I apologize for such a gap in between my posts. In the first couple of weeks of February there was not much going on but since about the last week of February until now I have been real busy doing all sorts of things. We have started working on the finances of the mission. They want to put all their financial information from 2011 forward in the accounting system that I have created. So I have been working on that as well as beginning to get involved in different sorts of things. Over the past couple weeks God has randomly put people in my life and I have begun to create some really awesome relationships. I have met some really good guys and I am hoping to begin a guys Bible study within the next couple of weeks. My plan is to have one day a week where we are able to meet for a couple of hours and enjoy each others company while studying the Word and growing together. I also have had the opportunity to get to know a girl named Gilly. I actually met Gilly in the hospital when I first arrived to Chile. She was in the hospital for about a month because she was ran over by a Jeep and had a compound fracture in her leg. After she left the hospital she came and stayed with us for three days because she did not have another place to go before she could start renting her apartment. It was during this time when I got to know her well. She is a sweet girl but just has made some bad decisions in her life. She has really burnt the bridges with her relationship with her mom and for that she was not able to stay at her house for the three days. She has about five months of rehab for her leg and my prayer has been that it will also be a rehab for her spiritually. I have been able to spend more time with her and bring her with me to a college student ministry twice a week. Another cool thing taking place is that I will be moving in with a Chilean family next weekend. It will be with a single mother, her parents, and her son. I am very excited about this opportunity for many reasons but mainly because Pedro, the son, is 14 years old and actually spent 7 years in the children’s home here at the mission until he was adopted. His mother, Monica, was telling me that she has been having a difficult time with him over the past year and that she is very excited about this opportunity because he has never had a positive male influence in his life. So it is just such a cool thing that has been brought about by God, which leads me into the title for this post “Forgetting about God’s will for my life”. I have to admit that I stole the title from a chapter in the book called Forgotten God by Francis Chan. It is an amazing book on the Holy Spirit and I would highly recommend it if you want to be challenged, convicted, and encouraged. In the chapter about forgetting God’s will Chan said something that really impacted me, “It’s easy to use the phrase ‘God’s will for my life’ as an excuse for inaction or even disobedience. It’s much less demanding to think about God’s will for your future than it is to ask Him what He wants you to do in the next ten minutes.” That was something that hit me because throughout my life especially in the past couple of years I have constantly worried about what God’s big plan for my life is, and I have definitely been guilty of inaction and disobedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is funny because in the Bible God does not promise us a twenty year plan of action but instead He says that He will never leave us nor forsake us. I have been trying to be more in tune to what the Holy Spirit is asking of me in each moment of each day. A cool, easy example of the Holy Spirit using His promptings happened to me a day or two after I read that chapter. I invited a friend to come over one morning just to hang out and to do a little Bible study. So after a while of talking my friend asked me if there was a passage I wanted to share. I had a couple of passages in mind but after paging through them, I decided to look at 1 Corinthians 1:25-31 with him. To me I think the passage is really powerful and I was a little bummed that my friend did not share the type of amazement as I did after we read and talked about it (For some reason I guess I was expecting him to start doing jumping jacks or something). However the next day I saw him and he told me that that night he had shared that passage with another guy at his church because it made such an impact on him, and that was just such a boost of confidence for following the promptings that I have. There are other examples I could share that are small, easy examples like that but I won’t. It is funny, however, how I have viewed the Holy Spirit. I wanted the amazing blessings and guidance of the Holy Spirit but I would ignore the promptings that I felt were minuscule or made me feel uncomfortable. What kind of relationship is that? I started to think of it in terms of a friendship. If I have a friend who constantly pursues a relationship with me, who is around for the good and the bad, and who helps me out with “boring and small” things that come up I am going to be more likely to come through in a time of need for that friend when he asks me. How then could I not walk with the Spirit daily and follow His guidance and then expect Him to pull through in an incredible way. This is just one of the things God has been teaching me since I have been here, which is the necessity of walking with Him, Jesus and the Holy Spirit daily. I ask for continued prayer especially in the three situations that I highlighted at the beginning: a guy’s Bible study, Gilly, and the Chilean family I’ll be staying with and my relationship with Pedro. Thanks for all the prayers and I will continue to pray for God’s blessings in your life.
It has been two weeks since I arrived in Chile. It seems to have flown by but yet it also feels like I have been here for at least a month. I would like to thank all of you who have supported me prayerfully and financially. You all have been such a blessing to me and I cannot thank you enough. These past two weeks have mostly been filled with meeting new people and getting accustomed to all my new surroundings. At first I was a little overwhelmed, but I am now getting settled into the place that I will be calling home for the next six months. There has not been anything too exciting that has taken place yet although; my first Monday here one of my neighbors invited me to go to a church picnic with them. We went to a beautiful park (I have a picture below but of course it doesn’t do it justice!) and spent the whole day fellowshipping with one another and off course eating plenty of food.
The purpose of the event was to celebrate the baptism of two young girls, who were baptized in a river that day. It was so awesome to see two teenagers making that commitment and being able to celebrate with them as new sisters in Christ. Besides that the other thing that has come to light is not so positive. The main outreach of the mission is operating a children’s home for abandoned children. In October an unfortunate event between one of the children and a house parent resulted in the removal of all the children. I had known about this previously but it was my understanding that children would again be received sometime beginning in mid-February to the beginning of March. Do to the desire of the mission organization to have the children’s home become a realized foundation in Chile before taking in any children again, it does not look like there will be any children around while I am here. The process usually takes about six months (go figure) and it was started in the middle of January. I am not going to lie when I realized that there was not going to be any children around during my time here I was heart broken. I have such a heart for children and that part of the mission was the biggest draw for me to come. It has been hard for me to understand why God would not intervene and allow the house to be full with children. I mean in my mind it made perfect sense because (1) I love children and could love on the kids with a love that they have never felt and (2) it would definitely help with developing my Spanish. I found myself just asking God why. During this time of confusion and disappointment I did not necessarily get an answer to the question why but I was reminded of the scripture that I have chosen as my mission statement which is Psalm 37:5-6 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” These verses tell me to do two things: commit my way to the Lord and trust in Him. I have no idea why God has not allowed for children to be here but I trust in Him. I trust that He has brought me here for a reason and I might not know what that reason is until I board my plane on July 21st. But I surrender to His will. He sees the whole picture while I can only see the present and the past. I ask for your continued prayers and that over the next few weeks doors will be open and God’s desire for me and my time here would be shown to me. Thanks again and I will continue to pray for God’s blessings upon you all’s lives.
Learn how you can support me here https://www.youcaring.com/mission-trip-fundraiser/jeff-in-chile/123003
In May of 2013 I graduated from Appalachian State, double majoring in Accounting and Finance. I was blessed to have had a job offer coming out of college to work at an accounting firm in Charlotte. So the plan was to go to grad school for a year at the University of North Carolina Wilmington to obtain my masters in accounting (in order to get your CPA you have to have 150 school hours which makes most accounting majors have to go to grad school for a year) and then start working. But these plans for my life took a turn over the summer. I was able to spend the summer in Nicaragua working with an awesome mission called New Song Nicaragua. During my time there, a desire in my heart began to grow to (1) learn Spanish and (2) share God’s love to those who have never fully experienced it. It was not until a conversation I had with one of the amazing missionaries down there where she suggested that I defer my enrollment for a year and go somewhere to serve and learn Spanish. I had never thought about that and it was not but a couple of days later when I did the necessary steps to defer my enrollment to UNCW. I finished my time in Nicaragua in the first week of August and came home where I began looking for the right place to go.
Why Santiago, Chile?
While I was in Nicaragua two of the guy missionaries and me took some of the men from the village to the beach for a weekend just to bless them and celebrate Father’s Day. That night me and the other two missionaries were in our hammocks, right on the beach (I know tough life), talking before we went to sleep. I was saying how I really did not want to go to school in August and wanted to go somewhere in South America. One of them asked me where I wanted to go and for some reason I said Chile. I really have no idea why I said it but I did. From that point on I kept saying I was going to go to Chile, somewhat jokingly but pretty serious as well. So when I got home from Nicaragua in the first week of August I began looking for a place to go. I spent a good month looking but to no avail. I was looking at all possibilities in many countries and I actually could not find anything in Chile. I started to get pretty down and thought my dream of going to Chile was not going to happen. But one day after typing in “mission organizations in Chile” in Google, which I had done a couple times before. I came across across a mission called, Chile Mission, I emailed them and the next day I was in contact. Not more than two weeks later I had finished the application and it was confirmed that I would be in fact going to Santiago, Chile. I could not believe it, a similar thing happened with me in my desire to go to Nicaragua and how I got in contact with that mission organization. It was just unbelievable and for the second time in eight months God put a country on my heart and for the second time He made a way for me to go there.
What will I be doing?
Great question! Unfortunately I do not have a great answer. This has definitely been a learning and growing process for me. I like to know things and I like to have set plans. But God has been working on me to surrender control and to just trust in Him. The good thing is there are numerous things that I will have the opportunity to do. The mission’s main ministry besides the church is a home for abandoned children. They also have other community outreaches such as working with a rehab center and providing an “English club”. You can find out more about the mission as a whole at www.chilemission.org . So I will be helping with these things along with trying to develop a better and effective accounting system for the organization. So I am just going to go and see where I feel called and led to serve.
How you can help
First and foremost prayer! I have a list of prayer requests below and will be updating that list during my trip. But I do ask that you keep me in your prayers. I believe that God has watched over me and protected me from things with prayers from people that I will never know have been prayed for me, which is awesome to think about so I sincerely do ask that you will keep me in your prayers. Another way you can be of help is financially. Given how soon it is before I leave, you might be wondering why I have put fundraising off to so late. It is because I did not like the thought of having to fundraise. I have never done this before. I was fortunate enough to have had gone to Nicaragua using money that I had earned and saved. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately I will not be able to do this for this trip. I think this is another lesson God is giving me to have to trust and rely on Him. When thinking about fundraising in my mind I looked at it as almost asking people for a handout. But by talking with missionaries about the subject I have realized this is not the case. In fact it is exactly the opposite. I have learned that asking for monetary support is a tangible way to advance the Kingdom. The body has many parts with different roles and functions. For some going to a different country and ministering is not what God has called them to do, but they may have resources to invest and sow into others to do this kind of ministry and in such partake in the harvest as well. So I do ask that you prayerfully consider sponsoring me. It will cost roughly $4,500 to cover all my expenses over six months which includes; $2,180 of living expenses, $1,000 for the plane ticket, $1,000 to cover expenses while in the country (public transportation, activities with the children and travel expenses to see other ministries throughout Chile), and $320 for the visa. I am asking that you consider sponsoring me for $15 a month for six months which in total is $90. That is 50 cents a day over the six-month period. If fifty people commit to doing this I will be fully funded. I ask that you take this into consideration but most importantly give as you feel led to do. You can learn more about sponsoring me by making an online donation here http://www.youcaring.com/mission-trip-fundraiser/jeff-in-chile/123003. If you would like to give a cash or check donation you can do so by sending it to 3002 High Meadows Court Greensboro 27455. I thank you in advance and pray God blesses you for blessing me.
As you pray for me I ask that you take these into consideration:
1) That my Spanish will come along quickly! I would consider myself okay at my Spanish right now but Chilean Spanish is a totally different dialect than what I am used to.
2) That I will meet and develop relationships with tons of people. I am going down there not knowing anyone and it is a little nerve-wracking when I think about that!
3) That I will be put in the right places to serve.
4) For teen boys to disciple/mentor. This has been on my heart for a while and I have been asking God to put people down there for me to develop this kind of relationship with.
5) God’s favor over me while I am down there.
Again thank you so much. It really means a lot to me and I look forward to keeping you all updated through this blog with what God is doing in Chile while I am down there!
Below I have included some pictures from Nicaragua:
Some trouble makers in front of the church
The amazing woman who gave me the idea of deferring my enrollment and going somewhere instead.
The place where I first said I wanted to go to Chile