Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2008 Youth Missions Trip -- It Impacted Me
People - God's Grace to Others
First of all, I was impacted by the people we encountered. It began Sunday morning with a song by Pastor Ben's wife. "You see the real me."
Pastor Ben and family
Pastor Ben taught on the discipline of confession of sin (James 5:16). That small church plant on the 3rd floor 18'X22' room in The Bronx was ALIVE and AUTHENTIC. Then we met Jeff.
Jeff and son, Canaan.
His testimony of how God used his weaknesses to bring him to Children's Bible Fellowship was an amazing reminder of God's faithfulness to make Himself known and glorified. So many times I forget my focus: to glorify God, not Lara!
Praise and Prayer
Wednesday night prayer service
The worship was incredibly transparent, authentic, and real. I loved being a part of the small church setting -- no hiding here! The Brooklyn Tabernacle was just as alive, although much larger. They hosted Ashton Hill in concert. The song "Be Free" was what spoke to me that afternoon. I am free, but I need to be free! I was able to let go of living to please others and focus only on living to please God. The prayer service that Wednesday night was passionate! Oh, to be a prayer warrior like that -- unashamed to cry out to God and bless His holy name. The quote by R. A. Torrey impacted me: "What if everyone who prayed for the conversion of souls, prayed like you pray for the conversion of souls?"
Publicizing God's Faithfulness to Me

The kids began by asking what it was I struggled with at their age. That got me thinking. Hmmmm. (It took me a while to remember back that far!) I think it was living like Jesus at home like I lived for Him in public. It's easy to serve others, be kind and patient, love selflessly when you are out and about. It's a whole different ballgame at home, day in and day out. I struggled with living like Jesus, particularly with my brother Rob. The kids could identify with that. Then they asked me to recount all of the mushy details of my romantic life. That was fun to reminisce through. I didn't think it would ever happen to me when I was 16. And, then we got to hear the stories of Grandpa Joe & Marge as well as each of the kids' parents! Wow!! Proverbs 19:22a "What a man desires is unfailing love."

Myra I am praying for Myra and her family. She hopes to visit Georgia in November to see her son graduate from basic training. She's 44, not much older than I am. She has seven children -- from 3 to 27. Despite a rough past, she's pursuing her relationship with God now.

In our devos we read Jonah 4. God loves the city. And, through my visit to the city God showed me again of his love for me. Because of this trip I have a renewed and absolute surrender to Jesus and living for Him ... and Him alone. May His name be glorified through me!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Here we are at Unicoi State Park where we had a wonderful day of playing in the sand & water with Jenny & family. I think Jenny has a better write-up with more photos on her blog, so be sure and check that out. (see sidebar)
(late June)

Here are the kids with Grandpa Verlin & Grandma Jane on the 4th. After the big parade, we leisurely explored all of the vendors on the green. Before departing we just had to get funnel cakes and ice creams.

Grandpa & Grandma left this morning. They did a great job of taking care of our kids, the house, laundry and more. I think the grandparents should finish raising the kids! They replaced our frustrating washing machine & dryer with the new high efficiency front-loader models. I've been dreaming about that type of washer for years, so I was more than excited to discover them installed & working upon our return late Saturday night. I've been washing clothes, towels, & sheets all day!

This morning we picked a bucket load of green beans. My kitchen table is covered with blueberries from last night's efforts. We also have cucumbers, zucchini and a few yellow squash. Yeah! The kids had to pay me back in five minutes of weeding for every green bean I found in their section. Boy, that improved their thoroughness!! Emily & Briella picked their areas clean! Jared & Marci ... well, they'll do better next time I think :).
Goodnight for now.