Monday, April 25, 2011

The Necklace

Last week one of my co-workers said, “I didn’t know you were involved in the church.” My first reaction was, “What made you think this?” (Yeah, yeah I know, sad, but follow me for a minute). I mean, we were in the middle of trying to get our bleach tanker to work. We were beating and banging and scratching our heads. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. We weren’t having any kind of conversation other than “hand me that hose” or “try it again.” He just said this out of the blue! I answered his question and we moved on.

It wasn’t until I headed home that it really hit me. As I thought more about our time together I was most taken back by the fact that we’ve spent two years together and this is the first time he’s felt compelled to ask me this question. But, before I dwell on this I first want to touch on what led him to ask me this question. Trust me, I spent three days racking my brain trying to figure out what I said or did to lead him to ask me this question. I know, sad, right? More on this later as well! Anyhow, it finally hit me. He’s a strong Catholic. While we were working on the tanker my St. Christopher necklace was revealed (Please, nobody tell OSHA). This necklace was a gift from a friend years ago when Kacee and I moved to Romania. Honestly, I don’t wear the necklace for protection. It has an entirely different meaning for me. I look at it as a symbol of the support we received from so many friends and family members while living overseas. I keep wearing it as a reminder that when we live in concert with God’s will, and family and friends support us, all things are possible.

What a relief I felt to finally realize why my colleague asked me this question. Or at least I thought it was a relief! Once I knew how he knew I had to live with myself for allowing a necklace to do my talking. How sad that my actions never gave away my faith, but rather a necklace. Oh how hard we work to keep our cover. And why? Are we embarrassed? Are we afraid we may do something to push them away? What if they don’t accept us? What if they don’t copy us on the office gossip? What if they don’t send us the dirty jokes? I’ll be honest and transparent. I have had, and still have, many of these fears. I want to fit in. I want to be liked. I mean come on Facebook doesn’t have a Dislike button for a reason! Our greatest, my greatest, struggle is to be who He wants me to be, not who the world says we should be.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you go get a cross necklace. If you think we need to “wear” our faith then you are missing the point. After all, should a necklace, tattoo, shirt, or bumper sticker give away our faith? Shouldn’t the “words of our mouth and the attitudes of our heart” be the real indication? All too often our actions lead others to believe we are not Christian. We are more likely to push people away than we are to draw them to Christ. I want people to know, not assume that I’m a Christian by my actions not my attire, not even by what I say. It’s easy to say something. It’s much harder to prove something. Be encouraged, we ALL have a long way to go in this department. Aspire to new heights.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Give, Do, or Both?

The temptation for thousands of years has been to write a check, swipe a credit card, trade a chicken, or whatever method was used to pay for something, and let someone else do the mission work for us. Maybe this was due to a lack of resources. Maybe it was due to the lack of modern technology. Maybe it was due to a lack of transportation. Or, just maybe it was because they had more excuses than we do today. Whatever the reason, most Christians engaged beyond the borders of the US pre-twentieth century were missionaries. The 21st century has brought an entirely new approach. Short-term missions is all the buzz. Modern technology mixed with globalization and a renewed sense of call has led to a spike in the number of missionaries; if you consider a short-term mission trip participant a missionary. I do. And why not?

This shift still has not solved all our problems. The “harvest” is ready and the “workers” are still few. The temptation still exists to send someone else in our place. After all, God surely did not call ME to be a missionary. Or did he?

Look at what Jesus says in Luke 11:42, “What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”

We are all called to give. I don’t dispute that. But, we are also called to do. “Faith without deeds,” after-all “is useless.” If we truly cared we would want to BE His hands and feet, not just someone that SUPPORTS His hands and feet. We are all capable of doing something, don’t think for a second you are not capable or qualified.

The more important question is: “Are you willing?” Take the initiative to give 10% of everything you have, both your money and your time! Lucky for you, or us, I’ve got just the place you can do both! Red Page is always looking for donors, short-term trip participants, interns, and long-term servants. For more information look us up at Blessings.

Aspire to new heights.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Great Start

It is always fun to look back and see God’s hand at work. Last Saturday we held our mid-year Red Page board meeting. It was a great time to reflect on the last six months and dream about the next six months. I’m honored to have wonderful friends that have joined this mission in an effort to see the people of Romania restored to the place God intended.

On the way to Dallas I found myself dreaming about the future. When I chose to make a career change in September 2009 I had no idea what the future would hold. My prayer; “that God would bless the relationships I have developed and my love for Romania.” And boy has He ever! Pioneer Drive Baptist Church blessed me and the people of Romania last June in a way I can never describe. Their willingness to say “yes” paved the way for so many wonderful things yet to come.

Now we find ourselves up to our ears in work. Careful what you wish for! With one mission trip already in the books in January we have a busy summer with teams in May, June, July, and August. Plans are already underway for another trip in October. Just last week we kicked off the 2011 construction year with the drilling of a water well and the delivery of construction supplies. Our construction team is already hard at work and eager to be joined by our mission teams this summer.

Thank you for your prayers, support, and participation. May God continue to bless the people of Romania. We look forward to the continuation of a wonderful year. Aspire to new heights.

Making friends at Winter Camp 2011

The joy of weekly children's meetings

Ovidiu and Adina with RPM
Ministry Coordinator Shelby Felton

RPM/HOJ Social Worker Adina Petric

2011 Construction Season Begins!