Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hello From Yellowstone!

Hey everyone! First of all, I want to say thanks to everyone that left me a really made my day! Thank you all so much for all the prayer and support! It means so much to me. I will try to do better on blogging more often but i've been super busy since I have arrived in Yellowstone on trying to adjust to everything.
I will start by updating everyone on my past 2 weeks here. First of all, it is absolutely gorgeous here and I can never get tired of looking at the mountains. It's been pretty cold, in the 4os and snowing. My job is really enjoyable. I love all of my co-workers a lot, most of them are from China or Thailand. Two girls from Thailand trained me and their names are Nut and Oil (unique, I know). I work 5 days a week and I have Sundays and Mondays off to do things with the Christian ministry team. I get off work every day at 3 so I still have time to enjoy all of my evenings.
I have made a lot of friends, on and off the ministry team. Everyone here is so nice and supportive. This upcoming Sunday I will be putting on my first service at the Chapel in the morning and at the campground in the evening. I am the only girl in my group this week and I will be leading prayer at the services. There are 40 ministry staff throughout the park and there are 9 in my location (Mammoth). 4 girls - Kathryn (Yellowstone), Jacqueline (Pennsylvannia), Amy (Texas), and me and 5 boys - Michael (California), Alex (California), Joseph (Maine), David (Yellowstone), and Derek (Ohio). We all get along really well and I am excited for what God has in store for our group this summer.
I have also got to do some exploring. I've been on a 5 mile hike (which was beautiful!) and I saw a grizzly bear with 2 cubs. She was off in the distance and didn't notice us but it was so cool to watch! I also got to go out to Lamar Valley in Yellowstone where there is a wolf den and we saw a black wolf. I have went to Norris Hot Springs and walked the whole trail and got to see Steamboat geyser (the largest exploding geyser in the world). Tomorrow I am going white water rafting with some friends so I am really excited about that!
I will try to blog again soon and keep everyone back at home updated! I miss home a lot, but I am enjoying myself. I appreciate everyone who is supporting and praying for me. It means so much to know I have support not only here, but at home too!
How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number-living things both large and small. (Psalm 104:24-25)

Much love,

Healing and Authority

Hey everyone,

In the last 48 hours it has probably rained a total of 30 hours. It's also cold. My phone doesn't work and the pay phones are out. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't have it any other way. There are around 120 on staff here at JH and we are gathered from various states and denominations across the country. Granted, it has its challenges, but it's also exciting. It's exciting to see how the Lord is not only bringing us together and unifying the staff as a whole, but also how He's changing each one of us individually. Myself, I've never felt more free and more confident in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Perhaps one of the neatest things that the Lord has emphatically iterated over my life in the last week is the power of His name. Yeshuah, YHVH, Jesus Christ---all are His name. What is amazing about the name Yeshuah is that it literally means, in Hebrew, "I Am Salvation". I think this is absolutely phenomenal. Judaism denies Yeshuah as the prophesied Christ, and yet the man's name means "I Am Salvation". I love it! I have also become really good friends with a fellow staffer named Peter who is a Messianic Jew. He spent 8 months in Israel literally debating with the religious leaders there. It's so cool to hear his stories about the challenges, successes and failures that he endured through the entire experience in that the Lord used those challenges, successes and failures to increase his faith in Himself.

There are no guests here at the Ranch as of yet. Currently, my known responsibilities include being head of the Alpine Tower and Screaming Eagle, which are two of the ropes challenges offered here. Also, I serve on the pastoral team. This includes the responsibility of serving 5 of my fellow staff guys through intercession and bible study. I am excited about what the Lord is already doing here and what He is continually teaching me and bringing me into. He's stretching my mind and my faith. Thank you for all the prayers and am praying for you all as well. I am leaving you with a testimony that was shared this past week regarding a guest that attended the ranch this past year.

A man's son was found at the bottom of their swimming pool. By the time this 5 year-old boy was retrieved from the water and transported to the hospital, the doctors estimated that the boy had been submerged for at least ten minutes. It was under this assumption the the doctors declared the boy brain dead and told the parents that survival was unlikely and that if the boy did survive, he would be a vegetable for the rest of his life.

The parents didn't know what to do. Friends and family supported them through prayer and encouragement. One family friend mentioned that he'd heard about a pastor in southern Florida who raised people from the dead. Skeptical but in a corner, the parents contacted the pastor and he agreed to come in. After arriving, the pastor went into the boy's room by himself and prayed. After several minutes the pastor emerged from the room and told the parents that their boy would be well in 72 hours. Without anything or anyone else to hope in, besides the Lord and the words that this pastor spoke, the parents agreed to keep their son on life support for the next 72 hours.

Sure enough, in 72 hours, the boy was sent home from the hospital.

Months after the accident, the dad was driving his car with his son in the back seat. Without warning, the boy asked his dad the question, "Daddy, do you want to know what Jesus looks like?" The dad was taken off guard by the question, but agreed t hear the boys answer. After listening to his son's brief description, the dad responded, "Can I ask you a question? Did Jesus talk to you or say anything to you while you were with him?" The little boy looked at his dad from the back seat and said, "Yes Daddy He did. He said that I needed to go home, so I did."

***This father and son attended the Parent/Teen summer program in the summer of 2007. I hope you are in awe of our Lord after reading this, as much as I was at least. Bless you all!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

JH Ranch - Take III

As most of you know, I am about to embark on my third summer out to the ranch. For those of you that are unfamiliar with JH Ranch, it is a Christian, high-adventure leadership ranch that offers various programs for both high school/middle school students as well as adults. It is my intention to keep you (my GBC family) posted as to what is taking place in Etna, California this summer and how God is working and teaching there.

To most of you, I say both "hi" and "goodbye" in that I have only been in WV for 2 1/2 weeks. New York was eye-opening to say the least. If there is one thing that I feel the Lord has been emphasizing in my life over the past few months, it has undoubtedly been His grace. I don't want these blog postings to be another cliche outlet for someone like myself to paint a "pretty picture" of the Christian life. I'm not going to lie. It's hard, and I'm not simply talking about obedience and the constant, life-long battle between right and wrong. I am referring to those dark times. Those times where you feel alone or even abandoned. Or even those times where you feel that all eyes are on you and then you fail, and yet those eyes don't shift. Or what about those times where you simply feel numb to the world, like it's passing by and while you want to make a difference in some fashion, it's not happening, so you begin to look at yourself and pinpoint all the negative characteristics or qualities about yourself, repent of your sins, and then try again hoping that you won't screw up this time around? It's a cyclical process and when you step outside of this cycle, you get frustrated.

I feel like the Christian life can be like this, and yet I don't think that it was ever meant to be. A lot of times, we adapt this "save the world" mentality where we forsake and even compromise God's power/ability to do so and replace it with a burdensome, oftentimes self-absorbed motivation to appear obedient or even "Christian" in the eyes of onlookers. I can only say this because this has been my life many times throughout the last 21 years.

My prayer for this summer is that we, as a church family, would draw ourselves near to our First Love. Oh that we would yearn for the intense and overwhelming grace that we've all tasted and seen! I pray that we, as Christians, would stop trying to prove to God that we are worthy of His love, because the fact is that we are not. Know that you are loved and desired! And may it be out of a posture of knowing that we are loved by God that we serve those around us this summer.

Thank you all for your continued prayers!