2 Timothy 1:7
Saturday, August 11, 2012
This past week has almost been a blur. We’ve been doing gender specific surveys about women’s self-worth & what it takes to be real man with the dudes. It’s interesting…
We’ve been talking a lot about spiritual warfare lately; we are ALWAYS in battle, even though Jesus has already taken victory. People on our team have been getting sick, exhausted, drained, & tired… please pray for healing and refreshed energy for this last week! Pray for a passion for the lost & for the Gospel. It’s been raining a lot this past week, so sharing is even more difficult that it usually is here; but we’re faithful that God will renew us until the very end.
“Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.” Psalm 86:11
I’ve been trying to figure out the lies the devil feeds me, and find verses to combat them. It’s crazy how much I allow the truth to become skewed. I’m all over the place right now. I don’t want to leave Melbourne, but I miss my family & friends. I hate having to say goodbye to these people I just became close with…we’re such a solid group & they’ve helped me grow so much this past month… I’ve had to have these kind of goodbyes before but this one might be the hardest. Shoot dang.
Yesterday we had Day With The Lord; literally spending time with Jesus from 10 am to 4 pm, wherever we wanted & doing whatever we wanted. I’ve never prayed for so long as yesterday; I feel like I almost don’t have enough time to spend with Him during the week because of how busy we are, but it was almost like it was made up for during that time. I went out to the Docklands & had a peaceful time listening to the water hit the pier’s supports, and the seagulls going insane in the sky. It was so cliche and perfect.
LAST WEEK! Go big or go home, right?
Almost the whole team at our mid-project retreat :)
Sunday, August 5, 2012
So we took a survey thingy to see what ways we connect with God the most, and my top was relationships; however, my lowest was contemplatively soo my leader challenged me to meditate over any small section of Scripture. My friend Glenn recommended 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18 and I felt I’d share what I took from it & how I can do each of these things!
“And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
“And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, …”
-Share on campus
-keep others accountable
-encourage lukewarm Christians
“…encourage the timid, …”
-come alongside them and live LIFE with them
“…help the weak, …”
-pray with them
-check up on them continually
-learn how to best build them up
“…be patient with everyone. …”
-remember how patient God is when I stray from Him
-think before responding
-find the root of the impatience
“…Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, …”
-keep short accounts
-remember that wrath is for God, not me, to have
“…but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. …”
-recognize the Spirit’s presence
“…Be joyful always; …”
-find the blessings you can see
-look for the ones you can’t see
-look for God in every place
-absorb the innocent child-like faith
“…pray continually; …”
-as I walk to class
-as I do homework & eat
-daily quiet times
-as I drive/travel
-find things to be thankful for
“…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
-remember that good things follow the bad
-every level; smallest and biggest
-thank God for the gifts of others
-think of how much He’s protecting us from right now that we don’t even know about
It’s so simple once you read it, but why is it SO difficult to follow for me? There is grace, thank goodness.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
I don’t even know what to say first… it’s been a crazy past week, but I guess the only place to start is where I left off.
So…honestly, I’ve been a little down about not having enough spiritual conversations with people and I almost feel like I’ve been holding back a part of myself in fear of rejection. On Monday I got to have a few with some girls on campus and that was pretty sweet, just a normal kind of day (4 rejections, 3 spiritual surveys, 2 Gospel presentations without a bite to the hook). I expected the same of Tuesday, but apparently God had a much bigger idea in mind.
The first girl my partner Emily & me approached was happy to do Perspective Cards, and by the end of it we learned she grew up in a Christian home but drifted away from God. She rededicated her life to the Lord that day! She’s our sister in Christ and is now making her faith her own. YAY!
I got a new partner at lunch (Blake) and we spotted a girl eating by herself (Amy) so we joined her and asked if she’d want to do Soularium (picture survey about life and whatnot). She obliged and her friend Aleks wanted to take it too! As the survey became more spiritual on question 5, I asked if they had ever heard of having a personal relationship with God (they had previously & confidently said they believed in Him); Aleks said she WANTED one. We didn’t even have to ask. We shared the Gospel with them and they both accepted Christ!
Do you understand how miraculous this is? I mean, in the two weeks before that there were three people total throughout our trip who gave their lives to Christ. The Lord allowed me to experience His divine plan and I did absolutely NOTHING to deserve that blessing. It took me the whole day to realize fully that God used me & Blake & Emily to expand His Kingdom, and that it was by no means our doing but the Lord’s alone. And I’m only twenty! Many Christians go their whole lives without witnessing such beauty.
I am so humbled. I would not be able to be a light if God didn’t shine through me.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10-11
…our team of 17 waited for a tram for 15 minutes (in the pouring rain, mind you) that wasn’t coming.
…a skinny dude living in the same hostel we’re at was wearing red women’s pants & leopard print oxford shoes.
…someone stole my grocery bag, but left the food in the fridge.
Saturday, July 27, 2012
The past few days have been so inconsistent in terms of energy, surveys, and events.
On Thursday I was on La Trobe’s campus again, but didn’t do too many surveys/talk to a lot of Aussies because I had discipleship for a few hours (mentoring, accountability, testimony training, stuff like that). My leader gave me four new challenges for the week, which shall remain nameless, so I’m definitely being more attentive than usual!
Friday (yesterday) was probably one of my favorite days on campus now that I think about it. I went with my friend Trevor and it was my first time ever going sharing with a guy, so I was not only nervous about walking up to random strangers but also just with how the dynamic would differ and whatnot. So we prayed together before we went out and after approaching about five people and getting denied every time but one, we took a coffee/lunch break and just PRAYED for this wall we were hitting to break down.
We were pretty discouraged and I realized I hadn’t read my daily Bible verse on my phone. When I looked it up, it said this:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galations 6:9-10
Can we talk about how perfect it was in that moment? So we continued walking about the campus (in the rain) and met a girl who was totally willing to do our picture survey called Soularium. Seriously one of the coolest people I’ve met here. Super chill, friendly, and real. We exchanged contact information to grab coffee before I head back to the states so I’m juiced about that!
It’s been so rad getting to see God lead us to certain people, even when we may not feel that “pull” from the Spirit. The last person we initiated a conversation with was a guy named Chris and he was so responsive and refreshing to talk to; Trevor did Perspective Cards and so much conversation came out of it. Trev shared the Gospel and Chris seemed like he was diggin it but wasn’t 100 percent sure about it so we’re meeting up with him again soon to talk more in depth! SO encouraging, you have no idea.
—-Side note, Trevor is awesome; he took on the leadership role and was a huge encouragement to me, especially when I could just see the Lord working through him during conversation. I was so blessed to have him as my partner.
Last night we went to our first Australian Football (Footy) match! It’s like a mix of rugby and soccer. It was so fun! I was going for the Hawthorn Hawks and they beat Essendon Bombers 186-81 I think? It was a massacre. I also tried a meat pie, which Australia is known for, and it was peppery and completely unhealthy and DELICIOUS.
I think this afternoon we’re going to the Melbourne Aquarium! We were going to go to the zoo but it’s raining again :/ Whatever, animals are animals!
Well, my computer is about to die. But thanks for keeping up!
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3
[Australian slang/differences: American definition]
Take-away: to go
Wednesday, July 25, 2012.
First week on campus!
So every Wednesday our team fasts together from right after breakfast until dinner. It’s not religiously required or anything like that, it’s just something we do to remind us of our utter dependence on God to sustain us; He is the bread of life and will never perish, while food (which I’m in love with) is just perishable matter. It’s kind of neat because before this trip I had never fasted, so it’s a new experience for sure. - Needless to say, as it’s 5:45 PM & I haven’t eaten since 9 AM, I am a hungry hungry hippo. But joyful!
On Monday I was suuper nervous about going out to share because it was FINALLY the moment we had prepared so long for. Like…the time is NOW. No more waiting. It’s crazy.
Anyway. I was placed on La Trobe’s campus and I partnered up with my friend Carly! The first girl we went up to (which was quite awkward..) was a girl named Kat, and we just asked her about good coffee shops and her favorite footy team. Just surface level, normal conversation. She didn’t seem too keen to continue conversation so we went on our way. Oh the next one is much more awkward. The second girl we saw looked Carly & me up and down at first, and then after introducing ourselves we asked if she would possibly be willing to do a survey and she just said “No.” We were very much taken aback and didn’t really know how to handle that one so we, again, went on our way. We met another girl named Natalie and talked with her while giving her a survey, which she was refreshingly receptive to.
Here’s my favorite part of the week so far. After walking around campus a little more, we saw a girl, Lucy, chilling on a bench and we asked her if she would be open to doing the spiritual survey as well. She was SO kind to say yes. We were having normal, casual conversation throughout the survey and it was so sweet getting to get to know her. When the survey was over we were still talking and we exchanged contact information to hang out sometime soon! A few of her friends came over too and the entire conversation ended up being like 2 1/2 hours! They all have different religious backgrounds so the dynamic was diverse too, it was awesome. It was kind of funny and cheesy: they said they were obsessed with our accents, and we’re kind of obsessed with theirs.. Fantastic.
Tuesday was…different. Cazza (different Carly), Trevor, Darris, and me went to RMIT Brunswick, which is a fashion design school. The tiniest campus I’ve ever seen with like…maybe five buildings? Wack. It was just a very hard soil and people weren’t the…friendliest? I guess you could say. But Trevor and Darris got to share the Gospel with a couple people and exchange contacts, so praise Jesus for that!
Today was also not as I expected; I went with Kelsey, who’s one of our project leaders, sharing at La Trobe and it wasn’t until about twelve o’clock noon that we had a “successful” conversation. Others previous were just pretty uninterested, but later on we just prayed a good amount which was SO needed. We were able to bond a bit, and I absolutely loved that, especially because as a team of seventeen we don’t get to have many one-on-one conversations.
Other than sharing Jesus? Not a ton of new things have been going on… Fun fact! Instead of saying “Sweet” as a response to something, they say “Sweet as.” So I may come back with some crazy lingo, who knows. Everybody here is VERY stylish. No pressure? I wish.
It’s supposed to rain Thursday, Friday, and Saturday wooooo! I wuv da wain. We were planning on going to the Melbourne Zoo but I think we’re going to hit up the aquarium so we aren’t torturing ourselves (irony… going to see animals living in water so we will keep dry..).
Prayer requests? If you feel led to, I would love for you to consider praying for me and my team in a few areas. As we all acknowledge that sharing the Gospel is Spirit-led, I ask you to pray that we develop a passion for giving God all the glory for our conversations we have with people. Along with that, I would also like to ask for prayer in remaining humble as I lead worship for my team with my friend Darris. Lastly, that we would be able to follow up with our new Aussie friends sincerely, because we are here to develop strong, REAL relationships!
Love you all SO much. Thank you for taking the time to read <3
Saturday, July 21, 2012.
So this week has been crazy but really chill at the same time… We’re always going going going but then at the end of the day I can’t remember what we did; my brain likes to empty itself I guess? Whoops.
Honestly it’s been a sweet week preparing for the depth of sharing we’ll be doing. Getting to know my team more & exploring the city and two campuses we’re doing ministry on is basically the gist of it! We’re going to be spending most of our time on RMIT Bundoora and La Trobe University (they call college “uni” & dorms are “colleges”). Most students commute, only 1,200 out of 26,000 students live on campus! Crazy difference.
I had the best latte of my life the other day on RMIT campus…just wow. Almost all cafes here are individually owned, and I have only seen one Starbucks! I’m still slightly mourning from the lack of brewed coffee…but I think I’ll get over it pretty quickly. COFFEE.
The city is incredible; we ride the trams everywhere and the skyline is so rad! It’s the cleanest urban area I’ve ever been to, other than the fact that tons of people smoke here. And the cold winter? Still loving it. Honestly it’s like cities are just made for this weather.
As we’re about to share to college students about God’s grace, it’s been really apparent that I need to fully accept and meditate on that grace as well. I’m realizing that I sometimes tend to do things because it makes me feel like a “good Christian;” like I can work my way to heaven or something. But the true blue reality… is that I can’t. Nothing I do will ever be sufficient to gain access into the kingdom, but that is why Jesus came to earth! That is His purpose in living a life of service and selflessness, when He should have been treated as a King. He died the perfect death that we might come to know Him and accept this Truth of His unending & everlasting love. It is by His grace that we are able to live how we do. Jesus is the ONLY way.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” - 2 Corinthians 12:9
Leading worship the other night was sick too! Sitting in the middle of our hostel lounge, singing praise to the Lord… oo wee it was fantastic. If you would like to, I would very much appreciate prayer in this area; I’m in the process of learning the balance between humility, confidence, and using my gifts to glorify God and not myself. It’s kind of tough, ha, but I am confident I’ll learn a lot within the next 4 weeks.
As we’re still preparing for this upcoming week’s college dive-ins, we walked around Melbourne Central (mall, food court, movie theater, church, gym, bowling alley - crazy busy right?!) initiating conversations with locals, whether spiritual or superficial. My group found out about a few good hole-in-the-wall coffee shops and alleys to explore, and where the rare Mexican food restaurants are :)
Saturdays are our free days so we’re all going to see the Dark Knight Rises this afternoon! Tonight is kind of open-ended so it’s mystery…
“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”
- Psalm 40:5
One of the many stops on our Amazing Race!
Monday, July 16, 2012
(17 hours ahead)
So… I’m kind of in AUSTRALIA?!?! This is insane. Our flight was a straight 16 hours but went by so quickly…surprisingly the smoothest plane ride I’ve ever had. We were in the same outfits for about 2 days without realizing it.
After we checked into our hostel yesterday (mix between a dorm & hotel), the STINTers (short term international) sent us on a crazy scavenger hunt around Melbourne (Mel-bin) to take pictures with random buildings and statues! Pictures to come. It’s like a combination New York City & San Francisco. SO diverse and busy. Also…the cars drive on the opposite side of the road..weird.
The weather? Crisp, overcast, 50s. Perfect. It’s interesting getting away from hot summer weather with sunshine ending at 8 PM to the middle of winter where it’s dark by 5:30… But I love it. Jet lag hasn’t been as much of a problem as I thought. I mean, I got 11 hours of sleep and I’m still tired, but whatever :)
They don’t sell drip coffee anywhere…it’s all lattes and mochas and fancy stuff. Example, a Flat White is a latte without the foam. Kinda cool? I had the most difficult time reading the menu. I feel so FOREIGN.
I love my team & we’re all bonding so well. I’m stoked to have fellowship with TONS of laughs with them. Last night we were all so delirious from not having enough sleep and we might have caused a scene.. Okay so we did.
We’ll be going on campus for a little bit this week so stay tuned for that update! Please pray that we will be filled with fruit & bear it toward everyone we meet and come into contact with. Also for our health as our world is turned upside down!
Love all of you. Thank you for your support!
“Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.” Psalm 86:4
So… it’s day one of briefing! Well I guess it’s over now, but the day has finally come! I absolutely love our project team, everybody seems to get along just dandy so far :)
We have a few training meetings throughout Wednesday and Thursday with two other project teams (El Salvador & South Africa), along with some Team Times to have fellowship with our Australia project peeps. Tonight we lifted up some prayer requests & almost immediately became a family. Then we took a walk to Yogurtland afterward, naturally.
The past few days leading up to briefing were phenomenal. My parents took my younger sister Bekah & me to SoCal on Sunday and we went to Huntington beach and had dinner and did a little spontaneous shopping, where I found a necklace with two watches on it; now I can tell time in Melbourne AND California at the same time. :)
On Monday we spent the entire day at Disneyland & California Adventure. 8 am to 11 pm. My feet were dead but it was so worth it. Definitely got soaked by the World of Color show, but (again) worth it!
Today we went to Santee Alley and paid 50 cents each to use the restroom.. it was the weirdest experience I’ve had in a while, I will say that. And then they dropped me off! I hate saying goodbye to my family…but if Jesus calls, I’d be a fool to say no.
Also……. I’m trying to get my entire team to say YOLO… We’ll see how that turns out.
Leaving home in Elk Grove for SoCal today! My parents & my younger sister are driving me down and our “itinerary” is kind of fantastic.
Huntington beach this afternoon, kickin it at the hotel
Disneyland&California Adventure tomorrow
Santee Alley on Tuesday…
BRIEFING starts on Tuesday afternoon.. that’s in TWO days. This is insane. I’m afraid I forgot to pack something or I’m underprepared. I mean if it comes down to it, I guess I’ll have to go shopping? Oh darn.
I’m extremely excited & extremely nervous. Go figure.
I am trying to prepare for change and for the work the Lord will do in & through me.
My mind is all over the place, it feels unreal. I’M GOING TO AUSTRALIA!
My schedule is about to be insane.
July 1-2: Moving into my new apartment in SLO
July 3-6: Visiting family in Seattle, Washington
July 7: PACKING
July 8-9: Going to Disneyland with the rents and Bekah
July 10-13: Briefing for my summer project in Fullerton, California
July 13-23: Having the time of my LIFE in Melbourne, Australia; Sharing Jesus with university students; Journaling (probably more often than necessary)
I want to be done with school but I don’t want to go home just yet;
I want to go home but I don’t want to see someone I cannot avoid seeing.
I’ve built up so many walls (or so I thought) and they were blown down with little effort. Now all I’m left with is a pile of sand.
I want comfort, clarity, alone time, peace, integrity, honesty, a good hug, & something to smile at.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely content with where I’m at. I’m living a life pursuing the Lord and I am BEYOND thankful for the community I have in Slo. Sometimes I get in a rut, though, and I can’t stop the “bad” things from happening. Sucky situations are inevitable and I definitely accept that fact, but I just don’t know how to make things better.
Most simply because I am not the one who can make them better. I can try my very hardest to hold on to my struggles but realistically…in the end the effort I put into anything isn’t even close to the work God can do if I just hand it over to Him.
So why don’t I?
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want…He restores my soul…” Psalm 23:1,3
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6
“Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.” Psalm 25: 20-21