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Friday, January 31, 2014

Favor in Obedience

I have had to make a very difficult decision... actually it wasn't a decision, but obedience. I guess you could say... I decision to be obedient or not. The Lord has asked me to step back from Loaves & Fishes, the ministry that serves the Bhutanese Refugees. I have been with this ministry for two years and it has been such a learning experience for me. I have loved every minute of being with the Bhutanese, my dear friends. It saddens my heart, but I know the Lord has great things awaiting.

He has already brought healing from forgiveness.

Now I am praying over a Bible study he has told me to lead out of my home. A study that will bring restoration from the Word of God to all the hurt and wounds we have. As women of this day and age we are shown and taught to hide our feelings and act happy. We are shown by society to shove the hurt deep down and pretend like its not there anymore. How is that okay? We as women don't need anymore stress to add to our plate. That is probably why we act crazy sometimes. :) Anywho, the study the Lord led me to is called Stuck by Jennie Allen and I believe it is perfect! I am very excited to see, who he brings and what he does in our hearts! 

He is up to some BIG things and all I want to do is listen for his voice and follow him blindly.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dedicated to Marty Linder


I don't know why I am writing this blog and I sure hope it is okay and not considered disrespectful, because that is not my intention.

I wanted to write and say my goodbyes to a friend I didn't know so well. Her name was Marty. 

Marty always greeted me and used my name. I think when someone saying hello or asks how you are and they use your name is a big deal. Remembering people's names has been lost... Usually as soon as someone introduces themselves to you they forget your name within 5 min. Well... It happens to me (way to often). Marty on the other hand remembered my name after the very first time we met and every time she saw me she would greet me by using my name. I believe Marty was the type of person that saw the importance of a persons name. The Lord knows our name... Why not treat people like they deserve... Simple showing their life's importance. I don't know... I just always felt like Marty was showing her concern and care when she greeted me (or anyone).

I missed seeing her sweet face this evening at church. I couldn't help but think about her 3 boys and their thoughts and feelings. Such a young mom taken by the authority and righteousness of our Creator. She is now consumed by the holy presence she has longed for... It was her time and I know it is glorious. But, selfishly I think of the loved ones left on earth without her. I am praying for their hearts to be comforted, that the unexplainable peace will cover them, and that it will be clear through the wisdom and knowledge from our Lord that they will all meet again... I pray for that faith and hope.

Marty, you will be missed tremendously.

A few photos...











Blind Faith


The Lord has really been asking a lot of me lately. Not so much to go and do, but simply to listen and walk by faith. He isn't giving me a reason or answering my why, but simply asking me to blindly follow him. This is so hard because I like to know details! 

First, he asked me to go to India with no details. I would ask "Why? What do you want me to do?", but he gave me no answer but to simply go.  I had no problem with that because I love India! But, it was kind of hard when I was there to see everyone shine in their certain position given and me I was just hanging out in the background. Father brought me to many Scriptures all saying not to worry, so I trusted in his Word and gave it to him. Going to India was not about me and what I can do, but simply being a servant and loving and encouraging others.

Now that I am home he is pursuing me with something that makes no sense. I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around what he is asking me to do. I can't tell you right now, but when it is official I will make an announcement. He is asking me to give up something very close to my heart and to be obedient and walk by blind faith. I hear him but it makes no sense. I am scared in what I will lose. Praying and seeking his Word is all I can do... If you feel lead I would appreciate prayers to the one true God.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Faces

What do you do with pain filled faces etched in your mind? What do you do with dreams that cause aching in your soul? I am writing about this now because others are feeling and experiencing restlessness from the same pain and sadness we experienced just a few days ago. The Lord has brought us to a new breaking point to the visual pain from the look in the eyes of victims and the disconnect from those who see no wrong. He has opened our eyes to what people see as the norm... It is just life as expected. Women feel worthless, ashamed, and unworthy of love. I feel as if we left way to soon. I feel as if we didn't have time to love or hug enough women. I feel like we didn't have enough time to pour into enough women that they are valued and precious. I feel like the mission wasn't completed! 

My heart is aching. My tears are streaming. While walking the streets of Kolkata I asked that he would shake the hearts of lost and bring justice and authority upon the city. But for now I see the faces and I dream of the faces... It is as if they are haunting me. I pray the invisible seeds (to you and me) will flourish and that our Heavenly Father will be glorified... And maybe, just maybe he will give us a glimpse to ease our souls.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Day 10 in Kolkata

This is our last day in Kolkata and it is going to be beautiful, but oh so very hard. Today we have to say goodbye to our translators, who are way more than that... They are our voice when we want to communicate, but they are part of our team as well. To me they are family. They ALL love us so well while we are away from the things we know. Having the gift of hospitality I believe is in us all, but seeing hospitality extended to us here is a way we have never seen before. They would literally give the shirt of the their back in any circumstance, they would lower themselves in a way to make us feel more comfortable, and they are always greeting us with open arms, a warm hug and sometimes if you are lucky a kiss on the cheek. This hospitality in India is so very special.

Today we spent our last hours with our New Hope friends. I know I have said this over and over, but there are no words of the emotions that I am feeling right now. Today was a holiday for the school so we got to play games, make crafts, and share Bible stories and sing songs with all the children. We also got to walk around the village full of over 6,000 people to pray for a few families. What an honor to be welcomed into a home of a Hindu family and to be able to pray in the name of Jesus. No words. Our time quickly came to an end and all the kids left. Then we had a special time to sit down and hear Rudra's heart and his vision for the future. It is breath taking to hear his and Mita's heart and how they are praying and sharing with those who do pray to lift everything up to our heavenly Father.  Rudra's vision from the Lord is captivating because of the faith and trust he has in the Lord. Amazing!

Rudra's plan is big and great! He wants to build a school, church, and hostel. Which it will be awesome because the building they are in now is so tiny. The hostel is a new thing... In the last 6 months Rudra and Mita have taken in two girls because they were or about to be sexually abused by the Father and because fear for their child's life. This hostel will be for girls that need to be removed from the village because of the possibilities of them being sexually abused or being taken. Just yesterday Rudra told us four girls who were taken from this village, the girls are missing... The oldest was 10 years old. Can you even imagine? My Hailee is 9 years old. I can't imagine what the moms are going through or the fear that has swept through the village. Rudra and Mita have a great passion for their people and a deep desire to be used as an instrument for the glory of God. We left the school with heavy hearts simply because of our deep desire for Pastor Rudra, Mita, and the precious children. There is so much hope and beauty among the least of these and I know The Lord has given us all a deep desire to pray, love, and possibly return.

We returned to the BMS excited to see our sweet translator sisters. What a privilege to know call them family and friends. It was very hard for me to say goodbye to my "Mommy" Anita. I have always had a connection to her because she truly takes care of us as family. It started of as a joke calling her Mommy but then it became ever so comfortable. Anita's mother, Deborah is also one of our translators and she is so very sweet. We had the opportunity to be with her on her birthday... Even though no one told us it was her birthday until 8 o'clock at light. The whole team sang Happy Birthday to her on the bus. It was precious! 

We are now all on the plane heading back to Houston with 6 hours left in the flight. While in India I could stay longer but now that the return has begun I am ready to be home! I am excited to eat American food, take a hot shower, and sleep in my own bed... But of course most of all I am ready to hug and kiss Bob and hug and love on my sweet girls. Being away and surrounded by so much hurt makes me long for what I have. I have it good! I am sick to death of all the complaining we as Americans feel like we need to vocalize all the time. It truly is unnecessary and none of that complaining points back to our Creator. I am going to be making some personal changes when I get home, but I will elaborate more on this later.

I have been asking God why he sent me... It really made no sense at the beginning of our time in India, but as I continued to ask and minister to so many I began to hear it clearly. It's not about me and what I can do. It's simply about going with an open heart and ready to jump in as needed. I was there to encourage and be a servant as Jesus was. I believe I gave and poured myself out every single day for the glory of my King. I did not have a particular task but I was simply there to give every ounce of myself. I am so very thankful The Lord sent me and so very thankful he led people to give and provide for my trip. It was certainly and eye opener and a time to learn even more. I am truly thankful and overwhelmed.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Days 8 and 9 in Kolkata

I am running a little behind on my blogging... Please forgive me. When you arrive somewhere far away you have jet lag and an adrenaline rush. That's what happens for me at the beginning of mission trips. But for the past couple of days I have moved past this and now I am on India time and becoming tired. Don't get me wrong... It is my complete joy being over here, it is a privilege to experience the things that have been laid out, and an honor to be an encouragement to so many heroes here in Kolkata.

I am going to have to come back to days 6 and 7 later. I am going to blog about today, day 8. Holy moly! This has been a day I have been looking forward to ever since God said I was returning. The day started with us going to the slum village that has a beautiful school called New Hope. This school is run by two of the most AMAZING people, Rudra and Mita. They have such a beautiful story of how they left their high paying jobs to completely leaning on and following their Heavenly Father. These children at New Hope (in a slum village) are so well behaved, sweet, polite, and SMART! We had such a fun time teaching them today and loving on them! The time with the kids flew by! Next thing you know we were saying goodbye and off we went and we headed off to one of the red light districts in Kolkata.

Holy moly! This ministry we went and visited was AMAZING! The ministry women are all from Europe and it was so inspiring to hear that the Holy Spirit completely has been in control of every aspect of this ministry. The ministry serves men and women who are HIV positive, the children that live in the area, and the women who are workers or live in the area. This building and the ministry women were completely fully consumed by the Light of the Holy Spirit and it pours out of them. On top of all that they made us sandwiches! No rice or dal. Yay! At 3 o'clock the women began to trickle in... All of the different women came and they all were happy. They went upstairs to the terrace to work on a mask craft and play games... While the second half of us did prep work for the cooking class. We made biscuits, white gravy, and salsa... All the women sat on the floor while 3 of our team ladies put on a cooking show. It really was so fun! Then they all got to sample these delicious treats. After we ate our snacks we headed up to the roof and got to be part of another amazing way for the women to express themselves through music therapy. It was the MOST beautiful experience to hear and see. This ministry is located smack-dab in the middle of the red light district... Completely surrounded by apartments full of women... Women like you and me. As we are surrounded by so much darkness there is so much hope and restoration waiting for the women and men of Kolkata. Our night came to close as we listened to the pounding of drums, laughter, song in Bengali, whispers of a violin, and hymns from a xylophone. We all sat in a circle listening and hearing the hope as we were surrounded by the unknown of what the dark buildings held. We left the red light district around 6 pm, it was dark, and the ladies were lined up. It was heart wrenching (to say the least). The women lined up with the unknown looming in the distant. The men walked around with excitement of what the night would hold. As we left we tried to make eye contact with the women to give a smile of hope, but I think they felt shame of us seeing them doing something so shameful in their culture. We got on the bus with tears streaming down our face, heavy hearts, and feelings that we could never explain. It was a joyful and hard day all in one. 

I am going to add day 9 to this blog post, because we did about the same thing as yesterday.... Same, same but different. What really hit me today is all the kids in the slum village being watched and protected in some sort of way from being trafficked. Rudra and Mita, who have the slum school in the slum village look out and protect the kids the best way they can. Because children who are poor are most likely to get trafficked because the family is in desperate need of money. Very hard to wrap our minds around that but people (no matter what nationality) do desperate things in desperate times. (Never say you would not do such a thing because truthfully you have no idea what desperate means. I have seen it but still can't grasp it.) Then I think of the red light districts here in Kolkata. Going from prevention... To what could really happen is overwhelming. Seeing such beauty being thrown out like trash and treated like trash is the most horrific action you could imagine from a human being. (Probably worse behind closed doors but I cannot fathom that). Beautiful young girls I have seen that are in close danger of being trafficked. So, today I compared the two areas and in both God is at work!

While at the ministry in the red light district today I got to share the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with children. After sharing the story I asked then if they had ever heard the story before and they all said "Yes!" Then they said they new a song about that story and I asked them to sing it and they all said YES! Amazing is an understatement! Then they asked us to sing, so we sang the Doxology. It was so beautiful singing that in so much darkness and as men came in and out of a brothel right next to the ministry building. Chills.

We ended the night by going to a fundraiser for an aftercare home that I have referred to as M. Girls who had been rescued from the sex trade danced and shared some of their stories. It was so beautiful. I am sure while they were lost in the darkness they thought they would never laugh for fun, dance for joy, or be free from bondage. This fundraiser showed how powerful, mighty, and strong the one true God truly is!  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Days 4 and 5 in Kolkata

Today is Friday the 17th, and my stomach is not feeling so well. We had pizza for lunch yesterday, I loved the pizza but the pizza did not love me... Other than that everything is going great. 

Around 9:30 this morning the beautiful kids of Hope of Life came to the BMS and play with us. Hope of Life is a ministry started by a couple, (with 2 children) who have moved to Kolkata to start this home for children who were left to fend for themselves. Which means the parents may be dead, or the parents can't afford them, or simply don't care to love them as a parent should. Oh... My... Meeting with those special children was so joyful. They truly are full of so much hope. These kids are amazing as some prepare to go to Bible college, some see their futures in ministry, and some are just  looking forward to living life as a child should, with two of the most amazing parental role models. It really is amazing to see how much God's divine hand has been upon the ministry. Two years ago Nabin was so worried and having no sleep because he had no idea how they would have food for the next day, but everyday God provided.

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today." Matthew 6:33-34

After Hope of Life left we freshened up and left for the aftercare home, M. It was a sweet time. Brenda gave a talk on having organization skills for school and gave ideas to help the girls study. It was so cool that they were studying the same things as Lauren, who is the same age as the girls. With Brenda being a teacher, God knew she was the one to talk about these things because she knew exactly what the girls were learning. I was very encouraged to see how his divine hand had put this all together. After the talk we all went downstairs to learn how to cook American dishes. They were all very excited to learn and see how we do things in America. Sue showed them how to make biscuits (and yes we brought some of our own ingredients to India), Brenda showed the girls how to make salsa, and Kay showed them how to make gravy (that would go on top of their biscuit). The girls loved every part of it. They scooted as close as they could to the table to watch all this preparation taking place. It was so fun! The women preparing the dishes looked like they were on a cooking show and all the girls watching were the audience. It really was so cute. Then once the biscuits were done and the gravy was made all the girls got to sample everything and all the girls said "Very tasty!" After they ate we went back up stairs and we shared a henna Bible story and then worked in a mask making craft. They all broke up into groups and I sat with one group. In the group I was with was a young lady that two years ago when I was here was recently brought to this aftercare home. She was very angry and was like stone, but began to open up as we were there and lighting up the mood. This time she was totally different... I knew she was from Bangladesh so I started a conversation with her about how I was there last year and how beautiful it was. (this young girl will be returning home soon) Then another young girl heard the conversation and really started talking about her country she loved so much and you could tell she was very proud of being from Bangladesh. The end of our time together came to a quick end but it ended on a very awesome note. The girls made a mask, henna Bible stories were shared, and then Rachael shared her testimony. Perfect way to leave a sweet time with amazingly beautiful girls. We said our goodbyes and gave hugs and off we went.

To many wonderful things are happening over here and I can't seem to get them all typed out fast enough. Ha. So on this same post I am going to share the experience we had at Sari Bari. Today is Saturday the 18th and we had to split our team up to go to two different locations. Let me just tell you now... I have absolutely no words to bring this day justice or to even come close to sharing how awesome it was. The area I went to is a gigantic red light district. When we arrived it was early for everyone so almost all the men were out bathing and women were up cooking and getting there children ready for school. We walked through the dark streets and came to the house of hope. We went up the stairs and were instantly greeted with "Hello" by women and we then had a chance to shop. We shopped for items that are never available because there is such a demand for them, so it was an awesome opportunity! Then the 6 ladies on our team sat on the floor and "worked". We made tags for all the items Sari Bari sells. Our work we did is a very tedious and time consuming job for the Indian ladies, so it was a blessing to give them some relief from a task that isn't very much "fun". After we tagged 4 of us went with a young man, who works at Sari Bari, to get lunch. The area we were in was VERY large and we had to walk the perimeter. The young man we were with would stop occasionally and show us were young beautiful girls were kept and who were not allowed to ever come out, we saw Nepalis ladies in an alley showing off as night would be approaching. We were made aware of more than we could ever imagine. It was very sad. We got back with lunch and we all sat and ate, and then it was time to pamper our sweet friends. We gave them manicures and pedicures, and we had a fun little craft for them to make feather hair clip. They had so much fun, but they didn't like us washing their feet of course, but it was such and honor and a blessing to do that. But I secretly think they like it! After the pedis and manis it was time to sit down and share a couple henna Bible stories and then I had the privilege to share my testimony. I don't share my testimony very often but I will gladly if asked. I love sharing my testimony, because The Lord shows them that you don't have to be scared of sharing details of hurt you have gone through but what it a joy it is to share the healing and restoration we receive from our Lord Jesus Christ. Then the ladies all wanted to pray over our team and HOW AMAZING! If you have never heard a bunch of women praying together out loud in a foreign tongue than our own... then you are missing out! :) It is one of the most beautiful sounds! The sound of our prayers going up to heaven as a sweet aroma. We then had the opportunity to return the prayers. So much movement of the Holy Spirit happened... No words! Their were women sobbing from the very presence of our most High God. It was such a blessed day. We then left.

We made our way through the mazes of the streets as we followed one of the founders of Sari Bari and the young man, Sandeep. As we made our way to the meeting spot for the car to pick us up we realized we were in the middle of women working. It was a little before 5:30 pm and some women were already out. I have never actually seen the women out working until this day. As my eyes saw this I though to myself "Lord, you sure know how to awaken me with fresh eyes." No words to describe the sight of young girls on the street corner selling themselves because they have been told over and over again they are WORTHLESS! My heart is broken!

There are absolutely NO words to give you the full view of the hope and joy of Kolkata! I pray the Lord's love and presences rains down on such a beautiful place.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Day 3 in Kolkata

I am starting today, Thursday off a little earlier than yesterday because I missed breakfast yesterday. I really enjoy breakfast and I enjoy breakfast even more when I do not have to cook it. :) I also, slept better last night and woke up to the sound from  the call to prayer for the Muslims. I have showered and had my Spark to start the day already at 6:15 am.

This city is something that words can't really describe. Yes, it is dark and so much bondage and sadness, but this city also brings a joyfulness too. Majority of these people have nothing but are so joyful. There is always a smile to be given. The Indian Bengali's are probably one of the most beautiful race on this planet. I truly see why this city is called the City of Joy.

I didn't share this in my last blog but yesterday while we were at Destiny there were two sweet girls there, who were very new... Only there for a week or so. Come to find out both of these girls (one age 16 and the second age 14) still live in the brothels. They are not selling themselves as of now because the deal is if you come to Destiny to work and learn the trade you stop the prostitution all together or you leave Destiny. Can you again your being that age and deal with the filth, hurt, and anger that goes along with what they have been through and continue to go through? I cannot. You maybe thinking "Well they still live in the brothels so they are still probably prostituting." This is not true. A lot of women still love I the brothels and work through different organizations that teach them a trade. The pimps really don't care what the ladies do as long as they get their money. So, now I am praying for these sweet girls... That maybe the time we spent with them yesterday and the Truth will penetrate their hearts to give them that hope that there is Beauty that comes from Ashes. 

We are now off to an aftercare home, M. Before when we left we had a wonderful surprise... The husband and wife, who have the slum school in a small village, was at our mission house for a training. There is no words to describe my joy. Oh how I love those two so much. There passion for their people and God's plan for their life is so great and encouraging. So much hugging on their necks took place. We have left for M and I can't wait to see God move.

The aftercare home, M is opening another minor home and we had the opportunity to go to this home as it is being re-constructed. Oh my... It is such a beautiful home with so much light, hope, and promise. This building has so much potential to grow and expand later. It is in an open and secluded area. After we had the tour of the new building we had the opportunity to write Scripture all over the walls. The walls will have new paint applied to them but to have the Truth and promise of God's word implanted in the walls is such an amazing opportunity and protection over the building and the girl's hearts. After the Scripture writing we lifted our prayers to heaven and asking for protection, provision, discernment, wisdom, healing, restoration, laughter, friendship... The list goes on. It was an amazing time of praying and lifting up the future model aftercare homes.

We then headed to the minor aftercare home that has been open for the past couple of years and it was amazing to see faces I haven't seen in so long. But, as I looked around I couldn't help but think about what these girls have gone through. Maybe the parents of the young girls sold her, or she got tricked thinking she was going to be a servant in someone's house but ended up going to a brothel, or maybe she got stolen from her parents or town. I look at these girls thinking how young they are, how much pain they have been through, and what is considered so scared has been ripped away from them. Pain is what I think of, but then they have laughter and smiles still inside of them. Sometimes it takes a little while for that smile to come out, but eventually it comes out and you see a glimpse of a little girl emerging from the shell that had been traumatized. 

Tomorrow starts a full jam packed day. Please pray for rest for us all and that we would continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus. That we would put everything aside and that we would focus fully on him and what he is doing over here. Also, please pray for my stomach. I had pizza to day and my stomach does not approve.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Day 2 in Kolkata

It now is Wednesday morning at 1:50. I am awake and this is not good. I usually never have a problem getting on India time or where ever I may be, but oh well. I thought I would blog a little hoping to tire myself out a bit.

I didn't share this last night because I was so tired, but yesterday evening I was reunited with two dear sisters I have been praying for and thinking about for two years. It was such a blessing to be remembered by them with open arms and tight hugs. My heart is filled with an unexplainable gratitude and love for my dear sisters. It is truly an honor to have this gift of returning to a city that has forever stolen my heart and is filled with beautifully kind people.

Today we will start our day with a tour of Kolkata... Taking the time to learn about this city on a deeper level than what we just see, so I am excited about this. Then we will go to a aftercare home that provides a solution to many of the ladies problems.... Learning to work and make a living without being forced to sell themselves. This home feeds into these women showing them they are worth more and have a gift and talent. Teaching them the art of sewing and showing them a way to survive and building them up at the same time. I am eager to return and just love on the ladies, share henna Bible stories with them, and play some games. To God be the glory!

We just finished our tour of North Kolkata and let me tell you it was 4 hours of the depths of Kolkata. We walked the smallest streets, alleys, and the busiest of streets like the game Frogger. We had an awesome guide, who knew absolutely amazing knowledge of India. (Plus he was easy on the eyes) After our tour we went to Destiny. Destiny is an organization that helps rehabilitate trafficked victims to help them leave the sex trade to learn a sewing trade, so they can leave what they despise. This organization is being recognized all over the world and we found out today Lauren Conrad is helping Destiny get it's name out there and really helping this organization forward. We had the opportunity to really play and have fun with the girls (ranging in ages from 14-27). I got to see 3 of the same girls that I met before and that was amazing to see how much growth has happened since our last meeting. It truly was a beautiful short time with them. We did a couple of crafts, told 2 henna Bible stories, and Rachael sang 3 beautiful songs. It was an awesome day and I know tomorrow will unfold a lot more. 

I am learning I need to really let go of something's in my life and truly let God take it. I might elaborate on this more soon but right now I am about to pass out from exhaustion.

(I am not proof reading anything I wrote this evening.)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 1.5 in Kolkata

I am sitting on our last flight, which is heading to Kolkata. I am so very excited to return that my stomach is twirling around inside of me. When I start thinking of reuniting with my dear friends I begin to get tears that well up in my eyes. I have longed for this day and now in 5 hours my feet will be planted on Indian soil once again. My heart is jumping for joy!

While we waited in the Dubai airport for 6 hours we would talk about years past and what this year will hold. I have such excitement to be part of this Light that will penetrate such darkness. Darkness I could never explain, but you can see it in the lost people's eyes and the pain in their every day agony of bondage and not having the freedom that we all take so lightly.

I also, write this blog post in connection to my previous post called "Smell". There are so many different "smells" (seen with your eyes and smelled with your nose). We walked through the airport and my heart was so overjoyed to be surrounded by the nations with all different nationalities. I am sitting her on the plane seeing so many different people and now I am becoming the minority and let me tell you this is a very humbling feeling, especially as you get further and further from home. But I love it! I can't get enough!

I am sitting here on the aisle of a row of 4 seats and every person is an Indian and sitting by me is a man with some what of a different smell, but what a beautiful smile he has. I look at each person truly as a gift from the Lord, knowing they have a special unique gift. As I see people I wondering what they do for fun, or if someone has a very noticeable scar on their face wondering how they got it, I sit and thinking about the girls, who have been trafficked and wonder if they will ever experience flying in a plane? I look at us and think how very fortunate we all are on this plane (because you know tickets are not cheap). 

We are now rolling away from our gate and it is 3:15 am. I am so tired, but very excited! We will be landing in Kolkata around 8:00 am and hit the ground running. To God be the glory!

It is now Tuesday at 6:50 pm and we are all pooped! We arrived to Kolkata around 8:30 am and 3 of our bags have not arrived (one of them is a personal bag), but all is well. We have faith it will be delivered tomorrow. We came to base camp (the BMS) and unpacked, then went shopping in our favorite Market, ate KFC, and then headed "home" ricks haw style. Completely blessed and clean from a cold shower. 

Thank you so much for your prayers. And tomorrow will be our first day loving on some precious ladies.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The beginning... (Kolkata 2014)

“Into the hovels of the poor,
Into the dark streets where the homeless groan, God speaks:
“I’ve had enough; I’m on my way
To heal the ache in the heart of the wretched.”
Psalm 12:5

Jan 2014 India Team

Please pray for our team of 11 women as they Go Beyond in Kolkata. Inspired by Psalm 12:5, our women will serve in various places throughout Kolkata. They will share with the poor and those rescued from the brothels of West Bengal the message that God sees and He hears and He has had enough; that they are worth the sacrifice of His Son.

Our women will…

 Serve at Mahima home, a Christ-centered aftercare home for young girls that have been rescued from sex trafficking.

 Teach at New Hope school in the slums of Udayan Pally.

 Serve women who work in the largest red light district in India. Our women will share the gospel through henna storytelling, doing a cooking class, and crafts.

 Work with the children of sex workers in the red light district.

 Conduct an Encouragement Retreat for the women of the Mukti Network. This is a network of women who serve in the red light district and aftercare homes. Our theme verse for the retreat is  Isaiah 58:10 “if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”

(This is a post a copied and pasted from Pastor Omar Garcia www.gobeyondkolkata.com)

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Smell"

"Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God." 2 Corinthians 2:14-15

Wow! I have read this before, but I just did a little devotional that opened my eyes a little more. I have been meditating on this story for the last couple of days that talks about a people group in Africa. The man wants to know how to say "I love you." in their language and when "I love you" is translated in the tonal language it is received as "I receive your smell." Umm... Have you ever smelt a different cultural group from your own before? Just a tad different. (sometimes) This has really opened my eyes to how I receive other peoples smells. I will be honest... I don't receive unusual smells very gracefully. :) I am going to work on this... And what better place to do it than India. Ha.

As I was reading this passage and a few other passages that went along with the devotional; I came to the conclusion I need/want to completely empty myself to recieve the smells of others and take it in as a gift. A gift that God made these people and just because they don't do things they way I do them doesn't mean I should judge them for it. Right? Maybe judge is not the right word... But do you get what I am saying? I just want to completely put myself aside and take it in... And make a relationship. 

I want to love so deeply that all I smell like is a sweet perfume of Christ. I am wanting nothing more than to give a sweet aroma to the Lord as an offering of my love for him and to honor him and give him every ounce of glory. Amen.

So I pray God will awaken me even more, that He will rattle me more and more with His presence, and that He will reveal even more "smells" of His love and that I will accept it with open arms.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Last 4 Days before India 2014

My soul has quieted down a lot this week. I am finding so much peace in the unknown of what Father will be doing with myself and the team while in India. My list is getting smaller and His perfect peace is beginning to drown out all the noise. I know I am being prayed over because I am sleeping well and because of this indescribable peace. I am very grateful!

Another thing that is very encouraging is that random people that I don't know very well are coming up to me telling me they are to pray for me and are going to pray while I am away. This has never happened to me before, but so cool what the Lord is laying on peoples hearts. I feel honored for anyone to pray for myself and the team, so thank you.

I am really going to try to put my thoughts on the blog. I am going to make every effort to share this journey with you. It is super hard because we will be so busy and tired at the end of the day, but I know so many of you want more than a Facebook post. I am really going to try to journal on here. So keep an eye out. :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Relationships 101

I have been thinking a lot about relationships lately and how we as believers in Jesus Christ think we should bring people to learn and eventually put their faith in Him?

As I have watched and listened to people who evangelize and such... I see something that is missing... relationship building. Which means spending time with a person, regularly visiting, loving them even though what they believe makes no sense, etc. Relationship building is missing.

How can we bring someone we don't know or a person who does not know us to faith in Christ? Relationships have been lost. It has gone to texting, emailing... face to face love is gone.

Before I was a believer in Jesus Christ, it wasn't the church that penetrated my heart it was my good friend and her husband, who loved me well. They helped my family, they spoke Truth to me and into me. Then my head wasn't the only thing full His word, but my heart then began to accept and understand what my brain had been taking in. I then gave my life to Christ all because I was loved well and a relationship was started.

I have become a little discouraged this year, because I have poured so much of myself into so many people and I have not seen one bit of the fruit. (I know... selfish!) But, then the other day I was given a gift by a Hindu women, who I have come to love. She gave me a scarf... it may not seem like a lot, but I felt so privileged she thought to give me a gift. A relationship was formed over a year ago and then she honored me with a simple gift. Don't get me wrong... its not that she gave me something, but it is about the relationship of love that I have for her and maybe... just maybe this Love is penetrating her heart too. 

I was very encouraged last week after she gave me this special gift and I thank the Lord for this reminder that it is not about me and how much fruit I harvest, but it is about bringing hearts to Him and showing others my earthly love and how much greater His love is for each of them.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!! ~2014~

Happy New Year, my dear friends! How did 2013 go by so fast? I think it goes by faster and faster as the girls get older. Can you imagine being God and the years going by as fast as a blink? I can't. This year has been good... nothing out of the ordinary, but good. It has been quiet but busy. No over seas traveling, but life has been busy as new things have flourished. I am blessed!

This morning I started my New Year off by getting up before everyone else in the house and preparing to go and workout at the gym. I came downstairs drank my Spark and then sat on the floor opened my Bible and read through Haggai. The book of Haggai is not long, but it talks about rebuilding the temple and how the people forgot about rebuilding God's temple as they focused on their own homes and building their own homes big a beautiful. The first thing that popped into my head was "This is us today!"

"Then the Lord sent this message through the prophet Haggai: “Why are you living in luxurious houses while my house lies in ruins? This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Look at what’s happening to you! You have planted much but harvest little. You eat but are not satisfied. You drink but are still thirsty. You put on clothes but cannot keep warm. Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!" Haggai 1:3-6

His temple is no longer a building, but it is our bodies. Our bodies are his temples. Do we seek Him like He seeks us? Is our mind filled with his greatness, his Word? Are we speaking of him all the time and sharing with everyone of his greatness? When given the opportunity do we share the Truth of who Yahweh is? Don't get me wrong... I am not pointing fingers. I have my problems too and shamefully do not put the Lord first. I have been praying all year he would continue to reveal sin to me that I am not even aware of when I commit it and I will say he has been faithful in answering that prayer. LOL! But as I read this passage it became even more aware to me that I have been a little more concerned about dressing my Temple up rather than filling my Temple with him. I have planted some seeds, but there has not been much harvesting going on... but I believe this year is going to be an amazing year filled with him. I know that even though I am sinful he shows me mercy, hears my prayer of forgiveness, and shows me grace to continue to live this Life out that he gives me a new everyday.

At the end of chapter 1 the Lord says "I am with you, says the LORD!"

Enough said.

This year is going to be a year where I do not ignore him, but I listen and follow. Because of my obedience I pray my Light will shine brighter through the darkness that lurks in this world. And because my Light will be brighter there will be more to harvest. I pray all of this will happen because of complete obedience and bring glory to my Father.