Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer Endings and New Beginnings

Here is what has gone on over the past couple weeks and ministry opportunities heading into this fall and winter!

- This December I will have opportunity to go on a mission trip to Slovenia.  The trip is with the International Sports Federation - an organization that uses sports missions as a tool to share the Gospel.  One of my friends, Jessica, who I served with when I worked for a traveling sports ministry a few years ago, is their Director of Mobilization, and she will also be going.  Our team will be skiing at various resorts in Slovenia and distributing evangelism materials in partnership with local missionaries.  Please pray that I will be able to raise the support necessary to go on this trip!  For those of you who might not know, to the left is a map that shows where Slovenia is.  As those who understand ski and boarding lingo would say, I can't wait to go "shred (tear up the mountain) for my Savior!" or in Bible terms, "Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17)."

Catapalooza Booth

- Catapalooza is a three day event at Montana State University where over 2,500 incoming freshman and their parents, along with other students and people in the community come through.  Many organizations in the community set up booths.  I was able to set up a booth for Kirkwood Baptist along with our youth pastor Andrew and treasurer Matt.  We handed out care packages to many students that included invitations to a dinner we are hosting in a couple weeks and other information about Kirkwood. Throughout the three days we were able to make connections with many students as well as other organizations and ministries. It was a blast!  Please pray for God to open the door to further these relationships.

Bench outside the front doors -
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father,
the Son and the Holy Spirit." Matthew 28:19

 - This fall I will have to opportunity to audit a class at Montana Bible College here in Bozeman.  I will be taking the World Religions class and am excited about the opportunity.  I really thought I would never go back to school, but when this door opened I just couldn't pass up the opportunity!  Class starts this coming Monday morning and I am looking forward to meeting new people and learning from teachers who have a passion for taking Jesus to the nations.

- This Sunday, the 26th, I will have the chance to share my testimony during service at Kirkwood Baptist.  God tells us in Revelation 12:11 that "we overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony."  That means that what God has done in and through our lives is important and we should be willing to share it with others... all for His glory.

Please also pray for:
- Pastor Wyatt, Misty and their three girls as they are still in Tennessee visiting family.  They will be returning to Montana Monday, August 27th.
- For God to open the door to build relationships with some of those we met at Catapalooza this past week as well as to partnerships with other ministries in town.
- Most of the kids head back to school here August 29th. Please pray especially for our youth pastor Andrew and his plans to reach the youth in the community this fall. I also have some meetings I am trying to set up in the next couple weeks to discuss with key people possible plans in the coming year. We will also be fully back into the swing of Sunday and Wednesday night activities starting the beginning of September.
- Please pray as I adjust to my schedule for this fall - that I am intentional with my time and am faithful in pursuing the opportunities God puts in my path.

A couple quick shoutouts: Know I am praying for all of you back in Nashville - for everyone at Judson as you get ready for the Global Impact Celebration in a few weeks (can't wait to be there!) and to the kiddos and families at Foundations Christian Academy (where I worked Aug 2010-May 2012) - hope you had a great first week back at school and looking forward to hearing all about what God does through each of you throughout this year!  Miss you all but so grateful to be where God has me for this season!

Love you all and thank you so much for your prayers and support! It definitely makes my day whenever I hear from you!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A New Chapter

There has been a lot going on in Bozeman over the past couple weeks!  Here are some highlights:
-          Moved to a new place here in Bozeman (and for lack of a better way to get the word out - that means I have a new address – email me if you need it!)
-          Opportunity to take Jacey, Nick and Mason (three sweet brothers who have been involved in Kickball Club and VBS all summer) to lunch and spend an afternoon with them before they returned to Illinois for the school year where their mom lives.
-          Got to watch Pastor James and Misty’s three girls for a weekend while they went up to Canada for a wedding.  It was a blast of a time – pie making, hiking, coming up with a dance routine to “Ole Ole Ole” while watching soccer in the Olympics (yes, really) and just sharing a sweet time together!
With the Wyatt girls

Hiked the "M" trail with Muranda, Alex and Cassie

-          Had final meeting for summer Bible study I have been attending – it was a sweet community of people I was blessed to meet there and the chance to be in the Word with them was definitely an answered prayer through the summer.
-          We had our last day of kickball club – it was awesome to see God work through that ministry throughout the summer as we had an opportunity weekly to build relationships with many children and do devotions.
Gospel Presentation at Kickball Club

-          We had a visit from Pastor Russ (First Baptist Provo), his wife Lesley and their three kids – second time I have gotten to be with them this summer – they are awesome and we have spoken about possibly getting our churches to partner on some work in the states as well as overseas.
-          A small mission team from Dalton, Georgia is currently here – they have helped with many odds and ends around the church, as well as putting together care packages in preparation for an event at Montana State University when the students return in a couple weeks where we are hoping to build relationships with freshman as well as returning students. They have also been prayer walking in key areas around town and one evening I took them on a trip up Hyalite Canyon to one of the falls. They will finish out their week tomorrow by helping us with the Back to School Bash we have in a local neighborhood where we are giving out school supplies to families in need. They are officially here on a site visit to prepare for a potential partnership and full mission team to come out next summer. 

Preparing for Catapalooza at MSU

With Dalton, GA team up Hyalite Canyon

Palisade Falls, Hyalite Canyon

Personal Update:
After much prayer over the past couple months, I feel confirmation that the Lord is leading me to remain in Bozeman for this coming year.  There are still some details to fall in to place, but God is the author of details and He often calls us to walk forth in obedience and trust Him to light the path one step at a time.  He truly is Jehovah Jireh – the Lord who provides – and I have seen that time and time again, especially as I have said “yes” to remain here in Montana.
For those who do not know, I think it is important to share with you how I even ended up here in the first place…
I had the perfect life in Nashville.  I was serving as Camp Director at Judson Baptist Church with an amazing church family, while also working at a Christian academy with 120 of the sweetest kids and families in the world.  Life couldn’t have been any better.  In June of 2011, my dear friend and mentor Jenny called me while on a mission trip to Bozeman and said, “I could see you out here for a while.”  I quickly dismissed the notion, reciting the million reasons why Nashville was the place for me.  At the time I truly believed I was where God wanted me.  However, God tells us to hold our plans lightly and walk with Him one day at a time.
Well, in September of 2011 our administrative pastor approached me about the possibility of interning in Bozeman the following summer and I told him I would pray about it.  I was walking through about a five month period where all I heard in every sermon, Sunday school lesson and Bible study was “be obedient.”  I didn’t know what that meant at the time and just prayed that the Lord would make the desires of my heart match His when the time was right.  In November 2011 I got on a plane to Bozeman for a site visit.  During that ride I asked the Lord to show me what I was still holding onto that I needed to surrender to Him.  He showed me it was the community of people I was surrounded by in Nashville. 
When I left Salt Lake City, where my layover was, it was a completely cloudy sky and I was still praying for clarity from the Lord.  As we got ready to descend into Bozeman, the skies cleared and it was like hearing "welcome home."  I knew at that point I would be coming back to Bozeman before too long. 
On the field where Jenny called me from
in June 2011 ... this was taken May 2012
After a great site visit, I returned to Nashville and began preparing to come out here to intern this summer.  I felt the Lord asking me to lay down anything I was holding onto before I left so I informed the academy I would not be returning the coming school year, as well as a couple other jobs I was working on the side.  This was at a time that all I knew for sure was that I would be in Bozeman for this summer. 
Although the original plan involved me serving out here for three months, after seeking the Lord through this summer, God has confirmed there is still much work to be done here so I am going to remain. 
Please pray:
-          He continues to provide the resources necessary to make this possible
-          That He will continue to open doors for ministry opportunities and partnerships here in Bozeman and make it clear which ones to pursue
-          That I will be intentional in sharing the Gospel as I go out in to the community each day
-          That I will be able to keep in touch with loved ones in Nashville and elsewhere around the world (i.e. all of YOU!)
Following God’s call is not always easy.  When you end up thousands of miles from everything that was once familiar to you, you quickly realize if your foundation is truly in Him or in other worldly comforts that were never meant to hold that weight in the first place.
However, the joy in serving Jesus is always greater than the sacrifice when you earnestly seek Him each day. To follow God’s call as He lights the path one step at a time… it is always worth it.  Each moment He has given us is a blessing and I pray we all use it to the fullest!  God tells us “where our treasure is, there our heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).”  The joy in the Lord and valuing what He values is so much more important than fitting in with what the world deems as most important.
I am so grateful that the Lord has put each of you in my life! We serve an awesome God!

Please also pray for Pastor James and Misty and the girls as they will be traveling to Tennessee the 17th-27th of August to visit family.  I will be returning to Nashville for a short time in September for the Global Impact Celebration at Judson so I look forward to seeing many of you then!