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Break My Heart for What Breaks Yours

That has been my prayer.  One of my favorite songs says, “….break my heart for what breaks Yours….show me how to love like You have loved me……everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause….”  I truly want to see the world as the Lord sees it and love others the way that He has and does love me.  Since I have started praying for this, the Lord has put me in situations to see Him minister to others and show me how we can minister to others.  Over the last two months I have gotten the privilege of people who are suffering under the trials of this world to share with me and I have seen how hard this life can be.  We were in the middle of all of the tornadoes in Alabama that came through and we drove up on houses where a tornado had just ripped people’s houses and lives apart and they were just standing with their hands on their heads in shock.  In trying to prevent a latino woman from having an abortion, I saw young women coming out of the abortion clinic crying because they had just had an abortion.  It was a sight that I think I will never forget and it broke my heart.

Now the question is, what do I do…. how do I respond to Him breaking my heart for what breaks His?  The first thought that comes to my mind is LOVE.  God loved me when I was unlovable.  He has given me hope in His love and His promises.  I have faith in His character.  He has granted me grace in my most difficult times to endure and even worship Him when the world thinks otherwise.  Therefore, I am to extend His love to others.  I am to share His hope and promises with others.  I am to share and teach others about His character so that they too can run to Him in their time of need.

My challenge to you – Will you open your eyes to see as He sees and love as He loves?  Will you allow Him to break your heart for what breaks His?  Will you help others by sharing the ultimate gift of salvation through Christ and not keep it to yourself?

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17  ” 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”

Please listen to this song and be challenged to love people right where they are and love them with the love that you have been given!!

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Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Quick MMBC Update! :)

We have had a great week so far with the group from Mount Moriah Baptist Church!  They have been sharing their testimonies and leading Bible studies!

We had a great Sunday! We had over some of the people attending Jacob’s Bible studies. We had a big chili lunch! Everyone gathered around our big picnic table and ate together like a family! We all chatted together and it was really neat to see everyone interacting! The kids then played and ran around the yard and all the adults sat around and talked and shared and got to know eachother better! Really a time of growing as a family! 

Saturday we had the women’s tea! It went really well. I translated, which went better than I expected and everyone seemed to have a great time! Lizzie and Sophia had made a cake and brownies which the ladies seemed to really enjoy! None of them had ever had brownies before and they ate them all, which made Lizzie and Sophia really happy with their accomplishments!! I have been taking them around with me to buy groceries and showing them how to pick out the good veg and fruit and teaching them to bake and cook, so they really enjoyed others eating their food! Lynn and Shelia had baked with them the night before the cake and the brownies, so it was fun all around. The team seems to be having a great time and are really encouraging us!! We have really been blessed by them!

Oh, and we played with the kids in lower Cipreses Saturday morning. Everyone had a great time, however, Greg seems to have pulled his hamstring and is hurting pretty bad. I am sure that he would love your prayers for less pain and healing. Tomorrow Gus, Shelia, Greg and Lynn are going to Orosi and the rest of us are keeping on keeping on. 

Such an exciting week behind us and ahead of us! I tried out my lesson on them for the conference. They seemed to think it went well. But I am continuing to work on it! OK, that was alot!!

Please keep us all in your prayers!  Please also keep Jacob’s sister Lynn as she was hospitalized last week and the doctors are still trying to figure out what all is going on.  She is back home now.

As far as our financial situation, we will not know anything until we get our financial reports from Global Outreach at the beginning of March.  Thank you for all of your prayers and encoragement!  We love you all!

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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A night we will treasure and our week with Glenwood!

Not sure if I can adequately put into words the experiences of this past week!  But I will try.  🙂

A team of 14 arrived from Glenwood Baptist in Easley, SC this past Tuesday.  They immediately set to work with a visit to Victor and Melba’s (the orphanage we work with) and we all met up to firm up plans for the week.  Through out their week, they did prayer walking in different villages, led Bible studies with families we currently already have studies with, visited with new families, played with the children near the Bible studies, worked in our house with different projects and worked on our car.  We also planned a time for all of the people that Jacob does Bible studies with each week to get together for the first time to meet eachother and worship together for the first time.  We have had this on our hearts for some time, but for one reason or another, have not been able to do it.  I wrote up invitations and as Jacob and the team went out, they passed out the invitations to those he has been working with…… Dale McCoig (pastor of Glenwood Baptist and this team’s leader) wrote about the days events.  I am going to paste it here….

God’s work IN us today has been – according to everyone on the team – INDESCRIBABLE!!!
 
So because of that here are just a few details from our day.
 
Today we sought to be a blessing to the Guzman children by providing Happy Meals and a fun time at “the ranch.” But, since there were twenty-six very precious children and Mrs. Melba, we were outnumbered and were the ones who were truly blessed!:)!
 
This evening we had an amazing worship experience! Jacob and Courtenay were not the only ones shedding tears of joy and praise as more than fifty Tico’s from different home Bible study groups worshipped together for the very first time. Included in the experience were Marco, who became a disciple of Christ on Tuesday, and Luis, who became a disciple of Christ yesterday! It is impossible for most of us to do. But just try to imagine becoming a new follower of Jesus – leaving behind your sin, your family’s beliefs, and a lifetime of tradition – and having no church family to love you, encourage you and help you grow in your faith. This is the reality of the new believers who come to Christ here on Irazu. This desperate reality is what caused Jacob and Courtenay to be given the vision by our Lord of tonight’s worship celebration. We are praying that the connections made tonight will be used by God to birth a church for His newly adopted children in this area.  
PLEASE PRAY…because “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few”!
 

This night was the culmination of many people’s work and years of it.  It has been on the hearts of many that a church will one day be created here on Irazu.  There are so many people that I wish could have shared this night with us.  But I know that you were with us in spirit and prayer.  I hope I never forget this night.  Thank you to all of you that support us prayerfully and financially so that these people can continue to grow in the Lord and one day develop a church.  Our prayer is that this is just the beginning. 

Psalm 67

 1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
   and make his face shine on us
2 so that your ways may be known on earth,
   your salvation among all nations.

 3 May the peoples praise you, God;
   may all the peoples praise you.
4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,
   for you rule the peoples with equity
   and guide the nations of the earth.
5 May the peoples praise you, God;
   may all the peoples praise you.

 6 The land yields its harvest;
   God, our God, blesses us.
7 May God bless us still,
   so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

  Glenwood Team Jan 2011

 

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Our week with the World Racers!!

The World Race TeamWe had the privilege of working along side a team from the World Race this past week!  These young people spend 11 months in 11 different countries serving the Lord!!  It is a fantastic organization and this group represented their organization fabulously!!  We have experienced unusual cold temperatures in Costa Rica this week, however, we were still able to get a lot accomplished!!  The team shared their testimonies in the Bible studies in Cipreses and Santa Rosa!  They also did some planting with Jorge and also help dig out new irrigation for the new plants.  They also got to go the Victor and Melba’s house and visit and love on the children there!!  They also made us the welcome sign that you see in this picture!  This group just brought us so much joy and they expressed God’s love to everyone they came across with their joy!!  When I think of them, I just think of the joy of the Lord shining!!  🙂

You guys know how I love to cook and so I also cooked them a Christmas feast since they did not know for sure how they would be spending Christmas!!  I look forward to keeping up with these guys and seeing how the Lord uses their journey over the next 9 months!!

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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A Year of …. GRACE

What a day…. for that matter, what a year.  But I’ll start with today and go back.  We woke up to devastation from flooding here in Costa Rica.  It is reported that at least 20 have died because of landslides and flooding and many more are without houses.  Please be in prayer for our country.  While Jacob was helping Jorge repair our driveway and I was teaching the kids, I started getting a migraine.  Not much has helped relieve it and even while having that, I could not seem to sit still and rest.  So I sat down at my computer a couple of hours ago and opened my email.  Simple enough.  I noticed I had almost 900 emails in my Inbox, so I thought I am going to clean this out.  It was like a fun step back in time.  I was mostly delete happy, but occasionally a title would catch my attention and I would open it and walk down memory lane.  It went from preparing to leave SC in 2008, then to our year in language school and then to returning to the States for a brief trip and then back here to Costa Rica in fall of 2009…..

Then I came across an email to Johnny in December of 2009 and I decided to read it.  I was describing the fact that we had decided to bite the financial bullet and me go to the doctor here and then I described my symptoms. ….. It took my breath a bit…. all of the memories started to coming back of this past year….. I immediately remembered calling my parents on a Saturday morning probably right after that email and they were telling me they thought I needed to come back to SC to MUSC to be examined…. I yelled at them and fussed and carried on and told them no. (I cannot think of a time in my life that I had ever acted like that to my parents)  They said that MMBC leadership also thought I needed to return and so did their friend Dr. Joe John whom I had been talking to already asking his opinion.   I then proceeded to call Johnny and guess what, I fussed at him and I think I may have even yelled at him.  DIDN’T THEY REALIZE THAT NOTHING WAS WRONG WITH ME?  I WAS NOT COMING BACK TO THE STATES!!!  I then called Dr. John to fuss at him too.  🙂  (I hope that you all realize this is not my normal personality)  I will never forget that conversation with him.  As he was talking to me I started to cry.  He was right, perhaps I did need to return.   Dr. John, you were the one that got me to return.  Thank you…..

Back to the emails…. I started to go back to deleting them again.  I came across the one from Dr. John from the day after I fussed at him on the phone.  He was so kind and telling me that he had contacted a Dr. Gary Gilkeson, a professor of Rheumatology at MUSC who had agreed to see me as soon as I flew in.  I had no idea at that time what a huge blessing him sending me to Dr. Gilkeson was going to be…. My memories went to flying back and saying goodbye to my husband and kids and saying, “Mommy will be back in a week.  Everything is fine.”  I packed for 4 days.  I sat on the plane, honestly thinking, “Ok, so something might be wrong, but it will end up being small and I will be right back to Costa Rica by the end of the week.”  Looking out my window on the plane, praying, a rainbow followed outside my window the entire 4 hours finally disappearing into the sunset…. Got a call the next morning from Dr. Gilkeson and he saw me that day.  At that appointment I asked him if he knew I had come back to SC “kicking and screaming.”  He smiled and said that he had heard that  🙂  ….

Back to my emails…. I started rereading many of them after this….. I began to get very overwhelmed…. I am actually very overwhelmed right now as I write this….. I started noticing many things.  First, Dr. Gilkeson is a saint for putting up with a ton of emails and questions from me.  And he answered each one….. blessing, blessing, blessing…..   Then I started noticing that there were emails with 60, 70, 80 responses….  It was you guys…. I am weeping as I write that (wish I could give you all hugs right now)…. why?…. Because it is just so overwhelming to me how God has blessed me with so many people praying for me and loving me…. I began to reread some….. I had to stop….. I went to my bed, got in it, put on my iPod and began to weep….

All the memories of this past year started to rush back….. leaving my precious family here, Dr. Gilkeson explaining blood work, biopsy results,  medicines, my immune system, these diseases, being without Jacob and the kids, prayers, new friends, love, God’s love, God’s goodness, God’s power, God’s miracles, GOD’S GRACE.  Many people have said to me over this past year that I am some person special.  That I inspire them.  If that is the case, it is not me they are seeing.  I am just a person trying to live my life for the Lord.  HE, our God, is the one that gets all the credit for the person that you see.  HE is the One who has carried me.  HE is the One that has never left my side.  HE is the One that has kept every promise.  He is the One that has not allowed me to complain.  He is the One that kept me from not falling apart with my family in one country and me in another.  He is the One that held me together as I had to relearn to put pants on with my physical therapist Renee.  He is the One that did not allow me to get depressed over this whole past year.  He is the One.  He is the One.  He is the One…..

It is His Grace.  It has been a year of His Grace.  For without it…. can’t and don’t have to go there….  I can say that I am thankful for this past year.  I am thankful for these diseases.  I am thankful because I have been able to experience God in a way that I never have in my life as a Christian.  And I pray that somehow He will use it for His glory.  I go back to my Scripture verse that was on my heart during my last infusion….

2 Corinthians 12: 9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

What does the future hold with dermatomyositis, interstitial lung disease and Courtenay?  I don’t know.  And I don’t need to know.  Because I have my God and Savior who will always be with me and THEIR GRACE is sufficient.  If you don’t have them, please click on our tab that says The Big Question.  Contact me or someone else that is a Christian that you trust.  He is there for you.

Me and the kids!! :)

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Questions answered!!

So many people have been sending me messages of encouragement, prayers and questions.  I am so thankful for each of you thinking of me and loving me across the world.  I have people praying for me in Europe, Africa, North and South America (according to geography as taught in Costa Rica – there is no Central America, only North and South)!!!  I so much appreciate everyone sending me things and letting me know that you have not forgotten about us and I have even learned of churches where I might not personally know anyone and they are praying for me because you guys are passing along my situation.  So thank you so much.

I am writing this about midway through my infusion on Sunday afternoon.  I am feeling up to it, so I thought I would go ahead and answer some of the questions that many are asking and others many be wondering about, but not asking.  So here we go….

1.  Why a chemo drug when you do not have cancer?  Answer – THE DEFINITION OF CHEMOTHERAPY WOULD BE A MEDICATION THAT DESTROYS OR KILLS CANCEROUS CELLS. IN MY CASE, THE MEDICATION IS ELIMINATING CELLS THAT ARE PRODUCING INFLAMMATORY SUBSTANCES IN AN ABNORMAL MANNER, BUT NOT A CANCER. THE SAME APPLIES FOR METHOTREXATE.  THAT WOULD BE THE B CELLS THAT ARE PRODUCING THE AUTO ANTIBODY ANTIJO1 THAT IS ATTACKING MY LUNGS.  THE METHOTREXATE IS ANOTHER CHEMO DRUG THAT I ALREADY AM TAKING ONCE A WEEK.

2.  Don’t you feel that you need to come back to the US and to SC to your wonderful doctors here at MUSC?  Answer – YOU ALL ARE EXACTLY RIGHT.  THE DOCTORS THAT I HAVE AT MUSC ARE FANTASTIC!!  GOD TRULY BLESSED ME WITH THE ABSOLUTE BEST PEOPLE TO DIAGNOSE AND TREAT ME.  HOWEVER, HE HAS ALSO CLEARLY CALLED JACOB AND I AND THE KIDS TO LIVE AND SERVE IN COSTA RICA.  HE HAS ALSO GIVEN ME FANTASTIC DOCTORS HERE AS WELL.  MY DOCTOR IS THE ONLY RHEUMATOLOGIST RECOMMENDED BY THE US EMBASSY AND HE IS EXCELLENT.  THERE IS A FANTASTIC PRIVATE HOSPITAL HERE CALLED CLINICA BIBLICA AND SINCE WE HAVE INTERNATIONAL INSURANCE, I AM ABLE TO BE TREATED AT THE BEST HOSPITAL IN ALL OF COSTA RICA!! I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE MY TREATMENTS IN MY OWN ROOM WITH A FLAT SCREEN TV WITH FOOD NETWORK TO WATCH (I love food network and cooking and we don’t get this at our house)!!!  IT OBVIOUSLY HAS WIRELESS BECAUSE I AM WRITING AND POSTING THIS!!  🙂  WE ARE HAPPY WITH MY CARE AND DO NOT FEEL AT THIS POINT THAT GOD IS TELLING US TO RETURN TO THE USA.

3.  Are you able to handle the chemo well?  Do you need extra help?  Answer – GOD HAS BLESSED ME WITH THE GREATEST FAMILY IN THE WORLD.  JACOB HAS STEPPED IT UP AND HELPED WITH THE HOUSEWORK AND SO HAVE THE KIDS.  THEY ARE PATIENT AND QUIET WHEN I NEED TO BE AND THE KIDS HAVE BEEN FOCUSED DURING HOMESCHOOLING AND HAVE BEEN FANTASTIC.  LAST TIME, IT TOOK ME ABOUT A WEEK TO GET OVER ALL OF THE TIREDNESS AND MOST OF THE STOMACH PAIN AND NAUSEA.  OUR NEIGHBORS JORGE AND ILLIANNA HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL.  ILLIANNA HAS BEEN SENDING FOOD AND OFFERING TO HELP IN ANY WAY THAT SHE CAN.  I TAKE AN HOUR WORTH OF PREMEDICATIONS BEFORE WE BEGIN THE INFUSIONS TO INSURE THAT MY BODY HANDLES IT AND THEY SEEM TO BE DOING THEIR JOB!!  🙂

4.  Is the chemo working?  Answer – WE TOOK BLOODWORK ON FRIDAY TO MAKE SURE THAT WE COULD GO AHEAD TODAY WITH MY SECOND ROUND AND IT SHOWED IMPROVEMENTS ALREADY.  THERE IS STILL AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT BUT ON THE FEW DAYS WHEN I WAS NOT TIRED, I FELT BETTER THAN I HAVE IN A VERY LONG TIME.  WE ARE VERY HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS SO FAR AND LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING HOW MUCH I IMPROVE WITH THIS IN THE FUTURE!!

I hope that this answers your questions.  If you have anymore, please send them and I will try to answer them.  I have always tried to be transparent through this entire process so that God could show how He is working and how sometimes He uses modern medicines to work His miracles in our bodies!!  I am happy and encouraged.  🙂

“He says, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I’ll accept my weaknesses, even brag about them, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ” 

– 2 Cor. 12:9-10

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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“This is my desire….

to honor You.  Lord with all my heart, I worship you.  All I have within me, I give you praise.  All that I adore, is in You.  Lord I give you my heart.  I give you my soul.  I live for you alone. Every breath that I take, every moment I’m awake, Lord have your way in me.”  Those are the words to the song that I found myself listening to tonight as my infusion has just ended and I am trying to sleep.  According to my doctors and nurses, it should have made me very sleepy and I should be asleep right now.  I was listening to my iPod and meditating and worshipping and I realized, “I’m awake, He wants me to write.”   So I will write.

More words now to the same song right now as I write, “And I will live for You.  And I will live for You.  And I will live for You.”

So, wow!  What a day.  It started with us thinking things were looking so great on the scan of my lungs.   And what results we had gotten looked like all of my medications were working fantastically.   But we had more blood work out there, so we were waiting…..

More words from my iPod at the moment, “Jesus, I’m living for you name.  I’ll never be ashamed of You.  Take, take, take it all.  Running to the one who heals the blind.
Following the shining light.  In Your hands the power to save the world  and my life.”

We got back some results and Dr. Manley came to let me know.  He wanted the opinion of the lung specialist.  The lung specialist said that he could see me around lunch.  So I called Jacob and told him that I was going to see another doctor around lunch, but I am probably going to be able to go home around 2, so if he could come then.  So the doctor came, was very thorough and did an exam and wanted to re examine the scan of my lungs.  After a bit, he came back and said that he had talked to Dr. Manley and he felt that something was missing from the print out of my lungs and he was going to go down stairs and look at the original on the computer to see if there was something missing and if was not still in the computer, he was confident that I needed to do it again.  So we waited….

More from my iPod right now, “What to say, Lord? It’s You who gave me life and I Can’t explain just how Much You mean to me now That You have saved me, Lord I give all that I am to You That everyday I could Be a light that shines Your name Everyday, Lord, I’ll Learn to stand upon Your word And I pray that I I might come to know You more That You would guide me in every single step I take, that Everyday I can Be Your light unto the world.  Everyday, it’s You I live for.  It’s You I live for everyday.”

So he came back and said indeed they had the original in the computer still and infact they had missed the inflammation where I had been feeling burning as I was exercising.  So he had talked again to Dr. Manley and Dr. Manley would come up in a bit and let me know the treatment they had agreed upon.  So in a bit, Dr. Manley was here (he was running back and forth from his office in the next building over to the hospital).  He explained all the blood work to me and what the lung specialist and himself had discussed and I needed this new drug infusion.  It would be best to do it today.  So I called Jacob back…..

My iPod right now, “You go before me.  You shield my way.  Your hand upholds me.  And I know You love me.  At the cross I bow my knee.  Where Your blood was shed for me.  There’s no greater love than This.  You have over come the grave.  Your Glory fills the highest place.  What can separate me now?”

I was very emotional because it was just a roller coaster of a day.  Up and then down.  Jacob encouraged me.  I called Johnny and talked to him about it.  He encouraged me and prayed.  I called my parents and explained it to them.  Then I put it on facebook and sent out an email to our prayer partners.   The nurses started coming in and giving me all of this preventative medicine, pills and 2 different IVs.  And I was a bit overwhelmed.  I think because of just a huge range of emotions all at once.  And the responses started to come in on facebook and in my Inbox……

My iPod right now, “Saved by your mercy.  Found in Your Grace.  Totally surrendered to Your embrace.  And there’s nothing more than You.  See Your perfection.  I’m lost in Your peace.  Your faithfulness sings over me.  And Your love is alive in my soul.”

I don’t think that it was a coincidence that I had this procedure on a Wednesday night.  Because everyone was letting me know they were going to go to their churches and pray for me.  I started being prayed for all over the world.  Prayers were coming in and rising up for me.  I believe that it honored God and He was so pleased and He truly blessed this time.  For He granted me a tremendous amount of peace.  I had to sit here for a little over 5 hours just letting this cancer medicine enter my body.  I had some strange sensations and my stomach is not feeling great at the moment, but all in all, I was able to handle it well.  Dr. Manley came to hang out with me for a bit so that I had someone to chat to as well!  So nice of him to take time like that.  I also had a sweet friend send me an awesome song on facebook that God used to sooth my soul.  I am so blessed to have so many people praying for me.  It humbles me to call on your guys and your love that you pour out for me each time I need it.  You guys have blessed and honored and given glory to God my/our Great Physician, Father, Friend, Never Give Me More Than I Can Handle, Always Beside Me, Savior, Guide, …..

Right now on the iPod, “Take me, mold me, use me, fill me.  I give my life to the Potters Hands.  Mold me.  You guide me.  Lead me.  Walk beside me.”  “Falling on my knees in worship, giving all I am to seek Your face.  Lord all I am is Yours.  My whole life I place in Your hands.  God of mercy, humbled, I bow down.  In Your presence at Your throne.  I called.  You answered.  And You came to my rescue and I want to be where You are.”

And guys I am not sure what more to say, but “Thank you.”  Thank you for being there for me.  Thank you for going before the only One that could truly help me in that moment.  Thank you for giving Him the chance to bring Himself glory through your prayers and His response by just blessing me with His peace and patients while I had that treatment and allowing my body to handle it well.  Thanks.

My iPod right now, “In my life be lifted high.  In our world be lifted high.  In our love be lifted high.”

I feel that is an appropriate place to leave this.  🙂

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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