Your will on earth as it is in heaven?

I noticed that a lot of co-workers were posting many things on their super-duper nice blogs.  All of them are more insightful than me and many of the posts evoked more emotion than mine.  And then I remembered it’s time for me to write another post!  We had an exciting week or so and I so look forward to sharing it with you.

Before I get started our family is fighting a WAR with sand flies (noseums sp?) right now.  We each are nursing no less than 50 bites a piece so before reading any farther, stop for a moment and pray for this plague to stop!  Seriously……

 

Waiting….

 

Did you do it?……

 

Thanks!  Now I am must go scourge myself with steel wool!

Anyway onto the good stuff….

Madeline’s School – March is “child stimulation month” here in Belize and Madeline’s preschool got an early start by going to the Belize zoo!  Madeline had a GREAT time!  They say Macaws, Toucans, Jaguars, and the Tapir (Belize national animal).  At the Tapir cage, there was a warning sign not to get too close….Madeline found out why when the Tapir  turned around and peed all over them!  Madeline was “soaked head to toe” according to her!  Go ahead and laugh!  I sure did when Amy told me!

Also at school there was a birthday party for Madeline’s best friend, Destiny.  Amy said at the party there were a bounce house, lunch, snacks, and candy.  I have heard all about Destiny’s party ever since.  Madeline is currently planning all the activities at her own party.

Speaking – Since writing last, I have had the opportunity to share again at Madeline’s school.  Today we talked about David and Goliath and I taught them Baby Shark and Brown Squirrel.  For everyone reading, I pray that you are able to discern how the Lord has gifted you and you have the opportunity to serve in that arena.  There is NOTHING like serving in the way God has gifted you!  Also, I have been taking over teaching duties for Pastor Mark while he is out with work for the next two weeks.  Please continue to lift me up as I lead Bible study this Wednesday.

Least of These – The Bible says that we should love and care for the least of these.  This past week the team I had the awesome opportunity to served boldly the least of these at Dorothy Menzies Orphanage.  For two days the team poured out God’s love on these children and it showed.   Now I have taken several teams to the very same orphanage and ministered to the very same kids.  Every time I left feeling sad that we haven’t done enough.

Anyway, we are leaving after the second day with these orphans and as we are leaving the team is crying (which is normal).  But I look around and the kids at the orphanage are sobbing.  I am talking about HUGE snot bubble sobs….the kind that I had when my high school girlfriend broke up with me.  I have never seen that before.  This team that partnered with the orphanage through Praying Pelican Missions had such an impact on these children in two days that they were moved to tears!  I left there this time feeling that our team gave all they had and Jesus did the rest.  That’s what serving the least of these is about!  Giving all we have and having Jesus do the rest!  Praise God for that opportunity.

There is way more going on here that could fill up another couple of scrolls down the screen (was going to say pages but that sounds so outdated!) but I will save that for another time!  We are always in flux and always seeking, searching, enjoying, laughing, loving, working, and relaxing.  Right now we are warring with the flies!

How God is Teaching Me? – Your Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven!

Our Father who are in Heaven, hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven….” Matthew 6:9-10

The start to the Lord’s Prayer…but what does it mean for God’s kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth like it is in Heaven?  And what is the Church’s role in this?  What is the Christian’s role in this?  What is my role in this?  Last Tuesday (after watching Bachelor Sean tells all and reading Reality Steve’s spoilers) I wrestled with this question after reading something in Surprised by Hope.

Really the question is “What is God’s will?” Is it that I live in this terrible place called Earth for some finite time and as long as I make Jesus my Lord I live eternally with him somewhere else other than this horrible earth?

OR

Is it that God designed this Earth and when he did it was good?  We (Adam and Eve) messed it up when we sinned and God’s whole story is about redeeming Earth and restoring it to the “and it was very good” state of creation.  The author of Surprised by Hope wrote “God has brought his future, his putting-the-world-to-rights future, into the present in Jesus of Nazareth, and he wants the future to be implicated more and more in the present:”

All that is to say I believe that the time for God’s will of restoring this earth that he made, this body that he made, this life that he made to it’s future form starts now.  I believe that God’s will is not going to be fully finished until Jesus comes back.

But with that belief it means we have responsibility now….

The author presents two camps that I am sure we all fall into one or other….

Camp 1 – “If Jesus is the true main revolutionary then the single main task of Christians is to build the kingdom here on earth through social, political, and cultural revolution”  The question that I would pose to this is who is in control.  Do we think that with more programs, improvements, better conditions, longer lives that the Earth is better?  What about places (even in the developed world) where Hunger, homelessness, or worse yet human trafficking still exist? Jesus is the only one who can truly finish the good work!

Camp 2 – “The real business of the gospel is saving souls for the future world”  Well that’s great and true…but what about the hungry man I just met?  Or the kid from a broken home?  This camp abandons this Earth for the future world of which God has not made yet.

The question is which camp do you lean more towards?  The reality is we need to be in the middle.  Social gospel / justice cannot do it all…that’s why we have a Lord, his name is Jesus and He desires (as we discussed last time Greater for our lives). Also, we can’t abandon developing programs / structures / improvements for those who are hurting….the Bible speaks clearly on that subject in 1 John 3:17-18.

Praise God for a God that is Lord over this Earth.  Praise God for a Lord that will establish His Will and His Kingdom on Earth and He did once before in Creation.  And Praise God for the preparation that we get to be a part of for this short while!  I am so blessed to work with an organization dedicated to doing both parts to bring God’s Will from Heaven to Earth!  I pray that this week you all wrestle with what side of the argument you fall on and begin to ask yourself what is God’s will for Earth?

Prayer Requests – Belize

  • Trips – I have a trip coming up on Friday to La Democracia.  When I asked the Group Leader what he/she desired for the trip, he/she said for some of the participants to meet Jesus.  He/she explained that some of them are coming because it is a requirement.  Pray for salvation next week on the team!  Pray for me as I try and lead these participants into a relationship with the Lord!
  • Expanding the kingdom – There is some moving and shaking in several parts of the country as things begin to line up for churches to get new buildings or larger buildings because they are too small.  I am talking about strategic things.  BIG things!  Please pray for doors to open!  Pray for generosity and pray for the boldness for our Belizean pastors to step through those doors when they open!
  • Young People –Same prayer request…continue to pray!  I am learning names of the guys on the court now so hopefully that will open a door for some conversations! Many young people struggle with alcohol and drugs.  Please pray for the teens (specifically males) to be released from this bondage.  Pray that they are able to kick the addiction and seek the help they need.  Pray instead of alcohol / drugs, youth pursue Christ.  Please continue to lift this up.  I noticed Thursday at the bball court that 100% of the youth there were either drinking, smoking up, or both.

Personal Prayer Requests

  • Amy – Continue to pray for rest and energy and comfort in sleeping as restless nights have started!  Ultrasound to find out what we are having is March 18th.  Any guesses?
  • Hostel – Pray that relationships continue to grow for Amy at the Hostel.  Pray that she is able to help them learn to read but also show these children her love for them and God’s love!
  • Sand Flies – seriously pray for this plague to leave our house!  It is terrible!!!
  • Support Raising – We are raising support for the 2013 – 2014 timeframe.  Praise God we have surpassed our Feb. goal!  We are at 58% pledged! God is too good!  Seriously, we are blown away about how generous our God is!  Now we are praying to exceed our March goal of 75%!  Pray for us to meet and exceed it!
    • If you are interested in contributing financially to our support in Belize.  Please visit http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate, scroll to find Josh and Amy Edmonds and follow the directions from there.  No gift is too small or insignificant!

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for loving.  I pray God’s blessing of all of you, and I pray that the Lord continues to reveal Greater things for your life.  I pray that this week you discern what it means for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven and then you find out what part you are going to play!

Because they haven’t heard,

taking in the action

love this kid!

love this kid!

Madeline and her friends at the zoo

Madeline and her friends at the zoo

painting faces at the block party

painting faces at the block party

one of the kids at the block party in Hattieville

one of the kids at the block party in Hattieville

Greater Things?

It’s a great day in Belize.  This past week has been full of so many blessings both personally and through work.  Amy and I wanted to share these with y’all!

Personally….

  • Amy had a doctor’s appointment Monday and was able to hear the heartbeat again (first time since the ultrasound in middle December).  The doctor also said she was more like 19 weeks instead of 17 weeks.  So it seems like the due date is between 09-Jul and 21-Jul.   Also, we have an ultrasound in 3 weeks to find out what we are having!
  • Madeline is really enjoying school.  She comes home every day and tells us all about what songs they sang and what letters they learned about.  Today she is off to the Belize zoo with her class and tomorrow she is going to her first birthday party in Belize!
  • Devotion at School – Monday I had the opportunity to share the devotion at the Mennonite primary school. We sang songs and I shared about “honor your mother and father” / Ephesians 6:1.  It was a lot of fun and something I plan to do regularly, when not leading trips.
  • Basketball – I have enjoyed playing ball at both Bird’s Isle at 4AM (yes you read that correctly) and on the court here in Hattieville.  The dudes in Hattieville call me Dirk (after Dirk Novitski) and I was crushing them last Thursday! All I do is win win win no matter what…..
  • Teaching at the Hostel is going really well for Amy.  She is enjoying hanging out with the kids and teaching.  She is also starting to form close relationships with the kids and staff at the Hostel too!
  • Preaching – I had the opportunity to share a word with the Methodist church here in Hattieville.  It was an honor to be part of a vibrant church pouring their hearts out in worship.  I tried to encourage them that the Lord desires greater for their life but they may need to in times “dig a ditch” as Pastor Furtick would say.
  • Blessings in the village – I received a note from a former colleague at Wyeth and this individual desires to build a playground in Hattieville.  As you may recall the current playground for the children of the village is nothing more than old tires half-way buried in the ground and bleachers to climb on.  With this donation, we are looking to build a swing set with 4 – 6 swings for kids of various ages / sizes.  I can’t wait to share pictures with you all through the construction process.
  • Food for single mothers – I also received a note from a past participant on a Praying Pelican Mission trip who desires to donate money to meet the growing hunger need for single mothers and their children .  Many single mothers live on minimum wage (1.30USD/hour) nearly impossible to feed their family on.  The gift of this participant may provide food for 30+ single mothers for 2 – 3 weeks.  What a blessing it is to work with the local pastors to identify these mothers and bless them!

How God is Teaching Me? – Greater!

When I run, I listen to podcasts. Most of y’all know that I have a huge man crush on Perry Noble and New Spring Church. Well I was talking to my good friend Tony and he mentioned that I give the “Greater” sermon series by Pastor Furtick from Elevation church a whirl.  Since then I have listened to each of the four sermons in the series two or three times and am getting ready to purchase Pastor Furtick’s book of the same title, Greater.

The concept is drawn from John 14:12

“Truly, Truly I say to you whoever believes in me, will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

That struck me when I hear it…do the works that I do.  The same Jesus that walked on water; the same Jesus that cast out demons, healed, resurrected the dead, ministered to thousands.  I wont get into the argument of what was He really saying / meaning. Here’s a thought and the thought I have wrestled with for the last few weeks….what if Jesus really meant that I can do greater things because He is going to the Father on my behalf.  What is greater for my life?  What does it look like?

I wont continue to give you a recap of the sermons or the book.  Instead take 4 hours out of your week.  From now until next Wednesday, you have a total of 168 hours. Take 4 of those and listen to the sermons.  Pray through this week, “what if God really wants a GREATER life for me?”  What does GREATER mean in my life?”

This concept is continuing to change my life and has been the most challenging sermon series I have listened to in years.  I pray that it has the same impact on you all.  For more information on the book or links to the sermons go here. http://greaterbook.com/freeresources.

Prayer Requests – Belize

  • Trips – We have two trips going on right!  Pray for Burton who is leading a family out in the West of Belize.  They are doing some dental screenings and exhortation of youth and pastors!  Pray for me as we welcome a team to ministry to Ladyville Evangelical Primary School and Hattieville Baptist Church. Pray for both teams to be in tune with the will of God and respond to His prompting instead of our own agenda.
  • Sister Dyer’s services were great last week.  It was awesome to see the support and love she had from the ENTIRE village.  It even spawned a conversation about church for me with some of the guys on the court here in Hattieville this past Thursday!.
  • Young People – Many young people struggle with alcohol and drugs.  Please pray for the teens (specifically males) to be released from this bondage.  Pray that they are able to kick the addiction and seek the help they need.  Pray instead of alcohol / drugs, youth pursue Christ.  Please continue to lift this up.  I noticed Thursday at the bball court that 100% of the youth there were either drinking, smoking up, or both.

Personal Prayer Requests

  • Amy – Check-up went great!  Baby is healthy and active!  Pray for rest and energy and comfort in sleeping as restless nights have started!
  • Sickness in our family has passed!  Everyone is healthy and happy!  Praise God!
  • Hostel – Pray that relationships continue to grow for Amy at the Hostel.  Pray that she is able to help them learn to read but also show these children her love for them and God’s love!
  • Support Raising – We are raising support for the 2013 – 2014 timeframe.  Pray for us as we develop our plan and contact our potential financial partners.  Praise God we are at 47% of our financial support pledged or raised.  We are praying to have 50% of our support pledged by the end of Feb!  Please pray for open hearts and generosity.  Also, pray what the Lord would have you do to contribute financially to our ministry in Belize.  We are 3% away from our Feb. goal. Pray for us to meet and exceed it!
    • If you are interested in contributing financially to our support in Belize.  Please visit http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate, scroll to find Josh and Amy Edmonds and follow the directions from there.  No gift is too small or insignificant!

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for loving.  Thank you for taking the time this week to prayerfully consider what Greater means for your life!  I pray God’s blessing of all of you, and I pray that the Lord reveals to you Greater things for your life!

Because they haven’t heard,

Madeline in her Tangled/Police outfit!

Madeline in her Tangled/Police outfit!

I love my silly wife!

I love my silly wife!

Our kids LOVE playing in puddles!

Our kids LOVE playing in puddles!

Fell face-first into his food

Fell face-first into his food

learning to ride a bike from big sister

learning to ride a bike from big sister

Jojo outside

Foot washing

Foot washing

trying to ride M's bike.

trying to ride M’s bike.

Engaged?

Wow…it’s been way way too long.  Typical statement of routine blogger.  But for me it has been way too long.  A lot has happened.  Two weeks ago we were preparing for trips coming to Belmopan and Orangewalk and then last week I was leading the trip in Orangewalk Belize.

On the trip….

The trip was awesome!  The team has been returning to Belize since 2008 and has extremely close relationships with the local Belizean church.  The trip was full of many highlights.  We completed a foundation and painted a house for one family, built two roofs, held a dental clinic at a local school, vacation bible school, and the most powerful prayer ministry I have ever been a part of.  The one highlight for me was sitting in a men’s bible study on Tuesday night and listening to all these Belizean men weeping as they were calling for prayer and praying over others.  Belize men weeping!  I was blown away.  I then heard as the local pastor shared that the group leader in 2008 encouraged him to start a men’s bible study.  He started in 2008 with his family and now more than 30 men meet every week!  Praise God for men coming to know the Lord in Belize.  It was a true blessing for me to serve this team and facilitate the continuing of this relationship!

At Home…

Amy continues to teach the kids at the hostel.  Madeline continues to be Madeline (which is an endless ball of energy and love).  Jojo is still Jojo and loves animal noises (making and hearing them), and pointing to his diaper when he poops and trying to say “stinky.”  Amy is about 16 weeks pregnant (I think) and her belly is growing steadily!  We are excited in the next month to see if we are having a boy or girl.  We have bought tickets to come back to NC in mid-May, so write Amy to get on our schedule for the week!

How God is Teaching Me? – Engaged!

So I was on Facebook the other day and saw that two people that went to Starting Point Church got engaged!  Congratulations to them if they are reading this update!! Anyway, then I read this statement about being engaged.

“Watching Ryan lose himself in love reminded me that being ‘engaged’ isn’t just an event that happens when a guy gets on one knee and puts a ring on his true love’s finger.  Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving.  It’s about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope life offers us, a hope tha

t makes us brave and expels darkness with light.  That’s what I want my life to be all about — full of abandon, whimsy, and in love.  I want to be engaged to life and with life.” – Love Does by Bob Goff

I was watching the video of these two people getting engaged and thought about all the details he must have gone through (he proposed at the school he teaches at talent show).  He left no detail to chance.  He worked with every ounce of his brain to make sure the night was perfect just the way he thought she would love.  Great effort.  He was engaged in the night / event to make sure he was engaged.

I thought about when I proposed to Amy.  How I made sure every detail was perfect.  How I was pouring with sweat out of nerves or out of care.  I was ready to show Amy in one event the extent of my amazing love for her….

That’s the love that our Creator has for us.  Each detail of the earth, each talent gift that we have….all of it was a bridegroom giving these things to his bride.  We are his beloved.  God loves us more than we love our kids, more than we love our parents, wives, husbands, even more than we love ourselves.  Because of his great love for us, because God is engaged in loving us…we should love others.

Engagements are events for most of us.  One time affairs….a moment in time.  But what if we lived a life engaged, invested in loving others.  What if we took every moment, every detail of our lives and focused on loving the people when come into contact with.  What if we looked instead at love as “love is” but as “love does?”

Prayer Requests – Belize

  • Praise – We had two great trips just finish up.  One team served in Belmopan and the other in Orangewalk.  Pray for those teams as they head home and pray for those communities to continue to live in the encouragement that the teams provided.
  • Death in the family at Hattieville Baptist Church – the “mother of the church” passed away this past week.  Pray for her children and the rest of our church family as we mourn the loss of Sister Dye and celebrate her life.
  • Trips / Work – Next trip starts this weekend.  This is a potential longer term partner, specifically in the medical field.  Pray for his eyes to be open to the need and potential of doing medical ministry here in Belize.
  • Young People – Many young people struggle with alcohol and drugs.  Please pray for the teens (specifically males) to be released from this bondage.  Pray that they are able to kick the addiction and seek the help they need.  Pray instead of alcohol / drugs, youth pursue Christ.

Personal Prayer Requests

  • Amy – Continue for her to feel well (nausea has passed).  Pray for health and safety of the baby and for a healthy checkup next week.
  • Sickness in family – Madeline, Joseph and I are battling a cough of some sort.  Please pray for our immediate healing.
  • Love Does – Pray for me as I look for opportunities to have our family pour out our love to the community through service.  Pray that my family has an attitude of Love does instead of love is.
  • Support Raising – We are raising support for the 2013 – 2014 timeframe.  Pray for us as we develop our plan and contact our potential financial partners.  Praise God we are at 47% of our financial support pledged or raised.  We are praying to have 50% of our support pledged by the end of Feb!  Please pray for open hearts and generosity.  Also, pray what the Lord would have you do to contribute financially to our ministry in Belize
    • If you are interested in contributing financially to our support in Belize.  Please visit http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate, scroll to find Josh and Amy Edmonds and follow the directions from there.  No gift is too small or insignificant!

Thank you for your prayers!  We appreciate each and every one of you more than you all could possibly imagine or understand.  We can’t wait to hear stories from you all as you move into a life grasping that love really does….

Because they haven’t heard,

Sunrise on Caye Caulker

Sunrise on Caye Caulker

VBS craft time

VBS craft time

Beautiful School girl

Beautiful School girl

Start of the roof

Start of the roof

Completed Roof

Completed Roof

VBS crafts are not just for kids!

VBS crafts are not just for kids!

Our first family of 4 picture!

Our first family of 4 picture!

Developing world Dentistry

Developing world Dentistry

Finished concrete foundation

Finished concrete foundation

Children Praying at school assembly

Children Praying at school assembly