Saturday, December 31, 2011

M.I.A.

I apologize for being so M.I.A. recently and keeping my Haiti stories to myself...
but I promise to get around to it once the new year starts.
It's just been cah-razy with arriving home on Christmas Eve, 
Christmas with the family the next morning,
meeting with friends in town this week,
sharing my Haiti stories over and over again, 
uncovering some mildly shocking but exciting news nonetheless,
and the New Year's preparations...
Yeah, you could say I'm a little swamped 
and blogging has taken a place on the back burner for now.

I'll be back soon, promise!! 
Have a fun, safe New Years Eve everyone! 
"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 5:15-20.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A week in Haiti will leave you...

...with some much needed perspective.
...feeling grateful for what God has blessed you with.
...with a calling to help others in need.

...falling in love with the children of God.
...appreciating that second and third meal of the day.
...working to better the Lord's Kingdom.
...laughing at the hiccups the Lord throws your way.
 ...trying new foods.
...gaining new sisters.
...with a whole new family to call your own.

Although I am now back in the states, my heart remains in Haiti.
Please know how blessed you really are. 
It isn't until you take that leap of faith to venture elsewhere, that you truly grasp the realization of his many blessings on your own life. 

He replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."
Luke 11:28

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Be Strong.

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
1 Corinthians 10:13


REMINDER: check here for daily blog posts from my team in Haiti!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Be Motivated.


"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
Isaiah 43:1-2


REMINDER: check here for daily blog posts from my team in Haiti!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Be Encouraged.

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8:38-39


REMINDER: check here for daily blog posts from my team in Haiti!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Guest Post - Scott

I'm really, really excited about today's guest post. I asked my friend Scott if he'd be up for guest posting for me a few weeks ago and I was super nervous because I wasn't sure how he would react. Scott's been a good friend of mine for just a short while now, and his heart for the Lord is so inspiring. So, naturally, I had to ask if he would share a bit today. Please take the time to read this. For more, you can find Scott's blog here.
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Ello ello! I feel so privileged and blessed to be filling in the blog on this wonderful day as Amber is down in Haiti serving our Lord. Welp, my name is Scott Young, I am a current student at CSU Chico and am somewhat new to blogging, but I will say this, it is addicting!  So Amber came to me a few weeks ago and asked if I would share a little on missional living.  I said yes, but it took me a while until the Lord placed something on my heart. He placed a story that I heard probably 2 years ago on my heart.  The story is a little long, but trust as I say this, it is well worth it.  Take the time to read it. My prayer on this day is that all of us can have this man's perspective on what it means to live missionally but also to have our sites on the Lord and eternity.


A few years ago in a Baptist church in Crystal Palace, in southern London, the Sunday morning service was closing, and a stranger stood up in the back, raised his hand, and said, “Excuse me pastor, can I share a little testimony?” The Pastor looked at his watch and said, “You’ve got three minutes.” And this man proceeded.

He said, “I just moved into this area, I used to live in another part of London, I came from Sydney, in Australia. And just a few months back I was visiting some relatives and I was walking down George Street, you know where George Street is in Sydney, it runs from the business hub out to the rocks of the Colonial area.” And he said, “A strange little white-haired man stepped out of a shop doorway, put a pamphlet in my hand and said, ‘Excuse me sir, are you saved? If you died tonight, are you going to heaven?’ “
He said, “I was astounded by those words. Nobody had ever told me that. I thanked him courteously, and all the way on British Airlines, back to Heathrow, this puzzled me. I called a friend who lived in this new area, where I’m living now, and thank God, he was a Christian - He led me to Christ. And I’m a Christian, and I want to fellowship here.” And Baptists love testimonies like that. Everyone applauded and welcomed him into the fellowship.

That Baptist Pastor flew to Adelaide, in Australia, the next week. And ten days later, in the middle of a three day series in a Baptist Church in Adelaide, a woman came to him for counseling, and he wanted to establish where she stood with Christ.
And she said, “I used to live in Sydney. And just a couple of months back, I was visiting friends in Sydney, doing some last minute shopping down George Street, and a strange little white-haired, elderly man, stepped out of a shop doorway, offered me a pamphlet and said, ‘Excuse me ma’am, are you saved? If you died tonight, are you going to heaven?’”
She said, “I was disturbed by those words. When I got back to Adalaide, I knew this Baptist church was on the next block from me, and I sought out the Pastor, and he led me to Christ. So sir, I’m telling you that I am a Christian.”

Now this London Pastor was now very puzzled. Twice, within a fortnight, he’d heard the same testimony. He then flew to preach in the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Perth. And when his teaching series was over, the senior elder of that church took him out for a meal. And he said, “Mate, how’d you get saved?”
He said, “I grew up in this church from the age of fifteen through Boy’s Brigade. Never made a commitment to Jesus, just hopped on the bandwagon like everybody else. And because of my business ability, grew up to a place of influence. I was on a business outing in Sydney just three years ago, and an obnoxious, spiteful little man stepped out a shop doorway, offered me a religious pamphlet (Cheap junk!), and accosted me with a question, ‘Excuse me sir, Are you saved? If you died tonight are you going to heaven?’ “ He said, “I tried to tell him I was a Baptist elder. He wouldn’t listen to me.” He said, “I was seething with anger all the way home on Quantus Two to Perth.” He said, “I told my pastor thinking he would sympathize with me, and my pastor agreed. He had been disturbed for years, knowing that I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus - and he was right. And my pastor led me to Jesus just three years ago.”

Now this London preacher flew back to the U. K. and was speaking at the Keswick Convention in the Lake District, and he threw in these three testimonies. At the close of his teaching session, four elderly pastors came up and said, “We got saved between 25 and 35 George Street years ago, respectively, through that little man on George Street giving us a tract and asking us that question.” He then flew the following week to a similar Keswick Convention in the Caribbean, to missionaries. And He shared the testimonies.
At the close of his teaching session, three missionaries came up and said, “We got saved between 15 and 25 years ago, respectively, through that little man’s testimony and asking us that same question on George Street in Sydney.”

Coming back to London, he stopped outside Atlanta, Georgia, to speak at a Naval Chaplain’s convention. And when his three days of revving these Navy Chaplains up, over a thousand of them, in soul-winning, the chaplain general took him out for a meal. And he said, “How’d you become a Christian?”
He said,”Well it was miraculous! I was a rating on a United States Battleship, and I lived a reprobate life. We were doing exercises in the South Pacific, and we docked in Sydney Harbor for replenishments. We hit King’s Cross with a vengeance. I got blind drunk. I got on the wrong bus - got off in George Street. As I got off the bus, I thought it was a ghost. This elderly white-haired man jumped in front of me, pushed a pamphlet into my hands and said, ‘Sailor, are you saved? If you died tonight, are you going to heaven?’” He said, “The fear of God hit me immediately. I was shocked sober, and ran back to the battleship, sought out the chaplain, the chaplain led me to Christ and I soon began to prepare for the ministry under his guidance. And here I am in charge of over a thousand chaplains and we’re bent on soul-winning today.”

That London preacher, six months later, flew to do a convention for 5000 Indian missionaries in a remote corner of northeastern India. And at the end, the Indian missionary in charge, a humble little man, took him home to his humble little home, for a simple meal. And he said, “How did you, as a Hindu, come to Christ?” He said, “I was in a very privileged position, I worked for the Indian diplomatic mission. And I traveled the world. And I am so glad for the forgiveness of Christ, and His blood covering my sin, because I’d be very embarrassed if people found out what I got into.”

He said, “One bout of diplomatic service took me to Sydney. And I was doing some last minute shopping, laden with parcels of toys and clothing for my children, walking down George Street. And this courteous, little white-haired man stepped out in front of me, offered me a pamphlet, and said, ‘Excuse me sir, are you saved? If you died tonight are you going to heaven?’” He said, “I thanked him very much, but this disturbed me. I got back to my town, I sought out the Hindu priest, and he couldn’t help me. But he gave me some advice. He said, ‘Just to satisfy your curious mind, nothing else, go an talk to the missionary in the mission house at the end of the road.’ And that was fateful advice.” He said, ”Because that day the missionary led me to Christ. I quit Hinduism immediately, and then began to study for the ministry. I left the diplomatic service, and here I am, by God’s grace, in charge of all these missionaries, and we’re winning hundreds of thousands of people to Christ.”

Well, eight months later, the Crystal Palace Baptist pastor was ministering in Sydney, in Gymeir, southern suburb of Sydney. And he said to the Baptist minister, “Do you know a little man, an elderly little man who witnesses and hands out tracts on George Street?” And he said, “I do. His name is Mr. Genor. G-E-N-O-R. But I don’t think he does it anymore, he’s too frail and elderly.”
The man said, “I want to meet him.” Two nights later, they went around to this little apartment, knocked on the door. And this tiny, frail, little man opened the door. He sat them down and made them some tea, and he was so frail that he was slopping tea into the saucer as he shook. And as he sat with them, this London preacher told him all these accounts over the previous three years. This little man sat with tears running down his cheeks.

He said, “My story goes like this.” He said, “I was a rating on an Australian warship and I lived a reprobate life. And in a crisis, I really hit the wall, and one of my colleagues whom I gave literal hell, was there to help me. He led me to Jesus and the change in my life was night to day in 24 hours and I was so grateful to God. I promised God that I would share Jesus in a simple witness with at least ten people a day - as God gave me strength. Sometimes, I was ill - I couldn’t do it, but I made up for it at other times. I wasn’t paranoid about it, but I have done this for over forty years, and in my retirement years, the best place was on George Street. There were hundreds of people. I got lots of rejections; but a lot of people courteously took the tracts.” And he said, “In forty years of doing this, I’ve never heard of one single person coming to Jesus until today.” 
- Now I would say, that has to be commitment. That has to be just sheer gratitude and love for Jesus to do that. Not hearing of any results. Margarita did a little count. That’s 146,100 people that simple little, non-charismatic, Baptist man influenced somehow to Jesus. And I believe that what God was showing that Baptist minister was the tip of the tip of the tip of the tip of this iceberg.

Goodness knows how many more had been arrested for Christ and were doing huge jobs out in the mission field. Mr. Genor died two weeks later. And can you imagine the reward he went home to in heaven? I doubt if his face would have ever appeared on Charisma Magazine. I doubt if there would have ever been a write-up with a photograph in Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine - as beautiful as those magazines are. Nobody except a little group of Baptists in southern Sydney knew about Mr. Genor, but I’ll tell you his name was famous in heaven. Heaven knew Mr. Genor, and you can imagine the welcome and the red carpet and the fanfare that he went home to.

I will let the story speak for itself, just think about how you are impacting the lives of others in the name of Jesus.

-Thanks all, may you be blessed today and if you care to check out my blog ever, click here.


What a great story. I just love how Mr. Genor had no idea how many people were coming to Christ because of his small little gestures, yet he continued day in and day out. Thanks so much for sharing, Scott! I really appreciate it. Please check out his blog, My Story for His Glory, here.

REMINDER: check here for daily blog posts from my team in Haiti!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guest Post - Kylee

I'm so excited to bring you guys Kylee today from Kylee Noelle. She came to me with the idea of guest posting for me to particularly share her thoughts on the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, a book in which I've personally read twice. I love and completely agree with every word she expresses below. Just you wait..her passion is so contagious. Thanks so much Kylee for sharing your thoughts on a book I believe, as well, everyone should read.

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Hello everyone! I’m Kylee and you can find me over at my blog, Kylee Noelle, where I chat about my life and share recipes and freebies every now and then. I am so glad to be able to share what is on my heart with you today. Thanks for having me Amber!




One of the most inspiring and convicting books I have ever read is Francis Chan’s, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God. He captures everything I have always felt was missing from the modern church, but struggled to put into words. This post is inspired by the book and I would seriously recommend reading it!

I have always been burdened with a sense that there is more to Christianity than what I see from the supposed 80-something percent of Americans who consider themselves Christians. More than going to church, singing songs, saving sex until marriage, condemning gay people to hell and voting for whatever politician hates abortion. 

The verse that always brings me the most conviction in the Bible is Luke 9:24-25.
"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?"

Being a Christian is so much more than a prayer you prayed when you were seven. It is far more than a warm fuzzy feeling you get in church on Sunday mornings. It is definitely more than saying you believe in God. It is even more than obeying a few moral rules. No, I believe that being a Christian is wholeheartedly denying your own passions and instead confidently embracing the passions of Christ.

It is WAY easier said than done. How many Christians can you honestly say you know who are clearly denying themselves? Who are obsessed with the passionate love of God and put that obsession into action? I can think of a few, but I wish I could think of more.

I honestly believe that any one of us can give more than we give ourselves credit for.
I’m pretty sure that so many of us who call ourselves Christians are missing how incredibly amazing our Creator is and what an awesome responsibility we have to fully jump in with both feet and follow him. Both feet. Not one foot in and one foot out. Fully immersing ourselves in a passionate love with our Savior and letting that love burst forth from us onto others.




I could go on and on. My hope is that we can be empowered to not be complacent in where we are at, but rather to strive for a deeper and more passionate Christian walk! It's just far too easy to set our faith aside with all the distractions of this world.


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Amen, sista. I couldn't have said it any better. I highly recommend this book as well as the two Francis Chan wrote after (Forgotten God and Erasing Hell). Thanks again, Kylee! 

REMINDER: check here for daily blog posts from my team in Haiti!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Guest Post - Janae

I am so beyond excited to have my very best friend, Janae, here today to guest post for me. A few weeks ago, I asked her if she'd be down for this and she was all for it, no hesitation. I'm so blessed by our friendship and how much we can still pour into one another despite the distance (she lives in Chico, CA and I live here in Portland, OR). This past summer, she and a few others from Chico State were accepted onto the Ocean City, New Jersey Summer Project team through Campus Crusade for Christ. To see such growth in one summer was so inspirational, and I hope that you can find the same inspiration in her writing now, as she expresses how much that project changed her life. If you'd like to read more from her trip, check out her blog (here). 

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Hello blogging world; it’s been a while! I was so jazzed when Amber asked me to “guest blog” while she is on her mission’s trip to Haiti. I thoroughly enjoyed my time blogging this past summer while I was on an eleven-week mission’s trip in Ocean City, New Jersey. I found it to be the perfect way to share about my experiences and process through all that was going on. I am now going to take this opportunity to share with you all about what the Lord has been doing in my life post-project.

Before I really dive into it, I want to give a little background as to what Ocean City Summer Project is. It is an eleven to twelve week mission’s trip where roughly 100 students from all over the nation are taught how to share their faith/the gospel (in every day life) and the importance behind it. Ocean City Summer Project has been around since 1965 and is actually the first project CRU (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ) ever offered. Now there are a plethora of projects all over the nation, there are even international projects. Ocean City Summer Project is a life-changing summer – immense growth occurs and a deep love for our Savior is imbedded in the hearts of the 100+ students attending.
My experience was just that: life-changing. I entered project coming off a semester that had been so destructive to my life and my relationship with the Lord. Throughout the summer, he transformed me and provided me with a genuine passion to serve him. When I think about the most positive time in my life thus far, I think about project. I was surrounded by 100 other students who spurred me on in my faith and provided me with the best community I could have ever wished for.
I returned to Chico and found I was no longer living in a “Christian bubble”. I immediately started struggling with past sin. I had to let go of my worldly desires and keep in mind that the person I was before project was a person I never wanted to be again. I am much more aware of the Lord’s presence in my life and how faithful he is (Psalm 40:1-2). One of the greatest truths I learned this summer is that EVERYONE is called to be sent, by sent I mean reach all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Whether you are being called to help send or to physically be sent, all are getting “the call”.
This summer I felt the Lord tugging me to help send others to pursue international missions. I began financially and prayerfully supporting acquaintances, my discipler, friends, and just recently my sister. I have felt great joy in assisting others get to where the Lord has called them. I have always been open to the idea of being sent internationally, but haven’t felt the Lord draw me in that direction. Part way through this semester I attended a summer project meeting, mainly to support those who have never been on one and encourage them to consider it…little did I know, the Lord had something in store for me too. This upcoming summer, Chico CRU is partnering with the Dominican Republic and sending a team from May 25-June 30 to share the gospel with approximately 160,000 students. The directors of Chico CRU are heading the project and the team will be made up of members from CRU and the Latino branch of CRU, Destino.
It was a surprise to me when I was sitting in the room, hearing information about the D. R. project, and feeling as if I should apply. Since then, I have prayed about it and continued to feel it lay heavy on my heart. On December 10, I submitted my application and will hear by January 28 whether or not I’ll be spending five weeks in the Dominican Republic this summer. It is exciting, but extremely nerve-racking. I never imagined I'd embark on an international mission’s trip…not soon anyway! But as the director of Ocean City Summer Project said, “Risk it all to follow the call.”

Thank you so much for reading about my heart change for international missions! It has been so fun being able to share it with you all. I pray that you are answering the Lord’s call for your life, whether it be to help send or to be sent.
Don’t forget…please, continue to pray for Miss Amber’s journey! It is awesome to know others are supporting her and are tuned into what she is doing to serve Christ! She is such a lovely woman of God and an example to me and many others. I am just so blessed to have her in my life!
 OCSP 2011. 
Love you, Ambs!

Thanks so much, Jan! Please be praying as she awaits a response from CRU regarding the Dominican Republic! I'm so proud of my best friend. 


REMINDER: check here for daily blog posts from my team in Haiti!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Guest Post - Elizabeth

I'm so blown away by this next story. I've always wanted to go to Africa and when Elizabeth offered to guest post for me with a story like this one, I had to accept. Please take the time to read through this and then check her out! She and her husband are awesome believers. 

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Hey everyone! It's Elizabeth here from Our Shenanigans and Amber is allowing me to share my experience in Africa while she is on her mission in Haiti.

My husband and I were fortuante enough to travel to Tanzania Africa for a month to volunteer. As a nurse, I volunteered in the operating room at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Arusha, Tanzania and my husband volunteered teaching math and english to the primary school Cheti.
 It's so hard to even begin to describe our experience there. We were surrounded by a completely different culture and completely different view of life.
                                   My experience at the hospital was a complete eye-opener. I am so grateful for the medical advancement we have here in America and the technology and research we have readily available. When I saw the operating rooms, I was shocked. I couldn't believe how much they were lacking. They knew it too, but I guess working with what they have is just a way of living for them. 

One of the only times I will say something positive about the health care in America is when I reflect upon what I experienced there. Not that we don't have problems here, but we have everything we need to run tests, make a proper diagnosis, and have supplies and/or medication to treat the patient.
I was able to spend time in the lab and run blood samples of all the patients to determine their HIV status. Instead of a positive test being a surprise, a negative HIV was the suprise. HIV positive patients are very common and with the lack of private hospital bedrooms, the giant rooms with rows of beds and unsanitary conditions could make HIV spread easily. I've never had surgery before, but I know that when I do, I'm grateful to be here in America where we are blessed with the medical advancements and settings that are unavailable in other countries.
Moving on, my husband volunteered at a primary school teaching math and english. I was slightly jealous hearing his CUTE stories of the kids because the African kids are the ones who stole my heart. They have to be the most loving, grateful, and happy kids I've ever seen. They have nothing and know nothing better, and yet they are happier than those who have everything they want and need. My last week there my husband and I decided to paint their school building since it was plain. I'll never forget the feeling when they would all come out of their classroom and swarm us. They loved to just watch us paint flowers on the wall. They would stare and smile and giggle. One of the teachers told us that most have never seen paint or paint brushes before. We let some kids help paint and my heart melted knowing this was the first and possibly last time they would ever be able to paint.


This whole experience of giving yourself and your time to others has strengthened my testimony of service and being grateful for the small things we have in our lives that others would give anything for. As easily as the Lord blesses us, He can just as easily take them away. We're both grateful for this experience and what these children have taught us.


Thanks so much for sharing, Elizabeth! I love to see and hear the hearts of others as they experience a whole new part of God's world. Please check out Elizabeth's blog (here)!! 

REMEMBER to go here throughout this week to be updated on my team's progress in Haiti!! We'll be blogging throughout the week :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Guest Post - Jamie

There you have it! I am on my way to Haiti as this post is being published. Please be praying for continued safety and strength throughout this next week for my team and I. Thank you all so much for your never-ending support as I've prepared myself for this missions trip. In return, this week I've wanted to have a few of my close friends share their experiences serving others in light of the Lord. Throughout the next few days, I will introduce a few fellow believers who have their own missions to share or what the Lord has currently put on their hearts. I wanted to continue to inspire my readers even as I am away for the week. I hope you enjoy them! First off, Jamie from Snow in December is here to share her missions trip to Mexico! Take it away, Jamie.


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My first and only missions trip changed my life.

Shortly after becoming a Christian during my Senior year of High School in 2002 (GASP! That's almost a decade ago!)...


*Me (blonde in black) and some great High School friends - Senior Year



...I went on a missions trip to Mexico with my youth group. We helped build a church and played with tons of adorable little children (my favorite part, even though I didn't even like kids at the time!). It was a week I will never forget. The town we served in was poverty stricken - the roads were made of dust, run down, falling apart "shacks" served as homes, starving dogs roamed the streets, gun shots could be heard through the night. But the church we helped build was to be not only a place of worship but a place of love, a place of HOPE. (Isn't that what worship is all about, anyway?)

I was so moved by what I saw there in Mexico - That God is present in even the most dire of circumstances.

The pastor of the new church and the people who would be served by the church were all so full of peace, and JOY! 


Even though they were surrounded by poverty. Even though some of them probably ate one meal a day. Even though their floors were made of dirt.  Even though some of them might have lived five to a house the size of my master bathroom.




If the Spirit of God could be alive in people who had virtually nothing but the clothes on their back...



If God could be ablaze in the hearts of so many who lived in such poverty;



Then I was without excuse.



And still today, although I haven't had a chance to go on another missions trip since Mexico,

I am grateful for that opportunity

To have been able to witness what it really means when it says in the Bible


Count it ALL Joy.


Amber, I wish you and your team many blessings on your upcoming mission trip to Haiti! I pray that many lives, and hearts, will be changed.






Thanks so much Jamie!! This is the first of many guest posts this week while I am on my missions trip in Haiti, so be expecting more great stories. Jamie, your story is so amazing and it's one that will last a life-time. 

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REMINDER throughout the week: 
My team will be posting a blog a night while in Haiti and our daily updates can be read over here. So please, feel free to check in on me and the team. Thanks so much for the continued prayer from my readers. I love you all and it truly means so much to me to have the support. 

 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

   And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah 6:8


***Also, see me over at Heather Boersma's blog, Dreaming Big. I did a little guest post for her to share more about my missions trip to Haiti.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's finally here.

Tomorrow's the day. 
Tomorrow I'm going to Haiti!!

[via]
I have been praying for this missions trip for nearly two years. In February of 2010, I was first introduced to the idea of these weekly mission trips to Haiti by my church. That church service was the day the Lord placed Haiti on my heart. Since then, I have been praying daily for my chance. In March of 2011, I applied for the December trip months in advance to the deadline. August 2011 rolled around, closing any further applications for trips during the months of September-December. Mid-August, I received a phone call from a man named Steve who kindly interviewed me for placement on the December team. On August 16th, I was accepted. On September 8th, I sent out my first and only wave of support letters. As the months trickled by, support came flooding in. Lord willing, on December 2nd, I received the absolute last portion of my finances. Praise God! Today is December 15th, and I am 1 day away from embarking on this long-awaited trip to Haiti. 
It's finally here. 


I'm excited to. . .
-witness the grace of God.
-be stretched.
-grow closer to my Lord.
-love on others.
-be a light in a dark place.
-experience something I've never experienced before.
-build amazingly strong relationships with my teammates.
-gain new memories.
-see such happiness.
-influence the lives around me.
-meet new people.
-see a new world.
-learn a new language (Creole).
-share my stories when I return.
-gain a new perspective on my own life. 
-be taught many new lessons by my Father.
-be the hands and feet of Jesus.
-gain appreciation.
-fall in love with the Haitian people.
-understand the culture there better.
-take pictures.
-live in the sun again.
-remove all electronics from my life for an entire week.
-serve others.
-bring the Christmas spirit to the children there.
-change.

(I could go on and on, for the record.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

S.U.R.F. [Part 2]

As my team and I prepare ourselves for what's ahead in Haiti with passports, clothing, immunizations, funds, etc., we've recently been training our hearts for what's ahead. Together, we've been going through the S.U.R.F. training method our organization has provided for missions trips like ours. S.U.R.F. is an acronym for Servanthood, Unity, Respect, Flexibility. As much as we've gone through each meaning together as a team, I've been making it a personal lesson this week to individually pursue a better understanding of each of those four words before I leave this Friday.
Servanthood (Can be read here)

Unity (Can be read here)

Respect: One great example of respect that was brought to the table at one team meeting is that Haiti is a place our brothers and sisters call home. Therefore, when it comes to taking pictures like absolute tourists, it's very important that we keep in mind that some Haitians may not be too keen to having their areas photographed. We need to constantly be thinking of those around us and their needs before our own. What may seem like meaningless attention through our eyes, may be taken as inappropriate crossing of boundaries to a Haitian getting their picture taken. So, this next week I need to be reminding myself that this is a home. I need to respect my Haitian brothers and sisters, as well as my teammates. Respect is likely to be shown through actions. My actions will be speaking louder than my words this next week, especially with the language barrier. 

"Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Love one another warmly as brothers in Christ, and be eager to show respect for one another. Work hard, and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. Share your belongings with your needy brothers, and open your homes to strangers."
Romans 12:9-13


"Though the Lord is on high, he looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar."
Psalm 138:6

Flexibility: This one's probably going to be my hardest challenge throughout this next week. It will most definitely stretch me. Being a very organized and scheduled individual as is, if we have a daily routine this next week I will be absolutely willing to follow it to the tee. If, unexpectedly, that schedule is cut short or changed on short notice, I become antsy. It's not something I am proud of, but I hate being late and cannot stand schedule changes. And every meeting, my team leader has stressed to us one thing over and over again: Expect the unexpected. The unexpected scares me. I believe I am going into this missions trip not knowing a single thing, so that's so scary! I just know that things will change on us daily while we are there. I just know it. Expect the unexpected, right? Therefore, I am going to breathe. Everything always works out and there is no need to worry. I am in good hands while there this next week. I want to show myself, my teammates, and my brothers and sisters there that I can love the moments that God surprises us with. 


"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worked who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth."
2 Timothy 2:15

"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever."
1 John 2:15-17

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

S.U.R.F.

As my team and I prepare ourselves for what's ahead in Haiti with passports, clothing, immunizations, funds, etc., we've recently been training our hearts for what's ahead. Together, we've been going through the S.U.R.F. training method our organization has provided for missions trips like ours. S.U.R.F. is an acronym for Servanthood, Unity, Respect, Flexibility. As much as we've gone through each meaning together as a team, I've been making it a personal lesson this week to individually pursue a better understanding of each of those four words before I leave this Friday.
Servanthood: Missions trips are all about serving others. You are giving your time, finances, and energy (among other things) during times like these. It's a lot for one person to handle because you are out (sometimes on your own) in an area of the world you are not at all acquainted with, dealing with others whom you have never come in contact with, and working with others whom you know nothing about. It is the epitome of being "outside one's comfort zone". Despite the uncomfortableness of it all, you are there to serve and love on others. Others in need. This next week, while in Haiti, not only will I be serving the Haitian people around me, but I will also be serving my teammates as they overcome the same obstacles I will be faced daily. Missional work is not selfish work for a reason. It is not the time to sit around whining and griping about the hard work that lies ahead. No. You are there to ignore your own needs and worry about those around you. These situations bring forth utter dependence on our Lord. I'm excited to need him so desperately. I'm excited to feel so much for Him when I've hit the point of not knowing what feeling is anymore. He is my strength. He is my rock. 

"Now if you have known anything of Christ's encouragement and of his reassuring love; if you have known something of the fellowship of his Spirit, and of compassion and deep sympathy, do make my joy complete--live together in harmony, live together in love, as though you had only one mind and spirit between you. Never act from motives of rivalry or personal vanity, but in humility think more of each other than you do of yourselves. None of you should think only of his own affairs, but consider other people's interests also." 
Philippians 2:1-4

"Sin pays its servants: the wage is death. But God gives to those who serve him: his free gift is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6:23


"...but through love be servants of one another."
Galatians 5:13

Unity: With all of my prayers, I hope that by the end of this trip we will be family. We are a team. If one suffers, we all suffer. If one excels, we all excel. If one believes, we all believe. There is one thing that has brought all of us together, one thing we all have in common: our immense, unforgettable love for our Savior. He brought us together. He brought us together for a reason. This time, for a reason. This location, for a reason. We will be a family by the end of this. Unity is not a general spirit of friendliness or camaraderie. Nor is unity some common aim or series of aims. Unity is a product. In this case, it is a product of our servanthood, under the good name of Christ Jesus, to the Haitian people and our fellow teammates. We're are going into this together and we are leaving this together. We will be one.


"I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
John 17:23

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace."
Ephesians 4:1-3

Respect (reviewing on Wednesday)

Flexibility (reviewing on Wednesday)

See me over at...

Erin's blog (here!). I did a sweet little guest post for her and ya'll should read it!
It's a good piece of encouragement during this stressful holiday season.
Have a blessed Tuesday!



Monday, December 12, 2011

He writes. Let him.

I've been so encouraged this week. How cool is it to meditate over the idea that God is writing your story? Your life story. You have zero control over it. As much as we stress over our plans and our schedules, our good Lord has already written things out. It's up to us to let him.


Both [via]


 "A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

&

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Proverbs 3:5

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December Sponsors: Part IV

Here to introduce...


1) What would you like readers to know about you and your blog?
My name is Elizabeth Shideler. I'm 24, an operating room nurse, traveler, runner and a wife of 3 1/2 years to my best friend Ryan. We met in Idaho, went to Africa for a month, moved to Utah for a year, then to Hawaii for four months, and are back in Idaho so my husband can finish school. He's graduating in 2 weeks! yay!
I started a blog because we've never lived close to our family and it was a way to keep everyone updated on our adventures and shenanigans. Our next adventure, as he's graduating, was deciding where to move to. He had 3 job offers in 3 different states.
It was very comforting knowing that we didn't have to make this decision alone and through prayer we had the help , guidance, and confirmation of where to go. We are so blessed and grateful and know that our Savior had a plan for us.


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1) What would you like readers to know about you and your blog?
Hi, I'm Gina and I'm a writer who blogs over at Contemplating Beauty. I am new to blogging but
not to writing. I've been writing since the 4th grade! My blog is a place where you can find me
sharing about what I think is beautiful in life, how to look for beauty in all things, and a bit about my family.
I would say it's an inspirational, encouraging place to visit, I hope to have you stop by!

2) What's something the Lord has been putting on your heart lately?
God has been showing me lately to loosen my grip on others. Meaning to let them love me
the way they choose to love me. This is very difficult, because we all have expectations.
Even if I don't agree with how they behave, I still have to allow
them to love me in their own time and the way they know how to. I've always been one to try
to fix others, and over-help, and I am an idealist, so that gets me into trouble! I'm learning to
relax, rely on God for my wants/needs, and being open to how others love me (even if it's not
the way I think they should or if it's not what I want).

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Earlier Sponsors can be seen at...

Thanks ladies! So excited to get to know you both better :)
Have a great weekend errbody!
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