Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Well said Mr. Foreman:

"Love is, as far as I can tell, the most mature response to any situation - the pinnacle of what it means to be truly human. Love is a wrench in the wheels of cause and effect, of reactionary living, of casual imitation. Yes, speed and events are all around us in the information age, but motion, true motion, is rare. Love is the movement." -- Jon Foreman

If I were to get a tattoo - something permanently written on my body to read day after day after day... this would be it. After all... God IS love.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Blog Has Moved

I just launched a new website where you can read my daily blog and my Travel Log where I blog about my venture trips into different countries. There is also a lot more! Photos, videos, links, etc..!!! Come check it out!

Monday, April 25, 2011


Back in full swing. After several weeks out of the office jet-setting for my trip to the DR and then to Silverdale, WA for our COTN conference and prayer retreat, I have plunged myself back into work here in San Diego. The clock is ticking as we approach our Dinner and Silent Auction event. A feeling of anxious hustle is in the air as we are still seeking to establish partnerships with churches and businesses, lock-in table hosts and guests, acquire auction items, and just get organized. (Sometimes I wish we could still run on “Dominican time”.)

COTN's Million Meal Marathon is coming up at the Real Life Church in Valencia, CA. We are planning on driving up as well as some Seattle staff driving down to help out. This week I spent a few hours putting together a follow-up brochure for the event, got back into my Flood leadership role, caught up in my core group reading, sacrificed some Easter time to clean a client’s home, and managed to spend some much needed time with friends.

Lately I feel like I am becoming a grateful basket case. I have never cried so much in all my life since joining COTN. Every time I find myself standing in complete hopelessness with no other option at my disposal but to sob with my face in my hands, God offers some unexpected, overwhelming joy that humbles me to tears once more. Even those that don’t necessarily help my personal situation, but are a huge joy for COTN.

I am blown away by what my church community, Flood Church, has accomplished with their Hope for Haiti initiative. I have been excited since the start of this campaign to find out the results. While in the DR I kept receiving facebook invites to all kinds of creative events to help raise the money. Flood’s plan was to raise $100,000 to help pay for the land for the COTN compound in Haiti, pay for the construction of the compound, as well as supporting each of the families.

They announced the amount they were able to raise in this video:

Hope For Haiti - Celebration from FloodSanDiego on Vimeo.


• Currently I am focusing on my personal support raising. (Which seems to be the biggest, most difficult challenge I am facing.) I am supposed to be focused on trying to find monthly supporters who will commit to donating to support me as a missionary. Talk about hard work. I trust that there are people out there who believe in what I am doing as much as I do and I trust in God’s ability to stir their hearts and his plan for my life. Struggle is unavoidable, but I believe that accomplishing this feat is inevitable.
• Decorations for Dinner & Auction event – Just in this past week we changed the theme to our dinner/auction. That means that the plans I had prepared for the part of the event that was my responsibility pretty much had to be scrapped and I had to start back at square one. Thankfully it’s coming together fairly easily. It was just some additional unexpected work.

for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. – Psalm 13:5

Never let your head hang down. Never give up and never sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines. – Satchel Paige

Friday, April 8, 2011



That's the term we use for reverse culture-shock when you return home from a different culture. It can be different for everyone. Even those who don't think they experience it might struggle with "Why am I not more affected?". For me, it's been a quiet silence. A heavy stillness like the emptiness in a household after someone has passed. After living two weeks where service is so tangible, it's strange to feel the distance between my actions and the results. It's also somewhat difficult because of the lag between my activities, the dead air time in my life. I think I often hide behind schedules and a general busyness to avoid quiet heartaches.

It's also hard to hear the reoccurring question, "How was Haiti?" and having to, again, say that I didn't get into Haiti. I see the instant distance in their eyes and the assumptions that there was no work to be done in the DR and that our trip was a moot point. Thankfully I have a strong community of friends to lean on in these times. On Tuesday, Vicky and I went to surprise Caitlin for her lunch break. It was much needed and Caitlin said it helped her readjust to life back here in San Diego. (I can't imagine how I'd have handled this if I were re-entering to Boston. Yikes!)

The hardest part is having so much that I want share with certain people close to my heart and hearing them tell me how foolish I was for going. That person who I shower love upon not only can't accept it, but won't accept my genuine desire to extend that love to others. How do people in missions work handle being told that they are searching for purpose in the face of a child countries away? Or that they are week for needing religion as a crutch? The enemy sneaks in and always tears apart that which we hold so dear to leave footprints of doubt in our minds.

My desires to give of myself to COTN and put myself last don't come out of a deep rooted need for purpose (though the purpose in it has truly been a blessing) but because I don't see how I can have ability to help someone and do nothing about it. It was never an option for me to hunker down in my own little hole in Ohio and conclude that the world is evil and none of my concern. Surely the whale would find me.

Music is made to be heard. It would otherwise be silence. The symphony of my life will be arranged with key changes and accidentals and will soar unrestrained to the heavens. I have no desire to limit the sound of my heart and help. If you tell me the choice is between God or you, then I have to admit the choice was made long before I learned the words to voice it.

I am finding that everything in my life is starting to blend together. Experiences are starting to relate to others, sermons speak directly to my life, lessons lead me in group discussions, books are giving me advice for the questions that I find in my sleep, reassurance is given by a passing word from a friend. Matt's words in this weeks newsletter were exceptionally significant: "Have you ever noticed that it's often the people we "love" most that can be the most difficult to love?" "I've found that when love is difficult, it most reflects what love actually is. When we choose the road less traveled, and act in love even when we don't feel like it, things change, which means the world can change. Will you change the world?"

I have been home for less than a week and tomorrow I'm flying off again to Silverdale, WA for our Spring Corporate Conference. It will be nice to have another week of no other obligation than COTN. My venture team is getting together for dinner tonight before the staff fly out tomorrow. It will be great to be together again and just work through our re-entry process (or just to hang out for those who "weren't affected" by re-entry) and plan when we can get together to swap photos of the trip.

Weakness isn't believing in some magical being in the stratosphere, it's the inability to let go of your self-reliance and control to do and go where the God of life and love leads you. Despite what some may think, I truly believe that I am stronger for the decision I have made to follow, give, love, and withstand the criticism.

It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” -- Philippians 2:13

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” -- Proverbs 16:9

"Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ -- Matthew 22:37-39

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Flood Church is doing an amazing thing by partnering with COTN to help the children of Haiti! You can get involved too!

Hope For Haiti from FloodSanDiego on Vimeo.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ -- Matthew 25:40

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Ok, so... not going to lie, it was pretty sweet to have a warm shower and blow dry my hair. I think those were really the only two things I was missing... no wait, I lied. Being able to flush TP is also pretty awesome.

Once again I lost an entire blog entry this morning and had to retype everything. I was the last one to the breakfast table because of it. But I was welcomed and sat right down with the rest of the team. We all lagged at the table since we knew that we were headed to the airport and three of us were going to be departing the rest of the team to fly back to San Diego.

When I got back to the room to pack the last of my belongings no one was in the room and I had to go back to prop the room door open just so I could hear Vicky and Derek talking in the hallway. The hardest thing about leaving is disbanding this community. We met Juanchi, Rambo, and Renzo in the lobby and packed up the van.

When we pulled into the airport I asked to say a quick prayer. We had already asked for traveling mercies for the American team when we headed back to Santo Domingo yesterday. I had wanted to ask blessings for the DR staff since they had given us so much during our stay here. I'm not the best at spoken prayer, but I had been putting it together in my head, so I was prepared.

After that, it was into the airport. We hugged each other several times (mainly because we kept thinking that we had reached the check point where the others couldn't follow) to say goodbye. Finally Vicky, Caitlin and I really had to say goodbye. I'm really glad there were three of us. We took off around noon.

The flight to JFK was great because we were all able to sit together. We played trivia and just talked about what we were looking forward to and were going to miss. It was hard arriving and seeing the arrogance in people around us. This is something that has always bothered me in people, but I just assumed I was overly sensitive to it. I was glad that this past week brought the awareness to Caitlin and Vicky so I had someone to lean on through that stress. We had a little bit of a dinner at the airport and then boarded our flight back to San Diego. This time Caitlin's seat was about 4 rows back and across the isle. It was such a bummer to have to fly five and a half hours without getting to sit together. We kept waving at each other. (I'm sure the other passengers hated us.)

We arrived back in San Diego at about 9:40pm. I talked to my roommate a little bit about the trip, had a bit to eat, unpacked my bags, put everything away and climbed into bed. This is where I am now writing to you from. I don't know what tomorrow holds as I jump back into my life. It is strange not being able to look to one side and always having someone there to talk to. I've been shoulder to shoulder with people for 12 days on flights, in taxies, around the table, lounging for devotions, on the bus, in the vans, at the schools with 3 children hanging on each arm.... I know I will see my friends here in San Diego in the next few days and I know that in less than a week I'll be flying up to Seattle for the COTN Conference. But for now, I miss them all.

I wish I had the pictures already and could flip through them again. As I sit here on my bed, I can't help but feel that it was all a dream. San Diego continued existing and everything here is just as I left it almost as if I had never left at all. I keep looking at the beautiful blue Larimar bead on my bracelet and it makes me smile to know that it all really did happen. These are true and genuine feelings and I am so much more blessed by having experienced them.

I want to dive into my work with COTN. I keep pressing on to the day when COTN is my only job and I don't have to partner my focus with all the other things that eat up my time. It's hard to believe that this trip was work. I have a few more goals now. I want to learn Haitian Creole, I want to have gotten into Haiti within a year from now, and I want to visit every country with COTN. There is so much life to be lived!

Muchas gracias for reading my blog and por favor continue to follow throughout the rest of my adventures with this budding organization. Peace and blessings to you all! Buenos noches!

After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. -- Acts 15:33

I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. -- Ezekiel 34:26

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I woke up early again today and jumped online to send an email to my dad with a picture of me and the Dominican I Love Baseball (ILB) director in his Cleveland Indians jersey. I waited a little bit on coffee as my stomach was in knots. I wasn't sure if maybe I had taken in some of the pool water from yesterday (as we are not supposed to drink the water here because it can make us sick) or if maybe I ate something at the BBQ or dinner that didn't agree with me. Whatever the case, I didn't eat as much for breakfast and it took me longer to finish because I was letting my stomach settle between every several bites.

It was strange not having Ben-ha-mean (Ben) at the table with us. I think we all could feel his absence. Even at devotions last night we missed his input. I think it kind of set our minds in motion, preparing us for the breaking up of the team and departure from the DR. I am so thankful that I was able to get a piece of Larimar stone to add to my bracelet. It is only found in the Dominican and is mined in Barahona. Emanuel, one of our drivers (Rambo's father) hand crafts the stones into jewelry, so it's very significant and unique to my trip here in the DR. Seeing it makes me feel like I am able to take more than just my memories of the DR back with me.

We all then went back to our rooms to pack up our things. My stomached slowly settled down and by the time we loaded into the van I felt better. We started off with a prayer and then we were off. On the way back to Santo Domingo we just happened to pass the other COTN van and stopped to wave good bye to the staff on board. This was especially good for Caitlin because she had bonded with Emanuel who was driving that van and she was glad to get in a farewell.

We joked during the drive, giving each other nicknames, and recounting our trip. When we got to Santo Domingo we walked through the Colonial Zone touring all the old buildings from when Columbus landed back in the late 1400s. It was nice just to meander through the market looking at art and snapping photos of the old buildings.

After that we checked in at our hotel and quickly donned our swimsuits. Even Vicky got in the water and enjoyed playing some water frisbee, catching it with her feet. We laughed so hard the whole time. Caitlin made the mistake of getting out too early and was promptly tossed back in, towel and all.

We had a nice dinner at the buffet in the hotel. I think it was somewhat awkward for us to be in such a nice place after the at-home feel of the Casa meal table. The servers carried our plates to the table for us and took the plates away. The food was quite delicious though. There was even mac and cheese for Holly.

Holly lead devotions tonight. We read the parable of the master who gave talents to three servents. We talked about re-entry into the states, what each of us were expecting, what we wanted to take away from this experience, and how to invest in what we have gained from this trip rather than burying it inside and not sharing it. A few of us have committed to implementing new things into our lives to build upon what we have been doing and others are contemplating what direction their life will go from here.

The fact that we didn't get into Haiti ended up being such a huge blessing. Sometimes you can't see the purpose or plan until you look back at how everything lead up to it. Each of the staff had something that was specifically utilizing their exact talents or desires on this trip.

Holly: Since her last trip to the DR, she had been wanting to work expressly with the DR staff to train them. We ended up doing a whole training session on Strengths Finder and leading with their strengths as well as training them on Displayed Thinking.

Travis: Anyone who knows him, knows that he loves to discuss Strengths Finder. Not only was he able to lead and facilitate the training session for the DR staff, but everyone on the team sought him out during the week to discuss their own strengths.
Amber:  She has a desire to start an art 
therapy program with COTN. While we were here, we were asked to paint the school and she was leading the painting team.

Vicky: Vicky stepped out of her comfort zone over and over on this trip and has become so much stronger and aware of the things she can do. After seeing the ILB program her visionary skills kicked in and she started thinking about a program for the girls. It just so happens that Malu on the DR staff has had a vision for a girls camp and Vicky worked in camping ministry before joining COTN.

Caitlin: Was able to improve her Spanish and gain a whole new family of Christian support that isn't just in the Flood community, but now stretches clear across the country and into the Caribbean ocean.

Derek: Well.... just tonight Derek might have discovered what his purpose on this trip was, but I don't want to jump the gun.

Angela: As for me, there was a lot of healing on this trip. Conversations that I needed to lift some emotional woundedness from my past, find some security and understanding, and bond with people. I also was able to use my artistic eye by doing photography with Derek.

Some people who read this might just call it coincidence, and that's ok with me. I prefer to think of it as "God's wink" as someone on our team put it. To put it frankly, we are a team greater than the sum of our parts and this trip would not have been the same had one of us not been here.

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. -- Romans 12:4-5

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. -- Proverbs 27:17