myMISSION Blog

Making Friends

Holding a baby that could easily be a Gerber model, Jill and I struck up a conversation next to our apartment pool. Obviously, the blue-eyed doll she held was the conversation starter, but we talked for a while after about her life and family.

As we talked, Jill told me, “You know, I have never really met any of my neighbors here before,” referring to the apartment community she has lived in for the last 3 years.

My heart soared when she said this, because this is exactly what my husband and I have prayed for in the apartment God has placed us in. That community will flourish and we will have opportunities to share Jesus.

With her confession, I responded, “Well now you know at least one person. We should go for walks sometime.”

There is something about being pursued in friendship as an adult. It’s as if once we all moved past school where we were in a place with a lot of people going the same direction as us, we lost track of how to bridge the divide and make friends with strangers.

Lifestyle of Learning

Have you ever had to reteach yourself how to ride a bike? Probably not. Once you have learned how to ride a bike, you likely have learned it for life.

On the other hand, some things in life require continuing education. For example, my New Year’s resolution was to listen to something in Spanish every day. I have taken Spanish in school for several years, and over time I have greatly improved!

Even though I enjoy learning the language and continue to practice, I know that I will always have room to learn more. I will never say, “I’m done! I understand all the Spanish in the world and don’t need to study anymore.”

Learning about missions is more like my lifelong attempt to learn another language. The learning shouldn’t stop. Our world is constantly changing, and studying missions helps us understand how we can best minister to unbelievers.

“And” Discipleship

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’” (Mark 8:34 NIV).

For the last two years, WMU has focused on Mark 8:34 and the theme All For You: Surrender, Sacrifice, Service. This theme has been a call to all believers to obey Jesus’ radical call to obedience and discipleship.

In Mark 8:34, there are three distinct actions which are reflected in the WMU emphasis. This theme has challenged me to learn that it is not enough to take only one or two of these actions.

In this stage of life, it’s easy to want to do more in the community. Too often I say “yes” to a service opportunity before I truly surrender my will to the Lord.

Sometimes I deny myself halfway, but refuse to take up my cross.

Other times I am tempted to go to the other extreme, surrendering my will, sacrificing my plans, but failing to offer my hands in service.

Love, Laughter, and Lemonade

Invite your friends and their friends to join you for an evening full of laughter and fun. Summer is a perfect time to enjoy our friendships with other women and to build new relationships.

Who? This event is for all women! Focus on inviting nonbelievers and/or unchurched to this casual, nonthreatening get-together.

What? An evening brimming with humorous skits, stand-up comedy, riotous punch lines, and smiles all around.

When? Promote the event through social media as well as other means.

Why? Laughter is beneficial to our health. It can improve our attitudes and relieve stress. Summer offers opportunities for casual interaction and an event filled with humor may attract your unchurched friends.

Refocus Every Day

Has God ever had to refocus your life?

When I first got married I went through a period of massive insecurity. I was more concerned about my appearance than when we were dating. The more gentle and loving my husband was, the more terrible I felt. Every mistake I made bothered me twice as much, and every good thing I did only counted half as much. I had big dreams of being an “excellent wife.” I tried, but I couldn’t seem to get it right. I berated and belittled myself for not being good enough. I pleaded for God to show me what to do.

God didn’t turn me into the excellent wife I wanted to be.

Instead, He reminded me that my identity had not changed. I am still His daughter first of all. My situation had changed, but I hadn’t changed in the most fundamental way. I was so concerned with being a good wife that I took my eyes off my real goal. With the wrong goal in sight, nothing goes right.

Prone To Wander

I like to take pictures of my children. Since I have a smartphone, this task has become easier than ever before. Whenever my children are doing something funny or cute, I quickly whip out my phone, open the camera app and snap. In fact, at the time of this writing, I have 2,622 pictures on my camera roll in my phone. Clearly, I like pictures of my children. And since I like to capture these moments, nothing is more frustrating than when I aim my camera, ready to snap, only for the image to soften and lose focus. Suddenly, I’m tapping the screen, trying to refocus the image. Inevitably, by the time I get the camera refocused, the moment is gone. I’ve missed an opportunity.

Sometimes, this happens in our spiritual lives as well. We can lose focus on God’s purpose for our lives through distraction or waywardness, and we can miss out on divine opportunities if we don’t refocus. Let me give an example from my life to demonstrate.

In the Stillness

“Be still and know that I am God,” seems to be a common verse from Psalms that Christians say or hang on their walls within their homes.

We try to remind our hearts to be still and know He is God.

But do we do it?

I don’t know about you, but this does not come natural to my Type-A, constantly creating to-do lists personality. Now maybe you are a natural at it and easily find time of aloneness (and if so, please tell me your ways).

I imagine for the majority of us, stillness is not something we try to attain often in our lives. It seems like days, weeks, and months can go by within the routine and demands and then one day we wake up and realize we haven’t been still before God in quite some time. In fact, when was the last time we stopped to hear His voice?

In different seasons, I have had the privilege to have a slower schedule and bask in stillness before God. So my heart has tasted and knows the sweetness of listening to His still, small voice.

If the Shoe Fits

Have you ever considered using shoes to help your friends discover their niche in missions by finding “what fits” their interests, lifestyles, and abilities?

God intends for each of us to find a place of service. Plan a gathering that focuses on learning about local missions opportunities as well as overseas missions efforts.

Step-by-Step To-Do List for an “If the Shoe Fits” Affair

• Publicize your event; ask women to wear a pair of shoes that best match their personality.

• Decide on a take-home gift or door prize that’s shoe related.

• Set up displays featuring local ministries or outreach events and create a display of shoes to match each. (Example: Display white tennis shoes for a healthcare ministry, children’s shoes for ministry to schools, or boots for a disaster relief ministry.)

• If your church has a missions trip planned, create a display with a map and a list of items the team will need.

• Preselect three women to briefly share about their involvement in various local ministries or missions efforts.

 

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The Least Likely Listener

In high school, I was part of the Vacation Bible School team during my church’s missions trip to Latvia. In America, I could do VBS backward, forward, and practically in my sleep. However, I didn’t know how VBS would work in another country since the children spoke a different language and we had to use a translator.

I could tell so many stories from that trip, but I’ll tell you about Olaf. Olaf was the cutest kid there ever was. He was three years old—really too young for our VBS camp—and he was a mess. He could ransack an entire classroom in less than a minute, and he loved to wrestle with anyone and everyone.

We quickly realized that we needed someone on “Olaf duty” almost all the time. We kept Olaf with the other children as long as possible, but if he became too distracting, we had to take him to a separate room.

Although we loved this adorable child, he did present a barrier to the effectiveness of our VBS “system.” Was he even old enough to understand what was going on?

So Far, So Good?

How’s your summer so far?

So far, I’ve had a picnic, seen a movie, slept in at least once, and hung out with friends. Thankfully, I love my job so I actually enjoy going to work, but I love getting off work as well to step into nature for at least a bit before dinner.

And then there’s the trip planning. Guess where I went? I was able to share about myMISSION at the WMU Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration in St. Louis, Missouri. What an amazing opportunity! So many things were going on—evangelism and service opportunities in the city, reports from all the missions agencies, connections with friends both new and old, fun food to try, and different sessions to hear more about missions. We prayed and worshipped together, attended breakout sessions for different age groups, and found out about opportunities to jump into all year long. I loved getting to talk with people about where God is leading them and what missions opportunities they are seeking. We are celebrating all that God is doing in our world.

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