Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine Card Challenge


Dear Sisters,

Valentine's Day is approaching and with it, lots of talk of love.  Well, this year, let's make that talk a reality and send cards to children imprisoned in Uganda!  Last year we did and there was such a huge turnout that Moriah Simonwich is doing it again.  Check out this post on The Rebelution for further details and the full story, but here's the basics from Moriah's post:

1. Make simple cards, preferably in a variety of colors. Please include the John 3:16 verse written out and God loves you OR Jesus Loves You (in their language of Luganda: Jesu Okwagala) and sign your name.
[**Please note: Although they will be made around or on Valentine’s Day, they are anytime cards, not actual Valentine’s holiday cards. Teams going on mission trips with Sixty Feet will take cards during the summer and they will be distributed at the appropriate times. Please do not write Happy Valentine’s Day. Besides which, guys at the prison weren’t going for the ones with pink or glitter.]
2. Pray over the card(s) & mail them to me at this address with “Valentine Card Challenge” written on your box or envelope:
Moriah Simonowich
P.O. Box 3227
Greenville, NC 27836
[I will be sending ONE box of all the cards to Sixty Feet in order to keep it as easy as possible for them.]

NOTE: The deadline for sending in the cards is February 29th

3. Email me the number of cards you make and send since it is fun to keep track: valentinecardchallenge@gmail.com. There will not be a specific “goal” to meet this year. Let’s just see what the Lord does!! All it takes is ordinary people willing to do what God asks of them to make an extraordinary difference in the lives around them and across the globe.
Let's share Jesus' abundant love this year with kids who may think they are forgotten in prison.  Let's show them they aren't forgotten because He loves them and we are praying for them!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Apps that Encourage Your Faith


Awhile back the five of us Bloom! ladies chatted about some of our favorite apps that spur us on in our walk of faith.  Here's some of our favorites for you to check out. Feel free to comment below with any others you may have that will encourage your fellow sisters in Christ!

YouVersion Bible - Get the Bible on your phone or mobile device and read the Bible any time, day or night.  YouVersion also has some great devotionals, including Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotionals.

Bible Gateway - Similiar to YouVersion Bible app, Bible Gateway provides God's Word with easy access to many translations and languages.

Podcasts - Take advantage of the podcast app on your device (download one if you don't already have it) and subscribe to a few worthy channels, such as The Briefing to hear about world news from a Biblical perspective or Ellerslie to hear soul-stirring sermons from Eric Ludy and others.

Scripture Typer - Looking for an app that aids you in hiding God's Word in your heart?  Check out Scripture Typer then!

K-Love - Get access to a lot of contemporary Christian music!

Sermon Audio - If you want access to over 1 million sermons, get this great app!  You can hear from more well-known pastors and speakers such as John MacArthur, Jim Elliot, and many, many others.  Be encouraged and refreshed through these sermons!

Matthew Henry Commentary - Written in 1706, Matthew Henry offers a commentary on every verse in the Bible.  George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon used to use Henry's commentary.  If you are wanting a commentary on the Word, take a look at this app.

Any other encouraging apps out there that you'd recommend?  Comment below!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tales from Taiwan #12


Dear sisters,

Every Monday since September, I've been going to a boys' home and just investing in their lives however I can.  I'm learning that investing in these boys' lives often looks different than what I used to think.  It might be playing Uno or talking or singing or watching their performances or eating their cooking creations.  Whatever, it is, I'm always praying that God will shine through me and that they won't see Joanna but that they'll see Jesus and His goodness and love.

Around Thanksgiving, I attended their singing competition.  Most of the boys are teens and thus often put on the "I'm too cool to acknowledge you" air, but I know inside they're actually pleased I came.  They may tease and act tough but I've seen the look in their eyes.  They're grateful that someone cares about them enough to drive an hour for their performance.  They're grateful to have someone in the audience.  Many of them don't have any family, so it means a lot that my friends and I can come and just simply be there for them.

Something my friends and I often remind each of is this: The students we teach may not remember our names years later.  They may not remember that specific lesson or those English phrases.  They may not remember the crafts we did or the activities.  But they will always remember how they felt when we taught them.  They will remember how loved they felt.

The same is with these teens at the home.  They may forget my name.  They may forget the games we played or our conversations, but they will not forget that we took the time to listen to them and attend their performances and cheer them on.  They will remember how they felt - loved.

That's another thing God has been teaching me - I need to be faithful in the small things and He will use those for His glory.  It may feel kinda small or normal or not special at all, but sometimes, that's when He does the most and is most glorified.

I love this quote from Mother Teresa:

"I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world."

May each of us embrace this position as "a little pencil" and be faithful in the little things He calls us to.

For Him in Taiwan,
Joanna

Friday, January 22, 2016

Remembering Lily


It's the beginning of 2016 and already I've experienced so much joy.  But there's been some rough days of the new year, too.  I just recently found out that my school's beloved nurse went Home with Jesus.  Lily was my Taiwan mama and we were really close, so it's been a hard week.  There's so much sorrow but so much joy too.  My Taiwan mama was diagnosed with ALS and battled it for one year.  She's now dancing in the presence of her Savior and I'm so glad.

Lily was someone who overflowed with the love of Jesus and spread it every day.  She nursed me when I was suffering from intense nerve pain.  She often sat me down at her desk and gave me amazing massages. She took time to listen and see what was really bothering you.  She always hugged tight and smiled big and prayed a lot.

I saw her pour out herself over and over again for our students.  I never saw a single student scared or nervous in her presence and that's because Jesus was so present in her.  She always seemed to know when I needed a hug and a prayer or a smile or an encouraging word.  Lily only spoke but a few words of English but with my limited Chinese and a lot of love, we communicated perfectly.  

Her funeral was the other day.  Already, her testimony continues to impact my Taiwanese co-workers who don't know Jesus.  I'm praying that God will take her death and make it a sweet testimony just like her life was.

Lily overflowed with His love and wow, I wanna be just like that.