Friday, February 25, 2011

Rise and Shine

Well, I praise the Lord that I am now on the "rise and shine" end of this sickness! After four days in bed, I was able to go to my first meal yesterday evening. What a blessing! I still have a bad cough and I'm a bit on the weak side as my energy is returning slowly, but it feels so good to be on the mend!

Last night, my friend, Jada, and I were working on translating the song Rise and Shine into Spanish for a project we are doing next week when we came across this acappella rendition on You Tube. It made me laugh so hard (the best medicine) that I had to pass it along!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Out Sick

Despite all my good intentions to not get sick this semester, a big bad flu bug bit me. I have been out of commission for two days now, hardly able to move from my bed. A rattling cough, stuffy nose, headache, and body aches are the symptoms. Thankfully, my fever is gone from yesterday, so that's a little improvement.

In the midst of such tidings, the blessing to share is that God is good always. We just so happen to not have classes this week since it is Founder's Week and classes have been suspended to give way to conference sessions. This means that even with all my time in bed, I am not missing any pertinent material or racking up absences!

Also, I have been blessed with several very faithful friends who are tending to my needs in Mom's absence (since you know the person you really want when you're sick is Mom!). They are bringing me meals, refilling my water bottle, running errands on my behalf, and so much more!

I am hoping that I will be well enough tomorrow to tackle some of the many projects on my "To-Do-During-Founder's-Week-While-We-Have-Time-Off" list, but it may be that God has something different to accomplish this week in my long, quiet days with Him. :-)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Purple Day

It just so happened that a bunch of us felt in the purple mood today...can anyone say, "Kodak Moment?" :-)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quick Pic!

Samantha and SofĂ­a, my roommate and suite mate - blessings from the Lord!

Monday, February 14, 2011

God loves you so much...

He thinks about you more times than you can count!

"How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand..." Psalm 139:17-18

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thought for the Day...

"....He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe..." (2 Thessalonians 1:10)

Do I live with an attitude of admiration for the Lord Jesus Christ?

Do you?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Visit to the Hindu Temple

Recently, I had the opportunity to tag along with a group of the Bible Institute students on another field trip they took; this time to the local Hindu temple. Once again, it was an eye-opening experience.

We went on a Monday evening to their weekly "prayer service." The first impression I received upon pulling into the parking lot was that the Hindu temple was outwardly very beautiful. The architecture was pleasing to the eye and everything looked to be made of marble. We removed our shoes and padded sock-footed up the marble steps and into the building.

We couldn't take pictures inside, so I will do my best to describe it in words. The room inside was brightly lit and brightly decorated. Once again, as at the mosque, I was immediately aware of the smell of incense, only this particular kind was much stronger and made me feel queasy in my stomach. White sheets covered the floor with a red carpet stretching down the middle. On all sides were carved-out "nooks" in the wall and in each nook was a statue representing one of the many Hindu gods. The idols were designed to look like animals or humans or a combination thereof with a distinctive "Hindu" design. Each statue was adorned with flowers. Candles burned in front of each one and their were also offerings of fruit set before some of the gods. At the front of the room were three large alcoves each containing a separate idol of great proportion. One was an ebony elephant sitting on a throne of sorts; one was a human looking statute, kingly in appearance. I don't remember the third.

The Hindu priest was clothed with a wrap-around tunic that covered his body from the neck to the ankles. His face was painted with a design that reminded me of an African tribal look. The priest positioned himself near a small fountain in the center of the floor from which he conducted the service.

Chairs were set up for us at the back of the room to observe, but only a few of the worshippers used chairs themselves. The majority knelt on the floor around and behind the fountain. As each worshipper entered the building, they rang a loud bell overhead, walked up the red carpet, set an offering of fruit or flowers near the fountain, selected a prayer book from a basket, and found a place on the floor upon which to pray. When about 12 or so people were present, the priest commenced a long session of prayer chants in the Hindi language. Those who could followed along in their prayer books, chanting right along with him. As the prayers continued, more and more people arrived. After awhile, I counted more than 30. The majority of the worshippers were women, arrayed in native dress, but there were also a number of men and a few children, all appearing to be from India or some other nearby Asian country. Only one American was present for the service.

After the priest ended the time of chanted prayers, different people took turns going to the fountain and pouring milk on it. At one point, the priest took an offering of food up the steps to the statue that was in the middle alcove and pulled a curtain across the alcove while he did something behind it. I never did find out what he did, but it certainly piqued my curiosity!

It was at this point that our group had to leave. A gentleman followed us out and proceeded to give us a 10-minute speech about Hinduism and their various beliefs. I had a hard time following all that he had to say, as it seemed to be a combination of mysticism, meta-physics, legends, and morality all wrapped into one package.

Throughout the whole prayer service my heart was so saddened to see these precious people so deceived, so blind to the truth about the one true God. I was reminded of the verse in Scripture which says, "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them." (Psalm 115:4-8)

After we returned to the school, Satsuki, Nathaly, and I sat outside on the swing talking about the experience and praying for our Hindu neighbors. Oh that God would give them a hunger and thirst for the truth, that they might seek the Lord and find Him!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Playing Catch-Up

I have had stacks of photos and videos building up on my computer that I have wanted to post to the blog, but due to a weak internet signal, this has not been possible. Today, however, I decided to try exporting my photos into smaller sizes to see if this would allow for faster upload - and wahlah! It has taken me all of five minutes to post these pictures tonight instead of the usual three hours! (That is not an exaggeration.)

So in an attempt to play catch-up from the last several days...weeks...month(?), here are some snapshots from the missions conference we had at school. What a blessing it was!

Throughout the three day conference, different pairs of students gave presentations from various countries around the world. They dressed the part, and role-played a dialog with each other that educated the rest of us on life in their respective countries and the need for the Gospel. It was a very creative way to open each session!

Lots of good singing.

The pair from Tibet.

David shared a presentation from Liberia.

Linda talked on Japan and Luis shared about a country in Africa called Eritrea. The country of Israel was also represented.

Global Encounters

The preacher for the week was a gentleman named Ron Blue, a former missionary in Costa Rica and current professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. (I tried to upload a video of his preaching here, but I can't figure out how to export videos.) He preached inspiring messages on the Great Commission from each separate Gospel account. I was so blessed to listen to his ability with the Spanish language and realize it is possible to achieve fluency! I was also very impacted by his enthusiastic and joyful spirit. What an example!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In Awe of the Lord...

Towards the end of last semester, the Lord impressed upon my heart a desire to start a Bible study for the teenage girls who live on campus with the purpose of providing discipleship and encouragement. (These young ladies are the daughters of staff and students.) I asked a few of the girls with whom I was acquainted if this would be of interest to them and each one responded enthusiastically!

Over Christmas break, as I was praying about what to study with the girls, the Lord reminded me of a book I had read as a brand-new Christian that greatly impacted my life, entitled His Chosen Bride. After getting home from Ukraine, I pulled my well-worn copy off the shelf and began to page through it. As I did, it became very clear to me that this was the book we should use as a guide for the study, with God's Word, of course, being the main focus.

Excited to have received this clear direction, I got online and ordered copies of His Chosen Bride for each young lady.

Our study commenced two weeks ago, beginning with a focus on the topic of treasure. The two thoughts I wanted the girls to walk away with that night were:
1) God treasures them
2) God wants to be treasured by them

We had a delightful time together going on a treasure hunt through God's Word (and around campus!) studying a myriad of verses along these lines. The young ladies (and mothers!) who came to the study seemed very blessed by the truths we read and discussed. Their homework assignment for the week was to read the first two chapters in His Chosen Bride, as well as the book of Ephesians, specifically looking for the character of Jesus Christ in order to know Him and love Him more.

When we gathered this past Tuesday evening for the second Bible study, we went around the room and everyone shared what they had learned during their personal time with the Lord. It was absolutely thrilling to hear each girl share how much they had been drawn more closely to Jesus Christ! They loved Ephesians and loved reading His Chosen Bride! They spoke enthusiastically about learning to love God and value time spent in His presence. Several of them gave testimony to the fact that their lives have already been changed as a result of this study. Wow! How awesome is the Lord!

As you may recall from a previous blog post, in our second study, we focused on the topic of the significance of the blood of Jesus Christ. You can imagine how blessed I was when the young lady who led a time of singing for us pulled out two songs on the topic of...the blood of Jesus Christ. I did not communicate with her ahead of time about this; it was completely the Lord who directed her to these songs. One was the familiar hymn Jesus Paid It All. The other was a new song for most of us that she taught us as she strummed the guitar entitled Jesus Thank You. I was deeply blessed by the words and melody of this song and wanted to share them with you here:

The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend
The agonies of Calvary
You the perfect Holy One crushed Your Son
Drank the bitter cup reserved for me

Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank You
The Father's wrath completely satisfied, Jesus thank You
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table
Jesus, thank You

By the perfect sacrifice I've been brought near
Your enemy You've made Your friend
Pouring out the riches of Your glorious grace
Your mercy and Your kindness know no end

The time of worship was beautiful before starting the study, but then we sang these songs again after having read dozens of verses about the Lord's sacrifice for us. Wow. The presence of the Holy Spirit was real. Several started weeping as we were overcome with the magnitude of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.

It was an amazing time together.

Next week, each girl will be sharing their personal testimonies of salvation as we seek to exalt the Name above all names, our Savior Jesus Christ. I am very much looking forward to it...

Quick Pic!

Las Tres Amigas

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Two Good Reads

Today, I received an email from my good friends, Joshua and Kelsie Steele, stating that they had been interviewed by a young lady for a magazine called Generation Impact. Their article includes content about their homeschooling experiences growing up as well as their current missionary work in Ukraine. There is also excellent advice shared for those who are interested in pursuing missions and want to know how to start. It is a well written article definitely worth the read! Click here to be inspired!

On another note, I have been preparing a Bible study for my discipleship group tonight on the topic of the significance of the blood of Jesus Christ. Using an internet concordance, I looked up all the verses on this topic and made a list of the ones to read during study. Then, yesterday, as I was conducting further research on the internet, I found a webpage with an excellent article entitled "Why Did Jesus Shed His Blood?" that spoke to every point I plan to cover with the teen girls in tonight's study! I was especially excited to see a well-laid-out chart with each of the same Bible verses I had listed about Christ's blood, and the meaning of each verse in our lives as believers. You will be blessed to click on this link and see just what the blood of Jesus Christ does in your life! How worthy our Savior is to receive all glory and honor!

"Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." Romans 5:9

"In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Ephesians 1:7