March 4, 2009

A quick glance at our journey since last summer...

Since Eric brought the blog back to life for an update on his new music adventure I thought it would be a good time to update you all on all that has been happening since last summer in New Orleans. In August I started my last semester of college at TFC. Life became busy as usual and we were especially seeking God's wisdom about what He had planned for us next; we were not expecting the answer we received. In September we found out that we were pregnant! It was a little surprising at first but we could not be more excited...we are going to have a sweet baby girl who will be named Jubilee Noel. She is already such a joy to us and we are counting down the last few weeks before she will be here with us. She is due on May 21st. I am sure you will all come to know her in all her sweetness soon enough... So the adventure of pregnancy began in September and there were a few rough weeks at first but things got better towards the end of the semester. I officially graduated with my degree in Family and Children's Ministry on December 13th. I had looked forward to this day for so long that it was hard to believe it had finally come. Then the Christmas season came filled with friends and family and lots fun times. Ever since this new year has begun God has been showing us His love and faithfulness in amazing ways. As Eric already shared we had the opportunity to go out to Colorado and we were extremely encouraged and refreshed by our time with that community. God gave us a renewed vision for who we are created to be and how we are called to build His beautiful kingdom (here in Toccoa and around the world). When we came home Eric actually lost his job but ironically we were totally at peace. It was an opportunity for us to trust the Lord in new ways and through His grace we were able to rest in His promise to meet all our needs. One miracle after another He displayed His amazing love for us and brought us into a deeper understanding of what it means to be His children. He is such a good father to us. He provided all that we needed from week to week and has been faithful to provide Eric with another job. At the same time I have started working with Get Real Ministries who we have been involved with for almost seven years now. The ladies I work with are such an encouragment to me and the Lord has really blessed me with the chance to spend so much time with them. God is still at work in many ways bringing us new opportunities and challenging us to seek His kingdom above all. We are preparing for this new season of parenthood that is about to begin and whatever other adventures He has in store. We are filled with thankfulness for all that He has done in our lives and for the way He is teaching us to trust. I pray that each of you is learning to trust in His goodness on your own journey and that we can continue to wallk together and encourage one another to the end...peace.

March 3, 2009

Recording a New Worship Album!!!

yes, yes, yes... I'm in woodland park, Colorado recording a worship album with my good friend Aaron Strumpel. He was the featured songwriter on the Enter The Worship Circle: Chair and Microphone 2 and the most recent ETWC: Fourth Circle. I am honored to be working with such a brilliant mind and soul. (his new album "elephants" just won a huge contest check it out Aaron Strumpel) Aaron has thoroughly impressed me and has really thrown himself into my project. This whole recording process has come out of no where for me. In January Sarah and I came out to Colorado for an artist retreat with the Worship Circle Community. After the retreat I spent a morning with Aaron doing a little songwriting intensive. I wanted him to critique my songs, but he ended up inviting me back out to his place to record a full length worship record. To make a long story short, at the time I had no money... and today less than a month later, I'm sitting in Woodland Park with 4 days of recording under my belt. So to let you in on the where this record is coming from i'll give a little background... Within the last year i've been in a season of writing songs that are focused on being simple and accessible to the most vulnerable of society, songs for the poor and oppressed, not about them. My dream for this record is for it to be full of anthems that broken and dependant people can sing, scream, ponder, or soak in. And what I've found is that these songs that are specifically written for those on the fringes of society, they hit home with Followers of Christ across the board. These songs can take us all deeper, no matter where we're at in life. Throughout this recording there's also what I call a "practical worship" flare that settles within almost every song. This is my favorite aspect of the record. What i'm doing is exploring what happens when we start communicating the very practical teachings of Christ through music and worship. It's place that i've longed to go in my spiritual life and I'm hoping this collection of songs can be a tool for guiding us all into a place of worshiping practically in action and song... So keep your eyes and ears open for the release date. It will probably released digitally first and then hard copies will arrive in late april early may. In the mean time, i'll be doing house concerts and worship gatherings with this material and i'd love to come and visit you wherever you are and worship with you and your friends. So let me know if you'd like to host a worship gathering in you home or some other venue, it'll be a blast... I'm glad you've read this and I hope your excited, Eric and Sarah Kilgore

August 6, 2008

A few more pics to enjoy (sorry they're sideways)...

Here's Blessing on our retreat to Pensacola Beach Adorable beach babies... We're riding the street car! This is me and Nautika out in Jackson Square (she is a silver angel) This is me and Nautika at her "favorite spot in the city"

Love from a 25 cent machine...

These past two weeks have been very different from the rest of the summer. A lot more sleep and a lot less cute and crazy pre-teen girls everywhere. It has been refreshing in one way but sad in others. The other interns left last Friday and so it is just Eric and I here now with the regular staff. It is very quiet every day until six when the moms and children get home, then it is "boy time" (the three adorable kids that live here at the center affectionately call Eric "boy" and every afternoon they have a blast climbing all over him and playing some sort of dinosaur game where Eric makes a mean scary face and they all run away screaming...needless to say that is our favorite time of day) In addition to helping out in the office and participating in the more "normal" day to day routine (which is actually very abnormal because we never know who is going to come to our door or what opportunities await us) I have also still been spending time with our friend may remember her from Eric's blog because she and her brother are the street performers we met down in Jackson Square. She is an amazing girl with amazing potential. My time with her every Saturday is something I will always treasure. Whether we went on a picnic, read poems in the library, or shopped for school supplies, Jesus has been faithful to fill every moment with His love. Ever since the first moment I saw her, leaning against a street light trying to play an old clarinet, I was overwhelmed with the deep love that God has for her. She and her brother have had to grow up fast and even as I type this letter they are downtown, carrying the burden of supporting their mother. They wear smiles as they pose as silver statues but underneath there is heaviness and worry about what tomorrow will bring for them. This past Saturday Nautika was sad when I picked her up and in the car she kept daydreaming about someplace far from New Orleans, so I began asking her questions about what was going on and she began to share with me her dream to be back in Virginia, where she had friends and could play instead of worrying all the time. Her mother had already told me that they were getting kicked out of their house next week and that she was ready to give up and it seemed that Nautika was weighed down by all these worries much to big for her to carry. I began to tell her again about the way that Jesus loves us and that the most wonderful thing about God is that He never leaves us, even when things are unbearably hard for us. I told her that I think He wanted me to meet her that night in the quarter because He wanted her to know Him and to trust Him even though she is afraid. She listened as she always does and we continued down the road. I told her to choose any restaurant and that is where we would have lunch, to my surprise she chose Pizza Hut so I pulled in. The first thing we saw was a wall of 25 cent machines so I told her we would buy some treasure. We turned the wheel on the machine, hoping for the digital pet advertised on the front, but instead a small plastic ring came out. At first Nautika looked at the plastic treasure with disappointment, then she handed it to me. I took it out of the plastic ball and I literally yelled with my squeaky voice, "Look won't believe it!" The small purple ring, probably the only one in the whole machine filled with plastic toys, had a sticker where the jewel is supposed to be that read "JESUS LOVES YOU." Nautika's face immediately lit up and we both smiled. I told her "He must really, really want you to know" and she responded, "I think He really does." This seems like such a silly story and most kids would have been pretty mad about wasting money on the stupid ring, but Jesus really loves Nautika so much that He wants to write it everywhere, He wants to spell it out with clouds, He wants to put it on every billboard in the city, and broadcast it over every radio station...He wants us to believe Him. He would do anything for us to believe. All summer it seems that this simple lesson of the profound love that God has for us comes to me again and again. I am praying that Nautika will receive His love and she can fulfill all the dreams that are in her heart. Please pray for Nautika's family and for all the people we have met here to be transformed by the love of Christ. We are going to be coming home this Friday and we look forward to sharing with all of you about our trip. peace. Sarah

July 24, 2008

No where else to go...

Sorry it has been so long since the last time that you heard from us. Things have been very busy around the Friendship House. Last week we had our friends Get Real (a mission organization from back home in Georgia) come down for a visit. We were able to meet some of their friends from previous visits to the city, who have trusted in God's promises and plans and have made their way from the streets into a nice home. It was truly a beautiful moment to sit with them in their living room (packed full with twenty five people) and here them praise the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness. It was strange to think of them once sleeping under a bridge on the cement to inviting us into their home and offering us coffee. They once had no hope and they had no where else to go so they turned to God and believed Him to be exactly who He said He was. On Saturday we were also able to do some neighborhood clean-up projects with the group followed by an amazing night of building relationships with the homeless down at The Wall. The Wall is the place where Get Real and the Friendship House used to go frequently to give out food and simply befriend the poor of the city. Post-Katrina there was no one there to talk to or share a meal with so they began going down under the bridge (where we have also been going weekly since we arrived). However last week the city "cleaned out" from under the bridge. All our friends from under the bridge were either picked up and taken to a hotel or to a shelter in order to improve the appearance of the city for important events and visitors that will be coming soon. I do not claim to know the motives behind this action but I am fully convinced that this temporary fix will have no permanent effects. Once the money is gone all those people will be right back where they were before...on the street with no where else to go. I do not claim to understand what it would be like to be a part of the government or to be in charge of creating laws for an entire city or nation all I know is that injustice abounds. Often the poorest of the poor are treated as though they are not human at all. Sometimes I think actions such as these are taken to protect ourselves from the discomfort and guilt that the faces of the poor may cause us. We think it's easier to oppress and ignore than to carry the burden of their pain and need. I myself find my first response is to look away and go on about my own business and yet we are called to a different response, we are called to a more compassionate way... Psalm 140:12 I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Psalm 113:7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Proverbs 19:17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done. Proverbs 21:13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 28:27 He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses. Proverbs 29:7 The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. James 2:5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? We are called to be people who care for the poor. I do not know what this looks like for everyone nor do I think it will look the same in all of our lives but I know that without it we will be missing out on depth of life. Sure we may be alive, we may even have eternal life to come, but we will miss out on something mysterious and beautiful if we do not share our lives with the needy here and now. We will miss out on the chance to love and serve Jesus himself (Matthew 25). The Kingdom belongs to the least. It belongs to the most undeserving of us all because it comes through grace alone. It may seem that our friends on the street have nowhere and no one to turn to but God is calling them to Himself, He is calling them into His family. He has given us the responsibility of inviting them in to our homes and welcoming them to belong. We all need a place to call home. Peace. Sarah