Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Exhaling

Jet lag has finally chased me down, but it's ok.  I feel like God is telling me it's finally time to get some rest and I can honestly admit that my one-hour nap this afternoon did not leave me feeling the least bit guilty! Why do moms feel guilty about getting rest? I used to, but not today.  Not for a moment!

A view from Seoul Tower
I returned home from a week and a half of ministry in Korea on Monday night and I wanted to just let you know some of the amazing things I learned from this trip.  First and foremost, I must say that God definitely took me out of my comfort zone.  A couple of days before I left, I actually put out a Twitter update that said "If God takes you out of your comfort zone, get ready - He's about to use you, big time" as an encouragement to my followers.  Usually, when I'm going through something personally, I'm reminded that there are probably thousands of other normal people, just like me, who are going through the same thing.  It is true, though.  Don't be uncomfortable with being uncomfortable.  It's just the place God can do His greatest work.

The American media really makes Korea sound like a terrifying war zone.  No doubt there are tensions and not to make light of it in any way, shape or form...but it just wasn't as scary as I thought it would be over there even though we were just about 30-40 miles from the North Korea border.   God really gives you grace for the moment.  (Kinda reminded me of how on Survivor I lost my fear of snakes and bugs while out in the jungle.  Of course, I'm scared of them all over again now that I'm home, but I had grace for the moment!  It was pretty awesome.)  As I was saying, though...the media really made it sound scary and my kids were scared that I was going over there.  I was also hesitant to leave my family for so long.  I know how hard things can be for my husband when I'm gone - and how much my kids miss me and how much I would miss my family.  My husband encouraged me to go though, and I am glad I didn't listen to my fear but found courage to go in spite of it.  It really was a huge blessing. 

Allen Hester, Middle School Chaplain
I finally got to meet Allen Hester, the Middle School Chaplain at Yongsan International School of Seoul.  He's been asking me to come and share with his middle school kids for about three years but until recently, I had not felt the timing was right.  It was nice to finally meet him and I can tell you - this is a servant-hearted guy who loves Jesus and loves those kids.  He is the kind of guy that will walk a mile for you, shoeless in the snow, backwards while singing the alphabet, if that is what you would want him to do.  No questions.  No hesitation.  He just loves people - and it shows.  Everywhere we went, he met a new friend.  Most often he would tell them about Jesus or invite them to church.  It was inspiring.  And convicting.  When is the last time I approached someone I have never met and told them about Jesus?  Yeah.  I can't remember.  By the way, if Allen reads this I promise he will turn as red as his shirt in this picture!  He's so humble.  It's really precious.  Sorry, Allen...but it's all true. :)

Me with Allen & Jeremy
I also had the pleasure of meeting Jeremy Whitaker - a husband, daddy and worship leader from Georgia.  He led worship during the week while I spoke.  He's super cool.  The kids loved him and he was so honest in his sharing about how good God is.  He challenged me to never put limits on God - God is the same today as He was yesterday.  He never changes.  I think I forget that sometimes.  I was inspired by his heart to teach others to be worship leaders, too.  He and his friends have started Greater Things Worship Arts Academy in Georgia (I told him several times I wish they were closer to Charlotte!).  I feel like I have a new brother after meeting Jeremy!  Funny how a dude from Georgia and a lady from South Carolina have to go all the way around to the other side of the world to meet!  God does that though.  If you want to check out Jeremy's new CD on Itunes, here it is!

I realized by about day four that I was not going to have to deal with jet lag over there.  Apparently, many of my friends and my mentor were praying for that specifically.  God heard their prayers!  I'm happy to say that I had all the energy I needed to speak at about thirteen sessions between the school and three churches (one of them was an Indonesian Church where I worked with a translator!).  It would have been fifteen sessions, but two of the sessions were on Monday and school was canceled because of a snow storm that blew in.  Oh, did I mention it's C-O-L-D in Korea?

Some of the teachers at YISS
The theme of the week at the school was "Thirsty?" and we focused on what it is that we are thirsty for in life.  I really challenged the students to make sure that they are not playing a game with God - that their relationship is real, based on truth and not something they only have on Sunday mornings.  I wanted to be sure that these kids, though in a Christian school, were not playing "the game", as I refer to it.  I gave my testimony of how I played the game for 23 years and how God opened my eyes to the truth of my situation.  Apparently, many of the kids realized they, too, were playing a game and they gave their hearts to Jesus.  God gave me the amazing privilege of praying with one of those sweet kids as she received Christ!  It was a huge thrill to be a part of such an amazing miracle!  As I hugged her after she prayed, I whispered "Happy Birthday".  She was born again.  Thank you, Lord!

I am humbled every moment that I think about how God allowed me, a regular wife and mom from SC, to be a part of a reality show over three years ago and how He is still using that very short but powerful nine days to open the door for me to teach others about Him all over the world and what it means to know Him personally.  Only God could do this.  Only God. 

This afternoon, as I sit in my cozy living room, exhaling (and admittedly, still in my PJ's and proud of it) and reliving some of the moments from last week,  I just want to say "thank you" if you were one of the precious friends of mine who prayed for me.  I'm so honored that God took me to Korea.  I'm so excited He used me.  And I'm so excited how He used so many others - the missionaries, the teachers, the pastors, the students....to teach me more about Him, too.

2 comments:

The Life of M.E. said...

Hi Leslie. My fiance is serving God at YISS. He was so excited to tell me about dinner with you and the amazing things God was doing through you and Jeremy during Spiritual Emphasis week. I was so thankful for my short experience in Seoul last fall and I totally understand most of your fears and realities as you traveled.

Leslie Nease said...

It's wonderful to meet you! I had a wonderful time there and was blown away by all that God taught me as I taught the kids from His Word! Thank you for your sweet note of encouragement. God bless you!

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