29.12.07

Merry Christmas-updates!

I hope everyone has had a very blessed Christmas! I wanted to update ya'll on the latest. Since I turned in my long-term application a month ago, my two references from employers and pastors have been submitted and everything has been signed off on as ready to hand over to the director @ Zimpeto. They have the final say. Currently the directors are in South Africa with family for the holidays and won't be back till right after the first. As soon as they are back, they will get my file and start praying over it. I'm hoping the decision will be quick and I will soon know when I can go over, but I'm told that they have a lot of applications to consider at the moment. This means the process may take a little longer than I would like.

For the time being, I quit my full-time and part-time job in Nashville and as of Jan. 4th, all of my belongings will be packed up and moved into a storage unit. I will then be going home to South Carolina to spend time with family and friends. I know I will be blessed by this time and I am welcoming the break from my currently hectic life. A friend and I are taking a travel nursing assignment together and hopefully in the next 2 wks we will know where we will be going. This has afforded me a month off to relax and spend quality time with everyone I never get to see, plus the holidays off!!! I will start the assignment at the end of Jan or beginning of Feb and will work for at least 13 wks depending on what/when I hear from Iris Ministries.

I pray all these transitions will go smoothly and that my patience will continue as I wait to hear from Iris. Keep checking back for the latest updates!! Thanks again to everyone who has been so amazing these past few months. I have been so blessed! I love each of you.

28.11.07

Application completed :)

Hooray it is finally done, completed, and whisked away to email land! I am so excited that it is finally done and a weight lifted. I have to admit, it is about 30 days later than I had hoped, but I'm trusting in His timing. Now, all that's left to do is sit and wait...something I'm becoming very accustomed to lately. I'm hoping to know a better timeline soon of when I can expect a decision.

I am still amazed daily at the prayers you each have been lifting up and how they have helped. These last 2 months since I have returned have been some of the harder moments in my life-part spiritual warfare at it's finest, part the completion of Him answering prayers to make me ready to leave this place I am in my life currently. Well, I'm arrived, and I can hardly stand here another minute. So keep the prayers coming!

Financial update: I'm at 35% of my total goal of $1500/month and I still have 5 more people that have committed, but just not to the amount part yet. I've actually figured out that if I got enough money donated up front and/or donated delta mile points, that I could cover my transportation costs and that number could be more like $1000/month. So anyone interested, speak up! I feel confident He is preparing my provisions and I know it will all come in time.

Prayer Requests:

  • strength while I'm waiting
  • the timing of when I would be able to go to Mozambique and how that fits with where I am right now
  • patience until I leave-I can't begin to express how easily annoyed I have been with work, with being in Nashville, with just being in this crossroads
  • the remainder of my financial support would trickle in
  • wisdom and guidance with the directors as they review and pray over my application

24.10.07

Joy and Despair

Joy and despair married together.

These pictures from the Bocaria flooded through my inbox this week reminding me of the faces I haven't been able to remove from my mind since I returned. I'm praying for a respite time between now and when I leave. I need renewal and peace; a quiet that I haven't found outside of Mozambique. I've had a hard time since returning because my heart is not here in Nashville anymore and waiting to be reunited has produced some of the hardest moments in my life. I think I need grace in this time. I'm finding it hard to serve where He has me for these last few months. I never thought I would say it, but I'm ready to leave Nashville. I'm unclear which of the two realities is the more difficult one.

Setting my eyes on His kingdom...


The Lord has promised good to me

His word my hope secures

He will my shield and portion be

As long as life endures

My chains are gone

I've been set free

My God, my Savior has ransomed me


The earth shall soon dissolve like snow

The sun forbear to shine

But God, Who called me here below

Will be forever mine

-"Amazing Grace" by Chris Tomlin

9.10.07

Video Update

Ok, so this is my last posting for awhile. I think I've finished telling about most of my time there. I thought I'd finish it with a few videos from around Zimpeto.

**If you've just started looking at my updates from this trip....they start on 9/19 so you'll have to click on SEPT in the right hand column toward the bottom and work your way back. I compressed my journaling into a few days at a time and points of interest plus a few pics. I hope you enjoy. My prayer requests and major updates surrounding the trip are on the post titled Back Home on 10/4. You may have to click on OCT. in the right hand column to see all the Oct. blogs since only a few at a time are shown on the main page. Again thanks to everyone who has been supporting me this last year. Ya'll are amazing and I have been truly blessed by each of you!**

Worship: here's a small taste of what worship was like at Iris. This was the community service on Sunday mornings.

video

Sounds from Iris: this was the soundtrack we heard most nights because the girls compound was right next to the visitor's compound...(video taken by my roomie Rachel)

http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=19547735

Baby Prayers: The babies were oh too precious. They prayed and sang songs before every meal! Here's 2 video's from one of my roommates Rachel:

http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=19545197

http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=19543681

10/1/07 Monday


Saturday I spent the afternoon and evening with the girls. They are given daily chores and responsibilities so they can be self-sufficient and have skills for when it comes time to leave the center. The older girls are expected to help take care of the younger ones, there is raking, and sweeping, and cleaning to do. Once a week the girls cook their own meal for the whole girl's compound. From start to finish...grinding the miaze, cutting the veggies, shredding the coconut, cooking, serving, washing the dishes, ect. Apparently I walked in at the right moment because I was immediately grabbed, shoved towards a seat, greens placed in my hand. I was told to sit...do this...and left to figure out what the heck I was supposed to be doing....all the girls, including the little ones were going at it, peeling the greens....and LAUGHING at me in Portuguese. So now I can say I've officially helped cook a traditional Mozambican meal and even eaten it with my fingers just like them!
Yesterday was our last worship service before going home. Every Sunday they have a time of blessing for all the short-termers or any missionaries that it is their last Sunday. You sit on the edge of the stage and then all the little kids run up, wrap a capalana around you, lay tiny hands on you and pray for you. I cannot really explain those emotions. First it is amazing enough to just hear all these little kids feverently praying over you . Then all the hands pressing on you....it was just too precious! An amazing blessing, even if I couldn't understand all they were saying. I again made my way to the baby house section and worshiped with them. Something that has been a theme for the week is how we each are CHILDREN of God. We should have faith like them; dance, sing and worship before Him as though we are. He is our Father and begs for us to come crawl into and rest in His love! How often do I take this message to heart? I am being taught this daily by the people of Mozambique by their utter dependence on Him for everything from their provisions to their joy. I was reminded by a small 3 yr old who grabbed both my hands during worship and started teaching me a dance she was making up at the exact same time. She was too cute. I don't think I've had that much fun in a really long time.


Today I spent the day doing the last ofs....last staff worship service...last time with the beautiful girls in the girls dorm...last moments in the baby house....last bowl of rice with some yummy topping....last youth worship service in the city. It was really hard as I am not ready to leave here in the morning. I can hardly wait to come back. This evening at the youth service I watched a room full of young men and wome come to the front so hungry for you....dedicating their lives, arms stretched out to you, tears streaming down their face. You can see His life in their eyes, the earnestness, the passion. In each of these moments I feel as though I'm watching Isaiah 58 being fulfilled right before my eyes. You are doing something so amazing with these people and through this ministry!

7.10.07

9/28/2007 Friday



We were blessed to get a chance to go on safari for a day to Kruger National Park in South Africa. Our guide was an Iris missionary couple helping to start a base there in SA. They do no recieve financial support, but instead work FT jobs and work for Iris. Lynne, works doing Safaris. They drove 3 hrs each way to pick us up from the Zimpeto base and then welcomed us into their home for 2 nights. We had an amazing time and it was such a needed respite, before returning back to Mozambique. The most striking thing about the experience was crossing the border into and out of SA. I wish i could have stood on the border line and taken a picture to display the scene. One side completely 3rd world (except we like to think of it as 3.5) and then the other was 1st world...that close, just feet away from each other. It was crazy how different the countries were.




Upon returning to Zimpeto, I had a lengthy conversation with 2 of the short-termers that were there at the same time as we were. We discovered something truly amazing. Last Sunday at worship, one of the team members from SA shared a phrophetic word and a vision she had...a message she felt God was leading her to give to the Mozambicans as encouragement. As she was reading and describing her dream. I was brought to tears, because it mimiced a promise God gave me almost exactly a yr ago to that date. As I was deciding to come to Africa and spending much time in prayer and scripture reading I was given a passage that has become my word, my promise from Him that speaks about His work in Mozambique and where He wanted me to join Him. The first was more for me, the 2nd part speaks more to them.




"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yhourself from your own flesh? Then shall yhour light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the gory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in."


-Isaiah 58:6-12




I did not share what passage it was just made mention of it and what it said. The couple shared with me that they too had been given verses on monday confirming what she had given during worship. He was to share with the rest of the group later that night. When we all got together he started sharing the passage and it was exactly the same verses I had been given. It was such a powerful thing to know that 3 of us had recieved the same promises about Mozambique and what He is doing through Iris here....all from 3 different continents and at different times, and then brought us all together for a short week in Maputo.




Further confirming this anytime I was asked to pray with someone, I felt led by the Spirit to pray that He raise up generations, an army for Him and His purpose that they might have a hunger for Him, longing and growing deeper and intimately more in love with Him; that they would become lights (out of the bocaria, out of Iris, out of downtown) and shine brightly, spreading like wildfire to Maputo, then Mozambique, and on. When talking with these children and the ministers at the bible school Iris taught on base, it was their desire to BE the missionaries and go out to the world and spread the gospel. They envisioned the time that they would no longer need missionaries to come to Mozambique, but they would be sent out. They have such a precious spirit! I wish I could describe their genuine enthusiasm and love for the Lord better.

9/26/07 Wednesday

Monday we had a staff worship service. Pastor Jose is such a joyous man, filled with laughter and praises for our Lord. He insisted that ALL of us needed to ask for more joy from the Lord and that we needed to dance in praise, along with the Mozambicans.....so we danced, traditional mozambican style. I have sense begun referring to it as mozambican aerobics, because that's what it feels like...we could hardly keep up....and they enjoyed laughing at us. That night I went into the city for the youth worship service that one of the smaller Iris bases hosts. Zimpeto brings a huge flatbed truck filled with the older kids from the center that want to attend. It was so encouraging to see the room filled with so many youth giving their lives tot he Lord, singing and praying. Most of these kids aren't from the center and haven't grown up with constant preaching and teaching, so it was refreshing to see how Iris is really moving through the community.


Tuesday was Mozambique's Independence Day so none of the kids were in school. I spent most of the day with the girls in their quarters watching movies, laughing, and allowing them to play with my hair (which they LOVE to do). They help me learn more portuguese and I help them learn more English....it's so cute they go around acting like parrots and repeating everything you say!

Today I spent the morning where my heart is the most....in the baby house. They have about 40 children 3 and under that live here. They are too precious! The toddlers hardly speak any English so it's always fun trying to understand what they are jabbering about and what they want you to do. The littlest are my most favorite....crawling around and just learning to walk. They quickly find their favorite visitor and latch on, all fighting for attention and love. With their being quite a few mouths to feed, I love going in when it's time for bottles or lunch/dinner time to help feed the tykes. They are so resiliant. They have pictures up of alot of the children from when they were brought to the center and to see them now is amazing. Today another baby was brought in. He was 18months old, but weighed about 8 lbs and looked like a 3-5 month old. He was abandoned by his mom because he has a disability and his grandmother who loves him so much is way to sick herself to care for him. She had been coming in weekly to the base to the milk program they run out of the clinic here. They had been following his progress and she finally tearfully decided it was time to hand him over. He hardly responds to anything, rarely cries, doesn't make or keep any form of eye contact, and barely moves his arms and legs (so they are all contracted and stiff), plus he is really malnourished. Today helped me realize how much I want to be here and help these sweet babies and their families!

This afternoon a team from South Africa brought bead supplies, so we all sat and made bracelets and necklaces. The kids really enjoyed it and went for 2 hrs making as many as they could. It was a neat treat for them!

6.10.07

9/23/07 Sunday



Yesterday I helped paint one of the girls dorm rooms. It has been a challenge for me the last few days. The kids here have so much and yet so little compared to western standards. I have had to continually remind myself that I am in a 3rd world country. The poverty here is so overwhelming that there is such a stark contrast between outside and inside the walls of Zimpeto. It's hard to see the handful of outfits the children have, or the mattresses with holes in them, or few old toy the children in the baby house have to play with. You want to scream, this is a children's center filled with orphans, shouldn't they have more. Then I walk out the gate of the center and am struck in the face again by where I am. These children are given so much more than any other mozambicans have. They have 3 huge (by comparison) meals a deal-bread and sometimes butter for breakfast, and rice with various different toppings for lunch and dinner. They have warm beds with clean linens, and clothes, and shoes. They have running water (very cold water, but water all the same) and electicity 95% of the time. They are safe and loved and taught the word of God. They are given a good education and are given opportunities most Mozambicans can never dream of. But it's still hard to see when you compare it to what we have here in America. They are taught to depend on God for their provisions and needs since that is what they will need when leaving the center. And this they do, so wonderfully, it makes me ashamed of my own faith!


Today we went to church. Despite the language barrier it was amazing. We danced and sang! All the children love to dance and hardly dance the same way outside the church walls (unless they are singing praise songs). After the message, they called for anyone to come to the front if they wanted to recieve more of His love and abundance, to sit at His banqueting table. About 100 came foward-children, staff, community members...there were the youngest of children to the oldest grannies who only spoke the local tribal language. They came and knelt, laid down, cried, and worshiped Him. I prayed and wept with them. The site that broke me the most was 2 young boys, around 9 years old, sitting on the floor at the front with their heads bowed, tears streaming down their faces, praying with each other outloud in portuguese...knees bent, toe to toe, they were holding tightly to each other's hands, just praying so feverently for about 30 minutes. Whenever you ask them what they want to pray for they always say for more of the Lord, to know Him more, for more joy in the Lord, for more of the Holy Spirit. Occasionally you will hear pleads for a job because they so desire to work, or for healing, or strength during their sickness; but you never get requests for objects or money or food. Such faith!


I went to the hospital today and prayed over some of the children in the pediatrics ward. Most were precious little ones, covered in burns. Because there is little utilities, water is boiled for everything, for drinking, for cooking, for laundry, ect. The water is warmed either on the gas stove or over a fire, but usually it is easily accessible for these little ones to pull it ontop of them, fall in, or reach into the scalding water. Most that we saw were under 7 years old. The care given in the hospital made me cringe!

Mozambiqe Information


So, it occured to me in talking to a few people, that perhaps before I go any further in my blogging, I should inform you about the state of the country. For many reasons including legal and safety we weren't allowed to take pictures outside of the gates of Zimpeto, so unfortunately I can't even let pictures explain their situation, not that they could do it justice, but it would probably be better than me trying to write about it. Either way, here goes:


Mozambique is located in the SE corner of Africa right next to South Africa. It's about twice the size of California. They gained independence from Portugal (explaining why their official language is Portuguese) in 1975 and has been a peaceful country after a long civil war ending in 1995. Around 21 million people call it home. It has topped the world's poorest country list for years. We were in their capital city of Maputo. About 1/4-1/3 of the population had a very small hand built brick houses with tin held on by rocks or tires for a roof. The remaining housing structures were fashioned out of bundles of twigs in a small square and a tin roof held on with rocks. Let me reinforce that this is the capital city where 2 million live-about 3,000 live on the trash dump alone. Running water and electricity are valuable commodities and few and far between. There is a 90% unemployment rate in the city of Maputo. The main income source is agriculture, but cycles of floods and droughts along with leftover landmines from the civil war leave little farmable land. The literacy rate is 48%. Primary school up until 7th grade is mandatory, but most do not attend because their family situation requires them to take care of the younger children at home or help the family earn income. Also, education costs to attend, and food takes precedence. There were many boys in the center who where 18-22 years old and still had several more years left to finish before graduating high school. 44% of the population is under 14 with only 3% over 65. Life expectancy is 37 years and the HIV/AIDS rate is 12% alothough after being there, access to healthcare is very little, so this number strikes me as probably very low. 58% of those were women, in a culture where women provide all the cooking, cleaning, and childcare, this is devestational. The infant mortality rate is 11%. They have one of the lowest doctor and nurse per person ratios in the world. There were 1.6 million orphans in Mozambique in 2006. Religion: 24% Catholic, 18% Muslim, 18% Zionist (African version of Christianity), 11% non-catholic Christian, and the remaining claim no religion or an african non-christian religion.


Iris Ministries has planted over 5000 churches and is caring for around 3000 children, since starting in Mozambique in 1995. Most of their care is in Mozambique, following with South Africa and spreading to 25 countries. Most of the centers are filled with boys because this culture uses girls in the home for all the child-rearing, cooking, cleaning, ect. If at all possible the girls are kept. Also, according to cultural tradition, if a man remarries, any male children the new wife has are kicked out of the home (no matter the age) and into the streets.


Despite all the obstacles they face, the Mozambicans remain a resiliant, loving people who are currently experiencing a revival of sorts led by the work done through Iris.

4.10.07

9/21/07 Friday

Thursday we arrived in Zimpeto. Over 50% of the children speak only Portuguese and the local tribal language of Shangaan. This means communication is interesting. Some of the kids speak English very well and are even taking English classes on base here. Some speak just a few words or understand more than they can speak. They are cute trying to ask you how to say something or just acting like parrots, repeating everything over and over, laughing at the sounds. Thank goodness more and more spanish is coming back to me, cause its allowing me to at least pick up on some of what they are saying and guess at what words I can try to use since Portuguese and Spanish are similar.


I have been blessed with a room full of amazing girls. We had worship tonight for just all the kids, staff, and missionaries at the center. The children are amazing and all dance around, filled with joy and love for our God. Their joy despite their circumstances or the past they have been saved from is unimaginable.

Today we went to the Bocaria-the city garbage dump. About 3,000 people call it home and live with absolutely nothing-no roof, clean water, any utilities, ect. Many more come here during the day, scouring through the trash to find anything they can use in their home or can sell. There are also hundreds of homes within the walls of the bocaria that live daily with the smells as well as smoke and heat from the fires that spontaneously errupt everyone on the trash heaps. Everywhere you looked there were people bent over digging through the trash, from the oldest women to tiny children with ratty clothes on. We began and ended our time there at the church that Iris has started at the bottom of the bocaria. It was filled with children singing, dancing, laughing, and joy. So we danced. Even the tiny tots who could barely walk danced, clapped, and raised their hands, smiles spread across their faces. We danced in the middle of a trash heap and poured our hearts and eyes out to the Lord. I was surrounded with girls about 5 years old that had babies strapped to their back....some were so small that the baby they were carrying practically touched the ground. Yet there they were dancing around and singing. My heart was filled with such heaviness as I sat down listening to the pastor in portuguese with 3 tiny kids in my lap and about 2 more hanging on. I was completely struck by what I saw-beyond their situation, it was their response that hit me hardest. In the middle of the dump children were so in love with God that they did nothing more than worship Him with a joy I can say I have never seen in any church back in the states.

We went up onto the dump and walked for about an hour, asking whoever we met, if we could pray with them. One lady we met said she had never heard of Jesus and through translators we shared the gospel and prayed with her. At the end of our time, we went back to the bocaria church and asked the children if they had anything they needed prayer for. I turned around to a room where 75% of the kids held tiny hands in the air. We went around and prayed over them, some with tears streaming down their face, hugging or holding hands with the child next to them. I couldn't even communicate with them so I prayed as I felt the Holy Spirit led me. For most of the kids I prayed that God would raise up a generation of His warriors, using these children, His precious children, to turn this earth around, starting smack in the middle of the bocaria, then stretching to the small huts boardering it, then Maputo, then Mozambique, and across Africa.

After the prayer time, we handed out loaves of bread as the children left. Some of the children immediately gobbled it up faster than you could blink, the rest of them grabbed the bread with both hands, pulled it to their heart and then hid it underneath their shirts near their heart, running towards home with their prize to share with the rest of their family.


"Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heir of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?"-James 2:5

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has annointed me to bring good news to the ppor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted..."-Isaiah 61:1

Back Home

Well, I'm safe back in the states and attempting to recover from some serious jet lag. We were blessed-all our bags made it safe and sound both to and from Mozambique and neither of us had trouble with jetlag after arriving at Zimpeto. I am so thankful for all of you that continued praying for us while we were away. We could both feel the effects of everything you lifted up. While I was there I spoke with the Assistant Directors about my desire to come on long-term with Iris. I have to wait 30 days before applying. They use this with all their applicants as a cooling off period to be spent in prayer. After applying, they will give me a timeline of when I can expect to hear back from them. They pray over applicants and wait till they here God speak. I was informed that they always need nurses so hopefully it won't take too long. I would love to know before Christmas as my lease ends 2 days after. The only other things that could delay me going would be when they would have housing openings ON base and obtaining all my pledges to cover my financial needs. At this time, they require a 1 year committment, which I am prepared to make after making my visit there.

Prayer requests in the meantime:
-I will have a stillness and peace, a time to recharge in these next 30 days
-Financial support will continue to come in (praise-my first trip was completely covered by gifts and pledges and i have 1/4 of my monthly support goal met with pledges).

Since I had no access to internet or phones while there, I'm posting some of my journal entries and pictures now.

20.9.07

9/20/07 Thursday-We're in South Africa!

We only have one more flight before we're finally in Mozambique. We were greeted by an amazingly gorgeous sunrise upon landing here in J'burg. So far, so good...we're just hoping the same for our luggage! I thought I would share my journal from my flight to Paris on Wed. It kinda summarizes everything I'm feeling:

9/19/07-I sit here on a plane high above the Atlantic Ocean-smack in the middle. Everyone around me asleep, lights dimmed, all is quiet; but outside the plane's windows it is bright as day-clear blue sprinkled with white fluffy clouds. Then you called to me. I read through Philippians and as I do, I am amazed at your goodness, faithfulness, and perfect timing. This very weekend one year ago I told you I would not go to Africa and you brought me to my knee. After months of trying, patiently waiting for me to sit still in your presence and listen, you had had enough. Mute for 3 days we wrestled and in the end, you spared me. I walked away with only a limp. I conceded and fell at your feet. You restored me and continued sharing your vision with me-a vision I am carrying out in this moment as I am on my way to Africa. That semester in Inversion, we dove into Philippians and you spoke to me often through those words. Funny now, one year later to the date, as a body, Fellowship is studying these words again. As I read over it a few moments ago, I was reminded of how you spoke to my heart and how all these things have been fulfilled since then.

"And I am sure of THIS, that he who began a good work in you WILL bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
-Phil 1:6

"Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus...but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant...he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death...so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory tof God the Father."
-Phil 2:4-11

"For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do ALL things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you SHINE as lights in the wold, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be poud that I did NOT run in vain or labor in vain."
-Phil 2:13-16

"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining foward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
-Phil 3:13b-14

"Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved."
-Phil 4:1

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say REJOICE. Let your reasonablesness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do NOT be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the PEACE of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
-Phil 4:4-7

"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abudnance and need. I can do ALL things through him who strengthens me."
-Phil 4:11-13

"To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."
-Phil 4:20

It is such wonderful reassurance to watch Him work out His plans for His glory and I know that many unimanginable riches are in store. I cannot explain the peace this has given me as I embark on this journey-truly giving my life wholly to Him!

"In hope he believed against hope...He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body...No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he has promised." -Romans 4:18-21

After true acceptance of His promises, I feel these verses sum up this past year of my walk. I feel and pray it will remain true for this coming season!

7.9.07

Just 12 days before leaving.....

"I once was fatherless, a stranger with no hope
Your kindness wakened me, wakened me from my sleep
Your love it beckons deeply, a call to come and die
By grace now I will come and take this life, take Your life
Sin has lost it's power, death has losts its sting
From the grave You've risen victoriously
Into marvelous light I'm running
Out of darkness, out of shame, by the cross
You are the truth, You are the life, You are the way"
-"Marvelous Light" by Charlie Hall

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in. " -Isaiah 58:6-12

As I prepare to leave for Mozambique in 12 days I am completely filled with 15 different emotions. Now is the time to cling to Him and trust in Him for every good provision. This recent season has been dry and filled with spiritual warfare with my mind as the battle ground. I have often wondered if I'm loosing my footing, or possibly my entire sanity. Tonight I sat surrounded by a room full of women with unfamiliar faces there for the same reason and I my heart was warmed by the transformation He completes in all of us. I was reminded of the verse Ephesians 2:10 " For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." When I started this journey a year ago I was given the verses from Isaiah above as my promised land......what He was calling me to....to give of myself to the hungry, thirsty, poor, homeless, the naked, the motherless....to be their LIGHT completely protected by Him....to restore ruins of many generations and secure the foundations of the generations to come for those in Africa who can see no hope or future, completely forgotten.

Leigh and I are leaving both feeling completely vulnerable and broken at this moment in our lives but VERY assured that this is the place He has called us. We are willing and open to share His love with the children we encounter and we are overjoyed to have this opportunity. We both need ALL the prayer minutes you can afford. I especially am going into this and need direction to come from this experience. Is Iris the minstry I should join?...is this where I am to be? Pray for clarification. Pray for our safety, our health, for all our travels, for Iris Minstries and all their missionaries we will be working alongside, for us to yield to the Spirit and share His amazing love with His people. I cannot wait to return and post pics as well as stories.....

4.7.07

It's Official....

Leigh and I bought our tickets to Mozambique on Friday. That being said....one time donaters I would love to talk to you . We are leaving September 18 from Nashville and returning Oct. 3 very tired and delirious from jet lag. Approximate travel time to Maputo: 35.5 hrs (that's 22.5 hrs in the air; 13 hrs of layovers and plane changes). Return travel time: 29.5hrs (21 in the big blue sky). Many books, endless naps, multiple meals at odd times, 10 airports, and 7 planes later.....it will be well worth all the anxiety and money as I see Him working together His plan. At least I have an experienced travel mate (and fellow nurse) to hold the barf bag and tell me to breathe as I'm hyperventilating in midair. These two wks will fulfill my requirement with Iris Ministries and allow me to go long-term with them (hopefully in January).

This brings us to current and pressing Prayer Requests:
  • sending out an "official" support letter
  • financial and prayer partners to support me on this and the latter part of my journey
  • motivation and encouragement in learning Portuguese (since half of their medical staff doesn't speak English....and it is their official language)
  • nailing down exactly who's going to be the keeper of my money during all this
  • continued spiritual support until I leave

As always....thanks to everyone so much for sharing in my life, pointing me towards new friends that possess the same joy i do, and for not calling me crazy. I enjoy the emails and phone calls...usually it's perfect timing and i needed the encouragement-so never hesitate. Without each of you, this would not be possibly.

29.6.07

answered prayers and teary eyes

blogging is therapeutic for me and definately easier than journaling (probably cause i've been sucked into the technology world to a pt that might qualify as unhealthy)...that said, perhaps this will work for me tonight!

The last 6 months have been hard for me...preparation, i know....answered prayers-Yes! that doesn't make it easier....let me explain: Back in sept., when I finally said "yes" to God I earnestly turned my hands palms up and said fine, but I need a few things to make this happen....1-this is not my desire...it is not my idea. you have to soften my heart and create a genuine joy and enthusiasm for this journey. 2-i followed you when taking my part-time schedule as a single person trusting there would be enough and in the process have found only meager funds trickling towards paying debt off....it's got to go! 3-i have worked for the last 3 yrs to plant roots in a city i love....delving into a profession i am passionate about; intentionally and intimately forming a large network of friends; finally finding a church....I am so connected to this city and I don't want to leave. You have to break these bonds to make it easier for me....I cannot do it alone.

Praise be! Everyone of these prayers have been answered!! 1-I cannot explain it but through scriptures, lectures, and shared experiences a deep passionate desire for what He has called me to do has been lit in my soul....an all consuming fire and I cannot wait to go to Africa, leaving everything I've ever known as normal behind. 2-Since January, I have only lived in Nashville for 3 months....the other 3 were spent painfully away from a place and people I was bound to...New Orleans was were He called me...a travel position laid in my lap to pay off 90% of my debt in 3 months....a place that stretched me-called me out of fellowship, out of the safety of my home, out of being the majority. It was tiring, overwhelming, and emotional....but I can see His hand and the lessons learned. 3-In the past 6 months I have said goodbye to 4 dear friends who have moved away from Nashville to start life where God has called them. They were not acquaintances, or buddies; they were people I have been sharing my life with...who have walked WITH me...who saw me at my worst and didn't turn away. Their bonds aren't the only ones broken....just the strongest.

Tonight I sit here after saying goodbye to 2 of them in 4 days. I am overcome with emotion and sense of being lost. It is what I asked for after all....and He is doing amazing things in their lives...for which I am excited. Just doesn't make this process any easier. So again....my hands are outstretched...palms up...ready to be filled with His goodness, faithfulness, and strength. He who has called will prepare....it is NEVER the otherway around.

28.5.07

Africa and Beyond...

I decided I should dedicate an entire blog to my Africa excursions.....So for now this is where you can find my updates in preparation, prayer requests, and my progress. Once I'm there, you can stay tuned to all my misadventures or adventures...whichever these opportunities lend themselves to. I want to share all that God's doing in my life and in the lives of those around me as this trip occurs...so this is where we can keep in touch.

starting now.....

If you're reading this you already know something, but I'll fill you in on some of the details:

Through a very long story, God has shaped and led me to the place I am now....and in September He revealed His will for me to go serve in Africa long-term (ask me onetime in person and I'll share the details). I have prayed since the beginning that all of it would be His doing and have sat back and enjoyed watching Him coordinate EVERYTHING....it has been such a relief and I have been the least stressed and anxious I have ever been in my life...needless to say, the ride's been sweet. He introduced me to a ministry called Iris Ministries which you can read more about in my links in the side bar. I am going with a friend at the end of Sept to Mozambique as an extended interview for 2 wks. If everything goes well, and I still feel it is His will....come Jan. I'll be selling my explorer, putting everything in storage, leaving Nashville behind (with much sadness) after 3.5 yrs and heading off to another continent for 6mo-1yr. I will be joining them at their base in Maputo (click on ministry locations and then zimpeto to read more from the .com site) and helping in their orphanage as a nurse as well as any other opportunities that present themselves. While I started this journey very hesitantly and begrudgingly at first; God has been faithful in preparing my heart and spirit...through much prayer and scripture reading He has shaped my vision and I am insanely excited to join the Rollands in ministry.

I feel led to share some of the verses He has been revealing to me during this time...read as many as you'd like (perhaps all), but I starred the ones, most impactful to me. I hope they might speak to you as you are seeking and defining His calling on your life and your place of ministry.
  • Phillipians 2:14-16 ***
  • James 1:27 ***
  • Proverbs 19:21
  • Romans 12:1 ***
  • Psalm 115:1
  • Isaiah 58:6-12
  • Proverbs 31:8-9
  • 2 Corinthians 4:6-12
  • Isaiah 52:7-8;12 ***
  • Genesis 12:1-3
  • Matthew 5:14-16 ***
  • Psalm 127:1-2 ***
  • Habakkuh 1:3-5 ***
  • Esther 4:14
  • Isaiah 54:2-3 ***
  • Revelations 3:7-8
  • John 21:15-17

Stay posted for upcoming prayer requests or ways you can join me in my ministry...