Monday, June 30, 2014

Why I wanna go to Africa

When people ask me what I want to do with my life, sometimes I don't know what to say. I don't want to be a teacher, a lawyer, or a doctor. I don't want to be a policeman, an Olympic athlete, or even an EMT, I want to follow God around the world. So they say “Oh you want to be a missionary”- thus comes the cliche- wow your gonna marry a pastor and go live in Africa, homeschool your vegetarian children and wear long skirts every day- and oh ya they ask me- “How are you gonna make enough money to be a missionary?” Are you even going to be able to support your children? Why are you so irresponsible? All you want to do is travel the world they say.. you'll never save the orphans.

I don't want to travel around the world to live in nice places or see luxorious sights. I don't want to go to Africa because I believe I can save little babies and be some kind of superhero. I don't want to be in the midst of an African War. Nor do I enjoy living in filth, having lice, and living in the midst of serious sickness and disease. But I do want to help people around the world because I know that I have more than them. I know that God blessed me with abundance so that I may give.

What is abundance you say? Abundance is more food than I can eat at one meal, more clothes than I need for one week, more shoes than three kids will have in a year. Abundance is relative and so is wealth. Many Americans feel they are lower or middle class but fail to realize they are richer than 70% of the world and that many people live on less than $1 every day.

I don't know if I want to spend my entire life living in a foreign country. I definitely want to give my children the opportunity to live in both a foreign land as well as America. I definitely don't want to live the American Dream lifestyle and live a life of comfort and economical stability in the United States. I want to travel the world, have a small family, and help less fortunate and children around the world who are not as blessed as I was.

I care a lot about the health ministry: nutrition, clean water and food, access to medical care, and treatment for preventable diseases. I love mission trips and various non profits. I would love to get an internship with World Vision and see more of how they work. I think disaster relief would be extremely cool.

I'm not exactly sure where I'm headed in life- maybe into some sort of missionary life. I know it won't be easy, and I'm not so naive that I believe traveling the world will always be fun. I know there are serious risks, health concerns, and hazards. I know that I will be living in poverty and that my family will probably not be stable at all times.

Despite the challenges, I feel addicted and called to service. I want to live a life I won't regret later. I don't know exactly what I want to do with my life but I know I want to follow God around the world.

Monday, June 23, 2014

on my grandma's funeral day

Sometimes when I'm still and everything around me fades out, I wonder when I got here. How did I become the person I am today? When did I choose to live for Jesus so that now I could be spiritual director at my favorite summer camp? When did I gain the strength to spend 8 months as a missionary in Peru?

When I think about the steps and the stages of life that I have gone through, I'm learning that who I am right now has been strongly due to the influences I have had in my life when I was younger as well as my childhood experiences.

Nobody has a perfect family, but I praise God because I have a family that has always encouraged me to grow in Christ. I have a mom who is passionately alive, driven, loving, and caring. I have a dad who is a true man of God: brave, bold, fearless, and never afraid to stand up for someone in need. And I have a grandma who has prayed for me, supported me on mission trips, read me Bible stories, taught me to draw ducks, and told me Jesus loved me everytime we talked on the phone.

5 days ago, my grandma died. This is a grandma I was relatively close to: a grandma who encouraged me in my faith. A grandma who taught me how to pray at the table and bow my head because she said it brought attention to Jesus. A grandma who never ended a phone conversation without asking me: Brooke do you remember how much Jesus loved you?

I love my grandma and I will miss her so much.

About a week and a half ago, I had the opportunity to see my grandma again. I hadn't seen her for over a year. When I talked to her, she was very sick and confused. My brother asked me to share with her my pictures of Peru because he thought she would like it. I didn't want to share my pictures with her right then though. I said I would do it later. I put it off.

Fast forward to now, it's too late to share my pictures with her. I think that's one thing in my life that I will always regret.

I think that if you want to do something in life. If you really care, you will do it now. You will do it soon. You will make your dreams come true, you will fight for what you believe in, you will make who you love first priority in your life.

You might not always have a second chance.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Light Meets the Dark

I don't know where to go from here.
It all used to seem so clear.
I'm finding I can't do this on my own.

I don't know where to go from here.
As long as I know that you are near.
I'm done fighting.
I"m finally letting go.
I will trust in you.  "Sidewalk Prophets"

This is where the healing begins.
This is where the healing starts.
When you come to where you're broken within.
Light meets the dark.-- "Tenth Avenue North"

-- Everybody has those life shaking moments, heart-shattering relationships, or depressing seasons in their life when all the noise fades away and you feel left in the dessert all alone gasping for clean air and water to sustain life. I feel like I've been in the dessert for a while but God is walking me hand in hand to a cool and bubbling brook.

It's ok to be alone and to have shelters around your heart. In fact God says that we need to protect our heart above all other things. I'm excited to work at Wewoka Woods Summer Camp this year for the 5th time this year. I know that God has brought me to a safe place of healing, ministry, and close friends.

I just finished 2 weeks of summer camp and it was a pretty good experience so far.We had staff week and camp meeting and then Native American Camp! During Native Week, I got to be a girls counselor for some beautiful six and a half to eight year old girls! I just LOVED it and I really feel like God helped me get through to some of the campers. I have an amazing co-counselor named Dani and we work really well together. At the end of the week at camp, many of our sweet girls asked me if they could go home with me. It saddened me to see many of them cry when they returned with their families. I just have to wonder about how safe they are in their families and how much their parents really love them.

This past week, I was working as a girls counselor, spiritual director, and programming director because Larry, the normal programming director wasn't there. I'm excited that for the following weeks I will be a girls counselor, lake lifeguard, and spiritual director. Please pray for our camp that the kids are touched and that the staff really unites in ministry.