Ann Lovell

body { background:#000; margin:0; padding:40px 20px; font:x-small "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Verdana,Sans-Serif; text-align:center; color:#ccc; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } a:link { color:#9ad; text-decoration:none; } a:visited { color:#a7a; text-decoration:none; } a:hover { color:#ad9; text-decoration:underline; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Header ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #header { width:660px; margin:0 auto 10px; border:1px solid #333; } } @media handheld { #header { width:90%; } } #blog-title { margin:5px 5px 0; padding:20px 20px .25em; border:1px solid #222; border-width:1px 1px 0; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; color:#ccc; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; } #blog-title a { color:#ccc; text-decoration:none; } #blog-title a:hover { color:#ad9; } #description { margin:0 5px 5px; padding:0 20px 20px; border:1px solid #222; border-width:0 1px 1px; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#777; } /* Content ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #content { width:660px; margin:0 auto; padding:0; text-align:left; } #main { width:410px; float:left; } #sidebar { width:220px; float:right; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } /* Headings ----------------------------------------------- */ h2 { margin:1.5em 0 .75em; font:bold 78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#777; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { .date-header { margin:1.5em 0 .5em; } .post { margin:.5em 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #444; padding-bottom:1.5em; } } @media handheld { .date-header { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } .post { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } } .post-title { margin:.25em 0 0; padding:0 0 4px; font-size:140%; line-height:1.4em; color:#ad9; } .post-title a { text-decoration:none; color:#ad9; } .post-title a:hover { color:#fff; } .post div { margin:0 0 .75em; line-height:1.6em; } { margin:-.25em 0 0; color:#333; } .post-footer em, .comment-link { font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .post-footer em { font-style:normal; color:#777; margin-right:.6em; } .comment-link { margin-left:.6em; } .post img { padding:4px; border:1px solid #222; } .post blockquote { margin:1em 20px; } .post blockquote p { margin:.75em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments h4 { margin:1em 0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } #comments h4 strong { font-size:130%; } #comments-block { margin:1em 0 1.5em; line-height:1.6em; } #comments-block dt { margin:.5em 0; } #comments-block dd { margin:.25em 0 0; } #comments-block dd.comment-timestamp { margin:-.25em 0 2em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } #comments-block dd p { margin:0 0 .75em; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Sidebar Content ----------------------------------------------- */ #sidebar ul { margin:0 0 1.5em; padding:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #444; list-style:none; } #sidebar li { margin:0; padding:0 0 .25em 15px; text-indent:-15px; line-height:1.5em; } #sidebar p { color:#999; line-height:1.5em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #444; padding-bottom:1.5em; } .profile-datablock { margin:.5em 0 .5em; } .profile-img { display:inline; } .profile-img img { float:left; padding:4px; border:1px solid #222; margin:0 8px 3px 0; } .profile-data { margin:0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .profile-data strong { display:none; } .profile-textblock { margin:0 0 .5em; } .profile-link { margin:0; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { width:660px; clear:both; margin:0 auto; } #footer hr { display:none; } #footer p { margin:0; padding-top:15px; font:78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { }

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Travel light: A story from the mountain

“As you see, the LORD has kept me alive these 45 years as He promised, since the LORD spoke this word to Moses while Israel was journeying in the wilderness. Here I am today, 85 years old. I am still as strong today as I was the day Moses sent me out. My strength for battle and for daily tasks is now as it was then.” 
Joshua 14:10-11 

I am running behind this week. I’m trying to recoup after a week-long trip to Guatemala and Honduras. It was my first international coverage in two years. Of the members of the media team, I was the oldest. 

At age 50, I was a little worried about keeping up with a team younger than me. I knew it would be a physically demanding coverage that would involve at least some hiking. The team leader had assured the worker there that we were all “reasonably fit” and capable of hiking. When I heard this, I had flashbacks of our family’s summer hike in the Smokies — the one where I thought they were going to have to carry me out on a stretcher. 

So, when the hiking began in Guatemala on the second day, I simply told myself, “Take it slowly.” As it turned out, everyone else was taking it slowly, too. Traveling with a photographer, a producer and a videographer, we stopped enough times throughout the week for scenic shots and b-roll that I always had time to catch my breath. Whew! 

My point is this: Regardless of our age, God equips us to do the jobs He’s given us to do. Caleb knew this when, at age 85, he asked permission to drive out the inhabitants from the land the Lord had promised him. Even as an old man, Caleb was ready to do whatever it took to claim the promise of God. 

Although I’m still not sure at what point I physically switched from young and energetic to senior and sluggish, in my heart I’m still 35. Granted, I hope I’m wise enough at 50 to realize I won’t be changing the world anytime soon. But, I’m grateful for opportunities to hear and share stories of how God is changing the world one life at a time through those willing to take the gospel to hard places. 

Here's one of those stories: 

On top of the mountain in eastern Guatemala, I met villagers who had never heard stories from the Bible until missionaries came to their village three years ago. 

One woman told me, “I’m grateful (the missionaries) came. Without them, my children would not know the Bible. Now, my children tell the Bible story to each other every night, and they can’t wait until (the missionaries) come again.” 

As the missionary translated the story, she cried. She had no idea of the impact she was making among this family until I asked the question. 

These kinds of stories make the hike worth it. 

Travel light! 

This week’s reading: Joshua 12-24, Judges 1-7 Post #13: Discovering how to live missionally through a chronological reading of God’s Word.


Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Journal of a missional mom, Entry #5: WHERE?

Talked to the IMB consultant again. There's a job that fits Cody's business skills in a place he told us not to name on the Internet. 


Follow this fictional mom as she experiences God's call to the nations and figures out what to do about it. Based on a compilation of experiences of real-life moms called to the nations, we'll post periodic journal entries over the next several months so you can follow along as if the story is happening in real time.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Travel light: Freaking out

“When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God carried by the Levitical priests, you must break camp and follow it. But keep a distance of about 1,000 yards between yourselves and the ark. Don’t go near it, so that you can see the way to go, for you haven’t traveled this way before.” 

Joshua 3:3-4, HCSB

When is the last time you found yourself in a new place? Maybe it was a move to a new neighborhood in your city. Maybe it was a move to a new state or even a new country. In a new place we often have to learn the quickest route to the office, the best grocery store and the nearest elementary school. For some, moving to a new place may mean learning how to pay the electric bill, figuring out the resident visa requirements and studying the local language.

But maybe your move wasn’t a physical one. Maybe your move was a lifestyle change: Your youngest child moved off to college. You retired or started a new job. Your spouse died — or walked out. 

Is your new place causing you to freak?

Like spinning in a circle blindfolded, life changes can cause us to feel off-balance and out of control. We may feel confused and disoriented, as if our head might explode. We might be freaking out.

After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites prepared to cross the Jordan River and move into God’s Promised Land. They were moving into a new place, fraught with promise but also with uncertainty. As they prepared for the move, Joshua gave them wise advice: Position yourselves so you can see the Ark of the Covenant — the place where God’s presence dwells. Otherwise, you might become disoriented; you haven't traveled this way before.

Like the Israelites, the best way to survive the uncertainty of change is to position ourselves to see God. The path you’re on may be new and unfamiliar to you, but He is with you. He will guide you. 

Travel light, and follow Him.


This week's reading: Deuteronomy 24-34, Psalm 91 and Joshua 1-11.
Post #12: Discovering how to live missionally through a chronological reading of God's Word.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Travel light: Dealing with change

“For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this immense wilderness. The Lord your God has been with you this past 40 years, and you have lacked nothing.” Deuteronomy 2:7, HCSB

Graphic provided by
We’ve all been there. The phone call, the conversation, the meeting when suddenly you realize your life is about to change.

Over the years, change has come to our family a number of ways, through a variety of avenues. Some changes have been thrilling and exhilarating. Others have been difficult, even heartbreaking.

In 13 years serving as international Christian workers, we moved houses five times and countries four times. In fact, we joke that every time our company reorganizes, we move: more than five years in the Philippines, four and a half in South Korea, three years in Thailand, and now just over two in Richmond. Rather than leveling off, the pace of change seems to be accelerating.

Living missionally is much like a journey through an immense wilderness. In this life God has called us to, we learn not to hold possessions or positions too tightly. Things change — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.

But through every twist and turn our journey has taken, God has watched over us. He has led us. He has never, ever abandoned us, and He has allowed us to be a part of some pretty amazing things.

As the Israelites stood on the cusp of entering the Promised Land, they had no idea the many other changes in store for them. They were only dealing with one: transforming from a nation of sojourners to building a nation in the land God had promised. Learning to live in community. Learning to honor God in the process.

We, however, are still living as sojourners, making Jesus known among the billions who have yet to hear, inviting people to join us in our journey of faith and looking forward to the day when the journey is over. One day, we will all come together as the family of God before the throne of God.

Until then, travel light and wear comfortable shoes. The journey isn’t over. 


This week's reading: Deuteronomy 3 - 23.
Post #11: Discovering how to live missionally through a chronological reading of God's Word.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Travel light: Audacious prayers

“But if you don’t drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, those you allow to remain will become thorns in your eyes and in your sides; they will harass you in the land where you live.” Numbers 33:55, HCSB

As we move into the places God has for us, we must deal with the sins and issues before us. Otherwise, they will continue to enslave.

I stood on the top of a mountain in the city where we lived in northern Thailand. We’d been there a few months, and colleagues and I had come to the top of this mountain to pray over the city. I’d not yet found a ministry, but on that mountain, I prayed an audacious prayer: “Lord, shut down the sex industry in my city.”

God took that prayer and grew it into an entire ministry to exploited women and children in that city — a ministry that continues to this day. Some women and men have come to faith in Jesus Christ. Some have been baptized. Some are no longer involved in prostitution. Through the faithfulness of Christian workers, the gospel has been shared with countless women and men in the city's red light districts. Light is penetrating darkness in some of the city’s ickiest areas.

Finding the place God has for us involves confronting the issues and sins before us. Christian workers who move into a new area often spend time “mapping” the area — understanding the culture, the language and the sins that enslave. These often differ from people group to people group. If Christian workers fail to help a people group confront and drive out their “cultural sins" as they are growing in their faith, those sins will maintain a foothold and may resurface later to enslave them again.

The same is true in our own lives. Instead of “cultural sins” we sometimes call them “pet sins.” What sins are such a part of your life that you fail to recognize their power over you? Gossip? Gluttony?  Selfish ambition? Materialism? Greed? The list goes on.

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” Jesus said in John 8:32 (HCSB). With the help of the Holy Spirit, take some time to “map out” your own heart and examine the sins you take for granted. Then, ask God to help you drive them out so that you can be free to be all that He created you to be. Remember, He wants the best for you, so that through your life you can make Him known.

This week’s reading: Numbers 23 – Deuteronomy 2
Post #10: Discovering how to live missionally through a chronological reading of God’s Word.


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, March 2, 2015

Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Before Faulkner and Tolstoy and Dickens and Lewis, one author had a profound impact on my life. In fact, we might say he started it all. With his whimsical characters and silly rhymes, he showed me the power of words, imagery and imagination.

His name is Dr. Seuss.

My first Seuss book was Green Eggs and Ham. If I remember correctly, it was a gift from my Uncle Grant. My parents read it to me before I could talk. By the time I was a preschooler, I had it memorized, and my dad and I would go back and forth reciting it to one another.

"That Sam I am! That Sam I am! I do not like that Sam I am!"

Even as I write this post, the refrain is playing in my head: "I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like them, Sam I am!"

Later, of course, there were other Seuss books, Horton hears a Who!, The Grinch that Stole Christmas, Hop on Pop. The list goes on.

And there were other authors and other books. A Child's Garden of Verses was one of the next books my parents added to my collection. And yes, nearly 50 years later, I still remember lines from Stevenson's poems,

"Oh, how I love to go up in the air, up in the air so high..."
"When I was sick and lay abed, I had two pillows at my head..."

And one about a barn loft that my brother and I used to recreate in the top of my grandfather's barn.

The point is books matter. Reading matters, and yet, according to the Literacy Project Foundation, illiteracy has become such a problem in the U.S. that 44 million adults are unable to read a simple story to their children -- a book like Green Eggs and Ham. Six out of 10 households do not buy a single book a year, and 44 percent of American adults do not read one book a year. Obviously, these trends have significant impacts with far-reaching implications on the national economy and on society as a whole.

So, what can you do about it? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Read to your kids, and take the time to read for pleasure yourself. Turn off the television, get off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other social media venues I may have missed and open a book. (By the way, it's OK to use an electronic device to read a book. Just turn off the notifications while you are reading.) 
  2. Check out your local library. Many now provide the opportunity to check out books online. 
  3. Don't know where to start? Look over the New York Times Bestseller List, Pulitzer Prize winners from the last several years and National Book Award finalists. Those lists are where I found treasures like The Orphan Master's Son and All the Light We Cannot See
  4. Join a book club at your local library or with a group of friends. Talk about what you are reading with others. 
  5. Start a "book club" with your kids. Set aside an hour or two one night a week to read a book together aloud. Then talk about what you are reading. 
If you aren't a reader, start today! In honor of Dr. Seuss' 111th birthday and "Read Across America Day," carve out a few minutes of time to read a book to your kids. 

Open new worlds and let the fun begin!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,