Saturday, August 31, 2013

2nd Sabbath in Peru

Happy Sabbath and Felice Sabado. Today we had an interesting church service at Kilometer 13. We had about 50 people, but out of our team of 4 leading the service, Kaity got sick. It was difficult leading the song services and trying to organize Spanish games for the little kids. I also shared my mission testimony with the adults during Sabbath school. My friends at Kilometer 13 are going to start working on coming up with fun Spanish songs for the kids, crafts, and easy games so if you have any ideas please message me. Here are a few pictures I didn't have time to upload earlier reflecting from this past week.

Please pray for us missionaries here at AMOR because many of us are getting sick with colds and flus or getting quite nauseous.

Here is me giving my first shot in the but.

Here are my friends Lisa and Seth with the children at Sabbath School at Kilometer 13.
The children outside our clinic peeking through our Amor Project fence.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Just like Jesus

Ephesians 5:22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

I'm doing many things in Peru that are uncomfortable. Giving shots, learning medical procedures, leading worship talks, speaking Spanish, and sharing my testimony to the Peruvian people. Sometimes I feel like these things are in utmost contrast to my natural character- timid and afraid of needles and the clinical setting. But that's the beautiful thing about being here- Christ is changing me and teaching me so much. When we trust God with our fears and doubts, God not only blesses us but He changes our hearts as well. When we let God do His will and show us things that hurt us or scare us, it opens up a new door through which Christ can use us and it strengthens our faith in Him.

It's my desire that He makes my journey here uncomfortable at times so that I can grow with Him and trust Him more. When He asks me jump or walk on water, He is always by my side. He will not let me drown or give me more than I can handle. Are you letting God make your life in uncomfortable so that He can live in you more?

I want Christ to change my heart. I want Him to break my heart for the things that break His. I want Him to give me His eyes so I can see the people here like He sees them.--I've only been here a little over a week and already I have realized how selfish and shallow my desires often are. I think so much of myself and so little about others and Christ. The people here are truly teaching me how to care and how to walk humbly with God. The Adventists here are so devoted to Christ and His ministry with the church. It's very inspiring. God is slowly beginning to open my eyes so that I can see like Jesus.

In the clinic:

"I need your hurt; I need your pain. It's not love any other way..." Tenth Avenue North
"I want to know who you are, even if your falling apart.
Reach in and touch your scars.
All your shame you kept inside your heart."

It's easy to love in the clinic, especially when you are giving shots, because you see people when they are in broken and in need. I understand the pain the people are going through and I know how badly it hurts. Therefore, because I see and have felt their pain, I am in the best position to comfort and understand the patient. Today I gave my first 5 shots to patients. It was scary at first but when I give a shot, I don't think about it. I make myself do it because I know it's best for the person and will help them eventually. I guess I'm learning that sometimes you have to hurt someone in order to make them better and true love is doing the best thing for someone even when it hurts you.

It gives me just a little idea of how Christ must feel when He is working in us and has to break us apart or hurt us before He can remake us. I feel so bad for the patient who I am giving the shot too but I understand why they need the shot, therefore I focus on giving the shot and not them, when I have to give it. I think that God feels the same way about us because He loves us so much. When He has to do things that break our heart, I think it hurts Him more than it hurts us. It's similar to the feeling when I have to give shots in the clinic, especially to children. It's difficult and hard- but it reminds me of Christ's love for us. He loves us enough to always choose what's best for us.

Evangelism day

Today we traveled around to the different churches to which we student missionaries will be evangelizing at. Everything is in kilometers here in Pucallpa. For example, we are leading churches at Kilometer 13 (my church), Kilometer 15 (more in the jungle), and Kilometer 40.

We spent about 3 hours at Kilometer 15 and though it was super hot, it was tons of fun. First we walked around the jungle village to community houses introducing ourselves to the local villagers. One lady was so sweet. She invited us insider her house and told us we could have her coconuts whenever we wanted. Then she told us she would come to church because she wanted to know us better. Isn't that special? When we were done inviting people to come to our church on Saturday, we went back to the church to do some work and fix it up. For me, doing work consisted of entertaining about 13 jungle children and babies that came just to say hi and see what we were doing. It was so much fun. So many of these poor little children were just covered in crusted dirt. I held tons of little kids and swung them around in the air. They were precious little kids. We also played Simon Says, Red light green light, and Ring around the rosie. When it came time to say goodbye, the little children were so sad. They hugged us all and slowly walked back to their jungle houses...

Tonight my group which consists of my friends Kaity, Molly, John, and Michael went to Kilometer 13 to plan our church service for Saturday. Basically we were all slightly overwhelmed and shocked because church for the people here is literally a full day affair. Sabbath school and church goes from 9-12 am and then at 3 pm we are meeting to plan the 4pm youth service and then evening activities. Surprisingly though, the church planning program with 3 of the people from the church here went really well. It just makes me realize how true the cliché saying is: that you go as a missionary and realize that these people are the real missionaries to you.

The SDA people are just so genuine- such beautiful people inside and out. They're so giving, so generous, and so committed. They just want to spend as much time as possible with Christ and spreading His name. They are so unselfish. It just really touched me. I mean, here we are us so called missionaries wanting to lead with church- but inside in our hearts we are like "do we have to go to church almost all Saturday? What about our sleep?" And here are these people just so eager to spend as much time with possible with their God. I'm just like Wow. These people are definitely changing my lives already and that makes me so happy. God is definitely working here.

P.S. Tomorrow is a clinical day and the doctor said my friend Kaity and I will be giving shots! Please pray that we do well, stay safe, and show God's love to the people we're touching.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Una semana : Te amo Peru

As of today, it has been one week since I have been here at AMOR projects in Pucallpa, Peru. That's pretty crazy =) My friends and fellow missionaries here were talking earlier about how our mission work is going and how it feels to be away from the US. We were talking about how 1 year seems like such a long time. Some people were saying they hoped our time would go a little faster because it seems like we have already been here forever. Honestly, I love it here so far.

I love how life goes slower and you have more time to appreciate the small things like hugging little children, touching the flowers, and playing silly hand games with the other missionaries.

I love how people here are so genuine and receptive. They are so open to love and willing to try and communicate even when we hardly can.

I love taking freezing cold showers.

I love learning medical work- even though I am scared to death. I love overcoming my fears.

I love knowing that I am here only because of God and that He is the one at work- not myself.

I love my missionary family. It's kinda like my camp friends but even closer because we live together and work together all the time.

I love it here and I feel so grateful for this opportunity to share the love of Christ with the people in Peru. I am so grateful to everyone who helped me get to come here.

Prayer: my evening worship talk

"We look upon prayer as a means of getting something for ourselves, the Bible idea of prayer is that we get to know God himself."- Oswald Chambers

I was thinking about what I should talk about for worship tomorrow night and the topic of prayer came to my mind. Prayer is something I struggle with a lot and I think it's probably a challenge at times for a lot of us. To pray we have to slow down, we have to listen, and we have to concentrate on Christ and not ourselves.
Have you ever heard the song "What if his people prayed?" It's by Casting Crowns and uber beautiful.

I want you to close your eyes and just imagine for a few seconds if everyone here at AMOR prayed for the project, for the people we meet, and as we work in the clinic everyday. Imagine how different we would be and how much more effective our program would be.

What if we prayed like we actually believed Jesus would answer our prayers?
I know I know your like, I do believe Jesus answers my prayer, but my question is what if you prayed like that? What if you prayed expecting an answer every time you asked for something?

Whenever I prayed about whether or not I would come to AMOR projects here this year, it was the hardest I ever prayed about something before. I prayed hard because there were a lot of people telling me I was too young to go this year and that I should wait. I told God that I didn't want to go unless I was 100% sure that's where He was calling me. And He completely answered my prayer giving me 4 different signs including 3 shooting stars telling me that I should go here.

What He taught me is that if we truly seek Him, we won't have to wonder what His will for us is, we will know without a doubt. If we seek God, we will find Him.

So I just encourage each of you to really focus on prayer today and just this year while you are here. That you seek God in everything you do, because how much your looking for Him determines How much you'll find Him. Really slow down and take the time to pray throughout and with everything you do.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The doctor is in

Wow- today was a crazy day, emotionally and physically. Today I worked pharmacy from about 8 to 11:30 am- it actually went a lot better today- and then after lunch we had medical lessons with the doctor. I learned how to give different kinds of shots as well as how to extract a nail (disgusting!). Learning how to give a shot was terrifying. We had to practice on each other and my partner was Molly. The first shot we had to give each other was an IM shot was on our deltoid muscle on our arms. We shot each other with 1mm of saline to practice. I don't know what it is about the shots here, but almost all of us "doctors in training" agreed- shots hurt a lot more here in Peru! A few reasons why this may be is that the shots are bigger here and we also are only using the cheapest needles/ syringes available for purchase.

I was so scared to give my first shot. I didn't want to do it all. I prayed a lot about it and got pretty emotional, but finally I just made myself do it. Everyone was watching me and cheering for me because Molly and I were last. We had to thrust the needle all the way in, then withdraw to make sure were in the right place, and then slowly push the medicine through. Thank God I did it correctly the first time and for giving me the courage to do it =) I started crying before I gave the shot while I was watching everyone else practice because I was so terrified. Then after Molly gave me my shot (and Becca my sm friend held my hand) I started crying again because I was so nervous.

The second shot to our gluteal muscles and in the but was a lot easier. I wasn't so afraid the second time and I did it pretty well. Our next clinical day is Friday and the doctor said that me and my friend Kaity who have been working in the pharmacy will be giving shots all Friday. I'm excited and a little nervous too. I guess I will be getting good at those.

The doctor said we will also be learning how to do iv's, anisthetics to the nerve, pap smeres, and sultures (stitches). I'm scared but excited. We also have a second doctor who speaks English coming to AMOR this week so that will speed up the learning process as well.

This afternoon AMOR bought 4 new volleyballs and a net for our volleyball class. I'm so pumped to teach these kids. We're also doing this special gangster cheer/ dance for our friend Martin who is leaving tomorrow. Martin has worked here at AMOR for a long time and tonight we are throwing a big fiesta for him. Yay-- party time =) Dios de bendiga!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Taekwondo en Peru

Tonight I got to join in with about 10 other kids and 4 other SM's for Taekwondo class! It was super intense and a ton of fun- it made my day for sure. We did taekwondo which was a lot of pushups, squats, kicks, and running for an hour and a half. The class is Monday through Thursday and every Saturday evening and we can all attend for free and learn. We also went around the neighborhood recruiting kids to join in and learn Taekwondo. Taekwondo is hard but it's really cool learning. We learned pressure points and defensive moves. We also did 40 pushups in order to avoid being beaten with a stick. Ya no joke, our instructor really used a stick and hit a few people, that's what we call intense here in Peru. I'm excited to learn Taekwondo. It's been something I've wanted to try since I was a little kid.

This morning we ran the clinic again and I was in the pharmacy. It was a little easier today as slowly I am becoming more and more familiar with the different medicines. Kaity and I also passed out balloons, stickers, and coloring sheets to the kids waiting in the clinic for the doctor to see them. They would try to come in our little pharmacy area to talk to us and show us their coloring pages and we would politely try to get them to leave since we are the only ones allowed in there. The patients stand outside by the window and wait to receive their medication. Often there is a long line.

It's easy for me to become frustrated while in the pharmacy. This afternoon (we run clinic from about 8-1 am) I was exhausted and discouraged. I thought to myself there's no way that I can do this pharmacy thing all year long. I talked to Mr. Hawkins about it a little and he told me that the doctor said we would be learning all the different areas of the medical field and rotating around a little bit. That made me feel a little better I guess. Even if I don't love doing pharmacy, I do find learning about the different medicines and communicating with the patients interesting. The doctor said eventually we would learn what medicines mean what and what each of their purposes are. I do think that would be pretty cool. As for pharmacy itself, it takes a lot of patience and I will just have to rely on God to help me and keep me in good spirits if that is to be my job.

I'm pretty exhausted- yet again. We run long days here from 7 am to 9:30 or 10. I guess I should be sleeping now but more pictures are soon to come! Thanks for all the prayers- I definitely need them.

Monday, August 26, 2013

*fireflies in Peru

I have so many feelings right now going on in my head. It's like theirs a million fireflies flying around in my stomach and all over. I can't seem to quiet down.... In reality there's a billion mosquitoes buzzing around my body waiting to try and devour me through my mosquito net. Alright here goes..

*Today I held a lady's hand as she received 3 shots! She was really terrified and quite honestly I couldn't blame her because shots here are huge. I felt really bad having to watch her get all the shots but I guess she was in a lot of pain so hopefully they helped her a lot. I tried to distract her by asking her questions while the nurses were getting the needles ready but it didn't quite work. I don't know if I could give shots to people like this--- it just looks so painful.

* I got to give out 5 balloons to some of the kids in the clinic today. They were so excited. I especially loved the shock of this one shy little boy with a cast on his left hand. He was like "really I get one too??" Not asking for balloons like the other children but waiting and curiously looking at the balloon from afar.

* Tonight I brought out my juggling rings and showed a few of the Peruvian kids. Then I just tossed the rings back and forth with a few of them. Their cuteness was unexplainable. Afterwards Katie and I climbed the water tower which was pretty fun. About 5 little boys followed us and we read them a short passage from the Bible.

* I kinda miss home tonight but not a lot. I guess it's starting to hit me that this is for real and I'll be staying here for a while. To be honest, before now it just seemed more like a mission trip. Some of the work here is really hard while others is just lots of fun. I'm not quite homesick- but I do miss my mom tonight. It's also hard when I actually get on facebook and see that American life and all my friends' lives continues (without me). It's strange.

* I learned the difference between saying Te quiero and Te llamo. Te quiero means I love you referring to more friends, family, and food. Te llamo is more romantic love. I think it's kinda cool that Peruvians have two different definitions of love that are common. Well anyways te quiero mi Peruvian familia y te quiero mi moma, popa, y hermano, y mi amigos primero!

8/26/13-- AMOR what I'll be doing this year

I'm so exhausted. It's been a long evening learning about our different missions and areas at AMOR including medical, evangelism, teaching, and afterschool programming. I'm not going to be a teacher. Instead I am quite involved with the afterschool programming. Three times a week I'll lead a volleyball, swimming, and gymnastics class. I'm also helping with music and taekwondo. 16 out of 18 of us at AMOR are helping at the clinic all year long and in September we will be doing a 2 week medical clinic to reach out to the people around our area. Then we will begin doing Bible studies and leading small groups. Every Saturday we have different teams traveling to different areas of Peru to lead church and afternoon Sabbath programs around the community. It is going to be a super busy year. Their is also construction work that is ongoing and even some farming to be done at K38. They said we might get to harvest mangos pretty soon which I think would be pretty awesome.

The fruit here is amazing and they have so many weird Peruvian drinks. They have great mangos, huge lemons, watermelon, tangerines, apricots, maracaolla, granadia, coconuts, grapes, and pineapples. Maracolla and granadia are really weird- one of their textures is just like worms =p

Right now some of our student missionaries are playing soccer. I tried playing the first night but wasn't very good. Soccer is definitely the Peruvians game and they are so talented. Tonight Katie and I climbed the water tower (about 30 feet) on our project site and just looked at the city around us. It was really pretty and we would like to climb it sometime and just check out the sunset =)

1st clinic day

Today at 7:30 we had worship then breakfast. After breakfast we were told that whoever wanted to help with medical programs should head to the clinic in their scrubs. At the clinic we divided up into different groups: dental, pharmacy, medical, and nurses. The medical people took blood pressure and did primary assessments. The nurses gave shots (ginormous shots =/) I started working in the pharmacy. It was crazy. There were 70 people just waiting for all of us doctors/nurses/ other people to help them.

Working in the pharmacy was hard work! I definitely underestimated what it takes to run around looking for different medications for people. We would also weigh people and check their height in the pharmacy. I don’t know that I want to work in the pharmacy a lot more though. I mean I definitely will do it because I know it’s helping people, but honestly it’s not my favorite. I don’t really care to give shots either- inflicting pain on innocent Peruvians just doesn’t look fun to me. I would like to learn. Well ok let’s be honest here, I don’t want to learn, but I will probably make myself. I might be learning later tonight. I know the doctor is going to be teaching us some basic medical instructions. SCARY!! I heard we practice on each other!

So we were just told that there is a teaching position open for 3 of us sm’s. It’s a 3 days a week in the mornings English teacher position and I’m really thinking about it. I think I would enjoy teaching English. I’m definitely getting enough medical exposure already just being here. I don’t know- like I used to be super pumped about helping with medical stuff- but then today I watched a bunch of nurses give shots- and I just would feel so bad doing that. So I may be a teacher as well, we will see.
Today Molly and Raph flew in to join us making our AMOR team have 18 people! I woke up at 5 am with my friend Lisa to cook Peruvian food. I'm excited about learning but all I did today was chop fruit. Hey I guess you gotta start somewhere =)
All of us SM's are pretty stoked because we just got the internet password here at K8 where we are staying so it looks like we will be able to post/write/ and call a little bit more! Here is a pic of my friends Kaitlyn and Arianna with some ninos pobres (poor kids)!

Day 3 at AMOR

Wow, today was day 3 of me being here and I feel like I’ve already been here forever. This place definitely seems like home. For one, I am LOVING the other SM’s I’m working with. It’s like a huge family and it’s great so far. The food is good here- nothing like weird Korean food (*sorry Koreans- I’m glad you love it) and let’s see, the church family and fellow Peruvians are super nice too. The showers are cold but I really don’t mind.

Today was a great, long day of singing, more singing, church, little kids, asking for ADRA money, and singing again. One thing that really stuck in my head tonight was the children who were playing in the road by our “church” (really just an outside pavilion) that came to visit us and watch while we were singing. There were about five little kids and all but two of them were barefoot. They all had raggedy hair and old clothes yet they were some of the most beautiful, precious children I’ve ever seen. I was sitting by one of my fellow sm’s, a new best friend of mine, and we both agreed that we just wanted to hug these children, bathe these children, and take them back to America. We talked about how different life would be for them if they were there instead of where they are living now here in Pucallpa.

I am learning and relearning the cliché saying that “We Americans take so much for granted”.

As Americans we feel entitled to so much. We want clean clothes, good food, hot showers—and that’s just the basics. These kids live on so little. These kids wear the same clothes for days. They eat what they can find. The only shower temperature is cold- actually they don’t have showers.

I’m really excited about what Kaitlyn and I will be leading out at here at AMOR. We are in charge of coordinating children’s ministry basically. We will be leading out a Pathfinders group, orphanage and hospital days, and soccer, volleyball, taekwondo, gymnastics, swimming, and music classes. It sounds like a ton of fun and I can’t wait to work with the children here in Pucallpa. I’m sure they will be so eager and happy to learn different skills and just truly have fun. We’ll also be witnessing by doing Bible studies and singing with them at all our different classes. I’m probably most excited about the hospital ministry that we’re organizing because this has been one of my dreams for so long. We’re going to sing to the kids, do drama skits for them, and I’ll juggle for them. Kaitlyn even told me that my idea to start a hospital ministry at Southern is great and that she’d love to help me plan it and organize it next year. I’m so excited for what God’s doing in us and how He’s going to help us witness to the children here. In addition to coordinating all the children’s ministry classes, I’ll be helping in the AMOR clinic with my extra time and learning to cook Peruvian food. Wow- yes I’m definitely going to be pretty busy this year.

Well that’s all I’ve got for tonight- I’m exhausted. But I’m totally and utterly heart-felt thankful. God is showing me everyday that His plans and dreams are better than mine. (By the way I’ve always wanted to learn taekwondo and now I really get too!!! Plus I have the best friends ever, dream job, and am so beyond blessed)

God is good to us. He knows our hearts. His love is incomparable to any other. Dios de bendiga. God bless you and I pray that God has been good to you as well.

I know that working here at AMOR  won’t always be this easy and this fun, but for now it is, and I will rejoice and enjoy it. Tomorrow, we’re taking a break/chill day and going swimming and on a boat. Hasta luego amigos.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

1st day at AMOR

We’re here at AMOR!

I’m finally here at Kilometer 8 in Pucallpa Peru! Our room is all set up, it actually looks pretty amazing, with 3 hammocks flying high in the air and pictures and decorations everywhere. Theirs six girls in a small room and I’m definitely looking forward to being like family with all of them when we leave. So Kilometer 8 is way different than I expected. It’s not exactly in the jungle- where anacondas and tigers live; it’s more in the town of Pucallpa which is shockingly poor. There are hard cement floors and the wood on the wall has holes where bugs, lizards, owls, and birds could easily fly in. So ya- it’s not like wow I’m on a safari rugged- but it’s definitely not like America either. It’s like camping- for a year- in a room. Also, everything is so close and right here on the Kilometer 8 campus. The medical clinic is like right here just 10 feet away, and all of us 19 missionaries are staying here in this one house together sharing 2 cold showers and toilets and a living room table plus 3 rooms.

I’m very excited about being here at AMOR. I was very nervous as I was flying, but now that I’m here, and hearing all about the different service opportunities as well as bonding with some of the other staff: I’m sooo pumped. I think my friend Kaitlyn and I will be heading up an afterschool program for kids including classes like swimming, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, taekwondo, juggling, music, ect. We will provide the classes for free and include a short Bible study as well- it’s a great way to witnessing to the kids in the community.  It sounds like so much fun to me and I’m hoping I still get to try my hand in the clinic as well.

It’s very hot here and today we’re just resting as we’re totally exhausted. We sang a few Spanish praise and worship songs together and had a little talk. We also went to town and exchanged our money, called our parents, and got icecream (at the ice cream shop their’s wifi)! It’s strange to think I’ll be living here for 9 months and this will be what’s normal to me soon. I’m excited to be here, safe, and happy with amazing friends and delicious food. P.S. there’s no internet at our house. Internet= ice cream So I will do my best to keep in touch, but all the prayers were definitely appreciated! God has been good to me and my team!
P.P.S.  Today we got to ride on motocarts! So fun and super bumpy! So far so good-- I love Peru =)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I'm flying to Peru today!!

It's the craziest feeling; I feel like I'm overflowing with adrenaline.I'm flying to Peru today- it's finally here! I'm in Dallas Fort Worth airport right now and I'm going to meet up with 2 fellow student missionaries in about an hour.
I had a rough morning. I tried to take my malaria medicine today after only eating some fruit and I was nauseous and throwing up for about an hour. Being really sick just made me think about how quick everything can change and it also made me realize how blessed I am. I'm so thankful to God for keeping me healthy and I'm so thankful that I feel better now.
Saying goodbye to my parents was hard. It's the first time I've ever broken down and started crying at the airport. But I trust in God- and there's no looking back- as I go on this journey to serve Him.
This is my verse and I'm trying to memorize and keep it in my head: Isaiah 26:3 He will keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The last night

It's my last night before Peru.
Finally finished packing all my stuff
Went out to eat with my family for the last supper.
Talked to all my "besties"
And got kissed goodnight by my daddy

I feel so blessed by God. I have some of the most amazing friends in the world who are always there for me. I have an amazing family that takes care of me. And tomorrow I get to travel across the country to be a missionary for 8 months! God has been so good to me!

I have 100% of the money that I needed.
I miraculously got free malaria medication for the entire trip plus a prescription.
I fully believe that God will provide for all my needs and has a plan for me.
I definitely appreciate all prayer!

Love Brooklyn

Monday, August 19, 2013


"None are so empty as those who are full of themselves" Benjamin Whichcote

Sometimes we start off with the best of intentions, but somewhere along the way our pride derails us. We get sidetracked, lose focus, and suddenly all sense of authenticity disappears. So often in history well-intentioned revolutionaries have often battled the tyranny of a despotic regime only to become a tyrannical regime themselves-- "Inverted: Tom Ellsworth"

It's easy to be critical of the Pharisees in the Bible- but often we are no better. One of the biggest problems the Pharisees had- if not the biggest- was pride.

As I'm going to Peru to serve, it's easy for my heart to feel prideful or boastful of my "sacrifice" especially when people are constantly saying "Oh I'm so proud of you, you're just so generous to be serving God for an entire year." -to which I would have to question myself & them Have I not been serving Him? Christ calls us to service for a lifetime not nine months of our life.

It's also easy to say that I want to go to AMOR and have clinic time. I want to be upfront in the mission field. To spend lots of time in the clinic and get to actually help heal people. But I know that there is 19 student missionaries going to work with AMOR and that they do not need 19 people in the clinic at all times. I know that I am not a nurse, and that there will be far more qualified students than I. I want to be willing to serve where God wants me too and I don't want to limit His ways of working in me. Even if I am going to Peru for 9 months simply to be humbled by Christ and serve the fellow student missionaries going, God's will be done. I might be a teacher in Peru and I might do manual labor. I might help cook, clean, or I might help write the newsletters for AMOR. I want to be willing to do what God wants me too- no matter what it is.

Pride- it's something I struggle with just like everybody else. It's hard to let people walk all over you and put you down. It's hard to let yourself get the lowest job- especially if you think you deserve a better one. But Pride is something that is detestable to Christ. Jesus was the ultimate example of humility. In our culture, people think you need to stand up for yourself and defend yourself, but Christ never once defended Himself. He defended His father; He defended the poor and those who couldn't defend themselves. Not once did He defend His good works or perfect character.

* I struggled with my pride for a long time when I first thought about writing and making this blog public. For about 3 months I wrote on it for myself and my two best friends to see and help keep accountable. I promised that I would write honestly and authentically share my struggles, weaknesses, and my adventures in following God. In July, I finally decided to share my blog with everyone because I am going as a missionary to Peru and want them to be able to keep in touch with my missionary journey. It's harder to write honestly and sometimes I don't want to share my true thoughts and struggles and be as open about my faith as I write. But I feel like it's a God thing and that He wants me to share my journey. You know how they say "you wear your heart on your sleeve" well that's how I write. I'm open. I'm not going to lie and I hope I don't offend anyone. I decided to share and be open with my life and parts of my spiritual journey, because I want to encourage others to follow God wherever He's calling them.

"Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." Matthew 6:1

“As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.”- C.S. Lewis: Mere Christianity

If you look at the cross- and can truly in your head begin to wrap your mind around Christ: His mission, His death, and His purpose. Then you will realize you have nothing to be proud about. You are not good- you are a murderer. You are a sinner deserving death. Only because of Christ's love have you been saved like a lamb slaved from the slaughterer Christ has picked you up and is carrying you- not because of anything you did- but because of who He is and how much He loves you. So may we not be so proud and big-headed thinking that we are doing right or our ways are best- but may we always acknowledge and proclaim that we are nothing without Christ but everything because of His mercies, His love, and His plan to save us. To Christ be the glory! And may he forgive our pride yet again..

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My family

Tonight my mom, dad, brother and I ate salmon and rice together at our dinner table. I showed them pictures of Korea and we all talked about school and plans. It was really nice. I haven't been able to sit down and just relax with my family for a while- especially at our Texas house. I missed them a lot and I love them so much. While I'm in Peru, I think I will definitely miss my family most.

I love going out and doing crazy things- and meeting all these different people- but sometimes doing the simple things with the best people can bring you the most joy in life and the best memories. Sometimes it doesn't seem like I love my family. People wonder why I left for boarding academy at the age of 16 and then went away to Tennessee for college. Did I just not want to be around them? And now I'm going to be gone for a whole entire year...

My family is amazing and I think they could have hardly done a better job raising me and providing a nurturing environment that taught me so much about life. They taught me to work hard. They taught me to explore and live life to the fullest, not to waste one moment. Most of all, they taught me the joy of helping others. Both of my parents are some of the kindest, most helpful people I have ever met. When they see a homeless man on the side of the road, their hearts are full of compassion, and often they stop and give them food or a ride. My parents are both teachers and they sacrifice a lot for their students everyday. My parents are the ones who taught me about adventure and taking risks as well.
I could write so much. I love and admire them so much..

Saturday, August 17, 2013

How far would you go?

You're going to get to a point in every relationship when it stops being easy. There's going to be days when you realize it isn't all roses and it's going to take effort. At that point you have to make the decision How far will you go and you have to try to judge what the relationship is worth.
Is it worth your time? Time, when you could be studying or with your family? Is it worth your money? Is it worth your thoughts, your worries, your hopes and your dreams?

Love isn't easy. Love isn't a feeling. Love is a choice- it requires sacrifice.

How far would you go to change someone?

How far would you go to reach someone?

How far would you go to pursue a relationship with God?

Easy doesn't go on very long,with people, and with following Christ. But that's ok because what's easy isn't what's always best. The easy things in life are not worth so much, but the things that are hard and worth fighting for, prove to be more worth than gold.

Every person that gets close to you will at some time fight or hurt you. At that point you have to decide how far you are willing to go? Are they worth the fight? Are they worth the pain? You will have to either forget about the relationship or choose to sacrifice a part of yourself for a piece of them. If you let God in your life, He will change you. He will break you and remake you.

Is He worth your life? Because He wants all of it. How far are you willing to go with Him?

4 days too soon

This is a story about me written by Lindsay Wood. It was published in Southern's alumni publications and summarizes one of the reasons I decided to be a student missionary with AMOR projects.
"One of the biggest challenges we experience as humans is to understand God’s will for our lives. Brooke Bernhardt, a Sophomore Pre-Physical Therapy major, experienced this first hand as she started her freshman year here at Southern Adventist University. From the beginning, she was interested in being a student missionary, but wasn’t sure if it was right for her, and was praying diligently that God would show her what He wanted her to do. Little did she know that it would take a mission trip for her to hear God’s voice.

As a member of Gym Masters (SAU’s gymnastics team), Brooke got the unique opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic over Spring Break for a mission trip. Though the trip’s main purpose was to perform for the local children, the team also had a chance to visit a local hospital. Brooke was horrified by what she found there and she felt God tugging on her heart strings. The children were so sick and hopeless, many of them simply being abandoned there to die. Again and again she kept thinking, “Somebody has to help these kids.” With a new passion and mission, Brooke began praying even harder for signs from God, telling her what to do. She was not disappointed. Not only did she receive permission from her parents, she was able to find a friend that was going out, and was accepted to the place she wanted to go, among many other specific miracles she had asked for. God blew her out of the water with affirmation, and Brooke was completely at peace, sure that this was God’s will.

Brooke will be traveling to The Amor Projects in Peru this coming August to work in a clinic, and, though she is nervous, she is ready to see what God has in store. Her goal for the year is “to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” sharing His passion with everyone that she can. She is still waiting on funds, but is certain that God will provide. He has given her a mission, and she is sure that he will make a way for her to get there.

God uses the strangest things to speak to our hearts, and for Brooke, he knew that the hospital in the Dominican Republic was just what she needed to light the fire. Opportunities like this are vital for students that are interested in mission work to get them excited about a year of service. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and he will stop at nothing to put us in the places will bring us closer to Him."
Today I went to the San Marcus church where my parents attend for the first time. I was introduced to the pastor's wife who said she went as an SM during college as well. She asked me an interesting question: "Are you still excited to go?" To her I said yes. But for the rest of today I've been asking myself that question and getting different responses.
Yes I'm excited. This is a dream come true. But there's so many things I'm nervous about. There's just so much I'm unprepared for and don't know. I don't know where I will be staying or what my primary job will be there. I don't know how often I will have internet or be able to contact my parents. I don't know... I don't know so much but I do know one thing-- I'm going because God called me there and I have faith that He will take care of me. I know that God is bigger than all my fears. I know that God will continue to break me and remold me into the person He wants- not me. I know that I will follow God no matter what the costs. Am I ready? No way. But God's timing is perfect and His plans are better than mine. So I will have faith. Will you have faith to follow God where He is calling you?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Does he know me?

I'd like to classify a few kinds of Christians. These are just a few generic types of people you can find in the church.

* Evangelical Christians- Passionate about God and sharing His word.
Good-intentioned Christians- People who understand God's will for their lives and the theology- But lack of effort in sharing God's love or following God's will
* Lukewarm Christians- Christians who are content with going to church once a week, twice a week, ect... they are content with their current relationship with God
* Judgemental Christians- Christians who live by rules and judge others whose views differ from them
* Bitter/ Fake Christians- Christians who go to church for a few different reasons but are not really experiencing the love of God

There are so many people in this world that claim to be Christ followers but so few that are devoutly reading God's word.

78.4% of Americans claim to be Christians. So with this number being so high, what is a Christian really? Has "Christian" become a word similar to "love" that has many meanings and has lost some of it's meaning? According to Pew Research* the number of Christians that attend church on an average Sunday is between 17- 24 percent. "Of over 2 billion Christians in the world, less than 30% will ever read through the entire bible. The fact is over 82% of Christian Americans only read their bibles on Sundays while in church"**

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, Christian means "one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ or disciple."

My question is as Christians, how can we accurately represent Christ or even profess His teachings, if we are not reading His Word. I fear that many of us "Christians" do not really know God.

Doctrine and good works don't make a good Christian. A true Christian life consists of a relationship with God.

In the end, nothing else on this earth will matter except our relationship with God, the creator of the heavens and the earth. Do we really know Him or do we just know about Him? Does he know you because you have diligently spent time studying Him and talking to Him?

"You will seek me and you will find me when you search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-27

I don't know about you, but I want Jesus to know me. Seek Him, pray to Him. He will reveal Himself to those who ask.
I want Jesus a lot right now. I don't want to travel across the world to a foreign country without Jesus. That would be a waste. May everything I do and every word I say glorify His name forever.


Home, packing, and cutting my hair

I'm home and it's amazing! I've definitely missed being in a place I call my own where I can sleep in, wear whatever I want, and cook my own food. I have been debating (with my mother and myself mostly) whether or not I will be cutting my hair short before I go to Peru. I can cut it short and risk a terrible haircut that I can't do anything with by donating 10 inches to locks of love, or I can get a short trim, keep my long hair, and get big on buns and braids before I leave. Doesn't seem like a big deal to you right? But I lovvvvvv my hair, so we'll see what happens.

I have so much to pack and I feel so unprepared to leave in 4 days. I mean I just got home and everything is a mess. I'm working on making emergency first aid kits, registering myself with the US embassy in case of emergencies, and getting all kind of hygienic items and supplies they won't have in Peru.

I've been talking to all of the SM's I will be traveling with a lot. Almost all day we are texting each other or Facebook group messaging. I already feel close to them. We're all in the same boat: it's getting real and it's getting scary. I'm super excited though! I just can't believe I leave in 4 days. It's like a dream.. it is a dream. But I have so much to do first- it's scary!

You know, I just had a funny thought. Today and this week I have tons of laundry to do. Well I might as well enjoy it, because in 4 days I will be handwashing everything!! Wow- it's going to be so different. I can't wait.

Philippians 1:20 As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

one dream of mine..

So ever since I was around 10 years old.. I've had this dream. This dream that I've kept putting off in my head- but no matter how long passes, and how much I get distracted- it's still there.

I'm going to Peru as a missionary next year and that's a dream I've had for a long time, but when I come back I want to make this next dream come true.

I want to be a hospital clown for sick kids! I can juggle pretty good so I want to juggle for the kids in the hospital and make them smile. More than just going around to different hospitals though and juggling for kids, I want to start teams of college kids, high school, or middle school kids that all go to the hospital together and reach out to the kids there. For example groups would have different ages of young volunteers with different talents ranging from art, drama, comedy, acro, music, or juggling.

So basically I want to start a clown ministry and I want it to be an active ministry that goes to the hospital at least twice a week: maybe Wednesdays and Saturdays- who knows. I would like to start the ministry at the college I attend, probably Southern, and get some college-aged leaders and then reach out to the middle school and high schools to see what other youth are interested in helping.

The plan would be that as a big group of young volunteers we would put on about a 45 minute hospital entertainment show at the hospital incorporating music and a showcase of some of our different talents. After that teams would split up and go to different kids' hospitals rooms and just befriend the kids. Teams could sing songs and show the kids their talents- with the goal of making them smile.

This is something I've been thinking about and wanting since I was young. Sometimes I get embarassed about talking about wanting to do something like this, but I don't just want to think about this dream any longer. After I get back from Peru, I'm serious about starting this dream.

I just think we could really make children smile- we could change their lives- and they would change ours.


"I fall in love with people's passion. The way their eyes light up when they talk about the thing they love and the way they fill with light."

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

"There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other."

"If you can't figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose."

Passion: Passion is beautiful. Passion is powerful. What comes to your mind when you think about passion?

I think about ballerinas, who spend hours each day practicing on point, practicing each step, kick, and spin until their bodies gracefully tell the stories of songs. I think about catchers in softball who get dirt in their eyes, bruises all over, and cleated almost every game they play- but play because they love the game. I think about Katie, a missionary girl in Uganda, who is about 24, single, and has eight Ugandan children of her own that she feeds, bathes, nurtures, and cares for everyday. I think about God who spent time creating an entirely perfect universe and then sent His only son to die for us so we could have another chance.

Passion is something that is not easy and not common. Passion is an intense emotion or desire for something. Passion is being willing to do something for someone or something because you love it so much. True passion always requires sacrifice.

Because passion is a rare thing in today's world, passion is sought after, fought after, and known as beauty. We admire passion. We wonder how people got  passion and how it changed their life. Passion is put on display- when someone has a true passion everyone turns to look.

If we are called to be the light of the world; a city on a hill; the salt of the earth, we must have passion. We cannot be dull. We cannot be burnt out. No matter what the rest of the world thinks about us, we must be on fire for our God of the universe.

Our God is a passionate God and He calls us to be passionate lovers. He wants to set us on fire. He wants us to be on display for Him, radiating His glory, displaying His awe to everyone we see.

Are you passionate about God? Are you willing to do whatever it takes no matter what the sacrifice?

Luke 10:27 *Message "He said, 'That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence- and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.'"

Luke 11:33-36 *Message "No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer. It's put on a lamp stand so those entering the room have light to see where they're going. Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dark cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don't get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room."

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stop comparing yourself

Proverbs 14:17 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Job 5:2 Resentment kills a fool and envy sleighs the simple.

Jacob: I will not let you go until you bless me.
Man: What is your name?
Jacob: "Jacob"
Man: But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it's Israel (God-wrestler); you've wrestled with God and you've came through."
Jacob: What is your name?
Man: Why do you want to know my name? And then right there he blessed him.
Genesis 32: 28-29

How much of our pain comes from not knowing who we really are? Not claiming our name- given to us by God. In Biblical times, names were very important. They defined a person's destiny and identity.

We'll never embrace our true self if we keep comparing ourselves to others. There's always going to be a prettier girl or buffer guy. There's always going to be someone more talented than us or richer than us. If you live your life trying to be the better than everyone else, your not going to be happy. If you live your life trying to make the best out of what God gives you- you can be a blessing to others.

Why do we think we are supposed to be like the people around us? Don't we realize that different is  beautiful? So much of America wants to fit in. We want to look like the models plastered on tv screens and magazines. We want to have a classy wedding, wear a name brand dress, get a ring just like the diamond ones on tv. We want to be smart and we are constantly getting ranked and compared to the students in our classes. But we have it wrong- it's not a competition. Life is not a fight with our brothers and sisters in Christ- it's a battle against things in the heavenly places and spiritual things.

How much life do we lose when were endlessly comparing and measuring ourselves to others or when we are jealous of what someone else has or even who someone else is. The struggle of Jacob is the struggle of all of us. We're asked "What is your name" and were really being asked "Who are you?"

It's easy to look around and say Why can't I be like them? But to discover our true identity in Christ we have to embrace our story and our testimony- the good, the bad, and the ugly parts in our lives- We each have our own path, set apart by God. We have our own limits. We can't expect to be as good as other people at certain things. We have undergone certain struggles in our lives for different reasons. We each have different strengths according to our needs and our histories.

What a tragedy it is to live your whole life according to the expectations of others. Many people live as if their is a script already written for their life that they can just follow. Or they give up their own dreams for someone else's and God's will and dreams for them are crushed.

Mark 12:31 says "Love your neighbor as yourself" and I've heard many explanations and translations of this verse. How can I ever love and embrace someone else when I've never came to embrace myself for who I am and who I am not? I am a child of Christ. I am a sinner. I am desperately in need of Jesus.

This man asked Jacob what is your name? He's struggled and he's been broken. Jacob is done pretending he's someone else. He's ready to be himself. He's ok with the life God has given him. It's then that God pulls him into his divine destiny as father of the nation and renames him "Israel".

Stop comparing yourself to other people. Stop chasing other people's dreams. Learn about yourself and your identity as a child of Christ. Hang out with the people who accept that identity for you- who help you see yourself as God would. Stop looking around and stop pretending. God loves you. He wants you to be you- the way he created you to be.

10 more days- the countdown begins =)

"No one can make you happy and nobody can make you unhappy- unless you choose to let them."

What if you  knew you only had 10 more days to live?

I bet you would stop caring about what other people thought of you- and you would start living for the things you loved. I bet you would get serious about God and get on your knees and pray. I bet you would spend time with your family and tell them every moment you could that you love them. I bet you would hang out with your best friends and laugh so hard that you cried. You would forgive. You would enjoy life. You would do the things that make you happy, and even when things didn't go your way.. you would smile.

 We all hope we have more than 10 days to live, but I guess we never know.
People die every day from unexpected things- it's tragic- but let's not focus on that. Let's focus on the good things- the things of Christ, lovely and pure thoughts and not take things for granted.

I have 10 more days before I go to Peru as a missionary. 10 more days in America to be a "typical teen" before I make a sacrifice to help others. I'm excited to go to Peru- it's my dream. But I also realize that while I'm there, I WILL MISS America. I will miss my friends. I will miss my family and I will miss being in a culture that I understand.

So even if today- I'm not in the place where I wanna be most- I'm not with my family who I miss terribly bad- and I can't go do whatever I want.. I'm gonna make the best of it. Because God made this day and He says to rejoice and be glad in it =)

Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Break us to remake us

I feel like this summer I've been broken alot. Sure, I had some great moments, some amazing times when I was like "wow I can't believe this is my life"! (Korea, awesome times with friends at camp, learning how to drive the boat) But honestly this summer was rough and completely different from any summer I've ever encountered.

And then I remembered something- I prayed this summer that God would do anything He needed too to make our relationship better. I prayed that God would destroy anything that wasn't His will.

If you are following God and He is not breaking down things in your life, is He really working in your life? Are you really letting God remake you if you are not letting Him break you?

Because anything that comes before Jesus Christ in your heart or in your mind is an idol that God is waiting to break down for you so that you can see Him clearer.

We are so blinded by distractions and sins in this world. We are like the blind man in Matthew 8: 22-25. The sad part is many of us don't even realize we are blind, we are content with our own lifestyles and keeping God where we want Him in our life.

Imagine what it would be like to see others the way Jesus sees them? To love each person and to understand them completely. To see the things people did to hurt you, and understand how they were hurt themselves. To see people's suffering, their doubts, and their shame. To see how backgrounds and lifestyles impacted a person's behavior. To see Satan and the angels of God fighting for each one of our souls. Imagine how it would be to see yourself as Christ sees you: your weakness in your self, but your strength as a child of God.

We can't open our eyes, just as the blind man could not open his. Before Jesus opened the blind man's eyes he put spit on them. Spit! Not medicine and not colored bandaids. Spit- the disgusting stuff that nobody wants on them. This was a humbling situation for the blind man. I'm sure he did not enjoy it. I'm sure he was not like "yay Jesus do this more". Or "hey everybody look at me I've got spit on my eyes". But he endured the spit and continued to follow Christ, and God opened His eyes forever.

We can't change our lives. We can't take back the mistakes we've made. We can't work hard and stop being selfish on our own. We can't free ourselves from our addictions, or care for people the way Jesus did.. We can't on our own. Through us this is impossible but through Christ all things are possible. If we ask Christ to open our eyes.. He will. He may break us first, but He will promise to remake us beautifully to be like Him.

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Phillipians 1:6 Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on until the day of Christ Jesus.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Change the world

I love this quote. If you feel bad for someone, do something about it. If you want to help the world, help your mom or your little brother. If you wish you were a superhero, try saving the kid getting bullied at your school.
Compassion is important but Christ's compassion requires actions. When Christ had compassion on us, He sent his only son into the world to die for us. He gave us things like the Bible, prophets, and the Holy Spirit to guide us when we were feeling alone.
If we truly care, we will do something to show we care. Actions mean more than words. In this day of age, it is easy to have good intentions and feel bad for someone while totally ignoring their situation and being of no help at all. This is wrong- it's the opposite of what Christ did for us.
When we see a need, it's our job to act. Christ says that this is what following Him is all about- helping others. Helping others means changing lives one at a time. We can only change others' lives and change the world if we change ourselves so that we are following God in our hearts and in our actions.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I will be here

"I will be here" by Stephen Curtis Chapman is a super beautiful song. I'm sure almost every girl dreams of a sweet guy singing her this song- when she hears it. But what we often forget is how much God has done for us and how he is there for us all the time. Instead of focusing on being romanced by guys, we should seek God's love and approval first and foremost. Guys or girls, friends, and human beings can never make us happy on their own- they all disappoint us because everyone makes mistakes- but God is perfect.
It's hard to find good friends. Even harder to find best friends. Sometimes even best friends leave us or get mad at us, but God is a constant source of love and He will never leave us. When we are mad at the world, He still wants to talk to us. When we are afraid, He wants to comfort us. When we are weak, He wants to hold us.

Here are the lyrics to this song and just listen to it as if God is singing this song to you:
* Because that's how much He cares

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the sun does not appear
 I will be here
If in the dark we lose sight of love
Hold my hand and have no fear
'Cause I... I will be here

I will be here
When you feel like being quiet
When you need to speak your mind
I will listen
And I will be here
When the laughter turns to crying
Through the winning, losing and trying
We'll be together
'Cause I will be here

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the future is unclear
I... I will be here
As sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for years
So I... I will be here

I will be here
And you can cry on my shoulder
When the mirror tells us we're older
I will hold you
And I will be here
To watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here, hmmm

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me

And just as sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for years
So I... I will be here
We'll be together
I will be here

Psalm 63: 1-5
Oh God, you are my God
Earnestly I seek you
My soul thirsts for you
My body longs for you
In a dry and weary land
Where there is no water
I have seen you in the sanctuary
And beheld your power and your glory
Because your love is better than life
My lips will glorify you
I will praise you for as long as I live
And in your name I will lift up my hands

God please remind us that You want to be there for us no matter what happens in our lives. Teach us to rely on you and you alone. Show us your will for our lives and help us to follow you wherever you lead.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Jesus doesn't love "ME"

How many times have you heard people say "Jesus loves you" or the central key of the entire Bible is Jesus's love for us. "He loves you more than you can imagine, more than you comprehend." He loves ME. He loves you too! So let's have a party. Let's thank Jesus that He loves me because He gave me..

I have no doubt that Jesus does love us. It's an indescribable blessing!
He loves the world incredibly. He created each one of us individuals in His image.
But today I got to thinking, what if "Jesus loves me" is not the message of the entire Bible and not what Jesus wants us to focus on entirely. What if we were deceived by our own selfish minds into thinking that "Jesus loving ME" was what God was about?

If Jesus loves ME and that's the number one theme:

I thought Jesus loved ME. And if Jesus loved ME why do I have cancer? Why did my dog die? And why did I fail on that test? I thought that Jesus loved ME.

Romans 2:8 says
 "But selfish individuals who make trouble, resist the truth, or sell out to wickedness will meet a very different fatethey will find fury and indignation as the fruit of living in the wrong."

When we think about "Me" too much we become selfish individuals. You can read countless Bible verses demonstrating Christ's disdain towards selfishness. He cannot tolerate selfishness because it is the opposite of His love.

If God isn't about loving us for ourselves then what is God about? God is LOVE. God is graceful, forgiving, King of Kings, Merciful, Alpha and Omega..
What is the theme of the Bible and of Christianity? What should we share with others when we introduce them to Jesus Christ for the first time?

Could it be "I need Jesus"? Could that be it? Could it be that I NEED Christ to save my life from sin and my selfish desires and when I accept Him into my heart and give Him power to change me He will give me a new birth and eternal life forever!

Yes God loves me- but He doesn't love the "Me" we often think about. He hates that me: my selfish, independent, natural, human me that I think I own. God loves me as His child enough that He wants me to recognize Him as a Father so He can take my life and make it something more. He wants me to realize that "ME" by myself is sinful and self-destructing, but Him with me is beautiful.

I need Jesus. You need Jesus.
Without Him, we are nothing. With Him, He can do anything.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Bullet train

Railroads: Bullet trains, Subways, and freight trains travel across the world.

Today I rode KTX the bullet train from Busan to Seoul. I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't as amazing as it was built up to be, I slept through an hour and a half of it. But the train went 200 miles an hour.

It makes me think about life. There's so many paths we can take. So many places to travel. So much in the world to see and do. Decisions, decisions, and more decisions.

Life's like the train stations. Sometimes it's hard to know which train you should go on. You never know what will happen if you choose a train until you experience it. Once you choose a train, you can't go back. You buy the ticket and go- no regrets. That train, event, or choice will change your life and shape your identity.

Choosing a major and choosing the person to spend your life with are huge decisions that will forever impact your life. Then you have to choose a place to live. You have to decide what relationships you value. You have to decide what your focus in life will be.

Different trains lead to different places, some around the world. Good decisions can lead to prosperity or happiness.  Some mistakes come with high prices and lead to pain. But all decisions are insignificant, when compared to the one choice that has eternal consequences.

Do we know Jesus Christ and does He know us? There are many gods and many religions but in the end it will all come down to this one thing. How do you know if you know Jesus? Have you experienced agape love that comes only from God and are you learning how to love like Jesus? When you see the hungry, hurting, or the stranger do you see Jesus Christ and help that person? Knowing all about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus. You come to know Jesus by prayer and committing time to spend with Him.

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Matthew 25:35-46
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.

It's easy to worry about what we should do in life and about the "big decisions" we need to make like what college we should study, who we should date, and what our major should be. These our important decisions that we should prayerfully consider. But we should be most concerned about our relationship with Christ. When we truly learn to walk with God, so close that we can say He is my best friend, we will have to doubts what His will is for the rest of our lives.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

His strength

True love is doing what is best for the other person despite the cost.
Christ ALWAYS knows what's best for us.
His timing is extraordinary.

Today, I was blessed by getting to listen to 4 missionaries testimonies. It was in Korean- but that was no obstacle for God- He provided a translator who whispered sentence after sentence to me so that I could understand. It was amazing- because it was exactly what I needed to hear today.

I have started thinking about Peru a lot more recently. I think about it in the morning, and I think about it before I go to sleep. It scares me and excites me at the same time.

Summer is ending. Everything is changing. It's almost a new school year, a new opportunity to let Christ guide your life.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace, Him whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Tonight we spent our last night in Seoul Korea and we went to the tower. I'm getting ready to go to 'Merica in 3 days!

Friday, August 2, 2013

What Korea's Like

I'm already getting used to Korea! I've been here 2 weeks but it already is beginning to feel like home. I hate the food- just can't get over it. But I'm starting to get used to the rush, people everywhere, and walking in hot humidity.
Yesterday our Korean family took us to a Korean cultural and historic center in Seoul. It was amazing. We learned so much about Korean food, culture, traditions, education, and family life.
Today we went to Insador: a tourist place where we walked around and shopped.
Tonight we went to a LONG Korean vespers. It was terrible; I am not going to lie. I tried not to draw during the service but an hour into it, I gave up my "intellectual persona" and started drawing animals.
Here are some interesting things I have learned about the majority of Koreans:
1. Koreans care about everything more than Americans. They care about traditions. They care about reputations. They care about their families, history, their culture, and their elders.
2. Koreans show respect. Anytime you are introduced to a Korean they bow respectfully. Teachers, principals, pastors, and adults or older people in general are highly respected.
3. Koreans are very focused. Children in Korea spend almost all their time studying. In high school, Korean students literally stay at the school from early in the morning to 10 or 11pm at night studying for the test to get in college. Education is a huge deal and Koreans are very focused on what they want in life. They do whatever it takes to get there.
4. Koreans want boys. Men get a lot more respect here than woman. Before coming here we were advised that if we wanted to get anything done for us, we should ask Tj because they respect guys more. Koreans also have special prayers to get boy children.
5. Koreans are very fashionable. I don't know how they do it, because the weather makes me want to wear a pony tail and tank tops all day long- but Koreans are always looking cute with bows in their hair, super short shorts, and long fashionable tops.
6. The Korean dream is very different from the American dream. Koreans want to excel in education so they can go to a good school and get a good career. The college they attend is highly important.
7. Koreans are very touchy. Both boys and girls constantly have their hands around each other and love to hold hands.
8. Everything is not better or more high-tech here in Korea. Compared to America,  many facilities are tiny. Although most places are clean and some technology is better, Korean cities definitely appear poorer than American ones. It's just so squished. Everything is tiny and stuffy. In so many areas, I now understand why Koreans are still looking to America for ideas.
9. In Korea, there are many LONG meetings, ceremonies, and rituals. People have accomplished the skill of listening quietly for hours upon end.
10. Most Koreans are very friendly and welcoming. They are very accommodating and interested in the American lifestyle.

So yes that's what Korea's like, or what I have found it to be like.
4 more days then America =)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Help we're Americans

When I walk around in Korea- everyone turns to look at me. They ask me if I want forks at restaurants. They make small talk or try to sell me things thinking I am rich. They think I am special because I am American. They think I am weird.

I've traveled to Mexico, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and now here. Every country I have been too, people treat me specially. Extra nice- like I am a rich celebrity.

I think they are weird. Why are they so nice? Why do they care so much about us? Why are we so different than them?

We, Americans, are strange people! We are disturbed. We have issues. We walk around thinking that everyone is like us just in different colors. We don't realize we are lost and confused- deceived by some "American dream" while other countries are finding God, truth, and relationships.

We think that everyone dreams like us, loves like us, and lives like us.
We dream about ourselves. We love our sexy girlfriend/boyfriend, until we get tired of them. We live insecure and depressed lives worrying about money and what other people think about us.
We are confused!
We pretend to feel bad for the rest of the world. We might even shed a few tears sometimes but we get over it quickly. We feel bad for the other people and countries because we think they are poor and dying all the time.

We, Americans, are the lost ones. We are the rich ones yet we are the insecure ones. They are happy and we are depressed. They have Jesus and we have ourself and our stuff. Us American Christians fit the Laodicean description perfectly: Revelation 3:14-22.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:44

How many of us Americans would sell everything they have for Jesus?
You think that's just a story, just a parable? Do you not think Jesus means what He says? What about when He says it's easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven? We are rich you know? 53% of the world lives on $2 a day or less, we live on about 100 times that much.

Luke 18:18-20 
18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”.. You lack this one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven- then come follow me."

"I've got a sickness and it's called comfort. And maybe I'm just not strong enough to be here" This is why I'm going to Peru. I want Jesus more than college. I want Jesus more than my comforting family and friends. I want Jesus. I'm tired of living for myself. I'm not going to help the hurting- I want to help them- but before I can show them Jesus- I have to find Him more for myself. I'm going to Peru because I choose Jesus; I choose to seek Him more than anything else. I trust Him and I trust He will use me, but I'm tired of being lukewarm.

Spoken Word

James 1:27 27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Let us stop with the rules. Let us stop with the judging. Let us bring back Christ's face to the broken and hurting. Church is not school, nor a courthouse of judges. Church is a hospital to give sinners crutches. So they can continue to walk and to run- following Christ's footsteps and reflecting His son.

We must LOVE.

This is so powerful. You can say you don't serve a god- but everyone serves someone. Who do you live for? What would you die for? And what can't you let go of? Because if you can't let go of it, it's holding on to you, and you are captive.  *selfishness *lust *boyfriend * beauty * money *fame * sports * career *success * friendships * pornography * greed * music *video games *theology ... You are serving someone- even if it is yourself.

If you can't give it up, it owns you.

Exodus 20:4 You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

James 4:3-4   You don't get what you want because you don't ask God for it. And when you do ask he doesn't give it to you, for you ask in quite the wrong spirit--you only want to satisfy your own desires. You are like unfaithful wives, never realizing that to be the world's lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who chooses to be the world's friend is thereby making himself God's enemy.

Col 3:5-6   That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god. All this sort of behavior makes God angry.   Eze 6:8-9 ..How I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices."

May we be honest with ourselves about what gods we are serving- and pray fervently to God for His deliverance. Because He is waiting to save you.