Gratefulness

Sorry for my absence, readers. Life has been a hectic blessing lately. Between nannying, working at the feed store, and other miscellaneous jobs such as babysitting and painting, I don’t have much time for leisure or rest. I am learning, however, that sleeping at night is a precious gift I’ve taken for granted way too long.

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Since I last wrote, lots has happened and lots has not. I’m back in the states, not living with my family, got to vote for the first time in a presidential election, and am growing into an adult. But even with all that, it is hard for me to decipher, after living the most sanctifying, adventurous year of my life, what constitutes as a significant event and what doesn’t. That probably sounds weird, but I don’t know how else to put it.

Let me explain…

Because I am back in my hometown—where everything is routine and doesn’t ever change—life mostly seems mundane. It’s hard for me to adjust to this normalcy because, as a young adult, exploration and change and newness have been my norm; but not so for now. However, I am not ungrateful for the culture and place in which I was raised, I’ve just been introduced to different ways of life, so now my desires and goals have been shifted and are expanding.

Here’s a lame illustration: It’s as if I’ve been eating Dryer’s ice cream my whole life and someone just graciously opened my eyes to Blue Bell, and now I can’t go back to what I knew.

I continue learning that I’ll never be done learning. While I love living “on the edge” and praying for divine financial providence due to not working for a paycheck, it is so rewarding to reap what I’ve sown in working 50 hour weeks. I’m learning that jobs can be a blessing; I am constantly presented with opportunities to be a witness to my coworkers and customers. This is one of the many reasons I don’t use the term “mission field” very often because really, as a believer, my charge to share the good news is not continent specific. The vessel in which I minister the word may change country to country, but it is the same word no matter my location.

Before returning to the states I had prayed for change, for things to be different and completely unlike before I left ‘home’. I asked for new communities, job positions, etc. And let me tell ya, He heard me. I got more than what I asked for and what I honestly, on my own, couldn’t handle, but that was the point. When I initially was back here, I found myself in some really unhealthy, ungrateful patterns, and I always seemed to be in a funk.

Everything made sense on one hand, and on the other nothing. I didn’t (and quite frankly still don’t) know how to reconcile all that I’ve seen, heard, and lived with where I am now at.

So, my word for 2017 is gratefulness. On great days, on bad ones, I must be grateful. Grateful for His daily giving of new mercies; for breath; for bread; for His blood shed; for the Rock which I can undoubtedly cling to and trust.

Be blessed.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe…”

Hebrews 12:28

 

The Hustle + Bustle

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Wow, please forgive me for my lack of writing lately! Life back in the states has been as busy as it usually is; maybe even busier due to my three jobs. My circumstances as of late are undoubtedly keeping me on my toes, but the Provider has provided and I must be grateful.

While everyone else in suburbia has settled into rhythms and adjusted to routines, I’m still trying to not forget the last year of my life. Oddly enough, I find it’s a shockingly easy thing to do with all these first-world distractions swimming about my head. Like the times I biked around the outskirts of Berlin and could hardly form a prayer because ‘what is life?’ was all I could think; or when I hiked to an extremely undiscovered, remote village in the highlands of Papua New Guinea with friends I’d met only months prior; and how could I forget returning to my second home and catching up with friends which I hadn’t seen in three years?

But when I’m driving around and making plans and shopping at Whole Foods, it’s as if it never happened.

I have no doubt that the statement I just made may sound zany; even if it is, nonetheless,  it’s true. Unless you have walked in someone’s shoes, you cannot authentically know how they feel or how their situations have affected them.  Though I am blessed with a handful of friends whose experiences align with mine, when others whose don’t but try to act as if they “get it”, my impatience glides right in the way and I just want to forget about it and shut up.

Imagine taking a trip to the Vatican and the only vise you possess to capture its ornate and intricate beauty is a disposable film camera from Walmart. It would obviously have no chance at adequately relaying what you physically saw in person. What the Lord has allowed me to see, witness, and learn is honestly hard for me, the one who endured it, to fathom; how could I, after all? I’ve been taken on an adventure beyond my imagination.

One of the issues with being me is that if I don’t have hours (at least) to explain in full the greatness of something and the remarkable details embedded within it, I practically give up. I don’t fancy partial story-telling or being restricted by time, space, or what have you. I’ve been so spoiled and blessed by Eastern-Time-Zone lifestyle; having unlimited time and availability to say what deserves to be said. But since I am now in a Western zone, I have got to switch my brain. Essentially, I have to get over myself.

Harsh? Maybe. But necessary. Life, no matter how much Satan strives to convince me otherwise, is not about me. And as a follower of Jesus, especially, I am compelled to live out that belief.

So, if you run into me purchasing groceries or sipping coffee at a regularly frequented shop and my words are few, I apologize in advance. I am in no way justifying my lack of extraverted-ness, but simply trying to be honest about the difficulty I have with briefly explaining this journey I’m on as just “fun”.

How could something so great be described in such few and simple phrases?

I hope this is making sense.

Frankly, I am asking for grace. I am an imperfect human; I want to outdo others in honor, and sometimes that is just hard. BUT, that is no excuse; His grace has covered as far as the east is from the west. He has made me a new creation and I’ve got to live like that!

On top of all that crazy, I’m writing a book. So, blog posts will be more scarce in the near future.

Thank you, readers and pals, for the encouragement and support you so fervently dish out. I am grateful for a blessed life and the privilege to write about!

 

Why I Don’t Have Favorites Or Least Favorites

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Massai Market, Nairobi, Kenya ’16

Usually after I return home from traveling, the question that’s never lacking is “What’s next?” But not so much this round. “What was the best and what was the worst” is what I keep hearing. I suppose since I’ve explored not one, not two, but three continents in the seven months I was away, folks are curious about which location offered better memories + sweeter reminiscing.

To be frank, I think my answer is pretty unpredictable.

As if it were my profession, I make it my aim to never travel with expectations, good or bad. I’ve come to terms with the fact that things will not always go my way while internationally traveling. But if I go on expecting that unrealistic reality, I’d be miserable…and where’s the fun in that?


“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

― Alexander Pope


 

Were some days brighter than others? Of course; life is what it is, even across the pond. But when your focus is not on you getting what you wants and expectations are not set, the journey, I find, is far more enjoyable.

Folks travel for a plethora of reasons: work; vacation; specialty food + beverage; searching for a more extraordinary life than the one they currently lead. Why do I do it? Mostly because God, thankfully, has peeled back a layer that only He in His natural mercy can. Though I was brought up to believe this, I now realize that life in the states (or any first-world country for that matter) is not paramount, nor the “American Dream” an actual dream.

Wandering anxiously with blurred vision and a tired mind throughout airports, train and bus stations, running into hardly anyone who speaks your mother-tongue, then somehow miraculously plopping down in the seat at your departure gate is beyond satisfying. (A big-bad-wolf-like inhale and exhale usually ensues for me at this moment.)

As I’ve mentioned before, the life of a middle-class-traveler is far from glamorous. I don’t really have the resources to judge the “bests and worsts” because when you live in a big world on a small budget, everything is a gift. Despite what Instagram or Facebook might deceivingly show, my meals were actually seldom “post-worthy”. There was a week in Papua New Guinea where my team and I ate chicken/beef flavored biscuits, known as SNAX, for nearly every meal; and Coke was typically more trustworthy and accessible than water. But  like my momma always told me, “Ya get whatcha get and ya don’t throw a fit.” Paul would even teach me to count it all joy, and even give thanks.

The challenge I’m trying to relay is the boycotting of expectations; to just go with the flow. I know that’s not the Western World’s M.O., but it’s a helpful one; and I think you should try it out.

This philosophy won’t magically make your problems disintegrate or circumstances change course, but if you remember eternity, your attitude in them will be much more bearable for you…and others around you.

 


“I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations.”

― Bill Watterson


 

Life + True Fulfillment

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 

Lately I’ve been at an immense loss for words because there’s a lot of stuff racking my brain. But today I feel led to spit something out. Bear with me. 
In my experience, when one decides to live overseas + make foreign lands their home, two things happen: 1, you realize that life continues for everyone everywhere (no matter how hard you try to pause the clock); 2, your life is doing the same, just in ways that are unfamiliar. 
God mentions several times in scripture how every day spent in His presence is a time of transformation, despite us not being presently aware of it (as He reveals things to us rightly in His timing). And if, though it may be simple, the most pressing realization from my time overseas is His omnipresence, I don’t consider it redundant, as this truth slips my mind far too often. 
Here’s my point: While I’ve had many peaceful mornings watching the sun rise over the pacific shoreline, ridden horseback in the backwoods of New Zealand, and eaten more passion fruit than I knew existed, there are still days that I’m left empty. Now, I’d consider myself to be a fairly easy-to-please type of gal; I enjoy the rural, bush life + simplicity. But then a friend gets engaged, one (or five) have a baby, Tanya Tucker performs at Billy Bob’s, and I am jarred by my aloneness + distance. 
Living overseas is a great joy to me, but it is not magic. 
If you ever want to truly know how He goes about using every instance to stretch and grow a person, travel. I promise you—it will rock your world. I’m not insinuating that leaving home makes you a better you, but you’ll sure learn a lot about yourself and what areas of your life are lacking. 
For example, humility. If you want to successfully travel + make friends in foreign places, you can’t be offendable. I noticed my need for growth in this characteristic the other day when my Kenyan housemates kept bugging me about how and what I needed to eat for breakfast. In my head I was thinking, “I’m 21 years old…I ain’t gonna let myself starve. I got this! Get off my case.” But dang, that’s not how Christ would’ve responded. 
If you’re interested in becoming like Christ, give community-living a shot. 
With the encounters I’ve had over the past year, His creativity only becomes more evident in the way He [kindly] showcases, through each circumstance, my state of humanness (I often forget it). Although I’ve had the time of my life, He’s still holding up the mirror of accountability to me that says, “Oh, Han, remember…” 
Coming “home” will be hard. Not just because of the hullabaloo in the U.S., but because of cultural hang-ups and people needing to always know what’s next in my life when, honestly, I haven’t a clue. I’ve lived the last 12 months knowing not much more than where I would lay my head at night. I realize this can’t be a reality for most, but it has been mine, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. 
God, in His sweet superiority, has continued to reveal to me the truths of His word that says, “The heart of a man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) 
The consensus of that verse is not to wait around for Him to purchase a plane ticket + ship you overseas, but to be bold; take a step of faith; and forget worldly certainty. Open your hands; get em dirty. Forsake the misleading promises of the world for a greater mission: His kingdom being furthered in whatever ways that may pan out (don’t worry; He knows what He’s doing). 
My hope rests in Him and the fact that He doesn’t waste time. A big pet-peeve of mine (probably the biggest, actually) is lallygagging. But, of course, there are uneventful days; and even then, I can’t doubt His plans. He is never late, never off. 
We were created to be taught + glean from Someone greater than us. 
If your heart, will, + spirit are bridled to His, you won’t believe the things He can orchestrate. 

From Simple To Extravagant

He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”

 John 12:25-26

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View of Queenstown, New Zealand
Life has increasingly become more and more surreal every day. I have not had  a steady job or worked for a pay check in nearly a year, but He has provided abundantly. I’ve lived in Europe, Australia, on a south pacific island, and am now in New Zealand, shortly heading to Kenya. Who’da thought a small-town, country-bumpkin like me would end up like this? I can assure you the thought never crossed my mind.

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Taking a nap on Lake Wakatipu
I’m sitting on the shorefront of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand, trying to find words that justly express my current mental state, unfortunately I can’t quite seem to fit any together that adequately describe where my thoughts are at the moment.
I truly can’t explain it, this mystery of a life I’m living.
As a kid, I hated exploring. Intentionally going into the unknown and having no expectations to be met or unmet wasn’t my cup of tea. Thankfully, God changes hearts; and delving into uncharted adventures is my life-anthem.
Do I get homesick? Well, depends on which home you’re referring to.
Was I born where I was, grew up where I did, and become who I am for no reason or by chance? Certainly not, but I am positive, without a shadow of a doubt, that I wasn’t meant to just stay put and comfortable, disobeying the great commands of scripture.
“Where’s she going with this?” — Bare with me.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
John 14:12
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Me at age 7 in one of many dance recitals in Lewisville, TX

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Me at age 21, preaching to about 1,000 children at a primary school in Wabag, Papua New Guinea
What I’m trying to say is that my life—every breath I’m given—is not mine to do with whatever my small-minded-self wills.
Scripture says He lives in me, and He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. So why the heck would I not open my hands, my mind, and loose my reservations, which only bind the gift of freedom, when the word that cannot return void states His great desire to use me in mighty, heavenly ways?

Think of it this way: It’s your 16th birthday; your dad buys you your fantasy car; hands you the keys. Along with that, he then includes that you have no limited distance in which to remain. Knowing this, you, instead, keep within a 10 mile radius, moving at no higher than 35 MPH. I think, personally, that your dad would be a little disappointed or, at least, a little confused as to why you wouldn’t enjoy and delight in the great freedom he’s gifted you. Helpful illustration? I hope so.

Is it healthy to keep on the safe side? Sure, if you don’t have heavenly security and trust from the giver of the gift. But, if you are a child of the King, the mere illusion of earthly safety is unnecessary, and you’re missing out on one heck of a journey. The Lord entrusts us, His children, with much because there is nothing that we can so badly screw up that He can’t repair. So, my friend, if you have not taken advantage of the liberated life He’s cheerfully allotted you, my heart hurts for you.
For the children of God, our home is a heavenly, sure place so that we may, with the time we have on earth, fearlessly venture as far and wide for the edification of His name and furtherance of His kingdom. The western-world-fast-pace-small-living lifestyle is a deceivingly lacking one. My soul aches for the son or daughter who’s been adopted in to the house of the Lord but lives as if they weren’t.
It really stems from a lack of obedience to His voice. Hebrews 13:8 says He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and if He spoke in ancient days, how could anyone believe that He, who cannot lie, wouldn’t speak today? Truth is: He spoke, and He is speaking now. Satan has managed to find the easiest vessel of distraction for the children of Yahweh by convincing us that He simply has nothing more to say than that which is written—not that it is insufficient, but more so the heinous idea that He doesn’t want much to do with us insignificants. How are we meant to earnestly seek spiritual gifts like words of knowledge or wisdom or discernment if His Spirit isn’t still communicating to us what is needed?
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Me at age 18, three years ago at Naomi’s Village in Maai Mahiu, Kenya
Five years ago He began whispering ‘Africa & Missions’ to me. I thought I knew that was not from God because, surely, He couldn’t possibly want me to give up my dream of becoming a principle ballerina in a world-renowned dance company and have to get uncomfortable: Wrong. Via my parents’ encouraging and admonishment, getting uncomfortable was the best decision of my life; obedience always ushers joy.
People from every country I’ve been to ask how I get to do the things I do. My answer: I never say no.
I’m in a stage of life where it is rare that I face a shut door, where options are limited. Some times it incurs stress due to the fact that I can’t choose one option over the other, but I suppose that’s a good problem to have. My daddy always told me to dream big knowing I serve a big God. I can honestly say, in my wildest dreams, I never thought He would do what He’s done with me thus far, and it is only because I have said ‘Yes’ to, not just His plans, but Him.
If 16-year-old-me would’ve told God ’no’ or ‘that’s too risky’, I surely wouldn’t be where I am right now, locationally and spiritually.
Christ doesn’t share specifics as to what life will look like once one is adopted into the family of God, but I keep learning that that is, in itself, a gift.
If you keep yourself dead to you, He has much more room to flourish through you the fullness of life. Of course He is powerful enough to do what He pleases in whomever, whenever, but if you will not empty yourself of your own ideas and desires, what has He to fill?
Here is my charge and plea to you, reader: Start doing things that seem crazy, even a little ridiculously risky. I’m not just talking bungee-jumping and parasailing, but making new friends from foreign countries, hiking up a mountain to watch the sun rise, singing worship songs at the top of your lungs at the beach, or taking a 2.5 hour horse ride in a country you’ve yet to visit. Additionally, believer: As one of my favorite Kiwi’s and DTS lecturers eloquently said to us students (at least 10 times a day), “STOP IT.” Stop moping around and waiting for God to move powerfully in your life. He has given YOU-yes, YOU-a mind and a heart and the ability to respond to the wonderful and miraculous ways He has already changed your life’s trajectory.
Open your ears and listen. Quit leaning on your own understanding and hopes and dreams, and wake up. God is a good Creator and His creation was meant to reflect that. For the sake of kingdom growth, please ask yourself, “What am I shut off to?” “Where am I holding back because of fear?”
He commands us not to fear time and time again throughout scripture. Proverbs 12:25 explains it best by stating that, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” It can’t be said any clearer. Growing up (ask my poor mother) I was quite the indecisive kid. At one of the malls in my home town, there was once a train that children could ride. One day my sister and some friends who had joined us wanted to take a ride. I, for the life of me, cannot figure out why I was so afraid to step foot into it, but for whatever reason I was completely terror-stricken. The worst part? I stood there glaring at the horrific thing for about 20 minutes and then, finally, came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t a good idea. I missed out on all the fun due to fear.
I’m not telling you that you should take up bear-wrestling (unless God tells you to), but please seize doing things that you can make sense of within your human brain and understanding. I promise, if you just simply say, ‘Yes, Lord. What now?’, He will not waste His time.
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Me on a trail ride over the Rees River with High Country Horses in Glenorchy, New Zealand where Tswift, Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and many other greats filmed videos and movie footage
I have not ridden since the end of last year, and the fact that I got the opportunity to ride through the most beautiful country in the world on this amazing boy still takes my breath away and has left me speechless and grateful.

If you think your life isn’t going to be momentous, it probably won’t. So stop thinking that, and ask God where He wants to take you, what He wants to show you. And most of all, trust Him. 

 

Papua New Guinea: Mt. Hagen

The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

 Psalm  34:10
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(Top of the hill) YWAM Mt. Hagen Base
Our first location & headquarters during our stay in Papua New Guinea happened to be the YWAM Base in Mt. Hagen. Once we triumphantly completed the 2k hike up to the base, after almost losing our bags and van down a waterfall, we were warmly welcomed by the staff. The hut-houses quickly began to feel like home, and new routines were formed.
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Living room at the base in Mt. Hagen

This space served as a sweet refuge for myself and the team. Whether studying scripture or playing Munchkin Legends (our favorite game, kinda), we each felt well-rested and more strongly bonded after spending time there.


 

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All packed up and loaded down before we headed out on our first trip to a village
My most memorable and favorite home will forever be this straw-walled, wood-floored hut. Simplicity and minimal-living at its finest, this space gave opportunity for many new experiences and laughs and inside jokes to be had. I learned, once again, of my ever-growing love for the simple lifestyle.

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Market in the town of Mt. Hagen (Jazz, Martin, and Auntie A)
A little chaotic and scattered, in standard food-and-goods market fashion, we closely followed Auntie A’s navigation of the pineapple-and-passion-fruit-filled maze. I had especially missed getting my groceries from local farmers, so this was easily one of my favorite things we did while on outreach.

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Guavas + Ginger
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Me, Mathias, and Ash

 

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Sweet Mama (19) and her ill newborn whom I met & prayed for after our first open-air ministry
I wish I had footage and photos of our first day of ministry, but words will have to suffice.

Uncle D, Auntie A’s husband, was our translator, and we saw the Lord work in miraculous ways right off the bat. People were getting healed left and right; I led two ladies to Jesus; the Spirit was moving powerfully amongst the random 600-700 member crowd we were ministering to.

Our team had been told that, on outreach, we would see many healings and salvations and miracles, and this first day had already proven those prophesies true. This only grew our excitement and encouraged us for what the rest of our time in PNG could unfold into!

OPEN-AIR MINISTRY

This was our primary approach for ministry during our time in PNG. We found that posting up our speaker in a space of open land and playing a few songs faithfully drew crowds that would stick around, even long enough for us to go around afterwards for 1-1 evangelism & prayer.

THE SET UP: We introduced ourselves (in Pigeon), explained what we were there for, and proceeded with two dramas and two “mini” sermons. After the first drama, one of us would give a testimony of how the LORD had moved in our lives, and after the second, a full but brief gospel presentation/alter call. More often than not, the response at our open-airs was a deep encouragement to each of us. God was so clearly opening eyes and softening hearts; what a beautiful thing to visibly witness – seeing grown men and women cry because of His amazing grace.

I personally saw hundreds of healings and salvations. The deaf could hear, the blind see, and lame or injured walk, run.

One older man, in another town we visited, after I prayed for his hurt knee, said it felt better in the moment, but he wanted to run a few kilometers and test it out and then come back to tell me if his healing was real. He ended up, instead, not running but stuck around, and we talked about the differences between my home and his. When I told him I had to leave, he asked me to keep praying for and thinking about his country once I would eventually depart. I told him and the other people who’d congregated around us during our conversation, as they typically do, that I’d already been praying for PNG for nearly two years, and that I’d never stop.

God has sweet plans ahead for that country, and I believe revival in their faith will come like an avalanche, influencing the surrounding countries and other religions.


 

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These two sweeties lingered by my side after an open-air we did with the students from the DTS currently running at YWAM Mt. Hagen
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I met this sweet girl at a secondary school where Jesus radically shook things up and freed souls from bondage in worship; truly an amazing night
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Mathias sharing the gospel with the children at a primary school
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Mathias and Joël having a rap battle after the school’s devotional time


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Jazz holding the wild parakeet we met by our bus stop and named and basically treated like he belonged to us
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Sometimes you crawl up to your hut because your legs just can’t take anymore…
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Lovely hammock spot I found at the base
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Not the worst view to have while taking a nap in your hammock


 

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The sweetest outreach mates & sisters I could’ve asked for (L to R: Hannah (me), Miriam, Åshild, and Jazz)
Friendship gained a whole new essence for me during outreach phase. These three and I came to know each other better than we know ourselves: no secrets, no insecurities, nothing hidden. There’s honestly nothing better than that, to know you have others around who know the good, the bad, and the ugly but still love you as if they didn’t; to have others who only encourage you towards what is godly and true and right and pure.

These truth-tellers made my time in PNG so treasurable, and I will ever cherish their words of loving-kindness and grace.

If you want to learn how to build up others, they are a great example to follow.


 

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Martin helping me bake my special, no-recipe Coffee, Chocolate Chip, Banana bread
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Matt taking a nap on Joël during our breakfast prayer
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Martin and Joël taking an afternoon nap


 

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View of the valley at 06:45 
Needless to say, this place was a very special location that each of us, I believe, will hold near and dear for quite some time. God is a good provider, and I am so grateful to have received the fruits of that truth.

A Beginning & An End

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power…”
2  Thessalonians   1:11

JANUARY 25: First day, first impressions; new country, new faces, mixed feelings.
FIRST WEEK: Relearning everyones names 1,000 times and how to properly pronounce Mooloolaba; new expectations made and old ones passed; nerves calmed.
Weeks went by, friendships strengthened, and old, untouched opinions were tried. Outreach teams were prayed for and divided up. Routine ensued.
APRIL 10: Teams dispersed amongst the nations, many lingering hugs were given, and I had butterflies from thinking of all God was going to do through each of us.

(Me and some of the pastors’  children) On the first day of a crusade that was hosted by Foursquare Church in Goii Village, Chuave, ChimbuProcessed with VSCO with b1 preset

(Me and some of the pastors’  children) On the first day of a crusade that was hosted by Foursquare Church in Goii Village, Chuave, Chimbu

The thing about short-term missions and all one can be taught on a trip is not about, nor is it dependant on, the magical, romanticised aspects each country has to offer, but on the power and magnificence of God & His ability to transform lives. Does getting away from home and being around new people and skin colors and languages help? Perhaps, but our sole purpose of life is to glorify the Creator and not merely His creation.
Here’s what I’m getting at: Did my time in Papua New Guinea change my life in a myriad of ways? Absolutely. Did that change have anything to do with my efforts and striving and ideas and will-power? Thank goodness—no!
As we saw many healings, salvations, and deliverances, I realized that those things truly don’t depend on myself, my words, or inwardly mustered strength, but only on the Lord Jesus Christ.
After the first few days of ministry I found myself getting tired and weary of praying for healing because I thought, surely, the words I had been using wouldn’t “do the job”, if you will, and that I needed to expand my vocabulary to sound more holy, adequate. Repeating ‘be healed in Jesus’ name’ felt too simple after a few times. But I had conveniently been reading Matthew then, and His words and actions convicted my spirit. Seeing His simplicity and confidence in the Father to do the impossible fixed my eyes to remembering it is HIM only who works wonders and miracles, and what freedom that brought!

  
Last day of week 2 on outreach in Papua New Guinea: Tasting 6 different types of potatoes in Goii Village, Chuave, Chimbu 

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You see, as a westerner visiting a developing Pacific Island, the moment you step foot onto new soil you’re almost immediately introduced to trying all kinds of new things that will, whether you want to believe it or not, stretch you. This is why having an unoffendable heart and teachable spirit is vital to doing life with other people, especially when you’re traveling the globe as ambassadors of Christ.
As you navigate the awkward but fun path of cross-cultural-community-living, along with how to accomplish successful ministry & making use of the time you have in the allotted eight weeks given, there’s ample room for things to go very right, and also very wrong.
During our stay in this village, necessities like hearty meals and water were lacking, but the energy and presence of the Holy Spirit was not. The generosity and love of the locals made dry times feel full.
Thankfully our team had been prayed for, prophesied over, and deeply encouraged in the details He was sharing with fellow believers about what our time in PNG would look like. I am grateful and confident in saying that God richly blessed me with a team, 4 brothers and 4 sisters, who genuinely desired to be molded & sanctified more into Christ’s image everyday; who loved and served others so well.

Prior to our final open-air ministry in the town of Goroka where we saw hundreds of people healed and come to saving faith in Christ JesusProcessed with VSCO with g3 preset

(I will eventually write more entries with details about what ministry we did while in PNG and the fruits we saw and unbelievable stories of miracles Jesus did in that nation.)
In the town of Goroka, we were continually astounded by the power of God, especially in the number of hands raised whenever we gave an invitation to receive the offer of adoption into His kingdom.
I could easily tell you the number of people I saw not get healed, rather than those who did, because that percentage was so low. The Spirit of God is alive and moving, and we saw clear, profound evidence of that in a multitude of ways.

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My favorite snack in PNG: Passion fruit 
(picture is blurry because of the bumpy bus ride due to horrible road conditions)

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A typical PNG meal: Potatoes, broccoli, carrots, rice, cucumber, pineapple, orange slices, and chicken

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L to R: Mathias, (me) Hannah, Åshild, and Martin (3 of 4 Norwegians on our team)
Ice cream cones were our favorite treat because the quality and price were fantastic no matter what town we happened to be visiting 

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Me giving a 10 minute devotional sermon at a primary school in Wabag
This morning is definitely a memory dear to my heart. We, the team, had thirty minutes to do two skits and give a message, and, due to the short amount of time given, we tried our very best to be intentional while still having a blast!
I hadn’t really thought of what to speak about before grabbing the mic, but the Spirit knew exactly what those sweet kiddos needed to hear and spoke right through me.

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Crossing the bridge on our hike up to the church in a village called Wapenamanda, near Wabag


 

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Tickle-fight!


Over all, I am in awe of my Father and the grace He continually extends to me. The journey He’s taken me on is not a commonly ventured one, but, for that, I’m grateful.

His word says I, as His daughter, am more than a conqueror through Him. He’s called me to the extraordinary: why settle for anything less?

My teammates and I were kept safe & secure in His mighty hands even when situations seemed questionable. Being on unknown ground leaves so much space to grow in trusting  Him and who He says He is – who He says I am. Prayer truly is a powerful weapon, and I don’t ever want to take that gift for granted.

As my adventures around the globe carry on before my trek home, I pray that my only agenda would continue to be the furtherance and expanse of His kingdom, and nothing else. Brothers and sisters of faith, would you intercede on my behalf?

I am simply a broken vessel desiring to be used for the greater things.