Sunday, October 6, 2013


"Too much time spent in the past leads to depression; too much time spent in the future leads to anxiety. Live in the moment."
- John Mark Comer (Pastor of A Jesus Church in Portland, OR)

I keep this quote on my desktop because I often have a really hard time of living in the present.

I'm not sure if others are wired quite the same as me, but I often wish that I was living in a great event that happened in my past or I'm looking forward to something better to come in the future. Even when I'm not thinking positively, I'm regretting something in my past or dreading something in my future.

I believe this is because of a lack of contentment.

Contentment is not something that I often feel. I wish that it was! What I'm saying with my discontentment is that Christ is not enough for me where I am. When I am wishing that my circumstances were different, when I'm wishing that I was in the past or could time hop to the future I am saying that I do not appreciate my right now. 

How untrue this is! Christ is sufficient for me. Christ is my salvation, my hope, my rock, my joy!

I've been thinking a lot about living faithfully recently. I am called to have joy in all circumstances, because Christ has reconciled me to himself, what is there to be sad about? 1 Thess 5:16-18 reads, "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

I find myself looking back on this summer and wishing that I was still working for LeaderTreks. I find myself remembering my closeness with God and the amazing ways I saw him work and I long to be back in Honduras. I often daydream about what it's going to be like after college when homework is a thing of the past. I imagine where I'll live and the kind of job that I'll have. I am not content with where I'm at. God places us where he wants us to be faithful to him until he calls us to the next thing. I am still in school and I need to be faithful in serving Him here which means being content with where God has placed me.

I'm praying for contentment. Christ is all I need. Maybe you can relate with this or maybe you're better at living in the present and being content than I am. Give thanks for that. If you remember, pray for me. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I realize that this is very delayed, and I apologize for that. Processing and transitioning has taken me longer than I anticipated. Let me rewind back to my last week with LeaderTreks in Dayton.

God faithfully brought me back to the states from Honduras and straight into ministry in Dayton, OH. No time for reverse culture shock. No time for rest. No time to dwell on missing all my friends in Honduras.

Highlights of my week in Dayton with Crystal Church from Queens, NY:
1. Watching God transform a timid high school girl into someone who shed love on rambunctious VBS kids, encouraged her teammates, and led them in enthusiasm and effort on the work site.
2. Seeing some of the same VBS kids from Week 1 and getting to love on them and talk about Jesus
3. Completing a basketball court for a church and neighborhood of African refugee families
4. Watching a relationship between a gracious landlord and his tenants being restored by the efforts of high school students
5. Seeing our missionary partner come to tears because of the awesome ways that God worked through LeaderTreks students all summer long

And now I'm back here at school in Cedarville, OH. I miss LeaderTreks a lot. I miss the people, the intentionality, the lifestyle, and all the memories. But I am a changed person. I obeyed God's call to do his work this summer and I've seen the life changing results of that in myself and others. I got to know my Savior in a completely new and deeper way this summer. I am praying that all of these experiences transform the way I live with my friends at school this summer. I am praying that God would show himself to me here just as evidently. I am praying that God's joy and strength be my joy and strength everyday.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Concrete, Sickness, and Goodbyes.

My last week in Hondo was full of unexpected twists, lasting memories, and sad goodbyes.

Around 5 or so students got really sick the last few days of the trip. We're still not sure what it is. Some combination of stomach aches, vomiting, dizziness, etc. We did a lot of late night research and even had one student sent to the hospital and we still don't have an answer to the "mystery illness." A few of the amazing ways God provided during this time was first off that we lived in a medical clinic, so we had access to all the medications that we needed, IVs and fluids, and plenty of hospital beds. Secondly, we had a nurse who came as an adult leader with the group and she was put to work caring for all the sick people. She was sticking IVs in people, tracking medications, and constantly checking up on them throughout the day. The last way that God was very evident in his provisions was in the attitude and work ethic of those who remained healthy.

Our last day on the worksite, students were dropping like flies, one by one they had to go inside because they were too sick to work. We had only about 2/3 of our group, and a huge goal to accomplish on the site. God gave all those students enough strength and stamina to complete the goal AND more on the last day. I had the privilege of working alongside two particular students, a boy and a girl, that absolutely blew me away with how hard they worked. Another obstacle that we had was that the concrete mixing machine that we normally used was broken. Every task that we wanted to accomplish required either mortar or concrete and there was a TON to be made. This needed to be accomplished by mixing concrete by hand "volcano" style by me, the youth pastor, and these two students. Let's just say this was NOTHING I wanted to do, but I knew that this was the most important job on the work site. It was important for these students to know that they set the pace and attitude for the entire day. They were the two healthiest feeling students and they had the most important job. They ROCKED it. We must have mixed 10 batches of concrete/mortar that day which can be very difficult with only 4 people. Then we had to wheelbarrow the mixes across the school to the place where they were laying block in trenches. I remember taking a lot of really short water breaks and not much else. The attitudes of these students was STELLAR (a word stolen by Alex, my co-intern). They never complained, encouraged each other, worked fast, and set goals. It was SO great to see God work in them that day and to see how much they had grown through those 2 weeks culminated in a really hard task to complete. 

What God really revealed to me during this time was that he is constant even when nothing else is. We read through Nehemiah 9 one of those nights at team time and God's character and faithfulness is so evident in this chapter. God is Gracious. Merciful. Slow to anger. Creator. Sustainer. Rigtheous. Good. 

The hardest part of my last week in Honduras were the goodbyes. I said goodbye to many beautiful servants of God who are all giving themselves to the ministry of La Providencia in many ways. It is so difficult to see someone every day and work alongside them and then to not know for sure if you will be reunited. The two families of orphans that I got to see and hang out with for six weeks. Their families are full of the story of God's love and redemption and the kids were so adorable and fun to hang out with. The workers at La Providencia: Josue, Hedyn, Henry, Douglas, Mizael, Thomas, Will, Don Callisto, everyone. My friend Megan who was interning at La Providencia. Some of the saddest goodbyes I've ever had to say, and a piece of my heart remains with them. I love you guys, I hope to see you again soon.

Me with two of the girls who live at La Providencia on my last day. 

Megan, my twin.

The Amaya family. Such beautiful hearts.

Last day of VBS

Saturday, July 27, 2013


This past week I've had the privilege of working with a great group of students from Arizona. Seriously they are all so upbeat and encouraging. The first time I met them they had been up all night on a red eye flight and they were still all wide awake on the bus for a 2.5 hour bus ride to La Providencia singing basically the entire soundtrack to Pitch Perfect. I've had a chance to connect with them since then and I can see that they are seriously so on fire with God and are really looking to serve him while they're here in everything they do.

The worship team has added something really unique to our worship time during nightly team meetings. They have encouraged all of us to make a list of 100 blessings by the end of our trip. Every night we have 10 or so minutes to connect with God and just think of and list all the blessings that God has given us. I AM SO BLESSED. I'm just going to explain a few of the ways I've been blessed in the last two days. On the work site yesterday one of the girls just said "Kristen, how can I be praying for you?" which was seriously so cool because that isn't a question I get asked by students. I am so thankful that she connected with me and cared about me enough in the 5 days I've known her to ask how she can pray for me. I spend so much of my time trying to serve and invest in students and I feel really blessed to be served back in this way. Then last night we all went around our circle of 19 and shared one of the biggest ways God has blessed us and worked in our lives. Seriously one of the COOLEST moments I've had listening to high schoolers really share their hearts and the ways God has met them where they're at to bless and redeem them. In a lot of ways these students are way more mature in their faith than I was at their age and it is so encouraging to see how God is working in and through them. Stories of how free housing was provided, God brought nonbelievers into their lives to share their faith, family members being saved, broken families being redeemed, sicknesses being healed, and God breaking through in the lives of rebellious teenagers. Many of these things almost brought tears to my eyes/maybe they did. Then as if that wasn't amazing enough, after our team meeting all of us gradually came together for a night of spontaneously singing worship to God. We had a guitar and some of the most enthusiastic and heartfelt voices for worship I've heard in a long time. It was really cool to have a time that wasn't planned or forced but really real. God is blessing me in SO MANY ways on this trip - but these are just a few :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trip #2 - I love my "job"

Part 1 of 2

If I'm learning anything in this period of my life it's that I'm selfish and that I've spent too much time focusing on the negative and awful disappointing things of life. I often want things my way and in my timing because that's what would benefit me. You know what's great about God though is that he can easily show me that my way of seeings things is worthless and he proves me wrong. This summer I'm learning some really big lessons. I've learned that my life is not my own and that God has allowed me to be a small part in his larger story of redemption. He is blessing me with such a positive outlook this summer. Let me tell you, it's a lot harder to be positive and find the good in situations. This summer is full of hardships and difficult times where it would be easy to rely on myself and to see the negative in the situation. It's harder to be positive sometimes but with God's strength he is showing me how much better it is in the long run. Spending 15 hours a day with 12 high school students on a construction site and running a VBS for young children is exhausting. I'm always "on" developing relationships with students and asking tough questions and challenging students. I'm motivating, answering questions, asking questions, sharing Jesus, encouraging, and teaching. I have to let high schoolers make all their own decisions even if they are completely wrong or not how I would do something. the joy of the Lord really has been my strength and it has been amazing to let him work in me this summer.

One of my favorite moments this summer occurred in the girls bathroom, which sounds awkward but please continue reading. I had been coaching/encouraging/advising two of the student VBS leaders throughout the first week. Basically I helped to push the vision that VBS is about communicating God's love to the kids and that little things like messing up a skit or forgetting a song or not knowing Spanish shouldn't get in the way of communicating God's love to the kids. It's so easy to get caught up in the little things and to forget this big picture. I saw God work in these two students in amazing ways throughout that week. One of these girls was at first very controlling of the VBS and unwilling to let the little things go on the first day. I saw her really let God into the situation and give control up to him. Her attitude about VBS from that day on was so much more loving and she was more willing to take constructive criticism and suggestions with a humble heart. On Sunday after VBS we were getting ready for church in the bathroom and she told me that she was very thankful for my help with VBS and that it wouldn't have been what it was without my encouragement and suggestions. I am thankful that I let God use me in this way and it was really cool to see how she grew throughout the trip in growing a humble heart and using her enthusiasm and willingness to serve to inspire others to join in the fun.

Honestly these last two weeks were hard. But that's okay because God was totally at work in amazing ways. I saw a lot of students be vulnerable and honest and hard working. There were many times when I was encouraged by others about something I did or said and I know that it was God working in me because I don't know how those words came out of my mouth or how I had the energy to continue on. Even on the days when I don't feel like working I have committed my life to God and given my all for His glory. I am loving how much God is at work in my life this summer including giving me a desire for His word. We are studying through the book of Nehemiah and I am continuously learning a lot about leadership and about who God is through Nehemiah's life. In addition to this study God has given me a new desire for memorizing His word and understanding His word better so that I can know Him better. I feel really blessed to call this my "job" for the summer.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My New Normal

I decided to list out the things for y'all that are the new normal for me. And yes, I did just type y'all. I spent two weeks with 15 Texans so you can't blame me. I have had to get used to doing things a little differently here in Honduras, here are just a few of these "adjustments."

1. Brushing my teeth with water from my water bottle.
2. Flies everywhere! On me, on my food... oh well!
2.5 Bugbites on me everywhere. They itch. A LOT.
3. Mixing concrete/mortar on a construction site every day
4. Getting confused between English and Spanish and saying "Otra vez" numerous times
5. Having to bleach dishes after washing them
6. Not flushing toilet paper, yeah it goes in the trash... :/
7. PB & J everyday for lunch because the lunch meat here is sketch.
8. Trusting high school students to make the rest of my food
9. Getting to shower, if I'm lucky, every OTHER day. Recently it was 4 days in between.
10. Waking up to the beautiful Honduran mountains every morning and doing my devotionals with God staring at his creation :)

And that is some of my life!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Trip #1: God is CLEARLY at work here

I've been postponing blogging about the last 2 weeks mostly out of pure exhaustion. So here goes nothing.

Our first team arrived from Dallas, TX on Saturday June 22nd and before we even got to La Providencia with them the challenge started. We stopped at our very American-ized but still very much all in Spanish grocery store in Siguatepeque and the team had to grocery shop for 17 people for an entire week. Then we got to the clinic where we're staying and jumped right in cooking dinner. This team was really excited about their mission here and it was really fun to get to know them.

I want to talk about VBS here because I honestly think that was the most exciting thing for all of the students and something that everyone put 150% of themselves into. God's love and glory shone BRIGHT through these students. The two VBS leaders did an amazing job casting the vision for what they wanted VBS to be all about. They were passionate about communicating the love of God to these kids. It didn't matter if they messed up the skit or the craft was done wrong or even if they messed up all of their attempted Spanish conversations. They knew that the only reason VBS matters is to show that God's love is bigger than our culture, bigger than a language barrier, and powerful enough to be communicated through a bunch of high schoolers just trying their best. Our students connected really well with the kids at VBS and many of them had little "buddies" that they hung out with all week. Their skits went flawlessly, the games were fun, the crafts were loved by all, but most importantly we built friendships with those kids and showed them that God loves them. Each and every student on this trip was so enthusiastic during every afternoon we spent at VBS and there was not one minute where I felt like they could have done more or been better. It was a fantastic experience and I think that all of these students saw how much impact you can have on someone by showing God's love and being selfless with your time.
Students and VBS kids :)
Construction was another really clear avenue for how God worked. We were working on laying block to expand a sidewalk that goes from the community center to the classroom building and pouring the cement footings for the walls of a principal's office. We studied the book of Nehemiah which is about how he rallied the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the walls surrounding the city and we LITERALLY BUILT WALLS these past two weeks. It was a fantastic opportunity to connect our experience with that of a man who relied on God so fully. Now, what we did was important, but I think that the relationships that we built and the tough lessons and decisions that were made was even more of a leadership lesson for the students. The two construction leaders were very passionate about keeping the vision alive for why were spending hours mixing concrete and mortar and doing and redoing blocks to keep them precisely level. They consistently communicated that we are building this so that the school can expand and bring more kids in to La Providencia so that they can receive a quality, Christ-centered bilingual education that will raise them to be leaders that will make a difference in their native country. The only way things get built and projects are funded are if teams come and work hard and do projects with excellence. It was really cool to see these students take ownership of their work and asks questions such as "If this was mine, would I be happy with the way this turned out?" and "How can we do this more efficiently?" and "Am I using my resources of people and tools well right now?" These students were intentional about their conversations on the work site and building relationships with each other and with the Honduran employees and volunteers we had the opportunity to work with.
Students and Adult leader laying block

These students worked hard, they pushed each other, they asked hard questions, thought intentionally, spoke intentionally, loved each other and lived ON MISSION for God these past two weeks. It was a blast to see how God can work through me and in this lives of students who are challenged and pushed out of their comfort zones.

Pray for Abbey, Alex and I these next two weeks. Our next group has already arrived and we had a very very short break in-between so we are tired and weary but we know that the joy of the Lord is our Strength.