Thursday, July 24, 2014

A little woman with a BIG God!

This week I had the privilege of being a part of the annual Vacation Bible School at my home church in North Carolina. It is one of the best things we do at the church, because everyone shows up with their creativity, organization, great attitudes, eagerness to serve, and all the energy they can muster - it is definitely a beautiful picture of the body of Christ working together for the glory of God in our community. 

We don't use any packaged or pre-designed VBS kits... our group always makes up their own theme, memory verse schedule, games, snacks, crafts, songs, contests, and prizes. This year, the story for the week was about the life of the missionary to China, Gladys Aylward: "A Little Woman with a Big God." (Amazing story that I highly recommend, if you haven't heard it!) 

I was a "floating" volunteer, so I helped with check-in, memory verses, prayer room, and counting money. The kids had a "penny march" - brought pennies every night, to raise money for Samaritan's Purse: Operation Christmas Child. They were supposed to put their pennies in two buckets - for the "Boys" and "Girls" - and weigh them to see which group won each night. Superhuman things happen when you set up a contest between little boys and girls! Thing is, the last two nights, there were SO many pennies, the buckets were too heavy to weigh! These 60+ kids raised over $1600 for this great ministry! In the end the boys won, and got to throw cream pies in one of the girl volunteer's faces (not mine!).

Me, Richard, and my nephews at the VBS registration table!

The story of Gladys was really refreshing to me... God was able to do some pretty amazing things through her just because she was obedient to him. She used every opportunity God put in front of her to share the Good News because that was what her whole focus was - she wanted people to know that God loved them, especially people who had never heard it before. She was small and not very physically strong, and not what anyone would consider ideal for an uncharted mission field. But by telling the story of Jesus to mule drivers, and women whose feet she unbound, and children she rescued from the streets, and prisoners who were rioting, and monks in the mountains, she was able to spread the Good News all over the world!

I want to be like that. I want to be so focused on the Good News that I take every opportunity to talk about it, and share it with everyone I meet. Most of all, I want to honor the Lord by obeying his call to go and make disciples to the ends of the earth, and see him do great and mighty things because of his great love for us. I'm a little woman with a big God too!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Short Rest... much like the Hobbit

Of course, the question now is, if Connie isn't in the Hobbit Hole anymore, where is she? Well, after living and serving in Fort Wayne for four years, and after a summer of travelling the country (quite literally), I am back in North Carolina, staying at my parents' house for a while to rest and get refreshed, so I can regain some strength and energy, and be ready for the next big adventure... kind of like in chapter 3 of The Hobbit, when Bilbo and the company of dwarves went to Rivendell (for the Hobbit fans out there).

In fact, the account in Tolkien's book, of the respite with the elves, sounds amazingly similar to my own experience in coming home, from the warmer air, to the people who knew Bilbo so well, to the place being a bit out-of-the-way for their journey, to even the silly songs and long stories told by the elves - in my case, by my awesome nephews.

"All of them... grew refreshed and strong in a few days there. Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises, their tempers and their hopes. Their bags were filled with food and provisions light to carry but strong to bring them over the mountain passes. Their plans were improved with the best advice..." 

I have a pretty good idea of where my next adventure will take me, but like Bilbo, I don't quite know what route to take or how long it will take me to get there. I feel like I have a sort of map and a sort of plan, but the directions are confusing and mysterious to me. So I am here to rest, breathe, listen, seek the Lord, and receive wise counsel from people I trust. I intend to do a lot of reading and writing during this time as well, so check this page regularly if you want to know how the "secret runes" get deciphered and where the map leads...