There were a few major parts that pertained to holiness that stand out in my mind… the first was Rick and Barb Wise’s talk. Their story is such a powerful one, in so many ways. I loved seeing the redemption God has worked in it all… and she did an awesome job showing, very tangibly, the problems with not staying pure and the joys of staying pure. She was very… real. I really enjoyed talking with her over lunch; she had so many good things to share and answered our questions very well. I loved what they said about God’s love for us being based on His character, not ours. What a relief!!
(Us plus Rick and Barb and Mary Whitlock, on the left.)
Visiting Ellerslie was definitely another highlight. It was such a blessing to worship God with others who really love Him as well, and the prayer meeting at five am was awesome. It was an awesome privilege to be able to meet with Eric and Leslie and have them answer some questions for us. One of the things I especially liked from talking with them was their point that you can “…taste not, touch not, handle not–but you will not have dealt with the root of the problem.” Basically, purity is not just what you don’t do–it is a state of heart.
(Us plus Eric and Leslie Ludy)
Dannah Gresh’s talk was helpful for knowing how to help people heal sexually… I hadn’t thought about it in that much detail, and didn’t realize all that needed to happen. I’ve already used a little of what I learned with one of my friends…
(Dana talking to Amanda)
I enjoyed having Katherine share more during this section–she’s very passionate about this topic, and it was great to hear. I told Victoria that this is why Katherine is in this ministry… 😉 I really liked the word study we did on words from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8. I was especially fascinated to learn what purity actually means according to the Bible dictionaries– “Purity is a state of heart which is completely devoted to God. There is no conflict of loyalties–just whole-hearted God-centeredness. Without purity, you can’t see God.” I also really liked the first part of the definition of Chaste: “FREE from impure thoughts, imaginations, and desires.” And then of course Holiness– “Separation unto God–being set apart for Him. Chosen and separated and given a character that conforms to God.”
(Katherine and Megan having fun… I just like this picture of her. :))
The Truth About Sex study was insightful and I liked the Biblical look that Kay Arther does at the whole topic. I think it helps to have such a thorough understanding of God’s design for it and the full implications of using it wrongly–there are so many lies out there in the culture that it’s easy to get confused and hard to help people understand the truth. She made a really good point in her talk about the fact that what you think in your heart is what you are–even if you haven’t physically done things, if your thoughts are unchaste then your actions will be too eventually. I liked this quote as well… “He called her beloved when there was nothing lovely in her.” I’m so thankful that is how our God is… and that He doesn’t just stop there–He does everything necessary to make something lovely in us.
(we also watched videos by her. Which were cool. But they had a music outro thingie that was… um, queer. Dorky some would say. :D)
Fred Stoeker was really awesome–very helpful, and a great example of what he teaches from what I could tell. “There’s always sacrifice in the Christian life. There was even suffering in the garden–the suffering of submitting to God’s will. This is what creates character in us.”
(Yay for skype! This is how we talked to many of our speakers…)
It was great getting to help teach these principles at Culture Shock–It always helps get something firmly in your mind when you teach it. It was exciting to see the change in the young people’s perspective and attitude… at first, many would be unsure and rather resistant. Afterwards, they were excited and engaged, and I could tell they were learning. I’m really thankful for the chance to be part of that.
(This is the heart of the book part of GOV… inventory/packing tubs.)
(Molly, Tim, and Eddie doing the “Hearts” illustration)
(Wrapping Kate in “lies”–don’t worry, we also cut the lies off.)
The Lakita Garth-Wright videos were really good as well–I liked how she just got straight to the point and said it like it is, with humor. I liked her soda can analogy–as long as the pressure inside is greater than the pressure outside, the can won’t give in… We have to build strong character inside in order to stay strong against the lies of the culture.
We also had some not exactly holiness related things, such as security training with Angel Alert Network (Which was very intense),
(Tada! Armed assault. Now to survive…)
…a trip to Minnesota for a Hearts at Home conference (I am never going to look at the GOV booth the same… 😀 I really enjoyed helping out and talking to moms about the books.),
(We did all that. Oh yeah!)
(Moms. Lots of Moms. In our booth!)
(This is the back corner, where we hid when it got overwhelming…everyone had a book they were reading. :))
(Did I mention there were a LOT of moms???)
Gunner’s talk on Social Media (which was very helpful, especially about listening to people and making the pledge to use Social Media to God’s glory.), and various other little things.
(okay, so this was a prank Tim pulled on Eddie, not using Social media wisely. But it’s the closest thing I had… :D)
We also made those crests into flags…
(Drawing on sheets with markers…)
(Worked out better than I thought it would!!)
…and checked and rechecked the list of books…
(we checked it FOUR times. Yeah. Find a mistake on that!!)
…and hung out in the Singapore kitchen…
(well actually this is them discovering that the knife was leaving blue specks in the garlic…. ahem)
(LOTS of garlic! I cut garlic, Tim cut garlic, Eddie cut garlic. 28 cloves!!)
(It turned out very good though..)
…and had hot chocolate…
(this was Katherine’s. Katherine is engaged. Everyone say, “awww…”)
..and cool views…
(the frost melted on the chapel roof, except where the tree’s shadows were. :D)
I also went and took pictures of our teamwork master piece–
We got all this “damaged” stuff for free. Five ginormous, unorganized boxes. We all carried it in, assembly line style. And then we organized it all! It was fun…
And then… the next day, they dropped me off at the airport… and I flew home.
…cute baby sisters…
…fun with friends from PA…
And, most recently, an expedition to the theater to see The Hobbit!!
Well, I think I’ve gone on long enough for now… who votes I go back and post pictures of Colorado scenery?
… and thus far I’ve broken up several fights, cleaned up numerous messes, read countless books aloud, changed diapers, calmed people down, put away all my stuff, helped get the house cleaned, had two visitors from PA stay for a week, went to a movie at church, went to the beach, went to Olive Garden, shopped at Hobby Lobby and Goodwill, had almost 30 people over for Thanksgiving, made two pies, cleaned up the house a few times, worked at least 7 days at the store, blogged for Mann Tile, added lots of stuff to the website, played Nerf, went to church, had company twice, (not counting Thanksgiving), *deep breath* had home group at our house, had a Bright Lights meeting, memorized 20 verses of James, went camping for three days, set up nine beds in a tent (and put them away), wove a basket out of a palm frond, read several chapters of “The Pursuit of God” and other books including the Bible, went to the soccer field and walked a mile or two, tried to catch up on emails, laundry, and… um, yeah, that’s about it. Though I’m pretty sure I am forgetting something. (And no, that is not in order.)
Apparently this is normal life at the Manns… I think I had forgotten just how crazy my family is. 😀 My dad says that they didn’t want me to think home was boring… haha.
So, I guess the point is– I haven’t forgotten this blog and I’m still going to finish posting about J127–I’ve just been a little busy. Just a little.
Well, the day has come. J127 is officially over; in fact it ended on Friday night. Yesterday morning Victoria, Amanda and Katherine left… Molly had left a few days early, so it is just Tim, Eddie, Kate and I left. Very strange.
I’m still trying to grasp the fact that I’m going home tonight. I’m still sitting in the Mission in the Singapore kitchen, typing away at the Mac. Tim’s on one side of the table and Eddie’s on the other… Kate is somewhere in the Mission. (haha, that’s how it is here–you’re just like… um, they are in the building. Somewhere. Good luck.)
I’m not really sure if I’m happy or sad. I don’t think I’m really either, exactly. Or maybe I’m just both at the same time mashed together. I’m excited to see my family and my other Florida people, that’s for sure. I’m already missing the ones who have left our group here, and I’m sure I’ll miss the rest of them when I leave. We’ve become a sort of family, and it’s a little sad to see everyone going back to their parts of the world. However, we have already planned to meet up again in a few years for Victoria’s “Lord of the Rings” themed 21st birthday, so it’s all good. 😀
It’s hard to believe that the nine weeks have passed already. So much has happened in such a short time… I have learned and grown and had so many different experiences. Thankfully I’ve been keeping up a journal, so I can remember what happened… otherwise I’d have very little idea. 😛
Anyway, I will be posting a few more times on here, with my last report and some more pictures… so stay tuned.
Looking forward to seeing all my Florida readers again really soon!!:D
Front row: Amanda, Kate, Victoria, Me.
This was at the mall during a photo scavenger hunt thingie Tim put together for us. Some random guy in the mall agreed to take the picture and then gave us our next clue. 😀Us being “tough” with the lumber.Eddie very calmly being held at gun point… welcome to security training. 😀 After this picture I got to hold him at gun point and I took his wallet. And then I said thank you. haha. 😛 I was also taken hostage at gun point and was shot in a car jacking incident… apparently I scared the guy trying to take my car. Cause you know how scary I am.And here we are with Jojo and Susan, our instructors. (Jojo is over on the left and Susan on the right.)Chapel roof with frost on it! 🙂The trailer all ready to go to Minnesota!! We got to pack it in the snow. Apparently that was a privilege… 😀Me and–yes, that is really Mrs. Duggar! I got to meet her at the Hearts at Home conference in Minnesota. Mr. Duggar actually took this picture with his iPhone. And yes, Mrs. Duggar really is as nice as she seems on TV. 😀
Okay, so I’m guessing the first question would be: “why did you all dye your hair purple??” so I shall address that first. Well, we first dyed a bit of our hair purple and told the people at the Starfish conference that if we raised over $1000 towards the GOV Asia trip we would all dye our hair entirely purple. Well. Obviously they were curious about purple hair too, and we raised well over $1000. So we all had to dye our hair purple. Thankfully we already knew for sure that they dye washes out right away… 😀 It was pretty cool though, because Norm Brinkley and some other adults also dyed some of their hair purple and then the Hiramine girls did too, and it just spread from there. 🙂
The picture of the gentlemen on stage with the flags is the HISG team plus Charles N. with some sort of award… sorry I’m not sure exactly what. But there was a lot of that sort of thing going on that day so I lost track. 😛
The little stream/creek is near the Mission–there is a grotto (a Catholic thingie… there are twelve “stations” representing different parts of Christ’s journey. Or something like that.) back there and this stream is there as well. Unfortunately I’m not allowed to share those pictures online, but the creek I can post. So there it was. 🙂 It was super pretty and cool (both kinds of cool) down there.
And the last picture– that would be Victoria and Eddie punching the bag. We like the bag. Or maybe we don’t. At any rate it gets beaten up a lot, particularly by Eddie, Victoria and I. Though usually I just kick it. That part of the Mission is not finished because it was built later on and the monks ran out of money. Or something like that. It’s the part in between the North wing and the South wing.
So that’s that. In other news, we arrived back home at the Mission last night! 😀 We had a two day drive out there, and then the mom’s conference was Friday night and all day Saturday. We left Sunday morning and drove all day, stopping at the Jordan’s (a nice family that GOV has known for a while) for a yummy supper of individual homemade pizzas, playing Taboo, and Apples to Apples… after that, some of us had spicy Ramen noodles and talked about Asian cultures (Malaysian, Japanese, and Korean mainly) and random other things. And then we had a yummy breakfast (they are good cooks. They have a Dairy Queen… if you ever stop by Benton Harbor, Michigan, check it out! They actually use real meat in their burgers and their fries are super good!
And… now we’re back to life at the Mission. I love it here. 🙂 Right now I’m in the warm Singapore kitchen and Tim, Eddie, and Amanda and I are all on the computer in here. Not sure where everyone else is… today we watched a purity talk by a Christian from a secular standpoint, and we also unloaded the trailer and did inventory. Plus eating and devotions and all that good stuff. Tonight we’re going to be doing more purity study stuff and I’m not sure what else…
I will be coming home late this Sunday night!! 😀 I’m excited to be coming back home, and also a little sad that it’s drawing to a close. However, I’m pretty much just happy to still be here, and I know I’ll be happy to be with my family when I’m there. So I’m just sticking with that. God is HERE–everywhere I can go. Hence, anywhere I am will be awesome in some way. 😀
Prayer for my flights (I have a connection in Chicago) would be appreciated… I really want to just get home with no troubles. 😛 And also just pray for us as we are wrapping up here… that we’d all stay engaged in what we are doing and that we would be ready (in all ways, not just physically) to go back home. We’ve been having some intense stuff going on here, and in some ways it can be hard to transition back into “normal” life. So prayers about that would be splendid. 🙂
And… that isn’t all, but I think I going to stop anyway, since I never really could cover ALL of it and I got the most important stuff down…
Looking forward to seeing all my Florida people again!!! 😀
Okay, I don’t have time to caption all these since we are eating in a few minutes and leaving for Minnesota at seven tomorrow, so here’s what we’ll do–you all get to guess and or ask questions about what is going on in these pictures. You can do funny captions, serious ones, or just wait till I explain. Whatever you want. Go! (oh, and please trust me, there IS a good reason for the purple hair…)
Wow, there’s been so much awesomeness in this section of J127 that it’s hard to know where to start. Of course, it was like that for the last one as well, and I managed to get it done. So I guess I’ll just do what I did then and–start.
It has been an incredible privilege to be able to learn from so many people who are serving and loving God all over the world. I think one of the main lessons I’ve been getting, over and over, is to just say yes to God. That’s all it takes. You don’t have to be some kind of special person, you don’t need lots of money, you don’t have to go to some remote jungle, you don’t have to have a mysterious magical writing in the sky call–just say yes to God’s nudging. Step out in faith. God will do the rest.
Another major theme has been knowing how God really views us. It’s one thing to know that God loves you–that, we’ve heard millions of times as Church People. It’s a whole ‘nother thing to realize that that HE loves you… He loves YOU… that He LOVES you. And then–to realize that not only does He love us, but He–actually likes us??! Crazy! I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that.
There’s been a lot of talk, again, about Romans 12:1-2. Perhaps now I know my life verses? One speaker, Duane, told us about dying to self–very vividly, I might add. When the flesh is dead, it does not respond. It’s–um, dead. Not trained, not subdued–dead. The trouble is, it doesn’t die easy. Hence, Paul said, “I die DAILY.” Norm talked about being renewed in your mind–he said that just plain reading the Bible and praying out of duty won’t do it–you have to engage it with all your senses and your heart.
We talked about the difference between religion and Christianity. (mostly with Norm, but also with some of our other speakers.) Religion is focused on people–on looking good and sounding good to people. On doing the right things and saying the right things. It’s duty based. The real deal is when you are doing it out of love for God… when the relationship is the key part. When you are much more concerned with what God thinks than about what people think. The reason you are disciplined is not because you want to look good, but because you know there will be a good result.
Many (perhaps all) of the speakers continued our previous theme of diving in to God with their emphasis on the importance of having an intimate, joyful, loving, strong relationship with God–both through the Word and through prayer–before going out and trying to minister to others.
We have learned quite a bit about Muslims and their beliefs–It really helped me get a better understanding of them and helped me to love them better. There is so much hype and misunderstanding that even though I know it isn’t actually true, it is easy to think that they are all radicals. John Becker especially helped me understand them better and see that they really need to be loved. Knowing more about how they think helps me to understand better how they interact with the world around them and how to maybe help them see the truth.
Over and above all the good points they made, one of the most impactful aspects is just to hear their stories and to see the fruit of living out these things in their lives. It is incredibly encouraging to see that these people have gone before and lived this out in their lives. It sometimes gets discouraging because there seem to be so few who are really living for God–but seeing and talking to all these people over the past month has made it seem much more hopeful and possible.
We also watched Dr. Leaf’s videos about the Gift in You–very fascinating stuff. Most of it makes a lot of sense, and the rest I will keep thinking about.
I am super excited about the Starfish concept of networking leaders from around the world–it is so awesome to see people going about God’s work in such a biblical and smart way. The Business Development Initiative, the decentralized and unified networking, the sustainable community transformation, the International Disaster Response network training locals–it’s all so brilliant. I love it.
Personally, I still do not know the specific calling of God for my next step. Most likely I will just go back home and do my best to live out these principles in the context of my family, my work, and my ministry there. However–if God does lead me out of the US, I do seem to have the strongest call toward Asia. I am not sure which part exactly, though Japan and China come up most often in my thoughts. I have thought of the possibility of teaching English over there, as I love teaching, English/language in general, and working with people of other cultures.
Now for the more practical details…
After my last report, we continued on in much the same fashion, with the exception that the speakers focused more on, you guessed it, other nations and religions. We did the Culture Shock event, which was bigger than the last one and seemed to go quite well. We all got to help with the Guess Who game, as well as give our little speeches again–this time we had three minutes.
This section of the J127 program also included a road trip–we first went to State College, PA and visited Danna Gresh, which was very cool. We talked about steps to sexual healing, and then about prayer with the whole school during chapel. We also had a chance to pray for her… I know we were blessed, and she said she was as well.
We were then off to Colorado Springs, and we had a pleasantly uneventful drive. Some good music, deep conversations, knitting, lots of reading, Dr. Leaf, and comfortably silent times. It was the first road trip I had taken with people who were not my family, but as I noted in my journal, they are really just a different sort of family.
We arrived in Colorado, and it was (and still is) gorgeous! I love the mountains, the pines, the golden birch trees… the air is definitely thinner (I found that out the first time I laughed), but I adjusted pretty easily. Thankfully.
We continued with our normal routine, more or less, for the first few days… talked to Mary a few times, watched Dr. Leaf again, and various other things. Then Starfish began! Wow, exciting stuff. Everywhere you turned there were incredible people who were actually DOING things to further God’s kingdom. What an inspiration! We had three days of that, and it slipped by too quickly. Yesterday was very full too– we heard from John Stonestreet via skype, Rick and Barb Wise here at the GOV house, and then in the evening we got to talk to Wayne Graham. All of whom were great, and their messages were equally powerful.
We’ve heard from… (in order of appearance)
…Stan Parks on the Unreached People Groups and other related issues. One of my favorite things that he said was to have obedience based discipleship, not head knowledge based discipleship. So simple, so obvious–and yet so completely overlooked by most of Western culture.
…John Becker on Muslims. He explained their faith very thoroughly and lovingly. Highlight– “Jesus’ ultimate goal was to bring the gospel to all people–the least, the last, and the lost. Those are the ones He focused on.”
…Norm Brinkley, on stories from Africa. He shared narrative after narrative of God’s faithfulness and provision… very faith building and fascinating stuff. He shared that there are three things that help confirm a calling–scriptures, mentors will agree, and you will sense it in your spirit.
… Grant Porter, from Lebanon. He talked to us about being a global Christian… he had quite a few good points. One of my favorites is that God is always working, even when you can’t see it. Our part is to just keep working–follow Him no matter what. You just have to trust Him, continue steadfastly on, and have tremendous confidence in the gospel.
…General Boykin, about Islam/the situation in the Middle East. Very heavy stuff… I was quite glad that I had already sent in for my absentee ballot. It was a sobering look at the consequences of disobedience–this can be traced all the way back to Sarah and Abraham’s lack of faith and disobedience.
…Mary Whitlock, on jealousy and the chambers of imagery. She talked about how much God loves us, and how His love is terrible in a sense–He will do whatever it takes to get us to be like Him. She also said that He measures our suffering precisely–He gives us just enough and not any more or less.
…Steve Lenkce, on money and related issues. He was awesomely fun to talk to, and we asked him tons of questions–I think he was the first person that we all really engaged with. He talked about the importance of using money wisely, and of not making it your goal. The whole “good servant, bad master” concept again. He also talked about operating in your giftings and being content with them.
… Amos, from Nigeria. Lots of amazing stuff from him! It is so awesome to see natives ministering over there now in such powerful ways. One of the things that stood out most was his very direct way of saying that Jesus is the LORD of your life, and you don’t say no to your Lord.
…Danna Gresh, on Sexual healing and prayer, as mentioned before. Two main things from that– one, disobeying the Holy Spirit IS quenching Him, and two, We are with God all day long–how silly it is to only talk to Him for a few minutes of that time!
…Karen Boyle, from Mauritania. She had two great pieces of advice for us right now–first, develop and deepen your relationship with God now, and second, develop mentoring relationships with people who will ask the hard questions and get to the heart.
…Duane Rawlins, about life. He talked very specifically about obedience– he told us it must be three things: First, instant. Second, total. And third, joyful. Otherwise it doesn’t count. He also brought out the fact that there is a huge difference between training the flesh and killing it. Another good point he made (there were so many!) was that if God moves you to show love, do it. It may change a life!
…Ibrahim and Diane Omondi, from Kenya. They told us their story, and encouraged us to just go for it–live with our whole hearts and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
… Ron Linegar, from Indonesia. He told us about his ministry over there–cattle! Victoria got excited about that. 😀 He also reminded us that God is calling all of us to do something– and He will confirm it once you start moving.
… Matt Z., about China. He talked to us about how God got him and his wife out there, and also just about delighting yourself in the Lord–talking to Him all the time, being in love with Him, having fun with Him. (we also met Josh Walsh, who helped produce October Baby)
… Elmer, from Indonesia. He was awesome–so full of joy in Christ and so ready to do whatever God said. He said that you show that you love God by loving people… and that Muslims just need to be shown God’s love. He also talked about making plans–but then being flexible with them and going with God’s flow.
…Norm Brinkley, this time in person over lunch. I personally really enjoyed talking with him–I think everyone did. He basically just answered lots of questions from us–in a very insightful, understanding sort of way. He gave us practical tips on really digesting the word of God–using as many senses as we could. He talked about the difference between religion–man centered–and Christianity, God centered. I could go on, but I’ll stop there…
…Kevin G., about some sensitive countries. They were originally only going to stay in China for a year, but they ended up staying for 20! He said that sometimes God will do things through you that are not in your skill set–because He can do anything if you are willing. He said to be daring enough to ask God to send you, and then actually do it. Trust him to sort out the details.
…John Stonestreet, about Cheap grace vs. Costly grace (And more.) He helped us to better understand the Moralistic Therapeutic Deism that our culture holds to–and gave us some great questions for helping get people to question their beliefs. He also gave us some good hard questions to search our own hearts with. I have 16 pages of notes from his talk, so I will spare you…
… Barb and Rick Wise, on their story. Wow. What an amazing story of redemption!! They were here for hours, yet it went all too quickly. One great point they made was that you are not just waiting for your future family–you are already affecting them. They also talked a lot about how important it is to view yourself like God does, and realize that He loves you and wanted you born.
… Wayne Graham, about his story. He was also lots of fun to talk to. Though really everyone has been… what a bunch of awesome people! He talked about how God personalizes everything for us–He deals with us each uniquely, according to how He designed us. He also talked about the importance of letting go when God says to.
Well, there you have it–an overview of this section of J127!
(Mountains!! Colorado is beautiful…)
Over the course of the last month, we’ve been talking to many awesome people who have done incredible things. It’s a little intimidating and a lot exciting. It’s such a privilege to be learning from these people… and amazing that they would spend time talking to–us. We… are a bunch of nobodies. We aren’t anything special. We haven’t really done anything big or important.
All we did
We didn’t even do it excitedly. We didn’t do it for lofty reasons. Just…
And the more I listen to these incredible people, the more I realize that that is actually all it takes. It doesn’t take anyone special. It doesn’t take a lot of money. It doesn’t take a lot of talent. It doesn’t take some kind of special “Call”. All it takes
I don’t know why God has me here, honestly– What He intends for me to do with all that is being poured into me (and all that is being taken out.) Why I am in a position to hear from these world-changing leaders. Why I am getting this training and experience.
I don’t know.
All I know is that where He goes, I will go. Where He stays, I will stay. Where He sends, I will go.
Because He is the Lord of my life, and you don’t say no to your Lord. You simply say
Okay, I started this a while ago back in New York, and am just getting these captioned and posted… I wanted to get more pictures up, but I didn’t get a chance. Sorry about that… I’m actually in Colorado now and have been since last week. 😛 Way behind… We’ve been busy! But here are a couple old pictures anyways. 😀 Maybe I’ll get CO pics up, we’ll see.