Thursday, February 26, 2009


...I now have facebook.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Starbucks and the Gospel

Today was Becky's first Starbucks experience. That was exciting-- but not as exciting as what took place there.

Our time was wonderful-- thank you so much for your prayers. The LORD's strength is perfect in my weakness. All I need to know is Christ...and Him crucified.

The most exciting part of our conversation was her realizing that she was a Christian.

She mentioned something about not being Catholic or a Christian or anything- but then said she wanted to be a Christian. I asked to her to help me understand what she was saying- I was confused.

She said, "Well, I haven't been christened or anything yet."

I told her that to become a Christian, all she had to do was believe in her heart that Jesus died for her sins, that He rose again, and to say it out loud. I asked if she'd asked God to forgive her for all of her sins, and put her trust in Jesus. She said yes.

"Well, girl, then congratulations! You're a Christian!"

Her eyes got WIDE. HUGE smile on her face. "Really?!"

As we talked about the Gospel for the next hour, my heart was filling to overflowing. This is the BEST news EVER! What hope! What joy we have!

I also loved the look on her face when she asked, "What about sins in the future?" and I got to remind both of us that past, present, and future sins were all laid on Christ. She was ecstatic. As was I!

I count it a tremendous privilege and honor to be positioned in a way to watch God at work in Becky. Please keep her in your prayers.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A small glimpse

Friday night we had VJ extra. (Kids from the neighborhood we bus in to share the gospel with-- but not with all the fun and games and inflatables- this one is for more questions and conversations.)

Elso shared his testimony...

...and it looks like one of the girls got saved!

I'd chatted with her for a while before the "talk" bit- catching up on how she was doing and what was going on in her life. The conversation seemed to be going well, and I'd hoped to set up a starbucks date with her sometime soon.

Next thing I know, she's texting me all day yesterday things like, "Is it a sin to swear and smoke?" or "I feel like a huge burden has been lifted- this is the best decision I've ever made." Today she told one of the other girls today she feels like she's "chosen life."

What's so unusual, is that this girl has no church background. It's tempting for me to wonder if she just knows the right words to say...but she DOESN'T know the right words to say. She came to church this morning (for the first time!), and we have a coffee date tomorrow. Please pray. I have no idea what she'll ask, or what we'll talk about. I am so weak. Help.

As she stood next to me during worship and we sang, "All voices join with the thousands who know mercy because of the cross- all sinners washed in your precious blood...together we will sing!" I couldn't help but think of That Day. And have my heart soar with eager anticipation. This is a glimpse. A taste. Oh the miracle of regeneration! The mystery of salvation!

Praise and glory be to Jesus Christ-- He is the Life Changer!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nails, Fondue, and FUN!

This week is "half term" which is a week that the high schools have off 3x a year. Nice, huh? Today I was released from normal, everday GAP Team responsibilities to spend time with my LIFE girls. We had a fondue and spa party. Being a girl is so FUN!

Thank you to so many of you who've asked how my dad is-- He's doing great. Surgery went very well, thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy 21, Joy!

If you haven't picked up on it yet from previous posts...I love my sister. Today, she turns 21; making me feel very old.

Three words come to mind when I think of her. Passion. Pursuit. And purity. She is such an inspiration and encouragement to me. Her passion for the LORD is contagious. Especially this past summer I noticed a tremendous increase in the affection she had as she talked about her Savior and His cross. Her love for others has sky-rocketed as a result- she always wants to know "What is God teaching you?" Or "What's God up to in your life?"

Side note: I love the way that living in Michigan has given her a little accent when she says the word "God." She really accentuates the "o"-- almost sounds like an "ah" sound. So cute.

She is passionate about many things. Sports (or really, anything involving competition), doing things logically, working hard, and doing something until its reached perfection. But she is most passionate about the LORD. She loves her local church. She has become a prayer warrior- and is passionate about whatever God is currently teaching or showing her.

Pursuit. Joy pursues a TON of things. She is one of the most disciplined people I've ever encountered in my life. Her schedule is always very full. Sports. Schooling. Church. Dear friends. But mostly, her pursuit of her Maker is what strikes me. Even when we were younger, I'd go into her room- and she'd just be sitting on her bed reading her Bible. I had no idea people actually did that-- especially people younger than me!

Purity. Now, this is one I could rant about forever. My sister made a commitment at an early age (completely on her own- with no teaching on this or friends along side her) to "wait for God to write her love story." She's still never had a boyfriend. Proverbs 31 says that the heart of her husband trusts her all of his days. I'll never forget the day she shared with me how this impacted her-- that being faithful to her husband doesn't start when she gets starts NOW- (or, then.) ALL of his days. All of her days. A lot of people have thought she's "missing out." Oh...but she's not. I had this conviction later in life- when I was about 18- to not date as a sport or just for fun- and since then, Joy and I have had many conversations over the phone encouraging each other that this is worth it. It will be worth it on our wedding days...and each consecutive day after that. She, (if you took one look at her you'd understand) has been pursued by many guys over the years. With each one, she has been faithful to have "the relationship conversation" (as we've now dubbed it) early on so they know where she stands. She has learned how to lovingly communicate her convictions and ask others questions when in group discussions. I am so excited to meet her husband should the LORD will marriage for her one day. I trust he will be a humble, strong leader.

Joy, you're amazing. I wish I'd taken more notes from you when we were younger. In many ways, you're the big sister. I love you so much, and hope you have a wonderful birthday!

Monday, February 16, 2009

This weekend...

I was entirely spoiled on Friday- I can't remember the last time my birthday was celebrated this much! I've been bombarded with cakes, chocolates, flowers, cards, gifts, hugs, and encouragement. Thank you so much.

The Gappers got us off work for a few hours in the morning, and surprised me with brunch and cards. I was so blessed.

We had 10:31 (which is like Deluge) that night, and I was freshly convicted of my failure to worship the LORD as He is worthy to be worshiped...and grace flows afresh...

The GAP boys bought us a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of flowers on Valentines Day! How sweet!

Vikki Lloyd came over and was up at the crack of dawn making an amazing roast lunch to celebrate mine and Ivy's birthdays. She slaved all morning, we invited the guys over, and it was oh-so FABULOUS!

I babysat for the Gawedas (Guh-veh-duhs) on Saturday night-- also lovingly known as the "Gweedos." Leah is 3, Caitlin is 1, and Noah is 5. UH-DORABLE. So well behaved. LOVE these kids. Dan and Cat went out for dinner and when they got back home, we played scrabble and a couple rounds of speed scrabble. (Thought of you, Kristen, and Meghann and Steve!!!)

Sunday was Ivy's 20th birthday! Sarah and Mike threw her and I a joint birthday party at the GAP boys house- complete with cheeseburgers and brownie ice cream sundays! Several of the pastor's families were able to make it, and Ivy and I were both so blessed. Peter lead us in a hysterical game of "Big booty" (nothing to do with big booties) as Ivy's been begging to play for months.

This weekend, we also had Peter's older sister, Sharon visit us on her way back to the States from Uganda! It was so much fun having her here! She gave us all the ins and outs of what to do and bring when we go to Uganda in May. We were sad she had to leave.

Well, it certainly has been a full weekend. Today's been a great day recouping.

My dad went to the hospital around noon today- his surgery was about 1 or 2 ish. No word yet, but I talked to him this morning and he was doing well. Thanks so much for praying! I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Mary heart on Valentines Day

Saturdays in my life are usually "Martha" days. (Luke chapter 10.) So much to do- people to serve, a week to recover from, another to get ready for...

But even if my actions are like Martha, my heart should be like Mary's. Sitting at the Master's feet. Listening to Him. Enjoying Him. Communing with Him.

As we run about today in Martha ways, lets position our hearts to be Mary's praying. Given the holiday (which Hallmark made up-- I know there was a St. Valentine, but, really...Hallmark took over)...let's take the opportunity to be praying for marriages.

Marriages are something that need lots of prayer, and I don't intercede for these relationships enough.

Let's pray for men to have new eyes to see how to live with their wives in an understanding way. Boldness and wisdom in gentle leadership. Humility. Fresh desire to woo their wife's heart- enjoyment in showering her with love. New joy in the Gospel. Hope in what God is doing in and through their families. Renewed passion for the Savior- and increasing gratefulness for what He's done...and who He's chosen as their wife. Appreciation for the innumerable ways she serves him to be stirred afresh. Faithfulness.

Let's pray for women to have humbly submissive hearts. To be regularly searching for how to help in creative ways. Esteem and honor for her husband to increase. Words of encouragement and kindness to regularly be on her tongue. Greater trust in the LORD through her husband's leadership. Deeper appreciation for his protection and care. Love for the Savior increasing as she is reminded that God sees, and her service is not in vain. Rewards are waiting. A heart that loves her husband, but loves the Gospel more, and frequently releases him to serve.

Let's pray for names, and faces- friends, neighbors, family members, church bodies...we need strong marriages!

As we pray, let's rejoice that the wonder and beauty of marriage is a reflection of the wonder and beauty of the cross!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Daddy's heart

Just got word this morning that my dad's heartbeat has been irregular. They've been monitoring it, and decided it's best for him to get a pace maker put in on Monday. Mildly serious. Please be praying as you think of it. For him. For my family- especially my mom. She's at home already taking care of Justin as he's recovering from surgery on his collar bone. She's my hero.

"When I am afraid, I will trust in You, I will trust in You..."

"God Almighty, You have saved me, so I will trust You, yes, I will trust you- King of Glory, I know you love me, so I will trust You, yes I will trust in you...How can I not trust my King? The one who has formed me and shaped me - I will rejoice and will sing for the One who has loved me has saved me..."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, JRO!!!

Jenn Romanski (proudly sporting the Florida Gators t-shirt) is one of my dearest friends.

She loves Truth. She loves counsel. She loves doctrine and theology and deep conversations about God's character. She pursues humility to the enth degree. She takes refuge in the LORD. Enjoys soaking in Scripture. She encourages me towards godliness. She is positioned as an arrow in my life-- pointing to the Savior and His cross.

When I need help or have questions, Jenn is one of the first I go to.

She lived in Orlando for a few months doing a Disney Internship (I argue that it was better than mine, but as I hear, it wasn't glamorous). At the end of her time in Orlando, I began to notice how much I wanted to be like her. Her gentle and quiet spirit. Her passion for modesty and biblical femininity...then she moved away. But phone calls happened. She visited a lot. And then, lo and behold, she began a 2 year Master's program which put her in my home town of Charlottesville, VA for last summer (and this upcoming summer too.) I got to stay with her last June while I was in a wedding. In between the summers, she's in Charlotte, NC. The home town of half of the GAP Team. Living with one of their friends. I love how our lives are always somehow linked.

She has pursued our friendship faithfully as I've been thousands of miles away this year. Emails, Google chat, care name it.

Jenn is making a trip to WALES in April! We plan to go to Dublin and London together...I am beyond excited!

Jenn, you simply have no idea what a joy your friendship is to me. The way you live your life encourages me so much. You are a treasure.

Happy Birthday! I hope you are spoiled rotten today. I love you. (So much that I posted this picture...which makes me very self-conscious of my height. =)

Jack Jack

...I'm sorry, do I not have the most adorable nephew in the entire world?!
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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Snowballs and Snowmen

Yesterday before heading into work, we snuck over to the guy's house...

...prepared our ammunition...

and, unfortunately, I don't have a picture of us attacking them with snowballs. It didn't work out as well as we'd imagined...we only hit a couple of them, and only once or twice...but it was a blast!

Then we went out back and made a snowman!

And then Taige and Toms attacked us with snowballs.

Toms was being a wuss.

And then we went to the office for a full day of work! Tear down, set up, brainstorming, setting up other things, organizing for Visitor's Sunday, etc.

I had one of my LIFE girls over last night, and now Kat, Ives and I are off to Bristol with Sarah and Mike to spend our Christmas gift cards at House of Fraiser! I hear they sell American food. I'm so excited about that. Oreos?! Jiff PB?! Coffee mate?! Oh the anticipation!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Let it snow*

The last two days, we've spent hours walking door to door putting leaflets in people's mail slots. We're inviting people to Christchurch's "Visitor's Sunday" this week-- Pete usually speaks on a controversial subject to get people in the door. This week is "Heaven and Hell, myth or reality?" and we'll serve a free BBQ lunch at the end. The last several months, we've had over 200 VISITORS come to these meetings! It was wonderful walking around people's neighborhoods and praying for them as the invitation slipped through the door...or praying for some of you back home. Walks are great for that! I continue to be amazed at the privilege it is to be here. Thank you so much for the ways you have supported and released me. This is such a unique experience, and I am so grateful to be here!

Yay for school being canceled! Haven't been excited about that in years! It was nice to have an extra hour to sleep in before heading to work this morning.

And this is pretty little Newport covered in snow. We put leaflets in probably all of the homes you see here...

To say I've been "bundled up" the last couple days is an understatement. Leggings, leg warmers (yes, I bought some...I can't believe it either..), regular jeans, fuzzy socks, a jacket, a down-like vest, a bigger jacket on top, two pairs of gloves, a scarf, and a hat. Usually at least 3 shirts, but that's normal. I like to layer.

The insulated rain boots my parent's bought me have been amazing. I do love snow. But oh how I miss Florida sunshine!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Single's Awareness Day

As Valentines Day is approaching, I've heard talk again of "girls night out" or "going out for drinks" or "curling up on a sofa in cozy pj's and fuzzy socks watching chick flicks all night with a group of friends" plans. Ok, maybe not those exactly, but you get my point.

It seems many Single girls take the opportunity to enjoy their Single friends on this holiday. Understandably so. However, I wonder if we have fully considered the implications of those decisions on nights such as these.

Have you? Have you considered others this Valentines Day?

You see, couples like to go out on Valentines Day. And if they have children (which many of them do), they need people to watch their kids for them to be able to go out. Single girls don't have many things tying them down. No reason we can't go out on the 7th together. Or the 21st. Or both...or any other night of the year. But February the 14th? Why don't we leave that one open...

Valentines Day is the ONE night out of the year that mostly ALL couples want to go out. (Thankfully, anniversaries don't all fall on the same night!) This is an opportunity for us to serve. To volunteer to serve; because, you see, the line between us watching kids for one evening so a marriage can be strengthened, so kids can be better not many steps away from building the Church. These kids are the next generation. They are the up and coming Church. We want them to witness healthy, good marriages. Which take time and energy...and nights out alone.

So, instead of getting a group of girls together to celebrate (or not celebrate) your singleness this year, how 'bout suggesting that you serve DOUBLE the amount of people as are represented in your group of friends. Encourage them to pursue a family to serve. Go all out. Make the kids a meal, give them baths, read them stories, put them to bed, and secretly clean the house. Maybe join with one of your friends and throw a Valentines Day party for the kids. But I urge you to think about what you are saying "yes" to, and what you are saying "no" to. For every "yes" to a girls night out, that's one more family who is straining to find a babysitter somewhere...

...and should we one day get married and have kids, these are the women who will be counseling us. These are the men whom our husbands will look up to. Let's serve them now while we can in this way. This is our time. And it may just be running out...


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