Saturday, December 11, 2010


As Children of the Nations has officially instituted Area Offices, our first year is going to be one of transition and organization. We are trying to make things uniformed across the board so as to avoid confusion.

We needed to change the name of our Facebook page to include parentheses rather than the dash. Since we already have over 100 fans of the page (cause you guys are awesome!) The name was locked and we had to reissue a new Facebook page.

Please become a fan of our new page.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I am officially an Event Planner. Today was the Ripple Relay as well as the first event for the San Diego office! It was incredible to see all the hard work come to fruition. My knees are not happy with me and I am currently sitting in my living room icing them down. I wish I could say it all went smoothly, but that was not the case. I’m sure that we will have lots of disjointedness throughout this entire first year, but there was more than was necessary this time around.

You can see all the pictures on our facebook page

I have a hard time dealing with complications when I saw them coming miles away and gave adequate warning of them. You never want to see a disaster happen just the way you predicted it would. I wonder if this is the stress that Nostradamus lived in. I find that I have this reoccurring problem in my life where I speak but am not heard. I don’t know if it’s because I lack conviction when I talk or if people just don’t believe I know what I’m talking about.

There were also a lot of last minute changes that weren’t thought through. I am also someone who is committed to my word and I am not comfortable changing things on people so close to an event. There needs to be time to prepare. I may be good with being flexible myself, but I know better than to expect that from everyone. When working with the public, you have to remember that you can only get as far as you’re willing to take the least of these. Generally most people are able to handle what you throw at them, but if we just assume, then we will leave people behind and that can severely affect us. It’s the same with anything. You must be prepared for the worst-case scenario and just hope you don’t have to use it. That’s why buildings have crazy fire codes and accessibility codes. You might not need them, but they are “just in case”.

I need to get better at being heard and getting people to follow through because I have a strong tendency to believe that if something needs to get done, then I’m going to have to do it myself. I’ve had so many people flake on things in my life, that I’ve sort of become a lone ranger. I love working on a team when the team is acting like a team (theater, sports, committees, etc…) but when people prove to be unconcerned or unreliable instead of consulting with them, I just pile the workload on my shoulders. In this event alone I was coordinator, pacer, photographer, videographer, and participant.

There are several of us who need to get better at delegating and then respecting those who we’ve delegated the work to. It’s going to derail everyone if we constantly take projects out of each other’s hands in mid-process. We have to trust that organizers know what they are doing. And if they don’t, then we have to respect that failure is a system of growth.

I know that if several things weren’t taken out of my hands then they would have run smoother, but I’m hoping the same truth about failure applies here: taking over someone else’s work has failed to improve the situation. Let us learn from this. We will only continue to fail if we don’t learn from our mistakes. I’m sure I will be reminded of this same lesson as I start to grow my events team.

Hmmmm… speaking of lessons I’ve learned; I believe that I have a note I wrote a long time ago to remind myself to schedule out events so we didn’t overlap or plan events during other happening’s in the area that cause conflicts. For example planning a college rummage sale in the middle of spring break when all the students are gone…. or a tree sale the same time as the Ripple Relay… just saying.

Overall, the sale and the relay went well enough. However, it has been brought to my attention that we are starting to lose focus. I realized this during the Orange Co. event when I needed the video to reconnect to the whole reason behind what we are doing. I think funds are becoming too forefront in our minds. Granted we are trying to get the San Diego office up and running, I really think we should be starting and ending each work day in prayer. (I’m just as bad as anyone with forgetting to do so.)

Sitting in Flood every Sunday is such a wonderful rejuvenation. It’s like going to the chiropractor to get realigned. By the end of the week I find that I am in dire need of spiritual alignment. The enemy has been particularly active among us and I can see how each person is struggling. Unawareness, insensitivity, overbearing, uncommitted, over worked, over stressed, over sensitive, disconcerted, unconcerned, prideful, over critical, drained, and questioning our intentions. This week’s message came at the right time. I have been talking about spiritual warfare and to have Matt cover the topic confirmed how COTN in San Diego, nationally, and abroad is being targeted and needs to stand strong.

The difficulties are just beginning.

We will stand together.

The Devil will try to thwart us from praying for he has no power over those who desire to give themselves to God.” – Teresa of Ávila

Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before. – James Buckham

Saturday, December 4, 2010


            This is the second time I’ve traveled the 12-mile relay course. First time I ran/walked it to make sure it would be safe for our participants. This time I borrowed my roommate’s beach cruiser to chalk off the route and mark the miles. The bike was helpful, but I am a good foot taller than my roommate and I couldn’t adjust the seat. My knees are a little achey and I’m not really looking forward to how they are going to feel tomorrow after having to bike the course again as well as run a mile of it.

            This morning we had our tree pickup at the Flood office from our Christmas Tree & Wreath Sale. For not really having much time to plan for this it turned out well. We had the Boucher’s taking incredible photos for us. Our friend John volunteered to be Santa. We got a lot of really good feed back on how it went and I was entertained watching our volunteer staff try to MacGyver the trees onto the tops of cars.

            My mind was elsewhere most of the time because I was hoping the pickup would end with enough daylight for me to get back to Mission Bay to mark off the relay course and make sure everything is prepared for the event tomorrow. Dueling events are not a good idea. I feel like we aren’t able to put enough into either because we don’t have enough time. But the decision was made and action was taken and all I can do now is try my best to give all I can to each event.

            Time to relax for the day. I’ll let you know how the Relay goes tomorrow.

You can see all the photos on our facebook page

Each difficult moment has the potential to open my eyes and open my heart. –  Myla Kabat-Zinn

Monday, November 29, 2010


Wow! Live and learn. Today the San Diego crew went up to Orange County to help out with their event. Sara in the COTN Orange Co. office had pulled together a golf tournament, dinner and silent auction. We drove up early in the morning and started setting things up for the auction, wrapping baskets, decorating, and getting the logistics figured out.

            There was a lot we weren’t ready for and didn’t have figured out, but we pressed through it. It was frantic, frustrating, and yet fun when it all came together. In the end the event was a success.

            Lately I have been getting very rushed in preparation for the Ripple Relay and on top of that having the Christmas Tree Sale butting up right against it. Having to deal with a sale and our very first event at the same time is making me feel like we aren’t giving enough focus to either event. I’ve been working late into the night just to try to make sure that each goes off without a hitch. To make it even more stressful, I am now not simply planning the events, but need to participate in them as well. So planning, actuating, and trying to raise funds while I’m still working at the gym isn’t leaving me much room for anything else.

            Tonight during the dinner they showed a video about COTN. It went over all that COTN does for the children in our countries. It was at that point I started to find what I have been missing these past weeks. I have been so focused on the events that I forgot what I was doing it for. I could feel my heart swell as I watched the video and renew my strength. This IS what I want to be doing. I want to know that all these efforts aren’t just for some 12-mile loop around the bay, but for the lives of children who need our help. I have been losing my reasons, my heart, and my faith. I have been putting far too much on my shoulders and forgetting to make God a part of it, when He should be all of it. I needed that video at that moment to remind me of these things.

By the time it ended and we had cleaned up and regrouped, we were more than ready to make the drive back to San Diego for some much needed rest.

            It was good to get an event under our belts before we, as the San Diego office had our own. We needed some practice at working together in event situations to prepare us for our upcoming Ripple Relay event. There was a lot that we took away from Orange Co. and I am thankful for the experience.

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. – Ephesians 6:7

Friday, November 26, 2010


I cannot express enough how much I HAAAATE soliciting door-to-door. Maybe it’s just out of my comfort zone. Or maybe… I’m just no good at it at all. To be honest, I can’t say that it’s something I even want to get better at. I feel like I’m invading their sanctuary. I don’t want to PUSH this organization on anyone. The passion speaks for itself. Let the people hear! Unstop their ears!

Persistence doesn’t necessarily constitute success. I’m still trying to teach myself to accept that failure doesn’t only cause growth, but that failure is inevitable. There is no one down the line to help. We don’t even have everyone at the front of the line yet. The hardest part is that with each bump in the road, I’m finding that I once again must reinvent the wheel. It’s hard enough to hit a wall with people outside, but when people on the inside stop believing in the process, it’s twice as hard to tear the work apart and form it into something to please the raging lion. Sometimes a quick fix is not the answer. Sometimes we simply must see things through. Oh, how I do think the enemy is enjoying this.

And I’m tired. I’m so very tired.

Sometimes it’s harder when others believe in me. Especially when they believe I am capable of more than I believe that I, myself, am capable of. Because then if the efforts fail, I know it’s me who has let them down and given them false hope.

The cloak of each day manifests itself on our shoulders until we can bare it no longer and discard it. Some keep closets full of the past while others let it fall from them as they drift into sleep. As we wake we find the new cloak waiting to be donned. Sometimes light and clean, ready to be broken in, molded to our body. Other times heavy and thick with patches of past cloaks.

This world changes and ebbs. We see ourselves cycle through one friendship to another casting off each promised day and investing our hopes in the next. Sometimes I have trouble believing in tomorrow when I have not yet resolved today. There are children in other countries counting on us. Let us not forget that.

I don’t think this is helping and I can feel it sinking into my bones. I fear the enemy is close.

When the darkness closes in Lord, still I will say: Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


These past few weeks have been packed full. Finally finishing my first full month back at the gym trying to get everything back on track, plugging away at the Ripple Relay, preparing for Flood events, and working, reworking, and recreating a marketing video.

I have been up until anywhere between 2-4am working on a video for our Ripple Relay. I remember this is the very reason why I didn’t go into commercial art or IT. As much as I love doing it, after the third time of trashing a completed video to start over with corrections, (after 8-10 hours at my other job) it’s enough to stress anyone out. But, thankfully, we all came to an agreement on the video and all the tweaks and bugs were hammered out. It turned out rather nice. I do miss some of the emotion of the other videos, but that is something I’ve learned to take with a grain of salt because I realize that everyone interprets differently and everyone has different emotional connectors.

Ripple Relay from AngelaM on Vimeo.

I’m hoping we can reach a lot of people quickly with this video. We are currently far below our intended registered participants. With the cost of renting the park ground and shelter, we might not even make money off this event. It sits like a rock on my stomach. If this fails than I am 0 for 2, since the 5K fell through. I really start to worry about how qualified I actually am for this position. Great ideas are only great if they can become reality. 12 miles is becoming a longer and longer distance in my head and it is leaving us miles from being funded.

I think “courage” is my biggest focus right now.

Some updates are that we secured an office in Sorrento Valley. It is currently unfinished, so we are looking for a contractor to help us build a wall, install carpeting, put in a small kitchen/dinette, and maybe a few small wiring things. The owner of the building is extremely kind and gracious to us. I am hoping that this is a great place for us to grow and thrive.

We got our coffee in from the DR and I already know that I’m gifting a pound of it to someone for Christmas. We are also selling trees and wreathes for Christmas. If you’re in the San Diego area and are interested in a tree or wreath, you can email me ( or talk to one of our impact team members.

We also have some great contacts at UCSD who are interested in starting up a COTN club on campus. We are so excited by their enthusiasm. I am amazed at how the San Diego office is continually blessed by the eagerness of people to get involved with the COTN organization. I often think about how much I hope that the other area offices find (if they haven’t already) a community who is spiritually on fire and tapped into a motivation of service.

Our end goal is to have many more churches and businesses in the San Diego area involved in COTN, but I am well aware of how much Flood has been our solid foundation even before an area office here was even a thought in Chris Clark’s head. Flood has been going to Malawi since 2002. I believe Chris and Matt’s friendship has been a key factor in COTN’s growth in the San Diego community. It is disappointing to go to my other church in PB and hear them speak of their involvement in mission work and yet though I offer my services to their media team and have presented them with two opportunities to be involved with COTN, they have not even returned my emails. Sometimes it is difficult for a church to expand beyond its own four walls or immediate congregation.

Passion cannot be drawn from an empty well and the spirit cannot fill it if it has been sealed closed. We all know by now that the handle of the door is on the inside and it is up to us to open it. Some will put up a wall. Currently, the spirit is not moving COTN to defiance, but rather, to an open invitation. There is something significant about “letting the children come…

That is another amazing thing about joining this ministry. COTN has not chosen the location of the area offices… the areas have chosen COTN. I remember Chris being very particular in conversations about expansion while we were at the conference in Silverdale. We are not an imposing organization. We are not strategizing where our next area office is going to be. We are an infectious organization that goes where the spirit moves and develops us. Thinking about it, I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. Each and every person who has come to work for COTN has his or her own incredible story. I wouldn’t want someone to work for COTN just for the sake of having a job. The passion people in this organization have for the organization is what I believe makes us so powerful and progressive.

Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes. 7God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him. – 1 Peter 5:6-7

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


            It seems that God continues to find ways to humble me. After the energy from Sunday’s Impact meeting, I stayed up until 3am that night and until 12:30am on Monday to put together a COTN-SD facebook and twitter (and I have ZERO experience with twitter). I wanted to create something efficient and professional so I took extra time to create new COTN logos specific for San Diego. Now, here I am Tuesday evening removing them because I was a little too ambitious to consider copyright laws. Oops!

            It will also take some time to get used to the idea that the shortest distance between the COTN-SD office and the San Diego community is a line through Washington. There are times when the spirit moves me and I want to be able to share that with others but I will need to humble myself and learn patience. I have never before been in a position where I am being entrusted in this way. It’s not simply “get it done”, but there are stipulations to getting it done correctly. Still, I have not yet felt like this is not something God will get me through. I enjoy learning and I suppose God knows that all too well.

            And I suppose God knows that I also like a challenge. I got a text from my apartment manager during the busy part of my day at the gym telling me that once again they want me to pay double my rent. So once again I don’t know what I am going to do. But I have been blessed with people in my life that will keep me from failing… and I am so absolutely grateful.

            And then God gives me a slap of reality and I’m humbled again. Our founder, Chris Clark, returned from Malawi with some upsetting and challenging news for COTN. It made me realize how trivial my problems are. With every fiber of myself, I want to be working to heal the wounds of this unmistakable spiritual war. By coming on staff with a Christian organization, you find out quickly that people love you and people hate you. It’s not just a job. It’s picking up a target and putting it on your back every day. It’s giving Satan something to focus on. It’s multiplying your problems exponentially.

            But don’t be discouraged. Beauty, joy, and accomplishment are also just as prevalent. There are those who are equipped with prayer, those equipped with grace, and those equipped with strength. Some are called to offer the other cheek and others are called to wear the breastplate and take up the sword and shield. I have always said that I didn’t believe God was going to make my life easy. I am finding that our expectations can shape who we are and what we will become. In that case, I am fairly certain that I will be going into the heart of battle. Although I may never achieve glory, I believe that I will be able to bring it.

Keep COTN (especially Malawi) in your prayers, as well as Chris’ peace of mind.

It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up – Ephesians 4:11-12

Sunday, October 10, 2010


          Today was a huge accomplishment for the Flood church. It was their tenth year anniversary celebration. They celebrated with music, dance, a message from Malawi, an incredible sermon, and a surprise for COTN! I’m getting ahead of myself.

          It was the usual crammed packed Sunday for me. In the rush of getting from one appointment to the other I found myself arriving 10 min late for our COTN meeting at Kearny High Library. This was the first impact meeting where we actually had a good turn out. Holly had everyone introduce themselves by stating their name, how they found out about COTN and what they are looking to get involved with. I continue to get re-inspired every time I see the passion to be a part of this organization in the eyes of others. I'm hoping to get on the DR/Haiti trip this February to experience what some of these people have. The ideas that were thrown out on the table were great! It gave us new possibilities, new directions. That’s my ideology showing itself. Ha!

           The passion and ambition of the Flood church has been a major fuel for COTN-SD. I can only imagine what could be accomplished if every church were moved as Flood moves.

          I thought about that as I sat through the meeting and heard the excitement of the congregation wafting through the open doors from the auditorium across the courtyard. Praises mixed with piano and electric guitar, the energy of dance and a drum cadence… It made me want to ask, “How do YOU worship?” Through song? Through service? Through quiet moments of grace? What other God welcomes such diverse ways to praise?

          The energy in that meeting was almost tangible. This wasn’t just a meeting. It was a movement. It didn’t feel like a lecture or a long drawn out process, but rather a coming together of friends with the same passion. I could sense how there were people in the circle who were excited to finally get their hands involved and have their voices heard. Everyone had something to offer.

          As I sat in the service listening to Matt talk about starting the Flood Church 10 years ago, I couldn’t help but relate. What if we all let God move in us the way he desires to be moving? What if everyone in this life kept from holding back? What if we all took the chance that might not be financially stable, or socially acceptable, or necessarily what we want to be doing? What if we all said, “Alright God, I’ll be the conduit. You have control.” What if we meant the words: We’re offering up our lives. A living sacrifice. That you would reign. That you would reign in us.Things may be difficult now, but 10 years from now I want to be sitting in Flood’s 20th anniversary service celebrating our own COTN-SD 10th year anniversary.

          The awesome thing is that Flood wants it too. Today Matt announced that the Flood church is donating $15,000 to COTN-SD to get the ministry started! We now have $15,010 in our account to start our own decade of growth. There is no limit to the possibilities of what can we accomplish. 10 years is a long time to be alive… if you’re truly alive.

          Thank you Flood and congratulations on your 10 years of being ALIVE!

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. – Genesis 12:2-3

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Yesterday was a full day of COTN. I met with Holly in the morning to start our day with a run. It was good to get outside my apartment (even in the rain) and forget about my problems for a while. In the unusual San Diego drizzle, the ocean met the sky and it seemed like the clouds were breaking and washing up on shore. Sometimes when I’m out I start to think, “If I could just run forever… never stop… leave all my stresses behind…”

We had our first Field Service weekly conference meeting. There were a few glitches trying to get everyone into the same conference session online, but it turned out well. I’m excited to see how these weekly meetings come together. Eventually we will have it figured out and it will be more structured, but it went well. It’s great to hear everyone working to bring everything full-circle.

We all know the things we need to get done and the things we need to have accomplished by others to aid in our own progress. The willingness of this group of people to jump on top of the issues and tackle them amazes me. It’s not like other jobs where the work is grudgingly done. We all see the need and we all want to fix the problem.

I spent the rest of the day with Holly typing up contact information, going over event details, assigning responsibilities, and swapping more emails than should be allowed in one day. We worked until well after the sun went down and by the time I got home around 7:30pm I was ready for a cup of tea and a movie to unwind.

This life right now is like quicksand. The more I struggle to gain footing, the deeper I sink. I find a promising branch to grab hold of and it breaks off in my hand. I found a roommate, but now work and finances have decided it’s their turn to dissolve before my eyes. I know my current job is in the way of my progress with COTN and my relationship with God. I hate it. I can’t believe I could put so many hours into something and get so little out of it. Financially and spiritually. It’s sucking me dry. Putting COTN on top of a swaying pile of To Do lists isn’t helping COTN either. I keep pressing on towards the day when it will be COTN held firmly in my hands.

I feel like Peter watching Jesus walk away as I start sinking beneath the waves. The clouds and the sea are becoming one and drowning me on every side. I look up and see Jesus and want to believe so badly but all these worldly things are weighing me down and I am doubting that I can make it. I just have to keep my head above water and my eyes focused on Christ. He WILL come back for me. I believe that with all my heart. Even though I have no idea how I am going to make ends meet, He will provide and this is the path He wants me to be following.

Of all the struggles this past week, the accomplishment I was most happy about is that I was able to tithe to Flood. To have something… anything… to give back to a church that has given so much to me means everything.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Before all else… things I’m thankful for:
The breath within my lungs. Stillness. The heartbreakingly beautiful sunset and ocean and canyons that captivate me. The breeze. My family. The friends who won’t let me fall. Grace. And my God, my God, my God beyond my conception.

            This has been a very difficult week for me. In five days, I’m not sure if I’ll have a roof over my head, I don’t know that I will have money for gas and food after my rent (should I be lucky enough to have rent to pay), or how I will be paying for next months rent. Dad has instructed me to look for flights home for Christmas now before they get too expensive and they are already out of my price range, not to mention how I will be getting gifts for everyone. My credit card remains full of charges from my best friends wedding this past month, and the list goes on.

            At my community group this week, the lesson confronted each person about what they would like to be prayed for. Prayer and I do not always mix. I have a horrible problem with vocalizing prayer and when given the option, I’ll always pass on praying out loud. I also have a very difficult time asking for prayer for myself. This past year I came to a better understanding of prayer and really delved deep into my heart and considered, “What if… What if I really believed in the power of prayer? What if we all really believed that prayer is an active, living thing that has purpose and authority? I know we all are supposed to believe it, but do we really?” I finally came to the understanding that it’s not a matter of What if, but It already is! and that is truth. The power of prayer can be a terrifying thing, especially if you’re not sure you are doing it correctly.

            Fully believing in prayer has given me a strength, but also a severe reluctance. I’ve always been the suck-it-up and walk-it-off kind of person. I have a desire to provide and protect, but I stop short when it comes to myself. Knowing what others are going through, knowing that my concerns are minute in comparison, and knowing the power of prayer… how could I possibly ask for prayer when I KNOW there are others in the very same room who need it more than I? And that’s where I find myself; too ashamed to ask for prayer even though I know I need help.

            So when it was my turn, after hearing the difficulties my friends needed prayer for, I was simply going to ask for some kind of general prayer but as the words came out of my mouth I just seethed. I couldn’t take it. Holding back tears I explained that it was impossible for me to ask for prayer when people are struggling with worse. It’s simply not fair for me to take that away from them.

            Once again my friends proved just how important they are to me. My friend Jenn explained that she considered it a privilege to pray for me and I should never deny someone the joy of being able to do that for me. I do understand. I feel the same when I pray for others. So when everyone prayed aloud for each other, I could hear Jenn praying for me and at that point I couldn’t keep the tears back any longer. I wonder if that is what Peter felt when Jesus knelt down and washed his feet.

            Sometimes I wonder what wicked forces still lurk within me. I wonder if I harbor demons and fight with them every day. I know they often blind my eyes and whisper lies to me, and become a barrier to the movement of the spirit. But, oh those times when the wickedness weakens, the demons untangle their fingers from my mind and release their icy grip on my lungs. Those times when I am washed in the spirit and feel humbled by God’s grace. Those fleeting moments when my heart sings out praises and the doubt fades away and the darkness flees and I KNOW I am loved completely… those moments break every reserve within me and builds me up renewed.

            Tonight at the Flood service, Matt announced that he joined the board for COTN. I was so excited I wanted to jump out of my chair. To see so many people with such spiritual strength joining COTN is such an encouragement. It reaffirms the heart of this organization. It’s another little road sign telling me that I’m on the right path.

            Something else Matt said tonight as he described the journey of Chris (COTN’s founder) and his father to accept the task of helping children in Malawi, was, “That’s a hard call to take”. I think all of us who have committed to serving the Lord through COTN are taking a hard call. I believe it puts us at the front lines in a spiritual war. I’ve heard many amazing stories, but they have come out of great struggle. The common factor is not giving up and having faith in God. As I look at my battles and difficulties and am acutely aware of the uncertainty of tomorrow, I know the devil doesn’t give up easily.

But God doesn’t give up. Period!

The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. - Psalm 121:7-8

Each night before you go to bed, my baby
Whisper a little prayer for me, my baby
‘Cause you know it’s hard for me, my baby
When the darkest hour is just before dawn
(Dedicated to the One I Love) – Mamas & The Papas

Monday, September 20, 2010


            Back to work. After this past week, I’m going to have to figure out how to function. The meetings were long and I had a lot of trouble getting a grip on things because I’ve never had to deal with business issues. I’ve been an actor, a server, and a personal trainer. Pretty much the bottom of the business ladder where I simply did as I was told. Aside from being on a few councils or clubs in high school, I’ve never really been through a process like this. And I was foolish enough to offer to take notes!

            For the San Diegans (at least the new staff members), we were kind of in the dark. We had been officially on staff for a little over a week. Neither of us really had any idea of what the old system was so helping with the transition to the new was kind of beyond us. I remember looking over at Amber several times while taking notes and simply saying, “What?” with a desperate lost look on my face. But we did learn a lot and now have a better idea of the organization and everyone’s job.

            Holly, Amber, and I stayed with a girl named Megan. I have to say that she is probably one of the most interesting, level-headed, inspiring people I’ve met. It’s people like that who remind me that there is a harmony about things and that we are all living for something more. We stayed at Megan’s parent’s house. Their house was in a little town called Seabeck. It was such a beautiful spot. It reminded me so much of the Smokey Mountains. Amber was especially happy about the huckleberries on the property. And we are all glad to find that she isn’t allergic to them.

            Each day on our way to the conference, we passed a lake with the mountains in the background. I loved seeing the fog lifting out of the trees. And it rained for two days. One of those slow, steady, calming rains. Ah… I think I left half of my heart in Seabeck.

By the time I we left I had a better understanding of COTN, met a bunch of talented people with a heart for the Lord, heard so many incredible stories I couldn’t hold back the tears, and discovered a whole new family. I was welcomed into homes, given advice, cooked for, prayed for, and enjoyed the best kind of company.

As I sat drifting in and out of sleep on the plane ride home, I couldn’t help but think about how I didn’t really want to go back everything I had left in San Diego. Yes, I love it here, but right now there are just so many road blocks to being able to work full time with COTN. Trying to find a roommate, worrying about my dwindling paychecks, having to raise my support, get the relay up and running, starting boot camp, comforting my friend, and finding time to do it all at the same time.

God provides. If I learned anything at all this past week, it’s that God provides… in his own perfect timing.

When I made up my mind
And my heart along with that
To live not for myself
But yet for God, somebody said
Do you know what you are getting yourself into?
(Getting Into You) - Relient K 

Sunday, September 12, 2010


            I am currently flying over the California Mountains on my way to Seattle, WA for the COTN conference. I am excited to dive into everything we have planned for the upcoming year. I have missed being engaged in a class-like atmosphere. I sometimes miss college lecture halls… well… the classes I found exceptionally interesting. I have no doubt that my excitement might fizzle after 30+ hours of conference meetings and discussions. However, for the moment, I am just going to sit back and enjoy the thrill of being a part of something new.

This will be the first time I have ever been to Washington and Seattle is actually a place I’d like to live at some point in my life. Before moving to San Diego I had only been as far west as Hoover Dam. I have plenty of time to enjoy the Seattle airport since my flights got switched and now I’m on a direct flight to Seattle with no lay over. I will be arriving close to 3 hours early. Maybe I should have planned to do my blogging then.

From the information trickling down to me, I’m finding that the San Diego offices, despite having gone from 1 to 3 staff members less than 2 weeks ago, are holding their own. It seems that our vision and determination is not going unnoticed by the national office. There is something about this group coming from San Diego, notorious for being laid back, and the Flood church affiliated with us that is causing us to strike out like a boy in his youth being convinced of his invincibility.

The way I see it, Holly, Amber, and I have nothing left to lose. We are certainly not invincible, but we are not incapable either. And though there is fault and failure in human endeavors, there is only promise with the pursuit of an initiative pleasing to God. Why shouldn’t we be excited? Why shouldn’t we go gung-ho? If God is for us, who can be against us?

But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” Take Courage – 1 Peter 3:14

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Unfortunate News – The 5K race has been cancelled. I received an email today from our contact at the San Diego Running Institute. This has cut our prep time significantly. This is a rather large blow to our fund raising plan and comes when I’m already worried about money issues. I must stay positive:


  • We still have a contact with SDRI for the possibility of a future race.
  • We get to test our creativity and efficiency to come up with a new fund raiser for October.
  • My father had a great idea for an event.
  • We are alive.
  • God loves us.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. – Proverbs 16:3

(Side note: I walked the Freedom Walk this morning in memory of those who perished in the 9/11 attacks. May God continually comfort all those involved and protect this nation.)

Friday, September 10, 2010


This is the battleground…

I have never been in a state of such financial distress. I have never had much money, but being very smart with my money and budgeting has allowed me to keep from ever going into debt and confident that, though I won’t have much leftover, I will have enough to cover any bills.

It is a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach to know that no amount of money management can compensate for earning less than your living expenses. I’ve already spent weeks with one meal a day and no extra driving (aside from work). It’s strange to see your hard work and education turn to dust and everything you’ve saved up disappear until there is only one rent payment left before you are officially broke.

I got my paycheck from the gym today and it is half of what I usually make and less than half of my rent. In the past few days, I have also been informed that the trip to Seattle for the COTN conference is not going to be covered. I am still going, we just cannot affect the 2010 budget. In a sense that’s good to know for the future. Now that I am on staff I should be covered in the following years. However, Holly is taking the brunt of this by putting Amber and I on her credit card and once we start raising money, we will need to pay her back. A temporary fix, but a workable one.

            I have seen Holly give so much of herself throughout this process, even when I know that she doesn’t have much to give. I am amazed at her resilience. The sacrifice of our team and willingness to do so captivates me. What are we capable of? Mustard seeds growing into a field of wildflowers, becoming wider and more beautiful with every season.

            I know I over-stress my finances. But I want to get my COTN account started now. I love personal training, but there is no way it can support me in this endeavor. As soon as I am able, I need to leave the gym so I can transfer my time and efforts to COTN. Sometimes I see these obstacles in hindsight although I am not yet through them. I pull myself out of the situation and think how utterly ridiculous this all is, that I must worry first about funds before human lives.

But oh… what we can do once we get there.

Often times God demonstrates His faithfulness in adversity by providing for us what we need to survive. He does not change our painful circumstances. He sustains us through them. – Charles Stanley

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Today COTN officially accepted two new staff members to the San Diego COTN office. I am official! I’ve been in Ohio for my best friend’s wedding and got a text from Holly letting me know that I, and another team member, Amber, are staff members with COTN. Amber will be out Venture Trip Manager. My title is Local Events Coordinator.

I don’t know if I ever saw myself in a position like this. I guess I never really knew what I was capable of. Just sort of… I don’t know… wanted to do something, but didn’t really know how. I’ve always been chasing something that would be of meaning. I don’t think anyone ever really had faith in what I was doing. Nah… That’s a lie. I think people always thought I could do what I set my mind to. My friend, Alan, made the comment, “I have no doubt that you’ll be fine. You’re the one person I know will get through things.”, when I was unsure about my decision to move to Boston. I just don’t think anyone ever saw me moving outside myself. I know I didn’t. I wanted to.

This is standing on the edge. This is where the lines between “Can I do this?” and “This is what I’m supposed to do” run together. I can already see what a challenge it will be, but I somehow know that this is what I should be doing. Pastor Matt said, “It’s only when you understand that you are incapable of God’s work, will He use you.” That’s how you can be sure it’s God working in you.

My dad asked me to speak at our Wednesday night service in my hometown church. I wish I could say I was more prepared than I was. Dad simply said he wanted me to tell everyone what I have been telling him since I moved to San Diego. It’s hard to sum up everything in one sermon. There is so much that this community has done to strengthen my faith. In everything I feel that I have been lacking for years, I feel that I have suddenly been made whole. God did not create us to be alone, nor have I been doing what was required of me by trying to make it on my own.

When I lived in Boston the only people I knew were the people I worked with. I rarely had people to hang out with and I spent a lot of time at work or alone. I guess it’s what people mean with they talk about being alone in a crowd. Here in San Diego, I feel that I have been absorbed into everything, that I’m really a part of it. And not just a part of it, but a valued part. Community is more essential in our lives than most people realize. I consistently find myself brought to tears when I discuss the people that I have met here.

Today I join a new community with a very broad reach and many faces, a community of different languages and different Pedigrees, different needs and different social standings, but each an integral part of the community and as such… invaluable.

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and Yellow, Black and White
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world

And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. – Genesis 11:6

Sunday, August 22, 2010


            Whew! Busy busy day! I was up until 2am last night finishing the posters for the Impact Launch at Flood. I arrived at Kearny Senior High School at 9am to set up the table. We had wanted to be really creative with our display, but decided to scale it down so that we could get the important information across to everyone as they were leaving the service. I think our biggest obstacle was trying to figure out how to get our display panel to withstand the wind. It’s a good thing Holly brought an extra table and we have a good sense of ingenuity.

            The whole point of the day was to get people interested in joining the COTN Impact Team. We were having a sign up for an informational meeting. The Impact Team will be people from the Flood church who want to offer service to COTN. The COTN Impact Team will help plan and man our events, keep us plugged into the community, and get the opportunity to go on Venture Trips.

            After the end of the second service once we cleaned everything up for the afternoon, I went directly to National City to help a friend move. This is the third time I’ve helped someone move. There was a group of people from my Flood community group who had come to help. I continue to be blown away by how willing these people are to help each other out. We really are a family. I only had about an hour to help, but there was no way I was going to skip on helping. This is the kind of work I live for. Within 45min we had everything off the moving trunk and into the new apartment.

            Then I had to jump in the car and get to a track workout. As soon as that ended, I was home to get a shower and was on my way back to Kearny High for the evening services.

            When I arrived I passed a friend of mine who was working security. We talked for a few moments and I recounted to him how God has been working in my life in the past few weeks and how my life is taking a whole new direction. I told him that God could not possibly be any clearer unless he slapped me in the face. To which he replied, “That’s funny, because God told me I should slap you in the face.” I laughed, and no, he didn’t actually slap me, but he did sign up for the Impact Team.

            We had a better turn out for the evening services. There was even one girl who I had met during our Wednesday night all-church meeting who came and signed her and her friend. They had mentioned Wednesday that they wanted to get involved in more service projects, so I told them about the Impact launch. God has all these hidden pieces of our lives that he reveals to us in perfect timing.

            I am sure glad to be going to bed. I hope all my days are as full and productive as this.

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – Galatians 6:10

Saturday, August 21, 2010


            This was my first meal-packaging event. I met Holly and Travis at New Hope Community Church in Chula Vista, CA. Sarah, a woman who sets up meal-packaging events for COTN all across the San Diego, LA areas came down to help us. She brought the supplies and gave us a brief 2 minute training session and we were off and running.

            We were a little ambitious with our goal. We had wanted to feed 5,000 kids. Each bag that we package costs $5 to put together and can feed 5 children. So, when you break it down, it’s only $1 to feed a child. The meals from this event are headed to Malawi, Africa. We only ended up packaging a little over 100 bags, but for the size and demographic of the event, we actually did pretty well.

            Travis, Holly, and I had a great time teaching the kids how to fill the bags, telling them the rhyme “Lentils, Spice, Chicken, Rice”. At first the kids were just excited to do something hands on, but it was awesome to see how their faces lit up when we explained to them at the end that the one bag they made was going to feed 5 kids just like them in Africa. I remember one kid placing his meal bag in the shipping box and pulling on his fathers arm saying, “Dad, my bag is going to Africa!”
Me, Holly, Travis

            Not going to lie, it was HOT! We were so thankful for the canopy tents that Holly’s mother had donated to us. (Although we need a little more practice in taking them down.) Holly and I even took a break to go dance with the children at the main stage.

            Sometimes I get so caught up in what I’m doing, already being so engulfed in the purpose, that I forget how what we do touches people. I tend to think more about the children in the other countries more than the influence we have on the people right in front of our faces. God always seems to find a way to catch my attention and make sure I’m not forgetting any aspect of what I’m doing.
            Throughout the day, people came up to us and simply donated money because they wanted to support us. I thought that was so cool since none of us were really sure how we would be accepted. We made up the meal packets to account for the donated money and packed things up.

            I think we were one of the last vendors out of the lot. As we were putting the last of the supplies into the vehicles, someone came up and handed us a donation. She said that she made a special trip back because she wanted to make sure to donate. That really struck me. I often tend to downplay the things I do and assume that they aren’t that significant. But to see that what I am doing directly influences others is incredible and humbling.

            I have always believed in the power of people yet, for some reason, don’t see the power in my ability to inspire. I have always wanted to, and I have always wondered why I had such a passion to ignite people into action but couldn’t quite figure out how. I look back at my journals throughout the years and see reoccurring entries about wanting to get through to people, wanting to share my passions with them, but constantly getting shut out and shut down.

            In my head I’ve seen great battles being won, changes being made throughout the whole world, people joining together to serve and make a difference. I continually ask myself why it isn’t happening. Each person has the ability to do great things. Put them together and the outcome becomes greater. Five people sacrificing their lives for a greater purpose can start an office designed to help hundreds and thousands of children….


You know… 5 loafs fed 5,000.

The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. – C. S. Lewis

Friday, August 20, 2010


            Today I met with Holly to work on the displays for the Impact Team launch and the meal-packaging event at a local church this coming weekend. We had the doors open, enjoying the beautiful San Diego weather, and had some good discussions as we pieced things together. I finally looked at Holly and said, “I can’t believe this is my job!” I’m sure there will be plenty of difficulties on the road ahead and it won’t always be serine days of arts & crafts, but to know that this is a part of it and that I’m not simply making a pretty poster, but trying to convey a message for a greater purpose is an awesome feeling.

            Later today we met with Dr. Victor Runco who is the head of the San Diego running institute. Both Holly and Travis attended the meeting with me. It was very eye opening to hear Dr. Runco tell us everything that is involved with planning a 5K race. I knew there was a lot, but WOW! There was pretty much no way that we would be able to pull it off and make any kind of profit in the short amount of time we had to do it.

            This does not mean that the race isn’t going to be happening. As it turns out, he is already planning a race for the same date as us with the same concept. Then he goes on to mention that he has been looking for a charity benefactor! Not only that, but the snags that he’s been trying to work out are things that COTN can provide: child care during the race, marketing, and vendor organization.

            It’s incredible when you step back and look at things and finally see the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Had I not moved to San Diego, I would have never met my friend Jenn who (wasn’t able to be my roommate, but) introduced me to my Flood church and community group, I would not have met my other friend Jen who didn’t stop asking me to run with her group and introduced me to Dennis who referred me to Dr. Runco. I would not have volunteered for the Fripple Games and met Holly. It’s just proof that even when you can’t feel God working, He’s always there and if you trust in him it will all eventually make sense.

            We left the meeting in high spirits. Dr. Runco needs to look at the numbers to figure some things out. Now we just wait for the green light.

On your mark….. get set….

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

Lift up your eyes. The heavenly Father waits to bless you - in inconceivable ways to make your life what you never dreamed it could be. – Anne Ortlund

Thursday, August 19, 2010


            God has blessed me with an amazing community of friends and family. I called home and talked to my parents. I told them everything that has been going on and my decision to join COTN full time. Both of my parents fully support me. I can’t imagine what it would be like if they were skeptical. My family has been involved with child sponsorship for years. My father and my sister had even recently volunteered with Compassion International at an event in their area. When I asked my parents to keep me in their prayers, it was the most comforting thing to hear them respond, “We always do. Every night.”

            There is a large COTN conference in WA in September. In order for me to go, I have to be accepted as full time staff. Holly and I were rushing around to get all the paperwork filled out. Most of it was easy, but I had to find a church to sign a commission statement. I am positive that Flood would have done it, but I wanted to involve my hometown church to allow them to be involved. Thank goodness my father is so involved in my home church. It came down to the wire, but we were able to get the statement in before the deadline.

            Tuesday a few of us met to organize our booth for the Impact Team kick-off at Flood. Some great ideas were presented and we managed to pull together the best ones and decide on the main points we wanted to get across then set a time to be art & crafty. During the meeting I was emailing someone who was giving me advice for the 5k run. We might not need to create an entire race from nothing!

There is a possibility we might be able to combine our efforts with a race that is already scheduled and being planned. That would work great for COTN SD as a learning process for future races. We scheduled to meet with my race connection to discuss our options.

            Tonight I was meeting with some friends and found that they knew the man Holly and I scheduled to meet with about the 5k. Not only that, but they offered to gather all of their friends to come to the race as well. We were also exchanging information about the Flood running group and realized that I was already friends with one of the leaders. Now I know why Connectedness is my top strength! I’m so excited about this whole thing falling into place.

            Oh, and great news! We might have an office!

For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. – Romans 14:18-19

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Have I said it before? GOD PROVIDES!!! Never before have I seen God work in the ways that he is working in my life right now. I know I have always desired to be a servant leader, but to be confident that it is also the desire of God is the most assuring, and humbling feeling. After struggling for so long and feeling like I was going nowhere, things in my life are off and running. There is a part of me that is saying, “Whoa! Slow down! Make sure everything is under control.” But the other side of me is saying, “If this is where you’re being lead, do not hesitate, go!”

I got a text from Holly earlier today stating that she had some big news for me. I called her as soon as I finished work. She explained to me that several things had just happened, specifically with the financial situation for our future satellite office here in San Diego. Turns out that we are going to be matched in our fund raising which means that our initial calculations for raising money to support the office will be cut in HALF! Not only does this mean that there isn’t such a huge task at hand, but we will be able to have an office up and running much sooner than we had thought. Not only that, but we might be able to be working full time by the first of the year!

I don’t quite know how, but all I can do is thank our wonderful creator for taking care of these birds and lilies.

I filled out my official COTN application last night and still have some paperwork and need to be commissioned by a church to be fully approved as a staff member. Now, the most difficult thing I have to face is telling my parents what I have decided to do. Thankfully my family has a strong Christian foundation and my father is even considering getting the schooling to be a minister. This news will allow me to reassure my parents. In all honesty, I can’t wait to tell them. I am only sad that I won’t be able to tell them in person.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8