It’s Time – A Mission Update

Before my scouting trip in September, I announced that my future goal was to move to the Czech Republic as a missionary. And since I returned home from my scouting trip, this goal has been the driving force in my life. I’ve been praying for God’s timing and wisdom about how to move forward. I’ve been seeking training through mission classes as well as doing everything possible to win the battle against skin cancer. And with every step on this journey the Lord has continued to bring new clarity. His guidance has been fantastic.

So let me announce that, yes, I will be moving to the Czech Republic in the coming year. I have a fundraising goal, a possible timetable, and even … an apartment!

Fundraising Goal

Fundraising now looks slightly different than it did in the past. Where before I sought one-time gifts to fund three-week to two-month trips, this time, in order to remain in the Czech Republic for an extended period, I need to raise monthly support. This requires a new level of commitment from me, and from those interested in partnering with me. I’m committing to serve month-by-month in the Czech Republic without quitting, no matter how much I struggle or how homesick I become. Your commitment is to continue to pray, encourage, or donate month-by-month. Neither commitment is easy. It requires sacrifice. But it’s part of the journey, and part of walking together.

Before I can move to the Czech Republic, I need to raise $2,100 of monthly support. This money will pay for my apartment rent, food, visa expenses, insurance, travel expenses, start-up costs, training, ministry expenses, etc. It will also insure that I am able to carry out my ministry goals. My plan is to work with young people as much as possible, whether at the weekly Rock Solid Club, at weekend camps, or by inviting them into my own home for fellowship or Bible Study. Monthly support provides a home to share, food to place before my guests, funds for traveling to camps and activities, and the documents required to live and serve in the Czech Republic.

One of my partners had a special reminder for me about fundraising. She told me to remember that every donation, whether large or small, is equally important. And she was right! If you find yourself wanting to give to my ministry, but wondering whether your support will actually make a difference, then know that it does. Every monthly donation brings me one step closer to my goal.

My fundraising goal already looks like this:

Monthly Support

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Almost a quarter of my total goal has already been pledged! And just think how much that could grow before the end of the year. No monthly donation is too small, and every gift goes to advancing the work of Christ’s Kingdom.

If you’re interested in making a monthly support pledge to my ministry, or have any questions, you can contact me personally through the contact info on my blog, or on Facebook. I’d love to connect with you and give you whatever forms or advice you need to navigate through the donation process. My mission organization, Grace Covenant International, is continuing to collect and steward the money I raise. If you’d like to contact them personally, their address is: Grace Covenant International, PO Box 588, Platte City, MO 64079. You can also reach them by email at gc@gracov.com, or by phone — 816.431.6217

Timetable

As I’ve sought the Lord about my ministry, this possible timetable of events has presented itself. I’m sharing it with you so that you can see the goal I’m aiming towards.

I’ll spend December, January, and February preparing for my move to the Czech Republic. This will involve fundraising, work on my mission class, learning the Czech language, selling most of my possessions, and connecting with mission supporters. Grace Covenant International will host a ministry conference February 21-24, 2017. I’ll be commissioned as a missionary during this event. If possible, I’ll move to the Czech Republic on or around March 22, 2017, and remain there until December. I plan to return for a visit to America in time to spend Christmas 2017 with my family.

If I am unable to reach my support goal before the mission conference in February, my proposed moving date will need to be postponed until I have more funding. I’ll keep you updated about my progress as time goes on.

One important  development that makes the process of moving much easier? I recently rented my own apartment!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

My New Apartment!

During my scouting trip to the Czech Republic in September, I took this picture of the river that runs through ValMez while I was prayer walking. On my return to America I showed it to a friend, and he said, “I love that bright red house! That one is definitely my favorite.”

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Little did I know at the time that I would someday be renting an apartment in that same bright red house. But that’s exactly what happened! My friend Zuzka is living there now, and we’ll become roommates once I move. The story of how Keifer, Zuzka, and I found the apartment is a real testimony to God’s goodness, and I’ll be writing about it in my next blog post. But for now, take a look!

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In the top left picture, our window is the one jutting out of the roof. The top right picture is of our bedroom space, and the bottom left picture is of our living room. The bottom right picture shows our tiny kitchen.

Oh, and this next picture? This is the view from our bedroom window. 🙂

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I am very excited about moving to the Czech Republic, about living in my new apartment, and about seeing my friends there and beginning the ministry work God has for me. Please continue to pray for His guidance as I raise funds and seek Him for my next steps. I want to follow Him on this journey however He leads.

Until Next Time!

 

Promptings

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A few months ago, I got into a heated discussion with a friend over the best way to follow God’s direction. Personally, I like the idea of waiting and praying until God speaks, and then obeying His words. My friend, on the other hand, prefers action and moving forward, all the time adjusting course as God speaks during the journey.

As I thought more about the subject, I was reminded of a story from the book of Acts:

“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road — the desert road — that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch…” (Acts 8:26-27 NIV).

We don’t know what Philip was doing at the moment he received this instruction from the Lord. Was he in prayer? Working? Ministering? Just living his normal life? All we know is what Philip did in response to God’s voice. He obeyed and went. He didn’t complain about the vagueness of the command. He didn’t demand to know the outcome of his obedience. He simply went. And what he found was an Ethiopian official riding home with his entourage from Jerusalem. Little did Philip know that this official in his chariot was actually reading a portion of the Scriptures at that very moment. (8:27-28 NIV).

But the Holy Spirit knew. 🙂

“The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to the chariot and stay near it'” (Acts 8:29 NIV).

Philip’s obedience led to a discussion with the Ethiopian official about Jesus that ultimately resulted in the man’s salvation and baptism.

So let’s apply this to today. A few weeks ago I went for a walk on a gorgeous fall day that felt more like summer than autumn. At the end of my walk, as I turned back into my driveway, I noticed my neighbor heading out to her car with an armload of clothes.

Now, this neighbor had been a former coworker of mine when I was a teenager. She’d moved into my neighborhood a few houses down from me, but what with work and travel we hardly ever saw each other. Recently, I’d noticed a “For Sale” sign in her front yard. It had quickly turned into a “Sold” sign, and then had disappeared altogether. As I saw her coming out to her car, I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me, “Go talk to her.”

My response? “No, Lord. I have other things to do right now.”

I climbed the front steps and opened the door. Again I felt His nudge, “Go talk to her.”

“Lord, she’s busy. I feel awkward. I don’t want to do it.”

I stepped inside and closed the door behind me.

And there’s just something about shutting a door in God’s face that makes you stop and realize the gravity of your situation.

I immediately reopened the door and hurried outside, crossing the lawn and street and arriving at her house at a jogging pace.

When she saw me standing outside her door, my neighbor’s face broke into a wide grin. She came outside and we sat in two chairs on her front walk and we talked and talked and talked. She told me all about selling her house, how the house she’d been going to buy had fallen through, and how the Lord had very quickly provided another place for her to live. I told her about my mission work, how I needed to find a place to live in the Czech Republic, how the housing economy in ValMez is so bad, and how I was praying for God to provide a home for me. Her story of God’s housing provision encouraged me, and she offered to pray that the Lord would lead me to the right place as well. I went home as the sun began to set, so grateful to have spent time with a friend.

In Galatians, Paul writes, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (5:25 NIV).

It’s easy to ignore the Holy Spirit. It’s easy to pretend like we didn’t hear Him, to refuse Him, to go our own way. I know. I do it often enough. But the Lord wants to walk with us. He wants to be in a relationship with us that is so close that we can hear His voice and obey. There are times when we need to sit and wait and pray, and there are times we need to change course along the journey. But when He does speak, whether in the stillness or on the journey, whether through the Bible, a trusted friend, or the quiet nudging of our hearts, we need to be able to listen — and obey. It feels awkward at first, and it totally messes with the confines of my comfort zone. But I find that, the more I persevere, the more I grow. And the more I grow, the more receptive I become to His promptings.

From Classes to Cancer to Coffee – A Life Update

Hey everyone! 🙂 It’s been more than a month since I returned home from my three-week scouting trip to the Czech Republic, and I’ve been just as busy here as I was there. If you read the report about my scouting trip (you can find it HERE), you’ll know that God was working in my life while I was away. But one new lesson I’m learning is that mission life doesn’t end as soon as I step off the mission field. This time of preparation and training in the States is also part of my mission calling, a chance for me to grow. And God is just as involved in my life here as He was in the Czech Republic. These are just some of the ways He’s been at work.

Classes

I spent three consecutive Saturdays in October attending a “People Skills 101” class at Grace Covenant International’s headquarters in Platte City, MO. I’d leave home at 5:00am and wouldn’t return home until 5:00pm. Which is quite a bit of travel. But it was worth it.

Sunrise and Sunset while Traveling

Sunrise and Sunset while Traveling

My friend Dallas Elder, the director of Grace Covenant International, taught the class, and it was a real privilege to sit under his teaching. Dallas always seems to get right to the heart of the subject matter, and he has a real talent for getting his students to discuss what they’re learning. I made several new friends there, and reunited with a few that I’d made at the Ignite Conference in September. Together we studied the Scriptures and learned how real people skills flow out of Christ’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). It’s in loving God first and also loving ourselves that we can truly begin to love other people. The class brought to light a lot of needs in my own life. I have many insecurities that I need to face in order to be able to minister to people in the way that they need. I’m beginning to seek the Lord’s healing in this area, and am exciting about finishing the class homework and finding new opportunities to practice what I’m learning.

Notes

Cancer

Another important life update is my recent discovery that I had skin cancer. I knew there was a possibility that the abnormal mole on my neck could end up being cancerous, but I never actually dreamed there was anything wrong until the dermatologist removed it and the test came back positive for melanoma. I’ll admit I was shocked and fearful at first, but the shock soon turned into thankfulness. I’m so grateful the cancer was caught early, that I was given good care by my doctors, and that this is all happening now before I move to the Czech Republic. God is guiding my steps on this journey, even when I can’t see Him doing it.

Please be in prayer for me as I move forward. I still have two more appointments to get through. One will involve further investigation for cancer, while the other will include surgery to remove the danger area on my neck. Please pray as I head into these appointments, and as I recuperate from surgery. It’s surprising how sore your neck can get when it’s all stitched together and healing.

Coffee

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with coffee. I hate drinking it, but I love the people who do. 🙂 Working part-time at a local coffee shop gets me out among people while also providing a source of income. Some of the customers I come in contact with only want to talk about their order. Others, after noticing the huge bandage on my neck, actually cared to inquire about my health. A few are interested in my mission work, and one older gentleman — a grandfather figure in my life — actually supported me on my last two trips. From crazy stressful days to dressing up for Halloween with my awesome coworkers, I’m thankful for the people God has placed in my life.

All Dressed up for Halloween

All Dressed up for Halloween

One last prayer item! Plans are underway for me to actually move to the Czech Republic in the coming year. But before I can, I have a lot of work to do raising monthly support and juggling a lot of different details. Please pray as plans start to come together, and as I begin to move forward. I’ll keep you updated about my progress.

Until next time!

Scouting Trip – Update

As I stepped onto my flight to the Czech Republic, I realized I was simply leaving one home to visit another. God has given me a home, family, and friends in two very different countries, and my three-week scouting trip to the Czech Republic (August 31 — September 22) was an amazing chance to reconnect. I wanted to share some of my experiences with you, and also say “thank you.” This journey wouldn’t have been possible without your partnership. Your prayers, encouragement, and support made it a reality. My adventures are also your adventures. Here are just a few of the things the Lord did for me while I was there.

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First Glimpse of Prague

Relationships.  An important goal on my trip was to reconnect with as many friends as possible, and it was surprising how many opportunities the Lord gave me. I loved playing with the youth at the Rock Solid Club, as well as working with the leaders. Several missionaries invited me into their homes for meals and fellowship, and I enjoyed hanging out and doing projects with my boyfriend, Keifer, and his friend Andrew. Building relationships occurs in many different settings, from constructing IKEA furniture to coloring pictures, from grocery shopping to attending football games. The friendships I’ve found in the Czech Republic are a huge blessing, and make the prospect of moving there even more exciting.

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Game Time at Rock Solid Club

Prayer Ministry.  I went prayer walking several times through the city of Valasske Mezirici, my home base. I prayed over the businesses I passed, the families walking by, and the school where the Rock Solid Club holds its weekly meetings. Each time I ended my walk in the city square, sitting on a park bench while I asked the Lord to bless the town. I felt so small compared to the number of people in the city and the enormity of their need. But God also felt very present. These walks increased my confidence that He sees the need in the Czech Republic, and that He wants to work.

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Valasske Mezirici – City Square

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Valasske Mezirici – River

Cultural EducationI’d practiced my Czech vocabulary over the Summer, so it was awesome to get to apply it on this trip. I ordered food for myself several times at restaurants and stores. Czech road signs and building signs were no longer unintelligible, and I could even understand the announcer at the train station. Navigating streets and using the currency are easier now as well. My next task for my next trip is to learn how to hold a conversation.

Future PreparationsI stored most of the clothes and books I’d brought with me from America at Keifer’s house. They’re a little deposit toward my upcoming return. Also, one of the Czech missionaries is interested in rooming with me when I move. We don’t know what will happen, but it’s an exciting opportunity! Please pray for God’s guidance as we pursue this.

On my first trip to the Czech Republic, I felt a lot of spiritual attack and loneliness. On this trip, I hardly felt any! And I had a new sense of security. Your prayers are making a difference. Also, the week before leaving I still hadn’t raised the financial support I needed for this scouting trip. But in the weeks that followed, I received enough, and extra! Thank you! The extra will be used to further my mission training, and to help fund my eventual move to the Czech Republic.

Until next time!