Hello Sweet Cheer: May 2012

5.30.2012

Radical.

This week I began reading the very popular book "Radical" by David Platt. Although I've only made it through the first chapter, I already feel like there are things to say about it.


Like I said, based only on the first chapter I'm already LOVING this book. I'm preparing my heart to allow cultural boundaries to be broken and personal walls to be brought down. I know this book is full of TRUTH and is rooted in the teachings of the Gospel.

After the small portion I've read the biggest thing that stuck out to me so far is this one quote, "We were settling for a Christianity that revolves around catering to ourselves when the central message of Christianity is actually about abandoning ourselves." Now if that doesn't make you think twice I don't know what will! How often do I live my life in a way that caters to myself, my needs and my own well-being?

The culture and society we live in today is centered around self. It's about MY truth, MY happiness, MY opinions and MY way. The reality is that we need to center our lives around dying to self and living for Christ. It's not about what I think is best, or what makes most sense in my human brain. I'm so sick of this "American Church" crap. We are constantly trying to figure out how to make our lives "good", "comfortable", etc. We get together and talk about how we can make our church look nicer, how we can make more people COME TO US, how we can make our congregations HAPPIER, etc. It's all about us. But what is it REALLY about? It's about forgetting what I want, surrendering and allowing Christ who I call Lord to really be LORD of my life. And in that we should be living out what the entire POINT of this life really is. We should be following Jesus and His call for us to GO OUT and spread the Gospel. We should be striving to bring GOD'S PEOPLE back to GOD'S PLACE and to be in GOD'S PRESENCE. That's really why we're all still here isn't it? There are more people to be reached!



I am guilty of everything I have ranted about above. So sometimes I think this blog is more for me than for anyone else. As I continue to grow in my relationship with Jesus He reveals more and more everyday about His plan for my life, His plan for His people, and in what way I am being called to be a part of that. To those of you who read these posts, thank you! I love to write, I love public speaking, I love teaching (when I actually have some knowledge to offer on a subject), and I love living a life of ministry. I pray that this blog and the way I live my day to day life is a step into ministry as I continue to seek Christ in what He wants for my life!

Thanks again to my faithful readers!

Peace & Blessings,
Mere

5.22.2012

Hut-to-Hut Evangelism

Today I'm going to keep my promise and continue posting about Haiti!

Of the four mornings our groups went out and did ministry in surrounding villages, one day we did what we call, "hut-to-hut evangelism". That's just a big term for knocking on doors, praying for people and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead our time with them. Within my small group of nine we split into groups of three! My group consisted of myself, Marie Hefley and Josh Portillo. We walked around, knocked on doors and just asked people if we could pray for them. We asked if we could see their home and proceeded to pray over them inside. We usually made a point to be inside while speaking the name of Jesus. These people deal heavily with voodoo. We wanted to make sure and declare Jesus in their homes and rebuke Satan in their lives.


This is was one of my favorite days! Although it was tough and much of the time I was nervous about it, I loved it. In my mind evangelism isn't really my strength. But when I allowed the Holy Spirit to work and speak through me He worked in huge ways! There was one property we stumbled upon where no one was home. There were three different huts, a kitchen, a home and what seemed to be a smaller hut maybe for a second family or relative. The three of us decided we still needed to pray for those people. We prayer walked the entire property speaking Christ's name over the homes. I just had this overwhelming feeling that we needed to rebuke Satan and send him back to the pits. So that's what we did and the Holy Spirit was so present! After that we walked into a small area with about 4 or 5 homes next to each other. We spoke to a woman and her husband and got to see their precious young baby. She was only about 8-10 months old if I remember correctly. We prayed over their family and specifically over the baby who was so precious! She was sleeping when we were there and didn't even wake up when we were talking and praying so close to her. What a precious little soul! They invited us to sit down, we read a book about Easter to them (even though it was for kids, I think they enjoyed it!) and we just shared about our lives and they got to shared about theirs. It was so cool, they wanted to know all about us, where we're from and what our lives are like back home! We told them about Texas and even showed them a picture on Josh's phone of the "haboob" we experienced in Lubbock recently. My heart was SO filled with joy in those moments! This is truly what the body of Christ should look like. Getting to know each other, learned about our different cultures and interceding on behalf of our brothers and sisters.


After that we were running out of time and began walking back to the "tap tap". That's just a funny term for a truck with a HUGE bed in the back with benches attached to the sides. We rode in the tap tap everywhere we went. On our way back to the group Marie looked up and saw a flag pole with a green flag and purple flag waving. She asked our translator Rose if that was a sign of voodoo. Rose said, "Yes, that's the witch doctor, do you want to go in there?" My immediate reaction was, "HECK NO, I'm not going in there!" but before I could even say anything Josh said, "Let's do it!" So we went in. Needless to say, I was not very excited. First when we got there no one was home. Boy was I relieved! I was thinking, "Okay great, let's go!" but just when we were about to prayer walk the property guess who walks up... the witch doctor. Cool. At this point my closed off attitude turned into, "Um, okay God, I don't know what to do now... Take the reigns!" So the three of us started talking to him and it basically turned into this heated, theological debate. I was feeling discouraged because I knew this was not what we were here to do and this was not the way to show Christ to this man. We prayed over him and told him we were actually pretty late now, and we needed to leave. We thanked him for his time and told him we would continue to be in prayer for him. Just as I turned my head to leave I saw crowds and crowds of Haitians standing on the perimeter of this man's property. These people had just watched us talk to, pray for and STAND UP to the witch doctor. Wow.


Something you need to understand about Haiti is that voodoo and Satan are things they fear. In turn, they tend to fear the witch doctor and do what he says so that Satan will leave them alone. This is REAL stuff and Satan is at work in that country. What they don't understand fully is how much BIGGER God is than Satan. They love God and worship him, but they worship Satan just to appease him. In Haiti, in the northwest region, in this specific village, NO ONE stands up to the witch doctor. These precious people had just witnessed Jesus-loving people telling the witch doctor that his practices are wrong. I can't express to you how much that one encounter could have meant to that village. They saw us standing up to him, and I guarantee after we left they thought twice about voodoo. We were able to go in there and display through our actions what it means to worship God and God alone, and stand confident in that.

It really is incredible to be part of an experience like that! When my flesh said "no", my heart was skeptical, and even my mind said, "This is not effective." the Lord WORKED. He showed up big and it's difficult to put into words what that feels like! God is so cool, my friends! Get to know Him, He'll blow your mind :)

Sorry for the INCREDIBLY lengthy post today, I just felt like there was A LOT to say about hut-to-hut evangelism in Haiti. In fact, I could have written more! Also, sorry for the lack of pictures this post, we weren't exactly taking tons of snapshots during evangelism! Hope everyone has a fabulous Tuesday!

Peace & Blessings!

Mere

5.20.2012

Hakuna Matata

     Soooooo a group of my friends from The Wesley Foundation at Texas Tech begin their journey to Kenya tonight! They are an incredible group of students and I am so excited for how the Lord is going use them in the next three weeks! I ask that you would join me in praying for them as they join with Kenyans in sharing Christ's love with the people Africa. If you would like to read about their trip they have a blog and will be posting as often as they can. Here is the link http://wesley-kenya.blogspot.com/ 

Next, I want to give a quick update of what's going on in my life right now.

     Right now I am at home with my family preparing for my sister's wedding next Sunday! We actually just got home from her Bridal Shower (that I was working on all last week) and we are now in full WEDDING mode! This week I am focusing on a few things I need to get together for her bachelorette party this weekend and I need to finish the slideshow for the reception. She has given me permission to post any pictures we take the day after the wedding! They will be headed to the Dominican Republic for a week lounging on the beach so I get post pictures from the party!! Yay! After the wedding I'll be headed back to Lubbock for the summer. I am taking 6 hours in the first summer session and 6 hours in the second summer session! It will be a busy summer with class and attending many weddings for my friends, but it will be fun! As we move into summer I am already loving the season! Even though I'll be in school summer is still summer! I am on track to graduate in either December of 2013 or May of 2014. We'll see how this next semester goes!

These are just a few of my most favorite people!
Ama Norris and Matt Martinez (the soon to be Mr. & Mrs.)

My bestie/roomie Ariel and bestie Claire.
"...a cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

Sweet Kelsey J! One of my bestest friends ever!
(the soon to be Mrs. Esgar)


     Recently, I got involved in the youth group at my church in Lubbock! I attend Wolfforth United Methodist Church in Wolfforth, TX (about 10-15 minutes from my house in Lubbock) and have been getting to know the youth, hanging out with them and volunteering as a leader. It has been a huge blessing so far! These youth are incredible and I am LOVING getting to know them. I am still involved at The Wesley Foundation but this summer and next semester I'm going to pull back a little bit. I really feel like Wolfforth is where the Lord wants me right now! I won't be on leadership at The Wesley and I will be hopefully spending more time with my youth kids! They rock :) #westisbest

Here are some fun pictures from the Mud Dash we had a few weeks ago!

McKenna, Zach and Mackenzie!

Me and Maddi!

 Me and Mackenzie!

 Dylan with some youth!

 Me and Ariel with Mackenzie, McKenna and Zach!


     Also, I really planned on posting A LOT more about the trip I went on over Spring Break. While I'm at home I'm going to try to post a few times to catch up on Haiti! Also, if you sent me support for that trip I PROMISE I am sending out thank you letters with some pictures and detailed stories about the trip. I have totally lost track of time on that! Thank you so much for supporting me!

     I think that's all for now. Thanks for reading!

Peace & Blessings,

Mere

5.09.2012

DONUTS

Wow!  It's been almost a month since I've blogged.

To my faithful readers, I apologize!  I just haven't felt like I've had much to write about lately.

Tonight, I've been inspired!  I want to walk down memory lane a little bit.  I grew up in the church and in a great Christian home.  I have tons of memories of great songs from Vacation Bible School and fun videos we watched at home.  These are some of my fondest memories growing up and I am so thankful for my parents raising me the way they did and exposing me to these activities.  I don't have much to say other than that I think children's ministry is extremely valuable and should be taken as important as any other ministry area.  Kids remember the songs they sing in VBS, the videos they watch at home and the influences around them.  I look back on my childhood and praise Jesus for the incredible things I learned.  Here are a few of my fondest memories:

The Donut Repair Club was my FAVORITE tape to watch! Here are a few songs from it.




Here is one of my favorite VBS songs...



Here's a clip of another GREAT tape I used to watch! PSALTY the SINGING SONG BOOK!


That's all for now my friends!

Peace & Blessings,
Mere