Friday, November 25, 2011

A Mom of Noble Character, Who Can Find?

Today is my wonderful Mother, Pam Brown's Birthday! Today I'm in Ethiopia, but truth is that I'm writing this before I go to Ethiopia and have set this to post on my Mom's birthday! But regardless of when I posted this, I love my mom and she is completely wonderful. She has allowed her husband and two teenage daughters to leave for two weeks and miss Thanksgiving and her birthday. My mom is so unselfish. Many women would NEVER let their families do that for the Lord. They would want what THEY want. But not my Mom. I know most children say that their mom is great, but I'm not kidding. She has sacrificed and given more than any woman I know. She has taught me at home for years, has encouraged me, loved me, and given constantly. She doesn't take hardly any "me time," because she says that it is not about "her" but about God. Isn't she just amazing? If I can be half the mom and wife she is, I'll be doing good. I love you mom. I'm sorry we're missing your Birthday, but the Lord is going to bless you for letting us go. Thank you for everything!! I can't wait to hug you when I get home! 
My Mom and Andrew

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Africa, Here I Come!

After months of praying, weeks of preparing, and days of packing. My Dad, my sister and I are leaving for Ethiopia tomorrow morning! This whole process has been a roller coaster in my mind. But I am finally ready. I'm actually excited. I'm not just saying that, I really am. I'm also anxious, but I know that the Lord is sovereign and He is my Father. He'll take care of me. Paul said that to "live is Christ and to die is gain." So to live is great and to die is even better. Now, I'm not hoping or planning on dying!! But still, God is my Shepherd. 

I still can't believe tomorrow is the day. People ask and wonder, "why are you doing this?" They may even think it is neat, but they still don't get it. Maybe you don't. Well, here is my answer for why I go to a dirty, poor and somewhat dangerous country for two weeks. I go because of LOVE. Jesus loved me and so I love others. Sure, you can love by sending a check, but when those people see you in the "mess" it leaves them speechless. They see, feel and hear the Love of Jesus when you go to them. Mission work is not an option, it is a command and not just to those missionaries you support, but to YOU and ME as well. So I am honored to tell hundreds of people in a faraway country that they are loved. 

It will bless them, but this trip will bless us. It is great to serve others at home, but something about going to places where you don't get a shower for nine days and where there are Muslims around, make you stronger and more thankful. Those people really need to know that others are partnering with them. It isn't about Americans helping Ethiopians, because that sounds like rich helping poor. No, it is Christians helping Christians. They are not some "project," but brothers and sisters in Christ who need help sharing the Gospel in the surrounding areas. 

I'm honored and blessed. I am, however, going to miss everyone! I pray that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Be thankful always not just on that day. I love you all and will see you again on December 1st!  I'm sure I'll have a boatload of stories to tell!! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

I'll Soar

Ever had a verse that just follows you around? Well, I have and it has been Isaiah 40:30-31:

30Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

It's been around a lot lately. I keep thinking about it. And it's like God has given it to me as a gift. One of comfort. I keep seeing "The Lord shall renew their strength." Sometimes I feel that my strength is nearly worn out.  Kind of like when you're doing push-ups or sit-ups and you start to quake. Your muscles are so tired and they just want to stop. But when they get like that, you know one thing... they're getting stronger. But at the moment they feel weak, and all you know is that it hurts.

That is how life is sometimes as a Christian. You get tired. According to those verses everyone gets worn down. But God promises to renew our strength, with one condition.... that we "wait on Him." We have to put our trust in Him. Many Christians want God to renew them, but they don't want to have to show any faith or trust. It is critical that we trust in Him. And then my favorite part is about soaring on wings like eagles. I was always the kid that wanted to fly, I dreamed about it, watched Peter Pan all the time and loved planes the moment I stepped on one. I love it because it feels so free. That is what we will feel like when we put our trust in our Father and let Him restore us. The burdens will be laid at His feet and we'll be so light that we can soar.

I love the song "Stronger" by Mandisa. The chorus goes:

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger

So, when it is hard, use it for His glory and remember that God never leaves His children behind. He is making us stronger.

Speaking of being strong, today we are celebrating strong men and women who have served this country.... Veterans!! So, I'd like to take this time to say, "Happy Veteran's Day!" I can't thank enough the many people who have given their lives to serving this country. Thank you all, past, present and future!