Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Wedding Pictures

I only posted a few pictures from my sister's wedding so today I'm gonna post some more if my crazy internet will allow :)

Getting ready for the big day

Us girls. Oh, how I love them!

Katy and her flower girl

My siblings and I in front of our church. What a wonderful place to grow up in!

The happy couple. Can't you just feel the love glow? :)

The wedding party. What a great group of people!

The guys. No, Jason isn't torturing the ring bearer. Just being a crazy uncle :)

The wonderful chauffer :)

Grandma pinning a flower on my mom

The wedding was on skype for some missionary friends in Africa who couldn't make it. So I guess you could say it truly was an international wedding :)

Here comes the bride on her daddy's arm. She was SO gorgeous!!!

My dad did the ceremony. It was focused on the Lord. Very neat.

You may now kiss the bride! (Blech!!!)

Greeting everyone after the wedding took forever! There were about 350 guests.

The beautiful cake

The bridal table.

Bride and groom with my parents

Two couples that have been amazing examples in my life. I pray that someday my marriage turns out like theirs'...

My brother and besty breaking it down on the floor. I don't think the Virginia Reel has ever had their twist put on it before :)

Well folks, that is the wedding of my dear sister in a nutshell. It was such a blessed day. What a reminder that my life is filled with people who love me and love the Lord with all their hearts. Thank You, Jesus!

Ps. In about 7 months, you will be seeing pictures posted of a new member joining the family... That's right, I'm going to be an AUNT!!!!! :) I'll keep you all updated on how things are going. Don't forget to pray for her and junior please.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Los Baños

Have you ever taken something for granted until it was gone? I'm sure all of us do this at one time or another. It's amazing how little things in life, amenities I should say that we have here in America, are taken for granted. The one I think no one really thinks about is indoor plumbing, including running water and flushing toilets.

This year, my team went to a village that is very remote. All the villages our team visited last year had relatively good plumbing and sometimes even running water. This village did not. They had a community well that the ladies and young girls visit daily to carry water to their house.

The "bathroom" our team used was an outhouse. A legit outhouse. I never really thought that we'd not have access to at least a toilet seat. This outhouse was easy to find becuase even though it is located a ways from our host's house, the smell is unfortunately very easy to follow. Us girls always took at least one other person with us to guard the outhouse because the door was very easy to see through. I am not meaning to be graphic, I'm just telling you what life really is like for some people. There really was no toilet seat at all. Just a big raised up hole in the ground. I must say, one good thing about using the out house is that my lung capacity improved greatly during the 5 days we were in the village :) We stopped at a Walmart on our way home, and my friends and I were freaking out about the fact that there were actually flushing toilets INSIDE!!!

My bathroom buddy Brittney and me in front of our lovely outhouse. We are grinning sweetly but were actually holding our breaths for the picture :)

Just a thought: next time you visit the bathroom or turn on your faucet to get a cold drink of water, think of all those people who aren't able to do that and pray for them. We need to be thankful for all the little things that we take for granted. God has so richly blessed us with indoor plumbing but something I learned in Chiapas is that it isn't a necessity to have that. It's just an amenity. Believe me, I'd much rather have indoor plumbing but it's not something that I can't live without. But at any rate, praise the Lord for my flushable toilet and kitchen faucet!!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mexico, Florida, and Home Again

I'm convinced that with each passing month, time seems to go faster and faster. Yes, I've been back in the States for almost a month, and am just now getting around to posting on here. Life has been crazy!

July in Mexico passed with language sessions, trips downtown to the market, helping the missionaries, and visiting old friends. Before I knew it, the time had come for me to return to the States.

I left on July 14th to meet up with my siblings and some friends in FL where my newlywed sister Katy and her husband Jason are now living. We spent about 10 days there helping them fix up the house they are staying in, going to the beach, and just hanging out and having fun. What a blessing! Here are some of the pictures:

After about 7 hours of traveling, I was warmly welcomed in Orlando by my sister, brother, best friend, brother in law, and 3 friends!!! It was such a wonderful thing after being gone for 6 weeks to come back to people who know me inside and out. I love them! This is me and Jenny.

On the escalator on the way to baggage claim

Katy and Jason's house before we got it cleaned up. The guys installed flooring, painted and primed, and fixed up the living room and dining room.

Danny and Jim hanging out the laundry. I thought it was funny so had to snap a picture of these two :)

Jenny, me, and Ryan at Sonny's BBQ which by the way is one of my favoritest restaraunts!

Me and my happily married sister, Katy on our way to the beach

We went to an ocean side restaraunt one night for dinner in time to watch a gorgeous sunset. God is so amazing to paint those colors in the sky!

The guys got a little bit too much sun on the beach :)

Jacquie, Jen, and I on the plane ride home trying to look angry which wasn't too hard since we got less than one hour of sleep the night before! :)

Now that I've been home for awhile, people have been asking me the inevitable question "When are you going back to Mexico?" The answer is, right now I don't know that the Lord will take me back there. Every year after a mission trip, it seems I go through the same old thing where I don't know what step to take next. It can be frustrating. I'm sending out applications to a few different schools so we'll see what the Lord does. For this year, I am taking classes at the community college and working about 35-40 hours a week which is SUCH a blessing. My bank account was in need of some help :)

Thanks for all your prayers and support. I still haven't gotten the team pictures yet from Mexico but when I do, I'll definitely post them. Dios les bendiga!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Went to the Chapel....

I know it's well into June and I haven't posted any pictures from my sister's wedding so here they are:

THis only let me upload a few pictures so I will post more soon. For now, I am in Mexico. I made it safely on June 4th and have already made a trip to the jungle, visited the orphanage 3 times, and eaten lots of Mexican food. Pictures for my trip to come!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Today when I stepped outside of my house to go to work, I was unexpectedly bombarded with alot of memories. Not any specific ones but kind of just all at once random ones came flooding into my mind. All because of a specific smell-- the world after a rain shower. I was instantly transported back into time two summers ago to Papua New Guinea.

There is nothing like the smell of the world after a legit rainforest shower. We got to experience many showers while in PNG. That included alot of mud and goop on our flip flops.

I spent 5 weeks in Papua New Guinea with New Tribes Mission in 2009. What a growing experience for me! It was my first time away from my family, away from my country (besides Canada), away from all that was familiar to me. I experienced culture stress, jet lag galore, new sights and sounds and smells too. It was the best and worst summer of my life to that point. Many opportunities to get out of my comfort zone for sure. I will treasure the memories the Lord gave me of that time in PNG. He gave me my heart's desire and I am so thankful to Him.

One of the things that is the same in PNG and Chiapas are the bananas. They are ginormous bunches that grow on trees and taste really yummy fresh picked. These bananas I am holding were given to my team leader, Christopher at a village he and some of the team went to for walter filters and a children's program. This is the jungle way of working out. No fitness centers or diets for these people. Just alot of hard work!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day!!!

Today was a bittersweet day for our family. It was a wonderful day to celebrate and recognize our mom but it was also the last Mother's Day as just our family of six because in three short weeks, my sister Katy is getting married to her fiancee Jason. Three short weeks and our lives will change forever! How quickly our family has come to this point. It seems like just yesterday we were playing make believe in the woods, or swinging on our swing set in the front yard, or playing capture the flag with our friends. Sometimes I think that growing up isn't all it's cracked up to be.

To celebrate, we went to church of course since it's Sunday then grilled steaks. Today was the first really nice day all year with the temperatures reaching into the mid-sixties. A real NY heat wave! Then we went to the park and hiked up and down hills and through a swamp. A real adventure!

I am so thankful for my mom. We may not see eye to eye on everything but I love her dearly and would gladly die for her. She is an amazing woman and I hope to be like her when I have kids of my own.

I hope you all had a blessed day. To all you moms out there: You are my champions. Keep up the good work!

Us girls trying to get a good group picture

It didn't work so well :) Dad was making us laugh...

Mom, Dad, and Katy

Danny was trying to teach me something. All I can say is epic fail :)

My sisters and me

Dad and Danny goofing off on a random log

Hiking back to the van after our adventure

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kid's Programs

While our team was in Chiapas, we did alot of ministry. One of the main ones was putting on kid's programs at the different villages we stayed at while installing the water filters.

The programs were comprised of songs (in Spanish of course) like "quien es el rey de la selva", "Tengo gozo, gozo en mi corazon", and other favorites. We then did a simple craft with the kids along with a lesson to go with the craft. Then there was a skit. We ended with a game or two or three... The programs usually weren't too long.

There are so many kids in the tiny villages all over Chiapas. Their lives are so different from my own. Even the poor kids here in the States aren't nearly as poor as the poorest in Chiapas. Yet they are so happy. They're still kids! I noticed in Papua New Guinea and Mexico that the kids are similar to the ones here. They still have fun and laugh and are goofy. Kids are kids.

Jacob and Steven doing a skit with Grace translating

Doing a program in the Ch'ol jungle. We were interrupted by an authentic jungle downpour.

Playing a game with the kids in Llano Grande

Leading in some songs on a very hot, sticky afternoon in Ch'ol

Doing one last skit before heading back to San Cris. I was a cry baby in named Maggie. The kids love the skits.

Special Talents?

Lately, I've been struggling with the fact that I don't have a college degree or any "claim to fame" as of now. It's humbling because how can God use me if I don't have a degree in something? Most mission boards require at least a year of bible school which is good. But right now, I don't feel the Lord leading me in that direction. So now what?

This Sunday I skipped Sunday school because I have a nasty cold. It was nice actually to really focus on the Lord. During my personal devotions I was reading in 1 Corinthians 1 and the last few verses of the chapter really caught my eye beginning with verse 26:
"For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God has chosen the FOOLISH things of the world to PUT TO SHAME the wise, and God has chosen the WEAK things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised GOD HAS CHOSEN, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence--- that, as it is written 'He who glories, let him glory in the Lord'."

How cool is that? The Lord does use people with doctorates but He also uses people who can't even read or write. There is a saying "God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called". What a comfort! If He has called us to do something, He will enable us to complete it.

For the picture of the day, I thought I'd include one of Nathan and the team crowded around a map of Chiapas. He was showing us where he is already working and how many more people groups there are to be reached.

The need is huge for people to commit to taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth. People NEED to hear the Gospel. And it's not an option of whether or not to share. Jesus commands us to Go to the uttermost parts of the earth with the Gospel. Just some food for thought.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Support Group

Hey All,

I was thinking (scary thought, I know) that for all these months of this blog, I haven't really mentioned what an amazing support group I have at home. So this post is dedicated to the wonderful people at home who cheer me on, pray for me, and care what's happening in my life.

As some of you know, my dad is the pastor of a small independent Baptist church out in the country. I was born and raised in that church and the people there truly are family. They have watched me grow up and (hopefully) mature. They were right there for me when the Lord first laid on my heart the desire to go to the foreign mission field. I am so incredibly blessed.

Here's the whole group at the airport to pick me up. Please disregard the girl holding the roses (which her darling brother bought-- awwww!)
Ok, so my point is that I look awful in this picture. I thought that since Mexico was only 1 hour time difference as opposed to 14 hours time difference in Papua New Guinea, it'd be no problem readusting to the time. Um, WRONG!!!!! There were many factors working agaisnt me that I hadn't counted on. Like me getting sick, the whole team camping out for most of the night when we should have been sleeping(I think I got 2 hours of sleep that whole last night), saying goodbye one by one to each of my dear teammates. That about killed me! The travel wasn't too bad. It was only 12 hours from start to finish as opposed to the 48 it took to get home from PNG. Let me tell you, it was very encouraging to come home to this group of people. Such amazing family and friends. I love them all.

Hope you all have a blessed Easter. Remember why we celebrate isn't because of chocolate or the Easter Bunny or a big elaborate dinner, it's because our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ died for us. He DIED for us that we might LIVE through Him. Think about that for awhile....

Monday, April 18, 2011

April Happenings

Hey All,

This is horrible-- we are well into April and there have been no posts! For that I apologize. Life has been busy and hard this past month. Our beautiful black lab, Gretchen, died. She was 12 years old and was my bestest friend growing up. The adjustment has been hard.

A few weeks after she died, the "companion" of my grandma died. He was the deacon at our church and played a key role in leading my grandma to Christ. He is sorely missed.

These past months I've been in a funk. About 6 months ago, some things happened
and ever since I have harbored such bitterness in my heart. It affected relationships with my parents, siblings, and others. My heart was so ugly. Guys, bitterness DEFILES. It is awful and feels awful. Don't get trapped in the pit of it.

As for Mexico, it's less than 2 months away! It's exciting!!!!! I will be down there 6 weeks. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store. I will be doing another 3 week trip like last summer then staying 3 more weeks to visit some amigos and help the Terrells with another team that is coming down.

My sister Katy and her fiancee's wedding is so close! They will be married May 28'th. I can't believe it. She's all grown up **SOB**

Here's the happy couple on Christmas Day, when he proposed. Katy is marrying a godly man. They are young and life isn't going to be easy but their marriage is founded on godly principles so they will do well. I love my sister!!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Good bye.....

Hey All,

Today I had to say goodbye to my dearest, bestest friend. Well, of the canine variety anyway. My beautiful dog Gretchen Faithful died today. She was 12 years old. I can't put into words how much it hurts. She has been my tried and true friend for years and years. She watched me grow up. She never back stabbed or talked mean about me. She always was willing to listen and was quick to wag her tail or lick my hand. I've spent many a night sobbing all over her because of the big, mean world. Some days I would come home from school and feel very lonely. Gretchen always cheered me up. I will miss her so stinkin' much.

Maybe some people think it's lame to be so attatched to a dog. I realize there are much bigger issues in the world than this but she meant so much to me. God gave me a beautiful gift for 12 years. I am so thankful and will always have the memories of her. Thank You Jesus!

Gretchen will always be my first dog. I love her so incredibly much and miss her. She's beautiful and I'll never forget her no matter how many dogs I own.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Same Old Same Old....

Hey All,

I feel like I've written a post identical to this many times before. Posts about trusting the Lord, struggling to walk by faith and not by sight. Why is it so hard to learn this lesson? Why do I keep taking my eyes off of Christ and fixing them on the problems of this life? Just when I think I've conquered this, something comes up and reminds me I have such a long way to go. I read verses in Matthew about not worrying and how it doesn't add a cubit to my stature (Matt. 6:25-34) but I don't take them to heart obviously.

I got an email from the college today saying my tuition of $1,300 is due by March 18. I wrote a letter a few weeks ago explaining my situation but they obviously have decided that I need to pay. So now, all the months of saving are for naught it would seem. I have less than 3 months 'til my trip to Chiapas and while that is incredibly exciting, it's crazy scary as well because now I don't have money to go. The Lord is teaching me to trust in Him COMPLETELY for all my needs. All I need to do is trust Him to take care of all my needs. God gave me a verse a long time ago when I was struggling with doubts and fears about Papua New Guinea. It's Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." What a comfort!

Please pray for me that I will trust the Lord for everything. That I will lay my burdens at His feet and not try to take them up again. Thanks to you all who are keeping me in your prayers. I appreciate it so much. Dios les bendiga! (God bless you all!)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Village

Hey All,

Llano Grande was the first village our team visited after arriving in Chiapas. We were all nervous I think, not knowing what to expect or exactly what to do but the people there made us so welcome and gave up their homes for us to sleep in. They gave us food even though we brought our own and taught us so much.

It wasn't so much the place that drew me, but the people there. One family in particular took me in and accepted me and all my language short comings. They treated me like their daughter and sister and friend. They don't have much in material possessions but they make up for it with an abundance of love and happiness. Some days, I miss those people so much it hurts. They became my family and I can't wait to return one day and see them again.

Llano Grande is in the mountains so the view is stunning

The house we stayed at was very nice by Mexican standards. There was a shower and toilet inside the house for the guy's house. The girls had to use an outhouse.

The kitchen we used to cook in was separate from the house and made from mud. It as definitely an adjustment learning to cook with no stove!

The bathroom us girls used. To the left is a cistern we used to flush the toilet. There was no running water so we used the bucket to flush. Plumbing in Mexico leaves much to be desired.

Some of the girls slept in hammocks while the rest shared double beds. It was an experience for sure!

I spent every possible moment with the people, learning Spanish and building relationships.

With two very dear ladies. The one on the left is the mom and the one on the right is Marvel, the daughter in law.

Olga, the other daughter in law asked to braid mine, Hannah's, and Amy C's hair.

The ladies tried to teach me and some of the others to make tortillas. Not hard, right? It was extremely difficult! I did not get the hang of it at all. Those ladies are champions for all their hard work!

Me and Meli, an extremely helpful and friendly eight year old who loved to teach me Spanish and other things.

My beautiful hermanita (little sister) Saili. She is so precious to me. This little girl will grow up without a daddy because he did not want the responsibility of taking care of her. He is missing out on a wonderful opportunity. She will grow up with men in her life. Her grandpa, uncles, and cousins. But it is not the same as having a daddy of her own.

David, Eden and Me with part of my wonderful family. I will never forget them and all they did for our team.