Sunday, December 28, 2008

Words of Wisdom.

"Tis not that I did choose Thee, For Lord, that could not be; This heart would still refuse Thee, Hadst Thou not chosen me... My heart owns none before Thee, For Thy rich grace I thirst; This knowing, if I love Thee, Thou must have loved me first." Josiah Conder


New Thought from The Shack, a great book I can't put down...


"Mack, the world system is what it is. Institutions, systems, ideologies, and all the vain, futile efforts of humanity that go with them are everywhere, and interaction with all of it is unavoidable. But I can give you freedom to overcome any system of power in which you find yourself, be it religious, economic, social, or political. You will grow in the freedom to be inside or outside all kinds of systems and to move freely between and among them. Together, you and I can be in it and not of it." 
"But so many of the people I care about seem to be both in it and of it!" Mack was thinking of his friends, church people who had expressed love to him and his family. He knew they loved Jesus, but were also sold out to religious activity and patriotism. 
"Mack, I love them. and you wrongly judge many of them. For those who are both in it and of it, we must find ways to love and serve them, don't you think?" asked Jesus. "Remember, the people who know me are the ones who are free to live and love without any agenda."
"Is that what it means to be a Christian?" It sounded kind of stupid as Mack said it, but it was how he was trying to sum everything up in his mind.
"Who said anything about being a Christian? I'm not a Christian."
The idea struck Mack as odd and unexpected and he couldn't keep himself from grinning. "No, I suppose you aren't."
They arrived at the door of the workshop. Again Jesus stopped.
"Those who love me come from every system that exists. They were Buddhists or Mormons, Baptists or Muslims, Democrats, Republicans and many who don't vote or are not part of any Sunday morning or religious institutions. I have followers who were murderers and many who were self-righteous. Some are bankers and bookies, Americans and Iraqis, Jews and Palestinians. I have no desire to make them Christian, but I do want to join them in their transformation into sons and daughters of my Papa, into my brothers and sisters, into my Beloved."
"Does that mean," asked Mack, "that all roads will lead to you?"
"Not at all," smiled Jesus as he reached for the door handle to the shop. "Most roads don't lead anywhere. What it does mean is that I will travel any road to find you."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Opinions...

So... short blog but hoping for return posts-your turn to tell me what you think.

1. A kid at my daycare's parents told me they don't do Christmas tree, ornaments, lights, presents, Santa Clause.. nope-no presents. Instead, they wake up and have birthday cake and ice cream with decorations of birthday party to celebrate Jesus's birth. They said our culture has centered and focused everything around us and they won't give their children presents because it's not about them. May be extreme, but... sure gets the point across and she was one of the few kids who knew whose bday is on Christmas.... what do you think?

2. At the candle light service tonight at church, we all took communion. Sitting beside me, my friend said she doesn't believe communion is for everyone. She thinks only those saved in Christ should participate... .opinions?

3. There are so many children in this country and others that are orphaned. Is it selfish to have our own children when so many kids never feel love firsthand. Aren't we called to love?

These are simply just things I've heard lately and wondered what others thought. These are just your opinions and thoughts...I feel we should all form our own spirit led idea on what we ourselves believe. Just thought it would be cool to hear some response.. so please.......

Monday, December 22, 2008

HOME SWEET HOME...

So it's December 22 today and I am finally home. Home... as in Wetumpka, Alabama. However, the past couple of weeks the Lord has shown me an entire new perspective of what the word, "home" really means. Here is what home has looked like over the past couple of weeks. The next few blogs will feature bits and pieces of what I feel makes up home for me. The picture above is of my roommates. Here's a little bit about them because, they're sort of a big deal. The one pictured here with me in red is Katherine Archer. She's in her fifth year at Auburn in grad school for speech therapy. Commonly referred to as Chatty, this girl keeps me laughing. I've really enjoyed getting to know her. She's so inviting and including. She's just one of those people who just make you seem right at home in conversation. Her experience in life offers amazing advice and encouragement for me. She and I will be living in our house next semester. I'm excited to continue to grow in our friendship. The girl in the grey shirt is Katy Crane. This crazy girl is more like a roommate. She lives in the room right across from me. She may have more patience with me then anyone I've ever lived with. She puts up with the loud and unending alarms, continuous banging of doors, blaring music, and of course, just ME. Katy and I have gotten closer due to the fact that we rarely go home. We both stay in Auburn as long as we can. It's been so fun to go deeper in our relationship and see her heart for missions and for people. She just finished at Auburn and now will head to Switzerland or Australia for a semester for discipleship training through YWAM. This is an amazing opportunity for her but really stinks for me. She won't be there next semester at all so... I'm really going to miss her! The last roommate on the end in the pink shirt is Emily Stewart. Emily is a senior at Auburn and closest to my age. She just finished all her classes for Human Development and Family Studies and will study with her class in Italy next semester. Thankfully, she will be in Auburn a few weeks in January before she splits. Emily is more like the older sister for me in Auburn. Our relationship is a pretty deep one. We've had numerous conversations about the Lord and she's been an amazing influence for me this semester. Unfortunately for her, many of our conversations have included complaining, crying, looking back and selfish thoughts from me. I'm so thankful for all the advice and mentoring she's held out to me throughout the semester. All three of these girls are absolutely amazing. Look at them! Could I ask for more beautiful roommates? The semester with them has been pretty drama free with exceptions to our pet rat we like to scare each other with. This rat is so awful looking that it will never fail to result in scream or missed heart beat. The only other thing that can annoy us more is the darn door stopper in the kitchen that sticks out and makes an annoying sound when anyone hits it. We've had some mysterious events occur in the semester including cookies, a/c, dishwasher, bathroom sounds, Ellen, destroyed pumpkins, garbage fines, and other things. Overall, we had an amazing time getting to know one another this semester. I can't thank the Lord enough for such an opportunity to grow and learn from such amazing Christian women in my own house. I feel like I had to grow up a bit and at the same time add a bit of youth to the house :) Thinking of home during this holiday season allows me to miss the three girls that have really, really allowed Auburn to seem more like home for me. It hasn't been easy to adjust to another city but these girls have a lot to do with the home atmosphere that is growing in Auburn. I'm so thankful to them for allowing me to be a part of a great group of people living under one roof. I'm not looking forward to going back to our house and taking down our Christmas tree (we got a real one) and all the ornaments, but I'm definitely looking forward to seeing these girls again soon. I miss them already. They definitely make up a part of my "home" this semester.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

BIGGER PICTURE.

Yesterday, I went to Auburn University's graduation. One of my close friends was graduating so I decided to sit through 2 hours of recognition and rewards. As I sat there with hundreds of graduates before me, my mind was going ninety to nothing in thoughts. One of the most significant things I could think of was this:
Sitting with 2 other graduates of Auburn and knowing some of their adventures, I realized one thing we all have in common. During college, we seem to forget the bigger picture. My two friends beside me, my friend graduating, the hundreds of graduates, and myself have all been in nights of chaos where we let uncertainty overcome reason. Those nights consist of thoughts like these: Will I ever get this paper finished on time? What the heck am I going to do about this test I had no clue about? Should I even go to class? What will my parents think when I bring home another D? How in the world am I supposed to know what major to choose? Will I ever use my major? Will I ever even get a job in the major I chose? Does school really matter? Why does it matter? I hate school. I hate college. I hate work. I hate studying. I hate class. I hate this professor.... you know what I mean. 
In life, these thoughts can be all too familiar as well: What is the point of life? Why do I do good to others and in return get nothing? Why is it so hard for me? What is the meaning of life? Why do I feel so alone? Does anybody love me? Will I ever find a mate? Will I ever get a slow day to just rewind and relax? What am I going to do with my life? Do I really love this person? Why do these people hurt me so much? Why do I look this way? How could anyone love me? So many thoughts that in the situation make life seem so hard and so pointless... right?

All those graduates have surrounded themselves with those endless question-asking nights yet, look where they are now. They are graduating! They are at the day they have been waiting for for four or more years. The day when they will march up to their teacher and receive a long awaited award for their achievements. The day is here and nothing can stop them now! No hard test, no eternal working paper, no horrible professor... they made it! The smiles on each of the graduates reflects the priceless feeling inside of achievement-They have reached their BIGGER PICTURE.

Let's tie life into this-What is our bigger picture? What day will we walk up to the stage and receive an award from our teacher that no insecurity, fear, reason, rejection, misunderstanding, mistake, failure, weakness, embarrassment, sickness, sin, pain, ignorance, abandonment, insignificant, accusing, or bankrupt thoughts can stop us? What is the point of life? What is our bigger picture? 

Louie Giglio told of this at the Passion tour in Atlanta in April-
You are like a match that when lit is on fire for 5 seconds and then is simply just left with a black stick. But, if your fire is tossed into the fire of the Lord, it will be a part of the flame of the Trinity, the flame to Heaven, the flame that impacts the nations, the flame that will burn FOREVER in Heaven.

Jesus told of this Bigger Picture in John 14-
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."

2 Peter 3:8-
"With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."

OUR BIGGER PICTURE:
Eternity. Every day on this Earth we should be comforted in the fact that we have a Savior who loves us so much and gives us the opportunity to be a part of the bigger picture. We have our numbered days to look forward to the day when we meet Jesus Christ face to face. So in Earth, each day we are to know him more-to give Him glory with the days that He has given to us. Any day that is hard, stressful, or meaningless to us is just one day, one part in the bigger picture of eternity. So, just as those graduates were sitting in chairs in the coliseum yesterday, we too will all wait in Heaven. We will march up to the stage where we will see our teacher, Jesus. As we walk up to Him, all the hard times and sufferings will be rewarded in our diploma that reads, "Well done my good and faithful servant." We will get to meet our teacher face to face and live in an eternity free of pain. 

Be Encouraged that we have a BIGGER picture.

Further thoughts- These lyrics by Sara Groves hit perfectly on this:



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER.


So, now that finals are over and no more studying is done-I can study what I really want to study. THE WORD. In Ak's this afternoon and got out my bible and began to read. I'm reading in Matthew right now so I picked up in chapter 11. As Jesus fulfills the Law, he quotes what is written in Malachi. Even though what I'm about to write has nothing to do with what Jesus spoke about in Matthew, I believe that the word is alive and the Lord uses it to speak to me. I read where Jesus fulfills what was written, but then I continued to read. I came across Malachi 3:6 and it completely changed the direction of my day. It is written, "I the LORD do not change." It goes on to say, so you are not destroyed. 

I THE LORD DO NOT CHANGE.

Wow!! How extremely comforting! In a time where most of the people around me face changes in daily life constantly, and I myself have had to adjust to quite the number of changes lately, this verse can knock you down. I have friends that are leaving Auburn for good, friends that are starting to think about leaving USA for good, friends who are dealing with life changes in spiritual walk, and well... who isn't dealing with change? Last night at the Behold the Lamb concert in Birmingham, Bebo Norman said this..."Right in the middle of my inconsistency, I remember that I believe in a God that is SO consistent." It's the same thing with change.. right in the middle of change, I remember that I believe in a God who doesn't change. 

Further Encouragement: 
As I continued reading, the Lord also spoke to me through Isaiah. In Ch. 42 vs. 9, it says, "...and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." Another Wow for me...It's just encouraging for me to remember that all things are from Him. The Lord declares new things in my life. Before they even arrive, he knows! The last verse I will leave you with that could possibly encourage you in a time of change is this... Col. 1:17, "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." THANK GOD.
He goes before us, He goes with us, and He goes after us. My favorite line, IN HIM, ALL things HOLD together. So... if you are dealing with any change, which I believe is tough, be comforted in these verses. Hold on to Him because, He is holding on to you. 

this photo-taken from a friend's camera phone of the sky...no lie.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Britney

Tonight I watched this reality episode on MTV about Britney Spears. It's called, Britney-for the record. It was awesome. It's pretty much her telling her story and giving her fans insight on her life and what she's gone through. I'm definitely a fan because I feel like there's no better candidate for grace. Here's some of her words that I identified with...

"It's weird-like you can see the world, the coolest part of the world. The coolest part, but then on the other side you see the most beautiful part. You go from one extreme to the other and they're both worth it because you wouldn't see one without the other. And that cool part is real cool, but that heaven is heaven. So, it's like I've been to both places."

I realize some of you think that's confusing and terrible sense making... but I get her. I think she's amazing for still sticking with things. So, I'm adding in the lyrics from a Bebo Norman song called Britney. They wrote this song about Britney Spears and I think it's amazing.

Britney im sorry for the lies we told
we took you into our arms and then left you cold
britney im sorry for this cruel cruel world
we sell the beauty but destroy the girl
britney im sorry for your broken heart
we stood aside and watched you fall apart
im sorry we told you fame would fill you up
and money moves the man so drink the cup
i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back you never see it coming back
i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back but i can see it coming back for you
yes coming back for you
britney im sorry for the stones we throw
we tear you down just so we can watch the show
britney im sorry for the words we say
we point the finger as you fall from grace
i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back
you never see it coming back and
i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back but i can see it coming back for you
yeah, its coming back for you, yeah, its coming back for you,
yeah, its coming back for you,
yeah britney i do believe that love has come
here for the broken here for the ones like us
i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back
you never see it coming back
and i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back
but i can see it coming back
i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back
you never see it coming back
i can see it coming back for you
its coming back for you... yeah

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pregnant With Jesus!?!


I have traveled many moonless nights,
Cold and weary with a babe inside,
And i wonder what I've done.
Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now to carry your son.
I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load i bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must i walk this path alone?
Be with me now. Be with me now.
Breath of heaven, Hold me together,
Be forever near me, Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven, Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness, For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
Do you wonder as you watch my face,
If a wiser one should have had my place,
But i offer all i am
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong. Help me be. Help me.
Breath of heaven, Hold me together,
Be forever near me, Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven, Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness, For you are holy.
Breath of heaven, Hold me together,
Be forever near me, Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven, Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness, For you are holy.
Breath of heaven. Breath of heaven. Breath of heaven.
** So this may be cheesy and I may loose some of you on this...
However, these all too familiar lyrics to the Christmas song, Breath of heaven, really struck me today. As I listened in the Christmas spirit on the way to class this morning I really grew intrigued of Mary's thoughts. Of course, I am not trying to take any credit here because as you all know, I did not birth Jesus Christ. However, how similar are we to Mary. I mean, lately I've been thinking about being saved. Before I met Jesus in a personal relationship, I knew of him. I was biblically educated, but I didn't live the lifestyle. I can remember feeling so helpless at times and wishing I could have this amazing joy that other Christians had, but I just didn't know Jesus. I knew OF Him, but I didn't know him personally. As I look back now on many of my friends and classmates, I see them in destruction and it hurts me because what did I do different? Why am I on this side of the realm now? Did I just respond to His calling in my life? Why did He choose me to live out his glory? There are plenty of good people in life that don't know the Lord but if they did, I feel they would represent the gospel far better than I do. So, this is why I wrote these lyrics...
Aren't we all kind of pregnant with Jesus? OK... NO! haha.. but like Mary, we all carry Him around. Everywhere we go, everything we do, all we say... He is IN us, dwelling inside of us...(1 Cor. 6:19-20). Why? Why has He chosen us to carry His son? Why ME? We carry the light of Jesus in a world that is SO COLD AS STONE. This Earth is so dark, and life without Jesus... darker. So, like Mary, we must cry out to Him to sustain us. Help us in EVERYTHING. I love how these lyrics say..."Lighten my darkness." Jesus is LIGHT!!! What did the wise men follow? He is the LIGHT for the Gentiles. 1 John says in Him is life and that life is the LIGHT of men. We can't deny it! Also, I love the words, "Hold me together.." How many times in this holiday season is this our prayer? Things get crazy, life gets crazy... He hold us together in the palm of His hand! The second verse is why I said all those things about myself earlier. Sometimes, the enemy can lead me to believe that I am a failure, a miserable sinner, and unacceptable. I have thought.. Lord, have you ever regretted calling my name? Someone else could do so much better as I continue to fail you...This is when we cry out to Him for strength, protection, guidance. Times when we depend on Him draw us closer to him... that's what it's all about-our relationship with Him! He made us to love Him and to have a relationship with Him.
The last thing is this... I want to spend the rest of my life knowing Him and loving others. If that's in this country or 11 ( :-D ), this is what I want to do. Everything I have has been given to me by the Lord, my response is to give it back. I want to be used by Him to draw glory to His name. I want others to know, feel, hear, see and trust in the One who saved me. "I offer all I am for the mercy of your plan."
Read over the lyrics again... start celebrating the life of Jesus today!
Jesus, pour over me your holiness- for YOU ARE HOLY.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I can't live without you.

You found me here I’m barely breathing
You picked me up but I’m still wanting more
You’re the ocean deep I’m in up to my knees
Wanting desperately to drown
You’re the one bright part of my languid heart
You’re the love I cannot live without
I cannot live without


Please hold me close I can’t stop shaking
It’s not for fear my walls are breaking down
You’re the ocean deep I'm in up to my knees

Wanting desperately to drown
You're the one bright part of my languid heart
You're the love I cannot live without
I cannot live without you

I cannot live without you

You hold on.. hold on
Can you hold on to me?
Because you’ve held everything… yeah

I can’t live without you
I can’t live without you.

Friday, November 14, 2008

O Oprah...

WORDS FROM OPRAH

"There are many paths to what you call God...if it brings her to the same point it brings you, it doesn't matter if she calls it God along the way or not. There couldn't possibly be just one way. What about Jesus? There couldn't possibly be (one way) with the millions of people in the world.""I was able to open my mind about the absolute indescribable hugeness of that what we call God. I took God out of the box because I grew up in the Baptist church and there were rules, belief system and doctrines and I happen to be sitting in church in my late 20's where you have to get there at 8 AM or you couldn't get a seat. A very charismatic minister and everybody was into the sermon and this great minister was preaching about how great God was and how omniscient and omnipresent and God is everything and then he said the Lord Thy God is a jealous God and I was caught up in the rapture of that moment until he said jealous. And something struck me, and I was like 27 or 28 and I was thinking, God is all omnipresent and God is also jealous? Jealous? God is jealous of me? And something about that didn't feel right in my spirit because I believe that God is love and is in all things and so that's when the search of searching more than doctrine started to stir within me...""Man made God in his own image-the eternal, infinite and unnameable was reduced to a mental idol that you had to believe in and worship as my God or our God. God is a feeling experience not a believing experience. Religion is a believing experience. If God for you is still about a belief than it's not truly God."

WORDS FROM TRUTH"

"I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols." (Isa. 42:8)"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise YOUR FATHER IN HEAVEN." (Matt. 5:16)Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." (John 14:6)Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness...So God created man in HIS OWN image, in the IMAGE OF GOD he created HIM; male and female he created them." (Gen. 1:26-27)"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me." (John 14:1)** "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who SUPPRESS the TRUTH by their wickedness...They exchanged the TRUTH of God for a LIE, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is FOREVER praised. Amen... Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them." (Rom. 1:18-31)

JEALOUS GOD???

God is not jealous OF you, He is jealous FOR you! God plainly demonstrated this to me at work. We were out playing on the play ground with another class. Yes, me and another teacher and our 3 year olds. One of my sweet girls fell off the slide and was hurt and began to weep loudly. I saw this occur and my heart felt compassion for my little child. As she ran to me in tears, I embraced her in my arms. As I was comforting her, I looked up and the other teacher was looking at us. I thought to myself, I am so glad she ran to me! I am her teacher who spends time with her in and out of days, I love her and show her love, and I have taught her that I care for her. Of course I would want her to run to me and not the other teacher. She is my student. This is not out of anger, jealous of the other teacher, or selfish concern but because she is mine and I know what is best for her. This is how God is with us. When we turn our eyes to other objects or ideas, he is burdened because he created us, taught us how to love, and died for us.... why wouldn't he be jealous FOR us?!

The Teachings of Eckhart Tolle:

-Who you are requires no belief-Heaven is not a location but refers to the inner realm of consciousness-the man on the cross is an archetypal image. He is every man and every woman.-My mind is part of God's. I am very holy.-My holiness is my salvation-My salvation comes from me.-Let me remember that there is no sin-The only message of crucifixion is that you can overcome the cross.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

hOsPiTaLiZeD


So, in the many hours that I've spent in the hospital visiting this weekend, I've had some thoughts:
-Why do we have a hospital if we don't believe in the power of healing that is ultimately from the Lord?
-Would medicine work without Jesus? I mean think about it, some meds work for some people-some for others. It is the same thing with surgery. I am going to go out on a limb and say that there is NO medication that has fully worked 100% of the time. Why not? Is there a higher power in control... or just coincidence?
-Does God sometimes put people in the hospital so he can have communication with his children? Seems that we pray without ceasing especially when we have loved ones in serious health conditions... maybe it's His way of drawing us to communicate with him.
-Why do we wait until someone is sick and dying to go pay a visit, send a call, or give a small gift?
-What is it about a hospital that similarizes a church building? Everyone there feels like family. Esp the ones who you see each visit that have loved ones laying in rooms right next to your loved ones. All the sudden, you get to know people and hear their lives. It's almost like it's his way of drawing us to community like we should do anyways.
-What about the impact just visitors do? Just because I am laying in a hospital bed and one of my saved friends is praying her heart out, one of my unsaved or struggling friends is inspired to know the Lord more or seek him more affectionately? Seems our impacts are usually not as heavy?
-When my grandfather in his 80's is getting fed by his adult children, he all the sudden resembles identically a newborn baby=completely helpless on his own. Hm... funny how life works? What about our Spiritual life? Isn't that how we would be (completely helpless and bonded to sin) without our Savior?
-The first words a man says when being asleep for 8 days, when he comes to consciousness is Jesus Christ. hm... What other name is worthy to be said?
-Life is so precious... why do we need hard times to remind us of them? Sometimes, it's too late.
James 5:14-15 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to PRAY over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. [15] And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.
Notice: It’s the “prayer offered in faith” that works. Not just wishful prayers for healing, but the prayer of faith.
Matthew 8:16-17 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and HEALED ALL the sick. [17] This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “HE took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.”
Mark 1:40-41 A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” [41] Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I AM WILLING,” he said. “Be clean!”
Mark 16:17-18 And these signs will accompany those WHO BELIEVE: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in tongues; [18] they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Acts 3:2, 6, 16 Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.... [6] Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but WHAT I HAVE I GIVE YOU. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” ...[16] BY FAITH IN THE NAME OF JESUS, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this COMPLETE healing to him, as you can all see.
Ephesians 6:18 (New American Standard Bible)
18With all (
A)prayer and petition (B)pray at all times (C)in the Spirit, and with this in view, (D)be on the alert with all (E)perseverance and (F)petition for all the saints,
1 Thessalonians 5:17 (New American Standard Bible)
17(
A)pray without ceasing;



Earlier in the week, I was holding an infant at work. I had been reading about the Creation in Genesis and how God made Adam and then breathed life into him. So, I imagined this baby I was holding just as it is. All God did to create man was breathe life into him. WOW. Just one single breath. When I saw my mother spoon feeding my Grandbuddy this weekend, he resembled this newborn baby. As a baby we are completely helpless and dependent on others. However, at 80 we could end up the same way? Hm...
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."


One last thought from friend of mine... In this hospital, I would love to be a witness in my final hour as I lay on a bed. Many doctors have hardened their hearts so they can better fulfill their duties. So, what if God uses a dying individual in the hospital to reach out to these doctors/nurses. I mean, who is really dead and hospitalized to sin?

HOSPITALS- sure make you think.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I WANT A CANDY BAR!

Many of you have been asking/following the update with my Grandbuddy so I FINALLY have some amazing news!! He is ALIVE and doing well. He is off the ventilator and the tubes but still is under some pretty serious circumstances. Everyday he is doing better! The man doesn't even realize how close he was this time. Last night, I finally got to go back in the ICU and see him. This is the first time he's been able to see or communicate with anyone. For his first introduction back to society, me, Brantley, Ann Morgan, Blair, Mom, and Aunt Jo were all there to welcome him back. My cousins and I just sat and talked to him as he whispered four words. Even though it took 20 min each for us to understand him, his words were as follows: Jesus Christ, prayer, home, and hungry. Yup.. He's doing just fine. We all sat and loved on him for the 30 minutes of visiting time we had. Then, we all went to dinner. It's fun to have family in town from Auburn, Clemson, and Mississippi.
Today, we went to see him at the 10 O'clock visit. He looks so much better already. Today he was talking a bit more. Even though he tried to convince us he is dying, we calmed him down and tried to make him realize the worst part is over and it's not his time to go. It was truly the Lord's plan to have him be at the hospital when he went down. He told us the nurse just fed him his last meal. After laughing and telling him that was his FIRST meal, he then started asking for a candy bar. haha!! We have no clue where this came from- ha. He wanted Mom to read some cards to him and then he had Blair, me and Ann Morgan pray over him. He really is doing well and we are so excited for him! The Lord is real. The Lord is powerful. The Lord is healing. We are seeing that today. Prayers are still appreciated and soon, Grandbuddy will be back in action. Life is precious- Don't take it for granted.
In Peace,
Brandy

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For My Grandbuddy.

The Sunday after my birthday, I went to Montgomery to spend some time with my family. I drove over to see Grandbuddy because it had been awhile since I'd seen him. When I first sat down with him to talk, he was asking about my summer and my time in Hong Kong. These general questions led to talking about my decision of school and the transfer to Auburn. Due to the heartbreak I felt he may have for my unpredicted quitting of volleyball, I was hesitant to this subject. However, he suprised me with his support and his encouragement to continue to do what I feel led by the Lord. Some humor aroused in our conversation when we got onto the subject of politics. For anyone who has spoken to Grandbuddy on this election, you know he is completely against OBama. He asked me how in Auburn, Christian students could vote for the anti-Christ. Even though I knew he was being slightly dramatic on this, we cleared it up with the conclusion in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I told him that even if Obama is the anti-Christ, then so be it! For those of us who know the Lord, that means our long awaited face to face introduction to our Savior is one day closer!! Keep in mind, this is Grandbuddy I'm talking to, so politics are a bit of an exaggeration.

This political conclusion opened up the next subject. Grandbuddy wanted to ask me about my Jewish family. He is very interested in mine and Blair's hearts for missions, so he rightly questioned the salvation for the Jews. He was only curious to my opinion. My Grandbuddy truly loves my Nana and Pop. Let me stop here and say something. I am so extremely thankful for all four of my grandparents. It is so uplifting to see their relationship as friends and the love they share. In fact, my Nana used to call Grandbuddy her date because he would pick her up and drive her to my athletic events in high school when my Pop had to work! (Nana is my mom's mother and Grandbuddy is my dad's father haha). I honestly value this quality of a genuine heart that all my grandparents display.
Anyways, Grandbuddy goes on to tell me his knowledge of Abraham and the chosen people in the Bible. This furthered our biblical conversation where I want to stop and add another humorous story. You never know what will come out of this man's mouth about the bible. Grandbuddy asks me, "Have you ever heard that Satan is the father of all lies?" With my nod, he continued, "Yea, well I think he's my grandfather!" He goes on to say, "I mean, that fish that I caught that was this big," his hands measure about the width of his shoulders, "was really only this big," and shortens the distance to about a few inches of space between his hands. He also explained to me that when he tells women they look good, thinner, and attractive, "They just aren't really that pretty to me at all." Of course, me and the other cousins that have returned home after a semester in college, didn't even get the privilege of the lie. Grandbuddy told us straight up what he thought about our weights. But, his concern was that he does lie, and by that- he meant a numerous amount. I honestly don't think he realizes how funny he really is. I mean, he really has convinced himself that Satan could be his father! :-)
The next part of our conversation again dealt with his humor, but also some truth. In reference to the spiritual gifts in Romans 12:6-8, Grandbuddy asks me, "You know where in the bible, it talks about gifts?" I gently nod for him to Enlighten me with his wisdom. He tells me,"I don't think I got one!" He said his Sunday school class focused on these gifts earlier that day and he was convinced that, "The Good-Lord just didn't give me none of them gifts!" While he is explaining that he can't preach and is not a teacher, and that "None of them healings or tongues can even happen in today's world," I silently praised the Lord that this man wasn't my preacher. He finished however, by telling me that if he has any gift at all, he thinks he has the gift of giving. He expanded his idea with the realization, "I mean I always have given my money away to the church or that St. Jude's place, so I think I'm a giver." Even in this humorous generalization, I started thinking about this, and I believe Grandbuddy is correct. Buddy Brendle is definitely a giver.
What astounds me most about this, is he doesn't even know the depths of his gift the Lord has sent to him. This man gives so much more than money. I have never known a man to support his grandchildren more than my Grandbuddy. Personally for me, he has shown an extreme deal of support in my athletic career. It would be awkward for the old man in the chair not to scream and holler at my ball games. You all know that only God himself would stop Grandbuddy from missing a game. Even though his words were not always affirming, a silent Grandbuddy would be even more strange. And, he isn't just screaming for/at me! I don't know many of my teammates of families of, for that matter, who don't call this man "Grandbuddy." He provided the support of a loving Grandfather to many of us as we grew up. He gives his time, energy, and support to each one of us. A giver- yes, he is!

To sum up this critical meeting I had with my Grandbuddy, I want to end with our conversation about life. "Well Brandy," he said, "I'm getting older and I'm soon to roll over." I quickly interrupted saying, "In that case Grandbuddy, you've been saying that or you've been near to death for ten whole years now..." Turning the conversation back to serious mode, he went on, "No really, I can't seem to think that it is only right to survey my life. I mean, what was my point on Earth, why was I even here, or what did I do significant?" After hearing his explanation to what he thought he had done to this day on Earth, I was really challenged in my own life. None of us are too young to sit down and meditate on this very question. What have I done with my life? Have I made an impact at all on this Earth? Why did God even put me here? And this, is the Point of it all. Every little bit of each of our lives does have a purpose. In fact, Isaiah 43:7 says, "Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." This verse is describing our identity and our purpose. Our sole purpose is to bring glory to our maker by loving the Lord and loving people. Each day, we are challenged to see Him and know Him more. We are to take that very love, that he displayed while hanging on a cross, which is now in each of us, and share it with every human being on the Earth. Grandbuddy, I think you are doing an amazing job. By the love that Jesus Christ has empowered to you, you are using your gifts of giving to share that very love with many others. From children at St. Jude you have never met, people in foreign countries who have been reached due to your financial support to me, Blair, and FBC, to the very individuals who have been coach, cheered on, or influenced by you on athletic grounds. Many of us feel loved by you today. This valuable lifetime we have each been given, matters! Take comfort in the fact that the creator of the universe, sun, moon, emotions, and life in general-loved us enough to send his son to die for us! There is NO greater act of love that can EVER be established. You are so, so incredibly loved! Use that love to impact the world around you. We all need to be loved. No known gift is required for you to do this. All we really have is Jesus, and he's COMPLETELY and SOLELY all we need to make a change in the world today.
See Grandbuddy, even in your gift of giving, you gave me some inspirational advice. The Lord used you this time to preach, teach, and give me some biblical, meaningful, and life-changing words. This is how the Holy Spirit works. God will take what you think is your gift and use it to fulfill all these other gifts. I am so thankful for you and have been touched by this conversation.
General Update on Grandbuddy: Today, Nov. 5- He had surgery to get a pacemaker put in... Surgery went well. Thanks so much for your prayers. Due to his rather clogged lungs, he is still on a ventilator. I think we are just waiting for his lungs are ready to start doing things on their own. I think the big thing now is just praying for those lungs to keep healing. The progress has been good lately! My prayers are centered around his patience and peace as this whole thing starts to aggravate him. I hate not being able to talk to someone I love and to think He can't talk to anyone like he would want to right now just shows me how frustrating this must be for him. Keep him in your prayers... I believe this will eventually all be better and he will be complaining about the government and Auburn/Alabama football in no time :-)
Thanks!





Monday, November 3, 2008

The Voice of A Savior

The Voice of a Savior by Mandisa - lyrics
Some people try to listen to the bottom of a bottle
Some people try to listen to a needle in their arm
Some people try to listen to the money in their pocket
Some people try to listen to another's arms
You and I are not that different
We got a void and we're just trying to fill it up
With something that'll give just a little peace
All we want is a hand to reach to
Open arms that say I love you
We'd give anything to hear
The voice of a Savior
Some people try to find it with blind ambition
Some people try to find it where no one else has gone
Some people try to find it in the crowns of victory
Some people get defeated and lose the strength to carry on
You and I are not that different
We got a void and we're just trying to fill it up
With something that'll give just a little peace
All we want is a hand to reach to
Open arms that say I love you
We'd give anything to hear
The voice of a Savior
The voice of a Savior
Some people try to find it in the shadow of a steeple
Some people try to find it in the back row pew
Some people try to find it in the arms of Jesus
That's where I found it, how about you?
You and I are not that different
We got a void and we're just trying to fill it up
With something that'll give just a little peace
All we want is a hand to reach to
Open arms that say I love you
We'd give anything to hear
The voice of a Savior
The voice of a Savior
We'd give anything to hear
The voice of a Savior
The voice of a Savior
The voice of a Savior

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bamboo Curtain

Good Works and the Gospel

Just before China was taken over by the communists, one communist officer made a revealing statement to a missionary, John Meadows: "You missionaries have been in China for over a hundred years, but you have not won China to your cause. You lament the fact that there are uncounted millions who have never heard the name of your God. Nor do they know anything of your Christianity. But we communists have been in China less than 10 years, and there is not a Chinese who does not know...has not heard the name of Stalin...or something of communism...We have filled China with our doctrine.
"Now let me tell you why you have failed and we have succeeded," the officer continued. "You have tried to win the attention of masses by building churches, missions, mission hospitals, schools and what not. But we communists have printed our message and spread our literature all over China. Someday we will drive you missionaries out of our country, and we will do it by the means of the printed page."

Today of course, John Meadows is out of China. The communists were true to their word. They won China and drove out the missionaries. Indeed, what missionaries failed to do in 100 years, the communists did in 10. One Christian leader said that if the Church had spent as much time on preaching the Gospel as it did on hospitals, orphanages, schools, and rest homes-needful though they were-the Bamboo Curtain would never have existed.

The tragedy of China is being repeated today in other countries. When we allow a mission activity to focus only on the physical needs of man without the correct spiritual balance, we are participating in a program that ultimately will fail.






Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan

Reflection.

Reflection.

So lately, I've been in a time of reflection to see where the Lord has led me in the present day. In church the pastor has just finished a series titled, "Remember." He spent some time in the Old Testament, the book of Joshua Ch. 4. This is the time when Moses gives the leadership of the Israelites trip to the Promise Land over to Joshua. As my pastor taught about the crossing of the Jordan (vs. 19-24) and the provision of the manna and quail (Ex. 16), he showed us how the Lord provides for his people. This provision also reminds me of when the Lord provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice after he was obedient with his son in Genesis 22. This is something I really began to embrace and think about how God is ALWAYS faithful. Looking back on my life it challenges me to think of the times when He has been faithful to me. Looking how far He has brought me today from a life of destruction, darkness, and evil, only begins to describe His faithfulness in my own life.

My pastor went on to teach us about remembering these times when the Lord has been faithful and good. After the Israelites crossed the Jordan River in Joshua 4, Joshua took the 12 stones he had taken from the middle of the river (vs.8-9) and set them up at Gilgal (vs. 20). In verse 21 Joshua tells the Israelites, " In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, 'What do these stones mean?' tell them, 'Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.' For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over." Later on in the chapter in vs. 24 he continues, "He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God." You see, the Israelites set up markers here to remind them of what the Lord had done for them. One marker, in vs.19, was the specific day the Israelites named to signify the days that God provided a way for the "impossible." The key marker in this story is of course, the stones they set up in Gilgal. These stones were a significant way to remember the Lord stopping the waters for them. These stones would be shown to generations of their families so that they too would be reminded of the Lord's faithfulness.

Another story that was shared in church by Pastor Peter from Uganda was the story of Jacob's dream in Genesis 28. After he woke, he placed the stone which he laid on, up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it, naming this place Bethel, meaning "House of God." This was a way for Jacob to set a marker to remember this place where the Lord came to Him. He named it the house of God because He was amazed and magnified God because of His faithfulness. This story also reminded me of when Abraham named the place where he was to sacrifice his son, Isaac, to the Lord. Since the Lord responded to Abraham's obedience, Abraham called that place, The Lord Will Provide (Gen. 22:14).

These passages influenced me to look at my life and see the times the Lord has been faithful to me. Have I spent time remembering what He has done on my behalf? Do I have markers set to remind me daily that the Lord is faithful?

These thoughts overcame me as I sat at the park on my birthday for some time to reflect on the past year of my life. As I was celebrating the beginning of a new year of life, I was also drawn to look back and see where the Lord has brought me from the previous year. I got out all my devotion notes from the past year and began to see what verses, books, and songs had been inspirational to me. I also saw struggles that I have battled over the year. I remembered the time when the Lord brought me to my knees in total surrender in February, when the Lord showed up to me in writing at Passion in April, when I was baptized by the Holy Spirit at church camp in May, the Lord providing for me to go to Hong Kong in the summer, His provision to settle me in Auburn, and His continuing faithfulness to comfort me in these times in Auburn. Looking back to my studies in the different issues I faced and the trials I have overcome, all I can see is the Lord's hand in it all-good and bad times. It just stirs up a humbleness in me to think that He has done so much for me in this year to remain faithful to me. And to think that He has done greater things such as wash, sanctify, and justify me (1 Cor. 6:11) in the name of Jesus!! How great the Father's love for me! But, I am reminded in Phil. 3:12, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." AH I love this!

Think of it like this, the cross and the empty temple are the two final markers the Lord left us with. He wrote His love on our hearts so now, WE are the Markers. We are living stones in a spiritual house. (1 Peter 2:4-6).

So don't forget his goodness and faithfulness that He has shown you. He loves and cares for us so much. He is providing even now, if we don't even see it. The Lord has been so good to you- He even gave His son to watch be crucified so that we could be made right with God by grace through faith. The crime was committed- We are sinners. There had to be a punishment or God would be unfair or unjust. This punishment was Jesus's death on a cross so that you and I could believe in Him and be free from our transgressions so that we may know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead ( Phil.3:10-11). So, rest in that today! Examine your life. See where the Lord has been faithful and praise Him for that. Praise Him for Who He is! Find markers that will never allow you to forget Him! The nail marks in His hands show that He never forgets us! I hope that this will encourage you today.

Brandy


Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Favorites!!





MY FAVORITE THINGS (today) ...

  • my puppy dog-- Riley (Poohbear!)
  • pumpkin seeds
  • carving pumpkins with roomies
  • PUMPKINS AND GOURDS!


















  • HAPPY HALLOWEEN!











Saturday, October 25, 2008

Celebrate Life!

*Celebration*




Friday I got to go to lunch with a new sweet friend who is on staff with GCM, Mary Reading. It was so great to get to know each other and hear about some of her trip to HK. Of course, she was probably annoyed by how much I had to say about it. I can't help that HK is a subject that I could talk about all day long :-). Then I went into work where I was greeted by a huge sign on the wall that read "Happy Birthday Miss Brandy," and all my kids had colored all over it! It was the cutest thing!! It was a GREAT afternoon to hang out with my lil angels. After work, my friend from Tuscaloosa, Anna Walker, came into town. Mom also came up so she took us and some friends to dinner. After dinner we ate the cookie cake mom brought me and I got to celebrate with some close friends. It was great to see mom and I'm so thankful for all she is doing for me right now and how daily encouraging she continues to be in this time.



Saturday, we woke up early to go to the city of Loachapoka. This town holds an annual Syrup Sopping Day. It is a really neat "Santuck" type thing. In this huge field, they set up a country-style outdoor festival with shopping booths, food, and activities. In this town, they grow sugar cane and then make homemade syrup right there in front of you by spinning a huge log type thing that crushes up the cane and pours out the syrup. It's hard to explain such an event. You eat biscuits with homemade syrup and sit around listening to some blue grass music while watching crazy folks square dance and clogging (how embarrassing?) Many of my friends were there and some of them actually participated in this dancing! :-) I saw one of my students there with his family, too.


After a couple of hours at the sop, some friends accompanied me to my new favorite place- THE PUMPKIN PATCH! haha! We walked around for a bit and then bought some pumpkins and some gourds! It was so thrilling for me-I'm a nerd! Finally after lunch, I got the chance to take a break and chill out with Anna.

Me and Anna went to the park because it was so dang pretty outside! The Lord could not have given me a prettier day on my birthday! As Anna slept, I just spent some time reading and reflecting on the year... more to come on the next blog. However, it was the most relaxing time just hanging out in God's creation and meditating on Him. After Anna left Auburn, I took a bath! haha, yes- I still love baths! I just soaked up an amazing afternoon. I was then ready to finish up my day with dinner with my roommate Chatty at her friends house. They made taco salads and cupcakes! I even got a cupcake with a candle in it presented by the birthday song! It was fun to meet Chatty's sweet friends and to fellowship for dinner. After dinner, I ended my day with hanging out at my house with some of my favorites! It was so fun to get to see mal, mary r., and my roommates one more time before the day was over.



Sunday was great at Cornerstone! Two of my small group girls rode with me and the roomies to church! I then drove to Montgomery to see my sissy, Blair! She's in town for a few days so I hung out with her. AFter we ate, she and I just chilled and talked about life at a park. It was such a beautiful day, AGAIN! I went and saw my Grandbuddy who was filled with some crazy opinions about life, religion, and politics- I'm sure you can imagine! Dinner with Mom and B + hang out time with Bec, Trip, trio, and Katie and LeRoy pretty much summed up an amazing weekend! Hope yours was great as well!! I will be writing more soon about my thoughts looking back on this year.. it's been a crazy one!



















Tuesday, October 21, 2008

PUMPKIN PARADISE!

That's right!! Today was full of pumpkins!! This morning, my three year old class at school went to the pumpkin patch! It was absolutely adorable! When we got there, they got to run around in the hay bail maze and play in this trough of corn! It was super fun to watch them run free! Then, we went on a hay ride around the fields. When the hay ride was over, they fed our kids snacks and read them a story. Our anxious little buddies then got to run around the fields and pick a little pumpkin to take home!!
AH! I think I was more excited than the kiddos! I also picked out a big pumpkin for the afternoon activities!! I drove to class, which was cancelled and then went to lunch with some of my small group girls. After work, I went to my group home. Through First Baptist Church, I am doing the "home away from home" program where a family at the church sorta adopts us! Me and three other college students went to the house. They have a ten yr. old girl and a eight yr. old boy! They are precious!! We carved pumpkins (which I ended up forgetting mine at home) and made homemade pizza. It was such a blast. The kids are awesome!! It was just such a fun night! The pumpkins were so cool when we put a candle in them and turned out the lights!! So, to say the least.. I am pumpkined out!!! :-)



Monday, October 20, 2008

BE where you ARE



So with a pretty slow weekend coming to a close, another week of life is underway here in Auburn, Alabama. The weekend consisted of fun quality time with Malorie on Friday night, Mom and Me time on Saturday, and just taking it easy on Sunday after church. Being that all three of my roommates were out of town this weekend, I was the only one at the house. So, many thoughts were able to be conveyed without distraction. Being here and kinda soaking in Auburn, the Lord really put some new things into my heart. As you all know I am preparing to go back to Hong Kong, eventually for more missions, but I am in Auburn right now. I tend to easily forget that, and look ahead too far to appreciate or be useful in the present. As I listen to different speakers and talk with different friends, I continue hearing the Lord speak to me about being where I am. Even though that sounds confusing, I am in Auburn, so I need to BE in Auburn: in thoughts, prayers, and service. My daily prayer is for the Lord to break me for the people here. Even though I feel that Auburn is a great environment that has some amazing potential in loving Jesus, greater things are still to be done here. Even though I am called to another country, God has me here in Auburn right now for a reason. I'm doing a self-study in Esther right now and a verse that has really spoken to me is 4:14, "Who can say but that God has brought you into the palace for just such a time as this?" These words were spoken by Mordechai when Esther questioned his thoughts to confront the King. However, what a verse that can really challenge each of us as well? God's timing is more beautiful than anything I can ever imagine, so I know that He has me in every situation and circumstance for a reason, if not to just be a witness for Him. Even though HK is burdened on my heart, I strongly desire to be used in every aspect I can here in Auburn. "Greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city..."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A New Creation

The title serves as a motto mentioned in 2 Cor. 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" The new has definitly come for me this year. Adjusting back into the states and into Auburn has been pretty difficult. Much of the difficulty at first was due to missing my students and the culture of Hong Kong. Also, I have just had alot of change go on in my life in the past year so I needed this time to catch up. Needless to say, I am now living in Auburn learning more and more each day. It's been fun to reunite with some of my old friends and to make some new ones as well. School is good at Southern Union, and I will start at Auburn in January. I'm working everyday at a childcare development center where I teach 3 year olds! They are so much fun but definitly a challenge! :-) I'm leading a group of freshman through Grace Campus Ministry. We are studying the book by Francis Chan, Crazy Love. I've really enjoyed this book and it has videos online as well!! It's crazy how often I forget how amazing God is and how much He loves me! The statement by Francis, "Gaining a greater view of God to cause a greater response toward him," summarizes my reaction to this book. I'm also reading an awesome awesome book by K.P. Yohannan called, Revolution in World Missions. In the word I am self-studying the book of Esther! So anyways... the newest thing for me is the future. The Lord has really put Hong Kong in my heart and I feel that He is calling me back there. Knowing this, but not having a for sure route back, has been really an intense time of searching. However, I am comforted in the fact that my life here on Earth is only a vapor that will vanish (James 4:13-17), so the future is nothing I should dwell on. I spent to much time trying to figure out all the answers and I was missing the very essence of knowing the Lord each day. Only He has the answers for tomorrow-Why not get to know Him better and then I will see what He has in store for me. With all that said, I am starting to pursue an opportunity to be in Asia for a year. Please be praying that this is something from the Father and not of my own. I am praying that He provides and reveals His vision for me. Until then, my prayer is that I am used for His glory in every minute here in Auburn. I am really enjoying getting to know people here who love the Lord and have the same vision for the universe. In updating you about Hong Kong, the Passion conference was there this past week. www.268blog.com The Grace Campus staff was also there and many of them got to meet some of my friends from this summer! I am sure that God is moving and I can't wait to hear what the team says about the trip when they return on Monday! I am praying that the movement in HK is only getting stronger and the Father is sending more workers out to the Harvest. I fully believe that BIG things are happening in HK and I can't wait to see how the Lord will place me to shine for Him.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Holy..."I'll love you forever. I will never forget You!"

Saturday morning, these words were a constant. We woke up early and the entire Hong Kong English teachers staff loaded buses for the rally. Since the location and the money of this rally was difficult standards for our students to reach, we imagined only a few would come. We sat down in the gym and watched other teachers unite with their students. After making a few jokes about how many people from our school would show, an entire swamp of Pui Ying middle schoolers flooded through the doors. The everlasting line of kids tied my stomach into a knot. The other teachers and I were filled with joy when roughly 75 of our students greeted us with hugs, cheers, laughter, and love. As I hugged each student that arrived, departure really began to set in. I almost lost it emotionally before the rally even began. These kids got up so early and came to see their American friends one last time. They were all smiling and big eyes as they saw each one of us. Regardless of who their teachers are, they love being around all of us. The rally began with some English songs and we danced with the kids. I will tell you about a couple that I am really close to. A girl we call Crazy who is in Mike's class (Mike and I had classrooms next door to eachother so we did lots of activities together on a daily basis so his kids and mine shared teachers almost), and I are really tight. She is so sweet and has a male teacher so she likes to hang on me some. Her English is okay so it is fun to spend time with her. She and another student, Tracy (a very small little one in Liz's class) are the two that I was really attached to at the rally. Tracy is the most hyper, crazy, disobedient, funny, but loving student! Liz has difficulties getting her to behave and since she is wild all the kids love her. She's like the smallest one but everyone likes her because she's so bad. However, she and I have clicked since day one. I guess I can relate to her :-). She always runs up to me, gives me a hug (she fits so perfectly on my chest because she is so tiny). Anyways, they sat by me at the rally and hung all over me. Tracy made fun of all the students who were crying but when I teared up, she would say, "Don't cry... haha you crying.. haha missy... why you cry! Like Miss Christi, you cry~!" haha! I cant say much about the rally until I see you but it was really great. After the rally, out of nowhere, Tracy runs to me and buries her little head in my chest and I feel a waterfall from her eyes. As she cried and cried I couldn't even get her to look up at me. She wouldn't show her face because she didn't want others to see. Seriously, she probably stood there squeezing me for about 20 minutes. Her and Crazy and some other girls I love just continued crying and hugging me. I wanted to go give others hugs and tell them bye but I guess an attachment can prohibit you from going too far. I loved every minute of it though. Those girls are so precious. i literally thought my organization leader was going to have to pull Tracy off me. These kids just never experience love like this. As the leaders were telling us to finish our goodbyes, I began to tear up big time. As I waved goodbye from the doors, I lost it walking to the bus. The thought of possibly never seeing these kids again breaks my heart. What hurts the most, is knowing that some of them don't know truth and may not ever hear about it again. It almost felt like I didn't do my best here because I wanted them to see the TRUE love that I have found. The love I give them is only an example of the love that has been granted to me. I tell them, that is the reason I am in Hong kong. On the bus, we all sat and sobbed. As hard as this was, it was great to see the kids running down the sidewalks as we pulled away. We laughed at the different students because they are so sweet and fun. Upon arrival to the dorms, we had a Hong Kong group meeting to begin the details of departure. Saturday afternoon, we met some of the last years kids again at the Mall. We ate and hung out with them for a long time. I LOVE this group of kids. They are more like my friends though. They are way more mature and their English astonishes me! At the end of the day, they gave me the sweetest gift. They gave me a photo thing carved with their names on the outside and on the inside it has a picture of me and them on the left and it is hand painted and my cartoon is painted on the right along with a sweet message. They each gave me a card that was like a letter. It was so wonderful! When we left these girls, I was ok because I know these are my friends and my hopes to be back again in Hong Kong are relatively high and the chance that I will see them again is as well. After packing for what seemed like years, I slept about three hours into today, Sunday!


We loaded up the buses this morning and headed to the airport. It truly doesn't feel like I'm leaving. It just is so much to set in that I can't quite grasp what has happened or what is going on. All the other groups have flied out but my team was supposed to depart an hour ago. We have been delayed for two hours. I am in the airport looking through photos and gifts, glorifying Him in all that has taken place in the last month of my life. I love this country, these people, this culture, and this experience. I want to see everyone at home but I honestly hope to be back here soon! I will continue as I can but I may be so tired I won't get another chance to write until I am home. Please lift up all my students because many of our kids have been trying to call and text to see us one more time because, "I not ok. I very sad. You have left yet? I can see you again!?" Their tender hearts can't seem to adjust as quick as we expect but He is the king of peace. Love,
Brandy