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

Friday, April 1, 2011


Each day here has topped the last and today was no exception. We were able to sleep in an hour today then all met for breakfast. I really enjoy coming together for our meals. I’m so glad that we are a small enough team that we can all squash 7 people around a small table. Meal times have been some of the most memorable bonding experiences for the team. Conversation always seemed to circle back around to Strengths Finder and we learned so much about each other and how to accept our differences. We talked about past experiences, recounted our days, and always ended the meal laughing.

Driving times were much of the same cramming the whole team into a van along with the driver, interpreters, and whoever else bummed a ride with us into town. Closeness isn’t just something that we want, but something unavoidable… and we like it! We grabbed all the food we prepared last night headed off to Don Bosco, the village where Holly’s sponsor child lived. I think this was our 3rd attempt to see him and finally he was there. Holly, Vicky and Derek went with the boy to see his family and his home while Amber, Travis, Caitlin and I stayed back at the school.

This was the first time I really saw Travis come completely out of his shell. With him being the only guy there, the little boys flocked to him. It was nice to see Travis playing with them, lifting them up to the swing set so they could show him their pull ups, and taking the time to just be a kid himself. Amber, Caitlin and I were sat down so the little girls could play with our hair.

When Holly and the others arrived back from their “epic journey” (so they tell us), we all piled back in the van and headed to San Rafael. It really laid heavy on our hearts to do something to give back to the DR staff. We painted the school, but we really wanted to do something specifically for the staff and their families. The DR staff has been going non-stop for months now with hosting teams coming through to help out in Haiti (even a 100 person team!). Juanchi was telling us that many of them are exhausted and haven’t been able to relax and yet, they have been showing us nothing but love and grace and compassion the whole week and were always willing to offer their service. So we decided to give back.

We arrived at an area with waterfalls coming off the mountain into several pools in the hillside as well as an actual swimming pool at the bottom. We brought out all the food we had prepared and put together an American BBQ of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, creamed corn, barbequed veggie skewers, watermelon, chocolate cake, and peach cobbler. We were a little worried about how we would rig up the grill, but it all worked out perfectly.

When the staff arrived, they began jumping in the pool and tossing around a beach ball. We weren’t sure if Ben would be able to make it because he was flying out a day before us and he wasn’t sure when he’d be able to catch a ride. When he walked around the corner, I think all of our team was thankful that he was able to make it. We hit around a beach ball until the meal was ready and the American team stepped back to allow the Dominican staff and families to have first pick. It was really great to watch them from the grill up above enjoying the food and laughing and joking around.

After we ate, the water games began. They got in a circle in the water and waved me in to play, so I joined in. When Ramone handed me the ball I bounced it across the circle and they all started saying “no no no!” Ramone motioned that I hand it to the person next to me. When I did, the Dominican guy behind me on the pool edge started shouting “Dat De Dat De Dat De” with a shirt over his head getting faster and faster as they passed the ball until he yelled “BOOM!” I realized we were playing Dominican Hot Potato. It was so fun to play with them. We got Travis, Derek, and Caitlin to play in the next round. After that, the guys stood on one side of the pool and the girls were on the other hitting the ball back and forth until one of the kitchen ladies came down the line and pushed all the girls in (and the water was freezing!) That started the great water war.

After that it became a free for all and people were pushing each other off the edge into the water, girls were getting picked up and just tossed while the guys wrestled to get each other in the water. No one was safe and I’m pretty sure everyone ended up in the pool. Even Holly (which took all the Dominican and American guys to accomplish). It wasn’t like American work parties where the adults sit around and chat while the children played, most of the people there were staff, and they were the ones playing and being mischievous.

Juanchi kept pointing people out and exclaiming that they are always so stressed out and has never seen them this relaxed, or enjoying themselves so much. By the end of the day we were all good friends. We took a group picture and continued to wave and high-five through the windows of their bus as it pulled away. Ben unexpectedly had to jump on the bus and we didn’t get the chance to say goodbye.

We then got to take a tour of the coast taking tons of group pictures on the rocks and with the Caribbean  Sea behind us. When we finally got back to Casa Batesda, we were happily surprised to see Ben sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch as we usually found him in the evenings with his bags packed up. We were able to say goodbye and see him off for his drive back to Santo Domingo for his flight to Seattle, WA.

Then we all had dinner and sat down for devotions. We ended up singing through all 3 of the worship songs Derek had chosen and discussed spiritual warfare. Derek then had us write our names on a piece of paper and write 3 words to describe ourselves and a short paragraph of affirmation. Then we passed around our paper to write the same for each person. At the end we were to take the paper and read it later for encouragement. I think I am going to save mine for when I’m back in the states missing the closeness of the team.

No late night swim tonight. We are all ready for bed!

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Last night was the first night since being here that I actually slept well. We finally figured out that if we had the A/C on and the windows open, it didn't freeze us out or fry us up. Yes, it seems a little wasteful, but everyone said it was ok.

First up for the day was training the Dominican Staff. We went to the offices and started with going a little deeper with the Strengths Finder assessments that the staff took when the first team came through 2 weeks ago on their way to Haiti. We discussed the 4 quadrents and how they could lead with these strengths. It was actually a great learning experience for me as well and I'm surprised at how much I knew about the strengths just from being immersed in it at Flood.

After the break out sessions we went over diplayed thinking and the DR staff seemed to really enjoy using it to brain storm their office retreat. After lunch we came back to find that Ben and the new DR ILB Director were using it for the ILB (I Love Baseball) program. We were informed that the second group that we were going to work with in the afternoon actually had participated in the morning session, so we didn't need to do it again. We took the opportunity to go out and get supplies for our thank you to the DR staff.

Vicky staied behind to work with Ben and ended up getting to sit in on a meeting between ILB and the Mayor of Barahona. The rest of us piled in the van and went with our interpreters: Juanchi, Rambo, and Ramone to the market. Our cook for the week, Manuela, came with us and acted as our "jefe". We went to several different markets, struggled to find buttermilk, and found the biggest carrots I've ever seen!

When we came back, Manuela made mac & cheese at Holly's request. I just wish I could find my video camera because as it was served Holly did something that I can only describe as "The mac & cheese jig". Quite amusing. It was de-lish if I may say so myself. After dinner we prepped the food that we would be using tomorrow. The kitchen was full of people skinning carrots, chopping fruit, mixing cakes, adding spices to meat, and joking around with Manuela.

Vicky did the devotions tonight and out of that incredible futuristic mind of hers, put together a list of 7 active steps to reach your goals and how to think big about them. It was very impactful for all of us.

Derek, Caitlin and I went for a late night swim and Ben joined us for a little bit then Travis finally got in the pool for the first time since we've been here. We all ended up having a very long discussion. Talking more than swimming. It was a good discussion about community, relationships, healing, and (of course) strengths.

Alright mes amigos, I am going to bed. Buenas noches.

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.-- Psalm 18:32-34

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I find that when I wait until the very end of the day, I always end up getting pulled into great conversations and random moments of laughter and will find myself sitting with the labtop on my lap and only one sentence written. Usually my blog entries are written after everyone else finally retires to their rooms.

Today we went back to Altagracia to paint the school. Amber, Vicky and I started to pencil out the things we were going to paint and I started to paint the tree with one of our translators Rambo. It turned out really well and the children used hand prints to make the leaves of the trees and to make flowers. Caitlin translated the days of the week and months of the year and we also made them a food pyramid since we had seen one at all the other schools. It all looked really good when we were done. Especially for most of the members on our team saying they weren't artistic in painting.

A little after we started painting, I left with half of our team to do interviews. Derek and I were on the film/photo team. His camera puts my camera to shame. It was awesome to be able to use it. We interviewed two children at that school who were of Haitian decent and spoke mainly French Creole. They were both around the age of 5 and it was kind of difficult to get them to answer questions with a bunch of Americans sitting around. But when they got to show us their homes and family, their smiles came out.

After our lunch, we went back to the school and dropped off our paint team and went on to the next school to do more interviews. Holly wanted to interview her sponsor child and because he had a common first name, we weren't able to find him the first time we visited. This time we found out that he was with his grandmother. But we did get to see the kids end their day singing their national anthem while taking down the flag. We interviewed two more kids who were a little older. And it was interesting to be able to find out more about them and make some jokes.

After that we took a detour and went to see  Vicky's new sponsor children. While we were at one of the villages we found two girls who were twins and Vicky decided to sponsor them. By the time we got back to Casa Batesda we were exhausted! Still..... they were able to talk me into jumping into the pool.

Caitlin did a great job of leading devotions and gave us an activity to list 3 things we wanted to give 1. to ourselves, 2. to others, and 3. to God. It was interesting. Mine were as follows:
1. Myself - "Permission". I struggle a lot with feeling that who I am is wrong and I just want to give myself permission to be whatever God made me to be with out restraining or limiting myself.
2. Others - "Freedom" I want to give others the freedom to make their own decisions about my faith and God without me force feeding them my experience here, my mission, or my faith in general. I want to give them the ability to approach me with their questions as the Spirit leads them, and not in my time.
3. God - "Trust" I still try far too hard to control many aspects of my life and I want to give God control over those things and believe that he knows what's best for me better than I do.

"Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you." -- Psalm 9:10

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Hola mis amigos! Today we went to visit Ben at the I Love Baseball practice. Holly, Caitlin and I joined in some of the drills. Doing high-knees in long skirts was rather hilarious for everyone. The new in-country director from the program was wearing a Cleveland Indians jersey (yes Dad, I got a photo for you) I was able to go up to several of the boys and asked them some questions Most of them are Boston fans, so I pulled out my Boston cap and put it on. The coach then came over and talked to me and asked me some cool questions and told me that he was a pastor and gave me a blessing. :)

Then we went to the final school/community that we had not visited yet. It is one of the newer school but the the first COTN community. It was much of the same, but yet each school was a unique experience. I feel that explaining it would just be repeating what I said yesterday. Just don't think that my lack of description meant that it was anything less than the others. I actually felt a great calm while walking through the community. We even passed some older boys (late teens/ early twenties) who were playing a game of dominoes. Instead of betting money, if they lost they had to clip clothes pins to their chin. It was entertaining to watch and they enjoyed us cheering them on and laughing with them when they had to clip a clothes pin on.

We came back to the Casa and had lunch. We decided to take the afternoon to stay at the Casa and plan out our next few days. We will be working with the Dominican staff and doing a displayed thinking and we will be going more in depth into Sthrengths Finder. (Which is a great topic on it's own.) Since we aren't going into Haiti, we decided to ask the staff if there is anything in particular we could do for them. So we are going to be doing some painting of one of the schools. Days of the week and months of the year in Spanish, letters, numbers, a mural, and the food pyramid. At the same time, we will be interviewing the children getting video, photos

I must say, I LOVE this team! I feel like we all gel very well. Each person brings something to the table so dynamic and unique. Even Ben adds his part and I feel completely comfortable lounging around with everyone. We are like a family. I can see myself doing this for a whole summer. Like when I was doing seasons of theater. I could do this for 3 months at a time. I also love the ability to talk freely about my faith and hear the ideas of others. To know that I can actually have a discussion about these things with others who battling the same questions and seeking towards the same thing. The love from each other gives this safe, supportive, comforting place to explore these things.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. -- Ephesians 3:18-19

Monday, March 28, 2011


Last night was rough. Our air conditioning was on full blast and didn't turn off once it started to cool down. I had taken my shower late and went to bed with my hair wet and was freezing! I put my sweat pants on and a sweater, wrapped my head in a towel and even threw one of my skirts on top of myself, but was still freezing. Finally Holly and I both got up at the same time and just turned the whole thing off. This was probably around 1:30ish. After that, it was a good night sleep.

I woke up at 7am to enjoy some quiet time and have some Dominican coffee. The locals keep joking about "Dominican Time" which means when they said there would be coffee at 7am, it was going to be ready at 7:50am. I grabbed some OJ and enjoyed the quiet of the morning.

The compund is beautiful in the daylight. It reminds me of a small scale church camp. The girls are sleeping in bunks in a dorm style room. We had scrambled eggs, bread, peanut buter and guava preserves. I really like that this team feels like a family.

We left after breakfast to go to the clinic. Once we arrived Holly gave us the news.

We will not be going into Haiti. They just had an election and both candidates are claiming to have won. They are expecting riots and even the in country staff member isn't going to be venturing into Haiti. I am disappointed to say the least and I am saddened to have to inform all those who thought I was going, but I have to believe that it is by the grace of God that he is keeping us safe and that he has plans for us here in the Dominican.

We then met the clinic staff. The receptionist actually grew up in the COTN program and is not working with them. Wanchee (sp?), our translator is also acting as our guide. When he took us into the surgery room he explained that they have two tables in the room so that while the surgan is working on one patient, another is being preped and they continue in that rotation. He said that it is common for the volunteer surgans who come in to work 10-12 hrs and do an average of 60 surgeries before taking a break! He said sometimes the Dominican staff have to tell them to stop and rest. He admited that there is much need in the community for the service of the clinic.

We then toured the Learning Center (kind of like a traid school) and climbed up a cleared hill behind the building that is COTN land and got an amazing view of the mountains and ocean. Then we went to on of the schools. The children are amazing. I really wish I knew more Spanish because I can't really say anything to them. And for some reason I just keep forgetting "adios". I keep saying goodbye in French.

We came back for lunch of rice and corn, chicken, salad (lettuce and tomatoes) and pineapple. Then had our siesta. Derek and I decided to go for a swim in the pool and Ben joined in. Then we went back out and toured the rest of the schools and communities.

Once again, the children were amazing. The dynamic of the people here is incredible. So welcoming and loving. Everyone we meet blesses us and welcomes us with open arms. I have not drawn any comparisons between this culture and their poverty and the US and it's poverty. It's just too different. Even if they are poor people, they are not poor in spirit.

Now we are back at Casa Betesda and prepairing for dinner. Time for another dip in the pool, rehydration, and relaxation. Blessings!

Sunday, March 27, 2011



Derek arrived about 30 min before we arrived at el aeropuerto (the airport) to meet him. We could easily tell him apart from everyone else standing around. It is nice to have someone else with us. After getting a coffee, (which was quite difficult and the smallest coffee for $5 I've ever gotten) Derek and I ventured out of the airport while Holly and Vicky stayed and had a snack. Adopting the Dominican habit of "freeway jumping", we took our chances and darted across the road and walked along the cliffs dropping off to the ocean.

The weather is absolutely ideal and the water is a crystal clear turquoise. Derek threw in a rock and we realized that we were looking down to the bottom about 30 ft below. We scaled along for a bit hunting for an area of the cliff where we might be able to get out if we had "accidentally" fallen in. Not gonna lie... we both were seriously contemplating diving in. Alas, we couldn't find any good foothold that wouldn't smash us against the rocks and the rocks here are a mix of sedimentary rocks and coral. It almost looks like the Pumice kind of volcanic rock. (i.e. Not fun to crash up against.) That's kind of how the whole landscape is with scraggly plant growth and coarse brown grass growing between the rocks and garbage all over the ground.

In a few minutes Travis, Amber, and Caitlin will arrive and the translator will be here to pick us up for our 4 hour bus ride to Casa Bethesda in Barahona. Apparently we will be getting a roadside chicken dinner 2 hours in.... yummy? I'm hoping to make an addendum to this tonight when we arrive at the Casa. Peace to you all!

This is it. This is what I've been waiting for! Maybe I'm getting my excitment get the best of me, but at this point I don't care. I've wanted to travel to a country for a mission trip for years but never thought it was possible. Travis asked the question tonight, "Did any of you think that by volunteering for a youth sports camp, you'd end up in the Dominican within a year?" Thinking of it that way is pretty incredible. Holly, Travis, Caitlin and I all met at the Flood Fripple Games. I'm going to venture to guess that none of us thought we'd end up here, but are very happy that it did.

I am amazed at the ways God works in our lives completely undetected. Excuse me for the reference, but I think it's so true: there was a Futurama episode where one of the characters meets God in the form of a star cluster. One of God's quotes was "When you do something right, people aren't sure that you've done anything at all." Or something to that effect. How often are we completely taken off guard by the way things come together and we see the happenings and choices in our lives have all worked together to get us to something incredible? You can call it chance if you want or luck or irony, but I call it God.

Soon after Amber, Caitlin, and Travis arrived we had an unexpected guest show up. Ben from COTN's I Love Baseball program approached the group. None of us knew that he was even going to be here and apparently he didn't know that we were going to be here either. He has become a welcome addition to the group. He really helps to balance out the male to female ratio. And I've already had several rewarding conversations with him. He will be out doing ILB work, but we will see him for meals and each evening since he is lodging at Casa Bethesda too.

The bus ride here was everything I was expecting and more. We loaded up on an old school bus that had NINOS DE LAS NACIONES on the side and were on our way. It didn't feel like 4 hours at all. Lots of good conversation. We did stop to have that chicken and it wasn't bad at all. Same as any American fast food place. We were welcomed into Casa Bathesda with open arms, hugs, smiles and all. We got set up in our rooms and then all came back to the main building for devotions. Tonight was my night to lead. Holly had me pray at the end because I am working on steping out of my comfort zone and spoken prayer has always been a struggle for me. Surprisingly I did well.

After the devotions most of the new arrivals went to bed and I staid up to blog and as I waiting my turn on the lab top I had another good chat with Ben and finished out the night talking with both Ben and Derek. Now I'm off to take a cool shower (there is no hot water here) and get some sleep. Coffee at 7am and breakfast at 8pm. Coffee and morning quiet time sounds wonderful!

Tomorrow we tour the bateyes.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Today we woke up early and took a cab to Boca Chica to spend the day at the beach as this is our last day before the rest of the team arrives for the mission part of the trip. I must say that after driving in the Dominican, I see driving in Boston as a cake walk! We sat on the beach, talked to some people from Canada and told them all about COTN. We all thoroughly fried our skin in the sun. A gentleman told us about some of his friends who went into Haiti and asked us to be careful. Then we found a hotel/restaurant where there were several older Italian men sitting around and they helped us order a salad to share. Holly took a look at the rooms and then decided to book the place for the rest of the team when they stay for vacation time after the venture trip.

Vicky and I are somewhat jealous because it is a quiet hole in the wall place where you can walk right off the patio and into the ocean. They won't have to take taxis to get everywhere. Still, I will be glad to get out of the tourist atmosphere and get away from people shoving all sorts of jewelry and trinkets in my face saying "You buy!", "I make special price for you." and the men blowing me kisses and telling me that they love me. (Especially since most people know my severe connotations for that word.)

I want to get this show on the road. As horrible as it might sound to people, I'm sick of this vacation and I'm ready to be doing something. I keep praying that we'll get into Haiti. Tomorrow we pick up the rest of the team from the airport and make a 3 hour bus trip to Casa Bathesda in Barahona. I look forward to tomorrow's post.

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. -- Romans 8:25

Friday, March 25, 2011


Good morning from the Dominican Republic. We are still struggling to get used to the time change. We woke up at 7am (4am San Diego time) to loud children laughing and shouting and the basketball being bounced against the wall of our room. There is a school right beside our hotel and it would seem that the children are always at recess or that we are next to their recreation area.

Apparently I was able to sleep through the dogs barking all night and the rooster that Holly said crowed all night EXCEPT for when the sun came up. But I was awoken by the children. After shouting for a while they all started singing the Dominican National Anthem. It's interesting to me that no matter what country you're in the national anthems all sound the same. Loud bombastic orchestras with blairing trumpets. I kind of wish each country's anthem would be more culturally diverse. That would be neat to get a taste of their native sound with their anthem.

Then we could hear someone walking heavily on the roof above our head. Yesterday we ventured about the small hotel and went up the stairs thinking it was the restaurant but instead walked out on the rooftop where they had the hotel laundry drying in the sun. So I'm assuming the heavy walking (sounded like heels) was someone doing the laundry. Soon after that, we heard two fighter jets do a low fly-by. Who knows what that was about, but it means it's time for us to get up and start our day.

Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5


So, today we went to the Dominican National Aquarium. I think we've established that I am more patient and enjoy taking more time to enjoy nature. There was one fish tank that had sunlight filtering through in streams and casting light on the rocks and across the colorful fish. I could have sat there for an hour just watching the fish and rocks. There were a couple schools there for the day. Holly and Vicky acquired some teenage boys for tour guides who brushed up on their Inglés by talking with us.

Then we went to Los Tres Ojos. I really wish dad were here for this. I can't wait to have a cord to upload the photos. It was a beautiful cave with 3 lagoons. I could have just stayed there all day.

As beautiful as this was, I can't really help but want to get this mission trip started. Currently we are still in limbo waiting to see if we are going to get the green light to go into Haiti. If we aren't allowed then we will be doing some training of the Dominican COTN staff, but I know we are all anxious to get across the boarder. I just keep looking forward to when the rest of the team arrives on Sunday. Then we will be going to the COTN complex, Casa Bathesda in Barahona.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011



Last night, Holly, Vicky and I left on a red eye flight out of San Diego at 10pm PST on March 22nd and (after a layover in JFK) arrived in the Dominican Republic at 11:30am EST on March 23rd. A total travel time of 10.5 hrs. On the first flight we all made the mistake of getting exit rows for more leg room only to find that the seats were hard and didn't recline. Woops! It only took us about 30 min to get our luggage, get through customs, and exchange our dollars to pesos. We had a taxi waiting for us to take us to the hotel.

We are staying at the Carey House Hotel in Santo Domingo. It's the basic of the basic. (Think Motel 6) But there are 3 separate full size beds, so none of us have to share. The weather is beautiful. Not the scorching hot weather that Holly had warned us all about. After a quick lunch we headed out to the market to buy items to use for our silent auction in May. I knew that it would be somewhat frustrating to not know the language, but I didn't really know that no one would. We will not have an interpreter until we are at the COTN compound, Casa Bethesda.

We have been required to read the book "Foreign to Familiar" and it explains a lot about this culture viewing the DR and Haiti as "warm-climate" cultures and the USA as a "cold-climate" culture. Basically it's the same difference as Feeling vs. Thinking in the Myers Briggs. I don't know that we are crossing cultures effectively. And I'll admit that I keep wishing we could slow down and take a moment rather than barrel through. My concern is being viewed as rude which is a huge offense to the people in this culture. But for now I just follow and do as I'm told.

In all honesty, I'm anxious to get this part of the trip over with. I want to get to Casa Bathesda and start working on a project. I admit I like the absence of technology distractions. I think I'm itching for something significant to be doing.

As of right now we are still waiting to hear if we are going to be going into Haiti. We have everything prepared for the trip and all of us are hoping and praying diligently that we are able to get in.

Well, it's now 10:30pm EST and I'm ready for bed! Buenos noches!

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." -- Matthew 11:28-30

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I really think Chris Clark is right. Those heading to Haiti are under a spiritual attack. I’m finding that the closer we get to our team’s departure, the more things that go wrong. And what’s worse is I know my dad is going to read this and it’s going to turn more of his hair gray. But, I started this blog to allow people to see the joy and struggles in this budding charity and allow them that glimpse of this side of charity work. We help the children, but how often to people consider who is helping us? We know how much these children struggle, so we step into that role to struggle for them.

I am going through a core group class called “The Heart of Generosity”. So much emphasis is put on being generous with our finances and I feel so broken because I have nothing to give. Instead I’ve been giving of myself (my time and my talents) as much as I can. I’m becoming stretched very thin. There are so many things that people are screaming “priority” at me and yet so few of these responsibilities are able to keep the roof over my head or put any food on my table.

I know we are all struggling and that’s what makes me so selfish to be worried about these things. In one of the videos I watched for the core group the speaker breaks down what percentage of the typical American paycheck goes to our different expenses. I decided to do this myself just to see how much money I could actually give:

% of monthly income to living expenses
60% - Rent
2% - Utilities
2% - Internet
15% - Student Loan
9% - Gas (if I can get by with putting in only $20 a week)
12% - Food/Additional Expenses/Savings or Credit Card

I found that if I tithe 10% I am left with $21 for food or other monthly expenses.

Since I will be in the Dominican and Haiti the last two weeks of this month, I will be cutting off the end of my usual income because I won’t be here to train my clients or to clean the house. As of right now if I don’t have any clients cancel than I will just make enough to cover my rent. All of my tax return went to pay off my mounting credit card bill that has been taking the edge off my expenses by holding the weight of gas and groceries.

Then tonight when I went to run with my friend she noticed a ticket stuck under my passenger side wiper. Apparently I got a ticket for parking outside my own apartment complex and not cramping my tire to the curb. MY TIRE! A $59.50 fine!

I had to sit in my car and just cry for a while. What more can I do? I know I’m being stuck with the title of “negative”, but it’s hard to be positive when I’m trying so hard to live for Christ and I just keep getting taken out at the knees. I was there to run with my friend, so I got out and ran. I ran the long way. I wanted to out-run the thoughts and tears and stress and fear and uncertainty. I wanted to run until my feet wore away and I couldn’t run anymore. My lungs burned, my neck and shoulder cramped, and as soon as I ended the run the sobbing caught up with me. I couldn’t stay to go out for tacos with the rest of the group. I came home and sat in my parked car (with the wheels cramped against the curb) until I could pull myself together enough to go inside. Took a long LONG bath and now here I sit wondering what will happen.

I believe with all my heart that God provides, but I am not so certain that I am doing what He wants me to be doing. Am I struggling because I’m under attack or because God is swatting at me trying to get me to stop it? How do I put on the happy face? How do I act like nothing is wrong? I know eyes are on me, pressuring me to prove that I am able to stay positive through this, but when does positivity turn into denial of reality and just pure insanity? I don’t want to express concern and be a Debbie Downer.

Pray for Chris Clark and his family.
Pray for our team already in Haiti.
Pray for the people and children in Haiti.
Pray for the efforts of COTN.
And then… if you have anything left… please consider praying for me.

You have led me, to the sadness, I have carried this pain
On a back bruised, nearly broken, I'm crying out to You...
I will sing of Your Mercy, that leads me through valleys of sorrow, to rivers of joy.
-- The Valley Song (Jars of Clay)

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!! I had been number crunching in my head for a while now to figure out how I was going to afford to go to SOMA. I had received a partial scholarship, but was still tight on cash. Flood has been great in working with me to set up a payment plan so that I can still attend the conference. Then yesterday I received an email informing me that someone had made an anonymous donation and paid for my SOMA registration in full! Not only that, but my director called me and said someone was going to become a monthly donor to my personal account!

I am so grateful and want to give back. I’ve signed up in every area that I have time to help prepare for SOMA.

My car has been giving me all kinds of trouble lately. I just got new tires put on this morning and I wasn’t halfway down the street when my car went back to it’s violet shaking at idol and wouldn’t accelerate to more than 20mph. So here I sit typing away at a auto repair shop hoping I can get out of here in time to still make the Switchfoot concert I got a group of people to go to. AND I left my cell at my apartment, so I can’t let them know where I am. Ugh! It’s amusing how when one thing goes right other things fall apart. Evil sure is persistent. There was also some complications in finding a new apartment, but after a lot of searching, my new roomie and I found a place. I’m actually mostly moved in as of today.

Do not fear the winds of adversity. Remember: A kite rises against the wind rather than with it. – Unknown

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


It’s been a while since I’ve written. I hope everyone had a good holiday season. I enjoyed a nice trip back to Ohio to visit with family and had a pleasantly uneventful flight. (Despite being routed through DC before heading west back to San Diego.) I was able to have dinner with my best friend Alan, visit with my other best friend Tiffany, meet up with one of my San Diego friends (who is also from Ohio), and sing for our Christmas Eve service at church.

            When I got back to San Diego, there was much to do. I got in touch with my former roommate who owns his own promotions business and we started making plans for a Valentine’s event downtown in the Gaslamp district. We secured a great venue called the Sé Hotel with an awesome rooftop pool deck where we were going to hold an art and singles auction called The Heartbreak Hotel. We even got Ajirotutu of the San Diego chargers to be auctioned off.

            Surprisingly the preparation for this event went smoother than I thought it was going to. I was nervous since it was my first time working with outside promoters and venues. Technically the event wasn’t COTN’s. It was Sé’s and we were just the charity benefactor. So there were many things that we didn’t have to worry about. However, it did limit us as to the things we could control. In the end some of the things the venue had planned didn’t end up coming together and the event really revolved around the auctions for COTN. You’d think this would be a good thing, but we missed a great opportunity to share more about the charity. When we had our follow up, we all feel like those who came to the event who didn’t know what COTN was, left not knowing what COTN was.

It was a great event and Sé was a blessing to us. I’ve gotten tons of great feed back and it is good for me to have one of these under my belt. It’s hard to know everything that you want to accomplish without any experience. Now we know what things we want to do better, what we want to focus on more, and how to communicate better with our contacts. The hardest part so far in this whole event has been passing back and forth information and keeping everyone informed about everything they needed to know. Whew! Communication is a lot of work! I was able to make some connections with other promoters though, and am looking forward to meeting with them to see how we can partner on future events.

On the personal side, I have decided to trust God and quit my job at the gym to focus more on COTN. In the end, it was costing me more in transportation to and from work than I was getting paid for actually working. I’m going to have to move out of my current apartment and try to find someplace with lower rent because I cannot afford to stay here anymore. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I had to apply for food stamps too. *Sigh * I never wanted to be someone who couldn’t provide for myself. I know I’ve said it before, but it’s mind-boggling to find that being financially responsible doesn’t cut it.

We have recently finished a generosity series at Flood and it just reiterates how much I want to give of myself. It’s also somewhat disappointing to know the things that are keeping me from being generous. Most of my life I have felt that giving money wasn’t enough. I wanted to give of my time and talents and show hands-on generosity. Now, hands-on generosity is all that I can give. It’s frustrating to me to be unable to be generous in all aspects of my life. I still give to our sponsored child in our community group and I give whatever I have in my wallet on Sundays. It’s still so little and I know it’s less than 10%. It’s hard when my expenses are around 97-99% of what I’m making and each month I wonder if I’m actually going to have enough to pay my rent, utilities, and student loans. Food isn’t even secondary. I have to make sure I have gas in my car, all those annoying fix-ups on the car, I keep chipping away at my credit card bill, etc…

There have been several blessings that have kept me going and I am thankful every day for them. The people who have stood beside me this whole time are truly a gift. Surprisingly, I am happy for the struggle. I am glad that I am working so hard for something so important rather than something with no redeeming value.

I’ve also stepped up to fill some leadership roles in my community group. I’m working the group’s facebook page, doing the worship slides, designing group T-shirts, and filling in for the leaders when they are unable to attend. I really enjoy it. I’ve also made the commitment to attend The Heart of Generosity core class and signed up for SOMA. (I’m not sure if I’m actually able to go to it yet, but I did apply for a scholarship.)

My next assignment is to work on my personal support raising. I have had a few donations, but I need to work on finding monthly supporters. I am blown away at the support some of our other staff members have. It seems as simple as sending out a quick letter and bam they have most of their support. I can’t be too upset though. If I look back, how financially supportive was I of these kinds of things? It’s like I just recently told a friend “It takes time for good things to grow. If it happens quickly, it’s made no lasting roots.” And so I will be patient and persistent and nurture these seeds in the hopes of harvesting hearts.

NEXT EVENT: Silent auction and dinner.
Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time. – Og Mandio 

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name… - Heb. 6:10

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Welcome to the new year! After a very successful and slightly stressful (slightly might be an understatement) end to 2010, here we are ready to jump into a brand new year for the San Diego office.

I had a bit of an awakening when I arrived back in San Diego after the holidays. Honestly, I’m not that surprised. The stresses of the relays and my lack of personal support had taken its toll on me. It was expressed to me that there was concern that I have a defeatist attitude and am a negative person. It was quite a blow, but as I said, I’m not that surprised.

The problem is… I’m not really a negative person. I’m actually very hopeful. I think it’s that I often allow myself to be overly rational. I wouldn’t say that I have a defeatist attitude, I just recognize when certain things aren’t working. I don’t want to quit, but I need the ability to back up and get a better angle. Sometimes you can bang your head against a wall but you won’t get through it until you back up to see the door.

When things aren’t working, I simply think it’s time to reassess. It’s what we keep hearing in church: God may not be saying “no”, but he may say “Not right now.” When things start falling apart and I am not seeing any improvement on the horizon, rationality says, “It’s time to rethink this. Either do something different or regroup and try when situations are better.”

Things were coming so fast in December with all the different events and sales that there was really no time to step back and regroup. I kept pushing at the wall praying that I could keep it from falling over and crushing us all. However, standing that close was keeping me from seeing anything but the wall and I believe I was losing sight of the good around me. Actually… I had even discussed this with another staff member.

I had never lost faith. I went back and read my past blogs. There was still hope under all the stress. Even when I wake up and I don’t know how things will work out, I thank God that there is breath in my lungs. When rationality is telling me, “You need to try something different.” and I am unable to, I find it difficult to act like everything is ok.

However, I don’t think that God is necessarily a rational God. When things seem impossible and out of comprehension, God doesn’t even bat an eyelash. “Swim the red sea?... Naw, you’re going walk through it.” I believe that what God wants will come to pass, but I also believe that God doesn’t expect us to be foolish. It’s finding that line that is so difficult.

I’ve finally made the decision to quit the gym. I am so relieved, but at the same time so nervous. I am glad I no longer have to be a salesman or constantly making a commute I can barely afford just to get to a job that ends up being wasted hours that I don’t even get paid for. This takes such a load off my chest, but places some additional weight on my shoulders.

I have to move out in order to afford to live. I desperately feel like I need another job, but I need to have Mondays for COTN and I need the time for my private clients. And the randomness of my clients makes it difficult to find a job with hours I can work around. I have to believe that God has great plans for me. He has already blessed me with the opportunity to clean a home for some extra income. Thankfully the success of the Ripple Relay is getting me to Haiti and the DR.

I’m actually going! I’m going to the countries that I’ve wanted to get to for so long. Though I often don’t know His plan, there is no way God will let me fail. God is good! Holly asked me if I believe that statement…

I do.