Adventure Update – Be Still and Know I am God

25-Oct-2012 – Edmonds’ Update

I have been struggling with what to write for this week’s update, which is definitely the reason that it is so late going out.  After last week and God breaking me down like He did, I wanted an epiphany, a direction, something dynamic to share.  Almost like I was saying “Ok God tell me what’s next.  You showed me this poverty, these least of these…no what.”  I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to lose sight of what breaks your heart.  But honestly there has been an eerie silence.  Have I not been listening?  Do I need to pray more, study more, fast more, listen more? Then God answers me, literally as I write this update

Psalm 46:10 “Be Still and know that I am God”

So in short, yes I still desire the things that break God’s heart but I think He has me waiting and being still and knowing that He is God.

Family Life….

This week has been fun / exhausting / challenging and rewarding.  The kids have been sick and last week even Amy and the kids got to check out Pediatric Associates here in Belize.  Madeline had a blast and Amy thought it was good, so it looks like we have a doctor in Belize now!  Note: Jojo is better; Madeline now has some sort of cold.

  • Madeline – is growing up too fast.  She says “mom and dad” now instead of “mommy and daddy”  I am working quickly to change that!  She loves puddles and crafts and coloring.  Man she is Amy’s little girl through and through!
  • Joseph – is trying to walk as much as he can.  He walks while holding onto one hand and can cruise pretty well.  His vocabulary is expanding, according to Amy.  Although I think he just grunts a lot more.
  • Amy – is working on “lesson plans” for Madeline.  She has the first week done and I believe by the time Madeline is 5 she will be doing Algebra and have the whole Torah memorized.  Not sure what I think about all of the things she has planned.
  • Josh – is working a lot this week and preparing for a couple of days out of town next week, as I begin to travel to the West and South of the country. Also, I have made a name for myself on the court…and I know what some of you are thinking…there has been no trash talking…well, not much that is!

This weekend should (weather-permitting) be a family fun day.  Madeline has filled up her “happy-heart” sticker chart, so we will be having a special daddy-daughter date of swimming, pizza, and ice-cream.  I can’t wait!

On the Work Front

This week I have been in and around the city with some PPM guests from out of the country.  This has been an exciting week to share what the family and I do down here in Belize with some and hear about PPM plans for the future.

Next week Burton and I are will be heading out West to meet with our pastors out there as we continue to develop community profiles for every community, every village, every church in Belize.  Please be praying for us and our families as this trip out West will require for us to be gone a couple of days.

Also, I am beginning to prepare for our last two teams of the year.  This is an exciting time for me and our family because now they get to be a part of the ministry that happens here in Belize when teams come down.  I am excited for the teams to meet Amy and for Amy to see how we lead our teams!

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  • Belize
    • Eustace –Continue to be lifting up his job situation and he and his wife.  This situation is causing stress to their marriage
    • Testimony/Ministry – Amy and I were talking about her potentially sharing her testimony at church in the next couple of weeks.  We feel it would be an encouragement to the women to share what they are struggling with.  Pray for Amy’s courage and for her sharing to open up opportunities for conversation.
    • Teams – we have a team in just less than a month.  Pray for open hearts in the Hattieville community and for openness among the team members.  Pray specifically for the team leader, Chris, as he is feeling the stress of leading a team.
    • Personal
      • Amy – Continue to be lifting up community for Amy.  Saturday night she had a great time hanging out Pastor Mark’s wife, Shari.  And Sunday we went to a church where Madeline and Jojo were NOT in service with us! Amy was able to talk with people there without watching after Madeline.
      • Amy – Continue to pray for opportunities for Amy to do ministry.  She just learned last night that our babysitter was an intern at the Youth Hostel.  Pray that this week Amy can get to the Youth Hostel and learn how she can start volunteering.
      • Mom – You all know that my mom’s mom passed away about a month ago.  Last week my mom’s aunt and uncle passed away as well.  My mom is having to take the responsibility to plan their services, start to settle the estate of Crazy Granny, etc.  Pray for strength and rest during this trying time.
      • Support Raising– We are seeking to get more monthly supporters, either on board now, or pledged to be a monthly financial partner next year.  We are praying to have 60% of our financial support come from monthly gifts by the end of next month.
        • If you are interested in giving please follow this link – https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=ZZVK8FYCJXTS2
        • If you cannot support now but want to pledge to be a monthly supporter next year, please email me directly at Joshua.m.edmonds@gmail.com.
        • Belize – Belize needs men.  We need men to be Christian examples in the church but really in the home.  Pray for explosive growth of men in the church.  Pray for men to realize they are broken without Christ.  Pray for wisdom for the local church to reach men in ways they are not doing right now.

Sorry for things not so profound in this week’s update.  Or at least not as emotional as last week.  I will continue to be patient (not a fan of this!), and still and know that He is Lord.  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.  They are appreciated.  I can’t wait to share with you what God does next week!

 

Because They Haven’t Heard,

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Adventure Update 10-16-2012

Note: Today was eye-opening / hard / moving / convicting.  The update this week will be about today and that.  Quick update on things at home

  • We are still looking, searching for solid community for Amy – continue to lift that up.  We have some ideas and a solid plan.  Pray that God brings people in our life for that!
  • Madeline LOVES books, puddles, running in that order.  She is so fun right now.
  • Joseph  LOVES Madeline, pasta, and trying to walk in that order.  Starting to get very expressive and even say “words” (which are really the same sounds to mean the same things).

How is God Teaching Me?

I have found that typing is a great way for me to stay focused (most of you all know that I communicate the best through written word anyway.  Here is part of my prayer this morning…

“Nothing is impossible for you…nothing is impossible.  Nothing is impossible for you.  You hold my world in your hands”  Lord you do hold my world.  Daddy, I want to worship you more. Give me a heart for what breaks yours.”

So today as Burton (co-worker) and I were riding around together, he had to drop some keys at this woman’s house in the city so her neice could pick them up and go clean a house for work.  So Burt and I are driving and we head off the main boulevard and get into an area and my jaw drops.  I can’t describe the scene but it was scrap houses basically built with whatever was lying around (some metal, some cardboard, some rotten plywood, some paintings, some sheets.  I know that I have seen stuff like this in Belize before in areas like Rootsville.  I have seen poverty.  It wasn’t really the poverty that struck me it was the people.

  • Miss Dawn Well, we got to this woman’s “house” which was literally leaning more than about 23-degrees to one side.  We walked across stones that were “anchored” in the mud.  We see Miss Dawn and interrupt her laundry time as she hanging her laundry on the extension cord that brought current into her house.  She was modest and humble and respectful.  And for a few seconds she didn’t know why we were there.  She got this big smile on her face when we first pulled up.  After talking with her for a minute, she said she thought she had won a new house and her heart was racing.  It was a crushing blow when I watched her face as Burton told her that she had not in fact won a house.  We left her the keys and drove away as she got back to laundry, getting ready to head into her “home.”

I drove because well I always drive (mainly to learn my way around) and as we left Burton and I both look around at the area and say “these can’t be houses.”  Houses much too small, much too poorly constructed, much too dangerous to live in…but they were.  I still couldn’t get past that one moment of hope Miss Dawn had in her eye and then the defeat she had when she learned today wasn’t “her day of rescue”

  • Blood: After a bit of a drive around the city, I literally parked the car and said take me to the worst places you can think of in the Belize City. My statement was “I want / need to see the least of these and go into places where you (Burton) feel uncomfortable.”  SO we drive and as we are driving through the first area I notice everyone and I mean everyone is wearing RED.  Hmmm….I think.  Burt leans over “this is a blood territory” Bloods…they need Jesus. Are we reaching them?  Belize has topped 100 murders this year in September.  It ranks 5th in the world in most murders per capita.  These bloods that I saw today were kids without hope.  They literally are looking into the barrel of gun or a machete chop in 5 years that will kill them.  Instead of taking blood from each other…they need blood…Christ’s blood.  What can wash away their sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  These kids need to feel love.  Are we reaching them?

We drove to the Port area all the while Burt is showing me areas that are just like Miss Dawns.  I am thinking to myself, how can we get these people some hope…reduce their fear.  In one neighborhood, all the glass was stolen out of the police building.  Desperation is what you could see all around.

  • Child – So we leave Port Loyola and drive across the Blvd again and enter Jane Usher area.  As we are driving through, I see a girl no older than Madeline come out of her “house”.  She stepped right off her front step, pulled down her underwear and used the bathroom no more than 18 inches from her house.  My first thought wasn’t that’s gross….it was and is…how do we do something. I mean no latrine, no nothing…a little girl….Madeline.  Hope is what people need.

I don’t know why it hit me today.  Like I said I have seen this before some places in Belize.  But then I was a visitor, a mission trip participant.  Now these are my people, my countrymen and countrywomen.  These are people God holds dear.  I don’t know. Maybe God did give me eyes for what breaks his heart today.

I won’t rest easy.  I don’t know what I can do.  I can find out more and start praying for wisdom in how to bring hope.  Join me in this prayer.  Pray for Miss Dawn, pray for the bloods, pray for the child.  Pray for the areas of Belize City (Rootsville, Belama Phase IV, Port Loyola, Jane Usher).  Pray for Hope. Pray that Praying Pelican Missions along with a local pastor can begin to restore hope to all of these areas.  Pray for me as I wrestle through this.  I am hurt right now.

Note: A more comprehensive update than this on what we are doing update may follow later this week…but for now wanted to share how God is moving.  And sorry no pictures of these areas.  I didn’t feel like I could share the “need” without being insulting and leering to the people who are already beaten down enough.

Thank you Jesus for breaking my heart for what breaks yours.  I know you hold these areas this country these people in your hand. I know you are in control.

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  • Eustace –Continue to be lifting up his job situation and he and his wife.  This situation is causing stress to their marriage
  • Pastor Ed – Praise: there were 46 churches and over 100 teachers at his training.  It was so incredible!
  • Pastor Pop – Update – some have decided to donate from the states to help Pastor get his eye surgery.  In conjunction with a local church in Belize, we should be able to meet this need by the end of this month.
  • Women’s Conference – The conference was good but did not lead to the breakthrough in friendships that Amy and I were hoping for.  Continue to pray us through finding community, especially for Amy.
  • Testimony/Ministry – Amy and I were talking about her potentially sharing her testimony at church in the next couple of weeks.  We feel it would be an encouragement to the women to share what they are struggling with.  Pray for Amy’s courage and for her sharing to open up opportunities for conversation.

Thank you for your continued notes of encouragement and love.  I want to encourage you to seek the Lord and ask boldly for Him to break your heart for what breaks yours.  And then be ready because your heart may just be broken.

 

Because They Haven’t Heard,

Amy, Madeline, Joseph, and Josh

Update 10 – 10 – 12

Greetings!  It’s Wednesday evening here in Belize and as I listen to the frogs and bugs talk outside and look at the Gecko (not geico) on the wall in the living room I am reminded again that I just love this country.  We are so blessed to be here.  We have had a very full week this past week.

On the work front….

I have had the incredible opportunity to meet with pastors for the last two or so weeks.  The pastors and I sit down and they share their heart for ministry, their testimonies, and what they feel are the challenges for the Belize church and the needs of their local community.  I then get to talk to them to learn how a Praying Pelican Missions team can serve them and encourage them in the ministry that they already do.  Two quick stories:

  1.  Invitation –  I was sitting down with Pastor Gillet in Belize City and he was sharing about the largest problem in his mind is the lack of men in the church because of their perception that soft men go to church.  He said to combat that he started having a breakfast for men once a month in the city where working guys get together, shoot the breeze, and then someone shares a brief testimony.  Pastor Gillet extended an invitation to me and asked if I would share my testimony.  So last Saturday I was able to sit down with about 15 men, many of whom don’t go to church and think that God cannot redeem them from a life of alcohol or sin.  I was able to share my testimony of my own redemption through God’s grace and then answered all their questions (and boy where there a lot of questions).  What a blessing it was to encourage the pastor in this ministry and have the audience with these men!
  2. Sharing – I sat yesterday with a man of God, Pastor Magna.  I asked him to share his life story and at the end of it, Burton, a coworker of mine who knows Pastor Magna really well said “Pastor I have never heard that story before.”  I was blown away that Pastor Magna felt comfortable, safe, and secure enough to share the intimate details of his personal testimony with me and Burt.  Praise God for these opportunities!

On the home front….

We had a great week!  Amy made her first batch of stew chicken which was excellent!  I can’t wait to try it again!  Also, just tonight she made homemade icecream!   She is full of fun ideas for Madeline and Joseph.  This past weekend we had a full calendar.

  • Thursday night – Pastor Mark and his family came over for Amy’s chicken and dumplings.  It was soooo great to have people over at our house and fellowship with friends. We look forward to many more nights like that!
  •  Friday Night – We had a date night in the city AWAY FROM THE KIDS!  Our sweet friend Jenecia babysat and we went for burgers and ice cream
  • Saturday – was a slow rest day and we watched college football.

This next weekend is full too.  Amy has a women’s night on Friday night.  Saturday she is going to a Baptist Women’s conference for all the Baptist churches in Belize. And Sunday I am going to be teaching a portion of Pastor Ed’s Children’s Ministry Teacher’s training.  Hopefully, Friday too we will take Amy over to the youth hostel to talk about volunteer / ministry opportunities once / month!  We can’t wait to share with you all about our weekend.

 

How God is teaching us?

It really seems that I am doing a lot of study on prayer right now.  I am reading another book from Pastor Bradham (Red Moon Rising) about a 24/7 prayer movement.  People all around the world in prayer rooms all around the world are praying 24/7 365.  This model was loosely based off of the Moravians who prayed for 100 years nonstop!  I have taken this challenge / conviction on prayer quite seriously and I am working to up to praying nonstop without interruptions or distractions for 1 hour every day for a year.  Just yesterday and today I prayed both days for 30 minutes straight.

Quick Math Lesson

  • 1 hour / day X 365 days / year = 365 hours
  • 365 hours divided by 24 hours/day = 15 days or 2 WEEKS!

We are expecting God to move but we don’t spend enough time talking to Him about it.  We expect answers but we are not petitioning.  Even our church services are skewed toward music and preaching when there are more references to prayer in the Bible than there are about music.  Jesus himself taught on prayer not on praise and worship styles!

Stats Average American spends

  • A minimum of 16 minutes on Facebook daily
  • About 3 hours on average in front of the TV per day

Challenge – take a half hour from watching TV and facebook time for a week and spend those 46 minutes in prayer this week (note 46 minutes x 7 days a week = 5.3 hours in prayer!).  See if he doesn’t transform your heart, mind, and life. Pray without ceasing and the Lord will draw near to you.  As you pray, please share stories of how you are growing closer to the Lord and seeing him break down walls you thought were not possible and reveal himself to you in ways you only dreamed.

 

Praises and Prayer Requests:

AND…If you think to yourself well I don’t have anything to pray for, I wanted to provide you with our prayer requests for the week  Only Belize prayer requests this week.

  • Eustace –Praise: they had their second granddaughter this past weekend. Eustace is one happy man right now!  Continue to be lifting up his job situation.
  • Pastor Ed – teacher’s training is this Sunday.  He has 94 teachers registered, representing 40 churches.  Please be lifting up the details for Pastor Ed and his team!
  • Nurse Lupe – I met with her on Monday.  She shared with me that her son was murdered in June of this year and she is still grieving.
  • Pastor Magna – He lost his mother three weeks ago after a third severe stroke.  Pray for him and his family as they grieve through that as well.
  • Pastor Pop – I just sat down with him today.  He is going blind due to an eye condition.  He cannot work anymore and he and his family live off of <$100USD / month.  He needs 300 USD for an eye operation to save his sight.  Pray for the Lord to provide these funds for him to receive this life changing treatment so he can work again.
  • Men – Men simply don’t come to church.  They think church is for the week.  Pastors are trying to change this mindset.  Pray for a shift in mindset for these men.  Pray for healing in the homes.  Pray for men to honor their wives and not spend the nights out with other women.  Pray for people to realize you don’t go to church when you have given up your life; you go to church to receive life to it’s fullest
  •  Pastor Mark – He has been asked to lead the Belize Baptist Association’s effort to reach men in Belize.  He is weighing that assignment and request.  Pray for wisdom as he makes his decision on accepting this position.
  • Women’s Conference – Pray for this to be an opportunity for the women who hold up many of the churches to be encouraged.  Pray for Amy specifically that she would be able to find community amongst these women of the Lord and find people who she can be in accountability with.

 

Other highlights of the week for the kids…because I couldn’t NOT write these:

  • Madeline’s best friend is Jesus…she tells us that often
  • Jojo is officially cruising around on furniture
  •  Jojo is saying “ball, dada, mama, uh-oh, and thank you”

Thank you for your continued notes of encouragement and love.  Please share stories from your prayer times this week.  Check my facebook and twitter as I keep y’all posted on my prayers!  Draw near to the Lord and he will draw near to you!

Because They Haven’t Heard,

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Update 10/3/2012

Sorry it’s been too long since the last update.  For those of you who may not know, I had to travel back to my mom and dad’s this past week due to the death of my Crazy Granny.  A quick note on Crazy Granny: My grandmother was an extraordinary lady who loved the Lord, loved her family, and really loved having fun.  The services this week were a great tribute to her and celebration of her life.

So with traveling back to the states that meant that Amy had to hold down the fort in Belize with the kids while I was gone!  Every single day I am amazed by how flexible, caring, loving, and all together awesome Amy is.  She just took this week as an opportunity to figure out Belize on her own.  And she did a great job too!

On the work front….

I have been riding around with a good friend of mine Burton as we meet with the pastors of Belize.  We sit down with them and hear their heart, the problems of their community and their vision for how they feel God has called them and equipped them and their church to address those problems.  The best part is when I get to share with them that Burton and I are servants and advocate for them.  We then sit down and discuss how Praying Pelican Missions can serve their church through a short-term mission team.  I literally was sitting down with Pastor Gordon (a great man of God) when the Lord reminded me, “Josh this is work!”  How blessed I am to be doing what I am doing for work!  Unbelievably blessed and humbled.

On the home front….

Well for me it was a hard week.  I was at my parents’ house, away from the kids, and sick for three of the days I was there!  But the rest I was able to get was good, and the time with my mom and dad was fun.  In Belize, I hear there was a lot of play time, Jojo learned how to blow a kiss, and everyone went to a fun day at King’s Park Nazarene Church on Saturday.  I am sure…although I haven’t verified that there were many crafts and probably a batch or two of homemade tortillas!

How God is teaching us?

Amy and I attended in Revo Church in Winston-Salem this summer.  One of the highlights of being at my parent’s house was being able to attend Revo church this past Sunday.  The message was that Jesus is….unorthodox in who he hangs out with.  I am sure you all can attest that at some point in your life your parents told you “oooo, you shouldn’t hang out with those people.” Jesus’ parents may not have given him that advice but we can be sure the Pharisees and Sadducees told Jesus on multiple occasions…why are you hanging with them / him?  One such story I got a lot from this Sunday was from Mark 2.

Jesus met Levi, a tax-collect or in other words scum of the Earth.  And Jesus did the radical.  He asked Levi to follow him.  Levi left everything and went to his friends (prostitutes, tax collectors, sinners…basically a who’s who of people who were way way far from God).  Levi told his friends all about Jesus and said “Hey I am going to have a party….y’all come and I’ll bring my new homie Jesus.”

Well the sinners show up and the crazy thing is Jesus didn’t clutch his cloak a little bit tighter because there were thieves in the room.  He didn’t talk about how the prostitutes were dressed to Peter or John.  He didn’t even mention  the unjust taxes or shame those who were involved in adulterous relationships.  Instead of all of that….Jesus kicked back and relaxed.

Mark 2:15 “And as he reclined at the table, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with him”

Here are the things that Pastor Nathan brought out of this story at Revo Church that I really latched onto.

  1. Lost people loved hanging out with Jesus – If lost people don’t like hanging out with you then it probably means you aren’t acting like Jesus.  This week instead of shaming how about supporting the sinners in our lives. Shower with love instead of condemnation.  Recline and eat with someone far from Jesus this week.
  2. Jesus’s response to the Pharisees who were judging him was simple
    1. Mark 2:17 “Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick.  I came not to call the righteous but sinners

Doctors do 2 things.  They 1) diagnose the problem and then 2) prescribe the solution.  Jesus had to get away from the righteous to hear the problem of the sick!

My prayer this week is that The Church (the people) and the church (buildings) realize that we are not designed or destined to be a hotel for the holy but a hospital for the sick.

So how is Jesus teaching me this week?  I am looking at our life and seeing that our family does not do enough hanging out with sinners.  We need to recline at the table with them, to hear the problem, diagnose the problem and then and only then after relationships and love can we prescribe the solutuion.  Who are you reclining with?

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  • Belize
    • Eustace – Continue to pray for Eustace.  He interviewed for one job but didn’t get it.  Pray for Eustace to get a job that would allow him to continue attending Bible college.
    • Pastor Ed – is holding a teachers conference in October. We are praying for 50 churches to be represented and 150 teachers. Continue to pray for me as I prepare the information for the teachers training
    • Hattieville Baptist Church – I preached two Sundays ago.  I thought it was good but man was it short.  Continue to pray for us to build community in that church.  Pastor and his family are coming over tomorrow for dinner!
    • Broken Homes – It seems every pastor I talk to when asked what is the biggest need in the home, they say all the homes are broken. Pray for healing in the homes.  Pray for men to me of character and not adulterous.  The adultery is literally terrorizing families!
    • Work – Feeling a little under qualified and overwhelmed this week.  Pray as I work through this relying on the fact that God is with me and He is overqualified and underwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do.  He made the Earth!  Silly me!
    • Personal
      • For accountability partners in Belize – Continue to be lifting this up as Amy and I are searching for people we can have honest conversations with about how we are doing with everything on a weekly basis.  Pray for wisdom as we meet people and start to seek those partnerships
      • Lost People – Amy and I are talking about ministry opportunities for each of us with people who are far from God and who are the tax collectors and sinners.  Pray for discipline and patience as we work to build these relationships (Amy at Youth Hostel, still looking for an opportunity for me)
      • Support Raising– We are seeking to get more monthly supporters, either on board now, or pledged to be a monthly financial partner next year.  We are praying to have 60% of our financial support come from monthly gifts by the end of next month.
  • Family back home – Thank you for praying for Crazy Granny.  She passed peacefully a little over a week ago. Pray for my mom and her brother as they start to go through settling the Estate and start to get back to “normal” life after a year of dealing with an ailing parent.

Thank you for your continued notes of encouragement and love.  Amy and I read and cherish each one.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by such a great support network!  We love you all!

 

Because They Haven’t Heard,

Amy, Madeline, Joseph, and Josh

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