Monday, March 21, 2011

Pre- Trip Reflection

During the Compassion Trip Training Weekend, we were asked to listen to  God and write down our thoughts, impressions etc. We would be given them back after the trip. I totally forgot about this, and was surprised when I read it. Most of it is just questions that were up on the screen, but they are so thought-provoking...

Do you feel like God is distant?
Do you wish God's voice would be louder in your life?
Is there a connection between the amount of noise in our lives and our ability to hear God?

"Be still and know that I am God"

If I am not still, and I do not listen, how is Jesus going to give me rest?

Do I spend the same amount of time worrying about my problems as I do listening to what God might have to say?

Does my schedule, my life look like someone who wants to hear God's voice?

Compassion? (not sure what I was getting at with this one... :P)

How does God want to use me to help shape others?

How can I create space for God to speak clearly in my life?

How has God equipped me to serve this team?

- prayer?

What do I want my spirit to be focused on leading into this trip?

- Keep my eyes focused on Christ. It isn't about my personal holiness or character change. It's about God's glory and grace.

Why has God called me to this opportunity?

- Teach me how to serve, to not care that I am insignificant, to serve and pour out myself for God's glory and to love others.


How do I walk with the Holy Spirit?
  How do I keep my gaze on Christ?

- surrender, trust, and wait on God

How is God trying to shape and transform my life?

- Give me courage!

"You have not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" - 2 Tim 1:7

When I am lonely, upset, even bored -- turn to Christ.

Help me to hide my heart in You and to not try to impress others or win love. You love me as I am. You are fairer than the sons of men.

To challenge show me His heart. My future is in His hands.

Humbly serving Christ...

Is there something stealing my joy in Christ?
- anxiety
- feelings of inadequacy
-  laziness?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To Take Risks

I've yet to fully process everything that I saw in Camden, New Jersey. It was an incredible experience being able to see so clearly how God has been working in Camden. It was a humbling experience being able to play with kids who are so innocent and giving, and yet have seen things that no child should ever have to. It was heartbreaking to hear thier stories, and encouraging to hear how thier lives have been changed for the better because of Urban Promise. I became so attached to the kids there....and felt like my heart would burst when we had to leave. I was especially sad because I was unable to say goodbye to a boy in grade one that I had a really special bond with. His name is Michael...and he pretended to be this tough little kid but was really so sweet. He has some negativity and anger...but he was just an innocent child and just wanted to play with me. I am going to be penpals with him...and I am excited to see how God will continue to work in his life, as I know he is at Urban Promise for a reason.

I wrote in my journal while was gone, and I think I will post my journal entries on here (with some slight editing :P). It it interesting to look back on what I wrote, and gives a fuller explanation of what I experienced.

What I really wanted to write about though, is risk. I am not normally a big risk-taker. Yes, I have been to Japan and the Dominican Republic...but those experiences were not too frightening for me. It was an adventure, but I was with a solid group of people in the DR, and I was well looked after by the Rotary Club in Japan.  It's actually the small things like taking a bus downtown in my city, or trusting that God will provide in financial situations, or having the courage to be who I am and share my heart with other people, or even just trying out extreme sports,  that makes me nervous. I often pull back from the things that make me afraid, and I want to change that.

Camden was more of a risk for me than my other trips. It was actually my first time on a missions trip with Christians...and I did not have any money to go. It was my first experience having to  fundraise an entire amount, and God blew me away. He provided the full amount. Camden was perhaps the first time where I fully and completely stepped out in faith to follow after Christ, and it was life-changing.

From this experience, I have come to a pretty crazy conclusion. God is calling me to live a life of risk. To go places and do things that make me uncomfortable (and there is sooooo many). And even crazier, I am excited about it.

I kinda can't wrap my head around that.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Return to Canada

Well, I returned from my mission trip to Camden, New Jersey today. It was such an amazing experience.
I miss it and the team so much... I think I am experience withdrawal. I am going to make a super long post about the trip soon-- so stay tuned! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

40 days...

Falling on my knees in worship
Giving all I am to seek your face
Lord all I am is yours

-Came To My Recuse, Hillsong

I've decided what I am doing for Lent. Although its mainly a Catholic practice, the idea of Lent is really great and I want to make use of it. The 40 days before the resurrection, we are to give up something (fast) because Christ gave up His life for us. That is so beautiful, and so I am going to do so as well.

Although most people give up something, I have decided to add something instead. I am going to commit to reading at least one chapter of the bible a day, and keep a journal about what God teaches me through the process. I always seem to find 'more important' things to do than read God' s word, and I really want to develop the habit of being drenched in the word of God all the time! I talk about wanting to know Christ more, but how can I do so if I am not reading my bible daily and seeking His heart?  I know that I experience Christ in my relationships with others and serving and loving the poor, broken, etc, and so I intend to intentionally focus on those things as well! I find that sometimes I allow anxiety and self-consciousness to prevent me from really being a part of community. But if I truly want to surrender my life to Christ-- these are some things that I need to do!

If anything, my highest dream for my life is to be completely surrendered to Christ and to go where He leads me with a joyful heart! I have such a long way to go!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Learn About The Gaza Strip

 I woke up this morning with a greater desire to spend time in prayer, and therefore I spent a lot of the morning praying as I got ready, and as I walked to the bus. It was a good morning! I had a bounce in my step, and I felt free to just be me, and to really take a stand for Christ. I have a friend who is a christian, but I have noticed that they often say inappropriate things, and we never talk about our faith, or anything remotely related. It bothers me because I want to have  a god-oriented friendship, and my heart is in Christ, and no one can really 'know' me if they don't know that side of me! In short, our friendship would be deeper. I felt the courage and freedom today to let them know that it bothers me. And I tried to weave in some 'deeper' conversation. That sort-of failed (haha) but I am going to work on it. I feel that this person just needs to be pushed a  little bit.
Thats sortof just a random blurb, because what I really wanted to blog about today was the Gaza Strip, and the conflict that is going on there. Today my sociology class visited the chapel to hear a guest speaker named Omar. Omar is from Israel. He is the program manager for a Danish humanitarian aid organization that works in the Gaza. He came to speak about the conflict and problems that the people in the Gaza face. 

He gave some staggering statistics.

The Gaza strip has an area of  350 km, with a population of 1.6 million!
Thats roughly 4000 people per km.

58% of the population are children (18 or younger)!

80% of the population live below the poverty line.

He told us how the Gaza is completely controlled by Israel, it is extremely dangerous, and having food, water, and electricity are daily battles. He told us of how he was unable to find milk for his baby daughter. He told us of how the children are so traumatized that when they do art therapy, all their pictures are of death, war, etc. He talked about how the Islamic and Christian people who live in the Gaza don't fight each other, but rather are united in thier suffering and help each other. Thats beautiful, but my heart broke listening to the suffering of these people. And so many children! Keep them in your prayers, as I will be.

In other news, there are five days until the mission trip to Camden, New Jersey! I am excited, and nervous. Camden is in a rougher spot than usual (which is saying something!) because of the police cuts that recently occurred. We are going at an opportune time I guess! Please keep our team in your prayers:)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Greatest Love

Today I came across a booked entitled The Greatest Love by none other than Mother Teresa. I felt pulled to the testament of Mother Teresa's lifestyle- how she poured out all she was into serving the poor and unloved. I was sure there would be pearls of wisdom in her reflections, and I wasn't wrong. The book is infused with her deep love for God and her complete surrender to His love and will, and brought me to tears because of how real her words made the love of God. Here is a woman who really grasped intimacy with Christ, and the secret of abiding in Him. And boy was it a challenging and motivating read! She really hits home the call that we all have to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world, and to enter into the suffering of others with great love. It made me even more so desire a deeper relationship with Christ, and to be able to serve God quietly in even the most menial tasks and even in the most disgusting or dangerous of situations.  I haven't finished reading it, but what I have read so far has been really powerful. I will post some of the quotes that really resonated with me, but I encourage you guys to read this book! It may be written from someone of a different denominational background, but her love for God is authentic and powerful. Actually, if you want to read it- let me know and you may borrow it:) Although I plan on taking it with me on my mission trip-to keep my heart focused on Christ. But after that, (and after my sister reads it...) I will be more than happy to lend it to you!

Here are the quotes:

Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of Himself. 

If we want to be able to love, we must be able to pray!

Our prayers should be burning words coming forth from the furnace of hearts filled with love.

Let it [your heart] have a firm determination never to commit any fault deliberately and knowingly or, if it should fail, to be humbled and to rise up again at once- and such a heart will pray continually. 

You acquire humility only by accepting humiliations. The greatest humiliation is to know that you are nothing. This you come to know when you face God in prayer. 

In the silence of the heart God speaks. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. 

Both humility and prayer grow from an ear, mind, and tongue that have lived in silence with God, for in the silence of the heart God speaks. 

The knowledge of our sin helps us to rise. 


Friday, March 4, 2011

I rant about relationships..

Well, here comes a rant about relationships. Remember I warned you! ;)

There are certain situations when anxiety gets the best of me, and I am unable to move forward. I feel knots in my stomach, and I can't get myself to act or speak. I feel paralyzed by a sense of anxiousness and self-conscienceness. Its easy for me to know which situations will make me feel like this (to be honest, in most cases its dealing with guys) but its harder me to pinpoint why this has started. I wasn't always like this with guys, I used to be more confident. Ever since I returned from Japan though, it seems my shy-level has been increased to the point where I can barely deal with friendships. This year God has done amazing things in my heart, and He has led me to face some of my deepest fears. But this one, this one remains a challenge!  I think I have prayed over this far more than anything else, and for sure God has been working to help me overcome it. I have developed some chill friendships with guys that I hope remain so, but... as soon as I have feelings for someone, I become so nervous that I run away. It is so unbelievably frustrating, but I don't know how to not do it. It's almost become a habit!  And consequently, normally any guys that I like (even just a little bit) end up barely even knowing I exist!  Its soo frustrating. Case and point - I can't even muster the courage to message them via facebook chat!

My sister used to tell me that the reason I feel over-looked by guys now is because God is preparing me for someone special. I like the sound of that, but part of me worries that maybe God is preparing me to be single for life. I know that God has given me a heart for children, for those with developmental disabilities , and for missions and other cultures. I have an inkling that this might mean a lot of traveling and hard work (servant-hearted work). Will I ever find someone who is not only willing to put in the unusually hard work of pursuing me, but also have the same heart for missions that I do? Granted, I don't know where  God is leading me...but I am only 18 and I have already travelled to Japan and the Dominican Republic, and I love other cultures.  And I want to go wherever God leads me.

Regardless of this, I want to develop some authentic godly relationships with guys, and view them as my Brothers in Christ until the time when God might direct me otherwise. SOoo much easier said than done though, especially when you develop a crush on someone, and you're afraid to talk to them.

Although it might take a miracle, I hope and pray that I won't grow up to be a cat-lady.( haha.. please don't let that be my future! :P)

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Today as I was listening to worship music (via ipod) on the bus home, a thought popped into my head, "God makes my life more exciting, more challenging, more authentic and full of adventure- but thats not why I love Him." That thought caught me by surprise, and made me reflect on why I truly love God.  Why do I love God?
I love God because He sees all of me, all of the dirty and awful things I have done and thought, the desires of my heart and my struggles, and He still loves me. Not only that, but He is redeeming my life and using my life to glorify Him, even though I constantly run astray and fall into temptation. Even when I mess up, God is right there waiting to redeem the situation, and put me back on the path that He has for my life. Not only that, but He invites me to experience intimacy with HIm, to truly know His heart and to walk in His spirit. And, most significantly, He enabled all of this to be possible through Christ dying for me, for us- that we might live IN Him!

If there is anything I have been thinking about is, what does it mean to abide in Christ?
What does it mean to walk in the Holy Spirit? I don't really have answers for these questions, I just know they are important.

Abiding in Christ... I pray that God will show me the way of abiding and living in, through, and for Him.

Abide in me, and I will abide in you. Just as the branch cannot produce fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. - John 15:4

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

He is faithful

Well,after weeks of worrying about the money for the compassion trip and struggling to completely surrender it to God---I have been rendered speechless. Tonight, the Lord provided the rest of the money and then some!  It's so crazy,    I almost can't believe that I am done fundraising! I really honestly thought I would have to fundraise like crazy until the very last day!  I had been praying to God that He would lay this trip on the hearts of certain people, and the person who donated a significant amount to me tonight told me that they had felt that God had really laid it on their heart! Talk about a crazy, direct answer to prayer:)!!!  God has shown me how faithful He is, and how I can trust in Him even when I feel anxious or scared. SO amazing, but I have feeling I will have to continually learn this.

In other news, I got a call from Wilfrid Laurier today from a student representative. They were calling just to answer any questions that I had. I had a number of questions, and most of them had to do with what I want to study.

Today during school, I finally realized how much God has given me a heart for those with developmental disabilities. Its hard to put into words, but I truly believe that those with disabilities are beautiful.
I have an example of this. Today, I visited my friend Corinna in her dance classroom. In her class, there are three other students with disabilities. When I walked in, Corinna greeted me with her shy, sweet smile, cheeks red, staring at the floor but clearly excited to see me. We talked a little about her class and how she was enjoying it, and then she proceeded to introduce me to the other three students. She told me their names, their age, and their disability. I could tell how much she cared for them, simply by the way she talked about them. But then I saw her interactions, and I was in awe of how beautiful this child of God is. One of the other students with disabilities is a boy who has one of those wheel-chair like things where you stand up. He can't talk, makes very jerked, rigid movements, and seems to be constantly moving. Corinna moved his wheelchair out of the way, and with her hands on the handles, she started to talk to him. He grabbed her hand, and she wrapped both hands around his, saying "gentle, remember to be gentle"  like a mother would do. It was a really precious, humbling moment for me to witness.

I have about 5 friends with disabilities, but it was witnessing this moment with Corinna that really made me realize that I have a heart for and that I would truly enjoy being a special-ed teacher.
The problem with that is that I didn't apply for concurrent, I applied for Child and Youth Studies.
And granted, I love children and I know I would love being a Child and Youth worker as well, but I suddenly feel like I would make a great teacher.

I talked to the representative, and she told me that after my first year of Child and Youth Studies, I can apply to transfer into the Concurrent program. They only select like, 10 students, but if I retain a certain average and have the proper courses I have potential! If I get accepted, at the end of my 5 years I can take an 8 week program that can enable me to teach any grade from kindergarten to grade 12! After that, I can take another 4 week program, and be qualified to be a special-ed teacher!

I am not sure if I will go that route-only God knows and I simply desire to follow Him where He leads me.

The only thing I am  sure of right now is that Wilfrid Laurier is the school that God has led me to attend.
I pray that I will follow God wherever He leads me- no matter how nervous or scared I may be!!!

God ... is breathtaking.