This Wasn’t My Idea: A Missionary’s Thoughts on Surrender

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I.

Surrender is an interesting concept.

When we talk about Jesus and “receiving him into your heart” – an abstract, modern phrase designed to summarize the process of both agreeing that Jesus Christ is, indeed, the Son of God and paid the price for our sin through his death and resurrection and as such allowing for him to become both the Savior and the Lord of our lives – what we’re saying is that we are consciously giving up our rights because of our need for rescue. Continue reading “This Wasn’t My Idea: A Missionary’s Thoughts on Surrender”

Dear Worry: A Breakup Letter

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Dear Worry,

Ok, I’ll come right out and say it: We need to talk.

This isn’t working out. I want to break up.

It’s not me. It’s you.

Worry, it’s over.

Before you say anything else, before you recount every single one of our last 24 years together, before you tempt me with another outrageous to-do list, before I can give you the chance to celebrate our 25th worry-versary with another stress-induced all-nighter… For once, it’s time that you listen to me. Continue reading “Dear Worry: A Breakup Letter”

My Family Fled, Too

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When I was twenty-two years old, I had the opportunity to go to Cuba for the very first time. Both sides of my family left the island in the sixties, at the dawn of the Revolution, and never returned. They were allowed to leave only with what they could carry. It had been more than 50 years since someone in my direct bloodline had stepped foot back on that island. And I would be the first one. Continue reading “My Family Fled, Too”

On Grief and Gratitude

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We had not said a permanent goodbye to a single person in a whole year. One whole year. I would be lying if I didn’t say I hadn’t felt so lucky in a long time. That’s the thing about overseas missions, most especially when everyone is single and young. There’s a lot of movement. We don’t necessarily have any “lifers.” This isn’t bad; it’s just different. While we’re here, we’re just as committed. While we’re here, the work is just as important.

We could see it coming for miles, the way you know the end of a novel is near not only because the problems are getting solved and the characters are coming back together but also because the stack of pages held by your right hand is becoming thinner with time. We were not surprised, and it came with our blessing. The next season was near for the two staff members who helped start this whole thing.

Continue reading “On Grief and Gratitude”

Risky Love

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Addisyn & Emma Leigh (Lizzie). Photo by Amy Block.

I want to tell you everything that a nineteen-year-old and a newborn baby taught me about love.

This is not a traditional love story.

I was in the U.S. for a brief visit to my hometown when I first heard. A children’s home we know in our area had been asked to take in a sick baby that was abandoned at the hospital. This is not an uncommon scenario. This home specializes in taking in children who have HIV/AIDS, so when the phone call came that a sick baby had been abandoned at the hospital shortly after birth, they went to the hospital to pick her up. Continue reading “Risky Love”

Glimpses from the Island: A Photo Essay

Those who know me well, and even many who don’t, usually know one thing to be true about me: I am not the person for soundbites. When I tell a story, I want to tell the whole story – details and all. This is especially true for experiences I hold close to my heart, as I do for this recent trip to Cuba.

However, with the recent popularity of Cuba in the news, I hesitated posting this at all. I don’t like to chime in on trending topics of conversation for the sake of social relevance. It’s all mostly white noise, anyway. But this is different.

My story with this island began long before I was born. I can trace my way through the pieces found in my parents, and their parents, and their parents before that. In some ways, I thought that was true before, but now I know it is. And the stories I have to tell as a result, no matter what is buzzing on the news, have little to do with policy and everything to do with people and the places in between. Continue reading “Glimpses from the Island: A Photo Essay”

…And Back to Guate I Go

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The month of October has been a bit of a whirlwind – between booking a last minute flight to Atlanta to attend ministry training, reconnecting with many people, meeting many more, and receiving more supporters – I’m at a bit of a loss for words.

I am preparing a newsletter and a few new blog posts in an attempt to process the ups and downs, so stay tuned for a few new stories that will hopefully shake you up in the best kind of way as they did for me.

That being said, I’m headed back to Guatemala… TOMORROW! My bags are packed. My passport is ready. My heart is at rest. I think I’m still in some shock that this is even happening, because it all felt so impossible for so long. But the Lord is faithful, and what He speaks comes to pass. Even with no words, my heart whispers the unspeakable melodies of his steady and intricate love.

Concerning my support raising, I have reached 83% in my monthly support goal. It’s definitely not too late for if anyone is interested in reaching out to join my support team for any amount on a one-time or monthly basis! I’ve been given permission to return early to Guatemala before because of a really special project I am a part of that I will be announcing in greater detail later this week. I am still looking for partners who will consider joining my monthly support team at any amount, however. If 7 people commit at $50 a month for the next year, then I would be fully supported!!! (Click here to give.)

Please keep me in your prayers as I travel and as I am in the homestretch of raising financial support for the 2014-2015 year. Thank you for all who are praying, supporting, encouraging, and loving! It totally takes a village, and I am blessed to have an incredible village.

And to those who have emailed me recently and still haven’t heard from me… I am working my way down the list and will get back to you sometime this week! I thank you for your patience – it means so much.

U.S.A., it’s been real. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed evenings with the family, Saturday mornings browsing Target, small road trips down wide open roads, and the smiling Florida sun.

Guatemala, I’m ready for new evenings with my other family, cobblestone roads leading to volcanoes, perfect breakfasts with rooftop views, and flowers flowers flowers everywhere.

Sending my love! xo.

A Quick & Simple Test to Find Out If It’s Too Late

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Dreams are a scandalous thing.

At the surface we may not believe so, but they are. Think about it. Consider everyone you know personally that has dreams, and what their dreams are. If you talk about the real things in life with these folks, then you probably know what makes their heart beat faster, what makes their soul spark. If you don’t know, go get some overpriced coffee together and find out.

I am sure that you also have at least a few dreams yourself, and if you don’t know what they are, I am certain your heart does – even if it has not released such information to your brain yet. Spend some time mulling it over; talk it through with a trusted person. I am sure that somewhere inside you, they are there. Continue reading “A Quick & Simple Test to Find Out If It’s Too Late”

There and Back Again: A Thank You Letter

I brace myself for the two questions that follow me everywhere:
(1) How did it go? (2) What did you miss the most?

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I smile and answer the same way each time:
(1) Great! Nothing I expected, but everything I hoped for.
(2) My family, of course, and the overabundant American availability of cheese.

It sounds silly, I know. We always laugh a little afterwards. But it’s true. If you’ve been away for an extended period of time, you recognize both the questions and the unfortunate inability to answer them accurately. How do you explain in a fifteen second conversation the intricacy of a new life? The plain truth is that you don’t. You can’t. So, you tell the truth in snapshots. Continue reading “There and Back Again: A Thank You Letter”