The Cure for a Life that Sucks

This is from my devotions this week. I’ve been thinking about it all week and just wanted to share it.

And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go wash in the Jordan seven times, and you flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.” (2 Kings 5:10-11)

Naaman came to Elisha from Syria to be healed of his leprosy. When Elisha sent his messenger to tell him what he must do, Naaman got mad and started heading home. He was insulted that Elisha didn’t come and heal him personally. Not only that, Elisha required him to wash in some dirty river to be healed. Naaman wanted a miracle but didn’t think he should have to do anything to get it. Lucky for Naaman, his friends convinced him to go wash in the Jordan river seven times. They convinced him he had nothing to loose by just trying it. When he did the leprosy was gone and Naaman was overjoyed.

Today our cities, our churches, and our families are full of lepers. Their leprosy is a life that sucks. It is a life filled with mediocrity and regret. They are people just going through the motions – wondering if things will ever get better. They are always waiting for something to change. They say things like, “Well when this happens things will be better,” or “If only this would happen or that person would change, then I would be happy.” Or they pray and ask God to make their life better but when He doesn’t seem to do anything they get mad and walk away. The sad thing is the cure for a life that sucks is right there in front of them. Unfortunately they want God to do it for them and aren’t willing to do the hard work of washing in the Jordan seven times. And what does that mean? It means diving into the word of God.

James 4:8 says that if we draw near to God he will draw near to us. In John 15:7 Jesus says that if you abide in him and his words abide in you then God will hear your prayers and answer them. Abide is a word that means to stay or last a long time – not something you just do once in a while. My life used to be full drastic peaks and valleys. One day I would be up and things were good, the next day I would be down and couldn’t figure out how to be happy. I had no control over my happiness or joy. I was a victim of whatever circumstances life decided to throw at me each day. Then I discovered this principle. I reorganized my life so that the most important thing I do every day is spend one hour in the word – reading it, praying it, and journaling about it. Some of you reading this right now are thinking, I wish I could do that but I just don’t have time. That is crap. I’m just as busy as anyone else. To me, this time is so sacred it is more important than eating or sleeping. My life used to suck but it doesn’t anymore and I know without a doubt it is because I finally did what I knew I should be doing all along.

Life will still be hard and there will still be challenges but I guarantee your life won’t suck. Think about it this way, if your life sucks, what do you have to loose? Try it. God never lets down those who earnestly seek him. If you don’t know where to start just ask. I’d be happy to help.

God At Work

God At Work

NOW WHAT?

I never saw myself as one to leave the country and become a teacher in a foreign land. If you would have asked me in high school or in college, this would not have been my first choice for my first real job. I had just graduated from college with a BA in Elementary Education and a minor in English as a Second Language. After receiving my degree, I went back to WA to live at home with my parents, where I substitute taught at both Lynden and Lynden Christian Schools. Finding a job was not going to be easy. So I began to look elsewhere. This is when I had heard about a school in Honduras. I knew 3 girls that were teaching there, all of whom I had graduated with from Dordt. I began to do some research and became interested. Still, this didn’t seem like something I was too sure about. Did I really want to leave my home, my family, my friends, just to go teach somewhere overseas? Again, this would not have been my first choice. However, as we all know, our choices are often not in line with God’s will.

GO

I began the application process to become a first grade teacher at Academia Los Pinares in El Hatillo, Honduras. This was a bilingual, Christian school, where I would be teaching in English. I even did a phone interview with the superintendent of the school. I remember when he told me that they would love to have me come down and teach at their school. They gave me the weekend to make a decision. This was not an easy decision and there was much prayer involved. Finally, I recall going on a run one day and clearly hearing God speak to me. It was the first time where I ever heard God actually speak to me. He told me to, “GO!” That was all I heard and I knew that I had to go. So in August of 2005, I packed my bags and headed to Honduras, all by myself.

My New Life

My amazing students on the Honduran Independence Day.

I loved my new life in Honduras. However, it was VERY difficult at times. First of all, this was my first year of teaching, which brings on a whole set of anxieties on its own. And second, this was my first year of teaching in a different country! But all in all, God blessed my life in so many ways. To this day, I still talk to some of my students who are now in the 5th grade. They will always be in my heart.

Myspace Love

Chad and I during the week that we first met.

Some of you know how Chad and I met; and it is a crazy story, but an amazing one! God introduced Chad and I on February 1, 2006, while we were 3,100 miles apart from each other. Our story begins on the wonderful world of myspace. I had seen Chad in Lynden before, while he was a waiter at The Loft. I always thought he was good looking, but I never thought he would go for me. Anyway, I decided to ask him to ‘be my friend’ on myspace. He accepted and sent me an email in return. After several emails back and forth, we decided to begin instant messaging with each other. When that wasn’t enough, we got out our webcams and began talking for hours upon end. The first time we said I love you was over the computer, and that was before we even met in person! Our first meeting was when I went home for spring break in April and he picked me up from the airport. I was home for 10 days and we spent everyday together. Two months later Chad came and visited me in Honduras and we flew back home to WA together. Another 5 months and we were engaged. And on July 13, 2007 we became husband and wife.

Chad and I on our wedding day: July 13, 2007

God At Work

God totally knew what He was doing when He brought us together. Even when we first began emailing, we both discussed how we wanted to be involved in missions. We just didn’t know when or where or how. How amazing that God is placing us in the very spot where we first met 4 years ago. That is no coincidence. That is God at work!

The Calling – Part 2

The Calling – Part 2

Here is the second installment of how I came to feel called into the mission field. In case you missed it, here is a link to part 1 – The Calling Part 1

My Wife

Taken in 2006 when I visited Trina in Honduras

I definitately think that finding a wife who had already spent time on the mission field was another clue to my own personal calling. Trina and I met while she was working as a 1st grade teacher in Honduras. One of these days she’ll tell the story of how she was called there and how we met.

Our First Trip

Our first team in 2008. Taken at Picacho, a giant statue of Jesus that overlooks the city.

When Trina and I got married we knew that missions would be part of our life. However, we were thinking more of the short term variety. After we had been married a couple of months we started planning our first trip. Since we had both been to Honduras and knew about the ministry of Manos Extendidas, we decided to put together a team and go to Honduras. We got married in July of 2007 and we took our first mission trip in June of 2008.

My Discomfort

At the top of the mountain behind the mission. You can see the whole city from here.

During the week while we were on our mission trip Trina asked me a few different times what I thought about moving to Honduras. Honestly, I wasn’t really thrilled with the idea. But as the week went on something in me started to change. One day while we had some free time we climbed to the top of a mountain behind the mission. There I sat on a rock overlooking the city and talking to God. Something was stirring in my soul. I asked God directly, “Are you sure? Are you calling us to move here? Because I’m not so sure I want to do this.” Rarely do I find my will to be in line with God’s so He usually has to spend some time convincing me. And that is exactly what He did.

It wasn’t until the plane ride home that I shared with Trina that I was feeling a call too. But I still wasn’t sure. Not until we had been home for a few months and realized that the discomfort in my soul that had been born on that mountain was only continuing to grow. Usually with time memories fade but for Trina and I our discomfort and desire only grew stronger. I remember driving downtown Lynden with Trina, after we had been home for two months, and confessing to her that I didn’t feel comfortable here anymore. I didn’t feel like I had come home, I felt like I was away from home. Neither one of us could get Honduras off our minds. We talked about it every single day. We didn’t know when or how but we knew that one day we would be moving to Honduras.

Take Another Trip

Since we weren’t ready yet to move, we decided to do the next best thing and plan another short term mission trip. This next trip and a number of events after it served to further confirm our calling… to be continued.