Monday, June 30, 2014

Set Me Free


If God, who is all powerful, is willing to send his son for our sake then why should it be so hard for us to sacrifice for him? Human nature can be awfully much in the way sometimes. But really, we say we love Him, and know He loves us but when it comes down to it we make it seem so very hard to spend only fifteen minutes a day with Him! Why are we trying to make time for the creator of time? Kind of ironic, huh? Can you imagine a marriage between a man and woman spent like that? It would be pitiful, and most likely end in divorce. Fortunately, God is not going to give up on us, but that is not reason to put Him off. He’s going wait, but He is ever so eager to have you. A friend of mine said something like this, “You don’t have to transform to accept Jesus. You just have to accept Him and he will transform you.” This statement holds such a truth. John Piper had some wise word to say, one of them being, “Sin is not small because it is not against a small sovereign.” We need God, and He wants us. He made a huge sacrifice for us, will we make even small sacrifices for Him? We cannot survive without Him. Are you willing to let your love for Him meet the demands of justice? It doesn’t take but a moment to see that we all need a savior, and there’s one waiting with arms wide open. Will you run into them, or run from them? 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Strength

The land of Egypt was once filled with the descendants of Abraham, who were called Israelites. They prospered greatly, just as God had said they would, and the king of Egypt grew afraid that these people might turn against him one day and overturn his power. This pharaoh then enslaved the Israelites so as to not let such a thing happen. But God was bigger. And so God sent Moses to set His people free.

A couple weeks ago I started reading through the Bible, intending to dig deeper and find more meaning than just the surface stories. So as I read the passage of God sending Moses to set His people free, I kept an eye out for something new. Most people notice the usual: "God sends people who aren't perfect. Moses begged God to not make him do this. God got angry at him, but still made him go. Sometimes God wants you to do things that seem impossible." Yeah, that. I agree with it all. It's true. God loves doing the impossible! However, what caught my eye was Exodus five, verse 21 "And they [the Israelites] said unto them [Moses and Aaron], The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us." Now, I get it. I'd be mad to if this guy shows up and tries to make things better, but ends up making things worse by my work load doubling and life getting 10x worse. But as we read to the end of the story, we see that life gets better. It takes lots of miracles and 40 years of punishment, but the Israelites do get to the Promise Land. 

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 that "For this thing, I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong." The Israelites had a time when they were discouraged because everything was getting worse instead of better, Paul had that time too, I have that time, you have that. It's a human thing. It's God making us stronger. "After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, strengthen, and establish you." (1 Peter 5:10) We cry out to our Savior for help and relief, and sometimes the answer we get is "Wait a little longer, child. I love you, but this will make you stronger, so you must endure." It is so hard to hear that! We want the miracle like the woman who touched his garments or the man who's sight was returned. We want it now! We don't like to wait, but, remember, it took 42 generations and a perfect plan before a Savior could come into this world; He hasn't forgotten you.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Haiti | Fall 2014!

UPDATE! I finally found out a date to go, and bought my plane ticket; leaving October 28th! 

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello there! Here I am again, sitting at the computer typing letter to all of you. This brings back memories of my family’s trip to Tanzania last year when I was in charge of newsletters. I had a lot of fun with that, and it feels good to be writing again. The purpose of my letter is similar, yet a little different. Some of you know already that in March, of this year, I had the opportunity to spend a week in Haiti with my sister, Anna. Memories of Africa flooded my mind while I made new memories in Haiti. We stayed with missionaries Mary Jane and Andris Jolibous, who run an elementary school, trade school and church. It was an incredible week and it left me longing to return and get to know Mary Jane, Andris and the people at Living Hope better.

It came as a surprise to me that I wanted to come back as an intern, as I was already exploring plans to return to Tanzania as soon as possible. Doing this trip would put Tanzania back at least a year. However, I felt a strong leading from the Lord to go to Haiti so I’ve taken the leap of faith and said “Yes, Lord.” I don’t have a plane ticket yet, but I am planning to go sometime in October and stay for three months. Ever being my travel buddy, my friend Keturah Martin is planning on accompanying me as well. As interns we will be assisting with classes and administration, organizing outdoor games for recess, attending weekly youth group and church meetings, and taking some mission classes taught by Mary Jane and Andris.

I would like to ask each of you to keep me in your prayers as we prepare for our trip, go and serve, and come back. While I am gone I will most likely be posting updates here on my blog. If you would like to donate toward the funds of my trip, you can send checks to my home address (listed on my sidebar). Any extra donations I receive will go towards supporting my family’s missions in Tanzania. Thank you all for your continued support in prayer for my family as we face many changes in the near future. We are honored to have such an amazing group of family and friends. Thank you!

-Svetlana Dunlap

(The video below is from my Spring trip this year)