Thursday, December 30, 2010

December 30th update

Thank God that He continues to show me how much I need to ask Him to help me listen, surrender to Him, and trust Him…

Listening—God continues to remind me of the powerful need to listen…  Not just to be silent and pay attention, but to actually relax and open up to everything being communicated all around me—verbally and otherwise.  So often I can be quick to respond to a person out of a desire to help them because I AM actively listening, but in truth it takes time for everything to fully soak in—to not just hear the words and ideas someone wants to communicate, but to feel/discern what is going on.  Listening isn’t even just about body language—I believe it is about subtler things that we don’t even realize we sense and cannot fully be aware of if we are too actively listening to the words and ideas someone is communicating…  We can easily get lost in the ideas and, out of a desire to help a person, miss a person…  I continue to have to ask God to help me remember to listen in everything…

Faith and surrender—God also keeps helping me slowly learn to trust Him more.  I have seen Him time and again keep His word and answer my prayers directly.  It’s not even subtle now that He’s opened my eyes further so I can see Him and the spiritual war around us better…  He is so obviously moving and answering my prayers and the prayers of many around me.  He has provided for me financially EVERY month over the past six—even when it seemed there was no way I was going to make it.  He is obviously directly working in the lives of those I am praying with and in my life.  People are being healed, hearts and minds opened, and His joy continues to grow in those who know Him.  In my younger days I thought miracles were a thing of the distant past, but they do happen all around and frequently—I just could not see them.  

God continues to transform me and patiently show me that, yes, indeed, I can trust Him with everything.  He also continues to show me that the good works He has built me for ahead of time are far better than even the best dream I could have for myself and the best I could attain for myself if I sought to build my kingdom instead of His.  I struggle sometimes—worrying about finances or about the darkness attacking some of the people around me or about having a spouse one day.  Each time that I pick up one of those worries it bears me down, and God has to remind me that it IS too heavy for me because these things MUST be in His hands and His alone.  He’s got it in control and has better control than I do.  I keep re-learning that there’s a reason He says His burden is light and easy to carry and that we must lose our lives to find TRUE LIFE…  If we do not ‘pick up our crosses daily’ and ‘offer ourselves as living sacrifices’, we end up pulling our lives back out of the hands of the only one who can help us.  He gives us free choice, so He lets me pick that load up and place it foolishly back on my shoulders.  In my limited knowledge and wisdom I take control and try to make things better for myself or others, but I cannot help others in my strength as well as God can help them or direct me to help them.  In my own life I end up building my kingdom instead of His, and that leaves me with my own lesser dreams and lesser capabilities to attain them (and actually builds up Satan’s kingdom).  The good works God has prepared for me, the adventures He gives me daily in the life I am BUILT to live, the blessings He gives me, and the growth He gives me in love when I surrender and live for His kingdom are so much more amazing than anything I could get myself.  All He has to do is remind me of that AND that when I let go of the heavy load of leading a lesser life, He not only gives me the life He has built me for, but also grants me relief from all the stresses and worry I was picking up.  They are back in the hands of the only one who can handle them (and in fact have always been partially in those hands, for even when we yank back the reigns and pick bad things for ourselves He continually calls to us and gives us opportunities for the evil to be used for at least some good).  Thanks be for that!  It’s so foolish not to trust God and to worry.  Thank God for His patience with me in CONTINUALLY showing me that!  His patience and love ARE unmatched… 

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25th thoughts

You know, Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week nowadays.  In the morning I teach a college Sunday school class at North Oak (we also have two older congregation members in attendance and would love to have more).  It’s exciting to see each person (most of whom are in one of the Unite small groups) and catch up with them.  I really enjoy the opportunity to come together in the Spirit to discuss God things.  I particularly love the opportunity to pray for each other at the end of the class.

Afterwards we have a service and usually end up eating lunch together, which is another good time to catch up and share life together.  Sometimes I’ll get a brief nap or reprieve in, and then one of the small groups meets…

Those are really neat right now—the Spirit is moving in them and people are opening up to study God together, experience God together, and be in community in the Spirit.  Each different time is different, but I enjoy them all…

Afterwards there’s usually another short break and then I haul people out to the North Oak college suppers (they do free home-cooked meals for college age students).  That lets me interact with a whole different crew, and often chat with some international friends…

Next is a small group I’m part of with some really cool college students.  It’s just a blessing to be there and experience fellowship in the Spirit with, again, a completely different group of people.  Often I’ll stay after to chat with a few of the guys afterwards, and sometimes I won’t get home until midnight or 1 a.m.

The days are full, but have so many opportunities to listen to God and love others…  I really do enjoy Sundays…  :)

October 25 Update

First, I'll start off with an update that I posted to Unite's blog...
The small groups are going very well (we currently have four meeting—two in the Union, one in Semolinos, and one in Coffee Rules).  We’ve already has several people come up and chat with us in different groups, and we’ve been able to pray for them.  We’re also finished with the two starter studies we use and have completed week one of ‘Firm Foundations’ from New Tribes.  I’m excited to see how this study progresses over the semester.

Possibly more exciting, we have seen several prayers for individuals within the small groups answered.  Half of our small group time (45min) is devoted to study, and the other half is devoted to prayer and encouragement, with time to share what God’s been teaching us individually and/or anything we feel led to share with the group.  During this time we’ve had several important opportunities to pray for each other, and I’m excited to see God answer.  One individual was freed from some strong temptations to turn back to nicotine, another from illness/exhaustion, and several other prayers have been directly answered.

We have also received a starting $900 towards coffeehouse renovations/operations.  We need two more final bids to come in, but it looks like the whole phase one part of the project will run around $6,000 (for an industrial coffee machine, plumbing, cabinetry with a sink, and taking out some windows).  That’s an exciting beginning and another answer to prayer.

Game nights have continued to go well—many of the same people are coming back, and we’ve had between twenty and thirty-some attend most nights.  International-themed game nights are much smaller, but some important connections have recently been made that may help those increase.  Thank you sincerely for your continued prayers!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

October 6 Very Brief Update

I will give you a more in-depth update soon, but in brief...
Thank you so much for your prayers!  The [alt] concert, game night, and [alt]ernative ride service went extremely well.  We had a good turn out (maybe 400 through the concert and 60-80 at the game night) and a lot of fun.  Two small groups are off to a good start and at least two more will begin this week; please also keep them in your prayers!

Also, I will have a meeting to discuss my status as a missionary and Unite and its mission on Thursday, October 7th at 7:00 p.m. at North Oak Community Church (3000 Oak Street, Hays, KS  67601)  in the Southernmost classroom.  There will be prayer and a time for questions and answers.  Please feel free to come by!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Unite's Website Launch Beta

Hello everyone!  Just a quick note--Unite has just launched our first website.  Please check it out and let us know if anything can be improved (it may go through several revisions as time and programming allow).

Thank you again for your prayers and support--please especially keep the small groups (their first week) and game nights (with the [alt] event--see Unite's website or prayer blog for details) in your prayers!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 21 Prayer Requests

September 21. There were so many opportunities today to walk with God. It was an amazing day—and pleasantly tiring.

When I got home around eleven p.m. I decided to go for a walk, and almost immediately I felt God. It wasn’t just the gorgeous moon, the clear night, or the fresh breeze… It was much more. It was a realization in my Spirit that He was right there with me and always has been. You know, I think we walk with God all the time and just don’t recognize it—caught up in the false worries and fears and illusions in our days.

There are two things I think our generation really has trouble with. The first is asking—we have been taught to pray and ask and then run in our own power. We ask God to fix us, help us, and then hurry up and study the Bible and pray and work to fix ourselves… We don’t truly ask in a spirit of patient submission, waiting for and having enough trust in Him and His nature to answer… Instead we quickly disengage and do things in our own forever limited power, hoping and forcing ourselves to believe that in some magical way God will also be working with us to help tip our efforts over the edge this time—never realizing that in choosing to use our own power instead of trusting in God that we are sacrificing the very answer and power that could help us. We don’t really ask or let God’s power flow through us but instead use our own. (I’m not saying that He doesn’t answer prayers in spite of this, but I am saying that I think we often accidentally work against Him and His very answers to our prayers).

The second thing is that many in our generation don’t often really listen. I don’t mean this to say that we don’t try or discipline ourselves to meditate or hear… but just like we ask and then do it ourselves we ask and don’t listen. It’s interesting because I find that when I TRY to listen I’m so busy trying that I’m not listening. It’s also funny, because I honestly think the reason we don’t listen well is that we don’t ASK God to help us listen and then wait for His answer. I have asked God and seriously sat and listened or tried to meditate and hear or prayed and prayed and prayed… but I was so busy trying that I wasn’t actually listening in faith, trusting that He’d answer. I have to admit that only recently have I asked God to help me listen and then waited, trusting that He really will help me to listen and hear (and He has).

I think we listen sometimes but by accident—it’s those moments when we see the stars in the sky as the moon lights up the clouds slowly gliding across our vision… when we can smell the night in the air and feel the cool breeze brush our skin… we come alive and our souls sing as we listen to everything around… Or maybe it’s when we see a beautiful thunderstorm across the horizon and feel the pressure and the temperature drop as it nears… or when we see that certain smile and joy in a child that forces us to laugh… or any number of other times when God’s presence and magnitude are just so blatantly apparent that we forget what we’ve learned and listen like we did more naturally when we were children. Sometimes I think we’ve learned so many lies and wrong perspectives from this world that we’ve educated ourselves to the point we’ve forgotten some simple and very necessary things… You know those moments I just mentioned when we can feel God’s presence?—how can a person discipline themselves into something like that? We can try and get better at it, but without the release of control to God and His spirit, it misses… Those moments when we feel God’s presence are seldom if ever brought about by our efforts, but they hit us in our soul… I think that we NEED those moments—that our spirit is built to listen and be refreshed by God’s presence all around us but that we now have to ASK Him to help us do just that….

Tonight I enjoyed some of that—I walked and heard and felt and smelled and was refreshed by His presence… I heard a motorcycle across town rev like mad and felt joy for its rider, listened to the music of the crickets and walked through some sprinklers at the park, feeling their drops hit my skin… I relaxed and enjoyed the night air and the moon and stars… and most of all felt the presence of the Lord and thanked God DEEPLY in my Spirit for His love, presence, and refreshment. This little time, remembering His magnitude and praying thanks, KNOWING that it ALL is in His hands… gave me so much peace. I was able to walk and enjoy truly in the peace of the Lord—a peace I all too seldom ask and listen to walk in.

Prayer requests

That God help me ask, listen, and abide in His peace… trusting in Him and that all is in His hands

That God help me not fear or become prideful and be thankful and have trust in Him…

Prayer Request Sept 22

This morning at the university 'See You at the Pole', a young woman asked for prayers that her family support her recent career decisions. Please pray that she and her mother seek God and His Spirit in this and come together in Him. I know that she feels peace but her mother doesn't. It is very obvious that she loves her mother dearly and considers her a best friend, and that she is very hurt by the lack of support. Please pray for them both and that the young woman and her mother move in God's Spirit in this.

Answered Prayer Sept 22

This month I was looking at a one-hundred dollar gap to get to my needed $350 per month and was fearing more than I should (instead of trusting God—what a foolish thing when He’s shown me time and again how trustworthy He is).  As this was in the back of my mind after a college supper, a couple stopped me in North Oak's parking lot and asked where I was going.  When I told them a group of us (who was with me) was headed to WaKeeney to visit a friend who had gone with us on a mission trip, they said they wanted to give me gas money.  The amount they gave ($50) was more than needed, but they graciously said I could keep the change.  I thanked them sincerely.  There was also a couple who asked my folks what I have been up to just last week and requested a support letter.  Just the other day I received $50 from them.  Since the gas went to my credit card (and I will be able to pay that next month), I received exactly $100, which was the amount needed.  This demonstration was a very direct answer to a prayer I’d made that God help me trust Him more and fear less.  What a blessing to serve Him, and how exciting it is to see what’s next!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Prayer Requests September 14

Please pray that God help me listen to His Spirit and move to His voice... Also please pray that God help me take care of what is necessary but not be distracted by things that may prevent me from focusing on Him...

For Unite--check out that blog at

Update Sept 14

God has been providing me with new adventures and ways to serve Him daily. I never fully know what to expect, and it is always amazing. There is the usual run-of-the-mill work that has to get done and there is always something new that needs done, but the best parts of each day are unexpected—a surprise run-in with someone, a chance to pray for someone in the Spirit, a new connection or opportunity. It’s always interesting.

The past couple of weeks have been excellent. We have had several unique opportunities to make connections with new groups. We now have about seven or eight congregation members waiting for training to join small groups or attend the international themed game nights. We also made new connections with some people interested in spreading the word about fair trade and, especially, better-than-fair-trade coffees and products; we will also be helping with some alternatives to Oktoberfest and have about eight new students signed up as interested in small groups. (Oh, and our second international themed game night had about ten international students in attendance).

I have made several awesome personal connections with students and individuals, as well. I am very excited to see what God has in future. One more note—I see a strong potential in the later future to open up a full-service coffeehouse with semi-regular hours to act as an interaction hub. It would possibly go by the name ‘Common Grounds’. It’s on the location we use for international themed game nights and game-nights (the non-international themed game night is themed as alternative to drinking). While this has been part of the vision for awhile, I am really starting to see some of the full potentials it could have and am excited to see what God has planned with it. I also see opportunities for the third year our small groups are in effect to reach out and touch the community powerfully. It is all distant and uncertain as of yet, but very exciting.

In other news I have invited three individuals to prayerfully consider eventually joining a board of directors (that would pray to make sure we are moving in the direction of the Spirit) and have about seven students who are considering leadership (several have already committed). Whew! What an update, huh? I’ll try to update things more regularly so I don’t have to include so much information… Now, I have had several people ask about what is in a ‘typical day’ for me. I don’t have many typical days, but I figure I’d include an excerpt about August 25th to give some people and idea of a day before the ministry was really in full swing. (I’ll include a sample of a more recent day later).

Aug 25. My alarm was beeping and I REALLY didn’t want to get up. I hit the button and lay there awhile but knew I had a ton to do. So, I sat up and got around. While I showered I prayed some and was able to listen enough to get a better perspective on my day. At 7:45 a.m. I got to work on some files to advertise the ‘Get Plugged In’ event on campus… One PowerPoint and 48 miniature table tent inserts cut to a specific size.

I biked those over to campus and worked with the Center for Student Involvement to get the last of our advertising permissions taken care of. Afterwards, I headed to my 9:00 a.m. meeting at First Church of the Nazarene. No one was there so I had an opportunity to sit down and pray more heavily and read some scripture, which really got me set up to do my day right. I also had a chat with Chartlwells food service via phone about what they would allow churches to give out food-wise at our event. The pastor arrived shortly and I was able to share about Unite and learn some about his church and its dynamics. I then made it home in time to do some financial work related to my non-profit status. I figured out I needed to bike down to Commerce bank and took care of some business. (While there I ran into an old acquaintance and we decided we’d have to catch up). By the time I was done I just had time to swing by the house and bike out to Wal-Mart for the chalk we needed for sidewalk chalking on campus to advertise the ‘Get Plugged In’ event at 2:30. I purchased that and some other materials, headed back home, and after making a few more calls to several area churches headed to campus.

Chalking the sidewalks about our event was actually a lot of fun—part way through some of the others got creative and so did I. I believe the chalking was some of the most unique of any advertising Ft. Hays events, and I hope it got people’s attention. Afterwards I had to immediately bike to High Plains Baptist Church all the way up by the Sternberg Museum. I had a really good chat with the youth pastor there and felt like the Spirit made some important connections. I was also blessed to be able to pray for Him in the Spirit…. It was the second point in my day during which I was powerfully reminded how much God answers our little prayers and how amazing He is….

Since I was right next to the hospital I decided to stop by and say hi to a few people and set up a meeting with the hospital chaplain (I have been told by several people that he and I need to chat about the international themed coffeehouse night). I also met two old friends/acquaintances and loosely set up some times to catch up. On the return bike trip I dropped by the farmers market for some fresh produce and made it home just in time to eat a tomato and an apple, drink a TON of water, and bike out to meet a college student friend of mine for supper at Taco Bell. (I also saw a friend driving by and reminded her that we need to catch up soon).

We had a really great chat about a bunch of good things, and I was excited to learn that he’s accepted my offer to be on the Unite leadership team. Not only that, but he and I will start to meet weekly to go through a Bible study together. I had a really good time with him all-around and was excited to be able to encourage him in a few things. God has greatly blessed me with that friendship.

I left and biked straight to the church for youth group. After fun with a hand-made trebuchet, we went inside and I noticed I was being distracted from listening to the Spirit by many of my relationships/friendships there (I love all the kids, so how do I know who to talk to when?). I prayed that the Spirit help me listen and hear His voice and follow Him. Interestingly enough, though I hung out with several (and I never know how impactful that may be), it was a prayer that only became very apparently answered near the end of youth group. I had the opportunity to pray with a young man who I am VERY proud of and who is on the cusp of a big decision over Christ. He either wishes to follow all out or not at all, and has been hanging in the tight place in the middle. I prayed for Him earnestly in love and in the Spirit, and I sincerely hope that we will meet this weekend. I want to listen.

I then started chatting with a couple who helps out when I sensed a VERY heavy weight on them in the Spirit. It was almost palpable. They agreed to let me pray for them, and I just knew I was supposed to. I prayed over several things I knew I needed to, and then we had a truly important conversation about some very difficult things going on in their lives. I now will continue to pray for them and the young man I met with. I am also praying for discernment for a college friend and over a potential college Sunday school class at church. Afterwards I briefly had fun speaking with several of my friends and biked home… This brings me to 10:49 p.m. as I type here and now. Yet ahead almost for certain is some event card descriptions and designs tonight (possibly some printing tomorrow if I get too tired to finish it tonight) and above all anything unknown that the Spirit brings up.

I knew in my day that I would need to get advertising done for campus, attend two meetings, chalk, and attend youth group. If I had just prayed briefly in the mornings but then disengaged from God and gone about my day in my own power as I used to, I believe that I may well have missed the most valuable parts of my day. It is only through continually asking the Spirit to lead me and for Him to help me hear His voice and see the spiritual battle around me and where I should walk that I am able to live true life… and that life is SO much more exciting than my old life used to be. I NEVER know what God has planned for the day. It truly is an unforeseen adventure. I have some ideas ahead of time, and usually most of those do happen (though not always the way I expect), but ultimately what really matters are the things He shows me as He helps me listen. Praying with all three people (the youth pastor, the student, and the couple) and spending time with my college student friend over supper/setting up our Bible Study (and running into four friends/acquaintances to catch up with in near future) were not in my plans AT ALL…. but each of them feels like it had the Spirit involved. Not knowing what will come and trusting God to guide actually creates a fuller and more adventurous life than ANY we could hope for… End of August 25th…

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Prayer update August 24

The past few days have been excellent; the Holy Spirit has been doing some amazing things.  God’s love is beyond words to me—that He continues to bless us and answer prayers and love us even when we don’t reciprocate or love Him nearly as much as we should is astounding and humbling.  True love isn’t self-seeking, and He shows it.  Thank God for His love.

Lately He has helped me listen and be sensitive in a variety of one-on-one interactions with people.  Just the other night a female friend was obviously stressed and wanting to talk, and I was able to listen in the Spirit and share some words on my porch.  I was really thinking that it would be good to have another woman present, though, and lo and behold another female friend of mine pulled up across the way and came over to listen and support my friend.  It was absolutely perfect timing.  The really amazing thing, though, was the amount of guidance God gave me in the conversation.  I prayed that God give me His words and allow me to hear what He wanted to say, and I just felt how to ask the right questions and listen without speaking.  In the end, I feel that what was meant to be said was.  We were able to pray for my friend, and I believe everyone went away feeling better.

Today I had two pretty deep talks.  One was with a Godly man about Unite and how we might be able to work together.  We also shared some personal things going on in each of our lives, and I was blessed to be able to pray for Him and His family in the Spirit.  I also had a college guy give me a text asking if He could talk with just me.  We met at my place and He shared some difficult things going on in His life.  Again, I prayed God help me listen and speak in the Spirit.  The right words came, and I was able to listen and pray with my friend.  I will continue to pray for him as he is seeking discernment in his course.

I have also been getting a lot of work done for Unite.  I have met with multiple churches/representatives of multiple churches and college ministries.  Some mornings it feels like I never put down the phone except to go to a meeting.  They are all good, though, and I am excited to see what God is doing in Hays and may continue to do.

The picnic in the quad went very well—Unite not only had several sign up as interested in small groups, but we were able to provide many students and workers of the event with cold ice water.  It was excellent to be able to bless so many on a hot day—especially since all it took was a few dollars worth of ice and a lot of work refilling an Igloo and lugging it back and forth.  I am thankful that God used us to help a few students make connections (I walked one to the Crusade and Challenge tables and gave her some info on other ministries) and to bless hot, thirsty people.  It was a very excellent afternoon.

Yet to come are the ‘Get Plugged In’ event Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the missionary training Friday night and Saturday morning.  Please keep that all in your prayers as the Spirit has opened up some powerful opportunities to work and make connections.  Pray that college students come to ‘Get Plugged In’ and make good connections with the body of believers in Hays, and please pray that the Spirit help me listen to and follow His voice.  Thank you again sincerely for your support and prayers!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Additional note

For those of you who REALLY want to keep up, you may also read I won't likely publish on that blog as often; it's mostly just meant to be what the Spirit leads me to put down in ink about my personal journey broadly.  This site that you are reading right now (Missionary Journals) is meant to let people know what in specific is going on in my life right now and how they can pray.


It’s been crazy ever since I’ve gotten back from Mexico. It’s a time to heavily listen to the Spirit, and a time during which many things seek to distract me from doing that. I have to pray and listen and remember that God has all of these things in His hands or it almost seems overwhelming. There is quite a bit to do with the semester VERY quickly approaching… There are quite a few Churches to meet with yet, and the 26th-28th are filled with big Unite events that need to have their details lined out. The 26th we are hosting ‘Get Plugged In’, an event on campus for students looking to connect to Christ’s body here in Hays. We will have invited all Churches in town and all college ministries very shortly. The 27th and 28th are our cross cultural and interpersonal communications training sessions with Doug Schaible of New Tribes Missionary agency. Hopefully several area ministries will be attending to train with us. Additionally the small groups will start over the next several weeks as more and more students and community members gain interest and join along with the game nights for college students and the game nights geared towards international students. There are also a number of small events in August and September like the FHSU picnic in the quad that we’ll attend. There are a number of other things that will be going on, and I do still meet one on one with a number of college students to talk about life and God and pray. I’m also trying to take care of several personal financial things that require a bunch of work right now but will free me up long term for better service. Add to it the final study design/compilation and a lot of relationships with local individuals and entities to maintain and it looks like a pretty full month… Until I pray and listen to God… when He reminds me who I serve and that all I need to do is ask Him to help me live each day in the Spirit to the best of my abilities… to listen and do what He wills me to do in my day and do my best with it… then it all comes back into focus and I can get back to serving Him. Satan definitely wants me to waste valuable time with worry and other things that aren’t really problems.

If you would like to pray for me, pray that I stay focused on the Spirit IN the Spirit and that I live each day listening to Him. His voice is easily able to keep me on track serving. Also please pray that I see the spiritual war all around me for what it is and that I keep my perspectives in life about what God is doing and His goals as opposed to looking at life from the perspective of one in the world trying to influence the world for God. It is very important that I focus on only the things the Spirit leads me in.

Beyond that, please continue to pray for God’s providence—He’s blessing me with the ability to get by month to month so far, and I have faith that He will continue to if I seek first His kingdom. Thank you SO much for your prayers and financial support!!!