Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Where is Home?

I am home. Home as in Havelock, North Carolina. Yet, as I sat on my bottom bunk bed in the mission house in Weslaco, Texas at this time last week I missed "home." In previous years of being on the mission trip to Texas I have always missed my home in Wilkes County, North Carolina. But that isn't "home" anymore. As I sat there with my journal in my lap, I questioned where home is. Though I missed my little home here on base in Cherry Point, it is still hard to call this home. Does that sound bad? It's just the truth. Though I was loving every moment of the trip, one's heart is automatically drawn to miss home sometimes. But for the first time ever, I struggled to determine where home really is. I put away my journal and left to get back to work, and to ponder my question. Through the week it grated on me.

Tears burned in my eyes at random times as my heart was asking this seemingly odd question.

Where is home?

On Wednesday night at the Bible school in Weslaco, I saw a few girls sitting alone at the back of the group. There was one on her phone while the others clamored around her. My heart was drawn to those girls. I noticed that they talked through the whole lesson. They couldn't have cared less. They rolled their eyes whenever the group was asked a question. They were a tough bunch. No two ways about it.

Katy, talk to them. 

I don't hear God's voice at the drop of a hat. Sometimes I even forget what He sounds like... but when He talks to me. I know. And it was Him.

I sat on the grimy pavement and felt my neck get hot. Tough assignment I was given. After the lesson was over I talked with them. I told them of God's love, but reminded them of a place called Hell. I told them that they would have to go to Hell if they don't ask Jesus to save them. One of the girls leaned forward and asked a sobering question, "What is Hell like?" I told her that it is darkness, pain, separation from God and never-ending hopelessness. They brushed me off. I asked them to think about what I had said.

I cried all the way back to the mission house. I have felt a burden for people before, but this time it hit me. It hit me that I put all of my trust in this man... this God named Jesus. He has been my everything and these girls have to have Him too. I remember being their age and God has brought me from that time to now. He alone has sustained me.

They had to know. They had to understand.

You can see me on the far right side talking to the girls.
I prayed for a solid day. Every few moments, their faces came to my mind and I begged God to save them. To open their hearts. To give me one last chance to talk to them.

He did. Thursday was the last night at the school in Weslaco. After a sermonette and some praise music, the team served hot dogs to the kids. The girls didn't want to eat and so they passingly told me that they were leaving and would be back in a little while.

My feeble mind proclaimed that it was over; they would not be back. It was all over their faces.

But they came back and I rushed to their side. They ate the food in a tight, clickish circle away from the rest of the kids. I joined. I chatted with them to let them warm up and then I asked if they had thought about what I had said the night before. "Lea has!" said the girl I had learned was, Itzel. I looked at Lea. The pretty girl's face was unmistakable. Conviction. She wanted to know more. I felt a knowing that this girl needed my undivided attention. I pulled her aside and after a few moments of sharing our hearts  and Scripture she couldn't wait anymore.

She bowed her head. The unusually cold breeze sent chills down my spine as she prayed. Her sweet voice asked for forgiveness and salvation.

Our eyes met when she said "amen."

Her face. Her face was the answer to all of my questions. Where I least expected the answer, I received it. Her teary eyes, flushed cheeks and brilliant smile read one word.


This girl's fight was over. She had her ticket to home.



As I hugged her I let the answer to my broken-hearted question sink in.

This isn't home. No where I ever go will ever really be home. I will always miss something. I will miss Josh if he leaves for months at a time. I miss sitting in my family's living room talking about the Bible. I miss the best church in the world called Mt. Pleasant Baptist. I will miss sweet Lea. I will always long for us all to be together.

You miss your friend or family member who's smile you will never see on this earth again. You miss things that lack of money has taken. You miss your child, your mother, your home, your country, your old life.

You too will not find home here.

Home is Heaven.

Until Heaven, we can find peace in the "little heavens" here on earth. For me, times in Texas and Mexico when we were all together... friends and family... that was a lot like heaven. Hugging my sister, Clara while I am in Wilkes County... that is a lot like heaven. Snuggled up on my couch with my Bible here in Havelock... that too is a lot like heaven.

Though my heart aches sometimes and I know yours does too, we can be like Lea was the moment she found freedom. We can know that this isn't home.

Home is coming. And it will not disappoint.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mission Team Update #5

MPBC Mexico Missions Update #5

 Salvations, tears of joy, paper crowns, warm hugs, and given Bibles were the miracles of this day.
The crowns of the royal children. Heirs of God.
Are there even words to describe this? Wonderful Toni, with sweet Daniel. Such beautiful love.
Weston was working hard on the roof of the restroom.
Miriam led Manuela to Jesus after Monica fervently prayed and invited her to the church. The whole Bible Study was in tears as she got saved. Amazing story of the power of prayer and relentless love.
Manuela saying, "I love you" in sign language.
The whole group at the Block Party.
Katy I. with Lea, whom had just gotten saved.

Geoff with Caesar, who didn't want us to leave. But the promise that others are coming brought him peace.
Where do I begin? How can I explain how it feels to bask in the power and presence of Almighty God? How can you explain how it feels to see a miracle? To see the lost found and the blind see. To see Satan lose. It is pure joy. But I can't explain it. Although sleep tugs at our minds, the joy of new freedom brings us awake. It brings us to life.

Today 5 came to Christ! Miriam led Manuela to Jesus (the ladies on the pew in the picture) in Mexico. Katy Isaacs led a little girl to Jesus, as did Katie Church with another girl and then Lauren and Lakyn together with another girl. Kim and Kristin also guided a girl to make Jesus her Savior. All of those salvations were at the Block Party which was wonderful. Jason did a great job sharing the Gospel. The many children enjoyed hot dogs and cookies afterward.

In Mexico this morning, the guys finished up some work on the church and restrooms. We truly enjoyed fellowshipping and encouraging the church people and hugging the sweet children. We placed cupcakes in the hands and crowns on their heads and when we looked into their eyes, we saw kings and queens. Their smiles proved that they were thrilled and felt loved. We were humbled.

These few meager words do not begin to scratch the surface of the things we have seen and experienced. This was not of ourselves, it was of God. He has been with us and Weslaco, Texas and Progreso, Mexico has felt the love of Jesus. And THAT is what it is all about.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mission Team Update #2 (Monday's)

MPBC Mexico Missions Update

It was an early morning and a bright day here in Weslaco, Texas!

Ken was working very hard, along with Weston, who was behind him on the roof.
Jason led four men to Jesus on the construction site!
The ladies worked so hard smoothing the walls.
The lightning fast men.
And it is official! The "roof has been raised!"
Working on the el bano (the restroom).
Vacation Bible School in Texas with Kim and Renee.
Paula, Pam and Ms. Frances doing crafts with the kids.

This morning (Monday morning) the guys and a few ladies headed over the Mexico border in the dark morning to begin the task of pouring the roof. They found a quick rhythm and had the whole process running like a well oiled machine! The ladies worked to smooth the walls of the church for stuccoing later this week. We played volleyball with the kids and there was a wonderful Women's Bible Study with the Mexican ladies, who also prepared us a huge ad wonderful lunch! It was also a blessing to see Jason leading four of the Mexican construction workers to the Lord!

Tired and dirty, we made it back to the mission house and a few hours later a lot of us went to the housing project where the children bounded up to us! They hugged our necks and were overjoyed to see us. After lessons, music and snacks, several of the teenage girls and other children talked with some of the ladies on our team. Some really were beginning to show an interest in salvation. We look forward to talking more with them.

It has been a gloriously cool and breezy day, despite the forecast. God's mercies are everywhere around us. We are humbled by His love and though we came to show love, like always, they are showing us more than we can hold.

It was day 3 and it was good.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mission Team Update #1

Mt Pleasant Baptist Church
Proclaiming, Teaching, Reaching for Christ
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Missions Update

After a failed take-off where the plane actually got off of the ground, we ended up back in the Dallas airport to be moved to a new plane. Some said it was thrilling, while others found it scary!
Church service Sunday morning went wonderfully and we were blessed to sing, memorize Scripture, learn and teach.
It was a Spirit-filled time.
The church behind the young ladies is ready to have the roof poured! 
It was precious watching Ms. Frances holding Oscar and Miriam's baby, Eli. 
Lauren loving on the sweet children. There were many children who fell in love with the new team members as easily as they had with the veterans.
There was a foot washing in Toni and Monica's group showing servant-hood. It was truly amazing and humbling to watch.
 We played ball afterward and had a blast!!

To sum up the past two days, we can say that the Lord has blessed above and beyond. There have been thrilling surprises, like a failed flight, but there have been amazing wonders.

Two teen girls accepted Jesus as their Savior tonight (Sunday night) at Bible school. The team has bonded so well already. We can only see hope and joy in the faces of the children as we hug them. We will rise early tomorrow to begin construction on the roof at the church.

We are so excited for this week. God must have so much in store. We are so ready to be involved and let Him work! This was day one and day two, and it was GOOD. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

No Matter What

I am so ready to go to Mexico and Texas this Saturday! I am excited every year, but this year I am thrilled. I think part of the reason is because I am ready to do something big again. Something with other believers.

I won't lie. I have missed singing. I have missed acting. I have missed playing the piano with the drum beat behind me and other instruments all around me. I have missed being surrounded by an atmosphere of get up and go. A place of doing for Jesus.

Yet, I know the truth. I know that I don't have to be surrounded with it, to still be doing it. I know that. But it's just tough. It's lonely.

It's a military base, friends. And Satan would have me believe that I'm useless here. That there are hundreds of people around me who don't get it and I can't fix it. The truth is that saying these people are southern-hospitality-friendliness would be a lie through my teeth. But since when are those kind of people the only ones who deserve my kind compassion and my love? They aren't.

These people can turn the other direction when I walk by, they can say I am an 18 (19 in 9 days) clueless kid who doesn't know anything about life and... they may be right. HOWEVER. I know about Jesus. I know that they don't know Him. And I know that they need to. And... it's on my shoulders to tell them.

Lord, that is a big responsibility.

Then to add on.... right now I'm a little -a lot- anxious. I am afraid that my husband is going to be deployed for 6-7 months this summer to Afghanistan. Women come up to me and say, "Oh, I could NEVER deal with my husband being gone that long. Kudos to you!"

Well, sisters, neither can I. I am not "one of those women" who can just deal with it. I am one of those wives who doesn't think she can stand her husband being gone for all of that time. It makes me sick. It makes me literally light-headed. I just keep thinking that I don't want to be alone on our first anniversary... and what if this and that.

BUT. I am going to Texas and Mexico in a few days. I will look into the brown faces of other women who deal with their own struggles, their own hardships and I will tell them:

Jesus is your rock. He will help you. God has a plan and it is perfect. 

Somehow, Katy, you have to believe that too.

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

Jesus said this to those who believed in Him. These people already knew Jesus, but Jesus told them that they would be "set free." 

I want to be set free. Free from a culture that tells Christians to lay low. Free from a fear that entraps my mind. Jesus may have our hearts, but Satan likes to have our minds. 

I don't have all the answers. To be honest, this blog post isn't ending how I anticipated it would. I was going to end it with, "So now I am leaving on a mission trip so I can be free and leave this 'world.'"

I should be ashamed, because the work is all around me. For heaven's sake, it is in me. Yes, I will be thankful for a change in scenery and a boost of evangelism. But may I not forget that mission trips don't make us free in Christ, nor do church services or any other things. We must CHOOSE to be free. To let Jesus free us. 

With that said. I am excited about serving Jesus this coming week.... and all those weeks that lay beyond. Jesus, help me type it cause I only want to say it if I mean it..... I will be excited about serving You no. matter. what.