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.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Photos of my life right now.

I don't really have the energy to write right now, so here are some pictures of my life right now instead.
Because I knew my mom wanted to know what my room looked like.

You can tell I live in a clinic.

The view from the Community Center at La Providenciaq

The worksite/Soon-to-be principal's office!

Making concrete.

Students cooking together in the kitchen.

The view from the church where we did VBS

A student slapping mortar on the concrete foundation wall

VBS kids = totes adorbs!

A student playing hand games with a VBS kid :)

My fav = a student getting his nails done by a VBS kid!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

First post from Honduras!

Yesterday we had to leave Wheaton at 3am to make it to our 5:22am flight to Houston. We changed planes in Houston and arrived in San Pedro Sula, Honduras at around 10:35am. The flight was super smooth, all of our luggage arrived at the same time as us, and we made it through immigration and customs with no problems, PTL. Then we met Douglas our Honduran host who works at La Providencia. He drove us the 2.5 hour drive to Siguatepeque and then 20 minutes out of the city to La Providencia where we are staying. We allowed Douglas to choose where we ate lunch and he took us to the only authentic Honduran fast food restaurant in Honduras, "Power Chicken." It was a lot better than you would initially think. He ordered tostones (fried bananas), fried yucas, fried rice, chicken and ribs. It was all DELICIOUS, seriously the best chicken I think I've ever had. So glad that we went authentic Honduran for our first meal!

Once we arrived at La Providencia we got a small tour of the medical clinic where our rooms are and where the teams will also be staying. The compound here is really nice. There's a community center where the school and dining hall are along with two family homes that the orphans live in with their house parents. We went into town to do some grocery shopping for the next few days at this pretty Americanized store in town. Then we were in the mood for a treat, so Douglas took us to Espresso Americano which is like Honduran Starbucks and we had a Mocaccino Supreme. It's a blended coffee drink with Oreos and I think I'm in love. Coffee seriously is the way to my heart. Afterward we came back and decided to do some exploring so we checked out the school building that last summer's LeaderTreks team built. I think that this year we will be working on either adding to it or another building right next door based on what I could see at the construction site. Then we passed by one of the families playing outside and they called us over to play, so we got to meet all of them. The parents have two biological sons and then they also take care of 2 other girls and 3 other boys. So there are 7 kids in their family. One of the little girls immediately took a liking to me and we climbed up the playground and went down the slide like a million times until I got to hold the baby. They were such a sweet family and I'm looking forward to seeing them around for the next six weeks.

It's weird to think that we'll be living here for such a long time. It hasn't really set in yet that this is going to be my home for awhile. I can't really say that any of this has been a real culture shock, honestly it looks a LOT like Nicaragua and I also adapt really well to new places, so the first day has not been too hard. I've already had to break out my Spanish a little and I'm hoping that it improves a lot this summer. I can see God's hand at work here and I'm excited to be a part of what he does here in Honduras this summer. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Week One - Dayton, OH

Week One of LeaderTreks is done. Finished. Completed. Etc.

And it was incredibly awesome! Our partners in Dayton are really fantastic. The church we stayed at in Kettering is called Emmanuel Lutheran and the youth pastor there is like in love with LeaderTreks and practically begged them to set up a site in Dayton so that we could stay at their church. They even built a shower for the teams to use in their basement. It's a lot nicer than I just made it sound. We spent our days building a basketball court and doing VBS at a church called Christ the King on the north side of Dayton. The church has been planning on building a basketball court for a long time but just never had the resources to do so, and so LeaderTreks is partnering with them this summer to build it. The purpose of this basketball court is so that the school that is operated at Christ the King has a court to use but also for the community to use as well. This church is backed up by a neighborhood of African refugees. There are a ton of refugees from the Congo, Eritrea, Berundi, and other countries that were placed in Dayton. We had the awesome opportunity to do VBS with these children and they were so so so full of energy and life and it was a blessing to work with them.

The group of students that came this week were from a small town in Central Illinois. They jumped right in to the work project and were really enthusiastic about serving the kids through VBS. It was really fun getting to know them and finding ways to challenge them whether on the worksite, at VBS, in the kitchen or through the Bible Study. My intern partner, Alex, and I were constantly asking questions such as "What did you learn in your Bible study today?" What are some goals that we can set before we leave the worksite today?" "Do you think there's a better way to do that?" "How do you want this experience and what you've learned this week to affect you once you go home?" and so on and so forth. It is a real challenge to constantly be asking questions and making sure that you're pushing students above and beyond where they are. We want students to take ownership of these projects and learn that they have influence in everything that they do.

This week we studied various passages about the prophet Elisha. My favorite story to discuss with the students on the trip was the story of the woman and the jars of oil in 2 Kings 4. The story really makes us think of what faith is and how the woman in the story demonstrated that she had faith God would provide. It made me think of the ways that God has provided in the past and how I need to not be afraid to ask big things of God and expect him to answer. It was fun to discuss with the students how faith is something that we have and believe but it also requires us to be obedient and to take action.

So now we leave for Honduras tomorrow! Pray for safe travels and that our teams would also arrive safely. Pray for a clear understanding of God's word so that I can discuss it well with the students and also that their hearts and minds would be open to see how God is working in themselves and in the other students.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Verse for Summer

Today I decided that Deuteronomy 13:4 is my verse for this summer. It has literally been on my desktop for 6 months now, but today is when it finally sunk in and I realized that this is what I want my life to look like, and is a good reminder especially in this context of this summer.

The ESV says this:

"You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice and you shall serve him and hold fast to him."

What does this look like for me?

You shall walk after the LORD your God: This is reassuring to me because I always know that God is walking in front of me leading the way. He has prepared the way for me and my most important task in life is to be right there following where he leads me.

Fear him: God deserves my worship and 100% of my devotion. No one else is worthy of worship and nothing (no idols) should come before him. I know that following him has the best eternal reward and not following him has the worst eternal consequences.

Keep his commandments: The Bible is his true word and what God commands of me I need to be obedient to. My life is about obeying what he has already laid out for me and his desire for his followers.

Obey his voice: While the Bible is an ancient text that is solid and unchanging that I should follow, God's voice is not always present to me and God's individual requirements of me are fluid. This part of the verse reminds me to listen. I need to hear his voice before I can obey it, and therefore I need to be aware and be listening for God, even for the smallest whisper. Most of the time God's voice isn't evident where I'd like it to be or expect it to be. I have to be diligent in listening to his voice.

Serve him: This summer I have a very distinct role to fulfill in LeaderTreks and I know that I can serve God the best this summer by being selfless and trusting Him and giving my all to these students that I'm working with. In all things God's glory needs to be revealed and I can best serve him by being a clear avenue of his glory to the students I'm working with.

Hold fast to him: This may be my favorite part of the verse because I know that God is my comfort and my strength and he is unchanging and reliable and I can hold on to him for dear life. He has the control and I can rely on him no matter what.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mission First. People Always.

Recap of 5/31-6/5

First of all, I really had no idea what to expect from LeaderTreks training weekend in Manchester, KY. What I got out of it though was incredible. My roommate and other friend from Cedarville are both doing LeaderTreks too, so I knew that I would get to catch up with them and we would have a good time, but the other interns are AMAZING too. There are six female and six male interns this summer and I am so glad God selected us few to go on this adventure for him this summer.

Training essentially looked like a mock LeaderTreks trip which meant that we stuck to the schedule and protocols of a typical trip. Breakfast was at 7:15am followed by 45 minutes of devotion time and then plenty of leadership team activities and becoming knowledgeable about our various tasks and roles this summer. By far, one of my favorite activities I will call the team HonDayton Lowe's challenge. (Team HonDayton is the team of us that will be serving in Dayton, OH and Honduras this summer). We had to go into Lowe's home improvement store and become knowledgeable enough about a specific home improvement project so that we could present the project step by step to the whole group along with a price projection and timeline as if we were completing this project with groups of students. My team was given the task of residing an entire house. I learned more about siding, j-channel, fascia board, soffits, and Tyvek than I ever thought I would. It was very exciting to learn about something I never thought I would and to be able to explain it to our group. This is similar to actual tasks and projects that LeaderTreks teams will be doing all across the world this summer.

Another of my favorite parts of training is the encouragement circle during team time. Every night after dinner the whole team goes over the devotions from that morning, the growth journal that assesses how you did in the past 24 hours and also evaluates performance as a team. At the end is the encouragement circle where students and staff encourage one other person in the group with either a leadership, risk taking, service, or compassion bead. It is really neat to see people encourage others publicly and to feel the confidence and love when someone says something really sweet and sincere about how they saw God working in your life. It was honestly the most encouraging feeling and made me even more comforted and confident that this is where God specifically placed me this summer.

So now I am in Dayton, OH really close to Cedarville staying at a church and prepping for the first team of students to arrive on Sunday. I am really excited and also nervous about this week, so keep me and my team in prayers. This is a fantastic group of people that I'm working with and I can't wait to see how God uses us in these students' lives this next week.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Honduran Facts!

I spent some time tonight researching Honduras, you know, so I'm somewhat prepared to enter a foreign country. Here are some interesting facts about where I'll spend 6 weeks of my summer!

1. Honduras is roughly the same size as the state of Ohio.
2. Honduras is the most mountainous country in Central America and 50% of it is still covered in forests :)
3. Yet surprisingly, there are no active volcanoes.
4. They eat a LOT of rice and beans.
5. Honduras literally means "depths" in Spanish
6. 1 US Dollar = 20.14 Honduran Lempira
7. La Providencia is the name of the orphanage I'll be working with and staying at
8. Hondurans love their soccer so much that even the President "recommends" that businesses give their employees time off for the games.
9. Honduras is the 7th largest coffee producer in the world, and the largest coffee producer in Central America
10. In July (the month I'll mostly be there) the area I'll be in has average daily high temperatures of around 87 degrees and low temperatures of around 69 degrees.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Learn New Things

Today was my first full day home of the summer. I learned a few things today, which is neat because I'm done with school, but I guess the learning never stops.

1. You CAN have too many hygiene products.
2. Thank you letters are hard to write with sincerity.
3. You have to PAY someone to take your garbage from your house. This is not a public service.
4. I owe a lot of money in school loans.
5. Being an adult and paying bills looks like no fun at all.
6. Life Insurance doesn't really pay much. Also, funerals are expensive.
7. You can make coloring pages out of pictures by uploading them here!
8. I am very bad at focusing outside.
9. Playing basketball with no shoes on hurts.
10. Netflix has some pretty terrible movies on it.

That pretty much sums up my real-life learning for today. Also, being out of the Cedarville bubble is weird.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

God is Good!

Hi all! This post is just an update about LeaderTreks. I just received an email that almost 25% of my support has come in already. This is so so encouraging and I am really excited about everyone that is partnering with me and praying for me this summer. I am so excited to see what God does through me and growing and learning a ton this summer. Thank you to everyone who is supporting me and praying for me, I couldn't do this without you.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Honduras! (and all that entails)

I found out yesterday that I am going to HONDURAS this summer with LeaderTreks :) I am beyond excited and I feel totally blessed that God is going to use me there. I'm so excited to work with students and to challenge them and be pushed and stretched through work projects and ministry opportunities.

Yeah, soon enough I will be here:
Pulaphanzak Waterfalls, Honduras

Actually, here is the full itinerary for my summer, not all the dates are included cause I don't know those yet either.
May 31st - Leave for training in Chicago
Week of June 9th - Helping to lead a level 2* trip in Dayton, OH
Week of June 16th - Leading 3 two week-long level 3* trips in HONDURAS
Week of July 28th - Philadelphia for a training event for a group of students 

I think the latest I"ll be done is August 3rd. Haha, I don't really know, but that's part of the adventure and excitement of it all! 

So, I desperately need your prayer support. This is going to be an awesome, long, and exhausting summer. Pray that my ministry to these students is effective and that their ministry to the people of Dayton and Honduras is fruitful for God's kingdom. Thank you :)

* You can read about the different level trips here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Summer :)

I am sooooooooooo excited right now!! I am so unbelievably blessed and encouraged. Last week I had three interviews with LeaderTreks for the intern position and.... I got the internship! I am going to be leading mission trips and developing student leaders all.summer.long. The interview process was tough, but really affirmed my desire to follow God's direction and showed me that I will be able to do this. 

Honestly, right now I don't know much about what I'll be doing. The only thing I know is that I will need to use my passport which is absolutely fantastic and means I'll be going overseas :) I have no idea how long I'll be gone either!

My job will be mostly to encourage, support, and develop the students' leadership skills. We will be doing work projects (possibly involving work with building/fixing houses or orphanages) and leading a local VBS program for the kids in the area. Working with students is something I LOVE doing. I love to be able to just talk and teach and encourage people. The best moment is when I know that they are really understanding some part of God's truth and it totally hits home with them. I am so excited to see kids learn responsibility, develop leadership skills, and grow spiritually while also getting closer with their team. I'm excited for myself to do the same! 

Most likely I will be in Honduras or the Dominican Republic which is AWESOME not only because I love to travel and will be able to rekindle the ole Spanish skills, but the fact that God is using me in such a cool place is honestly very encouraging and I'm really excited to serve Him this summer. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Do you ever have those things that you feel God is telling you to do and you ignore Him?

Does He hits you in the back of the head with it later?

Recently that happened to me. You know what I learned? Obedience is what God requires of us. 

John 14:15-17 says:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you."

If we love God, we will keep His commandments. We will listen to Him and obey what he commands us to do. But God does not leave us high and dry to accomplish this on our own... No, He provides a Helper: the Holy Spirit. And this is honestly the only way that I think I can survive and remain sane: knowing that the Spirit lives inside me and guides me along the way. 

Earlier this year, my roommate Taylor told me I should apply to LeaderTreks for the summer internship. I had no intention of doing that, because this internship is unpaid and you have to raise support. I was not going to have any of that nonsense. This internship is a ministry/missions experience, and I'm a business major. This internship requires me to be out of my comfort zone and will be really hard (also really rewarding). Well, I looked into other internships in the business field, you know so I could gain experience related to my major... and so far nothing has worked out with that. Coincidence? I think not. Not when basically everyone else knows what they're doing this summer and I'm still clueless.

So, last week I applied just for kicks. I had this voice in the back of my head saying, "Hey Kristen, you should just apply for this. Don't worry about it, don't think too hard. Just do it." So I did. And I'm still in the applying process, so far "they" have talked to a few of my references and I'm supposed to talk to one of the directors by the end of this week. I'll have about a month to raise almost $2,000 and I will have no idea where I'll be placed, or even if I'll be in the country. So that's exciting! And really scary! But you know, this is what trusting God looks like. A lot of the times He doesn't let you in on His plans. So, if this all works out, I will have to trust God to provide the necessary funds and the strength to get through 8 weeks of leading youth mission trips in an unknown place.

Pray for me! I'll update and share what happens with all this. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Lose Control

Isn't it amazing how the Lord works in our lives? Receiving answers to prayer has to be the best moments of my life. This is the story of a night where God reached His hand out to me right where I was and reassured me of His presence in my life.

The last few days have been really really hard. Without revealing a lot, let's just say that there is a situation in my life that it completely out of my hands but will absolutely directly effect me. Now, if any of you have ever met me you will know that I am a complete control freak. I have to know exactly what is going on, I want to be able to influence the final decision and if I can make something happen then I try to get my little hands on it as much as possible. Sometimes I think that God laughs at me when I do this. And then He takes His big wonderful Creator hands and just lifts the problem out of mine and tells me that He's got this one covered.

So in the last few days in my anxiety stricken life, I have come to the realization that I can't control this. Just because I've realized this does not mean that every single minute is anxiety or worry free. Because that would  just not be true... I am human and I fail to trust God even when He makes things so obvious to me. Yesterday, I received a note of encouragement in the mail. This note came from a girl that I live with but we're not particularly close. She heard a little bit about what is going on in my life... and she wrote me a note letting me know that she's praying for me and that she could emphatize with my situation. Who doesn't love those kind of notes? She encouraged me to read Psalm 37:4-5. Later on that night, I randomly decided to listen to a women's Bible study on the book of Ruth. I turn it on and the speaker immediately says: "Open your Bibles to Psalm 37. Hahaha, well God I guess I am supposed to read Psalm 37 today, aren't I? This passage says to delight in the Lord and trust in Him. That is the exact opposite of what I was doing. Verse 7 says to be still and wait patiently for God. I'm very very bad at patience.

So that was a kind of wake-up call slash slap in the face reminder that I really needed. But what came next was also unexpected. Who knew the Book of Ruth was about a woman who had to realize God is in control? Yeah, this girl didn't. So I'm listening to Diane Comer speak about how this story is a story of Hope for anyone who has ever been disappointed. This story is all about how God is still in control! He has everything covered. I am 100% craving control in my situation. I am panicking and wishing I could say or do something to influence the outcome...but the only One I can trust who is in complete control is God. Ruth was scared for her future: everything she ever relied on was gone and she had a lot of anxiety. I can relate to that. Can any of you?