I’m a Missionary. Don’t laugh.

I feel like I’ve wanted to be a missionary for ages now, but if you knew me even 10 years ago this would sound like a colossal joke.  But here I am, a domestic missionary, working in the field of anti-trafficking.

Over the last few years I’ve been on multiple foreign mission trips, I’ve started seminary (almost halfway through… YAY!!), and worked with Redeemed Ministries, all while going about my life as a wife and homeschooling mom of 2 crazy girls.  Last year I accepted the position of Houston Director of Operations with Redeemed, which was a bit daunting but has been great.IMG_7453

Well, I’m still the Director of Operations but have recently been taken on as missionary staff, which means not only am I an official missionary (!!!), I get to start raising support so that I can be funded like an official missionary!

That may not sound like a fun thing, or a perk of the job, but I’m actually pretty excited about it.  I’ve raised support for my mission trips in the past and used to dread “begging” for money and risking rejection when I asked for support.  But I realized as I’d go on these trips, people weren’t giving me money, they were offering their prayers and financial blessings for the work that God was going to be doing on these missions.

I love my job. I get to work with law enforcement, with other non-profits and agencies, meet fascinating people and be in ministry with people I love and respect.  No two days are ever the same and things can change in a moment.

I have the privilege of working with survivors of some of the most horrific traumas imaginable.  They bring me to tears, and they provide me with some of the most hysterical laughter.  I end every day knowing that I am exactly where God wants me to be.

I’m so grateful for the place I am in my life. I’m ecstatic that God has realized my dream of becoming a missionary. And I’m going to embrace every part of it, which includes raising support for the awesome work that God has called me to do with survivors of human trafficking 🙂

It’s not confusing. At all.

It seems pretty clear to me.

“meet the thirsty with water; inhabitants of the land of Tema greet the refugees with bread. They have fled from swords” Isaiah 21:14-15

“The Lord proclaims: Do what is just and right; rescue the oppressed from the power of the oppressor. Don’t exploit or mistreat the refugee, the orphan and the widow.” Jeremiah 22:3

syrian_refugee_4-1

“He enacts justice for orphans and widows, and he loves immigrants, giving them food and clothing. That means you must also love immigrants because you were immigrants in Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:18-19

Here are some places you can donate if you would like to help:

Save the Children (11% Administrative cost)

World Vision (15% Administrative cost)

International Rescue Committee (8% Administrative cost)

There are a lot of other great organizations out there doing work, these are just a few examples. Also, I think it’s important to know where your money is going when you donate to any organization, that’s why I included the admin percentages.. you want as much of your donation as possible going directly to the work 🙂

This Summer

I can’t believe July is almost over. I haven’t written in ages because I just haven’t stopped long enough to put anything into a cohesive post… probably still not there but I might as well get back to it!

IMG_5191
Monet exhibit at Chicago Art Institute

The summer kicked off with a trip to Chicago for the Justice Conference with one of my best friends, Cynthia. We’d never been to Chicago and had a great time visiting the Art Institute, riding the train and seeing the sights.

IMG_5208
The el

The conference was amazing, with speakers like Dr. Cornel West, Louie Giglio, Jonathan Merritt and Bob Goff (who I got to hug!!) There were panels on racial justice and reconciliation, as well as on poverty and social reform, gender issues and how to engage the church in justice. I was invited to a networking dinner for people involved in the anti-trafficking movement and  we stayed at the Plaza. Oh… and we saw Crowder and Rend Collective in concert.

Seriously. Awesome conference. Definitely want to go back next year.

IMG_5385
At the Aram Market

So a few days after I get back from Chicago, I head back to the airport; this time I’m on my way to Kenya! If you’ve read my blog before, you may know that I’d been planning this trip for months and was joining up with a mission team from Durango, Colorado. This was a totally new experience for me, going it alone with a group of strangers but it was a good trip. It was harder than a lot of other trips I’d been on before, in a lot of ways; while everyone on the team was great, it was lonely not having a friend to share the experience with. Also, this trip focused much more on physical work than trips I’d been on in the past. We built two mud houses, worked on a gardening project and ran a medical clinic, in addition to working with an amazing group of widows and their children.

IMG_4299
One of many beautiful smiles

It was a wonderful trip. Like I said, harder than most of the trips I’ve been on in the past. It made me question some things because I struggled so much, but that’s OK. I definitely want to go back. I made some friends there that I want to see again.

I flew back from Kenya on the first day of the summer quarter for school and since then I’ve been eyeball deep in reading and research… really hard reading and research.

I’m taking Ministry with Sexually Exploited Children and Christian Ethics this quarter so I’m immersed in child abuse and the injustices of the world and how as a Christian, I should respond to them. The reading is so heavy and it’s been weighing on me pretty heavily over the last few weeks.

IMG_5364
In the gardening shed with friends

 However, the summer is already more than half over and it’s been absolutely racing! We got back today from New Braunfels and taking the kids to see JAWS at an outdoor event where we floated on a lake in the dark during the show; it was awesome. So I’m trying to find time here and there to have some fun and not devote every single moment to hard stuff.

This weekend I’m working a Walk to Emmaus as a musician, which I’m really excited about. It’ll be a great chance to relax and reconnect to the Holy Spirit, to serve and to have a great time of fellowship with some great women.

So this has been a really long post, not really that cohesive, but just kind of a catch up of what’s been going on and where I’ve been the last couple of months! It’s been busy and crazy and at times overwhelming and stressful but it’s been really good too.

Hopefully will be back soon 🙂

Special days

Happy Easter to you!

I’ve spent mine with family, celebrated my mother in law’s birthday, watched the kids do three separate Easter egg hunts and played guitar in two church services. It’s been good.

I’d have to say my favorite part though was looking out from the stage this morning to see my 13 year old daughter in church, singing along in worship.

She declared herself agnostic last year and hasn’t come to church in a long time, but our deal was that she would come on holidays and other special occasions. This has been hard for me as I’ve started seminary, and essentially committed to a life of serving Christ as a vocation, which needs a family’s support.

While I’m not going to jump the gun and declare victory over her return to Christianity, this was an encouraging sign and made this day even more special.

Praying that everyone had a great day celebrating the resurrection 🙂

religious

It IS about me. A little

The new quarter started this week so I’ve got two new classes to be consumed by. Whereas my last classes were missional in focus, these are straight up theology and I’m a bit more nervous about them!

But it’s been a great first week and already in my Interpretive Practices class I’ve had an eye opener. It’s actually ridiculously simple, and it seems silly to say, but I need the humility practice 😉

I need to be reading the Bible as Scripture.

I know, that’s a no-brainer. But I realized that often wheFullSizeRendern I read the Bible, I read it as stories, lessons, history, wisdom or poetry. I see it as good advice and a long gone message from a God who once walked among his people. I think about how lucky the Disciples were to have Jesus among them, and how amazing it must have been to be among those who formed the first Church. I try to to discover context and meaning and figure out what applies to my life and what was relevant only in ancient culture.

What if I’m not meant to read with all of these goals in mind? I’m not saying I shouldn’t try to understand the Bible, I absolutely want to know what God is saying. But instead of trying to wring an interpretation out of what I’m reading, what if I read with the intent of letting the Scripture change me? Perhaps I could try to put away my preconceived notions about what I think God is trying to say, and read as though he is speaking to me.

I tried that this morning and was doing some reading in Jeremiah, when I came across this verse:

For you were not being honest when you sent me to pray to the Lord your God for you. You said, ‘Just tell us the Lord our God says, and we will do it!’ And today I have told you exactly what he said, but you will not obey the Lord your God any better now than you have in the past.  Jeremiah 42:20-21

Oh….

So if I apply that to me, and I’m honest with myself, then that’s pretty uncomfortable. Have I ever gone to God in prayer, complained about how miserable I am, asked for help and then gone right ahead down the same path anyway? Yes. Have I done it more than once? Twice? More than that? Yeah, I have.

Well, that was awkward. But I still see the value in the practice; the concept of seeking conversion by the Scripture rather than mastery of the Scripture.