Saturday, August 15, 2009

In 6 Days God did what?!

On the 7th day, God rested. But you better believe he did a whole lot of creating and work the 6 days before that!

I have one week exactly. And on the 7th day, I shall rest (if you can call more than24 hours of travel time restful…). But until then, I have a lot more to do. Primarily, I think it’s going to be a lot of witnessing the Lord’s mighty work. And I am more than okay with that!

One major prayer request/awesome thing that God is doing – If you have been reading my blog, you might remember that God did an incredible thing, allowing me to start up a Wednesday morning directed prayer time for all the kids (During staff devotions/prayer). And now, as I prepare to leave, I have the privilege to pass it along to the 12th grade girls to lead. And I cannot tell you how exciting this is! I am so excited for the leadership it will require, the power of God they will witness, the unity it will intensify among them. As I type this, the 6 of them are meeting to discuss this Wednesday’s prayer time (I am having them lead once before I go so that if they want advice or help in any way, I am here). I ask that you would prayer for them as they take on this first step of intentional leadership. Pray that God would give them a vision for what he wants that time to look like. Pray that He would fill them with excitement and anticipation for what he is going to do through this ministry. And pray that He would just pour himself out on those girls but also on the entire school as they gather to pray on Wednesdays. I am so excited to get to watch them this Wednesday!

I am beginning to feel a sense of closure as my time here comes to an end. And yet the other day, it hit me that I am also excited to discover why God is having me leave this place. He does not slack during the transitions. He specifically chose August 22 for me to leave, in order that I might continue down the path he has for me.

I have no idea how to end this time, though. No idea how to close this part of my life. Rarely do I feel like I am using my gifts this much, like I have the opportunity to pour out so continually without ever running out of the Lord's gracious supply. I already know that I will miss these kids and this place so much. I was praying just yesterday that I would be able to see all of these faces in heaven.

Pray with passion and fervor these last several days, warriors. Pray for God's continued hand on these children. Pray that God would gently beckon some who are hesitant. Pray that he would tear others from the claws of the enemy. Pray that He would intervene in mighty and powerful ways - for the sake of his own name. That He might be glorified as majestic and wonderful and awesome.
Pray also that I would be able to drink it all in. Pray that I would not grow weary or slow down for the end of this journey. Pray that I might run all the way to the finish line, that I might be able to say I fought until the end.

6 Days. He created the whole universe.
6 Days. O God, let me see that kind of wonder!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Power of Incense

As my time begins slipping away, too quickly some days, too slowly others, I know that God has never once stopped working.  It’s just that sometimes, I have a tendency to forget J.


Last night, I had discipleship group with the grade 8/9 girls.  Honestly, I was frustrated, feeling as though I was being completely unproductive in everything I was doing, asking God, “Am I being fruitful at all?  Is my work worth anything?”

Our lesson was on Joshua 4, where God directs Joshua to gather 12 stones from the middle of the Jordan river, to set up a memorial in order that they might remember – and their children to know – that God is mighty, powerful, and faithful.  We talked about the importance of spiritual memory, so that even when we are feeling as though life is too hard or having a difficult time remembering that God is good, we can look back on those times where God was big and incredible and praise him and worship him still.


I had the girls spend 15 or so minutes just journaling, writing down as many things as they could remember about what God has done in their lives.  We were creating a type of “memorial,” just a written one instead of stone.  And of course I did the same, but I decided to do it solely with what God has done since I have been here.  Well!  I can tell you for certain that God HAS been working, he HAS used me, he IS faithful. 

Even when I asked, “God, but I don’t think I’m being fruitful,” He said to me, “Remain in me, and my words remain in you…and you WILL bear MUCH fruit.”  That’s a promise.


And then this morning, we had our Wednesday morning prayer meeting.  Because I am leaving in less than two weeks, I really wanted some of the grade 12 girls to take over and lead it, so I spoke to them yesterday about that possibility.  All but one volunteered.  And O I am so excited for them!  It is such a great chance for them to be spiritual leaders here, without too much pressure being put on them. I would like for them to try and lead next week so that I can help them plan and debrief it.  So already, I was so encouraged and excited.

This morning’s prayer time was, for the first time, open to the boys – and optional.  All the girls came, and several of the boys joined as well.  And I was sitting this morning, praying with them, watching them pray, it all of a sudden hit me – if this was even the only mark I left on this place, it has been well worth the journey. 


I read Revelation 8:3-5 to them this morning, the verses which describe our prayers rising up to heaven as incense and then being hurled again to the earth as lightning, thunder, and earthquakes, and I tried to emphasize how powerful prayer really is.  I have been praying that God would answer their prayers visibly – and give them eyes to see it – so that they might be encouraged and strengthened, to pray without ceasing all the days of their life.

I have been able to see the power of my prayers - and of yours - here already, and I know that it will not stop.  Praise the Lord!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Weaker than David

I have been feeling my weaknesses this week.  A lot.  I have been noticing how very very weak I am, and how very very often I am struck down.  But somehow the enemy is not taking my hope.

I was taking a walk yesterday, talking to God, and I said, "You know what God?  I feel like I'm this little 5 year old kid fighting against a 100-year trained expert swordsman, and all he has to do is barely touch me with one finger, and I fall over.  But then I just jump right back up with all the energy and excitement in the world, exclaiming, 'You can't beat me!  I'm gonna win, I'm gonna win!'  And yet I look like a fool because it just keeps happening.  He keeps pushing me on over with no more than a tap."
Well, sweetheart, that's what you are.  Remember David and Goliath?
"Okay, God, but David actually defeated Goliath.  I'm not defeating him."
No, but it only takes one stone - the right one in the right place - and he will go down.
"So what am I supposed to do for now?  Because I kind of feel like an idiot just jumping up again and again."
Don't stop, don't lose hope.  Keep doing it.  One of these days, he will go down.

I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it brought me just enough strength to do it all over again today.  I'll just keep on believing God, keep on fighting, even with what little strength and training and ability I have.   In my weakness, his power is made perfect.  O, I need that to show up and be BIG right now.

2 weeks left.  And I am feeling worn down most days.  But I have been asking for at least one piece of hope to be revealed each and every day.  And I know that he is faithful, firm to the end.  So I shall be too.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Declare His Faithfulness

Let me just boast in the Lord for a minute here.

I have thought several times since I've been here, "Man, I wish I could share my story with these girls."  But I don't know when exactly or how, so I have just let it be.  I'll share some things here and there with my devotion group or with one of my small groups, but that has been the extent of it.  
This morning, the Rock Harbor church team (they are here for 2 weeks helping in one of the townships and teaching some classes at the academy) led the Sunday morning service.  At one point, they had people stationed throughout the room if you wanted prayer...and my heart started speeding up and I started getting warm and I felt strength start draining out of my body.  Again, God?  What are you up to this time?  So I walked over to one of the girls and asked if I could pray with her.  "Anything specific?"  "Nope."  *Smile awkwardly* Well, at least not that I know of yet.  And then right after we finished praying, they opened up the floor for anyone who wanted to share a part of their testimony.  One of the grade 12 girls got up and shared hers- and it was beautiful and powerful.  And then my heart starting RACING, I began sweating, and nearly all the strength was now gone from my body.  Okay, God, I get it.  But I have NO IDEA what I am going to say up there.  
That's okay.  Just obey.  I'll give you the words...I always do.
 So one girl from the team shared briefly, and then I walked on up to the front, frankly telling them that I wasn't sure what God wanted me to say yet, but I was going to be obedient, so we were all going to find out together!
I ended up sharing the parts of my story which are closest to my heart, yet I typically choose very carefully who hears them.  I shared about making poor decisions in a past relationship which eventually covered me in SHAME for years. And I shared about how I then tried to nourish my aching soul with food.  And I shared about the freedom and victory God has given me, yet also how I have voluntarily turned back to it since.  How the temptations are still there, and it is a daily battle, one I plan on winning.  We all just must drop our chains.  A dear friend once described it to me like this: we are chained down by sin, until Christ comes and breaks us free.  But then we just stand there, holding onto our broken chains, crying for help and for freedom.  We actually hold onto shackles that are not actually holding onto us.
 I have already set you free!  Drop your chains and run!
It is for freedom Christ has set you free.  Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 6:1
And I shared about how beautiful life is living in freedom, in the redemption of God's grace.  The absolute beauty of freedom.
Believe me when I tell you that I was not planning on sharing all of that, at least not with the entire school plus some of the staff plus an entire church team.  But you know what?  O it felt so good to share!  It felt so good to stand before a crowd and declare his faithfulness.  O proclaim it to the rooftops - God is faithful!  And God redeems.  And God longs for all of us to be free.

I do not know what all God did with my story this morning.  I do know that one staff member and one Rock Harbor team member approached me and told me that God had spoken to them through my story.  Hallelujah.  And I know my God, that he is so much bigger than I can imagine.  So I know that he spoke to more than just two.  I know that this morning was also for me.  And also for him - for his glory to be proclaimed yet again.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Day after day, all throughout my life, I have been increasingly amazed at the blessings of the Lord, at his mercy and grace.  He has brought me on journeys all over the world, yet uses them to teach me such seemingly small things about him, about life, about myself.

As I think over this past week, I have surely seen progress with the kids.  I have watched certain faces completely enraptured as the Holy Spirit speaks passionately through me about why God lets bad things happen, why he lets us be tempted, suffer, and be lonely.  I have seen their glimpses of understanding and revelation as I explain the powerful concept of redemption.  I have watched the excitement and squeals of amazement and joy as I recount stories of miraculous healings I have witnessed.  

Of course there have also been frustrations.  After all, "the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing," no matter how many times I try to convince them otherwise.  And as Jenni describes it, we are "stirring the pot" right now and all the junk is floating to the surface.  For the first year and a half of the school, the kids were not challenged much spiritually.  But since the Bible classes and discipleship program have both started, those who were not serious about their faith, who were sliding by as "good kids" are no longer able to fade into the crowd.  This has caused some problems, though this is not necessarily a bad thing.  Kids who used to be "good kids" have begun acting out, and kids who used to act out have begun to rise up.  As Jenni put it, the wheat has to be separated from the tares eventually.  Might as well do it sooner rather than later.  Pray for this separation process.  And pray that those who have floated for so long will be challenged enough that they fall to their knees.

Certainly this week has been about ministry and the kids, just as every other week has been.

And yet this week somehow has seemed to be more about me and what God is working on in my heart, my life, my relationship with him.  
Samantha, it's time to get rid of this.  It's time to give it up.  It's time to get this mountain under your feet.  It's time to take a step up in your confidence in hearing my voice.  It's time to let your love for me overflow, unhindered.  And let's start working on this, too, while we're at it.
I have been reflecting on who I really am and what my life is really about.  Where are my priorities, really?  How much longer am I going to let the enemy claim victory over certain parts of my life?  When am I going to just surrender it, all over again?

Something I have learned in all the trips I have taken is that location is absolutely meaningless when it comes to lives being changed.  That's all God, and he is constant.  So I must praise him that he is continuing to refine me like silver and gold.  I praise him that he is continuing to draw me closer to him.  And I praise him that he will continue to work even after I leave this place.  He is not finished with me yet.  Glory to his name!  I certainly hope he isn't!

Please be praying for me and my relationship with the Lord and my refining process.  Pray that as I learn and grow, I would overflow onto the kids and staff members each and every day.  Pray for the encouragement of the full-time staff.  And continue to pray for HOPE.  We know that God is working, and we will press on in faith, but it sure helps to see some fruit and some glimmers every once in a while!

Thank you all so much for faithfully reading my blog.  You have no idea what it means to me to have people praying, encouraging, and supporting me.  I pray that the Lord would continue to bless each one of your lives, and that you would allow yourself to fall into him, trusting his plan for your life, one step at a time.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Table Mountain Photos

1. I didn't really feel as strong as that picture might lead you to believe.  I'm pretty sure Caleb, the other short term American volunteer, was trying to see how much he could make us want to die.  
2. I know that this is now the 3rd post in 2 days, but my computer won't let me upload photos to facebook, and I figured that people want to see them.  Hope you don't mind!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just to Give You A Visual

Mimitha, Yanga, and Azile.  My Grade 8/9 small group.