Friday, July 25, 2014

Learning About Myself (and My Students)

For work, we recently had to take the StrengthsFinder test. The test gives you your top 5 "talents" and those talents, plus knowledge and skills, become your strengths and can make you better at whatever you do in life (in this case, teaching).

Doing this made me think: What if my students were equally aware of who they are and what natural talents they have because of their personality? How might this shape how they work in class? And if I am aware of their talents, how might I better relate to my students? Could it make me a better teacher if I knew both my talents and my students?

Well, we're giving it a shot. And so during the 6th grade Culture/Testing Week, one of the sessions will be about personalities. I'm not actually teaching/leading it, but I helped plan it and during that process we took a variety of tests to figure out the simplest version for 11- and 12-year-olds.

We settled on the True Colors test (another version we considered and could be cool to pursue throughout the year or in future years is one my sister is trained on through her job: E-Colors).

Both tests sort people into four colors. For True Colors, it's...

  • Gold: People who are orderly, dependable, like structure. (Apparently most teachers are gold... although I am very much NOT a gold. That's my polar opposite.)
  • Blue: Sensitive, loyal, enthusiastic, empathetic people. (Based on the test, this is me.)
  • Green: Analytical, logical, intellectual folks. 
  • Orange: People who tend to be active, Competitive, Impulsive and Energetic (this was my secondary color, but only minimally over being green).

With E-Colors, it's similar but looks like this:

With this test, I am a Relating Socialiser (Blue-Yellow).  

What I like about these tests is that, first of all, colors are super easy to remember. When I did the Meyers-Briggs test a while back, it was fun and all and informative, but I can never remember the dang letters (all I remember is that I am the same personality type as Anne of Green Gables and that made me giddy as can be). 

The second thing I like is that we've been able to find a whole lot of simple resources to use to explain basic things about each color: how they like to work, what frustrates them, what makes them happy, etc. And I think this could be really cool in helping figure out jobs/tasks for students, talking to them when they are in trouble, and just motivating them to be successful. 

It just feels so exciting! I can't wait to try putting this into action during this upcoming school year! 

Solid Gold

Curious Green

True Blue

Action Orange

Esteemed for

Being dependable

Discovering new insights

Being a good listener

Being fun and taking risks

Stressed by

Lack of order

Feeling inadequate

Feeling artificial


Highest virtue is





Key characteristics

Being prepared



Talent and skill

On the job










Primary needs

To provide stability and order; be in control

To be competent and rational

To be authentic and care for others

To be free and spontaneous

Longs for


Insights and knowledge

Love and acceptance


Strives to foster

Traditional values

Thoughtful consideration


Fun and recreation

Take pride in





Specialty is

Accomplishments and results

Research and conceptualizations



Validated by

Being appreciated

Affirming their wisdom

Acceptance of others

Achieving visible results


Authority and tradition

Facts and logic

Intuition and feelings


P.S. In case you're one who likes extra details, here's some more specifics about my color personality types:

I am a person who enjoys and thrives on having people around me. My focus, though, will be on the others, not me. I have a naturally warm disposition and people are generally comfortable opening up to me. I have a natural desire to help others, even doing volunteer work for organizations that allow me to aid others. I love parties. I am creative and in some cases, musically oriented. I am adept at starting and sustaining harmonious relationships. I am tolerant, understanding, supportive and a natural listener. I love life and I love people. I have an inherent desire to help people and I have to be aware that this in-built need could get me hurt or even killed. I find it virtually impossible to stop myself from jumping in to help someone else. 

My tendencies include:
  • I project a warm and caring attitude and prefer the same from other
  • I enjoy displays of affection and approval
  • I dislike aggression and conflict
  • I get turned off by complexity and confusion
  • I have a tendency to be more expressive or emotional under pressure
  • I am a challenge for RED / GREENS - GREEN / REDS, as my focus is generally on people, not tasks and objectives

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pros and Cons of Going on a Mission Trip to India

So just before I left for this mission trip, I re-read and finished the Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter (awesome author, by the way). So... I'm going to take a page out of Cammie Morgan's book and create a pro and con list for everything I've experienced so far and what I've been taking away from this mission trip (also the amazing sisterhood I've seen among the daughters of As Our Own kind of reminds me of the GG sisterhood... only this one is real and a lot more life-changing, in my opinion).

While the approach might be a little tounge-in-check/silly, there are two things I want to point out:

  1. There are infinitely more pros than cons. Many of the cons are actually just pros in disguise. Writing both out is in a way recording the little and big joys and gifts of this trip.
  2. Whether pro or con, I've learned so much about me, God, my relationships with Him and others. I'm still processing, and I don't feel radically different right now, but I also know that this trip has already begun to be a catalyst for change in my life. 

So here it goes...

a list by Bunmi Ishola

Pro: I'm in Asia, and have now been to 5 out of the 7 continents. Pretty cool and a check off my bucket list.

Con: It took two 8+ hour flights to get here, and life sped up by 10.5 hours. While I don't mind flying and I don't get jet-lagged, it was still pretty tedious.

Pro: The food is delicious. Some of the other team members feel like they may not eat chicken once we're back in the States, or probably will not be frequenting Indian restaurants immediately after we return, but I am loving it. I rarely eat this well in my daily life and will miss having three full meals (plus at least one tea time) a day and all the variety of meals we've been served.

Con: We can't eat everything and I do miss having fresh fruit and vegetables (which is funny, since it's not like I eat a whole lot of it when I'm home, haha).

Pro: Bananas can be eaten and are easily available.

Con: I don't really like bananas.

Pro: The culture is super service-oriented. Everyone wants to do everything for you and make things as easy as possible. They will go out of their way to make sure that you are happy, and will often refuse your offer to help or do it yourself.

Con: Sometimes there are things you just want to do for yourself or you feel guilty because you know it won't be done how you would prefer and you plan to redo whatever it is once they are gone. Like putting food on your plate (so you don't get too much or something you don't want), pushing in your own chair (I don't like to be too close to the table), turning on your own lights and TV in your hotel room (we have instantly turned almost all of them right back off and have never even watched the TV).

Pro: At church and both homes we visited, the girls had made us these long, gorgeous leis. They smelled divine and were so pretty to look at.

Con: There's no way to keep them! And the one time I tried, the hotel staff threw it away when they cleaned our room.

Con: We lost one of my bags. And really,  it belongs to my brother-in-law.

Pro: It didn't have any of my clothes or anything that couldn't be replaced. And it was one less bag for me to worry about!

Pro: We are loving the clothes. Tunics and jeans/leggings all day, everyday? Bring it on! It's so comfortable and can be casual yet still dressy/nice looking. 

Con: I might head home and spend a fortune to completely try to revolutionize my whole wardrobe. 

Pro: This has been a great opportunity for me to build new relationships and walk through life with new friends. It's been a struggle for me since I moved to Houston and with the amount of time we have all spent pre-trip and now on the trip, we definitely have all grown close.

Pro: We have spent a lot of time in prayer and fellowship. As a team, we have devotions together every morning. We pray before drive from one place to another, we pray together before every meal and at every transition. We eat every meal together. It has been so good and such a sweet time. And it's so fabulous to constantly have God at the forefront.

Pro: On that note, it has been super cool watching my roommate use most of her downtime to read Scripture and journal (we have also had some hilarious conversations). 

Con: I will miss this when we go home. I definitely do not spend most of my time, nor my company, in such single-mindedness on the Lord.

Pro: I feel convicted enough, or really I just have loved it to much that I plan for that to be a change in my life. 

Con: It's easy to say and do now, a part of me is terrified I won't have the dedication to follow through (but maybe this is a pro because if I feel this way, it shows how much I want it if it scares me to not have it).

Pro: Meeting the girls As Our Own now calls their daughters. 

Con: Not being able to show you pictures of how cute, happy and well-taken care of (or at least not online, ask me in person).

Pro: Meeting the wonderful house parents and caretakers and staff who have dedicated their lives to raising these girls up into a new identity. Without these people, the girls could still be in situations where they would be vulnerable to sec-trafficking and abuse. And grown up with a low-standard of care and lacking empowerment.

Con: Occasionally there was a language barrier and it wasn't always easy to talk and share with each other.

Pro: Love is a universal language and there was definitely no love barrier between us and the As Our Own family.

Pro: Seeing the girls and the staff act as a real family. Knowing that through their loss, they have no found love, and will have a beautiful legacy. That there is a second chance. There is redemption. 

Con: Knowing that this organization would exist if it wasn't for all the sad stories that have brought them here. Worse is knowing there are millions of other girls who are not blessed in this way, who have no one standing in the gap for them.

Pro: Knowing As Our Own has a plan and vision to help combat this (I'll share this in more detail in my next post. It's very exciting stuff!).

Pro: Getting to be part of that vision. Our mission trip here wasn't the typical "patch band-aids on the wounds" deal. A lot of the work we did was with the goal to leave behind tools and ideas that can continue to help build the connection between daughter and caretaker.

Con: Because the connection between the daughters and caretakers have been growing strong, the girls didn't need me to guide them through an activity or reaffirm them that they were on the right track--they had their parents. So there were a lot of times where I know I felt pretty useless.

Pro:  The girls didn't need me to guide them through an activity or reaffirm them that they were on the right track--they had their parents. These are real relationships, ya'll! 

Pro: I ended up occupying my time taking a lot of pictures for the team. And since photography is something I love to do, I found joy in that. I can't wait to make a photo book to share them!

Pro: Not feeling "used" or "needed" has also allowed me to observe that honestly, God can work without me. He doesn't need me for things... He is able to do great things whether I chose to step up and be proactive or not. It has also let me realize how much I want to feel needed and important and just used by Him. This is also a little bit of a conviction because...

Con: There is so much more work to be done. Not just in India, but the world. There are so many orphans in the word that are not truly being shown the love of God. And even if you're not a Christian, there are too many who do not even have a quality standard of care. What we would want for our own. There are many who are victims of human trafficking, even in Houston. Many who are waiting for someone to dignify them, notice them, show them mercy.

Pro: Knowing there is so much more work that needs to be done. Not just in India, but the world. And knowing that while God doesn't need me, He does want me to be involved. He is calling me to work alongside Him. To help in the redemption of the poor, oppressed and orphan for the glory of His name. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Identifying with the Oppressed and the Fatherless

How is God calling us to care for the oppressed and the fatherless?

As Christians we tend to do good works often--we spend a day volunteering or we donate a certain sum of money. We do our due diligence. We tell ourselves that we've made their lives better than it could or would have been. It's easy to think that providing a place for them to live, feeding them, and meeting basic survival needs is enough. But is it really?

Earlier this week, one of my devotions was on identifying with the poor. It started out looking at Nehemiah 5: 14-18. Nehemiah was governor of the land, and his position entitled him to many great perks. But knowing that his people were poor, that they were suffering, led him to forsake what was rightfully his for their benefit and for God's glory.

After all, isn't that what Jesus did for us?

"Have in mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8

Christ didn't use his position for his own advantage. Instead, he chose to identify with us and use it for our advantage. And if the word "Christian" means "little Christ," should we not do the same for those we chose to serve?

So how is God calling us to care for the oppressed and the fatherless? I've thought back to this devotional for the last few days and strongly feel that the answer is to identify with the oppressed and the orphan, be willing to walk through life with them and share in their story.

As Our Own starts with the story of an orphan. One who goes through the traditional system that was the status quo of the time. Most of the kids within this traditional system stop school in 4th grade, a few go on until 7th, and even fewer up to 10th. And then they are on their own to figure out life and find security and a place in society.

This orphan eventually gets married and has two children who eventually become fatherless themselves. Their story is one of blessing, and because she is able to get a good job, her sons are able to get a top education. But their story is a rare one. There are many more orphans who easily become targets and are sold into some form of slavery. Without anyone to stand in the gap on their behalf, they live an oppressed life.

There are so many girls who are taken from their families, or sometimes even sold by their families, because they are in a vulnerable state. Orphaned, impoverished, uneducated with few job prospects... and in this already vulnerable state, they are made even more so as they are beaten and coerced to be sex slaves. Many have children, for whom they want a better life, but unfortunately 95% of girls who are born into Red Light Districts become 2nd generation sex slaves.

Unless they are rescued. And unless the aftercare gives them an identity and a purpose. Does more than provide for their basic survival, but also provide for their spiritual and emotional healing, too.

It's easy to blame these women and girls for their plight, or to treat it like it's no big deal... until you identify with them. Until you think about yourself being in their shoes, think about that little girl being your daughter.

I look at the faces of the sweet girls I've met on this trip and my heart breaks that this is their story, or at least their mother's story. And now that I know them--I have seen them--I know I wouldn't be okay with them simply being in some institutionalized orphanage, getting a minimum education, and then being sent out to wolves in sheep's clothing when they hit 18 and have no where else to go. I would want them to have a family, an identity, a sense of worth and empowerment.

We tend to take care of our own so much better than we take care of others, but to really make a difference we need to see others as our own. This organization works because the founder, and most of the staff, identify with the oppressed they seek to help and redeem. They know that to make a difference in their lives, they have to see them as their own daughters. And everything you and I could desire for our own daughters is what they desire to give to these girls.

And it really does make all the difference.

It makes all the difference when mothers willingly give up their own children, but only if they know the organization will treat them as their own daughters.

It makes all the difference when you watch 30+ kids interacting with their new mothers and fathers, thriving under their attention, and interacting with each other as a true family.

It makes all the difference when every daughter gets a quality education and you now have around 20 daughters in college and being empowered versus remaining an easy prey and possibly ending up exactly where they began.

It makes all the difference when I can look at these girls and feel that if I had a daughter, I would expect this level of care, and perhaps want even more.

So, how is God calling us to care for the oppressed and the fatherless?

It might look differently for each of us, but I've been praying that God shows me how to identify with these girls and others like them. That I'm not content to focus on my own comfort and living a life a privilege without forsaking it to identify with those lose fortunate than me. All I have comes from God, and I hope that I don't use my blessings for my own selfish reasons but instead I look for a way to stand in the gap and advocate for the oppressed.

Monday, July 14, 2014

First Impressions: India

India has some of the best food. Or at least, everything we've been given has been divine. And the culture is so service-oriented. Everyone wants to serve you. All the time. Even with things you'd rather do for yourself (like put food on your plate, or turn on your own TV).

A lot of people warned me to be careful when they knew I was coming to India. It was actually kind of annoying to have some people's first comments be, "Better pack some diarrhea meds!" But we've been well taken care of and since we're only here for a short time, there are many things we are avoiding to make sure we don't get sick. No fresh fruit (which is kind of a bummer since it's bound to taste a million times better than what we get in America), but we can have bananas and oranges. We only use bottled water--for drinking, but also to brush our teeth and stuff. And in general, a good range of mild to spicy foods are offered for anyone with a sensitive stomach.

And security? It's everywhere. A lot of hotels have metal detectors or some security check-point. There was even security at the Starbucks we stopped by at once!

Everyone said the traffic was crazy, but I'd say Nigeria and Haiti are worse, so it didn't faze me at all. Although it was quite a treat/surprise to see that they drive on the "wrong" side of the road and car like the British do (which makes total sense, but for some reason, it just never occurred to me). And I was expected to be overwhelmed by filth and smells and stuff, but so far... it's been fine. Nothing has really fazed me. Is it the same standard we'd expect as Americans? Not everywhere. And I guess we've never really ventured into the slums or anything (but then I don't go venturing into the slums of America either).

We've spent most of our time with the organization either visiting the girls' homes or talking about the mission and vision for the future. Church was fun and reminded me a lot of church in Nigeria. A lot of "Praise the Lord" and one of the worship songs was one I knew from Nigeria (although it was sung in Hindi).

Everywhere we go, we are welcome with beautiful leis placed around our necks, and often the offer of chai tea (which all the three times I've had it so far has tasted differently/seemed to mean different things).

The girls have welcomed us into their homes with songs of praise (for God, not us). They are happy to have us here and see them as a family. We are called "Dada" (brother) and "Didi" (sister) out of respect, but I also feel it's an invitation to be a part of their family.

It feels good to be here. And it's been good to learn. There's a lot to soak in and process, but each day is full of anticipation and excitement. I'm happy this is where God led me.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

He Who Provides

Here's the funny thing about God: He's never late. Even when you feel like things are not going to happen and you're down to the wire and you're stressing, He comes through. Just when He wants to.

I've had God do things in His timing many times in my life, and so I've learned to not worry and trust in that He will provide what I need when He wants. That doesn't make the wait any easier... but I am learning.

There was the time I graduated from masters and had no job and no plan. I came back to Houston and spent about 3 months looking for something. I was at a point when I was ready to give up. And then I got a call and was offered an internship I never even applied to.

His Perfect Provision and in His Perfect Timing.

And then when the three-month internship was ending, I was once again feeling the pressure of the job hunt. Nothing seemed to be available and the few jobs that were wouldn't even acknowledge my application with a form rejection letter. It was my last week at the Dallas Morning News, and I was thinking I'd be heading back to Houston to bum off my sister a little bit longer when I get a Facebook message inviting me to come in for an interview with a magazine in town. The last week of my internship. 

I went to the interview on my last day at the DMN and was offered the job two days later.

Again: Perfect Provision. Perfect Timing.

And when I lost my job at CURE and spent almost a year unemployed and working part-time gigs that barely covered gas and groceries (let's not even talk about my $800+ rent and other bills). I ended up being offered the chance to student teach on the fly, and that led to me applying to a lot of school districts and being met with lots of silence. As a family, we traveled to Nigeria and I ended up spending an extra week there while my siblings headed back. During that week, I tried to come to terms with going back to unemployment and uncertainty when a friend messaged me and offered me a summer gig with Teach for America. No application. No interview.

And then the last week of the summer gig, a friend connects me to her school director. And I get an interview the day after my last day with TFA. I go in that morning, go through the whole interview-sample teach deal, and end up being offered the job by 5pm.

If all of those situations (that all happened within the span of just two years of my life) don't confirm that God is good and He provides, I'm not sure what will. I knew that I could trust that He would come through at the time He feels is right. Even when I don't like the timing and I wish it would happen faster, I have learned to have peace during the wait because He ALWAYS provides. Always. I don't doubt it.

Or maybe I was beginning to doubt it again. Or maybe He knows that others doubt His ability to provide. But whichever it is... God has done it again.

This mission trip to India is expensive. Almost $4000 to be exact. But I very strongly felt God was calling to do this--to give more of my time and my life to Him. Going on this mission trip feels like part of the beginning steps of that. There was some criticism from family and friends--which from a practical standpoint was understandable--where was I going to get that much money from? If I had that much money to spend, why would I skimp in other places? Or be less giving to other things? Why wasn't I saving more? Why wouldn't the church pay? Shouldn't these things be free since you're doing God's work?

I steeled myself against all of it and simply trusted that God would provide. We see him as Jehovah Jireh many times in His word, but I had also seen it so many times in my life. So I trusted in that. I put down 10% of the payment and then trusted God would send provision in other ways.

I'll say that He helped me a lot more than I helped myself. Especially because I did a horrible job actually fundraising for this mission trip. I knew I was going to India sometime in December, and didn't start posting about it until around February. And even then, I only posted on Facebook. I meant to sit down and send out a mass email to family and friends... and that kept being put off. I meant to mail thank you letters (and add in a request for support) to everyone who helped support me on the run I did to raise money for Sabeena... and that kept putting it off. Besides posting occasionally on Facebook, I did absolutely NO fundraising. And yet people gave...

The best things is that I don't even really know who all gave. Almost all of the people who gave to support me did so anonymously. And almost all of them gave around $200 and more! It was so uplifting to see this.

But... it was June and I still had over $2000 left to pay. I put in a bit more and got it down to around $1800, but that was still a lot of money for me to expect to appear in one month. Right before Peru, I finally sent out letters to everyone who supported me on my run. I got one response back that was uplifting, but I had no clue if anyone else would give.

I came back from Peru and had two weeks before India. There was still $1700 to raise.

One week before India... still $1700. I sent that mass e-mail I was planning to spend ages ago and never did. Maybe if all my friends gave like $20 or more, I'd get there.

Three days before India... still $1700.

And that's when the doubt began creeping in. I knew that God would provide, He always has before. But I was beginning to worry about the how.

I remember coming to the church to drop some things off with our group leader and telling her and another girl about my doubt. They said encouraging words, and she prayed over me and I felt peace wash over me again. I then went to speak to the missions associate and she told me not to worry about it, we'd figure out how to get that $1700 paid when I returned. Focus on your trip, she said. We'll worry about the money later.

So I went home and continued to pray and just trust that God would provide as He always has.

The next day, I got this e-mail:

I was sitting in the summer school I was subbing for and I had to restrain myself from screaming. I also had to stop myself from crying the tears of joys that I felt about to burst. 

HE IS THE GREAT PROVIDER. My Jehovah Jireh. There is no doubt it. 

And while the timing might have seemed crazy, one of my friends made a point: It's a testimony I can now give that will give Him glory. And that's what matters. If I had all the money taken care of way in advance, would I sing His praises as much as I am now? Possibly not. 

Would I have gotten 25 responses back from my mass e-mail (I re-messaged them this good news immediately) that also sang His praise and gave Him the glory? Probably not. 

His Perfect Provision. His Perfect Timing. All for His glory. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer Snapshots: The Beauty of Peru

"I've been around the world,
they say that love is blind,
but I love you cause I've seen you a hundred times
So amazed at the world that You made"   
-- Jimmy Needham, "How Great Thou Art"

That's exactly what I think when I reflect on my trip to Peru. From the ocean to the mountains and valleys. The salt mines and ancient ruins. I was constantly in awe of the beauty this world holds. And how can we live in a beautiful world and doubt that there is a God? It's hard for me to fathom because I couldn't help but give glory and worship God as we drove up mountains, took trains and boats along the riverbed, and trekked through the rain forest.

Peru is a fabulous place.

When I first decided to do this trip, it was solely to see Macchu Picchu. I read some National Geographic article about "Places You Want to See Before It's Too Late," and they implied that the government might shut Macchu Picchu down to help persevere the archaeological site. So I decided to take students to Peru. In 6th grade, we talk a little bit about the Ancient Inca civilization, and since most of my students are of Latino/Hispanic/Spanish heritage, I thought a trip to South America would interest them.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but Peru definitely didn't met any of my expectations. Maybe if I had read the guidebook I had been given, it would have helped. But it was also nice to be pleasantly surprised.

Lima is a big, modern city. And it's a desert. While it is a coast city, it almost never rains and the construction of the city is a testament to that. No sewage or rain gutters along the streets, but also not too many skyscrapers because the ground is too dry/hard to create a deep enough foundation (I think the highest building is like 23 stories or something).

A lot of the trip was visiting and exploring historical sites: monasteries and catacombs, Inca cities and sacred worships grounds. But there was a good portion of the trip where we were left to our own devices. And it was nice to also soak in the culture and walk up and down quaint stone streets and eat in local restaurants.

Every day felt like an adventures, and it never failed that we would turn a corner and I would find something else to excite me. It was like having a million little love notes from God. Just scattered around for me to glean at my own pleasure.

Here are a few snapshots. Once I get the ones from my camera organized, I'll write more focused blogs to share my trip and the things we learned and discovered!

Trying to cross the street in Lima
Surfers in the Pacific Ocean
Inca site outside of Cusco

Macchu Piocchu

Farmers in the fields. 


Snow-capped mountains. Absolutely breathtaking--whether on the ground or in the air.

Peru's "Golden Gate Bridge" in Puerto Maldanado

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Esther Generation

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm totally playing catch-up on a lot of the resources the IF:Gathering has on their website (I bought their conference webcast stuff and still haven't sat down to watch any of it yet). While doing this, I fell upon this spoken word piece by Amena Brown Owen and Ann Voskamp.


Can I just say, "Window to my soul?"

Fear that I'll never move past my past...
That I'll never be perfect, that I'll never be worth it, that I'll never be enough...
Tug of war between my fear and my calling...
Fear is my chain...

He is second chances... His love never runs out... His love is looking for me.

So who would I be, if I wasn't afraid?

Where ever He takes me, He is always the Comforter.

To take the weight on my backs and offer it back to the Savior... that my life may be chiseled by his pen.

Who would I be? And what would I do?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Reason to Write

All throughout the day, I find myself writing mini-blogs in my head. But somehow these blogs never make it to the actual web. I tend to put things off and then it slips my mind altogether, or feels too late to bother. It's why there was one mega-blog about my California trip, and why there has yet to be any post about my adventures in Peru (they are coming, along with some epic photos). The plan is to do a lot better... especially while I'm in India. I hope to write a few times while I'm there.

Well, I actually, I feel honor-bound to write.

You see, last year, I did a run for As Our Own. My I put off really training (although I did run about 4+ of the 6+ miles I was supposed to), I put off writing thank you notes to all the people who supported me. And I put off raising money for the mission trip I am about to depart on in a little over a week.

Just before Peru, I finally sat down and sent out a few letters to my childhood church families, and then wrote out letters to most of the people who supported me in my run. I wanted to let them know that their support in October is kind of what spurred me to take this leap to go to India this summer. Without them, I might have chosen to go to Kenya instead. Or maybe not chosen to do a mission trip at all.

You see... I almost didn't make my fundraising goal. And it was at the very last minute that I was able to exceed the goal, which was awesome. Each person who gave was a piece of helping me fulfill my commitment to Sabeena and helping provide for this little girl. So now that I'm going to India, and will actually get to meet Sabeena, I felt it was right to share this adventure with each of my supporters.

The letter went out and I left for Peru and while I was there I got a Facebook message from one of my friends. She thanked me for my letter, but also shared some news that encouraged me: After supporting me in my run last year, she and her husband decided to become monthly supporters of As Our Own! How cool is that? She wanted me to know that she was excited that I was going because now I can share the stories of how their giving is impacting the girls and be able to be a witness to what God is doing in India.

It kind of put this mission trip in a new light for me. This isn't about me going to help, or the girls who will be helped, but about being able to be a witness to how God is moving in the world. I get to be a witness to that! And I mean, I always knew that I was my role, but her note really brought that out to the forefront to me.

And it gives me a reason to write. To share God's grace and glorify His name through the stories I'll be privileged to witness first-hand. And if that's the biggest thing I do, or impact that I can make, I think it'd be well than worth it.

Still trying to raise about $2,000 for India... and I leave next week Friday! A part of me is terrified that I won't end up with enough. But a bigger part trust that God will provide in some way. And that will be yet another thing I get to bear witness about! 
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