Monday, March 3, 2014

Decisions for Christ!

On the 23rd of March, David Machado, our evangelist at Fullerton SDA made the first appeal for baptism.
We were so blessed to see our prayers being answered and over 20 individuals making decisions to follow Christ through baptism!! There has been some updates since then as well. Our children are being awakened to a desire to follow Christ as well. There are now 3 additional kids who are seriously taking steps toward preparing for baptism in the near future!
This picture on the right was taken on the night of the first appeal. I was very thankful to see my own brother, Pablo, standing up to make a recommitment to Christ and to not just give "Friday and Saturday to spend with God, but every day." This experience here at Fullerton is not just affecting families from the community but my own as well.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Slow Recoveries

Feb 27, 2013  It isn't every day that you get to meet a person who has a similar experience to yours. Today I had the opportunity to connect with Chai, a 31 year old woman we met in the Urgent Care yesterday with Pastor Mel, Magbis and Andy. She rides her bicycle everywhere as a student in college and had just experienced an accident. It was a divine appointment for sure because she eagerly came to meeting tonight at church. As I drove her her, I learned that Chai is someone who has experienced much pain and suffering and wondered if God ever really cared since He didn't stop it from happening, especially since she was an active vibrant Christian at the time that a major trauma happened to her. It has taken her over 10 years to recover from a brain injury. I was able to share with her my experience of becoming very sick in Africa and going through a long recovery from it in every way: mentally, spiritually, physically. My goal was to let her know that she can rest assured that God has a plan to restore her back to Himself and has an amazing plan to restore her and that she is still a child of God and is very precious to Him. She was relieved to have gotten that off her chest those thoughts and experiences she went through and she was grateful that we were able to talk. I was so blessed that she was willing to trust me and also listen to me. She is looking forward to continuing coming to the series the next meeting we have and really liked tonight's meeting.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Team Building

Decisions... Decisions

     This week I learned the importance of team efficiency. Sorry to inform you but I've moved on to a different book. Yes I cried with Voskamp and enjoyed her poetic writting style, but I found these (truth bearing:p) article reviews
& this one sealed it for me . But anyway this is the new book I picked up.

And Ive learned so much, in one night I nearly finished the whole book! haha well its quite thin.
I was fascinated to learn about the four levels of team building;

Level 1: Orientation
Level 2: Dissatisfaction
Level 3: Integration
Level 4: Production

The reason why I became so interested in this book is because in Bible work and as Magabook leaders we continuously work in teams. The dusty book sprung about right when I considered that our team was in the dissatisfaction stage of the progression.

Also... As I am praying and thinking more and more about what I will do when I graduate SOULS West, I am looking into the team culture and growth potential of Full Circle. However I am weighing the options. The SECC Bible work culture is unique and unlike any other conference but the dissatisfaction that our Bible work practicum team faced could be a taste of the large scale culture. Please don't get me wrong, I've loved working with every member of all 4 churches and I have utterly loved my Bible work practicum! I love this ministry but I must consider the different team dynamics. In short... Because of what I was able to learn about team efficiency and growth I am better able to understand the chemistry of relational team building. I can happily say we; Andy, Ester & I are in the integration phase. But as to wether I will remain in this conference for my Bible work term next year is unknown.

Continue to pray for me :) Decisions, Decisions for next year.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

On the Right Street at the Right Time

On Thursday evening, as I was finishing up for the day, I had a desire to do one more street. There were a few lighted houses, so I determined I would go to those. Once I was going to cross the street to do one more house, I saw a car drive up and something really made me turn around and decide to go to that car, and then I saw that the person inside was a woman and Caucasian [which meant she would probably speak English and most of the people in the area that night only spoke Korean, Chinese, or Vietnamese].

Her name was Maggie and I found out that she was a Christian. I showed her the Peace Above the Storm.
She had just gotten home from a rough day, and felt that she was under spiritual attacks and needing peace, and the book was exactly what she needed. She hugged the book and was able to keep it that night. We also prayed together and she shared with me some of her struggles so that we could pray specifically for them. As we finished up, she wanted to know why I had come to her street at the time. I told her that I pray and that something just made me choose this last street randomly to end the night and how I really sensed that I needed to walk over to her for one last canvass. As we walked away from each other she said that she really needed the book and that she really needed the visit and that I should keep allowing God to lead me because He definitely brought me to her that night. I left her my phone number so that we could stay in touch. My prayer is that she will continue to find that Peace in Jesus and have victory over the struggles and attacks she is receiving. 

God really knows how to encourage me and end the night well! Maggie was an answer to prayer and I was an answer to prayer for Maggie. It makes me realize that we do this work, not just for others but for our own faith to grow and to see God's hand at work upon this earth. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Searching for Answers

One of the most touching stories from this last week was from Andrew. Andrew quickly signed up for Bible studies two nights before our first study. As we sat down in Starbucks he shared that the he wanted to get to know God for himself, but after the study was over, he confessed the reason that was deep in his heart. 

An atheist friend of his asked him some tough questions about why God allows bad things to happen to people. His faith was challenged, but Andrew did not have any answers back then and then two years later his friend died and that is when he realized that he needed to find answers for himself. He told us that the reason he was studying with us is because he needs the answers for more than just himself, but for others as well.

The bible really does have answers to tough questions like the questions that Andrew's friend asked him. I am so excited to see that people like Andrew are in the world and are really searching at the moment when we are seeking to give answers. My prayer is only that He will help me now by His Spirit to effectively communicate those answers and share that amazing hope that we have in Jesus and His Word.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Eucharsteo - εὐχαριστέω

Eucharsteo - εὐχαριστέω

"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them..."(Luke 22:19)
"He gave thanks" reads "Eucharisteo": 1. to be grateful, feel thankful. 2. give thanks   

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. 
I am captivated, I learned to see the head ache that thumped unceasingly in my head as a gift in disguise. How? you ask. I learned that as long as thanks is possible, then joy is possible. And joy is always possible, so "whenever"
meaning now, "wherever" meaning here.

Eucharisteo - thanksgiving- always precedes the miracle
     Meet Gloria, on Thursday morning on our way to a Anaheim's Farmers Market, we stop for gas as we talk of God's goodness and power to do miracles. As the pump stops on before the last couple of cents an elderly man approaches us and holds the pump in for the last drops. Right?! I was pretty weirded out!  but it turns out he wants to know what I'm doing and wants to donate to the cause to furthering my education & God's kingdom. And there you go, gas for about two weeks"... and lunch on me for you and your friend." 
     Weird? super weird, but its not weird in the a negative sense but more so in like a random, who are you? how, why?? A random blessing, a random miracle? Gloria witnesses the whole thing and is in shock.
- The life we live... Miracle after miracle.
But this was God's way of confirming that stressing uncontrollably over things I cannot control causes me to loose out on His blessings. With clenched fists I can't receive Him in full. 

Gloria and I had a blast at the farmers market. I see that evangelism is not only about proving correct theology, in fact I would venture to say that it is a holistic experience. It calls for love in spending time, getting to know each other, listening and sharing, crying and laughing. It is relationships we are building, like Jesus we serve as a bridge, drawing them close to the source of living water.
She is so excited, and it's official we are bestie-sisters. She is my personal trainer and I am her Bible coach.

 "On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it."(1 Corinthians 11:23-24)
Jesus, on the night before the driving hammer and iron piercing through the ligament and sinew, receives what God offers as grace (charis)... Oh facing the abandonment of God Himself (Does it get worse than this?), Jesus offers thanksgiving for even that which will break Him and crush Him and wound Him and yield a bounty of joy (chara)The mystery always contains more mysteries.

This Sabbath was the launch of Operation RASKALS Phase I. The prep work for a series is so much more than I thought, I can get lost in the details. So many souls to reach, so much to do... &yes, so little time. There is no time to loose thinking of self gratifications. More than ever I see Jesus giving up His life and giving thanks for it. Giving thanks that His pain, and potential separation from God, His broken heart might just save the weary, the poor in spirit,loose the bands of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens, and that ye break every yoke?

Not all is fuzzes with my Bible study contacts, I can see some obstacles raising. It is sad but some contacts  drop when there is lack of consistency. Truth is I can't force a fruit to ripen, that is the work of the Holy Spirit. After seeing a potential drop in my contacts list, my heart aches. But I look to Him...
        "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the miracles, that were performed in you had been performed in, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day." (Matthew 11:20,21,23)

 - & then, what does Jesus directly do, in the face of apparent failure, when no one responded to His teaching, and things didn't work out at all? He lives out eucharisteo.
 "At that time, [precisely at that failing time] Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth..." (Matthew 11:25)
Patsy's first Bible!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The mobilizing has begun!

The community around the Fullerton 7th-day Adventist (Fullerton SDA) church is hungry for the knowledge of truth. The members of the church are excited and waiting to welcome visitors with open arms!

As for us, the SWAT team, are gaining momentum. We are looking for Bible Study interests and have found a little over a dozen interests near the church, in the the first week alone.

 Being my first time giving personal Bible studies to brand new friends, that I met a day or two previous, I couldn't help but ride an adrenaline rush wave. I was nervous and felt incapable, it is at this point where God works best. He gave me peace with a promise and reminded me that because He has called us to this mission He will equip us with the courage to do it.

He shows me, time and time again, that it is not what I can do that will bring salvation to His people but what He has already done for them. The promise rings loud and clear,"For I have not given you a spirit of fear and timidity but of Power, Love and Self-discipline!"
And... sure enough, the BIble studies went great, the Holy Spirit convicted on the authorship and authority of the Bible and they committed to spending time daily in the scriptures.

2 Timothy 1:7