But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility... Eph. 2:13-14

Tuesday, January 31

Why is a Raven like a Writing Desk?

Exciting news! Psalm 67 has an opportunity to get a $1,000 scholarship for our next trip to Mission! Kurt Warner's First Things First foundation gives out these scholarships every year, and I barely meet the maximum age limit to apply (phew!). Unfortunately, while I'm eligible to apply with the group for the scholarship, that also meant I had to write an essay. It may be the worst essay I've written since high school, but I think it's tolerable. Since I have no fear of someone plagiarizing this one-of-a-kind essay, I thought I might torture you by giving you the opportunity to read it. :)

The goals of the essay were to give my reasons for wanting to go on the mission trip, and what I hoped to learn while on the mission trip. Enjoy!

This January God gave me the opportunity to serve at Iglesia Bautista Cristo El Rey. He gave me a love for the church and the kids I worked with, and I left with many questions. In March I hope to return, answer some of these questions, and continue to work with the children.
During our time leading VBS, God gave our five-membered team almost fifty children to work with each evening. With a little more time and a much bigger group, that number could’ve easily swelled to one hundred or more. Mission, Texas is filled with children who are desperate for love and attention. They need someone who they know cares for them. While down there, I was blessed to partially fill that role, but going home felt like abandoning them. I long to return and show them that I love and care for them. More importantly, I want to show them that God loves and cares for them. Ultimately, they do not need me to be their temporary sister; they need God to be their Eternal Father. 
While January’s trip gave me a love for the church and children, it also led to many questions for my future that a second trip would help answer. Should I move to Mission and attend Spanish language school? How can I continue to influence the children’s lives from Missouri? I hope to answer these and many other questions during a return trip.
God began 2012 by putting a love in my heart for a little Hispanic church and a bunch of crazy kids. I don’t know what He has in store for the rest of this year, but I pray that it includes returning to that church this March to find answers and to continue sharing God’s love with the children.

And there you have it! It really is a miracle that I was able to cut it down to 300 words. What kind of crazy small word limit is that??? Please pray that ours would be one of the groups selected to receive a scholarship (or two)! And if that is not the Lord's will, pray that He will provide the funds some other way.
Special thanks to my mother and Billy Jackson for helping me make it better!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Monday, January 23

Another post hijacked by talk of Mission, TX!

Two weeks since the beach, a week since we started the drive home... time really does fly by! I can't even begin to comprehend what it must be like to be outside of time like God. I mean, besides incredibly awesome.

Yesterday was my first Sunday back at my dearly-loved church home. It was so wonderful to see so many sisters and brothers that I am very close to! But at the same time, I kept thinking about our little church in Mission, and churches (and non-existent churches) around the world that don't have the incredible church family I do. I can't imagine living without it. I'm praying for missions like never before.

I didn't really plan on blogging about the trip again. I was mixing up a post about death and Judgement Day and vegetarianism in my mind when I logged on. But for some reason my fingers only want to talk about Texas, so I guess that's the direction this post is going to take!

The fact is, I didn't expect too much from the trip. I was interested in the language school, and if I went to the language school, I would be going to Cristo El Rey, so I thought it would behoove me to go help with VBS and get a feel for the area. I didn't think I'd fall in love with the people. Actually, until two weeks ago, I hated Texas. With a passion. My parents used to talk about moving down there, and I would cry myself to sleep. There are no trees, no hills, no snow. It's truly a supernatural work of God that I want to go back.

The trip has brought me to the end of myself in many ways. Emotionally, I'm having to turn everything over to God repeatedly. Financially, I'm totally broke - broke like I haven't been since... I can't remember when. I always knew I had "no" money, but I did have some, just none I could spend. Now I really have none. I didn't realize what an idol I'd made of that tiny bit of security. I'm thankful that the Lord has taken it away, but at the same time, it's rough learning to trust Him in a whole new way - especially when I thought I already did!

It seems like some answers are beginning to come together. At this point, I really think that I will go to the language school. It's dependent on many things falling into place, but for now I plan to cautiously move in that direction. Whatever the Lord has planned for me, knowing Spanish could only help.
Beyond that, I don't know. At this point I need to work on wrapping up my current responsibilities by August. I'm thinking I should try to get a job again. I'd like to go to the Valley again before school, but I don't know when. And then there are a few other opportunities that I'm prayerfully considering. I don't know how it all is going to mesh together in the end. But God does!

I feel like this post as a very somber tone. Don't get me wrong; I am joyful and excited! But at the same time, there is a weightiness to these decisions. Please continue to pray for me, and for the rest of our group! I know that everyone else appreciates your prayers as much as I do. We serve a beautiful, powerful, caring God; how could (and why do) we hesitate to bring everything to Him in prayer?

May His Name be praised and glorified in my life and yours!


Thursday, January 19

Now far away the road has gone... and I must follow... if I can...

Well, what to say? This is my second full day at home, and I thought I should give some sort of final update. I miss the Valley and the whole trip so very much. But I'm also very thankful to be seeing my family again. I wish I could just take them all back down with me.

So here I am at another opportunity to trust God. I have a lot of questions for the future right now. Should I go to language school? Should I get a job? If so, where? Should I go on an entirely different sort of mission trip? When can I go back to Mission?  With my future so volatile, how much can I commit to?

I'm eager for answers and action, but I know that everything will come together in God's perfect time. I just have to trust that yes, He will continue to provide all I need, and He will show me which way I should go. There are ways that I very much hope He will lead, but everything is in His hands, and I can rest in the trust that He will take care of everything perfectly.

On the way home, Billy shared a verse with us that has given me a lot of comfort as I consider these questions, and I'd like to end with it. I'm also tempted to steal one of his amazing pictures, but since he's not here to give me permission, I guess you'll just have to hunt one down yourself.

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
   which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
Proverbs 4:18


Sunday, January 15

El es bueno! (a summary of the final four days of the VBS mission trip to Mission, Texas)

I'm sorry that my updates on this trip have been so sporadic! Hopefully you've been following our adventure through Billy's blog, but if not, I'll try to summarize these past few days here and now.

When we last left this thrilling tale, the Bible school was off to a rocky start - and by "rocky" I mean "mass chaos". Everything was out of control, but there was hope for the morning. There's always hope for the morning.

The next night (Thursday) was incredible. Had the first night gone better, we may not have been so impressed with the second, but in context it was absolutely amazing! The kids listened, they participated, they learned, they had fun - it was shockingly wonderful. The change was so dramatic that, even though we had changed the schedule and tried to organize everything better, it was obviously the Lord. We went to bed encouraged and joyful (well, all all but poor Rachel, whose "Flying Chanclas" - the littlest kids - never did shape up completely).

God is amazing. He works things as He so wills, and though it may not seem good to us, it is all working toward the greatest good possible. I'm not skilled in thought, and I'm not very good at expressing what thoughts I have, but it does seem to me that when Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for good for those who are called, it's saying something amazing. The Standard and Creator of goodness Himself has so worked out every second of a believer's life to work together for good!

That being said, let's move on to Friday. On Wednesday, it seemed as though Pandora's Box had been opened. On Thursday, it seemed like it had been closed. On Friday, it was like someone knocked the lid off by accident, and hurriedly replaced it. It started off difficult. We were lacking in volunteers, and the kids didn't listen well for the first activities (Recreation and Snack). When we moved on to the Crafts/Music/Bible Study part, things went a little more smoothly - sometimes. The church was covered in little grains of rice, and filled to the brim with the shouts of unruly young people. But they came from Music singing and from Bible Study eager to tell about the parable they'd learned. All in all, the night was a relative success, but one we prayed we wouldn't have to repeat.

Saturday morning, Billy, Rachel, and I woke up ridiculously early to go see the sunrise at the beach. We loaded up, backed out of the driveway, and realized that we hadn't asked the groundskeeper to open the gate early. He was asleep, and we were locked in until 7AM - by which time the sun was rather high in the sky. Disappointed but laughing, we went back to bed.

Saturday evening Bible School was good. Sure, it wasn't at Thursday levels of perfection, but it was a great improvement on the night before. Throughout this week it really seems like the Lord has been teaching us that nothing is in our control. Using the toughest situations, He blessed us abundantly, and has continued to do so.

Today the kids were great. All we had was Recreation and Bible Study, but they participated admirably. The atmosphere had lost much of its wildness, I think partially due to our upcoming departure. I'm really, really going to miss these people, and I think many of them feel the same way.

And that's about it! Right now we're all packing up so that we can leave by 4AM to try one more time to see the sunrise.

Continue to pray for our team. There are a lot of questions that need answering regarding what to do from here. And I can't wait to come back! I wish I could just take Mission home with me. God is good. He's amazing! He's blessed me beyond my imagination on this trip, and I trust that the decisions we each need to make will be made in His perfect time and way.

To God be the glory!

Wednesday, January 11

Bumbles Bounce! Right?


I don't even know what to say about today. I think VBS should be renamed VHS - Very Humbling School (although people who still watch movies on cassette may not appreciate that much). Goodbye, silly notions of yore that thought I could actually handle a craft class. Good grief!

I'm not complaining, just stating the facts: this evening was utter chaos. Comfortingly, it was utter chaos in EVERY area, not just crafts. We're not really sure if anything we said got across to any of the kids.


Our God is sovereign! He is good! Every second of our lives is working together for His glory and our good! This insane evening is the most perfect thing that could've possibly happened. I truly believe that. And somehow, I can rejoice in it. How great is our God!

However, we do need to change some things, and no change seems up to the daunting task it faces. Pray for us!!!

Tuesday, January 10

I'm, like, published!!!

I promised to share my guest blogger post, so here you go!

It's not my best work, but it's definitely not my worst. Enjoy!

Monday, January 9

¡O que bueno es Jesus!


So sorry I haven't updated much. I really haven't had time. And right now I'm about to pass out. BUT I have some exciting news for anyone out there who may read my blog (the few, the brave): I'm going to be a guest blogger! Exciting, right?

Remember Billy, who had that amazing offer for anyone who donated a certain amount of money for the trip? Yeah, that's the blog. So now I'm trying really hard to summarize everything I've experienced this far, which is a crazy difficult task. (Crazier still: we haven't even started VBS yet!)

So be on the lookout for a link to my very special post!

Prayer Requests:
1. If you read this sometime before 8 on Tuesday morning, please pray that our last team member will be able to make it down. Job schedules are making that seem rather impossible right now, but it seemed rather impossible that $125 would show up by Friday, and they did! Our God is able to do ANYTHING.

2. VBS begins Wednesday evening. Please pray that we will all be able to get the messages across to the kids, that we would love them with the affection of Christ, that we would be strengthened a and encouraged even when we're exhausted, and that we would be a great blessing to this church.

Love & Peace,

Friday, January 6

So Blessed are We, Savior, Lord, in Loving Thee!

We're on the road! I'm sorry for the shockingly short post, but I HAD to share an exciting bit of information.

ALL OF THE MONEY CAME IN! God has provided! Wow! I've known for several hours and I'm still amazed. Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow!

And pray extra for me now. I kind of feel a little more pressure to do my best. Which pressure I probably should have already felt. Thankfully, I'm comforted by the fact that I cannot do anything in my own strength. Soli Deo Gloria!

Thank you all for your prayers! And if my mysterious donor is reading this, thank you, thank you, thank you! You are obviously an answer to prayer. I hope that you have been as blessed in your giving as I am in receiving. Thank you!


Tuesday, January 3

Cute T-shirt DIY, or Sarah has spent too much Time on Pinterest

Are you a girl who owns fantastic t-shirts, but feels manly when she wears them? So am I! Thankfully, after lots of online research and just a few experiments, I've found a great way to make manly t-shirts feminine. Here's how I do it:

For this project you will need:
A Manly T-shirt
Straight Pins
A Safety Pin
A Sewing Machine

Step 1: Cut the collar off of the shirt. Cut as close to the stitching as you can!

Step 2: Cut a slit about an inch long in the center front of your new "collar".
Step 3: Turn shirt inside-out, fold the collar edge over, and pin all the way around.
Step 4: Sew the fold as close to the edge as you can get.
Make sure you're leaving a little tunnel of space between the fold and your stitching!

When I reach the front again, I like to put an unnecessary line of stitching, just so it looks uniform.
You might have puckers and wrinkles - that's okay! But if you really can't stand it, just pick it out and fix it. :)
Step 5: Cap sleeves! Cut the sleeves at a slant, making the sleeves as long or short as you like.
The remnant should look roughly like a triangle.
Step 6: Take one of the sleeve remnants and cut off the very edge.
Step 7: Make t-shirt yarn (The coolest stuff in the world)! Stretch that little piece of fabric until it's long and pretty!
Step 8: Attach your safety pin to one end of the yarn, and thread it through the tunnel you made in the collar.
Step 9: Put the shirt on, and tighten collar to preference.

Step 10: Tie ends in a secure knot, and cut off the excess. Hide the knot, and enjoy!

Special thanks to mental_floss and instagram. I couldn't have done this DIY without you!


Update on the "Sitch".

Well! It looks like I'll be going! The money hasn't come in yet, but I have enough so far that the powers that be think we can get by even if the Lord doesn't lead someone to donate more (although we're still praying that someone would!).

I am so excited! And nervous. But it's a good nervous - the kind that leads me to joyful prayer for strength.

Add to your prayers: I have a few commitments here at home that I need replacements for. Please pray that people would volunteer quickly and joyfully.

Thank you for your prayers! It was pointed out to me this evening that I've never been away from without my family for longer than a week. 10 days might be tough (especially for my dog). But I have every confidence that the Lord will sustain us. Praying that He will use this time to grow all of us in Him!

Joy and Peace,

I don't care too much for Money; Money can't buy me Love.

Well... I have no idea what to say. I've had several thousand post ideas slip through my mind throughout the holiday season, but no time to write them up. Or I couldn't get the ideas to complete themselves, and so to type them would've been a waste of my time and either an irritation or a headache-maker for you, since I guarantee whatever I wrote would've been incomprehensible.

And so here I am, January 3rd, 2012! I am extremely excited about this year. I have no idea what it may hold, but whatever it is, it's sure to be glorious. For one thing, I feel that I've left most of my insecurity in 2011. I still don't know what I'm going to do with my life, (or rather, what God is going to do with my life), yet not knowing isn't as scary as it used to be. But maybe that's just because I have a tiny bit of a plan. I guess we'll see!

At the moment, I'm waiting on the Lord in more ways than usual. Specifically, I'm waiting to see if He's going to provide the funds required for me to go on a short-term mission trip to south Texas. If the money comes in, it will be soon, and it will be a miracle. I need $125 by Friday (the estimated departure date). I have no job, everyone is poor from Christmas and such, and I haven't asked anyone for money, although I did pray about that for a while. Although, I suppose posting this *is* sort of asking for money.

Really, though, I'm just asking for your prayers. Pray that no matter what, God will be glorified in my attitude and manner of living. If it is His will that I go, the funds will come in, I will go, and my ultimate goal will be to glorify God by enjoying Him and living in such a way that that enjoyment and grace pours into the lives of all those around me. If it is not His will that I go, the funds will not come in, I will not go, and my ultimate goal will be to glorify God by enjoying Him and living in such a way that that enjoyment and grace pours into the lives of all those around me! There are plenty of ministering things that I can do here at home that week, but I would really, really like to go on this trip. Whatever my God ordains is right! At least this way I'll know for certain that I'm not stepping outside His will by going or staying.

On the off-chance you would like to donate to the team, you should check out my friend Billy's blog. For one thing, it's way cooler than mine, what with him being a learning, world-traveling missions photographer. For another, he has an incredible gift for donators. I'm probably way down on the list of people needing funds, but whether it helps me or not, you should definitely support this trip. First, in prayer (it's free AND most effective!), and second, if you feel so inclined/led, with money or donations.

I don't know what the internet situation will be like down there, but if I go, I promise to do my best to keep ye updated, as a thank-you for your prayers.


*Taken from "Can't Buy Me Love" by John Lennon & Paul McCartney. Used without permission, but with the utmost respect.