Sunday, January 24, 2016

Our First Team of 2016 - Welcome Coats Baptist Church

We want to welcome back our brothers and sisters from Coats Baptist Church.  Team leader, Jimmy, did an amazing job preparing his team for their journey this week in this beautiful place called Honduras.  Our project this week was in Monjares, through the leadership of Pastor David.  He had everything ready with the foundation with the a lot of help from the home owner, Edwin.  They greeted each other with open arms and lots of smiles.  The family is Edwin, construction worker, Rosabella, wife and mother, Jennifer age 8, Kevin age 7 and Fanny around one year old.  They are expecting another little one in February.  Please pray with us and the team upon a safe delivery and a healthy baby.  We all gathered after the introductions and prayed for the week ahead.  Thank you Coats for accepting God's calling for this sweet family to receive a much needed home.  All God's children said AMEN.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Matthew 21:22

The Team Is One

The Coats team returned with five from last year, Jimmy, team leader, his wife Diane, his granddaughter Gracie, Laura, David and Kent.  This year Kent brought his daughter, Katherine, Elayne, Teddy and Ronnie.  A new team God formed and created a long time ago.  Team leader, Jimmy said the dynamics of the team changed several times.  God knew who he wanted this week to serve Edwin and Rosabella.  As soon as they completed the beginning prayer the team all scattered finding work to do to get to the point of laying the first block. Jimmy worked along side Pastor Carlos laying the cornerstones.  The rest of the team brought materials to the foundation to help the process along.  The ladies, Katherine and Elayne were not shy at all with picking up the shovel to sift the sand for the mortar.  These two new friends were not new at this project for very long.  They pitched right in to help Edwin and Rosabella get their dream home.  A home they have prayed for a long time.  We always enjoy watching the local pastors help their congregation as well. Pastor David helped each and every day until the project was completed.  What a testimony for all of us, team work.  Unity in Christ was so evident with this ordained group of people this week.  God's mighty hand was at work and these folks allowed for it to happen.  The North Americans as well as the local neighbors all came together to help a friend get a home.  This is exactly what Jesus would do, help others.  Team leader, Jimmy's first devotional was about loving others but he read a poem at the end which was so appropriate for a start to an amazing week.

Others — A Poem

By Charles D. Meigs (written sometime between 1890 and 1902)
Lord help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for – Others.
Help me in all the work I do
To ever be sincere and true
And know that all I do for you
Must needs be done for – Others.
Let “Self” be crucified and slain
And buried deep; and all in vain
May efforts be to rise again
Unless to live for – Others.
And when my work on earth is done
And my new work in heaven’s begun
May I forget the crown I’ve won
While thinking still of – Others.
Others, Lord, yes others
Let this my motto be
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.

Prayer of Dedication

Each and every home built through North Carolina Baptist Men there is a prayer over the first block.  It takes about an hour of diligent work to get to the first block.  Pastor Carlos gathered the family around the block and ask Edwin to place the block over the re bar ever so gently.  Rosabella, Jennifer, Kevin and Fanny joined their husband and father as they knelt down over the beginning of their new home.  Several years ago when we assessed this family they were living with another family in a sound dwelling.  In October of last year, I shared with Mike let's go back and check on this family.  We adventured out one morning with Pastor Carlos and Maida to arrive at their existing dwelling.  Pastor Carlos looked at me saying this family needs a home.  They were no longer staying with the other family.  We asked them for their papers for their property and Edwin brought them to us.  On this October morning this family was not expecting us and did not know their dream was coming true.  Their prayers were being answered.  God knew when this family was to get their home and who was to build it.  Thank you God for your discernment in leading us daily on where you would have us to go and serve YOU.  Team leader Jimmy prayed over the first block as each person laid hands on one another.  Maida translated each precious word which parted Jimmy's lips.  Another God felt moment in the life of this ministry.  All God's children shouted AMEN.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
I Corinthians 3:11

Block Saw Team

We are excited to have met these two gentlemen this week.  Thank you Teddy and Ronnie for cutting and measuring each "special" block which helped this house become a home.  Every job on this project is up most importance.  Every person finds their job and these two gentlemen did an amazing job working together to get this one project completed.  They each brought a lot of gifts and talents to this team this year.  Each evening we do devotionals and God moments. 
Teddy's devotional was "How God Answers Prayers".  He did an amazing job of how we should rely on  for everything.  We need to be more specific in our prayers just like he and Ronnie had to be very specific in measuring each block so it would fit just right.  We need to give God details about our concerns and our thankfulness to HIM.  Teddy shared several scripture references to help us all during different times in our lives. 
Psalm 27 is a good one for praying during hard times.
Psalm 23 is a comforting prayer.
Matthew 5:3  is one of blessing when we are at the end of our rope. 
We need to let go and let God.
"Less of us and more of God"
When we pray, pray for God's will and let it go.
Ronnie on the last evening rocked every one's world as he shared a little something about every one on his team.  After he shared about each person he simply said, "Remember whose you are." This was an emotional time for all of us.  The team watched throughout the week as Ronnie pulled out his paper and diligently writing notes.  By the time it came for Ronnie to share he had pages of positive and encouraging words about each of his team members.  What a beautiful way to end the week of hard work and dedication, to be praised by one of their own and to be reminded of whose we are.  All God's children said , "AMEN".
As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.
James 5:11

Praising the Lord in Song and Word

Each evening the team came together to have their devotionals and God moments.  After the end of God moments the team pulled out their hymn books made by team member Gracie.  The team would sing along while Gracie accompanied them on the guitar.  Gracie brought this guitar down last year and left it for the mission house to use. We have had several teams take advantage of this gift from Gracie and her team.  This week we enjoyed praising the Lord through His Word and through song.  As the week past they all agreed to sing a couple of them in church on Sunday during worship service.  The music was a definite witnessing tool for those passing by out on the street.  They will know whose house this is, God's house by the beautiful sounds coming from inside. 
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
Psalm 47:6

Physical and Spiritual Vision

Before arriving Diane contacted me about doing an eye clinic this week and I was grateful to her for providing this care for the people in Monjares.  Diane did one half a day and one full day with the help of her team members, Gracie, Katherine, Elayne and Maida.  There was a short video they watched prior to doing the eye clinic to enlighten them on the best techniques to use on an international mission trip.  Diane came well prepared and her team members were well equipped for their task ahead.  They saw 275 plus patients those two days.  Elayne shared there was many elderly ladies who came to have their eyes examined.  They were grateful for this opportunity to get reading glasses to help them be able to read their bibles and see things they have not seen in years.  Gracie was in her element using her Spanish to help Maida where needed.  Katherine enjoyed helping Elayne with the fitting of the eye glasses for each patient.  Laura and Katherine both enjoyed helping with the children.  There was coloring sheets and crayons provided for the children while waiting on their family members.  In the afternoons the gentlemen came down to help as well where needed. Diane ran an amazing eye clinic.  All her hard work and preplanning paid off and so many folks were blessed because of it. 
The evening Diane and Gracie had their devotional they shared it on "Our Vision", Physical and Spiritual.  They did an analogy between the two. 
Our vision can go gradually and this is normal.  Sometimes when we are even much younger or ever as we get older.  The same applies to our spiritual vision.  We get too busy serving God or with our own lives and forget about our spiritual vision, God.
"Spiritual Blindness" - Out of focus and a part of the world.  Our focus is consumed by the world's views and not God's view.  We need to take a look at ourselves and see God not the world.
"Dry Eyes" -  We can get out of focus by being task oriented.  We are too busy with our agenda not taking time for knowing what God wants from us. We need to take the time to show others compassion and grace through God's eyes. 1 Peter 4:8-9 "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."
"Wet Eyes" - We can become tearful sometimes.  Life may be out of sorts and you may feel God cannot use me anymore.  Philippians 4:10-13 " Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
"Cloudy Vision" - We may have some gray areas in our lives and we need to ask ourselves, "What would Jesus do?' If we vary one way or the other, it is not of God. Psalm 119:105 is God's direction for our lives, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." Also 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says :All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." We need to be in God's eyes.
"Distracted Vision" -   When things do not look right we need to pray.  We need to see all things and others out of love from the eyes of the Holy Spirit.  Out of Philippians 4:6-7 it says "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
"Objects in our Eyes" - We tend to judge others as we need to look at our own lives and our own hearts.  We do not need to have a critical spirit. This is not from God.  In Matthew 7:1-5 it says: ""Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
"Near Sighted Vision" - We sometimes live only in the here and now.  We need to look to our eternal home.  How we live our lives for the kingdom here on earth will prepare us for our eternal destination.  We need to be focused on God's will for our lives not our own will. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 it reads, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.



Spritual Healing at Eye Clinic

While everyone was getting their eyes exam, team member, David, was making sure the folks were being spiritually cared for.  He met a seven year old young man named Fernando who did not know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  With the help of Maida, David ask Fernando would he like to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.  David explained the plan of salvation with Fernando and allowed him to ask questions.  David wanted to make sure he understood exactly what a personal relationship with Jesus meant.  I believe on the first day of the construction of the home, David asked Kevin if he knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. David was here to build a home but his main objective was to bring the lost to Christ.  David is one of our younger team members but what an example he set for all of us.  Ronnie shared on the night of his devotional how David had a big future ahead of him reaching out to the world for Christ.  Jesus was shared by David numerous times this week to all who would listen.  Team member, Elayne, also shared how David was there to bring the lost to Christ.  Thank you David for your passion for sharing the gospel of Jesus.

God's Creation

When coming on a mission trip to Honduras you never know where God will lead you.  The team arrived the first morning and pulled up to two baby calves who had just been born.  The kind owner of the babies gathered them together so the team could see them and get pictures.  Each day the next door neighbor left out carrying the cows to a local pasture to graze.    They had a very special guest each day named Roy.  He belong to one of their friends who helped build the home.  Roy was not your usual dog in Honduras.  His tail wagged happily whenever someone spoke to him.  He was one happy boy.  They were surrounded by mango trees which embraced the foundation of the home.  Edwin and his family will have plenty of shade each day as they enjoy their new home. There was other means of providing food for the family planted all around their home.  God's provision is all around this home for the family to delight in and partake in as well. 
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
1 Timothy 4:4

Worship Service

We gathered Sunday morning for worship service.  The team had two testimonies one being David and the other being Kent.  The service started with the women's choir leading worship in praises and hymns.  Jose, a church member sang a solo along with the ladies of the church choir.  Pastor David came forward and welcoming everyone to worship. As we were worshiping in Honduras our families back home were worshiping as well.  We were worshiping in the same God just in a different language and location.  One of the hymns the church sang was "Jesus is my Friend".  After hearing David's testimony the song prior to David's testimony was so appropriate. David went to church and did all the stuff you would do at church.  David accepted Christ at the age of 12 but at that time all it was for David was a formality.  David did not know Jesus as his personal Savior or as His Friend.  It took a lot of world events and the loss of his father before David realized he needed Jesus as his Friend.  He needed to know Jesus as his personal Savior.  David tried to find pleasure in drugs, girls and sports.  Thank God for the game of Ice Hockey.  David's coach approached him soon after his father's death and ask him did he know Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  David said I received him at the age of 12 and have not really gotten to know who Jesus is in m life.  On that day David gave his life to Christ and now enjoys reading and studying and learning all he can about his Savior, Jesus in the Word.  David shared some scripture relating to his salvation, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of  God is eternal life  through Jesus Christ his Son." Romans 6:23 David challenged the congregation that day to receive the greatest gift of all Jesus if they have not already done so.
They sang "Halleiugh" while the offering was brought to the altar.
The North American team came forward to sing their two specials, "How Great Is His Love" and "Worthy Is the Lamb".
Kent came forward and shared he was not a preacher, just a farmer.  I thought this was so appropriate because a lot of those gentlemen in the worship service are also just farmers.  Kent probably did not realize what he had said but he immediately put himself right there with the gentlemen of the church.  Well done good and faithful servant.  Kent was also raised in a Christian home. But as a teen he had questions about Christ and who he was. God blessed him with a beautiful family with a wife and two wonderful children and extended family.  One day five years ago or more they got news Kent mother had cancer.  Throughout the whole time he received peace from God which transcends all Kent's understanding. Kent shared he would see his mother again, in heaven.  The more I walk with God the more I realize I need him, Kent shared.  The more I spend time with God the more I realize I need to share this love with others.  I need to let others see Jesus in my life, Kent shares.  .  We are all brothers and sisters in Christ if we know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We call God,  "Abba Father".  He is our heavenly Father just like we have an earthly Father.  God is our "Daddy" Kent thanked them for allowing the team to worship and work beside them this week.
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Romans 8:14-17


Showing God's Love

On the first evening of devotions, team leader, Jimmy shared how we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts, our souls and minds.  Only the love of Jesus can help us love one another.  Every one has a job to do in Jesus' family to help get God's work done.  This week this team showed God's love everyday.  They developed numerous relationships they will treasure for a life time.  There were three brothers, Juan Carlo, Jose Antonio and Jose Marte who came daily and shared and showed the team what Jesus was talking about, loving one another. They came each day to help their neighbor get the home he prayed for.  Jesus shared how one of them, Juan Carlo would come along as Jimmy was carrying the mortar in for the floor and take the bucket from him each time.  Jimmy felt blessed by this act of kindness.  Jimmy in turn kept his brothers from Honduras hydrated. Little shy Kevin did not stay shy long.  Teddy became quick buds with Kevin as the week progressed.  Ronnie appreciated the hard work and friendship from the men of the community as well. Of course Laura never meets a stranger. She immediately on day one greets the family as if she has know them her whole life.  Katherine and her friend Danielle spent times together smiling and sharing a little in Spanglish.  Elayne enjoyed Maida and hearing about Maida's family.  It helped Elayne while being away from her own family for the first time on a mission trip.  David blessed others as they him by sharing the gospel where ever he could.  Diane enjoyed sharing God's Word with Jennifer.  How appropriate this was to have Diane watch Jennifer enjoy her new bible.  Thank you Diane for sharing the love of Jesus with Jennifer. Gracie shared her love for Christ by speaking her Spanish whenever she could  As I said God's love was every where this week. Kent enjoyed watching his daughter building relationships with the children. I asked one evening jokingly are you guys building a house or just relationships.  Teddy I believed shared, "No worries Mrs. Ginger the house is getting built too."  What a well balanced week in the name of Jesus.

Time is Drawing Near

As all the 800 blocks have been laid and the floor has been put into place, the only thing left is the roof.  But before the roof goes up and actually before work started each day the team gathered in the dirt road in from of the home to pray over their day ahead.  After prayers, Kent, Pastor Carlos, Mike and Teddy climbed up on the roof.  They worked hard and was blessed by God for a breeze blowing the entire time they were putting the roof in place.  They were told by Mike to think light and walk gently.  So the entire time they were up there they were saying, "Think light and walk gently." Mike also shared with them no matter how beautiful the home is the roof will decide if they will stay dry or not.  No pressure gentlemen.  To God be the glory they did an amazing job and the roof got completed .
to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
Ephesians 4:12

Time to Clean Up

Team member, Laura, went over to the Kia to help Mike get everything back in their proper homes from putting the roof.  Laura has a servant's heart and works very hard in the name of Jesus.  As she worked diligently on trying to get the battery out of the drill Mike was watching from afar.  Mike saw Laura go over to ask Jose how to take the battery out and to no prevail Jose could not help her.  Mike proceeds to walk to assist his friend who was trying hard to get the back of the Kia clean and ready to go.  Mike gingerly took the drill and pushed the two sides inward and out popped the battery.  Laura was very gracious to Mike for helping her get it figured out. She continued cleaning and finished in time for the home dedication.  Thank you Laura for having a servant's heart.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
Colossians 3:23

Home Dedication

Everyone gathered around for the home dedication. A time Edwin and Rosabella have been waiting on for a long time.  Jimmy thanked them for allowing his team to help them make their dream come true and their prayers answered.  Edwin thanked God first and said he was grateful for his new home.  A home where he and his family will be safe and secure for many years to come.  Jimmy offered for anyone else to share if they felt lead.  Each team member was grateful as well for such an opportunity to be here and serve the Lord beside each of them.  I was most impressed with Ronnie, Teddy and Kent who thanked all the gentlemen personally for all their hard work this week. Without each of you we could not have got the job completed.  We thank God for each of you brothers in Christ.  What a humbling moment.  I said earlier each team member said thank you but some also shared scripture along with their words.  Some were spoken from memory. 
Gracie shared Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Elayne shared Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
Ronnie shared from 1 Corinthians 4:16 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."
Diane shared from Numbers 6:24-26 ""'"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."'
Jimmy shared from Joshua 24:15 "But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."
Teddy shared from Psalm 27:1 "Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid?"
Kent shared from 2 Samuel 7:5 "Go and tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD says: Are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?"
 Jimmy presented each family member with a bible.  Little Jennifer got so excited to receive this bible for her and her siblings to share each day.  The big smile says it all. 
After words were shared by the team, Jimmy asked Pastor David to do the prayer of dedication.  Everyone gathered around Edwin and Rosabella's home placed their hands on it and Pastor David prayed for this home and family. 
Jimmy presented the key to Edwin to go and unlock his new home.  Little Kevin was right up there watching his daddy unlock the door to his new home.  They all were so excited as they entered into their dream come true and answered prayer.  Have you had a prayer answered lately?  As Teddy shared in his devotional one evening, "Are we specific with our prayer needs?" Edwin and Rosabella prayed for this home for years and God provided them a home in His timing and they were forever grateful to God for this gift.  Let's be specific and intentional with our prayer lives and watch how God can work and all God's children said "AMEN".