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

miércoles, 17 de noviembre de 2010

Just come...

As I have written in previous posts, it has become apparent to me that I am just the means and really God is the one who is working.

This past Friday, I went to Vida Estudiantil as normal. The cool thing about meeting outside is that many people will just walk past, even stop and sit down and listen to the message that is being preached that day. Well, this past Friday that same thing just happened. Actually, I saw two people who were on their way to somewhere else that decided to sit off to the side, but still listen. Afterwards, as I am going around trying to get these people's information this one woman asks me, "So, what do you have to do in order to be apart of this group?" My response, "Just come :)"

I continue walking around, greeting different people, but then return to this lady because it was very apparent that she had high interest in the group. She is already talking to someone else in the group, so I just sit down with them and join the conversation. This other girl was talking about God with her and telling her certain things that she is learning and this one woman was very much engaged in this conversation. After she shared that I asked the woman, "So, how did you hear about this group?" "Did you just decide to stop and listen, or what happened?" She said, "Basically. I've been far away from God. I've felt Him trying to reach me, but I've always put Him off to the side. This morning, for some reason I read the Bible a little bit. Actually, I was on my way to another place when I walked by here, and something just told me to stop and sit down here." As we continued talking, she basically just said, "I know that now is the time to give my life over to God. I am ready."


So yes, we prayed together and as all of this is going on I am just amazed with how God works. He had been preparing this woman's heart for a long time. There is nothing that we did as a group, we were just there, and God used us. God will use those that are willing to be used. Fortunately these kind of situations keep popping up. The ones in which there is no way I had any part in it, but rather God gets all of the glory :)

AMEN! To You be the glory!

jueves, 4 de noviembre de 2010

many, MANY changes continued...

As I said before, a lot of changes have been taking place on our team. One of the huge changes is losing a team-member. It was during Fall visit that it was decided it was best for Natasha to return to the United States instead of remaining in the Dominican Republic. It will be a big time for transition, so please pray for our team. 

So many things were talked about and changed during Fall visit that I want these changes to be reflected upon and then acted on! You can read Natasha's blog about why she went home here

Currently I am in Panama City at a women's conference for Crusade. To be honest I didn't know what to expect before coming here, but now that I am here... it was all worth it. It is a very powerful thing to get women together from all different countries (Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Panamá, El Salvador, Guatemala, México, Honduras, Uruguay, Trinidad, Dominican Republic (yep..me representing!! whoot whoot lol) etc.... the list continues. It is incredible to get all of these women who work for Campus Crusade for Christ together and talk. About what? The purpose of this meeting was the following: Taking the WHOLE gospel to the WHOLE Earth (which includes women who have been abandoned, mistreated, overlooked, thought of not worthy, and lost in the cracks of many societies, women lost in a machista society, women who haven't been valued by the church). What better way to use women to lift other women up? Women make up more than half of the population. If you win a woman over, she will automatically take it to her house and children. So, during this week we have received training/information concerning this goal, taking the WHOLE gospel to the WHOLE Earth. 

Now, don't think this is some sort of femenist thing. Yes, I am a women and I do enjoy being one :) However, one of the workshops that I participated in was talking about what it looks like for women and men to work together. From the beginning, we were meant to work together, there was never meant to be any kind of competition, rivarly, jealousy...we were meant to work side by side (seriously a new way of looking at it for me, never noticed that it wasn't until after the fall that the woman was put under the man...honestly I need to study this more). My point is, that we are our best unified. Men and women together, working in harmony.

Many things learned...many things reminded of :) It's amazing how a verse you've heard for your whole life, said one more time can all of a sudden mean something more than you ever realized. 

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is deadBut someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
   Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone." James 2:14-24

This passage I've read time after time but it was only today that one of the speakers cited "Faith without works, is dead." At that moment, suddenly I understood. I understood that it wasn't just talking about what I always thought it was talking about (that it's not enough to believe in Christ but you should help others) no, all of a sudden I realized why faith was dead without works/deeds. Faith is what happens on the inside, works is what happens on the outside. If my faith in God never flows out of my mind to produce actions taken as I am trusting God, then really am I trusting Him? No. If no action is taken, I am not trusting God. Therefore, I have no faith or my faith is dead. True faith does not remain in the inside of one's mind, but yet is ACTED UPON. 

Alright, good night! It is late :) 

domingo, 31 de octubre de 2010

many, MANY updates!!

So let's start with
update #1:
We just had our Fall visit from Campus Crusade for Christ. Basically Fall visit is a team of leaders from the States who come and evaluate how things are going, bringing much needed encouragement and lots of great advice, and may I say....some GREAT food/snacks from the States (currently I am recovering from a 3 day sugar high.) They arrived this past Wednesday and just left today. Our time was packed full of uplifting conversations, many changes will be made but let me say... I am ready to go fight whatever giant :)

update #2:
Jimmy is now in the hospital with pneumonia. Yes, this is now the second person on our team who has had to stay overnight at the hospital. He went on Saturday (yes, this is while the Fall visit people were here) and is still currently there. I took the liberty of documenting this memorable experience. Jimmy couldn't come to us, so we came to him (and brought dinner too!) Enjoy this picture of our last meeting with the Fall visit people before they left.

update #3:
I will be traveling to Panama City, Panama tomorrow for a women's conference that Crusade is having. I will be out of the country (the DR) until Saturday. Looking forward to the things I will be learning there and getting to know more people on staff.

So... yeah. Lots of things have been going on lately, but I am much encouraged. It was yesterday when I was telling God, "WOW!! It seems like such a storm we are going through. Thing after thing has been coming up!" In that moment the phrase "In the darkness there is provision, in the dark clouds there is rain" went through my head. As I thought about it, it did amaze me that something so dark and luminous could actually contain something so life-giving and good.

Please be praying for the team. With Fall visit, a lot of changes have been made and this will be a time of transition. Also the team's health. God can work through whatever weakness we have, except... it would be helpful to be out of the hospital bed. Also, pray for safe travels on my behalf :) Thanks guys sooo much!!!

Enjoy more pictures :)

and the changes begin...

miércoles, 20 de octubre de 2010

and the ants won...

So I think peanut butter and chocolate has to be the best combination ever :) Although.... may I say... peanut butter and honey are a VERY close second! I say all of this after eating one of my favorite treats from the States, a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.

Now for those who are not educated in the candy bar business, you may not know that there is a SPECIFIC way to pronounce this peanut butter and chocolate wonder. Oh yeah, I'm being serious. I have to admit, I wasn't enlightened until about a week or so ago until I committed the blunder. Curious? I found these peoples' facebook page that may help you as well: People who know how to pronounce Reese's

You may ask, why am I talking about this, or... how did I get a Reese's here? :) WELL... today the guys received someone from Crusade who will be with us for about a week. He'll be following us around, basically documenting life here. All of this is being done in order to publicize the Dominican Republic to college campuses back in the States, hopefully encouraging more people to come down here.

It was perfect timing as usual. Jess got out of the hospital today and that person came today. I'm sure an interview from a hospital bed wouldn't have been all that convincing ;)

So now that I have thrown away the wrapper and as I finish killing the ants that are trying to hunt down the crumbs... let me get on a more serious note. :)

So in a way we have had a little bit of a break here due to team members getting sick. Honestly, it was a needed break. I forget sometimes that I'm not in the business where overworking will get you anywhere. God has a tendency to quickly show you that you definitely can't do this line of work by yourself AND... He loves showing us that He will do things in such crazy ways so that He will have the glory.

A team mate of mine informed me about a month or so ago that many people have analyzed how Jesus spent his time here on Earth. After analyzing the gospels they concluded that Jesus spent 50% of his time  alone with God, 40% of his time with the 12 disciples and only 10% of his time doing public ministry. I had a little "say what?" moment when hearing this, but then it made sense.

Our "off" time is probably the most precious time that we have, the time we have that we are not on campus. What do we do with that time? It is what we receive during that time, it is how we are restored during that time that will later multiply out into the ministry.

So signing off for tonight. Boy these ants are persistent and hyperly active during the night.  I've lost count of the amount I've killed with my right index finger. Time to leave... this warrior princess needs some rest :)

domingo, 17 de octubre de 2010

Hello everyone! Well we were not able to go to church this morning because one of the girls is sick and we may have to take her to the hospital today because it's becoming difficult for her to breathe. Pray for her and her health... and actually for the team's health. Not sure about the origin of this all, but it seems that almost everyone is sick in some sort of way or not feeling up to par. 

This past Friday during Vida Estudiantil I was asked to give the message for that meeting. I was trying to remember, but I believe I've never done that in English let alone in Spanish. It was a good/humbling experience. 

Yesterday on my sabbath I was watching some videos and came across this one about a guy's testimony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7dpGWYZMDc

 I love hearing crazy testimonies like this. What I desire above all is for people to realize that God is a living god, active, alive in our lives... and longs for us to be with Him. Yep... :) 


sábado, 9 de octubre de 2010

How beautiful are the feet...

It's been awhile since I've written in this blog. It is now the 9th of October...how crazy how fast time is going by!

We are in the process of creating our discipleship program right now. A lot of research is going in on my side, trying to get into contact with different people who have experience with this in Crusade because as of right now...there is a clean slate for discipleship. Please pray for God to give us wisdom in the development of this program as well as the implementation of it :)

 One thing that has been nice is living with the other 2 girls. Huge shout out to them. What has been so cool is that we each have our down day... but we look to lift each other up. One of the girls wrote in a random page in my notebook the following:

LOL :) 

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:14-15

So...we know our Lord does things a bit differently... Enjoy these feet (brought to you by Natasha, photographed by me ;) )

jueves, 7 de octubre de 2010

Thanks :)

Just wanted to start off by thanking you guys for all of the encouragement. I absolutely love to hear from others from the States. It lifts me up significantly to know that there are people praying for me and who take the time to write and let me know about it as well :) Thank you so much!

I was actually going to write more tonight, but a little while ago Jess tried to find my "off" button. I think it's time I turn off anything ministry for tonight, but I will write in this soon again :)

domingo, 26 de septiembre de 2010

The late night ramblings of a missionary...

So, I'm up, so I might as well take advantage of the time and write :) lol

Let's see...let me write down interesting things that have happened to us thus far/things we have noticed particularly about the Dominican Republic...

1. The missionary diet: ...basically I would call this the involuntary fasting one! The 5 of us in one month, because of all of the changes and lack of food availability at first, lost a combined 25 pounds. Now things are getting normal.

2. So...I thank all of you who pray protection over me and our group. In the first week of being here, one day in particular we were riding in a taxi (2 in front and 4 in back... cramped, but normal here). It was raining and the taxi driver wasn't really paying attention as we were coming up to an intersection. The light said green but the police officer in the middle of the street was signaling to stop...and we stopped alright. Inches away from the bumper of another car. Not two minutes later as we were strategically moving through the next intersection, a car from the right comes to a screeching stop, inches away from the right door of the taxi. (Wipe sweat from forehead...okay that I can handle) What freaked me out was the following: The next day, I'm walking to a store. Okay, let's look both ways, I do. Clear. As I take my first step into the street looking off into the left where traffic flow should be coming from, I turn my head back to the front and realize that now there literally is a taxi RIGHT in front of me...his right back tire was an inch from my right foot. Confused??? OH YEAH... my mind could not comprehend just how that happened. Within seconds, I'm standing there, aware that I could have just been ran over, and my reaction? I hit the car with my right fist to make sure he knows that there is a person he almost crushed and for him to not move anymore. What had happened is the taxi was parked on the street, and the driver just decided to randomly back up at an accelerated rate without looking. Totally a miracle that I wasn't hurt at all.

3. One of the girl team members had an encounter with a stingray yesterday. Don't worry ladies and gents, I now know what to do if someone ever gets painfully(understatement) stung by one of these things. If you want to read in detail about that...here's the link to her blog: http://stillhomesickforheaven.blogspot.com/  She provides a detailed/throughly entertaining description of yesterday's events at the beach.

4. One of the harder things for me to deal with here is with unwanted attention on the street. To this day, one of my team members has been followed from a restaurant, myself and other team member followed as we were running (yep, they were running too...and laughing.. for them maybe it was funny), I'm hoping I don't have any more of those crazy stories just yet. I just know that out of all of the places I've been to yet (Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Nicaragua) I have never seen such bold, borderline harassment (if not harassment) actions from guys before.

and yet....we are here for a purpose :)

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3: 12-14

martes, 21 de septiembre de 2010

"So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." 1 Corinthians 3:7 

 This is the team's second week evangelizing. Last week we went out specifically on three occasions to share the gospel with different students. Let me say, WOW. It has been harder than I've expected for various reasons. First of all, for the longest time my relationship with God was a personal thing. I didn't grow up with the mentality of "let me tell others about this change that's been going on inside of me" since naturally certain things I keep to myself. Second, I think I also have the mentality of "give me time to fix my life and then let me go out and tell others about God." Lol...which I know is totally not Biblical, but I have caught myself in that mentality, in the thought process of "Am I enough?" To be totally honest, it has been a struggle.

I came across this Bible verse a couple of days ago (1 Corinthians 3:7) and it was very comforting. Comforting to know that it is all up to God. It is all up to God to touch the people's hearts, it is all up to God since He's called me to this work that I am now in, even though I'm feeling completely insufficient and not capable...but yet, He has called me to it. He doesn't call us to things that necessary we feel we are able to do. There is always going to be some sort of abyss that one will have to jump over, jump by faith, and trust that he'll reach the other side. 

Right now I'm jumping...I'm mid-air and I feel like fire is beneath me and in a way consuming me. I am being refined right now, which is honestly a painful process. 

I could say a lot of things right now, but I am being entirely honest. I need all of the prayer I can get...not because I am regretful of this decision. On the contrary, I KNOW God has me here for a reason and I would not change that in ANY way. I say this so those who read it will pray. 

I need His presence more than ever. I need His grace more than ever. It is not a suggestion for Him to show up...it is a NECESSITY. 

God is working here. One of the first people we shared with received Christ as His Lord. My first experience was an amazing one. Words came out that I was like...where did that come from? And after that experience...do you know how I felt??? Completely humbled. Truly I am spreading seed and if I for some reason see it sprout, the credit goes to Him who makes it grow.  

There are so many little miracles that have happened here or there that because I didn't start this blog in the beginning have not been written down, but I look forward to in the future make those known. 

Truly we are all here for His glory. The more we die to ourselves the brighter He shines... :) 

jueves, 16 de septiembre de 2010

The basics (continued)

What/Where? okay, so a lot of people know why I am here in the Dominican Republic, but I'm just going to write it again to make it clear. I am working with Campus Crusade for Christ. CCC, works on college campuses throughout the world (even in the US) establishing college ministries on campuses in order to reach students for Christ.

In Spanish speaking countries this weekly or bi-weekly meeting is called Vida Estudiantil. My group and I are working on the campus of La Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (La UASD.) http://uasd.edu.do/ This university is highly respected and VERY large!! (Around 160,000 students) Classes run from Monday thru Saturday 7am-10pm.

We are working on the campus in order to grow Vida Estudiantil and to spread the gospel to the students. We have huge goals for the group over this next year. We are wanting Vida Estudiantil to be completely student-run, which means lifting up leaders right now in order to take charge. Very soon the group and I will be leading discipleship groups in order to make sure these future leaders are well equipped and growing in their relationship with Christ.

When? We will be here until July of next year, and NO we cannot go home, so come visit!! :) The only thing is we will be working throughout the year and if you come it would make me VERY happy but you would probably just have to tag along with the ministry we are doing on the campus.

Why? Why am I here? For many reasons. I was teaching high school Spanish for the past couple years. Even though I loved the students in my classes, I had such a desire in order to share my complete life with students in an authentic way. I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was a sophomore in high school. I always believed there was a God, but it was only until then that I decided I was tired of living my life for me. Since that time, God has changed my life in so many ways. I have experienced what it is to have true intimacy with the one true God.

For that reason I am here. I may be going against what society tells me to do, but I know that I must tell others about this joy that I have found. I've waited for too long in order to do this. Now is my time. This is my new beginning :)

Alright, so that is the background info you get :) Anymore needed, just ask.

miércoles, 15 de septiembre de 2010

The basics

Alright, so just to lay things out. It's September 15th. My team and I got here the 19th of August. Even though it is ALMOST a month, it really doesn't seem like that to me! There is A LOT to catch you guys up on... a lot would be an understatement, but I will try :) So, let me just answer the basic questions first and if anything else comes to mind I'll elaborate on that later.

Who? For those of you who do not know I am working with Campus Crusade for Christ in the Dominican Republic. Campus Crusade has sent a team of 5 from the states in order to work alongside the two nationals who have been working with the organization for the past 5 years. The two nationals are Próspero and Leyla (excluding last names on purpose).

Leyla has been working full time on the ministry for the past 5 or so years, while Próspero, her husband, has been helping her on and off. More recently Próspero has quit his job as a lawyer in order to dedicate himself full time to the ministry.

Okay, so now the introduction to the team. There are five of us, including myself. Three of the five of from Arizona (Jimmy, Rob, and Jessica) and the fourth person, Natasha, is from Texas. We have all been together since the 13th of August, and I must say have grown together pretty fast. You'll hear more about them later on :)  

(left to right: myself, Natasha, Leyla, Jimmy, Próspero, Jessica, and Rob)

Okay...I have much left to type, but I will probably not get to it tonight. I'll pick up where I left off tomorrow!

What is still left to explain: what? where? when? why? how?