The God of the Nations

So, count the cost brothers and sisters. This is not an invitation to an easy life. For 2000 years, thousands and thousands of missionaries, the unnamed-no biographies written about them, just unnamed people of whom the world is not worthy, have counted the cost and put their lives at risk and reached the lost with the only message of salvation. -John Piper

anewthing

I was talking to a new friend last night about my heart for evangelism, internationals and for missions. She looked at me and said, “You’re heart is there. Go for it.” So simple if I hadn’t just sat through a service that spoke to my heart about letting go of everything and allowing the Lord to lead my life.

You see, I’ve been bouncing around America getting to see some amazing people, but also hoping that the Lord would just open a door to go back on the mission field to the unreached. If that’s in a church in America focusing on women’s discipleship and evangelism, or training students in the UK, or working at a Refugee center, I’m ready. I have been frantically searching online for missions organizations that work with Muslims/Arabs, considered applying for jobs in Seattle and the UK, and I even talked with a Missions team in Popenguine, Senegal. I have been so ready to be doing something for the kingdom that involves internationals. And that’s where the Lord checked my heart.

Mary, surrender it all to me. You can’t manipulate yourself into my will. Trust that I’ll lead you. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to… the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”

I feel like this has been a sweet reminder that when I’m being anxious, that is a work of the flesh. It opposes peace. Peace comes from having trust in a trustworthy God. Anxiousness comes from trying to find rest in what I can do, what job I can find, who I can network with. He is trustworthy. I can follow Him and know that He will lead me in His calling for my life. I can have joy knowing that He is faithful not only to me, but to the nations that don’t yet know Him. He is working; He doesn’t need us but He sure does delight in using us.

I wrestled with the Lord a little bit last night thinking, “Okay God, is this burden I have for the nations normal? I feel like a freak. Is this me that made this up? Is this idolatry towards global missions in my heart? Is this your vision that you casted for me that I get to be a part of?”

This morning I shared a little bit about what God did in Senegal this past year at a church in Cleveland, Tennessee. [Y’all, bless my heart. Public speaking without having 3 cups of coffee is so not my thing.] I shared two verses that have been giving me hope. Here’s one of those verses from Revelation 21 about the New Heaven and the New Earth.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.

They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.. meaning Heaven isn’t full of people who look and sound like me. It isn’t going to be full of people who speak English. There will be people there who have never heard of Starbucks. There will be people who have seen and experienced very different things on this Earth than westerners. The nations will be represented in Heaven because God created each and every one of them and loves them. There is hope for the unreached, the lost, the hard hearted, the church goer who has played the good Christian role their whole lives without truly having life-altering faith in Christ. There is hope for each and every one. And all of us will be there because Christ died for our sins. We have faith in Him because someone shared the great news with us. Faith comes through hearing. I want challenge you with this, “The Gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.” -Carl F.H. Henry. Are we praying, supporting or going? Are we a part of this? Is the gospel good news to us? Do we know what the gospel is? Is this just our mindset on global missions or do we even apply it to the lost in our area?

One of the sweet things the Lord has reminded me of this morning was that it doesn’t matter where we are physically. The lost are everywhere. And one of the sweet things He showed me was that I live in a country full of internationals. The two bus boys at a restaurant I ate at were from Tanzania and Nigeria. As I was walking out of the restaurant, I hear in a very distinctly Irish accent, “So, have you ever preached in Northern Ireland?” I whipped my head around so fast that I wasn’t quite sure that my body could catch up and exclaimed, “Whaaaaaaaat!?”

Three nations represented in little ol’ Cleveland within 3 minutes. Seriously, the Lord confirmed that He does want me to have a heart for the nations. He wants me praying for the Muslims at the Mosques in Senegal. He wants me supporting people going to the hard to reach nations. But He also has me here for a season too. There are so many different nationalities here that I can’t ignore the need here just because I want to go. I am “going” it just looks different than the Irish countryside I’d hoped for. 😉

The Lord was so sweet this morning to remind me that missions here matters. He just happened to use two bus boys and a group of Irish believers to catch my attention.

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7 Things I’ve Learned Since Returning To America

{One} Yeah, that ever lingering stomach ache is normal. Although it is the best invention ever, I’d suggest that you lay off the Chinese Buffets for a while.  [In my defense, where else can you get Lo Mein, sweet potatoes AND jello in one location? HELLO!]  Welcome back to America, Mary. Take it easy on the high-sodium, processed and preservative-enriched “food”. Although in my book, one time at a Chinese Buffet with family=worth the upset stomach.

Thanks to my Step-Mom, Dhel, for creating this fun picture collage!
Thanks to my Step-Mom, Dhel, for creating this fun picture collage!

{Two} Figuring out what you like and don’t like is pretty simple. Last year I was having a personal identity crisis [in the middle of TJ Maxx mind you…] over trying to figure out what I liked. Fashion changed so much since I had left and dressing for college ministry stateside looks so different than in a third-world country. Hence, the meltdown. This time around, I’m taking some time to just be me. I’m figuring out what I like and it doesn’t depend on what’s popular in the US culture, because let’s be honest, I have no clue what’s popular. I don’t Pinterest on the reg., so I’m completely out of the loop. And I am completely okay with that.

{Three} Walmart is overwhelming and makes me realize how impulsive I am. Oatmeal Creme Pies and Ho-Hos have never looked better until you’ve spent two-years in a third-world, developing country in Africa. Granted, the French pastries in Senegal were amazing, they weren’t convenient. And they definitely weren’t stock-pile-your-cabinets-in-case-we-get-nuked-or-dumped available. Poor Bonnie took me to Walmart for the first time in almost a year yesterday and had to see me get goo-goo eyed over chocolate cupcakes and the vast selection of icecream for only $2.79 for a half-gallon! Really, whoever thought of putting all your home needs in one place is a genius.

Sweet Bon!
Sweet Bon!

{Four} The Mummy is the best movie ever. Downside to it being played on AMC: commercial breaks. Rachel Weisz’s character just, well, I’m not exactly sure what happened to her. I had to feed the dog I’m watching, so I missed the part where she went from alive to dead. But I came back and Brendan Fraser’s character (Rick) is holding his sweet wife in his arms, crying as she slips away from him through his fingers. And then BAM. commercial break. Ugh, AMC, what are you good for besides giving me a heart attack??

Yeah, my thoughts exactly Bren!
Yeah, my thoughts exactly Bren!

{Five} The world is full of options. In fact, far too many options. So, I am still processing through what’s next. Staff with Cru? Taking a job internationally? Going back to school? Oy vey! I kind of wish there weren’t so many options. I mean moving to Ireland to work at a non-profit or be a farmer makes total sense to you too, right?

In Ireland two years ago... be still my beating heart.
In Ireland two years ago… be still my beating heart.

{Six} People still haven’t learned to pass on the left side. I’m not even going to begin to expound upon that one because like AMC, it’ll give me a heart attack too.

Praise Him.
Praise Him.

{Seven} Almost everyone around me speaks English. Don’t forget that while talking to a friend in public. It’s so easy for me to think no one understands me. I just moved back from a country where less than 5% of the population speaks English. Whispering secrets need not exist. It’s actually funny the things you can think of to shout across a restaurant knowing that no one will understand.  But in ‘Merica? Oh, not only do they “comprendre” but they are so judging you too. So, enjoy your transistion back to America, but please use discretion while explaining to your girlfriends about just how much that Chinese Buffet is getting to ya!

Instagram? I think Insta-shame is more like it.
Instagram? I think Insta-shame is more like it. [Thanks Mashable for the photo]

Rend Collective Experiment

Okay, so I know I talk a lot about music. No need to tell me. I used to want to be a music critic/write articles for Relevant Magazine about the latest music. I don’t want to do that anymore. Now I’ll just write about music on my blog and not get paid for it. <– Story. Of. My. Life…..

This band, Rend Collective Experiment, is AMAZING. Last August my bunkmate, Aimee, started playing their music pretty consistently in the mornings. So, whenever I hear any of their songs, I think of warm, Saturday mornings at our house with some of the people I love most. 🙂 Our house is small, doesn’t have a lot of furniture and has hardwood flooring, so the music fills the house. It’s awesome.

Anyways, here’s the song that I’ve listened to three times in a row because I am a freaky creature of habit who has slight OCD tendencies just love this song.