Category Archives: Missions

Serving and Spoiling

Last week, I took a little break from blog reading and commenting. Noah and I spent the week at my parents’ house back in Mississippi while Michael Luke went to the Dominican Republic on a medical mission trip with a group from Christian Medical Ministry of Alabama (CMMA).

I really wish Noah and I could have gone with ML to the DR. We thought about it for a few minutes but decided it would be quite challenging with Noah still nursing and needing a couple of good naps a day. So we decided to stay behind this year. I have gone in years past, and even though I can’t help medically, I have had fun helping with the children’s ministry and evangelism.

For the second time, ML went as a physical therapist provider. Which basically means he went as a licensed physical therapist and had a few students working under him. This trip was a little different than in years past because instead of doctors, nurses, med school students, physical therapy students, and physical therapist, it was just the PT students, PTs and a doctor. So instead of going out into the villages and setting up clinics like we have in the past, they got to go to a local hospital and nursing home.

Hopefully, ML will be able to share more about that later. I know he had a great time, and it is always such a blessing to visit with the people there and have the opportunity to offer physical healing as well as spiritual healing. He had a great time (besides the last night when he fell off the top bunk and busted his head on the porcelain tile floor) and is already looking forward to the next trip (possibly with Noah and me).

Meanwhile…

Noah got to swim in the pool for the first time. Well technically, it was more like sit in a float and be pushed around the pool. But she kicked her legs the whole time she was in her little float. She just might be a natural swimmer… who knows?
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She definitely rocked the polka dotted sunglasses and hat though.

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We also went as my mom’s guests to her end of the year garden club party.
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It was a Southern women’s version of a picnic in an old barn turned entertaining area with lots of chicken salad to eat. Yum!
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Thankfully, ML’s parents got to come visit one night. They were so excited to see her… especially since she is getting really mobile creeping all over the floor (apparently this is the belly crawl before the official crawl).

My parents made numerous trips with Noah in the wagon up and down the driveway.
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It’s amazing how much that thrilled her. There might have to be a wagon in our future here in B’ham. And after we saw how much she loved the wagon, my mom and I took her to the mall so that she could ride the train. I can’t say that was ever on my list of things to do… but having a baby with you in a small train circling the inside of a mall definitely helps bring the coolness factor up a little.

Later in the week, we went to visit my grandparents where we were fed like kings and queens. I mean stuffed! And since I have practically zero will power, I pigged out on the cake and ice cream after eating two helpings of lunch! Thankfully, I weighed myself yesterday, and I didn’t gain any weight from all the overeating I did (it was a lot).

So even though we missed ML a lot, we had lots of fun this past week. What did you do this past week/weekend? Any big Memorial Day plans? Ours were pretty laid back. Do you have any mission trips planned for this summer?

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P.S.- I would love for you to join me this Summer as we study Kelly Minter’s Nehemiah: A Heart that Can Break. The fun starts June 26. For more information see this post and the Transformed Deeper tab.

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Practicing Contentment

Originally, I planned to give an update on one of the projects I have been working on for the nursery.  After attending worship at The Church at Brook Hills Sunday night, I really felt that sharing about a craft project was a little silly in comparison to actual urgent needs in this world.

The Church at Brook Hills has been studying 1 Timothy for several months now.  The past two weeks have been on 1 Timothy 6 focusing on the gospel and materialism.  I have included a few verses below.

1 Timothy 6 (English Standard Version)

6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,7 for we brought nothing into the world, andt we cannot take anything out of the world.8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Did you know that if you make at least $10,066 a year you are part of the top 16% of the richest people in the world.  The average annual American Christian household income is $42,409.  This is in the top 2.5% of the richest people in the world.  That’s right we are included in the top 2.5% with people like Donald Trump, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey!  I don’t know about you, but that blew me away the first time I read that.  More than likely, if you are able to read this blog post, you are easily in the top 16% of the richest people in the world.

 On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are over 1 billion people living (and dying) in desperate poverty (on less that $1 a day).  If you are anything like me, you probably hardly ever think about this.  Why?  Because we don’t see this happening everyday.  We would rather focus on our own desires.  And maybe because it’s just easier if we don’t think about it.

But God demands otherwise.  Verse 18 above states that the rich are “to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”

We are blessed with wealth more than any other country in the world and have the opportunity to obey God and give generously.  We are also to find contentment in God instead of “stuff” here on Earth.  While I do find this challenging (especially in our heavily marketed, affluent culture), think how much easier this is.  We don’t have to save up money to be with God.  He never runs out or depreciates either!

Pictured above is one girl who has obeyed God, given generously, and now lives richly with contentment in God.  Please click the image below to read more about Katie (22) and her life serving in Uganda as mother to 13 girls.

Note:  In case you are wondering, Michael Luke and I do not at this time sense God calling us to Uganda or to parent 13 girls (one will be plenty for now).  However, we are evaluating our lifestyle, trying to free up more money, so that we can give generously for the spread of the gospel.

Also, more than likely I will post about my seemingly meaningless craft project later this week.  Our home improvement projects are done within a predetermined budget that also allows room for giving for the sake of the gospel.

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Fall Block Party

We have lived in our neighborhood for four years now.  I can’t believe it!  During this time we have gotten to know some of the people who live closest to us but not many others.  There are quite a few walkers, joggers, and stroller pushers who pass by our house daily, but I think I might scare them away if I came running out of the house to introduce myself whenever they pass by (even though I am sure Emma, our yorkie, would love to do this).

So since this method was out, Michael Luke and I decided to host a block party for the neighborhood.  Ever since we got back from our mission trip to Seattle in August, Michael Luke has wanted to implement some of the same things at our church.  One of these was hosting a neighborhood block party, giving us a chance to meet and start relationships with families in our neighborhood.  Our house is only about one third of a mile (more like a tenth of a mile if I could cut through everybody’s yards) from the church, making our neighborhood a target outreach area of the church.

Our Sunday school class helped organize the event.  The church provided the food, and several other members came out to offer support.  The church provided supplies for burgers, chips, and dessert.

There are about 150 townhouses in our neighborhood.  Our Sunday school class passed out flyers advertising the event the week before, but we were unsure how many would come.  We ended up with a great turn out!  I never counted heads, but I would say somewhere between 20-25 people came from the neighborhood.  Several of our friends from our small group (Bible study) were there to help with cooking and talking to our neighbors.

We really enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many of our neighbors.  Our children’s minister, Will, was there to play with the kids while we got a chance to talk to some of the parents.  It made me fall in love with the neighborhood all over again because I realized how many young families with children live near us.  Our little one will have lots of playmates someday!  The other mothers were also very encouraging and let me know they would be close by if I ever needed anything… such a great feeling!

By the end of the night, some of the ladies had decided we should do a recipe swap around Christmas, so we could all get together again.  I am already looking forward to it!

I really think everyone enjoyed the block party, and it was a successful outreach for our church.  Our intentions were not to share the gospel, but instead show the gospel, get to know our neighbors, and build a foundation for a relationship where in the future we may have the opportunity to share the gospel.

It was so much fun, and I hope we have the opportunity to do it again… maybe next year.  This could be implemented in anybody’s neighborhood, and although our church funded the meal, it would not be a big expense for a single family to take on.  We used a box of 40 frozen hamburger patties, bread and chips were bought on sale, and the dessert was donated.  Other odds and ends were paper plates, condiments, napkins and bottled water (just in case… our invitations said to bring your own drink and chair).  You can see from the pictures that blankets ended up working just as well as chairs.  Especially, for the children.

Does anybody have plans for something like this in the future?  Or has your neighborhood had a block party recently?  If so, what did you like best about it?

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