Monthly Archives: September 2009

“Burnt Out”

“Maybe it’s because, like I said, writing (or typing) makes me feel like I’m talking to myself, except that there’s an audience (that’s you) here while I have these conversations with myself.”
– Jason Iu

I like to write out my testimonies sometimes. Yes, that is plural, meaning that I have many testimonies of what God has done in my life and how he has molded me. Here is one I would call my testimony of learning to love.

Jesus is everything we know about Christianity. His whole life was devoted to teaching and building. Who was there to support or encourage Him? Did Jesus ever get burnt out? Why is it that many missionaries can last several years serving in an area where they are the only Christians or at least really only qualified leaders for years?

What causes Christians to get “burnt out”?

Getting burnt out from ministry has become a norm. If you serve a lot or for a long time, you’re almost expected to burn out. I was thinking about this a lot because of recent events and recent talks with friends with struggling churches or just friends at churches. I think getting burnt out is a result of sin. It’s become normal, but it really doesn’t have to be, especially here where we’re surrounded by brothers and sisters who love us and encourage us in our faith. So how would we not get burnt out?

Love God, Love His People, Walk in His Footsteps
Align your heart with God’s

I think a lot of times we either just try to love God and mess up on loving people or vice versa. They should theoretically go hand in hand, but for some reason… they don’t. I think it’s because we also forget to align our hearts with God’s. When I was younger, I knew I should care for people. Looking back, I know for sure it wasn’t a result of my love for God, but most likely a selfish desire for my own glory. I did it for that sense of “it makes me feel good”, “I like to see other people happy”. Not that wanting to see other people happy is a bad thing, but at this point it was purely so I would feel accomplished, I’d feel like I had done something. Obviously this type of mindset then requires said happy people to give you thanks, to appreciate you, to like you, and inevitable, to praise you. I didn’t used to think that way, but now I see that’s what it really boils down to, wanting praise. I was missing the “Love God” and I guess I was missing the true version of “Loving People”.

In 7th grade i was tired of life. I was tired of trying. I tried to make people happy, I tried to be the good girl, I tried to please my parents. It wasn’t working. It didn’t satisfy. What was the purpose of all this? Maybe I could be just as happy putting people down, releasing myself and doing bad sometimes, doing what I really wanted to do instead of hiding behind this mask of happiness and seemingly under appreciated care for others. I knew I was ugly inside. I knew that I just couldn’t do it any more (I have some fun stories of this time of me breaking down, but I’ll keep those for in person talks).

Then it happened. God humbled me through the cross.

Sitting down one Easter evening, reading the book of John, I realized God’s amazing unsurpassed love for us, for me. How was it possible? How could He possibly love like that? Looking at my own selfish, dirty, unrepentant heart, whey would God send His only begotten son? Why would Jesus go through such pain and humiliation to save this wretched sinner? While I found a dirty ugly soul, God found something more. I came broken and He healed me.

I wanted to do everything for Him. I wanted to love Him. I needed to live a life worthy of the gospel. I starting caring for people, doing acts of service because I knew God wanted me to and this felt like a way I could thank Him. “Do you love me? Then feed my sheep”. This is what empowered me for a little while. My love for God drove me. If this is what He wants, the I’ll do it! But it could only take me so far. When people get overly annoying, when it went against the very sinful fiber of my being, it just gets too hard. It takes so much. It drains so much energy.

Then I realized it. “Be complete just as your Father is complete”. Love your neighbor as yourself. This wasn’t about being nice to people, this was about loving other people. This was about aligning my heart wit God’s. Love what He loves, hate what He hates. When you love someone, you desire above all else to care for them, to give them your best, to give them joy. To love them would be to bring them closer to Christ. What else, who else, could ever give the peace and joy and purpose that Christ Jesus our Lord does?

Now, service isn’t just a thing I do to put on my spiritual resume, it isn’t something I’m obligated to do, it’s something I love to do. I yearn so much for everyone else to see and understand the God I worship. I want them to realize the life changing joy that comes from knowing Him. I want to see Jesus lifted high. I want to see Him glorified. I want to serve others in their spiritual needs!

We don’t get tired of doing what we love to do. Sleeping, eating, shopping ,video games, whatever it is that you love to do. The speaker at AACF last week talked about how it’s human nature to be passionate about something. What you’re passionate about, you don’t burn out from. If your passion is for God, if your love is for His people, you don’t burn out.

I don’t have a perfect love for God or for others. My heart is not completely aligned with His, but by His grace, I’m ever so slowly getting there.

My goal this year is to not get burnt out.

 


Ensenada Summer 2009 – Debrief

Hola mis amigos!

Ensenada – que chilo B)

Haha, that’s a slang some of my friends from Mexico taught me, it means it’s cool (though it sounds like mostly the teenagers use that one, that means I’m hip now)

Anyway, thank you once again for all your prayer and support for our team!
Praise the Lord that everything went safely and beyond our expectations as always!

I know I always seem to write these letters late, but it’s never too late to share blessings! I just wanted to share with you the fruits of your labors of love, how your support has allowed great things for God’s kingdom.

DSC05934God is awesome and never ceases to amaze me! You’d think I’d be used to the routine, I’ve been there twice already. NOPE, God always has new things in store. In my last two trips to Ensenada, our team stayed with Pastor Martin and helped mainly at his church. This time, we stayed at Pastor Jose’s church, a church I’ve only visited for about an hour my first time down. To our surprise we were also teamed up with another group! It was a match made in heaven 🙂 We were paired up with the youth group of a church in LA called Panorama. It was definitely a different experience, but a good one. The Panorama kids were amazing! Hard working, dedicated, and certainly a lively group.

Even though we stayed at Pastor Jose’s, we mainly worked out in Pastor Martin and Pastor Chava’s churches. We got a chance to lay down concrete in the dirt lot in front of the church at Pastor Martin’s and have a day of VBS with the kids at Pastor Chava’s again. What fun!

IMG_3008 At Pastor Martin’s prayer service, we performed body worship to Son of God and sang for them Ante el Trono Celestial (Before the Throne of God). Then they performed for us! What a blessing! Some of their youth had the opportunity to go to a youth camp of some kind and so shared a body worship with us. Earlier, Pastor Martin shared with us the history of the church and told us about how our group has been serving them 6 out of their 8 years. The super special part of watching their youth perform body worship was that AACF LA had taught them that very body worship about 3 years ago! Of course I wasn’t there, but it was a blessing anyway. It’s amazing to see what God has done through our group and the strong bond we really have with their church. I had heard that we had built a relationship with them, but I guess I never realized how strong that relationship was. Now I understand why they made that nice poster for us last year.

At Pastor Chava’s I took a look at the field we weeded during the spring. Not only was the field still cleared, but a small house had been built where impossible weeds once stood! IMG_3182It’s really cool to see how God has been using the churches and seeing the little things we made a difference in. It was also really nice to see the family and the kids again and get to play with them. We were also blessed to get to pray for them. I noticed this time around I really feel like the people in Ensenada are family. I come back thinking of them and praying for them. It’s a funny feeling since I also know that at most I’ll only see them twice a year, but yet I love them so much 🙂

Once again we had the privilege of  getting to cook for our family, DSCN9630though this time it was basically for the pastors. I didn’t know this, but Dave brought it to my attention that really, even though Pastor Martin, Jose, and Chava are friends, they never really come together except when we’re here. It was not only a special time for us to get to see them, but also for them to see each other. There was so much joy in the room.

Once again we sang Happy Birthday to Kaycee (I noticed that their birthday songs are a lot happier than ours), served almond jello, and had a great time of fellowship.

Last time I talked about how God was teaching me to be a Mary, building relationships with people and spending time with them. This time, God forced me to be a Mary and I’m very thankful He did. After our first day of construction, my shoes rubbed against two mosquito bites on my ankles. If you don’t know me that well, you wouldn’t know that I’m allergic to mosquito bites. Usually it’s not that bad… but when you scratch them… especially if 100_3434you scratch them all day in the hot sun… well, let me tell you, amazing things happen. Anyway, my ankle became extremely inflamed and grew lovely blisters forcing me to wear sandals and limp so that I couldn’t help with construction. Instead God had me spend time with people. My spanish still isn’t very good, but just getting to sit with people has really showed me a lot. I was especially encouraged by Pastor Jose’s son Samuel. He is ever so bold with his English even though he’s never taken a class. It was a real joy to get to talk to him as well as his younger cousins and his mother (she’s super funny and the one who taught me my slang).

God gave me so much peace and joy during that week. For those of you who don’t know, my great aunt just passed away the Saturday of my return from Ensenada. I went to join the team on Sunday night after saying my last good byes to her. She had a stroke the Saturday before we left and was in the hospital, unconscious. She was like a second Grandmother to me, always at the family get togethers, always asking how I was doing, always giving a hug and a smile 🙂 It was hard to leave her in that condition and go off to Ensenada, but God gave me great joy. It was because of this that I realized how much fellowship, Ensenada, and serving the Lord means to me and I got another small taste of his overflowing love. When I left, she was sound asleep in the hospital, very comfortable; if she had been consious, I wouldn’t have wanted to go to Ensenada. I was feeling pretty down as our family drove to meet up with the rest of the team, but the moment I saw them all, I just felt a weight lift from my shoulders. When I saw my family in Ensenada, all my depression just washed away. How great it is that He didn’t leave me to wallow in my tears, but instead blessed me with the chance to be encouraged and loved by my wonderful family in Christ. I also learned that week that Hermana Nena’s father had cancer and that this was pretty much it, they couldn’t do any more for him. I was able pray for them and really understand what they were going through. He reminded me I’m not the only one. I hope their family felt just as encouraged to see us as I was to see them. Ensenada to me is a reminder of our need for fellowship, family, and encouragement in our faith. I used to think I could do everything alone. Now I know I shouldn’t.

I found soooo many blessings during the week. Blessings in everthing! Meeting the Panorama kids, keeping us all safe, letting us see our old friends and meeting a lot of new ones… there’s just so many! God really is great and it’s such a joy to serve him. Our theme verse for this trip was Isaiah 66:1-2. It talks about well… just how WOW God really is. The earth is His footstool. The earth is His footstool! Many times I feel like people go on missions or serve the Lord out of some type of idea that we really make an impact, like God really needs us or something. Like being a Martha, we need to do stuff for other people. But in reality, Missions truly is the overflow of our passion to see our almighty God glorified throughout the earth (or at least it should be). The goal is to see others glorify God and to lift up his name. I hope I can build a humble and contrite spirit, one that really trembles at His word and has a passion to see Him glorified 🙂

DSCN9607Now I just have to bring it all back and continue to remember and live it all out, or else God will somehow push me into it again. I’d prefer not to have gigantic bug bites on my ankles again, but I guess if that’s what it takes, its ok with me :T

😀 Thanks again for all your prayer and support! And remember to stay in His word!
“And so what we have learned applies to our lives today and God has a lot to say in His book!”

Your sister in Christ,
Audrey 😀

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Isaiah 66:1-2

1 This is what the LORD says:

“Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me?
Where will my resting place be?2 Has not my hand made all these things,
and so they came into being?”
declares the LORD.
“This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word.