Saturday, September 21, 2013


     Tonight as I listened to this song, I was reminded just how much each of us seek after satisfaction. Jesus truly is the only thing that can satisfy our souls. No matter what else we try, He is the only one able to do it. People seek satisfaction in love, relationships, social status, and money. But this is just leaving everyone a little bit emptier and seeking a little bit harder after the things which won’t truly fill them up. When Jesus was talking to the woman at the well, He told her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again.” (John 4:13) I don’t think He was speaking of the well water. I think He was talking about all the men in her life, the satisfaction she sought from all of those relationships. But He knew what would satisfy her, for he told her, “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:14) Not only will we be satisfied with Jesus, we will be overflowing with Him. Absolutely nothing else will satisfy our souls. We can try and try and try. We can look for satisfaction in friends. We can look for it in our jobs. We can look for it in thousands of things that can never satisfy us. All of them fail. But we have a perfect Savior who purchased us at a deep price, and He fills us up. We won’t ever be thirsty again. We’ll be filled up to the point of showering it upon others. HE is all we need. All we will ever need, Jesus satisfied. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

I'm Headed to Africa!

     I can see the faces. My heart starts to beat faster with anticipation. When I pray, my mind can't stop thinking about it. In such a short amount of time, my arms will hold African children, my hands will be put to work in any job needed, my heart and mind will be poured out as I share with everyone around me who Jesus is and what He has done. I will be missing my sister's due date, the day my nephew or niece will join us in this world. But I am reminded that this baby has many to love him, but there are so many who are unloved and I will go wrap my arms around them and love like Jesus did when He was here.
     In just eight short days I will be on a plane headed for Texas, where I will once again train for my mission trip. Then, on the following Tuesday I will be headed to South Africa for a month, and then on to Uganda. It has been a journey these last several months in raising over $6,000 in preparation and getting everything that I need. But the Lord has been teaching me so much and I am looking forward to what He has in store for me.
     As I reread my journal entries from last summer I am reminded of the things I don't want to happen this time. I do not want to spend my whole summer being homesick. Yes, I love my family, but I do not want to be so homesick that my heart is not in the ministry. I want to be focused and energized, empowered by our Lord.
     I want to be bold in doing exactly as the Spirit leads me to do. Thank you, Jesus, for taking me on this journey. I am excited for all you have for me!

I am so ready! <3

India - What I NEVER Want To Forget

     *The woman at the brick village who had pain all over and wanted us to pray for her. Jessica and I did. She had a red, Hindu dot on her forehead, but still we prayed and God healed her. She told us she served other gods, but because Jesus healed her, she was now only going to serve Jesus. She wanted to pray for her husband, that he would be healed. We were unable to go to him, but that woman was full of joy when she left us.


     *The three people healed in one day at the gypsy village. A woman who had been suffering from stomach pain for three years. A woman crying because of the pain her swollen feet caused for three months. A small child, a little girl burning with fever for three days. All were healed. The girls skin was cool to the touch when we left.

     *The children I shared the Gospel with- over 20 of them and all of them wanted Jesus! I went to each one and blessed them, praying for them. They grinned as I put my hand to their heads and prayed for them.

     *The demon possessed woman who had three demons before already. We stood outside the church while Jacob and Joy were in the church praying for the demons to flee! When we realized what was going on, we circled up by MIGs and prayed too! When we were on our bus driving away, Jacob told us that the demon had left her.

     *The huge leper colony we went to. The beautiful man with no fingers who couldn't communicate with me but just sand beautifully to me, even if it wasn't with perfect pitch. Later I found out that before we came he felt like an orphan, unloved and uncared for. Abandoned. But because we came, he knew he was loved by God and us. We prayed for God to heal him, but sometimes God works in ways we don't see on the inside.

    No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.

Ending is Just Beginning (Day Fifty Three)

     August 2nd, 2012 - Garden Valley, Texas/ Home
     It is over. MONTHS of fundraising, filling out forms, praying hard and now all of it is over. I am home. But am I really? Yes, I love my family. I am elated to be reunited with them, but I left parts of my heart on the other side of the world.
     I have never felt this way before. I have listened to Kara and her stories from Peru. God moved this summer. When we speak, God moves.
      I am home. I was treated to roast beef and a room full of balloons  flowers and chocolate. I am loved. But so many people are not. I have to go back, and I have to ALWAYS be the hands and feet of Jesus.
     My trip might be over but I will never be the same person who left two months ago. It is going to be hard. Sometimes, I might have to stand alone. What do I say when I am asked how my trip was? I had many encounters with God and I am closer to Him than ever before. I saw people healed, children get saved, adults renounce their false gods. 
     Never underestimate our God.
First time together in 53 days!

FINALLY! No PB&J for lunch!

All the stuff we brought for our trips.

The balloons to welcome me home!

Welcome back to the sunflower state! Chocolate, too!

Goodbyes & Hellos! (Day Fifty Two!)

     August 1st, 2012 - Garden Valley, Texas
     How do I spend two months in two countries, spreading the Gospel and then go home? Today I spent all day in session listening to that question being discussed and talking about how to take all that I have learned home. I am praying about what is next and where Jesus wants me. I have seen people healed, deaf men hear and so many come to know Jesus through our drama.
     Jet lag has been hard today. At 2am I was wide awake and ate crackers with Grace. At 2pm, I was ready for bed. I am leaning on my savior ot carry my through everything
     Goodbyes tonight were agonizing! These people I have lived with for one or two months- I am leaving them. I won't be in constant fellowship with these Christians my age who are on FIRE!
     I cried saying goodbye, so sad to leave but very thankful for what God has done through and in every one of us. None of us are the same. I watched so many people get SO close to Jesus. I am not sure how many of us are ready to go home, but the Lord is with us. He won't ever leave us- never ever.
     Goodbye Nepal, goodbye India. Goodbye First Responders. Goodbye Overcomers. Goodbye GE friends and leaders. Goodbye PB&J. Goodbye 'cows in the road.' 
     Hello to a changed life. Hello to closeness with Jesus  Hello to so many things. I will never be the same, ever again.

Sitting in the hallway, praying and remembering.

We won't stop. 
My team was lighting candles on the last night, representing how our light will shine.

Together as a team for the last time. Goodbye Overcomers!


Goodbye, Grace!

Where's My Towel? (Day Fifty One)

     July 31st, 2012 - Kochi, India/ Doha, Qatar/ Texas, USA
     This is the longest day of my life. According to the time I have been living in for the past two months it is 11pm and since yesterday I have only had about six hours of sleep. In Texas, it is a little past noon. I am trying not to sleep but I am exhausted.
     I am glad to go home because I am wiped out emotionally, exhausted  as well as physically. But I feel like I left part of my heart back in India and I won't get it back. Has this trip turned out like I anticipated? No. But, I also had a very small idea of what to expect. This trip is not a safe environment, a perfect place to serve God (although it was perfect for me because god wanted me there.) Instead, it was so imperfect that I got a feel for what full time missions might be like. Plans change, sometimes five times in as many minutes. Flexibility is vital. I am not a very flexible person, but on this trip God has taught me how to become more flexible and just go with the flow. I do not HAVE to know what is going on next. I just need to trust the one who is in control. I've thought about where God wants me next, but I just don't know. I am relying on the fact that He will let me know when it is necessary for me to know. 'For we will walk by faith not by sight.' 2 Corinthians 5:7 I will NEVER be the same. I keep repeating this because in my heart, I won't be the same. Now I want my actions to reflect what my heart is now.
     I don't know if I will ever go back to Nepal or India, but I have a sense that maybe one day I will, and Lord willing, I would go back. But I know my heart is for all nations, not just those countries  I want to travel the world, taking the Gospel everywhere I go. Where next and what next, Lord?

At 1am (Texas time) we all got to campus and went to the showers. Our project was the only one in the showers and we were loud and excited to be there. However, Brittany tossed her towel in India and forgot she needed it for Texas. So she used her pajama pants as a towel. Creativity, right there. You know this is a great solution.

The Dream Team's Back! (Day Fifty)

     July 30th, 2012 - Chennai, India/ Kochi, India
     I am on my way back to the USA. How has two months flown by so quickly? It seems like just the other day that I got on the plane in Houston to make my way to Nepal. I have loved every second (Even the hard times) because God has me in the perfect place. I am so glad that I am a Ctripper, and not and A or B tripper.
     I packed up and left, saying goodbye to the Btrippers until we meet up in Texas, and leaving India! I have spent so much time in an airport today. Curing our flight to Kochi, Michelle, Beka and I talked about what life will be like when we get home. How will we be able to adjust and live differently than we used to? At our 9 hour layover in Kochi, I got on the internet and looked at FB pictures. On my baptism photos someone commented '?'. I am not sure I am ready to go home and answer all of the questions. God has wrecked my life. How do I put that into words? 
     My heart is different and God has affirmed so many things in me that I am excited about. I am also sad to leave this great time and season.
     I have been delirious today because we have stayed up so late- our connecting flight to Doha boarded at 4am. Everything seems funny at that time. I have laughed hard because Marissa tried 'magic tricks' that the 'trick' is obvious.
     These people I have lived with for two months are my family. I am back with the dream team: all of the Ctrippers! I don't even want to imagine what it will be like NOT to see their faces every day and hear what is on their hearts. God is going to use every one of us but it won't be easy. It never is. He has stretched us and will stretch us even more than when we all get home. By God's grace, I will stand firm, steadfast.

Saying goodbye to the B-trippers until we all get back to Texas. We left many hours before them.

I love this girl. She is inspiring.

The end? (Day Forty Nine)

     July 29th, 2012 - Chennai, India
     Today was my last full day in Chennai. I was in session several times today about missions, statistics of how FEW people know who Jesus is! My heart is so convinced that this is where God wants me- as a missionary.
     A long life is not necessarily a full life. I don't need a long life. I need a full life. (The Martyrs Prayer). I came on this trip wanting to know what God has for me next- what does He want me to do with my future? Does want me to be a missionary? Is is something that I am passionate about?
     Yes. The answer is yes. God has wrecked my life in a thousand ways and He's not done. I dedicate my life to sharing the Gospel ad I honestly believe it will be in another country than my home.
     Today my team did 'Hot Seat' for each person, encouraging each other in how God has changed us and what each of us thrive doing and how we are like Christ.
     Everything that was said to me was about how I am sweet, friendly and kind. That is Jesus. I am not the person I was. I have become those things simply because of Jesus. I am encouraged. I am ready to be all of these things but I feel like I am leaving a part of my heart here.
     This is not the end. Sometimes it feels like the end, but it is not the end. This is a beginning and god has so many great things in store. I will obey Him, because I know that when I do my life is completely changed.
     Jesus is telling me, 'My sweet Leigha, just wait. You are sad because your trip is almost over, but what is coming next is going to be even better. Stay close- you are in this thing forever.' 
     And I am. I gave my complete life to Jesus and I am in this forever. I love it. Goodbye to this ministry in India, but NEVER to Jesus wrecking my life. 
My sweet sister Katie bought me oreos and gave me this purse! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I'm SWAG. (Day Forty Eight)

     July 28th, 2012 - Chennai, India
     Today was our last free day in India and I have been thinking about all of the relationships I have made on this trip. All of these amazing people, who love the Lord, push me on towards Jesus.
     I will miss them and the way they encourage me but I know God has so many things for me when I get home and I am excited for the changes that will come.
     We drove to Chennai, in the city, and went to an Indian shopping mall. We ate lunch at KFC and it was so good to have some of our normal food. Crystel was Brittany, Beth, Tommy and my shopping MA. We called them SWAG, Shopping With an Approved Group. She is so sweet and we were able to buy some fun things to take home as gifts. I love that shopping here essentially means giving.
     I have been blessed so abundantly to be able to buy things for my friends and family back home.
     We got back to our hotel and started packing. My heart hurts as I prepare to go home because I know I won't have this constant support of people always around me. I talked with Julia at dinner, and both of us are excited about the changes that are going to happen when we get home.
     Ministry here is over. I almost feel like I should be going to another country for another month- but I am going to the US, where Jesus is needed and the lukewarm Church needs to be revived.
     Go, share the Gospel, be the hands and feet of Jesus  love the way He loves and stop judging. Do it. You won't. 
My SWAG! Plus Michelle.


The Lord (Day Forty Seven)

     July 27th, 2012 - Chennai, India
     The ministry here in India for this time is over. This morning we went to a government school with over 1,300 students. The principal welcomed us and gave us cold coke to drink. We were not allowed to talk about Jesus, and the woman in charge was supposed to welcome us and then leave, but instead she stayed for our whole program.
     The students danced for us, sang and welcomed us. We then did our chicken skit and doctor skit and then I shared my testimony without mentioning Jesus, and instead saying Lord. I have never shared my testimony about Jesus and not mentioned His name. Grace and I were talking about how we felt like spies, going in and not supposed to talk about Jesus, but just spreading Him around anyway and being an example FOR Him.
     After my testimony, Julia shared how they can be good students, Hadley shared about being a good friend, and Shannon reminded them the important qualities for being the hope of their country. 
     We left and went to our FINAL ministry site of this trip. We invited many people and then got all geared up to do our drama for the last time, in a little dirt area right beside the road. The sky was full of clouds when I went out for 'Pleasure', my pleasure ribbon was blowing so hard in the wind that I couldn't really dance with it. We prayed and prayed against rain  and monsoon storms and it did not rain until we got back to our hotel. My MIG went and spoke wit a huge group of women and shared the Gospel. We asked their names and all of them were so sweet. Several of them wanted to put their trust in Jesus and many of them go to church. We prayed over them, encouraged them to read the Word, go to church and pray for Jesus  We got on the bus as the sun went down and a beautiful sunset ignited the sky. The way the sky looked is how my heart felt- a beautiful ending for two months on this side of the world.
     After ministry, we went to one of the pastors' house, drank tea and ate cookies. We prayed for the family and the group of believers that gathered in the pastors house.
     They said they were so thankful for us, but I am so blessed by them. They are giving all of themselves for this work and doing a great job, by the blessing of the Lord. Not surprisingly  we sang our way home for a while, then I talked to Grace about going home. Christ has changed us so much and we are not the same people who left two months ago. How will we let Christ change who we are at home? Who we are here is the 'real' us, who God wants us to be and we want that to carry on into our lives at home. Both of us were baptized and we love being able to leave all of that old stuff behind. I am completely new and I cannot get over it!
     After supper, our MA's went out and we all painted nails and talked. When Jessica came back, our MAG talked about how amazing every person is on our team and how each person is a blessing but also gifted differently. we went to bed so glad with the people God has put us together to live with, worship with, laugh with and minister with for two months. Thank you, Lord!

I am sharing my testimony with all of these kids, without mentioning Jesus.

She danced for us.

Grace left her scarf on the bus. So we are sharing.

Testimonies (Day Forty Six)

     July 26th, 2012 - Chennai, India
     After breakfast, Bee talked with all of the girls getting baptized and explained how it would work. Then I went and changed before heading to the pool. We all got in, fifteen of us. Marissa was baptized and then all of our TL's lined up to baptize us. When it was my turn, I went to Andy and he asked why I wanted to get baptized. I explained to my whole India project that I am dead to my old self, alive in Christ and I want this public declaration to say I choose to give my whole life to Christ, because He gave everything for me. When I came out of the water, I felt so free and renewed. God has set me free from so much sin and changed my heart. The old is gone, the new has come.
     Our team played the 'knot game' together but it was so hard and did not go well. 'Jesus' (aka Jake, our miracle man from the drama) gave us 'grace' to help us get untangled. Of course it was an analogy for life, but I just enjoy spending time with my team.
     My MAG spent time together before we got on the bus for ministry. Katie and Jessica can make me laugh so hard. They are great roommates and of course we have times where we get a little bit annoyed with one another, but we don't yell or fight. If I can spend a month in the same room, living with all of these girls and Jesus gives me the strength to extend grace often then He can give me strength to do the same with my family at home.
     We went to a school today and did our program. Afterwards, I talked with seven girls, about Jesus, what they saw in the drama and what they wanted to do. They all wanted to follow Jesus after I explained what He did for them and we prayed together. I really wanted them to understand and I kept telling them that Jesus is the One true God.
     I have been praying for a chance to share my testimony, and when I was talking with them I realized that they are the same age I was when I gave my whole life to Jesus. I love when Jesus opens opportunities for me when I ask for specific ones. He is so good! 
     I left feeling so good and thankful I get to be here and share the Gospel with girls the same age as me when I accepted Jesus and gave Him my life.
     The village we went to was huge and we walked a long way to invite people to come. There was a dirt road that led to small communities in the village. we invited many people to come and they joyfully said yes.
     When our drama was over, I juut began to pray for healing for people around me and blessing children. I din't have a translator but I prayed and prayed. One woman who I prayed for went to another person for prayer and he prayed for her hurting hunched over back. It straightened and her pain vanished.
     While we were praying, a woman fell over onto our things and the village people said she had demons and would have spasms often. I am at a loss to try to explain how it felt watching her lay on the found and seeing so many people praying for her, hearing one person say, 'Satan, leave'. The oppression is great here, but God can and will break the chains.
     We sang and praised God all the way home. IT has become a habit and I don't want to stop. In a week I will be home, but the closeness I have found with Jesus, I never want to walk away from. 
     to show Jessica we appreciate her as our MA and to build her up, we told her how wonderful she is and then washed her laundry for her. I love serving her and I want to find ways to serve when I am home.
     I will never be the same as the girl who left home two months ago on this crazy adventure.

Washed by the water!

We all got baptized! (Including Cryss's watch)

We are so blessed.

I love her expression!

We were all about to get in the water!

Talking to the girls about Jesus and sharing my testimony.

Time together!

Merry July? (Day Forty Five)

     The place where God calls you is the place where your deepest gladness and the worlds deepest hunger meet.

      July 25th, 2012 - Chennai, India
     MERRY CHRISTMAS! I love Christmas and celebrating Jesus' birth. We woke up to find Marissa playing Christmas music for us. After I was ready, I talked to Marissa and Joy, and braided Marissa's hair. I asked them about baptism and talked about getting baptized tomorrow. They told me their stories and what it means to them to be baptized. I prayed about it all day yesterday and today I really think I should. 
     At breakfast we sang songs, the boys gave us crackers and nutella as a gift! The simplest things are some of the best gifts. I have a renewed appreciation for simple things, like a small child. During quiet time, I called home and asked for my parents' blessing for me to be baptized. They said it did not make a difference to them and they know I am already saved, but if I feel like I should, they are okay with it. I explained why I want to. I was baptized when I was young, but I was not a new person. I was not dead to my old self. This is just a symbolism of what Christ has done in me. I spent the rest of my quiet time reading verses about baptism. Dad said that I am old enough to make my own decision for Christ. 
     We exchanged Christmas gifts. I gave away drink mix, a fan and a flashlight and I got two energy bars and soap. Sierra shared her Doritos and we sang.
     On the way to ministry, the other MIG made sandwiches for us to give us a break. At our first ministry site, we did Children's ministry and they welcomed us into their small school with lemons, as a gift. We split into small groups, and we went into this large room, divided by small walls into classrooms. I shared John 3:16 with them and explained the Gospel. I love being a teacher for them and sharing the best news ever!
     We returned to the same village we wet to yesterday and went to the church and prayed for the pastor. We all went to the bathroom and when we came back to the church, our TL's were praying for a demon possessed woman. I don't know how to explain it, but I could feel the oppression  We all prayed outside of the church. We walked back to the bus and Jake explained that the woman had had demons before and today the demon was cast out of her.
     The next village we went to was only a short distance away, but many of them did not know what Jesus did for them. We went out to invite, and for the second time a dog started growling and barking at us. The dogs here are scary but we always calmly walk away and smile to the people we were inviting. We did our drama and then my MIG had to stay with all of our stuff and the sound box. We prayed hard and I picked people out of the crowd to pray for. Joy calls it sniping. You pick someone and just start praying for them, they don't even know. The woman I prayed for started talking with one of the MIGs and I was so glad.
     We left for the hotel and sang all the way home, praising the Lord. I didn't talk with a lot of people today, but I know prayer is powerful and I love praying for others. 
     When I crawl into bed tired, I know it has been a great day of ministry. I will give my ALL for the Gospel.

Jessica dressed up like santa by using her headband, toilet paper, and my red leggings. Oh my!

The Christmas gifts!

The Christmas tree!

The 12 days of GE Christmas.

My gifts!

The school we went to. <3

It's Not a Competition! (Day Forty Four)

     July 24th, 2012 - Chennai, India
     Merry Christmas Eve! Only one more day until we celebrate Christmas in July! This morning I called home and talked to my parents. 2 minute phone calls are one of the hardest and best parts of this trip. I love talking to my parents, but the time is so short!
     We had session this morning and shared stories of what god has done and encouraged each other to press on! Bee told us that two people are getting baptized and said if anyone else would like to be baptized, to tell her. I am praying about it. I was baptized when I was young, and God has completely changed me. The old me is gone and I want to have that represented by being baptized. I want the blessing of my parents before I decide, but all of today I have thought and been praying about it.
     We made Christmas stockings during our team time and everyone is getting excited. Today is such a good day. I am energized and excited about ministry. I can't believe how few days left I have here! Every day I am a little more overwhelmed by the closeness of the end of my time in India this summer.
     Our first site was a school in one of the higher caste communities. We did the drama, but when we exploded from the tomb, when 'Jesus' rose from the dead, I hit my head, hard on the group. I told Joy and she checked my head, found a bump and made me sit down. I sat with Grace, who is throwing up today. She told us that we are not having a competition to see who can be more sick. I was not allowed to sleep even though I was drowsy.
     It was hard for me not to be doing ministry, especially when I felt so energized. I prayed during our next site for health, for us and for all of the people. We are returning to this village tomorrow, praise the Lord. But even though I sat out, I am learning how important prayer is. If I went out on ministry, I would be praying and I can pray when I am not talking to people. I love talking to Jesus and He has been showing me just how powerful prayer is. At that village, the people were very hard to the Gospel and wanted us to leave.
     Something exciting today is that our bus driver is considering giving his life to Christ  Aaliyah has developed a relationship with him and he watched our drama yesterday. When he was born, he almost didn't live but a Christian prayed for a miracle for him. We are all praying that he will commit His life to following Christ. Our ministry is even with our bus driver. On the way home, we stopped at the hospital and got my head checked out. I was told by my entire team that they were praying for me and Pastor S said he was praying for me as well. The doctor said I just had a bad headache and let me go to sleep. we went to the bathroom in a sketchy hallway of the hospital, where frogs and lizards were everywhere and it was dark. I have so many amusing stories about bathroom experiences  I love 'roughing it' and living this missionary life. That was my second time in a hospital in another country. 
     On the bus ride home, my whole bus prayed and sang praises to God for the victory He has already won. And He has chosen us as His people to go fourth and fight, but He has won the battle.
     After dinner, I crawled into bed and fell right asleep, seeking relief from my headache. An hour later Jessica woke me up because of a knock on the door. Well, both Katie and Jessica talk in their sleep and sleepwalk. I told her to go back to sleep but then I heard the knock. She answered the door to find Joy and Bee on the other side, wanting me to call home about my doctors visit. My mom was a little worried when she answered the call from India and it was Joy. She gave me the phone and I explained I was fine and I'll be okay. I love how much my mom cares for me and I am so thankful for the blessing she is to me. I am a new person in Christ. I will never be the same after what God has done in me on this trip.

Joy taking care of the 'sickies'. 

The team doing ministry with the kids.

Precious girl.

No Longer an Orphan (Day Forty Three)

     July 23rd, 2012 - Chennai, India
     I am in India. I am on the complete opposite side of the world from where my home is. I have been on this side of the world for over a month. I don't understand and it is hard for me to fathom that I am so far from home. God chose me to come here. I don't want to let my Savior down. 
     For breakfast, I don't usually eat the food because it is hard for me to get down. Instead I eat crackers and braid girls' hair at breakfast. Jessica tells me jokingly that it is my spiritual gift. But it is a good way for me to serve others and value them higher than myself.
     Our team had team time and played duck, duck, goose on the roof. It was dangerous and so many people got sun burnt  I will always remember that I served others and shared the Gospel on this trip, but I will also remember how many games we played and how much we laughed together. We made lunch and ate here at the hotel. Oranges and crackers with out PB&J! Such a blessing! We sat in the hallway and I talked with girls from the other team and it was nice to again talk with girls I spent time with in Nepal. I miss my team, but God is teaching me how to be content with my new team. We have so few days left of ministry and I wonder where all the time has gone. My summer is almost over, but I have seen God completely wreck me and change my life here-everything will be different when I go home. God has used me to bring His people back to Him and in doing so I have learned to be bold and seize every opportunity. What will He do with me in this last week?
     Our first ministry site we went to was with the other team and it was a leper colony. I sat next to this man who had missing toes, no fingers and rotting teeth. His eyes were clouded with cataracts and the flies swarmed all over him. But I sat next to him, took his knobby hands in mine and talked with him. Because of the language barrier, I couldn't understand him. He started singing for me and praising the Lord. After the other team did the drama, Jake asked who wanted to accept Jesus and almost everyone raised their hand. We prayed with two women. One of them was old, with only one tooth and she wore sunglasses inside the building, a community center. Her smile was bright and she was one of the sweetest ladies I have met. After we prayed with her, I went back to the man who sang. He was talking to our TL and told him that he has always felt alone, an orphan, but because we came he no longer feels that way. He feels valued. That is the refreshing, redemptive powerful love of God.
     We returned to the village we went to yesterday so we could do our drama. It went well, even though mostly kids came. 29 kids spoke with a woman about the Gospel. Aaliyah shared her testimony and this woman wanted to give her life to Jesus  She said she knew it would be hard, because her husband is Hindu, but she still wanted to. None of this is of us- Christ is doing it all. 
     Before we left, we had tea at the church. The ministry days here feel so short compared to Nepal, and it gives me even more of a reason to make the days count. 
     Mom told me about Devin, a man who is her age with a wife and three kids, he had a heart attack and is on life support. I announced to my whole project and we are all praying for a miracle for him.
     We had 'crunch club' tonight and 20 girls worked out together in the hallway. It is just fun to live with a bunch a girls. 
     Before bed we worshiped and praised the Lord. I give my heart completely to you, Jesus.

Doing ministry. =) Love these people!

I loved listening to this guy!

He was such a joy to listen to. He feels like an orphan no longer.

Above Our Language (Day Forty Two)

     July 22nd, 2012 - Chennai, India
     God is my translator. I am holding onto that truth. Our day began much earlier and we left our hotel at 9:00am for church service. The church was small, behind a building next to the road. We were warmly welcomed and joined them in worshiping our Savior. We found out that the man who lives in the house that is in front of the church is not a christian, but he helped physically build the church and refinished it after a flood came through. Today he felt he needed to come to church and today is the day of his salvation! He accepted Christ and now is committed to Him.
     We ate lunch in the church and then had our quiet time there. The Lord has spoken to me so much- I am dependent on Him. I do NOT want that to change when I return home.
     Our ministry was going house to house, inviting people to our drama tomorrow, sharing our testimonies and presenting the Gospel. It did not work well. Our translator didn't understand her job. She didn't understand us completely ad she wouldn't translate our words. One man didn't understand why we were there, but said he would come to our drama. We got one of the local pastors to help us at our next home with  translation. A woman, with one side of her face deformed, sat holding her baby. We shared the Gospel the best we could with translation issues and made sure she would come to our drama. 
     We spoke as a MIG and reminded each other that when we speak, even if the language isn't understood, God still moves. God translates for us, just like in the Bible. And our actions can show them Jesus more than our words. Instead of talking with more people, we walked through the village, praying  God wants us to cry out to Him and please His name to be known here in this village. we cont do the work in the heart, God always does. Prayer is important because it is always the Lord who is going the work. I am only here to be used by Him.
     We took a short break and then went into the village, invited and talked to families. the Gospel was shared with many and everyone promised to come to our drama. We encouraged one woman to be involved with the church, because she used to go and now does not.
     The other group shared the Gospel wit ha woman who used to be a christian, but married a Hindu man. The man got saved, told his wife and son and today their whole family was added to the Kingdom.
     I am looking forward to returning tomorrow, sharing the Gospel and pouring love out on them. God works above all of our miscommunication!
     We got back to our hotel early and spent time as a team processing and worshiping our Lord. after dinner, we continued worshiping before bed. I am spending so much time praising and worshiping the Lord here. God is revealing more of Himself and His perfect plans and His heart to me. I don't want to forget anything that God does on this trip, even when I am not feeling 100%. 
     I still struggle with homesickness and being completely in the present. I hate not being completely content and every day I pray God will help me stay focused. For months I fund raised  prayed for my team and the people here and I don't want to waste my precious time with wanting to go home. Each day makes the struggle easier, but my window of time here is closing quickly.
     Jesus is my everything.

Our MAGs goal was that one day we would be as willing as this trash can. 'USE ME, JESUS!'

The Saint (Day Forty One)

     July 21st, 2012 - Chennai, India
     Free days do not mean that we are not serving the LORD and He is not in control of everything that happens. We did not go out on ministry, but today God changed our hearts and continued to show us how we are set free from sin.
     This morning we visited the place where St. Thomas is believed to have been martyred as well as the cave where he spent much time praying and is believed to have been cast out of on the day he was martyred. Thomas was the first missionary to India and I was in the cave where he spent so much of his time praying. Years later, here I am in the same country, in the same region, doing the same thing that Thomas died for. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness! This country will hear! At the top of the mountain, where he was killed, there is a piece of finger bone that is believed to have been Thomas'. 
     Thomas died for the Gospel, yet he was the one who declared he needed evidence that Jesus rose from the dead (John 20). He doubted, but I have my doubts at times as well. Even though I have doubts, that does not mean that I am unwilling to die for the cause of Christ. He alone is worthy.
     When we returned to our hotel, I talked with several of the girls about our hopes and desires on this trip as well as the vision for when we get home. In a few short days, I will be on a plane back to the States. How will I live differently and what does Jesus want for my next year?
     I realized that in Nepal I wanted boldness. Boldness to share the Gospel and go forward with truth. Megan pushed me so hard every time we were on ministry, and because of that I am able to be bold here in India, and I believe I will be bold back at home. I told Megan how much I appreciated her and how thankful I am that she pushed me towards my goal. She said to me that I have changed a lot on this trip. I may have started still a girl, but as I finish my last week, I have become a woman of God. When I go home, I want to have the same boldness. What God has done in me and through me here on the other side of the world does not end when I leave. It will change every part of my life.
     Tonight was our relationship talk and I was reminded how much of a choice I have to make to be unselfish and centered on Christ in every relationship: with my parents, my siblings, my friends, my coworkers- every interaction.
     At dinner I had a long talk with Rachel about keeping each other accountable in our relationships and not being at all self seeking, even if it means discontinuing a relationship. After dinner, all of the girls went to the roof to talk with Marissa, Joy and Wendy. we started by asking questions, but it turned into a night of inviting others to hold us accountable in our lives. 
     As we walked down the stairs, received hugs from Marissa and joyfully headed for our rooms, we all felt changed. When I got back to my room, it only took a few minutes before we found out that we were locked in our room. It took half an hour before Andy and Marissa saved us, but we were glad when they did. 
     This afternoon I got messages from people at home and they were so encouraging! So many people told me how they think I am cut out to be a missionary and God has been reaffirming the desire in me for being a missionary overseas after high school. I am so blessed that God wants to use me and will use me. Thank you Jesus for the freedom and grace.
     'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness ' -1 John 1:9

Jessica, my lovely MIG leader!

Bethy and I!

Squatty Potty!

The finger bone of Thomas was up there.

The cave where Thomas prayed.