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My Thoughts, My Heart & My Passions

Gye Nyame: “Only God” : My Experience Leading a Mission Team to Ghana

From July 19th-July 31st I was able to spend some time in Ghana leading a missions team. Here about the experience here! I pray that it inspires you to step out and live missionally. Let’s take the gospel from the 4 corners of our block to the 4 corners of the world! Love, Jennifer Lucy Tyler From My Block to Yours- www.frommyblocktoyours.org City of Refuge Ghana-http://www.cityofrefugeoutreach.org/ Adventures in Missions- www.adventures.org My amazing missions team and the founders of City of Refuge Me and Sweet Grace Our Team the First Morning after they Arrived Our group after taking the kids hiking up Shai Hills...

Our Secret Enemy: The Root of All Sin

  I found the greatest love of all Inside of me The greatest love of all Is easy to achieve Learning to love yourself It is the greatest love of all- Whitney Houston In a culture where self-worth, self-esteem, selfies, and being self-made are highly regarded it’s easy to unknowingly welcome our secret enemy: Pride. We love ourselves SO much that we often believe the world revolves around us. I never thought I was a prideful person, or even thought about how dangerous pride can be. In our world we are taught to have pride in ourselves, and our abilities. We are taught self -esteem in books, conferences, and school. Heck, I’ve shared on the importance of having self-esteem because it was taught to me over the years. This sense of self-worth and being self-made leaves out an important person, “God/Jesus/Holy-Spirit.” (I’ll use these names interchangeable throughout this blog.) Our worth comes from Christ, and the more we are aware of that, the better we can recognize pride when it rears its ugly head. When I truly think about the sin of pride, I can see how the enemy with his craftiness has secretly inserted this into our identities from the beginning of time. Defining Pride Let’s begin with defining pride. I love this definition found in another blog: Pride’s been defined as a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction in an achievement, an accomplishment, or in someone else or something else but it’s also been described as conceit, egotism, vanity, vainglory, all over one’s own appearance or status in life and not just something that’s been accomplished. It...

Courage to Lose Sight of the Shore

  “You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”   The Christian Life is often equivalent to one big, fun, terrifying rollercoaster. You know the really big one that takes you through every emotion? You go from anxiety, to laughing, to crying, to screaming in terror, to ultimately surrendering and experiencing relief. That is pretty much how I can describe our Christian experience especially if we look back over the past few years. I often think of the call of Abraham that starts in Genesis chapter 12.  12 The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.[a] 3 I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples[b] on earth will be blessed[c] through you. How often does God reveal His purpose to us yet never gives us all the details of what’s in between? God gave Abram an instruction, He told him the benefits of obeying those instructions yet He left out a ton of things in between. He was just supposed to leave everything that was familiar and enter into this journey of walking by faith, obedience and trust of Our God. I admire Abram’s obedience to God’s call all throughout scripture. God would give him an instruction and with no questions asked, Abram would obey: Genesis 22: 1-4 The Sacrifice of Isaac 22 After these things...

When Christianity Becomes Boring

Last night after lamenting and sharing my frustration with my husband about the church at large, my heart was tested. I expressed my discontent and boredom I was feeling with the church.  Somewhere along the journey I was asking myself when did this life become so routine? Where was the adventure? The evangelist in me was becoming lost in church culture. One of my greatest passions over the years had become sharing with others how to live missionally; not just overseas but in their daily lives. Yet, I realized that I was becoming unfulfilled due to the fact that I wasn’t living as missionally as I was in times past. Being “churched” it’s easy to find yourself ONLY doing life with other believers. And quite frankly, just doing life with other believers gets quite boring. Yes we are to fellowship with the saints, but we are also to sit with the sinner for the sake of winning them to the gospel. We can’t truly grow the body of Christ if we consistently surround ourselves with each other and become a social club. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (ESV) 19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under...

Birthing A God Sized Vision!

Birthing A God-Sized Vision So I haven’t given birth to a child yet, but as I’m preparing to give birth to vision I realize that there are so many similarities. Nesting In pregnancy, the urge to clean and organize is known as nesting. Nesting during pregnancy is the overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby. The nesting instinct is strongest in the later weeks coming up on delivery. I believe that vision birthing requires a nesting season. When you are preparing for a launch of a dream or a vision, you will find yourself tying up lots of loose ends. My days have been spent combing over our website, researching, ordering marketing items, meeting with assistants, accountants and event planners, etc. The nesting season can be fun but if you aren’t careful you can be overwhelmed. (I’m preaching to myself here.) Yet, even within the nesting season REST is so important. Without rest, the birthing process can be difficult. I have had to remind myself to rely on His strength more than my one. This is not always easy but necessary during the nesting stage.   1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)- 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.   Labor and Delivery When its time to give birth to a baby, contractions will begin. This process can be painful for some, and has been painless for others. Nonetheless, just as you may have pain birthing a child, you may also experience painful things as you birth a vision. Have you ever been so close to birthing what God has inside of you and it seems like...

There is a time for everything…

Ecclesiastes 3 New Living Translation (NLT) A Time for Everything 3 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. 2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. 3 A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. 4 A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. 5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. 6 A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. 7 A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. 8 A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. 9 What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.     I decided to begin this blog with this verse because there has definitely been a shift in seasons. It’s so important that we discern the seasons we are in. There will be seasons of running, and seasons of rest, seasons where you are in the forefront, and seasons where you are in the background. Whatever season...

Mother’s Day (A Special Blog for Those Waiting to Conceive, And the People In Their Lives)

  I am truly blessed to have an amazing mother, mother in love and grandmother who are still alive and well. I absolutely love celebrating them on this day and just in life period. These are amazing women who I am blessed and honored to learn from and be a part of their legacy.   But let me be honest with you. As I approach 35 years of age, and if I am not careful in guarding my heart, Mother’s day can bring thoughts of anxiety or even sadness. Many of you know my husband’s and I desire to have children because I have had no problem sharing it. 3 years ago we had a miscarriage. I decided to openly share it because SO many women go through this and need to know they are not alone. With everything that I share it is my desire to inspire others to know that they can overcome with Christ.   Since that time, my husband and I have had spurts of focusing on trying to get pregnant, only for me to be disappointed when I come on my cycle yet once again! Then you have moments where you say, forget all of the Ovulation tracker apps! I’m just going to “trust the Lord” and let it happen naturally. Time passes, we celebrate another new year, another birthday passes, more babies are born all around you, you start to see scattered gray hairs, you receive yet ANOTHER inbox or text message of someone saying they dreamed about your baby or babies, or even worst asks are you pregnant when in fact you...

God is This You? Bright Blue Colors and the letter D

God is This You? Bright Blue Colors and the letter D John 10:27-New Living Translation (NLT) 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.   During the beginning of the week, our mission’s leader Colby Gardner gave us a challenge that would require us to practice Listening Prayer.  You can begin by reading scripture and then ask the Lord to speak to you through it.  If you have a question that you want to ask God, you simply ask it and then listen for the answer. The question Colby asked us was to ask God for a word of encouragement that we would give someone that week.  God could speak to us through scripture, show us a vision, a color, give us a name, etc. We were to quiet our minds and wait for God to speak.  Quieting my mind can be so difficult at times. Yet in Cuba we were without the distractions of work, and technology. It was in this moment where I heard the voice of God speak clearly as day, “you shall live and not die.” This was followed by a vision of bright blue colors and a name beginning with the letter “D.”   I began to do like most of us when we receive or hear the voice of God. I questioned its authenticity, “Is this you God or was this me?”  The words, “You shall live and not die” continued to echo in my head. I decided at that moment to trust God and believe that He would reveal its purpose during the week.   It was...

From the Four Corner’s of the Block, to the World! Next Stop: Mission Cuba!

Next Stop: Mission Cuba In 79 days I will be on the road again to Cuba to be the hands and feet of Jesus in that country. As many of you know the past year I have been training with a mentor to learn how to effectively lead missions trips and live missionally. This will be the first trip that I attend just the week following my Short Term Missions training with Adventures in Missions in Gainesville, GA. I am very excited about the work we will do in this country. Cuba is less than 90 miles from the United States and is the the largest island in the Caribbean. It has the second largest population in the region, and before the US Embargo of 1960, was one of the most advanced and prosperous nations in Latin America. From quality education, high life expectancy, and technological advances like telephones and automobiles, life in Cuba in the 1950’s was good. Enter the Communist Revolution in 1959. Economic depression followed the Soviet Union’s collapse. The Embargo limited trade and tourism to the nation in 1960, and the combination of those three factors left Cuba stuck in the 1950’s, its once thriving economy unable to advance. Now in 2015, it’s a nation without modern technology, appliances, or automobiles newer than the 1950’s. Adventures began officially going to Cuba in 2012, before the Embargo lifted. What we found was a nation hungry for Christ and a growing church inviting us to partner with them. Officially, Cuba is a secular nation. There is no national religion, although 59% of the population would call themselves...

Whose Voice Are You Following?

John 10:27-30English Standard Version (ESV)–27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me… As we do the Favor Project together this is a question that we must ask ourselves daily! It is critical as we endeavor to remain focused with an attitude of gratitude and giving throughout the year. Have you ever had a moment where you just sat and daydreamed the worst possible scenario? Or maybe you have a big dream and you find yourself becoming anxious as you think of what can go wrong or why it won’t ever happen? Maybe, you find yourself scrolling Instagram and Facebook and you become discouraged as you hear the voice in the head that tells you, “It won’t ever happen for you. Or you aren’t pretty or smart enough?” There are so many voices that we often allow to compete with THE main voice that we should be listening too and that is God our Father. I love this verse above because Jesus is saying that a great indicator of someone that is His sheep is that they hear His voice, He knows them, and they follow Him. This will also be an indicator of how the world will know who Jesus is through you. When they observe you obeying and following His voice on a daily basis, they will see God’s glory on your life. Our prayer is that they see that and ask, “What must I do to be saved?” Your life will stand out because of the voice you follow. “You are the light of the world, a city on a hill...

When Destiny Awaits…

Prior to traveling to India we knew that God had placed child sponsorship on our hearts. My husband told me to pray about which child to sponsor at Sarah’s Covenant House (SCH) and to be open to God’s leading. My first day serving at SCH I was a bit overwhelmed. There are so many children with great needs and they are all so loving. As I served in the various homes I enjoyed bonding with each child. On most days, I was drawn to the Rescue Home to help with their Preschool program. It was awesome to see the children learning basic skills and just being kids. However, on my 4th day there I was drawn to a little girl, who I call “Destiny” that was just sitting in a swing. Her condition, keeps her very weak and she is not able to hold up her head due to the fluid around her brain. When I would come by her swing to touch her hand, she would attempt to talk to me. On this day, I decided to just pick her up and hold her. I marveled at how her energy began to slowly pick up as she was held and we talked. I could tell that if she was without any health challenges that she would be just a normal kid with a lot of spunk! On my 5th day there, I decided to go and spend more time with her. It warmed my heart as she reached for me, and I was able to hold and chat with her for most of the day. As she was...

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Matthew 21:15-16 (NASB) 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant16 and said to Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” And Jesus *said to them, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” Last week we had the opportunity to meet and talk to the parents and children of the Asha House Children’s Home.  Asha house is a home for the neglected and abandoned children of India. Since opening its doors in March of 2007, Asha has taken in over 40 children into its family.  The children come from brothels, villages, slums, and the streets of India.  Many come from situations where they were going to be forced into slavery and prostitution. In one day, the parents of Asha house, Victor and Simini have taught me so much.  Their personal story is one of faith, perseverance, and divine providence. What I loved most about them was their love and honor for one another and their children. Each child was so kind and had the joy of the Lord. Simini shared her personal story with us as it related to her desire to have a child.  Many doctors told her she could not get pregnant. Her children would surround her every night and pray for her to conceive and have the desires of her heart.  Today she is a mom of a beautiful baby girl who is about two years old! During our second...

Jubilee

What do you think of when we hear the word “Jubilee?” I have always thought of a great celebration! In the Bible, “Jubilee” was a time of celebration observed by the Israelites every 50th year. Well, today we visited the various homes of Sarah’s Covenant House, one of the ministry partners of Adventures in Missions. Sarah’s Covenant Homes is an orphan care home for special needs children in Southern India. They provide surgeries and daily care for over 100 children. However, what they provide most is love and acceptance. These children are not treated as orphans when they arrive at SCH; they are treated as children who are a part of a loving family. The “ayahs“ (caretakers), nurses, and foster moms are truly anointed by God to care for these children. As I observed them in action I truly witnessed the fruits of the spirit among these women and God began to deal with me about these characteristics in my own life, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Clearly, there is so much I can learn from these women as I watched the Holy Spirit naturally work through them to care for these children. Although each home was remarkable, the “Jubilee Home” made a distinct impression on me that I will never forget. As soon as the door opened, the teenage girls ran to say hello, touch my braids, shake our hands, and teach us the word “friend” in sign language. I must admit, at first the excitement and joy they felt for us when we arrived was overwhelming. Living in our Nation’s Capitol back home, it is rare when teens greet you with such joy upon the first meeting. Although these children are classified...

All Roads Lead to India

Ephesians 6:12-The Message (MSG) 10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.   Its 1:42 am and I finally made it to my hotel room in Atlanta, GA. From major plane delays to missed flights, to the hotel room not being ready, to a now broken handle on my luggage, this day has definitely been long. My missionary friend Connie Rock got super ill over the weekend and may not be traveling with us.  I am co-leading this mission with her and our friend Kristen Torres-Toro. We are praying and trusting the Lord for her healing. She is an amazing woman who has been training me and I really want her with us on this mission. Tonight, I am reminded of the verse above. India is a country where Christianity is at about 2 percent.  Hinduism is the prominent religion, and Islam follows closely behind. Our mission requires us to be the hands and feet of Jesus in places where the gospel is not prominent. God loves the people of India and this is why I am drawn to travel to this country.  Anytime you are doing something where God is...

The Aha Moments: Mission Guatemala & Mission Home 2015

Last week we were walking the streets of Guatemala, as the Lord guided us on our missions journey. Oh how I miss the beautiful town of Antigua Guatemala already! Yet, I’m sure that we will return as we build upon the relationships that we have made and take other teams to serve. This mission’s trip was full of Aha Moments for my husband and I. From building new relationships, to growing even closer in our marriage, to witnessing the miraculous, to pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone and serving with no limits, we are changed! Each mission trip that God allows us to experience is another piece of the puzzle for our lives. Adventures in Missions (AIM), and the Purchase Effect sponsored this trip. To learn more about each organization click the hyperlink above. This trip was all about learning HOW to living missionally. For many of the participants this was their first mission’s trip. Many were challenged, yet we all were impacted and are excited about living missionally.   Many maybe asking, “What is living missionally?” Well it means to engage others with the gospel message and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We do this from serving and building relationships with people wherever we go. It also means to be led by the Holy Spirit and to be open for God to work through you and in you. Living missionally involves simply loving people by caring enough to pray for them, have a conversation with them, or simply give a hug. As our team was intentional about Living Missionally together, I had several Aha Moments where...

Living Missionally In Guatemala! Day 1!

    It’s an amazing feeling when you see the very things that you’ve prayed for over the years begin to unfold before your very eyes.  This particular missions trip is an answered prayer. In 2011, the Lord began to plant the desire for missions in my heart. My husband and I had just got married and I told him, “babe I believe we are going to do missions soon.” And of course my husband responded with what he always says, “God’s will be done.” Over the next few years doors began to open for us too experience what it is like on the mission field. Then In 2013, during one of our trips I met a woman who I just knew within me that I needed to serve. She is a missions leader for Adventures in Missions and Founder of the Purchase Effect. Fast forward to today, and I am assisting with leading this amazing team of people while being trained by a missionary. God is so faithful guys, because all of this has been orchestrated by Him. Growing up and to adulthood I was never exposed to missions or missionaries. What I’ve learned is that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He truly does give us the desires of our hearts. (Ps 37:4) But if we  are also seeking Him first and the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, His desires naturally become OUR desires! (Mat 6:33).  So I’ll be blogging about this experience and the ones to come later this year as I train to lead teams myself one day soon! Next year prayerfully some...

Be You… Unapologetically…

It’s such a good feeling to OWN who you are, your flow, your style, and your calling, just the way God created you to be! You impact a whole lot more people being the authentic YOU, than a carbon copy of anyone else! Be You, unapologetically! It took me some years to discover that when I became a Christian because everyone was trying to fit me in “their” mold and in “their” box. God created a special mold, and path for you within the confines of His word/blueprint! Follow that, it pays...