30 Years of a Blessed Life (from Lindsay)

March 24, 1982, 11:10 am – that’s the moment God ordained for me to come out of the womb and into the world.  30 years ago!  May I just say, unlike what I thought when I was 10, 30 is not old, and also, my life looks nothing like I ever imagined it would!  Thank goodness the Lord’s ways are not our ways, because I would not want to be in the life I had wished for myself right now!  Yes, there are hopes and dreams yet to be fulfilled, but I trust the Lord will bring those to pass in His own good time.  In the meantime, there is nothing like the adventure of seeking His will for each day and walking it out through the power of His Spirit.  Life can’t help but be beautiful!  A recent conversation centered around the fact that, when you look back over your life, you can clearly see the hand of God throughout – in good & bad situations – always using every moment to draw you to Himself.  As I look back on 30 years, I am most thankful for that – a God that has never left me alone, but has continued to persist & pursue more & more of me.  In the words of a song that has been running through my head all day – “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.”  So thankful for His unmatched love!

As for the actual birthday celebration, my family made sure it was unforgettable.  By far, the best birthday yet!  We have a World Race team of 10 here right now, and knowing they would be here for my birthday, I automatically assumed that meant we would have to celebrate before their arrival.  Mom & Bria suggested it might be fun to have a big group of new friends (here’s hoping they’re friendly!) to celebrate with.  How right they were!  Not only are they friendly :), but in the one day we all spent together before the arrival of my birthday, I felt like I’d known them for years!  They are amazing, loving, fun people and it was such a blessing to have them here for my birthday.  My family gave me some amazing gifts that remind me of how blessed my life is and will help me remember the future blessings each day will hold.

Gifts from my family - a collage of my first 30 years and a box of index cards to use as a "journal", writing a short summary each day on an index card and storing them in the box. And there was a promise of another gift to come later!

We all spent the afternoon at one of my favorite places in L’viv – an outdoor folk architecture museum.  The weather was gorgeous (which is quite unusual for my birthday – thank You, Abba!) and we took a picnic lunch with us.

Enjoying our picnic with one of the houses in the park/museum behind us.

Leaving the park, I was quite satisfied with a wonderful birthday spent with my family (minus Krista, of course, who was sorely missed!) and a great group of new friends.  My heart was already overflowing with thanksgiving when we stopped at our church office to drop a key off for someone…or so I thought.  I walked in to find balloons on the walls, food & drink on the table, and a room full of old friends!  SURPRISE!  (This is the 3rd time they’ve done this to me in my life; I REALLY need to become more attentive to what’s going on around me!)

Blessed to love and be loved by so many beautiful people.

It was a wonderful time to enjoy the company of so many people who mean so much to me!

With such a full day, we had to carry over the celebration into the next day, when Mom made her amazing lasagna and my favorite strawberry pie!

If you haven't ever tried strawberry pie, there is something missing in your life!

I am beyond blessed by my amazing God, my family, my friends (old & new!), and this season in life, serving in Ukraine.  I am so thankful for my family, who made sure my 30th birthday was so special.

My incredible family (minus one)

Stay tuned to the blog for soon-coming updates on ministry with the World Race team, the visa/registration process, and needs for a human trafficking awareness campaign.  Thank you so much for your continued love, thoughts, prayers, and support.

Salvation Belongs To Our God

An update from Lindsay on the food ministry to the poor:

This past Saturday, a lot happened as we handed out the bags of food to the poor in Lviv.

When Natalya started receiving a bag of food for herself, she also had a heart for others and spread the word about us, so others could come & receive.  She also greatly enjoyed the fellowship with other people and started coming to church every Sunday.  Soon, she had started joining us for the entire time of food distribution, helping us hand out the bags.  In January, she surrendered herself to the Lord and received His gift of salvation!  Glory be to Him!  On Saturday, as we handed out the bags, different people started telling us that Natalya had died.  One woman is a flower seller and knew Natalya quite well, as Natalya always stopped to talk to her.  She confirmed that it was indeed the Natalya we knew, and told us she had died after a car hit her.  Even though the driver took her to the hospital and paid for an operation, the doctors were unable to save her.  On the one hand, our hearts are saddened that we did not have more time to get to know Natalya, but we greatly rejoice, knowing that God had numbered her days and drew her to Himself before her days ended, so that she could spend eternity in fellowship with Him!  Hallelujah!

Pani Vira (her name translates “faith”) has been receiving a bag of food for a long time and we have so enjoyed getting to know her.  She is an amazing, hard-working, optimistic woman.  She quickly started calling us her “golden children” and would light up whenever she saw us.  Her need isn’t great enough that she begs on the streets, but the Lord led us to her as she sat on a park bench, as one He wanted to lavish His love on through this simple act of giving food.  When things are a little harder, she will brush it off with a simple, “I don’t need to talk about the bad things.  When I see you, everything is good, so it doesn’t matter.”  Despite getting ready to turn 90 in 3 weeks, she insists on taking a walk every day, saying, “Once you lay down, you die.”  She was still taking her daily walk a month ago, when it was -20 degrees!  When she wasn’t out this past Saturday, we knew something was wrong.  Thankfully, she is the only person we give food to who had earlier agreed to give us her address, so we could bring the food to her in situations like this.  We went to her apartment, where she lives with her daughter (who is also elderly & retired), Nadiya (which translates “hope”).  It was our first time meeting her daughter and at first, she seemed a bit cynical about us, but during our visit, she seemed to accept that we were sincere, normal people, and by the time we left, was tearing up as she thanked us for coming.  As it turned out, Pani Vira had fallen and broken something (best we could understand, her hip).  She could be laid up for up to 6 months.  When I asked her if she was in pain, she brushed the question off with a grunt and said, “Just give me a kiss, and don’t worry about it.” 🙂  She is one-of-a-kind!  Please pray for a quick and proper healing for Pani Vira, and pray that our relationship will grow, and our ministry will increase, as we go into Pani Vira & Nadiya’s home to deliver their bag of food and fellowship with them.

Finally, a cool moment came on Saturday as a man approached and asked, “Are you giving out humanitarian aid?”  After answering to the affirmative, he said, “Okay, good.  Here.” and handed us the equivalent of $5!  Well, thank You, God!

We cannot say thank you enough for supporting us in so many ways as we serve here, and for the financial donations you have given to this specific ministry of ministering to the poor in L’viv.  You have a part in the beautiful truth that Natalya is standing before the Lord right now, worshipping her Savior & King face-to-face!  All glory be to Him!!!

Lessons in Worship

“Let’s give God an experience.” That’s how our worship began on Saturday night. What a thought! How often do we go to church, a worship event, a conference, etc. and talk about what a great experience it was for us? But what if we started making it an experience for God also, not just for ourselves? Saturday night was a reminder for me that, it’s not about me, it’s about Him. He is wanting to encounter me just as much as I am wanting to encounter Him (actually, He desires it more than I do). That seems to have been the theme in my worship this week – how our worship moves and affects God. One morning this past week we read Psalm 18. It is an amazing Psalm! David cried out to God when He was in trouble, God heard his cry, and it goes on to describe what happened when God responded. It’s some pretty intense stuff that happened! There were no scriptural basis for the things that David described, but he had an intimate relationship with God, and His descriptions came out of that. As we began to sing, I began to think of what happens when we worship God, and my own psalm was birthed. Ever since we had to write a psalm during the first week of school I’ve tried to write one every week. For now they are still quite short, but it’s something I’m growing to love more and more.

Psalm 4
My heart was overcome by Your love.
As I opened my mouth to praise You,
You grabbed the nearest angel, pointed towards me and said, “Watch this!”
As I began to sing my love to You, You began to spin around.
I started to dance, and You started to shout. “She’s mine. She’s mine!”
As You spin over me and I dance for You, Our dance becomes one.
You no longer just spin over me, You dance with me.
My heart is overcome by Your love.

In writing that, I felt like God was revealing to me just how strong our worship is. While writing it, I had this picture in my head of us singing and dancing before God, and He literally stood up, and came down off His throne to dance with us. How amazing is that?! Our worship can move God, the King of the Universe, to come down and dance with us. Wow. That’s how much our God loves us and how much our worship means to Him.

Tomorrow we leave for Israel. Please keep our team in your prayers as we travel and serve there. I am really looking forward to this next month and can’t wait to see what God has in store. I won’t be able to write updates on the trip, but you can keep up with what’s going on by checking out the school blog – http://www.gatewaysbeyond.org/gts2012.

Blessings,
Krista