Wednesday, August 31, 2016
It has been a year since I have come from the go conference. Looking forward a year seemed like a long time. A long time to not go home. A long time to be in another culture. A long time to live in another language and find a home in an unfamiliar place. I was excited but very nervous at what the year to come would bring. As the year progressed it got faster and faster. My days become more filled and I became settled in a world that now seems so familiar. I am so sad to leave this world behind. To leave the people that I grew to love so much in my ministry for others to take over. To say good bye to new friends and a church that has become like family. To trust that it is all going to be fine even if I am not here to walk beside all these wonderful people. As of today I am finished with OM. It has been a wonderful experience and I am so glad that I took this year to go into missions. I hope to return to missions soon. Thank you for your support throughout this year. I could not have done it without you!
Monday, August 22, 2016
This last week we had a kids camp week. We had about 50-60 kids everyday for many different activities. We went on forest adventures, played sports, did crafts, baked, had a big jumping church, sang songs and learnt about Jonah and how he was given a second chance by God. It was an amazing week where I believe all the children have became closer to God and his word will penetrate through their families as well. One child came up to me on the last day and said I have been hurt by a girl in my class but now I know that I need to give her another chance. A couple other girls who I knew before the week would always come up to me and want to have long conversations. They wanted to show off their friends, tell me about the activities they had partaken in and often tried to be wherever I was. With one of these girls at the end of the week her mother came to the evening BBQ for parents and children. I spent some time talking to her mother and she seemed pleased. A little later she came up to me specifically to thank me for taking care of her children and said she was going to send her kids again to the kids program this year. This is so amazing because this is a family from Shri Lanka. They are Hindu believers and when I first started working with this preteen girl she wanted nothing to do with Christianity. God is doing amazing things in the world and in our communities.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
The last month has been packed with the busyness of daily life and a little break where I got to make some wonderful memories with family. As my year here in Switzerland has progressed it is amazing how the longer I am here the more I feel fullfilled. The more I understand and can build into others lives. The more my heart loves the country and the people that I minister to. With more time I feel more and more settled and everything becomes routine or what is considered normal. Last night I went on a street outreach team. Nothing amazing happened but I felt more competent then ever before. I understood almost everything that was going on. I talk to some people even some in German. I heard people's stories and prayed for them. I feel alive knowing I am at a point that I can do what I really love which is to meet people where they are and speak into their lives. I even met a women from Israel that said she moved to Switzerland to get away from the bombing almost twenty years ago but never really felt at home. The culture is so different she explained. I could defnately sympathize with her and was able to pray for her in this area. God is so good and it is amazing to work and live exactly where he has placed me to be!
Friday, July 8, 2016
It has been almost a year since I started with OM at the middle of last August. There has been many exciting adventures, times of great change, difficulty and unexpected surprises. As many of you know this is just a normal life with Christ. Times of growth, change and new perspectives as you grow closer to Christ with every day. Over all my year has been very positive. I have really enjoyed it and God has done great things in my life. I have been a little sad lately because this wonderful time is slowly coming to a close. I have had to say good bye to some good friends and will continue to do so in the weeks ahead. This week we are going hiking as a team. It will be the last day we will be all together as some of us are on vacation and then one of our team is leaving at the end of July. I am in the process of completing many of the ministries that I have invested my heart in over this year which means saying good bye to many new friends. Please pray for this transition time. My mind knows that the end is near but my heart is still so invested here. I never knew that I could love a place so much as I have grown to love this community that I have been in this year.
Friday, July 1, 2016
Every person is important in the world. The reality is we cannot help everyone and some people think why try to help any if we can probably never solve the problem. In our world one of the biggest problems is slavery. Approximately 80 percent of these people enslaved are slaves of human trafficking. The estimate for the number of people who are enslaved in the world is between 20 and 30 million people. The majority of these are women. Last night I had the opportunity to go with an organization called Global Act in Zurich to go and bring a little bit of hope to a few off these women. We went to a place not too far from where I live where women will stand around a traffic circle while men will pick which one he wants. Then they go into a box with their car and receive the services she has to offer. Even though this is absolutely horrible to think about and even worse to look into these women`s faces or at the men who are leaving. The city of Zurich has tried to make this problem as safe as possible for these women. Men use to pick up the women and go anywhere with no protection for these girls. Now they have to stay on the property where there is security, help buttons for them if they are threatened and social workers to help them. Last night we picked up some really good food from a restaurant and brought it to the ladies. Unfortunately because it is a government run center we are not allowed to talk to the women about Christ but we are there to serve not only the women but bring hope to the social workers as well. I truly believe that God can work in this as well. You can even see it with the women. I was told that they were skeptical at first with Global Act but what I saw last night was that they knew why we were there. One girl saw us and she called the others. Soon they were all sitting at the table enjoying the meal like a supporting community with each other. Please pray that this ministry would continue, that God would be working on the hearts of all the people involved and that new doors would be opened for people serving in this area.
Monday, June 27, 2016
This week I was working with the preteen girls in the area. As usual they had a lot of fun, enjoyed the one to one attention and this week learnt some new skills in baking. This week was a major stepping stone for one girl in particular though. Even though she has been attending regularly when it comes to the devotion or teaching before this week it was obvious that she was trying not to listen. She would role her eyes, interrupt or not contribute to the conversation. This girl comes from a culture that is taught not to listen to anything outside of her religion which is Hinduism. This week though I started to share about how much God loves his people. I asked have you ever felt so loved that you felt so much joy or cried from joy? This girl was totally engaged telling stories and listening to others stories. She was attentive right until the end even when talking about God and reading scripture. This was a big step for this girl. She is starting to open up to meeting the one true God. Please continue to pray for her and for all the other girls that these messages will transform their lives.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Normally I do not talk about life outside of my work in the ministry but a large part of my life here in Switzerland is being involved in an international community. Daily I am involved in a team that is from three different nations. I go to a church that is international and almost everyone comes from somewhere else or has international experiences. Also I have settled into a really great young adults group that is from all over the world. It has become a normal part of life to talk in several languages, to try to understand other cultures, ways of communication or living. Trying new food, learning new dances, talking about complex situations with many different experiences and world views. It really has challenged me to think outside of my world view and to consider what I think is normal may not to be normal or natural for others. I have been taught to think and listen with understanding and not to take things personal if things are not done as I would do them. It really has made me think over and over again what is good or bad, what is cultural or truth. My time here has shown me that things are not always clear. They are not usually in black and white but in many shades of grey. I have really had to seek God and his truth, to help to understand even myself better through this. It can be very challenging but honestly one of my greatest joys in life. This past weekend I went on a camping trip with some friends. There were seven people that went. We came from seven different countries, from four continents and from five different first language groups. We had a lot of fun but as always different people with different perspectives can bring challenges. We joked around a lot, helped each other setting up camp and hiking very steep mountains and above else loved each other. We played campfire games and had very deep discussions such as does the bible tell us to love ourselves? What does this mean and how can we love others if we do not love ourselves? I have never experienced such a complex but wonderful community where at the end of the day no matter all the road blocks God is so good to bless deep meaningful community.