Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Winter/Spring Semester

Now, as I sit at home in Cannington, thinking of another semester flown by faster than the speed of sound; I am reminded of many things. This was a period of rebuilding. Shortly before I began the semester, I kind of felt like the Six Million Dollar Man. God was kind of like the team of doctors working on Stephen Austin (not to be confused with the wrestler) saying "we can rebuild him, we have the technology."

As the semester began, so did my new internship at Benton Street Baptist. Those who know me well know I've said I'd likely not do church ministry because of what happened at my home church. But I did not let that try to bring me down. BSBC immediately became home for me. The first time I walked into the sanctuary I was welcomed and even directed to where other college students sit. Bonus: there was a college lunch that day ( free lunch + broke college student + meeting new peeps= great church. As the semester wore on, I was challenged and stretched in many different ways. For years I have struggled with confidence and self-esteem and through some coaching and opportunities given, I have made slight improvements in both. I told Jaye I wanted opportunities to teach devotionals and Sunday School. I think most of my lessons went well. I was also given leadership opportunities to run game nights and a special theme night. The theme night was Aloha-Mazing Race. After a lot of prep and work, the night was on. I manned the coconut bowling station, fun. The night ended with Iron Gut and two powerful videos. Overall, I loved running a theme night. So much fun. After Aloha was Montreal which I already blogged about.

Some of my favorite youth nights were the Ekklesia Worship nights. God was moving through everyone in several special ways. One night in particular was the last one in March. Earlier in the week I had a very intense spiritual attack. I was broken, stressed and over tired. Almost immediately into the service God collided with me with the force of a dropkick to the chest. The songs nearly brought me to tears, especially How He Loves Us. All of my stress was gone.

The rest of the semester flew by, my last essays were approaching and managed to get them done just in time. The last few youth nights went well, especially when we served breakfast on Easter Sunday. Just a lot of fun, washing dishes, serving burnt bacon (haha jokes) and yummy pancakes to the Benton family. My final youth night consisted of a famine party. Closing out the 30 hours with 3 kinds of cake and freshly shipped Montreal Bagels. I totally enjoyed working with Jaye, Marcel and the other leadership staff and look forward to once again being back in the fall. The youth there are fantastic, some of which are fellow bloggers. JTI loves all of you!

Overall, this semester was enjoyable. I had some emotionally and spiritually exhausting times, but God was working awesomely through them. New friendships formed both at church and school that mean a lot to me. You know who you are! Sending love. Now I eagerly await the fall, when I see my epic friends again and continue my internship.

God is great!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Lord's Calling

Over the past few years, I have been trying to find my calling in life. It dates way back to 2003: high school graduation was on the horizon and I was looking at some college options. I was going to graduate the previous year and work with my father, but I decided to stick around for a 5th year of Brock High. I was in an interesting graduating class, being in the last grade to get OAC's I had to take up the opportunity. OAC (Ontario Academic Credit) was formerly known as grade 13 before being canceled in 2003. This meant I was graduating with all of the grade 12's under me. It was cool, but their cirriculum was so different. And it was only a one year difference.

So, with all of the options in my mind I began looking at various colleges. I toured Durham in Oshawa, where I wanted to take Sports Management. I once had a dream to run an arena, or heck! Work for the Leafs but no go. I also wanted to do Crime Scene Photography at Flemming in Peterborough after a year of work, but needed stupid credits that the new curriculum called for. Despite the fact I graduated under the old one. Looking back, I am glad those fell through the cracks. I don't think God wanted me to do those things.

It took re-dedicating my life to Chirst in fall 2004 to find my true calling. God got my attention and guided me into youth ministry at my home church. This is where I felt God telling me to go to college and here I am. It took some praying and searching but I found an area of ministry that fits. Now I serve at an awesome church with an incredible pastoral staff and great youth. Now, I hear God calling me to Africa, which I explained in an earlier blog. It's so great to get opportunities that potentially allow me to grow in my relationship with Christ and in my abilities and confidence (that comes from Jesus!)

So, what is your calling? Are you really sure?

I leave you with some verses to meditate on:

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass ... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." (Psalm 37:4,7)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5)

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left' Isaiah 30:21

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach.
James 1:5

Dandelions

In a field of yellow flowers underneath the sun,
bluest eyes that spark with lightning,
boy with shoes undone.
He is young,
so full of hope,
reveling in tiny dreams,
filling up his arms with flowers,
right for giving any queen.
Running to her beaming bright,
cradling his prize.
a flickering of yellow light,
within his mother's eyes.
She holds them to her heart,
keeping them where they'll be safe,
clasped within her very marrow,
dandelions in a vase.

She sees love where anyone else would see
weeds,
all hope is found, here is everything he needs.

Fathomless your endless mercy,
weight I could not lift.
Where do I fit in this puzzle,
what good are these gifts?
Not a martyr,
or a saint.
Scarcely can I struggle through,
all that I have ever wanted,
was to give my best to you.

Lord, search my heart,
create in me something clean,
dandelions,
you see flowers in these weeds.

Gently lifting hands to heaven,
softened by the sweetest hush,
a Father sings over his children,
loving them so very much.
More than words could warrant,
deeper than the darkest blue,
all that I have ever wanted,
was to give my heart to you.

written by Reese Roper: Five Iron Frenzy

(c) 1997 Five Minute Walk Records


Friday, April 2, 2010

Africa

I am not sure why but my heart lately has been going to one place: Africa. Pastor Jaye made me aware of a village in Kenya called Metaganwe (Met-ang-way). An organization called Caring Partners Global has some ties with Benton Street Baptist. CPG helps get health insurance to people. It costs $35/ year and many people cannot afford it. I've supported some of my friends who are going this year to get electricity to the village and help build some things there. Next year, the necessary buildings will be complete and will need workers. This is where I could come in. I just do not know, part of me wants to go to experience another culture. To see how the love of Christ affects the poor. I hear that despite the fact they have nothing, they are way more happy than North Americans. This is something I need to pray for and need hardcore prayer for.
Does God really want me to go? Those who know me well know that I said I'd never go on missions trips but I kinda hear God leading me here. I've also downloaded some worship songs by The Daraja Children Choir. They have songs with renowned worship singers like Mac Powell, Aaron Shust and Steve Fee. Hearing them sing to Jesus tugs at my heart. Also feels like a call. Lord! Send me to world, to the poor and hungry. This is an opportunity to do something with my faith. Please pray. This could be a huge turning point.