Our missions team got back from our Nicaraguan adventures last Sunday, after an extra day of unscheduled travel (i.e., flight cancellation in Miami). But all is well that ends well, right?
This year’s team was exceptional. They were so open and willing to have God use them that we accomplished much in His name (in just a few short days)! So this week, I just want to share some snippets from the trip! If you follow me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/LoveEchoedBack), I was posting pictures from Nicaragua in real time! If you haven’t seen them yet, feel free to check out those photos as well!
The first stop on our trip was a stay over in Managua. Sometimes we have to stay over in Managua for one night before getting to Puerto Cabezas. However, we were well taken care of by Henry and Elizabeth. They built this beautiful home for the express purpose to house traveling missionaries coming to Nicaragua!
Then we got to Puerto Cabezas and got down to business!
First up, we went to an extension of the Verbo church in a nearby community and took part in a good, old fashion baptism in the river!
Then we helped to build a section of the wall surrounding the complex that houses Pastor Earl’s house, the living quarters for visitors, the orphanage, and the church. No small task! It has been worked on for the last 15 months and is nearing completion. We were blessed to work along side the work crew on this very important safety need!
We spent time at the feeding center and with the kids at the orphanage. So much love, so little time!!!
Feeding Center – feeds over 600 kids a day!
Orphanage kids! -just over 100 kids cared for daily by Verbo Church.
And at night, we would have porch time. The team had some great insights and stories to share.
One night at porch time, we had the privilege of hearing Ricardo’s story. This 17-year-old is answering the call on his life to be a pastor! He is being mentored by Pastor Earl and others.
Of course, we took some time to go to the beach with all the kids at the orphanage! Who could pass that up?
And then, as quick as the week started, it was over! It was my honor to co-leader this great team of people.
We learn as much from these trips as we teach during them! We see God’s fingerprints everywhere. We are honored and humbled by the people we serve there. And we continue the mission in Jesus’ name!!!
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:19-20 NIV
Until next year’s trip, we pray for Verbo Church and the community of Puerto Cabezas!!!
PS: It is never too late to start planning to go with us next year!!! If interested, let me know!
So there I sat, my face in my hands, tears of frustration rolling. Three years ago, if you had told me that I would be working on my second book, holding down a full-time job, caring for my elderly mother, raising a high school senior, and encouraging my husband to make a bold career change, I would have laughed. But the stress and tension of it all was very real when I let myself feel all the emotions I had pent-up inside. What had I gotten myself into, and more importantly, how do I get out of it?
Can you relate? Has your life ever felt like a game of Twister? Pushing you. Twisting you. Challenging you to reach out and touch one more circle (aka responsibility). It can really throw a girl into a self-pity party like no other!
And in the mist of it all, we think about our Christianity and how our faith should be enough for us to take on the world –and we feel worse.
I have been in this situation more times than I like to admit. On the outside, I seem to have it all together. On the inside, there is a lava pit bubbling. Often, friends who know all the things I juggle on a day-to-day basis will ask: “How do you do it all?”
My answer to that is always the same: “I have Jesus.”
Listen, none of us are superheroes. Although some of us can put on a strong front for a while, trust me, we have our moments too! We are all God’s creation, and how we handle the chaos of life is tied to our uniqueness. But let’s look at some ways in which we can all find comfort and feel a little more in control, even when life gets hairy.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
Girlfriend, He’s got this. Don’t think about it. Don’t run through all the scenarios your mind is tempting you to consider. Just BELIEVE it!
I know, some of you are about to quote Matthew 19:26 or Mark 10:27 to me, which states: “…with God all things are possible.” Hey, I love that verse too, and believe it will all I’ve got. But if you really look at the context of the verse, it is focused on salvation –not our everyday responsibilities.
The point is we are all attempting to balance many things in our life. But while we have one thing under control (70%), something else is lacking (30%). Maybe your tasks are at a 60/40 split or a 25/25/50 split. Owning up to the fact that they will never be at a 50/50 split, takes a LOT of pressure off. The key is to do the best that we can at the task at hand and then when we can turn our attention to something else, give that task the attention it deserves. That’s it! That’s all you need to do!
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].
Once you have let the tension out, let it be done! Your family will thank you later.
Feeling better? I hope so! Life is tough some days, but you don’t have to let it defeat you. I challenge you to post this list of reminders everywhere you need to! Let them lift and encourage you in those weary and tired moments.
There it is in a nutshell. My ability to handle the chaos in my life stems from these five truths! I hope you will take this to heart. If you have something to add to the list, go for it! Make it your own, and consider sharing it with the rest of us! Looking forward to seeing you (and me) grow in this area!
How do you handle the chaos of life, and what one thing do you want to start doing in order to handle it better?
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Recently, I did a speaking engagement in which I spoke on the Christian walk. Please hear me, it was meant for all –both you and I. The main premise of the discussion was what occurs on the Christian walk (e.g., family tragedy, job loss, financial problems, addictions) can sometimes have folks wondering, “Does Christianity really work?” Within the topic introduction, I attempted to lay out the crossroads that Christians will reach –resist and turn back or continue on with Jesus.
Here is a little excerpt from that speech:
… let me state the first truth about Christians in general. No matter how long you have been a Christian, you can remain in the very early stages of your faith for a long time, can you not? What I mean by that is we initially have high expectations for dramatic life change. We have mustered up enough courage to let go of our past sins and have experienced the taste of freedom that comes from being saved. But then we realize, we have no earthly idea what we just walked into or what exactly to do next.
The second truth –At that point, one of two things will happen to a majority of us:
1. Some of us will blossom for a while. We’ll dig into our church and our faith, and life is relatively good. We’ll say to ourselves: “This Jesus thing isn’t so hard. I’ve got this.” Then life turns on us, and we stand shell-shocked that our new-found fortune has come to a screeching halt.