DR 2012 — July 5th (Journal #7)

10:45 pm
Today we built the whole chapel! πŸ™‚ Wow, that was SO fun. We worked with the Dominicans, laughing and enjoying each others’ company. We only had one injury (besides little scrapes) and that was when the penultimate roof panel started to fall in, causing the last truss to collapse inside the chapel and almost pin Chris, the missionary, underneath it.
When we got back we ate amazing chicken soup Dominican-style. πŸ™‚
Tonight I led devotion. I decided to talk about prayer and communication with God. I explained “praying in color” (drawing my prayers instead of using lots of words) and we each did it individually, sharing the experience afterwards. Many in the group said that it was a wonderful, new way to pray. Thank You, Abba, for reminding me of that and giving me an opportunity to share.
The interns shared their testimonies with us tonight, too. Thank You for the ways You have worked in the lives of Ross, Ashley, Kailey, and Rachel. Father, You have particularly touched me through Rachel and the way we can relate to one another. Bless all of the interns and give each one of them strength and endurance for the rest of the summer here.
We get to sleep in tomorrow, Abba! Thank You for rest, Abba!! Goodnight. ❀

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. πŸ˜› (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.Β 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. πŸ™‚ 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. ❀

Reflections: The Rule of Peace

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
~ Colossians 3:15

Hmmm. This is a high calling. It is hard to let peace rule in your heart. As a being-reformed perfectionist, it is difficult for me not to worry about things, even the smallest things. Paul is saying here not just to let peace passively exist within you without any impact, but to let it RULE your heart. Ruling implies authority. It conveys power over that which is under its rule.

It also says to let peace rule in your HEART. The heart is the center of will, the seat of volition. It is where all of our desires are ordered; it is where we determine the organization of our life. The heart involves the power of choice — what we think about, what we say, how we react to others around us. If we let peace rule in our hearts, this means that we let peace be an over-arching determining factor in how we order our life. We let God’s peace control what we think about, what we say, and how we treat other people. If we let His peace rule in our hearts, just think how much less stressful the world would seem. I’m not saying that the circumstances would change; they won’t necessarily, because this world is still fallen. BUT our perspective of the circumstances can change dramatically if we simply let Christ’s peace have control over our lives.

“Be thankful.” Wow, that can be hard. Again, though, if we thank God for the good things AND the hard, painful things, our perspective of the circumstances can transform our attitude and outlook on the situation. Thanksgiving leads to worship, and worship leads to thanksgiving. Both worship and thanksgiving lead to peace. I think a big way to begin letting God’s peace RULE in our hearts is to start thanking God.

So what can you thank God for today? What pleasant things has He blessed you with? What trials has He blessed you with? Both are what we need, even if they are not what we want. How can you begin letting His peace RULE in your heart?

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.Β 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.Β 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.Β And whatever you do in word or deed,doΒ 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!

DR 2012 — Mimes and Ministry

As part of our ministry to the different people there, my team and I are rehearsing mimes to present the gospel and show how Christ can change our lives. This is such an exciting opportunity to use acting as a way to express God’s truth! I am the main character in one of our mimes. I have had a lot of acting experience, so I am not at all nervous about that part. There is one part about which I am a tiny bit nervous, so if you could pray for the mimes to come together smoothly, that would be a HUGE blessing!

Because we are going to a spanish-speaking country πŸ™‚ we are encouraged to try writing out our testimony or faith story (in some form or another) in Spanish! I am VERY excited to try this, but at the same time I want to make sure that I say as many things as possible in an appropriate way. Please pray that I will be diligent and motivated to get working on that so that I don’t run out of time!

We also get to play with puppets! The puppets are huge arm-puppets that we get to man behind a curtain. The puppets will dance and sing the spanish songs (all songs that we learned in church as a little kid growing up!). We are all memorizing these in Spanish, so that is a fun little challenge. My Spanish class has come in SO handy now that I actually understand the words to these songs!

Thank you SO much for all of our prayers!! “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

DR 2012 — The Adventure Begins!

Hey all! Not all of you may know this, but I am traveling to the Dominican Republic this summer for a mission trip at the end of June! I am SO excited for this amazing opportunity to serve God, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store for my team there. We are prayerfully preparing and asking God how we may work with Him and His people everywhere that we go.

We will be working with a ministry already down in the DR called Time Ministries. They line up our work project schedule, which will be to build a chapel for a congregation that does not currently have a building in which to meet. It takes a lot of money to provide for a mission trip! It costs quite a bit to travel, buy supplies for building the chapel, and gather clothing and food to give the people there. That said, it costs each team member around $1200 for the ten days we will be gone. We have 21 team members, so that’s a lot of money!! I know, though, that God is faithful and will provide for everything that our team needs.

If you were perhaps wondering, ‘What can I do?’ here are a couple of ways:

First of all, I would like to ask you to PRAY. Prayer is the biggest thing our team could ask for as we embark on this adventure. We need to be unified in Christ on our purpose and as a body, and it can be difficult to achieve that when so many people from such different households and places gather together. We will be working alongside some of the Dominicans, so we need to be unified with the believers there as well. There are SO many facets involved in a trip like this, and only God knows how it will all fit together! Since this is His work, asking Him to bless and and be with our team is the most vital need we have. I will be updating you all as we get closer to the trip date in other ways in which you can pray for us.

Secondly, we could use financial assistance. God can use you to work through us even if you aren’t going with us! He can use your financial prosperity to further His kingdom. Maybe you are tight on money as is — I am NOT asking you to give because you feel compelled, but out of the generosity of your heart. If you are not able to give now, please do not! But if God is leading you to help us reach our goal, we are SO grateful! One way you can do this is to purchase a beautiful poster with 20 crosses on it, which you can see here. The donation we are asking for them is $20 or more. The proceeds all go towards our DR trip, so this is a neat way to contribute and to also have a reminder to pray for us — the poster — on your wall. If you are interested in donating towards the trip but don’t want the poster, that is welcome also! Just contact me if you are interested and, if you don’t live around here, to get the poster to you if you’d like!

A Day for Change!

Today was a day full of big decisions and changes, so I thought I’d let you share in my excitement!

1) I started my first job (outside of my family) today! I am now working at Sargent’s (a garden center, nursery, and landscaping business) for the spring/summer. This should be a pretty fun job for me, considering that I’ll be working retail and I am definitely a people person! Not only that, but I’ve worked in the vegetable/plant field practically since I could walk, so this will be a place where I fit right in! I am eagerly anticipating helping customers with all of their plant questions and problems, and seeing how much I know compared with the other employees there. I’ll still be helping out some at the Farmers’ Market with my family when I’m not working, though, so don’t worry, those of you who see me through the family business will still see me around. πŸ™‚

2) This morning (before 7 am, I might add!) I officially decided which college I will be attending in the fall!! I am going to Northwestern College with the intention to study Music Education (vocal emphasis). I am SO excited and relieved to have finally made this difficult choice. I didn’t realize how much stress I was carrying around from that tension until it was lifted this morning for good. Yes, there are still a LOT of things that I need to do to prepare to actually go, but I am very enthused to begin this new adventure with God and with all of the people He will put in my life beginning in August! Thank you so much, friends, for all of your prayers concerning this decision. Please continue to pray with me that God will work greatly in this place and in my heart and life in preparation for what lies ahead.

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