Dear Readers, I canʼt believe Not of this World is already one year old! This past year has flown by. I still remember the night that my dad suggested that I start a newsletter for missionary girls. I completely pushed the idea aside; it sounded impossible. But over the next few weeks the idea kept popping up in my thoughts and finally I said to myself, why not? I never wouldʼve imagined all that has happened since I pulled up that first Word document and started working on the December 2009 issue. Itʼs been an amazing journey! Through Not of this World, Iʼve “met” so many amazing, beautiful girls from around the world. Reading their stories are such a blessing! Whenever I see a new e-mail in my inbox with a story inside, my heart flip flops. It fills me with joy to read about your country and how God is working through you. I hope that youʼve been as blessed as Iʼve been by the many stories and articles youʼve read over the past year! I want to thank all of you who are reading this right now! Without your support this never wouldʼve happened. Iʼve had so much encouragement from so many people this past year. Itʼs kept me going. Thank you to everyone whoʼs ever written anything for Not of this World! Like I mentioned above, I love seeing a snapshot of your life. The webzine wouldnʼt even exist without you talented writers! The biggest thank you, though, goes to God. Heʼs been so amazingly faithful throughout this whole project. Every month Heʼs pulled through and given me the strength and time to meet my deadlines, even when I think itʼll be impossible. Iʼve learned that nothing is impossible with the Lord! He deserves all the credit for this webzine. My hope is that He is glorified through this. I hope this webzine inspires you to create and dream and I hope it helps you navigate the joys and woes of being an MK. But most of all, I hope it builds your relationship with the Lord. I hope you have a beautiful Christmas this year!
In Him, Courtney R.
Editor, Not of this World
So what does this have to do with a lonely girl living in the middle of Kuwait? Well, it's made me think about the caravans in my own life, the ones that have already given me a ride, and the ones that are still coming. When I look at my life here in Kuwait, I don't always understand why God led me here. Even though I made the decision to come here, I often look back on the past year and wonder how I ended up on the other side of the world. What is God's purpose in all this? But then I think of caravans...I think about the ways that God provides and leads us toward our calling and our purpose. I think about how God knew I would end up here even before Kuwait was a possibility in my mind. And I think about all the caravans that might be journeying toward my life right now. As a single woman, it's natural to hope that one of those caravans might be a man. Maybe it will be a different location, a different job, a different ministry, different friends...but whatever caravans come my way, they were ordained long before the caravans cross paths with my life. The beauty and the mystery of all this is that as believers, we are called to hope...to faith. been thinking a lot about caravans. I know,
that sounds random...but let me explain. I recently read Wilderness Skills for Women: how to survive heartbreak and other full-blown meltdowns. Well, for anyone who knows me, I'm not one for reading Christian books for women, but this one has kept me up late reading at night. Ok, back to caravans. So the author talks about the story of Joseph, and makes a point that just left me dumbfounded. I know, I know...we all know the story of Joseph. But she brought up a really interesting point about caravans. When we think about God's provision for Joseph, we think about the master plan: Joseph ending up in Egypt, the dreams, the prophecy, saving the country from famine, and eventually saving his entire family (Jesus would be the descendant of that family!). But the author rewinds to the moment when Joseph is in the well. His brothers have just thrown him in to die, and then here comes along a caravan bound for Egypt! It's that caravan that takes Joseph toward his calling in life. So here's the point...that caravan didn't just appear out of nowhere. The caravan set out for that journey long before it went by that well. God, in His amazing provision and sovereignty, sent the caravan on its way at some point before we even pick up the story at the well.
In the wake of these thoughts about caravans, I found a new TV channel here in Kuwait. I know, exciting. I came across a show in which the main character is a man who can see the past and the future when he touches someone or something. There's a profound moment when one of the characters explains that faith is believing when there is no proof. Now, I know what faith means, but in the middle of a dark and lonely country, it's hard to always have faith. It took a silly TV show to remind me that God often ordains His people to walk through the wilderness because it's in those dry and desert places that real faith is born. When fellowship and Christian music and theological discussions all fade away, we are left only with what the author of this book calls Mascara Worship: choosing to worship God through our faith and through our tears (hence mascara worship: the black streaks running down the face). So even though I can't see what kinds of caravans God is going to provide, my heart's desire is to continue my mascara worship, to believe that God provides even in the wilderness.
by Michaela Frantz
There’s a song that goes, “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all
about You, all about You Jesus. I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You, all about You Jesus.” That song says it just perfectly and it’s taken me a hundred times of singing it to realize it. Just recently I have been listening to/ reading different materials that have really been speaking to me about the purpose of life. It sounds cliché to say I have been learning the meaning of life, but it’s true and it’s also exciting! The bottom line of what I have learned is this: living life to the fullest means living every moment FOR JESUS. It means that every action should be done for the Lord’s honor and the Lord’s honor only. It sounds easy, but trust me it is not. In fact, it is impossible to achieve that in this lifetime because we are sinful and imperfect beings. BUT, it is also very cool to me to realize that if we desire with our whole hearts to do everything for Jesus, everything else falls into place. If our true goal is to honor Jesus in everything, then we will automatically trust Him, love others, and seek His will above all else. You see, it’s much simpler to prioritize following Him, than to always have focus on working separate areas like lying, unkindness, bad attitudes and the like. I am often convicted of certain sins in my life and it is important to work on those individually but if we want to live for Jesus, then we will think before we act and make decisions based on what we think God would want us to do. I really struggle with gossiping and I know I need to work on it. I try and I try to stop gossiping but it just doesn’t work and I get really discouraged and I beat myself up and I eventually stop trying because I know it’s impossible. Then, I decide to live my life for Jesus and Him alone. If I really mean it, I will think about gossiping before I do it and realize that Jesus would not be honored if I talked badly about other people, so I would try not to. That same thing would apply to every area of my life. Not only would my choice to follow him devoutly encourage me not to sin, but it would also make me keenly aware of His will. I would do everything I could to stay within His will. I would follow Him in every part of my life. Galatians 5:22-‐23 says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-‐control. How much simpler can it get? You let the Spirit live in and through you, following God in everything you do, and the rest will fall into place. How cool!!
See how this decision changes EVERYTHING! If you mean it and stick to it, you may never be the same. Trust me-‐ it is the best choice you could ever make.
felt like I was supposed
other women and saw their livelihood and the grim reality of their lives. After meeting the women and watching them at work, Lynn sensed a stirring in my heart. She loved the hands-‐ on creativity that was involved and said that, “It felt like a dream project; it connected really deeply with my heart.” After a lot of consideration and prayer, Lynn decided to move to Central Asia so that she could minister to these women’s needs on a daily basis.
to start praying.” recalled Lynn. Little did she know the journey on which those prayers would take her. One year ago she read a magazine article about women in Central Asia and a small [lame was lit inside her heart. Lynn has been living in Europe for several years but is now moving to Central Asia to holistically minister to women. Across the ocean another [lame was being lit. One of Lynn’s good friends, Annie, lives in Central Asia and ministers to women. One day she heard a knock at the door and saw a middle-‐ aged woman standing on her door-‐step. Her name was Fatima. Annie assumed she was there to beg, but to her surprise she wanted to clean her house for pay. Annie wasn’t by in need of a maid, but Fatima’s initiation made her think about how she could help women earn money.
To Be A Blessing
Inspiration came in the form of a purse. The colorful purse was a present from Lynn to Annie. When Annie saw the hand-‐ made item, she knew that she had a new project. She went to the local fabric market and showed Fatima how to make a purse similar to Lynn’s. Soon several other women joined the project so that they, like Fatima, could support their families. After hearing Annie tell her about all that had happened, Lynn remembers thinking, “I really want to be a part of this…” Later that year Lynn visited Annie to see the project in action. She met Fatima and the
The reality of these women living in Central Asia is harrowing. Only one to two percent of women own identity cards, only around twenty percent are literate, and [ifty-‐four percent are married under the age of eighteen. Past dictatorships have had grave effects. In recent years under strict rule women were not allowed to laugh or show any feelings publically. Though they are technically free, society still lives in the past and women are captives of fear. Though the situation of women is improving, they still live in a world of captivity. Lynn believes that she’s been blessed so that she can be a blessing to others. Her hope is that she can make an impact on these women and minister to them. When asked about why she was going, Lynn paused for a moment before answering, “My hope is that lives will be impacted, lives and then families…. individual lives which will impact families which could really impact communities, cities, countries...” Pray for Lynn as she courageously takes a step toward impacting these women.
This Christmas, Be a Blessing to Others Samaritan s Purse
Through Samaritan s Purse you can donate money to help children learn to read or write, give livestock to poor families, feed a hungry baby for a week, give clean water to a thirsty community, and much more. Find out more at: www.samaritanspurse.org
Bajalia Trading CompanyBuy jewelry, home
decor, accessories, and more at Bajalia Trading Company. All your money will go toward helping others. You can choose gifts based on country and cause. For more information go to: www.bajalia.com
photo from b
sama photo from
Global Hope Network International
Global Aid Network GAIN seeks to
transform lives through compassion. There are many ways you can support them and others. You can make or pay for care packages, donate money, ship meals to Haiti, raise donations for clean water, and more. For more information go to: http://www.gainusa.org
photo from g
lobalhope hoto from g
GHNI seeks to give not only hope, but transformation to poor and hurting peoples around the world. They have split their mission into five key areas: water, food, wellness, income, and education. You can help them achieve these goals by adopting a village or donating to their organization. For more information go to: www.globalhopenetwork.org
I was sick and,
unfortunately, I had a lot of things planned for that week. The most important activity was a great worship and music training as I'm involved in a worship band. But because of my health, I couldn't go for sure! It was so frustrating, and confusing ! I kept asking myself "why would God not allow me to train to serve Him better and to worship Him more skillfully?" But guess what I felt God whispering to my heart? I don't need to be a professional musician or singer to worship Him the right way! John 4:23 says, "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true Worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." I just need to love Him and worship Him with all your heart! God wants me and He wants you to worship Him in Spirit and Truth! Now maybe you feel unqualified too. It might not be in music or worship, but in school, your job. Maybe it's for a ministry God has called you too. Maybe you feel pressure from others, your parents, or your teacher. Stop worrying and let the Creator and Caller prepare you the way He wants to! He will equip you for the tasks He's put you in charge of! Here's a quote I read recently: "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the Called!" I hope you'll come to understand you don't need to be super -qualified to please our Heavenly father but that you can come just as you are with your heart open and honest before Him. Let's lean on God to prepare us for what is ahead of us.
"Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on DiscoverySchool.com"
Article by Rebecca Maurino
an interview with
Bloom is an online magazine for teenage Christian girls. I interviewed its editor, Sara Nimori, and her co-editor, Victoria Mallory, to find out more about the inspiration and purpose behind Bloom. Feel free to listen in...
What was the inspiration behind Bloom? I love fashion and beauty magazines, but I have been disappointed at the content and the messages they are sending to young girls. I disliked the fact that girls like me were being urged to look a certain way so as to be noticed by their friends and boys. Bloom was inspired by a desire to create a magazine focused on modern fashion and beauty that deals with issues of the heart. It is aimed at Christian teenage girls, but modern enough to apply to their friends as well.
Whatâ€™s something youâ€™ve learned from your experience with Bloom? Working as co-editor is definitely one of the hardest jobs I've ever done, but it's been really rewarding. It's taught me to
manage my time a lot better and work hard to get things done on time. I can't tell you how amazing it is when I see a finished issue and all the work that went into it.
How have you seen God working through you?
NOTW: Victoria: NOTW: Sara:
First off, He gave Sara the inspiration to start Bloom, and she knew just the people to recruit to help the idea become reality. Although it's been hard when all of our team members are scattered across the US, God really helps us keep going through the difficulties.
Whatâ€™s your favorite part of working for Bloom? My favorite thing about creating Bloom is that I have a phenomenal co-editor who's very devoted to helping further the magazine's vision. It's a challenge of teamwork and the rush of meeting a deadline is actually quite exciting! But my favorite aspect of Bloom is that we have the chance to be a platform to other girls. We can show them that beauty is found not just in our appearance, but inside as well. We can show that it's ok as teenagers to be smart and articulate, even when the peer pressure says differently. We can show them it's ok to be ourselves, because God's opinion is really the only one that matters.
to subscribe to Bloom!
Bible verses about...
Christmas “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” -Isaiah 7:14
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,"Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" -Luke 2:13-14
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” -Isaiah 9:6
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” -Luke 2:11
“And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord.” -Luke 1:14
What’s God up to? read how God is working in MKs’ lives around the globe!
God has definitely been teaching me that appearance and caring so much about what people think isn't as important as I make it seem. To make a long story short: on a missions trip to Ethiopia everyone got random challenges to help stretch our faith. Mine just so happened to be giving away half of my clothes and not being able to go shopping till christmas. I was at first devastated because not only was this going to be sooo hard but this also fit me perfectly. I was ashamed when my eyes were opened to how materialistic I have become and I think that through this God really wants to help to change my character. I realized that before this I would go shopping every weekend for 5 hours and buy so much, yet I complained about not having time for God and I complained about having no money for offering. I decided that because I work so many jobs I won't be using this money on clothes so i decided to send it to an orphanage that I went to on a mission trip. This is a
HUGE step for me because I was so greedy with my money.
-Susanna W. Zimbabwe/USA Recently my family moved to the States from Morocco, North Africa. I was really scared that people wouldn’t understand me and that the culture shock would be overpowering. I asked God constantly to be with me and keep me from falling into depression. Guess what? It worked! Not only did I make a lot of friends but they really seemed to be interested in my life overseas! Of course there were problems and drama, but hey, what’s life with out a little but of “interesting” in it? We found an amazing church, I already have some really great friends, we just got a beautiful British Black Labrador name Solomon, AND I grew closer to God. My Lord is amazing!
-Nicole C. Morocco/USA Whatʼs God up to in your life? Send me an email at email@example.com to be in a future issue!
Everlasting Father by Avery H.
Small snowflakes fell down outside as a young girl named Charlene peered out the frosted window. It was only a couple weeks until Christmas and this was the first snow of the season. She stared off into the distance as if looking for something. Then she returned to reading a book. Reading was her way of escape. No matter what happened in real life she could forget about it all and read fairytales; those always had happy endings. The sound of the wind blowing against the house filled the room rattling the house with an unsatisfied coming and going. It must be trying to knock down the house concluded Charlene
trying again concentrate on her book. Something didn’t feel right. The sky darkened outside as the faint sun slowly disappeared. The snow increased
and Charlene slowly saw it begin to build on the windows ledge. The grandfather clock chimed 7:00 pm. Her father should be home by now. She put down her book and went to search for her mother.
Maybe she is in the kitchen. Charlene found her mother preparing dinner. “When will father be home?” She inquired. “He should be home by now. Probably running a bit late because of the blizzard outside. Won’t be long until he gets home I’m sure.” Charlene’s mother reassured her; although she was beginning to get worried herself. Charlene was only nine years old but she could hear the worry in her mother’s voice. She knew her father was out there in that blizzard, and she knew it wasn’t good. She again sat down in the
living room and returned to her book. Thirty minutes later she heard the phone ring and jumped up to get it. Her mother motioned for her to sit and picked the phone up. It was a long while before she finally said anything. All she could choke out was an “I see.” At this point Charlene knew; her father was dead. Her mother began to cry as she set down the phone. Charlene ran to her mother, large tears rolling down her cheeks. The snow continued to fall as they wept bitterly. The clock in their living room chimed 11:00 pm. It was Christmas Eve and the house was silent. Charlene sat with her mother on the couch. They both stared into the fire blankly. The house didn’t smell of cookies like it normally did. The fire burned low, the Christmas tree seemed to sag. Christmas just wasn’t going to be the same without him. “Why don’t you read your book, Sweetheart?” Her mother said to
Charlene. Charlene shook her head. She couldn’t escape from what had happened. She couldn’t read about all those happy endings, because hers wasn’t happy. She decided to go to bed. She kissed her mother, mumbling a goodnight and crawled into bed. The next morning Charlene woke up and
“And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father” peered outside her window. The snow fell lightly and the ground was just covered. The sun shone brightly making everything with snow on it sparkle. She almost forgot about her father and raced downstairs to the Christmas tree. But once she got there it hit her. Her father wasn’t there drinking coffee, Mother by his side talking
quietly. Christmas music wasn’t playing softly in the background. There was no fire, and only a few Christmas presents were under the tree. Her face fell as she remembered the night her father had not come home to her. The night he had died so suddenly in the blizzard. She sunk to the ground and a small tear rolled down her cheek. Her mother came in just then and tried to cheer her up. “Let’s try and make the best of things Charlene.” She said, “Your father isn’t here, and these are hard times for us, but we must learn to let go and move on from what has happened.” Charlene sniffed nodding her head. Her mother wiped the tears from her face and they opened presents. Then they dressed for church. Charlene went very reluctantly into the front doors of the church. It seemed everyone was happy but her. Charlene followed her mother to a seat and they sat down. Soon, the service began.
Well this is boring. Why did we have to come to church anyways? Thought Charlene. She blocked out most of the sermon but suddenly something sparked her interest. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” exclaimed the pastor I have an everlasting Father? And he is my prince of peace? I can’t imagine that. Charlene sat pondering the words the rest of the sermon wondering what exactly they meant. Her father was dead. This must be my everlasting father. But how come I still miss my dad! If he is my Prince of Peace, why is he making me miss my Dad so much? Why did he kill him? On the way home she told her mother what she had heard. “God does everything for a reason Charlene.
We may not know why but it’s all part of his plan for us. You can be at rest sweetheart. Your Father in heaven is everlasting. He will never leave you.” Said Her Mother. Charlene began to cry. Whether they were tears of joy, sadness, or relief, she did not know. But she somehow knew that this was true. Even though her Father on earth had died, her father in heaven would never die. He would always be there for her, and everything he did was for a reason. When she got home her mother made a fire. She sat in the same chair she was in when waiting for her father to come home. But now she felt different. She wasn’t afraid, or sad. She felt at rest. She didn’t need to read her fairytale to escape from life. Life wasn’t a happy ending, but she now knew she didn’t need to run away from her fears, she had a God that would always be there. He was her Prince of Peace and Everlasting Father.
Joy by Courtney R.
it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds, for you know
that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” That verse is really hard to live-out because, according to this verse, weʼre supposed to be joyful during our trials. Itʼs difficult to be joyful when your heart is breaking into a million little pieces. But whatʼs even harder is that James isnʼt just talking about the really big trials like a relative dying or a big move; heʼs talking about the everyday things, too. Too much homework? Count it all joy. A fight with your best friend? Count it all joy. A yucky cold that wonʼt go away? Count it all joy. Does all this mean we have to be happy when bad things happen? Of course not! God doesnʼt expect us to be bubbling over with happiness all the time. But He does expect us to be joyful in every circumstance. So whatʼs the difference between happiness and joy? Take a look at John 11. The chapter cuts straight to the chase and tells us that one of Jesusʼs close friends is on the point of death. The manʼs sisters beg Him to come save their brother and Jesusʼs disciples also urge Him to go. But Jesus doesnʼt go. He waits. He waits until itʼs too late. Of course, the manʼs sisters and His disciples are probably not only sad and confused, but a little angry. The sisters asked in faith for Him to come, knowing that He could save their brother, not to mention Heʼs a close friend. But He didnʼt come in time. He purposefully waited until it was too late. Most of you probably already know this story and you know how itʼs going to end, but one point of the story often gets skipped which might make sense as itʼs the shortest verse in the Bible. Verse 35 simply states that “Jesus wept.” He was genuinely sorry that His friend died. He ached just like we ache. He wasnʼt making jokes and laughing and acting all “happy”; He was sad. Fortunately, it wasnʼt Godʼs plan for Lazarus to die then and as you all know, Jesus resurrects Lazarus from the dead. But before resurrecting him, Jesus explains that heʼs performing the miracle so that more people will believe in Him. Nothing was in vain; God had a plan all along. When I go through difficult times itʼs easy to just pout and feel sorry for myself. God however calls me to be joyful. He calls me to be thankful that He has a plan and in that thankfulness rejoice. Joy is all about being thankful. Happy is a fleeting feeling, but joy is something real. Joy is something deep down inside of us that when it takes hold, it flourishes like a flower in blossom. Joy keeps you grounded.
This Christmas, slow down and choose to find joy in every moment.
Chocolate Mint Cookies the perfect wintery treat Ingredients: 1-1/4 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa-make sure to use dutch process for a rich/dark flavor 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and room temp 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup dark brown sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla 1/3 cup milk 1 bag of mint chips
Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa, and set aside. Beat the butter on medium-high until light and add sugars, creaming well. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternately with the milk in one batch, mixing well. Stir in the mint chips. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes. You can make the dough a few hours or 2 days before baking and it will be fine. Just wrap it up and keep in the fridge. Scoop the dough onto a parchment- or silpat-lined cookie sheet, press down on them slightly, and bake for 14-15 minutesâ€Śfor a normal size cookie. Let the cookies cool completely on the cookie sheet, they will set up as they cool. Store in an air-tight container, they will stay fresh for a couple of days. picture and recipe taken from www.twopeasandtheirpod.com
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What has been good/positive/encouraging and what has been bad/hard/challenging about your parents and you moving to some other part of the world to serve God?
Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.
â€œAnd you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord.â€? -Luke 1:14