Sunday, January 25, 2009

Drawing Near

"...draw near to God and He will draw near to you..." (Jm. 4:8a)
An old picture from fall '08: NTBI Waukesha vs. NTBI Jackson!
I've been so encouraged this week. God has been proving my need for the Body of Christ over and over. He gave me at least three conversations with good friends here at school, fellow believers who struggle just like me, and it was so awesome to open up and share about how God has been challenging us through His Word! It's my senior semester and I am finally beginning to understand the beauty of a friendship that is characterized by reckless abandon to the arms of Christ. It's wonderful, and I thank God for the friendships I've built these two years.

In this process of growing closer to people, I am growing closer to my Lord. It really is all about relationships: my relationship with God through relationships in the Body...and building relationships with the lost to communicate the Gospel! Even just recognizing that God is relational at His very core has encouraged me and challenged me to seek to know Him more every day.

This week flew by! My first test in Daniel-Revelation class went very well, praise the Lord! Thank you for all your prayers. God has truly provided for me financially, and I continue to be amazed by His grace being poured out in my life through other believers. It really has challenged me to hold my possessions with an open hand, that the Lord might bless others through me as I have been blessed.

Jennifer Kate and Bethany one to come!
I was very, very thankful to see my closest friend growing up, Bethany Felten, just before this semester began. She was married in December '07, and moved to Wisconsin the day after her wedding. And...her first baby is due this March! Please pray that she and the baby boy growing inside her will remain healthy. I cannot wait to go and visit Bethany, her husband Joey, and their new little one, hopefully in the spring or perhaps summertime.

Please be praying for me as I seek to be intentional in my relationships here at school. Sometimes the four months until graduation seem like days, and I've been seeking (with both success and failure) to use wisely all
my time left at Bible school. I'm so thankful to be here! Each of you supporting and praying for me have played a huge role in God's provision to keep me here. It's such a privilege to study God's Word, and I praise the Lord for it.

I'm excited to be one of seven students on "Campus Life" this semester, which entails planning and overseeing the social events for NTBI students. It's been really fun so far and I look forward to posting pictures of future functions. (This Friday evening is "Movie Night"...hurray for popcorn!! :)

Thank you for reading, and for praying. I've been thinking about the importance of prayer, conversing with the God of the universe. It's only possible because of the blood of Christ who leads us boldly into the Holy of Holies. Friends, we are so blessed to be in relationship with the Creator God! Praise Him for His grace.

In His Great Love,

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The End of My LAST "First Week"...

Caroling in the cold at the end of last semester with my friend Cassie!
Phew, what a week! I've been blown away yet again by the grace of God. I returned to school on January 7th with only $600 earned over break. I'm very thankful for the job, but I was $995 short for my initial payment for this last semester at New Tribes. But how the Lord worked!! Within only three days, God provided $1000!! What a birthday present, huh!? (I turned 20 on the 9th.) The amazing thing is that those who gave to keep me here, gave sacrificially. I've learned so much about how the Body of Christ is meant to function biblically, praying for one another and helping each other where there is need. I've learned to depend more wholly upon God by having to depend on His provision through others. It's a beautiful, difficult lesson of getting over my pride and choosing to trust Him in everything. I'm so thankful.

God gave me the opportunity to share last Sunday, thanking my church family for their prayers and support. It was great to communicate with them how much I appreciate their love, and I hope you all know how grateful I am to our Heavenly Father for your friendship as well. I've been so blessed to know you and His grace has been poured out on my life through you. Thank you!

After two days of freshman orientation, we started classes on Wednesday morning. I'm so excited for what we're going to be learning! New Tribes has block scheduling, so this first block I'll have 1st & 2nd Thessalonians, Philippians, and Daniel/Revelation. Each class has already encouraged my heart and challenged my thinking a lot.

There's been an addition to my dorm! Karla Frank is a freshman this semester and I thank God for placing her with the other six of us here in "La Cancha" (our dorm name, created by my Bolivian missionary kid roommate, Shelley! :) Karla's testimony of coming to know the Lord and placing her faith in Him only a year ago is incredible and so refreshing to hear about. I'm looking forward to building relationships with the six girls God has placed in my life to grow alongside in the dorm here at Bible school.

I was whip-creamed and sung to on my 20th birthday at Los Tres Amigos!

God continues to provide. Even today He unexpectedly supplied $200 through willing hearts! I am humbled to be so loved by such a God and Father, and by His children, my sisters and brothers in Christ. Please continue to pray that God will provide according to His will, so that I might finish this Bible training for His glory. Right now I am still job-hunting and trusting the Lord to provide for me financially. I must confess that with my schedule this semester being very crazy, I would love to be free of having to work. But God knows what I need and He knows how to provide for my needs. I'm trusting Him and should He choose to provide through a job, praise His name! I am so thankful for the privaledge of being here, and in His strength (Phil. 4:13) I can
work to stay here!
My dormmate Michelle and me enjoying the chips and salsa at Los Tres.
Again, THANK YOU for your prayers. I will post again soon to share about how the Lord is working in my life. I love hearing about how He's at work in your lives as well, so please feel free to email me and include your prayer requests. God is glorified as we care for each other and prayer is a huge part of that!

In His Great Love,

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rags to Riches

Recently a friend lent me Rags to Riches, which I had never seen. I really enjoyed the film because I'm a complete sucker for musicals (Newsies and Annie are definite favorites). The basic plot, in case you haven't seen it, revolves around six orphaned girls who are adopted by a millionaire businessman in an attempt to boost his image and seal the deal for a critical merger. What he didn't foresee was falling in love with the six daughters he never knew he needed so desperately!

I was struck by the plot of this movie. In some ways it reminds me of the Divine love story between the Creator God and His beloved children...those who have placed their faith in Jesus were adopted into His family and made co-heirs with Christ. This great rescue was accomplished only through the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood reconciled us to God and that very same blood has secured the Father's eternal acceptance of us. Our only option as humans is to choose: believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, or don't believe and pay for your sin debt yourself.

The awesome part of all this is that unlike the 1986 film I just watched, our Heavenly Father doesn't have ulterior motives in saving us. He is not just the wealthiest stuff-shirt businessman of all time. Far from it! We cannot begin to comprehend all that God is, but His Word reveals His character so that we might know Him intimately. Scripture describes our Father's very essence in the word Love (1st John 4:8). His love is just. This is proven in that He know I'm incapable of paying my sin debt or living up to His holy standard. So, He provided a substitute: Jesus Christ. God's love is in no way determined by my behavior as His child. "In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1st John. 4:10). It is because of Christ's sufficient sacrifice on the cross that we can now cry, "Abba! Father!" Or as one my teachers here at New Tribes would say, "He is our Daddy God." This is the kind of relationship made available to us through Christ!

In the film, the girls slowly warm the heart of their self-centered benefactor, and as he opens himself to them, he is changed. It struck me that in my relationship with my Daddy God, it is the exact opposite. He is the never-changing one in the relationship, while I am ever-changing. As I grow in my relationship with the Father, His love changes me!And so continues the mystery that is sanctification: God conforming me to the image of His son, Christ Jesus. Although I stand before the Father completely perfect because God is pleased with me through Christ, I am still daily experiencing the working out of that which is already true of me. The Holy Spirit's work in me is conforming my thinking to that of my Father, and so as I abide in Him, what is true
of me legally becomes what is true of me practically.

"For by a single offering He has perfected for all time
those who are being sanctified." (Heb. 10:14)

PRAISE THE LORD, I've gone from rags to riches! My Dad is the King of kings!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Learning Trust

"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man." [Ps. 118:8]
Old pic of the wedding day! James & Paige with
Mom & Dad on 7/28/08, just after the vows.

It's been so wonderful to be home for the last week. My parents and Becca drove down to Virginia to visit Dad's side of the family. They were there from the 30th through the 4th. My last day at the toy store (seasonal job from Oct.-Dec.) was the 31st, so I had to stay and finish up my last couple shifts. After that, I drove back home to Perry. Even though the house was empty it was still great to be home. Christmas decor remained up through the New Year and that always makes things especially cozy.

While I was home I helped out at the pizza place where I worked in high school. It was such a blast! Great to see old friends again. I only helped out for three shifts, but any extra work is provision from the Lord for my school bill and I was happy for the hours.

On Becca's graduation day, mini reunion of our dorm from last year!

Because I spent the first two and a half weeks of winter break living on campus (since my job was in Jackson), it's been a huge blessing to be at home for a week before I head back down to school. Student Leaders will be regathering this Thursday, and I can't wait to see dear friends again! It's amazing how close you grow to be at New Tribes. The school is very small, so the staff and students really become your family. Although I'm incredibly excited to be starting my senior semester, a part of me is dragging my heals. I know that when I leave school, the experience will be over...and that's difficult to accept. God has really been challenging my thinking concerning change, and I'm so thankful that He is! Life is basically a journey of changes, and I don't want to live half-heartedly because I know the end of something is always coming. God's Word is so profoundly accurate when it says that God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecc. 3:11...check it out!). How I long for no more goodbyes. But for now, here on earth goodbyes do not come alone. For something to begin, something else must end. Resting in the sufficiency of Christ is the key to peace amidst the changes.

I read this passage this morning:

I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord;
I make supplication with my voice to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare my trouble before Him.
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path...
Bring my soul out of prison, so that I may give thanks to Your name.
[Ps. 142:1-3a, 7a]

My dear friend and roomie Shelley. Can't wait to see her! :)
It's been a very difficult choice to trust the Lord to provide for my school finances. I long to be free of worry and ever-clinging doubt, and so this Psalm encouraged my heart. David didn't try to be over-spiritual with his prayers to the Lord; he was raw and honest. The sub-script even says, "Maskill of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer." (According to, the root of Maskil is a Hebrew word which means enlightened.) David was in the pits, crying out to the Lord with complete vulnerability! Today, after reading Psalm 142, I sought to speak to with the Lord honestly, crying out to Him, "Lord I don't know how You're going to work this out! But You know what's going on and how You're going to use all this. Teach me to trust You." And He does! Every day...even in simply reckoning the truth that I am dead to sin and
alive to God. He has been teaching me daily to trust in Him alone.
Praise the Lord! Be encouraged in Him, friends.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year Greetings!

"Something's gotta go before something can come..." - Tom Harmon

The journey so far
I have just completed my third semester at New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson, Michigan. Lord willing, I will graduate in May 2009 from two years of intense Bible training – a truly incredible experience that I would not trade for the world. The heart of New Tribes Mission is expanding the reach of the Gospel of Christ Jesus to every tribe, tongue, and nation. NTM missionaries train to live among various tribal peoples all over the world, learning their language, teaching chronologically through the Bible, and eventually translating God’s Word into the “heart language” of individual people groups. These are tribal people who otherwise would never have heard nor read a single word of “God’s Talk”. The chronological teaching begins with creation and moves through Old Testament history, revealing the need for and provision of the Savior: Jesus Christ, who died, was buried, and raised from the tomb on the third day. The goal of tribal missions is to plant self-sustaining churches, made up of our tribal brothers and sisters in Christ who, finally having the Word of God in their language, have believed on Christ as their personal Savior.
His hands and feet
Missionaries with NTM have committed their lives to obeying Jesus’ Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20) and are reaching out to the untouched tribes of this world. Those at Bible school possess a contagious passion that has spread to my heart. They serve God in Jackson, Michigan, by training and equipping followers of Christ in the Word of God, that each student may grow intimate in their relationship with the Lord Jesus and live as a bold testimony of the saving love of Christ. It has been such a blessing to hear testimony even this past semester of lost souls over seas hearing the Gospel for the very first time, and some responding in faith to Christ’s sufficient work on the cross. How exciting to envision worshiping our Creator alongside our tribal brothers and sisters in Christ. God is most definitely at work!
Opportunity knocks
I praise the Lord for the blessing of being asked by the school deans to be one of about thirty upper classmen trained for Student Leadership. At the beginning of August ‘08, we attended Summer Training Program (STP), which is a week of Bible teaching and small group Bible studies targeting specific elements of leadership. By God’s grace, I was asked to be an RA in a dorm of five girls and myself. I failed time and again this past semester, but God has been so good to provide this opportunity for me to depend upon Him more wholly. I’ve grown very close with each of the girls, and thank God for bringing us together for this year of Bible school!
Now bring me that horizon
Lord willing, I plan to work at a Christian camp this summer. There a several options, one being Bear Lake camp, which is right here in Michigan. Another is Hickory Cove down in North Carolina. Please pray for me as I seek the Lord’s wisdom in determining where He would have me serve Him. Next fall I plan to live with my parents and attend Lansing Community College. God provided a state school scholarship for me during high school, a great blessing that I feel I should take advantage of. While I live at home I’m looking forward to getting involved with the Sunday school and youth group at my home church, Vantown Community. I love the kids there and I’m excited for the opportunity to invest in their lives.
Hey, YOU!
Here's a great big THANK YOU to each of you who have been going before the Throne of God on my behalf. I am so thankful for your prayers! God has answered them, and He is teaching me so much. Please keep praying for His financial provision for school bills. Stay tuned to hear about His grace in my life.

In His Great Love,
Jenna Kate