such were some of you…

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

 

how beautiful is this Truth.  and such WERE some of you! but you were WASHED, SANCTIFIED, JUSTIFIED, in the name of the LORD JESUS CHRIST and by the SPIRIT OF OUR GOD! this makes my heart beat fast today, and will always.  As I type this in a tiny office, outside I can hear kids from all over the inner cities of the United States, playing basketball, running around, and just getting to be kids in the middle of the woods in Missouri. How Good is our God that He will use something as simple as basketball and riding boats to give kids an opportunity to hear the Truth of the Gospel and forever be changed and transformed into new creations.  For the last five weeks I have watched time and time again as God continues to do what only He can. He takes the most broken things, and makes them into some of the most beautiful masterpieces I have ever seen.  We have heard story after story this summer of kids counted out, kids that have been given up on, and those are the same kids we get to see at the foot of the Cross, coming to an understanding of the Truth, having blinded eyes open, and turning to Jesus, Messiah, Savior.  yesterday I got to watch about 20 kids ring the bell (which signifies a new brother or sister has met Jesus)–> 20 kids welcomed into the family, into the Body yesterday.  I think sometimes one of the dangers of ministry is that after our eyes see things a number of times they begin to adjust and so we just watch it like its on replay instead of it being like the very first time when we stand in awe.  This summer that has continually been a cry of my heart–I want, I long for eyes to see what His eyes see in these kids, I want to rejoice as He would when a sinner comes home, when a blind child sees, when a deaf kid hears, and when He does what only He can.  After the last year of getting to simply sit and study His Word, then onto Africa seeing God move in incredible ways in a land with the most beautifully broken and restored people I have ever met, to kamp – seeing God take kids by the hand, and more so by the heart, and completely renew them to the point that they do an absolute u-turn and go back to cities proclaiming the Gospel, and leading their families into Truth as they are led by the Holy Spirit that lives within them.  I wake up every morning understanding this, when my feet hit the floor each morning and I set out for another day of kamp- this is what is true- It’s about Jesus, all of it – from meals to basketball games to nature walks- it’s about Him- and He is faithful to do what He said He would- He is the keeper of us and of covenants- His Spirit will work and will accomplish more than we could ever ask or imagine- He finishes everything He starts (Philippians 1:6), I fully believe that God can and will change the hearts of the kids that walk through these gates, and through them will change families, that will change cities, that will change our country, that can change the world.  He is Able. More than actually. all by His grace, and all for His glory! I could type all day on this; however, it’s 5th period and I get to hang out with a sweet sweet kamper at free time so I gotta be on the hustle.  As for prayer here are some requests that I would so appreciate you grabbing hands and bending knees with us on….Next week is the fourth of July and we will have a lot of kids come through the gate for kamp- please pray for a clear understanding that true and real freedom are found in Christ (john 8:31-32) and that it really is possible in Him. Pray that chains are broken off and kids are set free.  Please continue to pray that we continue to serve unto Him in every single area, and that He is glorified in every aspect of kamp.  I continue to ask that you pray for our awesome staff and that we continue to live at Colossians 3:23, understanding this that is truly by His grace that we get to serve Him & these kids in this capacity, and that we never take for granted the beautiful blessing it is to get to wake up every morning and do life beside these kids (1 Thessalonians 2:8)…..as for the fam & the future. Huge praise is that mom & dad are back safe from their motorcyle adventure.  Thanks for praying with me for them 🙂  Continue to pray that our family continues just to be unified in Christ as I serve in the woods at kamp, and as they do life in good ole’ Baxter Springs!  Also, continued prayers for what’s next would be so greatly appreciated, I have some big decisions to make this week regarding next year –I’m so excited to jump into ministry, and just remaining on my knees as far as what exactly this will look like. Thanks so much for praying. Lastly, please continue praying A place of Hope in Nigeria and the Starling family as they serve Jesus and the people there.  Please pray for the kiddos, continued provision for the ministry and just that the Lord would continue to draw the people of Nigeria to Himself.  Anna Joy- one of my best friends, and truly my sister, who is the Starling’s oldest and their only daughter is heading to Nigeria in just a couple of weeks with one of her lacrosse teammates, as well as, a doctor and a nurse. Please pray for their trip, their safety, and just that their time their is maximized for His glory and just for the people there to be loved straight to Him.  Also just pray that this time together for the Starling family is just sweet and refreshing as they get to just serve together in the same place for a couple of weeks. Thankful for how the Lord is using this family in my life to teach me more about Himself, and just for the continual example that God trumps distance and He continues to grow and develop precious relationships in spite of great distance!! The kids there truly do still have a piece of my heart, and I don’t think I’ll get it back until my feet land again on that soil!  Ok…I wanna keep going but kamp calls and I have a free time session with a precious precious girl!  Thanks so much for being prayer warriors and for never ceasing to take it all to the Father.  Your encouragement and your prayers mean more than I know how to communicate. Know that my heart is truly refreshed through you, and beyond that He is glorified.  Look out for many more blogs to come, I’m back to writing! Will write super soon. In His Sufficient Grace….be encouraged today- He is truly doing more than we could ever ask for- by His power at work WITHIN us…..

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paying closer attention…

“therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” Hebrews 2:1

whoa. it feels like it has been a really long time since my keys hit the keyboard, and it is both refreshing and exciting to have an opportunity to share with you all what the Lord is doing at kamp right now!  As I am writing it is currently day four which means one thing for us at kamp- Crosstalk!  Tonight every camper, staff person, and kaleo (incredible people that bring the kids to kamp) will see a re-enactment of the crucifixion of  Jesus. After four years of kamp, and twelve years of knowing Christ as my Savior and Lord, this night is fresher than ever.  Since Africa the Lord has just softened my heart in an entirely new way to the incredible grace it is just that we simply get to know Him, get to have a intimate relationship with Him, and the price that He paid to make that possible.  The curtain being torn in two from top to bottom will never again be verses that I can skim read or jump over- Jesus made a way, Jesus is the way! …the kids are so fun this week.  It is a really small group so it’s really awesome to get solid intentional time with a lot of the girl kampers, and know a lot of them by name.  A lot of the kids are new to kamp, and we love that because that means more and more opportunities to share the Gospel, to love them with His love, and remind them continually of their purpose in Him.  So beautiful to me that the Lord takes what is so broken in this world and uses it for His own glory, and by His grace uses what is shattered to draw His own to Himself.  I am often moved to tears as I consider what Jesus sees when He looks at this place, at these kids, and thier hearts.  So many times it is so easy to just see a kid externally and jump so quick to conclusions without pausing for a second and really asking our Savior what He sees, and truly being led by the Spirit into incredible opportunities to extend the love of Jesus….the Lord uses these kids every year to make my heart beat a little faster, and teach me more about Himself…I am so thankful and blown away by His faithfulness and grace in this…As for prayer please please cover us in prayer tonight as we share the true and full Gospel with these kids straight from His Word! Pray for open hearts, and for God to do what only He can in this place.  Pray for true conversion, wide open hearts, and transformed minds, as well as restored and reconciled lives.  We will celebrate tonight as Heaven does!  Continue to lift up our staff that is running so hard unto Jesus- it’s a hot hot summer, and they are going so hard unto Him.  We pray to live Colossians 3:23 in EVERYTHING we do. it’s all by His grace.  Pray that our staff will remain unified together on the frontline- fighting only with the Sword He has given us- His Word- and resting in His Victory!  So thankful that this is all by His Spirit living in us, and truly has nothing to do with us and everything to do with Him! John 15:5.  Please pray that Jesus alone is exatled in this place, and that kids leave here never the same because of what God alone has done.  I truly roll out of bed every morning believing that kids will be forever changed by Jesus, families will be forever changed by Jesus, and with that spread the hearts of the cities in our country will be forever changed by Jesus- NOTHING is too hard for Him.  Thanks for praying with us believing.  Having full faith in the only One worthy.  Also- thanks for continuing to lift up my family- mom & dad are doing awesome, and will be leaving on a three week motorcyle trip to Canada in a few days! Please pray with me that they just have an incredible time enjoying God in His creation, and nature and that they get to see Him in every part of their trip.  They work so hard, and I’m so excited for them to have this sweet time together.  Please also pray for their safety and that they will make it back to good ole Baxter safely at the end of June. So thankful for incredible parents! …Africa still is covering so much of my heart, I will never forget the way their hands felt in mine, the way they smile at the smallest things, and the way Jesus in that place and in all places is greater than every circumstance imaginable.  A sweet sweet friend of the family that I blogged about while I was there, Lucy, has passed away and we rejoice today knowing she is with Jesus, never again to experience the pain and suffering she did on this side of glory.  Please pray with me for her children, and the children of her children as well as the Starlings who continue to be blessed with an incredible ministry with them.  thank you thank you thank you for covering Nigeria in prayer.  Believing that the Lord will continue to transform that place by His grace.  So thankful for the Starling family on the frontline over there.  Lastly please be in prayer for what ‘s next after kamp. Really praying through the process of the next step to take since graduating from the Kanakuk Institute in April.  I’ll be moving to Waco, TX in August, and am still really praying through grad schools/ ministries/ and church opportunities there.  Honestly I just want Jesus to be lifted up, and want to live in a way that honors and glorifies Him.  My heart is captivated, and it is making more and more sense daily of why there is nothing else out there that is worth pursuing whole heartily except Him.  My heart beats so fast to really get to sit and listen to girls, and have opportunities to disciple them and teach them Truth.  I’ve prayed about Biblical counseling for a long time, and this still is a direction I am very excited about going in, just trusting Him with all the logisitics in the mean time. He is faithful. We get to trust in Him. Isaiah 26:3-4.  Thanks so much for praying with me, and for me, I cannot tell you how much it means or the blessing that it truly is.  Please please email/ call/ text / facebook me things I can be praying for you! I want to join hands with you, too! thanks for lifting up what Jesus is doing here at kamp, my sweet family and future, and these precious kids the Lord sends through the gates each week.  I love you dearly- and am so thankful I get to do life with you. By His grace.  & for His glory!  As I sit here in the upstairs office with sweat pouring down, and my sticky Bible, I could not be more thankful for the opportunities He gives us to share in what He is doing here.  Pray that today you are rejoicing in who Jesus is, and walking confidently & humbly in who He says we are.  One of our kampers today told our director that she knows Jesus–> and that they are similar in that they both know what it’s like to be out of place.  Her family was misplaced after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and she said that Jesus understands because He too went where He didn’t belong in coming to earth for us.  Tears hit our eyes as we heard this story–by His grace, by His grace, by His grace!  Eyes are being opened, and kids really will never be the same. I pray today no matter how long it has been since the first time your eyes were opened to Jesus as Savior and Lord you take a minute to just sit and remember His saving grace, His new mercy, the wounds that healed us, the Cross that reconciled us to the Father, the love that is extended to us forever that is unconditional and eternal, and the Spirit that now dwells within us.  He is so so so good.  Thankful for each of you, and you taking the time out to read this heart ramble.  Again, cannot thank you enough for praying & will update later this week, with pictures, poems, prayer requests, and hopefully a video or two! Please let me know how to be praying for you! Hebrews 10:19-25!          In His Grace. Stef

 

ps) watched one of my best friends get married last night, and was so reminded of Jesus and the Church. So thankful today that He is so willing and chooses to call us His Bride!  Rest in Him today! He is greater & He wins. you are loved.