Monday, April 25, 2011


I sent in my application to Southwestern Saturday, so all they are waiting on before they review my application are my references and my transcripts (which I will have to wait a week for McNeese since I forgot that they are on Spring Break this week-- guess I've been out of Louisiana too long, lol). I am excited!

I am also a little bit torn because I had been undecided as to whether I wanted to actually go to the main campus or stay here in LR and go to the extension campus. The main reason that I want to stay here is because of how this has become my home. I love my church family so much, and, although FBCLC will always have a special place in my heart because I grew up there, FBC Benton has become home for me. I have grown so much through the various ministries I've been blessed to be part of, and I love the people, so much! They are truly family!

At the same time, I know that if this is not where God wants me, I need to be willing to go where He leads me. While I was in Haiti, and ever since then, I have continued to struggle with this. Through the stories we told while we were there, what I was hearing in my quiet times and at church, I really felt He was asking me to let go of staying here and be willing to go wherever He leads me. I finally surrendered that to Him one day in my quiet time and started to feel more at peace about it.

Then, I noticed on our church's website an opening for a weekday pre-school teacher for next year. I was excited at first, because I thought that would be a way that I could stay here. I was still concerned, though, because of what I felt like God had been showing me. I talked with a few friends about it and got varying opinions, and I even picked up an application last week.

The week that I noticed it on the website, I was also preparing to share the story that Thursday night during Global Community at Metro (the BCM). My story? Abraham. (And the promised Savior in Is. 53). Something that I felt convicted about that night, through the discussion that I was leading, was that God told Abraham to leave his native country and his relatives and go to the land that He would show him. Abraham IMMEDIATELY obeyed. He took his wife, Sarah, and everyone in his household and headed for the land God would show them. He didn't know where it would be. He just knew that God knew, and that was enough for him. He obeyed.

As I was telling the story, and especially during the discussion when the students were talking about it, I felt so convicted. I had just told God that I would let go of staying here and go wherever He sent me, yet what was I doing? Trying to find a way to stay here. Again. I still have the application, but I haven't filled it out. As much as I really want to turn it in, I just don't think I can. I am just going to have to trust God and be obedient to what I feel like He is leading me to do. It will definitely hurt to leave my home and my church family here, but I know that I have to be obedient.

Anyway, that's all for now. This is something that I am continually struggling with, so if you will just lift me up, I would appreciate it.

-Mary Lin-

Monday, April 18, 2011

Just Some Thoughts...

I don't know what it is, but lately, I have really been missing my family. I thank God all the time for my family here in Arkansas, especially my church family, but lately I have really been missing my parents and "sister" and "nephew" and "niece" (the closest an only child gets to having a sister, nephew, and niece, anyway). :)

Maybe it's because a dear friend and mentor of mine is hurting because of her dad's recent stroke. I remember watching Mom struggle back when Granaw was so sick last year, and I hated being 8 hours away while Mom and Dad were there for Granaw-- I wanted to be there for Mom, especially, because I knew how hard it was on her to watch her mom be so helpless. This new situation has flooded me with memories of last year, and I hurt for her and her family. I pray often for them, but I honestly wish there were more that I could do. I love her like an older sister, and she means the world to me. I am praising God with them for how He continues to work new miracles in her dad's recovery every day, but I also know that it is going to be a long road ahead for all of them.

Maybe it's because of the fact that I couldn't go home to be part of the memorial for my Granaw on Saturday (she was a P.E.O., and the LA state convention was Saturday, and she was one of the ones honored/remembered because she died in the last year). It killed me not to be able to go (Mom wouldn't let me drive home and have to turn right around and drive back), but I knew I was where I needed to be. Saturday was also our Regional Bible Drill, so it was good that I got to be there for the kids, and I really enjoyed watching them quoting God's word and finding things in the Bible. Spending time with them on the church bus and at Shorty Smalls (yum!) was also something that I really enjoyed-- I love those kids like they are family!

Maybe it's because of the fact that my kids at church (a few in particular) remind me of my nephew and niece and make me want to spend time with them even more. (I haven't seen them since I left after Christmas break to come back to Arkansas!) Spending the day with the Proclaim (Bible Drill) kids Saturday really made me long to see my kiddos back home! (I even sent my sister a text asking if I could have a "date" with her children when I go home, lol.) I am definitely grateful that I have the priviledge of spending time with my Proclaim, Root 66 (equivalent of Bible Buddies), and childcare kids, though-- I love them all, so much!

Maybe it's because Easter is next Sunday, and while I am excited that it is Easter because I am looking forward to celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, I am also a little bit sad because this is the first Easter ever that I will not be with my parents. I always looked forward to Daddy's Easter Sunday meal that he would cook (usually BBQ brisket with his yummy BBQ sauce/gravy), and I really enjoyed spending the day with my family after worshiping together at church. I am grateful that I will be able to spend the morning with my amazing church family, worshiping and praising God, but I am also a little bit homesick. I am longing to spend the day with family. I think that maybe I will try to turn my focus onto what I can do for someone else-- if I am feeling homesick because I can't be with my family on Easter, how many others even in my church family are feeling the same way? What can I do to serve someone else, who may be hurting or missing family or just needs some encouragement? I definitely think that this is something that I am going to pray about this week.

Seriously, after typing this and re-reading before posting (the grammar nazi in me, lol), I am realizing how blessed I am with my church family that God provided for me here. I am so grateful to have them! Sure, I may be homesick, but I know that I have people here that have become a second family for me. I am also realizing how self-centered I can be at times. There are so many people who are struggling with things that are much more difficult than being homesick! My church family has given so much to me in the (almost) two years I've been here. How can I give back? What can I do to serve the people who have meant so much to me? Maybe next week, instead of thinking about how much I miss Mom and Daddy, I can do something for someone else...

Anyway, these are just some things that have been on my mind lately.

-Mary Lin-

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Been a Long Time!

Wow, so I almost forgot that I even had this blog, lol. It's been two years (almost to the date) since I started this blog and made my first posting! So much has changed since then!

I think now, more than ever, the title of my blog is appropriate. I have seen God's plans for me unfold and change so much in the last two years, and it has been amazing! Where to start? Well, I never did find a teaching job in Lake Charles. I kind of got frustrated and a little bit mad at God because not only did I not find a job, I had not heard anything from either grad school! I signed up to substitute teach in Calcasieu Parish, but I was still pretty frustrated since school had already been going on for a week at this point. 

That Sunday, a former youth director at our church (who had known me since I was a little kid) had just moved back, and I was talking with her about how frustrated I was. She said that she was going to pray me into a job, and that she was confident that God was in control. That stuck with me, and that night in my quiet time, I surrendered it all to Him. The very next day, I got a letter in the mail from UALR telling me that I was accepted into the Master's program in Gifted and Talented Education, which was amazing news! The only down-side was that I had to be there in two days for the start of classes! Mom and Dad were able to help me move, though, and we saw God's hand in everything. He provided a graduate assistant position, which covered my tuition and paid me a stipend for living expenses, and I had some awesome friends and family in the Central Arkansas area as well.

God also provided an amazing and wonderful church family for me. I absolutely love my church here in Arkansas! I started visiting because it was where my cousin and her family were, and her husband was on staff there, but I continued visiting and eventually joined because of the wonderful people there who reached out to me and made me feel at home, including our pastor! I began to get involved in different ministries, starting with Bible Drill (big surprise, right, for those of you who know me well, lol), and also orchestra. I also was able to begin working in childcare, with various ages of kids. This year, I started teaching in 1st-2nd Grade Root 66 (the equivalent of Bible Buddies) on Sunday nights. I have really grown to love working with all of the kids that I have, and I learn from them often!

I also became involved in the BCM on campus here, starting with just Bible study on Thursday nights but eventually growing to become more and more involved throughout my time here. I have really grown through this ministry! Last fall (2010), in our small groups, we were going through the Experiencing God collegiate edition study, which talks quite a bit about God's will for your life. God really started working on me, both through that study, and through my quiet times and sermons and Sunday School lessons at church. I had been planning to go on for a PhD in Gifted Education after I graduated from UALR (largely due to the influence of my professors, both current and previous, who encouraged me to do so). Well, as I had my quiet times each night and studied the Experiencing God study, I began to feel like God was leading me away from a PhD. I wasn't sure why or what He had in store for me, but I just didn't have a peace about it. Gradually, God started to reveal His plan for me.

One of the lessons in the Experiencing God study talked about God's will in circumstances and looking back at spiritual markers in your life. Well, God reminded me of some pretty important spiritual markers in my life that I had pretty much forgotten or ignored. When I was in the 4th grade at GA Camp at Tall Timbers, LA, I felt like God was calling me into missions or ministry of some kind. At the time, because I was so young, I was encouraged to wait and see how God would continue to lead me through time. I didn't think much else about it until I was in the 7th grade. I went to Super Summer at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, TX, and I again felt like God was calling me into missions or ministry of some kind. This time, I made my decision public to my church family. I continued in this direction for a long time, until somewhere around my junior or senior year of high school, when I began making decisions about college and a major. I started listenting to what others thought I should do instead of what I knew God had called me to do, so I started college as a music major. I eventually changed my major to Social Studies Education and planned to go on for a Master's degree in Gifted Education after graduation.... and from my last post, you know the rest, lol.

Anyway, God reminded me of all of this. I was still pretty unsure about what to do, so I sought Godly counsel from some very dear friends and family at church and at Metro (the BCM). (Thank you, Meridy, Ashley, Laurie, Pastor Rick, Bit, Stacy, & Krystal!) I finally decided to obey God, and now know that He is calling me into missions. I also have a passion for kids (I always have-- have wanted to be a teacher in some form for as long as I can remember), so I am not exactly sure how all of this is going to turn out, but I know that God is going to use both passions to work together in ways that I can't even imagine! I love God's promise in Ephesians 3:20! I am planning to attend seminary in the fall and get a Master's in Christian Education with a double concentration in Missions and Children's Ministry, and I am hoping to one day serve God as an M.

I've had some amazing opportunities this semester to grow, which God has used to confirm even more the call He has placed on my life. In March, I had the opportunity to go to Haiti during Spring Break with Brad & Krystal from Metro and Krystal's teammate, Monica from when they were J-men, along with a group from the BCM at U of A Fayetteville. Krystal, Brad, and Monica were leading a training for local CPs, while the rest of us were going out into the villages. 

While we were there, God stretched me WAY out of my comfort zone! I am a pretty shy person by nature, and it is hard for me to talk to people I don't know well. The three of us on the BCM team went out into several villages while we were there and just talked to people, played with kids, etc. The first day we went, we had two translators and three Americans, so I was with another person and ended up letting her do most of the talking. This bothered me because I knew that I was not supposed to stay quiet, and I really began to pray 2 Tim. 1:7 because I knew I needed to let go of the spirit of timidity I'd had and trust God to give me His spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.

The next day, we had three translators, so each of us had a translator with us. This meant that I actually had to talk, lol! Well, God was faithful and really showed me His power! In the first house that we stopped, I had the amazing opportunity to pray with a woman to become a Christian! Wow! God gave me the words to say, and He was faithful to use my weakness for His glory! Throughout the week, I got to pray with two others to become Christians also, and each time, God gave me the boldness to share and the words to say! Between the three of us on the BCM team, we got to pray with a total of six people to accept Christ! How amazing! I am still in awe of God and what He did in Haiti!

I have another opportunity for this summer that I am really excited about! I applied through the Company to go to South Asia this summer for six weeks! I will be teaching English there and helping the people work on their conversaitional English skills. If you could just be lifting up me and the team that I will be meeting up with, I would greatly appreciate it! Ask that our conversations will be God-ordained, and that He will get the glory.

For me personally, remember 2 Tim. 1:7-- this is definitely a verse that I have had to hold on to all the time! I know that He has not given me a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline, and I am holding on to this promise! Ask also that I will be able to raise the support that I need-- with all of the expenses together, I am going to have to raise just over $6,000! I know that God is going to provide, though! He is so faithful and amazing-- He provided every penny that I needed to go to Haiti, without me having to do much at all! I didn't even have to send out support letters-- wow! So, I know that $6,000 is nothing for God!

Anyway, this is all for now! I am planning to actually update this more often (much more than twice in two years, lol), and even post updates this summer as I work in South Asia!

-Mary Lin-