I repent of judging by a law that even I can’t keep
Of wearing righteousness like a disguise
To see through the planks of my own eyes
I repent of judging by a law that even I can’t keep
Of wearing righteousness like a disguise
To see through the planks of my own eyes
Growing up, my parents had this cute little mini chair/stool thing in our house that had Psalm 23 written on in with this precious little landscape painted in the background. You know, with the “green pastures” and “quiet streams.” As a kid I remember thinking, I want to go to there! I guess I thought it was some exotic location like in ancient Israel or somewhere that I could purchase a bus ticket to and be there.
God’s done a lot in those 15 years since I first desired to “go to” Psalm 23. And a lot has changed. My parents divorced, I struggled with eating disorder issues, self-hatred, and depression. I strayed away from my Father, I did things I am ashamed of, I moved away to college, and once more I was overwhelmed by the sweet, scandalous grace of my Creator.
And now, as I sit in my backyard, back home in Arkansas– the green of the landscape meeting the glorious blue of the heavens– I can’t help but think I’ve found my Psalm 23. Not in where I am, but in where He is. And He tells me that when He is with me, I have those endless fields of green hills and those peaceful streams. There’s still a lot of chaos and brokenness and sin going on around me, but I am thankful that He let’s me go to my Psalm 23 even in the midst of all that.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. Psalm 23:6
Hello my dear friends, family, and all faithful prayer warriors!
I made it back safely from Africa just four days ago and am so thankful to be able to tell you all what an irreplaceable adventure it was. THANK YOU for all of your gracious prayer and financial support! Below, I’ve listed a several of the highlights from my month on the Island so you can sort of have an idea of what cultural and spiritual life was like there, as well as a few prayer requests.
-Both the one-month team that I traveled to the Islands with, along with the two-year team that that was already there were absolutely a gift! What a cool thing to be surrounded by 20 other missionary-minded individuals who seek to see this unreached people group know the Lord! I learned so much from the way that each of them did ministry differently and was so humbled by their servant hearts. What a blessing it was to do the Lord’s work along side them!
-I did a three-day “homestay” with a local family, which meant I got to observe what Island life was like. After that, I moved into a home in a small village with two of the girls on our team and continued to develop relationships with the community. There, I learned:
1) How to cook a few of their traditional dishes (or how bad I cook).
2) Food is a HUGE symbol for showing honor and respect for someone in their culture. Wherever I went to visit people in the village, I had to be prepared to stuff my guts full of whatever was handed to me (curdled milk = not my favorite).
3) How to wash my clothes in the river (so, I probably didn’t get them that clean).
4) How to say a few essential phrases in their language (including some scripture!)
5) A ton about Islam (the Island is nearly 100% Muslim).
6) It is possible to love well those who don’t share my beliefs. This super intimidated me at first (and it’s something I struggle with), but I found that I was able to care for my Muslim friends in the same ways I care about my Christian friends back in the States.
7) Not to place such an importance on time and rushing to get things done. NOTHING in the African Island culture was scheduled or on time. You have to learn to be flexible.
8) Chacos are not a practical shoe to wear in a Muslim culture because you are constantly having to take them on an off before/after you enter or leave a house. Definitely recommend flip-flops.
9)The cuter the kid, the more he or she will test your patience. This is a proven fact.
10) Getting my hair braided is inevitable whenever visiting someone.
11) The ministry of presence is one of the most important concepts when ministering in Africa. There were times when I literally could not speak to the locals because I simply did not have the vocabulary. I had to learn to just be okay with being with them. They, however, did not think it was as awkward as I did because they are a culture content with just being. I learned a ton from this perspective.
12) Overseas missionaries aren’t perfect. They aren’t these holier-than-thou people who are struggle-free and more righteous than others. No matter where you choose to serve, you can’t escape your own struggles and sin.
13) I definitely am interested in potentially pursuing something longer-term in Africa after I finish my last year at school.
I know that doesn’t accurately give you what my whole month long experience was about, but if anything, I hope after reading this you walk away a little more confident of the work that the Lord has called YOU to, wherever in the world that may be. As long as HE is your purpose, your goal, your mission, and your calling, and your reason for doing all, then you are free to do so much. Praise Him for that, huh?!
Here are a few prayer requests that I would love for you to keep lifting up to the Father:
1) Pray for the Island! The reason that you will hear me only refer to it as “the Island” is because persecution for Muslims who convert and for Christian missionaries there is still very real and very great. I am not able to disclose the exact location to you out of protection for the local believers and the missionaries there. But, if you pull out a map of Africa, you will see the tiny islands between Madagascar and the mainland. Pray that hostility for the gospel decreases and that the local church is built up with Spirit-filled leadership!
2) There are a few believers there, and all are men. Pray that women, as well, would be receptive to the gospel and that the women on the team there could be used to point them to Jesus, too!
3) My homestay sister Rahimina. She was the closest friend I made on the Island and it was definitely the hardest to leave her. Please join me in praying that Jesus would break through to her, and that my housemates there on the team (Kirsty and Sonia) could continue that relationship with her now that I’m gone. I want to see this beautiful girl in the Kingdom one day!
4) The 2-year team still on the Islands. They finish out their term in November, but several are planning on returning to the Island. Pray that they would finish of their last few months “running the race in such a way as to win the prize.” Pray also for those who are still deciding whether or not to return—that Jesus would lead them in the decision that most glorifies Him. And lastly, pray that those returning would have a restful and joyful return to their homes while preparing to be sent out again.
5) Pray for me as I still have another year of school left and am exploring my options as far as what it could look like to potentially serve overseas for a longer term. “If God wills!” they would say on the Island ;)
I have also posted photos of my time there on Facebook.
I seriously have prayed for every single one of you and continue to thank the Father for your partnership in this ministry with me. You all were such an answer to prayers and I want you to know that GOD USED YOU in Africa as well. I am going to try my hardest to come to a city near you, and would LOVE to share more in person about all that I got to take part in in Africa. Please continue to email me if you want to know more or if you don’t want to know more or if you just want to tell me about something cool the Lord is doing in your life. I would like that a lot.
Love you all!
I will not rest until God and love are synonymous.
“Flattery is fairly easy, but truly believing in the remarkable beauty of the people around us is something more. It’s not that it’s harder, because it isn’t. What it is is a paradigm shift. When we flatter somebody, it’s still about us. We are saying something nice in order to be perceived as a nice person. But when our hearts get changed by God and we see the people around us as His works of art and His kids, a love for them pours out of us. We are delighted at every person even as we are amazed at works of art on a wall at a museum.”
Each time I come across a quote that I find particularly inspiring/encouraging/funny, whether in a book/song/internetz/my life, I make note of it by writing it down or saving it somewhere. I’ve compiled a list from the past few weeks’ findings. Hope you are as blessed by them as I have been!
“The harlot, the liar, the murderer, are short of it [God’s glory], but so are you. Perhaps they stand at the bottom of a mine, and you on the crest of the Alps; but you are as little able to touch the stars as they are.” Bishop Moule
“Let’s not make this a ‘what does God want from me’ kind of decision. God’s most likely looking back at you asking the same question. What’s in your heart, what would most light you up, what would make you most satisfied and fulfilled at the end of the day? Those aren’t moral questions, those are intimate, soul questions between you and God. If what you want is good, then what God wants is likely what you want.” Donald Miller
“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” E.M. Bounds
“Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in the equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you’re no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow. But of course, without the top you can’t have any sides. It’s the top that defines the sides. So on we go… we have a long way… no hurry… just one step after the next.” Robert M. Pirsig
“Yes, I’m still idealistic enough to believe that everyone matters. That the kingdom of the heavens might be at hand, knocking, beckoning me to pursue. I run like the oceans, longing for the shore. I’m still looking for a place where open arms still welcome the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Jon Foreman
“Creativity has nothing to do with any activity in particular — with painting, poetry, dancing, singing. It has nothing to do with anything in particular. Anything can be creative — you bring that quality to the activity. Activity itself is neither creative nor uncreative. You can paint in an uncreative way. You can sing in an uncreative way. You can clean the floor in a creative way. You can cook in a creative way. Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach — how you look at things.” Osho
“He knows our biggest hindrance to greatness as Christians is our desire to be great.” Beth Moore
“I’m just, like, what am I passionate about? JESUS. And I love drinking coffee. I don’t know if that one was from the Lord…” Overheard from the bearded men working the counter @ coffee shop in College Station
“Santa shot the pig, but he did not shoot the deputy.” Mary Fanara in a game of Telephone Pictionary
And all of the lyrics to this song:
“There used to be a time when we were fine living life with
no particular religious bend. Pretending to be our own gods
inventing our own system of belief so as to not depend on
anything other than our own self governing consent. Defending
an impending doom with no perceived need to concede
or repent. Presuming our innocence in a sense dissent. The
sting of death was only the inevitable end of everything
we could never rightly understand or comprehend.
We used to fear the unknown until God made himself known and atoned
mending the relationship between God and men. Giving his
life as a ransom for many when he died and ascended and in
that one event the certainty of eternal death was circumvented.
Making a way for the day when history stops and
time suspends. Spending eternity in fellowship that never
ends. We see the greatest expression of God’s love extended
in the moment when those who were once enemies instead became
How sweet the Gospel sounds to ears like mine. Well acquainted
with pain and strained relationships. Friendships
that suffer from long distances, or even worse they get
severed from something more severe. And He still hasn’t
wiped away all my tears yet. My cheeks get wet every now
and then. Even when I give my best, I know I fall short.
I get scared when the balls in my court. Focussed on, my
performance, wretched and poor. It makes the message more
real when I preach it. I’m not there yet so I’m reaching,
reaching for a goal, to stand before my King and be speechless.
Then, never again, will I question if his grace is
sufficient to cover my sin. Cause death is gone, and all
the effects of, evil and wrong will be conquered when His
So this is my hope and my prayer. The air
that I’ll breathe in eternity with lungs that never fail
me. If it pleases my Lord, and only by Your grace, use my
life till it’s poured out for Your sake. Until then I’ll
remain where You have me, with joy when I feel unhappy. And
a peace that surpasses all my understanding, my life is in
the hands of Your love everlasting.”
This song makes me want to bust out the ole xylophone.
You can have all my fears, God
You can have all my sins
You can have all my weakness
I know You’re with me to the very end.
i still believe there’s nothing more beautiful than the love You have for me.
“I have always been a lover,
from before I drew a breath.
Some things I love easy,
and some I love to death.
You see, love’s no politician,
cause it listens carefully.
So from those who come,
I can’t lose one,
so you will be set free.”
Across the groaning sea
there is a quiet hill,
in a land I’ve only ever
There, my pride
my golden calves
there they all meet.
Sins committed by me,
and sins committed against me.
All on a single hill.
At a single moment.
A hill of shame,
now the loveliest of
all because of two
Let us die climbing.
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Matthew 28: 19-20
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
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