Friday, May 8, 2015

But first...NYC Mission!

While I'm already looking ahead toward Armenia, making plans, etc., I don't want to neglect my first mission trip of 2015 which is happening TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY! It seems like just yesterday I was signing up to go...never even knowing what was really ahead of me. I, along with my best friend and two others who have become dear friends in a very short amount of time, will be traveling to New York City.

Our NYC Mission Team

While we are there we will be working with Graffitt 3 Ministries, an inner city church located in Brooklyn. I'm not 100% sure what we will be doing right now, but I know it's going to be great!

The process between signing up and our going has been quite interesting. Just a small glimpse of our lives from March to now:

 - Ashley had a stress fracture in her foot.
 - My dad was hospitalized for chest pains, was told he'd had a heart attack, they did a heart cath, and placed a stint. Found out later the artery that was clogged is called "The Widow Maker".
 - Lisa found out that she was most likely going to lose her job in the coming months.
 - Renae turned her life upside down and decided to purge & move.

If I truly tried to list out all of the things that we've faced over the last few months, it would appear to be a laundry list of complaints or negative things...however, I believe that each thing we've faced has just increased our faith! This trip has already been an amazing journey and we haven't even left.

The more amazing part? Our trip has been OVER funded! Less than a month after we formed our team, we were fully funded...and other contributions have continued to come in.

I KNOW that God wants us to go...and I KNOW that he's going to do some amazing stuff.

Please keep our team in your prayers over these next two weeks. I know that anxiety is going to increase, life will seemingly "get in the way", and we will encounter other obstacles. But I also know that God is going to richly bless us through this trip as well!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Go! (aka Get out of the boat)

Initial disclaimer: I created this blog it appears about 5 years ago. Sometimes I blogged a lot...sometimes not very much at all. I don't plan to go back and delete posts...some of them are silly...some are personal reflections...some are deeply personal things that I put out here with no thought of "real life" people finding. Just know that what is here is all me...some parts that maybe I didn't want to show everyone...but I'm ok with it now. That being said...feel free to poke around...see what you can see. From this point forward, this blog will become an online journal of sorts. Because you see...there are some big things on the horizon for me. :)

I am not generally one to put a vague Facebook post out fact, if you know me at all, you know that this is truly one of my pet peeves. However, yesterday...I committed the Facebook cardinal sin and posted a vague status -
"When God says "go"...its best to just go...stay tuned...big things ahead!"
I know that some people were VERY curious...because they commented! And it's not that I didn't want to share the BIG things ahead, but I needed to do so with much more explanation. Because the where I'm going is important, but to me the how I got to where I am now is even more important. So, I figured the best way to truly let everyone in on what's going on was to post part of an e-mail that I sent to Ashley (my BFF) on Friday (slightly edited...because I have a tendency to ramble).

So…a little over a year ago (which I know thanks to the glory of TimeHop) I really began to feel like God was calling me to "something". I know that sounds vague, but I really wasn't sure at the time what He had in mind…just felt a calling, if you will. I know that it was about a year ago because it was when we started learning Oceans…the words…oh my word. If you really think through and really MEAN the words of that song…well, you know. J

Fast forward almost a year to our last Youth Leaders meeting. Now…this leaders meeting has nothing to do with anything other than a marker of time…just so you know. When I left & went home, I just felt heavy/burdened/what have you. I was still doing my quiet time in the evenings…and we were right in the middle of our Bible Study. I *think* the lesson that night was on God's plan for your life. And I lost it. I cried…I SOBBED and just really cried out to God…please let me know what you want with my life. Sometimes, I feel like my life is stagnant. I know in reality it's not…but it feels that way sometimes. Like I'm always waiting for something to actually happen. I began praying that God would reveal His plan. That I would want to do what He wanted. I confessed that this scared me but in that good way of I can't even imagine what God wants to do…and fully surrendering…sometimes it's a little scary. I mean, you know that He's got you…but you know if you really surrender, God will take you where you never thought you'd go.

Literally a week after this…NYC happens. I don't have to tell you about all of that…you've seen it unfold before your very eyes.

On Wednesday night, Renae comes up to me and says there's another opportunity to go to NYC that I'm praying about…it's in August. A whole week. The trip starts the weekend that Dylan moves back to Wake…so I don't think I can do it. BUT…here's where things get interesting. ;)

The August trip is being offered by the NC WMU (our other trip is through the national WMU).  I've been bouncing since NYC on the NC Baptist website to see other opportunities. As Bill mentioned the other night, the NC Baptists have their own women's ministry since WMU broke away from SBC as their own entity (I mean really…can't we all just be friends???) called Embrace and they have a trip in the fall like the one we are doing to NYC but it's to Boston. So…yesterday I decide to look & see what the NC WMU has…and get this…they have a trip to Armenia. What?!?!?!? That little country that Andrew's grandparents are from…from which his great-grandparents immigrated.

So, I emailed the lady. The do a "retreat" at the seminary for women - they have 2 groups that come. They teach them how to minister to the other women & children. It's all basic because most of the women haven't grown up in church. This will be their 3rd trip. They have 3 people committed to go and need 3-4 more. They will be teaching, doing worship, and doing crafts with the ladies.

I'm seriously thinking about it.

And I'm scared, for sure. I mean…it's on the other side of Turkey. Right under Georgia. The country.

But, woah…what in the world?

So…this is where I'm at…and I need some serious prayer help. I'm praying really hard that God will let me know what I should do. This is HUGE. BIG. I can't even believe how BIG this is. 
Yesterday...I committed to this trip. I will be heading to Armenia in September. You cannot even imagine all of the different emotions I've been rolling through since I saw this opportunity...excitement, anxiety, name it. I'm feeling it. I've never been outside of the country...and I'll be going half way around the world.

But, I'm so sure that this what God wants from me and for me.

I shared with someone yesterday that this is truly a "get out of the boat" trip. Committing to the NYC Mission trip I'm going on in May...that was a no-brainer. I knew as soon as I got the e-mail that I would be doing that trip.

But this is HUGE. I have to get my passport - ASAP - so I can officially join the "team". I have to raise funds. I am joining a team that I don't even know if I will know one other person.

And I'm scared. Armenia itself seems to be a fairly stable country...but it's right in the middle of a whole bunch of countries that aren't stable.

So, I'm going. Because God said "go".

I would appreciate your prayers as I prepare for this trip, as well as the NYC Mission trip in May. I know that God is going to do great things with both of these trips. I look forward to seeing how God is going to provide, grow me, and stretch me with this Armenia trip.

Stay tuned...more to come...