Saturday, December 26, 2009

Give Me Your Eyes...

What if we could see like Jesus did...through God's eyes? It's a beautiful thought...and a challenge...

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion & chaos
All those people going somewhere,
Why have I never cared?

Chorus:
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so that I can see

Step out on a busy street
See a girl & our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what's underneath
There's a man just to her right
Black suit & a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He's out of work
He's buying time
All those people going somewhere
Why have I never cared?

I've been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see people all along


"Give Me Your Eyes" by Brandon Heath

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

video
Starring: Me, Eli, & Lora

video
Starring: My family!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unreached...

The Lord God has put his Spirit in me,
because the Lord has appointed me to tell the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken,
to tell the captives they are free,
and to tell the prisoners they are released.
He has sent me to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness
and the time when our God will punish evil people.
He has sent me to comfort all those who are sad
and to help the sorrowing people of Jerusalem....
The Lord makes me very happy;
all that I am rejoices in my God.
He has covered me with clothes of salvation
and wrapped me with a coat of goodness,
like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding,
like a bride dressed in jewels.
The earth causes plants to grow,
and a garden causes the seeds planted in it to grow.
In the same way the Lord God will make goodness & praise
come from all the nations.
~~Isaiah 61




This video moved me... Why hasn't God called me to work with 'unreached' people...people unreached by his Word?! There are millions still out there that haven't heard, & don't have hope in his love, grace, & mercy. Then it dawned on me...the people He has called me to work with in Kenya are unreached by medical care. They are my unreached people. God knows what he's doing...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Shocked...

My heart hurts for Kenya. Why not all the other countries suffering around the world? I can't fully explain it...except to say that is where God wants me. This Fall, World Vision published an article about child mortality throughout the world. It's shocking...it's sad. Here are some of the things I read:



- 9.2 million people are starving in the Horn of Africa, mainly due to drought
- 9.2 million children under the age of 5 died last year because of diseases & poor living conditions in developing countries

** Major causes of child mortality: neonatal causes (37%), pneumonia (19%), diarrhea (17%), other (10%), malaria (8%), measles (4%), AIDS (3%), injuries (3%) **



- 4 million babies die in the 1st month of life every year, mostly due to prematurity, asphyxia, & severe infections because they have no access to care
- a child born in a developing country is 13x more likely to die in the 1st year
- in sub-Saharan Africa, 24% of children <5 years old are moderately or severely underweight because of malnutrition
- malnutrition is an underlying cause of 1/3 of child deaths

KENYA is one of the top 15 coutries in the world with a high child mortality rate!


What in the world can we do about this?!
I feel like I have some answers to this question because of some training Angie & I received at ECHO (www.echonet.org) this year... It's an amazing place!
- nutrition
- clean water & sanitation
- agriculture
- education
- health care
- microenterprise development
- advocacy
- Christian nurture



World Vision is working with these projects around the world. But so is AfricaHope...in Kenya (minus the microenterprise developement...at least not yet:) ). Hopefully we'll we working together since we're both in Narok, Kenya. I'm so excited to be a part of this team that is already making a huge difference in the lives of the Maasai, especially the children. Come join us :)


www.africahope.org

http://media.worldvision.org/magazine/wv_autumn09/combating-child-killers/index.html?lpos=ctr_img_CombatingChildKillers

Thank you for asking...

I have been surprised throughout this whole support raising process. God continues to bring forth supporters despite my scattered, unorganized attempts. One thing that has surprised me the most is when people respond with, "Thank you for asking". Seriously? You're saying thank you to me because I just asked you for money? It's very humbling. And so exciting that people are thankful to be in involved with God's dream for me. Thank you for saying "thank you" :)


Here are some of the most creative support raising ideas friends & family have come up with:

- Party...Jewelry party!
A new friend of mine that I met at one of my supporting churches has hosted Silpada jewelry parties and is donating all the profits to me!

- Redirecting money
Another friend has quit smoking, and is sending the money she used to for cigarettes to me! This idea made me really happy...I am a nurse after all :)

- FLUSH Fund
A local New Harmony coffee shop is fundraising with their toilet!

Idea by Laura Hudgins - Made by my mom :)

- Persimon pudding brownies
There is a huge, historic persimon tree near my parents house in New Harmony. My mom collected them, cooked up some persimon pudding brownies, & proceeded to sell them out of her golf cart at Kunstfest in September! After all...New Harmony is a golf cart community :)


Hopefully the creativity will keep on coming...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Masterpieces...


On most other days I have a list of blogs I want to write running through my head, but no time to do it. Today...God has cleared my head and given me rest...thank you :) So, I'm going to let this pretty amazing video speak instead...enjoy...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXut0HxncvY

Monday, September 7, 2009

HWTH???


New Mission Systems International (NMSI) is growing...and growing fast! There is currently a waiting list for the fall missionary training program. If NMSI continues to grow at this rate, we estimate there will be 400 new missionaries to send out over the next 6 years! And that's in addition to our 200+ missionaries in almost 30 countries already. It's amazing to watch God work! In order to train, send, and support all of these missionaries, more housing needs to be built as well as some renovations completed. All of this costs money, of course. NMSI launched it's first capital campaign in 2008 called "How Will They Hear?" (HWTH?) to meet these needs. www.nmsi.org/hwth.aspx

Will you help us? Visit: www.nmsi.org/donate.aspx

"But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them; and before someone can go and tell them, that person must be sent." ~Romans 10:14-15


My COAT class (aka mission training)...an amazing 2 months


The proposed campus...Fort Myers, Florida

God's preparations...

Last year, a church met with two people from a mission-sending agency to talk about the work their organization was doing in Africa. They had been connected through a national campus ministry conference being hosted in the church's hometown. This church had been inspired and convicted in part by Bono of U2 (www.one.org)to respond to the poverty and HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. They liked what they heard about the ministry and work being done in Kenya and decided to visit this past March. The week they schedule their trip, a previous member of the congregation contacted them and informed them she had been called into full-time mission work in Kenya with this same team they were about to visit. It was reaffirming for both sides. About 3 weeks ago, that church announced to their congregation their decision to partner with the ministry in Kenya, as well as individually support the missionary!

The mission agency is New Mission Systems International. The ministry is AfricaHope. The church is Crossroads Christian Church of Newburgh, Indiana. The missionary is me. And one of the people in that meeting last year was Angie, the other nurse going to Kenya! As I found out how the pieces of this story fit together, it became evident to me that God has been working on his plan for my life for a long time…bringing many separate areas of my life and connecting them all together. It’s pretty cool…and so reaffirming:)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Village Life...


Chapatis and chai...Kenyan style



My time in Kenya in 2005 was short. I was blessed to be able to visit a village after church and get a glimpse of how the Maasai live, but that's all it was...a glimpse. The NMSI Summer Intern team that has been in Kenya since the end of May has spent a large amount of their time out in the bush - teaching, building relationships, sharing The Word, and living with the Maasai. It's an experience that I'm very much looking forward to. The AfricaHope team leader in Kenya, Ashleigh, wrote a blog about their experience staying in the village of Morloo. Check it out...welcome to the Maasai village of Morloo...

http://ashleighleenerts.blogspot.com/2009/07/village-called-morloo.html

Bridge Over Troubled Water...

Praise and worship with Simon & Garfunkel? I'm usually not a lyrics person...music speaks to my heart. I've heard this song many times, but these lyrics caught my attention lately. I can picture Jesus saying this to us...


When youre weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
Im on your side. when times get rough
And friends just cant be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

When youre down and out,
When youre on the street,
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you.
Ill take your part.
When darkness comes
And pains is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

Sail on silvergirl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
If you need a friend
Im sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.

~ Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Simon & Garfunkel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYKJuDxYr3I

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Project MedSend...


In 1991, a survey showed that 33 mission agencies had 30 mission hospitals and clinics without a single health professional to minister to the sick and dying arriving at their doors. At the same time, some mission boards had 49 doctors as well as other health care professionals ready for service who were merely working to pay off their school loans. Project MedSend was formed at the request of Christian Medical & Dental Associations to prevent the delay of prospective missionaries from reaching their fields of service by overcoming the barrier of educational debt.

I worked full-time while I was in graduate school so that I was eligible for Vanderbilt’s tuition benefit. They covered 70-80% of my tuition costs (which was wonderful!), but I still graduated with about $7,000 in student loans. I applied for a Project MedSend grant in January, and found out last month that I was one of 45 they had selected this year! They will take over payments for my student loans when I go on salary with NMSI next March, and will continue to pay it as long as I am serving on the mission field! This grant is such a huge blessing, and reaffirms yet again that God has plans for me in Kenya!

P.S. – One requirement of Project MedSend before you leave for the field, is to attend a workshop about community health care in developing countries. That workshop happens to be another workshop at ECHO that I was planning to go to in October! Coincidence?…I think not:)

Florida escape...

Firsts from my recent trip to the CGO
(Center for Global Outreach for NMSI, my sending agency)
in Fort Myers, Florida:

- shot a cork gun

- went grocery shopping for a stranger
- danced the rumba
- went square dancing!

- modeled a friends beautiful hand-painted scarves

- visited a Florida winery
- sang karaoke!

- learned how to cook sukuma wiki and oogali (Kenyan dishes)!


There was also picnics and walks on the beach, putt-putt on a pirate ship, a Korean dinner party (thank you Shane & Helen!), road trip & concert in St. Pete, and so much fun fellowshipping with friends. I vividly remember once saying that I would never live Florida. Now, I long for this community when I’m away…I think it’s how God created us to live…sharing life, and loving and helping each other. Sadly, it’s hard to find many other places…





Gavin Degraw concert!!!




ECHO...

If you haven’t heard me talk about ECHO before, now is the time:) ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) is an absolutely amazing organization in Fort Myers, Florida that is fighting world hunger through agriculture. Angie (the other nurse that’s going to Kenya with me) and I were able to spend a week at the HIV/AIDS, Agriculture, & Nutrition workshop at ECHO in May. Through my nursing training, I’ve always known nutrition is important, but I can’t say that I realized the magnitude of its impact until recently, and how big of a part agriculture will play into the medical work Angie and I will be doing. I never thought I would be learning about agricultural techniques (‘crop propagation’ is now in my vocabulary), have thoughts about being a farmer (well…maybe gardener is a better word), or pick leaves off plants and eating them right then and there! :) I have now added to my prayer list that God lead an agricultural person to AfricaHope to help us out!


















Moringa = the miracle plant!
I had never heard about Morniga until I went to ECHO. I don't know how that is because it is amazing. Among some of the amazing things it does include: fix malnutrition in children faster than conventional Western medicine, purify water, and when added to the diet with a grain called Amaranth can take away almost all HIV/AIDS symptoms because it makes those people that much healthier through nutrition that their medications work that much better! I'm convinced that Moringa is the tree mentioned in Exodus 15:25 :)

Harvesting Moringa off the ECHO farm


We then dried it, ground it, and sifted it...and now have Moringa powder to add to our food.



Artemesia...
This handy dandy plant can almost "cure" you of malaria when you drink it in tea form 3 times a day! It is recommended that you combine it with Western meds, but still...pretty cool! Too bad it tastes horrible :(

Random picture...dirty feet after a day out on the farm!





One night we cooked dinner off of plants from the ECHO farm. This was our spread and lovely salad...pretty impressive!











I have a bunch more fun ECHO pictures on Facebook if you want to look...this is just the beginning:) Enjoy!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kenya in Nashville...!

Someone brought Kenya to the Nashville Zoo for my birthday…yay! (Yeah...this is a couple months late)







Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Timing...God's timing...

There really is a time for everything...in God's time...not ours. I have been constantly reminded of this in the past few months. It pertains to every area of my life...starting my new job, support raising, relationships, my future, getting to Kenya... Even this blog! I've been thinking about writing it for months, and I'm just now getting to it. When God reminds me about His timing, it takes so much stress away. He has placed these desires and passions in my heart...so they will happen. Maybe just not as soon as I'd like, and maybe not in the way I picture it. So that leads to the challenge of patience...a whole other topic! :) He has me where I am now for a reason...this time is for a reason. So...there it is...I guess now is the right time for this blog, also :)


There is a time for everthing,
and everything on earth has its special season.
There is a time to be born
and a time to die.
There is a time to plant
and a time to pull up plants
There is a time to kill
and a time to heal.
There is a time to destroy
and a time to build.
There is a time to cry
and a time to laugh.
There is a time to be sad
and a time to dance.
There is a time to throw away stones
and a time to gather them.
There is a time to hug
and a time not to hug.
There is a time to look for something
and a time to stop looking for it.
There is a time to keep things
and a time to throw things away.
There is a time to tear apart
and a time to sew together.
There is a time to be silent
and a time to speak.
There is a time to love
and a time to hate.
There is a time for war
and a time for peace.

- Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNopQq5lWqQ

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Water...

Recently some friends of mine, and fellow NMSI missionaries, visited Kenya. They were able to witness my future teammates at AfricaHope help bring clean water to a Maasai village for the first time...ever. I am continually amazed at the work God is doing there, and can't wait to be a part of it.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Unexpected...

I started my new job this past Friday...something I have been waiting for since January. The day, overall, really was okay, but it was Friday the 13th and a little crazy. It started off on a really sad note...a baby coded and died, which is something that rarely happens. My preceptor and I were then busy the rest of the day seeing babies and going on transports. It really was so good to be back around those adorable little babies, though. And they really did seem little again! The past 5.5 months, I have been around normal-sized, healthy babies, so now my NICU babies seem small again! I do love those small ones :)

I have been working in the NICU for 5 years now, and have loved every minute of it. But, something was different on Friday. And it wasn't that my role had changed. I kept thinking of Kenya, and longing to be there. Before I left for COAT (the missionary training program), I could tell this was already starting to happen, but it is much more evident to me now. My heart is there. So...I know the next year in the NICU will bring some wonderful experiences, memories, knowledge, and excitement, but...it will also be hard. I wasn't expecting that.

I am so grateful for this job. It was most definitely a gift from God (I never even applied! And they offered me the job knowing my plans for Kenya!). And I will be working with wonderful people. I just pray that I can find the balance in being a good nurse practitioner that is busy spending time with friends & family and support raising.

My time here is for a purpose, and I pray I can be content in that. While also being reaffirmed in the unexpected...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Ice/Snow Storm of 2009...

I hadn't seen this much snow, or ice for that matter, in a long time!
Home...
What do you do when you have 1.5-2 inches of ice enclosing your car and you need to get inside? Enter...the hairdryer...









So many people lost electricity from this storm, and some are still without. The roads back to Nashville were really bad...ice, trees toppled over from the weight of the ice, cars stranded on the side of the road...
But Winston and I made it back safely! :)