Lenguaje Bible Study (Language Bible Study)

(The following is the devotional I wrote for my lenguaje final. It is in English and Spanish. It is the first time I really made the effort to write something and translate it into Spanish all on my own, without just plugging it into an online translator. I only used the translator once for one sentence, as it was abstract, and restricted myself to using only my Spanish dictionary for the rest. This is a testimony to how far God has brought me in the last eight months--in the last month, really.)

Exodus 17:8-16

After leaving Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years because they did not obey God. During this time, groups of people in the land attacked them. One of these were the Amalekites.

Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands."

So, Joshua lead the Israelites against the Amalekites. Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed the hill and stayed. While Moses raised his hands, the Israelites were winning. But, Moses' hands grew tired and he lowered them. When this happened, the Amalekites were winning. As long as Moses' hands were raised, they were winning. Aaron and Hur got a rock for him to sit on. Then, when his arms grew tired, they held his hands up -- one on one side, one on the other. In this way, they remained steady until sunset. God gave the Israelites the victory over the Amalekites.

Moses' arms were raised for hours and hours. Try raising your arms in the air for five minutes and see how difficult, how painful it is. I imagine they were sore and shaky. I imagine he wanted so badly to rest his arms. But God had told him to keep them raised for a purpose.

God may ask us to do things that are hard or painful for us to do. Things we, like Moses, can't do on our own. He prompted Aaron and Hur to support Moses by holding up his arms. Just as Moses needed supporters, so do we. We need people to pray for us unceasingly. We need people to work alongside of us. We need people to encourage us.

But just as Moses' arms grew tired, I imagine the arms of Aaron and Hur grew tired as well. Yet there was no one there to hold their arms.

We are missionaries and ministers of the gospel need people to come alongside of us and hold our arms as we minister, yes. But we also need to pray for and encourage those who support us in this way. Aaron and Hur could literally see the results of their efforts -- the Israelites were victorious! But our supporters, often times, do not have the luxury of being on the battlefield with us. It should be our joy to share with them the rewards of our labors -- stories of lives changed, prayers answered, and miracles given.

Éxodo 17:8-16

Después de que los israelitas salieron de egypto, ellos anduvieron por el desierto por 40 años porque ellos no le obedecían a Dios. Durante ese tiempo, grupos de gentes en la tierra atacaban a los israelitas. Unos eran los amalecitas.

Moisés le dijo a Josué, "Escoge algunos de nuestros hombres y sal a combatir a los amalecitas. Mañana yo estaré en la cima de la colina con la vara de Dios en la mano."

Entonces, Josué se dirigió a los israelitas contra los amalecitas. Moisés, Aarón y Jur escalaron la cima y se quedaran. Mientras Moisés levantó las manos, los israelitas ganaron. Pero, las manos de él se cansaron y las bajó. Cuando eso aconteció, los amalecitas ganaron. Aarón y Jur fundaron una piedra para que Moisés se sentora. Entonces, ellos le agarraron los brazos a Moisés y se los levantaron -- uno a cada lado. De ese modo, ellos se quedaron constantes hasta la puesta del sol. Dios les dio a los israelitas la victoria sobre los amalecitas.

Los brazos de Moisés se levantaron por horas y horas. Usted trata de levantar sus brazos por cinco minutos y ve que dificil y que doloroso es esto. Yo pensé que los brazos de Moisés sería doloridos. Yo pensé que los querría descansar. Pero, Dios le dijó que los levantara por un propósito.

Dios podrá pedirnos hacer algunas cosas dificiles o dolorosas para nosotros. Cosas, como Moisés, nosotros no podriámos hacer solos.

Dios se dirigió a Aarón y Jur y les pidio que apoyabaron a Moisés para que levantaron sus brazos. Como Moisés necesitó apoyo, así nosotros. Necesitamos a las personas que oraren constantemente. Necesitamos a las personas que trabajen con nosotros. Necesitamos a las personas que nos den ánimo.

Pero, como los brazos de Moisés se cansaron, yo pensé lo mismo para Aarón y Jur. Aún, no hay personas que levanten sus brazos.

Nosotros, como misioneros y ministerios del evangelio necesitamos a la gente que venga y levanta nuestros brazos mientras nosotros ministramos, sí. Pero, nosotros tenemos que orar por aquellas personas que nos apoyan. Aarón y Jur pudieron ver el resultado de su esfuerza -- los israelitas tuvieron la victoria. Pero, muchas veces, nuestro apoyo no tiene el lujo de estar en el campo de batalla con nosotros y ser testigo de esas victorias. Nosotros debemos compartir con ellos las recompensas de nuestro trabajado -- historias de vida cambiadas, oraciones contestadas y milagros dados.



I've been told by writers that you're never supposed to edit while you write. By the time the book's done, it's supposed to be in a very rough form (hence the term "rough draft"). That will not be the case with mine, as I have long formed the habit of editing while I write. Not to say, of course, that it won't need a bit of polishing here and there. But when I've written that last word (probably months from now at this rate!), it'll be ready to send on.

For example, this week I began at the very beginning and have been reading my way through, editing as I go. In December, I'd asked a handful of my friends to read the book (as it is so far) and play the critic. One such friend mentioned a couple areas where she thought my newly widowed character was acting a bit too flirty with another man. I didn't at first see it. But as I re-read that passage this week, I could totally see what she was referring to. Those sentences have either been completely removed or have been edited.

Next, I added a completely new scene where I'd always thought one lacked. I'd alluded to some horrible past event, yet never written it. For some reason, I just could never get it "right" before. This week, I was finally able to come up with a few paragraphs that are exactly what was needed.

Back to editing. When I write a sentence, passage, or chapter, I often have in my head the way it's supposed to go. Sometimes, however, that doesn't quite translate well onto the computer. Coming back to the book after I've had a break, re-reading it with fresh eyes, helps me to see glaring mistakes, passages that don't flow well, or even spelling and grammar mistakes (yes, I do make them!).

I'm quite sure that when it's finished and has been submitted for consideration, there will be things the editors want to change, if they are even interested in it to begin with. I've never heard of a case where this wasn't so. And especially for a first novel.

Until that glorious day when the last word is written and the book is ready for submission, I will undoubtedly reread it countless more times.

Editing as I go.



It was almost two years ago that God first brought my attention to the human trafficking issue. I'd heard about it, sure. Who hasn't? But certainly not in the detail to which it was first presented to me. I walked away from that two day seminar absolutely fired up to action! I wanted to tackle the issue head on. Then, as I've often related, passion cooled. Life commenced. A little over a year later, we visited a church near our mission headquarters, intent upon speaking to the mission's committee about supporting our ministry. God had other plans; little did I expect what was to come. There was a special speaker that morning, from a ministry to children of prostitutes in an Asian country. Women who are being exploited. In one morning, God reminded me of the issue He'd brought to my attention over a year prior. This time, I recognized the calling for what it was and acted upon it. I contacted the head of the anti-human trafficking department within our organization. Seven months later, I attended the 6-week training course at our headquarter campus (see earlier blog entries from that time period, if interested).

There have been little things over the many months that have served to confirm for me that this is exactly what God has for my ministry. I may not know exactly what it will look like, what exactly I'll do. But I do know one thing. He is preparing me for something big. I can feel it deep within my soul. I cannot share all the details, but this week after an email from our directors, I received yet another confirmation from God that this is indeed His path for me. Every step forward I make is a step He has ordained. It is humbling in the extreme.

I can certainly relate to Moses. Who am I, Lord, that You would choose me for this ministry? Without even knowing what will come, I know I am utterly unprepared. This unknown--this realization of something big on the horizon--is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I know I can't do it on my on strength. But where I am weak, He is strong. And in my weakness, His strength shines through all the greater.

I would love your continued prayers for all of those who are actively in this fight. Whether we are on the prevention side (like I will be), the intervention side, or the restoration side, we all desperately need your prayers. 27 million people are currently enslaved. That's a HUGE number. And it seems like such an impossibility. But I believe our God is the God of impossibilities. I would also love your continued prayers as God reveals to me what His plans are for me and for our field of service.


You Write What You Read

We've all heard the expression, "you are what you eat". I personally don't believe there's any credence to this. I do, however, fervently believe that what we read affects us profoundly.

Just this past summer, I stumbled upon a story I wrote in the sixth grade. Rereading it gave me perhaps one of the biggest laughs I've enjoyed in a very long time. Oh, the writing. Oh, the grammar. Oh, the spelling! (Yes, the self-professed "grammar nazi" wasn't always thus. And proof that even the worst grammar offenders can, indeed, change.) But it also reminded me of another story from sixth grade that, unfortunately, wasn't saved. My teacher at that time, Miss Kelley, a former nun, was the original grammar nazi. She always required us to ask to be excused by saying "may I" instead of "can I". One day in class, for example, a boy, bless him, needed to use the bathroom. However, he forgot the magic words, asking instead, "Can I use the bathroom?" Her response was a raised eyebrow and the words, "I certainly hope so", without granting permission. He tried again, once more forgetting the words. By that point, it was urgent, and the "potty dance" had commenced. The rest of us were trying to feed him the necessary words in frantic whispers, but he was too panicked to comprehend what we were saying. He looked at her one more time and bolted from the room. Anyway, this paragon of grammatical perfection posted several assorted illustrations on the classroom bulletin board, and asked us to write a story using at least one of the pictures. I came up with a fantasy story that used every single one. My antagonist was a dragon named "Smog". Sound familiar? If you're an avid Tolkien reader, it certainly should. I'll mention here that, at this point in my life, "The Hobbit" was my absolute favorite book, and I'd read it many, many times. After working very hard on this story for several weeks, I was shocked to discover she'd awarded my hard work with an A+. Let me say, Miss Kelley never gave students an A+ on anything! She believed that there was always room for improvement. Yet, she gave me one nonetheless. I regret deeply that I didn't save this story. I'm sure it would also hand me a big laugh, like the one that was kept. But the fact that she saw something in my sixth-grade writing worthy of such a high honor is very humbling to me. To date, it is by far my highest writing achievement.

Several years later, as a non-Christian teenager, I read a bunch of fluffy, sexy, romance novels (exactly the kind I can no longer read). While I've never in my life had an interest in writing sex scenes, the romantic fluff inspired me to write numerous short stories about teenage romance. I'm honestly quite thankful none of those were saved.

Even today, as I've read back through the parts of my novel that have been finished, I can detect traces of other various books in the writing. Bits of novels by Jane Austen, Karen Kingsbury, Jan Karon, and Francine Rivers, to name a few. I may not have gone many places in my life, seen many things, or met many people. But I've done all of that in the pages of books I've read. The descriptions of places have impacted me. Characters I've met in beloved books have become cherished friends.

All of these things have changed the way I perceive the world, as strange as it sounds. And they've certainly changed the way I write.