Sunday, December 30, 2012

Back to Africa.






Because of your financial support and prayer, I had the amazing opportunity to spend the first four months of this year living in Kenya: working in schools, hospitals, and churches all over the country. Words cannot describe what an incredible, life changing experience it was. My eyes were opened not just to poverty and a new culture, but also to just how mighty our God is and what an identity founded in Him looks like. Upon returning home, I felt called to go back on the missions field, but this time I knew that it was my time to lead my generation into experiencing a new culture and to discovering more about the Lord.
So, on January 11th, I am embarking on another journey, this time in a leadership position. For the next four months, my co-leader and I will be leading a group of nine young women through Malawi, Uganda, and Tanzania! I am so passionate about my generation rising up to bring His kingdom to earth  and I cannot wait to empower and encourage these girls to seek after the Lord and bring His hope and truth to these three countries. 

I would greatly appreciate your prayers at this time. For wisdom for my co-leader and I to lead in a way that is honoring to the Lord; for safety; for peace for me and my family while I am away; and for the Lord’s will to be done in these countries, in the lives of my team, and in the lives of the people we encounter everyday. Pray for the joy and light of the Lord to radiate in everything we do! If there is one thing the Lord taught me this year, it is the power of prayer! 

I strongly believe that the Lord is going to do some mighty things. This is my generation’s time to rise up and fight for the Lord and His word, and I am beyond blessed and so excited to be apart of it!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Prophecy. Praise. Protection. Peace.
A chance to journal what the Lord has been teaching me lately.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Even deeper.




Listening to the Lord tonight and letting Him speak to me about what I should paint tonight. Tonight He said, "Stand in the roaring waterfalls of my presence and let me show you more and more love and grace." Responding in worship. Living for His glory. "Standing in the roaring waterfalls of your presence as you take me deeper into your love & mercy. And I will praise you yet."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Breathe You In, God.



The presence of the living God,
Satisfies the depths of my heart
All of me changed when you came,
Iʼm made free by Your glory and grace

I breathe You in God, cause You are thick all around me
I breathe You in God, cause You are thick all around me

You are Good God,
For You are good to me You are Good God,
For You are good to me

The brightness of Your loves pure light,
Pierces through the darkest of nights
Everything is possible now,
For God is here and God is good

Bridge

When I donʼt understand Iʼll choose You
When I donʼt understand I will choose You God
When I donʼt understand I will choose to Love You God

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Prayer Walks and God Talks.

The painting God gave us of bringing the boldness of the Spirit with us into our next season.

The Lord works in crazy ways.
A few weeks ago, a dear friend who traveled to Africa with me mentioned missing me.
I wasted no time in inviting her to Portland to spend the week with me.
We hadn't spoken much since we had returned to our homes- back to the craziness of life.

But God knew we needed each other this week.
The days have been filled with so much joy.
She has spoken so many words of encouragement and affirmation over me.
So much of God's goodness.

A few nights ago, we decided to go on a prayer walk.
We walked up and down the neighborhood streets praying over each other and our future plans.
And God said, "I have even more for you both."
After our walk, we both talked about how we felt this boldness and power when we were in Kenya that seemed to become weaker when we returned home
We knew this boldness, this power in Jesus name should not stop now that we are back in the States. We want more boldness to bring Kingdom to the nations.


My prayers, and stomping on these streets were heard and are real.
My God still works in me, through me, for me.
And there will be more boldness in my next season.
More growth.
More prayers.
More presence of God.
Only more.
He's going to grow me. Shape me. Stretch me.
He's going to change me.
And I'll be here praising Him, because I know, He makes every single thing absolutely beautiful in His perfect time.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

She Looks to the Sky.

Abba, I belong to you.


A friend sent me a song a few nights ago and said, "I felt like I needed to send this to you tonight."
The lyrics explained how I have felt these past weeks & months.
Choosing to be content in what my God speaks over me. Choosing to rest in His love, His embrace.
Singing my song to Him even when I quake. Listening to His voice. 
Waiting for my King to sweep me away.
---

They say she is loved by the greatest of all
Who have walked in the world
He lives far away, still she spends all her days
Content with only His words
She often walks alone, but never is she lonely
You can offer her anything
Her affections are all for Him only
She looks to the sky
As if He is coming down through the clouds up above
Though no one has seen Him you cannot deny
She is drenched with His love
She often walks alone, but never is she lonely
You can offer her anything
Her affections are all for Him only
All the day long she sings sweetly
She says He speaks to her mind
She’s only rich with affliction
Yet a bitter word you won’t find
She lives with assurance He loves her too deeply
To let such distance remain
She’s brimming with longing for Him to come calling
And sweep her away

She Looks to the Sky (Sherri Youngward)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Joy, prayer, HOPE.


Joy.
It's a daily choice.
Something you choose to walk in.
Something I constantly pray for.
Overwhelming joy.
I want to be filled with joy.
I want it to pour out of me.
I want it to beam out of me.

I want to be faithful in prayer.
To ask and see God move.
To speak and hear God answer.

I want to be patient in affliction.
As He works.
As He prepares my path.

I believe that my God is a God who reigns.
Who gladly gives joy to His children.
He loves us to take joy in Him.
In every circumstance.

He loves us to cry out to Him in prayer.
He desires to hear us.

The coming weeks, months, years, decades will not be easy.
But I believe in a faithful, powerful God.


So here I stand:

Declaring joy.
Taking joy in the hope I have in my King.
Who is alive + moving + working.

Who delivers.
Who is in control.
Who has already won.



Being faithful in prayer.
Powerful, powerful prayer.
What you cannot do, the Lord can.
Don't be afraid to ask Him to do the impossible.
Don't hesitate.
Don't hold back.
Don't fear he won't come through.
When you ask. The Lord answers.
He is good.

Being patient in affliction.
Knowing He is working.
He has a plan. A purpose.
That He is molding and shaping.
Teaching and renewing.
When I don't understand, I will choose Him.

Serving the Lord.
Fervently. Enthusiastically.
Listening and acting on His commands.
Speaking truth.
Loving the unloved.

Honoring others.
Becoming humble.
Fighting for those who cannot fight.
Being devoted to my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Using my gifts.
Using my gifts and talents to serve.
Without fear.
Singing even if I tremble.
Blessing others with what God has given me.

Keeping peace.
Living in harmony.
Loving everyone unconditionally.
Never quarreling. Or harboring bitterness.
Overcoming evil with good.

Sharing with those in need.
Those in the church.
Those outside the church.
The lost. The lonely. The broken.


Choosing everyday to be JOY. To serve the Lord. And to believe in His power.
Less of me, more of you Jesus.
And let's pray.
Romans 12. 





Friday, November 2, 2012

Even me.


If we have spoken lately, I have probably said the two words, "even me" and here is why:

This is my sweet, dear friend Ruth.

I met Ruth in crowded room full of Kenyan children when we took shelter from a downpour of rain following our church service under the tree. Ruth and I ended up sitting on the floor next to one another and we talked for 30 minutes about our favorite things as the rain hit the roof.
We bonded over our mutual favorite color of green and our love for the song "Our God".

She styled my hair, held my hand, and wrote me the most beautiful note I have ever received in my nineteen years of life.

It's hard to explain the impact this 10 year old girl had on my life. We met for moments, but in every second, you could feel the love and life of Jesus pouring out of her. She was radiant and beautiful. As we walked back to the church under the tree, Ruth held my hand and said,
"Jamie, I will never, ever forget you."
I looked down at her beaming smile, and said, "Ruth, I will never forget you."


We went to the church under the tree several times after that; where we had the amazing opportunity to worship and share with the people living in the IDP camp (Internally Displaced Persons). Each time we went however, Ruth's friends informed me that Ruth was in school but that she gave me her greetings.

I spent our last Sunday in Kenya under the tree and sat through church without a sign of Ruth. I was so disappointed that I would be unable to say goodbye to my dear friend. After the service, however, Ruth and I caught each others eye across the field. We ran to greet each other. I hugged her for a long time and said,
"I am so happy to see you today, Ruth!"
"Even me." She replied.
"I was afraid I wasn't going to see you before I went home."
"Even me." She replied again.
I continued to hug her as I told her to always trust the Lord, to hear His voice, and follow His call. And before we left, we stood together and sang,

"Water you turned into wine, opened the eyes of the blind there's no one like you none like You!
Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You! Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God! And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against. Then what could stand against."

As we drove back home that day, I knew that I really could never forget Ruth.
Upon being back in America, I adopted saying "Even me" instead of "Me too" to just about everything.
It was a way of keeping her with me, and reminding me of her radiance. 
(Also, it was fun because no one really understood that "even me" meant "me too")

One day, as I was talking to my friend Lucy, I replied to something she said with "even me!" Lucy was confused and asked what I meant.
I told Lucy Ruth's story and she then proceeded to write this beautiful poem inspired by "even me."
Strangely enough, this poem is perfect for what God has been teaching me since I returned home: to become more like Him, to know His power and love, and to know He is enough. 

Oh God who never sleeps,
Give me endurance.
You lift the sun in the sky,
And pump light through him hourly,
Do so to even me.
Oh God who ceases conflict,
Give me loving eyes.
You orchestrate the peace of oceans,
And calm the tongues of beaches,
Do so to even me.
Oh God of every season,
Give patient faith.
You remind the rain of where to fall,
And remind it to be gentle,
Do so to even me.
Oh God of forgiving power,
Give me purity.
You cover the ground in cleansing snow,
And wash clean the dirty sheen of slopes,
Do so to even me.
Oh God Heavenly laughter,
Give me a joyful spirit.
You cause the fish to leap from their streams,
And the birds to spin in their sky,
Do so to even me.
Oh God of infinite wisdom,
Give me confidence.
You set the river’s flowing course,
And steady him within his banks,
Do so to even me.
Oh God who formed the Earth,
Give me reverent shaking.
You roar power with a voice of thunder,
And yet whisper to my tiny soul,
Do so, always, to even me.

-Lucy Marcella Baldwin


Do so always, to even me Lord. Continue to teach me and show me how to love like You love. And continually bring people like Ruth in my life to show me Your love and light and joy and peace and power. 
And then, do so to even me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My grace is enough for you.



Jesus has called me out of a lot of darkness. Sometimes, more than I care to admit. He has taken me from someone who was afraid to speak, someone who was weighed down and burdened by lies. Lies that I was never going to be good enough. That I was never going to be beautiful enough. Never thin enough. Never religious enough. Never smart enough. Eloquent enough. Strong enough. Bold enough. That I could never do it. That I could not be loved. That I was going to be alone. That I was powerless. 
I sat in a cage chained with these lies. 

One night, in February, as we sat in our room after a long day of ministry in Meru, Kenya. A couple team members and I shared some words with the Lord with each other. What God spoke to me that night, was incredible. Three different people, without even communicating with one another, or even knowing these words were for me, wrote:

The Lord wants you to let go what is worrying you, don’t worry about it anymore.

Locked- You’re trapped in a cage, that you have the key to. You’re afraid of the freedom that will come by opening it because all you have known is the pain. Stop it. Face it. Unlock your cage and let it go.

And finally, 

His grace is enough, He has risen from the grave.

I sat that night stunned at how Jesus has spoken to me through three different people the same things. 

This was the beginning of me realizing that these things were keeping me from knowing Jesus deeper. I spent the rest of my trip finding my voice and realizing the power of the Spirit at work inside of me. 

I came home from Kenya and thought that upon hearing these words, I had been released me from the lies. But, I realized that they merely opened my eyes to seeing the chains and feeling the weight of them holding me back. That I had to release the lies. I had to let go and know that His grace was enough.

I spent a summer in my chains. I spent a summer listening and believing more lies. 
I spent a summer inside the safety my cage.

A dear friend declared freedom over me one day, and I had no idea what that looked like. A life without my chains, without my lies that had become my truths. 

I spent the next two months.
In tears.

Because, release is never easy.

I spent two months crying out to God.
Crying for the lies I had trapped myself in.
Crying because I felt alone.
Crying because I knew that stepping outside my cage would mean being uncomfortable, would mean change, would mean growth that would be scary.
Crying all the tears I had kept in for too long.


And you know what God told me in those two months?
In a nutshell He said, 

“REST IN MY LOVE.  Because I am with you. I have good and perfect plans for you. I haven’t forgotten about you. I only have MORE for you. And it’s only good. So, RISE UP. Rise up to meet me and I will use you, I will be with you, and you will be victorious. Because I have overcome the grave. I’m here, JM. And I’m not leaving you. You’re beautiful. You are loved. I have created you perfectly. When you feel weak child, I am strong. So, LET ME EMBRACE YOU. Rest in my love, it’s a perfect love and it never let’s go. You can be still here in my presence and listen to my voice. Listen to my truths about you. Let me speak them over you. Do you know, daughter, that you are no longer a little girl, you are a woman of God. You have a voice and you are bold! Do you know that what I say about you is enough? That you are beautiful and free and loved and victorious. Did you know you don’t have to be afraid anymore? Because you are coved in my perfect love that casts out fear. Did you know that you are outrageously loved? I love you. I love you. I love you. Do you know that I alone am enough for you?”


And slowly freedom came, lies were stomped down, chains were broken. I surrendered the lies and gave him my burdens and released the pain... and He poured out  His love to replace the void. He said, "Just live and rest in my love." He said, "LET ME LOVE YOU."


All this in Jesus name, because HE is enough for me. No longer am I chained by lies. I am a daughter of the King. And what He says about me is enough.
I am sitting atop my cage, surrounded by broken chains and I am praising and dancing. 
And I have been given power to speak freedom over others. Freedom in Christ. 
To “Stomp down Heaven”;  stomping down lies and chains + stomping in Kingdom and truth in worship.

And whenever these lies creep back in. Jesus just says, "I am enough for you."
He says, 

“That is not who you are anymore. YOU’RE NEW. You’re my new creation. I’ve called you out of that darkness into my marvelous light. Don’t hold back anymore, dance in my marvelous light. I have new things for you. New things for my beautiful, new creation. Walk in them, JM. You're mine. Don't you know that I have created you for more than hearing the empty words of man? You don't need to rely on merely human affirmation anymore.  Know that you are my beloved, 100%.  Live in my truths, dear daughter. That you have been redeemed. That you have new life. A new SPIRIT. That you, are a world changer. I hear your cries and I am jealous for you. What more are you looking for? What more do you need? I am here. Listen and be still. I'm right here. Rest here. But don't sit still. Stand up in my presence, under my mighty wing and bring my kingdom to earth. Not by your own power, but by the power I have given you. My grace is more than enough. More than enough. More than enough for you. Don't dwell in empty things anymore. Dwell in me. Dwell in my hope, my life, and my light. Dwell on MY truths about you. That you are beautiful, abundantly loved, and perfectly made. That you have new purpose and great calling. That you, are mine.”  

I AM REDEEMED.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Nice girls don't change the world.


I was always the nice girl. Obedient, polite, acceptable. (As acceptable as picking you nose in a photograph can be anyways.) I had the ability to make people happy and keep them happy. I was caring and considerate. A very nice girl. But was I happy with myself? I surely didn't want to be the opposite of a nice girl:
A bad girl?
A naughty girl? 
A mean girl? 
No, that's not what I wanted. So, nice girl I was.
I chased after other people's love and affection. I chased after God's love and affection. But you can only seek love and affection for so long. I reached the end of my rope. I was exhausted. I was no longer able to keep everyone happy. And I surely wasn't happy myself. Other people's lives, dreams, and purposes had become my own. And I wasn't fighting for what I loved anymore. It became easy for me to talk about the lives of my loved ones, the problems they experienced, the successes they had. But forbid it that I should speak about my own needs and triumphs. I was closed off and making motions of a life lived by a very, very nice girl. 
But this nice girl, hid who she was from the people around her. She smothered her gifts and talents, and embraced the gifts and passions of the people around her. She held back who she was. Who she was created to be to impress and bring joy to the people she was surrounded by. 

I sat down in a coffee shop. Broken. Alone and lonely. In my purse, I had a book I found in my room that morning called, "Nice girls don't change the world." (A book that had been collecting dust for years in my closet.)
I picked it up and as I read the pages, the book said nearly word for word what I was feeling.
Worn out. Living the dreams of those around me. Impressing and making people happy. But not feeling full myself.
I closed the book in tears realizing that:


Nice girls don’t change the world.
((Good women change the world, DANGEROUS WOMEN.))

Trading the safe, passive, people pleasing behavior of niceness for the DYNAMIC POWER of true goodness. 
Moving from weakness and immaturity of girlhood into the strength and maturity of womanhood. 
Instead of being founded in weakness and powerlessness a WOMAN acknowledges & accepts HER POWER to change, to grow, and to be a force for good in the world.

A good woman discerns and lives out the will of God in her life. A nice girl lives for the will of others. (Pleasing others, making others happy, LIVING IN FEAR)
A good woman lives according to conviction.
A good woman understands that she is loved as an individual. 

That her personality, gifts, passions, dreams & unique life matter to God.
(And, doing what makes you feel alive IS OKAY.)

A good woman embraces the world changing power and passion of TRUE goodness.

Becoming a good woman comes from LETTING GO. From emptying herself of the things holding her back. From releasing lies. From quiet resting in God’s love daily. 
(Not chasing after God’s affection and love, but rest knowing IT’S HERE.)

This love calls her to compassionate action in the world. This is a radically different way to do ministry. It’s a ministry that flows from fullness + JOY + gratitude for life.

It’s a ministry of WORSHIP. A response to what God has done for us.

Nice girls don’t ask for help. They don’t want to inconvenience other people. So they don’t honor their own needs, desires and dreams. 

Good women realize that their needs and desires MATTER. 
And it’s okay to not be okay. To ask for help. To be fought for.

Good women know that God has given them a unique perspective and WORTHY dreams. He has given (bold) words and influence to use for good. 
Nice girls DON’T USE THEM. They don’t move. They don’t show up. They don’t value what they have to offer enough to actually offer it.

Don’t allow who you truly are to be lost, buried, or devalued.
Truly you- That’s what matters

You have a unique perspective that NO ONE else has. A unique way to CHANGE THE WORLD.

A good woman does not let FEAR stop her. 
A good woman sings her song even when she is terrified, even when she is trembling and her voice is cracking. She SINGS.

Whatever she is called to do. SHE DOES IT. She doesn’t let fear stop her.

A good woman knows God will guide her. But she also knows to be prepared.
TO GET READY. To learn, to grow, to be stretched, to get ready for ADVENTURE.

“If you weren’t afraid, would you go?” THEN GO. TRUST HIM. DON’T LET FEAR STOP YOU.
God is shouting, “My perfect love casts out fear!”

Fear defines a nice girl. Ignore the fear. 
Fear hides truth. Fear magnifies weakness.

TALK DOWN FEAR. 
My God specializes in using people as flawed as me.

A good woman understands that disappointing people by not being good enough is infinitely better than disappointing God by not being brave enough. 

The Spirit of God did not give us a spirit of FEAR&TIMIDITY, but a spirit of POWER, of LOVE, and of SELF-DISCIPLINE. 

Be strong and courageous because you will lead. Be strong and very courageous and meditate on the word of the Lord day and night.Be strong and courageous - DO NOT be terrified. DO NOT be discouraged. God is with you wherever you go.

A good woman is done watching. She is DOING.

She knows she needs and DESERVES a honest community of people to pour into her and for her to pout into.

Never doubt that a thoughtful, committed WOMAN filled with the power and love of God, using gifts she has identified and developed and pursuing passions planted by the KING will not change the world.

This woman is a world changer. I am a world changer.

So, the opposite of a nice girl. Is a downright DANGEROUS woman.

Who shows up with everything she is and joins the battle against whatever opposes the redeeming work of God’s love in our lives and our world. 
A dangerous woman delves deeply into the truth of who she is. Grounds herself daily in the healing and empowering love of God and radically engages with the needs of people.

I am not a nice girl, I am a radically, dangerous woman of God. 





Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I am with you.


Over a year ago, the Lord gave me the opportunity to share His love by drawing animals in charcoal on a Haitian rooftop.
It completely wrecked my world. 
I taped this picture in the cover of my Bible. It made my heart sing, it made me thirsty for more of sharing Jesus and it inspired me to grow and move.
Move all the way to Africa.
The Lord continued to let me use my passions to share His love with children in Kenya.



Outside of hospital beds. Healing and Hope.


On front door steps. Joy and Purpose.

In hospital wards. Worth and Love.



After school. Boldness like lions and casting out fear!


On hospital walls. Growth and NEW LIFE.

The Lord continually blessed me with opportunity upon opportunity of pouring into His children through art and creativity as I traveled through Kenya.
I came back with the thought that I could not use art to encourage, teach, and love God's children at home. And so I didn't. I passed up opportunities to do what I loved and what I missed doing.
And then, God reminded me that He is with me. (Yeah, even in America!) And that I can do what I love with American children. With my generation. With my peers. With my sisters.
Okay, Jesus, let's go.

This past week. I had the incredible opportunity to accompany the high school youth group on their summer camping trip.
I got to watch a group of people I love discover their identities in Christ through painting and worshiping Him through creativity!




We are His beautiful children. Loved, sheltered, set free, held, alive, empowered, and fought for. And so much more. 

He is with me.
He was with me in Haiti.
He was with me in Kenya.
And He is with me in Oregon.
And He's moving in Oregon. And He uses me in Oregon. He speaks to me in Oregon.

And we are painting in Oregon, in Jesus name.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

E m a n a t e.


I've been home for over a month now, readjusting to life in America.
To living in my home, to attending my church, to working at the Cruise In Country Diner, to my friends, and to new family members.
It's been wonderful to tell people how God transformed my life while I was away and about what He did, but it's been extremely frustrating being home. I left behind a community of people who had become my new family members, brothers and sisters in Christ who were constantly praying, speaking life over me, and encouraging me to seek God more and more. People who were wild followers and worshippers of Christ. I left beautiful Kenyan believers who worshipped Jesus with their whole beings. I miss the life and joy that Africa had given me.
I was a transformed person jumping back into the same, old routine.

I was recently driving somewhere in a frustrated state of feeling stale. So, I just cried out to God in prayer. A prayer of declaring life + joy over here and now and asking God what was next and what I was supposed to do.
The words "emanate light" would not leave my mind as I prayed.
I knew the general definition of the word emanate but when I got home I wrote it down and looked up ALL the definitions.


em·a·nate/ˈeməˌnāt/



1. Issue or spread out from
2. Originate from, produced by
3. To flow out
4. To proceed
5. Come forth

I have been called to emanate the life and light of Jesus Christ. To let Him shine from me, through me and before me. I have been brought to life, redeemed from darkness and brought to light and now, I am called to WALK IN THAT and portray it. To be it.
"He has redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light!"
Job 33:28

I don't know what's next. But I know what's now: bringing the light and life of Jesus Christ to everyone I encounter. To be a overflowing source of this light. To have it proceed me in everything I do.
Let it emanate.

"For you have delivered me from death 
    and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
    in the light of life."
Psalms 56:13

Let's go, let's be the light.




Speaking Life.

The Lord has been reminding me to speak life wherever I go. Building, encouraging, strengthening, spirit-giving life.
So, I painted my phone case as a reminder to spread life, my phone is almost always with me and is always a way of communication with those dear to me.
Let's speak life all over the place and over all of the people.
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind." Philippians 2:1-2

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

New walls for new beginnings. "Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you with hasten to you, because of the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, for He has endowed you with splendor." Isaiah 55

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Prophetic paintings with Chels.
Psalms 45:11 and Proverbs 31.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Isaiah 55. Read it. Love it. Ignore my lack of spelling skills. Speak Life.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Animals in Our Kitchen

It’s difficult to write blogs now that living in Africa has become my normal, day to day life. I am used to washing my clothes in buckets and hanging them to dry outside.
Used to hearing “Mzungu! Mzungu!” as I walk down the streets. To walking down to Dorothy's Supa Duka or to the nearby gas station to purchase a Coca-Cola for 30 shillings. I am used to the birds in the kitchen and the monkeys in the trees. To the sound of screams and chairs slamming in the middle of the night as the locals celebrate goals while watching the soccer game on TV upstairs.
It’s also difficult to write blogs knowing that we only have two full weeks of ministry left here. After weeks spent living in tribes, doing door to door evangelism; visiting and speaking at schools; preaching, singing, and passing out food at the IDP Camps; visiting numerous African church services; praying with patients in the hospital and coloring pictures with the children; and visiting and watching the baptism of over 50 prisoners..My time of living in Africa is nearly over.
I’m excited though, excited to see what these next two weeks of ministry will hold. As we lead a youth camp here at the church hall, spending our days fellowshipping, leading devotions, and eating meals with them...and bracing ourselves for an extremely loud seven days. And as we once again leave our home in the church hall to go into another tribe to do more door to door evangelism...this time during rainy season.
I cannot wait to see God work in more incredible, powerful ways than He already has.
To see Him be more than enough.
To see His overwhelming, never failing love working in the lives of people.
To see Him speak to and save the lost and broken.
And to see how He will continue to change me.
To transform my heart and to break my heart for the things that break His.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Best Birthday

Today, I received the best birthday presents ever, a bold voice and the opportunity to rejoice with angels in heaven...
This past week, we were going door to door- evangelizing to the people in Rare, Kenya. Door to door evangelism has been something I have struggled with because I am very shy and it’s hard for me to speak out while we are in the homes of strangers.
However, last Wednesday was different.
Our translator, Simon introduced us to a group of women who were sitting outside braiding each others hair.
All of them said they were saved, except one, named Beatrice, who was extremely shy. I really felt like God wanted us to talk to her. So, we pulled her aside from the group and we stood in a circle, I waited for one of my team members to start talking to her about Christ. There was an awkward silence.
And then, God told me He wanted me to talk to her.
I was terrified, but I spoke up. I think my voice quivered as I started talking and said,
“Is there something keeping you from accepting Christ as your personal savior?”
She answered,
“I have a lack of peace.”
I knew then, that she was so much like me.
I have struggled with anxiety, fear, and decision making for almost my entire life.
So, I explained to her, with the help of our translator, that I used to struggle with fear and lack of peace. But time and time again God has proven to me that He is a God of comfort, abounding love, and provision. That, when Jesus died for us on the cross, He died to take away our sins and when He rose from the grave, He conquered fears. I told her that I don’t fear anymore, because I know that God is with me and He will never leave me and He will always love me, despite anything I have done- because I am forgiven. I told her that God LONGS to hear her voice call out to Him and when she calls, He will answer her.
I realized I had talked far longer than I had expected, but after I was finished, Beatrice told us that she wanted to accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.
The rest of my team joined in as we helped her pray “The Sinner’s Prayer”. Afterwards, she smiled as she asked us to write down Bible verses for her to read later.
We told her that the moment she accepted Christ, the angels in heaven rejoiced because one of God’s lost sheep had been found.
Beatrice said she would be at church on Sunday.
I was ecstatic.
It was suddenly so evident that God has given me a bold voice, but being shy, quiet, and full of insecurities, I was never able to be who God created and intended me to be.
He created me to BE BOLD.
To be bold in sharing His truth.
To be bold in speaking out what He speaks.
To be bold in everything I do for Him.

Today, was my birthday.
I was blessed enough to be able to celebrate it in a beautiful, African church service - praising God in song and prayer...we even sang my personal favorite song, “Ni Wewe Bwana.”
It was a great start to an amazing birthday- but as I scanned the pews, I saw no sign of Beatrice.
I was disappointed, but I knew, that I would see her in heaven someday.
After the next song, Katie elbowed me and said, “JM! Beatrice is here...”
My heart rejoiced. I was able to talk with her again and tell her how happy I was again that we are now sisters in Christ.
I wanted to thank her forever, thank her for letting me realize that I have a bold voice to use for furthering God’s kingdom.

Today, I received the best gifts.
A gift from God:
A gift of boldness.
A gift I NEVER thought I had.
And the gift of rejoicing with God’s angels as we celebrate Beatrice becoming God’s child.
I cannot stop praising God today for ALL he has done.
He is so worthy of our praise!
Bwana asifiwe sana! (All praise be to God!)

Friday, March 9, 2012

It's the moment when...

These past couple weeks have been difficult.
My heart is heavy with memories and thoughts of home and with the overwhelming need that I am surrounded by daily here in Kenya.
But throughout these struggles God has been with me, constantly reminding me why I am here, and blessing me with moments of complete joy.

It’s the moment when we are walking through pouring rain down a dirt road and find shelter in a empty home. Where I sit in the corner next to eleven year old Ruth, who braids my hair into three chunky braids while she sings and worships, “Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other - our God is healer, awesome in power, our God...” It’s when we have to enter the rain again; Ruth and I walking hand in hand down the muddy path and she looks up to me and says, “I will never, ever forget you, Jamie.”

It’s the moment when I am walking through the hospital corridors and see Alex, who greets me with the world’s most sincere and genuine smile, despite not having half of his face. And it’s the moment when I get to sit with this incredibly strong eight-year-old boy and trace our handprints and draw lions (simbas) and cats (pakas) and giraffes (twigas).

It’s the moment when we are passing out bags of corn flour, beans, and lard to the hungry. And four-year-old Lucia, who speaks no english, begs to be spun in the air, chased around the trees, and held in my arms.

It’s the moment of singing songs to the mothers and their babies in the pediatrics ward of the hospital and watching them clap and smile and ask us again to sing another song.

It’s moments like these when I am reminded that I am here for a reason, that God is using me in amazing ways, and that I should not lose heart.

“Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

I’ve been gone for almost a month now, and so much has happened in that time.

I’ve eaten my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches next to chickens, cows, goats and sheep; watched donkeys carry our water from a river; heard the voices of African school children praising God in Swahili; been covered in dust; watched our tent get completely turned over by a dust tornado; read Scripture to the downhearted; brushed my teeth next to a herd of grazing cattle; received a new Maasai name and a new Swahili name; walked several miles a day evangelizing from hut to hut; picked out different types of bugs trying to make a home inside my hair; sat in hot church buildings filled with too many people; and prayed for the paralyzed and the mute and the sick. I’ve tasted a lot of unfamiliar foods; smelled new scents (most which I would rather not smell at all); and been surrounded by so many overwhelming needs.

Everything is different - God is different.

I realize that God hasn’t changed, but I have.
I have finally taken God out of this “JM shaped” box I shoved him in.
Finally realized how much power is held in the name of Jesus Christ.
Finally realized that the God of the universe loves me enough to want to have a personal relationship with me, that He desires to hear my voice and that He answers me. (Something I had always known, but never fully comprehended)
I had placed so many restraints on God and molded Him to fit who I thought He should be that I had lost sight of who He is.
He is powerful.
He is gracious.
He is a refuge.
He is enough.
He is love.

Once I let God out of the comfortable box I’d put Him in, I recognized His power.
His power to form rain clouds in a perfectly clear, blue African sky as we gathered and cried out for rain to quench dry land.
His power to provide for those who have nothing.
His power to bring joy to the hopeless.
His power to heal and protect.
His power to cast out fear.
His power to speak to a listening heart.
His power to break every chain.

His power.
Not my power.
Not our power.
But His complete and perfect power.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

These past few days have been the most emotionally draining and yet spiritually encouraging days I have ever had. I know I am supposed to be here. God is ever reminding me that He is my Heavenly Father. He is holding me in His arms. He is a fortress for the weak. He is in control.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kenya!

Tomorrow, I leave to start my four month adventure in Kenya. Follow me here to see how God is working in Kenya!