Africa here I come!

August 12, 2015 at 10:36 am (Africa, My ramblings)

Sneth Words can’t begin to describe how I’m feeling right now. My flight leaves for Africa in several  hours. I am so excited and so nervous at the same time. Our team, which consists of several  people from the MD area (woot! woot!) are going to be teaching business skills to lots of teens so  please pray for all of us. Please also pray that God would fill each one of us with His Holy Spirit  and enable us to do “even greater things than these”.

I can’t wait to visit with the children that my husband and I sponsor. The picture is one of my  little girls that I got to meet on my last trip. What an amazing feeling to be able to look into their eyes and see the huge smiles on their faces and know in your heart that you are giving a child a chance to live and grow up and to one day become an adult who will change their country. It’s amazing to impact lives from the US in these third world countries through the help of organizations like Children’s Cup. With so much controversy over whether or not our money is going to the children, I can attest to the truth that with this organization it is. Their mission statement is, “to change the world for hurting and forgotten children by giving them hope in the love of Jesus Christ”.  They have their own sponsorship program and if you are interested in sponsoring one of these children, click here for more information. I will also be hosting a sponsorship party in late September and will let you know when the date will be.

Once again, please keep our entire team in prayer. Pray also that we would be able to share the love of Christ with each and every person we meet, that we would encourage the missionaries, who work so tirelessly and unselfishly there and that we would bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ and represent Him well.

 

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Almost finished!

August 4, 2015 at 6:21 pm (Africa, Breast Cancer, Faith, My ramblings)

A year ago this week, I was getting my second chemo infusion and it amazes me that I am almost finished with my treatment. Next Monday I will have my last Herceptin infusion. I’ve had 18 rounds of it along with 6 rounds of 2 chemo cocktails and 6 rounds of Perjeta infusions. I am scheduled for another reconstructive surgery on August 28 and I will also get my port taken out then. I am so excited to be so close to finishing my treatments. I am grateful that I am cancer free and grateful that the Lord revealed Himself to me in such powerful ways during this past year. I am grateful that I chose to trust and believe Him instead of being angry or mad at Him. That thought never even crossed my mind. How could I abandon the one who will never abandon me? How could I love God in the easy seasons of life and not trust Him in the hard seasons? He is a good God and has only loving thoughts towards me.

I am also getting ready to go back to my beloved Swaziland, Africa with Children’s Cup next week and I can hardly contain myself. I was supposed to go last year at this time but was unable to since I had to start treatment immediately for my breast cancer. It broke my heart that I couldn’t go but I had no choice. I can’t wait to see the kids that I sponsor and all the people there who sent me cards and video prayers during my treatment. I was so incredibly blessed by it.

This summer has been a busy one and I can’t believe how healthy I am feeling. I joined a gym and take water aerobics several times a week and I absolutely love it. I am feeling stronger by the day and have more energy than I’ve ever had. I am eating about a 70% raw diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains and trying to stay away from chemicals and added preservatives. No sugar, processed white flour or sweets or any junk food. I have the occasional Starbucks and I’m working on eliminating that too, I’m just not ready yet! I feel healthier than I did before I went through cancer treatment and my fibromyalgia rarely flares up. I’ve had only 1 migraine in months and that is huge for me since I used to get several a month as well as many headaches.

This post is a little choppy but I just wanted to write a quick update and also ask for prayers. I leave for Africa on Aug 12 and will be back Aug 22. Please pray for me because it’s a 17 1/2 hour flight there and last time I went, I came home with a blood clot in my leg. I’m wearing compression stockings during the flight and started taking baby aspirin a few days ago so hopefully I won’t come back with another one. Pray for physical and emotional strength as well and for my entire team. We want to represent Christ and spread His love and be His hands and feet. Also, pray for my upcoming surgery on August 28. I am praying it will be my last one because I just want to be done already.

I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love I have received during this past year and I am incredibly blessed to be part of an awesome church and have such an amazing family and friends. Words could never adequately describe how grateful I am for each and every one of you.

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Latest Update

May 13, 2015 at 1:25 pm (Africa, Breast Cancer, Faith)

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted an update! It’s been about 6 months since my last chemo and I am feeling great. I still have about 6 more treatments for Herceptin every 3 weeks so hopefully by the end of August I will be FINISHED with my breast cancer treatment!

This journey has been amazing and I fell more in love with the Lord and realized how very much God loves me. It wasn’t the most fun thing to have to go through but it did grow my faith and trust in ways I would’ve never imagined. God has given me a ministry to be able to share my experiences and faith in Christ and I am grateful each and every day for that. I’m joining the cancer support group at my church and I am excited about what the Lord is going to do in and through me. Click here in you are interested in it.

I am having my tissue expander/implant exchange surgery next Wednesday, May 20, and I would love all the prayers I can get. They have to do significant fat grafting (they liposuction fat from your belly and use that around the implant) and I told my plastic surgeon to take all the fat he wants! I am hopeful that other than having my chemo port removed, this will be my last surgery for breast cancer.

I am also going back to my beloved Africa in August with Children’s Cup. I was supposed to go last year but had to cancel it because I had to start treatment. I absolutely love sharing the Gospel and especially have a heart for Swaziland, Africa. I get to see my sponsored children as well and that always makes me happy. Please pray for spiritual preparation, financial support, safety, unity of the team, good health, and that hearts and doors would be open for us to share the love of Christ. If you would like to support me financially, please click here.

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A Beating Heart

March 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm (Africa, Missions, My ramblings)

I was looking for some old pictures from my last mission trip to Africa and started reading my older blogs. This excerpt is from 2006 and still rings true in my heart today:

I am not sure just when my heart started beating for Africa and more specifically, Sub- Saharan Africa. It may have started when I read a book that chronicled a little orphan’s life in Africa after the Rwandan genocide, where about a million lives were lost. This orphan walked hundreds of thousands of miles. He moved from one refugee camp to another searching for food and safety, several times being kidnapped and brutally beaten. I finished reading this book and had nightmares for months. I did a lot of research on Africa after this and the images of these orphans are seared into my mind. These images haunt me and challenge me to do something. Anything. One life at a time. It’s an incredible feat but I am not alone. The Lord Jesus Christ died not only for you and me but for every person in the world.
When I think about the day I will go to Africa, I always remember the apostle Paul’s vision of the man in Macedonia crying for him to come help him. This is what I hear when I think of all the orphans. They cry for me, sometimes so softly that I can barely hear it, but I do always hear it.

And I do still hear it now in 2013, perhaps louder than ever. This is the sole reason I decided to go back to school and become a medical assistant. I want to go back for as many times as it takes to help these beautiful dark faces, not only medically but to offer them hope. Hope that hung on a cross so long ago for each one of them. Hope that watches over them each and every minute of their lives. Hope that has not nor ever could forget them. Hope = Jesus

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Africa Update

May 21, 2008 at 5:33 pm (Africa, Missions, My ramblings)

After much prayer and agonizing, I have decided to not go to Africa in September.  I have been going back and forth and praying about whether or not it was God’s will for me to go but I recently got confirmation that it wasn’t.  I always think in my mind that to go on mission trips must always be God’s will, after all He said go, right? But the more I prayed the more I realized that although I wanted so desperately to go back, it wasn’t in His timing for me.  This will be the first year I haven’t gone overseas and although it saddens me, it also excites me because I know the Lord will continue to fuel the fire in me and that He must have something so big in store for me. 

I am looking forward to a real vacation and am going to the beach with my brother, sister in law and my nieces and nephews!! I used to go every year with them but not for the last 4-5 years and I am so looking forward to it.  We have so much fun and I can’t wait to feel the sand between my toes and the sun on my face. 

On a side note, since I can’t go to Africa, I decided to sponsor another litlle girl in Swaziland. She is so beautiful and her hair sticks straight up in the air! It is such an incredible feeling to know that there are 3 little girls out there who are able to eat, go to school and learn about Jesus because I sponsor them. I was talking to a coworker today and she sponsors one in Peru and she asked me how much of a difference it makes.  It is such a small amount to us, but to people in third world countries, it may as well be millions of dollars. I told her that her little boy will get an education, become a Christian and change his part of the world.  His entire family also benefits so it’s not just his life she has rescued.  Child sponsorship is an incredible way to give back part of what the Lord gives us.  Think about it.  What if one of my girls in Africa invents the cure for HIV or Malaria? What if she grows up and becomes a teacher and shares Christ with all her students? She will have an impact on her country, more than I could ever have.  What if my little girl in India ends up being like the missionary Amy Carmichael who rescued so many little girls from being sold to temples as prostitutes?  The possibilities are endless! If you don’t like the world you’re living in, then change it! Can I, just one person, change the world? You bet, I am changing the world…one life at a time.

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Africa…again…still…

February 14, 2008 at 5:36 pm (Africa, Missions)

I am so excited!!! I think I will be going to Uganda, Africa in September and I am about to bounce off the walls! The focus of the trip is to do evangelism in the bush and I can’t wait. Please join me in prayer to make sure this is the one the Lord wants me to go on.  I have read alot about Uganda and it breaks my heart to see the devastation there.  You can read about it on Invisible Children.  Will keep you posted…

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Awana Missions night

February 6, 2008 at 9:06 pm (Africa, Missions, My ramblings)

I just got home from talking to the Awana kids from church about missions. It was so much fun! There were about 125 kids from kindergarten to 6th grade and it is always a challenge to keep their attention for any length of time! I think they did pretty well considering.

I started off explaining what missions is and what missionaries do and explained that they were all missionaries too.  I really wanted them to walk away with a sense that they can change the world and I think I did. I showed them a video of pictures of my trip to Africa and they were pretty awed by it.  I am pretty sure most of them never saw the poverty and trash in many of the pictures that was all over the place. When I told the kids that there was no running water or electricity where we went, they were a little bug eyed! They could not believe it. I told them that many of the children only have the clothes on their back and most don’t have shoes.  I told them to envision them looking in their closets and dressers at all their clothes and then told them to imagine only having one short or one pair of pants. It was pretty amazing. 

One of the teens that I took with Africa with me this past summer was there and she shared about one of the healings we witnessed and they were really impressed by that! It was cool.  We then had a Q & A session and boy was that interesting! Many of the kids were concerned about where we slept and what we ate so I had to tell them we had food and beds.  Some of the boys asked if we got to build houses and I told them that I had but not in Africa but I did in Mexico and Peru.  You could see the boys’ eyes getting all big at the thought of being able to swing a hammer or play with power tools.  What is it with boys and their toys anyways???

Then don’t you know it, someone asked us if we got to see any lions or elephants.  My partner told them that we got to go on a safari and that we did watch a lion eat a zebra. Well, it went downhill pretty stinkin’ fast from there.  The next several questions were about giraffes, rhinos and the likes.  I had to get us focused back on missions but it worked out well. At the end, I asked if they were all ready to move to Africa with me and amazingly enough, about half of them were.  I am praying and hoping that I planted seeds and that one day, one of these future missionaries will think back on this night and remember that this is where their hunger for missions began. 

At the end of the night, I had all the kids stand. I asked them if they were ready to change the world and we all yelled really loud, I can change the world! Then I told them all that I knew they could change the world but are they going to actually do it. So then we yelled, I will change the world! It was awesome.  God is so good to give me such cool opportunitues to share the love of Christ and my heart with so many people.  I pray that these little ones go home with such a sense of knowing that God has called each one of them and has a purpose for each of their lives.  I am praying that they will pray and get their parents to pray for missionaries all over the world.  I am praying that some of them will actually change the world.

My email is worldchanger and I get asked lots of questions about it like do I really think I can change the world? My answer, you bet, not only do I think I can change it, I am changing it.  With Jesus leading me and the power of the Holy Spirit, I will change the world. One life at a time.  One child at a time.

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Missions

February 4, 2008 at 6:53 pm (Africa, Missions, My ramblings, Prayers)

Ah, my favorite subject. I love missions. I am a missions junkie. I can’t get enough of them. Praying about where to go this summer. I thought I was going back to Africa but am now praying about Thailand or Cambodia. I would love to do both. I had a vision last summer while in a worship service during leadership training at Teen Mania headquarters.  Not some weird freaky vision so just calm down! We were preparing to go to Africa and on this one night, we were singing a song and one of the lines in it is:

Here I am Lord, it is I Lord? I can hear you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if You lead me. I will hold Your people in my heart.

I cannot even begin to explain the feeling in my heart when we sang this.  It was like a crushing weight on my chest. I had my eyes closed and the Lord showed me what appeared to be an old black and white film rolling of pictures of children from all nations. It was like one of those old reel to reel films, not that I am old enough to remember them, I just read about them 😉

Anyways, the picture that is seared in my heart and my mind is of a little girl from Thailand (I think) with one of those hats covering her head. I can’t shake the picture from my mind, it’s like she is calling me.  I know exactly how the apostle Paul felt when the man from Macedonia called him in his vision.  I know it may sound weird and I assure you I have my weird moments, but I know the Lord is calling me to minister to the nations, especially vulnerable children and orphans.  Please, please pray with me that God would reveal His will to me regarding my role in missions.  In the next few days, I plan on writing about the sexual trafficking that is going on world-wide. It will be a hard post, but a necessary one.  Awareness leads to prayer which leads to change. (Hey, I just made that up!)

I am speaking in a few days to our Awana kids at church about missions so please pray for me that they would go home and have a burden for missions and missionaries. I am going to show them a video from my Africa trip and pray that they would go home changed.  What a privilege for me to get to share my passion with these little ones. 

Look at these little faces, what’s not to love?! 3-girls.jpg

 little-girl.jpg   beauty.jpg

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Africa, same thing, different day

November 11, 2007 at 2:51 pm (Africa)

The dreams (nightmares) are back. Precious African orphans calling me in the night. Willing me, no daring me to do something.

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What is it about Africa?

August 12, 2007 at 9:53 pm (Africa)

I can’t explain it. It’s a feeling deep in my soul. It reaches the innermost part of my heart. That secret place that no one gets to see. The place where long lost dreams and forgotten goals live. Sometimes, it wakes me from a sound sleep. I can see the beautiful faces and dark, lost eyes willing me to open mine. Willing me to come and make a difference. I can’t get the images out of my head. They are seared forever into my memory. How long? How long Lord will these innocent children have to suffer? I almost can’t breathe because I feel like my heart has been ripped out and it is breaking in two. Why do I have so much and they so little? How long until I can go back???

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More pics

August 12, 2007 at 9:38 pm (Africa)

Between my facebook and being sick all weekend, I feel like I am never going to get to blog my trip! Here are a few more pictures. This is the church we went to and it is right in the squatters camp where we ministered. We went to service there too and it lasted several hours! It was great, the preacher would preach for a few minutes then we would sing for a while, then back to preaching then back to singing! It was awesome!


This is where we were doing vbs and praying with the kids. They are so cute!

We did alot of servant evangelism and we got water for some people but we had a really hard time carrying the water. The women carry it on top of their heads but I didn’t want to risk breaking my neck! They really enjoyed laughing at us carrying and spilling it all over the place.

We also helped to do laundry and one day, we were walking by a man doing laundry and he told us he heard we were there so we could wash everyone’s clothes. It was so funny, he was laughing but when we told him we wanted to, he would not let us. He said he promised his wife that HE would do it!

My 2 girls.

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Pictures from Africa

August 10, 2007 at 7:16 pm (Africa)

I have wanted to blog my trip but brought back something funky from Africa so pray for me to get well! Most of the people on my trip put their pics on facebook and I added link to mine on the sidebar. You can also click here to see them.

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A few pics from Africa

August 7, 2007 at 7:51 pm (Africa, Missions)

There is so much to write about my trip to Africa but for now I am posting a few pictures. The first picture is where we spent our time. This is garbage and sewage mixed together and to the left of it is where the church is where we held our VBS. I can’t even begin to describe what a “squatter camp” is but whatever image comes to mind when you just read that, muliply it by a hundred.

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Just got home

August 7, 2007 at 2:53 am (Africa)

I love Africa.

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This is it!

July 20, 2007 at 8:43 am (Africa)

I can’t believe I start my journey to Africa today! I am so excited, well as excited as one can be at 4:30 in the morning. The youth pastor and I are heading out to Dallas, Texas for leadership training at the Teen Mania HQ and then the other 4 leaders come tomorrow for more training then our teens come Monday for more training then we finally leave for Africa!!! It is going to be awesome.
Please keep out entire team covered in prayer. I will blog everything when I get back!!

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I Love Jesus!

July 18, 2007 at 10:27 am (Africa, My ramblings)

I love waking up in the morning with a smile on my face. Thinking about how much the Creator of the universe loves me. Pondering the things of God and looking forward to what He is going to show me today. I love the feeling of expectation I have as I think about who the Lord will put in my path today.
I watch the sun rise almost every day and yet it never ceases to amaze me the beauty of it all. I drive to work and pass several farms and trees and I am so grateful that the Lord is creative and did not make just one type of tree of one type of flower. Am I am weirdo or does anyone else out there dig creation like I do? I sit outside for hours and stare at the stars and right now I am listening to the birds chirping. How cool is that? That God gave them their own beautiful language.
I love Psalm 19, The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the earth.
When I was Peru 2 years ago, we took a ride in an open cattle truck (I thought I was meeting Jesus that night!) and we drove up this mountain and I will never forget the stars. I have never seen so many stars so close up. It was as if I was looking at a black sheet and someone had poked holes through it and put a light behind it. I wonder if Africa will be like that. I am glad my friend Sara bought me a cool camera so I can take pictures when I am there. God is so good to me.
I can’t believe I leave in 2 days. I can’t wait to see all the beautiful African people. I can’t wait to kiss the little kids faces and share Jesus with them. I can’t wait to see 27 people being transformed before my very eyes. I can’t wait to see the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear and salvation to come to that dark continent.
I am amazed at the love the Savior has for me. It is undeniable.

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4 more days!

July 16, 2007 at 9:47 am (Africa, My ramblings)

I can’t believe I leave for Africa in 4 days! Actually we will be in Texas for a few days at Teen Mania doing leadership training and then our teens will arrive and we will have a few more days of training then we head to Africa. We leave from Texas, then go to Chicago and then back home to Dulles then off to Africa. Airplane time is about 20 hours and that doesn’t include the layovers. Please pray for our team, we are taking 21 teens and 6 leaders and many of them have never even been on an airplanee. I bought all sorts of puzzle books and cards so hopefully that will keep them busy on the plane. They may actually have talk to each other or read a book!
I know without a doubt that God is going to do extraordinary things and I am so excited. Yesterday the leaders got together and prayed and it was awesome. I prayed for us to have an abundance of faith and that the lame would walk, the blind would see, the deaf would hear and that redemption would rock Africa!

My ladies summer Bible study ended yesterday and we had a little party. It was great. Not only do these women learn to love their Savior more but they get to connect with other women and share what’s on their hearts. We did a Bible study on breaking free from strongholds and to listen to them open up and share their struggles with one another was amazing.
When I get back from Africa I will be doing a Bible study on the fruits of the spirit and also one for Sr High teens. I have really enjoyed hanging out with these young people and it has been very eye opening for me. I am so grateful that God can use my horrid past and my mistakes to help me minister and share with these young women.
Saturday, July 14, it was my 6 year anniversary for being sober but most importantly, it was also my anniversary for making the best decision of my entire life. I surrendered my life to my Creator that day. I am in awe of all the things the Lord has done in my life in just 6 years. I really need to write about it and I am going to before I leave on Friday.

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New Look!

July 4, 2007 at 1:37 am (Africa, My ramblings)

Ok, so I got sick of having my retinas burned out every time I signed on to my blog with the hot pink. Yes, it’s my favorite color but there are some things that just don’t look good that pink!
I am not sure if I will stick with this template so don;t be surprised if you read this and it changes a lot!

I am so excited about going to the Mall in DC tomorrow for Christ on the Mall’s Freedomfest. We are going to hand out free water and tracts and Bibles. I will be sharing my testimony as well so pray for me. I love to share it but I still get so nervous in front of people, especially thousands of people!

Then this weekend on to Nashville, Tennessee for The Call, an all day prayer, fasting and worship event. It is going to be awesome as well. It will take about 11 hours to get there but with 2 teens riding with me, I am sure I will not be bored!

Africa is coming soon, only 17 days, not that I am counting or anything. Please pray for our team members still waiting to receive their passports. Several of them have been waiting for a crazy long time. Now, we are getting down to the final details and I am trying to be patient. I am so excited to see what God is going to do with our team. 27 lives will be transformed this summer and I can’t wait to get back and post all the pictures and tell all the stories.

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26 more days!!!

June 24, 2007 at 7:23 pm (Africa, My ramblings)

I can’t believe it’s almost time to go to Africa! I know I am wearing everyone out but it’s my blog! I feel like there is so much to do yet and I know that before I know it, it will be time to go. I have been praying like crazy for the 21 teens and 6 leaders going on this mission trip. God is going to meet us there and use 27 ordinary people and in His power, enable us to do extraordinary things. I am so proud of these teens who had to raise almost $4,000! They did it! They sold everything from Krispy Kreme donuts to t-shirts and everything in between. I can’t wait till we come back and have the opportunity to share what the Lord did in and through us.
We are going to get to go from shack to shack to minister and share God’s love with the people there, how cool is that? Each one of the teens will get the chance to share their testimony as well, although I know they are nervous about it. We have a meeting next week and I told all of them to come prepared to share it with our team so pray they have the courage to do it! I know the first few times I did it, it scared the jeepers out of me but I know now that the more you do it, the easier it gets. That’s why I want them to practice it before we get to Africa. I acually need to work on mine as well and figure out what to share. The problem I have is cutting it down to only a few minutes. I love to share about what God has done in my life and is continuing to do, that’s wy I blog it all!

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Countdown to Africa!

June 21, 2007 at 8:58 pm (Africa, My ramblings)

I can’t believe I am going in only 29 more days! It seems like I have been trying to get to Africa for the last 2 years. What a incredible summer it’s turning out to be and it’s just beginning! God is so amazing and it always leave me speechless that He, Creator of the Universe, can take someone like me and use me for His glory and His purposes. I am proof that He has a sense of humor.
I was also just asked to share my testimony at the annual Christ on the Mall event in DC on the fourth of July!! What an honor. Me, sharing what the Lord has done in my life in front of thousands of people, yikes! How cool is that? The nation’s capitol! God keeps opening the doors for me to share His message and I am so privileged.
I am not freaking out yet but I am sure that in a few days I will be!
I am also getting ready to go to Tennesee for a few days for The Call. I am driving 2 teens and we are going to have a blast. All day prayer, fasting and worshipping God! Woohoo!
After that, it’s off to Africa. I am already planning my next mission trip!! We are sending a team from church to the Czech Republic in October to help minister with our missionary friends who are there. I am praying that I will get to go but if not, I am going to go to Louisianna to help out Operation Blessing with the Hurricane Katrina clean up.

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Countdown to Africa

June 7, 2007 at 10:36 pm (Africa, My ramblings)

I am getting so excited! I leave for South Africa in 41 days. It seems like it has been forever in coming and now it seems like it’s so soon. I am getting my shots next week and need to get cleared by my surgeon who gave me my new knee. It seems like there are a million little details to take care of. I booked my airfare to Texas for myself and the youth pastor. We leave a day before the other leaders. We have to go through team leader training with Teen Mania and it is going to be awesome. Then the teens come and train for a few days then we are off! We are going to be ministering in a squatter camp and doing lots of evangelism. I can’t wait. I am praying that the Lord prepares our hearts so that we can do what He wants in and through us. I am especially praying for the teens, they looked a little bewildered at our team meeting the other day. I may have scared them!

Please keep our team in your prayers.

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H-A-L-E-L-L-U-J-A-H!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 3, 2007 at 9:25 pm (Africa, My ramblings)

I just finished my last final and I feel like crying I am so happy!!! No school for the summer! It means I will graduate a little later but I think my sanity is worth it! Woohoo!!!
What a week! Yesterday we had our first team meeting with the teens and leaders who are going to South Africa on a mission trip this summer. It was so much fun. We did all the fun team-building activities and I love watching the different personalities meshing together. We got a good feel for who the leaders and who the followers are and that is always fun. During the team building activities it was fun for me (torture for them) to blind fold the leaders and make them not be able to talk! If only we could do that while in Africa!
I had to meet with the parents as well and make them feel comfortable with sending their kids with me. At the beginning of the meeting I was explaining to the parents that their kids will come back changed and they all clapped! It was hysterical! They said they couldn’t wait.
Now is the fun part of all the details. Shots and plane tickets and insurance, woohoo!
One of the things we did is ask each of the teens going what they thought their biggest challenge would be and most of them answered not having their IPods or video games. Amazing! They are not used to the quiet and I am grateful that after a few hours, all the batteries will be dead! One teen looked at me and smirked and told me he had a port so he could recharge the battery and it was all I could do to not laugh. I asked him where he was going to plug it in and he looked at me with absolute shock on his face! You should have seen the girls when we told them Teen Mania’s rules about no makeup, blow dryers or curling irons. It was so funny! I haev to admit when I read that we couldn’t take any makeup, I twitched a little too!
Anyways-The Lord is going to do mighty things in and through these teens. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that they will never be the same after going. I know my life won’t be!

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Hungry and Thirsty

May 27, 2007 at 1:04 pm (Africa, My ramblings)

Have you ever been so busy doing the Lord’s work that there is no time for the Lord of the work? I’m not talking about not reading His word or praying, I am talking about the intimate fellowship of just being together. Just being in the presence of Daddy receiving His love. Just listening to His voice, just being still. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that I blogged about taking Sabbath yet here I am, finally, after several weeks, taking a much needed rest?
I was reading Psalm 84 this morning and I so identify with it.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty. My soul yearns even faints for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
In Psalm 42 it says, As the deer pants for streams of water so my sould pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
In Psalm 63, it says, O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You, my sould thirsts for You, my body longs for You in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I am not in the desert like David was but boy am I thirsty. Not just for the Word, but to know Christ. I mean really know Him. To have the mind of Christ. To love like Christ does. To see the world through His eyes.

I have decided to take a semester off from school. It has been 2 years and I am burned out. Working fulltime in ministry and going to school fulltime is getting harder and harder. I really want to prepare my heart for my trip to Africa and I don’t want to be thinking about schoolwork. I want to be spiritually, emotionally and physically prepared for what the Lord is going to do through our team. I want to be available to the 23 teens we are taking because I know this trip will be life-changing, not only for me, but most importantly, for them.

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Summer Missions to Africa

April 13, 2007 at 10:31 am (Africa, Missions)

Well, I guess I could share a little more about this! I was just so excited when I found out.
As many of you know, I have been praying about fulltime missions to Southern Africa. I believe the Lord is calling me to serve the AIDS orphans there, specifically in Swaziland, since they have the hightest AIDS rate.
I have been praying about it for 2 years and at first, I thought, there is no way I am going to Africa! I was concerned about raising money and actually doubted (yikes!) that I could get there. I have been praying radical prayers and believing that God is who He says he is and that He can do what He says He can do. Who am I to think that just ’causeI ain’t got any money, that I can’t fulfill God’s call on my life? Does He not own everything? If He calls me to go, won’t He call people to send me? yup and yup.
So, the youth group at church is going to South Africa in July and one of the leaders can’t go now so I prayed about it and asked if I could take her place and now I am going! How awesome is that?
This is more than a summer missions trip to me. I feel like God will confirm in my heart this call and I need lots of prayers. I will probably not want to come home. I think the other leaders will keep me on a tight leash knowing I could accidentally get left behind!!!

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I’m Going to Africa!!

April 12, 2007 at 8:49 pm (Africa)

I’m going to Africa this summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m going to Africa this summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m going to Africa this summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m going to Africa this summer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Letter from Swaziland

March 29, 2007 at 11:50 pm (Africa, My ramblings)

I always love coming home and seeing a letter from my little girl I sponsor in Swaziland. Here is an excerpt of it:
“Since my father went missing and my mother died last year, I stay with my 2 brothers Bheki and Mancoba in my cousin’s homestead (I just love these names!) Because of being the only girl, there is no one similar to me. I am now in grade 3 and I think I will proceed to the next class next year.
There are 5 houses at my home, 4 made up of sticks and mud and 1 with cement blocks, 3 roofed with iron sheets and 2 with thatched grass.
I want to be a teacher when I grow up.
May God bless you what ever you do things.”

My dream is to one day be able to meet her. That would be so awesome! I would love her to be able to achieve her dreams, especially of growing up and becoming a teacher.
She lives in an area being ravaged by AIDS. 42 % of Swazi’s have it. That’s almost 1 in 2. The chances that I may actually get to meet her are rare but that doesn’t stop me from having hope. Hope that the Gospel will change this dark continent and bring it to repentance. Hope that this little girl and the other 14 million orphans will have a chance to see their 20’s or to have their own children.
While I was talking with the people at Teen Mania this past weekend, I was asked what my future plans were. I told them that I planned on changing the world. They looked at me kind of funny and asked me if I really believed that. I told them that yes, I did and with Jesus, I will change the world.
One life at a time, one orphan at a time.

Isaiah 61:1
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…”


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Children’s Cup Video

March 27, 2007 at 1:28 am (Africa, Missions)

God has not forgotten all the orphans in Africa. He loves them and He has a plan for them. James 1:27 commands us to look after orphans and widows in their distress.
Will you, by faith, be the hands and feet to help these little ones? Jesus loves these children and He needs our help. Watch these powerful videos and pray and ask God how you can help.
Click
here to what the ‘Cup does. Click here for look into what these children live with every day.
To make a donation or help one of the missionaries in Southern Africa with Children’s Cup, click
here.

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Life is full of Surprises

March 15, 2007 at 10:52 pm (Africa, Missions, Prayers)

I have been praying about Africa and how I can help with the AIDS orphans for quite a while now. I am trying to figure out if God wants me to live there full time or what. I am an advocate for these poor children and my heart is with them but does that mean God is calling me there to minister to them? Does that mean that God wants me to pack up my few meager things and move there? Does he want me to leave my unsaved brothers, sister and mother to go spread the Gospel there to complete strangers? As a single adult, should I date knowing God could call me to live there? Will I be able to raise thousands of dollars in support to get and stay there?

These, and many more questions have been on my mind for the last few years. I am in my last year of Bible college and I am praying that the Lord will reveal His will to me soon!
I have asked many of my friends to be prayer warriors for me and to help me to seek God in this and I am so grateful for people who I respect to speak words of wisdom and who encourage (and yes, sometimes admonish!) me.
One of my friends told me it was time to start doing something about it so I sent out an email to some friends and asked for prayer. That was 2 days ago and amazingly enough, an opportunity opened up for me to possibly go to South Africa with our youth group at church this summer.
One leader is unable to go now so there are 2 candidates vying for this position! And one of those is me!
An even greater opportunity opened up for me in that I am being sent to a seminar next weekend in Chicago with Teen Mania to go through their leadership missions training program. Our youth group at church is using them for our mission trip and in order to be a leader, you have to go through their training and be approved. Even if I don’t get picked, how awesome is that? Maybe God is opening another door with Teen Mania for me somehow. Maybe I will make more connections and my missions network will grow because of this trip. I don’t know, I can only pray that whatever happens, I have an open and responsive heart.
I was thinking about Abraham today and thinking about how I would respond if God said to me, Go, leave your country and everything you know and go to where I will tell you to go…by the way I am not sure where yet, just go and I will let you know when you get there.
Yikes!
Oh Lord, that I would be ready to go. Today…Tomorrow… Next Year… Whenever…

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Uganda Gulu Walk Update

September 29, 2006 at 9:49 am (Africa, Missions, My ramblings)

FYI- I had to cancel my participation in this 5 mile walk. You can still click here to make a financial contribution though. Here is some information about Uganda. Please pray and ask the Lord how He would want you to help with the horrific situation these innocent children are going through.

For the last 20 years, the people of northern Uganda have been caught in a brutal war between the Government of Uganda and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA have terrorized the local population as a means to challenge the government and sustain itself. The LRA has abducted over 30,000 children to be used as soldiers and sex slaves. Tens of thousands have been wounded, maimed and killed in LRA attacks. The LRA has no support from the local population; however, northerners also feel excluded from the central government. Since the current regime came to power in 1986, northerners have been marginalized in political and economic processes. Further, the government plan in 1996 to confine people to “protected villages” has collapsed into a displacement nightmare with 1.7 million people displaced in horrid conditions. One thousand people die weekly in these camps: deaths that northerners attribute to government’s neglect and failure to protect them.
Children are lucrative resources for the LRA rebels. The atrocities committed against these children are impossible to imagine: in captivity children as young as seven years old are tortured, beaten and raped. They are then forced to become rebel soldiers, sexual slaves, porters and labourers. Some are forced to kill, maim, beat or abduct innocent victims, including family members and neighbours, or to look on as these abuses are committed. Girls are used as domestic servants or forced into sexual slavery as LRA commanders’ ‘wives’. They are subject to rape, unwanted pregnancy and the risk of infection, including HIV/AIDS. Child abduction is clearly a major security concern for northern Uganda. Desperately afraid of abduction, vulnerable children as young as four years old will walk from their homes or displacement camp to a large urban centre every night. These ‘night commuters’ travel as far as 20km on a daily basis without any adult supervision subjecting them to a wide range of violence. They gather in schools, hospitals, district offices and NGO compounds – wherever they believe they can spend the night in safety. They settle to sleep in the open, where they are often abused and exploited. This temporary night displacement has destroyed family and cultural roles, and has deprived an entire generation of children from a primary education. At the peak of the conflict, the UN estimated the number of night commuters in Gulu, Pader and Kitgum districts to be 40,000.
To learn more or give a donation, click here.

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Gulu Walk for Uganda

September 23, 2006 at 1:43 pm (Africa, Missions, My ramblings)

As most of you know, I am praying about when to go to Africa as a fulltime missionary. There are so many needs there and Northern Uganda is one of them. I will be raising much needed funds by walking for 5 miles around Washington DC on October 21 for Gulu Walk. Click here to learn more about the purpose for the walk.

Please consider joining the team by walking or by making a financial contribution. You can make the difference in a life and you can do it in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have created a team, Team Redeemer, and my prayer is to have many of you walking with me. I set an initial goal for the team to raise $2000 but I pray we can go above and beyond that goal.

Maybe you are thinking that you are unable to walk or don’t have time, you can still help by making a donation. It can be as little as $1 or as much as you want. Any amount would be more than they have now and could literally save one child’s life. Click here to donate. Once you get to the donate page, click on the sponsor an individual link on the left sidebar and follow the instructions.
If you are unable to give a donation, you can still help us by praying for the situation in Uganda and by praying that many will join the team to walk.
Thank you so much!

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Answering the Call

September 5, 2006 at 12:11 am (Africa, Faith, Missions, My ramblings)

I can’t really pinpoint the exact moment I felt in my heart the desire to go to Africa. I shook it off at first and tried to not think too much about it. The more I tried to push it out of my heart and mind, the more it seemed it be at the forefront. I have been to Mexico and Peru and I loved both countries but I can’t see myself living there. I can picture myself living in Africa though. I would love to live in the orphange and be a “mom” to at least some of the 12 million orphans there.
I am still praying for confirmation from the Lord that this is His will for my life and not just something that I think would be cool to do. It’s so hard because I want to go to so many places. I want to go to India. I want to go to the Czech Republic where I have friends who have given up all to be missionaries there. I want to go to Papau New Guinea and preach to the tribes there. (Side note-that one scares me a little since they cooked and ate the first missionary there!)

I have been going over my finances and with the Lord’s help, I will be totally debt free in about 2 1/2 years. That would be awesome. I feel like the Lord has been preparing me for the last few years to be able to let go of material things. I think back to a time when I had the best of everything. Clothes, cars, homes, everything I had I felt represented my successfulness. It all seems so meaningless to me now. When I see the devastation of poverty and war, it seems almost ridiculous to me that there are so many orphans walking around in so many countries. So many people starving. I read an interview that a missionary had with a young boy who lived in Kenya and they asked him this question, “if you could have just one thing, what would you want?” Do you know what this young man asked for? A shirt. He said, “I would like to have another shirt.” I remember all the times I looked in my drawers or my closet and I thought I had nothing to wear. I have hundreds of pieces of clothing. How could I want one more thing?

I have been in contact with an organization called Children’s Cup and am praying about serving with them in Swaziland and Zimbabwe. They have several Care Points where they feed the orphans and educate them and basically take care of them. Click here to read about what they are doing and if you feel led to contribute to them, you can do that right on the website. Pray for all the missionaries there too.
Lord willing, I will be going in the next 6-9 months to visit and stay with the missionaries. This would be a dream come true because I don’t want to just go on a missions trip to Africa, I want to see how the missionaries live on a daily basis. I want to see Africa from their viewpoint.
If you are reading this, please pray for me. Pray that God would confirm this call in my heart I feel and that I would not go ahead of His perfect timing. Pray for financial provision as well. This will not be an easy task as I will have to raise all my support. It’s almost uncanny though this peace I feel about it. When I first felt Africa stirring in my heart, I immediately thought there is no way I can do this financially. My faith is increaasing on a daiy basis and I know that if I am called to the mission field, God will meet all my needs. I am holding to this Scripture:
1 Corinthians 12:9 “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

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I dreamed of Africa

August 10, 2006 at 8:59 pm (Africa, Faith, Missions, My ramblings)

My Soapbox on Africa
I have a little girl I sponsor in Swaziland, Africa through World Vision. Her name is Ntombikayise and she is 5 years old. I call her my little Tombi. She and her family live in a community severely affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis. For less than a cup of coffee a day, she is able to have her basic necessities met, clothing, food and water. Things we don’t have to even think about here in the US. Things we take for granted. Her life, as well as countless others, is being changed by Christian organizations like World Vision and Compassion International. Many people ask why we should help these children overseas when there are so many in the US we can help. My question is this, how many children are you helping right now here in the US? If your heart is in helping the many here that need help, then I will challenge you to step up and do something today.

I am not sure just when my heart started beating for Africa and more specifically, Sub- Saharan Africa. It may have started when I read a book that chronicled a little orphan’s life in Africa after the Rwandan genocide, where about a million lives were lost. This orphan walked hundreds of thousands of miles. He moved from one refugee camp to another searching for food and safety, several times being kidnapped and brutally beaten. I finished reading this book and had nightmares for months. I did a lot of research on Africa after this and the images of these orphans are seared into my mind. These images haunt me and challenge me to do something. Anything. One life at a time. It’s an incredible feat but I am not alone. The Lord Jesus Christ died not only for you and me but for every person in the world.
When I think about the day I will go to Africa, I always remember the apostle Paul’s vision of the man in Macedonia crying for him to come help him. This is what I hear when I think of all the orphans. They cry for me, sometimes so softly that I can barely hear it, but I do always hear it.

Some staggering statistics:
Many people here in the US are unaware of just how bad the AIDS pandemic is in Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa has just over 10% of the world’s population, but is home to more than 64% of all people living with HIV/AIDS.
More than 17 million Africans have died from AIDS and about another 30 million are infected, 3 million of them are children. Every day in Africa, 6,600 people die from HIV/AIDS, 8,800 people are infected and 1,400 newborn babies are infected during childbirth or by their mothers’ milk. There are over 12 million orphans. Can you imagine that?
More than 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa—nearly half the population—live on less than $1 a day.
You may be asking yourself, what can I do? You can start by praying for this crisis. You can get involved with organizations like The One Campaign and DATA. You can sponsor a child through World Vision or Compassion International. Click on any of the links for more information. Is giving up a cup of coffee a day worth saving the life of one child? These children are not just getting food and shelter, they are learning about Jesus Christ. They are learning that despite their circumstances, they have a Father who is defending their cause. You can give them hope. You can show them in a tangible way the love of Jesus through your sponsorship.

James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows…”

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