Thursday, December 12, 2013

"For the JOY of the Lord is my strength"

Joy pretty much describes my life right now for so many reasons!!!  

First of all, I feel so blessed to have made so many new and amazing friends this semester at CCCB.  As the semester comes to an end, I am sad to part ways for the holidays but I will look forward to see everyone's smiling faces when I return!  God has taught me how important friendships are while being here because I am that introverted person that can tend to neglect friendships, especially if I have homework or other things going on, but these girls keep me balanced!  It has been truly wonderful to be around people of faith, especially when I get crazy God-given ideas for the future!

My heart continues to be poked and prodded by God in so many ways!  However, my love for Africa still runs the deepest!  Since arriving back in America after my first trip to Burkina Faso I knew I wanted to go back! (Maybe not right away because it was VERY difficult but nonetheless I planned on going back some day!) I had no idea the journey I was about to embark on though!  Through these past two years I have grown leaps and bounds in my faith and I wouldn't have it any other way!  I have experienced so many incredible things and met so many incredible people!  Even in the midst of all of this I would have never of dreamed I would be back in college!  I thought coming back to college I would be terrible and that it would be years before I was ever able to go back to Burkina Faso.  But oh how I was wrong!!! :)

Over this past summer while driving over to the Church one day I randomly asked my mom what she would think of me leading a team on a mission trip.  It was a thought that just popped into my head.  I had never really thought about leading a team...I just knew I wanted to go on another mission trip.  But, this was really the extent of that and it was pushed aside as I got prepared to go off to college. It wasn't until about the beginning of October that it came up again.  I happened to be babysitting one night at Church and was talking to a friend who felt God was calling her to missions.  Of course this got me all excited because I love missions but she was feeling understandably hesitant about it.  So, that night and nights after I got to thinking how amazing it would be to lead a team of young adults who have a call to missions but aren't too sure what to do with it.  I felt for the first time the desire to actually start walking out in this so after getting the "ok" from my parents I sat down with my missions pastor and started planning (well rather praying)!

Contrary to what most people probably would think, I did not plan on going back to Burkina Faso right away.  I was leaving that door wide open for God to take me and this team wherever He would choose. However, I began to realize how perfect a trip back to Burkina Faso would really be.  I already have connections there which is really important since the team is my responsibility and there is also such a wide range of ministry opportunities there.  They have the orphanage, schools, a medical clinic and a widows distribution program!  This opens the door for so many experiences!  And, this was soooo exciting for me to finally be going back :) I really can't believe how well everything is actually coming together!  That is when you know it's ALL God!!!

I'm continuing my planning and preparation and so excited for the first of the year to start really putting everything into action!  Next semester I plan on taking a french class on top of college to get some basic communication skills down, mainly to get through the airports!  I also am so excited about getting a team together!  It obviously won't be a cheap trip but I know God will provide and bring together His perfect team!  It just fills me with so much joy to be taking others to such a life changing place!

Never would I have dreamed after taking my first trip to Burkina Faso that I would have grown so much in relationship with God and others, in knowledge of the Bible and in my faith in general!  God's plans may not make sense at the time but He is so good!  I would have never imagined this journey but I wouldn't change it for anything!  I am really looking forward to the hearts and lives God touches and changes through this trip (including my own)!

If you would, meet me in prayer in all of this because I couldn't do it without all of you behind me as support!  And if God touches your heart to go, by all means contact me :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Whole New World

It's been a while since I have posted and oh so much has happened in the last several months!  God continues to amaze me in all He is doing in my life.  For all who may not know I am currently a Freshman at Central Christian College of the Bible studying Christian Counseling.  It has been amazing semester here and I have met so many wonderful people and continue to expand my knowledge and understanding of God!  Coming to CCCB was far from my plan but God knows best.  God answered so many prayers in my coming here.  After finishing with my Discipleship Training School I had no clue where God would lead me.  I was completely walking by faith!  Going back to college was one of the last things on my mind that is for sure!  However, after searching the internet one day God lead me to CCCB's website.  There were two major reasons I did not want to go back to school...I did not want to take pointless classes and I didn't want to go in debt. Well CCCB gives a full-tuition scholarship and it is a Bible College so even the classes that don't have to do with my degree I am learning more and more about the word of God!  I can't believe that I am here but I am so happy!  While being back in college my biblical understanding has grown leaps and bonds and I have met some incredibly amazing people...such a different experience from my first go at college!

God hasn't stopped with college though!  My love for missions continues to grow!  Just yesterday I got to attend the International Conference on Missions!  This was an incredible experience. Having missionaries from all over the world in one location was amazing.  Each organization had their own booth for people to come around and find out information about them.  My heart continued to break each time I saw pictures of African children and I have an ever increasing desire to return to Africa!  God is continuing to guide my steps as I follow His direction!  I just ask for everyone that reads this to join me in prayer as I continue to follow God's guidance in these next few steps of the future!  I know God is so faithful and I can't wait to see where He takes me!

From the day I heard this song it has been my prayer!  Walking on the water with God is a true walk of faith!  I know God will always be with me each step of the way even if I feel as if I am drowning He reaches to pick me back up immediately!  I am so blessed to have such a loving, caring, and jealous Father!

28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29 "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" 32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."    Matthew 14:28-33

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Body of Christ

God is truly incredible and I can't say that enough!  I love Sundays because I enjoy going to church and worshiping the Lord as a body and hearing a message about the Lord!  Today was no exception.  Worship today was so great!  The songs were moving and on top of that my pastor spoke a wonderful sermon today on focusing on the end times.  I would really suggest listening to the sermon at when it gets up!  It really changes your way of thinking!  But also something exciting today my family and I went up to Anchorfest to see the Sidewalk Prophets concert!  They are a really remarkable band!  However it wasn't just the music that captivated me...

I couldn't help but smile as I sat there at the concert even though I didn't know the first thing about any of the people around me, nothing about their past, present or future.  There were so many different types of people there.  People who in this "average American society" wouldn't normally associate with each other but we were all there.  We were all at a christian concert worshiping the same God.  You go to country, rap, blues, etc. concerts and you typically see country people at the country concert and so on.  But it wasn't this way here we were all here for God, the one and only God.  We all love Him and He loves us!  All of us!  It is truly amazing!  Young and old, rich and poor, fat and thin.  My God, the God loves each and everyone of us the same and even though we may not appear to have the slightest thing in common; in reality we have the greatest thing in common!  We love The Lord!

What made this whole experience even more interesting was that I did know one of the people that surrounded me.  I actually knew a little bit about this persons past which was honestly a little rocky (but whose isn't).  We all have struggles, addictions, etc. that lead us down the wrong paths in life but when like this person you turn toward the Lord none of that seems to matter anymore.  It makes me smile so big when I see people like this that have felt the Lord and thirst for Him!  So much that they would come out and listen to a Christian band play!  I love to see people grow in the Lord and turn away from the sins of the past and head towards Him, growing the body of Christ!  Especially when this person has young kids and you just know now the kids can really grow up getting to know and love our same Lord!

I pray for this particular person and the children along with all those others that were there today and those of you reading this that each and every person will just grow closer and closer to the Lord!  I know God has amazing plans for each and every person!  He loves us all more than we can even fathom!  How great is that!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

God Never Ceases To Surprise Me!

I have now been back home from Atlanta for about two months!  It has been good to be back and spend this time with my family.  Since I have been back I have just been kind of walking through the motions not exactly sure where I was going.  It wasn't until a few weeks ago that God really surprised me again!  My mom, grandma and I went into town one morning to do a few errands.  While waiting for my mom at the Chiropractor my grandma got to talking to me about my future (a topic I avoided mostly because I hadn't a clue what my future held).  Anyways it got me thinking.  That afternoon I was on my laptop, bored so I was just searching different things, when I felt lead to look up the Bible school that I knew was in Moberly.   I had been on their website a while back during my DTS but for some reason (aka God) different things on their site caught my eye this time.  And you must know I really was against going back to college for a couple reasons, one being I had absolutely no desire to take classes that meant nothing to me and two I didn't want to go into debt (I want to be a missionary I can't afford debt).  So, I was looking up their different majors, my favorite being Christian counseling!  This may sound silly but it was awesome to me when I looked up the classes I would need to take and even the core classes where about the Bible!  Now I can handle learning about the Bible!  Also while I was looking around on their website in several different places it talked about this Full-tuition scholarship that they offered.  Seemed too good to be true to me!  I did a little more looking and it seemed to me that it was offered to everyone and seemed legit so I was hooked!  I couldn't believe after being totally against going back to college I was excited again!  Next thing I had to do was tell my parents...I think I was way more shocked then they were.  :)  Anyways my mom suggested we take a trip up there and see what it was like.  So we did just that a few days later.  We got there around 9 and didn't leave until around 2.  It was a really cool experience.  My mom and I got to sit through a class, got a tour and got to talk directly to the admissions director!  Everyone seemed so energetic and friendly!  I shared a little bit of my story with the admissions director and he flat told me that he wanted me at their school (which made me feel pretty good)!  Within the next week I had my application turned in and all my forms sent their way!  And well I will be attending Central Christian of the Bible this fall!  I am so excited!  It is so amazing living a life were God guides your steps!

Monday, March 18, 2013

And I'm Back!

All dressed and ready to bring in the New Year!
So as many of you know we made it back safely from Argentina and I have now been back in Columbia for a couple weeks now!  It is great to be back!  My whole DTS experience completely changed my life that's for sure!  I wouldn't change it for anything.  I made some amazing friends, had some great character building experiences and most importantly built an incredible relationship with the Lord!

I will be having a get together soon to share my pictures and experiences while in Argentina but I will give you all a little over view of what we did while there.

We landed in Buenos Aires on New Years Eve and brought in 2013 with a lot of fun and dancing!  It was an awesome way to bring in the year!  Our ministry work here was working with a local Day Center for children.  It was summer time while we were there so kids were not coming on a regular basis like they would during the school year.  The children come after school to get snacks and have bible lessons and to just be in a safe environment.  Many of them have bad home lives with parents with HIV, abusive family members, etc.  So we mainly spent our time there cleaning the house and doing yard work outside.  The home is in very bad shape with a roof that could collapse at anytime and some mold and mildew on the walls and ceiling so it was a great blessing for them to have us clean and fix the places up (unfortunately they don't have the money right now to fix the roof).

My family kicking butt at one of the games!
We also planned and held a summer camp for the children which was a blast!  The theme of the camp was Familia Real (Royal Family).  We broke up into families so as a team we paired up one guy with one girl to be a mom and dad and then we were assigned children to make up a family.  Alex was my husband and we had five children.  Needless to say it was a super fun but exhausting two days!  Our kids ranged from about 4 to 12.  We did stuff like play games, go swimming, have teachings and share meals together.  Communication was very difficult since I couldn't understand the children and they didn't understand that I couldn't understand but that didn't stop us from enjoying our time together!  It was such a great experience!

Next we took a 22 hour bus ride to Bariloche! Bariloche is absolutely beautiful!  It is up in the mountains on the border of Chile!  Here we hit the ground running working with a local church!  We went every evening to the church where we gave teachings and did activities with the youth of the church!  We taught on the topics of evangelism, the Father heart of God, Forgiveness and others.  We were able to be an encouragement to the youth and also help get them out evangelizing and prayer walking their community!  On top of all this we ran church services on Sunday and Saturday nights and had a community outreach for children and a children's event at the church!

Us and the youth in Bariloche!
Also during our time in Bariloche myself and a few others of us went on a camping trip with another local youth group!  This was an awesome time of just talking to the youth about real teenage issues like tattoos, alcohol, and relationships.  We were able to share personal testimonies about the goodness of God in our own lives in these areas.  It was a great time!

Finally we took another bus directly across Argentina to Puerto Madryn on the coast.  Here we did several different things.  We started off just joining a summer school at the base and being a part of their classes and activities.  It was week where we were able to refuel so to speak.  After this we went to a local church.  We again went every day to work with their youth.  Here we mainly did activities with them such as local outreaches and evangelizing.  We also ran the several different church services which was fun!  We got to encourage and pray for many people.  We saw so many people touched in this time!
Digging a 12 foot deep hole!

The last week we were in Puerto Madryn we helped build their new YWAM base!  I stayed back the first couple days because I wasn't feeling well but they started digging a hole for sewage and put a roof on one of the buildings.  The roof was a huge accomplishment and that evening when I arrived at the new base it was a night of celebration!  We shared in communion and a big barbecue!  The next day we then continued on the hole until it started raining and we packed up and went back to the old base!  It was a good way to end the week just spending time with the people of the base!

We then headed back to Buenos Aires for a couple days.  These days were mainly just relaxing days with a little debriefing. The very last day we were there we did get to make one last house visit to a lady who her husband beat her and took everything while we were away.  It just tore me up seeing the hurt on her face.  I was able to bless her a little financially but she needs lots of prayers!  She had two boys at the camp we put on, one which has several problems already with abuse and misconduct.  It was a very sad experience but I know God can do great things for her and her family!

We then headed back to America where we spent a few days debriefing and spending time with each other before we all parted ways.  It was an amazing time that I will always remember and grow from!

Now that I am back home I don't know exactly what my plans are but I know God is going to use me here locally for a little bit.  I am going to be working with the getting some things up and running with the nonprofit and who knows what else but it is going to be great!  :)