Saturday, September 17, 2011

After 2 weeks in BAQ :)

"The preoccupations of a teenage girl, her looks, her clothes, her social life, don't change much from generation to generation.  But in every generation there seem to be a few who make other choices.."                                    -Elizabeth Elliot-
As I sit here trying to take all that has happened and put it into writing, I am somewhat overwhelmed.  I guess I will give you a detailed list of events which would be:
I cleaned at the farm the rest of July and august (since my last blog) and at the farm we would have random little excitements -such as finding  a family of rats in one of the closets and watching Luis smash them all with a machete   -or there was the time El and I woke up to someone putting a 2 1/2-3 foot long iguana in our bedroom floor -and knowing there was only one person there to have done that I returned the favor and left the same iguana on the persons bed.. unfortunatly the iguana thought that persons bed was the perfect place to leave his droppings and did so before the person found him. (yes I do have all these events on video =) )
Elizabeth and I had a weekend in Pereira with some friends on one of those weekends and that was a blessing. 
Mom came down to visit and on the weekend we had a evangelistic event and Mom spoke at the youth meeting- it was awesome and we had several over the weekend give their lives to Jesus. Oh and she just loved the big spiders that we had saved for her :) and if you want to see them she made it through customs with them and I believe they will be in Joyannahs or Muffins bug collection that they are putting in the fair. 
We got robbed- about $240 from me, Mom and El and my phone. but never the less God is faithful.
We missed our flight to florida on the way to Barranquilla but we just ended up with one extra night with good friends and the next day flew to BAQ without any problems - Only God knows the plans.
We started drama practice about 3 hours after we got to Barranquilla :) and left for a week and 1/2 trip to Carmen de Bolivar (another city about 3 hours from BAQ) 3 days after we had been here.  Carmen was absolutely incredible. We ministered in 6-8 schools per day - about 16000 students in all and about 12000 of those gave their lives to Jesus. One day we got to go in the university to do the dramas and minister. What an opportunity. The whole week was just a blessing- I have no idea where our food came from or who payed for the hotel but these people brought us food and drink 3 times a day and something refreshing mid morning in between schools and the hotel we stayed in was great. And I had a blast doing my laundry in the shower at night because we wore our green or yellow BAQ shirts every day for the week and I had 2 pairs of jeans -we had just packed in our backpacks -  so all my frontline mission trip homies think about how gross you get doing dramas 4 maybe 5 times a day in the dirt, so sweaty that you look like you jumpd in a pool and imagine wearing that shirt everyday for a week and doing enough dramas for 2 weeks in one- then thank God for your 40-50 pound suitcase, thank him for your new shirts that you have for everyday and next time you go on mission trip and think you feel gross and smell bad- just know you could be a lot dirtier ;) - I think one of my favorite days was when it just poured down rain and the streets looked like rivers and most the team just stood soaking in the water and watching the dirt run off our clothes -it was more than refreshing. Or the day we drove up to the school in the mountains about 30 min from the town- it was cool, a nice break from the heat and there was just a perfect breeze and looking at the mountians just made my heart sing- it was absolute beauty. I loved everything about Carmen- and I loved riding motos or riding 12-15 of us in this jeep thing, or rather on top of the jeep ;) I loved the adventure of eating yuca root for breakfast or the chuso off the street- I loved that nobody except El and I spoke english (and we don't have anyone here in BAQ that speaks it either so when El leaves I will be COMPLETELY immersed)  and to top it off, everyone in Carmen thought I was famous it was hysterical- it was as if the entire city knew my name - we would drive down the road and those on the side of the street would start yelling my name and trying to say things in english - or I would be at the panaderia and would hear whispering behind me and turn to see kids pointing at me and telling there friends "Look, there's Jessica from our school'" or "Look, look at her blue eyes" and then if I went and talked to them they would get all excited. It was pretty great. 
We have been back in BAQ a few days now and most of that time we have spent running errands with Pastor Luis and yesterday we went with him up to Tubara and then to the beach- it was storming most of the afternoon - but even then Tubara is in the mountains and it was one of the most beautiful storms. The white color clouds come down on the mountains raced all through them and then you could see all the layers of darker clouds and then the straight down lightning and the almost constant quiet, deep roll of thunder.  Then the sounds from the wind and the rain hitting the tin roof- As I watched that I could do nothing but stand in awe of God.
                So I have to say I have felt more alive these last 3 1/2 months than any other time in my life. I am learning about my relationship with Jesus more than I ever have. I know He is the only one who can satisfy me. He is real. I am learning to be completely content with just me and him. There is a constant urge in my heart to fall deeper in love with him. I know he is pulling me to himself. 
During this trip I have often thought about my life, my future and eternity. I realize that most of us live here and now and yes we want to make good choices that won' effect our future in a bad way such as good choices in relationships, in school, in work- you know what I am talking about. But I want to know what choices I can make that will effect more than just my future here on earth. What choices can I make that are going to effect my eternity with Jesus.   I don't want to go on living my life just to make sure of a better future here on earth, besides I know only in Gods plans will i find true joy so as long as I walk with him all my days why should i worry about the future? But I want to have an effect on eternity. Maybe that doesn't make sense to you or maybe you agree. Maybe you have different views on eternity, on life and our purpose here on earth.. but I challenge you to think about this when you die there is eternity with Jesus or eternity in hell. You may have lived a good life, had a great family, you stayed married to your husband, you were probably a really good person and did really good things. You may have even been babtised into a "religion" but there is more to life than that -do you have a relationship with Jesus? Have you given your heart to him? If so I rejoice with you and I have no sorrow because I know in eternity we will be together. If not, my friends, my family- I pitty you on judgement day. I feel sorry that you will have to stand there before him and say "But I was a good person.." and I pray with everything inside me that you will make the decision to follow Jesus before it is too late. Maybe my words seem a little to bold to some of you but I would like to take the opportunity to be even bolder and downright honest and say there are those of you that I have been praying for since I was 5 years old.  I would rather die now knowing that I have eternity with Jesus than to see you die knowing the opposite.  Jesus died for you because you are a sinner. We are all sinners, only to be saved by grace. Now, while you are still alive you have the opportunity to submit to Him. It's not too late right now- but none of us are sure to have tomorrow. If I didn't love you and if I didn't really believe this with my ENTIRE heart.. then I would say nothing. But how can I knowing how much Jesus loves you and wants you.
                Well maybe that turned out to be a little more than just a list-  But I would rather have shared my heart with you than have only given you a list anyways. =)
So now I have about 6 weeks left here. in a week we are leaving for another little town close to Carmen to do work there for a week then when we get back El will be returning home. She has just had a really hard time with her health this entire trip and needs to be at home to get better. So pray for her health and safe travels in the next couple weeks.
-God is Faithful.-

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Yo-ho yo-ho the missionary life for me!!!

Yo-ho, yo-ho the missionary life for me!!! -So I was all excited about coming to live at this farm/orphanage here in Palmira, Colombia thinking "Yes! Now I finally get some real time with orphans!" On short term trips we usually only have a few hours with the kids and when we do get to visit an orphanage it seems like the only question I ever get asked by the kids is "Do you have to leave today?" It kills me every time I have to look at the hopeful kid and say "Yeah I do..- but maybe I'll be back one day.." I was SO looking forward to being able to say "No! I'm here for 2 months!" I thought FINALLY my time had come! - Well I get here only to find out that there were not going to be any orphans living here for another year and we were only going to be fixing up the home and farm. That killed me! Especially after already being homesick for my Honduran family and half way wondering why I had to leave Honduras in the first place. The first few days here have been a struggle with my heart. I feel like most of my prayer time has been arguing with God. It's not knowing that most of what I'm gonna be doing is just cleaning and scraping old paint off walls and stuff like that that frustrates me, I honestly enjoy that type of work and would be happy to do it any day, but it's how pointless it seems after everything else I've been doing and with having everything I had planned to do in mind. ANYONE can paint a wall but EVERYONES heart passion isn't for the kids here. I know without a doubt my life was made for working with those kids, I KNOW that's what I'm chosen for. Lot of people are called but only a few are chosen. So I'm sitting here asking God -"Why have you given me such a passion for those kids but not let me work with them yet??" I feel like I'm a little kid that someone took to a candy shop, bought them the biggest best tasting peice of candy and it's the only peice like it no one else will even get to try it, and all the while the person is telling me how its just gonna melt in my mouth and how if I eat it how I'm suposed to nice and slow waiting for it to melt that it will be the best thing ever! But then the person said "Oh wait a second, you can't eat that right now!" just as i was about to put it in my mouth! I feel like thats what is happening God has me on this path and He is showing me all these different things about my life right now and He has made it evident in my heart what I'm suposed to do with my life and I'm the only one who gets this life everyone else has a different peice and to me none are as good as mine and if I am walking on HIS path it will be AMAZING. I feel like I was just about to get that first taste and then He said "Hold on there, not yet!" Talk about dissapointing! But then I realize, the work I'm doing now getting ready for the orphans and preparing a place for them to live in is really gonna impact so much more in the long run. I could have had my impact on a few kids for the 2 months I'm here and I would never forget it and then that would be that. But making this home ready for the orphans means there will be a place where year after year kid after kid is gonna come here and have a safe place to live and they will have food to eat, they will learn about Jesus here and grow up knowing there is SOMEONE who really loves them! This is gonna impact SO many more kids! I think sometimes CHOOSING to rejoice in the Lord isn't easy, especially when God has you in a place where in that moment you don't want to be. I know God chose me to be a missionary and the "Yo-ho, yo-ho missionary life" for sure is not all its dreamed to be, but it IS being able to live wherever God puts you and do whatever God has for you to do all the while being full of the joy of the Lord and to be able to see what eternal pleasures come from doing that. EVEN when it might not look like what you think you are suposed to be doing. Missionary life is saying "Here I am Lord, send me!" to anywhere to do anything, and I LOVE IT!!! 
"You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with ETERNAL PLEASURES at you right hand." -Psalm 16:11

Monday, July 11, 2011

Last part of Honduras -till next visit anyways. =)

So I have not been able to write, seems like everytime I had time to write the internet was not really working! The rest of my time since my last blog in Honduras was really awesome.  We had the team come from our church and we got to minister in schools, an orphanage, the team took a visit to the dump and was able to give out around 320 bags of food and we also had a suitcase full of flipflops and we had a bunch of T-shirts to give out.  One of the days we went up to San Juancito, a little village in the mountains and we gave out 150 bags of food. AND we had the pleasure of doing our dramas in the rain and in the mud. It was a blast! some of my most favorite memories have been when I've gotten to minister outside in the pouring down rain in the middle of nowhere ;). Also my Dad gave out 70something hearig aids there in San Juancito and in Tegucigalpa.  The crusades we had at the end of the week were different from other years, not a ton of people were there especially the second night in Comayagua.  However, it didn't matter the size of the crowd God still moved in incredible ways! One little deaf boy got completely healed! And many accepted Jesus! Then to top it off we had two concerts with DC Reto both of which were hype! =) and then last Monday on the last full day with the team we went to Pullahpanzak, which is a huge waterfall that you zipline over and swim down under. It is incredible to say the least! It's probably one of the most thrilling things I've ever done in my life! and that was my second time to do it! Elizabeth, Ashlyn and I said goodbye to the team on tuesday morning and enjoyed a couple more days with our Honduran family and friends. Had to say goodbye thursday afternoon took a bus to San Pedro Sula then our flight left at about 12:30am we had a couple hours in FLL airport then Elizabeth and I told Ashlyn bye and headed to Armenia, Colombia and arrived there about 1 in the afternoon got through customs and had a 3hr bus ride.  Now I'm here in Palmira, Colombia now living on a farm/orphanage.  It's very different here, we are living in the house with our American missionaries from our church back in K-town so its like switching cultures again. I'm excited to see what God does while we are here though and what more adventures are in store!
Thanks everyone who has been praying for me and this trip!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Week 1 - Honduras

Wow! It's only been a week! It feels like it's been a lifetime.  To start out this trip our first flight was late and the second one was early so we missed it. After spending one night in a shady hotel we ended up staying with an awesome family that none of us had ever even met before.  We enjoyed two days of fellowship with a group from an orphanage in Haiti and people from the church the family attended.  God really blessed us with that time. We went from stuck in a shady hotel to free steak and potatoes! God is faithful!
                After one night in San Pedro Sula we finally arrived in Tegucigalpa about 3pm Wednesday and it was GREAT to see everyone again.  The people here feel like family to me.  We are staying in a home with another great family and the work we are doing preparing for the rest of the team's arrival seems to be coming along well. 
                Friday we spent most of the day at the city dump where tons of people live. The dump is on a plateau and when the trucks come up to dump more trash the crowds of people run after them.  You smell the dump long before you see it.  It's where dogs and kids run around looking for the same thing -food. If you can imagine it's an entire mountain of trash with little camps where the people live.  There are hundreds and hundreds of vultures filling the sky.  There was one little boy who threw himself onto his pile of cardboard just as if it was his couch and hundreds of thousands of flies came out of the pile, enough to make a cloud. All of the clothes the kids wore were so dirty they were hard and nobody had anything on that fit. One tiny little girl had one huge half torn boot for one shoe and her toes had poked through the end of her other shoe. There was also a mom sitting with her two little kids. She had found some old half eaten fruit and was trying to  get her baby to eat it.  We had brought pancakes with us and I have never been so happy to give someone a pancake before. Then while we were standing with a group just talking with them about Jesus a little boy came up and leaned against me, I asked him how old he was (he only looked about 8) and he said "12.". I asked how long he had lived there and he said "Years" and I asked if he had a family and he said "No."  It's hard to walk away from that.  Then as I was sitting down in the trash talking with some kids, a little girl came and sat next to me. She was only 8, she looked like she was 5 and you could tell she had seen and been through more in her life already than anyone should ever have to go through.  My friend, Ashlyn, and I started talking to her and told her she was beautiful. When we said that, she looked up at us and just stared at us, as if to say "how can you think I am worth anything?" and we told her maybe she didn't think so but that we did and we told her about Jesus and how much he loved her and even though it didn't seem like it with how her life was now that she was a daughter of The King. Then she looked back up at us and her eyes were full of tears and she didn't say anything, she just scooted a little closer to me and stared at the dirt, looking up at me every once in a while as if to ask "Is that really true? There is a King that loves me?"  Then it was time to go. I wished anything I could have stayed with those kids.  After you realize what all they have been through the smell, dirt, flies and heat don't seem to matter at all.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Change of plans?

Well I thought I would be in Tegucigalpa, Honduras by now but I guess God wanted to give my friends and I a vacation before we got there! Last night our first flight was delayed over an hour and our second flight was early which caused us to miss it.  Entonces, I am here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  We stayed the night here at a hotel on the beach last night, went out for a couple hours on the beach this morning and now God has provided a free place for us to stay tonight and transportation back to the airport tomorrow when our next flight out to San Pedro Sula leaves at 11:45pm

-Sometimes I do have to wonder what the plan will look like next but at the same time I have a peace that He is in control.  I'm just living every minute for its own right now and watching how God orchestrates evrything in such an incredible way.  His timing and plans are perfect! I am thrilled to be a part of it!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Excitement in preparation

I am so excited about life right now!!! And I am thrilled to be living out God's plan for my life!  I leave in only 13 short weeks to start a 5 month long mission trip with my friend Elizabeth Jambor. We will be in Honduras for the first month of the trip and the rest of the time will be spent in Colombia.  I figured blogging throughout everything will be the easiest way for evereyone to keep up with all the awesome things that happen and with everything God does around me, for me, and through me.  My love for missions started early in my life.  I feel so at home and full of peace when I am doing the work that God has chosen for me to do, and I LOVE going to other places and finding that I have tons of other brothers and sisters in Christ who have the same passion that I do.

So to start, I actually just got back from Honduras a few weeks ago and God has really started opening doors.  I am so excited to be a part of what He has planned!! While we were in Honduras our team had the opportunity to meet with some Christian government officials who gave us permission to minister anywhere in the city.  They also offered us security in places where it might be needed.  We got the chance to minister in the city of San Juancito which is a smaller village about an hour into the mountains outside of Tegucigalpa.  Last year alone the city had 8 teenagers commit suicide.  You could see when we were in the high school how depressed the rest of the kids were.  So I am excited about the chance to go back there and minister. 

We took a walk down the streets of Valle de Angeles one night (Valle de Angeles is another mountain village on the other side of San Juancito).  While walking we felt led to talk to a particular street vendor.  The man made his living by selling trinkets and doing some sort of fire juggling where you have to drink the gasoline.  While talking with him we learned that he had a black spot on his lungs from drinking the gasoline.  The doctors thought this spot was cancer.  We decided to stop right there on the street to pray for him.  Our friend that was with us who works with the church there got his information so that she could invite him to come to their church the next week.  The hardest part about praying for people overseas is knowing that the chances of finding out what happened to them are slim.  I do often remember people I've prayed for and wonder what became of the situation.  However, this time the results were not left to my imagination! A couple weeks after we got back we got the report that the man we prayed for on the side of the road in the little mountain village in Honduras has been attending the church of our friend AND when he went back to the doctor to find out about his cancer, the doctors couldn't find anything on his lungs.  They are COMPLETELY clear!! =]  !!! -God is Awesome.

So now I have only 90 days to prepare to go back!  I hope all of you who read this remember to keep me in your prayers.  The details are coming together really well.  However, I still have to graduate high school before I can leave!!..!!  I do have my plane tickets purchased, but am still working on raising funds for living expenses and some different taxes.  Please rememeber to pray!!