Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stoked about Passion!

Hi everyone!My journay here seems like it is winding down and yet I have another two weeks. Yesterday was my last time teaching until this coming Monday. We are leaving tomorrow morning to go to Kuala Lumpur for the Passion conference and I am so excited to see what God has in store for thisvent. Most of you know that the Passion movement has a huge place in my heart so the oppertunity to go in another county is so amazing for me!
Things at school are pretty normal. There are some major things that I am not going to write about on here and that I would love for you to just keep the student in this school in your hearts and pray for them. We moved rooms again yesterday and my room now nice, though I really miss my last room. These girls are 14-18 years old so a wide age ranch. I don't get to spend as much time with them because of our schedule here for the next few weeks.
I don't really have a lot of time to write today though I have alot to say so just know that things are well here and God is still continuing to move and amze me. :)

Love you all and see you soon!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Declaring His Name

Okay, so I know I just wrote yesterday morning but yesterday was such a packed day I had to write about it and share it with you. God is GREAT! Thank you Lord for always knowing what we need when we need it. Thank you for putting us where you want us.
So Yesterday after classes Melissa, April, and I took bikeshaws (the Malaysian version of a Indian rickshaw) to the mall to get away. Classes were overbearing yesterday so we just needed a little time to ourselves.
After getting back I went to my room to and got a book to read. I am reading a book called "Don't waste your life" by John Piper which has turned out to be extremely appropriate for this trip and everything life has to offer right now. While I was reading a girl came over and started talking to me. The conversation started out like many before and ending up in a remarkable place. She is buddhist so we were talking about he temple. I went on to ask her about Buddhism and some of the things that they do and believe. She started by saying that there were lots of things they had to memorize and practice and the she didn't like it. (Here whatever religion your parents are that is what you are, even if you know nothing about it. So even when kids here say they are Christian they might not have a clue what that means.) She then said this... "I like Christian better the Buddhist". I went on to ask her if she even knew what Christian meant and she said no but she knew that we had more freedom. I asked her if she wanted to know more about it and what I believed as a christian. Her answer was not just a sure but an emphatic YES!!! I was blown away by her enthusiasm and the huge door God had just opened! This girl was craving to know what I was about and why it looked so much different then what she has always known. We went on talking for a while and the conversation had to come to an end for manditory study hall. BUT she want to know more she wants to talk to the other women on my team about what they believe and what this all means to us.
I just sat there in awe of what had just happened. What had just happened is why I came on this trip. Even if there isn't another conversation or another time where God works through me to her, That moment was worth this entire trip. God is amazing! I just sat and talked with a 16 year old Buddhist about My God for an hour.
So I write you this not only to tell you about the awesomeness of God but to ask you to pray for this girl. I am not at liberty to give you names for their safety but please pray that God will move in them. I also ask you to pray for us that are going to be talking to them more about Christ and our relationship. That the light of God will shine down through what we say, do, and think. That those times will be divine appointments for the Holy Spirit to move.

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!...Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns."
Psalm 96:3,10


Sunday, July 20, 2008

dancing like a mad women

Hello All! My journey is halfway over and I am so in awe of who and what my God is! HE is blowing my mind every second of this trip and I can honestly say that I am not the same person I was when I left you all. Who I am is Gods child to be molded into a reflection of him.
Alot has happened this week and it has all been wonderful! There was a basketball team here from America for 3 days. It was so nice to get to talk to other Americans! Thank you Lord for such a great blessing. Wednesday Melissa came! Melissa is a team member that had to come later because her sister was getting married. I am so excited that she is here. I feel like our team is more complete. On Wednesday Omar and I got a chance to go take some pictures which I haven't taken many and go find this casmier store... Everything in it is handmade and awesome! I have to admit I couldn't help myself and I bought a Pearce lol.
This weekend was Packed full!!! Saturday morning we went to a couples house and they fed on breakfast. It was the strangest breakfast I EVER had. lol Rice (of course), friend chicken, pepper sauce, omelet, homemade cranberry muffins (YUM) and the best chocolate cake I am had in my entire life. Yes I had chocolate cake for breakfast. lol.The after breakfast we had worship practice for Sunday morning and then there was a youth event we attended and led games for. Lots of fun. Then we were so beat that they took us to someone house and we had a nap. After our nap we went to a think called African Night. It was really cool. I now REALLY want to go to Kenya. Then one of the funnest things I have done this entire trip happened. The African were playing music and they had some dancers dancing an african dance. Then April and I decided we were going to dance with them! It was a blast even though we were white americans who couldn't dance it was so so much fun.
Sunday was a typical Sunday. I thank God for the typical days that help to keep me sane. Last night (Sunday)was GREAT! I was able to hang out with the girls in my room and just get to know them a little better. We talked about music and what american music they knew. They are so excited about learning English (most of them) so it is fun to see them try to communicate. Along with them learning English they are trying to teach my some chinese. I am horrible at it so they laugh. At one point last night I was putting ointment on my legs in spots. I am ATE UP with mosquitoes so I was putting stuff on my bites. They laughed so much because well I did look ridiculous. Then I was able to talk a little about my God. Most of the girls are Buddhist so it is great when they ask about what I believe.
When we first got here I was so upset because we aren't doing what I signed up for this summer. But I am here, where God wants me, doing what he wants me to do (teach alot of english). but us teaching english opens up doors with the school that we wouldn't have otherwise.
God is a gracious God!
All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing amoung you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.
Colossions 1:5

May you understand God's grace in all it's truth,

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sorry its been so long

Hey all! Sorry it has been ages since I have blogged! I am so extremely busy I barely have time to sleep! I am having the time of my life out here and I have got to experience things that I have dreamed of doing and seeing. We have been putting on Sunday services since we have arrived and I preached at Sunday service about 2 weeks ago. It was definitely a new experience for me. I am not one to stand infront of a congregation and give a sermon but with God's grace I got through it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I preached about trusting in God and his plan for your life. God has changed my heart so much since I have been here and I think that that is a big reason that he called me to come here this summer.
I recently got to go white water rafting in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on the snake river a couple weeks ago. It was amazing! I have been on about 5 hikes in the past 2 weeks. I have hiked about 76 miles since I have arrived here. I got to see a moose and her baby out at a lake one night and I have seen tons of bears! It is truly amazing to see these animals.
I have about 4 weeks left here and I have mixed feelings about it. I am anxious to get home and see everyone but at the same time I don't know how I am supposed to leave all of these wonderful friends I have made and leave Yellowstone. It is truly an amazing place and I will be lost without the mountains, elk, bison, and all the other wonderful aspects of Yellowstone. I am so blessed to have gotten to have this experience and make life long friends.
My mom, Cassie, Jason, and Jadyn are here right now for my cousins wedding. It is so great to have them all here and get to see them. It is there third day here and they have about 4 days left. We are going to go explore Yellowstone in the next 4 days and I am excited about that and showing them some of the secrets that only people who live here know about :)
I hope all is well back at home! I will be home soon to see everyone! I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support. It is greatly appreciated! See everyone soon!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

All I Need

Hello GBC Family and everyone else!I first want to start by saying that this isn't going to be just a simple blog. Alot has happened to me and through me since I got to Malaysia. Before I came on the trip I asked God to Stretch me and boy has he. I asked him to Grow me into a reflection of him moreso then ever. God is stretching me over and over and I seem to constantly fight back and let self get in the way. I am continuing to pray this until I stop fighting back.
This past weekend we as a team led worship as a church on Sunday morning and then the youth program that night. I am the vocal leader here and in a huge way that has so much responsibility that I don't feel ready for. God is stretching me in trusting that HE is God and the HE has control. I have no control here. I have no control over what I do, who I am with, or where we go. Being a person who likes to have a since of direction It has been and is really hard to give over that control to God. I am not in conrtol HE IS. I am not here for me I am here for HIM to do whatever he asks of me.
So many times I could bottle up and not do anything because I have such an urge to be confortable and feel at home and then God will push me. I praise Him for Not giving up even when I have. Don't get me wrong, I am loving this trip. I have just felt a little lost this past weekend. It has for sure been the hardest days on this trip for me so far.
I am so thankful for a simple statement that a good friend told me before I left. He said "A majority of what God is going to show you and grow you in this summer isn't going to happen until after you get back home". That statement has been my sanity alot lately and really something I have tried to remember the entire time I have been gone. Right now I don't know why I am here, why certain things are happening, and I am so lost in what God is showing me. But I am so excited for that day when God gives me his answer.
He is also stretching me in my relationship with people. Everyone on this team is so different and we all have very stong personalities which has been very interesting. We are all here for one purpose... to be a part of what God is doing in all the nations. Please pray for us that this is will be the echo our hearts. That God will lead us instead of us attempting to lead ourselves which I have to admit I have been trying to do ALOT lately. Please pray for out team leader Josie. She has a hard role to fill and like I said we all have strong personalities so as you can imagine that doesn't make it easy to lead. Pray that we remember each others feelings. and remember we don't have a right to ANYTHING.
Our God is a GREAT, MIGHTY, and POWERFUL God! I am humbled today by the grace of my Savior and just in the fact that he is my savior. HE is ALL I need.
May God bring you peace in knowing that you are His precious and beloved child,

P.S. Thank you Hebron Vactation Bible school for you Prayers and Support... May Got bless you all.


Hey all,

So I found out two days ago that I will once again be trekking to the Pacific coast, leading 45 high school students. It will undoubtedly be intense; however, in preparation for this upcoming session of Trac II, I have felt an overwhelming sense from the Lord that this session will be unlike any others I've done, specifically from a spiritual perspective. I really feel as if a lot of these guys that are coming (I have 12) are bringing with them many many questions, burdens, and uncertainty. Getting to the point, I ask you all, my GBC family, that you would begin to pray into the lives of these guys. My prayer is that they would be so overwhelmed by Christ that they would lay claim to the victory and the ability to overcome these things in which they are currently held captive to. Family, WE ARE OVERCOMERS in Christ. Be encouraged.

Many things have occurred since I last posted. For those of you that are familiar with the band Phillips, Craig, and Dean, Dan Dean was out here this past week with his daughter, Dani. Awesome, awesome people. I had the opportunity to get to know them very well, so that was cool.

3 weeks left and then it's back to Gassaway. I have to say that it's at times easy to fall into that mode of simply wanting to escape and go home; however, I know that the Lord is not done with me here, so I am continually grateful for the opportunity to serve at the Ranch. For those of you that miss my smiling face and for those of you that don't, the picture above is for you. I praise God for you all!


Sunday, July 6, 2008

This is the Trac II guys for the first session of Second Wind here at the JH Ranch. I was beginning to feel guilty for not posting any pictures. So here is one.

God Bless...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

GBC family,

I apologize that it's taken me so long to sit down and write another blog post. I believe the last one I posted was in early June and it's already July, which means that I have less than a month remaining here at the Ranch. I have come to the conclusion that it will be a bittersweet ending when the time comes. I can, without hesitation, say that I am a different person than when I came here in May. I have been stretched physically, emotionally, and spiritually since setting foot on this property, and though it's been hard at times, I wouldn't change anything. I came here with so many questions about life, about my relationship with God, about what the next step is, and ironically, the Lord has quieted my questioning. I'm not saying that my questions have been answered, nor am I saying that I no longer have them. Rather, God has taken me to a place of abiding in Him. It's a place of desperation, but paradoxically, it's a place of freedom. So before I ramble on further, praise God for His faithfulness!

Trac II Session I has just finished up. For those of you that didn't know, I, along with 3 other college students led 33 high school students 109 miles on mountain bikes to the Pacific coast. In short, it was a phenomenal trip! The Lord literally transformed these students' lives, and I'm not just talking about overcoming a physical feat. We, as a staff, emphasize the difference between living out your flesh and living out of your spirit. Jesus talks about this when he blatantly says that which is flesh is flesh and that which is spirit is spirit. It's so cool to watch God transform the lives of these students from operating out of the flesh, and learning to depend on the Lord, all the while being transformed by the renewing of their minds.

One awesome story is about this guy I had the opportunity to get to know and to minister to over the course of the two weeks. His name is Jannie (that's pronounced "Yawnie"). He's not foreign either. It's just a cool, original name. Anyways, we had a talk about surrendering and dying to yourself, in which the Lord prompted me to ask this guy, straight up, if he was ready to die to himself. Immediately, this 6'4 All-American broke down, started crying, and just hugged me. He told me that he hadn't been able to sleep or eat in the last 24 hours and that he was miserable. We literally talked for about 2 hours in which he came to the conclusion that he couldn't honestly say that he wanted the Lord, nor did he want to die to himself. The Lord is so, so good, and so faithful to us! After praying with him, I told him that I was going to fight for him and that the Lord would not loosen His grip on him.

The following night Jannie came up to me, crying, and looked directly into my eyes, and said, "Travis, I'm ready to die." He began to say how he realized the God was on his side, that he didn't have to prove to God that he was worth His love, because the fact of the matter was that God already loved him, point blank, for no reason. It was incredible! That night he surrendered his life to Christ, and we ended up baptizing him in the swimming pool at 11:00 pm.

I cannot tell you how the Lord blessed me through this entire ordeal. I have the type of personality where if I see something wrong, I want to fix it; however, God forced me to place this into His hands, to trust Him and let Him deal with it. We are foolish to think that God is unable to meet people exactly where they're at. We are also foolish to think that God is not big enough to handle the honesty of the desperate heart of an individual. Is this not walking with the Lord? When we come to God out of complete desperation for His Spirit.

Another ordeal out here, of which I am sure you have heard about, are the forest fires in northern California. There is smoke everywhere. They'll come to an end soon.

I praise God for you all. Thank you for praying for and beside me. I am grateful to be in this with you all! Praise be to the living God!

"But when their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. And the Lord is the spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom. But we all with unveiled face are beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord." (II Cor. 3:16)


Uncomfortably in the will of God

We have made it to Malaysia in one piece. I have so much to tell you so I will start with leaving India.
When we got to the airport we had to say goodbye to Wes and Ted which was especially hard for April and I because so many times those boys were are sanity and we had all became really attached. We didn't get a proper goodbye either because of the schedules and such as well. But I do know that I will be making often trips to Dayton to see them both.
We made it to Kuala Lumpur and found out we weren't staying in the city. BUT while we were there we got to see the tours in KL and they were HUGE and beautiful! Then were started on our way to Malaka which was a 1 and a half hour drive from the city. When we got to the school all I wanted to do was break down.... I was actually home sick for India! The first evening here was really hard and the team had so many feelings and they were all over the place which was making us all but heads. But we realized it, sat down and talked and got everything out in the open. I was having some MAJOR culture shock that day but it is slowly getting better. Thursday night all the girls we fasinatd with us! April and I at one point had about 25 girls in one room attempting to talk and singing songs. It was GREAT but yet very overwhelming at the same time. On Friday a lady name madem woe took us on a walking tour of Malaka which was great and pointed us in the direction of the mall where we had starbucks and I was super excited lol. When we got back April and I went and played volleyball with the girls from our rooms. It was GREAT fun and helped me alot in feeling more comfortable. One of the girls asked April how long we were staying here and when she told her six weeks the girl (Febi) was sad because she thought it wasn't long enough which made us feel great lol.
After playing volleyball the team had a great devotional time and then went walking around town again and ended up stumbling upon a street carnival which aparently happens every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night! It was so GREAT I loved it!
Okay so now to fill you in on the nitty grity. Food- I really have a picky pallete I have come to the conclusion. BUT I love food so God is really stretching me in the since that I can't find much to eat. They have tons of fruit normally so that is really exciting. I am eating watermelon and amazing pinnaple like it is going out of style (yes Jerad, be jealous).
Our rooms... The girls, in fact everyone here, are very welcoming and super sweet. I am a heavy packer as you know so the one little space they gave me really wasn't enough because I had so much stuff.... so I came back from team time on Thrusday night and a girl who told me to call here Eva because I can't pronouce her name corectly (lol) had clean out her cuby for me to put more of my stuff in... This is also the same girl who has given up her bed for me to sleep in while we are here. They are a very giving culture and the everyone else comes before themself which is totally apposite from alot of the american culture and way of thinking. So therefore me being a person who has a hard time filtering before I speak soon realized that I was going to have to work on that.
Bathrooms.... WOW... I am getting use to the squatie pottties! lol In fact I find them very much so intertaining lol. There is only one western style toilet in the entire school. I have gotten it down pretty well BUT I did buy some toilet paper lol.
Shower rooms are insane here. The water is freezing which is actually GREAT because it is so so hot here. Also while we are in the shower you take a bucket with you and wash your clothes that you wore that day. Mom- I am doing my laundry in a bucket! lol with a wash board HAHAHA... I am just going to have to take pictures of all of this to show you.
When we got here we soon realized that the school thought we were certified Enilish teachers lol and if you know my english you know that is very far from the truth. And they had nothing musically planed for us. I think they thought "oh Americans... they can teach English" not realizing that we came for music. This has been really hard for me to swallow especially coming from India where we were averaging at least 1 show a day. Music is my passion not English. and as I was complaining to myself I remembered that I had prayed over and over again that God would stretch me, take me out of my confort zone and mold me into his daughter more so then I had ever been before. and BAM there is was. God was answering my prayer exactly how I had asked him to and somewhere within the lat two weeks I had lost sight of that. God is stretching me with food, the hostiles, communication, teaching, with the schedule, spiritually, and mentally. I realized I was getting exactly what I wanted and was yet fighting God about it. Remembering that God has placed me right here and right now even if I don't see why.. it is for Him and His bigger picture. I am uncomfortable here... but who said I ever had the right to be comfortable? Thank you so much for you prayers and love and support. I don't know what I would do without it.

Romans 12