Friday, July 14, 2017
Monday, April 3, 2017
On one of our grocery runs, we got blasted by rain
right as we stepped out of my car!
Christ's words in Matthew 18 pop into my head and I know the kingdom of God is seen in the humility of children, even my children. I am reminded so often that they provide such a great example to me of faith and teach-ability. Sometimes, my boys are the greatest instructors. I saw some of the characteristics I desire most in their service in the last month and thought I would share them.
Used their skill set
My children are usually extremely helpful. At home, they wash dishes, sweep the floor, fold laundry, set the table, wipe down counters and so much more. This past month, they went many places with me. They went to the grocery store, they went to our house so I could wash linens for the team, and they "lived" at the dorms (at our team's more central project) for three days straight while I prepped the kitchen and the beds for the very first team of the season. Do you know what they did in each of those places? They served in what they already knew how to do. They lugged grocery bags into the kitchen, they pushed a broom around, they folded rags and towels, they wiped down dusty tables and counters, and they even washed dishes (without prompting) the first night after dinner as the tired team retired to their beds. They let God use them in what they already knew how to do. They didn't wait until they were tall enough to operate a huge mop or coordinated enough to prep an entire meal, they used their current skill set to serve.
I turned around to this sweet view! The boy carrying my load!
Asked for help
How difficult is asking for help? It's a pride issue in my life. I see so much of it in our home culture in the States, too. Independence and autonomy are king. Codependency and a need for community are seemingly signs of weakness. But these children?? They have no problem asking for help (sometimes to the bane of my existence! ha!). I tell them in my parenting that "you can't complain about not receiving help of you haven't asked for help!" Every time it tumbles from my mouth, I wince in self rebuke. How often I moan that no one is helping me when I have not requested assistance. When I have asked them to help with a task that was too big (or towels that were too big), they simply asked for instructions, additional help or another task. I want to have the humility of kids. I want the ability to reach out to others and ask for help. I want the ability to reach out to the Lord and say, "I can't do this by myself. Only with you, Christ! HELP ME!"
Didn't do it for their glory
Matthew 6:1-4 says, "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you." Christ knows our sinful human hearts. We want to be praised, assured, and approved. He knows missionaries are no exception (as we too are HUMAN!). And while this is sometimes part of childishness in our offspring, my boys didn't serve their tiny hineys off for their glory. They didn't serve so they could go post it to Facebook or write a blog or run off to their supporters and friends to brag of how much work they put in for these teams to come. They did it because they love Jesus. They want to obey out of gratitude for what they have been gifted. They may sometimes seek my approval or Adam's approval, but we attempt to teach them that their worth is found in Christ and no one else. And that the glory does not fall on them for their good works but on God who used them as His instruments. I want to be more like my children when I grow up! They are the best teachers!
Tim Keller is a pretty good teacher, too!
Second to my children! Ha!
Friday, March 3, 2017
This week, Hershey PCA visited as they always do in February and provided exceptional medical and dental services for many communities. Their presence and service is always an encouragement to our team as well as locals. Below are the photo highlights:
Dr. Paul and translator in a consult
Erin at intake
Not your average dental chair or office
but the same Dr. Wade hard at work
This week was also the first team to visit with Adam and I in our new roles. Adam shared in the last newsletter (albeit a sentence worth of information) that he is the new director of short term teams. (This is a ton of work and as his trusty side-kick, I can say with a bias that he is doing an excellent job.) Unbeknownst to many, I (Michelle) am the new kitchen coordinator. This week, I got my feet wet and only had to plan, purchase, and provide breakfasts and lunches as dinners were in the homes of our teammates. The summer will introduce larger teams and more meals to serve! We are ready to jump in as we love short term teams (read my top ten reasons here)!
Thursday, February 23, 2017
It is not uncommon for missionaries to be quite familiar with saying hello and goodbye. The Lord brings people in and out of our lives frequently and I am afraid transition never gets easier!
We said goodbye to the Spradleys this past week and our team is mourning right now. Jesse and Liz brought an unparalleled vibrance and love for Christ and others to La Ceiba. They served our team and Hondurans well. Isaiah 61 comes to mind as they made beauty from ashes and turned mourning into joy. They worked hard at making the Lord's ministries here thrive and operate with excellence. They helped our team heal and move forward through many hardships and surprises. We had a fun going away party and they will be greatly missed (pray for our boys who are missing their buddy, Hudson).
We also said hello to Raul and Alma Villanueva at the beginning of this month as our team helped them move from Siguatepeque to La Ceiba. Our team has morphed over the past year or so to include 4 Honduran families. This week, we held our biannual planning meeting where we revisit our mission, vision, goals, and objetives and set new goals and objectives. It was a sweet time to be able to see how the Lord has answered very specific prayers and needs for our team. It was also our first big meeting where we operated primarily in Spanish as nearly half of our team are native speakers. This too was a beauty from ashes reminder for me as we see the Lord turn messes into great ministries by the hands and hard work of Hondurans investing in Hondurans. The Lord is uprooting the plants He did not plant and planting oaks of righteousness so that HE is the one receiving the glory!
to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. -Isaiah 61:3
But Jesus replied, "Every plant that My Heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by its roots. -Matthew 15:13
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Saturday, February 4, 2017
It should have been a terrible day. My teammates blew a tire on the highway in pouring rain. I had to work (on a Saturday). Michelle and Jacob are out of town. But it wasn’t a terrible day. It was a marvelous day! Because none of those unfortunate events even put a damper on what they each represent.
The blown tire was on a trailer containing the belongings of the Villanueva family. Raul Villanueva is coming to work in our Bible Institute. His wife, Alma is coming to direct the home for teenage mothers. Another teammate drove out to help bring them the rest of the way. Today is the day the Villanuevas moved across the country and joined our team!
Working on Saturday entailed helping my teammate, Seth lead a theological education class at our local church. It was the very first class of the first course in a series of 15. It was a joy to see and feel the excitement of the students as we start this process that will take around three years. Today is the day 25 church leaders began formal theological education!
Travelling three hours on a bus for an overnight baseball tournament just days after returning from Belgium was not Michelle’s idea of a weekend. But spending an extended amount of time with the other parents, dealing with vulgar opposing coaches, and cheering on each other’s children proved to be a uniting experience. Likewise, the trip allowed Jacob to turn acquaintances into true friends. Today is the day that Michelle fell in love with this team of players, coaches and parents and the day that Jacob REALLY became part of the team!
What a privilege to serve alongside so many wonderful people, to see the Lord at work in our churches and ministries, and to live in community.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
The Villanuevas are Honduran missionaries that will soon be joining our team in La Ceiba. Raul will serve as a professor in the seminary. Alma will serve as director of Puerta de Esperanza, our home for teenage moms and their babies.
About us: The Villanuevas
When God calls a family to serve Him, the family can’t go against His will. Our family was called by God to serve Him and His church and we have obediently been doing so for many years now. We are a family of five. Raul is a retired photographer, now a pastor and professor. Alma is a teacher with a heart for children and women. Oldest son Rick studies Business & Math at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Chris studies International Business & Finances at Unitec in San Pedro Sula. And Jocsan is a senior in high school and currently taking some seminary classes at SEBCAH in Siguatepeque.
What’s exciting about moving to Ceiba?
God opened the doors for us to be part of this team before we even knew about it. We have talked with the brothers at Mission to the World and believe that we share the same vision for God’s ministry. We believe that the bible institute to train pastors and leaders is crucial for the local churches. Puerta de Esperanza touched our hearts as a family, just like the rest of the projects Mission to the World has in Honduras. We believe these projects have a great future and we are excited about growing these ministries for the glory of Christ.