Posted by: susankayjones | May 25, 2012

paradox

On Monday, I returned to Dallas where I will be living until God calls us elsewhere. The transition so far has been great. For the first 2 days, it felt more like I am visiting, but quickly, I am establishing a routine (ish), learning my way around and growing in excitement to become Carlos’ wife and get involved in ministry opportunities here!

I have felt so blessed throughout this transition. My final week in Guatemala was filled with mixed emotions, but the Lord was gracious to let me feel the depths of sadness, grieving the end of a beautiful season, while also experiencing great excitement and anticipation for that which He is calling me and joy for what He allowed me to be a part of during my time in Guatemala.

It is such an odd place to live with such contradicting emotions…but I suppose that Is a bit like life here on earth for believers. While we hurt, enjoy, grieve, laugh, work, love and generally live in paradox here on earth, we continually long for heaven and the return of Christ so that all will be restored to its original glory. We are constantly living in paradox.

I could not feel more blessed right now. I am exactly where I am supposed to be…I have no doubt. Thank you so much for your prayers!

Posted by: susankayjones | May 18, 2012

my favorite (non-people) things i will miss about guatemala.

obviously, people and ministry are what i will miss the most, but the last few weeks, i’ve also been thinking about some of the fun, quirky and delightfully different things that i will miss about guatemala!
here’s a short list:
  • hole in the walls with the best food! can you say “taco stand”!?!
  • the weather!
  • never being rushed in restaurants
  • bakeries and pharmacies on every corner…and NO prescriptions needed!
  • guatemalan food (except fiambre–ick)
  • simply putting on your hazards whenever you want to break a traffic “law”….or you just want to do your own thing.
  • refried black beans
  • lots and lots of hugs and kisses (definitely going to miss greeting with a kiss!)
  • volcanoes
  • y cafe (my favorite guatemalan coffee shop and its precious workers who know my order!)
  • worshiping in spanish
  • delicious fruit
  • hanging my laundry outside on lines that fill my backyard!
  • flower stands on every corner!
  • the creativity of people who use their vehicles for way more than driving!
  • hammocks!
  • gorgeous sunsets!
Posted by: susankayjones | May 14, 2012

thoughts, reflections and random take aways

may 21st, i will be coming “home” to dallas.

i say “home”, because for now…it seems like just a visit. doesn’t feel like home (yet!). i know it will. i know it will be the place i make a home, life and ministry with my future husband. i know it will feel like home once i reconnect with heart friends and begin to dig in deep into ministry. and i know it will be awesome.

as i begin to ponder and reflect on my time in guatemala, i am overwhelmed by the amazing provision and blessing God has poured over me. He has allowed me to partake in such rich ministry, deep friendships and a tremendous amount of joy through opportunities to utilize my gifts for His glory!

i take away from this country and my experience here far more than i ever gave.

just a few of the “take aways” from the last two years:

  1. If God calls you, He WILL equip you in every way to accomplish His will
  2. I am most fulfilled when I am using my gifts and talents to serve Him.
  3. I love counseling.
  4. Sometimes relationship is more important than my plans or my schedule.
  5.  I actually like living with a relaxed schedule.
  6. God is way bigger than I thought…and my eyes have been opened here.
  7. The Holy Spirit is also alive and active in ways I had not experienced until my time in Guatemala.
  8. I believe more.
  9. I ask, believing more.
  10. My faith has been challenged, strengthened, stretched and affirmed all at the same time.
  11. I have been more refined in my understanding of a moral issue vs. preference.
  12. God provides deep friendships anywhere I go…and I do not deserve them.
  13. Culturally, I can adapt well, and after living here, I’m not really sure which culture I consider “home!”
  14. I really enjoy living life at a slower pace.
  15.  Being in missions is a passion and privilege, and I have loved the opportunity to live in another country.
  16. I have seen great injustice, and have had to learn to trust God through it.
  17. I have seen the body of Christ work in a beautiful way here.
  18. There are seasons and stages of life…and God is in control of all of them.
  19. Obedience is way better than preference.
  20. God’s ideas, plans, thoughts, wisdom, (fill in the blank), is WAY better than mine or anything i could dream!\

i’m sure there are more to come…but that’s a start.

man, this has been a great ride.

I look forward to continuing my pursuit of missions long after that plane hits the ground at DFW. my call to missions is forever. my physical locations are just temporary🙂. praise Him for sustaining me wherever i am!

Posted by: susankayjones | May 10, 2012

lots o changes…

change is good.

solomon had it right when he penned “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”. i think everyone can agree, despite religious belief, stage of life or social status, that in life, there are seasons. it’s a natural ebb and flow to our lives…and how it’s intended to be.

due to some recent and major life changes, i find myself wrapping up a particularly wonderful season of life in guatemala. it’s really been an amazing ride, and i feel so blessed to have lived and served in this beautiful country as long as God allowed me. and i am remembering this as just that…a season…not an end. because if there’s one thing i have learned in life, it’s that your “season” can change at any given moment…so enjoy the one you’re in, and don’t assume you have a clue what the next one will look like!

more on reflections of my time in guatemala later, but for now, i look forward to finishing up here strong and completing my ministry here (for now) in His strength.

i am thankful for change. it keeps me on my toes. it refines my planner-minded soul. it helps me to hold to things loosely (things that don’t matter), and cling to things that do (Him). it excites me for the next season in store. it comforts me knowing that seasons are God-ordained and good.

Posted by: susankayjones | April 24, 2012

and yet, another fun friend visit

i have been blessed to have not one, but two fun friend visits over the last 2 months! what a joy!

last month, my old college roommate, suzie, came to visit me in guatemala! we have kept close over the (*cough, cough, 15) years since college and i still consider her one of my very best friends. there’s just something special about old friends who have loved you though many stages of maturity in life, right? ah, the maturity of a 20-something college student…thought i had the whole world figured out!

her trip was such a blessing, and we had an amazing time catching up and showing her my life here in guatemala. i am continually amazed at God’s provision of such amazing friends all throughout my life. it is truly humbling.

here are some pictures from her visit!

Posted by: susankayjones | April 16, 2012

Inquebrantable…Unbreakable

On April 20, a group of women from Casa de Libertad will head out to a coffee plantation to spend a weekend worshipping, fellowshipping and learning together.

I am so excited about this retreat, and would covet your prayers as we tackle a very weighty, but worthwhile topic: God’s sovereignty over suffering. We will look at the reasons people suffer, and address biblically God’s sovereignty over it, as well as our response to suffering.

Suffering has a bad reputation because it is hard. It can devastate us. It can crush us. It can depress us. Or, it can root us deeper in the One that will never abandon us, never forsake us, never pour out His wrath upon us (for those who are believers in Christ) and always strengthen us to endure all types of suffering.  Suffering can, and is, used by God. Hard truth to swallow, but truth nonetheless.  We are, through Christ, unbreakable.

Our weekend will look at all types of suffering, and I’m sure will touch deeply some past and present hurts women are facing. Please pray for healing, repentance and restoration among hearts.

Our prayer for us during this retreat is Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

Posted by: susankayjones | April 12, 2012

the gospel matters

the last several months, i have been blessed to compile and develop a curriculum to teach a biblical counseling class at my church here in guatemala. it has been so much fun for me (yes, i really do enjoy research, writing and organizing informaion!), and i continually pinch myself that this is actually my “job”!

the first of 13 classes was titled “the gospel as foundation”. the entire goal of this class was to teach how the gospel ties into every single life situation…every circumstance…every trial…every struggle…every joy…every temptation…every argument…every relationship…every day at work…e-ver-y-thing.

so, here’s the deal. the gospel matters.

it matters because for those who know Christ, we are pursuing a life of sanctification and see things through the lenses of one adopted, fully loved, completely forgiven and justified before God. nothing that happens in our life is about God’s wrath or anger toward us. nope.

for those who are seeking to know the answer to the question, “what is wrong in this world?”…please, hear me out. because the gospel answers this very important question.

we are broken and were born into a broken world. something IS wrong in this world. you see evidences of it everywhere. natural disasters, crime, broken relationships, hurt, sorrow, death.

but, the real problem comes when we don’t think we are included in the brokenness of this world. but we are. we desperately need a Savior…and the good news is that God, who is holy and cannot tolerate sin, sent the only perfect offering for atonement for our sin in his son Jesus Christ. in His grace and love, God provides restoration of people to himself. but we miss it. we miss all his ways that He woos us to find complete satisfaction, complete joy, complete fullness in Him.

ever wonder why relationships just don’t always cut it? why you constantly feel like you’re not good enough? why you know there there just HAS to be more meaning to life than the daily, mundane schedule you live? it’s because the answer to all of those questions is “yes, that’s true.”

the only hope for us, this world, our brokennes,  is found in the person of Jesus Christ. he came, lived a sinless life, and sacrificed that we may be reconciled with God….restored in relationship, not only with God, but with others too. so, believing this, my life suddenly becomes something much greater than my mundane daily routine. it becomes a beautiful picture of God’s grace…and an opportunity to live, speak, act, react, rejoice, mourn, accept, love, rebuke, comfort, support, endure and overall demonstrate life as one saved by God’s grace. fully loved and accepted by Him. motivated to live for Him, not me. desiring to show His love to others in how i respond and react. and giving me lenses with which to view and interpret life’s trials, struggles and challenges. even those are His gifts of grace toward me, because His son, Jesus Christ, absorbed any ounce of anger or wrath God has for my sin (past, present future). God is not angry with me. ever.  through Jesus, I am forgiven and seen as blameless before God.

and that is why the gospel matters.

my pastor recently wrote a book about the gospel. check it out here.

Posted by: susankayjones | April 10, 2012

and the blessings just keep on coming…

if you follow my facebook at all, you have probably heard by now that i am engaged to be married to an amazing man!

God’s hand in our relationship has been so evident and it has truly been an amazing ride, filled with His peace, joy and strength.

i have posted pictures from the night of our engagement on Facebook here. it was truly the most perfect night i could have ever imagined.

i am going to marry the most wonderful, godly man who i KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt is the man God picked for me. i love him for so many things, but mostly i love him for his commitment to and utter love for God. he points me to Christ and refines me in so many ways. i feel beyond blessed to be his future wife, and look forward to how God chooses to use us for His glory. we are confident He has ordained this for His purposes…so, let the new journey begin!!!

***
more to come on what my timeline will be as i finish out  my term in guatemala. stay tuned! God still has some work to do here in guatemala, and i am here for a little bit longer finishing up commitments!

Posted by: susankayjones | February 11, 2012

a fun friend visit

last weekend, my best friend from the time i was 4 (yes, literally), came to visit in guatemala.

i love our friendship. there is literally no one outside my family that i can say has known me longer in life….and there’s just something to be said for that. being known. it’s an amazing feeling.

holly’s visit was such a blessing to me. i love showing people my life here…and letting them catch a glimpse of the beauty of guatemala, both in landscape and its people.

here are a few pictures from our visit…

Posted by: susankayjones | February 10, 2012

blessed…

today, i am reminded of, and swimming in, the sea of God’s abundant blessings in my life. from family to friends to an amazing God-centered relationship…He has provided me with so many things for which to be grateful.

this morning, i am thanking Him for Him. the source of all good gifts in my life. today, i was reminded (which i often am here in guatemala), of the blessing it is to celebrate the gospel.

i spent the better part of this morning surrounded by women who come from different walks of life, different spiritual backgrounds, and currently in different places in life. and yet…i reveled in the fact that the gospel is for each one of us. it is transcendent. it is beautiful. it is humbling.

i was also blessed to hear an amazing testimony of my new teammate, KC Reed (follow her blog and pray for her ministry!). she is, ladies and gentlemen, an amazing women of God who has quite a story of redemption. listening to the story God gave her, i worshiped in my heart and was yet again, reminded of my need for His saving grace in my life. what a beautiful thing.

i am blessed.

i am full.

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