Urbana15: #hack4missions

(Suuuuuppppeeerrrr late post – but better late than never)
So this past December I went to Urbana student missions conference in St.Louis, MO. The theme this year was “What Story Will You Tell?” – and now here I am, writing my story to share with you.

Now I could tell you about all the awesome things I experienced for the first time at Urbana. Things like how awesome the worship/singspiration was (LANGUAGES WOO!); how I learned and heard so much during morning bible studies and during each session speaker. I could tell you about how I felt challenged in my faith or how I want to do and serve so much more now that I’m home.

But I’m not going to talk about any of that today.

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Inspiration #29

I have no words to say
Don’t know what I should pray
God, I need You
God, I need You
Oh Lord, my faith is tired
And tears fill up my eyes
But I will trust You, I will trust You

Whatever comes my way
You have taught me to say

Amen, let Your kingdom come
Amen, let Your will be done
And through the rise and fall
You’re God above it all
Amen, we’re singing Amen

When I can barely stand
You strengthen me again
I will seek You, I will seek You
Though troubles may arise
My hands reach to the skies
I will praise You, I will praise You

Whatever comes my way
You have taught me to say

Amen, let Your kingdom come
Amen, let Your will be done
And through the rise and fall
You’re God above it all
Amen, we’re singing Amen
We’re singing Amen

From everlasting to everlasting
From everlasting to everlasting
From everlasting to everlasting
From everlasting to everlasting
Amen

-“Amen” by I Am They

Random Musings #3

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. The past few months I’ve been going through the Matthew devotional challenge for Urbana this year – which btw, I’m stoked for! Because I’ll be part of a sort of hackathon – i.e. thinking about how we can use technology ideas for missions/ministry.

That aside, today I read the first bit of Matthew 13 covering the Parable of Sower:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13%3A1-23&version=NIV

As I finished reading this on my way to work in the morning, I couldn’t help but think of the youth I’m serving in my fellowship. I’ve seen people on the path, I’ve seen people in rocky places. But what hit me the most in this passage, was the seed in the thorns:

“The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
-Matthew 13:22

It’s been a while since I’ve been in school, even longer since high school for that matter. But it just feels like the youth are constantly feeling overwhelmed. Burnt out from life; from school; from projects; from homework; from memorizing and studying for tests; exams; quizzes, you name it etc. They want to grow their faith, they want fellowship, some want to serve, but don’t know how to overcome the academic and time obstacles.

They’re holding seeds of faith that are trying to grow, all while the thorns of worry and concern for the “ideal future” are choking them….Heck, the worries of life choke me too sometimes. ><

And so I come to my struggle, my struggle with encouraging them to stay connected; encouraging them to build their life AROUND God, not fit God in the days/hours/minutes/seconds of “free time”; encouraging them to serve even if they feel uncomfortable/unqualified (I always think of Moses’ story in this case) etc.

Maybe that’s all I can do (i.e. encourage and be there), I don’t know. I can’t help but want to do more, but I don’t know how or what to do….

Welp, now that I’ve word-vomited, going to pray now.

[Story time] Weekend adventure and gratitude

This past weekend my boyfriend and I visited a friend out in Burlington after dropping off another friend at a conference in Oakville that morning (we had stayed over at another friend’s place for convenience).

On our way back to Oakville to pick up my friend from the conference we stopped by our other friend’s place to pick up something my boyfriend had left behind. Minutes after leaving he noticed something wrong with the car. He pulled over and got out to check, it was a flat tire. Luckily we had not gone far from his friend’s place so we slowly drove back there to change the spare tire in (while I waited inside his friend’s place playing with his cat). After changing the spare in we left, but pulled over to talk for a bit about what we should do. Spare tires aren’t really meant for highway driving, and at this point we were still in Oakville with a friend that needed to be picked up. After talking and discussing with our parents as to what we should do, we decided to drive slower on the highway after picking up my friend from the conference.

The highway ride back was mostly smooth despite the fact that we were driving 15-20km under the limit. Just as we were about to get off the highway my boyfriend noticed something at the last minute on the road in front of him, it was a pothole (a fairly large one too). Unfortunately a car was in the lane beside us (to our right was the concrete barrier)…so over the pothole we went.

*thump thump thump thump*

It was obvious that the spare did not survive going over the pothole. We carefully pulled over and stopped the car to survey the damage. It was bad. Since we were metres away from getting off the highway, we decided to very carefully drive off (with the emergency lights on) it so we could call for help. A minute after we noticed there was a car driving very close behind us in the rear-view mirror. It was a police car! Even better, after we had gotten off the highway and thanked him for escorting us off safely, we had noticed that it was a highway patrol car with a LED sign on it. Specifically the ones that light up to redirect traffic! – He had redirected traffic around us, yay!

By now it was almost 1am, not wanting to keep my friend out so late (or leave my boyfriend by himself), I gave him my metropass so that he could get home by taking the bus near where we had stopped. Afterwards we called CAA to try and get the car towed to a nearby Canadian Tire, unfortunately because my boyfriend’s membership had be mysteriously cancelled he couldn’t get it authorized without his dad. With that plan scrapped he called his dad. 40mins later he was down where we were (with my boyfriend’s mom). They patched up the initial flat tire temporarily so that we could drive it over to the nearby Canadian tire (just down the street from where we were). We abandoned the car for the night in the parking lot and were dropped off at my house by his parents.

The next morning we back to Canadian Tire to get replacement tires for the flats. My boyfriend’s dad had told us to get some “cheap Michelin tires”, to which the autoshop clerk chuckled when we told him. However after some more talking and stock checking, we found that we were in luck. On the floor, they had some brand new Michelin tires (2015) that were from a discontinued line, and therefore a fraction of the price than the others we looked at (by that I mean they were $40/each). An hour later we left with brand new front tires and a spare that was from the other old pair.

So that was our weekend adventure. The reason I had decided to post this was because after all that, I felt incredibly thankful and protected by God’s grace (also amazed too hehehe). We had gotten the first flat tire near my boyfriend’s friend’s house; then had a police car escort us safely off the road after our 2nd flat tire. My boyfriend’s dad drove all the way down at 2am (or well 3am…because daylight savings time derp) to help patch the first flat and then drive us back to my house. Lastly, we were able to get an amazing deal for the replacement tires (something that the shop clerk really didn’t think could ever happen).

Despite all these hurdles, we came out safe. It could’ve been a lot worse; we could’ve panicked (my boyfriend did a bit), but I felt really calm and peaceful (for the most part lol), and I’m thankful to God for keeping us safe. :)

Random Musings #2

“Sometimes being angry isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes, being angry means you care a lot about something. I mean look at God, God got angry a lot. But then He came and loved is right back.”

Over the past weekend during my annual youth winter retreat we spent a lot of time/hours just spilling our guts to each other. We had some heated talks, ones that people might think could break friendships. But no, that’s not how I’ve ever felt about talks like the ones I’ve had with these “kids” (oh my, I paused before writing that, geeze that aged me LOL). Yes we’re angry, I get angry and sometimes I hate it because it makes me emotional and I don’t know how to word things together. Oh and because of those 2 things, a lot of the time it makes me cry. And then that leads to me getting more angry because I don’t know how to express why I’m angry.

….At the same time, when I reflect on those moments I can’t help but be incredibly thankful for when I get angry or when I talk to people who get fired up for things they are passionate about and care a lot about. Granted, I’m speaking of positive causes and God things for the most part here….but the weekend made me think again….

I know I hate getting angry, but maybe I should get angry more about some things.

Inspiration #28

My biggest storm, your drop of rain
My raging fire, your candle flame
My deepest ocean, is like a puddle at Your feet

My darkest valley, my greatest mountain
They are Your prairie, for You are constant
Your ways are higher than any other
So I will sing

God of the impossible
Maker of all miracles
I stand in awe of You
I am so amazed by how You
Reach into my brokenness
Make me beautiful again
I believe, yes I believe
Nothing is impossible with You

When I am weak, You are my strength
And all Your power is made complete
You turn my failures to victories
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Healer, Healer
I’m restored by a healer
Provider, Provider
I am filled by a provider
Deliverer, Deliverer
I’m saved by a deliverer
Savior, my Savior
I’m redeemed by a savior

—”God of the Impossible” by Sarah Reeves

This song came up when I was looking up some possible worship songs for the youth retreat I was a part of this year. Our theme was anxiety and trusting in God; although we didn’t end up using this song I still love the lyrics (despite the pre-recording sounding a bit corny hahaha). The chorus is probably my favourite and I love the contrasting in the first verse between our worries vs. God. I’ve said it before, and it’s been said many times elsewhere, God is the God of creation; of all things impossible, what makes you think He can’t take care of your storms and fires? lol

Have a listen, and I hope you find it as encouraging as I do:
God Of The Impossible by Sarah Reeves on Grooveshark

Trusting in God

In the midst of planning for our youth winter retreat atm.

We decided that our theme would be anxiety + trusting in God based on these verses:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
Matthew 5:25-34

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

it makes me think and remember: wow, why do I forget to trust and rely on God? Do you know how much LESS STRESSED I am when I do? Seriously.

btw, it’s not that I still don’t worry, but my trust in God, reminds me that I don’t have do be as worried. Which means, more time for God! – win-win!