Thank you for all your prayers. I made this photo as a prayer that God would help me to stay focused in every moment and enjoy the gift of being here in the Middle East. Less than one week left!
He is faithful to the end. And He’s faithful to my heart. 🙂
Psalm 139:7, 9-10
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand shall lead me,
And your right hand shall hold me.”
Hi friends and family.
Sorry I haven’t written updates for a while. Life has been so busy here! Busy with what? Let me explain. 🙂
I’ve been really thankful for the work I’m getting to do here. It’s not what someone would typically think of “ministry,” not face-to-face, straight up evangelism. But, I know that what I’m doing is furthering the work of ministry here in the Middle East and that makes me joyful. The organization I’m working for plans on reaching out to over 160,000 children, youth, and families in the Middle East between October and May! I’m planning out a strategy for them to accomplish their goal of reaching this many people with God’s word, truth, and love. It’s been fun to be behind the scenes and to support a ministry that truly loves the Lord and loves His people.
I’ve also been connecting with as many churches here as possible! There’s been one church in particular that I’ve visited many times. It’s amazing to hear their testimonies of how they lived their life before they came to Christ and how they’ve been transformed. I’ve been so encouraged by the believer’s hunger to know God deeply here. I haven’t met a single Christian who just accepts their salvation and keeps living; everyone I have met really wants to know God intimately and make him known to others! The passion of the churches here is amazing! Despite being mocked by family and co-workers, despite the threats from different radical groups to destroy the church, despite the insecurity of the country, the believers here choose Christ as their solid rock!
These past few weeks have been a time of the Lord purifying and making me new. We went up to a monastery in the mountains two weeks ago and spent time in solitude seeking God and listening to him. He revealed so many things in me that keep me from him, but at the same time he kept reassuring me that his love is so deep. I’m so thankful the Lord never leaves me in the middle of sin, but he brings me to a place of repentance. And when I repented and pressed in to hear more from God, he told me that he’s been purifying me; he’s made my heart clean and open and now I just need to receive from him. What could be better than that?! I don’t have to work at making myself “better,” Christ makes me a new creation as I worship and love him.
Look up Psalm 92:12
So, I’ve been here for a month and I’ve definitely seen the good, bad, and the ugly. Both with the Middle East and within myself. The Lord keeps reminding me of his truth- the Gospel. The one anchor that frees me from dwelling in the highs or the lows. Today, I am refreshed by his goodness and the generous joy he gives me. I pray you will experience the same!
P.S. Yes, I am still loving the Middle East! 🙂
This view mesmerizes me everyday when I wake up.
Thank you so much to everyone who has been praying for me, our interns, and the ministries we’re working with here in the Middle East! I can feel your covering of prayer.
I wanted to update you all on some new prayer requests.
This week there is an amazing conference going on nearby for Christian leaders in majority Islamic countries. All of the information from the conference is confidential but there have been some amazing testimonies and conversion stories from it. I talked with one of these ministry leaders yesterday, Ammar. He is a youth pastor in an Islamic African country. He is passionate about seeing young people in his war-torn country come to Jesus and spread the Gospel to their friends and family.
Please pray for him and the other pastors who are attending the conference. Pray protection over them and their family. Pray for open and accepting hearts in the villages, cities and countries where they are proclaiming the Gospel.
Please pray for a deeper spiritual foundation to be laid in interns’ hearts this summer. As we do ministry in various forms, attend church and small group, may the Holy Spirit reveal more truth about who he is and set it in our hearts!
Please pray for our health because many of us have gotten sick with allergies or other strange illnesses.
Thank you again for praying! Great things are happening because of how you’re supporting us in ministry. 🙂
How many crosses can you see? This is the view from the balcony of the city’s largest mosque. It’s pretty amazing that even from a place of Islamic worship, Jesus’ sacrifice is still the center of attention.
I hate transparency. I hate vulnerability. And most of all I hate that I’d rather share the good than the bad. But the Lord gives times of joy and times of hardship for his purpose, and each of us live life tasting lemons and lemonade.
This past week in the Middle East has been such a mix of emotions- something I don’t talk about very often. Over the last 7 days I lived with rose-colored glasses about this new area and adventure I was on. Yet I didn’t stop to realize the moments that were bittersweet, or just plain bitter. I praised God for the good and blatantly ignored him in the bad. Maybe this isn’t what you want to read from my first week in the M.E., but this is me being transparent about ministry.
This last week was for training on how to do outcomes-based ministry. This principle is what our entire internship centers on. It’s a way to do impacting, sustainable ministry that seeks to reach a realistic amount of people and change lives- not one or the other. There are 8 interns who wo
rk in pairs of 1 American + 1 Arab with 4 placements:
- Arab Baptist Theological Seminary [creating Bible studies & correcting seminary student English reports].
- Armenian Evangelical School [teaching English & creating activities that accelerate learning for 200+ Syrian refugee and Lebanese children]
- Syrian Refugee Center [praying with Syrian refugee women & doing street evangelism]
- Middle East/North Africa Ministries [creating a long-term strategy for doing Biblical or Gospel-centered dramas and films to schools in the region]
I’m amazed when I think about all God has in store for us and for the ministries we’re working with this summer. I know we get to experience a small slice of His work, but I truly feel awe and wonder from hearing about just a few ministries happening in the Middle East. In many ways, I feel at home being here. I feel God’s perfect peace and his presence here. Never have I felt unsafe or worried and I thank God for this and also you for praying!
I have experienced some of the frustrations of being in another culture, and those times have been hard. But I can’t dwell on them because God’s goodness is so sweet to me in those moments. Like I said before, I’m not a nature optimist, but I have seen the Lord work on my heart and give me grace in so many moments. He’s turned my moments of hardship into times of singing and rejoicing because my hope is in Christ. My strength and my source are in Him and he never fails. He never fails me. And I hope that others can see through my transparency, because then they can see his faithfulness.
Learning Outcomes-based ministry
This little prayer chapel is from before the Middle Ages
Looking out over the beautiful biblical city of Sidon
In 12 hours I’m leaving the country.
Yep, I’m one of many millennials who are spending their summers internationally. Since coming back from South Africa, I realized I needed to take time away from international missions. I needed to rest and follow the Lord’s timing for where I should be. I’ve spent the past 2 & 1/2 years in Marion, IN and I’ve tried to be intentional about continuing ministry there.
And then the time came when God saw fit to marry my passions with his timing. So, I’m leaving the country in 12 hours.
I’m spending 5 weeks teaching, mentoring, and facilitating a professional Christian internship with people my age. Most importantly, I will get to see the Gospel in action!
And it’s in the Middle East.
This is an area that’s been on my heart for years and that I deeply feel God is calling me to.
I can’t wait to share more about how I see the Lord at work with you all. I’m thankful for your prayers during my time overseas. Most of all, I’m thankful for God’s goodness and sovereignty.
I prayed this Scripture in Dec. 2013 along with this prayer:
You know my heart. I trust your timing.