Saturday, December 10, 2016

Verses to live by!

Joshua 1:3
"I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses."

As I was doing my daily scripture writing and devotions, this verse was on a list I found of important verses we should all memorize. So when I first read it, I was mad because it seemed to be taken out of context. I can't just take this verse and plant it in my life and say, "Well there ya go, God will give me success in all I do because Joshua 1:3 says so.."
No.

But as I thought more about it and read the surrounding verses (always important to read the whole story and not just one or two verses) I was shown how applicable this verse is to life. Not just my life and the path I'm on but for us all.

God was leading the Israelites to the promised land. This was at the end of their wanderings. Moses had just died and I'm willing to bet the people felt hopeless and defeated. Their great leader was gone. In this verse, God was speaking to Joshua and reminding Him of the promise He made to Moses. God was going to provide for what and where He was calling them to.

Vs. 7 says "Be strong and courageous...Be careful to obey all the law. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go."

What verses to live by!

God is calling us all to something, whether its a job, relationship(romantic or not), a mission trip, a way to live, ministry, etc. Whatever God is calling us to, He will provide. He's promised that. But only if we are faithful in return. I was never going to get all the funding for any one of my mission trips if after I heard the call of God I just sat at home on the couch and watched tv or looked at my phone for months on end and expected that come summer time the money would be there for me to go. No. I had to work for it. I had to prepare and plan. I had to write letter after letter and stuff envelopes and send emails. I had to work for it. I had to be faithful on my end. And in return, God showed up and provided in miraculous ways.

God our Father desires to bless us. But only when we are living for Him day by day. A parent isn't going to reward a child with bad behavior with gifts. No. A parent wants to reward a child for doing good.


We are God's children.

Don't forget that.





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Friday, December 9, 2016

Cry Out


Psalm 72: 12
For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help."


Tonight I am reminded just how faithful our God is. How deep and how wide and how high His love for me is. It's something I think He is always reminding me of.

  I've been trying a new personal devotion style. I found a monthly scripture writing "challenge" for December. Every day there is a new passage of scripture and I re write it. But that's all I have been doing...until tonight when I decided to add the SOAP study method (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer). What a difference it makes when you apply yourself.

Tonight the verse above stuck out to me. He will deliver the needy who cry out. I haven't been crying out to Him lately. I've been keeping things to myself. I've been silent. I've been pitying myself. Tonight He quietly and gently reminded me that He will deliver me if only I'd cry out to Him. He'd save me from drowning if only I'd reach out for Him. How foolish is it to think He'd answer my prayers if I don't pray them?

I cried out. I brought my needs before my God, my healer and my provider. He didn't answer everything in that moment. But something deep in my soul became still. I knew He was here. It brought me to tears to be shown how faithful He is to me.  He brought hope. He brought peace.

We are all needy and afflicted. In this world we live in, there is always something. We are never without need. Thankfully our God never tires of us. He is always there. He waits patiently for us to realize that need and to cry out. He does not fail to deliver.

Spend time with Jesus. He will meet you where you are at. Don't wait until you are clean enough. He'll clean you. Trust Him.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

He restores my soul!

It's been a dry couple weeks. My normal schedule was thrown out of whack due to family visiting (which I wouldn't trade for the world. It was a great time!) but it was hard for me to keep up with my daily devotions between spending time with family, my crazy job and several road trips. And so, unfortunately, my daily devotions took a back seat. This left me dry and short tempered and impatient. I woke up today so desperate to get out of the desert. I took what little time I had before church and I sought God.

Ya'll, He is SO faithful to us! If we cry out to Him, if we ask Him for more of Him, He is faithful to give us what we so desperately need.

Matthew 7:11 "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" 

Through worship, prayer and reading the word I began to feel that refreshing of the spirit that I needed. By the time I got to church I was ready for more worship. My heart was in the right place.

I started this day dry and lost and although it hasn't ended, I am now full and joyful. He restored and refreshed my soul.

Make time for the spirit's work in your life. We do not have because we do not ask. ASK! Ask God for His spirit! Ask God to fill you and restore you and cleanse you! Seek Him with an earnest heart. He is a good good Father and He loves you so deeply.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

When the peace God gives you isn't the peace you wanted



This has been a humbling lesson to learn. It's funny how you can learn a lesson over and over again, in different ways. Being humble instead of prideful  is a lesson I learn often.
It isn't an easy lesson and at times it may feel like the world is crashing down on you when you are in the midst of learning it, but in the end God will give you peace.

So this is my story of receiving that peace. But it wasn't the peace I was praying for when I made the decision to go back to Macedonia for round two. 

I saw it as a step of faith because I was not 100% fully certain of God's plan for me. I hoped with all my heart that it was to return to Macedonia and so I applied and began fundraising. Through all this, I prayed that God would show me His plans and that He would give me peace about my decision.
But that peace never came.
And as the money just didn't come in and time and deadlines were passing, I began to cave under the pressure. I wanted so badly to go back.
I had to go back.
But God had different plans and through lots of prayer and receiving counsel from family and friends, I made the hard decision to yield. To take a step back and humble myself.

Because as I look back on the whole thing, I was letting my emotions make decisions for me. I didn't wait for God to give the go ahead. I didn't wait for His peace before I set sail. 

It is hard to put your own will and desires aside and do things God's way. I mean, it's hard to do that in all facets of life. But in these circumstances, it felt devastating. And still, sometimes my heart aches when I see the pictures from March. Those beautiful refugees stole my a piece of my heart and I'm pretty sure I'll never get it back. But that's what mission trips do. You lose your heart piece by piece and that's a good thing. 

So what now?

I feel like God is leading me to a time of sabbatical, of rest and recharge. I don't know how long this period will be. But I do know that no matter how long it is, I will not be idle. I'm using this time to grow closer in my walk with the Lord and to seek His long term will for my life. As much as I have loved every short term trip I have been on, I believe I am ready and am getting closer to long term commitment. So we will see where God leads me and when He leads me there. It may be sooner than I think ;)

As always, your continued support and prayers are greatly needed and appreciated. Love you all!

Be sure to follow by email/subscribe!

Beka

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Macedonia: Round Two!

It didn't take me very long to fall in love with Macedonia or the Refugees back in March. Only days into the trip and I knew that I wanted to come back.
That I HAD to come back.

And here is my chance!

July 5-20 Reign is again partnering with SEND and returning to Macedonia to work inside the Refugee camps! This time will look slightly different however, we will build relationships with adults, teens, and children through clothes distribution, games, and more! We will also be working at a shelter for refugees who are unaccompanied minors and in another location with those seeking asylum. Additionally, God is opening doors for the team to begin an educational project teaching conversational English at the camp! This is an exciting platform for serving that will help us build deeper relationships and will provide a natural opportunity to share the hope we have in Christ!

I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to return to a place that has had so much impact on my life in the short time I was there. And this time I will be there longer.

Just as in last time, with the announcement of the trip and application process, I have a short time to raise the funds needed to go. And since it is a longer trip, the cost has gone up compared to last time. (Basically has doubled)
But I fully believe and have faith that God will provide the funds that I need in His timing. That's something He's been teaching me. To trust and wait for His timing, not mine. So here we go!

My first "deadline" is actually tomorrow, Friday May 20th. It's the deadline for cheaper international airfare. After this weekend it will go up by $200. So to get the cheaper rate, I'll need $1,525 by tomorrow. And after that, I'll have till up to the day of the trip to raise the rest.
I'm up for the challenge. Are you?

These beautiful people are so desperate and hungry for the hope we have in Christ and I'm yearning to return and share that hope with them. Won't you help me make that possible?

You can help by praying.
Because I'm going to need a lot of it. And for my team also.

You can also help by donating online. I know it's last minute but hey, aren't those gifts always the best? Spur of the moment?? :)

https://www.egsnetwork.com/gift2/?giftid=158E2AC222974A3

(Just make sure that beside the amount of the gift, my name is there :) !)




Sunday, May 1, 2016

When God changes your heart



How do you begin to explain the vastness of a mission trip? If you have ever been on one before, you will understand the change you see in yourself when you return home. 
So much changes too. 
Your eyes are open to a whole new part of the world. 
You see realities and circumstances that most people have never even given a thought to. This goes especially for younger missionaries like myself. Most young adults or teens (more than most I should say) have never stepped foot outside of their state, let alone to another country. 
Opinions change.
But most importantly, your heart changes.

And that's what I want to talk about first. How God changed my heart when I went to Macedonia. 

Let's backtrack,shall we? To before the refugee crisis hit media headlines. Back to when the only idea I had about Muslims and the Islamic faith was that there were terrorists among them. When I thought about a Muslim, I associated that person to terrorists. I know this isn't a rare occurrence. There are quite a few number of humans (not just Americans I'm guessing) that thought the same as me. 
I had never had a conversation with a Muslim outside of ringing up their groceries at my previous job as a cashier. 
I never looked into their eyes and felt love.
I always felt fear and suspicion. 

I learned long ago to never put boundaries on God's plan. I have always tried to keep an open mind when dreaming of where God may send me next. But honestly, deep down in my heart I hoped that the Middle East was not on His agenda. And China was always the number two. But still, I tried keeping an open heart to it all the while hoping inside that my calling would be anywhere but there. You know what I mean?

So, in short, I was very judgmental and hypocritical. 

So when the refugee crisis hit our media outlets and became the crisis that it is today, you can imagine my shock when I no longer felt the same towards them. Maybe it was sympathy that began to soften my heart. Or maybe it was God using sympathy to soften my heart.  But there I was, heart breaking as I watched the drone fly over Syria and all you could see for miles was destruction.  Hearing the horror stories from HONY's travels to the Middle East, of these people who are trying to flee for their very lives because ISIS is killing everyone they know and love. The war is ravaging these countries forcing these families to leave all they have ever known and all they own and run.

Suddenly, these people weren't so scary. They were humans who needed help. They are lost sheep needing the true Good Shepherd. 

But those feelings didn't truly go away until I walked into the camp and looked into the eyes of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and children. Until my heart fully broke for these beautiful people. 
When love finally entered my heart for a people who are so in need of love.

That's how God changed me. He took fear and replaced it with so much love.

But not after convicting me of my past opinions and attitudes. 

I know this refugee crisis is the center of a large debate here in America. But for us Christians, there should be no debate. And maybe this will help you understand what I mean.

One of our leaders said this at the beginning of the trip and it has stuck with me to this day and I hope you consider it and pray about it just as much as I have. 

"Have we as Christians thought that perhaps God is bringing the Muslim refugees here because we aren't going there?"

That personally hit home with me. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, they are all places I have never had a desire to go. And I'm sure many other Christians would agree with me. 

Guys, we are seeing something so amazing during this time. We are seeing a mass exodus of previously unreachable people groups now entering countries where they are FREE to hear the Good saving News of Jesus Christ and God's love for them! 
WOW  can I get an AMEN?!

Think about it for a minute will you? 

Mission trips to the Middle East are basically unheard of. But mission trips to Germany or Macedonia? We can freely enter those countries and freely and openly talk about Jesus to Afghan's and Syrian's.  People who have never heard the truth of the Bible.

What do I think we should do about it?

Pray. Learn. Open our arms

Pray for these people. Pray as they travel, as they find and settle into a new home. Pray for provisions. Pray that Jesus will speak to them in dreams and through His people. Pray. Pray. Pray.

Learn about the culture these people are coming from. Learn about the similarities and differences in religions. Learn how to bridge the gap between Christians and Muslims. (I recommend a great video series called___________...I will let you know as soon as I find it..)
So learn how to reach them.

And open your arms, open your heart to these people. They have names and beautiful faces. They are no different than me or you. 


Monday, April 11, 2016

At the top of the slide...


It's the day you have been waiting for all school year long. Summer is finally here and it's your first trip to the water park. The sun is hot and the water cold. Everything about this day and the plans that you and your parents have made is playing out perfectly. There you are, finally at the top of one of the highest water slides. You have been waiting over thirty minutes, climbing the steps one by one as you patiently waited for your turn. And now as you step up and on to the slide, something you didn't expect happens. It's something you always ridiculed other kids about. 
Fear of going down. 
Your heart begins to race and now you would rather run all the way back down the steps. The lazy river was looking calm and perfect from your new high vantage point. 
The lifeguard directing traffic forces you to sit but your hands are still tightly clenched on the rail above you.
You are going down this slide. Whether that's you getting the courage to let go or the lifeguard pushes you forward sending you on a spiraling descent towards certain death...or at least that's how you see it anyway. 
You turn to face the lifeguard as if to say, "never mind, I won't do it."
And instead of cruelly pushing you down, so the next kid can go, they kneel beside you and look you in your eyes, "This ride is wild. But I promise, when you get to the bottom, you will have loved every second of it and will be running back up these stairs, pushing all the kids out of the way just to ride again. You are going to love it, trust me."
And with that, suddenly the courage you lacked momentarily returned and on your own you let go of the rail and slide to the bottom. 
The lifeguard was right! That was invigorating and life changing! 
And there you were, running towards one of the other higher slides. You finally make it to the top, even more impatient than before.  
In an even bigger shock, as you step into the water and grasp the rails, that same fear from before returned. This time worse because you know that you CAN handle the ride. You did it before. So why is it harder to go down again?
The operator on this slide, noticing your original excitement vanished, leans toward you. "Just remember how you felt when you reached the bottom. You can do it!"
Your memory from not an hour ago resurfaced and the courage and stamina that you needed came back and you thrust yourself forward. 

How often in life do we see God moving in our lives or better yet, how often does God call us to something small and we gladly accept the challenge. But soon enough as time passes, He calls us to bigger things? And the bigger and scarier the "ride" He is calling us to, the harder and harder it is to keep thrusting ourselves forward? 
Anyone else ever have that feeling?
I definitely have and I'm definitely going through it again in my life. 

You know, it was definitely intimidating and scary to go on my first mission trip five years ago. I was so excited as I prepared but soon enough the fear began creeping in. It wasn't till I was finally on the trip did I get the excitement back. Just like the kid in my story. I went through the phases of excitement, anticipation, fear, courage and back to excitement. 

And God keeps calling me on this rides. And every time, for a brief moment, fear settles in. Every time I have to remind myself that no matter where the trip is or how long it is, I know once I am there that everything will be alright and I'll be excited as I should be. 

God keeps calling me to bigger and better things yet fear keeps me holding onto comfort with a death grip. It's hard to let go and let God. I know all the answers to my fears and questions. I have this internal battle raging almost constantly. Whenever a question arises in my heart, I immediately counteract the question with truth. 

I've seen what God has done in my life over the last six years. I've seen what He has done on each of my trips. I have watched him provide thousands of dollars for me to experience His plan and purpose for my life. I've seen the joy in my heart and on the children's faces of all those kiddos I have interacted with over the years. And I know deep down, no matter what comforts or fears may try and block the vision of my destiny, that if God calls me to something that it is going to be 10,000 times better than what I could come up with on my own. That there is a purpose to His calling and it will be so worth all the sacrifices that may come with it. 

So if God is calling you on your first or sixth "ride" and you are experiencing that fear that comes knocking, remember what God has done in your life. Remember the experiences you had, the emotions you felt, and the sights you saw. Remember the work of God in your life. Remembering (and leaning on God) will give you the courage you need to follow through with this next ride.
Just remember how you felt when you reached the bottom! You can do it!
God will be with you every step of the way.


Pray with me as I continue to seek God's will for my life and look into different long term mission opportunities. Pray that no matter the place, no matter the time of service, I won't keep holding on to comfort and security but will let go and follow God with full speed, expectant and excited!

And if you need prayer for the ride in your life, or for any other reason, reach out to me! I'd love to pray with/for you during this time in your life.

Beka

(Don't forget to subscribe and never miss a post!)

"

Thursday, March 10, 2016

I'm not "normal". PHEW!



It's been over a year since I returned from Honduras. Now I can finally get back on track with regular blood donations! Donating blood is something that I have really enjoyed doing over the last five years. I always say that the only negative drawback from traveling over seas for myself is that most likely that not, I'll be hindered from donating blood. Thanks to Nepal, Colombia, and Honduras I had to wait a year after each trip to donate again. So even though I have been donating over the last five-ish years, this is only my 4th or 5th donation. 
It's one of the most simplest ways to give back and to help those in need. 

All that to set the scene.

I quite often forget that my life is not normal. I'm just so used to living my life this way that when I meet other young adults I forget that people like myself are few and far between. 
I met a young man today and we talked as we waited at the Red Cross. I don't remember how we got started on this topic (maybe because I love sharing about my trips so I find ways to sneak it in there in any conversation). I told him about all my travels, where I had been and where I'm going next week! (Yeah, I leave for Macedonia next Friday, the 18th!)
After I listed the countries I had been to and where I am going, you could see the surprise and shock on his face. He smiled and laughed as he told me that he had never been to those places.

That's when it hit me. My life is not normal, by any means that society today would have suggested for an almost 22 year old. 

Never went to college. Never had a boyfriend. Never been kissed. Never had my own prom or high school graduation. Never been on a fancy vacation outside the country.

Even though my life is filled with "Never have I ever's..." the list of the things that I have done outweigh them and make the nevers worth it.

Let me clarify. I understand that most of my "never's" just haven't happened yet but most likely will in the future. And I'm okay with waiting. Waiting is worth it. No regrets ;) 


I want to share with you something I found in my journal for Colombia (my second mission trip).
I had forgotten all about this encounter and can no longer picture his face. I met a Colombian named Antonio who said a blessing over me : "May God bless you and guide you back home and to other countries."
Little did either of us know that almost three years later I'll have gone on my 5th mission trip and have been to three more countries after that trip. It's really cool looking back and seeing things like this prayer come into fruition. 

***If you ever go on a mission trip YOU MUST journal! You will be so thankful you did!***

UPDATE on Macedonia. Like I said I leave on March 18th to fly to Chicago and begin meeting my team. Cannot wait! 
I AM FULLY FUNDED. I should have posted this awhile ago. God is so good and has met all my needs.
I only work a few days next week then I'll have a couple days to pack, repack and prepare. 
A huge thank you to all who donated and have been praying. I so appreciate your support!



The next few weeks are going to be very busy and I appreciate all the prayers. 

How you can pray!

-As the team and I prepare for next week.
-As the leaders prepare
-That the camp administration will accept us and give us the proper badges we will need to enter the camps.
-For all who we will meet while in Macedonia, especially the refugees.
-For open doors in Macedonia.
-Travel to and from Macedonia
-Guidance for myself. That God would open doors and lead me to where He wants me to go/what He wants me to do next.

Thank you!

Beka




Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why I do what I do...




I'm sure some of you are wondering, "Why are you involved with foreign missions?"

It's something I have asked myself quite often. 
What is my purpose? 
Why do I do what I have done and what I still want to do? 

Why do I spend so much time, effort, energy and money on short term mission trips to other countries?

The answer is simple yet so deeply complicated.

Simply put? God has called me to these trips. 

I didn't wake up one day and say to myself, "I think I'll go travel to a developing country, spend a summer there away from the comforts of home and away from my family and friends. Yeah, I think I'll go to a country where there are no real or clean toilets. I'll go to a country where I have to hike for hours up large steep hills where my lungs feel like they will explode just so I can meet new people. I'll go somewhere where I can't shower every day or every other day. I'll go to a new culture and perhaps try weird foods or food I don't like and pretend I do like it so I don't disrespect anyone. I'll go spend a month in a place where I don't know the language and if I'm confused I'll just nod and smile and walk away. I'll leave for 6 weeks and lie awake at night, crying myself to sleep from homesickness." 

Yeah...that sounds like a great plan. 

Nepal. Colombia. Honduras. (Scotland doesn't count because I have always wanted to go haha) and now Macedonia and some day Romania. Those aren't necessarily my top picks of places I would have wanted to travel to in this world. Let's face it...Those aren't tourist hot spots. They aren't all that safe. But that never mattered to me. 
All that mattered when I was facing a new trip was the clear and simple fact that God called me, told me to go on a trip. God called me to Nepal, Colombia, Kairos (Honduras and Scotland) and now He is calling me to Macedonia. 

A more complicated answer to this question would be, God called me to this.

I say that it is so simple yet so complicated and here is why.

God called me. Simple enough. So that's what I have to do. 
It's only complicated when I start to wonder why. Why to these specific places? 

I'll be honest. 

I look back on my trips and wonder why I was called there. What was so special about ME going THERE? 
Maybe I touched someones heart. Maybe it was because I had a willing heart to go. I may never get to know the reason but that doesn't stop me from going. It keeps me going. I never know what God has planned and I may never know how many seeds were planted in love. I may never see the seed grow and blossom. At least I wont see it in this life. But I'll definitely see it in heaven. 

I love mission trips. I love seeing new people and new places. I love experiencing a new culture. I love beholding the beautiful earth that God has created.

Now, although they may never have been my top picks for travel destinations, the excitement for the trips never faded. Each trip has been a fantastic adventure that God has blessed me with. I look back on each with such joy and fondness. So many great memories. I have learned so much on each trip. My eyes were opened to the world and its needs. Having now seen these countries, I'd love to return some day and walk the familiar streets. They are all such beautiful countries.

I once listened to a sermon by Paris Reidhead called "Ten Shekels and a Shirt". 


Near the end he was speaking on one of his trips to Africa and this is what he said and I have never forgotten it. 

" I heard God say to my heart that day something like this, "I didn't send you to Africa for the sake of the heathen, I sent you to Africa for My sake. They deserved Hell! But I LOVE THEM!!! AND I ENDURED THE AGONIES OF HELL FOR THEM!!!
I DIDN'T SEND YOU OUT THERE FOR THEM!!! I SENT YOU OUT THERE FOR ME! DO I NOT DESERVE THE REWARD OF MY SUFFERING? DON'T I DESERVE THOSE FOR WHOM I DIED?"

I'll let you chew on that one.



And to those who would ask, "Why not here in America? Americans need help too."

That is so true. ALL people need love. ALL people need Jesus. It doesn't matter who you are, how much money you make, what color skin you have or what language you speak. We are ALL THE SAME. No one is better than the other. No country more superior. WE all need Jesus, it just may look differently in each person, but the bottom line is the same in each and every person on this earth. We are all sinners. 

So why do I do what I do?

 I'm just following the open doors that God has placed in front of me. Whether that is ministry here in the states or ministry abroad. I'll go wherever and however He leads me. And my fingers will be crossed for foreign trips because I am now forever biased towards foreign missions ;) 

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask/speak! I'd love to hear from you :) 

~Beka

P.S ALSO if you haven't yet, subscribe and never miss a post!


And I recommend listening/reading to the sermon!




http://www.parisreidheadbibleteachingministries.org/Ten_Shekels_and_A_Shirt.html


Thursday, February 11, 2016

There is always someone having a worse day than you...



"Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it." 

A friend recently posted that on Facebook.
 And it couldn't be more applicable to my life right now. It's Thursday night as I write this. On Monday my Nana was taken to the hospital, transferred to another hospital 45 minutes away, and had surgery on her spleen to stop bleeding from a fall from over a week ago. Since surgery, she has been in ICU. 
It's been a strange few days. There is really no way to explain just how warped the last few days have felt. Emotions have been a roller coaster. One minute I was on the verge of tears and a mental break down and the next I'm laughing hysterically because Papa called the wrong person, walked into the wrong room, or just said something funny. 
Time for the last few days ceased to exist. We were there for so long yet it went by so fast. I felt like a lifetime had passed since Monday when this all began. I guess it didn't help that from the time I woke up Monday morning, I didn't sleep until Tuesday night.
Time was spent listening to my emotions bicker back and forth between being impatient and wanting Nana to just be able to come home but also wanting her to heal fully and knowing it will take time. 

And though I have to come back to the real world and resume my work schedule and fitting in time to run down to Erie, PA to the hospital before/after shifts, I look back on the last few days extremely thankful. Let me explain why:


  • During surgery, the Doctors found an aneurysm outside the spleen. They were able to repair that along with what had been injured. If she hadn't fell when she did and had surgery, she very well may have died from the aneurysm. Although it wasn't the best way to find out about it, we are thankful that she's on the mend from it all. 
  • I only had to call off of work for one shift during the last three days. Over a month ago I was asked to babysit on Feb. 11th. Well, that fell through but I never changed the availability for that day. I was scheduled off on Wednesday and Thursday. Such a blessing to not have to miss work for a few days and spend them at the hospital with Nana.
  • Wonderful neighbors who shoveled our sidewalk/steps/porch today after we were hit with a nasty storm while we were not home. 
  • A random stranger repaying a random act of kindness with a random act of kindness. While in the drive thru this morning for much needed coffee and donuts, Papa let a lady into the car line. It was a madhouse in the drive thru. I "argued" with papa about who would pay. He had paid for several meals for my aunt and I and I wanted to repay a little back. I think I could cover his less than $2 coffee haha. But the lady settled it for us by paying for our order. It was a great start to the day.
  • Smart me brought several cross stitch projects (2 of which are birthday presents. One is late and i was able to finish it and the other I thought would be late but now is done). I was able to be productive during the down time at the hospital. Nana's pain meds pretty much conked her out most of the time. 
  • WE were blessed with great nurses so far. Such patient, wonderful men and women. (No one put up a fuss when I brought coffee into the room.)
  • Coffee. Magical sweet, God-given nectar. I probably consumed an unnatural amount of it over the course of 3 days. 
But the main reason I am so thankful? 

I overheard a mans conversation while he was on the phone. As I listened, I learned that his son was in an accident and injured his spine or vertebrae. The father was scheduled to have a hip replacement done on Monday and would need to have to reschedule since his wife wouldn't be there to help him with it. They both needed to be here with their son.
My heart broke for this man and his family. Already were they facing surgery and a hospital stay and now their son was critically injured. 
As I walked back to our room I realized how easy we had it. Nana was in good health, although tired and slept most of the day. She was up and moving around. She could talk to us. 
So much of our time, especially the two days my aunt was with us, we laughed so much. Well, Papa, Aunt Nae and I laughed so much. Levity lessens the stress. I guess I almost felt guilty every time we laughed hysterically. It's still serious that Nana is in the ICU but as I look around at the other patients in nearby rooms, we really had it made. 

So just remember to look for the good in the bad. It makes the bad not so bad :) 

I'd love to keep typing but with all the cross stitching I have done and now typing, my fingers hurt. I probably have early onset arthritis. Or i'm mellow dramatic. Either case, it's late and I'm still exhausted.

Talk to you all soon!


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Macedonia! Part Two!


This March I'll be traveling with Reign Ministries, partnering with SEND International to work with the Syrian Refugees in Skopje, Macedonia. (March 19-27) 
We will be engaged in refugee relief work that includes food and water distribution, providing supplies to young mothers and their children, and sharing the gospel through SD cards they can put into their phone and carry with them as they make their way north. 

I am so excited for this opportunity to work with refugees and alongside other missionaries. God has placed the Syrian refugee crisis on my heart and I cannot wait to stop talking and start doing something to make a difference. 

Now...here is the fun story. Today is Saturday. On Wednesday I got my acceptance email. And just a couple hours later I got a new email. This email was about our flights. Prices jumped and our travel agent found us a new flight to Macedonia and back. It was substantially cheaper but there was a catch. We would need at least $578 in our accounts to cover the airfare.  That gave me just about two days to raise a large portion of my funds. And then on top of that, my name wasn't online so I couldn't receive online gifts until Thursday, giving me only a day to raise the funds.

I'll be honest. I cried. For a brief moment, I doubted myself. Did I hear God correctly? Am I really supposed to go? How am I going to get almost $600 in a day? I spent that night in worship and prayer and pouring my heart out to God. All of Thursday as I posted online and sent messages and made phone calls, I prayed.
It was a humbling couple days. Realizing that there was nothing I could do and it was ALL in God's hands. I trusted Him and knew that if this is what He was calling me to do, He would provide. And all day I held my anxious heart at bay. 
I knew of a couple gifts that people planned to give but the running total I knew I still needed was around $300. I went to bed that night not knowing if there would be the remaining $300 in my account in the morning.

I had a dream that night that I had raised $1,000. I woke up feeling peaceful and knowing God will provide. 

Hours went by. I kept busy by a visit to the Vet with my kitten Zeke and babysitting at church.It was during that hour of babysitting that I got the message. 

The total I had gotten as of Friday morning was $875!!! I was ecstatic! I was OVER the amount due that morning. I WAS GOING TO MACEDONIA IN MARCH!

But you think that's it? It got better!

By the end of the day, I received over $1,000 towards my trip! How good is our God? How Faithful!!!
Plus, lets not forget that my dream came true ;)

Let me break down the costs of the trip.

  • $900 for the trip.
  • $578 for international airfare
  • $___ for domestic airfare
  • $___ travel insurance (May actually be a part of the $900)
  • $___ spending money/supplies


All I have left to fund raise is less than $500 for the trip and money to cover domestic airfare (flights Buffalo to Chicago and then NYC to Buffalo). 
I should be able to cover my spending money and supplies. 
I'll be doing fundraising through churches in the area and continuing to take online donations to finish.
The rest of my funds are due March 11th. And I'll need to get the money to book my flights sooner rather than later.

The last couple days have been a wild ride. One that I have enjoyed and learned from. Like I said all through fund raising for Kairos.


MY GOD IS A MOUNTAIN MOVER!!

No time limit is too short for Him. No amount too large. 

His resources are infinite and he is the creator of time. 

March is going to be so amazing!




Macedonia! Part One



I have a lot to tell you about in regards to what is next in my life. This is just part one. 

It all started last January (2015). It was during a week where our teaching was on Destiny by Wick Nease. Wick is an amazing teacher and missionary. He works with orphanages around the world and his story is incredible. As he taught my Kairos class on how to figure out our destiny, he would randomly show us a picture and tell us the story of an orphan he has met. Each day he showed us one or two more orphans and each time I looked into their eyes, my heart ached. It was only half way through the week when I finally let my heart feel what it was feeling and I walked into Erika's (director of Kairos) office and began to sob. God was working in my heart and I couldn't quite explain what was happening. Erika of course knew what was going on and with a loving smile told me, "I knew this week was going to impact you." Glad someone knew what was going on ;)

Later that day at the end of the youth service at the church I was interning at, God began pulling at my heart through the songs we sang. One song in particular spoke out to me. 

"You make me brave. 
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves.
You make me brave.
No fear can hinder now the promises you made."

I knew in my heart that night that God was  calling me to something. I had that feeling even before Kairos started that something big was coming after Kairos ended. And that night God was reawakening that feeling of expectancy. And in all honesty, it terrified me. Because what I was beginning to get more answers on scared me. God was calling me to a place where I may be traveling alone. All my travel and mission trips were always with a large group of people and I could trustingly follow my trip leaders through the scary airports and strange streets of a foreign land. And now God was calling me to something that would most likely mean going alone. Now, I know I'm not "alone". God is always with me. But when I mean alone, I mean with no one to follow.
And that is very scary to me. I don't like airports.

That night I said yes to God. I was scared but God would make me brave. He would provide what I needed to accomplish what He was calling me to do. 

I continued the year of Kairos all the while holding in my heart the desire to work with orphans and continue in missions. But God is faithful and continued to remind me of this new passion.

I saw the movie twice last year. It's called 'The Drop Box' and it is about a pastor in South Korea. He created a safe box in the wall of his house that mothers could safely leave their infants that they no longer wanted. Hundreds of babies die each year on the streets of Seoul. Most are abandoned and die before they are found. This movie touched my soul. I cried both times I watched it. It kept saying something inside me, reminding me that this is what I want to do.


I did research to try and find organizations that worked primarily with orphans and abandoned babies. 

And then I found one. Anchor of Hope-Romania. They work with orphans, young mothers and abandoned and sick babies in hospitals. This is literally my dream come true mission work.

I stayed in contact with AOH throughout the remainder of my time in Kairos and for a couple months afterwards. Their responses to my emails were scattered and took sometimes over a month to get an answer to my question. I hold no hard feelings, I understand things are crazy doing what they do. A couple months ago I was ready to begin my fund raising and I started to share with those around me my plans. But I was still waiting on some important answers. Weeks went by and no word came from AOH. 

During this time of waiting, I was becoming confused and frustrated. I thought this was what God was calling me to do. I so desperately wanted to go to Romania and love on those cute kids and hold those unwanted babies that I would want to take home in a heart beat.

I kept praying, asking God to show me what His plan was because this was taking so long. I was trying to be patient and trust in his timing. I've learned as of late that patience comes and goes with me.
One Sunday before church started I got a text. I get these texts every day and they always include a different verse. That Sunday the verse was:


Proverbs 3:5
 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

 I thought how great a verse it was and went on my way to church.
That day at church a lady who I hadn't had the chance to meet yet came up to me and introduced herself. Her name is Faith. We chatted for a second and just as she was leaving, she stopped and faced me again. She told me that this was a good verse and proceeded to say Proverbs 3:5. It took everything in me not to burst out in tears. My heart was pounding a loud YES. 

I went home that day and seriously took that verse and thought it through and prayed it through. I was giving everything up to God and putting it into His hands and His timing. I prayed that prayer with all my heart. Just a few days later I was scrolling through facebook and that's when I first saw Reign's trip to Macedonia. My heart leaped instantly. I quickly read the information on the trip and was drawn in. Then I found out that my trip leader from Scotland was leading this trip. Even better because Matt is awesome!

That weekend I went on a young adult retreat. There was lots of worship and time of reflection and teachings. It was a great weekend. I focused on God's direction in my life. This trip to Macedonia would be so amazing. But what about Romania? 

Well, all weekend this phrase kept being said. "Wait, there is something better." And I kept thinking, maybe that's what God is telling me. To wait on Romania because Macedonia is coming first. 

Now, I say all this because my original "plan" was go to Romania in March! And now Macedonia was happening...in March. And I  felt God speaking through our speaker, "Wait...there is something better."

To Be Continued...



Here is a link to the Drop Box Film. Check it out. And if you are able to somehow watch it. It's an amazing film.


http://dropbox.focusonthefamily.ca/


***
I do still plan on going to Romania and working with AOH. They finally did email me back the other day. There is someone new taking over emails and responding. So when I do pick that back up, it shouldn't take months to get an answer! Haha...


Friday, January 22, 2016

Way Beyond Me




"That You gave me the stars put them out of my

 reach

Called me to waters a little too deep

Oh, I've never been so aware of my need

You keep on making me see

It's way beyond me"

"Beyond Me" by Toby Mac


I heard this song on the radio tonight. I have heard it before but tonight it really hit me what it was saying. I knew I had to share it. As I look over the last five years, I can see time after time again that God has called me to something way beyond my abilities. He has called me on four mission trips and a discipleship program. Altogether, I have raised over $17,000. That is such an insurmountable figure to me. It's way beyond me. It's out of my league.
 God is in the business of calling people to things that are impossible to them, to waters too deep. 

Why does God do this?

He calls us to these things so that we can in turn learn how to fully and wholeheartedly trust and rely on God to get us through. 

I would never have raised that amount of money on my own. It was only through God's infinite provisions that I was blessed enough with the funds to go on these life changing trips. And I am no where close to being done. 

God doesn't call you once.

You also don't learn this lesson only once.

Each and every time God calls me to the waters, I feel like I am drowning. And every time God reminds me to trust. 

Just recently there have been some hiccups in my original plan for this spring (I will get into that more in a later post) and I was beginning to feel frustrated and discouraged. I was confused. God had called me to something and now it wasn't looking like it was going to happen. 

Then one Sunday I was reminded of a verse in Proverbs. 

Proverbs 3:5-6

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and 

lean not on your own understanding. In all

 your ways acknowledge Him and He will make

 straight your paths."



I had to refocus. I had to pray. And soon enough God gave me peace. And then He showed me something else. (will explain in a later post)
God came through. He answered my prayers. He always does.


"You take me to the place where I know I need You

Straight to the depths that I can't handle on my own

And Lord I know, I know I need You

So take me to Your great …

Take me to Your great unknown"





So if God is calling you to something and your first reaction is to fear or ignore it. 

DON'T!

"I am absolutely convinced that the greatest regrets in life will be missed opportunities."
-Mark Batterson 'In a Pit with a lion on a snowy day.'


God will make your paths straight, you need only to pray and trust in Him. He is, after all, our maker, Father, and God. 

If you are having trouble letting go of control in your life, feel free to comment below. I'd love to pray with and for you. 

Are you fundraising for something that God has called you on and would like some pointers, let me know! I've definitely done my fair share of fundraising and I'm still not finished!

I definitely encourage you to read Mark Batterson's book, "In a pit with a lion on a snowy day". How to survive and thrive when opportunity roars.Such a great read. One of my favorites! 

(You can buy that here: 

Thanks for reading! Be sure to 

subscribe/follow!

Beka



Here is the video if you would like to listen to the entire song!