The Beauty of God’s World: Guest Blog by Zana Johnson

Does the order and beauty of the world provide evidence of God existence?

This is a question that I constantly ponder whenever I experience the beauty of the world around us. Oftentimes we go about our busy lives and fail to recognize how everything in this world has a balance – an order that could have only been perfected by God. The complicated yet controlled way our body functions or the detailed design of each and every one of our features are two of the many wonders that proves God’s existence. Creating the world we live in took more than a flash of light and a bang. God was able to  create this complex world using His power, His patience, and most importantly His love.

Over spring break, I had the amazing opportunity to go with Ridgecrest Baptist Church on their 14th annual mission trip to Haiti. We stayed in Port-au-Prince at Walls International Guest House for a week while working with Pastor Leon D’Orleans at a few of his churches. We managed to accomplish several things including building a foundation for a church that had collapsed in the earthquake Haiti suffered in 2010.

Although Haiti is an extremely poor country with terrible housing and sanitation, to this day it remains to be the most beautiful place I have ever seen in my life. The people were stunning, inside and out. In America, our definition of beauty is long hair and slim figures, but the people of Haiti had beauty beyond measure. Their personalities, smiles, and determination constantly reminded me of the God’s amazing mercy and grace. He created an entire world full of marvelous, beautiful places and things that were perfected just for us – sinners who didn’t deserve God’s abundant love.

While I was in Haiti, I had the opportunity to witness God working in the lives of the Haitians as well as my team. We gave gifts to many of the children attending school at a compound called Blanchard. Seeing the smiles on their little faces made all the hard work and muscle aches worth it. They were so happy to receive simple things such as clothes, toothbrushes and toy cars. Watching them made me think of how teenagers in America are always wanting more and are never satisfied with the many things they do have.

On Easter Sunday, we attended a church located in Cite Soleil the third poorest slum in the world. The church was right in the heart of the slum and on the way there we saw people walking the streets, trying to reach the church. When we entered the church my breath was taken away from the overwhelming beauty of the church service. Although everything was in a different language, I knew what was going on. The church began to fill quickly with people from all over Cite Soleil who had walked so far just to come to church. I soon began to realize that there wasn’t a hint of desperation in the Haitians’ eyes – only hope, joy, and peace.

My trip to Haiti was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. Haiti taught me about how beautiful God’s world can be even when ugly things tend to creep in and taint God’s perfect world. We should never forget the love God has for us – so much love that He gave His Son for the hearts of sinners. This is the radiant beauty of a life forgiven and renewed in Jesus Christ.

The answer to the above question is overwhelmingly “Yes.”  Through the physical world God created, we can still capture glimpses of God’s perfect world and majesty. Through the life of a person who believes and commits their life to Christ, we can see bits and pieces of what glorious life in heaven must be like. All of it is an incredible outpouring of beauty which points us to the One and Only God, Who masterminded it all.

Zana Johnson is a 16-year-old senior who is currently attending Northern High School, in Durham, NC. She recently moved to Durham from California and has been attending Ridgecrest Baptist Church for a little over a year. She has three siblings and two wonderful parents whom she loves dearly.

 

 

Getting Settled

Welcome to my new blogsite!  It was supposed to be totally finished and handed over to me in February.  However, the young lady who designed it ran into some personal problems and wasn’t able to work on it for several weeks in a row. Even now there are things still not completed, but the basic working shell is functional.

The page tabs above, for example, do not have the code worked into them so they work properly, and in the meantime I’ve sought out another designer who hopefully can help flesh out what’s missing and get the site up to snuff.

It went against my grain to go ahead and move in, but I decided to use the new site with its apparent flaws. So please be forgiving, as you try to explore any  “extras”–they WILL eventually get fixed.  All the old posts and basic information as to what the site is about is here. I’ll be glad to give you a grand tour of the place sometime when everything’s finally in place. . .

I got back from Haiti on Saturday with our church mission group, and I’m still trying to process everything I experienced there.  The capitol of Port-au-Prince is a bustling, crowded city, with encouraging signs of growth everywhere.  Yet the neighborhood of Cite Soleil, one of Haiti Outreach Ministries’ campuses where we worked several days,  is still ranked as the most impoverished slum in the Western hemisphere. The poorest in our country are rich people compared to the little that these people have! Yet in light of the earthquake’s horrific devastation, even in that very dark place, you can see the abundance of God’s grace, from the churches that have strengthened their arms of inreach into the community, to the many organizations who have jumped in to assist the neediest of needy. God truly has taken the bad and used it for His good and the furtherance of His gospel! As I sift through the take-aways of my Haiti experience, I will write more about it in the future.

I am so thankful for the many good things God has given me. . . I know I have been changed forever by this trip and have been convicted and challenged in many areas.  I am stirred now, more than ever, to tell others about Jesus and His saving grace. I want to live life differently, so others may know more of Him. . .and the incredible hope and joy that He gives. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Everything else in life we fret over, that we occupy ourselves with, pales in comparison to the Bright Lord of the Universe. He is worthy of our very best. . . and all we can offer Him. Oh, that this may be a permanent change, Lord, and that I don’t waste this precious lesson You’ve entrusted to me. . . .

Our Father, we thank You that Your gospel is not a dry, archaic story that merely happened long ago but is a living, powerful, life-altering Truth. It changes ALL OF US, from the inside out! And that you gift us with glimpses of Your amazing transformations, how You establish hope where there is no hope. . . because You are the Great God of Love Who cares! Thank You, thank You! May we stake our lives on faith in the Son of God Who loved us and gave Himself completely for us. . .

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

 

 

Coming Soon. . . .

I will be moving into my newly-designed blogsite soon; the reins have finally been turned  over to me.

But the new place needs all the furniture hauled over (old posts) and some of the new appliances are not working quite right–the widgets have yet to be “tweaked.”

But overall, the blogsite is cleaner and less cluttered than this old one, with some great additional features. My new site is warm and homey, and I hope invites you to come in, sit down, and wander around a bit. . . .

My month-long theme for April is the Body of Christ, locally and abroad. I have a great blogpost from Betsy Vaughan that I’ll air this Friday. She’s had several chances to go to Kenya and minister there with her church. . . .I think you’ll get a wonderful blessing from what she has to share!

3 DAYS until my own mission adventure with our church group to Haiti. . .There are 27 of us going, flying out to Miami, then out to Port-au-Prince on Saturday morning the 7th. We’ll return the next Saturday the 14th. Although there is spotty internet service in the evenings where we are staying, I can’t promise a post until I return home. . .

That said, I have a couple of personal prayer requests for you to carry to the Father for me:

  • I’ve had vertigo problems lately and am concerned that even with the preemptive measures I’m taking, the plane ride over might “stir the pot”—please pray that this is not a problem.
  • Along the same lines, if you would pray that my digestive system stays functioning properly—I’d appreciate it!
  • That I reflect the Lord Jesus and truly am a flexible servant, focused on Him and what He wants me to do–
  • I pray I get to meet my sponsor child, Pierre, and give him his goodies in person. If this happens, there will be plenty of pictures to come!

May the Lord bless you greatly, my brothers and sisters.  He is worthy to be praised!

He is risen, INDEED! HAPPY EASTER RESURRECTION DAY!!

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn