Saturday, February 12, 2011

Last Post

Hi -

As my Convoy of Hope chapter in my life has closed I have decided to stop posting on this blog and have created a new one.  The new address is There are no postings on it yet because it took me all morning to think of name and to set it up  =)

Friday, January 28, 2011


It has been months.  You can call it adjusting back to so called "normal living", call it planning a wedding, for at least a couple months call it training for a half marathon (though for the latter half exercise also went by the wayside), call it commuting, call it adjusting to married life, back to working full time or another million of things that seem to keep life busy and full, though maybe it is really because it is no longer part of my job description.  However, Derek has started his second semester of graduate school and I find that I have a few nights and a Saturday morning were it is just me.  This seems to be the perfect time to begin blogging again.

The truth is I always enjoyed the couple hours a week I was able to hide in a coffee shop, close my office door or find somewhere else to sneak off and read my Bible or think about an experience I had and turn it into a blog entry.  It was as much for informing my supporters about life with Convoy as it was a way for me to process my thoughts, reading and events in my life.  For most of my life I have kept a journal.  A blog was just an extension of this habit.  I have found I miss blogging. So, I decided that I must begin again whether anyone ever reads it or not.   

However, I did not start blogging tonight to go on and on about my deep love and devotion for blogging.  I read a verse in Psalm 103 that I do not remember reading before this evening.  I loved the way it was expressed in the message version:

"He forgives your sins -every one
He heals your diseases - every one
He redeems you from hell - saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy - a paradise crown
He wraps you in goodness - beauty eternal
He renews your youth - you're always young in his presence"  

What promises our Lord makes to us!  He forgives us, loves us, offers us mercy, He wraps up in His goodness, heals us and renews us.  The joy of the Lord brings such renewal to the mind and spirit.  Those moments with God can bring strength when we need it most.  So, many times in my moments with God I will fill such a joy in my heart and soul that I feel childlike in His presence.  I remember snowboarding in Colorado and just sitting there by myself in complete awe of the mountains, snow and trees.  At the end of my time sitting there and taking it all in I would be smiling probably looking like a fool, but who cared.  I was snowboarding in God's beautiful creation.  I was soaking it in, living it up and letting God renew my spirit.  I was being young in His presence! 

Life is not always easy and many of us will experience great sorrow and sadness, but in the midst of it or despite of it we can find moments with the Lord.   We can experience moments of joy, strength and renewal.  The promises in these verses are blessings from our Heavenly Father.  They are blessings to mediate on and think upon.  I encourage you (whoever that might be) to remember these promises of the Lord.  I encourage to take some time from the craziness of your life and to be crowned with God's mercy and love, wrapped in His goodness and to be young in His presence! 

*Photos from google image search for coffee, Colorado and renewal respectively 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The End...Sort Of

I flew back to the States on Thursday.  It was a long day of flying - I woke up at four in the morning and did not arrive in Springfield until ten o'clock that evening.  Thankfully I am use to delayed flights and they hardly bother me anymore...though a delayed flight tomorrow might get under my skin a bit - I am quite eager to be in California again, even if we do have a fly on our endangered species list and 21 of the counties have an unemployment rate of 15%....Just hope Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties aren't one of those counties!

My term comes to a close today.  The last couple months in Nicaragua were a great way to finish it off.  I ended my last week there presenting and training on entering and analysing nutrition data.  Since, I was only there for a few months it was really important to me that all the work I did was taught and learned by people that live and work there every day.   During my last few days there, work began on the Convoy of Hope warehouse.  The very base was built when I got there, but the funds came through, while I was there to continue the building.  This will allow for the expansion and growth of the program.  Currently, the food is stored in the first floor of the LACC Building, which really isn't meant for the storage of goods.  Also, Nicaragua like other Latin countries is prone to earthquakes and flooding. The warehouse will allow for more food to be on hand when a natural disaster strikes.  It was cool to see the first stages of this warehouse and see it come to life. 

As for my future plans, some is unknown and some is known.  Derek and I are getting married in December and he will begin grad school in the fall at Western Seminary.  He will be studying Marriage and Family Therapy as well as Addiction Studies.  I will be looking for a job and trying to figure out what direction to go in that area. I am waiting tell I get home to do any serious job searching.  This is an exciting time, but a time of many changes for me.  I am stepping into a lot of unknowns, which can be a bit intimidating, but I serve a God who knows all.  As I end my time you can pray for guidance and direction, and for safety on my travels home.

Thank you for your prayers and supports over the last couple years!  They are and were much appreciated.  There is no way to properly thank you for the sacrifice you have made in terms of time in prayer and financial support given!  I pray that God blesses you and your families abundantly.

Also, the blog is not going away.  It was one of my favorite parts of these two years.  Writing my thoughts, adventures and sharing about God have been a great pleasure, so it will continue.  It might start to look more ecletic with having more freedom to delve into a few more topics, and I have this idea to try and review every flavor at Marianne's Ice Cream, as well as continue to write my musings on life and God.  Hope you continue to check in once in awhile! 

"And that's about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. Greet one another with a holy embrace. All the brothers and sisters here say hello. The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you." 2nd Corinthians 13:11-14

Monday, July 5, 2010

State of the Heart #1

For the last few months I've been contemplating on this word we like to use in church called "calling".  I think often this word is translated into our lives as "doing".  Calling becomes this thing that some Christians become obessed with - saying "I'm looking for my calling", "I'm not sure I'm called to do that"or asking "What is your calling?". Christians fret and worry, so much about this word "calling".  I too have gotten caught up in this at times. 

There are even Christian kids in college who will change universities three times or change majors five times all saying that God called them to change everytime (now I know God does ask us to make life changes and only that person can ultimately stand responsible to God, but also I don't think God is not a God of disorder and 5 majors in 4 years is a bit disorderly....).  The Church (at least the United States church) gets hung up on this word "calling".  It becomes about what you "do".  Not that God doesn't give us certain passions or doesn't ask us to make certain career choices, ultimately though I believe that God cares more about how you live than what you do.

Christ would rather have a hard working, honest, God listening, kind, business man than a pastor who uses his position to empower himself, and is mean and angry (and in the meantime turns people off to God).  God wants us to live in a way that represents him.  He wants his followers to first love HIM and then love their neighbor.  I think it time for the church to take the pressure of this word "calling" and instead encourage the members to live lifes that represent Christ.  As Christians we shouldn't fret and worry, but instead have faith, trust and hope.  In saying this I am not saying that we should ignore God in our career choices, God should always be the first in our decision making. I am saying that maybe God cares more about the state of your heart than your career choice. 

My first try ever at homemade tortillas.  Masa, water and a little salt.  They don't look too pretty, but they taste good, though not quite the same.  I think a tortilla press might make the job a little easier, I don't know how they make tortillas perfectly round just using their hands!  Lots of practice I suppose =).  One thing I have done alot here is practice making foods from region.  I made beans from the grain, cooked yuca, fried a ripe plantain (my next project is cooking a green plantain) and so forth.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mud and Shoelessness

My alarm this morning went off nice and early at 5:20 am. I rolled out of bed a few minutes earlier and got myself ready for the day. About an hour later my ride came and I was off to visit a community. We eventually turned off onto a dirt road and this is when I asked where we were going. Sometimes, I lose some information in translation. So, I thought we were going to a city called Leon and I knew this dirt road wasn't heading towards Leon (either that or some sort of short-cut I had never been on). We were headed towards a city called San Francisco and later I would learn that the actual community was called Santa Maria.

I was with two other Convoy of Hope staff here in Nicaragua. We drove about an hour or so before we met up with the pastor of the community. We then proceeded to drive another thirty or forty minutes down another dirt road and we took it until the road was impassable. We drove through mud, holes and very, very, big puddles! On the way the Pastor told us that during the rainy season life is very complicated in this community. The road is often covered with water. This water contaminates their wells and makes their water dirty. It also makes their roads impassable; meaning the trucks they sell wood to cannot get through. Selling wood is their main source of income.

We finally arrived and I wished I had tennis shoes on instead of sandals. The area was a mud bowl. The truth is I was lucky to have sandals. I saw several women and children who were barefoot, standing in mud. We eventually were able to share with the people about Christ and distribute the bags of food. It is just a small little bit of food in the scheme of the things, but I hope it serves as an encouragement to the people of this village.

Many people here in Nicaragua live in homes that really don't offer much protection from the elements, so the rainy season means a constant drenching. Maybe next time you invest in a new pair of shoes think instead of investing in a not for profit that donates shoes or maybe investing in a pair of Toms. Today pray for those who are missing the basic needs - food, water, shoes, and clothes. Remember them in the way you spend your money and in the way you give. Don't take for granted your shoes, your closet, your home and the food you eat. Love God and then love your neighbor.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Day!

Before I get started - I have put in pictures from a couple of the schools.  The picture of the scale is mine from a school called Lirios de los Valles.  We took measurment here.  The other pictures are from a school in a city called El Sauce.  They were taken by Joel, who works for Convoy of Hope in Nicaragua. 

It rained all day yesterday.  Well, most of the day from morning to evening the sky was gray and overcast. The rain came down hard.  Creating rivers in roads, and ponds in parking lots. Rain covered the city.  It was the first time that during the day I actually felt a little cold and last night I used two sheets instead of one.  I kept pushing my fan farther and farther from my bed and then decided to just pull out my extra sheet.  It did the trick.

Then this morning the sun was out and the sky was blue.  The birds were chirping and the dirt parking lot where I live was drying out.  Traffic was bustling as a new day began.  The rain came down hard, but the next day was new day.  The air was fresh and cooler after the rain.  The same thing goes for our lives.  Sometimes we need a good rain or a good sweep of our heart and mind.  1 Peter 2:1 says " So, clean house!  Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.  You've had a taste of God.  Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God's pure kindness.  Then you'll grow up mature and whole in God." Maturity is a characteristic to be sought after. 

I truly believe that if more adults allowed themselves to mature and grow we would have less social issues in society.  Imagine if more adults actually practiced getting rid of malice, pretense, envy and hurtful talk.  Imagine what that would do for marriages.  If people actually practiced 1 Corinthians 13, especially verses 4-7 : "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. "  What if these attributes of love where not only practiced at home, but practied in the workplace, in government, and in the streets? 

We are all human and we all fall short.  However,  I also believe that humans have the ability to grow, change and adapt (it may be a long road with lots of obstacles at times).  When that person has Jesus Christ in their life I believe people have even a greater ability to grow and change and when rough patches happen they have a friend in Christ and the support of their church family.    I encourage you today to clean house, to start a fresh new day, to turn over a new leaf and keep it turned over!  Strive to become mature in faith and to be a person who practices 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in all areas of your life. Don't let your own insecurity guide your behavior - don't let your insecurity make you into someone who feels the need to cut others down. Find confidence in Christ who made you, build others up, encourage others, don't be self-seeking, but be selfless, and lastly, take personal responsibilty in all that you do.  Go out and live in love =).  

Monday, June 14, 2010


"The one true mark of a saint of God is the inner creativity that flows from being totally surrendered to Jesus Christ. In the life of a saint there is this amazing Well, which is a continual Source of original life. The Spirit of God is a Well of water springing up perpetually fresh. A saint realizes that it is God who engineers his circumstances; consequently there are no complaints, only unrestrained surrender to Jesus. Never try to make your experience a principle for others, but allow God to be as creative and original with others as He is you" (Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, June 13th). I read this section in Utmost for His Highest yesterday morning before church and it clung with my thoughts all day yesterday. The words that stuck into my mind were "original life", "perpetually fresh" and "creative and original". God created us as original and unique human beings. He made each one of us distinct. I think sometimes as we live life we lose or forget that God designed us and that we are creatively and uniquely made by Him (and others are uniquely created as well!). Through the Holy Spirit and through entering into relationship with Christ we once again are reminded that God not only created us, but is continually creating something new in us. We can live with a freshness that comes from knowing God and His grace and His love.

Each one of our experiences with God is unique. How God may interact with me, may be different than he interacts with you. God called me to Him differently than He may have or will call you. My experience is uniquely my own. It is important that we don't push our experience or our "callings" (what we believe God has asked us to do) onto other people. We have to allow God to work without getting in the way. It doesn't mean that our lives aren't examples, it doesn't mean we don't speak when we should speak; it means that we let God work without getting in the way.

We also should be careful to judge. My experiences with God have almost always been in nature while, snowboarding in the mountains or running down West Cliff. However, the two most significant God experiences in my life occurred in my bedroom and the kitchen. They almost never occur inside a church building. For someone else they might have their moments in a worship service or in fellowship with friends. This doesn't negate the fact that Christ has called us to live lives that represent him well, but it might take some of us longer to get there or it might be a different experience that gets us to that point of realizing Jesus is the Son of God and that God is the only God and in him we find ourselves new, fresh, and bubbling with an "inner creativity". Yes, he call us to a different way of life and yes, that life may not always be easy or without hardship, but in that life you find a freedom that you never knew when you lived without Him.