Monday, August 19, 2013

Using Our Gifts for His Glory

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete and not lacking anything." 
-James 1:3

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Many of you know I injured my back in college while on a golf scholarship to Vanderbilt University and ended up having to walk away from playing.  It was one of the most difficult seasons of my life to endure but also one of the sweetest because I learned that joy is not contingent on our circumstances but our ability to rest and trust in Jesus and His plan for our life, which is always far greater than anything we could come up with.  The night I would have left for my last tournament in college I got a call and offered a position with a traveling sports ministry that used sports camps as a platform to share the Gospel.  After that summer, other opportunities God has put in my path over the past five years have taken me around the country and the world seeing hundreds come to know Him.  We serve an awesome God.

In March 2012, after struggling for years with my back that effected my day to day living, let alone my ability to play sports, I had four nerve endings burnt off in the lower part of my back, and after a few months of rehab it was feeling stronger than it had in a very long time.  In May 2012 I moved to Bozeman, Montana to pursue what the Lord had for me here...  I didn't even know where my clubs were but last year while on a trip to clean out my dad's place after he passed away, I pieced together a set from what I found in the garage and ended up taking them with me back to Bozeman thinking maybe at some point I'd be able to hit a few shots again.  I pulled them out of the garage in late spring once all the snow had melted out here and was five years removed from tournament golf heading into this summer, but last week I competed in the Montana State Women's Amateur and below is the link to the news piece that was done after the tournament.  God works in ways far beyond what we could ever imagine and we can use any of the talents He has given us to bring glory to Him.  I am so thankful for all God has taught me through this and for the doors He has opened.  He is faithful and we can praise Him in every season and circumstance if our foundation is in Him.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we all ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever! Amen."
-Ephesians 3:20-21

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

All In A Month

Jesus answered, "It is written, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'" -Luke 4:8

It was a whirlwind month of July but very thankful to see God at work through that time ...

Summer Sports Camp and Block Party:
A team from Columbia, TN came into Bozeman to help with our summer sports camp at Kirkwood. From 9-12pm each day for a week the children rotated through soccer, flag football, silly sports and Bible Study.  We had over 40 campers registered for the week and it was a great opportunity to use sports as a platform to share the eternal hope we have in Christ.  The kids were taught what it means to know and love and serve Jesus and to be a light for Him in their surrounding community. The week ended with an awards celebration where each child got an individual award and we showed the camp video from the week, followed by a pizza party with the kids and their families!  It is always fun to see each of the children improving their sports skills throughout the week, but nothing compares to seeing them grow in their relationship with Christ!

That week we also hosted a Wednesday night Block Party where we had 1000 pairs of shoes to give away.  It was a great evening with many people passing through and an opportunity to share the love of Christ and meet needs in the surrounding community.  Even though it was a rainy evening, we were able to give away a couple hundred pairs of shoes and had the opportunity to pray with some of the people who came through and shared their stories with us.

Provo, Utah Mission Trip: The week before sports camp a team of five adults and four children from Kirkwood went down to assist First Baptist Provo for a week.  We painted the outside of their church, cleaned the inside, assisted with Backyard Bible Club in an apartment complex and spent time with Pastor Russ and his family who I have gotten to know well over the past year.  We were reminded how important fellowship and mutual encouragement is in building up the body of Christ.  In Hebrews 3:13 it says, "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."  Satan would love nothing more than to see God's faithful discouraged and off track, so having others around to continually point each other back to the Lord is so important.  Beyond that, my favorite part of the week was getting to play soccer and kickball with the children in the apartment complex.  Most of them were bilingual and it was fun speaking some Spanish with them.  I am constantly reminded what a platform sports brings to build relationships that open up the door to share the Gospel.  Each of the children who played kickball stayed to listen to a devotion afterwards and we also had the chance to feed everyone who was there. 

4th of July weekend: At the beginning of the month, I was able to head up to northern Montana over the 4th of July weekend.  This was a week I was reminded how gracious the Lord has been to put some really sweet people in my life since I arrived in Montana.  I had the opportunity to stay in Bigfork, Montana for a few days with a family I have gotten to know through the golf course in Bozeman.  After a few days in Bigfork and Whitefish, I was able to take a quick trip through Glacier National Parkon the way back down.  It is beautiful there!

At the very end of July I had a super sweet friend that I got to know from my college days at Vanderbilt come through town after she worked a week of camp in Washington.  I was able to take Emily to check out a couple of the waterfalls up Hyalite Canyon and we also spent a day in Yellowstone and the northern part of the Teton National Park...

The rest of July also consisted of our last block party of the summer at Kirkwood and beginning preparation for August events which include a back to school giveaway, a youth camping trip and welcoming the MSU students back to school.  I have also been working at the golf course on the side and getting ready to start the Athletic Director duties at Heritage Christian.  It has been amazing to see the doors God has opened in Bozeman since He brought me there in May 2012 and I can't wait to see what He does moving forward.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

Please pray for:
- For God to continue to use Kirkwood and the other Bible believing churches in the area as a light for Him in a community that really needs Jesus and that we will be able to meet the needs of those He places in our path.  Also that Pastor James, Andrew and I would continue to follow His direction and never try to do anything in our own power.
- For God to provide all the children's workers necessary for Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.
- To be able to spend my time as the Lord would have me to as I juggle responsibilities at Kirkwood, the golf course and serving as the Athletic Director at Heritage Christian School.  That I would be intentional each day in using my gifts for His glory.