Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week 5, Kenai Peninsula

1 Thessalonians 5:17 
Pray without ceasing.

Hello!!!  :-)  It is hard to believe that week 5 of our 10 week Summer outreach - Backyard Bible Club - is over.  Each week God has given us an amazing group of people, and this past week was no exception.  

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

I must start off with a little story about a woman whom I had about 5 hours worth of time with on Sunday (June 23, 2013).  This woman is part of the group who came up from Georgia and sat in the first row behind me of the 15 passenger van I drove.  She was full of spunk, sarcasm, love, laughter, and most importantly wisdom.  A godly woman, she cracked jokes and made me smile for the entire duration of our trip.  Our drive that first day back to Kenai seemed like a longer trip than any other, but her and the others that were on my van kept my face covered in a smile.
After our long trip and dropping off the team, me and the other staff went back to our quarters and as I was brushing my teeth I received a call that this spunky woman had taken a turn for the worse. Me and 2 of the team members rushed to the church to find her not well.  She was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital (15-20 miles away) where me and another individual and 2 of her team members waited to hear the diagnosis.   It became evident around midnight that she would be admitted and her daughter suggested we go home and get some rest.  
This sweet woman stayed in the hospital all week... I didn't get to see her again till this past Saturday when we brought the team back to Anchorage.  I say this to tell you that in just the few short hours I had with her, she had an amazing impact on my life.  Her spunk, smile, and grateful attitude was a light in my life.  I am grateful for the blessings I received from her and no telling the full reason for her trip to Alaska and the many blessings she was to others in the week.  I will never forget her.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

Outside of the "Spunky Lady," GraceWorks had another amazing and final week in Kenai.  We unfortunately witnessed the Merit Inn close its doors but in that we also saw many families come to truly rely on God and saw many move into new homes.  Some are moving out of state or up to Anchorage.  I  have been blessed with getting to know a good handful of the kids and adults and it is mine and many others prayers that God will continue to put Godly people in their lives to continue to water the seeds planted these past 5 weeks.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

On Tuesday (June 25, 2013) I had an amazing opportunity to go and pray with a native woman.  I met her about 2 weeks ago and her main purpose of contact with me was for me to be a witness to her son. :-) It is amazing how God used that connection to make her feel safe enough to open up to me about some spiritual warfare she was experiencing.  This allowed for me to have an opportunity to go and pray with her.  The next day, she informed me that she went to church and is now getting plugged into the church down the street from her home.  This is what she wrote to me on Thursday night:
"Holy Father, I cripple myself spiritually by dwelling on the what ifs.  
I confess that to often I've made control and strategies my strength.  
You have said that blessed are those whose strength is in You.  
I long to be a blessed one who makes you the Lord God, my total trust."
Praise God!!!  Over and over again, praise God.  It is all about HIM!!!

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

I shared the story of Jesus with a young 18 year old 2 weeks ago.  As I shared the story, I watched the Holy Spirit tear down walls of hurt and pain, oppression and fear that had been following her around for her short life.  I found out tonight (Monday - July 1, 2013) that this young lady was hanging out near a church by her home, distraught over some news she had found out about a family member when she was confronted by a believer.  This believer invited her into the church and spent a considerable amount of time praying with her.  This young lady told me this: 
"... she brought in the church and we prayed and I felt Jesus touch me on my heart... 
I felt like that was His way of telling me I will be ok and so will my grandpa.  
We sat there for a little while and she started reading the Bible to me.  
Everything happens for a reason and I shouldn't beat myself up for it.  
I was scared though, cuz I really felt a hand touch me."  
I asked her how she felt now, and her response: 
"I feel calm." 
Praise God!  
Philippians 4:7 
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard 
your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

God answered another prayer.  Last week, one of the families I have grown to love and adore, the mother decided to quit bringing her kids to the park for reasons unknown to me.  This tore me up inside and so I began to pray asking that God would allow them to come back.  This last week here in Kenai on Thursday (June 27, 2013) as I am in the park working with this team from Georgia and the other kids at the park, I see the 4 young girls leap out of a vehicle and come running towards me.  I could not hold back the tears, and just typing it up brings tears to my eyes now.  God is so good.  On Friday (June 29, 2013) at the block party (a party we have every week), the kids father came up to me and told me that the time we have spent with his kids has opened doors of communication for their entire family.  That through the presence of the Holy Spirit their family has grown closer together than they have been in years.  Praise be to God!!!

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray without ceasing.

It is evident that God is working in Kenai.  Please don't quit praying.  Please don't let what I am writing be a fleeting moment in your heart.  Pray for the mission.  Pray for these families.  Pray for good follow-up.  Pray for godly influences in the lives of EVERY heart we have impacted over these past 5 weeks.  Pray also for the ones who are still struggling.  The ones who still feel hopeless and are broken.  Pray for God's mercy to be seen in those who feel they can not be forgiven... As a believer, we know and see God's mercy on a daily basis.  For those who don't know Him, have never heard of Him, have never experienced Him like you and me, pray that God's light would shine on them through other believers...  Please my brothers and sisters, Pray without ceasing!

I leave you with pictures from this week:

Crafts - making sheep with Ms. Pat
Crafts with Ms. Sue

Some kids who have stolen my heart
Same kids who stole Ms. Sue's heart.

She is a precious little girl, with Amber & Savannah

Love this kiddo...  We are doing a selfie duckie (whatever that means)

Large crowd for Bible story and crafts.
Park Party fun

Girl showing off her cartwheel skills at park party

More park party fun

Park party fun with a lot of kids... Great day!

Me and this precious little one, Jalyn

Love this family!  They have stolen my heart!

Me and sweet, fun loving, awesome Pat. 
Me and awesome, quiet, gentle Anita

Me (being silly) with energetic, spunky, loving Teresa.

Week 4, Kenai Peninsula

Proverbs 31:8-9
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
I apologize for being incredibly late on my week 4 blog.  I did not forget, I just have been incredibly busy - busy in a great way.  Watching what God has been doing is incredibly humbling.  It is still hard to believe I am apart of what He is doing here in this beautiful state, Alaska.  

Chasing a sunset on the Kenai Peninusla
Tide out along the bluff

Words can't describe the beauty
God created this image

Passion: Glaciers
Beautiful sunset on Ninilchik Beach

Week 4 was absolutely wonderful.  We had a group come in from Northern Mississippi and Southern Tennessee.  These 2 groups merged together in what I would say is a beautiful tapestry of God's glory and beauty.  It was awesome to see how God took 2 men who went to Seminary school together to come together, mesh 2 groups together, and then watch them work in unity in which God calls us: to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and body and to love our brother as our self.  All of this while serving those who are lost, broken, fatherless, hungry, without clothes, and widowed.  God is so good.  

It is so awesome to be apart of what God is doing.  May we humble our hearts at the feet of Jesus, surrender to His calling and His will, and let Him lead us on the road to planting seeds and bringing in the harvest.

Service Project
Pictures from Week 4
Parry and Angelique, listening to a Bible story

Kids from the mission trip 

Service project

My sweet Rylee

Kids at Park
A young man sharing the gospel with 3 teenage boys

Me and a new friend, Mona
Me and a new friend, Jonathan

Me being silly and getting photo bombed