Three years ago I was asked to serve in a capacity that was completely outside of my comfort zone. I was asked to serve as a teaching ambassador in Guatemala. I did not know what to expect. I did not speak the language. I had no clue what I would find when I arrived. However, three years and over 100 students served later, I absolutely love our mission site in Mixco, Guatemala. Out of all the places that I have served globally, this sacred place speaks to my heart every single time I visit.
During the school year, the church I work for sponsors an ESL learning experience for children and youth. We sponsor this free educational program understanding that the benefits will follow them for a lifetime. The ESL experience has afforded some of the students to not only obtain better employment opportunities, but has also boosted their self- confidence!
It has been a joy and honor to watch these precious little ones, literally grow up in front of my eyes. Every year they are not only speaking better English, but want to fill me in on what has been going on in their lives since the last time we encountered each other. While many think the field of missions deals mostly with the tangible buildings, such as repairing roofs, wheelchair ramps, etc; the heart of missions is really the people! While tangible rebuilds are necessary, it is imperative that one bonds with the community.
I am thankful that God has called me to this sacred beautiful land to serve. I am excited to see what this week holds. I am sure like always, I will encounter the Divine in a new way when I am there. The people, the food, the culture, the land; all remind me of the majesty of God’s creation.
God is amazing! Stay Uplifted.
Dios es asombroso.
In churches and schools alike, there has been a long debate about the most effective styles of teaching and the materials utilized that would be most beneficial to students in their life. While many schools are eliminating music and the arts due to budget cuts, the Church has continued to be a space where children and youth can use their gifts of music and dance to glorify God.
Choral groups, liturgical dance/mime ministries, and other avenues of the arts are inviting students to not only develop and hone in on their skills but also provide them with a connection to the Divine. We can see the fruit of this in many churches where intergenerational ministries thrive and invite all to the table. However, we cannot stop here.
This past year I have seen a huge peak in the area of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) -based Christian Education materials and curriculum. There are Vacation Bible School curriculums, bible studies, and even apps that focus their teaching styles on teaching the bible in an interactive way.
There are many different ways that churches can incorporate STEM-based learning in their Christian Education departments. There are various books and websites that offer free illustrations to leaders to aid students in learning about the Bible in a more interactive way through experiments and interactive activities.
This summer I was a part of a multi-site Vacation Bible School model that incorporated the STEM model. It was interesting to notate that the retention rate of students was higher than the previous year. Students also invited their friends on the second day once they were able to participate in the first day’s fun experimental activities. To get an idea of a couple of ways that your church can include STEM in their Christian Education Department, check out http://www.madaboutjesus.net/index.html.
Published in the August 2017 Edition of The Christian Recorder.
This week I was blessed to serve as the Mission Service Coordinator for a Christian Children/Youth Conference. While I watched and took photographs of over 200 people from ages 5-70 pack food for children and families they would never meet, I witnessed the packers themselves “getting fed; soul food. The pulse in the air was magnetic and the Spirit in all her glory abided with us.
With each scoop, every sealed bag, taped box, and loud cheer you could literally see all of the participants taking pride in their accomplishments and part they were planning to relieve world hunger.
According to the World Hunger Education Service (the statistical arm of the World Hunger organization) “Approximately 3.1 million children die from hunger each year.”
Organizations like Feed My Starving Children are providing opportunities not only to become educated about the link to world hunger and poverty, but also provide a tangible way for people to help alleviate a systemic problem.
If you would like to help alleviate world hunger, I invite you to play the trivia game on freerice.com. This trivia site game feeds millions of people by providing rice for each answer that is correct.
SOUL-Food Pictures at Feed My Starving Children.
A couple of years ago, I had the honor of traveling to Cuba to learn about the social, religious, and political climate that surrounded the local Seminary. It was here in Cuba, that some of us took a fortress tour. While learning and reflecting upon the history of this massive monument, I couldn’t help but remember ….
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2
No matter what you go through or what darts may be fired in your direction, KNOW and recall the times GOD has proven GOD’s mighty power and protection before in your life.
Rest Well Beautiful Ones,
Rest Well, Beautiful Ones!
Don’t let anyone dull your shine. Keep shining bright!
Hey Beautiful Ones!
You were not meant to sit on the dock, you were born to sail. You have gifts that the world needs. You are magnificent. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
I leave you with these words to meditate on from the Psalm…
Psalm 139:14-16The Message (MSG)
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
Blessings, Rev. Christal
One of my absolute favorite spots on earth is the above beach in Aruba. I fell in love with the calm weather, the sand, and of course the water! Many of a times I was blessed to catch a sunset like no other. This is my sacred spot. This spot and even this picture reminds me of the beauty of God’s creation. The gentle breeze and soothing sounds of the waves have always invited me to inhale the goodness of God and exhale the stresses of my life. Since I can’t always travel back to this spot every week lol, I periodically look back at this photo and reflect.
Where is your sacred spot? Where is the place that you connect with God on a level that is hard to put in words?
I invite you while you are on this Lenten journey to get still and connect. My prayer for you this evening is that no matter where you are on this journey that you will take the time and be still. You might just be surprised how and what you hear from above.
Rest Well, Beautiful Ones…