Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Yesterday I was at church all day and as a result I heard the sermon 4 times...Yes it was good all four times!

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'm Back!

Yes...I'm back and as you can see by the timeline below, my first task is to start building my prayer and provision team!

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 lpira@nmsi.org or by replying to this blog post. Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Rachel

I haven't seen my friend Rachel in months, which is so sad, but today was a great day!

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

The Hope for Deep Dish Shattered

Since I first left for Florida back in October I knew that I would have a 4 hour layover in Chicago on my way back home. I planned it out actually…looking on the internet for an authentic deep dish style pizzeria near the airport. I was enjoying the thought of hopping on a taxi, going for some deep dish and then making it back to O’Hare to catch my flight back to LA…

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


Today has been a wild ride.

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

Bitter Sweet

While the last two months have been filled to the max with homework, class lectures, and reading, I have to say that I will miss this place when Sunday rolls around.

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

A Birthday Extravaganza!

Yes folks...I have to admit...I just had another birthday...the 28th actually BUT this birthday was unlike any I have ever had before!
This year I spent my birthday in Florida and let me say...I wasn't expecting anything special.

BOY WAS I WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The day started at 7am when my roommates woke me up with breakfast in bed

Then it was off to work where everyone broke out in a round of "Happy Birthday" during the morning announcements

At 12pm, lunch rolled around and I was surprised with lunch and birthday games!

We had a hola hoop competition:

rice races:

jump roping:

...and...chalk & bubbles:

At 6pm Jackie & Kristy took me out to a rockin' restaurant for shrimp & salmon...It was amazing! After that they told me we were going to go out for desert BUT we walked into yet another surprise...Ice skating!

Now after breakfast in bed, a surprise lunch & game adventure, a great dinner, and a surprise ice skating extravaganza, I thought the party was done...but I was wrong again!!

The girls told me we were going to go out for desert but they wanted to stop at home to get sweaters...me, never really having had surprises planned for me, didn't think anything of it. When I walked into the house there was another surprise party!

We had dessert (with re-lighting candles of course!),

balloons, cards & flowers,

All topped off with a night of board game fun!

So all in all...this was the BEST birthday EVER... fun filled from 7am to 1am the next day...pretty much 10 birthdays all rolled into one!

Oh how I love all my new friends who I can now officially considered my new "family"!

You guys are the BEST!