Guess who’s going to Slovenia again?!
The girl who takes medieval swords out of mannequins’ hands at museums.
The girl who takes selfies with the weird, short, white statue men…things.
The girl who takes a selfie in every single mirror found in the museum.
The girl who enjoys every single moment being there.
I feel like it’s no longer necessary to announce that I’m going to Slovenia. It’s just one of those things where it’s safe to assume that I’ll be back there soon enough.
We hadn’t even made it back home, but I already knew that I was going back this next summer, and here I am, preparing to go back to Slovenia in 2014.
I leave a little piece of me every time I go to Slovenia and I fall more and more in love with it each time. The Lord is doing amazing things over there and I am so blessed to be a part of it, once more.
I am so excited to be going, I can hardly wait until summer.
As you can see on the side of my blog, I have a thermometer of sorts with my funding and my final goal. I’ve already raised $1,000 and the first payment is due the first week of January. (It’s a payment of $1,300) The rest will be due in May. I’m ever confident that the Lord will continue providing as He always does. He’s giving me a great job from which most of my funding comes from, but if the Lord puts it into your heart to give toward this, I am gratefully and thankfully receiving donations and/or payment for whatever odd job you have for me.
Prayers are always welcome and greatly appreciated. I’ll be updating as it all works out, but if you would like to talk about it with me, PLEASE do, I love talking about Slo and what the Lord is doing.
Okay, so, I received my sponsor information this week and I’ve been really quiet about, but still super mega excited about it. I feel like a kid who is excited about Christmas, but thinks she’s too old to show all that excitement. Although, not the old part, maybe the kind of obnoxious part. Bear with me. I’m still excited.
I just wrote to her for the first time and I’m sending it in tomorrow.
I am so excited.
She wrote to me and I got to see her hand writing and she told me all about her and it’s cool to see how the Lord might use me to a girl I’ve never met but I get to know.
I’m trying to calm down now.
And tell you all about her. (So that YOU can be as excited as I am)
Her name is Lyka and she is 14 years old. She is the third child in the family. Her sister and brother are 18 and 16.
She studies and works hard, because she wants to help her parents improve their living conditions. She says she is happy that her parents are hers because they love their children very much.
This girl has stolen my heart already.
It’s funny, because I almost didn’t choose her. When I was praying and seeking who to sponsor, it was fairly easy until I got down to the last two and then I spent about an hour trying to decide between the two. And it was horrible because, how can I pick between the two?
My thought process involved who needed it most and flipping a coin and still getting stuck, and well.
I took a chance and picked Lyka.
And well, here I am, and I know the Lord is going to do something with this and I am so glad to be a part of this.
I had in mind a teaching Nick did once in The Anthem (one I got to listen to more than once thanks to the podcast) about “Just One.” It’s something that the Lord has been showing me over and over again.
Because, sometimes, it feels like we can’t make a difference. There’s too much, there’s too many.
So we don’t do anything.
But instead, we should focus on just one. The Lord knows which one. He’s shown me time and time again. Shown me in Slovenia, in Puerto Rico, and with Lyka.
And He WILL do it with you too.
If the reason you haven’t sponsored a child is because of the fear of picking the wrong one, banish that fear. There is no wrong one. The only wrong thing is sitting by and doing nothing when you can make a difference.
September is almost over. I only have one or two more posts to write, but don’t wait until the month is over. Sponsor now. (And then tell me all about YOUR sponsored child, so we can be excited together)
This is probably my least well written post, but I don’t care. I am so excited and I want to share my excitement with you.Girls like Lyka (and boys as well) are anxiously waiting for someone like you help make a difference in their lives. So. What are you waiting for?
Maribor Castle Camp RECAP (by Stik Maribor)
This is what I did this summer.
This is my third post for Compassion’s blog month.
I’m going to begin by telling you a story from my trip to Haiti, hence why the title is what it is.
So, back to Haiti.
In 2011, a group of us went to Haiti, and island that is about an hour away from Puerto Rico, and drastically different in economical, religious, and developmental aspects.
I remember going to to the first orphanage, all of us excited to meet these kids, also a bit hesitant to throw ourselves into this poverty that we saw. When we arrived, it was strange. It was like time slowed down as these girls went outside to meet us. They stood on the steps of their home, in a line and watched us, as we watched them in stunned and awkward silence. For a moment, neither group knew what to do, and all we did was stare at these girls that we had never met before. And for a few seconds, we forgot how to be tender, how to interact with human beings. We just stared.
And then, the girls rushed at us, reaching for our hands, craving our attentions. They sought us out because they knew we would give them the attention and love that they so desired, that they needed. One of the youngest girls went straight toward me and took my hand, claiming me as hers. She was surprisingly shy after that, avoiding answering my questions, as another, older girl helped her answer me. I asked basic things, in the best Creole I could muster-What’s your name? How old are you?
Her name was Anna. She was four years old at the time, which means that she’s around 6 now.
I sat her on my lap during the Bible story. I hugged her close to me as she “listened” to the story. Smiled at her even though I knew she wasn’t paying attention. Laughed it off when she looked down my shirt.
I’ll always remember Anna, because she was the first of many children in poverty I met in Haiti. She was the first one I made a connection with.
Compassion seeks to help children like Anna. Although Anna is an orphan, and most children waiting to be sponsored have at least one parent, the conditions are the same. The girls in this orphanage need people to take care of them, they need people to support the orphanage by sponsoring it.
Without people financially giving to keep this orphanage running, these girls’ future is unknown. They might end up on the street, or with relatives who don’t care and/or can’t afford to take care of them, or in other orphanages where they can’t take care of the children as it is.
The same goes to children waiting to be sponsored.
They have no where else to go. Without a sponsorship, their future is uncertain and most certainly difficult. They might not make it to be eighteen years old. And if they do: what difference does it make? They wouldn’t have gotten the education that they need to thrive. They might survive, but that’s no life, not when YOU could help them thrive.
And not to mention, what’s food and education to knowing Christ? That’s what sponsorship gives them. They learn about Christ and that is the sweetest reward there is.
Anna naturally knows how to take a selfie. I am now convinced that everyone in the world does.
Anna is one of many children who need all the help they can get. Compassion has children from Haiti and Dominican Republic that you can sponsor.
Anna is just one. Just one story that I happen to know, that I got to experience. All these children have stories, all of them are just waiting to be heard.
And one of them needs YOU to hear it.
This is my second blog post for Compassion’s Blog Month.
Someone once told me that the most powerful emotion was hope.
I didn’t believe him.
I thought that maybe love was. After all, Jesus went through a horrible death for us out of love. What could be more powerful than that?
If not love, then hate. Hatred has caused so many of the bad things in this world, how can it not be the most powerful? You say hate and you think of terrorists, tyrants, and monsters that were once people, but consumed with their hate, they changed. Hate has the power to change people. Isn’t that true power?
But no, he was right. Hope is the most powerful emotion. It’s powerful because without it, we wouldn’t be. It isn’t that we would be different, no, we just wouldn’t be.
It promises us that there’s so much more than just this, that there’s more than these terrible circumstances. Hope promises that there is more than what it is right now, that things will get better and things will change.
Because honestly, if we have no hope, why would we live? No, really, why? If we are absolutely hopeless, with no hope whatsoever, why would we continue living?
It’s dangerous being without hope. It’s almost suicidal. And that’s why it’s so powerful. Hope controls whether we live to the fullest or if we drag on, or give up on this life. It controls our life, whether we live or die, whether we hope or despair.
By sacrificing $38 every month, you’re giving a child hope for the future. You give them a hope that things will improve, that they won’t go to bed hungry, that they will have their needs provided for, that they will get an education that will provide opportunities for them in the future. Hope that if they get sick, they won’t die because they can’t afford the proper medications. And most importantly, you give them the hope of Jesus. The hope that He cares enough for them to use someone, someone foreign, who has never met them, to help them in their need.
You’re giving them the most powerful emotion of all.
So, what’s stopping you?
Don’t let that stop you.
Hope is ten times stronger than
He rescues the poor from the cutting words of the strong,
and rescues them from the clutches of the powerful.
And so at last the poor have hope,
and the snapping jaws of the wicked are shut.
I follow Compassion International on Twitter. I’m actually not sure why, because I don’t really read their posts. (I’m being honest here, okay!) I’ve grown up hearing about them, so I guess I thought following them on Twitter is something I should do, like brushing my teeth or reading the Bible.
But really, I’m too busy to care.
The other day, they announced their Blog Month was starting up. Curious, I clicked the link, and hello! They want ordinary people to write blogs about poverty and Compassion in order to help raise sponsorships for kids in need.
And I thought, “Hey! Writing! This is right up my alley!”
Of course, I just admitted that I’m too busy to really care.
But I signed up anyway, thinking that this is a great opportunity to start caring, and what better way than to encourage others to sponsor as I do it myself? I’m excited to start this.
But I’ll be honest, this is really hard for me. And it’s going to be hard for you.
Because, every time I’m too busy to care, I’m saying that I just don’t want to know the truth. I don’t want to know because it hurts.
It hurts to know that while I’m complaining about the heat, sipping my ice cold coke, there’s children dying of thirst, dying because all he has is dirty water.
It hurts to know that I have so many resources to share, but am too selfish to do anything.
It hurts to realize just how selfish I am.
Did you know that approximately 2.6 billion people are living on less than 2 dollars a day? Neither did I. I read it on Compassion’s website.
2.6 billion people. I can’t even imagine that. That’s the problem. For me, it’s just a number, and I don’t deal with numbers too well. I just don’t grasp them. So, what I did instead was go on their website and stare at the faces of the kids.
Let me tell you, it’s overwhelming.
There are so many kids that are waiting for a sponsorship, so many kids that for them, this is a matter of life or death. How have I not cared for so long?
That’s why I sponsored my own child. Her name is Lyka, and I’ll be writing about her later this month.
My challenge for you (as well as for me) this month is to go on to the Compassion website and look through some of the kids who need sponsoring, go through their profiles, see what they like to do, how they live, what they do. Make them real people in your eyes. Realize that they are not just a number, but human beings, created in God’s image, that gets hungry and thirsty and dirty just like you do, but unlike you, they doesn’t have the resources to do anything about it.
But you do.
And you can make a difference.
Compassion’s goal is 3,160 sponsorships. How awesome would it be if we blew them out of the water with 3,500 sponsorships…4,000…all of them?
But let’s start with just the one, and keep on spreading.
Compassion International: Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name
I finally finished unpacking yesterday. I’ve been back for an entire week. In that week, I managed not only to NOT unpack, but to help out in games during VBS, not see/talk to most of my friends due to VBS, and then break my toe two days after being back…due to helping out in games during VBS. Needless to say, it’s been a pretty exciting and painful week.
See, the problem about writing about being in Slovenia is that I am no longer in Slovenia. And then I start thinking about things we did over there but not actually writing it, because it’d be gibberish, because I wouldn’t actually explain what happened, but just jump from story to story, most of them halfway finished before I changed subject and through, “OH AND THEN…” and in the end, it’s been forever but I haven’t written anything but the first sentence of the post and have been mentally in Slovenia for much longer than I have the time for and nothing gets accomplished. This time, I’m trying to avoid it as much as possible. (It’s totally not working, by the way)
(Because you can NEVER have enough pictures of the Castle. Oh, and that really tall guy on the right? That’s Robi and he’s just awesome)
I won’t be writing a day by day account of the trip. If you however, want to get a feel for what the day by day felt like, you can read my friend and fellow missionary Ashley’s blog. She’s been writing a day by day recount of our trip, and she can give you a feel for every day. And besides that, she’s hilarious and we’ve been to Slovenia twice together, so you should read her blog anyway.
(The day we went to the Ptuj water park-I’m taking the picture)
After surviving, or rather, thriving at camp. (Which, by the way, was totally epic) We had a couple of days to see everyone before we went home.
(Church on Sunday. It was packed. [Stole this from Nathan])
We walked around the city, ate a lot of amazing food, got to hang out with a ton of the teens from camp. We had about five days of “free time” before leaving and we made the most out of it. I mean, it was nonstop everywhere. Sunday: Church and walk around Maribor. Monday: Water park in Ptuj. Tuesday: Walking around in Ptuj with Vid as our tour guide. Wednesday: Hang out in Croatia for a while. Thursday: Walk around Ljubljana before finally heading out to our plane.
Oh. Fun fact about Monday. Jesse and I got lost on our way to Brad’s house after the waterpark. Thank God for free wifi at most cafes. I don’t know about Jesse, but I had fun.
And then I got to see this girl and my entire trip was ten times more awesome. I met her at winter camp last year and I almost didn’t get to see her this time, which would have sucked. BUT after a phone call and twenty different attempts and an insane plan, I got to see her and talk to her for a few hours.
(And this is Vid, our tour guide, with his little rainbow umbrella)
I feel like this is getting pretty long, and very random, so I’ll just say that the next two days were epic, and we celebrated Jesse’s 21st birthday in style in two different countries.
And then we made it back to Florida and a series of things happened then…for example…
I got to see one of my best friends whom I haven’t seen in years and then I got a tattoo and she got a piercing.
AND THEN, I got to see another best friend and Josh and spend a couple of days with them, ending up in Disney Downtown disney bounding as Little Mermaid characters (Prince Eric, Ariel, and Ursula)
So, yeah, superamazingtripandiwanttogobacksobadandican’twaittogobackandimisseveryoneandeverything. So yeah.
Last trip, it took me months to write out, in very general terms, what God had done on the trip and with me and with the people. It hurt too much to write about it so soon. This trip, I’ve been trying to post more often, and thus far it worked. I couldn’t write during camp, because the only “free time” I had was to sleep and go to the bathroom-I barely wrote in my own journal.
Still, it’s hard to explain everything that’s going on, what’s on my mind, what I feel.
The title speaks the truth. Wrecked by Jeff Goins explains a lot of what I’m feeling. I started the book at the beginning of the trip and I’m about half way done, but the book is so amazing, and so legit. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
But, if you won’t read the book…read on.
Yesterday was a pretty amazing day.
In between the craziness of last day of orientation, long meetings after longer meetings, no time to breathe, God still speaks.
Yesterday was busy. Free time wasn’t much of free time, but organize everything time. It got to the point where a group of us went to the bar…er…coffee place to get away from it and chill for a while (before going right back into chaos)
But still, God speaks.
At one point we had some worship, and one of the songs played was Hosanna.
I haven’t heard this song in a long time. I had even forgotten about it and about how much I loved it.
And I remember hearing about churches who don’t play that song because the song says “I see a generation rising up to take its place, with selfless faith; I see a new revival taking place as we pray and seek, we’re on our knees…”
I’ve heard it said that it this is inaccurate. That there is no revival happening, that there isn’t a new generation rising. I’ve heard that this could never happen, that we’re too far gone. A revival can never happen today.
They’re so absolutely wrong and I couldn’t be any happier to say it. There is growth in the Christian community. There is a generation rising up.
There is a revival going on right now.
And maybe it’s not the kind that is radical and 5,000 people get saved every day. Maybe we can’t see grand results right away.
But I do see a revival. I see lives being transformed, I see people changing. I see Jesus working. I see people loving and people sharing. I’m seeing a revival happen before my eyes.
Revival is the act of reviving, and maybe reviving is slow at first, and maybe it will be fast later on. I don’t know. I just know that big things are happening and a revival is coming into play.
I know because I’ve seen it here. All I have to do is look out the window.
I’ve seen people with transformed lives. I’ve heard of places where there hasn’t been a Protestant church in 500 years and now there is a year old church that is thriving and growing.
I see the youth rising up and taking a stand for themselves. I see them leading and growing. I see them taking their places to lead this revival.
And it’s all happening right now, today, as we pray and seek. It’s unbelievable, but it’s great. I am so thankful to be a part of this revival.
Camp starts today. I am thoroughly excited for this. I can’t wait to see old friends and meet new ones. I can’t wait to be challenged, to love like Jesus, to be a witness, and to make my Father proud.
Of course there are moments of anxiousness and fear and worry. These are human moments and they’re normal. But the excitement wins out. I cannot wait to see Jesus more clearly this week, cannot wait for Him to work wonders and use me. The greatest thing for me is to know that He is allowing me to be a part of this revival.
Yay for free time today to write an update! It’s actually 3pm right now and I have nothing much to do until dinner time, which is great, because now I can catch up with a lot of things I’ve been putting away lately. Most of my team is napping and the others are running, so I’m the odd one out right now.
Yesterday, I flew into Slovenia from Austria. (Which was absolutely awesome by the way) These next few days will be orientation and training for camp-which we’re all extremely excited for.
But, since we were one of the first teams to arrive to SLO, we got to do some sight seeing in Bled. Now, if you search up Slovenia, more than likely all you will see is Lake Bled. It’s pretty in pictures, but, man, in real life it’s ten times prettier. I mean, it was breathtaking just to look at the lake-crystal clear water, beautiful scenery, and since it’s a strange summer (Um, an average of 55-65 degrees all day), it was extremely nice out.
A swan tried to eat me, I laid down on the ground, using my backpack as a pillow and looked over the water, I sat on a tree stump that looked like a throne. You know, the usual stuff you do when on a mission trip to Europe.
*The swan thing was because I had my feet dangling off the edge and I called them over. Mama swan wasn’t too happy apparently.
Later we went hiking in Iški (I-shki). It feels like the European version of el Yunque with less climbing (just a laid out trail-which is wonderful!) and without the sweating. (Which is also wonderful)
It’s awesome seeing all of the missionaries again-and their kids (which are huge by the way). Awesome being here again. The new people I’ve met so far are just…awesome. So. Yeah. Awesome everything.
I am so excited for camp that I can hardly stand it. I mean, all of this-Vienna, Bled, Iški-is prequel to what I’m actually here for. The best is yet to come. All of this has JUST started. And if the prequel is any indication, it’s going to be awesome.
Anyway, I should be getting off. (Laptop battery is dying and there are hardly any plugs here-sadness) I’ve copied today’s My Utmost for His Highest devo today, because I feel like it really capture a lot of what I’m feeling and thinking. Just click on the read more.
Love you guys. :) Keep me and the rest of the group in prayer!
People travel from all over to end up on a “paradise” of a place. Who doesn’t want to spend a summer on beautiful beaches and enjoying the sights and sounds of a tropical paradise?
And yet, here I am, living in one such paradise, and I’m spending half of my summer in the not-so-tropical country of Slovenia-which is probably one the most forgotten (if not THE most forgotten) country in Europe.
Oh. And did I mention that the country itself looks like a chicken?
By all this, I’m just trying to say thar Slovenia isn’t exactly the tropical paradise people tend to go to in the summer.
But I’m not much for following trends.
On my last trip to Slovenia, God worked some amazing things. He ALWAYS works amazing things, but you know, this time, it just blew me away.
I met so many amazing people, got to see a beautiful country, and above all, got to share my love for Jesus with others. And that’s really why I’m going back.
The need for Jesus is real. Everyone needs Jesus and every Christian is called to be a witness. What value is it if I speak the theology and post the verses on Facebook, if I don’t live it out on the day to day? If I don’t live in radical abandonment for the One who is giving me life at this very moment?
I am so excited to see the friends I made there last time. I’m excited for the new opportunities God has allowed for me to experience. I AM SUPER EXCITED FOR MILKA AND ICE CREAM AND HOT CHOCOLATE. (Okay, I AM excited for these edible things, but maybe, not THAT much. (; )
But beyond all that, I am excited to be able to serve my Jesus in such a way as this. I know He’s the One Who has placed this desire in my heart and this calling in my life, and there is no greater pleasure that to serve Him in this way. (And did I mention that this place is beautiful and the people amazing and really, He’s spoiling me with this place.)
Please, please, PLEASE, continue to keep me and the team in prayer as we head out to Europe. There’s so much planned and so much we hope for, and we know we have an enemy who does not want us to be as fruitful as we can be-and of course, we just HAVE TO prove him wrong. :)
If you would still like to support me financially (or maybe just read some of my writing), my short story, One Hour, is available for purchase in ebook format from, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Kobo, thus far. All the royalties go to funding the ongoing expenses of my trip. (Also, you would do me a huge favor, by writing reviews and rating my story! :hint hint:)
And guys, you have no idea how excited I am for this.
So, I’m officially published! I am so excited!
Currently, my short story, “One Hour” is available in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB, format on Booktango.
To buy it straight from there click here.
It will also be available in other eBook stores, including Amazon, hopefully within the next two weeks. I’m so excited, guys. It’s unbelievable.
Oh, and for those of you who don’t know, I’m using the sales from this to fund for my trip to Slovenia/Austria in the summer, which is pretty cool. You can read about that here.
So, so, blessed about all of this! Please share the word about this and thank you for all the support!
Ah, the showers! I had forgotten about those. One second you’re getting third degree burns and the next your chilling with the penguins. (I exaggerate)
Last week, I didn’t post this and this week, I don’t think I will either. I’ve had a lot going through my mind lately and I think it needs to stay in my mind for a while longer. The Lord has been showing me things and making me deal with things to a new extent. I’m sure that once I’m ready to write things down, things might make more sense to me.
Until then. :)
I was getting on a plane in Orlando, heading to New York. From New York to Rome, Italy and then another plane to Trieste, Italy, and from there, driving to Slovenia.
Can I just say that my future husband is going to have a really hard time topping that Valentine’s day?
What began with a draining, long day of flying ended up with another long day of flying. Haha. But the middle part of the journey continues to be the best weeks of my life. I am in love with that country and the people that I met.
I can’t believe it’s been a year since I was there, throwing snowballs and blaming it on Bobby, (Sorry, Bobby!) Amp Camp, (They just finished this year’s camp last week) and such a fruitful time. Everything about Slovenia has me under its spell and I can’t even accurately describe how much I love the place. My mind is coming up with noises and facial expressions that I could use to describe how much I love the place, but you can’t hear/see past the computer screen, so it doesn’t work.
All I can really say is: I feel sLOVEnia.
I can’t wait to go back and see the people I met. (And eat ice cream, Milka, etc)
Which is why I am so excited to announce, today, a year after I started my first journey to Slovenia, that I’M GOING BACK!
I am beyond excited to be going back and visiting the people and places that I fell in love with. This is a wonderful opportunity and I’m ecstatic and really, cannot control the joy I feel about going back. No, really. I’m THRILLED.
I’ve kept it quiet until now, but I figured that a year after it all began was a good time to announce it.
My trip will be toward the end of June to mid July or so. I know the dates I fly to Slovenia, but not the days I head out of PR.
I am so excited, guys, you have no ideas.
I’ll be throwing some cool fundraisers your way soon-I think you’ll like these. :)
Thank you guys for your continued support, love, and prayers. Can’t wait to see where God leads with this! Keep this trip in your prayers! I’ll be keep you all up to date on the details as time goes on.
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