The Home Stretch: Honduras!

Hola mi amigos!

Well, our time in Honduras is now ending. We’re in a hotel room in San Pedro Sula for the night with an early flight to Florida in the morning. Our time here has been, like all the other countries, too short. But I definitely feel that our team got a taste of what Honduran culture is like and how Jesus is using Heart to Honduras to reach and serve the people.

Heart to Honduras is a church planting ministry with many different facets and ways of reaching people. Once the Lord leads them to plant a church in an area, they go out into the community getting to know the people and feeling out the needs they have. Then they partner with churches in America and they work together to meet the community’s needs, whether medical, physical, or spiritual. They plant clinics and short term teams come in constantly to offer medical aid or assistance with construction. Our team did the latter, since we have no doctors on our team. However, we do have one pre-med student and one current med student so they got to spend time at the clinic one day and see how it operates which was cool for them. But for the most part, we just basically got dropped off at different churches each day and they put us to work doing various projects such as farming, painting, and other odd jobs. It felt very familiar for me because before this trip, the only kind of mission trip I had ever been on were trips geared around construction ministry. It was fun seeing this side of ministry again because nearly all summer, besides in Hong Kong, we’ve been working with the more relational side of ministry and at this stop we got to experience the practical side.

It wasn’t all practical, though. We also got to be relational when we talked to the pastors at the different churches and heard their stories. One in particular, Pastor Freddy, was one of our favorites. He was always filled with joy to see us and encouraged us to sing worship songs with him all the time. He took us on tours of the community and introduced us to people almost every day we worked on his church. He really just seemed to genuinely want to get to know us and invest in us, even though he knew we would only be there a short while. As we were leaving on our last day, he waved and told us, “If I don’t see you again in this life, I’ll see ya in heaven!!” He always had such an eternal perspective, and you could tell when you talked to him.

Being here in Honduras has been a great ending to this summer and I know our team is anxious to get home. But we still have 3 more days together to talk through all the Lord has done and adjust to being back in the States, which will be very crucial for processing the trip and entering back into normal life. Be praying for this debrief time, that it will be restful but overall that the Lord will prepare us for the challenge of going home because it definitely won’t be easy. I hope this blog has helped you see what your money and prayers are going toward and thank you so much for all the support this summer! It’s been quite a wild ride and I’m excited to get home and share it with all of you in person! But for now, adios y hasta luego!

Nice is very nice!

Our Europe leg of the trip is already nearly completed! It just blows my mind how quickly this summer is going by. There’s just Honduras left to go and then before we know it we’ll be back in the States for debrief!

Our time in France this week has been challenging but also really good. I have heard people say that Europe is currently the most agnostic and lost nation in the world, but I really didn’t understand the situation fully until I got here and experienced it. In recent decades, Europe has experienced for the first time floods of immigrants and people of other cultures coming in, especially people with various religious beliefs. In response to the confusion of people with differing faiths living in the same place, many Europeans have turned to either agnostic/atheistic beliefs, or what’s called religious pluralism, which means the belief that all faiths are equally true and valid ways of getting to the same place or the same god. Both extremes are of course nothing close to what the Lord teaches us in the Bible, but the devil is really using them – especially religious pluralism – to lead Europeans away from the church, away from the Bible, and ultimately away from anything that has to do with God. Satan has a serious hold on Europe right now and even just after being here a week, our team can feel his presence more heavily than any other place we’ve been.

The first ministry activity we did on our first day here was to prayer walk around the community of Vence, which is a small town outside of Nice. We split up into groups of three and walked around the marketplace and the streets, praying silently. Every now and then we would find a place to stop and pray together aloud over a building or a topic. My group walked up to an overlook spot up on a hill where we could see a lot of the surrounding towns. As I looked over the landscape, I felt like I could just visualize Satan’s hold of darkness on the city and on the people living here. I began to pray aloud against him, banishing him from the area in the name of Jesus. Before I could even finish my prayer, I began to feel lightheaded and weak and I had to lean on something and drink some water before I stopped shaking and started to feel normal again. When our entire group met up again and shared our experiences, many of the people on our team reported similar experiences. Satan is just really resisting giving up his hold on this place and his presence here is almost overwhelming. Luckily we know that Christ already has the victory and Satan’s power and reign on the earth will soon be vanquished, but he is definitely putting up quite a fight!

Much of our time here has been spent supporting the missionaries in any way we can, like cleaning up the church and babysitting and setting up for events. All day on Tuesday and Wednesday we worked on setting up the church for a kids camp that’s taking place next week after we leave. Their kids camp each summer is one of the biggest outreach events of the year. There are 45 kids coming and only about 10 of the kids come from families who are regular church attenders, which means that 35 of the kids have probably never heard the gospel before. These kids will get the chance to be touched by the gospel, perhaps for the first time ever, and there is great potential for these kids to go home and tell their parents as well. Although my team won’t be here to experience the kids camp, we decorated the entire church so that the building will be ready and the kids will have a great time. The theme is Adventure Island, so we made a jungle canopy, a coral reef, a volcano, and a huge 3D island completely out of paper mache, tissue paper, and chicken wire. It was a pretty extensive project but it was so much fun! Hopefully through our labor and the labor of those putting on the camp next week, kids and perhaps their families will come to know Jesus as their savior.

We fly out of Nice on Monday and I’ll definitely be sad to leave! I feel like I say this in every country, but I really think France has been my favorite so far. It’s definitely not the easiest country to do ministry in, in fact it’s probably the hardest of all the places we’ve been. But I definitely feel that of all the places we’ve been, it’s the most in need of able and trained missionaries who will bring the gospel of grace. And because of that, I’m the most thankful for coming here and getting this experience. Before we leave, we’re going to Venice for the weekend to meet up with the other team so we can debrief and hear about their experiences in Uganda and Slovenia, which I’m really excited about. Then it’s onto Honduras for us! Continue in prayer as our team comes close to the end of our trip and I will write again soon!

Exploring Africa

Happy 4th of July to all my friends back in the States! Right now I’m celebrating our country’s Independence Day on a plane as my team and I make our way from Uganda to France! As boring as it can sometimes be to ride on planes so often, it’s actually a good break in between each country that provides an opportunity to reflect on time spent in the last country and on the trip as a whole. Since I was doing that anyway, I figured it was a good idea to whip out my computer and type up a blog entry for you all.

The remainder of our time in Uganda was very rewarding and unifying for our team. Africa in general is a hard mission field in the sense that there are a lot of hurting and impoverished people, but it’s also a rewarding field a lot of the time because those hurting people are often very receptive to the news that Jesus cares for them and is ready to save them. For example, it is rare that people in America or Europe would be as quick to receive the gospel as the women from the slums I wrote about in my last entry – not impossible, but rare. I will probably touch on this more in later entries as we enter France, which is one of the hardest places in the world to be a missionary. Not hard in the way Africa is hard, but hard nonetheless due to the wealth that keeps the people from seeing their need for Christ. Sarah has warned us that this transition –Africa to Europe – is the most difficult and stretching transition of the summer. I anticipate that I will be discussing this more in later entries.

Anyways, about Uganda: I already went into details about the Zion Project in an earlier entry, and we continued to do similar things to what I described throughout the rest of the week. A few of us led devotionals for the Imani women in the mornings and I loved seeing the girls on my team step up into that position of leadership and teach from the Word. Others of us, including myself, got the chance to teach the younger girls in the childrens’ home for at risk girls in the evenings. I felt led to teach on the story of Jesus anointed by the sinful woman in Luke 7 and basically used that as a launching pad into sharing the gospel and explaining our response to receiving it. I explained that the sinful woman in the story really got it. She saw the depth of her sin – that it’s more than just behaviors and actions that displease God. That’s only the surface. She really saw her sin, that it’s the attitude of her heart toward God, that down to the very depths of her being, she is at war and in rebellion against the completely good and perfect God of the universe. And what was her response? She fell to the ground, weeping, desperately clutching Jesus’ feet in her hands, wetting them with her tears, wiping them with her hair, and adorning them with perfume. What a beautiful and fitting response! When coming face to face with our Lord and Savior, and seeing our sin in light of His perfection, how could a more reserved or dignified response even be an option? I explained to the girls that what Jesus did for this woman, forgiving and setting her free from her sin, is exactly what He does for us. When we come to the point like this woman where we really see and confess our sin for what it is, and where we really see and confess Christ’s complete goodness and our dire need for Him, that is exactly how He responds – with forgiveness and grace. There is nothing that needs to be done: no word-for-word prayer to be recited, or baptism to be completed, or certain amount of church services to be attended in order to receive forgiveness for our sins and restored unity with Christ. The sinful woman shows us that. All that needs to happen is for us to truly see our need and believe, and the rest will follow from that point.

Our time spent at the girls’ home was my favorite part of our time in Uganda. I loved having the chance to teach them and speak truth into their lives, and I also loved just getting the chance to see them laugh and play and dance and just be kids! We put on sort of a mini Vacation Bible School for them on Saturday where we had skits, Bible stories, songs, crafts, games and activities all day long. We set up buckets of water where we washed their feet and then painted all their toenails (which they LOVED), we made bracelets with different colored beads that represent different parts of the gospel, we had a scavenger hunt around the yard for candy, and we did all kinds of field type games like relay races and tag. Both the girls and our team had a great time that day, and I’m pretty sure that’s been my favorite day of the entire summer so far.

On Sunday afternoon we went to church at Gulu Community Bible Church and let me just say, it was very different from any church services I’ve attended in the States. First of all, it lasted almost four hours. I’m pretty sure if a church service tried to go that long in the States, people would get up and leave. For another thing, worship lasted for almost an hour and a half and it was some of the most passionate worship I have ever seen. And it wasn’t mellow, eyes closed, keep-to-yourself kind of worship either; it was very loud and interactive and crazy. At one point, one of the worship leaders jumped off the stage and people followed her around the room forming a conga line, screaming and singing and dancing the whole time. It reminded me more of dancing at a wedding than worship at a church service. And then of course that led me to think, why haven’t I experienced this at a church service before? It sort of ties back to what I discussed at the beginning of this entry, that due to the poverty and hurt of the African people, they are more quick to cling to Jesus and experience the fullness of joy in Him because they need Him. They need Him to come through for them, for their families, for their nation. In America or Europe where the average person easily has all their basic needs met (plus quite a few luxuries as well), it is harder to see our need for Christ which would in turn lead us to more passionate worship.

For the last couple days of our stay in Africa, our team drove to Murchison National Park where we camped for a night and took a beautiful boat ride safari on the Nile River. It was awesome in the way a tourist would think it was awesome (we got to see a lot of cool animals and scenery) but it was also awesome because after ministering to the people of Africa, we then got to see God’s creation of nature in Africa. It just caused my heart to worship even more fully over Uganda and how God is moving there. The night we were camping, we were about to set up an iPad and some speakers to do some team worship before going to bed when we noticed another group around a campfire with a guitar. When we got closer, we realized they were worshipping too so instead we just joined in with them. They were a short term team from Portland who were working for three weeks doing construction on an orphanage. As we worshipped, we got to read Scripture over each other and pray for each other’s missions. It was an encouraging moment for me, just realizing that there is more than just our team out there on mission and that God is working in countless ways that we don’t even see and will never even know about.

That’s about all I can come up with to update yall on for the time being. Just continue to pray as I know yall are and I will write again soon. For now, I’m going to try and entertain myself until the end of this flight, maybe by sleeping or watching The Hunger Games again (I was surprised to see it as a movie option, wasn’t it like just in theaters? I already watched it all the way through once!). ‘Till next time my friends!


Well we’ve made it to Uganda! We got to Gulu late last night after two days of travel, including a 3 hour nap in a hotel in Dubai and a bumpy, slightly terrifying van ride across Uganda. I’m writing this in my hotel room on Microsoft Word and hope to reach internet soon to post both this blog and another one I wrote a few days ago about India. So if you’re reading this, it means our team must have found our way to an internet café somewhere in town! J

It’s about 9:45PM on Wednesday night right now (about 1:45PM Texas time). We just completed our first day in Uganda and it has been really great so far! The weather here is AMAZING in comparison to India. It gets really cool at night (I actually had to put on a jacket – very exciting stuff!) and it’s in the eighties probably during the day. I didn’t sweat at all today! And after 10 days of being constantly dripping wet with sweat, that’s something to be excited about.

While here in Gulu, we are partnering with a ministry called the Zion Project. It was started by a woman named Sarita from the States who was called by God to Uganda about 6 years ago with a heart for reaching women caught in the cycle of prostitution and the sex trade with the gospel. Eventually this ministry came to be and it now has several different facets to it. There is a counseling center where rescued women come for rehabilitation, a jewelry company that gives the women the ability to support themselves and their families, and also a children’s home for at risk girls. Many of the women at the counseling center and working for Imani (the jewelry company) were women who were basically sex slaves for the Lord’s Resistance Army when it was at large in Gulu and many of them became impregnated. Because of this, when the LRA moved out of Gulu and the women made it back to their families, they were seen as worthless outcasts and burdens on their families because they had no way to contribute and they had a child or children as well. The Zion Project gives them a safe place to go where they can hear the gospel and go through the process of counseling and healing. When they graduate from the program, many of the women will go to school or training for a trade to support themselves, and some remain to work for Imani making and selling jewelry to support themselves and their children. The children’s home is just another extension of the Zion Project and basically cuts off the problem of prostitution at the source by taking in young girls who are in poverty or homeless and gives them a safe environment to grow up in, teaching them about Jesus and giving them an education. There are 17 girls currently in the children’s home, ranging from I think about 7 years old to about 15 or 16. So that’s just kind of an overview of the ministry we’re partnering with while in Gulu.

Today on our first day, we started off by joining the Imani women in worship and devotionals which we will be leading from now on while we’re here. Then we just had an orientation and got to know Sarita and her heart behind this ministry and how it all came to be, which was a really cool story that I don’t have time to type up here. Then we spent the rest of the morning with the Imani women making jewelry and we got to see how all the beads are made and strung. After that we had lunch and then went with Sarita and the Imani women to the slums where we walked around to pray for the sick. While we were there, we prayed over a paralyzed woman and also some with HIV. Brandon, one of the guys on our team, got to share the gospel with a few women and a couple of them prayed to receive Christ! It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even realize what was happening at first! We made sure to connect them with Gulu Bible Community Church and Sarita spent some time further explaining the significance of this decision to them. Once we sort of wrapped up in the slums, we picked up from school some of the girls who live in the children’s home and went back home with them to spend time with them. Some of us helped them with homework, some of us taught them the dance to the Hoedown Throwdown, and others of us just spent time talking with the girls and getting to know them. That was my favorite part of the day and I really look forward to getting to know the girls better and pouring into them while I’m here. Then after a pretty tasty meal of Ethiopian food with some of the Zion Project staff, we headed straight back to the hotel for some much needed rest. I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of our time here and can’t wait to just jump in, serving this awesome ministry in any way I can! For now, I’m going to wrap this up so I can get to sleep but I will write again with updates when I get the chance!

Jesus is the Winner Man

Well our time in India is almost up – only two more days! It has gone by so quickly and it’s pretty hard to believe that we’re about to move on to the next country. I have enjoyed the time we’ve spent here so much and it’s going to be really hard to leave the orphanage and the kids. Right now it’s Saturday afternoon (I may not get internet to post this until a few days from now) and I’m sitting on a bus with my team heading back to the orphanage from a weekend excursion to the Taj Mahal. It was nice to get away from the orphanage for a couple days (the showers in the hotel were so amazing that I took two!) but I am already excited to get back to the kids, even though I know we only have two more days with them before moving on to Uganda. I have loved India so much and I know I’m really going to miss it here.

So where do I start with describing the past 10 days? The kids really are what make this stop so incredible. They inspire me to live more simply, with faith like a child and gratefulness in my heart. Although they have nothing but the clothes on their backs and may appear to be the poorest of the poor in the world’s eyes, they are rich in faith – richer than most people will ever even hope to be. My favorite moments of the week have been watching them worship during prayer time and seeing their faithfulness to get up every day at dawn to gather together and pray for each other. Segreve, the boy I wrote about last entry with what we think is tuberculosis, still has not been treated. He has been back to the hospital a few more times but all the doctors have done so far is run tests on him. We have been unable to get a straight answer from them about what his affliction is and what can be done about it. We are going to continue aiding the orphanage owners with it after we leave prayerfully and financially.

The days in India are long and hot but have also been so good. Like I’ve mentioned already, we start the day around 5:30AM with prayer. The morning is usually the busiest time at the orphanage because the sun hasn’t fully risen yet and so it’s not too hot yet to do things. The kids are busy with chores (which they refuse to let us help with!) while we have about an hour for time with the Lord and our team Bible study together. After that we’ll usually start games in the prayer room or out on the field. The favorite so far has been the water games day. We did relay races with water buckets and a water balloon toss, ending with a huge water fight when we threw water balloons at each other and dumped huge buckets of water on everyone! The kids LOVED it! By the time the games have ended, the afternoon has arrived and the sun in really high in the sky so it’s hard to do anything out on the field. At this point, we’ll usually sit in the shade on the porch of the orphanage and think of low key activities to do. One afternoon we brought out a coloring book and markers, another afternoon we brought out thread and made bracelets. There is a group of girls who I got to know really well – Booshya, Soni, Asha, and Suejeta – who taught me a game kind of like jacks but with a handful of rocks instead. We would play it almost every day and at first I was terrible but throughout the week as we played, I got to be better at it. Not nearly as good as them but I wasn’t losing every game anymore!

There were also a couple afternoons when we did run outings away from the orphanage. The first one was when we took the kids to Pizza Hut. They rarely get to eat pizza and so a lot of them were really excited. The girls I sat with didn’t really like their pizza very much until they spotted the ketchup. They LOVE ketchup –even on pizza! They tried to give me some for my pizza too but I politely declined, haha! It was fun watching how much they loved the meal though. J The other outing was two days ago when we took them to Adventure Island, which is basically a miniature Six Flags. It took a couple hours by bus to get there. Me and a group of a few girls walked around the park together, riding different rides and then our whole group ended the day running through a huge fountain, dancing and getting soaking wet! I loved watching all the kids jumping around in the water full of joy. That moment alone makes this whole trip and this whole summer worth it for me.

In the evenings at the orphanage, our team broke up into small groups of 4 or 5 and each team was responsible for programing a couple of evenings’ prayer times. Basically it consisted of leading the kids in some songs (the favorite of ours that they sing is called Jesus is the Winner Man), putting on a skit, and teaching a Bible story. One evening my group taught the story of Jonah and another evening we taught the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. I really loved being up there teaching and leading the kids, since teaching and being up in front of people are both things I love to do. I feel like the evening prayer times were the most fruitful and important part of the ministry we’ve done in India and were the time when we were able to pour into the kids the most.

As I prepare to leave India, I’m excited to get to Uganda and have new challenges and experiences there but I’m also wishing I could stay here longer. There are things I won’t miss – like the heat, the bugs, the bucket baths, the cramped living quarters, the bad smells, the suicidal driving habits, and the staring Indian men – but I really love these kids and the ministry being done here. Being here has really made me realize that I need to leave my future open to the Lord, with the understanding that His gospel must be carried everywhere, even the hot, cramped corners of India. If the Lord calls me back here one day, or somewhere like it, I need to be surrendered to Him and prepared to answer His call. Missionary work is not glamorous, but it is rewarding, and the insights and blessings gained from remaining solidly in God’s will far surpass the challenges of poor living conditions, hardened hearts, or cultural frustrations. That’s something the Lord has taught me through being in India for this short time, that He may call me somewhere similar. It’s not as a threat or anything, but just as a call to leave my hands open now while I’m still placed in the States and not close my mind off to any possibilities, and trust that the Lord works everything together for my good. God is good, all the time; All the time, God is good!

We’ve arrived in India!

Well we’ve made it to Country #2: India!! The first word that comes to mind for this post is HOT. Right now we are in an air conditioned internet cafe and it’s the first bit of AC we’ve gotten since arriving. But despite the heat, the past two days we’ve been here have been amazing! We’re living at an orphanage right outside New Delhi. There are about 50 kids there right now ranging from about age 2 to teenagers. Usually there are over 100 kids but It’s their summer vacation so many of them go to stay with relatives which is why about half of them aren’t here. The kids that are here now are kids who don’t have relatives to go to during vacation. And although many of the kids do have relatives, they are usually dropped off at the orphanage because their family cannot afford them.

While the kids are here, they are taught and cared for by the orphanage. There is prayer time three times a day, once at 5:30AM, once at about 1:00PM, and once at about 6:00PM. We’ve been joining them for those times and they are pretty cool to experience! The kids basically lead it all themselves. They sing songs, say prayer requests, recite memorized scripture, and then at the end everyone bows their heads and prays out loud all at once. It sounds really cool! It’s amazing to think that these kids are the future of India and could be used in such powerful ways to reach this nation with the gospel. Their faith humbles me and their total surrender to Jesus leaves me in awe.

In between the prayer times, we also coordinate games for the kids. We’ve divided them into small teams of about 5 kids, each with their own color. My friend Ryan and I are leaders of the black team. We made up cheers and performed them yesterday and today we had a relay competition. The kids get really excited about this because there is no one there full time to organize games for them like this and the only time they get to do that kind of thing is when teams like us come, which is maybe one to three times a year. They get super excited!

Later on in the week, we will be taking them to a water park (which they LOVE – it’s a very big deal!) and also out to dinner, probably KFC. It’s so great how excited they get by having us here to play with them and pour into them. They get excited about the smallest things, like when you know their name or paint their nails or swing them around in circles till you feel like you may pass out! Pretty much every time you turn around, there’s a kid jumping on you or pulling on your hand or wanting to be held. It’s exhausting (especially in the heat) but so rewarding. The physical conditions are rough but it’s so cool once you pray for strength and the Lord provides, giving you new found energy.

Continue to pray for our time here, for protection from sickness and for continued encouragement. Also, there is a kid at the orphanage named Segrive who we took to the hospital earlier today when we noticed large welts on his skin. The doctors think it’s tuberculosis and he will be having surgery tonight. Luckily some of our team members raised over $7500 for the trip and so we are putting some of the extra team money toward paying for the surgery, which will be around $600. Be praying for Segrive, that the surgery goes well and that the Lord heals him and comforts him through the night.

Thanks for your continued support and I hope to post again soon!!

Good Bye Hong Kong!

I’m sitting here on my bunk bed typing this, soaking up my last night in the great city of Hong Kong! We’ve been here for 8 days and we leave early, early, early tomorrow morning for India! The goal is to catch a bus to the airport at 5:30AM. Yikes!

The last three days here have been full of blessings and great moments. I was stopped on the morning run across the border for the first time. I was pretty nervous because I didn’t know what was going to happen, but it wasn’t that scary. They only took about half the Bibles in my bag and let me keep the rest, which I was thankful for because the less they take, the less money you have to pay to get them back. As I was waiting to get my passport back, one of the guards took a Bible out of my bag and flipped through it. It’s in Chinese so I wasn’t able to tell what part she was reading, but since then I have been praying that she read something that will lead her to know Jesus. She didn’t want to keep it when I tried to explain that she could have it so I ended up taking it with me, but even just a short encounter with the Word of God like that can work in radical ways.

Today after our last run, the ministry debriefed us with a summary of the work that has been accomplished this week. In total, 6.5 tons of Bibles were transported by us across the border into China which totals at 20,950 books. That is 17 different shipments to places all around China. They showed us on a map the specific places where each of the shipments went. Just seeing that summary gave me chills and made my heart soar. It just presses me further into prayer for the believers in China who received the Bibles we brought and also for those who do not yet own God’s Word. We rarely realize how precious the Bible is – that it is literally the letter written to mankind by the Creator of the universe. It is not a list of rules that are impossible to follow or a deep, philosophical book that is hard to understand; it is a letter written by a Creator who is deeply and passionately in love with His creation and desires to know them and for them to know Him! It is the only book that has ever existed that has been applicable in every time period in history and that has transcended every culture. The Creator uses it to speak to His creation in the United States, in China, in the Middle East, in Africa, and in every other culture that exists, no matter how diverse. Scripture knows no bounds and no other piece of literature in history is like it, because every other piece is written and inspired by man rather than by God. That just blows my mind and gives me such perspective!

Like I mentioned earlier, we leave for India tomorrow very early! When we arrive, it will be Thursday night to us but back home it will be Thursday morning, because we’ll be about 11 hours ahead of yall I believe. I am SO excited to get to India. Everyone I have talked to has said India is their favorite stop on this trip. It’s the only stop of the summer where both teams will be together so there will be 20 of us in India instead of just 10! This ministry will look very different from the ministry we’ve been doing here in Hong Kong. Whereas this ministry – Bible smuggling – is not very directly people oriented, India will be very people oriented. We will be living in an orphanage for 10 days, loving on the kids and pouring into them with all our energy. It will still be tiring, but tiring in a different way than Hong Kong. It will be so good!

I doubt I will be updating the blog and responding on facebook/email as often as I have been here because there probably won’t be internet available to me at the orphanage, but we will be going into town a few times during our stay to seek out internet so still stay tuned! Also, I’m sorry about the lack of pictures on the blog so far but 1) it takes a long time for pictures to load on wordpress, and 2) we were very restricted in this country about pictures for security reasons. But all the pictures I have taken so far are currently on facebook and I’m sure there will be many more to come from India!

So that is all for now! Thank you for the prayers that I know are coming our way from you all and I will post again as soon as I get the chance!

Adventures in the Concrete Jungle


Hello my friends!

It’s the end of day 4 in Hong Kong and it’s been fun and eventful so far! I already posted a bit about crossing the border in my last entry and the last two runs of the day on Friday were also successful for my team. I have yet to get my Bibles confinscated which is definitely all due to the Lord because others on my team have. But it usually results in some really cool stories! There is one particular guard who is infamous for catching us and confinscating Bibles and so when one of the guys on my team was approaching and saw that guard standing there, he said a prayer that he would be able to cross unnoticed. Then, right as he was approaching, the guard got a phone call and was distracted and he was able to pass through safely!

Participating in this ministry is very eye opening because it takes such an active role in meeting such a practical need for China’s church. Insufficient numbers of Bibles is a very real problem in China and it’s so cool to be able to directly meet that need. As I wait in line to cross customs, I proceed to pray for the Bibles I’m carrying and for the people who will soon hold them and read them and be brought closer to Christ by them. Because although I don’t know those people, they are real people with a real eternal destiny and the Bibles I’m carrying will be God’s Word spoken straight to them. It will convict them, comfort them, teach them, and lead them into truth. Each morning that I’ve been here, when I open my own Bible and begin to read, I am reminded that although my Bible is a resource I’ve had all my life, that’s not true for my brothers and sisters in China. And it’s hard for me to even fathom that!

Tomorrow we will be doing three runs across and same with Tuesday and Wednesday. You can be praying for the successful transport of the Word and for the Chinese who will be reached through them. The ministry doesn’t do runs on the weekends, so the past two days have been really relaxing and have really just been a really sweet time of fellowship with our team. Yesterday we were able to sleep-in a bit (however, none of us are able to sleep past 8AM due to the jet lag so it wasn’t really much of a sleep-in morning) and then we spent some time in study together (we’re going through Gospel in Life by Timothy Keller this summer). After that we took the metro to this tourist attraction called The Peak. It’s like it sounds, basically a spot on the top of a mountain overlooking the city. You take a cute little tram up to the top and then there are overlook spots and some shopping and food. The views were really spectacular despite the fog (it is very hot and humid here!) and I was able to buy some souvenirs for myself and people back home. There was also a Starbucks up there – yay! After leaving the Peak, we took a ferry to the Avenue of Stars where we saw Jackie Chan’s handprint. Also every night at 8PM there is a light show where you sit overlooking the water right in front of the skyline and the buildings light up all these different colors while music plays along to it. It was pretty cool to watch, like a fireworks show but on the buildings! After that it was getting kind of late and we were tired because of our new jet lag sleeping schedule so we called it a day.

Today, we went to church with a couple of the missionaries who work with the ministry we’ve been partnering with. On the way there, it started pouring down rain and so when we arrived we literally looked like we’d swam there! But the service was nice, and it was refreshing to spend some time in worship. I could tell my heart had been craving that time. Once church was over, the missionaries and some of the other people from the church took us to a very authentic Chinese food restaurant where we proceeded to try some very weird foods! The only things that looked remotely familiar from my experience with American Chinese food were the dumplings and the shrimp fried rice. The strangest dish was the fried chicken feet which really did look like chicken feet and only a few of us tried it. By that time, I had already tried some bizarre dishes and so I passed on the feet. After lunch, most of the team went with the missionaries on a scenic hike but three of us stayed behind (Erin, Sarah, and myself) to chill at the apartment for a bit catching up on emails and doing laundry. Then the three of us crossed the border and went to the Blue Mall, which is a four story mall jam packed with tiny stores with knock off merchandise where you can haggle and get items at really good prices. Erin and I both bought a knock off pearl necklace from the Pearl Lady (as Sarah called her) and a couple really pretty paintings. We watched in awe as Sarah haggled with expert skill. A few times when we were bargaining for the paintings, we just started to walk away and the sales lady kept calling us back with a lower price, whispering so her boss wouldn’t hear the price she was giving them away for. It was an interesting experience!

I know this was a long post (most won’t be this long!) but everyone is asleep here and so I just decided to stay up for some quiet time to myself and to write a post for you guys! Hope you enjoy! I’ll probably write again before we leave for India and update yall on how the next nine runs go!! Until next time!


Hong Kong to China and Back Again!

Hey everybody!!

Our team arrived in Hong Kong a couple days ago and everything has gone smoothly so far! The organization we’re working with has put us up in a couple flats. They are very small compared to apartments in the US but they are very comfortable! Yesterday was our first day doing runs with Bibles into China. We were briefed in the morning and told what to expect, then we were sent off in small groups to cross the border! We did a couple runs yesterday and we’ve done one so far today and no one in my group has gotten their Bibles taken away yet. Some of our other team members haven’t been as lucky but it’s probably just a matter of time before someone in my group gets caught as well. We have two more runs to do today before we’re finished for the day. I can’t go into too much detail on the blog about what it’s like to do a run due to security reasons but it’s very exciting! It takes a long time to complete one – about 2 hours – and by the end of one everyone is really exhausted. There’s a lot of waiting in lines, riding up and down escalators, filling out forms, and lugging bags around. But in the end, it’s so cool to know that what we’re bringing across is impacting so many lives and leading people to know Christ deeper, perhaps even for the first time! It’s hard to imagine trying to know Jesus and live a life for Him without the Word of God, but so many people in the world don’t have that resource which is so accessible for us as believers in the US.

We’re about to leave to do our second run for the day so I’m gonna have to cut this entry short. I’ll write again soon!

“…The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you…”

Hey friends, Emma here! This is going to be my first real blog entry for the summer and I’m not exactly sure how good at it I’m going to be, so bear with me…:)

I leave for Global Journey training in ten days and in exactly two weeks my team will be boarding a plane to China!! Crazy!! It was back in December when I accepted the spot on the Global Journey team but it feels like it was only yesterday. The time between then and now has flown past! But really, God has done so much in the span of 5 months, including raising nearly $7500, delivering me through my freshman year of college, and revealing to me more of His greatness and love. Just a few minutes ago, I was sitting here at Mozart’s (my favorite spot in Austin, right along the lake!), sipping my iced coffee, and thinking about the adventure I have ahead. The Lord then nudged me to take out my Bible and flip to Deuteronomy 31, which was the passage that the sermon this past Sunday was preached on at FEFC so it was fresh on my mind. Even though I just recently heard a sermon on it though, God wanted me to take a second glance at it. At this point in Deuteronomy, Moses is growing old (for one hundred and twenty years, “old” seems like an understatement!) and God has told him that he will not enter the promised land. Instead, Joshua has been chosen to lead the Israelites into the land God has promised them. At this moment, Moses is basically handing his leadership over to Joshua and confirming what God has spoken. This is what Moses says to Joshua:

“Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (verses 7-8)

I think God led me back to this passage today to show me something about what it means to go on mission overseas. The first thing I see is that Joshua has a task, something to accomplish while he is in leadership: to lead the people across the Jordan and to divide the land among the people. He has a purpose, a mission. It’s like Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God sends us on mission with a specific purpose in mind and certain work that we must do. He already sees the fruit that will come on the other side because of our labor and our obedience.

The second (and I think the coolest!) thing that I see from this passage about mission is that God goes before us and with us. Earlier in Deuteronomy 31, Moses says to Joshua, “The Lord your God himself will cross over ahead of you. He will destroy these nations before you, and you will take possession of their land” (verse 3). What I take away from this is the reality that God is already working in Hong Kong, in New Delhi, in Gulu, in Nice, and in San Pedro Sula. He is already there!! He is already hard at work preparing for our arrival, working in the hearts of the people we will meet and the organizations we will partner with. What He has planned for these places and these people is so much bigger than us and our trip, and we are only a small part of what He is already doing and will continue to do long after we leave. For Joshua and the Israelites, God was preparing the way for them by destroying opposing nations. For us, God is preparing the way as well, perhaps by softening people’s hearts to the gospel message or by strengthening the influence of the ministries in the communities or by creating work and projects that need to be done. I have no clue how He’s already working, but He is! Because He has gone ahead of us. And in the same way, He also goes with us, which gives us the ability to “be strong and courageous” and not afraid or discouraged. Even when something we’re doing appears fruitless or requires lots of energy, God is with us and He will establish the works of our hands and use it to further His kingdom and His glory.

These are just a couple tidbits of truth God has been revealing to me as the countdown to Global Journey continues, and it fills me with rejoicing and strength to be hearing from His heart! My prayer is that I will find the time each day to sit down and ask Him what He has to show me in preparation and that I will be receptive and sensitive to His Spirit at all times. Thank you for reading and I will be posting again soon!

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