Sunday, November 21, 2010


Guess where I am???

I'm in the car!!

On the internet!!

Technology is so cool!!

My phone has internet (which is handy, since my house does not), and my brother in law told me about a tethering application for my phone so that I can (legally) use my phone's internet on my computer. This is very convenient since I'm still working on a research paper, but we've got an 11 hour drive ahead of us.

Thanksgiving is this week!

I'm going to Atlanta, GA and then to Savannah with Matt for the big "meet the family" trip. He's met my family, but I've never met his since they live so far away.

I drove for the first three hours, and now he's driving for the rest of the trip so I can work on my research paper.

Matt wanted me to tell all of my blog readers a story.

Matt likes to sing random songs. Right now he's singing a random song. About his dog Dodger. And his dog Chester. He's singing the words "bark bark bark" to the tune of some random country song. Apparently, they're black dogs who like to bark.

That was a tangent.

He likes to sing random songs. This morning he was singing "show me that smile again..." Anybody know what song that is??


So we saw an advertisement for Beauty and the Beast, which made us start talking about the Beauty and the Beast Broadway version, which we both have seen.

Then he started singing the Growing Pains song.

He said that he also saw the Growing Pains musical.

I was like, "what? They did that?"

He said "yeah, it was like, life after Growing Pains. Mike Seaver died. The whole original cast came back for the musical. It didn't last long on Broadway, though."

I said, "really? Was Leonardo DiCaprio in it?"

He said, "no, but Kirk Cameron was." And proceeded to tell me more about the story line.

I believed him.

Then he said, "I'm totally lying."

That's Matt. My Matt. He likes to tell crazy stories, get me to believe them, and then tell me it's not true.

And now he's singing "Go Tell it on the Mountain."

Sunday, November 14, 2010


While I was living in Spain, I traveled back to Texas for a friend's wedding (Panda). On that trip, I had an overnight layover in Amsterdam. Of course, I had to find somewhere to spend the night, so I asked around to see if any of my internationally savvy friends had some recommendations.

It turned out, Amber had some friends named Rob and Katy that lived there. So I got in touch with them and we arranged for me to spend the night with them. Katy met me at Schipol Airport that evening and took me on the train back to their house. Even though it was late at night, she took me on a walk through their village so I could see just how adorable those little Dutch town squares and houses are. Then we went back to her house where they had a nice warm bed waiting for me. The next morning I went back to the airport and said goodbye, promising that whenever I got a chance, I would come back for more than just sleep and a shower. That was August 2008.

Almost two years later, in June 2010 I returned to Spain to visit my friends whom I missed so dearly. I bought my tickets using frequent flyer miles, so my choices were a bit limited. On the way back I had a layover in Amsterdam, but it was only a few hours long, so I thought.

A few days before leaving Madrid I checked my itinerary and realized that I had made a huge mistake: my flight left a day earlier than I had thought, and included an overnight layover in Amsterdam. I would arrive around 10 or 11 at night and leave around 8 or 9 in the morning. I had three days to find somewhere to spend the night, and almost no money for a hotel or hostel.

I sent Katy a facebook message and again, they were so generous to allow me to stay and made me feel so welcome. I only even had time to see them at breakfast since they were already in bed when I got to their house, but during my short stay they reminded me that I had to come back and actually stay a while! They were so sincere and hospitable, and I was so thankful that the Lord blessed me with a comfortable place to stay on such short notice.

A few months later, Matt and I decided that we needed to take a mission trip together. We are both planning on going into ministry, especially foreign ministry, and we're planning on doing that together. We felt it would be beneficial for us to experience ministry together before we commit to do it for the rest of our lives.

So we started looking at options, praying about where to go, and Matt wanted to go to Europe, which I of course have no problem with! We decided not to go to Spain since I already speak the language and know lots of people and we didn't want one of us to have a significant advantage, since we're supposed to be learning and ministering together. We also wanted to go somewhere where a lot of people speak English, since we could only be there for a short time. So we emailed couples in London and Paris, Rob and Katy in Amsterdam, as well as some non-Europe couples. Rob and Katy responded enthusiastically with specific tasks they would like us to accomplish, so we decided to go help them out.

So, we're going to Amsterdam!

We bought our tickets last week, on faith, praying that the Lord would provide the money to actually pay for them. I'm a waitress and Matt works at an after school program, and we're both full-time seminary students so we're not exactly rolling in the cash right now. We decided to fundraise, and as humbling, frustrating, and sometimes annoying as it may be, we started asking friends, family, and church members for money and, more importantly, prayer.

A few people responded positively that they would be praying for us, which was great, and two people donated. We were thrilled about the blessings we had received, but honestly, a little disappointed that some people didn't even seem interested in praying, or even finding out what we were doing there at all. Prayer is far more important than money could ever be. It doesn't matter if only two, three, or four people give us money. We know and believe that God will provide. But we don't want just two, three, or four people praying. We want fifty, sixty, a hundred people praying. Not for us, but that the Gospel would be made known. That hearts would be changed. That the blind would see, the lost would be found, and Christ proclaimed among the people of Amsterdam.

That's what we want.

Your prayers.

Sure, we can't buy a plane ticket without money, but neither can we be effective without prayer. The whole point of going is to share the Gospel. We don't expect to start a church planting movement in two and a half weeks. But we do expect to plant seeds of the Gospel. We do expect to do something to benefit the ministry of Rob and Katy. We won't be there for long, but they will.

So I was discouraged.

I prayed yesterday, "God, I know you will provide. Please provide. I'm discouraged, and frustrated. Let your Gospel be proclaimed in Amsterdam. Prepare people for us to meet; prepare your sheep. Your sheep know your voice. Prepare them to hear your voice, and prepare us. Put us in their path. Open doors for us to proclaim the Gospel."

I was discouraged by the lack of interest in people, but sure that God is faithful.

People will always let you down, but God will never leave us nor forsake us.

I got dressed to go to work and left, sure that God would provide. Not only for Amsterdam, but also to pay next month's rent. To pay the next electricity bill. To buy some shoes to keep my feet warm. As pitiful (and humorous!) as that is, I don't have any winter shoes. I couldn't buy shoes in Spain (they don't carry my size) and after two years of walking everywhere every day, I wore out a lot of shoes! So last week I sucked it up and used my savings account (miraculously provided by the Lord through a gift from my mom! Praise the Lord for my mother!) to buy some winter boots.

On my way out I saw the mail truck, so I decided to check my mailbox before leaving.

There was an envelope in there from a guy I went to college with. I sent him (along with nearly 200 other people) the letter that Matt and I wrote about our trip to Amsterdam.

I opened it up at the stop light and nearly had a heart attack when I saw the check.

I went straight to Matt's house before going to work, and showed him. He jumped up in the air, picked me up, and almost cried.

His gift was so generous. Matt and I cannot find the words to thank him.

All three who have donated to this trip have made such generous gifts. I'm amazed and so thankful. I'm in awe. God is so good. He's so faithful. He always provides just what we need.

We still need a bit more money, but we have no doubt that the Lord will provide. He has proven Himself faithful beyond what we deserve. I am so humbled. So blessed. And I pray that we honor the gifts of those three individuals who gave in the name of the Lord so that we may go and proclaim the Gospel. I pray that we honor the Lord through their gifts. I pray that the Lord be pleased with our work. We simply must be faithful, because He has been so faithful to us.

We still need people to pray.

Three have given financially (and will pray, I'm sure), and a few more have expressed their desire to pray for this opportunity, but we need more prayer. "A few" is not enough. Pray for us. Pray for the lost. Pray for those who have never heard the Gospel. Pray for the refugees in Amsterdam. Pray for the potheads and prostitutes. Pray for the postmodern intellectuals who have no need for God. Pray for the lost sheep.

Amen and Amen.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why Christians Shoudn't Be Too Nice

I go to a Baptist seminary.

That means that the majority of the people around me on campus are Christians, or at least call themselves Christians.

Not only are these people who call themselves Christians, but they are Christians with the intention of going into ministry. So in theory, they're pretty serious about living out their faith.

Christians should exhibit love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.


Sometimes we're too nice.

Both of my readers are shocked that I would say such a thing. So let me explain, and I am quite sure you will agree.

The government institutes laws, and those laws are meant to preserve order.

Some of those laws tell us we can't steal things, we can't kill anybody, we can't lie to a judge, etc. Those are all good things. Some of those laws govern the way we drive and tell us we have to stop at stop signs, cross at a crosswalk, give right-of-way at certain times and places, etc. Those laws keep people from getting in car accidents, and that too, is a good thing.

And that's why Christians shouldn't be too nice.

On a seminary campus, everybody wants to be so nice and friendly to those around them that sometimes they forget that we have laws that tell us how to drive.

For example, pedestrians should cross at a cross walk. In the normal world, you could get at ticket for jaywalking if you cross outside of a crosswalk, especially if it interrupts the flow of traffic (however I would like to meet somebody who's ever been ticketed for jaywalking!).

But in seminary world, if a car sees somebody standing on the curb about to cross, they stop and let the jaywalker cross. How very nice of them, right? Except that then the pedestrians become accustomed to nice drivers allowing them to cross at any time and start to cross the street all the time, without looking or waiting for the cars to stop. Before you know it, there's people crossing the street everywhere, and cars are piling up behind them. Or, mothers are crossing the streets with their toddlers without looking, because they assume the cars will stop. Danger danger!!

But our seminary doesn't have enough crosswalks, so let's blame that problem on the people who forgot to paint stripes on our streets.

Let's take another example: at a stop-sign intersection, the first car to arrive is supposed to go first. This is to avoid accidents. But at a seminary intersection, the first car to arrive wants to be considerate and motions for the second car to go first. But maybe the second car also wants to be a kind Christian, so they motion for the first car to go first. But the first car wants to be kinder than the second car, so they motion for the second car to go first. But the second car arrived last and wants to, in all kindness, follow the law, so they motion for the first car to go first. But the first car is still motioning for the second car to go first, so the second car starts to inch forward, but by that time the first car begins to think that the second car outdid him in kindness, so he starts to inch forward. The second car stops when he sees the first car inch forward, but the first car has already seen the second car inching so he stops. Then the second car inches forward again because the first car stopped, but by that time the first car has begun to inch forward again upon seeing that the second car stopped.

Make that a three-way intersection and we've got some real confusion on our hands!

Almost every day I witness a traffic violation due to a nice Christian forgetting the law, or a nice Christian pedestrian assuming that the nice Christian in the car will be so nice as to let them pass.

So far, I am unaware of traffic accidents due to nice Christians being too nice, but it is only a matter of time.

And that, my friends, is why Christians shouldn't be too nice.