Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yup, It was CA's all right! Christ for All, All for Christ!

I just have to tell you about the CA convention here in Jamaica! 2000 people gathered to worship, hear the preacher, elect CA officers, attend a workshop and eat lunch on the lawn! The worship team was great and then we did exactly as I mused last night! We recited the CA verse, 2Cor. 5:20 and sang the CA song.

It was definitely a blast from my wonderful past and my mind was all over the place as I saw myself again in the Highway Tabernacle in Mansfield, PA. Boy did I sing with all my might just as if I were 12 again! I raised my hand to the ceiling and dedicated myself!

My goodness, I almost felt like I was surrounded by my childhood friends, my bothers and sisters, my parents, my pastor and the wonderful saints back there in PA!

If you haven't heard the pledge lately let me share it with you straight from today's bulletin.

I am Christ's ambassador
I know the reality of being born again
And recognize the responsibility of being filled with the Spirit
As an ambassador of Christ, I shall ever strive to be
Loyal to God and to my church, Reverent to God and His house
Obedient to God and my parents
Zealous for salvation of others, Regular in prayer and the study of His word
Faithful in my tithes and offerings
Pure in mind, heart and body
Consistent in example and walk
To this end, every action shall be governed by a friendly attitude
and motivated by Christian love,
For I am a Christ Ambassador!

I pledge, how bout you?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CA's is still around!

Since I was a tot I was a member of the Assemblies of God youth program! Yes that's right, I grew up in the era of Christ's Ambassadors. Since my parents were in the required age bracket 12-35, I, as a child, was always present. I learned the theme song and the theme verse long before I could tie my shoes! And when I turned 12 and could, in my own right, be a part, my parents were still members!

Of course in those days, youth pastors were unheard of and we were fortunate that at least we had a district director and PenDel had the best!! I will forever remember the influence Paul Wislocky had on me. As a matter of fact, he took me on my first AIM trip and that is a memory I will always hold dear. Maybe that gave root to where I am today, my goodness, the decisions we make when we are teenagers really do have impact!

Tomorrow I am going back to those days once again! Jamaica has an island wide CA convention traditionally on Ash Wednesday and it is for, you guessed it, 12-35! I can't believe my little 12 year old gets a piece of nostalgia. I wonder if they will sing the song and recite the CA verse! Can't wait to find out!

Every Friday night the local A/G church has CA's, as a matter of fact, our Bible college students attend although some are in their 40's and married, I just haven't been able to send my little girl into a setting with that much of an age span. When does protective parenting end? Don't the little ones get lost in the shuffle? Where is a middle school youth pastor here on the island? I was able to find one Suzuki violin instructor in the whole island, why can I not find a "specialty pastor" just for her?! Progress takes time I know!

As I sit and ponder my day tomorrow I wonder if I will hear in the key of C, "We are Christ's ambassadors and our colors we must unfurl, we must wear a spotless robe, clean and righteous before the Lord.......We must show we're cleansed from sin and that Jesus lives within..... living duly that we're truly..... Christ's ambassadors!" I promise, if I do I will raise my right hand and sing with all my might. I will commit once again to dedicating my entire life, unashamedly, to His service and should He call me to the ends of the earth, I will go.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

People aren't the only ones that sunbathe in Jamaica!

Geckos, lizards, chameleons haven't always been my favorite pet! I remember a long time ago when we were itinerating in the panhandle of Florida I was quite terrified at the hundreds that lived at the A/G campground! So terrified that I didn't think I would be able to stay!

My, how life has changed me! Maybe courage is a product of having babies and watching children be fearless! Today I wouldn't say they are my favorite pet but they don't send me into a panic attack when I find them in the shower or the laundry area! I have even named some that live here at the house all the time!

For 2 days I have been watching my little gecko friend sunbathe on this orange that fell from the tree and wedged in between the fence and brush. He is just enjoying the warmth as of course they all do. Maybe that is why I was so terrified of them in my young married days, I didn't grow up in a warm climate and since lizards don't like snow and ice, I hadn't been acquainted with them! I have met lots of Jamaicans who are afraid of these little guys! I wonder why, they should be so accustomed to them by now!

Today when I took my camera, very quietly to the scene of the "orange beach" lo and behold he had a friend! Little flyman was enjoying the warmth as well!

Speaking of the sun, Renee has 2 little turtles. One is sick. I called the pet store and told the clerk Pickles symptoms (she won't eat, just sits on the rock, white around the edges, very soft shell), The clerk said oh she is sick! I said I know, that is why I called! Guess what she told me to do. Take her outside to the sun for 30 minutes every morning. So I have a new job! I turtle sit for 30 minutes each morning so that a strange neighbor dog doesn't come and eat her up of course!

Funny what a little sun will do for anybody, lizards, turtles, flies and me! It revives me, it clears my mind and hey, that is even good for a lizard! I know easy for me to say! I live in Jamaica!

When the sun breaks through, go out and take a warmth break, but in the meantime, take your vitamin D!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What's it all about Alfie?

Dionne Warwick has always been my favorite singer, love her voice. A long time ago, long before I had much life experience she sang a song written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, What's it all about Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live?

The older I get, the more I question myself. Questions like:
Why do I do what I do?
Is this project worth my energy?
Who really cares if I do it or not?
Why am I pouring my life into something that seems so insignificant?
How am I really doing anyway?
Why do I care?

You know, contemplative questions that I never thought of when I was younger! Questions that really can't be answered because there is no forum to voice them and if there was an avenue they wouldn't sound sophisticated enough!

The basic tone of the song, "What's it all about Alfie" has to do with this all consuming need for love. Does this love just exist for the moment we live or is there more to it?

Being in Jamaica has brought me to question my purpose, my ministry, my reason for doing what I do. I have come to the conclusion that indeed it is for love. Love for Christ, love for hurting and non hurting people, love for the Bible College students like Nicholas pictured above, love for myself.

Love has so many layers. But for today I think I will just love simply. I will love unconditionally. I will love and try not to expect anything in return, boy that's tough, but I will try!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Poison isn't always obvious!

Ackee is Jamaica's national fruit and the national dish is ackee and saltfish, interestingly enough served for breakfast. This fruit is from very tall trees and was brought to Jamaica from West Africa. Guess what they don't eat in West Africa? You guessed it! Ackee. Ackee unless cooked correctly can poison the one who eats it. This isn't a fruit that you would pluck from the tree and peel! Funny that the ackee trees don't have a sign posted "Beware of poisonous fruit!" Many unknowing travelers have become very sick and sometimes died from the ackee.

I haven't tried the national dish yet but I am sure I will at least for experience sake! As you travel the roads of Jamaica you will see an ackee stand beside the road no matter where you go across the island, that is how I took this photo.

When I see an ackee stand I seem to automatically shift in my thoughts from what a beautiful color fruit to what a dangerous fruit it is. You know some people are just like the ackee fruit, beauty on the outside and poison on the inside. Unfortunately, the awareness of the poison doesn't come with a lanyard around the neck indicating danger. It would be nice if sirens would blare so that you would have the knowledge to run from the toxins that can be exposed!

Well, poison is a product of sin and it is inevitable. Be careful; Be prayerful; Be mindful.