Monday, September 24, 2012

Eyes Open Wide (Day 7)

     June 17th, 2012     Kathmandu, Nepal
     I have been here less than a week (well, with my team) and I feel like I know them all and have been with them for weeks or months! God has brought us together in a way that only He can accomplish. I love my team so much!
     We had to get up early, but I feel so much better after getting rest! We were later for breakfast, but grace abounds and we won't be late again. In the name of Jesus, we won't. Our God is a God of order- and He takes care of us!
     We had drama training and skit practice with the team (Go First Responders!) and got so much accomplished. I feel like we are ready to share the Gospel through our drama.
     Mr MAG made our PB&J for lunch today and enjoyed serving our team. The guys are being great and filling up our water bottles all the time! I really feel like our team is family.
     We went on a prayed walk through part of Kathmandu where a lot of Tibetan refugees are staying. All of the temples here- with ever breath these people serve hundreds of gods that dont exist. My heart is breaking for these people already. They are so trapped and entangled in lies. We sand 'Break Every Chain' on the bus on the way back. The things I saw today are still sinking in, but they are laying on my heart heavily. These people need Jesus- He will rescue and redeem them!
     Dinner was great- the food here is wonderful! I got to talk with girls from the other team over supper and I enjoyed it! I haven't really gotten to talk to them since we got here to Nepal!
     We had session with Candace and spent the evening reading the word, proclaiming TRUTH! Satan may try to stop us, but God conquers with love, mercy and grace! My heart will sing no other name- Jesus! Tomorrow is our first day of ministry and I am thrilled. THIS is the reason why I am here- to proclaim truth and to come with power in the name of Jesus!
     Namaste! (Good day in Nepali.)

     Highlights of the day:
     *Breakfast was delicious! Tibetan bread, hard boiled eggs, and delicious Masala tea! It was almost like chai- but so much better! I love Nepali food! Also, whenever we say 'Namaste' to the Nepali people and grin, they turn from serious to smiling, they laugh and repeat the greeting!
     *On our prayer walk we saw a huge idol that these people would more through the streets for their festivals for their gods. The idol was made from some sort of straw, piled high. Our interpreter told us that when we arrived in Nepal, it rained and now that idol is sopping wet and soggy. We are an army that has arisen! We bring GREAT news!

     Being in Nepal for my first full day seemed like I had been there for SO MUCH LONGER! It seemed so natural to walk through the streets of Nepal, yet there was a heaviness that I could feel, almost tangible. God, please break every chain. Jesus, there is power in Your name.
Breakfast. Yummy!

The chicken skit.

Megan shares her testimony for the first time to the team.


Close Calls and Jet Lag (Day 6)

     June 16th, 2012     Nepal, Kathmandu
     Talk about close calls? We landed in India very early this morning and had to go through immigration, customs, baggage claim, ticketing, baggage check, departure immigration, security and to our gate in three hours.
     Our time was ticking as soon as we stepped off of our plans and complications kept coming. Satan tried to get in the way! Johnelle and Marissa had to go elsewhere because Johnelle did not have her India visa yet (she was planning on getting it when we got to Nepal). Then we left them, praying for them, and headed to ticketing. We couldn't find where to go, and when we were finally directed that we needed to go upstairs, we headed to the elevator. The problem was that all of the Indian men continued to push in front of us and not let us on the elevator. Finally, all of us were on the next floor with our team leader leading the way to check our bags and get our boarding passes. Then we were having issues because we had Johnelle's and Marissa's bags to check, but because they weren't with us, we had to pay extra for them. Our TL Jacob stayed behind and we went through security. Then when we were all assembled, minus Jacob, Marissa and Johnelle, we ran with all that we were to get to our gate. As we sprinted through the airport, down to the gate that was furthest away from us, we saw people pulling our cameras and taking pictures. We were shouting things at each other like 'Sliced bread! Be a communion clump! No bread crumbs!' To keep the group together, encouraging everyone who was running out of energy or in pain because of their swollen ankles.
      At last we reached our gate, everyone panting and out of breath from running while lugging our bags with us. We found that we had gotten to our gate as the words 'Final Call' were flashing on the screen, instructing us to board.
     All up to that point we had prayed and prayed and prayed! God wants us in Nepal! When we was that Marissa and Johnelle sat waiting for us, we all breathed a huge sigh of relief. We had no idea how they got there, but were glad to see them. We turned back and noticed that Jacob was sprinting towards us. We were asked to board and as we got on our plane, the details from Johnelle and Marissa spilled out. They had been unable to get through immigration because of the lack of Johnelle's visa. Instead, they were taken where they weren't supposed to be allowed to go and led to their gate, where they had been sitting for an hour waiting for us, with no idea where we were. Praise the Lord we all made it! Sweating, exhausted, extremely jet lagged and ready to be in Nepal, we settled into our seats.
     When we got into Nepal, I was overcome by its beauty. On some level it reminds me of Jamaica, but it is a very spiritual heavy country. It is so hard to see the people at their temples worshipping gods who dont exist. It is heartbreaking but I am already falling in love with this country.
     We got to our hotel and it is nice, so much nicer than what I was expecting. the Lord is going to bless us here. I am so excited to do ministry, but my jet lag is killer. I never understood it until now. IT is currently 6:30 AM on Saturday according to my body (or back home) and I haven't slept since 'Thursday night', and only for a few hours.
     We had food, showers and them more drama training. We love our room and shower- my MAG and I. The shower is just a spout in the bathroom. The bathroom is the shower! I love the hotel we are in and just relaxing with my MAG.
     I crave sleep so desperately but I am holding out for bedtime here in Kathmandu. Its almost suppertime here and then we have session and I am hoping to crash afterwards!
     I am homesick, but my family all knows I am in Nepal and are looking forward to my phonecall. I miss them, but I trust and know this is where I am supposed to be. I am in ASIA! The feeling is surreal and crazy! I can't believe I traveled over 30 hours to get here-but here I am- Praise the Lord!
     The call home was hard. I texted mom at two in the morning her time- but she texted back that she loves me and is praying for me! when I called, I could barely speak because of the tears. I got to talk to mom and dad and by the end of the call, I was crying. I love them and miss them! But I know Jesus is about to do huge things! By dinner time I was more than ready for bed. Jet lag is crazy! Praise the Lord that all of this is for His perfect purpose!
     Highlights of the day:
     *Sprinting through the airport shouting 'Sliced bread! No bread crumbs! A communion clump!' and having people stare and take pictures of us crazy people! We stay together like sliced bread when traveling. And then shouting 'TAG- Get with your TAG!' Encouraging each other not to stop but to keep running!
     *A hot shower. That's right. We have hot water! The Lord is good to give us this gift! AND we got eight hours of sleep to recover from jet lag! It is so good to get to sleep!
     *Sierra in her jet-lagged state, blowing through her pipe that is used as a prop in our drama, but shouting 'I just harpooned you!' and then blowing multiple times at the birds. Everyone is a little loopy...

     Oh my goodness. That was one of the craziest days. I remember the craziness in the airport and I remember finally sitting down on the flight to Kathmandu and crying as I shut my eyes. I didn't even know why I was upset. I was just SO tired and I didn't know what else to do. All day I was up and down emotionally and looking back I know I just needed sleep. Seriously, jet lag feels like you just want to go lie down and be unconscious for the next week. I did not like it AT ALL. But thankfully, we were well recovered the next day.
     That night when we had session, it was so hard. We went to the roof and it was dark, no lights. We worshipped but I couldn't keep my eyes open and I kept falling asleep standing up and then I would start to collapse and the girl next to me would catch me and wake me up. When she would fall, I did the same. We sat down and were urged to stay away and listen to Deepak, our partner in Nepal. But the only thing I remember him saying that night was something about ministry in the mountains. That was it. I don't remember anything else at all. How insane.

Everyone was excited/shocked to be in Nepal, especially after all it took to finally get there!

Some of the worst swollen feet/ankles that we had. Hurt so much.

We are ready for ministry...right? Maybe after a shower and a nap.

This is where our bus was parked, and we would walk here everyday from our hotel. There always seemed to be kids everywhere.

We were slightly ruffled from over 30 hours of traveling, but remember that this was pre-shower. We were all feeling much better after that.
(P.S. Steph, I love you and miss you!)

Our bed! Three little monkeys are sleeping in this bed... Our just my little Mag.

See what I mean about the shower?

This was the view from our room. It was lovely, and usually we would see people pull up on their motorcycles. A fun little lookout.

This is what jet lag looks like.

Flight Time (Day Five)

June 15th, 2012      Qatar & India
     When I write this, it is technically Saturday an 2:33AM, but my body is still on Kansas/Texas time and I am not asleep. All day I have been on planes. At 7:15 PM, Doha, Qatar time, we transfered to a new flight in one hour. We rushed off of our plane, found our TAG and headed for our next gate, and went through security again. Then we boarded our flight to Dehli, India! I am thirty minutes away from landing in India.
     Then we have a layover until we fly to Kathmandu, Nepal! For the past eight months I have been waiting for this moment! Our hard work and God's perfect faithfulness has brought us to this moment. I am so glad to be sitting on a plane next to people who love the Lord and getting ready to spend the next two months doing ministry together!
     We form a bond that is deep and born of a need for great Christian fellowship. I absolutely love the people I am with, but we have to give up what is most important to us and what we lean on to find true dependance on Him. He is so faithful and being where I am right at this moment confirms much in my heart. I am EXACTLY where He wants me!
     I feel a sadness for Dove, one of the girls in my MAG who didn't get what was needed for her Nepal visa and ended up on GE campus for the next month, in hopes that she can come with the India B team.
     She had such a great attitude when she found our and we know God has great things for her, but we will miss her! May the Lord bless her abundantly.
     I am about to land in India!!!

     Highlights of the day:
     *Laughing about swollen feet and eyes and praising the Lord for His faithfulness, and booking it with my TAG through the Qatar airport, and getting on our next flight with little time to spare.
     *Talking with the flight attendant and even though it wasn't mentioned that we are missionaries, she said it sounded like we were going to help people! They will know us by His love...

Oh my, I wrote this right before I landed in India and had one of the most insane airport expieriences of my life! But, more on that later. As I type this out, I remember Dove and am so sad she didn't get to come to Nepal and India with us. She ended up getting to go to Panama, which is great! But she was in my MAG and we would have been SO close! Well, God is faithful and I know she is exactly where she was supposed to be. I trust Him and I know she did too! It was a GREAT reunion when I got back to Texas, two months later, and saw her. I gave her a big hug and asked her how everything was. She ended up going to Panama for a month, and just staying on campus while we were in Nepal. What an amazing, flexible follower of Christ!
Our progress! We were on that plane for a very long time!

Everytime we were asked what we wanted for a meal on our flight, the three of us would ask for the same thing, even getting the same drink. This was a lovely breakfast and great Columbian coffee. (Or at least I think that's what the flight attendant said it was...)

Before I left on my trip, I promised a dear friend that every time I saw a butterfly I would pray for her. This is the first butterly that I saw.

First sunrise on the other side of the world...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Finally! (Day Four)

June 14th, 2012               Houston, Texas
     'This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on the earth!' -Keith Green
     I am finally GOING! I am sitting on a plane right now and the feeling is surreal! For the last eight months, I have waited for this and now it is here! god made the way and sent my whole team- Individually, we all needed about $5,000-$6,000 for this trip, and  there are 53 people on my project, going to Nepal. The Lord provides, and He is faithful. He hasn't brought us this far to leave us now.
     Today has been long and full of crazy mixed emotions. I started the day with food and my Quiet Time, and then packed up. I called home and talked to my family before eating lunch and getting the bus loaded. On the four hour drive to the Houston airport, I slept, talked to my mom and ate PB&J.
     When we got to the airport, we grabbed our luggage and got in our TAGs (Travel Acountability Groups.) Sierra is our TAG leader for the whole summer, even though she is only seventeen. She has been to India twice, and Nepal once before this trip, along with many other places. She is a great leader. Marissa told us to come up with a fun TAG name or theme. So, Sierra named us the Yeitis. A little crazy, I know!
     When we finally made it through security and to our gate, I called my mom for the last time in the states. I was ready to cry when she said, 'I love you.' She was at my senior class meeting, and my whole class shouted, 'We love you Leigha!' I am definetely going to miss them, but this is the Lord's work and I am so certain that I am in the perfect place.
     When I got on the huge plane and realized that I was sitting next to Beka and Michelle from my team, I was overjoyed. Praise the Lord!
     We sat down and enjoyed our 'gifts' that were given to us. Blanket, pillow, giftbag with the Taj Mahal on it ;) and headphones. Then they brought us candy and wet wipes. We feel so pampered and extremely blessed before we dive into mission life in Kathmandu.
     I slept for a long time on the fourteen hour flight, but the food was great and the company even better!
     Praise the Lord for His blessings!

     Highlights of the day:
     *Getting ready to board the flight and crying with Beka, Julia and Daniel, but laughing through it because we didn't want to cry. But the reality of 'leaving everything we have to follow Jesus' hit us hard. We are ready to follow Him with all we have, to give ourselves up for it, but saying goodbye is so very hard.
     *Sitting down on the flight and picking up the things in our seats, squeling 'We got gifts!' We slept in style with our eyemasks and earplugs. Good sleep! Jet lag to come...

I sit here at home, whe I have grown up and I just think of how crazy it is that just two months ago I was on the other side of this planet. It is so hard to fathom! But I am so thankful that God sent me! It is hard to remember exactly what it felt like to be standing in line with my boarding pass getting ready to get on my flight to go to the other side of the world. I know I was a little scared and a little but overwhelmed, but I was also so excited. This was what I had worked so long and so hard for! Praise the Lamb for bringing me to where I am. =)

Packing to leave Texas and fly to Nepal!
Our housing! The longhouse or dome. Actually pretty nice place to stay!

Outside of our little dome. Number 12

Those are all of our suitcases, going on the bus as we get ready to head to the airport. Sliced bread style.

Everyone on our project, headed to Nepal!

I told you we were excited about our gifts!

Michelle and I couldn't believe that we were actually on our plane, leaving the country.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fear NOT! (Day Three)

June 13th, 2012 - Garden Valley, Texas

     'Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.' -A.B. Simpson. Prayer is so powerful. Today was a day of evangalism training, but without prayer we would be nowhere.
     I was taught how to share the Gospel in other cultures and I know that His truth is for EVERY Nation! I am seeking the Lord, but today I began to fear. Fear being away from my family for so long. Fear speaking to people I do not know. My heart was fearful.
     My team's name is 'First Responders' because we will be the first to come with the powerful word of god where it is so desperately needed! Our verse is Dueteronomy 31:6 - And it commands me to FEAR NOT for He is with me! But I let myself get so upset inside because I lost sight of this important truth!
     I met my MAG, which is three other girls, including my MA (missionary advisor) wo I will be spending the summer with, reading the word of God and praying together. We will be rooming together in Nepal. I already love my MAG and I trust that God is going to do big things in us and through us!
     We were comissioned tonight, to GO, to preach the Gospel. Candace, my PD (Project Director), told us that 'God has not brought us this far to leave us here.' And He hasn't, He has bigger things for us. Tomorrow we are headed to Nepal!
     At our commissioning ceremony, we lifted our voices to the LORD. We are all begging God to EXPLODE our hearts with love for these people we haven't even met yet! Not a love of ourselves, because I cannot love the way He does. But I asked the Lord to give me a love I have never known for people He loves enough that He DIED for them! I asked that the Lord would show me how to love them and care for them as I care for my own family.
     Then we went out, and my TL's (team leaders) prayed for each of us. When my TL, Andy, came to me, I asked him to pray for boldness, that I would fear not because the Lord is with me whereever I go. Andy asked me, 'Do you believe it?' 'Yes!' I answered. And he repeated the question, 'Do you believe it!?' 'YES!' I shouted. And he prayed for me and as he did, my tears fell and the fear that had wrapped itself around me melted and left. Satan is trying to distract me but when I recognize it, and call upon the Lord, He ultimately wins.
     Fear not! For He is with me.

     Highlights of the day:
     *Discussing Chapel with girls from my team. Their insight is encouraging and so good to hear. When we speak, God moves. that is key and nothing we try to do without the Lord will ever suceede. When we speak, GOD MOVES.
     *Dancing to learn how to share the Gospel! Candace teaching us a dance with the words, 'Two, Two, Two, Rock, Wages, Cancer, Chair, What!?' I can share the Gospel by just remembering our crazy dance! There is good news and bad news. Two, Two, Two, Rock, Wages, Cancer, chair, WHAT!?

     Ah what a beautiful day this was! I remeber sitting in Chapel, worshipping the Lord, everyone raising their voice to the Lord, different words, and being so washed in the pureness of our Lord! I was so overwhelmed by the fact that hundreds of people my age stood in that room, every one of them caught up in their own relationship with our Lord.
     When Ron Luce (the founder of Global Expeditions) got on stage to speak to us before sending us out, I listened to him ask us to beg God to explode our hearts for the people. How all of this time and effort and fundraising will be worth it. He spoke of how his heart exploded after each of his children was born, and urged us to ask God to do the same with the people we were about to minister to. At that moment, I asked God to give me the same love for the people I would minister to that I have for my family. All day I was so fearful about going off and leaving them for two months, but if I could feel that same love for the Nepali and Indian people, I knew my ministry would be so much better.
    Overall, I know how blessed I was and looking back I see just how beautifully God orchestrated every day of my summer. I am so thankful that He does the same thing with my whole live! Praise Him, for He is good!

Eating lunch and spending time with the Nepal project.

Comissioning Ceremony. Each country is represented, and as each person with your county's flag leaves the building, you follow.

At the cross, getting ready to be comissioned.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pressing on... (Day Two)

     June 12th, 2012 - Garden Valley, Texas Day Two

     The quote I posted yesterday about how the missionaries 'died before they got there' seems more appropriate for today.
     all day was drama training. We worked hard and prayed for grace when we fail. Hours upon hours of doing an 8-count and nailing out steps because THIS is our tool to share the Gospel! The ground in the pavillion, where we spent our day training, ahs fiber glass in it. After rolling around, kneeling in it, and 'falling' into it, we itch. But because of God's grace, we didn't spend our afternoon complaining. Instead, we focused on the true prize- christ. When I felt my thoughts were becoming unkind, I prayed for Grace. Grace. Grace. Grace. And God met me and covered me with His grace. It is incredibly hard, but I am not doing it through myself- God is in strength seperating me from my human selfishness and ultimate sin. I can't love like He does if I seek to do it on my own.
     This work I get to be a part of, not only this summer but for my whole life, it is His work. I am not reliable or dependable, and I cannot change hearts. But I trust that everything God tells me is completely true. And He says He is a miracle worker- I believe it! Therefore I don't have to have the right words or perfect drama, because it is God who does the work. But I MUST put the effort in, do my ABSOLUTE best because I am representing Christ! 'God's work done in God's way will never lack supply.' - Hudson Taylor. God supplies ALL of our needs and the needs of others!
     God uses the willing. I am willing. My hope is that God will completely wreck me during this trip. That He will change me to the point that I am never the same.
     I have so MANY failures. But praise the Lord, because He is faithful and righteous to forgive me my sins and to cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness. Even my thoughts. My judging, unfocused, corrupted thoughts.
     Even though this day was incredibly long, it was completely worth it! We are going to use our drama to share the Gospel! We had drama training until 11:30 as night, but it is so worth it. This is the Gospel and we are representing Him! A-S-I-A, Asia! I am going to Nepal so very soon and I am bringing the good news to those who have NEVER heard! Praise the Lord!
     Acts 14:7 - And they were preaching the Gospel there.
     May I preach the gospel EVERYWHERE because this is truth! Amen.

     Highlights from today:
  •      Being with the team all day and joyfully praising the Lord 'just because'. Rolling in fiber glass and practicing our drama over and over until our 'miracle man' rises from the dead. My team loves Jesus!
  • Our projects chant- 'A-S-I-A, Asia! A-S-I-A, Asia! A-S-I-A, Asia! LOVES God
                                    A-S-I-A, Asia! A-S-I-A, Asia! A-S-I-A, Asia! NEEDS God
                                    A-S-I-A, Asia! A-S-I-A, Asia! A-S-I-A, Asia! OBEYS God
                                    In the Nation of Asia, Theres a new generation,
                                   Designed from creation, Jesus Christ our motivation!
                                    A-S-I-A, Asia! A-S-I-A, Asia! A-S-I-A, Asia! LOVES GOD
  • Worship was amazing! God speaks to me and I get to worship Him with all that I am! He is worthy of all prause and my heart just sings because of Him- ALL He has done! Reading His word breathes life in me because it is truth and wisdom- good stuff!

This day was so hard because of all of the training, but obviously every second was worth it! From sun up to sun down, I was loving it. The day kind of felt like a summer camp, yet I knew that I was not at camp. I was getting ready for a whole new kind of summer. God definetely breathed peace and joy in my soul even through a day that seemed it would never end! I loved getting to know my team better and learning what we were going to be doing all summer, but it wasn't easy. Drama training. Ah.

The Pavillion where we Drama Training was held.

Inside the pavillion... fiber glass.

Drama training! We will finish this...
Eating lunch with the Nepal project, taking a break from training.

PB&J! Yes, this is what we ate for lunch all summer. Can I get a 'yummy!'?

Just the Begining (Day One)

     When James Calvart went out as a missionary to the cannibals of the Fiji Islands, the ship captain tried to turn him back, saying 'You will love your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages.' To that, Calvart replied, 'We died before we came here.'

     June 11th, 2012 - Garden Valley, Texas 
     I have seven minutes to explain all that happened today! I flew to DFW from Kansas City, met Brittany from Georgia who is on my project. We hung out together in the airport and then rode on a two hour bus ride to campus. Worship was amazing- wrecking! I'm getting ready to be wrecked. Registration was quick after worship, and then off to the Village for bed! The day has been a whirlwind! Meeting people, worshipping, smiling, laughing and giving myself completely to Jesus! God cares for me and calues me and wants every part of me! Best of all, I get to sacrifice myself for others.
     Being a missionary isn't glamorous, but it is so worth it. I am just getting used to the thought that this is day one of fifty three! God's gonna do so many amazing things! He gave me over $5,000 to be here and it is NOT about myself! It is ALL about Him and bringing praise to HIS name!
     Even when I am sweaty, covered in dirt and don't feel like I could possibly handle being kind for another second, He takes over and covers me with His grace. I do not rely on myself but Him. I am so glad to be here.

This journal entry seems like it was so long ago! I can't completely remember how I felt that day, and how crazy it all was and kind of overwhelming. When I got to the airport, I went to baggage claim and was met be GE staff and then taken to wait in the airport for such a long time. But during that time, I was able to meet people who were going all over the world! Romania, Russia, South Africa, Panama and so much more!
Most of all, I was so very excited to see all that God had in store for my team and for me.

On my flight to DFW for training!

 View from my plane.

Time with Jesus on my flight!

     Global Expeditions Headquarters! (Teen Mania Campus)