Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fastbreak 2012: So far, SO great.

Since my last post Thursday night, Fastbreak has been non-stop. But I'm not complaining, so far the conference has been amazing. God is doing big things in these students' lives, and I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of what He is doing here. 

This morning I led a seminar with my co-worker, Joe, explaining to students how they can share the gospel in a clear, easy way. Immediately following was Women's Time, where I got to be a part of a panel made up of a few female staff and students in different relationship stages talking about purity, relationships and God's grace. I am always very nervous to speak in front of people, but God totally overcame my nerves and my boss said I was a natural. Praise God.

The biggest event of the day was our outreach time. All the students were bused to different low-income areas around Dayton and the surrounding towns to hand out bags of food and talk to people about Jesus. My group is below, and they did so great. It was freezing, and a lot of them had never shared their faith in this way before, but they trusted God to work through them. 

Chris, Michelle, Kianna and Adam.
 A lot of people either didn't want the food or didn't want to talk, but just when we thought we were out of houses in our assigned area, we came across a basketball court where two guys were playing one-on-one. The two guys in my group walked up and asked to join their game, where they played for the next hour. They gave them the last bag of food, and got to talk to them for a little while after the game. I'm so proud of their desire to share God's love, and their willingness to step out in faith and trust that God would use them no matter what the outcome. 

That's about all the time I have right now, but if I can share one more thing, it would be to ask for prayer. Tonight is the last night of the conference, which usually ends up being the most emotional for the students. The conference culminates tonight, and a lot of the things the students have been impacted by comes to the surface. Please pray that they would be thirsty for the Lord tonight and would drink in what the Lord wants them to learn tonight. Our speaker, Daron is talking about identity, which is a very big issue for high schoolers. It's going to be a great night and I'm very excited to see how the Lord moves! I greatly appreciate your prayer, and look forward to sharing more with you after the conference is over! 

Some of my favorite moments are watching the students
worship the Lord with such passion and reckless abandon.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fastbreak 2012: God is Greater Than

After a 2 hour car ride, a delicious mexican dinner, the Fastbreak set up crew all sat in our staff meeting realizing it was the calm before the chaos. Good chaos, but chaos none the less. The students arrive tomorrow, and not only do we have all the set up to do in a day, we are overcapacity at the Athletes in Action headquarters in Xenia, OH. This is of course a "good" problem to have. More students than ever have made the decision to attend this conference and we are thrilled. Fishers High School alone has more than doubled in attendance since last year. 

The theme this year is "God is greater than..." Our hope is that the students leave this conference with the knowledge and belief that God is greater than anything that comes their way. The interesting thing is that us as staff are all learning that in our own ways as well.

We are trusting that God is greater than our worry and scramble of how to fit all the students and where to house the overflow. We are trusting that no matter what issues and problems arise, God will be greater than them. This conference belongs to the Lord, and no matter what He will be glorified. Someone once told me that obstacles are just ways of seeing God's glory at work. If we never ran into obstacles, we wouldn't need God's help to figure out how to get around them. 

I'm excited to see how God works at this conference and shows the students and staff that He is "greater than." He is greater than worry, greater than sickness, greater than sadness, greater than computer glitches, greater than the weather, greater than ourselves. 

"Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise." Psalm 48:1

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Fully Supported!

I am very excited to announce that I have finished raising my support! God has been so good to me, and provided the remainder of my support at a time I was least expecting it. December is a difficult time to raise support since everyone is very busy with family and holiday activities. I was anticipating having to wait until January to get the rest of my support raised. However, God works in such mysterious ways, and it is because of these ways that we can know it is Him working, and not ourselves!

One of my coworker's friends heard about my need for just $235/month in order to get on campus, and he and his wife decided they wanted to cover that need so I could get on campus as soon as possible. Their gift is incredibly generous, and one I feel very undeserving of. 

This is a tad unconventional, as their hope is to finish my support for 6-12 months, and in that time I will continue to raise support to cover their giving. But the good news is that at the same time, I can finally be on campus working with the students at Fishers High School. As my support coach said, this is a little "out of the box," but it is so clearly from the Lord, that he is willing to work with me to make their gift count. 

I will be officially beginning on campus at the start of next semester, and between now and then am able to start some reading and training work in addition to continuing to raise support. Something I'm learning about staff life is that the process of raising support is never quite finished. This is just another chapter of how I can be trusting the Lord to provide that $235 in addition to other needs over the next year. 

Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts, and encouragement over the past 16 months of raising support, I never would have been able to do this without each and every one of you. I look forward to the next step in this journey, and can't wait to share all the amazing things I learn and experience when I begin working with the students! Hopefully I'll get better about blogging more consistently as well...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Let the mountains sing together for joy...

Have you ever looked at a beautiful view, sunset or a clear sky full of twinkling stars and felt incredibly small and insignificant? I had one of those experiences, this summer, while hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. 

A few weeks ago I had the joy of attending Campus Crusade's National Staff Conference in beautiful Ft. Collins, CO. When I arrived, the first thing to hit me was the view of the mountains. They are absolutely incredible. A few days later some friends and I went hiking up the mountains, and I had one of those moments where I felt so small and insignificant in comparison to the amazing view laid out before me. God's handiwork in creating this world was being given new meaning in my life. 

As I gazed out over the tops of the mountains, I imagined the Creator molding each one in His hands, placing every rock where it belonged. And as I stood there taking in the beauty of those mountains, I realized how perfectly creation reflects the majesty of God the Creator.

As I was staring at the view, Psalm 139:13 came to mind: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb...intricately woven in the depths of the earth." This made me realize that each of God's creations are evidence of His amazing handiwork.

I am one of God's children, which means that when He looks at His mountains, sunsets and starry skies, the love He feels and beauty He sees is nothing compared to the love and beauty He experiences when He looks at me. 1 John 3:1 states, "how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!" 

And more specifically, we can know that the kind of love that our Father and Creator has for us is so great because of the gift He gave us when He sent His son to die on the cross for us. 1 John 3:16 says, "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." 

So instead of feeling small and insignificant when I looked out over the beautiful mountains, I felt immensely loved and beautiful. As God looks out at His entire creation, the mountains He formed with His own hands, I like to picture God's own Son walking under these same stars, stars set in place by His Father's hands. 

I like to think of Jesus praying on mountainsides just like the mountainsides I beheld first hand. And I can imagine God, giving His most precious gift, as He watched His Son walking to the top of a hill and hanging on a cross.
For me.

"I have called you by name, you are mine.
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, 
and I love you.
Everyone who is called by my name, 
whom I created for my glory, 
whom I formed and made." 
Isaiah 43:1,4,7

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Jesus is Amazing

I can't say it enough, Jesus is SO incredibly good to me. 

I am loving life in Indianapolis so far. Philippians 4:19 states, "And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." I have been experiencing this verse in such a real way recently. God has provided me with everything I need, a place to live temporarily while I finish raising support, a great church, and awesome new friends. 

I didn't know what to expect moving here, and God has provided so much beyond my imagination of what it would be like to live here. And actually, the one thing I did expect, He took away from me.

One of the biggest reasons I moved to Indianapolis was to live closer to my brother and sister-in-law (and my future niece or nephew!) And a few weeks ago, my brother was offered a promotion in his job which would mean a relocation to St. Louis, MO by October of this year. Although I am thrilled for DJ and proud of his hard work, I was obviously a little bummed that I'd be losing two of the main people I moved here for. But as we see in Proverbs 16:9, God's plans often times do not match up with ours. 

When I was here in May for three weeks, I spent a lot of time with my Student Venture team. I was living with a couple on my team, Brian and Erin Clark, and really enjoyed spending time with them. I felt like I was a part of their family for those three weeks, and all the couples on my team have made me feel that way. Another couple, Mark and Angie Rumschik, have been so incredibly generous with helping me drum up support and get connected with ministry minded Christians in the area, despite still raising support themselves. Everyone's generosity and hospitality has been so overwhelming, and God has been using my team to pour his riches over me. 

It was after those three weeks that I found out about DJ's job. As I was praying about it I really felt like God was telling me, "I needed DJ and Annie to get you to Indy, but I don't need them to keep you there." And ever since then, He has been showing me more reasons why that is true.

One of the connections Mark and Angie gave me was John, the pastor of a church in the area called Waterline Church. We all met for lunch one day and John and his wife, Danielle were so encouraging and supportive of my ministry. John offered to interview me at the service that Sunday and challenge the church to come around me and help me get connected and supported. I was once again blown away by the goodness and provision of the Lord. 
That Sunday at church, after John interviewed me, a number of people introduced themselves to me and a few filled out cards saying they were interested in hearing more about my ministry. 

Now that I'm back in Indy, after a quick visit back to PA, I've gotten together with a couple girls from Waterline who have helped me get connected, and after church last night got to meet a ton of new people. The community at Waterline is awesome, and people have welcomed me in immediately.

God has provided so many blessings for me already and I've only been here a week so far. I cannot wait to see what He has in store for me over the next few months! I think the biggest lessons I have learned through the process of moving and settling in here is that God can most definitely be trusted, He has an amazing plan for each one of his children, and even if it feels like it in the moment, He will never forget about you. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Moving to Indianapolis, Part 1: Solo Roadtrip.

After much prayer and discussion with my support coach and Indianapolis city director, Ken, I have decided to move to Indy to finish raising my support. Raising support had become very slow in PA, so Ken and I thought it would be a great idea to try raising support in a new area, where I will also be with my Student Venture team for encouragement and support.

I am actually sitting in my friend Karen's apartment right now, having driven from Pennsylvania on Wednesday. The fact that the move I have been working towards for ten months has actually become a reality hasn't really sunk in yet. Leaving home felt somewhat like another trip for work and to visit friends. Although leaving this face is never easy...

Since before this trip the longest I had driven alone was around 3-4 hours, my parents were very relieved that my friend, Lynzi, who attends Ohio State University graciously allowed me to stay with her Wednesday night, a little over half way through my drive. It definitely made the trip more enjoyable, knowing I wasn't going to be driving 12 hours straight.

Yesterday, I said goodbye to Ohio, or rather, "you're welcome," and was on my way to Indiana!

I arrived at my friend Karen's apartment at around 3:30 yesterday, where she welcomed me with a big hug and a trip to get Froyo to celebrate.

It's surreal that I'm here, because I've been waiting for this for so long. And also because before I can really relish in the fact that I'm officially in Indiana, I have to run 13.1 miles along with thousands of other crazy people tomorrow.

But I am here, and thanks to the Lord made it without any trouble. I have no clue what the Lord has in store for me over the next couple months, but I am very excited to find out His great plans for this new phase of my life. He is good and no matter what happens, I can trust that He will take care of me.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Prep Time

A couple months ago, I wrote about trusting God in times of waiting. As I have looked over the past ten months of raising financial support, I have a new perspective and appreciation for this time of waiting. I realized how much God has used those months to prepare me for my future in Indianapolis working with high school students. 
When we are in periods of waiting, I think one thing is important: diligence. Not necessarily diligence in working to get what we want, but diligence in spending time with the Lord so we can learn all that He wants to bestow on us during this time. If we accept this time and lean on the Lord, He will teach us and grow us so much in times of waiting. 
Francesca Battistelli has a song called “Time In Between,” and the chorus is amazing:

“It’s the time in between
That I fall down to my knees
Waiting on what You’ll bring
And the things that I can’t see
I know my song’s incomplete
Still I’ll sing in the time in between.”
Isn’t it so true that times of waiting bring us to our knees? We have no where else to go, but to our knees. There’s nothing we can do to make this time go any faster, all we can do is trust and seek the Lord. A friend recently shared a quote with me about waiting, “sometimes God is waiting to see if I’m waiting.” Sometimes all God wants is to know that we are waiting on Him, so if we give into the wait, and fall into the Lord’s expectant arms, we will be closer to what we want than if we fight against it.
If you think about it, nothing worthwhile in life comes without a wait. Marriage comes after engagement. Babies come after pregnancy. Healing comes after sickness. Employment comes after schooling. Even most food needs some sort of prep time. 
God has taught me so much over the past ten months about myself, the kind of woman I want to be and desires I have for my future have become clearer. Some have become stronger, some have become less significant. I think this period of waiting and preparation has made me into a very different person than I was just last year, and because of that I am thankful that the Lord has brought me to this time, and in His timing, He will bring me through it. 
Through verses like Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps,” we know that our timing is not always the Lords. Therefore, I have learned that if my period of waiting is not over when I think it should be, God must have more prep time for me. And why would I want to rush ahead when God doesn’t think I’m ready? 
After all, no one wants to eat chicken that hasn’t been properly prepared. Only when God has adequately prepared us, should we venture out of the desert and into our own Promised Land.