explanation, Mission trip, Soul-bearing

Being brave (Costa Rica, here I come!)

I wouldn’t be the person I am today had it not been for mission trips. More importantly, I wouldn’t be the Christian I am today had it not been for mission trips.

So it’s with great excitement that I say: I’ll be heading out on a week-long trip in July 2014. (!!!)

To give you a brief history of my experience on mission trips thus far in life, I went to the Dominican Republic in 2004 and Peru in 2005, both times with members from my church youth group.

My trip to the Dominican Republic was absolutely life-changing in so many ways. I have an entire journal full of everything God taught me/revealed to me/showed me during that trip. Most importantly, it was during that trip that I rededicated my life to the Lord. I had prayed and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior when I was 5, but I had been basically living the typical “good Sunday School kid” life up to that point, just kind of going through the motions without really pursuing a meaningful relationship with Him.

But God completely broke my heart (in the good way) during that trip. When I was least expecting it. He humbled me and showed me through a series of amazing events during the trip that it is NOT about me; it’s about Him. So I gave my life fully, 100 percent back to Him then. I’ve never looked back or been the same since.

I’ve previously mentioned part of my experience in Peru on this blog. God used the Peru trip to fully take me out of my comfort zone, more than I had been even before or in the DR. I was also heading into my senior year of high school that year, and during the trip God gave me so much peace about my future and He had a plan for me, even if I was struggling to trust Him with it.

Some photos from Peru (still searching for my DR photos!): The first one is with one of the local boys from the Peruvian church we partnered with (I still remember his ever-present eagerness to help and his name: Gustavo) and my sister (loved that we got to share such an experience together), the second is from some construction work we did at the church.

Peruvian church banquet

That brings us to present. I haven’t been on a trip since 2005. Eight years.

The funny thing is that, for several years now, I’ve constantly cycled between desperately wanting to go on another trip (but knowing I didn’t have the vacation time yet at my job) and being completely terrified (and thankful that said lack of vacation time was holding me back).

God really started tugging on my heart a few months ago to start praying about going a trip. I began the cycle again between YAY! and “nope, maybe I should wait another year or so…”

A total God-thing then happened when I became Facebook friends with a gal who works for e3 Partners Ministry. You may have also heard of them through their “I Am Second” ministry. The two of us have yet to meet in person (we share many mutual friends where I used to live in Texas), but I started noticing her Facebook posts about trips. I knew God was leading me to ask her more.

Long story short, I started praying more, focusing on whether God wanted me to go on a trip with her. I had complete and total peace about it, which is extremely rare for me, being the anxious person I generally am. I started off praying between Costa Rica (where she’s heading this next year) and Peru (also with e3 but being lead by a person from my old church in Brownsville). My heart wanted Peru–I was familiar with it, I loved the people there, I wanted to see more of that beautiful country.

But it was never meant to be Peru. I had zero peace about that, and every time I started to pray about it, it was always Costa Rica.

A lot of the details are still being worked out, but here’s a general idea of the trip I’ll be going on (from the e3 website):

We are returning to San Ramon to continue the church planting work that we began in 2012. We will be using sports ministry to do outreach to the kids, and community health education in certain areas. Everyone will be involved in the home-to-home evangelism and the I Am Second discipleship that will be our main focus as we work with our local church partners to continue to spread the gospel, to disciple new believers and to plant new churches. Part of the team will also be working with the church plants from last year to continue their development and to make sure the replication process will lead to a new generation of church plants.
While you are in Costa Rica:
Each day you will partner with local believers to share the gospel in the community in exciting and creative ways. You will be helping either to start a brand new church, or strengthen an existing one. One day will be set aside for touring, shopping and free time.
Cost $2400 from Denver, CO contingent on airfare
$200 non-refundable deposit due with application
$1100 due 4/13/2014
$1100 due 6/12/2014
Cost includes leadership training, transportation, hotel, meals, transfers, evangelistic materials and follow up materials and funds.

The one reason I’m particularly excited about going with e3 is because of their emphasis on partnering with churches and church planting during the trip. During the last two trips I was on, we did partner with local churches during our time there, but I’m fairly certain that the Peruvian church members were far more prepared to continue the ministry when we left than the DR church. I really want to be a part of something that goes far beyond just a bunch of Americans showing up for a week and then “see ya” and life goes back to the same old there. This is about expanding God’s kingdom continually.

Yes, I’ll have to raise about $2,400 to go on the trip. But I’m not freaking out about it. I’ve seen in the past how God moved and brought things together for my other two trips. Whether it was people generously straight up writing checks or asking me to weed their garden in exchange for a donation, God provided. I plan to submit my application by December 13, and I’ll need $200 to do so. If this is His will (and I have peace that it is), God will provide. I’ll also need to get my passport renewed (it expired since I last used it)–I have faith that God will provide the funds for that, too.

So many amazing things have been happening in my life recently in regards to God opening my heart to things, giving me the courage to ask for forgiveness, answering prayers, etc. I feel like He’s moving me into a new season of life. I don’t know what it is yet, but I firmly believe Costa Rica is a part of it.

All that to say, thanks for reading all of this. If you could be praying for me mentally, physically and spiritually as I continue to follow God in this, I would so greatly appreciate it. If you feel like God is calling you to donate in some way, shape or form, I would be humbled.

No matter what, this is the verse I’m clinging to: Isaiah 6:8- Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

This verse used to scare me so much. Even after my other two trips. But not anymore. Where He leads me, I will follow.

Daily Life, explanation, Funny stuff, Uncategorized

2013, I’ve got big plans for you

So here we are. We all made it to 2013. And for the first time probably ever, I’m PUMPED about getting to a new year. A fresh slate, new opportunities, all that jazz. Normally I hit New Year’s Eve and am a bit depressed because I hate letting go of Christmas and admitting the holidays are basically over. But this year I was ready and excited.

And the reason why? Here’s a quick look at why 2013 should be a great year. Why I’m motivated. Why I’m optimistic. I don’t like calling all these things “resolutions,” because I feel like that gives them a title that makes them easy to toss away once I’m bored with them. So they’re not resolutions; they are aspirations. Goals. Things I will MAKE happen.

* I’m working out. This is HUGE for me. I’ve always hateddddddd working out, mostly because I hate attempting to make the commitment and then failing at it after awhile. But recently my mom really pushed for us all to sign up for a family gym membership so we could all get healthy together. And I was really, really resisting it. Didn’t want to fail again. Didn’t want to pretend that I was excited about this. But then the flip switched in my head when my friend Christyn asked me to be a bridesmaid in her April wedding. Suddenly, it all made sense. Of COURSE I want to look good in that dress. Of course I want to be healthier. So I’ve hit the gym five times in the past week. And I actually LIKE going. It’s a crazy world we live in.

* I’m going to run/walk a 5K in September. It’s going to happen. And it’s not just any 5K I’m prepping for–it’s the coolest.

* I’m going to a bridesmaid. And I’m waaaayyyy excited about that.

* On a similar note, I’m making a return trip to Brownsville! You didn’t think it’d be that easy to get rid of me, did you?

* I’m also hoping for a return trip to South Carolina sometime this year. It’s been way too long since I saw my college friends. There’s also hopefully going to be a Collegian (my college’s newspaper) reunion, too. Because those people are the people I miss the most, basically.

* Alissa should come to visit. My former college roommate, Alissa, has promised a visit sometime this year. Which means I’ll have someone to share a closet with for a week. She’s the best.

* I’m going to get my finances under control. I basically have been winging it financially for waaaayyyy too long. 2013 is the year to change all that.

* I’m going to read more. My goal is to make it through five non-fiction and five fiction books this year. That may sound like a piddly mark, but that’d be BIG for me. I read all day at work, cut me a bit of slack!

And that basically sums it all up. If any of you have workout, budgeting, etc. tips, let me know in the comments!

I’ll leave you with this bit of inspiration which also helped me hit the gym.


Olympics, Posh Spice, and triple salchows in the living room

Guys, McKayla Maroney is TOTALLY our Posh Spice. I have to give Annie Barrett props for figuring this out first.

If you follow me on either Facebook or Twitter, you already know that I’m obsessed with the Olympics. Gymnastics, swimming, track and field, synchronized diving, volleyball… I love it all. Heck, I even love the Winter Olympics. During the 2010 Winter Olympics I was in my final semester of college, but that didn’t stop me from parking myself in the front of the TV with two friends for all the ice skating, speed skating, bobsledding, and skiing coverage we could handle.

There’s lots to love about the Olympics. The patriotism (from the USA and other nations; nothing makes my heart skip a beat faster than a hearty “USA! USA!” chant), the triumphant moments, the come-from-behind victories, the unknowns who steal people’s hearts, and so on.

For me, I tease and say I could have been an Olympian if I had tried. I kid, but I really did love watching/doing gymnastics and ice skating when I was younger. I wasn’t good, but I liked it. Plus, I took beginner gymnastics lessons at the same gym Athens all-around gold medalist Paul Hamm came from, along with his twin brother, Morgan. I went skating with family and friends around the same rink speed skating gold medalists Bonnie Blair, Dan Jansen and Shani Davis trained on. So maybe knowing all this Olympic history helped hooked me on watching them at an early age.

I adored Kristi Yamaguchi (and still do). I had photos of her in an album (which also contained photos of multi-colored vests I wanted… I was a weird kid), and practiced triple salchows and skating backwards in the living room with my sister. Then Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan happened and my 10-year-old brain exploded.

Similar to our figure skating obsession, my sister and I would practice balancing on thin lines, visualizing balance beams in their place. It all started when Kerri Strug and the rest of the Magnificent Seven won gold. Also, I wanted Shannon Miller’s hair scrunchie.

Now every time the Olympics roll around (winter or summer), my life momentarily pauses so I can be a part of all the moments. I’m older now, but I still get giddy when a surprise athlete bursts on the scene, teary when someone breaks down singing the National Anthem, and slightly lose my voice when an event comes down to the wire. I know the Olympics aren’t everyone’s favorite, but for me it’s all about cheering on my country, learning more about others, and marveling at people who let me live vicariously through them and help me to dream bigger in my own life.


Starting over…

Below is a formerly published post, but from when this blog (as of yesterday) existed on Tumblr. I quickly decided to switch over to WordPress because it is a more welcoming format to non-users when it comes to leaving comments.

That being said, here’s an explanation for my blog:

I’m back, blogging world! But am I back? The short answer: I need to write. I realized I write every day at work, but not in the way I enjoy the most, which is honestly more narrative. I like having an avenue to express myself more at length than a Facebook status or tweet. I need to chronicle my life more, since it’s random and wonderful and I don’t want to forget everything great I’m experiencing at this point in my life someday.

So here’s my goal (and anyone who takes the time to read this is welcome to hold me to it): Blog at least twice a week. More if something funny happens. This blog isn’t going to have any deep theme most days. It’s meant to be a reflecting of the spastic, carefree, crazy person I am.

And the title? That’s thanks to my fantastic friend Kalyn. We had a random Twitter exchange today and she threw in the hashtag #dayinthelifeofmolls. Brilliant. It fits perfectly for three reasons: 1) I aim to show my life realistically through this, 2) I work with social media at my job, so the hashtag is very appropriate, and 3) Those closest to me call me Molls. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy when they do. Warning: Do not call me Molls too early or if we’re not that close. I will ignore you.