joy.

I will rise, out of these ashes.

I opened my Bible in search of some much-needed encouragement tonight. And boy did I find some.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

– Romans 8:26-28

It’s a major encouragement to me that the Holy Spirit knows what I need and is interceding for it for me. When I don’t know what to say, when I don’t know how to pray, when I don’t know what God’s will is…how cool is it that it doesn’t matter because the Holy Spirit knows, and He’s tapping in to help!

When I’m discouraged, when I’m frustrated, when I wish I knew what God’s will for something was…I don’t need to. Verse 28 is pretty well known, but it is SO important and a hope that I constantly cling to. The fact that in the end, it’s going to all work out for God’s glory, so it will be good. Whatever it is. It’s going to work out for what God sees good.

Thank goodness.

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?

If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

– Romans 8:31

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Reaching the World

Five years ago, I went on a missions trip to the Philippines that changed my life.

One of my favorite parts of this trip was the people that I met. Filipinos are outstanding, incredible people with a heart for Jesus, a great sense of humor, and great smiles.

Five years later, most of our team is still Facebook friends with several of the people we met on that trip! One such friend, Jeffrey, told me about a ministry he has helped found with his friend, Pastor Dexter, there in the Philippines.

The ministry is called Child Community Outreach, or CCO. Big things are already happening in this program! They are trying to serve the communities in the Philippines by helping establish feeding centers, do some community clean up, and so on.

It looks like the ministry could use some help, though. They are requesting Bibles, Gospel tracks, and other similar things to pass out in the areas they are going into. Of course, they could also use volunteers!

I have personally seen how ministry works in the Philippines and it is mind blowing. If American Christians could catch some of the passion that Filipino Christians had, our world would be a different place. I can’t wait to be back in the Philippines someday to be a part of what is going on there!

Until then, if you want to help in some way, I can get you in contact with my friend who helps with this ministry. If nothing else, pray for them! I know I will be!

Check ’em out on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/Childcommunityoutreach

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One Night, in the Drive Thru….

…okay, it was tonight.

Here’s a story!

I had just gotten off of work and stopped by McDonald’s (on 30th, if you are familiar with Hutch and that detail is important to you…) for some chicken nuggets. Not that I love McDonald’s, but there’s not much open post 10 PM in this here town.

Anyways, when I was ordering, I noticed this college aged guy walk through the parking lot, talking on his phone. I didn’t think anything of it, until I drove around the corner to head to the window and he was standing there at the first window. I stayed a bit back, waiting for him to move.

Eventually, someone came to the window and I heard him say, “Hey, yo, I don’t have a car but I want three McDoubles.” I guess the lady told him no, because of security reasons they couldn’t serve anyone without a car in the drive thru. So, he turns and walks up to my car. I knew exactly where this was going:

“Hey, they won’t let me order without a car, so will you order me three McDoubles, since you have a car?” I told him I would, because there’s no way to really say no. So I pull up to the window and say, “Can I add three McDouble’s to my order?” and the lady of course knew exactly what was up. So she kind of rolled her eyes and told me to pull to the second window where I see her telling everyone else what was up.

The dude is seriously standing right next to my car, next to the window, leaning up against the building. They told me the total, he handed me a $10, and I handed it to the lady. They gave me my change, I handed it immediately to him as the lady gave me a terrible look. (I don’t know why it’s such a huge deal that I was helping him out. At least not a big enough deal  to be so rude to me!)

While we are waiting for the food, he starts hitting on me. Bahaha. He asked how old I was, if I went to college, tells me how much he likes my “dress, or blouse, or whatever it is,” and goes on about how stupid this is and compares it to having someone else buy you alcohol when the store people obviously know what’s going on but can’t do anything about it. Then he pulls out his phone, calls his friend, and tells them about what was going on and how “the nice, pretty woman in the next car” helped him out. He also talked about how effed (only no abbreviation from him!) up these rules and our society was.

Then they handed out the McDoubles, I handed them to him, I barely get a thank you, and he walks away.I’m probably on some random guy from Juco’s Facebook status tonight.

This is a true story.

The end.

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Missions on the Homefront

At the young age of twenty, I have already been on three cross-cultural mission trips. Engaging in the daily lives of those in the Philippines, the Yucatan Peninsula, and Southeastern India has changed my life and opened my eyes to things I will never see again. I have a heart for ministries overseas and will be returning to India this summer to serve with orphans, some of whom have special needs, for a month.

While overseas ministry is very important to me, I learned a long time ago that I also have a very important job of ministering here in my Kansas hometown. Too often we focus on feeding the hungry in Africa, evangelizing in Turkey, and teaching English in China that we tend to forget about the lost souls we encounter every day. We all come in contact with people in our day to day lives in our own communities who need Jesus just as much as a prostitute in Thailand does. We focus so much on sending out foreign missionaries that we forget to send out missionaries in our own neighborhoods. We give money to help children in Cambodia go to camp, but we forget about the school full of kids down the street who also need a place to go to hear about Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong – I think that foreign missions is INCREDIBLY important, which is why I am financially and physically involved with it as much as possible. There is nothing like worshiping with hundreds of Filipino teenagers who are hearing about Jesus after coming to camp straight from the drug ridden streets. There is nothing like hearing the stories of how God has changed the lives of these teenagers, many of whom are leaders of gangs, have been incarcerated, and have murdered people before. There is nothing like holding a sweet, giggling baby with cerebral palsy who finally has a chance at life in a special needs orphanage in India. And there is nothing like engaging in a completely different culture for two weeks as you experience God in ways you would not be able to in America.

But I think there is more we can, and should, be doing on the home front.

I don’t know about you, but my overseas missions experiences usually last a couple of weeks every year or so. What we forget is that there are 50 other weeks in the year. What a shame to waste those fifty weeks because our mission trip is yet to come. Every day, we step out of bed into a mission field. We have opportunities to change the lives of those who cross our paths daily, and too often we take those opportunities for granted.

I started working as a barista at a small, family run coffee shop almost three years ago. When I started, it was just a fun job making drinks and baking pastries. As time has gone on, however, I have realized that wasting this opportunities that this job provides is shameful.

Every day, I come into contact with at least a hundred people during a shift. I have the chance to either make their day or ruin it. The taste they will leave with in their mouth is likely going to be the taste I leave there over the taste of their vanilla latte.

As a follower of Jesus, I am called to love my neighbors and serve others. To live my life as though my job is my mission field is to live with that in mind. I am called to treat each customer as Christ would, no matter how cranky, rude, or difficult they may be. I am to put myself aside and selflessly serve each person who walks through the doors as if I was serving Jesus Himself an iced mocha. I am to forget about my problems, put a smile on my face, and genuinely care about each person who steps foot in my mission field so as to share the love of Jesus with them in the most basic of ways – simply caring.

People are to notice a difference in us if we truly live the lives that Christ has called us to radically pursue. Whether we are different by being extra nice to a waitress who has had a rough night, by buying the meal of someone behind us at a restaurant, or by simply listening to someone who needs to talk, there are many practical ways to show the love of Jesus on a daily basis.

While I am a huge advocate of overseas missions, don’t forget about what you can be doing at home. Look for opportunities to make your job your mission field. Who knows, you may actually end up enjoying going to work. I know I do. And as long as I keep treating my job as service to God, I know that I will continue enjoying it. Don’t waste the situations you are in. You are in them for a reason. Use those opportunities to make a difference. You won’t regret it, the blessings are endless.

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Bonjour ;)

As you all probably know by now, I am going on an EPIC world adventure this summer.

In fact, I leave in exactly 2 1/2 months from today!!

And as time goes on…this adventure keeps getting more and more epic.

The latest development?

My dear, sweet friend, Bethany, who I am going to be staying with for my 3 days in Europe between India and coming home, and I are going to conquer Europe in those 3 short days!

Okay, maybe not all of it.

But in addition to Germany, where she will be and where I am flying into, we are working out details to train to….

PARIS!

I am SUPER stoked to get to visit this lovely city, with a lovely friend. I imagine us eating French pastries under the Eiffel Tower in our berets. Maybe that’s a little outlandish, but I am super pumped to get to hit Paris with sweet Bets!

We are also thinking about trying to hit some other countries too, perhaps. Austria, Belgium, and the Czech are all right there too…so we’ll see what happens!

But for now…oo la la, oui oui, and bonjur! 😉 (I’ll have to brush up on my French (which I never learned) before hitting Par-i! 😉 )

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