lean wit it rock wit it

Hi friends!

So phew.. I feel like I get more and more behind on this blogging thing, but someday I’ll figure it out. Let me tell ya, this summer I have done way better than I did last summer (cruisingandcrusading.blogspot.com… check it out, there are like 5 posts total).

Overall this trip has been great. We’re still a little over a week away from leaving, but I’m already starting to see some things in hindsight.

God has taught me so much while here in San Diego! I knew He was going to (see first posts), but I literally am going to have to process for weeks after I’m home. God has been teaching me things about myself, my sin, my gifts, my ministry, and how He plays into all of that. It’s been a rough but wonderful time. I’ve never had to trust God so much in ministry, but He has always come through. As a team, it’s been difficult because we are pioneering this group here on SDSU’s campus. We never quite know how things are gonna go! For example, this week was kind of a flop. By the world’s standards anyway.

See this week we decided as a team that we were going to do less surveys and start holding more events, hoping that we would meet more people as they came to our free get-togethers. We called it “Sports of All Sorts Week”.ย ย Monday was soccer, Tuesday was whiffle ball, Wednesday Megan and I taught a free fitness class, Thursday we handed out free popsicles and invites to our weekly meeting… sounds fun right??? HAHA. It was interesting… we met a few people, and our labor wasn’t in vain, but did we have scads of people participating in our casual sports matches? Nope. Usually, it was just our own group members. But in spite of the setbacks, I’m confident that our endeavors have not been in vain. I don’t know how yet, but I’m sure God has used our efforts this week for something good. If nothing else, we got to meet a girl named Crystal who is on vacation this week. We randomly started talking to her when we were setting up for our casual fitness class, and she ended up hanging out with us the rest of the day and coming to our meeting tonight. She really liked the meeting, and said it was “eye opening”… God works in crazy ways right? He will reach who He wants through us, Latino student or otherwise. Also, this week has been a good week for team-building. We always have to be flexible here, but it’s been an especially challenging week and we’ve had to push to continue to “lean wit it rock wit it.”

While this has been a week of trying and, let’s be honest, failing… we still have some prospects of student leaders for this movement after our 4 weeks here. I think there are a good half dozen prospects… that’s half of what we would need to begin an actual Destino movement! That plus some of the leaders from the Cru movement on campus and we might be good. Praying praying praying… our work here has not been in vain! There WILL be a Destino movement on SDSU’s campus. It’s cool to think that we have gotten to be part of laying the groundwork.

A cool thing about last week was getting to meet one of the Destino staff members for the Long Beach movement, Olivia. She has been on staff with Destino for I think 9 years?.. and we got to hear about what God is doing through Destino all over the country. It’s a very new ministry, and they are extremely understaffed. But the need for the ministry is insanely great. Due to the exponential growth of Latino families in the U.S., white people won’t be the majority for much longer, especially here out west. There aren’t many ministries reaching out to this people group, even though they are so prominent. Destino is one of the quickly growing movements to reach Latinos for Christ, and it’s been cool to be a part of it. Who knows, I might continue to be a part of it later down the road too… that’s something I’ll be continually praying about. I have never pictured myself being on staff with Cru Ministries, and especially haven’t pictured myself doing ministry and living on the west coast. Another country maybe, Chicago, good chance. But California? Haha. I wouldn’t be complaining if this is where God wanted me, but I wouldn’t have seen it coming. More on that later.

This weekend Christina and I get to sing at our Spanish-speaking church, La Promesa, for offertory and as part of the worship team ๐Ÿ™‚ What a blessing, right? The pastor and a couple of the women took us to dinner one day and found out we were musicians, so then they proceeded to ask us if we would sing during their church service. I’m excited to get to sing in Spanish, and with one of my talented sisters in Christ. I’ll actually be living with Christina this upcoming semester as well… all good practice for how much we’re gonna sing in our apartment! ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, it’s rather late at night so I’m gonna be wrapping this up. But if you are reading this thank you for keeping up! I really have appreciated all the support I have gotten from friends and family who have made it possible for me to be here making an impact all the way in California. Your prayers and financial contributions are multiplying themselves. ๐Ÿ™‚ God is going to do a great work here in San Diego, so not only am I a part of that, but so are all of you who have prayed or have given money towards this Project. Thank you so much.

Until next time! I can’t promise it won’t be the last day of project or once I’m already home, but keep prayin’ and I’ll update eventually!

Dios les bendigan!

Wassup Real World

So it’s been 11 days since I last blogged….. oops. Let’s be honest, I was a bit aware that this might happen. I’ve been pretty focused on life here and keep forgetting to make time to get to a computer for an hour or so. The question now is, what do I update you all on first? Basics, or the more interesting nitty-gritty?

Let me just begin by saying, if you want to see the interesting and fun things we’ve been doing on the weekends then you can go to my Facebook atย http://www.facebook.com/spring2green and check out my albums and the pics I’ve been tagged in! All my pictures are from weekends, because we have Saturdays off and that’s when we do things that are more picture-worthy. Besides that, each day usually consists of some sort of team meeting or prayer, ministry on campus, and then some sort of team event in the evening. We stay pretty busy! It’s been a good, yet challenging time.

Over these last three weeks, I’ve had some pretty interesting conversations. I’ve gotten to lend an ear to many people, hearing their stories and letting them be heard and known. I’ve gotten to share the gospel with several, as have my team members. A few people have even come to Christ! Besides making conversations and reaching out to others, our main goal is to find leaders to head up the Destino movement we’re attempting to start. We have gotten to bond as a team while we power through being pretty much directionless in that aspect. We’ve had to learn what it looks like to truly depend on the Lord and pray for direction and power, and do our best while leaving the results to God! We haven’t found any solid leaders for the movement yet, but we’re not about to give up looking anytime soon. We have a few prospects, and so we’re just continuing to pray that God would bring us leaders.

On Thursdays, we have a dinner and meeting for Destino. It’s formatted like a normal Cru meeting with silly/informational videos or games, worship, a talk, and fellowship. We’ve been inviting as many people as possible, mainly Latino students, to come join us. If you want to be praying that God will show up in a big way on our project, you can pray that He will bring Latino students to our meetings. We really want Destino to develop into a place that is culturally-Latino, so it would be best to be run by Latino students. It would be cool if we could begin to see those students coming to meetings before our 5 weeks here are over.

One of the questions I have personally been working through actually has to do with our own culture. In the midst of cross-cultural training, the question “What does it mean to be an American?” was raised. It seems like a silly question, but do we really know? When we think of “culture” we think of cool things like tightly-knit families, certain tasty foods or perhaps even a different language. We don’t think of a cheeseburger. Maybe in America we think of independence, which is good for the country… but how about individuality? Things can get worse when family members don’t stick together. As a pretty dang caucasian part-Irish/mutt female, I didn’t ever think about whether or not I had a heritage.ย Am I even proud of my heritage? What’s so good about being an American? My next blog post might be centered around this…? Stay tuned.

I also want to talk about some of the things I’ve been learning spiritually in another blog post (as well as some more things… I haven’t been including many of the fun details!). A lot of things have been going on, which means if you ever prayed that God would work “in and through us,” He has been faithful! God is moving on SDSU’s campus, and simultaneously using the people here to work in my own personal life and bring more sanctification. Awesome,ย lovely sanctification (#sarcasm). Definitely feelin’ that refining fire. Gettin’ crispy. But what is more praiseworthy and worth the pain than becoming more like Jesus?

I can’t think of anything.

More to come later, when it’s not 12:15am. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dios se bendigan amigos, estoy muy agradecido por su amor y soporte. ยกHasta luego!

First Week Reflections

Hey friends!

Things are going well here in San Diego! We officially began ministry on Wednesday and so we have been at it for three days now. Going on campus, talking to people about their culture and inviting Latino students to come to our Destino events. So far, we havenโ€™t had much literal success with people showing up, but we have been able to share the Gospel a few times and itโ€™s always awesome to hear other peopleโ€™s points of view.

On Wednesday I was out with Chelsea and Maura, two other girls from my team. We got to talking with a woman named Linda. Linda was actually an older Latina woman, probably in her early 40โ€™s. She told us that she had 3 kids, and she was back in school after divorcing her abusive husband of 20 years. She was working toward a double degree in Spanish and Englishโ€ฆ talk about dedicated. I liked Linda from the moment we began to talk. She was open, and passionate. She loved God and said that she had recently left the Catholic Church because it didnโ€™t support her divorce and plus her particular church wasnโ€™t teaching truth from the bible. She discussed with us the strains in her family because of this, and how she doesnโ€™t discuss important things like beliefs and politics with anyone she knows because they donโ€™t agree. This tension between the two cultures is exactly the sort of thing we as Destino are attempting to help soothe. We told her she was always welcome to join our meetings on Thursdays and that we would love to discuss with her and study things in the bible with her. She seemed encouraged, and hopefully she will start coming to meetings next week.

Also on Wednesday we talked to an Asian girl named Mindy. She was Buddhist but sang often at a Catholic church, which was fascinating. She said she kind of pulled what she wanted from each faith. We asked if sheโ€™d ever been explained what Christians believed in completion, and since she hadnโ€™t, we got to explain the whole Gospel to her. She asked good questions and was very interested. She said she had definitely never heard it all explained in one concise manner. We left the KGP booklet with her and told her that she is welcome to join our Destino meetings. Even though she wasnโ€™t in the people group we are here to reach, itโ€™s cool to see how God is working outside any parameters we have put up.

Since this project is so new, weโ€™re sort of stumbling along and trusting God to work in spite of our โ€œfailures.โ€ Stepping out in faith, trusting the Spirit to work, and letting God do the rest. The most comforting thing is knowing that He is working in and through us even though weโ€™re only here for a short time and every single day here is an experiment of some kind. If nothing else, weโ€™re working through kinks that will help make projects here smoother for years to come!

Tomorrow is our day off, so hopefully we’ll get to explore a bit more and maybe do some more “decoding” of the area, to try and find out where students can be better reached.

So you can pray for us as we talk to people on the beach, and also just for finding Latino students who want to come to our Thursday meetings! Weโ€™ll definitely be needing some prayer warriors as we try to crack and decode how things work ministry-wise on the campus.

Love and miss my friends and family at home. I hope all is well in the โ€˜Nap.

Hasta proximo vez!

-J