Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Highs and Lows.

Thank you for your heartfelt responses about how God has called you, including missions callings! They were so encouraging and helpful and I'll definitely be spending lots of time in prayer about going into missions. I was so blessed and encouraged when my mom sent me her call to missions. Thanks, Mom! The way God used Scripture to speak to her specifically about becoming a missionary in a foreign country was really neat. God doesn't waste opportunities to speak to us, but often we miss him speaking to us because we're consumed by our lives down here on earth or we're trying to block out his voice. I definitely don't want to do that because I want to live in obedience to him with every step I take so I'll be spending lots of prayer today and in the days to come. Any of you, if you didn't share your calling before and you still want to, you can either comment on this post or send an email to hazzelelponi54 at rocketmail dot com and I'll be sure to read and take to heart what you have to say.

Let me tell you, it's not easy to obey God. Take right now for example. I'm tired and bored of attending Cedarville University and I would much rather be spending the semester at home with my family, but God has made it clear that he wants me here at Cedarville for the time being. He used words of encouragement from friends at my home church Grace this past Sunday to push me in the right direction. I was about to break down and cry numerous times during the conversations I had because I was so emotional and yesterday afternoon I even broke down in tears driving back down to Cedarville with my family. My parents did their best to comfort and encourage me. It helped a bit, but no matter how hard I've tried, I just don't have a desire to be back at Cedarville. I felt better after I cried, but my upset feelings still haven't gone away today. It's been an emotional coaster ride day in and day out and I think it's going to be like this for a while since I believe the Enemy's attack has just begun, and he doesn't give up easily.

But I'm confident of this: God has a reason for placing me at Cedarville this year, and he has a reason for everything that he places in each of our paths. Therefore, in spite of my fickle emotions, I'm going to trust God and his plan for my life (which far exceeds anything I could ever imagine) and stay at Cedarville for now. I'm sensing a rocky road ahead, but as long as I've got Jesus by my side, the road will never be too treacherous to walk on.

Philippians 1:6 says it all:

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Another passage of Scripture that has been a comfort to me in times of trouble is Psalm 46:1-3:

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!

I'm so thankful that I have a God who comforts me when I need comforting; aren't you?

Love in Christ,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Need Some Advice...Overseas Missions.

Following God's plan for our lives can be easy in theory but much more difficult in practice. I've told God multiple times, "Lord, here I am. Send me!" and I meant it 100%. In those moments, if God had told me to go to Zimbabwe or Iceland, or anywhere else on this planet, I would have gone, no strings attached. But now, in the moment when the rubber actually hits the road and I feel like I'm having to let go of things that are precious to me to cling to God's purpose for my life, overseas missions, my faith is quickly draining away and I'm finding myself questioning God's perfect plan for my life. I want to go overseas to do missions when I want, not when God wants me to, but if I do that, I'm not submitting to God like I ought to. Another thing is that I don't want to have to plan my life around becoming a missionary someday. I would like some "freedom" to choose what I want, (which sounds really self-centered when I think about it) but I feel like I have to plan that way since the choices I make today will have a lasting affect on the rest of my life. The hardest part is that there wasn't one special moment in my life when God told me, "Go into missions," but throughout the years God has made it somewhat clear in subtle ways. I just don't want to go off the deep end, convinced that God's going to send me far across the world to do missions and then find out later that he wants me to stay in the US and be a missionary to friends and colleagues here. Hmm, what do I do?

For anyone who has felt God's call to be a missionary early in life, how did you know that was God's will for your life? Once you were certain that God wanted you to be a missionary, how did that impact the choices you made? What struggles did you have and how did you overcome them? I would really appreciate hearing your stories and any advice you have.

You're welcome to comment here or if you would prefer to contact me privately, my email is hazzelelponi54 at rocketmail dot com. Thank you so much!

God bless,

Monday, August 6, 2012


I'm sure I could fill up pages and pages of how God worked this summer! He is so good. It was hard to find energy sometimes, but in the times when I found myself exhausted, I asked God for strength and surrendered my plans to him. I remember feeling completely exhausted the second to last Thursday night of the summer. It was right before worship time, which lead into Journeys. All of the counselors met during worship time to pray and seek God's will for Journeys, and the prayers that a few of the counselors prayed helped me redirect my focus away from my tired body back to God, where it should be.

Afterward, when we had gone back to our seats and everyone stood singing "How He Loves" I prayed, "God, please let tonight be all about you. Work through me. It's gonna have to be all You tonight because I have nothing left to give. Help me stay focused on You alone, and let the words I speak be straight from You. I pray that what the campers hear at Journeys would impact and change their lives. In Jesus' Name, Amen." And God answered my prayer, granting me the strength I needed and helping me stay focused on Him.

Now let me explain Journeys in greater depth. Journeys happened every Thursday night over the seven weeks of camp and it was a sort of "journey" that each cabin went on together from station to station. Each station was based on a part of Luke 9:23, which was the theme verse for this summer. We started at the basketball court, where the kids were asked to answer the questions, "What does it mean to be a disciple of Christ?" and "How do we follow him and help others to follow Him?" After they finished writing down their answers, the cabin would walk over to the chapel.

Once they got to the chapel, the counselors picked up index cards that were sitting out and handed them out to the campers, who were asked to answer these questions: What parts of my life do I need to deny and give to Christ? What does it mean to deny yourself for Christ? What part of our lives do we keep hidden from God? Campers and staff alike spent time listening for God's voice and praying to Him as they thought about the questions and searched their hearts.

the chapel

From there, each cabin walked over to the poolside fire, where counselors shared the significance of the cross and explained why Christ died for us. Then the counselor would tell the campers that they were to put their index cards on the cross, which represented giving up our lives and taking up our cross. It was nothing less than surrendering our wills to God. When the counselor finished explaining, the campers took their index cards to a wooden cross that was set up near the fire and used push pins to put their cards on it.

The final station on the journey was the main campfire, where counselors would find a quiet spot to sit with their cabins to share their testimonies and how they follow after Christ. It was a time when the truth came out, broken lives were laid bare, and people were painfully honest with one another in order for God's love and healing to be known. The point wasn't to focus on ourselves and what we've accomplished. Instead, we shared our stories so that God would be glorified and so that people would be able to see God's faithfulness to us. After counselors shared our stories, we welcomed campers to share their own testimonies and offered to answer questions, too.

Journeys taught me a lot about relying on God for strength. When I'm at my weakest, God's power is made perfect in me, and that was shown as I poured out my heart to the precious girls in my cabin. Although my body and mind were weary from the busyness of the week, God gave me the strength I needed to make it through Journeys without thinking about sleep even once. I hope and pray that Journeys had a huge life-changing impact on every camper and counselor who participated in it, just like it did for me. As Paul said in Philippians 4:13, "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."

Love in Christ,