Sunday, March 18, 2012

Developing Global Leaders

Tonight at Raleigh YL Leadership we took some sweet time in praying for the nations.  International Young Life is in about 90 countries world wide (which is A-MA-ZING).

One thing that is going on in International Young Life around the world is a program called Developing Global Leaders.  I don't really know if I can explain it well enough so here's the link for you to check out:

YL Global Leaders

Basically, it's a program through Young Life that helps support leaders around the world to give them opportunities they may not have otherwise like going to college or getting their Masters.  Young Life wants to build up national leaders "to become transformational leaders in the communities and countries."

Like I said, I can't really do it justice so I encourage you to check out the program.  I know this blog is about my fundraising and the process it is taking for me to get to Nicaragua but I also know this is just as important.  It is key for people to see others just like them succeeding and thriving because of what the Lord can do and this program does just that.

Please, if nothing else, check out the page and find someone to commit to pray for.  Some of the Nicaraguans on the page are leaders that I actually got to spend time with like Elsa and Jessy during my trip.  But of course, you don't have to pray for Nicaragua, there are about 40 countries total with this program so if your heart is set to love another country, the least you can do is pray for someone by name.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Labyrinth

So tomorrow marks the 1 year start of this whole endeavor.  March 11, 2011 is when I boarded a plane in a hurry to make it to the International Information Weekend at Sharp Top Cove, a YL camp in Georgia.  This time last year I had no idea where this journey was going to take me but I was more than willing to take the steps.

While visiting the camp in Nicaragua a few weeks ago I got a chance to walk through the labyrinth.  A labyrinth is like a maze but there's no wrong way.  This particular one is made out of bushes about 8 feet high planted in a circle with a cross at the middle.  The labyrinth is just one of the many things that really impressed me with the camp.  I had never gone through a labyrinth before but I was assured there was no wrong way and it would take under 10 minutes to go through.  It was one of the first times on my journey that weekend that I really got to enjoy the silence and hear the Lord.

It was a really sweet time for me.  I just started praying as soon I walked in.  Up until this point, I had gone to bed the night before doubting that I could ever have a place in Nicaragua because the ministry seemed to be doing so well and my teammates are already so amazing at what they're doing - where could I fit in?  What did I have to offer that they didn't already have? I was doubting my Spanish skills and even my knowledge of the Lord.  So many doubts and concerns had been rushing through my head that I needed this 10 minutes with the Lord more than I realized.  (I had also been running on little sleep the day before so the shock was a little more overwhelming.)

I don't remember my specific prayers but I'm sure they were filled with these concerns.  The next thing I know, I hear the Lord telling me, "There is no wrong way Jen.  Just take the steps. Just take the steps."  What an amazingly gracious God who sweeps in with such simple instructions and promises greatness.  He will be with me, all I have to do is be willing to take the steps.  He is the one who gets to call people to Himself and I get to be a tool in this process.  Sure, the ministry is thriving and it will be an honor to be a part of that but He has called me to this place for a reason.  I do have things to offer that they team may not even realize we need yet and the Lord's glory will be shown through it all.  There is no wrong way to get to a place where I am glorifying the Lord and a calling to boldness. 

I have to admit, after walking in circles for a few minutes I was wondering when I get to see the cross because you can only look at 8 foot tall bushes for so long.

But isn't that similar to our daily lives?  We feel like we're seeing the same things every day:  talking to the same people, having the same schedule, eating the same food, etc - when do we get to see what He's doing?!  The Lord is faithful to His promises and one of the biggest ones to me these days is that He promises to be with me on this journey.  He also promises to go BEFORE me and prepare a place for me.  How could I not go if He is preparing a place for me?  How could I stay in NC if I know He wants me in Nicaragua?  It only makes sense to me to go.

I know this journey is going to be long.  I know the circles are going to seem endless.  I know there will be points where I just need a break, I just need to sit down for a minute and trust in the Lord's promises and that's ok.  I also learned from my short time in Nicaragua that it's not going to be easy and I may never see the fruits that will come of it and I have to be ok with that too. It's not about me and what I get to do, it's about what the Lord is doing and that I get to be a part of it.

There's no wrong way.
Just take the steps. 
And I will be with you. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

6 Months

Today marks 6 months from when language school will start, with or without me.

September 4, 2012. 

Here's a link to the school Check it out

I have never thought September was close to any month other than August and October but now that it's my goal, it may as well be TOMORROW!  I am grateful and excited for the next 6 months to get to love on my friends, family and students/Wyld Life kids but I'm also nervous.  I have a lot to do in those 6 months.  I have to finish up the school year (last day June 7th), attend Cross Cultural Orientation (June 3rd-8th), (hopefully) take kids to camp (North Bay June 16th-20th) and FUNDRAISE (now).

Fundraising has proved to be way better than I could have ever imagined.  I have been so blessed by the friends I have already met with; being able to reconnect with people I haven't seen in so long as well as involve so many great people in this ministry with me.  I have been so encouraged by all of the excitement that has been shared over this mission that the Lord has for me.  YL International has really set me up for success by providing a fundraising coach who continues to encourage me.  Every two weeks we talk on the phone and he shows me stories of people in the Bible living off of support - even Jesus lived off of support!  There is something so comforting in finding people who lived 2000 years ago trusting in the same God to provide for them and to see His provision in more ways that ever expected.  How faithful He is.

Six months doesn't seem like a lot of time to get the other 70% pledged but I know that if the Lord will have me in Costa Rica 6 months from today, then it's the perfect amount of time.  I know the Lord is using this time as a refining process, really teaching me to rely on him because at this point I have no idea where this money will come from and that's ok.  I don't have to know right now.

1Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I ask for your continued prayer through this refining process.  I'm not expecting this to get easier over the next few months, in fact I expect it to get harder.  I have spoken to the majority of my closest friends  and family at this point and know my comfort zone will have to be left behind to really accomplish these goals.  Life isn't meant to be comfortable and refining isn't easy but think of the jewels that come out of it!

I want to be one of the jewels from the refining process of the Lord.  I want this fundraising to be a time that I get to glorify the Lord by inviting everyone I know to be a part of this ministry but even more to invite them to be a part of His kingdom.

6 months.