Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where God Already Is

I was looking through the volunteer handbook in preparation for my upcoming trip to work at Bethel.  As I read the timeline of this ministry's history, I was blown away.  Here's what I read:

2002 Guillaume & Delphine do some research on NGOs work in China and try to find a people group that is not being reached
2003 G&D open the first house in Lang Fang, Hebei and receive 3 blind orphans from Tianjin orphanage (8 staffs)
2004 G&D open the 2nd home, care for 12 children (18 staffs)
Board of Directors Set up
2005 Opening of the 3rd home, care for 24 children (40 staffs)
Start of Bethel school (2 staffs)
Partnership with Children’s Hope International Social Work Committee
2006 Opening of the 4th home, care for 31 children (60 staffs)
Expansion of Bethel school (6 staffs) 
2007 Move to new facility in Dou Dian
Set up of a farm (food self sustainability)
Renovation of the premises
Registration of Bethel China Ltd. In HK
Registration of Bethel China ltd. Rep. office
2008 Construction of 7 foster homes
Build second floor to adjacent building (on-going renovation)
Operations size (80 staffs)
Purchase agreement with the landlord

In 2002, one missionary couple decided to search and find out where the need was.  Then they jumped in and trusted God to use them to meet that need.  The growth of that ministry in only six years is astonishing.  To go from 3 children and 8 staff members to 70 children, 80 staff members, a school, and a farm in that short amount of time is something that could only happen by the grace of God.  God is already at work in Dou Dian, China.  How exciting it is that I get to go and join in this work! 

I'm thinking about the name of our organization at school - World Wide Witness - and the double meaning of the word "witness."  Yes, God is giving me the tremendous opportunity to be His witness, to share His love with the people of China.  At the same time though, He is also allowing me to witness His glory in the work He is already accomplishing.  I love that.  God is accomplishing mighty things.  What a privilege to be able to experience God's work first-hand!  God doesn't need me, and yet He is choosing to use me, to lead me, to grant me the opportunity to be His vessel, to have an adventure, to love, to serve, to experience Him and His heart.  I am so ready! 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Things are Spinning

I have so much spinning in my head and my heart right now.  I can't believe I leave for China in nine days!  People keep asking me how I'm feeling.  I really don't know how to answer.  I'm excited... so very excited!  I'm also anxious... scared... apprehensive.  I don't know what I'm getting myself into.  It's so good though, not just going into the mission field, but following God's call, running through the doors that He opens, trusting that He is leading me.

I'm at that point once again, where I have no clue, can't even imagine, what the next couple of months will hold.  I don't know how I'm going to face the challenges.  I don't know what I could possibly have to offer where I'm going, or how God could possibly use me.  And yet phrases like "My grace is sufficient for you," (2 Corinthians 12:9) and "equipped for every good work," (2 Timothy 3:17) come to mind.  You know, I get so caught up in everyday life that I forget Whose I am and Whose I long to be.  I forget that I belong to God and that I surrender my whole life to the One who loves me.  I am His - His child, His vessel, His instrument.  I forget that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive and active in me (Ephesians 1).  I forget that I live my life given over.  I am not my own.  I give myself over to be shaped and molded into the image of Christ, and to be used as an instrument for His glory.

I am going to a place called Bethel this summer, a place where, like Jacob of old, I will witness God speaking blessing.  I am going to a place where I may feel alone at times, but God will minister to me.  I am going to a place full of children who may feel alone, but God will minister to them (and by His grace, I get to be a part of that ministry!) and call them blessed and chosen.  I can't quite wrap my mind around that, and that's okay.  I don't need anything, except to know the power of Christ in me.  "I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." (Galatians 2:20)  Oh Lord, may it be as You have said!  May I no longer live, that You might live through me.  Shine through me, Lord!  Amen!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You are Perfection

I had someone look me in the eye today and say these words to me: "You are perfection to me... In my eyes, you're perfection."  It totally caught me off guard.  Honestly, I had to have her (this woman who happens to be perfection in MY eyes) repeat herself because it simply did not compute.  I even laughed it off, but now, a few hours later as I was spending some long overdue time with the Lord, those words came back to me.  And they brought me to tears.  

I'm not perfect.  I wish I was.  Oh, how I wish I was!  It's a daily struggle for me, and I think it always will be.  I have tried so hard to be perfect that I have made myself sick, and still, I've failed.  I look in the mirror and I can see every flaw, every mistake, every shortcoming, every part of me that is so unworthy of love.  I see every struggle, and everything that I believe, yet can't seem to live.  I look at myself, and I see a mess.  I'm not perfect, and I never will be.  

As I sit here, looking for words, trying to process what God is speaking to my heart, I feel one thing: love.  I feel loved by the people I am blessed to have relationships with.  Most of all, I feel loved by God.  And that moves me to tears because I know how faithless I can be.  I know how when life gets crazy my relationship with God automatically takes last place.  I know how imperfect I am. But somehow, as I sit and soak in this love and confess my brokenness and thank God for His patience and grace and persistent love and willingness to draw me back again... somehow in this place, this place that I should spend so much more time in, things begin to make sense.  And I am moved.  

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." ~1 John 4:18

Made. Perfect. In. Love.  I get so caught up in the fear part of this verse, that I forget the significance of those four words.  We have been made perfect in love.  It doesn't matter what I can see or what I know.  I've been made perfect in love.  And I can hear my Savior say, "You are perfection to me.  I don't care what you see.  I don't care what the world sees.  I don't care what you think you know.  In my eyes, you're perfection."  What a blessing it is to be loved.  By God.  By His people.  What a blessing it is to love!  I'm not sure which is better, but they go hand in hand.  It is love which makes us perfect.