Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter this year

I want to begin by telling everyone thank you that had any part of preparing for Easter at Crossroads.

Those who developed and created the concept of 'the frame'; our amazing musicians and vocalists; talented technical teams hidden behind sound and lighting boards and in the video booth; the brave people that shared their story so others could 'hang up' their sin struggles; the friends that came and hung up 4,000 cards and laid down pens and 4,000 more cards under chairs; the delicious food lovingly prepared and donated so all the people serving 2 services on Saturday didn't have to worry about eating ahead of time; a creative Pastor interested in developing the message to support a different way of telling the precious Easter story; volunteers instructing attendees where to go and what to do inside the building and outside; volunteers cleaning between services trying to make everyone's experience excellent; and an amazing children's staff and volunteers giving up their seats to care for children and make sure they also had a excellent God-filled experience with us.

I wanted you all to know that all of your work was rewarded by multiple people who accepted Jesus and will spend eternity with you in heaven - so thank you for all the work that went into this past weekend by all of you!  Praise Him!!!

Staff taking time out from programming to add higher
legs to our runway!

Arnie and Ron getting the new screen in place.

Precious friends serving and making my life easier!

No one has an excuse not to serve, even a 1 year old
helped me carry our newly painted frames into Crossroads!
Long before our services come together - the design work happens!
We're always working on the 'next thing' in the middle of current projects.

Pastor Dave did an outstanding job explaining the real meaning of Easter and what it means to each of us!


I loved this song withe Biblical footage - way to go Kym!

Amazing praise team.

Tammy was such a brave girl to share her story - other people are already talking
to her about their own experiences with abuse!

My amazing new friends backstage with me, waiting to tell their stories.
These people are some of our Celebrate Recovery service leaders each Friday night such strong
people willing to face their struggles and put God first in their lives!

The drum feature was a hit!

Everyone's cards were private and completely unknown to us who wrote what
but as I removed the cards from one of the services, I remembered that
I saw a very small boy lifted up by his mom hang a card in this area of the room.
I assumed this was his card based on the spelling of 'anger'.  THIS was my
favorite card - precious!

Our Children's ministry is so amazing - and Jeanette Chase made these
among many other cute treats for our Children's workers!
Darren - our faithful drummer extraordinaire!

In the middle of any project we still try to make room for family time!

egg making at Grandmas



















Easter morning before attending church.

Neighborhood park!

Sunday afternoon Easter egg hunt at Grandma Gatton's

Something from the Children's Ministry that turns tongues blue!

Birthday celebration a must!

Mother and Daughter enjoying the party!
It's interesting how personally our families' frames have changed this year...no new pictures to frame of my dad goofing around with great-grandbabies and posing with us kids as well as other unexpected changes.

Time changes what's in the frames in our homes but even more important than any of that is what Pastor Dave challenged us with, what are we holding on to in our lives?  What's in the frame of our lives?  Is Christ the center of our personal portrait?  An on-going challenge for sure not just at Easter but an everyday challenge.




Saturday, March 4, 2017

far away

You would think when returning from an amazing missions trip like I just finished in Cambodia that I'd be all fired up for Jesus and writing like a maniac about His goodness..

But I must confess, I haven't been able to recognize His goodness very easily due to focussing on things outside my control that cause me to worry instead of trust.  The far away means I've stepped away or chosen to focus on what is not within my power to change.  When we feel God is far away it's us that creates that distance.  And instead of seeing the amazing ways He's providing...

I looked again at MY loss.  Which in no way compares to others around me.

I miss people that are gone due to sin.

Several people asked me how I was doing this week and my response was, "I'm not sure".  That was the truth - the fatigue I felt from travel combined with the sadness made me not want to do anything  beyond completing what needed to be done and sleeping.  And not sleeping well.

But the past couple of days I've again walked back into God's closeness and mercy and grace and He's re-opened my eyes to what the fire is already producing.  The good so far outweighs the bad.

It may not look like I want it to look but as He promises it's even better, even deeper, even more real then the made up reality we sometimes live in.  The things we settle for here have to grieve Him so deeply.  The ways we choose to live, things we find our happiness in, all so temporary and gone like vapor - His grace is eternal and surrounds me!

I cannot wait to sit and worship and take a step back into being surrounded by my brothers and sisters in Christ this weekend.

I've been listening to Kari Jobe's newest album today "The Garden"...it's so uplifting and encouraging - right now as I write I'm listening the song "I will sing" - you really need to listen to it.

I Will Sing

Here are some of the lyrics:
Lord, You seem so far away
A million miles or more, it feels today
And though I haven't lost my faith
I must confess right now
That it's hard for me to pray
But I don't know what to say
And I don't know where to start
But as You give the grace
With all that's in my heart
I will sing, yes, I will praise, even in my darkest hour
Through the sorrow and the pain
I will sing, I will praise, lift my hands to honor You
Because Your word is true, I will sing
It's been a really good day, and I can say the next time someone asks 'how are you' that I can say "I Am Fine!" 
(in Him)!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

worshipping

Cambodia is a very lost country trying to recover from untold evil and is such an example of what I mentioned earlier - people that understand their need to worship, but just don't know our Lord.

As I stood on my balcony this morning overlooking a couple of shops across the road from our hotel, I could hear the pointless, repetitive, endless chanting of a lost culture seeking their gods.


video

The sadness nearly overwhelmed me realizing there would never be a god response to their worship.

What more can be done to tell even more of the lost how to know the only true God?  It's the reason we continue to come.

In complete contrast we got to worship the true God!
And it was beautiful!

video

Students get selected to be part of the praise team and work very hard to lead the congregation.  Just listen to how loudly the children and their home parents sing!  I would give anything for everyone at Crossroads to abandon whatever it is that holds them back from worshipping their precious Lord! Whether we realize it or not, we've been rescued from just as horrible an existence as these children have been when we walked away from sin and received God's eternal forgiveness!

I watched with great pride and thankfulness as my hubby was invited to give the message today - teaching on what our response should be when bad things happen.

And then he got asked to dedicate BB3's first grand-baby, little Jess!  Talk about an honor!

This is proud Grandpa and Grandma - Savy and Sem with momma Channa

Pastor Savorn and Ron dedicated this new little one to the Lord!
As worship ended, we found out that while we poured our hearts out to the Lord and loved the children surrounding us, someone was stealing BB7's brand new shirts we brought over for them, from the clothesline.  This caused us great sorrow and made all of us determined to pray for the funds to build them a wall that would keep them safe from the outside world!

It also gave us an immediate opportunity to apply what Ron had taught us!

One of our final days here is drawing to a close and I am so very grateful once again to have had the honor to serve these amazing people and pray that our team's sacrifice to come will have lasting impact for the kingdom of God!




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

the village

Yesterday we had an amazing opportunity.

You know us Americans - always trying to feel like we've 'saved the world'! That isn't how it works in Cambodia.

Our part to play is partnering with the Asia's Hope amazing staff. The indigenous people are FAR more affective in reaching their country for the Lord then we will ever be.

Yesterday was a prime example of us supporting the staff as we went to a very poor area where the chief brought together the most poor of 3 individual little villages. He was kind of like the mayor of that area.

When we arrived the people were patiently waiting. Some sitting in the hot sun. Children behaving as I've never seen before.

First the Asia's Hope kids danced for them - the words to the songs they had chosen truly telling the story of Jesus. And then they heard the message of salvation from Ron and Savorn.

And from what we could tell, people responded. So powerful!

We then got to serve them with a small amount of money for each family, a small amount to us - which equaled 2 days wages - significant to them. I was impressed again watching the organizational skills of the Asia's Hope leaders having each person's name on an envelope - knowing exactly who was included so that there was no 'extras' wondering in.

We then opened suitcases revealing toys, clothing and candy for the kids. And the fun began!



This beautiful lady and I kept locking eyes - I wanted to know her so badly


So far, this is my favorite picture. I found myself fascinated by this man.

I'm not sure what it was that I found so intriguing about this man? I wanted to know his story, if he had a family or was alone, will I spend eternity with him - a brother in Christ?

Below are the faces of grateful people receiving their gifts.











generous toy and clothing contributuions

























One of my favorite team mates serving this beautiful lady!

How can I return to such wealth compared to the rest of the world? Why has God poured out His blessings on us?

Surely our over abundance of physical blessings must come with accountability, with Godly expectations and responsibilities?

Lord help me to know what is required of me!

Monday, February 13, 2017

what I have seen

It's impossible to describe all that we've seen here in Cambodia, the best I can do is to show you some of what I have seen.
A simple lively-hood

Motos everywhere with entire families on one

overloaded electrical

A very sad life-long pursuit of a false god

Despite the poverty - the same beautiful sun that we see back home sets each night

Faithful giving from ministries around the world provides more new homes

Thank you Crossroads for giving to the clean water project here in Cambodia!
This is a new water tower purchased with your generous gifts!
Today we visit 3 of the most poor villages in the area - and only the most desperate people get invited to join us...I wish you all could experience this.

It changes you, it lets you see how blessed beyond measure we are back home.



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

an odd day so far

This morning was quite odd.

I had no focus.

I accomplished a few things, nothing note-worthy, but just had this great un-focus.  Maybe it's the lack of focus that comes when you have so many things that need to happen that you freeze instead of choose?  So I decided to do easy things.

A load of laundry.
I cleaned my refrigerator.
Fed the birds.
Made poached eggs.

And finally, I read Matthew 1, my Bible chapter for the day.  There I found myself reading the genealogy that lead to the birth of Christ.

Once again I marveled at their faith.  Becoming pregnant without 'knowing' a man.  Realizing she was carrying the promised Messiah.

It is completely impossibly to read God's Word and not be affected or not to re-gain heaven focus.

So today AGAIN, I submit to Him, I turn my cares over to Him, I trust Him.

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

Powerful.

Philippians 4:13.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

sad

Earlier today, as I was preparing to iron, I decided to flip through the tv channels - having no idea outside of HGTV what is even on tv on Saturday.

As I began to linger just long enough on each channel to allow the commercial to end, and get an idea of what was on, I started to see things that moved me to tears.

First I saw a glimpse of one of the movies about slavery, turning the show on right as a slave girl was being beaten - I turned it quickly but it was terribly realistic as she begged her 'master' not to hurt her. Next I saw a news report showing violent protests about something and moved on to see horrible models scantly clothed - parading around as if they didn't have an once of self-respect.  I next saw a commercial about a horrible new show coming out soon that further promotes the acceptance of any kind of sexual sin people choose to participate in.

I stood crying in my bedroom - telling the Lord how sorry I was about how sinful our society has become.

I understand I lead a sheltered life in some people's minds, working for the church, surrounded by people that love the Lord.

But I have never been more committed to remain 'sheltered' from the world.

I long to walk righteously before the Lord.  Not with a spirit of criticizing those struggling around me, but with a new determination to try to help those I have contact with to realize what we see on tv, what we watch the world pursue is empty and leads to eternal destruction.

A lady told me recently, "I want what you have", and the responsibility connected to that statement still weighs heavy on my heart.  I cannot handle that kind of watchful expectancy alone and have poured my heart out to my Savior his week and again today, to the only hope this world has, and the only hope this world needs.

'Lord protect my mind, reveal foolish desires that lead me away from you in any way..."

Join me please in sincere focus on heavenly things and not the fleeting folly of our world.