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 (:

Monday, April 1, 2013


I procrastinate when it comes to blogging if you haven't noticed. However, I've had plenty of excuses lately! We have been so so so busy, I really don't even know where to start. So, I'll do this in sections!

Last Tuesday two of my classmates from back home stopped on the island while on a cruise, so Brandon, Audri, and I were able to hang out with them for the day! It was so cool & bizarre to see friends I've only ever seen in Indiana HERE in St. Kitts! We went to Reggae Beach & Restaurant for the day to snorkel, hang out, and eat. It was a nice, relaxing day and I got to play tourist for a little while. It was good to see you guys, Matt and Jansen! Hope the rest of your cruise was a blast!

Yes, this is absolutely worthy of its own section. I did not experience a single rainy day the first month & a half I was here, and as you can see in the above landscape picture it is DRY. Most everything is brown & there have been hundreds of fires throughout the island. The rain finally came this last week. We had at least 3 days of on & off downpour, as well as some nights. While it made things somewhat difficult at AWANA and comes hand in hand with humidity, it was still welcomed with open arms. As I type, clouds & the smell of rain are moving in.

Harvest youth group's arrival!
We had our first mission team arrive on Thursday! They're from Ft. Wayne & a couple of them joined Horizon Indy's youth group on its first trip down here back in 2011. While they started off pretty quiet & reserved (a confusing concept for someone coming from Horizon's youth group!) they've opened up a lot and we've been having a blast! On Friday we went on a prayer walk *drive* around the island to various places of ministry & opportunity and were able to pray for each of them and kind of share the vision of St. Kitts with the group. We then received CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship) training from Sean for the kid's club they're putting on this week. Then we were able to enjoy a BEAUTIFUL Good Friday service on the beach with CEF! 

Worshipping the Lord on the beach with the splendor of the sunset that evening was incredible. I couldn't get over the fact that He is the Creator of the vast heavens & oceans, the colors in the sky, the massive mountains around me, yet I was praising Him for the day that He hung on a cross for me & said the words "it is finished!" His thoughts of me are as numerous as the grains of sand I was sitting on. I can't even fathom it! If that isn't proof not only that there is a Creator, but one who loves us fiercely, then I don't know what is. 

Saturday at AWANA we gave the kids their cars for the AWANA Grand Prix which will take place this coming Saturday. They were able to sand them, paint them, and were given decals to decorate. However, due to the rain and the sanctuary being newly painted, we were in a small room in the back of the church.. Needless to say, 50 kids + 13 mission trippers + AWANA leaders.. We were cramped. But we made it work! Hopefully all of the kids are excited to race their cars and beat their friends! It's always a good time hanging out with them, and they really make me laugh a lot. I can't even describe how sweet it is to get to know more and more of them every week on a personal level that I could never accomplish on two week mission trips in the past. I imagine it will be very hard to leave them.


More fun with Harvest Youth!
Yesterday we had a SWEET Easter service at CCF, during which Matt Hawkins (Harvest youth pastor) led worship and gave a killer message. We then spent the rest of the day at the beach.. Meaning that every single youth kid here is burnt to a crisp. I'm pretty sure that all they've done for the past 12 hours is talk about their sunburns and apply sunscreen hahaha. I feel for them and am certainly glad that I'm not them! This morning they're out at Tyrell Williams primary school (Middle Island - close to where we have AWANA on Saturdays) putting on the first day of their four day kid's club under CEF training. While the kid's love & hugs might not be pleasing to their sunburnt skin, I know they'll have an awesome time interacting with them, teaching, and just being a blessing. I can't wait to join them on Wednesday! The club goes to 11 ish and then they'll come home for lunch and head out to work projects! A group of us will be painting a Bible study lady's house and another group will be fixing a swingset at a primary school - slathered in sunscreen, of course. I think everyone's learned their lesson. Here's some pictures of random/fun times the last couple of days - as you can see, I really enjoy this group! Especially now that they've acquired vocal cords :)

Connor & Logan were here with our group 2 years ago! So cool to see them again!

What Matt does to his youth kids when they fall asleep..

Late night wall sit competitions.

Brandon keepin outta the sun with his new hat.

The first of many pictures of Matt sleeping.

Blessings & pictures
I am so thankful for the friends and relationships I've made while being here.. I never expected to be so attached to the students at CCF, the kids at AWANA, everyone and everything! Being here has become regular life to me, familiar & loved. I just can't believe I only have 5 more weeks here.. The Lord is definitely stirring up my heart, giving me vision for the future, preparing me for college, etc. He's teaching me so much that I can't wait to take home with me. I'm so blessed to be here. So, so, so blessed...

Thank you for your prayers & support. I wouldn't be here without it!