Thursday, July 21, 2011

He Stole My Heart

Now love is like an ocean
Take it down to the depths
Yeah I'm taking you with me
Taking every step to steal your heart

I'm gonna steal your heart away

Life is like a shadow

It never stays in one place
I'm standing here anyway
However long it takes to steal your heart

Gonna steal your heart away

"Steal Your Heart," Augustana

Thankful He never gives up on us. Even when we choose to steal our hearts back. 

But for today I willingly leave it in His hands.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why Did I Wait?

Pouring sweat
Cement boogers
Dust boogers :)
Dirty hands
Undrinkable water
Cold showers
Little sleep
Sore muscles
Bug bites

These things didn't bother me a bit. I spent so many years thinking they would.

Lost Souls
Racial Conflict
Sexual Predators

These things kept my mind and heart broken. I saw and heard about these things from the people of the DR and the family from Cross Point that went with me.

But COMMUNITY and HOPE. Those are the two things I can't get off my mind and learned so much more about. 

COMMUNITY: Through hearing some of the stories of God's faithfulness and love from my Cross Point team and the G.O. Pastors and leaders, I experienced community like I never have before. G.O.'s mission statement is all about changing the world through relationships. I left this week knowing all of G.O.'s staff in Santiago are family now.

"G.O. Ministries seeks to empower passionate, Local Leaders serving inside their cultures to Redeem people, Renew communities and Restore Creation by developing dynamic International Partnerships in Ministry that result in mutual transformation."

HOPE: It was everywhere. To see the church and feeding center Cross Point has spent years building, COMPLETE! Oh, what a feeling. Kids were flooding in to get a hot meal and love. The church was nearly full on Sunday with Haitian families, Dominican children and Americans, worshiping together. The kids understood the Good Samaritan story when we did our skit. They listened. God was speaking.

We went to a place called the hole one afternoon. It is a landfill slum where people live in extreme filth, danger and poverty. The kids litterally jump into your arms for you to hold them. Others tightly grasp your hand. We made sure to tell them all, "Jesus te ama." The words to this song came to my head as I was walking through the slum. I sang them to the little boy I was holding, 

"There will be hope for the hopeless. Rest for the weary. A day when ALL wrong is made right. They will see God."

Hope, not despair. 

We heard stories of how far the hole has improved. 10 yrs ago it was a much darker place. G.O. has built a church/feeding center there and Pastor Felix just opened a water purification building where people can get clean water. 

There are so many plans for more life change. I can't wait to go back and experience new things. I keep asking myself, "Why did I wait so long to go on this trip?" But I know this was God's timing. I cried a lot. It was a joke that if I wasn't crying then we weren't doing things right. :) I needed to see the World through the eyes of Jesus. I will truly never be the same.

Take a moment and check out all that G.O. Ministries is doing. Pray about how you can help. And enjoy this sideshow of our week, doing our part to change the World.

2011 Videos: Cross Point Church 2011: "Cross Point Church 2011 from Amanda Braisted on Vimeo."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's Time for an Update Folks

My first post of 2011 stated 3 areas I wanted to cultivate, change and pursue.

-The Dominican Republic trip with the church was my pursuit

-Cutting down my spending habits on things I don't need was my change.

-Spending time with the women on our vocal team at Cross Point was what I wanted to cultivate.

PURSUIT: I'm all packed for the DR. Tomorrow will be a long day at work, then I'll come home, double ck that I have everything I need, and then try to sleep before we have to be at the airport at 7:30 AM on Tuesday. This is really happening. :) I can't wait to love on the people we meet, especially the kids. I'm excited to worship with the community on Sunday. And I'm thrilled I'm going with my husband, one of my sweet friends Alysha and several teenage girls that I love!

CHANGE: I was better about spending less money in January and February. I went shopping with my birthday money only at the end of February. But slowly through the busyness of March and April at work, I began to find myself in Target more often and a new obsession, Francescas. Shopping is something that gives me temporary relief from stress. Instead of giving it to God, I buy a new top, or two. When I was on vacation in June, I made an agreement with myself that I would not step foot in Target until after the DR, nor would I buy anything unnecessary for myself. Confession: I've been to Target twice since making this pact, but only to buy two birthday presents and shop (with Jason present) for the DR trip. :)

CULTIVATE: Finally, all of our Girls Night's (a small group I started for the women on our vocal team) were such a blessing. I handed over the reigns to several of our volunteers to speak and encourage the team. We saw the Lord work during our meetings and I have loved watching so many of the women grow as worship leaders. 

One of the best things I learned was from Lindsey Appiah, (Charge Student Minstry, Choir and Sunday Worship team volunteer)

"We are not just worship leaders when we are on the platform. We have the responsibility to usher in the Holy Spirit every time we step through the doors of Cross Point."


I've enjoyed getting to know some knock out women who inspire me. The one challenge I gave to the girls that I haven't invested in yet is to use my musical gifts outside of the church walls. To start singing at a nursing home, hospital, prison, etc. I hope to find an opportunity for our vocalists to serve in an environment like this together.

I ask that you continue to pray for me. Pray as I begin my journey to the DR. Pray as I work on realizing daily that I have all that I need, and a new item from the store won't make my worries go away. Pray that I will speak with truth and love as I lead the vocalists on the team at Cross Point! 

To the rest of 2011!