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Beginning March 2017 – 10 years!

10 years! 10 years since I went on my first mission trip. So, it would seem due that I reminisce a little. What have I learned over the last decade? What has God shown me?

First, go! Second, trust! Third, pray! Not in that specific order though J Oh, and why? People!

Going to Mexico the first 3 trips was a no brainer for me. I was visiting a good friend of mine, and I didn’t even know they were considered mission trips. On those trips I was first introduced to a foreign culture, but could see how God was still the same. It was on the way home from the 3rd trip that I realized that doing just that: visiting established missionaries around the world to support and encourage them, was exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Of course I had no idea how that would all play out and really still don’t.

Scotland was my first trip over an ocean, and I knew no one. When preparing for this trip, I was struggling with my faith, I prayed the God would show Himself to me, and He did. He provided for the trip through avenues I wouldn’t have guessed and showed Himself powerful during the trip. I remember praying with a lady who I could barely understand (super thick Scottish accent) and I just asked God to interpret her tongue for me. He did! I prayed what I heard the Spirit leading and she was blessed. I found a happy place there – a place I visit in my mind when I need peace. In the hills where it’s green and the sheep wander. I was sitting on the hillside admiring God’s creation and thinking about Psalm 23.

Costa Rica was my first trip leading someone and taking her with me. It was a stretch, but at least I wasn’t leading her alone (we were with a group from Denver and Hawaii). The heat and humidity there kind of unnerved me. I wasn’t sure how the MS would be but God was so faithful! I took care of myself and everything went well. On this trip I learned more about the sex trafficking epidemic and that still breaks my heart.

West Africa was probably my favorite so far. 3 countries in 10 days, wow! The people were beautiful, inside and out. We did leadership training there and I learned how people around the world see Americans. Namely they see our tele-evangelists and try to mimic them. Ugh, heartbreaking. The message we shared, on top of our assignment, was to encourage them to be themselves. To let the Gospel shine through their culture, not to be like those they saw on TV. I found another happy-God peace place there on the shore watching the run rise over the Pacific.

China was a possibility the following year, but I wasn’t settled in my heart about it. So that is still on my ‘bucket list’!

Japan was the most recent trip. I visited the friend I had visited 9 years prior. Now she’s married and has two little girls. Japan opened my eyes to people. Because, besides the concrete, Japan is full of people! So few know about Jesus and it’s (also) heartbreaking. There’s so much depression and pressure to succeed, with no hope of eternity.

I have more of an idea of what I’m doing with my life since I started this journey. I’m pursuing my BS is Religion-Christian Counseling and planning on my Masters in Social Work after that. That will help me find resources and be a help and support to those whom I visit.

What’s next? Currently waiting on my new passport and not able to travel this year (new job). However, in 2018, Lord willing, I’m visiting friends in Valencia, Spain and Linz, Austria.

So, why missions? To spread the love of Jesus to the world. Why me? Why not? He called, I listened. Here I am Lord, send me. If He wants you to go, He’ll make a way. And forever change your heart in the process.

Oh, and I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 10 years ago too. Had a couple rough spots on trips, but God was ever faithful. Don’t let anything stand in the way of what you know God has called you to!!!

Parting note: “For ‘Everyone who calls on the name on the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’” Romans 10:13-15 NLT.

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Beginning Oct 2016

Yay! It’s Fall! Well, at least most days. Here in St Louis, it’s supposed to get a little warm again this week, but then drop again. I love this time of year, except the allergies!

Spent last week at my denomination’s district Fall conference. It was so good! We were in Keystone, CO, which was beautiful. The conference was for pastors in the Gateway District of Foursquare. I went to the national/international conference in Hawaii back in May. I love my 4sq family!

So, God spoke to my heart and showed me quite a few things last week. I had this amazing dream (will explain in the next paragraph). I asked Him to see His face and He showed me faces of people in foreign countries and said that was how I would see Him on Earth. A friend of mine received his ordination, and God gave me pictures and words of encouragement for him. God showed me some of the areas He’s moving me into in the near (?) future. Namely becoming a disaster relief chaplain, working more with visual media, and reaching the international people in my city. All such exciting stuff. Not sure how all that fits into my future job (yes, still unemployed!), but can’t wait to see how God works it all out.

The dream… basically everyone on Earth lost their faith. They forgot Who Jesus was and started doing depraved things or simply becoming vegetable-like and just existing. People would worship a god, but didn’t know Who He was. There were 3 of us who still knew Jesus was Lord. And we learned that by speaking the name of Jesus over people or telling them about Jesus, it was like they woke up. They stopped doing the sinful things they were doing, and remembered who Jesus is. Time went by and many were told about Jesus and revival broke out. Unfortunately, over time people started picking and choosing who they would tell and started thinking maybe we had reached enough people. Some still chose not to hear about Jesus because loved ones of theirs had died before hearing the Gospel and they didn’t want to end up in eternity without them.

Wow. Implications? Speak to people about Jesus and they become born again and stop sinning, basically. It’s odd, I’ve been having very evangelistic and spiritual warfare type dreams lately. Ones where I very boldly proclaim Jesus’ name and come against the forces of evil. Honestly, now, I can do those things when I have to, but it’s a little outside my personality/comfort level. But there’s coming a time, and may now be here, when speaking boldly about Jesus and against satan is necessary. Be bold! He is alive and real! The world needs to see His light through us believers, and we need to stop hiding it!

OK, done preaching 🙂 I’m just getting fired up!

In other news, my degree completion plan was slightly modified and now I have another semester to go through. I’ll still graduate in May of 2018 though, just have 2 extra classes to fit in, and 3 that were changed. Still contemplating my Masters, but not sure I want to go that much more into student loan debt. On the other hand, if I stay in school I don’t have to start paying the massive amount back until I’m finished.

Well, I gotta get ready to go to a new doctor. Nothing’s wrong, just that the PCP I had for years is moving out-of-state and I had to find a new one. She’s closer to home, which is nice. Not necessarily looking forward to having to go through my health history, but luckily she’s with the same health care network and should have access to most of my history already. Gotta love technology.

Have a great October, talk to you again soon!

End of May 2016 #Japan

Greetings from Japan! Having a wonderful time with my friends. Spending time with Janine who I’ve known for 17 years, Vicente who is her husband and I’m getting to know, and their beautiful 2 year old daughter. And meeting new friends too! They walk and take trains everywhere, which I’m not used to living in the USA where we take cars everywhere. My feet are blistered and swollen, so they’re having mercy on me today and we’re having a down day. For me at least, they seem to always be on the go!

Next week I’ll be in Honolulu for a church conference. I know, poor me, right? I don’t know if I’ll see the beach much, but I’ll try 🙂 I am looking forward to networking with others from my denomination  (Foursquare) and seeing some old faces.

So I earned an A in my last class! Now taking a class on the book of Acts. Kind of hard to keep up with while traveling, but I’ll do my best.

Well, just wanted to post a quick update.  Talk to you all again soon!

Beginning of May 2016 #changes

Hi everyone!

So I definitely cannot say that my stress level is much lower (see last post for details).

First off, the place that I have worked at for 15 1/2 years is closing its doors 😦 The economy got the better of us. So I’m still there for a month or two to help selling/ship/inventory everything, but after that I got nothing so far. They are giving us severance packages that will keep me afloat for a while though.

Can’t say I’m all that surprised. Well, yeah I can. We expected a lay-off and probably a big one at that, but not a closure. Part of me is still in shock and numb, part is angry, and believe it or not, part of me is excited. I’m going to miss the place/company/friends from the plant, but I totally believe God has something amazing in store for me (and everyone else for that matter). It’ll be OK. Just have to take it one step at a time.

For now I’m not sure what I want to do or where God’s leading me. Career change? Maybe. Guess time will tell. The state of Missouri will pay for me to go back to school to learn a new trade if I want. Could be interesting, maybe something I could use on the mission field??

Besides that, getting ready to end the Spring semester of 2016 at Liberty. Then starting Summer right away. I’m looking at graduating at the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018.

I’ve been at risk for diabetes for years, and through gaining 30 pounds in a year, I recently crossed over the line to an official diagnoses. 😦 I desperately have to lose weight now. I don’t want to be like this anymore! My cholesterol numbers are really bad too, so the doctor is giving me 3 months to see what I can do with diet and exercise, then we’ll re-test. So I plan to religiously log my calories and walk at least 4 times a week for 30 minutes each. I might even look into joining a gym, like one of the $10/month ones, just so I can walk on a treadmill once the temps get too hot.

I’m leaving for Japan in 15 days! Yep, still going. Tickets and reservations were made well in advance of the closure announcement, so I’m trusting God that He had it all planned out. Which He did, of course! Still need a little more as far as fund-raising goes, so ask if you’re interested in supporting me.  Also room on my prayer team if you’re interested in that!

Well, lunch break is about over. I’ll talk to you all again soon!

Mid March 2016

Two posts in one month, wow, I haven’t done that in a while, huh?

At the beginning of the month I was getting a MRI and had my first panic attack in one. We only got 15 or so minutes into it and I couldn’t handle it anymore. My doctor prescribed a sedative and we were able to complete the test the following week. I’ve been getting MRI’s for 9 years, and this was a first. But I felt so good and productive for the 24 hours after taking the anti-anxiety sedative that I’m going to talk to my other doctor about prescribing an anti-anxiety med for me. I’ve been having small panic attacks lately. I think partly because I’ve just go too much on my plate and mind. I hope not to have to take it all the time, but especially during finals weeks and stuff.

Finished that English class, but don’t have my grade yet. I’ll be happy with a C considering how poorly I did with the reports, but we’ll see. I start a counseling class on Monday, looking forward to that. Currently on Spring Break, which I’m spending trying to get caught up on other stuff.

Something I had to do this week was take my kitty to the vet. He might have cancer :(. He’s got sores on his front right leg and chest and a mass behind the one in his ‘arm pit’. The vet took blood and we’re scheduled for surgery next Tuesday. This is hard. Fitz will be 10 at the end of this month, so I’ve had him for about 9 1/2 years. I love that little guy, I pray he’s going to be OK.

I’ve raised and saved enough to buy my airfare to Japan! Still need a little more for ground expenses though, but not worried. It’ll come in when I need it, God is faithful. I’m very much looking forward to this trip!

What else… dad’s hanging in there. That’s just a rough situation too.

My parents’ 40th wedding anniversary is coming up in May. Oh, there will be a party! Given the past year and all the health issues, we need to celebrate this.

I’m still loving the Perspectives class. Learning so much about missions – their history, pioneers, and where we stand on fulfilling the Great Commission. I’m praying and thinking about living on the ‘mission field’ someday in the next few years. Probably for 6 months to a year. It’ll have to wait until school is complete (Bachelor’s degree anyway) and I pay off the student loans. I’m leaning towards the French-speaking nations of West Africa, but since it’s so far out there time wise, I’m not making any real plans yet. No, I don’t know what this’ll mean for my job or anything else yet. Like I said, I’m not making any plans, just praying, and dreaming.

I am, in the meantime, going to go through the French Rosetta Stone program. Already bought it, at a good discount too! Hope to start that soon, you know, because I don’t have enough going on!

Work’s been slow, but there’s been a tiny bit of a pick up. We had to ‘down size’ last week and let 4 people go. A little scary, but in my 15 years here, it’s not the first time. It’ll bounce back, soon hopefully.

Something I haven’t talked about in a while is Mike. We’re still dating. I wouldn’t call us ‘boyfriend-girlfriend’ but we’re close. No plans on getting married or anything like I was talking about last year. I enjoy his company and still love him, but I know I’m not ready to get serious anymore. He’s OK with where we are too. Which, I guess sounds vague and this explanation probably is, but it’s working for us.

Anyway, just felt like talking for a while. Hope you all are doing well.

 

Beginning of March 2016

Hey y’all! Happy March!

The house is no longer mine!! We closed last Friday! Whew! Load off my shoulders, for sure. It’s bittersweet though. I mean, I lived there for 12 years and made a lot of memories. But on to new things I guess. The apartment is starting to feel like home after 3 months. I still need to hang some of my art and pictures, that will really help. Loving the neighborhood, it’s so quiet. My mom came over and helped me go through some stuff and organize part of my storage. Now I have a table in the 2nd bedroom that I can do art at. Yay! Now, just to find time…

So, my dad was officially diagnosed with MS in late January. They’re trying to get him on a med to help stop/slow the progression of the disease though. Ugh, breaks my heart to see him like he is.

About finished with the English class. Currently making  a C, which is better than the F I had about 2 weeks ago. Have I mentioned how much I dislike writing papers??

Loving the Perspectives class! Learning so much about the history of missions and about some of the pioneers of international missions. The task of the Great Commission is an obtainable goal, a goal of reaching all people with the Gospel, which very well could be accomplished in my lifetime. Here I am Lord, send me!!

Speaking of, I’m fundraising for a mission to Japan. If you’re interested in praying for me, awesome! Please let me know! If you’re interested in supporting me financially, awesome too! Again, let me know and I’ll let you know how you can help.

Back to studying, I mean work! It’s been really slow here lately, but I still have a job!

Blessings!

Late January 2016

OK, who stole January? Wasn’t it just the day before Christmas??

Speaking of, my Christmas was good. Kind of low-key this year, but still fun. Good times with family and friends as usual. Mike got me a vacuum, you know, since he’s so into them and wanted to make sure I got a good one. That was sweet of him.  Don’t worry, I actually wanted that for a present 😉

The break from school was nice, but now we’re back at it. Earned a B in my Psych class and now taking English 102. I hate writing papers, but hopefully this will help. I took Eng. 102 at the local community college a little while back, but the credit didn’t transfer. Oh well, it’s certainly an area I need to work on anyway. I learned A LOT at the community college, so I don’t regret that.

I started taking a class called Perspectives also. This class is actually live and isn’t a part of the university program. It is a class that helps one learn about Christian missions. The history and all that of it. I missed a couple of weeks because of a funeral/memorial and another engagement, but looking forward to diving back in this week.

I’m, hopefully, going to Japan in May! I’m going to visit a friend of mine and her family and serve them and their vision however they need me. Will start fund-raising soon, tickets to/from Japan are expensive! God will provide a way though, assuming it’s in His will of course.

I know that in my last post I talked about the depression coming back. Things are better. Just talking about it helps. I’ve had time with family and friends, we’re past the holidays, I’ve spent more time in prayer and quiet time with God, and did some soul-searching. Not saying things are great yet, but on the road to feeling better.

I preached again this past weekend. I gave my testimony and talked about salvation, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and healing. A bunch of people came up after and got prayer, 2 of which got prayer for healing and said they could tell something was happening!! Also, 1 guy told me after that he prayed for salvation!! Whoo hoo! Go God! If you’d like to listen to my story, you can here.

So, my birthday is tomorrow (Friday)! Mike’s taking me to a  steakhouse that I love for dinner. We had dinner at my parents this past weekend too. Not making a big deal out of it, just another year older.

It’s been an interesting year! Met and fell in love with Mike, broke up, started dating again. My brother got married! Was overcoming a MS flare at the beginning of the year, but it went away. Unfortunately, my mom had a heart attack and dad’s health has gotten worse. It was definitely an up and down year. Learned a lot, count my blessings more. Praying for my family more too. That’s the short version of my 36th year anyway.

Good things coming in my 37th! Growing closer to God and sharing the Gospel message of Christ more, credit card debt will be paid off, house will be sold and closed, going on a mission to Japan, more schooling, weight loss, life in an apartment, more art, some other possible traveling, etc…. I’ll write as often as I can and let you all know how it all goes!

Blessings!!