Friday, May 30, 2014

10 reasons you should go as an SM

By: Kaitlyn Seheult & Brooke Bernhardt
    Kaitlyn had never dreamed of being an SM. It was something God called her to do during her sophomore year at Southern Adventist University. Leaving the place she called home and loved so much, was not her idea of fun. Yet when God called her, Kaitlyn said yes. She prayed about where she should go, and went to Peru. 8 months away from her family, boyfriend, sisters, and friends, in a country of poverty and dirt Kaitlyn was astounded at the God who comforted her when she was struggling and healed her sicknesses. Following God’s leading and choosing to go to Peru was just the first step, in a journey that forever changed the way she would view herself and the world around her.

    Brooke had always dreamed of being an SM.  She wanted to be a missionary so badly, but she didn’t know if it was God’s will. Her friends and family initially discouraged her not to go and to wait until she was older. She wanted to go to an orphanage but of all places God asked her to go to a medical clinic. When she finally traveled 3,000 miles away from home, overcame her fears in a missionary medical jungle clinic, and loved the children and orphans of Peru, God blessed her and changed her life so much. Living in Peru, has been a rollercoaster of joys and tears for Brooke, but through God’s leading in her life she has been completely humbled and decided to be a nurse- something she NEVER imagined doing.

    To be completely honest, we don’t always feel like student missionaries, but we have learned that being a missionary is an action, not a feeling. Through the many spiritual, physical, and cultural challenges we have become bonded in Christ, and have become closer than sisters. Living eight months in Peru has changed our life in so many more ways than we could ever explain. Though it is definitely not easy, it is so worth it. Here are our top ten reasons why we think you should pray about becoming a missionary.
    1. Spiritual Reality Check. Do you think that being a missionary means that you have a great relationship with Christ? That you always feel his presence working in your life? Instead of your spiritual walk getting easier, your faith is constantly confronted in a spiritual battlefield of trusting in God in the hardest of times. Without the distractions of home, you are faced with destitution and the spiritual reality check of where you lie in your relationship with Christ.

  • 2. A New Perspective. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Give me your eyes and I’ll show you the world.”? Christ asks that we give him our eyes, and he will open them to the beauty, and reality of the world around us. By stepping out of your comfort zone, and into a new culture you can not only gain perspective about the world around you, but gain perspective of the life you lead as a follower of Christ. Being immersed in another culture teaches us the value of respecting others, being open minded, and learning to adapt in the face of trial. You can see the world for what it truly is, and humbly serve those in need, and it is so rewarding.

  • 3. Shows you what you want in life. As you live as a student missionary the little things suddenly don’t seem to matter so much. Many of life's priorities change drastically and you start to question what truly is important. By serving others, you often discover where your passions lie, and in what kind of career you would like to invest your time and money.

  • 4. Blessing others blesses you. You travel across the world as a family and friend deemed superhero missionary and then realize that the people help you more than you can help them. By experiencing painful lessons in humility, you start to feel the love of serving Christ and the freedom of living out your Christ-given identity.

  • 5. You start needing God in a real way. Being an SM strips you to the core of who really are and shows you your incompleteness without God. It becomes much more difficult to “fake it til you make it” or to live a life of spiritual complacency when you are pressed with constant emotional, physical, and spiritual temptations. You are forced to jump off the middle fence and pick a side whom you will serve during your time abroad.

  • 6. Realize how selfish you are. When you travel across the world to be a student missionary, you often feel that you are sacrificing a lot. You feel that by leaving your family and friends you are doing a great duty and some notable action for Christ. Then you arrive in a different country, and realize that serving as a student missionary isn't even about you. Yes it starts with your decision to say yes. But service is about the people you are serving and most of all God's calling for your life. It's difficult to serve when you are concerned about yourself: the food you are eating, how you look, or how many friends you have. You are constantly confronted with a battlefield of your natural self and it's selfish ways and God's calling for you to be completely humble and put others first. Often we look back to the way we used to live in college when all we thought about was our careers and what we wanted, and say in shock “I never want to go back to that selfishness”. Putting others first is so rewarding and you realize how freeing it is to not think about yourself all the time.

  • Learn to work with and appreciate other people who are different than you. In America, it's convenient to become friends with people who are just like us. Friends who play the same sports as us, attend the same classes as us, or maybe share the same cultural or religious values are easy to find. When you go to be a student missionary, you meet so many people that are completely different than you. Their are people of different races, different beliefs, different hobbies, different world perspectives, and different social classes. At first when you go to serve, you may be tempted to shrink back and hide from the differences wondering where “your people” or “your friends” are that are just like you. When you finally embrace the differences of the people of the country you are serving in, you will realize how beautiful God created the world and the amazing gift of acceptance. Everyone wants to be accepted in life and when you learn to accept others you will be gifted with the most amazing spiritual family and closest friends than you could have ever imagined.
  • 9. Challenging yourself to achieve the most you can from life. As a missionary, you will be asked to do things that are far beyond your comfort zone. Whether that be teaching a class without lesson plans, singing a solo even though you believe you can't sing, or preaching a sermon within two days notice. In the mission field, you are no longer a child or a student; you are a teacher, a medical professional, and an evangelist. You have responsibilities and expectations that will push you to achievements and accomplishments you may have never even imagined.

  • 10. The greatest adventure of your life. While every day of mission work isn't spent rescuing orphans, riding elephants, and machete chopping poisonous snakes, mission work will give you the opportunities to experience new things. During eight months of work in a foreign country, you will have the opportunity to make some of the best friends you could ever imagine, try some crazy foods, and travel to places around the world. Most importantly, your relationship to Christ will be pushed and challenged so that you may grow closer to God than ever before.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Powerful songs for your Sabbath

Check out the song "Save My Life" by Sidewalk Prophets! Never underestimate the power of one and how one person can impact the life of another.

This is not Goodbye: by Sidewalk Prophets is about moving on.. with God. It's hard and you will develop baggage. But as you follow God where He leads you, He asks you to let go.  When I say I do by Matthew West. I want you to think about saying I do to God and saying that you will truly follow Him. Will you leave everything up to Him and stand by Him when the times are hard?

Jason Gray: Remind me who I am =)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dare to listen, try to care

 I thought that when I got back to the states, everyone would want to hear about Peru. I mean at least a little bit, like give me five minutes right. But I was wrong. Nobody really cares. And honestly that hurts because Peru is part of who I am.

There was a lady in the grocery store yesterday who when heard my mom bragging about me traveling to Peru started grilling me questions and asking God to bless me. She really cared about my experience and she touched me. I just felt such a bond to this lady, and I felt God's love in her. All she did was listen.

My family tries to listen, and a few of my closer friends listen too. It's hard though when people don't ask questions or try to understand. A big part of it is people are busy- they don't invest a lot of time in relationships whether that be family relationships or the people they encounter daily at their work or in the grocery store.

In Peru, one of my favorite things about the culture was the time change. In Peru, people value relationships much more than I've seen many Americans do. In Peru, store owners want to hear what you an American are doing in Peru. They want to say hi; they want to talk; they just hang around.

I think that to follow Christ we have to learn to slow down. We must get out of this world's rat race and put relationships first. We must learn to listen to others. It's amazing how much you can bless someone and show them Jesus' love by simply listening and trying to understand.

Just yesterday, one of my best friends Kara who I haven't seen in a year, texted me and said she couldn't wait to catch up and here about Peru. And just her saying that, knowing that she cares about me, made my heart so jumpy and happy. We were made to share our joys, our struggles, and our life stories with each other! God created us for relationships!

How I overcame my fears of the doctor

They called me doctor. The name I used to tremble at was now mine. While I wouldn't dare answer to a call like that in America, to the poor, distressed Peruvians, I was one of their doctors; their helpers, their hopes for healing, and their source of medication.

I overcame my latrophobia (fear of doctors) in a strange way: in a small place,a jungle town in Pucallpa, Peru. It all started when I accepted the call to go as a student missionary. I was nineteen years old and I felt God telling me to step out in faith and serve Him in a foreign land. As I looked through the mission calls, my heart identified with AMOR: a clinically based medical location in Pucallpa that provided free medical care and children's programming oportunities in the Amazon River Basin. As I looked at the previous missionaries' blogs of their experiences, I found all sorts of stories about giving stitches, shots, and assisting with minor surgeries with the help of an experienced doctor.

Why was God calling me to AMOR Projects when I hated the medical field? Could I really learn to give shots, take blood sugar levels, and give stitches? Would I even be helpful there? Could I overcome my fears? Many of these questions haunted me and challenged me to rethink my commitment to service. Yet in the end, I got on a plane ride and said “Here I am, if I can help these people at all medically, it will be all God and not me.”

As I got to Peru, I was nervous about what my time would be like and if I could really do it, but when I arrived, I was welcomed by many loving people and fellow missionaries that were extremely encouraging. Together we were trained by a Peruvian doctor some basic medical skills such as how to take blood pressures, different types of mosquito diseases, and how to give injections. When it came time to learn about shots, we needed to practice on each other. I was so nervous that I started crying, because I was afraid I would hurt the other person. All of my fellow missionaries started encouraging me and cheering for me. I prayed to God that He would help me and He did. I did it! I gave my first shot!

As I worked in the clinic and had to give shots quite often and play the role of doctor, many times I felt the pain of my patients as I treated them. Their tears hurt my heart. I felt their struggles and their fears. I understood the pain they were going through. By giving them painful shots or local anesthesia I was doing the best thing that I could for them. Even though it hurt for the time, I knew I was hurting to heal.

Helping play the role of doctor took away all of my previous fears of doctor visits and clinics. Doctors work hard to do the best thing they can to heal our bodies. Most of all, I remember my heavenly Father: the Great Physician. We need to trust Him with all of our lives and not be afraid to follow Him and let us heal us. He knows all about us and understands our broken hearts and pains. Sometimes to heal our wounds, He must break us so that He can remake us in a different way.

When we cry out and fight in pain or tears, He cries for us in prayer. He is full of compassion and love. He takes great care of us and always knows the best way to heal us.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


So I have these 2 kinda crazy dreams that I want to start at Southern next year. I know it starts like a lot to start both but the hospital program will only be a once a month thing and the African Circus Project weekly.

Sooooo here goes:

Hospital Children's Program is a once in a month volunteer opportunity for Southern students to go to the children's hospital and perform for them. I wanted to get it so that we could go every other week, but were just starting so I'm happy they're just letting us go! Sooo at Southern all I need to do is promote the Hospital Program and find 10 performers to go every week and a few cars ;) that will be easy!

The second one: the African Circus Project is a little more complicated/ in depth. It's about human rights advocacy and fundraising both for world issues and so that our team can visit and volunteer in Africa for 4-6 weeks. So basically the African Circus Project targets 4 groups: orphans, sex trade, clean water, and child hunger as well as 4 performers in dance, music, aerial silk, and juggling. The African Circus Project would do small shows around the area and Tennesse (about 5 a semester) charging about $3 a ticket. The shows would double as a talent showcase (we would all have African outfits) and human rights advocacy as each performer would speak about one of the four target projects. We would also sell African Circus Projects t- shirts at the shows. About 50% of the money would go to African problem solving and the other half directly to our teams' expenses for our mission trip to Africa.

So ya those are my crazy ideas ;)
Anyone have any African outfits?

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Tomorrow I'm going to TSR (Texas Ski Ranch) home of these amazing wakeboarders and crazy people who do all these big jumps around the cable. I've been there a lot before and I've been wakeboarding before a lot. One time I went over this little slider jump and I made it, but the second time I went around I crashed hard on it.

Ever since that time, I've been TERRIFIED of going over the jump. It's stupid, but I'm just afraid of getting hurt. I really want to overcome my fear and just go over it but I'm so scared. Honestly, being scared of crashing is really messing up my wakeboarding time because I'm to the point where it isn't even that fun anymore riding. Plus all my family goes over jumps, so I'm like the scared one stuck behind.

It's interesting because as I do "self-talk" I feel stupid for feeling so afraid and I know I should just go for it. I know I should say my prayers and just try it instead of letting fears hold me back.

How many things do we not even try or give one more try too because we are too afraid? Why are we so afraid of falling and so afraid of failing and so afraid of what other people think?

Tomorrow I'm going to try the jump even though it's very very very scary for me. Please pray for me =) But don't just let me take all the risks and steal your fun ;) What have you always wanted to do but always been too afraid to try? What fear are you letting hold you back from failure?

Deep breath. I can do this. Yes please pray for me tomorrow.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Physical Therapy

This past week I've been doing some job shadowing with a physical therapist as well as spending some time with my family, recovering from lice, and planning spiritual activities for camp.
Volunteering at the physical therapy clinic has been going really well ( and I suppose I have been learning a lot from watching). I have 4 more days of shadowing until I will have half of my required hours for PT school.

My ultimate goal for Physical Therapy is to open a pediatrics training and rehabilitation clinic where kids can receive treatments including therapy classes and aquatic therapy. Two of my biggest passions are the water and kids. I would love to go to Orlando Health College so I can work at the Florida Disney Pavillion: one of the best kids friendly pt clinics in the states.

I miss Peru and missions. There is a gap in my heart that something is missing. I am still overly happy about my bed and walking barefoot. When someone mentions poverty, I see my friends. When someone says orphanage, my mind is transported backwards to a place where I live. My heart is into missions and I want to travel around the world and help people.

Some people don't understand. Actually I frequently feel like nobody understands me and what Peru was like. Often I excitedly tell people I volunteered in Peru and instead of asking questions they simply say "cool."

When I tell people I want to be a missionary longer, they think I want to waste my money traveling around the world. While I agree that missions is expensive, I think that it is a sacrifice for Christ that ends up blessing you and the people ten times more than the cost.

Overall, being home is really wonderful and my family and I are going camping this weekend.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Never pity missionaries; envy them. They are where the real action is -- where life and death, sin and grace, Heaven and Hell converge.”
Robert C. Shannon

I'm home now and it's a wonderful, warm, and comfortable feeling, but I have no regrets for how and where I spent the last eight months doing the Lord's work in Peru. I know that the things I learned, friends I made, and experiences I shared will stay in my heart for a long time. As well, I have experienced a wonderful addiction to service, love, and Jesus that I hope stays in my heart a long long time.

Being with my family again is amazing. Currently, I'm working on cleaning my life up. Detox, hair cut, long baths LOL. I'm also searching for my purpose and passion for my life, you know back in the states again. I think I want to do physical therapy so I'm working on doing some job shadowing. I also have a great job lined up for me this summer at camp as spiritual director and counselor.

I can tell you one thing though: I'm addicted to service. I'm addicted to travel. I'm addicted to changing the world (or at least my beginning efforts too.) And most importantly: I'm addicted to Jesus Christ my Savior.