Thursday, July 28, 2011

Want to Help?

Since the day I left, I have seen and felt just how amazing and necessary the body of Christ is. I have been SO uplifted and filled with joy because of your prayers and words of encouragement. It is incredible to see God’s people being knit together. So before I say anymore, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Some of you may know that my sister, Kala, and my cousin, Kelsey are coming to visit in a few weeks. My sister has recently told me that several people have been asking if they could send her with donations for my students. You should have seen me jumping around the room when I read that email. The wheels in my head started turning when I realized just how amazing this could be if we all pull together.

I thought it would be good to sit down with my cooperating teacher and see what she thought about it and if she could help me make a list of the needs. This time, you should have seen her jumping around with excitement. She was seriously pumped at just the thought of it, so we sat down and started the list. Let me warn you, the list is extensive. It ranges from toothbrushes to base-10 blocks for math class. But I can assure you they are all NEEDS.

With how supportive and encouraging you all have been, I just know we can pull our resources together and SHOWER these students with these gifts. My only regret with it all is that I wish you could each come hand deliver your gift, so you can see the looks on the children’s faces, because they are going to be thrilled. I will make sure and take pictures when we’re passing them out.

So here its is (in no particular order):

- notebooks/writing paper
- educational games/toys
- clothes (7-8 year old children)
- pencils
- erasers
- teaching materials (especially math!!!)
- toothbrushes/toothpaste
- washcloths
- underwear (7-8 year old children)
- winter hats (like beanys)
- scarves
- children’s books
- water bottles
- lunch boxes
- hair bands
- pencil sharpeners (not electronic, just little personal ones)
- pencil bags
- stickers
- crayons
- any other school or craft supply
- any pretty much anything else you think a 2nd grader might like
- I’m also working with 2 incredibly selfless teachers who could really use some desk/teacher supplies! They have to improvise quite a bit.

Okay, I think that should give you a pretty good idea. haha I hope I don’t sound to forward in this post, but I just have such a peace and excitement about what I know God is going to do through this. If you’re from my area, you can contact my sister Kala with your contributions, or any other member of my family. If you’re from the Hartville area, you can contact either my cousin Kelsey or my fiancĂ© Brad. And if you’re from neither, you can contact who ever you want. ;)

Thank you again so much for all of your prayers and support. I have been so blessed and am so grateful. Tonight, I'm going to a homeless shelter to pray with them and minister to them, so please pray for guidance and courage. On Saturday, I’ll be going to an orphanage where several of my students live, so please pray that I would be able to pour out Jesus’ love on the children who crave it the most.

Acts 20:35

Contact Info:
Kala: (330) 204-1206;

Kelsey: (330) 933-4041;

Brad: (330) 495-6823;

My Parents: (330) 364-0099;

My sister, Kristi: (330) 602-2136;

Thursday, July 21, 2011


57. The number of hearts to adore, minds to enlighten, and souls to bathe in prayer. 57. The number of names to memorize, smiles to capture, and bodies to nurture. 114. The number of hands to hold, eyes to model Christ to, and ears to speak encouragement to.

Some are orphans. Some are slum kids. Nearly all come from poverty. ALL craving love.

I am 1 person, with only 1 heart, mind and soul. With only 2 hands, eyes, and ears. I’m young, with not much experience. I’m here by myself, without fiancĂ©, family, or friends to confide in. The school has 1 copy machine, which you’re only allowed to make 20 copies on. I have 57 students. School supplies are extremely lacking and technology is nearly vacant. My students do not have textbooks and next to no curriculum. At lunch, students who are fortunate enough to be sent to school with lunches break apart their sandwiches to share with those who do not have one.

Considering these calculations, I’m way over my head. I’m not smart enough, rich enough, or built with enough hands. Not to mention my weakness when it comes to missing home so much it hurts. And this is only week 1.

Sometimes in the evenings, when I get lonely, I think this through. Satan tempts me to despair as he lays out the circumstances of my situation. But just as he is about to have the victory and steal my hope and joy, I remember…

I have God on my side. The maker of the entire universe has completely paved the way for me to be here. The lover of my soul and sustainer of my breath is right here beside me. My hope, joy, and peace can remain because He is near. I CAN consistently shower these precious children with unconditional love, because it’s the same love I get from Him everyday. He is the only one I am dependant on. My knees hit the floor every morning as I plead with Him to fill me up so full with His love, joy, hope, and peace that it pours out from me into the lives of my students. I hunger and thirst for His Words everyday, because I know they alone will sustain me.

It’s amazing what you realize when the things you thought you were dependant on are removed. You come to know that you actually are not dependant on them at all. God is all You need, and He is faithful.

I’m still learning this, and let me tell you, it’s a very hard lesson to learn. Satan tries to bring me down every single day. Thankfully, our God is greater. =)

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”   - Psalm 63:1-5

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Satan can't stop me, God's on my side.

Wow. God must have something in store for me here, because Satan has been trying hard to keep me from coming. I must first say that I've arrived safely and am getting settled in. Getting here, however, was an adventure all on it's own.

I wrote my first blog at the Philadelphia airport. After 8 hours there, I boarded a plane for Frankfurt, Germany  and after 7-8ish hours arrived at this dark, quiet airport. WHen I first checked in at Cleveland they could only get me my first 2 boarding passes and told me that once I got to Frankfurt, just go up to the gate and get my last 2. I found my gate, but there were no flight attendants there. I didn't worry though, because I knew I had 12 hours at this place, so I had time to wait. THere was literally nothing at this aiport. I was stuck in this one hallway, with almost no one there and nothing to do. There also was no where to exchange money to get euros to make a phone call, so I had to buy much too expensive gummy bears in order to get some change back in Euros. I was able to make a very quick and expensive phone call to Brad, which was mostly me crying because I was tired and lonely. There was no internet connection and hardly anyone around, and basically none who knew English. I decided to take some sleeping pills and pass the time that way. WHen I woke up, I still had more time to kill, which I will say again, was extremely difficult to do in this airport. FINALLY, about 2 hours before the flight, a HUGE plane pulled up and lots of people starting showing up. This was the biggest plane I had ever seen. 2 full levels and just ridiculously large. Workers finally arrived at the gate, and I went up without worry to get my ticket. WIthout even looking me in the eye, the man handed me a ticket and told me I was on standby, the plane was 20 people overbooked. WHAT?!?! I was confused. We made this reservation months ago. He quickly pushed me aside and told me just to wait around. This is when I started to panic a little. I tried the internet again, all forms in German, and still couldn't get it to work. I finally found someone to translate the big red letters on my screen for me and he said that it said the internet was down due to technical difficulties. Wonderful. I bought another much too expensive candy bar to get some euros to call home and NONE of the phones worked. I literally tried 5 phones, and not one of them would work. I became quite a site to behold as I'm pacing this place crying and trying every phone. While all of this was going on, people began to board. I decided to try talking to a different man at the gate. THis one was much nicer, but he still told me there was nothing he could do. For some reason this was the only flight that wasn't booked. The earliest he could get me out was in 5 days. Yes, 5 days. I lost it. Poor man didn't know what to do as I stood there at his counter sobbing. He told me just to take a deep breath and go pray for a miracle. I stood there for the next half hour until every person had boarded that plane. The man checked his computer and then looked up at me with a hopeless expression on his face. He came around the counter up to me and said he was so sorry but the plane was completely full. He just stood there as I cried and another older lady was yelling something at him in German, and then all at once, he walked over to the counter and said, let me try this one thing. He turned around, looked me right in the eye and said "Don't get your hopes up, this has never worked before." He made a phone call and rambled on in German. Finally, an older man in a neon vest who looked like he worked for the airport, but mom is convinced was an angel, smiled at me and winked. My first glimmer of hope.

The man who had been trying to help me turned around with a smile and said, "I guess miracles do happen, I got you a seat." I didn't know what to do so I ran up and gave him a hug and my leftover euros and told him to go buy himself a drink. haha He ran me down the terminal and gave me quick instructions. I'd be sitting on a jump seat with the crew during take off and landing and during the flight, I'd sit in a smaller jump seat in the back of the plane. When I stepped on to this plane I was in awe. A huge grand staircase led up to the first class and business class. I obvoiusly wasn't going there. THe main flight attendant led me back halfway through the plane and sat me in a jump seat in the "kitchen" area. I buckled in and sat there with the crew during take off. I then was moved to the very back of the plane. Now, I must say again that this plane was HUGE. I thought I had reached the back 3 times. Finally, I made it back there and there all by itself was this tiny fold down seat with next to no cushion by an emergency evacuation door. That was me. Facing backwards, all by myself, next to the restrooms and the air vent. I sat down and as my teeth chattered from the cold air blowing on me all I could do was laugh, this was my life. I took some major sleeping pills to try to eliviate the misery and woke up a few hours later covered in a blanket and pillow, they took good care of me back there. =) Passing the rest of the time in that seat was pretty miserable, but I managed. When people would come bak to use the restroom they would either stare of giggle. I was quite the show. Then they would go back to their brand new cushiony seat with personal tvs. Coach class seats never looked so inviting to me as they did then. haha

Anyways, the story doesn't end there. For some reason you're not allowed to sit there during landing, so I had to be moved back up to the middle of the plane where I was for take off. I got all strapped in and was ready to land when things got messed up again. One of the flight attendants seat belt was stuck in her chair. The main flight attendant came up to me and told me to quickly get up and give her my seat. SHe then grabbed my bookbag and through it behind someones seat, grabbed my arm and literally run up to the front of the plane. We went all the way up to the cockpit, minutes before landing and she opened a door that led into a closet. Yes, you guessed it. She shoved me in there and told me to keep quiet and not to come out. It was all I could do but burst out laughing. I could hear the pilots talking and feel the rumblings of the plane. It was a bit scary, but still all too hilarious.

I was finally rescued after we landed and was allowed off the plane. My last little flight went much smoother. I'm so thankful for the flight attendants on that flight, I knew they risked their jobs for me. We serve a God who still works miracles people. It sure encouraged me as I thought that GOd must have something good in store for me here, if He made that much of an effort to get me here. What an adventure already.

School starts in 2 days and I'm very anxious for that. Please continue to keep me in your prayers. I'm excited to meet my children. I miss home and everyone so incredibly much and I think it will help once I have some babies to take care of. I get lonely at night, but it is teaching me to cling to God's Word. He is always present with me.

Sorry this is so long, but I thought I should share. =)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One foot in front of the other.

I expected saying goodbye would be extremely difficult, but you can't really prepare yourself for something you've never done before. My puffy eyes remind me of the constant tears I've cried over the past 24 hours. I felt like this day would never actually come, the day I would leave my loved ones to travel for 48 hours to the other side of the world by myself. Reality set in though as the goodbyes began to be unavoidable. Last night, as Brad and I sat up on my roof putting off the inevitable, I gasped between sobs that I don't want to do this. I couldn't do it. Who's crazy idea was this??? I can't leave. I want to stay home with my family. All the normality of my life at home came to the forefront of my mind...I want to workout with Kala in the morning and help Kristi clean. I want to take the kids to the pool and sing "read your Bible, pray everday" with them. I want to go on a date with Brad. I want to cuddle up next to him and share inside jokes. I want to enjoy family supper followed by jumping on the trampoline with the kids and playing games outside as we're surrounded by the rolling hills of our farm country. I want family, normalcy, familiarity.

And yet, somehow, in the midst of all the sobs, I sense that still, small voice. I try to ignore it as my flesh battles the spirit, but it can't be suppressed. Deep down I know the truth. I know God called me to this. And I know that He doesn't call us to normalcy or familiarity. He doesn't call us to easy things. (Luke 9:57-62) Verses like 2 Timothy 4:5 seem like they're written directly to me: "As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry." I feel so weak, so insecure, so doubtful, and yet I've managed to put one foot in front of the other. Everything in my flesh wants to just go home, call it quits right now. I'm sitting in the Philadephia Airport waiting for my next flight and I just want to turn around. It's so tempting. It's so difficult not to. And yet, I know I can't. God's strength alone will get me through this, will enable me to endure. He has blessed me beyond words, and it's robbery to give back to Him anything less than my life.

Please PRAY that I will have the strength and peace to carry on. I still have quite a few more hours in this airport, and I've got 12 to sit in the next one. Once I board this next plane, no more cell phone and maybe no more internet for some time. It's me and God, and that is enough.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."     -Joshua 1:9