Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

To me, this verse means that we're supposed to do more than just exist. God didn't create us just to take up space on earth, He wants to use us to make a difference in His kingdom. We have a purpose. 

Whenever I walk into my bedroom at night, and my little sisters are already asleep, I can't see anything, but when I turn on my ipod, it lights up so that I can see enough to know where to walk. In the same way, in a dark world full of sin, we are the light, pointing people on the path to Jesus. If we are Christ-followers, our candles shouldn't be burned out and dark just like those who aren't Christians, and we shouldn't hide our light either. We need to use it for the glory of the One who made us. 

In the verse before that, Jesus calls us the "salt of the earth." Meaning that we're supposed to flavor up everything we do with a little bit of gospel. We're not supposed to be boring and flavorless, Jesus wasn't. He liked to spice things up by doing things that other people didn't necessarily agree with, but He did them because the Father said to.   

We are called to stand out and be different, to make a difference. We're not supposed to be shaped and influenced by the world, but to go out and shape and influence the world. 

So, think about it today. How can you make a difference in your world? What can you do to be the salt and the light?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Village of Hope

I takes a village to raise a child... and it takes HOPE to change a life! 

The other day we went to visit the home of three kids who attend the manna feeding program as well as the school. Two of the kids are deaf, and the other one does not speak Spanish, only Kachiqel, the Mayan language.


 (Estela and Candelaria)

We struggled to carry cement blocks up to the house way on top of the mountain, so that they could have a stove. It was a tough hike, and we slipped and fell in the mud many times while trying to walk up the small, steep, mountain paths. By the time I got to the top I was sore and blistered, and out of breath, and covered in mud. I only had about 2 seconds to feel sorry for myself before I realized I was the lucky one.

Rolando, Candelaria, and Estela make that walk every day, and a lot of times in worse conditions than I do. They live with their dad, who spends most of his time drunk, and their elderly grandmother. They don't have the choice to hop in a car and drive up there when's its raining, they can't even take a shower to get the mud off of them afterwards, because they don't have running water. They bath by sitting in mud room with a pot of boiling water, trying to make the steam clean them.

The things I see in Guatemala never fail to amaze me, but I'm usually left feeling like a wimp. Who am I to complain, when I've got the good life? But even more than that, I have Jesus. So many people do not, and are left hopeless in this cruel world

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Even though sometimes life seems hard, we have hope. Eternal hope.  And we need to bring hope to others, hope in Jesus Christ.

While building them a stove may give them temporary hope, that's not what is important, and that is not what will last, but through this, as we build them a stove, I hope that we are able to help them build a relationship with Christ.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I remember talking to another missionary kid just before we moved here and asking him, "Do you love being a missionary kid?" I remember hearing his response, and being kind of disappointed by it.

"I kind of have a love/hate relationship with it."

Before coming here, I couldn't relate with that at all. I had no idea what he meant. I expected him to say he absolutely loved it, because that's what I wanted to be able to say one day. Now, I know exactly what he means, and I think all MK's feel that way at some point or another.

I think that people who have never lived overseas don't really understand this. They think our lives are fun and that we get to do cool things all of the time, its like a never-ending vacation, but reality is-its usually not like that.
Sometimes, things get hard, and you wonder what in the world you were thinking when you agreed to move here. You miss America, and your friends, and your house, and the food, and everything you used to feel comfortable with. Sometimes you just want to be able to communicate with your new friends, but they speak a different language. Sometimes you want to leave your house without feeling like you have to be super careful because its not always safe, or you just want a hot shower. Sometimes you just want to cry, wondering what has happened to your life...

Then I remember Paul, and all of the hard times he went through as a missionary. "I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Compared to Paul, my hard times look insignificant, but because of everything Paul went through, even more people got to know Jesus, and Paul is one the greatest missionaries ever, and one of the coolest people in the bible (after Jesus of course). Through all of the hard times, God used him for His glory, and I pray that He would do the same with me.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others
cannot keep it from themselves. ~ Sir James Barrie

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

There's a quote that says "hindsight is always twenty-twenty." I didn't realize how true that was until I came here.

Its strange to see the people you used to know so well, change before your eyes. On Facebook, I see my old friends, and how different their life is from mine. I see what my life could have been like. Sometimes it makes me sad, the worldly part of me wants those things. I want to feel comfort, and have fun being a teenager. I want to have the chance to go to prom and to get a car, and have a boyfriend, but other times it makes me feel so grateful that instead, God chose this for my life.

As I watch my friends struggle with who they are in the way they act and talk and dress, I'm glad that I'm not there and around those temptations anymore.

Before I moved here, I started noticing these changes taking place. We were high-schoolers now, not just the innocent kids I met in elementary school, and the temptations around us were a whole lot different. I didn't want to be a part of it. I tried my best to remain strong, to be the light of Jesus and hold true to what I believe, but how do you make someone see, when they refuse to open their eyes?

I felt like I could no longer hold up to the pressure, and it was a really difficult time for me. I feel like God gives all of us a choice, to choose Him, or choose the world. Now, looking back, I'm so glad I chose Him- instead of all of those comfortable thing. Because now...
 I have this