Tuesday, May 27, 2014

So What are You Doing Next Year?

I have been asked many times in the last few weeks what my plans are for next year.  Well, here's the answer....

Dear friends and family,
As many of you know, I spent eight of the last nine months working in a residential facility for troubled youth.  One of my goals when I started my internship there was to figure out if God wanted me to go to school for counseling this coming fall.  I learned that counseling is not the way He wants me to go, but instead He led me to a program at Grace Bible College for an Associates in Leadership and Ministry that I can do online.  All the details that fell into place for this program can only be described as a work of God.

Knowing that online school was the way to go, I set about finding a place to live and work while doing school.  I had a few ideas in mind, but none of them seemed right.  I figured out the reason was that God has designed me for Christian ministry.  It’s what I love to do, and I knew I would not be fulfilled in my work unless it was some kind of ministry.  So to make a long story bearably short, I will be working at Camp Barakel this year as a part of their seasonal staff.  This is a dream come true for me, since I’ve wanted to do this for years and I will be able to continue working in camp ministry, the type of Christian ministry I love most.

For those of you who don’t know, the ministry of Camp Barakel is completely supported by volunteers and missionary support.  None of the people who work there are paid a salary; they rely on the Holy Spirit moving in people’s hearts to support their amazing ministry.  Now that I am joining their ranks until the end of next summer, I ask that you consider whether God would have you support His work through me with a monthly or one-time gift.  I have a little money saved up from my time at the residential facility, and that will be going toward my school bill, but I still need a few thousand for school this year as well as living expenses.  Anything I receive that I don’t need will go toward paying for school next year.

As you consider how you can support me, please pray for me as well.  Though I know and love the people and place of Barakel, this will be a new experience with new challenges even without throwing school in the mix.  On top of that, it’s been five years since I graduated high school, and I don’t know how I’ll handle getting back into that rhythm and mindset.  But I know that God will provide, through you and others, and I know this is where He wants me to be and what He wants me to be doing.

If God has blessed you and you want to be used by Him to bless me financially, please write checks to Camp Barakel with my name in the memo line and mail to:
Hannah Falk
Camp Barakel
P.O. Box 159
Fairview, MI  48621

If you would like to receive monthly updates from me, please send me an email at barakelgirl@hotmail.com, and I will add you to the list!

Thank you all for your prayerful support,
Hannah Falk

Sunday, May 4, 2014

One Man, One Woman?

As you might be able to tell from the title, this post is about a few things that have been hot topics for some time now – homosexuality, marriage, and the combination of the two.  As these topics have come up in both Christian and non-Christian media, I have been disappointed and, at times, downright ashamed of what I have heard and seen.  It is my intent in the paragraphs that follow to put forth my opinions and what I believe to be right (and wrong), and I hope that wherever you stand on the issues, you will be willing to read with a mind open to truth.

Let’s start with the obvious.  At this time, people are fighting for the definition and rights of marriage to be expanded to not only include men and women marrying but men to men and women to women.  Christians have opposed this because they believe that it is an incursion on their beliefs and will have detrimental effects on the family and society as a whole.  However, I believe Christians have lost sight of what is really important with this issue and many others.  Let me show you why.

I am an evangelical Christian, and I strongly believe that homosexuality is wrong.  However, I am mortified at the way my fellow Christians have and are treating those who are categorized as homosexuals for a lot of reasons.  First of all, because as Christians, we are no better but by the grace of God, and even with it, we still make stupid mistakes ALL THE TIME.

There is a big discussion about whether homosexuality is something you’re born with or something you choose and what ramifications that has on legality and morality.  Well, as a bible-believing Christian, I’m going to say it’s something you’re born with.  And yep, I still believe it’s wrong.  How is this justified?  Because we’re all born that way.  I’m not just talking about homosexuality.  I’m talking about sin, every sin.  We are all born sinners.  We may have different facets we are prone toward, but we all are born with that desire to disobey what God has commanded.  Those of us who have believed in the saving blood and work of Jesus on the cross now have His righteousness inside us and His law written on our hearts.  We are free of that nature that we are born with and can see clearly the difference between right and wrong, but that is for ourselves and the correction and edification of our brethren, not for tearing down and ridiculing those who are still trapped by the nature of sin.  How can we look down on other people, people Jesus died to save, and condemn them for doing what comes naturally?  Not only is it wrong, it is pointless.  We will never convince them, and our condemning efforts only drive a wedge between us and them.

Why is there such a huge outcry against homosexuals?  Doesn’t God say that every sin is alike?  I believe homosexuality is wrong, but I also believe that about lying, stealing, adultery, murder, divorce, and having false idols, among other things.  Do we have such a stand against those who watch too much TV?  Or those who tell ‘white lies’?  We’re being inconsistent.  And we’re defining people, plain, regular people, as what they do instead of who they are.  We get uncomfortable when we find out someone is sexually different than us like it’s some kind of disease we can catch.  They’re just people from all walks of life and all different personalities.  They’re no more strange than you and I, and they’re no less deserving of our love and care.  What’s more, as I said earlier, there is no point in yelling and screaming at sinners to change and see our perspective because they can’t, not as they are.

People want to change the definition of marriage, and we as Christians are getting all huffy and stupid about it when I say it’s already been changed, and it has already affected our families and society.  The biblical definition of marriage is not “one man and one woman”, it’s “one man and one woman forever”.  Seeing as how the divorce rate among Christians is almost the same as everyone else, I’d say we’ve already redefined marriage.  We have failed to live by the standard set by our Maker, and we look no better than the world.  It’s no wonder non-Christians can’t understand why this fight is such a big deal to us.

So what do we do?  What can we do?  We can’t give up the fight, but I think we need to turn it back to where it needs to be – on the home front.  We need to take a stand in the church for what is right and what works and what is worth it.  We need to help those who are struggling and be willing to get our hands dirty.  It’s always easier to rant than to speak kindly, easier to throw things than to come alongside.  But this is what Christ has called us to do.  And I have a feeling that if we decided to love unconditionally and selflessly, the world would notice, and maybe they would begin to understand why this fight is so important to us.  As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey.  I say stop fighting over what’s wrong and start showing what’s right.