Journey 1-18-07

He went out, not knowing whither he went. Hebrews 11:8

This is the verse from the January 2nd devotional in My Utmost for His Highest. It has been five years since I last read through this devotional and I thought I would pick it up again this year. I am amazed at how God speaks to me in the things I have read so many times before.

The New Year always prompts evaluation of the past year and thoughts of what lies ahead. As I look back on more than a year in Hungary I see God growing me in so many ways. I am learning and being stretched in ways I never thought possible. And then I look ahead and wonder what the future holds. I really have no idea what God’s plan is for me over the next year. Then I read, “One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question – ‘What do you expect to do?’ You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing.” What a comforting thought! I don’t have to know the future: the when, where, what and how of the next year. I just have to know that God is in control, that He has a plan and that if I listen carefully He will direct me in the right way in His perfect timing.

Do you face unknowns in the year ahead? Rest in the thought that God designs the Master Plan and that He is working all things together for His glory. What a beautiful truth.

Journey 1-7-08

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:4-8

The turning of the calendar to a new year is always an opportunity for reflection. In the past year I encountered trials and blessings, sorrow and joys. Life’s lessons do not generally come easily. One of the things that I have found over and over again in my walk with God is that the closer He draws me to His amazing and holy presence, the more I realize what a sinful creature I am at the very core of my being. I think that especially now that I find myself out of my “comfort zone” I often see deeper into my true nature than I ever have the opportunity to see when life is easier. Praise God, He is SO FAITHFUL and he continues to mold me into the woman that He would have me to be.

In light of these reflections I couldn’t help but be stopped speechless by the reminder of Ephesians 1. I am holy and blameless in God’s sight, because of the blood. Though I am constantly humbled by my shortcomings and drawn to my knees by my weaknesses, God doesn’t see my failures or my sins. He sees me holy and blameless. He sees me through the blood: a reflection of His glorious Son.

Yesterday I heard a David Crowder song that I wasn’t familiar with. These are the words that caught my attention and reflected so beautifully the message of Ephesians 1.

“You make everything glorious
and i am Yours
what does that make me?”

So today I am reveling in the reminder that God sees me not as I am but as I will be. He sees His finished work in me. What an amazing realization to take into the New Year!

Happy New Year!

(Click the View All Images button to view images full screen)

Happy New Year! I hope that you enjoyed your Christmas Holidays. This year I had the special blessing of my parents visiting. I had the last two weeks off and had a wonderful time just enjoying family. Some of you get my dad’s e-mails so you will know all about the projects, shopping and traveling we did.

Mom did a lot of wonderful baking. It was amazing to have the house smelling like cookies and bread. Dad and I ran errands and he got a first hand look at what life in Hungary can be like as we waited in line at the grocery store and post office. In addtion, he got to see how a simple errand required multiple trips to four different locations when we went to purchase a new cell phone. (My phone died the last day that we were in Vienna).

It was such an amazing blessing to have help in getting my house in order. I have been so busy since I moved that many things have gone undone. Dad installed a countertop and four light fixtures. Mom made me beautiful new curtains for the living room and kitchen and we moved my old curtains to the all-glass entryway.

We also got to go to Vienna for three days and meet my cousin Kevin who is stationed in Germany with the Air Force. We had a great time visiting and seeing the sights. I even dragged them all to the Bagel store so I could enjoy one of my favorite foods that I can’t get in Hungary. The only sad thing is that I think mom and dad saw more of historical Vienna than of Budapest. So much of the time they were in Hungary everything was closed for the holidays so they will have to come back and do the tourist attractions another time.

Finally, we got to just spend time together, play cards and laugh. It was such a wonderful Christmas gift to be with family!

The time went way too quickly and yesterday I took mom and dad to the airport for their trip back to Florida. They called this morning (very early Tampa time) to let me know that they had arrived safely minus their luggage which should catch up to them later today or tomorrow.

Now the house is way too quiet and it is back to work for me. We have new team members arriving on Monday and I am looking forward to having them join us in sharing the love of Jesus here in Hungary.

I pray that our Lord will bless and keep you in 2008 as you follow after Him,

Rachelle

Journey 12-23-06

nativity

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet: “The virgin shall be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with Us.” Matthew 1:22-23

Every year I marvel at the Christmas story. God became man. More than that, God became a helpless baby, dependant on His own creation to care for His needs, to feed and cloth him.

I recently read the comments of another missionary musing over the humility involved in language learning. We go back to being like a small child, unable to communicate what we want to say. We have this message, which is life itself, and we are unable to share it with others. We wait and we study the language and we are humbled by our mistakes and frustrated by our weaknesses as we long for the day we can share the message of Hope with the people around us.

Now think about the WORD of God, born in that manager. He was born to bring us the message of salvation. He was born to teach us the truth about God’s love. But the Word had to wait. In the moment of His birth he couldn’t speak the message we needed to hear, he could only coo and cry. He had to grow up. He had to learn to speak first. He had to grow into a man. He had to wait for the Father’s perfect timing. In humility He lived among us until it was time for Him to share the message He had been born to bring.

Immanuel – What a beautiful message.

May you be amazed this Christmas at the sacrifice our Lord made to bring us salvation. May you worship Him for His goodness. May you be enfolded within His love.

Apassionata

This afternoon I got a chance to go with some friends to a really interesting horse presentation. There were groups of professional riders, olympiads and champions who came together to present the history of Hungary on horseback. The show was very interesting and the riding was spectacular.

This was an “Extra” program by Apassionata created especially for Hungary. Generally the Apassionata show covers horse breeds and styles of riding from around the world. I really enjoyed this “Hungarian horseback-riding cultural Christmas gala.”

You can see the English website about their general program at:http://www.apassionata.eu/HOMMAGE/english/index.html

You can see the photos about the Hungarian program with Hungarian text at: http://www.apassionata.atw.hu/ and then click the GALÉRIA link for more photos.

Almost Christmastime and It’s Cold Outside!

Christmas Tree

After weeks of wonderfully mild weather, it turned cold overnight. No snow, but lots of fog. It makes me feel like I’m back in Shafter where I grew up. Of course the cold came the evening that I had free to go the Christmas market.

My friend Tracey and I bundled up and headed out braving the chilly temperatures. It was fun and this year they have a display of small nativity scenes that I really enjoyed. It was late in the evening (the only time we had available) but about half the booths were still open and we enjoyed the kolbász (sausage) and kürtös kalács (a sweet bread made over an open fire). I hope that you are making holiday memories with your friends and family!

Nativity

Cats and Christmas Continued

Finn still loves the tree and climbs it whenever I’m on the phone or busy with something that doesn’t involve giving him my full attention. I changed the type of lights on the tree so at least now he only tries to eat the branches and I don’t have to worry about him chomping on light bulbs. (The small LED bulbs never got hot and were perfectly bite sized. The new ones are too large to munch and get warm enough to deter his interest).

Finn and Tree

Gus is still being so good in regard to completely respecting all of my decorations. It gives me hope for Finn.

Hey, if anyone tells you that citrus keeps cats away because they don’t like the smell I wouldn’t believe it. Finn chews on the dried orange peels and Gus lays right next to the fresh oranges. Oh well, it was worth a try.

Gus and Tree

I am planning on taking the tree down before I leave. I can’t imagine what it would look like if I left Finn alone with it for a couple of weeks. 🙂 Do you have any pets and Christmas stories?

Journey 12-11-06

Paul replied, “Short time or long – I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” Acts 26:29

Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.” Acts 26:32

I read these verses the other day and I started thinking about all I had recently read in Acts and Paul’s response to his trials. Paul had been in prison for years without being formally charged. He could have bribed his way out, but he didn’t. I wonder if he got discouraged, if he ever questioned what God was doing, leaving him in prison when he could have been set free. God’s plan included serving while in chains. I imagine that Paul would have rather been serving in freedom. The same day I read these verses in Acts I got an e-mail with the following quote.

“Since the Lord often does the unexpected in our lives it is easy to think of him as being undependable instead of uncontrollable. Just because he doesn’t finish our plans our way doesn’t mean that he can’t finish his plan his way.” Roy Wisner

Sometimes I wonder about God’s plan. It doesn’t always seem to make sense to me because it isn’t the way I would do it. But God is in control and He will finish His work in and through me. It is comforting to know that when God does the unexpected and takes me down unknown paths that He has the end in sight and that He knows exactly what He is doing.

Cats and Christmas Trees

Finn at Christmas

It has been a very long time since I had a young cat at Christmas and to be honest I’ve never had a cat that was particularly interested in the Christmas tree. I usually put the soft ornaments on the bottom of the tree and they would play with those but this year I have an eater and a climber! In fact, Finn could care less about the ornaments but He loves to climb the tree, eat the branches and chew on the lights.

Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…
Cute, cuddly and Christmas tree destroyer all in one.
Maybe he’ll grow out of it by next year, you think?

Gus at Christmas

BTW – Gus is a perfect angel as far as the tree in concerned. Amazing!