Birthday in Nicaragua!

I turned 21 today.

We started off the day by going to a farm with Nicaraguans to have church. I got to ride a horse and eat Jacotes (special Nicaraguan fruit) off of trees! We worshipped, sang, danced, and shared testimonies with the church. Then we had lunch and a nap. After that, they took us to sector 4 of Somoto where the teenagers there surprised me with a party. They had set up the place with decorations, cakes, signs, and a piñata! They all sang happy birthday to me in Spanish and English then they had me play a game similar to pin the tail on the donkey. Except instead of a tail it was a nose, and instead of a picture of a donkey.. It was a clown. So they blindfolded me, and spun me around! It was great. After the games and the piñata, Blake shared his testimony with the troubled teens and invited them to our church service at 6pm. (Luckily, I didn’t get caked like Blake. They must have forgot!)

The best part of the day was church at night. My time with the Lord one on one was the most precious to me. Worship was phenomenal. Just reminding myself how much God really loves me and my family no matter what! He really does care. After worship, Blake had the opportunity to preach about the importance of just sitting at Jesus’ feet. It’s understandable that we always have things going on and that we are busy people. But do not forget to spend time with Jesus and to rest in him. Love him. Worship him. After Blake’s sermon, the nine of us got to go up to the very front with mics and lead worship! We sang English songs and Spanish songs! All nine of us were filled with the Spirit and just jumped up and down with our hands up praising the Lord. It was amazing. God was in the house for sure. Perfect way to end the day. What a great birthday with 8 of my good friends! God’s love never fails.

Quick update– We have mainly been evangelizing everywhere we go. We talk to people on the street, we go to houses to pray for healing, we go to the market to share the love of Jesus, we go to retirement homes to encourage the old, and we go to alcoholics and troubled teens to preach the gospel. People have been accepting Christ and wanting to follow Jesus left and right! The people here are hungry for hope and the truth. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Praise the Lord for him to use us as his workers and for us to see the fruit! Continue to pray us for these last 2 days to finish strong! Thank you.

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First day of Nicaragua

This was our first day in Nicaragua and it was a blast. We got a chance to walk around the town of Somoto and meet the pastor of the church we are working with. Apparently the area we are working in is very poor and have a lot of troubled teens addicted to alcohol and drugs. But the pastor has great relations with the teens and local prison so we can go minister to them. Today we found out that we will be able to preach at their church on Sunday and have an opportunity to be on 2 television channels to share who we are, our testimonies, and the gospel! Praise the lord. Also, tomorrow we will go outreach in the town and share the love of Christ. I can’t wait!

Tonight we had the chance to attend their Wednesday night church service and worship. The way they worshipped and showed the love they had for Christ was awesome! They sang and danced everywhere and didn’t care if people were watching; they were lost in the presence of the Lord.

Been practicing my Spanish. Gloria a Dios! Hallelujah!
That means Glory to God. Then everyone in return says.. HALLELUJAH!

God bless! Hope to have another update soon my friends!

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Oh. It was Blake’s 22nd birthday today and he got caked!

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As of now.

As of now, we are at the airport in Atlanta about to board a plane to Nicaragua. My clothes are smelly and I officially ran out of all clean clothes. On this trip, we don’t have clean or dirty clothes… It’s more like what smells bad and what smells less bad! Last I did laundry was in Uganda, over 2 weeks ago. Since then, we have been dirty and sweaty, biking up mountains to unreached villages in Slovenia! But no worries, i have plenty of deodorant.

We are feeling great and excited for our last leg of the trip. We had a layover last night in Miami. Meaning we had a great dinner at iHop and got a great night sleep! Wifi was such a luxury! The team hasn’t been this upbeat in a while. Although traveling has been an adventure, it’s great to be back in the states to something we are familiar with. I miss you guys and can’t wait to come back and share all the awesome stories of how God is moving!

PS- We started memorizing all of Romans 8 as a team.. It’s 39 verses!! I got about half but I’m still behind with everything going on. Please pray for me to have super power memory. I love the idea of memorizing verses and that is one thing I want to keep doing when I get back. So those of you who are around me usually, please keep me accountable!

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Nwewe, Nwewe Yesu

Its been a while since I last blogged. Sorry! So much have happened and I would love to catch you up.

During our time in Mbale, Uganda we worked with Lulwanda Children’s Home. The children’s home is one of the most well run orphanages and school in Mbale. Its actually a model school to all the schools around the area, christian or not. Most of the kid’s parents died with AIDS and were left abandoned. The kids are getting a great education and are so appreciative of being there and knowing Jesus. A lot of the kids came from Muslim backgrounds too. While there, our main ministry was to build shelves and paint for the children’s home, love on every kid, and to bless the full-time missionary we partnered with, Natalie Rolfe. That’s usually what our normal day looked like, going to the orphanage to bless it through the work we did and play with the kids. Sunday, we got a chance to be in charge of the Sunday school before church started. We split the hundred kids into 2 groups, one younger and one older. My team and I got the chance to prepare a message and to share the gospel with the older group. This was a great experience for me, to be able to share with the kids how precious God is to me and what I’ve learned personally from Him. African Church was great! The worship was very expressive and so awesome. I learned a Swahili worship song that I can’t wait to share with y’all when I get back.

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Enoch-
For our rest day, we decided to climb a mountain. Enoch, Natalie’s guard for her old house, came with us. On the way up, he told me his story of how he met God and how he used to be Muslim. He is 24, married, and has 2 daughters. His heart is full of love and so much Joy; for people and the Lord! If y’all can pray for him, his father does not know Jesus yet and he left the family to pursue other worldly desires. Whenever Enoch would tell him about Jesus, his father would say if Jesus is real and loves me so much, then you give me money. Please also pray for God to provide for Enoch’s family and for Enoch to be able to pay for his children’s education.

Pictures!

East Asia-
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India-
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Uganda-
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Slovenia-
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First Day of India

We are still at the Cyber Cafe. I just wanted to write a short post about India so far.

India is SUPER hot. Last I checked, the high was 119 degrees! We are just constantly dirty and sweaty. I’m pretty sure I have bugs all over me.

We don’t really get showers, just pour water on our heads. Its probably better to sleep outside under the stars than inside too. All they have are fans at the orphanage. No AC. But God is good and I am trusting this trip will be amazing while serving the people here. And that in everything we do we will glorify God.
The orphanage is outside the city and the kids are so cool! I learned some Hindi but mainly we just speak English. Today I taught some of the older kids how to break dance.
Mainly our ministry here is to love and pour into the kids and staff of the orphanage. Can’t wait to tell ya’ll more!
Until next time, please be praying for us!

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This is our shower

This Is East Asia

We are currently in India at a shady Cyber Cafe. My computer has crashed twice already within 15 min.; so I am going to type fast.

In our time in East Asia, we did not have much access to the internet because all forms of communication was highly monitored by the government. We also had to talk in code while in public. It was interesting and just makes me so thankful how blessed I am to live in the US where I am able to shout the name JESUS without being persecuted!

The missionary we partnered with was awesome. This guy was so full of love and had such a serving heart! He really gave us a sample of what it looks like to be a long-term missionary over there. We went from outreaching to people who have never heard the name Jesus to hosting a christian sports camp for the youth. We also loved on underprivileged kids and poured into and encouraged the few believers that were already there. The believers in ‘East Asia’ were on full pursuit after the Lord! They just get it. Because the risk is so high to have a relationship with Jesus, the people are either all in or out. There is no luke-warm. They understand that God is better no matter what; no matter the risk!

God has really been speaking to me about trusting Him in all circumstances and having unshakable faith; and what that looks like. Hopefully next time I can share a testimony of how one of the guys I met in East Asia, who has never heard the gospel, came to believe and gave his life to Jesus while we were there. (PS- I have many great pictures! Coming soon.)

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Training

Training is over now. We actually just landed in LA and we’re spending the night at La Quinta. Blake, Ryan, and I are in our hotel rooms listening to some worship music while we blog. God is so good. That is all I can say.

Recently, I’ve been feeling convicted for not thanking the Lord for my salvation as often as I should. He SAVED me. It is an incredible miracle itself for me to know Jesus and for him to change my life around a whole 180! He pulled me out of the darkness and into the light. He opened my eyes to truth and gave me hope. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9 NIV) God gave me something that I didn’t deserve! He gave me Grace. Who would have thought a year ago that I would be around the world in 5 countries and 4 continents sharing the Love of Jesus Christ. This is an amazing opportunity that most people do not get to do; and God chose me. Thank you, Lord!

Which brings me to something else God has been teaching me, Humility. According to God, humility is to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”(Philippians 2:3, 4 NIV)
Humility is not making less of me, but making more of Christ in others. This journey from the start has been an incredible humbling experience. For example, support raising was one of the hardest things I’ve done; having to ask your friends and family for money. Praise the Lord for the grace he gave me and the faith for him to provide miraculously! I can not wait for God to reveal more of himself to me!

I love you, Jesus!

It’s 12:35am and I’m getting tired. I would love to write more but we have a long flight to Asia tomorrow morning. Until next time! God bless and please pray for me to have a deeper understanding of God and for him to open my eyes to the miraculous things in his law.

– Joseph Chang

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I’m ready. (I got a haircut at a Walmart in New Braunfels today and they let me borrow the clippers and do it myself)

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8 NIV)

The Team

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The Gray Team- Blake Bearden (Team Leader), Laura Randolph (Team Leader), Joseph Chang, Sarah Dickerson, Lindsay Mayfield, Meghan Mazerolle, Shawnta McNeel, Jackie Nance, Ryan Pursley

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The Navy Team- Sarah Rinn (Team Leader), Luke Wallis (Team Leader), Alexandra Anderson, Brandon Bowles, Brian Defrees, Dana Defrees, Erin Pipkin, Emma Ragland, Skyler Sexton, Kelsey Simmons

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Team Leaders!

Our Itinerary

I meet up with the rest of the team tomorrow in New Braunfels in less than 11 hours! And I haven’t even packed yet.. So I might end up pulling an all-nighter. Ha

Anyway, here’s our itinerary!

June 1-4: Training in New Braunfels Texas

All 19 team members will be together for the first time to prepare to go and serve alongside missionaries around the world. From there we split up into 2 teams. The team I’m on is the Gray Team led by my good friend Blake Bearden and Laura Randolph.

June 5-14: Asia

Hong Kong: In Hong Kong the Navy Team will partner with LCI and take part in their efforts to get a Bible into the hands of every Christian in China. The team will literally be the hands and feet that take Bibles across the border into China.

  • East Asia: In “East Asia” the Gray Team members will join in the work of Chris Hsiao who is currently doing sports ministry with college students. Here team members will have the chance to share the gospel with unbelievers.
  • June 15-25: India

  • Delhi: Both teams will live, eat, play, and work at Emmanuel Orphanage outside of New Delhi. We will spend time with the 90 orphans that live in extreme conditions and share the love of Christ with them. We will also hopefully get to take the kids to a water park again this summer.
  • June 26-July 4: Uganda

    Gulu: The Navy Team will be partnering with The Zion Project in Gulu. The Zion Project focuses on helping survivors of the sex trade industry heal and find alternative employment. They also rescue and protect children at risk of sexual exploitation and educate the community in effort to break the cycle.

  • Mbale: The Gray Team will join up with missionary Natalie Roelf who is working at Lulwanda Children’s Home, a home for AIDS orphans. The team will take part in some painting and manual labor projects for the orphanage, as well as get to help with the education of the Lulwanda children.
  • July 5-15: Europe

    France: In Nice, France the Navy Team will partner with the missionaries serving at the International Baptist Church. There the team will join in with church planting efforts, preparation for the summer bi-lingual camp, and all the other evangelistic programs going on in the church.

  • Slovenia: In Slovenia the Gray Team will join up with missionary Joe Kelley and get to take part in a mountain biking ministry. This ministry is designed to be a gospel seed sowing ministry. Team members will bike to villages each day and share the gospel with the people they encounter.
  • July 16-25: Central America

    Honduras: The Navy Team will be working with Teresa Devlin and Living Water Ranch Children’s Home. The goal of this organization is to create orphanages to guide, educate, and form people with high moral values, as it strives to protect and educate homeless children.

  • Nicaragua: Here the Gray Team will partner with Heart to Honduras (which has expanded into Nicaragua). They will join up with a pastor in Somoto, Nicaragua to help expand the church, work with rehab ministries, and encourage believers.
  • July 26-29: Debrief in Orlando, FL

    Both teams will meet up together to process all the Lord has taught them on their journey around the world. It will be a time of rest, reflection, and praising the Lord for all He has done.

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    Two of my best friends, Wilbur and Brian, watching my Global Journey video on YouTube supporting me! I love you guys and thanks for praying for me tonight before I go.

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