The time has come to tell you about my extraordinary plans for this fall. I will be studying abroad on mission in Jerusalem, Israel for four months. This is an exciting opportunity for me and I wanted to share some details with you. My study abroad program is through my university. However, I am partnering with Cru Study Abroad so I can live missionally while I’m in Israel.
The main reason I chose to study abroad in Israel is that I am minoring in Hebrew. Of course there are so many benefits to studying in Israel. It is the Holy Land, and I look forward to experiencing the land where Jesus walked and taught.
I recently received my Missions Toolbox from Cru Study Abroad, and I was thrilled by what was inside. I’m going to give you a peek inside to help you understand what I’ll be doing in Israel. If you are familiar with Cru, you know that they have a lot of resources for starting spiritual conversations and sharing the gospel. Among these are Soularium, Perspective Cards, Knowing God Personally, and Satisfied. (To learn more about these, visit crupress.com) I have had at least a little practice with all these tools, and I look forward to putting them to use in Israel.
Another tool in my Missions Toolbox is my Study Abroad Playbook. With help from my coach, I will be able to take advantage of all the information in it. My coach is going to lead me through the book and help me learn how to live on mission while abroad. They will be my sounding board, my encouragement, and my kick in the pants. As much as I want to share the gospel while I’m in Israel, I know it won’t be easy. I will need some accountability.
God has blessed me with the financial means necessary to live comfortably in Israel for 4 months. I would love it if you would consider supporting me prayerfully. Opportunites like these come with inherent risks and obstacles, so I can use all the prayer I can get.
I will try my best to keep up with this blog while I’m in Israel. I know I am going to have so many adventures and stories to tell, so stay tuned. I leave for Israel in about a month and a half, and there is still so much to do. I ask that you please start praying for me now. I trust that God will provide for me once I am in Israel, and that he will get me there safe and sound.
If you would like to talk with me about my trip, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yours in Christ,
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
From February 14 through the 28, a 24.7 prayer movement was held in a building on my campus. In 2013, two University of Oklahoma sophomores started the movement after discovering the importance of prayer, especially for their school. In its first year, the movement lasted three weeks. Its founders rented office space off campus where students could go and pray all day and all night. Since I’m only a freshman, I didn’t hear about the movement until January through a campus ministry that I’m involved in. I was intrigued by the idea and wanted to give it a try. I signed up for a one-hour timeslot after class one day and used Maps walking directions to get to the building where the prayer room was. When I opened the door, I was wonderfully surprised by what I saw. Brown paper lined the walls and people had written lyrics, verses, and encouragement all over them. There were some bean bags, chairs, and rugs around the room for people to sit on. There was even a speaker in the corner where you could plug in your phone and listen to music. The atmosphere was very calming, homey, and conducive to prayer. Near the door, there was a large chalkboard that said what day it was of the two weeks and what the theme of the day was. That day’s theme was unity. I spent the hour praying, and I learned a lot about prayer. I learned that I often pray selfishly, as evidenced by the difficulty I had praying for others and for unity on our campus. I also learned that the right environment can really impact how I pray. I was reminded of the movie War Room and the closet the lady used as a prayer room. It’s like the prayer room I was in, but on a smaller, more individual scale. As much as I would like to have my own little prayer room, my dorm doesn’t have that kind of space. I have this problem where I want my relationship with God to be super formal. I set aside a certain time for prayer, I pray in a certain way and place, and my quiet times don’t go as well unless I’m sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee. I’m working on it. My point in writing this is to give you some context for the pictures. All these things were written on the paper on the walls. They stood out to me. I’ll explain why for some of them. “Come near to God & He will come near to you.” Maybe it’s the way it’s written or the Bible verse it brings to mind, but it’s just such a beautiful phrase. It’s especially fitting in this room dedicated to drawing near to God in prayer. “Praise Him who relentlessly pursues our hearts!” I love the way it is written, but I also love what it says. God relentlessly pursues our hearts. He doesn’t stop or give up or take a break; He is relentless. “I can see the ivy growing through the wall, ‘cuz you would stop at nothing to heal my broken soul.” This, combined with the ivy vine next to it, sends a strong message: God heals even when it seems impossible. “In my deepest wound, I saw your glory and it astounded me.” It took me a moment to figure out what this said, but once I did I loved it. Astounding is a strong word that is perfect for describing God’s glory. My favorite one, the one that my eye was constantly drawn to amongst everything else, is “Lord, take me to Ninevah.” I’ve never heard anything quite like that before. I’ve heard of people being willing to go wherever God leads them but referring to Ninevah, the place where Jonah was terrified to go, reveals a strong desire in that person to follow God’s will no matter where it leads them. They didn’t just say, “I’ll go to Ninevah.” They took it a step further. They said, “Take me there. I want to go. I want to bring your glory to this unreached place. I don’t care about all the bad things I’ve heard about it, that’s where I want to be. I don’t care that it’s unlikely that anybody will listen to me because I have faith in your power and your influence.” It made me think of how I’m going to Israel this fall (more on that later) and how it is my Ninevah. I’m scared but I’m also excited. I know it might feel like I’m talking to a wall (no pun intended), but I trust in God’s power to use me for His glory while I’m there. I say all this to remind you of the importance of prayer, and to inspire you to take a look at your prayer life and think about how you can improve it. Feel free to comment on what these pictures mean to you and how prayer is important in your life. To learn more about the 24.7 Prayer Movement, you can read the article I wrote for my school newspaper here.
Devotion for the week of 8/11/14-8/17/14
I’m writing this based off my limited knowledge on the subject. However, I feel that I do know enough to form my own opinion. If you don’t know what’s going on, allow me to fill you in on the basics. Gaza is a part of Israel. Palestine wants Gaza. Israel doesn’t want to give it to them. Of course that is a simplified description of what’s happening. As a Christian, I have chosen to side with Israel. Many people are against Israel since it is considered by Christians to be God’s promised land-a holy land. When I heard of this conflict between Israel and Palestine I remembered learning about a war between them in the story of David and Goliath. The Bible states that the Israelites were the good guys, on God’s team, and the Palestinians were the bad guys, against God. Goliath was a Palestinian and David was an Israelite. It was through the power of God that David killed Goliath. The conflict spans back that far, and a lot has changed since then. But one thing has stayed the same: the Israelites are still the good guys and the Palestinians are still the bad guys. In Genesis 15: 18-21 God makes a covenant with Abram promising the land of Canaan to his descendants. In Genesis 17: 8 God says that Canaan shall be an everlasting possession for Abram and his descendants. Canaan is now known in part as Israel, but God’s promise still stands. The name changed and the map looks a little different, but everlasting means forever. And nothing can change that. That land belongs to God’s people-to Israel.