Friday, June 28, 2013

ministry in La Kennedy

Life is good. Ministry in the La Kennedy community is growing more than I could ever have imagined. The people are opening up more to us. A basis of trust is forming. Some of my teammates have had incredible opportunities to share the Gospel.

A couple of the young people from the community are seeming to show genuine desire to change their lives and make something better for themselves. Tony has given the opportunity for some to visit our property and see what life outside of their norm is like and how they can find happiness and fulfillment through something other than drugs and sex.

Elida, the little girl from La Kennedy, that I asked you to pray for last week is still my priority in this community and will be till my last day. The relationship between us is such a blessing to me. Slowly, but surely, I am softening her up to talkig about Jesus and opening upvthe Bible. Everytime I come away from spending time with her, I am filled with joy and desire to pour into her more and more.

This week, I gave her a pad of Disney fairy stickers as a "regalito" or "small gift". She has started to draw me pictures and write letters to me. The last letter that she wrote melted my heart. Adorned with fairy stickers, it simply said  

"To: Maria
From: Elida
I love you so much.
You are the best friend that I know."  

Those few words from her really put into perspective the kind of impact we are having on these people. In the little time that we have, we are seeing such great change. They are, maybe for the first time, seeing what Christ-like love is like and how beautiful it is.

God is doing such a great work here and we`re only halfway done. I`m looking forward to what our ministry will look like at the end of our time here.  

And as I mentioned last week, I would love for you to continue praying for Elida and that God would use me as His instrument in her life. Below, is the beautiful face to go with my prayer request. :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

these times are unforgettable

I am so thankful.

I am so thankful for all the moments here and the people that I am sharing them with. God has blessed me incredibly.

I keep finding myself in awe of the community that has been created between me and my team. I feel like I`ve known them for so much longer than just three weeks.

This past week I celebrated my 21st birthday here. It was simple, but I felt so loved. I feel like they know me so well already and truly wanted to make it a special day in every way possible. They did everything from surprising me with a cake, overloading me with white chocolate, and having a dance party with some of the girls by the light of our headlamps.

Not only has my team been a blessing, but the La Kennedy community as well. One of the ladies, named Carla, from the community found out it was my birthday when we were visiting on Monday. She immediately ran into her small shack and ran back with a ring for me. I was completely taken by surprise and felt blessed and in awe of her selfless generosity. I have grown to love enjoy every moment I have to spend with each of them.

However, over the past few weeks, I`ve been trying to build a relationship with one of the young girls named Elida. She`s 10 years old. I`ve been teaching her some simple English, while at the same time, I`ve been learning Spanish from her. Each time we`re together I feel so happy and content. And each time we`re together, Elida asks me "Will you be here tomorrow?"

She is one of my main focuses in La Kennedy this summer and I just ask that you would pray for this little girl. She is still  very young and moldable. I want to be able to show her Christ in a way that could change her life. She`still innocent and drugfree and it breaks my heart to think that drugs and pregnancy are in here near future if God does not do something miraculous in her and I just pray that I can be one of God`s instruments in changing this one person`s life. Please pray for her and  the impact I will have on this summer. I am hoping to have a photo of Elida to go along with my prayer request soon.

Again, I am so thankful for each moment I have here, the big and the small. I treasure them all and will remember them always.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

warriors for Christ

Earlier this week I was woken up in the middle of the night by a spiritual encounter from the enemy. I was able to hear and feel its presence. My instincts prompted me to pray immediately and within moments of communicating with God, it was gone. I knew that there was nothing to fear because Satan cannot touch us. And when he knows that we know that, he is left weak and defenseless (praise the Lord). I continued to pray until I felt the peace of God`s protection over my team, the property, Tony, and all of the kids and adults on site. It was only then that I was able to rest again.

God was able to take this incident and bring to my attention the prevalence of spiritual warfare here, in Honduras, and how to address it. Satan has taken advantage of a suffering and impoverished nation. He has gained footholds that seem almost impossible to break; to the point of increasing hopelessness among the nation`s people. This place is in need of the kind of hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.

That`s where we, as the body of Christ, come in. We are the messengers of God`s hope. It is through people like you and I that these footholds can be weakened and broken.

It says in scripture that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. God has been reminding me of how important my and my team`s work here is this summer. We are being used to reap His harvest and to combat against Satan`s attacks.

The day after my spiritual encounter, I gathered my team together and shared with them how prevalent spiritual warfare is and that we, as a team, need to keep strong and united in order to defend and protect the work that God has, is, and will do. We are warriors for Christ and any division among His people gives the enemy an upper hand.

I read to my team the passage of scripture from Romans 12:9-21. It basically tells what love is and how to show it to one another. I felt that this passage would serve as a good reminder and help keep any divisions from happening between any group or individual on the team.

That same night we, as a team, covered each other, the building and the property in prayer. We walked around and poured out prayer and scripture over the building we reside in and over each person`s tent. At the end of the night, God`s protection and love was so tangible. There was so much peace in our place.

God is doing great things in our team and the people we are coming in contact with this summer. It`s amazing to see God`s hand constantly at work among His people. There is so much good to come and nothing or no one will interfere as long as we are faithful to Him and His will.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

Continue to keep us in your prayers. We treasure every ounce of it.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

hello from Honduras

I'm really excited to finally have the chance to update you for the first time since arriving in Honduras with my team about a week ago! I'm sure you've been on the edge of your seat waiting. ;)

Training at Toccoa Falls went really well. I bonded with my team whom I love like crazy now. It's hard to believe that I've been with my team for a week. It feels like we've been together forever. I was able to gain more insight on my relationship with God and work on the areas I was struggling with. I now feel like I can better discern God's voice in my heart.

Before arriving in Honduras, I was struggling with my expectations for the summer. I was afraid that after being in Honduras before and loving and missing it so much, that I would not feel the same love as I have been hoping and expecting for when I finally return.

I arrived in the Tegucigalpa airport still a little hesitant. I rolled my suitcases through the the main greeting lobby and before me stood a young Honduran boy, named Hectór, in a cast, holding a sign that said "Welcome to Honduras Maria". In that moment, I fell in love all over again.

God had completely blown my expectations out of the water. If you are walking in the will of God, He will ALWAYS far surpass any expectations you could ever have or dream. I am so thankful to serve such a faithful and giving God!

I will briefly mention some of the ministries we'll be doing this summer off of the Zion's Gate property and give more details once we've started!

Come Monday, we will be going down to the nearby private Christian school and we will teach English to sixth graders for five days a week. Each member of my team will be paired up with two students to teach and pour into over the next two months.

We will also be going to the streets of La Kennedy and Los Pinos to hang out and build relationships with kids involved in drugs such as weed, crack, and sniffing paint thinner.

Along with doing these ministries on a consistent basis, we will also travel and do some short-term ministries and have a little recreational time.

Thank you so much for all your prayers. I feel so blessed and know without a doubt that I am supposed to be here. God has instilled in me so much peace.

I hope to update you again soon!

con amor,

Friday, May 17, 2013

pray for Zion's Gate

I've finally made it to the point in my trip where I am 100% funded and all that's left to do is finish up gathering supplies and packing to leave (in less than 14 days I might add)! Everyone who has supported me in prayer and funds and encouragement for this adventure is a blessing. It is because of you and of course, God, that this opportunity is a reality.

Once I fly from Indianapolis on May 31st, I will be spending a few days at Toccoa Falls College for training. During that time, I will meet my team and begin to build relationships. On June 4th, my team and I will fly together to Honduras to start our ministry at Zion's Gate. Zion's Gate is located just a short distance outside of Tegucigalpa, the capital city, in the mountains. During our time at Zion's Gate, we will be living in community and working with children and teenagers who have been saved from their former lives on the streets as drug addicts, gang members, and/or thieves.

We will be there to build relationships, while setting a Christ-like example. If you follow this link, you can meet the people of Zion's Gate (the bottom of the page has a link to meet the girls as well).

Please pray for them and pray that we will fulfill what God has intended for us to do while in community with them! I know that He will use my team to do great things this summer and I can't wait to see how it is He uses each of us.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

blogging apprentice

Hey friends,

I have dabbled in the blogging arts a bit in the past, but this will be the first time that I am consistent (at least hopefully). I created this blog so that I am able to keep you updated leading up to and all throughout my journey this summer.

For those of you who may not know yet, I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend my summer as a missionary in Honduras! On May 31, I will be setting off for Gainesville, GA to meet and train with the team I will be spending my time with through June and July. A few short days after that, my team and I head to Honduras where we will be spending nearly eight weeks traveling and ministering. I'll definitely be able to divulge more details a little later when I know more myself.

In the meantime, I am working hard to raise funds and get the word out about my trip. Many have been very faithful and generous to my cause and I could not be more thankful! I have also been trying to keep myself accountable to contributing to the funds for my trip. I am almost done with a t-shirt fundraiser where I partnered with an awesome organization called Fund the Nations. FtN helped me design a custom t-shirt where nearly all of the funds go to support my trip. On top of that, I will be performing through an independent acting group, called Parable, at my home church to help spread the word and raise even more funds.

My hope is that you will pray for me starting now and throughout my time on the field and that this blog will be a reminder for you to do so. I also hope that I can be an inspiration and blessing to you through the words that I write and the experiences that I share. I can feel that God has some pretty awesome things in store for me and my team this summer and can't to include you in the journey!