Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week 2 Update

Well, as I am writing this there is some sort of tribal ceremony going on a few hundred feet away from me. Lots of tribal chanting and singing and a huge fire they are dancing around. I really am in Honduras!! :)

This was the 1st week of lectures and it was so great! Our speaker this week was Jon Peterson who came in from Washington. Jon is a retired pastor and teacher at Fuller Seminary. His lectures were focused on Biblical Studies-how and why we should ready and study our Bible. We were required to read the Gospel of John 5 times in 5 days. If you've never read one of the Gospels straight through, believe me, it takes some time! We read it straight through like a novel, read it out loud, backwards, and in sections. We also were tested on it and had to be able to correctly identify main points and the chapters in which they occurred.

I loved learning about best practices for being in the Word-making sure we understand the context and history surrounding the passage (the 'what'), learning about how to apply it to our lives (the 'so what') and the action we need to take (the 'now what'). So often I've tried to just open up my bible and read it from the beginning to end and always crash and burn somewhere around the book of Numbers. So it is awesome to have been given some guidance!

While we were learning about studying the Bible, we also talked a lot about the fact that while knowledge is important, it can't supercede a genuine love for Jesus. I often get really wrapped up in trying to know everything and having all the answers. But God doesn't call us to know everything, nor does he want us to have all the answers! He only calls us to LOVE him and each other. We were talking at dinner the other night how intelligence and being 'well-read' have become trendy...nowadays people seem to be in competition with each other about what and how much they know. I'm not saying that knowledge or book smarts is at all a bad thing, but the point that Jon was trying to make is that having all the facts straight and lots of knowledge doesn't substitute genuine love and faith in Jesus. God is revealing to me just how complicated I have made my life-when it doesn't need to be! He calls us to lead simple lives-lives that are not so focused on knowledge but more on simple things like love. I think we can more clearly see Him working through us when we aren't distracted by "stuff" of the world.

Each Monday afternoon we have a quiet time with God for 1 1/2 hours. No iPods, no books, no Bibles. At first this was weird to me because how often in life do we ever just stop and BE? Before I came here I would never have even considered such a thing! But I'm telling you-God really showed up in those moments of stillness and solitude! How awesome! Just me and God-letting it BE.

Anyways, in other news, it was a great weekend. I got in some great snorkeling and did some wakeboarding too. We also discovered this iguana farm right by where we are anchored. I've never seen so many iguanas in my life! They were huge and EVERYWHERE! I also got to play with some little monkeys :). Tonight one of the guys in the group was snorkeling around and found some HUGE starfish. I'll try to post some pictures and video soon!

My team continues to get more comfortable with each other. Lots of dance parties and silliness. I love it :).

I hope you are all doing well. Please be praying for the people of Haiti. I pray for healing and peace. May God show up in big ways for them.

Love to you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week 1 Update

Hi all!

Well I made it to Honduras! YEA! Monday night my friends Ali, Gretchen and Mark took me to the airport and saw me off to Honduras. I flew to Guatemala and from there to El Salvador, then to Roatan, Honduras where I am at currently. I will be in Roatan for the next three months, however there is the possiblity we may sail to Belize at some point but we will see.

This week has been pretty low key. The staff has given us lots of time to sleep off any jet lag, get to know each other, and get acclimated to living aboard a sailboat! My team is great. There are 6 of us, 5 girls and 1 guy (lucky guy, haha!) The 6 of us are from all across the US: Washington, California, Colorado, Illinois (me), Bloomington Indiana!!! ( I was really happy about having a fellow Hoosier on the team!) and North Carolina. We have three staff leaders currently, one from England, another from Connecticut, and Chris the director is from Washington. We will have a fourth staff member joining us in a few weeks from Las Vegas.

Life aboard a sailboat is fun! It's a lot like being in college again. So far the best parts of living on a boat have been sleeping outside on the trampoline netting under the stars and waking up to see the ocean water underneath me! Also we take showers in the ocean. There are showers on board the boats but it's lots more fun to do it in the ocean and it saves water too. We just put on our swim suits, jump in the water, lather up, swim around awhile, then get on board and hose off in the fresh water. Pretty cool! I share a bunk with two other girls and will sleep in there when its rainy (which is has been the past few days) but plan to sleep outside as much as I can!

Our first speaker just arrived and we will begin classes tomorrow. We have a pretty heavy schedule each day. Usually we will start around 8 and have some sort of worship and devotional time until about 9. We are then in classes from about 9 to 1. The rest of the afternoon is open, but is spent reading (we are required to read at least 4 books and write book reports on all) or doing classwork. We are also encouraged to read through the entire bible while we are here so I'm loving doing that! Every Tuesday we have an hour seamanship class where we learn about sailing, and once a week we will meet in the evenings to have a lecture/discussion on a book we are reading called Good to Great. It's all about leadership. We eat breakfast and lunch on our own; usually cereal, sandwiches, etc. At dinner time we take turns making dinner for the team. I am on the shopping/provisioning team so once a week I go out to the markets to buy food for the team. That is the general schedule we will follow for the full three months. After these three months of lecture/training we will leave for our outreach!

I am really enjoying it here and looking forward to diving into the classroom study and learning as much as I can. I am also really excited about exploring the Hondurian culture. So far I haven't had too much time off the boat to explore around the island, but plan to very soon and will send an update on that! One thing I found pretty funny here is everything is imported from the US! It's a lot more westernized than I thought it would be. When I was at the supermarket the other day I felt like I was at home. All American products! Hopefully we'll get a lot of chances to explore local cuisine and stuff.

I have to run but I just wanted to say Thank You again to you all for your support and encouragement. I am so excited for this journey and already am learning so much.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Be strong and courageous

The last few days have been a whirlwind of packing, more packing, spending as much time with friends and family as I possibly can, ringing in 2010, and even more packing. I'm about 26 hours away from taking off to Honduras and I've got lots of mixed emotions! Mostly I'm excited but also nervous and scared. Amazingly enough though, tonight's sermon at church was all about being strong and courageous and trusting God through our fears. After Moses died, God commissioned Joshua to lead the Israelites to the promised land. Taking over for Moses was a pretty big task for Joshua and he was scared! He knew the task was beyond his natural ability and didn't know how he was going to fill the shoes of Moses. But God said, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9).

Like Joshua, I am feeling a little fearful and overwhelmed at what lies ahead. I know that the next 9 months of my life are going to be pretty radical and probably pretty hard a lot of the time. Sometimes I find myself thinking like Joshua and wondering what business I have venturing out into the world to help people and lead them to salvation in Jesus Christ. I am not qualified! I am not ready! But Jackson said last night that fears like these-fear of being underqualified, or even fear of the unknown, come from our not trusting that God is bigger than it all! But He is! He is bigger than life, death, disease, lonliness, anxiety, fear, depression, hunger...everything! We just need to trust Him and remember that He loves us and will never leave us. So here's to putting all trust in our God with all of our fears. Mom if you are reading this that goes for you too!!! Be strong and courageous in 2010!!

Thank you so much for all your prayers and well-wishes. I am blessed beyond blessed to have such amazing friends and family. LOVE YOU!

Next post will be from Honduras! Wooo!!