My New Old Friends

My heart is so full of joy as I reflect on the afternoon I spent in a nursing home today. Our missions school is preparing to spend eight weeks in SE Asia, but during our classroom phase in Port Townsend, we spend each Friday afternoon on local outreach. I am grateful for this opportunity as we can immediately apply what we’re learning as a witness for Jesus locally. I chose to spend my Friday afternoons with four other students volunteering at a nursing home.

At week 1 of visiting this home, we met this dear old man named “Larry” who is recovering from a stroke. Most of the residents are wheelchair bound, and it seems to me that only a small minority actually plan to recover enough to move out. Larry is one of those men, and he is set on moving out before Christmas. And I believe him! Because I am leaving Port Townsend for our overseas outreach at the same time he wants to move out, I promised him that on my last visit I would play his favorite cello piece, the famous “Bach’s Cello Suite No.1 Prelude”. (I’ve got a lot of work to do!) I’ve seen Larry for four weeks now, and he has become so dear to me. I can’t wait for him to receive full use of the left side of his body–and more than that, I want to see him come to an understanding of the love of his Savior.

I met another dear woman today named “Amy”. In past weeks, I’d try to acknowledge her, but mostly avoided her because everything she had to say was a complaint. She had complained about her care, about her health, about her family, about the food–you get the idea. Today I was trying to sneak past her in the hallway so that I could use the restroom, but she was adamantly trying to get my attention. Quite reluctantly (to be honest), I knelt down next to her, held her hand, and endured a laundry list of complaints. By the end of her rant, I didn’t feel as frustrated or helpless as I thought I would; instead, I felt a deep compassion for her. I didn’t feel burdened, but had joy in my heart that in a small way I portrayed the love of God for her. We parted ways, and then she found me in the dining room a while later. She took my hand and shared a few more complaints, sat with me a minute, then said something that surprised me. She said:

You know, I’ve had such a hard time and no one listens to me, but you young people are different. You have been so kind to me.

Then she leaned in and rested her forehead on mine. I melted inside. Behind the hard facade was a precious woman who wanted to know she was loved.

The moment that put the proverbial icing on the cake for me was watching the simple joy of watching the residents receive our origami gifts. One of our creations was a paper frog, and as I played my cello from the front of the room, I got the privilege of seeing their smiles as they made the little froggy hop to and fro on the tables. It was so precious!

Image

I am so thankful to the Lord for the chance to love these people. It is my honor and my joy. I can’t imagine not visiting nursing homes regularly for the rest of my life!

Needing a Financial Miracle

Many of you are aware that I am at a missions training school as the stepping stone for future missionary work I will be doing with a ministry in Puyallup called New Beginnings Home. A month ago, I began my training in Port Townsend, Washington.

I had originally planned to attend the twelve week lecture phase, and skip the eight week outreach so that I could save money and start my trip sooner. But upon arrival, I learned of the two nations in Southeast Asia we would be traveling to for outreach. Though I cannot share the names of the nations, I can tell you that our team is planning on ministering to orphans, lepers, college students, and trafficked youth. Once I heard about the opportunity to minister to these people and places, I knew I should go.

I am excited to announce that my $2800 lecture phase is now paid! I am so grateful to those who have given so generously. At present, I still need to raise $3500 for the eight-week outreach to SE Asia. This need is quite urgent, because my official deadline is November 1st. Please consider partnering financially with the works of justice that God has called me to, both in the Northwest and in the nations of the earth. By partnering financially, you get to share in the good fruit of the Gospel going forth in the earth!

Be blessed as you consider giving.

PayPal DONATE

-Dianna

It Is Well With My Soul

If you’d rather watch a 3-minute video than read this article, click here.

Wow, I learned the story today of the writing of the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul”.

Horatio Spafford lost his entire life savings when properties he had invested in were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. He then lost even more in an economic downturn in 1873. At this time, he and his wife and four daughters were going to travel to Europe. At the last minute, he stayed behind to tend to some business, promising to shortly follow. Out at sea, the ship was struck by another sea vessel and sank within minutes- all four daughters died.

As Spafford sailed across the Atlantic to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write the words of the hymn as his ship passed near where his daughters had died:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

 

And if that wasn’t stunning enough, here are the words of a letter he wrote to his sister around the same time:

On Thursday last we passed over the spot where she went down
in mid-ocean, the water three miles deep.
But I do not think of our dear ones there.
They are safe, folded, the dear lambs, and there,
before very long, shall we be too.
In the meantime, thanks to God,
we have an opportunity to serve and praise Him
for His love and mercy to us and ours.
I will praise Him while I have my being.
May we each one arise, leave all, and follow Him.

 

I encourage you to take a minute and thank God for who He is. We all have testimonies of God’s grace and faithfulness, and it is important to remember that in all things He is strong and loving (Ps 62), even when we can’t fully see or comprehend our own life’s circumstances.

SHS Baccalaureate Service 2013

I was given the honor of being chosen as this year’s keynote speaker for Sunnyside’s Baccalaureate graduation service. The Christian-based service, which focuses on blessing and commissioning high school graduates for their lives of service to God, took place on Thursday, June 6th. It was a wonderful experience, for which I was very thankful. I addressed the 30+ graduates present about their calling in life. Using the passage of John 1:43-51, I focused on three principles: (1) God finds us, but also wants to be “found” by us, (2) we are invited to “come and see”, to experience God personally, and (3) Jesus says “Follow Me”, which means that our ultimate calling in life is to follow God–to know Him and to love Him. From the realization of this, we are free to follow God and to serve Him through personal relationship, not through religion. This calling also brings purpose to all other parts of our lives.

I pray that many young lives were encouraged in God through my words.

If you would like to see the video recording of my sermon, please click here.

Sermon: God of Righteousness & Justice

As promised in my most recent newsletter, I’ve attached here links to teaching notes and audio for a recent sermon I prepared and taught at IHOP-NW’s youth night. The sermon’s title is “The God of Righteousness and Justice.

Teaching Notes: Youth Night- 1-17-13 Teaching Notes JUSTICE-RIGHTEOUSNESS

Audio: Click Here(will open in a new tab)

Be Blessed.

-Dianna

Where the World Falls Short

During my time in the Social Work Program in college, I learned an important principle: to look beyond specific harmful behaviors to recognize that a destructive coping mechanism was not itself the problem, but an indicator of a deeper root issue. We were taught to look beyond the five-year-old’s temper tantrums to the source of an anger problem. Abuse, perhaps, or parents with anger issues. Social workers are trained to ask questions to get to the core issue. Once a wound is located, however, the helpfulness of secular social work ceases in that beyond diagnosis, there is no source of healing. There are plenty of healthier coping mechanisms and other social band-aids, but not healing.

The same is true of human trafficking in our world today.

The systems of the world (legal, social, political) can look at the issue of human trafficking and almost impulsively point a bloody finger at bad dads, evil men, and defenseless young women as the source of the problem. An insightful few have also connected our society’s misogynistic tendencies and booming pornography industry with the demand for those trafficked in prostitution. Hundreds, if not thousands of organizations have formed in America around issues of awareness, policy, and the rescue and rehabilitation of victims. The works themselves are ‘good’, but do not address the issue of sinful man and therefore are nothing more than the deception of wolves in sheep’s clothing. As much as people desperately want to hope in the good nature of man, this reality simply does not exist. The truth is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We have a sin problem that manifests in lust, abuse, and greed–to name a few. We don’t know how to love. The world’s systems have no answer for this; we must be reconciled to God.  Having good intentions, doing nice things, and attempting goodness in general is not enough. These means cannot produce the end that God requires.

So what is the way of true justice? It starts here:

Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping, and with mourning. So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm. Joel 2:12-13

God isn’t looking for advanced skill sets (for He is the one who has graced us with every good gift), or for the wealthiest and most generous who can give millions to causes of justice (for he is Jehovah Jireh, the Provider of all things), or even the most adamant celebrity advocate (for Almighty God has need of nothing and no one). The justice that God has in mind–justice done in love– will not be achieved by zealous  humanists who assume they care more about people than God does. God has commanded that we turn to Him with all our hearts; for when we do so we connect with the Lord’s infinite power supply of love, and can then go forth to speak, give, and rescue with power. This process cannot be completed in reverse order.

Convicted Tacoma Man Faces Up To Life In Prison For Sex Trafficking

Several men in our area were recently convicted of sex trafficking crimes. One man, just 27 years old, is facing up to life in prison.  I am glad that these men have been brought to justice in the world’s court systems, but our mandate to pray is not finished until these men come to repentance before the Lord and the survivors experience complete restoration.

Click here to read the news story.