Posted in Life, Missions

The Acts 1:8 Campaign

two projects advancing SEND North’s vision of Making Northern Disciple-Makers

The Starr Center

In 2019, SEND North purchased a property in Anchorage, to be named The Starr Center

We are raising funds to renovate this property in 2021.  Total need: $450,000

The Starr Center will serve SEND North’s ministry in these ways:

1.) Leading and Supporting – SEND North has fulltime ministry in 22 communities across Alaska and Northern Canada. The hub of this ministry is our Logistics and Support office and this staff will be located in The Starr Center.

2.) Serving the Community – Anchorage is home to people groups from all corners of the world. SEND North has a growing diaspora team who will use The Starr Center for ministry events to engage our neighbors.

3.) Collaborate Together – The Starr Center will include office space to be use by other ministries in Alaska.

4.) Stewarding the Ministry – The Starr Center property has extra commercial space with long-term tenants.  This will generate income for SEND North which will help moderate missionary fees. 

The Bonanza 

Purchase a used aircraft and equip it for safety and all-weather use. Total need: $300,000  

As SEND North’s ministry grows, we need a second Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft to be based in Fairbanks, AK. We are raising funds to purchase and equip this aircraft. Key advantages:

  1. Increased speed and range for all-season use (the Bonanza is 40% faster than our current aircraft in that region)
  2. Increased fuel capacity for longer direct flights
  3. Safe and reliable transportation to the communities where SEND North missionaries live and minister

The Acts 1:8 Campaign total need $750,000

Please check out our campaign webpage:

 www.send.org/acts1-8     

Posted in Life, Spiritual Life

The 1-2-3-4 Cake

IMG_1587
***

 

A couple of Saturdays ago, I got up early for a day of baking. On the menu: my grandmother’s 1-2-3-4 cake.

She’d make this recipe for the layers of my birthday cake – layers slathered with a rich, sticky lemon curd and topped with freshly grated coconut. I can taste it now…

On this particular day, I went to my trusted (and overstuffed) recipe card file to find the instructions. But the recipe was nowhere to be found. I took all of the cards out – at least 937 recipes – but couldn’t find it. I began to panic, looking in every other conceivable place.

And then I stopped. And cried.

The recipe was one of my most treasured family heirlooms. My grandmother had written it down for me on a sheet of lined note paper, just before our wedding.

The realization that it was gone broke my heart. The realization that I couldn’t call my mother, who passed away just over a year ago, to get it from her overwhelmed me.

Thankfully, my optimistic husband insisted on calling our daughter, who, of course, remembered exactly what we’d done with it after our recent baking day together – to protect it from being lost, no less. It was found and the remainder of my day restored.

Why is a recipe, a Valentine’s card, a crocheted baby blanket, a photograph so important? Its significance is not in the thing itself – it’s the memory attached to it. It’s a song from long ago that we pull out and play every so often to remind us.

God has given us the good gift of family, the treasure of friendship, the power of love.

And it is this lasting love that compels us to, on occasion, look back with gratitude. I do that every so often with the 1-2-3-4 cake. And then I look forward with hope.

God has given us memories as a tool to strengthen our faith. When we look back on the things He’s done in past generations, our confidence in His love and care strengthens.

When we think about how He’s walked with us through every joy and challenge we’ve ever faced, we trust Him to always be our Good Shepherd.

And when we pass along to the next generation all that we know to be true about Him, we are investing in a legacy of faith for future believers.

“But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.”
~ Deuteronomy 4:9 NLT
***
Memories are being made right this very moment. One day it will be my recipe or painting or very small lap quilt that will be cherished by those I leave behind. And I want my daughter, while holding that small lap quilt that took me nine years to complete, to think of how we laughed about me beginning it when she was 4 and finishing it just before she went into high school.

But even more, I want my children to have memories of our family recounting God’s goodness to us. I want them to feel God’s presence in their own lives day by day. I want them to be able to leave a legacy of faith to their children.

The things happening in our world right now, including COVID, will become a part of the next generation’s bank of memories.

So today, whether you are 18 or 88, be sure to make good memories with your loved ones.

Next on my grandmother’s list to bake and enjoy together?  An Old-Fashioned Pound Cake.

It was my mother’s favorite.


 Verse to Live By
Work willingly at whatever you do,
as though you were working for the Lord
rather than for people.
~ Col. 3:23 NLT

Make a good memory with those you love –
today is a good day!

~ Natalie

Posted in Life, Prayer, Spiritual Life

All the things that matter…

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
~ Matt. 6:19-21 NIV

One lesson I’m learning through this quarantine: there is always room for the things that really matter.

During these months I’ve not been frantically busy, rushing to meetings, running out to lunch and quickly ducking in the store. Instead, I’ve found quiet. I’ve lingered over my morning time with the Father. I’ve emailed and texted and talked on the phone without interruptions pushing in on me.

In these moments, for you and for me, we are reminded of how much people matter.

Conversations with those around us are less hurried. Family movie night is relaxed. Easy dinners are enjoyed outside.

And when a need arises, we’re available to fill it. Our whole schedule doesn’t need to be reorganized because we’re free to jump in and help.

Here’s the big question:

How can we take this with us when quarantine ends; these lessons in priority and availability – the things that really matter?

Maybe we could lessen our frantic busyness. Shopping could be done only once a week. Pizza and a movie night or date night take-out could become a weekly occurrence. We could send more cards, keep in touch, linger over conversations, celebrate the little things in life.

When all of this social distancing and shelter-in-place ends, I believe we’ll be different people, and in a good way.

Maybe we’ll have learned that there’s always room for the things that really matter.

Lord Jesus, we are weary from this virus. We admit that it scares us and sometimes it seems to shake our faith. We are burdened by what we see on TV, what we hear from government leaders, what we feel as people die in mass numbers, yet all alone. And with the loosening of restrictions, we are anxious in a new way. We need the kind of rest that only You can give us, peaceful rest for our minds and our hearts in this time and space. We so want to trade our yoke for Yours, that You would lead us; that we could learn to be more like You. Guide us to gentleness and humility during days when we feel vulnerable and frantic and fear-filled. Show us how to carry the burdens of others by the strength that comes from You. We need You – oh, we need you. Every day, every hour, every minute, we need You. Thank you, Jesus, for answering our prayers. Amen.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
~ Matt. 11:28-30 NIV

Enjoy all the things that matter –
today is a good day!

~ Natalie

 

Posted in Life, Prayer, Uncategorized, Writing

Love is Patient

 

Love is patient.  1 Corin. 1:4 (NIV)

 Love never gives up. (MSG)

 

“Meanwhile,” said Mr. Tumnus, “it is winter in Narnia,

and has been for ever so long . . .”

~ C. S. Lewis– The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

__________________________________________________

 

Patience seeks us out in the winter.

 

In the heaviness of snow-laden icy branches and soundless gray landscapes of Alaska, when the days were dark and the nights were long, I yearned for any hint of warmth and light and color.

 

There are seasons in my life like this, too.

 

Seasons of abiding under.

 

Seasons of enduring through.

 

Seasons of patience.

 

Patient love is deeply rooted in faith. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.(Heb. 11:1)Patient love refuses to give up when things seem stagnant and stuck. It endures in the winters of life, steadfastly believing in the inevitability of spring.

 

Helen Keller said:

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.

 

Love challenges us: Be patient. Don’t give up or you might stay in endless winter.

 

Patient love waits . . . when it seems like distant feelings will never be resolved.

 

Patient love stands alongside . . . when the hurt is almost too much to bear.

 

Patient love forgives the harsh words . . . welcomes back the lost . . . holds the hand of the dying.

 

Patient love does hard things.

 

Let our patient love be the kind that holds fast in the difficult. That stays the course. That believes nothing is too hard to patiently, faithfully withstand in hope.

 

Patient love propels us to spring.

 

Patient love never gives up.



______________________________________________________________

 “And yet you go away with nothing, whilst all the time God has stood with outstretched hands not only to take you, but for you to take Him. Think of the invincible, unconquerable, unwearying patience of Jesus.”

~ Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

______________________________________________________________


Whoever is patient has great understanding.

~Proverbs 14:29a

______________________________________________________________

Patient love endures through the winter, knowing that the spring eventually arrives. Don’t give up! God sees what you’re abiding under and what you’re hoping for.

 

Today is a GOOD day!

Natalie

 

Posted in Life, Prayer, Uncategorized

The Gift of Reflection

No need to search for it at Macy’s or Best Buy or Target. It can’t be purchased at the tree lot along with a Frazier fir and pine garland. And it won’t greet you at the office Christmas party or your city’s holiday parade.

No, it’s up to us to receive it, to make time for it this season. An open invitation to quietly reflect on the wonderful meaning of God’s Christmas narrative is His gift to us each day of Advent, but it could be lost among the bells and bows and holly.

Mary reflected; she pondered. I wonder what she thought about in the quiet moments of her unexpected pregnancy: an angel visit, a soon-to-be husband’s guiding dream. Surely, she must have contemplated all that had happened to her. And then she must have imagined what her life would be like when the time came for the baby to be born. Did she ever picture shepherds and angels and kings sharing in the story…

Like us, Mary knew of God’s mercy and deliverance in her people’s past. And based on this, she wisely, humbly chose to believe His plan for her in the present. We are told in Luke 2 (actually twice) that Mary “treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean” (Luke 2:19).

We, too, can ponder. We can believe and be part of God’s plan when we reflect on His faithfulness in the past, and rely on His good purpose in our present circumstances.

He is faithful. ~ 1 Thess. 5:24

He is loving. ~Psalm 25:10

He has good plans for us. ~ Jer. 29:11

Where have you seen God’s faithfulness in the past?

How is God demonstrating His faithfulness, love and purpose in your current circumstances?


Advent Reflection:

Read Mary’s Song (Luke 1:46-55 NIV) and the reflection questions following.

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,

    for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

Reflect: 
What phrases speak to your life right now? Treasure these words. Write them down, carry them with you, and ponder them over the next few days. May God’s Word speak to you during times of reflection this season.


The time for reflection is here… 

Today is a GOOD day!

~ Natalie
Posted in Life, Prayer, Uncategorized, Writing

A Simple Note

Thank you so much for visiting my site!

Would you like to receive a short weekly e-letter of encouragement?

Sign up here . . . 

Currently, I am sending out a personal letter each week A Simple Note –  to those who’d like to receive it.

 This short, weekly letter includes:

  • a brief and sincere reflection – a thought for the day
  • a prayer focus to think and pray about
  • and sometimes a small tidbit that’s of interest

It’s short and sweet, a bit of encouragement for the day.

If you’re interested, you can subscribe here: 

 

 

 

Thanks again for visiting – it means so much!  And, as always, I welcome your questions and comments!

~ Natalie

Today is a GOOD day!

 

Posted in Creativity, Life, Uncategorized

I See You…

 

When I look to the mountains,

I see You . . .

I’m awed by Your breathtaking majesty and unparalleled might.

 

When I look to the valleys,

I see You . . .

I find shelter in Your overshadowing protection and Your gentle guidance.

 

When I look to the rivers,

I see You . . .

I am witness to Your unrestrained, dynamic power.

 

When I look to the oceans,

I see You . . .

I try insufficiently to capture Your vast, fathomless, uncontainable love.

 

When I look to the seasons,

I see You . . .

My eyes plainly see Your orderly, unforced rhythm of creation.

 

When I look to the sky,

I see You . . .

And all at once I shrink at

Your ENORMOUSNESS. . .

and my smallness.

 

When I look to those around me,

I see You . . .

I am grateful for Your compassion, for Your grace, for Your mercy.

 

When I look for You

I will find You . . .

You, walking beside me,

Your guiding hand securely holding mine.

 

Your love is never far from me.

 

For everywhere I look,

I see You . . .

Natalie Hall 2018

 


 

Today is a GOOD day!!!!

~Natalie

 

Sign up to receive A Simple Note in your inbox each Wednesday:

A Simple Note

 

 

Posted in Life, Prayer, Uncategorized

Of parking spaces and perspectives

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority
 it is time to pause and reflect.”
~ Mark Twain


 

It happened in the Costco parking lot.

An open parking space. The driver of the first car missed seeing it by inches and began backing up to park there. The driver behind her laid on his horn and rushed to maneuver his car tightly inside and past hers, into the space. And though he’d won the battle for the space, he still got out of his car visibly fuming, saying what I believe were not-so-nice things under his breath.

All over a parking space.

This is what we call a perspective problem. Someone’s morning is ruined because he almost didn’t steal the parking space closest to the door.

There is a daily battle being waged between the world’s perspective and the eternal perspective.

The world’s perspective cries out, “Here I am! Me first! Look out for number one!”

The eternal perspective rallies under, “There you are! You first! How can I serve you?”

Living under the world’s perspective is a heavy burden.

Social media vies for our attention, baiting us to join the contest of comparison. Advertising reminds us that unless we have more, we can never be more. Our credentials and vehicles, our toys and houses label our “worth” according to the world. And we are comparing and consuming and dissecting and spinning these expectations, all the while trying to swipe the best spot in the Costco parking lot.

But we don’t have to live this way. 

We don’t have to choose self over all else. Self-centered sin doesn’t have to burden us. There is an eternal perspective that allows us to run our race, the one He has chosen for us, with peace, perseverance and an eternal outlook.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.~ Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)

Jesus says we can get rid of the heaviness of sin, our self-fulfilling mindset, and trade our burdens for His.

“My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” ~ Matt. 11:30 (AMP)

The yoke of this world is anything but light and easy to bear.

With an eternal perspective, my thinking radically shifts. Now I am concerned about what God thinks. Now I try to see situations as He does. Now I want to care about the things He cares about.

My perspective has changed.

And suddenly that Costco parking spot doesn’t matter at all . . .


“O Lord my God . . . May I strive to please no one or fear to displease anyone except Yourself.”

Elizabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart

 


So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.  

2 Corinthians 4:18 (NLT)

 


Cling to the eternal perspective –
today is a GOOD day!
~ Natalie