Sunday, February 24, 2013

Reign In Me

"I have walked it & I know that my King is alive, and no other one has the love You provide."
- Jeremy Camp, Reign in Me

So I've been here for 15 days.. Two weeks, half a month, however you wanna say it. I've adjusted quite a bit to life here in St. Kitts, fitting into the groove of things with the Graysons & Jones and CCF. God has been so faithful to provide for me in every way, and while I still miss home, He's really starting to challenge me to view this as my home, even just for a season. He's teaching me so much about slowing down, being with Him, listening to & waiting on Him, focusing on & serving Him.. Not only that, but He's set me in a house full of people also seeking after Him & doing His will! Needless to say, it's been really really sweet. I know that time is about to start flying by, so I'm doing all I can to soak it in. Once again, prayers are ALWAYS appreciated.. I have a God who answers them. 

A schedule here is always subject to change, but here's a glimpse at ours. Monday evenings Wendi and I go to Rituals, the local coffee shop. I definitely look forward to the sweet fellowship and getting my coffee fix! Sunday and Wednesday nights are Bible study here at the house, both of which are awesome. Friday is a beach/pool/relaxing day! Saturday evenings are AWANA. Sunday morning is church at CCF. The rest of the week is filled in with whatever... Cleaning, cooking, kid duty, etc! I love that Keaton and Audri are really starting to warm up to me, and I love hanging out with them. They both have so much personality and make daily routine fun! Some examples...

Keaton LOVES walks!

Goofy, messy, painting girl.

Like I said, Saturday nights are AWANA. Comparable to VBS, it's a once a week, gospel focused, fun program for kids ages 5-15. Also comparable to the past VBS's we've done here, we end up with kids more like ages 2-19 ish. This mass chaos of 70+ Kittitian children faced with maybe 6 or 7 leaders is probably the most challenging, exhausting part of our week, but it's also my favorite. I'm surrounded by kids of all ages with all kinds of personalities and all kinds of backgrounds, and though they're not the most well-behaved, it's such a blessing. It takes the Lord opening my heart and teaching me to love when it's hard (a recurring lesson in my life) and showing me that these are HIS children that He's entrusted us to minister to.. and that's huge! Anyway, AWANA starts off with songs & prayer, followed by large group teaching time, then small group time where a group of around 10-12 kids go off with a leader and go through their AWANA books, learning and reciting verses. My first week was extremely calm, sitting back and talking with the girls. Yesterday, however, I had all 12 girls overwhelmingly excited and anxious to recite their verses to earn "AWANA dollars." It was crazy, but it was awesome to see some of the girls really getting it and asking questions about the verses. After small group comes game time, always interesting, then snack and closing! Yesterday, a field near where we have games was on fire.. We don't know how or why, but it seemed pretty intense. Smoke and ash were flying everywhere, sometimes to a point where we had to stop and wait it out ha. Most of the kids were pretty unfazed, but some had problems breathing and had to wait inside the church. OISK = Only in St. Kitts. 

We're all looking forward to Brandon's parents getting here this coming Saturday and staying the next two weeks. However, no one's really thrilled to be saying bye to Luke and Jamie next Monday as they head back to the states. Please pray for safe and smooth travel for all parties! 

Here's some more pictures.. Have a great week! Thank you for your time and prayers!! 

CCF girl's night at MoJo frozen yogurt!

Timothy beach & pool on Friday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Settling in.

Sorry for the extended gap between posts! It's going to take me a little to get used to this blogging thing. I want to keep everyone informed but I still procrastinate with writing. (: 

 Anyway, Saturday was a busy day of travel. Said sad, but temporary, goodbyes early, EARLY Saturday morning before flying to Charlotte, NC. My wonderful aunt & uncle who arranged my flight & happen to live in Charlotte made sure I had a decent layover so I could spend some time with them! It was a nice visit, full of sweet & encouraging talks and a filling breakfast. Then came the four hour flight to the island, most of which I slept, praise God. Customs & baggage claim were SO MUCH EASIER than I expected! I was so relieved, God is so good! 

Sunday was another early morning for church at CCF, where Brandon is the pastor. The rest of the day was pretty relaxing, then we got ready for Bible study at the house. This study, led by Brandon & Wendi, is primarily Ross students. They're finishing up a study on Godly relationships/marriage.  Mondays & Tuesdays are a lot like weekends for Brandon & Wendi, since their actual weekends are so crazy. Monday night we ate delicious home-made ribs with Shannon & Trish, Luke's parents (Luke & his wife Jamie, Wendi's sister, also live here with Brandon & Wendi. They'll be returning to the states on March 4.) Tuesday was a sweet lazy day, during which I attempted to make cupcakes (that's another story) and we enjoyed a movie night. 

Back porch view.

Hanging out with Audri!

Today is Wednesday, which means Bible study at 7:30. I am so excited for it, since its widely directed towards new believers and Kittitians! We all woke up this morning & went on a hike, which of course included a beautiful view. Everything here is a breathtaking sight.. I'm told I'll get used to it but we'll see. (: 

Jamie, me, Wendi, and Audri. It was pretty cloudy.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. The Lord has met me here & I know I am EXACTLY where He wants me to be; there is no greater peace. Please keep continuing to pray for joy & strength on the days when I miss home, and that opportunities would arise and I would find a niche here. I am so blessed to see His plan unfold in such big ways and to be a part of it. 

Happy Wednesday! I miss you Wednesday night youth groupers.. I'll be praying for you when 6:45 rolls around. 

God bless! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The REAL first post.

Two days! In 48 hours I'll be on a flight from Charlotte to St. Kitts, the final stretch of travel after saying bye to my friends & family at 5 in the morning & getting to hang out with my lovely aunt & uncle in NC. Then comes the hardcore praying that all goes smoothly getting through customs - please join me in that! 

These last couple of days have been a huge blessing, full of prayer, fellowship, & encouragement. My peers, family, youth group, and mentors have all been amazing support! As seen in the previous (Brett's) blog post, the youth group lifted me up in prayer last night - what a sweet time! I love them tremendously. 

My cool youth pastor & youth pastor's wife, who have done so much for me! Jordan demanded to be a part of this blog post. But I like them both anyway, so it's okay.

Last minute shopping for Brandon with Brett, Zane, and Jordan! We rewarded ourselves with "gourmet" lollipops.

Thanks for your thoughts & prayers! 
- Maddie

Taking Off

The idea of taking off is both exciting and scary.

(This is actually written by Brett, in Maddie's voice, because she is lazy.)

Jordan and I just printed this off:
It's a letter that will (hopefully) get me through customs in St. Kitts. Usually you need to either have a return ticket within 30 days or a visa. God will do what He'll do, but pray for that.

Last night the youth group prayed to send me out. It was awesome.