Voices: Around The World

V 2 H

 

We Are Family

by Rosendo Valdez

Once Jesus was outside talking to people and suddenly his mother and his disciples appeared. After sometime the crowd noticed that his family was around and they told him that they were waiting for him because they needed to talk to him. But instead of leaving the crowd to go to his family He stays and asks who His family actually is.

In Matthew12.50 Jesus says: ¨For whosever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.¨ There is  way more than just our bloodline which makes us a family. Through the body of Christ we are  one, one big family and everybody that lives for Christ belongs to that family. This means no matter where you are: North America, South America, Africa, Asia or Europe, you are always around your family through Jesus Christ.

Eine große Familie

Eines Tages sprach Jesus zu einer großen Menschenmenge und auf einmal kam seine Mutter und seine Jünger vorbei. Nach einiger Zeit bemerkte dies das Publikum und teilte ihm mit, dass seine Familie da ist und mit ihm sprechen möchte.Jedoch fragte Jesus die Menge, wer überhaupt seine Familie sei?

So antwortet er in Matthäus 12..20¨Denn wer tut, was mein Vater im Himmel will, der ist mein Bruder, meine Schwester und meine Mutter¨Es gibt viel mehr als nur deine Blutlinie, die du als deine Familie bezeichnen kannst, sondern deine Familie durch Jesus Christus, deinen Glauben. Durch Christus sind wir eine große Familie und jeder der dem Willen des Herrn nachkommt ist in dieser Familie. Deshalb ist es egal ob du in Nord Amerika, Süd Amerika, Afrika, Asien oder Europa bist, denn deine Familie ist immer ganz in der nähe, durch Gott.

 

rosendo Rosendo Valdez is from Germany and currently in the USA for an internship in New York that begins in the Fall. He is 19 and was part of the mission team that came to the USA in August.

 

Three Weddings In Two Weeks

Three Weddings In Two WeeksThis weekend officially ends my summer activities and commitments. And I go out with a great celebration! Three good friends of mine have gotten married in the last two weeks. Two of them, Nick Poole and Shane Vicry were former interns with Vision 2 Hear and the third, which I actually couldn’t attend 😦 was for former Board Member of Vision 2 Hear, Tony Lawson.

So as I wrap up the summer, here are a few things I learned from weddings this summer.

Family is number one priority.

There are very few things that bring people together anymore but thankfully we still have weddings! People travel from far and wide to be part of weddings and to celebrate with their loved ones as they begin this epic journey called marriage. Even though I am not “blood-related” (nor were many others), I logged a lot of miles (as did several others) to celebrate with my “sons” in the ministry. If things would have worked differently, I would have attended Tony’s wedding also because he’s a dear friend known to many as “Uncle Tony”. If there’s only one thing to take away from the wedding experiences this summer it’s a reminder that seeing family and being part of each other’s lives is paramount to the human experience. But I did learn a couple of other things too 🙂

 

Take advantage of the venue, area and travel.

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Traveling such long distances for things like weddings not only costs much but can require a fair amount of time. Building in an extra day of time to sight-see, or even rest and simply enjoy where you are is something I feel quite valuable and rewarding (as long as it’s not on a Monday in Dallas. It seems all museums are closed on Mondays!) Not quite sure what I could have seen in Williamsburg, KY haha but we could have had fun in the Sav-A-Lot parking lot I suppose. jkjk!

 

 

Enjoy reliving past stories and creating new ones.

From bachelor parties to rehearsal dinners, weddings are great events to relive great and meaningful stories from the past as well as create unforgettable memories for the future. The weddings I attended over the last couple of weeks were full of so many wonderful tales that have been told and retold for years now. But there were also some incredibly funny and touching stories created during these life events that I’ll not soon forget.

 

Say the words that need to be said.

It’s a given that certain people will make toasts to the bride and groom, parents will make speeches and the bridal party will share their thoughts, but even if you don’t fit into one of those categories, share your words, thoughts, feelings and support publicly and privately with the bride, groom and other close friends. As it’s seldom that we get together with this many people that we love and miss at a given point in time, take advantage of moments of vulnerability and transparency to say what is really in and on your heart. even though we expect the Bride and Groom to say “I do”, it’s a great time for you to reaffirm how much you love those in attendance as well.

I have much more to contemplate from this summer, but these were just quick and on my mind so I wanted to share them. Let me say a huge congratulations to Nick and Maribeth, Tony and Jenn and Shane and Maddie on their recent weddings. I love you guys and wish you the very best lives together as possible. Thanks for letting me be part of your families and I’m truly thankful to have you as a part of mine.

Sincerely,

George

Nick Poole and Maribeth Gillis

Nick Poole and Maribeth Gillis

Tony Lawson and Jenn Roof

Tony Lawson and Jenn Roof

 

Shane Vicry and Maddie Doucet

Shane Vicry and Maddie Doucet

 





Lent Questions Day 39

lent 2014

30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

What did Jesus mean when He said: “It is finished”?

 

With Easter one day away, how do you feel about your Lenten season? Will you finish well?

 

Is there anything which you have started that you did not complete?

 

How can you work on that?

 

What task is Christ desirous for you to complete?

 

As Lent ends tomorrow, what will you walk away thinking was the most memorable?

 

Was there anything extremely difficult about Lent for you? Anything easier?

 

What lesson will  you take from Lent this year that you feel is the most memorable or life-altering?

 

Lent Questions Day 38

lent 2014

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is,“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46

 

How have you felt abandoned? Alone? Desperate?

 

Where have you turned on those occasions? To whom or what have you looked to for peace, satisfaction, or relief?

 

Have you ever felt like God has turned His back on you?

 

Have you ever turned your back on God? Another?

 

How have you been crying out to God this Lent season? In what ways has God met you in your times of “abandonment”?

 

 

 

Lent Questions Day 37

lent 2014

26When Jesus saw his mother and his favorite disciple with her, he said to his mother, “This man is now your son.” 27Then he said to the disciple, “She is now your mother.” From then on, that disciple took her into his own home. John 19:26-27

 

What does this passage teach us about relationships?

 

How has Lent helped you in your relationships?

 

Do you feel that there are any relationships that need to change? Be strengthened?

 

What are your roles and responsibilities in your current relationships?

 

As Lent continues, how do you need to focus more time and energy in your relationship with Christ? Family? Friends?Those who need Christ?

Christmas Surprises: Luke 1: 39-40

christmas devotional thought

 

Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth.  Luke 1:339-40 The Message

Christmastime is filled with hurry and scurry but Mary did a different kind of hurrying. She didn’t rush about buying gifts, preparing a house for a newborn. She did a couple things  that we can heed as we look at this verse.

Don’t waste a minute!

With so much to do and so little time, we can get caught up doing things that don’t matter much, especially in light of eternity. Mary got the news from the angel and immediately made a few plans and acted on them. She realized how important time is with family and how important action is. During the holiday season, take advantage of the joyous occasion to visit family, sharing in the awesome wonder of the Christ Child. Don’t hurry about buying things without being together with those you love. We all know it’s not about the stuff so let’s make sure that we keep our focus on Christ and our loved ones. Use the holiday season to share love and create memories together that will far outlast the latest fad, toy or electronic device. Spend time with those you love. Don’t waste a minute!

Don’t get sidetracked!

The verse says Mary went “straight to Elizabeth’s house”. There is no doubt with all the Christmas parties, shopping, commercials, and gifts we can all be easily distracted. Mary’s direct line to her cousin’s house reveals that we must make a conscious effort to be with family and friends and loved ones during this time of the year. Traveling during the holiday rush can frustrate anyone, as can shopping, parties and the commercialism surrounding Christmas. But don’t get sidetracked by all of that. Stay focused on the One this is all about: Jesus. Celebrate Him with your loved ones and enjoy the journey together.

Tech Do’s and Don’ts

 

There is no doubt we are in an entirely different era of life. Smartphones, iPads and iPhones are seen in almost every hand, pocket or purse.  It’s nothing new to see kids texting at the table or hurrying through a meal to get back to their conversations online. But kids are not the only ones guilty of these relational faux pas. Parents are just as likely to be texting during times when connecting with their kids would be best. Whether it’s during “family time”, a sporting event or even church, adults and kids need to set some healthy boundaries for technology and relationships. May I offer a few do’s and don’ts for the school year and even life.

1) Designate a “tech free” time-out.

Technology is great for connecting with people who are distanced from us. However it can prevent us from connecting with people right in front of us! The tendency is to take the people closest to us for granted. Technology fools us into thinking that what’s happening somewhere else is more important or exciting than what’s going on right in front of us. Creating a tech free time-out for certain periods of the day can allow cultivation of personal familial relationships where each person can truly be focused. Setting aside morning times of 3o minutes for breakfast for quiet time, prayers, and connection with each other and God can be a wonderful way to start the day. Also, setting aside time at the dinner table, even if eating out, where technology is banned for the meal time can be a huge witness to others. Closing the day by requiring all phones and technology to be powered off by a certain time can also promote health within the family and allow for a good night’s sleep.

2) Designate a “tech free” zone.

These can be places like the kitchen table, church services, (I know some people have their Bibles on the technology but encourage old fashioned Bible carrying), and the car. All of these places are prime for connecting with each other in meaningful conversations. Technology can become a distraction if we are not careful and create spaces for people to cocoon and become lost for an entire journey “together”.

3) Determine to not allow technology  to prevent connection.

If you are in a room with people you really want to connect with and they are using their phones of tablets, send a text from your phone and simply convey that thought. Use the direct path and communicate that you desire face to face, eye to eye connection at this time. Sometimes the best way to fight a fire is with fire. Sending a simple text, or making a phone call to the person right beside you can be the gentle reminder without condemning.

4) Be consistent with what you ask and what you practice.

If you are going to require your children to use technology in certain ways you have to do the same. You have to pay attention, connect and communicate clearly. Technology is something we as adults feel like we “deserve” or need to do business etc. However, many kids can also feel cheated of their parent’s attention due to technology. It is imperative for the adults to set the right tone and example.

5) Don’t make technology the “bad guy”.

We all know that technology allows us to do so many things we were never able to do years ago. Practicing healthy boundaries and guidelines will only benefit us all the way around. Talk with your kids about the dangers of technology and the importance of safely using their phones, tablets and computers. Construct a family tech covenant that all can sign and honor. By adopting such practices, families and individuals are able to serve God without becoming slaves to technology.

 

 

George Lockhart is a full-time missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as youth pastor at new Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA.