Friday, March 8, 2013

Moldova 2013!

Dear Friends and Family,

Each year as I sit down to write what would be the ‘traditional missions support letter,’ I reflect on what God has done and is continuing to do in my life, and I am humbled and astounded by His sovereignty and faithfulness!  I am so grateful for how He pursues each of us and leads us on our own unique path.  As I prepare for my seventh trip since 2009, my heart bursts with joy and awe – I never would have dreamed the Lord would lead me around the world like He has! 

This June, I am leading a team of 9 people to Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe.  Moldova is surrounded by Ukraine on the north, south, and eastern borders, and Romania on the west.  It is the poorest country in Europe and is plagued by the problems generally associated with that area of the world.  Our team will lead an English Kids Camp for the children of God’s Design Church and the capital city of Chisinau.  English is an incredibly advantageous skill to have which provides us a great opportunity to invest in and love on the kids attending the camp!  “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:15

Many of you may wonder about Kenya – my heart is for my Kenyan friends, however it does not look like I will be able to travel to Africa this summer.  I am currently earning an endorsement with Fulton County Schools to become a Talented and Gifted teacher, which the last classes of the program fall during the time the education committee would travel to Kenya (late May/early June). However, a trip later in the year is not off the table!  If you are interested in learning more about sponsoring a precious child for a little more than $1 a day and changing the destructive cycle of poverty in Dandora, visit our website or please let me know!  I’d love to connect 25 children with sponsors this spring! 

With a servant heart, I am prayerfully preparing for my trip to Moldova! Please join me in taking part in God’s story around the globe and partner with me through prayer and/or financial support.  By God’s grace and generosity of donors, over half of my fundraising goal has already been met!  The remaining amount to raise is $1,400 by April 1.  If you feel led to give, please donate online here:

Most importantly, I am in need of prayers to serve, love, and give freely to the Lord's people around the world.  I am nothing without Him and His guidance, so please pray for eyes to see and ears to hear Him and His direction.

If anything about my journey intrigues you, I’d love to share more about what God is doing in Atlanta as well as all around the world.

Gratefully His,

Monday, January 14, 2013

For those who don't always get your calling

I loved this "She Seeks" weekly devotional from today.  Often, I find myself trying to justify the magnificent plan the Lord has for me to those who don't understand.  This is a great devotional on that subject!

When Those You Love Don't Get Your Calling}
confessions from a girl who has learned to love them anyway"

Who was that?" My friends exchanged glances as I clicked my cell phone shut. They walked in mid-conversation, and I'm sure what they heard was intriguing.
"My publicist," I said nonchalantly trying to downplay the fact I was a twenty-year-old college student with a book contract.
One of the girls snorted. When the other one shot her a look she sheepishly squeaked, "Oh. You're serious." There was an awkward pause. The ink was barely dry on my contract, but the uncomfortable affect it was having on some of my relationships was already sinking in.
As I've spent the last eight years navigating the balance between the two distinct parts of who I am (the fun-loving girl in your small group and the author of 10 published books) I've learned a few things that might be of help to those of you who are pounding the pavement and chasing your dreams.
1) It's possible to have close relationships with people who don't fully get who you are. The relationship between Christ and Peter is a perfect example of this. In Matthew 16:21-23 Jesus predicts His crucifixion. Peter's instant response is to proclaim he'd never let that happen. Obviously, Peter didn't understand the magnitude of what Christ came to accomplish.
2) It's possible to continue to love people who have hurt you in their ignorance. Peter's ignorant rant wasn't the end of their relationship or the closeness of it. In the very next chapter Christ invites Peter to be one of only three disciples to join Him on the Mount of Transfiguration. Christ was able to overlook Peter's inability to understand His mission and could see his genuine love.
3) It's possible to forgive those who never tried to understand. Christ's relationship with Peter was different. Peter knew that Christ was the Messiah - he just didn't know what that always entailed. He tried to understand. For the most part, Peter made a sincere effort. But there were others. Many stood in the crowd scoffing the day Christ hung on the cross. They never tried to understand Him or what He came to do. Instead, they labeled Him a lunatic and sentenced Him to death. These are the people of which Christ said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).
You have a unique calling on your life that not everyone will understand. Some people will try to talk you out of pursuing it. A few will ignore any progress you make. Others will outright criticize it. In times like this you have to pray for grace and discernment — grace not to rip their heads off and discernment to know who is motivated by ignorant love and who is motivated by malice.
There will be times where you have to look the other way. At my wedding, my brother-in-law stood up for his best man speech and told people I wrote children's books (I don't). A few weeks ago I had coffee with a longtime friend and she looked at me and said, "What do you do all day, again?" Life is full of well-intentioned people who understand less about you than you wish they did.
It's also full of people like the guy I went on a date with in college who told me wanting to write books to teenage girls was a stupid life goal (dropped him fast). Or the woman who told me reaching teenage girls across the nation isn't really ministry since ministry only happens in the church (didn't stay at that church long).
As you work harder at fulfilling your God-given calling there will be plenty of awkward relationship moments. Learn not to major on the minors. Some things are worth laughing off (like my other brother-in-law telling me he uses my books for bathroom reading).
Love the well-intentioned but misinformed the way Christ loved Peter. Then go to God with those who outright hurt you and ask Him to give you a heart like His — a heart that can honestly cry Forgive them. They have no idea what they're doing.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Top 12 of 2012

My top twelve for 2012:

This year I...

-fell back in love with education, embarked on a new endorsement to teach in the gifted program, and won Medlock Bridge's "Fun Run" fundraiser
-floated in the Dead Sea
-worshipped the Lord from the Sea of Galilee, Mount of Beatitudes, and walked the streets of Jerusalem
-sipped champagne from the balcony of my hotel room in Paris and saw the Mona Lisa up close
-carried cinderblocks and rocks to build a pit latrine and guest house in Haiti
-walked with tears streaming down my face through "homes" in the slums of Dandora and added two more precious children to my sponsorship in Kenya
-memorized the Lord's prayer in Kiswahili and French
-savored turkish coffee in a Muslim holy man's home in Palestine
-prayed with my mother, stepfather, and pastor before she was baptized in the Atlantic Ocean, publicly professing her love for Jesus and His salvation in her
-painted faces, blew bubbles, kissed, cuddled, tickled, and loved on kids all over the world
-stood amazed at the splendor of the Grand Canyon
-traveled ~42,000 miles and embraced every moment