Bună Dimineața

Bună dimineața friends!

I’ve had the realization that while my friends at school are probably tired of my constant chatter about Romania and Moldova, those of you I don’t see on a regular basis don’t know much about my upcoming trip, so I think it’s high time for an update.

First off, I have t-minus 50 days until my trip (give or take a day or two.) I will be out of the country from May 16th to June 6th. In Romania we will be working with an amazing organization called Word Made Flesh. (http://www.wordmadeflesh.org) I absolutely love the work they’re doing around the world, and feel so blessed to be able to work with them up close and personal on my trip! Our plan is to fly into Bucharest, and then spend part of our trip with WMF Moldova in Chișinău, and the other part with WMF Romania in Galați. This brings me to my second point.

As most of you know, Russia has recently invaded a portion of Ukraine called Crimea. Many of you have expressed concern that I am heading to that area of the world, and I would like to address your fears.

Eastern_Europe_maps

On this map, Crimea is the little yellow island in the Black Sea, to the south of Ukraine. Moldova is to the west of Ukraine, and Romania is to the west of Moldova. I will be in central Moldova, and southeastern Romania. Although this area of the world is currently quite volatile, Romania is fairly stable. The biggest difference between Romania and Ukraine is how long each has been independent. Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, and consequently has only been independent since 1991. Romania, on the other hand, has been an independent nation for over one hundred years. Romania also belongs to the European Union, which greatly adds to their stability. For these reasons, traveling to Romania is not particularly dangerous. In the current state of the world, the only part of our trip that is of questionable safety is our time in Moldova. Moldova, like Ukraine, was part of the Soviet Union. It has a large Russian population, and is being watched very closely by the international community because no one knows what Putin wants to do next. My team has not yet discussed what ifs for our time in Moldova because it is too early to know what will unfold in the next two months. I am certain, however, that if Moldova becomes an unsafe place for us to go, we will simply stay in Romania for our whole three weeks. I am not personally worried though. I know this trip is in God’s hands. The truth is that nowhere is truly safe. This earth in general is a dangerous place, which is why I am choosing to not let potentially dangerous situations stop me. I know I rest in the hands of a loving God who will take care of me.

Another area of this trip where God has been caring for me is in my fundraising. I have currently raised $2275 out of $3600, and I have been completely blown away by the generosity of the people in my life! Through this fundraising process I have been learning so much about trusting God! Ever since I was accepted to the team God has been telling me over and over that He will provide. The thing is, He provides in His time, not mine. At the end of February I was approaching a large deadline, and a week before the deadline, I still needed $1000. I was beginning to panic when I received a phone call saying someone in my family had donated $1000 towards my account! Time and time again God is showing me that it is so silly to worry. He will never fail me! He has made it abundantly clear that this is a trip I am meant to take, so I am confident He will make a way!

To sum up this update I just want to express how grateful I am. I am grateful for God’s provision, and the way he is using this trip to teach me valuable lessons. I am grateful for the prayers and financial support of my community. And I am so grateful for this incredible opportunity to experience a new part of God’s beautiful world!

River of Desire

A raging current flows through me

It’s a river of desire

Desire to see him

Desire to be with him

Desire to really, fully, truly know him

Yes, the desire is driven by attraction

But the attraction isn’t purely physical

I love his smile

That plays a role

But it’s his personality that draws me in

Here’s the thing

I’ve felt this before

This current isn’t new

It’s been flowing for quite some time

First with one boy

Then with another

But never quite meeting his river of desire

It feels like I’m floating down this river

Never sure what’s around the bend

I know someday my river will meet his

But I am questioning

When?

If our rivers join soon

Fantastic!

But if our meeting place is still miles away

Fantastic?

How do I come to grips with the uncertainty?

The waiting?

The unknown?

First, I need to take a deep breath

Then, I need to look around

The scenery is beautiful

Here and now

It’s lush and green

Full of life

If I always look ahead

I will never see the beauty that surrounds me

So until my someday

I’m going to enjoy the ride

 DSC_0086 2

Please Give Us Grace

I am single, I am a Christian, and recently it has been brought to my attention that, as my pastor so wisely stated a few weeks ago, “The church does not have a high view of singleness.” Can I get an amen?

Now for a disclaimer, I absolutely adore both my church back home and my church at college. I know my churches are full of Jesus-loving people who are capable of speaking incredible truth into my life. That being said, this letter is to churches everywhere, including both of mine.

tumblr_n02xrwNVln1r1urdoo1_400

Dear Body of Christ,

You have many wonderful strengths. One of those strengths is your support of marriage. You also have some major weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is your lack of support for singleness. I can personally attest that as soon as a Christian hits their late teens they begin to field relationship questions from you at every turn. Questions such as, “Do you have your eye on anyone, who have you been hanging out with, when will you start dating, etc.” Even once a Christian starts dating they will constantly be asked questions about when they are going to get married. Now, I know these questions come from a place of genuine concern, and the people asking the questions have good intentions, but let me tell you, these questions are not helpful! If a single person is running after the heart of God they are a.) very aware of their singleness, and b.) on an individual journey in which God is revealing his purpose for their life one step at a time.

Here is why your approach to singleness can be so damaging. As a young believer, I respect the options and advice of older believers within my community. If the advice of my elders is sound, this respect is a very good thing. In the case of singleness, however, I do not feel that my elders always have the right advice. While my community absolutely wants what’s best for me, that desire can sometimes obstruct their view of what is actually best for me. They want me to experience falling in love, and getting married, and having kids, but they can’t necessarily see that waiting on God’s timing for those experiences will make those experiences so much better. Just because you got married at twenty doesn’t mean I have to get married at twenty, and on the flip side, just because I’m not dating doesn’t mean I don’t want to date.

The problem is that I listen to your less than sound advice. Sometimes I feel very content with my singleness, but then I come to church and you start asking questions and giving advice. If the culture tells me I should be dating, I will more than likely ignore them, but if you tell me I should be dating, I will probably listen. I respect you, but what if your advice is not what I need to hear? Did you know that when you try to “help” me in my dating life, you often make it much harder for me to figure out my own desires, and even worse, you make it harder to discern God’s will? I am in a unique season of life that will hopefully lead to marriage, but until then I need space to figure myself out. So church, I’m begging you to reevaluate the way you approach singleness. If I want advice, I’ll ask for it, but until I do, please just pray for me. Hold your many questions, and trust that God has my love life under control. If nothing else, please give us singles grace, and I promise that someday, when the time is right, I’ll invite you to my wedding.

Sincerely,

Kelly

Aslan

This weekend I went on a spring retreat. It was a fantastic experience, and I came away with so much to ponder. We spent the entire weekend diving into John 15:1-17, the vine and the branches. The theme of the weekend was abiding in God.

Saturday night during worship I received two visions from God. The first was simply an image of Aslan (the lion character from Narnia.) I could feel God telling me, “I love you like Aslan loves Lucy.” Aslan’s love is such a beautiful picture of God’s love. God’s love is fierce, and strong, and protective, and unpredictable. I absolutely love this quote from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Not Safe, But GoodGod’s love is far bigger, and richer, and deeper than anything we can wrap our minds around.

In the second vision I was walking down a path through a forest of white trees, The trees were attacking me, trying to pull me off the path. Suddenly, Aslan was there! For the rest of the vision I alternated between riding on his back and walking beside him. It reminded me that without God, I am nothing. I can’t even take one step without him. I need God! The crazy thing to me is that God is always there. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Isn’t that incredible!

As I head into this busy, busy week, I am praying that I will not take the presence of God for granted. In him I will abide!

August In Waterton, Alberta

Above me, wind does its best

to blow leaves off

the aspen tree a month too soon.

No use wind. All you succeed

in doing is making music, the noise

of failure growing beautiful.

Bill Holm

59f1e3dbd59e41a4b3ec65d7c71d8889

Last week I stumbled across this beautiful poem, and it has helped me reflect on failure. I think part of the human condition is having days of wild success, and having days of disastrous failure. Failure can be so disheartening. I’ve had my fair share of failure moments lately, so from one sinner to another I want to share some encouragement with you.

1644774_2925667_lz

Even more importantly, you are loved, no matter who you are or what you do. As you head into this week, I want to encourage those of you who have fallen to pick yourself back up, and I promise to do the same. We serve a God of infinite grace, and together, we can do this!