Nov 20, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: John 7

Happy Tuesday, sweet SHINE darlings! I hope you are in the Thanksgiving mode this week! Isn't the Lord so good to us every single day? Really, He is. 

Today, we continue with our SHINE girls serving stories. 

My incredible inspiring friend, Michelle Thomas is posting today. 

A little about Michelle: she's HILARIOUS. yep, slap your knees funny. if you are not her friend, you NEED to be. Period. :)

Not only is she funny, but God has given her a million other qualities that just make her truly shine bright in this world!

She tirelessly serves. And serves. And serves. And serves. 

Michelle is the type of friend who is always there to help in whatever you need. Always. 

In fact, I kind of (un)officially named her our SHINE Mission Director. :) She knows a lot of places and a lot of folks. She's just everybody's friend. She really is!

I could go on for years about this girl, but I guess I will let her share. ;) 

Be blessed, SHINE friends!

My Story
by: Michelle Thomas

Greetings and glad tidings my fellow Shine sisters!

What an honor it is to share a little bit of my journey with you! As I started composing this post I soon realized just how many different layers there are to "service" and this journey God has me on...For the sake of time I encourage you to go visit my page atwww.caringbridge.org/5ftmissy. There's SO much that has led to this epiphany of being the hands and feet of Jesus...being diagnosed with breast cancer was only the beginning...

Michelle when she was going through treatment.
 Bald and beautiful! :)
Fast forward from cancer diagnosis in 2010 to Sept 2011 after being challenged by Priscilla Shirer's study "Jonah" to find our "Nineveh" ...myself along with Angie (Jill's amazing sister) experienced a DIVINE appointment and ended up leading a weekly bible study at The Sparrow's Nest in Athens. A day shelter for the homeless, less fortunate, at risk youth and whoever God brings around. My eyes have truly been opened to see those that were once SO easy to overlook...Yes, it's messy but no more than MY sin that Jesus shed His blood for...I have met some truly beautiful people and had the privilege to pray for and with countless faces that are overlooked on a daily basis...I now thank God for this ministry!!! 

So this being the hands and feet of Jesus thing is pretty cool, right God??? I'm being obedient right??? You want me to go where.......AFRICA???  (Gulp)  Fast forward to June 2012...this lil 5ft person is heading to Africa, with a team of 27 others thru an organization out of Nashville called "Visiting Orphans".   The following is straight from my blog post on caringbridge upon return from Africa...

"Back in the USA...I've just returned from an amazing mission trip to Africa, namely Rwanda and Ethiopia...to say that I will forever be changed is an understatement...the people I met,the tiny hands I got to hold, the beautiful embraces, friendships made, these are all images I will forever have burned in my mind.  March of 2011 I sensed the Lord was asking me to take a huge step of faith...I prayed "Lord open my eyes and break my heart for what breaks yours..." 

Well, He did just that!!

 Over the course of the last year I've been blessed to work with the homeless, the poor, the sick, the elderly, widows and now orphans...the common thread among all of these has been "Hope"...you would think it would be me helping to bring hope but the fact is in all of these situations the Lord showed me that He is ever present and there is always "Hope"...He is with the least of these and one day they will be the greatest...This brings my heart such joy because while in Africa I witnessed poverty like never before.

My Loves in Ethiopia

I'm STILL processing all that we took in while visiting a section of Ethiopia called Korah..I know the poor have a special place in God's heart. I know Jesus is somehow close to them, in them. I've been reading a book called "Hope Lives" by Amber Van Schooneveld...I love what she has to say regarding poverty:

."There is a lot going wrong in this world...I can't change everything but I'm learning that God hasn't asked me to...I think there may be one little piece of the puzzle he's asking me to fill in, one good work he's asking me to do. Maybe when I'm working on my little piece and my friend is working on her little piece next to me and some church in Massachusetts is working on its piece and some Christians in Rwanda are working on their piece...maybe the God's great masterpiece will be revealed. My piece may seem small, as if it doesn't matter, but I'm just one part of the body of Christ. God is on the move to change this world one person at a time. I'm convinced God is asking me to join him.  God is on the move to heal, love and restore, and He's asking, "Who will go for me?" Who knows what God will do?  My heart cries out, "Here I am, send me."

Warning...Don't read this book if you're wanting to stay comfortable and keep your eyes closed to the messiness of poverty. On the other hand if you're wanting to do your part and live out Luke 12:48 "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." then I have no doubt Jesus will meet you within the pages of this powerful book.

My heart. Jean Claude in Rwanda

Take it to the next level people...Do Something...just start moving and God will direct your path (I promise!!!)

A huge part of my heart has been left behind in Africa...I hope to make it back!!!  Until then I want to get the word out regarding some great ministries I witnessed first hand...  www.brightontheirworld.org  , www.embracinghopeethiopia.comwww.bestfamilyrwanda.org www.p61.org   Prayerfully consider coming alongside any of these minstries...The needs are great and the workers are few!!!"

Noel Orphanage in Rwanda


So there you have it friends...we are ALL called to serve...there are countless opportunities, some of which are in our own backyard.  I loved  coming alongside each one of you as we had our very first SHINE Mission Project!!