Yo tambien, Backstreet Boys, I want it that way

(Posted on 04/30/2012)

As I sat down for church service at NewSong after playing a worship set that Marcus, Shawndell and I got asked to do 15 minutes before church started (we keep it exciting here in Nica), I decided to get out my journal and write down some thoughts I was getting.

At first, they were just about how in awe I was of the way God was working in the lives of the community at NewSong, the ways He was changing their lives and ways of thinking.

And as I was writing, all I could think of was how much I want to be a part of that!

To be so filled with the Spirit that it just overflows onto everyone around you.

To be contagious with joy.

To truly be God’s mouthpiece to this generation. 

To be a part of something so big, it can change the community. The country. The world. 

To be living in my giftings.

To realize my true potential and how capable I am. 

To do things that people say could never happen. 

It seems impossible to change hearts.
People have things so deeply ingrained in them.
The devil uses that in such terrible ways.
He leads us to believe that there is no hope.
But there is! 
Jesus himself is hope!
Hope of a future.
Of purpose.

Romans 8:21 says that God has placed a hope in us that creation will one day be liberated from its slavery to corruption and experience freedom.

One day, we will be completely free of any chains that still hold us captive to sin.
What glorious freedom that will be! 
Until then, my goal is to be rid of and break as many of those chains that I can at this temporary home.
To try and pursue as much freedom as possible.

But not by human methods.
Not by my own power.
No, I could never destroy the bonds I’ve created with the enemy.
Years of human tendencies, of living by my own desires have built up so many walls guarding my heart from truth.
I could never even imagine having the willpower to change my mindset so drastically.
But my powerful, loving Abba has offered me a life of freedom fromall of that junk.
And I think, how could I refuse that?
Yes God! Take over my heart!
Consume me with your love!
It’s not always easy; It’s completely possible to want to control my life again.
But Jesus promises me something way better.

Hope.

Freedom.

Unconditional love.

And those are impossible to re-create by my own power.
It’s something that gives me purposePassion. It makes life anadventure.
One that I know I will never fail in if my faith is always in my Father.
And yes, I do want it that way.

How To Ask a Girl to be Your Girlfriend: Nica Style!!

(Posted on 04/19/2012)

Step 1 – 

Ask how old she is.

A difference of 2 or years or less is an acceptable age range.

As in, if the girl is 2 years older than you…nbd.

Bien?

Move on to step 2.

Step 2 –

The next question is if she has a boyfriend.

If the answer is No,
you are all set to move on to step 3.

If the answer is Yes, you can STILL move onto step 3

…because it really doesn’t matter one way or the other.

Step 3 –

(The key to this question is not to actually ask, but to TELL

…so it’s not really a question )

Let that special lady know that your services are available in

the boyfriend department.

Maybe flex your muscles and do the quick kiss face.

Step 4 –

If she says no…PURSUE HER REGARDLESS!!

Who knows…she may change her mind….

eventually

My non-existent socks have been sufficiently blown off.

(Posted on 04/16/2012)

God is teaching me about the beauty of new seasons.

He’s also teaching me about goodbyes.

We are a team of 10 now.

A team that has been shaped and molded by our creator into disciples, devoted to following His will to the ends of the earth.

We have been impacted and influenced by the most amazing people!

Shout out to our precious World Race teams, Tharros & ALL.love branch, who had a big part in that!

Thank you for ALL you did ot encourage us and lift us up.

God is good!

He is still amazing me all the time with His perfect timing.

It’s when I’m not expecting anything, not setting any expectations that my Abba steps full on in and changes my life. Blesses me with things I couldn’t dream of. Destroys boundaries and walls that I’ve set for myself.

He wants the very very best for me!

That BLOWS my non-existent socks off!

“If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it; and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking. The key is that your request be anchored by your single-minded commitment to God.”
James 1:5-6 (The Voice)

Self explanatory, right?

He’s not only doing this in my life, but in others as well. About a week ago, we spent a few weeks doing some painting, gardening, cleaning, and other odd jobs for an orphanage out in the country. The location was beautiful, the people were beautiful, and WOOF the food was beautiful. The orphanage was almost completely self-sufficient, growing most of their food and making their own methane gas using cow manure. Flipping cool.
Pastor Felix, his wife, the kids, and their house-parents were so full of joy andlove that you just knew had to come from their relationships with God.
Running such a busy operation, there’s not always time to get everything done that you would like, and sometimes, that work just builds up until it seems impossible to tackle. Sometimes, you buy paint for a building, but don’t have the money to pay labourers.

Solution?

Time to pray!

And pray they did, not setting limits for what God could do for them.
Praise God that they got into contact with us.
Praise Him that we were able to fill these needs so that they could love on precious children and provide them with a beautiful, stable, Spirit-filled environment.
The last week we worked at the orphanage, we were able to partner with our WR teams to finish all the tasks we had.

And then?

We had to say goodbye. 

To incredible people that will forever be in my heart.

To a kindred spirit that I will stalk until death do us part…Shasha….I love you. Mwah.

And it made me think…

I got to know and fall in love with these people who I only knew for 2 1/2weeks.

And saying Adios was tragic.

What’s it going to be like saying goodbye to my FAMILY, my everything, who have seen me at my best and worst, when it’s been the full 4 months?

What am I going to DO?

To be honest, the thought makes me nauseous (although that could be this ridiculous stomach bug that has continued to make it’s very unwelcome presence a seemingly eternal thing).

BUT WAIT.

What about my Nicaraguan family?
Mi madres, Estella y Antonia
Mi muchos, muchos amigas y amigos
Mi loco tio, Juan Carlos
Mi bebés preciosos

I’m done.

No really, I refuse to accept change.
Life is good.
Why should I disrupt that?

Because that is what God calls me to do.

He wants me to grow!

How on earth can I disciple all the nations when I’m not letting God work without boundaries in me?

“No one who lives on milk alone can know the ins and outs of what it means to be righteous and pursue justice; that’s because he is only a baby. But solid food is for those who have come of age, for those who have learned through practice to distinguish good from evil. So let’s push on toward a more perfect understanding and move beyond just the basic teachings of the Anointed One.”
Hebrews 5:13-14 – 6:1

Basically, you need to be growing to become more like Christ!

And to be sharing the gospel with unsaved people, I need to be always striving toward that as my goal.

Entonces, AmericaHasta Pronto (3 weeks)!

And get ready to change me.

                                     I’m ready!

A Cry Of Prayer

(Posted on 03/14/2012)

God gave us food from the earth. He gave us trees and plants that bear fruit so we can sustain ourselves. He made them as a good thing. He made the vegetation and said it was good. He made the sugar cane plant and said it was good.

Here in Nicaragua, sugar cane is one of the biggest exports. To work in the sugar cane fields is a job occupied by many poor and uneducated Nicaraguans.

When you don’t have the money or resources to go to school, there is no hope of an education. When there is no hope of an education, there is no hope of a safe, well-paying job. There is one option: to work in the fields. When your one choice is to work in them, thee is no hope of escaping the kidney disease. When you get the disease, there is no hope of a long life. There is only inevitable death.

This is the plight of our dear, close friends in this country!

Yesterday, we visited the village of Bethel, a small community of friendly, loving, beautiful Nicaraguans who have slowly built their lives back up after the devastation of Huricane Mitch in 1998 took their homes. Since coming to Nicaragua, we have been getting to know these people, building relationships and sharing love, back and forth.

Many of these people are without members of their family. Why? Because they have died. They have died because they have to work in the sugar cane fields. The reason being that to save money, the people who own the fields spray the plants with a cheap toxic pesticide. The workers inhale these fumes ALL DAY LONG.

Yesterday, a man named Antonio passed away. We had gotten to know this man and his family. One of our closest friends, Jahaira, was this man’s cousin. They knew his time was coming, but the sadness and pain of losing yet another member of the community had the entire village silent.

Yesterday, another murder was committed.

I’m going to be honest, I have a lot of anger toward the owners of the fields. How dare they take away innocent lives just so that they can make a few more Cordoba? How dare they take the gift that God gave them and turn it into a death trap? What God meant for good they have perverted and made evil.

This morning, God is just telling me to cry outCry out for the hearts of the heads of the companies, that they will be convicted. Cry out for their salvation.

Please join me in prayer for them. And also for the village of Bethel, especially Antonio’s family. That their hearts will be full of peace. That they will be comforted, that they will remain strong in their relationships with the Lord, even though this terrible thing has happened. Pray that LOVE will rule their lives and be present in their days.

Who needs alarm clocks when you have scorpions?

(Posted on 03/11/2012)

Let me spin you a little tale….


From nicaragua.adventures.org
This morning I got stung by a scorpion. Always an interesting experience. 
It is extremely unpleasant to get woken up by something stinging you in the arm.

 At first I thought it was another one of these stupid bees that are always flying around that I have gotten stung by numerous times already. I didn’t see one though so I looked on my arm and saw what I thought was a big spider. I jumped out of bed, screaming, and then realized it was a scorpion scurrying away. This, unfortunately, woke up all the girls (I’m really sorry guys!!) who then proceeded to google solutions and give me things to make the sting stop hurting. Gosh I love my team.

Anyway, so after that all got settled down and we decided I would be fine, I shook out my sheets, banket, and pillow, and got back into bed to study the insides of my eyelids a little more before beakfast. I was laying there, terrified, staring at the wall to see if it would come back. Finally, I decided to just let it go and get to sleep. So I put my hands under my sheet to pull it up and get all snuggly…and felt a second sting. On my hand. More angry than anything else, I jumped out of bed again and saw the scorpion crawl out from my sheets.

By the way, if you ever get stung by a scorpion, I hope for your sake that it’s on a very fleshy part of your body. I found out the hard way that getting stung on your hand hurts a whole mother of a lot worse than your arm.

So, to conclude all of this, I am fine. The scorpion wasn’t deathly poisonous, thank the Lord I’m not allergic to them, and my hand is a little numb and sore, but it’s doing better. Also, my lips are numb? That scopion stuff is some weird junk, let me tell you.

Choose.

(Posted on 02/25/2012)

To the things and people of this world:
I DO NOT SERVE YOU ANY LONGER

The Lord has taken my life as His. He has claimed my being as His vessel to spread His truth to His people.

He has created me to be a missionary.

He chooses YOU to be one too.

He has given you eyes to see the lost souls, a mouth to speak in love to them, ears to hear their cries, and feet to run to them and give them comfort.

He has put intentionally put you in a situation where this happens every day. Believe me, He has.

When are your eyes going to adjust to the darkness that has invaded this world?

Being a follower of Christ means being a light – Wherever. You. Are. He knows how much you can handle with His strength. So He is going to place things in your life that are opportunities to say “Yes God, I trust You. I trust Your judgment. I trust in the fact that You are mighty. That you are not caught off-guard by my situations.”

They may seem insignificant. They may not be a trip to a different country, or a starving child, or converting someone to Christ. These things are extremely important, and there will be someone that is called to do them.

But.

It may be your close friend, who is struggling with internal battles, a co-worker that is curious about why your actions are different than the norm, a homeless man on the corner who has no hope left in his life, the girl who makes your coffee every morning who is struggling to pay for school and rent, your own family.

I encourage you stop for a moment.

Take a deep breath.

Invite the Holy Spirit to fill you up to the brim with his wisdom and discernment. Ask him to show you where God is calling you to minister.

Then GO.
Be BOLD.
Be COURAGEOUS.

God has promised that He will help us and support us in all situations. And He is PLEASED when you choose to take a stand, to make a difference in someone’s life because He called to you.

And please be assured,
God WILL speak to you. He has so many things that He is dying to tell you! Promises of a future, sweet murmurs of love, loud shouts of declarations, sincere directions and guidance.
People who have acknowledged their servitude to our precious Father, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THIS WORLD!

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  – John 16:33

Choose to serve the God who gives you life everyday, who knows you inside and out, who will give you victory.Choose to listen to His voice and what He’s telling you to do. Choose to cast away the things the world promises you. For they are temporary. Instead, choose to live life to the fullest, letting God bring you into freedom.

I wish I had something cooler to call this other than Photo Blog

(Posted on 02/20/2012)

Hello!
Sorry I have been the biggest slacker about blogging.
Welp. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to check out all the pictures on Facebook, here are a few commemorating some excellent moments from the past few weeks:

From nicaragua.adventures.org
We were invited to go on a day-trip with the church from Bethel! Such a fun day 🙂 This is a picture of the hike we took down the mountain. Interesting, eventful trip…
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Lindsey and I with some friends from Leon. The precious little girl on my lap is named Namari. She is my buddy when we go to the basketball court to play with kids.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Last week we had the privilege of visiting a special needs orphanage. It was awesome to love on the kids and pray over them. It was a bit of a challenge but still such a great opportunity.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Working on estella’s house! We finished it this week.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
This is kind of confusing out of context…but this was on Valentine’s day. In another picture you will see the finished product of our backdrop. This is Kacie, Allegra, and I working hard at making parts of it.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
The streets of Bethel! That is Stephanie holding my hand.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Gorgeous Isela playing with my hair. Such a great day, hanging out with our friends in Bethel. To my left is Judith! She is both beautiful and so sweet.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Waiting for a meal to begin in front of the kitchen.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Amy and I, being super good sand sifters 🙂
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Pumping water at the well! Cool story…the wells were put there by Living Water International, which is an amazing organization that i had previously supported. So neat to see tangible evidence of the great things that they are doing.
From nicaragua.adventures.org

Valentine’s Day! And….our Titanic themed display?? Just so you can all put names to faces, from L-R: Me, Shawndell, Naomi, Lindsey, Mossy, Amy, Kathleen, Kacie, Allegra, Teani, & Christy.

From nicaragua.adventures.org
Baby Kendall!! He is my bestest friend in Bethel. He cries when I have to give him back to the ladies that take care of him 🙂
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Our mode of transportation to everywhere.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
God has a name for each of us that he calls us. Shawndell encouraged us to ask God what that name was, then we painted them out.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Just because…..this is my best friend Marcus! And I enjoy this picture so much.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Babies….if you know me, you understand 🙂
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Friends from Leon.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
Aaaaand more friends from Leon.
From nicaragua.adventures.org
My beautiful teammates Amy & Kacie.

From nicaragua.adventures.org
This is my life. What?!? Yeah. Thank you Jesus for reminding me of your majesty and power everyday.

Thank you all for your continued prayers! I am so thankful for the encouragement that I’ve been getting. Please pray as we start a new work schedule this week that things go smoothly and we continue to build deeper relationships with our friends in Bethel and Leon and hopefully some new communities.

7 Layers of Nail Polish

(Posted on 01/28/2012)

Love is….
* 7 layers of nail polish from little girls who make you feel beautiful
* A whispered “te quiero mucho” in your ear
* A sweet smooch on the cheek and little hands that caress your face
* Delicate fingers that run through your hair and smooth it away from your forehead
* Swinging in a hammock and talking about life
* Having 24 hands placed on you and have strength spoken through them
* Walking down the dusty path to the pump to fill up your bucket and lose half of the water on the way back
* Cooking 2 hot meals a day and packing sandwiches for lunch
* Sharing a coke and watching Glee in Spanish
* Standing so that your guests can have the only seats you have
* Stopping at the gas station so that processed food-aholics can get their fix
* A fluffy mess of weeds and dirt that just wants to snuggle

God revealed to me at the beginning of my trip that he was going to show me the true meaning of love. Of his perfect, complete Agape love. Every day I wake up and He fills my love tank up to the brim. It’s so full that it overflows! I am so thankful for the blessings that He rains down on our team every day. He has put a spirit of Unity in our group and that Unity just gets stronger every day.

We finally have a sort of schedule down: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we go work on one of our cooks’ (Estella) house. The team before us put up a lot of blocks and worked really hard on the walls. So we are just finishing the job, building the walls higher and everything else. At the moment, it’s slightly frustrating to not always have a job to do there. We’re all learning though, the importance of being still. I truly believe that God is giving us these opportunities for great conversations. We’ve only been with each other for 2 weeks! There’s still a lot to learn about each other. It’s nice that everyone is different and has their own personality and interests. Definitely makes for some lively debates. Hah.
Tuesdays and Thursdays we spend our time before lunch doing Bible study and Spanish lessons. We have decided that these things are also SO important to grow as a community amongst ourselves. We are here to serve the people of Nicaragua, but also just to stay in fellowship and grow and learn from each other. Aaaaand….most of us don’t really know all that much Spanish, so in order to minister to people better, we need to be learning their language!
Saturday and Sunday are our free days! It has been awesome to have our own “church services” and just learn SO much from each other. We are super excited to go visit a couple of other churchs as well and see what goes on. Also, I am having so much fun doing different adventures and chill days with my team. I’m really glad that everyone here is pretty much up for anything, and we all like to have a good time. There are no end to the ways that we amuse ourselves.

Thank you for your continued prayers. Please pray that our team is continually growing closer to God and together. Pray that we are content to serve in the opportunities that we’ve been given, and that we will be reminded daily that we are making an impact, whether we see it or not. Love you all!

Team Pies Hermosos

(Posted on 01/22/2012)

From nicaragua.adventures.org

Helloooooooooooooo
I would like to take this opportunity to put a little something out there about my FANTASTIC team, who BY THE WAY helped finish the roof of one of our beautiful cooks, Antonia, in two days. Today was our first free day, and we spent it at a beautiful beach. It was so nice to have a little break, and just spend the day having great conversations and a lot of fun.
Soooooooooooooooo:
Amy – We. Are. The. Same. Person. I know i’ve said it before, but i just need to reiterate it all the time. It’s crazy! I love my beautiful sister. 
She is my soul mate, basically. I wish I could explain in words how much she means to me, but i can’t. I may have to express myself in song, 
in which case I would start singing “That’s how you know” from the movie “Enchanted”.
Christy – I’m glad someone understands my common “i’m going to cut her” statement.
Also, Christy is the most adorable tiny person I’ve ever met. And she plays the drums. 
You basically just can’t lose with this girl! Her sweet spirit is constantly a joy to all.
Naomi – My sad little monkey. My partner in crime. My SkyMall reading pal. I can’t say enough
 how much this child amuses me. I wish I had a NayNay Nomes to just carry around in my pocket for the rest of my life. 
Lindsey – My sweet southern belle 🙂 This poor girl gets hardly any sleep at night with the rest of us…
but she still smiles and asks politely for us to quiet down. This is the moment where we all take a pause to sigh and wish that we had the patience of Lindsey 🙂 
I love love love that she has a verse for every situation in life! 
Mossy – Best. Laugh. Ever. You just wish she was your friend. Mossy never fails to bring extreme joy 
to everyone she meets. I hope we end up going to school together. The next 4 years of my life would be the best ever.
Allegra – Oh, Allegra and her man tools. This lovely lady has the biggest heart. Big enough for TWO teams!
 I love the integrity and wisdom she brings to conversations. Also, her laugh is fantastic.
Shawndell – Talk about fabulous…Shawndell is a riot. She is so incredibly fun and outgoing and creative.
 And then she knows when I need chill out time and hair stroking. WHAT. A. BLESSING.
Kacie – I can’t say enough good things about Kacie. She probably wins the funniest person award 
for this trip. The combination of her faces, silent laugh, and horrifying geography skills make her into this crazy,
 ridiculous, perfectly wonderful human being. Not only that, but that girl has MAD praying skills!
Teani – I am fond of this girl. Of some parts more than others…haha she gets it 🙂 Anyway, it’s hard to
 explain how in awe of Teani’s beastliness I am. Also of her extreme selflessness and joy 
of sharing with others. So. Beautiful.
Marcus – Well, basically all you have to know about Marcus is that he has a pet ostrich
 and he wants to clone it. So then you think, that’s awesome, say no more. But I will.
 Marcus is a GRAND friend. He is always making sure all of us sisters are doing ok, and he takes a huge interest in everyone around him. 
Josh – I am amazed every day by Josh’s magic tricks. Seriously, so cool. But also, 
I am inspired by him and his thirst for learning, whether for the Spanish language or different
 parts of the Bible. Also, his Massachusetts accent is awesome.
Ryan – Every time I see Ryan interact with others, I am floored by his boldness. 
His heart is so on fire for God, he can’t help but just share his love with everyone around him.
 I’m hoping to learn his secret to fearlessness.

Showering has never felt so good!!

(Posted on 01/18/2012)

What.
WHAT?!
This is my life??
I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it is to be here in Nicaragua. Beautiful people, beautiful sunsets, beautiful VOLCANO IN OUR BACKYARD!
God is so good. He blessed our team with not losing any luggage, and having safe and uneventful flights. Ok, maybe they weren’t quite uneventful. Nay-nay and I certainly had a grand time on our flight from GA to TX in the way back seats of the smallest plane I’ve ever been on. 
BUT, getting back to our current ministry…
We are with Vision Nicaragua, an organization that is just saturating the neighboring villages and communities with Jesus’ love. They also help the people here with learning trades so that they have a way to provide for their families without having to go to work in the sugar cane fields. The fields are sprayed with a toxic pesticide that causes kidney problems for all of the men that work there. 
Since our contact isn’t here at the moment, a lovely couple named Dan and Kathleen are showing us around. They’re presh. It’s inspiring to see how well they connect with the community and just love on them. 
Today we went to the village of Bethel and started to meet some new people. Most of them kids 🙂 I tried to find all the babies and steal them. Plan failed. However, a lot cuddling definitely occurred. 
I am so stoked to see what the rest of the week holds. Amy and I were talking about how nice it is not to have so little days that you count them down. We’re all settled in and unpacked.
Thanks for all your continued prayers! May the Lord bless and keep every one of you 🙂