I have sat here for days trying to write this blog and I have only been able to come to one conclusion...I have no words.
When I decided to move back to the States from England and lead a team I had so many dreams and expectations for the year. It never crossed my mind that my world would be completely flipped upside down and I would be carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.
On September 26th I found out that my dad has cancer. Being in the ministry for a few years now I have been used to the word cancer. I have seen many prayer requests about family members having cancer. I have cried with people that have lost loved ones and I have celebrated with those who have gotten good reports. I thought that I had it all figured out. I knew the right words to say and I knew how to pray for healing. The moment that the word "cancer" intertwined itself into my immediate family I fell silent. I was not sure what to say anymore. This is one thing that you never expect to happen.
After we found out I jumped in the car and drove down to be with my family for the weekend. This was probably one of the quietest drives ever. Normally I have good music playing with plenty of good road trip snacks. This trip was different however. My head spun with what ifs and what nows but nothing came out.
I think that is why it is so hard to write this blog. I am not writing it so you can all know what is going on and you can feel sorry for my family. I know how strong my dad is. I know that he is going to kick cancer's butt and move on with life. I think I needed to write this blog so that I could finally share some feelings. So much has been kept inside for so long that I feel like I could burst.
I am mad! I am mad that in 2014 we have still not found a cure for this stupid disease. I am mad that the only thing to treat it is chemicals that rid the body of everything: good or bad. I am mad that my dad has to put his life on hold for 6-8 weeks 5 hours a day in order to beat this thing. I am mad that I might cause him to get sick. I am mad that my mom has to do this with me being 4 hours away. I am mad that my little sister has to grow up quicker than she should. I am mad!!!
But no matter how mad I get I have to remember that God is in control. I was reminded of the verse found in Jeremiah 31:25 "I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Even though I have these feelings I know that God is going to see me through this. I know that I can talk to him when I am lonely or when I am overwhelmed with everything that is happening.
This holiday season will be so different for my family. We are not going to be buying the latest gadget or toy. We are not going to be getting all the black friday deals or even focusing on stuff at all. This year we are going to be a family. We are going to surround each other with love and just enjoy the holiday season for the real reason that it was made: to remember Christ and to remember the love we have for our family.
Having a parent with cancer and trying to lead a team of missionaries in schools is not the easiest task. It is hard to keep your mind on the goal and help your team achieve everything God wants to do this year. It is also hard to be so close to home yet so far away. I am learning so much during this time. I am learning to tell people how they can pray for my family. I am learning to talk about how I am feeling with those around me. I am learning to take it one day at a time and look for the rays of sunshine instead of focusing on the dark clouds all the time.
This year is not turning out like I would have planned but I am determined to make it better than I expected. Life has certainly thrown it's share of lemons at my family and I will be sitting here just twisting them into lemonade.
I have sat here for days trying to write this blog and I have only been able to come to one conclusion...I have no words.
So I have decided to do a blog series on a Pais teaching known as the Kingdom Principles. They say that to teach is to learn twice so I am hoping that as I explain what I know to be God's heart for these principles I hope to learn about them even more so that I can write them on my heart over and over again.
Before I start with the first Kingdom Principle I have to first explain about the Cloud and the Line. This is something that has challenged my thinking so much over the past 2 years. So many "christians" believe that they are living in the cloud, however when you take away all the sunday fancy dress and rehearsed prayers you realize that most of our "christian" world is living on the line. Let me explain what I mean.
- How far can I go with my boyfriend before I get in trouble?
- You can't watch any R rated movies...only PG13.
- Are you working on the sabbath????
- If I give my 10% tithe every week God has to bless me.
- If I do all these good deeds then God has to bless me.
- How many good things do I need to do so that God will forgive me or won't be mad at me?
As I sit here writing this I am given the image of a brand new mother. When she is first holding her precious baby in her arms she looks on them with adoration and unconditional love. I am then given the image of God the father doing this as He carefully formed us in our mother's womb. I am reminded about what is says in Psalm 139:13-16, 18
There are people in the world today being killed for their faith. If this were happening in the US today would you be one that would not waver when asked to deny God or die?
Saying that today was a good day might be an understatement. Today was a great day. Today was a day that I needed so much to start feeling normal again.
I have only been in the states for 6 weeks. In reverse culture shock time that is not a lot. I have noticed myself slowly getting back to normal but slowly would be the key word. I don't think people really understand culture shock and can sometimes make you feel insignificant if you are the one dealing with it. Mood swings, loneliness, inability to make a decision when faced with too many options are just some of the things I have been dealing with for the past 6 weeks. On the outside I was fine but on the inside I was screaming.
I think it is important for people to understand this about mission work. This is probably one of the most overlooked issues that missionaries face. People think that just because you come back to good old America everything should be fine. Of course it is going to be fine...I have 23 different flavors of ice cream to chose from or sonic is now putting candy in their slushes. Little things that "normal" people see as everyday occurrences can be a huge challenge for me right now.
But here I am. Waking up every morning and getting through the day by the Grace of God. However today was different. Yesterday was a bad day. Yesterday I questioned what I was doing probably 1,000 or more times. Yesterday was hard. But today I woke up expecting God to show me my purpose...and He did.
I was reminded over and over again of how much God loves me. I was reminded of His plans for me and how they are so much greater than the plans I can make. I was reminded of my purpose and His love for his children. I was challenged and placed outside of my "church comfort zone" but still felt at home when I looked into the eyes of people cheering me on.
Today was a good day. Tomorrow...well that is going to be an even greater story.
In one week I will be standing with Pais Xcel as we close the chapter of this year and get ready to embark on the next chapter...apart. I can't believe that this year is already over. It feels like just yesterday I arrived in England. When I left America I thought I knew everything there was to know about myself. Boy was I wrong! Here are some things that I have learned this year.
1. You are not too old to learn new things...even from those that are younger than you.
This is my team leader, Chris. He is 19 and is from England. I am going to be completely honest and say that when I first found out he would be my leader I was worried about what he would be able to teach me. Because we all know that in 24 years I have figured out everything there is to know about life, ministry, God and friendship. I am a pro. lol. NOT! I was so wrong about this one. I have learned so much from this guy. It has been an amazing journey with him. It was not smooth all the time but it sure has been fun. He has taught me more about myself in a year than I have figure out about me in the past 5. He has been so supportive and so patient with me. I can't imagine what my year on Pais would have looked like if Chris would have not been my leader.
2. Humility is not something that is easily learned.
Last week I had the pleasure of going to see the movie "God's Not Dead." While watching the movie I could not help but cheer on the guy who was taking on the mean Atheist Professor however there was one point where I was actually left speechless. There was a quote in the movie that after listening to it has haunted my thoughts ever since. I have been wanting to share this quote and my thoughts on it for some time but I have found myself struggling to think of what to say. This quote reached to the depths of my soul and shook my core. Here it is...
Which leads me to point #2. We need to be praying for the people living a "comfortable" life.
I am very excited about next year and coming home to do mission work. This is why I do what I do. This is what God called me to do. This is why I live and breathe. I am just thankful that He brought me out of my own jail cell so that I can help free others.
The die has been cast. The future is determined. Alea iacta est! God has given me the clarity that I have been praying for all year and I am so excited to tell you all about it.
First I would just like to apologize if most of you are finding out this news on the blog and I have not had a chance to speak to you personally. Unfortunately there are a lot of you and only 1 of me so this is the simplest way.
In February I attended a conference put on by Pais. I knew that at this conference I would get to have conversations that would help me determine my next steps on Pais but I was not expecting what God was going to tell me. The week went by and everyday God spoke to me more and more about what I was doing.
After a few days I was able to sit down and have a conversation with my National Director for GB as well as the National Director for USA to talk about the future. I was excited but nervous at the same time. I knew that God was allowing me to make my own decision and there was no right or wrong answer. It was all up to me.
After sitting down with both directors it was clear to me that England was not my forever home. For the past 6 months I have been here pouring my heart into the youth of England all while God was pouring in love and passion for students in the US. Being in England has taught me so much and I am so excited to get to put it into practice.
God has really been working on me with consistency. He has been teaching me the importance of staying planted in one place. I know that God put me in England so that I could learn things to bring back home with me.
I am so excited that I have accepted a Team Leader position for Pais USA. In July I will be returning to the states and joining my new team to begin spreading Jesus to the students in America. I am ready to take back everything that I have learned in England to the students of America. I have been so blessed by my time in England. The people that I have met will remain in my hearts forever. God knew exactly what He was doing when he brought me to Pais Xcel and to Xcel church.
With that being said I am still in England for the next 4 months and I plan on putting in 1000% into my ministry here. I still have so much more that I can learn and so many people that I can learn from. I am so excited about the future but I am also excited about what God is doing in England right now with Pais Xcel. We started this past week into our 3 new schools and things are going so well. I am so ready to see kids come to know Jesus this term.
Oklahoma City, OK 73134
The past month has been a crazy blessed month. I can't even describe some of the things that Jesus is teaching me right now. Probably the biggest thing I am learning right now is faith and how to "use" it properly. I have always thought of having faith but never really thought about using faith until now.
In the past month I have been on a sort of reading frenzy. Seriously I have never read this much in my life. Currently I have completed 5 books in 4 weeks and am currently about 75% done with my 6th book. I have started to slow down just a little on this last one and by that I mean it has taken me a week to read instead of 2 days. I think that I am slowing down a little because this book is rocking my world right now. I am reading the book Believing God by Beth Moore. This is my first Beth Moore book to read. I have done her bible studies and loved all of them but I have never ventured into her books. Well let me tell you...it is a great adventure. I have learned so much in the past week and I am a little sad that I did not find this book earlier.
"Nothing on earth compares to the strength God is willing to interject into lives caught in the act of believing." -Beth Moore Believing God
Come on! Who doesn't get excited when you read something like that? If you don't then you might need to check your pulse. Beth goes on to talk about a 3 step process to practice using faith.
1. Practice raising your shield of faith by repeating the five-statement pledge of faith. The five-statement pledge is so good and for the past week I have been saying it. Here are the statements.
- God is who He says He is.
- God can do what He says He can do.
- I am who God says I am.
- I can do all things through Christ.
- God's Word is alive and active in me.
Well yesterday I was on the phone with 6 new schools trying to talk to the Head Teacher. After talking to 5 of them and getting the usual "leave a message and we will call you back" speech, I dialed the number for the 6th and final school. Before I did I said the five-statements out loud. I said "God you are who you say you are. You can do what you say you can do. I am who you say I am. I can do all things through you. Your word is alive and active in me." I then said "I WILL speak to this head teacher and we WILL have a meeting. When I called a man answered the phone. I asked to speak to Mr. ___ (The HT). He then said "speaking"
AHHH THE HEAD TEACHER ANSWERED THE PHONE! I spoke with him for a while and he asked when we could come in for a meeting. We are meeting with him Wednesday at 10:30am. Please be praying for us.
Also we now have another school signed up for a meeting next week. And this morning while writing this blog on Faith I received ANOTHER phone call from a school that has been the most difficult to get into. We have been very discouraged with this one but alas WE HAVE A MEETING! Ahhh I was so excited I actually let out a scream that I had no idea was coming out. I am pretty sure that was the holy spirit screaming at me saying "see I told you so."
God is so good. God WILL get us into more schools and we WILL change lives!
Please keep having faith and please start to actually USE it. It will change your world.
- I am a full time missionary working with the Pais Project. My primary goal is to advance the Kingdom of God by teaching young people using 3 Distinctives: Mission, Discipleship and Study. Join me on my journey. To read more visit...http://www.gofundme.
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