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

Saturday, June 11, 2011

La Di Dah and life in general

Good afternoon (or morning or evening, depending on when you're reading this ;) ) to you all! Well, it's been a busy couple of weeks for me. I suppose that when I first came here I really had to work to fill my time, now it seems like there isn't enough time to do everything that I want (and need) to do! Funny how that works.

My adult Spanish class has begun. I had a smaller turnout than I had expected, but I am satisfied in knowing that God brought exactly the people who needed to come. I truly enjoy being able to move at a little faster pace and to know that my students are studying at home. I suppose that this really is the greatest struggle I have faced with the younger class; I can't know that they will all study at home. I know that they do to some extent, but because they don't always, we have to spend a lot of class time reviewing. Granted, reviewing is good, so I can't complain too much. I do know they are learning, even if we're not moving as quickly as I would like!

I still don't have an actual job, but I have been offered a part-time babysitting job once a week at the church for Financial Peace University (a class that they are hosting at our church). I am not sure how long this will last, but I have something for at least a month! In addition to this I also have been doing yard-work and weeding for our neighbors. What with these things and my Spanish classes, I manage to keep my week rather full!

As to school, I am still hoping to enroll come Fall. I went to the college a few days ago and got some information regarding some different classes that I want to take this term. Unfortunately, when I took the placement test a few weeks ago it seems that I placed in a rather low math class. If I start in the class that I placed in, I will have to take two classes before it will actually count for college credit. I didn't like that idea at all, so I am burying myself in Algebra for the foreseeable future.... not a pleasant prospect, but it must be done! My plan to re-take the Algebra test so that I can place in a higher math class. I know that I can move up at least one class; I am hoping that I might even be able to make it two. We'll see.

Last Sunday was the graduation of the public and Christian high schools here in Roseburg. I didn't make it the the public high school's graduation, but I did attend the graduation of Umpqua Valley Christian School. A bunch of my friends graduated. It seems like such a short time from when we all started high school together... granted, I was homeschooled, but we were still all in the same grade technically. Anyway, it was great to see them starting off into new adventures. Most of them are going to be attending college come Fall. It's a little surreal. I will have you know that I didn't actually cry at the graduation. I was quite proud of myself! *gives herself a pat on the back*
Well, now that's over. The next thing you know I will be attending college graduations... or even weddings! I think that I am in denial... ;D

Alright, well I did take a bunch of pictures from the top of the mountain and down by the river, but I put them on my old desktop... and I forgot to take them off before I put it away. Now that it is completely taken apart I really don't feel like getting it all put back together and set up just to pull a few pictures off. So, until I get back up and over the mountain (shouldn't be too long :) ) you will have to be satisfied with these pictures that I took this past

Here's a picture of the front of the house from the yard. It's a little hard to really see the house because of the tent trailer out front... but I wasn't about to try to move it to take the picture ;) . Hopefully we will get it moved soon.

Okay, these are pictures from behind the house, looking up the hill.

Here are some pictures of my "garden". It isn't exactly one garden, more like several little pieces of garden...

Okay, if you look closely, you will be able to see the pea plants in two rows...

I love all the colors!!

This is my roomie ;) ! Meet Emily.

Okay, I am now going to make it a habit to carry my camera around with me so that I can get some pictures which actually contain people instead of just plants...

Now I must close and move on with all the other things that I need to accomplish today. Today these verses really stood out to me when I was reading. I am caught up in the moment. What would it have felt like to have been shut in your house, fearing that at any moment soldiers might come through the door to arrest you. Suddenly, you turn and see the One who you had thought dead standing right in front of you. Doubts are swept away.
We say, "Seeing is believing" Jesus says "Blessed are you if you believe without having to see"
John 20:26-29
After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

Monday, May 30, 2011

Continued musings

What a week... or two. When so much time passes between my posts I forget what I have done. This is about the time when I would look back in my journal, that is if I actually kept one. But I don't, so you will have to rely solely upon my ability to recall all that I have done. Hey now, it's not that scary of a prospect! ;)

My Spanish classes have continued marvelously. I really feel like my students are starting to learn! We aren't progressing as rapidly as I hoped to in the beginning, but I think that, realistically, we are moving at a good pace. This Wednesday will be my first adult class. Again, it isn't as big as I had first hoped that it might be, but I know that God has it all in His hands; I did as much as I could, and the results must be left up to Him!
I don't have an "official" job other than teaching Spanish. I have done some odd jobs and have made myself available for babysitting as well. Though some have questioned my decisions up till now I can only say that I believe that I am where God has placed me. It's enough... sometimes it's hard to trust and be patient, but it's enough.

I made a trip out to the college last week with Emily. I managed to accomplish quite a bit in one morning I think! I registered as a student (got the nifty little "student ID" number) and took my placement test. I placed quite well in English, but not so well in Math. It's to be expected; Math has never been my strong suit. Anyway, I still need to sign up for classes, but I really have done all that I can until I decide how I am going to pay for the semester. Money is usually the issue, isn't it? I am praying and watching for the answer.
Honestly, I still am not sure what it is that God has for me. I want to attend school, yet a huge part of my heart was left in Mexico and that part of me (sometimes it feels like all of me) would like nothing more than to return there (... or maybe France. I have always wanted to go to Europe ;) ). Whatever I end up doing, I know that the choices I make in this next year are probably going to shape the rest of my life. It's a rather intimidating thought, but I know that I serve a faithful Master, and an expert Potter whose plans I can trust.

Well, the time has come. All of my friends (alright, not all but most of my friends) are graduating this week. Just this last Sunday I went to the graduation of a friend who I have know since we were... my goodness... like 6? So much time has passed in between, but it was rather nice to be able to see her finish school and take the next big step in her life. I was just reflecting the other day how strange it is that everyone grows up. I know it's a part of life and all, but it's so hard to understand how the little baby of what seems like merely yesterday could be the spunky ten-year-old who just ran by. How is it that the same roles that my friends and I used to fill could now be filled by the younger generation... and when did I become part of an older generation??!! But, the strangeness of it all aside, I really am excited to watch all of my friends take big steps forward, and even more excited to see some of them who are truly chasing after God with all their heart!

Oh, on a cheerful note, I have a new laptop! I am actually at this very moment typing this very post on its very keyboard. Is that cool or what?! It's a refurbished Compaq HP. So far I really like it... we'll see whether I still do after a couple of months, but I have high hopes ;) ! So, now that I do have the laptop I am going to upload pictures... next time I get on. For now I'll just end by posting a short poem that I wrote last Summer. I have kept it in my Bible for the longest time, but I think that it's time that it saw light. If it sounds familiar and you have a facebook account, you probably read it there ;).
All of us grow weary, and all of us complain.
We grow offended in the face of unfair accusation
And we are jealous of those who, through dishonesty, seem to gain.
In waiting we grow impatient, and in difficulty we are burdened with stress.
We flee so quickly from persecution and are even less willing to suffer physical pain.
Is this right? Have we not been called to something more?
For we haven’t suffered affliction and bodily torment as did Isaiah;
Nor have we been rejected by country and kinsmen as was the prophet Jeremiah.
We have not been wrongly accused and killed mercilessly by those we most love, but Jesus was.
Brethren, we have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in our striving against sin.
Perhaps it’s time that we did.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In You is full joy

Alright. Now it comes time for me to write about what I have been doing... and I can't remember anything!! Isn't that always the case?! Well, I have been doing things, though in retrospect I don't think that I have been doing as much as it feels like I have... hmmmm.

Well, a little bit ago now I went out to the college to audition for the Umpqua Singers Music Scholarship. I did not get accepted, but the man for whom I was auditioning said that he liked my voice, I just needed more practice sight-reading. Not a big surprise, since I am not very good at it. He recommended that I participate in the Chamber Choir out at the college this year and then apply again next year. I am interested, but we'll see if that's in God's plans for me! It was a good experience even if nothing came of it ;).

One of the responsibilities I have taken up in my new family (not replacing the old one, mind you :^) just in case any of my family back home is reading this) is a Summer garden. Of course, it isn't Summer yet, but I guess that the name refers more to the season in which you reap the harvest, not when you actually plant the seeds. I have planted squash and tomatoes and peas and bell peppers and parsley and some other potted plants that were given to me and I really have no idea what they are... yet! I guess that I will find out when they start giving fruit! I enjoy being able to work outside and having the garden gives me something that I can enjoy and reap the benefits of.

As Spring advances I am constantly amazed by all of the green that surrounds me! Just as I think that nothing could possibly be any more colorful than it is, something new comes up. I have been supremely blessed by the location of my home. We live halfway up a hill (well, it's a bigish hill/smallish mountain, I don't know what it's technical term is) on the other side of which is a river. It's pleasant to be able to take a short walk over the hill and down to the water where you can just sit and listen and pray and be still. When I stand up on top I can look out in all directions. I can see people walking below, cars driving by, cattle grazing, the river rushing, the birds flying by at my eye level... it's rather nice in a weird way knowing that you could yell at the top of your lungs and nobody would hear. God is good!
This time of year there are wildflowers everywhere. Perhaps when I get my computer set up (should be tomorrow, Lord willing) I will post some pictures so that you guys can picture the view with me.

Emily and I have begun taking regular classes and the YMCA. We have tried a couple, but I think that we have both decided that we like Zumba best. It's a great way to meet new people, be a witness and get a good workout all in one! I know that I must be making a fool of myself what with my feable attempts to keep up with the instructor and follow all of the moves... I have found that I can control my arms fairly well and my feet moderately well, but when I put them both together it becomes... awkward ;) But I am getting better!

Since I have been here in the US I have had the priviledge of of being able to participate in a girls' Bible study that meets on Monday nights (I think that I mentioned this before). It's been great getting to know all of the girls and seeing God work in and through us. We meet in a different person's house each week and this week it was our (Emily's and mine) turn to host the study. Emily was leading and I was providing snacks. This week the book we are going through was focusing on the final week of Jesus' life. It's interesting to note that, while the gospel do give us a good picture of the three years of Jesus' ministry, more than a third of the gospels are centered on Jesus' last week before His death and resurrection. Must have been important, no? There's far more emphasis placed on this than on the 40 days He spent with His disciples and followers after His resurrection. One of the events that the book focused on was Jesus' washing of His disciples feet. I have always loved this story, but Phillip Yancey (Author of "The Jesus I Never Knew") brought it even more clearly into light.
Did you know that footwashing is something that, according to Jewish law, a master could not force a Jewish slave to do? It was one of the most disgraceful and lowly jobs there was. No wonder Peter exclaims, "Lord, do you wash my feet?!" when Jesus comes to him. Jesus humbles Himself in this action, saying to his disciples, "The servant is not greater than the master; therefore, if you see me doing this, do the same for one another."
Last night we had the opportunity to wash one another's feet. It was neat to remember Jesus' sacrifice and, just for a moment, to stop and meditate on what it cost Him... and how willing He was to pay that price.

John 13:12-17
After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. (New Living Translation)

Be blessed; serve God in what you know to be right. Commit your ways to Him and He will guide your steps. Be strong, friends!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A little trust goes a long way

Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.

This word has come to mean so much to me. It's the shortest and best summary of everything that God has been teaching me over the past couple of months, maybe over my entire life. The lesson has been a hard one in learning. Sure, I believe that God is sovereign. I believe that God's Word is truth. I know that He will give me strength when I'm weak. But He still asks me again, "Do you trust Me?"

When I take away your support and remove from you all that you hold dear, do you trust Me?
When I place you in a situation where all you can do is sit still and wait, do you trust Me?
When everything that you thought was to be your future crumbles down, do you trust Me?
When your heart aches and you cry out to me and hear nothing in response, do you trust Me?
When you reach the end of what you are able to bear and fall down under your burden, do you trust Me?

I haven't yet learned to answer all of these questions. I know what my answers should be. I can quote you scripture after scripture in support of what I "know" to be true. But can I answer these questions in deed? I don't know. Life has changed drastically for me. At times my heart longs so for life as it was that I feel I could burst. God asks me again, "Do you trust Me?"
Do I? Lord, help me! I must!
I surrender my rights.
I surrender my dreams.
Break my heart for what breaks Yours.
Teach me to see with Your eyes.
I trust You.
You, who loved me enough to die for me.
You, who loves me enough to live in me.
You, who promises that I will never walk this life alone.
I trust You.

"Do you trust Me?"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Thoughts

Happy Easter!! Albeit a little late!
Normally this would have been one of the busiest weeks of the year for me, but it seems that Easter really isn't as big a thing here in the States. Of course, I already knew that, but often you don't really "realize" things until you experience them first-hand. My family, on the other hand, has been very busy. I am sure that they will post about it all soon and I'll link to the post ;). Anyway, this has been my very first Easter on my own. We had a sunrise service out at the Wildlife Safari and then we had a wonderful breakfast at the church. I also had the priviledge of being able to participate on the worship team. The people of this church have been such an encouragement to me as I have been adjusting to life here. It's so great to know that I have so many brothers and sisters here who love me and who support me in what I am doing!

As for the people I am staying with, they are amazing!! I don't know what I would do without their love and encouragement. I thank God constantly for His love and care. It is wonderful that I serve a God who not only saves me, but who watches out for me even in the little things. My family isn't here anymore, but God has blessed me with a wonderful sister who has helped me in so many ways!
I think that the Ewerts are finally getting to know me, quirks and all! I have known them since I was 8 or so, but it's different getting know someone as an adult than it was knowing them as a child. We have fallen into more of a pattern of life, I believe, and I am finding my own little corner in the household :) :D. Last night I introduced them to our enchiladas. They were pronounced delicious, so I know that it isn't just us who like them. My mom will appreciate that! (btw, Mom, I added veggies to the ones I made as well. It tasted really good. I think that the only thing I was really missing is chilis *winks)

Plans for the coming year are still a little bit foggy. I have been praying that God would give me wisdom as I decide what I am going to do. I am looking into the option of enrolling in Umpqua Community College come Fall. I won't be able to complete my degree there, but I should be able to get a solid start on it and be able to transfer to Oregon State (or some other college) at the end of the two years. Pray for me in this. One concern is finances. I have applied for financial aid and am praying that, if it's God's will, everything works out. My God is big, and I'm confident that everything will work out according to His plan!

I have started my French up again. Now I am studying on my own. It's a little bit more difficult than when I had a teacher to push me on, but I am making headway! I'd forgotten how much I loved the language until I was finally able to jump back into it. What with the move and all I haven't had much chance to do any studying for the past few months. But all that's going to change!

Come June I am going to be starting up adult Spanish classes. I will be giving two different classes -- one advanced and the other beginner -- and I am going to offer private tutoring for highschool students as well. I have begun putting up flyers in various places in hopes that I will get some feedback. I love teaching Spanish, so I hope that I get enough people interested to be able to have at least one class.

I have also been able to get involved in a girls' Bible study that meets on Wednesday evenings. It's been great getting to know the girls in the group and I have really enjoyed the studies. Right now we are working our way through the book "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Phillip Yancey. It's a very well thought out and well-written book. He has an interesting way of writing. Rather than stating his conclusions outright, he walks you through his thought process, leading you to the conclusion that he came to gradually. I have found it very intriguing and thought-provoking. A good read, if anyone is interested :) .

Oh, and an intersting fact. I now have my own room! Funny though, I had to move out before it happened ;). I have actually missed my little sis' quite terribly. After more than 10 years of sharing the same room you kind of get used to it. I don't think that I would even mind her leaving her stuff on the floor anymore... well, maybe only a little bit :)... love you and miss you lil' sis'!

Alright, I should be getting on with my day. Let me just end with this little poem I wrote. I actually wrote it to be my facebook status on Sunday, so if you recognize it, that's why. This is what Easter means to me.

For I have resolved to know none but Christ and Him crucified
My sins to bear
My shame to remove
My life to buy
Jesus came to be the guiltless sacrifice for the guilty
He, having no sin, became sin for me
Set apart to serve my Lord and Savior

May you all have an amazing week and a blessed day.
God is good!! Let that fact change the way you live this day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Changes Life Brings

Well, here I am again! It's been a long while. I didn't write for some time because I didn't have time, and then I didn't write because I still didn't have time, and then I didn't write because I didn't know how to pick things up where I'd left off. These past months have been months of great change. I have been struggling to find my footing in it all, still haven't gotten there, but my God is a big God and He's helping me to persevere.

In February we left Mexico on our Spring furlough. We had a great trip. God proved Himself faithful time and time again through everything that happened. As of right now my family is back in Mexico gearing up for Semana Santa (Holy Week) and I am in Oregon.

Some of you might be thinking "what???? When did this happen?" The decision was made in December, right after my birthday. I still can't believe that it actually happened, but it did! I have now been here a month. I have two jobs. I work weekends at the Wildlife Safari selling tickets (just for this month) :) and I am also teaching Spanish classes.

It's been such a drastic change for me. I am saddened by so many things that have changed, but excited by what is yet to come. This is a poem that I wrote one morning as I meditated on everything that had been happening. God's been doing some hard things in my heart, but I'm so in love with Him!


Take a step, take a leap
As the years go by the steps seem to become more and more like leaps.
Life is like a dark road;
Sometimes you can barely make out what's right in front of you.
The road draws you forward into the unknown.
Going back is impossible, but what is hidden in the darkness ahead?
Take a step, take a leap
Staying put is ever so much easier than moving on.
Most prefer known hardships to stepping forward into unknown possiblilities.
But just imagine those possibilities!
Take the steps and see what they bring.
The girl becomes a woman
The boy becomes a man
The steps we take make us who we are.
Take a step and trust God for the rest.
Who knows, this next step could be the first step of a new adventure.

So, I am going to pick things up here. My mission hasn't changed, just the country :) . As I undertake this new challenge I could really use all of your prayers!
This has been my passage for the month. I hope that it encourages you as much as it has me!!
Romans 8:26-39
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Just as it is written,
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.