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Posts Tagged ‘Religion in Atlanta GA’

Londrina Update – Monday

September 3, 2012 Leave a comment
Paulo, Kelen, and David

My Brazilian “nephew” and his parents.

Our luggage (okay, the luggage that belonged to the ladies – Adam and I were fortunate enough to have our luggage from day one of our time in Londrina) arrived bright and early on Sunday morning, so that was a great sense of relief. Last night we went to a Brazilian hamburger restaurant and ate entirely too much. I was playing with Pastor Paulo’s son David (he is 2 years old) last night at the restaurant by swinging him around in my arms like I do my nephew. He would laugh hysterically and when we were about to leave, he said something to me in Portuguese but I couldn’t understand him. I asked Pastor Paulo what David said and he replied “David said to you, ‘Goodbye my American Uncle!'” and that just made my heart melt!

This morning Saulo (the Singles Pastor) took us on walk around the lake and brought his dog Mona Lisa along with us. After another wonderful meal we met with the Singles environment volunteers and during our meeting we shared some American candy with them. Tomorrow evening we will be doing an event for the singles in the area and we can’t wait. We are having a great time in Londrina! The food is amazing, but we have been going constantly without much rest. It’s getting late, so we need to hit the sack.

Other Posts From Our Trip

 

We’re Here! 6 Americans Invade Londrina.

September 1, 2012 Leave a comment
Team Picture on 1st day at Capela

Team shot in front of Capela

We arrived in Londrina this morning around 1:30 AM their time (they are an hour ahead of us in Atlanta). I wish I could say all of our luggage arrived with us, but we weren’t as fortunate – out of 8 checked bags only 3 made it on the flight with us. The rest are supposed to be arriving at the hotel for us sometime later this afternoon. Two of our new friends at Capela met us at the airport and brought us to the hotel early this morning.

So far today we have had lunch with Pastor Paulo, his wife Kelen, their daughter Luiza, and their son David. Afterwards we went to the church to see them rehearse for Kid+ (their version of KidStuf) and helped them set up for the service tomorrow, as Paulo will be starting a new series called “Masquerade” (based on the book TrueFaced). This evening will be meeting with Saulo to find out more details about the Singles Environment, Lounge Capela and we will help them set up for the event. After Lounge Capella tonight, we will probably be grabbing supper with some of the singles from the church.

Tomorrow morning is Kid+ and then tomorrow evening is the service (the only have one service at this time). It has been great to see old faces and to meet new ones as well. Unfortunately most of us didn’t get to bed until around 3:00 AM so we are very tired from all of the traveling, but we wanted to let you know we have arrived safely. Thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Other Posts From Our Trip

 

Only 4 Hours and 45 Minutes…

August 31, 2012 Leave a comment
Singles_Brazil_GlobalX_team_photo

(L-R): Elisabeth, Scott (me), Courtney, Valerie, Krista, and Adam

I can’t believe we have to be at the airport in 4 hours and 45 minutes. This will be short and sweet because I need to make an attempt at getting some sleep. I am packed and ready to go; my AWESOME friend Jennifer and her dad are coming to pick me up at 3:00 AM (now THAT’S a true a friend!) and we’re heading to the airport. Keep our team in your prayers as we travel over the next day to reach our destination of Londrina, Brazil.

I wanted you to be able to put names and faces together with the people on our team for whom you will be praying, so I have attached a copy of our team photo to this post. For those of you who have contributed to our trip (both financially and through prayers), we greatly appreciate it! Please continue to pray for us while we are on the trip. I will be updating my blog while we are gone, so make sure to check back here to see what we have been doing.

It’s time for me to get some rest!

When The Enemy Attacks

August 25, 2012 2 comments
armor

When the enemy attacks, put on the armor of God!

When you are in the will of God and doing what He has called you to do, the enemy will attack. This is a promise – just look at James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Notice this verse doesn’t say “IF you face trials…” it says “WHENEVER you face trials…” so they are a guarantee in the Christian life. When we do what we are supposed to do, it irritates Satan and he will do everything in his power to make us fall.

In preparing for my Brazil mission trip, something happened the other day that can only be explained as a spiritual attack from the enemy. This situation came completely out of no where and the details are not important as to what exactly happened, but I could definitely tell I was getting push back for doing what God was wanting me to do. More often than not, our initial reaction is to just give up and given in by attacking anyone else involved, but that is exactly what the enemy wants. In my situation, I didn’t want to fire off words that I would later regret or do something that would hurt the other people involved so I stopped and immediately prayed about it – that God would give me patience and understanding with those involved in the situation.

The Lord woke me up early one morning after everything had transpired and put Ephesians 6:11-20 on my heart to pray for myself, my fellow Brazil mission trip team members, and the people of Capela in Londrina as we prepare for the trip next week:

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

What do you do when you feel like the enemy is attacking you spiritually?

Photo Credit: By Neeraj Raj

Why Am I Here?

August 24, 2012 2 comments
You Are Here

How are you embracing your “here?”

Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those philosophical “Why are we all here on this planet? Where did we come from?” posts. I went to a meeting at church last night for small group leaders and there were a lot of individuals who would be leading a group for the first time. Mark Shull, the Director of Men’s Groups, shared something with all of the leaders (both new and old) that has resonated with me today. “You are here for a reason!” He was talking specifically about why all the leaders who were in attendance last night were at the meeting, but it could be applied to life in general.

God has put you in the place where you currently are for a reason. We may not understand any of the details as to why or what is going on, but HE does. Don’t get so caught up with thoughts like “Why am I still living in this city?” or “Why am I still at this job?” or even “Why am I still without a job right now?” Focus on what you can do while you are in your current “here.” Who are the people around you? How can you have an impact on their life by serving them?

Personally, I get so frustrated with my current situation – I’ve been unemployed for almost 14 months, I’m not living in the area of town where I want to live, I am not married, and I do not have a family of my own. I am approaching a certain age where I thought all of these issues would be resolved, but apparently God has another plan in mind. I truly don’t understand one bit of this and I’m trying my best to do what I can, but more often than not, I let the current circumstances of my life get the best of me. I am trying to be like Paul in Philippians 4:11-13:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

In what ways are you trying to embrace where God has you in your life now?

Photo Credit: By Jorge

Blessed Are Those Who Come With No Agenda…

August 22, 2012 Leave a comment
personal agenda

Don’t serve with a personal agenda!

It’s hard to believe that we will be leaving for our Brazil mission trip in only 9 days! We have only about $600 left to raise in order to meet our team goal on fundraising. We’ve also had a change in plans as to what we are going to be doing when we get there. The original plan was to show them how to lead the Singles environment (Singles Gatherings) we do at our church and then help them modify it to make it relevant to their culture. We have since found out that they already have a Singles environment (Lounge Capela) and they want us to come and experience it and give them feedback. One of their biggest concerns is that only 30 or so people come each time they have it (once a month) and it’s never the same 30 people. They want us to help with suggestions on how they can help grow the environment.

The format of Lounge Capela is simple – people come in and grab some food, the band plays some fun music (typically associated with the monthly theme), they have a guest speaker or two talk about the theme/subject for the month, the audience gets to ask the speaker(s) questions, and then at the end they encourage the audience to continue talking about the theme/subject with others who are there. We will be there for the September 1 Lounge Capela and the topic is bullying. In April of 2011, a young man (about 23 years old) went on a shooting rampage in an elementary school in Rio and killed several students. It was later discovered that he was bullied when he was a student and he was out for revenge. The exciting (and also stressful) thing is that I was asked to be one of the guest speakers (I was bullied in middle school) and they would like for me to share my experience as one who has been bullied and also share what bullying is like in North America (including why do people bully others). They are also supposed to have a Psychologist as the other guest speaker and have him/her share about bullying from a medical professional’s point of view.

What I am learning through this experience is not to go into it with my own agenda. I don’t know if what I will share with the Singles in Londrina will have an impact on them or not, and I can’t go in with the agenda of changing their lives. All I can do is prepare what I am going to say and ask God to use it for His glory. Not having my own personal agenda is something I am learning through both preparing for my Brazil mission trip and in taking a class at church called Dignity Serves. Most people are familiar with The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12). I feel like God is revealing a new Beatitude to me – “Blessed are those who come with no personal agenda, for they will not be discouraged when their unrealistic expectations are not met.” It’s like the magnet I have on the refrigerator in my kitchen – “We plan and God laughs.”

My friend Stephen Redden reminded me of a verse several years ago, and that same verse is definitely pertinent in my life even more so right now.

Proverbs 19:21 – “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Photo Credit: By Rooey202

An Assessment of Me

August 16, 2012 Leave a comment
peanut

“That’s me in a nutshell!”

As a whole, we typically do an assessment of things when we find a problem. You take your car to the mechanic when you find something wrong. Doctors see patients when they need to find out why they don’t feel well. The truth of the matter is that assessments can tell us where our strengths are and how we can better ourselves using these areas.

Since I have had some time to reflect lately (as I prepare for my Brazil mission trip and as I continue to look for a job), I decided to take a few online assessments to see where my strengths are at this point in my life. This is something I encourage you to do on a regular basis. Some of the things that are revealed you may already know about yourself, but other things may surprise you. Here is what I found about myself through these assessments:

Spiritual Gifts Analysis – I typically take one of these assessments every six months or so. In the past Teaching has been one of my dominant spiritual gifts, but this time it was somewhere in the middle. My primary spiritual gift this time was Pastor/Shepherd (with 20 points – this has previously been a dominant gift for me as well). For my secondary spiritual gift I had a three-way tie (with 17 points each): Exhortation, Showing Mercy, and Administration. I can definitely see evidence of all of these in my life – I love leading people, I’m known for being an encourager, and I’m really good with coordinating things.

Jung Typology Test – This is a shorter version of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. My results were ISFJ – Introvert (56%), Sensing (50%), Feeling (75%), and Judging (33%). I knew about the Introvert part and the Feeling part. I was not aware of the Sensing or Judging part, but they both make sense.

5 Love Languages – This assessment is based on the book by Gary Chapman. I took this one about 2-3 years ago and the results have changed drastically for me. It tells you how you best feel people show you love and it also reflects how you give love to others. In the past my primary love language was words of affirmation, but this time around my primary love language was receiving gifts. I also return love in the same way. The study tells you that giving/receiving gifts is not a materialistic thing…it’s in the finding or making something that makes you think of a certain individual that expresses love. In this current stage of my life I can definitely see this as my primary love language. I love when people take the time to find something that reminds them of me – I definitely feel loved and appreciated when this happens.

I’ve shared my assessments, now it’s your turn. What were your results from the above assessments? What did you already now as a result of these and what did you learn about yourself?

Photo Credit: By C B

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