“¡Hola!” de Nicaragua

Helloooo, dear readers!! I’m a little short on time, but I must tell you about this amazing time with our brothers and sisters in Nicaragua! Words cannot even begin to express this mission trip experience, so I’m hoping the pictures will help me out in this quick post…

IMG_0412The picture above is of Matagalpa- a city about 20 mins from where we are staying (Sébaco, Nicaragua).  You would not believe the hill/mountain that we had to drive up in order to get this view!  It was breath-taking…

calle This is a picture of a street in Sébaco.  All of the houses are so beautifully painted with bright colors!  Below is a picture of my new cat-friend named “Iman” (ee-mahn).  For the first view nights, I’ve been staying at this lovely home with some of the most-kind hearted and god-fearing people–Roger and Ana María.  They have been just like another family to Nick, and they have been so gracious in welcoming me into the family, as well.  Praise God for their hospitality and love.  I’ll write more about them later… 🙂

IMG_0290

IMG_0299This is an old church that sits on top of a big hill on the outskirts of Sébaco… so beautiful

IMG_0313This was our view when walking down the hill and back to the house.

IMG_0319

IMG_0356The streets in town are sooo busy and full of cars, bicycles, “moto-taxis”, and even bikes that have a covered bench constructed on the front to take passengers to their desired destination…

IMG_1654IMG_1652

In the picture below is our friend, Josue… He is precious!!! Nick and I have had so much fun playing with him and his brother, Rámer.

IMG_0462

IMG_0470While I wish I could write more, tomorrow is the big day!  Over one thousand people will be coming here tomorrow in order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of ACIBEN (Christian Association of Baptist Churches in Nicaragua).  It’s hard to imagine, but I cannot wait to see everyone coming to celebrate and give praises to the Lord our God for His provision and guidance of ACIBEN, the pastors, and even the church members.  Through baptisms, baby dedications, marriages, sermons, worship sessions, and a big lunch of rice, beans, and chicken, to God be the glory tomorrow and forever more!  Please be praying for Him to reveal even more truth about Himself through the words that the pastors have prepared, even for Nick as he translates tomorrow for our dear friend Kevin–the pastor at Crossbridge Christian Church in Senatobia, MS–who will be speaking tomorrow, also.

IMG_0466 - Version 2Even now, I write on behalf of both Nick and myself to say thank you for your thoughts and prayers for this trip to Nicaragua.  I’ll try to write again soon with more info about the trip and all that we’ve been doing, especially to give updates about how tomorrow goes!  Then after that, all of the training sessions for the pastors and the pastors’ wives will begin!  What a wonderful time that will be to study and drink deeply of the Scriptures with these fellow brothers and sisters of Christ’s body that stretches across all of the nations.  Until the next time I can write to you, please continue to pray for our hearts to continue growing with the desire to seek God and His kingdom first, and for His work to be done here on earth as it is in heaven…

***

“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known to his deeds among the peoples!  Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!  Seek the Lord and his strength continually!  Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

— Psalm 105: 1-6 —

***

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature

Quick Updates and prayer requests!

Wow!  What a busy year this has proved to be!  Once again, I am so sorry for my lack of writing.  The good Lord knows how I’ve truly missed it!  For this week though, I have some exciting updates and prayer requests that I would love to share with you before getting back to paper-writing, grading, etc…

1- My brother is getting married this weekend!  We are so excited for Brad and Jess 🙂  Please be praying for them as they prepare their hearts for the ceremony, an earthly display of the heavenly marriage of Jesus Christ and the Church!  Praise be to God that He has chosen to display his very own glory, even through earthen and broken vessels like you and me…  Isaiah 54:5

IMG_0462 - Version 2

2- I’ll be leaving to go to Nicaragua for my first ever mission trip in 3 WEEKS!!!! (Trip dates… November 27th-December 11th).  It’s been a loooooonnnnnnnggg time coming, but God has taught me so much, especially in regards to patience, waiting, and trusting HIS timing.  On this trip, I know that God will be teaching me so much about relying on Him, especially while translating and so much more.  Please be praying for me and the team that I’ll be going with as we celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and seek to spread the good news of the Gospel to even more…

To help raise money for the trip, I am selling t-shirts! Here’s a picture of the print…

Nica Shirt proof

159779 Front

 

T-Shirt specs:  light grey, crew-neck (we could potentially order a v-neck though), big navy graphic in the center of the front of the shirt, $15 for adult and $12 for youth

The translation of the Bible verse is:

“All of this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  Therefore, we do not lose heart…”

2 Corinthians 4:15-16

Please let me know if you are interested in buying a t-shirt!  If you so, you may send me an email at hollinger.sarah@yahoo.com or you the “Contact Me” page on this website.

3. Lastly, let’s continue to pray for God to increase our desires and longing for Him and His will… Proverbs 17:24 says, “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.” I just love that imagery of setting his face toward wisdom.  After all,

what’s the beginning of wisdom?

FEAR OF THE LORD

and what’s fear of the Lord?

a SECURE FORTRESS and “…a FOUNTAIN OF LIFE, that one may turn away from the snares of death” (Prov. 14:26-27)

As always, thanks for reading!  Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature

The woman of Bethany, you and me

What would you do for Jesus?

Before answering that question, picture this: After a long day of teaching and going about town, imagine Jesus and the disciples reclining at a table together.   Unannounced, a woman that heard where Jesus was enters the house and pours a bottle of perfumed ointment that cost 300 days of labor (300 denari) on Jesus’s head.

Let’s think about the cost of that bottle of ointment in this way… With minimum wage now at $7.25 /hr, a work day being 8 hr long, and multiply that by 300 days… For us, that would be similar to pouring $17,400* on Jesus’s head and “only” having his shiny hair to prove it!  No extra mouths were fed, no new ministries were started, no church fund for mission trips was increased, etc.

The disciples are in an outrage and scold the woman!  They talk of what they could have done for the poor with the cost of that bottle.  In their minds–and probably in ours too– her use of that precious and costly resource was not the most practical, effective, nor successful.   But here’s what Jesus said to the disciples, what he still says to you and me:

“Leave her alone.  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.  For you will always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them.  But you will not always have me.  She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.  And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:6-9).

For that lady in Bethany, Jesus was worth everything to her, and she did what she could with what she had.  She didn’t know God’s purpose for her actions at that time–that she was preparing Jesus’s body for burial.  On the other hand, she knew Jesus could heal the sick and feed the poor, and He didn’t need her money to do that.  In this way, her faith was simple, yet it was strong.  She brought him her heart, her devotion, and revealed her trust in God, knowing that He would provide for her needs and the needs of others.

The truth is that I’m still trying to understand that last verse…how wherever the Gospel is proclaimed throughout the whole, wide world–whether in the Amazon rainforest, a house church in Africa, a secret meeting in China, a classroom on a college campus in your state, or your family’s own dinner table–this woman’s actions are being told.  Maybe it deals with her part in preparing him for burial and then he was resurrected, or maybe it’s because of the love that she showed for him… But what is amazing to consider is this: faith in, hope of and love for Jesus will endure beyond our actions, even beyond our name.  We never learn the name of that lady in Bethany.  But even 2,000 years later, we hear of her outrageous love for Jesus and know that it’s being multiplied throughout the Body of Christ as more and more with that same, radical love for Jesus spread the Gospel across the globe.

So my question today is this:  How does the story of the lady in Bethany (Mark 14:3-9, Matthew 26:2-5) affect you and me today?  Knowing what Jesus thought of that woman’s actions, what do we think he would say about our actions?  Lastly and most importantly, what is Jesus worth to you and to me and how does His worth in our lives compel us to live?

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature

 

 

NOTES:

*(that’s not actually what 300 denari would cost today, but it’s just a comparative term…)

hands to the plow

Imagine standing in front of wooded land.  The underbrush is thick where a path has yet to be made.  Imagine a foreman handing you a fine, wooden shovel, and saying, “Alright, you know what to do.  Get to work!”  What is this work that he’s talking about?

Just a day earlier you saw an ad in the newspaper looking for workers to come out to the nearby wildlife refuge and make hiking and scenic trails throughout the park.  You yourself love to visit that park and figured that helping out with the new trails would be a great way to “give back.”  But now that you’ve seen the work at hand–the very hard, grueling, back-breaking work that will cost a sacrifice rather than pay you with immediate pleasures–, what do you do?

***

“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

To another he said, “Follow me.”

But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”

And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead.  But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 9:57-62

from: http://yesteryearsnews.wordpress.com/category/prairie-life/

When asked who he was–if he was Elijah, the Prophet, or even the Christ–John the Baptist responded, “I am the voice of one crying out, ‘In the wilderness make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:19-23, Isaiah 40:3)….

Are we making straight the way of the Lord?  Are we working, even toiling for the spreading of his glory and fame?  And if Jesus came up to you and me today and said, “Here’s the cost of being my disciple and the work and sacrifice that’s at hand…  Come and follow me.”  What would we say to him?  Would we drop everything… EVERYTHING…to follow him?  Would we glance back at all that we thought before were gifts of blessings and favor?  Or would the promise of his presence and a life spent for him be of surpassing worth, enough to spur our feet forward and to set our hands to the plow?