Friday, December 25, 2009

The Lion of Judah

I see a King in all His Glory
And He dwells in Magnificence.

I see a Man Who reigns forever
And He dwells in Holiness.

They call Him the Son.
They call Him the Lamb.
They call Him Emmanuel.

They call Him the One.
And The Great I Am.
They call Him the Lion of Judah.

He is roaring.
He is roaring.
He is roaring.
For the nations.

He is roaring.
He is roaring.
He is roaring
For His people.

For a people who will call Him their own.

He was slain as a Lamb,
But He's returning as a Lion.
He shall return as the Lion of Judah.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas in Bama, December 2009

So we surprised my mom with a photo shoot! Every year, she always talks about how nice it would be to have a nice photo of all of her children and granchildren. With the exception of my nephew Austin who was out of town, we all got together. It was an absolute miracle!

We even made it to our destination at the same time all in different cars!  What an event it was.  However, I think Mom was happy. Here are just a few pictures of our family. Hope you are well. Blessings and Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Oh If I Could Dream...

What would happen if I could dream? What would happen if all that is in my heart began to come forth? What would happen if I could have the courage to chase after them with all of my heart? I recently wrote about an inspiration to dream and how the dreams in my heart were beginning to awaken again.

A mentor of mine, a few months ago, asked me the questions, "Mary Kat, what is it in your heart to do? What are the dreams of your heart?" I could not answer those questions because I had forgotten. Through disappointment and disillusionment, the biggest dreams in my heart had been quenched. They had been crushed so much that I could not even remember them anymore, until the Lord began to awaken them again.

I heard a lot of words of wisdom this weekend at one of our conferences called Eleven. We had some amazing speakers visit The Harbour Church and impart an abundance of wisdom. One of the services that stood out to me the most was our powerful Saturday night service.

Wow! Banning Liebscher from Bethel Church in Redding, California talked about God releasing the dreamers again and raising up the ministry of encouragement at the same time! It was so impacting to me and my life. It was also yet another confirmation that becoming a dreamer is critical in the hour which we live.

Our dreams coincide with the dreams of God's heart. When our dreams are fulfilled, God's dreams are being fulfilled as well. There is an amazing parallel! Obviously, I am describing a heart that is seeking the Lord and delighting in His Presence.

I am also talking about the dreams of a believer in Jesus Christ. When we are a new creation in Christ, we have the ability to dream good dreams and think good thoughts! We have a new heart! Therefore, a Godly desire in our heart that is fulfilled becomes a tree of life as it says in Proverbs 13:12. When our desires are fulfilled, they fulfill the heart of our Father.

For years, I have felt so much condemnation in that place of dreaming. Many people who were the "voices" in my life had spoken words of "realistic thinking." Many even claimed to be "realists." I heard some things this weekend that set me free from my old ways of thinking. "God doesn't live in reality" and "You are free to get your hopes up."

These very words were completely opposite from everything I have ever known. The American culture is used to carrying this phrase, "Don't get your hopes up." Yet, this is a lie! The truth is that Jesus Christ is the HOPE of what? He is the HOPE OF GLORY! Therefore, we need to get our hopes up as high as they can go! God is for us!

Could the Christian life truly be this exciting? Could it truly be this fun? Another quote I heard was, "If your dream is not impossible, perhaps it's not God." All things are possible with God. How far are we dreaming with Him? Are my dreams only going as far as I can make them go in my own strength? If so, am I dreaming with God?

I am discovering more and more that this Christian life is participatory. God gives us choices. He chose us to co-reign with Him to advance His kingdom and bring it to this earth. He chose us as the vessels to do this, but He also has given us a free will to choose. Isn't that crazy? What an honor we have to be co-reigning with Christ on this earth even now.

In Christ, we now have the ability to walk with God as Enoch and Moses did, face to face. A man named Kris Vallotton once said he had an epiphany one day with the Lord when He felt God ask him, "What kind of friend would I be if we only did the things I wanted to do?" God no longer calls us servants, but friends! We can see the Lord and walk with Him because of the blood of Jesus and His salvation for us! Therefore, we have the freedom to tell Him what we think and what is in our hearts.

From the moment of creation, God, the Ultimate Creator, created us to be like Him, one who creates. He made us creative and full of thoughts! He created us to have dreams and think like Him! I even think about Adam in the Garden. God gave him a choice to name the animals. He gave him the opportunity to "create" a character or name for each animal. I am sure there were thousands of creatures.

Can you imagine all the different types of animals and creatures in the Garden of Eden? Adam was given the opportunity to create from the moment he breathed his first breath. Why? Because somehow in this mystery, God chose us to participate with Him in bringing His Kingdom to this earth. Somehow, we move God's heart in such a way that not even the angels can comprehend. Out of all His creation, we move His heart the most!

He wants to know our thoughts even though He already knows them before we speak them out. He wants us to tell Him our thoughts and He wants us to tell Him our dreams too! The enemy's plan would be to destroy the dreams in our hearts so that God's plans cannot be fulfilled. The enemy's plan would be to wound us so much that we would not know how to hope anymore.

We know, however, that in this day, God has a plan. He is redeeming His people back to Himself. When He redeems, He restores, and He heals the heart completely. Once the heart is healed, it begins to come alive again. The child-like innocence is given back to us and we can dream without fear! We can have as much as hope as we want when we become children again in the Father's house. What an exciting time to be alive!

In closing, the most important point of all of this is, your dreams matter to God! Your dreams not only matter, but they are an integral part of God advancing His Kingdom on this earth. He has chosen us to bring His Light to the world. With this perspective, we can literally change the world. Dreaming with God can actually bring Light and life to this dark, dry, and barren land. So we say yes God to the dreams in our hearts. Let us dream as far as we can.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Back To The Beginning

Intimacy, the way it's supposed to be.
Intimacy, the way it's supposed to be.
Where You see me the way I'm supposed to be.

You bring me back to intimacy.

And back to the beginning,
When I was a thought in Your mind..

Back to the beginning,
When I was a dream in Your heart.
Back to the beginning,
When I was a child in Your arms,
And when we met for the very first time.

Back to the beginning,
When Your eyes met my eyes.
Back to the beginning,
When Your face met my mine.

Oh could it be better than this?
For this is all I need.
This is all I really want.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

As If It Was Always Meant To Be...

So it was so with just one word from Your mouth.
So it was so with just one breath from Your lips.
Yet, how can I ever understand?
How can I ever comprehend?
That in a moment it was done just as You said.
As if it was always, always meant to be.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A New Season...

You can almost feel it. You know? When the seasons change? Autumn begins to roll in, the air changes, the leaves turn colors, and a crisp cool breeze begins to blow in. You know it's coming soon.

It's maybe right around the corner. One day, you'll wake up, and it's a new season. I have been feeling like that alot lately. The air is changing, it feels like a cool breeze is moving in and it's still in the dead heat of summer.

I am a guitar player, so it's important to keep my left hand fingernails very short. However, during my break that I had from leading worship, I let my fingernails grow. Oh how pretty they were! I had tons of fun and felt so much more feminine with long nails and clear nail polish. It was somewhat invigorating.

However, getting back into the swing of things, I have had to cut my left hand nails short again. For some reason, I couldn't cut the nails on my right hand. Why? They looked so nice and pretty, but today it all changed. I suddenly felt the urge to bite them all off and file them down. It felt good to have a fresh start you know? A new day.

When I go to see films I can't help but find prophetic significances in them most of the time. I just happened upon "500 Days of Summer" tonight and realized, at the end of it, the significance of the names in the film, such as: Summer and Autumn. Such names represented seasons of life!

The story was about a boy who discovers who he really is. Yet, while watching the movie, you almost get the sense that it's about a boy and a girl finding love, going through trials, but hopefully working it out. However, it doesn't end that way. Sorry to ruin it for you. He doesn't win the girl, or marry her off and live happily ever after.

Instead, he realizes that this girl: Summer, just wasn't "the one." He discovers his identity through these unfortunate circumstances and through a broken heart. He, in fact, only grows stronger and comes to a realization that he needs to go after his true dreams.

I could also totally relate to his cynicsism, at one point, throughout the film. After, his break up with the "love of his life," he was down with love. He hated everything about it and thought that all of his hopes of finding true love were only a myth.

Yet, in the end, he discovers that it's not that true love doesn't exist, it's just that the person he thought it would be with wasn't meant to be with him. My reality the past few years has been just that. What do I have to lose to be vulnerable for a moment?

Heart ache is hard and painful. In the midst of it, you feel as if you will never get over it. However, the season changes, and you realize that you will and your life will continue on. The truth is, "it just wasn't meant to be." Is that so hard to admit? This is sometimes a reality for someone's heart and, to be honest, there is a comfort which can be found in that statement.

Therefore, I feel as if it is a new season. At the end of this particular movie, he meets a girl named Autumn and the season changes for him. He begins to have hope again. This is where I am, not just regarding "true love," but in day to day life.

Perhaps regarding every dream I have ever had. There is hope. There is change. It's a new day and the old is gone and past away. THIS makes me smile and causes me to have a great expectation of what is to come.

Revival...Do You Know What This Means?

I awakened this morning after a series of crazy, vivid dreams. My mind was thinking about numerous things, but I couldn't help thinking about revival. I kept saying the word to myself, "Revival, revival." What does that really mean? You see in our "Charismatic circles" as some like to call it, of course I would prefer "Circle of Friends," however, this word "revival" is thrown out a lot.

We are definintely going after this more than ever in our city. You hear us praying for it during our times of prayer and every service we have at our church. I wouldn't say it's the reason I moved to South Florida, but since living here, the Lord has revealed to me that there truly will be a revival in this place though it appears to be a dry and barren land sometimes. "We see dry bones, but He sees an army." (Ezekiel.)

I saw something on the internet the other day that a friend of mine wrote about a city she didn't want to live in. She said, "I hate ______, I woud love to watch it burn." Wow, I thought. That was such an intensely, riveting comment about the place she lived. How much death was she speaking over that place with just her words? I then began thinking about all that was happening when the revival came to Lakeland, Florida one year ago.

I was remembering all of the amazing things God was doing in that place and in many people during that time. I was also thinking of the time Todd Bentley said "There is going to be a revival in ______", the same city my friend had just said she would love to watch burn! God wants to visit many places in a powerful way and we don't believe!

As I began thinking about the Lakeland Revival, I remembered how my roommates and I used to race home just to be able to watch the revival with eachother on the webstream with our little laptop computer. We would sit there for hours, singing, worshipping God, praying for one another, listening to the teachings, receiving from the Holy Spirit, feeling some pretty amazing things, and laughing.

We even drove a few times to Lakeland, sometimes during the middle of the week, knowing that we had to work the next morning. Crazy, amazing, God stories, and even my roommate and I got healed of some things at the time! It was awesome! All we wanted was God and our hearts were awake!

I realize that this particular revival in Lakeland, Florida ended on a discouraging note with the fall of Todd Bentley and much confusion taking place afterwards. Yet, I couldn't help but think of all of the amazing things that took place. Todd was calling out city after city to receive more of the Holy Spirit and we would begin crying out for those places with him! That was a time when the Lord was really speaking to my heart about how powerful my words are regarding what I say about people and places.

We wanted God to come during the revival and I still believe He will and He is even now. We began speaking life over the dead places in our nation, which is why that statement of wanting to watch a city burn is so detrimental! We need to speak life over places, not death because God will give them to us for His glory if we ask. "Ask and I will give the nations to you." This is what He tells us to ask of Him! This is His desire more than our own!

However, allow me to continue discussing the meaning of revival because it seems as though we got a taste of it. I looked it up in the Webster's Dictionary and here is what appears to be the definition: "The coming again into activity and prominence." Definitions also used in different languages of the world are "Awakening, renewal, rejuvenation, recovery of strength." One of the Middle Eastern languages actually said, "Shaking up." I love that definition!

Therefore, we know that a true revival is shaking things and waking things up! We, in Ft. Lauderdale and, particularly, The Harbour Church are seeking the Lord for a sustained revival which means a continual movement of renewal, rejuventation, recovery of strength, shaking up, and waking up, most importantly, in our own hearts! We are believing God for a revival that is not built around one man at the pulpit who has gifts and seems anointed.

We are not after a revival where if one man falls, it cannot continue to move forward. No, we are seeking God for a true sustained revival that will last until the day of Jesus' return. This is intense if you think about it! Yet, this what Jesus is doing in our day and in our time. I do believe we are living in the last days.

As we who are followers of Christ know, the enemy is raising up an army right now to come against the Lord. Yet, the Lord is raising up a mighty army as well who will be stronger and will defeat the enemy because it says "Greater is He who is in me, than he who is in the world." "He who is in the world," is referring to Satan of course, the one who is reigning on the earth but only for a short time. The enemy knows his time is short.

Therefore, all this to say, we throw the word around "revival," yet the implications of what this means are huge! When the true revival comes, we will know the time is near. I also believe that as times get incredibly more difficult as they already are, this will be the Church's finest hour to shine, rise up, and have a renewal of strength. In the midst of persecution and trial, there will be great victory. Yes Lord, send revival to our land!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Little Blue Pig, Little Blue Pig, Why Do You Bother Me So?

For my 30th birthday, I received a Piggy bank from a good friend of mine. Needless to say, it was a hit at the party. We all tried to come up with a name for it, however, I think "Little Blue Pig" suits him fine, (that's right, it's a boy). Anyway, every morning when I wake up, I see this Little Blue Pig on my bookshelf.

We come eye to eye every time I lift my head up from my bed! It haunts me almost. It is a reminder of my dreams. You see, that day my friends put coins and money in it for my upcoming goal of going to the Middle East. It was the cutest Piggy bank I had EVER seen! The pig and I are becoming somewhat aquainted more everyday.

He won't let me forget what is to come. It's as if God uses this pig to motivate me at the start of my day to not give up and continue to dream, to continue to hope. I wonder if he can help me raise more funds for the Middle East. Hm? Little Blue Pig.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Sudden Inspiration To Dream Again...

So I have suddenly become inspired to write. After an amazing movie I watched with good friends called "Julie and Julia," I felt as if I received a gust of wind in my lungs and words came rushing to my head like a great waterfall. I almost didn't know what to do with myself. I was in this amazing discussion with the girls after it was over, but I couldn't fight off the urgency in my heart to write!

My heart was pounding and my chest felt tight, but in a good way. I had to leave. I got in the car to go and I put the pedal to the metal harder than I ever have in awhile! I couldn't seem to get home fast enough. The blasted red lights stopped me every five minutes which is so common here in South Florida, but I set my face like flint to the finish line: HOME.

I was not going to let ANYTHING get in my way. Not even my meowing cats who greet me everyday at the garage. NO, my white little Toyota was going to hit the drive way and I was going to make it to my room in front of my computer in record time, no doubt. I felt like such a fool running past the girls in the living room as they were watching their movie, but in the moment, I just couldn't help myself!

When I was driving and the words were rushing through my brain, I thought, "What shall I write about?" "What do I really have to say?" Now as I sit here in front of my computer with the sounds of chattering keys on the keyboard, I find myself at a loss for words to convey what I am feeling!

Oh my friend if I could truly write about what I am REALLY thinking sometimes, I would. However, in my position, I don't have the luxury or freedom to spout off my mouth just to ease my mind. It doesn't come so easily for me, but ONE DAY, I tell you, I will publish a book and it will reveal some of my thoughts and what I REALLY think at times. That day is not here and it will probably be when I am gone, but until then, I am left with subtle hints and "putting a lid on it" to state it bluntly.

Usually, I find myself inspired with the sounds of the "Pride and Prejudice" soundtrack resounding in the background, but lately, I have discovered my inspiration coming from the sounds of a foreign land in the Midde East. The sounds of traditional music there move my heart to see pictures and nations and oh sooo many things.

I long to see the world and, one day, I am going to write about all of my adventures. I hope this doesn't sound narcissistic. I just have been reawakened to one of the many dreams in my heart that has been there for a long time. Out of many of them, it is to be a WRITER. Perhaps, no one will ever read what I am writing even now. Perhaps no one cares. Yet, I feel in my heart that SOMEONE will and SOMEONE will be inspired to go after their dreams.

Oh to dream again, is all I keep feeling for this season. Despite all of the odds against me in this moment, all of the decisions that need to be made, and all of the deadlines that have to be met, I feel a desire to not lose hope of my dreams.

I, Mary Katherine Conolley, am 30 years old and feel a sudden burst of confidence to dream as BIG as I possibly can, and I suddenly feel that most of them, if not all, WILL be accomplished by God's grace of course. I feel this so strongly right now that I have to write it down for the world to see so I will have no excuse of not remembering! 'Tis the season to come alive again. Until tomorrow my friend. God's speed.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Time of Transition!! July 2009

All I can say is that we are in a major time of transition! God is doing amazing things. People are coming, people are saying goodbye, marriages are happening, babies are arriving, and the list goes on and on and on and on!!

I am super excited about this upcoming year as this will be a year of many shiftings and dreams coming to fruition. Why do I say that? This is just something I am feeling pretty strongly. I could be wrong, but I feel like a lot of people, including myself, are going to experience major breathrough, encounters with the Lord that they have never experienced before, and dreams are going to come true this year! Wow! I get excited just writing these words and I am waiting in great expectation.

I felt like the words for this season were "Be Prepared To Be Surprised!" It's from the movie soundtrack "Dan In Real Life." I felt the Holy Spirit wanted to speak to us through those words and now is the time to be ready for unexpected surprises from our good, amazing Father! He is good!

As far as the direction God is taking me in this upcoming year, there are a few changes. I will be updating you soon about some new adventures I could be embracing. Please join with me in prayer for this city of Ft. Lauderdale, our church community at The Harbour, our staff, and me. We need your prayers.
Love you guys and please keep me updated with all that God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in your lives! Let's take this opportunity to position ourselves to receive all that God has for us in the ways He has planned! Blessings!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

You Remain

You are not afraid at the changing of the tide.

You see when kings fall and you see when they rise.

You saw my disappointment and when my hopes were taken.

You have been there through the trial,

And when everything was shaken.

You were not dismayed nor were You ashamed.

You held me firm and steady for You sustain.

You stay the same, You never change.

You never fear, but You oh Lord remain.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Need For Self-Expression...

An artist is in need of letting out what is in the heart. Though it may seem dark at times or though it be light, the artist must release what is within. A true artist knows how to release what is within them in purity, not perversion.

We can discover a rare treasure out of the brokenness of one's own heart. Though the artists' feelings may seem dark at times, there resides a glimmer of hope and beauty that cannot be discovered any other way. It is critical that the artist release what is stirring in the heart.

Whether through words, a simple melody, a drawing perhaps, or colorful painting, the artist must let it go. Maybe no one will understand, maybe some will comprehend, but either way, the artist must let out what is inside. This is what they were made for.

Though his or her expression be misunderstood, this is the life of a true artist. They leave their heart open to possible rejection and the pieces of their heart vulnerable to criticism. Yet, this is the life of one who takes risks to create something new, to create something beautiful. This is the life of a true artist.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An excerpt from: "The Girls of Laurel Lane"

Another Day

So here she sat in the quiet house, candles lit, and sounds of the birds chirping outside on an overcast day. Finally it was a moment Audra had all to herself to contemplate the last year of her twenties, or rather, the last few months of her twenties.

It was also a time to reflect on the wonderful girls she had the privilege of living with on Laurel Lane. “What is to become of us?” She wondered. This was the ever-so famous question that always seemed to be asked by the girls. All of these changes and all of the shifting seemed to be overwhelming at times. It was time for another roommate to leave the nest and move on to better grounds. Another one was getting married and rightfully so.

Bethany was an exquisite girl full of intelligence and creativity. She was very eccentric in her own way and had a beauty that seemed to grow even more in the last few moments of her “singleness.”

It was beautiful for the others to watch. And so there were three, yet again, Audra, Amira, and Juliet. It seemed that they were like a chord of three strands that could never be broken unless there was, of course, a mass exodus. Would it be possible for all three to leave at the same time? To be continued…

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Straight To You...

You took the things I tried to cling.
You held them back from me.
In my pain, I longed and ached for them to be a gain.
Yet, You never let me have them.

They only led me straight to You.
They led me straight to You.
They only led me straight to You.
They led me straight to You.

Even though I tried to run and I tried to hide,
I couldn't get away from Your Presence.
I tried so hard to ignore You.
But You spoke to me anyway.

You only led me straight to You.
You led me straight to You.
You only led me straight to You.
You led me straight to You.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Still Alive

I find myself in the midst of this place again.
Here I am, face to the ground, for I have fallen.
But You lift my head and whisper in my ear, "You are still alive."
These whispers move through my bones and begin to breathe new life.
My anxious thoughts begin to clear and I can finally see what is real.
You tell me, "This is the way," and You lead me by Your hand.
For a moment, I lost sight and the darkness overwhelmed me.
Yet, now I can see but a glimpse of the light on the other side.

You tell me I don't belong here and it's time to go.
After fighting against You, I finally surrender.
I finally give in.
Where I thought I belonged is only but a vapor.
This place was never meant to be my home.
Yet, I have chosen to dwell here.
But now as you call to me, I have no other option but to say "Yes."
Fearful of what is unknown, I know in the depths that Your way is best.
Though I cannot see this full picture, I am beginning to believe that You are good.

Inside this flame, which is painful at times, is the only way to be where You are.
So I will go as long as I can be with You.
When this is said and done, I will be new.
When this is said and done, You and I will be one.
I will come out not the same as I once was, but I will be more like You.
If this is true, I will go.
I cannot go back to what was yesterday.
Whatever it takes, have Your way, until what You have to do is done.
I will go with You.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Fire...

The Fire

I will go through fire.
I will go through pain, even when it hurts so bad I wanna run away.
I will choose to stay.
I will choose to stay and embrace this flame even when it hurts so bad I wanna run away.
I will choose to stay.

I will go,
I will go,
I will go with You.

You have called me one with You.
And I will go with You.

I will go through the fire and not come out until I'm consumed.
I will enter in and not come out until I'm consumed for I will go with You.

God can bring something beautiful out of our greatest pain. All that being said, this is a new song in progress. I don't usually post new songs that are in progress, but I thought: why not? I don't know if anyone will ever think, "Wow, what a great song!" Yet, perhaps the reader will be able to relate somehow. As hard as this song seems to be lived out, my heart means every word.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Letting Go...

I'm letting go of what I know for Something that is greater,
I'm looking to the hills for my Someone who is better.
I'm counting it all as loss and clinging to what is real,
I'm looking to a higher place for the One who truly heals.

I will see Him on a road that I have never taken,
I will find a faith within me that can never be shaken.
I will find Him wrapped in colors that I have never dreamed,
And will see Him in a way that no man has ever seen.

I'm letting go of what I know for Something that is greater,
I'm looking to the hills for my Someone who is better.
I am going to find the One who truly does satisfy,
For I will be revealed a Love that never dies.
I will find a Garden with a river that never runs dry,
I will find a hope that I can't escape even if I tried.

I'm letting go of what I know for Something that is greater,
I'm looking to the hills for my Someone who is better.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

He Loves Me...

"He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me, He loves me not." Isn't this just how our life is in God? Pulling off the rose petals and hoping that the last petal we pull will be "He loves me!" We have such a hard time understanding that He does indeed love us! Over the past month, this is what God has been trying to show me over and over again. I guess I just have a hard time getting it.

I have been back in America for one week and wow what an adjustment it has been. Reverse culture shock and back to "real life" I guess you could say? It's been a few days, but I couldn't evade the last part of my journey to the Middle East. The last day of my trip was probably one of the most culminating parts of the whole time as the Lord revealed to me so much more of His heart.

I arrived at the airport to leave for Germany at 2:00 in the morning for an early flight and I felt prepared to say goodbye. However, when I arrived, I discovered that they had canceled the flight and were not going to be sending me to Germany that morning. I felt my heart drop to the bottom of my stomach and prayed that the Lord would work something out. I was desperate!

Dan Wickwire translated these words for me from the woman at the desk, "There are no flights leaving directly from Germany to the U.S. until Tuesday, which is 4 days away, so you could spend a night in Germany later today, stay in a hotel, and fly out tomorrow morning to America."

Flustered, I responded with,"What? Oh man, I can't do that. I am by myself? I don't know the language and I don't have enough money to stay in a European hotel. I just don't know." Dan responded with, "What if they could pay for you to stay at a hotel?" That's where it all started, my next exciting adventure!

Therefore, we went back to Dan and Devri's house, I spent 3 more hours of sleep, awakened for one last Middle Eastern breakfast, and we left from there. I was thankful for that time with them for Devri prayed for me that God would cover me the whole time and give me wisdom on my next journey. She said, "If the devil can't get you coming over, he'll try to get you on the way home. Stay strong in the Lord."

So I was off on my way a few hours later than planned and was at the gate. Dan said goodbye to me and I took one last look. I found myself taking another last look at Dan and felt some comfort that he was there to make sure I was safe. I was also reminded of the whole trip feeling covered and protected the whole time. I was still a little fearful but asked the Lord if He would give me just one friend who spoke English to help me.

No later than 30 minutes, while I was waiting for our gate to open I saw a girl with blonde hair and blue eyes and she kept looking at me and I kept doing the same thing with her. I guess we were trying to figure out if each of us spoke English. I then asked, "Do you speak English?" I was so relieved to find her next answer. "Yes, I do, you too!"

We quickly became acquainted with on another and talked for a long time. She happened to be from South Carolina and was living in Frankfurt, Germany with her husband, but she had been living in the Middle East for 4 months working with their government. She knew German and was going to be able to help me when I arrived at Frankfurt. I was thankful.

As if it could not have become better, this 3 hour flight to Germany became even more amazing! I quickly found my seat number and began to get settled in. I had an aisle seat and made myself a little more comfortable as is my usual routine on planes. I got my I-pod out and was ready to either sleep, or get enthralled into the "writing zone" of journaling while the music inspired the words to go forth!

In the midst of my "world," a young boy of about sixteen years tapped me on the shoulder. "May I ask where you are from?" he said. I quickly responded with a smile and thought the conversation would not go any further, however, it did!

I have to be honest, within myself, I was thinking, "God, can I please just be left alone for now, so that I can just have my own time to chill after an intense trip?" Yet, I felt the Holy Spirit saying to me, "You know that's not going to happen."

This is because just about every time I get on a plane, the Lord wants me to prophesy, pray, or minister to someone I am sitting by. I have a great history of seeing God move powerfully on planes. Why was I being so stubborn? Didn't I want to see God move? I was being a little selfish.

This boy began telling me his life story and opened up about some deep wounds he had for years. Why did he feel the need to share so much? I wondered, but I knew the Lord was highlighting something specific. God eventually gave me the opportunity to share.

After about the 5th time I saw this boy try to cover up the fact that he had tears in his eyes, I said, "You know, I hear all the pain you are facing." He said, "Yeah, I guess that's my life." I said, "No, that's not the rest of your life. I don't know what I would do without God in my life. I have faced trial after trial and without Jesus helping me, I couldn't do it. You can have this same hope and this same assurance."

He responded with, "I don't know if I believe in God. I go to a German school in the Middle East, and all of my teachers say that there is no God." I asked him the question, "What do you believe?" He said, "I don't know. I guess I am searching." I responded with, "You know if you ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you, He will? I promise you He will. He's real and I know Him."

His eyes were completely fixed on mine and I knew the Holy Spirit was working. It was one of those moments where there was no doubt if he was listening. I knew he was, and so it began. I said, "I want to prove to you that the Lord is real. Jesus speaks to me and He has already told me things about you and your life that, without Jesus, I wouldn't know these things."

I began to prophesy over him about the gift he had of being an artist and many other things. I told him, "You have nightmares don't you? They are pretty intense huh? The enemy is trying to steal from you, but the Lord has a plan and a purpose for your life. He has a plan for you to live and have joy, peace, and a future!"

With tears in his eyes, he said, "How do you know these things?" I said, "Because the Lord Jesus and because He loves you, I say these things to you today, this very moment." To be continued...

Monday, February 9, 2009

I Will Never Forget You...

Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words. This was a moment in history that I will never forget. I love these people and this little girl to me will always be in my memory.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

He Will Rebuild The Ancient Ruins...

As I walked through the village and took a look at these ancient doors, the ancient ruins you may call them, I couldn't help but think of the promises in Isaiah 61:4. I also thought about Jeremiah 33 for He truly is a God of restoration.

Here in this village which overlooks the downtown city, there lives behind these walls a loving people. They are hard workers trying to earn their wage by selling what they can with the beautiful things they have made with their own hands. It is amazing.

I fell in love with a little girl who was there trying to sell me jewelry that her mother had made. She was cute so I could understand why her mother sent her out to sell them. Possibly her little smile would encourage a person to buy the products her mother had made. Perhaps, with her, there was a better chance for her family to earn a good daily wage.

I was also delighted to actually be able to have a small conversation with her because I have learned a few more words in this language. In order to snatch a picture of her, I was encouraged by Josh to purchase something. Therefore, I ended up buying a precious little bracelet for about 45 American cents. However, this picture below is absolutely priceless!

As soon as we arrived in this peaceful little place, we drew a small crowd of people. We also began taking pictures of these pieces of history and moments in time. As we began to be noticed, small children rushed to the windows of their homes to see us, other children rushed outside of their homes to talk to us. Most of them were trying to sell things and earn 50 cents or so, maybe even one whole dollar!

As I walked through these narrow roads through the village, I was also reminded of the powerful 3 days we were able to experience this week. God did so many amazing things. One of them being God giving me the ability to play the piano during a prayer set that was not planned.

Darren Davis came with Matt Reed for a few days for this Pastor's Conference we had here at the Church. Darren's teaching was soooo amazing! The Lord spoke through him in fire! God really touched many people in power during the ministry time after his teaching.

It was really encouraging having them here as it was a piece of home away from home. It was also so good to laugh and enjoy the time with tasty treats which Darren loved so much. He made sure he always had his share of snacks everyday! He is also known as "Daddy D" to me as he has been a spiritu
al father to me for over 6 years. Darren also brought some teachings and music from our church to encourage me.

From the moment, I listened to the CD he gave me of a prayer service from The Harbour, tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn't believe how much I truly missed the music ministry at The Harbour. We really have something that is so rare and so awesome! I love it here and I love helping with the music ministry at this church as well, but I have been missing receiving from the Holy S
pirit in powerful ways through music.

As I was going to sleep last night, I was listening to the music from the prayer time where a good friend was singing and for the first time in 4 weeks, I had a good cry with the Lord. It feels so good when we can just cast our cares upon Him and weep in a good way. The CDs were a great encouragement for me during this time.

The conference was really interesting and I feel
the people who came received beneficial information regarding Church leadership. This is really good because many people who are new Christian converts never grew up in the Church and have a limited understanding of how leadership works in a Biblical way.

Another powerful moment for me was meeting 4 brothers who were Iranian refugees Darren asked them to come up yesterday and as he prayed for them, I felt such an anointing over their lives. It was so powerful as they have endured many tribulations. They became Christians after they left Iran 4 years ago but I could sense that they are so hungry for the deep things of God.

I have noticed this in many of the recent converts here who were once Muslims and have suffered greatly. They have a love for God's Word that is so strong! Jesus says: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled." I can see this in their lives and it is incredible to see!

In closing, I have been so blessed to meet these wonderful people! What a rare experience this has been for me and God has been so faithful to bring me here
to see His heart for the restoration of these Muslim nations. He will rebuild what has been destroyed through the generations. I am sad to say that I have one more week here in the Middle East, yet I am still in great expectation of what He is going to do next. Blessings!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Simple but Profound...

Like I've said before many times, the struggles you have right now, you take with you wherever you go. You can even fly to another country, but that doesn't mean your problems will disappear. I know this sounds daunting and very un-optimistic as opposed to my other posts. This trip has been amazing and full of joy and new adventures.

However, as I sit here this night in my little room in the basement looking out the small window at the moon, I realize how disconnected I have felt from the Lord with these same issues that have faced me for years. I can't run away from them as they are even in my dreams. Do not be discouraged, these issues are issues of my heart that the Lord is trying to highlight in me. Yet, in my dreams, He is reminding me that I have to deal with them face to face even in a far away land.

I also said, previously, that I felt this was going to be a trip where the Lord was going to heal me in many ways. Maybe not in the ways I was even expecting, but I know He is healing, most importantly, my heart. I had a precious moment with the Lord tonight and just talked with Him about things that I have been asking for throughout many years. There are deep things I have been longing for even regarding healing in my body.

"Lord, I have asked you to heal me before and I have cried over these issues for many years. Will you not come? Are you not faithful?" I said to the Lord. I thought about even the men throughout the Bible who petitioned the Lord over and over again about their issues and He even said no a few times. Yet, the friends of God persisted and kept asking. I thought, "Why not me? Lord, I am Your friend and I am asking again in hopes You will respond."

Ali Amja has prophesied over me two times on this powerful trip and both times were great. However, the second one was the most incredible to me. During a prayer meeting last week, Ali came up to me specifically and laid his hands on my head.

Just that very night, I wanted to ask for prayer, but didn't have the guts to open my mouth. Speaking in his language, Josh translated it all for me. I am telling you that the very thoughts I had in my head that evening, Ali petitioned the Lord for! I could not believe it! God cared enough for me to hear those words from Ali so that I could be encouraged in this place of waiting!

I have a purpose here to serve this family, this I know, but at the same time, God is surprising me in these very rare, quiet moments, like right before I go to bed. Wham! Jehovah Sneaky will throw His sneak attack and meet with me in a profound way! I have to be honest, my times with the Lord have been very Brother Lawrence like and I've had to practice the presence of God even in the busiest days with the children.

I feel Him in cleaning poopy diapers, cleaning up chili off of a one year old little boy's face, trying to break up fights over toys, etc. Practicing the presence of God is something I am used to doing here, but I am missing the quiet times with the Lord where I can just get a good cry in and let it all out. I picture myself just crying on His shoulder and letting Him love on me.

All this to say, the Lord met with me tonight and He didn't tell me I need to fast more, or pray more, or read the Word more. No, He told me that He loved me. Very simply, "I love you Mary Katherine and you are worth the good gifts I have for you." Even as I type this, I feel His presence so strongly and I am being brought to tears yet again. It's those simple words from Him alone that can heal any soul. I pray I may abide in His love all my days and I pray you will do the same. Blessings from the Middle East.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Saw Jesus Today...

I saw Jesus today. You know He dwells inside of each of us if we know Him and His Spirit is always moving. He moves all over the world. I saw Him touch a young girl whose mother had a brain injury and has been in a coma for one month now. It was her first time entering into a Christian church. I also saw tears stream down her face as she met Him for the very first time. It was a miracle I saw with my very own eyes.

I also saw a grandmother searching for healing for her daughter and seeking Jesus, the only One who can truly heal. I saw Him move in her life. She was on a quest to find hope, true hope, the hope that will last and not fade away. In the midst of her search, I saw with my eyes, her demeanor change with the love of God surrounding her. She felt something different and it was noticeable to all.

I saw Jesus as I helped with singing worship songs in another language and didn't know how to do it. I saw Him as He gave me the words to sing and the ways to sing them. I felt Him as we sang praises to His throne in a language foreign to me, but not to Him. We were one in that place.

I saw Jesus in the midst of the congregation as we longed to meet with Him. Truth is, however, He has always desired to meet with us even more so. I've seen Him here. I see Him everyday as I meet someone new in this country. I see Him in this nation and I feel His heart for these people. I am in awe of His faithfulness and that He, the Creator of all things, would desire to meet with me, to meet with us. He is good.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Part 2 of Ephesus!

We took a stop by the "Seven Sleepers" ruins where there is a story that 7 Christian martyrs were murdered and buried, but when people came to uncover the graves, the people rose from their graves and were resurrected from the dead! There are no bones in those graves and there is proof!

We finally made it back to our village where we were staying and finished our evening with a stroll through town and a little shopping! Of course in every store we stopped in, it was always a long process. The sellers invite you in for tea, get to know you, and hope you will give them some business as well. The last place we went to was a rug shop where we were greeted by a man in his twenties who worked with his brother.

They talked us into having some tea and a "chat" and tried to talk us into buying a rug. It was too expensive for me! Once they realized we weren't going to buy, they relaxed and started up conversation. The youngest brother played the folk guitar for us and sang a folk song for my trusty webcam. It was VERY entertaining to say the least! He proposed to me a few times before we left, jokingly, of course. It was just good fun!

We ended the day back at the hostel to get rest for another well-deserved, restful day! Tomorrow, we plan on drinking tea, walking, sitting, chatting, meeting new people, drinking more tea, and sitting even more! What a day! I love it here! Did I mention, that I love it? Blessings and stay tuned for more stories...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ephesus! Time for a Vacation!

I am falling in love with the Middle East! Last night, the power went off as it frequently does here so it was somewhat difficult to pack for our next destination. I was somewhat fearful if I would awaken on time to make it to our plane. However, thanks to the 6 a.m. Call to Prayer the Muslims have here, I awakened just in time to pack my suitcase and discover that the power had been recovered in the house! I had a good 45 minutes to pack and pull my hair back for another adventure!

Julie and I barely made it in time for our plane and got there 5 minutes before our plane was due to take off! When we arrived to Ephesus and the jet plane landed, I had a feeling that this was going to be another exciting trip of new experiences! I was right! This day was a day to rest from the children and to just chill out! We landed not having a reservation for a hotel or anything, but we took a taxi to another city which then led us to another bus that led us to a cute little village near Ephesus that I have fallen in love with!

It was love at first sight for sure! Let me also say the bus ride was absolutely beautiful and the people here love Americans! We got way more stares than usual and many people tried to talk to us in English to get to know us. Everyone I have met has been so friendly! A day that was expected to thunderstorm all day, ended up becoming a day full of sunshine, cool breezes, and warmer weather!

This place was surrounded by mountains and I absolutely could not take my eyes off of them! It turned out that this was an off season and not many tourists were in our part of town. When we arrived from our bus ride, we were greeted by many men trying to sell us bus tickets speaking to us in broken English trying to "get to know us."

I had a backpack, my camera bag, and a suitcase to haul around town until we found the perfect place to rest for the night. We walked across the street from the bus station and found the cozy little hostel where we could sleep that was great! We were greeted by three brothers who spoke English with Australian accents because many Aussies visit this part of town quite often. It was really interesting. They gave us our price which was reasonable for 2 people so we decided to stay!

Besides the freezing cold water in the shower, the place was a hit for us and it was my first experience staying in a hostel. Pretty fun! Afterwards, the manager of the hostel wanted to escort us through the town to show us a great place to get a quick bite to eat. We ended up eating Doners (sandwiches that are rolled up in soft pita bread with meat and cheese depending on how you get it) at a cute little cafe on the corner.

Our new friend ended up eating lunch with us as well and then escorted us to our driver who drove us to Ephesus. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and it is where the Apostle Paul preached and got the boot in the famous Coliseum which we got to see firsthand. These ancient ruins were stunning! It was also incredible being able to walk down marbled streets that had been around for about one thousand years!

In addition to the Coliseum, we saw one of the ancient library ruins as well. We also had a guide to walk us through so he taught us many things regarding the history. The tour ended with us going through the ancient ruins of the very first church in the city called "The Church of Mary." What a fun name! This place was surrounded by majestic mountains as well and I couldn't help but rejoice at the Lord's goodness for all that He had done in this place!

After a long trek through the ruins, we built up quite an appetite and were ready to eat some more food! We discovered a restaurant nearby with a table on the ground and cushions all around. I think we were the only people who weren't smoking in that place, but I just breathed through my mouth and tried not to smell it.

They gave us more pita bread sandwiches that came fresh out of their stone oven. It was yet another amazing meal! I have also yet to be disappointed by anything I've eaten so far! Blessings and stay tuned for part 2 of vacation time in Ephesus...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Sense of Home...

As I sit here on the porch of Josh and Julie's home, I feel a sense of home away from home. It is a cool day of about 50 degrees and the sun is shining on an unusually sunny day. The neighborhood is quite peaceful and the neighbors are older. It is isn't often you find too many children playing in the streets although a few boys walking two by two pass by every now and then speaking the native language that is quite foreign to me here.

There are many black birds on the roofs of houses chirping quite loudly as if they were begging for their next meal. Every once in awhile, a stray cat runs by on a quest for it's next feast in the trash. They are unusually fat here, which leads me to assume they have plenty of scraps to eat. Across the street, I see a woman on the top floor of her home laying clothes on the clothes line to dry. She keeps the door open for a bit of fresh air because it is a day of great weather.

The older neighbor De De takes a stroll through the neighborhood smoking his cigar and examining other people's yards which is of high importance here. The wind is softly blowing through the air and with the sun on my face, it doesn't feel as cold as it could be. The calm breeze is somewhat comforting to me. In the distance, I hear the sounds of cars and buses transporting people to and fro as they leave from work to head home.

The black, rot iron gates implanted into cement walls show a sense of security. However, one doesn't feel like they need it here. People can go as they please through the gates. I am in the midst of a peaceful people who have a love for their yards, the way their homes look, and a love for people. They are a warm, friendly people who value relationships. This is somewhat foreign to me as of late because of my neighborhood in America.

I have to admit, it is a wonderful feeling being away from all of that for awhile. I prefer the sounds of a quiet, peaceful neighborhood, with a loving, giving people as opposed to ones who are loud and obnoxious. Just being honest for a moment if I may take the liberty. It's refreshing here and I am beginning to imagine what life would be like if I had the chance to live here. It is a somewhat modern city that is full of Muslims who need Jesus but at the same time peaceful.

Granted, the sounds of the call to prayer from the Mosque is a common occurrence here, but I feel the love of God here. I feel the Holy Spirit's desire to woo these people unto Himself. What would my life be like? It is peaceful here, but at the same time very difficult for women as they are not as respected here. It is a man's world here and it would be a huge transition.

I can't help but ask the question, "God would you have me be here for a season some day?" I am not saying that it's anytime soon, but I feel that there may be a chance some day down the road. Many of you who know me, know that within me is an adventurer and a traveler. I want to see the world in seasons, not just moments. I hate going in and out of countries and not truly getting a sense about it all, the people, the food, the language.

How can you just leave after 2 days and feel satisfied? There is so much more to experience! Only the Lord knows where I will be next. I love Josh, Julie, and Ali Amja! I can't imagine a better, more solid team to be a part of than this team that is already connected to LIGHT International in the Middle East.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Day With Ali's Family...

I was able to spend some good time with Ali's family today and it was so amazing! We had a real traditional Middle Eastern breakfast with a lot of bread, tomatoes, cheese, and olives. Their son arrived from college as he has been away for a long time so they were celebrating and wanted me to come with Josh and Julie. It was different this time because their son speaks more English than the others in the family so I actually got to have a few conversations with him.

He is also a really good worship leader so he played the guitar and we all sang together with the other 2 children of Ali's. It was a great way to connect with all of them. Their son is very charismatic and different than most of the guys here.

He is going to school for accounting but has a heart for leading worship too. He finishes in May. It's very rare for people to go to college here so it's a true privilege for his whole family. I really enjoyed meeting him and finally felt more connected with the family as I am understanding more words!

Later on, Ali requested for me to play the guitar and sing for them. I asked him, "In English?" He then said, "Of course, just bring us into the presence of God, it doesn't matter what language." So I played for them a few songs and again I felt the Holy Spirit in that room. After I finished, Ali prophesied over me again and I couldn't help but have tears well up in my eyes.

He just encouraged me to keep worshiping and never stop no matter what I feel. I really needed to hear that more than he knows. He also said, "It's not about how well you play the guitar, just keep doing it." I always feel so encouraged when I am around him.

Like I said, I guess it is the Father heart of God that touches my heart through him every time. I truly feel like this family is quickly becoming my own. When Josh took a family picture of all of them, they even included me in one of their pictures! I feel so loved by them.

Next week, we are going to do the worship time at the Conference here at the church and Josh is going to lead the time. I am going to help him along with Ali's son and so I'm really excited about what God is going to do. I found out later that a lot of people were touched by the Lord when I sang the song the other day at Church. I felt truly encouraged by this! Blessings to you! Please also keep me updated with your lives as well. Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spot On...

Better yet, "on the spot." This is something that happened to me today. I was put on the spot to sing and play the guitar at Josh and Julie's church service which was a little intense. Granted, the church is small and not very many people go there, but still, my heart was racing. I was supposed to help Josh with worship today but I didn't feel comfortable singing the words in the language they speak here. Josh and I practiced the songs this week, however, I still didn't feel ready.

Ali knew all of this yet He felt from the Holy Spirit that I was supposed to sing anyway. In the middle of worship while Josh was singing, Ali asked me through the translation of Julie if I would sing a song in English. When Julie asked me, I have to be honest, my heart felt like it sunk to the bottom of my stomach! I was so nervous in front of all of them, but I said yes. Right before Ali was to give his teaching, it was my turn to sing. I decided to play and sing one of the few songs I've ever written called "Adam." The rest is history!

The Lord also reminded me while I was up there of a few words in the language that they speak here so I used a few of those words as well. I felt the presence of the Lord really strongly and a few people were crying. Josh translated this song in the language here and I am in the midst of practicing it. As soon as our conference begins next week, I hope to know it with much more proficiency. I am still pretty nervous about singing it completely in this language, but I really want to help the people go to the deeper places in God in their language. This certainly is a big challenge for me.

After the church service we ate a big lunch together with everyone and it was very good. I am starting to understand more sentences as opposed to a few words here and there. I am also having a better understanding when someone asks me a question which means there is progress! I'm still anticipating many more great things here and God is showing me so much! I love Him and I love it here! Blessings!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Memorable Moments Are Worth Taking Note...

I know I drive many of my friends and family crazy with all of my video recording, blog writing, and picture taking, but ya know...if it's a moment in life, why not take note? I don't want life to pass me by and forget all the amazing things God has done. Each moment is worth recording because it's a moment you can learn something new if you are willing to be teachable.

I am definitely taking lots of notes here and was about to head to bed when I couldn't help myself and had to write. I hesitated thinking, "I write too much. Does anyone even read this stuff? They will think I'm one of those over passionate writers." Then I thought more about it and figured, "Who cares?" I am not writing mostly for you. Though, you are reading these words if you've made it this far and I thank you for taking an interest. However, I am actually writing for myself to be able to, in the future, reread these noted moments in time and see what a Mighty God we serve.

Each moment is a gift from the Lord and each time we take a breath or feel our own heart beat, we should be thankful. We should be thankful for life because God is the great Life Giver. However, if you can be touched through the recorded moments in my life then you can join with me in being thankful to Him as well. I have said this before, but I have nothing to hide. The things I want to keep private, I do, trust me, I do, but my life is an open book! Why not?

I often wonder about those people who are too private. You know the ones I am talking about. I wonder if it's because they have been wounded that they don't want to disclose more information about themselves. Are they afraid of what people might think if people really knew who they were? Why should we be afraid? Each of us is an integral part of touching the world with God's love. Our lives are worship to Him and for Him, so let's shine! Blessings and stay tuned!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Video Update!

I wanted to give you a more personal video update about my time here. Perhaps you will have a better understanding of my purpose in coming to this country and what I hope to achieve while I am here by God's grace. Love you guys and stay tuned...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Moment To Truly Reflect...

Aaahhh...I have found a moment of time alone and the house all to myself! I am loving my time here, but haven't had too much time alone. As an introvert at heart, I need more time than most people by myself. I love people, but I definitely need time to be rejuvenated, to write, to think, and to just be. Where do I begin? Wow, there is so much to reflect on these past few days.

Time here has flown by and there are so many new things to discover. My brain is like a sponge just soaking every moment in every chance I get. I keep pinching myself in unbelief that I have the amazing opportunity to be here. I am falling in love with this place and am so hungry. At home, I don't find much time to just sit still and learn new things. I feel like I am always, "Go, go, go!" I just want time to sit and learn! This is why I am so thankful to be here.

My heart is opening as if it were once a "garden locked up..." as the Word says in Song of Solomon. Just today, I had an idea of writing a children's book similar to the "Dora the Explorer" books. Yet my book would have more of an emphasis on languages all around the world, specifically more difficult ones. The characters would also travel to amazing countries and would be from many places.

It appears that I am being awakened again to my love for children. This doesn't mean I will be in the children's ministry any time soon with my church, but I am starting to see that a love for teaching children is still in my heart. You see, I have felt like it has been dormant for quite awhile.

However, God is showing me that it was never asleep, but always there because He placed it in my heart. He has given me a gift to work with children and I have always known this, but tried to run from it many times. I don't know what this means for me in the future, but I do know that children, and fatherless children, in particular, are going to be an integral part of my life.

I am also learning how to raise them in the way they should go in a foreign country. As an American in a foreign land, there are many challenges one must overcome and face. I came here to learn about this culture, to see what God is doing here, but also to help with this precious little girl and boy.

I am starting to see that God is in the deepest part of me in the day to day chores, changing the diapers, teaching letters, teaching Bible stories, teaching how to praise Jesus. I can practice the presence of God in these day to day situations and He will meet with me. He is truly my Great Reward through everything!

I am realizing how much I have missed it, being with children day to day. There is so much joy to be found in my heart when I'm around them. Wow, I just don't know what else to write, except that my heart is full. It feels full of the joy of the Lord! My cup overfloweth...