Sunday, November 11, 2012

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church 2012

Today is a very special day, a day when we as Christians stand up with our brothers and sisters who are persecuted and suffer for the name of Christ.  Today we take time to remember them and pray for them that they may persevere in their faith. On average 150,000 Christians who try to spread the gospel in communist or islamic countries are killed each year. What will you do with this information?

Today the Pastor at my church shared this poem:

TRAVELING ON MY KNEES

Last night I took a journey
To a land across the seas.
I didn't go by ship or plane
I traveled on my knees.

I saw so many people there
In bondage to their sin,
And Jesus told me I should go, 
That there were souls to win.

But I said "Jesus, I can't go
To lands across the seas."
He answered quickly, "Yes, you can
By traveling on your knees."

He said, "You pray, I'll meet the need.
You call, and I will hear.
It's up to you to be concerned
For lost souls far and near."

And so I did; knelt in prayer,
Gave up some hours of ease,
And with the Savior by my side,
I traveled on my knees.

As I prayed on, I saw souls saved
And twisted persons healed,
I saw God's workers strength renewed
While laboring in the field.

I said, "Yes Lord, I'll take the job.
Your heart I want to please.
I'll heed Your call and swiftly go
By traveling on my knees."

By: Sandra Goodwin

What a sweet reminder that though many of us might not travel to other lands, we can still help by praying.  

As I prepare to go wherever the Lord calls me I think about my fellow brothers and sisters.  I think about Paul and how even in his imprisonment God used his chains to advance the gospel:

[Philippians 1:12-26]
"Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear....."
As an American I have never faced the situation where someone says to me: Deny Christ or die.  I pray that God would prepare my heart should such a day come here, when our beliefs are deemed unconstitutional and our Pastors are ripped from their pulpits.  I was told of an underground church in which everyone was to be prepared to preach because there would be times when their pastor was taken away and the next person was expected to step in and preach the Word of God.  

I don't know where God is going to send me through this contest, but I know that he will guide me and show me exactly what needs to be done for his kingdom.  Pray for your brothers and sisters we must stand with them, show them that we are one with them.

-A. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Updates: iliveindallas, iGo Missions Conference, One Body-Many Gifts Contest

     It seems like everything is happening so fast recently!  I cannot believe everything that God is doing, it seems almost like a dream...but then I wake up and it is real! So here is the recap of my past two weeks.

Thursday November 1st: iliveindallas
     I was asked to attend a benefit art show(go here to read an article about it) to help raise money for the kids workshops that ArtLoveMagic does every month.  So I went and had a great time, made a new piece of art based on Isaiah 40:8 "The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever." I also met some pretty neat guys from Mission'd an organization that helps raise money for missionaries through clothing apparel. They saw that I was on biblegateway.com and made their way over. I might be invited out to their fashion show in April so that was pretty exciting to see how the Lord is using other forms of creativity to help his people.

Fri., Sat., Sun. November 2nd-4th: iGo Missions Conference
     I was even more excited about getting to reconnect with my friends at AweStar Ministries!  I attended iGo the previous year and hear stories of hope from many missionaries including from Dr. Heng Lim who is originally from Cambodia. This year I was blessed even more when I gained the opportunity to meet with new speakers including Pastor Mony who made the long journey from Cambodia to be at iGo. During the breakout sessions Dr. Lim would translate for us, although we did learn a few words in Khmer. Pastor Mony has such a heart for the people of Cambodia, oh to live with such passion for a hurting people! He was such a delight to be around even though I could not speak his language we were able to speak a little at the end of the second day thanks to Dr. Lim's nephew Richard. He told me that one thing he has noticed about America is the amount of food everyone has, when he sits to eat a meal there is so much and he thinks of the 12 churches he pastors and is reminded of them and how little they have. I know that someday I will meet with Pastor Mony in Cambodia and we will work side by side to bring glory to God's kingdom.

Pastor Mony in one of the main sessions.

     I also had a chance to meet Brad Guice who is a well known photographer whom the Lord has used to capture many images in the missions field. His testimony was very touching and encouraged me in my desire to use photography in the field.
     The one thing that God really spoke to me at the conference was this "A burden gives direction, without a burden there is emptiness." I know where my burden is, but I feel as if I have not been taking things seriously and now I know that I cannot waste my time and effort on frivolous things.  I must spend myself for my Lord.

Saturday November 10th: One Body Many Gifts Contest Winners announced...
     I won! (check out the winners here) I can't believe it!  God has blessed me beyond measure and I feel so unworthy, I have done nothing to deserve this.  I really am thankful that God saw fit to create a contest like this, I know that through this many more people will come to use their gifts of art, creativity, music, poetry all for his glory.  I hope that you who are reading this find encouragement to use all your gifts and talents for the Lord, because he is the one that gave you that gift that you may use it for his kingdom.  Do squander it, don't hide it, but rejoice that he entrusted it to you. Oh how loving is our Father! The grand prize is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go on a top secret trip to meet with real persecuted Christians, I have only been contacted once yesterday to make sure I met with all the requirements so I'm not sure what happens next, where I will go or when, but I know that God has it under control and I leave it in his hands.  Also a HUGE thank you to all who helped me by sharing this with others and voting. I had help come from some of the most unlikely friends and I am very grateful!

So much has happened in so little time, what will God do next I wonder? I shall wait in His presence and see.

[Job 5:9]
"He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted."

-A.

Prayer Requests:

1. Pray for my friend as she begins the process of changing her T-Visa to a green card so that it will go smoothly and without stress and that she would have financial provision. (it is not cheap)
2. Pray for my missionary friend Gordon Griffith after being in Thailand for two years the Lord is calling him in a new direction. Pray that he would hear and listen to Gods plans for him in this new chapter.
3. Hurricane Sandy has brought much heartache, but also opportunity for Christians to take the lead and show the love of Christ.  Brad Guice is located in New Jersey where there is much devastation, pray that the Lord would help them to bring many the gospel of Jesus Christ.
4. Pray that I find some good materials on the Khmer language, after doing some research I've found that their are no classes around this area. The next time I meet Pastor Mony I'd like to be able to speak to him without a translator. :)