Everything will be beautiful in His time.

Ecclesiastes 3 is a passage about time. There is a time for everything. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot. For everything there is a time. After studying this scripture I realized that this is mainly a list of things that everyone will go through. This is a list of life. I used to focus on only this list and try to figure out where I was on the list. And then I continued reading and found verse 11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

That's what I'm waiting for. Waiting for Him to turn this beautiful. In November I decided to go to the doctor. Something was not right. I had been having a burning pain in my arms and legs. Pins and needles in my feet and extreme fatigue. I was not feeling like my usual self. Since I did not have health insurance I had waited and waited to see a doctor. But then I found Mission Arlington Free Clinic.

When I first went to the clinic they were not sure why I was feeling the way I was. They scheduled me for an appointment with the neurologist. Just saying the word neurologist caused fear to overcome me. But I remembered Ecclesiastes 3:11. Everything was going to be ok. God would make this beautiful in His time.

After my first appointment with the neurologist words like Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and MS were thrown around. Blood tests were ordered and an MRI was scheduled. Again that fear started to overcome me after walking out of the office. I noticed that the more I stressed about my symptoms the worse they became and the worse my symptoms got the more stressed out I would become. But then Ecclesiastes 3:11 would come back into my mind and calm the fear.

Results from the tests have since then come back negative. They are still not ruling out MS quite yet but I realize now that it is standard procedure. They simply have no answer yet for why I am feeling like this. Living my life with chronic pain is starting to become my new normal which is something I fought for a while. My world is slowly starting to become doctor's appointments, vitamins, pain meds that don't work and much more but the one thing that is so different for me is people.

It is so hard for someone to understand what I am feeling. I look fine on the outside so to many people I should be fine. What they don't know is that I am screaming on the inside. People don't understand how hard it is to make plans for the future. They don't understand how hard it is to make plans for the next day. I could be fine and do something one day but the next day I might find it difficult to even walk. People don't understand that I am angry. Angry that I am in pain. Angry that they don't know why. Angry that I am so tired and then just angry at being angry. Who knew that a chronic illness would change me and cause me to lose myself so quickly.

One Sunday I decided to try a Sunday school class that was just for people with chronic illness. I left that group feeling everything but encouraged. I felt like I was staring down a dark tunnel into my future. Everyone went around talking about their problems most of which started with chronic pain and ended with anxiety and depression. This was not ok with me. Ecclesiastes 3:11 came back into my mind and I knew that this is not what God had in store for me.

Everyday I have to combat the temptation to drown myself in self pity. I have to make the daily decision to get out of bed and tackle the day all while smiling through the pain. I know that one day my God is going to heal me. I believe that he will make everything beautiful in His time not mine.

I know that a few of you have been brought in on this journey with me and now I am praying that you all will come with me. I am in need of your prayers always. Please pray for complete healing and wisdom for the doctors. Please pray for my strength. Pray that I can continue to have a positive attitude and fight this. Please also pray for financial provision. Doctors appointments, tests and medications are all going to start adding up quickly. Please also pray for understanding on my part and on the part of others. Pray that people can have patience with me when I am having a hard time.

I really appreciate all of the support that I have gotten. I am so blessed to have so many amazing people around me during this time.

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Just twisting lemons 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.

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.

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The Cloud and The Line.

I have been struggling to decide what to blog about lately. I desperately want my blogs to be uplifting and encouraging to my readers. I want my words to inspire those who read them. I want my conversations with God to challenge those who have stopped talking. I want people to understand why I do what I do. 

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.

First you have the line. There are two extremes to the line. On one side you have the "bad" things. People that live on this part of the line ask questions or make comments like...
  • 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????
The problem with this kind of thinking is you are acting like a Pharisee. It is all about the rules and not God's heart. When you realize that the Passion of the Christ is rated R and there are some PG13 movies that you should not be watching, you figure out quickly that this thinking is flawed. 

The other extreme of the line is thinking of all the "good" things you do. People that live on this part of the line ask questions or make comments like...
  • 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? 
This thinking is just wrong. God does not operate like this. You can not manipulate God. You can not say "if I do this, God will do this." That is not how our relationship works. Which leads me to the cloud.

The cloud is God's heart. That is where you find things like grace, forgiveness, guidance, love ect. This is what I love about God. He sees us silly humans trying to live on the line and He offers us a way out. He offers us His heart. That is where we will find our guidance to tough decisions like the whole boyfriend situation. Instead of someone asking "how far can I go" people get to ask "what is God's heart for my relationship" or "where does God want this relationship to go?" We get the chance to explore God's heart. He has not hidden things from us but He has hidden things for us and if we just spend time with Him and get to know His heart then we will find those things that He wants to give us. 

So many times I see people stuck in a rut and they think that it is all God's fault. These are the people that live on the line. These are the people that think "why hasn't God blessed me?" What we don't realize is that we are tremendously blessed. We are alive and we have been given permission to have an intimate relationship with the one who created us.

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

I can't help but get emotional when I read these words. These words tell me how much my Father loves me. They tell me to stop living on the line. They tell me to just seek the heart of my Father and get to know Him. 

My question for you is are you living on the line or are you living in the cloud? Do you know the heart of God? Do you have an intimate relationship with your Creator?

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? 

Just something to think about...

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Today was a good day...

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.

He showed me my purpose in the form of church known as UBC (University Baptist Church). Waking up this morning I was so excited to finally get to join my UBC family on a Sunday morning. Walking in to the youth I immediately felt at home. Smiling faces that had been praying for me for months greeted me with eager voices. Students that are so excited and passionate for change in their schools listened as I explained why I was there. Potential flooded my soul when I looked around at all the room for more chairs to be filled. My purpose was finally shown. As the day went on things got better and better. Friendly faces gathered me and tears welled up in the eyes of gentle souls that have been looking forward to this day for a very long time. The day had finally come for someone to stand up for UBC and demand a revival in the lives of our young people and that someone that they have been praying for is me and my team.

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.

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The End of an Era.

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.
This is Ebi. He is 24 and is from India. This guy has truly changed my life in just one short year. I could sit here and type all day about all the amazing things he has done. His life story is so incredible. He has had to overcome and face so many obstacles but you will never here one bad word come out of his mouth. I have never seen him complain about anything. He is always thanking God for the good and the bad. He has taught me that humility is a wonderful attribute and one that I strive to practice daily. Ebi has got humility down to an art but I know that it has taken him many years of hard times to figure it out. I am so thankful for Ebi and his presence in my life. He is the only friend that makes hearing my name "Callie Rose" sound so sweet. His smile and his encouraging words bring such warmth to my heart and I am so grateful that God put us together so that we could be friends. 

3. It is always important to find the good in a bad situation.
This is Karla. She is 18 and from Germany. She is my "little sis" and I am so thankful for her this year. She has taught me so much but probably one of the biggest things that I love about Karla is she is always so positive. Even when I am in tears at my breaking point she reminds me of the good in a situation and brings me out of my pity party. She is so encouraging and so wise for someone so young. She is going to be an amazing teacher one day and I know this because she has been my teacher. Karla is a great friend and I am so lucky to have her in my life. 

4. There is no "I" in "team."
No matter who the leader of a team is, if one person fails we all fail. I have learned that a team needs to have everyone's back, not just the leaders. My team has taught me the importance of looking out for everyone instead of just myself. They have taught me to focus more on people and not on the tasks at hand. They have helped me understand when my words have hurt them and they have forgiven me when I just didn't have things together. Without my team I don't think this year would have been as great. God really knows what He is doing when he puts 4 people from 4 different countries into a town full of English people. 

God really worked in our lives this year. Not only did we help advance the kingdom of God but God helps us advance the people that we are. He helped mold us into the people that He has envisioned us to me. He has provided for us when we were in need and has blessed us with the ability to be a blessing when we had plenty. I am so thankful for this year and I can't believe it is over, however I know that God has so much planned for next year. He has so much planned for a team in Arlington made up of 4 Germans and 1 extremely excited Texan. I am sad to close this chapter but I know that God is not finished with my book yet and the next chapter is coming quickly and it is going to be great!

If you are interested in supporting me financially for Pais 2014/2015 please go to http://www.gofundme.com/CallieOnPais for more information. 

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God's Not Dead!

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...

"Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn't want them turning to God. Their sin is like a jail cell, except it is all nice and comfy and there doesn't seem to be any reason to leave. The door's wide open. Till one day, time runs out, and the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it's too late."

When I think about Satan I think about him slinking around and making everyone's lives miserable. I never thought that he could actually try to make our lives great so that we don't have to rely on God's strength. I have two thoughts on this quote.

#1. We need to rejoice in suffering. I know it sounds crazy but suffering is how we know that we are a threat to satan and when we need God the most. This is what the Bible says about suffering and how we should handle it. 

Romans 5:3-5 (ESV)  "Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

James 1:2-4 (ESV) "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

1 Peter 4:14 (ESV) "If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you."

God never says that we would be without suffering. In fact He tells us to expect it and rejoice in it. Have you ever noticed that more people talk about God when something is going wrong? When Christians are suffering they pray to God to end their pain. When non-believers are suffering they say "where is your God now?" God is never absent in the suffering and our joy should not be absent as well. Even though we are suffering we know that we are saved by God's grace and at the end of the day we know that we will spend eternity in heaven.

Which leads me to point #2. We need to be praying for the people living a "comfortable" life. 

This quote talks about how satan allows people to live a comfortable life so that they won't need to turn to God. They are sitting in a jail cell with the door wide open. They are welcome to leave and turn to Jesus at any time but they don't because they are comforted by their worldly things. They do not even know that they are missing something until it is too late and the door slams shut. Now the jail cell turns into what it was created to be in the first place: prison. Many people walk around today and they are sitting in a prison without knowing it. They don't understand that they need salvation because nothing is wrong so why fix it? There is nothing the devil loves more than lukewarm people. 

1 John 2:15 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."

Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men."

Matthew 16:26 "For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life?"

Jesus does not want us to be "comfortable." He wants us to rely fully on Him. We do not need our own strength if we have the strength of God. That is why we can rejoice in trials because we know that it will all be ok. 

What shattered my world when I heard this quote was the thought of young people. I realized just how many young people that I know that are "comfortable" in their own jail cell. They rely on the world to tell them what to do. They seek out approval from the latest fashion blogs and social media streams. They turn to celebrities for role models and strive to change everything about themselves in order to live in a "comfortable" world. They are turning to everything except God for the comfort that they need.

As a missionary I was always asked the question "why don't you witness to people in your own country?" I always struggled with this question because I always felt that I was "called" to other countries to share the love of Jesus but on Saturday April 26th 2014 I realized that I was called to something completely different. I am called to students. I don't care what country they live in I care about what kind of world they are living in. I want to find those "comfortable" jail cell students and bring them out of their shackles of lies that satan has told them. I want to find the students that don't know they need Jesus and bring Jesus to them. That is my new calling. This is why I am headed home. I know that I could probably find tons of young people sitting in their jail cells in any country but if I can think of one country that probably has the most "comfortable" teens it is my own. America is my new mission field and I am being called to release the chains that bind the hearts of our young people.

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. 

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Alea Iacta Est!

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.

Prayer Requests
1. Finances: Now that I know my future with Pais, I need to book my plane ticket home. I am looking to raise around $1000 for airfare. Please pray for provision. 
2. Pais Xcel: Pray for us as we go into our new schools and continue in the old schools. God is doing a ton of great work and we are so ready to see kids getting saved. 
3. My new team: Pray for my new team in the States. Even though I don't know who they are yet God knows. Pray that He provides support for them and pray that He is growing them this year so that they are ready to do His work. 
4. Influence Conference: This weekend we have a conference at our church. Pray for more people to come and for God to speak tons to the people that are coming.

If God has placed it on your heart to give to my mission:

Make checks payable to NORTHchurch (Callie's Settles mission fund in the memo line) and send to:
1601 W Memorial Rd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73134


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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.com/Callie-PaisGB

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