Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Break Pictures Uploaded!


Here is the link over to my Picassa page for some of my Spring Break pictures. Enjoy the shots!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back Home in the SC: Spring Break Wrap-Up

Well Faith (the bus' name) by God grace safely brought us home and we are now all back in State College (or Gettysburg for our friend Ali). We were even able to enjoy the seafood and dolphin watching at our annual return trip stop, St. Simon Island, GA! The flounder, cheese grits and coleslaw were as usual excellent, and it is just so great to be able to enjoy for a short time the awesome beauty of God's oceans!

Beyond just safe travel, God has been so, so, so good to all of us. It was especially encouraging to see how the dynamic had changed on the bus for the return trip. I could look around and see the number of great conversations being had, and also everyone enjoying the rest of the people on the trip. Amazing to think that there are a number of us who had never met before last Saturday!

And as I wrote a few days ago, the Lord also blessed us to be able to see how we had an impact on Bible translation around the world. Please be praying that the Lord would raise up more laborers. We were able to help for only a few days, but Wycliffe needs volunteers for more than just a few days and volunteers who'd like to go overseas as well. Please pray that the Lord would raise up these laborers or go here to check their opportunities out for yourself!

This officially wraps up the Spring Break Live Blog. God has been good, merciful, loving and sovereign and we are so appreciative of your prayers. Eventually I will post a link to my Picassa page for those of you looking to see more pictures (I just have to sort and resize them), but in the meantime "The Ninth Floor View" will return to normal mode so stop by now and then to hear about what God's doing here at Penn State and around me!

Thank you all for following along and Soli Deo Gloria!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Day Five: Busch Gardens!

Well today we got to taste a little bit of Heaven. We were able to enjoy the fellowship of dear friends whom the Lord has redeemed and experience the joy and exhilaration of God's great creation to His glory. Thank you for all of your prayers as we had a great trip to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay today.

In fact the longest lines we experienced were 15 minutes long, with most rides allowing us to run around and jump right back on again! So it was indeed a great day to enjoy the marvel of how God has set up the physics of this world as well as his wonderful creations like flamingos, hippos, rhinos, lions, tigers, giraffes, and many other creatures that God wrought out of his awesome imagination.

It has been amazing to see how the Lord has drawn our group together in a week and has been pointing us to Him. Please be praying that our trip home beginning tomorrow would be a safe one and that the conversations and time on the bus would allow us to savor our friendships and the Lord even more.

Please also pray to thank the Lord for the wonderful saints that we have as friends down here. We've labored alongside them, and they have encouraged us so much with their faith. So please join us in praising God for his wonderful work in all of the lives of the saints down here in Orlando. If you're able you can also please pray for our friends the Dillons and Valeu's as they are the only two couples who are year rounders here and they will be losing most of their help soon. Please pray that the Lord would send them laborers and that He would encourage them as many of their friends will be leaving until next year, Lord willing.

Thank you again for all of your prayers friends and please keep us in your prayers as we travel home. This will be my last blog post until I return to State College and internet access again. If you check back on Monday, I should also have a summary reflection post up then too.

It's now time for bed, and we look forward to seeing State College again soon, Lord willing.

Soli Deo Gloria!

P.S. Here's also a clip of that someone else not in our group posted on YouTube of the one crazy coaster at Busch Gardens. I have no clue who he held onto his camera, but this coaster is an awesome example of the awesome gifts that God gives to the world to enjoy:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day Four: Mission Accomplished

Well friends, our work down here is done. It's been a hard four days, but our tasks are accomplished. The trees have been planted, cracks sealed, cars (and bus) washed, gardens weeded and mulched and the wall demolished. And through all of this we've been able to help translate the Bible around the world! It has been incredibly encouraging to see how the Lord has knitted our group together through our work and made us a blessing to those around us.

Plus it has also been great to see how encouraged the workers down here have been by us coming down. Everyone has been commenting on how encouraged they are to have us and that we were able to help them out so much in their work to further the Kingdom. But at the same time too we have been so encouraged to know these men and women as well. The Lord has been faithful for decade upon decade to each of these saints to preserve and strengthen their faiths and now when many wind down their lives they are following Paul's exhortation to Timothy to fight the good fight and to finish the race strong. Oh, that the Lord would allow us to be the same way.

Another prayer request for the few of us who have been here all three years and it looks like this will be our last trip. For me it has been quite a melancholy day, because I love the friends that I have down here, but it's hard to think that this may be the last time I will see some of them. Especially some of the men like John, Marlin and Darrell who I've come to know over the years. But our time in 1 Thesselonians has been encouraging on this point. Tonight we were studying chapter 4 where Paul encourages the church that they should not grieve like the world does because of the hope of the Gospel, that even though some of their number have died they will all spend eternity together in heaven with Christ.

So for those of us looking at our potentially last trip for PSU DCF Spring Break, please pray that we would trust in the hope of the Gospel that the goodness that we taste here on earth is just a momentary, dry, bland foretaste of the eternal marriage banquet that we'll enjoy in heaven with Christ and every other believing friend that geography, time or death separates from us for this short, momentary life.

Please also be praying for this last day coming up that we would have safe travel to Busch Gardens, enjoy great fellowship in the park and that our final time with our friends who are snowbirding it down here in Orlando would be God glorifying. Plus while you're praying please thank God for awesome roller coasters, because well they're awesome and only God could think up something so crazy as a roller coaster to give to the minds of men for our enjoyment.

Thank you again for all of your prayers and encouragement!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day Three: Continued Wall Beasting, Tree Planting and the Heart of Paul for the Thesselonians

Sadly friends we have reached and passed the halfway point of our trip south. It has been so wonderful, but we have all been rather worn down today. From planting numerous 500 odd pound gigantor trees, to continued wall beastage to power washing and crack filling in the sun, everyone is tired. One particularly encouraging thing is that many of these tasks allow us to actually see how we are assisting the Gospel going forward. Even if demolishing a wall is fun, we're also helping to build a building that will be essential to assisting Bible translators around the world. Even powerwashing and crack sealing are essential to keeping up the physical campus that keeps the Stateside part of Gospel translation at work going too! So despite our tiredness, sunburns and soreness God has been so good!

Our continued study through 1 Thesselonians has also allowed us to continue to learn about Paul's care for his church. We were able to learn about how we can impact our relationships here and back home with placing our number one priority on those around us knowing Christ and also going out of our way to encourage and build up one another. Paul went to great lengths to encourage and build up his friends after Christ, which sets the standard for us to follow as we are able by His grace.

So please be praying for tomorrow's last full day of work for us. Please be praying in our last day that we'd finish our projects and have been able to serve the Wycliffe Associates down here. Please also be praying for us as we interact with one another and point one another to Christ.

A final prayer request would be for Bob Oakes' wife (Sue I believe), who has recently this undergone a number of surgeries. The Oakes' have been volunteers here in Orlando for many years and are dear members of the family down here, and it is hard to hear of these difficult surgeries that she's had to undergo. Please also pray for Bob and all of the other volunteers down here that they would know Christ better as they trust in the Lord watching these surgeries and that the Lord would give healing to Bob's wife.

Thank you again for all of your prayers and we eagerly await being able to share with you even more stories, besides these little snapshots when we get home!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day Two: Trees in Ground and Wall Beasted

Well today has been quite the awesome day. Personally my shoulders and hands are tired since a few of us took the whole day and beasted an outside stucco wall with sledgehammers and crowbars on the second floor of this major building addition. On one hand it weird to think how construction could help translate Bibles, but as we were talking with the John, Darrell and Larry our senior co-workers they were reminding us that God will use these buildings in order to execute the vital support work needed so that the actual translators over there (where ever that may be) can still go forward.

And on top of that the Lord was good enough to allow lots of other tasks to be completed here too! Some were even able to go lend a desperately needed hand over at Wycliffe's neighbor, Campus Crusade for Christ's campus. So not only have we been able to help translate Bibles, but also further the Gospel on other campus too!

Another highlight from today was getting to hear from Sue about the 21 years that she and her husband Peter spent with the Biken (I believe that is the spelling, but could be totally off) people of New Guinea translating the New Testament. It was just awesome to hear how the Lord was faithful over 21 years to faithfully provide a people group with the Gospel in their own language and raise up men and women from the people to be sons and daughters of the King, skilled in the Word and ready to praise, worship, lead and instruct others in knowing Christ.

We were also able to dive further into 1 Thesselonians tonight with chapter 2. It was a great time of learning how Paul, like Christ, invested in this church that he saw as his own children. This also led to a great conversation about how can we be vulnerable and encouraging to each other like Paul in order to image Christ better to each other. Please be praying that as the trip continues we would see fruit of more lives shared with each other and that we would all know Christ more as we
are more vulnerable with each other!

Finally some prayer requests for tomorrow; Please be praying that the Lord would continue to establish the work of our hands to His glory and also for the number of students who get the opportunity to meet with Wycliffe personnel about what does it look like to minister in a variety of different careers. (ie; Nursing, Education, Information Systems, actual Bible Translation, etc.) These students have initiated with interest to find out more and so please be praying that the students would catch an even bigger vision to use their future careers to glorify Christ no matter if they are specifically a missionary or "secular" worker (even though every job is a missionary endeavor, most don't carry that overt "missionary" label on the badge).

Thank you again for your prayers and please continue to pray for us!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Safe Arrival and Day One

Thank you for all of your prayers as we have arrived safely in Orlando. (It just took me a day to get some internet access)

As you can see from the photo, we are all quite excited to arrive in someplace warm and sunny in contrast to the cold and rainy State College that we left behind. But we have all arrived safely in Orlando and it is wonderful to be here.

One of the sweetest things of arriving has been getting to connect with many of our dear friends who serve here year after year. Those of us who have been down here in years past have developed friendships with many of the workers and eagerly anticipate seeing them. From John and Sandy Dillon to Marlin, George and Cathy it has been great to catch up with everyone and hear what God has been doing since we were last here. Please pray that we'd be able to encourage these friends of ours as we share life with him over the next few days and that they would encourage us as to their example of decades upon decades of the Lord's mercy shown to them.

Since this was also our first day much of the day was spent in orientation and touring the museum at Wycliffe. One of our tour guides, Christina (photo of the lady speaking), was actually a translator from Mexico who is back in the States. It was encouraging hearing about her work on languages even still here in North America that need the Word in their own native language. You can be praying that the Lord would enable Christina to be ready to return to the field soon and that He would provide her a coworker too in order to continue her work.

In 1 Thesselonians chapter 1 tonight we also got to discuss and learn from Paul about what it meant to encourage other believers and see the work of the Lord in the hearts of people who were enslaved to idols and rebellion. That's also the work we get to help as we assist translating the Bible into new languages for people around the world to hear the Lord and be transformed by the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:5) like the Thesselonians several centuries ago! Please pray that this time in the Word would continue to encourage us all in the Lord!

Finally, it's been a great joy to get to serve. We've had a variety of projects from weeding and mulching to power washing and sealing cracks in the driveway for the RV park.

It's great getting to serve the Lord through service and you can continue to pray for us as we work. Many of us are in the sun which can be tiring and sun-burning (if that's a word). Plus three of us are demolishing a wall tomorrow (absolutely awesome job) so you can be praying for us as we swing sledge hammers in an active construction zone.

Thank you again for all of your prayers and support!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Live Blogging DCF's Spring Break 09

Over the next week our fellowship, DiscipleMakers Christian Fellowship, will be in Orlando, FL. We'll be ministering alongside the volunteers at Wycliffe Bible Translators at their International Headquarters!

This will be our 3rd trip down and the Lord has used each trip so far to be a wonderful time to bond our fellowship, develop relationships with older brothers and sisters in Christ who are spending their golden years volunteering with manual labor and helping His Word go to the nations.

So The Ninth Floor View for a week will become a place for the live blogging of our trip. I'll be hopefully sharing brief snapshots of what's going on, what God's up to and how you can be partnering with us in prayer!

Plus I hope to get some pictures up so that you can actually see snapshots of the trip too!

Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

God's Timing Is Not Comfortable Timing

Over the past few months I've written about my experiences applying to medical schools. After much thought and prayer I concluded that medical school was what God was calling me to and so I applied.

However, medical school applications are anything but a quick process. My primary applications went off to schools in early September, my interviews were in December and January and now it's March and I still have no clue where I'll be next year. So far the only school to get back to me said that they wanted to keep comparing me to their other interviewees and would not give me a final answer for an undefined period of time.

And for me that is insanely frustrating. Personally I'm a very controlling person, and to know that I can't control when I'll get an answer about med schools means that I feel like I'm just floating helplessly along at the mercy of these arbitrary, often malicious forces (or that's what my mind thinks) known as admissions committees.

But friends God has been so good in this! I may feel like I'm just a helpless toy of the timetables of med schools, but God holds the world and medical schools in the palm of his hand. They do not operate outside of his will and if it is God's time for me to know about my future, then God would make it happen.

God's timing is not comfortable timing for me, but I can know that based on who God is I can wait. Over occupations, security, relationships, medical schools or any good thing in life God has given me Christ and secured for me a place in His Kingdom that cannot be shaken (Heb. 12:28); Even by medical school admissions committees!

You can be praying for me that I would trust God and not freak out about the time that he has me waiting right now. Please pray that as I wait I would know Christ more (Eph. 3:14-21) and to be diligent and finish the race of college well for God's glory instead of freaking out during the time that I have left.

New Attitude is now NEXT!

So you may have noticed that ads have started appearing on the blog at the bottom of each post. And you also may be wondering what in the world NEXT is.

Well I'd encourage you to follow the colorful link below, but essentially NEXT is a totally awesome conference that God has blessed my friend and I with the ability to attend this Memorial Day weekend.

NEXT, formerly known as New Attitude, is a conference for singles of all ages and young couples put on by Sovereign Grace Ministries. This year the theme is also "the person and work of Christ," with main session speakers being CJ Mahaney, Josh Harris, Kevin DeYoung, D.A. Carson and Sinclair Ferguson!

So in a word we're really pumped about this conference for not just the awesome lineup of speakers, but more importantly the chance to spend a whole weekend focused on learning more about our Lord and Savior.

If you're looking for something to do this Memorial Day weekend and would like to learn more about Christ I would encourage you to come on down with us to Baltimore. Plus you can also be praying for my friend and I as we prepare to head down that we would learn much about Jesus and also that God would do a good work to to teach many about his Son!

So take a few seconds and check this conference out:

So apparently I stink at keeping this updated

Well friends I have been doing a pretty poor job at keeping my blog updated and so there hasn't been much of a view for you all from the Ninth Floor here of late.

But God is good and He's been keeping us busy and away from blog posting for good reasons!

You can be praying for our fellowship as we travel to Orlando, FL next week to serve alongside the Wycliffe Bible Translators and offer our service to help out on their grounds. This is such an awesome opportunity to serve the Lord, serve the nations that need to hear His Word and serve our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Please be praying for us for safe travel, that the Lord would bind us in unity, and that he would establish the work of our hands for His glory (Ps. 90)! I hope to write soon with more awesome stuff that God has been doing!