Sunday, August 23, 2015

Outreach Season 2015

     This year I served with Samaria Mission during their outreach season. I helped cook for all the teams, as well as move and set up camp. It was a wonderful experience! Here is a little bit about each village we went to.

Mbeti - North Carolina Team

     The first team I served with was form North Carolina. We worked in the village of Mbeti in Mozambique. The church in this village is fairly new, so there was a smaller group of people at all the ministries. The Lord did a lot of work in the village through visitations and the different ministries. The team was wonderful to work with and worked very hard.

Christ Baptist Church - Mbuzi

The second team I worked with was a South African team. They are actually from the church I attend here in Polokwane. It was so special to get to work alongside my church family and share in the work The Lord did through them. Because of changes at the border, the American team that was going to join us was not able to get into Mozambique. The CBC team stepped up and filled the ministry spots that the other team was going to be in charge of. We saw several people come to Christ on hut-to-hut visits and had a large group of women and children attend the ministry times. We were also able to do a lot of practical ministry. The team successfully drilled a water well and helped to rebuild the roof for the church. The CBC team served in this same village the year before and were very encouraged by the growth of the church. The Lord is at work in Mbuzi.

Trinity Baptist Church - Makumeke

The third team I worked with was from Trinity Baptist in Florida. The second half of outreach was done in South Africa due to the changes at the border, so we worked in Makumeke, South Africa. When we arrived in the village, we were told that the people's hearts were extremely hard toward the gospel. There had been several pastors that had tried to grow this new church plant, but had seen little results. The team was eager to get going and worked hard to visit as many people in the area that they could. We were blessed to see a number of people come to Christ and the church multiply. The current pastor could not believe the number of people coming to ministry and church in the evening. He praised God for the work he did and was so thankful to that the team was able to come to his village. This team was truly blessed to be able to reap the harvest The Lord had prepared.

Northlake - Xigalo

The last team that I worked with was the Northlake team from May, Texas. They served in Xigalo, South Africa. Because of Cait moving back to the States, I wasn't able to be with the team for the whole outreach, but I did get to spend a few days with them. Practical ministry was the main focus of this team. They drilled several wells, completed construction on the church building, and help add a carport to the house of one of the pastors in the area. They also did a children's ministry in Xigalo, as well as another village close by. This team came to work and accomplished a lot!

     Outreach season is always an exciting and special time for Samaria Mission. I am so grateful to have been able to experience it and see all the amazing things The Lord did over those several months.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


     Home is where the heart is. This phrase is very familiar to us. Many of us may have these words hanging in our homes. It wasn’t until I moved to South Africa that those words really took on meaning for me. I always understood the phrase and knew what it meant, but it never really hit home for me until now.

     Last year I went on a short-term trip to South Africa. I honestly wasn’t too excited about going to Africa in the first place. It was a last minute decision I made, after being talked into joining the team. I wasn’t sure I had made the right decision, but I was given the full amount of money that I needed in less than a month of signing up, so I stuck to the plan. Even as we landed in Johannesburg that night and made the drive to Polokwane, I wasn’t really excited to be there. I had no idea the great things The Lord had in store for me.

     As we were driving to the village we were going to be working in, I felt this overwhelming feeling that this was home. It was very strange, and I tried to ignore it, because I didn’t understand why I felt that way. I had been on several mission trips overseas, but I had never felt this way before. A peace I can’t describe filled my heart. I loved every moment of the trip, and I fell in love with the people of Africa. Every time I have gone on a mission trip, part of my heart has stayed with the people there. Even when I served in Montana, I was still in the States, but part of me never left and still loves the people there dearly. I expected to fall in love with the people of Africa. I did not expect to feel like Africa was my home.

     Through this feeling and many other crazy things The Lord did in my life, I knew South Africa was where he wanted me. It is home to me. Of course I miss my family and friends in the States! I have already shed a few tears over them. Life here isn’t easy all the time, but the undeniable peace and joy that fills my heart as I do life here is so much greater than anything else. My heart is in Africa, so Africa is my home.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Trust Without Borders

     Just so we are all on the same page, in July I am moving to South Africa. The Lord has done so many amazing things to lead me to this point, and I want to share them with you!

My journey to South Africa, the first time

      I am going to start my story a year ago with my first trip to South Africa. I was halfway through the semester and began thinking about what I was going to do after I graduated. We had just gotten back from Beach Reach. The Lord had worked on getting me to the point that I was willing to do whatever he wanted me to. The song Oceans had just come out, and a certain line in the song really consumed my thoughts and prayers. Part of the song says, "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior."At the end of Beach Reach, I told The Lord that I would go wherever and do whatever he wanted. 

     I had signed up to go on a trip with the Baptist Student Ministry for a couple weeks in the summer. As it turned out, I was the only person who signed up to go, so the trip was canceled. The day I found out about that trip someone told me that a spot had just opened on the trip to South Africa with Paulann Baptist Church. I decided to go on the trip to South Africa, because I was close friends with several people on the trip and the dates were close to the same time, so I could go. I joined the team late, so I only had 2 months to raise the $4,000 I needed to go. I did a few fundraisers and sent out some letters, and I had all the money turned in several weeks before we left! That was such a cool thing to be part of! A week before we left, I got bit by a spider and had to go to the emergency room. I had a big blister on my leg, and it looked like I might not get to go on the trip. I went to a wound specialist to get it looked at. He looked at the bite and couldn't believe it wasn't much worse. He said he has never seen a bite that didn't eat away some of the muscle. They cleaned it and wrapped it, but they couldn't release me to go until the day before the trip. When I went back to see if I could go, the doctors were amazed again. They had never seen a bite heal so quickly, and they released me to go on the trip. It was really cool to get to share Christ with them through a spider bite.

The decision to move


     When I signed up for the 2 week trip, I had no idea the plans God had in store for me. While we were there, we worked closely with several missionaries that live there. While we were getting ready for dinner one day, I heard one of the missionaries, Alicia Raley, talking about how they needed someone to come over and homeschool their son. I loved the idea of doing that, and I had already been looking into missionary programs like Journeyman through the IMB or Campus Missionary through the BSM. I talked to them about it and told them I would pray about it. We came home, and for the next 2 months I prayed about it. The more I prayed about it, the more I was sure this was what The Lord was wanting me to do. 

     I emailed Alicia to let her know I was still interested and to get more information about what I would be doing. The day they emailed me back, I was getting ready to give a presentation on dyscalculia, which is dyslexia specific to math. I read the email before I left the apartment. She said that their son, Luke, had dyslexia and was mainly struggling with math. I was so excited about the email, I don't even know what I said in class!

     The next step was to tell my parents. I was so nervous about telling them, because this was a huge decision, and I knew it would be very hard on them. I went home and told them what I wanted to do. I was surprised at how well they took the news. We talked about it a lot. By the end of the weekend, they told me it was my decision, and they would be ok with whatever I decided. Later my mom told me that they knew I would be going back the moment I stepped off the plane that summer. That really cool and confirmed that I was doing what God wanted me to.

     By the end of October, I had officially committed to move to South Africa to teach Luke. Because the missionaries raise their own funds to live there, I would have to do the same. I planned a bake sale at my church back home, Lamesa, during the middle of December. My mom and I worked for several days before to get ready, but we only had about 15 things to sell. I was so amazed at how people gave. People gave over $1200 just that day. My church in Lamesa has always been so supportive of everything I have done. I am always blown away by how much they care and give.

     After the bake sale, someone told me that a group of women in our church were part of the Women's Missionary Union, and they wanted to recommend that the church fully support me financially and through prayer while I'm in Africa. The church agreed to this decision and made it official in the beginning of March. That was another huge gift and an amazing thing to be a part of! I am still so overwhelmed with the fact that they would do such a wonderful thing for me!

     This experience has taught me so much already. Surrendering everything to Christ has been so much greater than following my own plans. I am so humbled by the whole experience. I can't believe that he would use me to make his name known and bring himself glory. He has shown me how sovereign he is and how much greater my life is when my trust in him is without borders.

My Testimony

     Love. Grace. Sovereignty. These three words define the journey of my life. My story is one that hasn't always made sense to me, but I am so thankful that The Lord chose to work in my life the way he did.

     I grew up in a wonderful Christian home, and I can remember going to church around the age of 7. One Sunday, a friend of mine was baptized. I saw how everyone praised her and told her how proud they were, and I wanted that. I talked to my mom about getting baptized and spent a while in the preachers office, as he made sure I knew what it meant to give my life to Christ. I knew Jesus died for our sins. I knew I had to believe in him to be saved. I knew getting baptized was a testimony to others that I belonged to Christ, so I was baptized when I was eight. Though everyone explained everything to me well, and many people showed me what a follower of Christ looks like, somehow I did not understand that Christianity is grace. My selfishness and pride led me to believe that if I did enough good things, God would love me. I thought being a Christian meant being a good person, and I worked hard to make sure people saw me that way. In high school, I was at church as often as I could be. I helped with the children's ministry, lead a Bible study for middle school girls, went to every camp I could, and even went on a mission trip. I was the perfect Christian girl, but I never felt good enough. I always felt lost.

     Moving off to college was a new and exciting experience. I met an amazing group of believers and immediately got plugged in with their group. I had so many new friends who had a passion for Christ, yet I still felt lost. During the first few weeks of school, I had met this girl named Alex, and we quickly became best friends. One weekend, toward the end of our freshman year, we were driving home together, and she asked me how I knew I had salvation. I had never thought about it before. I had nothing to give as an answer. It bothered me a little, but I shrugged it off and convinced myself I was fine. I came back to school after the summer ready for another great year of college. About a month into the year I was at a college worship service. The speaker was talking about the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was busy doing things for Jesus, while Mary simply sat at his feet. In that moment, The Lord told me that I was Martha. I wanted to impress him and do all these things for him, but I was able to sit and listen to him. He revealed to me that I was not a Christian and I would not be saved by all my works. I had to give my life to him and accept his grace. On October 4, 2011, I truly gave my life to him and accepted his grace.

     For a while I struggled with why he would allow me to go so long without really knowing him. Why would he let me lead all these other students, when I didn't have his Spirit? Why would he allow me to go on mission trips, when I didn't know him myself? Why would he let me live a life so full of pride for so long?

     I now understand his plan a little better than I did back then. He continued to persue me while I was trying to earn my salvation and living my life so selfishly. Because he spent almost 20 years drawing me to himself, I have such a greater understanding of his love. I am constantly overwhelmed with his love for me. Without going on the mission trips I went on, I would not be willing to go where he wants me to now. If I had not spent so much time working with the youth and being taught by my church family in Lamesa, I would not have the connection with them that I do now. The Lord has used everything in my life to lead me to the season I am in now. His sovereignty has given me such an amazing testimony. His love, grace, and sovereignty has completely changed my life, and I am so thankful to be counted as his.