Friday, January 11, 2013

Slovenia Mission Trip and Other Winter Happenings

"As you are going, make disciples of all nations..." - Matthew 28:19

Thank you to all of you who prayed for the mission team I traveled with to Slovenia!  The International Sports Federation was founded in 1993 and over the last 20 years has sent over 8,500 volunteers to more than 120 countries, while partnering with missionaries serving in those locations.  Sports is the platform used on the trips to build relationships and open doors to share the Gospel.  The team flew into Ljubljana (see map below) and traveled a couple hours to the northwest of Slovenia to Bovec where missionaries Joe and Kim Kelley reside.  In a country of about 2 million people, less than 1,500 have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Extreme sports are a big part of the culture there so that was the platform we used for the week. Our team's job was to be on the ski slopes each day and be intentional with those God put in our path.  We went to three different resorts - Kanin, which is on the border of Slovenia and Italy, allowing us to ski in two countries in one day, Kranjska Gora (in Slovenia) and Tarvisio (in Italy).  Through relationship building and materials we were able to hand out throughout the week we gave hundreds of people access to the Gospel.  At night, we delivered calendars to every home in Bovec in preparation for the new year that had Bible verses on them.

Through my time there, more than anything I was reminded that missions is a lifestyle not just a one or two week trip. It is a lifestyle with an intentional missional mindset of making disciples as we are going each day of our lives.  It made me question what I could do to be more intentional each day of my life back home.  Whatever our gifts are, we can use them for His glory as we surrender our entire lives to Him every day.

"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died and was raised again... 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 who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
-2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 20

Please continue to pray for Joe and Kim Kelley, the missionaries we served with in Slovenia and for the hearts of those there to be turned to Him!

The days leading up to heading overseas were crazy, but I had a night celebrating Christmas in Montana before heading to Utah.  

After getting everything taken care of in Montana, my good friend Crystal and her family, along with two other of their friends, road tripped from Bozeman down to Utah with me.  We had a blast skiing at Deer Valley and visiting the Olympic Park.  We got to catch part of an aerial ski competition up close which was incredible to see them flying higher than the building!  I also spent time with my uncle and my mom, her parents, as well as a brief time with some of my cousins.

Uncle and Gayla

After all the travels, especially the 26 hour/four flight finish from Slovenia back to Bozeman, I was so thankful to be back home!  I am so thankful for the Kirkwood church family here in Montana and definitely missed everyone while I was away.  Everything is going great here, as there have been many visitors over the past couple weeks.  This Sunday, the 13th, we are having Friend Day where everyone is inviting people to come worship with us.  We will be having a breakfast and then worship service.  We also have a couple people getting baptized that day which is exciting as well.  Pastor James and Misty are doing well and baby Levi hit the three month mark today!  I just started a Christian Missions Perspectives class at Montana Bible College this semester.  Next Friday I also have a sweet opportunity to speak in Chapel to the kindergarten through 6th graders at Heritage Christian School.

I am in town for a couple more weeks and then I am back on the road again - heading to Orlando, Florida for the 50th Rec Lab ministry conference.  It is the oldest and most attended sports ministry conference in the world.  It will be my fourth year going and it is always a great time of worship, seminars, and fellowship with so many who share a passion for using recreation as a way to reach people for Christ.  It is always a refreshing time and I always walk away with many ideas and even more on fire for the Lord.

Lastly, for those in Nashville - some of you already know, but I will be in town January 31 to February 5 so I can't wait to see so many of you!

Know that all of your love, prayers and support mean the world to me!  Wishing all of you a Happy New Year! I can't wait to see what this year holds!

Please pray for:
- Friend Day at Kirkwood this Sunday - that many would come and hearts would be turned to Him!
- Ability to catch up on everything after the crazy last few weeks.
- That God would continue to open doors here in Bozeman.
- I am speaking in Chapel at Heritage Christian School on the 18th to the K-6th graders - please pray for God to be glorified through that time!