Australian Adventures · Papua New Guinea

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.

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Australian Adventures

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.

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(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.  

 

Australian Adventures

Unending Revelations

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but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Psalm 1:2


Constant have the scriptures been throughout my life, and reading of the word a common hobby. Naturally there have been dry seasons where digging through the Levitical Law doesn’t seem so ‘fun’, but I know Who the word is about and what it’s for.

Having read through the bible several times in my life, verses like Jeremiah 29:11 and passages such as 1 Corinthians 13 easily can become redundant, but, thankfully, the depths of His vastness never shallow.

In week two of lectures we were taught on the ‘Living Word’, aka the Bible. In all seriousness, I don’t get tired of reading scripture over and over. Fortunately, I was blessed to grow up in a church that deeply valued the reading and meditation of God’s word, which only sparked and has continued to flame a massive fire of appreciation and love for the scriptures in my life. However, I am very human, so I often forget stories, and, especially, the details within them. So an in-depth review of the message never hurts, and seldom fails to humble my heart.

Once a week, in our work-books, we do a ‘Psalms Project’. Basically, the charge is to find a Psalm that reflects how God has acted toward you in your life, and pull out which characteristic of His is recognized in the chapter. Then we are encouraged to get all creative and nerdy (my fav) and write our own Psalm, describing an experience with Him in a time of our lives. I’m grateful for an assignment like this that urges me to devote attention, energy, and thought-provoking time on the very Thing that gives me breath.

To be frank, I never considered much of what wisdom I would glean during the lecture phase of my DTS; dreams of outreach in Papua New Guinea swam round and round my little head. Yet, even so, God has proved to always have more in store by peeling back layers and steering my heart to places farther than my caged imagination could dream to wander. And thank goodness He is not encased by my thoughts and ideas for my future.

Being reminded by every teacher, leader, and friend that I, even at age 90, can still receive new revelations from the LORD is an infinitely sweet thing. Memorising Romans 6:23 by a simple melody at a young 3 years old did not only place a spiritual magnet, if you will, on my heart, but also provided a myriad of opportunities to find gratitude and under-lying nuggets of gold in following years.

I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that you really can’t get bored knowing God. I mean, really…He is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnipresent (all-present). How could Someone that knew every detail, had total sovereignty over them, and wasn’t limited to an amount of locations ever become humdrum?

So press in. Ask crazy questions. They don’t scare Him, I can assure you! John 1:3 tells us that, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made”, meaning that He knows every detail about anything that has ever existed…why would we not ask Him things that are on our minds? I mean, in actuality, He already knows all that is in our hearts and minds. So, for your sake and sanity, again, press in. Do it. You won’t regret it.

I serve a God whose ideas or revelations or words don’t expire. He is an unending flow of wisdom and newness; my bridled heart finds rest in knowing this.

Australian Adventures

Team Papua New Guinea: Is This Real Life?!

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At the top of our lungs we simultaneously screeched ‘IS THIS REAL LIFE’ while piecing together the puzzle that would reveal the location of our outreach.


And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

Mark 16:15


MEET THE TEAM:

  • Matt  (leader)
  • Olivia (leader)
  • Åshild
  • Miriam
  • Jazz
  • Mathias
  • Martin
  • Joel
  • And myself

I LOVE THESE PEOPLE! The Lord has so uniquely designed each of them, and, especially as a team, I can’t wait to see how God highlights our gifts and uses us in ways we could never imagine.

Many friends of mine did their outreach in PNG, and would always go on and on about how great the place and people are. Instantly the Lord put it on my heart. So, for about two years, I’ve been praying for that country, feeling like God was saying one day I would get to go there….then BOOM! Moira and Corsin (DTS Leaders) revealed the final outreach location, and a sudden peace and excitement like NEVER BEFORE rushed over me—I felt so affirmed in the Spirit that this dream was finally coming true!

God is so attentive and loving. He intimately knows our hearts and desires like no other person could! I truly can’t wait for this adventure to begin!


 

PRAYER POINTS:

  • Health/Rest: In order to faithfully complete the task(s) set before us, good health & alertness are imperative. God is the Father of life and fullness, and we believe in the power of prayer, so please pray protection from illness over our team!
  • Response to the gospel: Much of what we will  be doing will be found out once we arrive in PNG, but thus far we know we will be working with children in schools, performing dramas, giving testimonies, and holding crusades—we want the amazing message of Grace to reach every person we meet! Pray that the Spirit would strongly woo people to the Father through His love for them. He is mighty to save!
  • Unity: So far our team has had an amazingly FUN time being together, and we’re quickly becoming like family. Please pray that we continue to grow in oneness as that will help our ministry with others!
  • FUN: The two months that all nine of us will spend together will surely have its challenges, but I believe God is bigger than our struggles and desires for us to enjoy everyday knowing He is leading us into fullness. It is an honor being chosen by the King to join Him in His work amongst the nations, and I can’t wait to embark upon this journey!
  • FUNDS: I still am in need of money for outreach, so if you feel lead to become financially involved in what God is doing in PNG, go check out my fundraising page here.

 

May God bless you, and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you!

Australian Adventures

Ride the Waves

 

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Well y’all, I’ve been in my beautiful, new home (for now) for almost a month (WHAT). People aren’t kidding when they say living here is a dream; I can testify to the truthfulness of that statement.

Not sure where to start, but I’ll begin with this: God is good, and I’m in awe.

The picture above is only one of the many beachfronts located roughly 15 minutes from my home, if that tells you anything.


We began our first week of lectures two Mondays ago with the topic of ‘Hearing God’s Voice’, and this week we’re studying/reviewing the Bible as a whole. No joke-this journey has already been the adventure of a lifetime, and it’s only week three!

God has been abundantly gracious and overwhelmingly near lately, so thank you to those who have been praying for me in that way! I have felt your prayers and am grateful for your intercession. Our God is so attentive!


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This is the beach front at Mooloolaba (no, I didn’t make up that name). This location is a beautiful one, including a super awesome shopping strip behind it with several coffee shops and eateries. See why I don’t ever wanna leave?

 


NOOSA/HELL’S GATES

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This is Elise; she’s from Cali and is one of the neatest people I’ve ever met. This girl’s super chill and loves Jesus a whole lot. Also extremely photogenic, as you can tell. Captured this shot right before the entire DTS team ventured on a hike up the mountains in Noosa to Hell’s Gates-and yeah, it was rad!

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(View of the beach front on our walk up Noosa)

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After 45 minutes, we made it to Hell’s Gates! I felt like I was in a painting or a movie or something magical like that.

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Yes–this was definitely one of those times I felt so minuscule and honored to be intimately known by a God who could create such a place as this.

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Haha, disregard my child-like-cheese-face. But this is Austin! He’s from the desert of the states, also known as Arizona. Such a solid & gifted brother in Christ. It may not seem so, but he was totally photo-bombing in this pic.

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This chick right here’s Alia! We both feel as though we’ve met somewhere in the states before, but can’t shake out the exact details, so we carry on. She comes all the way from the Windy City and same time zone as myself, so that’s pretty cool. This sister has a heart for the Lord and His people and I’m honored to have such a friend!

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After our rigorous hike (exaggeration), we hoisted the volley ball net and chilled on the beach. I love these people that the LORD chose for me to do life with during these precious six months; I surely couldn’t have done a better job myself!

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FRIENDS LIKE FAMILY

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I LOVE THESE GIRLS. Good gracious. There are several more from my house who aren’t pictured here, but each of them have a heart of gold, and I’m blessed to do life with them.

(‘Bout to get preachy, but bare with me) Whenever you’re unsure if God knows what He’s doing, trust me, He does. He is all-knowing, all-present, and all-sufficient – how could He not know?!


 

NITTY GRITTY

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Oh man, these people. This is the infamous YWAM grocery shopping crew! We trek to Woolworth’s or Coles 2-3 times a week to collect food for each of the student houses, and it is a BLAST. I ain’t pullin’ your leg–we know how to have serious fun. (L to R) Ash-Norway, Daniel-Germany, Anders-Norway, and Jordan-Whales. In-between trips to different stores, Ash will say different Norwegian phrases while Jordan tries to repeat them back to her, and I pretty much laugh for 3 hours straight. It’s THE funniest thing!

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It is illegal, in Australia, to hang your hand out the window of a car (something this Texan finds hard to understand). But no one has said anything about sticking your head out of one….so, naturally, when sitting at a red light, you snap a pic of such riskiness.


 

HIKE UP MT. COOLUM

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If you know me at all, you know my deep love for early-rising, especially when you’re about to hike up a mountain! God was definitely showing off His glorious, artistic side that fine morning, too.

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The image of the skies changed several times during our hike, and I loved it.

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Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”

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Once we all made it back down Coolum, we ventured over to Compound Surf & Espresso to reward ourselves and enjoy some treats! This place was so incredible, and my tastebuds were so pleased.

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Yup, Alia again, showing off Compound’s incredibly tasty cold brew in a sleek flask. The atmosphere was so chill and inviting. I could’ve hung out there for hours!


 

RE-CAP/PRAYER REQUESTS

Over all, I am blown away by the goodness of my Father. The people and places He’s bringing me to are unbelievable, and I could not have imagined a more awesome life for myself. I’m so glad He is in control of my days!

PRAYER POINTS:

  • Health: It’s pretty much gone, but I’ve been tryin’ to get rid of my nasty, annual climate-change-cold for about a week now and would love for it to be completely gone. Would appreciate prayers for continued health throughout the rest of lecture phase, and especially on outreach!
  • Continued joy: I have only felt this close to the Lord a few times in my life, and I don’t want this to go away! Please pray for a constant hunger for nearness to Him and reading of His scriptures.
  • Servant-heartedness: I live in a house of 14 girls around my age! Community living is definitely a fun adventure, but also requires a dying to self like no other. I want to become more and more like Christ in the way He is humble; and to have genuine love for others that leads to deep self-sacrifice.

 

THANK YOU FOR PRAYING AND KEEPING UP WITH WHAT GOD IS DOING AMONGST THE NATIONS. HE IS BIG AND MIGHTY, AND MORE THAN WORTHY OF OUR PRAISE AND ADORATION. PRESS ON, BROTHERS AND SISTERS! GOD BLESS Y’ALL.

 

 

Australian Adventures

The Stumbling Journey of a Pilgrim

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By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.

Hebrews 11:8-9


I find it funny when people call me brave and courageous for leaving ‘home’ so often, when all the while I feel like a leaf being thrown and tossed by the wind.

It’s cliché, but my hope is in Christ alone. Growing up with parents who knew the worst thing they could do for me was allow disobedience, I learned that, even though the outcome of obedience at first may not seem ‘fun’, it is always for my good, & joy is available.

With the romanticism of traveling abroad, global missions, and vocational ministry, it seems, to me at least, that Christians forget the “adventurous ones” are still human and broken and bendable. Some are idolised and seen as “super-human”, which could not be farther from the truth.

I’m not ungrateful when comments like these come my way—I know most are meant to encourage—but for me, since I am definitely human, it is a challenge to not let such things creep into my sinful mind and fester and create a deep pride and sense of self-dependence.

Here’s the truth: every single person is made equally in the image of God; each of us were created to work as a part of one body (Body of Christ: 1 Corinthians 12:27); the ultimate command is identical for all—be a faithful sojourner of the good news that is Jesus Christ. Just because He has me doing this in Australia during this time of my life does not make me ‘Super Woman’—not even CLOSE, y’all. All these new experiences, opportunities, and circumstances only prove to me my weakness and how in need I am of a dependable God.

Friends and acquaintances keep calling me “World-Traveler”, which, the term itself, still blows my mind because it’s crazy to see how much life & a person can change so rapidly.

All these events are brand-SPANKIN’-new to me. I have no idea what I’m doing, really…BUT I have a heavenly Father who does.

Life, for anyone, is not easy—as it wasn’t intended to be. The great thing, though, is that I have a Creator (God) who loves me perfectly, a Savior (Jesus Christ) who gave His life for me, and a Guide (Holy Spirit) who further leads me to things of the Kingdom.

I wish I could be truthful in saying that everything I do is done out of faith and trust and love, but, let’s be real, I’m human. The war we, as believers, fight is truly not of flesh and blood, but of authority and spirit.

Because almost everything in this life leaves me realizing how inadequate & undeserving I am, continually I am left in deeper awe of Christ and His abounding steadfast love and graciousness toward such a sinner.

I pray these words provoke a questioning of self and dialogue between you and the Lord.


ANOTHER THING:

As mentioned in a few of my recent posts (“To the Ends of the Earth”), I am moving to Australia next Friday and I NEED YOUR HELP to get there! The remaining amount I have to raise is around $6,000 (U.S. Dollars). You can give an online donation here or write a check out to me personally.

PRAYER:

More than anything, I will need your prayers! Thankfully the Lord has kept my heart still and trusting in Him, so anxiety has not yet deeply festered in my heart, but I know for sure there will be times when that is a possibility…But I believe in the power of prayer and am earnestly asking for it from my brothers and sisters!

~

May God bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you.

~