Before I go….

Watch this:

 

 

Wasn’t that amazing?? This is the extreme talent that I get to accompany to Togo in 17 short days! This video was produced by my team, and this is just a taste. We have been praying and seeking God out so much in the past week, just really asking Him what His will is for our team. What do the people there need most? How can we meet that need, or even just be a part of it?

If you pray, please pray for protection from distractions and for safety. We have just heard from our student Selina, and her doctors have cleared her to come with us to Togo. (She took a hard fall and broke her elbow, and since then has travelled back and forth between Hawaii and South Korea in order to get surgery and check ups). We know that when we face great resistance, it can be because of the work we are doing, and so please pray for strength and wisdom for my co-leader Anna and I as we endeavour to take this team across 2 oceans and through 5 countries within the next 3 months. (Did I just say 5 countries??)

I’d personally like to thank you for reading so faithfully (even if you’ve missed a few…too many). The work I do out here is a balance of such a joy because I feel alive, and of exhaustion because even in your afternoon off, your work is never done. But please hear that with ears of appreciation, because although this job is never ending, it is also so  rewarding. Walking through discipleship seems ideal until you’re in the middle of it, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am so blessed and thankful to God for the places He’s brought me over the years, and so thankful that I get to share it with you.

And think long term! I will be home in October and would love to sit with you and tell you stories of Hawaii- of the discipleship school process, what it looks like on a daily basis, what it’s greatest joys and challenges are, and life in Togo- of abandoned babies, street children, voodoo markets, and the overwhelming God of Africa who is SO in love with His people and their culture.

I’ll leave you with a quote I read this week. I’ve been walking through theologies and denominations, and have come to realize that there is beauty in the brokenness. Although I would love for all to attend one church and be one Body, I do accept that we are all so different, and as long as we work together, different churches are ok. Anyways, I digress, I found a quote by Martin Luther, a man who had more courage than many of us combined.

“Sometimes when we are called to obey, the fear does not subside and we are expected to move against the fear. One must choose to do it afraid.”

selfportrait

 

So here’s to travelling across land and sea, to jumping into foreign-for-now cultures. Here’s to committing to a cause greater than ourselves, to moving against fear, and to seeking Him in the beautiful mess.

Join me?

With Strength that is not my own, Sam

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When enough is enough.

I will fight- Exodus 14:14

This line came to me today when I was sitting in class. All of the students were learning how to cut and transition videos, which, although very useful, couldn’t hold my attention in the least bit. “I’ve heard this before… I just don’t remember where.” But I was playing around in Photoshop and fell in love with fonts and colours, the way it all fits together. I’m so sorry that this is boring for you, but being out here doing all this training with the students is awakening my nerd side. So after I had saved this graphic, the curiosity got to me and I found where it’s from- Exodus 14:14. In the past few days God has been calling out to me from the Old Testament, which isn’t uncommon, but seeing as I’m currently stuck in the middle of 1st Corinthians, isn’t in my plan. So I took some time this afternoon to search this chapter, to gather what was going on with the Israelites during this time, and what would cause God to say this to them.

So, the plagues were done. Moses had seen the burning bush, frogs and gnats and darkness, rivers of red and black skies were all done. Pharaoh basically begged them to leave, he had lost his first born, and that was too much for him. So the Israelites packed up their bags, put leashes on their goats (not really, but imagine?) and headed out as fast as they could. But, just as any good story does, there’s a pursuit. Pharaoh realized his grand mistake. “I just let my free work go- how will my kingdom continue to grow? I must go after them. I must get them back.”

I can only imagine the terror in their minds and hearts as they realized the race was on. I personally have a fear of being chased. It doesn’t matter if it’s up the stairs, for fun, or in a game- I hate it. But what would you do if you were the wife of a man who was beat every day. What if yours was the son who was killed in order to stunt the Israelite nation? To know that the one who controlled your life, the one you feared most, was coming to take you back to your living hell. Fear set in, and the people were frantic, and rightfully so. They cried out, they searched for someone to blame, for anyone to point a finger at. They panicked and yelled out to Moses “Why!? Why did you bring us out here?”

This is my favourite part of the story, because Moses comes up with the best response ever. I can imagine the pressure and the panic, and unless it came straight from God, I wouldn’t be able to answer like this. I wouldn’t be able keep it together like this. But here it is, my favourite part.

“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”        Exodus 14:13-14

We are lucky enough to know the rest of this story. God blows the Israelites minds by providing perfect protection for them, but of course this was nothing new for them. How many times do we read through their stories, their history, their lives, and think “How could you not believe in Him? He sent you manna from the sky! Water exploded out of rocks, He was visibly present in the day in the form of a cloud leading you, and a pillar of fire at night!” We sit shaking our heads, with the privilege to read the beginning, middle and end of each story. Yet how often is this our story? How often do we freak out, concerned about our safety, about not having enough money, enough time, enough love. I, as human, look out and feel like screaming, “He’s better than that! He is faithful always- don’t you remember that? How can you not remember that?!?” But not God. He just gently whispers to us.

Don’t be afraid. 

I will fight for you. 

Just. stay. calm. 

Thank you God, for knowing me better than I know myself. Thank you for knowing my plans, for creating me for a purpose, for placing my feet on the ground with your guiding hands on my shoulders. Thank you God for loving me when I don’t feel loveable, for running after me when I’m too lazy to even think about you. Thank you for the stories of old that are proof that you are who you say you are. You are love. You are glorious. You are mighty and strong. You are generous and gentle, humble and comforting. You speak truth into my heart when I take the time to rest and wait in You. You fight for me when I cannot fight for myself. You fought the ultimate battle, you won the war, and you have given me every single thing I could ever need in order to stand with courage before You. Cast me not away from Your presence, O Lord, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation, and renew a right spirit within me.

Amen

Psalm 73
With Strength that is not my own, Sam