Tuesday, August 11, 2015

When Brokenness Began - Nicaragua 2015

Tomorrow marks one week from the day I stepped back into my home country,
and out of the country where I saw, felt, and leaned on God like never before.
So much to process, still so much to work through.
Still so much rawness.
Still so much joy from the people there.
People ask if we had "a wonderful trip". 
Yes.  Yes, we definitely did.
It was completely life changing, absolutely incredible, and honestly very hard.
I was stretched and pushed and molded by God.
I grew like never before.
We arrived in Raleigh for training Monday evening on July 20th, day that was very much anticipated by yours truly.
Our mission began with a worship service, and as I stood there, a huge smile broke over my face.
What joy! 
This is where I belong! 
Worshipping my Creator with youth who have the same drive for Christ that He's given me.
Working with teens on a mission to bring Christ to the nations.
This is where I belong.
I knew that God was going to do something great.
I just didn't know how hard it was going to be to get to that place where he could work in me.
After a couple hours, the mission leaders began casting parts in the drama.
I was so thrilled with the role I was chosen for.
I wouldn't have rather had any other part, and I was incredibly happy. 
But when drama training began, I flunked...completely. 
That night I flunked,
the next morning.  The next afternoon, and evening, and morning after that.
What on earth was going on with me??
I got acting.
I've been involved with it for who knows how long.
I understand it.
Why was I not getting this??
I wasn't getting it because I was the one trying to get it.
I was being overly - yet unintentionally - self sufficient.
God can't use that.
Training started, and I thought I could do it.
I knew I could do it.
But God was like, "Um, no you can't."
And I fell.  Over and over and over.
Somehow everyone had no problem learning an intense 20 minute drama in 2.5 days.
I didn't.
I was embarrassed - humiliated, even.
And terrified.  I hated feeling so incredibly stupid, and I did. 
I knew people were frustrated with me, I knew they saw my stupidity.  I knew I had to get my part down or I would be replaced in the drama. 
I was so scared and humiliated that I was sick.
But I had to be broken.  I had to get over that "I've got this" mentality. 
God opened my eyes, and then I knew.
I could NOT.  God COULD.
I began to say over and over, "when I am weak, He is strong.  When I am weak, HE IS STRONG."
I've "got" nothing.
God has everything.
When I gave up my self-sufficiency, God came in and restored my brokenness.
Now he could begin work with me, and work with me he did.
Through His grace, I learned the drama by dress rehearsal at the end of the our 30ish hours of training. 
Before the last practice before leaving for Nicaragua, we had a service where we'd preform the drama for good friends and family.
But before we started the drama, we took an hour and a half to worship God.
An hour and a half that would change my life.
All the team members stood in the front, and we began to pray over each other. 
One by one, we surrendered our fear, and prayed over our peers - our new family.
It was so incredible... the first time I've experienced something so powerful.
To surrender my fear was so hard, but when I began to pray, I filled with such peace that I never wanted to stop.
We felt God.
And when it was time to preform the dress rehearsal, it went so well.
I was so proud to have our family and friends come and see us as we prepared to leave as missionaries.
The best feeling in the world. 
By the time we left the church at 12am, we had a total of 4 hours before leaving for the airport at 3am later that morning.
But this was only the beginning of our journey to Nicaragua - we hadn't even left the state yet!
What else God was going to do on the trip was beyond what I could have dreamed.
It was going to be life changing, incredible, and it was going to begin to break me apart.  It was going to start tearing down walls in my life that hadn't realized were there.
It was going to be hard, but God would be with us, and that was enough.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Here We Go...

We leave in 3 hours and 49 minutes.
Not that I'm counting or anything...

Strike that.
I am counting.
I have been for weeks.
I vividly remember waking up at 12:36 am one night, and the first thing that went through my head was, "Only 18 days until Nicaragua!"

And now the 18 days are over, and only 3 hours and 46 minutes remain.
Sheer joy, people.
Time to soak up the last few minutes with the littles before we leave, so keep us in your prayers, and I will try to keep the updates coming. (no promises:))


Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Aventure Begins...

It's totally a surreal, yet unreal time.
We leaving for mission training at 2pm tomorrow...
Let the adventures begin!!
I'm beyond excited, anticipating 16 days of total transformation and life change.
While living in the present, my motto is "Selah and Someday".
I've always loved the Hebrew word "Selah", meaning, "pause and remember".
I stop and remind myself of what God has done, and look forward to what God is doing and is going to do.
I was reminded today of how this all started for me..
That night at youth group where I got the clear, simple and confusing message.
I didn't know a thing about the country, and I knew nothing of missions there.
But, a couple months later, our youth group announced a missions trip there, and the rest is history.
Here's the short version of our trip:
Our adventure will begin tomorrow when we arrive in Raleigh for 3 days of intense training.
We will learn an 18 minute evangelistic drama to preform the cities of Nicaragua.
After 3 days in Raleigh, our team will fly out on 6 different planes (basically going 6 different directions, EEEK!).
But the end result will be the same when we end up in Nicaragua.
From there... well, we aren't quite sure. 
The detail we've been given are fuzzy, but that's alright. 
Prayers are needed, so keep 'em coming!
We appreciate you all so much, and be prepared for long update when we return.
Love you all!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Challenge and Triump

We love him, and we always will.
But that doesn't mean he's always easy.
2 years after coming home, I'd say Kaden's "honeymoon stage" has officially ended.
He is full of energy, full of potential, full of questions, and "whys?", armed and ready for arguments, and full of needs for explanations for everything...  Hence, my parents are exhausted. 
We don't know what's going on with our K.K.
Thankfully, though, we don't always need to know.  Challenging times will pass, and we'll become stronger because of them.
But even with our challenges, Kaden is pretty darn awesome.
Earlier this summer, we went with family to a race at the YMCA.
Everyone in the kid's racce took off and sprinted towards to finish.
Everyone but Kaden.
He's not one for rushing.  He likes to take his time and enjoy the journey.
He likes to have fun, he likes to go slow.
So he grinned and laughed and shouted his way down the road, and then...
He saw a little girl going very slowly.
So he turned to her and held her hand down as they walked the rest of the race together.
This sis was the proudest girl there that night.
So proud of my sweet brother, and so encouraged by glimpsing again the sweet heart he has.
We love out K.K., and we always will. 


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Today choose to BLOOM - where ever you are and whatever you're doing.
God has you right where you are for a reason.
Choose to BLOOM right there!

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