Monday, April 23, 2012

Missions Monday | He Has Promised GOOD

Yesterday morning in my morning haze, I logged on to my e-mail and was "WOWed" to get this message in my box from some missionaries I know who minister from Singapore, the Philippines, and all over Southeast Asia:  "The Lord has opened a wonderful door for you in our orphanage (in Cambodia). [Will] you come?" Not just for a few weeks, or a couple months — but on an indefinite/permanent type basis — and I'd be leaving the States for Cambodia around the first of November.

Quite honestly, as the day progressed, I found myself freaking out in panic & anxiety. So much so, that on an hour long drive home, my Colitis/Crohns "attacked" me pretty bad and I had to pull over for a while. Ridiculous, YES?

"Woah, woah, anxiety is NOT from God," I told myself, "And what hymn were you JUST reminding yourself of yesterday??" It was the words of the hymn in the above picture.

"The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures. 

He will my shield & portion be, As long as life endures."

—Amazing Grace hymn

So, am I really trusting God that HE has my BEST in mind if He calls me to Cambodia as a lone English speaking, American missionary to minister to orphaned children who are motherless & fatherless?

Psalms 139:10, "Even there Your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me."

It's not that I don't WANT to go — on the contrary — but now it's the hundreds of "what-ifs" scenarios that keep rehearsing in my mind & wondering what it will be like.

This week will be spent heavily in prayer seeking God for His direction for my life and where He's leading me, and I'll most likely be in phone conversation with my missionary friends in southeast Asia to talk over more details. I'm praying for God's peace to prevail if this is direction He wants me to go, and a clear "no" from Him if this isn't His will for me at this time.

Lisa posted some pictures of some of the orphans there in Cambodia.

And these faces with big brown eyes kinda squeeze my heart already... ;-)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh For Grace to Trust Him More

I could talk about a million things  about how wonderful my new home is, how grateful I am for God's great goodness & His provision in providing for my needs, how I still marvel in how He made a way for me to walk "through my Red sea," I could talk of the great roller coaster of "new" emotions I've recently faced since my move (from feeling completely overwhelmed with the prospect of incredible things God has in store ... to thoughts of doubt & unbelief  why would God give a life like MINE something good?)

The fact of the matter is, I don't trust God as trustworthy.

When I look in the mirror, I haven't seen myself as God see's me His daughter clothed in His righteousness, able to accomplish anything through Him. I see a quivering, quiet introvert who finds it difficult to express herself openly & who finds it a challenge to trust people because of traumatic events in my past.

The truth is, I don't trust in my Sovereign God who has ordered every single one of my steps for the purpose of bringing Him glory.

I do know that He wants me to trust Him wholly: through the heartbreaks, through the rejections, through the loss, through the unfulfilled dreams, through the imperfections. Otherwise, I would never know what it means to live in the reality that He is the ultimate Treasure, Lord of All.

I am ever, slowly learning that my Heavenly Father doesn't ask for my perfection in duty   He desires & longs for my HEART. He longs to be intimate with me, and for me to be intimate with Him. He wants me to rest in His All-Sufficiency. He longs for me to spend long hours in His presence, for me to trust His heart, to count on Him as being trustworthy, faithful & loving to do that which is best for me... even if it brings me temporal pain or loss.

"Leah, leave all the garbage of the past behind you. Move beyond it. Arise, my love. Walk forward.

THIS is your story of redemption."

"To Your Spirit I'm drawn like a current at sea, to be where You are, where I am free ...At Your feet I surrender, in Your presence I'm captured, Lord it's here I remember Who You are... You light up my dark like a lamp in the night, revealing the truth, You've opened my eyes, shown me Who You are and all that You see, to You I belong: my Beloved and King..." —Sandy Smith

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Socializing with Other Local Professional Photographers

If you've been following my blog regularly, you'll notice that last month I went to Jasmine Star's theFIX event in Denver.

A group of local photographers and I decided to meet together a few hours earlier & shoot it up together! It is a VERY rare experience for me to be around other professional photographers, and when I do, it's so awesome because we can prattle endlessly with each other about cameras, lenses, hard drives, business, and technie stuff... without getting tired of it. ;-) We just having a great time "feeding off" of each other as photographers.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Missions Monday | Don't Limit God

In 2007, I said: "Photography & missions can't exist together. There's no such thing as a Missions Photographer."

Jesus said, "Oh yeah? Watch what I can do. Anything is possible when it is done to & for the glory of God."

"We often try to put God in a box.
The God who fits in our boxes isn't the God
& Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
—A.W. Tozer

Monday, April 2, 2012

Missions Monday | Not My Will... | Philippines

Last July, I went to the Philippines and worked under the ministry of Mike Redick. They have an evangelistic campus ministry called, "Student Movement for Christ International." They have a 6 week evangelistic campaign in the Philippines every summer. Teams from all over the world come to join SMCI in reaching school campuses with the Gospel.

Last summer, I went for one week with four other adults from my home church. We literally went from school to school, from classroom to classroom. Each of us team members gave a 20 minute gospel presentation to the students in our classrooms. I think one particular day, I ended up teaching the gospel in 8 different classrooms! Pastor Mike teased me that he was going to turn me into a preaching machine. ;-)

I should maybe back up by saying... how vividly I remember waking up at 2:30am in the morning on Monday - our first day of going into the classrooms - lying there on my cardboard like mattress, and hearing so many international sounds outside my room: a random motocyclist driving by, goats 'bahhh-ing', and men walking by outside - speaking their native Filipino language. The humidity was high, and I was s.o. hot. As I layed there on my bed in the wee hours of the morning, my heart started racing and I wanted to panic. I thought to myself, "What in the world am I doing?!? Why am I here?? I'm half way around the world! I can't back out now! BUT... how in the world am I EVER going to get up in front of a classroom of students and give the gospel?!? I'm not a SPEAKER! I hate getting in front of large crowds of people with dozens of eyes staring at me!" As my heart literally raced, God began to flood, and I mean FLOOD, my mind with scripture. He spoke to my heart, "Leah, Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world. I will never leave you or forsake you. Through Christ, you can do ALL things." I soon drifted off to sleep, and by 7am, we all had had our fried egg & rice for breakfast (and coffee!) and were on our way to our first school. I'll never forget how the fear left and how an overwhelming joy and peace flooded my heart as 20 kids or more just surrounded me. They shook my hand, hugged me, and pulled out their cell phones to get a picture with me. I remember feeling so overwhelmed & so unworthy to be ABLE to BE in the Philippines to partner in the work of His kingdom and to show His love to this kids. That afternoon, I spoke in my first classroom, and as SOON as I opened my mouth, God gave me His peace, and His enablement to be able to speak for 20 minutes to 60+ students. I remember walking away from that first classroom thinking, "Hey!! That was actually really fun!"

By the end of that ONE week, with many of us teaching & sharing the gospel, thousands of students made decisions to follow Christ. It was the most exhausting & draining ministry I have ever done in my life, but it was so fulfilling to know that it was all of Christ working in and through each one of us there in the Philippines.

Before I moved out & decided to rent a place for the next four months, I was seriously considering going back to southeast Asia, specifically, Singapore to work with the Redick's school evanglism team on a permanent or indefinite basis. Somehow, I just didn't have peace that NOW was the right timing. I so badly wanted to hop on a plane, but I didn't sense God directing me to go right now. Now that I know I will be here in Colorado till atleast August, and I'll be in Mexico over September & October, I have no idea if the Lord will eventually lead me back to southeast Asia or not, but all I can say is, "Not my will, but Thine be done!" Whatever His will is, I know it will be GOOD and best for me.

"Like" Mike Redick on Facebook

"Like" Student Movement For Christ International on Facebook

A really encouraging message by Mike Redick, "Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord?" Listen to it!

Is There Anything Too Hard For God? on Vimeo.