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Thursday, May 23, 2013

T MINUS 3 DAYS!

There's something crazy going on at...
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/10-stories-10-songs

I am recording a new album this year, and raising money to do it. The whole story is over at the link above. Check it out. It ends in 3 days. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How He Loves...

I just finished reading 'The Furious Longing of God' by Brennan Manning and the Lord has used it immensly to restore and renew an understanding in my heart of His deep love for me. 
This is generally something I haven't dwelt on much in the past because it has always been easier for me to explain God's actions and character directly related to his desire to Glorify himself. Claiming the phrase "everything was made to Glorify Christ", which indeed it was. The predicament in my head has been that for quite some time I could pass an understanding of what God was doing and why He was doing it, particularly my life circumstances, with theological explanations, namely, an understanding of what God is rather than who God is, or knowing more about God than truly knowing Him as a friend, and a companion. 

It's been tough to break down walls of guilt in my head that have been built higher and taller through the years. These walls that tell me I am unfit to simply come into the presence of God without first evaluating my spiritual level and consequently having levels of repentance based upon how well I felt that I was doing spiritually. 
Something I've come to understand recently is that my sin is mainly a road block in my mind. 

"It is finished" meant just that. Gods gift of Jesus' sacrifice was not partial or imperfect based upon how many sins I commit and keep track of. God's view of me has never changed, and neither has his love. He saw all I would do while He was on the cross, and still valued me enough to forgive me and wipe the slate clean beforehand. This understanding has left me with a desire to do good because it pleases Him and He loved me first. It is no mistake or coincidence that I'm more satisfied when I do what's right. He designed it this way. He desires for us to do right but his love and acceptance of us had never changed. 
"It is for freedom we've been set free"
, so we can live forgiven and liberated.

This is one of the many reasons why I feel Paul describes the gospel as a mystery. Unconditional love is unconventional, sacrificial, selfless, and many other things that I am not. And the thought of this love pursuing me to the point of complete and final redemption while my actions mock it, is baffling. I'm thankful that His ways are not our ways, He is unconditionally committed to his children. Thank you Father. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

The gospel is everywhere.



I can only imagine what Jesus' silent conversations with His father were like.   As he walked amongst a broken and sick people, he must have silently prayed and pleaded for them.  Before he stepped out on the wavering sea to save his disciples in the midst of the storm, he surely prayed for God to help them believe and see how great He was. 

It must have been more beautiful and pure than any prayer I could imagine but maybe something along the lines of, "I love them Father, use this miracle to open their eyes to see how great I am and one day to see how wonderful you are."  Who knows right? But it is a wonderful thing to think about.

We could argue that Jesus didn't do anything half heartily or halfway. I bet he enjoyed being a carpenter.  

I recently worked with a friend of mine, Brian, to make a coffee table for my house.  I've never been too picky about furniture or style in my home but for reasons that now seem to slip my mind I could not find a single coffee table in Chinandega that I liked. So, ignorantly I said to myself, I'll make one! I can honestly say that if I knew beforehand the work it would take to do this seemingly simple carpentry job, I would have settled for any number of coffee tables I passed up in the local market.  To be honest, I hardly did any of the work because  of my lack of experience.  Sure, I could hold a board here and there or send it through a machine when I was told explicitly clear instructions.  But, I had no clue the hours and dedication it would take to turn dirty damp pine into a clean cut coffee table.   

A month and a half after my visit to the local wood shop, the table sits in my living room with a Metallica picture book and a where's Waldo "Hollywood" edition on it.  You may be reading this and think nothing of that time frame but guys I seriously thought I was going to be carrying a finished table to my house the very same night that I purchased the wood.  

Little did I know there was more than a measuring tape and nails involved.  Turning a "damp" piece of pine into a shaped and measured piece of nail ready wood is quite the process (to say the least).  For the sake of this conversation, I won't get into the intricate details but there are things called plaining, drying, setting, holding, ing, ing, ing, etc...

And it made me think...

I could almost see Jesus taking a bent rough board and working it down piece by piece into a useable plank and connecting with his father throughout the process and praying for us each by name as he did it.  He would think of the process it would take for us to learn how to love him.  There would be times He would need to use a saw, sandpaper, and plainer to mold us into something beautiful.  Each time he would measure and cut the board it would be that much closer to fitting perfectly into its place on a table or chair.  And every completed piece of furniture he made would remind him of His kingdom that was to come after years of molding and shaping.  Wow. 

 You see, the gospel is everywhere, and not by chance. It's in the molding and shaping of wood for a coffee table and in the change of seasons throughout the year.    An observant walk at night under the stars will tell you how big and wonderful our God is. 
Psalms 19 says "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world"

So now every time I rest my feet or place a Tona on my coffee table I can be reminded of God's commitment to mold me as his loved child.  He created me, he knows what it takes to fit me in right where I belong.  And you know, this coffee table that seems complete may require some sanding and a new paint finish down the road someday.  He's never finished molding us into what we were created to be.  Lean into that today. 



Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Album Download

Enter your email and zip code and a link to download the album will be emailed to you. 
Thanks. -Joey

Monday, September 10, 2012

We lost Don Salvador.

I will always remember exactly where I was sitting when I heard the words "Don Salvador se murio..."
Not only will I remember the place I was sitting, but the weather, temperature, the look on our accountant Alondra's face when she said it.

It was just the two of us in the office.  I had rushed over once I heard the news of a bad accident. This was all we knew.  When we arrived at about 3:30, the clouds from a thunderstorm were so thick that it seemed nearly dusk outside. It stayed that way until dusk actually came. 


When I heard the news, I walked outside our office doors to watch the rain and I stared off into the distance, not knowing what to think.  That somber moment was ended rather abruptly with crying wails from across the property as Patricia and our kitchen staff heard the news.  I get chills just typing about it.  It was a day, that I will never forget.

What followed Salvador's death was quite amazing. 


Our local staff, made up of over 85 people, came together as a family like I'd never seen.  If you've been to Nicaragua before, you know that we refer to each other as a family constantly.  Nicaraguan culture is beautiful in the fact that it lends itself to tight nit community and trust.  I could knock on any door and ask for a drink and they'd most likely invite me in and pull a chair out for me.  We also joke, a lot.  "The culture of busting balls" is usually how I   describe it to friends and family.  Any given morning, you can find 15 or so of our employees standing in front of our office laughing and carrying on. Every morning this happens.  Inside jokes and nicknames pick up right where they left off.  No one here takes themselves too seriously.  It's actually a very humble and beautiful thing. 

So all that to say, we're pretty close already. But what I saw from our employees after the death of Salvador was quite remarkable.

From the news of the accident, nearly 30 people rushed to the hospital. They were forced to wait outside in the rain and did so without thinking twice.  They waited until they heard of his death, and what would happen to our other 2 employees that were in the vehicle.  Staying strong, they encouraged and comforted each other as they supported those injured and their families. 


When a death occurs in Nicaragua, there is no embalming.  Everything is done within 24 hours of the passing.
I hoped in the back of a truck, still raining, and headed over to Salvador's house that night.  When we arrived, the whole street was blocked off. Tents were up and hundreds of people, friends and family, had come to pay their respects and support the remaining family of Don Salvador.  This was a site to see.  Everyone that I knew from work, had stopped all of their plans, to come sit in front of Salvador's house in the rain, ALL night.  We stayed 3 hours, but heard that  a small crowd waited until sunlight to go home.  


We held a memorial service for him in our Rancho the next day.  His body was brought over and flowers from friends and family and co-workers decorated the Rancho as we sang and watched a video to remember him. Once again, all of our employees came and sat.  The support was incredible.  It was such a solemn state.  We all just sat around the family to support them.  It was in these moments that I realized how strong community is here.  Put down the watch, take some time, and just be.  I've been trying to learn this.  Slowly but surely, my awareness and respect of being present for the person in front of me has become more important than keeping a perfect schedule. At first it annoyed and frustrated me, and at times it still does.  But I have seen and experienced the wealth outside of money and security that comes from doing life together.  

A mass was held in the early afternoon.  When it was over, everyone who attended, over 200 people, walked behind the hearse all the way to the cemetery.  For over a mile we walked in the pouring rain. As we passed, people came out of their houses, whom we didn't know, and walked with us. As they came alongside us they would put their arms around our shoulders and say "I am here to accompany you".  So so beautiful. 

About 30 of us helped bury him that day.  We took 2 shovels and traded off throwing the dirt back in the 6 foot hole burying the coffin.  It was an experience that is shared here.  That all of Salvador's friends and family would be Paul-bearers together in helping bury him.  It was our final goodbye. 

I typed many words to describe the day, and left out completely what it was like to lose such a great man.  All that needs to be said about Salvador is that he will be greatly missed.  He had a deep love for the Lord and henceforth a deep love for those around him.  He always had a smile and joke to go with it. 

The Lord brought us together that day.  I'm thankful for his life, and thankful that God causes all things for good for those who love him.  That was evident in the moments following his passing. 

We'll miss you Don Salvador.

I'm grateful to be a part of this organization and this family.  It truly is a gift to be able to share life with my Nicaraguan brothers and sisters. 



On that note, I have recently been domesticated a bit more.  I bought my own Nicaraguan motorcycle and have a house of my own now.  Just a few more signs that I'm going to be here for a while.  From the story above, I'm sure it's not hard to see why I am leaning hard into the plans that God has prepared in advance for me. 

Take care ya'll. 

Joey

As a staff we have read a book "When Helping Hurts" by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert.  It brings to light how social and development work can often hurt those whom we are trying to help.  Pray for our organization as we have been revamping our approach to ministry over the last year.  It is an ongoing struggle to do day to day good without causing long term harm.  Our goal is to continue to host 1500 people a year in a way that is helpful to the local communities.  We have great responsibility to be culturally aware in all situations and not show up as the great white help from the north. Slowing down to do life a little differently and embracing the local culture is step one. If you join us at any point for a short term trip or plan on going to serve somewhere else, I HIGHLY recommend reading this book beforehand. 
Thanks for checking in and praying for us always.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Somos Famosos

Game 4 of the Nicaraguan Championship Baseball game was in Chinandega last week.  We were lucky enough to attend. I posted briefly on Facebook after it happened.  Since the game, nearly everywhere we go in Chinandega we are recognized as the "crazy Gringos" that did the Macarena on national TV. Not only did the whole stadium give a round of applause when we were finished but apparently all of Nicaragua was watching their TVs at that very moment. Our bootleg version of the Macarena was broadcast all over the country and we have not stopped hearing of it since.  We also rushed the field with about 1000 other people and gave high fives to the winning Chinandega Tigres.  I may have ran around the bases and hit a fake home run too.  We will never forget it. 
 On the field after the game with Tigres mascot and a few new friends. 
 Front row! Fellow Missionaries David Paperelli and Caitlin McCormick
Front row tickets!


In other news, we are headed to the mountains of central Nicaragua in a few weeks. Our whole staff (nearly 90 people) will head to a Young Life camp in Matagalpa for our annual spiritual retreat.  This morning, a meeting was held to discuss specifics of what we will be teaching as the theme this year and other logistical stuff. This retreat is an important time of cross-cultural relationship building.  We plan to have small groups throughout the week mixed with Nicaraguans and North Americans. Pray that the Holy Spirit will go before us and be in the very spaces that we will hold our services and small group discussions.  Pray that God would continue to build strong, biblical relationships among the many workers that Amigos employs. 


Until then,
Joey

Monday, December 12, 2011

Crappy Rocking Chairs.

I'm worshiping whatever gets all my good affections and attention.  Mostly, that's me because I'm bent towards selfishness.  But, we all have our great moments.  And in those moments we get a glimpse through our creator's eyes and we are filled with clarity and a joy that seems to overflow from our hearts.  It seems to glow from our eyes and it’s contagious to those who are around us.  It happens when we worship with our lives, through our actions and other small details that would have otherwise just been extra filling between the “big events”.

I felt the weight of this truth several years ago when I was working at a fine dining restaurant, Domino's Pizza.   Romans 12:1 hit my mind and heart with great clarity as I was half-assing a huge pile of dishes.  I was tired and wanted to go home and all that stood in my way was about an hours worth of cleaning dishes. I was determined to do it in 20 minutes.  About 10 minutes in, the still, small, satisfying, loving and patient voice said something like..."Hey buddy,  you're better than this, wash the dishes like they're supposed to be washed." In that moment all I could think about was Romans 12:1  where Paul encourages us to offer our bodies and time and actions as a life of worship.  I was worshiping my selfish ambitions to just sprinkle some soap and water on the greasy pans and get on my way.  We sell ourselves short by doing things with half-hearted effort, no matter how miniscule they may seem.  Obviously this plays out in much more meaningful areas other than washing dishes.  But the question lures around me so often since that night.  If I can't do the dishes with integrity, what CAN I do with integrity?
The Lord gives us freedom when he says "...WHATEVER you do, do it with your whole heart...." (Col 3:23).  We will do many things.  Things like washing dishes and going to work everyday and building relationships and sharing our lives with those around us.  And in all these things, we have an opportunity to do them well. We have a chance to do ALL things with purpose.  All these things are just things without purpose and intentionality behind them. But Paul encourages us to make the most of all our opportunities (Col 4:5).   

God didn't created us to get tasks done.  He hasn't forgotten a single grain of sand on any beach in the world, and he hasn't filled our days with meaningless tasks either.  He knows our steps and our conversations and our environments.  Let this hit home for a second. He created you to be exactly where you are right now. No one else can serve and influence those around you like you can. There are gifts and talents that He gave you that someone you work with needs to see (Rom 12:3-8, Acts 17:26-27).  So....how better can we serve Him than seeking to please him in every situation that he's created us to walk through AND even more.... not just when we’re in front of people.  I bet you Jesus didn't make one crappy table or chair as a carpenter. I bet they were strong and awesome.  For real though, I'd want one of those rocking chairs on my front porch, if I had a front porch.  

Father, make us complete in you.  Continue to raise us up to worship you at Church, and in Spirit and in Truth when you’re the only one watching.  Thanks for the opportunity to wash dishes well. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fresh Water well video from El Chonco

This is the video that was made from all of the footage from the day the water was turned on in El Chonco. I wrote a post about what it was like being there that day in my last post. This video says more through pictures and video than I could ever describe in words. 


This is the story of the amazing people of El Chonco. They represent what most rural communities live like in Nicaragua. Pray for God's hand to continue to work and meet the needs of those living in extreme poverty across this country. We have started on 12 more wells in communities just like this one. 

http://youtu.be/WWN_2SfjIEg

Monday, November 28, 2011

El Chonco has water!

This photo was taken in the community of El Chonco the day after Thanksgiving. A community that has never had running water now does. 


We stood at the school in on Friday morning as we waiting to turn on the water fountain as a celebration.  Most of what was running through my mind was being there, 2 months ago, digging the trench for the pipe that went to this very water fountain.  I pictured all of the people that have come to help us with this project over the last 2 years.  Every inch of pipe was necessary to see water come out of that water fountain.  If you were here sweating and laboring with us this summer, take joy in that.  Children all over El Chonco took a bath this morning before school.  Wow.  I wish there was something more profound to say other than "El Chonco has running water".  I'll leave it at that. 


 Luis, our director of projects, turning on the water fountain at the school. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Scenic Route

As a kid, I remember hearing about the Israelites long journey through the desert on the way to the promised land.  What was expected to be a direct route, turned into God leading them through the desert for 40 years. 
I'll venture to say that not a single person in the whole crowd anticipated their journey to take as long as it did.  


God promises us things through His word that seem hard to remember in the grind of life.  He will finish the work he started (Phil 1:6).  Through all you see and do, He has your best in mind (Rom 8:28).  That's just hard for me to believe sometimes. I can imagine that the Israelites had trouble believing that they were truly on their way to a wonderful place at about the end of year 1 in the desert.  Little did they know, God would be molding and shaping them for the next 39!


I recently read these verses in Exodus 13


17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. 


...and that about sums it up.  God knows what we need. 


If we skipped right into the future God has for us, we might make some mistakes. Instead, there are things he wants to teach us and ways he wants to build us up in maturity right now so that we can handle future events the way Jesus would. 


If a flower bloomed in the middle of winter, it would shrivel up and die.  It waits for the warm and crisp air of spring to finally take it's shape and flourish. 


Father, You've got our best in mind and You're molding and shaping us right where we're at to prepare us for what's next.  Help us to submit to the road you've got us on. 


Amen.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Celebration.

Water is going to be turned on in El Chonco on Thanksgiving Day!


It has been a long time coming for everyone here, especially for the patient residents of El Chonco. They have worked every week for 2 years prepping and getting this water system fully ready.  

John will be coming down with his whole family to celebrate his 50th birthday that week as well. He doesn't know but all the guys are cutting our beards into goatee's for him (Nicaraguans too). 

Share some encouraging words today. YOU can speak life into someone today. Break through the awkwardness and fight the last second burst of apathy as you approach that person to tell them how wonderful they are.  Seriously, those thoughts you have been thinking in your head about how great a person is or how well they do something might change the course of their day if you just speak it to them. 

Carry hope with you wherever you go. We have a reason to be joyful today. Spread it around. 



Romans 12:10
    Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each     other.

Friday, October 21, 2011

cha cha cha ch changes...

We found out the other day that we will not be able to renew our lease for Casa Rosita at the end of the year. It's going to be sad to leave that place. 


In other house-renting news, we are also leaving the wonderful Casa Blanca behind in December. 
That's right, all our memories will have to carry over to the new property. For those of you who don't know what I'm referring to, it just means you haven't been to Nica yet.  So, come on. 


I am starting a discipleship group with a Nicaraguan friend of mine.  I have been praying for a while now for God to provide someone for me to spend some one on one time with spiritually mentoring just like someone did for me in very pivotal years of my life.  The problem for so long was my lacking materials in Spanish. Now that I have all of this, we are going to start meeting soon. Please pray for God to speak clearly to me and to the person I'll be meeting with.  I honestly have no idea what I'm doing, but I know that I'm supposed to do it.  There are many factors with the culture and language that I will have to address as we go. I have a feeling my Americanized method of mentoring and discipleship might get completely turned on it's head before this whole thing is over. I'm OK with that, but I lack clarity and patience to approach this thing with a gentle hand.  Pray for THAT specifically for me. 


My hope is that from one small group, he will catch a vision to turn around and start mentoring and starting discipleship groups with his peers. He can reach his and countrymen better than I can. That is the big dream.  Pray for God to continue to unravel this dream he has put in my heart. This discipleship group is the first step. 


Joey

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Live Your Life.

Happiness and joy isn't waiting for you in the next phase or step of your life. It's right where you stand.

We're on a journey that will continue to change from season to season where winter is no more enjoyable than fall and spring is no better than summer.  The weather changes, the characters move on and new ones are introduced.  Our circumstances will always change but there are things about who we are and why we are here that are more solid than anything we can see. We can stand on the truths that God created us to enjoy Him (Isaiah 43:1-7) and is walking with us on a journey that is meant for our good (Romans 8:28) and it will all end well (Philippians 1:6).  Our circumstances will always have us looking for the next thing to make us happy but our God calls us to look into his eyes for what is already here. 

This can all be summed up in Ecclesiastes 5:18
The Bible describes the writer of this book, Solomon, to be the wisest man that ever lived. At the end of his life he wrote Ecclesiastes as a reflection and memoir. This is what he said...

Ecclesiastes 5:18

The Message (MSG)

Make the Most of What God Gives
 18-20 After looking at the way things are on this earth, here's what I've decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that's about it. That's the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what's given and delighting in the work. It's God's gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It's useless to brood over how long we might live.

Don't let the wonderful things that today has to offer pass you by because you're too interested in what's going to happen 3 months from now.  He's got you breathing today for a reason. Embrace it. Enjoy it.

Just Live your life. Haay haay haaaaay...

Joey


Also, click here to read  Isaiah 43:1-7. It's very encouraging. 





Monday, September 12, 2011

Pictures

 Ascending Serro Negro
Some people board down this thing, we run.

 Serro Negro's largest crater
Descending Serro Negro

          Digging the water line for water fountains at the                  school in El Chonco
 Salsa Lessons at San Jose girls orphanage

Proud recipients of our Pay it Forward animal program
They receive a pregnant pig and they give us back the 
same thing 1 year later and that animal is given to 
another family in need. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Move on and on Video

I'll be playing at the Amigos music festival on Oct 1st in Suwannee, Ga. This is one of the videos that I'll be showing to tell the story of the song "Move on and on"



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pray

The Lord is answering specific prayer for me in bringing up men who are eager to learn spiritual disciplines.
Please pray that God would allow these relationships to develop and solidify in the coming weeks. Pray that God would continue to lay the ground work for developing discipleship groups to start with Nicaraguans that I have been coming to know over the past year.

His plan is perfect, His plan is good. Pray for these things.

Thank you guys.

Joey

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Don't Just Pretend.

The Lord has been faithful in continuing to conform me to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29) by addressing issues of my heart that are not of Him. The part that sucks is this is not fun. You see, I really really like the encouraging, walk beside me, father-like love that I naturally lend to be sum of who God is and what he does for me. He does encourage so well. Romans 8:31 undoubtedly says that He is FOR us. But His love comes in so many other ways.


He will not watch his children walk down a path He knows they shouldn't be on and look the other way. And so Romans 12 has recently been brought to my attention. I read it this weekend for the first time in a while and I haven't been able to get away from it. Literally the Lord has been faithful to put it in my mind Romans 12:9, "Don't to pretend to love others, really love them". I mean, am I really listening or just looking for the next opportunity to talk? I want to walk with the fervency and compassion of Christ. I'll try to explain.

There is no doubt that Christ had purpose in everything that He did. One example is Mark 5:21-34 when Jesus was on His way to heal a man's son who was quickly dying. With large crowds following and surrounding Him, one woman who had been sick for a long time made her way through the crowds to touch His clothes knowing she would be healed. He was in a hurry to get to this boy and to move through the crowds but He stops as she touches his clothes and He addresses her faith and heals her.
That's the fervency and compassion that I want. Father, conform me to that.

Another thing I have continued to pray is to see everything with eternal perspective. God is always at work and His purposes are different than our own and often beyond our understanding. How encouraging are these words that we know...

Isaiah 55:8-9

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Cross reference that with Romans 8:28, that He is working all things for our Good and there's fuel for eternal perspective. When all I see is today, it's hard to trust his ways beyond what I see. He's also promised us light for the next step (Psalm 119:105). Just trust me for the step you can see and know that I'm doing the rest. Be faithful with what you know and you can be trusted with more (Luke 16:10).

I guess my aim was to encourage myself and us to have compassion and eternal perspective to love others based on these verses.

Father, make it so.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Renewing My Visa

Looking back on the summer it seems to have slowly flown by. Some memories and accomplishments seem like they were yesterday and in the same thought they seemed to have happened years ago. Our 15 interns are heading home one by one week after week. Soon, the full time staff will be back to running this place without all of the much needed help we've had this summer.
God has been good and his grace has been sufficient every day. It also blows my mind how much I continue to grow up and learn more about myself as God reveals more of himself to me. It happens here every day. Some days I almost want to escape it because as God cuts off parts of me that aren't holy and reflective of Him and the healing hurts. We crave and were born to be loved by God, but part of his love is his discipline to make us more like Christ. Romans 8:29 and sanctification have taken a new meaning for me in the past few months.

My Spanish has improved and more conversations with my Nicaraguan co-workers and those living in the communities we work in have gone from horizontal to vertical. This is very rewarding. Since day one down here, I've longed to share my heart with all the people I've built lasting relationships with and God is allowing it to happen as I learn new phrases and words every day. I'm moving more from practical to conversational...thank you Father.

Please pray for our staff to continue to be unified and grown. We have been very intentional by meeting together and keeping each other accountable. Again, addressing our faults and seeking redemption as a group can be hard. Pray that we continue to see it as necessary and rewarding; that His grace would be sufficient for us through all that we do here.

Tonight is opening night of Peter Pan in Villa Catalina. Many of the kids in the play were a part of our project to move families out of the city dump and into healthy, thriving communities. They are now exploring arts and taking part in theater productions. The whole community comes out and watches. I'm fortunate enough to be in this one. I'm Smee. Just wait for the pictures...

I hope to see you all sooner than later. I'll be around Georgia and Alabama in late September.
Until Then,

Joey

Friday, May 27, 2011

Amigos New Property

Construction on our new property is bumpin'. Our latest addition is our new Rancho. All our Devo's and meetings will be held here starting next year. Our community development team has got it together. We are all still standing in awe of this new structure.







Meanwhile, Julio has been working hard making new beds. We have several weeks this summer with over 60 short term missionaries coming down. That puts us about 30 beds short. So, Julio gets out his tools and welds together 20 new bunk beds...no big deal.








More to come...
Joey

what we need is You

We have been praying to see through "an eternal lens" lately.
The world through my eyes is a scary place. My selfish motives, pride, and negativity can blur God's amazing creation and story into a dark and dreadful place. We are asking God to grant us more of Him, nothing more. What we need to set us free and live this story right is to be satisfied and see Christ's love as sufficient, nothing else. When this happens, the world begins to look like a much more pleasant place, and we start doing wonderfully crazy things. Jesus and Paul's backwards, selfless teachings make more sense. The needs of those around us take precedence over our own. We give sacrificially to those in need and we do it with a cheerful heart! Apart from Christ, these ideas just don't make sense to me. I'm too committed to me. But with the clear focused lens of Jesus' unwaivering, sacrificial and abundant love in our lives we begin to live like Jesus and become more like him. Romans 8:29 says we are being "sanctified" which simply means we are becoming more like Him.

Father, grant us this. We want to see things the way you do. We want your backwards teachings that shook the world and made pharasees stand still in awe to grasp our hearts in a way that we can't describe.
More of you Jesus.