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Trinidad Wrap Up

As often happens, I did not find the time to post during this trip nearly as much as I had intended to. Between the busy schedule and having to stand in the middle of a mosquito ridden field to get wifi, it just didn’t happen. Right now I am sitting on a plane flying north to Miami, Trinidad very much behind me.

As always, these trips are a great way to live in community with your siblings in Christ. Friendships that could normally take months or years to form, can begin to exist within days inside the incubator of a mission trip. I laughed louder than I have in some time with Caleb and Brent as they reminded me again what it is like to be young in the Lord. I learned that Aaron Lippard (of the Lippard Tribe :o) was the first person (with his buddy) to travel across the island of Papa New Guinea without motors (basically with a kayak and little else). I found unexpected treasures within each of the ladies (Ashley, Alicia, Wilma and Ivy) as they shared their amazing testimonies of how God changed their lives. Without speaking a word to me about it, Daniel taught me how to lead people into God’s fullness for their lives so gently that sometimes they don’t even know they are being led. And the kids… Can you believe it? The Lippard’s brought their 4 young children (age 5-13) with them on this trip – and it was AWESOME!

Expectations was one of the themes of this trip. What do we expect from God, what does He expect from us? Far greater men have wrestled with these questions, and as I try to decipher their answers I have found myself wanting…

I expected God to show up in powerful ways. He did. I saw young men in prison brought to tears as they turned their troubled lives over to a savior that is more than able to change them forever. I saw children who lived lives surrounded by idol worship acknowledge that our God is the one true God. I saw my brothers and sisters wrestle with their faith and come out on the other side; stronger and more willing to be a light to a dark world.

For me, this trip was one of coming to grips with God’s expectations of me. Like many Americans, I have been conditioned to expect all life’s solutions to come quick and easy. Yet, the more I get to know my God, the more I see that those that profit most from being His are those that are willing to labor in the fields and do the hard work of perfecting their faith. For me, this trip was a reminder that if you linger too long in yesterday’s grace, you will miss out on today’s abundant life. God has an adventure for me and its one that I don’t need to leave my present circumstances to enjoy. But as I learned from my brother Aaron this week, you won’t ever discover the mysteries of the island if you don’t get in the kayak.

So this is how I am ending this trip, with a beginning. Words will only get me so far. Its time for me to get in the kayak. I know there is some difficult paddling ahead. But I also know that if I can push through to the things that God wants of me, I will never want to be the man I was before I had the courage to get in the boat.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2011 in Missions

 

Days 3-5 in Trinidad

They past few days have held some really good times here in Trinidad. Our team is meshing well and we are really beginning to do the work that we set out to do.

Today will be our third day of VBS. On the first day, we had about 15 kids, then 30 the next. These things can grow significantly as the days go on. It has been really cool watching all these kids eagerly learning about Jesus. Our theme for the week is HOW HE LOVES US. Instead of just telling the kids “Jesus Loves You”, we are trying to help them see all the specific ways in which he loves us. As the number of kids coming to VBS grows, so to does the amount of adults peeking their heads in to see what the commotion is all about.

On Sunday evening, Aaron, Ashley, Caleb and I all had the opportunity to lead worship at the TTUM church service. From the get go, they informed us that we were to do no less than 6 songs! The culture here allows for entering the presence of the Lord without the restraints of time. People weren’t looking at their watches waiting for worship to be over, the were soaking in the things of the Lord and allowing Him to minister to them in His time… How cool.

Yesterday, after VBS was over, we went to an orphanage. There were a good number of older kids at this orphanage. Several of them though that Sabian Lippard looked like Justin Beber, so that was interesting :o)

As we move through the week, I am praying for more opportunities to serve the people of Trinidad and show them Jesus in a tangible way. I am expecting God to open doors to speak into the hears of those that are lost, hurting and in need of a savior.

THANK you for all your prayers thus far… THEY ARE WORKING!!! Our team is healthy. We are trying to step into the things that Lord wants of us. It is a very sweet thing to witness.

-j

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2011 in Missions

 

Day 2 of Trinidad..

Well, our wifi access down here is a bit spotty, so I am not sure how often I will be able to update y’all on here. Even though it is Day 3, I will just update you on Day 2 for now… I’ll get back later tonight and let you know about the fun festivities of today!

DAY 2

Day 2 was pretty relaxed. In the morning we spent some time learning about the culter here in trinidad. We visited some Hindu temples and toured the countryside a bit. In the afternoon, we shouted out our VBS location. We then canvased the neighborhoods inviting kids to VBS this week.

A neat story about the VBS… Some of you may know that we had originally planned on coming to Trinidad in April. That ended up getting changed to August. Well, the Lord’s timing is perfect. When TTUM (the ministry we are working from here) went and talked to one of the Local churches about our trip in August, they were so happy. They are a small church plant and had been desperately wanting to do VBS for the children during the summer (school would not have been out in April), but did not have the staff to pull it off. Since we came, they are now able to do the VBS they wanted. VBS’s like this are a key way that these churches grow. The kids come, and then the adults come to see what is going on and soon, the church is growing! How cool…

PRAY

Please PRAY that God draws kids to the VBS and that we have opportunities to talk to the Lost about Jesus. Pray that our entire team stays healthy (I feel great btw) for the whole trip! Thank you!

-j

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2011 in Missions

 

Trinidad – Day One

Off we go… I am not used to such nice flight times. Today I rolled out of bed at around 8 am and headed over to the church at 9. We had a nice drive to O’hare and now we are sitting around waiting for our flight to Miami. Besides almost leaving my guitar in the screening line, things have gone smoothly…

Not too much to update you on, but I do have some prayer requests:

HEALTH
I have been feeling a little under the weather for the last couple of days. Even now, my throat hurts and I am not feeling 100%. Pray that this nastiness goes away and that I can concentrate on the tasks at hand

HEAVEN
I want to hear from heaven on this trip. There are some specific things I am seeking the Lord to speak into on this trip. Pray that I am sensitive to his leadings…

HOME
Amy always gets a little anxious when I am gone and this is the first time that alex has been old enough to realize that I am gone for so long. Pray that they have peace in their hearts and FUN while I am gone.

Thank you all for your support… Be sure to post your responses on the blog. It is so encouraging to see your support.

-j

20110812-020934.jpg

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Missions

 

Trinidad 2011… Coming Up Fast

One month from tomorrow, I’ll be off to Trinidad.  Just thought I would get in the habit now of keeping you all updated.  I’ll try to be short today, here’s a couple important things:

  • Where is Trinidad?  Well, you can see the Map.  If you want to learn more about the country, click the image.
  • Prayer: I need commited prayer warriors to pray for my trip.  If you will commit to praying for me during my trip (Aug 12-19), please send me an email (justin@pastorjustin.com) so that I know.  Remember, during the trip, you can read this blog for daily updates on progress, prayer requests etc.  If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe to get email alerts when I post new updates.
  • Financial Support: I still need to raise about $600 for this trip.  Even if you can only give $10 or $20, that will help a bunch.  You can still give by going to this link: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/pastorjustin/trinidad

Heart, Mind and Body
I am really seeking to focus my heart and mind on the Lord in this next month as I prepare to go to Trinidad.  There are some specific things I need to hear from the Lord on during this time that I would appreciate prayers for…  Also, I really need to get my Body in better shape 😀  So, I will attempt to do some more riding of my bike, etc. to prepare for thie trip as well.

That’s all for now!  Hopefully, i’ll have more exciting things to share as the trip draws near…

-j

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Missions

 

Guatemala Update

This always seems to happen.  We get rolling on the trip and I run out of day before I can get to posting to the blog.  So here is a brief update to bring you up to speed.  The last few days have been filled with tons of opportunity for ministry here in Guatemala.  We had a really neat Ask The Lord day.  You can watch this short video made by the church that we are leading: (CLICK THIS LINK TO WATCH:  Ask the Lord Video )

Today we took 80 baskets of urgent need items to families affected by the recent mudslides.  We hiked pretty far up this mountaint to visit this one family.  The destruction of the storm was pretty intense, but the resolve the people to stay positive and rebuild greatly affected me and the entire team.

Tomorrow should be really fun.  It is our one day off.  We will be going on a 8 run zip line in a government owned nature reserve.  After that we will head across the lake and go shopping for the afternoon.

Thank you for your prayers!

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2010 in Missions

 

Guatemala – Day 4

Wow.  What a really cool day.  After a horrible night for me personally last night (I was very sick all night), I was questioning whether I was cut out for this type of thing anymore…  The Lord showed up in spectacular fashion tonight and reminded why he has led me to this type of ministry.

Unfortunately, I can’t get into the details, but here are some of the highlights:

  • We had a very good day working at an orphanage with some kids and helping to build a community garden
  • After some really cool direction from the Lord to several people we saw 5 teenagers get saved tonight.  Totally awesome.
  • I did my first teaching on listening prayer and the Lord showed himself in one of the most amazing ways I have seen to date.

Thank you for your continued prayers.  My stomach is still boderline.  Pray for good sleep, health and direction as we move forward.

God is good.

-j

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Guatemala – Day 3

Lake Atitlan - Panajachel, Guatemala - This is the lake as seen from the terrace of our hotel.

It is a beautiful day in Guatemala.  It is warm (like mid 70’s) with a nice cool breeze.  I was up at 5:30AM to get an early start to the day.  After some sweet quite time, I headed on my first solo venture since I arrived (yep, that means no translator).  After checking in with my american contacts at the orphanage we will be visiting, I headed up the mountain to check out the place for myself.  The road that goes to San Andres (where the orphanage is) was destroyed during the recent storm.  So you have to drive half way there (about 1/2 hour), cross this washed out bridge on foot and the get in another vehicle (a pickup truck with 20 other people who don’t speak english) and go the rest of the way.  Bringing 46 people on this journey will be awesome :o)

The tourism of Panachel will present a unique challenge to one of our primary goals on this trip.  The place we are staying at (as you can see from the picture) is beautiful.  As you walk through downtown Pana you see americans all over the place.  In fact, I have seen over 20 americans in the last half hour alone come into the cafe that I am sitting in (one family used to live in Portage – how crazy).  Anyway, the result of all this is that you get this false sense that things are better than they really are.  It looks more like some of the ports of call Amy and I have visited on one of our cruised more than it does an impoverished nation.  Our team is praying that the Lord will help us to break through these things and see into the hearts of the people.  We want to be perceptive to their TRUE needs and respond in a way that honors Jesus.

Thank you for all your prayers thus far.  As we continue, please PRAY:

  1. For safe travels as our group arrives tonight.
  2. For relationships and chemistry between leaders to be conducive to effective ministry.
  3. For healthy bodies…  Give us wisdom on what to eat and what not to eat and protect our bodies from all illness.
  4. For the ministry opportunities to manifest themselves.  Some things are still very unclear.

Thank you all!

-j

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2010 in Missions

 

Day 1 and 2 Guatemala Update

Day 1

So, day one was possibly the most interesting day of any mission trip I have ever been on.  A lapse in judgement on my part almost caused us to miss our first plane.  A weather storm caused us to have a ridiculously close layover for our second flight.  But those were the most flawless transactions of the day.  We arrived safely in Guatemala city on time at 10:45am local time.  Flash forward to 3:oopm.  We have now been waiting for our contact to pick us up at the airport.  He was supposed to be picking up the rental car from Thrifty.  Now when you think of Thrifty, you must understand the Guatemalan Thrifty is nothing like USA Thrifty.  Sure, they have the same logo and sign but the similarities end there!  So, we called up to Thrifty from the airport.  The assured us that “Gary”, our American AIM contact was there picking up our car and would be done shortly.   After being told that for almost an hour, we decided to go and look into ourself.  Apparently, all Americans look like a “Gary”.  Turns out Gary’s flight was delayed with no arrival time in sight.  So the 4 of us.  Me, Stella, Bill and our worsip leader Bryan, rented our own car and decided to make our way to Panajachel on our own.  This drive from Guatemala City to Panajachel will be one that goes down in infamy.  It was hands down the scaries/most fun drives I have ever been a part of in my life.  There is so much to say here, but to sum it up, we made the 3.5 hour trip in about 2 hours and 40 minutes.  I could go on… But I won’t.

After safely arrive at our Hotel, we found out that it was rented out to another group for the week.  How nice.  We did get to stay there for the night…

This is what I am learning.  1 – God always wants us to rely on Him. 2 – When we do this, we will have NOTHING to fear and our lives WILL be abuntant in provision, blessings and FUN!!!

Day 2

Through the provision of the Lord, I made a contact with an American Missionary in Panajachel named Lloyd Monroe.  He has an awesome ministry right downtown Panajachel.  Today, he has helped us to arrange lodging, meals, transportation and most everything for our needs on ths Trip.  Now, Stella and I will go and meet with the Pastor of the local church, the orphanage people and get all the ministry details into place.

PRAY FOR THESE THINGS:

  1. All the remaining details to get worked out.  There is still a lot about the ministry times that is up in the air.  We want to have a good plan that is in line with God’s will that provides for a life change experience for all involved.
  2. Safety for our group arriving on Monday and all our travels in the mean time.
  3. For flexibility.  This trip has already taught us that we will need to be extremly flexible.  The last thing we need are bad attitudes getting in the way of The Spirit of God directing us.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS  – THEY ARE WORKING

READ ROMANS 8:28

-j (and bill, stella, bryan, and a bunch of other people)

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2010 in Missions

 

Sweet Baby Boy

Hanging out with Mommy and Daddy

Hanging out with Mommy and Daddy

 
 
Here is our sweet baby boy hanging out with us at Walmart…  We saw this hat and couldn’t resist.  He is such a good little boy.  He is just happy and content to be with you that you can pretty much take him anywhere and he will enjoy being along for the ride.
 
That being said… What is it about Walmart that brings out the crazies?  It seems like every sort of crazy thrives on the Walmart air.  We weren’t three steps in the door this time when we saw a redneck family fight complete with cussing and name calling.  Well, at the very least it is a little entertaining how ridiculous people can be…
 
I better get back to what I was doing.  What was that anyway?
 
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Posted by on July 14, 2009 in Personal Life