Monday, November 29, 2010

What a PERFECT weekend at the beach! It was seriously exactly what I needed. Awesome weather, amazing friends, and tons of experiencing God's goodness:)

We left to go to the beach Friday morning, got there about 12, spent the afternoon at the beach and then went out to dinner! We even found these awesome blow up Christmas decorations...hello America!!

Saturday I got up early to go for a run and watch the sunrise (AWESOME reminder of God's amazingness:)) then proceeded to spend the ENTIRE day at the beach until 6:00!! I love Cabarete because it is SO windy which equals huge waves to play in :) so we spent the day body-surfing and playing paddleball. The only break we took was to go eat a Sushi lunch. Who could ever complain about that? Sunday, I got up early again for a run on the beach and then spent another perfect day in the water....seriously it has rained for like 2 weeks straight, and then we had 2 perfectly sunny days on the beach! Definitely a blessing. We didn't leave until 5 on Sunday (the guys had to finish the football game) and got to stop at the grocery store in the city on the way home!

Totally learning that I can only prepare myself so much, if I am not completely focused on God and His plan, I will not find success!
Proverbs 21:30-31 "There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of the battle, but victory rests in the Lord!"
Psalm 25 "Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths! Guide me in your truth and teach me! For you alone are my God and Savior, my HOPE is in you all day long!"

"God's love for us is not trifling or fleeting or simple. It is the greatest strength, the greatest loyalty and it is complex. God's love is the only thing strong enough to put your hope in."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would give anything to be in Illinois right now--but this helps:)
It is definitely hard to look for God's blessings today when I am wishing I was home to celebrate with my fam...but God is awesome and He has a reason for my being here right now!If anything, He is for sure trying to challenge me! I got a "Message Remix: Solo" devotional with mail yesterday, and just found a great passage about thankfulness in it.

Psalm 75:1-4 "We thank you, God, we thank you - your name is our favorite word; your mighty works are all we talk about. You say "I'm calling this meeting to order, I'm ready to set things right. When the earth goes topsy-turvy and nobody knows which end is up, I nail it all down, I put everything in place again. I say to the smart alecks, 'That's enough,' to the bullies, 'Not so fast.'"

SO thankful for the knowledge that God is in complete conrol.

We have a Thanksgiving pot-luck today at achool, so we still get to have a Thanksgiving feast, and I am headed off to the beach for the weekend!! Thanks to God for that:)
Love and miss you all!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Spirit Week/Thanksgiving!

This week we had a super short week (school Monday and Tuesday and a half day Wednesday). It was so fun!
Monday was sports day (dress up as some sort of sports person). In my class we had a rollarskater, a tennis player, basketball, soccer and even a golfer!

Tuesday was dress up pictures from there:)
Tuesday night we had Wyld Life! It went really well! It was an outer space theme.

Wednesday we had a half day! Each grade did presentations, and my class did a skit and sang a song we made up to Philippians 4:6-7. It was so cute! They did such a good job:) It was also country western day! There were crafts, sports competition,and funny games!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This week absolutely FLEW by! It was fun, but crazy getting everything wrapped up before Thanksgiving break next week! They don’t celebrate it here, but our school has a half day Wednesday, and Thursday and Friday off…AWESOME!

Monday was a sports competition day, so some kids from each grade went, and I was only left with 4 kids in my class ALL day! It was sweet though, obviously I could not teach, so we watched The Grinch and made snowflakes to decorate our classroom! They loved it, and I sure did too! It was a really fun day for me to be able to hang out with a few of my students and just have fun with them! I am starting to think that when I go back to the states, some sort of youth ministry, whether in a church or with YL, is where I want to be!
I have a hard time finding my balance with the kids….I know the way I am teaching works here, but it definitely would not work in the states just because of the lack of teacher-student relationship in the states. For example, here the teachers hang out with students very often, and it is completely encouraged! Today I am going to my triplet’s house (Josue, Melanio and Moises) to hang out and play video games, which would NEVER happen in the states, and the girls in my class come over just to hang and are always asking to hang out! The kids here seriously love to hang out with their teachers! I read this this week and it really spoke where I want my heart to be:
“Love is an urgent matter. Love is a daily, moment by moment matter and it has no regard for position. Treat people how you’d treat them if you knew it was their very last day to be alive. Speak to them the things that matter, things of life and truth, lovely, pure, holy and right. And leave each encounter with another as though it was your last. Work through conflict, forgive, reach out, encourage and receive. Love is always a matter of urgency. Let your mouth speak your last words first! Jesus is good. He desires good for you. He is the way truth and life. As we live, we have a model for how we too can live. Jesus was not idle, he worked diligently, but he knew rest. We can learn form that. Be a person who serves. Serve when it is easy, when it is hard and when it is seemingly impossible! Serve always. Be a person of compassion. Compassion moves one from noticing a need or crisis or hurt to act. Respond to your hearts cries of compassion for others. Be a person of justice. When the created world or any human being is being treated in a way that spits in the face of their value, fight to make it right. People are a reflection of the Creator, every single person is of value and needs to be fought for! The created world is the majestic creation of an Almighty Creator, when it is treated poorly it reflects the way we value the Creator himself. CARE ABOUT THINGS WIH YOUR ACTION!. As Cornell West say, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Be generous with your life, time, energy, resources and opinions of others! Above all: LOVE. Love with your mind, your heart, your soul, your strength, and your actions. Love well. Love all. Love with vengeance. Love stubbornly! Love fiercely. Love softly. Love completely. Love selflessly! LOVE LOVE LOVE. When you walk this way, you know rest, a kind that comes from one who is gentle and humble in heart. When you walk this way, you walk with Jesus. Oh isn’t He good! Imagine if we all lived in the way he set before us.”

SUCH an awesome challenge!

On a side note, so cute: one of my students, Claudil, told me this week that she has a huge crush on a boy in our class, Melanio!! SO funny. She was all upset because he was being mean to her, and I was like well….usually at this age, boys are mean to the girls they like!! At lunch she snuck a candy bar into his backpack:) precious!

A couple of my students made this picture for me, they said that it describes who I am, they are so sweet!!

Wednesday night, Natalie took Melissa and I for a moto ride to look at Christmas lights....we found one house that went all out with lights and the blow-up decorations, so we had to take some pictures:)

This morning, Julie-Anne and I FINALLY went on an adventure run! With her being in the states, and then both of us being sick, it has been forever! We took a new road by the river and went up in the mountains (some killer hills we definitely had to walk up, and even had a hard time even running back down!!)We saw some really sweet houses, and some complete shacks BUT they still had Christmas lights! The best part: for the first time in a VERY long time, we were in complete silence....without motos, people yelling, or loud music! Such a blessing!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Remember that song "I've got the joy, joy, down in my heart!"? I was thinking today how cool it would be to wake up every morning and honestly live that song out loud....

"Trust God. Plain and simple. Not easy, but basic and uncomplicated." "Learn to live a faith that is so real, you bleed Jesus. Here is how to start: Look for Jesus every day in the eyes of people you meet. Then look for Him in the mirror."

Jeremiah 31 "I have loved you with an everlasting love, I will build you up again, again you will take up your tambourines and go dance with the joyful!"
Deut 30 "Now choose LIFE, the LORD ALONE is your life!!"
Psalm 63 "I have seen you in the sanctuary and behold, your great power and glory! Because your love is better than life, my lips glorify you! I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift my hands!
John 15:11 "I have said these things so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be COMPLETE!"

Acts 18-You don't change the world by a crusade. Paul changed it by living every day in service to God, Living every moment out of LOVE for God!

While reading Donald Miller's blog today, I discovered this new blog by Cari Jenkins, and man does this girl know her stuff!! You should check it out:
I wanted to copy this post she made on her blog about seeing a need and responding to it, good stuff, so read it!! :)
"This past summer I was in a conversation about short term mission experiences with some friends. This group of people all seemed to think it was easier to serve on a short term mission trip than in their daily lives. This led to a conversation about the way of Jesus and how he served while here.

One of things that I noticed as part of His way was that Jesus walked an observant way. There is a story in Luke chapter 7 that I’ve come to love. It is a short story, but it is a perfect example of the observant way.

Jesus had just left one town where he was involved in healing work and serving and was going to another. Traveling with him were his friends and a large crowd. His attention was being asked for from many. As they walked into town there was a funeral procession that passed by Jesus and his crowd of followers. It is at this point of the story that Luke records a very simple act of Jesus, Jesus saw. It’s easy to pass by those words, but they are two key words to knowing how to live in the way of Jesus.

The next phrase gets even better. Luke tells us that When Jesus saw her, his heart went out to her. I love this! Jesus was observant. Although, He didn’t simply see alone. He saw and his heart responded.

But wait! That’s not the end of the story. Sure it is beautiful that Jesus, in the midst of a busy schedule took time to see what went on around him. And it is powerful that not only did Jesus observe, he also had compassion, his heart responded to what he observed. And that led to Jesus interupting his schedule to act.

The story goes on to recall Jesus speaking to the widow, “Don’t Cry.” He said and then he went and touched the coffin and told the young man in side to get up! The young man did just that, he got up out of the coffin and was given back to his grieving mother.

Jesus lived an observant way. He lived with his eyes open to those around him. He observed, he felt and he acted.

One of the realities of a short term mission trip is that we are often given a directive to look for ways to serve. “When you see a need, respond to it.” Our eyes and hearts are told, for these next two weeks look with these eyes and respond to it out of your heart. But somehow, that directive doesn’t carry over into life as usual. We leave our eyes and hearts in whatever place we were in and go back to life as usual.

A directive has been given in the invitation to follow in the way of Jesus. And Jesus my friends, lived an observant way. So today as you go, look for need and respond to it! Pray too that you will be given eyes to see, a heart that will be with others and the bravery to act in response."

God is GOOD, God is faithful, God is awesome:) New goal: wake up each day with complete JOY in knowing this!

Friday, November 12, 2010

What a week! This week was crazy once again, but I have been feeling pretty sick since last week, so I was forced to slow down SOME, which was really good for me and my goal in finding things to rejoice in every day!

This week was pretty crazy in our class because we had to come up with an act for our Thanksgiving program on the 24th. The boys in my class don't want to do ANYTHING, so it was interesting trying to come up with something they wouldn't totally hate, but we managed! We are going to do a play actually about being anxious (they are going to be anxious farmers with nothing to eat for thanksgiving) and then we are going to sing out Philippians 4 song about trusting in God and the boys are going to dress up as corn stalks and grow! It should be pretty funny:)This has been a really fun week with my class, we learned a lot but had a lot of fun doing it!

Monday night we celebrated one of our teacher's birthday (Tim) with a dessert party! Tons of wonderful things, not to mention a fun night with people I don't always get to see!

Tuesday night we had Wyld Life, and a 70s/80s theme! I tye-dyed with some of the girls before, so they were really excited for it!They want to hang out next weekend and do it again, so I think we probabily will! It is fun to have some girls that actually want to hang out :) Natalie and I were in charge of program, and I was pretty nervous about the kids thinking we were funny and liking our "act" but they ended up loving it and have been talking about it at school nonstop since!! Praise God for that!! Club was great as usual, we had a ton of kids, and everything is running smoother every time as we begin to finally get a feel for what the kids like! After club, one of my students Claudil, said that she wants to be a Wyld Life leader when she grows up!! haha so cute:)
Wednesday night I stayed home and went to bed super early which was AWESOME and ended up being a complete blessing to just be able to rest.
Thursday Melissa, Jessica and I caught a ride to Santiago with a group of people from another school! We just went to the mall, which first of all was all decorated for Christmas, and had dinner and saw "Eat, Pray, Love". It was such a great night of having a little "Americanness" and getting out of Jarabacoa!!
Tonight there is a talent show at school....all the kids are participating, so it should be interesting!

Monday, November 8, 2010

SO thankful for Sunday:)
I wrote about that awesome sermon I read, and had the most wonderful day afterwards! As I was finishing my blog, my roommate came to my room and said lunch was ready: homemade cornbread and chili! I was expecting to help her cook, too, but she had it all done!! Such a good surprise! After that we had our weekly Wyld Life meeting which was fun as usual, and then I went to a friend's house to watch football for the night! I am beginning to love watching football here....such a reminder of America! haha, who would've thought! Anyways, 2 of the girls that watched with us are pregnant and brought all kinds of books to read/share with each other while they sort of watched, so the other girls and I spent time reading through the "pregnancy questions answered" book and another called "What they don't tell you...." They were HILARIOUS! Not to mention a little scary:) haha! Such a fun night, definitely the relaxing/comfort night I needed.

Also, I wanted to share this story that one of my students wrote in his writing journal:
"My teacher is nice she laughs a lot she is super nice she lets us play and she is blond she likes fun and she goes to campaigners and wyld life that is super cool isn't it cool. She does laundry when it rains (HA HA because I always complain about my laundry being ruined when we are in class!!) she plays and give soccer classes, she likes talking and she lets us see videos online. She wears beautiful earings and they are picturesque (that was one of our spelling words!! haha) they are the prettiest earings I have ever seen she lives close to school with Miss B and Miss Brewer, they are cool too. Our class is small but colorful and she likes purple and pink she has the best smile I have ever seen she wears khaki pants and a blue JCS polo and she looks good in them except when she has chalk on them. My wonderful teacher's name is Miss. Stanley."
HA HA! What a good way to start my day:)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I was going to skip my blog this week because I felt like I had nothing to write...but turns out God has been teaching me things this week that I didn't even realize! Honestly, this week went by so fast because I was so busy/stressed/anxious about things that I don't even remember much of what I did. Anyways, this morning I skipped church (because we walk about a half hour to church, and since it has been raining all weekend due to the hurricane, that was not an option!) so I came across this sermon at Mars Hill that looked pretty good. The verses it focused on were Philippians 4:4-7 "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: REJOICE! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

First of all, these verses just so happened to be my class memory verse of this week. Second, I know I didn't rejoice a whole lot this week. I wrote this quote in my journal on Wednesday: "Sometimes we are afraid to reach out and live the life that we believe we have been called to. But fear is no friend. It may seem to protect, but it slowly suffocates."
The message was all about "Reasons to complain vs. Reasons to rejoice" Find ways to rejoice in everything, because rejoicing cultivates a heart of Hope! A rejoicing spirit says: "God you are good, God you are at work, God you are teaching me things, God you are revealing yourself, God I have REASON FOR JOY! God, I'M GONNA REJOICE!" You have to choose to be anxious in nothing! Phil 4:8 says to MEDITATE on all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, excellent, praiseworthy and admirable! You've got to stay sharp, clear, focused on Jesus, because when your not, that is when things start to go downhill!
I really liked this quote from the sermon" "If you believe God is good, act like it! If you believe God is sovereign, act like it! If you believe God works for the good of those who love Him, act like it! If you believe there is always something to rejoice in, act like it!!"

I really needed to be reminded that faith means leaning my whole weight on Jesus, knowing that "I can do EVERYTHING through Christ who gives me strength!" God proves His goodness, His power, His strength, even when I think I know it is not there!

The link to the sermon in case you want to check it out:)