Sunday, July 20, 2008

We're Here

We are finally in Newcastle and settled. It has been a good trip so
far, but very busy and tiring.

We spent a couple days in L.A. for briefing. It felt somewhat like
like a retreat, digging into the Word and bonding with my team. We
have two leaders - Joe and Tammy. The rest of our team consists of 3
guys and 8 ladies. The first night together was awesome; there was no
scheduled team bonding activities but we did a good job just hanging
out and talking. I learned names very quickly. We have a good mix of
personalities and we laugh a lot. It is wonderful. We also spent some
time seeing L.A. While out, Matt, Dyar, Jillian, and I had gone down
to the beach to take some sunset pictures. God brought a few
Christians into our path. Somehow we ended up talking and before we
parted they prayed for us. It was a sweet divine appointment. They're
names are Luke, Jennika, and Danielle.

The international flight was ok. It was about 14 hours. The plane
wasn't as nice as last year, but the timing was great. We left San
Fran at night and arrived in Sydney in the early morning, so if we
slept most of the flight our body clocks would be pretty well adjusted.

We spent a couple days in Sydney as well, doing the tourist thing.
Some may know that it is/was World Youth Day. Because of that there
were tons of people, internationals, in the city. The majority of them
are Catholic, so the presence of people on fire for God was just
overwhelming. We crossed the bridge and it was so quiet and peaceful.
It was a good break from the multitudes. One lowlight is that
Jester's, an amazing pie place, closed down and isn't there anymore. A
highlight is that Pancakes on the Rocks was still open, so we had
amazing pancakes for dinner. We went to the zoo, which was nice.

So we finally made it to Newcastle and settled in. We walked around to
see the sights one day and the second full day we went to campus for a
tour. I'm on the first dinner team so we have been busy shopping and
cooking. Everyone has loved the food and Tim Tams have become our
staple dessert.

I can't wait to finally get to work on the whole reason we are here. I
feel I often get slightly side-tracked and just don't think about our
mission. But I pray for God to continually burden my heart and I'm
sure once we start praying, studying God's word, and going to campus
things will change.

Friday, July 11, 2008

On My Way : )

Well, I sit here on the plane to L.A. as I write this, but I want to
tell you how God has gotten me here and where I am at.

I could tell of the many ways God provided financially, but I'll share
just one cool story and the lesson I learned. I had a fun/movie
fundraiser night last Saturday. I knew I needed $230 after hearing of
$600 that was coming my way, and that just to cover the project, not
my stateside plane ticket. So out of 11 or so college students, God
provided the $230 exactly that I needed, down to the quarters and
dimes. And from that dollar in change he taught me a lesson about his
providence. Though something may seem small and insignificant it is
not of any less worth, and without it my need would not have been met.
Who am I to not count any part of God's providence? God will provide
in ways we would not recognize or accept sometimes, but unless we take
that which he has given us, we are only robbing ourselves. I have
raised over $4400 (although somehow I only have $4300; I'll have to
figure that out when I get back). And he is still continuing to meet
my goal. Praise God! He is good.

I'm excited that the time has finally come, but there is something I
didnt expect. God is working in my heart to resolve the wounds from my
past. It is hard and I find myself sad. It seems like such bad timing,
but I'm sure God knows what he's doing. It is difficult being away
from friends and my support system for this hard time. Honestly, I
don't like it. But I trust God to comfort me and I am interested to
see how he is going to use this special time to work in my heart. I
know he worked last year through a woman on my team and has continued
to work through her frequent support and encouragment. Too bad she's
not here this time; that would make things so much easier. But I
rejoice in the trials because they provide opportunities to grow so
much more than being comfortable.

Please be praying for:
•the work God is doing in my heart and how I cope with it on this trip
•our team as we meet and get to know each other
•team unity
•preparation for ministry at Newcastle Uni
•the many divine appointments, on and off campus, that God has for us
•safe, productive, and fun travels (it is around a 14/15 hour flight
I believe, then the train and bus adventures in Australia)

I'm here safely and awaiting my baggage and to meet my team. : D

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The past two weeks

I didn't realize how long it had been since my last update. Even
though two weeks is not that long of a time, it seems like a lot has
gone on. I went home for a few days and will be doing so again today.
While in O-town, nothing too out of the ordinary has happened, just
life and getting ready to leave. I have had a LOT of fun with friends.
Activities included anything from Camp Rock, and other movies, to
laser tag, to just sitting around and talking. I haven't laughed so
hard or so much in a while...good times. It wasn't a long summer
vacation, but I guess it's long enough. I definitely enjoyed myself.

As for Australia, once I started doing my part, God took care of the
rest. Since making phone calls, emails, and a fundraiser, he has been
SO faithful and quick to provide. It just tickles me the way he pours
out his blessings and just the right amount too (that story will come

Spiritually, things have been great. I've been reading quite a bit,
though still not as much as I would like. I'm almost finished with two
books and I'm really excited to start this next one, or two. I am more
satisfied with my prayer life and how it has come back around. I have
had the priviledge of meeting some homeless people and being able to
serve them. I'm really excited to go see them again on Thursday. I
started studying Luke 15 and love my morning times with my Daddy. I
think that is my most favorite thing about summer - not having a time
limit on my quiet time. I can sit for half an hour or three hours,
however long it takes. I feel like it has been so long since I have
been able to do that. Going home is nice because I have the beach, but
at the same time it is hard to get away or be alone for a long period
of time, somebody is always right there or getting worried, or waiting
to go somewhere or do something. I rarely feel truly alone with God. I
guess I have a hard time setting those boundaries and enforcing them,
but the environment isn't very conducive for that anyway, which just
makes it harder.

When I look at the big picture, I see how these last two weeks have
been a rekindling of my first love (see May 1st for the prior story).
I just thank God for being patient and wooing me again. I am so filled
with joy, it's wonderful. I have been praying for God to prepare my
heart for summer project and I can see that he has been hard at work
making lots of changes. I am getting so excited about getting back on
campus at Newcastle Uni (University). I really can't wait to get my
hands dirty in the ministry there and to just work hard for God! I'm
even looking forward to the plane trip so I can read these books about
which I am so excited.

God has blessed me so much these past two weeks, I just can't say
enough about it. But I will say that one of the biggest blessings (and
probably my favorite) has been connecting with friends, new and old,
on the phone, internet, or in person. I love all my sisters that are
so amazing and I love knowing I have brothers that love me and that
are watching out for me. It is great to be embraced by the body of
Christ. I guess it is such a blessing to me because I feel like they
are filling in where my family and my past have left me empty. I think
maybe I am beginning to feel the depth and width of God's great love
for me. How sweet it is to my wounded heart, to feel loved. Thank you
brothers and sisters.

I don't like goodbye's, but that will have to be another post because
I need some sleep.

: )