Transforming; Not Informing
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--
his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
-Romans 12:2 NIV
As I repeat this verse to a friend here in Honduras who is being challenged in his walk with Christ, I find the scripture in Romans to not only be beneficial to him but to also myself. I am finding that as I walk to follow Jesus Christ, I constantly and consistently need to renew my mind to the things of God. I need to transform my own heart and thinking to know what the will of God is for my life, mission & ministry, and not just to have information or know of the things of God but to walk them out. In our conversation under the tamarindo tree, my friend continues to let me know how difficult this can be for him and I agree. We discuss how it is like walking upstream; that each step is hard but each step is a necessity to getting closer to Christ. And as soon as we stop walking, we begin to float away from Him. It is not enough that we know all of this; what’s most important is that we allow this information to transform our minds & our lives.
It is amazing how in such a short time we are able to see how God has been using our call to Honduras to do just that; to transform our relationships, our lives, and our hearts to reflect more of Him. We continue to strive to be in His will, therefore in for this monthly newsletter we would like to share a more personal look into how we have seen God transforming our lives over these past 4 months as we live on mission in Honduras, and share how we are learning that we are not here to just inform others about Jesus.
Transformation In Relationships
Before we moved here, we had visited for 4 years. We kept connections with friends we had met down here and thought that we would for sure have good relationships when we moved this past January. We are realizing how surface level those relationships where, only being able to connect with them for short periods of time, not really getting to know each person on a deep level, mistakenly thinking that we would have a “head start” on discipleship once we moved. When relationships are surface level people are closed up and are hesitant to let anyone in.
But praise God - As we move along side and work in ministry together or just begin to try to really connect at a deeper spiritual level with people, we are understanding more of their hurts, struggles, strengths; many things that people (ourselves included) did not feel comfortable enough before to share before. And it has been only through the power of prayer and really being available and showing that we have a deep, genuine interest in others that God has been able to begin transforming our relationships with people here. So we must give Him all the glory for these transformations.
Several students have begun to open up and share their hurts and feelings as well, (some sharing how they have walked away from God and want to re-dedicate themselves to Christ) and are starting to just feel comfortable enough with us where we can really step in and begin to pray with them. These are opportunities where we can open up scripture to share how God can help them in these times of struggle. We see them beginning to step out and serve others and share what God has been doing in their lives.
Friends here have also shared frustrations and insecurities, trusting us and knowing that we are here to help them seek God through some difficult seasons. For example, God continues to allow us to deepen our relationship with our Spanish teachers. In our classes, we not only are learning the language but are sharing our hearts for the Lord with one another, reminding each other day to day that God has us all here for a purpose, to share the Gospel and to reflect Christ’s love. And in moments when tragedy struck their families, we could share that love with them. From there we have seen a friendship begin with each of our teachers.
As we are stretched in the overabundance of things to do here, I even see my relationship with Kelly transforming. Working together in a new way, full time in ministry can have its challenges, but we are reminded that I am to love her as Christ loved the church and God has made Kelly my helpmate. Not to mention we are still learning how to be Godly parents to Ezra; making sure we instill at this young age biblical principals and the importance of family time. As I see him transforming before my eyes into a toddler, I begin to get emotional to see how God even uses a baby like Ezra to shine His love to people. (He is literally a celebrity here as we have been asked by many if they can have a picture with him!) We have been able to grow stronger together spiritually and we are finding the importance of being totally open and honest with each other. It has not only grown us but it has also allowed us to be more effective in ministry.
Spiritual Transformations -
There are times that we ask God if He sent us down here only to pour into the Hondurans, or if God wanted to take us out of our comfort zones, to surrender all to Him so that He could teach us more about Him. God continues to transform our hearts spiritually to continue to care more about the things of Him and less of the things of the world. He is teaching us the necessity and difficulties of discipling others. And most importantly how no matter what, He is always first. He is always the center and from Him we can do all things He has called us to. He continues to transform and grow us in how we pray and read the Word and is teaching us how essential the both of them are for our lives.
It has been at times overwhelming to see the blessings and answered prayers that He has given through our seeking Him - But we know in everything we are learning that we must turn around and share with others about His goodness. As we share the Word here, our focus is always explaining how we need a relationship with Christ, not just to know who He is. We pray people come to know Him on a deeper level, experience the Holy Spirit, and not think they have to earn their way to heaven. Please join us in that continued prayer for heart transformations.
There have also been several other transformations in the past month that we praise God for:
Transformation of Our House
We are so thankful for the people on the Stateside team who helped send down a container of humanitarian aid which also had several of our personal items that we had not seen since we moved from NC in November. It’s crazy how those little personal items have really helped to transform our house into our home.
Transforming Lives in the Rec Center
Relationships with people who have been coming to the Center have been transforming as well. We are seeming to gain a little trust with people who come often, as they have come to us for prayer and with questions about the Lord. It has been amazing to see relationships start to form just because you remember someone's name from the week before. We continue to pray for deeper connections and being able to help people grow deeper roots in the Lord. Because we have seen many surrender to the Lord this past month, we know that it is God blessing the consistency and dedication to prayer of our team here. But please join us in prayer as we continue to seek how to begin bible studies out of the center.
Transforming the Ministry
As God continues to transform our lives and others here, we continue to hope and pray that as you seek Christ that your life is being transformed as well. And we pray for those who only know information about God, that you can witness and experience the true heart transformation that can only come from knowing Jesus.
We thank you tremendously for your support and prayers. Without God placing you in our lives with your generous hearts and your heartfelt prayers, we would not be able to be here. Please continue to pray and praise God for his protection, goodness, and love.
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