Monday, August 10, 2015

A peak into the mission trip: the Guards

I think it's time I gave you a bigger peak into the many things God did while on my mission trip last month... I'll just write a little bit at a time as time permits.

I got ready for this mission trip wrestling fear unlike ever before. Little did I know that this was preparation for the very kind of enemy we would be facing in El Salvador.
"Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world." -1 John 4:4
If you ever have a huge battle with an enemy you rarely face right before ministry, realize God is preparing you to help others stand against the very same kind of enemy in your ministry! By the time I got to El Salvador, it seemed as though God had strengthened me in His battle against the spirit of fear, and now I was ready to reach out to those lost in fear with a hope I was hanging onto tighter than ever before.

During our first meeting as a team, our team leader, Mike Schadt, briefed us on the situation in El Salvador. The gangs were starting to become a legitimate concern among the people there. Fear was spreading throughout the country due to the fact that the gangs were beginning to dictate what people wear and the color of women's hair, etc. The gangs seemed to have the upper hand in El Salvador, and many of the police and military were becoming their targets as well.

The Guards
The governor of La Paz issued our team some armed guards to protect us while we were in the country wherever we went, but since we knew that they were some of the prime targets of the gangs, our biggest concern became the salvation their souls.

Within a week, the first four guards that had been issued to us had become our brothers in Christ! During our month there, we would have twelve different guards come to protect us and countless conversations with them about Christ and the gospel that had the potential of offering them a forgiveness and freedom they'd been searching for. Many of them listened intently, and several of them accepted Christ!

It seemed to us that the guards all had something in common: they knew they were going to hell when they died, because they knew they were not good people. Usually, they were from broken homes.

I was the translator for a conversation with one such guard. He spoke of his teenage years not living with his parents and gave us a peek into what life in Salvadorian militia is like.

They're always having to watch their backs, some live in hiding when off duty. Some cover their faces for fear of being recognized by the wrong people. When their six years are up in the military, they don't know where to go or what to do for work, because all they've known is dangerous work, the work of protecting their country, as well as protecting themselves.

What a joy to see faces that had been etched with worry smiling and at peace with God by the end of their five-day shift with us!

Pray for the ones that are still considering the truth they heard. Pray that they would find the peace with God they are looking for. Pray that they would find in God the Father they lacked in their growing up years in El Salvador.

...More to come later. :)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Mission trip update: SOS July 2015

“Wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!”
John 4:35-36 NLT

It's amazing how many things we take for granted in the states; indoor kitchens, running hot water, clothes that are in good shape, cleanliness, specious homes, air conditioning... I could mention a lot more things, but I'll spare you the time! 

I had forgotten the many blessings we have... Yet, it doesn't matter which side of the world I'm on, I find the innermost needs are the same; the need to be loved, the need to be forgiven, the need for a hope that supersedes every circumstance, the need for a deep, heartfelt relationship with a holy God. 

These things have deeply touched my heart while reaching out to people that experience hardships that we in the States could never understand. His love that changed me reaches past me into a lost and dying world, and it's beautiful. 

Ah, where do I even begin when describing the things He's done? Lives who were deeply intrenched in darkness transformed. Those who hated God now love Him. People without hope hearing the amazing Gospel of hope for the first time... Relationships built, people being helped to their feet again in a world of poverty, tangible gifts given, love and grace and The Good News preached. 

Miracles happening each day; sometimes  in the form of a heart being touched, sometimes in the form of divine appointments, sometimes in the form of heartfelt worship, a scripture, a life changed, never to be the same again... 

Daily there's proof time and again that God is not only real, but personal and miraculous, supernaturally working in the lives of men, women, and children. Best of all, He's working in me... 

It's my privilege to be here in His name! 

Please, dear readers, keep me, the team, and all those in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras we are ministering to in your prayers as we still have two and a half weeks left...

Prayer Requests:
1. Continued unity on the team as new team members arrive
2. Fullness of God's Spirit as we continue to do ministry here in Central America.
3. Youth conferences coming up during the next two weeks -That God would send revival to the young people! 
4. We wouldn't grow weary sowing precious seed! Pray that many would be saved! 
5. Continued energy and health for the team members as well! 
6. Protection both physically and spiritually! 

Thank you!!! :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

He's Mine

A few nights ago, I began to pray through the things that were bothering me most about my life. So many things had been throwing me off balance, and I was definitely not content with where I was. After praying through everything, I settled down and whispered to my God, "I'm Yours." 

Without hesitation, He whispered back to me, "Sandie, I'm yours." 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Let's Go Soaring!

It's gotten busier here of late, and my head feels like it's going to explode with the many different things I've been doing and having to think through.

One day this past week, I put on my "Teacher" cap for a half hour, took it off, put on my "Housekeeper" cap for five hours, put my "Teacher" cap back on for another hour, then put on my "Babysitter" hat on for another five hours. 

God truly has blessed me with much to do right now. But I need to tell you something. I've been getting exhausted. Overwhelmed sometimes when I wake up in the morning thinking, "Do I really have to do it all over again?"

Monday, April 20, 2015

Why This Moment?

"You see me when I travel, and when I rest at home. You know everything I do." -Psalm 139:3

Life gets pretty frustrating at times, doesn't it? 

I was feeling that way about the mundane; done with it. Then I asked God, "what am I missing?" He reminded me of this Psalm. When I got to verse three, I had to stop and read the last phrase again. 

"You know everything I do." 

 Doesn't that mean that He sees and knows about the things that frustrate me? He knows I'm frustrated because of their lack of "importance"?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Source of All My Joy: the Ocean at my Doorstep

"...I will go to the altar of God, to God -the Source of all my joy." -Psalm 43:4

A view of the Gulf of Mexico from one of
Florida's many beaches
God is not just a source of joy. He's not even just the source of joy. He's the source of all joy.

Ever felt joy that you couldn't describe? I can almost guarantee it was because something good was going on in your life, not something evil. That joy came from God. God created it and intends for you to have access to it all the time.

Here's what I mean...

Picture yourself by an ocean.

Now, imagine yourself taking a cup and trying to empty the ocean of its contents.

Do you think you could do it? What if you spent the rest of your days filling your cup with that salty water and dumping it somewhere beyond the shoreline? Do you think the fish under the water would start to tremble in fear that their home would soon cease to exist? I don't think so.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Every Curse a Blessing

"He turned the intended curse into a blessing because the Lord your God loves you." Deut. 23:5

Dear Christian, every single evil thing that comes your way, every difficult life situation, every cloud of darkness, every wound -yes all of those things, God intends to use for your good. 

That's hard to believe, because I look around and see the negative effects of life's worst situations on people I meet. Bitterness, hatred, distrust, self harm, suicide, hopelessness, loneliness.... 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Living for Christ Alone

I need to tell you about the title of this blog. Partly because I have forgotten about it and just noticed afresh what it's called.

"What, you forgot the name of your blog?" you ask. Well, yes... and no.

I just forgot what it means to me, what it ought to mean every time I wake up in the morning, when I lie down at night.... what it ought to mean all the time.

First, living for Christ alone means exactly that. So this should not take too long to explain. :)

Living: In other words, not being in a dead, un-moving state. It's growing. It's walking. It's being. Being everything you are meant to be. Are you alive? If you're not, do you want to be?

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I just made up a new word and kinda like it. :)

Unoverwhelmable: incapable of being overwhelmed.

Of course, this word doesn't describe any thing in my life. Everything is capable of being overwhelmed. My computer, for instance, could easily be overwhelmed by a virus. My house could easily be overwhelmed by decay. My bank account could easily be overwhelmed with emptiness. Nope. Not talking about things.

Nor am I talking about the people I surround myself with. They easily get overwhelmed by life and the things that are in it.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dare to Hope

"Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: the faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning." -Lamentations 3:21-23

Dare to hope! God's love will outlast your circumstances. You can't be separated from His love. What you see before you is not evidence that He's forgotten about you! His love for you is everlasting!

Dare to hope! His mercies are ongoing in spite of your circumstances. He is merciful, compassionate, and has promised not to allow more pain than you can handle by His grace!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

His Love Still Chases Me (Part 2 of I am a Fugitive)

I saw this message written in the sky one day
-a precious reminder of His love.
In I am a Fugitive, I felt so selfish talking about God's love for me, but I'm not about to stop! Now I'm going to try to flip your mindset upside down. I think it might be kind of fun. :)

Flipping my mindset upside down
I always feel that, in order to feel God's love, there must be nothing in the way. I must remove all impurities, all sins that are tainting my view -then, and only then, I can see it for what it is. This simply isn't true.

-Unconditional love
The fact is, God has always loved me first. He showed His love for me when Jesus, His only Son, died on the cross, and the punishment for my sin weighed heavily on Him. He showed it when Jesus asked the Father to forgive me for nailing Him there. "They don't know what they're doing," He says, because in reality, I had no idea that my sins were giving Him so much pain on that cross.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I am a Fugitive

For more than a week now, I've been thinking about a subject that seems almost selfish to think about.

I can't get the topic off my mind! Every time I go to pray, every time I open up my bible, it's there, plain as day... And with it, a little red flag pops up. 

Amazing enough, it all began with me failing to be the kind of Christian I'm supposed to be. Not loving people, not being kind... in fact, kinda rough in my thinking towards them. 

Sure, there were specific and almost "good" reasons to think and be that way... (As in I could of rationalized it away easy as pie.) There. You just got a glimpse into one of the many ways I'm quite capable of messing up.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I Can Eat All I Want

"...And the people ran out of food again..." (Mark 8:1)
This short little phrase jumped out to me as I read the passage in Mark 8. Perhaps because this kind of thing happens to me all the time.

My food is a little different than theirs was on that day. Sometimes it's strength to get through the day. I might have found it in approval from someone or based on the circumstances that are in front of me. Other times it's patience with someone I simply can't be patient with... I muster up all the strength I've got to bite my tongue so that I don't say something I'll regret later.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

When my emotions are out of control...

Often in the shadows I sit, surrounded by piles and piles of emotions that hold my attention and overwhelm me. Often they arrive in a sandstorm of confusion, walling me in and leaving me full of fear. 

They're dirty emotions. Many of them don't make any sense to me. And the more I try to bring order to the piles around me, the more of a mess it all becomes. 

One addition to my piles of emotions came through a friend who didn't fulfill my expectations. The one before that came through a sibling who hurt me. Another whirlwind arrived in the form of broken dreams. And yet another came in the quiet of my bedroom, looking in the mirror at a failure -myself- a girl who could never be good enough; a girl who'd never measure up.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

When My Mindset is Up

This year I started using a Bible in the year plan. It's been interesting to me which books they give you to read first. Part of the first several days was the book of Philippians... As I was reading in chapter 1, several phrases challenged me.

I'd like to pass this challenge on to you.
"For me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don't know which is better. I'm torn between two desires; I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live." -Philippians 1:21-24
I pulled out my notebook and started to spill the thoughts that were coming to mind, which I will write below. (In italics.)

Do I have such a heavenly mindset? 

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Whole Year Later...

As December thirty-first turned into January first of the new year, I had mixed feelings. Partly because 2014 had turned out to be extremely dear to my heart. Many of my own life's most difficult moments had happened in this year, as well as many of the most exciting ones. I wasn't quite ready to let it go.

Come on, it's just a year number... 

On January first for the past couple of years now, I like to write a prayer of dedication in my journal, asking God to do something incredible with the year, to teach me more about Him, to grow me more... that kind of thing.