Monday, July 30, 2007

A Good Break

Sharon and I got back from a week of traveling Europe. We figured if we were ever going to see some of the continent we call home, the time is now. So we hopped on the bus with Peter and Jen and rode the 20 hours to Prague. It has been a dream of mine to make it to Prague one day for a few reasons. First, its supposedly the most beautiful city in Europe. Second, its probably the closest thing to my "mother land" since my grandma was Czech. Anyway, the city was absolutely gorgeous and we had a great time. We then took the train to Vienna and ran around the city for 4 hours before we got on another train to Bratislava, Slovakia which is an hour away. Bratislava was quaint with a great old town filled of streets lined with cafes and restaurants. In all we had a great vacation and a time to have some fun away from the responsibilities of ministry.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thoughts from Korea

So, here are some things we learned in Korea.

Prayer is actually important. I know it's one of those things we all know, but it hit me that I need to be spending a lot more time in prayer. It was amazing to see the fervor and consistency of the Koreans' prayers. I can understand why they are the second largest sending nation in the realm of missions. God is doing awesome things in and through South Korea, and I think it is in direct correlation to their prayers. So, it was great to be reminded that prayer works. Then on the flight home, I read Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds. It as well reminded me that prayer is important, and that God wants men and women whose hearts are united and dependent on Him daily. I don't need the newest strategy or the most effective approach to reaching students. I need to pray that God would make students ready to hear and make me ready to share His gospel message. Please pray that I would get serious about prayer daily.

Another thing we were struck with was a simple phrase by a man from India who spoke at the conference. He said, "If you know God, you love God. If you love God, you serve God. If you're not serving God, you probably don't love God. If you don't love God, then you don't know God."

At first it seems kinda like a guilt trip, in that if you aren't serving God then you don't know or love Him. So go and serve God which proves that you know and love Him.

This is the conclusion I would have jumped to a few years ago, but now I realize the simple truth of this man's statement. Essentially, he is just drawing on the message of 1 John, which by the way comes across even tougher. The reality is, that if we really know and have experienced the grace of our amazingly passionate and beautiful God, then our hearts can't help but respond in love. And when they respond, they often cry out the plea of Paul in Romans 12:1 - that we would daily offer our lives as living sacrifices to God. We want to serve God because He loved us first. Duty goes out the window as we love Him back.

This isn't to say that we don't struggle in serving Him. Trust me, I have struggled at times these last 10 months, especially the last few months when I felt distant from God. But it's at those times when He longs to show us just how much He cares, and to draw our hearts closer to His again, and to remind us just how amazing He is. But when He gives us that glimpse into His heart it ignites our desire to serve Him again - at all costs.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kickin it Korean Style

Well Sharon and I got back from CM2007 in South Korea last weekend. We went with 6 other Lithuanian staff and 8 students (top picture).

CM2007 was a Crusade conference where over 17,000 students and staff from 128 different countries came together to praise God and get excited about about sending people to the 6,000 still unreached college campuses around the world.

The conference was great and it was such an encouragement to be there and take part in event like no other I've seen. It was unbelievable to worship God with so many people from so many countries. I think it was a small picture of what is to come in heaven. On the opening night when they had a couple people from each of the nations come up on stage with their flag and we all started singing songs together I couldn't help but cry for 30 minutes in joy as we sang together. It was overwhelming and indescribably beautiful.

Sharon and I were also a part of the leadership training that took place in conjunction with the conference and so were really busy. The training for team leaders went well and we got to meet some cool people. We came back exited to lead and hopeful of what God will do this next year in Lithuania.

The picture of Sharon and the girls with the sweet dresses are her new Mauritian friends that she shared a dorm room with. They were some cool girls from the Island of Mauritius just east of Madagascar Africa.

The last picture is me having fun in Moscow during our 11 hour layover.