Another fun, fun day!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
And... I couldn't take pictures of the UNBELIEVABLE amount of stars. But they were amazing! Supposedly tomorrow is sunnier and a clearer night. More to come I'm sure!
"YOU ARE THE GOD OF GREAT WONDERS!!!" Psalm 77:14
I have A LOT going on in my head. But today has been mostly overcast and I took that as my cue to spend a lot of down time. Just reading, journaling, & listening. I really want to be relaxed this trip and not stress about ANYTHING! I also sat outside on the picnic table, looking at the waves coming in, eating my tuna and Pringles and just listening... it is so awesome here.
My plan, also, is to write a post about the Storyline conference that I went to at the beginning of the week in Portland. Again, LOTS going on in my head, but I will try later.
Here are a few pics of my travels so far...
This is Cannon Beach right when I arrived!There is a little bunny colony that lives right outside my place.The sun as it was setting last night!And this seagull that decided to have a little photo shoot with me!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
I woke up last night sad that I was leaving today. The Lord has done what seems impossible... I am leaving refreshed and refueled. Of course I have more to process and I am sure the flood will come as I do that. But I am amazed at all He did and what He allowed us to see and experience.
God's economy is just different, His ways are above my ways, He likes to surprise us! I'm so thankful for the creativity of my Creator!
The above pic is the sunset we saw as we sat by the ocean. I've taken close to 1500 pics (yikes!) so I'll try to pick the top 1% and put them up in the next week or so!!
Thanks for all your prayers... There are things I would do differently, but I'm leaving changed!
Sent from "no tellin' where!" -Suz
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I've debated writing another blog because I really am struggling with guilt that I get to be on this trip. This is going to be a crazy statement ... But it has refueled me! I know ... CRAZY!
And yet, isn't that just like our God??? He brings me to a third world country, one full of desperation and need and shows me my needs and my complete desperation for Him AND then chooses to meet those needs.
I have held beautiful children, danced, (let that soak in friends, I couldn't say no to Sarah the little 4 year old on my lap!), experienced a slice of heaven in singing with the Haitians, stood in a waterfall, played games with kids who have so much joy, walked through a "jungle" & a pretty fast moving river, painted and got creative, listened to miraculous stories of earthquake survivors, and seen the most beautiful lightning storm EVER!
It almost sounds like I've been on vacation! Don't get me wrong, there is heat beyond hot, there are children in need of mommies and daddies, there are physically injured, many who need Jesus, the poorest of the poor, bugs and bug bites... Lots of them!
Total contrasts here that I can't put my arms around. But what has stood out to me so far is the majesty of our God in the midst of the severity of need. I haven't put it all together yet, I don't totally know what all He has to teach me... But I am trying to not get swept away in the guilt and trying to rest and rejoice in what He is doing in my heart and be available for whatever He has for today.
The picture above is my view each morning as I spend time with Him! Hard to see but mountains and the sunrise.
Sent from "no tellin' where!" -Suz
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
For the most part my back is fine and I'm sleeping pretty well. The devestation is huge and the beauty is amazing. The stories are heartbreaking and miraculous.
I'm wrestling with lonliness, what is God wanting to show me?
I've already taken over 700 pics, lost a farkle, been bitten by a kid, held lots of hands, seen lots of critters, seen a mass grave, crumbled buildings, heard and seen where God is moving, seen the national amputee soccer team (all started after the earthquake!), seen breathtaking sunsets, laughed, ALMOST cried, killed more mosquitoes I and seen more smiles than I can digest...
And it's only Tuesday morning!
Keep praying... We need it!
Check out #wmhaiti hashtags on Twitter and facebook for updates throughout the day and I think I'll post more here too!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I had a pretty restless night last night... hence this post before 5am! I get on a plane in about 5 hours for Haiti. I am having lots and lots of thoughts. Most of them overwhelming.
Yesterday was a rough day. Of course things have been going wrong leading up to this trip. That is how the enemy works! And this week has been no exception. At some point on Monday I twinged my back. It has gradually gotten worse. Hard for me to life things or even sit for long periods of time. All perfect for travel. (note the sarcasm!) And it's hard for me. I don't want to be needy. I don't want to have to ask for help carrying things or relying on others to help with my stuff. I want to just be able to muscle through. (Note here... I don't actually have a lot of muscles, so I know a lot of it is in my head any way!!)
This morning when I got up I continued to wrestle with my thoughts. Sometimes I think these are just as exhausting as have physical pain. The thoughts running through my head can wear me out! All day yesterday and now into this morning I have struggled with thoughts of being alone and that I can't do this week. I am going to be too emotional, I am going to be too high maintenance, I am going to be needy. And then this morning I am wrestling with some hard memories from my trip to Africa with a group of people similar to what I am doing this time. You see I got into a really hard conversation with one of my team members. From my perspective this person had a very skewed view of me. We talked for hours about it and there were lots of hurtful things said. And so this fear has creeped in... these thoughts are racing... "What if someone on this trip thinks those things about me?" "What if I am misunderstood?" "What do I need to do to make sure that doesn't happen again?" All of them things that I really can't control.
And of course... in all of this... the Lord was so sweet and present again this morning. The verses I read were Philippians 4:6-9,11-13.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
...Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
...Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Such a sweet reminder of many things.
1) Bring all my concerns to the Lord. He cares for me. He cares what I am feeling and thinking. And He will take care of me.
2) In bringing all things to Him, I will experience His peace. And there is pretty much nothin' better!
3) Fixing my thoughts on truth. What is true and right. Not what others think of me, but running to the Lord to guide, direct and correct. Then again... peace!
4) No matter what lies ahead on this trip, I know that God is going with me. I know that whatever the circumstances, He will give me what I need to get through. The whole contentment thing I am for sure still learning. And I know this week will be another great week to trust Him.
I'm grateful the Lord cares about the concerns of my heart. I am thankful that He knows that I am in physical pain and that my head is restless with questions of relational team connection and oh yeah, it's gonna feel like 115 degrees each day! He knows all of that. And He is going with me and will provide and offers me His peace along the way!
I am excited to see what God is going to do this week. I am excited to watch Him move and use us. I am hopeful for the people we will come in contact with. They are for sure in a wrestling and restless time. Praying we can share the truth of God's peace with them.
ps: My plan is to do some tweeting (@suzpeeps), which shows up on facebook, this week and maybe post here. But also there will be updates on Watermarks Serving Blog.
We covet your prayers!
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
#1 Should we keep growing in the size of our church body? If you ask it from God's perspective, I don't think you could answer that question any other way than yes! When you read Matthew 28:19-20... "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
He is clear... keep telling others about me, keep loving each other, KEEP GROWING.
And what's amazing about this question is that God as continued to grow our body. Over the last month, 130 new families (with kids) have visited us on Sunday. They are coming... where are we going to put them?
Which leads me to #2... Should we grow our actual building? As I have wrestled with this question I have found myself going to Matthew 14:13-21...
As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.”
But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered.
“Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!
What I think is so amazing about this passage is that the disciples wanted to send the people away. Jesus says... it's not necessary, YOU FEED THEM! And I love their response... BUT WE ONLY HAVE...! And Jesus says... bring it to me. Bring the small amount that you have and allow ME to be the one that multiplies it so that these people will be fed. This is so much like what is going on in our building process. If each of us will bring what God has blessed us with... GOD will multiply and ALL the people will be fed and there will be leftovers (room) for others too!
People ARE GROWING, People ARE BEING FED, disciples ARE BEING MADE... (see post before OR go here watermarkblogs.org and read stories of what God is doing in the lives of this body!) AND God wants us to keep growing... both corporately AND INDIVIDUALLY!
I'm excited and blessed to be a part of how God is moving and today I am blessed to give what God is calling me too... may the very small loaf be multiplied for more people to come to LIFE in Christ!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Our church has been raising money for a building for a few years now. It has been an amazing process. When we found land that we felt like would be a good fit for us, our leadership brought the request to the body. We were not going to go into debt to buy the land. So we were presented with an opportunity... PRAY for the next however many days (can't remember the exact number) and when you know what God is calling you to give put your money in a self addressed envelope. Then put that envelope in another envelope with the amount of the gift on the outside of that envelope. All the envelopes would be gathered, the money would be counted and then if we got the amount needed... $8 million... we would buy the land. If we did not get it, then they would open the outside envelope and mail all the money back.
The night we gathered to find out if the Lord had provided the money and we would be buying the land... was amazing. We were lead in worship being reminded that no matter what the answer was, God was good and faithful. Then they told us we had the money... and pretty close to the exact right amount, I think there was a little to spare. It was AWESOME!
After buying the land, we moved our offices, began holding some weekly stuff on the property and starting raising money to build our existing sanctuary.
The entire process we have been consistently reminded that it is not about the building. The church is the people, the building is a structure where the church gathers. The building is for function, purpose, to provide for ministry opportunities... it is not about the building. It's about lives being changed, hearts being called to love God and the mission He has for them.
We are continuing on our quest to raise the rest of the money to finish the new worship center and to retro fit "the box" for the kids. We still need a lot of money. And sometimes the number overwhelms me when I think about the needs all over the world, including my own backyard!
BUT again I am reminded it is not about the building. God has used the people of Watermark to do UNBELIEVABLE things. Every week thousands of people gather to worship the Lord, to be reminded of our mission and then thousands of people go out... go out and serve Him.
There are over 600 hundred orphans being cared for in Africa, there are over 100 kids being mentored in West Dallas, there are 100's of marriages meeting in "the building" on Weds nights and being transformed to what God designed marriage to be, there are jr high and sr high kids being shepherded and called to fully follow the Lord that go to college campuses and make a difference... stand up and call others to biblical community. Because we have a place to gather... thousands and thousands of lives are being changed.
Now there is always discussion on how nice the building is and how much we have spent to make it what it is. And I have wrestled in my own heart on exactly what we have done. But at the end of the wrestling I come back to the same place. 1) I am to be obedient to search my heart and ask the Lord what He is calling to me to do with the money He has entrusted me with. 2) I trust our leadership. I have the privilege of knowing all the guys that are leading our charge to build. They are men who love the Lord and who are devoted to listening to Him and know the weight of responsibility they have in stewarding the Lord's money well. 3) I do not want to miss out on being a part of what God is doing. I want my PASSION to be in line with His, I want my PRESENCE smack in the middle of what He is doing and I was my POSSESSIONS to be fully released to what He intends them to be used for.
And so... our leaders are ramping up the communication on the building. And I have again gone before the Lord and wrestled through what He is asking me to do. It has been a good wrestle. He has faithfully given me a number, shone me why, and He has entrusted me with a lot. And I can see how He has lead me to this point. I am grateful, I am overwhelmed, I am excited, and honestly, I am a little nervous.
BUT I know it really ISN'T about the building, the rock, the chair, the tv... It's about the people who come into the buliding... the kids whose lives are being molded and called to a life of full devotion to Jesus. It's really about my heart and all the hearts that will get to hear who God is and who He wants to be in their lives. And then the hearts that we go and tell and bring to hear. And so on and so on... I want to be a part of that... and I'm so thankful I have been and get to continue to be.