Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

As we prepare for our Christmas celebrations, let's take time to stop and reflect why this is a special time of the year.

About 2000 years ago, over in the Middle East, a baby was born. This baby was special. He was the Son of God. God sent His Son to us to be born in human form in order to save us from our sins. Jesus is fully God, yet He became fully man, in order to live life on earth and then die in our place and for our sins. Christmas is the celebration of His birth.

The birth of this baby brought hope to the world. Hope of life. Hope of freedom. Hope through our Savior.

So, as you gather with your family and friends to exchange gifts and eat Christmas cookies, take time out to reflect of the true reason for this season.

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

In loving memory...

My Gramma went home to be with the Lord this weekend. While I will miss her greatly, I know that she is in a place that I long to be and I know I will see her again sometime in the future. I thank God for this, that He has provided a way so that we will be united again in the future. I love you Gramma. Margaret B. Miceli
Oct 4, 1913- Dec 15, 2007

The Heartland Ice Storm

I have spent the last week in Chelsea, Oklahoma, arriving just after what is being known as the Heartland Ice Storm. This ice storm caused high amounts of damage to surrounding areas in Oklahoma. The ice caused tree limbs to break off, caused power lines to come down, and water lines to break. The family I stayed with had no power for 3 days (before I arrived) and no water for 3 days as well (2 of which were days I was here). Many people still do not have power or water from the Dec 10 storm. After seeing the damage done here, I know I am grateful for what God has given me and the people here are grateful for the little things, like the ability to take a shower or turn on the light.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

What time is it??

Venezuelans woke up today not knowing the answer to that question. "Why didn't they know what time it was?" you might ask yourself. They didn't know what time it was because the time changed today. That's right. For the first (and possibly the last) time, Venezuela observed their own version of Daylight Savings Time. Chávez had the clocks moved back 30 minutes. This will allow the students to walk to school in a little more daylight.

Because of this, Venezuela now has its own time zone. Also, when the United States is on Daylight Savings Time, the Eastern time zone will be 30 minutes ahead of Venezuela, even though Venezuela is further east.
This time change was done with little or no advanced warning, which left many Venezuelans wondering what time it really was. There was some confusion but things seem to have transitioned well.
Welcome to the world of Daylight Savings Time Venezuela!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Election Day

Today is the big election day in Venezuela. The Venezuelan are voting on a reform of the constitution. President Chavez has initiated many changes to the constitution and the people are voting today if they agree with the changes or do not agree. If you want to see what they are voting on, go here... http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2889

While I try not to get involved with Vzlan politics, I can't help but pay attention to what is going on in Venezuela. This election will cause major changes in several areas of government if it passes.

Even though the people of Venezuela are voting for their country's future, God is in control of all that is happening. The only things that will happen in Venezuela is what God permits to happen. It is all under His control. Amen

UPDATE: Just in case you haven't seen the news, the reformation in Venezuela did not pass and the constitution will not change in Venezuela. May God bless Venezuela.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The end of November....

It's hard to believe that today is the last day in November. Starting tomorrow, I can officially say that I am moving next month. Well, that is provided that my funding is in by then. However, that was the date the was given to us back in April and I trust that if God wants me in Venezuela by "next month" then it will happen.

I have been in Ohio for two weeks now and life seems to be settling down. I have been working part time for my friend's computer company and taking care of odds and ends that I need to do.

Exciting things that have happened in the past 2 weeks...
  • I was able to go back to the school I taught at and spend some time with the teachers and some of the students. I didn't realize how much I miss that school until I went back.
  • My brother in law, Erich, received his kidney transplant last Saturday. He had been waiting for 4 years for an available kidney and he finally got it. He is still in the hospital but he is doing well.
  • My friends in Venezuela gave me an early Christmas present today... my own Venezuelan cell phone. My new phone number is 0414-639-5411 (or if you are calling me from the United States... 011-58-414-639-5411). Now, you cannot call me until I actually get to Venezuela because I am not there to answer the phone. However, once I am there, I look forward to hearing from everyone frequently!!

Before I leave...

Drop me a note or give me a call. I would love to hear from everyone and see how things are going. Take care.

Scripture for the week...

Hebrews 11:1- Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

If you have never read Hebrews 11, read it. It describes the faith of many people from the OT and then gives us some interesting verses at the end.

Hebrews 11:39- There were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

This verse, by itself, would make us wonder if we really want to put our faith in God, believing that He would break a promise. However, that is not the last verse of the chapter. It continues..

Hebrews 11:40- God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

God has bigger plans that we could even think. Sometimes we put our faith in God in what we think He has planned for us. However, His plans are even bigger. This reminds me of Ephesians 3:20, which says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..."

Our thoughts of what God's plans are may be right on, but if God changes the plans, don't become upset or get flustered. Just remember that His plans might be bigger than you can ever imagine. Have faith.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

CIT Video

Here is a video from the pictures of the past 3 months at CIT. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Give thanks with a greatful heart

What do you have to be thankful for? I am thankful that I am home with my family. I am thankful that nobody in my family is in the hospital right now. I am thankful that my training at CIT is finished. I am thankful for my church, Hudson Community Chapel, and all of the people there who have been supportive of me and my ministry in Venezuela. I am thankful for Iglesia Bautista Cristo Vive, the church I attended in North Carolina. I am thankful for Iglesia Filadelfia, my church in Maracaibo and for all of the people there who have helped me with preparations for my relocation. There is so much more that I am thankful for this year, but above all, I am thankful to God for my salvation through Jesus Christ, for forgiving me from my sins, for giving me eternal life, and for giving me the opportunity to serve Him.

Scripture of the week...

Psalm 100:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his, we are the people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever. his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Remember to give thanks and praise to our Lord this Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

To God be the Glory...

God has brought me to the end of another journey. My time at CIT is over. All the classes are done. All reflection papers have been turned in. All evaluations have been completed. I even received my graduation diploma! My car is packed up. Goodbyes have been said. I will be driving home tomorrow. Even through all of this, I am reminded that God is sovereign above all and that all of this has been in His plan and in His timing. He has taken care of me during almost 3 months here and has taught me a lot about Himself, about being His child, about how to love Him and serve Him better, and about how to let Him take control.

One way He did this was through a challenge He gave me yesterday. I have been attending a Spanish speaking church during my time here in North Carolina. All services have been completely in Spanish. It has been great worshipping and learning more about Jesus with the Hispanics in the area while being able to practice my Spanish skills. Yesterday, I spoke in the church, presenting information about my ministry. Did I mention this was a Spanish speaking church? Yes, I had to give my presentation in Spanish. I was extremely nervous about this and have been for about the past week. I prepared all of my materials in Spanish and wrote out what I was going to say. I was ready. I prayed that God would give me the words to say because my Spanish isn't good enough for me to do this on my own. When I gave the presentation, I know I made some mistakes, but I don't think I messed up too much. There were about 30 adults and at least 20 children in the church. They seemed very receptive and seemed to understand what I was trying to say. Before coming to NC, I had prayed that God would provide me with a Hispanic church that I could attend and perhaps allow me to tell them about ministry in Vzla. God provided that and allowed me to speak. I just hadn't quite realized when I was praying back in August that I would have to present in Spanish. However, I believe this has boosted my confidence in the fact that I can, with the power of the Holy Spirit, use this language to speak to people about something I am passionate about... serving God where He is leading me.

To God be the Glory!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Drive-In movies are back....sorta

Tonight, one of my fellow students had a brilliant idea- let's watch a movie, drive-in style. So a bunch of us gathered outside the apartment buildings, sitting on couches which were brought out from the apartments, outside, under the stars and falling leaves, in the chill of the 41°F (6°C) night air, and watched "Ratatouilli" (had to watch something the kids would watch). It was fun sitting outside, sipping hot chocolate or hot tea and eating popcorn while feeling like we were in a drive-in movie theater, with the 12 foot screen on the back of the apartment laundry room building and speakers mounted up on one of the pickup trucks in the parking lot behind us. When the movie was over and the children went to bed, we played a worship dvd and watched a worship concert for a while. What a night in God's creation, listening to people praising Him!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Time flies when you're....

taking classes!

It seems like not that long ago that I drove down from Ohio to come take classes here at CIT. Now, I only have a week and a half left to go. We finished another 2 classes last week. Teams class ended on Thursday and Teaching ESL was a 2 day class on Friday and Saturday (yes, I had class on Saturday). At this class, we learned how to determine a person's level of English and how to being teaching them the English that they need and at their level. This was a certifying class- we each received a certificate of completion after this class :-)
This week's class is called "Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills". This class runs through Friday. We will be learning communication techniques and ways of relating to people better. One thing we talked about today in class was how Jesus was able to relate to people on both a head level and a heart level and how He knew which type of communication each person needed. If we are trying to be more like Jesus, we need to learn how to distinguish how to best communicate with others.
Scripture passage for the week:
Colossians 3:12-14
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
I would also like to ask for prayer this week for a few different items:
  1. Gramma is back in the hospital with what they think is an infection.
  2. I will be speaking to a Hispanic Church on Wednesday, Nov 14 about what God is doing in Venezuela, and I will be doing this in Spanish.
  3. Preparation for my ministry and service in Venezuela as I am nearing the 2 month mark of my going.

Thank you for your continued prayers. God bless you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We are HOM less...

Every week, we have had small group meetings for our HOM (Heart of the Missionary) class. Today was our last meeting for HOM. Let me give you a little understanding of what HOM was about.

In HOM, we discussed the basic core Gospel and how it affects each person down deep within them. Many Christians probably believe that the Gospel is the life changing message that allows a person to accept Christ as their Savior. While this is completely true, the Gospel is so much more. The Gospel is our life story that we need to live on a daily basis throughout our entire life.

The Gospel can be described by the following...

"You are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, yet you can be more loved than you ever dared hoped, at the same time, because Jesus lived and died in your place."

The Gospel helps us see our sin and helps us understand our need for His mercy. When we give more value and importance to things in our lives other than the Gospel, it becomes an idol. Anything can become an idol. However, the Holy Spirit shows us our sin (John 16:8) and guides us in our daily living (John 16:13, Romans 8:13)

We are children of the living God. We have been adopted by Him. Are you able to see the Almighty God as Daddy? This is a hard concept for me, but that is exactly what He is.

When Jesus needed to talk to His Dad, He would go away in solitude to talk to Him. After this time of solitude, He would then take care of the His disciples and then handle ministry needs. Our lives should be modeled from His example. When was the last time you spent 2 hours in solitude with God? You may be thinking that life is just too busy to take out 2 whole hours. Well, guess what... you were given 168 hours of time this week (and every week) and 744 hours just this month. When looking at the big picture, 2 hours is not that much time to devote to talking to God (especially when we consider how much time we spend online, talking on the phone, or watching TV).

With all this, I want you to know that God loves you. He loves you no matter what. He doesn't love you any more or less than He did when you were first saved (and if you have not received Christ as your Savior, Jesus loves you too). There is nothing you can do that can separate you from His love!

My HOMmies

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What do teamwork, dorm dinner, obstacle courses, rain, and chicken have in common???

Answer: They have all been the topic of conversations here for the past 2 days.

Yes, our new course has started. This class, Effective Teams & Team Leaders, is designed to teach us teamwork and how to have effective teams as well as how to be effective leaders within the teams we are on. This course will go for the next 2 weeks. Our primary instructor for this course is highly energetic and likes to talk. This course should be interesting.

Dorm dinner- This is something that we have been doing since week 1. Each week, a person in our dorm building takes turns cooking for all of us. Each of us, when it is our turn to cook, gets to choose the menu for the evening and cooks the entire meal for the dorm. For each week, the person cooking has cooked food from the country in which they are moving to.
  • Week 1- Mexico
  • Week 2- Uganda
  • Week 3- Sadly, no dorm dinner
  • Week 4- Venezuela (Guess who cooked this week!)
  • Week 5- Cameroon
  • Week 6- Tajikistan
  • Week 7- This was yesterday.

Dwayne was cooking for us, but he wasn't going to be able to cook food from the country he is going to (sorry, can't tell you where). So instead, he decided to do good 'ole American food- STEAK!! We had steaks, grilled chicken, baked potatoes, salad, and bread. It tasted great!

Today, a group of people came from Georgia to do a team building workshop with us. This group is from an organization called The Winshape Wilderness. They do different physical and mental activities in order to help build team relations and allow us to think through and discuss different things we learned from the activities. They ran us through different obstacle courses and activities. This was supposed to be done outside today, but due to the fact that something was scheduled for outdoors, it rained all day long (keep in mind, it has only rained 4 times now since I have been here, and I came here on Labor Day). This was quite an interesting day as we split into groups and worked through various activities including the following:

  • Insania- the object of this activity was to get all the balls from the center hoop into your hoop. Sounds easy, but there were 4 different groups trying to do the same thing. You were only allowed to move one ball at a time. Once all of the balls were out of the center hoop, you were allowed to steal from other groups hoops and you were not allowed to guard your own hoop. After several minutes of worthless trying, the groups decided to work together and put all of the balls into all of the hoops by overlapping the hoops. (We are such geniuses).
  • OUT- The goal of this activity was to have everyone start inside a box and get out of the box by having one person go Over the top, one go Under the middle wire, and one go Through the middle, all without touching any part of the box or wire. This proved more difficult than it sounds and required a lot of teamwork.

  • The mute leading the blind- This activity took us outdoors (after the rain stopped for a bit) where we were grouped in pairs. One person was blindfolded and was lead around by the other person who was not allowed to talk. This was a trust building exercise. If you couldn't trust the person leading you to not let you fall in a ditch, then you weren't going to get very far.

  • Hear no, speak no, see no evil- This activity had us paired in 3s. One person was the director and they could see everything but could not talk. One person was the speaker. They could see only the director but were the voice for the director. The third person was the retriever. This person was blind folded and had to find an object based on the directions from the director, which were spoken by the speaker. This was an activity in improving communication. When communication was not good, it was really hard to complete a task, like finding the stuffed monkey.

  • Magic stones- For this activity, our group was stranded on an "island" in which we needed to cross over to shore on "magic stones" which could float on the water. However, we needed to have one foot on the stones at all time or they would float away. We had to get all 9 people to shore 30 feet away with only 8 stones. This was definitely a teamwork activity. We did make it to shore and didn't lose anyone to the "killer hippos" that were floating in the "water" around us.

We also did some other activities which involved building team skills, leadership, communication, patience, encouragement, mental reasoning, and trust. It was good to get out of the classroom for a day and have some fun.

This organization was founded and is sponsored by Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A is actually Christian owned and 10% of the profits made from the restaurants goes to supporting Christian organizations. With this in mind, a group of us decided to go support them and went to dinner at Chick-fil-A tonight. :-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

2 down, 4 to go!

Today was the last day of our second class- Second Language Acquisition. So far, we have completed 2 classes. The next class- Teams & Team building- starts on Monday. We lost some of our classmates today :-( but we will be gaining new classmates on Sunday. To celebrate the end of the class (or just for fun), our HOM group (Heart of the Missionary small group) had a barbecue tonight. It was nice to get off campus and go have fun at someone's house tonight.

There are only 4 weeks left of classes and 4 classes more to go. Teams will last for the next 2 weeks. Then I have a 2 day class on Teaching English as a Second Language, and two 1 week courses- Interpersonal Skills & Church Planting. Boy is time flying here!

Bible passage for the week:
Ephesians 5:1-2

"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children, and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

If you have any insight or commentary about the Bible passage, I would love to hear it. Leave a comment or two!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel?

Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so. Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so. Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so. Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so. Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so. Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so. Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so. Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so. Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so. Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so.

When the love of Jesus gets to your heart like it did to me tonight, I just want to tell Jesus how much I love Him. This was the song for tonight. A simple chorus that is repeated over and over again, just telling Jesus that you love Him.

Jesus, Jesus, Can I tell you how I feel? You have given me your Spirit. I love you so.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

How do you say.....?


Pronounced {privyet}, this was one of the new words I learned in language class yesterday. We have begun to begin learning a new language using language helpers from the community in order to practice the strategies we are learning in class for language learning. привет means "hi" in Russian. After about an hour and a half of practice time with a language helper, I have a 25 word vocabulary in Russian.

It is amazing to see the differences between English, Spanish, and Russian. They are so different, but yet they were created by the same Creator. Isn't it amazing to know that God understands a person praying in Russian, Spanish, English, or any language around the world because He made all of the languages.

Take time today to thank God for language.

до свидания {do svidanya} = Goodbye

Monday, October 8, 2007

The root of missions and language learning

My new class began today- Second Language Acquisition. This class is designed to teach strategies to begin to learn your new language for the country you are moving to. The class teaches how to begin a language using visual and active motion techniques. This would be very useful if I was just learning Spanish. However, I am not sure how useful it will be with more advanced learning. I hope they do teach strategies for more advanced learning.

I also found out that my pastor here in North Carolina will be coming to class, along with 2 other people from our church, to do some activities with the class this week and next. Unfortunately, I will not be in their groups since I already have a background in Spanish.

When we got the schedule for clases for the next two weeks, I noticed that we were not going to have our morning worship times. I was a little disappointed about that. However, the first thing they taught us today was that the root of missions and the root of language learning was worship and we began today with worship. The instructor told us that we will be having spontaneous times of worship throughout this course because worship is the heart of it all.

Think about this.... Who are the best language learners? Children of course. And we, as children of God, should be the best at learning our second language because we are children of the One who created language in the beginning. It was comforting to think that God will give us the power to learn these difficult languages that we need in order to do His work throughout the world.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Equipping class

I have been attending the Center for Intercultural training (CIT) in Union Mills, North Carolina for a month. Yesterday, I just finished my first course here, Equipping for cross cultural life and ministry. This was a course designed to make people aware of cultural differences and how to prepare to enter a new culture. The class itself was not that hard, but there was a lot of homework every night. Some of the topics that were covered in class were:
· Individual personalities and learning styles
· Times of transition between cultures
· Ethnocentrism- This is believing that your culture is better than any other culture
· Spiritual Warfare
· Cultural Analysis
· Culture Shock
· What is truth?
· Expectations
· Risk Management & Medical issues
· Contextualization- This is adapting to the culture you are entering without trying to change them to your culture
· Cross-Cultural Communication
· Dynamics of Religion

During this class, I attended a service at a Catholic Mass and visited an Islamic Mosque. These were very good visits for learning about these religions. If you would like to know about these religions, please ask me.

Monday starts our new class, Second Language Acquisition. This class will not teach us the new language we will be learning; it will teach us strategies to learning a new language. I will let you know how it goes.

Welcome to my blog...

Hola! Welcome to my blog site. I have a confession... this is my first time having a blog. I am going to try to keep it up. If I slack off, yell at me. I want to keep everyone updated on the adventures that God is sending me. I also want to make known my new email address- jyllschenault@yahoo.com (shouldn't be too hard to remember).

Bible passage of the week:

Psalm 117-

Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us, and faithfulness of hte Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!