Apr 202015
 

It is actually crazy to think that it has taken me this long to write a Mission Monday on a ministry that is such a huge part of my life. When the thought first crossed my mind the other day I was frustrated with myself that I hadn’t done one yet, but later the very same day I felt like Christ showed me why He hadn’t brought it to mind until now. His timing is perfect, as He constantly shows me and yet I have to constantly remind myself.

Just over one year ago, God placed in the position of being the Executive Director of Alpha Pregnancy Resource Center. Alpha has been serving its community since 1992, offering healthy relationships education, free pregnancy tests, pregnancy options information, parenting education & support, and post abortion help. As I prepared for last year’s annual fundraising banquet, which was themed around the history of Alpha, I was in awe of all Christ has accomplished through this ministry since the very beginning. It is an amazing ministry, and it is humbling to step back and see that He placed me here “for such a time as this”.

While I was previously aware of Alpha through my church, I had mentally boxed in what the ministry did in a small, neat package. But it is so much more than I could have ever realized without experiencing it firsthand. Even writing that statement brings tears to my eyes. I have seen how whether someone believes in Alpha’s ministry or is against Alpha’s ministry, it is easy to box in what we do. We try to encompass it all by saying “We not only serve and care for those that come in for pregnancy options information, but we continue to serve and care for them as they continue through their pregnancy and parent their child. It is important to us that we not only speak life in regards to the baby she is carrying, but also to the mother as we foster hope and support her.”

So what does this mean? It means that every person who walks through our doors, or calls on the phone, is viewed as priceless and we want to serve them as Christ would. Christ saw each person as an individual, unique and beautiful. He served and ministered to people on a personal level, he didn’t categorize people and lump them all together. He truly saw each person for who they are, and treated them as the priceless gem that they are (whether they realized they were priceless or not).

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?”  (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?  Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.  Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people,  “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”  John 4:7-29 (NIV)

So yes, while it is easy to list the services that Alpha offers (as I did above) and try to put the ministry in a neat, little box, it is so much more than that. I wish I could even vaguely list some of the things I have seen Christ accomplish through Alpha, but truthfully in such a small community the chances are too great that part of the story (even vaguely) could point to a specific client and we love our clients too greatly to risk that. What I can tell you is that I have lost count of the number of times that after a client leaves my eyes fill with tears and I am thanking God for how He is working in that client’s life and thanking Him that He allows us to be a part of that.

There is not a short supply of those that do not believe in what Alpha does, and recently it seems Christ has been showing me more and more of the firestorm against ministries such as Alpha. I knew that Alpha is not one of those ministries where a majority of people, Christians or not, agree that it is a great outreach and much needed. Instead, there is a defining line when it comes to the sanctity of human life and therefore there are those that vehemently believe that what we do is wrong. It is not difficult to come across biased blogs and articles about pregnancy centers in general, and see the comments of hatred that not only attack pregnancy centers, but also personally attack those of us involved in the work. Sometimes I have a hard time understanding it, but then I have to remind myself that it goes back to not being able to truly see what we do and that they also have mentally placed what we do in a tiny box and they have decided that it is evil. And honestly I don’t believe there is any point to commenting the truth, because until someone is willing to take a step back and be open to researching it for themselves from a neutral perspective then they are not going to hear anything that goes against what they have chosen to believe as truth. While it is difficult to read the comments and articles, it is a good reminder that this is a spiritual battle.

The tiny box that those who are against ministries like Alpha have placed us in is one of being an agenda-driven, pro-life manipulator and the service that they have an issue with is providing pregnancy options information. The truth is, whether you agree that it should be or not, abortion is as much of a legal option as adoption and parenting. That means that every pregnant woman that walks through our doors has three options- abortion, adoption, and parenting, none of which are easy. The truth, that those who oppose pregnancy centers do not see, is that we recognize that she has three options and that she still has three options when she leaves. She is going to choose one of the three options, and she is going to choose the one that she feels is best in her opinion. Right or wrong, we make decisions from our limited point of view at the time. It is easy to look back and think that we should have handled a particular situation differently, and often we can regret decisions we make. I can’t tell you the number of times I have read or been told that those on the opposing side do not want to talk about all three options, they want to talk about abortion which makes sense from the standpoint that is the only service of the three that they offer.  But women are smart and there is no reason why they should not be encouraged to take a step back from the crisis they are in, examine their lives outside of just this moment in time, look at all of the facts, and make an educated decision. That is what we help each woman to do with offering pregnancy options information. This life or death decision is too important to not offer each woman all of the facts. She can still choose any one of the three options legally, but it will be a decision that she didn’t take lightly and will know all of the potential risks. I understand that both sides of the abortion issue see the “facts” differently and disagree on what is true, but I pray that those against pregnancy centers will begin to see us by our love. It is out of love for each client that walks through the door that we offer help and education before they are in the situation of having an unplanned pregnancy. Out of love that we want to help each individual client take a step back and look at the big picture of her life and situation and make an educated decision taking into account all of the facts and risks. Out of love that we stand by her through her pregnancy and through parenting with education and support. And out of love that we offer support and help to heal if she chooses abortion and finds that she regrets that decision and is hurting.

You see, “pro-life” isn’t about being against abortion. It is about being for love. It translates into how we view every facet of life. From serving as a foster parent, to orphan care, to adoption. From how we view and treat someone who is homeless to how we view and treat a troubled teenager or someone society views as inferior. From speaking life to someone contemplating suicide to fostering hope in a hurting child. It is being for someone, not against something. It is about seeing every person, no matter how small or vulnerable, how Jesus sees them. Priceless, deserving of love, and worthy of His death on the cross.

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NIV)

“Babies aren’t constructed in the womb like a Chevy on an assembly line.  They develop more like a Polaroid picture.  Indeed, until a Chevy gets all the parts attached, it’s really not a car and can easily be scrapped to make something else.  However, like a developing Polaroid picture whose image is hidden for a time, a baby has all of its humanity at conception even though you can’t see it until it’s fully developed.” -Roland Warren

Christmas Mission Trip

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Oct 202013
 

I’m still here. I apologize that I have neglected blogging lately. I wanted to update you on one of the reasons I have been too busy to blog.

I am leading a mission team to Nicaragua in early December as a Christmas mission trip. We will be visiting a Center of Protection for girls that have been subject to abuse. The team will be doing activities with these girls throughout the week, and we will also be throwing a Christmas party for them! We are very excited to be sharing part of the Christmas season with these girls.

First, and foremost, you can pray for the team in the following ways: 1. That God will prepare each team member and also each child and adult to whom we will be spiritually ministering to during our visit.  2. That God will provide financially for our trip. Each team member needs to raise $1,500. That is quite a challenge! 3. That God will bless our journey, keep us safe, and move powerfully through our team as we minister His love, compassion, and grace in Nicaragua.

Secondly, you can be involved by seeking God’s direction in helping us financially. Would you consider supporting me with a financial donation of $10, $20, $50, or more? I have a donate link on my missions page, or you can mail any gift to Lakeside Community Church, c/o Tina Williams, PO Box 386, North Waterboro, ME 04061. Please make checks payable to Lakeside Community Church.

 

Thank you so much and I look forward to sharing all that God accomplished during this time!

Jun 102013
 

Last week I was excited to share with you an opportunity to partner or be part of missions in my home state, this week I am excited to share about missionaries in my own, small hometown! The Rosenbauer family will be going to Mophela, South Africa on a long term missions trip to serve at the Lily of the Valley Children’s Village. They will serve approximately 120 children that have been infected, or affected, by HIV/AIDS and specifically they will be house parents to 4-6 children. These children will be able to be in a two parent home, where they will be loved, cared for, and discipled to become leaders in their communities.

The mission of Lily of the Valley Children’s Village is “Sustainable, servant leaders for healthy communities.The vision is to raise leaders who embody patience, kindness, humility, service above self, truth, protection, hope, trust and perseverance. We see these as characteristics to be upheld in any position of leadership, whether that be in the classroom, home or workplace. We seek to raise leaders for every sector of society that will embody these traits and work together for a healthy community.”

I sat down with Michael and Lori Rosenbauer this evening, and met their daughters Eliana and Eden. It was amazing to see their passion for these children and desire to serve them, as well as see pictures and hear the account of their trip to Mophela, South Africa. Their testimony of how God led them to this point is inspiring. The Rosenbauers are currently in the process of raising the financial support needed for their mission trip. You can read more in their latest prayer newsletter update, or you can contact me and I will put them in touch with you, if you would like to hear more about partnering with them.

Meanwhile, you can hear from the Rosenbauers in this video:

May 202013
 

 

 Amani Baby Cottage is located in Jinja, Uganda. It was established in 2003 to provide care for orphaned or abandoned children.

Their website states:

“We can house up to 60 children ages birth to 5 years. Children are referred to us through the local authorities and the social welfare system. Many are orphaned when their parents die due to AIDS, birth complications or other factors. Some are abandoned in the hospital after birth. Others are found abandoned at taxi stops, in latrines, or on the street.

Our goal is that each one of them will find a place with a loving Christian family. To date, a total of 313 children have been cared for in our home. 80 of these have been reunited with their parents or extended family members, 123 have been fostered into new families, and 25 have been transferred to other ministry placements. We do not refuse children in fragile health, thus 23 children have died while in our care.   (stats of Apr 2013).

Amani Baby Cottage employs about forty Ugandan workers to care for our children, and also enjoys the assistance of a number of volunteers from around the world.

We operate under the covering of Total Family Outreach, a non-profit US corporation. Amani Baby Cottage operates by faith in a loving, heavenly Father who has promised to take up the cause of the orphan.”

I highly recommend reading about each of the children that are currently being cared for at Amani Baby Cottage at http://amanibabycottage.org/stories-of-our-children/

Information on how to volunteer can be found at  http://amanibabycottage.org/volunteer/volunteer-faqs/

Information on how to support Amani Baby Cottage financially can be found at  http://amanibabycottage.org/how-to-donate/

 

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27

 

Rural Church Planting

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Apr 252013
 

For those of you who don’t know, I live in Maine. I have lived in Maine my entire life. As in Maine with a statewide population of 1.3 million people (according to the US Chamber of Commerce), as opposed to 1.2 million people in Dallas or 625k in Seattle. Maine, according to a recent survey, is one of the least churched states in the US.

I have a heart for missions. Ironically, my passion for missions developed during my first mission trip to Nicaragua. Even more surprising is the fact that I gained a heart for the lost in Maine while living in Nicaragua for six weeks. I find global missions easier than local missions, but they are equally important.

While I can’t share the details of the story that brought it up, I was told of missiologists focusing only on urban centers for the purpose of church planting. While the details of the story may have allowed for some righteous anger or frustration, the idea of only church planting in urban areas broke my heart.
I understand, that with limited money and resources, it makes sense to focus where there is a greater concentration of people. I really do get that. But this methodology seems to insinuate that those in rural areas are less important, or at the very least do not carry the same urgency to be reached. It feels as though it devalues people, because if everyone is priceless then it doesn’t matter if a location has a million people or a thousand people. A single person hearing the Gospel and turning to Christ is as significant as a church full of people doing the same.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” Psalms 139:13-15
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7
God used a church planter from North Carolina, who relocated to Maine and planted my church, to reach me. While we are all called to missions, I had family trying to reach me and I resisted. I know this wholeheartedly as God used my pastor as a part of my personal testimony. And I am just one person. My church is filled with amazing people with incredible testimonies of God’s grace. His grace is effectual and He will reach His elected regardless of our actions, but to be used in His work and see the way that He weaves our stories together in a beautiful tapestry of our lives is important. I can’t imagine what it would look like if my pastor hadn’t been obedient to Christ calling him to Maine.
If light shines brightest in darkness, why wouldn’t the darkest regions of the country be a focus for domestic missions? What if God plans to use the darkest region of the nation to be a beacon of His light as He cuts through the darkness? What if we miss the opportunity to be used by Christ, because in our limited human logic it made sense to concentrate elsewhere?

New Year’s Resolutions

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Jan 012013
 

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. In the past I have pondered a few and just kind of nonchalantly thought ‘yeah, I’ll do that this year’, but they were never serious goals in which I planned to hold myself accountable. I am going to make a few this year, and here they are:

Seek Christ more & be more obedient. I want to be boldly obedient to Christ, therefore I want to move toward that goal. Bold is tough for me, and this will require leaning into Christ more in this area.

Complete a Bible reading plan. Last year I had begun two Bible reading plans at the start of the year. Then I fell to one. Then I got way behind on the second and gave up. This year my pastor invited my church family to complete a reading plan along with him, so I am going to attempt this again. The reading plan we are doing can be found here: https://www.youversion.com/reading-plans/14-first-steps-reading-plan

Write & blog more. I love to write, but finding the time to do so is not always easy. I love when Christ lays a subject on my heart to write about, and then He teaches me as I write through the topic. In 2012 I completed writing a book and wrote the first draft of a bible study on a topic that is a struggle for me. I plan to complete the bible study and publish both pieces in 2013, although I do not yet know which avenue Christ will lead me down in this area. I plan to set up a blogging schedule and be more intentional about posting regularly.

Be more intentional about missions. I want to be more intentional about being on mission every day for Christ, whether that is locally or travelling to do so. I am in the process of moving toward leading my first mission team to Nicaragua towards the end of 2013.

Reflect Christ’s love in my relationships more. I want to acknowledge the Christ is at the center of every relationship and be more intentional in loving others as Christ does, even when it is messy and hard. I want to rely on Christ more in moments of raw emotion and set aside the personal hurt and instead actively love in spite of it.

Feel free to comment some of your resolutions for the upcoming year.

 Happy New Year! Wishing you many blessings in the upcoming year!

 

The Battle of Reality

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Oct 152012
 

One of the things that I love about short term missions is continually feeling like I am in God’s sanctuary. It is like I feel His presence more, maybe because I am in a heightened state versus being comfortable and complacent. I feel his protection more, maybe because there is more that I am fearful of outside of my comfort zone. Being surrounded by Christ centered people is not my normal, so for everyday to include praying together, encouraging one another, and studying the Bible together is refreshing.

Now it is gearing up to go back to the battles of reality. I am praying for God to have used this time away to strengthen me. I am praying that I remain in a state of relying on Him and not returning to complacency. I am praying that when I no longer am surrounded by biblical encouragement, I will recognize Christ’s encouragement through His Spirit instead of through others. I am praying that my focus will remain on Christ’s priorities, not on the priorities that the world tells me I should have. My identity is in Christ. I am who He says I am and therefore I pray that the approval of others will remain meaningless.

Upon leaving home I took on the battle for my identity and asked Christ to teach me of my identity in Him, now the battle will be clinging to His truth amongst the everyday warfare. As the enemy wields lies, I need to counteract and respond with truth.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,  and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,  and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,  for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:10-20

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:6-10

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:12-17

It is almost time to return home, not in my own strength but in His.

Simplicity

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Oct 052012
 

It seems like I see more clearly here. It’s as if I am able to focus here, like things are so simple. Today I played with a child as they played with a plastic shopping bag with a string tied to the handle, as if it were a kite. Maybe because I am less busy, but I can revel in moments here. Hearing a Twombly little  say “Si, me comprendo” when told something in English. Sitting in a protection center with a child, as they cuddle into my arm. A smile, a laugh, a hug. I’m sure there are little moments, like these, that pass by when I am home, when I have a list of things to accomplish and it feels like time is of the essence. Life is too short to miss moments like these. I do not want to be nearing the end of my time on earth, regretting that I was so overly busy that I missed out on important things in life. I can accomplish a list of tasks by the end of the day, but what good is it if I ignored or passed by someone that needed a hug, a smile, or just to feel that they aren’t invisible. Someone that needed to feel that they matter.

While at the center of protection today, and waiting for the child I had been spending time with to return, I sat down at an empty table. A girl, who appeared to be doing homework, that had been sitting at the next table over got up, picked up her books and moved to my table and continued working on her homework. We never had a conversation, just exchanged smiles, due to the language barrier. I admired her boldness, vulnerability, and transparency that she didn’t want to sit alone. As the first child returned and sat down, another joined us as well and the table was now full. It was humbling to think about how we could not even converse, but they wanted to spend time with me nonetheless. Just being together outweighed the limitations.

So many times at home, I easily give up on things that seem too hard, the limitations too much, or the risk too high. I avoid being vulnerable or transparent. I avoid looking most people in the eye, nevermind exchanging smiles. I am not bold. I complicate and analyze everything. I talk myself out of doing things outside of my comfort zone. My priorities are skewed, and need to be reprioritized. People are always more important, more valuable. Always.

Keep your eyes open

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Sep 302012
 

Sometimes I forget that I am in a third world country. It is easy to have days where you forget between our home being behind a fifteen foot wall, internet access, skype meetings, and social media. Even being driven around, at times I get caught up in what the kids are doing inside the vehicle, or talking and laughing with others. But then I take a walk, and I am completely brought back to reality. The sights, the smells (mostly burning), and the sounds. Seeing what is considered, in America, as dilapidated buildings. Hearing car horns honking (it is a courtesy here to let pedestrians know you are driving near them), and not being able to comprehend most of what anyone says when we walk by. I tend to just shut down, stop looking around and not look anyone in the eye. But I realized this is not because of where I am, but where I come from. We are taught that if you walk in downtown Portland not to make eye contact with anyone, don’t speak to anyone, and keep to yourself. This is the opposite of loving our neighbor and being a light to the world. As Robin and I grabbed a taxi to go pick up dinner, and the taxi (a compact car type) already had two adults in it, my tendency is to not even look at anyone. However as I realized my reaction, and we pulled over to drop them off, I looked back to see an older couple who eagerly waved goodbye and smiled sincerely. In America, if anyone was even willing to share a taxi they almost certainly would not be happy about it. There are areas that are best to stay away from, usually noted by Robin as we walk by, like this afternoon’s “Be careful around here, that is a bar”. Helpful, but alarming as you walk by. At one point Robin asked a police officer if everything was okay with a guy we could hear screaming around the block, to which the reason of drunkenness was given. There are reminders all around of dangerous possibilities, but I need to not shut myself off from the people around me as my own delusional protection. There is a difference between wisely cautious and cowardly doubt.

“Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.  And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,  but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them.  And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea.  But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.  But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.”  Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33

Every Step Forward

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Sep 222012
 

Every once in a while my old self takes over and I think ‘What was I thinking?!’ But then I have to take a deep breath and remind myself why- my life is not mine, it is not for my comfort, it is not for my selfishness.

These periods usually come in response to being out and about and feeling vulnerable. I hate feeling vulnerable, but I also know God has made great strides in my life in this area. However feeling vulnerable also leads to feeling His protection all the more. Last night I went to watch Christian play soccer. I didn’t really think anything of it since usually there are others, I have met, that go and watch. But last night was not one of those nights, which meant I was the only one, of the group I went with, not on the field. When I first realized this fact I was a little anxious but it quickly went away, thanks to Jesus no doubt. I didn’t think about it again until I realized that all of the families that had been sitting around me had left and it was just me and a group of guys that were hovering close by. Looking down the field and realizing that everyone I knew, probably the only ones there who knew English, were at the opposite end of the field just made matters worse. It was a deep breath and pray moment. But it was also a moment of feeling His protection.

Every time I leave our gated home, at some point, I will have an uncomfortable experience of questioning my safety. But my safety is not based on remaining in comfortable, seemingly safe surroundings, my safety is found in Christ. Every time I return home I thank Christ for His protection and keeping us safe, but in reality I am not any safer back home. It is a delusion. I wake up every day, go about my normal routine and everything is familiar which feels safe. It isn’t safety, it’s complacency. Comfort does not lead to happiness, it leads to complacency. I have been in more dangerous situations in Maine than I have been in Nicaragua, yet I do not thank Jesus for His protection upon returning home every day. With one exception, after being present during an armed robbery I lived months at a heightened state of awareness and fear, but the difference was the fear. During that time I was fearful all the time, unless at home, because I was not trusting Jesus. My faith was lacking as faith and fear cannot coexist (except a reverent fear of God).

I am not any safer at home than I am here in Nicaragua, I just have to rely on Christ more here. I don’t have the delusion of comfort, routine and familiar to find refuge in instead. I don’t want to return home and fall into the same complacency, I want to rely on Christ fully no matter where He places me. I am happier and more alive in that state of being. It means focusing on Jesus with every step forward.

“for ‘In Him we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:28a

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:4-7