Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

24
Jul
12

Beauty and Darkness

Nice, France

This country has unparalleled beauty. The sound of ocean waves, the taste of fresh begets, the smell of the flowers is everywhere and yet there is so much death. People say France is the place where missionaries go to die because of the overwhelming darkness amidst the beauty. It’s not too different from America which has many things that captivate our attention but in the end are fleeting. The culture and country are at some say the pinnacle of luxury with their foods and delicacies but to what end?

During our time in France we were able to partner with an International Baptist Church with missionaries staffing it from all over the world. We worked with people from Ireland, Great Britain, Monaco, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, and local France. The pastor, his wife and 5 children are from Denton, TX surprisingly and never thought they would end up in France in their wildest dreams. France as he told us has a spiritual darkness over it. Whether you believe in the presence of dark forces in this world, they exist and they have a stronghold in France. I would not mention them except for realization that they would like nothing more than us to forget about them all together (The Screwtape Letters -C.S. Lewis). We were told how the average French man or woman takes close to 100 touches to move from atheism to becoming an evangelical believer in Jesus Christ. The culture has become turned off to Christianity by Roman Catholacism and now as a whole want nothing to do with that “fake and worthless” religion of their grandparents generation as they so matter-of-factly put it. It is difficult just like in America to share with others about the magnificent hope we have in Christ except in France there is generations of hatred towards the church and everything it stands for. All this to say, there is hope and a new generation of people are starting to see the irresistible community found in Jesus and want to know more.

Our daily ministry ranged from evangelism to the surrounding community, preparing for the bilingual camp (VBS), prayer walks, a half day of prayer with the church members, construction, and many other odd jobs. Their bilingual camp is the IBCs biggest outreach event with around 50 kids from the community coming to learn English. It is most of these kids first time to ever hear about Jesus and can be a chance for an entire life change.

I loved France and was touched deeply by the love the missionaries have for one another and the people of France. I admire their faith and persistence in sharing the gospel even amidst the spiritually dry culture.

“And the world and it’s desires are passing away, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” – 1 John 2:17

Luke

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03
Jul
12

Imani means Faith.

My own faith has most assuredly been increased in the Lord this last week working with these incredible Imani women. Here in Gulu, Uganda we have been working with women refugees from Congo who desire to come out of the sex industry. Many of them have been forced against their will to come to Uganda with soldiers during the wars in previous years in this part of Africa. They have no way to provide for themselves and so many of this group of women turn to the sex industry for provision. Each of these women has a story that will bring tears to your eyes. These women who are now part of a restoration and counselling center called Zion Project did not always have such a bright future. Zion has truly become an earthly shalom for these women who have been objectified, used, and abused for a majority of their lives. The ministry involves giving these women who worked in the sex industry a way out for their kids and for themselves. Zion provides a salary to these women that would have no other way of receiving money through the making of jewellery. These women are so grateful for an opportunity to provide for their daily needs in ways other than what they have been forced in the past. The team all learned so much through the bible studies in the morning with the women and the time spent with the 17 orphans who live nearby also as a part of the Zion Project. It really is beautiful to watch what the devil meant for evil become so incredible through the power of His word.

We have all been learning about community with one another as a team in our time here. A verse I want to leave with because I am pressed for time is John 13:35, [By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.] I have learned the importance of showing love for one another and how when the world sees true community they can not help but want to be a part of it. We can love because he first loved us.

Thanks for reading yall. Hope your summer is going well!!

Luke

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01
Jul
12

“Are you sure you want to do it that way?”

This thought was the most reoccurring thought while in India among the hustle and bustle of a normal day. People are everywhere, all over the roads with cattle, tuk tuks, tractors, and motorcycles. The smells are some that I could never describe to you and unfortunately it’s not something that you would want. Despite all the chaos, there is a beautiful flow among the ashes and a candle in the dark called Emmanuel.

Emmanuel is truly and incredible place. The kids who live at this orphanage are beyond grateful for that place and the Lords handiwork is so evident. Unlike most orphans in india who are left without care due to the caste society, these children ranging from 3-18 are cared for, loved, and told the Good News! The gospel is an integral part of this orphanage. The children pray three times a day and are given plenty of food. Being fed both spiritually and physically, these children are given unparalleled hope in such a lost culture. As much as I want to go into depth about every experience while in India I do not have the time. Some of my favorites have been taking the kids to Pizza Hut when many of them have never been to a fast food restaurant before. It is humbling to think while in America we go out as often as we please that these kids have never even had the option. Another incredible experience was taking all 80 kids to a theme park called “Adventure Island”. Spending the day with kids as grateful as them is always a pleasure. I wish that I could be as thankful for the things I have everyday that I take for granted. It is something I must work on while I focus on the many blessing I have from the Lord. When I overlook the blessings of the Lord I only hurt myself and being able to fully appreciate the relationship I have with Him. Something all 9 of us on the team have been learning is that we can be content and thankful when we look at the incredible act Jesus did for us on the cross. When we examine what He has done it changes our hearts and gives us a spirit of thankfulness. “Seeing and savoring the supremacy of Jesus frees you from the slavery of sin and the sacrifices of love.” -Piper

Last Sunday I was called out of my comfort zone to teach in front of the orphanage. The pulpit is not somewhere I normally enjoy being but God equips the called he does not always call the equipped. As I talked in front of the two global journey teams and the kids, my excitement for what I talked about also grew. I feel as if i must share that special message that was given to me. I shared the story about the Lords faithfulness in 1 Kings 18:20-40 to Elijah on Mount Carmel. To these kids a relationship with Christ is costly and a decision to follow Christ is not without consequences. I learned this in depth from them individually as they would tell me about the ongoing persecution of Christians in parts of India. The story of Elijah versus the 450 prophets of Baal was applicable as these kids face an overwhelming amount of Hindus and Buddhists where they live everyday. I have been learning that we can not fear in tough situations because the Lord provides for His children, for those who follow Him, and His faithfulness never ends.

I think the greatest bit of truth God is teaching me is that “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Despite temptation to fear in life, God does not call us to fear but to something greater. He calls us to Himself and to a live spent with Him which is something greater than we could every imagine.

Thank you everyone for reading. I have been praying for many of you that are reading this. Let me know if I can be praying for you if I am not already. The Lord really is moving in mighty ways both here and right where you are.

Luke

“As a deer pants for water so my soul thirsts for you..” Psalm 42

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17
Jun
12

HK has my heart..

It is full of such beauty and culture that you could spend years understanding it all.  While in this great concrete jungle, same as last year, we worked every day to take bibles in China.  It was by no means a time of relaxation due to the frequent, strenuous manual labor; however, it sure did have some incredible results.  During our stay, 20,950 bibles were taken across in the 13 trips averaging over a ton every day.  Our ten team members, 7 girls and 3 guys were exhausted physically but renewed spiritually as we meditated on our purpose for our labor and those in need.  On some trips the guys would take over 300 lbs at once not to try and set records or impress but because of the great need in the Chinese Church.

The Chinese church is growing rapidly and the demand for bibles in China grows with it.  Our day to day specifics can not be discussed in details on this blog in order to keep safe those working and living from the states in China.  The most important thing being that we saw our God, Emmanuel at work, for he is surely with us.

The team has encouraged me so much in our time thus far on the trip.  They have shown selfless servants hearts in the way they have served the missionaries and their tireless work for the gospel.  They are intentional with every minute and demonstrate their love for Christ by how they have been unified as a team.  We really have become a family.  I am driven to be a better man by their actions.  “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:35

The greatest thing the Lord taught me in HK was that we can be satisfied in His grace and character alone.  Everything else in this life fades as we run towards Him.  Psalms 42 has been such an encouragment as it talks about how David thirsts for the Lord.  “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?” -Psalm 42:1-2

I miss all of you.  Thank you for your prayers.  Please be praying for strength and energy for my team while in India.  Jesus is all we need.  His grace truly does change everything!

Luke

02
Jun
12

a new beginning

IM BACK!!  Never in my wildest dreams did i believe that i would be back blogging about another global journey trip.  It is truly the will of the Lord that I am back here once again.

Last summer my perspective on life and others cultures was radically changed as I came to encounter many people from all areas of life.  We traveled to China, India, Uganda, France, and Costa Rica.  It was a summer of growth, intimacy with Jesus, and adventure.  I learned much about how BIG our God is.  Jesus has a global purpose and when we talk about how He has a plan for our lives we are by no means incorrect but what is even more exciting is contemplating how he has a plan for the entire earth.  He is working out our lives to be just one part of the massive plan to bring about his glory unto all the nations.

Psalm 46:10-11 says,

Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

I have been learning that he delights in us taking a break from the business of life and learning against Him to rest; however, the point of these verses is to exclaim the fame of the Lord Almighty!  He is might to be praised!  Not only here but all over the world!  Modern christianity has taken away the best part of this verse and that is the praising of the Lord to the ends of the earth.

I am excited to be learning as I travel with a team of 10.  It will be an eye opening experience to be in a leadership position co-leading with Sarah Rinn.  I know that without the Lord guiding me I will fall flat on my face but with Him the possibilities are limitless.

God will do some big things this summer.  I am excited and expecting this because He has never let me down and he never gives up on us.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
(Romans 1:16-17 ESV)

I need prayers this summer and would love to know to know you are praying for me if you decide to do so.  Thank you so much everyone who has supported me in the call so far.

Eternally His,

Luke

 

 

 

22
Jul
11

Nice is very nice.

We have been on the road now for almost 2 full months! It has been crazy to be out of the country for this long! I am starting to get very use to traveling and the constant change on this journey. America seems so far away..

France was such a beautiful place like you would expect but France needs missionaries!!! I never would have thought about it before had we not gone there but i now see the need! It is such a dark place despite all the physical beauty. Most people have every luxury but no inner happiness (sound familiar?). I feel as though when you get out of the States life gets a little more chilled out. We are always moving in the US. Our ministry there consisted of working with an IBC or International Baptist church which was founded out of Denton. The pastor, James Arnold, also from Denton, he, his wife and 5 kids have been living there for 5 years. They plan on living there till God calls them somewhere else.

Here are some of the things we did during that week..

1) We helped a guy named Edwin by cleaning his apartment. Sounds simple but it was a little more dirty than the average slob (I have some gross pictures later). Upon arriving, they told us that a common problem with most people in France is depression. They told us how France has an abnormally high suicide rate and the citizens don’t understand why. Most people in France do not want to have anything to do with religion, especially christianity. After trying Catholicism for many years and it not bringing joy, they believe all religions are the same and are a waste of time. The pastor said it has been difficult to see very many people come to Christ there despite their outreach efforts. The devil has a hold on the hearts of the people in France due to materialism.
Back to our friend Edwin though.. He was one of the many who struggles with severe depression, obesity, and his faith. He was a church member who just needed to jump start his life again. Our friend Egor who took care of us while we were there (from Serbia) said we should just clean out the whole place. It was a disaster. Edwin had lived there for 13 years and had never thrown away anything or cleaned. He couldn’t part with his junk. He had a cat and there was a layer of cat hair on EVERYTHING in the apartment. Needless to say it looked like an episode of “Horders” (TV show about people like him). After 2 full days of cleaning us guys made the place look completely different. (only us guys went to his place because it was too disgusting for us to let the girls go haha if that gives you a picture. After it was all done he came to church for the first time in a couple months and worshiped. Praise the Lord.

2) Their church was having a bilingual camp for the community which brings in about 60 community kids who want to learn english. The theme was Pandalooza. Don’t ask me how they came up with this theme haha. Last year 6 kids came to accept Christ so they were extremely excited about it this year again! With a Panda theme comes Panda stuff like Bamboo and boy did they need a lot of bamboo. One day we cut all morning and afternoon which was so crazy to do in France! Haha I of course found the axe and all of us guys and girls played our parts cutting down, trimming, and bundling the bamboo to take to the church. We even got attacked by a heard of goats at one point!! That is a story however I will need to tell you in person to get the full effect. It was a full day. The next day consisted of cutting out different decorations for the walls and doors as well as placing the bamboo around the church. By the end of those 2 days, they had a full scale jungle in the church for the bilingual camp which is taking place this week! We are all praying that many new believers come to know the Lord through this camp.

3) While we were there, their basketball camp was also going on. During this time Blake was allowed shared the gospel and we were able to play with the kids. A guy named Mike who is a professional basketball coach from Germany came down with one of his players Maurice who was also a Christian. They have been doing this every year for a few years now and it has been a great way to share the gospel and get to know the neighborhood kids. Kids in France are not too tall so getting to see those guys dunk was all that was needed to grab their attention haha. What a great ministry..

The most memorable thing to me was getting to talk to a guy named Jérome Maillot one night. He was in his early 30s and a professional photographer. Paul and I had been walking around looking for people to talk to as well as a place to eat for dinner. After walking to 8 shops that were either too expensive or closed we frustratedly went to a sandwich shop and sat down at the park. I saw a guy that was by himself and went to go sit and talk. Surprisingly he spoke English and wanted to hang out! We could tell it had put him in a better mood. After hanging, goofing off, and playing Bachi ball (like horseshoes except with heavy metal balls) with each other we invited him to dinner the following night. He agreed and the next night after dinner we drove out to the beach with him to introduce him to the other church members. At dinner he shared how he had been feeling depressed and how he had gave up on religion 13 years ago. He had said religion was all a ploy to control people and that he didnt think he could ever be good enough. Through talking we were able to defend the faith and love on the guy. He even agreed after playing volleyball that night together to go to church on Sunday! We serve a big loving God. It was great see how the Lord did EVERYTHING. Now looking back we realize how much it was a divine appointment.

Thank you for reading this long blog. The Lord has been teaching me great things. Mainly about my pride and my need for his love. Life all really has to do with bringing Him glory. We do that most when we most delight ourselves with his goodness and mercy.

All for Him,
Luke

“Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up” -James 4:10

12
Jul
11

Lulwanda. The Rock.

The journey to Uganda began a little something like this..

Leaving India proved to be very difficult. Before we left all of the children gave us notes that they had written for us saying things like “Thanks for taking us to KFC and waterpark. We love you and miss you”. We were presented each with a mug with our picture on it with all of the precious kids. It is not easy leaving people that show so much love.

We flew to the Dubai airport which is a beautiful building as our first stop on the journey. I am pretty sure i pulled an all-nighter course with all the time changes it can be hard to tell. The Lord has definitely given each of us on the team strength when we need it throughout this journey. From there we flew to Addis Ababa, Etheopia and finally to Entebbe, Uganda. What a ride..

Getting off the plane I was imediately surprised. Mbale, Uganda which was our final stop on the journey where we stayed was beautiful! Funny things started happening almost as soon as we left the airport. As we were driving along and getting to know who we would be working with, the car slammed to a halt. I heard the driver start to laugh and expected to see a cow or something in the road like in India but it was a little different this time. Out in the middle of the busy street a madman (who apparently comes there frequently) was walking buttnaked down the road in all the traffic. Hilarious. The whole 5 hour drive after that was mainly uneventful on the really poor roads except for the few potholes that sent us flying. The view of the rolling green hills was breath taking. When i think of Africa, what comes to my mind is the huts, the mud brick houses, and the flat dirt savannahs. The first two were definitely there in parts but this could be the greenest place on the planet. God did good.

The orphanage we worked at there is called Lulwanda meaning “the rock”. It has 110 orphans from the community and it is amazing to see how blessed they have been by the Lord’s provision. Reading each of the kids stories was so sad to hear what inhumanities they had been through prior to being at the orphanage. All of the children had lost either 1 or both of their parents to HIV aids except for one who had a mental disability.

For the majority of the time, we were support missionaries doing behind the scenes stuff more than interacting with the kids there. This was a major change from India where we were with the kids 24/7. We stayed busy painting the buildings around the compound which desperately needed it. By the end we had painted the inside of 10 different buildings. Although at times the work felt mundane and repeptitive, we serve a God which works through the mundane parts of life to accomplish supernatural things. Praise Him for that.

During the weekend, we had the morning off and 4 of us guys decided to take a hike up Mt. Elgon which is the local mountain we drove by each day. We originally thought it would be a 6 hour roundtrip turned into a 9 hour 11 1/2 mile hike with 2500 feet ascension. Oh my goodness, so worth it. We hiked up with our guide named Enoch who happened to be a christian as well and worked as the night guard at the house where we stayed. He became a friend of mine on that journey and is one of the people i will definitely be keeping up with when this journey is over. God allowed us 4 guys who went to encourage him with his family and with his job. He explained to us that we must tell people back home in America about him and his poverty as well as so many others who are in great need. He told us he did not understand how people that have so much and do not help others more. I would be lieing to him if I didn’t tell you. I will for sure be posting a picture of him and his small brick home he invited us into soon.

God has been teaching me, through Enoch and others, how important it is to love those close to you. Especially those that are your enemies and how much of a witness that is for the God of love we serve. He has been showing me how to love others with more than words but with actions and with my time. I have learned that I must become less in order for him to become more in my life. Throughout history, God has always used the “lowest of the low”. Whether it is the young, the lame, the orphans, the poor, the broken, the prostitutes, the destitute, or the powerless; God loves using those those who can give him the most glory back for their success. God deserves all glory and all recognition for his workings on this earth. Why would he use someone who is going to claim it was on their own strength they succeeded? I must constantly be making myself less so that God will choose raise me up in His perfect time.

1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalted you”

Thank you everyone for all the prayer you have blessed me with.

I love you all very much and miss you.

In Him,

Luke

1 Peter 5:9 “Resist him standing firm in the faith knowing that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings”

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