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.

Continue reading

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. :)

Thanksgiving

This past weekend was thanksgiving, though I’m a bit late. I wanted to just list a whole bunch of things I felt thankful for in the moment. Most of these things I had said in prayer before dinner several times over the weekend, but I like the visual reminder :)

I’m thankful for:
-God’s love – in every form
-my loving parents and family
-my awesome friends
-the job that I’ve been blessed to still be in for the last 3 years
-every brother and sister in Christ that I’ve met, kept in touch with, still remember from who knows when
-my loving, challenging, encouraging boyfriend
-anything and everything else God has blessed me with always

Amen.
I’m thinking of making/keeping a whiteboard/wall of thankful things. Also a wall of prayers.

Need to get me some dollarstore whiteboards now xD

Reconnect

Wow, I haven’t posted here since the beginning of the year LOL.

Today I feel compelled to blog here due to a conversation I had with my boyfriend after work over coffee. So let’s see, what have I been doing over the last 9 months…..

I read Ecclesiastes, Proverbs and Hosea.
That was a lot of fun, Hosea, I had been meaning to read ever since I started dating last year. It’s both a terrifying and fantastic story of Israel turning it’s back on God, warnings of destruction with the Lord promising redemption in the end (much like how Hosea went and bought Gomer back). Proverbs took longer to read than I thought, but was full of tidbits of wisdom. Ecclesiastes was probably my favourite out of the 3. It basically summed that you can enjoy all there is in this present and short life we have, but in the end it really is meaningless without God.

-Been doing skype bible study devotions with a few of the youth from my fellowship
We read Mark, Ephesiasns, James, John 1–3 and are kinda in the process of reading Esther. I’m trying to convince them that we should do Ecclesiastes after x]

-Today, my boyfriend and I had a brief conversation about prayer
I had him pick up an extra order of Philip Yancey’s “Prayer: Does it make any difference?” books I ordered for my youth fellowship today. We met up for coffee after I got off work and talked for a bit about faith and prayer. He was raised Catholic, and has knowledge about the bible, but is more skeptical about faith because of his parents (so he says). Even though he’s more interested from an intellectual standpoint, I find it absolutely fascinating and enlightening when we have these conversations, and it’s at these times that I learn a lot about my own faith. I pray that we continue to have these conversations and that it may encourage him to seek God with his heart in the near future. And until then, I pray that I could be a worthy witness of God’s glory. \o/

//End unfiltered run-on musing/reflection

p.s. I hope to get back into recording my thoughts on this blog again more frequently lol

Reconnecting

(It’s been a while eh?)

Today I met up with a childhood friend for dinner and had the most spiritually delightful and encouraging time I’ve had in a little while. Being all caught with the youth ministry, work (which got really hectic all of a sudden) and now a relationship made me feel a little spiritually distant and a bit drained (mentally and physically) recently. But just reconnecting and fellowshipping with my friend tonight was absolutely wonderful and uplifting.

Fiona was my first Christian friend that I had made outside of church, wayyyy back when I was in elementary school. She moved back to Australia (where her family was) after the school year was over (or not long after – don’t quite remember) and I didn’t see her for a whole year. No contact or anything really (cuz well, internet was a luxury then lolll), but when she came back the year after I remember I was so happy to see her, and in that time we used to literally talk for hours on the phone after school and whatnot. Our families were also fairly close and Fiona was also the person who inspired me to learn to play the violin (though I suck at it to this day hahaha). We parted ways again after elementary school, but still kept in touch until her family moved out of the neighbourhood. But I never forgot her, and always found each other again through mutual relationships through people we knew hahaha. Seeing her again today made me think about that time again (nostalgiaaaa – oh dear I feel old), and made me feel incredibly thankful and blessed that God has blessed us both with such a wonderful relationship that distance and time clearly hasn’t broken. I hope and pray that this is friendship will continue to flourish under God’s eyes (and be a blessing to the people around us ^^)

You said…[A prayer in song and verse]

The Lord said…

You said, ask and you will receive
whatever you need

You said, pray and I’ll hear from heaven
and I’ll heal your land

You said, your glory will fill the earth
like water, the sea

You said, lift up your eyes
the harvest is near, the kingdom is here,

You said, ask and I’ll give the nations to you
Oh Lord, that’s the cry of my heart
Distant shores and the islands will see
Your light, as it rises on us

–”You Said” Hillsongs

….and that…

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

–Philippians 4:13

…because…

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

–Matthew 17:20

Because of this, we may have peace in Him for…

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

–Luke 11:11–13

——————-
This is a sort of prayer I thought of and composed as an encouragement (hopefully) to a family friend/believer/brother/sister from my church congregation. It’s also a summary of how I think God’s been speaking to me in these past 2 weeks (-ish). Kinda interesting because about 2 years ago, while I was interning at Ambassadors for Christ in Canada, I found myself looking and learning (a lot yet also not A LOT) about prayer. Different kinds of prayer. What does it mean to pray TO God? What is prayer?

I can’t say I have definite answers. But rather, I’m still learning. And I’m o.k. with that. :)