Monday, March 24, 2014

When You Can't Forget. . .

          When you can't forget the faces. The stories. The smiles and tears. JESUS. . . You go back.

             This month, my youth group and I were able get in our big white van and go back and serve with 7 Bridges for a third time.

                                      All pics that are not other wise marked photo credit: Gus ( my youth pastor)

                    We go under the bridges and in condemned apartments and pray with the the homeless. We give them lunches and listen to their stories, because it is really only by grace that we are not in their situation. It's different every time. You see some familiar faces and some new ones. 

                   This time my friend Claire and I met this man named John and he made me smile extra big from the first moments. He smiles and comments on my abnormal shortness ( I don't mind at all) and I compliment him on his rings. He says they hold memories and show love for the people who gave them to him. I know what he means. How a little thing can mean so much more just because of who it came from. The smile when they gave it to you. I like Mr. John even more and I wish I could get a picture with him.:) 

                    The group leaders call us to group prayer over the area and Mr. John doesn't come. He asks me to come back after and pray with him alone. I am happy to! He asks me to pray for joy and happiness in his heart. I do and I am SO thankful for this opportunity! He tells me he loves me and will never forget me and I tell him the same. How could I forget him? I don't ever want to! 

                I share this not to make myself look great but to show how amazing our God is! Who could form a friendship neither will forget between an older homeless man and a sixteen year old girl in less than 10 min?! Only our Sovereign God, you guys! He has greater plans than we could ever imagine! How freeing would it be if we remembered that every day! 

Here are some more pics from our day. We don't get to take pics with the homeless but we took a few side adventures. :) 

                                   Love!                   Photo credit:Tyler :)

        And then we found a cow and named her Timothy! You read it right! hehe  

Exploring the awesome little fake town of Morrow, Ga. 

Only by Grace, 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

~Bought Back~

               Ok, so I am really not a great blogger, but I try. . . or try to try. :P Honestly there has been so many things on my heart the past few months that I kind of gave up on putting it in words. ..  But I want to try to share a little bit. . .

              I have, in the past, chose a word at the beginning of the year and just watch to see how God works and how He uses that word through the year . . . Almost every time God has amazed even in how He shows me what word He has for me! So this year my word is

                 It's a word I have grown up, known since I was little, but I never really knew what it meant until a few months ago when I looked up it's meaning. BUY BACK. That's what it means. To buy again something that was once yours. Pretty amazing, right?! So I write it down.

               At the beginning of the year I went to "Move" conference in Macon Ga. Ed Newton spoke on verses in Titus and there was that word. . . So I wrote it out to the side in my bible,"Bought back", and listened as Ed Newton shared this amazing, beautiful gospel of redemption. How a perfect God sent His only Son into this broken world to buy back His prized possession with His own blood.

            We get into the church van and turn on music. . .


               I'd heard this song before, but not in the same way. It had a new meaning, and I had an idea of what my word was for 2014. 

                So now my mom and I are following the Compassion Bloggers in Uganda, which I strongly encourage you to too, and I read this post today. I smile big at the little girl's shirt. 

              All this to say, this year I am going strive to, and hope you do too, to live REDEEMED! We were ONCE slaves, stolen by sin, but JESUS, in His love, bought us back and made us HIS! His sons and daughters!! 

           We are free, are chains have been broken and now we can live in the JOY of HIM! We can share the love that we have been given! We can serve as He served! We can have bad days too! We can fail!! I know I do miserably! Because of Jesus, Grace covers us! 

"But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
         I have called you by name, you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

Sponsor a Child and live redeemed!           

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Student Life 2k13!!

It has almost been a month since we left for Student Life.We had an AMAZING week at camp! I learned so much!

Fun times in the van! Best friends!!

Beach time!! 

Memories were made! We laughed SO much! It was so great to just explode in joy over what God has done! Just Jesus joy!! 

She is a cutie! :)

 Love this girl! 

God did amazing things through worship and His word! Lives were changed forever! It was so great to talk openly about struggles and things God is showing you. We are free in Christ!

 It was amazing just to be able to dance, sing, run, and laugh in the AWESOME love God has for us! My word for this year is free. . I am realizing worship is not a time to be sad, and timid before God. It is a time to rejoice in His GRACE! It is a time to be excited about what God is doing and has done! It is a time to praise Him and be in awe of His great LOVE! Worship is not us giving God something. .  He doesn't need anything. .  Worship is us freely receiving His gift!

"The real gift of worship is God giving us Him to enjoy" ~Matt Chandler

"Praise is inner health made audible" ~ C. S. Lewis

My youth group is awesome!

Please listen to this awesome song!  . . . It is my new favorite!

All for Him,

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Staying Busy. . .

Hi, my friends! I have been busy finishing up school , and now Summer is in full swing! I am loving time with friends, family and books. :)
                      After my youth group and I went to Atlanta to helped 7bridges give out food to the homeless, we asked our church to help us raise hygiene products and other stuff to bring back up to Atlanta to give out. It is AMAZING what God did! We ended up with hundreds of hygiene products to bring to 7bridges!! We went back up to Atlanta on the 8th and handed out lunches and hygiene. It really is an eye opening experience! It helps keep your focus on what is really important. .  His message!
                        After I had to let Aster get another correspondentI wanted to wait a little to see if God wanted me to get on the waiting list for another correspondent. Well, He made it clear He did want me to get another one! I called Compassion and got on the waiting list. I was jumping up and down excited about the little girl God had for me!!

Meet Rachel!

She is 10 years old and from Uganda!She lives with both her parents who are both peasant farmers. Some of the things she likes are art, jumping rope, singing, and listening to music! I love her already, and I can't wait to receive her first letter!!  I am so excited to see what God does through this correspondence! He is faithful!
Tuesday ( 6/18/13) my youth group, my mom, and I are leaving for Student Life camp! I went last Summer, and it was life changing! My mom has always wanted to go, so she will be going as a leader. Matt Chandler will be the speaker! He is one of my favorite, and I am SO excited! It will be on the beach too!!!!! Can you tell I am freaking out? hehe Please pray for us as we go! May our hearts be open, and peoples lives changed through His amazing, all covering GRACE!! 

All for Him,

Monday, April 29, 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

~Picture to the Stories~

For years I had heard about poverty. For years I have hugged the necks of people who live or have lived in poverty. I have tried to release children from poverty in JESUS name. I had heard the stories. I hadn't seen it. . .

My youth group had the chance to go to Atlanta and work with 7Bridges ministries to hand out lunches to the homeless under the bridges.

I LOVE these people!! Gracepointe Church Students. 

 We walked the street and saw people with all they had within five feet around them. I saw them lying on the rock covered ground with only a thin blanket between them and the cold earth. Do you know what else I saw?

I saw smiles! I saw joy that only Jesus can give. I went expecting to spread the love of Jesus, but in more than one case I found myself listening to people sitting on the ground, under a bridge, where they LIVE tell me how good God is and how I should stay strong in Him! It has broke me.
One of the ladies I went with said "I could describe it to you all day, but it will never be what you expect". That is the truth. I knew there were homeless. I knew there was poverty but when I saw it, when I saw the homeless, it was different then I ever expected. By the end of the day I found myself telling people I hardly even knew that I loved them, because I did. It was JESUS; NOT me! A spark was lit in side me to do more! I realize that I could be those people! I could be on the street! Jesus saved me in EVERY since of that word so why would I not want to show his love?

For the last few months I had felt my longing to help the the needy kind of die down. I LOVE Jesus but my excitement to spread His word had leveled out. I was strong in Jesus and that was all that mattered. God has called us to more than that. God's plan is to reconcile the whole world to Himself and calls us to a spirit of reconciliation. He reconciles to reconcile.

 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 1 Cor. 5:18-19

When we do not spread the love of Christ and share God's message of reconciliation we do not experience the full JOY of the gospel. This is what we were made to do. We were made to SHINE for His glory! We were made to experienced His glory. It was all messed up in the fall but has been REDEEMED through the finished work of JESUS! Christ has payed and the world will be made right! It will all be made right! That is the gospel! We can be made right! 
By HIS GRACE and through our faith in Christ and His finished work we will be made perfect. We ARE made perfect! ALL JESUS!! 

Happy Easter!!!! Jesus is alive!!!!! 

All for Him,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

~My African Sisters~

I have put this blog post off for a long time now. Part of it was because I was lazy, but for the most part it is just hard for me to put into words all that has happened since the beginning of the year. . .

     A very sassy African that I call my sister was able to fly to the states, and I was finally able to meet her face-to-face! Meeting Maureen was more amazing than I could have ever imagine! The love and Joy she has in Jesus is contagious! 

            We drove up from our home in Georgia to meet her in South Carolina. She came to the states to speak on behalf of the Mercy House, the maternity home in Kenya. She is the executive director. We met her at the house she was staying at in South Carolina. She was SO happy! I was SO happy! She hugged my mom and said "I can't believe I am hugging you!" We were all SO thankful God allowed us to meet! It felt so good to finally hug her and hold her hand! She means so much to our family! 

                            We were able to hear her speak at church on Sunday morning. She was so real and eye opening about poverty. . the poverty she lived in before Compassion International stepped in. One of the things that she said was " I am thankful for my poverty, because if it was not for my poverty I might not have come to know Jesus". Wow, right!? She is a living example of How the GRACE of God can save! We are all living examples of how the GRACE of God can save! If you are in Christ, He has saved you, cleansed you, and freed you from you chains! I serve and AWESOME God, you guys! 

                            It was SO hard to say goodbye! We cried and hugged again and again! That would not be the last time I would say goodbye to an African this year. . .

My mom and I were sitting in a place to eat in town when Compassion called. .  My heart dropped. Compassion has never called us and I knew when Compassion calls it is most of the time not good news. Sometimes they call and say your child has moved to an area without a project. Sometimes they call to tell you the tragic news your child has past away. Fortunately this has never happened to us. Compassion was calling to tell me Aster's sponsor has decided to stop supporting Aster. If I could not sponsor her I would not be able to write her anymore. We asked if they could hold her and not put her up for sponsorship yet. We wanted a chance to find her a sponsor that we could know. 

We put her picture on Facebook. We explained the situation and one of our long time friends has decided to sponsor this beautiful girl! Isn't God GREAT! I am sad I will not be able to write her anymore, but I know God loves sweet Aster more than I ever could! I am so excited for her and our friends and can't wait to see what God will do. 

All for Him,