Thursday, February 26, 2009

God is awesome!!!!

Hello to all who read our blog.  I first just want to say thank you so much for all your prayers and support that you give us.  
School is going really well and finally our intensives have calmed down and we are in a regular schedule.  Intensives were two weeks of brain exploding information about church, communication, God, and you name it.  I have really enjoyed school so far, and God has taught me so much in the first few weeks. I have learned a lot about myself and have learned that in order to minister effectively to others, I first must understand why I am the way I am.  I have a past, just like everybody has a past, and if that is not dealt with, if I can't figure out how to deal with my own stuff, then I can't help anybody else or be as effective in ministry as I could be if I deal with myself.  There are things that God has shown me about myself, that I never saw as a big deal, and to most anybody it wouldn't be, but to God, It is a very big deal.  So I have been working through those things, and it has been absolutely freeing and amazing.  I am learning that God made me the way I am for a reason, and I shouldn't try to be anybody else except myself. Everybody is unique and should love that they are that way, because they are that way for a reason.  A simple concept that we hear from the time we are kids, but not until I actually took the time and thought about it and understood it and applied it to my life did it really sink in.  God is showing me what it is like to live in freedom and I am loving it.  It will be a long journey, but I know it will be incredible.
I am also taking a songwriting class this semester and am learning so much about it that I had no idea about before.  I am also taking an old testament class, and may I say I never spent very much time in the old testament before, but looking at it while in this class, I can see that I have been missing so much.  So all of you out there that think the old testament is no longer important, I encourage you to get back in it.  Its all there for a reason.  
Thank you all so much again for your prayer and support.  We have posted more pictures on facebook, we will keep trying here as well, but it is difficult to post them on this sight.  If you have a facebook go see them on our sight and add us as your friends if you need too.  I will try to do better about posting more. We love you all so much


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Guess who's joining the work force?

You guessed it I (erika) have a J-O-B!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your faithful prayers. I cannot begin to express my gratitude. I am so excited to start this new chapter in my working life. This isn't just a job to pay the bills. It isn't mundane or boring. Not a job I had to settle on out of desperation. This is a job I can wake up each morning excited about work and passionate about what I'm doing. God is so good. I'm just in awe each day of what he has up his sleeve.

As of Thursday February 19, I will be working for Lindamood-Bell. The organization is actually based in the US and has 40 offices there. There is also a office in London and the Sydney office just opened in February. This organization helps individuals with learning and developmental dissablities (dislexia, hyperdislexia, autism, ADD/ADHD). They use a cutting edge learning method which uses visualization and verbalization to increase the learning capacity for each of their students. I will be working as a clinician with kids and teens on a one-on-one basis. Their world renown learning method had been published in respected psychological journals, and the organization has done research for some of the world's top universities. I'm so excited to mesh my education in psychology and experience with teens in this position. Check out !

I begin the 40 hours of training tomorrow (Thursday) and continue through the end of next week. Apparently its a pretty intense training where they will teach me their methods. Ready or not, training here I come! Have I mentioned how excited I am???? Heehee. I will post an update after my first couple of days of training and fill all you faithful readers in on my progress!

Love Ya:)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty"

So here it goes. I am going to attempt to put into words my experience as a member of Hillsong Church. Just as a little disclaimer, words will never due our experiences justice.

When you think of Hillsong Church, what comes to mind? "Shout to the Lord"? Darlene Zschech? Or maybe Brian Houston? Or even "that mega charismatic church in Australia". It is true Hillsong is known for all of these things. I would dare to say, that in the past 3 Sundays we've sat under some of the world's best preaching, teaching, and worship. I've heard preaching like I've never heard before. Scriptures come to light like I've never known. *Side note, if you've never heard Christine Cain preach you must log onto the Hillsong website and take a listen. She is one sista who can bring it!* And the worship...I can't find a word powerful enough to describe Hillsong worship. We've seen some of the world's best lead the congregation in raw and authentic worship. But the one think I've discovered, its not the speakers or the world renown worship leaders that make Hillsong. Its the body as a whole. The body of believers who truly flesh out the body of Christ. As I was worshipping on Sunday, I realized for the first time I wasn't focused on the great music or the awesome band, but I was fully enveloped in the presence of God. I experienced the Holy Spirit in a corprate setting like never before. I was surrounded by a body of believers, of all cultures and races, yearning and thirsty for the Lord. I've never seen such a group of believers so excited to worship the Lord. I've never seen a body of believers so humbled to worship the Lord. And I've never seen believers so thirsty for the Lord. And its authentic. I have to admit, that was the most suprising thing. Its easy to walk in and see a bunch of crazy people jumping around and dancing and it may appear that on stage and in the congregation its all for show. But then as you linger and experience more, you see that these people are just truly excited to be in the presence of God! I think as Christians sometimes worshipping becomes so routine that when we are surrounded by those who are truly excited and thrilled to worship the Lord, its easy to dismiss it as show (this isn't always the case). At least that was my case. As I surveyed the congregation on Sunday, I was convinced I was experiencing an itsy bitsy taste of what it will be like in heaven. Raw, unashamed, humble, JOYOUS worship to the King. And Iwas surrounded by people from all over the world. Europeans, Africans, Indonesians, Asians, Indians, Canadians, Americans, Australians, and so many more in one room lifting high the name of Christ. Indescribable.

Aside from great worship services, we've been welcomed like a King and Queen. People go out of their way to greet us and actually sit down and check on us. Hillsong has a coffee bar for people to mingle after the services. Each Sunday we've been we've had numerous people ask us if we'd like to sit down for a coffee. Now this is after morning service at like 12:30pm, when most families and people want to rush home or out to a restraunt. How guilty I was of that! After a hard Sundays work all I wanted to do was rush home. Gulp. However, so many people have sat down and had meaningful conversation with us. No hurry. No rush. Complete strangers spending an hour of their time after church just chatting with us. Once people find out we're a married couple from overseas, they go out of their way to make us feel at home. There isn't a day gone by without a friend or stranger call, text, stop by, or have us over for dinner. I've never felt so welcomed in my life. Going so far from home is hard at times, but when I'm having a hard time the phone always seems to ring, at the perfect time, with a friend calling to check up on us. The sense of community from such a HUGE church is simply unbelievable. I am so thankful and can't ever repay these people for the sense of belonging they've given.

This post is SO long and I haven't even gotten to "Vision Sunday" we had last week. But I'm going to leave you in suspense! I want to leave you with thank you. Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragment. You have no idea how much it means being so far away from home!

We love you!