DR 2012 — June 30 (Journal #2)

7:10 am
Father, thank You for Noe and his insight. I am poor, Father. I feel inadequate to do what You call me to do. I don’t speak Spanish well. I can’t always relate to others. Give me words and the ability to relate with the people I meet today.
Abba, give me compassion and a tender, moldable heart to be open to Your will and to the people and situations I meet and see today. Give me Your love and help me to see them the way You see them. Break my heart.
Father, give me humility and help me to see Your big picture. Show me just a small glimpse of Your plan to put me in my place, to give me truth about who I am and who You are.
Thank You for Your love. Thank You for blessing me; continue to bless me and my life. I give my life to You for Your purposes.
I love You, Jesus!!

1:06 pm
This morning we started building panels for the chapel! I cut wood with Kiersten all morning; it was really fun! I really enjoy the building. It’s been a blast to learn more Spanish and get to know Crismery and the other girls, Perla and Ange. Perla and I traded Bibles this afternoon and tried reading verses aloud to each other! It was really funny to hear how she said certain words, and I’m sure I sounded pretty funny, too. 🙂
We have eaten really good food thus far and I think we’ll go get ice cream tonight!
Abba, thank You for new friends and beautiful language.

4:25 pm
We went to Tres Ojos Caves this afternoon; they were really pretty! I talked to Crismery on the bus there and back; my Spanish is improving quite a bit! 🙂 Tonight we will do ministry and have fun with kids! Yay! 😀 So excited!!

11:00 pm
Abba, thank You. Ministry was absolutely amazing. When we first arrived, there were kids swarming the bus. We played games with them and asked all their names. I played a hand game where they count numbers but skip numbers with “8” in them. I messed up the first 2 times because I didn’t understand how to play but I finally understood the 3rd time how the game worked and I ended up winning (with another girl)! Most of the little kids don’t know all of their numbers yet… that’s probably why I did so well.
Those people worship like I have never seen before! They dance and shout; the children shout at the top of their lungs! They have no books or screens, so they know all of the songs by heart. They have so little, yet they know that they have God. They don’t just sing the words; they sing with their hearts and truly mean everything they sing. Their joy is so apparent and visible on their faces and in their voices even though we can’t always understand the words.
When we did our mimes, they were completely silent and riveted on our movements. Everyone was mesmerized by them. Father, the weight of all those things, the signs I was carrying in the mime… I understood tonight. Abba, as Brandon (Christ) lifted each one off of me, I felt the weight lifted. I knew what it was to let You take the worries, cares, sins, and burdens from me. I know again intimately what it is to give You all and let go of these burdens and silly things that I meditate upon. Remind me when I do that to give it over to You. You are more than capable and willing to take it ALL for me! Amen, LORD Jesus.
As we left, the pastor said something that stuck in my mind:
“The President doesn’t come here. The mayor doesn’t come here. The government doesn’t come here. You came here. You are not here by chance. God sent you here because we need help. He always provides.” Thank You for sending me, Jesus. It’s a high calling, an honor.
Man, I LOVE my new Dominican sisters! Perla just stopped to say “hola” and give me a kiss on the top of my hair. 🙂
Goodnight, dear Abba. Te amo. ❤

DR 2012 — June 29th (Journal #1)

Wow, what a crazy start to our trip this has been! We met at ARC at 9 pm last night so that we could prepare, bond, and leave at 1:30 am for our 5 am flight. Turns out I didn’t really sleep on the bus or planes, so I’ve been up for almost 40 hours straight! Pulled my first all-nighter. 😛 (Definitely the best reason to do it — mission trip — by the way!!) What has been so astounding about it all is that I haven’t gotten grumpy and You have sustained me. I had more energy this evening than I ever thought possible! Abba, thank You for providing. Continue to teach me more about You and about Your world. We also didn’t eat any meals for about 15 hours of those 40, so we were running on Your sustainence, nothing of our own!
Jesus, it has been SO fun to use my Spanish already with some of the Dominican TIME ministries people. I talked at length with Crismery today, learning about her and teaching/learning new words back and forth. It was a fun, guessing-game conversation! She is 18, too, so it was neat to have a glimpse of someone like me living in a different country and culture.
There are 3 sweet children here (children of Noe, a Dominican missionary): Megan, William, and Elda, who are all learning English, too! I tried talking with Elda, the 3-year-old, and it was so cute! She used “Spanglish” so much that many of us couldn’t understand her, but when I asked her something in Spanish she answered easily. Looking into her adorable brown eyes and having her smile at me was SO precious. I love her and the people here already, Abba!! They are so friendly and love You like we do. They are Yours just as we are. ❤

DR 2012 — T-minus 5 hours

Oh boy, oh boy! It’s almost here! Today I’ve been very excited, but a little nervous, too. Don’t worry, this is nothing like the previous, anxious-nervousness. This is the excited-nervousness of leaving home and country to go to NEW places and meet NEW people, to build a house of worship, to make an eternal impact on hurting seekers, happy believers, and beautiful children. This is the nervous-excitement that reminds me that I have to TRUST Him.
As our team meets tonight to bond, pray, and finish last-minute preparations before our 1:30 a.m. departure, please continue to lift us up to our Father. Only He knows what’s in store for our team and each one of us! Abba, I can’t WAIT. Let’s go!!
I love you all. 🙂 Thank you SO much for your support!
I’ll be sure to give you a report when we arrive home!

DR 2012 — One. Week. Away.

I can’t believe it; my team and I will be in an airplane flying to Santo Domingo at this time one week from today! We have prepared much and been in prayer for the people we will minister to and with… that they will be touched and that we will learn from them as well. We have practiced our mimes to the music that go with them. We have rehearsed all the songs that we will sing with the children (in Spanish!) and practiced with the big arm puppets on the rest of the songs. We have collected all of the supplies we’ll be taking with us (each of us are taking two checked bags — one for us and one filled with everything we’re taking to give away and minister with!). We have turned in our passports to our leaders so that no one gets left behind. We have completed all of the logistics and organizational details. Physically, we are ready for this mission. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally… I’m not so sure. I know that each one of us is at a different place in our relationship with Jesus. We each have different worldviews and presuppositions that we bring to this mission trip, some more similar than others. My prayer as we embark in less than a week is that we be unified — in His purpose, as a church body, as fellow believers and friends, as team members. My prayer is that we each let God mold and transform us into the people of His name that He created us to be. My prayer is that we are humble, willing to accept correction and even rebuke. My prayer is that we invest in each life we come into contact with as unique, image-bearing of our Creator and special to Him. Thank you, friends, for your support. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your monetary gifts. Thank you for your love. Amen, Abba, let it be. ❤

DR 2012 — Getting Closer!

Our departure date is quickly approaching! I am very excited to see how God will use my team and I as we finish preparations and fly down to the Dominican Republic. I have recently been praying asking the LORD to continue preparing our hearts and the hearts of the people we will serve and with whom we will work. I know that He has already been working in my heart because I was VERY nervous about this trip over the past two weeks. This is very uncharacteristic of me (I don’t get nervous easily!!) so that made me even more apprehensive about the whole thing. I was not nervous so much for safety or the flights, but for the trip in general and doing His work. I felt a little lost and not sure why I was going on this mission trip after all. But as I continued to spend time with Abba and in His Word, I was reminded that there is a much bigger purpose that I (and my whole team) am involved with. Our telos (Greek for complete purpose) lies in God’s plan of Redemption for Creation, specifically those in His image — us!! He made us to glorify Him and be His rulers and His royal priesthood, offering up the sacrifices that creation gives to Him. He made us to love His creation and take care of it. He calls us to bear His image in all places and at all times. Being reminded of THAT…. that was what God used to assuage my fear and anxiety. Reminding me that this is a small (but NOT insignificant) journey in light of His whole plan took away the pressure I was feeling and brought back my excitement for missions, specifically this trip. As we complete our packing and preparation, please keep my team and I in prayer. Our team hasn’t met for a few weeks, but if I know my teammates, some of them are nervous much in the same way I was. Ask God to work in their hearts and minds. Pray that they trust Him with whatever their fears and anxieties are. Ask God to reveal to them His vision for His body and the Earth, just as He did for me.

I love you all, friends!!

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed,do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” ~Colossians 3:15-17

DR 2012 — Missions Commissioning!

This weekend is Missions Commissioning at Autumn Ridge. Our church holds a whole service dedicated to the student missions trips this summer: Rochester, Colorado, and the Dominican Republic. Billy, our youth pastor, gives the message, the youth worship team leads the congregation in music, and the students going on all of the missions trips come forward to be commissioned by the congregation that they may support the students in finances and in prayer.

I am leading the youth worship team and congregation in worship this weekend. We have worked hard by God’s grace to prepare for this, so please pray that He be glorified in all that we say and do!

Thank you, friends!

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