Sunday, October 27, 2013

Viva Italia!

Tomorrow morning, I embark on a grand adventure. I will wake up early in the morning, take two buses and an airplane, and arrive in Italy to meet the rest of my counselling school. Together, we will go to Florence, where we will run meetings in tents for two weeks. We will teach the topics that we were taught during our counselling school. I am not an experienced teacher, but I am excited to give back what I received for three months.

We need a lot of prayer in this time. God told us to go to Italy, and the team saw a lot of fruit during the month that they were in Spain (during which time I was renewing my UK visa). However, we face several challenges while we are in Italy. Firstly, none of us speak Italian. We speak English and Spanish, though, which will help us communicate. Secondly, we still need finances to pay food and hospitality costs in Italy. We are following God's path in faith, but the truth is that we do not know where the money for our flights back to London will come from.

Please pray for our safety and provision in this time, and also that God will lead us to the people to whom we need to minister. And if God is leading you to contribute an offering to our cause, you can email me at or my mother at (for those of you who are Stateside).

To be completely honest, I need people to support me in this time. London is an expensive city, and Italy is even more expensive. Even small contributions help, especially for my Oyster card (the transportation card for London Underground and buses) and groceries. My visa is a religious worker's visa, which does not allow me to hold a job, so contributions from others are what keep me here. If you are led to support me, it will be an answer to my prayers.

I am also praying for a miracle regarding a new camera. As you probably know by now, I am a photographer. God gave me the gift completely, and four years ago, my parents gave me a camera that led to my discovery of that gift. Since then, I have used my Nikon d3000 almost daily. It has been an amazing camera. However, this next season of my life holds a lot of photography for me and my ministry, and my poor camera is petering out. I have grown beyond the capabilities of the Nikon d3000, and the camera that I would like to upgrade to is the Nikon d300 (or Nikon d700 or Nikon d7000, as long as we are talking about miracles and a limitless God). As you know, I am having to walk by faith just to pay my living expenses here, much less to buy a camera. If you could pray with me for God to provide a miracle in this area of my life, I would appreciate it.

I will probably be absent for three and a half weeks now, but when if you want to contact me, please don't hesitate to email me! I love hearing from you guys, as well.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

"What am I doing here?"

A couple of weeks ago, we had a talk from Alejandro Rodriguez, the leader of YWAM Argentina. The talk was aimed at the new Discipleship Training School students, and he told them, "One night, you will be lying in your bunkbed, staring at the bunk over you, and you will wonder what you are doing here. And you will want to pack up all of your things in the middle of the night and run away. Don't worry. We've all been there."

I have that thought sometimes. Not necessarily when I am in my bunkbed, but when I am walking down the street and my Oyster card is empty and I've just seen a post on Facebook about a former classmate buying a new house, or when I am wondering if that ache in my mouth is a cavity and if I can make it until I go home next summer before getting it looked at. And I think about how easy it would be to get a flight home, to be picked up at the airport, to get a job and a car and a boyfriend to take me on drives to the beach on weekends. To be the only person sleeping in my bedroom at night. I think those things, and then I immediately feel guilty, because I am living in London, one of the biggest cities in the world. I get to do all of my arts every day, if I want to, and I get to use them to investigate different aspects of the Creator of the Universe. I get to use art to tell people about my Beloved. How can I have thoughts of running back to the life I am used to?

Last night, Angelica Vega, the leader of my counselling school, spoke to the base about our callings. She used Jeremiah 20 as an example, and verse nine really stuck out to me. Jeremiah says, "But if I say, 'I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,' his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed I cannot."

A calling from God is not something that we choose to do because it seems cool to us. We don't choose to frolic across an ocean and share a room with three other people just because it seems like a cool adventure. That kind of motivation will keep you motivated for a few weeks at the most. It does not help you keep sacrificing your rights to a salary, possessions, space, or time. It does not help you concede to God, giving in to Him when you have said, "Okay, God, here is the line," and He says, "No, keep going. Keep giving."

God's call for me was put in me in my mother's womb. That's what it says in Jeremiah 1. I did not have a choice in my calling, but I was made perfectly for it. People tease me for my height, but really, I fit fantastically into bunk beds. Because God's call for my life was written on my heart before I took my first breath, it is not something to which I can say no. I could go home. I could get a car and a job and even a hunky boyfriend to drive me to Tybee Island on the weekends, but I would not be happy. I would be suffocating, because I am called here, to London, to a bunk bed and a street with corner shops run by Muslim men and an Oyster card that takes continual praying over so that I have enough money in it to take the bus to church.

I don't think that it is wrong to some days think, "I could get on a plane and go home and sleep in my own room and go to the dentist," or, "I could go home and get a job and not have to worry so much about money." How many times did I think, "I could get on a plane and go to a foreign country and learn a new culture and bring Jesus to them," when I lived in South Carolina? There's a comfort in realising that the life we are in is not the only one we could live.

But the life that I am living is the life that I am called to live, the one in which I can daily see Christ with me like a mighty warrior (Jeremiah 20:11). And I will stay and fight, and sleep in a bunk bed, and inherit my housemates' hand-me-downs, and sing praises to the Lord who had the amazing foresight to send me to this city and to write this adventure on my heart.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

a breath in thankfulness (8 things I am thankful for RIGHT NOW)

I am immensely thankful for so many things. When I was having a hard time several months ago, my discipler encouraged me to wake up every morning and write down the things I was thankful for right in that moment. That started a habit for me of turning to thankfulness in the middle of struggling, and for just a second, I'd like to share some of that thankfulness with you.

1. The primary thing that I am thankful for is all of you. I am so blessed to have people who support me in what I do here. I live in London and get to talk to people about Jesus all of the time, but really, you are here, too. The people that pray for me and support me monetarily are as much a part of this mission as I am. I don't fully know how to express how humbled I am that there are people who care enough about God's work and my place in His great work that they will send their hard-earned money to me to keep me here. It's more than a happy dance and a shouted, "thank you, Lord!" You are the hands and feet in my walk of faith, because you are the instruments that God uses to keep me here. I cannot wait to say it to your face one day, but for now, thank you.

2. I am thankful for living in a team that is my English family. I lived away from home for four years while attending university, and it was a lonely experience. I spent some holidays alone, I ate dinner alone, and I did not always have people to share what I was going through. I always had friends, of course, but that is different from living with people. Here, I have eleven people around me always. If I feel lonely, all I have to do is step downstairs to find my family gathered around the kitchen table. They're always there for a hug, or to listen to what's going on, or to go on a crazy adventure. Right now, we are renovating an attic in our church and building a recording studio, and we get to spend all day sawing things and cracking jokes, and the days are so full of joy for me.

3. I am thankful that Spanish is apparently one of the easiest languages to learn. I have been attempting to learn it for over a year now, and can you imagine if it was one of the harder ones to learn? I'd be stuffed!

4. I am thankful to walk in favour as God's daughter. My eyes have only really been opened to it recently, but there are tiny circumstances in my life that look like coincidences to the human eye, but, when I look more closely, I see God's fingerprints all over them. Jesus Culture gave away a free song by my favourite artist, the money for a guitar anonymously appeared in my bank account, the Overground was shut and I got a free bus ride home, the pastor bought me coffee on a long afternoon at the church...that is only a short list. It's amazing to see the ways that God spoils me.

5. I am thankful to my mother for forcing me to take piano lessons for ten years. We fought so much about it, but for the past few months, I've been practicing the piano again, and there is such beauty in being able to worship God at the bench of a grand piano.

6. I love living with children. I love their giggles, their loud excitement, and how they always seem to know when you need a cuddle or a hug. I love their honesty. And I love that their parents are willing to share them with us, because it completes a feeling of family.

7. I am so thankful that my parents raised me in church and still make it a priority to pray for me. I have a family that stands behind me - my grandparents are some of the loudest supporters of my work here. A lot of my friends don't have the support of their families, but my parents, grandparents, and brother always take the time to remind me that they are proud of me, and that means so much to me. My parents faithfully supported missionaries my whole life, and it is an honour to be a missionary today and to know that their faithfulness is part of the reason that I am here.

8. God. I know it seems obvious, and I don't have words to explain all of my thankfulness for Him, but I hope that it is evident in my life, because it is still incredible to me that I am daily allowed to see more of my First Love's heart.