Thursday, 25 December 2008

The greatest missionary story ever told

There are so many great missionary stories, some of these have shaped my life.  Amy Carmichael was a single woman who spent her life rescuing young girls in India from a life of temple prostitution.  And there is the story of Jim and Elisabeth Elliott.  Jim and four other missionaries were killed while trying to make contact with a remote and unreached tribe in Ecuador.  Their families later returned to live with that same tribe so that the people could hear about Jesus.

The Bible is full of missionary stories.  Abraham was the very first missionary, called by God to leave his father's household and go to some far off place.  The apostle Paul took the Gospel to half of the known world in his lifetime.  Much of the New Testament is written either by him or about his life and work.

But the greatest missionary story ever told is also the greatest Christmas story.  Jesus, the Son of God and the Prince of Heaven, came into this world as a tiny and helpless baby.  There was no room for him in the comfortable hotel, so his first nursery was a barn and his first crib an animal feed trough.  He was welcomed by humble shepherds and Gentile wise men.  He learned to walk and he learned to talk.  He dressed like the people and ate with them at their homes.    He spoke with them in words they would understand, telling stories of farmers and vineyards.

Jesus left the light to come into this dark world, that we may know how much the Father loves us.  This is the story that we are celebrating today.

John 1: 1

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."

Philippians 2:6-11

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who being in very nature God,

did not consider equality with God

something to be grasped,

but made himself nothing,

taking the very nature of a servant,

being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

and became obedient to death--

even death on a cross.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord

to the glory of God the Father."

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

December praise & prayer

Four weeks from today I will be leaving for PNG.  Lots of praises this month... I finished school and moved back home to Ohio, my PNG visa was approved for 3 years, I had two wonderful sending services, and I am blessed by many precious moments with family and friends!  Prayer requests for December...

* safe travels for my few remaining deputation services

* all the stuff I need to do before leaving the country

* for me as I say goodbye (my least favorite part of going away)

* that my family will have a wonderful vacation together... Mom, Dad, Aim, Darren, Aaron, and I are going to Naples, FL for a week after Christmas :)

Friday, 12 December 2008

Operation Warm Baby

The kids and teachers of Livingston Christian School in Pinckney, Michigan are taking on Operation Warm Baby! They are collecting, packaging, and shipping items for new babies in the nursery at Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. I visited the school in December of 2008, just before I left for PNG. This album contains pictures from my visit and will eventually display some from the receiving end!
LCS... thank you for giving!

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Operation Warm Baby

"Operation Warm Baby" is a project that was started by the Nazarene Hospital Foundation.  Many moms in PNG have little to clothe or care for their new baby.  Operation Warm Baby is helping to provide much needed items!  Here is what is included in a warm baby pack:  1 onesie, 1 sleeper, 1 hat, 1 pair of socks, 2 cloth diapers and 2 pins, 1 blanket, 1 wash cloth, and 1 bar of ivory soap.

Under the direction of Rachel Bergin, the students and teachers of Livingston Christian School ( in Pinckney, Michigan are taking on Operation Warm Baby!  Rachel is my Dad's cousin and a former teacher at LCS.  The school has already started collecting items for the warm baby packs and will be sending them on to the nursery at Kudjip Hospital.

This past week, "Dr. D" (that's me!) spent a few days at LCS.  I shared with the kids about Papua New Guinea and the work of the hospital.  They learned a few phrases in Pidgin English such as "Hepi Krismas!"  The elementary classes drew some beautiful pictures that will be included in the warm baby packs.  The older grades helped to sort, snap, fold, and package the baby items.  (See photo album "Operation Warm Baby.")

It was a great week.  I was so impressed by the students, and blessed by their excitement about PNG and for Operation Warm Baby.  It was such a privilege for me to be a part of this project as it was initiated.  And this is just the beginning an ongoing partnership between LCS and Kudjip Hospital!

A special thanks to Mr. Nast, the administrator at LCS.  I appreciate your passion for teaching the kids about giving, missions, and sharing Jesus.  And to Rachel, who has already given so much to Operation Warm Baby.  May God bless you many times over.

For more information about Operation Warm Baby and other ongoing projects in support of Kudjip Hospital:


Monday, 8 December 2008

Therefore go

On Sunday, December 7, I was commissioned or "sent out" by Lower Lights Community Church of the Nazarene in Columbus.  Here are the words that were shared by Pastor Mike...


The first Bible verse most of us memorized is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  This verse speaks plainly of God’s love for His creation.  He loves each human so much that He sent his only son as a sacrifice so that we would have the opportunity to live forever with Him. 

The prophet Isaiah spoke of the world and our human nature like this:  “The people walking in darkness  have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2).  The darkness he spoke of is the hopelessness found in our souls caused by being separated from our creator, which is the result of our sinfulness.  Into our darkness, God sent Jesus to be the light of the world.


It has always been God’s desire that we, in spite of our sinfulness be reunited with Him.  The way he has chosen to share the light with the world has been in great part through his children, those who love Him and have discovered that He is a loving God. 


After the resurrection, Jesus made His most direct statements about the role of His disciples in spreading God’s love.  Matthew 28:18-20 says, “18Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” 

This is a command that was not just given to the apostles but to all Christians then and now.  We are to go and make disciples of all nations.  We are to be the vehicle for sharing the Light of Christ.  

In Acts 1:8, Jesus removes any question that our involvement stops close to home when he says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

We are to be involved with carrying the gospel around the world.  As a congregation we do this by being a part of the Church of the Nazarene.  We believe in missions and believe that we are reaching the ends of the earth by supporting our denomination. 

Today we have a special opportunity to invest in missions.  One of ours, Stephanie, has:

1) heard the call of God on her life to go to a distant nation and share the love of God through the talents he has given her. And she has responded by saying, “Yes, Lord, I will go.”

2) Stephanie has prepared herself to go to a distant nation to share the love of God by going to Medical school, completing a residency program, at least one fellowship, she has completed her missions immersion training that the denomination requires and has shipped all of her belongings.

3) Today, we get to bless her, cover her with our prayers, give her a seed offering, and move her one step closer to sharing the love of God with a people who are living in darkness. 

Stephanie, will you affirm that you have heard the call of God in your life to use the talents He has given you to share His love with a distant people who are lost in darkness?

     I will.

Have you prepared to the best of your ability to be a competent physician who ministers to the bodies of the people you will be living amongst?

     I have.

Are you faithfully nurturing your relationship with the Creator whose message of love you will be carrying to a lost people?

     I am.

Is it your intent to rely completely on the power of the Holy Spirit, and the prayers and support of the church as you endeavor to be Christ’s ambassador to Papua, New Guinea?

     It is. 

Church, is it your intent to be people motivated by the love of God to take the life transforming message of the gospel of Jesus to Columbus, all of the United States, and to the ends of the earth?

     It is.

Church, is it your intent to diligently pray for our missionaries around the world and in particular, Dr. Stephanie, as she courageously shares God’s love with the world?

     It is.

If that is your intent, I would invite you to join us here at the altar as we pray a prayer of consecration on Stephanie this morning.


Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Round the world in 80 days

It's too bad that you can't get frequent flier miles for driving your car.  Although I've covered more than a few air miles over the last few months as well!  My travels have taken me from the Florida coast to the tip of Texas, all the way up to Minnesota, and everywhere in between.  I feel as though I have been round the world (a couple of times) in 80 days!

Despite the craziness of being on the road, I have certainly enjoyed deputation.  It has been a time to share with the churches what God is doing in Papua New Guinea.  (Althought I will admit I am getting a bit tired of hearing myself talk!)  I have made many new friends, and had the opportunity to catch up with old ones.

Lurae and I met during my year in California.  We both attended Loma Linda and were in the MPH program there, and shared more than a few adventures... Peru, Eastern Europe, and Disney Land, just to name a few!  I had not seen my friend since we left Cali in 2000.  More than eight years later, and a husband and two kiddos for Lurae, we finally got together!  I detoured up to Minnesota and enjoyed a visit with her family for a couple of days.  Brrrrrr it is cold up there in Minnesota!

Lurae is only one of the many friends I have been able to visit with during this time!  My other reunions have included Jake (from residency) and Lisa in South Texas, the docs where I trained in Austin, Camela and Bryan and family in Indiana, Todd and Christie and fam in Ohio, Jeff and Laura and fam in Indiana, and Heather who visited me here in KC!  It has been such a blessing to reconnect with these old friends over the past couple of months.