So stinking blessed

I was sitting down at my desk two mornings ago and the Lord literally answered a prayer in the matter of minutes.  I then got to thinking just really how stinking blessed we are.  Instead of writing I wanted to share with you all in pictures with some explanations how we feel the Lord has so stinking blessed us.

Blessing 1 – Preschool Playground dedication

Playground

 

A few months back I was fortunate to deliver a financial donation to for a playground for the smallest children at a primary school in Orangewalk.  Late last week, I was invited as the guest speaker to the playground dedication!  It was a HUGE blessing to share in these kids joy….too bad they didn’t let me play in it!

 

Blessing 2 – Food Distribution

Praying Pelican Missions received a note a couple of weeks back from an individual who was interested in providing food for families in need.  I was blessed enough to work with our pastoral contacts to purchase food for a week for 10 families.  I know it doesn’t seem like a lot but I was blessed to hear stories of the mother’s weeping as they received their package of food, saying that they were not going to eat again until the Lord brought them food.  This week I was able to facilitate the Lord bringing this family food.  So stinking blessed.

All the food

All the food

One family set of food

One family set of food

Food Delivery

Food Delivery

Blessing 3 – Meet Keron

I met Keron the first year I came to Belize in 2007.  He was a little kid that was in the Sunday School class I was fortunate to teach for the one day that we were in Sandhill.  Keron and I became friends over the years and in 2010, Keron asked me a very moving question.

“Mr. Josh, how can I follow Christ?”

That night in 2010 I was able to lead Keron to Christ and have kept up with him since.  This past Sunday I was at church in Sandhill and witnessed Keron leading the church in a worship song.  I was literally moved to tears.  Here was this boy, grown into a young adult, leading others in worship..and I had the unbelievable opportunity to play a part in this.  So stinking blessed.

Keron

 

Blessing 4 – Kids Kids and more Kids

I love kids!  I love my kids more than words can say but I also LOVE Belizean kids.  Ask anyone in my family or any of my coworkers and they would say that I love kids!  Any kid…it doesn’t matter.  This week part of my job…literally my job was to go and hang out with friends of mine from Hope Community Church as they ministered to the kids of Lake Independence Church here in Belize City.  What a blessing it is to play a small part in setting up opportunities for teams to come in and love on the children of Belize.  SO stinking blessed!

Learning to ride

Learning to ride

Loving snack!

Loving snack!

How low can you limbo!!??

How low can you limbo!!??

Blessing 5 – Jesus

During this season and honestly every day I would be remiss to not acknowledge, dwell in and on, and accept the unbelievable gift of Jesus.  He became my sin so I didn’t have to face the righteous judgement of God.  He came down and will come back again as King of Kings.  He has redeemed His people and this is what the next few days and really all my life is about.  I have nothing to give Jesus that could pay him back.  I have nothing to do that could put the gift in perspective.  Jesus dying and rising changes everything for me.  It should change everything about my everyday but it doesn’t.  My only prayer request this week is that our family really really realizes how stinking blessed we are.  Jesus is all the stinking blessing that we really ever need.

Have a blessed Easter (you already will), and rest in knowing that through Jesus you are so stinking blessed.

supervising

 

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Ordinary to Extraordinary

I was procrastinating work one day this week and I came across the following quote on the Elevation Church website

Extraordinary acts of God start with our ordinary acts of obedience.

It hit me like a ton of bricks when I was reading Genesis over the past couple of weeks and the story of Abraham.

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years oldwhen he set out from Harran.  He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.” Genesis 12:4-5

It seems relatively insignificant verse in the Bible but from that verse comes the nation of Israel. From Abraham’s ordinary obedience, God brings forth a miracle baby, Issac, parts the Red Sea, broke down walls, shut up lions’ mouths, and well saved humanity ultimately through the gift of His Son Jesus.

Abraham’s ordinary obedience to take up and go led to God’s extraordinary measures that fill the REST OF THE BIBLE!

Extraordinary acts of God start with our ordinary acts of obedience.

What happens when we take our ordinary steps of obedience?  What extraordinary acts is God waiting to do, has He already done?

Three examples from Belize this past week.

  1. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat: We had a group come and serve in Guinea Grass Belize.  They didn’t have to come but they chose to.  They obeyed the call of God on their lives.  In addition, the group felt God’s prompting to give financially and brought approximately 500 USD (total) down with them.  After speaking with the pastor, that money was used to purchase staple food items (rice, beans, sugar, powder milk, flour, toilet paper, etc) for 22 families.  When the team was delivering these groceries, many of the families were weeping as they were unemployed and did not know where their next meal was coming from.  I even spoke to the local Pastor and he shared that without these groceries many of the families would not eat. –  God turns our ordinary obedience into His extraordinary acts.
  2. I was sick and you looked after me: Primitive or non-existent medical care, especially in remote Mayan villages of Southern Belize is a huge unmet need.  This past week a team full of doctors, college students, and additional medical professionals set up mobile clinics in these villages.  Ordinary obedience – “we do medicine.  they need medicine.  Let’s take medicine to them”.  In one week this team treated over 800 patients, treating conditions such as diabetes, malaria, worms hypertension and many more.  After leaving each village, the residents had a new look on their faces.  A face that was once beaten down was now full of life, full of hope, full of love.  Ordinary obedience to extraordinary acts!
  3. Let the little children come to me: If you have followed these updates at all you know of my good friend Pastor Ed.  A few years back, Pastor Ed started a children’s ministry training program.  I must digress for a moment and speak to the loneliness of this decision.  A Christian man in Belize doesn’t have many male friends because there are not a lot of strong Christian men in Belize.  And then children’s ministry is viewed as women’s work and not the work of a “Pastor” here.  So when Pastor Ed obeyed God and started this children’s ministry training program, he was effectively alienating himself from any Belize men Christian or non-Christian.  Ordinary obedience….Look at these extraordinary acts….
    • At the last children’s ministry workers training attendance was 49 churches, 150 children’s ministry workers. Each one of these churches hold a weekly children’s ministry program averaging 50 kids (conservatively).  Do the math…that’s almost  2500 kids that are hearing the Gospel on their level in a creative way because of Pastor Ed’s obedience.
    • One of Pastor Ed’s many stories:  A pastor came to his last training to thank him.  With tears in her eyes, she shared that her church did not have a children’s ministry.  A teacher from her church came to Ed’s training and learned how to do children’s ministry.  Now they have over 125 kids each week.  Some people came to her village looking for a church with a dynamic children’s ministry to bless.  They found the pastor’s new dynamic children’s ministry and after some conversations discovered many of the children do not eat lunch.  The visitors to the village set up a feeding program and now the pastor who used to not have any children’s ministry, has a dynamic children’s ministry AND a feeding program for 125 kids!  Extraordinary God!

We have opportunities for ordinary obedience all the time!  Ordinary obedience, a phone call to make perhaps to a struggling friend, a text, maybe it’s to get involved in a ministry, maybe it is to start tithing, maybe it’s to take a new job, ask a girl/boy out or take the next step in a relationship.

If you are following God and you feel that tug in your gut that you should do something and it lines up with the Bible…then it’s time to obey.  Who knows, your ordinary obedience in the moment may lead to the parting of the Red Sea.

Prayer Requests – Personal

  • Praise – We have a healthy baby BOY!  Elijah James is the name!  Due to arrive around the third week in July!  I am sooo excited!!!
  • Praise – I was able to preach again last Sunday.  The Lord moved in my heart and the church was encouraged!  Praise God!
  • Amy’s chigger bites are TERRIBLE.  They are still itching her.  Pray for immediate healing and my sanity hearing her talk about these bugs
  • Joseph has a return ear infection.  Amy took him to the clinic on Sunday.  Please pray for healing for him!
  • Easter break and visitors.  We have our college-aged daughter (figuratively) coming to visit next week.  Pray for a great visit and that Amy and I can get a few date nights out of the deal!

Prayer Requests – Belize

  • Continue to lift up our teams.  We have one serving this week and two that start this weekend.  Pray for life change amongst the team members and encouragement for the local church.
  • Drugs in Hattieville – I was at the court on Monday night and I saw the older adults / teens send a 9 year old out to get pot.  I was heartbroken.  Pray for drugs to release their control over our village.
  • Burt’s parents – continue to pray for my friend Burt’s parents.  They are in very poor health and need immediate healing as well!

Thank you for all you do for us.  Thank you for the notes of encouragement (keep them coming) and thank you for loving / supporting us.  This week look at your life.  Where is God calling you for an ordinary act of obedience?  Take that step and watch God turn what’s our ordinary into his extraordinary.

Because they haven’t heard,

21 weeks

Amy at 21 weeks pregnant with Elijah James

medical team update

Walking to the medical clinic

medical team update2

Setting up the mobile pharmacy

me and the kids

Whose your cabinet?

So it’s Monday…No trips for a little while for me.  So it’s onto the Monday night tradition – drinking some REALLY STRONG instant coffee, watch the Bachelor and write our update! …What?! …Tonight’s the last night of the Bachelor.

….Well at least I won’t be so distracted while writing these updates!

The past two weeks have been adventurous to say the least.

At Home

  • Madeline’s school has started child stimulation month (which is a country-wide programming of events for all preschools).  
    • At the beginning of the month Madeline was in a parade and performed a song with her school.  For those of you who laugh at crying parents during performances, I would have given you a good chuckle, as I was fighting off HUGE TEARS as Madeline sang….she’s growing up too fast for sure.
    • Madeline’s school had a field day for the kids and parents last Friday.  Highlights from this event include Madeline dusting the kids she ran in a sprint against.  YUP you read that right.  Our daughter DUSTED some kids in a SPRINT!  That’s what I am talking about.
    • Funniest moment of the week – Amy ran in the mom’s race where she came in DEAD LAST and managed to twist her ankle 5 times.  Madeline said “good try mommy.”  I don’t know if she was talking smack like I do or being encouraging like I say…
    • This week Madeline goes to the Belize performing arts center and on a city tour.  Should be some great highlights from those!
  • Bugs – So the sand flies seem to have subsided.  However, Amy has 100 bites from mites of some sort all over her belly and bottom.  After consulting several Belizean women, we have found the perfect treatment…VICKS vapor rub.  Now the only problem is that Amy ALWAYS smell like menthol.
  • Sickness – Both kids had to go to the doctor right as I got on my trip.  Turns out Joseph had an ear infection and both kids had a respiratory infection.  1 week of antibiotics later and the kids are doing alright.  Continue to pray for healing.

Work

  • Trips – I just got done leading a trip to La Democracia about 20 minutes West of our house.  We worked with Pastor Cecil to paint three houses and did kids ministry during the afternoons.  Although some members of the team caused my heart to stop more than once, it was a great trip.  And I made some great new friends!  
  • Upcoming Trips – We have three trips going on this week in the country.  Lift up our trips to Guinea Grass, Independence, and Trial Farm.  Pray for life change for sure!
  • Busy – we have entered our busy Spring Break time.  Please pray for Praying Pelican Missions as we have our second most trips for the year going on right now in all of our locations.  We have many staff traveling and many teams serving.  Pray for safety.  But most of all please pray for God to be Glorified.

How to God Teaching / Leading me? – Dead Reckoning

So I am almost through with the book “Love Does” and I came across a concept that I think explains how we discern God’s will for our lives.  In sailing or boating, some sailors will take their compass, mark a few fixed points that they know and where they want to go.  They then draw a straight line from where they want to go and from each fixed point to determine where they are located.  It’s called dead-reckoning…dumbing everything down, getting a few points to point in the right direction and GO!

What is God’s will for my life?  A common question that we all (our family included) always ask ourselves.

I think we may over-complicate the matter.  What if we used dead-reckoning?

First fix your eyes on Jesus – not Jesus all muddy’d up by church or religion…simply open the Bible and read what Jesus had to say about where you are.  Draw a line between you and Jesus.

Next, find a cabinet.  Not something that you place forks, knives, spoons or towels in….a circle of Christian friends that can speak truth in your life.  The concept of a cabinet or accountability partners, or strong friends is not foreign.  Each president has a cabinet, Don Corleone had a consigliarie (spelling?), Jesus had disciples and then three of those for his closest friends, Moses had Joshua, David had his mighty men,…and on and on.

I know that my life-changed when men I trusted started speaking into it.  It was uncomfortable, hard, and eye-opening.  It was also one of the three most transformational things I have ever done.   It’s simple two to three people of your same sex that Love God first and Love you.  Find them and ask them to speak truth in your life.  Meet with them once a week and speak in total and brutal honesty with them.

I implore you…get a cabinet and start dead reckoning your life.  It’s time for Christians everywhere (us included) to stop idling away wondering what’s God’s will for lives. Let’s get the compass and dead reckon ourselves to Jesus and our cabinet.  Transformation is the next step away!

Prayer Requests

  • Amy’s bug bites – Pray that her bites go away and fast!
  • Ultrasound – We have an ultrasound scheduled for Monday.  Pray that the baby is healthy, happy, and that we get to find out what he/she is…..Any guesses?
  • Trips – Continue to lift up our trips in country over the next three weeks.  Pray for Pastors’ Russell, Garcia, and Jerome as we partner with their churches this week. Pray for life change!
  • Belize Prayer Request – Pray for my friend Burton’s parents.  Both of them are sick and need some rest and medical healing.  Pray that they are able to rest and that Burton is able to handle all the stress.
  • Pastor Ed’s teacher training – Pastor just completed the 6th teachers training where 161 people attending from almost 50 churches to learn about children’s ministry.  Praise God for the participation and for Pastor Ed, his teachers, and their vision to change Belize one child at a time!
  • Support Raising – We are raising support for the 2013 – 2014 timeframe.  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!

Thank you for loving us, for supporting us, and for praying for us.  For those of you that are in our cabinet….thank you is not enough.  I pray that you are blessed beyond your wildest dreams.  Continue your godly counsel and we will continue to strive after our Lord!

Because they haven’t heard.

 

Big girl flag Madeline reading time with daddy School ministry