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Author Archives: Sheena

A New Season

The past couple years have been filled with a lot of questions, a lot of waiting, and a lot of uncertainty. It has been a season of grief and a season of grace as I wrestle with God’s calling in my life and what that looks like right now. I have had a lot of questions and a spirit of unsettledness for longer than I care to admit. But through this time, God has been gracious and patient with me, as I walk through a season of grief and transition. He has been working in and through me, teaching me to when to say yes and how to say no,. He is stretching me and challenging me,  as I am choosing to surrender and let him redefine my calling as I settle in to life stateside for a while.

Letting go of my plans and my timing and trusting His, has opened new doors and opportunities as He is transforming my heart for the community he has placed me in here and now. Earlier this year I spent some time prayer walking on Casino Road with a good friend. As we prayed for the families, the community, and the brokenness in Everett I began to share with her about a family God had put on my heart. I shared that I felt that God was calling me to invest in them and disciple  them and that through them he would begin an even broader work in this community. Just 5 minutes later I see their car drive past, they recognized me, and quickly pulled over and got out of the car to stop and talk with us. In that moment we had the opportunity to talk with them and pray for them. This was just one of the many signs that God was opening up doors to love and serve this community of Everett and to share with them the hope that is found in Christ.

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Another step of fully committing to this community meant trusting in God’s provision and moving up north to be closer to the community God has called me too. He quickly provided an affordable living situation with an amazing couple from church which gives me the opportunity to spend more time with the people here and a lot less time in traffic.

Another way God opened up doors is by providing two new job/ministry opportunities right here on Casino Road.  One of those is with the non-profit organization called Hand in Hand which I have been serving with as a volunteer soccer coach the past couple of years. This organization also runs an emergency shelter for kids that are brought into the foster care system and organizes many community outreach programs in order to serve the families here on Casino Road. Now that I am working for them, I am able to use my Spanish regularly to translate and interpret for the families we serve and be in and amongst the community regularly.

I am also working for Youth For Christ as well. Their Citylife program reaches out to at-risk urban youth in order to mentor them and share with them the love of Christ in a real and tangible ways. We have club twice a week with about 50 different youth. I cant wait to share more about how God is working, but I will save that for the next post. If you or anyone you know are interested in volunteering to come in and cook dinner on a Tuesday night let me know! I would love for you to come meet our kids! They are amazing!

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Photo Credit to Lady & Gent Photography

I am attending church here on Casino Road which has enabled me to engage the community even more. In partnership with Youth For Christ, the youth pastor at our church and the Youth For Christ staff are working with some amazing students to raise up and disciple a team of student leaders to love and serve the community and in the church. God is moving in some pretty amazing ways raising up a passionate group of individuals with a heart to know, serve, and obey God! I am excited to see what God has in store for this next year!

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people sitting  Graduation

I am still coaching soccer and have a pretty amazing team of U15 girls. They have grown so much this past year both as players and as beautiful young women and I am proud to be their coach! We started out the year in a pretty tough place with a lot of drama, but through it all we have become family! I look forward to standing in the freezing cold and pouring rain with them each week. We have a soccer tournament this next week and then a small break from games as we begin training for spring soccer.

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Finishing school is another one of the things I want to focus on while stateside as I continue to pursue my Bachelor of Biblical Studies degree at Eternity Bible College in California. The flexibility of online classes has been great for ministry work and I have some of the best teachers. Still have a little ways to go, but I love getting to take what I am learning and apply it directly to the various ministry opportunities I am involved in.

My family is changing too. I now have two siblings living in other states, a Dad who is married, one niece, one nephew and two more on the way. It is a busy season, lots of changes, lots of ups and downs, but God continues to prove himself faithful over and over again. I know it has been a long time since I last posted. Life has been busy, and the waves of grief that wash over at the most unexpected times leave me missing my mom and at times overwhelmed with life. But as I love the students I work with, I find healing. God has filled me with a newfound understanding and compassion for the students as I allow my grief and pain to give me a glimpse into their story and their hurt. As I share my story and learn theirs we can cry and mourn together. This process opens up the door to speak life and truth into their life offering the hope that comes from knowing and experiencing the love of God. God works best through my brokenness and vulnerability as he demonstrates his power and his love. I am so thankful for the hope he gives and the redeeming work he does in my life through this process. There is so much to celebrate in the midst of the challenges of life and I can’t wait to share more of these stories with you in the months to come.

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Posted by on November 14, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

PERU 2016

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Being in Arequipa, Peru is like going home. Every street, every combi/bus, every district is wrapped up in memories. It hasn’t changed much. I can still get the taxi where he needs to go, found it natural to greet everyone with a kiss on the cheek, still have many friends there that I have been able to keep in contact with, but there are also many changes. Friends have gotten married, had kids, moved on, or passed away. I have changed, they have changed, yet I was so blessed to be able to connect again with so many dear friends.

During the middle of my trip, we had an awesome group of High School students down there with us for a week. They were flexible, hard-working, and a ton of fun. They spent a day doing a prayer walk through the city led by various team members, pastors, and church leaders. They also helped with some work projects at the church, cleaning hundreds of chairs, and a couple big painting projects. We did a couple of cultural fairs providing opportunities to interact with the community and provide opportunities for people to practice their English with native speakers. We also did a big photo scavenger “treasure” hunt with the church’s youth group. We also hosted a couple kids events, one in our local park and then another one in one of the outlying districts with one of the local churches. I was so thankful for the opportunity to work with this team and see God working in their hearts during this time. I had many conversations with the youth and it is awesome to see them being challenged  to step up in their faith. The have responded by starting prayer groups in their local congregations, receiving and acting on their call to ministry, and by taking the next step of obedience and choosing to trust God with the results. We also met a lot of new people during this time, made new contacts, and had a handful accept Christ.

One kinda crazy story is that while were were in the plaza doing a cultural fair we ran into a man we met years ago doing a similar event, He came to Christ and was very active in our church for a while. Then trials came, he got new job in a city in northern Peru and he slowly drifted away in his relationship with Christ and from the church. But that day we were there he just “happened” to be in town visiting his son and “happened” to walk past the plaza while we were there. The crazy thing is, this is how this man’s story began. We first met him 4 or 5 years ago when he ended up taking a different route to work that day and “happened” upon us in the plaza were our team connected with him and eventually led him to the Lord. It just demonstrates how God continues to pursue us even when we forget or ignore him.

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Outreach in one of the Mountain Communities        Team Green Photo Scavenger “Treasure” Hunt

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Some Church Members and Leaders                                       Pastor Elvin and Carolina, good friends

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   The old Saturday Soccer Crew together again                    With some of my teammates after 3+ years

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      Church Painting Crew            Prayer Walk Lunch with Short-Term Team       Balloon animals… and swords

My prayer during my time in Peru was that God would use me and direct my time. I knew I would not be able to see everyone, but I wanted to see and spend time with the people he wanted me to invest in. I surrendered my schedule to God and it was cool to see how even on the days when my plans and schedule fell apart God used and blessed those moments.

One day my friend Jessica and I (who is now the Pastora /Pastor’s wife) went to visit an old contact. We were hoping Gina and her family still lived in the same location and that she would be home, since she works a lot. On our walk to her house which is in a quiet neighbor outside of the center a taxi driver pulls up beside us and says, “Sheena?” Here was a young man named Samuel I met years ago and invited to church, he came for a time, and drifted away. He just “happened” to be driving in the area, and we just “happened” to run into him on the way to Gina’s house. He told me about his new baby and we were able to connect him with Jessica, and the church. When we got to Gina’s her husband was working in his workshop and ran upstairs to grab her, and we were able to visit and pray with her. Since we were now running late, we grabbed a taxi and dropped Jessica back home while I continued to the center. During the drive, the driver asks me why I am there and how I know Spanish. This was an open door and we started talking about God and how we can know him and hear his voice. In the middle of our conversation he stops me and says, “I need to tell you something!” as he recounts a dream he had had the night before where someone he doesn’t know comes and talks to him about the God… and there I was.  We had a great conversation and I was able to leave him a copy of my pastors book, “Hearing God” and connect him with the church and Pastor Sammy. After that I was meeting a special friend who has gone through many trials and temptations and was really struggling. She had invited me over to talk to her Aunt who needed to hear about God. At first I was a little disappointed because I wanted to talk and visit with her, but went anyway. As I got to the house her Aunt ran out of the house apologizing for not being able to stay,  instead I was able to talk, encourage, minister, and pray for my dear friend who was in a very difficult place. After several hours we sat down as she graciously offered me coffee and bread. It was at this time that her aunt came home and we were able to chat and enjoy each others company. Then her baby needed some attention and she ran upstairs…and didn’t come back. Her aunt and I talked for quite a while and she began to open up and share her struggles and how she is unsure God hears here and how she consequently fails to hear God. I was able to share the truth of the gospel and pray with her, and in that moment she surrendered her life to Christ. I also just “happened” to have an extra copy of the “Hearing God” book for her. A few minutes later my friend came down and joined us once again and we shared a special moment of celebration rejoicing in God’s grace, faithfulness, and sovereignty despite the difficulties of life.

This was just one of those grace-filled days when God showed up in the “happening” of daily life. I could see his hand orchestrating every minute and circumstance of my day. I am still so filled with gratitude and wonder, that God would chose to use me in that way. It was a blessing to be back in Peru and to be able to demonstrate God’s love to those around me. The struggle isn’t over, life marches on, and its rarely easy. Our church has had 3 different pastors over the course of 3+ years, and even several months in-between pastors. There are many trying circumstances in the lives of our church members. Some have left, others are coming back, but God is faithful. It’s not about the church as an entity, but about the people that make-up that church. Pray for the Pastors, Sammy & Jessica and their precious baby Thomas (TJ). They are really serving as missionaries amongst the broken and hurting and living on faith, trusting God to provide for their needs.

There are so many stories of God’s faithfulness, to a teammates emergency removal of her appendices in a foreign country or the many disciples my ministry partner Brenda and I invested in that are still walking with God and serving in in various capacities in their local church. God is continuing to do his work in the city of Arequipa, pursuing the Peruvian people with his love and steadfastness, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of his mission.

So what’s next??? Mexico!!! I leave tomorrow morning bright and early and will have limited internet access. I am really taking this time to seek God and the next steps he has for me. I am not entirely sure what this next week holds, but I am excited to see where God leads. I will be serving alongside the team at Studio del Creador art studio and staying with a local family. Illness and other challenges have been a huge challenge for this ministry this summer. Please pray for Natalie, Fransisco, and I along with the leadership team. I can’t wait to see how God shows up and what “happens” during the next few weeks! Keep us all in your prayers! See you all in August!

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Transition and Adventure

I have spent weeks trying to figure out where to start on this blog post. So much has happened, so much has changed… I have changed. The last two years were a lot different than I expected. Plans were postponed and life held many twists I was not expecting. Although I often felt helpless, overwhelmed, and stressed, I was not hopeless. God has been constant, his love has been demonstrated in numerous ways through the care of family and friends who have demonstrated such grace and love.  During this season I have been able to cling to God’s faithfulness despite my weakness and uncertainty.

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My Siblings, niece, and I – Easter 2016 – Sabrina, Sierra, Sophia, Gunnar, Me (Sheena), Savannah, & Trinity

Watching the cancer overtake my mom’s body was the hardest thing I have had to go through this past year. It hurt… a lot. I wanted to do whatever I could to take away the pain and struggle yet was never able to fix any of it. God was with me through it all, through all the tears and pain… my constant comforter. Her death has been hard on all of us in different ways and at different times. I grieve for myself, for my siblings, for my dad… it just doesn’t make sense. Yet as I pull out of survival mode and break back into real life, the reality of it all seems to hit me more often. Mother’s Day was a tough day, Costco trips without her are often still difficult, and there are days I just need someone to remind me I don’t have to have it all together. I can’t be who she was, or fill the gap she left in our family, but I can take the things she has taught me and be who God created me to be. I can honor her by loving and serving those around me, just as she always did. As a family, we laugh and we remember. We share memories together honoring her life and her example as a faithful servant of God. We remember and honor her this year by planting her garden, and trying to remember to water it regularly…good thing they are hardy little plants. We also carried on her yearly tradition of making strawberry jam, a lot of fun and a little bit crazy. We continue to live positively and enjoy life the way she did, seeking to honor God in all we do, and as Gunnar put it in his graduation speech, “Striving for Excellence”.

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I sometimes feel like I have just been doing just what needs to be done, sometimes falling into default mode, helping take care of my family, working, studying, and volunteering, but God seems to have placed me in a time of transition right now and I don’t exactly know what’s next. I am letting go of the safety of routine and my own pursuits and following the open doors he has placed in front of me. I just finished finals and have decided to take the summer off. I also quit my job, further stripping away my personal sense of security and provision which is really forcing me to trust and obey God. So here is what my summer looks like…

The first wide open door in June is a trip to Arequipa, Peru to visit my friends and church family whom I served with for 2+ years. God provided all the funds needed for my plane ticket and has presented an opportunity for me to help lead and translate for a short-term team of high school students who will be going to serve the local church and community in Peru, my second home. I am excited and nervous to see old friends and the many changes that have taken place since I was last there.  I pray that God will use me to encourage and build up the church leaders who have continued in the work of reaching the lost and discipling the body of Christ. I want to speak the truth boldly and love and serve the community of Arequipa.

    

More Pictures of Arequipa, Peru (Via Facebook)

I am also looking toward visiting a youth center and church plant in Mexico in mid-July called Studio del Creador (The Creator’s Studio). The couple who run the studio are an amazing couple with huge hearts to reach the city of Tecate. They have seen true transformation in the lives of their students by offering a sense of community and family while using art as a medium of restoration and healing teaching them to create instead of destroy. I am going to visit, explore, and serve looking into possible long-term ministry opportunities with them. They have a full schedule of classes over summer break so it will be fun to jump right in and serve with the leaders there.

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Learn more about Studio Del Creador Here (English)

In August will be traveling to Nebraska to celebrate the marriage of one of my dear friends whom I had the privilege of working with while in Peru and then plan on taking a few days to meet up with a few friends and explore Colorado while I am out that way.

What’s next after that??? I don’t know. Taking it one step at a time. God’s timing is so interesting. Despite the craziness of the past couple of years I can look back and see God’s hand in the timing of it all. We received the diagnoses for my mother’s cancer just 2 1/2 months before the end of my contract with Extreme in Peru. I was able to finish well and be home the week she started chemotherapy. God provided a job close to home that allowed me the opportunity to serve and be in relationship with people while also providing the flexibility I needed to take care for my mom and family. God also provided opportunities to use my Spanish and serve the nations here in my own backyard through different outreach programs to at-risk youth in our area. I have been so blessed by relatives who have gone over and above to help us through this process, old friends who have stuck with me through it all, amazing co-workers and customers, new soccer friends, work-out buddies,  and an amazing church family who continues to love and encourage me through it all.

Despite the unknowns, I do know this:

“Life is only ever found when we put ourselves in the hands

of our creator and cast ourselves upon his amazing grace.”

(Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies)

This quote from my devotional a couple weeks ago is so fitting during this time of transition and a good reminder for me to choose to live in the moment God has placed me in at and trusting him with the future. Please join me in praying for safe travels, health, and energy this summer. Pray for boldness to step out in obedience and for wisdom, discernment, and directions for the next steps. Thank you for being a blessing in my life.

PeruYA

A friend shared this a couple weeks ago on facebook and it made me smile. It is the reason I say “Ya” all the time. Just can’t shake some old Peruvian habits.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Thankful

 

Today I am staring at lists, racing around with last minute errands and slowly crossing items off the to do list one by one. Pumpkin pie, check, dinner rolls, check, clothes washed, check, Homework, almost a check… it might be a late night. My room is a mess, piles everywhere as I get ready to travel back to Peru. To some extent the packing gets easier, but all those last minute items sit on the floor in front of the suitcase far too long. It’s the part after that I really am dreading. The weighing and re-weighing of my suitcase as I move something here, organize something there, and almost inevitably end up with Spanish/English bricklike Bible in my carry-on. The blessing through the craziness of today means a full day of relaxation and celebration with family tomorrow. This will be the first Thanksgiving I will have been home for in 3 or 4 years. I am so blessed to be surrounded by friends and family and excited to be a part of my family’s celebration this year!

On top of the blessing of being home I am also thankful for the way God provided an opportunity to return to Peru. Friday morning I will be avoiding the crazy shoppers and instead flying to Peru. I will be spending the first week in the hot and humid north celebrating the wedding of my ministry partner Brenda.  She is such an important friend whom I admire and respect a great deal, and I am excited to finally meet her family and friends and to celebrate this special day with her. Some of my other teammates will be traveling to her wedding as well, so it will be a mini reunion for some of us. After spending a week there, I will travel to the south to visit my many friends and our church plant in Arequipa! I am so excited to see what God has done in and through the people there since we left. There are so many new brothers and sisters that I have never met but whom God is using mightily in his kingdom. It is such a blessing to have this opportunity to go back almost a year later, to encourage the body of believers there. As I have been reading through the New Testament for one of my classes I feel like I can relate to Paul wholeheartedly in his longing to return and visit the believers. All the waiting and uncertainty of this year has been in God’s control as he orchestrated the timing, opportunity, and resources for this visit to Peru. We have a good God who works in and through our confusion bringing about his will, purposes, and blessing. I will be sure to share an update and photos with all of you when I return.

Praying God’s blessing and grace for you this Thanksgiving!

Romans 1:8-15(ESV)

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[a] that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians,[b] both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

It’s Been a While…

     It has been a while since I have written. I could blame it on busyness or nothing to write about, but honestly its been a hard adjustment back to being home. There is the reverse culture shock but also the personal struggle inside me as I wrestle with what I am doing now, what my relationship with God looks like with-out any ministry demands, what my focus/purpose is, what my role in my family is.There have been a lot of drastic changes since coming back home and it has taken a while to really put God back at the center of it all. I have slowly been getting back into to ministry and really seeking what God wants as I feel like I am slowly gaining equilibrium in my relationship with God and others.

     I am currently working and going to school part-time taking several biblical study classes with a Christian College in California.. Once again I feel like God has led me into a time of waiting and preparing for whatever is next. I am currently 4 weeks into class and I am being challenged and overwhelmed with all God is teaching me. While reading today there was a quote in an article that stood out to me and I really wanted to share it with you all as I am learning in my classes the need to live the gospel daily.

“We as Christians have lost sight of God’s big picture. We have focused our attention on
the mechanics of obedience but have forsaken our first love. We have spent hours learning sound theology but we have not become more intimately connected with our Heavenly Father. We have volunteered countless days serving others but our love for people has not increased. God wants our hearts before our hands and feet. He wants us to know Him so that we can passionately join Him.”

I love this quote and am reminded once again that God wants our our hearts more than he wants our service. I have found myself gaining a renewed passion for the main thing: The Gospel as I remember the need to walk in grace daily, “not just repenting from sins, but the reasons for my goodness.” It comes down to God’s love for me, his role of Father in my life, and my desperate need for Jesus and his saving grace daily.

     Now a quick update on some exciting things going on. Last week I got to hang out with one of my good friends Linda. Many of you will remember I went on a short-term missions trip to Thailand in 2004 and then again in 2006. We spent time at a children’s home called Eden House that does an amazing job of rescuing girls who are at risk of being sold into sex-slavery and giving them new life. My dear friend Linda is one of those girls. She has just graduated college and has since then made a bold decision to follow God’s calling and attend a YWAM DTS in Montana where she will be part of a missions training school for 3 months and then 3 months of outreach somewhere in the world.  Last week she was in town while traveling from Thailand to Montana and she invited me over and made me a delicious Thai meal. After that, we went out on a paddle boat and just got to talk about life and how God is working in our lives. I was so encouraged to hear her story and catch up on 10 years of life. It is amazing all that God has done in her life and the passion and calling he has placed in her. I am so excited and encouraged by her faith in God and desire to walk in obedience to him and make disciples. God is faithful! For those of you who supported me then,I just want to say thank you for allowing me the opportunity to invest in the girls at Eden House so many years ago. God is continuing to work through the friendships I made then and is raising up a generation of Thai girls who love and serve our God. We are the body of Christ and he is fulfilling his Mission. Pleas join me in praying for Linda as she pursues God calling and that he would amaze her in providing for the financial costs associated with overseas missions.

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            Linda and I in 2004                                                      Linda and I in 2014

     I also received word from our church leaders in Peru that last week, they had 15 new leaders graduate from leadership classes, only three of which I recognized, and I have only been stateside for 9 months! I am so excited and encouraged to see God raising up a new generation of leaders through the national leaders at the Puerta Abierta Church in Arequipa, Peru. The young lady, 3rd from the left in the front row is Yessica, one of Brenda and I’s disciples while we were still working in Peru. It is so exciting to see the joy of the Lord in her. You can see it in her face, on her facebook posts…she is passionately following Jesus and leading others to him as well! I am still in awe of all that God continues to do in Peru! He is the head of the church and is doing his work among the people of Arequipa and I am so blessed to have seen a piece of that while serving there. There are many new faces, people who are actively involved and living for him and I don’t even know who they are. Pray with me, for God to continue his work in Peru and that the leaders there would continue to fix their eyes of Jesus the author and perfector of their faith, living for the joy set before them as the writer of Hebrews puts it.   

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Newly graduated church leaders at the Puerta Abierta Church (our church plant) in Peru.

     So what’s next…I don’t know. I am here, working, studying, and waiting, and I am finally at a place where that’s ok… at least for a little while. I am continuing to serve on an outreach team in Everett and we are seeing God at work in our relationship with girls who are at-risk and in need of a relationship with Jesus. It’s a tough life, but I am thankful for the team of people God is raising up to serve the girls in Everett. Continue to pray with us for opportunities, wisdom, and breakthrough in these dark places. Finally,  I am also still hoping to be able to travel to Ecuador and Peru for some translating opportunities serving church planting missionaries (and friends) who are currently still overseas later this year, as well as hoping to attend my ministry partner’s wedding in Peru. If I am able to do that I would love to take a week to visit our church in Peru as well, but those are just my plans. God has a lot of pieces to put together in order to make that happen, so I am trusting him and waiting to see what happens.  Once again I just want to thank all of you friends, family, supporters, church family, prayer partners for continuing to be there for me no matter where I am at. You guys are such a blessing in my life and I praise God for you!

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Checking In

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. I know I had a great time with all my family. I haven’t been home for Easter for a couple years now and it was fun to spend an Easter weekend at home and catch up with family.

I know this Easter weekend opened up a lot of doors as I made small talk with customers on Monday at work. I had opportunities to share about what I do and how I celebrate Easter. One of my conversations got really interesting with a regular customer who opened up and asked why I believe in God. It was an awesome opportunity, as he confessed to me he goes to church every week, but does not believe in God. I am looking forward to future conversations, as I challenged him to begin reading the Bible. I see a joyless soul who desperately needs to personally experience God’s grace and love. Pray with me for Paul, that doors will be opened, and that he would be open to allow God’s Spirit to do a work in his life. 

I also wanted to share a quick update from the church in Peru. One of my friends who served with me in Peru was in Arequipa about two weeks ago and I wanted to share what he told me. Things at “La Puerta Abierta” church  in Peru are going really well. He was able to visit the church and some of our contacts, and he said the church is continuing to grow, and that there were a lot of new people. He also shared how many people who were just attending church while we were there are now taking discipleship/leadership seriously, and one of the young ladies is currently serving on the worship team. I am so thankful to see how faithful God is, as he continues to move and raise up a generation of believers, disciples, and leaders that continues to reach out to the city of Arequipa.

On the missions front, I am planning on travelling to Ecuador in August to help with some Spanish/English translation work with some of the missionaries who are currently church planting in Ecuador. I a really excited about the opportunity to see old friends, and visit some different ministry organizations in Quito while I am there.

As for things stateside, I am playing soccer again and my new team has several people who speak Spanish, so it is a lot of fun to practice with them and keep my Spanish language skills up. I am also in the process of applying for an opportunity to volunteer as a translator for a Christian Medical Clinic here in the area, and excited to see what doors open up through this ministry.

Finally, I want to share about a ministry my sister and I and about 6 other women are currently involved in. God has opened up some doors for us to work with an organization called Garden of Hope as we are partner with REACH and Hand In Hand Ministries to reach out to trafficked girls/at-risk girls in the Snohomish County area. Our team goes out once a week to do outreach on the streets, meeting the girls where they are at, as well as a drop-in girls group with dinner once a week. We have begun to develop friendships with the girls, always bringing along a small gift to open doors as well as give us an opportunity to approach the girls, show we care, and give without expecting anything in return knowing they are taken from a lot. We are excited about this opportunity to serve and we have found that consistency is the key as we are there every week whether we meet new girls or see the same girls week after week. It is great to see a girls eyes light up when they see you and when we remember their name since they are used to being ignored by most people around them. We know this is not an easy ministry, but are choosing to allow God to reach out through us and the small gifts we bring praying for open doors of opportunities. Just two weeks ago we had a woman ask us to pray for her and we are so thankful that we are becoming known, and people know we are someone they can reach out too. That being said, we can’t do this alone. We need your help. If you want to get more involved you can contact me or start by helping donate much needed items. Please join us in prayer for this ministry, for the girls we interact with and the friendships that have been formed and for God’s protection in these dark places.

Through our experiences and conversations we have learned these items are much appreciated and would love for you to partner with us…

Items Needed (New):

  • Slim Jims/Granola Bars/Candy Bars/Chocolate                                                                                       
  • Chapstick and/or Lip gloss      
  • Mini Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Soap                                                                                                                
  • Lotion                              
  • Nail Polish
  • Make-up Samples/ Make-up (eye shadow, eyeliner, waterproof mascara)
  • Panty liners
  • Sunblock
  • Hair Things (older teens/women)
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
  • Small gift packages are good too if you and/or small group want to put together some items, get creative and package some stuff up, making them look nice. The girls love that!

Please DO NOT donate any of these items:

  • Anything with alcohol (Hand Sanitizer, Nail polish remover, mouthwash)
  • Needles
  • Q-tips/ Cotton Balls
  • Tampons
  • Razors

We also need people to provide dinner on Tuesday night. Nothing elaborate is needed. Quick and easy crockpot/casserole dishes for 5-7 people are greatly appreciated. If you would like to help by preparing a meal, contact me directly and I can connect you with the right person.

Thanks all for checking in and reading my blog, I will continue to keep you updated on what is going on while I am stateside and where God is leading me next!

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Church Update

Just wanted to give you a quick update on how things are going in Peru. Today is Valentines day here in the US, but in Peru it is also Friendship Day. It is so good to hear from so many of my friends in Peru, and I wanted to share some of the good news about what has been going on since we left.

– Several young adult leaders in our church have started a youth service on Saturday afternoons. According to one of the young ladies it is “a lot of fun and they always end up laughing”. It is still small, but it is growing and they are trying to involve the youth as much as they can.

– One of our young leader shared how her Casa Abierta (small group) is growing. There used to be just two other girls and now they have over eight people attending. She is also outward focused praying hard for one of her good friends from the university to know Christ as well.

– Another leader went through a difficult situation recently but her faith has kept her strong as she commented to me that “Little by little the calmness returns and I can see the love of the Lord in my life and I know that I am not alone”.

– A young leader shared with joy how they have been able to re-open the Casa Abierta (small group) in her home that we had to close before leaving in December because there wasn’t enough leaders/commitment.

– One of our Male leaders shared an amazing testimony with me about the awesome things God is doing, and the doors he is opening as old friends/classmates he hasn’t seen in years  are calling him up and getting in touch once again.He is using these opportunities to share the word of God with everyone he comes in contact with. Here are some of his words of a much longer testimony:

“One of my old friends who the week before seemed to accept everything I said began to question me and ask me a lot of hard things about/against God. There were a lot of things, and I felt in this moment that it wasn’t really him, but another person doing it. I listened to his questions and it was incredible, I couldn’t even believe it, it didn’t even feel like me answering the questions, but the Holy Spirit that was using me in this critical moment. How good I feel to know the message they received that day was what God wanted. Now my friend tells me that he wants to go to our Church’s next spiritual retreat. I want to keep encouraging him so he doesn’t get discouraged and change his mind.”

He also shared that he spoke to Javier’s mom as well, and as they were eating lunch and he was sharing a lot about deep things, she forgot to eat her lunch and was just listening. “I feel that this family needs God a lot and I feel that he has put them in my path.”

It is so encouraging to me to see how God is using these people in huge ways for the kingdom in Arequipa, Peru and how our two years of service is being multiplied as other are living and walking in the way of Christ.

The pastors have also asked for prayer for continued spiritual growth, maturity, and commitment from their leaders as they have a lot of responsibilities and a lot of growth to go, and also for the new people they come in contact with that they would have a desire to continue growing in God.

Please join me in lifting up these people in prayer.

Happy Friendship Day! Thank you to all of you who have been supporting me in a million different ways while on the field or at home. I thank God everyday for the friend I have in you!.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Uncategorized