Monday, December 5, 2011

Cheese, trails, and churches

I just realized that it has been almost a month since my last post.  Somehow the days seem to run away from me.  It has been an adventurous month with a lot of travel and a lot of French (of course!)

A few weeks ago I went to Gruyeres where they make lots and lots of cheese.  It was very amazing and I'm sure I ate more dairy products in one day than anyone should in a lifetime.  In the same area there is a small village along with a the Gruyeres castle that you can tour.  It was an amazing experience, especially because there were some sheep that I got to pet as well!! (if you don't know me well, you should know that I have a small sheep obsession (as does my mom!))

Many weekends we (me and the other missionary couple from SP that is here with me learning French- Zach and Jenny) go hiking in the areas surrounding Neuchatel.  Jenny likes to say that we found Rivendale (Lord of the Rings Elf Land).  I don't think any place on Earth can compare to the amount of beauty in such a small place, like Switzerland.  It is such a blessing to be able to breath in the Lord's creation and see His creative works.   As I sit and marvel and the majestic mountains and roaring waters I can only imagine how much more majestic and powerful the Lord himself must be!

Switzerland also has an unending amount of churches and cathedrals that were build over 500 years ago.  The church shown above is in Lausanne and construction began in the year 1170!!  This catholic cathedral was later taken over during the Reformation by John Calvin and remains a reformed church do this day.  The stone floor, the towering organ, and the detail in all the carvings makes you feel like you are transported back to the middle ages.  It was truly an experience!

As you can see, I am enjoying myself here in Switzerland while I have this amazing opportunity.  It is still difficult not to see family and friends, especially around the holidays.  I am being blessed with the visit of one of my best friends along with her parents in late December.  They will be staying here for a week from Dec 29-Jan 4th.  Please pray for safe travel and a time of great fellowship while they are here!

Please continue to pray that I might know the exact right time to leave Switzerland and head to Togo.  Currently, I am planning on leaving here in mid to late February.  Thank you for all your prayers and support.

Grâce et Paix

Romains 8:38-39: En effet, j'ai l'assurance que ni la mort ni la vie, ni les anges ni les dominations, ni le présent ni l'avenir, ni les puissances, ni la hauteur, ni la profondeur, ni aucune autre créature ne pourra nous séparer de l'amour de Dieu manifesté en Jésus-Christ notre Seigneur.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Revelation 21

"I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.  The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.  On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.  They glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.  Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life." Rev 21: 22-27

It  has been two weeks since I left the US for language school in Switzerland.  It has been an adjustment, but a good one.  Language school is intense, and French is not as easy as Spanish, but I am always excited to be able to learn how to communicate in new ways!!  The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful woman, Monika, who has opened her home to me.  I am also taken care of through a church here in Neuchâtel, where everyone has been very helpful and mindful of the fact that I only know 2 weeks worth of French!

The picture above was taken from the balcony of my apartment this past Sunday morning.  As I looked over the lake that had disappeared under the fog, it felt as though the houses were built in the clouds.  For a moment, I felt as though I had a small glimpse of heaven, as I imagined golden streets and endless days without darkness.   That Sunday also happen to be a yearly event where several protestant churches come together for a church service.  Naturally, the service was in French.  I couldn't help but think about how one day, all believers will be united together; every tribe, tongue, and nation worshipping the Lord. It was a great day of looking ahead to a day when this world will pass away and a new will come: no tears, no darkness, no death.  Until that day, may we faithfully serve Him and proclaim the Good News of the Gospel!

Once again, I thank everyone who has been lifting me up in prayer and following my journey.
Grâce et Paix

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

ça vaut le coup....

In about 24 hours I am saying good-bye to the US for about 2 years.  Many people ask me if I'm scared or excited.  It's a very difficult moment to articulate the emotions that accompany leaving.  Saying good-bye to Louisville, where I have lived for the last 12 years, was extremely difficult.  The people who are a part of your everyday life are no longer around.  It's a bitter-sweet moment.  Going to the mission field is the realization of a dream for me- the fulfillment of a calling heard long ago.  Stepping out in faith sometimes means stepping away from the life you've always known.  In God's graciousness, I know that I am not walking away from family or friends.  Those that I love and have grown to love will be supporting me along the way.  I pray that by my going, someone else is able to grow, heal, or step out in faith to what the Lord is calling them to as well.  I know that this journey I take across the ocean is just a continuation of God's story.  And who doesn't want to be a character in God's story of the redemption of His creation back to Himself.  So as I go I can only say that no matter the pages that follow, "ça vaut le coup"-- it's worth it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Prayers for the Countdown

I have an official date to leave the country and head off to Neuchatel,  Switzerland for language school on my path to Togo.  On October 27th I will fly out from Chicago (my hometown) and say good-bye for the next two years.   There is a lot to be done before I leave so please pray that I might be organized (which is not easy for me!) and fruitful with my time.  I will be packing for Chicago, to move my stuff home, and also for both Switzerland and Togo separately as the weather is a stark contrast.  I also have a small exam to take on October 10th for the American board of Pediatrics for my certification.  Please pray that I may be focused on my studies during September and pass the exam on the first try!  As most of you know, my mom is also going through chemotherapy currently and has reached the half-way point.  Praise the Lord that she has been able to continue working thus far despite her treatments.  I am thankful that she will finish chemo 2 weeks before I leave the country but she still has a long road afterwards and my heart is heavy that I won't be able to be there.  Pray that she is able to have a good support group as only one of my sisters lives near her.  
I am extremely thankful to all of you who have given me encouragement and shown such excitement about where the Lord is taking me.  As the time counts down, I am filled with anticipation and yet sadness about leaving friends, family, and Louisville.  I could have never planned the last 12 years here in Louisville and am grateful that the Lord has all things in his hands.  I can't wait to tell you how much more He will be moving me and changing me and making His Word known to the people of Togo. 

Grace and Peace.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Prayer letter

As you may have heard I have been accepted to a two year Post-Residency Program with World Medical Mission, which is the medical branch of the Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse.   As a part of this program I will be serving as a Pediatrician in Togo, West Africa at the Karolyn Kempton Memorial Christian Hospital.   The hospital itself is run by ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism) and I will be partnering with them during my time in Togo. 

I have recently had the chance to visit and serve at the hospital for a short time in April, and I was excited to see what the Lord is doing through the ministry there.  The hospital has 45 beds with a very busy outpatient clinic. There are currently two full-time Family Practice doctors at the hospital along with a part-time surgeon.  A wonderful American midwife handles all the OB/GYN and we have amazing Togolese Physician Assistants and nursing staff.  The hospital is also working on the aviation program and there are three pilots raising support stateside in preparation in moving to Togo.  We also have an extensive ancillary staff full of people who love the Lord. 

As I begin this new adventure, there are several ways in which you can partner with me.  While not everyone is able to move overseas as a missionary, everyone can take a 1st STEP towards serving in missions through the gifts and talents the Lord has given you.

Support Financially—The gift of giving.
The first missionary Paul wrote to the church of Philippi and described their faithfulness and willingness to give. “…in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I sent out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only.”  This ONE church was willing to support Paul and his journey when they themselves were early in their faith.  Paul later writes, “I have received full payment and have more than enough.”  This was an amazing testimony of people openly giving through the gifts the Lord gave.  

In my own ministry, Samaritan’s Purse is graciously providing a portion of financial support.  This support will be going directly to my medical school loans, which is allowing me to go to the mission field so quickly after completing residency.  I am asking those who are able, to partner with me financially for monthly needs while in Togo as well as providing funds to start community projects to meet the needs of those we serve.  (Financial gifts are tax deductible and placed directly into my missionary account with Samaritan’s Purse)

Tell Others—Spreading THE WORD by spreading the word.
“Go and Tell….” This phrase is repeated throughout scripture as a commandment to spread the Good News of the Gospel.   I pray that the news of our ministry may spread and others may join us in support.  I ask that you consider committing to telling others about the ministry in Togo: the needs, the opportunities, and the lives that are being changed.  HBB relies on people like you to recruit volunteers, increase awareness, and allow others to join us in our ministry.

Encourage—The gift of Encouragement
In Paul’s missionary journey he was given a partner named Barnabas whose name meant “Son of encouragement”.  He was known well as the one who was willing to take on John Mark, a young minister in the faith, who had once been a part of the team, but then departed.  Barnabas was there to encourage John Mark once again as he hoped to restart His missionary service.  Everyone needs a Barnabas (or two) in their life—people who are willing to meet us where we are at and pull us along when we are discouraged, lonely, or frustrated.  Missionary life in a foreign culture can be amazing and fulfilling, but it is also fraught with discouragement.   I know that God has gifted some of you as He gifted Barnabas.  I am hoping that you might commit to providing encouragement to me during my journey.  This might show up as e-mails, snail mail, phone calls, or even a visit!

Pray—The Gift of Prayer
The incredible thing about the gift of prayer is that it is given to us all!!  “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” -1 John 5:14-15.  The ministry in Togo will not be able to go forward without faithful servants committed to prayer.  Personally, I will need prayer for raising the financial support needed, adjustment to a new culture and environment, quick learning of the French language, relationships with my co-workers, and opportunities to spread the Gospel message.  I am asking if you would commit to praying for me, the team, the hospital, and the people we serve.

Along with this letter you will find a response card that you can fill out in any way you feel led.  Filling out your information will allow me to add you to a monthly newsletter and updates while I am in Togo.  The reverse side has ways for you to commit to partnering with me in the ways I have described above. 

Thank you for your support in my journey up to this point, and the journey yet to come.  I thank the Lord for you knowing that each of you have been placed in my life for a purpose.  Praise the Lord for all His goodness and grace to us!

Psalm 67:1-2  May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us—so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

Grace and Peace,