I’m Accepted!

The last few days I’ve been particularly anxious. Yesterday a woman from AIM (Adventures in Missions) called to clarify some of the details of my interview. She assured me I’d get a call today or tomorrow that would let me know whether I’ve been accepted or not. Well, I got the call today and I GOT IN! I’M ACCEPTED! I am so so so excited and I’ve been praising God all day! He is SO good. As my pastor would say, GO JESUS! So yeah. I am officially launching January 2015. My lovely church is going to help me fundraise. I am so blessed to have them! I also am going to get to present all of this in front of the church next Sunday for Missions week! Please pray I don’t freeze up! Right now I’ve put down my deposit and am now just waiting for my Mobilizer to call me and take me through the next steps of this amazing journey. Once I get my blog set up on the World Race website I will no longer be blogging here until the end of the race, but I’ll be sure to let you know when that happens!

Thank you all for all of your prayers! Please continue to pray as God leads me along this path! Love you all and God bless!

Savannah

It’s just “stuff”

Hello my readers! Long time no see, I know. I’ve been busy with different things and haven’t had much inspiration for a post lately, but I just got an idea last night and so now I will share that with you.

My World Race Interview was Thursday and I believe it went well. I just had to share details of my childhood and my relationships with my family, as well as my testimony. I hadn’t gotten to really talk that kind of stuff out before, so it was pretty relieving to really evaluate it and chat about some things that had been bugging me from my past. Anyway, I will know in two weeks if I’m accepted. They have to run a background check on me and then pray about my application and then they will give me a call. So pray for me if you will.

Since then (and even before then for about a week or two) I’ve been somewhat worrying and maybe slightly obsessing over potential theft while on the race. It started when I read a WR blog about a couple of teams who were surrounded in Central America, bags slashed, and electronics taken. Since then I’ve read a few more blogs that involved theft or robbery. If you know me, then you know I have a history of being maybe a little too attached to my electronics, ESPECIALLY my laptop. At first I reasoned with myself and thought I’d just pay for theft/damage protection for the year which would replace my electronics if they were broken or stolen (this seemed like the smartest option, seeing as being in travel for a year would probably guarantee they’d get beat up). I was happy with this decision for a while, but then I began to get paranoid about them being stolen at all.

The past couple of days I was looking up anti-theft bag protectors and tent protectors. I hadn’t read about anyone on the WR using this kind of stuff, so I contacted my WR Coordinator, Jessica (currently in Honduras), and asked her if she had heard of anyone using anti-theft equipment on the WR. I expressed my paranoia to her and her immediate response was:

“Why are you so worried about theft? God will be with you, don’t let fear get the best of you. It’s just ‘stuff’.”

My heart clenched and immediately I felt somewhat guilty. Not for being paranoid or worried, but for not trusting God. And it is just ‘stuff’. Stuff is replaceable. And stuff is definitely where my focus should NOT be at on this race. I told Jessica that, ironically, ‘stuff’ was what I was trying to get away from and wanting to get away from. She just told me, “Sounds like God is gonna teach you something.” I believe it.  I believe he just used her to teach me something. To shake me out of my paranoia and my worry. And I believe that if I’m this worried now and I’m not even on the race, my worry will be too distracting on the Race. So I’ve decided I’m keeping my computer at home. Because I know if I take it with me, it will constantly distract me from the purpose of this race. I will take journals in place of my computer, upload blogs when I have access to internet cafes, and be able to fully focus on my race.

And if December rolls around and I’m packing up my laptop, kindly refer me back to this post.

Happy

One of the lyrics from this song says: clap along if you know what happiness is to you. Well, do you? Do you find happiness in what you do? What you own? How much money you make or the people you are around? Do you find happiness in your spouse or your children? Do you find happiness where you live, in the house you own, or your car? Your technology? Your games? Or do you find happiness in God?

This thought came to me after having a very short conversation this evening with my mother. She was talking about the notion of working to live, living to work and I told her that wasn’t the be-all-end-all of life. She asked me the other option, I said missionary, and she said: I don’t think I could be happy.

This led me to question…are we deriving our happiness from the right sources? Of course, the missionary thing is a bit extreme for her; she pointed out herself that not all are called to go, some are called to sendwhich is very true, but the scenario led me into a deeper insight that ExploreGod takes a look at here:

Happiness ebbs and flows. It’s an unstable state of being. We are human with a wide range of emotions, we are not always going to be happy. But we should find joy in the Lord. In His Creation. In what He is doing in our lives and in the lives of those around us. When we invest our joy and our happiness in things of this world, material things, we are asking to be disappointed. Things will break, technology will die, friends/spouses/children may frustrate and hurt you, but finding happiness and joy in the Lord is completely other. He provides for all of your needs. He is unconditional, everlasting, never ending. He is everywhere, and so you should be able to find joy everywhere. Where all of the things of this world can be taken from you, Jesus will always be there. He  is the Way, the Truth, the Light. I am not saying there’s no use being happy with some stuff you have, or with your spouse or your children or your friends; I am saying that unless you find your joy and happiness in the Lord above everything else, you will not be happy or joyful in the way that you can find contentment in Jesus.

Bearing Fruit Through Lifesong Farms (A Post from Lifesong)

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Lifesong Farms. We are thankful, with the help and expertise of our friends at Plant Sciences, Inc., to have active strawberry farms in Ukraine and Zambia. Our hope is to not only create jobs & self-worth for orphan caregivers, but also  provide future employment opportunities as orphans grow into adults. Eventually, we aim to establish sustainability to help fund on-going orphan care. Hear the stories behind the farms…

Bearing Fruit in Sergey {UKRAINE}

Like each and every child our Ukraine team reaches out to through Constant Christian Presence, Sergey was full of potential. Coming from a life of hurt, God breathed hope into his heart and life.
Through the team’s support, mentorship and love, Sergey came to know Christ while developing relationships and life skills that is leading him towards a fruitful future.

Now, he and another orphan graduate are involved in helping manage a nursery, as well as play an important role in Lifesong Farms-Ukraine.

Listen in to his story…



Strawberries Help Send Kids to School {ZAMBIA}

Last month, Lifesong Farms-Zambia team were pleased to present the first check to the Lifesong School at a special ceremony. As the farm continues to grow and show profits, we hope to have many more check ceremonies in the future as we grow towards sustainability!

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Farm team presenting $5,000 check to Lifesong Zambia School

Read More…

Story of Lifesong Farms - Learn how Lifesong Farms got started in Lifesong Zambia. Watch Video

Impact on Farm Workers - Listen in to our Quality Manager, Pilijah, as she shares how her job has impacted her and her family. Watch Video

Christian Alliance for Orphans CAFO2014 {May 1-2; CHICAGO} - CAFO2014 inspires and equips Christians to care for orphans with wisdom-guided love. Register today! Learn More & Register

Celebrate Life Tour – featuring Cheri Keaggy & Zambia Children’s Choir! Buy Tickets Today

To Be Overcome by Your Presence Lord

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Hey guys, yeah, I know it’s been a bit…longer than I expected. Been busy and just taking in everything that’s been going on the past week or so. You may recognize the title of this post; it’s one of my most favorite worship songs and the chorus says: Holy Spirit you are welcome here, come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by Your presence, Lord! I love it. It’s just so powerful and beautiful and it’s been in my head all day.

So, here’s what’s been going on! This past week I got to share my testimony with my World Race Coordinator, Jessica, through email. I had never actually given much thought to my testimony before, but I just know God orchestrated it, because today at Sunday school we were given the opportunity to share our testimonies…and if I hadn’t shared it with Jessica, I wouldn’t have volunteered to share it there. I have had issues with anxiety and public speaking in the past, but I was amazed at the calm I felt while I spoke. I took myself out of my comfort zone, and God eased my anxiety. It’s uncanny, really.

Church was wonderful, of course, and we had a small meeting about our June mission trip afterwards. We were supposed to go to Georgia, but unfortunately that hasn’t panned out, so now they are looking for somewhere else to go. I’m only slightly disappointed, but I know God must have something better planned for us. I pray he directs our youth pastor and his wife in finding the ministry we should go to that week.

I can’t really keep the World Race out of my blog posts. Yeah, I talk about it all the time but it’s kinda becoming ingrained in me. I am just really excited, and now that I am in contact with my WR Coordinator, who is currently serving in Honduras, I am just overwhelmed by the possibilities. I am sure this is what I want to do. I want to go. I want to go long-term. I want to go permanently. I have trouble voicing that desire to the people around me…that I want to expatriate. God planted this notion in my head long before I even truly became a Christian. From the time I was about 14 years old I wanted to live in a different country. I’ve always thought it impossible really, but it is possible…it is very possible, especially now. I am really excited. The financial aspect of it, though, is what gets me… Even just for the Race, it’s been bugging me a little. I try my hardest to give it to God, but deep inside my head sometimes I just have these doubts, these “what-if’s”. I don’t want to be a doubting Thomas. I want to trust in the Lord that he will provide my needs. And I do for the most part, but just every so often the devil sneaks in with these doubts.  I pray that the Lord just wrap me up in his presence and lift my worries and anxieties from me.

Now, onto the topic at hand. I believe Jesus’ words are to be taken literally. I know in my last post I said “taking the bible literally”, but what I meant was taking Jesus literally. Jesus, my Christ, my Lord, my Savior, my Redeemer, is love incarnate. I don’t think Christianity is about following rules and following the commandments (many of which most of us break every day) and obeying God out of fear. I think it is about love. I KNOW it is about love. The first and greatest commandment is that we love God, the Holy Father, the second greatest is that we love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We are all sinners. We all need the saving grace of God. We cannot earn it, it is given to us once we become children of God. This does not mean following old rules. This does not mean keeping the commandments (which we cannot, because we are human). Paul was a murderer and was filled with hate, yet once he turned to God he became full of love and a disciple of Christ. Just looking at Jesus’ disciples shows me that “following rules” is not what grants me grace. After all, the Pharisees made worship their idol and followed the rules and the commandments, yet they were without the love of God and therefore it meant nothing.

“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy, but don’t love, I am nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all of the mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith to say to a mountain “Jump” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So no matter what I say, what I believe, what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-4

You see? It is all about love. Nothing on this earth that we do will matter unless it is done with the love of God.  This is not to say I love God to get my ticket to Heaven. I love God because I truly believe he sent His son to die so that I might be saved and given eternal life. I love God because He is awesome and powerful and He knows me and loves me. I love God because he loved His creation so much that He walked among us as Jesus and lived a life I could never emulate, but I could strive towards. I love God because His love is unconditional. I cannot earn it. He knows I’ll fall, but He’ll be there with open arms when I do. He knows I’ll struggle, and He will be there with me through those times. He knows I’ll grieve, and He will grieve with me.

Anywho. onto my next small thing I wanted to speak briefly on; quoting scripture.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I am sure you have heard at one point or another, “Stop quoting scripture!” I just heard this the other day and it got me thinking…why? Yes, I agree we should not quote scripture to someone who is not walking with Christ. That does nothing for them, except annoy them, because the Word means nothing to them. But what about to our fellow brothers and sisters? Why shouldn’t we? If we believe that the Bible is Spirit-breathed and that it contains everything we need in order to get through this life and guide us…why not quote it? What else would we use to correct each other or hold each other accountable? Yesscripture will convict us. No, a lot of the times we don’t like it. But that doesn’t make the Word any less true. That doesn’t make the Word any less relevant to our everyday lives. Jesus says that we, as followers of Christ, are to go and make disciples of all nations. This isn’t a suggestion, it is a command. If a brother or sister of mine has become comfortable or complacent where they are, not working in ministry to spread the kingdom of God, why shouldn’t I give them this verse? Of course, not everyone can go abroad, but almost everyone has neighbors. Everyone has people they are around at work or school or at the grocery store or at yoga class. There are so many opportunities and as disciples of Christ, we are to live intentionally and walk intentionally and step out of our comfort zones and make disciples. We are commanded to care for orphans and widows, for when you care for the least of these it is as if you’ve cared for Jesus himself. This isn’t a suggestion. It is a command. It says in Luke that those who have been given much, much will be demanded. Most, if not the majority, of American Christians have been given very much. I know I have. And much will be demanded. Because I have been blessed, it is my responsibility to bless others. I’m not the richest girl. I don’t have an income at the moment. I’m a poor college student with a small savings fund, a big credit card bill, a need to move 700 miles northeast in June, and the desire to raise money to go on the World Race next year…and right now I sponsor two orphans for a grand total of around $80/month. I challenge you to sponsor a child. Not everyone can go and physically care for the needy, but you can support those who do. I also encourage you to dive into scripture. Instead of getting annoyed or upset when someone quotes scripture at you, take a moment to listen. Read the verses they are pointing you towards. You can’t argue with the words of Jesus. They are what they are whether we like them or not.

What a Weekend…

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I don’t even know where to begin. This weekend has just been SO full of Christ. I actually wanted to write yesterday, but I was so exhausted I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. But I’m doing it now! So there is that. Anyway, I have so much to tell you guys about this weekend, and I’m sorry if it turns out to be rather lengthy, but there’s been so much packed into these two or three days, you just would not believe. I’ll start with Friday…

Friday

Friday was AMAZING. I went to the Extraordinary Women’s Conference in Pensacola, Florida with some really lovely ladies from my church. I think there were 15 of us in all. I was a little wary about it at first because I don’t know anyone really well and I certainly hadn’t even met any except one of these girls I went with. We carpooled up the the civic center around 4:30pm. I rode with two lovely ladies, Jill and Lisa. They are both really sweet and I really enjoyed riding with them. We met the other ladies up there around 5 and I was a little overwhelmed. I have a bit of social anxiety, but it was awesome and God just took that away from me. I met a few of the other girls who were juniors or seniors in high school and they were really awesome and I immediately felt comfortable among this group of women…which was really something because I am rather self-conscious and I can’t help but kind of withdraw around people I don’t know, but God just pushed me out of my comfort zone, and made me comfortable there…funny thing.

Well, we get our seats (it was first come first serve, so it was a little crazy) and I ended up in a row by myself feeling very alone and forlorn. I thought back to my prayer that God would move someone to reach out to me and one of the girls two rows up got my attention and asked if I wanted to sit between her and Lisa. I said “Yes!” of course. I felt right in my element, even amidst these women I barely knew and the 4000 other women there, but that was okay, because we all were there for one reason: to celebrate and praise our Holy Father, Jesus Christ. Michael O’Brien was the first on-stage with his band. He has a wonderful singing voice and he really is very funny. Great guy. We opened the evening with worship and it was truly wonderful. It was beautiful and the Spirit of God was strong in that arena. It really moved my heart. There is nothing like singing worship with 4000 other women; literally, there is absolutely NOTHING like it. I loved it. I can’t wait until I can do it again.

After we finished worship, we sat and Chonda Pierce made her way up onto the stage. If you don’t know who she is (I didn’t at the time), she is a Christian comedian. She shared her testimony through stand-up comedy. It was hilarious and heart-breaking. She really has a way with words. It was especially funny because there was a man (with his wife) in the very front row in front of the stage and she spotted him and just picked on him all night. It was so funny. She is a wonderful, sassy little lady. I wish I could have met her.  She spoke about her marriage mostly and her husband and the troubles they went through throughout the years.

After Chonda, we closed the night with a Jeremy Camp concert. Talk about terrific. Amazing. Wholly other. It was so so so great. I had never seen JC in person until Friday and he is just an absolutely wonderful man of God. We sang and praised and danced and worshiped and it was so wonderful. It is a night I will not forget any time soon.

Saturday

Saturday Michael O’Brien opened us in worship again. He has a knack for integrating comedy with music. Funny guy. Great music. It’s almost even better than the previous day because by then I felt right at home in that huge stadium among these wonderful women. I cannot for the life of me remember what order these women spoke in (even though it was just yesterday!), so forgive me, but there was so much content and information I took in I might get things a little jumbled.

Anyway, here we go. The most notable speakers I remember were Kasey Van Norman, Margaret Feinberg, and Mrs. Kay Robertson (YES, from Duck Dynasty). One thing all of these women had in common were heart-breaking testimonies. Kasey spilled her life out on the stage and my heart hurt so badly for her. She so wanted to please God in her early years that she got caught up in trying to earn his grace by doing the things of Christ (Sunday school and sermon, Wednesday night church, ministry, following rules, etc). When she was young she was brutally raped. This event caused her to immediately turn from God. She did not believe God loved her if he would let this happen to her. She turned to drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, and other things out of spite, trying to fill the hole this trauma left in her heart. She got to a point so low in her life that she had noone else to turn to…except Jesus. From there she began to rebuild and recommit. She healed from this tragedy, got married, had two beautiful children, and then she began to stray. She became unhappy in her marriage and ended up in an affair that lasted 3 years. After the people in her community and her husband found out about the affair, she was crushed. Rejected. Alienated. She said these were some of the darkest times in her life and when things got to the point where she couldn’t handle it anymore, she tried to take her own life. She was unsuccessful. In the six months following God worked wonders in her life, healing her heart and mending her marriage. A few years later she was rushed to the hospital after an ovarian cyst rupture, and they ended up finding that she had incurable Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. They gave her five year to live (this was 2011). She received 4 chemo  treatments before she decided to stop. She is still living with this deadly cancer. She knows each day could be her last, so she lives as if it might be. She loves the Lord and has come back from the trauma this world afflicted upon her. She doesn’t blame God. She addressed the fact that God is really in control. She said that we have to believe it. He is in control of everything; the good AND the bad. He was in control when she was an innocent child, and he was in control when she was raped. It is hard to fathom; why would he let that happen, if he was in control? It is a difficult question. She said simply… until we are broken down so far to the point where we have noone and nothing left to hold onto, we cannot experience the true redemption and healing of Christ. It’s a hard pill to swallow. A lot of people won’t like it. I am having trouble wrapping my mind around it…but I do believe there is truth in what she says. She also said this: “There IS a design in your distress; it is to know him and love him more.”

The next extraordinary woman speaking was a lady named Margaret Feinberg. She is just a spunky little woman with a big heart and her eyes on God. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, but that hasn’t slowed her down any. She said it herself; “I’m as feisty as ever!!” She was a breath of fresh air. She spoke to us about the unbelievers in our life. You can’t really talk to them about God or they just lock down and shut you out. And she says that’s okay. We just have to be patient and witness by doing instead of saying. By showing them the love of Christ. She had some friends who were unbelievers. They had just lost their mother and were going through a particularly trying time. She got the notion to pick up a large pack of toilet paper and take it to their house one day. No spoken need; no request. God just moved in her heart and she obeyed. She knocked on the door and the entire family was there gathered in the living room. They were confused by the gift, but told her to place it in the bathroom. They asked her why she brought it, she said that she felt like she should. She stayed for a while to visit then went back home. The next day her friend got a hold of her and asked her, “How did you know we needed toilet paper? How did you know we only had 2 rolls left and we had 10 people in the house?” The same week they brought something else they felt they should bring, to find that it was just what the family had been needing. Her friend came to know Christ through that. Really, guys, it’s the little things. Don’t just talk about God’s love. Don’t just say “Jesus loves you.” SHOW IT. DO LOVE. It is so much more tangible.

At this point, an orphan choir from Compassion International performed on stage (they were from India and Ecuador I believe) and it was wonderful. I had prayed for the Lord to break my heart for the least of these, and I thought I’d experienced that true heartbreak before….I hadn’t. The moment these children began to sing and dance, praising and worshiping God, I was overcome by this INTENSE hurt. My heart literally felt like it was breaking in my chest. I cried and it took everything I had not to burst out sobbing. The performance was amazing and wonderful and these children were so full of this intense JOY, and here I was threatening to collapse in sobs. I am not over-exaggerating. I am not being a drama-queen. God broke my heart. The feeling became even more intense when one of the little boys on stage stood there, spread his arms out wide and invited us to join them in worship. I almost lost it. And as soon as it came, it began to lighten. And I am so thankful for that experience, for that heartbreak. If anything, it was a confirmation for where I long to be: on the field with orphans. And if it weren’t for that heartbreak, I wouldn’t have done what happened next. Women were passing out random child sponsorship packets. You didn’t know who you were getting. Now, Compassion works in 24 or 25 different countries, in four different continents. I tried to keep my hand down. In that moment I told the Lord, “God, I already sponsor one child in Zambia. I can only afford one. I really can’t…” Almost as if the Holy Spirit took control of my arm (I certainly didn’t feel like I had much control of it) my arm shot straight in the air and I was handed a packet. A little boy named Felix was pictured on the front. “Felix is from Burkina Faso.” This probably wouldn’t mean anything at all to you, and for just a few minutes it didn’t mean anything to me either. I was actually going to place give his packet back; a college student with no income paying around $80/month on these kids wasn’t really the plan I had after all. But then something suddenly clicked in my head. Something I really couldn’t believe I remembered. Two or so weeks ago, maybe three, I took a silly facebook quiz that told me my perfect place to live; I got Burkina Faso. When this clicked in my brain, I was floored. I shared this information with my mother, and then my friend Jill. My previous thoughts were gone. This was my kid. My little boy. I was going to sponsor him. And I’ll tell you something else, I was on Twitter this morning and I follow Compassion on there…and what do I see not even four tweets down but a picture of a couple of boys with a link and the tweet said, “See photos taken by a sponsor child in Burkina Faso.” Isn’t that uncanny? I felt like God was hitting me over the head with this place. Burkina Faso. I want to go. I will go. I will go there and meet Felix. I want to go this year. I will be on the World Race next year, Lord willing…that’s eleven months… I will be in Zambia for a month, but it is in southeast Africa…Burkina Faso is in northwest Africa…there is no way I’d be able to make it over there. Hopefully I can figure something out for this year though….I would absolutely love to go. I have a feeling that may be where God wants me.

Okay, I will get back on track. One of the last speakers was Mrs. Kay. She is a wonderful lady who went through many more trials and hardships than I ever would have expected. She gave us her testimony, revealing years of hurt and pain within her marriage. We learned about her journey with Jesus and about the state of her heart and her spiritual faith. She is an amazing woman who has been through so much…I really wanted to just give her a hug. I wanted to give all of these women a great, big hug and tell them I love them. Never in my life would I have thought, “Yeah, I’m gonna go to this conference and God is gonna break and change my heart and give me more responsibility and convict me and love me.” I almost didn’t go to this thing because it involved me actually being around people I don’t know. But I am so glad I went. Possibly one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.

Anyway, funny thing about the sponsorship; now I sponsor two kids. I cancelled my WoW subscription in order to sponsor Sandy each month, and just last week sometime I decided I was going to get rid of my smartphone plan to save about $50 each month. Stock it away, do something with it, I don’t know. I was just tired of paying so much for a phone. I was going to grab a cheapo dumb phone to keep rollover minutes on for use in case of emergency though, which would have been about 12-15 bucks a month, bringing my savings down to about $35/mo tops. I guess God laughed when I decided I wanted to save that money, because now it is being used to sponsor Felix. Which I’m fine with. I may be unemployed, but I have the money.

Okay. I think I’m done in for the night, you guys. If you are still reading, thanks for sticking this out. I love you. The next post will come up soon this week. The topic: Taking the bible literally and answering the question, “What’s the big deal with quoting scripture?” Just some stuff I really feel like God has laid on my heart to write about, so open your hearts and open your minds. Pray for conviction (I’m not out to convict anyone, but through conviction we can grow in our faith; I pray everyday to be convicted). Also, if you guys could pray for my godson, he is getting surgery Tuesday. It’s outpatient surgery, but still. Love you all!

God bless,

Savannah

Alone in a Crowd

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Every day the Race gets to be a little more real to me. I mean…it sounds kind of like a dream, doesn’t it? The fact that [Lord willing] I will be on a plane to the first country I’m due to serve in in a little over 8 months. Yeah, guys….it’s that close! Just yesterday I got to chat with a World Race alumni (I wish I could remember his name; he was super friendly though). I really wish I had written out a list of questions for him, as I was very curious about a lot of things but when I’m put on the spot my memory tends to fail, unfortunately. But here are a few things we managed to cover in the little time I was available to chat (darn school cutting into my leisure time!).

Funding. I will be assigned a fundraising coach that will give me goals to make and help me every step of the way to meet those goals. This is definitely something where you get out of it what you put into it. The alumni I spoke with did a moderate amount of fundraising while one of his buddies did every idea under the sun! I kinda think it would be cool to do stuff like host a 5k and a silent auction and it is just about exposure really. I’ve never really done a proper successful fundraiser before, but I’m confident God will have his hand in it and I’ll be set!

Water. This was a bit of a concern seeing as how I would be visiting third world countries, many without access to sanitary drinking water. Luckily we will be provided with bottled water if safe drinking water isn’t otherwise available.

Safety in general. I am not concerned about my own safety; my trust rests in the Lord’s hands. However, for my family and friends’ sake I figured I’d ask. Adventures in Missions (the organization the World Race works through) does not send their missionaries to dangerous regions. Should political or civil unrest crop up in a nation we are headed to, a decision will be made to go to another country instead and we will reroute. So my wonderful family and friends, let that information put you at ease.

My World Race Connector got in touch with me today through email as well! She will be my go-to gal throughout my entire World Race experience and she is absolutely wonderful! If you want to read her World Race blog, click here, and click here for her other blog! She actually is in Honduras right now working with a ministry she worked with on the Race…that is what I would like to end up doing! Not in Honduras particularly, but wherever God wants me! I am in the process of reading both of her blogs at the moment; you should check them out!

I still need to do my interview which will be in a few weeks, then I can officially get the ball rolling! You guys, it brings me to tears every time I think about this amazing opportunity; not because I am sad but because I am so incredibly happy and thankful that God opened this door…and I’m even more happy that I said yes!

I want to tell you about what happened to me yesterday. Last night I was in a very uncomfortable situation. I have been going to my church (just Sunday service) since last summer. I absolutely love it there, but I decided I wanted more than just an hour every Sunday. I wanted to throw myself into my church family and get involved in every way possible. So I made a resolution to start going to Sunday school, Sunday service, Sunday Lifegroup, and Wednesday service. Wednesday I was tired. I didn’t want to go. I’m 22 years old and the fact that I’d have to stand in the midst of all of these youth shook me to the bones. I wasn’t scared, really, but I was really anxious and, despite being among at least 100 other people ages 7 to 25 I felt incredibly lonely. I prayed for God to send someone to reach out to me in order to ease my anxiety and make me more comfortable. He didn’t. But what he did do was so much greater. As I stood there and we began to worship, my loneliness faded. When I closed my eyes I felt as if I were wrapped in a blanket and I tell you what, guys, I had never been more comfortable in my entire life. Not only did I feel comfortable, I felt safe. The desire to have someone around me that I was at least cordial with faded and I could almost hear Him say “I am all you need.” By the end of the worship I was almost no. I was disappointed because it was over. If I could stay in that church just singing praises to God with my eyes closed and my hands stretched high, I’m not even gonna lie, you guys wouldn’t see  me anymore. I can’t wait till Sunday. I can’t wait till Wednesday. I know that being in His presence isn’t limited to days of fellowship, but I tell ya what, that’s when I feel it most. I’ve never been addicted to anything before, but I imagine I could get hooked on His presence really quick. The fact that my mind has constantly gone back to that moment must say something.

Anyway, I just wanted to share. In other news, I’ll be headed to The Extraordinary Women’s Conference tomorrow (and Saturday) with some ladies from my church. Really excited to get to know them and see what God will show me! I love you all and I hope you guys have a blessed weekend!

He Doesn’t Need Our Help

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Today has been a great day. I’ve resolved that I want to get more active within the church, so this started with me going to Sunday school, church, AND life groups on Sundays and the various activities on Wednesdays. Well, I went to Sunday school and it was just great.  We watched a lecture by Louie Giglio (that’s it above) on the vastness of our universe and how great our God must be to have made all of it. And He IS. I would have never thought anyone could use astronomy to really grind it into my head just how amazing and how BIG our God must be. It was just breathtaking and the end of the lecture left me wow’ed and refreshed. If you haven’t seen it, schedule some time in your day to watch the 40 minute video. It is truly amazing. Church was wonderful as well. Our sermon focused on God’s promises and how we tend to want to help God with things in our lives. This really spoke to me…in the sense that I felt like Pastor Jim had known exactly what was happening with me and tailored his sermon to speak to me, but we both know that’s not what occurred. I find that I’ve been trying to help God in my life particularly pertaining to finding a mate. Finding someone to be with, ya know? I’m not a lonely person, even though I do like being alone, but sometimes I think having a companion would be great. Marriage would be wonderful and having my own family? More than I could ever ask for. But when I get impatient waiting for God to bless me with someone, I sometimes take up the reins. If I just put myself out there a bit more, God can more easily have him bump into me. If I just make this dating profile, God will lead him to it. If I just do this; if I just do that. But the truth is, guys, God doesn’t need our help providing for our needs. Psalm 37:4 says “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This is a promise, and God always fulfills his promises. He only requires that I  accept him and love him and revere him, truly becoming one of His children, and he will give me the desires of my heart. He doesn’t say when and he doesn’t say how, but he does say he will. For now, I feel like I am much more use to him as a single woman. I can focus all my mind, all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength on him. I thank the Lord he hasn’t fulfilled my desire for a mate; knowing I would ignore His call because of my obligation to my horse, if I had a mate this time I heard my call, I would probably ignore it again to stay where I am comfortable. I quite like being single anyway. Marriage looks wonderful, families look awesome, but I will not envy. I will not make romantic companionship my idol. I will stop trying to help God in that area of my life. He does not need my help. I will simply delight and rejoice in the Lord and he will fulfill his promise.

Some cool stuff going on; One Love is a witnessing program I will be participating in this month that basically involves street ministry. It would be great if you could pray for us, my church, and the people God puts in front of us. We’ll be doing stuff like offering to pay $35 for a random strangers gas and standing on the intersections and medians holding up signs that say “I love you!” “You are loved!” “Jesus loves you!” etc etc, which I’m actually most excited about. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we ended up beside the guys who yell and preach hate, hell, and sin? Looking forward to it! Haha. We will also be participating with our church to do some spontaneous ministry in the city, and the next day we will be working with the local food banks to provide food to families in need. That Saturday we will be hosting an easter egg hunt throughout Milton. It will be amazing and I am really looking forward to it! I have seen God working in my life in subtle ways lately. First, I was reading some World Race blogs (you should go check them out; these lovely people are absolutely amazing!) and the thought crossed my mind, I would love to contribute…but I have no idea how much. I need a number. The frugal saver in me used that as an excuse to not contribute (as horrible as that sounds), but God can be funny. The very next blog I read, the girl stated clearly that she needs 25 more donations of $125 each to reach her goal. I seriously stopped what I was doing. Well, there’s your number. So…I donated $125 to this girl.

…… (insert 10 minute search to find this girl’s blog so you can donate too)

…WELL GUESS WHAT. For some reason this donation  didn’t go towards that girl…I don’t see why it didn’t but instead it went to Ashley Ganahl. Surprised? Yes…but it’s okay! I just wanted to support SOMEBODY in this amazing missions experience…maybe this was the work of the Divine, maybe the network had a glitch, who knows. I am just glad that I was a part of somebody’s process to get there. So yeah…go read some of those blogs! Donate if you feel called! You can also donate equipment if you are more comfortable with that! Okay I will stop using exclamation points!

On an off note, I got to meet J.R.’s new potential adoptive mother… I truly believe God sent Kirsten into my life for this specific reason. She is a wonderful, God-filled woman and I believe she will provide the absolute best home for J.R. My heart is heavy that I am rehoming him, but at the same time I am glad because he will be going to this amazing family! So continue praying that they make their decision final over the next couple of days!

Prayer requests. Please pray for a family friend of mine, John. He is ill and we are praying for his recovery, or at least some comfort. Pray for both my sisters whom are currently pregnant and their babies. Please pray for me as well as I navigate my first experience with mission work and witnessing to others.  If you have a prayer request, comment below! I would love to pray with you!

God bless,

Savannah

Unconditional Love

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I just wanted to say, before I began with what’s really been on my mind, that I’ve decided I will have to find a new forever home for my horse, J.R. I’ve had him for going on 10 years and I love him to death, but I am trapped by him at the same time. I pay monthly boarding fees that I cannot keep up when I go on the World Race. I pay monthly boarding fees that I cannot keep up when I eventually leave this lavish life for ministry. I once had the resolve for a short period of time two years ago to go to seminary and grab my MA in Missiology (which includes a 2 year commitment abroad)…but then I thought about it, and I said no. How would I get that degree AND keep my horse? There was no way…so I chose my horse.God has been kind enough to allow me to recoup before bringing this decision before me again, two years later, and once again I found that I would have to choose. His ministry or my horse? Jesus says himself that in order to follow him, we must die to self (Luke 9:23). This time I asked myself, do I ignore the call to keep my beloved pet, or do I heed his call and lay aside my own desires for God’s desires in order to follow my beloved God? It’s not even a question now. There’s not even a choice. I know what I must do. This week I will be talking to a couple of people who are interested in him…and it’s difficult, because I want to be responsible for him. I want to control his ownership. But I have to relinquish that control to God. I’m at peace with the decision, and I will be thorough in figuring out who he will go too, but I’m hardly sad. In fact, I’m excited for him. He will finally have someone who can give him the love and attention he so truly deserves, and knowing that eases my fears for his future.

Onto another order of business. This has been nagging at me especially over the past couple of days, not triggered by anything in particular, but as I explore adoption and the plight of orphans, it just brought this back to mind. I’ve mentioned adoption (frequently the adoption of older children) to my loved ones several times over the years, and the idea is often met with unsure glances and a hesitant, “Well, you gotta be careful because you don’t know what they’ve been through/you don’t know what they’re mindset is/you could get a kid that’s unstable/etc.”.  This caution never really made sense to me and it annoyed me more than anything. After all, every child deserves a family and every child deserves to be loved within the context of a family. These “worries” if you will, lead me to the conclusion that people who concern themselves with this believe those children who may have emotional/mental issues deserve to be adopted less, or not at all. These children who may be deemed unlovable according to these statements may need love more than anyone else in order to heal from the trauma of a broken family and a broken past. If anything, shouldn’t we be promoting the love and adoption of children who you “might not know what they’ve been through/might have a different mindset/might be unstable”? God demands we care for the orphans. God demands we love each other.

“Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is nearly as important, Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 23:37-39 The Voice).”

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others (John 13:34-35).”

Jesus does not command us to love each other deeply and fully unless (insert statement here). We are to demonstrate the love of Christ through the way we love others. God’s love knows no conditions. It is unconditional. We are all broken, but He loves us anyway. Because He is love and His love knows no bounds, and we should strive to channel that love through ourselves. So when I adopt a child, I will love that child. When I face challenges due to that child’s mindset, I will continue loving that child. If that child is unstable, I will love them still. I will not hold back for fear that a human being I commit to caring for may be broken, for they’re the ones who need love the most. By grace we are saved and through love we are healed. I pray this resonates in your heart. God pours out unconditional love to us, we are commanded to do the same. There are no caveats or exceptions. There is simply love.

Sponsor a Child

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Sandy

This little girl is named Sandy. She was born February 29, 2012. She has CP/ID/Microcephaly. I sponsor her. For only $35 a month I sponsor this child so she can stay within her family while receiving the love, attention, care, and education she needs and deserves. She is a precious creation and a child of God. Before I sponsored Sandy, I looked at so many other organizations. There are so many children and there is so much need that the decision at first was overwhelming. But then I found the Special Hope Network and I couldn’t bring myself to exit the page and look for yet another sponsorship program. I saw her sweet face and I just kept going back to her. My heart breaks for the other children in this program that do not have sponsors, and I sorely wish I had the means to sponsor them all. While I cannot sponsor more than one child at this time, I can pray. And so can you. If you have the means to sponsor, please take a look at these beautiful children and pray about what you can give. This is an amazing ministry doing some amazing things. I highly encourage you to seek God and let him speak to your heart. Let him open your mind. Sponsor a child. Touch a life.

God bless,

Savannah