Thursday, June 30, 2016

Love in Action

Love is a universal language that can easily be shown through actions.  You don’t always need to be able to speak the same language as someone to share the love of God with them.  While I have learned 5 languages throughout my whole life, I can only speak English fluently.  The other 4 languages are just enough to get around or have a small, surface level conversation with someone.  I can't have a deep, meaningful, intimate conversation with anyone that doesn't speak English, but somehow I have a lot of close friends that don't speak English!!!!?????

There is a Thai guy in my DTS who is 12 years younger than me.  We treat each other like brother and sister and even call each other Nong-Chai (little brother) and Pi-Sauw (big sister).  It’s been such a blessing doing this DTS with him.  He has taught me a lot about Thailand, Thai people, Thai culture, and God’s love and patience with the Thais. 

Even though my Thai is very limited and so is his English (thank God for Google Translate), we use our actions to show love and care to one another.  This above quote is an example of how I’ve treated my relationship with my Nong-Chai and others I have met throughout the world, over the years. 

This past week something really incredible happened.  I was sitting and listening to my Nong-Chai practice the guitar and he told me he wanted to tell me a secret.  I already knew his testimony because we have to share it with everyone at DTS.  But he went deeper into his testimony and shared some things with me he was ashamed of about his past. 

I asked him if he had shared with others and he said he doesn’t really share those things with others because he is afraid people will judge him and won’t want to be his friend anymore.  I asked why he thinks they will do that, but I won’t, and he said he “trust me” and “knows that I will still love him even though he tells me these things.” 

What a sweet moment that was not just for him and I but for God and I as well.  How does he know how much I love him when I don't have the capability to express that love to him in Thai!!!?  The fact that I can’t have a deep and meaningful conversation with this kid because of our language barrier, or the fact that there are native Thai’s and other Thai speakers at this DTS who he can share with but chose me, really speaks a lot to me about trust and love.  

He chose to share with me because he knows he can “trust me” to “still love him and not judge him.”  This incident brings a whole new meaning and understanding to what love is and about how trust is formed in all our relationships and interactions with people.    

If you are reading this and think it is impossible to show love to another person because you cannot speak the same language as them STOP BELIEVING THAT LIE!  If you believe you cannot go on a mission trip to another country and show love because you don’t speak the same language as they do STOP BELIEVING THAT LIE!!! 

I have experienced love from so many people I cannot have an in-depth conversation with because of a language barrier.  Love is more than just saying “I love you.”  Love is shown through your actions.  Genuine people are genuine because their actions and words match!  True love is true love because it is shown through actions.

Here are some ideas for ways you can show love.
*a hug
*a smile
*a pat on the back
*a laugh
*a listening ear
*an extra coffee you pick up on your way to work
*a sticker on your students graded paper
*pushing a kid in a wheel barrel while he laughs hysterically
*paying the bill of the person behind you in the drive through
*sitting in the same room as someone while they play an instrument
*going to the ball game of one of your neighborhood kids
*making a meal for someone
*taking a meal to a homeless person
*defending the rights of an immigrant fleeing their country in fear to save their life or the lives of their loved ones
*giving flowers to a prostitute and telling them they have value
*visiting senior citizens in a home who have been forgotten by their loved ones
*bringing balloons to sick people in the hospital
*croqueting hats for cancer victims
*asking someone how they are doing and ACTUALLY LISTENING

I could go on an on but I think you get the picture by now, at least I hope you do.  If you don’t God bless you! Pray and ask Him to show you how you can show love to someone.  My point is, WE NEED TO START LOVING WITH OUR ACTIONS!!  This world is messed up!  It needs more real, genuine, unconditional love. 

People might forget what you said but they will never forget the way you made them feel!!!!  Let’s make a decision to back our words up with actions.  Let’s make a decision to love unconditionally, with more than just words.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Creative Ways To Support Missionaries

            Missionary support; it seems like tricky business but in all actuality it can be quite practical if you know how and A LOT OF FUN!!!  Many people believe that if they don’t have money they can’t support missionaries!  They want to give financially but something seems to always get in the way (debt, car or house maintenance, cost of raising a child, etc.)  While money is EXTREMELY HELPFUL, it’s surprisingly not the only thing we missionaries need. 

Often we as missionaries feel forgotten by friends and family at home as we watch children we love grow up on facebook or friends we love accomplish milestones or set off on new adventures.  We also get homesick, especially during major holidays and birthdays. 

There are simple things you can do that will help us as we live and serve overseas.  Many friends have asked how they can support missionaries and so in this blog I am going to give you some creative ways to do so!

1. Pray for missionaries regularly, AND TELL THEM WHEN YOU PRAY or that you are praying!!!

            Being a missionary in another country can be difficult.  Depending on where you are there are spiritual strongholds and darkness that we have never encountered until entering that country or region. Prayer is so important, especially during the first 2 years because not only are you learning a new culture, and language but you’re also are learning how to survive and understand a different tactic of spiritual warfare.

            We know that you are praying for us but hearing that you are praying can be such an encouragement!  Ask us how you can pray for us.  Also, let us know how we can pray for you!  Then pray together with your missionary.  Which brings me to my next creative idea…….

2.  Video calling dates

            Skype, Facetime, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, etc, there are so many different apps for video calling these days!  Video calling is a great way to keep in touch because you can talk to someone as if they are right there in the room with you!  This is also a great way to share with one another about the struggles in life.  We as missionaries want to know your struggles as much as we want you to know ours.

            One of my favorite ways to use this idea is setting up a coffee date.  You could also do this over a meal as well.  Each person prepares their meal or drink before the call and then enjoys it together while talking to one another.  It’s like being in a cafĂ©!!!!  These types of video dates are a lot of fun and a creative way to help ease homesickness!!

3. Write encouraging emails or “snail-mail” (postal letters).

            Who doesn’t love to get cards in the mail?  Who doesn’t love to get email that isn’t junk?  EVERYONE loves mail!!!!  Send us a word of encouragement!!!

            Missionary friends this goes for us too! One of my favorite things to do is send postcards from the country I’m in!  My supporters really love this and it doesn’t cost much! 

            One of the best things about Smart Phones is all the free texting apps.  Facebook Messenger, iMessage, Kakao Talk, Line, WhatsApp, I could go on and on!!!  This is a great way to send a quick, “I’m thinking of you” Or “I love you” note that can really encourage someone.  My sister-in-law uses this method whenever my niece does something for the first time or is being funny!

Also I like to send funny memes or videos that I know will make that person laugh!  You never know when someone is having a bad day so a quick text could make all the difference.  Laughing is medicine for the soul!

5.  Coordinate a care package

            I know it costs a lot of money to ship a package across the Pacific Ocean but there are things from home that can easily be shipped!  Favorite snacks, candies, or Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing packets ;) can make a world of difference when battling homesickness.  If you get together with a group of people, it won’t cost as much to ship.  You can put some pictures and handmade cards from your kids in the package too!

Even small things like Apple gift cards or Amazon Gift cards to buy the latest music or books or movies can be a big help.  We are missionaries so we don’t have much spending money!  These are a nice treat for us. 

            Don’t send too much though!  Some countries charge a fee if the package contents are over a certain dollar amount.  This charge will be put on the missionary and can be pricy depending on what is sent.

6.  Read and reply to missionary’s newsletters

            We spend a lot of time writing our newsletters and thinking of creative ways to share what we are doing!  For missionaries like myself who use MailChimp, we can see who opens the newsletter and who doesn’t.  I send my newsletter to over 200 people. But only 55-60% of people open my newsletter.  Of that percentage I’m lucky if 5 people message me back.  That’s really discouraging!

            I’m grateful that people support me on the mission field but to be honest, newsletter time is seriously one of THE MOST DISCOURAGING times for me!  Even if it is just a quick, one-line word of encouragement, hearing back from you means a lot!  When I say, “I want to know what’s going on in your life so reply to my newsletter,” I mean it!

7. Commit to regular financial support!

            I know some of you may be thinking, “I thought this blog was not about money?”  Well I didn’t say that.  I said simple ways you could help!  Some people think they have to give a lot of money to missions in order to be effective.  But I’m here to tell you that thinking is a lie! 

Remember the story in the Bible of the boy with the loaves and fish and how God used it to feed thousands of people?  Well, even if you just gave $10 or $25 a month, you would be surprised about how far it goes on the mission field.  God has multiplied my money so much this past year and used the little bit I have been given to help not only myself but other missionaries in need as well. 

We as missionaries are grateful for whatever you can give.  Don’t let the small amount you are able to afford prevent you from being a blessing!  God can use that small amount in a mighty way!!!  You would be surprised!  Read any one of my newsletters and you can see how God has multiplied that money. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The World Needs Two Fathers

      This Father's Day I'm thankful for 2 father's. Normally I just recognize one, my earthly father.  But this year I have had to rely on my Heavenly Father, Abba God, more than ever!  How terribly unfortunate that 34 years later I'm just now realizing the importance of acknowledging Him.  Through the pain and healing I've experienced this year I have come to understand more than ever the love of my Heavenly Father and what exactly Abba means

       The love that my Abba has for me is perfect and unconditional! The sacrifices He has made for me are inconceivable. The grace He grants me everyday in undeniable! The forgiveness He extends to me is undeserving.  He knows me better than I know myself! He is always there and He carries me through every difficulty regardless of how big or small it is.  He restores and heals my brokenness in a way no one or no thing on this earth can. He is my Provider and the giver of good gifts!!

       One of those good gifts He has given to me is the gift of my earthly father! He put me in a family with a father that didn't leave, even though times got tough! A father that makes me laugh like crazy!  A father that loved the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.  He worked hard to care for the family and sacrificed a lot to make sure we were provided for. Even though his love isn't perfect and he would mess up at times, he did his best to love me and resemble the love of my Heavenly Father as much as He knew how.  His biggest responsibility as a father was encouraging me to grow closer to God. Sometimes he had to leave me alone so my Heavenly Father could deal with me in the appropriate way.  And sometimes he was forced to leave me alone because there was nothing he could do. 

       Abba has healed the wounds that have been caused by people and circumstances that have harmed me throughout my life, in this world!  My dad finally realized the importance of letting me go and allowing Abba to have His turn with me several years ago so I could grow into the person Abba intended me to be.  My dad may have wanted one thing for me but eventually he realized Abba's way is best.  Even though my dad let me go physically; spiritually he was still taking care of me.  He still prayed for me and encouraged me to keep pursuing Abba during those difficult times.  

       I'm so incredibly blessed to have two Fathers! Maybe you are reading this and you don't have what I have.  Maybe you don't know your earthly father, or your earthly father isn't a good father, or maybe your earthly father has died.  I want to encourage you to look to your Heavenly Father. 

       Every one of you on this earth has a Heavenly Father but a lot of you reading this don't realize that.  Maybe you have never heard of Him.  Maybe you have chosen not to believe in Him.  Maybe you are too busy pursuing other things to pursue a healthy relationship with your Abba.  I encourage you this day to take the time to know your Abba!  He is CRAZY about you!  He delights in you with singing and dancing!  He wants to have a personal relationship with you, will you allow it?  


       Happy Father's Day!! THE WORLD NEEDS YOU NOW MORE THAN EVER!!!  I know life isn't always easy for you!  You are being attacked by Satan and he is being viscous with you!!!  He uses your job, your children, your wife, your baby momma, the media, the feminist movement, that super cute secretary at your office and whatever else to wear you down and distract you from being the best dad you can be!!! But you are SOOOOOOOOOOO important!!!  Don't give in!!! 

        I want to encourage you dads!!!!  When life gets too hard to manage, Satan is attacking you like crazy, your family is looking at you for answers, you feel like you have let everyone down, and you don't know what to do; ask your Heavenly Father and He will guide you!! He knows everything!!  YOU ARE NOT SUPERMAN!!!  You cannot do everything!  He knows that and He doesn't want you to.  But He wants to help guide you to do the things that are most important!  

       We need more good earthly fathers in this world!  It's easy to be a dead-beat dad!  Don't choose that path!  Don't allow Satan to wear you out so much that you choose the easy path!  Hang in there!  Hang onto God!!  You are not alone!  With God all things are possible!  

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Letter to Orlando

Dear Orlando,

            It’s a tragedy what has happened to you this past weekend!  Terrorism is a horrible thing because it causes fear in those who allow it to breed fear.  A bully picked on you this weekend and I hate bullies, especially when they mess with those I love, those who mean so much to me.  It stirs up a fight deep within my heart! 

I’m struggling because I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for you!  You were there for me during a time in my life when I needed you most and I want to be there for you!  You are a city where I experienced more mental and spiritual growth than I have in my entire life.  You are a city that brought so much healing, teaching, and love into my life. 

You taught me about myself.  You taught me about who God is and what my role is in His story!  You introduced me to Brazilians for crying out loud, a people group that I’m crazy about and couldn’t imagine life without them!  You are the city that taught me how to become passionate about injustice directing me down the road I’m on today!  The 8 years I spent living with you are some of the most precious years I’ve ever had. 

My heart is broken as the horrible story continues to unfold because I want to be there for you!  I want to comfort you during this time of fear, mourning, and vulnerability because you were there for me.  But I can’t because I am halfway across the world in Thailand dealing with the vulnerability here.  I wish I could be in 2 places at once but I cannot, I’m not God. 

Speaking of God, He can be in more than one place at a time so I have to rely on Him to be there on my behalf.  Since I cannot be there to help comfort you in your time of mourning I’m doing the only other thing I know how to do, I’m actually praying for you!  I’m not just saying I’ll #prayfororlando I’m actually gonna do it.

I want to share with you what God spoke to me as I interceded on your behalf this morning and afternoon.  As I prayed this morning God gave me the scripture from 1 John 4:7-21 which talks about the love of God, “perfect love.” 

The Holy Spirit reminded me of your nickname, “The City Beautiful.”  The Holy Spirit lead me to pray for unity among all people groups.  In that unity God will make beauty from the ashes of this devastation. I saw a vision of all people coming together in unity and as they do the Christians come forward to comfort those mourning and searching for answers.   

To my Christian family, particularly my family at First Baptist Church Orlando, whether you realize it or not, you are missionaries too.  It’s on your signs as you leave the church property every Sunday.  “You are now entering the mission field.” You have the answers they are looking for!  Don’t keep it to yourself!!!  Share it with everyone, everywhere you go and when necessary use words!!!  Over the past several years God has been preparing and equipping you “for such a time as this” with the #LoveOrlando movement. 

The nations have come to Orlando on a regular basis to visit a freaking mouse that is supposed to make them happy!!!!  Some of them maybe even come from unreached people groups.  Now is the opportunity to show what the love of Christ is really about.  To make them curious about this Jesus that comforts an entire city in mourning, bringing joy beyond belief!  Let them come to experience Jesus and His joy first and then the mouse second!!!

 This afternoon I saw a vision of a bunch of TV’s with the world spinning on them.  As the world was spinning and North America came in view, Mickey Mouse ears popped up on the screen from the spinning Earth.  I asked God to help me understand the vision and this is what I got. 

The world is watching you.  You are the family vacation destination hosting the “happiest place on Earth.”  But joy and happiness is not a fantasy feeling.  It's not a fleeting thing that comes from your favorite movie or taking your picture with an adorable mouse.  It’s a real, lasting feeling that comes from a real, loving, Creator God, the creator of joy and happiness.  It’s something you can experience even in the midst of tragedy and they are watching to see if you do.  They are watching to see how you respond to this tragedy.   

When I think of Orlando I think of family.  Orlando is a place where families come to have fun.  It is a time of bonding and unity as the family vacations in that place, building happy, joyful memories that hopefully last a life-time.  The cost for going on this type of vacation is high, extremely expensive, but they do it anyway to make lasting memories and build unity within the family. 

These 50+ lives that were lost was a high price to pay to bring unity to the City Beautiful.  But the City Beautiful can make something beautiful of this terror by uniting together in love because “perfect love casts out fear.”  This terrorist wanted to put fear in your hearts but you must choose to redeem that fear with “perfect love” instead and in doing so expose the incredible joy that awaits your decision.

I miss you!  Know that I'm praying for you!  It was fun going down memory lane with you today!  #Orlandostrong 

“You can’t determine your circumstances, but if you have the right attitude you can get the best out of your circumstances and rise above them.” ~Elmer Towns

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Faith Outreach Part 2: Just Discipleship

“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate.
 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.” ~Proverbs 31:8-9

Justice; a word that stirs passion deep within my soul. The thought or sight of injustice or mistreatment of others has driven me to do or say some crazy things from a very young age.  This passion is what has lead me to Thailand as I study more and more about the growing world injustice of Human Trafficking.  I’ve spent the past year learning about the injustice of Human Trafficking in the Sex Industry and Fishing Industry in Thailand. I’m left seeking God for the answer to the prevention and solution of this growing injustice.  For the right tools to work smarter, not harder.

            For almost 20 years now missionaries and NGO’s have been in South East Asia fighting the injustice of slavery but it keeps getting worse.  I’ve asked many people their ideas about solving this issue and I get a various amount of answers from tighter government regulations, to family restoration and cultural cures, to bringing awareness to the customers of brothels and stricter penalties for pedophiles.  With so many potential answers to my question I’m left seeking God for the true answer.

I believe that God is beginning to open my mind with a new way for fighting these injustices.  This may not be new to some of you but it is to me.  As I researched more on Justice Discipleship I realized this is something that has been put on the hearts of others as well. I am after all at a YWAM Justice DTS but the more I think about this concept the more it makes sense to me. During the 3 weeks of Faith Outreach I had so many ah-ha moments and realizations about how to fight injustice in Thailand and throughout the rest of the world.  There are two things I walked away with from this experience. 


My team and I went to Surat Thani, Thailand for 3 weeks on our Faith Outreach and connected with “Stream of Life Church.”  We were able to help the church with a 3-day college ministry camp.  The goal of this camp was to build up the youth as disciples and encourage them to stand firm in their faith. 

One thing I heard many times from the youth and college students was about the pressure they go through daily being the only one in their families who are Christian.  Surat Thani is a province of over 1.04 million people and only 0.2% of them are Christian (2,080 people give or take).  Their parents give them a hard time about going to church activities.  Some are being persecuted, treated as outcast at school because they left the traditional Thai way of Buddhism for some “foreign, western, God.”  The students feel alone and helpless often as they live out the light in a dark and pagan nation.  But yet they remain firm and seek shelter in the comfort of the church body, which is small in number but strong in unity (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

During this camp I began to see the importance of incorporating Justice with Discipleship when fighting against injustice. With the exception of this current DTS, I don’t remember any of my discipleship experiences involving learning about things that break the heart of God. I learned how to grow stronger in my relationship with God, his Character and Nature, and how to find my purpose in life, but never did I learn about what’s at the center of God’s heart.


The greatest injustice in the world is people not knowing their Creator God. Not knowing the Absolute Truth.  Truth is a powerful weapon and can change anything.  Truth can literally set a person, community, or culture free.  I’ve seen it in my own life and the lives of so many exploited and vulnerable people I have worked with over the years. 

“There really can be no peace without justice. There can be no justice without truth. And there can be no truth unless someone rises up to tell you the truth.”
 ~Louis Farrakhan

God is Truth.  God is Peace.  God is Just.  If people truly turn their hearts to God they will be changed and then they can begin to impact and change the things around them.  If they truly love God they will desire Truth.  They will desire Peace.  They will fight for Justice because their hearts match those of their Father.


I love wealthy Thais too!” ~God

The gospel is for everyone, not just the poor.  This was a conviction I got earlier this year when praying about my next steps in Thailand. I couldn't think of any organizations that reach out and share the gospel with the wealthy in Thailand.  Every organization I collaborated alongside of in North Thailand involved working with the poor, marginalized, and needy in Thailand.  I also hadn’t met very many wealthy Thai’s during my 10 months in Chiang Mai and have no idea where I could begin looking for them.  So I asked God to show me where I could find them.  After all they are part of the 99% unreached too!!!!

If you think about it, wealthy people have the financial means and influential power to help the poor, exploited, vulnerable, and needy. If their hearts are truly turned toward God, who has a heart for justice, then their hearts can be turned to righteously helping others in need. 

Also, wealthy people are big influencers on society and government.  If their hearts are truly turned toward God, who has a heart for Justice, they can begin to influence the government and society. Not only that those empowered with the gospel have the best weapon of all to fight injustice.

I have come to realize that the south of Thailand is one of the wealthiest places in Thailand I have seen so far.  They are also some of the hardest working people I have seen in Thailand.

The culture of South Thailand is so different from anywhere else I’ve been in Thailand.  They are a people with a hard outer shell of pride in their abilities and accomplishments.  Since they are so hard working and good about taking care of themselves and family, why would they need to rely on God?  It’s hard to convert South Thailand people because of this pride.  But once they realize their need for a Savior.  Once they realize their need for God and choose to follow Him, they will be some of the strongest, most loyal people you will ever meet for the gospel, as I witnessed in my young college friends this past 3 weeks. 

For this reason I believe it is important to reach out and work with the children and youth in South Thailand. They are still dependent on their parents and therefore have an easier understanding and transition of becoming dependent on God.  By instilling in them a heart that pursues justice we instill them with a desire to fight against the injustices of their own nation they will hopefully begin to influence the future of Thailand and generations to come after them.


I have no idea where God will lead me when this DTS is finished. This realization of equipping wealthy people with the gospel message as well as discipleship that includes a strong focus on justice and mercy is something I am going to be praying about a lot over the next several months as I continue my training.  It’s a technique that can be used in any country around the world.  I'm not sure if this is the answer, but it's worth a shot!

Discipleship needs to be about giving those you disciple hearts that break for the things that break the Father’s heart; things like Justice and Mercy.  Justice was a quality that was displayed in Jesus life and ministry on earth.  It is something He also taught His disciples.  If it is something Jesus did then it's part of the Gospel and we should do it as well.  Also, Jesus didn’t just visit the poor and sick while on earth.  He also made time for the wealthy, and those in political power.   We have to see justice as part of discipleship in order for the discipleship to be fully effective.