Life These Days: Update on IGNITE and the Next Steps

May 20th, 2017

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Isaiah 41:4

“Who has performed and done this,
    calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, the first,
    and with the last; I am he.”

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How time flies…It blows my mind to think it was nearly eleven months ago when I first arrived in Antigua, Guatemala for IGNITE Class 11’s training. It’s even more mind-blowing to know this day that I have completed training, field time, and re-entry now currently standing in the midst of finishing the program with serving less than two months here at my home church. In the moment there were times I thought it would go on forever and now looking back I see just how fast life drives us by and how precious every moment is and can be if we choose to let it. How precious it is when we allow God to come in each and every day, and when we ask Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit, He is faithful and just to do so. How precious it is to me that the Lord allowed a sinful wretch like me saved by His grace to go…to go and serve Him, experience Him far beyond what I could see, and reach out to those, who for many of them had never tasted His grace before.

I’ve been back in my own home of the great outdoors Montana now for nearly a month (not including re-entry). Though Cambodia is physically distant from me, it and and its people are very near and dear to my heart, with at least several thoughts of it each day. There are even more thoughts of my dear friends, my brothers and sisters in Christ, whom I had the privilege of getting to know while I was there that occur throughout the day. Truly, the Lord does work in mysterious ways; He took a girl who was scared, not “ready”, and like Jonah in not wanting to go to a place far out of comfort zone, and He made me into a woman who fell in love with a country and people who showed me what true discipleship looks like when it’s walked out and reminded to embrace the freedom of Christ that each believer truly has been given.

What a journey these last eleven months have been, and I am looking forward for what God has in store. I am currently going to Browning every Saturday for about the next six weeks to serve in Kid’s Club alongside Potter’s Field, helping with Tiny Tots (a moms/children “get together” at the church) every Friday, and doing Kid’s Church alternating between Wednesdays and Sundays. I do ask for your prayers as serving the Lord continues every day, and it is only by Him alone that I can do these things and do them well. Along with my serving time, I have been looking for part-time work, knowing the Lord will bring the exact job that He would want me to walk forward in. With two applications I have sent in, I am anxiously awaiting expectant phone calls this coming week for interviews. Your prayer would be most appreciated concerning this. I know there is amazing power in prayer when believers come together to call on the name of our Savior, Jesus.

These are just a few of the things that are going on in my life, things the Lord has taught me and continues to teach and show me every day as life goes on. I could most definitely fill pages worth of things the Lord has done and the ways He has shown me who He really is and how He continues to do so. But for now I press on. I press on in knowing Him. I press on in learning to live and walk in His ways. I press on because I know He is in control and His promises can always be trusted because He is faithful and true. I press on simply because He is. No matter what this life throws my way, He leads the way.He is my rock and shield. He is my shelter in the storm. He does provide all that we need and never leaves not even for a moment. He will bring His plans for my life to completion. He does not bring things my way to harm or destroy me. He does have plans for my life to give me a future and a hope. He does not give up on me; He faithfully picks me up when I fall and always forgives my sin when I come before Him and confess it. Even when I start to drift or walk away, He doesn’t. He has never left my side. He never will. My God is good. My God is faithful and just. My God is unfathomable and His ways are far greater than my own. His amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I indeed was lost but now I’m found. I was blind but now I see.

May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and keep you. May He daily shine His face upon you. I pray you all are well and with encouragement I gladly put forward, “Press on!” Our Lord and Savior has so much more in store for each and every one of us. There is still so much He has for us to do as His children and disciples. There is still a huge and important calling on each of your lives, and Jesus is not finished with you yet. Rest in His peace, push forward in His strength, rely on His guidance, and press on in His love. With the following verse I close:

Hosea 6:3

“Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;
    his going out is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us as the showers,
    as the spring rains that water the earth.”

All glory and honor to our Jesus Christ, our King, forever and ever amen!!

In Christ,

Kayla

Good News To All

IBS                                                                                                                             March 28, 2017

Acts 5:42

“And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

 

This verse makes me chuckle in awe. This verse comes after the fact that the apostles had been brought before the council, and were going to face consequences from them for sharing the good news. Yet, because the Lord’s hand was upon the lives of the apostles, a Pharisee of the council, advised to let the men go due to previous happenings with men in the past, who had had many followers but eventually came to nothing. He was telling the men of the council not to be worried for he believed the apostles too, would come to nothing. Little did they know that the name of Jesus would never cease to spread and because of men like the apostles, who were willing to give their all, the good news of Jesus Christ is still being spread today.

The moment these men were released from the council, they went straight back to sharing the good news. Every day they proclaimed to the people that Jesus is the Christ. Lord, I want my heart to be like that…Lord, I want to have such urgency and fervency to share about You.

In The Name of Jesus

IBS                                                                                                                        March 27 ,2017

Act 3:16

“And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”

 

Your name alone…Jesus. Your name brings healing, your name brings life; your name brings hope and restoration. Your name is what I came to share with the people of Cambodia. It’s because of You, Jesus, that there is such a thing of salvation and that a Gospel message can even exist.

As this story refers to the lame man who lay at the gate called beautiful, his healing was important. It brought to surface the One who did the true healing through the hands of his servants (Peter & John): Jesus.  Jesus was the one who healed this man through the faith of his disciples. They were the ones Jesus used to give understanding to the people that the glory was due to Jesus alone. The disciples understood clear as crystal that they were only men and not gods, for the one and only true God is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

You did not just have one purpose in allowing Peter and John, the willing vessels, to be used to heal the lame beggar; You had two. The first being the miracle itself, and the second, was to bring recognition to what faith through You and in You, Jesus, can do. I have truly witnessed what You do through your willing servants who trust You I complete faith. It is in times like this that I have been drawn loser to You and encouraged in my faith.

Lord, may I never forget all that I have seen You do, and what I have been a part of through faith in You. Lord Jesus, please help me to hold tight to the simplistic ways of your gospel. It is because of You that I am made whole, and when I lose my way, You draw me back to remind me of the faith I’ve held onto so tightly.

Welfare In The Exile

IBS                                                                                                                                  March 14th, 2017

Jeremiah 29:4-7

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

Though I’ve known this chapter a lot throughout my life, the Lord never ceases to teach me and show me new things. The children of Israel were headed into exile for many years; yes this we know. For me though, how I have easily overlooked many times is the the Lord’s instruction to his children while they are in exile: to build houses, live just as they would in freedom, multiply, and seek welfare in the city of exile. For He says, “for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” How often have I looked at the exile of the children of Israel as a season of welfare? I have no doubt the Israelites thought the same thing themselves at on point in time too. Yet, I am wrong. For indeed it was the Lord himself that declared that there was welfare within the exile. He told his children to live a productive life; He told them to build, plant, eat, and multiply… to seek the welfare in the city of exile.

The Lord had greater purpose for his children than just having them mourn and wallow in self-pity. He had blessing for them amidst the trial, purpose beyond the persecution. Also, later in verses 10-11 we see that one of God’s purpose was to fulfill His promise when seventy years in Babylon had been completed. Truly God’s way is higher than our way, His thoughts higher than our thoughts.

What seasons of exile has the Lord so faithfully brought me through? How great is the welfare He has brought forth through these exiles! In fact, far more welfare has come from the trials and exile. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, one of the definitions fo the word exile means: state or a period of voluntary absence from one’s country or home. When I read this, I knew it was no coincidence that the Lord had me read through Jeremiah during this season of my life. My time here in Cambodia is my season of voluntary exile here in the Ignite program. Though surely at first it felt like exile in a negative way and I began to ask the Lord, “Did I make a mistake in coming here?” He has been faithful to show me sine the beginning that it was indeed not a mistake. Rather, it has brought forth the purpose I believe the Lord had had planned all along. Truly, by choosing to build, live, eat with the people, and form relationships appointed by God, the welfare has been more than abundant.

Voluntary exile; this means that it has been done or given because I want to and not because I was force to. It was done by choice. Yes, the Lord gave me a choice in coming to Cambodia and in coming to the Ignite program in general. I never HAD to come.. I was not forced to come. Although there have been times of great feelings of being “forced” (as human and fleshly as it sounds) by the Holy Spirit to come, or to live with full regret the rest of my days if I had not come, I know it was the Lord who chose this season for me to accomplish His purpose. Truly I have been able to build a temporary home hear, eat of the produce of the land, and have seen the increase of lost souls becoming found as children of God.

How silly of me to doubt that the Lord would work out everything for my good. I know with all my heart that this has been a season of abundant blessings, and the work I have seen You do in my life Lord and in the life of many others has definitely squashed the seasons of bad and discouragement. You have said to me: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will here you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-12) Thank You, Lord Jesus, for showing me the welfare within the exile..it has been through your children here in Cambodia that my desire for heaven has been encouraged and uplifted. Thank You…

Child Story: Phaneth The Bold

Pov Sophaneth – 10 years old

Ignite Class 11 – Team Cambodia

Date: 14.03.2017

(written on 25.02.2017)

 

He is a cheeky little boy full of life and mystery. He goes about with independence and confidence in his step. Sometimes these steps can be a little too big for his britches, but beyond this face of bravery and the loud, silly faces lies a sweet, caring heart and a precious soul that sees beyond his years. This little boy, once being the biggest class clown and trouble maker, I have found to be a wonderful master piece made by our Creator that has etched his name onto my heart. This is Pov Sophaneth.

Everyone calls him Phaneth (pronounced Pa-net), fitting as it’s his first name, yet I like to call him my little rascal or jokester, since he tends to be one of my loudest and most talkative students in and outside of the classroom. Phaneth is 10 years old and has been a student at New Life School for four years now, currently being in the third grade and a student in my third-grade English class. His favorite school subjects are Khmer, math, and social studies. Math is no surprise to me on the list of favorites, as I have seen him many a time quickly do a math problem on the board in our math-in-English class, and I would love to sit in on his history class one day just to see the wheels in his brain turn. Yellow, the color of the hot, Cambodian sun, is his top choice and what a perfect color to describe his bright and partly toothless grin. When he grows up, he wants to be a cars salesman, and as shocking as it sounded to me when he told me, Phaneth has such tenacity and a bold personality, that yes, I think he’ll be doing just fine with his dream. Also, while I was talking with Phaneth the other day, it was to my great surprise and joy that I discovered his favorite thing to do is to help his mom sell things. . . truly, I learn new things every day, especially from the children I teach at school.

The life he lives at home is with his family: his dad, mom, grandma, his sister, and his brother. Praise be to the Lord that he lives in a home where the one and true God is the God of their lives, and his parents have taken such care to send Phaneth to such a good school with a good foundation. It was when he was in kindergarten that Phaneth heard about Jesus and accepted Him as his personal Savior when he was around five years old (as far as he can remember). He has known Jesus personally ever since then, and New Life School’s teachers have faithfully taught the wonderful truths of God’s Word to Him, and I have often gotten to sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and other songs with him, praising our Savior’s name together, in voice and in dancing freely before our King.

Oh Phaneth. . . truly what a work the Lord has done in you. Little do you know precious child that you have touched my heart in many ways. Although there have been times as a teacher where I have had to discipline you in love, it has been through these moments that the Lord has taught me many lessons about us (being His children) and Him (our Ruler and Savior) and our relationship with Him. Just as I as a teacher must lovingly discipline, correct, help, and guide my students in the way they should go in respect and in their education, the Lord has shown me how much even more so is He faithful to lovingly discipline me, bring correction into my life when I need it, help me when I’ve lost my way, and guide me when I start to get off course. Phaneth, it is through you that the Lord has been teaching me that it is through people like you, and children of God with your characteristics that will be mighty warriors for Jesus.

The other day you did something so sweet and yet seemingly so simple that I could never forget and that touched my heart forever. It was at recess time; I was busy playing lemonade and other games more than I could count, when out of nowhere, I felt an impact as though someone ran right into me as the hands of a child tightly clasped around my waist squeezing me as tight as they could. When I turned to see who, it was. Who did I find myself to see? I found you! You smiled at me with your bright eyes, your chubby cheeks lifted as high as your smile will allow showing your joy and happiness. As I smiled right back, you looked one more time with your bright eyes as you then ran off with all your joy and boldness, ready to conquer the day. . .

Phaneth! Truly, this little act of love and appreciation made a huge impact and imprint upon my heart and soul. My how you’ve grown since where you used to be. I remember the looks of, “Teacher, you’re no fun,” when I would have to correct you or the looks of frustration upon your face. Yet, I remember all those things dimly in comparison to the joyful you I see and know now. Surely, by the grace of God, consistency in lovingly disciplining you and helping you have paid off, and I am so thankful for the light that has grown even more so in your eyes. I see now why your favorite Bible story is about when the Lord used Moses to deliver the people of Israel out of Egypt; it’s because of Moses’ bravery and the justice from God in Moses’ heart to stand up for what he believes in and say to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” Phaneth, you too, I believe, are like Moses, and will be used by God to stand up and fight for what is right and speak the truth in boldness. Your prayer request for wisdom, strength for your family, and for concentration in class already shows the wisdom and understanding of God you have. . .thank you for sharing your boldness with me. Thank you for showing me how God loves His children faithfully, every single day.

 

He Desires Our Return

IBS                                                                                                                                  March 6, 2017

Jeremiah 6:16-18

‘“Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’  I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’ Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.”’

 

Though this point in time in the book of Jeremiah took place a long time ago in history, yet how often have I, too, treated the Lord this way? How often has the Lord spoken to me saying, “My daughter, walk in the good way; follow My precepts,” and have not done so but have willingly said, “I will not walk in it?” The Lord gave His people over and over to make it right with Him, yet their return never seemed to last, and only cried out when they were in need or in great trouble. They also often wavered in their return to the Lord and repeatedly returned to their old ways, willingly disobeying the Lord. Yet, in Jeremiah 3:12b-13 we hear the Lord say,

“Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD. I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD.”

The Lord truly desired the return of His people, and indeed was grieved by their sin. Their sin was what separated them from God. The Lord could have nothing to do with sin and therefore had to punish the Israelites. It’s not that He longed to do so, but it’s because He is a good and just God that can have nothing to do with sin. And because Jerusalem refused to repent, the Lord brought judgement upon the people. A price had to be paid. . .did the Lord still love His people? Yes. Did He still desire for their return? Absolutely. But because of the hardened hearts and the lack of repentance of the people, the Lord had no choice. Praise be to God Almighty that it is no longer like that today! We all now have a way to return to the Lord always, through our Savior, Jesus Christ. He paid the price for my sin’s debt when He hung on the cross. He carried the weight of the world’s sin upon His shoulders until He took that last breath on the cross. The nails I once held that I willingly took in my hands to nail Jesus to the cross, He took from me with His forgiveness and replaced them with His loving hands and open arms.

Today, I am truly grateful for the forgiveness Jesus has given me, and as I look back on God’s people and their ways, I am reminded that even on the days that I have acted just like they did in Jeremiah 6:16-18, when I confess my sins to Jesus and come back to the foot of the cross, He is faithful and just to forgive me my sins. ALWAYS. What an amazing gift this is; what a life of freedom I truly live!

Thank You, Jesus, for paying my debt and setting me free. Thank you for never giving up on this child when I had already given up on me.

John 3:16

“For God so love the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

 

 

Love Is NO Joke

IBS                                                                                                         February 21, 2017

1 Corinthians 13: 5 (all of chapter 13, really)

“or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;”

This portion of Scripture really hit me hard…it brought forth such conviction and the reminder that the reality of it is, I am, in myself, an unloving person who has no hope of portraying love or giving love to anyone without the Lord in my life. Praise be to Jesus that He has set me free, and having been filled with the Holy Spirit, I can allow Him to fill me up with more of Him and less of me, so that I truly can love others.

Although this whole chapter should have an IBS, I chose to focus on verse five especially, since that I was feeling most convicted on this morning. Love does not insist on its own way…how often have I definitely insisted on my own way, and not just in my actions, but also, within my heart and my mind as well. How many times have I reluctantly done something for someone, all the while insisting on my own way on the inside? Oh Lord, how I truly need You. Not insisting on its own way is not just referring to me getting my way, but rather it also means that it has nothing to do with self. It contains no selfishness in it; there is no flesh or even thoughts of self within love. It means to truly care for someone and put him/her above my self, and his/her wants higher than my own. It means that when I am truly acting out of love, I will not be thinking about myself, my thoughts will not be self-focused, and my feelings of selfishness or want will not be included in the matter.

Love is NOT irritable…this means that if I am doing something for someone and am calling it an act of love, I will not be irritated with that person while I am doing it. If I truly love someone, my love for them should contain no irritation whatsoever. Oh Lord, how can I ever love someone like this? So unselfishly and against my flesh? Praise be to You Lord, that though while on this earth I will never reach perfection, I can through You, and only by You, love others with true love…love that is genuine and selfless. Love like this, I know, does not come over night, but comes with the continual choice to deny the flesh, pick up my cross daily, and seek the Lord for His fresh filling of Him and His love.

Lastly, but surely not least, love is NOT resentful…that means feelings or expressions of bitterness should not be present in true love, and there should be no feelings anger or annoyance at having been treated unfairly. Having said this, I should just stop right there, for what hope can I have of ever truly loving people with genuine love? Well, the truth is, I can’t…I can’t love them this way; not because there is no desire deep down to do so, but because I am incapable of doing so within my flesh. There is absolutely no way or possibility that I can. At first, this is very depressing, and makes me think,”Well, then why am I even here, doing what I’m doing?” But with peace and reassurance from the Lord, I see that by Him, and only Him, I CAN love. I CAN walk through this life with love in my heart. Because of Christ, I CAN lay down my pride and die to myself for His sake and the sake of HIS kingdom.The more I get my eyes off myself and more on my Savior, Jesus, the more I truly CAN love others with a genuine love…with a love only Jesus can give.

I still have much to work on, and I have definitely NOT reached the top. Yet, I am going to press in and press on in Jesus, holding onto the salvation He has given me, and the lasting hope of eternity with Him one day.