Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pre-Trip Thoughts

سلام لكم في هذا اليوم
I have three days until I leave my hometown and head for Los Angeles. At 1:00 on Tuesday, I will climb into a plane and not see my hometown and my family for a month. Kind of scary to think about, really.

My mom refuses to talk about it. She's not as thrilled as I am, obviously. I think she's afraid something terrible will happen to me. Or something. Last year, when I went to Zambia, I was with people we knew, people from our church. This time, I'm basically giving my life over into the hands of complete strangers who I don't know from Adam. Apparently, that scares my mom. I guess I can see why... :P

But I get to visit Cassie of Inside My Mind! We've been penpals for quite awhile now, have talked on the phone a few times, and I'm pretty certain we're both pumped about getting to see each other. I think I already mentioned this. Oh well. It's going to be epic. The epitome of awesomeness. (Also, for even more epic fun, we're going to have a call with Mirriam at Thoughts of a Shieldmaiden!! Yes. Be afraid. All three of us, all together, even if just over the phone = world domination. Bwahahaha...))

We have an awesome few days (kind of) planned out, and I can't wait! After that, I'll be heading to LAX once again, this time to meet up with the rest of my team. In six days, I'll be heading out for China! I'm fully funded, I'm ready to go, and...well, it's been an absolutely crazy, but also immensely amazing, journey to get here.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is - Congrats! In just three days, you won't have to listen to me spaz out about money problems, China stuff, or anything else!

Until I get back. And then I'll flood your dashboards with posts about the amazingness that is China. You have been forewarned.


Friday, June 17, 2011

A Wonderful Nine Days

سلام لكم في هذا اليوم

^Two of the most epic songs ever. Particularly the first one. Just so you know. Though the second one is beautiful, too. What makes these songs so important, you ask? Well, they were two worship songs that were sung at CYIA 2011 in my area!! Yup. Pretty awesome. CYIA started on the 8th, and I just got home a few hours ago. The time practically flew by. Okay, it literally flew by.

Okay, so cool stories behind these photos. The top one is myself with two of three Chinese students who came to CYIA this year! I couldn't nab Jacob, or I would have gotten one with him, too. He and Joan (the one on the right in the top pic) are getting married! Yes, all three of them were native Chinese, which is crazily coincidental. Sort of. It's really because my God is just that awesome.

Anyway. Linda and I (the Chinese girl I'm with in the bottom pic) were teammates for the 5-Day Club we did, which was pretty epic. She helped me with some Chinese, and made me feel really special and smart. :D So, let me tell you about our club!

On Monday we showed up and it was pretty obvious that most of them did not want to be there. Basically, the daycare we were at was forcing them to attend. They came in with their minds up - our program was going to be stupid and they weren't going to enjoy it. Needless to say, the first day was pretty bad. One boy in particular - his name was Ethan - was really bad, and dragged a couple of the other boys along with him in his misbehavior. By the end of club, I was at the end of my rope and ready to...well, slap a couple children. Thankfully, my teammate is more level-headed than I, and managed to get me calmed down.

The next day, there was quite an improvement, maybe because they expected us. We revised a couple of the things we had done wrong the day before and made it better. They enjoyed themselves, and asked if we were coming back the next day. Ethan, however, still stubbornly refused to be impressed. The third day I taught the Bible lesson and a girl came back for counseling. Well, two girls. The first one had a very sad home life and I was practically crying as she told me what she wanted me to pray for. I prayed with her, and then the other little girl came back.

She wanted me to tell her how to believe in Jesus. Now, mind you, this girl had been asking me all throughout club if it was time for the missionary story. She really, really wanted to hear this missions story. So she deliberately left missions time - and, in consequence, hearing the missions story for that day - to come talk to me about this. I took her through the wordless book and the Bible verses, telling her how Jesus Christ came to forgive her of her sins, and how she could receive this wonderful, unbelievable gift. At the end, she prayed to receive Jesus Christ. Before this week, I had never taken a kid all the way through to the end of the wordless book, mostly because most of those I'd done it with hadn't been ready. Christabelle was different, and she received Jesus Christ!

The next day, my teammate Linda did the Bible lesson, and Ethan (who behaved rather badly this day, too, until after this episode), went back for counseling, dragging another of the little boys along with him while I taught the missionary story. He also prayed that day, and we saw quite an improvement in his behavior. The next day, which was sadly our last (and was also feels like ages ago), he was quiet. He didn't complain when I chose somebody else to come up and help me. He played nicely. And he didn't act as if being there was a great burden. He lingered behind to talk to us, and gave Linda a hug, I believe.

Jesus works miracles.

So yes. In between all that there was much studying and some drama and lots and lots of classroom time where we were told many things at a fast rate. But CYIA is amazing. And I hope I'll get to go back next year, even if it's only for a little bit. :D

On another note, in 11 days I depart for LA (to visit Cassie!!!) and then two days after that, I leave for China!! Am I excited? Oh yes. :D


Wednesday, June 8, 2011


سلام لكم في هذا اليوم
Not for China...yet! (Speaking of which, I only need $262!!! It makes me very happy. :)) ) This evening, I'll be heading to a campground outside of town for Christian Youth In Action (CYIA), the most awesome training camp for teenagers evah. For nine days, I'll get to sit around with a bunch of insane people and learn how to tell kiddos about Jesus!

So yes, this is just a notice that I will be leaving. I'll be back with pictures and (hopefully) a post come the 18th or so, and then eleven days afterwards I'll be leaving for LA and eventually, China!!! :)))


Monday, June 6, 2011

Jesus Loves Me. And Tells Me Things

سلام لكم في هذا اليوم
Heh, you like the title? I'm rather fond of it. It has very little relation to this post, but hopefully at one point, it'll actually make sense. This post is basically going to be one of those rambling ones that just talk about my life (which you don't really care about), and contains almost zero actual content (that you do care about). But bear with me. I promise I'll have something more interesting up soon. Even if it's in two months, when I tell you about the awesomeness that was my China trip.

Anywho. What's been going on in my life lately?

I got a $1,000 donation for my China trip, which made me very happy...I also got another $50 check this week, which means I'm that much closer to my goal. I just have to wait for grandparents and the like to decide if they're actually going to give me funds, and then I'll be able to send in the remainder of what I have. (I don't particularly want to end up with a surplus in my GE missionary account, in case you were wondering. And why?)

Next year my youth group is taking a trip to Romania for missions! Yeah, pretty epic.

And the weird part? For the past...oh, three months, I've wanted to go to Romania.

Seriously. I'm not joking. Ask my mom. I mentioned it to her maybe a month and a half ago. I had no idea why, but we discussed maybe getting in touch with some missionaries we know in Romania and trying to work something out where I could go stay with them for a few weeks. And here, my youth group is taking a trip to Romania! Yes, Jesus tells me things. I don't know why. But I think it was Jesus. :P

In other news, our bathroom is getting closer to completion! It now looks like a boarded-in train wreck, and not just an ordinary train wreck.

There is currently no toilet, which is just a tad annoying, but we'll hopefully have some tile up and a toilet in by tomorrow. Hopefully. In the meantime, we're going to spend as much time elsewhere in town (where there is a toilet) as possible.

But anywho. You didn't really want to know that. Please pray for us. And for my dad. That he'll be able to get it done. XD


Thursday, June 2, 2011


Jehovah-jireh (יְהוָה יִרְאֶה) is a name that occurs in Genesis 22. It is, in fact, the name of the place where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac in accordance with God's command...before God, of course, supplied a ram, giving a type of Christ. But anywho. I'm not talking about Abraham today. I just like the words Jehovah-jireh, not least because they sound supermegaawesome.

You see, Jehovah-jireh means "The Lord Will Provide", or something loosely along those lines. That's what the center reference dealie in my Bible says it means, so we'll go with that.

You will probably remember that, just yesterday, I was moaning and groaning about how much money I still have to raise. I ended that post proclaiming that $1100 was nothing to my God, and that I would, in keeping with a very beautiful song, "bow the knee" and give it to the Lord.

Did that.

I log on tonight to see my GE missionary account, in the rather melancholy way I've been doing it recently - log in, sighing, since I'm pretty sure it's not going to have been increased by much, and then quickly click off once I check the day countdown and my current balance. As I've mentioned, that hadn't changed much in the past week.

So, imagine my surprise - nay, my shock! - when I logged on this evening to discover that, wonder of wonders, I only lacked $413 in my missionary account.

I think it took me a minute to comprehend this change. At least, I'm pretty sure I sat there for a solid ten seconds before the praise music started in my head (only in my head, though. I didn't want to scare my dad. He's a bit jumpy). Turns out that somebody I don't even really know - he friended me on Facebook to partake in a political debate. Long story - had given me $1,000.

Yeah, you read that right.


So basically, I only lack roughly $113 total, if I were to put that $300 in my bank account in my actual missionary account.

Is my God awesome?

You bet.

29 days. $1100. Oh yeah. My God totally has this.

In other news, please pray for me. You see, I am without a bathroom. My mom carted the kids off to Oklahoma City for a weekend, and I stayed behind to help with CYIA preparations (today), and also to keep my dad company. I thought they'd be coming back tomorrow. I have just been informed that, since the toilet is in pretty bad shape, and won't be in 'til tomorrow or Saturday, and the tile won't be in 'till Sunday, they're staying away 'till Sunday. I mean, not that I mind the quiet. The quiet's awesome. It's just that the quiet can also be creepy, and I don't have a toilet.

So yes. My God's great, even though my bathroom's broken. Peace.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

God, You Know What You're Doing, But...

سلام لكم في هذا اليوم
That's pretty much what I've been saying for the past week. This probably, once again, demonstrates an incredible lack of faith on my part. I'm sorry, God. It's just...yeah.

After a week of only getting $100 in direct trip donations, and having two prospective fundraisers fall through, I've kind of gotten discouraged. I sit here wondering what God's doing, what he's trying to prove to me. I'm not quite sure what I should think. It almost seems like he's done a complete 180 on provision.

In the beginning, things seemed to be going quite well. Donations rolled in nearly every week, including one $1,000 donation that made me quite deliriously happy, to the point of dancing through the house and nearly killing a cat. I held a bake sale which made $300 more than what everyone said I would make ($200), effectively proving that you shouldn't tell God what he can do.

But now...I don't know. I suppose I'm just disappointed that miracles don't happen on my schedule. And this is my ranting, whiny blog post to tell you about it.

Of course, then there was tonight, when I was practicing with our church's choir. We're going to be singing "Bow the Knee" in a couple weeks (and amidst my summer activities, I'll probably miss singing it, which makes me sad). This is the first verse and chorus of that phenomenal song:

There are moments on our journey following the Lord
Where God illumines ev’ry step we take.
There are times when circumstances make perfect sense to us,
As we try to understand each move He makes.
When the path grows dim and our questions have no answers, turn to Him.

Bow the knee;
Trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee;
Lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of the King, bow the knee.

And I suppose that's my answer from God. That no matter what, he's got it under control. So I need to just pray and trust him, wait for him to work some miracle in the next 29 days wherein I'm not going to have time to do another proper fundraiser. To trust him to do something nearly every human on the planet would say is impossible.

Because my God is, in many ways, an impossible God. And I love him for it.

29 days. $1100. Oh yeah, my God's got this.