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Monday, October 31, 2011

The End is Near

"Riding in God's Palm" has been incredible and I wouldn't want to have it any other way.  Lately I've been in shock at how the Lord is timing everything in my life.  Looking back, I can truly see that God is preparing the way for a departure in one month's time.  Uganda will be reached by December and I'm BEYOND EXCITED! 
  • Churches are responding to my requests for sponsorship
  • Friends and family are filling in their support cards as well!!
  • Surgery happened three weeks after seeing the ENT - and that's pretty rare in Ontario now days.  I have a follow-up appointment on November 9th to make sure that all is well in my throat.
  • Banking has been updated and in International drivers license is ready for purchase.
Last Monday I received an email from a Christian Reformed Church, stating that they wanted to support me, and they were wondering if I had time to come and speak.  Well, I only had one Sunday open - and that was yesterday - just 6 days after sharing their desire to support me.  Together the worship committee and myself made a plan for me to come and do a ten minute presentation, and the beautiful part was realizing that the whole service was planned to be missions-minded before anyone even knew I was coming. 
I drove out to the beautiful church and met an incredible congregation.  These people were so friendly, giving, encouraging, and enthusiastic.  I felt very welcome and completely valued by a group of strangers.  It is my prayer that these strangers will become friends - people with whom I can share my stories, and know that they will pray for me and love me in ways that only God now knows.  I will be praying for this church, and for all the churches and individuals who are helping me to get to Uganda.
I have a feeling that a lot of my newsletters, blog posts, and emails lately have been about fundraising and departure details, but I don't know what else to talk about - it is pretty much all consuming.  I can't believe I might only be in North America for another 4.5 weeks.... I hope to buy a plane ticket by the end of the week. 
"Team Beyond" - my team in Uganda has been chatting with me more lately as well.  Houses are being looked into, a Subaru Forester was purchased for my use, a recipe book is being made, ministries are waiting, Christmas plans are in the works, and packing tips are sent via email. 
Hopefully I will get everything done that I need to do soon... it's kind of shocking how much stuff needs to be worked out before I go, even though I have been planning this for so long.
AAhhh, I want to keep on Riding with GOD!

Week 6: Our Spiritual Future
Day 1: October 31

Read: Ephesians 5:18-20
"Be very careful, then how you live- not as wise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.  Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Today we pray for:
We pray for a Spiritual Renewal by the Holy Spirit in Bethel

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday... to be continued

I should be writing this earlier in the day, because I have so much to say... but you will have to wait until tomorrow to hear about my Sabbath Day. 

Week 5. Bethel Ministries
Day 7: October 30

Read: 1 Timothy 3:1-2
"Here is a trustworthy saying" Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.  Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach."

Belgic Confession of Faith
Article 30
The Government of the Church

We believe that this true church
out to be governed according to the spiritual order
that our Lord has taught us in his Word.
     There should be ministers or pastors
     to preach the Word of God
and administer the sacraments.
     There should also be elders and deacons,
     along with the pastors,
to make up the council of the church.
By this means
true religion is preserved;
true doctrine is able to take its course;
and evil men are corrected spiritually and held in check,
     so that also the poor
     and all the afflicted
     may be helped and comforted
     according to their need.
By this means
everything will be done well
and in good order
in the church,
     when such persons are elected
     who are faithful
     and are chosen according to the rule
     that Paul gave to Timothy.

Today we pray for:
Bethel's leaders and Council

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A FUNdraising Day

My day was filled with fundraisers today.  This morning Mom asked if I would attend the Fall Fair for the Christian school where she is principal and I agreed to go.  It was so cool watching a school community pull together to set up booths, sell soups and baked goods, organize a silent auction and try to raise money for that precious place of education.  Upon returning back to the house I organized prayer cards and had a photo shoot - so that I would have a profile picture for the churches I will be speaking at - to hang on their bulletin boards.  Then this evening it was off to church for a spaghetti dinner, with another silent auction - for a young lady from my church who wants to study in the Dominican Republic for a semester.  It is so neat to see God's people pulling together to support worthy causes.  And it's even cooler to see how the Lord provides for everyone's needs.

Week 5. Bethel Ministries
Day 6: October 29

Read: Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"

Today we pray for:
Our Share and Care Ministry

Friday, October 28, 2011

Inviting you in - to pray!

Week 5. Bethel Ministries
Day 5: October 28

Read: Matthew 25:34-49
"The the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'  "The the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' "The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"

Today we pray for:
The work of the deacons

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Doctor Delight

It's 1:15 am and I'm trying to wind down from a truly eventful day.  Right now my heart rate is starting to go back to normal after an intense, but amazing, Major league Baseball game in which the Cardinals came back with a win!!  Wow - on to game 7 tomorrow night to find out who the World Series winner is.  So good.
This morning I got up early to meet with a few older ladies from church for a time of fellowship before coming back to Bradford for an appointment with a travel doctor.  Doctors are not normally my favourite people, but the doctor this morning moved WAY up in my books.  First of all, he was friendly and explained clearly all the immunizations that I needed for going back to Uganda... I was shot with a TB test, typhoid fever, and influenza, also giving Dukoral, Giardia meds, and anti-malarials... (sure wish I had benefits right now)... but besides all that: He CARED.  This doctor took the time to ask questions about where I was going.  He was intrigued to learn that my team and I were working with former child soldiers in Uganda.  He asked who the leader of the LRA was and what were some of the ways we were following up with the soldiers.  I explained to him both the community development aspect - goat projects, mass grave, and crop cuttings, as well as the rehab aspect through things like art therapy.  I realize that Team Beyond isn't necessarily the supplier / initiator for all of these ministries, but it has been a blessing to walk alongside other agencies who care and strive to make a difference for these young men and women.  I was super excited though when the doctor even wanted to hear about how my faith made a difference for some of the oppressed in northern Uganda and that finding forgiveness and freedom in Christ was sometimes the only way for these young people to truly work through the horrifying experiences of war.  We have been leading Bible studies and sponsoring the former LRA to attend "Father Heart Encounters" where they can learn about and experience the love of God.  The doctor was so excited about the work I will be doing for the next 2.5 years that he called his assistant in to also share the story.  When I walked out of the office 45 minutes later, the nurse had my prayer card in her file and I had a huge bill in my hands, but an even bigger smile on my face.
I am super fired up about going to Uganda right now... and so close to my target budget.  If I had 50 more friends donating and supporting $20/month, or 20 friends give $50/month I would totally be on my way.  Oh oh oh, now my heart is racing again... I am so close to getting on a plane... it may be another sleepless night of excitement.

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Week 5. Bethel Ministries
Day 4. October 27
Read: John 4:24
"For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."

Today we pray for:
Worship Planning Team

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Hear an Amen!!

It's been a blast journeying with God these past few weeks.  For one, I am grateful for such an smooth recovery from surgery.  If someone were to ask me if I would do it again at the age of 35 - yes, I would. 
Beyond my health, I have loved seeing the Lord open doors to various churches around Ontario who desire to take me on as one of their missionaries.  For the next three Sundays I will be speaking in a few of these churches and hopefully nailing down the last 30% of the support that I need to raise in order to be on the mission field.  It is truly my prayer to be on a plane by November 30th to my beloved Uganda, and I am trusting God to continue providing in miraculous ways.  He is GOOD!

Week 5. Bethel Ministries
Day 3: October 26

Read: Acts 2:17-18
'In the last days,' God says, 'I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.  Your sons and daughter will prophesy.  Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.  In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants - men and women alike - and they will prophesy."

Today we pray for:
Coffee Break and women's outreach

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Devoted Believers

If you are confused about these Bible and prayer posts... my church is doing a 40 Day Prayer Guide in preparation for a weekend retreat in which we plan to discuss the future of our church.  Praying that God's Perfect Plan will be done.  Thanks for joining us in prayer.  Only two more weeks to go.

Week 5. Bethel Ministries
Day 2: October 25

Read: Acts 2:42-47
"All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer.  A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.  And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.  They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.  They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared meals with great joy and generosity - all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.  And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

Today we pray for:
Small groups in Bethel. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Thankful for Monday

With renewed vigor and health, I headed back to work today.  It was great to be in a support worker role again, especially since I was beginning to despise all the time I spent on the couch in the past two weeks, recovering from the tonsillectomy.  Today I am grateful for - health, a job, a voice, caring co-workers, beautiful fall weather, and another church just announced they wish to support me annually!  WooHoo!  God is good.

Week 5. Bethel Ministries
Day 1. October 24

Read: Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do no depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take."

Today we pray for:
We pray that through the journey our youth ministries will continue to develop deep relationships that encourages discipleship and spiritual growth - Genesis Club (Sunday school), GEMS, Cadets, Fusion, and High school youth.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Relationship Sunday

Once a month my church decides to have coffee and fellowship before the service and then lunch and small groups after worship time.  I enjoy these days.  This morning's sermon was about forgiveness - getting ourselves right with God and with eachother.  I am forever grateful that the Lord of all creation has forgiven me of all my sins.... through the grace of Christ on the cross.  It's not always easy to forgive someone else, but if I try to remember that God gave up His one and only Son, makes it an ounce easier. 
Walking out of the sanctuary, I grabbed a number from the tiny woven basket, and found out that my small group was meeting in the library.  Divinely, a great small group was put together of four adults and three children/teens.  We honestly shared times when we needed to ask for forgiveness, or when we found it hard to forgive and spent time in prayer together. 

Today was the perfect way to spend a Sunday... church, a nap, and a fantastic Major League Ball game.  A nail-biting, shut-out win for Texas over St. Louis, 4-0.  Now it's off to bed!

Week 4. We Pray for the Discovery Weekend
Day 7: October 23

Read: Ephesians 4:11-16
"Now these are the gifts Christ gave the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.  Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.  This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Then we will no longer be immature like children.  We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching.  We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.  Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.  He makes the whole body fit together perfectly.  As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love."

Today we pray for:
Unity in Bethel CRC and God's leading.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Key Factor

Occasionally I end my day with a migraine, but today that's how I greeted life.  With a sharp pounding all around my head, I went upstairs to say good-morning to my parents.  They were sitting around the kitchen table, where they informed me that I was sending out horrible emails in the middle of the night.
Unbeknownst to me, a hacker had gotten into my hotmail account and emailed every one of my contacts.  I am so sad and disappointed.  Why?  Why do people do this?  I quickly tried to apologize to everyone, but my daily limit of sending emails had also been maxed out, so I couldn't say that I am extremely sorry for something I didn't do.  A huge knot began to settle in my stomach. 
As I was checking my emails, I even had one response that said "Karen, what is this?  You call this missions?"  Well, that just broke my heart.  NO!!  I would never intentionally send out rude or vulgar emails.  I am grateful for the few people who alerted me to this crazy situation, but upset that I couldn't stop it from happening. 
This evening I was reading a team-mate's blog post, describing how he lost his van keys while jogging, and it made me think back to when I lost a few important keys in Uganda.  Apparently there was a hole in my shorts pocket, and I lost the keys to my gate, house, garage, and post office box.  All very important, and I certainly didn't want any stranger to find them and break into my place.  I had walked over to a friends house, but while it was visiting it started pouring rain.  I ended up coming home in the dark, on the back of a motorcycle, and when I got to the gate, I realized the keys were gone.  Well, the knot in my stomach began then also.  I had to go and tell my team leader that I had lost some very important keys. 
The next morning, I got up early and tried to re-walk the path I had taken the evening before, in order to try and find those keys.  On my way back to the house, a neighbour spotted me on the road.  Denis said to me, "Karen, why such a long face?"  I told him that I was trying to find my lost keys.  He responded with "well, I have been without work for a year and a half and I don't look like I'm about to kill myself!"  And then it hit me... they are just keys.  Of course, they can be replaced, especially since they all belong to padlocks. 
I need to apply that same instant peace to today's situation.  It will all be remedied or forgiven (I hope).  The scenario is out of my hands and I will just have to release the knot and go on with life.

Psalm 34:19
19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.
Psalm 42:5-6
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and 6 my God.
Psalm 9:9
9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Week 4. We Pray for the Discovery Weekend
Day 6: October 22

Read: Jeremiah 32:38-40
"They will be my people, and I will be their God.  And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of their descendants.  And I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good for them.  I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me."

Today we pray for:
A God inspired VISION for the future!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Prayer Time

Week 4. We Pray for the Discovery Weekend
Day 5: October 21

Read: Ephesians 1:3-5
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.  Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.  This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure."

Today we pray for:
All generations in Bethel to come and work together as the family of God.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Get Well Gift

 I got a precious package in the mail today... perfect for my sore throat.  :)  It's just too bad it took two weeks to get here.
A "waffle story" is mentioned in the card.... well, for my 27th birthday some dear friends surprised me on my special day.  At the time, I was leading a short-term missions team of college students.  They were combining basketball with evangelism ministries for 7 weeks that summer.   I was living in the Philippines then, and my bedroom was up in a third floor loft, with rats roaming under the nepa hut rafters.  At 7 am, I heard singing voices making their way up my circular staircase and soon saw 12 or so heads pop up into my room.  They were singing "Happy Birthday" and each person was holding a home-made birthday card for me.  So precious.  Psalm 27 was read.  And a breakfast tray with my favourite foods was handed over.... fresh mango and banana, waffles, and raspberry tea.
Well, two years later, when I was back home in Canada, a package came in the mail for me from California.  One of my hilariously funny team-mates wanted to make sure I was still getting waffles for my birthday breakfast, so he wrapped an ego waffle in some tinfoil and stuck it in a card.  By the time I opened it, it was moldy!!  But man, did I have a good chuckle in my apartment that morning.  I'm surprised the border patrol let that envelope cross.  :)

Week 4: We Pray for the Discovery Weekend
Day 4: October 20

Read: Romans 10:17 again
"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."

Today we pray for:
the Coach who is being sent to us from Home Missions for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

40 Days of Prayer Continued

Week 4. We Pray for the Discovery Weekend
Day 3: October 19

Read: Romans 10:17
"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."

Today we pray for:
God to prepare our hearts to hear His voice during the weekend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Christmas Among the Costumes

Mad Hatter hats, colourful wigs, sparkly dresses, and spooky masks adorn the aisles of the second-hand store... my stationary section has been rearranged so it took me a while to find the Christmas and birthday cards I was searching for.  Slightly ahead of the season, I know, but it takes me a while to get over 300 cards ready to go for the end of the year.  I wiped myself out though trying to peruse through a few stores.  I can't believe how much energy this tonsillectomy has taken away from me. 

Tonight I started compiling my lists for Canadian, US, and International mailings and smiled as I remembered about how rare it is for me to actually create lists.  Then I started thinking that maybe I should start making a list about all that needs to be done in the next month and a half before I hope to move to Uganda.... here is a rough sketch of what crossed my mind:
  • raise the other 30% needed to live and serve in Uganda
  • spend time with my niece and nephews
  • speak at Rehoboth Fellowship CRC in Bowmanville on November 6th
  • finish my role as support worker on November 12th
  • speak at Williamsburg CRC on November 13th
  • visit old friends and family from the area where I grew up
  • take a road trip to Grand Rapids, MI to catch up with college mates
  • and maybe take in American Thanksgiving in St. Louis, MO
  • decide whether to have a good-bye party, or a Coffee House fundraiser, or both
  • have a commissioning service with my sending church - Bethel CRC
  • pack my bags or bins, after doing some last minute shopping for necessities and wants
  • write 300+ Christmas cards
  • follow-up with my surgeon
  • and so much more  :)
Week 4. We Pray for the Discovery Weekend
Day 2: October 18

Read: Hebrews 10:25
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Today we pray for:
The attendance during the Discovery weekend.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Good Day

Today was a good day for me, although I still have no energy.  I have minimal pain, and both speech and appetite are almost back to normal.  I'm so grateful.  The best part of my day though was receiving word about another monthly donor and another supporting church.  I am now at 70% of full, on-going support and I'm jumping for joy.  God is providing in the coolest ways!  I love HIM so much.

Week 4: We Pray for the Discovery Weekend
Day 1: October 17

Read: Ephesians 4:11-16
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

Today we pray for:
God's leading through the Discovery Weekend on November 4 and 5.... a weekend to discuss and plan the next 5 year goals for the church.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Give Good Gifts

"How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?" - Matt 7:9... those words really stuck out at me during this morning's sermon.  God provides for all of our needs, just as Jesus taught us to pray.... "Give us this day our daily bread."  We have the privilege of going to God and just asking!  He cares for our needs, and we should be willing to hand over both our work and worries. 
What are the conditions of asking:
1. God wants to be first in my life.
2. He wants to be in control of my life.
3. I have to trust in God's timing - in requires me to sometimes wait, and to have faith!
I'm so glad that the Lord used my Pastor this morning to encourage me in trusting God for my needs for the mission field.  I'm continuing to ask Him to provide each step of the way.

Week 3. We Thank God for His Faithfulness
Day 7: October 16

Read: Isaiah 40:29-31
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

Today we pray for:
Trusting God for the future of Bethel

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Faithfulness in Hidden Places

Tucking a pillow under my arm, I walked out of the house for the second time in 8 days.  I was off to my nephew's third birthday party this morning.  It's not easy to watch silently in the corner as the kids play, and I was definitely jealous as my family chowed down on the wonderful spread that my brother laid out.  For the first time ever I tried an Eggs Benedict and it's pretty yummy though.  Yes, I'm starting to eat and talk more since my tonsillectomy, but I still have bouts with pain, nausea, and extreme fatigue.  It's strange how much quieter my world is when I can't physically add to the conversations around me, but it does give me more time ponder an even greater list of thankfulness to a faithful God.
1. My family - for being so fun, and loving, and striving to see the children raised in the name of the Lord.
2. For a local church who just called to offer me a one-time gift for missions.  Wow!  Praise God.
3. For another church calling to see if I could come and speak on November 12th... They are taking me on as one of their on-going missionaries and I am so excited to share God's story in Uganda with them.
4. For friends who call, email, or send cards to check up on me during this time of recovery.
5. I even thank God for Internet - it makes a lot of my communication from the couch possible.

Week 3. We Thank God for His Faithfulness
Day 6: October 15

Read: 1 Peter 2:5
"You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

Today we pray for:
For our Church Family in Bethel

Friday, October 14, 2011

Keep on praying - only week 3

Week 3. We Thank God for His Faithfulness
Day 5: October 14

Read: Acts 14:23
"Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust."
1 Timothy 3:8
"Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain."

Today we pray for:
Many members of Bethel who served in Council over the past 56 years.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Finding Forgiveness in a Faithful God

A dear friend of mine sent me this video of former LRA soldiers, to watch during my recovery time. It broke my heart. I was proud of a tribe coming together and trying to find forgiveness, but I honestly believe that true forgiveness is found in Christ alone and not in a tribal sacrifice. Feel free to watch for yourselves.

Week 3. We Thank God for His Faithfulness
Day 4: October 13

Read: Romans 10:14-15
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"

Today we pray for:
All the pastors who served in Bethel the first 56 years... including my father, who served as a youth pastor from 1998 to 2007.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

God's Faithfulness Continues

God is faithful all the time!  Every day I am feeling a little bit stronger and I'm trying to push myself further.  A walk to the mailbox was all I could handle today though - so we are definitely talking baby steps in recovering from a tonsillectomy.
The great thing about technology means that life can still happen while I rest on the couch.  Today I gained a few more prayer and financial partners.  I'm now at 65% full-support and I'm really feeling like a late November departure is truly going to happen!!  My team leader, Tim, called me from Kampala today.  He has been vehicle shopping and today I believe he bought me a vehicle.... so that's exciting.  The house that I wanted in Soroti isn't working out, but that's because there is possibly an even better house available - that is cheaper and fully furnished.  I'm beyond grateful for Team Beyond, in Soroti, who is doing a lot of preparation work for me to arrive and feel at home.

How are you experiencing God's faithfulness?

Week 3.  We Thank God for His Faithfulness
Day 3:October 12

Read: 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
"Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.  For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body -- whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free -- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many."

Today we pray for:
All the volunteers who served faithfully at Bethel over the years.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Canadian Thanksgiving has passed by already, but I am grateful that I could be home to celebrate one more time with my wonderful family.  I didn't eat much - just a few mashed potatoes, squash, and deviled eggs, but it was a blessing for me to just be in the room with my family.  From my perspective on the couch, at my brother's house, I watched the children play, and the family interact.  My grandfather and my Dad's youngest brother also shared the yummy meal with us.  God is so good!  I know I probably pushed myself too much by going, but by taking a pillow with me in the car and resting on the sofa, it was completely manageable.  Recovering from a tonsillectomy is a long process, but I think I am doing better than I expected.  Even though it hurts a lot. 

Week 3.  We Thank God for His Faithfulness
Day 2: October 11

Read: Matthew6:33
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

Today we pray for:
Thanking God for all his provisions over 56 years.

God's Faithfulness

Today's prayer point shares verses from my favourite Psalm.

Week 3. Thank God for His Faithfulness
Day 1: October 10

Read: Psalm 103:1-5
"Praise the Lord, o my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, o my soul;
and forget not all his benefits --
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your mouth is renewed like the eagle's.

Today we pray for:
Thanking God for 56 years of His Faithfulness in Bethel CRC.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Day of Rest

I'm so glad the doctors warned me that days 3,4, and 5 would be worse than days 1 and 2 after the surgery.  My tongue is definitely sore and earaches are starting to appear.  Neck aches and difficulty swallowing are also a part of my day... so what do I do....  Spend time on the couch, try not to talk, drink lots, read, write, and watch more tv than I should.  But you know what... I'm doing alright.  I actually feel pretty good and I'm glad I went through this process.

Week 2: Bethel's Journey of Discovery
Day 7: October 9

Read: Ephesians 4:1-5
"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all."

Today we pray for:
Spiritual Growth during the Journey

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Keep on Praying for my Church

Week 2. Bethel's Journey of Discovery
Day 6: October 8

Read: Ephesians 4:11-13
"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of serve, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ."

Today we pray for:
The church's leadership: Pastors and council

Friday, October 7, 2011


Slouching on the couch, at the end of a long day, I thought I should give you an update of my surgery.  Arriving at the hospital at 7:15 am, I checked in for surgery and waited with Dad in the sitting room.  The doctor, nurse, and anesthesiologist all came to talk to me, to tell me what to expect.  The surgery would be 15 minutes long.  The first two days should be bearable for pain management, but days 4,5, and 6 will be worse.  I would be in the post-op waiting room for six hours just to make sure that my cauterized throat won't hemorrhage.  Great... lots to look forward to.

I remember the nurse having difficulty finding a vein for the IV on my left hand, and after two bruising attempts, she moved to the right hand where the needle slipped right in.  An oxygen mask was slipped over my face, and before I knew it, I was waking up in the recovery room.  I felt pretty good - like I just woke up from a refreshing nap.  Within a half hour I was moved to another post-op room where I spent the next six hours reading, watching people, and DRINKING an unbelievable amount of liquids. 

The pain didn't start until about 2:30 in the afternoon.  My tongue feels swollen and that the muscles have all been pulled.  My jaw hurts like it's been yanked wide open.  I took skin off my lip with a frosty popsicle, and then there is the fact that I am now missing two tonsils.  I was discharged at 3 pm, where Dad wheeled me out to the van and drove me home.  I haven't felt nauseous all day - just tired, so I went home to take a nap.  I have spent the remainder of my day, taking in liquids, struggling to talk, watching tv, and napping.  I hope tomorrow I can eat something more than a popsicle and ice water.

Week 2.  Bethel's Journey of Discovery
Day 5: October 7

Read: Romans 12:20-21
"On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.'
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Today we pray for:
Our church mentor/coach

Thursday, October 6, 2011


'Tis the night before my surgery and I think I'm doing alright.  I feel good, I just hope the doctors tomorrow say I'm good enough to have the operation.  I appreciated my day off and took a friend out to see the movie "Courageous".  It was an amazing testimony of integrity, accountability, and men of faith.  It was absolutely powerful in describing God's grace and goodness.  I pray that I will be able to take one ounce of courage with me into the operating room tomorrow and be a witness of God's peace.

Week 2. Bethel's Journey of Discovery
Day 4: October 6

Read: Romans 12:19
"Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."

Today we pray for:
The workshop leaders who will be speaking during our Discover the Journey weekend at the beginning of November.
Also, pray for me - that my body will be well, and my spirit peaceful.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Do you ever have those days where you are snappy, impatient, quick to speak, and fast to poke jokes?  Have you ever been attacked and just want to bite back?  I know that I have, but it's not good.  I desire to be more relaxed... able to forgive, love, and live peacefully.

Tonight I am grateful for a team of co-workers who are giving me some much needed time off to go into surgery.  Delightfully, the team collected together and covered my last shift so that I could have an evening to relax before going having a tonsilectomy on Friday morning.  I know that in the next few weeks I will have plenty of time to lay around and pray for people - and I'm for sure going to pray for relationships both at work and at church - that God's peace will reign.  That's what I feel today's prayer point is about.

Week 2.  Bethel's Journey of Discovery
Day 3: October 5

Read: Romans 16-18
"Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

Today we pray for:
Our relationships to grow as we discern God's will together.

Live in Harmony

This morning I woke up with a very sore throat and the beginnings of a cold.  I was off to the doctors clinic right away to get antibiotics so that I could nip this setback in the butt, because I am having my tonsils removed on Friday and I need to be healthy.  Whenever I am not feeling well, I still like being around people.  I'm a bit of a social butterfly - so I didn't cancel my afternoon plans of tea with a friend.  We sat in the back yard of her beautiful home and soaked in some rare fall sunshine. 
I was starting to feel worse, but felt that I could handle a movie out with another friend.  We went to see "Dolphin Tale" and I'm glad that I made it, but by the time I got home I was ready for bed. 
The great thing about these friends is that we love God and eachother.  Unity and love are so important, and I know it is not always easy to maintain.  Please ponder the following verses for the day.

Week 2: Bethel's Journey of Discovery
Day 2: October 4

Read: Romans 14-16
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited."

Today we pray:
That God will bless us with Unity and Love for eachother.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I Wouldn't Go Without It...

Continuing through the 40 days of prayer journal that my church is using, I read that:

Today we pray for:
God's leading and blessing on our journey.

It is not only my prayer for Bethel, but also for my life, that I go with God's leading and blessing.

Week 2. Bethel's Journey of Discovery
Day 1: October 3

Read: Romans 12:11-13
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord's people who are in need.  Practice hospitality."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Barn Dancing

Cowboy hats and blue jeans were adorning the folks at a country barn dance I attended last night.  Country music is not really something I care for, but hanging out with friends and meeting new people in my community always is!  An 80 year old barn, in perfect condition, was decorated with Christmas lights and bales of hay were set out for seating.  An unexpected surprise was watching this handsome young man stroll across the dance floor and come up to me with a question in his eyes.  :)  No, he didn't ask me for a dance... he wanted to know if I was Karen.  When I looked closer at him, I recognized one of my baby brother's friends from elementary school.  Who knew our paths would ever cross at a barn in the country.  Fun times.

This morning at church our Pastor preached from Romans 12 and 13.  I don't know if he is preaching according to the 40 day prayer schedule but the sermon definitely fit in with the reading for today.  We must love others, and in lieu of this week's upcoming provincial election we must respect and honour our government leaders. 

Week 1. We Pray for our Community
Day 7: October 2

Read: Romans 12:9
"Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves."

Today we pray for:
Bethel's future involvement in our community.  There are so many ways to be involved - pray for the businesses that surround the church.  Visit our neighbours.  Bring your kids to the mall to play and chat with the parents / caregivers who are there.  Show patience in long line-ups at the grocery store.  Donate food to the food bank.  Write a letter to the lonely, and so much more.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Don't get me wrong, I am enjoying "living" with my parents, but today is one of those days I am grateful for all the habitats I've had in the past.  The old farm house in Whitechurch was a fantastic home for the first 23 years of my life.  College dorms were a brand new adventure for me - lack of sleep, constant attention, sharing living spaces - which I never had to do before as I had three younger brothers. 

Then it was off to the Netherlands for a year where I had a cool studio apartment above a two car garage.  It was the first place that I called mine.  In the Philippines I moved in to a neighbourhood with the greatest neighbourhood watch program anyone could wish for.  The whole street knew whenever I was coming or going.  :)  In the Philippines I started living with people from other cultures and absolutely loved it.  I miss dinners around the round table with my roomie, Ching, or the square table with my sister Merly. 

When I was little, I used to dream about a home I would own someday.  I always wanted a renovated one room school house - with the open loft concept and a round metal staircase.  I was absolutely pumped when I moved to Tacloban, Philippines and found that God has granted my wish - on the mission field!!  I had a round metal stair case and the open concept loft upstairs on third floor was my bedroom.  Never mind the fact that rats haunted the rafters and a cat was forced to sleep with me.  :)

I will never forget my SWEET apartment in Schomberg.  I decorated the place with articles from around the world.  My landlords were a huge blessing and it was uber close to work.  The best part of the apartment was, well, three parts - the huge kitchen - so I could host dinner parts, lots of light from the open window and walk-out glass doors, and my favourite - a gas fire place, so I could stay warm!

In Kalacha, Kenya I spent a few weeks living in a mud house with dirt floors and scorpions.  Then moved over to Soroti, Uganda, where I was the host of Team Beyond's guest house.  Most of the time I had the house alone, but occasionally all 12 beds were full and I was a busy hostess. 

You know, at the moment I am in a little room in the basement.  I was chatting with a friend on Skype the other night who actually thought I was sleeping in a closet.  :)  It's definitely not big, but it's home for now.

I'm praying about my new home... The house I really want in Soroti, Uganda is having the rent increased.  The landlady is really hard to connect with from this side of the ocean, but I'm continuing to communicate with her and bartering on the house price. 

Above all though - I am glad I have a home.... and today I'm praying for those that don't - see below!

Week 1. We Pray for our Community
Day 6:October 1

Read: Romans 12:6-8
"We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is encouraging, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully."

Today we pray for:
Habitat for Humanity - a non-profit organization working towards a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.