Thursday, August 29, 2013

What am I wearing?

Big Girl Pants are defined as: pants you wear when you know you need to step up. Something you are called to do, the right thing no matter how hard it is to do it. Often it is related to listening and obeying the Holy Spirit. (These pants have NOTHING to do with weight and/or age.)

Earlier this week I had to put on my Big Girl Pants, something that I know I need to do more often but is not something that I jump in head first to do. The main reason I do not long to zip up my Big Girl Pants is because it means the Holy Spirit is working on something in me. He is convicting me and calling me to live in a righteous way. Now who would not want to live in accordance with the Holy Spirit?! I do, but repeatedly it means my sinful nature has won over my will to naturally do want I know I need to do. Yes, often when putting on my Big Girl Pants it is because, “I do the things I do not want to do and don’t do the thing I know I need to do.”

While the Spirit has been working on me to really see I needed to step up and put on my Big Girl Pants I came to a conclusion. One reason I do not love my Big Girl Pants is because they feel as if they were made out of wool! You know what I mean; it is that lovely article of clothing that is just itchy to wear because it is made from wool. You find yourself itching and moving often while in this garment. It just does not feel like your comfy yoga pants or worn in linen pants. While this analogy is true it is also convicting. Let me explore more…..

We daily live in our yoga or linen pants, daily we sin and break the heart of our Savior! So when it is made known to our continuous attention that we are in the wrong and need to make a change we put on the uncomfortable itchy wool pants. We then feel something outside of our norm. But in reality as Christian Ladies we should be wearing our Big Girl Pants each and every day!

The Word calls us to live in a way that is holy and upright, Micah 6:8. We are told to forgive as well as to go and seek forgiveness, Matthew 26:28 and Mark 11:25. But somehow this is not what we do first. Our sinful nature is comfortable with holding on to things and making excuses for why “we” do not need to go and ask for forgiveness. Hence why we are so comfortable in our yoga pants rather than our Big Girl Pants.

Trust me…. my sinful nature would be happy as a clam to forever stay in my yoga pants and to not have to feel the discomfort of my wooly Big Girl Pants. But God is working in me. He is showing me that I need to wear my Big Girl Pants every day. No matter how hard it is I need to be willing to zip up my Big Girl Pants every day. The hope and prayer is that God will give me the grace and strength to not just say it but to DO IT! The strange thing is God is telling me over time that these itchy wooly pants will become comfortable! Living in accordance with His Word, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, does wonders in our lives and that is what makes these irritating difficult pants worth wearing!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Best French Press EVER!

So when I came back to Uganda in early June I brought with me a brightly colored french press. The color was what sucked me in but the fact I had broken two french press already in my Africa kitchen I was despite for something strong! Strong and yet stylish...I may live in Africa but fashion and style have not left me!

While back in the great State of California I was on the hunt for a good french press, coffee is essential in the mornings, no matter what side of the world I am on. People have told me over and over again that Bodum is a great company. They looked nice from what I could see and if price means anything they should last from what I saw with that $$$ tag. 

With hope in me I bought the Bodum Brazil 8-Cup French Press Coffee Maker in Green and I am so happy I did! It works great! Makes coffee well, easy to clean, holds heat well, and it is colorful in my Africa kitchen.

If you need a new french press or looking for a gift for newly weds, missionaries heading to the field, grad, or more I would recommend this press! Comes in a few other colors so I am sure it will match many kitchens!

Here is to many happy mornings with a great cup of joe!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I am who I am and I do what I do because...

From and early age I would hear things like….”You are one of kind Sunshine.” “You are special.” “No matter if you have a learning disability or not…you are smart.” “You are mine and you make me smile.” ‘You shine so bright.” 
A lot of the encouraging words I heard as a child came from this lovely lady!

How could anyone, hearing encouraging words like this see themselves as anything but one of a kind?! While hearing these amazing words I also learned how broken, sinful, greedy, selfish, and lost I really was. God did a miraculous thing in my heart when I was the age of 12. He showed me I needed Him more than anything else. With faith like a child I prayed for Jesus to save me. (He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24.)

To this day, I can recall all the detail of the moment Christ was made the center of my life. Now, when this happened that did not mean my selfishness, greed, brokenness, sin, and or dyslexia went away, never to be see or heard of again. In fact the opposite happened! All the CRAP in me, yes I am a missionary I said crap, was magnified. The Holy Spirit pointed out everything with microscope precision. And no matter what I do or how hard I try…until I reach Heaven’s joys, bright heaven’s son, I will not be fully Christ-like.  

Now here is the kicker. Knowing of all this I stand scratching my head. God in His infinite wisdom is using me in Africa, when He could fully well do it all on His own. Heavenly Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Yahweh, the great I Am is using me. He is using sinful, greedy, selfish, prideful, tattooed, and broken ME! 
“Holy Crap…why on earth,” is what I daily ask. And every day this is the answer I get…

Cassandra, you don’t have to know. It is ok if you do not see it. You just have to trust, trust in me. I know what I am doing, so you do not have to. You just need to walk by faith and not by sight, as hard as it may be. You have to know I made you just the way you are and I made you this way for a reason. Just because some one else does not see it, or get it does not mean there is no value. So, can you trust? Can you let go and daily do what I set before you? Everyday can you love and support the people I place into your life, no matter how long they are there for?  Daughter that is all I am asking you do because I am doing the rest for you. –Abba

So until the day I take my last breath and see my savior face to face, I will be who He made me to be and I will do what He is asking of me. For He has done so much more in order to call me daughter. (I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14)

Learning to love who I am and how Christ made me

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

An Open Door...

More than I would like to admit the phrase “God opened the door” comes out of my mouth. That phrase itself is not bad. In fact, it is good. It is acknowledging that God is at work rather than me. More of Him and less of me is a great thing!

In the last few weeks something strange has happened. Countless conversations have turned to the topic of “God opening doors.” The odd part is how a few friends and I started to see that there seems to be a hidden expectation with the meaning of this phrase. As we were talking, we all kind of had a moment of “Huh? Wonder why that is.”  For me, that moment has continued for over a week now. For some reason I cannot stop thinking about how an open door does not mean walking through will be smooth or painless.

Some how the idea that when God opens a door in our lives, whatever is on the other side will be easier than where we are now. Not sure how or why, but many, including myself hold on to hope of this unrealistic expectation. Yes, God is good and desires the best for us! 
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
 John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Psalm 52:8  But I am like an olive tree
    flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
    for ever and ever.
God is not anything if not loving.  But I think we have forgotten one key aspect. We have forgotten about someone that seeks to have power and influence over us. We have forgotten about the enemy.

Now, please, understand I do not want to give credit to the devil. But, face it, he is good at what he does! We have forgotten he is free and roaming this earth.  I believe  that has led us to think an open door means golden roads ahead.

Personally, I can look back at my life and see where I assumed there was going to be golden roads ahead when God opened a door in my life. And more over, I can tell you how many times I have been sorely mistaken. The lack of golden or easy roads on the other side of the door has never meant God did not open the door, but it hasn’t been a cakewalk! The thing I have been learning is God opens the doors in our lives and when we have the faith and trust to walk through them, the enemy panics.  Through the Lord’s strength, the fears of walking through the door did not hold us back, so his first strategy failed. So he goes on the attack!

The enemy understands that because we were obedient to the Lord, mountains are about to move. Lives are going to be changed and he will do what he can, even when he knows he will fail, to de-rail us. He makes the steps we take after crossing the threshold feel like we are under fire. Here we thought it was going to be a bed of roses because the Lord opened the door for us. Hate to spoil the ending for ya but, GOD WINS
 1 Samuel 17:47  All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
The Lord wins every time. So when we are hitting the deck to avoid the attacks of the enemy we need to remember who has ALREADY won the war.  We need to stand strong and fight back with God’s word and TRUTH. We have nothing to fear. The Lord of angel armies is on our side.
Exodus 15:6  Your right hand, Lord,
    was majestic in power.
Your right hand, Lord,
    shattered the enemy.
Now I do realize it is much easier said than done. Our human nature tells us to duck or run away. So now my prayer is for us to be strong and realistic when God opens a door.  Praying for the Holy Spirit to instill peace and passion into us so we do not hit the deck but stand strong. Stand strong knowing God has already one the war!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Speaking of Africa

I have been back a month now.  Already spoken at two churches and seen many friends and supporters. Can you guess the number one question I am asked?! Been gone for a it make sense people want to know "How was Africa?"

This is a hard question to answer. Hard to answer because there is a lot I could reply with, just never sure who wants to hear what. Everyone wants to hear I am good and God is amazing (like He always is) but not everyone wants to hear about the hard and dark days. Often people do not even really want to the truth. It is the same thing when people ask you "how are you," as you pass them in the hall at work.  You say "good" or maybe even "fine" but in the back of your mind you are thinking "do you really want to know how I am?"

Come know what I am talking about. Everyone has been asked the question and then formulated a response that they thought the other  person wanted to hear. To be fair I was like this when I lived in the States. Yup, asking "how are you," is what you say was you pass people you know.

Here is where it gets hard for me. For a year and a half I have been in a culture where you stop and talk to people. No matter if you are late for work, a meeting, or whatever you STOP and chat with people you pass.Time is not what is important, it is more the relationship with the person you are talking with that takes precedent. Time is spent with others thinking about them, not about how much time has passed.
Some of you are thinking how odd it is to stop where ever you are to chat with someone. Some are even passing judgement, because time is valuable.  Trust me I once thought the same way. Over time and learning more about Ugandans and the heart of my heavenly father I come to see things in a new light. There is a phrase I have learned and say daily in Africa, it just might help with this. "It is not right or wrong, it is just different." Without understanding why something is done or not done how can anyone make a judgement call?  You can't. You would be assuming, and we all know what happens when you assume.

This is a lesson the Lord has taught me over the years and now as I am back in the States for a while; I have to re-learn this lesson with in American culture.  So, I often take a breath and pray when someone asks me "how was Africa?" Not because I am tired of being asked that questions but more so to invite the Holy Spirit to come and give me words. I do not want to answer as others want me to. I pray I answer as the Lord is asking me to. To be honest and open about what He is doing in Africa. 
I ask you help me never open my mouth to speak about Africa without your words in my mouth. Please touch my heart when it is time be still and wait on your for answers. Give me the answers you know other people need to hear, even if they do not want to hear it. May you also tell me when to shut up! I pray everyone will be genuine and honest when they ask others "how are you." Help me to care less about time and more about my brothers and sisters. Help me do this here in the States as well as Uganda. Thank you Lord to loving me and taking your time with me! -Amina

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Faces I have missed...

Hard to believe it has been one month, one month back in the great state of California. 

God is so good. He knows me more than I ever could and speaks to me in ways that just touch my soul! Over the last month there have been countless moments of sweet reunions. There have also been moments of pure and utter laughter! You know, the kind that makes you cry and almost pee your paints.....yes there has been much of that.

Thank you for all your prayers as I did make the transition to the States from Uganda. I will be honesty and I am not 100% comfortable here but it is blessed time. Learning and growing, trusting and surrendering.

Here are just some of the faces I have missed but are apart of my daily life for the next two months. I am one blessed girl!
Keri and I enjoying chatting, sunshine, and good friends!

Erik and I goofing off at my Birthday Party!

Jaylee Ann ready to take a ride with Auntie Cass

Beth and Erik making me laugh!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Faith, Hope, and LOVE

Life in Africa is hard. Often things happen and we wonder and pray. Someday we hope to understand but until then we have faith in God's master plan. We also walk in the true love and freedom.

“Look at the nations and watch—
    and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
    that you would not believe,
    even if you were told. Habakkuk 1:5

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

When I started with AIM I was blessed to spend three weeks with over 30 adults and 15 children. We all learned more about life in Africa, missions, the African would view, and more. So many firsts were shared together and life long bonds were created. 
 13 But it is you, a man like myself,
    my companion, my close friend,
14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
    at the house of God,
as we walked about
    among the worshipers. Psalm 55:13-14
My fun ABO crew!
Julie Gennaro and I at our last ABO dinner!

One family I loved spending time with was the Gennaro Family. They answered the Lord's call to live along the people in the hills of Losatho in southern Africa. This amazing family of eight packed up and said goodbye to Sunny San Diego and headed off to the cool windy hills of one of the smallest African countries. They came to work with a vocational training center in a small village. Chris, the father, has indescribable skills in dress making and tailoring. Whether cracking jokes with Chris and his lovely wife, Michelle, having a sleep over with their three daughters, or running around outside with their three boys I LOVED being with this family. They truly love the Lord and seek Him in all they do. Each child is growing more and more into the person the Lord has created them to be with loving and supporting parents. 
One of the CRAZY Gennaro boys!

Can you tell I love this family?! Well I do. This morning I could not help but lift this family up in prayer. With tears in my eyes I learned that last night Chris went to be with Jesus. The family was blessed to say goodbye and be by his side. After a heart attack and three weeks in a South African ICU, the Lord called His faithful servant home. Please lift this family up in prayer as they grieve the loss of a husband and father. We have HOPE that this family will see God's loving hand in this dark season. We have FAITH that God's plan will bring Him glory for the Gennaro's obedience and work in Africa. We ask that the LOVE this family has for the Lord will be a testimony for all to see.

because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. Colossians 1:4-6 

With a sad heart I say goodbye but with a hopeful spirit I rejoice with the heavens as they welcome Chris home!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

10 More Days...

A face I will miss!
Sweet little WOO HOO man!
In just 10 days I will be landing in California. It is so hard to believe that almost 2 years has gone by. As the anticipation of 3 months at home becomes a reality I can not help but think of all the people I have missed. At the same time I am started to see how much I will miss Uganda, even more my Ugandan family. Oh, the life the Lord as called me to. A life of joy because of all the relationships I am blessed to have.

No matter what side of the world I am on, the Lord had given me people to call family. My Ugandan family is so sad to see me head to the States.  They are constantly asking if  I will be coming back. Just today I told a friend I was leaving in 10 days and she said "No! Three months is too long. You must come back before that!" Just as sad as my family on this side of the world is, the family on the other side is very excited. While SKYPEing with my sweet little man, I informed him it was just 12 more days and his reply was "Oh Yeah?! WOOO HOOO!"

As you could image my emotions are all mixed up at the moment. Should I feel sad? Do I feel happy?! All I know is in 10 days I say goodbye to sweet sweet friends, the part of being a missionary I will never be use to. But, in just 24 hours after these goodbyes I will be saying HELLO to people I have missed like crazy.  And in May the process will start all over again! So I am giving it to the Lord. Asking Him to allow me to feel what I need to feel while giving me peace and joy. All the while praying I do not look like a hot mess of emotions!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Holding On

Do you remember the spark?  The undeniable tugging on your heart that you were called to go, to serve, to preach, to love, and to share the good news and amazing grace of Jesus Christ?

To those abroad living out your faith in the capacity of missions, congratulations and thank you.  You are examples of what it is to walk by faith and not by sight.  You are storing up treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy, where thieves do not break in and steal (Matthew 6:19-20).  Your obedience is precious in God's eyes.  There is no doubt that when your day comes to go home, you will hear His voice proudly say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:23).

That spark turned into a blazing fire.  His Spirit in you has given you the passion to reach out to the lost and the needy for the sake of His Kingdom.  You followed His voice.  You obeyed.  For that, I admire you, and I pray for you.  So many of us here in the States are lifting you up in prayer daily.  But will you also pray for us?  Will you pray for those who have a passion for missions like you do?

Lynn heard God's calling in her college years.  She had a heart for Deaf ministry.  She learned of an American Sign Language (ASL) Bible translation project and had a desire to help translate the Bible into other sign languages around the world, as sign languages are not universal in form or in grammar.  She believed that her background in linguistics would be a good starting point for a ministry of this type.  She also desired to interpret in church settings so that the American Deaf community could have more access to church services.  She used to browse the internet looking for Deaf missions opportunities in other countries.  She dreamed with excitement and wonder at how God could use her in such settings.  What happened to the spark?

While studying ASL-English interpretation, she was afflicted with a muscular condition that caused chronic pain head to toe.  Interpreting as a career was not a plausible option.  Even talking with Deaf people left her feeling sore for hours after.  Treatments weren't curing, and hopes for healing were getting crushed bit by bit.  Even in the struggle, God did not forget her.  He blessed her with an amazing husband who supported her and never made her feel like a burden.  They wrote worship songs together that glorified God.  Lynn continued to praise God in the storm.  God gave her jobs that were within her range of expertise and physical abilities.  She loved who she worked with and always strove to shine the love of Christ to those she came in contact with.  She learned to have a missionary heart wherever she was.  Then a baby came, a little girl who she loved with all her heart.  Her little girl was her ministry.  As Lynn met other moms, they also became her ministry.  God continued to put people in her life who she could bear witness to.  All the while, dreams of being a missionary in a far off country were slowly fading.  Passions were still there, but new ones had replaced the old ones.

As for Lynn's health, new hopes in alternative medicine and healthy eating sparked her interest.  She found some relief down this path.  She continues to follow a healthy diet but sometimes makes it an idol.

In light of the miracles written of in God's word, she sought out the prayers of other Christians, particularly brothers and sisters who have gifts of healing.  She experienced eye-opening, supernatural miracles on her own body, but she never had a complete healing for her head-to-toe pain.  In her own conversations with God, it became clear to her that He would heal her in this lifetime, but in His own way and in His perfect timing.  She trusted Him, but she held on tightly to her circumstances.

Putting much faith in her organic diet and alternative healing modalities, she carried the thought, Well, it's not the right time for me to go on a missions trip.  I wouldn't have access to all the things that have helped me feel better.  I already hurt, and without these things, the pain could worsen.

A girl who had seen the power of prayer firsthand doubted God's hand of protection if she were to go abroad, out of her comfort zone, away from her simple pleasures and home remedies.  This same girl who expected God's miracle of healing was holding onto her health like it was in her hands.  God spoke to her about this matter and said this:

"Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
Forget your people and your father's house. 
The king is enthralled by your beauty;
Honor Him, for He is your Lord."
-Psalm 45:10-11

In her journal, Lynn wrote this in response:

Today, I heard you speak.  You asked me if I would GO.  If you were to call me to the mission field, would I be willing to go?  If you stripped away the security and comfort I have here, would I trust You to take care of me?  Would I trust You to be my daily bread?  Would I trust You to guard and preserve my health without access to my home remedies, my raw milk, and my organic food?

In asking this question, You revealed to me my idol, that which I place before Your power and sovereignty.  Who am I to put You in a box, to doubt You, when You have given me the blessing and privilege of witnessing miracles?  This is big.  This is what You've been getting at all along.  This is the fear that has been growing inside of me, and its roots go deep.  You want to uproot it, but You need me to loosen the soil around it.  You need me to loosen my grip.  You need me to walk in the authority that You have given me, authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means harm me (Luke 10:19).  For no weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17).

Lord, you spoke with and interacted with lepers, those considered unclean.  In the Old Testament, we read of the laws that said to steer clear of the unclean or else reap the consequences of becoming unclean ourselves.  But Jesus, you were higher than the law.  Knowing the authority You have, You touched the eyes of lepers and healed them.  You did not contract their disease, their uncleanness, or their sin.  You made the lepers righteous and pure, healed and whole.

Christ, You live in me.  The same power that conquered the grave lives in me (Romans 8:11), and You said that Your followers would do greater things (John 14:12).  If I am truly operating on that belief, then I need not fear the food that I eat, the products I use on my body, the medicine I take, or the treatment I may receive.  The same goes for my family.  They are in Your hands, and I don't need to fear.  Fear is not of God, but perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

So God, You know that I desire to eat healthy, to live a very natural lifestyle, but most importantly, help me to live and embrace the supernatural lifestyle of love that You have called me to.

I believe that Lynn represents a great number of Christians who once desired something bigger, but circumstances of this life took them in a different direction.  It's not to say that God hasn't used them on the path they are traveling.  Indeed, He uses our circumstances and struggles to increase our faith and to increase our passion for Him.  But those circumstances and struggles should not kill the dreams that were planted by the Holy Spirit.  We hope for what we do not see (Romans 8:24-25), so who's to say that Lynn and others like her do not have missions in their future?  May God's Spirit reignite their passion, and may the power of prayer break every chain that binds them to a lifestyle lesser than what God has called them to.

To those in missions, I would ask that you pray for those of us who desire to join you on the missions field but feel inhibited by our circumstances.  We mean well, but we lack a peace that says, "It is well with my soul."  We are holding onto something.  We are waiting for God to part the seas before we step out in faith.  What we need is to step out in faith, and I believe that as we go forward, He will direct our path, part seas, and move mountains because we are seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).  Dear missionaries, we are praying for you, and we thank the Lord for your faithfulness in serving Him and drawing others into the Kingdom of God. 

In closing, I'd like to turn your attention back to Psalm 45:10-11, the verse that God used to speak to Lynn.  He asked her to rewrite it in her own words, personalized to reflect her own circumstances and struggles.  I challenge you to do the same.

"Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear:
Forget your people and your father's house. 
The king is enthralled by your beauty;
Honor Him, for He is your Lord."
-Psalm 45:10-11

Here's what Lynn wrote:

Listen to me, Lynn.  Hear my voice and think about what I have to say to you:

Forget the opinions of your family members, your parents, your sisters, your husband.  Forget about the opinions of your friends and acquaintances, Christian or non-Christian.  Forget about the views that oppose yours.  Forget about the people who mock your beliefs and your faith.  Don't live in bondage to them.  Don't live to be accepted by them.  They are not your audience. 

The King is your audience, and He is enthralled by your beauty.  After all, He made you that way, and He wants to continue to embellish you and crown you with the riches of His Kingdom.  He loves you.  He receives you.  He accepts you.  He enjoys you.  He wants more and more of You.

Honor Him.  Spend time with Him.  Love Him.  Rely on Him.  Surrender Your all to Him.  Hold nothing back.  Release it all, and let Him have complete control over Your life and circumstances.  Be desperate for Him.  Trust Him to meet your EVERY need.  He is good, and His love for you endures forever.  He is your God, Yaweh, the Great I Am, the Pearl of Great Price, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Raphah, and He wants You.  He is love.  Embrace Him and rest in the arms of His peace which surpasses understanding.  Yes, honor Him, for He is your Lord.


Thank you for reading, and blessings to you all.

Your Sister in Christ,
Marsha Lynn Hoyt

Keep Your Eyes Open!

I am so excited to post this news! There will be some guest bloggers coming soon!!

God has touched tuned my hears to worldwide missions.  He is doing so much outside of Africa. The world is so big and yet so small. Missions does not mean packing up and moving 1/2 way around the world. Yes, for some but God is calling each of us to be apart of what He is doing HERE and NOW!

There are amazing things happening all around us, so I am thrilled to highlight some of it. Also if you have some great stories of how God is moving, missions, and loving others contact me. I would love to hear all about it!

So, keep your eyes open....some great new posts are coming soon!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Being a Very OPEN Book...

For those who know me well....I do not have poker face nor hide my feelings well. So it would be no surprise that I am willing to open up about how I am feeling, how I am really feeling.

In just 24 days I land back in the States! First time coming back, I am over the moon but I am also so scared! Really think about it with me for a moment....

My home is third world country. The last year 1/2 have been so trying, growing, powerful, and amazing but with ever lesson learned I have become more African in my way of thinking. English is just one of the language I speak on a daily bases. Death, HIV/AIDS, poverty, and spiritual darkness are now realities for me. Options are also very limited and at times nonresistant.

In a nutshell my life has changed! While my life has changed, life for my loved ones back "home" has moved forward. Some people are married, babies have been born, new homes have been moved into, and so much more. I love them and they love me, but our lives are so different. I know things are going to be different, and expecting things will be different.  I pray that God will help my heart be ready for all the change I will face.

I am praying for this change but also for the fact I will be back in the "Land of Plenty."As much as I am wanting to go into Target and stock up on things, I know will be overwhelmed! There will be countless times I have breakdowns, meltdowns, and feel like I do not belong. All of this is known....but not yet where I am.

The more I think about the joys of home assignment, the fears in me also come out. Today after reading a wonderful article (A Great Read For all Friends and Family of Missionaries!) about missionaries heading on furlough my face must have been very cold. My dear friend Godfrey came into my office and asked "Sister, where is your smile?!" That is when it hit me... these days I am a ball of emotions for the world to see! I told him "I am trying to find it. Really I am!" He laughed and said it is there and that I just need to trust in the Lord.

Oh God, thank you for using people to remind me that all I need to do is trust in you. Yes,  I am so excited to go "home" but also afraid. So scared I will not fit in and understand things around me. Help my spirit to let all this fear go. Open my eyes to your faithfulness! This time at home is not for me. It is for you to get the glory for all you are doing here in Africa! You are using me to share all you are doing and at the same time you are blessing me with time to connect with family, friends, and supporter. Thank you for that. Help me finish well these next few weeks before I head to the States! -Amen


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where I Belong!

This afternoon, while driving home, Amanda and I listened to Building 429 "Where I Belong." I had goosebumps! What a reminder that we are not called to comfortable here on this earth.

 All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

Later in the evening I was on FaceBook, yes this missionary is on FB :) There was a post from a friend who is also here in Uganda. She is homeschooling 8 missionary kids! The post was a Francis Chan video. Again it was a reminder about how important it is to NOT live for this world. Just a small part of our existence is here on earth, the rest of eternity is awaiting us! Hope it put things into perspective for you as it did me! Francis Chan Rope Illustration

I may be out here in Africa living what the Lord has called me to do, for now. Both the song and video hit me....I am now in the Lord's will but I have to daily make sure I am walking where He wants me. Daily I need to do what He is asking me to do! For now it is Africa and what I am doing here has eternal value. It all comes down to just one thing......not regretting! He calls, I go.Whenever and where ever!

Lord, help me see that life here is short. There is so much more ahead. Help my selfish will be laid to rest so I can take up my cross and follow you. May my mind be set on eternal things and not the here and now. -Amen

Monday, January 28, 2013

Learning Through Faith

Friday, I dropped my car off at the shop. It is amazing how much maintenance cars out here need. The roads are hard, dust is flying, and the sun it hot. For parts that move, Africa is no cake walk.

The Beast, what I named my 4X4 Toyota Prado, had a laundry list of repairs. Just as roads are hard on cars repairs are hard on my wallet! Fixing my car is always a leap of faith. You just never know how much it will cost or how long it will take. Friday to Tuesday this time and close to $400.

The Beast!
The Lord is teaching me a lesson in faith right now. There is $100 in my account and the $400 bill comes due tomorrow afternoon. Now as you read this you might be thinking this is a peal for more support, trust me it is not! There is peace in my heart. God will provide and will do so in His timing! How do I know?! Because our God is faithful.

I know how great His provisions are! When I moved to Uganda I came out with a dream to have a car but no funds for one. 6 months after I landed a The Beast was given me to. Yes, I was given a car. God  touched some missionaries heart's. They were head back to American for good and thought I could use the car. How great is our God?!  He is AMAZING!

So just like a car was given when there was a need I know the funds will be as well. I pray for His will and timing. As He answers I can not wait to share it with you!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fast Update

 Many of you know I set out to do a 30 fast. Well I made it 10 days...10 out of 30 ain't bad, right?!

Let me explain. The first three days were very hard. The no coffee was a killer. Mornings were not good nor was I pretty. By day four I was feeling better but very weak. On day five I was feeling the better. By this time some hope was shining, making me think I could make it to day30.

After having a few low days, days 6-8, I listened to some really wise people. They pointed out it was my first fast..and 30days might be a little ambitious. They suggested I think about 10 or 15 days to start off with. After that I will be able to go a little longer next time and eventually work up to 30days.  Part of me was upset at the fact I was struggling so much while the other part wanted to end the fast that day!

Over the next day, day8, I  really prayed about ending before 30days and I felt peace about it. So I pushed through the next two days and finished as strong as I could!

It is strange to think of how much I learned about myself in 10days. Really I learned a lot. Saw some things that were not pretty but now I know about them so I can work on it. The growing process is not over, it will never be over.

For those of you who prayed for me, THANK YOU. It was need and felt. If the Lord ever asks you to do a crazy thing like a fast let me know. I would love to pray for you!

10 Things I learned about myself while on the 10Day Fast:
1. My flesh is selfish!
2. Often food is used as a filler (when I am sad, stressed, tired an so on) for me.
3. I can live without coffee (I do not like it but I can).
4. I do not pray as much as I would like to think I do.
5. There is a need to dig more into the Word daily.
6. God is slow to anger and quick to love, I need to be more like that.
7. Heath goes beyond food.
8. Others are often used to help us grow, we need to be open to listening to them.
9. I often wait to hear from God in big ways while missing the small ways He speaks to me.
10. God is so good and big! I often lose sight of that!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oh, what a shortbread cookie can do!!

That saying "The Lord works in mysterious ways, " could not be more true! I just got a call from a missionary friend working in the the North part of Uganda. She just had received a small care-package I sent to her via another missionary. 

She called with an excited voice, it brought a smile to my face! She proceeded to tell me how thankful she was for the care-package. The other day she noted she was walking around the house looking for something small to eat. She was craving some British Short-Bread cookies, which I just so happen to have picked up in town for her package. Her voice was so joyful as she told me how much the little gift meant to her. As I listened to her I could not feel that the Lord used me to bless her. He had me go into the right shop, walk down the right allies,  and pick the right cookies.

Really think about it. I know her but we had not spoken in weeks. I was clueless she was craving short-bread. Also I was so unaware you could even get them here in Kampala, but the Lord knew! This small event has made me stop and think. How many times does the Lord use me or uses others and we are unaware of how we are being used.   It just is a testament to how He knows best, His timing is perfect, and what great things happen when we obey Him! So from now on I pray to be better at being open to the Spirit! If He moves I will go, if He prompts I will respond, and so on.

Lord use me! Even in little ways. When you do something it is not for nothing. Help me see how every little thing plays a part in your master plan. Soften my heart so I can hear your Spirit better! -Amen

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Better than water for sun soaked skin!

Today the African sun was out in full force! Rainy season is over, hello hot hot heat and dry dusty days.

After spending most of the day in the sun my skin was dry and tired. Even with sunscreen on and replied a few times this Scandinavian DNA never really tans.  I have made peace with always turning a lovely shade of red. To help combat the sun dried feeling I soaked in a lovely coconut milk bath, home made of course!

It may sound a little odd, I thought so too at first but TRUST me. Your skin will love it and you will love how you feel after! The coconut milk proteins are better than water for your sun soaked skin and the lavender oil helps make that red color fade. The smell is also amazing. So tranquil and tropical! Next time your skin is crying out for some love after a day in the sun.....feed it with a rich milk bath!

How To:
1/2 cup coconut milk (I use powered because it is what I have. From the tin will work just as well.)
15-20 drops of lavender oil
2-3 heaping Tbps of backing soda

Add all ingredients to a lukewarm bath as you are drawing it. Soak in heaven for at least 30 min.

Chocolate and Strawberry?

What is better than chocolate and strawberry? my mind NOTHING! While getting real strawberries is a monumental task here in Uganda I have created a yummy and easy way to have both flavors in one bite!

This treat is a great crowd please-er I made it for an orientation and it was gone in just a few short minutes. Easy and yummy nothing can be better!

How To:
-Make 1 box of strawberry cake mix (follow instructions on the box and set to the side)
-Make one batch of homemade browine batter (yes home made because it is the best)
-Grease one 9x8 pan (I use coconut oil)
-Pour the cake mix into pan
-Pour brownie mix on top of the cake mix
-Bake in oven on 180C for 15-20 minutes (tooth pick should come out clean when done)
-ENJOY every bite!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The View As I See It...

As I type there are three little girls asleep in my guest room. We shared a night full of fun, movies, nail painting, pizza, giggles, stories, and more! They are here growing up in Africa. Each day they learn more about this world we live in, as well as how the Lord has called us into it to help others come to know Him.

As I sit in my candle lite room I can not help but think. What will these girls grow up to be?! The Lord has a great plan in store for them. They have hopes and dreams. Who knows....maybe one will be first woman president.

While I think about them and what the years to come look like, I am excited, but also sad. I love kids (if you did not know that already). Something inside of me looks at the view as I see it and is over come with mixed emotion. God has called me to Africa. He has blessed me. Each day He shows me where He wants me. Today He wants me with these sweet girls. But there is a hole in my heart. I long for little ones of mine own (not only biologically but through adoption as well). As I have a ball with every child the Lord passes in my path with I wonder.  Will ever have children of my own?

Maybe a family is not what God has for me. If so, that is something I will have to come to terms with. Only He knows what is down this crazy road called life. So from where I sit there is joy paired with longing. I will do my best to give it to the Lord. Fully lay this desire down at His feet and TRUST. So much easier said than done. I will hold on to the truth I know: 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me. 
 No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.
 Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths. Psalm 25:2-4

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How could you say NO?!

Look at these faces?! Too cute! How could you say no to them?! I can't! I see most of these sweethearts each and every day. They life near the Central Region office.

Their families have answered the call of the Lord to serve here in Africa. Many are working among unreached people groups in Central Region. In many of these remote areas where they are ministering education options are slim to none! So most MKs are home schooled.

I am so excited to say Central Region Short-Term supports these AH-mazing families with home school support! Many of the families have expressed the need of support through a STmer coming out from any where to 6 months to a year. It maybe heard to think ahead to the next school year but it is coming! Two families here in Central Region are asking for help for the 2013/2014 school year! Please pray with me. Praying the Lord to touches people's hearts for these precious MKs. If you or someone you know would be interested in helping is more info!

Is God calling you?

Do you have a love of teaching? Is your heart passionate about children growing into who God has created them to be? If so...WE NEED YOU!

Many families working in Chad, preaching God's word, have children. Children need to learn and in order for children to learn teachers are needed!

For more information: AIM US Office

8 New....

2013 is here! God is moving! This month alone 8 new Short-Term missionaries will land here in Uganda.

2 have landed this past week. Just yesterday they finished orientation and are headed to their ministry locations. It was so great to hear how each one had a different encounter with God and how uniquely His called each of them to Africa.

Every orientation gives me goosebumps! As each ST missionary tells their story I see how big our God is.  I also love to see them draw out their stories, yes we have fun in orientation with colors and markers! With 2 out of the 8 done I am getting even more excited for the rest of the month!

Post Bus our Short-Termes use to get to the South-West of Uganda
Please join me in prayer for the 2 new STmers and 1 skilled STmer who are traveling to the South-West of Uganda to their ministry location. They are enjoying a 5 hour bus ride to meet up with their Unit Leader and go through one more field orientation. Travel in Africa is never easy nor what one expects. We are praying for a safe and uneventful ride!

Also please cover the 6 yet to arrive here in Uganda. 1 New short-termer is currently at AIM's US office going through orientation and will be flying out on the 9th.
AIM US's last Short-Term orientation! A few of these STemers are here on the field already!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year and New You?

You know that saying you always hear at the New Year?! "Here is to a New Year and a new you!" Well this New Years was the first time I really thought about it. I am all for the new year part....change is the only thing that is consent. But the new you part made me a little uneasy.

We all want to be the best we can be......the person God created us to be. He has great plans for us.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:11-12

We are each created to play a role is His symphony that tells the world of His great love for us. So when someone says "here is to a new you" my spirit cringes! I do not want to be a new me where the change starts with me!

Really! Think about it. If I was the person I wanted to be I would not be who the Lord created me to be! My natural self is selfish, greedy, stubborn, ugly, impatience,  you all know I could go on! So with all these sinful traits why would I not want more of the Lord?!

Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 
Romans 5:3-6

So this year I am asking the Lord for a new me, one that is of His design. For the next month I will be letting go of things and clinging more to the Lord. Giving up all processed foods, gluten, dairy, sugar, and more unnatural products that I so often put in my body. Giving up to replace what has been missing! Fruit and veggies will be the main staple of my diet for the next 31 days. 

Now, I am not naive. It will be hard! Very hard. But a wise friend has encouraged me to pray, A LOT! So is just what I am going to do. There are many things I could pray for. What the Lord has touched my heart to pray on the ministry He has called me to, Central Region Short-Term. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7

The Lord is doing a lot in our Short-Term missionaries, the countries and areas they are working in, in the people they are ministering to, and in me.       
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. John 17:20-21

The next month will be a wild ride! So excited to see what the Lord does. There will be change, for the better! I would love your prayers during this time, I am sure it will not be pretty for the first few days!