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.
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.
- 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
**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.
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)
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:
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!
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!
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
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.
Your love it beckons deeply, a call to come and die
"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
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.
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.
- 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...