Sunday, June 15, 2014

So, you wanna move to (fill in the blank)

So here I am, coming up on two years here. It doesn't feel unreal anymore. It just feels like home. I have settled in, and this place is familiar. The neighbors, the places, the unique challenges that come up here that don't in the states. The sounds, the smells, it just feels like home now.

I have wanted to write this blog post for awhile. And by no means whatsoever am I a expert, or do I half of the time know what in the world I am talking about. It is so true, that the older you get...... the more you know.... you don't know a whole lot. These are just my thoughts. And as I started to mull this around in the ole noggin tonight, it was during the end of the day routines. Checking homework, brushing teeth, getting dinner cleaned up and put away, pajama's, one more drink of water, one more hug, one more kiss goodnight. I kept randomly jotting a few things down on a piece of paper. And this is what was mulling around in my head.

So you came on a short term missions trip, and are ready to plunge in, and move to that country. Here are a few things I would like to share, for what its worth. . . .

  • Seek council, but listen to God above anyone else. And be willing to hear "no" and "wait" from God. We all have known that girl. She is so in love with that one guy. Even though so many people see these negative aspects, perhaps drinking, controlling, whatever. Seeing a train wreck in the distance, so many have tried to warn her. But she is so in love, that nothing, no one says, can take those rose colored glasses off her eyes. She wants what she wants, and she is set on it. I think people do the same thing in so many other aspects of life. And yes, it can even be missions. You are so set, so convinced, and you want it to happen as fast as possible. Nothing no one says, can alter your perspective....... perhaps not even God. Seek council from people, and from God, and be willing to hear the "no" or "not yet." 
  • Never base what it will be like, from a short term trip. The honeymoon phase will wear off. What used to excite you, on a short term trip, or even for the first few months, will wane and wear off. Like that time you went to the market and thought it so exciting to see people negotiating prices.  It no longer is so thrilling, after a long day, and you just want to stinking get a new flashlight because the power has gone off for the millionth time. The last thing you want to do, is have to negotiate the prices. You just want your flashlight! The things that were exciting, will not always remain exciting. It is not as glamorous as it seems. Would you recommend anyone to move to your hometown, based on a few weeks there? Probably not, or at least I hope not. You know that person didn't get the real view of the place and life there. Internationally, take that then times 100. Whatever you think it will be like, it won't. Your passion has got to be from and for God. Otherwise once the newness goes, you might be as well. And honestly, what good will that have done? 
  • All heart can equal making a big mess. You of course cannot go into it heartless. But when you go and you do based solely on emotion...... well, that can equal a big mess. I have seen people say things to the kids in the orphanage that make me cringe. I know they are saying it solely based on the emotion in the moment. But that can lead to a mess of a orphan, with yet another broken promise, yet another thing to reinforce that adults are not to be trusted, and so forth.  The same, moving based solely on emotion, or living somewhere solely based on emotion. Creates a huge problem. You will say things and make decisions that lack discernment, council, and wisdom. "All you need is love", but love is not always a squishy, rose colored, walking on clouds kind of thing. Love is a choice, love endures, love makes hard decisions, and has the hard conversations. Never go into something all heart, and no reality. 
  • Talk to people, Get some real idea's. I cannot recommend more highly the book Expectations And Burnout: Women Surviving The Great Commission. It gives some real honest look at missions. Talk to people who have lived internationally. Talk to missionaries. Get some real legit perspective. It doesn't need or have to be all negative, it never is, anywhere. But also get a honest good hard look at it. 
  •  Whatever you bring, will be magnified. Living internationally can hold a real HD mirror up to your face. The things you struggle with, are not going to be left back in the US. I have heard it again and again, and lived it even more. That it feels like everything here is just intensified. Whatever it is you struggle with, will still be a struggle. It just might look a little different, but it will be right there, staring you in the face still. 

  • Do it the right way. Talk to your pastor, your Elders, and for heavens sake, talk to the missions org you went on the short term trip with. They do know a thing or two, and be willing to listen. More than likely they will be thrilled to see your heart, and have some appropriate steps and advice to give. If you can get training, jump on that, like you would jump on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 
By no means am I trying to dissuade people from following Gods calling. I will be the first cheerleader in your corner. But please, please, don't think where you live, equates your value. You are not more valuable in Africa, Peru, Mexico, Haiti, or wherever than you are right where you are, in this very moment. God doesn't love you more when you step onto a plane, or you find yourself changing poopy diapers all day. (which you can find yourself doing across the Ocean as well!) That is NOT where your worth is.

I know, I know, when you go on ones of these short term trips, people will pat you on the back the entire way, tell you what a amazing work you are doing, the gratitude you see in the country you visit. And those pats on the back,  are deserving. It is scary as daylights to hop on a plane, go to another country you don't know, with a bunch of people, and submerge yourself in it. I think short term teams are awesome, when they are done right. You my friend, have stepped out of your comfort zone, leaned hard into God, and dove in. But let me say once again, do not let your value rest on that.

In Christ,

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Currently in June


Tarison and my dog. I watch Tairson during the week while his mom is in class.

Reading- Fire By Night. The First book in this Lynn Austin series is Candle In The Darkness. I must admit I was surprised how much I love these books! They are Christian historical fiction. I am not a history buff at all, but these books are just awesome.

Eating- Carbs, of course. What else do you eat in Africa?!

Rebecca and her new friend, the daughter of the couple with the ministry A Voice For Rwanda. If your going to have a meeting you might as well have it on the beach, right? (Rebecca on the left, at Lake Kivu)

Partnering- With a new ministry on the ground here. So my home is now officially their third group/transitional home. It really doesn't change what my home looks like, or all that. But it gives it a title. Which is a accurate title. Hoping to be switched over soon to the missions organization in Texas. Very excited about all these changes. One door closes, but more long term doors open. God surely know what He is doing. Why do we hold onto our will so tightly, and grieve it so immensely, when God is just longing to give us something more concrete?! Yeah... I guess a lesson we learn all through our life here. (His Chase ROCKS, and the change out from underneath them, was more a technicality, on what they are registered for in country. If that makes sense. They are doing such incredible things, and I 100% endorse what they are doing for the kids from the orphanage. You should totally get on board with that! God is moving incredibly through them!)

Tilly waiting to greet Rebecca with a paw, after she gets off the school bus.

Drinking- Well, at the moment coffee with some cinnamon.

Listening - To podcasts. Chip Ingram "Is There A Parent In The House" is amazing!!! And Life Church In The Fire two part series, just pump this girl up!!

Moses second time ever to swing. He was absolutely loving it. I think the kids are hoping we will need more meetings.

Excited- It is that time of year again. What time of year? Visitors and teams!

Sad- A good friend is leaving the country. The turn over rate is for the birds, yo! Is it possible to miss someone who hasn't gotten on the plane yet, but just the thought of them going, you miss them already?! I think I already miss her!

Watching - VeggieTales. Introducing my little's to this epic and amazing show.

Mo and Becca, same day with meeting with A Voice For Rwanda. Yep, this picture is pretty accurate!

Sleeping- In shifts again. Hello.... crazy sleep cycle....we meet again!! I so need to stop taking naps when the little ones do, because when I do that, is when I wake up at hours, that no one should be awake at. (today 3:15am!)

Quilting- Wait, what?! Yep, working on my first Ketenge quilt. What can I say.... put on a podcast, and start sewing.... is relaxation to the T. Love it. I am a weird person who loves repetition. If it is the same thing over and over, I adore it. Yeah, I know, I am in a small percent of the world on that love.

Mo and Tarison enjoying some time in the tub..... perhaps so this mama could wrap up some paperwork. Never thought I would get the most work done, sitting on the bathroom floor while these little's splashed in the tub. Tarison is Mo's BFF for sure, and he is glad they get to play while Tarison's mama goes to class during the week.

Quote- "Loneliness is Gods cry for intimacy." COME ON. How often do we look at the lonesome times in our lives, as it being God crying out for more intimate time with us. The times where our heart is unguarded, and we press in closer to Him?! If some of the loneliest times I have had her, was so I could learn to rely on God more strongly, it was worth it 100%.

Needing- Some more donors. You always seem to loose a few in the cracks, when you switch. And in the midst of administrative (I guess that's the best word for it) changes, the bills still need to get paid, groceries still need to be purchased, Doctors appointments to make, medications to buy, and so forth. Right now in defenitatly a time of change, approaching on a new season, with many new exciting possibilities. But as we wade through the paperwork, interviews, paperwork, and more paperwork, we still have to do the daily life stuff. Any bit helps, you can click the donate  buttons on the right hand toward the top of this page to make a donation. I have seen the Lord provide, and its not my biggest concern. (there will be another switch though. Right now the donations are going to my paypal, and then once I am under the missions org, it will then switch to them. Which then I am sure I will loose a few in that switch again as well! Oy vey!)

My little helper! Rebecca loves to help me mix, measure, and stir. Friday dessert and a movie for the kids. We have been making lots of banana bread. :)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Whatever I have is yours Lord. . . . .

I never graduated high school..... never walked down a aisle to receive a diploma. I did however get my GED. Quiet shocked may I add, because I just went for a practice run with the tests to see what I needed to work on, and passed em all!

I never went to prom, and had the corsage around my wrist.

Heck never dated in my life. Never been interested actually, and dont think I ever will be.

I lived in a group home for a few years.

I have lived in a SAF house.

I have lived on the streets, scared out of my mind, sleeping and hiding from people. I saw the eyes diverted, I saw how badly they didnt want to see you, so instead I just made it easier on them and myself, and hid most the time. Unable to stay in a homeless shelter, and bound determined to make it on my own... I dug my heels in the ground.

I have never won a beauty contest.

My arms are riddled with careless scars, from self harm. I started to self harm way before it was ever discussed, many many years passed before I even had a name for it, or heard it ever mentioned. I was 6, and stood at the top of the stairs, and leaned forward and let myself tumble down. I broke fingers. I slammed my wrist hard against the door frame. It wasn't till middle school till I began to "cut". Carelessness in the midst of being high, drunk, or overdosed, I didn't care or realize any longer where I was doing it. And now my story remains evident. I notice people staring at my arms from time to time, at the scars. And I live in a country now, where if you get offended easily.... well, you better pack up and go home, or just crawl in a hole and never make your presence known.

I have more knowledge about drugs than I care to ever admit. I have peered out a window, paranoid, sniffing, from cocaine...... worried the police, or someone I didn't want to disappoint would show up at the door.

I have no college degree hanging on my walls. I have no high school diploma. I have no pictures of me in a pretty white dress. I have no high school proms pictures. I have no newborn pictures from the hospital of the kids who call me mom.

Why do I say all this? Because we all have SOMETHING, we can do, have something to give. It took some time, for me to have enough faith to crawl out of some pretty deep pits. Now sometimes when I think on the past, or even sometimes when I catch my own eyes glancing down on the scars. It doesn't feel real. I don't feel like that was my life at all. Because that is not who I am today, and it is so far removed from who I am now, my dreams, desires, hopes, and aspirations, I wonder who that was, that was stuck in those places.

I love to cook, and think I am alright at it. So to the glory of God, I will cook. I can use that, to bless someone. Maybe a tired single mom. Perhaps a elder who works full time, and rushes home to set up for bible study, and his wife is exhausted. I can bring their family dinner, so it is one less thing off their plate. (figuratively). I can cook, because it always tastes better when someone else cooks it. So I will cook to the glory of God.

I love kids, and have always had a way to be around them. So to the glory of God, I will be present, I will invest, I will tuck in, kiss booboo's, sing songs, kneel down after a time out, give and recieve the hugs, rub my tired eyes, and go to the crying child in the middle of the night. To the glory of God I can teach, invest, and love on the little's in front of me.

I love to sew. So to the glory of God, I can use that to encourage people. Weather it is a quilt, a cross stitch. As I sew, praying for them. To the glory of God I can sew.

I used to wait, till I thought I had something to offer. But I have always had something to offer. We always have something to offer. There is a lot I am not, but there is a lot that I am. Not because of anything in me. But because my God is so big, so loving, so just, so merciful, and so full of grace. That whatever I do have, I want to use to honor him. My voice my crack sometimes when I speak up. My hands may tremble when I am in any kind of group of people. But we have something to offer. And I don't want to wait to offer what I do have to my God. I want to love people, because he loved me so much, at my lowest points. I want to love people when they deserve it the least, because heaven knows that's when I needed it the most in my own life.

If we wait for the money to be there, before we take a leap of faith, we never will. If we wait for someone who is worth investing in, to invest in someone, we never will. If we wait till we think our gift is worth giving to give it, we never will. Whatever it is you possess right now, this instant, is what was given to you, to invest, to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:23
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters."