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My Voice

Sometimes God teaches me lessons through tears. Sometimes I have to question the most basic of things to find the most profound truth. Yesterday was one of those times for me, and in many ways I am still in the middle of it.

My partner and I had a visit yesterday that we weren’t planning on having, and I threw together a lesson as we were in route to the house. Our contact that we were meeting with accepted Christ a couple weeks ago but is still struggling to leave alcohol behind amidst a myriad of problems that are happening in his life. I gave the lesson that I knew God had placed on my heart, and then my partner continued to share from her storehouse of experiences and those of her close friends how God has redeemed hopeless and impossible situations. She presented the hard truth to him in a very direct and convicting way, and I left the visit feeling very proud of my partner and at the same time very useless.

Sometimes it is hard having a partner with such an incredible testimony and the ability to share it in a way that simply rocks the world. God rescued me from a lot of things, but in a very different way than my partner, and I have yet to find a contact where my story speaks more than hers. This position with Extreme is really the first time that I have done anything with evangelism. In the past I always waited for other people to come to me, and I am finding myself in a lot of situations where I am called to speak on things that I have studied for my whole life but have never had to actually do. In those moments, my partner generally takes the reins and does an incredible job, and I feel like an observer much of the time. I was so discouraged coming back to the house yesterday, wondering what my place is. More importantly, I was wondering what my voice is. How do I speak into the lives of people if I grew up in a good home and never experienced any of the difficult struggles that our contacts are going through?

I found my cluster support mom Amanda in the kitchen and let it all out. She continued to pour truth into my life, reminding me that I can connect with people on the most basic levels: there have been times when I too have felt hopeless and all alone. There have been moments of deep darkness in my life, and even though it may not look the same as my contacts, the feeling is the connection. She reminded me that it is not nearly as important what experiences I bring to the table as it is WHO I bring to the table: JESUS. He is the hope they need, and I know Him intimately. How I speak to my contacts and how I connect with them will be vastly different than my partner, and that’s ok. There will be situations where I might not be the one to have a voice, but there will be times in my life when my partner will not be there and I will be called upon to speak. I must learn well. There will be times when the connection I have with someone will be what they need. She said, “Never underestimate the impact of a loving presence. It’s powerful.”

As I left that conversation, I kept the door open for God to speak into the situation and the things that He told me last night and this morning simply blew my mind. The story that God had brought for me to share at the visit resonated within my heart like an echo that grows stronger instead of weaker. It is the story of Moses’ calling in Exodus 3 and 4. God showed up in a burning bush and called Moses to lead a nation out of slavery. God called on him to confront a king and demand things that would not come easily. Moses threw every excuse and doubt he had at God and time after time God answered him. Moses was afraid, and felt like he was the worst possible choice for the job. Perhaps he was. He said to God, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though You have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” God replied to him, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

I have always identified with the story of Moses because I see so much of myself in him. I don’t know how many millions of times I have said, “But, God…” It doesn’t matter what the excuse is. I’m a realist. God is not.

God reminded me that, like the story of Esther that I shared a couple weeks ago, He has placed me here for this moment and for His purpose. I was created to be here, right now. Just like He spoke a hard truth to Moses at the burning bush, He says to me, “I made you exactly like you are and I have written your story…and they are perfect for my plan for your life. Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”

Yesterday I was so consumed with finding my voice. I wanted to have my special place that only I could occupy, but I had lost sight of the ultimate truth: it is not about me, my comfort, or my influence. It is about Christ and His Kingdom. Whether I feel uncomfortable or useless at a visit is entirely irrelevant. What matters is that Christ is honored and glorified and that people are coming to know Him. God told me this morning, “Your voice is what I tell you to say. Speak when I tell you to speak, and be silent when I tell you to be silent. Your voice is your obedience to My instruction.”

I was overwhelmed this morning by all the responsibilities I have this week, and wondered how on earth I would do them well. Like Moses, I wanted so badly to say to God, “But I’m not very good with words…I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.” I speak all day, every day in Spanish and sometimes I wonder what on earth I am doing and saying. As I sat in God’s presence, I was reminded of this truth: “Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say. Your voice is your obedience to My instruction.” I realized that I am living a life of response, not initiation. There is not anything that can come into my life that has not passed through the hands of God first. There is nothing that catches Him by surprise. As long as my eyes are fixed on Him, I will have all the wisdom and words I need for any situation that will come. I will find all the strength I need. I may be stretched beyond what I think I can do, and called upon to act in ways that are far beyond what I think I am qualified for, but I will not break because of the One who holds me together. God’s voice thunders deep within my heart, “Now go! I have brought you here for such a time as this. This is your divine purpose: to be right here, right now. I will go with you. Now go!”

So I am learning to speak when God moves me to speak and to be silent when He tells me to be silent. I am learning that it is not my voice that is important, but rather it is His that people need to hear. I will never understand fully the reasons God does what He does or why He places me where He does, but that is not for me to know. It is mine to be obedient. It is mine to go with my eyes fixed on Christ. It is mine to live each moment remembering that I have everything I need to do His will. It is all for His glory, not mine. Jude 25 says, “All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.”

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¡Salvaciones!

¡Que increíble ha sido esta semana! Queremos tomar un momento para agradecer a cada persona y cada iglesia que ha estado orando por corazones abiertos en Ambato mientras compartimos el evangelio. Esta semana pasada hemos experimentado MUCHAS salvaciones (basicamente cada día) y muchas más puertas abiertas que probablemente van a resultar en salvaciones en el futuro.

“Esta semana pasada, mi compañera Nancy y yo hemos tenido la oportunidad de dar testimonio a ocho relaciones nuevas con Cristo, y cada uno tiene una historia increíble. Dios está cambiando los corazones de personas con debilidades físicas, luchas con alcoholismo, y personas que no querían nada con nosotras por ser cristianas en el principio. No podemos tomar ningún crédito por las puertas abiertas, y estamos muy conscientes del movimiento del Espíritu Santo en los corazones de nuestros contactos. Dios tiene planes increibles por la Iglesia Puerta Abierta en Ambato. Estoy honrada de ser parte de este plan.” – Chelsea Weber

Cada domingo veemos salvaciones y reconciliaciones. Este domingo pasado, un hombre se paró cerca de la entrada de la iglesia, miró adentro, y continuó en su camino. Chad Duerre le siguió por algúna distancia y le invitó al servicio. Él vino, escuchó a la Palabra de Dios, e hizo un compromiso de nuevo con Cristo. ¡Estas historias son los resultados de sus oraciones! ¡Este es nuestro Dios asombroso que tiene planes grandes y maravillosos pora la ciudad de Ambato!

Salvations!

What an incredible week this has been! We want to take a moment to thank every person and church who has been praying for open hearts in Ambato as we share the Gospel. This past week we have experienced MANY salvations (basically every day) and many more open doors that will hopefully lead to salvations in the future.

“This past week, my partner Nancy and I have had the opportunity to witness eight new relationships with Christ, and each one has an incredible story. God is changing the hearts of those with physical disabilities, struggles with alcoholism, and those who originally didn’t want anything to do with us. We cannot take any credit for the open doors, and we are more than aware of the Holy Spirit’s movement among our contacts. God has incredible things planned for the Puerta Abierta church in Ambato. I am so honored to be a part of it.” – Chelsea Weber

Every Sunday we see salvations and recommitments. This past Sunday, a man stopped by the entrance of the church, looked in, and continued down the sidewalk. Chad Duerre followed him for quite a distance and invited him to the service. He came in, heard the Word of God, and recommitted his life to Christ. This is what your prayers are doing! This is our amazing God who has such big and marvelous plans for the city of Ambato!

The Sweet Spot

This has been a week of fierce battle spiritually.  When I have experienced warfare in the past, it has generally lasted for a night or a couple hours, but for over a week there has been a constant set of attacks that have been relentless.  This time is different, however.  Satan has lost the battle for my life, and finally my heart knows it.  No matter what emotion or struggle that Satan has tried to launch at me, my resolve has stood firm through the power of Christ.  It has been one of the toughest things I have ever been through, but I know that God is strengthening me through it.

When I prayed yesterday about all that I was experiencing, God put a strong leading on my heart to be praying fervently for the six people that have accepted Christ in Nancy and I’s ministry this past week, but even more so for the three that accepted Him earlier.  Through this battle, God has opened my eyes to the ways that Satan is fighting for their souls.  It is so painful (and I feel like a parent) to watch them struggle in ways that I am sure they don’t understand.  Please continue to keep them in your prayers.

Satan has been attacking our team as a whole fiercely.  I have had several conversations with team members that have been struggling as well.  My friend CJ told me the other day when I was blindsided by an attack during the church service that when we are attacked, we often don’t feel like praying, but that is exactly what we should do.  It was from that statement that I came to understand the key to a place that I call, “The Sweet Spot,” and that is prayer.

When you are in the exact place where God wants you, you will be attacked.  When you are attacked, you have a decision to make:  pray or fall.  In the midst of all the attacks this week, I held my ground in Christ and claimed His victory, and God brought a blessing more unexpected and wonderful during my prayer time this morning than I could have ever asked for.  I found The Sweet Spot; a place where my heart met God’s heart and everything else melted away.  I could dream His dreams, feel His pain, rejoice with Him.  There are so many things that happened in that secret place that no other human could ever understand.  There are things that I can never tell.  However, there is a message that I so desperately want to share.

In the midst of the greatest attacks come the greatest revelations, and after the greatest attacks comes the greatest communion with God.  This “Sweet Spot” can only be experienced if you KEEP HOLDING ON.  Keep claiming victory, keep praising God…even when you don’t want to and even when it feels unnatural.  When you are going through a time of testing, spend MORE time with God than you ever have.  Seek Him MORE than you ever have, and know that the One within you is infinitely stronger than anything that is attacking you.

I don’t know what you are going through right now, but let me tell you that it is worth everything to enter that Sweet Spot with God.  Don’t let anything get you down or stand in your way.  God gives us the promise in Jeremiah 29:13 that if we seek Him with all of our hearts, we will find Him…and He is worth so much more than we will ever suffer.  When you are going through warfare, do whatever it takes to find Jesus.  Shut off every other desire or voice and, like an arrow, be driven solely to find Him.  If you do that, I guarantee that the blessing from God will be more than worth every moment of struggle.  Stand strong.  Be courageous.  Claim the victory that Christ has already won.  You are a child of God.  You are well-guarded and well-protected.  Walk in that.  Be an arrow aimed straight for the heart of God.  The Sweet Spot is there and Christ is waiting for you.

The Extreme Life – 40/40 Ministry

“Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom.  And He healed every kind of disease and illness.  When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask Him to send more workers into His fields.’” – Matthew 9:35-38

It has really been on my heart lately to write about what it is like to be a 40/40 missionary with Extreme Nazarene Ministries.  Recruiters do the best that they can do, but if they have never been in the position themselves, it is hard for them to explain to those they are trying to recruit exactly what it is they are signing up for.  It is also hard for new 40/40s to explain well to their sponsors what they will be doing.  For anyone who is considering missions as a career or believes that they have a calling to any length of missions, I would love to share with you my perspective and some of my experience.

What is a call to missions?

We are all called by God to be a part of His plan to make His Kingdom come alive on earth as it is in heaven.  Each one of us has a Divine purpose for our lives.  The calling to live and work internationally is one of these callings, but it is not for everyone.

Some, like me, have known of their calling since childhood.  Other missionaries would say, “I never saw myself doing this!” Each person’s story looks different, but there is one thing that is the same in every situation.  The closer a person draws to God, the stronger the passion grows.  In fact, it grows to the point where a decision has to be made:  obey God or not obey God.  My decision to join Extreme Nazarene Ministries was that simple.

I used to be so afraid of missing God’s calling, but then I came to understand more about God’s character.  Our God is love, and He is passionate about His people.  He is truth and He never changes.  More than anything, God does not hide from us.  The Bible makes it clear that if we ask for wisdom, He will gladly give it to us.  If we desire to know Him and we seek Him with all of our hearts, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).  When we seek to be transformed into His likeness, we will know His perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).  He desires that everyone would come to know Him and have a relationship with Him (1 Timothy 2:4).  God SO LOVED the world that He sent His Son to die for us (John 3:16).  God is passionate about the world, and He will not hide His plan from those He has called.  When God has a plan for your life, it will be impossible to miss if you are seeking Him with an open heart.  The answer may not always come the moment we desire it, but God’s timing is never early nor is it late.  When the assurance comes, there will be no question that the timing was precise.

Talk about the ultimate missionary.  Jesus left heaven and came to earth to tell us of God’s love.  He came and found us where we were and loved us before we cared anything about Him (Romans 5:8).  As missionaries, we have a unique opportunity to identify with Jesus in that way.  I may be a little biased, but I believe that being called to cross-cultural ministry is one of the greatest privileges that a follower of Christ can have.

What is Extreme Nazarene Ministries and what sets it apart?

Extreme Nazarene Ministries is an organization that works in partnership with and under the Church of the Nazarene and has the same purpose:  to make disciples.  There are other organizations that work to save people, and while this is important, focusing on this alone is a short-sighted vision.  Extreme seeks to develop leaders, who will develop leaders, who will develop leaders.  As missionaries with Extreme, we have the vision that everyone can be a leader in the Kingdom, and we walk with people from the moment we meet them to the moment that they become a disciple-maker.

We follow the Master’s Plan of ministry, which means that our model is based around Home Bible Studies and training leaders for long-term service.  We meet with people in their homes where it is more comfortable for them to invite friends and family to hear the Word of God.  In those studies, we identify people that are ready to accept the challenge of leadership and grow in this role and we begin to grow a relationship with them.  We invite them to an Encounter weekend, where they can shut off the demands of daily life and focus on the plan that God has for them.  After this, we take them through leadership classes for several months where they learn about who we are as Christians, and we work with them on a personal level in their relationship with Christ and teach them how to be a leader.  Like Jesus had disciples that experienced life with Him, our disciples spend time with us and learn from us and eventually they will do the same with others.

 

What does a 40/40 do?


Extreme has a very detailed explanation of what is involved in being a 40/40 on this website:  http://www.extremenazarene.org/FortyFortyOverview.aspx.

From the perspective of a 40/40 and summing it up in a nutshell, we follow the example of Jesus’ ministry in Luke 10 by going out two-by-two to do ministry.  Every 40/40 missionary has a partner (North Americans have a South American partner and vice versa).  We lead Bible Studies, we disciple people, we plan events, and so much more.  We also work as a team to plant a church.  We have a national pastor’s family that is in charge of the church and who signs a longer contract to stay after we leave, and we have a cluster support family from the United States that handles logistics and housing.  It is a system that actually works really well.

We have an endless list of possibilities as far as ways that we can reach people, and we can use our creativity and skills to make it happen.  A really cool thing about working on a team is that each person brings something unique to the table in their toolbox of talents.  I am an idea person, and I am always thinking about things we can do.  My partner Nancy is an implementation person, who can take an idea and think of the details of how to make it happen.  Some on the team will have skills in fixing things, others in writing choreography, others in administration, others in art…who knows who will be on your team?  It is exciting to see how you FIT in the group, and you will be amazed at how every person is divinely placed on your team.  Ultimately it is a picture of the Kingdom of God.  We were not called to save the world by ourselves.  We were called to do so together as the Body of Christ and through the power of God.  It is exciting to celebrate together the victories; like this past week, two of the guys on our team had their first home Bible study and everyone was saved!  Nancy and I had the opportunity to lead seven people to Christ in two days this past week.  It was a joy for the whole team to experience these things.  It is true that we have our moments of difficulties, and though living in close quarters with the same people we work with is a challenge, we recognize that we are a family and that we are all here for the same important purpose.  This keeps us respecting each other.  For some more insights on what it is like living and working in a team, see my blog titled “15 Mirrors”.

In my job, I have the opportunity to do everything that I love to do and so much more.  I can plan events, write about experiences, take lots of pictures, design web pages, talk to people about Jesus, play the piano at church, sing, play with kids, eat ice cream with people we are discipling (I love any excuse to eat ice cream, so I always suggest this), and I could continue forever with this list.  We are on the front lines of spiritual battle, and we all experience attacks.  However, together we fight these attacks, we push through, and we continue advancing the Kingdom of God.  No matter what, and at all times.

 

What are some challenges that you have experienced as a 40/40?

I heard a lot of things going into the field; that being a 40/40 would be the hardest thing that I have ever done and that I would never be the same.  I would have to say that those are the two biggest understatements of my life.  Being a 40/40 is, in my opinion, tough for three reasons:  the challenge of leadership, spiritual accountability, and spiritual warfare.

I grew up being a leader in the church.  I was on local and state missions and youth boards, and even traveled to South Africa as a representative for my country for the Church of the Nazarene.  I have had experience planning several different kinds of events and was always recognized as someone of leadership.  However, coming into the position of 40/40, I realized that I knew virtually nothing about leadership.  There is nothing like working 8-12 hours a day talking to people about Christ (leading them to Him and discipling them), directing Bible Studies, planning and running events, organizing and leading church services, keeping track of administration materials, keeping up with sponsors, and much, much more every week and sometimes every day.  40/40 ministry requires creativity and excellence.  It is the ultimate growth experience just to handle these aspects of ministry on top of living with a team and handling the dynamics of several levels of leadership above us and doing the best that we can do with what they give us.

Also, after the language school experience, we came together as a team and began to grow together spiritually.  Our team from the beginning made prayer the number one priority, and nearly everyone gets up at some point in the middle of the night or early morning to spend very focused time with God.  Many of our conversations are focused on how we are growing spiritually and what God is teaching us.  At any point during the day, I know that literally anyone on my team can ask me about my time with God.  I don’t seek Him because I know that someone will ask, but the fleeting doubts or excuses that come to mind as I come to my prayer time are easier to overcome when I know that I am among many people who are seeking God with just as much passion as I am.

Finally, being a 40/40 puts us on the front lines of spiritual warfare.  There is nothing that Satan hates more than God’s servants taking back His children from bondage into a place of salvation.  Every day we are sharing the simple truth about Christ:  that He came to earth, died, and rose again for each and every person on earth.  We are telling people that God has a big plan for their lives, and if they give their lives to Him, He will not only give them freedom but also freedom to those around them.  We are not only leading people to Christ one by one, but we are also teaching people how to lead others to Christ and to be change agents in their families, neighborhoods, and city.  I grew up with a strong understanding and experience with spiritual warfare, but nothing I had been through before coming to the field can compare to the level of warfare that I have experienced while being here.  However, nothing can compare to the level of blessing and outpouring of the Holy Spirit that I have seen on the field either.  One thing that spiritual warfare does for those of us who are leaders:  it gives us a choice.  We choose to either give in to the pressure and back down, or to claim God’s victory, even when emotions try to convince us otherwise, and experience the outpouring of God’s blessing in our personal lives and ministry.  We can choose to fall or we can choose seek God more than ever and rise to a level of intimacy with Him that we never imagined reaching.  Once someone has experienced the supernatural, it is impossible to ever be the same.

 

What are the challenges of having a partner?

My partner and I often refer to our relationship like a marriage.  We live together.  We do ministry together.  We often have our days off together.  There is rarely a time when we are not together, and when we are not with our partner, we are with someone else from the team.  That knowledge was terrifying to me going into the position because I grew up as an only child and am (well, used to be) very introverted.  While the specific challenges vary as much as there are unique individuals in the world, it is crazy to expect partnership to not be challenging at least a lot of the time.

Everyone going into a position with Extreme will have some experience with ministry, and also ideas of how ministry should be done.  Doing ministry with a partner requires great communication on expectations, a willingness to submit to the other’s ideas, and the ability to go with the flow.  It is also the convergence of two cultures, and both have to decide to see this as an advantage instead of a disadvantage.  As a North American, it is really easy to feel inferior to my partner and less able to handle the every day tasks of ministry because it is in her language and done in a different way than feels natural to me.  I have to remind myself every day that I need to be very brave and to always choose to step up and give it my best shot.  I have found that my “best” improves each time that I make that decision.  Ultimately, I believe that it has made me a better leader because of the extra effort this situation brings.

Also, working with a partner is in fact working with another human being who has feelings, preferences, history, and desires.  I grew up with a messy bedroom.  My partner greatly values organization, so I have had to learn to be more organized.  Everyone has good days and bad days, and no human being can meet every expectation.  Working with a partner full-time for two years means that we both see the good, the bad, and the ugly of each other whether we want to or not.  It is very humbling, challenging, and eye opening.  However, because I have been blessed with a partner that is willing to take the time to do things right and well in ministry and personal life, it has been one of the most enriching experiences I have ever had.  Perhaps everyone will walk away with a different experience or set of challenges.  However, if God has chosen you to be a 40/40, He has also chosen your partner, and you can trust Him to have picked the best for His Kingdom.

 

Why should I choose to be a 40/40?

If I had to make the choice to be a 40/40 all over again, I would ABSOLUTELY do it.  I wake up in the morning every single day excited to conquer the tasks and see what God will do.  Our job is super hard.  We work long hours.  We are tired A LOT.  However, as someone who is called to do mission work, it is a great place to prepare for future work while doing the most important work of all:  winning souls for Christ.

Think you might be called?  Feel free to talk to me, and I will answer any questions you might have!  I would love to encourage you in your calling.  My email is cweber@extremenazarene.org.

May God bless you as you follow Him!  2 Peter 1:3 says, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.  We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.”  He has given you everything you need to follow His calling and do His will.  NOW DO IT!

This Is War

What a crazy intense week we have had!  Spiritual warfare has always been something that I have been aware of, but there is a big difference between general battle with the enemy and hand-to-hand combat.  This week, Nancy and I have seen God move in powerful ways.  In two days we experienced the salvation of four of our contacts and had many more encouraging conversations that we pray will eventually lead to that point as well.  The Holy Spirit has moved us to be bold in our approach of the Gospel with people because God has prepared the hearts of people to hear.  People are ready, and Satan is ANGRY.

In light of all the great things God has been doing this week in Nancy and I’s ministry, we have been under heavy fire.  Satan has brought just about everything possible in an attempt to discourage and wound us, but he has not been successful.  Yesterday when I woke up for my devotional time, I was broadsided with a myriad of things from the accuser.  “You are useless.  Everyone else on your team is effective in their ministry, but you are just an observer.  You have no fruit.  You are doing everything you know to do and still not seeing results.  There is something internally wrong with you.”  He then continued to bring accusations, and I cried out to God.  I asked Him, “Is there something that is standing between You and me that would cause me to be ineffective?  Is there sin in my life?”  It was amazing to me that from three different places, God confirmed His presence in my life.  I opened my Bible to Psalm 26 and read the words:

“Declare me innocent, O Lord,

For I have acted with integrity;

I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.

Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me.

Test my motives and my heart.

For I am always aware of Your unfailing love,

And I have lived according to Your truth…

I wash my hands to declare my innocence.

I come to Your altar, O Lord,

Singing a song of thanksgiving

And telling of all Your wonders…

Now I stand on solid ground,

And I will publicly praise the Lord.”

Satan attacked harder.  I felt so heavy.  I opened up Jude and read these words from verses 24-25:

“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into His glorious presence without a single fault.  All glory to Him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord.  All glory, majesty, power, and authority are His before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time!  Amen.”

I heard in the song I was listening to at this precise moment declare, “FAULTLESS!” and I began to nearly wail as tears streamed down.  I went back to bed still struggling to tell my emotions the truth, but the seed had been planted in my heart.  When Nancy and I woke up later in the morning, I shared with her what happened, and we talked again about how intense this week has been with attacks.  I am so thankful to have a great partner who recognizes what is happening as well and that we can speak truth into each other’s lives when warfare happens.  There are so many times when she has held me up, and I hope that I have done the same for her.

During the day, I just became angry at Satan and everything he was trying to do.  I was angry at him for all the horrible things he says and does to God’s children.  I was angry at all the evil that he brings into the lives of so many people.  He started throwing fiery darts back to back to back.  As we were standing on the sidewalk waiting for the bus, I began rebuking him in the name of Jesus with my voice.  Ephesians 6:10-17 says:

“A final word:  Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.  For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.  For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

I can see how God has used every piece of this armor in the war that has been raging this week.  I needed truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God; I had all of these.  However, just like a soldier can have a loaded gun and never use it, we can have these things and not be armed and ready for war.  I had to choose to stand my ground.  I had to declare truth, pray for God to confirm His righteousness in my life, and decide to walk in peace.  I had to lift up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows and hold my head high, knowing that I was covered in God’s salvation.  Not only did I need to rebuke the devil, but I had to expose His plot and declare the Word of God.  2 Peter 1:3 says, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.  We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.”  We have everything we need; we must be ready to use it.  This is not boot camp; this is the real deal.  This is war.  This week, we invaded the devil’s camp and took four of his captives home.  It only makes sense that he would be angry.

In the power of God, and depending completely on His protection, I continue to declare to Satan:  “You have no place in my life.  You lost that battle forever.  You have no place in our ministry, in our church, or in our team.  We are covered by the blood of Jesus.  You cannot win here.”

God has been speaking to me this week about light and darkness.  He is light in the darkness.  I was in the car one night with our friend David and my partner Nancy and we drove by a mountain that was incredibly dark but was covered in city lights.  In the midst of deep sadness, God spoke to my heart, “Chelsea, you know that if light and darkness were to go into battle, light would win because light is stronger than darkness.  The same is true with my light.  I am stronger, and I am in you.  You are not defeated, and as long as you are standing strong with my light shining in you, you will never be defeated.  Lift up your head, for victory is yours.”  There’s a song by Hillsong that says, “Darkness trembles in Your holy light.”  I love that picture.  I love that truth.  I choose to walk in that.

I opened my Bible this morning to the Psalm for the day, Psalm 27 and read:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—

So why should I be afraid?

The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,

So why should I tremble?…

Though a mighty army surrounds me,

My heart will not be afraid.

Even if I am attacked,

I will remain confident.

The one thing I ask of the Lord—

The thing I seek most—

Is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…

For He will conceal me there when troubles come;

He will hide me in His sanctuary.

He will place me out of reach on a high rock.

Then I will hold my head high

Above my enemies who surround me…

Wait patiently for the Lord.

Be brave and courageous.

Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

So I will praise Him.  I will be brave and courageous.  I will declare that God is my victory.  He is my hope and stay.  I will not waver.  As I listened to song after song by Hillsong Chapel this morning, I was challenged and encouraged beyond words.  “In all of my life and in every season, You are still God and I have a reason to sing; I have a reason to worship.  I will bring praise, no weapon formed against me shall remain.  I will rejoice and I will declare, God is my victory and He is here.”  I just kept singing in my heart, “You are stronger…Jesus, You are Lord of all!”  How incredible it is to be able to live in this confidence and victory.  The Lord of all lives within me.  So I will lift up my head and stand strong in Him.

Querida Mamá

Quiero agradecer a mi mamá publicamente hoy por ser quien es y quiero compartir una carta que escribí para ella hoy para decir Felíz Día de la Madre a una madre maravillosa.  Estoy muy agradecida por ella y todo lo que es para mi y para muchas más personas.

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Querida Mamá,

Esta carta es una de la más difícil que he escrito.  Hay mucho que quiero decir, pero ¿como decirlo todo?  Tengo 25 años y por primera vez estoy en un lugar donde puedo ver más que mi vida y mi situación a todo lo que a hecho para mi y todo lo que es para mi.  Hay muchas cosas que necesito pedir perdón, muchas cosas para agradecerle, y muchas cosas que quiero compartir.  Usted es una mujer que merezca ser honrada, y quiero hacerlo hoy.

Anoche me acosté con un corazón cargado pensando en todas las maneras y por muchos años le he deshonrado y no le he apreciado.  Si hay una relación en mi vida que he descuidado o maltratado, es mi relación con usted.  Muchas veces he hablado de muchas emociones fuertes y me enfocado en la negativa cuando hablo con usted y con mis amigos.  Yo sé que no hay una persona perfecta en la tierra, pero tengo una mamá maravillosa; y aún que deseo poner el tiempo en reversa y corregir todas las maneras que he pecado contra de usted, yo sé que es imposible.  Entonces, me siento aquí con muchas lágrimas y mucha lástimas, pidiendo que posiblemente pueda perdonarme y darme la oportunidad de tener otro tipo de relación con usted.

Con las personas que siempre han estado es fácil asumir que siempre van a estar.  Pero, en este Día de la Madre yo conozco a muchas personas que estan pasando este día con el deseo tener la oportunidad de compartir algunas cosas que no podian compartir.  Yo sé que usted desea con todo su corazón pasar este día con su mamá, pero no puede.  No quiero conceder otro momento, pero disfruto todo el tiempo que tengo con usted.  En el fín, sabemos que la vida es corta, inpredecible, y injusta.  El tiempo no respeta a las personas.  No quiero tener mas lástimas sobre cosas que yo sé que debería haber dicho y tuve la oportunidad de decirlas y espere.

He manejado casi toda nuestra relación de motivos egoistas.  He hablado con usted y pedido cosas de usted de mis necesidades personales sin consideración por sus necesidades y deseos.  Es la verdad que no puede ser todo lo que necesite y quisiera, pero he tenido expectativas de usted que solo Dios puede darme y he esperado cumplir cosas para mi que nunca debería haber cargado.  No hay un  humano en la tierra  que fue creado para tener ese lugar.  Le he declarado culpable en mi corazón cada vez que no me contestó en la manera que yo quisiera y cargué armargura en mi corazón contra usted por las veces cuando estaba procesando cosas como yo
proceso.  En estos años, he lanzado muchos cambios para usted, y tuvo que contestar y decidir como aceptar a las decisiones que hice.  No se porque, pero le esperé ser perfecta, pero no tiene sentido.  Por favor, perdoneme por la manera que he sido tan egoista.  Perdoneme por las miles de conversaciones que hemos tenido cuando he hablado por todo el tiempo y escuchó pacientemente.  Perdoneme por las miles de conversaciones que hemos tenido cuando no he escuchado bien o cuidado tanto por sus cosas como mis cosas.  Con todo mi corazón, quiero cambiar todas estas cosas.

A estado conmigo en cada parte de mi vida.  No soy una mamá todavía, pero puedo imaginar que es uno de los trabajos más difíciles en el mundo.  Estuvo bendecida con una hija de voluntad firme y terca con millones de sueños que le guiaría lejos de usted y a situaciones que no eran la seguridad que siempre queria para su hija.  Aparte de sus amigos que tuvieron situaciones “normales”, tuvo que pararse sola y sobrevivir con una ausencia que nadie entiende.  Cuando yo era niña, estoy segura que imaginó que su hija iba a graduarse de secundaria, posiblemente asistir a la universidad, casarse, tener hijos, y establecerse cerca de usted.  No estoy pidiendo perdón por mi llamado o por mis decisiones que me han traido aquí, pero quiero pedir perdón por no estar sensible al sacrificio que tuvo que hacer.  No puede descolgar el teléfono por llamarme, y mi horario loco no me permite contestar sus mensajes inmediatemente. No he estado en su casa por las últimas dos Navidades, y probablemente en el futúro serán  algunas que celebraremos de lados opuestos del oceano con una cámara y computadora.  Quiero agradecerle por soportarme en el ministerio que Dios me ha llamado a hacer.  Yo sé que este contrato para vivir tan lejos por dos años y media fue muy difícil para usted, pero me ha animado seguir a la voluntad de Dios más que sus deseos, aún que yo sé que es muy difícil para usted.  Yo sé que Dios le ha ayudado a ser fuerte.

Gracias por el ejemplo que me ha dado de fidelidad y responsibilidad.  No aprendí completamente muchas de las cosas que intentó enseñarme cuando yo era niña hasta recientemente, pero puso la base.  Me enseñó tanto de la vida y la gente de su fuente de sabiduría, y a más personas que conozco, lo que más aprecio es su discernimiento en las relaciones y las maneras de que me ha enseñado a vivir.  Las personas que conozco, lo que más reconozco es que crecí con una joya preciosa que me dio mucho más que cosas materiales; ella me dio generosamente de una bodega de riquezas en amor, sabiduria, y discernimiento.  Espero que algún día pueda ser la mitad del tipo de mujer que usted es en estas maneras tan ausentes en nuestro mundo.  No puedo expresar que tan agradecida estoy por la base que me dio y las cosas innumerable que me ha enseñado que uso cada día de mi vida adulta.  Gracias por continuar estando conmigo por amarme, darme sabiduria, y enseñarme como discernar la manera correcta.

Le amo y le aprecio mucho.  Gracias por no dejar a su hija complicada. Gracias por ser como es y por ayudarme a crecer hasta ser la mujer que soy en este momento.  Estoy extrañándole hoy (y yo sé que es una frase que no escucho mucho de mi).  Es difícil para mi estar tan lejos y  no tener el poder de ir para visitarle cuando quisiera.  Oro para que el tiempo pase rápido hasta cuando pueda verle de nuevo.  Hasta ese día, usaremos el internet y la oración.  ¡Felíz Día de la Madre!  Espero que este día sea muy especial para usted.

¡Le amo!

Chelsea

Nunca Me Acostumbro A Lo Que Él Hace

Ayer fue un día de mucho gozo para nosotros.  Como un equipo, experimentamos dos salvaciones.  Nancy y yo tuvimos la oportunidad ser parte de una, y otro grupo de nuestro equipo estuvieron presente durante la otra.  He dicho muchas veces a varias personas que desde que vine a Ambato, hemos visto milagros cada día.  A veces una gran cantidad de fondos para pagar todo lo de nuestras necesidades para iniciar la iglesia, reuniones con gente que estuvieron en el lugar exactamente correcto para encontrarnos y escuchar una cosa especifica de nosotros, o alguien que era muy cerrado al evangelio en el principio, despues de un encuentro con Dios a traves de nosotros experimentando un cambio completo en un momento, o alguien que tuvo muchas preguntas sobre toda la cristianidad encontrando todas las respuestas que necesita en Cristo:  no hay un milagro más grande que mirar a alguien que Dios le ama muchísimo, más que podemos entender, venir a Él. Las  palabras no pueden describir el gozo en ese momento cuando su corazón encuentra el corazón de Dios.  Me siento que puedo bailar literalmente con los ángeles en su celebración celestial.

Hay una canción de Twila Paris que dice, “Nunca me acostumbro a lo que haces, Dios.  Nunca me acostumbro a mirarte sacar una vida que no tuvo ningúna posibilidad de redención y hacerla tuya y hacerla nueva.  Nunca crezco demasiado para no reconocer un milagro.  Un corazón que estuvo vacio fue llenado completamente.  Nunca me acostumbro a lo que haces, Dios.”  Twila, estoy de acuerdo.  Oramos por meses y tantas personas que están apoyándonos han estado orando por meses para que Dios prepare los corazones de la gente de Ambato.  Si creyera la verdad de Dios antes, la creo ahora más porque la he visto exactamente en lo que necesita cada persona.  He visto el Espíritu Santo tocar tantos corazones en muchas situaciones diferentes, pero el anhelo de cada uno es lo mismo.

Recuerdo hace algunos años, ayudé en el cuarto de los niños durante el servicio en la iglesia y era un programa que miramos con los niños que se llamó, “El Hombre del Donut” y la canción principal dice, “La vida sin Jesús es como un donut, porque hay un hueco en la mitad de tu corazón.”  Literalmente, no importa con que tratamos llenar ese hueco, si es un trabajo, un novio o novia, un título, la música, etc.  No hay nada que puede satisfacer o traer gozo sino por Dios.  No hay otra vida que trae satisfacción sino la vida pasada sirviendo a Cristo.  Como he dicho a algunos de nuestros contactos, Dios me encontró en una situación desesperada.  No tuve ningún deseo vivir, pero cuando le dí a Cristo mi vida, encontré una vida que tiene valor.  Nancy ha explicado también que es el amor por Dios que tenemos para crezca tan grande a dentro de nosotros que nos causa hacer cosas locas, por ejemplo salir de nuestros trabajos y estudios, vender todo que tuvimos, y mudarnos a otro lugar solo para que podamos anunciar a la gente de este Jesús que ha causado a nuestros corazones cantar.  Es el privilegio y gozo más grande que pudimos tener, y no nos hemos lamentado por un momento la decisión hacerlo.

Estoy enamorándome con Jesús.  Cada día.  Yo sé lo que Él ha hecho en mí, pero es algo muy especial cuando miro hacerlo en otra persona también.  Como dice 2 Coríntios 6:2:  “¡Hoy es el día de salvación!”  ¿Por qué esperarías?  Si solo sabes un poquito de quien es Jesús, ¿por qué esperarías?  Perdí una vida que no valió la pena y encontré un amor que a cautivado mi corazón y nunca me ha permitido escapar.  Es un gozo que es nuevo cada mañana.  Es un asombro que continua todo el día.  Es mi ánimo cuando me acuesto por la noche.  No es decir que la vida es perfecta o libre de momentos difíciles.  Sin embargo, el gozo, el asombro, y el ánimo siempre están.  Nunca me acostumbro a lo que hace Dios.

15 Mirrors

The other day our cluster support mom said to the group that living with and working in a team of 16 is like having 15 mirrors staring back at you, showing you who you really are and the things about you that need to change.  I have found that it is true:  every personality conflict, misunderstanding, or word that is misspoken bounces right off that mirror and comes back to hit you.  I have discovered as well that living with and working in a team of 16 that are seeking the heart of God in a radical way and growing just like you is like having 15 mirrors reflecting the light of the God onto your soul like a mirror reflects the light of the sun, exposing areas of your life that you didn’t even know were there and like the magnifying glass and the ant, burning away things inside that don’t need to be there.  I have never experienced anything so challenging in my life.

When so many members of the team get up in the middle of the night to seek the face of God, it makes it a lot harder to miss your own prayer time during the night as well.  When others are so faithful, it is a healthy challenge to remain faithful as well.  This morning I had to change my prayer spot because my spot was already taken at 3:30am.  My favorite problem I have ever had in my life.  Even more than spending a certain amount of time at a certain time of the day with God, there is the challenge to every day be open to whatever it is that God would show you, because at some point throughout the day you will be posed the question by someone else on the team, “What did God teach you this morning in your time with Him?”  They aren’t posing the question because they were told by leadership to do so or because there is an agreement between you and that person to talk about that every day.  They pose the question because they really want to know and because they are eager to share with you the things that God is teaching them in their time with Him as well.  Right now I have three people on the team that regularly ask me what God is showing me and I truly delight in hearing how God is growing them as well.  I am one of those who asks other people out of the blue too, because I just love to hear the way that God is speaking.

I am not saying that it is difficult for me to get up in the middle of the night or that I struggle to hear from God in the morning.  Quite the opposite.  My prayer time in the middle of the night is my favorite thing that I do, and I hear His voice more clearly in the middle of the night than I do at any other point through the day.  Every morning God rocks my world.  Sometimes He speaks to me about some tough issues and certain sins that are in my life.  Sometimes He shows me certain scripts that I have lived by that need to be rewritten.  Sometimes it brings me to tears.  Sometimes He assures me that He is proud of me and that I am exactly where He wants me to be.  Whatever it is that He is saying, the voice of God brings joy and peace through the challenges He gives and the ways He is causing me to grow.  Looking into the 15 mirrors staring back at me (even through the children) has challenged me to be obedient to the voice of God and change, because there is nothing hidden from a family of God that is seeking His face and lives in His presence.  It is like living in a constant and intense light.  There is no room for anything that does not belong in the light.

One of the hardest things for me is when God talks to another member of the team and gives him or her a message to say to me.  Sometimes the message is encouraging and sometimes it is painful.  Sometimes I flat out don’t agree with it and sometimes it causes me to get defensive.  However, even that is a mirror.  The other day a team member told me that God revealed to him that I still have many areas of my life that need to be healed, and immediately inside of me I recognized a defensive spirit rising up inside.  There were so many things I wanted to say to defend my viewpoint, that never in my life have I been so healthy emotionally or spiritually, and that is absolutely true.  However, I bit my tongue, received what he had to say, and took it to God during my prayer time.  I found out that what he had to say was true as well.  There are ways that God wants to develop me as a leader that we have not even begun to talk about yet, and without hearing that word from God through my teammate, it may have taken me longer to see that area of my life.  It was incredibly painful to hear, but it opened the door for God to speak into my life in a profound way, and for that I am so thankful.  And that is only one example of a mirror.

Another mirror comes through personality conflict.  How do I respond to someone that I don’t understand?  Do I question them?  Do I fight with them?  Do I talk about them negatively to other people?  And how do I respond to someone who does not necessarily earn my respect the way that I feel they should?  How do I respond to my leaders when they make decisions and lead in a way that I don’t agree with?  I read in James two days ago, “Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.  Indeed, we all make so many mistakes.  For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way…People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue.  It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.  Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth.  Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!  Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?  Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs?  No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring (3:1-2, 7-12).  CONVICTION.  I am a leader in the church, and therefore am judged more strictly by those who follow me and also by God, because I am a guide for others.  I should have much more spiritual maturity than before.  It is a hard word to hear, but there is a level of urgency in character development.  If I am an example for others of Christ, He must be my only source.  He must be the fresh water; salty water forever turned off.  Tongue kept in check.

Yesterday as I was watching the way that each member of our team DOMINATED their specific role in the church service, I realized that in a team of 16, the 15 mirrors close in and shut out any excuse to shy away and not step up.  Whether the role was playing the piano, sharing announcements, preaching, or leading the follow-up time after salvation, each member had no choice but to become what was needed for the situation.  I thought back to times before in my life (and to be honest a struggle that is still inside of me) when I would back away from a task because I was afraid of failure.  Watching others stepping up courageously makes it a lot easier to do the same myself, and I have found that God works in a powerful way through those who decide to live in faith and victory.  Some of the things that I used to think required the most courage are the easiest parts of my job now.  I am doing things that I never dreamed that I would do, and there is no space for backing down.  There are two choices:  DO IT or DO IT WELL.  Every day I face the challenge of many tasks, and there is no question of whether or not I will do it.  I have to.  The decision I have to make is whether or not I will do it well, and when there are 15 mirrors looking on, it helps keep me accountable to do it well.  When before I would think that I was doing a pretty good job, I have found there is a much higher standard now, and it is absolutely the best place to be.

Each person I live with is a mirror, and each person I live with reflects a different part of me that needs to grow.  What is it like to live with and work in a team of 16 people?  It is like having 15 mirrors staring back at you, showing you who you really are and the things about you that need to change.  It sounds terrifying, and often that is exactly what it is.  It is humbling, that is for sure.  However, it is healthy and I am drinking up every moment of it.  I am enjoying seeing the Spirit of God just go wild inside my heart, inside the hearts of the members of my team, and as a result going wild in Ambato.  Every day, all day.  This is what it means to be a part of the Kingdom of God, from the inside out.  I am ALL IN.

Dear Mom

I want to thank my mom publicly today for being who she is and I want to share a letter that I wrote her today to say Happy Mother’s Day to an amazing mom.  I am so thankful for her and all that she is to me and to so many people.

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Dear Mom,

This is one the hardest things I have ever had to write.  There is so much I want to say, yet how do I say it all?  I am 25 and I think for the first time I am at a place where I can see beyond myself to all that you have done for me and all that you are to me.  There are so many things for which I need to ask your forgiveness, so many things for which to thank you, and so many things with you I want to share.  You truly are a woman that deserves to be honored, and I want to do that today.

Last night I went to sleep with a heavy heart thinking of all the ways over the years that I have dishonored you and not appreciated you.  If there is any relationship in my life that I have neglected or treated badly, it is my relationship with you.  So many times I have spoken out of emotion and hurt and focused on the negative, when I talk to you and when I talk to my friends.  While there is no perfect person on earth, I have a pretty amazing mom; and as much as I wish I could turn back time and correct all the ways that I have sinned against you, I know that this is impossible.  So I sit here with many tears and a whole lot of regrets, asking that you might forgive me and give me the opportunity for a new type of relationship with you.

Sometimes it is easy with the people who have always been there to assume that they will always be there.  However, this mother’s day I know several people that are walking through this day wishing that they had the opportunity to share things that were left unspoken.  I know that you wish with all your heart to be able to spend this day with your mom, but you can’t.  I don’t want to take another moment for granted, but enjoy the time that I have with you.  When it comes down to it, we both know that life is short, unpredictable, and unfair.  Time is no respecter of persons.  I don’t want to have anymore regrets about things that I know I should have said and had the opportunity to say, but delayed.

I have navigated nearly our entire relationship from selfish motives.  I have talked with you and asked things of you out of my personal needs without consideration of what you need and want.  While it is true that I cannot be everything that you need and want just like you cannot be everything that I need and want, I have expected things out of you that only God can give me and looked to you to fulfill things for me that should never have been placed on your shoulders.  No human on this earth was meant to have that place.  I have declared you guilty in my heart each time that you did not respond the way I wanted you to respond and carried bitterness in my heart for the times when you were working through things just like I was working through things.  Over the years, I have thrown some pretty big things at you, and you had to respond and figure out how to live with the decisions that I have made.  Somehow, I expected you to be perfect, but that doesn’t make any sense.  Please forgive me for the way I have been so selfish.  Forgive me for the thousands of conversations we have had when I have done all the talking and you have patiently listened.  Forgive me for the thousands of conversations we have had when I have not listened well or cared as much about what you had to say as I did about what I had to say.  With all my heart, I want this to change.

You have been there for me throughout every stage of my life.  I am not a mom yet, but I can imagine that it is the hardest job on earth.  You were blessed with a strong-willed and stubborn child with a million dreams that would lead her away from you and into situations that weren’t the safety and security that you always wanted for your daughter.  Next to all your friends who have somewhat “normal” situations, you have had to stand alone and deal with an absence that no one completely understands.  When I was young, I am sure that you imagined that your daughter would graduate from high school, possibly go to college, get married and have children, and settle down somewhere not too far away and establish herself.  While I am not in the least bit apologizing for my calling or the decisions that I have made that have led me here, I want to apologize for not being sensitive to the sacrifice that you have had to make.  You can’t just pick up the phone to call me, and my insane schedule doesn’t allow me to answer messages right away.  I haven’t been home for the last two Christmases, and there will probably be some in the future that we will have to celebrate across the ocean with a camera and a computer.  I want to thank you for supporting me and the ministry that God has called me to do.  I know that me signing a contract for two and a half years to live so far away was really hard for you, but you have encouraged me to follow God’s will for my life over your desires, as hard as I am sure it was and continues to be often.  I know that God has helped you be strong.

Thank you for the example that you have given me of faithfulness and responsibility.  I never quite learned many of the things that you tried to teach me as a child until recently, but you laid the foundation.  You taught me so much about life and people from your fountain of wisdom, and the more people I know, the more I appreciate your insight into relationships and the ways you have taught me to live.  The more people I know, the more I realize that I grew up with a rare jewel that gave me so much more than material things; she gave generously out of a storehouse of riches in love, wisdom, and discernment.  I hope to someday be half the woman you are in these ways that are so lacking in our world.  I cannot express how thankful I am for the foundation you gave me and the countless things that you taught me that I use every day of my adult life.  Thank you for still being there for me to love me, share wisdom, and teach me how to discern the right way.

I love and appreciate you so much.  Thank you for not giving up on this hard-headed child of yours.  Thank you for being who you are and for helping me to become the person that I am today.  I am really missing you today (I know that isn’t a phrase you hear from me very often).  It is hard to be so far away and not be able to visit when I want to.  I pray that the time will pass quickly to when I can see you again.  Until then, we will use the internet and prayer.  Happy Mother’s Day!  I hope that this day is super special for you.

Love you!

Chelsea

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