We’re not worthy

I am writing this update while watching Breaking Bad.  Tried on the Wii but it didn’t work.  Currently trying on the other computer that is on its way out and we will switch to watching it on my phone.  Its OK to have first world problems in a developing world country right?  I digress but did desire to show you our humanity.

So one of my favorite memories as a kid is going to Carowinds amusement park in Charlotte, NC.  I distinctly remember when they put in the Wayne’s Word roller coaster.  It was all wood and creaked around every corner and moved fast.  Most of all it played Jimi Hendrix and other bands I was in to during my hippy phase (all pictures have since been destroyed).  And as you waited in line you watched scenes from the movies.

Here is one of my favorite scenes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FucbvoFFy0

“We’re not worthy” – that’s really how I have felt over the last month as I have been entering into this season of work.  And that’s how God is teaching me…..

Work-wise the fall season is the time that I get to meet with all of our ministry partners (pastors, orphanages, schools, etc.) to get feedback on the current year and prepare for the next.  As colleagues of mine were covering the North and South of Belize, I was set to cover Western Belize and in and around Belize City.

First of all, it is a true blessing to sit with these leaders of dynamic churches / ministries here in Belize.  I mean a ridiculous blessing.  Who am I to sit with men / women who have been in ministry for 10, 20, 40 years serving and sacrificing everything to further the kingdom in their village.  All because a CALL.

The thing with Belizean pastors is that they are bi-vocational.  They work a full – time job (which in Belize means that they do whatever they possibly can to provide for their family) and then they do ministry at a church where they receive no financial compensation often.  All for call.

The thing is I get to sit with these men and talk about ministry, their life, their families, and how I can bless them.  We talk.  We pray.  I talk more than I should but try to listen to them share their hearts and what God is doing.  This time is more than a blessing, I am not worthy for sure.

Often times I will hear story after story of excitement from one of our teams this past year.  Here are some stories from just this week

  • At Ladyville Baptist where a family team did a ministry called Breaking Bread and ate lasagna in people’s homes, the church is still having people in the community talk about that and they have had 2- 3 new families join.
  • At Omega – I met with a Pastor and she told me that 20 children made decisions to accept Christ during a VBS that one of our teams had the pleasure of partnering with their local church on.
  • In Armenia – where I watched a Pastor respond with a Tiger Woods old-school fist pump when I told him that the team that served his church this summer is returning

And that’s just from this week!  It is as if God is showing me just a small bit of His Glory from all these celebrations from this year.

Celebrations and the planning.  I listen as pastors pour out to me the needs of their area or how they are struggling or their vision for the ministry and then I somehow am put in the position to figure out how we can partner with them.

I tell God I am not worthy.  But He answers me,..

You are not worthy but I am.

God I am not wise enough to answer these questions.  You’re right Josh but I am.

Listen more, pray more,  My grace, mercy is sufficient for you in this situation.

So I listen more

  • As a pastor in Democracia, a particularly challenging place to do ministry, that there is a rich fertile ground “good soil” for the Word where he lives (about 10 minutes up the road).  I listened to him and then was able to suggest that our teams help plant the Gospel in Fertile soil in the Spring.  I am not worthy God, you are.
  • As a pastor in Trial Farm tells me about the sustainable ministries of duck farming for meat and sewing.  I feverishly take notes deeply desiring to take sustainable ministries at his church to the other churches we partner with.
  • As a pastor in Cayo weeps for her children in an area where they drink river water and don’t have any basic medical care.  She and her daughter were weeping for the kids they serve.  I was able to look at them and say “God has heard your prayers.  We are going to bring a medical team to your village this Spring.”  The pastors joy can only be described as something of the Lord.  God you are so gracious to show me this!

You see we are not worthy.  I am not worthy to be sitting and doing this.  To be sitting and listening at the feet of your servants.  I am not worthy to speak into them, to encourage them.  The Lord answered me clearly he says “you ARE worthy because I AM and I AM with you”

So here I go relying less and less on a sinful-self and more and more on a wise, gracious, and merciful Savior.  I am worthy to be doing what I am doing during this season because HE is in me.  Praise God!

Prayer Requests – Personal:

  • Family sickness – We are battling a week long stomach flu.  It has gone through all members of the house.  Pray for healing!
  • Volunteering – Amy is volunteering at Madeline’s preschool next week.  Pray this goes well and is a blessed time for Amy and Madeline.
  • Quiet Times – I am reading through the NT with my co-workers.  Pray for the discipline for me to finish and for the kids to SLEEP IN in the mornings so I have the BEST time to read

Prayer Requests – Belize

  • Praise – I had the awesome opportunity of leading a trip this past week where we had 1 participant and 2 others accept Christ!  Praise God for life-change!
  • Cars – We are in a bit of a need here currently.  Pray specifically for a 4 door truck for our family!  Pray the Lord would open up opportunities for us to get that.  If you know of anyone getting rid of one, let me know.
  • Kids Ministry Training – Pastor Ed is holding a training in 3 weeks for 200+ children’s ministry workers from 70+ churches representing 10,000 kids all over Belize.  Pray that this training is a time of equipping, encouragement, and celebration for how God is changing Belize one child at a time.

Thank you for your prayers and your encouragement.  Continue to write us as you can, as we cherish the communication.  We can’t wait to share how the Lord continues to use us to impact this country, his Kingdom.  We know we are worthy because He IS!

Some pictures from this past week trip leading:

Parachute

Parachuting is the greatest game ever!

Bubble fun!

Bubble fun!

Eustace (middle) is a MAN after God's heart.  And an inspiration

Eustace (middle) is a MAN after God’s heart. And an inspiration

Lorelee is such a blessing to have on staff with us!  And she's great with the kids too!

Lorelee is such a blessing to have on staff with us! And she’s great with the kids too!

a girl blessed with a simple bracelet the team made for her.

a girl blessed with a simple bracelet the team made for her.

the team worked all morning at a preschool in Belize city.  Here is one of the crafts

the team worked all morning at a preschool in Belize city. Here is one of the crafts

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Levi’s table

How God is teaching me

The name of this blog post was stolen from my boss, friend, mentor Rob.  I thought it was so fitting of the life that I want to live.  Jesus in Matthew 9, beginning in verse 9 calls Matthew, the tax collector to Follow Him.  No matter the mess that Matthew was in (tax collecting by the way was the worst possible mess, according to ancient Jews), Jesus still wanted Matthew in his presence.  Jesus knew that if Matthew just gets into an environment with me over time, it is impossible for him NOT to change.

Matthew did the only real thing he knew how.  He said to Jesus “what do you want me to do.”  Jesus replied to Matthew “I want to have dinner with all of your friends.”

I can just imagine James, John, Peter looking around.  They probably spit out their wine when they heard this.  I bet they even pulled Jesus to the side and said…”Um Jesus…have you looked at his Facebook profile?  Instagram pictures?  I mean there are sinners and then there’s Matthew”

Jesus probably laughed and said “Yes….man he looks like he has a GOOD TIME.  Different eh?”

What I love about Jesus is that he was willing to put aside any personal preferences he may have had to do whatever it get people into an environment with Him.  He even told the Pharisees in Matthew 9:13 “For I came not to call the righteous but the sinners.”

Jesus was at home around Levi’s table.  Levi’s table a place where there were thief’s, prostitutes, Roman soldiers, and tax collectors is where Jesus was dining.  He was in an environment with people who were far from him.

That’s a problem here in Belize in the local church and a problem with some of our Christian walks as well.  We are uncomfortable at Levi’s table.  We are scared to go out and meet the helpless, hurting and broken where they are.  We are hesitant to be around them.  I know I am guilty of that from time to time.

This past week I went Tuesday and Thursday night to play basketball at the courts across from church.  When I got there on Thursday no one had a ball so we had some time.  My friends, Delly, Beard, Patch, B, were all cutting and rolling their blunts for the evening basketball time, and I was sitting their….sitting their around Levi’s table.  Uncomfortable for sure (I even needed to move out of the haze zone).  But still willing to be there and play ball and care about them.  So I stayed, played basketball (terribly by the way) and left.

Did any of them come to know Jesus that night?…NOPE.  But as the night grew on, I was beginning to realize that I wasn’t Jesus at this Levi’s Table of the Basketball court.  I realized I was one of the tax collectors or sinners.  I realized that I am just as messed up as I think they are.

I started to see the helplessness, hopelessness in my life in areas (like how I spoke to Madeline that day, or how I was at serving Amy, or how I was at surrendering my time to the Lord) and realized that the more conscious I become of the work Jesus has to do in my life, the less critical I was becoming of the work I perceive He needs to do in their’s.

Then I heard a phrase that I want to become my mantra here in our village:

People that were nothing like Jesus, liked Jesus

And Jesus liked people that were nothing like him.

If I am to influence the culture of the local church in our village, I need to like (SPEND TIME WITH) people that are nothing like me.  And those people who are nothing like me, need to like me.  I’m a sinner in need of a savior who is just trying to take my next step to a more complete life in Jesus.  Like everyone else, I need a spot in the presence of Jesus at Levi’s table.

 

What’s going on in Belize!?!

  • School started:  School has started for Madeline (2nd year of Preschool).  We are so excited for her to spend some time with her friends and new classmates.
  • Playground: Through some money that Amy and I saved up and a donation from a generous co-worker, we were able to purchase a playground for the kids. We are desiring to use this for Madeline, Jojo, and Elijah obviously but more for the kids in the village.  We want our house to be a house kids can come and hang out at and play at!
  • Children’s Ministry – We are targeting starting the children’s ministry in our village in October after we return from Pastor Ed’s training.  Pastor Mark is sending 3 people from church with Amy to the training to be equipped in kids ministry.  We can’t wait to see over 100 kids come each week to hear about Jesus on their level.  For some it will be the first time on a weekly basis they do more than memorize KJV verses or color a simple Bible sheet.  Lives are going to be changed!  Praise God!
  • Community involvement: Playing basketball 1 – 2 per week at the courts in our village.  (Note: Pray I play better because another terrible showing like last Thursday and I wont be welcomed back).  I also had the opportunity to preach at church last night, and did the devotion at the primary school this AM.

Prayer Requests:

  • Boldness – Pray for boldness in both me and Amy to step out in this community and meet people and talk to them.  It comes more naturally for me than it does her.  Pray that for opportunities for Amy in this.  Pray for her to volunteer once this week at Madeline’s school
  • Work: I am leading a team next week. Pray for the team as we serve at Bethany Preschool and the Youth Hostel.  Pray for Amy and the kids while I am leading this team.  Pray for strength for Amy and immediate obedience from the kids.
  • Work 2: I am in the process of praying through how Praying Pelican Missions teams can be involved in some sustainable ministries down in Belize.  Things like a feeding program for children with a communities own chickens, or assistance with school tuition.  Pray for wisdom and discernment for me through this information gathering process.
  • Pastor Ed’s children’s ministry training: Pastor is praying for 61 churches to be represented at the training in October. Join me in praying for 75 churches to be there!
  • Support Raising: Amy and I are working through our contacts currently.  We sent out our financial report from Year 1 last week.  If yo have any questions, please let us know.  If you are interested in supporting us financially, please visit http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate, Scroll to find our names and click away!

First Day of Preschool

too grown up

Too grown up!

Hour 3 of outside play!

Hour 3 of outside play!

This is the BEST thing EVER!

This is the BEST thing EVER!

Our latest future nerd!

Our latest future nerd!