Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Glorious

I haven't yet explained why my blog is called what it is. Why the site is dearworld-ily. Why it says love(ly). And I want to talk about love right now and explain myself here.

I'm American through and through. I love America and just about everything that is American. I love burgers and hotdogs, fireworks, singing, capitalism, individualism, freedom, etc. I love America. And for the longest time, I loved America and only America. I thought that because I loved America so much, I couldn't really love any other place. Quite honestly, I didn't really have a heart for the rest of the world. I was glad other people did, but I didn't really. Throughout my sophomore year of college, I began to be transformed. I began to see that it's great to love America, but was reminded that my God is bigger than just America. That the God I serve is glorious. A glorious and wonderful God who so deeply and earnestly loves the whole Earth. A God who yearns for every tribe and every nation to know Him. A God who holds the world in His hands, a God who continuously says, "Dear World...I love you". And being Christ like, meant loving like Christ. Whole heartedly and compassionately and without limits. I still love America, but I now also love the countries and the people that are outside of America's borders. And yes, it really did take me 19 years to have the heart I now have for the world. An earnest and kind heart, one that mirrors Christ's best it can.

So this blog site is called dearworld-ily because Jesus loves the world and so do I. It's a "written" testimony of how I love on the world. Of how I show the world that I love it and all that it encompasses. It's my letter to the world, inviting all to know about my God. Inviting all to see the agape love that the world and that you are being offered. It's for me to also start saying, "Dear World....I love you".

On top of that, the title is "Love(ly)".  The (ly) is an acronym for "love you". As it is so lovely to love and be loved. It's so lovely that our God loves us. By loving you, love is shown. Love, love, love. Love with compassion, love with empathy, love with forgiveness, love with excitement, love unconditionally. Agape love.

So through the love that Christ has shown me, I want to go love on the world. These are my letters to the world, reminding every tribe and nation and person that they are loved. That I love you. That God loves you. And that is so lovely. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

E-mail Update #8 (August 4, 2010)

Dumela! (Hello in Sesotho)

I apologize for getting this e-mail out so late, as it has been about a full week since I've been back in the states. Ever since I've been back, things have been pretty non-stop and I seem to have come down with a pretty bad head cold. Though it's almost more unfortunate for those around me, as they have to listen to my coughing! But truly, other than the minor illness all has been well and I've loved being back in America. I've been able to enjoy cheeseburgers and steaks and soda with sugar and sugary foods=) (In Africa, they don't use nearly as much sugar in anything, including soda, and I had a minor issue with that...I missed my sugar!) Well, before writing this e-mail, I prepared for it by making a list of what all I wanted to be sure to include, as there is a lot to tell!

As much as I love being home, the trek back was not all that enjoyable. We had another layover in Paris, and on the plane from Paris to DC a flight attendant spilled 7up all over me, my seat, and my stuff. While the amount of napkins was a "comical amount" as my friend and one of my team members, Sara Mae, called it to clean up and that brought many laughs, I would like to point out that the clothes I was wearing would be the same clothes for three days and I still had another 5 hours on that same plane with all the soda. I was a little irked, but the amount of napkins that the flight attendant brought out (it almost didn't fit in my hand there were so many) and his profuse apologies made it all okay and a fun story to tell.

It was once we got to America that things, traveling wise, began to go downhill. Once we landed, it took a long while to go through customs and passport control. Two of the girls on our team were from Canada and had to go through a different line for passports. Because their line was incredibly longer than US residents line, and many of us had to catch another flight, that ended up being the last time we saw them, which was incredibly unfortunate. I rushed to re-check my baggage and literally ran through the DC airport to get to my gate for my next flight, which I arrived at just 5 minutes or so before boarding only to find out that my flight had been delayed for fifteen minutes. Enough time to get an American hamburger meal! Then it was delayed for another five minutes...then another twenty...we finally boarded the completely full flight after an hour of delays. Once we all boarded the plane and had watched the safety video twice, we were delayed for another HOUR. Due to that delay, my connecting flight for Phoenix took off before I even landed in Atlanta. I was moved to the 10pm flight to Phoenix, the time I was supposed to arrive in Tucson. Needless to say, I arrived home at 3:30am on Wednesday instead of 10pm on Tuesday. Looking back on the weeks spent in South Africa, thinking about the relationships made with Americans, Canadians, and the Basothos, I can easily say that the negative delays doesn't even come close in comparison to the amazing time in South Africa.

In South Africa I learned hundreds of things. I learned that African elephants have giant ears, that zebras aren't as ugly in person as some other animals are, and that rhinos really are huge. I learned how to sweep "Basotho style", how to wash clothes without a washing machine, and how to wash dishes without a towel, a sink, or extra water to rinse. I learned how to shake hands in South Africa and a few phrases (very few phrases) in Sesotho. I also learned the importance of knowing the Bible and learned that God moves in all sorts of ways. I learned that God is intentional and that He truly does love unconditionally.

In the Bible, there are a plethora of verses that I don't ever think twice about because they aren't as relevant in America. Verses about talking to the dead, witchcraft, slaughtering animals, etc. However those are the verses we spent a lot of time on when talking with people. I was reminded of how intentional God is. That each thing in His Word is important and that He knows the nations and hearts of the world far better than anyone could come close to.

It's hard not to love Africa, especially when you're there. It's a place where it was so evident that God's love overflows, that He has unending mercy and grace. That He yearns to have a personal relationship with those living in South Africa. He loves Africa and is the God of Africa, just as He loves America and is our God.

I also was reminded of how intricate He works. Our team, 14 people from all over North America (Canada, California, Arizona, Texas, Virginia, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio, Oklahoma, Florida, Colorado), sat together in a remote village in South Africa. He molded us for that trip and once we were there we meshed ridiculously well together and built off one another. Back home, we are still being transformed but with the impressions of our team members. The intricate details that were revealed during our time in South Africa. The team was strengthened and detailed and despite the distance, we continue to uplift one another.

There is much more to say, however this is getting rather lengthy and I'm falling asleep over the keyboard. There are pictures uploaded on Facebook that you can view (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1021590061). Soon I will post on my blog more specific stories about South Africa and the people there (http://dearworld-ily.blogspot.com/)

I will be sure to keep you updated as I update the blog and will share more stories and more things I learned and am learning.

Thank you all,


E-mail Update #7 (July 19, 2010)


I'm finally getting some basic Sesotho phrases down! So much so that sometimes the Basothos think I'm fluent, which becomes a problem..=) Anyhoo, this weekend we went to the lion park where I got to hang out with a baby tiger and baby lion. I can legitimately say I've been bitten by a tiger and got a slight rip on my pants by a lion=) On Sunday I went to church in Qwa Qwa where the service was 2 1/2 hours long. One we got back to base I climbed Mt. Everest and my legs are definitely feeling it today. (It's South Africa's version of Mt. Everest, but for the record it really is called Mt. Everest and it's a real mountain..it's just not the actual for real Mt. Everest.)

Today was our first day ministering in Intabazwe. I got a Sesotho name because one of the women didn't like our English names=) (They were a bit difficult to pronounce for her.) Mine is...Matahbo I think, which means happiness. We washed a lot of dishes and sang and danced with her. At another house we went to we washed more dishes and I swept and mopped the floor and then went outside and played games with the kids. We tried playing zebra zebra lion (South Africa's version of duck duck goose) but they weren't down for that so we played stop/go (red light/green light) and Simon Says for a long time.

The weather is finally warming up, which is excellent. I could finally take my sweatshirt off today and have short sleeves on, compared to last week where I had about six layers on and a jacket, sweatshirt, and a big coat! While the weather is getting warmer, more and more dust is flying in the air. One of the team members, Hayley, is having severe allergies and her face is starting to really irritate her. Ami has also been dealing with a lot of sickness and is really getting down today and Morgan felt so under the weather that she had to stay back for the second half of ministering today. Please pray for Hayley, Ami, and Morgan who are really getting pretty sick as we start our second week. As for the rest of the team, many of us are starting to feel more and more weary and somewhat sick at the stomach, pray that we can continue to stay healthy.

We really started building relationships with the two families we visited today in Intabazwe and tomorrow we're going to start our conversations about our faith. Pray for those conversations, that they are intentional and loving.

With only a week left and the fear that we may never see each other again, this week is going to be a difficult week in other ways that last week wasn't. Continue to pray for our team, to have strengthened relationships throughout the week.

Thank you all for everything!


E-mail Update #6 (July 16, 2010)

Hey ya'll!

I apologize for not sending out many updates this past week or really updating the blog. Today we finished up our week in the village of Qwa Qwa doing relationship evangelism and yesterday afternoon my group did children's ministry and this afternoon we went to the hospital and prayed for patients. Tomorrow I get to celebrate my 20th birthday in South Africa and go to a lion park and possibly hold a baby tiger! Sunday we are going to church in Qwa Qwa and next week we will be doing the same thing but in the village of Intabazwe.

Some of my friends here are waiting for me to finish so we can chat, so I'm going to make this short! It's really cold here, so my hands aren't typing so well either!

-Pray for Abram. He is part of a church here that practices basically worshipping their ancestors and Jesus is fighting hard.
-A lot of those who live here practice "honoring" their ancestors, basically they use them instead of Jesus to get to God. We've had a lot of conversations with people about that..
-Practicing true Christianity here is very difficult as it goes against a lot of aspects of their culture. Pray for strength for those who have submitted their life to Christ.
-Today we went to the hospital and it was one of the better hosptials in south Africa and that is heartbreaking..it was pretty broken kind of sort of dirty and the beds were old and rickety and metal. and they didnt really have their own rooms, its all in one room without curtains.

Okay chatting with friends now, gotta run.

E-mail Update #5 (July 8, 2010)

Hey all!

I made it to DC Wwithout a hitch and found my team no problem. We did
have one team member who had their flight cancelled due to rain
however she was able to catcha nother flight and will make it to dc a
little over an hour from when we take off for paris. Once in Paris we
have about a 12 hour layover, however we will have to stay in the

Right now we are in line, checking baggage to South Africa and getting
our boarding passes for our next two flights.

I, along with two others, have been made tag leaders..basically just
helping our team leader make sure everyone is all together and keep
track of everyone.

I am able to send this from my phone so hopefully it makes to yall

I love my team and am convinced that I'm goimg to come back with a
strong southern accent! We are from all over--Colorado, alabama,
tennessee, canada, califronia, oklahoma, etc.

Continue to pray for our safety and that we can keep trackl of our
passports..we have already had a few scares with our ids!

thank you all,


E-mail Update #4 (July 10, 2010)

I have arrived safely in South Africa!

My hands are cold and we're getting ready to head for bed so I'm going to make this short!

Prayer Requests and Praises
-Pray for Angela--she is on my team and is already pretty sick
-We made it!!
-Continue to build relationships within the team
-Tomorrow we begin training, pray that we all are able to pay attention and really understand the culture and all that we are about to embraced in.
-We can keep warm--it's cold!

That's about all I have for now,


E-mail Update #3 (July 7, 2010)


I apologize for getting this out so late, as this will probably be my last update while in America! I'm getting ready to leave for Phoenix in a few hours and will be heading to Phoenix airport at 4am!

I didn't end up purchasing an electrical convertor, so I'm not sure how often I will be able to send updates as I will have no way to charge my laptop but I will try my best! I have also created a blog, which can be accessed at: http://dearworld-ily.blogspot.com/ But again, I'm not sure how often I will be able to update it while there. Please leave comments, as that will be easier for me to access than my e-mail and we can (hopefully) communicate that way.

Prayer requests as I get ready to fly overseas:
1. I have a totaling amount of about 20 hours in the air--please pray for smooth flights. That's a lot of time spent thousands of feet in the air!
2. As most of you know, I have an awful sense of direction=) When I get to the Atlanta airport I have less than an hour to find my connecting flight and navigate that airport and once I land in DC I'll have to find the correct terminal and meet my team. Pray that I don't get too lost and that I'll be at peace when battling my lack of skill when it comes to directions and navigating!
3. That our team will have an instant bond and will grow strong throughout these next few weeks. Each of us are stepping out in faith and are going to unknown country with people we don't know anything about.
4. I'm slightly afraid to ask for prayer about this=) But pray that I will be "wrecked", as my friend Casey words it, these next couple of weeks.

Thank you all for all of your support!


E-mail Update #2 (June 12, 2010)

Hello All!

I will be taking off in about one month for South Africa! I have been able to purchase my domestic airfare and since I will be gone for the next week and a half, I have also sent in my final payment to Thrive! What God has been showing me through the financial support is truly astounding. I have now paid in full for everything. While my domestic airfare and a little over $100 for Thrive were not met through fundraising, I was thankfully provided with enough funds through working to cover for those things. Once I fax my immunization records to Thrive, I will have all of the logistics done for the trip!

My flight plans are as follows: I will be driving up to Phoenix on July 7 to make my flight out of Phoenix, AZ at 6am on July 8 and will meet with my team in Washington DC and on the same day, we will take off for Johannesburg, with a layover in Paris. I fly back to the United States on July 27 (from Johannesburg to DC to Phoenix) and arrive in the Phoenix airport around 8pm (AZ time).

I have recently discovered this song and would like to share it with you all: "Power of Your Name" (Lincoln Brewster, Darlene Zschech) [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAPQygrKn5A]] (It doesn't start until about 1:03)
I love the images in this video and the lyrics in the song and is a reminder of who Jesus is and how much this world needs our God and what we need to be living for. This world can be changed, radically changed because of the power of His name. "I will live to carry Your compassion, to love a world that is broken, to be your hands and feet. And I will give with a life that I've been given and go beyond religion to see the world be changed by the power of your name."

Why am I going to South Africa? Because Jesus said so. Because I'm called to be compassionate, to change the world, to be His hands and feet. If you are a follower of Jesus, boldly ask Him where He wants to take you. He may say to stay where you are. And that's okay. He may say go next door. Hey may say go to a remote location, He may say hold on, He may say something you want to hear, He may say something you don't want to hear. Wherever He sends you and for however long He sends you, is good. I never actually wanted to go anywhere. I was content in the United States. I always joked about going to Africa, but I never really wanted to go. Once He made it clear it was no longer a joke, I doubted I was ever actually going to go. I doubted I'd raise enough. I doubted I could do it, I doubted I was strong enough. Until yesterday, when I sent in the last payment of $1,650 totaling $3,850. It's starting to settle in now. It's real. I'm going. I'm going to a place I know little about with people I've never met and using a passport for the first time to witness to people I've never really learned about. I'm going to South Africa simply because God wants me to go there. And more and more, I'm starting to want to go there myself.

The 2010 World Cup has started! McDonald's has cups, coke cans are covered with the logo, and many commercials are focused on the World Cup. I hit on the concerns of the impacts of the World Cup in South Africa to the sex industry in my last e-mail. Perhaps you would like further investigation or articles, not just from Time magazine, to really prove that this is an issue. Here's a more recent one on the ESPN website, with a video and article: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/otl/news/story?id=5251940
Sex trafficking is an issue and the issue is at a heightened risk in South Africa because of the World Cup. Pray for those who have traveled to South Africa to watch the World Cup, those who live in South Africa, and those who are already involved in this industry.

Thank you for all of your support,


E-mail Update #1 (May 31, 2010)

Hello All!

Thank you all for your prayer and financial support and for signing up to receive updates as I prepare for my trip to South Africa. I have been trying to figure out what to write here, what updates I have, etc. Originally I thought that I could only write about the trip and stay solely on that topic. After more thought, I decided that was wrong. Because there are many more things/people that also need prayer and things that impact me, which may also impact the trip. I like lists, so be prepared for the e-mails to be numbered=)

1. As I prepare to go overseas to South Africa, many of my friends are already overseas obeying God's call and ministering to the world. Please pray for Casey Richard, who is Thailand for three months; "China Team", from NAU's InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group who left for China last week for six weeks; Ally Liem and Jon Watson and their team who left for Mozambique; and Anita Doerfler is also getting ready to go to a camp in Alaska. These people are incredible followers of Christ and some very dear friends of mine from Northern Arizona University. Pray for their safety as well as the countries/areas they are in.

2. I have been able to meet my May deadline, where I was able to submit $2000 thanks to you all and the support you provided. As I prepare to send in another $1650, due by June 22, I am excited to share that I need to raise about $400 more dollars to have the trip paid in full to Thrive Africa.

3. As some of you may have heard, my grandmother, my mom's mother, passed away earlier this week. This death brought heartbreak to the family and has weighed heavily on us. My parents drove to Kansas earlier this week and my brother, TJ, and I flew to Kansas on Friday to meet the rest of the family. On Saturday we attended her memorial service and Sunday and Monday (today) we all drove back to Arizona, approximately a 22 hour drive. I share this with you all for a couple of reasons.
  • Please pray for my family, particularly my mom and her brother and sister, as well as my grandpa--who was married to my grandma for 53 years, as we are all grieving.
  • That money that we spent on the plane tickets as well as car trip had originally been set aside by my parents to help financially support me for my domestic airfare and other various expenses for South Africa. Due to the unexpected use of this money, I must raise nearly an extra $500 that I had not planned for.
4. The world cup is coming up! The 2010 world cup will be in South Africa this year and begins June 11. I include this with an urgent prayer request. There is a very valid fear that the sex trafficking industry will boom in South Africa due to the world cup. Keep South Africa and the sex industry in your prayers, particularly during the world cup (June 11-July 11). Here is the link for Time Magazine's article covering the story: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1952335,00.html

Thank you again for your support!