Monday, December 20, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life --Jordan Kauflin from another favorite Sovereign Grace song
If there is anything good that can come from loss it would be finding joy and fulfillment in Christ alone. I honestly cannot think of a better way of tearing down our idols than having them sovereignly taken away, leaving us to search for something deeper, longer lasting, and eternal. God has brought me to this place over and over again through difficult trials, and though they were extremely painful, I can rejoice over them.
My husband prayed a prayer once that has had eternal impact on us:
Lord, reduce me to Christ.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Unfortunately, I missed the entire event due to the stomach flu that has been bothering me for several days now. The kids performed beautifully from what I could see of the video Ethan shot.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!
My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.
Jesus! The name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
‘Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
‘Tis life, and health, and peace.
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
He speaks, and, listening to his voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.
Hear Him, ye deaf, His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.
Look unto Him, ye nations, own
Your God, ye fallen race;
Look, and be saved through faith alone,
Be justified by grace.
See all your sins on Jesus laid:
The Lamb of God was slain,
His soul was once an offering made
For every soul of man.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I traveled to Kenya with Training Leaders International (TLI) for ten days teaching and training church leaders and pastors in Nairobi. We worked with an Anglican evangelistic ministry called Church Army Africa and spent our first three days teaching lay leaders from the Anglican churches of Nairobi.
A Vicar (Anglican pastor) may serve 3-4 congregations, and so these men and women carry much of the load of ministry within their local parish. We talked through a Biblical Foundations curriculum from Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis (part of John Piper's church) which covered basic elements of systematic theology, Biblical interpretation, and Christ-centered life and ministry. Church Army produced a video about TLI's ministry and you can see us in action. I was sick the day they did the interviews and missed out on that, but you can see a few shots of me teaching and a number of my students appear in the video. It was a joy to serve them.
The next four days we spent in the slums of Nairobi. My teaching partner Josh and I went to Korogocho slum, one of the toughest in Nairobi. The conditions are difficult to describe: extreme poverty, mud houses, sewage ditches in the walking paths.
Yet God's Church is here. We spent two days teaching at a training center for pastors who live and serve here. After our sessions we were invited to visit the churches and homes of the pastors. We prayed for blessing on their homes, families, and ministries, and we received their hospitality: a bottle of cold water in Jesus' name. These were amazing men who love the Lord, His word, and His Church. It was a blessing to serve them.
This is the view of the church in Kibera slum where we went on our last Sunday. The church is the bulding on the left with the flag. I am standing on a log bridge over an open sewer that runs alongside the church and down through the slum.
From Nairobi I flew to Kiev where I was met by my friend Vlad and his wife Zhanna who now serve the church in Priluki where we used to live.
I spent five days in Priluki and it was great to be back "home" and to see our church family again. I gave some lectures on the historical background and context of the New Testament and spent some time in personal ministry...and enjoying Ukrainian hospitality and food.
Then I spent four days in Chernigov reconnecting with some of my old missionary teammates. It was good to see their growing families and spend time renewing our friendships. Jake, Danny, and Conor came to Ukraine in their early twenties and have spent about ten years planting churches and laboring to see Christ formed in the men, women, and future church leaders of Ukraine. They are great brothers, and I love and respect them so much.
We all love books and always have great conversations about what we have been reading, thinking, learning, and experiencing. Our conversations always seem to circle back to our passion to see the Gospel proclaimed in Ukraine and the Church to grow and be strengthened.
In the course of our conversations we discussed the possibility of a TLI teaching trip to Ukraine next year, and also some ideas for ongoing theological training for churches and pastors. One of my desires is to see the Bethlehem curriculum I used in Kenya translated into Russian. It is an excellent curriculum in four volumes, and it would provide a basis for a solid theological education for pastors and churches. It uses Wayne Grudem's systematic theology as its main text book, which Jake's publishing ministry, In Lumine, just began printing and distributing in Ukraine. Cool huh? (Check out In Lumine's titles and current projects) So I would like to see if we can secure the permissions and copyrights to translate and use this curriculum in Ukraine. It is a big project but has massive potential! That is something big to pray about. Would you join me in praying? How 'bout taking 30 seconds to pray for the future of theological training in Ukraine right now?
I came away from this trip with lots of incredible memories and experiences, of course, but also a huge thankfulness to God for the privilege to go and serve these brothers and sisters, and a humble thankfulness to those who gave financially to support my teaching trip. My trip also strengthened my convictions and stirred my passions in a couple of core areas.
First is the incredible power and durability of the Gospel as it enters various cultures and social and economic contexts. Through this trip I have learned even more about the challenges of communicating the Gospel and strengthening leaders and churches in a cross-cultural context. Yet I am even more convinced of the power and the durability of the Gospel and God's intention to use weak, culturally-challenged vessels of clay to show and communicate His power, grace, and love. Cross-cultural missions was and is God's idea.
Second: I am more convinced than ever of the need for theological and ministry training for the leaders and the people of the Church, foreign and domestic. I am well aware that mere knowledge does not make a pastor, and training alone does not qualify a man to lead the church. Theological training is not a silver bullet. It does not guarantee an effective pastor or healthy church. And yet I have seen in my ministry experience in the States, my experience as a missionary, and again on this trip that where theological training is not emphasized or is not available, there is a corresponding weakness in ministry, and a vulnerability to many errors.
Third: On a personal level, I found that I still have a deep desire to be personally involved with the training and raising of church leaders in the parts of the world where opportunities for training are limited. I also found that I have an abiding love for the people of Ukraine and a passion for the growth and strength of the Church there. What God wants to do with that in the future is up to Him. For now He has given me the opportunity to study. I will finish my Masters in Theology in May. Please pray for me and my family as we consider and seek God's will and direction for our future ministry.
- Praise and Thanks to God for the financial provision for me to go and serve!
- Financial provision for this last year of school, and perserverance and fruitfulness in my studies.
- Wisdom and direction for me in considering future teaching opportunities and trips with TLI.
- Pray for the potential translation project of the Bethlehem curriculum into Russian. Pray for God's will, his direction, his favor, and his financial provision for this project and its potential fruits.
Thanks again to those who supported me financially, and thanks to all who prayed for me and my family as I traveled. Thanks for your prayers for me as I was sick in Kenya. I really felt them and God gave me much grace to endure, and gave healing to my body. Thanks also for your prayers for those in Kenya and Ukraine. Pray that the the teaching, the conversations, and ministry continue to bear fruit and build up the Church of Jesus Christ for their joy, and for His glory.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
We have had a little varmint running around our garden for a few days. Finally Peter John chased him around this afternoon, and we discovered there were three wee rabbits in there. One ran under the fence and escaped through the rhubarb patch, and the other two were caught by Ethan and Peter John with the aid of a couple of buckets after being cornered against the fence under a sunflower. Here are the triumphant varmint catchers in a photo. Afterwards the kids and Ethan drove them out to a nearby field and let them free. Stay away from our lettuce, wee rabbits! Too bad they are wild and probably bug infested. They would be so cute to keep.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Last night I came down with a fever and have been pretty wiped out all day—lots of body aches and zero energy. This morning I attended a training time for our ministry in the slum churches that is supposed to start tomorrow, but had to stay at the school this afternoon. I slept about five hours. So, please pray for me and for our team leader, Darren Carlson, who is also starting to feel sick.
We are going to start our training with the church leaders and pastors in the slums tomorrow. One of my teammates and I are going to one of the roughest slums in Nairobi. Please pray for healing and energy for me, for safety for us, and especially for the filling and empowering of the Holy Spirit to serve these brothers who serve Jesus in the midst of numbing poverty. They have asked us to help them understand the history of the time of Jesus and the spread of the early church in Acts and then to do some teaching on Bible studying and applying the Bible. We will also be teaching on a Biblical view on suffering, and on money. This is desperately needed in Africa where the cancer of prosperity teaching is exploding. This "gospel" is the most shameful fruit of the American church and is devastating the African church. You may read more about this at the Gospel Coalition’s website:
http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2009/11/05/the-prosperity-gospel-in-africa/ or watch a video on this at:
Please pray for us as we teach and confront this heresy with the truth of God's word.
Thank you for your prayers.
Grace Mercy and Peace,
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I am having a good time in Africa. I am teaching all day and then usually spending the evenings studying. tomorrow is my last day of teaching this group and I still have lots to get through so pray for me. the group of people i am teaching is really wonderful. very nice people. three men and four ladies. they are lay leaders in the churches.
The weather is cool here. i didn't bring enough cold weather stuff. Thursday to sunday we are working with some pastors and lay leaders in the slum churches.
Ok It is late i need to get to sleep.
And here is a quick update from me:
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 Being still and trusting is often exactly the opposite of what we feel like doing, but it is exactly what we need to do. Please pray for me as reality has set in...today was a difficult day with the kids. Lots of good moments, too, but lots of difficulties as well. I need the power of the Spirit and the armor of God more than ever. Thank God, His grace is sufficient through everything, and we are kept by the power of God. I have life because of what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross, I am sealed by the Holy Spirit because I believe, and I am in the excellent care of my Heavenly Father. My kids are His lambs, and He will carry them. Hallelujah.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I fly to Ukraine on the 27th (2:30 AM departure! Pray!), and I will spend Wednesday to Sunday (July 28-Aug. 1) in Priluki meeting with and encouraging our friends there. I am teaching Thursday and Friday and again on Sunday. From Monday to Thursday (Aug. 2-5) I will be in Chernigov visiting the church there and some of my old missionary team-mates. Pray for good conversations during this time and vision for ministry in Ukraine.
I will try and send some updates but am unsure how much web access I will have in Kenya. Check in on Elysia's blog (larsonjournal.blogspot.com) and Elysia's Facebook, and thank you for your prayers.
Specific Prayer Requests:
Pray for my family as they adjust to Daddy being gone from home.
Praise God for his abundant provision for my trip. Looks like everything will be covered!
Pray for the truth of the word and power of the Spirit as I preach and teach. Love, grace, wisdom, and effectiveness in communication as I teach and preach.
Pray for my final preparation. I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of material I have been given. I know we will not teach it all but it is intimidating nonetheless as it is a lot to prepare for.
Pray for safe travel and healthy body: I have heard weird stories about anti-malaria drugs…strange dreams, etc. That could be interesting.
My back has been feeling sore… and I have a long appointment with an airline seat.
I would rather not pick up any parasitical/viral 'friends'
Grace in remembering Russian so that I can visit with friends there.
All for now,
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Ethan's parents asked for more pictures of the garden. Peter John took all these photos for me. We are picking about two zucchini per day. I can't believe they grow that fast! We also just harvested a huge piles of green and yellow snap beans. I blanched and froze six bags. There will be more to come in a day or two! I am looking forward to eating them this winter. Thank you, Lord!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
(a male Scarlet Tanager)
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Here is some progress from our garden. We have enjoyed the fresh lettuce SO much.
More pix of the garden with carrots and raspberries in the background, zucchini and cucumbers in the middle and tomatoes in the front.
This picture reminds me of my mom when she used to wear a handkerchief while gardening. I have been enjoying the garden so much this year. What a blessing it has been, and one we can share with others.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
- God's guidance as the men prepare to teach
- Health as they travel
- The Holy Spirit to lead their encounters in Africa
- Financial provision
- God's guidance in planning this trip
- Healthy physical body after traveling in Kenya
- Renewed friendships
- Holy Spirit encounters