From Uncertainty to Certainty

Over the past 4.5 months I have encountered more uncertainty than I had ever before experienced. With rapid, unexpected changes, and being thrown into situations I hadn’t planned on being in, my brain was thrown into a whirlwind of “what if’s.”

Simple things became hard. As someone who loves planning – planning was impossible. I couldn’t have predicted all that had happened the last few months – so what was to come? Who knows.

Deep core questions began to flood my mind.

Lord, why did you allow this when all seemed to be going so well with ministry and life? Why does it seem like evil is winning? Do you see what your people are facing? How are you just in this situation?

I have found that the immense uncertainty of future, safety, and purpose easily rock the boat of certainty in sweet King Jesus.

But God.

But God has showed me that the opposite of uncertainty is: sureness, confidence, trust, belief, assurance, faith. My sweet Abba Father has showed me that in order to combat the anxiety and fear that uncertainty brings I need to focus instead on what is sure. Simply put – to focus on Him. He is sure when nothing else seems to be. He is our anchor in the rough storms.

I remember in senior year in high school my girl friends and I thought it would be fun to take a dance class. Most of us had never taken dance before, so, it was hard work, but a great time was had by all.

When we were doing lyrical dance we learned to spin. Sounds simple, right? Well, in order to not become dizzy you have to train yourself to focus on one spot and keep your eyes there. So while your body is turning your eyes stay fixed until your head turns rapidly to get back around to get your eyes back on the focus spot. This allowed for our bodies to keep spinning and keep you from getting dizzy and toppling over.

When our world seems to be spinning… When the “what if’s” and core questions flood our minds… When uncertainty becomes a way of life – we have to fix our eyes on sweet King Jesus to keep from toppling over. Sure, we can try fixing our eyes on other things, but all else will fail us eventually. But our precious Savior is incapable of failing. He will be steadfast, sure and true despite the swirling, changing, uncertain circumstances around us.

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When Peter had his eyes fixed on Jesus he walked on water, yet when fear took over and his eyes shifted from Jesus he began to sink.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

We fix our eyes on Jesus who has authored our lives and although it seems chaotic to us – it’s not to Him. We fix our eyes on Jesus who has already finished our race for us. We fix our eyes on Jesus because He suffered and was shamed so that we wouldn’t have to. We fix our eyes on Jesus because He is with God interceding for us. We fix our eyes on Jesus because He loves and cares for us.

As we fix our eyes on that which is unmovable, unshakable, unchangeable – the uncertainties, anxieties and fears fade away in His awesome presence.

What uncertainties, trials, or pain are you facing? What deep questions are plaguing your mind? What causes you to be anxious? Do you feel like your sinking in the storm or falling as your life spins out of control? Where are your eyes fixed?

May we fix our eyes on sweet Jesus. For this we can be certain of:

He is who He says He is. He will do all that He says He will do. We are who He says we are. We can do all that He asks us to do through His power.

Fixing my eyes on Him with you as we step forward in faith,

Bethany Joy

Lament

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This past week I had the opportunity to attend a training from the Trauma Healing Institute in hopes to know how to better walk with people through trauma upon return to Nicaragua. One of the things we talked about that is helpful in the healing process was lament.

Lament includes:

  • Addressing God
  • Review of God’s faithfulness
  • A complaint
  • A confession
  • A request for help
  • God’s response (not stated)
  • A vow of praise or statement of trust in God

Although lament doesn’t always include each of these things, they do generally include some complaint or mourning aloud. Michael Card wrote: “[Lament] provides the only trustworthy bridge to God across the deep seismic quaking of our lives.” It’s allowing our emotions and pain out of its locked door and presenting it as an offering to God. The doubt, fear, sorrow, confusion, and deep pain placed before our Abba Father. Resting in His ultimate faithfulness. It acknowledges the pain and wrongness we face, yet praises and trusts God in the midst of trials. Lament is our door of access to our Abba Father’s heart and compassion as we walk through grief in this broken world.

Below I give you a peek into my lament before our Holy and precious Father as I reflect on what our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua are facing.

Abba Papa…

All around me looks like chaos.

Yet, it’s not chaos to you…

You sit on your throne.

You are present in every circumstance.

 

I look around me and I see suffering.

Mothers have lost their children.

Fathers lost their jobs.

Children lost their innocence.

Youth lost opportunity.

 

The streets that once were safe – now aren’t.

The police that once helped – now kill.

The universities once filled – now empty.

The churches once free – now attacked.

 

Dreams – silenced.

Families – broken.

Buildings – burned.

Safety – shattered.

Hope – faded.

 

Evil seems to flourish.

Man seems to get his way.

Uncertainty is now a way of life.

Power used to oppress.

 

Speak LORD and right the wrongs.

Act and heal the wounds.

Strike down those who seek injustice

And breathe life anew.

 

Rise up your people to speak the truth.

Strengthen their hurting hearts.

Give great wisdom in what to do

And grant patience to wait on You.

 

You alone are our deliverer.

You are fighting for us.

You care for us and therefore…

We will praise and trust in You.

What losses do you face? What are you grieving? There are so many things that we can loose in this life – yet so much to gain if we honestly lay our losses in our Healer’s capable arms. For it is in these moments of lament that we better understand the very heart of God. I found that writing a lament to God was very helpful – if you haven’t tried this I suggest you do and see how the Lord uses it in your life.

May we all examine the brokenness we encounter and grieve well the losses we face. May we bring our sufferings to a loving and just God. May we be honest with God – bringing Him our questions, fears and doubts. Ultimately, may we turn to trust Him as we lament.

Lamenting with you in the pain and trusting in Him with you,

Bethany Joy

Fear Creates Opportunites for Deeper Trust

IMG_0325.JPGThe past 6 weeks have been intense. Every week there has been something that has happened. From our dear guard dog being purposefully poisoned and killed to being evacuated from Nicaragua because of civil unrest and violence AND everything in between… There has been situation after situation that has sought to discourage and bring me down. But God… But God is faithful.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

In this time there have been several people who have told me how brave I am… Yet I have struggled with this – because I don’t feel brave. I wrestle with fears and anxiety. And then I am reminded how in Scripture we are called to not fear over and over again and the shame starts to rise up. Questions begin to pop up in my mind:

If I say I believe in God why am I so fearful sometimes? Why do I feel so anxious when I know that the Creator of the Universe holds tomorrow in His hands? Do I not trust my Abba Father enough?

Do I have reason to fear? No. God is always in control and loves me and so I don’t have reason to fear. But will I experience fear in this fallen world? Yes. It’s a natural physical response to the fallen world that I live in. Maybe we are told not to fear so many times in Scripture because it is simply that normal in our broken world.

These are the times when I find myself on my knees crying out… I believe please help my unbelief. I trust help my fears. I will follow you help my steps along the way.

It’s where my relationship with Jesus is real. It’s where I end and King Jesus reigns. It’s where even though I am afraid I carry on. It’s where I realize that being brave is not the absence of fears but the walk of trust hand in hand with my Abba Father despite the fears. It’s the continual giving of my fears and insecurities to Him. It’s the rendering of myself into His capable hands and clinging to His promises. It’s accepting His abounding grace for me and remembering how He pursues me and uses the fears I have to draw me closer to Him.

Ann Voskamp wrote, “We may not be fearless but we will be strong and courageous and faithful because our faith in You is greater than the fears in us.”

The beautiful thing about this is that being strong, courageous and faithful isn’t just up to us to muster up the strength to do. But God, in His infinite grace to us has given us Himself through His Spirit to strengthen us so that we can be courageous and faithful.

As we receive His strength we are enabled to be courageous and faithful because He is in us. 

Being evacuated from my home in Nicaragua and apart from dear friends, ministry, and my puppy is super tough. Yet, Sweet Jesus has reminded me that it’s not just about me. It’s not just about the English program. It’s not just about Nicaragua. It’s not just about my generation. It’s not just about peace in one situation. It’s about His redemption of His people over all times in all places. It’s His story that He’s already written – that already has the ending etched in stone even though the story is not finished yet.

My fears become smaller as my eyes are opened to the immensity of my dear Abba Father.  I am enabled, by His spirit living in me, to step forward in faith despite the fears I feel.

Fear creates opportunities for deeper trust.

What are our fears? Where do they call us to deeper trust even in the uncertainties? Where do we need to ask the Lord to open up our eyes to His grandness so that our fears bow beneath Him? Where are we called to persevere in the face of fear?

May we see King Jesus as greater than our fears. May we receive the Great Counselor’s strength so that we may be courageous and faithful to His call. May we be continually sanctified to be more like Him and rely on His grace in the face of fear. May we give our fears to Him over and over again.

He is who He says He is. He will do what He says He will do. We are who He says we are. We can do what He calls us to do. We can be brave in the face of fears because He lives.

Brave because of Him,

Bethany Joy

Lessons from a Coke

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Being in ministry much of the time is spent giving. As I serve in an impoverished country, the opportunities to give are endless.  Whether it’s time, a ride to the hospital, school uniforms, medicine, teaching English, encouragement, or prayer… the list goes on and on. Most of the time, I love it. I enjoy finding ways not just to give but to provide ways for those I have grown to know and love to be empowered to do for themselves, too.  Yet, sometimes, my human-ness gets in the way and clouds my vision.

A couple weeks ago I was visiting a dear Nicaraguan family who has been a huge blessing to me. Occasionally, I enjoy bringing something to share – something that they don’t normally get to enjoy because of finances. So, on the way back to the community I picked up a coke thinking it would be fun to share and enjoy while we chatted. (Side note: Coke is extremely popular in Nicaragua.)

When I arrived, I got out of the car – so excited to share the little blessing with those I loved! With a smile on my face I entered the house and greeted everyone. My dear friend went for the cups so we could unscrew the coke and pass it around. Yet, the next moment someone said, “And where are the cookies and bread to go with the coke?” Someone else said, “It’s warm, where’s the ice. Why’d you get a hot one?”

My smile disappeared. My heart sank. My friend and I started to share the coke with those who wanted it… but my heart wasn’t in it any more. My mind started racing with negative thoughts. “Well, we’ll see when I do something nice for you again.” “Okay, then… Next time you ask for something I won’t be helping.”  “Is it too much to ask for just a simple thank you?” I didn’t want to sit and share conversation anymore, I wanted to leave. My friend noticed and knew what was up (she’s incredibly perceptive). We went outside for some space and all at once the Lord convinced me of my own unthankful, sinful heart.

“Sweet Bethany…” I heard my Abba Father wooing me to Him. “In all I have done for you, how often have you stopped to thank me?” “Do I stop blessing you and showing you mercy just because you forget to say thank you?” Ouch. It hurt my heart yet soothed it like a sweet balm to my soul. I have so much to be thankful for and my Abba Father has done so much for me – yet so often I just move on to the next thing I need help with or need. No, God doesn’t stop loving me or pouring His blessings on me. He is merciful. He is gracious. And I am called to be merciful and gracious, too.

Anytime I see a coke, I’m reminded of this lesson. I’m reminded to be thankful. I’m reminded to show mercy and be filled with grace regardless of how it’s received. I’m reminded to do a heart check as to why I am giving… is it to receive thanks and recognition or is it to simply be a blessing.

I don’t know where you are in life, but I think this is a good reminder for us all…whether it’s with your kids, students, at work, on a sports team, with your spouse or roommates – these thoughts should impact our relationships.  Brothers and Sisters in Christ – may this be so in our lives. May we abound in giving grace and mercy unconditionally – Not for our own sake, but for the sake of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” II Corinthians 4:15.

Secure with you in His Grace and Mercy,

Bethany Joy

Year #1 on the field…Thank you.

A little over a two years ago I began sharing with people about the Lord’s call on my life to move to Nicaragua and build an English program which would – support the church, anchor hope, and empower people. A little over a year ago, I moved to Nicaragua. into a little cabin in the jungle farmlands.

Today, I am blown away to report that the Lord is accomplishing these things for His kingdom through my time in Nicaragua. I’ve already had several of my English students return to the church after being gone for 10, 11, and 12 years. The church is being supported. There have been several people who have rededicated their lives to Christ and many others who have been encouraged and strengthened – discipled in their walk with Christ. Hope is being anchored. The students are learning English and being able to use it to communicate. There are now 58 students in the English program elementary aged – adults. People are being empowered to leave the cycle of poverty.

Also, By living life in the valley the Lord has allowed me to simply love on the people of the valley of Los Rios. I’ve had the privilege of holding a 14 year old girl who was sobbing because of immense betrayal from her father. I’ve had the privilege of walking alongside women as they uncover the unfaithfulness of their husbands. I’ve had the privilege of welcoming a newborn baby home by driving her in my car. I’ve had the privilege of providing a school uniform to a hardworking student at the local high school. I’ve had the privilege of holding and praying with a newly widowed woman. I’ve had the privilege of simply being several women’s first true friend.

There has already been ups and downs. Funny stories and sad stories. Betrayal and redemption. The Lord keeps blowing me away that He is choosing to use me as His vessel to share His love and grace to these precious people.

Yet I couldn’t be here without you sending me… So the reality is that the Lord isn’t just working through me – He’s working through you there, too. It’s you that has provided the opportunity of learning English to so many. You who has held the 14 year old girl as she sobs. You who has walked alongside the women in devastating situations. You who has welcomed the newborn babies by giving them a ride in your car. You who has provided necessities so students can further their education. You who has been the first true friend to many.

Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting me and supporting those in Los Rios. For supporting the church. Anchoring hope. And Empowering People. Thanks for partnering with me as I love Nicaraguans unto life. His Kingdom is being furthered – to God be the Glory, great things He has done and continues to do. May God bless y’all immensely.

Life in the Jungle

Although life living here in the jungle farmlands of Nicaragua is beautiful and I enjoy living here – there are times when I wonder what the world I have gotten myself into. I’ve realized that life here just takes more. It’s not easy to live life here. It takes more effort than in the States. Yet, many times, I just laugh at the craziness of it all. So, I thought I might provide y’all with a glimpse into the top 10 tools I use often here in Nicaragua. Enjoy! [Photos below]

  1. Water Heater. No hot water here. Sometimes we barely even have water as it only comes once or twice a week. But, when it’s chilly here and a cold shower is unimaginable, heating up my water on the stove, pressurizing it, and having 4 minutes of hot water is such a blessing.
  2. Clothes Wringer. Yes, I feel like I’m back in the pioneer days with this one. But, it helps a lot to be able to wring out my clothes before I hang them up to dry, especially in rainy season. Dry clothes are better than moldy clothes every time.
  3. Clothes washer. This looks like a plunger, I know. But this little guy helps me wash more than one item at a time. I put the water, soap and some clothes in a bucket and plunge it with this thing for a couple minutes and presto – clean clothes!
  4. La Pila. Unless of course the clothes are really dirty or are extra big, like towels and blankets. I clean all those on the washboard of my pila. The pila is also super helpful when it comes to giving my dog a bath, too.
  5. Machette. Yap, even the Gringa has one of these. You might be surpized by the many uses for this tool: killing scorpions & other big unwanted jungle bugs, weeding the garden & cutting the grass, and cutting down coconuts & bananas from the trees. No, I haven’t used it as a weapon yet, but it makes me feel prepared, just in case.
  6. Yeti. These coolers are awesome. Since there’s not enough solar for a refrigerator this is where I keep my foods that need to be kept cold. Although I still have to go to the store every 3 days to get ice, they work really well.
  7. Buckets. This bucket is for collecting rain water to use for the toilet. However, I also use buckets to clean my car, water the plants, and many of various other things, too.
  8. Shoes. Although, they are a necessity to wear constantly to keep the parasites out of my body, they are also useful for other things. My number one use for them is killing mosquitos, spiders, tarantulas, fire ants, beetles, and other unwanted creatures that make their way into my house.
  9. Needle. Of course this also has an obvious use – repairing the holes that randomly show up in my clothes. BUT they also come in super handy when you get Lava Glass stuck in your hands or feet. What’s Lava Glass? Oh, it’s just the hairlike pieces of glass that fall out of the sky since I live super close to the Masaya Volcano.
  10. Baygon. One of my beset friends. I use this stuff to kill any unwanted creatures – especially those I don’t wanna get to close to (Tailess Whip Scorpions) or those that outnumber me 10000 to 1 (termites).

As you can see, life can be crazy around here. This is just a fraction of all the things I actually use, but just a glimpse at life here. I am super thankful that God has chosen to place me here to serve alongside His people here. He continues to teach me so much. Not just about living life in the jungle, but about who He is, who I am in Him, and His wonderful plan for His people.

Living for Him wherever He calls me,

Bethany Joy

Termite Invasion

When you live in a cabin, the last thing you want to see are thousands of little termites who have made your home their home. Yet, after having deep cleaned my house before I went to visit friends in Managua, that is exactly what I found upon my return. Thankfully the main structure of my house is treated and so no damage can be done. But they did a great job of finding and nibbling away at some of my decorations that are made of wood.

I found myself quite frustrated… not only were they eating some of my special decorations, but I had just cleaned everything very well 3 days before and now I would have to clean again.  It’s amazing how living in the jungle, with a open house, requires so much cleaning. In dry season there is dirt everywhere ALL the time. In rainy season there are bugs ALL the time. I can clean the cobwebs in the morning and have more by the evening. I’ve found it takes a lot of work to just live life here.

Anyway, as I was fumigating the termites that night and sweeping the following hour, sweet Jesus tugged on my heart and reminded me how I need to clean house, too. I used to be in a good habit of daily asking the Lord to show me my sin and repenting – turning back to Him. Yet, with the past several months of teams and so much going on I have gotten lazy.

But, I realize that crying out as David did in Psalm 139 is a must…

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

Yet, it’s also more than that… If we’re only keeping up with the filth it’ll be hard to ever get ahead. Scripture also calls us to “Be on guard” (Mark 13) and “Prepare our minds for action” (1 Peter 1). If I would’ve been going out a looking around my house, guarding it, I would’ve seen the 4 HUGE termite nests in the trees and we could’ve killed them before they came inside the house.

The other day I read in another missionary blog about how easy it is to be bearing spiritual fruit on the outside and yet rotting on the inside. I pray that the Lord will guard my heart against this and never stop growing me on the inside. It is SO easy to get caught up in all I’m doing, yet I’m continually reminded that the Lord is more interested in my heart than what I do for Him.

What are some ways that we can keep on guard? What are the weights in our life that we should get rid of that keep us from being on guard? Are we bearing fruit but rotting on the inside or is our personal journey and relationship with the Lord more important to the mission?

May we all battle the termites that threaten our lives and strive to be healthy trees planted by the Living water bearing good fruit for the glory of our Father in Heaven.

Fighting with you, Bethany Joy

Devotion.

What is devotion? What are we called to be devoted to? How can we be devoted? Why should we be devoted?

Webster’s Dictionary defines Devote as “committing by a solemn act.”

Devotion, I have found, is a weighty word. It’s a constant choice. It’s putting actions to our believes and our calling. It’s selflessness. It’s giving and pouring out of yourself. It’s rooting for those around you, even when their not deserving. It’s walking in love.

As the Lord has given me the opportunity to walk alongside people here in the valley, I have realized that it often calls me out of my comfort zone. Sitting with children and wives as they have found out that their husband and father has been unfaithful. Embracing a 14 year old girl who just had a baby two months early. Confronting family in Christ about sin. Forgiving. Asking for forgiveness. Praying with patients in the hospital who have been waiting for weeks to have surgeries. Entering into relationships with people who will disappoint you and whom you will disappoint. Stepping into the brokenness and the mess takes devotion. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.

It’s worth it because YOU’RE worth it. Christ was devoted to bringing about our salvation – He loves us, we are His children. It’s worth it because HE’S worth it. He acted even when it was hard – on our behalf. He gave when we didn’t have anything to give Him. He not only was, but still is committed to bringing about our sanctification until the day it’s completed. We are called to be devoted because of His devotion for us.

Yet, we can’t commit well to what He’s called us to, until we’ve fully committed to Him. From our Savior’s devotion to us we are enabled through His Spirit to be devoted to Him…and through our devotion to Him we discover our calling and the strength to be devoted to His people and those He’s called us to serve.

As I have discovered and uncovered the deep brokenness where Jesus has called me to serve it increases my drive and desire – my devotion – to Him, His Kingdom, and what He’s up to here in Nicaragua…in a small valley called Los Rios.

My prayer echoes that of one in The Valley of Vision:

May his comforts cheer me in my sorrows, his strength sustain me in my trials, his blessings revive me in my weariness, his presence render me a fruitful tree of holiness, his might establish me in peace and joy, his incitements make me ceaseless in prayer, his animation kindle in me undying devotion.

By His grace may it be true.

How is He calling you into deeper devotion to Himself and those He has called you to? How is He gentling reminding you of His sweet, never-ending devotion to you? How is this precious reminder call us to praise His glorious, holy Name…?

 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man wholooks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself andgoes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looksinto the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearerwho forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:22-25

Walking with you in loving devotion, by His grace,

Bethany Joy

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Confirming of the Call

Hey y’all,

I can’t believe I’ve been here in Nicaragua for 8 months – crazy! It seems like longer and shorter all at once. It’s been so amazing to see how the Lord is working through me so far and I can’t wait to see what He continues to do.

A couple weeks ago, I finished up the first trimester of English classes. I had two youth classes, 17 students total. As well as an adult class of the farm workers with 12 students. Fourteen of my seventeen youth are moving onto level 2 of the English program and a couple new students have will be joining those classes too. The next trimester begins next Monday (June 19). I will continue with the level 2 of the youth classes, the farm group, and begin 4 more classes. One class will be an adult class in the valley and the three others will be kids clubs. I am so excited and so are the students!

Last week, after only 3 months of classes, 8 of my youth students were able to help out at the soccer camp. It was so cool to here from the team the different conversations they had, in English, with my students. I’m so thankful for my students desire to learn English well and excited for them as I truly do see them making lots of progress in learning the language.

As I plan, prepare, teach, and visit my students and others in the valley… I just feel like I’m in my element. As hard as it can be sometimes, I am loving what the Lord has called me to here in Nicaragua.

Last week, another tough situation presented itself – more sin, more brokenness, more deep sadness. Yet, as I’ve been able to walk through the situation with the family the Lord has reminded me why I’m here. To be. To live life among the people. To be broken by the brokenness. To have my hope anchored in Jesus. To love. To lead others to Him – especially in those dark times. To be a light in the darkness.

Although I know I don’t do it perfectly, I am thankful that He still chooses to work through me. Through the ups and the downs, the Lord has continued to show me His heart for these people of this valley and this country and keeps growing my heart for them too. He graciously keeps confirming that this is exactly where He wants me. Praise be to His Holy Name.

To Him be the Glory – Great things He has done,

Bethany Joy

Ps. Although behind each picture there are thousands of stories and reasons why they are special to me – Here’s a small glimpse of parts of my life here in Nicaragua. Click on the photos to open them up in a larger view.

 

When Darkness Seems to Overcome

img_2097I don’t know exactly where to start this post… We talked about it throughout my MTW trainings and fellow missionaries have told me the day would come.  I guess I didn’t think it would come as soon as 4 months into my time here. But it has… people I’m ministering to have let me down. Sin has roared it’s ugly head and some dear people I have ministered to are entangled in satan’s lies.

Maybe it shouldn’t hurt so bad or I shouldn’t feel as betrayed, after all I have only been here 4 months.  Yet, my heart has already grown to love these people so much. Through each walk through the valley, each cup of coke, each chat, every game of soccer, and every prayer – I have been able to love and be loved on by the dear Nicaraguan people. By His grace, I have already been able to invest into a lot of people in these first four months.

I think what hurts the most is knowing how devastating and far the fallout of sin reaches. Systems are broken. Families are broken. Individuals are broken. And our relationship with God is broken. The effects of sin are so widespread. I praise the Lord that we are not stuck with the brokenness as what is permanent in life, but that the permanent is yet to come. That Jesus is still on His throne and He desires to save all. One day King Jesus will reign and right all the wrong. Our hope is in the Lord, not in this world.

Yet now, I live in the in between.  I live in between what our Lord has already done and how He is present and at work now, but has not yet established His reign on earth. Death is at work in this world… yet, so is The Light. We live in between the already and the not yet.

What should we do then in this place? especially when we feel the effects of sin so deeply? Guard our hearts from hurt? Be careful who we minister to or show love towards? Be choosey to whom we show mercy and grace? No. I believe we are called to love despite what inevitably will happen – hurt. We are called to love and show mercy especially when it’s tough. We serve a God who is love and with the God of love in us, we too can be love and life to those around us.

My heart breaks for the brokenness I have already encountered in my short time here. I am saddened by the deep rooted cultural sins I see and the darkness that surrounds me. Yet, I look to our God and King who pursues me and brings healing to my brokeness and I know He pursues those here in this valley too. I am brought to my knees in prayer often as I feel the realness of the spiritual battle we are facing… and I trust Him. I lean deep into His promises and know He is working to bring life and light to every corner of the world. And I praise Him for every sliver of life and light I see piercing through the darkness.

Praise be to His glorious Name.

May you too be found to be light, life and love to the hurting and broken world around you. Even though darkness might seem to overcome momentarily, we know in the end it looses because the King of Light has already come into the world to set the captives free.

Seeking that there may be No Person Without Hope with you,

Bethany Joy