воскресенье, сентября 23, 2012

visit this site for more about how God continues to teach me what it means to have beautiful feet.

суббота, апреля 23, 2011

Fairest Lord Jesus

Last weekend some friends and I went out to the woods to pick flowers. When they first invited me I wanted to go to hang out with my friends, but to pick flowers...ok...

Growing up in Florida I guess I missed what spring meant in the forest...

When this song says
"Fair are the meadows"
I sort of got it. I mean, I'd seen green fields in Ireland. They are breath taking.

I just didn't realize that the next line was just as true
"Fairer still the woodlands robed in the blooming garb of spring."
To walk into a forest with trees coming up out of a quilt woven with green grass and purple flowers--it's the most beautiful sight. And to breath the air in the stillness of the woods. To listen to the trickling of the stream as it flows...incredible, really. Something you can't fathom until you are standing in the middle of it thinking "God, was Eden anything like this?"

And then you start to imagine Eden--far better, far more beautiful than this (which just seconds ago you couldn't have imagined either). And then you move past Eden and start to think about God Himself.

How beautiful must our Lord truly be.
Being with Him caused Moses' face to shine.
Calmer of the storm.

пятница, августа 27, 2010

Getting Personal

I had lunch with a friend the other day. We were talking about the things that must be done to acquire a visa to the US. I told her to make sure she knew the names, addresses and phone numbers to all her former schools, universities and jobs. I started to go on about how she should also have her parents passports close by in order to give their information as well, but she stopped me before I got to that part and said something that got me thinking. She said:

"So Americans don't like to share personal information with each other, but they are willing to share it with their government. strange."

Being one of our better interpreters and having worked with Americans for years she wasn't just referring to something she assumed about American culture, but to something she had experienced and knew first hand to be true--in contradiction to her own culture.

When first meeting a person in the states there are some subjects we know to avoid.

This same friend shared in this same meeting that she had been working on paperwork all morning and as she sat in an office waiting her turn there were several older women sitting around who started telling her all about their lives--what the government was (or was not) doing, how their husbands had mistreated them--nothing was taboo or too personal to reveal to this young lady they had never before encountered.

In some ways this makes being a Christian in Ukraine easier for me. [in others more difficult.] Politics and religion are not avoided as topics of conversation. People want to know what you think and believe. And they want to tell you what they think and believe. [the difficult part being that what people think the believe to be fact and not just thought.]

Several weeks ago I was at dinner with two very close friends of mine and another person whom I know a little bit, but have not spent a whole lot of time with. He and one of my friends, in Russian, began discussing camps this past summer. Then the question was posed to my friend: What was your motivation behind working at camp this summer? My friend responded and then this person who had not really been talking to my other friend and I at all until this point in the conversation looked at us and posed the same question. Neither of us [both American] responded at the time. Later that same evening I did discuss this question with my acquaintance (whom I might add is quickly reaching friend status in no small part due to his willingness to be real), but in the moment I was so caught of guard (even after 5 years in country) by the depth of the question.

My friend who had been engaged in the original conversation at the dinner table later asked why [I] hadn't responded at the initial asking of the question. I explained my intimidation both by the Russian and the sincerity of the question. And though it caught me off guard and I froze in the moment, it is one of the things I most appreciate about the culture I am living in. I don't want to be afraid to be real. I don't want to hesitate when people ask about things I once deemed too private to share.

(And just so you don't have to feel too intimidated to ask...I hope; I hope my motivation to do camp this summer was to bring God glory. And maybe that sounds like the answer I'm supposed to give. But it's the one I hope in my heart that is true. I love loving the kids. But loving them to love them is not enough. I love encouraging the staff. But encouraging them so that they are encouraged is not enough. I love organizing and working in the store and doing anything that needs to be done. But helping to help is not enough. I love, I encourage, I help SO THAT others might know Christ better SO THAT as they know Christ better they might share Him with others SO THAT His name may be known and glorified throughout the earth. I HOPE that above all else THAT is my motivation...not just in camps, but in all that I do.)

среда, июня 30, 2010

The month leading up to camp one was just as eventful and productive and awesome as camp one itself. I'm so glad God uses everything and is in everything and holds all things together.

I love camp. Sometimes I feel like I live for camp. But it's not true. I love camp so much because it causes me to focus. I know that it's all about kids (and staff and interpreters and Americans and parents and me and everyone) knowing Christ. For two months all of everything I'm planning and doing is focused on that. It's exausting and I often ware myself down and this camp I even got pretty sick. But it's worth it and I know that and I love that and my joy is overfilwing.

Before camps opened this summer there was a huge question as to of if they would...if they could. Camp is expensive. There are some regulations that even with enough money just can't be met. Fire laws are confusing. As days started deminishing before opening day we began to pray more expectantly "god, what would you have us to do."

We had a team here getting the camp grounds ready and ministering in our village and surrounding ones as well. And we started discussing new options for summer ministry. What if we did back yard Bible clubs in place of camp. Could we make that work? Would enough of our Ukrainian staff be willing to stay with us if that's what we decided to do? Would American teams be ready to work in harder and potentially riskier environments outside our camp walls?

And then the documents to open camp were signed.

The Ukrainians seemed releaved. America too seemed glad that things worked out. I was glad to have a direction to be planning toward :0)

And camp one was phenominal. It was great. Registration day closed and we were completly full. We even added an extra dorm. I'm living with the summer staff girls, who are great. I got to teach the oldest girls bible study and go to music and games with them. I got to interpret for several Americans who shared the gospel with campers. God is for sure moving at camp friendship this summer. And we've got two more camps to go :0)

But what I'm learning has been more during the time before camp and this time now--between camps, God is in everything. He's moving all the time. He's constantly changing lives. Making me--making us-- more like Him. I don't know what I will be doing tomorrow. Or where I will be. Or who I will be with. Such a simple concept, but I want to make the most of today.

With so many changes going on around me all the time it's good to have my Constant. Christ is my constant. Always with me and always ready to help me do the very thing He Himself came to earth to do. To love.

To love not just during camp. Not just the kids He brings into my life. And not just those I have been preparing to love. But everyone. Every person who passes through my world. Every person whose world I encounter even for the briefest of moments. Lord, teach me to love.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

пятница, марта 26, 2010

пятница, марта 19, 2010

пятница, марта 12, 2010

Maddi Maddi Maddi Maddi Song :o)

Happy, Happy Birthay from Ukraine.

If you were here, this is what we would be doing.

воскресенье, марта 07, 2010

a lesson in listening and letting go...

The past several weeks I’ve been really restless. Tired of traveling. Wanting to just BE somewhere—anywhere, really. That is not like me. I love to travel. I love to be busy and on the go. Usually it energizes me. And it hasn’t been. Last week I even thought to myself, maybe it’s ‘cause I’m getting older…maybe I’m finally growing up—something I vowed long ago to never do.

I’ve been reading my Bible and spending time with God, but it’s felt distant and I don’t like it. I told him that and wrote it in my journal more than once this week. I asked him to show me what was wrong. That I wanted to make things right and I wanted to know that we were walking this together. That I was where he would have me to be.

This morning as I sat in my kitchen with my coffee and my Bible and read about Lydia taking in Paul and Silas and then how they were thrown in jail and then how the earthquake freed them, but they didn’t leave and how the guard came to know Christ through that and I began to think about how attentively they must have been listening to God. Because if I was in jail and an earthquake broke my chains, I think I’d take that as a sign from God to leave. And I thought “God, I want to hear Your voice above circumstance” and a whisper in my ear said “You did.” And I thought, “I know, God, that’s what I’m saying, I used to hear you so clearly. I used to know when to step and what to do and I wasn’t worried about what other people thought or even what it would mean for me personally. I heard and I listened and I followed and it was GOOD. What changed?” And my thoughts jumped back to the last thing I clearly heard, “move to Lugansk.” And then I heard his voice again, soft and gentle and clear, “Lori, you didn’t stop hearing. I didn’t stop speaking. You stopped listening.”

And he’s right of course. I heard Him. And I listened enough to share with a few friends and family members that I thought I would one day in the future be moving to Lugansk. Several of them confessed that they had seen that coming. Several circumstances began to make it clear that this was a pretty logical direction—needing to sell the apartment in Poltava, Shane and Marilyn’s sweet offer of a place to stay, relationships continuing to build with people there. And still I stayed.

See, I had plans here. Things I wanted to do first. I had had “vision” and I wasn’t done. What about the kids at the orphanage? What about my English students? (thoughts linger to the gospels and then man who was called by Jesus and said “ok, but first let me go burry my father” and then another man who said “ok, but first let me go tell my family goodbye.” That was exactly what I had been doing. I heard God and my answer was, “Yes, Lord, I will follow You, but first…”)

And besides, what are people going to think if I just jump up and run off to another city? But this morning as I cried and apologized for not jumping and running the second I heard his voice he reminded me that his ways are not my ways and his thoughts as so much higher than mine. And as he whispered his love I was reassured that his love for the people I was concerned for was far deeper than mine and who am I to think that he can’t take care of them without my being here? He is orchestrating a beautiful story and I see only a small piece of that. I am reminded that he is in control and that He is working all things together for His glory.

I don’t know what I missed out on by not moving to Lugansk sooner. And God is good and He has allowed me to be a part of things he is doing here in Poltava even in my disobedience. But I have heard his voice [again] and it’s time to let go of the things that are holding me here…

This time I’ve got to trust You,
I’ve got to accept Your plan.
I have tried to guide my circumstance,
But there’s just no way I can.

When will I learn this lesson?
Your ways are not like mine.
Lord, help me to surrender the control I try to have on my life.

When I let it go
You take my hand and gently lead me
Then you let me know
Just how peaceful my life can be
When I let it go
Your never ending blessings like a river start to flow
When I let it go

Too many times I’m searching
For the things I think I need
When I try to look for more
I always seem to give You less of me

Lord, help me gain the wisdom
My foolish mind still lacks
Till I find a way to let go of the part of me I’m holding back

When I let it go
You take my hand and gently lead me
Then you let me know
Just how peaceful my life can be
When I let it go
Your never ending blessings like a river start to flow
When I let it go


пятница, марта 05, 2010

среда, марта 03, 2010

my "blurry world through sleepy eyes" adventure (#2)

My first "blurry world through sleep eyes" adventure took place this January and also came about due to an early morning train arrival--it included dragging suitcases through snow and up 8 flights of stairs...but, this is not that story; this is adventure number two:

Ok, so I get back from Lugansk this morning. (great trip, by the way :o) Train arrives at 4:20 and is stopped at the "southern train station" I've never actually been to the southern train station except for on the train, but know that it's going to sit there for 30 min before traveling to the "Kyiv train station" that I've always used. I decide to get off here as opposed to sitting on the train for 30 mins + however long it takes to go between stations.(15-20 mins)

I start walking and decide that the dawn of morning is pretty and I'm going to walk a little while instead of take a taxi. It was awesome. I walked over this bridge before the sun was coming up and was just in awe. Snow is still on the ground and the street lights were reflecting off the river in the semidarkness. Very cool. I keep walking and thinking and talking to God, good times.

Then I get to a bus stop where there are people waiting and I think "Awesome, busses are starting to run and I won't have to get a taxi home." I stand and wait. Bus number 43 drives up. Awesome. This is the bus I take to the orphanage. I've never been to this end of the route, but I know that it goes by my stop on the other end. Perfect. We pile on. I pull out change to pay the conductor (money taker) but she doesn't come. Hmmm...that's odd. (note: marshrootkas in different cities take money differently...in Kyiv you pay when you get on, in Lugansk you pay when you get off, in Poltava you pay when the lady comes to get your money from you.) I look around. No one else seems concerned, so I decide to wait. We drive back through some really cool neighborhoods, more people get on. We go through the center, more people get on. I start to notice that no one is getting off. That's weird. But now we're on the part of the route that I recognize, so I'm not too concerned. Then we make a couple turns I don't remember.

Now we're in an area of town I don't know...no apartments, no stores, bad roads...uh-oh...where are we going?

The bus stops and everyone gets off--without paying...

I get off too. What else can I do. I walk around the bus and look to see where everyone is going. We are at the bus yard. I just took a workers marshootka to the marshootka yard. Haha. I watch the drivers and conductors greet each other and get ready for their day. I laugh to myself and think...hmmmm...can I figure out how to get back out of here? And start to walk.

I made it back to the main road and waited for a real marshootka to come by. It did. This time I asked, to be sure the driver was going where I wanted to then got on, paid, sat down, smiled and thought "only in Ukraine." I can't imagine my life without days like these :o)