Sunday, September 25, 2016

Maintain Speed. Keep Moving.

A couple months ago I was driving to Pennsylvania for a close friends wedding and as I was approaching a toll booth I noticed a sign that read "Maintain speed. Keep moving." I'm sure that I have passed that sign several times and it really is there to warn drivers to avoid an accident near the toll booth but this time around it really caught my attention. I couldn't stop thinking about that sign the whole time I was driving. Maintain speed. Keep moving forward.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Hebrews 12:2

Notice that this verse says to RUN with perseverance. Not walk, not jog, not even power walk but RUN. I don't ever want to downplay or belittle the times in our lives where we must slow down, take a deep breath and be still before our heavenly Father because that is all indeed part of the race. However, sometimes we need to brush ourselves off, get up and RUN towards all that God has planned for us. Maintaining speed and moving forward. This verse has really been challenging my heart in many ways. It has been helping me to keep my eyes fixed on Christ, not looking to the left or the right and what everybody else around me is accomplishing and doing but keeping my gaze straight on towards Christ. It has helped me to really think about the race that Christ has marked out specifically for me, in this time, in this season of my life.

"There is one thing you are responsible for. Only one thing matters: Run the race marked out for you. Run forward toward the finish line with every ounce of strength in you and with your eyes fixed on Jesus, so that you too can one day say: 
'I have fount the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith 2 Timothy 4:7'" 
Christine Caine-Unstoppable 

I want to run this race well, with perseverance, moving forward, and seizing the opportunities that are in front of me. I want to run the race marked out for me. With all that being said I will be volunteering again with Mercy Ships from January 2017-June this time in Cotonou, Benin! The opportunity is here and the time is now and I don't want to waste any time. As I go the race will change. Seasons will change. I know I won't run this race with Mercy Ships forever. It is just one leg of the race that is molding,shaping and preparing me for the other legs of this divine race.

The first question I have been receiving is where is Benin?!?

I'm not sure what specialty/ward I will be working in until I get there but definitely hoping to work in the women's health program again. I will also be living and working on the ship the entire time this field service which is what most people do anyway. Last year's on land living was the exception to the rule due to the land based OBF clinic. On the right hand corner of this blog I have put some links with facts about Benin, a Mada II recap video (highly recommend) and some more information about the part you can play in this journey. 

As always I am so very thankful for your continued support, love, kind words and prayers!

Love Always,

"God Almighty, who calls you by name, wants to make you a partner in his eternal work. He invites us to be world-changers by sharing the good news of eternal life and caring for the needs of a broken, hurting world. That's what running the race marked out for you is all about." 
                                                  Christine Caine- Unstoppable

Although I am currently serving with Mercy Ships, everything communicated here strictly reflects my personal opinions and is neither reviewed nor endorsed by Mercy Ships. Opinions, conclusions and other information expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of Mercy Ships.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Women Power

I wouldn't call myself a feminist. Maybe it seems to extreme for me. Maybe it's cause I grew up in a house where I was outnumbered by men. I recognize how important men are to our society. God fearing, praying, obedient, hard working and committed men are the backbone of the family. They set the tone for how a household is run. Read what the bible says about men and the responsibility they are charged with and we can discuss further. I really wanna talk about women in this post but shout out to godly men living their lives for Christ, shaping family's, churches, businesses and the future generation.  

Lately, I have been thinking about the strength, influence, and courage women have. I have recently started volunteering some time at a place called the Walter Hoving Home in Garrison, NY. It is a spiritually based program that serves women who are involved in drug and alcohol addiction, prostitution and other life controlling problems. This organization has incredible success rates and is definitely worth checking out 

I can't help but compare and see the similarities these ladies have with the obstetric fistula patients I took care of in Madagascar. Ladies who maybe living on the opposites sides of the world, in different situations but both battling depression, loneliness, broken relationships, suicide, and complete loss of identity and hope. But God. With God and people being obedient to the call to spread his good news both groups of ladies declare testimonies filled with redemption, hope, joy peace and a future. Listening to the ladies testimonies and stories at the Walter Hoving Home has made my eyes fill up with tears of joy and my heart burst because in a way it transports me back to dress ceremony celebrations in Madagascar. 

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, 
clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, 
humility, gentleness and patience." 
Colossians 3:12

This all got me thinking that there is just something so incredible about seeing confidence, hope and courage being restored to a woman. Not because she can then go out, conquer the world and defeat men. Just the opposite actually. A woman who is confident and finds her identity in Christ can be a more influential woman, coworker, daughter, sister, friend, wife and mother. All of these rolls that women have greatly affect the next generation. If a woman can be a better mom, she can empower her daughter to be bold, and fearless which in turn will effect the women after her. If a woman can confidently support, encourage and stand by her husband and children the family unit will instantly fortify. Most importantly, when women stop tearing each other down, and criticizing one another we can be a force to be reckoned with. We can be unified, steadfast, and absolute world changers. Whether it is good or bad our actions, words and lives all have a ripple effect. What I love about the Walter Hoving Home and nursing obstetric fistula patients is watching how strong and banded these circles of women are. I love watching how powerful and effective they can be as a group. I love watching them build each other up and how they propel each other forward into all that God has for them. 

Maybe this isn't about just women. Maybe its really about men and women coming along aside each other and working together to truly bring God's kingdom alive here on earth. Maybe I'm just sick of all the negativity, and division swirling around me on the news, media and sometimes even my own life. 

This has all been challenging me lately. Maybe I'm just giving myself a pep talk here but to all the women out there: You have something inside of you. You bear Christ's image. You are a daughter of the most high God. You have talents, gifts, and characteristics that no other women has that have been given specifically to you to influence the people all around you. Be Bold. Be Courageous. Because Christ lives in you. You are His. Stop beating your self up. Live every day to fullest and walk in confidence that goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life. 

"Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is
Treat a man as he can be and should be and 
he will become as he can be and should be."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe