Remembering my Dad

September 7, 2010 at 10:02 am | Posted in Daily Life | Leave a comment

I realized recently that i have been blogging for a little over 5 years now, so I went back and was reading some of my posts…..and it was good to remember. I think that this blog is a good way to get to know me and I need to write more like I used to… anyway, I chronicled the last months of my dad’s life and I just wanted to remind everyone about him…..

He was a great man…..and I loved him more than words could say.

It is good to remember….


Let not your heart be troubled…

August 23, 2010 at 6:31 am | Posted in Daily Life | 1 Comment

I was reading my favorite chapters in John today and stopped here…

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

So many things jump out to me as I meditate on what Jesus is saying here…. Peace (quietness, rest, the opposite of strife with an element of joining that Peace)- Christ left us…is leaving me HIS PEACE…HIS REST…HIS DEEP BREATHE.- not as the  KOSMOS (greek word) gives ….what does this mean? How does the Kosmos, the World give something to me?  Temporally? Conditionally? And then He gives me a command….

We talk a lot about the promises in the Word of God, but how often do we talk about the direct sentences…the commands, the “to do” statements.  Jesus is telling me….Charlene, ” DO NOT let your heart be troubled or fearful”- that means I have a choice. I can either let it be troubled and fearful or I can CHOOSE not to.  I think I knew this somewhere, but I wasnt ever sure that Jesus commanded it.

Fearful here is the greek word that means to be timid…or to FLEE.  When I get overwhelmed, when I disappoint people, when I feel hurt and confused….I let my heart get TROUBLED and FEARFUL and the only thing I can think to do in that moment is to Flee….hmm, not original.

So, today I choose to be Powerful. The word says that HE has not given me a spirit of Fear (or fleeing) but of LOVE, POWER, and a SOUND MIND.  So…today, I choose to NOT LET MY HEART BE TROUBLED or FEARFUL…but to receive, live in, and bath in …..HIS PEACE (rest, assurance, love). So today, I stand a Powerful Child of the King, able to make good decisions.

What about you?

May 2010 Update: Discipleship is about Friendship

June 6, 2010 at 11:52 am | Posted in Daily Life | Leave a comment

This month has been another month where I continue to grow as a disciple in my community.  When I say friendships and community, you may see smiling people having fun and playing cards (which we do); but what I am really talking about is the iron sharpening iron type of friendships.   When you rub iron together, you get friction and friction is hot and sometimes uncomfortable.  I have several of these friends in my life, but it is here on the mission field that I am seeing the most intense growth opportunities than I have ever been faced with.  I trust that I am growing to be more of a disciple of the Lord  through these friendships and I am thankful that “Love covers” .  I am excited to see how much sharper I will be by the end of the year thanks to these true friends and their consistent love, acceptance, and accountability.

May 2010: Discipleship is about Relationship

June 6, 2010 at 8:17 am | Posted in Daily Life, Monthly Newsletter | Leave a comment

This year being the Director of our village discipleship, LaunchPad has been challenging and rewarding.  I have an amazing team of staff and interns that make LaunchPad happen each week and am overwhelmed by what God is doing.  The focus of LaunchPad has been on developing real relationships with our students and listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our weekly classes. We want to see God be big in and through us with our students.

Jace, one of the staff teachers, had this testimony one week in May,

” Teaching last week during LaunchPad God took me beyond my comfort zones in my class. As I started to teach my class of students I knew that God was going to be doing something different today. With the beginning of class talking about baggage that we carry in our lives I started to view my students with different eyes. I felt the pain, struggles & baggage that all of my students were carrying in their own personal lives. God kept pushing me to go out of my comfort zone to ask my students to come up for prayer. I wasn’t comfortable in asking them to come up so that I could pray for them; to pour my heart out to them. Finally after listening to God’s spirit I put my book down & started to pour my heart out to my students. Explaining to them that even though we carry all this baggage in our lives we have forgiveness; we are able to be set free. Looking around my classroom I could sense the urgency of wanting to feel God’s love pour all around them. I finally asked for a show of hands of who would like to get prayer & asked them to come forward. As I started to see the show of hands I saw all of my students hands raised. My interpreter, Sly, that was standing next to me in the classroom looked at me in confusion. I knew that this step in praying with students was a big step out of his comfort zone as well. As both Sly & I started praying over all of the students we felt God’s presence there. I felt that my students were encountering God for the very time in their lives ever. My students were feeling what it was like to be loved for the first time, to be set free & six of my students received salvation that day. God trusted in me & I trusted in him that day at class by going completely out of my comfort zone.”

May 2010 Update: Discipleship is about Leadership

June 6, 2010 at 8:12 am | Posted in Daily Life, Monthly Newsletter | Leave a comment

We believe strongly that this is the case, as we pour into over 20 coaches each week who then teach over 4000 students.  Our Leadership Summit coaches have sought opportunities for continued growth in their teaching styles and presentation in the month of May. They requested additional time during the coach development meetings to devote to discussing questions and challenges they encountered the previous week.  They have seen that in sharing the classroom questions and challenges faced, and hearing new teaching methods, they will grow into better teachers and mentors.  They have been using the opportunities to go through lessons together, practice teaching to make it more effective for their learners. As our coaches continue to grow in leadership, we see that they are growing as disciples as well.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

May 13, 2010 at 6:37 am | Posted in Daily Life, Monthly Newsletter | Leave a comment

It is funny that I am living in the Southern Hemisphere and while we are technically in “Fall”, it has been raining so much that it reminds me of Texas in April.  The odd April weather here in South Africa, has been representative of my life.

It was an unusual month with some of the usual activities.The unusual part was that God gave me an opportunity to get well acquainted with some of my relational weaknesses. I am so thankful for friends who tell me the truth and for a God who helps me receive it…. the rain continued as I started a plan to really seek God more than I have ever in my life. I “unplugged” my TV and DVD player for 21 days and spent all that EXTRA time reading, worshiping, and listening to podcasts. The idea was to start breaking some habits in what I “flood” my life with and also breaking habits of how I deal with situations when I am disappointed or don’t get my way.

I think I started something…and I am praying that God continues to help me with it. These “life challenges and changes” didn’t happen in isolation, but in community. I love that God requires us to deal with ourselves not really in “retreat” but in “action”….in everyday life. I intentionally didn’t take any time off, so that this would be a life style change.  You can read more in my newsletter about some of the things that happened in April.

April Newsletter: They are making an IMPACT

May 13, 2010 at 6:36 am | Posted in Daily Life | Leave a comment

IMPACT is our student leadership conferences where 20 leaders from 17 different schools come to learn more about how they can impact their schools and communities.

This month, IMPACT was all about these young leaders identifying needs in their schools and making plans to address them.  Needs ranged from litter to chronic hunger and electricity.

These students brainstormed with their teachers and Thrive Africa staff and interns on how THEY can make an impact. It was incredible to see and hear them identify the problems and really BELIEVE that THEY can DO SOMETHING.  As we ask people in the United States to DO SOMETHING about the problems that South Africa faces, we are seeing these Next Generation leaders also taking on the challenge.

35??…. oh, I think I am going to JUMP!!!

May 7, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Posted in Daily Life | 1 Comment

It is time to jump out of a perfectly good plane……because in a few short months, I will be THIRTY FIVE YEARS OLD!!!!   I won’t start with my diatribe on how did this happen? I had a dream last night that I really thought I was turning 25 and couldn’t be convinced other wise.  I liked 25…

I am trying to think of this minor freak out a sign of my advanced mental status… I mean most people don’t do this until 40 or 39 at least, right?  I keep telling my self to breath and thinking about all the things I have done in my life…and then I get more depressed thinking about how long I have had to live to do all those things. Vicious Cycle, I tell you.

The truth is, I have always wanted to do Sky Dive…but have been either too scared or weighed too much. I am 4 kilos (10 lbs) from the max weight for a Tandem jump… now I have motivation to keep the lbs coming off.

So..the plan is to convince my friend to take few days off with me, head to sunny Capetown…and have a great time..and then jump out of a plane..take the plunge…bite the bullet.  She won’t be diving I am sure (she is a mom), but she can watch and pray that I my chute deploys!

Check out these views…..

Prophecy a Superior Gift?

April 29, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Posted in Daily Life | 2 Comments

I am not saying that…it is what Paul said to the church in Corinth.  Seriously, catch this:

“Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy”

I am so thankful that in 1999 God put me in a family that believed this….and a pastor who actually is more of a teacher. He loved us and taught us how to earnestly desire spiritual gifts. He helped us grow, he gave us a safe place to practice. Even now, when I talk to most people about prophecy “games” (terrible name, but I always hear my friend AJ when I say it), they usually look at me like I am crazy.

I have never said that I thought I had the Gift of Prophecy or walked in the office of a prophet, but I sure do know that one of my strongest gifts is encouragement. I can’t help but encourage those around me and that translates in my need for encouragement as well.

When I set “sail” from Texas to work in Washington DC and then was heading off to move to South Africa a few months later….my community (small group/leadership group) took the time to give me words of encouragement and then to prophesy over me.  We recorded it digitally…so it sits in my iTunes.  It started to randomly play the other day….WOW.

There was a lot of laughter and a lot of fun…but as I listened to the recording I couldn’t help but be encouraged. To know that God had allowed me to impact these lives gives me hope of other lives I have impacted here in South Africa …I counted the other day…to this point I have led 47 summer interns.  I have had the privilege of speaking into 47 lives….not all of them were close and personal, but out of those 47…. one is on staff with us now, and God is still giving me opportunities to pour into her. She works for me, but more than that, she is a friend.  It is fun to share what I have learned…and it makes some of those HARD LEARNED lessons…Worth it!

So, I guess I say all of that to say…I agree with Paul.

I desire all the spiritual gifts. I want to impact this Nation with the KINGDOM of God and I truly believe that it is my privilege and responsibility to pull heaven to earth here…through prophsey, healing, miracles and anything else God wants to lay out there.  I know a SIGN will point to the SIGN MAKER…so let the SIGNS fall!

Peace with Everyone, Really?

April 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Posted in Daily Life | Leave a comment
Romans 12:18 (New International Version)

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

A few years before I moved to South Africa, I remember my pastor quoting this verse and making sure that if he felt like he had hurt someone or offended someone at all, he addressed it immediately. To be honest, it was hard to receive sometimes. I remember being upset with him about something small, like my perception of his opinion of me because of how he responded to me in a meeting (all of the details escape me). He could tell that I wasn’t warm towards him, though I didn’t approach him about my hurt. Since he could feel that there seemed to be a wall between us, he came to me and asked if he had offended me. He listened to the offense and then apologized. He didn’t defend himself or try to make me feel bad for being hurt…..but it was hard to receive his apology.

I have been thinking about this as I consider that David was diligently working on his character and trying to apply this verse in Romans. I find myself at this place where I think people may say, “Gee, Charlene….why did you need to apologize? That was a small thing“, but really….I feel ike I need to be quick to respond when I know the Holy Spirit is helping me be sensitive to the feelings of others in the wake of my personality. I don’t know if this makes any sense outside of my head, but I know that Gentle is not a descriptive word for me…YET… but that is what I want.

Since I am praying for that, I think that the Holy Spirit is making me aware of how people are receiving me and when it isn’t GENTLE, I literally feel a prick in my heart.

I want to be at peace with all men, as far as it depends on me….and if that means that I need to respond to the prompting of the HS and apologize when I didn’t “mean” to hurt someone…

I will.

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