a little shaking and a LOT of God!

Carla

My wonderful and dear friends, family, and (people I look forward to meeting!) I want to thank you. THANK YOU!!! Your prayers, encouragement, support, and correspondence bless me tremendously!! And knowing you are all journeying with me is both a delight AND helps me keep going strong, especially in the challenging parts!
Last week’s lectures were with Mark Parker, and the topic was Lordship. Answering the question: Who is Lord of your life? Self or Jesus. Asking myself that question was really mind shifting. Thinking about the ways we put other people, things, circumstances, ideas before God. What did I notice? That I have very human tendencies (self-awareness, jealousy, impatience, pride) and am so very thankful for God’s love.
The other night I was in the prayer room. This is a simple room here on the YWAM Base in Oxford that is exclusively for prayer and lining the walls are cushions to sit or lie on. We had just returned from a community event in Christchurch. I was meditating on God’s word and then a song came on. The song was one that I had not heard since I was in Nashville. When I heard the song here, I realized that so much has happened since the last time I heard that song. I had such a sense of God’s power and the MOVEMENT He has created in my life. He picked me up from Nashville Tennessee and took me halfway around the world so that I could know Him more, and learn how to share His love with others. Jesus gives my life deeper meaning. I was overwhelmed by this realization and moved to tears.  Jesus’ willingness to offer all of Himself as the final sacrifice in my place, and in your place. He laid His life down for all of mankind!  God hears us cry out to Him, and died that we may live life abundantly in Him. The love Jesus has for every single one of us is scandalous. We don’t deserve it, but Oh! I smile when I think of the way He delights in us, that we are His Beloved. We are such curious creatures aren’t we? God definitely has a sense of humor!
On Saturday we went to Christchurch to volunteer and help with a community event put together to boost city moral post earthquake. The city continues to function more and more as time goes on. Most places have water, although the city’s sewage system is projected to take several years to repair. Christchurch’s city center is still closed down. From what I have heard everyone is wondering what will happen economically as the city’s main industry was tourism. Christchurch is about 45 minutes from Oxford, and with the rain prompting a shift of outside location to a high school gym we knew that flexibility was essential. We showed up with our raincoats and smiles on.
The task I was assigned to was signs. Since it was raining the group putting the community fair on wanted the city people to know that YES! The fair was still on. So, me and about 10 other people began using old city council signs and writing the details of the festivities on them:  “Free food!” and “Jungle Book Movie Playing” and “Bounce Castle” with “Face Painting”.  Making the signs was a task that I took great joy in! I got to play with some spray paint and put on some eye catching borders while other filled in with words. Once the 15 or so signs were assembled we were broken into teams to go out to the streets. I was in a group with Sara and Lindsey (these two are SO fun!). One of the organization leaders, Jo, took such great care of us. She picked us up in her little blazer to move us and gave us chocolate bars! The next time we saw Jo she had pizza for us. This is something that I am walking away with throughout life: It is so important to take care of the people you are leading.
As we walked back to the high school gym in the rainy weather we experienced an aftershock. The duration was brief—and so very curious! This was my first earthquake experience. The first thing I noticed was the tree seeming to blow too much in the wind and realized the ground was moving—rolling when I looked down. Praise God that no one got hurt! The fair just kept going on, some parents left, but the kids didn’t seem bothered by the after shock. The cartoon The Jungle Book played for the kids to watch too. We continued helping with the rest of the fair and had a fun time! About 200 people came to the event. I got to do spray painting, sign waving, face painting, AND pizza eating. Mmm!
The free box. There is a room called ‘The Free Box’ here on the YWAM Oxford Base. Inside this room are many items. Whenever anyone has extra items or things they no longer need (books, sweaters, backpacks, shoes, ect!) they are placed in this room. When anyone has a need they go to the free box. There is something really special about this box and I have seen the neatest prayers answered through this system of giving and taking. What a beautiful demonstration of sharing one another’s burdens. When you have extra you share, and when you have need it is fulfilled.  I’ve been reading in Acts, and this makes me think of the early church.
Love. I am learning so much about love. This season of community living is such a blessing, and a very precious time.  Already my heart tells me I will look back tenderly on this time of fellowship and learning. Yes, we do have the moments when we would even surrender first-person-to use-the -bathroom in the morning rights (16 women in our building: 2 toilets, 3 showers—that’s all I’m going to say) but none of us would trade this experience for anything. I am learning a lot about myself in this setting too.
How you can pray:
Southeast Asia Team (Anna, Nelson, Sara, Rachel, Noelle, and me): Hearts for the nations, team unity, health, contacts, and wisdom in preparation.
Focus on the Lord, open heart and receptive mind.
After we graduate in Jerusalem in August I have a few stops left on the around the world ticket we are using for travel. I have been praying into the places and will be traveling to Scotland, Czech Republic, Germany, and Italy. Please pray God would provide guidance, wisdom, contacts, places, support and outreach opportunities for me to continue doing ministry.
Love and Blessings to you!!
:o)
Carla

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