First Impressions

Hola amigos!

 

It’s only been 3 days since I got here but it feels much longer! Here I go with attempting to be concise…

 

My team is awesome. We have 10 girls and 4 guys, and 5 staff members. My roommates are so sweet, and we’ve had a lot of fun hanging out together so far. There’s definitely been a lot of laughter in our apartment. 🙂 My room consists of Megan, Ashley, Lexi, Molly, and myself. Three of us are from Ball State! I’m glad I’ll get to be in close proximity to project friends during the school year. We bought a really large bag of tortillas, and we’ve given our apartment the  name, “International House of Tortillas”. IHOT, if you will. Hahah. Silliness. All these women really love the Lord and it’s been so cool to hear their stories and get into their lives a bit. I’m excited to continue to go deeper in the relationships here as project progresses.

 

Since we’ve been here, most of our time has been spent getting to know the area and our teammates, and training for ministry. I think the coolest parts have been exploring SDSU’s beautiful campus, casting vision for the project, and going to a Latino church.

 

Just to make a note and put a picture in your mind for where we’ll be doing ministry… the campus is multi-level with white Californian-looking buildings (if that makes sense), and covered with beautiful plants that I’ve never seen before. Most of them anyway. Some of us have been running in the mornings, and the hills are killer. But the stunning scenery makes up for it 🙂

 

This morning we had a group meeting where we talked about our vision for this project. One thing we want is to reflect the church in Acts 2, and become the kind of familia that other people will see and want to join because of Christ’s love. This means, basically, encouraging one another towards Christ and loving one another well. The other really cool thing about this project is that we are the first ones here. There are 10 new Destino plants around the U.S. and we are one of them. There will be summer projects here for years to come, and we will have started a Destino movement that could eventually grow to have hundreds of members. It’s a cool thought that some of my Spirit-led actions here on this project while working for the Lord could have an affect on someone 10 years from now. We’re going to be working with this rapidly growing people group. We watched a powerpoint with some stats about the Latino people group and the growth really is insane. It’s also cool to think that these same people whose lives will be changed by the Lord could potentially go to the Middle East and be more accepted by the culture than someone who was, say, purely Caucasian (like me), and could share the Gospel there. God is on the move, friends.

 

The other really awesome thing that I have experienced is church at Vida Nueva. The pastor there is blind, and bilingual. He used to be a radio talk show host so his voice is wonderful. He came around and greeted each and every one of us before church started, which shows his character. Pastor Sanchez – he’s great guy. But get this… we went to the bilingual service and at first he was leading worship on the guitar. He would pray in both English and Spanish, alternating between languages to translate what he just said. And when we sang, he would do a couple verses in English and then switch to Spanish. His English was probably better than mine! The best part was when the translating devices for the sermon weren’t working and he would read the sermon notes in braille, speak it in English, and then say the same thing again in Spanish. So this guy was basically Superman. I was very impressed, and it’s actually helping me to learn more Spanish. Also, almost every Latino person in that sanctuary came up and greeted each of us personally. That right there is what I love about the Hispanic or Latino culture. They are so hospitable and considerate. Going to that church made my day! And right afterwards we walked to get frozen yogurt so that wasn’t bad either. 🙂

 

Things are going well here. You can definitely continue to pray about the transition… that our team would continue to mesh and be vulnerable with one another so we can grow together, and that we would really learn what it looks like to be in an Acts 2 community.
Another prayer request would be for our ministry here. Pray that God does big things while we’re here, and that we would not limit Him but rather expect the impossible. Pray for the students who have never been sharing before, or who have never shared their faith with anyone. They are gonna be fine, but are a little nervous to go out for the first time. Pray for boldness, and natural interactions with students here.

 

We’re not quite sure what things are going to look like from week to week yet. This ministry is being pioneered of course, so nothing is tried-and-true. Pray that God would lead us to solid connections to help us find students who want to join or lead the Destino movement here.

 

Thank you guys for your prayers and support. By the way, I can’t be sure until all the donations go through the computer system, but I think I’m almost fully supported. Praise God for He is faithful! I think I only need about $200 more or somewhere around there. So close!

 

More to come as more things happen 🙂

 

God Bless!

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Tomorrow’s the Day

Hey!

On this lovely Thursday morning I’m thinking about how by this time tomorrow, I’ll be halfway to San Diego. How am I feeling? Well, I’m not sure yet… I’m going to process that here. YOU are welcome.

(Anyone who knows me at all knows that I’m an extreme verbal processor… here we go. After this post I’m going to embark on the journey of learning to write in a concise manner. Haha! I won’t have much time to write on project.)

So I’m beginning to truly contemplate what God has for me and the other students in San Diego. It’s clear that He wants me there, because the story of how I ended up even GOING on this project (let alone any  other Summer Project) is complicated enough that it can only be a plan of God’s, and  support has totally come in. I’m at 84%! Praise the Lord! This means I have enough to board that plane and probably only $300 more to go! 🙂

So now that I’m not spending practically every waking hour working on support, it’s like WHEW… so now what is God gonna do?

1) It’s strange to me that both what I experienced last summer in Chicago and what I am about to experience in San Diego are both under the same title of “Summer Project,” because both have distinctly different “feels” so far. To be honest, part of me wants to mark down the value of San Diego in my mind because it’s shorter and I feel like nothing can compare to Chicago. But that would be ridiculous… I should be gearing up for something awesome, because God does amazing things when college students give large amounts of their time to serve Him in a different environment. If you don’t already know, last summer I went on the Chicago Summer Project, which is a 10-week stateside project (with 70 students!) where each student gets a job and learns how to share their faith on Chicago college campuses. And last summer is when I started to walk with the Lord for real. I re-dedicated my life to following Christ, and made some of the best friends I could ever hope for. I didn’t know what Summer Project really even was at the beginning of that summer, but now the experience of CSP is one that will continue to have a lasting impact on me for the rest of my life. God rocked my world through my experiences in Chicago.

Truth is, I have no clue how God is going to rock my world this summer. I just know He has a crazy plan.  I really hope that it includes rocking some other students’ worlds… that’s what I’m going for, right? 🙂

2) This is my first ever “international project.”

I know it’s in the states, and I don’t really understand it either, but this is considered an international project. International projects are shorter, and tend to be focused on one ethnic group since typically they are in another country. Except for that we will be working with Hispanic students, I’m not sure what to expect from an international-project-in-the-states. But the main difference will be that I won’t have a job this summer. Everything will be already paid for, even food, and I won’t have to worry about that part. While it was cool to learn about what ministry on the job looks like, I’m excited to dedicate my time 100% to helping build a Destino ministry on San Diego State’s campus. That means more in-depth relationships with SDSU students and my teammates! Super pumped! 🙂

Besides that, I don’t even know what to expect. I’m sure you can already tell… I’m pretty clueless at this point!

3) I am a total city girl, so it will be nice to be living in one again! It’s funny how I tried to put myself way out of my comfort zone (East Asia) when first applying to  another Summer Project, and although I felt that if I went I would have eventually gained a heart for the people and place, God was like, “Nope, you’re going to go serve the people group you already love, and live in the type of area you love! I’m gonna train you to share your faith with this culture and keep you serving city people!” And then I feel like He probably winks and adds, “hint, hint.” See… I am hopefully studying abroad in Spain next spring, and want to eventually live in a city full-time. Getting accepted to this project feels like a hint for the future, and confirmation that God has put desires in my heart for a reason. He wants to train me to do ministry with Hispanics and is continually helping me to even better relate to my city people, or at least that’s how it seems. What a blessing!!! God could place me anywhere, and I would learn how to serve there and with those people even if it wasn’t my first choice or my inclination. But God is taking me on a path that I not only like, but LOVE. I don’t deserve it in the least — God is soo faithful!

4) Another way that God has given me desires and then allowed me to use them is through the arts. I’m beginning to have the privilege to lead in ministry through the arts on my own campus, so I’m excited to see how God continues to use me that way. Last summer I served with the worship band. That was a much bigger project, and I don’t know if we’ll even have a “band” this year. So I really have no clue! But I know I naturally seek the arts and those people everywhere I go… so I’m just excited to see what God has!

Prayer requests:

-That God would be preparing my heart and the hearts of my teammates for whatever He has planned, and for growth and continued learning in our own Spiritual lives.

-For the chemistry and meshing of our team, that we would work together well.

-That God would be preparing the hearts of SDSU students who will hear the Gospel from us.

-And, well… jet lag. Haha. For all of us arriving tomorrow. I heard already from a staff member that it’s a kind of icky transition! Never been west so I wouldn’t know. Hopefully it won’t be too bad!

Thank you so much if you have been a supporter in any way, and keep the prayers comin’! We’ll need plenty as we pioneer this Destino movement!

Next time I post it will be shorter and I will be in San Diego!! 🙂 Woot!

Humbled.

I wrote this on Thursday and it wouldn’t post… but here it is now!
The past couple days have been kind of surreal for me. I knew things would start to come together here in the end but it’s still always so humbling to see God’s faithfulness and power.
As of now, I leave in 6 days!!
Tuesday I went from 25% to 33% supported, and then later that evening, 50%!! 🙂
Wednesday I started promoting Jennifer Van Elk Photography, because she said she would give me a dollar for each “like” I could get her on her Facebook page. It was crazy to see how many people supported me in one day, spreading the news about her page and her generosity. I felt so blessed just because people wanted to help me, even if it just meant posting something on their Facebook wall about it. She really does have such beautiful work, so I have been so glad to promote her page! I am still in the midst of working to get more likes on her page.
Today I got an email from the church that we literally JUST started going to this past month, I had sent them a letter just in case, even though they don’t really know me. In the email, they said that they want to support me $500! Praise the LORD!!! I started crying when I saw that email… I feel like that had to be a very prayerful, Spirit-led contribution. They don’t even know me! Humbled beyond belief.
Also today i found the notebook with names of people I sent my second batch of letters to, which is a praise because making follow up calls is such a big part of this process, and if I didn’t have the names then I couldn’t find the numbers! I made some calls, and connected with some people who had forgotten but wanted to help, ect.
Besides that, things have been falling into place for the coffee shop gig, which will be on Sunday evening at the Lazy Daze Coffee House in Irvington. Three of my dear friends will be performing, and they have offered to give me any donations that people make. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again… I’m so blessed in friendship! Here’s so hoping lots of people come, and at this point not really for the donations, but for the efforts of my friends. They are all so talented, I can’t wait to see them shine!
I’m now 68% supported… I’m still not there but I am trusting that God will get me there.. None of this is my own doing and it’s really not about me in the slightest anyways. I am the messenger, and the people who want to give are the senders. There are each in the Body of Christ and while right now I’m the one being sent, I hope I can be a sender someday, too. Its so exciting to think that someday I could bless someone in the way I’ve been blessed!
Whoever may be reading this, I am so encouraged and blessed by the support I have recieved. This is how the Great Commission is being fulfilled! We have to support one another in finances and in prayer. I’m going to San Diego, but I might get training there that will prepare me to go somewhere someday where people have never even heard the name of Jesus. It’s all part of His great plan, and I’m just grateful to be a part of it.

God Will Provide for His Own

Hey guys! So this is where I am going to be keeping a blog during my time in San Diego and hopefully from there on out. We’ll see if I actually keep it up through school and all my other shenanigans…

But anyway, here’s my blurb for today.

I’m currently support raising for my trip and let me tell ya… there’s nothing that will test your faith like leaving the finances to God. I step on that plane 10 days and I need $2,500 before then. I still am at 25% of the $3,000 total I need for the trip. Firstly, that’s still a lot of money that people have given to support me! I’m so so grateful. But here, ten days out, I’m praying praying praying praying praying….

I’m really pumped about this trip. 2nd Summer Project. Team of some real cool people. Real cool city. Population group that I love. I felt really led towards this project, and when I realized I was actually going… I was ecstatic. I’ve gone on two mission trips to Mexico, my best friend in high school was Mexican and I loved hanging with her huge familia, I did some volunteer work with  inner-city kids camps a couple of years back and a lot of those kids spoke Spanish. My minor is now Spanish, and I think God has slipped the culture’s influence into my life just enough for me to have a real heart for them. So I know He wants me there, but when the funds just aren’t coming your brain starts firing questions. “Maybe God doesn’t want me there after all? Am I not doing this right? Is this impossible?”

But then BAM. Major truth randomly found in a book I’m reading called The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer (which is totally unrelated to my predicament — isn’t God cool?).

The chapter was about our innate worth, and she referenced 1 Peter 2:9-10:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Look at all that truth declared by Peter. I mean it’s wonderful.

*I am part of a CHOSEN people. A royal priesthood. A holy nation. Meaning I was picked by GOD to be a  holy princess in His kingdom.

*I am God’s special possession! I am His and will be used for His glory. I have a huge purpose.

*Once I was nothing, but now I am part of the PEOPLE of God. And only because He extended mercy to me, which by the definition of mercy… I didn’t deserve.

Being reminded of all this showed me that I don’t have to worry. I mean I probably will a little anyway… but I don’t have to. God chose me to do His work here on earth, he loves me, and while it’s gonna be on His time and not mine, he will provide for his work to be done. Our work in San Diego is going to bring Him glory! And I’m pretty sure God likes to invest in that.

So that was how God encouraged me today in my waiting. I’m waiting and working and hoping and praying, but only time will tell if I’ll be fully supported or… well I don’t know what the other option is. All I know is, I trust my God.

For all the others who are support raising, I hope this truth is encouraging to you as it was to me. The Lord is faithful! Praise him!

Peace out until the next update. 🙂 If you are praying for me, thank you so much!! I really feel blessed by all the caring friends who want to be a part of my life. Love you all!

P.S. Wanna know more about the Hispanic population and why I’m going on my trip? Here’s a cool video.