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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Random Ramblings

-13 days until I leave. That's less than 2 weeks. Wooooooooo!

-I was able to share how Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven this week, in my own home, over a bowl of chili. So blessed by how God gave me the right words, at the right time. I was amazed that this person's curiosity. I was able to share how its not about all the "right" we can do. We ALL have done something wrong, and that separates us from God. We can never do enough good to make it into heaven. Our good will never out weigh our bad. It is ONLY by faith in Jesus that can bridge the separation between us and God. We will never be good enough. Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."  It was such a sweet time to share what I really believe to be true. Please join me in praying for him to continue to be curious, and for Jesus to be real to him for the first time.

- My body is so overwhelmed. I have been fighting some physical thing all month long. Last night was the stomach thing again. It was a miserable night. I ended up sleeping on the bathroom floor....not the most comfortable. So grateful for my chiropractor today! :) I can't quite figure out what is going on with me, fighting all kinds of sickness. But I do know Satan is real, and he will use anything to distract me and discourage me right before leaving. So please be praying for my strength and my health, and pray against Satan and all sickness.

- I bought crunchy peanut butter with honey tonight! I am convinced this is one of the world's better inventions, and I was told pb is very expensive in Bolivia. So this girl is bringing her own jar. Yummmmm.

- My car and I are fighting a bit. She is really acting up. Please pray for continued safety while driving her, and that she lasts the next 13 days. And also just guidance on what to do about a car when I return.

- I have received some donations for the children already, and my heart rejoices! Thank you sooooooooooooo much! If you would still like to send stuff with me, please let me know, and get it to me soon! (socks, underwear, toothpaste, toothbrushes, crayons, clothing, soap, etc.)

- Yesterday I had to run a random errand and grab a set of keys from a mom friend who accidently took her husband's keys to work with her. It was a stressful few minutes before we discovered she had them. Once we did, it was a confusing few moments of figuring out how to het them. I got in my car, and starting driving, and saw one of the most beautiful sunrises in my life. Lamentations 3 rang clear in my mind, "...His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness..."

- My excitement is rising. I just want to be there. My heart is already there. I hate packing. My car is stressing me out. I hate looking at snow. But as much as I want to be there now, I know He has me here for the next few days for a reason. I am excited to see what that is.

- Packing has begun. Slowly but surely. My living room, bedroom and kitchen area have all turned into multiple piles, and boxes, with piles inside. Planning what to bring for 6 weeks is overwhelming. I had an awesome woman pop by yesterday with mosquito netting, an outlet converter, and vernors. What a wonderful woman. :) If you have any packing tips, send them my way! I need all the help I can get.

- Time to catch some zzzzzzzz's. I plan on being at youth group and young adult's bible study tomorrow night. That makes for a very long day, after babysitting all day. But I really look forward to it. I love my life. I am so blessed.

Good night. Love, M

Saturday, January 28, 2012

check engine light, grocery shopping, and a secret admirer

I feel like I have much to share tonight. So hold on tight!

Last night my car's check engine light came on, and I became stressed. I asked for prayer for my health, rest, and provision. Last night was one of the best nights of sleep ever. I slept on a friend's couch in jeans with one blanket, and I woke up so refreshed and rejuvenated. Any left over icky feelings was gone, and my heart was so at peace. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your prayers! I woke up this morning and read 2 Timothy 1:7 "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." So true.

I took my car to the shop this morning. I turned in her keys, and sat down in the corner, and opened up the Bible. I have never before felt so at peace waiting to hear uncertain, potentially expensive news.

I began reading in Psalms 103 and 104. "Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits....The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love....he does not treat us as our sins deserve...For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him....But from everlasting to everlasting, the Lord's love is with those who fear him..." " Praise the Lord, my soul, O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants. He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.... How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all... May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works...I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD..."

What powerful reminders of who God is. He is the one who stretched the heavens, and forgave my sin. Him alone. He is mighty to save. He is faithful. He is in control, and He holds the future.

So, the reason for the check engine light was because it was giving a "torque converter clutch code". I have no idea what this means. Other than my car keeps shifting into overdrive. I was told it will need to be fixed eventually, but she is safe to drive for now. She will not leave me stranded, or blow up (one of my slightly irrational fears). I can drive her, she will probably just get worse gas mileage. So that was all great news! I was able to have my car all day on my only free afternoon left to accomplish a lot of my errands. And the best part, he didn't charge me anything! Isn't God good? I was praying for under $200 today, and I didn't even pay two cents.

I have ongoing lists; "big to do", "small to do", "to buy", and "home to do". I have been quite the distracted girl lately. I will think of something that needs to be accomplished, and by the time I find paper, it has flown out of my brain. Planning for life for the immediate now, the next bit, six weeks in a third world country, and then the back to reality has been almost overwhelming. I accomplished so much today.

I bought a lot of things on the "to buy" list today. I was told to take a Pepto Bismol tablet with every meal to reduce upset stomach, so I bought 9 boxes. I did feel a bit ridiculous checking out. I got hair clips and pony tails to do hair of beautiful girls while at baby washings. I got a lot of random things I know I won't have access to while in Bolivia. I went to 4 stores, slowly but surely checking off the list.

At the last store of the evening, my good friend joined me. She helped me think through what I might need, and wandered aisles as we laughed and put items in the cart; contact lens solution, battery powered alarm clock, hair gel, bandaids, etc. Travelling always requires a big shopping trip beforehand. We approached the self check out, and I told her to go first since she only had a few things. I turned to look at a magazine, and next thing I knew, she was ringing up all of my items. I very confused, asked her what she was doing, and she smiled, and ignored my frantic yelling. She said she wanted to help buy a few things. She ended up paying for all of it. She completely surprised me. I was blown away. What an incredible friend. I also have a couponing friend who let me "shop" her stock pile, and grab things for my trip. So the "to buy" list has shrunk considerably.

Sometime after I was home from errands, and before dinner, (only 25 minutes or so) someone left a card and chocolate rose on my car. The card had $20 in it and said "chelle, your awesome". I am perplexed. But beyond blessed. I will be celebrating Valentine's day alone, flying to Miami, and preparing for my adventure. I am so amazed at someone's thoughtfulness. I got to celebrate Valentine's day a bit early. No idea who my secret admirer is, but you certainly made my night.

I am blessed beyond words. Just so amazed at each day. I have an incredible Savior, and amazing friends and family. So much more to look forward to! 17 days left. Packing should start soon...yikes!

So blessed. Can't wait to share more. Love, M

Thursday, January 26, 2012

the good, the bad, and the ugly

The good:
Tonight I finished off my "big to do list". I bought the remainder of the tickets and booked a hotel room for Miami. Yesterday I bought medical insurance while I am in Bolivia. All that is left are little things. Yesssssssss. I'm doing it!

I depart Detroit February 14, and arrive in Cochabamba February 16. I depart Cochabamba March 28, and arrive in Detroit March 29. (with lots of stops along the way) So excited.

The bad:
Yesterday I had some form of a stomach bug. I rested, took medicine, and all other helpful things, and woke up feeling great. Well, now I am no longer feeling great at all, and I'm babysitting for a few more hours. The kids are having a hard time going down, and I'm getting cranky.

The ugly:
Tonight while babysitting I took the kids to basketball practice and then to the library. (Pretty funny trying to follow directions in the dark, in an unfamiliar area, with some kiddos who struggle with their left and right....) On the way back, we were almost to their driveway when my check engine light came on. Now, if you know me, you would know I instantly freaked out a bit. I hate all things car. I know how to put gas in it. And that's about it. Earlier this fall when I was really starting to get the ball rolling with my trip to Bolivia, my car was in and out of the shop so much. It ate my Bolivia trip savings right up. I have been telling my girl Fuega that she must make it until at least Valentine's Day, and then.... I have no idea. But I need a car the next 19 days. I had just spent almost $600 an hour before finalizing travel plans. This is not a very convenient time for the check engine light to come on. I have no idea what is wrong, and I loathe going to car places to find out.

The truth:
God is in control. My feelings don't matter, they will lead me astray. He is faithful. He will continue to provide. He called me, and I am exactly where I am supposed to be. He is faithful. In the midst of a storm, He is steady.

Please pray for:
-my stomach to settle
-my car to be fixed inexpensively and timely
-my faith to stand unwavering

James 5:16b - The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Love, M

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

these boots were made for walking

I am going to Bolivia in the rainy season. One of the many weather related stats I read, stated that during these months, there could be 18 or more days of rain per month. That's a lot.

I was told to bring an umbrella and rain boots, and be prepared for rain.

I think rain boots are adorable. One of my friends gave me a pair of lady bug rain boots for my birthday a few years ago. I wore them all of the time. Well, I did until the right boot split up the back. I do not know why. I attempted to fix it with shoe glue and tape, but they were a lost cause. I keep them around because they are wonderful for short trips to the dumpster in the rain or snow. But I knew they would not last me six weeks in the rainy season of a country with rain forest. Not happening.

So yesterday, I put rain boots on my to do/ to buy list. (Which in theory should be decreasing, but is only getting longer.) I started shopping online. I found a really cute pair that had owls (my favorite) on them. They were adorable, and almost $80. I could not justify that purchase at all. So the search continued. Most of the boots online were more than I was willing to spend, plus there was added s&h fees. I was annoyed.

I went to a friend's house to babysit last night, and afterwards, we ended up catching up. She shared with me some of her own God stories, and encouraged me with some truth from the Bible.

I was getting ready to leave, and out of no where I asked her if she could pray for me to find boots. Now, I don't normally pray for boots, and I certainly have never asked a friend to pray for boots, but I did, as random as that felt. I shared with her how I didn't want to spend a lot, and how I wanted something kinda cute. I told her my annoyance with online shopping, and that I needed them soon.

She went to her mud room and showed me a pair of boots she had recently gotten around Christmastime. They were from Costco, and in my budget. She told me to check online, and that I could possibly pick them up in the store. That sounded like a good plan to me. So I decided I would look on Costco's website later.

This morning I was searching on Costco's website, and they didn't have any rain boots. None. I was frustrated. So I continued the search on other websites. I am leaving in 22 days, so I knew I had to order soon because shipping sometimes takes a while. I ended up giving up, with the promise to attack this project again later.

My friend shot me a text soon after my annoyed fit, and asked if I could pop over to her house sometime during the day. I couldn't get over there until later afternoon, and she would be gone by then. So she sent me a text saying there was a bag next to the porch, behind the bushes for me.

I was confused. I had been there the night before. What did I leave there? Or maybe she had baked a yummy treat? I honestly was so perplexed.

I got to her house, ran up, and grabbed the bag. I sat in my car and opened it.

It was her new Christmas boots.

Stunned, I reached for the card, read it, and wept. She said God told her to give the boots to me as soon as I asked her to pray about it. She also said the boots are too small for her, and don't fit right. They are a size 7. I wear a 6.5.

The rest of the card was filled with some incredible verses.

"Stand firm ... with your FEET filled with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." Ephesians 6:14a-15

"It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my FEET like that of a deer, he enables me to stand on the heights" Psalm 18:32-33

"He will not suffer your FOOT to be moved: he that keeps you will not slumber." Psalm 66:9

"How beautiful on the mountains are the FEET of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!'" Isaiah 52:7

I am so beyond grateful I have a God who supplied rain boots in my size, for free, with no shipping costs or delays. They have yellow trim on them (yellow is my most beloved color), say sweet phrases, and have birds on them. They are so delightfully perfect for me. I am so blessed I have a friend who listened to the still, small voice of a real God, and gave up selfishness to love me, and meet my need. I hadn't asked her to give up what was hers. I hadn't even thought it. I had only asked if she would pray and believe He would provide a way. He certainly did.

Could a girl be more blessed?!?!?!

With every day, He is preparing me. I have fallen in love with the Bible like never before. He is showing himself to be more loving, faithful, and real than I had ever believed. He is drawing me near to Himself, when I feel confused, or doubtful. He is going before me, and making a way. The past few weeks have been an explosion of the realness of God. It's been incredible.

I saw Beauty and the Beast (my favorite movie of all time) in 3D tonight. I decided I needed a night to myself relaxing since all babysitting jobs for tonight were cancelled.

Belle sang a song that really resounded in my heart tonight. I want adventure. I want more than could ever be planned for me. And I'm pretty sure I'm living that.

"I want much more than this provincial life
I want adventure in the great wide somewhere
I want it more than I can tell
And for once it might be grand
To have someone understand
I want so much more than they've got planned"

As always, can't wait to experience and share the next stories. I'm sure there will be some good ones coming up. I recently found out I will be doing my laundry by hand for all six weeks. Ha ha, oh boy. :)

Love, M

Monday, January 23, 2012

the weekend in review

First off, I want to give a HUGE shout out to the readers in Russia, Germany, Chile, and Macedonia. I was so surprised to see other countries were reading, and continue to read! I am blown away! So thrilled beyond words that you are reading of how real, alive, faithful, and loving my God is. I hope you are encouraged!

Psalm 22:27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations shall worship before You.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth!

Psalm 86:9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.

Ah! Where to even begin....His goodness is too much for words.

I have been praying for finances since May, and lately praying more urgent. The past few days He has just shown himself to be faithful.

On Friday, I had 4 new online donations post. I later had a woman drive to the home I was babysitting at to hand me a card with money. On Saturday I went to a baby shower for a very dear friend, and her friend had learned of my trip, and had a sweet card and money waiting for me. Saturday night I went to church, and afterwards I was able to catch up with one of my middle school friends and his sweet girl friend. I was able to share about my trip, and she slipped some money in my hand as I went to leave. I then drove to a friends house and baked yummy cookies. She and her had written a check, and her parents had also given me money for cookies to support me on my trip. I then was given tooth paste, baby shampoo and baby clothes to use in orphanges while in Bolivia. I was prayed for and encouraged this weekend. I doubt I have ever heard so many "so proud and so excited for you"s before. Everywhere I went this weekend, I was amazed and so blessed.

I am excited to take care of my other two plane tickets this week. I also am scheduling a visit with the little girl, Karen, I sponsor through Compassion International. I need to learn how to braid my hair this week to hopefully tame it against humidity, travel, hard work, and the jungle. I need to start buying rain boots, mosquito repellent, peanut butter, and other things to bring along. My to do list is growing in length! Yikes!

I have so much to look forward to. God is moving mountains. He is preparing my heart. I am not scared. I am so excited.

Please be in prayer for:
-My health. I have a nasty cough and congestion I can't seem to shake, and really want to be 100% before leaving. My body is still a bit off from all of last week's vaccines.
-Continued financial support.
-Lots of loose ends to begin to be tied up.
-Supplies for orphanages to come in.
-Flying logistics to work out.
-My heart to be willing.
-My normal spirit of procrastination to be overcome with productivity.

Beyond excited to be a part of what God is doing. What a journey so far. Only 23 days!

Are you loving it? Can't wait to see what this week will hold!

Love, M

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's Friday!

I love this journey so far. I love every person who has been brought into my life for this exact time. I love every step of the way, even if it has been hard. I love sharing what God is doing in me and through me. I love reading all my previous blogs and remembering what He has done. I love growing so much closer to my Savior the past few weeks. I love not knowing what is next, and being surprised.

I am amazed that people read, and continue to read. I am even more amazed when people give. I am so grateful for every single donation. Thank you for believing in me, and what He is doing. I am so grateful for all the prayer and encouragement. It is the best thing to have such a great support system behind me.

Tonight I plan on a quiet night home alone baking cookies to sell and reflecting on the past few weeks. I cannot wait. Date night with myself!

I scheduled my phone to be shut off Feb 15th. So while I am gone, Facebook, blog, and email are the only ways to get a hold of me. No voice mails or texts will go through at all for six weeks. (It was pretty cool sharing with the Sprint customer service girl about what I'm doing, and what He is doing.) Six weeks without my phone, and not reliable internet, wow....It will be kinda nice to focus on the moment and the people in the moment with me.

26 days until I get to love some brown babies. Yesssssss.

So glad to be exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing exactly what I was called to do.

Love, M

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Thursday, January 19, 2012


I am pretty kitchen savvy. Perfecting homemade cookies is one of most favorite past times. Cookies from scratch require a bit of a time commitment. I love spending hours in the kitchen in my apron, dirtying every mixing bowl and counter surface. I love to take the time.

Today I really wanted a cookie. I didn't want to wait and spend the time by making my own dough. I found premade sugar cookie dough in the fridge. I decided I didn't feel like waiting for the oven to heat up for 10 minutes, and an additional 12 minutes to cook just two tiny cookies. So I decided to bake them in the toaster oven to save a bit of time. It went great for about two minutes. Suddenly the aroma of smoke filled the kitchen. The cookies were so burnt. All because I didn't want to wait. (I should've taken a picture, they were awful!)

I really am a pretty patient person... when I want to be. I have patience on the road, waiting in line, with crying babies, small children, and other things that make other people scream. People often tell me they admire my patience.

They just don't know the inner thoughts screaming, "Why is this taking so long?!??" "When is it my turn?!?" "How much longer can I take this??!?"

My life isn't quite how I envisioned it. I didn't think at this part of my life I would be alone. I had often thought I would have a husband and lots of beautiful babies by now. I have become frustrated with God, asking when it would be my time. I have grown annoyed with waiting. But the past few weeks more than ever, I am grateful its just me. I wouldn't be able to leave for six weeks if I was a momma. God has a plan bigger than I could comprehend. (1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “ Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” )

I know His timing is perfect. Waiting on Him is the best plan.

Waiting on Him is hard. Waiting on His provision is annoying. Trying to figure out finances from now til April is stressful.

But, remembering that when I take matters into my own hands and my own timing, I make a hot mess. Things get broken, and burnt, and fall apart.

So I will continue to trust in His timing. I will wait patiently on Him. I will believe He called me to go, so He will make a way. I will have faith in His faithfulness. My God will come through. I want His best for me.

Psalm 25:5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

Psalm 25:21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait,I say, on the LORD!

Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret...

Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.

Psalm 52:9 I will praise You forever, Because You have done it; And in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good.
Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.

Psalm 69:3 I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.

Psalm 130:6 My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning— Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles,They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Tomorrow is Friday! Still so very much to do on my to do list. But hoping to check more things off this weekend. I am starting to feel better. Lots of rest, motrin, and my beloved chiropractor has helped.

Excited to write more of His faithfulness this weekend. I know big things are going to happen.

Love, M

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I went to the health department yesterday to receive the remainder of my vaccines. I grabbed a number, and filled out a form. I mentally calculated out the cost of all the vaccines. I sat down and heard someone talking about how payment was cash only. I got up, and asked the information lady. She confirmed it. Annoyed, I left and drove off to the bank. I had figured I needed at least $100. I hadn't seen the sign or price for two of the shots, so I figured I would bring $150, just in case.

I walked back in, and grabbed another number, knowing that my original number must've already been called. I had been gone for a while. Before I could even sit down, number 70 was yelled out. That was my first number. I didn't have to wait one second. Isn't God's timing perfect?

I then sat down at the desk, and saw the price for one of the shots I couldn't find information on. It was $106. Quickly adding up the other shots, and the office visit fee, it was evident I didn't have enough money. So I started planning, when did I have another free block of time before 5? Which shots do I get, and which do I save for another day. I knew I needed to get everything then.

The woman then informed me I had received two of the ones on my list before, and I hadn't remembered, so I didn't need those. I also had started a series of shots, but never finished, so I didn't need to come back in a month for another. So as she totaled everything up, I was still nervous. Why do I forget who my Father is? Everything ended up totalling $145. I got change back. Seriously. My God is provider. He goes before and makes a way.

If you read yesterday's blog, you would know I was having a bad day. Since I began all these vaccinations, my body has been beat up. I mean, it does make sense. My body is trying to fight off six different viruses and build immunity. There's some crazy warfare going on in my blood stream right now. And it makes me feel like junk. I was so discouraged about other things as well.

We have a God that cares so much about us. I received a few texts with Bible verses last night. I had an awesome message on Facebook this morning, that really encouraged me. And this afternoon, there was a card in the mail thanking me "for being an excellent example of how God answers prayers in mindblowing ways."

I don't enjoy writing about the bad days, the doubt, the fear, and the hurt. But I realized, if I don't share those, then you won't get an accurate picture of what God is doing. He is still there in those doubting moments. Moments of sobbing, or yelling, He's close. My God is such a personal God. He cares about me enough to work out the timing and cost at the public health department. He also cares so much about me, that He sends encouragement along in the most needful moments. This is our God.

Psalm 55:16-17 - But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.

Psalm 31:14-15a - But I trust in you, O Lord; I say; "You are my God." My times are in your hands;

This morning I was babysitting. I was whiney and not feeling great. The little girl I was watching went to my bag and pulled out my old Bible. She brought it to where I was sitting, and said "here ya go meechelle, its your favorite." She was trying to comfort me the way I would comfort her if she was sick. I would bring her the most beloved item she owned to cuddle with. I didn't cuddle with God's word, but I did read a bit, and my soul felt refreshed. I love that she knows this is "my favorite".

Okay, back to sleep for this girl. I skipped youth group and young adult service tonight to rest. I had to wait a few hours, and wake back up to take my typhoid medicine. :) Ahhhhhh. I love my bed.

Please be praying for me, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially.

Love, M.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

feelings vs faith

If I were to be honest right now, I don't feel like God is going to come through. I don't feel like the rest of my support will come in. I don't feel like He is near. I don't feel like reading my Bible. I don't feel like praying. I feel like living for myself. I feel whiney, crabby, and exhausted. I feel like sin looks interesting right now. My arms feel sore from shots. I feel stressed about finding 2 more flights. I feel anxious about flying. My belly feels nervous about the upcoming reality of my trip. I feel like a bummer. I feel like laying in bed for an entire day. 

Good thing my feelings don't matter. God is constant, even when I'm not. Even when I don't feel Him, He is there, working things out. When I don't feel like He is faithful, He still is, regardless of what my head says.

Following my feelings is a troublesome path. I know this. Getting in His word, being in active prayer, and getting enough sleep will help fight this doubt and mediocrity.

I know He is faithful. I know if He called me, He will make a way. I know He restores a weary soul. I know He is preparing me. I know He is with me, and in Him all things are possible. I know that I am His. I know His ways are perfect.

A sweet friend suggested I read Hebrews 11 tonight. I did, and I was encouraged.

vs 1 - Now faith is being sure if what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

vs 6 - And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

vs 25- He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures if sin for a short time.

vs 40- His had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Feelings vs. Faith.
Feelings say whatever you feel is true and right in that moment. Faith says the constants are still and always true, even without feeling it.

I am glad I have a God I don't need to feel for Him to be working, or be close. He is faithful, even when I'm not.

Life is uncertain, but my God is not.

Time to sleep and rest my weary body. Good night. Love, M

P.S. - my bandaids from my shots are happy faces and a bunny rabbit! :)

a few steps closer

I just bought a ticket for Miami, Florida to Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

It's okay to be confused. I still need a flight Detroit, Michigan to Miami, Florida and another flight Santa Cruz, Bolivia to Cochabamba, Bolivia. The way the prices and flights were, I had to break it up into at least two pieces, and breaking it into three made it cheaper.

So the other two flights need to be purchased soon! Please be praying for good prices, and for the right times to match up with the middle flight.

I do have a few hour layover in Panama City. Kinda neato!

I plan on getting 5 more shots today! Woo! My arm bruised nicely from the yellow fever vaccine last week. Blah. But I am excited to check those off my list. My body must be confused, all sorts of medications and live vaccinations in it. But soon I will have great immunity. Or at least I hope!

Please be praying for me. This is becoming a reality and I'm getting nervous.

Remembering: Psalm 40:5 Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.

Love, M

Monday, January 16, 2012

One day closer...

A few things I've learned about my trip:

I got the email last night to "buy those tickets!" I am excited. Praying specifically for under $1,200 round trip. I was looking last night and they were much, much more than that, but I have seen them as cheap as $900. So the hunting for good, cheap tickets continues. And hopefully, very, very, soon, I can write to say "I bought my tickets!"

Also in the email, I found out I am staying in the guest house with another girl from the states. She is 22 and a chef. I am excited about that. There are bunk beds, so that adds to the adventure!

One of the missionaries is a coffee lover, like I am. She told me she would show me her favorite café in Cochabamba, and we could share stories. I look forward to it so much.

I talked to my missions coordinator on Friday, and she informed me, I can't raise enough support! Any extra support I can use while there to take kids out for ice cream, or buy the orphanages supplies they need. Also, any leftovers in my account will stay there for a year, perfect for any returning trips.

In case you didn't see yesterday's post, there are a few items needed for the orphanages and weekly baby washings.
- toothbrushes
- toothpaste
- pony tails, hair clips, etc
- boys and girls socks and underwater (sizes 4-13)
- infant and toddler clothing

I am struggling a bit this morning. The closer this becomes to a reality, the more I realize what I'm leaving here, and I'm a bit sad, and freaked out. Please be praying for strength. It really feels like a Monday today.

Love, M

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Orphanage needs...

A few people have contacted me wondering if there are items needed in Bolivia they could send with me. I asked one of the missionaries down there, and she just responded. :)

For orphanages and weekly town baby washings:
- toothbrushes
- toothpaste
- pony tails, hair clips, etc
- boys and girls socks and underwater (sizes 4-13)
- infant and toddler clothing

I will keep you posted if there are any changes or additions to the list.

I will not be leaving until February 16th now. The mother of one of the missionaries is in the hospital in the states. So they are here in the states until Feb 14th, and I will give hem a day to get settled before I get there.

Please pray for her mother, and for their family.

Enjoy the sunshine today!!! God is so good:) Love, M

late nights

I am not a night owl. I love late nights, but too often must wake up at unnaturally early hours. So normally, my phone alarm goes off at 8:30 pm for me to get ready for bed. But there are a few random spontaneous late nights sprinkled in my calendar that delight my soul. I love late nights.

I started my late night session tonight with a pot of Bolivian coffee. ( (100% of the proceeds go directly to supporting orphanages I will be working in next month. Win-Win!) I turned on my Pandora radio to Brooke Fraser, and started on some projects.

One way I am trying to raise money for my trip is by selling my homemade cookies for a donation. Tonight was my big baking night. So I began to gather ingredients for my cookies. I had planned on making oatmeal chocolate chip, chocolate - chocolate chip, and m&m cookies. I quickly discovered I didn't have all the ingredients needed for any of the cookies.

Thank the Lord for a Meijer opened 24 hours, only six minutes away! So with a newly formed list I bustled out the door a little bit before 1:00 am. I arrived at the glorious store, and I headed straight for the baking aisle, which I am well acquainted with. I gathered my supplies and hustled to check out, so the baking could commence.

I then ran into a sweet lady who works at Meijer as a midnight cashier. Because of my long days and busy schedule, I have seen her a few times in the past weeks on my late night grocery shopping trips.

This lady has been on my heart, on my mind, and in my prayers since the first time I met her. Tonight I was honored to be able to talk with her for a while. I was able to share my God's faithfulness, and my personal relationship with Him. I shared about my trip to Bolivia, how God is using me, and how He is so real. I heard her story of a rough past few years, and her anxieties of the future. She told me how blessed I am, but she doesn't even know how much I look forward to seeing her and her beautiful smile when I walk into Meijer. She blesses me with stories of her daughter and her encouraging words. She always tells me "just keep going  forward and keep praying."

I was just thinking of Brandon Heath's lyrics. "Give me Your eyes for just one second. Give me Your eyes so I can see. Everything that I keep missing. Give me Your love for humanity. Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted. The ones that are far beyond my reach. Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten. Give me Your eyes so I can see."

If we have His love, we will want to share it. If we have His eyes, we will be able to recognize a need. If we have His arms, we will be able to comfort. If we have His heart, we have patience and compassion for the broken. We will go out of our way to love, even when its uncomfortable or inconvenient. We are His hands and feet, meant to go and do.

So I am asking if you could join me in praying for my new friend this week. Pray that God reveals himself in a real way, and that He draws her close to Him. Pray for her daughter and her school, and pray that she would have a peace about her anxieties.

I really believe God puts people in our paths so we can show them real love, and share who He is. So maybe next time, smile and mean it, listen when someone needs an ear, or pray for someone, even if you don't know them.

It is 4:00am. Chocolate chip oatmeal cookies are complete. This girl is going to bed. I have Bolivia things to share tomorrow. Or is that today? Hmm. Bed, I need you.

Love, M

Saturday, January 14, 2012

for such a time as this

I have been frequently pondering the people in my life. Never before have I known so many people.

I frequently get made fun of because I have more "best friends than I can count". I have friends in 14 states that I talk to on a regular basis. I have been in and attended enough weddings I had a closet full of bridesmaid/party dresses. I probably babysit for 20 families on a random basis. I often have back to back friend dates in a night because there aren't enough days in a week. I attended four different schools, grades 6-12, and am still in contact with friends from each one. Some of my dearest friends I have known for over 20 years. I worked at a preschool for two years, and still am quite close to girls I had worked with, kids I had taught, and their parents. I go to a church where I am connected to almost everyone. I coached cheerleading and still am called "coach" by some little girls. I meet people at the grocery store and months later still talk to them. I was out last weekend and ran into my high school Spanish teacher, my chiropractor, and a family I babysit for all within a few hours. Its hard for me to go out, and not see someone I know. But I love it. I love people.

I am so blessed. I was addressing envelopes for thank you cards for people who have given me support, and I was baffled. The list is so diverse. If I would put everyone in the same room, most people wouldn't know anyone.

I know this is my time. Never before would I have had this great of a support system. The prayer, financial support, and encouragement has been almost overwhelming.

I woke up with the story of Esther in my head. So, I jumped in God's word and began reading. Basically Esther is a Jewish girl who God puts in a specific place for a certain time to do some big stuff! My favorite part of a verse is found at the end of Esther 4:14. "...and who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

I have been amazed at God's timing within the past few weeks financially, but I haven't given much thought to the big scheme of His timing, until today. This is my time. He has placed me here, with all of your support, to do something big.

I wanted to dig a bit deeper, so I grabbed my Beth Moore Bible study about Esther off the shelf. I did this study a few years ago with some girls, and since it has set on my shelf. I want to share a bit of what Beth says on page 97.

"Not only are you royalty but you have been placed in your sphere of influence, regardless if the size you perceive it to be, 'for such a time as this.' Ecclesiastes 3:2 tells us there is a 'time to be born and a time to die.' God cut out those exact perimeters for you and me on the kingdom calendar so that we would be positioned on earth right now. Likewise, Acts 17:26 tells us unflinchingly that God 'determined the times set for [us] and the exact places that [we] should live.' You see, even your current location is part of the set-up for your kingdom destiny."

I flipped to a different page, and in my writing I found "Destiny- God may be working through me, but its not just about me. It's about a corporate group of people. God's time is my prime."

My eyes then fell to the bottom of the page where I had written out a few prayer requests from years ago. One was for a man, that I didn't know very well, who was in bad shape. He needed God to heal his body. He wasn't 'supposed' to make it. But my God is the great physician, and He healed him. This man and his wife read my blog a bit ago, and gave money to support me on my trip. As I read his name in my book, I began weeping, and my heart rejoicing.

This is my time. He is in control. He has given me, in this moment, the most incredible people to love me, encourage me, make a way for me, and pray for me. Thank you more than you could ever know. I am such a blessed girl. I have been thanking God for all of you. Thank you for believing in me, and in His work.

Stay warm today. Love, M

Exactly One Month Away!

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Voice.

You may recall a few blogs ago, how I want to be a voice for the broken. Before and since, I have been praying for opportunities.
The day after I came back from Passion Conference, I got a call from an Oakland Press newspaper reporter doing a story on human trafficking. I was able to share some staggering stats with her, and tell her my heart, and really Jesus' heart for the broken and captive (Isaiah 61:1).
This morning the article came out! Yay! If you are in Oakland County, Michigan, you can grab an Oakland Press today. It is in section A, page 3. If you are not in the area, check out:
Praying that as people read the article, they can become aware, educated, and curious on the issue, and hopefully some moved to action.
All glory and honor to my God for giving me a voice.
It is the coolest thing ever to watch Him work things out. In His way and in His timing. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose."
I hope you have enjoyed reading this week's blog enteries. I have been overjoyed sharing what He is doing.
Have a fantastic Friday! Love, M

Thursday, January 12, 2012

this is your life, are you who you wanna be?

I was talking to someone I had just met last night. We quickly started talking about our lives. He seemed surprised I was so "straight laced" I don't drink, sleep around, or cuss like a sailor. I really do strive to do what is right, and love others, and honor Jesus. He asked me, "Well, isn't your life boring?" I laughed.

My life has never been more thrilling. And I know I am only sitting on the cusp of what is to come. Boring? Are you kidding me!?! Every morning I wake up, I get to be used by the Almighty God to love people. I know Him intimately, and He gives my life purpose. When seeking Him, not one day is the same, boring, or mundane. It's an adventure of a life time.

I heard a line from a song earlier, "this is your life, are you who you want to be?" Yes! Yes! Yes! I know with every cell of my being, I know I am EXACTLY where I am meant to be, and doing EXACTLY what I was made to do.

Following God into the Amazon is frightening. But it's the most incredible kind of frightening.

The unknown of what each day will bring has been amazing this week. I knew God was going to show up this week. And He has. In huge ways. Everything has been a surprise. It's like I'm on a treasure hunt for His blessings.

So I'll share just a couple of today's blessings.

I have been nervous about paying for immunizations. One estimate said they would be approximately $2,000. Well, I didn't exactly have that laying around, and He hadn't provided it yet. Shots needed to happen this week because I am only a bit over a month away from leaving. I had concerns about which to get or not get, and if I really needed certain ones. So I called a place today to see if/when they were open. She had a 4:30 appt available. I figured I would be babysitting until at least 4, and had another babysitting job at 5, no where close to the doctor's office. I needed to go, but it seemed impossible. But God is in charge of time, and He heard my prayers. I got done babysitting early. The other job cancelled, and said they would still give me money for my trip! (who does that?!?) So I went out to the office, and was so put at such ease. I learned so much about the vaccines, preventative measures, things to pack, etc. The nurse was the most informative lady. I ended up getting the yellow fever vaccine (good for 10 years, great in case He keeps calling me!) and the typhoid fever vaccine (good for 5 years). I was told I don't need the rabies shots. (But please be praying for protection against rabid animals!) (saving me about a thousand dollars!!!!) So I still need about 5 more vaccines, but I can get those from the health department for a reduced price. I also have a few prescriptions to fill. (praying those aren't too expensive to fill) It feels so good to almost be able to check something off my list!

After the vaccination adventure, I visited my friend's mom in the hospital. I had planned on being a blessing to her, by praying for her, and visiting. She was so eager to hear what God was doing in my life, and to tell me how proud she was of me. She is one of the many "moms" I had collected growing up, so her words carried weight. She prayed for me with such conviction that my soul was stirred. She believes in me, and she believes in what God is doing in me. What a powerful feeling. She then handed me a check to help me with my trip as I walked out of the hospital room. I was caught off guard. I walked in there thinking I was going to bless her, but she blessed me more than she could ever imagine. Definitely a teary drive home. God keeps using the most surprising people to bless and encourage me. I love it, it keeps me on my toes. :)

Prayer Requests:
- healing for friend's mom in hospital
- need to receive a very important email tomorrow morning
- plan tickets to be under $1,000 when I go to purchase it
- other things on my to do list to be completed on time
- for opportunities to share my story, my faith, and my Jesus
- remainder of the funds to come in
- protection from rabid animals while in Bolivia

I potentially have exciting news to share, but I'll wait until tomorrow morning.

Good night! Love, M

The beginning.

I have started this morning's blog about four times. I've typed out a paragraph or two, and deleted it all. There is just so much to tell. I didn't know where to start, or what to share.

So, I figured I'd share the beginning.

33 days until Bolivia.

It's certainly sneaking up. I feel like I still have an entire season before its time to go. If you are in Michigan, you really understand. It has been mid 40's - 50's with almost no snow so far this winter. My mind is struggling to believe February is so close.

This trip is a long time coming. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I was called in some way to the mission field. I have always known this is what I was born to do.

Last January while at the Passion Conference in Atlanta, I signed up with Right Now Ministry to have someone contact me about mission work in general. I didn't hear back from them until May. When I did get the call, I was in my kitchen cooking dinner. I remember it was a night I was making up a recipe. I was sprinkling spices and dancing around, in my own little world.

The phone call was from Heather with Right Now. She asked if I was still interested in mission work. I was caught off guard. My life was so simple and perfect. But I knew that this is something I was supposed to do. So I started the process of filling out a questionaire. I soon was given a few options of where to go, when to go, and who to go with. I have always known Central and South America is where I am supposed to be. And I have also known my gift to love children and be good at it, is of God, and I need to use it for Him. So when the option of working in orphanages in Bolivia was presented, I quickly jumped on it.

The application process for International Teams was more intense than my college applications. I waited and waited for weeks, checking my email multiple times a day, to see if I had been accepted.

Right before Labor day weekend I got an email saying I got in. I was with one of my closest friends when I found out. We were jumping, I was crying, and there were brownies. I went camping that weekend, and around a campfire with four girls I love dearly I began to dream. This heart desire from my youth was becoming reality.

I was told to start collecting support right away. I bought envelopes and stamped and addressed them. And then I got scared. I couldn't do this. Nuh uh. Not this girl. So I carried around a bag with letters ready to be sent for over two months. I was scared to ask for money. Scared of actually going. Scared of what people might think. So I just ignored.

The week of Thanksgiving, I knew I needed to stop being scared. If I couldn't send out support letters and trust God to bring in money, how could I get on a plane? So, I sent them out, about 90 letters.

Slowly, but surely He has brought support in. I have discovered a lot of people didn't receive their letters. But its still working out. All in His timing. If I would've just had the money right away, I wouldn't learned to trust Him, or grown in my faith. It's been a crazy road. There are so many details that just point to Him working in my life, but there isn't enough time in a day for me to tell of His faithfulness.

So we are 33 days away from me stepping on a plane and saying good bye to my beloved country, my incredible friends, my amazing family, my great church, my pots and pans, and my life. But only for six weeks. :) I am still scared. But I know with everything in me, He is faithful.

There are still quite a few things on the list that need to come together before this is a complete reality. I am excited to see how He works it all out. I have faith He will. 

Thank you for reading, supporting, praying, and encouraging.

I am excited to continue to share in the upcoming weeks.

Please be in prayer still for:
- money for immunizations, and knowledge about which ones to get
- to hear from the missionary I'm staying with soon, so I can buy my ticket
- my visit with my compassion international child to work out while in Bolivia
- money to pay the remainder of my bills while I am gone
- the holy spirit to be real in my life
- preparation for me mentally, physically, spiritually in the next month
- fear and doubt in my mind to be gone
- me to share His love, His name, and His story no matter what city or country or continent I find myself.

One of my friends told me last night that I was glowing with God's goodness. Could there be a greater compliment? Love, M

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Are you kidding me??

So, I have been asking for prayer for provision. I have been praying in faith. I say He called me, so of course He will make a way. So why is there absolute amazement in the depths of my soul when He provides?

It was a long day with two babysitting jobs and a late night Walmart run. I was feeling frustrated. It was Tuesday, one day closer to a mountain of deadlines for my trip, all requiring cash that I didn't have. I drove home begging God to show up, to provide funds, to be real in my life. I thanked Him for his goodness and faithfulness. And I asked him to use me and to give me a voice. I then called my friend away at college for a quick catch up before bed. And then finally I was home. I came inside the building, and I checked the mail.

In my mail box was : a wedding catalog from oriental trading company (seriously, my mail is mocking me....), a baby shower invite, a new baby announcement, coupons, junk mail, and a little envelope tucked in between everything.

I opened the mail randomly, while sharing with my roommate things God is doing, funny things about my day, and baby shower gift ideas. I got to the last smaller envelope. It was from my dear friend's friend, whom I had really only met once before. I was intrigued. I opened it, and read the tiny card about how she is praying for me, and excited to see God work in me. I was blessed already. And then I opened the check that was tucked inside. It was for more than what I was praying for today. It's enough for me to buy my plane ticket this week. I started shaking and crying. I showed my roommate and we started jumping and rejoicing.

This is my God. He is real. He answers my prayers. He is active in my life. He cares about me. He knows how much my trip will cost, and He owns everything. He is faithful. He is provider. He is alive. He is in Bolivia. He is here. He is preparing the way. He will go with me. He will give me the words to say when I have none. He will make a way when it seems hopeless. He will make His name known. He deserves all the glory and honor. This is my God.

I am so beyond blessed.

Update about Spanish classes: they did decide to cancel them, but I found a tutor who teaches Spanish and is fluent. So I hope to start my tutoring sessions next week.

Next prayer requests:
- my visa to be taken care of without issues and quickly returned
- money for immunizations, and knowledge about which ones to get
- to hear from the missionary I'm staying with soon
- my visit with my compassion international child to work out while in Bolivia
- money to pay the remainder of my bills while I am gone
- the holy spirit to be real in my life
- preparation for me mentally, physically, spiritually in the next month
- fear and doubt in my mind to be gone

Thank you so much for the support with prayer, finances, and encouragement. I am so grateful that God has given me such an incredible group of family and friends. You have no idea how much you all bless me.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach the good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness the prisoners.

Good night! Love, M

Sunday, January 8, 2012

He is faithful.

I posted a blog earlier this morning, sharing my heart for the broken. At the end of the blog, I stated I needed $700 to buy my ticket by Saturday.

Let me tell you...Last night I had an unplanned babysitting job. This morning after church, a girl drove to church to meet me and hand me an envelope with money inside. This afternoon after a meeting at church, a couple handed me a few bills. I have gotten messages about people who have read my blog donating online. Wow. This has been a great way to start this week.

My best friend once said, "Why do we act surprised when God shows up? It is His nature to be faithful."

He is so faithful. Please be in prayer for the remainder of the funds. I believe if He called me, He will continue to provide.

Another prayer request, the Spanish classes I intended on taking are going to be cancelled. There aren't enough people signed up. They only need 2 more students. Classes begin Thursday. Please join me in prayer.

I am excited beyond words to watch my very real God move mountains this week. It's going to be a big week. Check back for more updates.

Love, M

Saturday, January 7, 2012

broken hearts

There is a song that contains the line "break my heart for what breaks Yours". I have sang the song multiple times. I have written it on scraps of paper, and placed it on the kitchen fridge and bathroom mirror. I have markered it on the inside of my arm as a reminder. I have prayed this as a prayer. It has been an anthem of my heart for years. But, I don't think I really understood it until this past week.

On January 1st, I went to Atlanta for a conference with some friends. We went to the Passion Conference. ( This was my fourth time going to Passion. Passion is for 18-25 year olds. It is a Christian conference. But it believes in doing so much more than just singing songs and hearing sermons. It's heart is to do something now. ( We have raised money and awareness for the 'least of these' all over the world. Built wells for clean water, given life saving surgeries, translated the Bible into unknown languages, given business loans, built houses, etc.

This year's theme was freedom. I had believed I was a pretty well informed person on the world. I was so wrong. I heard and read statistics and stories that broke my heart, made me sick to my stomach, and left burning tears down my face. How can slavery be an issue in our world today? How do we not know about it? Why is no one doing anything?

I am learning even more about how much God loves us like a father. His heart breaks when we hurt. Begging God for His heart and His eyes has torn up my world. Realities I had believed to be true, were crumbling. I have a newly lit fire in my heart to be a voice for those who don't a voice, to shine light in a broken world, and to proclaim Jesus. I refuse to stand by and do nothing.

Here are just a few facts I have recently become aware of, that have upset my world.

- 27 MILLION people are enslaved. That's more than ANY other time in history.

- Every minute 2 children are sold into slavery.

- 2,500 women and children are sold into sexual slavery EVERY DAY.

- Over 80% of human trafficking victims are women.

- In 1850, a human slave cost roughly $40,000 in today's dollars. Now a person can be bought for as little as $30.

- Right now there are AT LEAST 200,000 slaves in the USA and 17,000 more will be trafficked into the US next year.

- Atlanta is a major hub of human trafficking and child sex exploitation. The average age is 14.

- Top goods produced by child labor and forced labor : rice, toys, soccer balls, produce, chocolate, clothing, Christmas decor, shoes, coffee, electronics, leather, and cattle.

So, what is the response? Turn a blind eye? Be depressed? Complain? No! I believe we can do something. Pray for freedom and deliverance. Pray for people to rise up in Jesus' name and take action. Be aware. Be informed and educate others. Give to organizations that are out there getting it done. Talk about the issues. Believe we have a great God. Beg Him for a broken heart. Spread the word. prevents trafficking between India and Nepal with border out posts and has safe homes for rescued women and children. prevents trafficking in Ukraine by education to out smart traffickers and avoid becoming a victim. Nearly half a million girls 15-27 have been trafficked in the last decade in Ukraine. rescues and restores forced labor slaves in India. restores children in Cambodia, including medical care, counseling, and education in a Christ centered home. provides counseling, group therapy, education, life skills, vocational training, family reunification, and spiritual care for rescued girls in Atlanta. can help you understand how goods we use in every day life have been touch by slavery, and what are response can be.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and to release from darkness the prisoners.

Have a wonderful Sunday! And a fantastic week! Can't wait to share more of my adventure. There is so much stirring in my heart.

Bolivia is just a few short weeks away. I need to purchase my plane ticket by Saturday. In six days. I am still in need of a seven hundred dollars. Please pray and believe with me that He will provide.

Love, M