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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

One Year.

One year ago today I was landing in New Zealand, beginning the journey of a lifetime. It is incredible to be reminded of all that God has done for me in the past year. He has taught me so much. He has spoken in and through me. He has loved me.
This moment of remembrance is bittersweet. Part of me misses my time overseas. Part of me is so grateful to be back near family and friends in the States. Part of me knows my time was filled with many trials. Part of me is so blessed by those struggles. Part of me wants to go back. Part of me knows that time is sacred and can never be reproduced.
And so as I sit here a bit confused, not knowing exactly how to feel, not knowing exactly how to reflect  on this past year and on the place that God has brought me to. I know one thing...I can be incredibly, abundantly, overwhelmingly thankful.
Peace and Love.

Monday, July 23, 2012

This is Real Life.

I realize I haven't written on here in a while, but this is a story that began way back in March and I have seen God's provision come to fruition so I feel that i must share.

Back in March, during our debrief time in New Zealand (post-Israel, but pre-Cambodia), God gave me a vision to have an apartment when I came back to the States. At the time, I was a little taken back because I already had been given the oppurtunity to live at my best friend's parents' house, but I had a really strong sense that it was God's voice so I continued praying about it. The more I prayed about it, the more certain I was that Liz and I were supposed to get our own place. But not just any old place, a place to welcome people into, a place of escape, a place of God's tangible presence. Kind of like the atmosphere at the base in Oxford just in a different context. Anyways, I shared the vision with Liz and she was all in. She began to search for apartments and I continued to pray (not as diligently as I am proud of...but I did continue to keep it in my prayers). As she searched, I began to get a little discouraged because the apartments we were looking at were not that nice and (being in Chicago) were not really even in our price range. As I prayed about it more, I felt like we weren't supposed to rent any apartment that would be more than $750 (which for those of you that are not from around here...is pretty much non-existent...especially if you want the apartment to be in decent, hospitality-worthy condition). So I put it in God's hands.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago...In early July, I recieved an email from the graduate school I am going to be attending in the fall offering different off campus housing opportunities for Trinity grad students only. I forwarded the email to Liz (because we all know she is more proactive than I am anyways) and she texted me back later that day saying that there was a lake house for rent for...get this...$750 a month. Now at first I was incredibly hesitant. A lake house? Really? For only $750 a month? What is it? A cardboard box? A tent? As we did more research, the ad said that it was a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, full kitchen house, and it was indeed on a lake. I called the owner that night expressing our interest in renting the house and he told me that they had just purchased the house and they were planning to do some work on it before they let renters move in. It still seemed way too good to be true, but we set up an appointment to see the house anyway. Well, folks, let me tell you. It is too good and it is true! Our friend Megan is going to be living with us as well, so now we have a LAKE HOUSE...on a lake...a big one...that you can go swimming in...and it is $750 split three ways (not just two like we were originally planning). The house was renovated in 2006 so it has relatively new flooring and windows. It has a dishwasher, a full kitchen, a deck overlooking the lake, a shed, and three parking spots (one for each of us :) ). Side story...when we were at the house with the owners I got SUPER nervous when I wanted to confirm the price. I thought for sure it was a typo...like it was supposed to be $1,750 a month or something. I was really awkward and finally just asked what the price was and it really is only $750 a month. It was funny. I was so awkward (slap forehead in embarassment.)

Each time I tell this story to people I am more and more overwhelmed by God's providence. God always fulfills His promises to us. And this one was literally WAY beyond my wildest dreams. I am so thankful for God's abundant provision even in the midst of my doubt. God is so good. So so good.

Here's a few photos so you believe me.


The lake house :)


 
Living Room going into Kitchen

Kitchen!

Kitchen 2!

1 Bedroom!

2 Bedrooms!

Bathroom!

Shower in the Bathroom!

View of the lake from our deck :)

Back porch!

View of the house from the lake!

Peace. Love. and...Provision.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lack of words

Since I've been home, I've had an incredibly difficult time expressing myself in words. Even in my journal there is a significant decrease in the frequency and length of my entries. It's frustrating. Writer's block at it's worst.
But as they say, pictures are worth a 1000 words.

Akaroa, NZ

The view from the lookout in Oxford, NZ (one of my favorite getaways)

Amy, Kathryn, me, and Becca in Hamner Springs, NZ

One of my favorite places in the entire world. Castle Hill, NZ.

Punakiki, NZ-home of the pancake rocks!

The women's side of the Western Wall. Jerusalem, Israel

Inside the Shepherd's Field Church. Beit Zahour, Israel (right outside Bethlehem)

The security "fence" separating Palestine and Israel. Bethlehem, Israel

The Church of the Nativity Bethlehem, Israel

The cave in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Qumran, Israel.

A cross near one of the first churches in the world. Between Jericho and Bethlehem, Israel.

Looking out over The Dead Sea with Jordan in the distance. Israel

The amphitheater in Cesarea on the Mediterranean Sea. Near Haifa, Israel

Stones from the temple that date back to the time of Jesus. Near Peter's house in Capernaum, Israel.  

The entrance to the Daughters Day Center where I spent the majority of my time volunteering in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

The street leading to Psar Toul Tom Poung (The Russian Market). Phnom Penh, Cambodia 
Looking at the Mekong River from The Riverfront. Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

A small way to express my gratitude for all your support. Thank you! Ashley River Gorge, NZ.
Peace and love.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Back home?

I was warned. A wise woman told me that once I went overseas, I would never feel completely at home again. Now, I completely understand what she meant. Don't get me wrong, there are advantages to being "home", namely being able to spend time with friends and family that I love; however, there are so many things I miss about being overseas that I try not to think about it. Instead of thinking about what I don't have and the places I don't get to be in this next season, I am going to thank God for what he has given me and the places he has allowed me to go.
Thank you for St. Matthew's and their extremely generous hearts.
Thank you for faithful prayer warriors and encouragers all over the world.
Thank you for allowing me to go to cities and towns all over New Zealand, Israel, and Cambodia.
Thank you for your nearness.
Thank you for mountains, valleys, rivers, trees, camels, kiwi birds, and geckos
Thank you for the ability to buy a cell phone and a car.
Thank you for a bed with a mattress.
Thank you for a new pair of Toms shoes.
Thank you for love.
What are you thankful for today?
Peace, love, and thankfulness.
At Ashley Gorge outside of Oxford, NZ

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kampuchea!

I'm back in New Zealand. It truly is a blessing to be back at the YWAM base for some R&R before heading back home. When I arrive back in Flint I will have been on 22 flights, traveled through 8 countries, and learned a little bit of four different languages (Mauri, Arabic, Hebrew, and Khmer). This post isn't to reflect on my entire time overseas because I'm not sure I can truly reflect until I am back at home. This post is about what God did in Cambodia. God does crazy things everyday. Miracles in fact. I was so blessed by my time in Kampuchea. So here's the quick overview:
Hot.
Prayer filled.
Eye opening.
Strangely familiar.
Lots of card games. (which i lost at)
Humid.
Ant bites.
Moto rides.
Confirmation.
God ordained.
At first, I wasn't quite sure what I was doing there. As I look back now, I can see that God definitely anointed the path for me to go there and He had a clear purpose for my time there.
It was a time for me to pray.
For Daughters of Cambodia. For the lovely girls I lived with. For the people of Cambodia. For the women, children, and lady boys involved in the sex trade. And even for the path God is leading me down next.
It was a time for me to encourage and serve.
Painting walls. Creating a compilation of organizations in Cambodia. Writing cards. Passing out Bible verses. Baking cookies. Helping select quotes for a book. Cleaning bathrooms. And other random activities.
It was a time to thank God.
For bringing me back to Asia-to the continent and people I love. For peace and confirmation about heading to grad school in the fall. For giving me a season of rest before starting grad school. For all that He has graciously and miraculously provided in the past seven months. For loving me beyond my understanding. For being the God of justice even when I don't understand everything that takes place in this world.
It was a time of that I was incredibly blessed by. And my prayer is that God blessed others through me as well.
Peace and love.
See you in 3 days America :)
Katie

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Laughter



Last night I was listening to the song He's Alive by Laura Hackett. It is soo good. And I found myself laughing. Joyful belly laughing. By myself laughing. It was delightful! Because there is one part of the song that says this: "Death where is your sting? Grave where is your victory?" Which to many of you may not seem that funny, but to me it was so funny. Really. Death has been defeated. We don't have to be afraid to die. God has given us the opportunity to spend eternity with him. The grave has been overcome. Jesus rose from the dead! And all I could do was laugh.

It's so easy to see the darkness in the world. I have found that to be especially true in Cambodia. The sex trade is all around, brothels disguised as hair salons, coffee shops, karaoke bars, and massage parlors. Sex is a commodity. Human life isn't valued. Then there's the scars of the Khmer Rouge. I went to Teul Sleng, the genocide museum on Saturday. It is surreal to stand in the room where someone was tortured and killed, the blood stains still present on the ground. It is sickening to see the tiny cells that people, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, sons, daughters were held. It is disgusting to know that over 20,000 people were killed in that small compound and that only 7 people survived imprisonment.

Sometimes I forget that the battle has been won. Satan, death, the grave...they are going to lose. We know the end of the story. Jesus is coming back in VICTORY. Oh what a blessing! Oh what a joy! Oh man..I bet heaven is going to be full of laughter. And I'm so thankful for Easter Sunday to help me remember why I am able to spend eternity in heaven. Even though I don't deserve it. I'm so thankful that there is a promise of HOPE to share with the people of Cambodia.

Peace, love, and laughter!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

In the Kingdom of Wonder!

I'm safe! I'm alive! In case you haven't heard by now, I am living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with five other lovely girls and volunteering for Daughters of Cambodia. So far it has been an amazing experience. It's so strange how comfortable I am in the Asian culture. Someone asked me how I was adjusting to the new culture and quite honestly I couldn't think of what culture I was adjusting to. Finally it hit me, "oh yea! I'm in a completely new country, most people take time to adjust..." I'm not claiming superhuman-ness. There has definitely been some adjusting like time, language, etc. For some reason (probably God), it really hasn't phased me. I think that is a good sign that maybe I'll be coming back here someday. Or perhaps its just the result of the subconscious knowledge that in approximately 4 weeks I'll be back on American soil with all my friends and family. Or most likely a combination of both.
My first week here has been an interesting one. It hasn't been a normal week at Daughters so besides intercession in the morning, I haven't had any official tasks to do; however, this coming week I should be getting into more of a routine. I'm secretly excited to be doing data entry and analyzing some surveys. I'm a nerd. I know. It's cool how God has given me a way to contribute that fits right into things that I'm passionate about (research and prayer!).
Transition to my next random thought... Cambodia's nickname is the Kingdom of Wonder.
It's kinda funny; but also kinda fitting because my time here is a time of wondering (pun intended) and praying. This is a season for me to really seek God and His heart for my life. What I'm starting to realize is that He trusts me a lot more than I trust myself. Why is that? Why does he allow me to make decisions for myself? Sometimes I think life would be a lot easier if He simply told me what to do and where to go next. But that's the beauty of God isn't it? He loves us enough to give us choice. He loves us enough to allow us to make decisions and to meet us in the midst of them. This morning in my quiet time I came to a simple, yet powerful revelation. I need to stop praying for God to make decisions for me. I need to stop praying "Are you absolutely sure God? Really?" I need to stop being a Gideon asking for just one more sign. He knows my heart. He knows that deep down in my core I want to follow and glorify Him. And for some undeserved reason He trusts me.
The God of the universe trusts me.
I can't get over it.
BUT instead of sitting around in wonder second-guessing Him, I need to put on my big girl pants (trousers for all you British folk) and trust Him back. I need to pray USE ME in whatever decision I make. 
So that's my prayer today. "Use me Lord."
Have peace, give love, and be used by God.
Katie :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Listening and Action

This morning I had the privilege of speaking at the Anglican church just down the road from base. Different members adopted different YWAMers while we were on outreach to pray for us individually. It was such a privilege to be supported not only by my churches back at home in the states, but at my home here in New Zealand. Unfortunately, my prayer partner couldn't be at church today so I thought I would post my little speech on here for him. Also, it is a good summary of the things we did/I learned while in Israel.
What exactly did we do? That's a much more complicated answer than it is a question. We did a variety of different ministries ranging from working with people with disabilities to doing home visits for local church members to helping out at a shelter for women and children refugees. As I mentioned in previous posts, we also had the privilege of painting two Sunday school rooms.
Our main ministry, however, was relatively simple. We listened. Early on in our ministry, we made it a vision that we wanted to hear people's stories regarding the conflict regardless of our own personal beliefs. We wanted to hear stories from both the Israelis and the Arabs, the Christians and the non-Christians, because at the end of the day, everybody wants to be listened to, encouraged, and loved.
Through that God also taught me a ton about listening to Him. I felt myself drawn to the story of Samuel's calling in 1 Samuel 3:2-9. One thing my teammate Cody said that really stuck out to me was that we should ask God to hear clearly. So often we ask God to speak clearly, but that's not the problem. He speaks clearly (as you can see in the story of Samuel's calling). He's God. We don't hear clearly. My prayer has been help me listen intently and hear clearly.
To end I want to share with you a journal entry I wrote fairly early on in outreach about injustice.
Justice defined by Miriam Webster is, "The principle or ideal of just dealing or right action--conformity to his principle  or ideal; righteousness." How do we do that? How do we mold this into our outreach? I'm not quite sure, but I think one of the first steps is to recognize what injustice is. I think injustice is a lot more difficult to define than most people think. I think one of its most fundamental qualities is that it is undefineable; it skirts below the surface of onlookers. It rears enough of its ugly head for the outside world to acknowledge its existence but never enough to move them to action. People never know the full extent its oppression. Ignorance is bliss and throwing money at different causes every once in a while is enough to calm the discomfort of the unjust suffering inflicted upon others. For me, for us, that is not enough. Action is mandatory and we are not satisfied with allowing our teammates to remain on the sidelines anymore. Injustice isn't just in Israel and Palestine--it exists all over the world. The longer we allow injustice to creep just below the surface, the more we allow it to ferment and multiply. This is a chance to tear through the surface, to rip through the facades that we, that I have created. The process will be messy. The healing will not happen overnight. But the alternative is worse. If we continue to ignore injustice, the fermentation will seap up from below and, without our awareness, will infect every inch of our lives rendering us incapacitated to help not only those "others" who suffer, but ourselves.
This is my challenge to you all: Listen to others, listen to God, and allow Him to call you to action.
Peace and Love :)
And a little piece of Palestine to leave you with... :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Where I've been.

I realize that technically most of you don't even know where in the world I have been the last few months. Well this should tell you :)
In Cesarea at Peter's home and the temple.


 Floating in the Dead Sea...

 
At the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

At the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

 Eating granola. haha

But in all seriousness, these past 6 months I have been on an incredible journey. I began in New Zealand, traveled  to Israel and Palestine,  now I'm back in New Zealand once again, and in less than two weeks I'll be venturing to Cambodia. I am beginning to realize is that this journey has very little to do the places I've been (or will go), and but it has everything to do with the God that I serve. During our time of debriefing yesterday we were asked to write down the most significant journey we have been on the last six months. It was a difficult question for me to answer because quite honestly it is impossible to pick only one journey. I have been on hundreds. Journeys to stronger intimacy. Journeys to deeper revelation. Journeys of learning. Journeys of struggle. Journeys that are coming to an end. And journeys that are only just beginning.
I am well aware that when I get back home I will be answering the question "How was your time overseas?" quite frequently. I also realize that although most of you genuinely do want to know the answer to that question, it will be impossible for me to really answer that question. To any of you. Even those of you who want me to sit down and talk to you for hours and hours upon end. It is simply impossible. And for some reason, it makes me overwhelmingly sad. Not because I can't tell you all the hilarious stories (although that is a bit sad). I'm sad that I can't tell you all that God has taught me and done in and through me these past few months.
It is incredible the work He has done in my life. And the more I grow closer to God, the more I realize I know so little about Him. I feel like the moment I stop hungering to know Him more, is the moment I take my last breath. I want to spend every moment of the rest of my life seeking after Him. And I want to spend of the rest of my life sharing my experience of Him with all the world.
If you don't know God, find Him. If you don't deeply desire to know God more, beg Him for hunger.
Because without Him, the journeys of this life are really quite meaningless.
With Him, they are eternal.
Peace and love.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

World, I am not done with you yet.

After several months of pr@yer. Lots of emails. More pr@yer. And LOTS of trust, I am super excited to publicly announce the next step of my adventures overseas....I am going to Cambodia!



Early on in DTS, Papa put it on my heart to go to Cambodia and so, I have been pr@ying about going to Cambodia since the end of October. At first I was hesitant because at that point I didn't even have all my funds for DTS and the thought of raising more money seemed overwhelming and nearly impossible. I continued to pr@y about it though. The more I tried to push the thought out of my mind, the more Papa reminded me of my calling to go there in this coming season by swinging open lots of doors.

As I have contacted various organization there, Papa has opened the door for me to work with an organization called Daughters of Cambodia. They provide opportunities for both healing and job training for women who have been rescued from sex trafficking. (You should definitely click on the link to hear more about their heart for these women!) Not only will I have the opportunity to spend time interceding for the women there, but I will also be able to work with their social work department! The more I pray about it, the more convinced I am that I am supposed to go. I feel like my time there will shed a lot of light on my future plans. The work they are doing in Cambodia is definitely the type of work I see myself doing long term and I so excited about this opportunity to help out for a few weeks.

I will be heading to Cambodia from NZ and staying there for just under 4 weeks before returning to NZ for a few days of rest and then...HOME! As excited as I am to be home with the people I love, I know that Papa is leading me to Cambodia for this tim. I'm not quite done traveling and serving the world yet.  Continue to pr@y for me as I prepare for my time there and wrap up my time in NZ.

I'll leave you with this. Papa asks us to love him with all of our hearts, minds, and and strength. He can ask us to do that because He has already loved us with all of His heart, with all of His mind, and with all of His strength. It's mind blowing. Live in that truth today!

Peace and love!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wrestling with Papa.

Jake and Cody are wrestlers. You can see their intimidating faces in the picture above. You would think that with a dad who was a former wrestler (and coach I might add), I would have some skills in defending myself. Believe it or not being around these two wrestlers, I have found myself consistently pinned in less than 10 seconds when I am legitimately trying not to get pinned more times than I care to admit. Slightly demoralizing, but funny nonetheless. But there's one more person I have found myself wrestling with lately and that's Papa.
Now, to many people the thought of wrestling with or "challenging" Papa is sinful and something to be feared, but I beg to differ. In fact, I would propose that wrestling with Him is actually bblical. Check out Genesis 32:22-32. Jacob. What's he doing? Wrestling with the man upstairs. It is a pretty cool story and as I have been meditating on it the past few days I was challenged to see what else the Bble says about wrestling.
Which led me to Colossians 4:12 where Paul describes his buddy Epaphras as one who wrestles in pr@yer for the brothers at Colosse. Pretty cool picture. And if he is wrestling in pr@yer there probably isn't anyone else besides Papa with whom he could be wrestling.
So what does it mean to wrestle with Papa? I think to wrestle with Papa means to demonstrate how badly you want what you're asking for. Jacob wrestles ALL night with Him and then, even with a broken hip, refuses to let go until Papa blesses him. Pretty dedicated eh? I know I'm challenged. How often do I really wrestle in pr@yer? How willing am I to wait on the L0rd for His blessing, even in the midst of immense struggle? See, I think Papa wants to build in us endurance and steadfastness. He wants us to persevere in the most adverse circumstances. And the only way to learn endurance, steadfastness, perseverance? That's through practice. He's the ultimate coach! He wrestles with us, makes us work hard, pushes us to our limits because he knows that that is the only way to truly prepare us for the real battles. Wrestling with Papa is preparation for the bigger battles in this world.
Check it out. Ephesians 6:12, a passage most of us are familiar with. And in the KJV it words it this way, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
I see it this way: Wrestling with Papa does two things-it prepares you for spiritual battles, even the most difficult ones,and in the process He draws you even closer to Him. Can you think of any sport that is more physically and mentally demanding than wrestling? Or how about this, think of a sport in which the competitors are more physically close than in wrestling? Not any that I can think of (and even if you can, bear with me...that's besides the point.) Cause that's the L0rd I serve. He trains me for this battle called life way better than anyone else could even imagine. He demands my best. But in the process he draws me in so close I can hear feel his presence and hear the beating of His heart.
If I haven't convinced you that wrestling with Papa is good yet, let me leave you with this. Wrestling with Papa is the best thing I have done. My pr@yer is that each day I wrestle with Him. And maybe, just maybe, in the process he'll train me well enough to pin Cody and Jake before our time together is over ;)
Have peace, be loved, and wrestle with Papa.
Katie :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blinders.

Tonight I am heartbroken.
Holy anger boils inside me. I wish I knew how to tangibly express it.
Because nothing makes me more infuriated than someone gift wrapping injustice in the name of Papa.
So I sit here in worship and pray.
Praying for patience. Praying for blinders to be taken off. Praying for JC to come back. 
Most of the time, praying is the only thing I know how to do.
Peace and love brothers and sisters.
May we all become painfully aware of our own blinders.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

lost at sea.

This song's chorus describes how I feel in a much better way than I could descibe in my own words. Papa has still been teaching me quite a bit here. i am learning that even though we don't see exactly why we are doing something...like serving in the Middle East...He can still use us. I want to be used by Him daily in ways that I cannot see or understand. I want to be used wherever He wants me. I want to be used in my absolute weakness.
We are moving to a different city on Sunday. Goodbyes are becoming all too familiar because of these past few months but I know and trust that His plan is much better than my own. this season of life has a purpose that is higher than I can see. It is difficult because goodbyes here mean that there will be more relationships built and even more goodbyes before we leave. I am learning that is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. May you be blessed to love on everyone you encounter even if you dont know where the next season of life will lead.
papas peace and love!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Meet the team :)

Sonya, Stephanie, Nicole, Annemieke, Jake, and Cody :)
 I wanted to do a blog about my teammates so you would get a better idea of the wonderful people I get to share this experience with. My awesome sister Sarah has really cool blog and she did a spotlight on her puppies that inspired this post. Not that my teammates remind me of dogs haha...just that she told a little bit about each puppy. Unfortunately I don't know how to make the format as awesome as her, but alas, I shall try! :) (PS- You're a legend Sarah!) So here they are...my awesome team! Introducing...
STEPHANIE
Nickname: The Paleontologist (We don't actually call her that. But she loves dinosaurs.) Leader (Don't really call her that either but she's our amazing leader :) )
Age: 21. (She likes to say 22, but she's lying. Her birthday is February 11)
Country of Origin: USA. But she's practically a Kiwi
How I've seen Papa use her: She is an incredible leader. Truly. I have to admit (a little shamefully) that I was a little nervous that she was going to be the only leader on our trip since this is her first time leading. Honestly, she has done an amazing job! She has worked incredibly hard to keep our schedule busy doing things that we all thoroughly enjoy doing...which isn't easy with a group as diverse as ours! Not only that but she goes out of her way to do extra special things for us-like make chocolate chip pancakes EVERY Saturday! She truly is a servant-leader. Matthew 20: 26b "Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." She is GREAT in my eyes and, more importantly, in Papa's eyes.

SONYA
Nickname: Twitch. haha. She LOVES it.
Country of Origin: USA-Montana!
[One of] my favorite memor[ies] of her: During our first week here we randomly met a woman on the street and she invited us into her house for tea even though she barely spoke English! Since then we have had the pleasure of going over to their house on numerous occasions for WONDERFUL food and good conversation. It has been a privilege to pour into their lives even though they have a different religion than us. But they have a 3 year old grandson and since we don't speak Arabic he was quite skeptical of us at first, but Sonya wasn't deterred! She wanted to play with this little boy so she was popping out and playing a sort of peek a boo/hide and seek game with him. Well, one time she popped out and the poor kid got so scared he backpedaled as fast as his little legs could take him right into the wall. It was so funny. Sonya has such a good heart, but in that instance it didn't quite turn out so well. But guess what? Now she's the only one of us he'll play with! She must have done something right :)
How I've seen Papa use her: Sonya is our extravert. She does a great job of talking with everyone here when the rest of us are socially awkward. Without her with us we would not have nearly as good of relationships as we have. Papa truly uses her love for people here and she challenges me to love others better! "Love your neighbor as yourself." Leviticus 19:18.

ANNEMIEKE
Nickname: Mama Mieke. (I came up with that one haha)
Country of origin: Holland-She is a proud Dutch woman!
Favorite quote: Man in the market: "See this dress?" He points to an ugly dress that looks like its bigger than a table cloth." It costs One Million dollars! For you 100!"
Annemieke: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeaaaaaa..."
How I've seen Papa use her: Annemieke is a woman after Papa's heart. Every morning she is up spending time with Him before the rest of us our up. She is always open to learning more about Him and to learning how to draw nearer to Him. In addition, she has is one who takes initiative (something I definitely need to work on!) and found numerous opportunities not only to help others medically (she is almost a doctor...she only has 6 months of medical school left!) but she has met contacts who have created tons of opportunities for us!

MR. JAKE
Nickname: Mr. Jake or Jakey
Country of Origin: USA-Montana!
How I've seen Papa use him: Jake. Man. I don't know where to begin. He is a joy to be around! He truly spreads Papa's love to each one of us and to everyone he encounters! It's difficult to describe how much light he brings into every single room he is in. Not only that, but both he and Cody have been amazing brothers to us. They are so protective and such gentlemen. "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of J3sus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7


NICOLE
Nickname for everyone else: Habibi (she calls us this and gives us hugs all the time...I love it!)
Country of Origin: Contrary to popular opinion here she is not Arab! She's from Canada. And America (she has an American passport) 
Best quote: Oh goodness. There are way too many. I think my favorite so far. "I don't eat jello because it's made from dinosaur bones." She was serious. hahahhaa
How I've seen Papa using her: Nicole is blessed with the ability to love on children! She easily plays with the children here while the rest of us look on in amazement. It is inspiring to see her pour out Papa's love on all the little children. I'm reminded of the verse in Mark 9 that says, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." Nicole is truly welcoming J3sus here!

CODY
Nickname: Elf. (Sonya and Jake are elves too. They all eat maple syrup like it's their job.)
Country of Origin: USA-Montana!
Random fact: Cody has a cereal box cover collection decorating his wall from the cereal boxes that Jake and him have eaten here. It is legit.
How I've seen Papa use him: Cody has incredible wisdom! I always think of Job 32:7-9 "I thought-Age should speak and advanced years should teach wisdom. But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty that gives him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right." He always knows what to say at the right time. When he led a study on the Word at a young adults group everyone was amazed at his knowledge and wisdom! And he is only 18! His hunger for Papa's Word is incredible and I can't wait to see how Papa uses him in the future.

Our team has come together in ways that only Papa could orchestrate. We laugh a lot! I think we spread Papa's love simply by just being together :) Our team verse (we decided on it back in New Zealand) is 2 Corinthians 13:11 "Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the Papa of love and peace will be with you." Papa's peace and love has definitely been with us. It is through his grace and love that we have been able to pour out into others. I am so thankful for my team and that Papa has chosen US to serve here in the Middle East. 
I love you guys :)
Papa's peace and love!

Just a little extra...Here are some pictures of the mural we did in one of the Sunday school rooms :)