So come one, come all! We hope to see you there for this fun afternoon together!
The time has come for our annual cupcake contest, but before that even happens we're going to share in an all church lunch this Sunday after the second service at 11:00a.m. (For those who may not regularly attend this service join us between 12:15 and 12:30). All we need from you is a delicious casserole or dish to share and the church will provide the rest. As for those delicious cupcakes, they will be for available for purchase once the judges have tasted and judged each batch. And if you're interested in submitting in competing in the contest it's not too late! Simply contact Cynthia in the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 2361-2037. We'll have 3 different categories: Adult, Youth (10-18 years), and Kids (5-9 years). The first prize winner in each category will receive a CASH PRIZE!
So come one, come all! We hope to see you there for this fun afternoon together!
Also, if you haven't yet subscribed to the blog but would like to receive weekly email updates to see what's new, simply fill out the quick form on the right side of the page. You'll also be automatically entered into our September raffle to win a Q75 gift certificate to &Cafe! Our winner will be drawn on September 28 and the prize will be available for pick up on Sunday October 1. Good luck!
On Saturday, September 2 a group of women graciously diced, boiled, stirred, layered, bagged, and wrapped 17 meals! It was a great day of conversation and getting to know each other all while serving the church family. The ladies prepared Shepherd's Pie, Chicken Enchiladas, and Lasagna, all readily available to give to those in our church family at their time of need. You can find all the recipes below along with photos from the day! Also, if you find yourself or know of someone in need who could use a meal due to sickness, new baby, death in the family, etc. please contact Cynthia in the church office at email@example.com or at 2361-2037. Enjoy!
Are you interested in our posts but often forget to check-in to see what's happening? Never miss a post by simply subscribing to this blog above! We will send you a weekly email so you can see what new posts are waiting for you. You'll never miss an event and you'll simply be able to find useful information, such as recipes as well as tips and information on life in Guatemala. We're excited to get to know you and have you be a part of this community of women in Guatemala!
And don't forget, all subscriptions received in the month of September will automatically be entered in a drawing to receive a Q75 gift certificate to &Cafe! We will randomly draw and contact our winner via email on Thursday, September 28. The gift certificate will be available for pickup at Union Church the following Sunday, October 1. Good luck!
Join us next Thursday at 9:15a.m. as we begin our final study of the year in our Women's Bible Study! We will delve deeper into the first book of the Bible, Genesis.
A little more about this study: "There is something for everyone in this Bible study. For the woman who wants a greater grasp of Scripture through personal study to the women’s ministry leader, this study contains enough material for a variety of purposes. In an age of celebrity teachers this is crucial in helping women see that they, too, can interpret the Bible and see Jesus in every page. The abundance of Scripture and questions for deeper study both personally and corporately provide solid tools that help the reader see the richness of God’s Word for herself. This Bible study will make you dig deep into the treasure trove of God’s Word, but the work is worth it, because by it you will see the Savior."
If you have already received the reading material this past week, come prepared with Chapter 1 completed. For those joining us this week we will have the study materials for you to take home. As always, nursery care is provided. We hope to see you there!
On returning from our Christmas travel in January, I decided it would be a good idea to see about renewing my passport with plenty of time before it expired in July. Since the system now requires that you make an appointment rather than just showing up at the consulate, I went online to see when I could get in. To my amazement, the first appointment available was for April 12 – three months away!!! Of course I took it!
Then at the end of March, I was invited to go to a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in early May. In order to get the Kenyan visa (fortunately, a relatively painless, online procedure once you have all the required documents lined up), my passport needed to have at least six months’ validity – which it no longer had! So I went to my April 12 appointment and begged them to issue me an emergency passport so that I could get my Kenyan visa and then with that secured, book my flight to Africa.
I was very grateful that they did in fact issue me a same-day passport good for one year. Since it is only good for one year, the consular staff recommended that upon my return I come back to exchange it for the long term passport. With some trepidation I asked if I would need to make a new appointment or could I just come in. Nope, no drop-in’s – I would need an appointment. When I told the woman behind the counter how difficult it had been to get the current appointment she told me – “Oh, you just need to keep checking. We are always opening up more appointments along the way. If you had done that, I’m sure you would have gotten a much sooner date than April.”
So there you go – if you need an appointment at the US Consulate – just keep checking and you will find a closer date! I actually tested the system a few weeks ago and different dates did keep opening up each time I looked. The only challenge there is that you can’t make a new appointment until you cancel any that you already have…a bit of a Catch 22…
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
We have all heard them, read them, posted a cute post on Facebook about them and some of you may have even memorized them! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 might have even been one of those passages. I am the kind of person who can kinda memorize a passage of scripture, but can hardly ever tell you where in the bible you will find it, so great for you if you have the gift of memorization!
These popular memory verses are nothing new to many of us. They were not new to me; I have often read them and found comfort in them many times in my life, but I have to confess that it was not until just recently that I truly, TRULY, lived them…
Just a few months ago a loved one was ill, seriously ill, and that weekend I really did learn what it meant to Never Stop Praying! From the moment I woke up, my thoughts turned to prayer. Before I even got out of bed I found myself asking God for healing and provisions for my loved one. Songs of worship played on my radio, YouTube, phone, and in my mind 24/7. As I waited for updates, and as new requests came in, my heart was always focused on God! I prayed while bathing, while washing dishes, while I was driving, while folding laundry, even while I was working, my mind and heart were praying. I never stopped!
Every time I heard how God answered a specific request, my heart and sometimes even my whole body shouted and jumped for joy. And while I waited for good news, I began to see all the little ways God was already at work! And this is when the “giving thanks” part kicked in as well. Even in the darkest of moments I was able to truly thank God for everything he was already doing!
God answered my prayers, and the prayers of many, that weekend and I am truly grateful! I am also very much aware that he could have chosen not to, but he did; he blessed us with healing and restoration and provisions!
He is a good good father! And one of the songs that kept going through my mind and heart that weekend was Good Good Father by Chris Tomin, I hope it blesses you as much as it did me!
How have you been moved to pray without ceasing? We would love to read your stories of how God has answered your prayers in the comments below.
Today was a monumental day for me. Why? Being that I am 5 months pregnant it was time to take my glucose test. What might be a general annoyance of just simply having to take the time out of their day to get their blood drawn needles entering my body are a huge fear of mine, I would dare say a phobia. Actually the first time I can remember not having a full on panic attack, with tears included is the time I officially found out I was pregnant. But I walked in today prepared to drink a sugary drink, described like a melted popsicle, wait an hour and then have my blood drawn. One time.
Well my husband and I showed up and unknowingly to us the test was 3 hours long and I would have to give blood 5 times. 5 TIMES! Which wouldn't have been such a big issue if my husband didn't have to leave for work but unfortunately he only had time to stick around for the first 3. The first 3 went fine but each time I told him he couldn't leave me...but at 8:00a.m. there I was reading "Uninvited", actually, dreading 9:00.
As the time approached I took the last 5 minutes to pray. I prayed for peace, strength, courage, calmness, and a nice nurse. And although I was nervous, I sat down like a big girl, and you know what? God delivered on all my requests. I explained to the nurse I was anxious and this was actually my first blood test I had ever taken alone. She was extremely nice and told me to talk to her about anything in order to get my mind off of it, which I proceeded to do...in Spanish. 3 seconds and it was done and she told me I was very brave :). Now I only had one draw left in an hour and after another quick prayer I was given the same nurse, and after now being basically a pro at giving blood, it was all done. I felt very accomplished and thankful to my God and my nurse.
We all have fears, big and small, but so many people struggle with praying to God for the small things in their life, thinking God does not have time to deal with their minuscule problem when there are other "real" problems happening to the other 7 billion people in the world. But one thing a professor told me during a Pentateuch class struck me about how God works in the details. During one of our class discussions our professor mentioned how the Jews believe that God takes a role in everything in life, big and small. I thought this was so beautiful and how we should all live. I've held on to that same belief because I know 1) God is almighty and can absolutely handle anything I throw His way, and 2) He loves me and cares about what I care about. God even answered my prayers today so faithfully and obviously about a simple blood test because He knew I was scared. He will certainly do the same for you as well.
As an American from the Chicago area I was used to having 4 seasons; 8 months of winter, and then 1 of spring, summer, and fall. When I moved to Guatemala 2 and a half years ago I wasn't used to not having these sort of time markers. I wondered what it would be like; would I enjoy the "land of eternal spring" or would it become mundane and boring always living in spring-like weather?
Well, in my first year here I quickly found out. I learned that I loved the rainy season for the same reason why I was always happy to experience fall and winter's arrival in Chicago. I love sunny days but I can only take so many, so I was trained at home that when those sunny days presented themselves you better not waste them sitting inside. I always felt the need to be at the park, take a walk, go to the beach, go shopping, or sit outside reading a book, and at least for the first year in Guatemala I felt that same pull during the dry season. But the rainy season, much like the fall, is a time of relaxation and staying cozy inside watching movies, cleaning, reading a book, napping, and making homemade dinners for once. Really just letting my true cozy, lazy colors shine.
The only problem with the rainy season here is I feel that the year goes by much quicker since it starts in May. June feels like August, and July like September. By the time it actually is September I'm ready for Christmas! And I'm one of those people guilty of listening to Christmas music in September...so you can bet that if you see me pull up in the church parking lot in September or October there's a good chance I have Michael Buble's Christmas album playing and already getting excited to buy my tree. But you know, I don't care nor do I mind. The rainy season gives me those cozy, familiar holiday feelings that I was so used to back in The States, and is my natural time marker of Guatemala. So unlike most locals, I appreciate the rainy season and am glad each year it arrives.
If you've been joining us for our new Bible Study that began on June 1 you've probably already read the first few chapters of Lysa TerKeurst's book, Uninvited. For this weeks "homework", if you will, we are to read chapters 4 and 5 and chapter 4 really just got me, you know?
I have this image of the woman God created me to be: calm, sensitive, wise, friendly, content, filled with hope and trust, and with a sense of purpose. And although I do have some of these traits to a varying degree I do still feel I am lacking. I rely heavily on what I like to think is bubbly personality and sometimes I speak without thinking. However, I believe all these desired qualities are traits of a woman "living loved", and what I believe Lysa is describing on page 46 in chapter 4 of her book. She states in the 3rd paragraph:
"No, the fullness of God is tucked into the secret places within them. The full taking in of God is their soul oxygen. It's not that they don't need people. They do. God created them for community. But they way they love is from a full place, not from an empty desperation. As we talked about in the last chapter, they are living loved."
I aspire, as I believe we all do (otherwise for those in the study wouldn't be, well, reading this book...), to find this fullness in God. To feel when we walk into a room rather than insecurity taking over we feel secure in the love God has for us just for being us. And by this love we will be radiant!
As I've had a few weeks of practice of putting this "living loved" into action, I will admit I am not yet there. I still feel insecure, however through this study and self-reflection on who I want to be, I have been repeating to myself in those "alone in a crowded room" situations that I am loved by God and that is enough.
How has God been speaking and loving you, lately? We would love to read about it in the comments section!
We're your Women's Ministry Team at Union Church! We look forward to sharing with you what is on our calendar and what is on our hearts, with a few fun things thrown in between.