Saturday, September 27, 2008

More Library Blessings

I want to thank all of those who have given to the Destiny Library Project! I continue collecting books until the end of October, but I think that continued thanks is due to what the Lord has done through you!

Special thanks to New Hope Community Church and the Charity Girls for being such a driving force behind this project! Also, a few folks from the local chapter of Room to Read( are putting together a book drive that should be completed sometime in the next month. Trudy Marshall has been an overwhelming help in the logistics of this project. Megan Bloemker (of ACTION International: has generously and unselfishly offered her limited time to acquire some Zambian books in Lusaka to add to the library, making it much more relatable and useable to the community. And I am grateful to the Lord for bringing all of these wonderful souls across my path. He truly is the author, the sustainer and the finisher.

I shipped a small box containing 87 books as a test run, as well as some library keeping supplies with a manual of instructions on library keeping and they have successfully arrived! I plan on sending the rest of the books in early November. We are also currently looking into purchasing some metal locking bookshelves. Besides books, there are many wonderful tools I have been able to collect, including:

Two sets of Encyclopedias
Bible Study tools/books for the church
Sunday School curriculum for the church
Stormie Omartian Power of a Praying Woman CD Study
Gary Smalley Premarital Counseling CD/book set for the church

As you can see, the church is also benefiting a great deal from all of the donations, and I am very excited about that. They are beginning the process of trying to train up leaders within their body, so please pray for this! I love you all and am so overwhelmed by your love and support of me, the kids in Zambia, and the local church in Zambia.

On another note, please also pray that the Lord would provide a way for the school to have food assistance, as it is a struggle to find food on a regular basis. Some of the kids there live in shantys without parents and without anyone to provide for them. When we pray and trust in faith, He will provide and I am praying and hoping it will be soon.

The Hope in Sin

There are days when I don't take my sins with the seriousness that I should, because I know that I am a child of God and forgiven. And I am thankful for that forgiveness, but this isn't a correct view of God. I am forgiven, but that doesn't mean that my sin doesn't cause some detrimental problems in my life, and my relationship with God.

After the Israelites conquered Jericho, the Lord had instructed them not to take any Jerichoan treasures or devoted things. They were for the Lord. But one Achan did take treasures for himself, and it caused a loss to his entire people. As the Israelites pressed on in life, they found that they did not achieve victory in their next battle over the land of Ai. Joshua felt humiliated and "tore his clothes and fell facedown to the ground." (vs6). The Lord's response (vs10), "Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?"

Now, this would not be an uncommon posture towards God, often indicated worship and submission, but the Lord instructs him to stand up, and then questions his purpose. Then we see God instruct Joshua that Achan had defiled the name of the Lord, "Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen; they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction." (vs13) "You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove it."

Essentially, God is telling Joshua:

1) Your people have sinned against me and have violated my covenant.
2) They have tried to take control over what is mine and made it their own.
3) This separated them from me.
4) Your sin is why you do not have victory now.
5) You will not have victory until you rid yourself of it.
6) Now, quick stand up...get off your face and get rid of the!

This got me thinking. How many times have I sinned by trying to take control of what is God's? How often do I feel a pressing urgency to repent? How much does my God love me that he desires my obedience and will do anything to get it? Why do I keep expecting victory in my own life if I do not confess my sins before the Lord? How often does my sin keep me from taking hold of all the Lord has for me? Victory over sin only comes in my life when I am intimate with the Lord...confessing each and every time I sin against him, allowing him to redeem me over and over again.

Achan's sin brought defeat for his entire people and his family. Sin is not a private battle, other people sometimes experience the consequences of our sin and that grieves me even more than hurting myself. In the end, Israel was redeemed once again but they lost a family in the process. For the Lord required not only the death of Achan and everything that he owned, but also of his entire family. They were stoned to death and then burned and buried in a place called the Valley of Achor (or trouble).

There are many times where the Bible talks about forgiveness of sins, and that is all true. But it does not mean that we can take our sin lightly. The weight of this is on me today, and I am truly thankful for the Cross. Thankful that my God no longer requires my death to make right my sin, because Christ has already taken that for me. Instead, now I have many opportunities for HIm to use me in showing HIs glory. I will experience defeat, I will hurt people in the wake of my sin, but hope stands. Hope that the only God worth worshipping has given me life...every minute of everyday.

Lesson: Get rid of sin as fast as you can, ask God for a repentant heart.

Hosea 2:15
"I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope."

Isaiah 43:11-12
"I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed-I, am not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "that I am God."

Isaiah 44: 24-25
But you have burdened me with your sins
and wearied me with your offenses.

25 "I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Charity Girls

Let me tell you about a group called the Charity Girls.

A 4th grader by the name of Maddie wanted to create a way for girls who know Christ and those who do not to come together and do something for the greater good of their community. So, she gathered some friends she knew that wanted to make the world a better place and share the love of Christ with those who don't know Him, and hence was born The Charity Girls. They serve on various projects, and they were kind enough to help me out with the Destiny Library Project, collecting a load of books to send to my sweet children in Zambia.

I love God that uses anyone who calls on Him with a pure heart to further His kingdom and show the love of Christ. I love that He gave me a beautiful 4th grader named Maddie to show me His glory and His love for the children of Zambia. And I love that I get to share it with you! In one simple act, God connected the hearts of His children across the globe. I hope that I will get to return to Zambia and see the library and photograph my kids amidst it, and be able to return home to show that to this beautiful group of girls.

There is absolutely nothing that disqualifies us from the love of Christ or that He is not able to use for His glory. And I'm so thankful for that, because I mess up....ALOT.

Thank you Charity Girls! Keep Shining!

Monday, September 15, 2008

More Pics

Several people have requested that I post more pictures on my blog from my short stay in Africa this summer. So, i thought I would hop to it as well as give an update on the library project.

The Lord has blessed this project immensely, and I am so excited to get the books over there to see what the Lord will do with them in the community of Matero. So far, I have collected around 400-500 books and will continue to collect until the end of October. At that time, I will then begin shipping books to Zambia. There have already been three individuals that have offered to pay for the whole of shipping costs, which was such a blessing beyond measure.

Also, people have donated alot of different booklet bible studies that I will be able to give to the church. I think this will be a wonderful way to help the church members walk through deepening their faith in Christ. What a wonderful thing the Lord has done through all of you! What a blessing you are to so many children (and adults) who will soon have access to these books!

Thank you a million times over. I hope to be able to post another update soon!