Friday, December 16, 2016

Check Out My Updated Blog!

Just want to let you know that I've switched to using for my blog. From now on, all my posts will be on my new blog. Please check it out!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Hearing or Doing?

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." --James 1:22-25

“Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” --Deut. 4:6

“Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.” --Prov. 22:17

“If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.” --Mal. 2:2

Hearing and doing seem to go hand in hand when listening to truth or God’s law. We can hear the truth, but unless we put into practice what we hear, the truth can’t change us. It is like looking at ourselves in a mirror and recognizing a problem, but then not doing anything about it. Deuteronomy says that hearing and keeping the law (in this case) makes for a wise and understanding people.  We go to church, study the Bible, pray, and memorize Scripture, but do we do the things that we learn? It’s when we do that Christ’s character can be perfected in ours.

The mirror we are to look into is that of the "perfect law of liberty." The Law of God is the standard by which God will judge our characters. The Law is Christ's character. Therefore, it must also be the standard where we recognize our defects and also be able to accept Christ's righteousness in place of our own. But we don't just look at our defects, although we recognize them, but it is beholding Christ and allowing ourselves to be transformed into His image. This is not something we do just once or twice--this is a daily work we need to do. 

However, we must still act upon what we see in the mirror. If we look into the Law of God, and we recognize something that we are doing that needs to be given up, and we don't, we are only hearers. 

"For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." --Romans 2:13
And as it is said, "by the law is the knowledge of sin." --Rom 3:20

What do we do when we are convicted? Do we only hear, and not do? If you think about it, hearing can only bring conviction, but in order to follow that conviction, we must do. 

“There have been men in every generation who have claimed to be the sons of God, who paid tithes of mint and anise and cummin, and yet who led a godless life, for they neglected the weightier matters of the law—mercy, justice, and the love of God. There are today many who are in a similar deception; for while bearing an appearance of great sanctity, they are not doers of the Word of God. What can be done to open the eyes of these self-deluded souls except to set before them an example of true piety and be ourselves not hearers only but doers of the commandments of the Lord, thus reflecting the light of purity of character upon their pathway? The sons of God will not be like the worldling; for the truth received in the heart will be the means of purifying the soul and of transforming the character and of making its receiver like-minded with God. Unless a man becomes like-minded with God, he is still in his natural depravity. If Christ is in the heart, He will appear in the home, in the workshop, in the marketplace, in the church. The power of the truth will be felt in elevating, ennobling the mind and softening and subduing the heart, bringing the whole man into harmony with God. He who is transformed by the truth will shed a light upon the world. He that hath the hope of Christ in him will purify himself even as He is pure. The hope of Christ’s appearing is a large hope, a far-reaching hope. It is the hope of seeing the King in His beauty and of being made like Him.” – FW 116

Let us not just be hearers, but doers, so that we may be transformed into the image of Christ and show others the pathway to Heaven.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Semester Highlights

How this school year has just flown by! I can't believe that we are already halfway through the semester! It's been a good semester so far, challenging definitely, but one that I wouldn't trade for anything.

I have been doing some online classes this semester, which I have found to be fun yet challenging. Doing online classes, I have to be so much more disciplined with my time. I have learned more this semester about planning out my schedule in order to stay on top of things. However, I found that I also prefer being in a classroom as well. So it's been good figuring out what type of learning skills work the best for me.

The Lord has also been teaching me lessons of patience and trust. A friend and I have been training for a fitness challenge in December. One day, we went running on the beach barefoot--and that was probably the worst thing I could have done! We ran three miles, and by the end, my foot was hurting so bad that for the next couple of days, I was limping around. I thought originally that I had just pulled a muscle or tendon; however, two weeks later it still hurt. The most recent conclusion I've come to is that it is probably tendonitis.

It's been so disappointing for me, because I haven't been able to go running. I can still do strength training, but I love running! Yet, I realize that there is some lesson that God is wanting to teach me through this. It's learning to trust God that He knows what is best for me, and be patient! Maybe it will be a long while before I can run again--I don't know. And there is always the possibility I won't be able to participate in the running part of the fitness challenge.  But I'm willing to wait if that is what God wants for me. My plans may not be His plans, but definitely His plans are better than my plans!

"Surrender all your plans to God, to be carried out or given up, as his providence shall indicate. In this manner you may, day by day, be giving your life with its plans and purposes into the hands of God, accepting his plans instead of your own, no matter how much they may interfere with your arrangements nor how many pleasant projects may have to be abandoned. Thus the life will be moulded more and more after the divine Model..." (ST August 7, 1884).

One highlight of mine this semester was R&R weekend. We were able to go to Monterey Bay Academy for the weekend. Even for October, it turned out to be beautiful weather.

Ready for some rest & relaxation

Each morning and evening we had worships. They were a blessing.

The ocean--probably my most favorite part of the trip.
A place where you see so many object lessons, and spend time with friends.

We had some time on one of the days to play some group games. One of those included tug-a-war.

"He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us;
 he will subdue our  iniquities;
and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:19)

The evenings and the mornings I think were the best time of the day to go to  the beach.
I loved sitting out on the sand  in the mornings and watching the sunrise,
and reading my Bible....the evenings were beautiful because each night,
the sunset was completely different.
Friday night was the most beautiful sunset I think I have ever seen. 
Two of my friends and I were running down to the beach a little before in order to see the sun set.
 All we could do was just stand there and watch. It was most glorious, and reminded me that 
the sunset was "a picture painted by the great Master-Artist upon the 
shifting canvass of the heavens" (ML 337.2).  It was the best way to welcome the Sabbath! 

Just like the sunset reflected back on the water, let us each let Christ reflect His character  in us!

There was definitely some time for fun too! :) 
I think it was the best R&R so far. Not only were we refreshed physically and mentally
from the daily routines of life, but we were also refreshed spiritually by being able
to spend more time in God's Word and learn lessons from nature.

Not only was R&R a refreshing experience, however, but even the earth itself has been refreshed!. We have been having some pretty good rain showers, and to top it off, the fall leaves have been turning beautiful colors!

Until next time! :) 

Monday, July 25, 2016

My Summer Briefing

I have thoroughly enjoyed my busy yet fun summer--work during the week, and fun during the weekends. Below I have just posted several pictures of what I have done this summer. :) 

Hiking at Donner's Pass with friends

Beautiful view of Donner's Lake from Donner's Pass.

Going to the river with friends....a great way to cool off during the hot summer days.

Visiting family was a highlight for are all of us cousins except one.

We were able to take a trip to Fountainview Academy to see my cousin Shiana graduate :) 
Just this last weekend I went on a backpacking trip--absolutely one of my favorite things to do! We ended up going to Grouse Ridge--so beautiful there!

Getting ready to hit the trail

View from the parking lot.

Let's do this! :) 

Our campsite...

Most of us hammocked....much more comfortable sleeping suspended than on the ground :) 

The lake we camped was so clear and so jumping out of the water, and in the morning the sun would sparkle on the ripples.

Despite being so dry here in CA, where we were there were so many beautiful flowers.

Sabbath we climbed up the mountain on the other side of the lake

The views at the top were amazing

We brought our hammocks up there and had church

View of Glacier Lake

Alpine flowers

A pot full of ramen! Paige was able to fit 5 packages in that small pot. :) 

Trying to roast mini marshmallows....

We went cross country most of the way back. I love going cross-country because you can see so much more. We came upon this hillside full of beautiful flowers and lots of butterflies.

Making our way to a lake (cross-country)

And we made it. We ate lunch and then headed home.
This last trip was especially my favorite. I was continually awed by how beautiful it was up there at Grouse Ridge. The clear blue lake, the beautiful flowers, the majestic mountains--continually reminded me how God has placed everything there for our enjoyment. I will never tire of spending time out in the wilderness away from the rush of life!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

An Amazon Adventure

We are safely back from Brazil! I'm so glad I had the opportunity to serve in the Amazon!

Day 1: San Francisco

We left from San Francisco airport on May 9. It was a night flight, and in the morning we arrived in Panama City. We had an 6 or 7 hour layover, and so we went and saw the Panama Canal.

Day 2: Panama Canal

It has been a year since I was in Panama!--and I never thought I would be back there again! A bus picked our group of 30 up from the airport and we went straight to the canal. We were only able to spend a short time there, but it was still fun being able to see the boats going through.

Panama City

Panama Canal
Around 9:30 pm we arrived in Manaus, Brazil. From there we pick up our bags and loaded everything on a bus. We drove the 45 minutes to the base where our boat was. When we got to the river, the boat was waiting for us! It was so exciting. It was a two story boat, and the only way to get on was a narrow plank going up the side of the boat. 

We all boarded and found where we would set up our hammocks. Most everyone slept upstairs, side by side. The boat immediately started traveling down the river to the first village. One funny thing happened that night too. I kept waking up to my hammock swinging violently back and forth. I couldn't figure out what was happening. Finally, I sat up, and looked around and noticed that everyone's hammocks were doing the same. Everyone started waking up, and we all started laughing. All you could do was just let your hammock swing and keep bumping into everyone else--there was no way to stop it!!  We must have hit some big waves from the cargo ships that caused that. 

Hammock village

Day 3: Traveling

It took us 36 hours of boat travel to reach the first village. The first day of travel we organized all of our luggage and enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

Morning worship on the boat

Luggage of 30 people 

The kitchen! :)

 Day 4: The First Village!

We finally reached our first village! This village is an indigenous tribe that no mission groups had been to before. We spent 4 days at this village.

When we arrived, we first had a tour of the village, and then we had health lectures for both the adults and the children. I helped with the children. We taught them basic hygiene principles, like how to brush teeth, and why they should clean their hair everyday.

Getting to know the children

How to brush your teeth :)  Most of the kids did not know Portuguese, and therefore we had to have two translators

Precious kids!

They all lined up and we helped them brush their teeth

We also did lice treatments and shampooed the kids hair

Day 5: Meeting Them Where They Are

The main purpose of our visit to this village was so that the people would be more open to missionaries in the future, and gain confidence in them. There is a small Adventist presence in this village, and there are two full time missionaries that live there, but many still need to hear the gospel. So, in this village, we met the people where they were.

We were divided into groups. This particular day I helped with medical and dental. We had a doctor with us, and he was able to perform some small surgeries as well. There was also a lot of dental work that the people wanted.

The other group painted houses and roofs!...And maybe having a little too much fun with it too! :)

Each night we also had some meetings with music and a short talk. 

 Day 6: Sabbath

Church service
 Sabbath afternoon we did a health expo for the villagers. I helped with the kids expo, talking about the importance of proper nutrition.

Having fun! :) 

Day 7: Painting, painting, and...More Painting

Sunday we had a continuation of medical and dental, but this time I helped with painting. We had to paint by hand the inside and outside of the house. Despite the heat and humidity, we had lots of fun. When we were painting the inside of the house, we found some cockroaches, as well as huge spiders, some as big as a sand dollar. It was kind of funny because all of us would run away from those whenever we saw them, and then we would turn around and see the village kids smashing them with their hands....yikes!!

It was a blessing to be able to help with the small and seemingly unimportant aspects of their life--even painting houses. The villagers were completely capable of painting their own houses, yet I believe that just the fact that we were there and cared about even the color of their house made a huge impact on them. I would do it again any day--even by hand! :)

Spencer, Elias, Katie, & me....painting away!

Day 8: Traveling again

We left early Monday morning and starting traveling. We were originally planning to go to another village and do some more medical work for them, but apparently that particular village had a large Catholic presence, and they decided that we were not welcome. The coordinators of the trip that were with us decided to give us a day off, and stop somewhere along the river and let us swim. 

The beautiful Amazon River

Where we stopped to swim

You may wonder if it was safe to swim there. Yes, it was! There are over 1000 tributaries that are a part of the Amazon river, and not all of them have dangerous animals or fish. This was one of those sections; all we had to look out for were stingrays, but apparently if you step in the water they will go away and won't come back until you are gone. The water was amazing.

We also did laundry when we stopped, and so we had to hang it somewhere to dry :)
We arrived in the next village (that we were going to go to a little later that week) that afternoon after traveling a little more.  As soon as we arrived, they took us on a jungle tour. Because it was such a large group, we didn't really see any wildlife, but we did see butterflies, ants, and termites. :)

They also took us to the school they are building. We would help the next day with it's construction.

On the jungle walk

Sunset that night

Day 9: Medical, Dental, Health Expo, and Construction

It was a half day for the children's expo, which I helped with again. In the afternoon, everyone (except those with medical and dental) went to the school and helped with moving dirt. It was so hot, and literally, most of us had to take breaks very often in order to not get heat exhaustion. Some people had already gotten that from the morning construction work.

The work pretty much consisted of digging up the dirt around the school (by hand), putting it in wheel barrows, and hauling it into the school where it would become a part of the dirt floor. No back-hoes here!

Day 10: Last Village

In place of the village we weren't able to go to, we were invited to spend a day in another village. This village is mainly Christian, but they had never heard of Adventists before, so they were a little skeptical of us coming. We did a half day of health expos, and there was a full day of medical and dental. 

Children's expo

Adult health expo

That night Spencer did the sermon.  The pastor of the church there was a little nervous about our preaching there, but we assured them that we weren't there to push what we believe, but rather preach from the Bible. Spencer's sermon was perfect and definitely was led by God to preach what he did--on knowing God and what that really means. It was a blessing, and we were told afterwards that we would always be welcome in that village.

Day 11: Traveling back to the base

We left early in the morning and starting heading back to the base. We stopped halfway to drop off a missionary and organize which supplies he would take back with him. That took us about two hours. After that, we were on our way again. There wasn't anything pressing to do during that day, so I enjoyed spending time up at the front of the boat watching the birds, butterflies, and dolphins in the river. 

The sunset that night was beautiful. 

Enjoying nature together

A picture from a slow motion video I took that night. I had fun doing it. :) 

 Day 12: Arrival in Manaus

We arrived just before lunch time back to the base--and back to wifi! It was great getting in touch with our parents, taking showers from the well water, and repacking and getting ready to leave Sabbath night.

Day 13: Last Day There

Sabbath we went to the local church right by the base.  They actually had air conditioning in the church. I think I got used to the hotter weather though, because after a little while I got really cold. ;)

We had a Sabbath School panel about Weimar

Sabbath afternoon we had to get all of our things off the boat, as the boat needed to start another trip. We pretty much hung out at the base all day. Some people went on a hike and came back with a mama sloth and a baby sloth. That was the highlight of the day!!

We left Sabbath evening for Manaus. We first stopped at the mall where we had 30 minutes to find some souvenirs. It wasn't much time to really go shopping, but I found a few things.  After that, we stopped at a pizza place--the most awesome pizza place I have ever been too! You pay one price for as much pizza you can eat. Then you just sit down and let the pizza come!!! The waiters all walk around with different kinds of pizza, and if you see one that you want, just motion to them and they will give you a slice! It was awesome. They had some interesting combinations of pizza too--chocolate pizza, banana and cinnamon, caramel, and much more. 

Day 14: Going Home!

Our flight left at 3 in the morning, so from the pizza place the night before, we just headed straight to the airport. We traveled all that day, and finally arrived home!! 

One thing I have to mention before I close is about all the wildlife I saw--it was amazing! I saw pink dolphins, manatees, piranhas, Caiman (like crocodiles), iguanas (1.5-2 feet long), bright green lizards, parrots, parakeets, countless different butterflies, a snake swimming across the river, and many different kinds of birds.

It was such a blessing to be able to serve in the Amazon! I hope I can go back there someday. The coordinators were telling us that there are 1000 tributaries of the Amazon River, yet Adventist presence is in only two of those tributaries. Some of the villages are many days away too, so they are harder to reach. I hope I can go back and share more of the love of Jesus with these people!