Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Little Things

Philippians 4:4-7
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 
5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Leaving home, my family, and my comfort zone gave me some major feelings of anxiety. To be honest, I was struggling to keep a spirit of thanksgiving as I was praying to the Lord for peace. Then things started to go wrong. Due to storms, my plane landed about 45 minutes away from airport and informed us that we were going to have to wait out the storms…for a few HOURS. I was shocked! I was going to miss my last connecting flight, and I am on a deadline.  

That morning for my devotions I had read 2 Chronicles 20, which talks about an impossible war for Israel. God let them know that even though they could not win, He would win the battle for them. So when the battle happened, Israel stood there watching as their enemies turned on each other and completely wiped out their own entire army! God had completely won the battle by turning the enemy on themselves! 

You may see where this is going. In my very earthly mindset, I earnestly started praying that God would delay my connecting flight so I would not miss it (similar to the enemy defeating themselves for my benefit). As I was praying though, God gave me an overwhelming sense to not get my hopes up, because His answer was “no”. I smiled to myself, thankful that He told me at the beginning so I wouldn’t be disappointed when I got to the airport. Though right after that, I got a call letting me know my flight had in fact been delayed!

I got extremely excited, yet I was skeptical after what God had just revealed to me. After a long wait in a relatively angry mob, the flight was cancelled, and so began the panic and stampedes. It was at this point that I began noticing a series of little blessings that kept happening. 

  1. As everyone stood in line/mobbed (angry, yelling, cutting, swearing), it hit me that I could call the airline from my place in line. I stood in line for over an hour, which gave me plenty of time to book one of the first available flights to my destination. I found out when I reached the front of the line that the next available flight was 3 days away! I am so thankful God prompted me to call versus wait for assistance, otherwise I would have to be dealing with some major problems right now.
  2. Next, I had failed to eat anything since I began the trip (a bad traveling habit of mine), and it so happened that my grandmother had bought me tons of peanut M&Ms and cheese cracker packets. I hadn’t planned on packing any food, and I’m so thankful she sent it with me! By the time I was free to get food, every restaurant in the building was closed for the night. I plan to eat like a hobbit today to make up for it, but I was thankful for some food to sustain me until restaurants reopened.
  3. I ended up getting sick, which is also something that doesn’t usually happen to me. My mom had encouraged me to pack pain pills, which I had forgotten to pack until last minute. I didn’t have time, so I just threw them in my carry-on, which I never bring, but when I got sick I happened to have exactly the pill I needed to feel better! I think everyone in this airport should be blessed and thankful for this! (I’d hate to have to be sick and grumpy to everyone). :) God provides.
  4. The first flight that was available to me was the next day, which meant a night spent in the baggage claim area. Apparently this area only has one plug, and I happened to sit right under it! People were swarming anything that looked like a plug, as everyone’s phone was dying, but thankfully God had provided my own plug that I was able to keep my computer and phone charged with, and therefore be able to keep in contact with my family and friends waiting for me at my end destination. So thankful for this, as traveling alone is lonely, and my parents would have been extremely worried if my phone had died. 
  5. For the last blessing I'll mention now, my book bag zipper refuses to stay closed tight since my ukulele is sticking out the top. I was struggling lugging around my ukulele as another carry-on (2 bags plus a ukulele), but then I was also struggling to not spill everything in my book bag when I tried to carry my ukulele in my book bag, sticking out the top. Then I remembered I always carry a carabiner! I used my extremely exhausted brain for some critical thinking skills, and connected the zipper with the ukulele inside my bag. I feel very relieved and happy walking around this massive airport without all of my stuff falling apart. 

These are little things, that maybe most people wouldn’t even notice. But they were exactly what I needed to keep praying with a heart of thanksgiving! God knows what He’s doing…. I may be over 24 hours into my trip and still 15 hours away from my destination, but my attitude is better now than it was when nothing was going wrong! To top it off, I just drank the biggest cup of coffee I have seen in a long time, which basically means I now am experiencing super hero powers.

Thank you for your prayers! Please keep praying, as I still have a lot to do from now until I actually get to Mexico on Saturday. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye has never been an easy thing for me. In fact my theory throughout high school and most of college was to just not do it. I figured if I never said goodbye then it was assumed and people would realize I planned on seeing them again. I managed to hurt others and also myself by running away from tearful goodbyes, leaving relationships with no closure or affirmation of how important certain people have been to me. 

As I’ve gotten older, it has become increasingly important to me to affirm others who have impacted my life in some way. Last summer God taught me more about the importance of goodbyes when He brought me through a season of death, when 3 very loved grandparents passed away within a very short amount of time. Leaving for Mexico, thankfully, is not as final, but in a way it feels it. When I come back, I will never fit here exactly the way I fit in now, and I’m praying that I fit even better. Either way, saying goodbye to my church family, who I love beyond what I could possibly put into words, feels a lot like saying goodbye to my life, my ministry, and my identity for the past 2 years. My pastor and his wife and other older mentors here have been the most encouraging role models for me to mimic as I continue in my life ministry.

Since I’ve moved to Maine, I’ve wanted to grow personally, build bridges for others, disciples teen girls, and reach out to the unsaved that God brings me in contact with. I’ve been able to minister to my family, graduate from my master’s degree as a teacher, teach two amazing classes under wonderful teacher mentors, be a part of my cousin’s wedding, play piano for my church, conquer my fear of fish, and so much more! 

On one hand, leaving is hard, and I’m crying just thinking about not being involved here. On the other hand, I have a desire and passion driving me to grow closer to God and better learn how to disciple, teach, and witness to others. I’m not sure yet why God is calling me the direction He’s bringing me, or where I’ll end up in the long run, but I do know that I need to follow God in order to grow to be more like Him in my ministry wherever I end up. So for that, I am thankful! 

One of the ministries closest to my heart over the past 2 years has been discipling my teen girls. I love them with all my heart!! And me leaving is just an extension of my ministry to them, considering I plan to stay in very close contact with each one of them. They keep me accountable to God’s Word, and they have kickstarted my ministry plans from dreams to an actuality. I’m going to miss my weekly hugs and Dunkin Donut runs with all of you!! Including the ones I failed to get pictures with (taking pictures is not my strong point in life). 
Sunday girls' discipleship group and accountability partners!
I will miss our group, Holly and Sakira!

Katelynn, Hannah, and the Shorettes :)
the Most Fun Family

 
Ivy the Confidant 

Evangel the Favorite and Cousin :)
Holly, my best Partner in Ministry



Alyssa the little Sister
Sofia the good Hugger
Leah the best Friend
Zoe the Diamond in the Rough

Saturday, July 16, 2016

THANKFUL!

God is so good. When I look back over my life, to be honest it doesn’t feel like I should have an army of supporters to help me fulfill God’s calling. With that said, my support levels for this trip to Mexico are going through the roof (in a good way)!! I still can’t believe that this is happening so quickly! I basically raised support for this trip in two months.
I am going to miss home!

My one thought on giving support is that it helps individuals be involved in God’s work. Since I’ve been raising support, I’ve been aware of the type of things that people usually give money towards. I think of the horrific attacks in France, and the amazing response from people around the world. Closer to home, I think of the attack in Orlando, and the massive amounts of selfless giving of time and money to help survivors. Even more personal, I’ve been watching strangers give over and over to help support some friends after a personal tragedy that happened in May. 

And then there’s me. I’m following God’s leading, and my church family and friends have surrounded me with more prayer and financial support than I could have ever hoped for.

This is a difficult time in our economy, and when I see people being as supportive as they possibly can, it just reconfirms God’s calling in my brain. My prayer now is that I can be used by God in such a way as to bless my supporters and encourage them to pursue God’s will more than ever before. 

I will be your arms to reach people you cannot reach. 

My support is coming in. My ticket is bought. My time in Maine is wrapping up. I am doing my best to be ready and to be obedient to God’s calling.

Thank you to my supporters! 


 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pre-Field Orientation Update

It’s good to be back on here and posting! Over the past month, a lot has happened. I was able to go to the Pre-Field Orientation (PFO) training at New Tribes Missions USA headquarters, my computer completely died losing everything on it, and I had two friends from South Carolina come to visit me at my home in Maine! 

For those few who knew and were praying about my computer issues, God has been good. My computer is fixed and basically a brand new computer at no cost to me. The downside is I did lose everything on my computer, which all I can say is I’m thankful I am finished graduate school so I do not have to worry that much about redoing any papers. Speaking of which, while in Florida I received my degree from school. I am officially graduated!! 

This post is more of an update on how PFO went in Florida. I will take time later to write an update on my support levels and what’s going on now. I had such an excellent trip, and God used my time there in Florida to help me grow in more ways than I could have hoped for! 

I know this is very small, but this is the schedule for the 10 days of training. It was a very busy schedule, and I was thankful for the breaks to slip in naps and walks. I loved the topics and speakers! The entire 10 days ran so smoothly and every moment seemed important to my coming mission in Mexico.
One of my favorite parts of this trip was the location! The sunsets were AMAZING. I personally love walking, and we happened to be staying in an area with a long walk alongside this beautiful lake. It made me feel at home. 

New Tribes Missions USA headquarters currently is held in a very historical building, and I thought it was worth sharing how cool it is. My mind automatically starts wanting to explore, so I'm thankful we began the trip off with a guided tour around the property and buildings.
The guest house was extremely comfortable, and the food provided was a huge blessing. They definitely know how to take care of guests. It felt more like a vacation at times rather than work.

This is off the back porch of the building, and you can see the water in the distance. Coming from Maine, the daily heat and was a bit of a shock 

Each day and each session had us digging into the Scriptures, which I love. I should later take time to post pictures of some of the required reading books that we read and looked at during some of the sessions. I am a natural student learner, and wish at times that my life could always be filled with learning sessions, Bible reading, and group conversations!

Did I mention yet how much I loved the setting and sunsets in Florida?


The fellowship at PFO was my favorite part. I cannot remember the last time I was surrounded by so many like-minded people. These two especially are right around my same age and pursuing the same exact things in life! There were 20 people in our group, and we bonded and took time to encourage each other way beyond my highest expectations. Unfortunately, I was the only one in the group headed to Mexico, but I can't wait to see these people again, even if its in heaven. 

Something else neat that was of personal enjoyment was the wildlife. I'm always on the outlook for animals, and Florida and Maine have a vast difference in wildlife! I got to see a few alligators, which if you look carefully you will see one in this picture around 11 feet long. I also got to talk to some fisher men about what type of fish this area gets. The most exciting adventure was seeing a wild manatee, which is a first for me! I can't wait to find out what type of wildlife I'll be seeing in Mexico. 


I have to end with a final sunset picture.
Psalm 19:1, 14
"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."