Heidi Koppen

In Ireland

Feeling powerless?

Do you ever feel powerless to make a difference? You have a burden On your heart and you think it’s too big for you or you’ll never be able to do anything about it in any real way. I think thise feelings come from listening to the enemies whispers and forgetting the truth about our hero and his super power.

Yesterday on my run, God reminded me of truths I think I had lost sight of this past week or so. Specifically of God’s heart of blessing and grace and how He desires to hear our prayers and fill them with power. These are things I’ve spoken on befor!. Yet, I still continually need reminders.

James 5:16 says the prayer if a righteous person has great power as it is working. You might think, oh that can’t be me; I’m not a righteous person. Wrong! Do you really think others would be able to muster up more righteousness than you? Can you make yourself more righteous? No. We are made righteous before God through he finished work of Christ on the cross. When in sin and doubt go to 1 John 1:9 confess and He is faithful and just to cleanse your from all unrighteousness. Believe it! And Eph. 2:30 speaks of the power at work in is- that vs1:19 says is power of the Holy Spirit and His great might.

I’d love to ask you to tap into that incredible power of prayer to pray for a youth conference Kaitlyn and I are helping with this weekend. Pray God grabs hold of youth in this country. We need His power.

A Watched Pot Never Boils

Have you ever heard the phrase, “A watched pot never boils”?

Well this is sort of how I’ve been feeling these last couple of weeks while I wait on the Lord to show me the work I’m meant to be doing or what His plan for me is. I’m staring at this ‘pot on the stove’ in so much anticipation of what ministry will be like when it really gets ‘cookin’. One thing I’m learning is that this process of getting rooted and networked in a new place before starting up ministry takes T-I-M-E. This is a big change of pace for me and I can get antsy just wanting to “get going”. I’m realizing though how much I just want to be ‘busy’ even if being busy or doing things to fill up every minute might not be as important as taking the time to start things out right.

It’s amazing how God used my bible reading this week to speak to my exact situation. As you can imagine me in my impatience with adjusting, I’ve been getting flustered by wanting to know how things are going to all fit together and wanting to get started already. I’ve been in Luke and got to 10:38 about Martha and Mary. It says that while Mary sat at the Lord’s feet to listen to His teaching, Martha was “distracted with much serving.” She asked if Jesus cared that she was left to do all the work and then to tell her sis to help out. Then Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Here I am getting anxious wanting to do do do and to be busy, but what I have is the chance to ‘not be distracted with much serving.’ I have the chance to start out here one step at a time with what’s in front of me. I just need to plug into the church here and get rooted while focusing on my own relationship with the Lord. To enjoy, drawing near and listen to Him as He leads. It’s something substantial that won’t be ‘taken away’ and maybe that will overflow to the people around me.

As always, easier said than done, and I’m sure that I’ll feel impatient about waiting on the Lord’s lead. I’m so thankful for this reminder though, and my eyes are set on Him. Please pray for what I lack in patients and a motivation for deep personal study. My prayer is for you too, as bits our every day life tasks might frustrate our sense of purpose and timing. Press on and look to Him-He does want to use this life we have! The trick might be staying so closely in touch with Him that we’re ready to jump in when He says go.

Let the networking begin!

 

What a week! My first few days in Ireland were all filled up with simply adjusting. This last week, man, I’m telling you! God has started to open up the opportunities for networking :] I now have my visa (praise the Lord!!) and have been able to start a longer term mindset and get more rooted in. I’ve been able to meet lots of ministry leaders and hear of some things God has been stirring up with youth ministry. One of the local youth workers I had coffee with said that I’m “dipping my toe in every pool” and I like to think of it as taking inventory of ministry opportunities around and tuning my ears in to God to see what He wants me to be involved in :] Below I have some pics highlighting the crazy full week of the start of networking God’s providing.

To start off, Kaitlyn Howden arrived from Canada for her gap year to help out in Ireland in any way she can. We are going to be roomies! She’s only been here one week but has already been amazing to have! She has a huge heart for service and is ready to do any crazy opportunity that presents itself. I like to think of her as my protege or maybe minion ;]

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Saturday I was able to come to a woman’s conference in Dublin and met lots of wonderful ladies

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Tuesday Kaitlyn and I went to check out the immigration office (thinking I might not even be seen) and ended up staying for 12 hours and walking away my visa!!

Got my visa -today! It took 12 hours from beginning to end but went so smoothly it was only God :]

Nate Bramsen was speaking in Ireland and got me connected in Gorey with a whole youth group that’s pretty student led – SO exciting! These students have been part of the kids clubs that the Shanks helped put on. They are excited to share with to share the gospel with their friends in the biggest school in Ireland! God’s really put them on my heart to just encourage and invest in.

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Kathy Moriarty got me and Kaitlyn connected with an outreach to the travelers at a horse fair in Ballinasloae. We met lots of ministry minded people who had gathered to share with these amazing people. We visited travelers in their caravans, sang in singing competitions, and talked with gypsy fortunetellers who’s families are all getting saved.

 

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Phew! What a week! To end it, I’m headed up to the north and back tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what is in store for next week ;]

 

 

 

Finally here but hit with some news

I can’t believe that God has finally brought me to Ireland! It’s been five years since I’ve said yes to God about coming and now here I am. Though it’s been four years since I’ve been here, when I arrived it all felt strangely normal (might take a while to figure that one out lol) it was so wonderful to see some of the wonderful people I’m so excited to team up with and to get settled into “my old room” in Glen Maris House where the church meets.

The first day I arrived, though, I got some hard news from back home. Earlier that morning my grandpa passed away unexpectedly. He was 90 this year and getting a bit frail but not sick with anything. He simply had a heart attack out of the blue. He’s a believer so that makes all of the difference but it’s so hard not to be there for my mom right now. It’s so odd to me that this was the timing of everything for him to die the very morning I arrived in Ireland after all of these years.

If you would -please pray for my mom, Becky and for my grandma Sherley. Grandma has dementia and only has a few ppl she feels familiar with. This will be hard.

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Before I heard the news, my mind was swirling with all that’s ahead of me here and wondering what this ministry will end up looking like, how to build a foundation and what I need to get done as I settle in. When I heard of grandpa Bob passing, everything got all turned around and mixed up in my emotions. A bit too much to handle. That night I was having trouble sleeping and realized my red flag- oh, my heart is anxious, I’m not resting in my Lord. I need to stop, get out of bed and on my knees right now! I had a wonderful time with the Lord and just so sensed His closeness! I realized that I don’t need to pray for ‘me’ or ‘I’ -I can pray ‘us’ and ‘we’ because He and I are in this together, we’re going to face every moment together. Every excitement, every disappointment, every challenge, every grief and every joy. I don’t need to figure everything out now (though I’ll need lots of reminders not to try), we’re taking this one step at a time, hand in hand. I guess that’s what walking with the Lord means :]

It’s almost time!

I’m officially leaving for Ireland next week [Sept 23]! Five years ago I said yes to God about going to serve in full time missions work and now it’s finally coming to a reality. It’s so hard to say goodbye to all of the people who have been such a big part of my life but I’m so excited to take this next big step in following God’s leading to the mission field.

Please pray for me that He would give me strength to say goodbye and that He would take away fears/insecurities about starting this new stage of ministry in Dublin. I have related a lot to Gideon lately and realize that God really was patient with his fears and would give him signs to help him see his power. In Judges 7:15 Gideon’s response for God’s encouragement was Worship. Please pray that God would keep bringing my heart to that state of total surrender and worship, that I would recognize who He is and that nothing will be through my efforts but His work.

Thank you everyone for your prayer, support and encouragement – I totally need it!!

Less of me, more of You- His strength in my weakness

This past month I got to serve at Lakeside Bible Camp in WA and Camp Li Lo Li in NY as a cabin leader/rep for Emmaus. The summer theme for Lakeside was super heroes and the call to action. The speaker did a great job using different super heroes each day as his main illustration points. It was a great way to relate to these teens about what the bible says we have in common with those stories and how some point to Christ who truly is the greatest and best super hero of all. Interestingly enough, God wanted to teach me some new perspective that a lot to do with superheroes…

I was looking forward to these weeks of camp for months and was so stoked to come in freshly rested and ready to go. This was my last time to serve at camp before heading to Ireland this fall and I was going to really give it my all. I wanted to go out with a bang and try to make an impact on the teens I interacted with.

Well, I got quite a different experience.. I had a group of girls with a lot of drama and some difficult things to work through. It took a lot more supervision and energy to motivate than most groups. My co-counselor and I found ourselves spent just trying to keep track of our girls, so I wasn’t able to invest much in the rest of the campers. I realized that I wasn’t making the “impact” I usually get to. I felt like I was failing Emmaus because most didn’t really who I was. I wasn’t the superhero that I was hoping to be.

Early in the week, there was a message about boasting in our weakness because then He is strong. I started to realize that this weakness wasn’t just the lack of strength but also in moments of failure. I’ve always struggled with the idea of failure and this week definitely had moments of failure, especially failing to meet my own expectations.

During my quiet time in the beautiful woods of Washington, God asked me a question that really struck me. (By the way if you don’t have quiet time of reading the bible and talking and listening to the Lord-do it! He really will speak to your heart, but sometimes not with what you want to hear ;] He said to me, “Are you willing to be a nobody for Me?” “In Ireland, would you be ready to be a nobody if that’s what I ask?” Wow. Of course my answer is yes, but it really took me back. I know I’ve been afraid of getting a missionary status-almost a celebrity in some people’s eyes. The truth is that I’m going for the purpose of dying to myself and serving in any way I can. This is the same call for all of us isn’t it? To get out of the way, giving up rights, becoming a ‘nobody’, lowering yourself so you can empower others and uplift only the name of Christ. My greatest prayer for Ireland is that His name would be made great-not mine. This question from the Lord, this blunt eye opener, is totally on point. I’m so thankful that He is faithful and merciful to tell me what I need to hear.

That week I didn’t swoop in to save the day, I didn’t give amazing speeches that left the crowd breathless and when the biggest action was happening, I stayed in my little corner and prayed. I watched girls have no dependence on my wisdom but I saw God draw hearts to Himself. He is the one with the power to melt the hearts of stone and bring redemption and restoration to broken lives. He is the only one who will always be there. He’s the one to look to.

That week I learned that I’m not the super hero that needs to rescue anyone- No I’m simply the bat signal. There to point out the one who we really need to call on- The Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Photo cred- <a href=”http://cliparts.co”>Clipart.co</a>

Learning to rest in Him – even through it all

Do you ever struggle in finding time to rest in the Lord or knowing how to Rest in Him? The reason I haven’t written in over a month is because life got even more hectic and I’ve been going through a lot of transition. I hope to be able to be more consistent with blogs I promise ;]

To fill y’all in on the happenings this last month I’ll give you the major things. First off, early this month our rent was up and my roommates and I prepared to part ways. I decided what to keep and take to Ireland with me; basically clothes and books ;] With everything else, we had a huge garage sale at a borrowed parking lot spot at a church right by our house. We had lots of help and people were so generous and to top it all off, God gave us a beautiful sunny day. So thankful!!!

That week I moved in with a sweet family from church, K.T. And Christy Leverentz. They prayed about it and decided to take me in for the summer so I wouldn’t be homeless. Ive had fun adjusting to being in a new place and being prt of this family with 4 little kiddos. Hopefully even with my traveling I can spend some good time with them.

That next week I had a visit with the church I did my youth min internship with five years ago. It was a great and encouraging time with them and I came home refreshed and ready to finally fill out my visa applications.

After months of research and help from my church here and in Ireland I had everything prepared and waited for the right time to apply. On the 16th I submitted my application online and it was sent to Chicago consulate. I was going to submit my supporting documents and I called the consulate for details on the form of payment. This quick request turned into a long, almost argument with representative lady. She said I filled out the wrong paperwork and if I sent in my supporting documents she would sent it all right back. She suggested that I need to go through a whole different process.

After that call I spoke with all the people who had helped me and picked out this visa and we’re all surprised and frustrated because it doesn’t match up with the advise from the Dublin immigration officer from earlier enquiries. They told me to sit tight for w few days until they figure out what my next move should be.

I’ve been so stressed and busy trying to have everything perfectly ready for this visa and was so excited for the relief of having this out of my hands. Now we have to figure everything out all over again. All the emotions of letting go of all my things, my house and my roommates caught up with me, topping it off with this new dissapointment and the great unknown of what my next year will look like.

I can see that God wanted to take away everything I held onto for security so that I can realize I need to look to Him and trust His plan. I’ve been waiting over a week to hear back from my leaders and have been thinking about true rest. It’s not just physically slowing down to breathe but truly Trusting in Him -even in the midst of all this craziness and business. It’s been a good week :]

Much more pondering, and lots of waiting or quickly taking action lies ahead. But one thing is sure – God is Good and He is with me.

 

Who would have ever imagined that I could end up speaking at a women’s missionary conference in New Jersey of all places. Well, this last weekend, that’s what happened. I was so blessed to be invited to speak at Mountain Ridge Bible Chapel as they were hosting the conference. It was amazing to get so much support and to be able to share my heart with the 120 ladies who were there.

There were two other ladies speaking, one who had been on the field in France for over 30 years! The other has had several years of experience. And then there was me :] I told everyone that I got to be the “newby”. It was amazing how the Lord worked all of our messages together as each of us shared about the work we will be doing and a devotion from the word. The theme verse was Jeremiah 1:7, “For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak.” We all approached this theme verse differently as we shared but a theme of facing fear came out each time. The Lord was clearly orchestrating through the three of us who were strangers to bring a message of turning to Him for intimacy, obedience, and belief. We all emphasized the words “I will be with you.” How encouraging that we can face our fears through Him. The Lord is good.

The rest of the weekend was spent with great friends going to a prayer meeting/connection time with a South Asian ministry called Najuvan, hearing a Sunday sermon in  Malayalam, and going to a choir concert.  I’m so thankful for that sweet time.

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This Sunday I got to hear my first Malayalam sermon with English translation -in New Jersey Maplewood Bible Chapel
This Sunday I got to hear my first Malayalam sermon with English translation -in New Jersey Maplewood Bible Chapel

Hold It All With An Open Hand

I once read a discipleship book that explained that we must hold everything in life with an open hand. It says that because everything belongs to Him we need to be willing let go otherwise He may need to pry our fingers when He sees it as best to take it away.

Well, I’ve been learning a bit more about this concept because I am facing the thought of selling almost everything I own and moving out at the end of May. I never thought of myself as materialistic but.. I like my stuff. It’s taken a long time to get a full house filled with nice furniture, myriads of books, sweet vintage kitchen things and decorations as well as all my impressive amount of clothes. I like it all and  I’m quite sentimental so it’s honestly hard to let go. But what affects me much more than the prospect of reducing my things down to a few suitcases and even staying in people’s spare rooms for three months, is thinking of the people I will be leaving.

My friends are like family to me and my church is a central part of my life. My roommates are moving on in two months and I will be leaving my church and everyone else in five. How am I going to say goodbye to my Jr. High girls, to families I’ve had small groups with and to all of the people I love at Emmaus and house church? I will need to let go of my life as I know it and put it all, along with my future, in His hands. Elisabeth Elliot said, “If my life is once surrendered, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hands but would be safer in mine!” He is ever faithful, ever true, and He offers to be my friend. I must hold it all with an open hand.