Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Guatemala ....... Again!

Hello Family & Friends,
                We have been praying about what ‘missions’ looks like in our life. We've seen God direct us and we just can't wait to follow up our last letter with this one ... our most current plans. Please know that you are someone special to us and we are thankful for your presence in our life. We hope that you will be encouraged by our story. We also want you to know that your prayers and giving to our last trip allowed us to fully step into this part of God's plan for our life. We aren't asking for money this time, we aren't asking for supplies or advice. This time we are simply asking for prayer. Please read our story, be encouraged by our thankfulness of you in our life, and pray for us. Thank you in advance!
We've made a lot of changes in our life over the past couple years and are SO very thankful for God's direction, provision and guidance.  You might remember when we first decided to go to Guatemala back in 2011. At that point we felt God stirring our hearts for something coming. We prayed about family, about our jobs, and about missions. Well, after the trip, we knew that Guatemala was part of our plan, but not the whole answer. We didn't pack up and move, but we did fall in love with the country and the people. Fast forward three months and Kristen had anew job! God took his time preparing our hearts, stirring us to feel the change coming, allowing us to experience a third world country, and directing us in His perfect will. Turns out our permanent answer to the stirring we felt was her career change, and missions was an amazing thing we got to experience! 
     You might be thinking that it's great that we found a direction for our life, but we want you to know that we are still in the change phase. In fact, we think that we'll always be in some kind of change phase. As soon as we get idle and comfortable, we'll forget the dire need we have for our Savior to lead and guide our lives. We pray that you can understand that feeling and be comfortable with it as well. Change is not always easy or what we'd choose, but we have come to embrace it joyfully. We aren't always excited about it (and sometimes we go kicking and screaming), but we've learned that all of the changes in our life that were directed by God were much better than anything we had planned for ourselves. With that said, we've stayed completely open to having missions be a regular part of our life. David said just a few months ago, "I really have a heart for the Central American people. I feel like God can use me there and I'm ready to go back." Kristen got the chance to go on a short trip in September with FBC’s missions coordinator to make plans.
So, we are now, officially, Team Leaders. What does that mean? It means that we are going to be taking teams to Guatemala. It means that we have committed to FBC's missions and to working with our church's partnerships in Guatemala. It means that God's plan is still being worked out in our life. It means that even though we aren't planning on packing up and moving, we'll be actively involved. We’ll take our first team in March. Our church partners with two missionaries down there who have identified a village, named Chanco, for us to work. There is only one family of Christians. One family ... in the whole village ... sad! So, with the work of a couple local churches we are going to tell the people about Jesus. The last time we went, we talked to people that had never heard the name Jesus. NEVER! 
Will you pray? Again, we don't need you to send us money for our trip, we don't need any supplies, and we don't even need any advice. We know that this is where God has us. We know that He is good and His work is worth it! We know that the Bible tells us to "Go and make disciples of all nations." Matthew 28:19. We also know that the Bible promises the work, though difficult, will not be in vain. Revelation 7:9 says this about the end of time: "from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne." All that's left is for us to go. We will need prayer and here's a list of things you can pray for: Pray for the people to be open to what we're going to tell them. Pray for our safety (last year, a man was killed because he became a Christian). Pray for God to move in a mighty way in this village and in the country of Guatemala. Pray for the pastors we will work with in Guatemala, that they will have courage to go into villages that are hostile toward them. Pray for their health.
We know this is a longer letter than normal (the most you probably get from us is a Christmas card or a thank you note, haha!), but we appreciate you, we covet your prayers, and we wanted to share with you!

With Love,
Kristen & David Patrick

" Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest...' " 
Matthew 9:37-38

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wide Awake at 2:24

And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35

So, at 2:24 this morning I woke up. I mean wide awake and ready to face the day. I tried to turn over and was greeted by a little snoring from the hubs. When I turned back over I heard a still small voice "very early, Jesus got up."

My mind immediately went here:  Seriously? at 2:30 Jesus got up? Doesn't that verse mean he got up around 5:00 just before sunrise?

Nope. At least not for me.

Fast forward, it's now 4am and I'm sitting on my couch (so that I don't wake the snoring hubs) with a little toothless dog curled up next to me. More on the toothless drama later (it really could be a Lifetime movie). Anyway, I'm up, I'm dressed, and I'm ready to start a day that isn't supposed to get going for another six hours. What now God? 

Talk to me.           Pray.
Listen to me.        Seek His face.
Learn.                   Read Scripture.

Wow, in the middle of the night (by most people's standards) I'm having a moment with God. In case you're thinking that I'm crazy or that you'd never do this, please know that this isn't the norm for me either. I think, though, that sometimes God takes drastic measures to get our attention. I also believe that His ways are perfect. So, crazy as it may seem, I'm up and I'm listening. He got my attention and I'm excited to hear what He wants me to learn. It must be is surely important if He woke me up this early. In fact, this excites me a little ... knowing that my Father in Heaven loves me enough to intentionally work in my little world to orchestrate individual time with me! What a great God with amazing Love!

While focusing hard on doing all of the above, I decided to "google" Mark 1:35. I read it alone and in context. The first chapter of Mark is a nice quick picture of the beginnings of Jesus' ministry. It speaks of John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus, Jesus' baptism, Jesus calling disciples (followers), some miraculous things Jesus did, and a little on his preaching. Verse 35 speaks of what he did before he went to preach & teach in Galilee. Scripture is SO GOOD! Still though, after re-reading and praying for a while I felt the need to keep searching. I went here and searched Mark 1:35.


"First Things First: Making the Most of Your Morning" by David Mathis. This blog hit home, and it hit hard. What have I been doing with my mornings lately? I've always been an "early to bed, early to rise..." kind of person. (ask my sleeping hubs) It's like I have this internal clock that says "it's dark outside, go to bed!" And, when you go to bed early, you naturally wake up early. My parents said I was an easy baby ... I slept well. When I was teaching, it made me more energetic in the classroom to get up during the 4:00 hour to prepare for the school day. So, why have I been wasting my mornings lately? Truth is, I don't really know the answer to that. I could give you all kinds of great reasons, great answers, and great excuses, but the bottom line is I don't know. I guess I've fallen from my norm into a somewhat lazy & unproductive rut with my mornings. Harsh actions deserve harsh explanations. I don't like to think of myself as lazy (who does?) but if the shoe fits ...

Anyway, back to the blog I read. This man writes about how important it is to feed the inner man. On the surface, that sounds weird, but digging in, it really makes sense! Jesus spoke about living water that is all sufficient. He spoke of never thirsting again. He explained that if we seek Him we will never hunger or thirst again. Go read John 6:35! Generally people start their day with breakfast - food for our body. If we don't make breakfast a regular meal, usually there's a lunch or dinner happening at some point in the day. We need food to sustain us physically. Well, spiritually we need food too! We know this because Jesus told us ... how awesome is it that our God came down to Earth to live a perfect life and teach us all we need to know all the while performing miracles in order to defeat death by the time he left?!?!

Here's what I learned this morning (before 4am!): I've been physically feeding myself and only going through the motions spiritually. It reminds me of children pretending to eat play food. You know when a child brings you a plastic apple or a teacup from a tea set you pretend to eat & drink? Usually you say, Yummy, knowing that it's all just fake. Problem is, that isn't actually satisfying. It looks right, your mouth is making the right munching & slurping motions, but there isn't anything actually going in. This morning, I realized that my inner Kristen, was saying "Feed Me!" I've been starving my inner self and the Lord, in His loving and faithful way brought me back to Himself. He doesn't want me to pretend to eat play food. He wants me to read His word, to talk with Him and to learn. He wants me to take in what He has to give. He woke me up this morning to reset my clock (sorry David ... my recent late nights might be over!). He reminded me just how good his nourishment tastes.

And just in case you're wondering ... it's SO delicious!