Often when you read books like these you are left feeling inadequate, pressured to achieve a new level of faithfulness or achievement. However, I found One Woman Can Change The … Continue reading Book Review: One Woman Can Change The World by Ronne Rock
It’s rare for me to be torn between savoring a book or reading it all at once, but this book made me feel that tension the entire time. Something Needs … Continue reading Book Review: Something Needs to Change by David Platt
Last week’s sermon hasn’t left my mind much since I heard it. The focus was on 2 Corinthians 5:14-16, 19-20. “Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that … Continue reading The What or The Who (Not the Band)
We were introduced to RYFO about four years ago and it quickly became one of our favorite ministries ever. It all started with this video coming across my Facebook news … Continue reading RYFO: Serving the Voices
When my grandfather passed away last month after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, I started thinking about Heaven much more than usual. We all rejoiced knowing that he was able … Continue reading Homesick
I have found that God will often use a lesson or a specific scripture passage that you read long ago but had forgotten; at just the right moment He will … Continue reading Security in the Mystery
If I am honest, I will admit that I am very skeptical of God giving the gift of healing to people in the world today. I absolutely believe that He, Himself, can heal and often does. But, because I have seen so many phony healers in my lifetime, I am admittedly skeptical about a person having that gift.
However, we are now in a situation where only God can save our little girl’s life. So, it has made us consider things that we previously would have pushed aside.
Several people have mentioned Bethel Church in Redding, CA to me as a place that is known for successful healings and workings of the Holy Spirit. The funny thing about that is that my hometown is a little town called Red Bluff, only 30 minutes south of where Bethel is located.
Brennan and I have been praying and pleading with God to heal Tori because it would be such an incredible testimony of His power to tens of thousands of people around the world, especially the doctors who have been working with us who are experts in these fields. Can you imagine what an impact it would have for them to see a new MRI of her brain and have it be completely restored again? And to see her developing and growing normally again?
Because of the generosity of hundreds, we have the financial ability to hop on a plane to go to Bethel in person and to see my family at the same time. Please pray with us about this. We are so desperate to save our little girl’s life, but even more so, we want God to use her to change the world. For the first time in two weeks I feel overwhelmed with hope, and that is far better than dwelling on the negative.
God is at work in Guatemala City, and this summer our church’s team will be joining Him there! Our church is headed to Guatemala City for a mission trip! Unfortunately, I will be unable to join them as the trip will be happening on my due date 😉 However, I believe that it is my turn to be the “sender” and to help them get there, so I have taken on many of the administrative aspects of the trip preparation, including fundraising.
There are ten people from Redeeming Grace Church preparing to serve the people of Guatemala City from August 2-9, 2014. They will be going with an organization called Good News in Action – a church planting group that has been serving in Central America for over 40 years. They will be going out each day to meet people in certain Guatemala City neighborhoods and inviting them to events, sharing the Gospel whenever possible, and loving the beautiful people of Guatemala.
As a team, we need to raise about $16,000 to cover our expenses. If you are willing and able to support the team financially, we have set up an online giving page that makes it easy! Donations are tax-deductible (as long as you give us your name), and one-hundred percent of donations received will go to missions!
Please pray about supporting this cause and help be a “sender” of RGC’s team!
I found out that I was pregnant on December 6th, 2013. This was welcomed news, but in the back of my mind I was wondering how this was going to impact my ability to serve in Guatemala just two months later. I knew that I would be in the beginning of the second trimester when we left, so in theory I would be feeling well enough and would have the energy to serve; but, I also knew that pregnancy places restrictions on a woman and makes her more “high maintenance” than a non-pregnant woman, so I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to do.
I spoke with one of our team leaders about it and she assured me that there would be plenty for me to do that would still allow me to take care of my baby. What I didn’t realize at the time was that God was planning to use me in a way I never would have expected.
I discovered last summer that my dream job was to do photography for missions organizations…to tell the stories that need to be told and to inspire people to act.
I have had the privilege of doing missions photography in Tunisia, Brazil, Haiti and New Orleans in the past…
…but I didn’t go to Guatemala thinking I would be able to do much with it. We had a full and exciting schedule of service and I was ready to jump right in alongside the team. I hoped that I would be able to take pictures along the way, but it was in no way something I expected to be able to do.
When we got to Guatemala and were talking through the projects for the first few days, our leaders mentioned that they (and many of the team members) wanted shots of several of the group activities that would be going on simultaneously and asked if I would focus on capturing everything for the team during this trip.
I was amazed, humbled, excited, and ready to dive in. I couldn’t believe that I was being asked to use my passion, my gift, my dream to bless the team in such a unique way.
Because I was taking pictures for everyone, they were able to focus solely on ministering to the beautiful children in our care. They were able to set their cameras aside when necessary in order to just be in the moment, while I did something that I love to do and could do even while pregnant.
I may have been unable to help paint the bedroom or the hallway at Mi Pequeno Refugio.
I may have been unable to lift things and carry boxes of food.
I may have been unable to be outside at The Ravine due to the burning trash and smoke.
But, I was able to use my gift to capture the team doing all of these things while still serving the Lord in Guatemala, just not in the way I had planned.
Thank you, Ronne and Courtney, for seeing this gift in me and allowing me to use it.
Thank you, team, for being so supportive and excited about what I was capturing.
I came home with over 5,800 images of our week. I’m currently down to 3,800 images with the promise of a snow day tomorrow during which I can edit. This experience gave me a glimpse of what it really would be like to do photography for missions organizations, and it confirmed in my heart that this is what I was made to do. I can’t wait for what God has in store for me next!
“All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all”
We had been told about The Ravine. We had been briefed on what we should expect and the few things we should/shouldn’t do while there.
But, words can only go so far; some things have to be seen, touched, smelled, experienced for full impact to occur. The Ravine is one of those things.
The Ravine is a garbage dump in Chimaltenango. There are over 50 families there who live and work among the heaps of garbage, hoping to scrape a living out of the waste of others.
Our team traveled there on Friday morning to bring small bags of staple food items and soap to 50 of these families and to pray with them.
Their situation seems hopeless. They have been stuck in the cycle of poverty for generations, with seemingly no way out. Each day is the same: work until dark, hoping to find treasures that can be reused/cleaned/recycled and sold to buy food for their families.
“All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all”
Hope doesn’t seem to exist here at first glance. However, we have seen first-hand that God is indeed redeeming and restoring these people, starting with their precious children. We saw hope in the eyes of each person with whom we prayed and spoke that day. We saw hope in the eyes of their children when we visited them later that day. He is literally taking them from the ashes and making them new, opening doors to a life they never dreamed would be possible. And this is all because of the love of two precious people: Cesar and Carol.
Cesar and Carol decided that they needed to open a school for the children of The Ravine – a school where they could break free from the cycle of poverty and literally change their community forever. That’s how The Ravine School was born only a little more than a year ago – completely out of faith in God. Carol and Cesar did not have a “nest egg” or any riches to speak of, but they believed in a God who redeems, and had faith that He would rescue these children.
There are now 114 children in The Ravine School who are learning to read, write, use computers, and grasp their full potential instead of carrying on the work of their parents and grandparents in the dump with no hope of escape. From a one room building to a beautiful space with classrooms and plenty of light in only a year, God’s redeeming love and faithfulness is abundant in this place.
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You
You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new
– Gungor’s “Beautiful Things” (lyrics throughout post) is the perfect song for what God is doing at The Ravine…Hear the song here.
The color and lighting are imperfect due to shooting from inside a vehicle (in order to avoid making the families feel uncomfortable), but these images still show how God is continuing to make beautiful things out of bad situations.
Stay tuned for more about The Ravine School and the beautiful things happening there.