Durham! Part 1

Leaving New York felt like an end to City Project, but it was only the beginning! In the last two weeks I have seen God move in ways I would have never thought before!

We got back on a Saturday, so the next day we all went to church. It is a City Project requirement to serve at one service and attend another. This allows us to glorify God by serving the members and guests at Summit! I serve at Summit Kids, so I am assigned in whatever classroom they need me. Last Sunday I was with the one year olds. If you know me, you are aware that I am usually found working with older elementary students or middle schoolers. One year olds was a little out of my comfort zone, but surprisingly, I LOVED it (and was actually good at it)!! I got to spend my morning singing, reading, and comforting the little ones, and I got to know the lovely couple I was volunteering with! It was a wonderful morning, and God really showed me how stepping outside my comfort zone can show me gifts I didn’t know I had. I felt like a baby whisperer when I was able to quickly calm a crying child, and could capture the interest of the band of babies when reading a book about animals.

Three Major Goals! 

Throughout the week, in the mornings, we have been in sessions on different aspects of discipleship and Christian community. The three major points we have been discussing about disciples are:

  1. Be with Jesus continually.
  2. Be changed by Jesus.
  3. Be on mission with Jesus.

Our goal this summer is to try to follow these three points in our everyday lives, so that we can bring these habits with us when we go home and when we are back on campus in the fall.

Internship!

Copy of IMG957360

I have been blessed with an internship with Summit Kids! This is a pastoral internship, where I am learning the ins-and-outs of Summit Kids. This past week we have done a variety of things to help Summit Kids run smoothly and prepare for Kids Week (VBS).

 IMG957339

  • We have researched articles/videos/books on Gospel centered Parenting that Summit Kids can use on Social Media, and have compiled a database of resources on a google doc that they can pull from in the future.
  • We have created a Craigslist account to give away items that clutter the storage closets.
  • We have created a spreadsheet to help budget and order the items needed for games and crafts at Kids Week and Preschool Week.
  • We have edited documents that will be used at Kids Camp.
  • And more. . .

Continue reading

City Project in NYC

IMG-445293494.jpg

My Evangelism Team was the best!

I can’t believe New York is over!

This past week was full of challenges and lessons that God used to grow me spiritually. It all started at the lovely hour of 5am, with two buses, and over 100 people. After 10 hours of napping and bonding on the bus, we could finally see the skyline of the city! Our first day we went over a few details, and had some free time to get dinner in the city.

IMGA0006.jpg20160529_205918.jpg

We were staying in Queens, and there were 8 people per room, so there was plenty of time to get to know the girls I was staying with!

During our time in New York we were given training on how to witness to the unreached people groups in NYC. God commands us to go and make disciples of the nations (Matthew 28:19-20), and the nations have come to us in NYC! It is an amazing hub of cultural diversity that gives missionaries the ability to reach the nations without leaving the country!

One of the things we learned in our discipleship training was the three circles method of sharing the gospel (see image below). When we look at the world around us we see brokenness: bad relationships, abuse, drugs, war, cancer… etc. This was not God’s design. His design was perfect, but something happened that took us out of His perfect design: sin. Sin is anything that disobeys God. When humans sinned, they were pulled from God’s design into a world of brokenness. But! God was merciful! He had created a way to bring us from our broken world back into His design. He came in the form of Jesus to sacrifice himself for our sins so that we could come back into God’s perfect design.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.48.53 PM.png

We were able to use this method of explaining the gospel several times while we were in New York.

20160531_141707(0).jpg

Lunch in Central Park

In the afternoons, when we finished training, we would go get lunch with our Evangelism Teams before going to our assigned neighborhoods. Our Evangelism Team was assigned to Sunnyside and Astoria. During our time in the neighborhoods we prayer-walked, read scripture, did surveys (which were used to help share the gospel), and prayed over members of the community. This was out of my comfort zone. I have more experience witnessing to children, so talking to adults intimidated me. I had to trust God to give me the words to say, and the courage to speak. God truly answered prayers! I got to witness to Muslims, Hindus, Catholics, and Atheists throughout the week, and for many of them it was the first time they had ever heard the gospel! One of the verses that stuck with me Continue reading

Week One

image

Life at City Project is off to a great start! This past week was our Orientation Week, and it was full of intensive training sessions, worship through music and prayer, and bonding with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

image

We learned about the Bible, Prayer, and Evangelism, and we were given logistics for the summer. We all participated in field day where we played an extreme version of capture the flag and grew in our abilities to work together as a team. We have also taken time to spend in God’s presence. My favorite was our three hour quiet time in Duke Gardens, where we could study, worship, pray, and appreciate God’s creation.

image

Last night we had our mapping ceremony, where we all put our pictures on the country we will be working in later this summer. It was amazing to see all the places God was sending us!

image

Tomorrow morning we leave for New York! Please pray that God prepares the hearts of the people of New York, and for the safety of our students and leaders! Also pray that God gives us the strength to witness to strangers, which can be a daunting task.

I will try to keep you all updated in the future. At the moment we don’t have internet in our apartment, but I hopefully will once I get back from NYC! As always thank you for your prayers and support!

Suiting Up for Spiritual Battle

When beginning a mission project, you need to prepare to enter a spiritual war zone. Through prayer, devotionals, and Bible studies, you sharpen your sword and mend your armor as you prepare to march onto the battle field (also known as the mission field). So how can you prepare to defend yourself against the “flaming arrows” (Ephesians 6: 16) that the enemy will hurl?

Before you enter the battlefield you need make sure you have all your equipment. You wouldn’t show up to an important band concert without your instrument or a swim meet without a swimsuit. Can you imagine trying to play the piece without an instrument or swim your 500 yard race in jeans and a T-shirt? Think of how disappointed to director of the band and the swimming coach would be if you did not have the gear you need for the task at hand. You also need to show up for your mission project with the appropriate equipment. In Ephesians 6, God lists several very important things you need to pack for your mission project. In fact, these things are so important, you should carry them on you everyday.

1. The Helmet of Salvation

Salvation simply refers to a person being saved. According to Romans 10:9, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” When you believe that Jesus, the Son of
the Living God died to redeem you of your sins and rose again from the grave, you are a Christian. The #1 thing to bring is your Helmet of Salvation. You can’t witness to others if you don’t have salvation. Just like a helmet guards the head, the Helmet of Salvation guards your thoughts from doubts about God, Jesus, and your salvation.

Salvation  /salˈvāSH(ə)n/ noun

deliverance from sin and its consequences, believed by Christians to be brought about by faith in Christ.

 

2. Breastplate of Righteousness 

Righteousness is the act of being morally good or pure. The Breastplate of Righteousness protects your heart with God’s righteousness. The enemy, Satan, is out to tear down your emotions and self-worth. He will stop at nothing to break your heart. When you wear the Breastplate of Righteousness you are allowing God to guard your heart.

Righteousness /ˈrīCHəsnəs/ noun

the quality of being morally right or justifiable.

3. Belt of Truth 

When further researching the importance of the belt during Roman battle, I learned it was a crucial piece to a soldier’s armor. The belt is what held the scabbard for the sword. Without a belt, a soldier would have no place for his weapon. In this case the belt represents truth, and the weapon (which I will discuss momentarily) is the Holy Bible, the Word of God. Our weapon, the Sword of the Spirit (the Holy Bible), is held by the Belt of Truth. How cool is that! Also the belt is a piece that encircles the body. We need to have truth of God encompass us and our lives, just as a belt encircles a waist. The Belt of Truth not only represents the importance of truth, but what that truth carries, God’s Word! Paul really knew how to write an extended metaphor! 

Truth /ˈtrüth/ noun

the real facts about something.

4. Shoes of Good News! 

In this case, the good news is shared in the Gospel! We need to have our shoes on, so we are ready to go and share how Christ died to save us all. Matthew 28:19 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” At all times we need to be ready to go where Christ calls us to share His good news! 

5. Shield of Faith 

Paul says that the Shield of Faith protects us from the “flaming arrows” of the enemy. The flaming arrows can come in many forms including insults, self-doubt, and temptation. While you can wear the other parts of the armor, the Shield of Faith is something you have to carry. Sometimes your Shield of Faith is going to feel really heavy. It can be hard to hold on when you are being pelted with flaming arrows that seem to be coming from all directions. Our faith can protect us from spiritual wounds, just as a shield can protect a soldier from physical wounds. When you are out in the mission field, you need to hold onto your faith for dear life, just like you would cling to a shield during a battle.

Faith /fāTH/ noun

complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

6. Sword of the Spirit

In Paul’s letter he tells us that the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. This means the Bible is the weapon we take to the front lines to smite our enemy, Satan. A good soldier doesn’t just pick out the shiniest sword, so he can just carry it around in his new scabbard. Most likely his sword has been worn and repaired; it reflect evidence of its use. A true soldier knows how to use his sword in battle and uses it in his battle strategies. As children of God, we need to know how to use our Sword of the Spirit (The Holy Bible), and we need to make sure it has been sharpened. If we walk into battle with all our armor, but we have a dull sword and no knowledge of how to use it, it is very unlikely that we will walk away victorious. By studying scripture, you sharpen your sword, so that when you enter battle, clothed in the FULL Armor of God, you have no chance of losing. 

7. Prayer

Ephesians 6:18 says we need to be “praying at all times.” Think of prayer as our communication with the commanding officer, God. You wouldn’t just run out into battle without preparation or commands from your commanding officer, so we need to listen and pray to God about our mission project (and our everyday lives) before we do anything. Prayer is what connects us to the Most High, and trust me, He hears all of our prayers. Sometimes, though, He doesn’t answer them the way we want.

Ephesians 6:13

Therefore take up THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

God commands us to put on the whole Armor of God. He doesn’t tell us to put on part of it; He says that we are meant to wear all of it. While all the pieces may seem heavy, we carry them with the strength God gives us (Philippians 4:13). We need to pack all of this equipment when we head out to the mission field, so we are prepared to share the Gospel and smite the obstacles that Satan places in our path. And we need to wear the armor everyday, even when we aren’t serving through a mission project!

Have you put on the whole Armor of God?

Are you ready to enter the Spiritual Battlefield? 

Support Through Prayer

Only One Week Away!

City Project is only one week away! The last month has been packed with planning to make this mission project run as smoothly as possible. In one week I will be traveling to Durham, North Carolina, which will be my home for the next two months. During this eight week period, I will participate in two short term mission projects outside of Durham: NYC and Kenya. While I am living in Durham I will have an internship through the Summit Church and take theology classes taught by Summit’s pastors.

Please, Pray!

Below is a condensed outline of City Project, and how you can support us through prayer! (Isaiah 6:8)

May 24: Move in Day

  • Pray for safe travels as students and leaders make their way to Durham. (Psalm 91:4-5)

May 29-June 4: NYC

  • Pray for safe travels to NYC. (Proverbs 3:23-24)
  • Pray for safety as students and leaders witness to Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists. (Romans 1:16)
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit prepares the hearts of those we witness to, that they may be accepting of the Gospel. (Romans 10:9)

June 5-July 1: Durham

  • Pray that God works through us in our internships and theology classes. (Colossians 1:9-12)
  • Pray that the pastors and internship leaders are prepared spiritually for their tasks. (1 Peter 1:12)
  • Pray for the students and leaders to come closer to God and each other during this time. (1 Thessalonians 3:12)

July 2-17: International

  • Pray for students and leaders as they depart to 9 different international locations. (Matthew 28:19-20)
  • Pray for my team’s safety as we travel to Kenya. (Joshua 1:5)
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit has prepared the hearts of those we witness to, that they may be accepting of the Gospel. (1 Peter 3:15)

July 18-21:ReSend week

  • Pray for students and leaders as we prepare our hearts to go home. (Acts 1:8)
  • Pray that God shows us how we can serve Him at home. (Acts 13:47)

July 22: Move Out Day

  • Pray for safe travels as participants depart to various locations. (Psalm 121:7-8)
  • Pray that God continues to work in our lives and our hearts when we go home. (Philippians 2:12-13)

What is City Project?

City Project is an 8 week college mission project hosted by the Summit Church (a member of the SBC) in Durham, NC, designed to teach young people how to be disciples and allows them to serve locally, nationally, and internationally .

Thank you so much to all my supporters! Thank you for being my partner for City Project 2016! Continue to follow my throughout the summer at leapsoffaith.wordpress.com. 

Verses to Keep in Mind

Continue reading

Support Raising Complete

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 11.09.49 AM.png

I would like to officially announce that my support raising for City Project is officially complete! I extend a huge thank you to the family, friends, churches, and community members who generously contributed to my mission trip fund. I also would like to praise God for the work He has done to provide for this mission experience! I would have never been able to do this without going through God.

Mark 10:27

 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God, because all things are possible with God.”

If you still would like to donate to City Project to support other students, you can donate here. All other donations will go towards other students participating in City Project.

Once again, thank you to all who have contributed towards this mission project.

Please, continue to pray for all of us as we prepare for this summer.

Making Time for God

One Month and Twenty-Seven Days. . . 8 weeks. . .  57 days

Only 57 days until City Project.

These next two months are going to be filled to the brim with prayer and individual studies of scripture. With my fourth semester of college coming to close, I could easily become distracted by school work, exams, juries (a final exam for music majors), or even trying to hang out with my friends before we part ways for summer break. Even when your schedule is crammed full and your to-do list never seems to get completely checked off, that you set aside time with God to pray and to study His word. So when you lead a busy life, how can you keep your life focused on Christ? 

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.47.26 AM.png

1. Wake Up Earlier –

This is something new I have been trying, and it works! I am not typically a morning person. In high school my mom would equate my morning demeanor to that of a grizzly bear, but I have found when I wake up early to spend that time with God in prayer, my grouchiness is replaced with a liveliness that I could not attain on my own. Waking up an hour earlier not only gives me time to be with God, but when I start my day with God, I feel His presence giving me strength to get through the day. It also encourages me to go to bed earlier, so I get enough sleep.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.53.11 AM.png

2. Start a Prayer Wall –                                

I started keeping track scripture God reveals to me in my studies, and notes reminding me of what to pray for on the wall next to my bed. It is a constant reminder to pray when I am in my room, and it helps me remember what I need to pray for.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.52.20 AM.png

3. Keep a Journal – 

When I was in middle school I was always trying to start a journal, but I could never stick with it. My sister has been keeping a prayer journal, and she got me one for Christmas. While I may not write in it every day, it is a good reminder to sit down and focus on my prayer. It is also a great way to keep track of what God is doing in my life, so I can look back and see what prayers He has answered. I keep track of sermon notes, scribble song lyrics, summarize my Bible studies, and pour my heart out in prayers on the pages of this journal. I already can flip through the pages and see how much God has been doing in my life in the last few months. In two years, ten years, maybe even thirty years, I can look back at this journal and see how God worked in my life while I was in college

 

As a music major in my second year of college, I know how quickly life can become busy. Most days I have to write an hour by hour schedule of my daily plan so I can fit in my to-do list, which includes things such as classes, eating meals, homework, practice, exercise . . . etc, and sometimes it seems like I don’t have time to sit down to pray or delve into the Word of God. I feel like if I take time away from my endless to-do list I won’t finish it, but I have found when I sacrifice some of this precious time to pray and learn about Him, I finish all that is on my list (and sometimes more).

I encourage you to take time everyday to spend with God. We should use the time He gives us to praise Him and come to Him with all our needs.

Trust is a Must

Trust /trəst/ (noun) : assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

IMG_9977

While trust is an easy concept to grasp, putting it into action can be challenging. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, trust is “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” Sometimes it is easy to trust; we trust our cars to get us to work, our jobs to provide income, our doctors to diagnose our illnesses, and our smartphones to keep track of our lives. Other times it is not so easy to trust; it’s difficult to trust people who have broken promises, weather predictions, and old swinging bridges. When we trust God we are relying on Him to meet our needs whether they are food to nurture our bodies, finances to support our families, or strength and courage to execute His plans. You must place your needs (no matter how big or small) in the hands of Christ, and He will provide.

This summer I am participating in an eight week mission project (City Project). I am having to put my trust in God that He will provide all that I need for this trip including paperwork, vaccinations, and financial support ($4900) [Read more about my project here]. As a college student, with limited funds, trusting in God to provide the money is a difficult thing to do. I had doubts about raising the money, and getting everything done in time, but God has proven to me that if I put my trust in Him, He will take care of my needs. Philippians 4:19 says, And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

This past week I have been on spring break, and I have spent my time getting medical records together, getting vaccinations, and most importantly, speaking at churches. I talked to several local churches about my mission project, and how they can support me through prayer and finances. While I knew God was going to provide for this trip, I had no idea how quickly He would! I am very close to my support goals, and I have only been support raising for two weeks. God is moving so rapidly, and I am trying to keep up with how quickly He is moving in my life.

I feel so full of love, and my cup is running over with His grace and support. God has blessed me through this mission opportunity and through some local churches in Western North Carolina. I would not be able to participate in the mission project if it were not for the churches who have provided support. It reminds me of when Jesus multiplied the fish. I contributed towards my trip and did the work He asked me to do, and God multiplied it! Continue reading

The Stranger on the Bus

If You Seek Him, You Will Find Him.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

God works in amazing ways. My name is Alexis, and this is the story of how God called me to step outside my comfort zone.

It was a Friday night, and I was on a charter bus full of Meredith College Teaching Fellows and Honors students who were excitedly discussing our field-trip to the North Carolina Ballet. The bus was completely full; there was not a single open seat, and I found myself seated next to a stranger. I’m a pretty friendly person, so if the person seems open to talking, I’ll usually start a conversation. I introduced myself, and in turn I learned my seat companion’s name was Jasmine. We started talking about our hometowns and what we were majoring in. Somewhere throughout the conversation we got on the topic of church. I told her I was still looking for a church in the Raleigh area, and she told me she goes to the Summit Church. My parents had mentioned this church to me a few times, because they would visit the Chapel Hill campus when they come to town to visit my brother and me. I told her it was on my list of churches to visit, and she invited me to come with her some Sunday. We exchanged contact information before we parted ways.

The next week I received a text from Jasmine inviting me to hang out with some of her church friends Sunday night because they were going to have a chocolate fountain for Valentine’s Day. Later I found out this gathering was called Family Group, and it is a college ministry through the church. I agreed to go, and asked if I could accompany her to church, as well. She told me I was welcome to ride with her. Sunday rolled around, and Jasmine met me in front of Johnson Hall to pick me up for church. I rode with her and one of her friends, and we met up with some of their other friends at church. Continue reading