Friday, February 29, 2008

World Christian Week

This week was CIU's annual missions conference week, "World Christian Week." Classes were cancelled, we had special chapel services with a pretty incredible keynote speaker. Reverend Musekura spoke on reconciliation. A native Rwanda, Hutu, his wife is a Tutsi. He lived in Rwanda during the genocide and lost most of his immediate and extended family in it. Talk about reconciliation. His talks humbled me as an American, all the insignificant (in comparison) things I worry about reconciling. No one has killed MY family.

He preached his series on reconciliation from Nehemiah. I thought I'd share some of the highlights from his talks for those who are interested.

Session #1: Broken Communities (Rwanda, Sudan, Kenya)
Scripture: Nehmiah 1-2

3 Characteristics of Community Builders
* A Caring Man - we have become a prideful and self-centered people, we sit in the same pews go to the same churches but we don't truly CARE for each other, missions is dying because people have become apathetic

* Becoming Prayerful Builders - we need to ADMIT our sin, we will not begin to heal or see reconciliation until we confess our sin

* A Visionary Man or Woman - God needs us NOW, your "community" may be as close to home as your own family, reconcile relationships WHEREVER they are broken, God will give us vision after we are reconciled with people

Session #2: Preparation of a Community Builder
Scripture: Nehemiah 2:1-10

God Prepares Us in 3 Ways
* By making us emotionally and spiritually restless - just as Nehemiah was broken over the state of the Israelites our pain for lost nations will overwhelm us, always prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually so when God says "GO" you're ready

* Pray - acknowledge the hand of God in your life, prayer = preparation

* Team - walk in UNITY, not independently, we have become "tribal missionaries" all working separately in our own groups or denominations

Session #3: Rebuilding the Walls
Scripture: Nehemiah 3-5

3 Important Principles
* Principle of Coordination and Cooperation - work TOGETHER, we die (emotionally, spiritually, burn out) because we we work alone

* Principle of Social Justice - be models of social justice, share your wealth, share the gospel but meet people's physical needs too

* Principle Learn to Deal with Confidence - build with confidence

answer to prayer...

Just wanted to give ya'll a quick update on our Chinese ministry. Since my last update another girl, Debbie, accepted Christ as her Savior. She comes from a very broken family life and struggles with self-esteem. Praise the Lord for her understanding and new found life in Christ! Pray for her to grow in her faith as she begins discipleship with one of our small groups.

Also I was able to meet 1:1 with all three of my students to start up our Bible study for this semester. All four of us are meeting tomorrow morning to do our next study. Also our Bible study at the Chinese Church this past Sunday went really well...discussion on relationships and purity. They were attentive and gave a lot of good feedback. One of the girls I mentioned before, Alice thanked me afterward for talking about various issues. She also asked me to be her accountability person. Praise the Lord for the work HE is doing in these students' lives! Thank you for praying!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

China Ministry

I wanted to post an update on our ministry here with the Chinese high school students at Ben Lippen (the private international school on CIU's campus). We've met 2x this semester to do large group activities and catch up with everyone after the break. It's been challenging for me to make contact being off campus now. Please pray that I will be dillegent in pursuing times to meet with my students.

Some awesome highlights already: Cherry, one of our girls accepted Christ last week. The even cooler thing? She shared the gospel with two new Chinese students 2 days later! She couldn't help herself!

Another one of our guys from last sememster EG, approached one of our guy leaders about having accountability with some things he is struggling with. He has shown HUGE maturity in wanting to change and also is growing in his faith. Stone, the leader that is mentoring him said he read through most of Matthew on his own over a period of a couple of weeks. EG is making it a point to immerse himself in God's Word, praise the Lord!

Stone is going to be starting a leadership development training in mid April for those students that are believers that really want to do more. We want to train leaders to multiply and train more leaders...whether that be here or back in China. We are preparing students for this over the coming weeks through our discipleship groups.

Pray requests: We have two new guys and as of a couple days ago, another new girl student all from China that will be a part of our ministry this semester. None of them are believers. In fact the two guys are pretty closed off to the whole idea. Please be praying for them!

Pray for our discipleship groups. I have not started mine up again this semester b/c of scheduling conflicts. Pray that I will be able to meet with my students this week.

Pray for leaders to raise up and have a passion to do a more intense training in April so they will have a solid foundation to continue ministry when they move. Several students graduate and go to U.S. universities. Some move back immediately to China.

Pray for our next 2 large group meetings. This Sunday we are doing a lesson on dating and how to have healthy relationships. Next week we are doing an Easter lesson gospel presenation b/c it is the last large group meeting we will have before Easter. Please pray for clarity in our presentation of both lessons and for open hearts and minds.

God is doing truly amazing things in our students! We are blown away as a group. I would LOVE to share pictures with you but can't for confidentiality purposes (private school students). They are awesome!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon

"Smile Anita!"....mile 11

Getting warmed up!

Joanna pinning on my back bib (never had a back bib before)

Putting my chip on my's SO early!!

Woohoo!! I competed and completed my first half marathon race this past Saturday! A couple of friends drove up to Myrtle Beach with me to cheer me on for the event.

I was a little anxious to see how my knee was going to hold up for the race, but it felt really good! About the 9th mile it started cramping up a little but then subsided and I finished the last 3 miles at a 8:30 pace. My overall time was 1:56:27. My goal was to finish in under 2 hours so I was happy with my time. My uncle Dean won the Eller wager on times guessing 1:56:39. Sorry Dale and dad!

Thanks to those who were praying for my leg! I was soar after from racing hard, but there was NO sharp pain at all and NO limping afterward, YAY!! I'd love to do one again in the future but am going to take it easy for a little while. As far as races go, this was a VERY FLAT course. Five miles of it were right on the beach (on the road but right next to the ocean). It was really nice. I recommend it to any interested parties.

After the race...and a shower at our hotel, Joanna, Anita and I went back to the beach to study in the sun for a few hours before driving back to Columbia. It was a very refreshing weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Open House

a crowd in our kitchen

our living room

This past Saturday night Kristin and I had an open house at our new apartment. We're finally settled and invited all our CIU friends over to see the new place. I also invited our neighbors...only 2 were home and one came, but it was good to start making connections with the people we live near. All in all it was a great night! We had about 30 people stop was a crowded little place, but a blast to have people fellowship in our new home!

Fun thing? We are located about 2 blocks from USC international student housing so we can walk or they can WALK to our house! Woohoo! Some came over Saturday night. We are hoping to start a bible study here at some point. Right now I am focusing on getting to know my neighbors and building relationships with them. Crazy how we, as Americans, don't INTERACT with our NEIGHBORS! Why is that?!? Kristin and I LOVE our new location and the ministry opportunities that there are here.

race time!!

I've been traing for the BI-LOW Myrtle Beach Half Marathon since December and it is finally here!! I run this Saturday at yes, 6:30 a.m. I think it's the earliest race time I have had yet! Not sure why they start so early seeing as it's February and the heat isn't a factor, but I'll be done by breakfast time...maybe it's so people can eat breakfast twice?? For my non-runner friends a half marathon is 13.1 miles. A good long run, but short enough that you can feel human at the end.

I've been nursing an IT (illiotibial sp?) band injury the past week and a half so that may affect my results, but this is my first half marathon so I have no PR to beat! The Eller men have all taken wagers on my finishing time. By "Eller men" I mean my dad and his two brothers...all runners. They've all picked a fast pace and slow pace time that they think I'll finish in. What do they get if they win? Bragging rites! My family is a little a good way. :)

I'm driving up with my roommate and two other girlfriends Friday afternoon. Lookin' forward to a great race! I'll post my results when I get back! Thanks for the encouragement Ellers! AND thanks Dr. Doner for the injury advice!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

spring semester's in full swing!

So I had high hopes of being on top of my blog this semester now that I have internet access at my new apartment, but that doesn't seem to be the case. After finishing my winterim class in Atlanta life took off...getting settled in our new apartment downtown, working on projects for my winterim class, starting spring classes and finding a job. It's been a bit busy to say the least, but life seems to be in more of a groove now.

A little update on things for those who have been asking and praying...I have a JOB!! Woohoo! I start tomorrow and will be working with 3 families in the area as for those seminarians who have asked that does not stand for Presbyterian Conference it stands for "Personal Care Attendant." I'll be working in homes with children with special needs...something I am very familiar with having working 5 years as a speech pathologist in elementary schools. The pay is low key, but the job is also low key. I debated doing speech therapy this semester, but the material prep, paperwork, plan time is VERY time consuming OUTSIDE of work and right now my purpose and focus is SEMINARY. After praying and considering several options, this job was presented to me and it really fits what I want and need right now. I am thankful for this answer to prayer! Thanks for praying about it!

Classes you ask?? I am taking 4 this semester, Perspectives, Hermeneutics (how to interpret the Bible), Prophets, and Mobilizing Christians for Personal Evangelism. The Evangelism class is a great follow up from my winterim class. Right now we are practicing and learning the "One Verse Method" on how to share the gospel in a quick but complete way. If only I had had this when I did my "evangelism training" study with my youth girls years ago!! I am excited for all that I am learning and that I don't have to make all my own stuff from scratch anymore! Hermeneutics is probably one of my favorites, I love ALL my classes this semester, but Herm. is SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!! For all my youth now college girls and any other interested parties reading, if you EVER get a chance to take a Hermeneutics class DO IT!! I will do my best to share snip its of what I am learning as the semester progresses. It is FASCINATING TO ME!!!

On the whole, I am thankful to be back studying and feel afirmation from God (even more so now than last semester) that this is where I am supposed to be and seminary trainging is what I am supposed to be focused on. The end outcome??? No idea. But that, I am learning, is the beauty of how God works. He'll let me know my next step when I need to know it. For now my job is to soak up this training and be available and obedient to go when and where He says in HIS TIME.