Sunday, November 29, 2009

I don't want to leave this internet café ever. It has air conditioning.

"BTW - are you keeping a different blog nowadays? (i.e., not amyinanaheim)" -my dad

Oooops! No, dad, I am not keeping a different blog nowadays. Just...not keeping this one. HA!

No, but seriously, I am embarrassed that I haven't updated for a long time, and I hope your "dead blog" lists will forgive me.

First of all, IT IS HOT! It's getting to be winter time, and you know what that means...(probably you don't, if you don't live on or below the equator). It means it is gross. It is hot and yuck. And it's not a dry heat, that's for sure (whatever that means). It is a nasty, heavy, suck-the-life-out-of-you kind of heat. The kind of heat that literally destroys your will to do anything productive and forces you to submit to it. So...long story short, I have been spending my days inches away from my fan, trying to stay hydrated.

Uh...and working on the University Project...obviously.

No really, it's going great. We accepted a new student into the program and will begin looking for a sponsor for her soon. We currently have two students in need of sponsors, and are working on ideas for finding them. Also, Paddy and Gianna are working on ideas for fundraisers in order to have extra funds in our account for extra, non-sponsorship money (right, guys? RIGHT?). This month, because of the extra funds we had available in the account, we were able to help one of our sponsored students afford the two field trips he needed to go on for his major. He wouldn't have been able to go otherwise, and would have missed out (probably his grade would have suffered as well). This month we began a study with the University Project students. We are going through The Truth Project by Focus on the Family and began with session 1 this month. It was really good. We had a good discussion after watching the dvd and I think they are looking forward to the next study. I hope the students will be open to the idea of holding the study every other week instead of just once a month. We'll see.

The music ministry in the Iberoamerican church where I have been serving is going well also. We started a Bible study on James (it's my favorite :-)) and have been learning a lot about the purpose of trials and temptations. It's been neat to hear the thoughts and opinions of the rest of the group. I think this kind of study is new to them. They are accustomed to "Bible study" being a meeting in the church where they go and listen to some information and then leave. But this study is designed around them answering questions and discussing their own opinions. I felt they were a little surprised at the beginning when they realized my questions weren't rhetorical; that I was actually going to wait for a response from a few of them before moving on to the next question. But now that it's not so weird to actually talk during a Bible study (gasp!), we are having a great time. We meet Monday mornings at 9:00am (that's 6:00am to you, my friends, if you are on Pacific Standard time).

The thing is, we are in desperate need of your prayers here. My observation has been that the church here is tired and discouraged. One of the big problems I've seen being that guilt is often (always) used as a tactic for making people serve in the church. Church services are held in an atmosphere of guilt and disappointment instead of celebration, and the underlying message communicated is generally one of "you're not doing enough" which, to be honest, just makes people want to give up altogether. I have had several conversations with prominent leaders of this specific church who are seriously considering leaving it to find another. It makes me sad. I would like to ask for your prayers for wisdom, and that God will encourage his church here-give it new life; revival. And that something would be done about the message of guilt that is being communicated so frequently.

Thank you for your prayers. I hope to hear from you!