missing opportunities…

Back in November 2011, I was so sure that I would be spending this exact week in Costa Rica with Lifetree Adventures / Operation Kid-2-Kid and VIVA Network loving, hugging, playing, and sharing God’s love with hundreds of children.  So much has changed in the last four months.  I’m back in a local church.  My weeks are filled with meetings, meetings, and more meetings.  We’re talking building plans, ministry programming, budget, logistics of day-to-day ministry stuff… and all I want to do right now is to be in Costa Rica with my friends and seeing God at work outside of my comfort zone.

I truly struggle with spending so much time and energy on all the logistics of getting ready to do ministry in the states, when I can be using that time and energy on actually  meetings the needs of people in tangible ways with less red tape, bureaucracy, and long process.  Don’t get me wrong… I think it’s important to have process just because that’s the way everything works in the states… but I can’t help but to think if that’s what I’m suppose to be doing here.  I have to trust in God’s sovereign plan, and believe that He has me exactly where I am for a reason.  But it’s hard for me to know that I’m missing out on some great opportunities.  I believe in seizing every opportunity, and obviously when I’m committed to a local church, I can’t do it all (no matter how hard I try…)  so that’s my brain vomit for tonight… It’s really hard knowing that I’m missing opportunities… and this won’t be the last, but only the beginning.

With that, I’m just staring at some of my favorite photos from my last Operation Kid-2-Kid trip with Lifetree Adventures.

the joy of receiving

As Christians, we’re taught to give and serve… and I believe with all my heart that God blesses us so that we can bless others.  I’ve often been a recipient of many people’s generosity.  In fact, I’ve blogged in the past about not living a life of being indebted but graciously accepting people’s generosity.  Well, when you’re on a service/missions trip, it’s hard to receive because you go with the mentality of giving and serving the less fortunate.  Two weeks ago, a team of 29 Americans went to the Dominican Republic to serve the children of Compassion International projects.  We went with the mission of sharing the love of Jesus with the kids… and to pass out 2,000 Operation Kid-2-Kid backpacks and bookmarks decorated by children all over the US and Canada along with Nuevo Testamento en español.  We visited total of eight projects over four days.  With each project we visited, we were greeted with a special program they had prepared for us.  We were told that they rarely get a huge number of visitors all at once, and it’s a big treat for them.  The special programs usually consisted of songs, body worship (is this just a Korean-American term?  if it is, it’s dance to praise worship.  see below), drama, and one project even gifted us souvenirs to remember DR by.  At each project, we felt that we were given the special treat and blessings!  We shared many hugs, photos, conversations in broken Spanish, and laughs!

This is my fourth OK2K trip, and each one has taken a huge piece of my heart!  It just never gets old… Well, as I started to think about how blessed we were by the special treatment we got from these children and projects, there was a tinge of guilt… wait, we came to give and serve, but we feel like we’re being given and served so much more!!!  What is wrong with this picture?  Well, what IS wrong is that by feeling guilty, I was robbing the joy of the project leaders and kids who had prepared so hard to share their expression of worship and gratitude.

I love finding the prefect gifts for the people in my life… but if they don’t receive it with joy, then my feelings are hurt.  In the same way, I realized that there is so much joy and blessing in giving/serving out of generosity… and when the recipient doesn’t receive this gift with joy, that giver is robbed of their joy.  The kids at the projects couldn’t bless us with material things, but they gave us their hearts and shared the love of Christ with us… the greatest gift!

I think pride gets in the way of receiving with joy… We talk about how we need to give and serve… and don’t get me wrong.. I think we can all do better in that area.  However, we rarely talk about receiving with joy and allowing others to experience the joy of serving!  On a related note, I think we also lack in receiving God’s grace with joy… but I realize that this topic is for another blog.  Soooo… this is one of my big lessons from my trip to the Dominican Republic.  There are a lot more… and those blogs will follow (trust me!)

Coincidentally (actually it’s God’s timing… total God Sighting!), my devotional on the day I left the DR spoke right into my heart:

Feelings of false guilt creep in, telling them they don’t deserve to be so richly blessed.  This is nonsense-thinking because no one deserves anything from Me.  My Kingdom is not about earning and deserving; it’s about believing and receiving.  When a child of Mine balks at accepting My gifts, I am deeply grieved.  When you receive My abundant blessings with a grateful heart, I rejoice.

I may not have a lot of money but I consider myself one of the richest and blessed person in the world!  Gracias a Dios!

Before You (Antes De Ti…)

I LOVE MUSIC… that’s an understatement… and I have to be honest… I love the rhythm, the beat, the melody more than the lyrics!  Often times, I get caught up in the flow of the music… the tune causes me to smile and cry…

Last week, I was in Dominican Republic with Lifetree Adventures for a week of Operation Kid-2-Kid where we shared the love of Jesus through giving out 2,000 New Testament Bibles in Spanish and backpacks that children in the US and Canada made specifically for these children.  At each project, the children would perform a special song and/or dance for us.  At one of the projects, this melody caught my ears… and I’ve been humming it in my head since.  Today, I finally found the song!  Thank You SoundHound!!!  I actually looked up the lyrics and got them translated, and it really touched my soul!  Rarely do lyrics touch my soul as much as the tune… I just had to share it… I’m still thinking through my trip and processing all that I have seen and felt… I’m sure those blogs will come in days to come.. but for today, I just had to share this song with my friends!

Before you, there was no reason there was nothing without you. 
There was no song in my heart there was nothing in me. 
After much searching I found 
My heart found there. 

CHORUS. 
You’re all I want, light to my soul, everything you need, fill my space, you are my life, my everything, you are what you want for me and you found the reason of my existence. 

Before you, I lived a vacuum, there was nothing in me. 
Without illusion, in my heart there was nothing without you. 

After much searching I found 
My heart found there. 

CHORUS. 

You are my life, you’re my everything, you’re my desire, the reason for my existence