Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Out of Egypt....

What a joy to be alive and find our purpose and strength in Jesus! Looking back on the last six months I cannot help but notice how God has built into our lives. He has pushed us out of our comfort zones to embrace who we are in Him. I feel like a tree getting all the sun and water it needs to flourish. I am growing so much lately and I am thankful for this season. Jesus is calling me to BE who I am, who He has made me to be, to trust in my talents and gifts, and to live from a heart of courage. 

In the book “Strengths Finder” the author says: “When we’re able to put most of our energy into developing our natural talents, extraordinary room for growth exists.” He continues saying that there is a myth out there that tells us, “We can be anything we want to be if we try hard enough. Unfortunately, we cannot be anything we want to be, but we can be a lot more of who we already are”. He encourages the reader to focus on their strengths instead of putting so much of their energy into their weaknesses. I am at that place in my life where I want to focus on what I am good at instead of spinning my wheels on that which I am not good at. It brings freedom to operate from your natural talents. So, I am embracing opportunities to teach, to communicate creatively, and to focus on Bible training.

I just returned from my 3 week trip to Egypt/Budapest/Croatia. I met our Explore Africa team in Cairo, Egypt, met the Northbound team in Budapest, Hungary, and traveled on with them to Croatia. The focus of our time with the teams was a midyear debrief session during which we gauged where they were spiritually as a team, as leaders, and as individual team members.  We shared in their laughter and tears as they told the amazing stories of God’s miracles they have experienced in the last 6 months. We prayed for each of them and encouraged them to finish the second half of this year strong. 
What a huge privilege and joy it was for me to be a part of this process in their lives. Some of the students asked me where I got my training to do this. The truth is I haven’t;  it’s just flowing from the heart that Jesus gave me, and I'm learning to be faithful with that. I left Europe with a renewed sense that Jodi and I are exactly where we need to be for this season. I felt validated and appreciated. I felt like I really have something to bring to Global Challenge. I felt loved and cared for by Jesus, and He is helping me to retake me - who I am.
One of the many  highlights for me was when I was asked to teach on communion. Looking at the Gospels I grasped something of the beauty of us REMEMBERING our friend Jesus. I love the simplicity of the Gospel…
Just as a side note, Egypt is not my dream vacation destination. Cairo with its 20 million people is like a beehive on steroids. Crazy drivers and colorless landscapes with extreme heat. Not my favorite...  Three weeks felt a bit too long to be away from home. Jodi had a rough time with Emi who was looking for her dad all the time. Maybe 10-14 days would be better next time. 
I want to thank you all for being a part of this journey with me. Thank you for praying for me, and for Jodi and Emi while I was away. Thank you for selflessly sharing in our lives here in Africa and beyond. We appreciate you! Thank you for your sacrifices so that we can continue to serve Him with our lives here. Many blessings from our family to yours!

p.s. I still need to come up with $400 more dollars to pay off this trip if anyone feels led to contribute financially. Thanks!
Here are a few pictures of my time with our teams:

Here we were with the Explore Africa team in Dahub, Egypt.

This is possibly where Mt. Sinai is located where Moses received the 10 Commandments.

Marius in front of a pyramid. They are really magnificent and gigantic!

Budapest, Hungary -where we met the Northbound team. Such a welcome sight after Egypt!

We stayed in a college dorm for a few nights.

Marius in Split, Croatia.

Omis, Croatia
The beautiful Croatian coast.

One of our students who was being baptized by her father who is a pastor and her mother. This was so special!

Marius teaching on communion in Croatia.

The Northbound team 

Cairo Backpackers where we stayed in Egypt.

Lunch - Global style.

Marius and Anna-Marie meeting with the Northbound leaders - Elbe and Jonathan.

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