Friday, December 11, 2009

i'm the grinch.

I hate the mall. I hate the mall 100x more during Christmas time. I attempted to go Christmas shopping the past couple of days. The first time was unpainful, yet short-lived due to somewhere else I needed to be. The second attempt was more painstaking, yet I did manage to accomplish some of my shopping, just not with the best attitude.

Here are some of the reasons, I continued to remind myself that I hate Christmas shopping, and the reasons why I deemed myself the grinch while at the mall:

1. We all know parking is bad, and I can deal with that, but I cannot deal with people (slow walkers) walking in the middle of where you drive down the rows, and seem to be oblivious to your car.

2. Small cars: I hate thinking you have finally found a parking space, and then, 'oh yeah, there's a little baby car parked there.'

3.I hate that there is road construction right outside the mall and traffic goes down to one lane. It's not like they didnt know Christmas was coming, and that there is a traffic flow problem even without the construction.

4. I hate that the heaters are turned up to the absolutely highest that they could go. It's cold outside, people are going to wear lots of clothes. There is no need to turn the heaters full blast unless you want me to walk around the mall in my undies. Heat makes people uncomfortable, unhappy, tired, and gripey.

5. I hate unfriendly associates. It's your job to be nice and helpful to me.

6. I hate when people are standing way too close to you on the escalator. Unspoken rule: One person to a step, and maybe leave one in between us.

7. I hate the kiosk workers at the mall. If i wanted to try your stuff, I would come and ask to try it, or at least make eye contact with you. And if I didn't 5 minutes ago when I walked by then Im not going to want it now, or at your other 4 kiosks in the mall.

Needless to say, I have yet to finish all of my Christmas shopping, which means I am going to have to brave the elements once again.
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Monday, December 7, 2009

mission failed.

so i guess we can say that i royally failed (one post per day for the whole month)..i would like to blame it on finals...i like to blame everything bad on them...but considering i have this whole day to do absolutely nothing (will be explained in future blog) and that blogspot has this neat thing where you can change the post date and time, then i will write a few blogs to fill in the space between the 6th and 14th..maybe i can fill all the days, but im not sure if that is possible. so we will begin with this one (although it was truly written on the 14th), it is filling in for the 7th.
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

fianls are this week.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

used car salesman

So for those of you who don't know I'M A USED CAR SALESPERSON.

and today was a great milestone:


hopefully many more to come...
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Friday, December 4, 2009

bullhorn theory.

so a couple of months ago, i had the chance to listen to this guy- Justin McRoberts- at Bridgeway. he has some great songs, with really full lyrics. give this and his other stuff a shot, you wont regret it.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009


*i love reading yahoo news, and to be honest, its where i usually get clued in on important and not-so-important things going on in the world... and this would be one of the not so important things.


here are the boxes from the past to current- beginning on the left in 1916, then in 1923, then in 1956, then last updated in 1970.
here also is the woman who posed for the painting found on the original boxes. her name is Lorraine Collett Petersen, this is from may 1915

and now...drum roll please...this is the 21st century makeover of the sun-maid girl..

times are a changeing....consider yourself educated...

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

and some things about december that make me not so happy:

being so cold i can feel my bones shake.

chapped lips.
dry skin.

when your car heater takes incredibly too long to heat up.

not finding enough clothes or blankets to keep warm, even in your own house.

when people do a bad job of putting up christmas lights.

cheesy renditions of favorite christmas classics.

the merry christmas vs. happy holidays feud.

running noses.

frostbitten hands.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

hello december.

i love december.

here's a few reasons as to why:

christmas lights.

snow. (hopefully).

hot cocoa.


one of my best friends welcoming her second child.

my birthday.

getting gifts for people.

little debbie christmas cakes.

huge break from school.

taking trips to visit friends.



hot tea.


candy canes.

the christmas spirit.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

just a little FYI..

For your information:
i think for the month of december i am going to try to blog everyday. however, for me, this is easier said that done, so we will see.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009


Today marks the first Sunday of Advent.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Advent season, here is a little information on what it is: (from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming") is a season of the Christian church, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Birth of Jesus; in other words, the period immediately before Christmas. Christians believe that the season of Advent serves a dual reminder of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of the Messiah as well as the waiting that Christians today endure for the second coming of Christ. During this season in the Church, we should look back and celebrate the birth of our Savior, while hopefully waiting for His return.

I feel as though the Lord has yet again proven Himself faithful in this season of my life. I feel as though on numerous occasions, He has time and time again made Himself and His will known to me. I believe there are times in one's life when there may be moments and/or seasons of silence. However, this season is not characterized by that at all, and for this season I am completely grateful.

However, I do feel as though I am taking advantage of this time. And not in the best way. I feel like I am sitting here watching what the Lord is doing, and am admiring it, and am being obedient, but then I go back to sitting back and waiting. It is as though I am saying, 'well that was great, but i'm ready for something else to impress me' or sometimes, its as though i am saying 'Lord, if we could just slow down a little bit, I am ready to just stop and sit and do nothing.' Thinking this way makes no sense to me at all. Why in the world would I want to have either one of these attitudes towards the working of the Lord? As a result, this is how the Lord is speaking to me now:


Proverbs 6:9 (New Living Translation)
But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?


Psalm 27:13-14 (New Living Translation)
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

That is where I am now: I am awake, and will no longer lie asleep in complacency, and i will wait patiently and hopefully.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

its the small things....

-coffee with a new friend
-frozen yogurt with an old one
-talking with a mother about the birth of her second child
-great grade on a paper you are passionate about
-dinner with a kindred spirit
-acoustic version of a song
-feeling your baby neice move for the first time
-finding something you really want on sale
-receiveing the most beautiful 8' x 10'' in the mail
-looking at pop-up books
-cuppies and joe with the brother
-taking extremely long naps
-heartwarming text messages

i am focusing on the great small things in life. for they are what make up the bigger things.

p.s. thank you weekend for being great.
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Thursday, November 19, 2009


"i will love even when it is not easy..and even when it is not returned."

i want to live my life by this phrase, but i think alot of times, it's easier said than done. we like to love when we are being loved in return, and we like to love when it feels good and when it makes us happy. but somehow we are hesitant to love when it's hard, when we don't feel like it, when it's not returned, and when it may look a little scary. i encourage you (and myself) to be courageous. love courageously.

the Avett Brothers recently came out with an album called "You and I and Love" and this is how they explained the title of their album:

"The words "I" and "Love" and "You" are the watermark of humanity. Strung together, they convey our deepest sense of humility, of power, of truth. It is our most common sentiment, even as the feeling of it is so infinitely uncommon: each to proclaim these three words with his or her very own heart and mindset of reason (or lack thereof); a proclamation completely and perfectly new each time it is offered. Uttered daily and nightly by millions, the words are said in an unending array of circumstances : whispered to a newborn in a mothers arms; shared between best friends on the playground; in the form of sympathy - said by a girl to a boy, as the respect continues but the relationship does not. It is said too loudly by parents to embarassed children in the company of their friends, and by grown children - to their fading parents in hospital beds. The words are thought in the company of the photograph and said in the company of the gravestone. It is how we end our phone calls and our letters... the words at the bottom of the page that trump all those above it, a way to gracefully finish a message, however important or trivial, with the most meaningful gift of all : the communication of love. And yet the words themselves have been the victims of triviality, a ready replacement for lesser salutations among near strangers, burst forth casually as "love ya." Truly? To what degree? Why, how much, and for how long? These are questions befitting of the stature of love, though not the everyday banter of vague acquaintance. The words have also been twisted by the dark nature of deceit : To say "I love you" with a dramatic measure of synthetic emotion; a snare set by those who prey uponn fellow humanity, driven to whatever selfish end, to gain access to another's body, or their money, or their opportunity. In this realm, the proclamation is disgraced by one seeking to gain rather than to give. In any case, and by whatever inspiration, these words are woven deeply in to the fibers of our existence. Our longing to hear them from the right place is maddeningly and simultaneously our finest strength and our most gentle weakness.The album "I and Love and You" is inashamedly defined by such a dynamic of duality. As living people, we are bound by this unavoidable parallel. We are powerful yet weak, capable yet temporary. Inevitably, an attempt to place honesty within an artistic avenue will follow suit. This is a piece which shows us as we are : products of love surrounded by struggle. The music herein is, in many ways, readable as both a milestone and an arrival. A chapter in the story of young men, it bridges the space between the uncertainty of youth and the reality of it's release. The record is full with the quality of the question and response. As far as questions go, there are plenty-normally residing within the tone and delivery of the lyrics themselves, which, ironically, are sung with so much confidence. Among songs and thoughts so driven and purposeful, the most basic relatable doubt comes through with a resounding clarity. Outside of the eternal theme of romantic love, the album speaks thankfully upon a landscape of light-filled rooms, word-filled pages, time machines, forgiveness, singing birds, ocean waves, art, change, confessions of shortcomings, and reasons to continue on. Hope and a cause for smiling follow naturally. In the midst of all this, there are allusions to the less-than-ideal conditions of life : the loss of memory, the inability to control temper, insecurity, indecision, jaded indifference, and the general plague of former and current weakness. "I and Love and You" is an album of obvious human creation, characterized by it's best and it's worst. Emotional imperfection is a reality for those who recorded the piece, just as it is for those who will hear it. The conclusion of the song from which the title is taken admits that the words "I love you" have become "hard to say". And perhaps that difficulty is as common as it's counterpart. Perhaps the inability to say these heaviest of words is as much a part of life as the lighthearted candor of those who say them without any difficulty at all. And so it ends with the phrase whispered to and by those of us most defeated and most elated... I and love and you."
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11 things on the 11th!

1. i do, and think i always secretly will, want to be a fashion designer.

2. i am over-dramatic! but not in a bad way (my life does not revolve around drama) i just give dramatic reactions to everything..(id be a great person to suprise, hint hint)

3. so i have three older brothers and all of us have the same intials SDH: Stephen Duane, Scott Daniel, Seth Dalyn, and Shaila Danae.

4. white v-neck t-shirts are my comfort food.

5. GUM is the absolute most disgusting thing on earth!!! Everytime I think about it I want to throw up.

6. i am emotional to my core.

7. i am a firm believer in accomplishing things on my bucket list. as soon as possible.

8. i love to touch people. ( hugs, handshakes, my hand their shoulder, anything) it's my love language.

9. clowns, mascots, or people wearing masks are creepy.

10. thinking about graduating college, getting a "real" job, falling in love, and growing up all make me a bit nervous.

11. i have an healthy addiction to 7-11 icees.

*my friend Shannon challenged me to do this, check out her blog....
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

clarity and boldness.

as the Lord continues to work and chisel in my life, i am going to continue to seek His will for me. there for been a few opportunities and ideas placed in front of me this moment and time. and if it were up to me, i would say YES! to every single one of them. however, i do not want this to be just things shaila thought were a good idea. i want this to be the Lord's wants and desires for me, and if He chooses that they are not, then i dont want them either.

i have recently been praying for clarity in different areas of my life. and this past thursday, that is all i could pray. i couldnt even elaborate or add any additional words to my longing for clarity. so thats all i prayed- "Lord, that you would grant clarity in my life." i happened to be at the Union, our local weekly college service when i was praying this. not even a minute later, these are the words that began to be sung:

"sweet Jesus Christ, my sanity.

sweet Jesus Christ, my clarity."

two things:

one) if you have been around me much, especially as of lately then you know this- i am losing my mind and completely scatterbrained. one recent example: when i woke up in the morning and was looking for my car keys, i found them in the outside lock of the apt door from the night before. and had no idea. so to hear and to sing the words "sweet Jesus Christ, my sanity" take on a whole new meaning. in the chaos of my life and in my thoughts, the Lord remains faithful, and even if i cant be sure of anything else (even if its even where my car keys are) i can be sure of this: He is my sanity!

two) so i pray for clarity and am instantly reminded that you are my clarity. You make things make sense. and i took this as confirmation that the two new ministries in my life were His desire, and that i would seek them until He shut the door.

as the evening continued on and the Word began to be spoken, the exact topic that one of these ministries deals with, was the focus of the message that night, and the Lord continued to nudge my heart in this direction.

friday..while driving in my car, i began to cry out to the Lord with requests, with needs, with wants, with tears, with love, with worries, with scripture. and as i worshipped with a community of believers that night at Bridgeway the Lord continued to prove His faithfulness and His mighty love.

sunday morning as i sat at the urban celebration downtown, i continue praying to the Lord asking for clarity in different areas of my life and then the Lord responded, "Shaila, you no longer need to pray for clarity when i have made cleared to you what i want you to do. You now need to pray for boldness.."

So that is where i find myself today, praying for boldness. praying for courage. praying for obedience. praying for faithfulness. praying for surrender. and though i dont know exactly what any of those look like or exactly what the Lord's plan for my life looks like. it's okay, i trust Him.

also i encourage you to check out this link, it's the song Mystery by Charlie Hall;

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It has been an incredibly long time since i have updated my blog. a whole month to be exact. i hope the silence is not misleading, this is not an indication that nothing has been going on in my life. it may be just the opposite. there have been times i have made a mental note to jot that down on my blog, but frankly, mental notes as of lately have been pushed to the back burner and simply forgotten or ignored.

this last month can be summarized by the words: vulnerability, refreshing and cleansing, freedom and growth, obedience.

in a book i was reading one time, i came across this quote: "as vulnerability creates vulnerablility, so trust creates trust." i feel like this has, is, and will always be something i strive to live by. but i feel like when we seek to be vulnerable to ourselves and to others. we only seek to be vulnerable to a certain degree. we begin to think that 95% transparency is acceptable, and that it counts as being completely honest, and yet we keep to ourselves the dark struggles and the pet sins.

well through scripture, through friends, through the Holy Spirit, through convictions, through prayer- i have felt that is no longer acceptable in my life. we can not fight these battles alone. so as of lately, i have began to talk. (and yes for those of you who know me- talking in general comes easy, but im talking about a whole new level of conversation) i have began to open up fully with those who i am living life with. i have chosen to share in hurts and in struggles with them. no more acting like i have it altogether if and when i dont. as a result, i have been able to share my burdens with others , as well as taking some of their load and carrying it alongside them. and sometimes in life, you think that you are all alone and in reality, we are all struggling and alot of times, we are all silently struggling with the same things. in this last month, i have felt more alive than i have in a long time. i am living freely. i am growing in spirit and in truth. i am walking, struggling alongside loved ones. and i think to myself, 'i think this is what the church is suppose to look like.'

i am a firm believer, that when you are obedient in the small things or in the things that the Lord places in front of you at this moment, then as a result of obedience, other doors where you can be obedient will be open, and as a result it will be easier to be obedient in the future things.

so i know this blog may seem kind of vague and scattered, and if it comes off that way- sorry. sometimes its hard for me to articulate my jumbled thoughts. but in spite of those jumbled thoughts, i know this: the Lord has a plan and i trust Him. He is Sovereign. He has not failed me yet, and i dont think He would start now. and i am on the edge of my seat....
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

because being terribly happy is a terribly good thing.

so recently a friend of mine, inspired by someone else, encouraged me to write a list of things that make me terribly happy. she said to write 10 things, i wrote 12...and the more i think of things that make me terribly happy, the more that i want to add. for now, i will leave the 12... go ahead, and do one of the things that make me terribly happy ;) and i encourage you to look at your life and think of the things that make you terribly happy and share them with someone. heck, share them with me.

12 things that make me terribly happy:
{in no particular order}

[1] Baking cookies, brownies and cakes just so i can eat the batter
[2] Wearing white v-necks (and decorating them when i get bored)
[3] Deep conversations with new and old friends
[4] Sticking it to "the man"
[5] Snail mail! most definitely!
[6] Sewing leather and taking polaroids
[7] Dancing to the beat of my own drum. (figuratively & literally)
[8] The feeling you get when you've accomplished something on your bucket list
[9] Simple living
[10] Hugs
[11] Seeing people who are amazing and content with being single
[12] Seeing the expression on someone's face when they realized they are loved for the first time
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

and the list goes on.

and we continue...

Friday, September 18th.
Name: MOM
Why: If I tried to list every single reason my mom deserves the unsung hero, there would not be enough room on this page. But for the reason that she deserved it today, there is enough room. I decided on Thursday, that on Friday i would pay my mom a visit. Upon my arrival Friday evening, it was dinner time. What had she prepared (and the reason she gets the award today)? Steak: she has been telling me about this for a while how she makes this great seasoned steak and that i must try it. Potatoes: any one who knows me probably knows that potatotes are hands-down, my favorite vegetable. i don't believe there is a way that you could prepare them and i wouldnt like it. Squash: also love, love. fried squash has always been a treat my mom and i enjoy together. though not fried this time, they were super delicious. Pineapple and Cottage Cheese: an always enjoyable snack by yours truly. Pumpkin: since my return from Africa, i have been telling my mom about baking a pumpkin and that she needed to try it and its great taste. and so for the first time, she gave it a shot. The reason my mom receives the award is not simply for the home-cooked meal which would be well worth a prize. She receives it, because of the thought behind it. It feels great to have those people in your life who know what you like, and don't have to ask what they should make and/or do, because they already know.
(Note: if you would like to have the joy of cooking me a home-cooked meal, go ahead and feel free and contact me and i'll let you know when a good time is.)

Saturday, September 19th
Name: Construction Workers
Why: Bless them, and their taking of a day off. Friday I was delayed 30+ minutes on my way to see my mother, because of the need to take traffic down to one lane on two occasions. So on my return on Saturday, I alloted more than enough time for a bump or two (or a thousand contrustion cones) in the road. And to my suprise there weren't any. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, September 20th
Name: The Little Kids Who Dance at Church.
Why: There are a handful or two of children who dance during worship at the church I attend. Their dancing is not choreographed or rehearsed. When I seeing these kids dancing, it brings joy to my heart. And I recall Scriptures from the Bible that we should have childlike faith, and I think this is just one great picture of what that looks like.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

unsung hero

So i had this idea a couple of weeks ago and have been meaning to put it into action on here, but it has just continually slipped my mind, so i am starting it now.

unsung hero: a person who makes a substantive yet unrecognized contribution; a person whose bravery is unknown or unacknowledged.

I am going to be identifying unsung heroes in my life on a daily basis. I think some times in life it is easy to become cynical and believe that there is no one out there who is good anymore. At the end of the day a lot of times, we look back and look at the annoying moments or the stressful ones, or "I can't believe they did that" moments. I am going to begin to look at the glass as being half full. I hope this unsung hero part of the blog restores my hope in the goodness of humanity, I hope this blog restores your hope in the goodness of humanity. So each day (or every other day, or third day, or once a week) I will post who was my unsung hero for the day (or the past days i missed, if I skip some days). I will also tag them in an unsung hero category so if you are interested in nothing but that you can click on the label and thats all you will have to look at.

Beginning yesterday:

Wednesday, September 16:
Chase, fellow classmate in Substance Abuse Studies
Why did he get the award: This class of mine ends at 7:15 pm on Wednesady nights, by the time I walk home, it is my 6th time to make the journey in one day. This past Wednesday it was raining. And soon it began pouring. I saw him on the sidewalk and hollered " hey, can you give me a ride home?" He responded "sure" and we began walking/jogging to the car. So much for riding with strangers, right? (he didnt seem that strange.) So he gets the first official unsung hero award for his lending of a hand (car ride) to a fellow college student.

Thursday, September 17:
Name: Keri, owner of Mister Rabbit
Why: A new shop, Mister Rabbit 'a wonderland of one-of-a-kind finds', opened about three weeks ago. My roommate and I checked it out today. It was a very neat store! From the minute we walked in, we were greeted warmly and Keri told us a little about the store. As we continued to shop, Keri again came and talked to us. We just chit-chatted a little, talked about life. I liked this. I like people being personable. Not only do I think she deserves it for her great human interaction with her customers, but I also chose her because she had the guts to start the business in the first place. I like to see people take risks for something that they love. You should go visit this store sometime. She deserves your business.
Check it out:

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Hi my name is Shaila, I'm an alcoholic.

[disclaimer: in case, you just read the title and the first line of the blog and don't finish it. to set the record straight: i am NOT an alcoholic.]

So this semester, as a sociology elective, I am taking an intro to substance abuse studies classs. One assignment we had was to go to an AA (alcoholics anonymous) meeting. It was due yesterday, Wednesday evening, so of course I waited until Tuesday night to attend a meeting.

I was a little anxious about going to the meeting in the first place. My dear friend Ryan agreed on going to the meeting with me. The meeting began at 10pm, and was located at Penn and Britton. Before entering the meeting, Ryan mentioned that immediately after we walked into the room , I should let them know that we are students and we are just doing this for a class. So, we walked in and quickly found our seats. There were about 3 people in the room upon our entering, and no one came up to us and introduced themselves, so we just remained seated silently.

By the beginning of the meeting, about 35 other people had joined those of us in the room, of all ages and all walks of life. Shortly after the meeting began, they asked if anyone was there for the first time, or was visiting from another club. We remained silence in hope that we would should blend in and remain anonymous. So after about to introductions of newbies, he said 'alright, now we'll go around the room.' Beginning with the first person to his left, 'I'm _____, alcoholic.' and then continueing from person to person with the same introduction. I whispered to Ryan that we should just say we are students; he said that he was just going to go with the flow. And i followed suit as well, saying aloud, "I'm Shaila, alcoholic."

I immediately felt guilty for lying to the group, but hoped I wouldnt be found out. The title of this meeting was "There is a Solution." Therefore, the chairman began then followed by other members, would state what their solution has been to staying sober and their darkest moment when they realized they had a problem and needed to change something. Story after story, each member continued to share their heart. After quite a few stories had been shared, they then presented those who had sobriety birthdays. Then we continued on with more solutions. Then the inevitable happened, the chairman asked "Is it..Shaila?" I knew that this moment would come, I could feel it in my gut. Luckily, I had already ran this scenario in my head about ten times in the past 30 minutes. So i began,

"I'm Shaila, and I'm actually a student at the University of Central Oklahoma. I'm taking a Substance Abuse Studies class and I am required to come to this meeting..."

As I continue with what I said, I want to pause here and say this to any one who is struggling with alcoholism, or any other addiction, that just as I said this to the people in the room that night, I say this to you as well:

I continued..."I want to thank you for your vulnerability and for your honesty and for sharing your story. I think for me and for those of us who know people personally that are self-identified and unidentified alcoholics or people struggling with addictions, that it offers hope. It tells us that people can and do change. Being here with you guys, I can sense the community. You guys are not walking along the road to soberity by yourselves, but are walking together. Thank you for that, thanks for being there for each other and for others and for offering hope. Thanks."

And then my turn was over. The meeting continued on for a few more stories and a while longer. And then we, along with those at the meeting, walked out the door and walked back into our lives and our routines. The meeting was good. Honesty feels really great. Being vulnerable and being with people who let themselves be vulnerable feels great. And if you don't know that feeling or haven't felt it in a while, I encourage you to give it a chance. You won't regret it.
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Friday, September 4, 2009

[no name]

So i went to breakfast this past week on a Tuesday, and i met a lady. I sat down with this lady after the serving of the meal was over, and most people had wandered back onto the streets. When i sat down with her, i could immediately tell she was standoffish, but i prayerfully continued to sit anyways. I asked her what her name was and she replied "no name." I just kind of sat there and nodded and she said "yeah, no name, that's what they call me.'' And i replied, "I'm Shaila, it's very nice to meet you."

After a few more exchanging of words, i left this conversation with an acheing heart. Why was she called no name? Who are they that call her this? Why do they call her this?

I hope [no name] feels loved. This is the letter i would like to give [no name] if i got the chance.

Dear [no name],

The Lord has not forgotten about you. He loves you more than you will ever be able to comprehend. His love is unconditional and there is nowhere you can run where it will not reach. He knows the number of hairs on your head and He will call you by name. His grace is enough for you. He's waiting this very moment for you.

Please pray for [no name] tonight. We can call her [Loved]. Please pray for [Loved] tonight.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009


You're the God of this City
You're the King of these people
You're the Lord of this nation
You are

You're the Light in this darkness
You're the Hope to the hopeless
You're the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City

There is no one like our God

There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done here

There is no one like our god
There is no one like our God

Greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done here

The Lord is amazing. This song "God of this city" has resounded in my head since this past spring, and I firmly, believe in the words that are sang. We cannot even phathom the plans that He has in store for our lives, if He were to mention them to us now, we wouldnt even believe them.

The Soverignty of God never ceases to amaze me. I recently met some people who are already doing some work among the homeless of downtown okc. It was a blessing to meet them, because I feel as though it is an answer to prayer that I have had for so long. It's also neat as to how we met, from one friend i met recently to another and then to another. I firmly believe that because of an act of obedience, the Lord opens up more paths for us to be obedient on. If we are obedient now, obedient in the small things, it will make it easier for us to be obedient in the future, in the bigger things. We serve a faithful, soverign God.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

perfect love drives out fear.

For those of you who know me well or maybe even at all- you know that i am passionate about homeless people and about ministering to them and being able to hang out and spend time with them.

For those of you who know me even better, you know that i have been on some sort of a hiatus from homeless ministry lately.

And for those of you who know me even better, you probably know why.

For the past few years (since i began my college career), one of the highlights of my week has always been attending a homeless breakfast in downtown okc that begins in the wee hours of the morning around 6:30 am. i have met some of the most amazing people there, who i know would do anything that they could for me. its really a neat place. if i had to guess i would say that there are around 100 people there each morning, all of them being homeless or living in low income housing.

So i would say that i began going in the fall of 2006, and the last i can remember going is mid- spring semester 0f 2008. and then, of course this last spring- i was out of the country.. i think i lean on this as more of an excuse to make myself not feel as bad. anyways, on to the reasons i have avoided doing something i love.

It has been a number of distractions that have caused this seperation. One of which would be laziness and selfishness. Waking up at 5:30 is hard for me and probably will always be hard for me. Most days i would ignore the tugging inside me that would try and get me out of bed, and convince myself that I needed and deserved the sleep. Another reason would be that I simply lost focus of the calling. I ignored the fact that the Lord gave me the passion of building relationships with my neighbors specifically the homeless of OKC. And another thing was that i began to have a fear build up inside of me that kept me from going downtown. During the spring semester of 2008, i began to have a few nightmares all dealing with me being shot. i know that may sound crazy, but they were very realistic and began to paralyze me with fear. Lies from satan, in addition to comments from people concerning the risk of doing ministry downtown, early in the morning, by myself, and the nightmares persuaded me week after week not to return to the breakfasts.

Over the past year, even on the mornings i wouldnt go, even on the mornings i woke up in Africa, the friends and people i would talk to at breakfast in the mornings were on my mind. And each day that i would refuse to go, my heart would ache more and more. so after returning to school this semester, i decided its time to be obedient regardless of the costs. even if that were to mean getting shot (kinda morbid i know). WHAT COST GOD MUCH CANNOT BE CHEAP FOR US. We must put aside our laziness, our selfishness, our disobedience, and our lives. I also felt as though I am being prodded with a sense of urgency due to that fact i may graduate in May, some of these mornings may be the last ones i have to continue to develop relationships with old and new friends, and tell them of our Redeeming Saviors Love.

So Thurs the 20th, i went. i woke up and headed to downtown okc. in the 20 minute drive, i poured my heart out to the Father in desperation as a continum of the night before. and asked that He would provide courage and faithfulness and words and things that i wasnt sure that i needed, but that i knew He knew exactly what it would be. as i pulled up, parked my car, and walked to the entrance of the building, i looked down the stairs and to my suprise the lights were off. and i stood there (kinda like a kid in a candy store when their mom/dad tells them that they cant have any candy) and thought "what am i going to do now?" and then i look and there is this guy Dee (later found that out) standing there and says 'oh yeah, i just now remembered i think they moved somewhere else, you can follow me.' So i hop in my car, shouting out praise to the Father for being faithful. We drive about three blocks down, where people are gathered waiting to get inside. At this point, much emotion has begun to stir up, anxious while i stand on the edge of a long overdue reunion.

As i walk in, I immediately see my friend Roscoe, who quickly gives me a warm hug and says "we're glad youre back". Thursday is the one day when they have other volunteers (4 men) most days its just them cooking the breakfast themselves. Normally, i try not to come on thursday, but had forgot this detail during the leave of absense. Since there were many people helping in the serving line, i just stood there talking to people as they went through. I had noticed that not a single woman was there and began to wonder if i had stumbled in on a mens breakfast without getting some sort of a memo. Then right as seconds were being called, i saw a lady stumble through the line, and i ask her if i could join her at the table that morning. Her name is Francis. We had a nice talk and she informed me on that breakfast had just moved there on Monday that week and they moved due to all the fighting at the other location and that there was now suppose to be some sort of a security guard on duty (which was no where to be found). As Francis and her partner left, 4 or 5 more woman had showed up and i began to move on and make some more new friends and reunite with some old ones.

The Lord, He is faithful!

I wanted to leave this passage of Scripture with you, I have definately clinged to it the past few weeks, as i began the journey of ministering in one of the aspects that i know God has called me to this semester.

1 John 4:7-21
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Breaking the silence.

(2 posts in one day, whew.)

one word to describe the last two months of my life.


i use this word for a couple of reasons. one of them being this: this summer i have moved back to my small the process of moving home, my family has moved away. i am living in the house i grew up in by myself. and when i say by myself, i mean me, a bed, and a canvas lawn chair. no tv, no internet, no couch, no working stove. so needless to say, it has been silent. not necessarily the bad type of silence, but silence. it has been a great transition from africa life back to the american way of life. i have had more time than i could have ever asked for to think about things and process different things. it has also given me lots of time to clean (boo), write letters(yay), make shirts(yay), and read(yay). so the silence hasnt been bad, just overwhelming at times, and is liked better in moderation.

another reason, i used the word silence is because i have yet to write on this blog (hence the column to the right having no posts for june or july) or in my journal. i have all these thoughts running through my head, yet when i sit down to record them, i feel overwhelmed by the amount of them, or by the weight of them. and since i am a oral thinker, not writing them down, i believe, has stifled mt ability to process them. i am getting back on track. its my new years resolution in august.

one reason i use the word silence is this: which kind of goes along with the first one is because there has been a silence is the area of hanging out with friends. since i am in my hometown this summer, most of my friends are not, and a couple of them have been out of the country as well. these are the people i share the most intimate parts of my life with and who i invest much in and who invest much in me. without them around, it just feels weird. not to worry, reunion is taking place in the near near future.

the last reason i can think of right now, and the saddest case of the word silece, is this: when in africa, i developed the deepest desire for the Word of God that i have ever had. and i feel after being back is has changed in a sense. i still have a passion for His Word, but i find myself ,stupidly, chooseing not to run first to the One who knows me best. when life is everchangeing and we go from living one place and being thrown somewhere completely different, you think that we would hold tight to the One who is always constant in our life, the One who is ever faithful, the One who never changes, and the One who never fails. i also feel that the reason that there is sometime silence on my behalf in this situation is because i am apprehensive to what i may be asked to do next. (yes, im aware this is a dumb reason). sometimes, if even for just a second, i get things mixed up and try to act like this life is all about me. but its not, its not about me at all. that i may become less and less and that He may become more and more. this is why the silence is breaking. i..we...must break the silence, we must cry out to the One who holds it all together. We must seek Him through His word. because if we're not, then what are we doing?

so if you are being silent right now, stop it. yell at the top of your lungs, cry at the top of your lungs, He's listening. He hasnt given up on you. and He wont.
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RESUSCITATING of the blog.

this post marks the beginning of me resuscitating my blog. i have loved having a blog, and therefore am going to continue to write. i like the idea of writing about things that are going on in my life because i am more of an oral thinker, one of those people that need to say (or write out) the things they are thinking in order to process them fully. so i will blog for me. but i will also blog for you. while the main purpose of my writing is to be able to process things, i wouldnt be opposed to people reading it in order to stay caught up with my life, to be encouraged, or just because they have nothing better to do. i will in the next couple months still write about africa, and life post-africa. i will also write about my school adventures and the journey i am currently on. because like the african proverb at the top of the page "when the music changes, so does the dance" just dancing to different music now, music that has worse rhythm and more instruments than just a single drum. thanks for takeing part in this journey with me.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

almost home.

Just a quick note before I head off to bed. I have been at a debriefing meeting since Tuesday (was suppose to be Monday, but we missed our flight even though we showed up at 10 and the flight was suppose to leave at noon, and they told us that it left at 8 that morning.) We will be flying out tomorrow (Friday) night. We will fly to Frankfurt, Germany and then to Washington, D.C., and then arrive in Oklahoma City on Saturday night. I am just writing this note, as a prayer reminder to pray for safe traveling, not only for me personally, but for the other 24 HANDSon members as well. As i begin and continue to process the last few months over the next few weeks and months, I will be continuing update this blog. Thanks again for your prayers and support. I love you guys, and I will see you in the near future.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

the beginning of the beginning...

So usually I try to think of a somewhat clever title, and usually give up before coming up with something. So I was going to name this one, the beginning of the end because of the two weeks we have left and then as writing the update, I thought to myself that this is only the beginning of what I believe God has in store for this place. Thus the title, the beginning of the beginning….

Wow, even while writing this I can’t believe that we will fly out of Malawi, two weeks from today. Time seems to have flown by. Don’t get me wrong though there have definitely been those days that have seemed long and hard. If someone were to ask me how I felt at this moment I wouldn’t even begin to be able to explain it. I am very sad to be leaving Malawi, but will be very excited to see family and friends when the time comes.

Things are going well and kind of routine, except completely not. One because things are not routine is Africa. And secondly, because when I usually hear the word routine, I also think of the word mundane. And things are far from boring here. the next two weeks will be very full weeks, both filled with joyous times and maybe some tears as well. As we are nearing our departure, our friends here have become fully aware of this; I have began enforcing a rule that we unable to talk about this until the day before we leave. As time is closing in, we are trying to spend even more time with those we have developed relationships with. The kids from the village are still constantly coming to the house at all hours of the day. The saddest thing here is that I’m not sure they know or would even understand that we will be leaving soon. Thoko, the girl I have been discipleing, and I are trying to spend more time together as well. I am viewing this time as the moments where I will be able to squeeze out the last bit of knowledge that she needs to know. We are continuing the kids bible study for the next two weeks. I am encouraging her that this is something that she can easily do by herself, or with our other friends, after my departure. This week I think we are going to try to teach about John 3:16 and about why Christ died on the cross for us and rose again. While some of the group is quite young, there are quite a few that are older and to the age where they are capable of understanding these matters. Wednesday, my teammates and I are going to co-teach the bible study at TAYO. Nowadays, we just let them do all the teaching, but we want to spend this bible study as a commissioning-type thing where they are prayed for and sent out on mission to their local villages.

I also had the opportunity of going to a group of houses in the village right below our house, except a little farther. I was going to deliver some socks to some women I had met previously. As I showed up unannounced, they were very excited to see me. I talked (or tried to talk) before a woman that could speak English finally showed up. I, then, gave a pair of socks to all the woman, and they were very grateful. Then they insisted on cooking some nsima and relish for me. Even though I had just had lunch about 30 minutes before. I appreciated the gesture and made myself eat some more food. Afterward, we were all sitting in a circle, and the woman that could speak English began to ask lots of questions. She asked things dealing with early and unwanted pregnancies, abortion, and many other topics that are social taboos here and, somewhat, in America. I was able to talk about abstinence with the women, and about how the children are living before they are born and how it’s not their fault that the mother got pregnant. (Culturally here, the woman call the babies ‘katoondoo’ which translates ‘stuff’ until they are born. The reason for this is because of the high percentage of miscarriages, deaths at birth and the first months of a baby’s life.) When they heard, the line about ‘well, its not the baby’s fault.’ You could tell by their comments and expressions that this was a very good point, that hadn’t really crossed their minds before. I continued to talk to the women and mentioned that I would come back again before we left.

So as our time dwindles down here, continue the prayers up until we depart but even after we are gone, because the Lord will still continue to work among these people. Also, a very great thing will be happening. There will be three summer missionaries who will be coming for 6 weeks, they will be arriving next Wednesday. We will have the opportunity to show them around thyolo, as well as to help them get acquainted with the different people we know, and ministries that have been set up.

Here are some prayer requests:

The last two weeks here in Malawi. That is will be precious, precious time.

Safe travel for us: The 25th, we will be heading to a debriefing meeting in Joburg, South Africa, and then we will fly out the 28th from there, and I will arrive in OKC on the 30th. (and safe travel for the girls arriving on next Wednesday as well.)

The bible studies. TAYO and the children’s bible study.

Elections: there will be a presidential election on Tuesday the 19th. It is projected to be a peaceful election. Prayers will help to make this a reality.

Pray against the lies of Satan. Pray that we will not believe the lies that we hear, when we may be thinking that the things that we are doing here are not useful. While we want to make the most of the time we have left and not waste it, Satan wants us to make us feel like we are doing just that.

Pray against any tiredness or homesickness that may occur as we know that we will soon be going home. Pray for renewed strength.

This may be my last update before we head home, but I will try and make at least a quick note before we depart from Malawi. Even after I return, as I begin to actually process the things that have gone on, I will continue to write about them as well. Thank you so much for your time and reading and caring about the things that are taking place here. Thanks even more than that for the prayers that have been prayed. You have played a vital part in spiritual warfare and in the Kingdom of God.
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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Jesus Retreat

The past week has been very eventful as usual. Though for lack of time and space on this blog, I will only write some highlights. I had the opportunity to ride a mini-bus here in Africa for the first time. This is an experience that everyone here told us that we must have. We rode to Blantyre, a city about an hour from here. We were able to meet up with some leaders that are in Younglife here. (If you are unfamiliar with Younglife, it is a Christian organization that I help with back in Edmond. We form relationships with students and love on them so that they will come to know that there is Someone out there that can love much more than us.) Anyways, just as they have Younglife in the States, they also have a Younglife here in Malawi. We attended their once-a-month leadership meeting and it was so refreshing. It was amazing how encouraging it was meeting these people for the first time. It was a great visual of the family and body of Christ. Though we had never met before, we have a common goal: bringing glory to God and telling those around us about Him. And because of this common goal, this common Spirit, we are family.
Yesterday marked the first day of May. It also was the day of our Jesus Retreat. We had originally planned for it to be two days long, but due to other plans of the majority of our friends we shortened it to one day. We began the day early that morning at around 8:30, we had time set aside for them to decorate notebooks provided for them and to eat some muffins and bananas for breakfast. Next, I taught the first session. I told them the theme for the day which was Colossians 2:6-7 and explained about just how trees must have deep roots to prevent them from just being blown over, we must also have a deep-rooted faith. We talked about spiritual disciplines and the importance of them and also about living intentionally everyday. Whether we are on a mission trip, at home, playing volleyball, or just hanging out with friends, we must be showing those around us the love of Jesus. We then took time for a tea break and to play some different games. We had a relay race and then played some games with water balloons. After eating a very American lunch of hamburgers, we had another teaching time about the importance of prayer and how we should pray without ceasing. We then set aside time and split into groups, and went prayer-walking. We walked about the Boma, the market, the TAYO office, the grounds where the kids play soccer, and among the village. We then concluded with our final teaching time on abandonment to Christ and how He must increase in our life and how we must decrease (John 3.30). Afterwards, we had a praise and worship time with English songs, they had been asking us to teach them for some time now. We then fed them dinner, chicken and rice, something more familiar for them. When leaving, our friends told us how grateful they were and how much they had learned and appreciated the day that was planned for them.
There were only 8 of our friends from TAYO that attended the retreat. We knew it was going to be a small event at the very very most there would have been 20 people there. Though with only 8 people in attendance, I feel like it was a very intimate time with them. These 8 people that were there are leaders of the TAYO organization that we partner with here. They are all individuals that have completed secondary school. They have the ability to impact not only the TAYO organization and all of the schools and organizations that they influence, but they have the ability to impact the whole Thyolo district, and God-willing all of Malawi.
We had bible study on both Wednesday and Thursday this week. Wednesday and the bible study at TAYO was good. We decided that we would finish telling storied from the Bible and our personal testimonies that we had begun, but never finished a few weeks ago. At first no one really wanted to be the first to share. Then Nafe, a girl that had not shared a story yet, shared first. More than half of the group shared either a story or a verse that had really impacted their life. There was one girl who had yet to share a story either time we have done this activity. And she said that she would be the first to share something next week. It is very encouraging that all of them are beginning to feel comfortable talking about their faith and to share stories from the Bible. Thursday’s bible study with the kids was led by Thoko. She told the story about Jesus feeding the five thousand. She then asked them questions about the story as usual. Thoko seemed really frustrated at the end of the bible study. She told me that she just felt like none of the kids were listening. I explained to her that sometimes, it may seem as though the kids aren’t listening at all, and there may be one that hears something and that one thing changes their life. We may never know the full extent of the things that we do or say here on earth.
With it being the first of May, that means that I will return at the end of this month. We have already began to say some of our good-byes. Our friend Chisomo has returned to school and won’t return until June after we are gone. Pray that in the next few weeks that we will be focused at the task on hand and not just on our return to the States. Pray that the remaining time here would be precious, sweet time with our friends. Pray that we would be able to leave here with no regrets because we know that we have been completely obedient to everything that the Lord has asked us to do. Pray that the work that has been begun here will continue on. That we wont be needed because the work here if more than work of ourselves.

In closing, I will leave the theme verses from our retreat on Friday.

Colossians 2:6-7
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This update is going to be short, not because of the lack of things that are going on right now though. This past week has been very busy. We have had many opportunities to hang out with different people as well as doing more events with TAYO and our bible studies as well. Great things have happened this week that will either be written about or told about at a later date. I just wanted to write an update letting people know that things are still going well and to ask everyone to pray specifically this week for the JesusRetreat we will be having for our TAYO friends on Friday. We will start on Friday morning around 8, we will have three teaching sessions, games, food, an arts project, a prayer-walking time, and maybe a movie like The Chronicles of Narnia to end the evening. It will be a very busy day that will require lots of energy and rest. Also, pray that the Lord would speak through us and that He would move in the hearts and lives of our friends. Also, we will still be having bible study on Wednesday and Thursday as well. Thanks for your prayers and support. I will try and write an update sometime soon after Friday to update everyone on how the JesusRetreat went.
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Monday, April 20, 2009

the prodigal son.

Never thought I would be able to have 2 posts within two days. I have wanted to read the book The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning for quite a while now. I decided to bring it to Africa, because I thought that I just might have the time to do that. We went on our other Mozambique trip last week, and with tons of hours in the car, I manage to read the whole book on very bumpy dirt roads. God has bless me with the gift of not getting carsick while riding and reading on these roads. This most is mostly just an excerpt from the book. I have read the story in the bible of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), but the way Manning explains it in the book made me look at the story in a whole new light.

“When the prodigal son limped home from his lengthy binge of waste and wandering, boozing and womanizing, his motives were mixed at best. He said to himself, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have all the food they want and more, and here am I dying of hunger! I will leave this place and go to my father’ (v.17-18). The ragamuffin stomach was churning with compunction because he had broken his father’s heart. He stumbled home simply to survive. His sojourn in a far country had left him bankrupt. The days of wine and roses had left him dazed and disillusioned. The wine soured and the roses withered. His declaration of independence had reaped an unexpected harvest: not freedom, joy, and new life but bondage, gloom, and a brush with death. His fair-weather friends had shifted their allegiance when his piggy bank emptied. Disenchanted with life, the wastrel weaved his way home, not from a burning desire to see his father, but just to stay alive.
For me (Manning), the most touching verse in the entire Bible is the father’s response: ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him’ (v.20). I am moved that the father didn’t cross-examine the boy, bully him, lecture him on ingratitude, or insist on any high motivation. He was so overjoyed at the sight of his son that he ignored all the canons of prudence and parental discretion and simply welcomed him home. The father took him back just as he was.
What a word of encouragement, consolation, and comfort! We don’t have to sift our hearts and analyze our intentions before returning home. Abba just wants us to show up. We don’t have to tarry at the tavern until purity of heart arrives. We don’t have to be shredded with sorrow or crushed with contrition. We don’t have to be perfect or even very good before God will accept us. We don’t have to wallow in guilt, shame, remorse, and self-condemnation. Even if we still nurse a nostalgia for the far country, Abba falls on our neck and kisses us.
Even if we come back because we couldn’t make it on our own, God will welcome us. He will seek no explanations about our sudden appearance. He is glad we are there…” (189-190)

Upon wandering off, and returning back to the Father, He is not going to ask you about where all you have been and why you have not been in the center of His will. He is going to embrace and be overjoyed that you have decided to return. Many times, personally at least, I feel as though I must first get things and all sorted out and then bring them before the Father. It’s okay with Him if we bring our broken, bruised-up self. He will still pick us up to hug us and He will provide all the healing we need. I encourage you that if you haven’t been in the embrace of the Father in a while, that it’s okay to return even now. He’s waiting for you, and while you are still a long ways off, He will see you just as the father saw the prodigal son. And He will run to you, and He will embrace you and kiss you, and more than anything else, He will be glad that you are home.
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

...taking it as their own.

The time since I have written the last update seems to have been very eventful as it always does. We had bible study the week after returning from the mountain, and for to a variety of reasons, the only ones who were there were myself and my 2 teammates and our national friend Francis. The last week and this particular week, people were suppose to share either their testimony or a story from the bible. Francis told us the testimony of his life, he then tied in the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, and related that to the culture in which he lives. He talked about how many times here people focus on the power of the witch doctors and not the power of the Living God. After Francis was done with his story, I asked him if he knew what he just did. I told him, you just led the bible study. He was overjoyed, and said that must not of been him them, that must have been Jesus using him. It was very exciting to listen and participate in this bible study. When we saw everyone again the next day, they had all found out that Francis had led the bible study and were sad to have missed it. Evance, one of the guys, said that he wanted to lead it the next week. Now Evance is someone that when we first met him was very shy. He would talk to people one on one, but he hated talking in front of a group. He was really excited to teach though. He gave me a sample of what his message would be about. It was going to be about faith and the scripture Mark 10:46. Even when he was just giving the message for me, you could see passion radiate from him. I asked him ‘didn’t you use to be shy?’ and he said ‘yes, but when I’m talking about the Lord, I get excited.’ The next Wednesday (this past Wednesday), he led bible study as planned. It was a very good lesson and all of the people attending had a very good discussion on faith and on prayer. Everyone is getting excited about when it is their turn to teach the lesson.


The children’s backyard bible club went great as well. The lesson was on David and Goliath. Thoko translated for the first time, and our neighbor Chisomo (who is in his teens) played the role of Goliath. We had one of the little boys play the role of David. When the time came for David to slingshot the stone at Goliath, instead of just acting like he threw the stone, “David” really threw the stone. Luckily, it hit Goliath in the stomach and not the forehead. After the story Chisomo said that he wanted to summarize it for the kids and then after finishing that, he said ‘now, I’m going to ask them some questions.’ It was awesome to watch as Thoko and Chisomo took control the bible study. This past week I taught the story again with Thoko and Chisomo translating, summarizing, and asking questions. Next week, they are both preparing separate stories and we will be sharing two stories, and I will just stand back and watch as these two lead the bible study.


It is amazing to sit back and watch as our national friends are beginning to take these things as their own. With only a little more than a month left, we are beginning to implement an exit strategy. How can we leave and things still continue on? Therefore, we are handing the reigns over to those who will not be leaving in a month. Its an awesome feeling knowing that we aren’t needed. Our national friends won’t need us to continue on the work that has begun. God doesn’t need us in order that this work will continue on after we leave. He chose us to come and to begin work in Thyolo and to develop relationships, but He has and will continue to chose people right here in Thyolo to continue the work. That is very reassuring. This work is not our work, this is work that God has graciously let us be a part of.



One of the best evenings took place a couple of evenings ago. My teammate was working on dinner and I was looking for something to do, so I looked outside and saw some people harvesting maize. They had already picked it, and were carrying it to their home. They yelled at me and told me to come down there. I went down and offered to help carry it. At first, they gave me only a small bucket to carry on my head, and after a few trips of carrying it, I told them that I could carry one of the bags (the ones all the other women usually carry). It was heartwarming. Walking barefoot with a bag of maize on your head along with the other women. After all the maize was carried and my teammate had joined us by this point, they offered us bananas as a gift for our help and sugarcane. Here is Malawi, they eat the sugarcane off of the stick (hard to explain, you will have to just see a picture). This wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Our teeth are just too weak to peel and then chew it off. I had the grandfather of the family peel mine with a knife, and then it became easier to eat. It was delicious!! We talked with the family until nightfall and then headed back to finish dinner. Last night, we went back to their house, so the mother of the family could show me how to use a charcoal cooker that I just purchased. She told me that this time was theory, where I was just to watch and that next time would be practice where I would have to do it myself. I think I know how to do it now, and I feel like she gave me all the Malawian tips and secrets. Tuesday we are going to have dinner with them. She is going to show me how to make nsima (their staple food we have had a couple times before) on my charcoal cooker. The time we spend with this family is always precious and I am looking forward to all the time we will be able to spend with them over the next month.



Pray Requests:

TAYO bible studies

Backyard Bible Studies


Jesus Retreat (we are planning for our TAYO friends, a weekend of discipleship and focus on prayer)

That we would not worry about the time we have left.

Opportunities to share our faith

That we would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit

And that we would be immediately obedient to what God had for us to do.


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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

home sweet home.

Things, here in Thyolo, are going amazing. We actually were out of Thyolo last week because our missionaries, our team, another missionary family, and two other HANDSon guys were hiking Mt. Mulanje. Mt. Mulanje is a mountain with a 10,000 ft peak a little over an hour from here. We began our climb Tuesday morning and were suppose to return on Thursday afternoon. Due to the late start of the climb, the weather, and the slower than expected pace of our group, we extended our hike an extra day. I always have thought I liked mountain climbing or at least didn’t mind it, but I may have changed my mind. This was the hardest hiking I have done in my life. Not to mention on the first day, my shoes gave me two big blisters on the back of my heels. Because of this I hiked two of the next three days barefoot and/or with socks on. I did manage to borrow some chaco sandals to make the climb to the peak. With that said though, we didn’t even make it to the top. We made it to about 9500 feet, before increasingly bad weather and very slippery rocks made us turn around. Because of these very slippery rocks, we were forced to climb most of the way from where we stopped to turn around to where we were staying on our feet, butt, and hands (like a crab crawl). I couldn’t manage to keep from sliding, and eventually tore a rip in the seat of my pants. (Luckily, I took the sewing supplies with me that I sew the kids’ clothes with, in case something like this were to happen.) We managed to make it down the mountain on Friday around noon all in one piece. At least mostly, we did have blisters, scratches on our feet and hands, every muscles in your body aching, and an overall just exhaustedness. All in all, it was a good time though, a time I like to call miserable fun. Though the majority of the time, my body was miserable and yelling at me, I had a fun time. It was encouraging to be around fellow believers who are spiritual warriors fighting the same battle alongside you. It was a time where we could share and listen to others’ stories, as well as pray and fellowship with each other.
It is very nice to be back to Thyolo. (not just because the hiking was so intense) It’s nice to be back, because we feel as though we are missing out on a lot when we are not here. Since we had a change in plans, we did not have the backyard bible club last week. The first one went very well though. We had around 23 kids there, who seemed to enjoy the bible story about Joseph, the cookies, and the kool-aid very much. Afterward, I was able to just sit on the steps with them and play and try to communicate and sing with them. It was a very relaxing and heart-warming time. This week we will be having the bible club again. Our story for this week is going to be about David and Goliath. This will be Thoko’s first time to translate, as she was sick on the first one and I had to get the missionaries’ son to help me. Pray that she will have courage and that no obstacles will keep her from helping.
Our weekly bible studies with TAYO (Thyolo Active Youth Organization) are going well. This week was the second one we had to miss. The first one we planned for them to just review the previous bible studies with written out questions. This past week, they were suppose to either tell a story from the bible or tell their personal story/testimony. We wanted them to do this for two reasons. One reason is that we are beginning to make more visits in the community to do different projects. When they do these visits, they have stated that they want to incorporate things from the Bible into the work they are doing. Therefore, if they are practicing the stories now, they will be comfortable telling them later. And the second reason is because there will be a time when we have to leave, and we want them to know that the work and bible study can continue on without us. We talked to a few of the members yesterday and they said that the bible study went really well. One member said,” People are beginning to change their lives because of this bible study.” It was very encouraging to see their excitement about the bible study and how they have taken it on as their own. We will continue to guide them, but soon the reins will be given completely to them and we will just be like the rest of the participants. Pray for the bible study and that certain leaders would rise up and take on a leadership position.
We also have a plan to do another survey trip to Mozambique. We aren’t 100% sure it is going to be happening or not. We have learned to get use to planning things one day at a time. But if it does happen, we will be leaving Friday and returning Wednesday. Pray for safety and for a sensitivity to the leading of the Spirit.
Also, you can begin praying as we are in the planning stages of a DiscipleNow / Jesus Retreat/ a weekend where our TAYO friends can be poured into. We are planning to have this the first weekend in May. Pray that we would be able to have discernment in what the Lord wants us to teach, as well as what is the best way to set up things for the weekend. We have to take into account things that are different in this culture than they would be in American culture. Here, many of the girls are usually at home preparing food for their families, so its difficult for them to be able to spend a length of time away from the home.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

thursday at 3.

-As you know, or don’t know, we were in Mozambique last week. We were doing a survey trip alongside the missionary family to look for places that they will be able to potentially move in a little over a year. The place we live now is in a village in Malawi, but the places where we were surveying was in the bush, the remote villages, of Mozambique. It was very interesting, long, and eye-opening. We slept each night in tents in Pebane, and from there each morning would drive 8 or so hours on incredibly bumpy roads. The thing that stuck out to me more than anything was that the people we were waving at and locking eyes with were people that many people don’t even know they exist, and for those that know people might be living there, haven’t ever seen them. Sometimes we would wave and wouldn’t get a smile or a wave, and other times there would be an immediate reaction. The ones that touched my heart the most were the ones that you made waved at, then they would make eye contact with you, and then decide to wave back. For that split second, our eyes would meet, and I felt as though our souls connected. In that split second if I could tell them one thing it would be this:

“The Lord has not forgotten about you. He knows the number of hairs on your head and He loves you so much.”

We weren’t able to talk to these people much though. There was a Portuguese and Lomwe language barrier. But pray for these people. Pray that the will see the love of our Almighty Father. The love that is so great that He sent His one and only sinless Son to die on the cross for us, and to raise from the dead, giving us the opportunity of a relationship and eternal life with Him. Also, pray for those who may be called to this area either now or in the future and for their obedience.

-For the past couple of weeks, I have had the privilege of watching the Lord begin an amazing thing. It all began at the prayer retreat we had at the beginning of March at Lake Malawi, the Lord placed Scripture and an idea in my head. The Scriptures that were used were:

MARK 10:13-16: Let the children come to me.


Luke 11:5-13: The story of the persistent knocker and how the door would be open not because they were friends, but because he was persistent. Our kids that knock on the door are definitely persistent.

The village kids that have been coming to our door should not be turned away or ignored. Yes, we should continue to sew torn clothes, but there is more that could be done. That is when the idea of doing a backyard bible study “Malawian”-style came to mind. And then I thought to myself, wait, I don’t speak Chichewa. Then the Lord spoke again and Thoko- the girl mentioned in the past blog- came to mind. She is a girl that I have been wanting to initiate a discipleship relationship with and she is from Thyolo which means she speaks fluent Chichewa and she will be here long after we head back to America.

From this time on, I began to pray over this idea, and for Thoko, and even things that I’m not sure to pray about for the bible study. The week after we got back, Thoko and I were able to sit down and just have some precious, precious time together. I was able to share my testimony of how I came to the Lord with her and then was able to hear about how she came to faith in Christ Jesus. She also shared with me that both her father and brother are Muslim and how she prays for them all the time, and I told her that I would pray for them alongside her. We set the goal before ourselves to memorize 5 verses while I was away in Mozambique. The verses were:

John 15:5
Romans 6:23
1 Timothy 4:12
2 Timothy 1:7
Matthew 28:19-20

I also presented the idea of the backyard bible study to her and she said she would love to be a part of it. She said she thought it was very wise to begin to teach children about the Lord at a young age, so they will grow up in faith. She said that she would love to translate and help however she can.

When we made it back from Mozambique, we met up again. We recited our verses together. She was able to recite all of them except the one in Matthew. I asked for this next week if we should just work on the same ones again, or if we should begin 3 more or 5 more or what? She told me that she wanted to begin 5 more. The new ones we are working on are:

Psalm 51:7
Psalm 92:1
Luke 10:27
Romans 8:31
Romans 10:9

We are still going to continuing working on the others as well. I also asked her if after a couple of weeks of translating for us if she would want to lead the bible study herself. And she said she that on the 3rd one that she would do it. She also tried to teach me how to tell the kids “come on Thursday at 3 for a Bible story”. We ended our time together sharing prayer requests and praying together.

I have been continually praying that the Lord would cover this bible study, and that it would not be of our own doing, but His alone. I have been praying that kids would show up at the house this week, so that we may tell them.

Today, they did just that. They showed up. I had the opportunity to sew three little girls’ dresses. I even tried to say my “come on Thursday” line, but I didn’t think it went over well, so I had Thoko come to the house to tell them herself. She told them, and she told me that she even told them “bring your friends with you.” Our God is faithful, and has a plan way bigger than we will probably ever now.

-Thoko: Pray that she will be made into a deep disciple of the Lord.

Colossians 2:7
“Let you roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

-Backyard Bible Club type thing: Pray that kids will show up. That translating will be effective. That this will be completely God’s thing and not our own. The bible study is Thursday at 3, which means for those in the central time zone, it will be Thursday at 8 am.

Mark 10:14-16
“He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And He took the children in his arms, and put his hands on them, and blessed them.”

-For myself, this is the verse I am clinging to today and praying for myself:

Philippians 4:6-9
“Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me- everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

-Thank you so much for your support. Thanks to those of you who have poured into my life, in order that I may be able to pour into others. Thanks for the words of encouragement. Thanks for the emails, phone calls, facebook messages, letters, and packages. Thanks for the prayers. And thanks for showing the love of Christ in your lives. May you be blessed beyond all measure.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

break our hearts for what breaks Yours.

       Some days, I become bold enough to ask that of God, I ask that my heart will break for what breaks His heart. Today was one of those days. When you work up the courage to ask that, you better make sure you are prepared. Today when it happened I was a little overwhelmed and exhausted to say the least. When You begin to see with the eyes of Jesus, your heart will break. Time after time, conversation after conversation today, this happened. We walked as usual to our TAYO building and on the way passed a man crawling. This man was crawling because something was medically wrong with his legs that had not be corrected at birth and as a result he would spend a lifetime on his hands and knees. This was the first thing to break my heart. I don't even think twice about each step that I get to take. I imagine if Jesus were here He would crawl along beside him. We then went to the offices, where we were going to spend the day cleaning things up, we were working outside on the yard. They don't have lawn mowers or weed-eaters here, instead they have slashers and hoes that they use. Every blade of grass is cut manually. By lunch time, I felt like I was physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. So i took a nap and spent some time alone to refresh. Afterward I called my friend Thoko, that I have not seen in a few days, and asked if she wanted to hang out for a little bit. We decided to walk to the market to grab some green beans and a soda. It was a precious time with her. I asked how life had been, because I hadn't seen her in a while and when we talked she seemed a little down in the dumps. We talked and our friend Ruth (her best friend) had just moved to a different village to go to school. Thoko just said that she has been really lonely lately. I am going to try and keep her more accountable and to be intentional in hanging out with her. We then headed to TAYO for the afternoon. I talked to Evance, one of our national guy friends. He is just getting over a case of malaria, and has been having headaches lately. We talked about this for a while and he said that this was the first time he had it this year which was good (its only march), he said he usually gets it 3 to 4 times a year. I headed up to cook supper at our guy teammates house and saw a group of girls playing with things that had collected from the garbage ( a take out styrofoam lunchbox). I took all the paper towels off the roll that i was carrying, because I thought first off, it hadn't been in the trash yet, and second, a paper towel roll can make a pretty cool toy. And then when returning to the house, outside of the gate, a little girl Margaret had fallen down and scraped her arm. I went and took her a wet paper towel and hugged her and sat there with her until she was ready to return home. 
      When you ask God to break your heart for what breaks His that is exactly what will happen. I want to be able to share the burdens of my friends alongside them. I will also walk alongside them as they and myself offer those burdens to the Lord. Today, pray for those burdens. Pray for the hurt that we encounter each day as we are here that we are aware of, but also the hurt we fail to see. Pray that your heart will be broken where you are at for the things that break His heart. Pray for those who are hurt, helpless, and hopeless around you. Pray how you can reach out to them. 

Also, we are beginning to have a lot of great spiritual discussions and lots of questions asked from our friends about different things concerning God and His Word. Pray that God will continue to reveal Himself to them. And that He will speak through us. Pray that we will be aware of the opportunities that we are given each day. Pray for rest for us and that each day we will wake up renewed and ready to serve the Lord. 

We are also taking a survey trip into Mozambique on Monday through Friday. Pray for safe traveling, patience, and endurance. 

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