"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
September 9, 2009
Jon and I have been given an awesome opportunity to go to Singapore. Assuming we get there, Jon is going on business and I am just tagging along. He will be installing a control system for a pumping station that will be used in offshore drilling. While there, Jon will be working on a ship in dry dock. The ship will then be taken to the Gulf of Mexico, where the pumping station will be activated and used. We're not sure why he has to do the installation in Singapore, but that's just the way things are. When we found out that Jon would be going to Singapore, we realized that this was a chance in a lifetime to travel there, so decided to pay my expenses to go with him. Jon has traveled internationally, but it was back when he was a teen. This will be my first experience to travel out of the U.S. We are quite excited about this opportunity.
Singapore is thirteen hours ahead of us time-wise, so in order for Jon to get there by the projected date, we will be flying out four days before. That should give us a couple days for travel and Jon to get a little acclimated to the time difference, and hopefully deal with jet lag before checking in for work. Even though this is business for Jon and fun for me, keep our safety and health in your prayers while we're gone. And it will not be work for Jon 24/7; therefore we will be doing a lot of sight-seeing in the evenings and on the weekends while we're there. Singapore is a small city-state island, so we should be able to tour the whole island during our time there.
And never fear -- the newsletters will continue on during the weeks we're out of the country! I have frantically been writing to get them written and edited and ready to publish before we take off. Well, Jon will take care of all the technical stuff. My husband is a computer genius, and knows a way to put them out on the website ahead of time, but not release them until the appropriate dates. So keep reading each week! But because they are written in advance, don't expect any updates on our Singapore experience in the newsletters until after our return.
Adventures come our way, some planned and some unexpectedly. But our attitude when these opportunities arise will determine whether or not we make the most of them and enjoy them to the fullest.
My niece and I were recently instant messaging about her new experience of living on a college campus. She attended community college for her first two years, and was able to continue living at home. But she needed to leave home in order to finish her schooling. So for the first time, she is living away from her parents, family, and friends and is living in a dorm with other students. This is a brand new adventure for her. It is a little scary and frightful, but is also exciting.
She moved onto campus on a Saturday, but classes didn't actually begin until Wednesday. On Monday evening she went to see a special event on campus. It was humorous and she really enjoyed it. On her way back to her dorm room, she tripped on the edge of the sidewalk and fell flat. What made it worse was a group of guys were following behind her and saw the whole thing happen. But to their credit, they acted genuinely concerned about her and asked if she was okay and one of them helped her up. This was not how she wanted to make her debut on campus!
I encouraged her to get involved in various groups and meet other students and cultivate friendships. She told me that the youth pastor at her home church had been challenging them to get out of their comfort zones. Therefore, she was going to try and get the most out of this opportunity.
I told her that comfort zones can make you feel protected and safe, but they can also cause you to get into a rut. Those first few steps of faith are the hardest, but they can also lead to great new adventures and exciting things in life.
From what I understand, she has found a new church that she really enjoys. She has gone to Chi Alpha meetings and parties, which is a Christian organization on campus. It seems as if she really is following through on her plans to enjoy college life to the fullest, and I'm very proud of her for doing so.
Most of the life adventures that I have experienced are due to me getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things or changing directions in life. I found out that there are doors and opportunities that will never open up for me, unless I'm willing to step out of my level of comfort.
Those people whom I know that have experienced some of life's greatest adventures, have because of their willingness to take a risk and try something new and different.
I have a friend who is currently in Israel, where she will be living for the next year. She is in her late-40's and has never married. She is working at an international school teaching PE and coaching sports. The placement assignment is through the Assemblies of God, through their MAPS program. She has been there for about a month now and is making the most of this opportunity. Whenever she has free time, she goes exploring. This is a year that she will never forget, and she's doing everything and seeing everything that she possibly can while she's there. This is time that she will never get back, and an experience she'll never have again. She is making sure that her time is well spent and that she doesn't miss out on experiencing all that she possibly can by touring Jerusalem and Israel and the surrounding areas.
When my nephew was stationed at the Army base in South Korea for two years, there were times when he and his wife got very homesick and missed family. But they also knew that they could either look at their time there as an adventure and make the most of it, or they could sit in their tiny apartment feeling sorry for themselves and miss the chance to get out and experience South Korea. They didn't have many conveniences in their apartment and had to adjust to making do with very little, but they did it uncomplainingly and looked at it as an adventure. They made the most of their time while there. They made friends and had experiences during their time there that they'll never forget.
When the opportunity came for Jon and me to go to Singapore, my sister advised me to look at this as a great adventure. She has encouraged us to try new things, new foods, get out and really see the country, and experience all that we possibly can during the time that we're there. We will very likely never go back there, and this is our one shot at making this the most memorable experience that we possibly can. We can either sit around and blow it, or we can thoroughly enjoy ourselves.
Adventures in life can consist of such a wide variety of experiences. It may be travel to new places, going to college and living on campus, becoming involved in a new Bible Study group or in a new ministry, eating foods that we've never tasted before, trying a new hairstyle, pursuing a new hobby, and the list could go on and on. We tend to think that life's adventures are those huge once in a lifetime opportunities. But sometimes they can be something small that gets us out of our comfort zone and pushes us into trying something new. I know women who haven't changed their hairstyle in twenty or thirty years. There are people who are in such a big rut that they refuse to ever try anything new; whether it be a new restaurant, new cleaning product, new way of doing something, or whatever it may be. How boring their lives must be!
Life with Jesus can be an adventure, and it should be that way. People can become spiritually stagnant and eventually begin to see church and their relationship with God as being boring and unproductive. Usually this is when they start blaming the pastor or other people for not inspiring them. They have become so comfortable and are in a rut so deep that nothing motivates or moves them anymore. Testimonies can be given about healing or answered prayer, and they are unmoved, or else are critical. That's when it's time to examine the heart and see when we stopped getting excited about Jesus and spiritual things, and make a fresh start.
The disciples experienced many new things and traveled to new places as they embarked upon their ministry with Jesus. Some of the men were fishermen, and had spent years out on the sea fishing for a living. Leaving that life and traveling from town to town was a brand new adventure for them. Some of them may have never been out of their home town. Walking from village to village, eating with strangers, listening to Jesus teach, sleeping wherever they happened to be for the night, seeing people healed, etc. were things they had never seen or done. But they adapted, learned from Jesus, and made the most of those years that they possibly could. That was an adventure that was forever engrained in their hearts and minds.
I want my life, both spiritually and in the natural, to be filled with adventure and excitement. I never want to lose the joy of living and of serving God. May that be the prayer of us all.
James 4:13-15 says, "Come now, you who say, 'today or tomorrow, we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make profit'; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. ... Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.'"
We've been looking forward to the trip to Singapore for several weeks now. Actually, we were looking forward to being there now. But the trip was postponed. And we didn't get the order until very late--today. So now, we really expect to go. We've been praying for several weeks that God would work out the details so we could get good reservations for a reasonable price. But, God has His own timing. And it usually isn't the same as our timing.
It seems that just like God's wisdom is far above our wisdom, His patience is also far above ours.
1 pkg. Cream Cheese -- softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix the above ingredients together. Serve with sliced fruit.
When I was growing up, I liked to hang out with my older sisters. And they allowed me do so, for the most part. For one thing, there really weren't any other kids the same age as me in our home church. And generally when they did anything, it was with each other or cousins or friends from church. We lived in the country and there really wasn't a lot of activities to do, unless they were family or church related. Occasionally, Mama would make me stay home and let them do things without me. Actually, it seemed to bother my sisters' friends (especially Janie, who was closest to me in age) more than it did my sisters for me to go places with them. But there were times when I'm sure I was a pest and they retaliated against me, when Mama and Daddy weren't around, of course.
One time I was probably 5 or 6 years old, and had walked over to Jones Trading Post Store with Janie. The owners had a daughter who was a year older than Janie, and they were friends. The store was kind of like an old time general store that sold a little bit of everything. There was a bathroom on the side of the building for customers to use.
That particular day, a couple from out of state stopped by the store to fill their car up with gas. My sister and her friend told me that I needed to hide in the bathroom because they heard the couple say that they were looking for a little girl to take home with them, and if they saw me then they would take me. If hiding me in the bathroom wasn't bad enough, they only light was a pull string from the ceiling that I was too short to reach. They turned the light off and closed the door and told me that I better not make any noise or the couple would hear me. Needless to say, they had me scared and crying; which I'm sure was their goal! I can't remember if I told Mama and Daddy what the girls did, or if they threatened me so I wouldn't tell on them. Being the baby sister had its rewards and was wonderful most times; but it did have it's moments where the bigger sisters had their fun in "torturing" me!
Avoid truth decay; brush up on The Word. (seen on a church sign)
We hope you all are having an enjoyable summer.
We love you!
Loretta & Jon