Today was a wonderful day. I started it earlier than I would have liked, but God soon gave me a heart check. I was reminded what a privilege it is to serve the Lord, to be in His house, and be surrounded by His children. I have the honor of serving a Short-term Missions Leadership Team and we are reviewing the trips from this year and reworking the philosophy and structure of this ministry at Village. What a joy it is to search Scripture, pray together, seek God’s guidance, and train up others to support missions or go to the field. I was grumbling initially about getting up early, but soon was excited to serve.
The message this morning was on Mark 1. We looked at Jesus’ baptism and I was overwhelmed with the concept of Christ identifying with sinners like me through that act. (John’s baptism was general a sign of repentance and people would usually confess sins after coming out of the water. Imagine Jesus, the perfect Messiah of the world, identifying Himself with us through those humble means.) We then had a powerful call to action. Our pastors invited anyone who had not been baptized before to do so. Right then and there. On the spot. At the leading of the Holy Spirit. Nine people were baptized during the first service. I was tearing up at the stories and just moved by the Holy Spirit. I was in awe of His work in their lives. In my life. God is a life changer. He is Messiah. He is Savior and healer of the broken. It was one of the most encouraging mornings of worship I have been a part of, yet it made me feel so small. I am part of something larger than I think I ever realized. Ten more people were baptized during the second service and more will be baptized next week. God is moving and working. I am more than stoked to be a part of it!
Last night, right after I got home from a visit with my family, my phone rang. It was my friend Joy whom I haven’t seen in probably seven years. She and I grew up together and my siblings and I share our grandmother with her family. I hadn’t talked with Joy in a long time, but think of her and her family often. She said that her six-year-old daughter, Melanie, had a project to do for Awana and wanted to talk with me. I never expected the conversation that followed, but was encouraged, honored and humbled by it.
Joy said that she had been talking with my grandma and had remembered her saying that I was planning on heading to Alaska as a missionary and when this project came up they immediately thought of me. Joy told me that Melanie supposed to interview a missionary and then she was going to commit to pray for that missionary daily. I was stunned. I had just received my official acceptance and approval from the board on Saturday, and here it is Tuesday night and I have people asking if they can pray for me daily. What a gift from God! I was speechless and in awe of the goodness of God.
Melanie proceeded to ask where I live now, where I am headed, and how I am going to tell people about Jesus once I’m there. We chatted a little about life and it was so good to catch up with Joy again and to talk with Melanie at all. Joy said that when Melanie commits to something she follows through. So as of yesterday, I have my first official prayer team member. I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am. God blesses us in amazing ways and the way He ordains all things is a mystery and I am grateful that it’s His work and not mine!
It’s hard to believe it’s already October! The trees are absolutely gorgeous lining the roads on my way home. They are various shades of fiery reds and oranges with dashes of yellow and green. It’s wonderful to drive home with the sun streaming down on the trees, windows rolled down and music blaring. Fall is a favorite time of year for me, it’s definitely been busy, but I’ve still been enjoying it.
From the Barn Bash Last Year
September (and the beginning of October) was full of all kinds of adventures. Some of the highlights would have to be:
- Steve and Heather’s wedding in North Carolina.
- Playing four square and then turning it into six square in downtown Chicago with college students.
- My nephew, Nicholas’ fourth birthday party. Which even included a scavenger hunt compliments of Grandma.
- Going for long walks and enjoying the beauty of the season while having lengthy times of prayer.
- The annual Barn Bash at a local farm. Complete with pie baking contests, pumpkin painting, hayrides, bonfire, pie eating contest, and square dancing.
- Reffing some high school volleyball games. It reminded me of why I loved playing.
- Long skype chats or phone calls with friends.
- Hearing about the progress of the TLC program from Eric and praying over the program with him. I’m excited to see what God will do with it in the future.
Last year at this time my roommates and I liked to go on long walks or picnics at forest preserves. This is one of my favorite moments from last year.
It’s the small things in life that give me joy and remind me that I am blessed. Happy fall!