Friday, December 2, 2011


Hola! Sorry to have left you all in such a state of suspense (… at least my vanity would hope that you were left just a wee bit in suspense ;) ), but now that I am back in the world of internet from the age of the dinosaurs my opportunities for writing have been quite infrequent. This reason, and also the fact that upon my arrival in Mexico – as you probably have realized by now, I did get here – I was swept up into the flurry of construction and ministry.

But I digress. Let me tell you about my trip... when last I wrote I was leaving Oregon “rumbo a Mexico” (on course for Mexico). That bus ride was looonnnngggg. I left Roseburg at 12pm on Friday and arrived in Tucson at 9pm on Saturday... what's that, 30 hours? Somewhere thereabouts. Interestingly enough, I had traveled that particular route (down the West coast) so many times with my family, that I was actually able to recognize landmarks as the bus traveled down to Arizona. It's a strange feeling of deja vu when you can wake up from a doze, look out the bus widow and know where you are without having to ask :) .
I do not recommend bus travel for the faint-hearted, but other than a few incidents of exceptionally bad smells emanating from the bathroom at the rear of the bus (… yeah, that was not pleasant), rather uncomfortable seats, a few travel companions with rather filthy language (really though, God has been working on my heart, teaching me to see past outward appearances. This trip was a bug step towards that) and far too many hours in the same position, it wasn't half bad :) . That is to say that, if needs be, I would do it again.

About halfway through this part of my trip, all of my emotions seemingly caught up with me. All of the things that I had been too busy to feel over the last week came crashing over me like waves. I had known that it was bound to happen some time or other, but I am rarely ever prepared for the heaviness and despair. BUT as I looked to the Lord for comfort, He, being as always faithful and true, lead my heart to Psalm 23 and gave me this prayer, which I thought to share with you...
Lord, you are my shepherd, and my gentle guide, my vigilant protector; I will not want for anything. For you make me rest peacefully in your blessing; you comfort me and bring my to a place where I can close my eyes and bask in your presence. When I am weak and despairing, you restore hope to my soul. With your firm hand you lead me into the paths of truth and righteous living, for the sake of the glory of your name. Even if I should come to walk through valleys of doubt, despair and death, I will fear not, because you are greater than any evil which would ever beset me. You are with me. Seeing your might and knowing of your love brings me comfort, even in the darkest of times. No matter what this life brings, I know that you promises are true. You will render to each their due. You will not allow my persecutors to prevail forever, but will raise me up before them in the end, anointed and chosen daughter by your grace. In that day, I will rejoice before you, even as I do now, because of your goodness and mercy; and in your presence I will dwell forevermore.

When the bus finally pulled in to the Tucson station, I was utterly glad that the trip was over. The idea of sleeping in a real bed was so alluring that I didn't even really feel like eating. Of course, once I was off the bus and driving back through downtown Tucson in the car with some of my dear friends, I seemed to get a second wind. Regardless, I didn't last too long after that. From Saturday evening I stayed about 4 days in Arizona. It was great to visit with friends and I was especially blessed by the brother and sister I stayed with. What a priceless gift to have such a loving and caring family in Christ!

On Wednesday evening my friends saw me off at the Mexican bus station. I was finally homeward bound! About this leg of the trip there is not much to tell. I traveled through the night, sleeping most of the way. The bus was comfortable and peaceful and we made very few stops. By 9am the next morning we were pulling in to Guasave, Sinaloa. Home! My family arrived shortly thereafter, and I am sure you can imagine our exuberance! We were all quite content.

Since then, as I said, we have all been running full-tilt, working furiously to get the construction done and the house ready for our mission teams coming in December. Quite an undertaking; but praise God for the large family we have and for His strength as we strive to be faithful to our King and to accomplish the work He has given us.

I must apologize to those of you who like pictures. Unfortunately, at this moment all of the pictures that I might post are on my mom's laptop... and presently I am the only one still awake in the house (the things we do to find a moment to use the internet. Sigh. ;) ). With that said, I will try my utmost to post pictures either tomorrow or the day following.

Blessings to you! Thanks for sparing a moment to read through my meanderings!

Friday, November 11, 2011

3... 2... 1... blast off!

My life, all condensed into two suitcases and a backpack...

hmmm. It's interesting to realize that I don't really even need this much. After all, as long as I have my Bible and a set of clothes I should be good, right? Well, God hasn't asked me to go that radical quite yet; perhaps at some future date ;) .

Just three more hours. Three more hours until I will be on the bus driving away from this last chapter of my life. It's hard to leave... almost as hard as it was to come. But we do what we must, and this is my next step. I can only wait for whatever will come!

I am taking a lot away from this time that I spent in Oregon. But I would say that the biggest blessing that I have received during my stay here was the friendship of Emily. Yeah, she's a pretty amazing girl, and such an encouragement. [I am going to miss you, Em!]

And I will miss the trees and the foggy mornings... who wouldn't miss this?

So, I am off! Happy and sad, excited and apprehensive, but trusting in the Lord!
Psalm 34:7-9
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them. O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dinner Theater and Auction Fundraiser

I am utterly pleased to announce that our recent fundraising event was a total success! It was awesome to see all of our planning and preparing come to fruition.
We worked hard all day Friday setting up, and by the time we were finished it looked absolutely lovely :) .

(We set out the soups on tables against the walls around the room and then later on in the evening we set the goodies out on the center tables. Everything was DELICIOUS!)

I really did try to take more pictures, but I was so busy with every else that had to be looked after that I didn't get much of a chance. The ones I do have were taken at the very beginning of the night.

One of the portions of the Auction was akin to Raffle. People were able to buy tickets and place them into the paper bags located next to the items. It's always fun to win something that way. I might even have put a ticket or two in but that I was too busy :D.

And here is one of our dear ticket salespeople ;)!

The second portion was a silent auction for the smaller value items. I thought that I had taken pictures of them, but I guess I missed that part... oops! Anyway, we had things like gift certificates that had been donated by businesses from around town, several very beautiful glass chess sets, and a good number of themed baskets (eg. a "baby shower" themed basket, an "ice cream" themed basket, a "pizza" themed basket, etc.). Everything sold but one small wall hanging (it was bright red and looked something like a candy-can doll wearing a fluffy scarf), and I don't blame anyone for not having bid on it... you would have to have a very unique taste in order to want something like that.

These items were for the live auction portion of the event. We set them out during the evening so that people could get a good look at them beforehand. It must have worked, because everything sold! I even bought something. Do you see that blue, three-piece luggage set? Yeah, that's mine now :D . I really needed a new suitcase, and they're especially handy since I will be traveling on Friday.

The strange costumes were for our play (I was the villain MWAHAHahaha). We presented our version of a live radio drama. Though I didn't get any pictures of the play, we were able to record it. If you would like to listen to it, it is posted on our church website HERE. Hopefully you enjoy it!

All in all, I am pretty sure that the event was a hit. Everyone I talked to said that they had a good time, and as an added bonus we were also able to raise $1,700 toward our goal! God was so good to us. I was astounded to see how everything came together. What a blessed assurance to know that the Lord never fails, and how grateful I am that He chose to bless our event!
I want to thank everyone who helped with and prayed for us leading up to this fundraiser; it was much appreciated. Please continue to pray that the Lord would provide abundantly as the team traveling to Mexico in December works to raise the rest of the money needed.

Psalm 27:13-14
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Friday, November 4, 2011

On a Friday in November

Today is Friday the 4th of November. Now, for you this might be a Friday like any other, but for myself and the many others who have labored so hard with me this is THE Friday :). Tonight is the Dinner Theater and Auction Fundraiser for the missions trip we are planning this December. Days and days of hard work all culminating in this one night...

Last night we held our final dress-rehearsal for the play and began to set out our auction items. This morning I baked 100+ rolls, and spent the rest of the day up till now working with others to prep food stuff. I am back at the house for a short respite until 4:30pm rolls around, then I'll be back at it again!

Am I excited? Very. I am nervous? Actually I am not. I feel perfectly calm and completely at peace about it. God is good. His hand has been in every part of the planning for this event, and I do not believe that He will abandon us now.

So, if you get a chance, pray for us. It's going to be quite a night! I will attempt to take pictures, and we might even be able to record the play!
Until I type again,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Yet another chapter in life

Well now. I don't really even want to think about how much time has passed since I last updated. I suppose that by now most of you probably know me well enough to just assume that I had forgotten... or just wasn't in the mood to write. Both are true in part :). I think that I will agree with my mom in saying that the biggest blow to my blogging has been Facebook. Facebook is such an easy, fast way to post updates that I never feel the need to sit down and type out a whole post for my blog.
That said, I have now given my blog a face-lift, and I am hoping that the change will give me more incentive to write. Time will tell.

So, last time I put my fingers to the keys I was, to coin a phrase, "on the path to self-discovery"... well, I am still on that path, but fortunately I have made a little bit of progress in my journey. I am out of the mire of self-pity and gloom and now I am on my way up a new hill, the other side of which is, as yet, unseen.

Anyway, enough with metaphorical analogies, let me tell you a little bit about these last months.
Recounting all the details would be impossible, so I'll just hit some highlights from each month :) ! Quite unfortunately I have discovered that on my own I am not much of a picture-taker. I took a camera along with me on the last trip that I took and I didn't even use it once... I don't know why. It's not that I don't like taking pictures. Maybe it's that I am a little perfectionistic, so if I can't get an awesome picture, I'd just rather not take any... either that or carrying around a camera with me all the time isn't high on my list of things that I really like doing. All this to say that I am sorry that this post doesn't contain any pictures. I will try to be descriptive in my words ;) .

JULY -- The month of waiting and expectation...

Emily, my roommate, left for Mongolia at the beginning of July, so I was quite on my own for a lot of the time. The Ewerts' daughter and her husband and children came to visit for a week or so toward the middle of the month. It was nice to have kids in the house after a couple weeks of almost complete silence ;) .
Since I had so much time on my hands, many of my thoughts were directed toward my planned trip to the mid-west in August. I couldn't wait... but, of course, I did.

AUGUST -- The month of travels and new experiences...

The beginning of August found me on a plane to Nebraska. I won't bore you with all the details of what I did there, but I will tell you what I thought were the best parts of it.

I got to...
Help stack 300 bales of hay into a barn (YAY!)
Chase a cow through the cornrows
Make tons of awesome new friends
Road trip with aforesaid friends
Attend a Do Hard Things conference (which was even better than I had expected)
Participate in a barn dance (that was SO much fun)

But when I think of Nebraska, the memory that rises above all the rest is of the wind playing with the tops of the cornstalks and making the bean plants dance, almost as if it were a huge ocean of green, the waves rising and falling. It gave me so much joy to see the beauty of God's creation!

After Nebraska came Kansas. I rode down with some of my new-found friends to Wichita, where my grandparents met up with me. I got to spend two wonderful weeks with them. It was very peaceful and quiet. I was even able to get into the habit of going for a run every evening. Truly it was quite enjoyable!
But all good things come to an end... or so the saying goes. August 28th saw me deposited nicely back at home in Oregon.

SEPTEMBER -- The month of surprises and decisions...

September brought with it many good things. The first of which was the end of summer, and the second a visit from my family! I was overjoyed to see them again, especially since I had not expected to see them until December. My brothers were all considerably taller (well, Andrew was only slightly taller, but he's getting there) and quite as rambunctious and mischievous as ever. And Evie has quite grown into a young lady, and without my permission too!

Oh, and I mentioned decisions. Well, I'll tell y'all (that's the mid-west rubbing off) that I have been praying and taking steps and praying all the more over the past 7 months. The funny thing is that it often seemed like I had figured out what I was going to be doing next year and then, right when I was almost certain, something crucial would change and everything would be up in the air again. The last thing that I wanted to do was make a decision that I would later regret, or make a decision that I honestly couldn't feel a peace about. There are so many things that one "can" do at this point in life, but how many of them "should" one do? This question swirled round and round in my mind.

But, as with all decisions, there comes a time when the time has come, and one way or another something has to be done.
After a lot of talking with my parents and friends and with my Father, I have made the decision to go back to Mexico. I don't really know how "permanent" this is. From where I am standing now I am not seeing God calling me away again any time soon, but I guess I have learned from experience that God's ways and plans are not my ways and plans. I am content to take this next step that He's shown me and then wait actively until something changes.

And this bring us to OCTOBER -- the month of planning and busyness...

So, plans for my trip began. And plans for the short-term missions trip traveling to Mexico in December from my church continued. And plans for the gigantic Dinner Theater/Auction fundraiser for said trip progressed. As October draws to a close, I feel like heaving a sigh of relief as I look back on all the things that have been accomplished toward all of these goals. There have been times in the preparation, especially for the fundraiser, when I honestly did not see how we would be able to pull it off. But, God is faithful. Once I realized that there was only so much that I could do and that the results had to be left up to Him, things began to fall into place.

And here I am. The fundraiser is this Friday; and I leave next Friday for Mexico. Wow. Where has the time gone? I am torn in my feelings. Glad? Yes, most definitely. Sad? Yes, that too. As I leave Oregon, so closes another chapter of my life. But I am leaving behind more than just the life I have lived during this past year. I am leaving behind my childhood and all the memories that I have held on to so tightly throughout these past 7 years.

I am going to Mexico, but this time it's my choice.

Isaiah 40:28-31
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

Blessings, friends!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Confessions of a Hurting Heart

I have been found out. The verdict: guilty. And I cannot plead my innocence, because it's true.
How often have I repeated to myself that my joy is only in God, only in His will, only in His presence, only in doing His work? And it is... or should be.
It's funny, so often I feel as though I am constantly re-learning things that I already know. A couple of years ago when I was in Mexico with my family I went through a time in my life when I wanted to be anywhere but where I was. I wasn't content. I felt like I wasn't serving any purpose where I was; what purpose could highschool serve anyway? God took me to task on this, and I came out of it much the better for having gone through it. Perhaps it's the very fact that I have already gone through this once which made me blind to the fact that I was going through it again.
But praise the Lord for friends who love me enough to speak the truth, even when it's not what I want to hear!

There have been many changes in my life in the past year. I look back on the things I did with my family in January and feel that it can't be real. Sometimes as I sit in my room with my eyes closed I almost feel that when I open my eyes I will find out that everything since then has been a dream; that I never really left Mexico. But I open my eyes and I see the carpeted floor and green walls and know that it's real.

I have come back to the place where I grew up. The people I left behind are the same, the scenery is the same, the church is the same... I even feel at times that I must be the same. I'm not. The person I am today is not the person I was 7 years ago... even aside from the fact that I was much younger then. I didn't realize how hard it would be to come back after so much time had passed. Mexico isn't Asia or Africa, but it isn't the US either. And my family isn't here.

Finding my identity without them has been the most difficult thing I have ever faced. What happens when the realization comes that no matter what you do things are never going to be the same? What do I do when I realize that the life that I left behind in Mexico was left behind forever? Regardless of what the future will be, it can never be the past.

I have avoided facing this up till now, but it's time that I stopped dodging the truth and acknowledged it for what it is, Lord give me strength. My heart aches for love and security that I had with my family. I have tried to fill up the gap with prayer, with reading my Bible, with keeping busy, with friends, with plans, with excuses... they didn't work. Everything that I have done here has been good, and I can say with certainty that my prayer life has never been better, but I have been prevented from sharing in the joy of the blessings of God because I have been too focused on the blessings I did not have.

It has been a harsh awakening for me. How is it that I could have missed something so vital, so important. It's true. I have been living without joy. Oh, there have been moments in which I have been joyful, but I haven't lived it, and more often than not my eyes are clouded by tears of sadness, not of thanksgiving.

But the fight is not over! The first step is taken. Time will heal the wound in my heart, and until then I will fight for God's peace and joy in my life!!

In my mind, my future is crowded with plans and hopes and dreams, but I don't live in the future, and I never will. I am HERE and I live NOW! Regardless of what may come, I will cling to the promises of the the Lord knowing that in His joy I can find strength!

Psalm 95:1-8a
O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD,
Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,
In whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.
The sea is His, for it was He who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
Today, if you would hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts