Wednesday, October 27, 2010

More of Thee

For 2 weeks now I've been here in Farnham at Ellel. I've already been blown away by how BLESSED I am to be in this place in this time.  I have never been immersed in the Word of God as much as I currently am now and I find myself falling in love with scripture for perhaps the first time.

We have this amazing little stream that flows through the lower end of our property and we've been encouraged to seek out the Lord by the river there... I guess it is a place where many have heard that still small voice and have found comfort and even direction.

Last weekend I was by that stream praying and asking the Lord to speak. I'd been praying for quite awhile and just crying out to the Lord and waiting to hear something-- waiting for the still small voice.  Nothing.  I don't know what I wanted to hear but I longed for something more then the sound of my own breath. In that moment I turned my i-pod on shuffle and on came a song I'd never really listened to before. Do you ever have those moments when you feel like a song could not have been written for anyone other then you?  Because the words just speak to the core of what you are feeling.  Anyway, as I began to listen, the words of the song resonated so deeply and directly confirmed a lot of things I had felt the Lord has been speaking to my spirit lately.  Namely about the concept of Jesus increasing in my life and letting myself decrease.  Dealing with my own pride, my own selfishness-- you know, all the fun things I can see in the mirror when I'm being honest.

This thought of needing to die more fully to the things of 'self' has been weighing on my heart for the past several weeks.  As I listened to the words of the song and stared at the river stream gently flowing in front of me, the tears just began to flow from my eyes...

Friend for life
Who took my pain
The cleansing flood
You remain
Wash over me
Till I can't be seen

Living Water swallow me
Deepest river wash me clean
Jesus, Savior more of thee
Jesus, more of thee
Come and ruin me with Your love
So no other is enough
Come and leave Your mark on me
Jesus, more of thee
Jesus, more of thee 

Friend for life
I'll carry on
Through the power
Of this flood
Let it spill over, over
Till I can't be seen

Deep is the stain
Inside of me
But deeper the river
That washes me clean
I've been the one
Who cries in the night
But you've been
The friend of my life

Living Water swallow me
Deepest river wash me clean
Jesus, Savior more of thee
Jesus, more of thee
Come and ruin me with Your love
So no other is enough
Come and leave Your mark on me
Jesus, more of thee

(Friend for Life by Watermark)

So I write all this to say,  I am going to be taking a break from writing on this blog for a little while. As much as I'd love to use this as my processing point and share what God is teaching me here in England as it happens, I just have this conviction and sense that part of the dying to myself involves dying to things that can bring glory to myself.  And this is one of those things.  

"He must become greater; I must become less."  (John 3:30)

So I'm putting down my 'pen' so to say for a season.  I do hope to be back...but for now I just need to be a little nearer to the feet of Jesus and a little further from my computer.   

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Temporarily to be found drinking English Tea...

My English adventure has begun!! I arrived in London on Tuesday and have had a VERY full week prior to arriving at my ministry course today.

I was able to visit our CBN office in Hereford and meet our staff there, spend an afternoon in Oxford and then 2 days in London with my dear friend Jenny. I've been to England a couple of times before, but I just adore this country (apart from the effect it has on my wallet)! I have been enjoying the long walks through the various parts of London, hearing the English language all around me without needing to focus on what is being said, beautiful buildings, Starbucks coffee, shopping, and the multiple tea times per day!  I think I'm going to like it here...

My friend Jenny and I on a walk along the river...

I arrived in Farnham this afternoon, which is where I'll be for the next three months as I take part in stage one of the NETS course offered at Ellel Ministries Pierrepont.   Farnham is a small town about an hour south of London by train.

It is like a breath of fresh air out here in the English countryside and upon pulling up to this beautiful old English manor (pictured here) I felt an overwhelming sense of blessing as I stood back and took in the fact that this will be my home till Christmas time!

The vision of Ellel ministries is to bring healing and discipleship to the body of Christ and to do so through teaching on a wide range of subjects and offering prayer ministry in order to bring people into freedom and wholeness.  The ministry is based on Luke 9:11 in which Jesus welcomed the people, spoke to them about the kingdom of heaven and healed those who needed healing.  I'm not only excited for how this time will be used in my own personal life, but also how God will use it in my ministry with orphans in Ukraine.

There are 58 people in my stage of the course...from 25 different nations.  The age range is amazing too- we have people ranging from 18-65 in the course. I love the fact that I'll be studying among people of all ages and walks of life and it is truly a group full of so much life experience and wisdom.  It was amazing to sit through the introductions this evening and just hear a bit about where people are from and how God brought them to this time of study here at Ellel. I'm sharing a room with 8 women who are from 8 nations! Canada, Australia, Norway, Mexico, USA, Netherlands, Malaysia and Sierra Leone!  I think I'm in for a cultural education! :)

As many staff members and previous students shared tonight, they all said the same thing, "You'll never be the same after taking this course."   I can't say I have come here with a lot of expectations-- and change can always be a little scary-- but that statement which was spoken over and over again has left me very challenged and intrigued. I'm very excited to be here and see what the Lord has to show me and teach me-- and I know that change will ultimately come as I enter into a refining process.

I'm excited for this new journey.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Amidst heroes


My new friend Wendy-- super mom! :)
This week has been FULL and even better than has been FULFILLING!

 I had the joy of meeting with 7 different adoptive families...all in the last 7 days (this explains why my bags still aren't packed to leave on Tuesday)!  From all parts of the US, from all different back grounds, and adopting all different types of kids, I got to hear the hearts of these couples this week and I have been so blessed as a result.
2 threads linked these families together...their love of Christ and their adoption of Ukrainian children.  Some of these families were adopting their first children, others adding to their family, one family adopting HIV+ children and another 2 children with downs syndrome, one family adopting younger children and another adopting teens. All very different callings, and yet with one calling the come to Ukraine to bring their children home forever.

Lewis family with their 4 beauties 
 I had lunch with several of these families today after church and as I sat there amidst the chaos and noise of the restaurant (some of them being our screaming children)... I couldn't help but have this overwhelming sense of peace and excitement.  I was sitting amidst my heroes, and seeing people who get what James 1:27 is all about.  I couldn't think of a place I'd rather be.

I'm getting ready to leave this week for England for 3 months, and yet today as I sat amidst these heroes of the faith I felt more certain then ever of my calling to return to Ukraine.  It is an honor and a blessing to walk with and  encourage families like the ones I met today.  They are walking out their faith in such tangible way and it is chaining lives.

15.  That is the number of children that will be going home to their forever families in the next days and weeks.  15!

That is a pretty good start to denting the statistics I mentioned in my last post.

 There are about to be 15 less orphans in Ukraine...and that is a reason to rejoice today.

Holly and I at the orphanage- with princess Olivia

Holly and Jason with 1 of their 2 princesses- Natalia

Others are still waiting...