Sunlight picture

Sunlight picture
Some of our hostel girls gathering for a picture at sunset. "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A New Adventure

One of the many ways my heart responds to God is through music. A few different songs have been on constant replay in the car the past few days and one of them is Chris Tomlin’s “Waterfall”:

O God my God, I seek You
I want to move when You move
You’re more than I could long for
I thirst for You
You’re an ocean to my soul, to my soul

Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall
Running wild and free
You hear my heart when I call, when I call
Deep calls to deep
Your love is like a waterfall, waterfall
Raining down on me

O God my God, I seek You
In this dry and desert land
You lead me to streams of mercy, once again
You’re an ocean to my soul, to my soul

It’s coming like a flood, I’m dancing in the rain
Everything I’ve done is covered in rivers of grace … amazing
It’s coming like a flood, I’m dancing in the rain
I lift up my hands, Your love never changes … amazing!

This song expresses the swelling, pulsing urge within me to run up a mountain with God, to tread on the heights with Him and soar freely within His boundless love. As the Psalmist says, “Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life” (Psalm 42:78). It’s amazing to me how God has designed us to experience a profound reality with Him that is beyond what we could ever dream. The depths of our souls connect with the depths of God’s heart in a rhythmic conversation, as He moves in and over us, ever shaping us into the people He has called us to be. Our soul in constant plummet sinks deeper and deeper into God. For from the roots grow the tree.

These are my thoughts as I travel to India very shortly. What a wonderful, exciting thought to be going on this adventure with God -- just Him and I -- without familiarities, comforts and distractions. I want to soak up all I can during this trip. I know the Lord has much to teach me, and I pray He will also use me for His glory. Things are finally wrapping up and the loose ends are being tied. God has graciously provided for every minutest detail – what a faithful, faithful God He is. I’m utterly undeserving of such love and mercy, yet He gives freely again and again. There are very few words to say except hallelujah!

The rain patters gently down outside my apartment window, and I’m finding it difficult to write. These days I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The fact that I’m finally going back to the place I love so much has me quite overwhelmed. My heart aches with joy and longing just thinking of all the beautiful children God has brought to the Children’s Home this year. I ache also for my “family” in India and the wonderful fellowship we will share together. Such a funny sensation to be waiting months and months for this and when it finally comes to be a jumbled mess. I’m sure I will be much much more emotional once my feet are actually walking through my village again!

Preparations for the trip have been overall smooth; I’m 98% packed and ready to go. The only things left to do are to add a few things to my luggage, print off my e-ticket for air travel and figure out which books to bring. :) Lord willing, I'll be boarding the plane in Sault Ste. Marie at 10:20 am, Monday. From there, Toronto to Frankfurt, and Frankfurt to Bangalore, Karnataka. Friends Raju and Joyce Mathew will be picking me up at the airport in Bangalore and taking me into their home for about 4 nights, where I will hopefully recover from jetlag and prepare for the final journey by train to the village in Tamil Nadu. Raju and Joyce are a wonderful missionary couple I met on my first trip to India. They run an amazing ministry called Accept, which is an AIDS clinic and orphanage. I had the privilege of spending time at Accept for 6 days and was so blessed! As the Lord leads, I will be visiting Accept for a few weeks in November. Ultimately all these plans are in the Lord’s hands and I hope to chronicle them in more detail as they play out.

Some prayer requests at this point:
·      an outpouring of God’s Spirit (His peace, presence and blessing) as my toes tingle on the doorstep
·      guidance, protection and safety during travel (that all connections would be made without hassle)
·      God’s power and blessing at the Children’s Home as the new school year has begun; strength and guidance for all the workers, especially the hostel wardens and for Jonathan, my teammate from Austria who has just arrived and is beginning his work with the children

Thank you all so much for your love and support on this journey. What a blessing to be part of the family of God! May the Lord Himself be with you all.
Love in Christ,

Friday, May 8, 2015

Renewed Purpose

“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:57-58)

These verses came to me unexpectedly in a postcard this week. What an encouraging message to receive at such a time. These past weeks and months preparing for India have been filled with much joy, encouragement and blessing, but more recently have been fraught with trials and temptations. This is the perfect reminder to me to keep on going, to continually walk forward in the freedom and confidence God intends for all His children. I’m so glad I’m His! Despite difficulties and even darkness on this trail, I'm victorious in Him; His light always breaks through. He is faithful!

God has been expanding my heart in many ways in preparation for India. One of the most humbling lessons is learning to approach India with my eyes and heart wide open. Even though India for me represents many lovely things – close friendships with beautiful people who have become like family members, the joy of holding precious children in my arms, burning sunsets that reveal the greatness of our God, praying and worshiping with on-fire believers, and experiencing the beauty of India’s brilliant culture – the reality is that India for many millions of people is a place of utter despair and suffering.

My friend Debbie lent me the documentary movie "Veil of Tears," and I watched it four times. After the first run through, it disturbed me so much I told myself I would never watch it again. But God gently guided me into a second watch, and a third. The fourth I was able to share it with a group of friends. What was it that caused me to be drawn back so many times? I suppose it was the desire to understand the stark, cold reality of what India is really like. My heart was pulled by invisible strings into the ache, the pain of those dwelling in the slums, the children eating out of the garbage, the young girls being sold into the sex trade, the women abused, abandoned and even killed by their husbands, the widows left to die on the side of the road … countless, countless lives overwhelmed by sorrow and shackled by an oppressive society. God’s heart is breaking for these people, and my heart must break too. He wants me to see these dear people on the other side of the world as real individuals, as souls who desperately need Him! Am I willing to see them this way? Am I willing to allow my own heart to ache for them? Furthermore, am I willing to allow God to show me how to respond

Growing up in North American culture, I've been taught by society that the purpose of life is to pursue whatever makes me happy. Of course, as a Christian, I know that this isn't what life is supposed to be. But I think such strong cultural influences subtly affect my thoughts and choices sometimes. God has really been challenging me to examine my life and recognize how much time I spend thinking about and pursuing things that will fulfill me. His Holy Spirit wants to correct and gently steer me in the opposite direction: the path of obedience to His word, the path of truly loving others above myself. The verse that comes to mind right now is: “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Our life with Christ is a calling to rise above the world, and indeed our selves, so that He alone can reign in us. And I believe one of the ways we can allow Him to reign is letting Him teach us how to love.

Jesus is the greatest example of love who ever lived. He is our source and guide. As I read the Scriptures more and more, especially the Gospels, I see a Man who never stopped loving people, who never stopped seeing the dire needs of those forgotten and discarded, and who responded to them with deep compassion. How can we not fall more in love with our Saviour when we see His tender affection for people? And how can we not desire to be more like Him in everything we do?

There are many needy, love-starved children awaiting me at the Children's Home in India. These are the children God is calling me to love. (Please let me interject here to say that although God is sending me to India for a time, this theme of loving others should take place wherever I am, whether on a missions field or at home -- I'm praying God will show me people through His eyes in whatever place I'm in.) Yet as preparations for this mission proceed, and as the time for departure draws near, I pray God will continue to prepare my heart for ministry with these precious children -- who are so loved by their Heavenly Father -- and that He would enable me to to say with greater willingness and joy: “For me to live is CHRIST.”

To close is a poem of surrender by Amy Carmichael, “Make Me Thy Fuel”:

“From prayer that asks that I may be
Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,
From fearing when I should aspire,
From faltering when I should climb higher,
From silken self, O Captain, free
Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,
From easy choices, weakenings,
(Not thus are spirits fortified,
Not this way went the Crucified),
From all that dims Thy Calvary,
O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire,
Let me not sink to be a clod:
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

While I Have Breath

"My delight is in You, Lord
On Your Word I set my heart
You are peace, You are calm for my restless soul
You light my way through the dark
I want to know You even more
Holiness is my desire
Purify, burn in me
Come and make me clean
You refine me in Your fire

Here I am, open arms 
Draw me close to Your heart
You're my life, You're my refuge
My delight is in You

My delight is in You, Lord
You're the treasure I have found
You're the rock where I stand 
I will not be moved
All my life is in Your hands 

Refiner's fire
My heart's one desire
Is to be holy
Set apart for You, Lord
I choose to be holy
Set apart for You, my Master
Ready to do Your will"

~ Christy Nockels 

Could we, Lord Jesus, as the children of Your heart, just press into You? Could we draw near with arms and hearts wide open, expectant to receive an abundance of mercy, joy and the tender embrace of our God? Could we happily leave behind our life, our dreams, our desires, and gaze on the wonder that is You? Could we bask in the glory of Your majesty, and feel the blood-bought Life, the victorious Life, coursing through our veins? Could we truly taste and see that the Lord is good? Could we appreciate Your beauty and grow in our understanding of its fullness? Could we perceive the depth of Your holiness and rightness more than ever before, and so loath our own sinfulness, all the while rejoicing in the riches of Your grace? Could we be still and know You, our God, who is seated above the heavens? Could we rest in our eternal security under Your wings and never again allow the smallest fear to dim our love and trust? Could we, as little lambs be protected and cared for by our Almighty Father? Could we, as sons and daughters rise to praise the name of our gracious King, and with humble hearts exalt You, Lord Jesus, for Your sovereignty and power? Could we allow ourselves to be bound to the altar daily and surrender ourselves exclusively to Your purposes and plans? Could we, by relenting, find ourselves refreshed in Your presence, Your Spirit flowing in us and through us moment by moment? Could we long for that rushing wind and those tongues of fire, desiring that Something that lifts us from ordinary into extraordinary? Could we be transformed by the renewing of our minds? Could we be altered from our present infantile state into maturity, our daily sustenance the meat of Your precious Word? Could we become a well-watered garden or a spring whose waters never fail? Could we really be new altogether? Lord, could we simply be Yours? For we breathe You in, God. You are the One we fear.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


During a time of reflection tonight with the Lord, I began imagining what it will be like to walk through the little village in Tamil Nadu again, to see the children's precious faces, to hear their infectious, boisterous laughter, to watch them romp and roam. Vivid images of the children appear in my mind's eye -- it’s as if I can touch them even now. How amazing to really be face to face, to really hold them in my arms!

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him” (Psalm 127:4, NLT).

In the midst of hundreds of India photos on my computer, I stumbled upon some videos I had taken of the children during my 2011 trip. The moment their laughter pierced the speakers, my heart awakened to dear old memories. The sweet, childish voices chattering and bickering in Tamil instantly brought me back to that place.

Then comes a realization. This is what I’ve been waiting for, praying for, longing for: to be reunited with these beautiful, remarkable, inimitable Indian girls and boys, whose hearts will always be a part of mine! It’s been 4 years since being in India and it still moves me to tears to watch the children play, dance and sing on video. They are so lively and full of personality, like blossoms bursting in spring. How I love them! How I’ve missed them!

The little ones will no longer be little -- how sweet to see how they've grown. Many of the cheery faces to greet me will be unfamiliar ones, since new batches of children arrive at the Home each school year. Exciting to think of brand new possibilities, opportunities and relationships. I can't wait to see what God is going to do!

Sometimes it completely boggles my mind to think that I’m really traveling back to India to minister to these children. It humbles me and brings blessing beyond measure. God is so so good! All the praise and glory goes to Him always! He has been faithful in providing and I just want to continue trusting Him. Where He leads, by His grace, I will follow.

“All the way my Saviour leads me
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort
Here by faith in Him to dwell
For I know whatever befall me
JESUS doeth all things well!”

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mission Minded

Today I was greatly encouraged by this beautiful little passage, Luke 5:1-11:

"On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on Him to hear the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, and He saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, He asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.' And Simon answered, 'Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Your word I will let down the nets.' And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they begun to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, 'Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.' For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.' And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him."

Jesus' love and compassion for the people He ministered to is so evident. It says "the crowd was pressing in on Him" -- they were spiritually hungry, desperate, and with longing hearts -- and He immediately responded by teaching them. Jesus wanted to communicate truth because truth sets free. Jesus, who loved them, who perceived the fallen condition of their hearts, was sent "to proclaim liberty to the captives" (Luke 4:18). His healing and redemptive work began with words of life, words that sliced through their inner darkness. But He didn't stop there. He proved his credibility by demonstrating His power in a very real and tangible way. "Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch" -- in other words, "Now that I've told you what I can do for you, step out in faith and take hold of it." Truth itself is meaningless unless apprehended. It is a call to action. I love Simon Peter's response: "Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Your word I will let down the nets." What a wonderful demonstration of faith! Peter took Jesus at His word, despite the fact that the fish weren't biting. The result was overwhelming blessing: a miraculous catch of fish that caused their nets to break! Isn't that just how our Lord Jesus works? We come to Him with a tiny seed of faith and He explodes all proportions with His love and faithfulness.

Oh how we need Him. And He wants us to need Him. The more we need Him, the more of Him we have. We press, we ask, we lean, we trust, we plead, and His mercy reaches us succinctly in our hour of need. Then we are "astonished." We wonder, "Can this be?" I can just picture Jesus laughing joyfully, saying, "Yes, yes My child, this is really true. This is really how I work. This is really how good I am. Oh, this is just the beginning! Come. Come with Me, and you will see greater things than these!"

Jesus sets us free from our past -- our sins, our failures, our feeble attempts at life, our banged-up fishing boats -- to live a radically glorious life in Him.

I for one, do not want to miss it! This theme is deeply personal. God has recently been tearing down strongholds and healing pain in my life. Scripture tells us to "hold fast what is good" (1 Thess. 5:21). Jesus has shown me that the life He desires me to live is not at all connected with the things that had previously held me chained. Where His Spirit is, there is freedom. 

 I'm guessing but I think that this opportunity to return to India could not be more timely. As the Lord teaches me to walk forward in His freedom, He is literally taking me on a new journey. What a gracious and loving Heavenly Father He is.

Jesus' words, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men," is a wonderful affirmation of His leading on this mission. No longer stationary but propelled by His Spirit, He equips me -- weak and small though I am -- to do His will. I want to take this passage as my own, and see that miraculous catch of fish as the harvest of souls the Lord wants to reap in India. Not that this particular mission is singular in reaching that end, but I pray I can somehow be a part of God's work in rescuing these children, turning them from darkness to light and touching them with the love of Jesus. To Him be all the glory!

"For it is God who works in you, both to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose" (Philippians 2:13).