jueves, 31 de marzo de 2011

True Community, true Christianity

So I realize that this blogger has not been blogging as much. With ministry, I have been using my newsletter to communicate those news. On the personal side, I tend to not talk about to whomever about what I'm going through/learning at that moment. I usually keep those things to myself or share it with a select few. However, I've felt this lesson is just big enough for me to give it blog worthy importance and let you guys in on what I'm experiencing at this moment.

By the title you may already be able to guess what lesson I have been learning. I have been learning what it feels to be in real community.

Being a more private person, my tendencies are to keep needs to myself and not voice them. Somewhere along the way I equate the idea of having needs and being seen as weak/immature as the same. I will be the first one to tell you I have needs (I'm honest). I will also be the last one to voice those needs (I hate feeling demanding.)

As a group (Rob, Jimmy, Jessica and myself) we are going through a book that has been encouraging us to be real and take off all masks.

Just as the word says the truth will set us free, this new truth has set me free in many areas. The truth is this: God created us with needs for a purpose- to provide unity, fellowship. 

So you mean something good could come out of having needs??? I've always associated it with being bad. All of a sudden I'm given permission to have needs? (New concept in my life)

The thing is that somehow if I focus on my problems, my needs are never resolved. Trust me, I've tried.

If I am able to give up appearances for just a second and voice my needs, there exists the possibility of resolution. Is it a gamble? Totally, especially if you've never done it before. What is even harder is when you open up a little bit further and expose not just your needs but your hurts. Yes, exists the possibility of being rejected, unheard, and judged. However, let me say it is an increibly healing experience to do so, to display as Jess would say, your "ish" (issues) and instead of having people do what you expect them to do.... judge, reject, be indifferent... instead they actually move closer to you and even accept you despite it. Kind of gives you the feeling, "Is this too good to be true?" but at the same time there is peace because I realize, "wow, this really is supposed to be what it feels like." I'm talking about the real deal, the real Christianity.

I mean, those who are Christians you understand just how important it is to trust Christ with your issues/needs, but to do that with other people??? That's when it starts to make me nervous. Christ is always faithful, he never rejects. People do.

Ephesians 4:2 talks about bearing with another in love. Bearing is not a pleasant word, and actually in my opinion implies pain. What I'm trying to say is this: true Christianity, true community is messy. I don't like messiness.. well not this kind of messiness. I prefer people to think that I'm perfect rather than I have problems, (and yes that is me being completely honest with you).

So all of this being said, I have learned that I have needs that God chooses to meet ONLY through community. I can trick myself and say, no, I can deal with it myself, but then truly I am just covering up what is really meant to unify. God uses my needs to have others love me and to be able to experience love.

I haven't experienced this in a long time. I know God loves me. He has shown me that. Truly, at this moment I can say I am experiencing the love God has for me through people... and THAT continues to amaze me.

miércoles, 9 de marzo de 2011

New semester, new... A LOT!

New students

Doing ministry at UASD has its challenges. One of the common challenges we are seeing is that student attendance varies radically on a semester-semester basis. Many students must work as they study. We have lost many students due to this reality. Other students simply have class during the time of the meetings which they could not avoid. Even though some students from last semester are not able to attend this semester, there have been a significant amount of students who are becoming regular attendees. 

Please be praying for students to be committed to our group.

Servant teams

These are the following teams we have come up with:

1. Get connected: welcomes students, creates social events outside of Vida
2. Message team: creates the weekly message
3. Response team: puts together some time of reflection after the message (i.e. discussion groups, worship, skits)
4. Compassion team: Prayer, students’ needs, evangelism

Please be praying since this is organizing the group that we would make this transition in unity. 

domingo, 20 de febrero de 2011

Well hello there! Long time no write! We are already in February (which is really hard for me to believe!) School started just a couple of weeks ago and we hit the ground running!

I definitely just want to use this blog to tell a lot of the little stories that happen to us on a daily basis.

Normally speaking, being American-looking and all (mostly just me), we sometimes get ripped off. It's hard not to get mad about it especially since I have a huge value on justice. About a week ago, Jimmy and I were riding back on a guaguita (little bus) and had paid our normal 20 pesos.. as we get off the driver calls us and we go back not knowing what to think and he gives us each back 5 pesos. I guess we had overpaid. It was a great to be in the company of a honest man. It honestly shocked me (not to say that everyone takes advantage of people, but these people are few and far between.)

Please pray for me because very soon I will be making a decision about my future/my future with Crusade. This decision will have to be turned in less than a week.

viernes, 7 de enero de 2011

Merry Christmas... Happy New Year :)

It's been awhile since I've written in this blog. Sorry! Many things have happened, including holidays since the last post.

Classes will be starting again mid-January. Up to that point we will be continuing to meet with students and get to know them on a deeper level.

sábado, 27 de noviembre de 2010

Tis the season...

This past Thursday was Thanksgiving, and let me say... it felt like it :)

Started off the morning by sleeping in (to about 9 o'clock.. that's as late as it gets here), got dressed and went off to buy some last minute things for the dinner. As I was in the kitchen putting on the last minute touches, I commented to Jess... for some reason it just doesn't feel like Thanksgiving without the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on. So what does she do? lol.. she looks for it online.. and there it is on our dining room table MACY'S THANKSGIVING DAY Parade. Now, let me clarify... I'm not crazy about this parade. I do not even watch it completely, but there are just some things that while they may seem insignificant when you are with your loved ones, once you are apart they really do make a difference. I believe it was always my mom who insisted in watching this parade. She would always, and many times be the only one watching it... but it was ALWAYS on in the background. So why was it a big deal for me to watch it? Because I knew my parents were probably watching it too and somehow it made me feel connected to them.

Dinner turned out great! No HUGE surprises.. other then only letting Thanksgiving dinner settle in our stomachs for an hour before we went out to play football!

All in all, it was a great time. We all went around and said what we are thankful for. Personally, I am thankful for the great family I have back in the states but as well the family that I am developing here in the DR as well.

Here are some pictures taken during that day.

Jess, her dad and the TURKEY! 

From the girls' balcony: Jessica, Scott (her dad), Jimmy and Rob

"November people! THIS is not normal for Thanksgiving" -Jess 

On a more serious note...

Having a hard time trusting God? Watch this. How could I ever think I know better if I'm really conscient of this reality? 

lunes, 22 de noviembre de 2010

I've just called... to say...

Many of you may be aware of just how cool Skype is :) I have broken down and bought a US number on it. This means that when I am on my computer (I will now make it a habit to log into skype) I will be able to receive calls from anyone in the United States! (cell/landline...it doesn't matter)

So, yes, this means when you are driving home from work you can give me a call and if I'm online I will answer. If I'm not, oh yess.... get this, yep you will actually get my voice mail. lol (sorry this really has me very excited!) When I log in and have time I'll give you a call back!

I have done this in attempt to maintain better communication with those in the US so PLEASEEEE take advantage of it. No excuses now!!!

Due to the fact that I do not feel comfortable posting my number online go ahead email here: wwjd_bri@hotmail.com or message me on facebook so I can send it to you.

I'll be including the number in my monthly newsletter as well!

jueves, 18 de noviembre de 2010

Consuming Fire (Fuego de Dios)

I love music. What I most love about music or songs are the lyrics. In the song below (the title is the link to the youtube video so you can listen to it as well) the part "Consuming fire, burn deep within, overtake my heart and burn in me once again" is very significant to me, and something that I am learning. 

In the greek, and I believe it's also true about the hebrew word for heart, heart means (mind, inner will.) This song, this prayer is asking for God to come as a fire, and to consume this man's own will. Only when our own will is laid down, can God burn and really ablaze inside of us. It's only then that he truly has room to work.  

A couple from our church came and had dinner with us two nights ago. I was happy to have the companionship, but when I also saw they brought their Bibles I got excited. (Good physical food and then also spiritual food!) 

The husband talked about how we are in the desert, just like the israelites. I have heard this story so many times, but I kept on listening and the follow thing that he said opened my eyes to one of my many blunders. He said: the israelites' problem is that they were focusing on their own needs. Even when the devil tempted Jesus in the desert, he tempted Him according to His needs. Our temptation as we are going through hard times is to focus on ourselves, to focus on our needs. It may seem necessary to us, but to be quite honest, it keeps us isolated and self-focused. 

This victim mentality cripples so many Christians nowadays, blinding us to the freedom found in the Bible. A freedom and truth that goes against our worldly advices and says: forget about yourselves. 

I have experienced so much freedom the past couple of days as I have gotten up out of bed and said: I will not serve myself today. I will serve You.

Who would have thought that such joy is found in forgetting about oneself and his/her problems? 

God :) 

I love how his own wisdom is above our own comprehension. 


May my life be a reflection
of Your power and Your glory
breathing in the breath of Heaven
leaning in to hear Your heart beat

And my heart, my thoughts, my mind, Lord
they are Yours now and forever
Come and do in me your will and, 
I'll be Yours today forever

Consuming fire burn deep within
Overtake my heart, and burn in me once again

And I give You all my days Lord
all my joys and all my sorrows
and the plans that I have dreamed of  
holding back for Yours to follow

May my mouth be full of blessings
Lord I want to speak with Your words
may Your spirit light my pathway
take my life today, forever

Cause all I wanna do is please You 
be the Ruler of my world and
take away the things that blind me 
all I want is to live for You...

Fuego de Dios
Quémame hoy
Purifícame y lléname otra vez
Fuego de Dios
Quémame hoy
Purifícame y lléname otra vez