Break every chain

Insert sigh….Busyness or activity has marked these last three weeks.  In the last three weeks I have had our Belize staff training, led two mission trips in Belize and now traveled to the states.  In fact I am writing this update from a hotel room in Minneapolis with snow on the ground!  They are even calling for 6 – 10″ tonight!!!  SNOW.  Doesn’t God know that I live in Belize?!?

Anyway, I apologize for the tardiness of this update.  Nonetheless, the last three weeks have been filled with activity, challenges, spiritual attacks, and the Lord’s blessings.  Here goes a rough overview of our time and a lesson from the Lord.

On the home front

  • Madeline turned 3 years old!
  • Joseph has started to talk a lot more…including a personal favorite: pointing to his diaper saying “stinky”, smiling big and then running away.
  • Madeline has adopted a new funny face which involves spitting and drawing poo – poo on paper and laughing about it.  (oh kids!)
  • Amy and I got a night away from the kids on Caye Caulker.
  • Amy conquered her fear of snorkeling!
  • Jordin left 😦
  • We have potentially secured someone to come in July when we have the baby and stay for two weeks 🙂

On the work front

  • Belize staff training was a blessed time of fellowship and preparation for the summer.  I am truly blessed to have the privilege to guide and speak into such mighty men and women of God who desire life-change in their country. 
  • Mt. Bethel – This trip was a time of spiritual refreshment for me.  The team was able to continue their relationships in Western Belize formed over the last three years.  For more information of what this team did, you can visit their trip journal here: http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/journals?tripid=2383
  • Hope For Belize – What a blessing it was for AMY to have Faith and Jessica down here in Belize.  The highlight of the week for me (Josh) was to see Amy spend time with her friends away from our children and get refreshed physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Each night this team hosted a women’s conference where over 80 women from all over Belize City were able to come and be ministered to.  For more stories on their ministry check out their trip journal at http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/journals?tripid=2604
    • Two stories from this ministry –
      • Story 1: I was speaking to a Belizean man and he literally said to me: “This is the first time since my brother was murdered two years ago that I have seen my mom and sisters smile.  Thank You.”
      • Story 2: I was speaking to a Belizean woman who told me “I NEVER get to leave the house without anyone or without a purpose to do something for someone in my family.  These last few nights have just been about me. Thank you”
      • Story 3 (because I had to include another one): I watched the team visit one woman in her home on two different occasions.  This woman did NOT say one word during these two afternoons.  On the last night of the woman’s ministry, this woman came and surrendered her life to Jesus.  She responded to the Gospel because she felt the love of Jesus through these women of the Hope For Belize Trip!  Praise God.  That NEVER gets old

How is God teaching me?

I credit a good friend Brian from Mt. Bethel playing the song “Break Every Chain.”  Here are some of the lyrics.

There is power in the name of Jesus

There is power in the name of Jesus

There is power in the name of Jesus

To break every chain, to break every chain, to break every chain

We all have chains which enslave or entangle us.  For some of us it is a chain or habitual sin, addiction perhaps?  For some of us it is a feeling of inadequacy.  For some of us (and know that I am included in the “us”)…we look in the mirror and instead of seeing our reflection, we see words written across us.  Words maybe like “failure, alcohol, sex, drugs, inadequate, dumb, fool”.  Instead of words we may see in the mirror images of past sin or images of current sin.  These images enslave us; they tangle us; they prevent us in realizing our full potential in Christ.  These chains prevent us from ministry.  Here is the what the Bible says.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us – Hebrew 12:1

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

If we are in Christ, when we look in the mirror, Jesus is looking with us.  And the thing about Jesus is….that he just sees us as his beloved.  He sees us as adequate, as a beloved son or daughter of THE KING.  Jesus sees us as perfectly equipped to march out and complete the ministry He has placed before us.  In short Jesus sees himself in us.  And he desires to break every chain,  break every chain, break every chain.

Activity: 

  1. Sit down with a paper and write out all the chains that entangle you.  When you set out to accomplish something great for the Lord what does Satan bring up to stop you.  Write them all out on a piece of paper.
  2. Listen to this song at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXVYS1sEbss
  3. After listening to the song, cross out each “chain” and write the name “Jesus” beside the crossed out chain.

Next Step: The words to the song then state “There’s an army rising up.  There’s an army rising up.  There’s an army rising up.  To break every chain to break every chain to break every chain”

You, me, we are the army of God’s chosen people to help break other peoples’ chains. I have seen this in action in my own life.  I have seen this with my wife.  And I saw it this week with the team from Hope For Belize.  Once we have broken free of our chains and focus on who we are in Christ…we have the power to unchain others!

 Prayer Requests – Personal

  • Amy – Prayers for comfort, sleep, and community.  Really pray for community.  We are seeking new opportunities to establish community among Belizeans and among other missionaries that are here.  Pray for fruit from these efforts!
  • Josh – healing from sickness I am battling
  • Spiritual Leadership – Pray that I (Josh) can be a stronger spiritual leader for my family and really be intentional about leading/teaching my family the Lord
  • Madeline – Madeline is currently having multiple night terrors in one night.  This is causing strain on Amy with not getting any sleep and Madeline as she is irritable during the day.  Please pray for this to cease immediately.
  • Chigger update – The itchiness is gone!  Praise God!
  • Support Raising – Amy and I are currently at 79% funded for the next season with about a month to go.  I haven’t contacted many supporters in the last 3 weeks and will be contacting A LOT of you over the next week or so.  Pray for generosity and pray that we can be at 100% by the end of April!
    • If you are interested in contributing to our mission in Belize.  please visit http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate and scroll to find “Josh and Amy Edmonds.” People can either give a one time gift or monthly recurring gift.
  • Baby – Pray for us as we start to “realize” what having a 3rd baby looks like here in Belize.  Pray for painless childbirth for Amy and pray that we are able to have someone at our house in Belize to take care of the children while Amy goes into labor!

Thank you for your prayers.  Most of all thank you for taking the time to seriously address and through the power of the name of Jesus BREAK EVERY CHAIN!  I can’t wait to hear stories of how the Lord is using you all to break the chains of others!

Best Friends

Best Friends

These two....Plot Twist

These two….Plot Twist

learning to swim in Western Belize

learning to swim in Western Belize

Baptizing Amy's friend Jessica

Baptizing Amy’s friend Jessica

Friends came to visit!

Friends came to visit!

We are in love

We are in love

A road in Rootsville during street evangelism

A road in Rootsville during street evangelism

Belize Staff Training

Belize Staff Training

Simple Man!

How is God teaching me this week?

I love “Southern” rock-n-roll.  I mean I really do.  In fact in college, Andy (who’s birthday is today…Happy Birthday dude. I really love you!), made a “southern” rock-n-roll CD with Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker Band, Doobie Brothers, etc.  It became a Saturday afternoon tradition to open the windows of the apartment and blast that CD while we cleaned the apartment or house.  That eventually grew into driving around with that CD in the car and playing certain songs at the end of parties.  In fact, I love “Southern” rock (and the movie Dazed and Confused) so much that Amy and I had “Tuesday’s Gone” played as the last song at our wedding reception.

Anyway, one of my other favorite songs from Lynyrd Skynyrd is “Simple Man.”  The other day I was thinking about faith when I got an email from someone asking “how do I feel that science and religion can co-exist?”  It got me thinking about all the questions that I don’t know the answers to in my faith.

How did all those animals fit on the ark?

Were there dinosaurs on the ark?

What happened between the death on the cross and the resurrection?

Why did all those things happen to Job?

Will God really grant me EVERY prayer request?

What does life to the full mean?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

And on and on and on….Questions that I wrestle with from time to time.  But then I remembered the story of a simple man of simple faith.

In John 9: Jesus meets a blind beggar, blind from birth. Jesus makes mud out of his spit, rubs it on the man’s eyes, and he is healed.  The Pharisees see this beggar and they immediately question what has happened.  This man had an encounter with the Living God and his life totally changed.  He was nothing, a beggar, uneducated…but he has the most brillant response to the questions of the Pharisees. The Pharisees continued to press the beggar on what exactly happened to him and the former blind beggar’s response was always the same.

John 9:11  He answered,The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.

John 9:25 “Whether he is a sinner, I do not know.  One thing I do know that though I was blind, now I see.”

For the beggar, his faith was simple; his life was simple.  He was blind before he met Jesus.  He encountered Jesus.  His life is totally different.

For me that’s my faith.  The more we are here in Belize, .the more I read the Bible, the more I try to understand, the more I come back to the same conclusion.  Before I encountered the living God, I was just like the blind beggar (begging for fulfillment from this world).  I met Jesus, and now I am different.  Just like the beggar, Jesus changed my life forever!

Now I want to know the answers to all the questions that I don’t know…mostly because I am a nerd.  BUT that isn’t going to stop me from missing or losing what ultimately matters in my faith.  Just like the beggar I met Jesus and he changed my life forever.  And it is my story of life  change that will impact others around me….not my answers to questions.

I guess “Baby I’m a simple kind of man”

Prayer Requests – Personal

  • Praise – Jordin (our lifegroup baby-sitter from Holly Springs) has been visiting for the last week and a half.  We have had a FANTASTIC time with her.  Praise God for her love of our family!!!
  • Chigger Update – We are going 6 weeks for the chigger bites but itchiness seems to have died down. I think we have turned the corner!  Continue to pray for them to heal IMMEDIATELY
  • Sustain Amy – I am going to be on back to back trips for the next two weeks.  I am back for two days and then I am off to Minneapolis for a week.  Please pray for Amy and the kids during this time.  Pray for Amy to be sustained with energy and patience.
  • Financial Support Raising Update – Praise God.  He provided and exceeded the goal of 75% for the end of March.  We are currently at 76% pledged for this next year.  We are praying that we will be at 100% by the end of May.  Please join us in praying for this goal!
    • If you are interested in contributing financially to the ministry here in Belize, please visit http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate.  Scroll down to find “Josh and Amy Edmonds” and follow directions from there!

Prayer Requests – Belize

  • Staff Training – We have a Belize staff training starting on Friday.  Pray that this will be a great time of vision casting, equipping and preparation for our summer season!
  • Trips – I have two trips coming up.  Please pray for the teams, the leaders, the ministries.  Pray for Pastor Reyes and Pastor Brooks, the two pastors we are partnering with.  Pray ultimately that the teams are sensitive to the Holy Spirit and we are able to do all things to bring honor and glory to God.
  • Summer prep – We are in the last two months before things get REALLY busy with the summer.  Pray for ALL of our Praying Pelican staff as we prepare for the summer.

Amy and love you all!  Thank you for loving us!  Thank you for your prayers and friendships!  We want to encourage you to continue to strive for a greater understanding of our Lord but don’t lose the simplicity of your faith.  Maybe it’s better to be a SIMPLE KIND OF MAN! (or woman!)

To see our adventures with Jordin over the last week – look at the pics below!

Whole Family at VBS in San Ignacio

Whole Family at VBS in San Ignacio

Walking through the jungle at Altun Ha

Walking through the jungle at Altun Ha

Jojo and daddy walking around Altun Ha

Jojo and daddy walking around Altun Ha

Love my girls!

Love my girls!

Playing in the water

Playing in the water

party

We climbed the temples!

We climbed the temples!

Madeline and her friend at VBS at Lake I

Madeline and her friend at VBS at Lake I

Madeline at her b-day party

Madeline at her b-day party

Looking at Sting Rays

Looking at Sting Rays

looking at an interesting flower

looking at an interesting flower

Jojo and daddy climbing

Jojo and daddy climbing

Jojo hanging out supervising M's party

Jojo hanging out supervising M’s party

Mommy and Jojo

Mommy and Jojo

Family picture!

Family picture!