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Thursday, May 30, 2013

superduper blessed.

I have sososo much to be grateful for. God is astounding. I'm in awe.

I'm now seeing how God has worked every single event, every second, every struggle for good.

"And we know for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 esv. 


It's one thing reading a verse like that and another to see it being lived out in your life. Maybe I didn't notice how everything worked for good (note: not what I think is good. but what actually is good), or maybe I just didn't take the time to look.

Oh, the people God has put into my life. I'm overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness just thinking about it. My church. I can't believe at first I didn't want to go to the church we now go to, just because it wasn't as big as I thought it should be or as "professional" as I thought it should be. Because it's not the building, it's not the program, it's the people that matter. The ladies in my church have invested so much time, so much energy into me, helping me become more of the woman I'm becoming. The kiddos I've been able to build tent forts with, to watch disney movies with, to dress up with, to shoot hoops have been a huge blessing. Even if sometimes they try my patience, I love them.

There's only a few teens in our church, but we've become super tight and close. It's soso neat how God has allowed us to grow together and shaped us more into the people He wants us to be.

My family. Though we don't always agree on everything, we really truly do love each other and I am really really blessed to have my parents, who will let me make my make my own choices, but give me advice at the same time and lead by example.

You'd think leaving all this would make it harder. Sure, it's hard to leave, but I wouldn't want any other people back here to pray for me and have my back while I'm gone. (and heck, it's not like I'm going to be gone forever).

So. I need to go pack one more bag and hang with my family. Whew, I really don't know what to expect and sometimes I don't know what I've gotten myself into. But God is here and everything will work out for good, won't it?

Thanks everybody for being there and I'll let you all know when I get to Africa.





















Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Natalie



Natalie and I always joke that she's the friend I blog about the most, and that all my friends seem like they know her, even when they haven't even met her.

I don't really know where to begin this post. Natalie is the kind of person that you can be crazy with and have a million inside jokes with, but then we can have the deepest most serious conversations at the same time. All my friendships are so different, but I'm super blessed to have as many good friends as I do.

Natalie came by the other day to give me a present. It's probably the best gift anyone has ever given me. I'll post about it later. Natalie also said goodbye, or as we like to call it, a "see you soon". There's no goodbyes for my brothers and sisters in Christ, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

I'm planning on posting once before I leave, and then from then on I'll be writing from Africa! two days. whew. times flies.

So here are some pix of me and Natalie, since I don't have time to write a long post and pictures describe us better anyway.
















Monday, May 27, 2013

when things seem overwhelming



I was in Walmart the other day picking up a few last minute things for my trip. By last minute, I mean things like long skirts, malaria medicine, underwear, and hairclips. Things that without them, I probably wouldn't last too long in Chad.

First off - let me make something clear. There's a lot more that has gone into preparing for this trip than I thought. A lot. And it's already overwhelming me, especially this past week. But it's bringing me closer to Jesus, which makes it all worth it, but that doesn't mean I still don't feel like I have a lot on my shoulders right now.

So I'm in Walmart and you know how the lines in Walmart are pretty long? Well this one was really long. After what felt like twenty minutes (but was probably only about five or ten) the cashier finally started checking out my stuff. Then I realized that I had left my debit card with my mom and there was no way I had enough cash to pay for what I had bought. To my embarrassment, I put all the stuff back in the cart and tried to get out of that situation as quick as I could. I wasn't sure if my mom was still in Walmart or if she had gone to Lowe's or something. So I pulled out my phone to call her when my phone blinked "low battery" and died.

After walking around Walmart twenty times to see if my mom was still there and deciding she wasn't, I strolled over to Customer Service and asked to use their phone. The lady there wasn't the most costumer friendly, but hey, it's Walmart, and normally it's pretty ghetto. I tried calling mom. Twice. No answer. Perfect.

I walked around the store a few more times and then finally sat down on a cooler in aisle number two and decided to wait it out. Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, "Baby" by Justin Bieber started playing.

I groaned. Then I had to laugh. Sometimes laughing is just the best thing to do to lift your spirits and change your perspective. 'Cause really, it wasn't the end of the world. My sister Anna finally came back in Walmart (turns out they were at Lowe's). I told her (ok, it was more complaining than just telling) about my situation, she got some cash from Mom and gave it to me. I waited through the huge line at the checkout, but I came out of Walmart alive and well.

Moral of the story: life isn't as bad as I make it out to be. Even if I do feel like I've got a huge load on my shoulders, that's why I have Jesus. and boy, am I sure glad I have Him.

Friday, May 24, 2013

FAQ (about my trip)

About a month ago I told you all I was leaving on a six month trip to Chad, Africa. I haven't really given too many details about it though, and I know lots of you have had questions. Instead of answering everyone's questions over and over I decided to make it good and clear here on the blog.

So. I hope any of you who had questions got them answered (and if not, just leave a comment!).

WHO ARE YOU GOING WITH?

I'm going with a family that we knew when we were missionaries in Sudan (which is pretty close to Chad). Their last name is the Brotens, they have five kiddos and I'm super excited about going with them. I wouldn't want to go back overseas with anybody else (besides my own fam), and you'll certainly hear a lot about them if you read this blog. The Brotens are with a team called Pioneers, so basically I'll be on that team. There's a few other families on the team too. None of them have kids my age, but hey, it's better than going by myself.

WHEN AND HOW DID YOU FIND OUT WHEN YOU WERE GOING?

The Brotens have kind of known that I wanted to go back overseas (I had no idea I'd be able to go back this soon) so when they figured out they were going to Chad, they shot us an email letting me know if I wanted to come along with their family I could. They said I could come a week or a year, it was up to me. At first I had decided a month was good, but after actually praying about it, I felt like God wanted me to go longer. That's when the idea of going six months came up and it just stuck.

HOW LONG ARE YOU GOING TO GO FOR?

Like I said, I feel like I should go about six months, but God changes things sometimes so I'm not stuck on that idea. I don't want to pressure myself to stay longer when I'm too homesick (the longest I've been away from my family is eight days) so it could be shorter. Or longer. Like I said, it's totally up to God.

IS IT DANGEROUS? LIKE ARE CHRISTIANS KILLED FOR THEIR FAITH?


No. Of course, there's danger of some sort everywhere you go, but the government isn't going to throw us in jail or hang us for sharing the gospel.

WILL YOU BE BRINGING SCHOOLWORK? 

As some of you all know, I haven't been doing "school" for the past couple of months. I like to point out that just because I haven't been studying books all day doesn't mean I'm not learning anything. I've been working to earn money for the trip, practicing a little Arabic, learning about the culture, reading books about people in Chad, and getting ready for the trip. I'm not planning on bringing any schoolbooks overseas either. I'll have enough to juggle by trying to learn Arabic, interact with the people there, and help around the house.


WHAT LANGUAGE DO THEY SPEAK? 

Arabic. I remember a little from being overseas in Egypt, but in each country the Arabic has it's own form. For example, someone who speaks English from London sounds a lot different than someone who speaks English from Texas.

WHAT EXACTLY WILL YOU BE DOING?

At first I think we're just going to try to survive. At least I am. The Brotens have lived in Chad before, but I haven't been overseas for awhile and Chad is a lot poorer than Egypt. We're going to be living in a small town and basically we're just living among the people, learning the language and their stories, and sharing Jesus that way.

DO YOU GET TO USE A WASHER MACHINE AND THOSE KINDS OF APPLIANCES? 

Ugh. No. (this is where I am a wimp. ha) There's no electricity in the town we're staying in, but the Brotens have a generator. There also is no running water, it turns on once or twice a week and we'll get to fill up these big barrels and use it sparingly. So we get to hand wash laundry, dishes, and all that fun stuff. But we are pretty spoiled here in the States.

IS THERE INTERNET?

Yes. I'm not exactly sure how fast it'll be or how many pictures I'll be able to post or how often I'll be able to post, but I will keep in contact with people. I would die for sure without being able to email my Mom.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO WEAR?

I'm waiting until I get to Chad before I buy most of my clothes. I'm planning on just wearing what they wear, which is like a long flowey dress and a headscarf. I'm not exactly sure what I'll get but I'll be sure to post about how fashionable I'll be in Africa, hehe.

IS IT ONE FLIGHT STRAIGHT TO CHAD OR DO YOU HAVE A BUNCH OF STOPS?


Nope, it's not one straight flight. On the way there I'm flying to DC by myself and then I'll meet up with the Brotens who are from Minnesota, and we'll go to Ethiopia, then Chad together. On the way back it's the same I just have an extra stop in Rome. I'm a little nervous about flying back by myself, but I also like adventures so it should be exciting.

HOW MUCH MONEY DOES IT COST FOR THE TRIP? 

It was like a little over three thousand dollars for the round trip plane tickets, and once I bought those I thought I was good. ha. There's a ton that goes into a trip overseas. Suitcases, medical insurance, malaria medicine (guys that stuff is way too expensive), immunizations, the visa, and not to mention toothpaste, good shoes and shampoo. There's other things I can't even remember right now. I'm super blessed to have countless amazing people who've given so generously so I've always had enough money.


WHAT'S GOING TO BE HARDEST ABOUT LEAVING? 

The trees. The greenness here. Frozen yogurt, the pie kitchen, and main street coffee house.  The beautiful weather, chocolate, air conditioning, swimming pools, cute clothes, hot showers, going on runs. But really. All that stuff doesn't matter to me as much as the people I have around me. I've been so blessed. so blessed. And I hate goodbyes. Though it's not forever, and like I said, I'm so blessed to have parents who let me make my own choices and friends that will pray over me. It's awesome.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

questions

Just wanted to let you all know that I'm going to be doing a post answering some questions I get a lot about my trip to Africa, and that if you all had any more questions to leave them in the comments. I know I haven't put too many details here on the blog and I want to make it all clear to everybody.  I'll do my best to answer them in the next two days.

Ask away!

the beans

I've known the Beans (TJ, Melissa, and little Aiden) for a little over a year now. The moment I met Miss Melissa, she was so welcoming and selfless. Melissa is a photographer herself (guys. she's a professional photographer though, okay?) and she's been kind to let me tag along and learn from her.  

Not only is Miss Melissa a great photographer, she's hilarious and we always joke that if we would've been the same age it would've been nuts. 

Aiden is nuts, too. I babysit him and he's my little buddy. I saw him at a restaurant a few months ago and he came running through the place screaming, "I love you Kendra!" best. thing. ever. And TJ likes Star Wars. Enough said. 

Here are some pix from when I went over to their little house last week. It was raining some, but it was probably my favorite family photoshoot so far. The Beans love Jesus and it's written all over their faces.

Enjoy. ;) 






















Monday, May 20, 2013

what's going on.











1. It's getting hot and the fans are on all the time. I love summer. 

2. I leave in ten days and goodbyes are no fun. 

3. We're trying to finish school. We still have some workin' to do on that. 

4. I'm rushing here and there and packing, packing.

5. We sisters like to mess up each other's faces with makeup and play legos. 

6. Trying to follow John 3:30. Let's just say I have some working to do. 

7. New glasses! 

8. Music is the best.

9. like the new blog design? all credit goes to the talented Bethany Grace. (check out her blog, it's one of my favs)