Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mis Chicas Ceron

I'd like to introduce you officially to three special girls in my life. They are Belen, Jacinta, and Amanda Ceron. My pastor Cristobal and his wife Ale have been probably one of the biggest blessings in my life here in Chile. They have completely taken me into their family and loved me as one of their own. I'm something of a little sister to them, and hence something of an aunt to the girls. I spend whole days with the family and even stay the night sometimes. Of course this leads to every time I go over to their house the girls ask if I am going to spend the night. And when I do, they make my bed in Cris' office, complete with Barbie sheets and all. 
Tonight is one of those nights. So in honor of getting to spend time with my favorite little girls, I thought I'd post some pics of our last time together. 

Amanda is 2 and absolutely a doll. I can't help but attack her with kisses when I see her.


Last time I stayed with the girls I told them that we were going to have a time silently reading in bed. While they read, I snuck some pictures. 









Belen is the oldest. A solid 6 years old. She is sweet and shy and loves art.



Jacinta, who goes by Jachu (pronounced "Ha-chu" is 4 years old. She is loud and fearless and passionate.



They all sat in their beds for a good 40 mins reading books. I was so impressed! Even little Amanda sat in her crib and silently looked at books.




All three girls are so unique and special. And I know that it can be hard to be the pastor's kid. But my prayer for them is that they grow up knowing that God loves them for who He created them to be. Not just the pastor's daughter, but His own special creation.

And I am so excited that I get to see them grow up! I look forward to seeing them get into school, graduate from school, become strong women who love Jesus.









What amazing girls!

lawyers, computers, and hospitals- oh my!

It's been a great and challenging week.

As many of you know, my church, ISA, is taking me on as part time staff. Last year I somehow managed to work more than any sane person should, and the Lord provided sanity most of the time, and tissues when my sanity broke and I needed a good cry.
But 2013 is going to be different. Starting Feb 1st I will be working two days a week as a woman's pastor with ISA. Another day a week, I will be coordinating a pastoral apprenticeship program in the Anglican Church of Chile. And then of course, my half time job with Fundacion Generacion. It will be an interesting and exciting year!
I'm in the time of transition now between English teaching and taking on full time ministry. And I'm loving it. My job with ISA is primarily discipleship with the women, overall leadership as part of the pastoral team, and putting some administrative order into the church. Really, it's a dream come true.
In the last few weeks I've had the chance to really serve my church. There have been numerous conversations with women, pouring our hearts out over coffee and digging deep in the bible together. I've been able to accompany one family in the birth of a son, and another family in the death of their father. This week in particular, is the week of surgeries. We are a small church still, around 60 people, but this week there were three surgeries. I got the chance to visit a few of the women who had surgeries this week as they recovered in the hospital. To pray for them, encourage them, just be there for them. It's been a week full of sweet moments with these women.

But life still goes on and there are always logistics to deal with. This week, the charger for my computer broke. Thankfully it's still covered under the warranty and I just had to leave it with the tech guys for a few days. This meant I had to use one of my old computers for working. And let me tell you, these computers are so slow, SO slow, that I know they can only be an agent of God to grow me in patience. But again, God provided.

And finally, some exciting news. I am trying to buy an apartment! Yeap. Here in my sweet neighborhood of Lastarria, right in the heart of Santiago, Chile. It's not surprising to me or my closest friends and family since they know how much I love this area and that I am very serious about staying here long term. But it's funny when I tell my chilean friends. They all look at me surprised and say, "Wow, so you really want to stay here!" Umm... yes. I'm pretty sure I've told them plenty of times in the last two years that I am planning on being here long term. But evidently I have to buy property in order to prove it.
It's a little complicated for me to buy, long story. But God has blessed me with incredible contacts who are helping me along the way. I know so many lawyers here and one of them just happens to specialize in the exact area that I need counsel in. And each step of this process has been a testimony to God's good and perfect timing. I've been incredibly blessed to see my family come around me and support me in this process. Really, there aren't words to describe how incredible it has been to trust God in this process and see Him provide for each step along the way.
So we'll see. I really hope to have news for you all soon!

And that's it for now. A long, sweet, challenging week.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Prodigals

I sat across from her, praying for wisdom. She told me about her life, full of "delights" and "fun times". But she was miserable. I could see it in her eyes and hear it in her voice. My own heart full of sadness that my friend was looking for her joy and personal value in all the wrong places.
She had been wrestling with apathy in her relationship with God and was losing. In my times praying for her in the past, I had realized that she was a prodigal son, and I was an older brother. But instead of acting like the older brother in the story, I wanted to respond well. I wanted to respond the way the Father does. "While (the younger son) was still far off, the father went out to greet him". There is nothing but love and forgiveness in the heart of the father. So I had been praying that my own heart would reflect that of the Father.
When it was my time to respond, I sat there silently for a minute, wondering what I should say. I asked my friend what she believed. She listed a bunch of theological statements but finished with a "but I don't feel it." She explained that she didn't want to go through the actions for religious purposes. That if her heart wasn't in the action, then she shouldn't do it, right?
Glad for all the painful moments God had taken me through, my own deserts, I explained to my friend that there is a difference between going through the actions just for religion's sake and acting in faith although you might not feel it. The first, actions just to say you can completed your religious duties, just leads to self-righteousness. But the second, the harder one, takes a mind over matter kind of determination. It's when you say, I know that this is true. So I will act accordingly, even though I might not really feel like it's true.
As weak willed beings, we often don't feel like obeying. We don't feel like giving up our idols to have Jesus is really worth it. But that is exactly what faith is. Faith is living out what you believe, even when you don't feel it.
And so we pray that God would make us men and women of faith, of consequence, of Him.