"There are two great moments in a persons life: the moment you were born and the moment you realize why you were born."

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Active Living Word

I know what you are thinking…WOW 2 blogs in just 1 week…how does she do it? Well this is something I felt the Lord telling me to share here on blogspot.

Scripture of the Week:
“The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angles or demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below-indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-39

So the last few days or so I have been feeling a little restless and discontent, honestly I have just been downright in a bad mood. On Thursdays I go to the dispensary with my friend CJ and while she works I find a quiet place to read and journal. I can’t find an alone place at my house or at the Bible Institute. So yesterday I read in Romans chapters 6 and 7. I was still feeling not like myself so I stopped and prayed that God would show up and be my all and all, my ONLY vision. Then I discovered how hungry I was for the word of the Lord and I decided to keep reading Romans and read until chapter 11. I can’t even begin to explain the night and day difference and freedom there is from sitting and soaking up the Lords words. I literally forget how chronic I am without Jesus and how much of a necessity and source of nutrition He and the Scriptures are. And that’s how we were created to be…to be dependent on God. I praise God for creating us like this. So desperate and dependent on Him and NOTHING else (though people try to search) can ever fill or take His place. He is the Lord of EVERYTHING and especially of my heart. I want to freely and daily live for Him and bring glory to His name. I hope He would continue to mold and stretch me (although a painful process) far beyond what I expect. Even if it feels small and insignificant at times, He deserves nothing less than ALL of me.

So I didn’t want to be preachy (because I can’t stand it when people are) but I really want to be encouraging my brothers and sisters in Christ to stop and find their rest in God. As Americans we are constantly on the go, we never stop to look for rest. So today, if possible right now…STOP, pray and find out what God wants to show you in His word. Be honest with him with your frustrations and disappointments; watch what He does with them. I forget that the Scriptures are supposed to be an active living source, yet way too often I just see it as an ancient boring text. So I want to challenge you to explore those life giving Words. Then let someone know what you find, you never know if God is using you to pour the gospel over someone else. And as always let me know what He is doing in you and how I can be praying for you. I hope this finds you well. Until next time…

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Birthday Surprise's and Updates

Greetings everyone! I hope while you are reading this that the Lord is giving you rest and peace from school and work since it is finally SUMMER VACATION!! Which, by the way, I completely forgot existed. So when I was in-putting the final grades for the pastors in training at Bethel Bible Institute and see a bunch of them leaving with suitcases, I thought we were being evacuated for something haha…yup…it’s summer! So there is just too many good things going on right now and I want to share a little bit about each one.

Koko Church
On June 13th there was a roof pouring project at AEBECI’s Koko church. People arrived starting at 5 am and working till about 8pm. Hundreds of people passing buckets of cement on scaffolds and sketchy beams. I literally do not know the words to say about how amazingly cool this day was. The unity of the church was absolutely phenomenal. My friend CJ, who attends the Koko church here in Korhogo, has some pretty cool things to say about the roof pouring along with a few pictures. So check her blog out!

My 21st birthday! This was just another normal day at work in the morning and then I was suddenly kidnapped by my two friends, Devin and Chazz, from Bouaké. They literally picked me up and put me in the car (it scared me) and took me to our favorite restaurant in town. There the owner, Rodolph, surprised me with my picture on placemats, a HUGE cake, salad, yummy frozen fruit drinks and a photographer! I was blown away by all of the surprises! It was an awesome Africa birthday the best I’ve ever had :) and the cool thing about it is that it is totally something that my friends would do in the states and something they did for my brother George. [Happy birthday to you as well brother! Love and miss you like no other, you being here would have TOPPED it off]

IBB Guest House
The Korhogo Krew had a last meeting/lunch time with Rod before he and his wife leave for Germany. So I went shopping in the market and came back to the guest house and was able to cook American style food in an American style kitchen! It was delicious. Afterwards we just spent our team picking Rod’s brain, talking and just spending some time together before they leave. The next day Naomi started not feeling well and here in West Africa it is unthinkable to leave a sick person by themselves…so the Korhogo Krew came back to the guest house and just had a kick back day. It was an extremely needed and great day of rest. We were able to watch a movie and eat lunch together again.

Scripture of the Week:
“It is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.” Romans 2:29b

God is continuing His path emphasizing that it is His Spirit moving and working in me, it is not by my works that things are accomplished. As always God is concerned for our hearts. He is also continuing to teach me about seeking His praise ABOVE all else. I always seek to please others, when the only thing I need to be worried and focused on is seeking my Father. Like the popular Christian song “How He Loves Us” says…He is jealous for me. He’s also jealous for you too…

Prayer Requests:
-I would be here and not distracted by things in the states or questions about what’s next
-Pastor Kéo, he is still in the states and the last time I heard, the presentations and his travels are going well and are being received well.
-EVERYONE is still sick!!! With rainy season comes mosquitoes, and with mosquitoes comes malaria please pray for our health, rest and energy
-As we are creeping up on our 8th month living here in Cote d’Ivoire, things start to feel normal, please pray that we would not become comfortable in our faith and complacent with our ministries. It is so easy to fall into a normal routine instead of being pushed and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading

As always I really look forward to hearing about you and what the Lord is doing in your lives. Please know that I pray for my supporters every Friday night, so if there is ever anything I can be lifting up for you please shout it out. And also just let me know what’s new with your life. My favorite thing about my birthday was all of the encouraging notes and updates from my friends and family in the states…so I think we should keep that up! Haha. Take care and God bless you, can’t wait to hear from you! :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Meet the Soro's Part II

Today we are going to be getting to know the kid’s in the Soro family…I hope you have all had a wonderful week and have enjoyed getting to know my host parents and big sisters. As of now, we have 5 kid’s under the age of 10 living in my house. And we shall start with the oldest…

SORO Ferelah
Ferelah is ten years old and is my little sister. She is the third child of my host parents and is going to school right now. Like any normal ten year old girl, she is now going through the stage of “I am independent and don’t have to listen to anyone” so we definitely have our hands full with her. She is the first person who is called upon to take care of the kids with feeding and distributing things to them and is also a huge help around the house.
(Benjamin, Yellie, Ferelah)
So one of the really cool things I am finding out about Africa is the way they view family is SO different than how we normally view family in the states. Yellie is not related to the family at all. She is a friend of the family and in order to go to school she lives with the Soro’s so that she can walk to school. She works around the house quite a bit and is treated just like any of the other kids. She even calls my host parents, mom and dad. Yellie is one of the prettiest and most sincere girls I have ever met for her age.

SORO Azariah
He is one of my favorites! I know you’re not supposed to have favorites…but really he is awesome. This is the first of the boys in the Soro clan. Azariah is 7 years old and is also going to school. This kid is fearless!!! One time when I was cooking in my courtyard he made a bow and arrow (out of sticks…how…I have not a clue) and killed a frog with it. He put the creature over the fire and then ate it. and yesterday when someone found a rat he killed that, skinned and gutted it and ate it also. I don’t understand what goes on in his mind to think it would be good, but he seems to enjoy these things. Aza likes to teach me very difficult Senoufo words and then laugh at me when I don’t understand. He also likes to think he is my older brother instead of younger, until he is tired and wants to snuggle up to me. Haha LOVE HIM!

SORO Benjamin
Benjo is the youngest of the Soro children and the biggest handful EVER!! Honestly, I have some difficulties trying to handle him. He is very much the baby of the family and knows it! Which means he thinks he can get away with anything. However, that is a different story with me and he doesn’t seem to like that. Well my favorite thing about Ben is when he is about to take his bucket bath. He does one of two things. He will either get SUPER excited and start stripping in the courtyard and bath himself right away or (my favorite) really hates it and runs down the street crying his head off. Everyone tries to come up with different ideas on how to capture this kid and then he fights with everyone to keep his clothes on. And it is the funniest thing to watch! I love it and I also love him as well. OH and he is 5 years old

Coronam is the cutest little guy!! He is my three year old son. Everyone says that I am his mother and he will be coming home with me when I leave. But to be honest…I am totally ok with that!!! I would LOVE to adopt Coronam. His story is the same as Yellie’s, he is not a blood relative, but his parents are not able to take care of him so the Soro’s have taken him in as their own. Coronam likes to come and sit on my lap at night and run to me (and almost knock me & my motto over) whenever I come home. He is a pleasant surprise for me and a great kid. The only difficult part of this is, he doesn’t speak any French, only Tyembara so there is not a lot of communication. Usually it is just him talking to me or me asking questions and him repeating them back to me. Haha it is some good fun.

Scripture of the Week:

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” -1 Corinthians 9:24-27

After reading this, the Holy Spirit convicted me of a sin I never really realized before. I so desperately want to be living a life of faith. However, I totally fail (and if I am honest I am terrified) of just outwardly asking people of their faith and boldly stepping up to proclaim mine. Along with Paul and his craziness in Corinthians, I am reading a book called “Daughter of China.” This young girl, named Mei Lin, is so bold in her faith, and she doesn’t care who see’s it! I was thinking about what I would do in her shoes, what if I was imprisoned for my beliefs, would I still be boldly look for ways to tell people about Jesus? Again, if I am honest, I would probably do what I was told and try to please the people around me. I try to get people to not only respect me, but more importantly to like me. Because I think if they like me or approve of me, they’ll do the same with my religion.
That’s not living by faith. That is living and trying to convince people about Jesus by my own means! It doesn’t work that way! How do I become more bold like Paul and Mei Lin, in preaching about the Good News? How do I get over my fear and my tongue being tied? How do I stop being so shy and timid? The answer: I need to allow the Holy Spirit to be transforming and renewing me and more importantly to be working through me. It’s not me and my message, it’s God’s and it belongs to everyone.

Prayer Requests:
*the Soro kids
*God would continue to mold, stretch and refine us
*friends and families in the states and the RCI
*the race that we run…that we would be bold in our actions and intentional with our words

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Meet the Soro's

Happy June everyone! June has always been my favorite month. School ends, summer camps begin and caterings pick up at Stonefire (which means I can make some $). But June this year marks the start of the end of this year. It also means that I have officially lived with my family longer than without since I’ve been in West Africa. So this week I thought it was finally time to introduce you to my hosts the Soro’s. (That and I didn’t know what else to write about for this blog :) ). So this will be a two part blog: first part my parents, Martha and Yo and second part the kids. And here we go.

SORO Awa (host mom) & SORO Tcholofolo (host dad)
Tchol (short for Tcholofolo) and Awa (which means Eve in French) have 5 children. Their children are Martha (28), Pauline (24), Felerah (10), Azariah (7), and Benjamin (5). After Pauline was born it was expected that Awa could no longer have children. Little did she know, she would be pregnant 15 years later. Awa says that it was a gift from God that she was pregnant again. Awa works for an NGO that helps young women and children (primarily struggling within prostitution) and helps them in school and learn trades to no longer depend on prostitution. Tchol used to own a small boutique in the Grand Marché, however, like so many others, he lost his business during the crisis. Now he chill’s out with the other dad’s in the market or goes hunting. Both of my host parents are elders in the Téguéré church and neither grew up in Christian homes. Tchol and Awa accepted the Lord through evangelism outreach’s when they were in their late teens. I’m still unsure of Tchol’s family, but I know Awa is the first and only Christian of her 15 siblings.

SORO Martha
Martha is the first of 5 children. She is 28 years old and is my “grand sœur cheré” or “dear big sister.” Martha and I share a room and bed together. Martha is a great tailor, however she cannot do this as a job due to the inconsistent pay and lack of benefits. So at the moment she is looking for work. Martha was unable to finish her schooling because the first daughter is normally expected to run the household. So she went to school to learn how to read and write and then dropped out. Martha and I are practically joined at the hip and I am very thankful for her.

Yo was an unexpected but pleasant surprise when I came home from a Bouaké seminar a month ago. Yo is the housekeeper who lives with us. I’m unsure of her age and she doesn’t know when her birthday is, but I think she is somewhere around my age. Yo’s parents are both deceased and her older brother has left. I am continuously amazed of this young woman’s strength, joy and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And I hope to grow closer to her in the coming months.


When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” -Psalm 94:19

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.” -Psalm 139:1

I’m not sure if I have mentioned this before or not, but since I don’t have electricity at my house we can’t use fans (dur :) ) so at night when it is ridiculously hot we stay outside and take “pre-sleep” naps. During my nap I usually spend my time praying and lifting up different things to the Lord. So last night during my prayer time with God two things stuck out. First, is that He KNOWS me…inside and out! He knows my heart, my mind and all of the confusion between the two. And despite that craziness that is going on…HE STILL FREAKING LOVES ME!!! WHAT?!?! That is ridiculous. I am still so overwhelmed by Him. Second, is that He comforts. Knowing that the Lord knows everything about me is scary, but also SO comforting. I don’t have to worry about if I am saying the right words or have to go through the pains of trying to explain myself, He just knows. And so that is what He is teaching me this week.


-SORO Awa, my host mother. She is sick and we’re unsure of what, but I think it may be malaria again.
-Martha as she is looking for a job
-Pastor Kéo left for the states on Saturday, pray for his trip and his message. Also for the support of the Professors and the pastors in training
-I would be focused here and now
-What is after this year? A second year in the RCI or am I returning to the states
-Against spiritual attack; particularly the little lies that Satan plants within us