Monday, February 27, 2012

I Love it When God's Like, "No worries, I got your back."

The past two weeks have been awesome visiting Dustin and also John Brown University. I was able to meet with their team leaders and also the girl who will be our next intern. It's funny how quickly time flies...I find it hard to believe that I was on a flight to New Orleans to be an intern 9 months ago. But enough about that! Let me tell you the latest story of how God's been working in my life.
Two blog posts ago, I mentioned that Jen and I will be able to stay in our house until March 15th. This is awesome and a huge answer to prayer. The problem was that we would be homeless after that until May 1st, when our summer home opens up.
Well, I found out that - through some connections at my church here in Covington - one very gracious woman has opened up her home to Jen and I for the month and half that we don't have a home. The house is in Mandeville, a block from the lake, and a reasonable distance from our office in Covington.
So once again, God's sovereign way of showing his power and love amazes me. While visiting Dustin, we were able to listen to a message by Louie Giglio where he goes through the Doxology in Romans 11:33-36. This passage came to mind again as I typed this blog:

"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
'For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?'
'Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?'
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mardi Gras

My favorite city in the world is so deeply rooted in history, something that I absolutely love about it.
One of the many traditions there is the Mardi Gras celebration. This is what today's blog is about. I'm on a mission to bring to light the redeeming qualities of Mardi Gras (which, by the way is in 4 days. Happy Mardi Gras!). I'll be honest, when reading about Mardi Gras I felt that this blog was a bit like a research paper, but don't be deceived! I promise it is interesting (and fairly short) :)
The celebration of Mardi Gras goes way back, originally being a pagan ritual that was incorporated into Christian Rome. It was sort of used as a last "hurrah" before the penitential season of Lent. Although its roots aren't solely French, Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") was brought to the New Orleans area by French explorers. And no one does it like New Orleans now, that's for sure!
Mardi Gras didn't get it's bad reputation until the 19th century when masked paraders demonstrated violent behavior during the celebration. Because of this, the press demanded that Mardi Gras celebrations should be stopped. Fortunately, a group of men known as Comus made Mardi Gras a beautiful celebration, proving to the public that it could safe and enjoyable for all people. "Krewes", which are kind of like secret societies, were formed. These krewes get to plan their parades, choosing themes, costumes, floats, etc. 
In recent years, the general public knows Mardi Gras as an excuse to go to New Orleans and do inexcusable things. The media highlights this behavior making it seem like New Orleans is one big, dirty place during the Mardi Gras season. I want my readers to know that this is NOT the case. It happens, yes, in certain places in the French Quarter. I also want my readers to know that the people that are doing these things are out of town, foolish tourists. Northerners, mostly. NOT the people of New Orleans that I work with on a regular basis.
Every person from New Orleans that I've talked to has told me the same thing: Mardi Gras is a time of celebration. A holiday when the family can go outside, grill, pass football and share time with their neighbors. Especially after a thing like Hurricane Katrina, wouldn't you like to see your city dressed up and brought together? New Orleans natives rarely go to the few crazy parades. Most of the parades are kid and family friendly. Kids will sit on shoulders and reach up to floats as the people on them hand out beads and stuffed animals. I know! I've been to one :)
Me, Bethany and Jen at our first Mardi Gras parade!
Hopefully this post gave you a little more insight to the city I'm ministering to. It is a pretty awesome place :)
Thank you for your prayers and support as always and I hope your week is going well!

Friday, February 3, 2012

3 Things I'm Thankful For

Some of you who received my last newsletter know that the past month or so has been a little difficult for me. The theme of January, for me, was Romans 5:3 "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance." It felt like I running into problem after problem, trial after trial. I walked into a different wall every time I turned around; it definitely started to hurt after a while.

But today I am praising God for 3 three things specifically:

1. Jen and I found out that the house we are living in won't sell until March 15th now. Which means another month we weren't expecting of living in a home!

2. I was approved to drive ministry vehicles even though I'm (slightly) under 21. So if I need a car or something to get me from Point A to Point B (or C or D or E. I'm always going somewhere!), I have that option. Thank you, Jesus!!

3. The grace God gives us in the moment that we need it. Whether it's myself needing grace or that I need to give grace to others, Christ always supplies that.

"Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

What an awesome promise! Thank you for your dedication in praying for me and supporting me. I'm praying that you will also approach the throne of grace with confidence!


Chelsea :)