Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Texas and Mexico

Where on earth have I been? I have gone an unforgivable amount of days without blogging. I was having withdrawals!

Well, on June 8th, I took off to Weslaco, Texas with a great big team from my church. It was 8 days of complete Holy Spirit guided bliss. It was incredible how the team of 33 bonded and then went after the week with full abandon.

Each weekday part of the team spent the mornings at the Bible School in the Housing Project. Teaching, feeding, playing and just loving those precious children.

Throughout the week I saw that God had special things in store for the Bible School this year. He certainly did. Several children and adults came to Christ. There was, in fact, a wife that was saved, followed by her husband on the following day and then one of their sons! This family is ready raring to spread the Good News.

I got the privilege of leading a little boy named, Ryan, to the Lord. He reminded me of Andrew. With him, everything came back to airplanes, machines, and soldiers... like Andrew. He wore his little button down shirt, buttoned all the way up... like Andrew. It was a joy to see his face light up when he realized his sins are no longer on his shoulders.

You could stand in the middle of the Bible School and would be amazed when you looked around. Team members were everywhere. They were in corners, on apartment doorsteps, under trees and they were leading someone or someones to Jesus. The small area where most would never see potential, was bursting with salvations.


Meanwhile each morning, the construction team started at the ground and built the walls of the church in Progresso, Mexico.

I had the privilege of going with the hardworking, early risers one morning. I pulled myself out of bed before the crack of dawn and headed across the boarder as the Texas sun rose beautifully over the horizon. Let's just say it was a long day of hard work. The men (and few women) gave it their all. Some mixed mortar, others laid the block, some dug holes, and a few kept the workers hydrated (me). It was a marathon. The walls went up with blood (literally), sweat (very very literally) and tears (yeah, that too as many jammed thumbs there were). But they could not be stopped and the Lord was with them and helped them finish right on time.

Each night we went into Mexico to where the church was being built to have Bible School there. It was always choas. Yet, a wonderful choas. The night would begin with watching up to 40 children pile out of a 15 passenger van. By the time a few vans had come, there were over 100 children there. We taught, did crafts, played, ate snacks and just fellowshipped. It was wonderful.

There is honestly way too little time and way too little room on a blog post to describe the trip how it deserves to be told. The Lord did amazing things. His presence was so very real. It was, in my opinion, the most Holy Spirit filled trip we've taken to Mexico.

Last but not least, a story of a text salvation. Don't skip this story because it's been a long post. This is worth reading.

I was able to share the Gospel with a 12 year old girl named Jessica in the housing project. I had seen her in the previous years but this year she seemed more interested in what we were sharing about. So I spent a very long time talking to her over a couple of days. She knew very little about the Bible, but towards the end she understood a lot more. Yet, she wouldn't pray. She wouldn't just repent. So I couldn't force her. She was shy and I just told her that she could think about it, but not to for too long because one day it will be too late. I gave her my phone number and with a heavy heart about it... I left.

Yesterday I was cleaning my room and I got a text from Jessica. It said, "I've decided I want to go to Heaven." DING DING DING!! I knew that for her to initiate the conversation was a big deal in itself. I asked her if I could call and she said that her mom would get mad if she heard her talking on the phone. So I proceeded to talk to her via texts. She remembered some of what we had talked about, but since we had talked about so much, it had blurred together for her. So I broke it down very simply for her. She was bursting at the seems and said, "I just want to do it now. I don't know why I didn't when you were here." I told her that it would change her whole life. She understood. So I said, "Do it now then, Jessica. Tell Jesus you're sorry, ask Him to save you, tell Him you believe. He'll hear you. He loves you." A few minutes passed and I received a text that looked like this, " :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)." I replied, "Did you do it?!" She sent back, "Yes! I feel so free and excited!!" It was unbelievable. She said that her friend had been with her and they had done it together. She said that she wants to start a "team" like those of us who came and told her about Jesus. I told her that was a great idea. She told me she is going to read the Bible and pray. I could feel her excitement, even through cyber world. God is so good!

It was also a great blessing to get to see my dear friends, Katie and Jason again. We picked up like they had never left. Twas awesome.

So, it has been a wonderful couple of weeks! 22 (plus the two that received Christ yesterday) were saved. Here are a few of them:

 The Lord never ceases to do amazing things if we serve Him with all our hearts.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Life's Like a Hurricane of Candy

Tornado, hurricane, tsunami... other fierce weather storms. That has been my life. Spinning. Like. Crazy. Hasn't it been your life too? Life is just... wow! It's wonderful!! It's almost like the tornadoes aren't bad, and the hurricanes are raining candy and the tsunamis are made of Sun Drop... Okay, so that's a little far-fetched.

It's that time in my life when so much is ending and so much is beginning.

This past Thursday night I had my last piano recital. After a decade of piano lessons I sat there thinking to myself, "Wow, this is it." Yet, at the same time I was happy, happy that I was there as a senior. All those days that I almost quit when I was little, all of those songs, all of those Monday mornings practicing in my pajamas before I went to my lessons, scales and arpeggios galore and songs well learned. There I was... finished. It was an accomplishment. I wouldn't trade anything for all of those years of lessons. The piano truly became a friend of sorts. It lets me speak my heart when words aren't there. I'll always play the piano.

Moving backwards, I had my final viola recital two weeks ago. I wasn't very good at the lovely instrument yet, because I hadn't taken long, but I sure enjoyed it the short time I took it. It was something else I left behind.

Fast forwarding up to last weekend. My family and I went to the North Carolina Homeschool Conference in Winston Salem. I always enjoy that weekend at the end of May. It's just good to be rejuvenated by deep thinking speakers. This year, my Dad (Kevin Brown himself) spoke at a session. He did a wonderful job. I was so proud of him. This year I enjoyed it even more than usual because someone special came in to visit. Josh! I hadn't seen him in a month so I was excited to see him walk in the door last Friday night. I missed him so. We had a wonderful time together on Saturday and we returned home and he got to come to church on Sunday. Monday I spent all day with him and we just enjoyed time together with my family. Tuesday, after a wonderful morning together, we took him to Winston, where his friends picked him up to take him back to Cherry Point. Each time he leaves... or I leave him, it gets harder. I cry. But he is so strong and so good and when he tells me it will be ok, I believe him. God is with us even when we are far apart. I trust my Father for every day and week we're apart. I miss that man.

Finally, to the future! In six days my Dad, Kandace and I will heading down to Texas and Mexico with a team of 33 people from church. We are going to share the Gospel with the Texans and Mexicans while helping build a church there in Progresso, Mexico. I am so very excited. I also get to see my very dear friends, Jason and Katie Church who moved there back in February to plant a church. I have missed them dearly. It'll be better than awesome to finally see them again.

So life is just good. Well, it's not really life, it's God. God is good. No matter how life goes, He gives it purpose if you give it to Him.

My Mom and Dad just walked outside to go for a walk and you know what? I want to join them. It's a beautiful night. Love to all!