Friday, November 28, 2008


Right. So, what do you do when you're in that place again? "Should've done this" or "Should've done that." Seeing all you've done wrong this week. Failure. Ways you could've helped someone, but you didn't. Selfishness fleshed out in not wanting to get up and do dishes. Not dying to self, but instead, giving into whatever I want. And taking that a step further- justifying it by "I've had a hard day" or "I did this earlier." And only doing things when I want to. Being joyful when it's convenient and I'm being served. Aware of a complaining heart in loads of areas. Self consumption.

This was me this afternoon. Annoyed at myself. Frustrated. Angry. Wanting to go upstairs and just weep- telling the LORD all the ways I've failed Him that I know of. And knowing full well that there is endless more.

And then I remember what it says in the Gospel Primer.

"When I come to Him, to confess my sins to Him, He runs to me (as it were) and is repeatedly embracing and kissing me before I can even get the words of my confession out of my mouth."

As I rode in the car tonight I held back tears thinking of this picture. My utter unworthiness. My desperation. My need for grace. And then I was humbled remembering that He gives so much more than a mere "pardon." He runs to me. Me who has neglected Him. Me who has spat in His face. Me who's sin held Him on the cross. And He embraces me. And He kisses me. And lavishes His love upon me. Clothing me in righteousness. When I'm most undeserving.

Oh, worthy is the Lamb who was slain-- holy holy is He!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving in Wales!

Today was a fun-filled day! Thank you so much to all of you who were praying for me- and for your encouraging emails. God did pour out His grace to me today, and I didn't struggle at all being away from home (as much as I do love and miss my family!)

I went to the McCann's last night (Bob is one of the pastors, and two of their girls are in my LIFE group) and the mom/wife, Annemarie, helped me make pumpkin pie from scratch for today. (They are an American family and have been here about a year and a half.) I ended up yacking her ear off until midnight, so crashed on their couch.

This morning Annemarie graciously took me to the grocery store and I stocked up on snacks and goodies for today.

The guys came over around noon- we had cheese (and wine and grapes thanks to Taige!) and crackers, pineapple, sausage balls, crisps, salsa, more crisps...oh gosh, I don't even know what else. I made cinnimon buns that STILL haven't made it in the oven yet- we were full and watching a movie (Yay for Elf to kick off the Christmas season officially!) but I plan to make them for this weekend.

At 5 we went to the Church Building, and Sarah and Annemarie have been working tirelessly to plan a wonderful dinner for the Gap Team and the Leadership team and their families. We had a great time!

I got to Skype (not Scope) with my family which was WONDERFUL!

Isaiah 55:9-10. I am so grateful that God's ways are higher than my ways. His thoughts far above mine. Me being in Wales...not exactly "my ways"...was never in "my thoughts."

Oh but it is in His!!! This year is for a purpose! This year will bear fruit- either in me or through me or somewhere...because He promises to continue a work He's done in my heart. I am grateful that I can embrace this promise and this Truth. I am grateful for Grace. For my salvation. And for the innumerable blessings showered on me daily because He delights for me to enjoy this life He's given me.

I'm growing increasingly more grateful for the relationships that richly bless my life. Dozens of names and faces pop in my head. Those I've lived with, those who I'm able to talk to on a regular basis, those who send me texts to encourage me...even some where interaction is fewer and farther between...but the richness and the depth of the relationship is so incredibly precious. I am spoiled. Completely and entirely.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

LIFE sleepover

Last night...

(Oh, and by the way, Vanessa...watching the "Lizzie McGuire Movie" made me think of you SO much. So many fun memories. I miss you.)

This morning after chocolate chip pancakes, we started on haircuts! Some were trims, some more drastic. All with parental consent.

9 haircuts...lots of hair.

Cheesy Ground Beef casserole for lunch

And then, the girls did makeup and glamor shots...

Then...they wanted to make me over. Eyebrows, nails, jewelry, clothing, hair, makeup...they did it all!

...and then they wanted me to pose like this...

My little models.

What an absolutely amazing time I had with these girls! Ah, they are just becoming more dear to me. To be honest, last night at 10:00pm, I was completely and totally exhausted after LIFE. I was wondering how in the WORLD I was going to make it through last night and then today. I was pleading for God to give me grace. Asking for help over and over again.

Oh and He loves to lavish it upon me.

Got home and felt way more energized than I had all day- and managed to get 7 hours of sleep, too! And today have felt more "alive" than I have in over two weeks! So blessed by the ways the LORD meets me and helps me. (I still plan to hit the hay early tonight...)

Doing all those haircuts made me SO MISS my job. Ah, I just love doing hair. It is so incredibly fun. But I'm enjoying this season as much as I possibly will be over soon!

The house is squeaky clean now and I anticipate a quiet evening with dinner alone (the other Gappers are away for the weekend serving Uni students) and possibly a movie. (We'll see how things actually unfold. =)

Hugs to all!

Friday, November 21, 2008


I woke up singing this song, and its been running through my head all day:

For we know Your Truth has set us free
You've set Your hope in me

Hope. It's been a theme. Yesterday I glanced at one of the verses on the back of my door. Romans 12:12. "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and constant in prayer."

Rejoice in hope? Why? Hope isn't the fulfillment of my desires. It's not "the end" when everything's figured out. It's still "in the middle." In the mess. In the chaos. How am I expected to rejoice when I don't know what's going to happen?

Ah, but there it is. I rejoice because I CAN have hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope for redemption. Reconciliation. New things. Unbelievers can't. They have nothing to hope in. Things for them are downwards spiraling...and quickly. They can wish. Or desire strongly. But to HOPE...there must be something to hope IN. Something beyond yourself. Something bigger than you. Stronger. More powerful. Something in control that can change things. That can change me. And my God is just that, and more.

Not only CAN I have hope...I DO have hope. Why do I have hope you ask? Two main reasons:

First, the Gospel. God, my Maker and my Creator, has pursued me when I was dead in my transgressions-- helpless to do ANYTHING to change my state before Him...when I was covered in sin...guilty. Ashamed. It was THEN that He sent His own Son to bear my punishment and endure His just wrath so He could treat me as His daughter. Ah, Scripture says it best, "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?" I can hope because EVERYTHING falls under the category of "all things." I am without nothing. He is holding no good thing back from me. Even if it seems good to me, I can trust that, in fact, He knows better. And is wiser than I.

And also, Psalm 130. "I hope in Your Word." Moments after thanking the LORD that I had hope to rejoice in, I read on my closet..."I hope in Your Word."

Wow. How many promises are there in Scripture that promise my good? Hundreds. How many times does Jesus say, "I am with you"? Loads. When it says that "those who hope in Him will not be put to shame"...that's a promise. And I can bank on it. With all that I am and all that I have. Not with questions and wondering. He is faithful and to be fully trusted.

So hope. And rejoice! You have Hope!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who wants to be an American?

Today we did an "intro" assembly at a new school- St. Jullians. For their year 7s. (6th grade)

Peter did such a good job opening us up and sharing why we're even in Wales-- because Jesus Christ has changed our lives and we want to tell people about Him.

Toms was our "host" for our game show, "Who wants to be an American?" and he did an absolutely amazing job. Four volunteers at the front on each team with three lifelines each: phone a yank (who was Taige), Audience votes, and four choices. We asked them questions like, "What's the capital of the US?" and "What do Americans call "mobile phones"?" The kids LOVED it! (And so did I!!!) They know way more about America than I know about any other country or culture. It was a great way to sort of "get in there" and start to build a foundation for hopefully future relationships!

It looks like we'll be able to teach some Religious Education (RE) classes at this school for years 7, 10, and 11 coming up-- sharing our testimonies and talking about Christianity. The doors that are opening here are incredible. I just can't believe it.

Off to "tea" at the Rees' before home group in a bit, and then tomorrow night we have LIFE and all my LIFE girls are coming over for a sleepover! We plan to make pizza, eat cupcakes, watch the Lizzie McGuire movie munching on popcorn, and wake up to chocolate chip pancakes! I am so excited about spending time with them! Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures- should be a blast!

Gotta run...hope all is well with you all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Really, this is insane.

On a weekly basis, numerous times, we stand in front of hundreds of children and dozens of teachers, and tell them the most wonderfully glorious life-changing news of the Gospel. We tell them freely. With few funny looks, no offended or unhappy teachers, and all-smiley faces. Every time I leave utterly amazed at this opportunity. Door WIDE open. Praise the LORD.

Today I explained to Monnow Primary School (with much acting help from Ivy and Taige as I narrated) that we all have needs. Just like the blind man sitting on the side of the road, whom Jesus healed by putting mud in his eyes, we have needs and we need Jesus' help.

I proceeded to tell them that Jesus took care of our greatest need by dying on the cross for all the wrong things we've done so we could be forgiven and have a relationship with God. I get to SAY THAT OUT LOUD.

I am loving being reminded of this simple Truth of life eternal that is ours by faith alone. I am learning to more clearly, concisely, and simply explain the gospel and its most amazing implications on a regular basis. I am still such a "baby" in the evangelism world. But in God's kindness, He helps me, and this year, is training me. There is much to learn!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Walking on Waves

Matthew 14:28
"And Peter answered him, 'Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.' He said, 'Come.' So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, 'Lord, save me.' Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'"

When I look into the eyes of the One who saved my soul, my heart is at peace. When I wash in His Word and snuggle in His promises, I am still. At rest. No matter what's happening around me. I can walk over the waves. Be "on top" of the very thing that without Him, would drown me.

But the moment I begin to look at the wind or waves- the "storms" of life around me, I am anxious, and fearful, and desire control, and I begin to sink.

Yet even when I am unfaithful, even when I live in unbelief, even when I neglect to think of Him and others and focus on myself...still, God is faithful. Still, His promises remain. He promises to help me. To provide for me. To sustain me. To draw me to Himself. To force even the wind and the waves to do good unto me.

Immediately He reaches out His hand and takes hold of me again and gently asks me why I doubt Him. He helps me. Lifts me up. Reminds me that my sin is no longer counted against me. And His love for me is steadfast.

Oh, I am so undeserving. Ill-deserving in fact. "But this is my salvation. And herein I stand. Thank you, Jesus." (-Gospel Primer)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


You may have noticed my new little "donations" button to the right. There is a reason for it.

I never officially reached the goal of raising money that I needed for this year before leaving the States...but I had enough to help me see this was God's will for the next year of my life.

I have been so humbled by the way people have responded to my initial request for support. Each time I think about the generous hearts that have sacrificed I am amazed, challenged, and my faith is built. The way you have denied yourself to see the Gospel go forth in other nations has impacted me so much. It's literally changing my life. I can't thank you enough.

All my money goes directly into "needs." I'm not just gallivanting around and spending money on new clothes (though a few warm things have been purchased) or treating people out to Starbucks or what have you. I'm buying groceries (lots of pasta and canned veggies) and paying for transportation. That's it. That's all I need right now.

I'm meeting with the Administrator of Christchurch and his wife on Saturday night to go through my budget and look at specific figures and see how I can best use what I have.

I realize that from a worldly perspective, this blog post is entirely untimely and not even worth being written. Due to the credit crunch, and the Holidays around the corner and the fact that so many of you have already given me so much...

...But I trust God as my Provider. And I believe that if He wants me to stay here for the rest of the GAP year, He'll provide for me financially. Whether that's laying it on your heart to pray about it, or by some other means which He deems best...if I'm to be here, the money will come.

And yet, in that, I also want to be faithful to ask. And to make you aware of my need. Yes, there are needs greater than mine...and you don't have to look far to see that. But for this season, and in this time, and for this mission that I have the honor of participating in, I'm in financial need right now.

Would you please prayerfully consider supporting me?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tesco day

Someone told me this week that there's a FREE bus to Tesco's that leaves from the bus station! We had all talked about going grocery shopping as a team in the car, but I decided to take the adventure on the free bus for today. Check it out, and then let everyone know what its like.

Left the house at 10am to walk into town. Made a quick stop at Barclay's (bank) and ran into Primark (super cheap clothing store) to get a few things. One of them being my first pair of boots. Ah, they are so needed.

Then off to the free bus I went! Got directions...which weren't good, so got directions to the counter at the bus station to learn that the free bus only makes one run a day...and its only on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Hm. Well, today's Monday. Which means I'm outta luck.

My left achilies tendon has been hurting for the last three days. Each morning (after resting for the night) it feels totally fine...but by the end of the day, its aching again. After the mile walk into town, and then to the bus station, it was starting to hurt. I pondered what the two mile walk to Tescos would look like knowing the first mile is totally uphill...and decided it was worth the pound twenty to take a bus.

Got to Tescos, did the usual shopping, purchased my things and took a look at my cart. Hm. That's a lot of stuff. But I figured I could carry it the little way to the bus stop, plop it all down on the floor once I got on the bus, and I'd be fine. I pushed the trolley (cart, buggy, whatever) to the very edge of the edge of the edge of the car park (parking lot) and began my endeavor. I put one of the bags in my purse. My big purse-- the one that looks like a mail bag. Then tied a bag on either side of the strap. I put four bags on my left arm, two on my right, and had my 24 roll of Tescos toilet paper balancing between my hands. I looked ridiculous. I walked over to the bus stop and plopped down. Waited about 10 or 15 minutes for the bus to get there. As one came around the corner, I saw it said "Bassaleg Road" on it. MY road. Wahoo! Maybe I wouldn't have to go back to the bus station to catch a ride to Bassaleg, and I could just go straight there! I was stoked. That saves me a pound twenty.

I look at the driver and say, "Does this go to the entrance of the cemetery on Bassaleg?" He says he doesnt know (I think it was his first day) but the guy behind him (who looks like he's observing him) says, "No, Love, you have to go to the bus stop across the street by the McDonalds. It's number 33." Sweet! Ok. No big deal. Walk across the street (several drivers are laughing at me carrying all my stuff) but I eventually get there and plop down again.

About twenty minutes goes by. No bus. I pick up the phone to call Toms to beg for a it rings, around the corner comes number 33! Yay! Guess what? Same driver as before. He'd finished his route and was back to do another. I get on.

I ride....and ride...and ride...and we keep going. And we pass both stops I'd been at earlier...and we arrive at the bus station. Wrong information that this would go past my house on my street. Bummer. I attempt to gather all my things and realize that my bags are slowly ripping. I begin to put the stuff that's falling out into other bags...only making them heavier and making those bags rip. I litterally hobble off of the bus picking up cans and such as they fall out of my bags and try to get out of the way. I re-organize, and pick everything up once more...and the lemon juice falls out and breaks. Glass and lemon juice all over.

As I begin picking the pieces of glass up, the sweet Indian man at a nearby bench, had consolidated HIS groceries, to give me an extra bag. HOW SWEET.

I looked at my stuff. I looked around. NO idea what to do. I wanted to ask someone, "Will you please help me?" But had no idea what helping me looked like at all! Everyone else on the team was AT Tescos at this point, so Toms wouldn't be able to come get me. Plus, it'd been about two hours and I was concerned that things were thawing out. What in the world was I supposed to do? I KNEW my bags wouldn't make it down the long bus stretch to my Bassaleg bus. And I couldn't leave my bags to go into a store hopefully nearby and get extra ones. Hm. Hm. Hm.

I put the milk in my purse. Two bags into my larger Primark bag which already had another grocery bag in it, carried that from the bottom, tied another bag around my purse's strap because the other one had broken...and well, to be honest, I don't know how I carried the rest. I asked the Indian man if he'd watch my 24 rolls of toilet paper for a minute. He agreed.

I walked to the coaches (taxis). I knew this would be expensive. He said itd be three or four pounds, but when I told him I had to run and grab something else, he made it five. Ah, whatever. get me home! =) My achilies tendon was beyond throbbing at this point.

But I did it! I made it home! Just before 3pm. Almost ten pounds on transportation for my allegedly "free" Tesco run but the lessons were priceless.

I got home, began to put things away, and started BELTING out worship music.

It's in times like this...moments like these, that I want to VENT. I want to be angry. Or have self pity. But you know what? It's really not a big deal. Chances are, I won't be walking to the grocery store for the rest of my life. And my Prince is here with me. Helping me. Reminding me of His promises. And His love.

And now I'm chatting with my sweet friend, Lindsay Jones, and being encouraged by joy we have in ASSURANCE of our salvation. What a gift!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Everyone has a story to tell. About why they think the way they do. Why they act the way they do. What they've learned.

This week, in God's His kindness, and in His encouragement to me- I got to share mine to over 300 people within 3 separate occasions. How humbling it has been to not only HAVE a story to tell...and be reminded of it so often...but to have the opportunities I've had to TELL it. And to see the Gospel at work-- because it is IN this beautiful Gospel that, apart from heaven, the glory of God is in its highest density. And when we behold His glory, we are changed.

And now, in case you haven't already heard it, I'll share it with you as well. So you have an idea of what these kids are hearing.

Ever since I was little my parents have told me a story about this little girl in our church. It has had such an impact on me.

She was born without a right hip socket. When the doctors went to count her fingers and toes and make sure everything was ok, they went to click her hips into place, and the right one wouldn't. Our hips are a ball and socket joint. The ball was there. No socket.

Her parent's didn't know what to do. They weren't sure she would ever walk. Would she be in a wheelchair? Would she have to use crutches? Did this mean surgery?

On a Sunday night, the pastor of our church went to their house. He felt like the LORD told him that He was going to heal their daughter. So he showed up, and told the parents that he was not there only to pray, but that their daughter would be healed. Well, he prayed. And nothing happened.

No fireworks. No magic. No fuzzy feelings. He must've left their home being so confused.

The next day the little girl was scheduled to get X-rays. The dad was a nurse and knew the doctor who was doing the X-rays. When the doctor came in, he asked the dad, "You think I have too much time on my hands? You don't think I have enough to do?"

The parents looked back and forth at one another confused. They looked back at the doctor. He said, "She's completely fine. Nothing's wrong." The parents were rejoicing and worshiping God for healing their little girl.

Now, I know we can hear stories like that and immediately be skeptical. How much has the story been changed since its original telling? Maybe there was a mistake? But for me, wondering these things has not been a problem. Because you see, that little girl...

...was me. Yes, I was born without a right hip. And by God's grace, I was healed when I was four days old. I walk now. I did gymnastics for 9 years with no problems whatsoever. Everyday when I stand up, I'm witnessing a miracle.

So growing up, believing that God existed was a no-brainer for me. When I would begin to question, "God, are you real?" I would feel His whispered answer, "Do you walk?"

But simply believing God is real, isn't enough. Knowing He has power didn't mean I had a relationship with Him. You see, I'm a sinner. The Bible tells me not to put anything before God. And daily, I put myself before Him. MY desires. MY wants. ME FIRST. It tells me not to lie. I've lied. I've told flat out lies and I've told white lies. They're all the same: lies. It tells me not to covet-- which is just a fancy word for wanting what other people have. Countless times, I've looked at things people have, or relationships people have and I think, "I WANT THAT."

Because God is holy, and perfect and can't sin, He hates sin. He hates wrong things. And sin needs to be punished. The Bible tells me that I need help. MAJOR help. I need someone to come and take care of all the wrong stuff I've done. Someone who's never sinned. Someone who's perfect.

God is also love. And He sent someone who never messed up. Jesus.

Jesus who is God, lived a perfect life, and came to earth to be punished for all the stuff I've done wrong. My lying. Putting myself first. My jealousy. He died on the cross and God the Father poured out all of His anger onto Jesus instead of me. And so God has forgiven me. And now He loves me passionately because of what Jesus did for me in His life and on the cross. God tells me that I'm no longer counted "guilty" for my sin.

So can you see why I believe in God? I'm walking! He loves me and that's why I'm in Wales- because I want to please Him and He wants me here.


If you have not yet put your faith in Jesus Christ and accepted Him to be Your Savior- confessed your sin to Him, and repented of it and received His complete forgiveness...I urge you with a STRONG appeal: please do so now!

Sin must be punished because God is just. And if you don't accept Christ's punishment for your sin, you will bear your own judgment for eternity.


We've heard a report that one of the boys from the CU Toms and I went to on Wednesday at lunch has been really affected and "bothered" by my story. Even as I was telling it, this boy was weighing on my heart. Even more so after we left. Toms and I prayed for him on the way home. He looked like he didn't want to be there. He's not a Christian yet. But he's been raised in a Christian home, and continues to go to the Christian Union weekly meetings at school. Apparently, he's been asking loads of questions since Wednesday...and I have been praying so much for his soul. I can't tell you how encouraging this has been to hear.

Also, Toms was asking the CU what sort of evangelistic stuff they've been doing-- how are they "trying to reach their mates with the Gospel?" He really challenged them in what they're doing. And this has had a tremendous affect on them. We were told that everyone's coming up with ideas and they've been talking about having a Christmas party and inviting their friends and sharing the Gospel with them...unbelievable.

Last night at VJ, I was on the Bettws bus to pick up the kids from the high school. I saw three at the bus stop and thought, "Bummer. Oh well, at least we got three." Then I saw a few more standing under a nearby tree. "Oh yay! More than three!" And as we rounded the corner, a total of TWENTY ONE year 7s ran to the bus to get on! We had to make two trips to get them all to the church! So, its working!!! The mission of us going into schools to invite kids to Christchurch events so they can hear the Gospel is WORKING!!!

Last night, at the end of Dave Taylor's message, he had Dan share a story about his little daugther, Caitlin, who had to have major heart surgery when she was just months old. She nearly died on several occasions. He talked about Jesus' power and comfort in that season. Then I briefly shared my hip story again. Afterwards, I was getting loads of questions and comments-- one Bettws girl told me that she started crying when I told my story in Assembly on Thrusday. Another girl told me she went home and told her dad and he was SO AMAZED.

The Bettws boy who gave me the Galaxy chocolate bar the other week followed me around all night. I invited him to church on Sunday and he asked, "Will you be there?" I said yes, and he assured me he'd come. Along with another boy who I got to know on our Kingswood weekend. Oh, I so hope they're there. Tomorrow is a visitors Sunday...its a little bit shorter message and we serve lunch at the end. Last visitors Sunday we had over TWO HUNDERED visitors. UH-MAZING.

All of this to encourage you- your prayers, your financial contributions, your support, encouragement, is bearing fruit! Thank you so much for your love-- and for embarking on this mission with me. I pray you are encouraged!

Friday, November 7, 2008


So I'm completely shattered from an unbelivably long week- with only enough energy to check an email from my precious nephew and ooo and ahh over how incredibly cute he is.

They don't get more adorable than this!!!
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Timeliness and Growth

Timeliness is a good thing. Being on time communicates that you're prepared, ready to serve someone, and responsible. It shows you respect the other person's schedule and appreciate their time.

However, I'm too passionate about this topic.

In this season, with my schedule not being my own or in my control, and my car not being my own, and the when we leave to be at things not being in my hands, I am finding that it takes about two seconds for me to be anxious or irritated in my heart. Such a small thing reveals so much pride, anger, and self-righteousness. I litterally become restless inside. I feel like something is squirming within me. I loathe calling my Home Group Leader's wife to tell her once again, I will be late to be picked up. When really, its not a huge deal. I just need to get over it.

This goes much deeper though, than just "being on time." It's my idol of productivity. If I can't see or feel that something is being efficient, I'd rather move on to something else. Because of this, sadly, I realize I have neglected wonderful opportunities to build relationships with people because I'd rather "be home reading" or sleeping, or having a deep, meaningful conversation than I would be just hanging out. But its IN the hanging out, that relationships are built. People seeing that you just want to live life with them. Be with them. Enjoy them.

I couldn't be weaker in this area. I am so excited about having these two things collide. My job some days is to hang out with people. It's so funny how twisted in my mind that is! I want to WORK. I want to DO WELL. But what that means, is probably staying up late, not planning ahead what I'm going to do, and just existing. How sad it is that this can be such a challenge for me!

Granted, when I'm with those I know well, its not nearly as big of a struggle. But to just build relationships this way, is so difficult for me. Praise the LORD that He knows JUST what I need. He knows my weakness, and has purposed to HELP me in it. I couldn't be more excited. I so want to change.

And in His mercy, He provides me with GRACE. Grace to change, grace to grow, grace in the midst of my struggle. Grace to see Christ. As He lived life on this earth-- friend of sinners. Of who I am the foremost. Just being with people like us. Serving them. Loving them. I've been challenged by a quote from Valley of Vision-- that as Christ represents me in heaven, I want to reflect Him on earth. Oh, Father, HELP ME! And let it be so!


Here are a few pictures from today at Bettws: The assembly went well, thank you for praying. We anticipate seeing many "Bettws faces" at VJ tomorrow night.

And then we used Bunson Burners for our "Bettws CSI." So fun.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Babies, Bonfires, and Botched Assemblies

After about 6 quid ($12) spent on text messages, Baby Jack is FINALLY HERE!!! Safe and sound. My first nephew, James J. Leach III, arrived by C-section at 7:15 pm EST Tuesday night - 7.0 lbs and 19 inches long--not bad for being three weeks early! Katie was induced at 4pm on Monday afternoon. Long labor. Praise the LORD for a healthy baby, mommy, and daddy too! Aw, I can't wait to hold this little guy. Aren't they such a cute family?!

I can't decide what's weirder-- the fact that my brother is old enough to have a family...or that I'M old enough to have a brother who has a family...this is crazy.


Little Welch History for you:
Today is Bonfire Day. "Remember Remember the fifth of November." Guy Fawks and his friends tried to blow up the house of parliament and got caught in the 1600s. His friends were burned at the stake, and Guy was hung, drawn, and quartered. So, everyone celebrates these deaths (kind of weird...) by having huge firework displays and bonfires! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to see any firework shows, but its been a really busy week, so that's been the thing that's had to go...


Let me give you a little picture of today. We get picked up by the guys as usual, to find out Taige is sick. He was supposed to be our "Jesus" and "Blind man" for our sketch (skit) in our assembly with me and Ivy today. Hm. Ok, well, Toms would have to step in and improvise. Thankfully, he was more than willing. We leave in PLENTY of time to get to the school- it was approximately 3 miles away (I think google maps said)...though it took us about a half hour to get there! I think we stopped and asked for directions 4 times. So we BARELY make it into the assembly, it goes fine-- the ending was bad, but I can work on that...and we go back to the church Building.

We're casually eating lunch when in the midst of her conversation, Kat mentions one of the Senior Teen girls' names. Toms exclaims, "OH MY DAYS!" (His most common expression), he and I shoot looks at each other, grab our stuff and FLY out the door with barely a word. We had COMPLETELY forgotten we were supposed to be meeting this girl at her school to share our testimony's with her high school CU (Stands for "Christian Union") during their lunch. We don't have directions but I call Benson on our way and he gives me directions to the school from Google Maps that take up like three pages of the back of the useless directions we ended up not using earlier that morning. And all I have is my highlighter which is running out of ink. I get off the phone with him and look at Toms and he says something to this effect, "Right. We're not gonna use those 'cause that's not the direction I took..." Haha. So we call Emily (the girl we were meeting) and she gets us there no problem...and JUST in the nick of time. I love how we can plan, plan, plan...or completely and totally forget...and still, God has His way.

Here are some of our initial thoughts after the assembly:

I know "the answer" as far as "God uses the weak to show His strength" and "You're being used in ways you'll never know"...that sort of thing. And I believe it. But there are times, I mean when it comes down to it, when I can't help but wonder, "What the johnny am I doing here?!" Why in the WORLD was I invited to talk at TWO schools today about Jesus Christ? I am most unqualified. Others could share it way more effectively. I don't get it. This is so random. What a privilage. What an opportunity to be involved in this. Yet, it still doesn't make any sense to me.

Tomorrow morning I share my testimony once again at Bettws High School. Pray for me, please. And pray for soft hearts. And souls to be saved. That's why we're here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Favorite GAP day so far!

Today we went to the Three Black Birds pub (our fave) with Bob McCann and talked about sin. It was by far my favorite time in the last several weeks. I have never felt so equipped to fight my sin with the Gospel. I feel like the whole time he was showing us tools and teaching us how to use them. Not only that, I got to have an Archers and lemonade, a latte AND a big whoppin' piece of chocolate fudge cake with ice cream on top. DELISH.

This is me enjoying...

And this is my plate about 3 minutes later.

Ehem. Conversation goes as follows:

Me: (pushes plate ahead of me so I can get to my latte) Ah, that was so good.
Bob: Woah, Janelle you really packed that away
Taige: Janelle waits for no man.

haha! Not when I'm eating!!!

NOT ONLY that, but I got to receive texts all throughout the day from my wonderful brother who is going to be a FATHER in a matter of hours! Jack is on his way! Last I heard, Katie had her epidural, water broke, and she was 3 cm. I'm going to be an aunt!!!
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Monday, November 3, 2008


On Sunday morning I was hanging out with my LIFE girls as usual. One of them videoed me flipping Ellen upside down. I thought you'd enjoy the little bit of accents you can hear in this short clip.

And this one is of Ellen and Rowanne from a while ago before Home Group...but I just figured out how to upload videos today. Enjoy they're incredibly fun personalities!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

One full weekend

Thursday night we had a coffee house in Junction 26 at the Building. Kat organized and decorated for the whole thing- it was such a success! Everything looked and tasted great! Oh the joy of having a Starbucks Barista at our fingertips.

Ben serenaded us at the end-- we had some great conversations with some Uni students. It was really good.

Yesterday we worked at the building organizing and cutting and folding. They ordered us Domino's pizza for lunch. YUM-O. What a great taste of home! Then we went to Gavin and Emma Smiths (Gav is the church Administrator) and met with the "Senior Teens." They are in 6th form which they also call "college". It's equivalent to 11th and 12th grade in the States. We talked about Dai's messages from the Offensive Roadshow last weekend.

This morning was Shockwave! This is Taige vs. Toms-- doesn't it look like they're using lightsabers?

I was with the little girls at the table painting nails with "nail varnish" for the first half. So fun! This is Karina- she's Alex and Caroline's little sister. They're in my LIFE group.

This is Ellen Rees. She's Rowanne's little sister and the youngest daughter of my Home Group leader and his wife.

Dan talked about the Trinity. He did a great job. All the kids knew, "There is ONE how many persons?" "THREE!"

Giant connect four. So fun.

I worked the bar the second half. (PUBS are where they sell drinks. BARS are where we sell sweets!) One of Kat and my students from Milbrook came to Shockwave for the first time- it's so exciting that this is "working." Going into the schools and inviting the kids to the church events. He's such a sweet kid.

Working the bar has been so helpful in learning the money system here. They have coins for 1 pence, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and then a pound, and two pounds. Thankfully, there's 100ps in a pound- so it works like the penny to the dollar. Whew!

Today we had SUMO wrestling!

And life-size fooseball!

After Schockwave we went to Cardiff to hand out leafletts (flyers) for "Outpost Cardiff" which starts in two weeks. It's when we'll go to a pub on a Sunday night (Koko Gorillaz to be exact) and have some worship, a little teaching, and then just hang out at the bar and order drinks and strike up conversations with people. I'm SO EXCITED!

As I was on the corner, across the street from Toms handing out flyers, I had three fun conversations. First, let me paint the picture for you. I had my white and black striped hat on, a completely oversized black jacket, gloves- with one hand in my pocket holding the leaflets THROUGH my jacket, the other hand handing them out, and I was regularly bouncing up and down because it was so stinkin cold. I would approach the "Oh please don't talk to me" faces with my Bristles voice and say as up beat as possible, "Hey! How are you guys doing?" while offering a flyer. The first leaflet I handed out was thrown on the ground right in front of me. But the second (and third) ones I haded out were two guys who were Christians and they were on their way to a concert they were putting on- saying it sounded similar to Outpost Cardiff; an evangelistic event. It was so encouraging!

Later on there was a guy who refused the handout and said, "I don't want it if it has a demand." I had no idea what he meant. I said, "I'm just handing them out..." He stopped (after already having walked almost totally passed me), took a handout and said, "Where are you from?" Ah, the American accent strikes again! "Orlando, Florida." (Even though I'm not from there, I pretend I am. More people know about it than Virginia.) He took of his Panthers hat and said, "Look familiar?" It's a Florida ice hockey team. BINGO. I started telling him about Justin and how he plays. Anyways, he introduced himself and the conversation continued for a little while before he left. Even though I didn't get to share the gospel with him, I was able to secretly pray for him by name as he walked away. That he'd look at the flyer that was now in his back pocket. And that in God's kindness, he would save him. Third. Haha, this one's just funny. A guy walking down the street with a light blue polo on. No jacket or anything. I smiled, handed him one and said, "You must be freezing!" He said, "I am. I just woke up from last night" (mind you, this is about 3pm) and these are all the clothes I have...I'm trying to find my car. I have no idea where I parked it." I exclaimed, "BUMMER!" He said, "Ya, but at least I get to walk around and don't have to stand out here and hand those out in the freezing cold." I just laughed. It was freezing. We looked like idiots.

Well, there are still loads of times I wonder what the JOHNNY I'm doing here- how did I get here? When did this all happen? THIS IS SO RANDOM! I know God is working even when I can't see it. I just have to remind myself over and over and over again. And then once more. I'm so grateful for His Word and His promises. We would be hopeless without them!

Happy Birthday, Gwen!

Dearest sister of mine,

Your life sings loudly of grace. Of submission. Of joy. Of love- first and foremost for your Savior. But also for Truth, for your husband, and now, for sweet Michaela. The LORD has used you in so many ways in my life. To encourage me. To challenge me. To help me grow in my walk with the LORD. Your excitement about HOPE and REFINEMENT and seeing LIGHT in the midst of darkness has helped me, made my relationship with Christ sweeter, and it brings glory to the One who's saved our souls.

I can't share my testimony without talking about you. The LORD used you to help me in the "deconstruction" of my high school life, and then the "reconstruction" of the life I'm still learning to reconstruct! He used you to bring me to Metro- which is now the dearest place on earth to me. My life has been changed forever at that local church. I'll never be the same. Thank you for being willing to be used.

I am REJOICING with you in this season of living in Pennsylvania with Drew at Westminster, and as you're able to take your dad's class on Biblical Change. I am so jealous- but so excited to learn and glean from what you're learning and how you're changing!

I pray that this year is full of more joy than you can hold. Joy that makes your feet dance in the boundary lines that have fallen for you in pleasant places. Joy that is contagious. Captivating joy- drawing others to the Savior through your life. I pray you sense God's pleasure and favor today as you reflect on His faithfulness to you.

You are a joy to me! I love you so much! HUGS.