Patience.

It’s time for another update, I have given out prayer cards and on it is the blog address, so no doubt many have come and found out I’ve not updated this blog in a long time, well it’s time to update it…from the Lima Airport again. Yes, I know it seems most of my blogs come from the airports or on waits for things, but that’s alright, I feel I have the most time to think at those times. Well, as many of you know I am on my way back to Cajamarca after a 2 ½ month trip to the states where I was blessed to share, serve and be refreshed in the Lord, thank you all for your prayers and for the chance to meet and get to know some of you, I was blessed, but as I now get ready to get into the grind of Peru life again, with many exciting new ministries and heart for things as in a few hours I depart for my wonderful city of Cajamarca, my heart is heavy, it’s a whirlwind of emotions right now, as I feel I’ve left my heart in so many places, from South Dakota to the southern California youth ministry I was a part of, to the lives in the food handout every Monday in California. I’ve been blessed and am blessed to travel the Americas and meet so many people, yet my heart is also heavy because my time in California has revealed a tremendous issue in my own heart, and that issue is patience with the Lord;s plan, letting go of my agenda and letting him do the plan, regardless of what people say or think, that sounds rude or maybe cliché to say, but it’s true. You see, I’ll admit I went to California to do youth ministry, but I genuingly feel the Lord worked in me more then in the youth out there. I feel the Lord used the ministry hardships there to teach me a lesson, he wants to move in a unique way always, God never moves in the same twice or three times, theres no set patterns with how God works. I remember looking back and talking about this with the pastor in CA, and he was saying how nothing went as we had planned, yet everything went as God has planned, and in that I learned a valuable lesson, to let it go (Insert Frozen song here). You see, there is certaingly a need for planning and knowing what you believe God is leading you to do, yet there must be the constant sense of surrender, surrender to the point where the tiniest plan is in subjection to God’s will, yet obviously I’ve not reached this point yet, as it was obvious in California, but I do believe the key to this is really bringing it back into focus on the question that was presented at the Calvary Chapel Pastors conference: How far will you go for the gospel? What are you willing to surrender for the gospel? Are you willing to surrender your NON-ESSENTIAL convictions for the sake of the gospel? How about your pre-conceived ideas of ministry? What point, do we stop surrendering? Never. We never stop surrendering to the Lord(in comparison to the humanistic mentality, “never surrender”). So California, South Dakota has shown me it’sa bout patience, the word of the Lord must test us, it must mold us as it did Joseph (Psalms 105:19). You see, when we are surrendering, then we can allow the Lord to work, and we will be patient, but if we are not surrendering, we will lack patience, Spiritual patience is the supernatural overflow of a surrendered heart. So this is the lesson the Lord has just been working into me in my time in the states, to be more patient with his work in my life and in ministry. I suffer from depression, and I get so discouraged when I see others doing things or when I myself am not progressing as I should, yet I need to realize I need to surrender myself more fully, and so the Lord may be able to work, and develop that patience within me. In my time in California, there were people the Lord put in my path, and I can’t explain it fully but it was totally the Lord, the Lord spoke to me strongly in this area of surrendering to his plan in my heart and in the work he wants to do. Even in my heart as often I can think I know what areas need to be worked on, the Lord knows so much better.
I pray this has spoken to you, I pray God has spoken to you, this speaks to me strongly.

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Ramblings.

Well it’s been awhile since my last blog post, this post is being written in yet another airport, as I am now heading back to states for a furlough of almost 3 months, this will be quite the time back, but it will be filled with refreshment, sharing at churches and doing ministry. Well, This blog post, I thought I would get real again about life, these last few weeks. Frankly, it’s been a crazy couple weeks as I finished up school and as I invested more into the youth group here,. I am going to miss these kids a lot. I am truly grateful for all God is doing here in Peru, and I look forward to returning soon. When I travel anymore, I often feel I am between two worlds. Today, while packing to board the plane to captiol, then to states I grabbed my American License, in doing this, I put away my Peruvian license and put my American one in my wallet. Doing this got me thinking about something spiritual, yea I know, crazy! It was some thing that I feel is a good example and lesson for us. In Colossians 3, we read we are to put on Christ. You see, I had a passing thought “Which nationality do I now claim?”. That; little license represented the American culture, the life, everything I used to know and now am going back to. I’ts really surreal. Yet, this thought made me think of the common struggle I often hear believers express to me, “What’s really right for me to do?” “How should I behave around_____”? The question, I want to pose in this blog post, as I sit and await my flight, and sit in between two worlds, is Who are you putting on?. Are you putting on Christ? Or are you putting on yourself and the flesh? Which nationality are you claiming? Heaven or earth? I know for myself personally, these last few weeks have been realty eye opening to realize we are called as believers to represent Christ, wherever we are, and whatever we do. We are not to put down one “license” and then pick up another, as I do when I travel between two worlds and lifestyles. I was in the city office, a few weeks back, a few months back actually. I was having a really hard time getting some documents taken care of, it’s peru and nothing moves quickly here, the locals will even tell you that. Well, I was getting in my flesh, ad for a few min, I let go of my “license” as a missionary and I put on the Josiah license, I was ready to make some heads roll in the city office. Well, long story short, I learned humbling and very life changing lesson in this. I had to leave the office and then come back later, in the process of this, the word of this behavior got back to the head guy of the department of city, I was dealing with. I was pretty irritated, after allowing myself to cool down. I went back into the office around 3pm. Long story short, the guy in the office was real and said “I’m surprised for a missionary, which I’ve seen you are from your residency ID, you would lose your cool with us”. It was a humbling lesson to learn.
Well, here I am sitting in a coffee shop, I’ve been home for nearly 4 weeks now, my time here is going quick, many thoughts and processings on my time here. I’ve greatly enjoyed my time in states, it’s been rough in some parts, yet so fruitful in others. I’ve tried to allow myself time to relax, and reflect on Peru. In my personal devotions, I’ve been studying the book of Acts and now moving into Romans. Something the Lord has been showing me in all of this, has been the power of Prayer. Since being home, I’ve been busy, yet I’ve seen so much fruit and blessings of my home church here and seeing all the Lord is doing here and been super encouraged by the power of Prayer in the church here. It’s been something I want to see more of in Peru, and in my own life. I hate resorting to writing on these simple topics, on these commonly wrote on topics, but it;’s so true. Prayer is crucial, component of the Christian faith, if you fall in love with Prayer, you will fall in love with God. I’ve been counseling and meeting with a few people as well since being back in the states, it’s been good, but in all of that, I’ve seen the importance is that prayer is essential. I remember talking to a dear friend of mine recently, I was sharing all the struggles this last year has brought, and I remember just unloading the stress and discouragement from this last year on the field, the readjustment to the states was rough, yet my friend, he asked me “Have you prayed about this?”. It was a true statement, yet it also showed me, so easily I get caught up in emotion, and I don’t pray.
Well, the other valuable lessons I’ve learned since being home, is the importance of patience, and just letting things happen as they happen, it’s been a lesson I’ve learned on the field and now am able to put into practice. The next and biggest thing, I’ve seen a lack of, yet something God has shown me needs to change in my life, is the importance of being Real. It seems to me that there is a lack of it, and a fakeness to the truth in the western church. All things must be done in love, yet love does not ignore truth, in fact it rejoices in the truth (1st Cor 13:6). Love is important, but this doesn’t mean we should sugarcoat our approach to life, or to each other, how often do we butter up people? We almost try to be only encouraging and uplifting ALL the time, instead of calling out where it’;s due and being real in love, with them. I’m not saying we go out and start rebuking people, what I;’m saying is, why have we sugar coated the hard truth of the gospel and the word of God? Jesus did’nt butter up the crowds before he said “Whoever desires to follow me, must deny himself and follow me”. You see what I’m trying to say? Why have we chosen to settle for a sugar coated gospel and church lifestyle.
I sure hope you all understand where I am coming from, and I’ll try to write more on this in the coming weeks.
Josiah.

The Grind

The grind, it’s a term we use to describe the daily struggles, or the boringness of life. And so that’s why I’ve titled this blog post “the grind”, it’s been a real term for me these last few months. I’ve managed to have fairly productive, and non-depressing weeks these last few weeks, While being hit with curveballs, family sicknesses and unexpected money problems. It’s really been “the grind” for me, these last few weeks, just trying to get through the day, but amidst all of that, the Lord has been speaking to me on who he is. He has been speaking to me on how to trust him, trust him in the little petty day to day things. You see, these last few weeks have been rough on me, and I feel I’m starting to come out of the major trial I found myself in. If there is anything I have learned from this trial, is that I now have discovered a deeper meaning of who he is. Of who God is, we talk about him a lot, but do we really understand who he is? I’m taking an attributes of God class, and it’s been challenging and humbling, just learning who God is. I think often, we limit God, God’s infinite, and because God is infinite (which means without limits). His attributes of Grace and Love and Mercy (Only to name a few of them) are without limits. What’s this mean for us in our daily Grind? It means that we can draw daily from his source limitless grace and strength to survive the day. Yea, I know that sounds easy to say and it is. However, how many of us practice this truth? Do we live in a continual awareness of who God really is? Among the classes I am currently taking, I am taking the genesis class as well, we see the command of God to Abraham in Genesis 17:1, where God says “Walk before me and be blameless”, you see this was after Abraham was already justified by faith (Gen 15:6). His faith was justified, and the lord counted it to him as righteousness. Now, he was commanded to walk before God and be blameless, did he achieve this all the time? No. We see clearly he did not, however we see that he was consistent with his walk, he was faithful even in the small, daily task. Going on in the book of Genesis, we see a clear example of faithfulness to the daily task, in the life of Joseph.After being sold into slavery, he ended up becoming a powerful man, but this didn’t happen overnight. You see, Joseph had dreams in Genesis 37, but the dreams did’nt come to pass till much later. The bible says in Psalms 105:19 that God’s word test us, until it comes to pass. Joseph was in a time of testing, waiting on the fulfillment of God’s word to his life. So, wrapping it up and bringing it into focus. I’ve been learning, to just walk with God daily, don’t freak out about not doing massive outreaches, or all these “great things”, but just live life with the Lord, the rest will come. And in those times of doing things that seem meaningless, trust him more. When we hit the “grind” of life, we should’nt forget God, in fact I’ve found in my own life, those times of doing those small task to be the best times to spend with the Lord. All food for thought my friends.
Blessings,
Josiah.

Grace.

Well, it’s time for another blog update, I think it’s around the time, my thoughts are many, trying to put them all on here will be hard. I’ll try my best though, it could be related to the fact that I am running off of little sleep and lots of caffeine, probably not a good idea nor is it healthy for the body. Yet, this certainly will help me write faster. It’s been a crazy few weeks back in Peru and since my last post, I’m finally in the swing of things again (though life continues to throw it’s curveballs), and you know I’m so thankful for the blessings God has given me these last few weeks. As many of you know, I came back from the missions conference, refreshed. Yet as usual, I was hit with an attack within days of being back, seemed I fell once again into the depression I constantly deal with, yet this time it was’nt as strong and nor was it as dark or paralyinzg as my normal depression and anxiety attacks are. I know many of you guys don’t realize I deal with depression and stress and sometimes Anxiety, yet I am overcoming thanks to the grace of God, and his continual guidance by his word. This brings me to the point of this blog, it seemed within weeks of being back, grace was something that started coming up more then ever in my devotions and talks with people, grace became my lifeline in the times of depression. Grace, an unmerited favor of God, a favor none of us deserve. In my times of depression, I learned that God’s grace became sufficient, and when I would stop and think “Wait, God saved me by his grace, and he loves me, he has shown grace, why am I depressed?” it became a beautiful process of learning to grow in his grace. And I don’t wanna sound like a broken record when I say Grace, because I know I’ve talked about it before, yet do we get it? Do we ever fully get, it’s all about grace? Oswald Chambers in the book I’m currently reading says this “The grace you had yesterday will not do for to-day. Grace is the overflowing favor of God; you can always reckon it is there to draw upon.” And is’nt that true? He goes on to say prayer is drawing on that grace, it became a realization that my depression, my stress, and my anxiety were nothing compared to the vastness and deepness of God’s grace. I begin to see everyday, I need to pray for that grace and more then ever before. Yet, this also brought me to think on how it is supposed to pour out of me, God’s grace has been poured on us, so why shouldn’t it pour out of us? This brings me to the second thing that’s been so strongly on my heart. How do we treat people? Do we treat them with grace? What does this look like? The more I study the gospels and the more I read these mission books, I am seeing that Jesus was people minded and kingdom centered. He saw people as lost souls, we read he saw the crowds and had compassion on them (Mark 6:34, Matthew 9:36) He had grace on them, because some of the incidents, it would’ve been easy to been mad or irritated at them because they were constantly following him, yet what do we see? He cared for them. Yet I think it’s important to know he found his strength to do so, not just in the fact he was God, but look at Luke 5:15-16, he often withdrew to pray. How much more we need to do that, we must be withdrawing constantly to pray for the Lord’s fresh filling of grace in our lives, and a compassion that loves people. This includes when you have late night phone calls, homework to do and a youth kid wants to hang, taking time at church to talk to the new guy that showed up looking for a friend, taking time to call someone to let them you know you are praying for them, even if it cost you minutes. So often, we neglect people because we spend our time in our own box. Yet, Jesus was very people minded, and as Oswald chambers says in “workmen of God” book, “we must get in touch, not with theories, but with people, we must never get out of touch with human beings”. So often, we can view our friends and family as numbers or merely a friend, not a lost soul. And I know I’;m guilty of this, but the Lord is showing me, that God’s grace is so beautiful, the fact it would allow me to come boldly into his throne room to have a relationship with him, shows me I need to be willing to build relationships and show grace to people despite their failures or how inconvenient it may be. Grace. I don’t know if this blog even made sense, but I pray it did. Remember Jesus was about the people.
Blessings,
Josiah.

Travels!

I’m on an airplane, many thoughts from my week in California are in my head, there is much I have on my mind, my stomach is killing me from the food (Never fly nor eat United food or planes. ) The lady next to me is afraid of getting Ebola from my coughing and frankly, this is the worst flight ever. I am coughing, and dying on an airplane from California to Peru. Yet the Lord is good and now I have a humorous story of an airplane where I’m suffering from what I personally think is bronchitis and am watching a line develop for the bathroom, (Must’ve been the food after all). As many of you all know, I went to the Calvary Chapel missions conference in Murrieta, California where I was blessed to receive many solid teachings, and encouragement from like-minded believers. The theme of the conference was faithfulness, more specifically the good and faithful servant based off of Matthew 25. When I heard the theme of this conference, I was excited because this is something that is dear to my heart. The first session really brought home the idea of being a good And faithful servant, the speaker talked about the two keys to being faithful and it was based on Moses and Abraham, Moses Saw God and had a personal relationship with Him, and Abraham obeyed God’s word even when it sounded crazy. The two main keys were the fact we need to have a lifeline with Jesus, a fresh relationship, we need to be seeing Jesus and Be listening to his word, fresh, daily. I am guilty of so often getting disconnected from the lifeline, well the conference continued and this seemed the main idea I kept hearing, was the importance of being connected to the lifeline. Hold on, flight attendant is trying to be nice and offer me something to drink. If my stomach can keep it down! Anyways, the message God was speaking to me this whole week was the importance of finding my refreshment in Jesus, often times I struggle with discouragement, and depression as one of my many weaknesses on the field, yet now I am learning that I need to have a fresh lifeline connect with the Lord. I also was hearing that numbers shouldn’t matter, our faithfulness and success isn’t supposed to be based on numbers. The Lord see’s our faithfulness. Again, hold on, I need to use the restroom and leave a tip for destroying it………Anyways, The conference was great; I was super blessed by the time of fellowship and connection with other like-minded believers. This was also a sweet time fo refreshing as I could pray and talk over things with other like-minded missionaries. I came away from this conference ready for Peru and to dig into all God has for me. I was discouraged and not sure what this next year held. Yet now I see it all has a purpose. And our lives are meant to be meaningful. Now I go back to Peru with a refreshment to continue onward and to find my joy in the Lord. I also was blessed to have lunch with a lady whose a single missionary who has been single for many years and is 55 years old and she explained how for singles it’s harder but tha we can have so many deep intimate times with the lord. I am excited to put this into practice.
Wow, this flight has gotten rough, emergencies with some lady having medical issues and the person next to me has gone complete psycho on protecting herself from my germs. She had flagged the flight attendant to make the known observation that I am sick. I’ve een given a random pill that ended up making me vomit it seemed(could’ve been coincidences, but the lady said “:this will take care of the cramps”.)Though now I feel slightly better, only a few more hours! I’ll resort to movies and sprite. God’s strength continues to sustain me. Despite the fact I could have some form of a bug, though it;’s probably just the food. Seems I’m not the only one sick. The line continues to the bathroom.
Now I’m in the capitol and sitting with a Mexican hippie, I’m convinced I impact people wherever I go, God gives me some of the most divine appointments to share his word. This girl’s name is Dianna and she has a long layover to Mexico, she is Buddhist, and ultimately she believes in new age beliefs. Pray for her! It;’s been cool how many divine appointments I get, on my flight from LA to Houston I sat next to an evangelical pastor who tried sharing Jesus with me. Hahaha! I thanked him for serving the Lord. Now I’m trying to mentally prepare for the task and my house that awakes me. I certainly hope nothing has happened!
Well Guess nothing happened, it’s great being home and I am thankful for the Lord’s mercy.
Well I’m going to close now, I hear my bed calling me.
Be Blessed!
Josiah.

Ramblings.

Faithfulness, this word when we hear it, what do we think of? Do we think of a man and wife being faithful to each other? Do we think of our childhood dog who was a faithful companion? Do we think of finishing school, or a project? Yet in the Christian walk, when it comes to faithfulness. It seems we almost forget the meaning of it. As we come to the close of this year, looking backing at all the good things the Lord has done, I am blown away. Yet I also am challenged, if we don’t remain faithful we won’t be able to see the blessings we see when we serve the lord. The term faithful, or faithfulness is used quite often in the bible. We see this from the start, we see the faithfulness of Abraham to follow God, not knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11). We see the faithfulness of Moses to follow every command of God and to serve him well (Numbers 12:7) We see the faithfulness of Joshua to conquer the promise land. We see the faithfulness of Jeremiah as he prophesied in one of the hardest ministries ever. And last we see the very words of Jesus which say “he who is faithful in little, will be faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). Yet with all these examples of faithfulness to the Lord and to the ministry, why do we often lack it? What is the matter with us today? We can look at the history of missions, we see missionaries who gave it all for the gospel to go to all parts of the world. Yet today it seems there is a serious lack of commitment, from the biggest level to the smallest level. I find myself guilty of this too, wanting to quit, to give up, to go home. Yet Faithfulness is what the Lord desires of us. How do we know this? We know the Lord wants us to be pure and faithful to him first (psalms 51:17, Matthew 22:37). He wants us to love him first. I think when we get this into our heads, is when we really can be faithful. Faithfulness starts with the Lord. It goes from our faithfulness to our lord, to our callings from the Lord (2nd peter 1:10). It seems today because of our western mindset that life is supposed to be easy, we have allowed that to blur our view of what it means to be faithful. Often I am guilty of thinking its all joy, but the reality is, ministry is hard. Paul knew this well, as I continue to study the life of Paul, the more I’m seeing that he knew what it was like to endure hardships. Yet Jesus speaks of this in Mark 8:34, he says if anyone desires to come after him, let him pick up his cross and follow him. The Cross was trhe cruelest form of punishment; we are called to die to ourselves. Ministry, life, the Christian life is not to be for the easy and light hearted. Faithfulness as I addressed it at the start of this blog post is what God is teaching me, to be faithful in the little things, to be committed to God’s word. To be faithful to the Lord first and foremost.

Saying No

The title says it all, but I’m not talking about just saying no to sin, or saying no to compromise, I’m not even referring to saying no to outright falling away from God or to our morals. I’m referring to saying no to what seems good, saying no to so called “ministry”. Perhaps, I’m not being clear enough. Or perhaps you think I’m saying be lazy and stay at home. None of which I’m saying, I am simply expressing a problem and a issue that often arises in my own life and sometimes in lives of other missionaries as I sit and talk with them. By far one of our hardest struggles is to say no to people, expesssialy as missionaries in a third world country. But even as human beings, if we have compassion we hate saying no to help others. You know, in the two and half years (going on three) I’ve been down in Peru, I have not gained insight into things like most missionaries who have been down here longer. However, I do feel this is an issue that has come up much for me. I live in a one bedroom apartment, it’s real basic. I live overlooking the city on the 4th floor, it is a bit of a climb. I also am known by all my neighbors, literally ALL, it used to be they would say hi and move on, now as part of the culture we usually talk for a few min every time I see one of them. This is good, but it also carries some negatives I’m discovering. The automatic assumption here, and in most countries other then Europe or states, white people are assumed to have a lot of money, and resources. Perhaps one of the other common assumptions is that we missionaries don’t do ANYTHING. Maybe it’s just me, but my neighbors think I live on vacation, and think I have no life. This assumption often comes from the fact I study a lot, or I sometimes leave bike at house and walk places, eat out, and live normal a life, but without working in an official work place. Sometimes my neighbors also assume I own a lot of stuff, maybe in comparison to some I do, but the fact I own a motorcycle, they assume I own two helmet, I own stuff for the bike, and I own lots of money because who gets a bike paid for? Haha. Truly,. These are the thoughts and assumptions of some, not all people where I live. Yet in light of all this, often I also get mistaken that because I have no life, or because I have a motorcycle, I somehow should teach English to every single person who wants to learn.
Listen, I don’t have a problem with helping others learn a new language, or even help them advance in their English. That’s why our church has English classes on wed nights. Yet, I’m not a English teacher, I never went to school for teaching English, and frankly I’m still learning the Grammar of English and spelling is not a specialty. Also, I’m a missionary first and foremost, I didn’t come down here to teach English. I can’;t even count how many times I have heard this “You speak english? Teach me! Heres my number…” or “Hey! How do you Say _____ in English?”. Because knowing one or two words somehow helps? My biggest struggle, is when to say no, and that brings me to the title of this chapter. As missioneries, we serve the lord in a capacity that is unique, we live on the field in third world countries, and we see and experience unique things and food and sites. I live alone, and I’m single unless the missionary family down the street who raises kids on the field. However, the idea that we serve the lord is the same. But how far does this idea go? We receive our support every month, yet how often do people back home think of us? We are on the field after all (Refer to previous post). Often I tend to feel guilty about taking a vacation, or taking a day off from “ministry” things because I struggle with the fact people support me to be down here. Certainly, we are to be wise stewards of money and time, but often I take it a bit far. Because as I study the epistles of Paul, I read Col 3:17 which says to do whatever we do unto the Lord, this makes me stop and think, this makes me ponder and ask myself “What am I doing unto the lord?” and maybe your thinking to yourself now “Well you’re a missionary, everything you do is unto the lord”. Really? Because like I mentioned before,. I am guilty of thinking I need to say busy for the support check every month, or somehow it’s wrong to take a Vacation or a day off. So my question is this, if I’m doing “everything” for the Lord, am I doing anything for the Lord? Doesn’t the Lord call us to be faithful? Remember the parable in Matthew of the faithful servants? Remember the fact that we are commanded to be faithful in little, and more will be given. Can faithfulness come when I take every offer to teach English, or every offer to teach the bible even, or every offer to visit a family? I’m not saying to not do any of that, but our hearts should be first and foremost focused on the Lord, and on what he has called us to do. Not on what we could be doing. Or what maybe even society expects us to do, or our home churches expect us to do. We need to be doing everything unto the Lord, and so ultimately we need to be asking “Who are we doing this for?” Are we doing it for the Lord or for the church that sends us a check every month? Or do we do it, so we Can forget about the homesickness, or we can stay busy so it seems we have a life, or we do it because we want to please everyone and were missionaries so we have to right?. Do we have to stay busy every day?. Probably one of my biggest issues is thinking I need to be doing, doing doing and when I don’t I feel depressed. Yet, our heart and focus needs to be on the Lord. Whatever we do, not how much we do must be for the Lord.
So when do we say no? I believe there is no definite answer, but certainly we must examine ourselves when a decision comes up. We must ask ourselves “Why would we say yes? What will I gain from this? Is the lord calling me to do this or am I wanting to?, Is this going to further the kingdom or further my own kingdom? For who am I doing this?” I believe these questions, will be important to ask ourselves, and will help us to make a wise choice. These questions are the ones I have to daily discipline myself to ask. It’s hard. The field is hard. Today is a hard day for me, everyday lately has been, but the lord is faithful.
Thanks for reading.