For those of you who have been checking in, I just wanted to let you know that we have made it back safely to the US and we’re all in one piece. I’m sure all of you are waiting to ask the ever popular “How was your trip?” question, and I promise there will be an answer, but I’m going to need some time to get that together as I am still processing the whole trip and the amazing things God did in us and through us, as that cannot be summed up in just a few words. Thank you SOOO much for your prayers, as they were felt in some incredible and crucial ways. Please continue to pray for us as we unpack all that happened this past week, but even more so, pray for the people we ministered to in Haiti and that the truth of the Gospel would continue to encourage, inspire, and save those who are in incredible need of God’s love. For HIS Glory!
At this point, my bags are packed, all my errands have been frantically run, I’m pretty exhausted, but I’m getting excited because I am now on my way to Haiti! This ultimately means that you won’t get any more updates from me until I get back in the states, but as they say in mission trip travel, “no news is good news.” You can bet I’ll have a lot to say when I get back. Until then, I wanted to share a few prayer requests for our team and myself as we head down to Petit Guave to serve:
- First and foremost, pray that Christ would be glorified through EVERYTHING we do. From all the prep we’ve done, to everything we do in country, to the follow up after the trip, we desire to see Christ’s name made famous.
- For the children we will be working with. Pray that they grow closer to Christ, and that they are encouraged and edified by the lessons and activities that we lead them through.
- For the community we’ll be in. We already have a great relationship with them as a church. Pray that we can find ways to serve the adults and community members we get to interact with
- For beating the heat! The average heat index with humidity has been sitting around 120 degrees over the past week. Pray that we stay hydrated, stay “un-burnt”, and stay overall really healthy. About half of our team got sick this week already, so pray that it doesn’t spread through the rest of us.
- For our team. For half the guys on this trip, it’s their first mission trip and Haiti is as Third-world as you can get, especially post-disaster. Pray that our view of God is widened immensely and that we don’t leave the country unchanged.
- For our team leaders Mike and Josh who have done an incredible amount of work organizing this trip. Pray that they would be able to lead us in an effective and God-honoring way.
- Finally, pray for me, that I can be an encouragement to our team members, that I would be stripped of every selfish and prideful inclination within me and that I would pour myself out for the people of Haiti and my team members over this next week. I want to love others in ways I have never have before, and I pray that it is born out of a genuine love for people.
Colossians 1:28-29 says, “We proclaim HIM, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom and understanding, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, with all HIS energy, which so powerfully works within me.” It will be my prayer throughout this next week that God would be working through us all and that he would provide us with all we need to glorify Him and to serve the most vulnerable. I’m ecstatic to see how he will come through in this rip and I’m honored to be able to do this with his help. I’ll have plenty of pictures and stories to share when I get back, so until then, thank you SO much for your prayers! Your support means more then you will ever know, so thanks for your faithfulness.
Love you all VERY much!
I’ll post more before I leave, but I have to say, there is so much to do and so little time. We leave for Haiti at 3AM Saturday morning and I get more and more excited, or did I mean anxious, each day. In terms of the trip, we know a little about what we MIGHT be doing, and I say might because everything could change once we get own there. We were selected to do a lot of children’s programing for the thousands upon thousands of kids who have been out of school since the quake. I learned that over 8,000 teachers were killed during the quake so you can imagine that the education system, aside to every other system, is in disarray. So the plan is to run sports camps and Educational VBS classes for what could be anywhere between 50 and 500+ kids. We are going to be stationed in Petit Guave, which is the area that our church already has a connection to, so that should be helpful. We will be running these camps by day, and possibly doing some sort of community activities in the evening including showing movies in French on concrete walls to provide the people with something to take their minds off the massive tent cities and food/supplies shortages. There will be other things that we will be doing down there as well in addition to all of this, but like I said, this is all subject to change so we are also going to be prepared to anything and everything in the name of the gospel of Christ. One thing is for sure, we’re going to try to beat the heat as much as possible (the average heat index this past week was 120… yikes!)
I’ll post some prayer requests for myself and the team the day before we leave so check back for that later, but for now, I wanted to thank all of you for your generosity in supporting us. Many of you have already been huge prayer partners in this and many of you have given sacrificially to make this possible for us to go. I celebrate the fact that I have reached my personal fundraising goal (Praise God!), however, some of the other team members have not and we are a bit short still as a team. If you are still considering partnering with us in this effort, you can still do so before, during, and after the trip. Refer to my previous post for instructions on how to do that if you feel led to.
I feel like there are a million things to do and say, but I need to get back to curriculum writing and organizing materials. I’ve loved pouring a ton of time into planning out our VBS sessions as it has brought me back to my days of writing lesson plans and being creative with teaching. Praise God that I still have it in me :) Now lets see if we actually get to implement it. Thanks again for your prayers and like I said, I’ll hit you up with some specific prayer requests later in the week.
Love you all!
Back when the Earthquake hit, I remember staring at the TV in disbelief at the chaos and destruction I was seeing. It struck especially close to home because our church had a team of students from our College Ministry serving in Petit-Guave at the time (they were all fine, and made it home without a scratch). As one who is passionate about relief trips, I remember thinking to myself that I needed to get down there to help out; in fact I even prayed rally hard for a way to get to Haiti, because I felt called to go down there and serve. My mind was completely occupied with that thought for the next few days and I even made a few inquiries to our church about finding a way to make it happen. But after a week or so, just as we all suspected it would, Haiti fell out of sight on the news and out of mind.
Well, God eventually answered those prayers in a way I wasn’t even expecting. About a month ago, a good friend from church randomly approached me and told me that his small group was going on a relief trip to Haiti and they had one open spot. When he asked me if I wanted to go, I had to laugh to myself when I realized that God was answering a prayer that I had totally forgotten about. Totally in his timing🙂 So thus said, I will be heading down to Haiti from August 28th to September 4th to do relief work with World Hope International. We will be stationed at one of ten cities that have received very little relief effort since the earthquake hit months ago. What will we be doing? We won’t specifically know until about a week before we leave, but according to WH’s strategic plan for rebuilding (which you can read on their website), they are in “phase 3” or the reconstruction and development phase. This means that we will either be helping to rebuild schools, church’s, and hospitals, OR working on a youth focus or teacher mentoring teams, helping to serve the orphans, children, and teachers who currently have no place to live, learn, or teach in. Either way, I’ll have the chance to use my passion for handy work or teaching in some capacity.
Through all of this, we hope to not only be of help, but to be able to share the love and peace of Christ with those we’ll be serving. While we will never understand completely what they’ve gone through, they are in need of a lot of hope and encouragement and with God’s help, we want to share with them the restorative power found only in Christ Jesus. I’m truly excited, and really nervous, knowing that God is going to stretch us and challenge us in some amazing ways. Trips like this always continue to remind me of how big God really is and I can’t wait to see how that shapes my own walk with him.
As we get ready to leave, please keep my team and I in your prayers as there is a lot of preparation to be done before we head out. You can pray specifically for me that God would strip me of any pride, selfishness, or hesitation that might keep me from being effective on this trip, and also that I would be able to serve my other team members as well. I desperately want to the Lord to break me and shape me through this whole experience, not only for the people of Haiti’s sake, but for my ministry’s sake back at home so that I can be even more of a light and force for him in the DC metro area. I am raising financial support for this trip as well, so if you feel led to get involved, head to our church’s website and click on “Donate Here” to get started. When asked which team you would like to support, select “FLGI – Haiti 2 (FLA)” and type my name is as the team member you’d like to support. I’ll be posting updates to this blog before we leave and to recap when we get back so stay tuned for those. Let me know if you have any questions!
It’s been nearly 9 months since I’ve written on my blog, and while it seems like a long time to be silent, I didn’t have anything that I thought was worth saying. Thus, no one should be disappointed. I have recently, however, felt more and more of a desire to write out of the things that God has been teaching me through my time in the word and seeking his wisdom. They’re not things that are original from me, rather things that I have felt incredibly challenged by. Thus, I want to be able to share that with others (others meaning the two of you who ever followed my blog :) Although I hope I don’t fall out of posting in a week or so, I thought it was worth a shot to get back into it. I felt chalenged by my pastor this past weekend when he said that it’s important to share with others what the Lord is teaching us. I saw this as a perfect avenue to do that.
The following is something I read today out of J.I. Packer’s book “Knowing God”. It’s a timeless standard that I believe every believer should read as it’s changed my perspective in ways I could never explain. I’m just going to post the paragraph that really hit me this afternoon. Please don’t comment on how you agree with what it’s saying and how you felt challenged by it. I’ve already established that. Rather, I want to know how you are going to respond to it. As I pray through this as well, I will soon share my thoughts too.
“Where is the sense of distance and difference, then, between believers in Bible times and ourselves? It is excluded. On what grounds? On the grounds that God does not change. Fellowship with him, trust in his word, living by faith, standing on the promises of God, are essentially the same realities for us today as they were for old and new testament believers. This thought should bring comfort as we enter into the perplexities of each day: amid all the changes and uncertanties of life in a nuclear age, God and his Christ remain the same-almighty to save.
But the thought brings a searching challenge too. If our God is the same God of New Testament believers, how can we justify ourselves resting content with an experience of communion with him, and a level of christian conduct, that falls so far below theirs? If God is the same, this is not an issue that any one of us can evade.”
From J.I. Packers, “Knowing God”. Pg. 80-81; “God Unchanging”
WARNING: This post contains graphic material that might not be suitable for minors and those of weak stomach. View discretion is advised!
This past week i reached another milestone in my life…my first surgery! Cross a fairly active 25 year old male with a family history of weak knees and you can often get some small issues that need to be corrected. What did i do? I had a torn meniscus as well as a loss of cartilage between my femur and patella. So this past Wednesday, i went under for orthoscopic surgery where they removed the tear and shaved off some of the back of my patella :) Awesome stuff. Recovery is coming along well, but I’m pretty slow at getting around. I’m starting to be able to walk a bit without crutches, but like I said, it’s slow. I should be able to drive early next week and in 2 weeks, i should be almost back to normal (minus strenuous physical activity).
It hasn’t been physically painful at all, in fact I haven’t even needed the pain killers. However, for those that know me, you’ve probably seen that this whole thing is driving me nuts because I’m the kind of person who likes to do everything myself and I HATE to inconvenience others. I have to give it up for Scott, My host mom, Pete and Jackie, and all my friends who have helped me out with rides and visits over the past few days. God is certainly teaching me A LOT about patience over the past month and now ESPECIALLY through all of this! I think i even said once that this must be what its like to be super old! No offense to the wiser generation, but I can wait for old age🙂
Anyway, I’m doing fine, even though I might be a little bit restless and annoyed at times…God has me here for a purpose and If i want to continue to do the things I love, I got to heal up right. Below is a picture of what my knee looked like the morning after surgery. Enjoy and Happy 4th!!!
For those of you that are reading this and are thinking, “I thought Nate worked for a church…” You are correct! I still do. However, I’ve decided that I want to keep teaching fresh since it is something that I love and want to continue to do. So to feed that desire, not only am I re-opening my private percussion studio (now accepting students…), but I decided to become a music-substitute teacher for the upcoming school year! It’s glorious! I can work on Fridays when I don’t have work at the church, AND, if there’s a Friday I don’t want to work…I just don’t schedule it.
Anyway, I was putting together my application materials the other night and came across some of my favorite student quotes from when I student taught and had to share some of them because they were some of the funniest moments I’ve had in the classroom. Kids say the darnedest things…Enjoy!!!
Me: “When you’re singing, I need you to open your mouths nice and wide! Wide enough that I can see your tonsils!”
(half the class looks puzzled and slowly raises their hands…)
Me: “…Or where they used to be.”
(Students smile and lower their hands)
Student: Can we sing the song “Oats and Beans” again Mr. Reed?!?! Please?!?!
(a dorky song i taught them one day with motions)
Me: man you guys really like to sing that song don’t you?
S: Are you kidding? My entire Hockey team was singing it at practice last night!
Student: Mr. Reed whats it like being a senior in college?
Me: well whats it like being a senior in high school.
S: well i can’t wait to get out of here and move on to whats next.
Me: any more questions?
Me: Hey, you need to make sure your sitting up in your seat while you sing!
Student (wearing a Harvard sweat shirt): Sorry, Mr. Reed.
Another Student (This student was wearing a Princeton sweatshirt…): Yeah, Harvard boy!
Ironic…if only they would act like they were ivy league students🙂
Me: Another Ancient Culture that contributed to early music was the Babylonians. Does anyone know where the Babylonians were from in terms of today’s Geography?
S: Oh Oh!! Latin!!!
Me: No Mitch, Latin is a language, not a country….They actually came from the country now known as Iraq. Does anyone know what Ancient Cultures liked to use music for?
Me: oh dear….
My friend Scott gets on me a lot because I like to be right about things. I do admit that some of the time, I really don’t know what I’m talking about…but that’s only on a rare occasion. Ok, maybe a little more often then that, but, there are a good handful of things things that I just have to stand firm on! Sometimes I refer to these things as my “second gospels” :) Now, they are NO WHERE NEAR as important and incredible as THE first gospel (yes, that’s Jesus in case you’re confused), but they ARE worth pushing. Many of you know some of them already. For example, the east coast DOES NOT have mountains (although many east coasters seem to think so and some how try to defend them). You have hills, and in many cases, those hills are ant hills. This doesn’t mean they’re not pretty…they are just not mountains. If you want to see mountains, come hike with me in my hometown out west.
Then there’s Pop…not soda, pop. I know I’m in a minority out here in this matter, but you’re just going to have to trust me…it’s pop. There are others, but I have a new one I want to touch on tonight that just needs to be spread, and it’s in regards to one-lane bridges!
Their not uncommon all over the states, but in Virginia, VDOT must have decided to save some money by making bridges on fairly high-occupancy roads merely one-car wide. I have no problem with this. I DO however have a problem with how people drive on them. Now, I understand that growing up we were always taught that it’s polite and fair to take turns. Not true, in this situation…especially when these bridges have a tendency to get backed up fairly quickly. The solution? Cross in Pairs! not one-by-one, but two-by-two; Noah style! This actually cuts the wait time in half! Not three-by-three either, because that’s too tough to coordinate. It’s kind of like the zipper theory in merging lanes. Don’t merge early, drive to the merge point. Your early merge isn’t saving time down the road. Instead, it’s creating a braking reaction through every car behind you which worsens the merge back-up by a lot! Anyway, thats another story. The point here is to just simply go in pairs and all your one-lane bridge woes will be no more!
So if you are one of those people who gets upset, gives me mean looks, and shows me you can count to one when I travel accross said bridges using this method, know that I’m not being impatient, rude, or purposefully going out of turn accross the bridge…I’m only trying to saving you time! So please join me in spreading the word on proper one-lane-bridge crossing etiquette, and we can lessen some of our rush-hour traffic irritations! I promise.
I’m Nate Reed, and I approve of this message.
*NOTE TO SCOTT* – I do appreciate you keeping me honest bro! Thanks for making me swallow my tongue when necessary!🙂
This past year, one of the things I’ve been praying hard about is my self-centered-ness. I really can’t stand it; yet I seem to be so good at it (that’s a bad thing by the way…). Anyway, God has been teaching me some interesting and tough lessons this year which I didn’t really expect. Though I guess I really should have since I was asking him for it. He gave me another unexpected one tonight, which I thought I would share.
I was driving home late, around 10PM when I was called by a guy asking me to take a survey. Why he waited until 10PM to call me, I don’t know, but he did. He asked if I was available to answer some questions and I told him that it wasn’t a good time to. He asked if he could call back, and I said sure and hung up. I wasn’t a jerk, but at the same time I wasn’t very pleasant. Did I lie to him, maybe a little, but to be honest, I just wasn’t really in the mood. After I hung up, God decided to drop the teachable moment on my lap. I started thinking, “You know, if that guy had a choice, he probably wouldn’t be making survey calls at 10PM on a Tuesday night.” Maybe he did have a choice, maybe he didn’t, but what I do know, is that all he was trying to do was work his job and he was just following instructions from his company.
Now don’t get me wrong, I get bothered about telemarketers, just as much as the next guy does, but especially in the economic situation our country is still in, a lot of people are lucky to even have jobs right now. So what business is it of mine to get upset when someone, who probably can’t find anything else to pay the bills at the moment, calls me to try to do just that. For all I know, he or she could have been laid off of another job, with hungry kids at home and no spouse. Or it could be some college kid who’s just trying to do whatever to pay for school. Or it could be someone who was new to the country and couldn’t land a job anywhere else and needs to pay rent. Does it mean that I need to support, purchase, or agree with every telemarketer that calls me? Not at all, but I do owe it to them to respectful, courteous, and encouraging. Maybe even see how they are doing cause I’m sure almost every day includes a lot of rude and angry responses. I’m sure that’s what Christ would do. I know I would hate my job if I had to talk to hundreds of rude and angry people a day. Shame on me if I ever act as if I’m any better then the people on the other side of the line.
Anyway, that’s the lesson I learned tonight. Do with it what you will.
So tonight I did my usual catching up on Hulu after work and watched Jay Leno’s last night on the Tonight Show and I have to say i was very impressed! Not just with the content, but in how he seemed very real and humble for being a Hollywood star. Plus, he ended the show in a very unselfish and special way that was truly amazing. I recommend you watch it sometime, and it will be sure to give you some good laughs. Thanks Jay for your 17 years of comedy and best of luck to Conan when he starts up monday night. Can’t wait (to hulu it that is…)