What if “Feeding the 5,000” Didn’t Happen that Way?

I’ve recently been reading in the New Testament book of Mark in my Bible. The other day I read the classic story of when Jesus feeds the 5,000 men + women and children with only five loaves of bread and two fish.

MARK 6: 30-44,

“The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. Continue reading

Bucket List: Ice Fishing

I wish I had more opportunities to go fishing, hunting and camping. I love those things, but I rarely get to do them! It has always been on my bucket list to go fishing and to eat our catch that same day – the freshest fish ever possible. Although I did catch fish while ice fishing – we didn’t exactly eat “my catch” because I caught Tullibee instead of some Wall-Eye… but that’s a minor detail 🙂  A couple people from my church offered to lead an ice fishing day trip to a lake roughly an hour out of the city for who ever wanted to come. Without giving it a second thought I counted myself apart of the fishing party! My Dad and my little brother also went on the day trip. One of my New Years Resolutions this year was to check one thing off of my Bucket List every month – This was the perfect opportunity because not only were my odds good but the more people that fished, the more fish there would be to eat later! Continue reading

Be Teachable.

I’ve always found the month of January to be the month of evaluation. That might be considered “late” to some people, because I think most people make December their month of evaluation considering that it’s right before the new year actually begins… but I like Christmas too much to do that 🙂 One of my New Years Resolutions this year was to be consistent and read my Bible and devotional book everyday. It’s always been my goal to do so, but this year I’m wanting to read them intentionally; praying before hand that the Lord would open my heart and eyes to help me dive deeper into my faith during my time with Him. Continue reading

Who knew a book would go so far…

I recently went through all of the photos I collected while I was in Rio during the summer. I’ll confess that I’m totally a photo album person. When I was little, I would print out photos, cut them into shapes and collage them into books with really cool stickers and fun paper; the whole shebang. Buuuuut now I go online and create books because they turn out way nicer than the ones I used to make… anyways, my photo album is ordered and on it’s way to me *Happy Dance* While going through all the pictures, I was reminded of more stories and miracles that happened in Rio! I hope you don’t mind yet another post 😉

1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. “

On our first day on the streets of Rio, my sister Andra and I got the opportunity to talk with several young adults that were from all over the U.K. one girl was from England, two guys were from Ireland, another two from Germany and Scotland. It was super cool having so many countries standing in one conversation in Brazil! Anyways, this group was the first group my sister and I encountered; we were nervous and didn’t really know what to say. I’ve realized that before the first conversation you have about Jesus is always the one Devil puts up his greatest fight – because if you survive the first, the second and third come easier. Before you know it, you forget what you were originally afraid of! As we approached them I prayed that God would simply give Andra and I the courage to be real, the peace to be calm and the strength to be honest. Have you ever heard of the bread crumb theory? In a conversation, make a comment about God; going to church, your faith – whatever, say something in reference to Christ. If the person you are talking to comments or asks about it, make another small comment. When they ask and the conversation grows talk more and more about Jesus – not shoving the entire loaf of bread down someone’s throat; one slice at a time. You know?

Rio 1We told the group that we were from Canada and we were handing out these booklets to the people we met. “You came all the way from Canada to hand these out? Why??” the guy from Germany asked.

“We came with a group from our church to hand them out to the people we meet from all over the world!” First bread crumb.

“Why would you two come all the way from Canada to give us this? Which church are you from?” They ate it.

“‘We are here with 50+ other Christians from all over the world here in Rio to share Jesus to the people we get to talk to! It’s been so cool to see how many countries are represented here in Rio!” Second bread crumb.

“Why would you want to travel so far to tell people about God and hand out these books?” They ate it again.

So Andra and I began to explain our relationship with Jesus. We told them the story of creation and when sin first entered the world. “God sent His Son Jesus Christ to save the world He created from sin that will lead to death. For us to be saved from death, we must trust Jesus and live our life for Him instead of for ourselves…” As we continued to explain the gospel and salvation the group was listening and asking questions that allowed me to process why I was here. It was as if God was interviewing my sister and I through these young adults’ questions: Payton why are you here? Why do you want to tell others about ME? Why do they need ME? What have I done in your life? I had so much peace as I poured my life to these people. Andra shared her story about how Jesus has helped her in her depression. My sister and I shared about how all of us have sinned and need God, we shared about heaven and hell, about Jesus grace and mercy; after talking for nearly half an hour, one of them said, “You know, I think it’s cool how you both came all this way to share your faith. But just because Jesus works for you, doesn’t mean He will work for me. I think you telling me how Jesus has helped you in specific areas of your life – like depression and stress, helps me to connect with you and wants me to learn more about God. But when you come to me telling me that I’m sinful and going to Hell; I don’t want to listen to you. You should share more about how Jesus Christ helped you instead of Hell.” And with that, we split ways.

If you think of it, please pray for these young adults we talked to! God gave Andra and I 30 minutes to share Him and who knows where they ended up, but God can work through the booklet we gave them, and the conversation we had. Words can ring for years if they spoke to you. It was discouraging watching them walk away but my heart was encouraged because I saw how God used our encounter with that group to lift our spirits to press on and continue to share Him! With our first conversation on the streets being to grounding, I was excited to watch and see how God’s Hand would move during the rest of our time in Rio!

Rio 3A couple days later, another group from our missions team was at Copacabana Beach. Soldiers were everywhere in Rio. Almost every 20 feet were four soldiers with loaded machine guns. Being from Canada; where firearms are thankfully illegal, it was a bit unnerving to see so many firearms. As the team spread the gospel and handed out booklets to every one on the boardwalk they had opportunities to talk about the gospel, creation and salvation with people. After one conversation, my friend noticed that the guard he was near kept watching him after his conversation with someone else on the boardwalk. We had been told before going out not to approach the soldiers because they were on high alert and a stranger with a big backpack would not be the brightest idea. As my friend went about the boardwalk, this guard kept watching him! A few minutes later, the soldier left his post and approached my friend. He motioned for a book, said thank you, and returned to his post. My friend was in shock. Moments later, the guard went up to him again and asked for three more booklets for the other guards at his post; they all wanted one, but didn’t want to leave their post to get it! It was incredible to watch the power of God work in areas we could not!

Rio 2

One last story! When my team and I were at Copacabana Beach, it was hot and beautiful and packed with people! I don’t think I had ever seen so many bodies in one place at once! I realized what immigrants in Canada were saying when they said there is so much space back home! Anyways, it had been a long and exhausting day, my team and I were running out of books when suddenly a woman ran up to one of the guys on our team, “Here! I don’t need this” she said, as she handed a booklet back to him. It was discouraging to see her going to the effort of returning the book. As he tried to encourage her to hold on to the book and maybe pass it on to a friend or family member, she said, “No! Someone gave me this book yesterday. I went home and I read it. I became a Christian!! This book saved my life! I want to give it back to you so that God can save another life!” I was dumbfounded. Sometimes we underestimate the power of God’s Word. He does not need our words. God uses us to get His Word to those He has hand picked for His kingdom!!

Praise God with me for the work God did in Rio, is continuing to do in Rio and all that is still to happen in Rio! I will be the first to confess that I was one of those people to not believe that tracks and bible booklets were effective for Christ’s kingdom. But God opened my eyes to humble me; having that lady come back and share her story made me remember and realize the reality of Ephesians 3:21-22, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” I am thankful for the time I had in Rio and the opportunity the Lord gave me to be used and watch His work unfold! God is still moving people! Stay close to Him and He will show you and open your eyes to see!

 

– Stay Satisfied

I AM is with Us Where Ever We Go!

I have been home from Rio for over a month now – I am so sorry for not posting this sooner! It’s sad how the devil can distract us with other shiny things on the side to prevent us from sharing God’s glory and all that He has done! There’s so much I am excited to tell about my time in Rio; for this post I’m going to focus on what God taught me in Rio and how it’s changed my life since coming home! God enforced one lesson in my life and taught me a new lesson to focus on. He enforced stopping to smell the roses in the world Christ has created and He taught me how to be bold and transparent about my faith in Jesus. I was incredibly excited to experience another part of the world for the Lord.

BooksI love to travel and I want to travel as much of the world as I can, so traveling with a purpose other than fulfilling my own desires was incredibly satisfying and made the trip more valuable. I want to continue to travel with a purpose for Christ everywhere I go in the world! While we were there, other missionaries encouraged us to “stop and smell the roses” – to enjoy Rio while we served the Lord. I loved the reassurance that gave me: God wants our work for Him to be joyful and uplifting, not a chore or something we dread! On our travels there, I was at war with myself, “How was I going to be able to be a witness for Christ and be completely focused on doing this for God and not being distracted with the people, places and things of Rio?!” But the Lord gave me so much peace. “I have made this world for my glory Payton – and I want you to find a balance between enjoying what I have created for you and being my light. Remember I want you to be IN this world – not OF it.” It was exciting to explore the streets of Rio while sharing the gospel with everyone we encountered and tell other people my story with Jesus. There were 14 people on our witnessing team: 12 of us were from my church and then we had 2 wonderful missionary translators that were looking forward to not only guiding us through the city but giving us the opportunities to experience Rio; the people, the tourist points, the food – they wanted to share their culture with us and I was ecstatic! I loved getting to meet people and hear their story.

Prayer

“Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”    -Mark 16:15

streets 3

The greatest challenge for me, was the language barrier; it was more of a factor than I thought it would be. However, I truly believe that what the devil meant for bad, the Lord planned for good! Speaking only English forced me to be creative with how I shared my faith with the people there. Not knowing Portuguese also gave God so much room for His Hand to work and I got to watch it all happen! I knew that nothing was from what I said or did – because I could say or do much! I know I had asked for prayer in this area, but it was humbling learning that I am merely a vessel and that the Lord does not need me; He WANTS to use me and include me in His glorious plan. I was encouraged by my pastor that even though we may not get that exciting conversation every day; God’s Word speaks so much more than our own word. His Word is passed on and read and reread vs. our word floats away in the wind. I was reminded that God defends and spreads His word and that as long as I am getting it into the hands of the people – God will use it! One day, when my sister Andra and I were at the Olympic Boulevard handing out the gospel and making ourselves available to be used by Christ with our team we met a Brazilian lady named Sonia. She had just a touch of English; the three of us ended up playing a 45 minute game of charades to try and have a conversation. As we talked.. or acted.. Sonia told us how lonely she had been because she has no family near her and her husband travels a lot for work. As she conveyed her sadness my heart was pounding in my chest – Sonia NEEDS to hear about Jesus!!! I prayed asking God to send out translator back our way for that just maybe we could tell her about the love and grace she could have in Jesus! As our game of charades continued, our translator; Cynthia came along!! Andra quick explained our situation and how we have been trying to tell Sonia about Jesus’ love. So Cynthia talked to Sonia in Portuguese for us and told her about Jesus for Andra and I. A moment later, Sonia’s face lit up with excitement, “I KNOW JESUS!!” I was shocked. We talked more, turns out that Sonia is also a missionary for Jesus and her husband goes back to raise support for their missions work while she holds down the fort at home in Brazil! I could not believe it. Sonia then explained that she just felt the Lord telling her to come and talk to my sister and I. We prayed together, exchanged contact information. God had all of us there to encourage each other to stay strong and to continue spreading God’s seed. My heart was so full that not only was God looking out for His lost sheep, but also encouraging His sheep to press on.

Streets 1Since coming back from Rio, the Lord has shown me that I have no excuses here in Canada: I can speak the language, I understand the culture, I know the city, etc. While in Rio I learned how blessed I am to not be bound by language, culture, currency, etc. I have the freedom and knowledge in Canada to share the gospel and Jesus’ name far and wide! Being home now, I am challenged to continue to be bold about my faith and be open and willing to share and create opportunities to share Christ – not wait for them to land on my lap! Since coming back home I have had several situations where I was able to share my faith and pass on extra English booklets that I took home from the Olympics! The first weekend I was home, my family and I put on a garage sale. As people came and went through out the day, there was one man that came by that I felt the Lord putting on my heart. As I talked to him he told me that he was from originally from Chile and had moved to Canada a couple years ago – as we talked more we found out that we were both in Rio during the Olympics!! He told me the events he went to and asked which once I saw… Immediately I heard God encourage me, “Be bold Payton!” So I told the man all about sharing Jesus on the streets and gave him one of the extra booklets that I had brought back from Rio. I have no idea what God will do, all I know is that Jesus gave me ground to scatter seed. I am so blessed to share my experiences with other followers of Jesus and encourage them to also be bold and spread the good news. We are to be farmers for Jesus scattering seed everywhere we go – no worrying about the ground it falls on. I am excited that God is continuing to use me and I can’t wait to watch and see how His Holy Spirit continues to work in my home town!

 

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

Some people told me not to go to college… look at me now…

If you would have told me two years ago that I’d move to a tiny little town, to live with a family I had never met before to jump into a program I wasn’t even sure I was good at – I probably would have looked at you, said nothing and turned on my heel to walk away. There would have been a whole lotta “nopes” from me. I’ll be the first one to admit that change and I are not BFF’s – I literally buy the identical toothbrush from Walmart every time I need a new one. However, God made it clear that I was supposed to take Him up on His offer and move to Alberta for school. At one point I had already been accepted into a design school in Vancouver; I was going to be moving back out to the coast where my girl friends are and we’d have so much fun *Happy Dance* But God was the one who had a whole lotta nopes for that plan. He made Alberta so clear – until I had people telling me that I shouldn’t be attending a “secular” college. It was weird to have this feedback from people I talked to a lot. I heard almost all of the excuses, “You’re not strong enough in your faith to attend a secular school…” “You’re going to get caught up in the drugs and party life out there.” “You don’t even know anyone going with you!” “You’re not going to have any Christian friends to keep you accountable at a secular college.”

“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

– Jeremiah 32:27

Trust me, the list goes on. But I knew that God had already made it clear that I was to go. I remember when I first moved out to this town; it was not easy. I had to learn a new place, meet new people, understand a new program and try to make friends. But God showed me that He was with me right from the beginning: I literally had hiking trails in the backyard, I moved in with a phenomenal, God fearing family, my class was hilarious and my teachers were fabulous. Despite all of these awesome things, my heart was still longing for something familiar’ I was running through the trails and talking to God about all of these mixed emotions, “God I don’t know how I am going to get through two years of this.” Immediately He gave me a verse.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” – James 1:2-3

When God put that verse on my heart, I knew it was His way of confirming that I had not started an easy path – it would be difficult and I would get hurt. But it will be great and I will walk out stronger after! Sometimes the Lord does not guide us down paths that are lined with daisies and full of sunshine. Quite often He’ll ask us to walk places that scare us and stress us out – but those are the paths that force us to seek Him. Those are the paths that strengthen you. I want to thank the people that discouraged me to take the path I did; the people that said I wouldn’t survive a college life. I knew the road would not be easy but what was meant to discourage me; God meant it for good. {Genesis 50:20}

Guys – as Children of God, we CANNOT stay in a Christian bubble. I don’t care how comfortable you are or how scary you may think it is to be out in the “big bad world”. The Lord did NOT give you grace so that you could keep it to yourself. As people that have been born again into God’s forgiveness, He commanded us in Mark 16:15, “”Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” When God reveals something to you, it is meant to be shared and passed on! Not kept to yourself where it won’t continue to encourage others! We cannot hide in a Christian bubble and expect to make an impact on the world for the Lord’s kingdom.While at a “secular”, “non-Christian” school, God has given me countless opportunities to be a witness for Him. There were times where God was able to use me and there were other times where God had to teach me. I did not hit the mark every time. But I do not want to meet God one day and be like the servant that did nothing with their talents. Matthew 25:15-27, “To one servant, the Master gave five talents, to another servant, two talents, to another servant a single talent; each according to his ability. Then the Master went away. The servant who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. The servant who had the two talents made two talents more. But the servant who had received the one talent, went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The servant who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And the servant who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ The servant who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, “Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.” Guys, I don’t want to be that last servant – and neither do you!

Melting Forest

I believe that God will finish what He calls you to. I know this because me graduating from a “secular” college is proof of that. A lot of people told me that my faith was not strong enough to make it through college. I’ve got news for you: God’s strength is our measuring stick – not our own strength. If anything, having a “weak faith” and STILL coming out hand in hand with my savior Jesus, gives Him even more glory. Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength”. I believe that we don’t need to survive on our own strength. A lot of people questioned whether or not I’d have accountability. I believe that my accountability comes from everyone around me – not just from Christians. Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see Jesus in you and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” In fact, by being with people that don’t know about Jesus, I was kept more accountable because no one was correcting me. We have to keep our hearts in tune with Jesus to decipher between more than 50 shades of grey; to know what’s black and what’s white. Allow the Bible – God’s Word to be your accountability partner! Listen, Spring is a season of change (obviously my least favorite). I wanna ask you, is God giving you an opportunity to be a light for Him? Is there a crew of friends that don’t know the Lord that you could be spending time with and sharing Christ’s love? Are you praying for those around you? Are you diving into a new job or spring/ summer classes that you’ll be surrounded by people that might not know Jesus? I’m not suggesting that you run into these opportunities with New Testaments to shove down people’s throats – I’m saying be a light; be a witness. Let those people see by your actions who Christ is! And if they can’t see Jesus in you… then you’ve got bigger questions you need to ask yourself… Are you running away from opportunities to share God with others? Are you too scared to “stain” your “oh-so-pure-self”? A friend gave me a quote the other day, he said, “Light can only pass through what is transparent and what is cracked. God is the Light in us. We are to live our lives transparently and when we mess up and crack, people should be able to see Jesus shining through it.” Guys, we are not perfect. As Children of God, we are going to mess up because we are 100% human. But I want to encourage you to go. To go out and be a light for Christ. Don’t bury your talents and be like the third servant. I want Jesus to be able to say, “Well done – Good and FAITHFUL Servant” when we all get there. Last weekend I was praying with a friend; I was telling her some of my struggles and concerns about finishing school and she gave me a verse.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” – James 1:2-3

God finished this journey exactly how He started it two years ago. That struck a chord with me. I think God was reminding me about how far He has brought me. Reminding me to remember the past because He has brought me where I currently am; but to look forward to the future knowing that He will meet me there and take me further.

 

 

– Stay Satisfied

 

 

Jumping into darkness…

Red Rock StandI have no idea where I will be in my life in six months. I can’t decide whether or not I should love this feeling or dread it. I am a person that has always had a rough idea; a plan A and a backup plan B. For years I have always had a hunch on what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I wanted to go about doing something. I knew that when I finished high school I would go to Bible school on an island in BC. I knew that when I finished Bible school, my boss had a job for me to jump back into and I would work for a year. I knew after my gap year I would move away and go to school where I would study Interior Design. I know that when I finish school I am to go on a missions trip with my church to Brazil that God told me I would go on four years ago. As of now, I have less than two months left of school and there are 152 days until I fly to Brazil to share the gospel with the people there. So in roughly 175 days I’m clueless. Mmmmk I know I’m being dramatic about this – but still. After a student graduates, they are supposed to be grown up and ready to join the rest of the world and be responsible. That scares me.

I know I’m not the only one that feels this way in life. I know there are millions of people that have been in this situation too at some point in their life. Actually, at church the other day a friend of mine was speaking. She was a full time missionary to Africa; after living there for 39 years, the Lord called her to retire because He has new work for her here in Canada. Anyways, she was sharing about her experience in Africa and leaving for good, “You know those trapeze people in a circus? They are super high up on a small platform, they jump out into the darkness where they know a bar will swing just in time for them to grab onto and take them to the next platform. I feel like one of those people right now.  I feel like I have just jumped off my platform where I knew it was safe and what I was doing. Now I am flying in midair hoping for that bar to come my way. I have no idea what the bar looks like and I have no idea where it will take me. But I know it’s coming – and like the trapeze artist; I have to be ready and watching for it.” She took the words and feeling out of my body – that’s exactly how I feel right now. I feel like I’m bracing myself to jump into the darkness.

Red RockI’ve obviously been thinking about this for a little while now. I know this because God gave me a “Stop panicking letter” Seriously. He did. It was in my mailbox at church. A small note that read, “Psalm 32:8, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.'” Two minutes before I read His note, I was literally venting to a friend at church about my “problem”. I also had to laugh because I felt this note was God’s way of telling me to shut up. My devotional book the other day said something similar, “KEEP YOUR EYES ON ME! As your circumstances consume more and more of your attention, you are losing sight of Me. Yet I am with you always, holding you by your right hand. I am fully aware of your situation. Your gravest danger is worrying about tomorrow. If you try to carry tomorrow’s burdens today, you will stagger under the load and eventually fall flat! You must discipline yourself to live within the boundaries of today. It is in the present moment that I walk close to you; helping you carry your burdens.Keep your focus on My Presence in the present. Let the future unfold and worry about itself.”

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.”    – Psalm 73:23

Guys, I have not figured out what will happen in a couple months… but I’m getting the feeling that God is wanting me to simply lean back and ride the river. I want to encourage you to do the same. School is coming to an end and maybe you’re in the same place as I am. Or things at work could be completely changing, or maybe you have to move and you have no idea who you will even be able to call “friends”. God says that He knows each and every one of our situations and He cares. He knows how they will pan out. Don’t stress. I’m going to try my best to let go and see what happens. Quite often, God has something much better planned than anything we could work up.

Red Rock Edge

 

– Stay Satisfied