Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why don’t I always listen to God?

I’ve been asking myself that question this week, because I am again totally and completely humbled by what God’s doing with me and with my friends.

I listened when God said, “Lead a team to Honduras.” And then I opened the Group catalog at EastLake this weekend and saw that ½ of the Honduras team are leading summer Groups…and for 3 of them, it’s their first time! Or maybe that two team members are signed up for fall Go! Groups, dispensing hope in other parts of the world. God is still working…from just one tiny step of obedience.

I listened when God said, “Invite her to your Activity Group.” And then, literally 3 minutes later, my friend (who is not into the baby Jesus or religion) signed up. How will her life change this summer by participating in a Group?

See, these stories are cool, but the scary part is the hundreds of seconds every day when I'm so busy, and NOT listening to God. The times when I ignore that still, small voice calling me, all in favor of loud music, a busy schedule, and a hectic social life. I claim to live a life that is bankrupt to Jesus, but as I honestly look around, I see savings accounts for myself all over the place – my friends, my family, my stuff, my job, my position. Which brings me back to the question, why don’t I always listen to God?

What would happen in my life if I made every effort to hear God’s voice and not my own?

If I put Jesus’ mission ahead of my ambition?

If I cared for the people who drive me crazy the way Christ cares for me?

If I listened to God’s voice and did whatever He asked.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Want to see Honduras?

We've pulled together a little video of our trip - we'll be sharing this video on Sunday @ EastLakeCC.com - 9am, 11am, 5pm and 6:30pm. The team will also be sharing their personal stories live in the services. You don't want to miss it!

For now, enjoy!

video

Friday, March 6, 2009

Honduras was amazing. it was incredible to have all of ones assumptions about life, and another way of living it, challenged. I went there with all these assumptions and guesses about what it would be like to be in their situation and instead I found that I was incorrect in nearly every case. for example, I thought that I would be unhappy to live in such a situation, such as houses like I saw; instead I found I adapted quickly and really enjoyed many things about their way of life; I might go as far to say that they are far superior in some ways to ours, like being thankful and content with what one has been blessed with. The children were all so wonderful as well and I will really miss them, especially little Denis Fernando and Gloria. they had so much responsibility for being so young and yet they had so much joy. we can learn a lot from them. I could probably go on forever but i don't really have the time so let me conclude with a quick list of events and then conclusion.

Events:
1. dangerous plane ride.
2. dangerous and incredibly fun truck rides.
3. chased by bull ( that was really a cow)
4. working extremely hard
5. making wonderful friends
6. life changing experiences

Conclusion:
you can find a way to go on a mission trip and you should, it will change your life for the better and draw you and others closer to Christ and an understanding his perfect love.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

We have internet!

We’re back in the hotel in Honduras. First internet in 5 days….I apologize for the delay in updates, but let me tell you…

Everything is more than I imagined….our living conditions are far worse than I imagined, the work is harder than I expected and the children are more lovable than I could have imagined. See, even though I should be prepared for this trip, it’s still so much more than I imagined.

I’m proud of this team. They have worked hard, they loved fully and they have been changed. See anyone can work hard – pouring concrete, building forms, attaching walls and screwing together metal braces. But it takes a willingness to allow the work to affect you. To get to know the person you are working alongside of….not just their name, but a little piece of their story. The team has done that and then some.

So, for the majority of our stay, we’ve been deep in Honduras….and by deep, I mean 6 hours in the back of a pick up truck far away from the city, on dirt road that would qualify as a decent hiking trail in the states. We had electricity – but that’s it. No running water, no internet…..oddly, cell phones (ah, the benefits of commercial competition – thanks Digi-Cell, Tigo and Claro for enabling cell service even in the more remote parts of Honduras in search of profit ☺). We took “showers” with buckets of cold water, we woke up at 3am with the roosters and we fell asleep exhausted every night. It’s certainly been an adventure….

The team will start posting to this blog with their personal stories in the next few days, but I thought I’d give you a taste of the adventure. While building cement forms, the team heard some commotion and watched as a bull, in the middle of a “branding” escaped. The locals tried to stop the bull, but unsuccessfully. Before they knew it, the bull was running directly toward the team, who was standing in a narrow alley – let’s just say, we learned that Tommy has a 6 foot vertical jump, Nathaniel would not have been a successful matador and Patrick has got speed! For the moms and significant others reading this, don’t worry – no one was injured!

To everyone who has financially and prayerfully supported the team – THANK YOU! Now, enough from me….team, let’s go – share your story!
-Jenn

Monday, February 16, 2009

And We're Off...

Tomorrow morning at 6am the team will jump on the plane and head to Honduras! I'm bringing a laptop, and will do my best to keep you up to date with stories and photos from the trip.
Over the last couple of days, God has been teaching me a lot about surrender and preparation. It's a funny process, living with an attitude of surrender and preparation---you spend your life surrendering to God and what He's asking of you, then preparing to do what He's asking. But, at least for me, the thing I am preparing for becomes less important (in some ways) than the process of preparing and surrendering.


I know this trip will be incredible, and I know that, because God has transformed me in the process of preparing. And now, with the trip literally 24 hours away, I am feeling very called to surrender...my expectations, my pride in my own skills, even the team. I'm surrendering all of it to God and trusting that all this preparation had a significant purpose.


As a leader, I feel very humbled, and as a friend reminded me, "that's all the better - the more for God to glorify Himself!" That's what this entire trip is about - God and His glory. We are merely along for the ride....and I'm sure it'll be quite a ride.


While we are traveling and working, please continue to pray for the team. Pray for health, safety and the ability to complete all 36 latrines.


Can't wait to return and share stories of how God used us, changed us and changed some people we are excited to meet in Honduras

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Honduras

Typical Honduran Village Home:









Thank you everyone that donated all the great items for us to take to Honduras, last night we packed up all sorts of crates with great things for the kids and families of Honduras.

We are truly blessed to go on this magnificent journey.
-Nigel




Honduras Pictures

Honduras Pictues 2

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Seriously?!?

Just a quick post to note another crazy God moment. On a quick status call with our trip logistic coordinator and she just happens to mention that we received another anonymous $1,000 donation! WHAT?!?!

Then, jumped on a quick phone call with Jessica, who is one of the 5 ladies coming on the trip. Jessica has been coordinating donations and said she received a $500 donation to buy toys and supplies for the kids we'll meet down there!

I'm literally dumbfounded.

And, if I'm honest, I'm humbled....how is my daily life idea of God so small?

Loaves and Fishes

There is a story in the Bible about how Jesus fed over 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish. The people have been following him for several days, they are hungry, out of food and in the wilderness. Jesus' friends are worried about the crowd and go to Jesus for help. He takes the food they had, and multiples it, feeding everyone present, with food left over.

Here's an excerpt from the story:

"He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread and fish to the disciples to hand out to the crowd. After the people had eaten their fill, twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered up."
-Luke 9 (The Message)

Although I haven't recently seen God multiply the contents of my refrigerator, I have seen that "loaves and fishes" reality in preparing for this trip.

In this week, we have raised $5,425 for the Honduras trip! This is incredible - not only because it's a tremendous amount of money to have raised in a few short days, but because of the way it has all happened. See, we raised the money because individual people decided to do something....to act on a crazy idea they had....to pitch in and help out in whatever way possible (share their home, their time, etc)...to do their part.

And actually, as I think about it, that's the crazy part of the "loaves and fishes" story in the Bible too. The "WOW" factor of the story is not that Jesus was able to multiply the food. Now, don't get me wrong, that multiplication of food to feed 5,000 hungry people is pretty dang cool. But, I believe Jesus is my Lord and Savior and that God is the creator of heaven and earth....so a bunch of bread and fish seems like a pretty light day on the job for a God with that kind of capacity.

No, the amazing thing about the story is not that Jesus multiplied "loaves and fishes", the amazing thing is that He used the disciples to do it! Seriously, go back to the top and re-read the story!

Jesus uses us!

He wants us to grow. To be changed. To participate in His work in this world. He wants us to take the talents, abilities, and resources we have and use them. God doesn't need us to accomplish His work in this world, but rather, He invites us to be involved. The real miracle of the story, in the Bible (and my own), is that God allowed the disciples (and me) to participate in what He was doing.

And this week, God allowed a ton of people to participate in His work by raising money for the Honduras team. Thank you to all of you who listened to God and did something. And thank you, God, for the being willing to use me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

God is Big

Disclaimer: Writing on a blog is very intimidating. There are people in this world who are incredibly witty and articulate in their writing (Noel - I secretly hate you!), but alas, I am not one of them. So, if I am honest, posting on the blog is a bit nerve racking. However, I am sitting at my computer, so completely blown away by God, that I had to write something.

God is Big.

I know this is not a complex sentence or even a new idea - but it's the best set of words I can find to explain my feelings about God tonight. 18 months ago, I sat at the Medical Teams International auction and God gently told me, "You need to go on a trip." After 6 months of ignoring that subtle nudge, I signed up and in December 2007 I went to Mexico. It was incredible...I was invited back this year, but this time, I felt God tell me - "Now it's time for you to lead."

In 25 days, a team of people from EastLake will be traveling to Honduras to build 36 latrines in 5 days...and even as I write this sentence I am tempted to ask God if He's sure He meant me to lead this team. :) Then, I have days like today....where I am completely humbled and reminded that God is BIG and everything good about this trip (and my life) is coming directly from Him.

Here's a sample of how God is providing for the team (And literally, all of this happened today!!)
  • A new member signed up to go on the trip...a 17 year old kid who is pumped to go and serve with a team of people up to twice his age.
  • The new team member is filling the spots of two people who had to cancel their trip due to injury - which means we can still build the original number of latrines we were planning
  • A member of EastLake approached me and literally planned in one day a fundraiser for the trip that will raise between $4,000 - $5,000
  • I personally received three individual notes of support and encouragement for the trip
Pretty cool, uh?

I don't understand why I can experience God so clearly working in the planning and preparation for this trip and in the same day, I can grieve with friends who feel that God is totally absent. I honestly don't think I will understand, this side of eternity, why God can feel so present and so absent at the same time...but I know that regardless of how I am feeling, God is present, He is working and He loves us so much.

I believe God is my heavenly Father and I'm His kid...and as any parent will tell you - kids think their primary job is to ask for candy and the parents job is to decide when and how much candy is good for their kids. Well, I'm asking God for a lot of candy and right now and I feel like He's giving me so much that I might get a permanent sweet tooth...but that's not going to stop me from asking!

You are invited to join in asking God for more "candy". I'm praying for: safety for the team, for wisdom for me as the team leader, for the people in rural communities in Honduras who will be using the latrines.

If you are still reading this....Thanks.

Thank you for caring enough about this trip, the team and me to spend a few minutes reading this note.
-Jenn

Monday, January 26, 2009

Get Your Shots and Sleeping Bags!

Hey All -

Three important reminders:

1. I would strongly encourage you to make an appointment at a Travel Medicine center to ensure you are all up to date on your vaccinations, etc. for traveling to Honduras! I went this morning and it took less than 30 minutes and I'm all ready to go! I went to the UW Travel Medical Clinic (206.598.4888). Give them a call and make an appointment! :)

2. Sleeping Bag - You're gonna need one!

3. Next Meeting: February 16th. Can't wait to see you then!

- Jenn

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Things to Remember!

Hey Team!

I can't believe we leave in just a few short weeks. I was reading through the logistics information and wanted to make sure everyone saw a few key details:

1. Each person should bring their own work gloves - leather work gloves are great and/or blue rubber gloves (which are good for pouring cement).
2. Each person should bring their own sleeping bag! We'll need it for the nights we are staying in the community.
3. Get Shots! Make sure to go to a Travel Health Center and get necessary shots: We recommend Hepatitis A and B as well as a Tetanus shot.
4. Bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer
5. Plan to carry your money and passport on your person at all times! Bring a money belt.

If you have any questions about any of these items - give me a call or drop me an email. I booked my appointment at the UW Travel Medical Center for next Monday to ensure all my vaccinations are up to speed!

See you on February 16th for our packing party!
Thanks - Jenn

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CPR and Latrines

Thanks to everyone who attended the CPR class @ the Brekke's tonight. I'm happy to report that we raised over $575 for the Honduras team! That's fantastic!

I also learned about all the First Aid and medical supplies I need to bring for the team going on this crazy adventure. Thanks to all for your support of this trip and God's work in and through the lives of people...from Kirkland to Honduras.

-Jenn

Monday, January 12, 2009

Latrines


It is my understanding(Nigel) that the latrines will look a bit similar to this, but not exactly:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Welcome to the Blog!

Welcome to the Honduras Team Blog!
This site is for everyone interested in learning about the Honduras mission trip and the awesome team who is going! You can check out some of our older posts to see how we've been preparing for the trip and check back to this site often to see updates on our plans and then updates during the adventure!


I'm pumped that we've got 18 people heading to Honduras to make a difference by building Latrines. If you don't know what a Latrine is...join the club! I'm working on finding a picture of one, but for now...I'll just explain. Latrines are basically big cement out-houses. We'll be providing the first restroom facilities these communities have ever seen. Pretty crazy, uh? Makes you re-think your next trip to the porcelain seat.... :)


Dennis, Judi, Jessica, Dani, Amber, KC, Justin, Heather, Nathaniel, Patrick, Jeff, Ian, Trevor, Tommy, Chris, Nigel and JR - I am so excited to head out on this adventure with you! Oh, and I want to know why you want to go...so start blogging! Share your story!


Lastly, several people have asked how they can support the team. There are three primary ways you can support us:

1. PRAY! Pray for the team - that final preparations will go smoothly, we will have safe travel and be safe while working. Pray for the community we will be working in and for - that lives will be changed...through toilets!


2. Donations! We are looking for kids toys, pencils, crayons, notebooks, etc. to take with us to share with the kids in the local communities. If you want to contribute these supplies, contact Jessica (v-jess@microsoft.com).

3. Financial Support: If you are interested in supporting the team financially, you can make checks payable to Medical Teams International and send them to:

Medical Teams International

C/O Emily Hill

PO Box 10

Portland, OR 97207



In the note portion of the check, please include: Honduras Trip ID #090221HOWK

What else do you want to know? Tell us and we'll do our best to answer!
-Jenn