Sarah's Story

 I am so sorry I have been gone for the past several months. I'm preparing to go on a mission trip this summer, I'm planning a few birthday parties, and catching up on school. As you can imagine, my blog is one of the last things to come to mind! I know I promised an e-magazine. That unfortunately won't happen for a while. Maybe some other girls would like to help? One of our lovely followers, Sarah, shared her experiences from a mission trip with me. I really appreciate her attitude toward missions and her willingness to follow God whatever it takes. Check it out:

What did you do on your mission trip?

We stayed at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Denver.  They were so kind to provide room for us while we were there.  As for activities, one of my favorite ones was Living Water.  We went to a few parks and bus stops and handed out water bottles and sandwiches to people, which was a fabulous way to get conversations started.  My favorite place doing that was at the bus stop, because there were always new people coming in, even if only for a short time.  We also fixed up a health clinic, handed out fliers for a Christian school, fixed up a woman's yard, volunteered at a food bank and clothing store called Acts 2, painted over graffiti in a few alleys, and helped a worship band set up their equipment.

What was the best thing about the trip?

I was given so many opportunites to trust God, which is pretty scary sometimes.  To just go up to someone and introduce myself was very difficult, but I was so blessed as I saw God work through me to impact others, even though I was terrified at times!

What was the hardest thing about the trip?

The hardest thing was probably to same as the best thing: trusting God.  I had to constantly be reminding myself that He was in complete control over the whole thing.

What was it like to share your faith? I know that would be very scary for me- How did you overcome those fears?

I'd never shared my faith with anybody before, and I was so frightened every time.  I don't think it can ever be something you're completely and totally at ease with.  Sharing my faith opened me up to criticism, which definitely took me out of my comfort zone.  Some of our key verses on the trip were Acts 18:9-11, which reads: And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, "Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not keep silent; for I am with you and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city." And he settled there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.  God reminded me of these verses so much over the course of our missions week.  My dad, who is my youth pastor, taught a lesson on these verses before we left, and showed us that the literal rendering in the original Greek for the words "Do not be afraid any longer," were actually "Stop being afraid, for you have no reason to fear!" There was no reason for me to be afraid, and I think that that knowledge definitely strengthened and encouraged me in a mighty way.

What was the most important lesson you learned on the trip?

That God is in complete control.  I already knew that, but I learned it again on the trip.  He showed it to be so true as He took my fears away and showed me how to trust Him in new and exciting (albeit scary) ways.

Do you plan to go on any mission trips in the future?

Missions is what I plan to do with my life, actually.  I have one more year of high school, after which I'll be attending the community college here to get my degree in dental hygiene.  Once I graduate I feel that the Lord has called me to work in India, possibly at an orphanage, and thus spend my life serving Christ and others.  As to trips in the near-future, my dad is planning a youth group missions trip this summer.  We might be going to a Native American reservation, or maybe back to Denver.  I'm excited to see where the Lord leads!

Thank you so much Sarah! I love your heart for God~


Make-up = sin ??

A few months ago, I was looking in the mirror and putting eyeshadow on. I had turned the radio on, and while I was applying my make-up, a song came on that I had heard a million times. It was Until the Whole World Hears by Casting Crowns. I wasn't really paying attention to it; I was more intent on making myself look beautiful. Suddenly, I stopped. I looked away from the mirror, then back at myself. Christians are to be the salt of the earth. I was struck by this as the lyrics of the song rang in my ears. I am to be a living testimony to the greatness of Jehovah Mekoddishkem, the Lord who sanctifies me. I am to show His glory, and to bring honor to His Name. Yet, right now, I was spending precious time making myself beautiful. In my heart, I was wanting to bring glory to my name, and to bring forth praise from others'. This thing that I was doing was not for His glory. It was for mine.
Sadly, I forgot about this incident soon after it happened. Or, when I did remember it, I brushed it off as a notion that didn't have any true significance. I was bringing out the beauty that God had given me, and making myself beautiful so that I would show that HE is beautiful! Or was I? Just yesterday, I was reading through some articles. One was on cosmetics. The author's premise was that make-up does not bring glory to God, but that rather, it is wrong to wear it. After thinking it through, I don't totally agree with this young woman. God has given us means with which to bring out our natural beauty. He created beauty. He made everything beautiful. He loves beauty. He Himself is beautiful. So it is not wrong to use the means He has given us to bring out our beauty. But there is something wrong with the way we do it.
I do not wear much make-up. I merely put on light eye-liner and a bit of eyeshadow, in order to bring out my eyes. But when I put it on, I give no thought to bringing glory to God's Name. Instead, I am focusing on how I can make myself most attractive. I want my friends to see my beauty, and love me for it. I want young men to think that I am beautiful. I do not want to be plain. I want to be noticed. That is why I wear make-up.
THAT is what is wrong with make-up. I am sinning when I put it on, not because I am putting it on, but because of what I am doing in my heart. So I would like you to ask yourself today, Why do I put on make-up? What are my motives in doing so? Examine your heart, hold it up to the Scriptures, and ask the Lord to show you whether it is at fault.
For me, right now, I have decided to stop wearing make-up, at least for the time being. When I decided to do this, I felt a panic rising in my chest. What would people think of me? No one would notice me, no one would love me! I would be nothing exceptional, nothing beautiful! I would be... myself. The girl God made me to be. This is proof of the position of my heart. Right now, make-up is one of my idols. I feel that I need it. I am not content with what the Lord has made me to look like, and thus I want to make myself more beautiful in the eyes of the world. That is just plain wrong.

I am resting in His mercy, because this is an impossible task on my own. I pray that you will do the same.