Saturday, October 31, 2009

Just Another Friday Night Snake Removal

Warning: graphic pictures of dead reptilian. ;)

So, there's been a dying/dead snake on our front porch for a few days now. I got home from work tonight around midnight and realized that we really shouldn't leave it there in case we have trick-or-treaters tomorrow night. I psyched myself up to take care of removing the snake. I talked Matt into video taping it so it's documented. The quality of the video is really bad because it was really dark, so I didn't even bother posting them. :/

The short story: (Picture 1) the snake somehow stuck in our front porch. Skinny but still not a pleasant critter to have sticking out of the front porch. Though we did hope the fact that it was dead would ward off any other potential slithery visitors. Matt told me a couple days ago about it so it wouldn't surprise me when I got home from work. We both had the same thought: 'oh good, the dead snake will go well with the dead frog on our front porch'This poor frog (picture 2) got squished by Nala like the week after we moved in (3+ months ago). We've tried a couple different methods of removing it but have yet to succeed. Gross, I know.

It was quite an ordeal to remove the snake. It was really stuck somehow up into the wall of the porch. Plus, I had moments of girlie hesitation. In the end, I was only able to remove about 2.5 feet of the snake. Not sure how much is still left in the house, but the rest of it didn't budge. I ended up chopping this much of it off with a brick. Ick.

Success! Picture 3: the snake (well, most of it) in a plastic garbage bag.
P.S. And NO trick-or-treaters at all!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dear to My Heart...

I received this letter recently from a friend. I've edited it just a little bit for security purposes. Please prayerfully consider partnering with her ministry. As an international student from a closed country, she has a limited amount of contacts to ask to join her ministry. If you are interested, I'll be happy to help you get in touch with her. She is on the left in the picture below.

Everything below is from (Holly):

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13

My name is (Holly). I am from a former Soviet Union country which is predominantly Muslim. Verse above is very dear to my heart, because I believe it describes my life. At school I was taught that there was no god. At home I was taught that the Russian people believed in Jesus as their prophet but we had Muhammad as our true prophet. For me, though, my father was like a god. He provided all that I needed and I depended upon him for my physical and emotional needs. I didn’t need anyone else. However, in my early teen years my world fell apart when my parents got divorced. I realized for the first time that my father was just a sinful man and all that I had trusted in was taken away. I found myself alone and wondering if there really was a God. I knew something was missing in my life, so I devoted myself to Islam to fill the void I felt inside of me.

About this same time I moved to the capital of my country, to study at the University and started living with my aunt. Soon I met with my new neighbors and later found out that they were Christians. They were very kind to me and made me feel accepted and loved. But I rejected what they told me about Jesus being for my people too and I set out to prove to them that Islam was the true religion and the best way to see changes take place in my life. For two years I followed Islam but nothing changed. I tried to act happy and satisfied with life on the outside but inside I was still feeling empty and angry at my father. I wanted to forgive him but I couldn’t. My neighbors continued to love me during this time and include me in some of their Christian meetings. Finally I realized that only Jesus could forgive my sins and bring about real changes in my life.

At this time my neighbors had to leave the country. I was feeling very lonely because I did not know of another Christian of my nationality, and I knew very little about my new faith. My friends and family began to persecute me because of my faith, and my aunt asked me to move out of her house where I was living.

One day I was on my college campus feeling very lonely and beginning to think that maybe I had made a mistake. Maybe all of my problems were caused by my leaving Islam. While I was sitting there having these doubts, an American girl who was just visiting my campus walked up to me. I found out that she was with a group with CCC on a summer mission trip in my country. She began meeting with me to teach me about the Christian life and she also introduced me to a number of other Christians of my nationality. Just when I needed it the most, God provided me with a Christian family. We formed a CCC group on our campus to reach other students for Christ. Jesus Christ had transformed my life, and I knew he could transform others as well.

I came to Austin, TX last year to study. Shortly after I arrived, I heard about the Bridges Children of Abraham conference for Muslim converts like me. It was there that I was challenged to consider that God might want to use me as a full-time Christian worker. I am passionate to reach international students for Christ and humbled that God may chose to use me in this way. My vision is to share the love of Jesus Christ with international students here in the United States. CCC has a ministry that lines up exactly with my vision, Bridges International.

Through Bridges, I can reach students who can take the gospel back to their home country. I am now raising my financial support for an 18 month internship with Bridges international. This internship will provide the necessary ministry skills training as I reach out to international students studying at the University of Texas in Austin. I am excited to learn all I can, so I will be ready and effective when the time comes for me to return as a missionary to my own people.

Since Campus Crusade for Christ has no central funds to support its missionaries, each staff member must raise financial support to fund all of the costs of health care, ministry expenses, taxes, and a salary. I must find a team of donors who can give monthly or annually to support our work. I would like to ask if you would prayerfully consider joining my monthly financial support team with a gift of $50, $75, $100, or whatever amount God would lay on your heart.
Please know that whatever you decide, I appreciate so much just having the opportunity
to share about what God is doing in my heart and through my ministry on campus.
One more time, thank you for prayerfully considering my needs.

In Him,
(Holly)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Belated GSP02 Brunch Post

Well, a looooooong time ago (mid-August), one of my favorite things in the world happened: we had friends over for bunch!

It was a mimi-reunion of sorts, as everyone invited to the brunch had been on Gatlinburg Summer Project in 2002... or is married to someone who was. Many of us have ended up in Charleston, and we found a good excuse to get together: Ginger's farewell to Mercy Ships. It seems like that's mostly when this crew gets together--either for 'welcome backs' or 'farewells'.
Anyway, it was a really fun morning. I got to use lots of my Pampered Chef suff to whip up some yummy 'brunch squares', muffins, and a chocolate chip cheese ball. We had a great fruit salad too, so we were definitely set. (Pic of Amber with the spread)

Ginger Henry was the honored guest as it was a send-off for her ministry with Mercy Ships. Amber Williams was the co-hostess. These ladies met on the infamous GSP2002 and have been roommates for the last 4 years here in Charleston!

Pic from left to right: Morgan, Ginger, Amber

Kurt and Morgan Brewer were also in attendance. These two actually met on that summer project and have since married and are on staff with CCC here in Charleston now.
(pic of Kurt below entertaining Nala / grossing the rest of us out by putting her bone in his mouth)


Dan Maloy was also on that project (and also a buddy of mine for 2 other CCC summers), and he brought his new bride, Shannon, to the brunch. The Maloys are also on staff now with the Charleston-based staff team of Cru.
Even my hubby was able to hang out, which was a special blessing to me. I miss soooooo many things about Crusade, and the people are definitely #2. (Being paid to walk closely with Jesus and love on others is definitely the #1!) Hopefully, we'll be able to get together more often.

Even though it was quite awhile ago, I know there are a handful of readers who would recognize most of this motley crew. :)

You Wish You Had an Uncle Gary...

As I type this, my computer has been having some serious problems. Something appears to be wrong with the hard drive, but Uncle Gary is working on it and has already been able to 'rescue' a lot of my stuff saved on it. Yay for Uncle Gary!

Aside from being a computer guru, he's also a very talented carpenter and recently constructed this for our new home:
Our new hand-crafted table!It's a 'drop-leaf' table, so the middle part is always there, but both of the sides fold down which makes for a nice, smaller table which fits great in our little condo. :)

Thanks, Uncle Gary, for everything!

P.S. In typical Matt fashion, he surprised me with the finished table. We came home after hanging out at his dad's house and I noticed a funny smell in our condo. I said, 'gosh, what's that smell?', but as I continued to walk into the house, I saw the beautiful table, adorned with one of our Thai table runners and some fresh flowers. He likes surprising me when he can! :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

One of God's stories from our church in Fort Worth

In 10 years since Wedgwood Baptist shootings, gunman's brother has found forgiveness at the church...

Story is here

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