NLCF Podcast – What’s to Come and “Shaped” Preview

We’re starting our very own podcast! You’ll hear about what we’re planning in the future, as well as get a preview of “Shaped,” which will come out every Tuesday, focusing on spiritual practices. We value multiple voices, so each week you’ll hear from different folks within our church. Can’t wait to start the journey with you!

NLCF is New Life Christian Fellowship – a church meeting on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. You can check us out on Instagram (@nlcfnet), Facebook (/nlcfvt), or on the web at www.nlcf.net. 

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Lean not on your own understanding…

The second to last week of Honduras LT, I found myself growing apathetic. I was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and I was feeling a lot of mixed emotions about leaving the children I had fallen to madly in love with over the two months there. God provided me at just the right moment with the verse Galatians 6:9 which reads, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I spent some time praying just that: that God would give me the strength and endurance to continue to seek His love and pour into others even if we only had one week to go. And He truly answered that prayer.

My prayer throughout the summer had been, “Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours,” and He answered that prayer, for sure. He broke my heart for the orphans, the widows, the impoverished, the abused, the poor at heart, the broken, the forgotten, the hurt. He taught me how to grieve, how to love. And with one week left, He broke my heart once again.

A 15-year-old girl named Dayana at the CDI was very hesitant to open up to us at the beginning of the summer because she had grown close to missionaries before, and it really hurt her when they left. Eventually she became one of our closest friends at the CDI. The second to last week of LT, though, we barely ever saw her. She wouldn’t come to the CDI in the afternoons like she normally did. She’d occasionally come to the fence and tell us that she was sick again, and again, and again. Monday of our final week in Honduras, she finally showed up in the afternoon. We were so excited to see her again! We rejoiced when she walked through the door and were so happy to have her back with us.

She asked Rachel and Sam, two girls on the team, to help her with her English homework. As Dayana was writing in her notebook, Rachel and Sam looked down to notice cuts all over Dayana’s arms. During the devotional, the director of the CDI asked the question, “Who wouldn’t want to live this life God blessed us with?” and Dayana whispered, “Me, because I’m depressed.”

Because the culture is so closed off to mental illness, all the guys in the class just laughed at her and mocked her.

The next day, while most of our team at the CDI left to teach English classes at a university, the girls stayed back in hope that Dayana would show up that day, and in fear that she wouldn’t.

Around 1pm, she walked into the CDI. Sarah embraced her in a hug, and grabbed her arms. The letters “LS” were freshly cut into her wrist. We asked what that meant, but she didn’t talk. She just began to cry. We walked her into the building, and Rachel stayed outside to accompany the other children and keep the boys from looking into the windows and laughing at Dayana.

At first, Sarah, Sam, and I were all so frustrated that we didn’t know enough Spanish to effectively comfort her, tell her how much God loves her, and talk her through what she was going through.

After a couple minutes of just sitting with her on the couches inside, speaking what little Spanish we knew – “Te amo,” I love you, and “No estas soledad,” You are not alone  – we finally looked to God for counsel. We asked Dayana if we could pray with her. We sat around her, laid hands on her, and prayed in English, knowing that Dayana couldn’t understand us, but God could. I began to cry, my heart broken at the fact that this beautiful daughter of Christ, my sister in faith, felt unworthy of life.

After our prayers, we just sat there, crying with her. Sam had “Oceans” and “How He Loves” on her phone in Spanish, so we sat there listening to the songs, grieving in God’s presence, knowing that He, too, was grieving His broken daughter.

At one point, Dayana pulled out her notebook and wrote, “No quiero vivir” – I don’t want to live. We told her that we want her to live, that God wants her to live.

We pulled out our Spanish bibles and turned to Psalm 139, praying Dayana would cling to the verses.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.”

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”

After we read through some scripture, we continued to just sit with her, to cry with her. As she nervously wiped away the tears from her eyes, I told her that it was okay to cry. We sat grieving in the Father’s presence for about an hour, and then we walked her home.

Sarah kissed her wrists and told her, “No mas” – no more. No more.

On the drive home, Sam and I reflected on how powerful that time with Dayana was. At first we were frustrated that we couldn’t talk to Dayana more, but God’s presence was so clear in that time with her. He was there, saying, “Daughters, I’m with you.”

Proverbs 3:5 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

We had no ability to lean on our own understanding in that moment, to rely on our own discernment. All we could do was call out to God, listen to His songs, and read His Words, and that was more than enough. Even the timing was so true to God’s character. Dayana’s depression and self-harm could have been made known day one, but I know that for me, personally, I would have attempted to be her Holy Spirit for the next 8 weeks. I would have tried to fix all her problems, and would have, many times, relied on my own understanding. The fact that this happened during the last week was hard, so hard, to know that we were then just leaving Dayana and heading home, but God enveloped us in a peace like no other; a peace that reminded us that His timing is perfect; a peace that led me to fully trust that God will still call out to Dayana long after we’ve left, “Daughter, I’m with you. “

~Amanda Wallace

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Theology of Giving

A republished article by JR Woodward

One of the greatest ways we can engage in the community of faith is through the giving of ourselves: our time, our talents and our treasures. Giving is a spiritual discipline as well as a spiritual gift. We are all called to be generous.

As a church full of young people (mostly college students), we are relying on God to work through a wide variety of people to give us the resources we need to carry out our mission. Please pray for us and be a generous giver. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give, than to receive.” Have you experienced the truth of that statement?

Sorting through the bad press about money

Many churches today no longer like to talk about money, and sometimes we can understand why. One reason is that there has been a lot of abusive teaching and practices when it comes to money and the church. Unfortunately, this has been the case since the church’s conception. When Paul was writing to the Corinthians he said, “You see, we are not like those hucksters—and there are many of them—who preach to make money. We preach God’s message with sincerity and with Christ’s authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us.” The same is true today; many peddle God’s word to get rich instead of speaking his word sincerely.

But just because there is abusive teaching and practices concerning money, it doesn’t mean we should avoid teaching and doing what God says in regard to money. Jesus talked more about money than he did heaven. Here are a few thoughts when it comes to being a good steward of our financial resources.

Money is a good servant but a poor master

Jesus puts it this way, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” By that, many people think Jesus is saying, “Don’t try and serve God and money.” That is not what Jesus says here. He says, “You cannot serve God and money.” You actually can’t do it!

When money is your master, you constantly think about it – and when you think about money, it tends to make you worry. The German word for worry is “wurgen,” which means ‘to choke’ or ‘to strangle.’ It makes sense why Jesus said, “The seed that fell among the thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” Money makes a great servant but a poor master.

God owns everything, and all I have belongs to God

The psalmist declared, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” We see this message throughout the Scriptures. The fact is that God owns all that I have; I am simply called to be his steward. Whether God entrusts us with little or a lot, we are called to be managers of what he gives us. And some day we are going to meet the manager and give an account of how we have used his resources.

The Scripture makes it clear that we can’t take any possessions with us, but we can send a lot of things ahead of us. When we give to God’s kingdom we are storing up treasures in heaven—treasures that thieves can’t steal and rust won’t touch. There isn’t a better investment in the world than that given to God’s kingdom.

You can never outgive God

There is no greater giver than God, and God always looks out for those who give. God loves to bless his children, especially those who are stepping out in faith and trusting his words. Peter one time seemed to be acting as if he had to sacrifice a lot to follow Jesus. Jesus quickly corrected Peter and said to him, “I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return, a hundred times over, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—with persecutions. And in the world to come they will have eternal life.”

That is an amazing promise and one you can take to the bank.

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