Saturday, October 30, 2010

Love, Peace, and Isaiah 55 :)

For me to be blessed and at peace, I have only to look to You!  You say to come when I am thirsty and hungry and You will nourish me.  You  will give my soul life - eternal life in You.  I must only seek You, for You have made yourself readily available.  You are Merciful God and pardon my sin, for Christ gave my soul freedom on the cross.  Your ways are perfect, and higher than any other.  Your will is perfect and You will never lead me astray.  Your Word will accomplish what You set out to do, and we are only Your servants, here to do your task, be a light to the world, and dwell peacefully in you.  In You, we find love, peace, and true Joy.  Your world cries Your praises, and We should do the same!  Thorns and briers will become pines and myrtles, and all the sin and torment in the world will melt away with your perfect Glory, forever and always.  Thank you!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Haiti: Reflections

     As I think back on the trip to Haiti, I realize more and more how God blessed both the journey and the lives of each and every person involved.  He used our preparation, our time in Haiti, and our experiences; I know I have had to look hard at my own life and question my priorities and expectations as well as the assumptions about life that I have developed from growing up in America.
    In the months leading up to the trip, Ashleigh and I worked hard to raise money, and I won't lie - at first, we wondered why God would allow us such an opportunity yet leave us without the funds to go.  However, we decided to trust completely in him and let Him bring the money to us.  He did.  In the last few weeks, as we grew desperate and watched our college funds trickle away to pay for plane tickets, immunizations (what a miserable way to spend your money!), and passports, we had a sudden inflow of donations.  We had made shirts to sell, of which we sold a countless number, and many left donations rather than taking their change.  Family members and friends began sending checks, but what moved me the most was the donations from complete strangers - people who did not know me personally yet gave so that I could go.  In the final week, we had enough to cover all of our expenses and then some.  God knew what He was doing, and He simply wanted us to rely on Him for our finances - after all, HE is what this trip was about!  I know I can trust God in anything, not just in preparing for a trip, but it was a wonderful reminder to His great glory and His complete control over everything in our lives.  Thank goodness He does - I would be in trouble if I had to make every decision on my own!
     We met several other missionaries in the Miami airport who were spreading all over Haiti to do different types of evangelical work and disaster relief.  Organizations such as Global Outreach, Salvation Army, and World Race to name a few were all represented; the plane had only a handful of individuals not involved in a Christian group.  It was incredible to see all the help Haiti was receiving...because of a disaster.  The earthquake, which devastated the entire country and left millions homeless, had made people notice.  While talking to our youth group of about 20, Ashleigh and I asked who ever thought about Haiti before the earthquake - only one young man raised his hand.  Yet now, everyone has heard about it and many have been called to go.  God has used this "suffering" to bring others to realization, much like we find with the blind man in John 9:2,3.  God has a purpose in everything, and can use EVERYTHING for good, no matter how disastrous it may seem to us at the time.
     I realized I have rambled on and have only discussed what we learned in our I will save the rest for another post.  God Bless :)


Friday, August 6, 2010

HAITI: the final day :)

First off, thank you for all your prayers!  I am 110% recovered, after lots of sleep and plenty of medicine (since that is all they have here). 
     Yesterday and today were much alike as far as work goes, we simply worked our rounds with the clinic team.  HOWEVER, things were made much more interesting when Amber, the summer missionary who we helped with filling the prescriptions, was whisked off to do another job and Ashleigh and I were left, alone, to work as the pharmacists.  Thus, after two days of training, we had to read the doctors writing (isn't it known to be illegible?), and to make it worse we had to know what medicine it was that they were trying to write...not easy when you have Doxycycline, Chloroquin, Erythromycin, and literally a hundred more medicines with crazy names.  So, I learned to say phrases like , "mwatye grenn avek manje chaksjou" (take 1/2 a pill with food every day), "yon fwa pa jou" (once a day), or "de grenn twa fwa pa ju" (two pills three times a day).  But we met many people and played with the kids; most importantly, we have been able to shine a light and make memories we will never forget!
     One of my favorite experiences besides the clinic was the marketplace we went to this evening.  For half an hour we went to all the stalls set up and bartered, which was sooo much fun!  A typical convo went like this:
Them: "hey!  look!  you buy, only $15!"
Me: "oh, bel, no, mesi."
Them: "I give you, for $10"
Me: " about 2 of them for $5?"
Them: "wi, wi! 2 for $5"

or my favorite:

Them: "Look, you buy for $20!"
Ashleigh: "how about $5?"
Them: "Ha!!  No way.  $12."
Ashleigh: "No, mesi. No." (walks away)
Them: (running after her) "oke, oke, $10!  uhh..$8!  $5!!"

Haha it was a blast, we would make a deal, then get them to throw in a couple more items for free.  I ended up getting a big bag of woodwork and jewelry for under $ less than half and hour.  Good thing we didn't have longer, or I would have terrible credit! 
     Tomorrow morning we leave the compound at 6 to escort the young girl who is a summer missionary back to the airport, and our flight leaves 3 hours later.  It has been a wonderful experience, and I am excited to come back one day soon!

Love from Haiti,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

HAITI: Day 5

I'm not feeling too well today - slept as soon as we got back from the clinic until dinner, now we will have devotions and I will go to sleep again.  I will update tomorrow though!  Please pray for us, a couple of us on the team feel ill.   Thank you!

Love from Haiti,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Haiti: ORPHANGE :)

First, while it is fresh on my mind, let me be the first to tell you about on eof the most delicious desserts I have enjoyed in quite a while: after a long day of toting around 6 babies and toddlers at a time and sweating in more places than one would think possible, the medical staff was given a treat - corn flavored ice-cream!  We were trying to look at it and figure out the flavor, and upon being told Ashleigh and I did not know quite what to expect.  However, it was a tastebud-tingling flavor that I can only describe as a mix between vanilla, coconut, and coffee.  It was amazing!
    Anywho, about the orphange.  it took us about an hour and half to get to the orphanage (maybe longer?) though we were too busy watching the people and towns go by to really notice how long it had been.  There were about 80 orphans ranging in age from babies to probably about 8 or 9 years old.  They we all waiting for us when we arrived, and not a single one was bashful.  Nearly knocking us over, a stampede of toddlers ran to Ashleigh and I, giving us high-fives then promptly clinging to our long skirts.  The next several hours were no different; we sat in the concrete room with the children as they received check-ups and took some outside in the concrete open space to play.  Some children had incredible energy and were always laughing and smiling, but others were sick and sad-looking, not saying a word the entire time.  One such baby girl, only about 3, became an extra appendage for me after a while - she was content to be held and carried around as I tried to amuse others.  It broke our hearts to see these sick little children, with the older ones having to care for the younger ones.  The workers, all very kind but understaffed, did not even know all the childrens' names, so we had to ask other kids in the orphanage.  some babies were witting on beds all alone and sick, with no one watching them except our volunteers.  It was a sad sight to see, and we did not want to have to leave the kids.  Giving them beanies babies helped though - they adored their new toys, and they were able to pick from a hundred (literally) different animals.
     Every one of us felt guilty for eating and drinking in front of the kids, and we only did it when we knew we had to in order to continue functioning at our best.  As soon as Ashleigh and I reached for our sandwiches, about ten toddlers clung to our skirts and wailed as we ate.  We knew they would be fed within the hour, but seeing the pain in their eyes and their bloated, hungry bellies made us want to cry along with them. 
Soon we said our goodbyes, but hopefully not forever.  Ashleigh and I will enter the mission field after college (with a few trips between), and a calling may be with an orphanage.  We are still praying about what to major in; we want God to use us for what HE wants us to do in the field (and we would LOVE any prayers you would be willing to say for us!). 
Today has been exhausting, so it is time for sleep.  God bless, and please be praying for the Haitians and the children, and everyone else in the world who is not as fortunate as we are!  (Though a note on that too - these people are so tuned into God and so caring of one another that I honestly don't know who is more fortunate.)

Love from Haiti,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

HAITI: Day 3 :)

Today was the second day of working in the clinic, this time in an outdoor revival structure - and Ashleigh and I are getting better at this medical thing every day!  For starters, the clinic was an answer to prayers, because Ash and I have been praying about whether God wanted us to work medical missions or had other plans, so we have been able to experience the medical aspect.  We both love it!  We are able to communicate with the women (if you call moving eyebrows and gesturing desperately communicating) and hold their babies (most women have 2-5 children when they come to the clinic, and no one ever seems to hold their own baby.  We were always given babies to hold and never knew who the mothers were, so we just continued to pass them along.  It is a wonderful part of the trusting and close community). 
     The children were adorable, which only strengthened the resolve of Ashleigh and I to adopt children from third world countries.  They were sooo precious!  Mike, our 21-year-old Haitian translator who is a blast to be around, taught us some fun phrases to say to the kids:
"Kore m" - pound it (yes, the fist pound is popular everywhere haha)
"ou belle" - you're beautiful/cute/handsome, ect
"Mwen pa pale kreyol" - I do not speak Creole


* The languages spoken are French and Creole

*Creole is an auditory language - the people could not read or write so it is simply how they heard french.  Thus, most words are written as they sound.

*There are no traffic laws, so the roadways can get hectic.  However, most people are considerate and there are few accidents (so far that we have heard of). 

*HILARIOUS: Randal was working construction, and a woman came by, handed him a baby, told him to "keep, have", and left.  He held the baby for about 20 minutes before a boy came back to get the baby GIRL...saying it was his nephew!  I wouldn't be surprised if half the babies in the country are raised by the wrong parents, but they are some of the most loved babies I have ever seen.

Love from haiti,

Haiti: Day 2

Yesterday we finally got to get out in the field and work with the people, but not in construction like we expected - we were in a clinic!  It was a crude but very effective set up; we were in an empty, open concrete building, with two doctors, a missionary intern filling the prescriptions, and a translator, all helping Ashleigh and I find our niche in the fun.
    Before I start getting technical, let me hit where it really matters.  The first thing we noticed about the people was their priorities.  Many of those in the clinic would go claim a spot as early as 4 AM, and we didn't arrive to set up until 8.  They would sit there quietly all day waiting to be seen, though many would not even have a chance to see a doctor, so they will be first Monday.  Everyone was packed together, which in America would undoubtedly cause problems, but no one seemed to mind or even notice.  the children were held by their parents and, aside from the few distended babies, the children were all well behaved.  Women who needed to nurse their babies did so without shame or hesitation, as is similar in most countries other than America.  All of these people simply wanted to be treated for their pains and medical issues, and would wait 12 hours if needed without complaint - yet it is difficult for Americans (including myself) to wait for even 12 minutes. 

Our society is fast-paced and impatient, with fast food and fast cars and fast service. Yet somehow too many people continue to feel like they are missing something - not getting enough.  If we slowed down and took time to find what was important rather than stuffing unnecessary fillers into our lives, we might find that we can finally feel fulfilled.  Looking at these people who have nothing, I have seen that they have everything because they rely on God for every bit of what they have.  If we did the same, we would always have enough.

Love from Haiti,

Sunday, August 1, 2010

HAITI: Beauty and Destruction

Haiti MT: Day 1

     The long awaited mission trip for which we have all been preparing for months is finally a reality - and I can honestly say I was not prepared at all.  Approaching the earthquake-ravaged island from the air-conditioned plane, Haiti could be mistaken for a beautiful destination first glimpse from the air, that is.

Tents are set up everywhere to provide shelter for Haitians.
  Before we even began our descent, masses of white and blue objects were visible, soon to take the form of ragged tents and crude shelters now called home for many of the Haitians.  This is what we had seen on TV, what we had been assigned to help construct - what we had never truly understood the conditions of.
     Let me begin at the beginning.  Ashleigh came to the house a little after 8:00 last night, and we were ordered to bed; of course, we couldn't really fall asleep until hours later.  After what seemed only 5 minutes of sleep, we were loading up the car and headed to meet the group at 3:30 am (and like all teenagers, we are bouncy morning people, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed in a heartbeat), ready for our early flight out of ATL.  We received our Haiti Team shirts to wear, and in our layover in Miami we were able to meet other teams and speak to the members, all of whom were involved in great projects.  The beach was lovely, and it seemed a vacation.  Until we saw Haiti.
Tents are squeezed in any available space
     THE FIRST THING TO CATCH OUR ATTENTION was the tents.  No homes were to be seen - only shattered walls lying in ruin on crumbling foundations.  Instead, torn tarps and crude shelters made of sticks, newspapers, and old wood or tin  lined the streets and filled every inch of space a person could find amongst the ruin.  Children played in the streets and cars bounced across the pitted road made worse by a recent rainstorm.  No amount of words could ever describe the scene we saw with the poverty these people live in.  (A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case even a picture does no justice).

Garbage lines the roads
     WHAT TRULY BROKE MY HEART was the children.  A young boy, only six or seven, came up fearlessly to our moving van and stuck his hand through the window, emboldened by his thirst and starvation, begging us for no more than a sip of our "aqua".  We had to shut the windows, a difficult action for all of us, so that he would go get water from the well rather than try to get what little clean water we had.  They can drink the well water - we would only get sick.  However, this reasoning didn't soften the hurt for us.  Being  pampered daily has made life much easier for us, and too often we take that for granted!

    HOWEVER, we have met some wonderful people and seen beautiful scenery - the beaches and the mountains make the landscape ever changing and keep things interesting.  There are many different animals that are similar to our cattle and goats, but with a unique twist; I'm just hoping to catch one on camera!  Meanwhile, we are going to push some pills, so I will leave it at that!  Feel free to ask any questions. :)

Love from Haiti,


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Devotion To God

Well, it has been forever since anyone has written. But that's just because we all live very busy life's. Being junior's and senior's in high school is a lot of work and takes up a lot of time. And i know for at least Hilary and I we are always busy with homework, church, or other activities.

So i'm taking a little break from my study of Ecclesiastes and going to write about a lesson my youth pastor gave in youth group last week. Since all i have to go off of it the notes i took i can't promise it will be a great post. But i think the notes i took are pretty powerful on their own so maybe i won't have to add much to them.

Devotion To God
The lesson opened with Titus 2:11-13 (check it out yourself )which says "11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."
What does it mean to be devoted to God?
Well to know what it means to serve God we must know why we should serve God.
We Were Created To Love God. By loving Him we are serving Him because the love we have for Him drives us to obey Him and do the things He wants us to do. Psalms 139:13-14 says "13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." check it out for yourself  Just look at what God has done for us, He has made us fearfully and wonderfully. God created us with His own hands. That should be reason enough for us to love Him. God calls us to love Him in Deuteronomy 6:5 "5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." check it out for yourself By loving God we show our devotion to Him.
We Were Created To Serve God. Serving God is obeying Him and doing what He calls us to do to further His kingdom. We are to be disciples for Christ. Sharing God's love wherever we go. It should be evident in our lives that we are Christian. We should act in a way that people wonder why we're different. Worshiping God is also a way we can serve God, He calls us to do it. " 8Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only'"" Luke 4:8. Serving God is a way we show Him and other that we are devoted to Him.
Actions to consider...
  • Desire God Beyond All Things
    • "Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you." Psalms 73:25 
  • Sacrifice Everything For God
  • Fail & Receive God's Grace and Instruction
    • "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." John 1:8-9
    • "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16
  • Persist Even When It's Painful
    • "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10
  • Obey What I Already Know To Be True
    • "for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Philipians 2:13
My youth pastor used a video he found on youtube to describe, in human form, what devotion looks likes. Here's the video. It's a hilarious, video but just look at the devotion this girl has toward this popular video
The comment Jimmy made about how Cody's life wouldn't get any better than it was at the moment she was with Justin should be like our devotion to Christ. We should have any better time in life than the times when we are devoted to God. It should bring us joy to be serving our God and Creator.
So what are you going to be devoted?

As always, if you have any questions or comments i would absolutely love to hear from you!! Email Me
God Bless,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Truth Among All The Evil In The World

I finally have time to write post something! My life has been crazy lately.
Ecclesiastes 3
In verses one through eight, Solomon goes on about how there is a time for everything. Each activity or emotion has a time in our life. Sometimes we might want to do something but we know it isn’t the right time for that, we need to do something else. Sometimes we just want to lay around and cry about something, but you can’t wallow in sadness. Eventually you have to get up and push away that sadness and embrace the days ahead of you with a positive attitude. God will help you in this. If you are in a pit of despair, cry out to God for help, comfort, and strength and He will come to you. God is waiting for all His children to cry out for His help. If you need Him…go to Him.

Solomon is starting to see God in life in these passages. He gives God credit for the beauty of this world. He states that the gift of God is “that everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toils.” God endures forever; nothing can be added to or taken away from this world or from God. Men revere God because of this. Revere is described as “to regard with respect tinged with awe; venerate.”
Everyday is the same; yesterday, today, and tomorrow are all the same. There is wickedness everywhere. There always has been, there always will be. God will judge us for this wickedness. God will judge both the wicked and the righteous.
There is a time for everything. All things must come to and end. Everything dies, it goes back to the dust of which it came from. Solomon decided at the end of these verses that there is nothing better for man to do that to enjoy his work. (He’s kinda two faced on this issue isn’t he?)

Ecclesiastes 4
Solomon noticed all the bad and evil that was happening to the people of the world, and he saw that they had no comforter. He said that those who were dead were better off than those living. He also said that those who had not been born yet were even better off than the dead because they hadn’t even seen the light of day.
Solomon saw that all the work and accomplishments of those around him were a result of envy. This, he said, is meaningless. It is better to be tranquil than to toil in meaningless ways.

Working all alone without companionship is meaningless. Without people around you loose the enjoyment of life, you deprive yourself. You also become very consumed in yourself and in your wealth.
(These next few verses, 9-12, are some of my all time favorite verses!!)
Two people, together, are better than someone who is alone. They help each other and profit from each other, but they don’t take advantage of each other. If one person falls down, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually, his friend can help him up. But a man who has no friends won’t have help when he falls. If two are in need of warmth, they can draw close to each other and the will keep warm. If one needs comforting, his friend can draw close and comfort him. But one who doesn’t have a friend has no one to help keep him warm or to comfort him. When one person is put in some kind of hardship without the support of a friend, he will easily fall. But when a person goes through a hardship with a friend by his side, he can stand strong. The encouragement of a friend is powerful. When you put three friends together you are even stronger to face whatever comes your way. I recently was inspired about the meaning of the verse where is says, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” This can refer to three different situations, I think. The first one is the most obvious. Three friends together are strong, and their friendship is secure. I realized a while back the this verse could also refer to two close/ best friends who have God actively in their lives and in their friendship. This reminds me of a song by Michael W. Smith called “Friends.” Some of the lyrics are “And friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them…In the Father's hands we know, that a lifetime's not too long to live as friends.” Sometimes this is hard to do because you want to talk about boys/girls, school, sports, or music. But the strongest friendship is one where you not only talk about those things, but you talk about God. What He’s done in your life, what He’s doing in your life, you pray together, study the word together, and you encourage each other with scripture. This is the kind of friendship that is strong and will last. The third meaning of this verse applies to marriage. My best friend recently told me about this meaning behind the verse. This meaning is much like the last meaning except that it has to do with a married man and woman rather than friends. All the principles are pretty much the same. But they are on a more intimate level. This is the longest I’ve ever gone on about a certain set of verses. But after God, friends are the biggest thing in my life. I treasure my friends and I try very hard at the relationships I have. I’m sure many of you can relate.
The last bit of Ecclesiastes four talk about how it is better to be young and wise, then to be old and foolish. I think that’s pretty self explanatory.

I really hope what I have said in this post helps and encourages you! I pray that this will in some way affect you. If you have any questions about what I have said, feel free to email me. I would love to hear from you!
God Bless!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

There Could Never Be a More Beautiful You!!

I had always heard this song on the radio and would sing along every time, but only recently did I find the artist and his music video - and shall I say, it was love at first sight.  This video really connected the lyrics to my life and the rat race we call humanity:

As you watch the video, it is much like the Dove Evolution and Beauty Is a Product of Photoshop videos.  These videos show already-beautiful girls being transformed into super models - the world's standard of beauty.  However, this beauty is a false ideal, one that stems from computers and editing.  Yet, girls and guys alike look at these images and find themselves unattractive and undesirable, unable to reach the high standards placed on us by Hollywood.  I find myself disgusted by what is in the mirror some days, as we all do at some point.  Yet I look around me and find something beautiful in EVERY person, whether is is in their pretty face, athletic build, or warm heart.  You see, beauty radiates from the inside.  Having a cold heart and rude attitude takes away from whatever physical beauty a person may hold; likewise, a warm heart and friendly personality makes any person more beautiful both physically and inwardly.  

Let me walk you through the process I needed to experience to appreciate who I am EXACTLY AS GOD MADE ME.  Didn't God tell us that we were made in his image, that He made us exactly who we are and loves us for it?  Put aside all your thoughts of pleasing the world for a moment.  Peter says in 1 Peter 3:3-4:
"Do not be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."
GOD made us who we are, and He loves us exactly the way He made us!  Guys and gals - HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING!  You were not God's mistake, his broken toy on the assembly line.  You are unique and perfectly formed.  And you know what?  He made someone JUST FOR YOU, someone who will consider you the most gorgeous or most handsome person in the world.  

The first step in appreciating your beauty is UNDERSTANDING that God CREATED you!  You are His masterpiece, His one-of-a-kind YOU.  Take a look at some of these verses, and explore more.  Once you have learned that you were created in God's image (which is perfect!) you can begin the healing process, step by step, of loving who you are. 

*Psalm 139:13-18
* Genesis 1:27
*Proverbs 31:30

 I will continue posting each step of the way, and if you EVER need anyone to talk to, don't hesitate to contact me or any of the other writers on the blog!  If you have friends who struggle with self image, please pass this blog along. I will continue posting both to help you AND myself in the process of loving who you are.  God Bless!

In Christ Always,

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's Been A While

I finally have time to write again! Since my last post i have just been really busy and haven't had time to sit down ant type up what i've studied and written about Ecclesiastes. So i'm going to continue now with Ecclesiastes 2. We'll see how much i can get typed.
Ecclesiastes 2:4-16
Solomon thought is he did good deeds, like farming, he would find the meaning to life. So he built houses for himself, planted vineyards, gardens, and fruit trees, and he made parks. He made reservoirs of water through everything he had done. He tired even more, he bought slaves and livestock. He acquired much gold and silver. He acquired singers and musicians. He became the wealthiest man is Jerusalem. Some say he was the riches man to ever walk the earth.
Anything and everything he wanted he made sure he got it. He was happy about his accomplishments. But when he looked back over everything he had done, it was all meaningless to him. It meant nothing to him.
Bible Gateway Passage Lookup Ecclesiastes 2:4-16

Ecclesiastes 2:17-23
Solomon hated life. The work her had done grieved him. He felt as if all he had worked for was nothing. Why work hard on something when people in generations to come would destroy it? He felt that all he had done was in vain.
Bible Gateway Passage Lookup Ecclesiastes 2:17-23

Ecclesiastes 2:24-26
Solomon believed that there was nothing better than to eat, drink, and be satisfied with your work. But although he believed this, he thought it was meaningless. Solomon mentions God for the first time in verse 24. Solomon tells us that satisfaction is from God, and that with out God we can't find enjoyment. God gives wisdom, knowledge, and happiness to those that please him. But to the sinner He gives a life full of toil. Solomon said that a life of toil is meaningless.
Bible Gateway Passage Lookup Ecclesiastes 2:24-26

I honestly don't think there is a whole lot to gain from these verses. But what i saw over and over is that if you work for God and do all the work you do for His glory you will live a satisfied and fulfilled life. So start trying to live for God and to do your work for His glory.

God Bless

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Hey! My name is Ashleigh! Hillary asked me to write for this blog a little while ago and although I was unsure of what to say I wanted to. She gave me the idea to write about my trip to Africa! As the weeks went on I tried to think of something to say because honestly words do not describe anything I saw or felt on this trip. This week I have been thinking about this blog and what I should say a lot. I feel like maybe this is not something worth writing about, but then again maybe it is important for others to hear. Even though I cannot explain the significance this trip had on me and others I will try my hardest! :)

Today I'm going to try and explain Day 1 of my trip to Kandaira, Kenya in Africa. The first three days on this trip I kept a journal, so much of this stuff is coming from it!

-As we were driving to Kandaria (about an hour drive) from Sunset Hotel in Kisimu, Kenya I was shocked to see the naked children standing on piles of trash picking things out and putting them in thier mouths and baskets. Although I have heard of this before it was shocking to actually witness it. Its so hard to explain the feeling of actually SEEING it with my own eyes. I've heard it so many times you know like "People in Africa don't have food" or "they are starving." I have even listened to Jeff Foxworthy describe him experience on a mission trip to Africa and listened to him tell me about the trash kids are scrummaging through for food, but it never really clicked. I thought I knew what he was talking about or atleast understood what it meant, but I didn't not until I saw the children, the toddlers, the teenagers that are my age, that should be in school just like me EATING trash! Its so hard to think that your money could be so empty and gone that you have to resort to eating someone else waste. Its does happen. I saw it happening and thier was nothing I could do, nothing at all but try to prevent it happening to other children. The roads NO rules. It is hectic, busy, and crazy compared to our systematic laws. Its funny how perfectly this demonstrates how life in Kenya is. Just like the way they love, crazy love, its nothing like American love. It was so easy for them to love me even though I was different then them in many ways they accepted me and only thought about how my heart could help pray with them to the god we both loved and beleived in. They thought of me as thier sister, daughter, wierd as that sounds the children really did think of anyone who had the appearence and love for them as mothers do as thier mothers and treated you like it too. When we got to the community we were immediatley greeted by Pastor Jack, Pastor David (Jacks brother), and Pastor Paul. The first stop we made was to Akado Primary School. It is so smll compared to our huge buildings, even the schools we consider tiny are huge compared to these. Mud/ cement buidling with hoels n the walls for windows and dirt floors. We walked into the principal's "office" (Lillian). She told us how this school is number 1 for testing!! This school has 281 students with 9 teachers! Thats almost 32 kids per one teacher! Next year they are expecting 400 students with only 9 teachers that almost 45 kids per teacher!! Thats insane!Next we went to Sigoti Primary School. We were introduced to a couple of young, girl students. They sand a good worship song and were so shy. I walked with thier principal (Joseph) to explore thier school. It is still small but bigger than Akado. 280 kids with 10 teachers and they are also expecting around 400 students next year. Both schools are xpecting so many students next year because of the program BrighPoint for Children. It will be providing free lunch for every student, so most of the children will onyl be coming to school because thier parents cannot afford food so that is where they will be getting it from. Most kids either go days without food or come to school and get a lunch everyday. This program is what I use to sponsor Mercy Atieno, who attends Sigoti Primary School. Next we went to the water tank! It was a very long walk with many rock and mostly uphill. The young children would run up withough falling. Ha! We walked back down for the community meeting after being shown the water tank that was started with the group that went last year. It is cool how the babies to elders are all involved in this meeting. We were given our Luo-Kenya names, mine is Akinyi because I was born in the morning. After the name ceremony we ad small groups. I joined the youth with three other poeple from the group. At first I wanted so bad to join in with the children, but ended up with the youth because it was short on members from our group. We discussed verses in Joshua, Mark, and Matthew. It was really cool how the Bible Study was more student led that adult led. The youth pastor hardly got a word in because the youth was so involved. You hardly see that much involvment in today's youth group or bible study. It was so refreshing. If they were catorgized in a U.S. highschool they would most likely be said to be a future preacher. I met a girl named Julia, she was my first friend. :) She is very! outgoing and talkative. We walked back to the meeting and a member of every group gave a description of what went on in each group. A little girl sang "You Are My All In All." It was beautiful to see how appreciated everyone was of her song and how they don't care AT ALL how to sound as long as you sing. And the poeple there are not afraid to stand up and randomly sing a song they just don't care if poeple think they are "good" or not. THE DANCE!! It was awesome! Many youth boys showed us the traditional dance with drums, whistles, harmonicas, and costumes. Randomly an elder woman stood and chanted, then she started dancing. Quickly many more followed they grabbed us and then the men came to dance too. Men and women stayed seperated while dancing. We all loved it!! This lasted for about ten minutes. after we started walking down to the bus, everyone followed. All the chidlren loved taking "photos" and as you walked they would grab at your empty hand to fill it with thier love. Every member of the team had about 5 children sourrounding them. It was hard to say goodbye.

So that the end of Day 1 in the community! I know it skips thoughts easily, but I wanted it to be straight form the journal with a few exceptions because I felt the strongest and it was the freshest when I was writing it.

I know this is super long!! BUT I have another thought on my mind... over the weekend I was at a youth conference where a boy named Migel stood and talked about his life. He was a child that had absolutely no Hope and no God in his life. He was sponsored through Compassion International where his life was forever changed. Not only because he was given the oppurtunity to have an education, food, and clothing, but mainly because the letters that he waited for every month shared love and God with him. He told us how if he didn't get those letters or wasn't sponsored he would have never known Christ. He was told he was nothing and would never be anything, but ow he workd in Chicago as a missionary rescueing youth and children jsut as he had been rescued fifteen years before. It amazes me how something we do or say can change a life and a way of thinking. Just today I was sitting having luch with a friend of mine, Libby. We were talknig about God and jst stuff that was on our heart about our relationship with Him and churches today. Loosing track of time, many of the poeple had left the restaunt. We weren't paying attention to anyone else at all. We were talking, not even loud, to each other. When we were aobut to leave a man came up and told us how refreshing it was to here youth talking about God. I thought yeah its great, but then left it at that. Later I rememberd the situation again and talked to Libby about it and realized that we might have changed his perspective about youth. We might have influenced him to talk more about God, to tlak to his family about God and what He is doing in the lives of youth. Its hard to realize that EVERYTHING you do and say influences somebody whether in a good way or in a bad way. Even small things like talking to a friend could influence someone and could even hcange thier mind about God. It made me realize jsut how powerful my actions are. That maybe someone in that restaunt wsn't a Christ Follower and hearing us, changed his mind a tiny bit about God. So my point is that every action and word can be used for God's Glory and to remember that poeple do pay attention to you so not only remember to surround yourself with Godly things, but also you can use small things like eating with a friend to influence someone and change someones life! Every moment can be used to glorify God. :) thats it for my long message! Thanks for listening.

-Until all know Him,

Ashleigh Akinyi :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

    Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4

    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  Matthew 5:4

      We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair ...  2 Corinthians 4:8

    With our prayers and God's help, turmoil can be calmed and peace restored.  Without God, however, the ways of man are futile.

      For God is not the author of confusion but of peace ...  1 Corinthians 14:33 
        And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 
        Romans 8:28
            The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. Proverbs 24:16 
            ~*~*~*~*~*~Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
              Psalm 23:4
          • Love In Christ Always,
          • Hilary

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Haiti Earthquake

    All of our thoughts and prayer are with the survivors of the terrible earthquake in Haiti, for they have lost nearly everything.  We, as Americans, are blessed with the money to be used in such natural catastrophes as that, but the people of Haiti have little money and there is not much medical support (especially since a hospital collapsed in the quake).  They will need every prayer we can lift to God, and many are on their way down to offer help in this time of need.  

    Lord,  only You know why this destruction has come upon them, 
    and only You can save them both physically and spiritually.
    Let us see how truly blessed we are,
    and allow us to pass those blessings on in such a time of need,
    all in Your precious name.
    Let us put aside our busy schedules and our oh-so-important plans,
    allow us to realize that there are other things more important in the world.
    We do all this in Your name, for Your glory alone.

    Love In Christ Always,

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    What you're about to read is something one of my best friends wrote. She did an analysis, i guess, on a song called "The New Breed" by Oh, Sleeper. It's a Christian hard core rock band, and you might not like hard core rock, but this song has some good lyrics. So let's let my friend take it away!

    "The New Breed.

    This is what God has shown me through this song. Feel free to post what you think down in the comments section - I'd love to hear your thoughts!

    "Reclaiming thrones, our generations pride,
    Sits a conformist ploy to strip what burns inside.
    Our bodies yearn to live life endlessly, so now we rise. We rise in mutiny.
    We make our stand here between the angels and animals.
    We fear nothing here, where we can beat any feat set to keep us crawling.
    We're calling you here to give leave to destruction of fear
    And stand tall against all who will dare to shake you. Don't let them shake you.
    "Stand strong, where I could not, please stand strong"
    Oh please, this plea, dear God, let it not from my lips be conceived.
    So grip your fist and swing until your knuckles bleed.
    If you are the new breed scream, "I am immortal!"
    We can't sit quietly because there's more to life than we see.
    So if you are the new breed scream, "I am immortal in you!"
    This is the call of the new breed.
    I want to feel what change your glory brings.
    Please teach me life lived fearlessly and I swear I'll make a stand here,
    Between the angels and animals and fear nothing.
    Here, where I can be more than mortal and fight for a kingdom that answers to no one.
    But I just can't breathe without you in the air and I won't, so rip out these lungs...
    And for my heart, you can cut it from my chest.
    Oh God, if that's what you want, for me to feel life endlessly...
    I'll breathe your blood for the rest of my life.
    So grip your fist and swing until your knuckles bleed.
    If you are the new breed scream, "I am immortal!"
    We can't sit quietly because there's more to life than we see.
    So if you are the new breed scream, "I am immortal in you!"
    We'll be death's dealers, if that's where you lead.
    Anchored by glory, we rise in mutiny.
    We are the new breed. We are the new breed.
    We've come alive and we are moving."

    - Oh, Sleeper

    Lately this has become one of my favorite songs. Seriously, I cannot describe how much I love this song. It's easily one of my five favorite songs from 2009.

    I love music that speaks to me. I love it when I can listen to a song and feel convicted to change the way I live. God really can speak through music - and He CAN speak through metal music. This song is proof.

    "Sits a conformist ploy to strip what burns inside"
    The devil is trying to steal "what burns inside". That fire that we, as Christians, are supposed to have. We can't let the enemy steal our fire.

    "We fear nothing here, where we can beat any feat set to keep us crawling."
    The devil wants to keep us down, he wants to keep us "crawling". But, guess what? We have authority over the devil because we have JESUS.

    "Stand strong, where I could not, please stand strong"
    When we're weak God is strong. When we can't stand in a certain situation - or we feel like we can't - WE CAN. God has given us the strength we need for every single battle that comes our way.

    "We can't sit quietly because there's more to life than we see."
    This line is one of my favorites.
    There's more to this life than having fun. God has put us on this planet to serve Him. While we're here we need to let God use us. We need to bring souls to him. As corny as it sounds, we are on a mission to save the world. There are so many lost people out there and it's OUR job to lead them to Christ. We CAN'T sit quietly. We need to represent.

    "Please teach me life lived fearlessly and I swear I'll make a stand here."
    We can not live in fear. We need to learn to live fearlessly and let nothing stand in our way of preaching the gospel. When we live without fear we can make a stand for Christ.

    "But I just can't breathe without you in the air and I won't, so rip out these lungs, and for my heart, you can cut it from my chest. Oh God, if that's what you want, for me to feel life endlessly, I'll breathe your blood for the rest of my life."
    I want passion like that. I want to be where I can genuinly say that if I'm not following God then I want him to rip out my lungs - that I want to DIE if I'm not putting Him first. Those are powerful lyrics. Man.

    "Anchored by glory, we rise in mutiny."
    Mutiny means "revolt or rebellion against authority." Yes, rebellion against authority. But, guess what? ANCHORED BY GLORY. We're not rising against Christ - we're rising against the world and the things of the world. Christ must be the center of EVERY move we make.

    "We are the new breed. We are the new breed. We've come alive and we are moving."
    We need to move, and we need to move for Christ.

    Make 2010 the year that you stand stronger than ever for Christ. Don't let Satan get you down. You have authority over him. Let God make you strong in your weaknesses. STAND STRONG."
    God Bless!