Monday, March 29, 2010

Visions of Africa, Part 2

Many of you have suffered through me talking non-stop about being called to South Africa in September. I have the privilege of joining a short term mission trip with the Crossing Church. This is my first overseas missions trip, and I am very excited.

The Crossing Church is partnering with Swi Ta Lunda to reach those children who are vulnerable due to poverty and HIV/AIDS. SwiTa Lunda means things will get better. This year, we are partnering with local churches and missionaries to:
  • bring teaching through bible stories and crafts
  • provide for community needs such as clothing and school supplies
  • home visitations to minister to AIDS patients
  • provide AIDS awareness and prevention education
  • provide training to caregivers of orphaned children
I am very excited about the opportunities and experiences that lie ahead. I hope you can see the value in what this team will accomplish. As you can imagine, a trip like this requires financial support from a number of people. Would you prayerfully consider partnering with me as I respond to God's call to minister to the needs of children in South Africa? There are a number of ways you can help:
  1. Prayer support. Cover me and the team in prayer as we prepare mentally, physically and emotionally. Keep us in prayer as we travel, and pray for open hearts and open minds to receive God's word.
  2. Supplies. We are collecting clothing and school supplies to bless the children, and hygiene products for the adults.
  3. Financial Support. Any support you can give to offset the cost of travel, transportation, meals, etc is welcome.
Anything you can give will bless me, the team, and the children of South Africa. If you would like to donate, please email me at I will be happy to explain how to write the check and where to send it, or connect with you to pick up donations. Meantime, here are a few shots from last year's trip. A thousand words couldn't explain all the reasons why I am so compelled to go. Hopefully a few pictures will.

This little girl walks for miles from her home to the orphanage every day with her baby brother strapped to her back to get food. Her mother is too sick to care for the baby.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Visions of Africa

Let's face it. We live in a very privileged culture. America has an abundance of everything we need to make our lives run smoothly. I grew up "poor" by American standards. We had a large family and we all worked to earn the luxuries that we desired.

Growing up in Philadelphia I was part of a church that had affiliations in Africa. Each month the church would publish sermons written by the Pastor. They always contained testimonies on the back which included letters from Africa. The letters painted some stark pictures of people experiencing miraculous provision in the middle of war-torn countries. I remember thinking over and over about how I would never go to Africa. It was dangerous and disease ridden continent.

Fast forward to the summer of 2008. I had just returned from my first missions trip: constructing a house for a couple in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. My husband and I have separated, and I have taken to watching BBC America every night. One night, the news footage centered around these refugees pouring out of a country torn apart by civil war. I slammed up against the reality that my life is privileged, and I have nothing to complain about. My heart felt like it was being sucked out of my chest. "Lord, if there is ANYTHING I can do, please show me. I want to go over there and help." I began praying for direction, and to open my heart and mind to the possibility of a mission trip to Africa.

Another year went by with no open doors. Meantime, my heart went through some drastic changes as I became more exposed to the issues people were up against half a world away. In the summer of 2009, I traveled to Daytona Beach, FL with the First Baptist, Lutz Youth Group for a student life conference. Chris Tomlin was doing worship every morning and evening. It was an amazing week.

Thursday night, the last night of the conference, footage of Compassion International was shown. What stood out to me was a boy named Jordan who gave up his freshman year in college to go minister to children in Africa. The children wanted to know what his name meant. They told him they gave him a new name that means Everybody loves you. It was at that moment I received the following: I am standing on arid soil, holding a little girl. She is small for her age and she has her arms and legs wrapped around me. I can feel her weight, and see her face.

I immediately began banging on the door of heaven demanding to be sent to Africa. Within six weeks, I was called out of First Baptist into The Crossing Church. The Crossing sends mission teams all over the world. They had a missions weekend and I remember interviewing the different teams going to Africa. When I heard what the South Africa mission is all about, a light bulb went off in my head: South Africa it is. I am washed in peace, and filled with certainty that I am doing what God is calling me to do.

Next up: The Mission to South Africa


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stats Stink Sunday...

A truly random edition...

  1. Took a break from Facebook this week and proved to myself how addicted I really am to the constant influx of information. I'll be reevaluating its purpose in my life and taking steps to ensure that it keeps me connected to the people I care about, while reducing the number of constant updates from my vast sea of acquaintances.
  2. Mercy Me is back on tour with the Rock and Worship Roadshow. They broadcast their concerts live online via UStream. Check it out HERE. All I can say is: David Crowder and Mercy Me for FREE, y'all! Skorinc is doing a fabulous job with these broadcasts.
  3. Life is so very busy. I'm leaving for South Africa in 6 months. I have decided to reenter the "no dating zone" until I get back. Dating relationships need to take a back seat so I can focus on what I need to do to prepare for the mission.
  4. Happy the weather finally seems to have turned warm enough to pull some of my lighter clothing out of the closet. I'm supposed to go to the beach today...Since I've had a fairly intense three weeks I'm looking forward to just relaxing on the warm sand with my friends. However, if it continues to rain, I suppose we will have to settle for movie day instead.
Next time: A long promised post explaining why I am going to South Africa.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Proverbs 31: A tribute to my Mom...

Upon hearing that my mother had nine children, cooked, cleaned, and sewed, a gentleman looked at me and said "Your mother must have been a Proverbs 31 woman." The words gave me pause. I never really saw my mother through a stranger's eyes before.

"Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value"
My dad depends on my mother's judgment, and she was (and still is) very good at managing the household finances, stretching a tight budget, clipping coupons and scouring the store fliers for the best grocery bargains. I don't ever recall being hungry or lacking for food that I enjoyed. We always had a present at Christmas and on our birthdays, and our sweets tended to be of the homemade variety.

"She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks."
Many, many mornings I remember laying in bed while my mother called for me to get up at the ungodly hour of 8a.m. It really wasn't fair that she expected me to get up and help her. It wasn't as if she had been already up for 2.5 hours cleaning or anything like that...

"In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers"
Mom sews. She loves it. She taught me how to take body measurements, how to lay out patterns, how to pin the edges so the sewing machine wouldn't hit the pinhead when running the seam...She has tremendous patience with these things. She has made approximately 6 wedding gowns and altered countless others. My sisters and I each had a new fancy dress at Easter, graduation ceremonies, and Christmas. If we ever went to her and said that we liked a certain dress or skirt, she was sure to hunt up the pattern, help us pick material and sew it up for us. She saved us lots of money and provided us with great quality clothing.

"She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy."
By any standards, I suppose our family would have been considered poor. I never noticed. What I knew is that just as people blessed us with huge bags of clothing their children had outgrown, my family blessed others. We didn't have much, but what we had we gave with generous hearts. My mother never hesitated to take meals to the sick and housebound, and pitched in to nurse the bedridden when necessary.

"Her husband is respected at the city gate."
My dad is (and has been) respected in their church and my mother has much to do with that.

"Her children arise and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her..."
I know I can safely speak for my siblings when I say that while my mom is not without faults, she has been generous with her time and attention towards us, and towards her grandchildren. She continues to minister to us and to her grandchildren through sewing and helping us out whenever she can. She does not understand the concept of retirement or slowing down. She is a listening ear when I need it, and the source of abundant wisdom, and deep love towards me. I have a tremendous respect for her. Yes, my friend, my mother IS a Proverbs 31 woman.

Love you Mom! Happy Mother's Day two months early.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

stats stink sunday

Statistically, blogs don't get read on Sunday. So SSS is kind of a "phone it in" where you put random thoughts in bullet points and hit publish post.

  • Three of my friends received major victories in their lives this week. I am happy for each and overjoyed that one of those victories involved salvation for 2 little boys.
  • I joined the intercessory team at church. These people are SERIOUS about prayer.
  • I am halfway through 26.2, which is a class offered by my church that involves discovering your spiritual gifts and learning the best place to apply them.
  • Some interesting things unfolding in singles ministry.
  • I have a test Tuesday night and am doing everything I can to avoid studying for it. I am NOT enjoying this class at all, but so far it has been pretty easy.
  • God keeps sending "love" scriptures to me. I am learning the practical application of I Cor 13. It's not easy.