Feed My Sheep

Feed My Sheep

I am more than a month into the internship at the Welsey Foundation, and it is quite the experience! It is often exhausting, radically illuminating, and truly fulfilling. It is showing me what it means to be a Christian leader. I’ve had a faulty understanding of leadership, but during the past year, and especially these several weeks, my understanding is being corrected. I am growing into someone who is leaving behind personal pretenses and learning what is most important to discipling God’s people.

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Camellia's Time in Mexico

Camellia's Time in Mexico

Read Camellia’s life changing experience in Mexico.

“To say that Mexico changed my life would not be an exaggeration. It being my first mission trip, I didn’t fully know what to expect. However, from the stories I’d heard from others, I anticipated to work, learn to function within a group, share the Gospel, and in Mexico specifically, force myself into awkward encounters of struggling to communicate in a language that I was far from fluent in…”

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Being an Intern at the LA Tech Wesley Foundation - Khalilah

“Freedom is knowing that the seeds you’re sewing right now will prove to be fruitful in the future.”

Sometimes it seems the world is coming apart at the seams and putting itself back together. There is a falling apart of a false world and it is replaced by something beautiful. Sometimes something unfamiliar. The Wesley Foundation’s missionary internship program is teaching me how to see. How to see others in their joy and in their pain and how to see Jesus amongst the ruin. I am realizing that the internship is largely about trust. Ryan and Kaiti’s trust in us as interns and our trust in them as our spiritual directors. 

I am also trusting in the fruitfulness of the internship. I have tasted small portions of it. I have tasted its fruitfulness in the assigned readings, in conversations with students, in quality time with friends, in gathering for worship, and especially in prayer. And the fruitfulness seems so subtle, even quiet at times that if we don’t pay attention we are liable to miss out on the gifts that have been so freely given to us. I pray I always pay attention. 

The internship is teaching me how to see again. Prior to the internship, I don’t think I would have thought I was walking with blinders on. But I know that for a long portion of my Christian walk I only had eyes for my inadequacy. Our horizon carries with it a belly of hope. I had missed this hope. 

I know there are also things that are being developed in me by the internship that I cannot yet see. There is a discipline being developed as well as a bond between myself and the rest of the staff. I want us to be a family. We are cultivating, both within ourselves and in the community, a posture of openness and vulnerability. I think for the first time, at least the first time in a long time, I feel encouraged to trust myself; To trust myself to do the work and do it well. I won’t pretend that I am all the way there or that I always “feel” fully equipped but I know Ryan and Kaiti are doing something for me that I could not, cannot do for myself. I am grateful for them. 

I feel like I am relearning God. There is something about Him that I missed although I am having trouble naming what it is. But there is a roundness to His character that wasn’t there before. Perhaps this is what it means to get to know Him. 

And there is freedom in that. In knowing that I have only scratched the surface of who He is. There is freedom in giving myself to this internship, to the Wesley Foundation community, and in surrendering my will. 

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Homily: Psalm 34

Homily: Psalm 34

Through the Psalms we come to know David as a man after God’s own heart. Within this first half of Psalm 34 we can point to phrases such as ‘I will bless the Lord at all times,’ and ‘I sought the Lord,’ as reasons as to why he might be named as a man after God’s own heart. David is poetic and heartfelt in his speech, and it is by his words that he is known as a man after God’s own heart.  The words out of our mouths are what speak life around us. Our words are the vehicles of what comes from within our heart and they are just as capable of defiling as they are uplifting. Whether we think so or not, what we say matters all the time.

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Homily on Luke 16

Homily on Luke 16

By any means necessary, do what you got to do, get yours before they get theirs, be about your business. Bottom line, be clever, or should I say be shrewd, or go home. It’s the “only” way to get what is rightfully yours in this world. And it is what we see in this parable directly demonstrated by the actions and words of both the enslaved manager, yes enslaved, and the master. It is what we see in this nation demonstrated by both the false sense of security and capitalism. The bondage of security ensnares us by wanting all we can have for ourselves, plus some. Nothing is ever enough. My children needs shoes, good shoes, better shoes, the best shoes. My wife deserves a good car, a better car, a luxury car. I work 12 hours a day, so I can play golf every Saturday with my friends at this fancy golf place…

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Homily on Luke 10

Homily on Luke 10

We must remember as we go about the work of proclaiming the Gospel that the choice to listen to or to reject us, and by extension Christ, is not ours to make for the students on this campus. Let us not rush to judgment when we are not received by the town; when the town chooses to reject us and the Christ in Whose Name we come, let us not in condemnation cast them down to Hades. Let us, instead, remember our own repentance, our own mourning in sackcloth and ashes, when we, too, rejected those who came bearing the Name of Christ.

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Longleaf Farm Community Event

Longleaf Farm Community Event

…You need to know that I am taking up this position as an extension of what Jesus, through Wesley Foundation at Louisiana Tech, has done in my life. And as I am an extension of the people of the Wesley Foundation, so too is Longleaf Farm an extension of the Wesley Foundation’s mission. And that mission is to testify solemnly of the gospel of the Grace of God and to bring up persons who are capable of doing so…

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Mexico: June 20th

Hola!

The Mexico team would like to thank everyone who has been praying for us and encouraging us as we went through this month-long journey. During our final week in Mexico, we revisited the encampment on Monday where we completed the painting job that we started on Saturday. The people of the encampment were very kind to us as they cooked food, served and talked to us. We had a chance to play with kids and remind them of what it’s like to be a child. Unfortunately, that was our last day at the work site, and, even though it felt hopeless leaving them, we were reminded that our God is a redeeming God and that He will bring justice to those people.

The next few days in Cuernavaca, we spent our time being among the people, breaking bread and fellowshiping. We met with a man named Valintine who was excited to welcome us into his home. His family made us dinner and celebrated the beautiful things that God has and continues to do for us. We then experienced Tepoztlan, a mountain an hour drive outside of Cuernavaca. As we were climbing up the mountain, we met a family who helped us up along the way. We asked them to talk about Mexico- US relations, and it was a fruitful conversation.

On early Sunday morning, we prepared ourselves as we came back to the United States. We were sad to be leaving the beautiful people who cared for us and loved us deeply, but we were also ready to see our friends and family.

Now that we are back, we do not want to forget what God did for us on our month-long journey. We went to Mexico thinking that we were going to serve the people there, but they served us in more ways than we could have ever imagined. This month may be over, but our experiences will be with us. God showed us who the people of Mexico are. They are worthy of love and they give love unconditionally.

We as team cannot be thankful enough for the love and hospitality given to us by all the people we met. We loved them and they loved us, truly a miracle from God. Please continue to pray for us as we adjust back to life here in the United States, and continue to pray for the people of Mexico. They need our love and support more than ever.

Adios y Dios te bendiga (Goodbye and God bless you)

    

Romania: June 20th

The last week of Romania got busy with a new project. River of Life recently discovered that they must lay a drain pipe under their campus because of a new Romanian law. The team had waited the first two weeks to get started working on this, but the work had been delayed due to some hired workers falling through. Once it got started, though, the team worked hard (and in the rain!) to shovel dirt and dump gravel into ditches to lay the foundations for the pipes. It was very muddy and very messy, but the team still found ways to have joy in their work. During the few days of working on the draining ditch, the team completed 1 1/2 of the ditches. 

In addition, during the last week, the kids’ summer vacation began, so the team took turns spending more time with them during the day and playing a variety of games. The games were focused on building friendships and really being a light of Jesus. They taught them that being a friend to each other shows just how Jesus loves them. The children at River of Life have difficulty being kind to one another due to their past traumas and stories, so they tried to break through those walls they put up between one another through their VBS lessons and the games they played together. 

This month showed the team just how much abuse and neglect can affect a child. As they learned the children’s stories, they were able to see that play out in their lives still today. One child, David, was abandoned at the ministry 3 years ago. His parents didn’t want to raise him due to his mental handicap. Despite this, David has a brother that was not abandoned by his parents that goes to his same school. We realized David has to see his mother pick his brother up from school every day and she does not even look at him. The team hurt with him to know he feels rejection every day from his own mother. We heard stories like his so often. 

This last week, the team really began to reflect on the time spent in Romania. The team said they experienced a lot of growth and a lot of healing on this trip. While not everything goes according to plan, the team learned the power of prayer and how to find joy in every circumstance. They discovered the importance of the community that is the Body of Christ and how we can never take it for granted. In addition, many team members experienced true family, which was healing. As they spent their last days saying their goodbyes, the team express gratitude and joy in the goodness that had taken place in Romania. During our last day at River of Life, each member had the opportunity to share what they were thankful for and the answered prayers throughout our time. It was a beautiful and faithful end to the mission to the Romanian people.

Haiti: June 20th

Our final week in Haiti was a time for reflection and goodbyes. The team tasted the bittersweet ending of a month-long mission where we devoted themselves to each other and our Haitian brothers and sisters, evidenced in the tears on both sides as Thursday afternoon approached. We are grateful for our time in Haiti where love was given and received among our team and the faithful of Sous a Philippe. One of our sweetest times during the final week was a gathering with the community leaders of Sous a Philippe as they celebrated us with affectionate words and delightful treats and shared with us the incredible and miraculous history and presence of the Methodist church in Sous a Philippe. We felt so loved by them, and Alana was our voice as she expressed our love and gratitude for the privilege of living and working alongside them. After everyone finished making speeches, we dug into some delicious sweet potato cake and celebrated with dancing.

We left Sous a Philippe Thursday afternoon and traveled by boat to the mainland. We arrived in Petit-Gôave around 7:30 and spent one (AIR-CONDITIONED!) night in the guest house of Pastor Admirable, the superintendent for the Methodist church in La Gonave. The next two days were full of sightseeing: the National Museum of Haiti, which told of the tragic yet triumphant history of Haiti, Pacot and Papillon, fair-trade artisan stores (Papillon had air conditioning AND FROZEN TREATS), and the Baptist Haiti Mission, another ministry organization devoted to sharing the Gospel and supporting Haitian farmers, artisans, and people at large. These last two days were exactly what the team needed to close out our time in the beloved country of Haiti well.

We're so grateful for the prayers, gifts, and services that made our mission to Haiti the successful reality it was! Thank you so much for reading this blog, reading our letters, sending your prayers and financial gifts, and being with us every step of the way from buying supplies to arriving in Shreveport last night. We love you, and we hope we get the opportunity to share the stories of Haiti with you personally! Bondye beni ou, zanmi (God bless you, friends)!!!

Haiti Team: June 11th

Haiti Team: June 11th

Week 3 has been a hard one. Many team members were sick throughout the week; Kyle was out sick for most of it, and had to be taken to the hospital twice for inflammation in his throat. Happily, he is doing much better and has been able to eat normal food and join in our team’s activities again. The church service today was the first time all week that we’ve had the whole team together, and it was made sweeter by celebrating communion as a whole team, together with our church family here. It was a great way to begin week 4….

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Mexico Team: June 11th

Mexico Team: June 11th

As the third week of our mission comes to a close, the team would like to extend their thanks for all of the prayers and support we have received over the past 6 months. God has spoken to each and every one of us in very personal and very communal ways through the beautiful Mexican people who have unreservedly taken us in, and the reason we have been able to be here is because of the prayers and giving of our supporters. As we enter our last week, know that your giving has been blessed by the Lord and lives have been changed. ..


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