Thursday, March 26, 2009

God loves me more than I know...

Hey everyone, 

So over the last couple days I have been reading the book "Crazy Love" that my good friend Catherine sent to me before I left for China.  In the book the author Francis Chan helps the reader comprehend why and just how much our heavenly father loves us.  So much so that he considers it "Crazy Love".  I really like how he uses the word crazy to describe God's love for us because the word crazy means a couple different things.  Here are just a few,  insane and out of ones mind, devoted to and enthusiastic about.  The word love also has many different meanings but a few of them are affectionate, tender, warmth, intimacy, passion, and desire.  God is insanely devoted and enthusiastic about us while also passionately desiring for us to be close to Him.  Its hard for me to even fathom the depth of these words but then to think that they don't even grasp the slightest amount of how much God loves each of us, is far beyond my human thinking.  

If only I was able to never lose sight of this truth.  I wonder how much greater I would love the people around me.  How much more I would want and desire to be spending time with my savior just because I love Him.  How much more would I be willing to truly give Him my whole life and I mean truly my whole life.  Giving absolutely everything over to Him.  Then I begin to think about How much more the "church" as a whole would be able to spread the light of Christ if only we understood how much our God loves us.  How much more would we be willing to love those around us, including but not exclusively murderers, prostitutes, the homeless, the orphan, the widow, homosexuals, etc.  How much more would we be able to communicate how much God loves everyone and how he longs and desires to be intimate with each of us. 

Which brings me to this quote that was hard to read but rightfully put me in a place that broke down walls within my heart.   

"It is not scientific doubt, not atheism, not pantheism, not agnosticism, that in our day and in this land is likely to quench the light of the gospel.  It is proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious, church-going, hollow-hearted prosperity."  -Crazy Love 

This is the furthest from what I desire but the closest to what my life and the future of the church looks like when I/we forget how much our savior loves us.  I pray that God changes lives and hearts within the church, including mine.  I pray that as a body of believers we would come to understand just how much He loves us so that we may love others as Jesus did!

We love, because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

Love, 

JHart

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Crowded bus ride!!

Taking a 40 minute crazy crowded bus ride to walmart on the opposite side of Luoyang in hopes to find a fan.  No such luck, but an experience nonetheless! :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

kiddos and kites!!

Hey everyone,

So this week has been a whirlwind and I apologize for not updating more regularly.  I have sat down somewhere around 6 times to start writing a new blog and I become overwhelmed with the amount of information I want to share with you!!  I am going to do my best to make things as clear as possible but I will warn you that it might be a little scattered and hard to understand at times!!  And with that I will begin....

Last Monday, Michael took Chrissy and I bike shopping.  Buying a bike in China is pretty normal because people rarely own cars.  The streets are filled with walkers and bikers!  After searching for some time we caught a glimpse of two little bikes that would work perfect for the streets of Luoyang!  Chrissy bought a small little pink one and I bought the little yellow one!


Every Tuesday Michael teaches two english classes at the orphanage.  Although I don't do much except for stand around and watch, it is one of my favorite things to do because I love watching the kids get excited about something.  Michael does a great job by keeping the kids engaged by having fun and playing games.  

On Sunday, Chrissy, Michael, and I took 13 kids to the local river park to fly kites, walk around, and play games.  Then after about 2 hours at the park we took them to their favorite restaurant, KFC.  I had no idea that teenage girls could eat so much chicken!!  Anyways the kids had a blast, and I left feeling blessed beyond measure.  Although it is difficult to communicate with the kids, due to our lack of speaking and understanding Mandarin, I pray that God would use us to communicate that we love each of them and that God loves them far more than I will ever be able to!!

Chrissy and I have Mandarin lessons on Mon, Wed, and Fri, from 2:00 to 4:00.  I leave feeling encouraged and excited and then about 20 minutes later I realize I retained somewhere around 10% of what was taught.  Its exciting and frustrating all at the same time, but I am happy with the progress that has been made so far!!

Have I told you how much I enjoy Chinese food.  Well the other day we cooked in our apartment for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The next day I was craving Chinese food!!!  But,  I do miss things from the states!  Such has, yogurt, chips & salsa, cereal, and turkey lunch-meat!  Yesterday was the first day that Chrissy and I went out to eat by ourselves and ordered a meal.  I felt so accomplished that everything came out just as we ordered!!

I celebrate my birthday everyday in China, it's awesome!  Well actually, the garbage-man comes by around 6 and then 8 in the morning and guess what is blaring from his little truck!  Yep, the Happy Birthday song.  At first when he wakes me up I say something like, you have got to be kidding me, then I can't help but laugh because China is so random!


Alright I think that is all I can do today!  I need some more time to think through everything else that has gone on since arriving in Luoyang!!  I apologize for not having any pictures but for some reason blogger will not let me upload photos.  As soon as we figure out what's up I'll post some videos and some pictures!  

Love, 

Jhart!

  
  



 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ni hao from Luoyang!!

Ni hao everyone,

When I think about the last week I become overwhelmed with the events that have taken place.  Knowing that almost a week ago I was at home making my final “see you laters” and today I am sitting in my apartment in Luoyang, China writing this.  When we first arrived I was in shock.  I really never thought the day would come.  I was “preparing” for it and I knew I had made a commitment to God and the children, but truly I honestly never expected it to happen.  After my initial shock, I began to become inwardly irritable and slightly upset with my surroundings and why God had placed me here.  I mean it is not everyday that you use the toilet and instead of simply flushing your waste down, you actually fill a bucket up with water and pour it into the toilet hoping that it goes down and stays there, only to throw the paper used into a trash can sitting next to you because the drain system cannot handle it!  Adjusting to the smells of China has also been a doozy.  The worst part was that at first everything else smelt like China.  Now I find myself smelling like China!  But then God redirected me like He does so often and reminded me that I was selfish for thinking those thoughts.  Who am I to demand things from God?  I was reminded of how God responded to Job after he had lost almost everything except his own life, and after looking at the difficulties Job endured that’s probably the one thing he wanted to lose. 

 

Job 38: 4

 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding,

5 Who set its measurements? Since you know.  Or who stretched the line on it?

6 “On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone.

 

God continues to respond to Job in this manner for another 35 or so verses.  Saying Job, who the heck do you think you are?  Were you there when I made the earth, when I made you, when I created time, space, water, birds, fish, mountains, flowers, gravity?!  After taking a look at this passage it becomes clear to me that God did not create my life for me!  I am not here living on Earth to be comfortable or to bring myself glory.  I am not here to look good in the eyes of others.  I am here in this world for one purpose and that is to bring glory to God. When I reflect over the events of the past year it becomes very clear to me that God wants me here and was preparing me long before I even realized.  Although I am unsure of where and how God is going to lead me from here I am sure of one thing.  I am in Luoyang, China to love these kids with everything that I have.  To do my best to provide for them emotionally, mentally, and socially because God loves each of them more than I could ever imagine and He has called me to do the same. 


 1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us


In Christ,

JHart