It was nearly a year ago when I hopped on a plane across the Pacific Ocean on a journey that would change my life. Next week, I get on a plane and head back to join Youth With A Mission for a second year, but this time as a staff member. Goodness gracious, my heart is overflowing with joy. As I enter into "full-time ministry". I thought I would write about my lifelong journey of missions, and how I became a "missionary".
My road with Missions: I grew up in a church were missions was a significant ministry among the congregation. There were always opportunities to travel to foreign countries with medical teams, and I spent many Spring Breaks going on mission trips with the youth group. My mom was what I like to call a "photographic missionary". She would go with teams and document the ministry that was being walked out in those countries. My house was always decorated with black and white portraits of starving children in Nicaragua, or lines of elderly women waiting for medical attention in Honduras. I was introduced to the needs of the world at a very early age.
Fast forward to 2010: I completed my Discipleship Training School in September 2010. I spent 3 months being trained up and discipled to ready me to be sent into the nations. From there I went into the closed nation of Cambodia. After 12 weeks, our team saw over 70 salvations, 50 some healings, a church planted in an unreached village, and a bible study grow from 3 non-believers, to 14 disciples. Oh, and the dead raised. All in a country where it is illegal to preach the Gospel. The Lord wanted to move in that nation so badly, and we just happened to be His hands and feet at the time.
After seeing the Lord work in such miraculous ways, I knew my heart would never be the same. A deep passion for the lost arose in me, and I committed my life to seeing His Kingdom come on Earth. Because, once you have tasted and seen, there "ain't" no going back. Isn't that how the verse goes? :)
And so, my next journey begins. As a staff at the University of the Nations (Youth With A Mission) I will be participating in the exact same Discipleship Training school I just completed, but this time as a member on staff. I will be walking closely with the students during their lecture phase; having one-on-one's with girls, and processing with them on how the Lord is working in their lives. During that time I will always be leading 2 hour worship sets with my school leader, Aaron Barker, in the school's prayer room. These sets USUALLY end up with jumping and dancing around, praising the Lord for His goodness!!
During all this time, I will be planning the 3 month Outreach that I will be leading starting at the end of June. I have sought the Lord, and feel very confident about leading a team to Los Angeles. I have felt called to this city since I was a little girl, and am so excited to start walking out the calling He has on my life. More updates to come on the minstries we will be working with while in that city. BUT, I am confident the Lord is going to work through my students in bringing the love of message of Jesus into L.A.
I appreciate all the prayers and encouraging words from all of my friends and family. I have never felt more at peace as to what I am supposed to do with my life :) I am so confident in what the Lord will be doing in this next season of life, and am so excited to continue sharing with you all.
Found this blog post in my computer from 3 months ago in Cambodia. Whoops, forgot to upload.
Last week of Outreach
In less than a week I will begin my travels back to the States. I know it would be cliche to start the next sentence with "time has flown by" or "I cannot believe it is already over", but that is truly how I feel. I feel like I blinked and 11 weeks went by. So, get ready America. Here I come.
Looking back on the 3 months being here I decided the best way to recap was to make a "top 10 things" list. Except, I have about 30 "tops" so it might be quite long. It will include my favorite memories, favorite things, favorite people. There will probably be no rhyme or reason to it, but when do my blogs ever have rhyme or reason? So, here goes nothing...
TOP THINGS I HAVE LOVED/STILL DO LOVE ABOUT OUTREACH: 1. Getting the opportunity to preach the Gospel and then leading a corporate salvation prayer for 10 Khmer. Oh, did I mention this was the week of my 21st birthday? Epic birthday party on Earth AND in Heaven. The Khmer were so open and ready to hear about the name of Jesus, and then commit their lives to Him. I think after 11 weeks, we saw over 70 Khmer give their lives to the Lord.
2. Spending my 21st birthday in Cambodia. First off, who the heck does that? It started with banana pancakes in the morning (I knew right then it would be a good day), and then the girls on my team took me to get a manicure. There is a ministry in Battambang that rescues girls from sex trafficking and they all live in a house together. They learn the trade of cosmetology, which gives them jobs and let's them live in a safe community where they can learn about the love of Jesus. The girls were incredible and it was such a blessing to spend my birthday with them. Later in the day, they brought me red roses to my house. Tears were definitely shed. As if the day could not get better, my students at the University threw a surprise birthday party in my English class. It was so precious to see how excited they were to bless me with a cake and presents, not to mention, incredible fellowship. Now, I know this doesn't exactly follow the traditional 21st birthday celebration that occurs in America, but I have never been one to follow tradition :)
3. All of my English students. We have become such a little family, have become so open with one another, and we goof around together. Friday is going to be such a hard day saying goodbye.
4. Driving a tuk-tuk. I FINALLY got the courage up to ask if I could drive it, and let me just say my next big purchase in the states will be this fine crafted automobile.
5.Watching all of my students graduate. We had a graduation ceremony and everyone dressed up and brought their families. I couldn't be a more proud mama. They are going to go change a lost world. I believe it.
6. Teaching at the village. Yes, sometimes I would complain about the 110 degree heat, and the steel roof over my head that made it even hotter. Sometimes my gag reflex would go up because of the cuts on my kids feet that I had to bandage up, since there is no doctor or hospital. Sometimes I felt extremely uncomfortable eating the food that was offered to me at the local houses (it is disrespectful to say no). Even with all that said, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the village. I love the smell of the rain there. I love the feel of the dirt road as the tuk-tuk drives us into the jungle. I love the sound my kids yelling "HELLO!! HELLO!" when we drive up. I will miss this place.
7. My classroom at the University. I changed my curriculum everyday to fit my "teaching style". Goodbye to boring note taking, and hello to Kellye singing to the class, and having my students dictate every word I sing. What? It teaches them to listen and write even better. And, I get to practice my singing. Both parties win.
8. Receiving flowers every day when class starts. My little girls will pick flowers and make headbands, bracelets, and bouquets everyday before class. My future husband needs to take note.
9. Becoming best friends with the most beautiful woman I know, Kelli Thomas. We have shared a twin size bed for the past 3 months so it was inevitable we became close. We have been through so much, clung to Jesus, and to each other. I am so blessed to have met her on this incredible journey. (cue the tears)
10. Praying for the sick!!! (NOW, know this list of top 10 is really not in order, because praying for the sick was my favorite). Kelli and I would sprint around the market and look for people in casts and wheelchairs. Sure, they had no idea what we were praying over them, but that just made it less nerve-wrecking to call upon the fire of God to fall and heal them. It's what He told us to do: "heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead". THEN, we get to testify of WHO He is, and lead people into relationship with Him.