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Snapshot #1 from Soddo

ONE THING.

“One thing

I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:

That I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life,

To gaze upon the BEAUTY of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.”  Ps. 27:4

No matter where I am, the Beauty of the Lord is my strength and my Life.  He must be EVERYTHING.

I must LOVE JESUS more…There is no other person, no other place, no calling, no ministry, no work, no joy that satisfies the deep desires of my heart.

Reconciling…

The silence over the past two weeks has been a time of seeking my Father’s heart.  I came back numb.  No pain. When I fell and broke my arm a few years ago, I felt nothing.  Even though there was deep brokenness in my body, I was somehow protected from feeling it.  It was only in the months to follow I experienced the pain, the healing and the realization that the brokenness was at many levels.   I realize now, God did break me in many ways on this venture, the levels and depth to which I know will unravel as the Lord allows, but I am just now beginning to feel the pain of that brokenness.  Father, keep breaking my heart for the things that break yours.

I want to assure you, I had an unbelievable trip. The people God brought to my life have been a deep source of renewed passion, vision and encouragement.  BUT, the difficulty I have had is in reconciling the two worlds I lived in within  two weeks time.  It IS truly a different world in Africa.  One that is deep in my heart.  A world that is so raw in its beauty.  This world holds people with a resiliency of spirit and a faith of total dependence on God that is inspiring to me.  At the same moment, the injustices–the poverty, the orphans, the lack of resources causes me to ask why the gap is so wide…between our two worlds.  I came back more convinced of our responsibility as the body of Christ.  I believe God HAS provided for enough for all His people.  I believe God needs MORE from those of us that He has entrusted with so much.  I KNOW He needs more workers.

So, again, God in His merciful and gentle way spoke to me–reminding me that HE loves all He has made.  That HE is sovereign.  That HE is their Defender, their HOPE, their Father, and their LIFE.  I can trust Him with that.  And I can offer MY LIFE as an offering for Him–for His use–to LOVE HIM and love His people.  In my 10 days, I could not end the poverty in Ethiopia. I couldn’t even give one orphan a mommy.  I could not make too much of a difference, really.  BUT, I have sought the Lord’s heart, I know more deeply how to see HIM in the poor, the orphaned, the hungry.  I came away with deeper conviction and confirmation of how God has called our family–how HE is really pursuing us–how HE is drawing us closer to His heart.  It is not an easy, feel-good path.  It is a path of laying down a lot of the way we live–many things we enjoy in this world, but it is a path of love and of serving…a path my Savior walked.  I believe it is the path of Abundant Life.

It is not my place to reconcile the two worlds, but it is my place to see how Jesus bridges every gap, how HE reconciled the WORLD to Himself in love, and how HE has called my family to serve Him in this ‘other world’.

“God reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

WE are therefore Christ’s AMBASSADORS, as though God were making his appeal through us.

We implore you on Christ’s behalf:  Be RECONCILED to God.

God made HIM (Jesus) who had NO SIN to BE SIN FOR US, so that IN HIM we might become the Righteousness of God.”

2 Cor. 5:18-21

Mission Ethiopia…A heart of Thanks.

I’ve been home a couple of weeks now and been recovering, processing, praying, and trying to sleep…at the same time, I realize now how much you see, feel, hear and experience in a developing country…at times it is hard to reenter your ‘normal life’.  I say all of that as a bit of an apology.  I know many of you are anxiously waiting to hear how your gifts and generosity blessed the people placed in my path…and NOW I am anxious and excited to share.  I am overwhelmed and my heart overflows with gratitude to God for HIS awesome provision through many of you.  It was WAY too much fun and brought ME so much joy to be the vessel of taking such blessing to people who were so in need, and it came as encouragement, answered prayer and timely provision to MANY.  I am still working on donating a portion of the offering on line, but I was able (by God’s protection) to hand carry a LOT with me to give to many ministries and people in Soddo.  Thank you all so much.

Because I experienced so much in 10 days, I have been praying and asking the Lord how to best share the MOST of my trip and pictures and truths God revealed.  Due to the nature of my life day in and day out, I will be posting ‘snapshots from Soddo’ over the next few days, as the Lord provides time for me to write :).  I pray these express the gratitude I feel, the blessing the people experienced and also some of the realities of the world we all live in and some of the responsibilities we have as followers of Jesus.

Spend Yourself…

Sweet Body of Christ….here’s a bit of my heart that I was able to share in our church service the Friday before I left…We serve an amazing GOD!

Thank you for hearing our voices on behalf of these precious brothers and sisters in a country so far removed from our every day life…I know we all feel HONORED to speak for them…

ALL we’ve heard, all we read about poverty, see in the news about Haiti are exposed to tonight can most likely leave us in one of two places:

1. moved, burdened, motivated  to action…or

2.  overwhelmed, calloused, and we feel paralyzed, so we go home and go to bed.

There is a whole spectrum to emotion and response—I’ve experienced it all especially in the past weeks preparing for this trip, hearing and seeing the suffering in Haiti, and then knowing on personal levels people that have so much pain right here in this room.

ONE TRUTH that God has shown me over and over again is that there IS NO HOPE APART FROM HIM…so, when we are moved, or paralyzed, we MUST fix our eyes on JESUS—

HE IS THE HOPE TO THE HOPELESS

HE IS THE FATHER TO THE FATHERLESS

HE IS JEHOVAH RAPHA—THE LORD WHO HEALS

HE IS THE CREATOR AND SUSTAINER OVER ALL HE HAS CREATED.

AND HE IS LOVING AND SOVEREIGN…

Do you know why JESUS came?  HE said this,

“I have come that you may have LIFE ABUNDANT?”

How many of you feel like you have experienced that abundant LIFE here on earth?

Isn’t it strange that as Christians we know so little of this ABUNDANT LIFE??

I want to share a passage that has encouraged me as I have pursued Christ and knowing how HE desires me to live on this earth….this has spoken profound and life-giving truth to me about what GOD promises when we surrender our lives to what is close to HIS heart….It is so backwards from what our world teaches us…I pray it BRINGS LIGHT to you tonight…

ISAIAH 58

“Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?

Is it not to share you food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

THEN your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear, then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.  Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help and he will say: HERE AM I….

V 10…If you SPEND YOURSELF in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then YOUR LIGHT will RISE IN THE DARKNESS, and your night will become like the noonday.”

The world teaches us one strong message that is often opposed to the TRUTH found in the Word of God…

…the world says provide for yourself…to make wise investments, to give to sound places where you can get your tax refund …God says SHARE, PROVIDE for the poor and hungry.

….the world says take care of yourself, be kind to yourself…God says, spend yourself on behalf of the hungry

…this world teaches self gratification and to SATISFY and FULFILL your own desires…..God says SATISFY the needs of those who are oppressed.

I think the world teaches to LOVE self…to gratify our own desires.

I believe part of the abundant LIFE that Jesus wants to offer comes through the truth in this verse.

HE WANTS TO BREAK US FREE From the idolatry of SELF LOVE…self serving, self focus, self pity, self gratification—

JESUS lived and taught the complete opposite—death to self.

He asks us to follow HIS example in dying to our own desires, our own WANTS for the sake of another…

BUT HIS PROMISE in this is so amazing to me, that then, whatever is holding us captive—fear, anxiety, anger, selfishness, lack of motivation, depression, discontentment, whatever it is will be broken down…we will be RELEASED into LIGHT and HEALING and HELP…

As we LIVE out of God’s HEART and LOVE and HIS desires –IF WE SPEND OURSELVES TO KNOW CHRIST…IF WE SPEND OUR SELVES TO LOVE and PROVIDE for HIS children, then OUR LIGHT WILL SHINE.

I PRAY ABUNDANT LIFE over each of you tonight!!!  I pray abundant LIFE to come to those who don’t yet know our LIGHT in Christ Jesus.

Ethiopia…here we come!!

Evie and I are so excited for our journey to Ethiopia!! Who would have known at 8 months old, that she would be doing our "pioneer" voyage with me!!

The kids were helping me PACK AND PRAY over the gifts we're sending! This has been an awesome season of preparation in our hearts and home!

Ella (with the hands of Mai and Caleb) made this poster that reads "From KIDS in Korea, to KIDS in ETHIOPIA!" Didn't they do a great job!?!

GO, SEEK, LOVE!!

Here we are packing up the bins with all the donated MEDICAL SUPPLIES! I might have a cute little stow-away!

Here we go!! Please cover us in your prayers, and more importantly, God's precious people in Ethiopia! Pray we will KNOW JESUS more and MAKE Him beautiful to each person God brings across our path!

Sophie - I love it, Julie! So fun to find your blog, too! I’ll send you a username and password so you can check out mine as well.
It was such a pleasure and privilege to meet you and spend a bit of time with you while you were here. Hoping I”m here to get to know you and your family when you are HERE! Love to you 🙂 Sophie

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