My Cheesy Pizza Life

When the list of things the Lord has taught me can be as long as that cheese trail coming off your pizza that is when you know you are in a good season.

You know that pizza is good when the cheese trail is a task.

Can I get an Amen?

Besides comparing my life to a cheesy pizza, a lot has happened to me in the last three months, and I really have been hungering to write about it but just haven’t had the right heart and place until now.

I lived in Greece for six weeks, hung out with some great people in Thessaloniki (shout out to all my wonderful Greek family), spent time in a refugee camp, advocated with the A21 campaign (shoutout to Christine Cain), became single, quit a job, moved out of my apartment that I’ve had for the last two years, left my beloved city of Gainesville and Greenhouse Church, and moved back home to where I am now currently sitting in my high school bedroom reflecting on my life over the past three months of summer. But ya’ll its so good.

Life has been one of those pizzas with a lot of toppings, (I think it’s called supreme) but still so much cheese underneath that the cheese doesn’t lose it’s flavor. The cheese is in my life as a pizza is Jesus. As much has been thrown on top, the foundation has stayed the same and the flavor of the gospel hasn’t escaped itself

However, my life is no longer the Supreme Pizza. It is currently just a cheese pizza and to be honest this is the most free and burden-less that I have felt in quite some time. So much breakthrough in three months, so much heart healing, vision seeing, truth finding, and much more. All praise to Jesus.

For the past few years my life pizza has been cheese with just about everything else on top of it:

  • Meat-Student at the University of Florida
  • Veggies-Employee at Gainesville Health and Fitness and Volunteer/Member of Greenhouse Church
  • Sweet Pineapple- Someone’s Girlfriend

All wonderful and flavorful additions, at least in my opinion, to someone’s pizza, but now I am just cheese because I am not a student, currently not employed by any taxable organization, and single (but very happily I might add).

I’m learning to love this cheese though, because cheese is simple. Jesus is simple. The Gospel is simple. I’ve been hung up on a phrase lately from Elevation Worship’s new album. The song is “Fullness” and the singer writes,

“Let our hearts continue burning, for our KING is soon returning. Let us hold to this assurance, Spirit Come.”

The magnitude of this line has done nothing but bring me to overwhelming emotion and called me to question my own yearning for the King. Does my heart burn for the King to return? Do I hold fast to the assurance of Jesus Christ?

Am I content with just my cheese pizza?

For the longest time, the answer to all of these questions would have been “no.”

However, the Lord has used this time to teach me the yearning for His kingdom, the assurance of His hope, and the hunger for His Spirit. The cheese is good y’all, it’s good.

As a post grad, I’ve been trying to add pizza toppings ever since I got back from Greece. I thought I was gonna add a graduate school acceptance to start my Masters in International Community Development, Lord told me to withdraw my application. Applied to numerous jobs with Samaritan’s Purse, you know to start being a big girl and pay my bills. Was almost about to settle, when the the Lord asked me “Hannah, why are you only giving me an inch, when I want to give you a mile, why do you not trust me to provide a job with all your passions not some?” Okay Jesus, let me wait with my dwindling bank account.

But then the Lord provided a chance for me to honestly take a nice ole cheese bath, and so that is what I am doing. Starting August 21st my new place of residence will be Santa Fe, NM working as a part time admin for my grandma’s ministry Joyful Ministries. There I will partner with what God is doing within her ministry around the Santa Fe and New Mexico area. My heart is content because this was simply a topping that the Lord placed in my life at this moment. Peace and reassurance is something I have received.

It was not my original post grad plans, as I thought I was moving to Spain to teach English and gonna post an awesome pic on all social media and be like “oh my goodness, Spain, it’s crazy, ahh.” And honestly, it brings me joy knowing that so many are moving into this season. I delight in the jobs offers, marriages, proposals, babies, and everything in between that I see all the time because God works in and through all things. That’s just not my type of pizza right now, and I am super content with the cheese. Cheese is good and cheese is the most assured foundation. I can always count on my Jesus to be there and for the goodness of His gospel to never lose its taste. I can’t wait to see what the Lord continues to make out of my pizza life. May it be filled with an abundance of cheese and only the toppings the Lord requests. May there be an overflow of Jesus on all sides, and may that be the foundation on which I choose to live my life for all eternity.

We all know what Forrest Gump said about life being like a box of chocolates. However, to me life is much more like a pizza with my favorite Jesus as the pizza master. Lord, give me only the toppings that you need for me to have in order that people may taste and see that the Lord is good. I want them to taste the cheesy bread of life, Jesus Christ.

Love and Prayers,

Hannah

Why Matthew 28:19 Matters

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Picture: Thessaloniki, Greece –> Pray for this city!

Each day here in Greece, I pass by about 5 churches and each one of them is beautiful, grandeur, and a supposed place to worship the Lord. The Bible says Jesus is Lord, but I do not see Him being worshipped here. I DO NOT see people tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. I do not hear shouts of rejoicing from the bellows of a church a hall or sanctuary. However, what I do see is people taking the life of Jesus as a historical figure and worshipping saints and kissing statues, and building small churches on the side of the road because they want to pay patronage to some thing that supposedly saved them from harms way.

This is what I see.

Beggars, refugees, college students looking for something to bring them pure joy and contentment when the world around them constantly crumbles and never brings them pure joy. Searching for something.

This is not just a Greece thing, and this is why this matters. I’ve seen it many parts of the world. In Chile I spoke with people who knew ONE Christian their whole time or none in the case of my other friend. NONE, one more time NONE. I see people in the states stuck in life’s conditions that can be overcome by the blood of Jesus.

Our world is broken and in need of a Savior, so many are unreached. Yes time is short an there is a real hell, but more than that think of what Jesus means in your life if you know Him. What he does for you everyday, He brings you joy, peace, contentment, calm in the midst of storm, blessing upon blessing, supernatural healing and of course eternal life. But stop and think how your life is radically different because of Jesus, and if it’s not then you need to ask Him to show you?

The gospel and what Jesus did matters, it matters so much. Why do we take it so lightly?

Why do myself and many others sit around each day talking about “oh Jesus is so good”, “I’m blessed and highly favored”, “oh I know Jesus has something waiting for me up in my heavenly home.”

Why do we say these things but yet have no confidence to show or even talk about the love of Jesus to anyone in our lives?

A couple weeks ago, I was challenged by one of the pastors at my church who literally asks himself these questions everyday: Did I have a gospel conversation today? Did I make a disciple today?

Are you asking yourself these questions? I am challenged to do so, and I hope you are to because I sitting here in Greece and just see so many people who know what Jesus did and how many people he fed with five loaves of bread and two fish, but can’t tell you that their life even matters because well they think they were put on this earth to just live and die.

Stop letting this be the norm! I’m telling this to myself to. My heart hurts for the people who don’t know my Savior, don’t have the comfort and peace I have in the Holy Spirit, and don’t get to partake of heaven here on Earth because they don’t know it exists.

Matthew 28:19 is not just for missionaries, but it’s for you and me to. It’s for all disciples of Jesus. Stop being a fan of Jesus and be a follower of Jesus and ask other people to follow Jesus with you.

You don’t have to invite them to church, it’s not the church’s responsibility to share the gospel with them, it’s yours. The gospel is inside of you, share the gospel, live the gospel, and most of all explain to them why the gospel means so much to you.

Before I met Jesus, my life was hypocritical, self-righteous, worrisome, and prideful, now I have peace that surpasses all understanding and a desire to see all people changed by Jesus the way I was.

What’s your story?

Share your story because the Greeks, the Europeans, the WORLD needs to hear a Savior and not just bells chiming on Sunday. Let us be challenged to make disciples every day, let our hearts be troubled by our friends that don’t know Jesus. Let us be burdened for the sake of the gospel for there is where eternal glory lies.

Hamburgers without Fries

Hamburgers, fries, co-laboring with Christ.

This is phrase that has been batting around in my mind lately.

Not the hamburgers and fries, but “co-laboring with Christ” and what that really looks like.

  • What does it look like to co-labor with Christ?
  • What does it look like to be an ambassador for the Kingdom of God?
  • What does total reckless abandon of our will look like during co-laboring

The Word Co-laboring means a partnership, a partnership with whomever. In this case it’s Christ. We are called to be co-laborers with Christ. Now this first started dawning on me when I received prayer from one of our prayer people at church. I was 2 weeks out before  embarking to Greece didn’t have a passport and lacked $1500 of my total budget needed for support.

I was questioning, God is this really the thing you have called me to co-labor with you on?

I knew God was my provider, but co-laboring is rarely all on our own efforts. I had to let go and just trust that if this was my task to co-labor that Jesus was laboring right beside me.

The man that prayed over me told me, “you are doing this with Christ, not for Christ.”

Long Story Short:

  • Lost in the Mail Passport- Appeared
  • $1500 came in just the nick of time

Struck by this thought of doing something with Christ rather than for Christ was astonishing to me. I had lived most of my life and especially the last part of this year saying “I live for Christ.”

I live for Christ, no. I live with Christ because Christ resides inside of me. He has chosen, adopted, predestined, redeemed, blessed me, and has given me an inheritance in himself where I get to partake of the blessings of heaven on this earth (Ephesians 1), I get to co-labor with Christ here on this earth so the power of His resurrection and heaven may become known. To live with Christ is to know him.

I work for my boss, but I don’t work with him/her. When I work for Jesus, I think that I must earn his satisfaction or his stamp of approval. I need his “well done Hannah.”

When I work for Jesus, I try to earn his grace. However, when I work with Jesus I already know his grace, I already know his character it pushes me to work with Him. I follow His footsteps because I see that he doesn’t trod of shaking ground, but rather upholds me with His righteous right hand. When I co-labor with Christ I see things I don’t normally  see. I turn off my eyes and ask Jesus to teach me what He sees. He takes me on a journey where I use the Spirit rather than the flesh to guide me.

I start to Dream with God.

Thanks to Bill Johnson and his wonderful spirit-filled insight on co-laboring and dreaming with God, I learn that God does want to know the desires of my heart. He asks me to sacrifice my will so his may be done, but not so that he may take away all the things I desire. However, to create a partnership that is more effective.

“But God Has Elevated us from servants to friends. He invites us into relationship that goes beyond employer-employee interactions. He is willing for us to engage Him….to change His mind, to direct His ideas, to share in His unfolding creative work. He doesn’t lack for ideas. He just enjoys our participation. When you become a friend of God, you don’t lose the humility and obedience of a servant, but your relational perspective shifts. There is a point in our relationship with God where obedience is no longer the primary issue. That may also sound blasphemous, but it’s a deep truth God wants to reveal more widely in the Church. There are levels of relationship with God that many of us have not conceived or experienced, and until we do, our co-laboring with Him will be more limited than it needs to be”

(p.132-133, The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind by Bill Johnson).

 

Fish is no good without chips, hamburgers aren’t good without French fries, and I’m starting to learn that Hannah is not as good when there is no Jesus in her efforts. There may be great and fruitful things done on my own power, but how much greater is my fruit or my efforts when they are touched by the hands that saved the world. The ultimate gardener.

Jesus partner with me in life, let me walk in the light of your salvation, uphold me with your righteous right hand. Let me co-labor with you as I journey to Greece.

Love and Prayers,

Hannah

 

Clay in the Hands of the Potter

 

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I’ve always been and probably always will be an early riser. The morning time is really treasured for me because I get to indulge in my addiction: coffee and also just rest in quiet and peace while enjoying journaling, praying, or reading the Word of God.

This morning, since thanksgiving just happened, I really awoke with such a desire to write, such a desire to just pour out my heart to God and have this spirit of thankfulness and really just look back and be like wow look at all God has done.

I have attached this picture with this post not because this post is all about my man and how much I love him, but because I just wanted to write about three things: 1) waiting and praying 2) idols 3) deliverance and thankfulness

Now looking at this picture you may wonder, well okay how are all three of these connected to this guy wearing a shirt and shorts that don’t necessarily match the best and a girl who just loves to wear non-normal outfits with Chacos. Well I’ll tell you!

Waiting and Praying. Like most girls I made a list of everything I wanted in a man. Mine consisted of a lot of real and true things that were truly important to me, and others such as I hope he really likes Spanish music but can also get down to some George Strait every now and then (country music). Weird combination, but it is often hard to find. One of my other things, was culture. I grew up in the whitest of white towns where fried chicken and the rebel flag waved tall and proud. I take no shame in this because I love where I grew up, it was such a beautiful place to live, the people were so nice, and open hearted. However, I just wasn’t one of those girls who wanted the Southern tide wearing grew up in the southern Baptist home type guy. I wanted some culture, some flavor, some spice. If you haven’t met him, you know culture runs in and through his blood and he wouldn’t change that for a thing,  and he also loves Spanish and country music. Be still my heart. If you are still in that time where you haven’t found that one that makes your heart go pitter patter then I would encourage you to make a list of your desires and just give them to God. God longs to give us the desires of our heart when they are committed to them (Psalm 37:4).

To be in the state of relationship I’m in now, God had to do a lot of working in my heart. I didn’t love him right away, in fact I didn’t even know I loved him till probably about 6 months ago. I was really good at loving other people, but didn’t think I was deserving of love. God had to put love in my heart, had to teach me things about love, but most of all had to break me. He had to push me to my limits, break my pride and self-righteousness and most of all, break my idols.

Idolatry is something we all struggle with. We create idols. Whether it’s our health, body composition, grades, success in life, the type of car we drive, our clothing, whatever it may be, for me it was a perfect Christian relationship. Now my boyfriend and I are both Christians and we love Jesus. However, are we perfect a big HECK NAH. We make mistakes all the time, mistakes as a couple, mistakes separately, are we always reading the word of God, encouraging each other spiritually the way we should, NO. For me, I let this idea become an idol rather than looking unto God. Looking unto the eyes of my creator, my Savior, and allowing him to fix me, walk with me, and change me. I relied so much on my own will and desire and how I thought the world should see our relationship, rather than how Jesus saw us, which is two broken people moving towards HIM and how HE is constantly fixing us. We aren’t fixing ourselves. That’s right, we aren’t self-made, we are Christ-made. Everything that we have up until this point, every imperfection overcome or still working on is all because of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. I know it’s easy for us Christians to look up dating biblically on the internet, read the blogs, create our physical boundaries and think we will be set, make no mistakes, and read the Bible in a picnic setting with sparkling apple cider once a week. What this really turns into is, let’s meet to watch a sermon, we realize how much we need to work on and we end up repenting to each other for how we may have hurt the other person. Ultimately, we are asking Jesus to change us. If you have that picnic bible study once a week, you are a lucky gal or guy. However, I’m still moving towards the tranquil picnic. Don’t let perfection of a relationship become your idol, look towards Jesus to control your relationship. Shout out to my friend, who helped me realized this and has been challenging me with it on the reg.

Deliverance and Gratitude. With relationships can come a lot of messiness, but God is so gracious to deliver us from the messiness. Deliverance is beautiful, only from God and is such a treasure. He delivered both me and my man from a lot of darkness and hurt, and is moving us towards light every day. We are told darkness cannot overcome the light, and it is such a beautiful thing. My deliverance has moved me to gratitude, but this challenges me to think if there were no deliverance would I still be in an attitude of gratitude?

Eeh. That’s hard, partially yes because I know my God is good, but then my sinful side would say why hasn’t my God delivered me yet. Like David and many others in the Bible waiting is the most difficult and hard thing to do, God always comes through though. The Psalms are evident of that. I’ve been challenged to look unto the Lord instead of deliverance, look to the Blesser instead of the blessing. My God is good, so Good, and I am forever thankful to be a part of his plan even when I literally screw up and have to repent every day. God is challenging and growing all of us, His grace is sufficient, His faithfulness endures forever, and his forgiveness is unrelenting. He is not going to stop chasing after you or me and desires us to be patient in prayer (Romans 12:12), tear down our idols (Exodus 20:3), and be thankful even when deliverance hasn’t come yet or is slowly making it’s way (James 1:2-4). You are loved, treasured, and adored, don’t forget all that God has done for you so far.

I made a list about two weeks ago of 13 things God had done for me in the past and it gave me overwhelming peace knowing he would continue to prove ever faithful. Don’t lose hope in your battle, search for your significant other, or anything in between. God hasn’t left you. “Like clay in the hands of the potter, so are you in mine” (Jeremiah 18:6). He is holding us together, one by one, molding and shaping us. Allow Him to shape you, it’s better than when we bang ourselves up against the wall trying to make a perfect pot out of already broken and shattered pieces.

Love and Prayers,

Hannah

 

Heavy Branches

It’s Tuesday, and I don’t have class so you think that I would be enjoying my time here at this coffee shop. However, I am sitting here at this coffee shop trying to watch a documentary in Spanish about how many Cubans fled from the island in order to escape refuge in the United States. Sounds interesting right? It truly is, but when your heart and mind are in two different places you sort of feel like well bluh.

Ten days after I arrived back from Chile, I started my senior year in college. Fifteen credits, nine credits of Spanish, and six credits of classes in English. The languages alternate throughout my long days of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so by the weekend I am very exhausted. Coming back from Chile where I was pushed to the limits in all areas of my life, and now being back here in Gainesville where I am challenged constantly by school, life has been a little hectic lately. I have a duty to finish school, but my heart is with people. School has become more of a checklist item for me. I go to class, but my heart isn’t in class. I sit there thinking and looking on the faces of my classmates. If you have ever walked on a college campus, it’s almost like stepping into a room filled with broken people. You can see the words plastered on people’s foreheads, “lonely,” “shattered,” “broken,” “unloved,” and “searching.” There are so many of these words painted on people’s foreheads for us to see. But what do we as Christians do, we stay engaged with our campus ministry. We seek comfort and safety among the safe, among the people who might not ask us bend over backwards in order to show them the love of Christ because they already know it exists.

I heard this phrase the other day at church when our guest speaker was talking about fear. This man and his wife reach out to Muslims in a predominantly Muslim middle east, his church was bombed after 9/11 leaving members of his congregation dismantled on the ceiling with blood stains covering their tattered pews. I don’t know about you but the most discrimination I’ve experience as a Christian comes every now and then when I ask people and if they go to church and say, “I don’t like church.” Hmm I wonder why people don’t like church. If we as Christians are supposed to be the most loving and our God is so loving why don’t people like us? I really don’t know the answer…but I think it’s time for us to stop this. Stop the non-loving, stop the ridicule, and see people. Something I learned when I was in Chile was just how much Jesus looked at people. He didn’t just glance at them, He looked into their eyes and felt their pain. I myself am so guilty of this. It is so much easier for me to look past someone that is hurting rather to engage and fight alongside of them. Jesus didn’t abandon me in my brokenness and weakness. He picked me up crowned me with a jeweled crown and brought me to redemption. We are all in need of redemption. The missionary said this, and it really stuck out to me: “we as Christians should be spending more time with non-Christians rather than Christians.” Yes our Christian community is great, I live with four awesome girls who love Jesus, my boyfriend loves Jesus, I have Bible study with believers…but I can’t stay there. I can’t stay safe. We’ve taken that bad company corrupts good character verse (1 Corinthians 15:33) and we have isolated ourselves in bubbles to which we grow our tree of Christianity really tall. It produces leaves, it produces fruit, but we never allow the fruit to fall and be eaten by others. We are learning all this great knowledge of redemption, grace, and truth, but what are we doing with it. Chewing on it during our devotional time and leaving it at that?

Devotions are great, and I love my time with the Lord. I genuinely wish and challenge myself to have more. However, I don’t believe God has called us to keep our devotion and that fruit inside of us. He has called us to extend a hand, give the fruit to someone else and allow the juices to stream down the face of someone who says, “I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good.” Our branches our heavy with fruit, it’s time to let it fall. I just see this image of us as Christians with our branches heavy, we have fruit, and it’s people who are hungry are right below us looking for something to eat and that something to eat that is going to satisfy for eternity. People hungry for love, affection, grace, redemption, healing, and truth. We have that all harvested in our fruit, if we are allowing God to be our vine. We can bear much fruit. Therefore, let it fall. Tell people of the good news of the grace of God. And the great news is once that fruit is given away, it leaves room for more fruit to grow. Don’t let your fruit shrivel up just because you want people to see your successful spiritual growth. How much knowledge of the gospel you have acquired, give it away! Let others taste and see the Lord is good!

I am writing this because my heart has been heavy laden this semester as I see people walking on campus hurting. I think to myself I’m just like them broken and tattered, but the great news is Jesus is mending me and He is near to all the broken hearted, ALL.

I want my branches to bear much fruit, and my father vine to be my everlasting Father, Jesus Christ. I want him to be pruning, harvesting, and growing much within me. This is my prayer, my hearts cry, and what I pray us as believers are moving into. Let’s be trees rooted in the word of God, who are not only producing fruit, but allowing God to use our fruit to bless someone else. Step away from fear, walk forth, and make disciples, the call of every Christian. Love God and Love People.

Love and Prayers,

Hannah

Capturing Chile

 

What I Learned:

Sitting here in my Chilean bedroom one last morning, drinking the “wonderful” instant coffee of Chile (it really isn’t that bad after two months), I can’t help but reflect upon this summer with gratitude or agredecida in Spanish. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so I might as well begin being thankful right now.

Grace and gratitude are really going hand in hand as I am about to head home. Gratitude for the grace is my anthem as I speak about what God taught me this summer. If I could sum it up in six words it would be: i am nothing, CHRIST IS EVERYTHING. Growing up in church for such a long time, I forgot who the person of Jesus was, I forgot how magnificent His love was for me, and how vast His grace is compared to how little I deserve that grace. I was okay at giving others grace and loving others, but I had a hard time believing that Jesus loved me. I was living an older brother mentality (in reference to the Prodigal Son story). I thought I had earned my salvation and needed to continue to earn it; however, this is not the case it is freely given without any demands from Jesus in return. I read this quote this summer in one of our readings for discipleship. It reads,

“If like the elder brother, you believe that God ought to bless you and help you because you have worked so hard to obey Him and be a good person, then Jesus may be your helper, your example, even your inspiration, BUT he is not your Savior. You are serving as your own Savior.” – The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

Talk about the Lord smacking you in the face, little did I know I was in such need of a savior before coming to Chile. I thought I was doing pretty good on the path towards being a righteous person in heaven. Was I ever so wrong. During my time here in Chile, the biggest thing God taught me was that I am in so much desperate need of Christ to be changing me, redeeming me from my sin, and forming me into the disciple He has called me to be. I wasn’t humble, not that I am now but…God took me this summer and said, “Hannah I’m going to show you just how much you are in need of Grace, how undeserving of it you are, but I love you so much more than you can imagine, and because I love you I choose to give you grace, give you the desires of your heart, and bless you with life and love.” And this my friends is why yo soy agredecida (I am thankful).

What I did:

People that have been keeping up with me on social media are probably wondering why I don’t have too many “ministry” pictures posted. I am really sorry that I don’t have a visual representation of what we did here in Chile, but my teammates and I were talking a couple days ago about our purposes being here and the ministry we did. It is a little different than I think all of us expected, but in retrospect we all did exactly what God called us to do this summer. Jesus told me to feed His sheep this summer, or in my case the Chilean folk. Now when Jesus revealed that to me, I wasn’t really sure exactly how that would play out. I thought that meant hang with some kids at the school, do some construction work, maybe pray for some people on the street. Those are what came to mind when he told me that. Yes we did do all of those things…but our ministry here goes much further than that.

The “music of the gospel” (as our team leader likes to say) or the story of grace, redemption, and love for all those who believe is quite new in Chile. Chile has been plagued by religiosity, people inside the church don’t know how to have community, people outside the church aren’t welcome inside the church unless you have your life together, and many other typical Pharisee characteristics. This is why my team leader and his wife are here, and as you can see there is a lot of work to be done. Their goal is to create a community of believers in the church who are going out and showing the compelling of Christ to Chile in order so they may make disciples. The people here in Chile don’t understand that Jesus loves them and accepts them exactly the way they are. They don’t see grace when they gaze upon the cross. In a Catholic nation, many see Jesus still upon that cross agonizing in pain. However, the truth is He is no longer on that cross, He is RISEN, we are REDEEMED, and there is FREEDOM from the sin that should have held us down. None can say it better than John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I used this verse too many times without understanding it’s true meaning, but Wow what love is this?

Saying all of that, my team and I tried to stomp religiosity out of our little towns as much as we could. We met with people encouraged them in their walk with Christ, shared our sin and struggles, and asked that they join us as we pray for the nation of Chile and it’s movement towards creating the beautiful song of the gospel here. There was one church that my team and I were very involved with here, and I remember sitting at our small little worship night in the Pastor’s house listening to our friend play his guitar as we all sang in unison to our Creator and King. I couldn’t help but think about the first missionaries in Acts. They were given an incredible task of preaching the gospel after Jesus had departed from earth. They shared in life with each other, prayed for each other, ate with each other etc. As I looked around that room I saw those Acts missionaries. The Chileans we were with were the ones that were going to be here after we left (not that we are Jesus or anything), but our friends were going to be making disciples here in Chile and to me that was so beautiful.

I know the music of the gospel is going to continue to play here in Chile, and I can’t wait to hear stories about what God is doing: how Jesus is transforming people’s lives, humbling them like He did me, and telling them “I love you, you are in need of me, come to my well and drink.” Although I don’t have much proof to show exactly what I did here, I know in my heart I accomplished the goal the Lord set before me. He asked me to feed his sheep, and that is what I did. None say it better than Paul, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”-1 Corinthians 3:6. I prayed a lot for this country as well and asked the Lord to just come and infiltrate this place. I ask you do the same. Seeds were planted here, the oppression of darkness was stomped on, and my life was changed as I realized how much I am in need of Christ and how thankful I am for His GRACE and LOVE. Truthfully, it is all loss to compared to knowing Christ. What a wonderful God we serve. Ciao Chile, thanks for making me hungry for more.

Love and Prayers,

Hannah

Barbed Wire to Branch

I know what you may be thinking as you read this title, what the heck is this Chica  trying to say? Barbed wire to Branch…#what?

Well as you all know, I have been here in Chile since June 15th and it is now June 26th, so approximately 11 days. I would love to tell you that the first 11 days of my time here in Chile have been the grandest upon grandest of times. Usually people experience the mission trip high upon arrival, well since life has just seemed a little backwards for me lately I figured eh might as well experience the mission trip low first. Not that the low has been so extreme as to make me want to go home (okay maybe so for about 10 minutes), but the low has been well low.

Upon arrival to Chile, as you read in my last blog things were a little rough. In turn, I came to Chile with some scars and really frustrating things. I did not really understand why so much anxiety, attack, and everything in between was happening to me and I may never understand it. However, I do know that Romans 8:28 says, “and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Later in that chapter v. 37 says, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Taking these two verses into account, this is what has been pushing me through knowing that because my Savior shed blood on the cross that I am able to come out of tough times victorious. No weapon formed against us is able to prosper!

During my time here, the Lord has begun revealing a lot of where my struggle has come from recently. He has done this by means of other people, prayer, speaking to my heart, and a walk through the country roads where I took that picture of the barbed wire. As I came up on this barbed wire, God was saying to me “Hannah you are that barbed wire, but I am making you into a branch.” It sounds really weird, but I think we all are barbed wire in a way. For me, my barbed wire came from insecurities, desire to be loved but not understanding what love truly was, comparison, hurt, and of course pride. All of these added up to a lump sum of me, barbed wire Hannah, walking around with her life together, so spiritual, Christ-filled, you know the whole idea of what a godly-woman should be. However, the facade can only last so long before you are brought down low and truly realize okay God I have so far to come before I can even compare to how great and magnificent you are. The Church nowadays really encourages us to build our faith, be strong, you are so much more than this. Yes all those things are true, but those phrases have a lot to do with the idol of “me.” The Bible says, put your faith in me, your strength comes from me, and yes you are so much more than this, but you are so much more than this because I (Jesus) have made you so much more.

This Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth, the Savior of the World who died on the cross to save my sins, needs me to come to Him in need of savior not in want of one. I for so many years, wanted a savior, wanted someone to help me through life, wanted someone to be my guide, but when things were easier to do on my own I was like “hey I can do this.” This is not the case anymore, everything I have experienced up to this point I could handle on my own or with the encouragement of another person that buttered me up, put me back on the horse, and ready  to grab life by the reigns and take it on again. Nope, not this time, there was no getting back up on that horse by myself. In the case of Peter and walking on water, I needed Jesus to reach down and pick me up. He never let me drown because he doesn’t let his disciples drown, but I was in NEED of a Savior. That strong barbed wire that thought she didn’t need anything else to protect her, was brought low stripped of her pride, her insecurities, and started the process of becoming a branch.

As I have shared before, God told me that during my time here in Chile he would teach me a lot about love. Oh how true that already is, just really understanding the captivating and compelling love of Christ and how much He truly loves and delights in us. He is always with us and guiding us through life even we don’t think we are doing the right thing, or don’t think we deserve this love. He loves us so much, and that is what He is teaching me here so far in Chile. He loves me and wants the best for me, is always fighting for me, and is the only thing in this life that I can lean on. Jesus is enough and everything else in life is blessing. How thankful I am for those blessings, but even more thankful I am for the BLESSER!

Becoming a branch, well it is not always the easiest. Branches are smooth, barbed wire is rough. Therefore, sometimes God has to rub away our pride, expose our hurt, our struggles and our need for Him. Jesus said in John 15, “I am the vine, you are the branch, apart from me you can do nothing.” This is so true, I can do nothing apart from Christ. He gives me the ability to love, the ability to live, and the air to breath. Even though the rubbing away is painful, I am thankful that God is refining me and making me into a branch that bears much fruit. I want to bear much fruit and prove to be his disciple (v.8). From barbed wire to branch may be a process, but restoration and healing is always to be happened!

Love and Prayers,

Hannah