Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fighting for TRUTH

The more I walk around on campus, the more I feel the weight of this verse:

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it." -- Isaiah 30:15

Tonight was a hard night for me. My friend, told me her sad story of entrusting a specific body of believers, expecting to feel acceptance and grace. Her experience told her that she was unacceptable and would never fit in. She decided to keep looking for a place to belong and met her needs in a group of people who twist the word of God into a "truth" that seems simpler to believe.

After researching their doctrine, she has decided to part ways with this group. The unfortunate affect is the damage that resulted from having her trust broken once again. I hurt for her.

Pray for my friend as she is learning what it truly means to trust God and to trust in His word. Pray for Cal State Long Beach and that the good news of Jesus Christ would reign. Pray that my friends would be protected from the attraction and false advertisement this group is offering.

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world and not according to Christ." ~ Colossians 2:8

Monday, October 26, 2009

Watching God at Work

One thing I love about road trips are the sweet conversations that result from being cramped in a car for multiple hours. On our drive back to Long Beach from Sacramento, I talked with Kathryn, a second year at CSULB. She shared at our large group meeting that sometimes its hard for her to pray, sing, read the Bible or focus during the message. Many times when she attempts to do these things, physically she begins to feel ill. So during our car ride, Kathryn talked about despite these things happening to her she is still wanting to read through the Bible. Right now she is reading through Matthew and had agreed to read with me. Together we are discovering truths in God's Word and some of the answers to her questions.

Will you keep praying for the time that Kathryn and I spend together?

Other news:

  • Tiffanie and I are trying to start an Investigative Bible Discussion (ibd). After a couple of delays, we've spent the last few weeks calling people from our spiritual interest surveys and feeling out if there is still an interest to do a bible discussion. So far we have heard people express some interest, yet no one has come. Would you pray that tonight, Tiffanie and I would meet with a couple of girls interested in discussing the Bible?
  • This week is the National Collegiate Staff Conference with two days of a Staff in Training conference. This will be a time of teaching and encouragement. I am looking forward to connecting with fellow laborers and friends. I'm also hoping that this week is a time of rest and rejuvenation.
  • Emily and I are leading our student ministry team ladies in a bible study called "Breaking Free" by Beth Moore. This has been a precious time of discovering truths for our lives and learning how God truly desires to set us free from the bondage of pain, sin and brokenness in our lives.

Lots of things are going on. I'm encouraged as I trust God with all of these ladies I've been meeting up with and getting to know deeper. Thank you so much for praying through these things with me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Serving in Sacramento

One of the things (out of the many) that I love about the Navigator Sunland Region is our heart to serve and the willingness to go on a road trip to do so. This weekend, 54 students from Long Beach joined staff and friends from 8 Southern California schools on a trip to Sacramento. We partnered with a group called Shoulder to Shoulder who has been laboring to reach fatherless inner city youth for the past few years.

Why drive 7+ hours to reach people in a city we DON'T call home? Simply because someone else calls it home and we can bless them.

We were able to accomplish 34 different beautification projects around 4 schools in ONE day. Parents, teachers, principals and school board members were completely amazed by this service weekend. The transformations were incredible. It was mind blowing to see such a tangible impact and an immediate result of hard work.

What goes unseen is the impact that we've had on the hearts of those we served. There was one teacher who stopped by our garden project and fought back tears. The overgrown garden had once served a purpose to teach students and gave them a place to plant good things in order to watch them grow. As she stood and watched the unbearable garden become rich and ready for planting, she mentioned that she had never seen this area of campus look so beautiful. She recalled stories of another teacher who had loved to plant flowers and teach her students about them. The garden had fallen into incredible disrepair and without help, was never going to be useful. Now these young students had a place to plant again. They could actually have a hands on experience in causing life to happen and watch it grow.

I like to think of the encouragement planted in the teachers around the schools this weekend. They will hopefully feel revived and inspired to encourage their students; to give them hopes for a life different from what they've been exposed to. Many of these kids turn to gangs in a last resort effort to receive the love, acceptance and protection they can't get from home. Drugs and violence run rampant throughout these neighborhoods where we were serving. What was most impactful for me was learning that these kids just need is someone to believe in them. So if cleaning their school, planting new trees, painting railings and doing other projects helps them feel loved and encouraged, then this trip was completely worth it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

He can do abundantly more

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen" -Ephesians 3:20

I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed with the chaos that comes with starting a new year of campus ministry. As I sat here this morning, this verse came to mind. I think that it's okay to feel overwhelmed, but once I start to only focus on how much this affects me, I begin to loose sight of the God that's described in the verse written above.

Would you pray through that verse with me as my staff team and I continue to press on through the next week and a half of events and relationship building?

Oh and here's a little update of what's been happening so far:

Saturday: Moved in students and attended the Long Beach State Women's Volleyball match with some new first year friends
Sunday: attended the welcome back bbq and met TONS of new people
Monday: Survey Survey Survey!! We spent the day surveying most of the students who live in the dorms to get a feel for the spiritual interest on campus...followed by invading Yogurtland with 51 students!!
Tuesday: First Nav Nite! We packed out the place... this year is going to be exciting : )

Monday, August 31, 2009

Today is a big day!

It all starts today. We will be conducting spiritual surveys on campus outside of the dining halls between 11:30-1:00 and 4:00-7:30. During this time span, we will most likely meet almost every student who lives on campus at Cal State Long Beach. Each person must pass by us to enter into the dining hall.

I'm excited to make contact with a chunk of the student body on campus. Pray for us as today is a very influential day.

A run down of the next few days:

Monday: Surveys today and Yogurtland tonight
Tuesday: First Nav nite of the school year
Wednesday: following up on our surveys and hopefully playing games in the dorms
Thursday: same as Wednesday
Friday: Beach Bonfire

Monday (Labor Day): Biking to the Beach
Tuesday: time hanging out in the dorms
Wednesday: Week of Welcome (another large opportunity to meet students, hopefully more who don't live on campus)
Thursday: Tour of Second Street
Friday: Smorgesport (a third opportunity to meet vast amounts of students and play games for free in the student union)

This week is crucial in setting up contacts and making some new friendships. Please be praying for us as we head into such an intense time of relating and making contacts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back to School

"And let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God." --Colossians 3:15-16

This verse has been a prayer for our Student Ministry Team. Tomorrow, we will have our Student Ministry Team retreat. I'm excited to reconnect and get time with my friends from CSULB.

Would you please be in prayer for:
  • Safe travel for all of the students returning to Long Beach
  • Our time together -- may it be encouraging, uplifting and honoring to God
  • Team unity (always a good thing to pray for)
  • The staff team -- that we would feel rested, encouraged and ready to start a new year
  • The students who are moving into the dorms
  • Student move-in -- that we would make new contacts and honor the parents we serving by helping their student move into the dorms.
I'm excited for this year and I'm looking forward to what God is going to do.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for praying.

Monday, July 20, 2009

After all, you're my wonderwall...

This summer, I've really been trying to focus on what I've learned during my time on staff. Here are few revelations:

  • I'm blessed to be working for the Navigators. I don't know if I can expound upon every blessing that I have, but I'll try to list out a couple. I've been able to have an impact on the lives of others. This includes the many of you who support me or have even taken the time just to listen and hear about what I do. The ripple effect is much larger than I can imagine. I'm just thankful that I to be play a part in this.
  • No other job would allow for me to travel across the country for days at a time. If I worked in any other profession, I'm sure I would have had to save up vacation time or put in for more hours in order to go home for 8 days and touch base with my friends, family and supporters.
  • My life has been drastically impacted. I write about this almost in every newsletter and blog post... but its true. While I was home, I heard numerous times of how I've been changed and how evident this was in every part of my being. None of this would have been possible without you praying for me and walking alongside me.
As I stated before, there are many blessings in my life from working with the Navs. If you want to hear more of my thoughts, let me know.

I've been thinking of this because my first week back in California was a bit tough for me. It was as if I was present on the west coast, yet EVERYTHING else about me was in Cincinnati. My heart, my thoughts... I longed desperately to be back where things were comfortable. I shared this with Kate, who always knows how to speak truth so plainly into my life. After I finished stating that I could do this job at UC, she looked at me and simply said, "Its a good thing God doesn't call you to what's comfortable." It was a smack in the face that was desperately needed. Not that God would not have worked so powerfully in and through me had I stayed in my hometown... I've just seen so much more of Him through moving and trusting Him with everything.

Now that I've been back for a couple of weeks, I'm beginning to be reminded that I'm here for a reason and that blessings are sure to come. Jesus did not ask the disciples to leave their comfort zones and all that they had known just to make and keep them uncomfortable. Look at the impact they've had because they were obedient to leaving what was comfortable and following Christ.

Anyway, these are just a few thoughts I wanted to jot down. I'm here and its because I followed Christ. I'm looking forward to what the Lord has planned for this coming school year. I will continue to cling to Deuteronomy 1:29, 30 "Then I said to you, 'Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight for you..." I'm looking forward to watching how the LORD with fight for me and to see how He exemplifies His strength in this coming year.

Please keep praying for me and my student friends of CSULB:

  • Our Student Ministry Team will join our staff team August 26 & 27 in order to fellowship, prepare for the new school year and to catch up with one another.
  • Currently, we still have a few students serving around the country and overseas through summer training programs and missions trips. Please pray for the rest of their time, that the Lord would continue to keep them safe and continue to teach them new aspects of His character.
  • Funding has been a CHALLENGE this year. I've been in a rough/slow spot for a while. I've had a few set backs lately and I'm struggling to remain encouraged. Would you pray that God would be moving and would continue to provide the funding I need in order to share His good news to CSU Long Beach?
Thanks for reading. Thanks for praying.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Home is where your heart is

I'm heading home!!

Each time I head back to Cincinnati, I feel a multitude of emotions. I'm excited to see my friends and family, eat the amazing food Cincy can offer me, and see all of my favorite and familiar sights. I do feel a bit of nervousness as I am traveling back to a place that can bring up past issues and things I am working through. All and all, I know that I love and serve a God who is my rock, my foundation and my fortress; I shall not be shaken. (Psalm 62:6)

Please pray for me as I travel home to reconnect with my ministry partners and hopefully find new ministry partners. The mid-west is getting BLASTED by storms this week, so please lift up my flights home in prayer.

If you're in Cincinnati and you're reading this AND we haven't had a chance to set up a time to get together, please call me! I would love to see you.

After my trip home, I travel to Colorado Springs for a couple days of meetings, back to Long Beach for a day to repack and then off to Blythe! I'm celebrating the 4th of July with Heidi and Alissa :)

Love you all and I'll see you real soon Cincinnati!

Thanks for reading. Thanks for praying.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A year in review!

I finally figured out how to put this on my blog! I hope you enjoy! This is a little taste of my first year at Long Beach. As always, without you, this year would NOT have happened! Thanks for playing a part in this :)

I think the picture is a little off center... if you have ideas on how to fix that, please let me know!!

He fights for me.

I looked at my blackberry this morning (per usual) and saw that I had an email from a donor. They were writing me to let me know they were going to discontinue their giving. This isn't too much of a shock because they informed me last year they would only be able to give for one more year. I had peace when I read this email, yet I still needed to fight all of my typical anxious feelings regarding the topic of fund-raising.

I've been reading in Deuteronomy for a few weeks now. Seriously, one of my FAVORITE books of the Bible. I came across this passage and my mind went immediately to fund-raising.
"And I commanded Joshua at that time, 'Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings. So will the LORD do to all the kingdoms into which you are crossing. You shall not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you.'" - Deuteronomy 3:21-22
Just as Joshua has seen the miraculous ways God has fought for him, I must remember that I've seen God provide in ways I never imagined. Last year, when making the decision to continue on into Staff-in-Training, I was told by my regional director that my reasoning for NOT doing staff could not be fund-raising. He reminded me that I have seen God do way too much to doubt in His provision.

Would you join me in prayer for this summer? Not simply that I would become fully funded, but that I would remember God, how He has fought for me and that I would not fear the task that has been set before me?

Thanks for reading. Thanks for praying.

Also, I'd love to hear any encouraging verses if you have anything!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Some thoughts on Transformation...

I shared this with my church in Cincinnati. I figured I should post it on my blog as well.

If I had to sum up this school year with one word, I would choose: Integrity. Throughout my time here in Long Beach, I have begun to experience the fullness of this definition, which is, “The state of being whole, entire, or undiminished; a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition.” I love that this definition describes what God desires for our lives.

One verse that I have strongly clung to throughout this year is Isaiah 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant to those who mourn in Zion - to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

The parts that stand out to me are in verse 3 where it says, “to grant to those who mourn a beautiful headdress instead of ashes…” I love this because I see a picture of God transforming the broken and hard places of my heart with His truth. The verse continues on to state God’s reasoning for doing this, “that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” God desires to be glorified through my life and must do a work within me that transforms, redeems and brings freedom. As I continue to work with the Navigators, I desire to share this same message with the women I meet on college campuses.

There is one woman that I have had the best time hanging out with and getting to know this year. She has a church background but never really took ownership of her faith until our spring break trip to the Grand Canyon. As she was staring out at the vast beauty of God’s creation, it became evident how much God is fighting for her and wants to personally impact her life. Since our trip, she daily spends time reading the Word and meeting with God. It is a complete joy to watch the Lord transform this young woman and to see her receive a deeper understanding of how Christ not only brings her salvation, but also provides a healing transformation in her life.

I wanted to thank you all for praying for me this year. As I said before, I've watched God transform and do an incredible work. Recently, He gave me a new verse that I think provides a perfect description into "inner healing"...

Psalm 62:6 says, "He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken." Things from the past... past sin or brokeness... when those things are touched upon in the present, they tend to hurt. They tend to cause us to react or bring us back to places we thought we would NEVER go back to. I see the healing power in this because those things will not be what I stand upon. I will stand firmly upon the rock of Christ who is my salvation and my fortress. I won't be shaken by anything.

Please continue to pray as the Lord and I keep walking through this process of healing.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for praying.

End of the Year?!

Last night was our last Nav Nite of the year. Two more weeks and this school year is over...

The end of semester Nav Nites are quite possibly my favorites. Each time, we invite the students to come up and share how they've seen God at work throughout the year. I am amazed by our wonderful and very active God. He has used His Word, hardship, brokeness, joy, scripture memory, boldness and many other things to invoke change in the lives of my friends at CSULB. Some shared about the hardship of the semester and the various lessons they have learned by walking through trial. Others shared about finding joy in just about every situation. Some even shared how fun/challenging it has been to attempt to figure out God and what He's doing in our lives. I think everyone who shared was incredibly thankful to have found the Navigators and to have made life lasting/impacting friendships.

I, too, have been blessed to be apart of the Long Beach Navigators. My life has been drastically impacted by the faith of my amazing friends at CSULB.

Psalm 37:4-7 was mentioned. It says,

"Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of
your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in Him, and He will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers
in his own way, over the man who carries out evil devices!"

One student shared his love for this verse because it talks about what deep commitment to the Lord looks like and what it does for us. We can trust in God because He will act; God impacts our heart and desires to become more like His; good must come from being committed to the Lord and following His way; at times, we must wait patiently for God but when He moves, it's always amazing.

I love that these thoughts are coming from our students.

Thank you friends for being apart of my life. I love watching the Lord work and transform you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's up Cincinnati?!

Its the most wonderful time of the year again... the ending of yet another school year. I feel like I blinked and all of the sudden, April flew by. Many of you have asked what I'll be up to this summer and it looks like I'll be....


I'll be posted out here in L.B.C for most of the summer with an exception of June 20-28th. During that time, I'll be in Cincinnati for a wedding and hopefully reconnecting with those of you who live out that way. If you're around during that time, I would LOVE to grab some Skyline and catch up for a bit. I'll be calling to set up times.

You stay classy Cincinnati. I'll see you soon :)

I'm also up for meeting over Graeters ice cream and/or LaRosa's pizza. You pick!

Hmm...we should catch up!

Lots of life has happened in the past few months.

In a nutshell:

•March 5-8 I took two fun loving freshmen women to D.C for the African American conference
•March 22 I saw RENT! with three ladies whom I deeply cherish
•March 27-April 2 I went on an EPIC spring break trip to the Grand Canyon
•April 25 I had the privilege of visiting my former campus ASU and participated in their 3rd annual Navigator talent show. I do NOT have video of this, but I'm sure I could find one for you. •The sound: Daft Punk "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger"
•The look: foil covered boxes as helmets, tempera paint on our limbs which showcased the lyrics.
•The talent: A really awesome dance number that blows people away. :)

•note: this is me and my friend Monique as we danced the night away at the Nav Halloween Party in Long Beach. These are the outfits worn for the talent show I danced in with another friend at ASU.

Anyway, sprinkle in counseling sessions, training sessions, a staff training retreat + time with students and this all equates to one hectic schedule. I decided to take a little bit of a break to catch my breath. If you're interested, you can check my picasa site for pictures from these crazy events and more.

Talk soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This is a day for the history books!

I grew up in a prodominately white area. In elementary school, I spent the first three years being the only black girl for the entire grade. So my foundation for making friends has never been based on skin color. Growing up in this type of environment has caused for plenty of people to ask me questions about race... If I even see skin color, how do I identify with people, do I feel like I fit in... Things like that. I can remember having conversations with my dad and being totally shocked that he couldn't understand my "color-blindness". My dad was not a racist man, he just grew up with a little more awareness of skin..

For example, my dad would tell me stories about how as a child, he couldn't walk all the way down his street because there were chains separating the black side from the white. He would tell me stories about not being able to have the same freedoms as other kids because of his skin color.

Today is a day that I wish my dad was still alive for. History has been made and that means so much for me and this country. I really don't care about politics or even who you voted for. Please celebrate the fact that history has been made and people who once were cleared off of busy public streets with fire hoses are now able to be elected into the leadership of our great country.

Barack Obama is not my savior. Only Christ has that role. I do not believe he has the power to fix the world's issues. I also don't agree with every policy that he stands for. I do believe he has provided a sense of hope for those who have always been told they won't make it... No matter who or what they are. I do think its good to have a change in office. I am praying for our new leader and that no matter what, God would be glorified.

It feels good to be a part of history.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Palm Trees

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock and there is no unrighteousness in Him. ~ Psalm 92:12-15

I first came across this verse in the beginning of the school year... about a week before classes started. I love the picture that it paints of these majestic and tall palm trees. When I lived in Ohio, palm trees always reminded me of vacation. Typically because I only saw these types of trees when I went down to Florida for spring break or some other get-a-way. They always struck me because they were so different from the trees I was so used to exotic and unique. Once I moved out west I saw them everywhere and it was kind of exciting.

I began to pray Psalm 92:12-15 for our students at Cal State Long Beach. I desire for them to flourish like these majestic trees I see strewn about Southern California. I ask that they would continue to stand tall in their faith when they face adversity on campus. I hope that they would remain rooted and continue to bear fruit even in old age. I pray that their walk tells of how the Lord is their rock and that He upholds them.

I'm claiming this verse for the students of Cal State Long Beach... would you claim it with me?

Thanks for reading and thanks for praying. Please continue to pray as a new semester is starting up on campus.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Homesick? Maybe...

I laughed at myself as I drove onto the 71-N entrance ramp from Rookwood... I thought about how I planned to move from Clifton to Oakley, get a cute 1-bedroom apt and work for a non-profit organization somewhere. I had everything planned and was somewhat excited about it. Little did I know that God would take me somewhere drastically different. The thought of actually leaving Cincinnati NEVER crossed my mind. During all of this thought process, I have had to fight the temptation to believe I had it so much better when living in Cincinnati. I look at the example of the children of Israel who always claimed that had it better way back when... especially when they were facing large tests of faith.

I picture myself standing at the water's edge. The water is rushing by and I don't know how to swim. I know I have to make it across, but honestly, there's no way to get over there. I keep hearing a voice telling me to trust because He can get me to where I need to be, but in true human fashion, I'm hesitant. Will I trust the Lord to stop the flow so that I can cross safely? Am I willing to even take the necessary steps? Or do I want to just sit on the bank and look back through clouded lenses attempting to convince myself that life was much better way back when...

At this moment, I don't want to leave to go back to Long Beach. Nothing against it... I do enjoy living out west... I think I'm just extremely sad to leave what I have here. I've been able to spend time with my best friends from college, re-live TONS of memories and do all the things I miss doing now that I'm with different people on the west coast. I'm going to desperately miss my family... my precious nephews Amir and Michael and my sister Dalena... This was probably the best time I've ever had at home and it flew by way to quickly.

Highlights from Cincinnati:
-I will never ever grow sick of eating Skyline Chili
-Watching my nephew Michael work his tiny fist mostly into his mouth and listening to him babble away at himself as he slowing rocks to sleep in his swing.

-Witnessing my six year old sports star of a nephew sink the ball at his Finneytown Little Cats basketball game
-Sitting at Mac's re-living the past and having a fabulous time in the present
-Photobooth pics in Lexington with Bizcuit :)
-Visiting my Grandaddy who will never cease to amaze me
-Kate, Emily, Linds, Jeff, Rich, Matt, Nick, Adam, CJ, Betsey, Dan, Doug, Katie... everyone.. its always fabulous to get time with these people
-Actually being present while one of my friends gets engaged... Congrats Emily and Doug!!!

Things I'm hopeful for in '09:
-emotional healing from deep deep past hurts
-close friendships outside of my Navs network
-to be known like (or somewhat like) I am when I'm in Cincinnati
-a church to call home
-new friendships on CSULB's campus
-more bible readings in the dorms
-more conversations about Christ and how He impacts life
-watching some pretty key girls that I'm really stoked about grow and become more excited in their walk with Christ

I'm sure there's more and I'll be sure to blog about it in a couple of months...

Anyway, thanks for reading. You stay classy, Cincinnati ;)