Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jamaican Culture Recap Pt. 2 of 5

  • Saying, "Ya, mon." This one is true! They said it way more than i thought they would. More than my canadian friends say, "eh." That's for sure.
  • Fast Runners- Also True. I'm not sure everyone is, but they definitely were beating all of us in sprinting contests on sports day and following their runners racing in Kingston in the news!
  • Good Climbers- Also True. I was climbing a tree and it felt kinda like how i pictured Africa in the Lion King (tropicalish)... sitting in a windy swaying tree over looking a field. When Four local kids all started climbing up the tree at the same time and were hanging upside down, by one arm, etc. like monkeys. Once again, this may not be all Jamaicans, but these boys definitely blew me and my American friends out of the water!
  • Laid Back- Also true. From what I could see life was slower because you would run a shop or business out of the home, but it seemed like a lot of people would sit around the shops or by the street during the day and at least not appear too busy. Also, you could smell it and i was told that the ganja(mirijuana) was very popular among the people and what helps run some of the power and economics.
  • Poverty- Fairly true. there were some nice houses and areas, but there were definitely way more simplistic areas and poor housing as you drove throughout the country. It was sad to hear that the kids can often get themselves into more trouble because this puts them in more situations where they might be performing favors or trying to find other ways to get the money needed for a ride, an education, or to provide for their family.
  • Churched- Somewhat True. I've heard of a lot of missions trips going to Jamaica, but it seems that although it one of the leaders of the most churches per capita of people, it seems that a lot of people believe in God, but that a lot of people will not commit to the church or call themselves a "baptized Christian" because they don't want to live a godly life (have multiple girlfriends) or see the church as more religion rules (ie. have to dress a certain way) than a relationship and don't want to be too committed to that falsehood. So there is still a need for cultural and church shifts and outreach.
  • Need Help? Yes. We can't just always be handing people things and the people there are happy with less, but yet there is so much we have to offer these people from labor to resources to loving arms to godly male examples to a pair of shoes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jamaica Recap Pt. 1 of 5

Thank you to all of those who prayed and supported our team to Jamaica this June 20-27!

For those of you who didn't get to go or even know this was going on, I want to break this into 2 or 3 posts to give you an update because there is just too much to share! But i want to start by recapping what we did, the cultural things i saw, and then what God did over the three posts even though this will only scratch the surface.

This was not my first time on a missions trip, but definitely my first time to Jamaica.
We flew into Montego Bay(the top dot) and stayed in Whithouse (the bottom dot) which was about an hour drive through mainly mountains.

If you look at the first picture below you will see that I am not in it. I missed the flight when my passport fell on the floor of the car that dropped me off and then i got stuck in Orlando when i was on standby and didn't make the flight so I arrived two days late. but God is a God of impeccable timing. I don't know exactly the reasons for the mix up, but I had a good time of rest and rejuvenation and was ready to go when i arrived.

There were 21 of us between the 2 teams (11 connected to Faith church and 10 from North Carolina)

I missed the first two days which consisted of visiting the hospital and nursing home and digging an outhouse hole, playing with kids, and leveling a dirt floor the second day. I know that these two days were pretty eye opening for a lot of the group.

The team gave me a group hug when i finally arrived Wednesday evening which was huge to me feeling included even though i was late.
So the first full day after i arrived, was actually our one play day at YS Water Falls where we swam, played on a rope swing, and rode the zipline.

The other days consisted of:
Carrying water to houses without plumbing
and playing with kids and giving them toys.

Also helping out with construction projects where we could and putting up two walls on a one room house.
A Community Sports day with over 700 adults/teens/kids from the community... (yeah purple team)

And we had the privilege of leading a church service where their older pastor had just passed away the previous week. That was fun to help lead the music and share our hearts.

The house we stayed in was a 3 minute walk from the water,
so some of us did try and make sure to get out by the water for some God time and snorkeling in our very limited free time

It was fun to test some new foods like the flesh on the outside of an almond, mango straight from the tree, sugar cane, and chicken foot soup.

Yes, my one guilty pleasure buys was this hat and dreads. I have a feeling it will get its use.

A few of us would go for a run in the morning and Every night we would have a time of worship, debriefing the day, and then share our personal testimonies. There were some huge breakthroughs, God moments, changed lives, and prayers that happened in these night meetings!

God was good. I can't wait to share with you more indepth over the next two posts, but this post is already long enough and we have youth group tonight here, so until tomorrow...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Going to Serve in Jamaica in a few days

I am a part of a team of 11 young adults that are leaving from Lansing, MI to serve over in Whitehouse Jamaica on Monday June 20th for just over a week. This has been a long standing mission's project of Faith Church to support Our Father's House over there. We will meet up with another team from North Carolina when we get over there. It is always exciting to see how God uses willing hands and hearts for Him!
Looking forward to it and appreciate your prayers and look forward to sharing the awesome stories, answers to prayer, and pictures when we get back!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Take Walks and Do the Math

Here are two random observations to make your life better.

Take Walks-
We need to take walks more- I always think this when i walk around Michigan State's campus or think back to my college days. There are so many good talks and down moments that happen while we are walking. That is so key and refreshing.

Do The Math-

When i actually did the math at how much extra i was paying in interest on something rather than paying something upfront it was stupid (ie. paying an extra $5,500 over five years on a $20,000 loan when the interest compounds... that's just crazy ). High School Common sense math would've made me look at that and question adult's sanity, yet sometimes we may be too busy or ignorant to realize this because it is advertised so well

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Trust in God rather than preparation…?

I'm preaching tomorrow and i had this thought as i was preparing on Wednesday.

I was thinking about how much the nervous bug in my stomach would have gone away if i would've just had my outline done another week in advance or studied the passage more or had one more really compelling illustration or analogy... and i felt like my thoughts (or God!) stopped me in my tracks and said.

"What are you trusting in to make this message succeed?"

This was a big slap in the face.
I was trusting in the fact that i was preaching the Word of God and the preparation and creative elements...

but i was FORGETTING The empowerment and leading of God.

preparation/study/application/creativity all matter
but probably not as much as:

Knowing God has given me the spiritual gift of teaching and that i am supposed to use in
Obedience to preach what God has revealed to me. that's most important.

A good analogy is important, but that is not what God would consider most essential. Many MANY successful sermons have been preached straight from the Word without the creativity I so often want to rely on for success.

God grant me the creativity and preparation that is important, but more, MUCH more importantly, grant me your empowerment and obedience to teach what you have called me to, and to equip who you desire(equip church) and have planned for me to equip(good works in advance)

Monday, June 06, 2011

One Encouragement Letter

A core of who i am as a person is an encourager/empowerer.
For years i have wanted to develop a habit where I keep myself accountable to sending out at least one encouragement letter a week because i absolute love to do this but don't always make the time.

This is one of the first times i have been almost completely consistent at following up with this for the past month or two.

It's a battle
God's Got This
How Can I serve?
No Negative
GOD'S Spirit is in me
Prayer for my Family
Let me Encourage You!

Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,”

That is my 20 power minutes on Tuesdays!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Prayer For My Family

I love my family and i don't feel like i could pray or think about them enough. This is my one time outside of when i think about them randomly and pray for them that i set time aside to make sure that i pray specifically for mom/dad/Jen/Brandon/Jaylon/Kylan/new girl/Kelly/Brenton/Riley.

I love my family and love having this time to think about them and lift them up to God.

It's a Battle
God's Got This
How Can I Serve
No Negative
GOD's Spirit is in me
Pray for my family

Saturday, June 04, 2011

GOD'S Spirit lives in me

This has been a new and refreshing thought. I know God lives in me, but i am excited about the God of Peace living and active in me. I really want to understand and ask and see the magnitude of what it really means to see GOD Himself's Spirit in me.

It's a Battle
God's Got This
How Can I Serve?
No Negative
GOD's Spirit Lives in me

Friday, June 03, 2011

No Negative

I also mentioned this recently where i spend a whole week turning every challenge or issue into a positive. I would love to make this a life habit (Phil 4:8/1 Thess 5:18), so i tell myself on a weekly basis to try and live a no negative week.

It's a Battle
God's Got This
How Can I Serve?
With a Servants heart for God there can be No Negatives

Thursday, June 02, 2011

How can I serve?

I wrote a blog recently on this recently.

The best way i think i can add to this world is asking the question:
How can i serve?

This is what Jesus set as the example and epitome of being great: servanthood.

If life is a battle
God's Got This
and I'm Here To Bedazzle then
How can i Serve?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


This was my cheesy yet best analogy of my place and contribution to this world. Bedazzling something helps to beautify and contribute but it doesn't effect or make a phone or computer or whatever function. That is already taken care of. God is the one who makes this world machine run and come out on top. I just have a chance to add his love and bedazzle it up a little! :)

Its A Battle
God's Got This
I'm here to Bedazzle! :)