The Color of Grace

The Color of Grace by Bethany Haley Williams is a great book. 

Be warned: It’s intense and some of the stories are tough. 

Bethany is the founder of Exile International. 

She works with former child soldiers to overcome their grief and trauma using art therapy. 

These kids, despite their pasts, are full of hope, a hope that what’s in front of them is better than anything in their pasts. 

These kids love God and thank Him everyday–even though many are orphans living in an impoverished area. 

I walked away from the book totally wrecked…

The redemptive power of Jesus Christ is much more powerful than what we see and hear about in the West. 

There is no difference between the Jesus of the developing world and the Jesus of the West. 

Only a difference in the mindsets of the people. 

 I encourage you to check out The Color of Grace. 

Just be prepared for your perspective to shift. 

This Ordinary Adventure

Aren’t we all afraid of being normal? 

If someone calls you normal, they might as well say, “You are the most boring person I know.”

At least, that’s how it feels because who doesn’t want to be known as a wandering, wondering, unpredictable world changer?   I just finished This Ordinary Adventure by Christine and Adam Jeske, which answers that question. 

Adam and Christine served as missionaries to Nicarauga, China, and South Africa before moving back to Wisconsin with their 2 children. 

They wondered if moving back to America was “settling” for a mediocre life. 

I enjoyed how the book switched back and forth between their two perspectives. 

If you find yourself struggling in this area, I think this book will be helpful. 

Missions on my mind

I had an amazing Saturday….and I can’t tell you anything about it!

The School of World Missions (SOWM) Cultural Immersion Weekend was this Friday and Saturday. 

I rode the church bus out to Rhema Ranch early this morning with 10 other student volunteers. 

We were sworn to secrecy because SOWM wants the experience to be a surprise for upcoming missions students. 

What I can tell you is that I will definitely sign up to volunteer in the future!

The presence and power of God was so strong. These students are ready to take the world by storm.

Another cool aspect of volunteering is knowing that my dad and stepmom went through similar training to prepare for the mission field. 

Missions is a core value in my family, so I want to help SOWM any way I can. 

I was also more stirred up about deaf missions. There are so many deaf people who don’t know Jesus! I look forward to seeing how the path God has for me unfolds. 

Missions is on my mind and burning in my heart!

Heart language matters

I saw the importance of communication today.

For many years, Mr. and Mrs. Lee have rented a storage unit whenever they move.

Mrs. Lee is deaf.

I remember the first time I met them, which was the first month I started working at Storage Depot (before I started learning sign language). My boss had to write back and forth with Mrs. Lee about pricing and unit sizes.

heart languageFast forward to now, 11 months into my learning sign language. I was able to interpret for Mrs. Lee and she came to life! She talked and talked! It was so cool to see the power of communication in action.

Knowing someone’s heart language is important, especially when you’re on the mission field.

Each of us was born with an innate desire to be known and understood. Language barriers are the biggest deterrents to connection.

I’ve received a TON of help from the deaf community because week after week I show up and try. Even when I completely mess up, my friends kindly and gently encourage me and teach me the right way. Who could guess that my bumbling efforts would be so well received? I certainly didn’t expect it!

For many of my deaf friends, though, their own parents never made an effort to learn sign language. One of my friend’s mom started learning sign once my friend was grown. As my friend shared the story with me, there were tears in her eyes.

“This is what I’ve always wanted.”

Heart language matters. If you want to make an impact learn a culture’s heart language.

And this is true of any culture–not just deaf culture.

So, for all of my friends who feel drawn to a certain country or culture, take this advice from someone who has seen the difference: Language is key.

Internet 101: Is this my pride talking?

Is social media fueling our pride?

I can’t get this question out of my head. Awareness is one thing, but shameless plugs about our good deeds is another.

What is our motive when sharing things online?

Proverbs 27:2 says:

“Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.”

Jesus said:

But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:3-4).

These are the verses that are influencing my thoughts on this subject.

It’s a toughie….

nothingerasedI grew up as a people pleaser who lived in the shadows, always pushing others into the light. I used to think that’s what it meant to be humble.

And then I came to understand true humility–and it had nothing to do with my misconstrued beliefs about self-worth.

My discomfort now has nothing to do with my self-image. It has everything to do with the question of necessity.

Does everyone need to know that I did this? (Whatever “this” may be)

I have given money, support, and time to plenty of things. Normally, though, I ask to not be included in any online shout outs. There are exceptions, of course, but I will opt out whenever possible.

This post is not my legalistic attempt at being perceived as holy either. (That voice is screaming in my ear right now.)

I want us to have a conversation about this topic. I want to navigate these murky waters with you.

And I can’t ask you to engage in a conversation with me if I can’t be honest first.

Drop me a comment with your thoughts.