26 October 2011

community and tears

It's 2:01am and of course I am blogging even though I have class tomorrow at 8:30.  This week we started a new section called 'Dynamic Teams' and the people from Chickle-fa or more commonly known as Chick-fil-A are coming to do some team building activities.  I know it sounds fun and all but hear me out....they aren't even bringing food!  How can you expect me to live out in the boonies and not be upset when my favorite restaurant is coming to me!  I mean so cruel.  My time with Chick-fil-A is limited before  I won't be able to eat it for 2 years....now that is sad.
  (so today ended up being so much fun and the people were pretty cool so naturally i had to forgive them for not bringing food. maybe i'll get chick-fil-a soon. maybe.)

I'm pretty sure I have cried more this week than I have in a very long time.  It's okay to be emotional every once in awhile right?  A couple of things of significant sadness were happening and then sometimes  I just have to have a good cry for no good reason.  I really had to wrestle with God last week because several of my friends family were done with training and leaving me!  Now I realize that I did a whole section on Transitions and learning how to effectively handle transitions but not yet, not this soon!  I thought that was information for when I leave to go on the field.  I didn't realize I was going to have to be dealing with that right now.  So, God and I had a talk....'Why did you bring me here to training and form such close knit relationships only for them to be taken away so soon?'

Because he was teaching me transitions AND love AND his faithfulness AND a lot of other things.

If anything this experience has showed me how in a mere 7 weeks true community can be formed.  LOVE can be shown.  My heart can open up to people and develop deep bonds and family.  

So last weekend I had to say some of my first goodbyes.  Thankfully God is always good.  Even if I came here just for this community I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I learned so much from people's histories, stories, this community, moms and dads parenting their kids, families, and life.  God was so faithful to give me relationships that I never dreamed I would have made.  There is something so unique and special about living and fellowshipping with other believers who share your same passion and heart.  To share with those who have the same desire to follow Christ and be obedient to His commands is amazing. 

and who wouldn't BAWL their eyes out if they got this note with pictures of all the things we did together...

tears are streaming.

from this little cutie...

me and abbie.

and you were leaving these little precious moment eyes, who always comes to your apartment and asks "can I have a snack," like I am going to say no?  are you kidding?  I do not have that much self-control.

my little levi.

and to continue my crying...some of the girls and I drove down to Charlotte at 5am (eeek!) to run (if anyone knows me they know i don't ever run unless its to catch the ice cream man or something) walk in a 5k.  Our director here at CIT lost his daughter several years ago to cancer and this race was named in memory of her.  Afterwards, him and his lovely wife took us to the grave site of their daughter.  Tears begin flowing again.  For them to bring us there and share together with us about the life of their daughter meant the world to me.  After 7 short weeks to open up and be that vulnerable held a lot of meaning.  I felt special.  I felt loved to be sharing in that moment with them.  and all they could do was continue to praise the Lord for his FAITHFULNESS.  It was well with their soul. 

so I've come to the conclusion that it's okay that i cry.  it's good practice for me before I leave.  God is just preparing my little heart.

that is all...

04 October 2011


The past few weeks at CIT have gone by so fast!  This week is the last week of our first class, Equipping for Cross Culture Training, and next week will start, Second Language Acquisition.  I have been staying very busy going to class, doing homework, and writing a 15 pg. research paper.  But we have still managed to have some fun in the mean time.  Everyday the Lord is growing and stretching me in my faith.  I am so blessed by my time here and all the new relationships the Lord has given me.

here's a little of what's going on...

Our team leader in Thailand is back in the States on leave and came to visit us.  It was so good to get to talk with him and find out more about what we will be doing.

team Thailand.
Kristen, Ronnie (team leader), Walker, me

The classroom that I sit in for hours upon hours a day.  We like to keep things fun and interesting by having skits.  Who doesn't love a good 80s workout skit?

CIT classroom.


80s workout. yes, please!

and since we are out in the middle of nowhere we have to make our own fun. hence, slip-n-slide...

so fun.

my little friend, benny. 

levi and madeline.

yay, slip-n-slides.
 and we have already had several birthdays to celebrate...so I got to make cupcakes!

cuppy cakes.


levi and me.

11 September 2011

training - week one

Last Monday I arrived in the thriving metropolis very small town of Union Mills, NC to CIT (Center for Intercultural Training). CIT will be my home for the next 9 weeks until mid-Nov! This week has been full of learning, meeting new people, gushing emotions, and so much fun. First highlight of the week was that I got to meet my partner going with me to Thailand, Kristen Foster! We've been talking on the phone for a couple months so it was exciting to finally meet my roomie for the next 2 years.

One of the best things about CIT is the other amazing people here. Everyone stays on the grounds in an apartment so it is like living in a little community and I absolutely love it. Kristin and I share an apt. that leads out to a patio where everyone congregates and hangs out. The community aspect of CIT is so special. I have never felt at home with so many people I don't know. We make up 7 countries and 4 continents, praise the Lord! It is so exciting knowing that Christ's love will be spread literally all over the world because of these people. It has been the biggest blessing getting to share and open up with people who have been on the same road as you and have the same heart as you. I have learned and grown more in my spiritual walk in this past week than I have in some years of my life and this is just week one. I know the Lord is going to do more amazing things throughout the weeks to come.

This week in class we took both a personality and mind style test and evaluated the way we were and how we think. It was really interesting to really understand the way I am and the way I process thoughts in comparison to my team. It has been a blessing to understand where I am strong and to see the areas in which I am weak and need growth, and also the importance of understanding how I operate and where I would work best in a team setting.

On the weekends we don't have class so we were able to head out of town and do some exploring nearby. Our first stop was a county fair which brought back sweet memories of the SE Texas State Fair. I got great joy out of drinking a cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade and eating funnel cake - my staple fair foods. Saturday we went to Pisgah Forest to the Sliding Rocks. Basically it is a small slide-type waterfall which you can slide down into a pool of water below. Little did I know that it would be the coldest water I would ever feel in my life! It was bone-chilling. The slide was super fun but then you plunged completely into the water below and.....wow, it was freezing. It took me awhile to catch my breath once I came up for air. On Sunday we were encouraged to try out a church that was different then what we were used to in order to prepare us for what was to come in our culture. To our excitement, right down the road was an African Methodist Episcopal church. It was an extremely small church and you could definitely spot the visitors but nonetheless it was a great experience. It was really interesting to get out of my normal routine and see how others worship. I loved it!

So far week 1 has been amazing and I can't wait for week 2. I feel so blessed by the Lord for bringing me to this place and I am confident that this is exactly where he wants me.

snapshots of the week, enjoy....

my partner Kristin and me.

county fair.

part of the training group.

sliding rocks.

yes, i'm screaming because i'm about to experience the coldest water ever.

this guy got really creative.

amy & kristen.


union hill africa methodist episcopal zion church.

on the way to training...

Last week I said goodbye to Texas and headed to Cleveland, TN on route to my training in NC. It was so fun to spend the weekend with two of my best friends from Beaumont, Katherine & Brittany. I don't get to see them often so we had some good quality time catching up before I left! We took a day trip out to the Smoky Mountains, which were beautiful. Unfortunately it was raining most of the time but it was still great to see. Afterwards we headed to downtown Knoxville for Boomsday - apparently the biggest firework show in the US, or so I've been told. Seriously it was the most amazing fireworks all set to music and over a bridge in downtown. I loved it and did sequel several times out of excitement! Here are a few pics from the weekend....

Kafrin. Me. Brittany. Amanda.

seriously it looks like outer space.

waterfall fireworks from bridge.

love it.

smoky mountains.


really glad i wasn't riding a bike. scary.

08 August 2011


The past couple weeks have been non-stop and thankfully this week I will be in one place for more than a couple days. In the past month I've been to Galveston to Beaumont to Temple to Austin to Temple to Beaumont to Temple to College Station to Beaumont to Austin to Temple to Tyler and back to Temple. It's safe to say that I have been busy! This past month leaving my job and focusing full-time on support raising has been hard, humbling, encouraging, but awesome. God has proven so faithful in every aspect and really given me a lot of favor. I am so blessed by those who are willing to sacrifice what they have in order to support me for the next two years. Although it has been hard at times and tedious and uncomfortable I know that it is worth it in the end as I so desperately long to be in Thailand.

The best part has been the quality time I've gotten to spend with people I don't often see. Since my love language is quality time I have felt so loved and blessed with great times of fellowship and encouragement from my friends and family.

A couple weeks ago I got the opportunity to meet up with Clay & Megan Sandoz who are also missionaries with UWM...and they are pretty awesome. They served in Belgium for 2 years and are getting ready to leave for Prague long-term. We also just so happened to all be at A&M at the same time! We had a great time sharing stories and it was awesome to get to listen to their experiences over their time served. They even visited the Thailand team I will be joining and went on and on about what an amazing team they were. Little do they know now that we are great friends I get to come visit them in Prague! Get excited...

It is crazy to think that in less than a month I will be headed to training. Today I started to clean out and packing a few boxes. Sad day. I am definitely going to miss all the sweet time I have shared with Josh, Shannon, Audrey, Clarky, Alex, and Elle Belle. It has been the most fun and I am dreading the day when I leave all my babies behind to come back and find that they are such big kids. As in the words of Audrey "I will cry my balls out." She definitely meant to say "Bawl my eyes out." That's why I love that kid.

Anyway, I will leave with some quick highlights of the past month...

elly belly's 1st birthday

father's day. seriously, how cute is this?


what a great dad.

alex. turned 2 in July.

love this little cutie, eleni.

other brother quality time.

elle & bethers. unfortunately she has inherited her dad's facial expressions.

highlight of my life. watching the aunts dance with the kinect.

annual crawfish boil


some very important ladies in my life. grandma + mom + all the aunts.

HP7P2. Yes, I did love it. Yes, I did ask the guy the concession stand if I could have a butterbeer. Yes, I did ask the ticket guy if he would take a picture. And yes, he said NO!

finally got to go see Chels at camp. miss my bestie. and I got to go to Canton so I can cross that off the bucket list in my head.

reunited with the bigs.

18 July 2011

through the gates

I'm currently reading Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot and my mind is filled with so many emotions. Joy. Fear. Anxiety. Passion. Excitement. Delight. Reverence. Sadness. I know I am a little late in reading this but I really felt that it was important to read from those who sacrificed their lives sharing the gospel. Reading the stories of their missionary journeys is so encouraging to me. God really does take normal people like myself and is able to work through them to do amazing things for His glory. The excerpts Elisabeth shares from her husband's, Jim, journals are beyond words. His words are filled with so much wisdom and eloquence and true passion and love for Christ.

Only the love of Christ could move a man into an area where he knew that it was a strong possibility that he would be killed. He truly understood what it meant to love Christ and he was going to do whatever it took to share it. How I long for that to be me. How I long for my heart to be like his. How I long to be that passionate about my God that nothing could ever hinder my pursuit of Him. How I long to have the love of Christ wipe away all my fear and all my fleshly desires. Lord I pray that I would love you like this.

"I only hope that He will let me preach to those who have never heard that name Jesus. What else is worthwhile in this life? I have heard of nothing better, 'Lord send me!' " Jim Elliot

Any other reading suggestions?

27 June 2011

new beginnings...

so for those of you who haven't heard I'm moving to...

Bangkok, Thailand

For the next 2 years I will be living in Bangkok and ministering and evangelizing among university students. I will be going with United World Mission (UWM) and partnering with long-term missionaries already on the field. This past month has been a whirlwind but I am so excited for this next stage of life. This is something that has been on my heart for about a year and through a lot of prayer it has finally come to fruition. It is definitely not where I thought I would be but God has proved more than faithful in this journey. He has been speaking to my heart and giving me a lot of wisdom and insight into His will for my life.

For some of you this may come as a shock. I mean I am not a missionary. I am not capable. I am not equipped. I never even wanted to be a missionary. But I am willing. Its funny what God does when you are actively seeking Him and are finally obedient to His calling. I could have never in my wildest dreams even imagined I would be doing this a mere 2 years ago, but God is faithful. He has changed my desires to become more like His own and He has completely broken me. I couldn't be more excited about this new journey in my life.

After taking Perspectives about a year ago, I was broken over my personal walk and how I had failed to do the exact thing that God commanded me to do.

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

I finally saw how the entire Bible from beginning to end was God's story of redeeming all people for His glory. My walk of faith had always been so selfish and my eyes were so fixated on me that I was blinded to my purpose on Earth. By the grace of God I came to the realization that the purpose of my life on Earth is to glorify God and share His gift with everyone around me. Everything else was inconsequential. In all honesty I didn't have time to do that because I was so obsessed with myself.

I grew up thinking that people were "called" to missions but now I know that is such a cop-out. Where in the Bible does it ever say that only certain people are supposed to go make disciples? We as Christians have done ourselves a disfavor by creating our own Bible based on the things we want to believe and ignoring the hard things. We choose to believe only the things we want. We are not "called" to missions, we are "commanded' to make disciples. It is not optional. Why else would God leave us here on this Earth after we came to know Him? If we weren't supposed to spread the good news then we would have been taken immediately to Heaven upon believing.

The best thing about being commanded to make disciples is that everyone plays a unique role. Not everyone has to go. Some have to stay. Some have to give. Some have to pray. Some have to mobilize. Some have to send. There is a place for everybody but we must all play a part. Where do you fit in?

Coming to this realization I was convicted as to what part I was playing. I had this gift of knowing the one true God who loves like no other and I was hoarding it. I was depriving people of knowing God and experiencing the true life that comes with it. Did I not love people enough to want to share this God? There were people who had never heard the name of Jesus. People, unlike Americans, who were persecuted for speaking of Jesus. People who would never be able to know the limitless love of God because no one cared enough to tell them. Wow. Was I so selfish in that everything in my life was more important that this?

Then I found out some stats. Even if every Christian talked to every single person they came in contact with about Christ and then every one of those people believed, there would still be 1/3 of the world who was lost. Those 2 billion people would never come in contact with Christians therefore would never hear unless someone went and told them. They are unreached. As of now only 10% of our missionaries are amongst these 2 billion unreached. Even more shocking is that only 1% of money that comes through the church is given to unreached missions. 10% of missionaries and 1% of funds to the unreached. I was broken when I heard that. I was burdened by the way I spend "my" money and how my spirit can be so unwillingly to give. My heart was broken knowing that we as Christians are not doing a very good job at reaching the unreached. Why? Because its hard. But we are blessed to know Christ so nothing could ever be to hard for us!

"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15

So where did I fit in? I knew the part He was calling me to was to "GO". He didn't want me to stay. I had to make a decision in my life. I was at a crossroads and had to decide whether I was going to obey God's commandment or live for myself. God was at work and I was desperate to be a part of it. I knew that this could change the rest of my life. I kept imagining myself sitting at the throne of God and being able to say that I played a role in reaching every tribe and every tongue for His glory. After much prayer and relenting of my will, I am going. There is no greater peace or joy than knowing you are doing exactly what God wants you to do.

Don't get me wrong I'm scared and nervous and every other emotion in between.
But if God can take my selfish heart, love me unconditionally, and change it to be more like His then He is able to use my life for His glory.

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"faith without deeds is dead"

01 February 2011

Happy Birthday Audrey!

Happy Birthday LilA! My adorable little niece turns 6 today. I can't believe it has been so long. We constantly tell her she has to stop growing immediately. She is so incredibly smart, loving, a caretaker, and super fun. We love to have spontaneous dance parties and read books together. Every day is a blessing with her around.

here's some of the latest pics I've taken of her...

Hope you have a fabulous birthday little girl! Love you lots.

love, Fer Fer