The Call to Wait

I checked out Your Call is Waiting by Terry-Anne Preston from the Northridge library and it has blown my mind.

It’s a wonderful read about discovering your personal calling. However, what stood out to me the most was the idea that sometimes we are called to wait.

Wait a minute, waiting is a calling?

Yes. Yes, it is. God sometimes calls us to wait. And sometimes we don’t quite get it. We want to be ‘somewhere’, doing ‘something’. But often we overlook the opportunities God has placed where we are. God puts us in places for a reason. Even if we have absolutely no desire to stay or no understanding of why we go somewhere, God has a reason.

“Many of the examples of calling experienced by biblical characters testify to the fact that God prepares his people over many years. Moses spent forty years in the desert before seeing the land that God had promised him. Paul had to wait three days as a blind, fasting man before God set him free for a purpose. Even Jesus had to wait thirty years before being able to exercise his unique ministry, a ministry that lasted just one tenth of the time he waited. In each case, God took time to prepare the individual and the situation to which he was called” (96-97).

Moses spent 40 years waiting on his promise from God. Jesus waited 30 years to begin his incredible ministry. Jesus had to wait. If the son of God had to wait to fulfill some of his calling, I’m pretty sure that we have to wait sometimes too. And God can and will use this time to build us up and strengthen us for the road ahead. It’s a necessary step.

But that doesn’t mean we are good at it.

“So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:6-8 NLT, emphasis added

Even the disciples struggled with waiting. But God holds the power to set dates and times, not us.

We have to stop and think a moment sometimes to really process the power that God possesses. He made us. He made the world. He is above all. It’s quite mind-boggling actually.

“It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.” – Jeremiah 10:12, ESV

God is sovereign. He rules over all creation. His timing is perfect and sometimes we have a hard time truly understanding that.

“Sometimes it feels as though little is happening. We feel as though we are in a rut. Life can become routine. But somewhere, somehow in the midst of even the most boring day of washing and ironing, paperwork or simple inactivity, God is at work. We may not see him. We may not understand what he is doing. We may not always feel his presence near us. But he is here, and we must cling to the truths of scripture, rather than our feelings, expectantly waiting for him to call us” (103).

I think we all experience these down times. I’m currently experiencing a ‘low.’ My life in Chile was full of incredible things. I grew so much and learned so much about myself and my identity in Christ. Coming home has been difficult. I’m living in a relatively comfortable place. And life is more routine. I go to school, go to work, volunteer, hang out with friends. Rinse and repeat. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut in the routine. It’s so easy to stop trying to grow spiritually. And I’ll admit, some days I do get stuck. I feel like I’m in limbo. Not growing. Not backsliding. Just existing.

But we can’t be stuck there.

“[B]ut they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31, ESV

“Wait for theLord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27:14, ESV

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” – Psalm 37:7, NLT

God will strengthen us when we need Him the most.

We also shouldn’t run away. The story of Jonah illustrates the possible consequences when we run from our calling. (See the book of Jonah if you’re not entirely sure what happened).

“Being called away is not the same as running away. Running away, as Jonah discovered to his cost, is seldom helpful. Even when situations become incredibly difficult or painful, we need to stay and work through the issues until such time as God calls us to do something new. Simply being frustrated with our job, our church, or our ministry is not sufficient reason on its own to leave. We need to ask ourselves: ‘Where does God want me to be?’ and ‘What does God want me to learn in the present circumstances” (100).

God has a reason for placement. He places us where we are for a reason. Do we always know why? No. We don’t. And sometimes that’s more often than we like. And sometimes we wait. And most of the time that is difficult.

But sometimes that is our calling.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12, NIV

Be strong, my dear friends.

God is with you.

The Chronicles of Narnia.

C.S. Lewis, you genius, you.

One week this summer I read all seven of the books in The Chronicles of Narnia. In order (of original publication). Straight through.

And what I read there really resonated with me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved these books since I was a youngster, sent to bed without my precious book because I’d been caught reading under the covers long past my bedtime.

But sometimes you have to have a little more of life under your belt to get it.

And I know I haven’t lived that long. I’ll probably get more out of these books when I read them after 10 more years.

However, in order to speed up the process, I checked out a few books to give me some perspective.

Books on Books on Books

And one of them is brilliant. Thomas Williams’ The Heart of the Chronicles of Narnia: Knowing God Here by Finding Him There. I love this book. Everyone I’ve spent time with recently knows how much I’m learning from this book because I can’t stop talking about it. (Sorry small group friends). But I wanted to post some of the cool stuff I’ve learned and some pretty spectacular quotes.

Let’s begin with this gem:

“We ordinary, bumbling, sin-prone humans can be friends, of all things, with the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He cherishes us. He delights in us. He wants to be with us and longs to have us love him in return. In Narnia Aslan shows this love of God up close and personal in such a way that we cannot possibly miss the truth” (Williams 12).

Can we take a moment to absorb that? God wants to be our friend. Yes, he is our guide, our King, and our Savior. But he also wants to be a friend. How amazing is that? He wants to have a relationship with each and every one of his broken creatures. This is something that I find difficult to truly wrap my brain around, but am insanely honored by the privilege.

Also awesome to think about:

“a time is coming when we will be freed from our imprisonment in this fallen world, and we will be able to see face to face the Jesus who freed us. At that time you will feel exactly as [the] released lion did. You will be unable to contain your joy as you look on his dear face. At that moment you will see in Jesus everything you now see in your dearest beloved, but intensified beyond your wildest imagining. When you see him, you will know that he is and has been the One you have always loved more that anything else in your life” (13).

Sometimes I try to imagine what heaven will be like. What I’ll feel like. What I’ll do. (Cue music: “I Can Only Imagine). But most recently, my picture is that of a moment of intense and overwhelming joy, peace, happiness, awe, etc. all in one instantaneous moment. I’ll be enveloped by the presence of God. Wow. What a concept.

Sadly, we aren’t always so heaven-focused:

“Sometimes a mere scare won’t do the job, and it takes pain to get our attention. We become lulled by the comforts and philosophies of this under land we live in – the Shadowlands, as Lewis called our world – and forget the bright promise of heaven. Sometimes nothing but pain will clear our heads and shake us awake” (123).

This was one of the harder ideas to swallow. Not because I don’t think it is true, but rather that sometimes I wish it wasn’t. Ideally, we could follow God always and always in Joy. However, sometimes we get too comfortable with our lives. We start to forget. We sometimes need an awakening and a revival in our soul. Williams quotes C.S. Lewis soon after: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” The world dulls our senses. Sometimes we need more than a gentle nudge to come back to reality and run back to God’s open arms.

More on God’s open arms and constant companionship:

“If you are honestly seeking God, you need not worry about finding him. He will find you” (148).

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8, NIV

God loves us and cares for us. We only need to cry out to Him and he will answer. (Psalm 18:6). God will find us. He is always there.

If we delight in Him, our lives will be full of delight:

“Satisfy your longings with substitutes, and you get only continuing emptiness. Satisfy them by loving God, and you get not only him but all his gifts as well” (176).

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 27:4, ESV).

Once we submit our hearts to God, He changes our hearts. We are filled with His desires. Therefore, once we have these God-given desires, He fulfills them. And a life with God’s desires is selfless and incredibly satisfying. However, if we chase after worldly desires, we are often met with despair and an unquenchable thirst for more. God satisfies and fills our lives with blessings.

How do we love God?

“The key to loving God…is to see God’s love in every good thing that happens to us, both the large things and the small, to make that awareness the lens through which we view our existence” (177).

This is hands down the most amazing aspect of how God works: how He speaks and shows Himself in the little moments. He has us read the exact quote we needed to hear. He leads us to the bible passage that calms our fears. He sends a friend with a comforting presence. He sends someone to speak the words your heart needed to hear. Something happens that shouldn’t have. A job offer comes out of nowhere. Funding seems to fall from the sky. You end up in a foreign country for four and a half months, not exactly sure how you got there. God works in every moment: the big and the small. He is for us and He is with us.

“This continual awareness of God’s activity in your life is a kind of ongoing prayer that will draw you closer to him and increase your sense of his continual presence” (178).

Have you ever taken a moment to sit in the presence of God in quiet reverence? Have you taken a moment out of your busy schedule and just allowed God to fill you with his presence and peace? Have you ever realized that He has been with you all along, it just took you some time to realize He was there? God is with us wherever we go, whatever we do. (Joshua 1:9, Deu 31:6, Matt 28:20, Psalm 139). He is there. Cry out to Him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcmUYDU-2DY

God also loves us so much:

“Think about the greatest love you have ever known; it is only a dim shadow of the love that God has for you. When you finally see him, you will know that you have just met the love of your life. You will know that he is what you have really been dreaming of and longing for in every desire you ever had. When you see him, you will want nothing more than to spend all eternity basking in his presence” (178).

How awesome is that?

And now we arrive at the author’s closing remarks:

“Everything in Narnia leads ultimately to Aslan. Everything in our world leads ultimately to God. Everything in Narnia shouts the love of Aslan for his Narnians. Everything in our world shouts the love of God for us. Just as Narnia has Aslan, we have a God who loves us and desires nothing for us but ecstatic joy. Aslan is an accurate reflection of Jesus Christ. He calls us through every created thing to find in him the source of all joy and love him in return, thus finding our own true selves in a relationship with the One whom we were created to love” (180).

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” – Psalm 19:1, ESV

We are broken. We are needy. We are sinful beings.

Our God is evident. He is present. He is waiting with open arms.

 

Passion

Todd Braschler spoke today at Northridge about Purposeful Unsettledness, which he defined as: a challenge to recognize the uneasiness, the unsettledness, the discontentedness in the heart of God and to accept that same sense in our own lives.

 

Sounds a bit strange, right?

But really, it’s pretty awesome.

Basically, the idea is to feel unsettled due to a particular broken area of our incredibly broken world.

With that issue, we can’t be content:

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment

– 1 Peter 2:2

We must never find ourselves so content in our relationship with Christ that we stop growing. Contentment is a dangerous place. For progress, we need a felt need. We need to be unsettled.

1) Holy Discontent is defined by the passion of my heart, mirroring that of Christ. 

One of my favorite things to do is find what people are passionate about. Find that one thing, and you will open the door to a deeper understanding and connection to that person. I love to hear people describe what they are passionate about. Light comes into their eyes and their entire demeanor changes.

Now imagine that person mirroring the passion and heart of Christ.

Wow.

Ever see someone so clearly on the path of God that His light seems to radiate from them and everything they do?

They find their passion and peace in Christ, mirroring the desires of His heart.

2) Without holy discontent, the purpose of my life is difficult to define. 

I believe that God has a plan for each and every one of us. A perfect plan, blessed by His hand and His guidance. After all, He knows us better than anyone else.

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.

– Psalm 139:1-3

We are valuable to Him:

What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin ? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

– Matt 10:29-31

For in him we live and move and exist.

– Acts 17:28

And He has these great plans:

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

– Jeremiah 29:11

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

– Ephesians 3:20

However, I also think that we stray from His plan quite often. We are, after all, sinful creatures and we often veer off course.

There is a phenomenon in human nature where we become frustrated when we are delegated to participate in an effort that has no understood purpose.

Therefore, a life seemingly without purpose is frustrating. Because of this, I believe that we often rush to decide our own purposes in life. We want the answer now, so we create it ourselves.

And this is dangerous.

With this, we limit what God can achieve in our life.

However, understanding God’s Holy Discontent gives us something greater to strive for and achieve – a greater purpose for our lives.

3) Understanding Holy Discontent brings immeasurable fulfillment and purpose through Christ. 

Wow. That sounds awesome.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – John 10:10

God’s desire is not to destroy our lives, but rather bring fulfillment. However, that can only come through a life truly devoted to following Him. If we do not make that commitment, we miss out on His amazing plan for our lives.

I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.

– Habakkuk 1:5

Don’t miss out.

Think about what this passion might be.

What strikes you that also is within the heart of God?

What situations have been defining moments in your life in Christ?

What problem are you passionate about?

Do you seem to have more insight to this problem than the average Joe?

How would this world be different if you focused your efforts on this problem?

What would it mean to you if at the end of this life, you saw that you had an eternal impact in regards to that issue?

Think. Pray. Pray some more.

God has amazing things in store for you and through you.

Let him act.

 

What am I going to do with a Spanish degree?

The question of the moment. Generally asked by caring people. It’s definitely cultural. I notice myself asking other friends what they plan on doing with a Biology or English degree. It comes naturally. Why? Because that’s how we are as a culture. We want to know what comes next. We want to know the final product, immediately.

So to derail that speech, I tell them (truthfully!) that I might double major in Social Work.

But that doesn’t mean that it will happen. I might very well graduate December 2014 from Wichita State with a Spanish degree.

And what will I do with it?

Honestly? No idea.

But do you know who does have an idea? God. The creator of the universe, of you, of me, of the trees, and flowers, and time, and ideas. He knows what He has in store for me. He knows what He will use me (and you) for.

You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of heaven worship you.

– Nehemiah 9:6

Me? Not really.

We can make our plans,
but the Lord determines our steps.

Proverbs 16:9

And that’s kinda really cool.

To be completely honest, my biggest spiritual growth in Chile was learning that my plans are garbage in comparison to the perfectly scripted plans of God. I waste my time forcing my plans to work. I see that I’d like to go from Point A to Point B, and can give you 32 ways to get there, 3 that are the most effective, and the one I like the most. But really, God wants me to start at Point 7, jump  to Point 3, and cartwheel to X34 (something completely off my radar).

God is not limited to my plans. 

You can make many plans,
but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

– Proverbs 19:21

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

– Jeremiah 29:11

In fact, it’s kind of selfish for me to follow what I think is right, when God has so much more in store.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

– Ephesians 3:20

Chile was not in my plans.

Not at all.

But it was in God’s plan.

It was God’s leading and nudging that derailed the Jean train and put me on His track.

It was God who showed me the importance of flexibility and openness to change.

It was God who demonstrated peace in the midst of confusion.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT, emphasis added)

God’s got this.

It’s not my responsibility to worry. In fact, I’m told not too.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  – Matthew 10:29-31  (NIV)

So you’re telling me that I’m worth a great deal to God?

Yes.

You’re telling me that God has a plan for my life?

Yes.

You’re telling me that God has a better plan for my life than I have for my life?

Yes.

You’re telling me that God might surprise me with His plan for my life?

Absolutely yes.

God’s not limited by our human expectations or dreams. He’s so much more. If we let Him work in our lives, He can and will exceed even our wildest dreams.

So no, I don’t know what I’m going to do with a Spanish degree. I know that I want to continue to follow God wherever he leads.

That might mean another major. Or grad school. Or teaching. Or moving across the world.

But as long as I serve Him, all else falls away.

Also, our message this Sunday at Northridge was over God the potter and us as the clay. Something our pastor said struck me.

“What should you do when life falls apart?

Let God remake you

As I type this, I’m reminded of one of my favorite songs. “Beautiful Things” by Gungor.

If you haven’t heard this song, take a listen and soak in the lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OR7VOKQ0xJY

“You make me knew. You are making me knew….You make beautiful things out of us”

God will refresh us. He will renew us.

God is enough.

He is all we need.

Hace un mes

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It’s been a month since I stepped on U.S. Soil after my Chilean Adventure. And it’s still an adjustment. Not really to the culture, but rather of my new self in an old, yet different environment.

“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.”
― Cindy Ross

A friend posted that quote on facebook, and I couldn’t help but think how true that statement is (replacing long-distance hiking with travel). My piece doesn’t fit where and how it used to. I don’t fit in the same space that I did before I left.

Therefore, I’m searching for where I belong in this new, changed reality.

Thank goodness our God is unchanging, never-wavering, always faithful, and always true. I can count on Him to be steadfast and true during this season of change.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

– Psalm 46:1 (NLT)

Thankfully, my relationship with Christ is continual and He will always be there for me in times of change and uncertainty.

However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss things from Chile.

I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss sunsets from the dunes. And living in Spanglish. I miss the hospitality and warmth of Chilean culture. I miss last minute plans that turn out to be the best evening of the month. My heart aches for the girls in the home. I miss sharing God’s unconditional love and joy in their lives. I miss the kisses. I miss the hugs. I miss the closeness I felt. I miss having Lisa down the hall. I miss the sense of adventure in the air. I miss the fire that we all had for living. The desire to go wherever, whenever, on a whim. Flexibility. Unscheduled life that just happened. Laughter late in the night. Sharing tears in joy and grief. I miss my Chilean adventure.

Chile will always hold a special place in my heart. A time of joy, change, flexibility, love, peace, and adventure.

As for now, I’m thankful for the adventure I had and ready for the next one.

Café o Té? The Best Cafés in Valparaíso, Chile

My perspective on Cafés in Chile

ISA Study Abroad Student Blog

Jean Rust is a student at Wichita State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jean is currently studying with Veritas Abroad in Valparaíso/Viña del Mar, Chile.

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I absolutely love cafés. Especially cute hole-in-the-wall locally owned cafés. Thank goodness there is no shortage of cafés in Chile. I’ve been to quite a few and wanted to share some of my favorites.

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The end of one adventure, the beginning of many more.

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I’m home. I’m sitting in my bedroom. In Kansas. Five thousand and some miles away from the place I called home these last four and a half months.

Returning home is a weird feeling. I had to say goodbye to some people that I have grown incredibly close to these past few months. They were my support system, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of the goodbyes were more like see-you-laters and some had more of a tone of finality.

But one thing is for certain: I’m back from Chile.

And I’m different.

Time changes people. God changes hearts. Experience changes perspective. Travel increases awareness. Study abroad changes lives.

I’m coming back different.

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I’m leaving Chile a different person than when I arrived. I’ve seen God work in my life and the lives of those around me. I’ve grown in my faith and in my relationship with Christ. I’ve met some of the most wonderful people. I’m sad to leave, but I’m also excited to see what God has in store for my life. I’m not sure where He is leading me or what He has in store, but I know that He has the best in mind. And I know I can trust Him. God has shown me that He can do wonderful things through His followers. He can do so much more than we can think or imagine.

Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

God’s been at work in my life and in the lives of those around me. He’s shaped me to work for His kingdom. The process hasn’t been all enjoyable. He had to weed out some bad habits and prune back my own desires. But what God has done in my life has all been in love. He’s been working to  shape me into a better follower, friend, and person. He’s shown me my weaknesses and my strengths. He makes all things work together for our good.

Romans 8:28 (NLT):

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

God’s changed me. He’s changed my heart. He’s changed my desires. He’s changed my life.

And now comes the hard part: adjusting to my ‘old’ life with the ‘new’ Jean. The culture shock returning home is harder than the culture shock of going to a new place. When you enter a new culture, almost everything is different, but you expect that. You know that you need to be flexible and open to differences. When you come back, the culture is familiar, but you are the different one. People expect the same person that left. But you have changed. You have grown. Sometimes in ways that you’re not even sure of.

So clashes happen.

People are confused.

You are confused.

But thankfully, God is a steadfast refuge:

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

– Psalm 46:1 (NLT)

He’s there in times of confusion, struggle, and conflict. But He’s also there to share our joy and happiness.

God is a steadfast companion.

And I know that I can lean on Him.

I’m ready to see what He has in store for me. He has something wonderful planned, and all I have to do is trust Him.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

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Noche de Alabanza (Worship Night)

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This post is a little late. On June 8, The Intercambio team from Union Cristiana hosted a praise night. I was given the incredible opportunity to sing with the English team. The rehearsals were a little rough. We were confused as to what they really wanted. Then, a week before, we had a meeting to understand the real purpose and the real idea behind this night.

It was to be a night to adore our Savior. Our Creator. Our redeemer. It was a night to flow in worship. To be free. To just happen.

We’d been trying too hard. We had taken our American idea and forced it into Chilean culture. And it wasn’t working. Definitely some cultural conflicts.

But we stopped trying. We stopped forcing. We let it happen. We let God be the center and lead us. And it was phenomenal.

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Here’s what I wrote the day following: “Wow. Last night was amazing. Just a time to stand in the presence of God and worship Him. Why don’t we do that more often?”

Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

“These verses still get me. God can do so much more than we can imagine and HE deserves the glory. …GOD DESERVES THE GLORY. He created us. He created this world. He is all powerful. He deserves the glory.”

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God deserves the glory. Now and forever. This night taught me so much more about worship and so much about who my identity in Christ. Worship isn’t something that is scheduled into a church service. It isn’t a hymn sung with perfect harmony. It isn’t a rock concert. It is adoring our creator. It is thanking Him for his blessings. It’s personal. It’s important.

Psalm 95:6 (NLT)

Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,

Glory to God.

 

I climbed a mountain!

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Well, almost.

Last Sunday (June 1) I went to La Campana, a mountain semi-close to Valpo and Viña along with 12 others.

And it was definitely an adventure.

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Let me just start by saying that I have never really truly gone on a hike, much less climbed a mountain. So this 7 hour hike up a steep watered down trail was a little above my level (understatement). But I powered through thanks to some friendly encouragement and some tough love.

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But I did it [more or less]! I made it to the mines. After the mines, there is about 1-2 more hours of hiking to get to the top. I was exhausted. And it was technically closed. So I just spent some time with the lovely Lisa and Maria.

We made a fox friend!

We made a fox friend!

It was definitely a beautiful place.

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After a bit, we met up with part of the group that had tried to make it to the top, but turned back at the rock wall. So Simone and Danielle and I headed down the road. We knew it would get dark soon and wanted to avoid the late night woods.

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And we walked. And walked. And walked some more. And then the sun started setting. And we kept on walking. At one point, we used the trail to cut off some time from the road. And we kept on the ‘trail’. But it was a different trail than before. We ended up getting a little lost in the forest. (Chilean trails are not well marked). But thanks to Danielle’s girl scout knowledge and the grace of God, we made it back on the road and made it to the entrance safe and sound.

Then we chowed down on the snacks Danielle still had and settled in to wait for the rest of the group. I’d brought my spanish bible to read when I got to the top (which didn’t happen, but still..) and popped it open to Psalms to read aloud and pass some time. I got to Psalm 1:6 and was a little astounded: “Pues el Señor cuida el sendero de los justos, pero la senda de los malos lleva a la destrucción.” (NTV) [For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction. (NLT)] Sendero means trail. I’d been praying that we would find the trail/road to lead us to safety while we were lost. God gave me a nice little reminder that He watches over our path. A good reminder that God is here for us.

New friends!

I love meeting new people. Especially when I’m familiar with the cultural context. And I got to do just that this past week!

The new Veritas girls and the other ISA summer students are here! I’m definitely really excited. I spent some time with them and some other students on Sunday. We went to church, some historical sites, watched the sunset at the dunes of Concon and ended the day on a good note: Bravissimo.

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I’m so exited to get to know everyone more and see the wonderful things God has brought us together to do.

Viña and Valpo didn’t give them the best welcome: it’s been pouring the past few days. Nothing like walking through flooded streets. It’s supposed to clear up tomorrow. I’m so exited to hopefully see some sunshine!