To forget something then to be reminded of it is a blessing. How many times have we driven ourselves to the point to believe a lie? “I feel alone. God where are you?” We dive into this pool of hyper-reality, thinking that the reality that we perceive in our minds is truth, when in actuality it is a lie. To make things more clear, how many of us have felt abandoned by God? Feeling so isolated and alone, that we have taken the steps into the deep end of the pool of hyper-reality and actually believe that God is far away from us? (Did you catch my redundancy?) Our prayers seem to make it to the ceiling, but that’s as far as it gets. I am prone to fall into this snare of the devil.

Here is where it starts to happen. I expect God to show up. (honestly). If I am real with myself, I actually demand Him to show up because I know the consistency of His character in the Bible. God is faithful. My blind spot is that I demand Him to show up in my timing rather than His. I know God will show up in His timing, but when I fail to trust His timing I begin to lose sight of His faithfulness. Then comes fear of my circumstances. And then I doubt His goodness. Then I feel abandoned and not longer trust that I am His child. Then anger. And finally despair. How many of us have actually say they have not been through that process?

We are not alone in this battle. When you read the scriptures, you see a reoccurring theme of despair, but then a memorial of God’s faithfulness. In Psalm 13, David states in verse 1, “How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?” Then in verses 5 and 6 we see the psalmist remember who God is, “But I have trusted in Your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.” Another example is Habakkuk. Habakkuk cries out because of the upcoming  judgment of Judah for their sins; the Babylonian empire was about to lay waste of them. He cries, “O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save?” Habakkuk could have believed the lie that The Lord would not rescue, but the book does not end here. A memorial is found at the end of Habakkuk chapter 3, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feel like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”

To my point, we are prone to forget who God is. Yes He may not show up in our timing, but we must trust in Him. Memorials are something that help us remember His character. When the people of Israel crossed over the Jordan river they built a memorial to the Lord, remembering what He has done for them. Another example of memorials is found in the way we Southern Baptist’s observe baptism and the Lord’s supper. They are a memorial of what God has done and a testimony of His faithfulness to His children.

With that all said, I have a challenge for you. As often as many of us blog, journal, or write, start writing down memorials of God. I have a small book that all I write down is what God has done and who His character is. When I begin to doubt, I read through them and remember. Just a disclaimer: This is not to replace time meditating on the Word or gathering with the local church. We are to fight this battle together.

The Lord is good, gracious, great, and glorious….remember that!

blessings

Kayvan

Post Brazil

Posted: June 13, 2014 in Some things on my mind...
Tags: ,

It has been about a week since Ashley and I have been back from Brazil. Wow, what a blessing to have spent time with the people there. After a 27 hour travel time, we landed safely in Florida last Saturday. I have reflected much about what I experienced and have been processing a few things post trip. I am about to write about some of my experiences, convictions, and post trip thoughts regarding my time before Brazil, there, and now. These are reflections of a sinner’s heart who is striving to give God the glory in everything. 

Before Brazil, many people would ask, “why are you going?” My response, “To give God glory”. What others would hear was that I (we) were going on a vacation. Mission trips are not vacations, it is hard work. One of my prayers was to identify if the Lord is calling me to tribal missions (with Ashley or without her). As of right now I do not believe the Lord is calling me to Brazil, but that could change.

My Role

Pre-Brazil, my prayer was to serve the missionaries in whatever capacity needed. Ashley and I were there to serve them. My role in Brazil was to shadow Don (a missionary). To walk with him through thick and thin (literally, spiritually, and physically as much as you can walk together for 16 days).

Experiences

Adjusting is tough. You are surrounded by unfamiliar. You are surrounded by voices and languages that are foreign. Then comes the moment when you want to escape. But you can’t because you are committed and there is no way to leave (Deep down you wont follow through with leaving). Gracefully, after a few days you begin to get into routine of how things work and what to avoid (bugs and whatever else). Soon before you know it (it took me about 4 days) you begin to love where you are. You are struggling because it is unfamiliar, but you look past your feelings and remember the mission of God. That you are in this place to advance the Kingdom.

The students took about a week to start interacting with me more. They would say my name “kayveen” almost like a funky way of saying Kevin, and they would stick their thumb up. I would great them in their name and say “tudo beim?” (all is good?). I just want to say that 16 days is definitely not enough time there to understand and experience the culture in its full capacity. The school’s curriculum is to story through the Bible so that the students can take it back to their people and share the Story of the Bible; with the prayer of a birthed church. It was amazing to hear the story of Solomon and the temple in the Portuguese language (even though i didn’t understand it). What was even more incredible is that the students would go over and over these stories, then stand up and repeat them. Many of the tribes don’t have a written language, so it is vital that stories of Scripture are given. My prayer is that each tribe would formulate a written language, so that they have God’s Word not just in orality, but on paper.

Another class was to learn the Portuguese language. It was a great time to sit in and observe and listen. This class time included a video of Planet Earth on caves. I was amazed to see the reactions of the students, because they have never seen these parts of the world. It reminded me how much I take for granted God’s creation and how much I should enjoy it, because He is in control of it.

Each day I was out the door about 7 am, learning from Don, talking with him about life, and prepping for the afternoon. Sometimes we would lay brick for the corner joints of the duplex, so that in the afternoon work time, the students can come and fill in the middle sections quickly. Afternoon work-time (1-4pm) is designed for discipleship. At 1pm the men would meet and talk through the story learned that morning, then we would pray and be divided up to do farm work, duplex, or other smaller tasks that need to be done on the property. Much of my time with the guys was laughing with them. I was picking up the language quickly and I could tell by body language and certain sayings when the guys would goof off and/or when they needed more cement for bricks, or even a water break. Hard work in the sun, but it was well worth the sweat, cuts, and mosquito bites. Personally I faced the thoughts, “how can i be effective when I don’t know the language” or “I don’t know how to do this”. But as I searched the scriptures, I faced the truth that no matter how great the task or little, it was worthy for the Kingdom.  Overall it was a tremendous blessing. I believe they ministered more to me than I them.

Convictions

A thought came to mind as I rested my head for the first time in about 2 weeks in the States. “All I did was physical things in Brazil, nothing really spiritual”. I served mainly with helping Don fix the water pump, mowing (with an electric mower), mixing cement and laying bricks for a duplex, and mainly observing him in his business of life on life discipleship and ministry. On the field I realized that at first I was frustrated….as big-headed arrogant seminary student, I stuck out my chest in pride and wanted to teach the Bible or share the gospel with hundreds of people. The Lord revealed to me that if His will was that He wanted me to mow or lay brick for the rest of my life, then I would have to lay down my life doing just that. After about 5 days i confessed to Don my struggles, of my past and now. He told me to write down all the negative things and the positive things, then to give over the negative things to the Lord. Being on the mission field magnifies your sin and struggles; it exposes your heart. I am grateful for this time, because the Lord has brought to light what is an idol in my life and with a doubled-edged sword, He gently severs what does not belong.

One thing that has burdened me is the fact that there is a high need for laborers. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few”. Don was basically taking on three roles, I believe if it wasn’t for the sustaining power of the gospel through Word and prayer, and the fact that those who are there have a deep sense of community and accountability, it would be easy to burn out and want to quit. But praise be to God that He doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called! As of right, I don’t believe God is calling me to Brazil, but I know this can change and through prayer I will be open to that. My prayer is that by reading this, someone will be driven by the Spirit to go and lay their life down in Brazil.

Post Brazil

Brazil was not a vacation, it was hard work. My role was to be with Don, mainly working outside, and Ashley’s role was to serve Vera in aiding in ESL and devotions for the single girls on the campus. I would find my eyes heavy around 10:00pm and my ears awakening to the sounds of the first bell and roster crowing at 5:45am, daily. It was only 16 days, but I personally believe we needed more, I needed more time there. I love the people and my prayer is that I would hear stories of them growing more in the faith, especially one brother named David. I pray that I would hear of churches being birthed in the most hard places to reach. I pray that The Light shines in the darkness, bringing forth more laborers for the Kingdom!

As I sit here in my new apartment in NC on school campus, I reflect on how God has gently taken my heart and how He is starting to shake it of idols in my life. Idolatry is poison and it is crazy how we (I) think it is ok to hold them. So with once fists closed, demanding God for Him to give me what I want, I am now letting go…opening my hands and allowing God to take control.

Brazil revealed to me…reminded me of God’s mission and my role in making disciples. No matter how small the task, it is an important one in God’s eyes. Do I need anyone’s approval? That is a battle I am learning to let go right, because I am a people-pleaser and I squirm when I know people are in opposition of me. I only need God’s approval and He already approved of me when He died on the cross! My role now as a student preparing for the mission field is to focus on what the Lord is telling me, and finding my soul satisfied in Him.

Brazil….or should I say Brasil, has impacted me not in a drastic way, but in a way that has caused me to slowly allow the Lord to prune my life, so that I would look more like Christ.

Go…that’s all I can say…Go and see…Go and pour your life out for the Kingdom. For the advancement for our King’s Name!

If you would like to know more…just ask me!

Blessings

Kayvan

 

Tudo Bem? (How is it going?) A phrase that I here often whenever I see someone here in Brazil. My response. Muito Bom (very good)!

Our first weekend here was cold, fog settled in and it seemed like a horror movie was on the horizon. It was funny to see everyone here freezing in what we would call upper 60′s. OK, I admit it was a bit chilly. This past week has gone by fast. I over worked myself yesterday cutting down a bunch of thorn bushes that we have been working on for about 2 days. The thorns welcomed me as my arms and legs tell everyone around that i dove into the bushes (I didnt). Yesterday and today was hot, not cloud cover at all, hence why i overworked myself. Today we changed the water pump down by the creek (about 1 or 2 kilometers down a small “amazon looking” trail). After that we worked on the duplex laying more brick.

I am slowly starting to pick up more phrases and words in Portuguese, it is a tough language, but knowing a little Spanish helps. Ashley on the other hand is still struggling through it, but she is doing very well. I don’t expect us to learn the language in the two weeks that we are here.

My new friend Davi is a missionary from Ecuador! He is interning here at the training center to learn Portuguese, then he is leaving to Africa to be a tent maker (basically a business man with gospel intentions). Davi knows a lot of English so this has been a blessing, plus my little knowledge of Spanish helps. We have connected well and I am grateful to know him. Much of my time this week will be focused on getting to know him more and building a deep connection. My prayer is that we would challenge each other and that we would just have a good time here. He has been awesome!

I want to say that I am really proud of Ashley. She has been helping our host missionary with teaching in the town and she has been teaching English to some of the people at the training center. It is really awesome to see her step out and serve where she may not be so comfortable. Tomorrow at 7:20AM she leads a devotional for the girls at the training center and is giving her testimony (YEAH!).

We are also going to be having dinner tonight with another missionary family, the wife was with New Tribes and is now here. They are from the States and it is good to have more people around us to translate and help with the language. Ashley is actually helping the wife of this family organize the home school classroom they have here. Wycliffe used to be in this area, but they are no longer here because they did not see any progress (plus the government changed their rules about people going into the tribes). Ashley has been helping organize the library in the classroom.

Tomorrow is going to be a great day, because we will be hiking to see a few water falls in this area. The hike up I believe is about 5 kilometers (pictures soon)!

PRAYER

  1. Pray that God is glorified here. That people are saved and discipled to go back into their tribe and plant churches.
  2. Pray for the training center that more students will come and more leaders will rise up (a few missionary families are leaving so this is tough for the training center).
  3. Pray that despite the language barrier and only having one more week, that Ashley and I would have a great impact on the students, teachers, missionaries here at the training center. Our goal is to refresh the families here.
  4. Alcoholism: many of the students families back in their tribes are dealing with addiction to alcohol. It has engulfed their tribes and is deteriorating the family aspect. Pray for salvation for their families as well.
  5. On another note: pray for the insects, I’m getting eating alive here. haha

blessings!

Kayvan

 

Bom Dia! Good Morning from Brazil! Stopping in to give you all an update! God is doing good things here! Today Ashley and I went to one of the classes that does storying through the Bible. Their story today was in 2 Chronicles  6 (the building of the temple and dedication to the Ark of the Covenant). Their key verse was:

“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth,keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart”

God’s love is steadfast and He desires for us to proclaim His glory to the nations! It is amazing to see all the students in the classroom learning the Bible. The story is told 3 times then we all split up into groups to retell the story and dialogue about the story. I goofed up today and started following David (a student from Ecuador who knows some english) when I was supposed to stay with the group that is slow-paced, so i was totally lost because they were storying really quick. But it turned out to be a good experience.

It has been tough here! Often we are struggling with language barriers, insects, SPIDERS, and there is this “fog” that comes over the town that makes it pretty cold here. I was talking to our host missionary, telling him that we feel almost in the way here, but he told me, “It is refreshing to have you guys here”. One thing that Ashley and I both agree with as we live life here for 2 weeks is that we both have a passion to serve other missionaries and care for them. Whether it’s construction, cleaning, teaching, or even just playing cards, spending quality time with others is something that we both have a passion and desire to do.

Continue to pray for the students here.

Pray for God to be glorified most of all!

Also, take a look at this picture and you will see how many tribes are in Brazil.

Blessings!

Kayvan

photo

 

Greetings from Brazil!

Two days in Brazil and it has been a blessing!  Much of the smell, driving, and various other things have reminded me of different experiences in Haiti and Venezuela. Ashley accidentally started speaking in Pidgin while plucking chicken feathers yesterday (She spend 2 months in Papua New Guinea last summer). Needless to say, it has been an awesome time so far!

Missions is not a vacation. The last school semester was tough. Planning for this trip was tough, but it has been worth it. Ashley and I got right to work here. Our first day I helped lay brick for a house the missionaries and students are building. Ashley helped the women catch chickens, kill them, then clean them for prep to cook (we had chicken for lunch today, haha).

Today, i helped lay some more brick early in the morning and then around 10 am Ashley and I went to a class for the students to learn Portuguese. We watched a video by Planet Earth in Portuguese. Ashley and I sat there clueless with some words here and there that we could understand. You may be asking why are the students learning the language? Well! Many of the students speak a tribal language. What was so fascinating to me was their reaction from the film. They were astonished by seeing a land other than what they have known. It was incredible to witness their amazement. I was reminded today that God is glorious in creation. He created everything, not for it to just look awesome, but that we humans would enjoy it by cultivating the soil for His names sake.

Our work for the afternoon was to lay cement on some brick by the kitchen, it was a learning experience. It was great to witness one of the students, who has been studying here for 4 years, quickly do the job like he was a pro. It was stated that he was slow as I was when he first started (there is hope). The students don’t just get Bible training, but are taught day-to-day essentials. In the afternoon the men are split up into groups: cement group, yard work, the pond (they created a huge artificial pond for farming fish because it is expensive in this area), and another group to keep up the gardening and chicken coop.

Each afternoon Ashley has been helping with ESL for some of the girl students and some residents in the town a few kilometers away. She actually just go back as I write this, we are getting ready to go to a town with a family to eat dinner.

Tomorrow, Ashley and I will be going with a group on a hike to a waterfall. Pictures are coming!

Some things I ask that you would pray for:

  1. Salvation of those who don’t know Christ on the campus and the town.
  2. Though we are only here for 2 more weeks, that we would learn the language a little more.
  3. For the families here to be encouraged refreshed.
  4. Personal growth with the Lord for both Ashley and I.
  5. That above all else, that the Lord will be magnified in everything in our lives personally and here.

blessings!

Kayvan

 

This blog post today is from Paul Tripp’s Wednesday’s Word. My prayer is that as it challenges me, it will do the same for you. Enjoy!

BE A BETTER FRIEND

Last week we learned from Psalm 15:2 that we’re in a constant conversation with our own heart. In these “heart-to-heart” moments, we have the ability to speak truth or tell lies to our souls that will shape the way we live.

Speaking truth is internal, but it has significant external consequences: Who can dwell on God’s holy hill? The one “who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend.”

Slander and reproach are similar words; reproach is rooted in a Hebrew verb that means “to strip.” What does slander and reproach do? It damages, or strips, a person of their good reputation.

The Psalmist is describing a godly person who would never say anything that might hurt another person’s reputation – friend or neighbor. I think this is a helpful distinction, because it’s easy to speak highly of those who make our life enjoyable, and easy to speak negatively of those who make life difficult.

Think about it: no act of selfishness; no moment of impatience and irritation; no lashing out with unkind words; no moment of bitter judgment; no pushing themselves to the center of attention; no closing their eyes to the need of their neighbor because they’re too busy taking care of their own desires.

It’s hard for me to read this passage without feeling discouraged. Not only do I struggle to love my enemies, but I struggle to love those I say I love!

It’s not a bad thing to feel discouraged over and over again by this Psalm. You can’t let that discouragement define you, but in many ways, that feeling is the convicting grace of the Holy Spirit. God has set a standard, and you and I don’t have a chance of reaching it.

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Not us! If we’re honest, we make pretty poor friends. But the Father sent His Son to make us His friend. And He also sent His Spirit to enable us to become better friends, right here, right now.

God bless

Paul David Tripp

  • Why is gossip so dangerous?


  • Why is it easy to speak praise of someone who makes life comfortable?


  • Are you quick to turn on a friend if they make your life difficult?


  • How did Jesus model friendship on earth?

 

Wanting to be a missionary does not start when you go overseas. If you are a saint called by God, then you are a missionary. Often I find others, including myself, stating that they want to be “this or that”, but never following through. Taking ownership is one of the things that men are prone to lack in my generation.

Not just in my time with the Lord, but in relationships, I find myself going strong then all of a sudden I realize I’ve taken a huge landslide asking myself, “how did i get here?”. When it comes to dating someone, I find myself taking the backseat in leading. What has caused this? It is an assault on the Cultural Mandate of God (to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth). To my point: Men–we need to man up and be biblical men! I only date if I am working towards marriage. Really, what is the point of dating someone if you know they wont be your spouse? There is no point to it!

I often ask myself, “what is my role in my relationship with my girlfriend?”. To really give a good understanding, I want to work backwards by starting with the role of man at church level to the dating level:

Church Level

1) The Qualification of an Overseer: 1 Timothy 3:1-7:

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

2) In regards to being discipled in the church: Titus 2: 6-8: (as how young men should present their selves).

Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Dating Level

As stated before, I often ask myself the question, “What is my role in my relationship with my girlfriend?”. There are many different opinions on how someone should lead; however, my conviction is found in Ephesians 5

3) The Dating level is really preparation for marriage: Ephesians 5:25-33:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body.31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

A common theme in my prayer is that I desire the Lord to make me into a Godly man. One fallacy in that prayer is that I am praying for something that has already happened. If Jesus saved me and brought me into the fold of God, then the declaration and anthem for my life is that I am declared forgiven and holy because of Christ! I am a sinner. I fall short all the time. But the Lord is there to forgive. He is my refuge.

SO MEN, WHAT IS OUR ROLE IN DATING? If we are dating for marriage, then we ought to be already loving our girlfriend in preparation for them being our spouse. From a woman’s viewpoint, they want a man to lead. Not only to be a great leader, but more importantly, to lead them in the Word of God. To live that example and follow through with what they say. In short, to be just like Christ. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, Christ sets the example!

One conviction I have is that I have failed to lead in being the leader. I took the backseat for a while with my relationship. The Circumstances? detrimental–damaging–deteriorating. But praise be to God that He has revealed this to me! Praise God that He doesn’t leave us where we are, but that the Holy Spirit continues to expose, encourage, and gives us the strength to endure!

So what does it look like to be the leader?  “…that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.” Men, in order for us to lead in a dating relationship or even at the local level in the church, we must be men who meet with God for nourishment. How can one pour into another without himself being filled first? The only outcome in that is burnout. 

Before I am called to be a missionary. a boyfriend. a future husband. a future father. I am called to be a saint. One who meets God in the prayer closet, one who finds my soul satisfied in the King of Kings. One that is willing to surrender it all for the sake of Christ being exalted. No matter the cost. Men are we this? Am I living this? Do I believe this?

Are we pursuing God more than our girlfriend? our ministry? our spouse? our children?

I often think…If my girlfriend and I were not to work out and God closes that door, what is the one thing that I would want? It would be for her to be more holy than when I first met her. My life, my thoughts, my actions, my love for her should draw her more to the ONLY ONE who satisfies.

Our dating. Our marriage. Our lives….are not for our happiness, but for our holiness. To be more like Christ.

So I must ask: Men, are we following our heart or leading it to the throne of God? Lead the one you love to Him. That is our role in dating. That is our role in life. 

For life

Kayvan