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September 1st 2006
Published: September 1st 2006
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Here is an update on each person from Team East 2006.

Dina & Kaspars K:
Dina has returned to Norway to study History for a year. Kaspars K is in Norway with Dina and he is working. They will marry next summer. After a year, they are planning to return to Eastern Europe and continue the quest of spreading the gospel there.

Dora:
Dora has returned to her home in Budapest, Hungary to start studying. She plans on helping her father’s church and continuing to share the love of Jesus with everyone who crosses her path. Her sister, Sophie will continue in JR and her other sister, Andy, is joining JR this year.

Elisa:
Elisa is starting her 5th year in JR and is hoping to continue touring with Team East but as a singer this year.

Kaspars B:
Kaspars B is spending some time in Latvia, with his family, then plans on moving to Norway (near Dina and Kaspars K) to work for six months. I am unaware of his plans after that.

Karoline:
Karoline is continuing in JR for her 2nd year. She will be taking Leader Academy and is hoping to tour on a concert team again, possible Team East. Please continue to keep her back problems in your prayers, so that this will be possible.

Beat:
Beat has returned to Switzerland, is leading the dance team in his church and is excited about continuing to preach in his hometown. He is working with Royal Rangers again and wants to work together in street evangelizing to take over the planet for Jesus!

Brandy:
I have returned to Texas and plan on staying here at least until the beginning of January. I am hoping to volunteer for IJM for a year, as an attorney in another part of the world, and then possibly get a job with them. I want to be a voice for those who can’t speak up for themselves and fight for those who aren’t able to fight for themselves. I know God has given me a passion to help people and a legal education, to do help through an organization such as IJM. While I am in Texas, I hope to continue sharing the love of Jesus with those I come across and seeking God and fire up the Christians around. This past year was only beginning!




Before I left, I wrote a prayer to God that He would not let me return as the same person that I left as. I believe He has answered that prayer. He has helped me get over “the fear of man” that I mentioned in my first blog, or at least well on my way (I think for some of us that is a life long challenge) and given me a boldness I did not possess or at least utilize before (because I know that I have His Spirit inside of me, which is not one of timidity but one of power and love and self-discipline). During the past year God has used me, to speak one on one with many strangers about Him, interview with television and radio stations, dance on stage for thousands of people, speak at many schools, and even preach on the streets. Before this year, just the thought of any one of those things would’ve caused my hand to tremble. I’ve realized this life is not about me; the world does not revolve around me but for Him. This gift of life that God has given me does have a purpose. My purpose is to glorify Him and worship Him with everything that I do. I want to continue to grow in both my head knowledge and ‘heart’ knowledge (really getting to know God) and letting Him expose all the junk in me so that He can continue to transform me to be more like Jesus and use me to reach out to those people who do not know Jesus.


To Non-Christians:

Just in case you’ve followed my journey this year and you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I am going to share a little about Him with you. I don’t want you to take what I write here as absolute truth but I want to encourage you to seek out the truth on your own, go and read the Bible, check out historical documents even research religions, because I believe God when He says if you seek you will find. He created the earth in such a way to cause us to search so that we may find and know Him.

God is perfect and when He created the earth, it too was perfect. He took a risk though, when He created man because He gave man free will. He did this because God is a god of LOVE and you cannot have love without free will. Despite what the media may say, true love is a choice not just some euphoric feeling that comes and goes depending on your mood. He created us and wanted us, as His creation to love Him. Without choice, it is impossible to love Him back. In the garden, with Adam and Eve, were many trees but two trees named specifically, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told them they could eat of any tree except the tree of knowledge of good and evil (this was in a way a test of their obedience to Him - they had the choice to obey their creator, an expression of love, or choose to disobey, it also would reveal whether they fully trusted God). They chose to disobey, being tricked by the serpent (or Satan) who told them if they eat of that tree, they will be like God, knowing good and evil. This is where sin came in. Sin is any disobedience to the will of God (we commonly think of murder or even lies). Since God is perfect, He cannot ‘stand’ anything that is not perfect or that is sin. Therefore, God declares that the wages or consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Even though we deserve death, since none of us are perfect (Romans 3:23), God loves us so much that He did not want us to die but God is also just and holy so He couldn’t just change the consequence. This is where Jesus comes in (John 3:16). When Jesus came to earth, He was both man and God. While He was a man on earth He faced temptation but unlike us He never sinned, so He took out place, He took upon Himself all of our sins and the consequence of death. Then three days later Jesus was raised from the dead and He is living in heaven, at the right hand of God. When we He went to heaven, the Holy Spirit came to live in believers to guide and teach them (among many other things). When we see that we are sinful and need help all we have to do is accept what Jesus did for us, taking on the consequence of our sin and accept Him as your Lord. Romans 10:9 says that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (asking Him to be your Lord and Savior). And Romans 10:13 says for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” It has nothing to do with our own efforts to be good enough, it is not possible on our own (Eph 2:8,9). As you get to know God, reading the Bible and praying (speaking with Him), spending time with others who are seeking Him (usually in church) He will change you, as He is doing with me.

A small warning: there are many people who claim to be “Christians” but in actuality are not. The foundation of Christianity is Jesus, believing He is God, died (to bear the consequence of our sins) and raised again. A Christian has accepted Jesus as their Lord (He is God) and Savior (who took the consequences of their sin) therefore choosing to live a life that follows how He lived (even for those who believe Jesus was merely a great man, think how wonderful the world would be if we all consciously chose to live how Jesus did).

If you’ve just made this decision or made it recently it is important to join a church so that you can learn from other and get help if you have questions, or perhaps prayer. As with any new thing it helps so much to have a mentor, someone farther along in his or her walk with Jesus, so pray for God to give you one.


To My Fellow Christians:

If you already are a Christian, I want to say something to you as well. The Bible says that if we love God we will obey His commands and He has commanded all of us to love Him and to love our neighbor as ourselves. He also has commanded all of us to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything He has commanded us (Matt 28:19-20a). This wasn’t just a command to those ‘called’ to be ‘missionaries’ going to a far off land but to each believer, everyday as we live, to share the gospel with those God places across our path. Many people I’ve spoken to, now that I’ve been back, tell me they think what I did was really awesome but they don’t think they could do something like that. I admit that it wasn’t always easy and some days I did not feel like sharing the gospel, through dance or through words but God has called each of us to do it. I know that my faith has grown considerably as I’ve been obedient because I see how God is faithful and when I step out to speak with people, He has given me the words to say and He has opened up people’s hearts. Not everyone will accept the gospel, but it is not our place to ‘save’ them, we are merely told to share and teach them about the gospel. Not everyone accepted Jesus when He was here on earth, not everyone accepted Paul (who we think of as a great missionary) when he was trying to share the gospel but they didn’t give up in spreading the good news. I’ve seen that as I share with people the love of Jesus I also grow in my love of God and love for His people (I also pray for these things in my life). I start to see others as more than mere strangers but as the lost and hurting. We know the alternative if they do not know the truth, we also know how thankful we are to Jesus for what He did for us, those should be big enough drivers to get us over our fear of rejection or whatever it is that is holding us back. Remember that God did not give us a spirit of timidity but of power and love! Get out of your comfort zone, trust God and see that you do serve a mighty and powerful God. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few, He is calling you. Pray for Him to solidify this in your heart.

I know there are also some Christians, who no longer go to church, hardly read their Bible or hardly ever pray and then we wonder what is wrong with our churches. How can we become more like Jesus if we don’t even know how He lived, if we don’t even know the voice of God when He speaks to us. We are easily deceived if we don’t know the truth that is in the Bible. We say we want to hear from God yet we don’t even read His letter to us - the Bible. We say God doesn’t act in our lives yet we don’t even pray or seek Him. As we declare to the world that we are Christians, they are looking to us, seeing if we are living something that they want. I know that if we were truly living as God calls us to live, that would be appealing to the lost and hurting. We can’t do this on our own, we weren’t meant to do this on our own. The church is called the body of Christ; He has given each of us different gifts and talents to make up His body. The church needs everyone, even you. The church is the place where we cannot only reach out together but also can help each other when we are suffering (to encourage and build up, to grow, to pray, to help when we facing hard times or doubt). We need to and must stand together in unity.


CALL TO WORKERS:
Lastly because I think Jesus Revolution is an amazing organization I want to say a little bit about them and the importance of going on missions. While we are called to be ‘missionaries’ as we live life, even in our hometowns, going away on a mission can be very helpful. For example, an organization like JR is an actual mission training school. They train young people with Bible teaching, Bible memorization, and evangelizing tools for four months then send them out for eight months to use what they’ve been taught. It is in that ‘hands on’ experience where the most growth occurs. Just as it was for Jesus, it is more difficult to share the gospel in your home city because people know you there, perhaps even the you that existed before you gave your life to Christ but by going to another place it may allow you to grow in boldness. We all need training and learn best when we put that into practice. Also devoting one or two years solely to God (not to earn a living or being in relationships) is such an amazing experience and allows God to do so many things in your life. I got my education before I joined JR but I think it would be beneficial for young people to go straight from high school to JR for a year or two before going to college. I can’t speak for everyone but I know for many young people right out of high school, they don’t really know what they want to do in life and unfortunately tend to waste the first years of their college education going a little wild and not taking studying very serious. By going to JR they not only get to see the world, experience new cultures but they get direction, are given much responsibility, which causes them to grow and gain discipline to help them their whole lives. Then when they actually start college, they have a different perspective, take their education more seriously and can be a positive influence on those around them rather than being influenced in a negative way. If you are interested, you can check them out at www.jesusrevolution.org.


Last Entry:
I will never regret taking this year to serve God 100%. Though I am not continuing to serve Him through a mission’s organization I will use what I’ve learned to serve Him as I live this life for Him in another fashion by serving His people as is stated in Proverbs 31:8-8, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” I plan on doing this not only in a courtroom but on my knees in prayer and by telling them about Jesus.

Thank you for reading my blog and following along in my walk with God this year! God bless you!




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