Jan 21, 2008

Remembering Hurricane Katrina

Time is still defined in my mind by markers like "before the storm" and "after the storm." I guess there are moments in everyone's life that really define who they are and what they are all about. Before the storm I was different.

I think Africa is going to be another one of those defining moments in my life. I am expecting to be different when I return. I am expecting to say "before Africa" and "after Africa." I don't know why these two very different events are entwined in my mind, but I can't seem to think about one without thinking of the other.

Maybe it is because my heart breaks for both. One was my home and maybe the other one will be my home. I don't know where God is going to take me but wherever He leads I will follow.

I have decided to follow Jesus

No turning back, no turning back

Though none go with me, I still will follow

No turning back, no turning back

The Cross before me, the world behind me

No turning back, no turning back

Swaziland, Africa

New Orleans, Louisiana

Jan 16, 2008

Woe is my cellphone

so it happened once again...monetary conflict between me and AT&T. yo no tienes dienero para cellular telephano...i have no money for my cell phone. but i have no money for lots of things and i refuse to let it bother me. that doesn't mean that i can shirk the responsibility of my bills but it does mean that i won't stress over them. i know my God is faithful and he has never failed me!

there is a freedom in knowing the sovereignty of God, thanks Kaycee!

Christmas PJ's

I got a package from my Grandparents in Ruston!! It was a Christmas package with my yearly pair of Christmas PJ's. Some of you may not be excited but I love them! There is some comfort knowing that you will get a new pair of jammies every year, and hopefully they will remind me of family, fun and Christmas every time I put them on!

This set is even more special becasue my grandma mailed them to me since I was in Venezuela for Christmas. You don't realize what a miracle that was! My Grammy will be the first to admit that mailing things isn't her best skill and that she often puts things in a "safe place" and can't find them for years. So this set of jammies marks a great day! Tonight I'll be wearing blue and white jammies with little Christmas trees all over them!

Retreat Happenings

I'm back from the Elevate Retreat and I just have to say that God showed up in an amazing way. I have to give props to the Full Time Elevate team for really pulling together to make this the best retreat in elevate history!

It was amazing! We had a hoedown in a barn out in St. Francisville; complete with a Hoedown Idol competition and So You Think You Can Dance - Elevate Style...I hope to be able to post the video soon!

I really believe that God did some great things in the lives of everyone who attended the retreat. He broke my heart for the children around the world who don't have parents to show them love and compassion. My heart went out to those child soldiers in Uganda who are forced to become murderers and often have to kill their own families. God showed me something about the capacity of children. About how they can be used by God for great glory or by the Devil for great harm. I hope to be able to show those children love one day, but until then I will pray for them.

What challenges has God placed in your heart? What are you passionate about? Why are you here? If you don't know, find out!

Jan 10, 2008

Tator Tots and Cherry Limeade

We had a great class with Pastor Dino today - he hooked it up with some drink and tots - woo hoo! But more importantly he gave us a great word on how to live our lives in ministry with longevity. God has given him 15 years at HPC and a little over 20 years in ministry! I am honored to have listened to him share some of his experiences with us.

Six things you need to stick around
  1. grit in your soul - can you hold on no matter what?
  2. holiness from the inside out - are you willing to be set apart for God?
  3. laser focus - can you spot the counterfeits in your life by holding them up to the light?
  4. work ethic - there is always a place at God's table for those who work hard.
  5. increase your skill set - great leaders are great learners.
  6. have joy - enjoy life and learn how to rebound from setbacks.
This was really great. Check out the picture on his blog here.

Jan 9, 2008

First things First

What I Love About Sundays from Healing Place Church on Vimeo.

This video was playing the first time I attended a Sunday morning service at the HPC Annex. I was in love, with the church, immediately! This place is sooo much fun!

Another Mozambique Testimony

Mozambique Women's Center - Part 2 from Healing Place Church on Vimeo.

I see it as a great honor to be a part of a church that cares this much. We are willing to go the extra mile and make a difference in someone's life, right here in Baton Rouge and around the world. God is so good!

Live the Dream Conference Opener

Live the Dream 2007 - Live Opener from Healing Place Church on Vimeo.


Mozambique Women's Center - Part 1 from Healing Place Church on Vimeo.

This video was
done by HPC about the church we have planted in Mozambique, Africa. Mozambique is the neighboring country to Swaziland, where I will be going this May! Please take a few minutes to look this over. It is really amazing. Real people with real stories.

Elevate Spring Retreat

We have been working for a few months to plan out the best back to elevate retreat in the history of elevate and we think we've done it! This weekend we will have about 100 interns and staff head out to St. Francisville, LA for an incredible time with God.

We are expecting God to show up in unexpected ways this year. At morning prayer today someone mentioned that one of the things we say around here is, "Jesus is here...anything can happen" and that this year anything will happen. We are believing for a great 2008!

Jan 6, 2008

Financial Frenzy

Of course the pressure is back on in the financial department, but God is so good. The mission trips this year are going to cost a little more than we expected and I still have to raise $3500 for this semester’s tuition, but this is no surprise to God. He has planned for this ahead of time.

I got a call from an old college friend of mine while I was in Chicago. We played phone tag and then email tag for a while before he told me the reason for getting in touch with me. He said that God laid it on his heart to help me with the financial burden and he was going to send me some money…a lot of money for a 20-something, young professional, who has only been working for a year or two. This just blew me away. God prepared his heart beforehand.

God knew that I was going to start freaking out about my finances. He knew that I was going to feel the pressure of all the bills. He knew that I would trust him this time so he planted the seed in Kenny’s heart to help. I am so touched by Kenny’s sacrifice. I am so blessed to be in God’s will. All glory and honor to His name!

By the will of God, I can raise the remaining funds for the tuition and the mission trip. By the will of God, I can stay in Elevate. By the will of God, I can live my life under His protection and guidance.

I pray that God will bless everyone who has given sacrificially, everyone who has seen something in me worth investing in. Because this is not just for me, this is for God’s kingdom and all the others he has in store for me to serve.

Mission Trip Mania

We finally found out where we are going on our mission trips this May! I am on the team going to Swaziland, Africa! I can’t believe it! I started this journey only 4 months ago, and my dream was to go to Africa and here it is! I will be spending 10 days, May 14-24, in Swazi country helping to establish the next HPC Campus in Africa.

There are 3 trips this year. One team is going to India and the other team is going to Mozambique, Africa. We are all so excited to see what God has in store for the trips. I know my life will be changed forever!

Please start praying for the trips. We will need this to be covered from top to bottom! They are only 5 months away!

There and Back Again

Well Elevate has officially started up again for the spring semester! I am so excited to be back in Baton Rouge and to catch up with all of the other Elevators. We have our first missions class of the semester tonight. Robert Barringer form Camino de Vida, A Blessed Life, a church in Lima, Peru. I am so excited to hear what he has to say. He was a California boy, surfer turned missionary, and ended up serving the Lord in Peru about 15 years ago. I’ll let you know more about him after I find out more about him and the ministry there in Lima.

Jan 1, 2008

New Year...New Releases

Have you ever told God he could have something. You know, you lay it down at the cross but you when you think no one is looking you pick part of it back up. Not the whole thing because you know that wouldn't be right. But you sneak off with just an itsy bisty teeny tiny part of it because even though it is heavy and cumbersome to carry you are just used to the weight of it on your back.

I have done it many times and I have probably haven't even realized it every time. I guess I think laying down part of it will lighten the load enough for me to handle the situation. There in lies the problem...I am trying to handle it, again. I don't know what the root of that is. Whether it is approval seeking..."look at what I can do God"...or if it is just that I don't trust him...or that I want whatever it is so bad that I don't care what he thinks is best for me.

Well in 2008 my resolution is to leave it alone. Whatever it is, lay it down and walk away. Trusting in God becasue he is trustworthy and has never failed me.

Double Duty

Multiple posting...in one day...I have unlimited access to the internet right now and I am frying my brain. I can really feel it turning into to mush as I type this and it is leaking out of my eyeballs. Sad but true. I have spent an enormous time on the internet this week.

Blogs, Podcasts, Myspace, Facebook, Weather.com, Google.

It has been my attempt to catch up on the tings I have been trying to do for the past 3 months. I have read about politics, Peru, human trafficking, snow storms, homeless people, hurting people, hungry people. You are probably saying..."no wonder she is lonely!" And you are probably right. My time and access to the internet needs to be limited for my own good, lol, but reading these things help remind me why I am here. To bring the only thing that can comfort these people, Jesus, to them in a way that they can grab on to. Not in empty prayers, but in groceries, Christmas gifts, warm jackets, sleeping bags, whatever they need.

God, I want your name to be glorified on this Earth. I want your love to be felt by th
ose who feel forgotten. I want to be a part of it, more than anything else. I won't be satisfied to watch it pass by. I want to hold those hurting kids in my arms. I want to feed those hungry people and build houses for the homeless. God don't ever let me get so comfortable that I forget them, because you won't ever forget them.

New Developments

Well the winter break is coming to an end. I fly back home to BR tomorrow. That's funny I don't think I've ever called BR home before. I usually claim New Orleans, more exciting I guess. I was raised in the Big Easy but I have lived in BR for, off an on, 7 years now. I guess it's time to accept it.

You wanna know another funny thing? Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to travel. I have the blood of a missionary pumping through these veins. That is why I am going through Elevate; it is the preparation part for what God has planned for me. Elevate will be over in May but I know that I am not ready to leave. Of course I won't get my Master's Degree until next year, so I will be sticking around but that's not the only reason. While I was away this break, my travels were filled with a longing to be back home. This is really a new feeling for me. To miss a place that I am already intimately familiar with. More than anything I think I miss my family and friends.

I feel disconnected from what normally gives me life. I feel like I am not connected to the vine anymore. I am shriveling up. I am lonely even though I am surrounded by people. I have developed some great friendships in the past year and I miss that companionship. I miss the freedom I have in their presence, to just be me.

I guess I know what it feels like to be living in the fullness of God's presence and then be removed from it. I know that God is everywhere and that He is always with me, but the challenge presented to me now is to take that same fire keep it with me wherever I go.