serve alongside our partners in Tohatchi, New Mexico for a little over two weeks.  I am overwhelmed frequently with many things in this part of the world as the creativity of the Father is seen daily.

As I watched the sunset a few weeks ago I was reminded of how big the sky is in New Mexico.  If you've ever been to the southwestern deserts you know what I'm talking about.  I could stand in the same spot of the yard of the church and watch the sunrise and the sunset.  The horizon is all that hindered my view of the sky.
Psalm 8 speaks of the glory of God being set in the heavens.  And Psalm 19 reads, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.  They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.  Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world..."

I realize too many times I limit the power of the Lord in my current situation.  My thoughts go directly to the lack of provisions or the things I do not have to accomplish what I think He wants me to do.  The whole time he is trying to get me to look up into the sky and see His work of glory and learn once again to trust His heart and lean on His understanding.

So I am writing a blog post now to confess my limited ability to trust in His plan.  He reminds me over and over again how faithful He is to His plans and His purposes.  I am in need of His wisdom and His understanding in a big way!  I see the needs of the people in Sajcavilla, Guatemala and try to figure out how it is going to work.  I reflect on the poverty of the Navajo people right here in our own country and try to figure out how to maximize the resources we have for the greatest good.  I walk through the rooms at Tabitha House in Guatemala near the dump and look for food and find none.  I then begin to plan ways to help provide food on a regular basis for these children and women in such tough situations.  Then as if it were the explosion of color that happens at sunrise, the Lord rocks my world with his reminder of His glory and His faithfulness.

God has used many people to provide for the work of One Way Ministries through the thirteen years we have been walking this road.  Never once, has He clearly shown us what He wants us to do and not provided.  There have been many times I have questioned how or where it would come from.  Yet, every time the need was great and the provision was more than we could have anticipated God has reminded me of His purposes and His ways are what really matter!

So in my confession of lack of faith I am also going to put it out there that the Lord is guiding us to deepen our commitments in Guatemala and in New Mexico.  This year we still have a big trip to Guatemala we are actively recruiting for in November.  The first week in November (Nov. 1-8) we are in need of doctors, dentists, nurses and many other non-medical team members to provide a four day clinic in Sajcavilla.  We will be doing many other ministry events during the week as well as several training opportunities for the community.  We need you to join us as we pray for the team God desires to be on the ground begins to form now.  We hope to put a team on the ground in New Mexico in October to help encourage teachers and administrators in a local school as well as prepare the church for ministry through the winter months.  Food is a critical aspect of the weekly ministry of the church in New Mexico.  We hope to help them stock their food pantry for the winter as well as prepare for the tough winter with some home repairs and projects around the community.  Join us as we pray for this team to form and begin to gather resources to best serve the church and the community on the Navajo Nation.

I know that many people out there are blessed with more than they need. As we read in Psalm 67, the reason we all have been blessed is for the ways of God and His salvation to be made known among all people and all nations.  Please join us as we seek to serve the local church and encourage our brothers and sisters in some tough areas of the world to make His ways known.  Help us provide for the church through supporting the work in ways that will equip and encourage the church to be the light and salt God has called them to be.  Pray with us for long-term partners who will help us support the ministries of the church in Sajcavilla as they reach their own community with the kindness of God that draws people to repentance.  Pray about how the Father wants to use you in the harvest field now to help the church bring in the harvest!  So, how big is your sky?  Is your sky as big as His?  Can you see His glory revealed before your eyes as you gaze into the heavens?  Is your view of His glory wide enough to be overwhelmed by His greatness and His goodness?  Come on look up into the sky and see His work and His glory all around you!  Join us as we reach the world and teach the Word!