Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Today, Venezuela experienced a nation-wide power outtage. At about 4pm today, we lost power at the church. I then discovered that it was all over Maracaibo. Not too long after that, we heard it included most of Venezuela. While power outtages are not a big deal, some people had difficulty handling the lack of lights and power. No power meant no air conditioning, which is a concern when the heat index is over 110°F. There were also no traffic lights, and thus major traffic jams. Some areas have since received power, but many areas are still dark.

While I am sure that there is a reason for the explosion that they say caused this massive power outtage, my question is this... Was there something big happening somewhere in Venezuela for the Kingdom of God that the enemy did not want to take place and thus caused a power outtage? For some reason, this is the question that kept popping up in my mind. So, my prayer tonight is that whatever God is doing here in Venezuela will overcome a power outtage. Our God is bigger and stronger than the god of this world and He is able to overcome... even a nationwide power outtage.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Missionaries needed...

Luke 10:2
"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

Many people around the world are dying every day without knowing Jesus as their Lord and Savior. These people are entering an eternity of suffering and hell, separated from the God who loves them, who created them. Did they know about the saving grace of Jesus Christ or did they die never having heard the truth?

Jesus said that people want to hear the truth, but few people will go and tell them. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. More missionaries are needed to share the Gospel with the lost and dying world.

Matthew 28:19a:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..."

I know that being a missionary can be hard work and God can choose to send you to a part of the world that is not the most desirable to live in (in our Western world ideals). However, being a missionary does not necessarily mean suffering in poverty.

While in Aruba, I discovered that there are no Christian churches on the island. There were 2 Catholic churches and one Jewish synagogue, but no Christian churches. The native people of Aruba are living their daily lives without hearing about Jesus.

Aruba needs missionaries!! I know it sounds strange, but it is true. I think it would be a hard mission field, but pray that God will provide missionaries for Aruba.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The desires of your heart

Psalm 37:4:
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

As a child growing up, we were asked in school to write about our dream vacation. If we could go anywhere in the world, where would we like to go? My answer was always, always the same. The Caribbean Sea! To me, that was paradise. Sitting at the beach on a Caribbean Island, listening to the waves coming in, crystal clear waters, white sand, palm trees. This was my paradise and it was the place I would never get to because vacations like that only come in your dreams.

Never say never.

As a servant of the living God, He has sent me to a few various places in His great world to serve Him. Some of these places have not been ideal, but He always got me through them. When I decided to serve Him full time, He sent me to Maracaibo, Venezuela, first to visit, then to live, which was close enough to paradise for me. However, God is gracious and He has blessed me greatly. I have delighted in Him and He has given me the desires of my heart.

While living in Venezuela, I have to leave the country every 3 months in order to renew my visa. I have been in Venezuela for 3 months, therefore I needed to leave. My friend and I are currently enjoying the paradise of Aruba. What a joy to see this beautiful island that God created.

I know that serving God is not always easy. Many times, it is difficult to believe that God is directing where I am and what I am doing. It is not easy picking up the cross and following Him daily (Matthew 16:24-27) but there no better work in all the world. And... what rewards God has in store for those who faithfully serve Him!

Life in the Lagoon

This past weekend, I was visited by a mentor and friend from Ohio. She arrived on Thursday and spent the weekend with me in Maracaibo. On Friday, we traveled to Sinamaica Lagoon to take a boat tour through the Palafitos. The Palafitos are small huts that are built on stilts literally in the water. These huts are built from sticks and you can literally see the water below through the 1-2 inch gaps between the sticks in the floor. This is a very poor area- the people literally have little to no possessions, with the exception of an old boat or kayak, which is an absolute necessity there.

Behind the huts, there are areas of dry ground and there are no houses built there. We thought this was odd that they would prefer to live in a hut on the river than to live on solid ground, so we started to ask about this. Here is what we found out from our tour boat driver and some other natives from around there when we stopped at lunch...

According to the story that they believe, the ancestors of this Native tribe used to be fish. However, as the fish, they started worshipping the moon instead of God. Because of this, God punished them by turning them into humans. He also forces them to live on the water and rely on fish for food, thus eating their ancestors. They are not allowed to move away from the water or they will be punished more.

What a depressing way to live, believing that being a human being is a punishment by God. I am glad and rejoice that God is truly a God who loves and did not create us as humans to punish us but to delight in us as we serve, worship, and praise Him.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I'm singin in the...

Wow! Last night, I was sitting in my apartment when I heard this loud boom. And all of a sudden, all of the lights went off and I heard sirens and car alarms going off. I immediately went to the window to see what happened, but it was completely dark outside. The whole city lost power. As I went looking for the flashlight, the lights came back on. Alarms still blazing outside, I could hear this strange noise coming from outside. I looked out the window again and this time I saw it. RAIN. It was pouring. This is the first time it has rained since I got here almost 3 months ago. A friend here has been telling me that the dry season is almost over. I guess he was right. The dry season ended with a bang (literally). I know that when we are really in the heart of rainy season, I will wish we were back in the dry season. But, for now, it was good to see a little rain.

A fellow missionary I was talking to asked me if I was going to run outside and play in the rain. I would have loved to, but then I would need a shower, which would be a problem. We have had no water here since Friday morning. All last week, I was awakened to the sound of pounding as men were breaking holes in the concrete walls in the hallways and stairwells. On Friday morning, there was no more pounding. I thought that was good until I went to take a shower and found that we didn’t have any water. Apparently there are problems with the water pipes or something in the apartment building. The water was turned off Friday morning, and has been off since except for a period of half an hour, 3 times per day to fill buckets. We did have water today for some time and I was told that the water would be back on for good, but a few hours later was told differently.

Apparently, this type of water problem is nothing new to Maracaibo. Every time I told someone the situation, they responded with “Welcome to Maracaibo”. According to them (and I have seen it myself in some places), there are some areas and buildings that do this on a DAILY BASIS. They will only have water for an hour or two a few times every day. They live out of buckets and coolers filled with water. Wow. That is hard.

My schedule has had to change some. I have had to adapt to the times that the water was supposed to be on. In times like this, I have come to appreciate all that God has given to me, things I usually take for granted, like having water flowing from the faucet. Thank you God for your many, many blessings.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The 3 month update...

I have been here in Venezuela for almost 3 months now. Hard to believe. Does it feel like 3 months? Not really.

I am finally feeling settled. I have my apartment now, suitcases are unpacked and stored away. I have started "living" here, which I knew was official when I got my first utility bill. I am starting to learn my way around the city and my spanish is improving every day.

The work with the children's ministry is moving slowly (as do most things here in Venezuela). However, it IS moving in a forward direction, praise God.

The preparations for the mission trip have had some difficulties. We had some problems with the Visa application for the team members, but trust that God has it all in His control.

Knowing that I will be living here at least until January of 2009, I have resigned from my teaching position at Crestwood Middle School. I had been on a one-year leave of absence for this school year, but had to notify them by April 1 if I would be returning. It was difficult resigning from that job, but not too difficult. I know that God gave me that job (interesting testimony- if you want to know the story, please ask me). I trust that when I need another job God will provide one for me.

Guita continues to grow. It is interesting having a turtle in my apartment. I am discovering her likes and dislikes (which sometimes surprise me). She sleeps a lot and prefers certain areas over others to sleep.

Next week, I will be leaving Venezuela for a few days in order to renew my visa. After that, I will begin my second 3-month term here in Maracaibo.

Thank you for your continued prayers for me and for the people of Filadelfia Church and Maracaibo. God bless you.