Friday, April 27, 2012

Update: April 24th 2012

Hi Mes Amis! I can't believe that in just a few days I have criss-crossed the East Coast from MB to Charleston to our nation's Capital. I presented on Sunday 4/22 and sang at several services at All Saints. The Main presentation was during the Rector's Hour. I listened carefully to Father Ed share about the church in the days preceding and to his sermon before my own presentation and let God take control of what I would share. Recently someone compared how I desire to love and equip people with how Francis Chan does. WOW!
So that prompted me to challenge All Saints with Chan's words at the Catalyst Conference. He reminded us how the Bible says of several, Enoch and Noah, that they walked with God. Others heard Him speak and obeyed, no matter the cost. Their lives were, like Oswald Chambers', Abandoned to God!
I WANT that to be said of me. "And Ricardo walked with God..."
Don't you want God to be able to see and say the same of you?
I also challenged them to use their passport for the kingdom this next year (borrowed from Dr.David Powers at The Pilgrimage Church in Surfside SC).
The Spirit moved both me and the congregation in a powerful way!
They asked thoughtful intelligent questions about France, my upbringing and how God pointed me to France. Some took monthly pledge cards. Best of all there was a friend of France, French speaker or French native at every service, bible study or luncheon I attended while here! Maybe even a future teammate in France.
One lives halftime in DC and half in France and is connected to 2 other church-planting groups there?!?!
I have been encouraged and am sure these opportunities to proclaim Christ, and the church's mission were divinely appointed! I travel Thursday to join Jon and Tracey Bartholomew and present at their church Sunday 4/29.
It seems I may have an opportunity to travel just 4 more hours after that to Toronto to meet my first Godson Mathieu, son of Kathy and Phillipe, whom I met while teaching in Paris in 97-98, to share this ministry and the Gospel with them!

Financial News: 93.75%! About $400 in monthly pledges to go!

Final Note-Exciting news: my visa application is 90% complete. I have to have one doc professionally translated into Eng then notarized by my agency and I'm waiting on one other doc from a French agency.
Then I can request an appointment with the French Embassy. After that apps seem to take only 3 wks to process!
Things are moving along quickly now!
Merci to all who are praying and following this journey. You leverage all of the might of heaven to move mountains here on Earth...simply by faithfully praying. Thank you!
Please let me know how I can pray for YOU?
All my love in Christ

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Calendar and Prayer Requests

4/8...April 8th is EASTER!!!
It's ALSO the anticipated
Receipt of Necessary Docs from France to Submit my Visa Application.
I can set an appointment with the French Embassy ONLY after I receive them!
Pray the process doesn't take the maximum 3 months!
I'm personally asking God that it take the legal minimum.

4/8 Easter iPAD Giveaway
Keehn Adoption Fundraiser
Each $10 is ONE entry.
100% helps adopt from Ethiopia!
To enter Click HERE

4/10 Conway Manor
Outreach to the Elderly
6:40 Worship, 7:00 Bingo

4/17 Les Miserables
Musical in Greenville,SC
Gift from my Clardy Family!
"To love another person
is to see the face of God"

4/19 In CONCERT as
Special Guest with...
Brandon Broughton, Friend,
Music Teacher in Charleston
"Turning Tables"-Adele
"Falling Slowly"-Once(Movie)

4/20 Invisible Children
"Cover The Night"   
To Raise Awareness in the US

4/22 All Saints Ch. in DC
Presentation and Worship
4/24-5/4 NY Presentations

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8
But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

Paul's words explain so clearly my heart for France! 

1-April 8th is the anticipated
Reciept of Necesary Docs
from France to Complete
Visa Application  
Pray the process doesn't take the maximum 3 months to complete!
2-Pray that by 3/31 all pledgers would have started giving their pledge monthly! I can't leave until 100% are giving.

3-In the works...
Invitation to NY!
Weekend of 4/29

4-Eglise de la Brie:

Personal 'BRIE'f


So I was practicing my Spanish with a friend at Books-a-Million.
Then this older gentleman who looks vaguely familiar asks 
"Did you ever work at the Schooner II?"
He then calls his wife Betty and she hurries to the store to meet us. I worked front desk at a hotel half a decade ago for about a year. I have often wondered why! : ) 
Every time this couple came to visit I just wanted to love on them and after all these years that is what they remembered. That tough year trying to learn how to give good customer service wasn't wasted at all!
        I often thought the same thing about my last job. I worked as a Mentor but the system was NOT well-designed to benefit the kids. So we had a heavy weekly load with too many kids to serve well. But we did our best. None of my kids made amazing progress and the law ended up shutting it down because the owner committed fraud (unbeknownst to us). When I was hired I resolved to be clear and courageous IF opportunities to share my faith presented themselves. I should have thought "when" they present themselves. Because they DID.
     At our staff training I was invited, quite on the spur, to sing "Now Behold The Lamb", I shared about Abiding Village(a christian arts program) as a place where our kids could receive free arts training, and I invited my coworkers to church with me. This past Sunday one of those co-workers accepted Christ at our Palm Sunday Service!
      I was chastened again for thinking any part of my life, where God sovereignly placed me, was wasted!
       I often say when presenting that my goal isn't to raise money: it's to spur us all to Love Christ and share the Gospel every day with ourselves and with the Lost where we are planted. Sometimes that results in new supporters. Sometimes not. Last week I spoke at The Pilgrimage. It was a small intimate family church. No new supporters. But this week the Pastor sent me this message...
"One of my church folks was interested in the three of us getting together so we could talk more. He's a teacher, so what's your schedule like in late afternoons and evenings? Just between us, I've been working on him for years and I think he's getting close spiritually."
     It would be so easy to look at that day at The Pilgrimage Church as wasted if all I cared about is new supporters. The truth is I would trade being fully funded for being able to impact this young man's eternity!
     That is what my call to France is REALLY about, that is what Brie Church is already doing, and that is what we are called to do NOT only in France but in the city where you live, with your family, friends, coworkers, customers and even the strangers you pass on the street.
     A few days after these two events I was in my office (Barnes and Noble) when I saw a couple struggling with a Nook because their fingers were too large for the touch screen. They were elderly and not frustrated but clearly having difficulty.I remembered I happen to have 2 extra styluses.(Looks like a pen with a rubber tip, replaces your finger with more accuracy on a touch screen). I prayed and debated about whether they would be offended or relieved by me noticing their difficulty. Courage won.
     God in His mercy was prompting me to reach out, NOT so I could help them but so they could strengthen and encourage me. See, they are retired missionaries from Canada, thinking about moving to Myrle Beach. When they learned I willsoon be a missionary they began to...well...LOVE me. I can't call it anything less. Here's what I tweeted afterwards "Just met Dan & Shirley McDonald fr Canada (retired Nurse w/Intervarsity) who just spoke encouragement & grace that stirred & left me undone"
     I think what I'm hoping you will hear is:
1:Your life isn't merely about what God wants to do FOR you
2:It's about what God wan't to do THROUGH you and TO you!

March: in Pictures

in Myrtle Beach for a Tournament

Dessi Warming up the pitcher

Maggie Rockey and her Bluncle
Daughter of dear friends
Chris and Danielle Rockey

Micah Muller and His Godparents
Me, and Shannon Kipe!

My new favorite pic of Micah Ephraim Muller
Micah with Layna and Abbi Kipe
My former favorite of Micah, in Repose

Curtis McDonald's Junior Recital
Amazing musician and friend
And yes it does look like Jesus is playing the Song of Your Heart

With Wayne and Kathryn Craig
in Charlotte/Indian Land/Fort Mill
at the Transformation Church
McSwain Small Group
where I presented last Friday
Todd McSwain wearing the Birthday Cake Hat for His BDay!

Redeeming Love

Read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. You are Angel. So am I.
We are The Woman at The Well. The Adulterous Woman. That's US before Christ!

John 8:1-11
Early in the morning (at dawn), He came back into the temple [court], and the people came to Him in crowds. He sat down and was teaching them,
When the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. They made her stand in the middle of the court and put the case before Him.
...Now Moses in the Law commanded us that such [women--offenders] shall be stoned to death. But what do You say [to do with her--what is Your sentence]?
This they said to try (test) Him, hoping they might find a charge on which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger.
However, when they persisted with their question, He raised Himself up and said, Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.
Then He bent down and went on writing on the ground with His finger.
They listened to Him, and then they began going out, conscience-stricken, one by one, from the oldest down to the last one of them, till Jesus was left alone, with the woman standing there before Him in the center of the court.
When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you?
She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more.

John 14:15-18
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

Recently, I attended a conference by MarketLife Ministries in Myrtle Beach. The theme:the Gospel. The Message:The Gospel. The Application:Preach the Gospel to yourself EVERY day. (Sound familiar CIT alumni?)
As a redeemed Pharisee I have always thought secretly that "yes, Jesus earned my salvation but NOW I must earn/be worthy of what He did for me." I honestly thought God loves me more when I "succeed" and didn't realize this meant I thought He loves me less the rest of the time! When I read about the lost, sinful and broken people Jesus met and whose lives He transformed I tend to put myself in the story...don't you?
But I realized recently that I had been putting myself in as a innocent bystander.

I'm that sinful woman. I'm neither David nor Goliath, I'm one of the cowardly Israelites who didn't love and trust God enough to stand in His name and  trust His power and might. I'm Paul when he was still Saul. I am Judas.And I am Peter denying Christ by my actions at times.

BUT I am also the Peter Jesus restored and commanded to Love and Feed His Sheep.

I realized I had a major issue backwards. Notice the order in the passages above (neither do I condemn you THEN go and sin no more and if you LOVE me THEN obey my commandments)
 I don't obey to prove my love.I receive HIS love, I love IN RESPONSE, and the overflow, the effect of those loves, is the Holy Spirit teaching me and helping me to obey.

This changed the rest of my life. I guess others understood grace better, earlier in their walk with Christ. But I then re-enacted the shortest verse in the Bible..."Jesus wept."
I did. I wept. And the weight of performing to earn God's favor fell away. I understood why the words "It is finished!" should be cause for rejoicing. Jesus was the only one who could perfectly fulfill the Law, and He did, FOR US, because we can't and could never.

Like Christ I have resolved to now daily preach to myself Christ Crucified and Resurrected and to let that transform and empower me to do the work to which He has called me!

Nothing Can Hold Me Back From You

Nothing is Holding Me Back From You
©Bryan and Katie Torwalt 2011

Verse 1
Thank You for the cross that You have carried
Thank You for Your blood that was shed
You took the weight of sin upon Your shoulders
And Sacrificed Your life so I could live

Now nothing is holding me back from You
Redeemer of my soul
Now nothing can hold me back from You
Your Love will never let me go

Verse 2
Thank You for Your death and resurrection
Thank You for the power of Your blood
I am overwhelmed by Your affection
The Kindness and the Greatness of Your Love
The Kindness and the Greatness of Your Love

Jesus, You make all things new

Verse 3
Thank You that we’re living in Your Kingdom
Jesus You’re the King upon the throne
Thank You for the way You always love me
Now I get to love You in return
Now I get to love You in return