Monday, September 1, 2014

We Don’t Want to See Your Holiness



I am learning grace.  I am learning more every day about grace.  I’m learning about how we need to walk by the Spirit and not by the law.  We as men very easily tend to slide oh so easily over to the law, the flesh, and religion.  Living by the spirit is much more self-sacrificial, much more intimate, much more eyes on yourself rather than others, much less comparing yourselves among yourselves. 
Years ago when I was a baby Christian, I know I was hearing from the Lord, but I may not have behaved myself around others as best as I could.  I was just learning to walk in His ways and the old nature and mindsets or ways of thinking (self-centeredness) were still quite apparent.  One example of this was when the Lord was dealing with me about my Disney movies.  You see, Mickey darned the walls of my room in high school; I received presents of large stuffed Mickey’s for my birthday, and even went to work at Disney right out of high school.  I listened to The Little Mermaid soundtrack while driving back and forth to Orlando on home visits.  I loved Disney.  After I got saved and had children I began to see the many witches and evil sorcerers in the movies and the Lord began to show me this and prune this affection for these movies from me.  It was an idol.
I have quite a mouth and love to share and talk with others and like Joseph opening his mouth, sometimes it gets you into some trouble.  See, our holiness (the things God wishes to get out of our lives or into our lives) is a personal, intimate thing between you and Him because He is the one that knows where your heart is and what work needs to be done in it.  I heard today that holiness is like the Old testament’s circumcision.  It was a covenant between you and your God, personal, private and between you and Him.  It would be strange today to go flaunting your “holiness” for all to see.  See my circumcision…see my holiness. 
You see I shared my intimate personal circumcision with an even younger Christian and she wanted to be like me, so she got rid of her Disney movies also.  Was God dealing with her on this?  Probably not.  This is where one person’s relationship then turns into law.  This is not what we are separated unto.
Are Disney movies of the devil and should they be never watched again?  By all means, no.  We watch Disney movies, my kids love them and the music.  Do many people stay in the law and just forbid, forbid, forbid which in turn make it ever more desirable (the strength of sin is the law)?
If we want to share, make sure others know that this is what the Lord is working on YOUR heart about.  He knows where the idols lie.  Don’t put that on others.  Every one is on their own path and can hear from the Holy Spirit themselves.  Don’t become their God, help lead them to God.  Law makes the focus man, Spirit makes the focus Him.
For a time God circumcised my heart toward the movies because it was too valuable for me.  I like the movies now, I watch the movies now, but they have a place now for me.  If we are to train our children, it is not just in do this, don’t do that, but to raise them up to respect the Lord, be thankful for His goodness and the grace and relationship repair Jesus did for us so that we can walk by His spirit and not have to return to the law.  To have a personal, intimate, relationship with the One that made all things.  This is what true witness is to others, not our rules.  Men can come up with so many laws that truly are comical.  Let us not flaunt our holiness (keep your pants up and keep it to yourself, it is a private thing and let’s not compare our private matters and put them as a burden on others), but rather let us, by our love, show others the way, the way to relationship.
Rom. 8:4-17
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Truhn


We were privileged this week to head up into the northwest of Bulgaria (only about an hour and a half drive from our town) to minister.  Team Bulgaria (the Mellingers, the Galloways, Karson Barfield, the translators, Peggy and Rossen and some of their family, and Naomi, a young lady from England) had services at night and worked with the children in the morning.  This town doesn't get much attention from outsiders, so they felt very important to get to do crafts and sing songs.  We even showed a movie one night after the services.  They enjoyed it and were extremely appreciative for the love, encouragement, and fellowship.  We plan to go back to do some leadership training this fall.

Praise reports:
*Building relationships in Truhn and the time spent with the precious people there.
*We have had $2200 given since our last email!  Praise the Lord!  Sometimes there is a lag between when donations come in and when I get the information, but I will inform each week as I get the numbers.  Thank you to all that pray and donate.
Prayer needs:
*There is still a need of $11,400.

Karson, Jessie, Naomi, Chance and some new friends
Limbo time!

Time with the parachute

Making puppets

Dance

Hiking with the teens


Monday, August 11, 2014

Camp

The past 2 weeks were spent up in the mountains with children from the Roma village.  We had a puppet show every morning then divided up by age to learn Bible stories.  Elsabe and I took the older girls and taught each day on a woman from the Bible.  We talked about how brave these women were.  These girls (in the upper right hand picture) ranged from 11-14.  They shared with us how girls are stolen every few days in the village.  Men come and snatch girls and they are not seen again.  They shared about an 11 year old that was taken in the center of the village just 3 days before they left for camp.  I asked if they would like a home for girls to keep them safe and they said, "YES!"  They are still living at the school in Razhdavitsa that only goes up to 4th grade, just so they can stay safe.  I pray for these girls and these kids.  I wish I could share fully what they have to live through.  Maybe over the next few weeks I'll be able to, through stories of kids, convey the life they live and how I hope to help them.  My heart is full with the love they shared and haunted by the wailing tears I heard as they had to go back to the life they live everyday. 


Praise reports:
*Through generous donors, each child was able to receive a new pair of pants, a shirt, new underwear, a new pair of socks and shoes.  
*They had 3 meals a day and in their prayers, they thanked God for the good food.
Prayer needs:
*Pray for us to be able to stay in Bulgaria.  We have enough for the bills through the end of August, after that, serious discussions have to be made because there is simply not enough to last the rest of the year.
After working on budget this week, we currently need $22,700 to make budget for August through December.  We currently have $9,100 pledged to come in for the rest of the year.  This is currently where we stand.

God Bless,
Chance, Dee Dee, Mitch, Catherine, Jessie, and Alan

Many thanks to those that love and pray for us.  We value your partnership and support.  Being on the frontline of ministry requires a definite group of people willing to pray and uplift us, and we know we would/could not be here without you all.  You are loved much!

After 3 1/2 days of program planning, the children have arrived!

50 pair of pants, shirts, shoes, socks, and underwear to give out!  Thank you to those that donated to the clothing fund!

They loved the camp dance!

One night was boys and girls night.  The boys played football (their favorite thing) and the girls had manicures and hair.  Such fun!

Every day started with a puppet show

Morning program told Bible stories to different age groups.

Afternoon activity- arts and crafts

and sidewalk chalk

Saying good-bye is the hardest of all

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Buying Clothes for Camp and Ministering in the Republic of Macedonia










This week we used the donated funds for the clothing fund and bought 50 pairs of pants/skirts, 50 shirts, 50 pair of socks, 50 pair of underwear, and 50 pairs of shoes.  Many thanks to those that donated to this cause.  I also brought it all home and washed, dried and ironed them.  We leave tomorrow for 13 days in the mountains for camp to teach the little ones about the love of Jesus.  I will share pictures of the kids receiving the clothes in the next few posts.


Chance went this weekend to minister in Shutka.  It is a Roma/gypsy city outside of Skopje, Macedonia.  It is the largest Roma city in the world with numbers from 40-60 thousand.  It's hard to know true numbers.  It is around 70% Muslim.  He went to encourage the ministers there.  God did amazing things!  This is only an hour and a half from our town, so we are praying that God continues to build on this new relationship.

We also pitted 15 kilos (around 35 pounds) of cherries for juice and to freeze this week.
Many thanks to those that love and pray for us.  We value your partnership and support.  Being on the frontline of ministry requires a definite group of people willing to pray and uplift us, and we know we would/could not be here without you all.  You are loved much!


Praise reports:
*Thanking the Lord for a great time to shop for the kids.  We found good deals and just the right amount of sizes of clothes and shoes we needed.  Thanking the Lord for the ministry opportunity in Macedonia and how Chance was able to minister, encourage, and pray with the ministry leaders there.
*New pledges this week toward our budget deficit!  In total of $2400 and $1200.  We KNOW God wants to keep us here.  He has confirmed this over and over to us.  We KNOW He will provide.

Prayer needs:
*Pray for the kid's camp that will be from July 21-Aug. 2.  Taking orphans to the mountains for fresh air, games, and Bible stories.
*Pray for the teen camp that will be from Aug. 10-16.  Emphasis on training teens how to share their faith!
*Pray for the financial budget to be met.  We have received recent news that a large portion of our budget that came through a foundation will not be coming this year.  This has been a tremendous blow, but we know where God guides, He provides.  He has called us here and this is no surprise to Him.  We trust Him in ALL things.  It is the life we live, to live by faith.  If God is impressing on you to help, please know it would be greatly needed and appreciated. Currently due to this change in events, we are now $13,400 below budget for the year.  I know this is big, but our God is bigger.
God Bless,
Chance, Dee Dee, Mitch, Catherine, Jessie, and Alan

Contact information:

To help us meet our budget for this year you can send a check to:
Christ Community Church at 4078 Milgen Rd. Columbus, Ga 31907 with Galloway in the memo, or give securely online at:
https://give.fmcusa.org/galloway
Giving information also available at:
http://www.gallowayministries.org/donate.html

Monday, June 30, 2014

VBS in Kyustendil and Dupnitsa

What a week!

We held a VBS Monday through Friday with right around 100 children.  A team from our home church, Christ Community came with songs, crafts, and Bible lessons.  The theme was "You are His treasure".  They taught the lesson of the lost parables and told the kids how valuable they are to the Lord.  They made treasure chests, sheep, and crowns.  This time to end the VBS we took the kids up to the mountain to give them a chance for some fresh air and a chance to get out of the village.

We took a picnic lunch, played games, and laughed a lot!  This week we will remember for the rest of our lives!  Many thanks to the team for sacrificing so much to come and love on us and the people of Bulgaria!
How you can help-Donate towards (I am leaving this up for one more week.  We have received some gifts but I don't have a total yet.  I should be able to let you know next week where we stand.
Clothing fund for the children $10 per child x 50 children ($500)
Galloway camp scholarship fund- this will cost our family 600 euro ($817/US) to attend which is not in our budget
August camp scholarship fund- $35 sends a teen to the Love Bulgaria conference for a week and we are looking for those willing to sponsor a teen.  We would like to send 10 from our area ($350)
If you would like to donate to these events, please use the links below, but please indicate to which fund you are giving.  I know you partners can make this happen for the kids!
Many thanks to those that love and pray for us.  We value your partnership and support.  Being on the frontline of ministry requires a definite group of people willing to pray and uplift us, and we know we would/could not be here without you all.  You are loved much!

Praise reports:
*An absolutely amazing week with the Christ Community team that came this week.  God has worked through His people to spread His love, joy, and comfort.
*35 people were baptized in the river today!

Prayer needs:
*Our home church, Christ Community, will be traveling back to the USA today.  They will be very tired and I know of one that has to return to work Monday.
*Pray for the projects (agricultural, church plants, and orphanage/safe house) beginning here on the ground in Bulgaria.  
*Pray for the financial budget to be met.  We have received $6,000 since our last report, praise the Lord, but are still $2,000 below budget for the year.
God Bless,
Chance, Dee Dee, Mitch, Catherine, Jessie, and Alan






Monday, June 16, 2014

Cherry Pickin' Time (and Lipa too)

We went yesterday to pick cherries and lipa.  We went to a village right outside of Kyustendil that had a beautiful view of the city.  Kyustendil is surrounded by 3 mountains, Osogovo (being the largest and toward Macedonia), Konyavo (that we travel over going to Sofia), and Lisets (which is toward Serbia and the one which my previous post was about).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyustendil_Province (more info. of our region)
My friend's family is from Lisets.  They have some cherry trees that needed to be picked.  Here are some pictures from our adventure.





Afterwards we went to pick lipa.  I believe it is called Lindon in english.  If you pick the small leaves that have a bud coming off of them, you can dry them and make a great tea.  The tea helps with blood pressure and helps you sleep well.  I have a cup every night.  They sell it in the apteka (pharmacy), but I like the real thing better.  Alan was a big help pulling down the limbs so Borislava and I could pick the leaves.


It's now drying on newspaper in Catherine's old room.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

June 11th

This past week has been fun, adventurous, and a little stressful.

First, it was Alan's end of the year program and last day of school.  He was with this teacher for 3rd and 4th grades.  She was a bit apprehensive in letting an American that spoke little Bulgarian into her class, but said her granddaughter had moved to Italy and a teacher had allowed her in and said, “Well, if she learns anything, she’ll at least learn Italian.”  That was our philosophy with Alan.  He had already done 3rd grade with me, so this was an infiltration into the language step, and I would take up the slack with math and English at home. Last year he was a bit intimidated and unsure, but we had a friend that was also in the class, and that helped.
This is Alan's first day of school on Sept. 15, 2012.


This year his Bulgarian has blossomed and I couldn’t be more proud.  He is not on grade level in the Bulgarian language, which I would not expect him to be as it being a second language, but he earned good grades in Bulgarian and outstanding grades in math (which are mostly in word problem form).

This is Alan giving his teacher flowers on the last day of 4th grade.
Alan and Jessie after the school program

Last weekend Alan and I went up into the mountains of Bulgaria with our good friends Stanimir and Borislava and their 3 children, Ande, Nadi, and Kati.  It was nice to feel the temperature drop to nice levels the further we went up.  We were up by Serbia in a village called Sredorek.  Their house has been around for a hundred years and his family has lived in that village as far back as he knows.  It was fun listening to stories that he remembered going back to when the Ottomans ruled Bulgaria.  It was nice lying in the hammock and going for a walk on the mountain trails.  The only hiccup was forgetting toilet paper when going to the outhouse.  After a little wait, Ande came out and I was able to yell for help.  Always an adventure!  Here are a few pictures…

Alan and the view of Kyustendil


An old school next door.  People are living there now.


The sink
Wildflowers brought to us by the kiddos...so sweet

Nadanitsa for dinner

The old barn and hammock

The outhouse

The old workhouse probably 60 years old

Washing up the dishes after lunch.  Stanimir's grandfather ran pipe from the mountain basin to the property himself with friends years ago.

It's funny on the drive up how many groups of animals you have to go around and dodge, sheep, goats, cows, horses, pigs.  

Hours of fun for the kids...taking turns swinging each other in the hammock...good times.

Weeding the carrot garden