HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE… | Thought

I just read a post about how we are always using the line “well if I had this or that, than I’d be happy….” As soon as you get it though you look to the next big thing and aren’t happy until you get it.  Happiness, I’ve found so far, is a choice we make every single morning we wake up. Last school year I saw this play out in the ugly version, I expected more and thought I deserved more.  Because of this I grew bitter and angry and it took over my body to the point that it showed its ugly head at the beginning of this school year and the anger was unlike anything I experienced before. I did not like what I had become, so I made the choice to change it.  I realized it is never to late to change your thoughts, situations will continually show themselves and sometimes they are horrible, but your mindset is more powerful than any situation.  I decided to search for the joys in each day and focus on those and my year has been one of the best.

 

I’m not 100% happy and living the greatest life, or settling for anything…but I am happy with where God has me now and know fully that when he sees I’m ready for next journey he will open that door.  He continues to bless me although I constantly turn my back on him with my actions.  He gives me strength to get through each day and a smile that I can share with those around me.

 

Choose happiness. Choose joy.

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Common Hope Housing Campaign

It’s been at least nine years since I created my “ministry fund” after winning a few 50/50 raffles in college. Today, I was blessed to do a big donation through Common Hope! I was able to donate a house/shelter for a family in need and a foldable bunk bed that converts into a table and two seats. We got to see the prototype of the bunk bed last time our team went down to Guatemala and they look amazing!! We always build a house for someone while we are down there and they’ve made some amazing improvements to that as well last time we visited! It’s been a hard journey to get the funds up to where I believe I could do something like this, but I’m happy that it has become available and it makes all the hard work worth it. May we shine His light wherever we go and change the world, one person at a time….

 

God Bless!

Be Radiant.

Everything changed for me in college, I wish I could say I deserved all the good things that have happened to me and that I worked hard to achieve what I have achieved.  I’d be lying though, it was God all along.  Every time he has opened my eyes to the greater purpose I could have for my life, I have forcefully shut them again and gone down the wrong path.  I was part of a christian organization in college called Campus Crusade for Christ.  Through my years as part of that organization, I became more and more prideful, to the point where I would think I had something to do with the success of it.  I had nothing to do with it though, it was and will always be God.  He worked through ordinary people to do extraordinary things, he brought people together that would remain friends to this day.  You know Steph Mox that I have talked about on this site in the past?  She was the beginning, she was the glue that held our group together and continues to shine in ways I could only dream of.  Her husband’s light combined with hers has reached places that I don’t know if I’ll ever see in my lifetime.  I took a different route, one that not many college graduates take in life, the path of a custodian.  When you think of grand jobs, I guarantee you never think of a custodian as one of those jobs.  It’s a job of little thanks, lots of messes and lots of just blah.  It’s the perfect job for someone who needs to learn how to serve others without getting praised for it.  Because of “Cru”, I had acquired the taste of serving others.  It was something that I felt as a “Christ-like” person, I should be good at doing and strive to do more often.  The thing is, I really really like praise, I really really enjoy awards and the pride of making things happen.  That, my friends, is why I am who I am today.  I am not a good person, but instead I struggle with pride.  To the point where I get literally angry if other people don’t understand how good I am and if they can’t be as good as I am, then to (heck) with them.  I don’t deserve this life and I don’t deserve the great things that have happened to my life.  I am a sinner in need of a savior and my life is a total mess.  But, that’s where my faith starts to shine through.  I know that Jesus died for me, and I know that with his strength and through Him I may find a light that has always extinguished the darkness within me.  He opened my eyes to the needs of the world and given me the jobs to accomplish those needs.  I have one wish, one real dream….. that is that at the end of my life, I will have an overflowing funeral with those who I have helped in one way or another.  You may not understand and that’s quite alright, I don’t understand it either.  I do understand one thing though, that’s that I have been given everything in life so that I may use it to help others.  I don’t always like helping others or doing what I have to do to help them, I complain all the time at work because of it and swear a lot because of it.  But, in the end of the day, when I remember the scriptures that have been instilled in me, I remember that it doesn’t matter what I want or how I feel….it just matters that His glory be seen and His will be done.   I started a ministry fund in college, since than I have added to it and when I prayed for a sustainable way to add to it, God answered me.  I became poor. Well, to some they said I was poor, I never felt poor because I had everything still.  But, through that, I picked up a second part-time job and a week or so later, got Full-time at my main part-time job.   Being full-time allowed me to get back on my feet with that paycheck and live off of that paycheck, making my second part-time paycheck open to be used to grow my ministry fund.  After a year or so of being full-time, that’s exactly what I did.  I have been blessed with being able to sponsor four kids, donate to a survival program for newborn babies, and do countless other things with the money that I have earned.  The greatest joy in life doesn’t come from owning gadgets and gizmos and the latest technology, it comes from getting letters from kids and hearing about how you are changing their lives.  I am a horrible person, a worldly person, but God has used me to do extraordinary things.  I will never deserve it, I will never be able to earn it, but it was a free gift that was given to me and I cherish it more than life itself.  Cleaning toilets for a living just got a new appreciation from me, it allows God to work through me and it allows Him to teach me how to shed this pride and depend SOLELY on Him.  Every hardship sheds new light on how powerful God is and the magnificent things he can accomplish if you put your trust in Him.  I pray you will give Him a chance as I have and see if he can spark a flame within you that will burn bright and be Radiant.

 

God bless

Steinhafel’s School Supply Drive

One reason why I love working at Steinhafels so much is their giving nature. Throughout the year we have opportunities to give supplies, money, or time too.  The latest opportunity was a school supply and we had a huge amount of success for this. They raised a bunch (in the 100’s of dollars) for school supplies and packed probably 30-40 bags of supplies for kids who need them.  I used around $400 from my ministry fund to go towards supplies for this.  Thank you to everyone who has helped me grow my ministry fund and giving me the ability to help like this.

GUATEMALA 2018

I have just come back from my third trip to Guatemala. It was an exciting trip that had a few new faces added to the mix.  The stories we heard and the successes that the organization we help, Common Hope, down there are awe inspiring and life changing.  So what did we do down there?

We built a home, perhaps I should start saying shelter instead of house because most people’s views of a house I feel are like the ones you see in the States here, and this was nothing like that.  It was a four walled, two room shelter.  They upgraded it since last time we were down there with glass windows and a Plexiglas center in the roof to allow light in.  We poured a cement floor for them as well so they didn’t have to live on a dirt floor.  My personal contributions to the project were helping with the floor, putting the roof up and doing a small section of siding on one side.  This year we built the whole house from scratch, where usually the panels are largely created in the past and we just put the house together.

We went on social work visits, flies on the wall in the social work visits that the organization goes on numerous times a day.  We experienced how they go through a social work visit, got to ride chicken buses, and saw how different families live. Some live off a little better than others. But most people have dirt floors and metal walls/roofs.

We went to a school, four groups taught four classes how to do math activities. One group, my group, taught the kids how to play “spoons” which we turned into “pencils” because we didn’t have enough spoons to go around.  My particular group didn’t get it until I had one of our other vision team members come and help.  The two girls who ran this activity are seniors in High School and this was their first trip as part of a Vision Team! They were the greatest!! Another important part of the educational section of this visit was we learned a statistic that was something like there was a 16% graduation rate, than with 25 years of Common Hope, the rate raised to 35%.  But get this, just 5 years later and the rate went from 35% to 60%!!!!  This is incredibly awesome knowing that the families are realizing the importance of education in their lives and that they are sticking with it all the way to the end.  AND the communities around the ones that Common Hope is currently working with, are starting to COME to Common Hope and looking for help as well, which is a huge deal down there.  The word of mouth and the success they are having in the organization is spreading like wildfire and they are spreading out!!

We went to a coffee farm,  we learned all about the process of making coffee from an old Common Hope employee and he took us up a mountain to his patch of land where he grows his famous coffee.  We got to pick coffee for a while and it was dirty, tough work!  One of our trucks even got stuck for about an hour on the way back and it look pretty much a village to get us out! It was cool to see the Guatemalans come to help out their fellow worker and work together to fix the problem at hand.

We went on sponsorship visits, I got to personally meet our families sponsored child with my dad this year. He lives in a community known as San Rafael.  We got to go to his home and see his whole family (minus his dad who was out in the fields working).  He has two older siblings, a brother and a sister. He also had two younger sisters.  We played spanish bingo with him, gave him two books to read.  And after a very exciting visit, the mother was gracious enough to give us (my dad, myself, the social worker, and the translator) all bags of tomatoes, which was their livelihood.  She told our translator that they were the first crop of the year and that by giving us them, it was like planting a seed and a thank you to God for the blessing of a good crop.  I was also able, thanks to a very kind vision team member, to sponsor another child this time down there through a split sponsorship.  We got to meet him luckily on the same trip and he is a stud as well, he is in 5th grade and he is the top of his class.  He wanted to be a lawyer. And for a lot of the visit, we shared pictures with each other.  They have a beautiful family. The dad, again, was out working. But the mom was there with his two little sisters. I’m excited to go back in two years and see the two sponsored kids again!!

The people of Guatemala are amazing and so incredibly generous.  I wish I could live down there.  The stories we heard were tremendous and the work that Common Hope is doing is awe inspiring and changing lives both in Guatemala and around the world.  We get to literally see the world changing for the better down there and it’s a refreshing look to get.  May we SHINE our lights in the darkness and help ALL in need.

 

God bless,

 

Matt

UPDATE

Towards the end of last year, my aunt had passed away due to a disease called “HHT” (learn more about this from curehht.org) and so our family has been busy getting checked out ourselves (it’s hereditary).  It’s depressing for me because of the fact that this thing that we learned we could have within us could possibly kill us in a moments notice.

 

I took on ordering supplies and doing the schedule at my part-time job, luckily we have a new lead to do the ordering supplies, but I’ve continued doing the scheduling.  Since the company is pulling the purse strings tighter, we have been cut in hours across the board for Hospitality, so I’ve cut myself back to 4 hours a week. This is good in one instance because it allows me to keep my apartment clean, do more videos for my youtube show and maybe even post on here more often.

 

I switched back to my alma mater for my full-time job and it’s been hard going as good as I used to as a part-timer.  But I’m still kicking!!