Friday, August 31, 2012

Discretion Needed

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6:30 AM

Such great truth! I could sometimes benefit from more discretion in my life.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Do I Read?

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2:24 PM
I keep getting asked this question. And maybe it's because I seem to consume an abnormal amount of books [46 done in 75 book challenge for 2012!]. Or maybe it's because I'm always talking about some book I just read [and it's probably odd]. But maybe it's because a lot of my generation doesn't read any more.

Don't get me wrong, the Internet is awesome. Blogs, well, rock. But have they effected our appetite for reading? Ask a teenager what was the last book they read for fun, or what was the last website they read for fun. Hopefully, with the recent [5+ years] outpouring of great books aimed at young adults [Hunger Games!] there are more youth reading actual books. But even my post-college generation has given up the past time as well.

So why do I read? Simple. I love it. I love being transported to new places, learning new things, and letting my imagination run wild. Just in the month of August I've finished books that have taken me through centuries of history of New York & England, uncovered theology of a surviving church in during Nazi Germany, walked alongside a child soldier from the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, discovered the inspiration for one of the most successful charities in the world right now, been wrecked in my faith journey, battled giant rats alongside of cockroaches & spiders in underworld New York, and solved crimes from Missouri to Norway. There's a rich and exciting world to be found in the pages [or electronic pages] of a book, that TV & movies just cannot capture. And I love some good TV & movies as well.

Another reason I read is because it makes me smarter. I learn new words, I discover new places and I consume information that I may not have known before. And I get smarter. Maybe it's a selfish reason, but hey, I like getting smarter!

And as an aspiring one-day hopeful writer, reading will only make me a better writer.

So close your laptops and switch of the Xbox and go read something! You won't regret it.

Need recommendations, check out GoodReads.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

VIDEO - GIFT Box Awareness

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5:30 AM

A video from our Stop the Traffik GIFT Box at Westminster Abbey! What a great ministry opportunity!

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

VIDEO Human Trafficking Q & A::London 2012

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1:00 PM

Our team visited Hyde Park, London and interviewed people from several nations about human trafficking, how much they knew about it and what are some solutions they could offer. It was a great opportunity to engage people in conversation about the issue and shed some light on the issue! Pretty awesome!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wrecked

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5:00 AM

Have you been wrecked? Encountered a person, situation, injustice or experience that just leaves you ruined? The first I was wrecked was in 2005 in a sleepy costal village of India. I had signed up for a 10 day trip to help rebuild houses that were devastated by the tsunami that hit in December of 2004. Millions were left homeless, and I wanted to go be the hands and feet to someone who needed help. And I was forever changed. Seeing the faces of those who had nothing and everything stolen from them. Hearing the cries of the still homeless. Feeling their desperation. Wondering what good I could actually do. But I carried thousands of bricks, ground cement, laughed with families and carried children around. And that was something. I did something. And my life was forever altered. 

As my journey led me to missions, I discovered an organization called Adventures in Missions where I eventually became staff for a time. While on staff there, I worked with a trip called the World Race, doing everything from interviewing applicants, booking airfare, posting blogs, and doing graphic design. It was during my time there that I met a fellow missionary, named Jeff Goins. Jeff was a big part of training the Racers on how to blog and how to share their stories. He was passionate for writing & story telling. Jeff's passion, several years down the road, led him to writing a book called "Wrecked:When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life" in which he captures this moment of wrecking…and what to with it. One of my favorite statements he wrote is, "If we are to follow the Jesus who suffered with us and bled for us, we too must suffer. We must hold the dying in our arms. We must shed tears for hungry stomachs, trafficked children, and wandering souls. This is what He wants for us." By getting wrecked by these sufferings, we are living and loving as Jesus did. Jeff challenges our generation to live for something more than what we see. "Instead of raising families or creating culture, we are sitting in our living rooms with our eyes glued to the television, simulating life." And he doesn't just challenge us to experience that wrecking moment, but to live a lifestyle that has been wrecked. When I left India, I couldn't go back to life as normal. I knew I'd do more mission trips, and I knew I'd be a missionary. From that moment I just knew. It took 5 more years to actually get to be a "full time missionary", and I took several detours, but I'm here. Living a totally wrecked life, and loving it. 

I challenge you to read this book and see where it takes you. Your journey will look different than mine, and rightly so. Only you can be the solution to the problem God calls you to. Get Wrecked!!

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Reflect & Retreat

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4:30 AM

When was the last time you reflected on your history? That's exactly what I've been doing this past week with my YWAM Orlando staff family. And what a great time it has been. Since it's beginnings in 1995, God's hand has been all over YWAM Orlando, and the staff He's lead here. I only joined in 2010, and loved hearing the journeys, trials & celebrations from the past 17 years. It only encouraged our faith to believe Him for the current struggles & growing pains we are experiencing as a campus. YWAM Orlando isn't the result of one big miracle, but several little miracles along the way. What a great story we are living!

After 3 days of this reflection & dreaming time, we all packed our bags and headed for the beach for our annual staff retreat! Staff retreat is a much beloved time among our staff. It's one, if not the only, time that our ENTIRE staff of 80+ [and children!] are all together. Our amazing team is always leading outreaches, doing recruiting trips, out support raising, or scouting out new ministry locations around the world. We are so rarely together. But this week is the time for that. We come together and take a "family vacation" to retreat & refresh! It's 4 glorious days of beach, pool, games, volleyball, movies, sleep, reading and SNACKS! We are a family that knows the value of working hard and playing hard.







It's such a blessing to have found not just a job, but a calling, that I can live out within a community environment which is super fun, encouraging,  challenging, and dreamers. 

Anyways, so that's where I've been this week, with burnt skin and a full belly to show for it!


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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Crazy World Changers

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11:32 AM

Ran across this quote from Steve Jobs the other day on Pinterest. But it was more than a pin it and forget it moment. It stuck with me. It got me thinking. Changing the world isn't for your average dreamers. Being so unsatisfied with the condition of the world around you that it compels you to action isn't a normal calling. It takes a bit of crazy. And sometimes that's exactly what I feel, is crazy. Crazy to think that there could be a world where human trafficking doesn't exist. Crazy to believe that my actions and the actions of those around me can make a difference. Crazy to wonder if this 20something [soon to be 30something] can actually change things. So thanks Steve Jobs, I needed this reminder today. I'll keep on being crazy and making a difference around me and watch the world change.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

VIDEO: London Outreach Recap

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7:00 AM
Still so blown away from our London outreach. Check out this video for some of the highlights!

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Reading

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2:28 PM
This is second year of my personal reading challenge of 50 books. Since graduating high school and college, my required reading assignments ceased, so it was on me to continue to challenge myself as a reader. These 50 books a year challenges, usually done with a friend like Becca, are perfect to inspire me to branch out in my reading and attain new goals! Using an app called GoodReads also helps keep us on track and discovering new reads! So here's the books I've been reading [and loving] this summer!


 Insurgent by Veronica Roth. This action packed sequel is the followup to the bestseller, Divergent. It's a young adult dystopian novel [think, Hunger Games] that really grips you from page one. I flew through book 1 and was eagerly awaiting this release. I highly recommend this series for fans of the genre!




 Forgotten God by Francis Chan. I loved this book regarding the power of the Holy Spirit. It was exactly what I needed to read at the time. Francis Chan really tackled the topic of the Holy Spirit in our churches and in our lives today. I was personally uncomfortable, challenged, and inspired while reading this. He helped put some Scriptures in new context for me, and even backed up some things I'd already been thinking. If you struggle with accepting the presence and filling of the Holy Spirit, read this book! If you are confident in the Spirit, read this book! It's fab.


 A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Consider it London prep. After becoming hopelessly addicted to the BBC series, Sherlock, I went back to where it all started, when Sherlock meets Watson and together they solve their first case in A Study in Scarlet. It's timeless, witty, and easily a classic.




The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. A new twist on the Alice in Wonderful story that we all know and love. In this re-imagination, Alyss Hart is the princess of Wonderland, and through a series of events caused by her evil aunt Queen Redd, she escapes into 1890's London where she finds a world unlike the one she left. When someone offers to tell her story, she is hopefully, but finds out this Lewis Carroll got it all wrong. Alyss' kingdom is at war, and she must get back to save her people and reclaim her throne. But how?


 The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. This short read was a collection of letters by Brother Lawrence that read almost like a New Testament gospel. Full of encouragement, admonition and solid teaching, Brother Lawrence consistently conveys the benefits and importance of intimacy with God. It's rich and deep, causing me often to put down the book and reflect on my own relationship with Christ. Aren't those the best kinds of books?


 New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd. This is my second Rutherfurd read. I first discovered him while researching London, when I read his 1100 page historical fiction narrative of the history of the great city. It was epic. And so when I saw he had written one on New York as well, I had to read it. I'm actually still in the middle of this one, and it's excellent. From the Dutch settling the colony of New Amsterdam in the 1600's, to the struggle for independence from Britain in the 1700's, to the rise of Wall Street and the financial district in the early 1900's, it's full of history, but told in a way that doesn't feel like a history book. Rutherfurd follows 6 families through their lineage in New York City. As the times evolve, so do these families. By the end, you feel as you know them better then your own family history. Now, will I read his series on Russia? Not sure yet....

So that's what I've been reading, and I have a few more great ones lined up that I can't wait to start like Gone Girl, the current best selling thriller, and Start Something That Matters, the journey of Blake Mycoksie, founder of TOMS shoes, and finally Never Fall Down which is a young adult fictional account of a child soldier in Cambodia.

Got any books you've read recently that you recommend? Let me know! I love a good book swap :)

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