Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I've been sitting in a Jammin' Java for the last couple hours working on...stuff? Sorta. And I became painfully aware of how good I am at wasting time. So in light of this revelation, I started going through pictures on my computer from the last couple months. It's been a wonderful last couple of months. It's been insanely busy, emotional, challenging, and reflective. But it's been so much. And sometimes when I'm tempted to focus on the less than ideal parts, it's as though God reminds me, "Hey, it's ok! Look at all I've given you!" I am so blessed. Through everything, I'm learning and growing and changing and loving. And finding joy.

There's joy in hitting my ball in the water 8 times while putt-putting.
There's joy in doing cart wheels in front of the Alamo and getting lost in Tulsa trying to find a coffee shop and walking on the Riverwalk and going to baseball games in Kansas City. There's joy in the face of my 5 year old cousin. And there's an ultimate joy in knowing that God intended us to live a life focused on bringing glory to Him in everything we do. Life is so full of joy that isn't to be missed!

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2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."

3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Make you smile.

I live with my grandma.
I love hearing stories.
My grandma is a phenomenal story teller. About 5 Christmases ago, my cousins, brother, and I were genuinely mad when we found out the stories she told us when we were little came from Little House on the Prairie.

But tonight, we are sitting here watching Sleepless in Seattle, and she starting telling me about her first husband who died in a car wreck when she was 24. She starting talking about him tonight. Turns out they met the day before her 21st birthday and were married 9 days after her 21st birthday. They eloped. And I can only imagine the chaos and the panic she put in my great-grandparents. I bet it was beautiful. And they were crazy in love. And I've decided we would have been very good friends.

I love hearing stories.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Right where I'm going to want to be...

This time of transition is on my mind a lot lately. I guess because I'm right in the middle of it. I've watched more movies made between 1930 and 1960 than I ever thought I would in a month (I adore them), I've eaten more home cooked meals than I ever did at my apt, and I freeze to death all the time (so I've started running again (this parenthesis can also apply to the previous point)). Perks of living with your grandma.

Tonight was the first fuel, and I pray that it went absolutely wonderful and that it will impact so many students the way it impacted me. And honestly, this time last week I would have completely bummed I was missing out. And while I still miss it and wish I could see everybody, I'm ok. Somewhere between watching my cousins and uncle play softball and fighting with my "daughter" in "Spanish" with my 5 year old cousin during a 25 minute car ride and a dozen hugs in the hallway today and laughing till I cried at something a 12 year old said, I realized that I'm not only where I'm supposed to be, I'm exactly where I'm going to want to be, too. And I think that's the trick. Make where you're supposed to be, where you want to be. I'm getting there.

I'm looking for churches. I found one I really like. We'll see where that goes.

Breathe in deep
Before I say
I can feel us slip away
You're almost gone
You're good as gone
August is over

My kids are writing their journal entry to this song tomorrow. "Choose a metaphor or simile to describe August. Explain in at least 3 sentences." GO!

Some things to be missed...

August is over...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

When I was in middle school, every time I read a book, I would read the first chapter then the last page. I somehow had to know if it was going to be ok. I don't know when I stopped doing that...

So I started teaching last week. It's a little different adjusting to the reality that the majority of my conversations are with 12 year olds these days. And today, when teaching analogies and metaphors, I had to specify that nothing could be compared to any bodily function after a boy in my first class used pee, poop, doodyhead, and fart. I promptly threw his paper away and made him start over. I also had to ban saying Justin Beiber because it sparked an intense argument in one class. I think I may be in over my head.

Transition is a weird. I have mixed feelings. But the one thing I keep reminding myself is that this is exactly where God wants me. I can't focus on what I could be doing or used to be doing because then I would completely miss out on what I'm supposed to be doing. And I love my 7th graders...well most of them. But they are so awkward and unsure and in this limbo in life between a little kid and a teenager. I know how much they are going to grow up right before my eyes, and if I can help in even a little way, it will be worth it.

I finally know, how you stand
against the worst there is
I finally found,
The strength you've tried to tell me about

Oh, even when the sky is crashing down
You, You locked your knees and stood up straight
You, Are the strength inside my veins
Oh, I want to feel the strength you know

And what does it take to believe
In all the things you believe
And maybe I need to listen more carefully

I think maybe the trick is to get through the first chapter...the rest gets easier.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I've been home 3 days, so I wanted to do a short recap of what has happened...

Tuesday-My flight got in around 8 a.m...I got home around 1:30-went to sleep around 3. Slept for 15 straight hours.

Wednesday-Woke up and my dad told me about a job in Pea Ridge that was for a 7th grade English teacher and jr. girls bball coach. Now if you've had a conversation with me in the last 3 months, you'll know that I have had little to no interest in finding a job. I just didn't really want to, but something about this really sparked my interest. Before I knew it I was on the phone with the superintendent and they wanted me to come to an interview at 2. I scurried around and went. It went amazingly well! So I was off to wait for a call back. As soon as I got home Tara and Steph came up-it was so good to see them. We spent the night catching up...

Thursday-Somehow my email didn't go through to the lady about my references, so I didn't hear from the lady until after 2. So I re-sent the email. I was frustrated bc they had originally said that they would want me to come back up on Friday, but I didn't think it was possible now since it was so late in calling. But waking up at 5:45 that morning after going to bed at 1:30 proved that my sleeping schedule was still really off, so I slept until Brittney got here!!!! She came to see me for the weekend-so excited! :)

Friday-Today I spent the day shopping with Britt and Katie. It was good to just hang out and spend time with them. Sidenote-it's July. Still summer. There should still be swimsuits out. Around 3, Pea Ridge called and offered me the job! I will be signing the contract early next week. So me, mom, and Britt went to celebrate!

3 days. God is so good. His timing is perfect.

Oh and somewhere in there I got a bad haircut.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm almost convinced that most things in life are at least a little bittersweet.

Right now I'm sitting in the airport in Taiwan for the first of two 4 hour layover this in the next 24 hours! But I figured once I get to LA, my time will be spent on the phone that I have neglected for the past 6 weeks :)

The last few days have been filled with goodbyes and promises of keeping in touch on facebook and plans to return someday. It was hard to leave. It's going to be hard to go home. But it would have been hard to stay. As I sit here, I keep thinking of the so many different experiences from the past 6 weeks. It's like my mind has been playing a continuous movie since I got on the plane. I miss my friends.

But at the same time, it will be good to be home. I miss my family...BAD. And I miss my friends.

God is so good. And He is so powerful. And beyond my comprehension. And I think the more I learn about Him and grow in Him, the more of a mystery He becomes. And I think the mystery is good. Bc it makes us have to work in our relationship with Him.We are attracted to things that don't always come easy. We want to be challenged bc then we place importance on the knowledge we do gain bc we worked for it. I think God wants us to search His heart. He wants us to search His will. He wants us to see things and people through His eyes. He didn't lay everything out for us bc then there would be no challenge-therefore, less value. You dig and you dig and you dig...and you keep learning more! It's so exciting!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tell me your story-I promise to listen

I've been doing a lot of journaling in the last 5 weeks. I've filled up both my prayer journal and my daily journal. I want to remember everything that I've seen and experienced and heard and loved and hated and laughed at and cried over and been confused by and...lived. I don't want to forget. And I find myself thinking over and over,"Oh I wish this person was here, they would love that!" Or "they would think that was hilarious!" Or any number of things. It's helped me realize how much I love the people in my life. I want them with me all the time. I want to experience life with people who make my life.

Quite possibly my favorite thing about being here is the people and the stories of their lives. I find myself sitting and listening and soaking in every word that these people are sharing with me. They're fascinating. I'm desperate to remember, and I have scraps of paper with random words to remind me to write it down everywhere. They open up their hearts so easily to us. I started thinking about why that is because, as Americans, we tend to be more closed off until people "earn" to hear or we trust them or they've proven themselves...and I started thinking about why that might be. I decided that people here just assume you care. How wonderful is that? To live your life assuming everyone cares about it! Sometimes I think we're more closed off because we assume people don't care. And what's sad is that it's true a lot of times. But I've heard stories of how people have fallen in love and fought cancer and broken friendships and 5 year long courtships and stories of redemption and salvation and family problems and financial problems and school problems and missionary stories and the list goes on and on. And it fills my heart up. We need that. It's what life is made of. When you share your stories, you share your life and your heart. And suddenly you're connected. And it's so beautiful.

This past week was hard for me. Kaitlyn left, and it was hard. I had grown used to having someone there to share every experience and moment with, and we had grown really close. I didn't want her to leave. And to be perfectly honest, I was homesick. If she was leaving, I would have almost just rather gone with her. I was aching for familiarity. I was weak. But I realized something, that's ok. I'm not supposed to be strong. And God provided me with verse after verse of perseverance and encouragement that He is the one who provides the strength and the comfort. My job is to rely on Him for that and persevere. And oh my gosh, is He faithful to His promises?? I had a great week! God brought so many students into the YLSC that I got to share Christ with and play with and talk to and get to know. I'm here to pour into them, and I won't stop until I leave. And it's going to be hard to leave them. They already have a piece of my heart.

I have just over a week left. I can't wait to be home, but I don't want to leave. I'm ready for my life to not be one large paradox.

This is Erica, Eunice, and Lindsey. They're regulars at the center. They're sweet..and crazy! And yes, I know. I'm super tall here. I've been told that I need to get married soon bc I'm so tall haha. whatever that means!

And good ole Darleen. She's still as precious as ever!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sweet Agape

This week at the student center, I met a girl whose name was Sweet Agape. Isn't that beautiful? I have a feeling I will remember the name much longer than I will the face.

We have been in Rizal, a province where the new YLSC is all week but we are back in Manila for the weekend, so I have access to the internet! I'm having a hard time sleeping tonight and for some reason one phrase keeps going through my mind over and over. My heart beats for things I can't see and breaks for things I can. I'm sure I've heard that somewhere sometime before, but I can't remember where. And I don't know if I've ever REALLY thought about it, and I definitely know that it's never been true in my life. But I keep thinking about how true it really is. Our world is so full of things that break my heart. When I'm home, I see greed and selfishness and people who are without hope and who are broken-I see people here who seem hopeless and broken, too, but they face completely different struggles everyday-they find themselves needing food and clean clothes. It's heartbreaking, and if I dwelt on it, it might be more than I could handle. Oh...but then I think of the things my heart beats for-I think of Who I was created to praise and the hope that brings, and even though I can't see these things, I hope for them, and I wait for them, and I know them to be true!

I know that wasn't really an update of what's been happening, but it's what's keeping me awake when I should be sleeping, so there you go...

Anyway, we were moved to another location this week. It is a brand new student center, so Monday there were only about a dozen students or so. We spent the week walking around the town to the colleges and handing out flyers and magazines and inviting them to the center. Something must of worked because by Thursday, there were 86 students who signed in! This was such an encouragement for us because every student who comes in and goes through orientation to become a member, we get to share the gospel with. So if nothing else, they are exposed to it then-after that, they have the opportunity to come to the weekly programs or get involved in growth groups. They have options that were unavailable to them last week, and that's exciting to me! I spent the week just trying to get to know students and playing uno and doing a puzzle and teaching them new, loud (of course) games. One of our main goals, aside from witnessing, is just trying to get the students excited about the center so that there will be a foundation built. I can already see God doing that and it's amazing to watch!

Every morning we have a bible study time with the lady who is over the center, Naynay Jo (naynay means momma). She is an absolutely amazing woman of God, but we are talking about the characteristics of God and how we are called to imitate these and develop them in our own lives. She has so much wisdom by just picking this as our first topic to study. She knows that we are probably a little uncomfortable with the language barriers and cultural differences and a little homesick and it would be easy to start counting the days till we see our families again, but she also knows that we were called here, and we have a much larger purpose and if we are to be effective in our ministry, we must develop love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Or at least that's what I'm getting from it.

My trip is already half-way over. God has been teaching me so much. It's amazing how getting out of your comfort zone a little will force you to grow...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rice, rice, rice...

I've already learned so much in my first week here. One is that my feet are never clean. It doesn't matter what I do. The poverty is so extreme here that the streets are filthy. Driving around Manila and seeing the conditions some of these people live in is heart-wrenching. Some of them live in the shanties with nothing but an old couch and a tarp covering it. It leaves you with a very helpless, yet extremely thankful attitude. If nothing else, it reminds me how I don't deserve what I have, an what I "have" isn't mine anyway. We really are lucky to live where we do, yet having more somehow seems to breed wanting more and an overall dissatisfaction in a lot of Americans that I have yet to see here...I find it really odd.

On a much happier note-today was our first Sunday services here! It was absolutely amazing! The feeling of their worship service is something completely different to what I'm used to. Tonight we traveled to an opening of the new student life center for the church I'm working with, and after a 2 hour car ride, Kaitlyn and I were thoroughly car sick and facing the overly hot room and crowded service made us a little...unexcited? But you can't help but feel the sincerity of every word they speak and in every song we sing. And before I know it, I'm singing How Great is Our God in a room full of Filipino people, half way across the world, and I felt the enormity of my God like I never have. Seriously, how great is our God? had a small glimpse of how small I am in realizing how people all over the world have this same one on one relationship with my Father that I cherish so much...It's humbling to think about. The word that any younger girl calls any older female is ate (sounds like ah-tay) but it means big sister and Kuya, which means big brother. I find this so cool for some reason. All of these girl running around yelling Ate Bekah! Ate Bekah! It's just another small way that shows we're all connected...

There are so many stories that I want to tell, but I'll only tell a couple. We had Sportsfest yesterday for the kids at the church. At first, they literally ran from us when we tried to talk to them, but we eventually won them over-and let me tell you, when you win them over, you WIN them over. They want to know everything about you!

This is one of my favorite pictures so far! This is Darlin :) She is adorable and our new friend. She likes to show up at our door, too. This is her in our laundry basket! We love her!

Ok last thing. Filipinos eat some seriously strange things. But Kirby, Kaitlyn, and I decided to try what they serve us, no matter what. Well, they gave us this tonight, and no one would tell us what it was until after we ate it.

Ok I'm going to type the exact thing that Ren wrote out.
Papaitan-goat guts with meat and bile for a bitter taste.
It was without a doubt the most disgusting thing I have ever put in my mouth, even before I knew what it was!

Tomorrow is the Filipino independence day, so we are taking a day off to go to the beach. We start doing the work we came to do on Tuesday. I am so excited to work with the college students here in Manila!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Culture Shock!

It's the morning of my third day in Manila. We're all settled in our little loft above the church. We're on the fifth floor. Many of the buildings are half-outside, half-inside, so this is our view off of the balcony.

Notice our bathrooms on the right-they're much different than I'm used everything else here. We're adjusting. The only other white person we've seen is the missionary who is helping us. I don't think I'll ever get used to being stared at this much. You can just feel eyes on you everywhere you go.

The college students start on Tuesday, so right now we're just getting used to everything. We did meet a few of the leaders, and they are all so friendly! Everyone in the Philippines smile all the time! So they laugh and joke and tease all the time. They are very accepting and curious and blunt, so they ask all kinds of questions. I'm so excited for Tuesday to come and we can start hanging out in the student life center on a regular basis! The missionary told us at orientation that about 3% in the city of 2.8 million are born again believers. It's a little overwhelming, but the odds are in our favor. We're also going to be able to actually go into the colleges with the missionary sometimes, so we won't just have to wait for them to come to us in the center, but we can go to them, too!

Last night, we were talking to 2 sisters at the church, and they were asking about how things were at home, and I told her where I grew up, I could only see one house. And she said, "Oh! That is so scary." It made me laugh, considering that we have to put valuables in the smallest pocket and hold it close to us so that our bags or clothes don't get slit by snatchers! Different perspectives...

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Is this weird to anyone but me? I leave Arkansas on June 6th; I arrive in the Philippines June 8th. That's a lot of time.

In between packing and playing spades with my sister and my parents today, I was googling the islands. The country is made up of 7,107 islands. 7,107!!! I sincerely hope that I'm going to explore some of what is in the picture above. I could hardly sleep last night I was so excited...and I fear tonight will be much the same.

We are working at the University Baptist Church, which is in the center of the University belt. Most of the church is made up by the students who attend the colleges surrounding it. College age there is 15-20. The way I understand it, we will be acting almost as interns to the church. We will be working with the church on Sunday and Wednesday, and the other days we will be working in the community center building relationships and evangelizing to the students who come in. There are 3 campus's, so we will be traveling quite a bit between the three. The first week we get there (3 days from now :))) we will be working with the children camp-I don't really know what that means, but I'm excited because I assume that means I get to play with kids!

The trip isn't planned out day by day; there is a flexible schedule with main goals, and I think that's great. That allows us to be receptive to where God wants us to be and what He wants us to do. I am beyond excited! Hopefully, I'll get there and it won't be anything like I expect. Then maybe I won't get in His way as much.

Oh yeah and it's big. Pray I don't get lost.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If you move fast enough, the mosquitoes can't get you

Tonight after spending a few long, hot hours at the baseball fields, I come home feeling a bit unsettled, so I decided to ride my bike. One thing that I have always had is "my spot" whether it was at school or in Lamar. I had a spot that I went to when I wanted to be alone or journal or think or was my spot. So I was on a mission.

Spoiler alert-I didn't find it. I did find a big hill and a big dog though.

After being annoyed all day today from the mosquito bites left from climbing trees the night before, I was a little hesitant to brave the dusk again tonight. Luckily, I came up with a fool proof plan-I thought, "I just have to move fast enough for them to not catch me." Apparently, I'm a fool. I didn't take into account the breaks I would inevitably have to take at the top of the hills and the recovery from the dog chase. Needless to say, I am now irritated by new bites.

I have a lot of thoughts. I know most people do, but sometimes I think it's a little extreme. When I was in 6th grade, I told my math teacher that if she could just sit in a lawn chair in my brain and hear all the thoughts I think in a day, she'd be amazed. I guess I was always a little weird...but it makes this blog thing a little more difficult.

I've been thinking a lot about lessons and pain and how intimacy with God develops and how they are all so intricately intertwined. How could we not believe that God longs to have a relationship with us? Look at all of the lengths he goes through in life just to get our attention. And if you don't think that's true, it is; you're just mistaking Him trying to reach out to you as something else. In a society that is focused on self pitying and basically encourages people to look for reasons to be in pain and tell the whole world about it, we don't rely on the only true source of comfort. Instead we would rather wallow in that pain, but that doesn't take very much courage. No, Christ doesn't cause pain in our lives, He allows it though. His comfort and redemption and the lessons we learn, that is what makes the pain worth it. It not only makes it worth it, it makes the pain beautiful.

So even if my fool proof plan isn't fool proof...I'll still ride my bike at dusk and climb trees at night.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Just the start...

One week ago yesterday, I graduated from college.
The next week I moved out of my apartment.
I loved college; I hated that apartment.. I cried abt the latter.

I now have a degree in English Education. One of the repercussions of which is that I have to write a rough draft for everything. Everything. It's actually quite in this blog, I'm going to rebel-in order to save a little time.

I moved home this week..."home". After 4 years of college, I now share a bed with my 16 year old sister, a closet with my mom, and a bathroom with all 3 siblings. Flexibility-it's a beautiful thing. :) And necessary. I leave for the Philippines in exactly 2 I will do my best to keep all who may be interested updated on the amazing things God is going to do in the 6 weeks I'm away.

I always thought once I graduated college, I would know what I wanted to do with my life, start my career, start a family, start...grown up things. But now that I'm here, I can't help but want to do anything but..grown up things. I find myself wanting adventure and chaos and uncertainty. And if I have nothing else, I have uncertainty. And that's ok with me.
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