November 6, 2013

A picture is worth a thousand words

I look forward to re-igniting this blog after I return from Africa...but for now I must content myself with letting the photos speak for themselves. Hope you are having a wonderful Fall!

September 26, 2013

Some days...

Some days it's hard to believe that I'm half way across the world from the country that I've always called home.

Some days I dream of the chilly Iowa autumn with colorful leaves swirling to the ground and warm Mexican Mochas.

Some days I miss my friends and family, the long heart-to-heart talks, and the crazy moments.

Some days...

But EVERY DAY I am so glad that I am here. Even in the difficult moments, I am so glad to be right here in Africa – right where I know that God has called me to be for this time. I am blown away at how God can take people from so many different cultures and countries, and make them into a family. I love the people here! God is so good, and I'm amazed at all He is doing.

September 20, 2013

A Heart Full of Joy

Well, it's now the end of week three of my time in Africa, and I love it. God is working in some pretty amazing ways, and although it has been hard at times, I'm so glad that I'm here.

Yesterday I took my camera along with me to a feeding program in one of the nearby communities, and I left with a memory card full of smiles and a heart overflowing with joy. The kids love having their picture taken, and it brought me so much joy to see the joy that it brought to their faces.

God is so good, and it is exciting to see what He is doing here in Africa through ministries like Ten Thousand Homes. He is bringing hope into a world of hopelessness and light into the darkness. I'm in awe at His amazing compassion and love, and so excited to be a part of what He is doing.

If you would like to read more about my time in Africa, you can visit my trip blog at I try to post there at least once a week if possible, and also include lots of photos!

August 31, 2013

Greetings from South Africa!

As I write this I am on South African soil.

The past few days have been full of good-byes, flights, layovers, and more flights. At times it feels very real, and at other times it feels like I could wake up at any moment and find that it is all a dream. It's been an exciting adventure, and it's hard to believe that it's only just begun!

I can't guarantee many posts, because I want to be fully focused on the time that I have here. I'm not leaving this blog forever...I just may not be very consistent over the next 5 months. I really do enjoy posting stories, photos, and thoughts here, and hope to get back into it once I'm in the US again. Actually, a little bit of a break will be good for me!

It's exciting to see how God has worked up to this point, and I trust that He will continue to work in and through my time in Africa. Let the adventure begin!

August 8, 2013

Getting back in focus

God provides.
I know and believe that to be true, yet sometimes I forget and my focus gets blurred. It's easy to look at the problems and forget how insignificant they are in comparison to how big God is.

When I start to lose focus of God's power and instead begin to focus on the issue at hand, it's easy to get discouraged. But I have found that taking a deep breath and fixing my gaze on the ways that God has provided in the past helps me to look at the current issue from the correct perspective.

God often provides in ways that I don't expect, and sometimes ways that I don't immediately recognize. But in a way, I think that makes it all the more amazing when I look back and see all the ways that He has provided in the past, and it gives an excitement to see how He will continue to provide in the future.

God provides.

July 29, 2013

of ink stained fingers and word filled journals

I slip out into the silence of the woods with nothing but my journal, Bible, and a pen. The fading sunlight filters through the leaves high above, and sends dancing shadows across the carpet of grass. I take a deep breath of the clear air, and listen to the soothing chirping of birds as they call to one another (as well as the no-so-comforting buzz of hungry mosquitoes). With a pen in one hand and journal in the other, I write down the things God has been teaching me through His Word, the adventures He is taking me on, and the happenings of life.

I've recently uncovered a love for journaling. The best kinds are those which have soft, textured paper that is worn on the edge. And to finish it off, an inviting cover that is made of smooth, brown leather, or perhaps a rough burlap. Now all that needs to be added to complete this package is words - pages and pages of them.

Life lessons. Quotes. Bits of inspiration. Dreams. Questions. Answers. Lists. It's come to be somewhat of a unorganized compilation of all these things, and yet I have developed it into a unique, personal feel that I enjoy and am comfortable with. Because that's the beauty of a journal - it's a style all your own.

July 22, 2013

A journey to Africa

To quote Mr. Bilbo Baggins, "I'm going on an adventure!"

Although, I will have to say that my adventure is slightly more exciting than trekking across the Misty Mountains. And the setting for it happens to be Africa, not Middle Earth.

As you may have gathered from previous posts, some opportunities have been unfolding for this fall and I am excited to say that plans are beginning to fall into place! When I was in Africa in 2009, I believe I left a piece of my heart there. I have been wanting to go back overseas for quite some time, but just hadn't found anything that seemed to fit what I was looking for. After praying, researching, and talking with people, I came across a YWAM (Youth With A Mission) Discipleship Training School (DTS) in South Africa through the ministry of Ten Thousand Homes. One of the focuses of this school is showing compassion towards Africa's orphaned and vulnerable children, which is something that God has really been laying on my heart. Needless to say, I was quite interested in their program, and began to research it more in depth.

God gave me a peace about applying, so I sent my application, and am happy to say that I have now received word that I was accepted into the program! The DTS runs from this September through next January, so I will be leaving the end of August. It's going to be quite a rush to get everything in place before I leave, and I'm sure that God is going to be teaching me a lot about trusting in Him!

So, all of that to say that I am going on a journey to South Africa. A journey of faith and growing in the Lord. I can hardly believe how God is putting all of this in place, and I pray that He will use this time to help me to grow in Him and be a light for Christ to all that I come in contact with. My desire to love those who may not otherwise know the amazing love of God, and I am so excited about this opportunity that the Lord has given to me!

I would love to hear what adventures God is taking YOU on...whether they be overseas or in your neighborhood. When you are seeking to live for the Lord, adventure can be found just about anywhere! I'm serious - I'd love to hear from you!

July 11, 2013

break my heart

I want my heart to be broken.

I want my heart to be broken for the things that break God's heart. Not breaking in the sense that I just feel sorry for people...but broken to the point of action. My life is comfortable...too comfortable at times. I have a roof over my head, a loving family, and I never have to wonder where my next meal is coming from. Did you know that there are over 100 million (yes, that's 100,000,000) orphans in the world? Did you also know that 9 million children under the age of 5 die every year, and 6 million of them die from preventable diseases?

James 1:27 says, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

We are the ones who are called to be a voice for the voiceless. We are the ones who are supposed to stand up and defend those who cannot defend themselves. It's not some other random person's job - it's our job.

 Jesus says in Luke 12:15, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."

I wasn't put on this earth to live a comfortable life, and neither were you. We were put on this earth to glorify God. When I die, it's not going to matter how much I had, but how I used what I did have for God's glory.

Jesus, break my heart.
Break my heart for the people who don't know You.
Break my heart for the hurting. The hungry. The broken.
Break my heart for what breaks Yours.

July 9, 2013

Independence Day /// 2013

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine! 

("America the Beautiful" by Katharine Lee Bates)

Our Fourth of July was a restful day filled with family, fishing, fireworks, and food. It was quite a peaceful day - the sun was shining, the wind was lightly blowing, and the water was lapping against the rocks. I enjoyed capturing a few photos of the day's events, as well as the chance to sit by the lake and read a book. Beautiful memories.

What events took place during your Fourth of July festivities??

July 7, 2013

You Lead, I'll Follow


It's a place that is on my mind a lot as of late.

Kids and orphans.

They have been on my mind quite a lot as well.

God's been working in some pretty neat ways, and now that I've graduated from high school I'm starting to get really excited about what this fall may hold. I'm still working on and praying about the details - but it's amazing to see where the Lord is leading and the possibilities He is revealing. Research, application forms, physicals at the doctors office, references, and prayer...I'm learning a lot about patiently waiting and trusting God through all things, to say the least!

And this is just a very small intro to what I hope will turn into an ongoing journey...more details will be coming soon!

(This photo was taken during my trip to Africa in 2009)

July 1, 2013

// berry stained fingers //

It was one of those summer days where the sun shone brightly in the unclouded sky, the birds were chirping cheerfully, and the wind gently rustled the leaves overhead. Oh...and don't forget the plump, juicy blackberries which clung to their vines, just waiting to be plucked off.

Berry stained fingers are the result of an oh-so-scrumptious mid-morning snack.