And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blessed beyond measure.

I've arrived safely in the middle east and have pretty much settled into our new home with my team. Because of the holidays we haven't quite established our schedule yet, but we're slowly getting everything figured out and its allowed for some good time with Papa. Its definitely been stretching...learning to get used to my lack of communication skills and the lovely scent of cigarette smoke that seems to follow us where ever we go...but Papa is soooo good. And faithful. He continually draws me near. The other night we were robbed and unfortunately my laptop was among the casualties. By his grace, I've had complete peace about it. Really, its just a thing. Its valuable in the world's eyes, but at the end of the day its not a big deal. And Papa has taught me a lot through it. Which is way more valuable to me than a laptop. Here's a poem that I wrote about it:
Blessed Beyond Measure
I am a first world citizen, a daughter of the privileged 10%.
I wake up each day warm and comfortable.
Fully clothed and safely sheltered from the cries of those less fortunate than me.
I speak the world language that others desperately long to know.
My passport holds power that is unmatched.
And why? Simply because I was born in one country and not another?
My needs and "rights" are beyond the dreams of others. 
The worth of my clothing could feed a family for at least a year.
When my possessions are stolen, it only causes me inconvenience, never true loss.
The real problems of this world are lucky to be on the news in my bubble.
I live the life of luxury compared to the second and third worlds.
But that's not really being blessed beyond measure is it.

The real blessing I have received slips through the manicured fingers of my fellow Westerners and falls into the calloused hands of those who actually understand need.
I possess joy and hope and real intimacy.
I have experienced true relationships and have been made strong in absolute weakness.
I know Love.
That is how I have been blessed beyond measure. 
That is the blessing I must share with the world.
Yes I, 
I have been blessed far beyond measure.


Papa's peace and love.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why not make life more interesting with an ER visit?

I am currently sitting in Zurich's airport waiting for the final flight in my journey to the Middle East. As you probably already figured out from the title of this blog my travels thus far have been eventful to say the least. But, as always, God has been so faithful!
To elaborate...We started out our journey with another team flying from Christchurch to Auckland. Its a fairly painless flight and should have been routine and it was...until the last ten minutes of the flight. On the descent I was suddenly overwhelmed by a massive pain in my left temple. The best way I can describe it was it felt like someone was stabbing me. I kept waiting for the pain to go away, but it persisted and the pain was so strong it brought me to tears. My friend Kathryn grabbed my stuff and we began walking off the plane. I felt incredibly weak and the pain was really bad. As we were walking out the exit ramp I passed out. So to make a long story short, after a visit from few paramedics and a small army of airport staff and an ambulance ride I arrived in the emergency room in Auckland. They pumped some morphine into my system as well as some fluids and eventually decided that it was simply a bad migraine. I was discharged at 3:30 in the morning and the airline put me and my leader up in the airport hotel. Since then we have been a day behind on our journey and have had numerous setbacks. Everything from the hospital filling out the wrong discharge papers to the people in Shanghai telling us we didn't have a ticket and would only be allowed on the plane in the next 10 minutes if we purchased another ticket.
BUT I am not complaining at all. Seriously...God has been so faithful!!! There have been so many moments where only God's provision can explain what has happened to us. First of all, it was such a blessing that I had to go to the ER while still in New Zealand. We were still able to easily contact staff and the other leader was able to travel all the way to Zurich with the rest of our tem. The hotel we were put up in was SOOO nice. We got free meals for the entire day in Auckland (and the budget was approximately $35 a person for dinner...no big deal). Our outreach coordinator happened to be flying through Auckland at the same time we were leaving and was able to get all the flight stuff figured out in person. We had an extra seat next to us on the ride to Shanghai...which is when I still wasn't feeling the greatest. We got tickets for the flight to Shanghai even though they said it was impossible. Stephanie was on stand-by for the flight to the Middle East and she got a ticket without having to wait in the massive line because she called the airline on Skype. And most of all, I feel 100% better. I'm still a bit tired from all the travel, but I am so grateful for God's constant presence. He's awesome.
Thanks for your prayers for my travels...it may not seem like it to you, but I have TRULY been blessed by them.
God is awesome.
Merry Christmas :)
God's peace and love! (from Switzerland!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hope of a Reunion.

This week is so bittersweet. I think I've cried more this week than I have the whole DTS.
I am amazed at how God's love has been woven throughout this week. I am sad because I am leaving behind amazing friendships. We have become family here at Oxford. We have laughed, cried, been vulnerable, shown grace, loved, challenged, encouraged, danced, sang, prayed, worshipped, learned, and grown...all of it together. Nothing can ever replicate this time. Never again will we all be together again here on earth. And yet, in the midst of it all God is giving me an incredible peace and joy. We have an incredible hope. We have a reunion unlike any other awaiting us for eternity! God has done so much in each of our lives, I can't imagine keeping it to ourselves. We have to take it to the nations! We have to go!
Tonight we have the commissioning service. We will gather together once more to send each other off in prayer. I'm sure that tears will come. But they aren't sad. They are joyful. We have been abundantly blessed and now its time to share the blessing with the world.
JDTS, BDTS, and all the amazing people who have been here at YWAM Oxford during this season-I love you all very much and will miss you lots. I can't wait for our reunion :)
God's peace and love.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Middle Earth to the Middle East.

This is the last week of lecture phase here in Oxford. It's incredibly bittersweet and difficult to believe that in less than a week I will be flying to the Middle East with my team. (We fly out from here on Sunday at 8:30pm). Keep us all in your prayers! And specifically pray for me for discernment. I'm starting to really sense that God is leading me to Asia after DTS. He is doing so much in my life. It is incredible. But prayers are ALWAYS greatly appreciated.
God's peace and love!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Trampolines.

I have officially decided that I need to have a trampoline for the rest of my life. Its necessary. I get so much thinking, praying, and jumping done while I'm on the trampoline here and I absolutely love it. I have to admit, this week was a bit tough. It is the first week I have really felt homesick at all. Especially when I saw the picture on my dad's blog of our house with snow on the ground and Christmas lights up! I love snow. And as much as I love the warm weather here, it just doesn't seem like Christmastime without winter coats and the advent calendar my parents made (although...I have introduced everyone here to the family tradition of counting down the days until Christmas...21 more days til Christmas! 21 more days til Jesus' BIRTHDAY!!!). I have had quite a bit of fun around here despite the homesickness. Last weekend I went to Narnia!!! Its called Castle Hill and its a dreamland for those of us who like to try their hands at bouldering. Not to mention we got to go to Cave stream, and underground river we got to hike through. It was a lot of fun :) So this post is mostly going to be photos from that day. But yesterday I also got to hike with a couple other YWAMers around Mt. Oxford to a waterfall. It was a lot of fun. Especially when Joanna and I had to escape from the Orcs. 
Enjoy the pictures!
 Johnathan and I conquering the second boulder :)
 Me, Katie M., Chris, and Sam!
 Sonya (one of my outreach teammates) and I.
NARNIA!!!!
Right before heading into Cave Stream. 
This last one isn't from Castle Hill, but its my entire school together in one picture :) (The backpackers DTS that is here right now isn't included).

Peace and love!