Monday, March 23, 2009

The Power of One

This past weekend I attended the NC Missions Conference. Every year I look forward to this conference with great anticipation because it is an amazing time of worship and fellowship with missionaries from NC and all over the world.

Terry Rae, a good friend of ours from South Africa, was the speaker. He has an amazing gift of speaking the truth. His words challeneged and encouraged me to be the one to stand in the gap for Christ in a world that is dry and deceived. Shane and Shane led worship for us. Those guys are incredibly gifted and have the most humble and honest hearts. It was a blessing to spend time with them this weekend and worship together.

Probably my favorite part of the weekend was hearing the stories of the missionaries from around the world. I pretty much want to get on an airplane and go on a world tour now, stopping in each of their countries to be a part of the amazing work God is doing! (seriously).

The theme of the weekend was "The Power of One." It was taken from the story of the little boy who gives his lunch to Jesus. He takes that one lunch and feeds thousands. Through the testimonies that were shared, I learned about the power of one.

One baby found in a dumpster in Johannesburg, South Africa inspired one woman to start an orphange.
One hole in the wall provided refuge for women who would have otherwise abandoned their babies.
One vision from God and one woman's obedience has saved nearly 1,000 babies through the Door of Hope.
One man living comfortably in India heard God's call to go to the poorest, most dangerous state in his country.
One well provided clean drinking water for an entire village. Now over 200 wells have been provided for the people of Bihar, giving them a chance to hear about Jesus, the Living Water.
One poor gypsy man in Ukraine had a vision that all of the gypsies in Ukraine would come to know Christ. The faith of this one man spread and now the KGB listening center has been transformed into a church where hundreds of gypsies gather together to worship.
All of these stories happened because of the One and Only, Jesus.

He is the one who changed my life. It is my prayer and hope that He will use me share his love with others so He can make a difference in their lives as well.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Burst the "Bubble"

How many people do you know who are not Christians?

Tonight at BSU we were talking about how easy it is to find ourselves in a Christian bubble. We surround ourselves with Christians, listen to Christian music, go to Bible studies and campus ministries every night. All of these things are great. But sometimes I get so caught up in doing these Christian activities that I neglect to actually invest in people who are not Christians.

My freshman year of college, I was in 7 different Bible studies. Every single night of the week, I had one or two religious meetings to go to. I soon realized that God did not desire me to spend all of my time with other believers. I was getting fed spiritually but I didn't have time to practice it because I was so busy.

Since I have been in college, I have been blessed with many opportunities to get to know people from many different beliefs and religions. These friendships have challenged me and strengthened my faith. God has broken my heart so many times and urged me to pray fervently for my dear friends. My greatest fear of going to seminary one day is that I will become so comfortable in the Christian environment that I will not interact with people who are not believers.

We should not be of the world, but we are called to be in it. That means that we may need to burst the Christian bubble we are in and show the world what Jesus is all about.


p.s. Got my ticket to Hawaii's official!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Times, they are a changin'

This past week has been full of changes (good ones!). My good friend Erica was married on Saturday and it was such a blessing to be a part of her special day. You can check out Story Photographers to see some beautiful pictures from the wedding. I thought you might also enjoy this "blast from the past" photo from Halloween our freshman year of college! I wanted us to walk down the aisle in our homemade silverwear costumes, but I guess it's better that we opted for the traditional bridesmaids dresses :)

I turned 22 on Tuesday! Usually I'm a little sad that another year has gone by, but for some reason I am really excited about being 22. I guess I just like the number and I feel like this is the age that I will become way more independent and adult-like. Kinda scary in a way, but I think I'm ready for it.

And then comes all the graduation stuff. I ordered my cap and gown the other day and tonight we had the senior dinner. Up until now, graduation has seemed like it was in the distant future, but now it's becoming more and more of a reality. When I walk around campus I just want to savor everything. I want to soak in the campus and meals with sweet friends. I really am excited about the changes that are happening in my life, but with the excitement comes a hint of fear and sadness that this season is nearing its end.

The other day I was visiting with a good friend and we were talking about life and the future and I casually shrugged and said, "You know, change doesn't really bother me. I actually really enjoy change." HA! The moment those words came out of my mouth I suddenly burst into tears totally unexpectedly. Then I couldn't stop laughing because I was thinking "What is going on inside of me?!" I truly do feel confident that the upcoming changes in my life are going to be good. But apparentally there's a part of me that is scared. Maybe that's normal. Even though it's a little scary moving on to the next stage of life, I know that God is in control and I'm so thankful I can rely on Him. I'm praying that as my life changes over the next few months that God will use those times to draw me closer to him than ever before. So I'm waiting in expectation to see where God will lead. Until then, I want to make the most of my last two months in The Creek!

Monday, March 9, 2009

meaningless, meaningless

I just got back from having a heart-to-heart conversation with a dear friend of mine (over a cup of chai tea, of course). I love talking to others and hearing what the Lord is teaching them- I always seem to be challenged and encouraged in my own walk.

We were talking about how as college students, we sometimes feel the pressure to graduate and apply what we've learned by getting a job and making as much money as possible. It's almost like the world has set up for us this cookie cutter idea of what life is supposed to be like. Do anything else and you're just asking for trouble.

I know I'm young and I've never truly had to live on my own and pay my own bills, but to me, money is just not that important. I honestly don't care about being rich or having a big house and fancy clothes. Those things are so temporary and fleeting.

My friend and I discussed Solomon's advice in Ecclesiastes. This guy was really wise and experienced and he was basically writing to tell everyone that everything is meaningless! He says that wisdom, pleasures, toil and advancement are all meaningless. "What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless." Ecclesiastes 2:22-23

I don't want to wake up one day 10 years down the road and realize that my work and efforts have been for a meaningless cause. I'm not certain what type of career I will have one day, but I know that whatever I do, I want it to have eternal significance. I don't want to just work in order to pay the bills. I want to have a purpose. And my purpose in whatever career I have should be simply to share the love of Jesus. Period.

So I'm moving away to Hawaii for a year. It's crazy, exciting and scary all at the same time. Sometimes I feel like a slacker for not getting a "real" job yet. I'm not going to be all. But that's really okay with me. But I know that God has called me...and He is continually calling me, to be His hands and feet and share His love with those around me. For now, it's at Campbell, soon it will be with teenagers in Nashville, TN, and then with international students in Hawaii. God only knows where He will take me after that. It's an exciting ride and sometimes I feel like I'm just hanging on tight with my eyes squeezed shut, never knowing what is around the next corner.

I never want to lose sight of what truly matters: Loving Jesus and sharing His love with others.

Everything meaningless.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Don't get too comfortable

After spending the past few days in San Francisco and having some alone time to reflect, I've discovered something...I don't want to tiptoe through life.

I've had people say to me, "Isn't San Francisco like...really liberal? It's dangerous right? And aren't there tons of gay people?!"

Yes, yes, and...yes.

But does that turn me off? Not a bit. If anything, that makes me want to go more.

Maybe I'm crazy, but the last thing I want to do is live a "safe" life. I could very easily live in a cute little house in the Bible Belt for the rest of my life and never encounter the "dangers" of the world. But is that really what I've been called to do?

I don't think so. There are so many people in the world who are starving for the gospel. Places like San Francisco and New York City and Europe and Raleigh desperately need Jesus. As Christians, I think it's easy to stay in our comfort zone. We think, "Oh, that's too far away," or, "That's way too risky."

Friends, we're called to be risk-takers.

I don't want to miss out on the things that God has in store for me because I want to play it safe. After all, if God is on our side, who can be against us?

Of course some of us are called to live in the Bible Belt, to minister to the quiet suburbs of America. But what if God is calling some of us to go to the "liberal" cities, to the homeless, to the dangerous places, to people who are very different from us. Would we be willing to risk our comfort zone to go?

I can't think of anything more fulfilling than answering God's call, knowing that He is in control and will provide protection and contentment.

So I've decided I'm not going to tiptoe through life. I am going to fix my eyes on Jesus and run with all my might.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Following my passion and looking for open doors

Right now I am at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (GGBTS) in San Francisco, CA! I have about an hour before 24 comes on, so I thought I'd give a little update on my trip.

Nathan and I got here yesterday afternoon and spent the day touring the city. A Malaysian friend of mine who graduated from Campbell now lives in San Fran and offered to pick us up from the airport and show us around. It was so great to see her after 3 years and she and her boyfriend were great hosts for us! They took us to the main spots (Golden Gate bridge, Lombard St., Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, etc.) The last time I was in San Francisco, I was 10, so I felt like I was seeing it for the first time.
(Nate, me and Cheryl on the Golden Gate bridge)
I immediately discovered that I love San Francisco. Mainly because it is so cultural and diverse! When you're walking down the street, you see more Asians than Caucasians! I was somewhat surprised by the beauty of this place. It's been rainy, but it's cleared up enough for us to see how pretty it is. The grass is SO green, and there is a great mix of the mountains and the ocean. I couldn't help but smile as we were walking around downtown because I was so excited.

From the beginning of this trip, I feel like God has ordained my steps and put the right people in my path. On the flight to SFO, I was sitting next to a sweet older woman. I noticed that she was reading a book in Korean, so I immediately began talking to her. She asked what school I was going to visit and I said, "Have you ever heard of Golden Gate seminary?" She kind of chuckled and said, "I graduated from there!" GGBTS is a relatively small school, so I found it pretty neat that of the hundreds of people on the airplane, I would be sitting next to someone who went there! She was so sweet and gave me her contact information and answered a lot of questions I had about the school.

Nate and I spent the whole day today on campus and oh my goodness...I am in love with it! It is located on a hill and the view of the ocean and the city is breathtaking. The whole campus seems to have a common passion for missions, which really excites me. The students and faculty are all super friendly and helpful and I've felt very welcomed here.

It seems like as I travel more, the world seems to get smaller and smaller. The guy who gave us the campus tour is from Hawaii and I found out that he used to be the dorm manager of the dorm that I'm going to be living in next year at the University of Hawaii! Then the admissions counselor told me that she had the exact internship in Hawaii that I am going to have next year. I was able to ask her lots of questions and it was so cool to make that connection with her. And then as I was talking to another girl who works in admissions, I found out that she worked M-Fuge in Nashville, which is where I'll be working this summer. Crazy! I never thought I'd have so many connections with people on the opposite side of the continent! I felt almost like God was using those people to confirm my being here.

I don't know if I will end up going to school here, but I'm definitely interested and will need to pray about it. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated as well!

When we were on our tour this morning, we passed the president of the school, Dr. Iorg, in the hallway and he stopped and talked to us for a while. He was very down to earth and I was really impressed by him. He told us straight up that if you're not passionate about intercultural studies and missions, then Golden Gate can be a very uncomfortable and intimidating place. BUT, if you are interested in those things, then Golden Gate is perfect.

He said something that I think will stick with me for a while. He said a lot of young people come to him and share how concerned they are about figuring out God's will for their lives. His answer to them is always, "Follow your passion, and look for open doors."

Follow your passion, and look for open doors. That was such an encouragement to me. I don't need to have my entire life planned out. If I follow the passions God has placed within me, He will lead me in the right direction.

So I'm not too troubled about deciding which seminary to go to, because I believe God will show me when the time is right. I am so glad I was able to make this trip and it'll be interesting to see where I will end up in a few years :)

Well, Jack Bauer is about to save America again, and you're probably getting tired of reading my ramblings, so I'll sign off now.

Follow your passion and look for open doors!