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.