Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lord over storms

Wind, waves and a legion of demons...what do they have in common?  We have been reading through the gospel of Luke lately.  This week we paused to chew on two of the stories in chapter 8.

The first has to do with Jesus and His disciples in a boat.  Jesus fell asleep and a windstorm kicked up enough steam to frighten His disciples.  They woke Him up in a panic (after all, the boat was taking on water and it didn't look or feel very safe).  Jesus woke up, rebuked the wind and the raging waters... all was calm. 

The second has to do with a demon possessed man...a naked man who lived among the tombs and was too tough to keep chained up, though attempts were made to keep him under guard.  This was a scary guy!  When Jesus stepped out of the boat, THIS man met him. "When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, 'What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!' For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man."  Jesus granted permission to Legion, the host of demons that had entered the man, to enter swine which promptly ran violently down into a lake a drowned.  Not long after, the townspeople gathered to find him sitting, clothed and in his right mind. Pretty cool.

But what do these two stories have in common?  The disciples' response to Jesus calming the storm was this: "And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, 'Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!'"  In the story of casting out Legion, we see this response: "Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear."

Storms can be scary. And though I personally have never been around a naked demon-possessed dude when visiting a cemetery, I can easily imagine that such a thing would be enough to freak me out. BUT Jesus has authority over it all.  The demons begged Jesus not to torment them...Jesus gave them permission to enter the swine...He is Lord.  As scary as storms and demons are, we need to fear Jesus.  Do we believe that?  Do we believe Jesus is the Lord over storms?  Jesus asked His disciples in the boat: "Where is your faith?" Indeed, where is OUR faith?  Whatever circumstances we are in, the Lord is sovereign over it and He is working it all for the good of those who call upon His name.  Tis His promise to us in Romans 8. 

I'm reminded of Jacob in Gen 42:36 who said: "You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me." Just like the disciples who depended upon their sight and feelings, Jacob thought "all these things are against me."  But we know the rest of the story...those things were NOT against Jacob (it only felt and looked like it)...God was working it all together to rescue not just Jacob, but his whole line.  And we know Jesus, the Lord over the storms.  So as we're tempted to rely on our sight and feelings in our present circumstances, let us be reminded to have faith in the ONE who is sovereign over every detail.  He is our ever present Help in time of trouble.  He is the Lord.  Let us marvel, and walk by faith.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Life after Korea

We have always been big pop corn is a Meyerdierk family trait...even our dog likes popcorn.  But since coming home from Korea, the kids insist on eating it with chopsticks.  I find this a little humorous :-).

MJ and I were at the store last week and needing to pick up a pizza we noticed one that was topped strangely.  I was going to pass it up and grab a tried-and-true variety when MJ said "let's try it...we're adventuresome now that we've gone to Korea."  We bought that one and everyone loved it.

It seems like all our names have changed at home...the girls, in particular, have been looking up the Korean terms for sister, mom, dad, etc and using them.  So if you come visit, be may come with one name and leave with another. 

Two weeks in Korea was a dream come true; a precious gift from God to us.  It has left its mark in our lives and continues to work its ripple effects into us in ways we are all still processing (on a little deeper, more profound level than how we eat our popcorn). 

For one example, this became our "theme song" while we were there (Mike and I were known to embarrass our children as we broke out into singing this on occassion, in public...we hope that secretly, behind their blushing cheeks, they were singing along):
Steven Curtis Chapman - The Great Adventure by StevenCurtisChapman-Official

We were on an adventure, but for us, it was more than a vacation/ was self-consciously an adventure in following our Father into the glorious unknown. He is our Father who has set us free from the prison of our sins, and who is taking us on a lifelong adventure of trusting His grace-laden direction of our lives. And though He is always the One in control, there we sensed it in such a heightened way as we were stripped of much of the illusion we ordinarily have of ourselves being in control.  Everything felt unknown, unfamiliar...and He was so evidently orchestrating every detail, loving us, leading us.  Now that we are back among the familiar, I want this theme of following Him into the glorious unknown to live on in me.  I don't want the familiar and the shackles of self-deception (that somehow I'm back in control) to muddy that intimacy that I tasted in a foreign land of trusting Him/depending upon Him/following Him wherever He leads.

Do you hear our Father?  Saddle up your horses...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Steps for Life 2013

 Eight children ages 5-12
approximately 260 sponsors
and an unknown # of prayer warriors

Team Goal: To raise $10,000 for the Pregnancy Resource Centers

What was raised by working together?  $8,846 (thanks be to God)

 As people gave what they could, 
be it little or much, it all added up. 


As the crowd of walkers gathered, 
it started out on the moist side, 
but our Heavenly Father gave the command to the clouds 
to stop raining.
The walk and the awards ceremony were dry. 
Thank You, Father :-)

Georgine Rice was the emcee this year.
Here is the Under His Wings team
receiving the top-fundraising team award.

"Under His Wings" with PRC CEO Larry Gadbaugh

They couldn't have done it with out each and every sponsor:
Thank you!

May God bring the day 
when the work of the PRC is no longer needed, 
but until that day,
 let us keep working together
 to stand up for the lives He has made in His image. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Can Do" Part Two

One year later, I am thrilled to be able to write Part 2 to the Can Do post I wrote in April of last year...

Pulling out the sharpies, we all decorated our travel towels...because God opened doors and we, by His enabling grace and provision, walked through them and found ourselves in Korea for 2 weeks.  MJ chose to include some verses on her towel.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" is a great introduction today, for all of the doing on our part can only be done in the strength God provides.  From first to last, we are His workmanship.  And to Him belong all glory and praise!

With bags packed, we boarded our first flight at Portland International Airport.  With the daily threats from the North, many were concerned about us sticking with our plans.  We wrestled too, but as we prayed and sought counsel from a handful of trusted friends, we were strengthened in our resolve that God was calling us to go.  We want to be a family that serves the Living God, not our comforts or safety ultimately...when we were convinced and united that His call was to go, we got on the plane. 

In Los Angeles, we had the added delight of getting to see our prayer-warrior friend, Barbara, who kindly came to hang out with us during our 3 hour layover.  Oh how good it was to see her again!

After about 24 hours of travel, we arrived at the Nieman's...our dear friends who became even more precious to us in the course of this trip.  They were amazing hosts, and we are overflowing with gratitude for their hospitality.   Here is a picture of our kids and theirs...since the first Can Do post started off with pigs, I thought it would be fun to include a piggie in this one too.

We all got to experience public transportation in just about every form on this trip...we piled into taxis, hopped onto subways (sometimes with plenty of room, sometimes crowded body-to-body), enjoyed the smooth ride of a bullet train to Seoul and back to Busan, and rode on a variety of buses (our favorite bus was the open double decker that we took to tour of the many highlights of our trip!).

God gave us the privilege of visiting many places..too many to list and each with stories of their own, but here are a few highlights.  Scouring the internet for Busan's "places to see," the aquarium caught Bekah's eye (she is a bit of a marine biologist at heart).  None of us objected to witnessing the beauty of God's creatures there, nor did any of us mind riding the glass bottom boat above sharks and other critters.

While in Seoul, Mira took us to visit Gyeongbok Palace...a royal palace first constructed in 1395.  Most of us (Mike being the exception) had never seen anything so old.  Buildings in America just do not date back that far.  There was much to take in there!

The main reason for our trip to Seoul was to be able to visit Ilsan Center.  Our children were all adopted via Holt, an adoption agency with a God-glorifying history.  As a family, we have enjoyed reading the stories of Harry and Bertha Holt.  They are a part of our history and it was a dream come true for us to visit Ilsan where they are now buried after years of faithfulness to God in caring for orphans.  Their daughter, Molly Holt, lives there and has given her life to caring for "the least of these" for the glory of was an honor to meet her.  Knowing she is advanced in years and going through chemo treatments, we prayed that she would have strength to meet with us. We were told we wouldn't know until the day we arrived if she had sufficient energy, but the Lord gave strength and we were delighted to visit, albeit briefly. 

Also while in Seoul, we packed in a day of fun at is Korea's version of Disneyland-like amusement park.  The place is gargantuan, but we experienced all we could of it in one day.  Bekah (and Jesse and Leah) braved the world's steepest roller coaster, conquering fears and living to tell about it.  The rest of us were happy to greet them on the other side :-).  A few of us rode a camel which is just one of those things that makes it onto bucket lists, but I didn't really think I'd ever get to cross it off of one.

We got to try many new-to-us foods...and yes, we took off shoes, sat on floors, and ate with chop sticks :-)

The details of the trip are still being processed by my feeble brain...the beauty of the multi-faceted architecture and color everywhere, the faces of all the people we came across, the variety of foods to try, places to experience, and so much more.  God orchestrated the whole thing, and the details came together in ways I NEVER could have planned if left to me, but He did and we are thankful.  He humbled us through the generosity and kindness of others.  He challenged us and encouraged us through His people...people He took us to the other side of the world to meet from Denmark and Canada and Nigeria, etc. This family from Washington had us into their home and shared their heart for reaching the lost for Christ (crazy, eh? Though they live in Korea now, they are from right across the river from us).  God wanted us to learn some things from them in terms of methodology, preparedness, and being very intentional.  In August, they plan to come this direction so Lord willing we will have the opportunity to have them into our home next round :-).

One of my favorite parts of the trip was getting to worship our gracious Redeemer with all who gathered at Antioch International Ministries; people from all over the world praising God with joy-filled unity.  We also got to participate in a few Bible studies (here is one that took place just before the service):
The second Sunday we were there, many from AIM headed down to the beach to converse with people about Jesus, and we were delighted to join them.  Here is Paul, trekking around with tracts in hand...we spent the day interacting with any God brought our way to share His love and truth. 

MJ is sitting in the window of the Tower of the Dragon, overlooking one segment of Busan.  Look at those tall buildings!  Buildings where soooooo many people work and live...people made in God's image...people He is calling to Himself just like He is here and all over the world because it is His pleasure that every knee bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.  Mira sweetly bought us all tshirts, and we will wear them gladly as we remember our trip and the lessons God taught us there.  We do love Korea.  Our Father made this whole world and it was a blessing to see another segment of His backyard. It was a blessing to see the country in which two of our children were birthed.  It was a blessing to see old friends and to meet new ones. It was a blessing beyond our ability to fully express, but I'm sure stories will bubble out over time.

If you want to see more pictures, you can go Here and Here