Wednesday, March 18, 2015

On Mission ...


"A missionary is someone who never gets used to the sound of pagan footsteps on the way to a Christless eternity." -David Sills

"I will go, I will go
I will go, Lord send me
To the world, to the lost
To the poor and hungry
Take everything I am
I'm clay within your hands
I will go, I will go, send me..."
-Starfield, "I Will Go"

From March 2-11 I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua on a mission trip in partnership with Project H.O.P.E.  The full team of 21 “gringos” (consisting of Heritage Christian School junior and senior students, parents and other teachers) worked to build/repair two pastor’s homes, while sharing the Gospel in the villages, in churches, schools, at the city dump, in the cancer ward at the hospital, at Casa Esperanza where women are brought to be restored from a life of prostitution, and at Furia Santa where young men are taken off the streets and away from drugs. Lives were changed for eternity through the power of the Gospel.

It was my fifth time to Central America (four to Honduras, first to Nicaragua) and I feel I leave a bit more of my heart each time.

On this trip I learned/was reminded ...
1) God doesn't call us to be comfortable, He calls us to be faithful.  The pastor who we built a house for had been ministering in his village for four years.  For much of that time him and his wife lived in a "house" made of black plastic and a couple posts.  Eventually they moved in with another family in the village but that amounted to seven people living in what would be less than a 2 car garage here in the States.  When he first arrived at the village there was only one family in the church.  Some in the village worshipped idols and others were enslaved to alcoholism.  It would have been easy from a worldly perspective to rationalize that God had not really called him there because of the difficulties he faced.  However, he chose to remain faithful to the call God has for his life, and now, after serving in that village for four years, there are over 60 adults and 30 children in the church who worship Christ.  The man who lives next door to where we built his house had lived in that village for 53 years and had worshipped idols before Pastor David came and told of the eternal hope we have in Jesus.  The man and his family now worship the One true God.  The genuine love the people in the village have for each other was incredible to see.  Definitely a testament to how God's presence can change a whole community.  The experience was a reminder to me to remain faithful to where God calls you to serve, viewing life from His perspective and not basing decisions on worldly circumstances...  "Then (Jesus) said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23)."

With Pastor David and his family
2) We should pray specifically and wait expectantly.  One of the questions that came to mind on this trip was - how do we know when God answers prayer specifically if we only pray generally? ... Leading up to and during the trip we had asked those praying for us to pray for some very specific things. In Nicaragua, our team saw God answer those prayers in such specific ways, from prayers for physical and spiritual strength, to team unity, to the ability to abide in Christ so our lives would bear fruit, and for God to prepare the hearts of those we would come in contact with to hear and respond to the Gospel ... We could see that God had already prepared the way and the works for us to walk in throughout the week and that He was answering specific prayers so many back home were lifting up, as well as what we were praying as a team.  Sometimes He answers "yes", sometimes "no", and others "not yet", but may we be faithful to pray boldy, pray specifically and wait expectantly... "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16)." He is faithful.

3) Lastly, the trip really brought great perspective and a chance to step back and ask, "What am I spending myself on?  Is what I am doing with my life moment by moment, day by day allowing God to use me as an effective ambassador for Christ?" ... There are so many "good" things we can spend our time, talents and resources on, but may we evaluate our lives in light of the Gospel to see if we are bearing Kingdom fruit.  A dear sister in Christ on the trip asked me, "If you had your last dollar to spend (meaning last bit of time on earth, last resources, etc), where would you be spending it?"  It really has allowed me to step back and see some things I need to drop and a couple others to pursue more passionately in the time ahead.  For one, God has given me a great hunger and unwavering desire to grow deeper in my relatinship with Him, study the Word, know the Word and take the Gospel to the nations.  I will begin taking some seminary classes in May to become even more equipped for that task...  In ministry, it is easy to get caught up in busyness and not abide in Christ.  I would encourage you to look at your life as well - what are you spending yourself on? ... May we live in light of eternity and passionately pursue Christ daily.

" the very least, God calls every Christian to live with a missionary heart." -D. Sills

Visit for a full day by day rundown of what God did throughout the week in Nicaragua and a ton of team pictures ... I encourage you to check it out when you have time - so thankful to be able to recount His provision and faithfulness!

Coloring with the kiddos and reading "Jesus saves the world"

Getting blocks into the pastor's house to begin construction

Sharing Christ using the Gospel cube

Working on the house

Futbol (soccer :)
The team performing the "Chains" play at Casa Esperanza
Playing on the swings at Casa Esperanza (House of Hope) where
women are brought to be restored from a life of prostitution.
This is the daughter of one of the ladies. She was precious.

Playing balloon games and sharing laughter
with ladies in the cancer wing of the hospital.
Through the testimonies of two ladies on our team
who have had or are in their own battle with cancer, we saw
three ladies surrender their lives to Christ this day. Carol and Julie
who shared are such a reminder that our suffering can either be
wasted or be stewarded in a way that points others to Jesus.
Julie, one of my dearest sisters in Christ, who you have read about in previous
blog posts, returns to MD Anderson on April 20 for another cancer scan.
Please continue to pray for her and her family to walk in the joy of the Lord
and for wisdom each step of the way.

With Julie in the village.

The family pig in the village... that became the family dinner
while we were there (lol!)

Some of the precious kiddos in the village we got to play with
and share Christ with all week!

"Quieres jugar?!" (Do you want to play?!)

Filling the wheelbarrow :)

Balloon animals during VBS ... we write "Jesus te ama"
(Jesus loves you) on each one.

Alejandro... wanted to pack him in my suitcase
and take him home!

Pastor's house completed

The team in front of the completed house for Pastor David

The team in front of the repaired house for Pastor Juan in the
other village.
Project H.O.P.E. is an amaing ministry that has impacted
many lives for Christ

Such joy in the simple things!

Church at Furia Santa

Final day in country excursion

Final day in country excursion

Final day in country excursion

2015 team... so blessed to serve with each of these people!


The Lord has continued to show up and go before us at the church here in Bozeman as well.  After Kirkwood Baptist and Lifegate Bible Church came together as one body in September 2014 through a unanimous vote, we spent the next months praying and seeking the Lord fervently about the direction He had for the church.
In January 2015, the church voted to change the name to New Beginnings Church.  We were led to this name for a few reasons – it describes where we are with two church bodies having become one, it specifically points to the new life we are offered when we accept Christ and are born again, and it also reaches out to those who may have accepted the Lord but drifted away and need a fresh start. The focus of the church is “Equipping for the Kingdom,” as our desire is to see the saints discipled and equipped for service.

   “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
   Now it spring up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and
streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:18-19


After months of praying and planning the new youth ministry at the church kicked off this past month.  EPIC Ministries exists to help students discover everlasting potential in Christ through recreational activities. The vision of the ministry is to bridge the gap between the church and the outdoor recreational oriented culture of Bozeman by meeting students where they are, building intentional relationships through activities they are already enjoy, therefore opening the door to share the Gospel.

The kickoff event for high school students was February 28 where students met at the church, went up and skiied Bridger Bowl for the day, served the liftees by taking them snacks, and then came back down to the church for chili dinner and devotion. One of the youth, at the end of the event, came up and said, “I heard you guys are starting a Bible Study soon. Please keep me updated because I really want to be a part of that!”

The middle school ministry kickoff will be at the end of March. Please pray that God would use this ministry to reach students for Christ and disciple them to accurately handle God’s Word, helping them to reach their full potential in Christ. 


Downstairs in the church, renovations have recently been completed to create a youth room where students can come relax and fellowship together around the Word. Two walls were blown out to create one large room at the end of the hallway. It will be used for EPIC events, lunches with Bozeman High School students and other ministries of New Beginnings Church.


-Pray for the Leadership Team to continue to be unified and seek Christ wholeheartedly for the direction He has for the church.
-Pray for members of the church to be hungry for the Word, to have the desire to know and handle it accurately and to want to be equipped and discipled for service.
-Pray for the hearts of those in Bozeman who do not know Christ, that God would open doors to build relationships with them, for opportunities to share the saving grace of Jesus, and that they would hear and respond to the Gospel.
-That we would decrease so He can increase (John 3:30) and be glorified in all things!


This spring at Heritage Christian School we are starting a golf team for 7th-12th grade students.  I am thankful for the opportunity the Lord has provided to use golf as a platform to share Christ.  We will be able to practice at Bridger Creek, the course I work at here in town, and I pray for the chance not just to teach the kids about the sport, but that they would be challenged to deepen their walk with the Lord and to live out their faith each day.  We start practices this next Monday and I can't wait to get started!

Thank you so much for all those of you who have prayed and encouraged and loved well.  There are so many tangible reminders daily of God's faithfulness in my life.  Please stay in touch and let me know how I can be praying for you! :)