Saturday, January 29, 2011

Here, Hear!

Yes, we are still here, in San Diego, CA.  And we've had a lot to hear and say to other missionary folks and interested parties.  (Don't ask where I come up with my blog titles...sometimes they just stick in my head!)  Coincidently, the phrase, "Hear, hear!" (shortened from, "Hear him, hear him!") comes from 18th century British parliament, shouted to agree with the speaker.

So, moving on... we just ended the focus on mission week at Shadow Mountain Community Church.  We have been pleasantly surprised at the missionaries and contacts we've met. 

As most of you know, we began a mission organization due to an interesting set of circumstances that originated in Andahuyalas, Peru over 3 years ago.  (You can read about it on our website if you don't know the story:  Needless to say, the journey has been full of learning, doing, waiting, giving up, gaining, and praying. 

As Believer's Bridge grows, we see God directing the steps.  The missions festival provided some new opportunities to connect with other like-minded people who may or may not work with Believer's Bridge in some capacity.  There's nothing quite like accepting God's direction in your life and doing it.  The benefits bring eternal fulfillment, even if some of the moments along the way get bumpy.

By focusing back on the reason Believer's Bridge started, it helps Bill and I continue moving forward.  We hope to help others see the same: that there are people in other areas of the world who hunger for Biblical teaching, but as of yet do not have it. 

Whatever, and wherever your position in life right now, don't waste it.  I came across an interesting quote by Mark Twain, "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the things you did do."  Let that sink in for a little bit.  Then chew on it, savor it, then let the reality of the words hit you hard.

We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.  Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.  But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.  I John 2:3-6

Here are a few photos of our display from the mission festival.  Enjoy!

PS- We still need financial support for us to operate Believer's Bridge in a full-time capacity...  ;-)
(You can email us, to find out how you can support us).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Peru, All You Can Eat, and Brasilian Desserts

Oh look.  We are back to the food theme.  :-)  I think the best way to form this post is to work the week backwards.  So, we will start with the Brasilian desserts...

Our family just came back from something Shadow Mountain Community Church does every year.  They have a Stewardship Dessert evening where the events and ministries of the previous year are summarized while you enjoy desserts at a table of 10. 

Previous to this event, our family enjoyed an all-you-can-eat  brunch buffet offered to the missionaries after church at the college cafeteria (ah, the memories of years back when Bill and I used to eat in the same cafeteria while we attended the college).  Robert, our teenager, could NOT stop talking about all the food!  (Not to mention I think he went back 3 times...).  The other two boys were just as happy.

At the very end of our meal we began talking to an old college friend who introduced us to a Brasilian friend of hers.  Well, the Portuguese started flying and both college friend and my husband smiled politely while we spoke in animated guestures (it's a well known fact that Brasilians speak with their hands).  As she was getting ready to leave, she invited Bill and I to their dessert table for the Stewardship Dessert. 

When we got there, what did I find to my delight but that she had made a BUNCH of Brasilian desserts.  I finally had my Pave (pronounced "pah veh")!  I was ecstatic, seeing as I hadn't been able to have this delicious Brasilian treat even when we were in Brasil last July.  And I brought some home to savor tomorrow.  (Happy feet!)

The other highlight of the past week was that Bill had made a week-long trip to Peru to visit missionaries, set up plans, and see what else God has in store for Believer's Bridge.  Things went pretty well, despite the fact he had to go 5 days without regular running water. 

Yep, and I was complaining (in my spirit) about having to take showers that were intermitten.  What I mean is when we take showers in the RV we have to soak ourselves, turn the water off, shampoo and soap up, rinse, turn water off, use conditioner, turn water on and rinse off.  After hearing that he only had wipes to "shower" with for 5 days, I decided maybe the intermitten showers weren't too bad after all.

Since photos express a thousand words, following are a few photos from his visit to Peru.  Enjoy!

It is a tradition for someone important to give the first haircut to a child's hair.  The parents insisted Bill do this (and exactly where he is cutting) while he was there.  Poor kiddo wasn't too happy.  Can't say I blame her!

Cayo Cardenas and his family: Believer's Bridge national missionary who helps teach the Bible Institutes and translate Spanish into Quechua.

Didn't Jesus say, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” ?  (Matthew 19:14)   Mike Rigg's (our missionary) and his son are in the background.

City of Talavera, Peru, where the Rigg's currently live.

Typical church in the Apurimac area, Peru.  Here, Cayo Cardenas is teaching.

Bill and Martin.  Martin owns a Pizzeria and has offered Believer's Bridge the use of an office space as a classroom.  There are a lot of things that are coming together as we see God work in the lives of the Peruvians and those of us here Stateside as we partner to bring Biblical teaching to this region.

Bill was able to drive (he actually has an International Driving license) up to a church (see below) that is excited to host a Bible Institute for the Peruvians in the area. 

This is a church that will be hosting a Bible Institute seminar.

As you can see, our work is very real.  And the people are very real.  And the needs are very real.  I asked Bill if there were other evangelical missionaries working in these regions and there only seem to be 2 other families.  But as they've dug deeper, one of the families has some serious theological errors (the husband is a national,  but lived in Germany and married to a German).

So, please pray for others who may join Believer's Bridge to minister in these areas.  That God send the right people our way and that we serve God the right way.  We serve a Living God!

"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God." 
I Peter 1:22-23

Friday, January 14, 2011

Apples of gold in settings of silver

Ever find someone who gives the right instruction or advice at just the right time?  Or who understands real life and can relate with words of wisdom for the circumstance you are going through?

The result is a feeling of justification, or approval, that what you are doing is correct and that what you are going through is valid. 

Psalm 25:11 says exactly that:  "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances." (NASB)

We sometimes wonder if we are doing the right thing.  If we are in the right job.  If we made the right decision.  If can undo the dumb decision we just made.  If, if, if....  That's when my advice to you would be to stop wondering and start asking.  Asking God, that is. 

The Christian walk (which translated into the modern day vernacular really just means living the daily grind with the knowledge that Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life") should be a constant handing over of self.  There's a clear understanding of the human existence when you understand the basics. 

By basics I mean knowing that God is our Creator; He gave us freewill at the very beginning; this freewill caused mankind to choose disobedience, which in turn brought sin into the world; and the only way to redeem the situation is the only solution available:  the provision of a Redeemer, one who has no sin and can take the penalty (death). 

The whole meaning of our existence and life becomes clear when you accept this truth.  So the next obvious step is to live life according to the Creator.  There's so much in life that can drag us down when we take our eyes off this reality.  What we know to be superficial stuff (at least to begin with) can become common place in our lives when we have a hard time letting go of it.

This has been a big lesson for me since we delved into Believer's Bridge full-time.  A lot of what I knew to be truth in my head has been challenged for me to live in real life.  Are we willing to be fishers of men?  What is the cost?  And where God has called me may be different for you.  And my weakness may be different than yours.

So, going full circle: I mentioned feeling validated when someone reaffirms that what you are doing is right.  I attended a small group tonight and was sharing that I have been learning to let go and being content with where God has me.  A friend reaffirmed what I was saying by reading Hebrews 10: 32, 35-39:

"Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. ... So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For,
   “In just a little while,
   he who is coming will come
   and will not delay.”
   “But my righteous one will live by faith.
   And I take no pleasure
   in the one who shrinks back.”
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved."

Oh yeah!  Those are "apples of gold in settings of silver"!  Here's praying someone will give you a basket of gold apples.  ;-)   Keep the faith.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Have home, will travel

By far, the most redeeming feature of an RV is that you can go just about anywhere and camp out for a few nights.  You literally can take your "kitchen sink" with you.  And you don't have to worry about packing anything (assuming you were already living out of the RV to begin with) going or coming back!

It has been 2 months now since we left our home in Chelsea, AL.  At the beginning of this week we were getting cabin fever (in this case, RV fever).  So, what's a family (of mostly boys) to do but, have a change in scenery. 

California is home to a variety of geographical locations.  Beach to the west, desert in the middle, and mountains to the east.  One of the places we wanted to take the boys was the desert.  Since they are in Scouting, this was a great opportunity to let them experience desert life (with a certain level of comfort...).

So, we "battened down the hatches" (AKA secured any and all possible objects that might by chance become UFOs as we sail toward our destination).  This was just the break we needed from weeks of ministry work, and tedious RV living.  I know, you are saying to yourself, "Yeah, but you are still living in the same RV!?"  True, but the change of scenery and new things we can do make all the difference.

We ended up staying in the Anza-Borrego Desert, in an off-road area, boondocking.  Yes, boondocking.  It's a term RVers affectionally use meaning camping out in the boondocks, w/o hook-ups or in a commercial RV park. 

We stayed two nights and had a great time.  The first night we "splurged" and after dinner had marshmellows, a movie, and popcorn.  Let's just say it was a family bonding moment since the size of the screen was Robert's notebook computer.  A must for any family who already has it all.  You haven't experienced anything yet until you camp out in the desert, have popcorn, and watch a movie on a 10" monitor.  Just sayin'.

The next day we hiked the hill behind us and had a lunch pic-nic at the top while Bill read the Exodus passage about Moses and the Red Sea.  Again, another must try.  You will never again have the same perspective on what the Israelites experienced.  Besides being able to see for miles, I had an overwhelming feeling of what it must have been like for thousands of people to live in the desert.

Sometimes when we put ourselves in someone else's shoes, even experiencing to a degree what they did (or still do), a new sense of understanding and appreciation develops.  There's something life-changing about "walking a mile in another man's moccasins." 

I think that is the heart of missions.  We will have a better perspective of those we are trying to reach when we can contextualize it.  This means taking in all the conditions, culture, personalities, and resources at the time and using God-given discernment to arrive at a conclusion.  Add some compassion and humility and you have a recipe for the heart God would want us to have.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:6,7

A few more pics from our trip:

Climbing the hill behind our RV.

A boy's dream come true:  biggest sandbox in the world...

We visited the Salton Sea before heading back.

Salton Sea, with an incredible view of the mountains in the background.