Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Trasformation is a buzz word that we use a lot in Students International. We say that we are about seeing people's lives transformed into the likeness of Christ. We want to see this in the lives of the people in the communities we serve, among the outreach participants that come to work with us, and we even say that we need and want this for ourselves. We want to be transformed by Jesus and be like him. We want to be and live like Jesus. We want to love the way he loves and act the way he acts.

But how, exactly?

Yesterday, José brought a song for the worship time at our staff meeting. I can't get the images out of my head.

Déjame hoy besar las heridas de tus manos y tus pies,
las heridas que pecando provoqué.
Déjame reclinar mi mejilla en tus espaldas y llorar
por haberlas lacerado en mi maldad.

No merecía tanto amor.

Let me today kiss the wounds on your hands and feet,
the wounds that my sin provoked.
Let me lay my cheek against your back and cry
for having caused the lacerations (in my badness)

I didn't deserve that much love.

I know the crucifixion story, and the Easter story. I've seen the Passion (in oh-so-many forms). It's not like Jesus' woundedness hasn't struck me before in a personal way. But how many times have I had the courage to ask the Lord's permission to kiss the wounds that I caused? Or rub my face in the cuts on his back? That's. . . gross. And weird. And, it would require me to really examine myself and really face my sin, my weakness, my brokenness. Maybe even ask God to tell me the truth about myself. So vulnerable and so, so intimate. And really, very scary, potentially painful.

But, I'm learning more and more that that's where transformation happens. In moments of intimacy with Jesus. Knowing Jesus. Because it isn't just that we wallow in our horridness, or know about God's love. If I really get that close to Jesus, and truly, honestly, grieve my part in those wounds, grieve my inadequacies and my failures, I experience, experience, Jesus' love and grace that I don't deserve. He never turns away a broken heart. And knowing him that way changes me. It transforms me. And I start to become more like him. More able to give grace and love to others who don't deserve it because I have been humbled and healed and have experienced it myself as someone who doesn't deserve it.

Like I said, I can't stop thinking about those images. God, give me the courage to come close to you and let you transform me. I want to know you more. I want to know you more that way, that closely.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday School

Yesterday we woke up and there was no water in the house. So, Jeff went with Olivia to buy a 5-gallon jug of water at the store. However, the car wouldn't start. Anyway, to make a long story short, by the time Jeff got the car started and got back from the store, it was a little late to try and get ready for church. So we decided to have our own Sunday School.

Here's a cute picture of Jeff reading "You Are Special" to the kids. This is such a great book!

From Sept.-Nov.2011

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Psalm 103

Psalm 103:1-5

1 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
4 He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

I have been thinking and meditating a lot on these verses lately. Some thoughts swirling around in my head:
*God is praise-worthy, regardless of anything else
*God is good to me, has been good to me, and will continue to be good to me--and that will be true even if God asks us to live in a shack (though I really hope not to be tested in this!) We can all fill in our own 'thing'. . .
*The things God does for me are things that I can always count on--forgiveness, redemption, healing, mercy, etc. They are also things that ONLY God can really do for me. God is my ONLY source for those things that really matter.
*God fills my life with good things; the more that I think about it, the more I think that this primarily means filling my life with more of God. The rest of the good things I desire, or that God desires to give me are secondary to closeness with God.

So, to update you all on our housing situation, we are basically at the following place. We would love a yard. We feel a deep conviction to live within a certain strategic geographical area due to ministry needs (accessibility to staff, teams, banks, stores, buses, etc.). We have considered buying land and building the "ideal" home/office, because nothing we've seen or heard about so far would work. However, this area is quite a bit more expensive and much more 'constructed' than other outlying areas. We need to consider office space for SI. Renting a separate building/space would mean a huge increase in budget for SI. We actually like having the office in or close to our home. We also need to see about qualifying for a loan should the 'perfect' thing become available. Most immediately, we would like to renew the rent contract for our current house--to buy time, or to stay in indefinitely. Minus the yard issue, we believe it is the perfect place for us and SI-CR. God truly handpicked this house for us, without a doubt. Our landlady would like to renew the contract, however is considering how much to increase the rent to account for the rising inflation rates here. So, we are holding our breath, waiting. We are praying that the increase will be affordable, both for us and SI-CR. If not, we have no idea what our next step will be. Please pray with us. And if we end up living in a shack, :), I hope I'll still be able to trust and praise the Lord. Hold me to that, please!