Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Anyhow...each sermon my pastor talked about this being the last weekend of the year and that it is a pivital weekend because most people look back over the year and then set goals for the next year.
He mentioned that most people look back with regret thinking about all the things they wanted to accomplish and yet when they look back over the year their lives look the same this December as they did last December.
This got me thinking...what was I doing last December and how has God worked in my life since then??
...let me just say...its AMAZING!
Let me take you back in time and show you just what I mean!
The last weekend of December 2007 - I had just arrived from a month in Uganda and my global missions pastor asked me about the trip. I told him all about it and when I was done he looked at me and said..."So when are you going to move to Uganda?" My natural response was to laugh and say "never!" He asked me what was holding me back. My response was:
1. My house...I love it!
2. My job...I worked hard to get it
3. My education...I'm still doing it
4. The idea of fundraising...NO WAY! NO HOW! NO THANK YOU!
His response was..."I'll be praying about it"
And well...as I sit here on this,
the last weekend of December 2008 here is where I stand:
1. My house...It's up for rent!
2. My job...I'm getting ready to fill out leave paperwork!
3. My education...I'm done!
4. The idea of fundraising...I'm doing it!
Isn't it amazing how God changes hearts and lives??!!
As I think about what the last weekend of December in 2009 holds I can't even fathom what it will look like. I mean...last year I planned to do nothing big but maybe another short term trip and I ended up in Florida for two months and am on my way to full-time missions. Now that I am doing something and walking in the way God wants me to go, the possibilities are endless!
I can't believe the God of the entire universe wants to use little ol' me! It blows my mind!
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I can't wait to talk to all of you and tell you more about my ministry plans!
You can set up an appointment with me by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by replying to this blog post. Talk to you soon!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
When I left for Florida Rachel was still in and out of consciousness, still scheduled for an absurd amount of surgeries and still in ICU at USC medical center.
Today I visited her and let me say...there is some amazing progress!
She is now in a new hospital closer to home, she is walking with a walker, practicing climbing stairs in physical therapy, going to speech therapy, going to occupational therapy, eating solid food, laughing, smiling, talking, hugging people and the works!
In fact she is doing so well that the doctors are letting her go home for 3 hours on Christmas day! I am so amazed at the progress since I have been gone!
I am so proud of my friend and so thankful to the many doctors that have made this possible.
Thank you for all your prayers! Keep up the good work =)
Monday, December 22, 2008
Well…lets just say the dream was shattered…the first glimmer of dashed hope started around 10:15 am when the “voice” on the airplane said we were preparing to land (naturally I turned off my ipod, returned my seat to its upright position and then waited, and waited, and waited)…when an hour of us “preparing to Land” rolled around and we were circling over a frozen lake I knew my chances of deep dish may be slipping away.
Running 20 minutes behind schedule on our landing didn’t cause me to lose all hope however, but the glimmer of hope started getting dimmer when we then sat on the run way for another 30 minutes with snow mobiles cruising past our window and airport personnel working diligently to keep the plane engines and propellers from freezing over.
The final blow to my deep dish dream came when our plane finally reached the gate and the airline “voice” came on again…
“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Chicago, sorry for the wait, The current time is 12:15pm, the current temperature is -5 degrees with a wind chill factor of -30 degrees…if you plan on leaving the airport please use extreme caution and make sure that you have appropriate attire for the weather conditions”
So at this point, naturally, I look down to check what I am wearing…as if I didn’t already know…A scoop neck blouse, a pair of loose fitting jeans and an old navy “jacket” that couldn’t keep you warm in 65 degree weather let alone -30 degree weather.
That was when the dream was officially shattered…and the sad reality of airport dining set in.
Dare I steal a line from the wizard of oz…
Dorothy…I don’t think I'm in Kansas (or…Fort Myers) anymore!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Not wild in the sense of zoo animals or roller coaster rides but wild because I spent an entire 9 hour day with 20 people and all we did was speak our dreams, and desires, and love for each other.
It was wild in the sense that I realized that other people know me better than I know myself.
It was wild in the sense that others see potential and qualities in me that I never imagined that I had
AND it was wild because I could see that potential, those qualities, and that fondness for others in the room that I have grown to deeply love and care about.
It is a weird feeling to want something so badly for someone else that the thought of them never attaining it crushes you.
It is a weird feeling to know that the things you wish for others are things that you should wish for yourself but never do.
It is a weird feeling to feel totally safe but totally vulnerable at the same time
It is a weird feeling to know that God hurts for you just as much as others hurt for you.
I don't claim to know anything about this wild and crazy and weird day that I had but I do know that it will continue again tomorrow and I can't wait to see what "new" and "crazy" and "wild" and "amazing" things God has to teach us next.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I have had the opportunity to build friendships and community in a way I have never done before. Now don't get me wrong...I have great friendships at home but its something about this place.
Our friendships didn't start with a "What's your favorite color?" conversation or even a "What do you like to do?" question...they started with a "Tell me your deepest darkest secret EVER" question and evolved from there. I know more about my new friends than I would have ever even imagined and I would want it no other way.
We have laughed together, cried together, and invested time. While I know that these new friends of mine are friends forever, Sunday is bitter sweet because I know it will never be the same as it is now.
Some of us will be off to Kenya, some to Mexico, some to India, some to Cambodia, some to Uganda, and some to Florida. My prayer is that oceans and time zones don't keep us apart but rather bring us even closer together as we seek to develop Christ-centered communities all over this planet we live on.
I love you guys!
Monday, December 8, 2008
At 12pm, lunch rolled around and I was surprised with lunch and birthday games!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
At first the idea of having 6 housemates (including 1 roommate) kinda freaked me out but as these 5 weeks have passed I have decided that living with 6 other girls isn't so bad.
This is what I enjoy about them:
- There is always someone home to talk to or play games with
- There are people around to have movie marathons with
- There is always food in the fridge (and ice cream in the freezer)
- The house is generally clean
- There are late night gab sessions (usually interfering with sleep hours but always worth it)
- There are unexpected surprises, laughter and hugs
- There are lots of good stories to be told
Renee - She is working at the CGO in the publishing department. She was a missionary in Ukraine for 5 years and is originally from Michigan.
Helen - She is also working at the CGO but in HivHope. She lived in Kenya for awhile and is now engaged to be married to a cool guy here at NMSI.
Amy - Affectionately known as "my roomie". She is a true Floridan from Orlando. She is going through the COAT program with me and plans on working at the CGO in the short term missions division.
Jessica - She is on Home Assignment from Kenya where she has lived the last three years. She is originally from Chicago and just moved this week to Wisconsin to do an outdoor missions training for the next 9 months.
Beth - She too works here at the CGO in the publications division. She just moved here permanently from Pennsylvania and was my thanksgiving buddy at my family party.
Jenni - She is going through COAT with me and is planning on moving to Cambodia to rescue girls out of sex trafficking.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
One book in particular I have not been to fond of. It is tedious reading that runs around in circles and doesn't really say a whole lot. Today being 300 pages in, I finally found a quote that I highlighted as one I liked and I wanted to share with you all.
"Whatever we "own" is really entrusted to us by God, borrowed and reverently used by us for a time, after which we must let go one way or another - either through giving and sharing or through dying and releasing our former possessions to others. Even the molecules that make up our bodies are on loan to us. One day we will give them all back, rendering an account of how we have used them through time - time also being a precious gift of which we have been made stewards." -Brian McLaren
I liked the reminder that this quote offered....the reminder that earth is our temporary home and that we should live like it.
So often I get caught up in my home, my job, my possessions, my friends, that I forget that it is really God's home, God's job, God's possessions, God's friends.
Nothing really belongs to me, I am just a steward of what He has given to me for a short time.
My prayer is that I steward the things He has given me wisely!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (Ps 8:3-4)
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. (Ps 147:4-5)
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Ps 8:9)
Thursday, November 20, 2008
This last month has been great but it has been so busy that I have hardly had a chance to breathe. Today I am sitting in my kitchen in silence. My roommates are out and about, the lights are off, the music is off, and its just me.
I am learning to just "be" rather than to be the one that is always "doing". Don't get me wrong...it is not bad to be a doer but it is when it takes over and you can't just sit and enjoy the stillness around you.
So here's to my quiet day...The Lord knew I needed it and I am so glad that He has blessed me with these few hours of silence.
Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Each morning I awake to some new mosquito bite some where on my foot or leg...the crazy thing is that they don't start inching until a day or two later but when they do....watch out! The things are about the size of a quarter, with some even bigger and they are driving me crazy!
As of today I have 15 of them but tomorrow I am sure my count will change.
I joked to someone today that NMSI is in a very strategic place for missionaries training to go to Africa...because believe it or not, I think I have been bitten more here in Florida than I have been in Uganda.
The only difference is that I don't need Malaria meds here...or at least not yet!
Any "stop itching fast" remedies out there??? If so...please share!
Saturday, November 8, 2008
This is a picture of our COAT group.
We have 4 kids and 19 adults going through this 9 week training. People here come from all over the world.
There are people from Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Kenya, Mexico and the sorts.
I love the diversity of the group and the diversity of the ministries that we all represent. I am so excited to see God using each and everyone of us to spread the good news.
Over the last few weeks I am getting to know everyone a little bit better and look forward to developing deep relationships here.
Please keep all of us in your prayers as we work, and learn, and grow. Pray for us to take the challenge posed to us to be "open, honest, and vulnerable"
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
- Subways don't have avocados and if you ask for one you may get a really weird look and the comment "Avocados at subway? Subways don't have avocados!" (Can you hear the sarcasm???)
- ATMs do not dispense amounts divisible by 20 but rather in increments of $10, $30, $50...Let's just say it blew my mind that a $10 bill came out of the BofA ATM today.
- The weather is opposite of what it looks like out the window, at least for now...(i.e. It looked nice and sunny outside the window today and it was a brisky 40 something but yesterday it looked gloomy and it was a sticky hot mess)
- Intersections have ALOT of traffic signals...believe it or not I was sitting at a four way intersection today and it had 12 traffic signals strung along a wire over the intersection...maybe it's just me but I don't know if stringing heavy lights from a thin wire in hurricane and tornado territory is a real wise idea.
- People don't turn left onto streets with 7 lanes even when it has a center lane and is completely legal to do. When asked why they just say "it's dangerous to turn left onto a 7 lane highway." Imagine if we did that in Cali?! We would never get anywhere!
- Most swimming pools are completely screened in giving the appearance that you are in an indoor swimming pool but in reality you are outside with screens on all sides of you (including screens on the ceiling).
- There are no toilet seat covers....and if there are I have yet to find them.
Stay tuned for more in the next few weeks and months...
Sunday, October 26, 2008
I wasn't really sure what to expect but it was great.
We not only learned more about NMSI and their values but we had the opportunity to really get to know the people we were with and ourselves as well.
We were challenged to be real, to be vulnerable, to be open, and to be honest. It was hard to do, especially since I had only known everyone for 24 hours. With that said, I think the next 8 weeks is really going to deepen my relationships with everyone here even deeper than relationships with people I have known for a long time back home. It is both exciting and a little scary to open myself up that way but I know that my new brothers and sisters in Christ are totally trustworthy and caring so it should be an awesome time.
I do not know really what is coming next. Its weird not to know what is happening tomorrow but it is also great preparation for me because i am usually quite the planner. All I know is that COAT starts tomorrow at 8 in the conference room. That's it.
Thank you to all of you that have been praying for me and this transition. I can feel your prayers here with me! God is doing great things! I am all unpacked and ready to hit the road running. COAT here I come!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I have 7 roommates....all of whom I have not yet met but seem really nice.
In 30 minutes we are meeting in the parking lot to go to a hotel for the next 4 days. I have no idea what is planned but I know that it should be fun. It is the "discover" version of training when we find out a little bit more about New Mission Systems International (aka NMSI).
Let's see where this adventure takes me =)
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Okay, okay...I do love to eat but this was not my entire task. My task was to eat all the food in my refrigerator so that when I leave on Tuesday I don't have to throw out perfectly good food.
I am happy to say that I have accomplished my task. I have two lone lemons, 1 crepe, lunch for Monday and Tuesday, a bottle of unopened wine, some half & half, and a few cloves of garlic in my fridge. That's it.
You would think that this task would be easy but it wasn't. After all, what do you eat when you are left with lemons, garlic, and wine...my guess is make some kind of lemon garlic sauce for pasta?? As you can see...this game can get "interesting" to say the least!
But seriously, over the last two weeks I came to realize that I when say "I have nothing to eat" it usually means "I have food in the pantry and in the fridge but I just don't like my choices"
I also came to realize what huge privileges we have as Americans. As I was washing the fridge shelves I couldn't help but think how lucky I was to own one...after all, much of the world doesn't.
I also came to realize how much luckier I was to always have food in it...after all this is the first time in 2 years that my fridge has ever been truly empty...and it took alot of work and effort on my part to get it that way.
It made me realize how little I need to trust God to provide food for me but how much people in poor countries depend on Him for each and every meal.
Once all of the food was out and the shelves clean I noticed my water filter in the back of my refrigerator. I came to realize how blessed I am that even with an empty fridge all I have to do is put my glass in the door and I get clean filtered water instantly. People in other countries walk for hours and miles to get dirty water.
It made me feel like an ungrateful and overfed American and it made me wonder why if most Americans have so much, how come we give so little to provide for those who can't provide for themselves.
I challenge you to eat through your fridge...don't go out to eat if you don't like the choices, don't go to the store to supplement what you have in it already...just be creative and create meals out of all the food you already have. It will take you a few weeks but it will definitely give you a new perspective. When you fridge is finally empty take an hour or so and wash it out really good and think about what a privilege it is to have all you have.
Don't go out and buy food to fill it up right away. Let it sit empty for a few days and be open to letting God provide your meals for you. You may be like me and discover things in your pantry that you had no idea you had. The sad thing is even with my empty fridge, between my freezer and pantry I still have enough food to provide me at least 3 weeks worth of meals...and here I am still wanting to say that "I don't have any food in my fridge!"
If you take my challenge, let me know how it changes you...
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I do believe that God has a plan and He is in control but as Christians who live in America we also have a responsibility to vote. We should not vote for selfish desires but how God would want us to vote according to His word.
Normally I am not one to talk politics, and if this offends you I am sorry, but I do think that many Christians believe they can be passive about their faith when God wants us to be about action. He said that a faith without works is dead.
Are you loving your neighbors as yourself? Are you loving people that may be different than you? This includes people that my have different sexual orientations and beliefs too. It doesn't mean that you okay sinful behavior but that you love on them as Christ loved on them when He walked the earth.
I challenge you to stand up for Christ on November 4th. I challenge you to vote as if God was standing next to you.
You do have a voice in this election...make it Christ honoring and not just people pleasing.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Yeah! Believe it or not people visit Uganda not on missions trips but on tourism trips...here are the biggest reasons they will come:
1. White Water Rafting at the source of the Nile
4. Bungee Jumping
5. Mountain and Forest Hiking
6. Fishing on the Nile & on Lake Victoria
7. Bird Watching
Monday, October 13, 2008
She is singing praises at the feet of her savior with no more pain or sorrow.
May we who are left on this earth glorify God because He is in control of all things and because of His great mercy decided it was better for Fennie to be with Him now.
Please pray for her family as they learn to live life without her.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Wow...I can't believe that NMSI Training is only 10 days away!
As I sit in my nice cozy bed I run through all the things that have to get done between now and then:
- Clean the house...coming home to a clean home is always better than coming home to a dirty one!
- Get someone to pick up my mail cause the P.O. Box will only hold mail for 30 days :(
- Get someone to turn on my car every so often
- Pack stuff...What do you pack for 2 months??!!
- Hang out with friends before I leave (every night is booked from now until then!)
- Get everything at work in place for the SUB
- Get well...Yeah...I'm sick again!
- Eat the rest of the stuff in the fridge...A two month science experiment is NEVER good!
- Vote By Mail...which involves reading about all the props...ughhhhhhhh
- Work...I'm even working the day I leave!
- ???? - I have this nagging thought that I am forgetting something else that I am supposed to do....Hopefully I remember before I leave!
Besides all the things I need to do....I am SUPER excited about going to training! I am excited about meeting new colleagues, making new friends, getting more direction, figuring out what still needs to be done, learning more about God and His heart for the nations, and getting one step closer to Africa!
NMSI here I come!
Friday, October 10, 2008
They are looking at the possibilities of moving her to a hospital closer to Simi.
Thanks for all your prayers! God is good!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
With so few days left it is hard to squeeze in hanging out with everyone before I go...so...if you would like to hang out at least one more time before I leave you are welcome to come eat Ethiopian food with me in LA!
Here's the skinny...
When: Saturday, October 18th - Most like around 5 or 5:30
Let me know if you plan on coming! We will try and carpool since parking may be a little tough.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Thank you so much for praying for Rachel! Your prayers have been such an encouragement! Rachel still has a long road ahead of her though so please continue to keep her and her family in your prayers.
She has been moving a little bit more and has a nice tight grip. It is still mostly reflexes as she is still unable to follow doctor commands. She has at least one more surgery still to come in the next few weeks and probably will be in the ICU at least until that happens.
Pray for the doctors and nurses that they have wisdom in treating Rachel's injuries.
Pray for patience and peace for the family as they sit and wait countless hours in the hospital waiting room.
Pray also for the thousands of people that have been affected by this story that God would be given glory for all that He has been doing to restore my friend. May He be glorified through this tragedy.
I can't wait to see my friend dance, smile and laugh again!
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Last night we talked about unreached people groups. There are still about 13,000 of them! The crazy thing is that only about 2.5% of all missionaries being sent out go to them.
Most missionaries go to places that have already been reached. This is because it is usually safer and its easier to gain access into the country. To get into a country that is restricted to the gospel you can't bank on your bible college degree...they won't grant you a VISA. Rather, you need to possess a skill (engineering, medicine, etc...) that they need.
Crazier still is that depending on where the people in these UPGs are, they only get the chance to hear the gospel once every 10 years or once every 100 years! Can you imagine that??!!
In America it is estimated that we have the opportunity to hear the gospel every day.
Lets face it, if you are not a Christian in America it is because you reject the gospel message every day in some form...
- you drive by your neighborhood church everyday and never go in
- you refuse to watch Christian pastors on television
- or listen to Christian radio
- you never read the tracks people hand you
- you refuse to walk into a bible bookstore
- you refuse to read the bible that is in the hotel room you are staying in
- or you refuse to listen to the good news that your Christian friend wants to tell you.
You have to do a lot of rejecting of Jesus to not be a Christian in America.
But can you imagine a place with no churches, no bibles, no Christian tracks, no Christian radio, no Christian tv, no evangelism, no praying...except for maybe one mention of Jesus every 1oo years?!
Its hard for me as an American to grasp that!
From now on when people ask me why don't I stay here and take care of the people here in America that need help...I am going to tell them about the UPGs of the world.
Now...some of you may be saying but wait...Uganda is not an unreached people group...you are right...I am still praying and I have faith that God will send me where He wants me at the exact time that He wants me. Amazingly enough, most of Northern Africa are UPGs...I am going to wait and see what God does!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I have had a few people ask me something about my fundraising dollars so I want to clear up the questions so that everyone knows where it is and what it will be used on.
I have had many people either give one-time gifts or pledge monthly financial support. All money that has been donated is in an account at NMSI (New Missions Systems International). This money is only to be used for ministry. At this point all money coming in is being used to cover training costs, application fees, or travel to and from the training sights.
I am very much concerned about using the money given in a way that is glorifying to God. He is the one that has blessed me with it and I want to make 100% sure that I am being a good steward with what He has given me.
I will be creating my estimated monthly field budget when I go to training in a few weeks. It will be available for anyone that wants to look it over and make sure that my finances are being used appropriately.
Thank you for being concerned! If you have any other questions please let me know!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Which one will YOU be?
I don't know about you...but I don't want to waste MY life!
Monday, September 29, 2008
God has been good as He has handled the financial aspect of my training.
My training budget for this year was originally estimated at $10120 but thankfully the price has just been lowered to $ 8892 because I will be able to keep my current medical insurance during my 15 weeks of training!
Of the $8892 that I need, I have received pledges and donations in the amount of $7235 over the next 9 months! This includes $280 in the form of re-occurring monthly support!
That means that I only need $1657 in additional sponsorship from now until my departure next July! This amazes me!!!
If you feel lead to partner with me financially simply click on the NMSI donations link on the right side of this blog.
God is doing mighty things and He amazes me everyday! THANK YOU Father!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Saturday, September 27, 2008
If God is for us, who can be against us!
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I would encourage any of you that are remotely interested in partnering in ministry with me to attend this conference.
It is at the Oaks Conference Center in Lake Hughes, CA from October 24th - 26th, 2008.
For more information on the conference check out the flyer at:
To sign up, please contact Jen Yun at:
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I met with my childhood church global ministry board on Sunday which was a rather weird experience. You can be praying for their decision. They put together the new budget in November so I you can also pray for patience on my part as I wait to hear back from them.
On another note...
I find it funny that people I don't talk to very often are surprised that I am still planning on going...some even sound shocked like they expected me to say I was going and then never follow through on it. The thing that I think most people don't understand is that my decision to go was not thought up 10 minutes before I announced it rather it has been something I have been thinking about and praying about for about 5 years. It's something that took a lot of prayer and a lot of heart changes. So just so the record is straight...unless God changes HIS mind, then I am still going.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Sorry it has taken awhile for me to get you this update. Thank you for your continued prayer for my friend Rachel (sitting next to me in the picture above)…
Also, please pray for other families at my church. The last I heard there were two other members of our church that were killed in the collision and one other person from our church who is also in critical condition. I will continue to keep you updated with what I find out.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Please pray for her as well as her family.
I will keep you posted on the situation as soon as I find out more information.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Gary: So how is everything with the trip going?
Me: Good...I had no idea the amount of things you have to have done before you go to Africa though!
Kaleb (3 yr. old): "Wait, Stop...Africa????"
Me: Yes, Africa.
Kim: Yes, Lena is going to tell people about Jesus in Africa.
Me: Do you want to go to Africa?
Kaleb: Yes!!! Can I go mom?
Kim: Not until you are much older.
Kaleb: Okay. They have animals.
Me: You are right
This conversation happened at the beginning of dinner. It was cute how Kaleb totally interrupted me when he heard the word Africa. The conversation was brief though (as any conversation with a 3 year old would be) and we moved on to other topics.
After dinner we decided we would hang out some more so Gary took the kids in his car and Kim and I rode together in mine. Gary told me later about the conversation that unfolded in the car...Here's the gist of it:
Kaleb: Lena is going to Africa.
Gary: Yes, she is going to tell people about Jesus
Kaitlyn (5 yrs old): She should be careful of lions
Kaleb: No hippos
Kaitlyn: Yeah hippos, they bite.
Kaitlyn: She should be careful of zebras
Kaleb: no zebras, they don't bite
Kaitlyn: Yes zebras, they can kick!
That made me laugh! So often people are concerned about my wealth, or my possessions, or my job when I tell them that I am going to Africa...the two most asked questions are "What about your condo?" and "Will you make enough money to live?"
I liked that these kids didn't question that. They were truly excited about the prospect of living among God's creation and they didn't question the reason why because in their minds, of course we should be telling people about Jesus! Duh!
I love how kids think and I wish we as adults could think the same way!
Saturday, September 6, 2008
- At least 2538 individuals went through the exhibit!
- 413 children sponsored (That is a 16% sponsorship rate)!!!
If you went/prayed/volunteered/sponsored a child thank you for contributing and changing the lives of these 413 children's lives forever!
God is using you and your commitment in a very mighty way!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I was the first one to arrive and thought I was lost! The address was home to a small, no window corner bar with a sign above the door reading: "Azules Bar"....not "The Nile Spot" which was what I was told the place was called.
It was recommended by a friend of a friend of a friend...and was said to be a place with good food and not so good service. Being adventurous we decided to give it a try anyway...
I called my friend and asked him to verify the address...apparently I was in the right spot.
Naturally, I decided to wait for more people to show up before walking into the dimly lit door...not sure what to expect but still a little unsure based on what I know about van nuys...
Sure enough, when we all walked in together there was African art and TVs playing Ugandan music videos...we were in the right place.
We moved every table they had into the center of the room to fit our group of 17 people.
While we were there I got the opportunity to sit next to a guy named Saba (also known as Julius) who is a friend of a friend. He was born and raised in Uganda and it turns out his mom owns a restaurant off of Ggaba road which is where I will probably be living when I am in Africa. He is going to give me her contact information so when I am there I can send his greetings and get to know his family.
Monday, September 1, 2008
You are invited to a Home-Front Dinner hosted by Al and Christine Farrar on Saturday, September 13th at 5:00pm.
The purpose of this gathering is to help support Janay Garrick (a friend of mine) who will be leaving for Africa in the fall. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet Janay and become familiar with the ministries she will be involved in. We will also be discussing ways to support her both spiritually and financially.
Please bring ace bandages and/or reading glasses (old or new) to help support our MossyFoot project in Ethiopia as well.
Chef Thomas Yun will be preparing the following menu:
- Marinated Korean BBQ with a Sweet Soy Ginger Glaze
- Grilled Chicken Breast Marinated in Balsamic Herb Reduction
- Caprese Tomato Mozzarella Salad with Sweet Grape Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella
- Chef Thomas' Pasta Salad and Potato Salad
- Seasonal Fruits
- Banana and Strawberry Cream Pie
If you are interested in coming please let me know and I will email you directions on how to get to Big Al's house. It is going to be a great time! I hope to see you all there!
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Please pray for the global ministries team members as they review my application and make the decision of whether or not they will allow me to be sent out as an "official" cornerstone missionary.
I will post updates of the application process as I get them! Thanks for praying!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
- I learned that Aids was first discovered in Uganda 25 years ago and that it is believed that a fishing village off of Lake Victoria was the birthplace of the epidemic.
- I learned that medicine for AIDS/HIV only work if the person taking the medicine has a healthy diet and that while some people in Uganda have access to the medicine, their diets are so poor that it counteracts any benefit they should receive from the drugs.
I also had the opportunity to learn about two kids from Uganda, Emmanuel and Baibyre. These kids have been directly affected by the disease and their stories will touch your hearts.
So what is this exhibit like??
The experience is set up somewhat like an Alcatraz tour. It is self guided but you wear an ipod that guides you through the child's life. I went through three of the four children's lives and each one was AMAZING.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
You don't want to miss this free event! If you want to get a feel for what Africa is like but you don't want to visit Africa personally, then this is the event for you!
I am going on Saturday from 11 to 3 and on Sunday from 2:30 to 3:00. I hope to see you there!
August 22 - 26, 2008
5495 Via Rocas
Westlake Village, CA 91362
You can sign up for free tickets or to volunteer at the event on their website at:
Here's another video about it:
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Well, I have!
My most recent one being one of the BIGGEST Boo-boo's yet. I sent out a letter to 25 people that expressed an interest in being a part of my support team. In it I was telling them how I felt God's calling in my life but that I prayed for wisdom and for God to reveal himself to me so that I could say with confidence that this was where He wanted me...Unfortunately my spell check and proof-reading skills failed. Rather than saying "God revealed himself to me", I typed "God reviled himself to me".
So for all those out there wondering..."God revealed himself to me"...it didn't happen any other way =)
Thank you to my 2 faithful readers that caught that mistake and thanks for helping me stay on my toes! You guys rock!
- The poverty level in America is in the top 4% of all world family income.
- Charitable giving among ALL Americans is only 1.7% of their total income.
- Americans spend as much on chewing gum in a year as they give to missions.
- Americans pay as much for pet food in 52 days as they spend annually on missions.
- On Feb. 14th, Americans spend more money to say "I love you" with Valentines Day Cards than they spend the rest of the year to tell someone in the world that "God Loves Them"
In this recession, I have considered myself as being "poor" when in reality I am in the top 2% of the world in terms of my job income, my home, my education and my possessions.
Where do you stand?
Saturday, August 16, 2008
As some of you know, I have been reading "Serving as Senders" and the last chapter I read was all about logistic support. In it there were things that I had thought about and then things I never would have thought about.
After reading it I am so glad that my training at NMSI is only two months away because I can't wait to find out what logistics they will help me with and then what I have to ask other friends to take care of for me.
Here's a rough idea of the logistics support I will need to take care of before I can leave...
- My condo - which includes: someone to collect rent for me, deposit rent into my account, finding new renters when needed, evicting bad renters if needed, maintenance and repairs to my condo, etc...
- My monthly bills - things that I have to pay every month (my HOA, outstanding credit card payments, home insurance payments, etc...)
- Taxes - Surprise, surprise, I didn't know this but even if you are not living or working in the US you are still required to file your taxes every year
- Renewals - Renewal of my teaching credential every five years, renewal of my drivers license and credit cards, renewal of my home owner insurance, etc...
- Storage - Storage of things that I will not be able to take with me. Such as keeping track of what friends are borrowing curtain furniture pieces or who is storing miscellaneous keepsakes such as photo albums or artwork
- Home Owner Information - Keeping me up to date with my HOA meetings and any fee updates or building assessments/repairs
- Selling Goods - Helping me sell things that I may not have been able to sell before I leave (i.e. my car)
- Money issues - Keeping track of money being donated and deposited into my ministry account and making sure that my minisry is fully supported.
- Health/Death - Keeping up to date with health and medical benefits that will be used while overseas, as well as details concerning my will, a power of attorney in the event of my death, and burial details (where I will be buried if I die while overseas).
- Family details - Someone that will keep me up to date on family details - illnesses in the family, weddings, births, graduations, etc.
- Ministry communication - someone to help keep me up to date with the churches that are supporting me as well as keep those churches informed about changes that occur in regard to my ministry overseas.
- US Citizen Obligations - Someone to collect important forms that come in the mail (i.e. absentee voter forms, jury duty summons forms, etc.) complete them and return them to the correct parties.
Crazy huh! And this list is not even complete! I am so glad that I am not on this journey alone because if I was, it would be IMPOSSIBLE!
With God all things are POSSIBLE!
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Her fiance's mom went in for a surgery on her brain and she died the following day. Her fiance is devastated because they were very close. Her fiance's dad died when he was 5 years old and he has no siblings or other family members. He is especially sad when he thinks about his marriage and the fact that his mom will not be able to celebrate that with him.
Please pray for him as he comes to grips with this tragic death and pray for my friend as she tries to help him through his pain. I am not sure if he is a christian but I know that his fiance is. If you would like to pray for them by name, their names are Faith and Albert.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I have heard from the principal twice now and she definitely wants me to work there rewriting and revising the school's curriculum. I am qualified to do this because I have my master's degree in curriculum & instruction.
The funny thing about my master's program is that it is one that I was not able to chose. If it was I would have never chosen to do a program in curriculum writing because it was something I never really planned to do.
The program that I was in was a pilot program for CSULA and LAUSD. The goal of the program was for the university to collaborate with the school district so that they could offer teachers the opportunity to clear their teaching credentials and earn a master's degree at the same time. At the time they only offered one masters option - the one in curriculum.
At the time I figured it would just give me the extra units at work to raise my pay BUT now that I know I will probably be writing curriculum in Africa I can see that it was God that put me in that program. He orchestrated it in such a way that when I got to Africa to serve him, I would be qualified to do this particular task.
That is AMAZING to me and it's way too amazing to be a coincidence.
Monday, August 11, 2008
A friend of mine got a new job here in California and so she visited my church as she drove from Ohio out to Palm Springs. I haven't seen her for about a year and a half and so I was looking forward to visiting with her. The crazy thing about our friendship is that we met in Uganda in 2006. She was there helping at a hospital for three months and I was there on a short term trip and we happened to be staying with the same people. We hung out and got to know each other during the trip and then I came back here to California and she went to Ohio to go through nursing school. She wants to eventually go back to Africa to be a nurse. So seeing her today was only the second time I have ever seen my friend on American soil...so of course it was going to be a great day just because of that.
So God, having the sense of humor that He has, thought He would make my day even greater than I thought it would be... How you ask?
As church starts my pastor brings up someone one stage to come and share a little bit about his ministry... It turns out my friend and I both know him from Uganda.....He is a Ugandan who works at an an orphanage home/school outside of Kampala. My friend and I just looked at each other and laughed - It was soooo cool!
After church my friend and I went up to say hi and catch up with him. We all had the opportunity to go to lunch together and I couldn't help but smile as I was sitting in the middle of a restaurant in Simi Valley with two of my African friends....(granted one is white but hey, her heart is African)
Turns out our Ugandan friend needs a nurse at the orphanage, I love how God plans out our lives in such amazing ways!
Some would say that today was one of those "it's such a small world" kinda days....I say is it a small world or do we just have a Big God...I vote for the second one...
I love days like this!
Saturday, August 9, 2008
I came to the realization this week that God always gets his way...
It seems obvious but for some reason it hit me this week.
I was talking to some friends who were asking me about missions.
I told them that I knew God wanted me to go to Africa 5 years ago... Then I started thinking about the things I did in the last five years - knowing all along that God wanted me elsewhere. What I realized is if I would have listened to God's gentle calling the first time I heard it, the process of leaving would have been SO much easier...
NOW I have a place to try and rent out, 5 years ago I was still living with Mom & Pop
NOW I have a house full of furniture to sell, store, ship...do something with, 5 years ago all I had was a TV and a bed.
NOW I have a full time teaching job to work around and eventually quit, 5 years ago I had just graduated from CSUN with my BA and didn't have a job.
NOW I have to raise extra money to try and make up for a "weak" dollar, 5 years ago the dollar was doing WAY better with a greater exchange rate.
So the lesson here...God will eventually get you where He wants...He will call you in His perfect time but if you drag your feet on your decision you will probably make the process way harder for yourself than God ever intended it to be.
Friday, August 8, 2008
The boiler was repaired at our building and I was sooooo excited to finally take a hot shower this morning but when I turned on the hot water and soon realized that I would get none I was a little frustrated to say the least.
This marks day 5 of my no hot water. My bad attitude about it this morning is not because it is day 5 BUT rather I was told it was fixed, got excited about it being fixed, and then my hopes were dashed.
Pray for my attitude, I want to rejoice in God always and I am finding it hard to do today.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Today I was reminded of Africa.
The boiler in my building is on the fritz and in need of replacing and so hot water to my building has been going in and out for the last few weeks. Usually I just wait until later in the day when the hot water is restored to take a shower but today I have to be somewhere and had no other choice...
I turned on the hot water handle hoping I would get a few drips of hot but quickly realized that the water was going from cold to colder rather than the other way around. I chucked to myself thinking that this was what I have to look forward to next year on a rather regular basis.
My shower was fast... And as a result I thought to myself what the benefits to a shower with no hot water might be... Here's my list:
- Your shower is 2 min's tops... which saves ALOT of money on water
- If you are tired you wake up FAST...no need for a mid-day nap after this shower!
- You cool down FAST even on a hot day
- You can actually set your home thermostat to a higher temp to help you "warm up"
- Your bathroom mirrors don't steam up
- You can drink hot chocolate on a summer day after your shower
- You aren't in there long enough to get water in your ears (Yes, that usually happens to me)
- Because you are in there for a short period, your fingers/toes don't get prunie
In the whole scheme of things hot water is a luxury...so why not look on the bright side and laugh rather than complain and get grumpy...I think a positive attitute to tough situation brings God more glory than a negative one!
SO...Keep smiling my friends, even when the road is hard and the water is cold!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
I told you about the praise that my boss gave me 13 work days off so I can attend training in October but what I didn't mention was that she had told me it would probably be unpaid work days...Which I was OK with.
I talked to her again today to tell her I had my sub all lined up and she told me to work out the time keeping with the secretary. Turns out I will be paid for all of the days that I miss!
How great is God, He not only works out my time off but He makes sure I get paid for it too! So I will be in Florida for a total of 2 months and I will still be receiving my regular paychecks the WHOLE TIME! That's amazing to me!
Thanks for praying for me and this upcoming adventure...God answers prayers EVERYDAY!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
What are you doing with your house?
Hopefully renting it! I listed it in the Cornerstone Classifieds, Craig's List, Apartment Hunters & Westside Rentals... If you are interested in renting it let me know!
Who is going to watch over your place when you are gone?
I have two friends in the apartment rental business and they will both be helping me manage the place so that I do not have to hire and pay an outside company to do it.
What about your job?
I am going to take an unpaid leave for a year and then try to extend the leave after that. If LAUSD won't let me extend it, I will quit when the leave is over. I will keep my California credential current though so when/if I return I will not have to redo any of my credential requirements.
When are you leaving?
My first training is October 22-December 22. The last two trainings are May & June of 2009. I will depart for Africa after my last training (end of June/or beginning of July 2009)
Where will you live?
Not sure yet! But I will stay with some friends until I find a more permanent place.
Will you have running water?
Will you have electricity?
Yes! But it does go out frequently so hopefully it stays on more than it goes out!
How will you stay in touch with your friends here?
Mostly through email and this blog site
How long are you staying there?
Indefinitely... I don't want to put a date on it because I want to see what God does...It may be 5 years, 10, 20... I just don't know.
Will we ever see you again?
Yes! I want to stay in contact with all of you! Most long-term missionaries take a furlough every 3 years. It may not be exact but from what I have seen so far, most furloughs can be anywhere from 2 - 4 months long.
Can I come visit you?
YES! NMSI will help me coordinate people that want to come to help on short term trips. The more visitors I have the more encouraged I will be. An encourage and supported missionary tends to stay on the mission field longer and be more successful in their ministry so yes, yes, yes, I want you to come and visit me!
Is it safe?
As with any place you go, you have to take precautions. There is a pretty good chance that I will get sick and/or robbed but for the most part the area I plan on going to is pretty stable right now.
What does your family think about the whole thing?
Hummmm...let's say the jury is still out. Some are excited for me, Some think I am crazy, Some think I am stupid, Some don't support me at all, and Some want to come visit me... Its a mixed crowd.
Are you leaving because of your family situation?
NO, NO, NO! I am leaving because God is calling me to leave. I love living here in the US, I love my job, I love my condo, I love my friends and I love my family. I have no desire to run away from problems but I do have a desire to follow where God leads. I am not willing to leave the things I love just because the going gets tough with a few people BUT I am willing to leave the things I love to follow God. He alone directs my path.
Why do you want to go?
The first and most important reason is that I feel God wants me there... He has made it pretty clear to me over the last few years that this is where He wants me so who am I to argue with God
What will you do there?
I not 100% sure and in the missionary world, what you do changes constantly BUT I would love to help in the education arena... Not teaching per se but training teachers to teach better, revamping curriculum, doing school administration in a Christian International school that serves missionary kids and local kids or possibly getting more local kids into school... I would also love to help get more reliable technology into the schools so that the kids have a greater resource base....we will have to wait and see what doors God opens up!
Will you get a job there can support you financially?
Probably not. Most Ugandan places won't pay a salary to international missionaries so the majority of my funding will come from monthly supporters (churches & individuals) in the US.
If you stay there for a long time, will you marry someone there?
I don't know! Most of you that know me well know that I LOVE being single and would LOVE to STAY single FOREVER! But if God has a different plan for me, I am not opposed to it - but lets not jump the gun!
Isn't it really cheap to live there?
No not really, I have heard from friends that are already there that it can be more expensive than the US in many ways... For example, gas runs anywhere from $10-$20 a gallon and utilities are super expensive even though they are mostly unreliable. Cars are really expensive too even though they are all used and housing can also be pretty pricey. I will have a better idea once I sit down with NMSI people and get a preliminary budget set up.
Who knows you are going?
Most of my friends, people at my current church, people at my childhood church, previous co-workers, and my family members all know.
Who doesn't know you are going?
My boss, some of my current co-workers, and some of the people in my condo complex.
I hope that helps and please feel free to keep those questions coming!!!