Joy and Victory over the Death of Discouragement

Dear Friends and Neighbors
Here are some thoughts that I jotted down on paper during my trip to Honduras a little over a week ago. I hope God will use them to speak to you and you will find encouragement in them.
JOY AND VICTORY OVER THE DEATH OF DISCOURAGEMENT
April 20 2017
My mind wanders this morning to a poor salesman and his wife as they discuss another day’s events. “I’ve been working for months now with Cindy, explaining to her all the qualities of the product we offer, and I thought for sure that she was going to take it,” the salesman tells his wife after a long day’s work. “But today she nearly spat in my face saying she wanted nothing to do with me or the product.” “It’s so hard when you know the product you offer is so good,” his wife added, feeling the disappointment in her husband’s voice. “You know, I’ve been doing this for four years and haven’t had one taker,” the salesman continued. “Sometimes it even crosses my mind to get a different occupation.” “But you cannot quit,” his wife encouraged; “you know how this product has saved both our lives and how many others it could save if they would just realize and accept it. Plus, our boss has been faithful to keep food on the table and even gives us unique gifts at times. Someday one person, even if only one, will realize the quality of the product and it will change their life like it has ours. Don’t be discouraged my love, we must continue on.” Many times, I feel this is us as missionaries. We know that Jesus Christ has changed our lives and could also change many others’ lives if they were only to accept Him. But when we share, we give, we love, and we care, and then seemingly see no fruit but rather rejection repeatedly, we can become discouraged. That love and passion we had for the people in the beginning may even grow a little cold. This is what I have felt happening in my heart over the past year; the tears I used to cry for my people’s souls do not flow so easily anymore. And the passion I had to tell everyone about what Jesus had done for me just does not burn as brightly anymore. At the beginning of 2017, I woke to the realization of this and fell on my face before God asking Him to fill me heart again with His love and renew my passion for my people again. It has been a process, but I feel Him beginning a work on my heart toward this. However, many days I still find joy missing. On Palm Sunday, while attending a church service in Managua, I recall the pastor just as much as mention how Jesus wept over Jerusalem and was reminded of how much I want to love like Jesus loves. But in the days that followed as I traveled to Honduras, I felt myself becoming increasingly discouraged. We visited several different ministries and missionaries that have been serving for years. Everywhere I looked I saw the same discouragement and love grown cold that I had been feeling. They still loved but because of all the disappointment, hurts, and heartbreaks, little passion remains. “So, this is it,” I thought to myself over and over again. “In the end, is this what I have to hope for? Of course it is,” I told myself. “It would be prideful to think that I will somehow be different. Besides look, I’m already struggling with it.” Great discouragement flooded over me as I believed the lies of Satan. “Nobody really understands what missionaries go through,” I thought, pitying myself. “Everyone always just wants to hear the number of people that got saved, and if that number is always zero, we are looked at as failures. Fantasized yet forgotten failures is what we are in the eyes of others,” I told myself wallowing deeper in self-pity. A fun Saturday in the mountains helped me forget a little bit of my discouragement, but deep in my heart I still carried the weight. “It’s a beautiful morning,” I told Mary and Camille as we walked to the sunrise service early Easter Sunday morning. I felt an anticipation in my heart of something good. The chilly morning air brushed across our faces as we walked up under the large spreading tree beside the pond where lawn chairs stood in rows waiting to be occupied. We found a place close to the center and waited till services started. After a few songs, the preacher, Andy Schmucker, got up and began to teach a message filled with power and the Spirit, yet simple enough for a child to understand. “El va a mander sus angeles para mover la piedra de tu corazon, y puedes vivir en victoria y gozo cada dia. – He will send His angles to roll the stone away from your heart so you can live in victory and joy every day,” Andy encouraged. Suddenly, I realized how much I had been living in fear of failing as a missionary, and how it was wrong of me to doubt that God could have victory in and through my life. I was being held in chains by my own fears. “Father, I don’t want to live in the death of discouragement and fear!” I cried. “I ask you to roll the stone away from my heart so that all the dead in me will leave and I can live in the victory You give me every day.” Andy continued, “Lazoro, Lazoro, ven fuera, no nesesitas estar muerto, tu puedes ser vivo hoy.” Lazarus, Lazarus, (Sarah, Sarah) come forth from the grave, you don’t need to be dead, you can live today!” Revelation 1:17-18 says “Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One, I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! I hold the keys to death and Hades.” I can love because He is still loving. I do not have to fear failure as a missionary, because Jesus is risen; I can live in the joy of that victory in me today! Every day I can wake up with joy because I know I will have victory in Christ that day. Every day I have to make a choice; “Lord help my choice be You today and every day.” Life as a missionary is hard! Not because there is no electricity or because we have to do our laundry by hand. Not because we use an outhouse or there is no air-conditioner. Not even just because we are away from everything we have ever known, but simply because rejection is hard, especially when you love someone so much. The realization that many souls depend on the choices you make every day is quite overwhelming. In your mind, you feel like you are all alone, yet the entire world is watching you to see whether you will succeed at a job only the Holy Spirit can really do. Or maybe you feel that you must reach some sort of standard of the people supporting you. These are some of the reasons why being a missionary is so hard. If you know a missionary or of a missionary, please pray for them. Even when you do not hear from them for a while or do not see any updates, they are probably really busy or struggling and do not even know what to tell people. That is when they really need your prayers. Pray that they would be able to continue loving, and that they would find victory and joy in Christ every day. Pray that they would be able to forgive the ones that come against them day after day and that they would remain humble servants in the face of great trial. Pray for each day a renewed passion and eyes focused on Jesus rather than the rejection and results. Pray for the hearts of the people they are serving; a change of heart is work done only by the Holy Spirit, not the missionary. If you know a missionary, prayerfully consider visiting them and encouraging them. Let them know you are praying for them, they may feel alone. Let them know you are not judging them by results, but encourage them to continue loving even when it is hard. If you meet a missionary, pray over them, it empowers them! If you know a missionary, let them know that they are loved and appreciated! And please pray for your missionaries faithfully, they need it more than you know.
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May God bless and keep you.
Your Sister in Christ, Sarah Lee
Categories: Lee Family, Miskitu Indian Mission, Nicaragua, Mission Trips | 2 Comments

Five Year Residents

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

April 7 2017

Greetings from the capital city of Nicaragua.

Finally, six months after our trip to Managua was postponed in November, on Monday we made the trip to renew our residencies. We kids caught an old school bus (public transportation) and bumped across the country on mostly dirt roads for twenty hours until we reached our destination. The ride was better than we had expected as the government is working on paving new sections of the road.IMG_2435

My parents took the smoother, less adventurous ride in a twelve-passenger plane and met us here. On Wednesday we spent all day at the immigration office and walked out that evening, Happy Legal Nicaraguan Residents for a full five years! We are super excited that they granted us the five years this time, because it will cut out this annual cost of expensive travel. We are truly grateful for all who have kept this process in your prayers and for those of you who gave financially to make it possible. God worked everything out perfectly. I can see that it was the best, even though waiting patiently was hard when most of our other plans revolved around this event. Trusting God is always rewarding!

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Chris headed back on the bus today; Eva, Katie, Lizzie, and John plan to leave tomorrow. My parents will be traveling back by plane on Tuesday, and Mary, Camille, and I plan on visiting Honduras where Camille served for two years prior to joining our family in KrinKrin. Please keep all these travels in your prayers, that God will safely rejoin us soon.

Your Sister in Christ, Sarah Lee

Categories: Miskitu Indian Mission, Nicaragua | 2 Comments

Dec 1st Update

Dear loved ones,
First of all I want to thank you all for praying for us during these trying times. I am convinced that it is only because of the prayers of the saints that we are still here today. Satan is not giving us any slack, but the harder the trials the more powerful God shows himself.
We had asked you all to pray about the situations here in the village, including about the little girl Derlin that stayed with us. I am sad to say that today she is no longer with our family. She made some very bad choices and was not willing to repent, but continued to follow after her own desires, so we finally had to just remove her from our home In human terms things have not gotten any better here in the village either, with the village’s most evil people still being in the lead. But for every evil plot that they come up with, God has a remedy to stop it.
We have also not yet gone to Managua to get our new residences. We applied for a five-year permit this year, which has not yet been approved, so the whole renewing process has been pushed back. We expect to hear from them soon and receive a date when we need to be there.

A highlight for us this week was a young couple who we have discipled for the past year, getting married. These two precious young ones have had no chance at life. He was thrown out my his mother as soon as he was born, because she got pregnant with a male whore who left the day after. He was taken care of by a couple from KrinKrin, but he was mocked and ridiculed all his life because of his mothers choice, and because he was born with cleft palate and can’t talk right.She was brought up by her grandma, because her mother and her father were both prostitutes and she never knew them. She too was considered less than trash all her life, and mocked wherever she went. But because of all that rejection and hurt, and having no one who cared about them, they leaned in when they experienced the Love of God at our house. We have been teaching them for over a year now, and they are soaking it up. 

Last week they took the step of getting married, because they don’t want to live in sin anymore. This decision too has brought them much insult, because marrying so young is not accepted in this culture. Even most of the pastors teach that you have to live with someone for at least five or ten years before you can know if you want to be married to them or not. But they are willing to do what they understand God requires, regardless of what people say.
They come here almost every morning for bible study time, and spend most of their time here with us, because they love the peace that is here on our property. He is building a little house for his adorable little wife, which we are helping with the things that they can’t afford like nails and gas to cut lumber.

 So would you please pray for them, that God would give them understanding as to what salvation really looks like, as He reveals His Love and Peace to them as they step out in faith to follow after Him. That He would continue to give them the courage to make the right choices even though the strong current of the culture is against them for it.

Since the last update we went over into Honduras to a conference that we got invited to. It was a very productive and encouraging trip. We also signed a contract with a radio station in Porta Limpida Honduras to air one of our recorded teachings every day. It is exciting to see how God is making a way to get His word to get out to so many, even in the midst of such opposition from the enemy.


We really appreciate yall sticking with us through the thick and the thin! Please forgive me for not being a better communicator. We love yall!! Eli for the Lee’s
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Update from Camille

Hello!

I hope as you read, you will be blessed by how God works. I am blown away when I consider the Lord God working personally in our lives here. Through all that is happening, He has invited us to come close and share His perspective, and rest in Him. There is nothing that can even come close to knowing Jesus and walking with Him daily.

“If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, ‘My foot slips,’ Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, Your consolations cheer my soul.” Psalm 94:16-19

* In September, the town leaders of Krin Krin were scheming on how to get money from the mission here, or else somehow get us to leave town. (To many of these people it seems too radical, too complicated; why can’t we just give out money and say, “God bless you?” It is complicated and it takes that daily walk with God to have the discernment necessary for working in any mission field.) Anyway, their plans failed. It’s hard to explain why, it didn’t make much sense, but it just died down. God was there through it all; Eli stood up in each meeting and spoke about how God has called us here, He is just and He’s not going to bless sin, but He is compassionate and forgiving to all who turn to Him. We love and desire to help the people physically, but most importantly we pray for their hearts to turn to Him. We are still learning their culture, but there are certain things that we cannot do because they go against God. The past two months have passed more smoothly, and a few of the leaders have asked to work together, though we are not sure of their specific motives. All of them have seen the power of God and His protection over this mission in all the witchcraft against us, bringing Eli to court, etc. and nothing has been able to stop God’s work. So many specific times I have seen God’s power when there was nowhere else to turn. We don’t know what is going to come in the future, but we do know that God is in control. Pray for us to keep following Him closely, not rely on our own strength, and give Him all the glory.

* We have just experienced another trial with Derling, the girl who has been living with the Lees for the past two years. She got into some trouble when she ran away last month and we’ve been asking God how to deal with it, and talking deeply with her about what kind of choices she’s making. Her mother is very angry and threatened huge fines and prison for both Eli and Marcos (the family who works with us in the mission here). Just this week the Lees found that Derling had written some horrible letters and felt clear direction to hand her back over to her mother. So with sad hearts we took her across the village and offered her back into God’s keeping. In His love He will be faithful to teach her what it takes to turn her heart fully to Him. These situations sound kinda crazy, and they really are. I’ve seen more crazy situations as a missionary than ever before in my life, but I have seen God, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

“So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God, but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” I Thess. 2:8

* We put on a girls’ conference Oct. 21-22 for 40 girls from Krin Krin. We really wanted to help them learn what it means to be daughters of the King. We each shared a testimony of struggles or lessons God has taught us and spent the two days completely dedicated to making this a sweet, beautiful time for these girls. They were so excited and really got to experience the special love of God that weekend. Hannah from Colorado, Nutie from Waspam, and Charissa from Puerto Cabezas joined us to lead the conference and we got to spend a few extra days with them before and after the event.

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* My friend Christina traveled from Oregon and another missionary family traveled ten hours by car and then three hours by boat to spend a few days with us. Another couple, Wesley and Jana Cooper from Arkansas, and then Morgan, Landon and Bryson Long from Missouri finished out the season of friends coming to share in life here. I especially enjoyed our Sunday morning sharing and worship times, and praying together every night. The encouragement and new perspective you all bring is so appreciated by all of us!

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” 2 Cor. 4:1

* We were invited to a conference in Kaukira, Honduras November 5-7. This involved traveling an hour down river, piling into a truck to Puerto Lempira (about four hours), then taking an hour boat ride across the lake and into a beautiful river area where the town in located. Eli and Marcos were able to preach and we all sang and shared a couple of dramas. I loved the beautiful peninsula and the Honduran Miskito culture- made me miss Guaimaca and my years there (but honestly, God has given me an amazingly beautiful satisfaction with Him in this place- I love being here).

 

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* The third tutoring class graduation was on October 29. It was a tough group of kids for me, but I’m trying to remember that the relationships and the example they see in Katie and I is just as important as the academic and discipline issues. We had a fun graduation party, and I was encouraged when Eli and I showed the records to the heads of education in Waspam, and they loved the program!

* Many of our friends from the US who visited were able to be part of the girls’ Bible study at my house and give fresh ideas. There are five or six girls who come consistently and seem somewhat interested in knowing God and His Word.

* It’s a busy hub of activity around here with conferences, radio messages, medical emergency trips, agriculture, all kinds of teaching opportunities, and the general upkeep of cooking and cleaning out here in the jungle.

I am looking forward to the month of December where I hope to better organize plans for the tutoring classes to start up again in January, spend a little time in Managua, and see what else God puts in my path! I won’t be going back to Oregon this winter as I usually do, but my brother-in-law and sister (Jordan and Annie), sister (Janella) and a friend (Kendra) will be coming the end of December for two weeks in Krin Krin. I’m so excited for that!!! I am so thankful for you all- watching the body of Christ work together is amazing. Thank you for standing with me in prayer. Please keep praying!

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” Psalm 145:17-18

* The third tutoring class graduation was on October 29. It was a tough group of kids for me, but I’m trying to remember that the relationships and the example they see in Katie and I is just as important as the academic and discipline issues. We had a fun graduation party, and I was encouraged when Eli and I showed the records to the heads of education in Waspam, and they loved the program!

* Many of our friends from the US who visited were able to be part of the girls’ Bible study at my house and give fresh ideas. There are five or six girls who come consistently and seem somewhat interested in knowing God and His Word.

* It’s a busy hub of activity around here with conferences, radio messages, medical emergency trips, agriculture, all kinds of teaching opportunities, and the general upkeep of cooking and cleaning out here in the jungle.

I am looking forward to the month of December where I hope to better organize plans for the tutoring classes to start up again in January, spend a little time in Managua, and see what else God puts in my path! I won’t be going back to Oregon this winter as I usually do, but my brother-in-law and sister (Jordan and Annie), sister (Janella) and a friend (Kendra) will be coming the end of December for two weeks in Krin Krin. I’m so excited for that!!! I am so thankful for you all- watching the body of Christ work together is amazing. Thank you for standing with me in prayer. Please keep praying!

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all He does. The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” Psalm 145:17-18

Love, Camille

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