Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Highlights & pictures.



Two of them!

We had the privilege of hanging out with some residents of a local special needs home. We swam, sang and danced in the pool, learned and taught new songs and games, and made some pretty cool new friends! We're all excited to go back tomorrow morning.



Living with people is fun (:


I love Wendi!


We spent this morning hanging out at Independence Square in downtown St. Kitts, playing music & sharing Jesus. Many of us had some pretty awesome conversations with people just passing through or on their lunch breaks. Everyone seemed to especially enjoy the music! Amanda, who goes to CCBCI and plays worship, is extremely talented. I talked to a really sweet 19 year old girl who happened to be a Jehovah's Witness. We both really enjoyed conversing about our beliefs and asking questions about the other's. She gave me her email address when she had to go back to work so that we can continue our conversation! (:


Yep, a 5.6 earthquake hit the island at 3 AM 2 nights ago. Between that and finding a massive cockroach crawling on us a few hours later, it was an eventful night!

Please pray for me as I leave the island Saturday afternoon and return to life in Indy. I know that there are seasons in life and that sometimes they change subtly and slowly. I also know that sometimes they announce themselves in the form of a plane ticket from one country to another. Going home is bittersweet but I'm leaving the island with a peace; feeling that the Lord has accomplished what He wished to with my time here. I'm excited to see my family and friends, to get back to work, and to be involved in my church & youth group. I believe that, because of the way the Lord has worked in my heart over these last few months, my life at home will not be the same as it was before I left. He's opened my eyes to many opportunities, given me a new boldness, and reminded me of the undeniable power of His Holy Spirit. I have learned SO many things over the last three months, but if I had to pick three of the most important lessons they would be: be teachable. be willing. fix your eyes on Jesus. God has shown Himself faithful once again, and He's also reminded me that He cares about the little things and He answers the prayers that sometimes we don't even remember we prayed. He is my strength and He sustains me. I no longer feel the need to control and plan every detail of my life because I know that I can trust in His plan for it and walk in what He has placed before me... and it will be His pleasing & perfect will. Whew, can you say rest?! I could go on for days about what the Lord is doing on this island and what He's used this island to do in me, but hopefully I'll have an opportunity to talk to those who are interested as I get back to the states. 

My view as I write this - two tired boys and a Keaton!

Please also pray for the CCBCI team that is here partnering with Brandon and Wendi as they continue their stay over the next two weeks. THESE PEOPLE ARE AWESOME. They are so real, so bold, so Jesus-loving. I've loved loved loved hearing their incredible testimonies and fellowshipping with them. They really understand the joy of serving Jesus! We have kept SUPER busy. Pray that they would not grow weary as the new-ness of mission work wears off and that they would continue to work as one body of believers, in love. 

Thank you for your prayers and support. I am so blessed to have such loving people in my life!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." - Hebrews 12:1-2.. 

Sums it all up (:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

CCBCI has arrived!

I apologize once again for my large gaps between blogs.. Either I feel like I don't have enough to say, or I have too much and don't know where to start! I promise I will at least once more before I leave here... which is in only 11 days! I can not believe that THREE MONTHS is almost over. I remember sitting on my plane from Indy to Charlotte, having just said goodbye to all of my friends, thinking "am I completely nuts? what am I doing right now? three months is a LONG time!" truthfully I am crazy and it is a long time, but there is absolutely nothing more rewarding than walking in the Lord's will for my life. and there's not a doubt in my mind that this was where He wanted me for this period of time. These final few weeks are so bittersweet. 

I have loved living with the Grayson's. I can't say enough how stinking awesome it is to live with two people who LIVE THE GOSPEL. They strive to serve & glorify the Lord in everything they do and it is truly evident. These last two weeks have been so much fun just hanging out with them, having movie nights, eating and fellowshipping together. I've really enjoyed my time with the kids, too. While Brandon & Wendi have been busy being models (you can read more about their wedding fun here) I've had a blast hanging out with Audri & Keaton. I'm going to miss these hilarious kiddos when I leave! 

The Bible college arrived yesterday! How sweet it is to see & hang out with friends from home! I may have cried tears of joy. Maybe. I hadn't realized how much I really missed the comfort of familiar faces! Not only that, but I'm meeting new people who attend the college on my church's campus - common ground is nice. Literally. This group is so real & so interesting. I love the conversations I've already gotten to have. Talks about ministry, discipleship, redemption, how the Lord is moving and working in different situations. I'm still getting to know each of them and I'm honestly so excited to hear their testimonies and how they ended up at CCBCI. I'm also super excited to serve with them and show off this island I've grown to love so much!

THEY BROUGHT SO MUCH STUFF! Thank you to everyone who contributed to their practicum, it is a HUGE blessing to Brandon, Wendi, and all of their ministries here!

Vince and Chrissy!

Candice got her license and is chauffeuring us around the island - a HUGE help!

Exploring the beach this morning (:

This coming weekend is my last one here on the island.. My last AWANA Saturday night and my last service with CCF Sunday morning. You could say I'm pretty bummed. But still, I have a lot to look forward to when I get home, so I'll try to look over the goodbyes for now. I love love love my AWANA kids! I had the most incredible group of girls in my small group last week. They were so hungry for the Word & diligent in studying their verses & asking me so many questions! I'm really going to miss them. I'm also praying I can see my friends from CCF before I leave - many of them are on break and get back Friday, the day before I leave. 

AWANA small group girls!

I really hope to write later this week about some of the lessons the Lord has taught me since I've been here... there have been so many, and I'd like to publish some of them just to share for those who are interested. He has been so good to me. Thank you so much for your prayers and support! God bless! :)

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in sinful nature; rather, serve one another in LOVE." - Galatians 5:13.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Switching gears.

So I'm sitting in the pouring rain at the Marriott pool & I find that my heart is so full, I just have to blog. There's a change! :) I have been overwhelmed by God's goodness so many times over the last few weeks that I wouldn't even know where to start and if I did, I wouldn't ever stop. God has blessed me tremendously. I can not believe that I live on this island right now. I can't believe the love & burden I feel for the people I've met & the places I've been. I can't believe the events I've gotten to experience and be a part of! And to think back to the tests of faith I went through before coming here - could God really provide these funds? could I adjust to life outside of comfortable Indianapolis? could I be without my friends, family, youth group for 3 months? Oh, He answers prayers. Every single day. 
These last 13 days with the Harvest youth group from Ft. Wayne were a BLAST! I loved getting to know and serve with them. I was super impressed with the spiritual maturity in such a fairly young group - I'm excited to keep up with them and see how God will use them in big ways in the future! A trip like this is always something you carry with you for a long time and I'm so glad I got to share it with them and make new friends. Here's a picture spiel of some of the things we did this last week, some serving and some fun! 



(Matt and the girls have a lot more pictures of these things.. I didn't actually take hardly any of the house. However, Hazel's house is now green and dreamsicle orange and it looks AWESOME. Her neighbors were so interested to hear about the white American teenagers who spent days out there painting it!)




before & after.. this food was SO GOOD.

we stopped on the way there to see one of the most beautiful sunsets.


 (once again - the girls got waaaaay more pictures on their cameras. I can't wait to see them!!)

And of course, there was the missed flight fiasco. The group was due to leave at 3:20 yesterday afternoon... So they cleaned. And cleaned. And packed. And cleaned. And ate. And left. Aaand then they came back. Basically they "missed their flight" or in other words, sometimes St. Kitts gets lazy and doesn't wanna check in a group of 12 people if they can even remotely justify it. Soooo when all was said and done, they got 3 discounted rooms at the island's BEAUTIFUL Marriott and I was able to stay there and hang out with them. Romans 8:28, right? :) I, for one, was overjoyed that they'd be staying another day. We swam, ate, indulged on coffee and chocolate, explored, bonded, played some pretty mediocre games of volleyball, and lived it up. Of course this was all in a matter of 20 hours and now they have taken off and are safely headed home! 

Unfortunately this transition has been hard on me. A few weeks ago I could say I had gotten perfectly accustomed to not being surrounded by people my own age at all times - and then I was again. Constantly. For two weeks. it was sad to say goodbye to the fellowship, hilarity, and even nonstop games of euchre. You could say I've been hit with a hint of loneliness. I am extremely glad, though, that this is over two months in and the first time I've experienced this. The Lord has been & IS more than enough for me. I am fully sustained by Him. We just all need a little reminder sometimes, right? Not to mention, Brandon, Wendi, and the kids are just as fun to goof off with :) so much joy comes with serving here!

Moving forward - the semester ends for the students on the island in 10 ish days. That means many of them will be leaving the island and it'll be quiet around CCF! Please keep them all in your prayers as they battle it out with finals the next couple of weeks and will be even more stressed out than usual! 
In 13 days the Bible college will arrive! I AM SO EXCITED, GUYS. Some of my very best friends are coming with this group & it will be a huge taste of home! For those that don't know, the Bible college shares campus with my school and home church :) they'll be coming to serve with Brandon & Wendi for 3 weeks, starting the 22nd.. Bummer though, I leave 2/3 way through their trip. I can't even write about going home yet. While I have some mixed emotions, most of them can be summed up in one word: sad. Very, very sad. That post doesn't have to be written yet though. 
I have 4 more weeks here. God is good. Serving Jesus is sweet. There just isn't anything better than walking in the Lord's will. Even when you can't see where it's taking you, you can always trust. Thank you, sincerely, to everyone and anyone who has supported and prayed for me! The ups and downs have made me just that much more thankful for you guys. Oh, my heart (: