Sunday, December 2, 2012

Whats next? Find out now!

Hello friends and family!

I thought I would update you on what is next for me. It has been a little over 3 weeks since I got home from Central America. I think about my time there and just get really excited about reaching out and making a difference whether it is in Grand Rapids or overseas. While I was gone, I was praying about what to do, and I was amazed by all my different options. I got really overwhelmed and then I thought, "How cool is it that there are so many different missionary options, and people wanting to reach out to others and serve God?". It was a moment that I am very thankful for, and helped me realize that I want to learn Spanish. I want to learn the Spanish language and use that to reach out to Hispanics in the states or go to a Spanish speaking country.

I signed up to take a beginning Spanish class at CC this winter. I am hoping that will give me a better feel as to if I am on the right track. If my class goes well, I am hoping to go to a school in Antigua, Guatemala that I would go to for a month or so in May after my class ends here. I would live with a family right there in the city. It is a very safe city and it would be great to live with a family that is speaking the language, so I learn more Spanish faster.

In the meantime while I am here in Grand Rapids, I am working full-time for my family at Starlite Kitchens & Baths doing office work and other random jobs there. Its been great to have the support of my family while doing mission work, and also when I am home, having the stability of a job to replenish all that I spent going to serve God's people.

I am very excited to see where this leads me, and all the different things I am going to learn about God and myself during the process! Thanks for all the prayers and support so far throughout my travels and mission work. May you all have a blessed holiday season with family and friends! I know I am thankful to spend the holidays with my family after being gone the last 2 years!

God Bless,

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Guatemala Adventures


I made it home Friday night after a great week in Guatemala. I had a great time with my friends, Rachel and Gary, and made some new ones! Last weekend we went to a city called Antigua which is a city at the base of a Volcano. It is a very tourist city with lots to see and do. So we shopped in the market, ate some really great food, walked a lot, and saw one of the ruins (which was where Gary and Rachel got married).

During the week I was helping out with Vacation Bible School. There is around 900 kids in this school, so they split up the VBS by doing different grades each week so its not too overwhelming for the teachers. We sang lots of songs, did crafts, Bible lessons, and games. There are 2 very memorable moments I had at the school. The first one was on the first day, all the teachers had to go up front and the director introduced us and said what we would be doing that week. Then we had to sing a song with motions. The song was in Spanish, so of course I didn't know it, but I just went along with what everyone else was doing! I am very thankful for my friend Karla, who is the English teacher at the school, she helped translate a lot of what was happening, so I wasn't completely out of the loop.

The second most memorable moment, which is actually the most memorable was on Wednesday when I was playing games with the little ones and we had the 7.5 Tremor from the earthquake that had hit the coast of Guatemala. I don't think the kids actually realized what was happening, cause we just kept playing. But for what seemed like a really long time, I felt like I was on this giant swing that was swaying back and forth. I actually felt a bit nauseous afterwords. Most of the damage was on the coast, 30 people died so far, and there was 100 people missing. There was a little damage in Guatemala City in the poorer areas where stuff wasn't built as well.

After spending 5 and a half weeks in Spanish speaking countries, I have a huge respect for people that come to America and know English. I would love to become fluent in my Spanish to really connect with the people and children in these countries. I have learned so much while I was gone. The main thing that got me through most of the days was that God was in control, and He was going to teach me whatever I needed, even if it was way out of my comfort zone. I had to trust that whatever happened was what I needed. One of the hardest things to get used to was the laid back culture. Relationships are everything to them, and often I feel like we put a lot of things before our relationships. I had to let go of my control of time and embrace the people I was spending the time with, even if I had no idea what they were saying.

I am very thankful for all my awesome hosts while I was in Honduras and Guatemala City. I would love to go back again when the time works out!

Below are some of my favorite pictures from my trip!

Genesis and Mariana

Heydi and I

Emie (which is pronounced Amy there!)

The girls at VBS and their home for the butterfly (mariposa)

Jenny and I in Tegucigalpa

Nap time!

Gary, Rachel and I

Reading time!

Teaching English!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Made it to Guatemala!!!

Hello all!

I made it to Guatemala City last night around 8pm after starting my morning at 5am in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. It was a long day of traveling but thankfully everything went as smoothly as possible. Such as, getting off and on the right buses :) I am looking forward to another week of serving God in a different country and loving the people here.

My last week and a half in Honduras was wonderful! I spent the majority of my time at Casa de Luz with the kids. We sang songs, I taught them more English words and washed dishes. Jenny and I also made them lasagna one day for lunch to see if they would eat it. The kids avoid vegetables like its poison. So we had blended all the veggies and poured them into the lasagna. When we brought out their plates of lasagna they all yelled "pizza!!!". Its actually sad, because they don't even know what pizza or lasagna are. A few of the kids wouldn't even eat it because its not Honduran food. So we gave them something else.

I have learned a lot in Honduras and I am grateful for the time I was able to spend there with Jenny and serve the people and children apart of Casa de Luz. Jenny and I were able to spend last weekend at her boss's house with her and her family. We learned how to hand make tortillas! They weren't quite as good as the Hondurans make, but for my first time, I would say they were pretty good. When I get home, I will work on putting some pictures on here for those that don't have Facebook.

Thanks again for all the prayers and support people have sent my way. I will be home a week from today and would love to share more stories and experiences, just let me know if you would like to meet up!

God Bless,

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Doing and Learning

Greetings All! 

I have been thoroughly enjoying my time here in Honduras! It has been a spiritual growing time in the last 3 weeks. Being away from home, has gotten me to really grasp what I want out of my relationship with God and how I can serve him. There are 2 different things I would like to share with you in this blog post. The first is what I have been doing in Honduras and the second is what I have been learning. 

In my first blog post, I told you about what my first week was like. Which was pretty much just getting settled in a bit and seeing the different ways I could help. The past 2 weeks, I have been able to put those thoughts into actions. I have been able to teach English to the kids at Casa de Luz with flash cards that have the picture on the front. I have them repeat it after me to understand the pronunciation. Then after the flash cards we sing some songs in English that they know. Its great for the teachers that are from Honduras also because they are learning the words along with the kids. Jenny and I have also been baking banana bread for the kids at The Rock and Casa de Luz. We got a huge donation of bananas so we thought of baking the bread to give to the kids at snack time. They loved it! I have also been able to help with the breakfast and lunch dishes at Casa de Luz a few times this past week. I try an assist with other random things during the day also, but those are the main ones. 

What I have learned is not just related to Honduras and what I am doing here. It is also about a book I just finished that has really hit home. The book is called Kingdom Journeys Rediscovering the Lost Spiritual Discipline By Seth Barnes, who started up the mission organization Adventures in Missions. It talks about being restless and how to properly deal with it and use your restless time productively by getting out of your comfort zone to trust God. The part of the book that kept being repeated to me was that we need to come to a stage in life of brokenness, where there is no other option but to trust in God. That's when its time to take a journey out of the comfort zone and let the world see how powerful our God really is by providing for us in ways we never would have thought of. 

All of my previous trips and experiences have lead me to where I am now, here in Honduras helping God's children. The kids that are in Casa de Luz are living in homes that have serious problems. Its really good to know that the kids have a safe place to come to play and learn about God. When I was planning my trip to Honduras, I was thinking I was coming to share the love of God with the people here. I have no doubt that I have done that, but whats even better is what I have learned from the kids and the people. Especially the women here are so welcoming. It has taken me a little while to get used to greeting women and even some men with a kiss on the cheek. Even though I don't understand what they are saying to me, and they don't understand what I am saying. We can share a smile and know that we are impacting God's kingdom. 

I feel like I have been on a Kingdom Journey for the past 2 years. The restlessness I have had and taking it to the next level of going to YWAM and coming here to Honduras. I currently feel that it will continue in the mission field overseas, but that could change too. However, God mentions numerous times in the Bible about how we are to go out to all the nations and spread His good news. That is where I would feel like I was actually making a difference. I don't want to sit around and expect everyone else to do the work, I want to GO.

Thank you for all the prayers and support so far. I don't know the specifics of what people have prayed for, but I can tell you that the first half of my trip has gone really well so far and I am looking forward to see what the next 3 weeks hold in store for me! 


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Update from Honduras

Greetings from Honduras!

I arrived on Tuesday morning in Honduras with two 50 lb bags of donations and a backpack with some clothes for myself. My plans have changed a little bit since getting here. My cousin Jenny's boyfriend, Aben, who is from Honduras is very involved with a school/ministry called The Rock. We will be spending a lot of time there as well as at Casa de Luz. The Rock is a school in the mountains with 3 different age classes from Pre-K to 6th grade. They are need of a lot more school supplies than Casa de Luz, so the majority of the school supplies people have given me will go towards them. At the end of this coming week we will be teaching English to the kids.

So far I have been able to give away most of the clothes and shoes to the kids at Casa de Luz and The Rock. A lot of the shoes the kids had, didn't fit them correctly, so it was nice to be able to give them shoes that didn't make their toes curl up or where the shoes would be too big that they would keep losing them. The donations that were games and puzzles we are still figuring out which ministry they will go towards. I am so thankful for how generous everyone was and so are the kids!

I spent Wednesday and Thursday at the Casa de Luz with the kids. Wednesday I observed, just to see what they did and looked for ways where I could help them out. Thursday I was able to help with the breakfast dishes and also taught the English lesson of words and numbers with flash cards that had pictures on them. The kids ages range from 3 to 7. On average there is about 18 kids per day through out the year, but last week there was only about 10 kids each day.

Wednesday night we used some of the money people had given me for donations towards Casa de Luz and also now The Rock. I forgot to count how much donation money I had received before I exchanged it into Lempira (Honduran money). But it was around $400, so thank you to everyone that donated money!

So far, my time here has been wonderful. I have really enjoyed meeting the people and seeing different ways to serve the people here and how I can pray for them. Thank you so much for your prayers and support so far!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

6 days!

Only 6 more days until I leave for the beautiful land of Honduras and Guatemala! God has opened some pretty amazing opportunities for me in those places and I am excited to bring donations for the kids of the day care and school! On that note, I would like to get any remaining items from people in the next few days so I know how much stuff I have and if I am going to ship the items or check them on the flight. If you cannot get me the items, please let me know and I will pick them up from you. If you know of anyone that was thinking of donating anything, please let them know that I would like the items sooner rather than later. I am extremely thankful for all of the school supplies, clothes, toys and also the money donations to buy items there that are easier to buy there than pack.  You truly are making a difference for the kids and families there. I will make sure to update my blog as much as I can while I am there and I would really appreciate your prayers for safety and health while I am traveling.

God Bless,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

List of supplies needed in Honduras

Hi friends and family,
So I had mentioned in my last blog post that I am bringing a second suitcase of items just for the day care and school in Honduras. Below are the things that they need:

3-6 year old boys clothes
6 years and up boys and girls clothes
kids shoes
kids cough syrup
gummy vitamins
coloring books
colored pens

Also diapers and formula are needed, but it would be easier for me to buy them there than pack them in my suitcase. So if you would rather give me money to buy specifically those things, or any of the other things on the list, I would be happy to do so. Whatever you can give me, they will use, even if it isn't on the list.

I have about 2 months before I leave so I will start collecting any of the items starting now. Feel free to contact me by email at, Facebook, phone or in person.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Living in the Moment

I have no idea what the future is going to bring and neither do you. Living in the moment does not mean being irresponsible, to me it means living every day to the fullest and listening to where God wants to take you. I have been taking time listening to what my passions are and God has been opening up some pretty sweet doors. I am excited to tell you that I am going to Tegucigalpa, Honduras and Guatemala City, Guatemala on October 1- November 9.

Youth with a Mission really opened me up to what God can do in my life. Ever since being home I have this craving to find people to talk to about God. I want them to know how much He LOVES them, more than we can comprehend. Our every day lives should be mission oriented whether we are driving the car, answering the phone at work, getting groceries...God's there! For a couple years now I have wanted to visit my cousin Jenny, who lives in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. I will be there for about a month. She works at a day care called, Casa De Luz, and I have been wanting to go down there and help serve her and the people there. This day care reaches out to the needy families of Tegucigalpa and takes care of their children. I am going to be taking a second suitcase with me with items for the day care and the kids/adults. I would love if you could help me out with some of those items, in my next blog post I will let you know what they need.

After Honduras I will be taking a bus to Guatemala City to meet up with Gary and Rachel (friends from Kuyper College) who work with an organization called At Risk no More. Which reaches out to kids in the city and lets them know that they have value and have a community of people behind them that support them. However, At Risk No More they only speak Spanish, so Rachel is also going to connect me up with other mission organizations around there that speak English to help out at. After about a week or so, I will fly home from there.

I know very little Spanish, so that is soon to change. I want to be able to connect with the people from Honduras and Guatemala in their language. Also, just so I am clear, I am not going to Honduras and Guatemala to travel, that is obviously a plus, but I am there to love and serve God's people. Currently, I feel like God is leading me to serve in other countries. I realize the United States also is in need of people to share the gospel, but for the time being I feel like I am supposed to connect with cultures in other countries. I don't know how long this will last, but I am going to enjoy every minute of it by living in the moment! One of my new favorite verses is Micah 6:8 which states that we are to "Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with your God". I want to share Justice, Mercy and Humility with people wherever I end up. God loves us so much, and I figure, why not give up some of the important/secure things in my life and serve Him where the doors are opening up in my life. I want my mission in life for people to not see what I do, but give God the glory for what I am doing in their lives.

Blessings until the next time!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Step by step

Hi all,
I have been home for about 2 months now. Its crazy, I can't believe how fast time has gone. Sorry, for such a long period of not writing. I have been slowly transitioning back into work. I currently work a day a week at Starlite in the office, which has been going very well. I am currently looking into part-time jobs because I still want to keep working at Starlite. After all, they are my family!

While I have been home, it has been a huge blessing to really think about what to do next and see if God is leading me anywhere. I am still dealing with the health problems I had in New Zealand and Morocco. I just finished a time of 3 weeks really praying for healing and what I am to do next. Currently, I am waiting to hear back from the doctor of what I have and what I should do. Until, I start to feel better, there will be no more traveling. Which is just fine, because I have plenty of opportunities here to grow in my faith, and build relationships with people. It just isn't quite the same as in another country.

I am extremely grateful for your support and prayers while I was gone and coming back home. It would take a lot of time to upload all the pictures into my blog, but I did make a couple of videos of pictures from New Zealand & Morocco. Just click on the word 'New Zealand' or 'Morocco' to watch the clip. I will do a better job of keeping you all updated with what I am doing. Especially, those of you who are not on Facebook.

God Bless,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Amazing Arrival

Hello all!
I am back home soon than expected because of a sinus infection that just kept getting worse and never got better. I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon to figure out what is going on. My time in Morocco was amazing. The people I was with I was constantly blessed with prayer when I was sick and I learned a lot from them. How I got home was a bit of a miracle that it all worked out. I was flying from Germany to Los Angeles and then I was supposed to fly to New Zealand from LA. However, about 3 hours from landing in LA the pressure in my head was too much and I couldn't fathom getting on a 14 hour flight. So I decided I really need to pray about it and I kept getting the idea in my head that I should be going home instead of New Zealand. So then I talked about it with my leader, Kent, and he also decided that was probably for the best. Luckily we had a 9 hour layover before my group needed to catch their flight to New Zealand for me to figure out what I needed to do. One of my school leader, Gabe's, uncle and mom picked us up in LA to hang out with us and take us around town. We were able to go to a Starbucks with internet to try and get a hold of my school leader, Nicki, back on base to get permission. So we went back to the airport after that and found a ticket for me the next day (Saturday) from LA to Chicago. Thankfully I was able to get a reasonable ticket price because it was last minute. One of the amazing parts of all this was that I needed to get a hold of my parents for them to pick me up in Chicago. They were traveling all day Friday home from their vacation in the Dominican Republic and they had just made it through customs in Atlanta when my dad turned on his phone and I called. I was able to stay with Gabe's uncle and their family for Friday night and he brought me to the airport early Saturday morning and by 4 in the afternoon I was reunited with my family.

So that is what has happened recently. My time in Morocco was amazing. I constantly felt God with me when I was worried or stressed. The team of people I was with in Morocco (Kent, Chris, Nate, Abby & Kathryn) are some of the most wonderful people I have met. It is hard currently being back home when I know that they are all in New Zealand finishing the school. I am finishing my debrief time here in Michigan instead of New Zealand. I am hoping to have some pictures from Morocco up in the next month. I would have them sooner but my team took my flash drive to New Zealand to put all the team pictures on it and then they will send it back to me. Currently, I am getting to a doctor and taking it day by day before I try and figure out what I am supposed to do next. God will reveal it to me when it is supposed to happen. In the meantime I would love to catch up with a lot of you because it has been about 4 an a half months! Thank you for your prayers while I was in Morocco.

God Bless,