Sunday, November 18, 2007

Undeserved Blessings

This past week God taught me a lot about His goodness and His amazing ability to come through in need (again!). This time, however, it was in a context of particular unworthiness on my part.

I bought a new bike this summer that I absolutely LOVE. The picture above IS my bike. Sweet ride, huh? I ride it almost every day between City and East campus. This has been a fun adventure to see how fast I can make the commute and has been an very enjoyable time, allowing me to spend time outside that I never would have had I driven or ridden the bus this whole time. It has also been about my only source of exercise all semester.

Since it has been getting a little colder, I've gotten lazy and started driving instead of biking. This is important because before Wednesday, November 14, I hadn't biked for about 5 days. This means that my poor bike was locked up all by itself (and a hoard of other college students' bikes) outside my building for five days. But this particular morning I went to my bike to ride it to class. My breath caught in my chest as I went to remove my U-lock. My back wheel was gone.

It could have happened at any time during the past 5 days. And as I walked across campus to my class, I was livid. Who would steal my bike wheel? Why would they do such a horrid thing? Didn't they know that the bike BELONGED to someone, a real, live person? Needless to say, my faith in this foolish idea of "innate human goodness" was crushed (okay, okay, I don't believe in anything like the goodness of people- people are all utterly depraved apart from Christ- but at times one likes to think that people have a twinge of goodness in them, it makes being a social creature a little easier), and my morning and afternoon were nearly ruined. Also, due to my own sin, I was behaving particularly badly that day, which didn't help matters. I was pretty much a creep on Wednesday.

By evening, after mulling the situation over in conversation with my Abba, and after thinking about turning the other cheek, offering the cloak as well to a person who demands your tunic, and going two miles with the person who demands one mile from you, my attitude on the subject had changed from anger to sadness and wondering if it wouldn't have been right, had I been there when the person was preparing to steal my wheel, to offer to unlock the whole bike and hand it over. Of course I didn't LIKE the idea, but thought that it was probably a meet thing to do. I also had changed my view a little on the idea of possessions and what one truly owns, in light of the fact that you can't keep it. Yes, that's a bit extreme, but I was mentally on that topic because of what had happened.

As I went through the buffet line at CPN for dinner that night, Matthew who goes to my church was there working, and as he always does, asked me how my day had been. I told him that it had not been too good because I had discovered that I'd been robbed. He lamented that with me briefly while I was there in line, and then I moved on to go eat.

The next morning I received a phone call from him. He told me that he and two other men from the University Lutheran Chapel (my church) had been praying for me about my bike the previous evening, and they had decided that they wanted to fix it for me.

I couldn't believe that.

It is very difficult for me to accept the generosity of others for myself. So at first I hesitated, not wanting to make them do that, almost preferring to take care of it myself. But, after thinking about it for a while after our phone call, God showed me that it was good for me to let them do this for me. They had come to this conclusion while lifting me up in prayer, they are my brothers and they wanted to show an act of kindness and love to their Christian sister. So I agreed and took my mangled bike to the Chapel for them to fix. This was at 11:30 AM on Thursday.

I went about my day, going to lunch and class and so on. After I left my Biochem lab around 4:00, I saw that I had missed a phone call from Mark, one of the other men involved in taking care of my bike. He had called at 12:48 letting me know that my bike was fixed and that I could come pick it up at the Chapel at any time.

Wow! He had gotten it fixed in an hour and fifteen minutes! I rushed to the church, and there it was, two wheels and all!

I write this so that I may let you all know a couple of things. First, God is amazing. He worked in my brothers to do a wonderful thing to bless me in the midst of my disappointment. Second, God is amazing. He blesses us wonderfully beyond anything that we could ever "deserve." I was a pretty slimy person on Wednesday and Thursday, but God did a wonderful thing for me in spite of it. I have no merit before Him of my own, but only Christ's sacrifice for me and His blood covering me allow me to be worthy before my Father. And finally, God is amazing. He's got all kinds of good plans for not only me, but all people who love Him (Romans 8:28). I can't wait to see what He'll do next!

Monday, November 5, 2007

God has done it!

I did nothing.

God did it all.

In one week, God raised over $10,000 for His work in the Czech Republic. And all I have to do is go along on His great adventure and simply do what He gives me to do.

On October 9th, I suffered a massive blow: I was discouraged beyond any hope that God would provide for me to go serve Him as a missionary. But He showed me that by only being able to see the "impossibility" of the situation of having to raise all that support myself, that I was leaning on my own understanding and not trusting Him. He brought to my mind the words of Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

He began encouraging my heart with those words, and the following day, He provided that my pastor here in Lincoln and at home in Cordova began setting up appointments with me to speak to my congregations about my work that they might be able to raise support for me.

And here, less than a month later, before I have even spoken to half of the congregations that I have made appointments with, He has provided ALL of my support.

On Saturday, I learned that He had, in one week, provided $7,360. And then last night, I learned that He had provided the rest of it. God has called people to provide $10,000 for His work that He has prepared for me to do in the Czech Republic.


And so, in thanks, I speak to those who have supported me and will continue to do so with their prayers and their contributions with the words of Paul in his letter to the church in Philippi: "I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (Philippians 4:18-20)

Praise the Lord, for He is good, His mercy endures forever!

Let me tell you what God has done!

The following post is one that I wrote as a note on facebook, so it may not be new to some, but it still is very important and exciting to have on the blog documenting my missionary journey to the Czech Republic.

As many of you know, after I graduate in December, I will be going to the Czech Republic to be a missionary via World Mission, the mission support arm of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). The process of preparing myself to go has been going on since the middle of this summer, when God used my dear mom to speak wisdom to me about the use of my time after graduation.

Since the conversation with my mom this summer, God has been flinging doors wide open, one after another, to enable me to serve Him as a missionary. The latest door He opened before me was in the area of my financial support. No missionary goes to the field alone, but goes, sent by other Christians who have a heart for missions but do not have the blessing of the freedom from constraints that would allow them to go themselves. And so every missionary raises up a team of supporters who commit themselves to praying for the missionary and providing for the financial needs of the missionary's ministry.

On Saturday, November 3, my parents and I went to Mission Central, in Mapleton Iowa, where a former farmstead has been turned into a major headquarters for connecting missionaries from the LCMS with potential supporters from within the church body. Also at Mission Central on Saturday was a charter-bus load of Lutheran Christians from Holdrege and Arapahoe, Nebraska. They were there to learn about missions within the Synod and about how God has provided for the needs of Mission Central and all of the missionaries by calling people with means to provide for the needs.

Near the end of the day, the director of Mission Central, Gary Thies, formally introduced me to the group from Nebraska as a brand new missionary. He told them in brief about how God has been working to call me to His work in the Czech Republic. He also then told them that I had gotten in touch with him only a week and a half prior to that day and had told him that I had no idea how I was going raise the $10,000 that I needed in order to be able to go. As I sat in front of the Mission Central guests, Gary told them that he had called World Mission a week ago and discovered that I only had $55 in my support account. Then he told them that during the course of the previous week, he'd received phone calls from people from around Nebraska and Iowa, wanting to know if there was a brand new missionary who needed support and how could they help.

He was holding in his hands a manila folder as he told them this. At this point, he opened the folder and said that during the course of the week, God had called just a handful of people to provide $7,360 for my service to Him.

I wept. It was the first time that I had heard this. I could hardly believe it.

After I had recovered somewhat, and the female members of the group had had a chance to dry their eyes, Gary invited a number of them to come up and surround me and help commission me, in the style that Paul and Barnabas had been commissioned in Antioch (Acts 13:1-3), with the laying on of hands and prayers for me. After I had been commissioned, Gary, as well as many of the guests, took a few pictures of the group of us in the front of the room.

Since then, I have been completely amazed by our big God. I do not know a single one of the people who provided for that $7,360. Not one. God raised three-quarters of my money in a week from people I didn't even know.

If you would like to know more about my service as a missionary, there are several places you can go to check that out. First, you can call me (402.417.5254) or email me (, or facebook me (duh). Second, you can check out my information on the LCMS World Mission web page: , . Finally, you can continue to check out this blog. I will greatly appreciate your prayer support during this time of my mission work, as I prepare and while I'm serving God in the Czech Republic.

"You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8