Monday, June 29, 2009

God's Hand at Work

For those of you who don't know, 5 teens from our youth group (including myself), along with my yp, his wife, and Mr. Webb are going on a mission trip to Monterrey, Mexico from July 25th - August 1st to help Jonathan and Wendy Latham in their work.

Last night our group traveled to Burbank, IL for our first program at a different church. We had fun preparing for it during the afternoon, packed everything up in the church van, and were on our way!

Once there, we set things up and talked through what we were going to do. All of us had nerves last night, but with the Lord's help and all your prayers I believe we honored the Lord with what we presented to the church. We had a few congregational songs along with prayer, then the service was turned over to us. Starting out was our Spanish song "Cristo Me Amo": better known as "Jesus Loves Me". Thanks to Becca I was able to play the piano for all the songs our group sang :) Joe then started out with the first half of our presentation - the slide show for which he and Becca worked many hours to get just right. During the middle Chelsea, Elizabeth, and I went up to give our testimonies. Chelsea and Elizabeth did a wonderful job; I found that I was nervous to begin with, but once I started talking it came naturally to me. I enjoy talking in front of groups of people ... but only when I have something written out!

My sister and I did the offertory "There Shall be Showers of Blessings"; then she and Becca went up to give their testimonies. I hadn't heard Becca's all written out before, so it was nice to hear something new. Joe finished with the presentation, the group sang "Here am I, Lord", and then Joe preached.

Towards the end of the service a love offering was taken, and later we found out how much the Lord had blessed us with. It was truly amazing how God worked in those peoples' hearts! There was only a handful of people there during that evening service, yet the Lord provided through small numbers. It just goes to show that if we put our trust in the Lord, HE - not we - can accomplish anything. I must admit I've been worried with how we are to make enough money before the trip, which is coming up in a matter of weeks now. I found that I need to lean on the Lord more, and on myself much less.

I believe we are at 70% or so of the way there for raising funds. Your prayers are appreciated more than you will ever realize. Knowing that our friends and family are praying for our group helps us to keep going. Pray that we would raise that final 30%, as well as be a blessing and help to the Lathams this upcoming month.

If you would like to check out my website, here is the web address:

I will put a few pictures up when I've downloaded them, so keep watching!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Judging to quickly

This is the first time I'm just "winging it" by writing this blog entry. In the past I've written out what I'm going to say, fixed it all up, and posted it here. The thing with that though, is the feeling I had at the time that I wrote it is lost once I actually get to posting it. As my friend, Kay, said just yesterday: I shouldn't second guess myself or plan too much about what I'm going to write. "It's more important to write spontaneous and unplanned posts, as often as you can..." So that's what I'm going to do!

I've noticed that I've been judging people to quickly as of late. I Facebook all the time, and love it when people write on my wall or send me messages. Usually I respond right away. When my friends don't do the same, I feel like they are just getting older, changing, and don't want to be as close of friends as we used to be. I was talking this through with my friends Tammy and Mackenzie, and realized how selfish that really is. I mean, not everyone can just get on the computer every second of the day, and when they see I've sent them something, reply immediately.

Another area is when my friends don't ever talk to me. Maybe once in a while they'll be on the computer and are able to chat for 10 minutes or so; then I don't hear from them again for a month. After a while I just give up ... but that's where I'm wrong. If I am a true friend, I shouldn't give up so easily, because I will more than likely lose a good friendship. I also need to realize that my friends are busy; they still care about talking, but have lots of other things to do as well (as I've been finding out recently myself!).

I guess I want everything and everyone to be perfect, respond the way I think they should, and always be there for me. Well, the truth hurts, but life isn't that way. Yes, it's true that if you call someone a friend, they should be there and stick up for you. But it goes both ways. I certainly can't act the way everyone wants me to, and I shouldn't have to feel pressured to do so. Which is why I shouldn't expect that of others.

I want others to think of me as a good, caring friend. God has blessed me with so many people in my life. There's a reason He placed them there, so why judge? I need to first, pray about this problem and second, be more open with you all as my friends. Whenever something is burdening me or I just can't understand a certain action one took, I tend to try and let it go or forget about it and say it's not important. What I should be doing is talking it out with the person and get things straight, before I get all these crazy ideas in my head. I'm shy, and don't like to share my feelings with others in person, which is a major reason why I started blogging: I can let you all know at the same time what I'm feeling/thinking. Thanks for reading, and if you have any comments please email or FB me; I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Keep in the Word

The last few weeks in Sunday School Joe has been teaching us teens about growing spiritually. On the 7th, we discussed what makes us grow, as well as keeps us strong and healthy. Physically, we need food and water, sleep, exercise, and trials. In relation, the spiritual food and water is the Bible; sleep could be going to church ... I'll get back to that one; exercise is witnessing; trials help us lean on the Lord.

Back to the point on spiritual sleep. This is just my idea, as I wasn't able to mention it in SS. You know how we sleep physically, but even though it's resting, sleep still helps us grow? If we didn't sleep, our bodies would eventually shut down. Along the same lines, when we are sleeping spiritually (going to church), we are still growing AND getting rest. When we are out in the world, it takes work to be a good testimony, to witness. Why? Because the world is full of unbelievers who, most of the time, want to draw us away from anything we believe in. Being in church, however, takes the stress off. I'm not saying that we don't need to be a good witness/testimony to our brothers and sisters in Christ; there are still those without Christ even in the church. My point is that if we were to never go to church, our bodies would -once again- shut down ... spiritually. Even though church could be considered as rest, it is still a vital part of the Christian life if we are to grow.

Ok, so I went somewhat on a rabbit trail with this, but I felt the need to share my thoughts on "spiritual sleep". What I really want to stress is what I learned this past Sunday in class. Nathan Drushinin taught about the attributes of the Bible. Now I certainly can't explain it the way Nate did, but I want to give you the parts that struck me most.

"If you give someone a fish, they'll eat for a day; teach them to fish and they'll eat for a lifetime." This is the illustration he started out with. If you teach/show an unbeliever (or even a Christian) a verse, they might remember it for a few days, but then lose it. Teach them how to read the Bible for themselves and they will be able to use that always.

One issue that I've heard hundreds of times before but it never really hit home until now was in Matthew 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Nate drew two symbols on the board (Greek or Hebrew, I don't remember), then drew two more which were almost the same as the previous ones ... but with one little mark different on each.

Aside from my horrid drawing skills, look at the pictures and see if you can catch the difference: see how small and seemingly insignificant that is? Well, God cares so much about every "dot on the i's and cross on the t's". The Word of God is perfect and indestructible.

So what is it that keeps us from reading this perfect, flawless book called the Bible? Many times it's our busy lives: there's just so much to do and not enough time, right? But why can't God and His Word be top priority in our busy lives? After all, He created and died for us. The most we could do is strive to be more like Him -- by reading!!

One other thing Nate taught was that out of all the spiritual armour, the Bible is the only offensive weapon. We use the sword, helmet, shield, etc... to protect ourselves. The Bible, though, is used to fight off the enemy. I never thought of that before, and maybe you haven't either.

I know this was longer than usual, but I trust this has been of some help to you. I pray for every one of you all the time. Many times I fail to keep in God's Word myself and am trying to become better at it. Thank you for your encouragement!

Friday, June 5, 2009


I hesitate as I write this because it's something I don't like to talk about. This topic has been on my mind for the past few weeks, so I'm going to share it with you now ....

Lying. Stealing. Anger. Lashing back. All of these are struggles that people go through. But the issue which seems to give me a hard time is fear. I'm not scared to go up and talk in front of a big group; neither am I worried about any and every little thing around the next corner. The fear I have is hard for me to explain, but I'll do my best.

It's common for many people to be timid when they are in a new place, with strangers and different surroundings. I love to go to new places, but only when I'm with someone who knows their way around. If you were to ask me to travel on a plane all by myself to a different state, I would flat out tell you no. Why, you ask? Honestly, I don't know. I mean, I always want to be more independent and do things on my own, but something in me holds me back.
This occurs even with small things. When I was 10 years old, I did a paper route which lasted for four years. My mom drove, and I delivered papers to different stores, restaurants, and train stations. The first time we did it, a lady came with us and showed us where everything went, so I got used to the routine. Then, when we would have a new store added to the route, my heart would start pounding because I'd never been there before and wasn't familiar with where the papers went - even with directions!

Last but certainly not least, I fear being around large (and even not so large) groups of people. When I go shopping by myself, I always try to avoid the isles with more than one person in them. If I'm at a church or school activity, as in someone else's church/school, I tend to be very quiet and not participate in much. There are times when it doesn't bother me just to stand by and watch... all the more opportunity to take pictures! Sometimes though, it would be nice if I could force myself to just get out there and be more involved.

It's such a terrible feeling, probably because I wasn't always like this. I went to a Christian school for 1st and 2nd grade, and I can't remember a single time where that nagging fear would pop up. Then we started homeschooling; as I got older, the fear grew.

Some of you reading this have known me for years and are probably wondering how any of this could be true. There reason - I do everything I can to hide it. By trying to be outgoing, make jokes that aren't really funny (I later realize), and talking a lot ... yep, you heard that right! Not all the time, but lately I feel I've been doing way too much of the talking and not enough listening. At the time I don't think much of it; when I have a moment to run that day through my head, I then realize how self-centered I was.

Don't get me wrong; talking is good. But not when it's a one-sided conversation, or it's always about yourself.

I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions you might have. I've been asking some friends for advice, as well as praying about it, but anything you might have I'm willing to hear!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Glimpse...

Hello to all my amazing friends! As I was reading through my friend's blog, it inspired me to create my own. I know many people usually start one when they go away to college, move out on their own, or go on a mission trip for an extended period of time ... Well, I don't fall under any of those categories. Right now, I'm trying to finish my junior year and head into my senior year of high school.

Many of you who will read this I see once, twice, three times or more each week. Somehow I feel that I need to express myself in a way other than email or Facebook; a place where everyone can go to.

I can be outgoing and talk a lot; usually I'm just a shy, quiet 17 year old homeschooler who has a lot on my mind but find it difficult to talk things through with others. Whether or not going to a Christian/public school would have made me a different person than I am today I don't know. I do know that God made me special and unique, and He has a plan for my life - something far greater than I could ever do on my own! Lately I've been learning to lean on the Lord in everything I do. It's hard, and at times I want to just give up. Then a friend comes along and reminds me of God's unfailing love for me, and that encourages me to get back up on my feet and try again ... this time with His help.

My hope is that I can give you a glimpse into my life, and that you will get to know me better through these entries. Thanks to all of you who have been there for and supported me in the past (I know I can be stubborn at times). The Lord has blessed me with friends ~ people who mean more to me than anything! I love you all :)

I will do my best to update this every couple of days, so keep reading!!