Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A few photos....

Hit Piña!!!! One for now, one for later!

Mamones... yummm

My host siblings- Samira, Diana, and Alberto

Guita- enjoying Nana's Italian cookies. Thanks Nana!

Sign-ups for the first VBS in Filadelfia Church

Out to lunch after church

Singing Gaita music after church

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hot, hot, and more hot

Today, a few of us went downtown to the heart of the Maracucho marketplace, where small stands are selling fruits, vegetables, clothing, CDs (pirated, of course), trinkets, gadgets, and anything you can possibly imagine under the sun. It's hot... very hot. I believe it is at least 10 - 15 degrees hotter in the downtown market than it is anywhere else in this hot city, which would make it at least 110ºF (probably more) in the market, with a heat index higher yet, I'm sure.

Temperatures extremely high. Thousands of people all crowding together in the tight alleyways of the market. Loud noise- people talking, people yelling their "advertisements" of what they are selling, music playing, babies crying, my friend Samuel making wierd noises everywhere we went.

While it was a crazy time- attempting to find the things we needed to purchase for the VBS, it was also a lot of fun. I didn't even mind getting a little sunburnt. I am enjoying being back in my second home town.

Reunited, and it feels so good!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hugs, hugs, and more hugs

Today, I had the blessing of returning to Filadelfia Church- my home church in Venezuela. I believe I also had the blessing of receiving more hugs today than I have in the past 6 months in Ohio.

It was so nice to see everyone again. I loved worshiping with them, listening to the message from Pr. Raúl, talking with my friends whom I have only been able to talk to online, and even went out afterwards for lunch and hanging out, singing Gaita music. If you recall from previous blog entries, Gaita music is the typical music of Maracaibo.

So, a beautiful, extremely hot (as usual here in Maracaibo), wonderful Sunday praising God and spending time with my Venezuelan family in Christ. :-)

A fresh change of clothing

Praise God! The suitcases arrived today. My friends took me to the airport tonight to see if my luggage was arriving on this flight. We had to wait until everyone else got their luggage before I was allowed past security to the baggage claim area. Sure enough, both suitcases arrived!

I finally can have a fresh set of clothing to wear. I really was not looking forward to wearing that same blue t-shirt and jeans to church tomorrow. Now, I don't have to!! Thank you God!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

God uses fuel

Well, I have arrived back in Maracaibo. I was never happier to see the familiar Maracaibo airport terminal than I was last night. Allow me to explain how God used fuel to His glory and allowed me to get to Venezuela.

My flight itinerary yesterday took me from Cleveland to Chicago to Miami to Maracaibo. This is a very typical itinerary as there are no direct flights from Cleveland to Miami and only flights to Maracaibo from Miami. My flight from Cleveland to Chicago was without incident and even landed a little early in Chicago. I then had about 30 minutes or so before boarding for my next flight.

We boarded the plane and then sat there for a while. After about 15 minutes of waiting, the captain announced that we had a slight maintenance issue and were waiting for maintenance to come check it out.

After another 30 minutes or so, the captain announced that the problem was with the fuel pump- it was not pumping fuel properly- and was going to need to be fixed. If it couldn't be fixed, he was looking for another plane for us. We would be delayed at least another 45 minutes, so if anyone had any connecting flights, they were free to deplane and talk with a ticket agent. I decided to get off and find out what is going to happen with my flight. While doing this, I realized that I might not make my flight to Maracaibo. I was praying that God would somehow allow me to arrive in Miami in time or delay the flight leaving Miami- but not my will but His Will be done.

A little side info for you- There is only 1 flight per day from Miami to Maracaibo- leaving each day at 4:55pm. If you miss that flight, you have to wait 24 hours for the next one.

While standing in a line 100 people thick to find out about my flight, they finally announced that the plane was ok and that we would be reboarding- hoping to leave by 12:30pm and arriving at 4:30pm in Miami. My flight to Maracaibo was boarding at 3:55pm and leaving at 4:55pm. If the gate is close, I might have a chance. However, we did not leave by 12:30, but at 12:50. At this point, I was now praying that God would provide to delay the other flight.

We landed in Miami at 4:45pm. Of course, my gate was no where close to where we arrived- other side of the airport to be exact. I was not sure what time they would be closing the gate or if I even had a chance to make it to the plane, but I decided to give it everything I had and trust that if God wanted me on the plane, it would still be there and if it was not there, then I trust God to take care of me for the 24 hours that I would have to wait until the next plane.

As soon as I got off the plane, I started running. This is not an easy task in an airport- pulling a carry on bag on wheels and carrying a heavy laptop around your neck. Winded. Shin-splints killing. I kept going. Every hall I turned down- hoping to find the gate- but it was not there. Further. Further I kept running. Up the escalator? Why did I have to go up? The plane is not upstairs! Up the escalator to the train to take you to the terminal that is not connected to the airport. Wait for the train (and catch my breath). Get off the train and run again- down one hallway, then another, then another. Finally I can see the gate- and there is nobody there but one man sitting in a chair off to the side. I ran to the gate and practically collapsed as I asked the man if the flight had left. He asked me my name- if it was Schenault. I said yes. He said come. The flight had not yet left.

Praise God!

I got on the plane, sweating, winded, exhausted, but on. Of course everyone was looking at me- wondering if I was the reason they hadn't left yet.

We sat for a few minutes before the captain announced his appologies for the delay. They were holding the plane for one more passanger (Me!) and that they were also waiting to refuel. Apparently the first tank of fuel they had put in the plane had gotten water in it when it rained earlier that day and they had to drain that out and refuel- which was causing us a bit of a delay.

God used fuel to delay me in Chicago and to delay the flight in Miami. He used fuel to teach me that He really does have everything under control and that all I need to do is trust Him.

So, here I am, in Maracaibo. The suitcases decided to spend an extra day in Miami, but that's ok. I am here, ready to be used by God in whatever way He desires.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

All packed and ready to go

I leave for Venezuela tomorrow. I am all packed and ready to go. It is exciting to be able to go back home, see my Venezuelan family, and prepare for Filadelfia's first Vacation Bible School.

I will try to post pictures during my time there. Please be praying for me and the team who will be on the front lines of battle- fighting the forces of evil so that the name of Jesus will be exalted and glorified! To God be the Glory!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So much time and so little to do!

Strike that, reverse it!

To borrow the quote from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is the only way to describe what is going on right now. 2 days. Just 2 little days until I travel to Venezuela for the mission trip. I have so much to do and really no time to do it. I really need another couple of weeks to finish everything I need to do before going. However I just have 2 days.

Don't get me wrong- I am excited to be going to Venezuela. However, I haven't allowed my mind to sink in and dwell on that just yet. I know that when I do, I will really not get anything done. Even now, I should be working on my to-do list. However, I need to keep you updated on what is going on. Either that or I am procrastinating. Anyway, here I am. Preparing to go. Preparing to serve. Preparing to be used in anyway that God desires to use me while I am in Venezuela or wherever I am!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Praise Report for the mission team...

Today, our final 3 team members received their passports. We now have passports for everyone on the Venezuela team! Praise God! The passports were not supposed to come in til next Friday at the earliest- which was just a week before the scheduled departure to Venezuela. By God's grace they arrived EARLY!! We are now all set to go and looking forward to what God is going to do in Venezuela.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Slow work week

This week has been a slow week at work. Because of this, I have not worked very many hours. Since I have had some extra time off this week, I have been able to work more on preparing for the Vacation Bible School in Venezuela and work on my support raising for the Dominican Republic.

I leave in 1 week for Maracaibo. I will arrive a week before the missions team to help with the final preparations for the VBS. I will have about 11 meetings in this one week- meeting with the people working in each area of the VBS.

While it will be a stressful week, I am looking forward to going "home" for a little while, spending time with the people who were my family for a year, and getting to see my little Guita again. :-)

I have also been working on raising support in order to go to the Dominican Republic. At this point, I have about 25 % of my monthly support raised, but have received about 90% of my initial moving costs- which is great. While I know God's timing is perfect, it is hard to know that I will not be going to the DR for the start of the school year- I must wait until my support comes in. However, I trust that God will provide for all my needs, according to His riches.

I ask for your prayers for the VBS and for my ministry in the DR. Also, if you feel God may be leading you to financially support me, please contact me at my email address. Thank you so much.

Friday, July 10, 2009

He is...

He is the First and Last, The Beginning and the End!
He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all! He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times. He always was, He always is, and He always will be ...unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never Undone!

He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can't understand him, The armies can't defeat Him, The schools can't explain Him, and The leaders can't ignore Him.
Herod couldn't kill Him, The Pharisees couldn't confuse Him, and The people couldn't hold Him!
Nero couldn't crush Him, Hitler couldn't silence Him, The New Age can't replace Him, and "Oprah" can't explain Him away!

He is light, love, longevity, and Lord. He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God. He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.

His ways are right, His word is eternal, His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me. He is my Savior, He is my guide, and He is my peace! He is my Joy, He is my comfort, He is my Lord, and He rules my life!

I serve Him because His bond is love, His burden is light, and His goal for me is abundant life.
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of leaders, the overseer of the overcomers, and is to come. And if that seems impressive to you, try this for size...

His goal is a relationship with ME!
He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me, never forget me, never overlook me and never cancel my appointment in His appointment book!

When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home!

He is everything for everybody everywhere, every time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful. I am His, and He is mine!

My Father in heaven can whip the father of this world. So, if you're wondering why I feel so secure, understand this...

He said it and that settles it. God is in control, I am on His side, and that means all is well with my soul.

Everyday is a blessing for GOD Is!

I love the Lord and thank Him for all that He has done in my life.
(This was sent to me in an email. It was too good not to post.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An evening together

Tonight, I spent an evening with my family. It started out with Collin, my nephew, asking me if I wanted to play cornhole with him. My entire family got into the action and we ended up playing probably close to 10 games- turning it into a competition of teams. After our competition, we all went out for ice cream.
Being a missionary, I am often away from my family. I do not get much time to spend with them. So, when evenings like this come along, I treasure them. What a blessing it is to be able to spend time with those who love you the most.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Birthday surprise

It's not my birthday. My birthday was last month. I did not do anything for my birthday. I do not like birthdays and really don't want to be reminded that I am getting older each June 3. But it's not June 3, its July 2. It's not my birthday.

I didn't think anything about it tonight when my friends wanted to go out to eat... didn't think anything about it when my friend, Tony said he left his wallet in the car tonight at the Mexican restaurant and had to go get it. Remember, it's not my birthday. However, my friends decided to surpirse me (or embarrass me) at the restaurant by telling them it was my birthday. When Tony left to "get his wallet", he was actually talking to our server and told him that because I was out of town last month, they did not get to celebrate my birthday and wanted to do it tonight.

During dinner, the server snuck up behind me and stuck a big Mexican sombrero on my head while many other servers started singing. I was shocked... very shocked.

It's nice knowing that my friends care about me, even if it is just to embarrass me in a restaurant when it's not my birthday.