Wednesday, February 29, 2012

...and Speaking of Calvin...

As soon as I possibly can, I'd like to get over to Geneva and FINALLY see the Reformation Wall and in particular, the monuments of these four awesome men, including John Knox and of course, John Calvin:


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Little Wisdom from John Calvin

I love John Calvin. I have been reading through his book The Christian Life and am always amazed by what I read. Here's just a sampling of a passage read tonight:

"Whatever kind of tribulation presses upon us, we must ever look to this end: to accustom ourselves to contempt for the present life and to be aroused thereby to meditate upon the future life. For since God knows best how much we are inclined by nature to a brutish love of this world, he uses the fittest means to draw us back and to shake off our sluggishness, lest we cleave too tenaciously to that love....Now our blockishness arises from the fact that our minds, stunned by the empty dazzlement of riches, power, and honors, become so deadened that they can see no further. The heart also, occupied with avarice, ambition, and lust, is so weighed down that it cannot rise up higher. In fine, the whole soul, enmeshed in the allurements of the flesh, seeks its happiness on earth. To counter this evil the Lord instructs his followers in the vanity of the present life by continual proof of its miseries"


I could go on and on and probably type out the whole book, but instead, I'll leave you with that.

Goodnight :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Shout Out to Mom & Dad

I still remember the first time I flew over to live abroad and the look on my father's face as I walked past security. I was 23 and about to go Au Pair in Basel, this foreign city I'd never heard of before until I booked my flight. I remember being fine until we reached security and my dad broke down crying on my shoulder, holding me tight. Of course this made me burst into tears as well and somehow, I managed to go on to my gate, occasionally looking back as I left the security area.

Fast forward four years later and it was the same scene, only this time he waited until I had gotten through security to start crying. My mother was the one who was a mess that time. Both times, even though I knew that I was going to do what I was meant to do, I still felt like the world's worst child for making my parents weep like that.

And, here we go, this time six years later, and I'm already thinking about that day at the end of July or beginning of August when I take off for Germany again. They both know this time is indefinite and at least for five years. But they also know I am called to this and tell me all the time how proud of me they are.

So, I just had to give a little shout out to my Mom & Dad who let their little butterfly continue to spread her wings and follow the call of Christ.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Check Out My Facebook Group

If you're not a member, let me know & I'll add you!  If you are, please read the latest update ;)

Alli at BFA

And check out this other awesome vid that The Antrims and I found today!

Faces at BFA

Friday, February 24, 2012

M-I-S-S-I-O-N-A-R-Y: what does it mean?

I'm curious. When you hear the word "missionary" what do you automatically think? Be honest. I am sure your first thought isn't someone like me going over to work at an international Christian boarding school with MKs. It's ok. I'm not offended. Because honestly, when I hear the word "missionary" my first thought is the continent of Africa and some guy living in the bush with the natives. Or I think about all those missionaries that came through my church when I was a child and shared the slideshow with Ray Boltz's "Thank You" playing in the background. Or even being in GAs (Girls in Action) at church and making tin cans to put quarters in every week for our missionaries overseas.

And yet, here I am, six months from departure, doing this yet again for the 2nd time as a full-time missionary. Some of you have said to me, "I don't know how you do this support raising thing." Well, I'll tell you--I don't either. All I know is that this is what I know I've been called to do. There is not a shadow of doubt that I am going to where I am supposed to be. But I wanted to be honest with you all and let you know that I don't see myself as anything special. I'm just doing what I've been called to do just as you are all doing what you are being called to do. I'm not a Super Christian and I certainly don't feel any better than anyone else. No, no one has said any of that to me, but I just wanted to clarify because I know the stereotype that can come when you hear the M word.

I'm so thankful for you all. I just wanted to share a little of what was on my heart.

Have a fun Friday :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Resting

Yesterday was kind of a harrowing travel day. I got to spend some extra time with Lindsay and that was obviously beyond great. But by the time I made it to the Antrims I was exhausted and felt even more sick than I had earlier in the day. After catching up on some television, I made my way to bed and literally crashed as soon as my head hit the pillow. I don't even remember what I dreamed about last night and since most of you know I have pretty vivid dreams, that's kind of saying something about how tired I was.  

It made me think about how tired we sometimes get from trying to handle life on our own. Ultimately, we know we should give whatever it is over to the Lord so that he can take care of it, but we still hold onto it and become exhausted doing so. Finally, we relinquish and it's only after we do that that we feel the release and are able to truly relax. 

I recently was able to let go of a few things I'd been holding onto in my life. I didn't realize how exhausting it was until I let Jesus take it from me. I can't explain the peace I experienced, but I'm sure if you've been there, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tomorrow...

I get to see this girl















And be with these kiddos















Yay, Reading Week is here! PA here I come!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Weekend Was...

FUN. Ok so obviously you've seen I've been on a blogging kick as of late. I guess it's from spending so much time away from it that I've finally got the "bug" again. Also, there's just been a lot going on in life w/my walk with God that I can't not share it (Melissa & Caroline, was that grammatically correct?).

Also, we've just been doing a lot of fun stuff as of late. Last weekend we had our Gal-entines Day in the city and this weekend we started it off with a Veritas Forum event at Harvard, where we heard John Lennox speak about his views on miracles and science. He gave a great lecture and anytime I'm near Harvard I just feel smarter so it was a good boost of self-esteem on the intellectual front ;)

On Saturday, Sarah had a lil dance party at her family's winery and it was a great night of just letting loose and starting off our Reading Week right!

Enjoy some pics from the weekend...









Sunday, February 19, 2012

God. He's Just Good.

Ok I can't help it. I'm excited! Ecstatic, really. Obviously, you can see how much I treasure my friendships here at GCTS but I am also just really excited to see my friends in Basel again. Sometimes I still can't believe that God is opening this door. Every time I've had to leave that part of the world, I never know if I'll be back. Or I just assume if God is going to bring me back to Europe, he's not going to let me go back to the one spot that I completely feel at home. But God desires to give us good things!

"For everyone who asks, receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those that ask Him!" Matthew 7:8-11


This week I have continually been reminded of how much I am loved by my Father. Truly, abundantly, unconditionally, loved. On two different days, I received emails from friends in Basel that I hadn't heard from in a while saying how excited they were to see me again. It was a blessing to read and it was kind of like God was saying to me, "See? You've got so much ahead of you. Look at what's awaiting. Trust me. I've got this."

Check out some old school pics of my sweet friends that I can't wait to see again and how God continues to preserve these relationships.







Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Tale About a Pigeon

I'm sure if you've been following my blogs for a while, you have already read about this story I'm about to share. But I think it's quite relevant and kind of goes along with what this week has been like for me and what the future holds as well.

When I was living in Germany (I like how after August I will now have to say 'the last time I lived in Germany..'!) I remember waiting at a bus stop on the way to a meeting at church in Basel. It had been a rough month support wise and I hadn't gotten nearly enough in to pay bills. I was sitting at the bus stop silently panicking about how I was going to make ends meet. 

And then I saw him.

A pigeon.

He was pecking at the ground, he looked quite stout as pigeons go, and he didn't seem to have a care in the world. He'd also nearly missed being hit by a passing car, but you know how pigeons are. They seem to have that last minute sense to get out of the way before becoming roadkill. As I watched him, I was immediately reminded of Matthew 6:
"Don't worry about your life. What you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky; They don't sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you worth more than they?" Matthew 6: 25-26

Calculating up my support over and over isn't going to make it come in any faster. Worrying that I won't get the designated amount I need by August also isn't going to make it come any faster. Yet, knowing that GOD IS IN COMPLETE CONTROL and cares more about me than stinky pigeons reminds me of who I put my trust in. If he provides for those rats of the sky (sorry but that's what I compare them to!) to get all they need, He is going to provide for me and you to get all we need, whether it's monthly support or whatever your need is.

Next time you see a pigeon (or even worse, a seagull..don't get me started on those nasty things!) be reminded of your Heavenly Father and just how much He cares about YOU.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Keep Reading!

Melissa ran into me last night after reading my last post about Romans 5:3. Her exact words to me were, "Keep reading! There's hope at the end of endurance!"

So I kept reading. And she was right (Melissa is usually right). There is hope after we endure through suffering:
"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, and proven character produces HOPE." Romans 5:3-4.


But wait! There's even MORE! (Melissa, I actually read on so that you wouldn't tell me to keep reading again..haha). This is what the rest of the verse says:
"This hope will not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5.


So, what have I learned this week? Suffering + Endurance = Character AND Hope.

Amen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Suffering

This is what I've been learning as of late...

...when we suffer, it's because we're learning to ENDURE. Romans 5:3 says so:
"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces endurance."


Don't get me wrong. I don't wake up every morning and say "Jesus, please let me suffer so I can learn all about endurance." Maybe I should pray that way? I don't know. But it's not on the forefront of my mind. I'm usually pleading with Him, "Please let me have a good day and don't let anything bad happen and if it does please don't let it last long!"

In our suffering, we become more like Christ. I had a conversation with my mother, who, if you know her, know she is a walking Bible because she can quote just about anything from it. She learned that from her Nana, who was the same way. In this conversation, my mother told me that she once heard a pastor say that we are never more like Christ than when we are in the midst of suffering.

It puts things into perspective, that's for sure.

I am reminded of what I learned over the summer in Vienna. Jesus is building a mansion inside of us. And in order to do that, he has to get rid of all the crap. And to get rid of all the crap, he has to dig and strip and refurbish. My response to that when Lindsay was discipling us was "But what if I just want a shack and not a mansion?" Ha ha, I know. No, Jesus wants the best for us. In order to have the best, we have to be stripped of everything else.

And just when we think we're pruned, He continues to dig and strip us.

But just remember: SUFFERING. PRODUCES. ENDURANCE.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Antrims

As you all know, the Antrim fam are dear friends of mine who were with me at Rhein Int'l Academy in Germany 4 years ago. I am finally able to rejoice publicly with the announcement that they will be joining me again at BFA!! You can follow their story here:
The Antrims

Sunday, February 12, 2012

This weekend

The awesomeness started out on Friday when Mike Koerber, a recruiter from TeachBeyond (aka my missions organization) came to GCTS. He spoke about Black Forest Academy and other schools that they support and I was also able to give some insight into my calling to missions. I was able to talk to Mike and his wife, Sharon, afterwards and it really put my mind at ease about a lot of things I'd been semi-concerned about. Support raising and going to school full time is not exactly the easiest thing one can do!

Yesterday was my first venture for my Things To Do Before Leaving New England List. Caroline, Brie, Brittanie, and Kristen came along and we went to the Boston Public Library and got a TON of studying done. My brain was so fried when we left, it was refreshing to step out into the cold again! We took the T to Chinatown and got some yummy chinese food at China Pearl (highly recommended for those of you wanting to know a good place to go for Chinese!). It was also Chinese New Year so we got to see some of the celebrations going on at the restaurant.

Our plan afterwards was to go and see The Vow just down the street at the Boston Common AMC. Unfortunately, both showings were sold out and we decided to just go back to Caroline's and Brie's and watch Midnight in Paris. It's a Woody Allen flick and even though I've heard mixed reviews...I. Loved. It! The movie was the perfect way to end a really fun day with my friends.

I'll close with some pics of yesterday. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!






Thursday, February 9, 2012

Random Thoughts in the Last Few Weeks

3 months - exactly the time I have left at GCTS and New England. So I've decided to come up with a few adventures for me and my friends to embark on. Our first one takes place on Saturday. We're going to study all day at the Boston Public Library (yes, we're grad students and studying is part of our "fun") and then go and have some Dim Sum in Chinatown. After dinner, the girls are heading to Boston Common to watch The Vow. Guys are invited, too, but we're all pretty sure this is a chick flick only.

Brie, Melissa, April, April, Sarah, Lee, Caroline, Lyndsay, Steph - I don't know what I would have done without these amazing ladies in my life in the last few weeks. Talk about being abundantly blessed!

Super Bowl - we watched at The Baruchs. Lyndsay and I made oreo cupcakes.  I was happy New York won. After living here and hearing nothing but "Pats Pats Pats" it's refreshing to hear nothing about them anymore ;)

Weight Loss - I'm back on the diet that kicked me into gear 2 and a half years ago. I've lost 12 lbs since the middle of January and am hoping to lose 40 total by the time I leave for Germany.  And speaking of...

Germany - Support raising is going well. I'm still praying about people to contact and praying that God will continue to surprise me with His surprising blessings that never come too late! I'm excited about returning to the part of the world that I really consider "home."

And that's been the gist of what's gone on the last few weeks. I solemnly swear to be better at updating this blog this month!

Pics below of fun times: