Dec 28, 2007

Venezuela Part III

The food here consists of a lot of queso and jamon - ham and cheese! They make arrepas which is a fried sandwich and it is filled with just about anything you can think of. They make a dough out of masa flour which has the consistency of Southern grits. They make it into a patty and then fry it, cut it in half like a pita pocket and fill it.

The Maracuchos eat a lot of beef, lomito, as well. It is grilled and served with avocado salad, arrepas, plantains, and of course cheese. The drink of choice, when it isn't whiskey and water, is fruit nectar which is like a thick juice from what ever fruit you want and it is very good. Oh and coffee! They have great cafecito which means little coffee - it is like a cross between cappuccino and espresso.

Venezuela is more Caribbean than Spanish. The climate is different across the country because it is so wide, but it is always hot in Maracaibo. There are palm trees every where but not much vegetation.

The traditional music is from a saxophone, bas drum, snare drum and trumpet. It sounds like music from the Andes mountains combined with New Orleans Jazz! The popular music now is called reggatone which is like hip hop and reggae music combined and it is big in the discos.

As different as Maracaibo is on the surface the people there still face many of the same issues as Peru. There is political unrest. There is poverty. There is violence and theft. This is a city trying to carve itself out of its past and into its future and no one knows what that will look like - not even the Maracuchos.

Venezuela Part II

The Maracuchos party like no body's business! My step-sister's wedding started at 6pm and they didn't stop dancing until 4am! At the Christmas eve party dinner wasn't even served until midnight and we left the party at 2am. I haven't stayed up this late this much in years!

The Maracuchos take pride in everything from the way they dress to the cars they drive to the food they cook! There is a lot of money here but if you look through all of the glitz and glamor you see the same undercurrent of poverty that runs through most of South America.

Maracaibo, Venezuela is more modern than Lima, Peru. There is air conditioning everywhere, most of the buildings are very modern and the city has started to grow up - sky scrapers are coming up out of the ground to forever change the Maracucho skyline.

To Be Continued...

Dec 25, 2007

Venezuela Part I

Venezuela is a very diverse country but I have spent all of my time here in Maracaibo where the people call themselves Maracuchos and will loudly proclaim that their city is different than any other city in the country. They will say they speak Maracucho Spanish, they eat Maracucho food and dance to Maracucho music.

They are a a people who are full of passion about everything. They speak at lightening speed because they have so much to say. They take hours to eat a meal because they enjoy every bite and every conversation. They dance all the time and they party all night long!

To be continued...

Merry Christmas from Venuzeula!


Merry Christmas! It has been a great trip to see my step sister get married and spend Christmas with her family! The weather has been great (went swimming yesterday and took a nap under some palm trees) but I can´t wait to get back to the states!! I miss my Elevate family :( and I still have another week to go.


I knew I would miss HPC and the Elevate crew but I guess I didn't realize how much apart of me they had become. I am incredibly blessed to have a loving family and friends like those at HPC! It is really funny that I miss the long hours the cramming for tests and the crazy outreaches, but I do!


So I will fly back into the states tomorrow night and then it will be on to Chicago for another week! I am looking forward to spending New Year's with my Dad, but I am also looking forward to getting back to Elevate and ALL that it entails, lol.

Dec 11, 2007

Elevating

I am sorry for not blogging in a whole month!!! I can't believe it's been that long already. Today was the start of our last week of this semester of Elevate. As I look back I am so amazed at all the things God has done in me and through me this semester and I can't wait to see what he has next.

I have been blessed with a trip to Venezuela over the Christmas break and I am so excited! I have never been there before so this will be an awesome adventure that I get to share with my family. Thank after a week in the Southern Hemisphere I am boarding a plane to the Windy City of Chicago to spend a week with my Dad. Going from hot to cold in 2 weeks...please pray for good health and safe travel!

I the great honor of receiving the Elevate of the Month Award this month. It is really cool that others see the work God is doing in my life. He is really changing my heart in a lot of ways. I really couldn't believe that I received the award. It's just a piece of paper, but it really means so much to me becasue it represents all the work God is doing and all the people that He is touching through me.

So as the semester comes to an end I can't help but think ahead to the next one. I know, I know I am a long range planner. I just want to be sure that my long range plans match up with God's version. I want to make sure that my heart is beating in sync with His. This isn't easy, at all. Especially when there are so many good things around to choose from. How do you choose between things that are good and things that are God? How can I hope to tell the difference?

All I know is that I will continue to serve where I am until He makes it clear that He has other plans for me. I will wait for Him to create the doors and open them.

Nov 30, 2007

Small Things

God is so cool! I am really learning that he cares about the little things in my life as well as the big things and here is my proof:

1) my blow dryer exploded about 3 weeks ago and I didn't have any money to get another one, and I probably wouldn't have bought one anyway cause I need to pay tuition. Over Thanksgiving break I happened to tell my Aunt Lynne the story of its demise and she sent me one in the mail!

2) I ran out of body wash two nights ago and my friend Alex sent me a text message asking me if I needed anything from Wal-Mart so he hooked me up with some soap.

3) I haven't had money to buy Starbucks in a while, and if you know me you know I love coffee. A friend of mine, Erin, took me to coffee.

I am so blessed to know my God cares about me. The bible says he knows every hair on my head, he knows every desire of my heart and he knows every need that I could ever have and the best way to meet that need.

Nov 12, 2007

Funny Story

So life without a cell phone can get pretty interesting! don't worry I am going to gt it turned back on today - Thank God!!

I lost my apartment key a few weeks ago and I just haven't had the time to go get another one made - right now I can hear my Paw Paw saying "a stitch in time saves 9." Anyway, I went to watch a movie at my mentor's house last night so I didn't get home until like 12:30am, and all of my roommates were asleep. I didn't have a cell phone to call them and they couldn't hear me at the door. So I went to the other apartment of girls only to get the same results. I didn't want to goo all the way back to Robin's house and wake her up so I slept in my car!

That's right, I took a 5 hour nap in the front seat of my car. So here I am at the office covered in funnel cake batter from last night's Fall Fest, with unbrushed teeth and dirty hair. Praise God for that lesson and I hope I never have to learn it a second time!!

Lesson: when you lose something that you use every day, replace it immediately!

Praise Report

I am sure you remember reading about the cell phone issue so I want to tell you how God came though! I have to back up a bit in time for you to see the full effect...

Rewind to 34 days ago, The church began to prepare for our annual Miracle Offering which we collect and sow 10% into helping the poor and those who think they have been forgotten and the rest goes to the building fund. Pastor Dino called a 33 day fast to help prepare our hearts to give and to consecrate the offering. I chose to fast from all beverages except for water and coffee, you have no idea how hard that was for me!! Anyway, during that time I prayed for the offering and I began to think about the amount that I should give. Since it was a Miracle offering I wanted it to be a miracle amount so I picked $100. Considering I am in Elevate and I don't have enough $$ to pay my bills I knew God would have to step in. So I prayed and fasted and asked God to show me how I was going to be able to honor my commitment.

Meanwhile I can't pay my bills and my cellphone gets disconnected (see earlier blog: No More Cell Phones). So here I am believing that God is going to go over and above with this Miracle Offering , so that means He was going to provide for my bills and the offering. And He did. Through the course of a week I received money from 5 different people from 5 different locations in 5 different walks of life. The total was $205!

I was so excited when I dropped that $100 in the offering bucket. I really experienced giving with a joyful heart. I couldn't wait for the offering to be taken up. The bucket finally came around and I was able to do my part! Then after service I ran into one of my favorite pastors ever and he was asking me how things were going. I played that little game where I try to pretend the world isn't falling down around me but he knew my phone had been disconnected because he couldn't get in touch with me for a week. He asked me how much I needed to get my phone turned back on and I undershot and said $10 and he gave me a $100 bill!

God rewarded my obedience. See this wasn't about the offering, God was trying to do much more in my life. He was trying to get mt to trust him completely with my finances, he was trying to grow my faith, and trying to show me that if I am obedient to him then he can bless me! What an awesome testimony! If you get a chance look at a few scriptures: The story about Elijah and the widow in 1 Kings and Micah 3:10 about God opening up the windows of heaven.

Through all of this, I know god has been with me. It has taken our relationship to the next level. He is showing me that He is interested in me personally, as well as his big plan for my life. He is teaching me that he is my Abba Father as well as Jehovah Jiarah (my provider)!

Nov 9, 2007

Chick Nite

We are having our Student Ministries Chick Nite tonight. This is when Refuge (high school) and Pathfinders (jr high) girls get together and do all things girlie! And guess what....40 girls from the Denham Springs Freshman High are coming out to Baton Rouge for all the fun!

I have been praying for these girls. I pray that God would give them emotional healing and strength to stand up to their peers about what is right. I pray that they would be in the world but not of the world...that other girls would see something different in them and be drawn to Jesus.

I am so excited about getting to see these girls! I have the privilege of going our to Denham Springs every Tuesday and hanging out with the students there. The community was just hit hard by the death of 4 students and 2 are in the hospital after a car accident. The entire community is grieving but I know God is going to heal hearts tonight. Please continue to be in prayer for them.

Nov 8, 2007

Gas Tanks, Cell Phones and Faith

So God has really been asking me to trust Him for everything, not just that he will feed me and put gas in my car, but for the big stuff too. Like $4000 for Tuition and the total and complete restoration of my family and that I will one day be sharing His love with the nations. I have been reading the story about Jesus walking on the water and Peter walking out to meet him. He keeps asking me to get out of the boat and trust him. Have faith Heather!!! But my problem is, that I don't know where my boat ends and the water begins. I have always done things on my own strength. I have always been the solution girl, the one with all of the answers so it is hard to trust Him for things becasue I feel like I have to do something to earn it or at least try really hard to get it.

So I was sitting on the side of the road with a friend cause we ran out of gas. While we were waiting for Kelly to come rescue us with the gas can God moved. He said "get out of the boat!" That was it, I couldn't do anything about it, I was stuck on the side of the road. I couldn't go any farther on my own gas. God blessed me and my friend with full tanks of gas (Thanks Jill you rock!) and $100 worth of groceries (we were down to peanut butter and crackers), but it wasn't until after I couldn't do anything on my own. He brought me past the point where I could solve the problem.

So now my cell phone has been cut off by my friends at AT&T becasue I couldn't pay the bill and my other friends at Sallie Mae are having to send me emails that I need to pay my student loan. But now instead of trying to solve this problem, I am stepping back and waiting to see how God will move!

If I keep finding a way on my own strength I rob him of the opportunity to bless me. And becasue I can't receive his blessings my faith never grows. And I can't grow without an increase in my faith. Whew!

So I'll keep you updated about how God provides more than enough. Remember right before Peter got out of the boat Jesus fed 5000 people from 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. But there wasn't just enough to go around...everyone ate until they were satisfied and there were still 12 baskets of food left over!!! Our God is an awesome God!!

Nov 4, 2007

Home for the Holidays

I am so excited about going home for the holidays!! I get to share all of the things that I have been doing with my family (I just hope I can remember them all) and maybe they will see how God is working in my own life. I get to share with them the impact that Elevate is making on me and the other interns. I get to give them a return on their investment in me by letting Jesus shine though me in their presence.

The one thing I don't want to happen when I go home is to fall back into my old habits of being a self centered arrogant child how gets upset when she doesn't get her way! You know what I mean, don't you. I remember when I would go home from college for winter break and I would slip back into acting like a sassy 16yr old. I used to be pretty sarcastic to my parents and even rude (Oh my mother is an amazing woman to be able to put up with me and my sister)!

What I do want to do is serve them. I want to make this holiday season about them. I want to love on them and help them and do whatever they ask of me! I want to make my home my mission field. I want to be Jesus to may family!

Fusion Retreat

We went on the College and Young Professionals retreat this weekend, and it was amazing. This is such a passionate and dedicated group of people! On most of the retreats I have been on in the past with different groups you have to spend the first night getting comfortable with everyone before you can really get into worship and get your mind right to receive the word God has for you, but not on this retreat! The Holy Ghost showed up on the first night and I was really able to make the most out of my time away with God. I have come to a point in my life when I don't really care what people think about me when it comes to my worship style or my prayer life. I just go for it. It is a rarity that I get to spend days away just relaxing with friends and spend hours with God so when I get the opportunity to step away from all of the distractions of the world I don't want to waste any time! I refuse to sit timid in the corner afraid to raise my hands because I am afraid of what other people are going to say. I am gonna bring it "David Style" and let those who have something to say about it talk to God.

That is what I love about HPC. You are free to worship! You are in an environment where you can come to the altar without condemnation. Without people looking at you and saying, "she must have done something really bad to be on her knees at the altar." Sometimes God just wants me to bow before Him. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I am not the god of my life and this service does not revolve around me by humbling myself before my God and then going to pray for those who have needs just like I do.

God was really speaking something to me this weekend. It was about serving someone else's dreams for a while and trusting that He will make my path straight. If I hold onto the promises He has given me too tightly I won't leave Him any room to work. I have to open my hand and lift up my dreams to Him as a sacrifice of trust and praise. By doing this I am telling Him that I am OK helping others succeed. I am OK with not climbing my own ladder of success and instead holding someone else's ladder so they can climb higher. I am OK just being patient and letting Him develop me so that I will be ready when my time comes. I trust that in the fullness of His time I will be elevated into the position I need to be in to further His kingdom.

I don't want to miss what He is saying to me because I am so caught up in what other people think about how I worship. Sometimes is takes all the courage I have to step out of my seat and go down that aisle to the altar, but you know what...God is worth it! That small thing is a test of faith that is rewarded every time, and you know what...each time it gets easier. And it may just inspire someone else to do the same thing. It may give someone else the courage they need to step out of their seat and go meet with God.

I believe that God does meet you where you are in the beginning of your relationship, but there comes a point when He wants you to step out and go meet Him.

One of the reasons I have this blog is because I want to share my experiences with you. I want to take you with me on the journey to discovering what God has for my life and that maybe it would inspire you to find out what He has for you. I don't want to mislead you into thinking ministry is easy. I don't want you to think that Elevate is all fun and games. We play hard because we work hard and we work hard because we know that there are people out there who don't know Jesus. There are people out there with a greater call on their life than I can ever dream of that don't even know that God loves them. If I can just help one of them, I know I will have made a difference!

Oct 25, 2007

Exclamation Points

I don't know what it is but I love exclamation points! I feel like I have to use them at the end of every sentence becasue everything I say now has such passion in it! I can't help it! Sometimes I try to take them out and then the sentence just doesn't look right! But I don't really want to go around yelling all the time. (OMG I didn't put one there, I may have to go back and change it!)

Especially in text messages! Sometimes I just text people a message full of exclamation points!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Missions Class


Bro. Jack and Mrs Dyer, world missionaries

Since I am in the Missions Stream of Elevate we get to attend special classes geared toward preparing us for the mission field. Last Sunday we were able to listen to the testimonies of Bro. and Mrs. Jack Dyer, who have over 25 years of experience each. They were already living in Honduras before hurricane Mitch devastated the country. They lived and worked in India for years and taught English using the Gospel while Bro. Jack worked as an engineer to they could legally live in the country. It was an incredible opportunity to ask questions and get real answers, not romanticized stories about the opportunity in the field.

The Dyers didn't go into the mission field until they were in their mid 40's, breaking all the rules of missionary etiquette. Bro Jack was an engineer and a pilot which God used to strategically place them in Honduras and then in India to spread the love of Jesus in some of the hardest environments.


He spoke about the call to missions God placed on His life and how important it is to know that God has called you. It is difficult for us to "know we are called" when it is rarely an audible voice form the heavens saying, "Heather pack your bags you are going to Peru." I really learned a lot about how to decipher the call on my life by looking at my past. Because God's plan for my life was written before the foundations of the earth; so he has been preparing me for this since the beginning. If I can look at my past though God's eyes I should be able to see how he has been preparing me for my future. What am I passionate about? What skills has he developed in me? What drives me? What makes me angry? These are all things God has put in me for a reason, and with God's direction I can begin to discover what they mean for my future. This is the time in my life when God has promised to prepare me for my future.

Bro Jack also said that he didn't create opportunities or relationships or try to manipulate his path. He served God and God created the way. God formed the right relationships. All Bro. Jack had to do was be available.

If you are praying for me please pray that I will have God's perspective when I look at my past and the wisdom to apply what I see to my future. I want to be guided by the Lord and not by my own ideas. Pray that I will be available for the Lord to use me and that I will prepare myself so that I will be ready when God's time comes.

Long Time No Blog

Hey guys, sorry for not blogging in 9 days!!! I think there may be a law in Leviticus that says I have to stay outside of the camp for a week now becasue I haven't been faithful, just kidding. things have been incrediblly busy the past week.

The Healing Place Women's Conference, Live the Dream, is this weekend!! We have all been praying over this conference and fasting for an unbelievable time with God. There will be over 1200 women during the 3 days and we expect God to move in an awesome way.

All the Elevate interns have been working hard to help make this the best conference ever. We have made give-away bags, decorated chairs, cleaned, made signs, and anything else we were entrusted with! But of course having fun is one of the unspoken rules of Elevate so here are a few pics of us having fun in the children's church dress up bin...

Jaime, Kelly, Joy, Shana, Mary Beth, and Hannah workin hard in the gift zone


Joy and I playing dress up with left over Velcro!
Kelly and I having some tea
On Friday we worked at the LSU vs Auburn game to raise money for our missions trip! I know all of you watched the game, right, and it was pretty stressful up until the very end. But we all know God is a LSU Tiger fan so we prevailed again! Here are a few pics from our concessions stand during the game!

1:30am, still in the concession stand and we have to be at service for 6am

I think you have to have a great sense of humor and the ability to make relationships without taking yourself too seriously to succeed in ministry. If you remember Jordan, the Elevate of the Month, you will remember that he is one of those guys that was made for high school ministry. Here are a few pics of him with this awkward mustache that he is growing out for a prank. He also dressed up as a French Settlement coach for our sports themed vision night and I got a pic of him at waffle house...hilarious!!
Ever get a crumb in your mustache and no one told you it was there?


Yes, that is Jordan...looks just like his dad, whom he borrowed the clothes from!

Oct 16, 2007

A Little fun at Class

Every now and then we have to have a little fun at class with all of the evenings students. So tonight we kicked back and took some time to play a game between some of the sessions. The rules were simple...find a partner, form 2 circles - you in one and your partner in the other, the circles move in the opposite direction with music playing in the background, when the music stops you have to find your partner and do whatever the emcee says over the microphone.

This turned into so much fun I had to take a little video and share it with you guys. So here goes...I think the action in this video was ... "put your nose to your partner's neck..." Keep you eye on the left hand side of the screen at the two guys (they will remain nameless) who weren't gonna let anyone beat them!

Oct 15, 2007

HP Women

Every other Monday night @ 7pm some of the coolset ladies ever get together to earn more about God and grow closer to him. Tonight Mrs. DeLynn's mother spoke about Excellence. It was a powerful message that made every one in the service feel like they needed to spend time at the altar, and in fact we all did!

She used Daniel as an example and pointed out 7 things that showed he had the spirit of excellence:
1) ho would not defile himself but remained holy even when threatened
2) he was faithful to God
3) he had a strong prayer life
4)he was thankful to God
5) he had the fear of the Lord
6)he lived a life that caused others to worship and know God
7) then he prospered


I am so often critical of others. I so often get offended and ask "what about me?"She said one thing that I will carry with me for a long time, and I think every woman should wrte this down and keep it where they can see it..."The attitude is the paintbrush of the mind, it can color any situation."

I want my attitude to paint life. When I am faced with a tough situation and I have chance to either complain or be thankful i want to fall on my face and thank God for the opportunity to trust him and to build within me the spirit of excellence!

Vision Night

Vision Night @ HPC was awesome!!! Just Listen to some of the things we have been a part of in the Past 10 months...

Attendance has increased 17%
323 Baptisms
769 Salvations
1600 Volunteers Serving on Outreaches
203 people sent on mission trips to 13 countries
680 families assisted
1300 hospital visits
13 million hits on the website
>5500 counseling appointments
140 widows/week served

HPC is definitely not about numbers; each one of these numbers is a life that our church has had the opportunity to touch and a person that we have been able to serve!

Pastor Dino Shared an amazing message with the vision that God has given him for the net year of HPC's life and what it is going to take to get there. Check out his blog@ dinorizzo.com

Oct 13, 2007

Progress Reports

We will get our first progress reports next week when we find out our grades from the final exam.

I think the test went well, I had a few moments where I thought my brain was going to melt (that's what I get for being an over-analyzer) but overall I think I did OK.

I'll post my grades (only if they are good - just kidding - or am I?) when I get the progress report!

Have the best day ever!!!

Oct 11, 2007

First Final Exam

So I have my first final exam tomorrow morning... it is 11:46pm...we have had too much coffee and the study group is starting to lag...Lord help us cause we will need it!

I'll let you know how it goes...

Spot Light

The Spot Light is an award that is given to a Second Year Elevate Intern who has demonstrated an unequaled passion to be all that God has called them to be. These interns face so much in their daily walks with God. I look at how the world sees me for quitting my job and doing elevate this year and I can only imagine how is sees them for sacrificing yet another year of their lives for God.

The Spot Light Award went to Angela Musso....

Spotlight of the Month





Angela Musso



Angela is a second year full time Elevate student and is hard to contain because she is full of passion to make Jesus famous. She is bold and outright blunt about making sure His name is known. She is an Esther of this generation – determined to grab hold of her “for such a time as this” moment and will persevere through anything to make it happen. She can lead anyone into an intimate time of worship, and knows how to serve it up in the inner city. She is determined to go into the depths of the world to fulfill what God has called her to do. She serves faithfully and with a contagious enthusiasm. Make sure to thank Angela for all that she does.


Elevate of the Month

Every Month the Elevate Staff gets together and decides on one intern who has gone the extra mile. During September Jordan Gautreau did just that. I wanted to share with you the kind of people that I have the privileged of serving with here at HPC!




Jordan Gautreau



Jordan is a one of a kind leader. He has jumped right into Elevate with determination to make the most of it. He is learning to grow, be stretched and challenged. His teachable spirit and humble attitude is what makes him a valuable person for anyone to have on their team. He has a passion for the next generation to be world changers and he is unstoppable, and is on his way by serving faithfully in Refuge every day. He is determined to live the life God has called him too, no matter how hard it gets, no matter the sweat that is required. He has excelled in Elevate and been an example to strive for. Make sure to thank Jordan for all that he does.


Oct 10, 2007

Lamentations

I have had a rough day today. It has been one of those weepy days where my soul just feels wounded. I haven't had a day like this in a long time. It's my own fault though...I prayed for increased faith, and God delivers, He is faithful till the end.

It seems like He always answers the prayers for trials and testing a lot faster than He answers the ones for blessing! Funny guy...a friend pointed me to a few verses in Lamentations to help me out:

I definitely feel like I am lamenting right now; I looked it up and it means "wailing, moaning, and weeping." But if I in the book of the bible with that name...buried there after the cries of Jerusalem, a city who was so low it is likened to a woman that was so full of shame... all she could do was cry and hide her face, there is the story of God's faithfulness...

Lamentations 2:22-26
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, "The Lord in my inheritance; therefore I will hope in Him!"
The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.
So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

I need fresh mercy today. I need a love that never ends. I need to be reminded of my inheritance. I need to hope in Him.

But most of all I need to depend on Him, and that is so hard for me to do. I don't know why, so if you are praying for me pray this: Father, hold Heather in your hand and pour your mercy over her. Let her experience your never ending love. Remind her of her inheritance in Jesus Christ. Give her peace because you have good plans for her that are full of hope. Reveal to her anything that she may be holding on to that is keeping her from depending on you. Show her how to release these things so she can fully embrace the future you have for her and rest in your arms.

Vision Night


Hey we are having a Sports Themed Vision Night @ Healing Place Church on Highland this Sunday at 7pm!!! This is a great opportunity to se what God's vision for HPC's future is. I can't wait, I didn't get to go last year because of work so I am pumped!!!

Oct 8, 2007

God Tube

So you may have noticed that I have been putting a lot of video links up the past few posts. And I am actually about to post another one, so buckle up. But first I thought I'd explain why.

Many of you may know about YouTube, a website where anyone can upload any kind of video and the whole world can look at it. I have found this website called GodTube, which is pretty much the same thing but a little cleaner. You can search for all kinds of videos on all kinds of topics.

Because I don't have a lot of time to do pleasure reading anymore (I am doing tons of great required reading though) I have started watching these videos when I get a few spare minutes. They are quick, most of the time, and they are either touching, inspiring, funny or passion filled.

So I am sharing some of the ones I really like with you guys. They have either made me cry like a little girl, made me choke on my coffee because they were so funny or convicted me so hard I had to press pause and repent right there at my desk.

This one is the funny kind; A Mac Vs PC Parody with Fear Vs Faith...enjoy

Oct 2, 2007

Preach!

So I had my first preaching situation this morning! I got to speak to the Denham Springs Freshman High Character club this morning. We are doing a series on The Race of Life and I had the privileged of doing the second installment.


It was really awesome to be able to speak to ~40 freshman about setting goals and defining the "win" for themselves. I wanted to share with them some of the struggles I have faced while training for the 5k we will run in April.

There were 4 principles I left them with:
  1. Don't compare your race to someone else's - God made you for a specific purpose
  2. You might have to run the race alone - Sometimes you have to say no when everyone else is saying yes
  3. Sometimes it's not fun - You have to sacrifice to accomplish anything significant
  4. Set your goal and stay focused - setting smaller goals may help build your confidence and stay focused on the way to the "big win"
I had a great time! It was amazing to truly be a vessel of God and let Him minister through me!

Sep 26, 2007

Servolution

Over 600 volunteers at the 1st ever servolution! I had an amazing time serving at the car wash and talking with the people we were able to bless. It was funny how many people couldn't believe we were doing this for free, just to be nice!
Part of the Serve Team and Alma (on the right) who's CRV looked brand new when we were finished with it!

It was awesome to see this many Serve Shirts!
We almost got to wash this Limo! The kids were so excited but the driver didn't have time to wait for the wash!
Totally Free Car Wash! No Donations. We won't take your money so just keep it!

Family

I miss my family!

Sep 25, 2007

A New Lesson on Humility

I learned a new lesson in Humility today...I forgot to do something that I was responsible for and it cost a 13 people an hour of their time. I don't like wasting people's time and I felt really bad today. The more important thing is that's this lesson isn't about me, it's about what God is trying to teach me through my mistakes...to be humble. So after a bit of groveling and telling a few jokes to pass the time God did an amazing thing. He used me to teach a mini lesson on humility.

I was already at the front of the room. I was in the position to be used because I was humble for a minute or two. I told a story that someone told me about the cloak of humility...

A man was praying and captivated in worship. He was seeking God and praying for true humility before the Lord. God placed him in His throne room. The man stood in the full presence and glory or God! He was captivated by His awesome beauty and love. The the man looked down at himself and noticed that he was wearing a garment made of burlap. He saw himself as nothing without God, but then underneath that burlap he saw something shining. He began to pull the burlap away to reveal stunning armor made studded with jewels. He continued to remove the cloak to look at the glorious armor underneath. As he did, the presence of God shrank away from him and when the man felt God's glory leave he let the cloak fall over himself again and returned his gaze to God. As the cloak of humility fell over him he was able to bask in God's glory and not his own.

When I get distracted with myself I miss out on the full and glorious presence of God. Today I learned another lesson in humility, the hard way...by being humbled. Painful but fruitful.

Sep 20, 2007

Servolution

Servolution is THIS Saturday!!!!

The mission of this outreach is to change the world by serving one person! We believe that we will be showing the tangible love of Jesus by giving random acts of kindness to the entire city! Please check out the servolution website by clicking on the link on the right side of this page!

We have over 500 volunteers that will be going out into Baton Rouge to do the biggest 1 day outreach in HPC history!

I am so honored that I will be responsible for one of the 5 free car washes around the city! This is a big responsibility and I am so excited!!!

Please be praying for me and the rest of the volunteers. We will need the character of Jesus if we are going to try and show his love to the city. We will need to remove our selves so God can work though us and that is so difficult to do without prayer.

Thank you all so much for your continued support! I am having the most challenging experience of my life and I am loving every second of it! This could not happen if you weren't behind me lifting me up in prayer and supporting me financially. I love you all!

Sep 19, 2007

More Pictures!!!!

Me and Jill Ellis! Jill is my punk rock friend...she's single, look out!
Me and Charis, she is awesome! She and her brother helped me move in to the elevate apartment!
From the Left: Stephanie Durbin, Joy Parker, Mary Beth Guedry, and Kristina Blount
The first prank of the year. Brandon's car got covered with post-it notes.

Sep 18, 2007

Rewind

Because I have been such a bad blogger lately I thought I'd give a bit of a photo recap for you guys! I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them!!!Elevate Initiation: The 2nd year interns kidnapped us in the middle of the night during our first week in Elevate. The brought us to the church and we cleaned the sanctuary for the Sunday services! It was so much fun...at least for those of us who weren't blind folded!
Me wearing one of the many backpack vacuum cleaners...yeah it reminds me of The Ghost Busters too!
Some of the Full Time Elevate girls! From Back: Kelly Finegan, Hannah Dyke, Stephanie Durbin, Shana Byers, Mary Beth Guedry, Kristina Blount, Stephanie Bain.

Our Elevate class gets announced to the church! There are 26 Full Time Interns and 53 going to the Evening School!!

Sep 12, 2007

PICTURES

Hey Y'all there are some pictures of the Orientation day at Pastor Dino's house, the LSU ropes course and the Elevate retreat at the Elevate Blog.... Check em out!

Conflicts

We have chapel every Tuesday where we get to have worship and hear from a great speaker. This week Pastor Mike Haman came and spoke to us about dealing with conflicts. I thought this was so good, and so convicting, that I'd share it with you guys!

7 Steps to Deal with Conflict: Based on Matt 18:15
"If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses then you have won that person back." NLT

1) If there is a conflict: Acknowledge the problem
unresolved = unhealthy = unfruitful = unacceptable by God

2) You: We have to be the ones to dress the problem...none of this, it's not my fault so he should apologize to me.

3) Go: Approach the issue don't avoid it or skirt around the issue. Be proactive; anger is the smoke detector which signals there is a change that needs to be made.

4) To the person: Go directly to the person and do NOT involve third parties because you will plant bitterness and contempt in their hearts toward the person.

5) In Private: Don't call people out in public because it will only embarrass them and frustrate the situation. Make sure your motive is love and wait for the right timing to address the issue, not while you are angry.

6) Discuss the problem: Use direct communication and address the issue at hand, don't beat around the bush. Talk about the core issues and not the peripheral issues.

7) The purpose of the discussion is reconciliation: NOT to win the argument. If you win the argument but lose the relationship what have you really won? If you aren't ready to reconcile the relationship don't begin the process.

I hope this helps you as much as it helped me! No matter where we work, live or who are friends are we will have conflicts.

Happy Birthday Katie


I just wanted to give a shout out to my friend Katie! It was her birthday yesterday, so Happy Birthday Katie.

Picture: Hannah and I being silly in the office.

Sep 11, 2007

Solitude Retreat

So we went to Prayer Lake this past weekend and it was amazing! It was great to get away and have some quite time! Living in an apartment with 5 other girls doesn't lend itself to much peace and quiet!

It's funny though, I went into this weekend trying to have this great "God" experience. I spent most of the time trying to force this exceptional moment, but what I learned is that it doesn't have to be this deep, complex metaphor; Jesus is simple!

I would get so stressed out because I didn't feel like I was connecting with God on the right level or doing the right things but God just wants me to enjoy His presence. I am reminded of the story of Mary and Martha. So the ladies throw a party for Jesus and after the party happens there is tons of clean up to do, but Mary is just hanging out with Jesus. Meanwhile Martha is in the kitchen doing all of the dishes; she gets so busy with clean up that she missed the best part of the party.

I don't want to be Martha!

Sep 5, 2007

Live for God or shut up!

This is an excerpt from the Elevate blog I wanted to share with you guys!

Posted on September 5th, 2007

This was sent to me via e-mail from Donna Frank (she helps Alliece Cole with outreach and is an amazing servant and awesome woman of God) and I thought that I would share it with everyone. It is really good, so check it out. - Tiffany Dupree

“Elevate (internship program at HPC) has started up again for their Fall semester. We’ve been blessed by getting to work with several of their students, some first-year and some second. These young people are laying down their lives for the cause of Jesus. They spend their time between classes, assignments, work, prayer and serving in various capacities with the church. The crew that we have are fantastic; great attitudes, hard working and dedicated. I’m sure you’ll hear more about them in future posts.

Wednesday afternoon we went into the community to do Widow’s Outreach. We got to visit with some incredible people and share their lives. Miss Agnes wasn’t home. Miss Agnes is always home, so when she didn’t answer the door we went to ask the neighbor if she was okay. As it turns out she was in hospital. We promptly loaded up the van and headed to Baton Rouge General to find Miss Agnes. She’s a very special lady whom I’ve had the privilege of getting to know a little bit over the past several months. She’s 91 years old and was a preacher for 32 years. She always has a sermon ready and it’s always a word for the moment. Wednesday afternoon was no different. As she was propped up in her chair, breathing oxygen through a tube, I asked her what she wanted to say to our Elevate interns. She looked directly at them and said, “Live for God or shut up. If you’re not going to live right than don’t you even be talkin bout Him.”

Talk about a word that will preach.
That has stuck with me all week. Through Ladies Thrive on Friday, street outreach on Saturday and Pastor Dino’s weeekend message. Live for God or shut up. A strong word from an awesome lady.

All glory to God!”

-Donna Frank

Prayer Lake


This week we are going on a solitude retreat! 2 whole days of time alone with God! I'm excited, can you tell? I have been around so many people and been doing so many things that I am ready for some time alone. Just me and the Lord.

We will also be doing a little fasting! I used to hate fasting. Maybe because I am a nutritionist and I know what your body is going though when you fast. But now I really enjoy being able to silence the world around me and really focus on God. That's what fasting helps me do...clear my head. So get ready!

Another Trip to Peru

HPC is sending another 20-30 guys down to Peru to continue the construction projects they have began. Please keep the volunteers in your prayers as well as the Peruvian people and the government. Thank you!

Time is Flying

OK, so I can't believe it's been so long since my last post! It feels like all I did was blink and 5 days flew past! Things are going great in the Elevate World!

Friday night we kicked off a new school year with Late Night Live! We had a bunch of college kids playing games and eating food over at the Highland Campus. Then we had an awesome encounter with the Lord during worship and a great message from Pastor Mike Haman.

This weekend we had a "Random Fund Raiser Weekend" where we broke out into teams of 2-3 people and raised funds for out mission trip next year! We had to raise at least $200 per team but we went over and above. We raised over $3000 for the trip!!!

This week at HPC we are hosting a big workshop where a bunch of churches around the states are coming to see what goes on behind the scenes at HPC. God has blessed this church with a great anointing and the staff want to share what God is doing with churches all over the country! So Elevate is getting to play a big part in serving those who come in to learn!

We are also having a One Way service tonight!!! I am so excited. One Way is a service that is nothing but great worship, but the best part is we have all of our campuses represented under one roof! We worship as a family, united together like the body of Christ was intended to be! I can't wait!

Well I have a bunch of pictures from over the past few days so I will get them up here ASAP!
Love you! and God bless!

Aug 30, 2007

Humility


We are reading Humility by Andrew Murray for our weekly bible study. Last night this passage really hit home....

"The root of all virtue and grace, of all faith and acceptable worship, is that we know that we have nothing but what we receive, and bow in deepest humility to wait upon God for it."
You know how you can hear something a million times but unless you hear it at the right time is doesn't make sense? Well this was the right time for me. I realized that I have nothing but what I receive from God. It goes against my flesh big time because I feel like I have so much to offer, but really I don't have anything that God didn't give me in the first place.

Aug 29, 2007

Frejya AKA: Bean, Beanie-Weanie, Frejoles Negra



A little trip down memory lane...I know this really isn't relevant to this blog but I miss my bean!

Frejya, the greatest dog that ever lived, well still lives! I sat by her when she delivered her first litter of puppies. I would have been there for the second litter but they were a surprise (a BIG surprise)! I stayed with her for 3 days in Memphis after a routine surgery almost took her life. I hope I never have to feel that way again, but somehow I don't think that is realistic.

For those of you who have met her, you know that I am not bragging...simply stating the facts. She is loving and kind, but don't mess with me cause she'll take you out! I hope everyone finds a dog like this at least once in their life and can share the experience with someone special.

Peace


Brothers. Lunawana, Peru. Feb 2007.
I wonder if they are still there.



It's kind of crazy how things hit you all of a sudden.


I think about all of the little things that I take for granted everyday. I think about the sacrifices I have made to be where I am. I think about relationships in the past, present and the future.


I guess it takes big earth shaking events to really bring you back sometimes. To refocus on what is really important in this place... people. I know I will learn a lot in the next few years, but the one thing I hope to take away from this is the value of relationships.

I can admit I haven't always been the best at building or maintaining them.
I have always felt like I needed to prove my worth. To make sure everyone knew what I could bring to the table. I don't want to seek that kind of approval anymore.

So from now on, I have nothing to prove!

Aug 27, 2007

Video from Camino de Vida

HPC partner's with this church in Lima. This video was done not long ago showing the needs in that nation.

Continued Prayer

Here is a video I found on You Tube that shows some of the devestation around Lima.

Midnight Outreaches



Well I remember telling you that I was going to be a part of an outreach last Friday night but I haven't had a chance to tell you about it! So here goes...

We were actually able to be a part of 2 outreaches that night the first one was a Lady's of the Night outreach where about 10 girls from Elevate and 3 Leaders went out to some of the strip clubs in the Baton Rouge area and gave all the ladies a rose and a headband! I am so grateful to be a prat of a church that doesn't condemn people but instead tells them that they are important and loved! Just like Jesus! It was amazing to see the reactions from some of the girls; they were so excited and you could really see that they didn't get this type of simple kindness often. It is really sad that these girls are so often written off and that they are treated like pieces of meat. No wonder they are astonished when they get a simple rose from a stranger that didn't cost a lap-dance.




The second outreach we went on is one very dear to my heart...the Bar Outreach! Our Serve Team goes out almost every Friday night to the bars in Tiger Land (by LSU) and gives out bottles of water and Capri Suns to the people leaving the bars. It is a great opportunity to have conversations with students and help hydrate them before they get in their cars to drive home. We give out HPC cards with a map to the church, phone #'s and the web address. It is the coolest thing to talk with the students when they say, "Oh yeah I've been there a few times," or, " I went to Late Nite before," and they expect condemnation but all we give them is love!

That is the heart of Jesus, that we would be in the world but not of the world; and that is my mission!

Continued Prayer Needed - Part 2

This is an update from Pastor's blog about Peru, please take a minute to pray for this country that is so close to my heart. It is going to cost upwards of $600 thousand dollars to get the releif camps started. I am so thankful that our God has unlimited resources!

"The president of Peru personally asked my friend
Robert Barriger (pastor of Camino De Vida in Lima, Peru) to take over the administration of several of the relief camps in the city of Pisco - one of the hardest-hit areas. He has asked us to do what we can to mobilize workers to help them with this effort. They need 20 - 30 skilled contractors/carpenters immediately.
If you or someone you know is willing and can pay the airfare (currently about $1,000) Pastor Robert and his team will supply your food and housing in Peru. If you are able to go, please contact Marc Cleary at marc.cleary@healingplacechurch.org."

Aug 24, 2007

Peru Earthquake

Being an intern without TV and Internet @ home can leave you out of the world news loop. When I heard about the earthquake in Peru a few days ago my heart broke for those people. I have family in Lima, Peru and I was just there visiting Feb of this year. We drove down the Panamerican Hwy and into many of the towns affected by this disaster.
Here is a link to Pastor Dino's blog with a little update on what HPC is doing to help DinoRizzo

Please keep this country and its people in your prayers. Pray for good judgment in the government and support for the people.

Nehemiah 13

Pastor Jason Laird came to Chapel on Tuesday and gave a word from Nehemiah. I was reflecting on this passage yesterday in my quiet time. This is what I journaled...
8/23
My body is a storage room for the holy things of God but have I given "Tobiah" a place in my heart? Have I let the enemy gain a foothold in this temple of God?

Father forgive me and create an environment of worship and praise in my heart that will bring you gladness. All praise to your name! The God who can take the curses from my past and turn them into blessings!
--
We are going on an outreach tonight! Can't wait to tell you about it! Love you guys!

Aug 22, 2007

The Life of an Intern

This is a day in the life on an intern, Wed Aug 22...

5:00am - wake up & eat
6:00am - run around lake (I ran once and walked twice around for a total of 2.6 miles)
8:00am - morning prayer and devotion
9:00am-12noon - Work in intern area
12noon-1:00pm - lunch (blog and eat...doing this right now)
1:00pm-5:00pm - Work in intern area
5:00pm-6:00pm - Facilities (we each have an area to clean in the offices to keep things looking great)

Not to mention scripture memory, bible readings, exercise time, home work and all the other things we have to do to keep our apartments clean and run our daily lives! I just wanted to give you a little peak!

This morning in prayer we did a little bit of corporate worship...we went around in a circle and praised God with every letter on the alphabet, Amazing, Beautiful, etc. It was really neat and I challenge you to do the same in your worship time and discover new ways to worship him!

Thank you for your continued prayer! I love you all!

Aug 21, 2007

Tree of Life

During Prayer this morning I began to see myself as a tender leaf barely clinging to the tree of life. Ripped and tormented by sin, struggling to stay connected. My hearts desire is to become a mighty branch, plugged into the life giving power of God. A position that will only be strengthened by the winds of struggle. I want to be firmly rooted and totally supported by Jesus. Living water will flow through my veins and into other tender leaves. I want to be a vessel that God's uses to distribute that power to his people. To those who struggle like I did, those who's only thought was survival. I want to show them how to LIVE!

Father I want to rejoice in the winds of struggle and the storms of life because they will only strengthen my connection to you. I want so much of Jesus' love flowing through me that it drips out and plants new trees. I want to be a conduit that spreads the love of Christ and reaches those on the fringes. The ones that think they are too far gone and they can't hold on any longer. I want to help plug them into Jesus.

Aug 20, 2007

Retreat

I was able to go on retreat with the entire Elevate Class this weekend and God was moving all over that place! Pastor Timmy spoke about living out the call God has on my life and holding on to it no matter what. That is what I want more than anything but I don't have a clear vision of what that is. I feel called to the mission field to serve His people, but I still don't know in what capacity. I have been telling my friends, family and even myself that I want to use my background in nutrition to help fight against the hunger that grips this world but I don't know if that is God's plan. Is it something that I am saying to make myself feel like I didn't waste 6 years of my life getting a degree in Dietetics? Am I trying to save my pride here? Well I don't want to have pride at all!

I pictured myself this weekend, writing my plan on a dry erase board. Every detail spelled out on how I though it should be, how I though God will use me. Then I walked up to the altar and gave God the eraser. I don't want my vision to get in the way of His vision. I am here to serve him not to serve Heather or even my family. I don't want to put anything before him, no idolatry here!

I am so excited that I get to serve and learn for 9 months and then the rest of my life! It has only been a week and I have such a passion in me to serve! If you are praying for me this is my request: that God will ignite in me a passion for specific areas of ministry so that His vision for my future will be confirmed in my life. I need to know the difference between the temporary burdens on my heart and the eternal calling he has for me.

Thank you to those who have sent in your Support Cards pledging your prayers and finances. I am believing that God will provide for every need. I want a faith that goes beyond all understanding. I though about taking out a loan to make up the rest of my tuition (~$5,000) and I really feel that he is testing my faith. He said that ha is sending resources my way and that I should wait patiently on him.

Aug 16, 2007

Opportunity

Well things have been moving so fast the past few days!

I had an incredible opportunity to be a part of an HPC staff meeting today! After some great worship with over 100 staff members, Pastor Dino gave us a good word and then brought some of the more experienced members of the church on stage for a candid look at ministry. There were over 150 years of ministry experience on the stage, not counting Pastor Dino!

It was amazing to see how sincere their hearts were and how much love and experience they had to share with all of us. Dave Olerking, the founder of Children's Cup, is one of the most sincere people I have ever met. It is amazing to have access to these incredible missionaries! To hear some of their stories and see the compassion on their faces for the lost was such a blessing! I can't believe this is only the 3rd day of Elevate. I have already learned so much.

More than anything, I want to be a sponge and soak up everything I can. I want to get everything possible out of this journey! Please pray that I have a soft heart and I will humble myself and learn from these amazing people God is bringing me in contact with. I want to be stretched and molded into someone who looks like Jesus. When I get squeezed into a situation or pulled and stretched and tested in this world I want Jesus to shine through, not anger or frustration or hurtful words.

If I learned anything today, it is that I have so much to look forward to! God is going to be working on me and through me for the rest of my life and I am so excited!

I love this church! And I love Jesus! (Just in case you didn't know)

Aug 14, 2007

First 2 Daze

Well we started Elevate on Monday! I moved in to my new 3rd floor apartment with my 5 other roommates in 111 degree weather! I think I lost about 10lbs in sweat!!!! I had some awesome friends helping me out, let me give a shout out to Michael and Charis Scichowski!!!! The helped us move in all day in the heat and then came back for more after we had our first orientation meeting.

My mom came all the way up from New Orleans and met Pastor Dino and most of the Elevate staff. She got to see my apartment and meet some of my roommates. I was soooo happy to have her there; it really made my day!

Today (Tuesday) we woke up and met at the Annex for 8am and after a little morning prayer we all headed out to the LSU Rec Center's Team Building Ropes Course! Two of the best guys ever lead us through a variety of exercises that required balance and strategy but most importantly TEAM WORK. We had a great time even though it was about 92 degrees by 9am. I really learned a lot today about the importance of taking the back seat sometimes. I think all of the interns have a natural ability to lead but sometimes you need to step back and let someone else take the reins.

I also learned a good bit about relying on others. I have been trying to do things on my own for so long that it is natural to try and do things myself. These exercises were impossible to do alone. Some required you to rely on the strong members, some required focus and concentration and others called for the participants to be calm and quiet.

I am so grateful to be with this group of people, they are real team players. I hope that we all remember what we learned today and apply it to our daily lives not only to help us deal with challenges but to help us avoid them!

I can't believe I am actually doing this! I am having a great time. Please pray for a few things: that I would remember that I am here to serve God and to remember where I was when he saved me. That God would continue to fuel my passion for the lost and hurting in this world. And that I would be have a servant's heart and put others before myself.

Thanks for keeping me so close! This was the BEST first day of school ever!

Aug 13, 2007

Moving Again!

well it's 12am on monday aug 13th and i am doing the last bit of packing for the big move tomorrow! elevate begins with a big bang in the morning; we have all day to move into the apartment and then we meet for orientation @ 6:30 @ pastor dino's house. i am nervous and excited; i really can't believe elevate is starting today...in 9 hours!

we have to pay half of the total tuition tomorrow morning and i am still short by about $900 so please be in prayer for me! i am trusting god to provide for me without taking out a loan for the tuition! i am going to have to empty my bank account tomorrow and that is a frightening thing!

well i had better get back to packing! i hope i'll be able to write a little bit after orientation tomorrow and let everyone know my schedule! thanks again for all of your support!

Aug 5, 2007

Good News

I wanted to share a praise report! I have been trying to sell my car, a 2005 Ford Focus, for the past few months because I knew that I would not be able to afford the car note once I quit my job. It is kind of hard to keep paying your bills when you don’t have any money coming in! Any way, the idea was to sell the car pay off the loan and then use the left over $ to buy a used car outright. That way I would have a way to get around to all the places I needed to be and not have to pay the car note.

Well things didn’t work out like I had planned, and I still have not sold my car…anyone interested…BUT God is good and what I am learning is that he likes to provide for me in unexpected ways. In ways that will let me know it is directly from him and not by chance.

I went to The Call in July, check it out at TheCall.com, where I received a word from God that he was going to give me a reliable car that would get me to all the places I needed to be. I thought, great God really knows my address! So I prayed and waited and waited and prayed; then I started thinking of ways that he could work this out so I would be ready. The one thing I didn’t want to do was act on my own and try to get a car that wasn’t the one he wanted me to have.

So then my mom informs me that she was telling my Granddaddy my plight and he wanted to give me a car! That’s right a 1993 Buick Olds! God has sent me a ghetto super car! I am so excited!

I can’t help but be amazed that God works things out every time, and every time it is in a way that I never would have guessed. Now I am just waiting for the right buyer for my Focus and ALL of that money will be able to go toward my tuition for Elevate!

Glory to God in the Highest! Thank you!