Saturday, July 23, 2011

Be Intentional.

Monday morning I leave for Kids Camp where I will be a counselor for five 6th grade girls. I am more than excited to meet all my girls and be with them all week. This will be my 5th summer at Kids Camp and I think this is the first time that one of the things I am most excited for is the lessons. This year I have made it my goal to prepare for the lessons as best as I can and to be really intentional with my girls all week. In the past, I've focused on the lessons durring lesson time, but not again throughout the day. I've realized how important it is to have intentional conversations. I want to know exactly where my girls are spiritually by the end of the week, not just guessing where they are. I want to make sure that each one of my girls knows what the Gospel is. I want to know if it has impacted their life. And I want each one of them to know how it has impacted mine!
As I have prepared for camp, I have dug deep into the lessons. I have elaborated on important parts. Most importantly, I have found places in each lesson to explain the Gospel again. Ahh I am just so excited.
Join me in praying for Grace, Anna, Gretchen, Makenna, Marie and my co-counselor Maddie.
Can't wait to share how the week went and how God moved in all of our lives.

Monday, May 16, 2011



I love this day a lot.

If you're wanting to stalk my life, you can find me with two of my best friends sitting in a booth at Panera drinking mango smoothies and eating bagels or cookies, laughing, chatting and reading The Bible...Philippians, specifically.

We talk about life...and just about everything. Oh to be a fly on the wall during our conversations :) These girls keep me accountable, help me walk through life and challenge me in my faith. I am so thankful for them and how they have impacted my life. They will never know how much I appreciate their friendship. I am better because of these girls.

I love you, Alexa&Andrea! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Failure: not an option.

I (finally) finished my Summer Team application today. The very last question got my mind turning!

"If you could do anything for God with out failing what it be?"

Wow. Where do I even begin? About a month ago my answer would be totally different. In fact, I probably would have had a hard time answering. But since I got back from Haiti I know exactly what I would do!

If I could do anything, knowing I would not fail I would open my own orphanage/school somewhere like Haiti or Africa. I would teach the children the things they need to know in life educationally as well as every day skills. I would make sure each child was "adoptable" and would work hard to ensure each child got adopted into caring, loving, Godly homes. I am smiling just thinking about it!

Not only would I want to see to it that each child was adopted, I want several (well, at least 1!) children to become part of my family! That is something God placed on my heart after Haiti. In the future, I will be adopting! Ahhh. I can't wait.

So there you have it. Oh how exciting it would be if an opportunity like that opened up for me!

Once again, I am saying "YES, Lord!"

Monday, April 25, 2011

By us. For us.

He is risen!
Praise the Lord. Over the past few years Easter has become a holiday that I have appreciated so very much. It used to be a happy day to celebrate Jesus' resurection. I always looked forward to buying a new Easter dress, getting my Easter basket, dying eggs, egg hunts and usually a day off school. However, the past few years I've gotten to watch The Passion of the Christ on Easter. This has compleatly turrned my view of Easter around. It has helped me keep my focus where it needs to be: the cross. If you have neve watched The Passion I encourage you to.

I read a quote this Easter that really struck me:
"Untill you see the cross as that which is done by you, you will never appreciate that it is done for you." -John Stott.

We were the reason that He gave his life. We were the reason He suffered and died. He gave all He could give to show us the reason to live.

So I leave you with this, remember that the cross what not only by you but for you. He is for you!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Here am I, Send Me!"

Well this blog post is way too late. I can't tell you how many times I have started to write, then get about 2 sentances into it and stop because I just don't feel like I have the words to explain my experience in Haiti. I've finally decided to tackle it. One of the easiest and most meaningful ways to show you my trip is to explain some of my pictures. So here goes, enjoy! Team Haiti. We flew out of the ICT at 5:30 a.m. We checked 22 bags into the airport and boarded the plane ready to embark on a once in a lifetime adventure. Our travels went really smoothly. We arrived in Port-au-Prince and made it through customs just fine. 21 out of our 22 back made it to Haiti with us. That one missing bag happened to be Andrea, Sarah and I's bag. We did just fine untill our bag arrived from Miami on Tuesday night! Our first drive through Port-au-Prince was actually a really easy and quick drive because the people were not suppose to be on the streets due to the elections. Once we arrived at The Haitian Queen (the house we staied at) we were greeted by Touch Global staff and got settled into our bunk houses.

On Monday we started our day just like everyother day in Haiti, with a granola bar breakfast and team devotions. After devos we went on a 3 hour walk around Gressier. It was neat to hear the stories of all the places we passed. The blue shelters you see in this picture are Samaritan Purse Shelters. They have tin roofs with tarp around the frame for the walls. These are much better than the tents alot of Haitians live in because they don't let rain in them and also, we were told that if another earthquake hits, tin roofs are the saftest because they won't come falling down. On our walk we was lots of really hard things. We saw one house that used to be a 2 story home, but now all you see is the roof on the ground because it came falling straight down. A lady was outside that house and told us that one of her family members is still stuck in all the rubble of the house, they weren't about to get them out.

This sweet girl is Eveline. She is from Jasmine's Orphanage. Jasmine has been in Haiti for 3 years now, so even before the earthquake. Jasmine and her husband have about 40 children at their orphanage. When we went we got to play with all the toddlers outside. It was so exciting to be able to give them all the love and attention they crave, but don't get on a regular basis. We were able to give Jasmine 6 new pack-n-plays to replace the ones with huge holes in the sides. We also provided lots of school supplies, games and pre-natal vitamens. She was so greatful for all of those things.

New Horizons was my favorite place we got to visit on our trip. The first time we went our team played and loved on the kids before doing VBS day 1 with them. Those kids were so stinkin adorable. I wanted to take so many of them home with me. KState wouldn't mind if there were some Haitian kids in my dorm room next year, right? Good, I didn't think so! :) One particular girl always clung to me each time I went. Her name was Samata. Every time I walked in the gate, she would see me and start running and jump into my arms with the biggest smile. I absolutly melted. Like I said, we got to practice day 1 of VBS with these kids. It was so fun to see them sing and do actions, make their craft and listen to the Gospel. We sang lots of songs that they knew and were able to sing like If Youre Happy&You Know it, Head&Sholders and songs like that. We taught them This Little Light of Mine which was fun. They made "Gospel Catchers" for their craft. These were just like the little "cooty catchers" the kids in America make, but instead of funny things on the inside, they said "Jesus loves you" or "Live for Christ!" Creole of course! The kids were all shouting these phrases in Creole which was so fun to hear. "Jezi te renmen ou!" "Viv pou Kris la!"

One of the work projects we did in Haiti was to put screens on our bunk house windows. When we arrived each bunk house had maybe 2 out of 10-12 windows covered. We were told that it would be really nice and helpful if all the windows had screens on them to have shelter from bugs, rain, things like that. We heard of an opportunity to serve, so we jumped on it! We meauserd all the windows, cut wood with the table saw we brought, cut screens, drilled the screens&wood and there you have it, screens on the windows. This week had many firsts...some of which happened with the work projects. I had never used a hand saw before...or a drill, but not I can say that I can do both things fairly well! (Okay....I just made my self sound like some expert at all this. Don't start calling me to put screens on your house or anything....cause I am far from being an expert! lol)

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we put on a Vacation Bible School in Port-au-Prince at Pastor Moise's church. It was about an hour and a half drive from our house in Gressier. Let me tell you, the driving in Haiti is absolutly crazy...but exciting!! There are no speed limits and the lane markings are just suggestions! Driving to VBS each day was an adventure in and of itself! Once we got there, we were greeted by 200-300 children. The first day we were still getting all the kinks worked out, but by the second day we had alot more under controll. It was interesting having 200-300 Creole speaking children, 15 English speaking Americans and the 2 translators we brought. Thankfully, there were some people at the church who knew enough English to help us out. Charlie and I got to lead music with the kids. By the middle of the first day we had our "set list" down: Lord I Lift Your Name on High, Holy is the Lord (in Creole!), Mighty to Save, River of Life and then on day 3, Father Abraham. The kids loved the songs with the actions. By the end of VBS they had Mighty to Save actions down pretty well, and would randomly shout "Mighty to Save!!" whenever they felt like it durring the song. :)

On Thursday we stayed after VBS to go to Moise's church service. There was a wedding going on between VBS and the service so we got to see the wedding party come out of the church which was fun. While we waited for the wedding our team was in a room of the church where they brought us chilled Coke's. Wow. They were so good! American Coke doesn't even compare. At the church service Lucas got to lead the opening prayer, Caleb shared his testimony, Charlie and I sang Mighty to Save and Jeremy gave the message. Some of the pastors at Moise's church also talked and prayed. We were given headsets and Moise translated for us. It was so cool to hear them so passionatly praying in Creole, and understanding what they were saying! The church service was one of the best parts of our trip. It was such an amazing feeling to worship the Lord with my Haitian brothers and sisters...we didn't speak the same language, yet all our praise was going to the same God. I remember sitting in the pew feeling so overwhelmed with how huge our God is. Gives me chills to talk about it. The same God that I pray to as I lay in my nice comfortable bed is the same God that hears the people of Haiti as they lay in their shelters or tents. I knew this of course going into Haiti, but when you really think about how big that is it blows me away!

Some of the First Free Women made uniforms for New Horizons Orphanage. We got to go back to pass them out. What an exciting visit! They kids once again ran into our arms as we walked through the gate....melting my heart yet again. We split the girls and boys up and when and dressed them in their brand new uniforms. Galine (the lady who runs New Horizons) was so, so thrilled to have these for the children. We learned later that having uniforms brings legitimacy to a school. They are looked upon more highly when the children have uniforms. Gailine told us that she had been saving her money to buy uniforms for the school, but now that we provided those she can put her money to use elsewhere. This was really exciting to hear. They children we so increadibly thankful for their new uniforms. I couldn't help remembering my CCA years where we had to wear uniforms...and how I complained about them nearly every day. This kids were thrilled to have uniforms! Oh the things we take for granted in America.

This picture can explain my best and worst moments of the trip. This is Samata, a girl from New Horizons I talked about earlier. I told you about my favorite moment when she ran and jumped in my arms every time she saw me. So precious. My hardest moment involved her as well. Everytime we were at New Horizons she would cling to me like no other. If I would even flinch like I might be putting her down, she would just grab on even tighter. So as you can tell, saying goodbye was a challenge. First of all, I didn't want to leave! But as we learned in training, we have to say with the I decided it would probibly be a good idea to leave with the rest of my team. :) Everyone would start saying their goodbyes to the children. I would look at Samata, say "Orevwa!" (goodbye!) and try to pry her off me. As soon as I said Orevwa to her it was as if she just shut down. She knew exactly what was going on. I was leaving her. Once she knew that she wouldnt even look me in the eye. She just stood there. This absolutly broke my heart. She had been so happy and full of love before, but once I left it was like she just couldn't handle it. This was extreamly hard for me to process.

Our main work project while in Haiti was building a latrine for Haiti Health Ministries. There is a Hospital that is going to be built across the way, so the latrine will be helpful! We learned how to make mortar and concreate, how use mortar to but the blocks in place, and all sorts of things. It was a fun project to do. Through this we got to see how Haitians are extreamly hard workers. They sure showed us up! They would be out working on the Hospital from 6am-4pm and they would earn $10 doing so.

On Sunday morning we woke up extra early to climb the mountain and watch the sunrise. It was so beautiful and such a great chance to marvel at Gods creation and reflect on the week. After our walk we got ready for church. Christianville was not far from our house. It was a fairly small building, with wood benches and it was extreamly hot! We sang some hymns, some were familer but the majority of them we didn't know. It was so neat to hear the people praising God in another language. We also got to partake in communion, following a 45min "communion sermon". All I can say was, that was not grape juice! The majority of our team all had our first taste of wine durring church. That was an interesting surprise! After the message, we headed back to the house for some really good debrief time. We got to unpack what the trip was like for us. I think that was really good for our team.

Later on Sunday, our team got to go to the "Cool Lions Beach". What an interesting experience, to say the least! It was the typical Spring Break we made our way to a part of the Beach were there were no people....which probibly explains why the water was so gross! Our point in going there was really neat. We were to find 2 rocks and write a few names of some people we met in Haiti that we wanted to commit to praying for. One of these rocks we would throw back into the ocean, giving those people to God. The other rock we took with us to remind us to pray for them. It was a really great way to end our time in Haiti.

The rest of our Sunday consisted of cleaning up HQ and eating a yummy dinner of pancakes and eggs with our translator Josue and his son. Josue was such a blessing to us all week and he helped us out so so much! It was fun to be able to hang out with him one last time. We all miss him so much.

Reverse culture shock was much more difficult than I ever thought it would be. I knew that it would be tough to go from one of the poorest countries in the world to Andover, KS where every kid has everything they want and more. Well, it was just as difficult as I imagined...and then some. As soon as I got back into our car from the airport I lost it. I didn't stop crying that night untill I feel asleep. I hated being in America. All I wanted was to be back in Haiti. Now I have adjusted to this life, but with a much different perspective. Im finally feeling normal here and not so much like Im in a giant bubble and I got dropped down in America.

The Lord really used my experience in Haiti to grow my heart for missions. I really heard Him speaking to me on the trip. I know God wants me in the mission field. I don't know where that may be or what I would be doing, but I know I need to be there! I am just praying and waiting for the Lord's guidence in how to go about doing so. For now, I am putting my YES on the map and am willing to go where He sends me.

Thank you for all of your prayers durring this trip. It was so encouraging to know we had a prayer army back home showering us in prayer.

I can't wait to someday tell you about my next mission trip! Viva la Gospel!

"Here am I, send me!"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My List for His.

For the past couple of months Thursday has quite possibly been my favorite day of the week :)
Here's why: Starbucks+best friends+"The List"+God= well you have it, the best day of the week!
We have been reading through "The List" by Marian Jordan. The book is all about us girls and our "life lists". You know, it kinda goes like this:
-I will go to college and graduate on time.
-I will find Mr. Right durring college and get married before age 25
-I will be a mom before age 30
-I will raise the "model" children and send them off to college eventually
-Later on my children will find their "special someones" and get married
-I will then become the coolest grandma on the block.

Sound familer? I'm guessing so.
Well heres the question, is that list...the one that describes your "perfect life"... God's list for your life?
Thats the main question.
Sure, you can have goals and dream about your future, but are you willing to surrender your list compleatly for God's list?
Thats what I have been contemplating the past few weeks. Am I really willing to give up my list for what God has for my life? I really want to give you a confident YES, of course! I love God, therefore I want what He wants for my life. Oh my, that is so easy to say. But actually believing it, and living that out? Not so easy anymore. Thats not to say thatI still have a firm grip on my list....I just can't honestly tell you that I have compleatly let go of my list and that I'm totally, 100% open to God's list. ................... :/

Heres the thing. As Rick Warren said, "There is a moment of surrender, and there is the practice of surrending, which is moment-by moment and lifelong." Amen and Amen! I can say, yes...I surrender my list to God. But if I'm saying I surrending it to God, I need to be pracicing it...moment-by moment and life long.

I'm going to be compleatly honest, totally surrendering my life list scares me a little bit. I really do want to get married, its something I've dreamed about since I was a little girl. And I really want to have kids...3 sounds nice :) But seriously, the thought that God might not have those things in store for my life really does scare me a little bit. Im working really hard, and asking God to help me compleatly surrender my list. I really really do want what God wants for my would just be nice if that included a husband&kiddos :)

Here is something from todays chapter that I loved! Do you thing Mary had a list? Of course she did. What woman, engaged to be married doesn't have a list? Im sure Marys list didn't include getting pregnant before marriage and raising the son of God. At that time, getting pregnant before marriage was a much bigger deal that it is today. It was not only a public scandal for the woman, but for the man as well. I don't think any of us will be able to grasp the gravity of Mary's decision to exchange her list for God's list. Rather than focusing on the size of the problems before her, Mary chose to trust in the size of her God. Her humble reply was this: 'I am the Lord's servant....May it be to me as you have said" (Luke 1:28. Wooow. What an amazing answer. I can only ask myself, would I be brave enough to answer like that? Not only would Mary be dealing with the public's comments/actions, she had Joseph to deal with. At this point he didn't know how she could be pregnant...but he did know one thing, he was not the father! I can't imagine the feeling that you have finally found the person you love and want to spend forever with, then having an event like this happen that could very possibly whipe that all away. Thank goodness Joseph soon heard everything from an angel and stayed faithfull to Mary. Phew. That was a big rampage. If youre still reading, thank you :) I know this is long! lol

Mary laid down her list for a far higher calling, but she did so because she believed God. She know that he was faithful, loving and good and that he was true to his word. Because of her faith, she trusted him even when the plan didn't make since. She believed him when her logic told her to do otherwise. (You go, Mary!) So often, we (I) refuse to surrender because of our lack of trust. Do we really believe God can handle the details and circumstances of our lives? --Here's a quote from the book in responce to that question that really hit home: "So often we think we need to take back control becuse we don't really trust that God is able to lead our lives the way we think they should go". Bingo. If we compleatly, 100% trusted that what God has planned for us what right, we wouldn't want controll of our lives. So heres to working on trust!

I could go on...and on....and on about more things I learned from this book. But I won't...this post is already super long :)

So if you're looking for a new book, check out "The List" by Marian Jordan.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm in a Tornado.

Whew. Latley I keep feeling like Im being swept up in a torado....and its not going to put me down for a while.
Life is crazy. Its going so fast!
Next weekend is Retreat with the youth group. It is going to be such a fun and memorable weekend. D.A. Horton is speaking! He was my favorite speaker from Challenge last summer....I can not wait to hear him speak again.
About one month after retreat, I leave for Haiti. On March 20th myself and 14 others from my youth group are going to Haiti for 8 days. There we will be doing a VBS...and we are expecting a couple hundred kids (about 200 probibly) ages 3-20. This will be very interesting as there will be 15 English speaking Americans and possibly 200 Creol speaking Haitians. It will be an adventure, thats for sure! We will also get to go to 2 orphanages while we are there....and that is what I am most looking forward to! It is going to be an exciting, life changing 8 days.
After Haiti, we have lots of Senior meetings about graduation&such durring the end of May-April.
Then we have prom! I am so excited for my Senior Prom! Ahh how exciting! And its very possible I will go to two Proms...Andover and Heights! :) YAY!
After Prom, ohhhh boy! Time is going to fly by!
After Prom comes the main event: GRADUATION. May 22, 2011, 4:00 p.m. at Centry II to be exact. Oh how I have been wating for this day! And after graduation....its summer time. Ahhhh :)
Except...summer means 3 months left. 3 months of being at home...with my family. 3 months of being familer with everything around me. 3 months of being with the people who will move away at the end of the summer. 3 months of security. 3 months of saving saving saving (money). Ahh. So as I look forward to summer....I also get really nervous. And really excited. Goodness. So many emotions!!
So here's to the next 4 months of being in a "time tornado"!