Quick update on me if you haven't been getting my support newsletters and emails... (If you have my apologies in repeating some of the info, but keep reading...there are some new nuggets :)
If you've been following along on my facebook (I had been "fasting" Facebook during the first portion of the Daniel Fast. Friends had been posting blog links and other important information for me. As of yesterday, I was back on at a once a day basis, in order to keep proper communication. But have still not reinstalled the facebook app on my phone in order to avoid distraction). Or if you're on Instagram you'll know I've extended what I had intended on being only a 21 day Daniel Fast to at least another ten days. There are a couple of reasons for that; one I feel that there is still more God intends to impart on me in this time. My time in the word, in worship and in prayer during this fast have been intense and life giving. I've found so much new meat to my prayer life, so much fervency in devouring the word and renewed focus in worship. Also the last week has been a substantially hard one. I had to say goodbye to another sweet child in my life as God's direction for his families life took him away from me, my schedule changed drastically now that I'm not homeschooling and a primary relationship in my life came to a close. Satan just found sneaky ways to attack my identity and my heart; a scary interaction with a man in the city and unearthing old lies that I'm not beautiful or valuable. As much as I would like to believe as a missionary constantly surrounded by God loving, love sick worshippers I'd be immune to such attack I'm not and the enemy has had a field day with my heart this last week. I feel like intentionally pressing in for even more of His heart is a wise road to take.
Secondly after the first week was past, eating the way the Daniel Fast requires. (Only foods that once came from a seed. No salts, sugars, dressings, meats, dairy, etc) has benefited my physical body and life in profound ways. While there has been small weight loss, the real benefits are how I feel. Most days I have much more energy than I did previously. I sleep better and have an easier time both going to bed and waking up. I feel in overall better shape, I last longer snowboarding and running. My hair and nails have been growing faster than I've ever noticed them to do. Skin issues I'd still been having from being sick in April and May are almost completely gone. People have commented that my eyes and skin are brighter. I feel lighter and more present in my day to day. One of the best things is I have not had even one allergic reaction to anything I have eaten in the last 25 days! No itchy mouth or swollen lips, nothing! Praise God! The Daniel Fast has also seemingly coincided with a huge release in creativity in our apartment. It seems as though every night my roommates and I are writing, painting, making music, crafting or in my case making food. I've found this insane love of preparing food. I find huge joy in finding news ways to combine fresh fruits and veggies into beautiful and tasteful meals. Almost daily I'll have Sophie come look at some "pretty" new combination of foods with the same pride she displays new paintings. Even after the fast is done I'm praying about continuing a vegan lift style. The verse from 1 Cor. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?" has new meaning in the past twenty some days, I feel like I'm starting to understand and respect that reality in my life. I want to continue to treat my body as a temple, the very house the Holy Spirit is choosing to reside in in this life.
I was hit with that reality today, that this is the best way. That when Jesus was getting ready to leave the disciples he said he was going to send the comforter and the helper and that it would be better that way. So often I yearn for heaven, I just want to be with Jesus now! I just want him to show up in my room now! I want him in this coffee shop with me, at this beach with me, in the car with me. But Jesus himself said, that is this reality it is better for me to have the Holy Spirit in me, that is the greater help right now. I want to continue to live in that reality, that I am housing the very Spirit of God in me. That's a big job and I want to treat myself and my body as a proper place for His Holiness.
So where am I now?
I have a meeting set for this weekend to discuss how my roles will change after the snowboard school leaves for outreach and the new schools begin. At this time I know that I will still be teaching Bible in Schools weekly. (I've been asked by the classroom teacher that I work with if I'd be willing to come in and teach some art classes with the kids which will start next week as well).I have absolutely loved being in a classroom again. I've loved seeing even the shyest kids start to come out of their shells and volunteer to play the role of Pharoah or Moses in our stories. To see them all bolt their hands up to remind me what we learned the week previous. I've also been asked to take up leading our bases weekly intercession times. This is the time our whole base comes together, staff and students to pray and interceed for other peoples and nations. I'm really excited to be taking this over and finding creative ways to engage with the heart of God for the world.
I'm excited for what God is doing in this place. We've found ourselves in a massive time of transition but God is continuing to show up, continuing to make himself and his plans known, continuing to change the lives of everyone who comes through this place.
As I feel it continues to be God's plan for me to be here for an extended period of time my financial needs change. While this time last year I was fundraising to be able to lead the team to Malaysia right now I'm fundraising for different needs as living and staffing this base becomes career.
1. The financial need in the forefront of my mind and heart right now is for a plane ticket to go back to Minnesota for Christmas. When I came to New Zealand in February I came on a one-way ticket because it was what I could afford at the time and did not know exactly what God's plans were as far as when I would be going home. In May is became apparent I should go to Minnesota for a short time for medical reasons as well as being refreshed by family and I was gifted the money to do so. I still do not have a ticket back to Minnesota. My prayer and my families hope is that I could come to the US for a month over Christmas and New Years.
If I can go to the States for a month I can work for a good three weeks with my Mom and attempt to make a little bit of my own money to continue to support myself. While three weeks of work does not sound like much income, take into consideration that my room and board is paid for with only $90 US/week. Working in the states for three weeks translates into a few months of my own support.
But obviously the biggest reason I want to go home for a white Minnesota Christmas is my family. Having little ones that I am so close to so far away is incredibly difficult at times. I believe that I am following God's will for my life and I know that someday Isabelle and Faith will understand that. But it's important for me to be in their lives as often as I can however I can, often that is Skype calls home, Voxers (a walkie-talkie app on our phones) and photos and packages exchanged back and forth. But my heart yearns to be with them a few times a year. To hear Faith learn to say my name in the flesh, to take Isabelle snow tubing, keep her up late with hot chocolate and Christmas movies. After the New Year the plan is that it would be at least another 9 months before I would be in Minnesota again. I believe, and am part of a community that believes it's important to go on furlough a few times a year, I would love for Christmas to be one of those times for me. A time to head back to my family, my church and friends and be reconnect, share about all the work God is doing here and in my life and share in the amazing time of the year. The time we celebrate the Savior that draws me into this crazy life being born and starting this whole thing in motion.
I am obviously in financial need for the ticket. The reason I am writing about Christmas tickets while it's still August is that there is a massive sale going on right now and a round trip ticket is only about $1000. (Which is an INCREDIBLE deal when it comes to international flights). Through fundraising and gifts of people through out the last season my room and board expenses have been paid for the next few months but the money I had brought to New Zealand with me from savings and working while I was home in the winter has dwindled down from day to day living expenses, health care, (I have insurance but have to pay the first 20% of any medical expenses), gifts and blessing others, etc.
I am praying that supporters, family and friends would be lead to help "bring me home for Christmas" and support me in what I'm doing here. It is often hard for those of us in this community to write these kind of letters home; most of us are working a pretty typical 9-5 job be it in the office, the kitchen, or a little of everything like me but having to raise our own salary to live. God always makes a way around here and I constantly find myself walking in His blessing. Would you pray about helping me raise funds to go home for Christmas in Minnesota? If you are a monthly supporter, if you helped me with medical expenses earlier this year, if you've have sent me a gift last year and helped me lead our Malaysia outreach, if you've laughed, cried, or been encouraged with me through this blog, if you've been thinking or praying about donating to missions; would you consider praying about investing in me here?
If you feel lead to give I have a link at the top of this page on the right that goes directly to my paypal. Otherwise you can send check to me at PO Box 47 Oxford, North Canterbury New Zealand 7443.
Please feel free to send me a letter to that address at anytime letting me know how you're doing, what God's doing in your life, how I can pray for you. As the seasons change and I spend less time on social media I find myself falling out of contact with people which is not my heart at all. I want to press more into the heart of God but don't want to lose touch. Real letters force us to slow down around here. :)
I had a small list of things I needed to fund raise for but I feel to stop the email there. This is my heart and I absolutely believe in the power of God's provision and the trust and faith in builds in me. Thank you for joining me in this journey.