Category Archives: Ministry

Advice from one missionary to another

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Recently I read some wise words from a veteran missionary to those out on the itineration trail raising their funds.  I won’t use the author’s name because he’s serving in what we call a “sensitive region” or a country that doesn’t want missionaries… go ahead and read between those lines.  So I will only say that these are not my words, but I totally agree with them and wanted to share them here.  I hope this wise advice finds fertile soil in some missionary’s heart.

A Warning to the Itinerant:

Missionaries are given the immense privilege of representing God’s heart to both the nations and the church. When we return from our fields of obedience we are invited into pulpits – grand and humble – to speak on behalf of both the lost and the Lord. We are feted and lauded – which can lead to pride. We observe shallowness and performance – which can lead to a critical spirit. The more we travel and speak, the more we must beware our own hearts. I sat down this weekend and wrote out some warnings to myself:

– I do not deserve the pulpit, I have not ‘earned’ it.
– I am not better than the ones I preach to.
– I cannot presume God’s favor or anointing
– I cannot live in sin and call others to holiness
– My life has to match my exhortations
– I can’t rely on old sermons. I am responsible to give God’s flock fresh bread. If a sermon is to be re-used, it must be fresh to my soul.
– I cannot allow any whisper of entitlement into my heart. I am not owed praise, respect, attention, or any financial offering.
– I cannot think my looks, height, posture, style, or natural ability is important, nor that natural gifts can in any way impart divine life to the hearer.
– I cannot waste God’s time or money with half-hearted preparation, reflection, passion, or effort.
– The flock must see and feel that I love them, and more importantly that I love Jesus.
– My spirit must be gentle even if my words are hard.
– I must have true humility and lowliness. Nothing is as proud or as rank as false humility, whether to the individual or before the congregation.
– I must care more about what God thinks than man, and must obey His promptings and speak as His oracle.
– If I do not ascend to the pulpit clothed and endued with the Holy Spirit, I am immediately exposed as naked and foolish before God, and it will not be long until I am exposed as a fraud before all men.
– I must have a holy terror of speaking in my own strength or from my own wisdom. I must have a heavenly horror of speaking what is false, exaggerated, or misleading. I must be terrified of speaking one word without the covering and impetus of the Spirit.

I noted with sadness this weekend that even if all is said in the right spirit and under God’s authority, some ears remain deaf, and others hear selectively. We cannot control our hearers, nor are we responsible for how they hear. We are responsible for what and how we speak. It is incumbent on us to speak the words of God in the way and spirit He requires. This is a fearful and awesome privilege. God help us. God watch over our hearts and lips.

 

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Clean Your Room!

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Francis Chan is one of the most amazing speakers for his use of illustrations.  In this 2 minute video clip he talks about “how NOT to make disciples”.  Seriously, I think this has amazing applications for the church.  What if we stopped memorizing the Great Commission and actually DID it.  What if we stopped arguing about titles and worship styles and started leading people to Jesus.  What if we stopped listening to podcasts about “what is missions” and actually WENT.

“I desire obedience, not sacrifice.”

A Frank Talk about Finances

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Today I want to speak frankly to you about a missionary’s budget.  This is not a personal plea for help.  What I want you to see is what happens on our end when supporters “drop” us.  There is a ripple effect that builds as it moves like a tsunami wave.  For some supporters, giving to a missionary means that you sacrifice 2 or 3 Starbucks drinks per week to give $100 a month.  For those types of supporters, you may not see how that $100 a month makes much of a difference, so it’s not a big deal for you if you “shift” that money to another “need” every once and a while.  For the missionary, it’s a different story.  That $100 pledge is significant- it counts… EVERY MONTH.   Let me show you how.

Each sending agency is different, but in our agency each missionary raises his own budget which is set by the agency.  Our agency does not have any reserve funds for us. We are responsible for all our own support raising.  If the funds do not come in, we must come off the field before we are so low that we can’t buy a plane ticket home.  This has happened to several of our friends in the last few years.  Some of them never recover financially and can never return to the field.  This does not mean they lack faith.  This means their supporters stopped giving.  Let’s be practical.

In our system of fund raising we have many, many small supporters which we bring together over the course of a year or more of itineration.  For us it’s a lot of work, but it’s a blessing, because if one or two supporters drop off, we can survive with belt tightening.  That’s where we are right now.  At the moment, our ministry budget is at zero, and it has been there for months now.  That means that any money we spend on ministry comes right out of our personal account.  We are personally funding our own ministry.  For example, this Friday night we have a meeting for our leadership core at our house.  I am making dinner for all of them.  The cost of the food will come out of our own grocery budget.  The students coming from far off will stay over night in our house.  In the morning they will eat our cereal and drink our milk and coffee.  Somehow, God always takes care of us and our own children have never gone hungry as we give hospitality to others.  That’s where the faith happens.  That’s where the miracles occur.

In other missionary sending agencies, one or two large donors support one missionary. That means way less fund raising for the missionary.  But I have a friend here working under a system like this and last week they lost one of their two supporting churches.  In their bank account they currently have $2,000 will is supposed to last until December when they go home for a month of support raising.  They can’t live on that.  At this point they don’t even have the money to buy those plane tickets to come home and raise more support.  They are living on faith, and God is surprising them with little blessings that trickle in.

You might not think your $100 pledge is a big deal, but it has a big impact on the missionaries.  This week as my husband and I discussed our finances we had a little argument which seems humorous now, but it illustrates how your small pledge makes a big difference.  I was complaining that we only have one finger nail clipper in the house and I can never find it when I need it.  I told my husband I wanted to buy another finger nail clipper to keep upstairs.  He said, No, we already have a clipper.  I said, Yes, but I can never find it.  He said, but we HAVE one already.  I raised my voice, Yes, but I can’t FIND IT!  I wrote “finger nail clipper” on the grocery list.  When he ran to the store next time, he did not buy one.  I rebelled and made a special trip to the store to buy a finger nail clipper.

This is a stupid argument, I know, but this is what happens when money is very tight.  You might not feel like it’s a big deal to skip a month of your missions pledge.  But it’s a big deal on our end.  It means we bicker about small purchases, fret over having enough milk for guests, or worse, get stranded in our field and don’t have enough money for a plane ticket home.  Please be faithful to your promises to your missionaries.  You should never take money from your missionary pledge to “give” to another need.  Extra giving should come above and beyond your missions giving.

When you miss a month, we feel it.  Imagine if your employer went on vacation and forgot to pay you one month.  Or image if he said, “Well, we had another speaker in who presented another need and I felt compelled to give what I normally would pay to you to this guy with the pictures of needy children.  I’ll pay you your salary next month, maybe.”  That’s exactly what happens to missionaries when supporters skip a month- we don’t get paid.  There’s no back up fund to cover your missed payment.  Please be faithful in your promises and don’t leave your missionaries hanging.  It makes a difference to us when you are faithful in your giving.

Not my picture.  I don't know who owns this.

Not my picture. I don’t know who owns this.

Jesus had boundaries too

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Our Savior Jesus, walked in a human body with human limitations.  If the Son of God had to draw boundaries, then so do I.  In Mark 6 we have two stories back to back that show the stress and strain placed on Jesus in the ministry.  First we see him preparing to send out his disciples for some hands-on ministry training time.  He gives them instructions, forms little teams, and sends them out.  In the meantime, Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist is beheaded.  John’s own disciples go to collect the body and bury him.  (A couple of Jesus’ own disciples HAD been followers of John before Jesus started his public ministry, so this news would have come as a shock to them as well.)  So the disciples come back to Jesus to report on what they did on their mini missions trip around the area and they receive the bad news of John’s death.  This is what we read in Mark 6:30-32.

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught.  Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

Have you ever been so busy that you haven’t had time to even EAT let alone talk with your family… or worse, you haven’t been able to grieve for a loss or celebrate a victory!  We need times of retreat to do both, to heal and to savor life.  When the pace is rapid fire, go-go-go that is a time when we need to pull in the boundary lines.  It’s not always possible to slow down and take a weekend away RIGHT NOW.  But you still need it, soon.  Put it on the calendar.  Say No to some lesser obligations to carve out space for rest and retreat.

Also, don’t forget your Sabbath Rest.  This is a commandment!  You need one day per week to stop working and to honor God.  On the Sabbath we honor God with our Rest.  For most people it is Sunday- but for ministers this is a work day, so they need to take a different day for rest.  This is a commandment!  “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.”  For the 6 days of creation, the Lord worked, and on the 7th day he rested… not because he was tired.  God rested to give us the example of HOW TO STOP WORKING and to honor Him.  God has ordered us to rest.  (I love rest!  I could take a nap every day!! So why is this such a hard commandment to obey?)

So back to the passage in Mark 6.  Jesus wanted his disciples to rest and retreat for a while.  But when they arrived at their retreat destination, there was a crowd of several THOUSAND people waiting for Jesus.  Rest would have to wait a while longer.  Jesus had compassion on the multitudes of “shepherdless” people, so he stayed to teach them and then feed them with miraculous provisions.  After the 5,000 were fed, we read this:

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.  After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray alone.

Jesus needed a break.  And the disciples needed a break too.  They needed it badly enough for Jesus to send them ahead while he dismissed the crowd.  It’s like saying, “Honey, take the kids out to the car and wait for me,” when you see your children having an exhaustion fueled melt-down on the floor in the church lobby.  I think Jesus knew his disciples had reached their limits.  He knew where HIS limits were too, and he knew it was time to recharge the batteries with some quiet, alone time with the Father.  Even the Son of God needed to pull away for a while and rest.  I love that.  It helps me accept and embrace my own need for rest and retreat.

Boundaries

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I’ve spent this last week thinking a lot about the need for healthy boundaries in life.  Normally I understand my own boundaries and limitations without giving it much thought, but when a major life-change comes along, sometimes the boundaries need to be shifted to accommodate that change.

For me, some of the hardest boundaries to draw are between people.  I have no problem enforcing boundaries over non-human elements.  I try not to bring work home with me.  I am retraining myself not to answer work emails on the weekends.  I am starting to shut my office door when I need to focus on some task without being interrupted.  Those boundaries are easy for me.  The more difficult boundaries are between myself and other people.

[Now, please, please, please don’t think that I’m trying to send anyone a not-so-subtle message with this blog.  If you come to me tomorrow and say, “did you write that blog about me?!”  I’m going to smack you and tell you to quit being so self absorbed.  This is NOT about one person, but it is about people in general.]

Photo credit: joiseyshowaa / Foter / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: joiseyshowaa / Foter / CC BY-SA

Here’s what I’ve noticed about boundaries between people.  When you are in a people-focused occupation… like ministry… your automatic response is to want to help people and to fix their problems.  Here’s where I get into trouble and over extend myself.  There are people in our lives who truly need and deserve our time and attention, and then there are people who are just a drain on me emotionally.  And sometimes it’s hard to know the difference.  Sometimes boundaries must be readjusted when I realize that a person is moving from one category to the other.

When a person only wants to talk about their problems, and never reciprocates concern for my wellbeing- it’s time to redraw the boundaries.  When a person’s problems never seem to get any better no matter how many suggestions I give, that’s an indication that I have them in the wrong category, and I need to make some adjustments.  I can spin my wheels in mud forever with them and nothing will be resolved, so now I need to limit the amount of time I give them.

It’s not only for MY sake, but sometimes it’s an indication that I’M not the one who can help them.  That’s not to say that NO ONE can help them.  But if they keep coming to me, they will never seek another avenue.  Plus, it’s like I’m denying that Jesus is really, ultimately the one that they need- not me.  I don’t want to create a dependency issue, so I use boundaries.

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee / Foter / CC BY

Another red flag that indicates that the boundaries are not in the right place is when a person just flat-out exhausts me.  When I start dreading seeing their name pop up in an email or I start navigating crowds to avoid someone, then it’s time to put some space between myself and the person who drains me.  I know that sounds heartless for a missionary to say.   But I need those boundaries for my own health and well being too.  How can I help others if one or two people are draining my limited energies.  For me, my feelings are the fuel indicator lights of my life.  When the big red E is blinking, we have a problem.

The last thing that I want to say about boundaries is that they can be in different places for different people.  For me, I have friends that I never get tired of being around, and others who require me to pull myself inwards and withdraw into myself more.  It depends on the person and how  they either energize me or drain me.

For other friends of mine, the time of day is the thing they need to pay attention to- that’s where their fuel light is located.  I have a friend and fellow missionary who goes to bed early.  We all know that’s her boundary.  We don’t get offended when she leaves a party early or backs out of a dinner engagement because she’s tired.  That’s just her limit.  When she’s on E she needs to go to bed.

[This same friend gave me a handy little phrase that I now use to help me say “no” without offending.  I now say, “That’s not going to work for me.”  So if you hear that from me, it means NO.]

Photo credit: kristarella / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: kristarella / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

For others, their limits involve their iPhone or cell.  They are tempted to answer every phone call, every text, every instant message they receive in the very moment that their phone dings.  (They are like Pavlov’s dogs who were trained to drool at the sound of a bell.)  That little ding becomes a demanding little dictator separating them from friends, family, and events happening right at this moment.   These friends need to learn to turn their phones off and give their attention to the present.

So you see, we all have boundary lines that need to be drawn, guarded, and reassessed frequently just to keep us emotionally fueled up and running smoothly.  That’s where I am with this new school year and new job.  I’m readjusting boundaries and reading the fuel light frequently.  I’m having to say No to people and things, not because I’m mean and hateful, just because I’m human.  Boundaries are necessary.

Fingerprints all over the place

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The Book of Esther in the Bible is a fascinating story about a Jewish girl who won a royal beauty pageant and was chosen to be queen.  She became aware of a plot to wipe out the Jews, and she determined to beg the King for mercy for her people at the risk of her own life.  The most famous verse in Esther is where her uncle is counseling her in how to proceed and spurring her on to courage. He tells her, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”  It is an inspirational story that is still celebrated in the Jewish holiday of Purim and in the commencement speeches of Christian schools all across America.  But the astounding thing about the Book of Esther is that the name of God is not mentioned once.  Not Once!

Even with the lack of direct mention, no one can doubt that this book belongs in the Bible because we see God’s fingerprints all over the arranging of events and lining up of “coincidences”.  In the olden days they would have called that “Providence”.  In modern Christianese we call these “God moments” or “Divine appointments”.  It doesn’t really matter what you call it.  There are just times when God reaches down into the space-time continuum and gets involved in human lives or in history on a grand scale.  God is not a far off, distanced ruler.  He is intimate.  Another name for God is Emmanuel which literally means “God with Us”.

I love those moments when you look back and see that God was guiding the details of your life.  I love finding God’s fingerprints all over the place, evidence that He is God with Us.  Part of my responsibilities as Vice Principal include beating the bushes for new teachers.  This year nearly our entire staff changed.  Some of the positions were filled from connections that other teachers had.  Some of them came directly from my circle of acquaintances.  And some of them were Divine appointments- pure God.

For example, we had filled the 4th and 5th grade positions with relative ease.  But the 6th grade class was still vacant.  We interviewed several people, and nothing was fitting together right.  Both the principal and I decided to pray specifically that God would lead us to the right person.  I felt that God was saying to me, “This person is not going to come from YOUR resources.”  So I had no idea what God had in mind!  OK, God, surprise me.

One day the Assistant to the Principal and I were the only two in the office.  In walked a young lady who simply asked, “Do you have any teaching positions available for September?  I’ve been taking classes at the language school this summer and I’ve decided that I want to stay in Costa Rica.”  The Assistant and I exchanged big-eyed looks.  I interviewed her on the spot, exchanged email addresses with her, and that was that.  A miracle literally just walked in the door.

Photo credit: Jack Spades / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Jack Spades / Foter / CC BY

Then this week, another miracle was handed to us directly by God.  As you know, our second grade teacher quit just 2 weeks before the first day of school… 8 days before teacher orientation.  That day I spent a lot of time in prayer, asking the Lord to provide the right person that He had in mind.  I posted the plea for teachers on Facebook, and over a dozen of my friends reposted my status or forwarded it to friends of theirs.  A friend of a friend connected me with the name of a girl and I sent her a message.  I explained the job and asked if she would be interested.  She told me that she had been specifically praying for a teaching position in Costa Rica for this school year!  And she could be here in a week!   “And who knows that you have come here for such a time as this?”  I am totally flabbergasted at how God pulled that one off.

I was at the end of my resources.  I had already asked every teacher I knew in Costa Rica during the previous teacher search.  I had exhausted all of my connections in every direction.  So when this need came up, I was empty handed.  I went to the Lord as a pauper, a beggar.  And I am astounded at His extravagance.  Divine appointment or God Moment… whatever… God was in the House and His fingerprints are all over the place.

Mangos for Monkeys

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If you are a regular reader, you may have been wondering where I was yesterday and why there was no Monday blog… or maybe you didn’t even notice.  But we have been out of town all weekend and I didn’t realize that I forgot to plan blogs for this week until Monday afternoon.  Oops.  My mind has been on other things.

“What kind of other things?” you may wonder.  We just completed our first real Leadership Retreat for our university ministry here in Costa Rica.  We have been working at establishing this ministry for the last 3 years and here’s where we are at this point.

our leadership team

our leadership team

These are most of our leaders, and as you can see, they represent student lead small groups on 9 campuses around the country.  And we are still growing.  We are leading leaders.

This weekend we rented a house on the beach, tucked into the rain forest and we poured into their lives.  The students, some of whom only knew each other via Facebook previously because they live in other cities, came away feeling like they were a family.  I read their comments on Facebook as they complimented and teased each other and encouraged and quoted each other.  It was a great weekend.

Once the students left for home, my family and I stayed another two days for a little R&R after the intense preparation leading up to the retreat.  We were awoken each morning by the loud pitter patter of monkeys jumping and running across the tin roof of the house.  This morning we all got up to enjoy the show.  We threw slices of mangos out the window and onto the roof for the little monkeys to eat.  We’ve seen monkeys many times here, but I can’t remember ever having so much fun with them.

throwing mangos out the window for the monkeys

throwing mangos out the window for the monkeys

They were so cute and mischievous.

They were so cute and mischievous.

We had quite the entertainment right on our patio.

We had quite the entertainment right on our patio.

my kids wanted to catch one and take it home with us.  Um, no.

my kids wanted to catch one and take it home with us. Um, no.

 

Honestly living in Costa Rica has in some ways ruined us forever.  We will never again think a zoo is a great place to spend an afternoon.  After you see the animals in the wild, anything else is just sad and disappointing.  On this trip we had two sloths just hanging out in the tree right off our patio.  We saw 3 different types of monkeys all in one day, and monkeys in general every morning.  And we lived among the geckos and gigantic insects and iguanas and jungle birds for a few days- some of that was not wonderful, but it is very different from life in Minnesota.  I don’t know if I can ever go back to “regular” life after living in Costa Rica.  This is my home and I love it here!

Love is in the details

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pizza faceWhen we were in Youth ministry all those years ago we were poor… dirt poor.  And most of the time we did not get reimbursed for things like having teenagers drop by the house after school for a snack and a bit of conversation.  I always assured the kids that if they stopped by the house I could always make popcorn and Koolade even if I had nothing else in the house.  Sometimes I had enough ingredients to make cookies.  And we tried to keep a stash of frozen pizzas on hand for those spontaneous “parties” when a bunch of kids would land at our house after youth group.  But anyone who knows teenagers knows that they are worse than a plague of locust- they can clean out your pantry in a matter of minutes.

I discovered that many of our kids really liked the strawberry lemonade I made from scratch.  I started freezing large ziplocks full of lemonade to have on hand too.  Eventually I started giving away frozen lemonade as birthday presents to some of my girls who particularly loved it.  It may seem like an odd gift, but I paid attention to what people enjoyed and remembered what made them happy- that was the real gift.  The girls loved getting frozen lemonade for their birthdays.

Here in Costa Rica, in the absence of Starbucks and Caribou Coffee shops, I have started a new trend among our students.  I serve iced coffee.  I have asked various missions teams to bring me bottles of coffee syrups and we set up a regular coffee shop in my kitchen.  Our “regular” students know the formula now and can instruct the newbies in how to prepare the best iced coffee drinks on the planet.

Just because I know someone will ask me for the recipe, I’m going to share it here.  It’s pretty easy.  It’s a cold press base which means you dump a small package of coffee into a pitcher, fill with cold water, and put it in the fridge for 24 hours.  Then you scoop and strain off the grounds and top off the pitcher with more cold water if needed.  That’s the coffee base.  Now you need sweet cream.  This is made my mixing one can of evaporated milk and one can of sweetened condensed milk.  To make the iced coffee drink, start with a cup of ice.  Pour half of the cup full of coffee base and half full of sweet cream.  You can add syrups if you like.  I like to drink mine with a straw… because I like straws. 🙂

Anyhow, my point is that love is in the little things like paying attention to the details of a person, knowing the things they like, remembering their birthday, or being causally gracious when they stop by your house unannounced.  You don’t need to be fancy to show someone they are loved and accepted.  Nothing makes me happier than to see my kitchen full of teenagers or University students munching on handfuls of popcorn and enjoying a homemade iced coffee drink.  Love is in the details.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/uggboy/5287980888/”&gt;|| UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com/Art/”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>

Called to be a Dandelion

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gardeniaLast year on the campus of our school there was a beautiful, ancient gardenia bush that bloomed and bloomed for the pleasure of all who would pass by it.  It was about the size of a VW bug… the old kind.  I loved that bush.  I know what it takes to keep a bush like that alive and blooming.  I’ve had three of them in my past gardening history.  They are spoiled, temperamental plants.  I currently feed mine coffee grounds every few weeks… it likes coffee.

But one day I came to school and was horrified to see that the old gardenia bush was under attack.  Every single leaf had a huge bite taken out of it.  During the night, leaf cutter ants had demolished the ancient bush.  The gardener pruned it hard, but it could not be saved.  I mourned the day that they cut the bush down completely.

One of my first purchases when we moved to Costa Rica was to buy a pair of books about the Birds and Plants of Costa Rica.  Yes, I’m kind of a nerd like that.  I like to know the names of things.  Back home in Minnesota I have a huge Encyclopedia of Gardening, 900 pages worth!  I spent many a winter day reading about the Ph of soils and the light requirements of various plants.  I just really like plants.

dandelionsIf I were to compare myself to a flower, I would say that I’m not a gardenia, a rose, or a jasmine.  I’m a dandelion.  I have read that dandelions are not native to America, though they seem quite happy in Minnesota lawns.  I read that one of the first governors of Minnesota had a wife who heard about dandelion salads being in vogue in Europe.  So she imported the stylish “flower” to cultivate in her kitchen garden.  Little did she realize that she would single handedly blanket the state with the yellow weeds which are the bane of every weekend gardener’s existence.

blowing a dandelionI am a dandelion.  I’m not saying I’m a weed to be hated.  I’m saying I’m common, ordinary, and imported.  Being a missionary, I am not native to my soil here in Costa Rica.  But my plan is to reproduce our ministry prolifically.  We are in University ministry.  We hope to blanket the country with students who will reach out to other students who will reach out to other students… on and on.  This is the goal of every missionary- spiritual reproduction.

I don’t want what I do to be so fragile and finicky that it is easily destroyed by an army of pests.  I don’t want what I plant to be beautiful but high maintenance.  I want the wind of the Holy Spirit to carry the hardy seeds of our ministry to distant soils.  I want University Campuses to become the natural environment for Christian small groups and Bible studies to spring up every where.  I want Christian university students to be so numerous that they are no longer rare.  I want us to be common.  I am called to be a dandelion.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/cameliatwu/3839938475/”>CameliaTWU</a&gt; / <a href=”http://foter.com/Flowers/”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>

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100 years of Walking with Jesus

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Just a reminder that today’s story is a repost from my Facebook page from last Sunday.  If you don’t want to read it again, just come back on Thursday.  I’m cooking up a good one!
Sunday in church there was a woman who was 106 years old. I didn’t notice this tiny little white haired woman until the pastor drew our attention to her.  He asked her to tell about when she met Jesus. I couldn’t hear the first part very well since she didn’t have a microphone, but basically when she was a preschooler someone taught her the verse about Jesus saying, “I stand at the door and knock…” and told her that she needed to forgive her enemies. Those are deep concepts for a preschooler.  But she asked Jesus to come in to her heart and has been walking with Jesus for over 100 years!
I wanted to scoop her up and hug her.  My husband asked me, “Do you really think she is over 100?  She doesn’t look like it.”  I reminded him that his own grandma had turned 100 last summer and she still looks the same as ever.
I think this was a wonderful inspiration for all the children’s pastors and Sunday School teachers and nursery workers out there. Those little ears are listening!  You might not see the fruit of your labors, but your reward in Heaven will be great.