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You may have noticed that it’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything…that’s partially because I’ve been so crazy busy, but it’s mainly because I’ve moved over to my new blog, Cartas de Amor!  Since I’m moving to Costa Rica in just 24 short days, I decided it’s high time I started my Costa Rica blog.  It’s separate from this one, and I plan on only posting over there from here on out (or, at least for the time I’m in Costa Rica).  Cartas de Amor is going to be focused mainly on my experiences in Costa Rica, the exciting things I’m going to be doing and seeing, the mischief we’ll be up to, and the things God will do there, so if you’re interested in following my trip, that’s where it’s at.

So click here to check it out, and if you’re subscribed to Love Letters updates by email, you’ll probably want to head over and subscribe to Cartas de Amor as well.

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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Ramblings About Nothing

 

The End?

2011 was by far the craziest year of my life.  I went to Uganda for the first time (and fell head over heels), I finished high school, I went back to Costa Rica for the first time since March 2010, I discovered that I’ll be moving there next summer, I started going to college, I got my driver’s license, I got a job (an awesome one), I began running and completed a half marathon, I learned to use my musical skills to lead worship (still figuring that one out), made new friends, found new hobbies, and learned new skills.  It’s been so difficult to juggle all of this craziness, but I love it.  God has really blessed me this year.

And 2012 is going to be even crazier.  As I sit here and look ahead to what this year will hold, I’m slightly terrified.  But it’s all so exciting.  First of all, what better way to kick off a new year than travelling to Africa?  I can’t believe it’s tomorrow.  So crazy.
And then jumping right into an 18-credit semester of college.  It’s really daunting.  But I’ve got to do this, so that when the semester is over I can move to Costa Rica!  It’ll be crazy hard, but as long as I keep reminding myself that it’s not going to last forever, I think I can handle it.
Moving to Costa Rica.  That’s the scariest part.  I am so nervous.  I mean, moving away from my family and friends and everything familiar?  I must be crazy to do something like that. Probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done.  But the most exciting by far!  I can’t believe I’m going to do this.  I’ve wanted it for so long.  But I just didn’t see how it would possibly ever work.  However, God had a plan all along, and he worked everything out perfectly.  I love it when he does that.
2012 is going to be ridiculously awesome.

 

 
 

Hungry

How many times have I said “I’m hungry?”  Countless.  Every time I go for four or five hours between meals, it’s “I’m hungry,” or worse, “I’m starving.”  But how many times have I actually been truly hungry?  Zero.  I was fortunate enough to be born into a society of abundance, into a family who can afford to eat daily, even three or more times a day.

My friends in Uganda, however, aren’t so fortunate.  To look into those desolate brown eyes is to catch a glimpse of what hunger means.  To see their bony limbs, their sunken faces, and their distended bellies is to realize that I have never been truly hungry.  Cradling feather-light children in my arms, I begin to see that hunger is much more than the rumbling in my stomach when lunchtime rolls around.

This all became a reality to me back in January when I had the privilege of travelling to several different places in Africa, one of which was Ray of Hope Orphanage in Uganda, where I witnessed the raw, uncensored truth called hunger.  But beyond the heartwrenching pain I saw and felt, I fell in love with the place.  There is so much more there than hunger and sickness—there are my children, the tiny brown hands that cling to my skirt, the dusty footprints and fuzzy heads and sloppy kisses and sticky fingers.  They’re just regular kids doing regular kid things and feeling regular kid feelings—the only difference is that these kids don’t always know where their next meal will come from, or when.

So I, along with a group of friends from my church, am getting ready to take on a challenge called the Thirty-Hour Famine.  For thirty hours on November 11th and 12th, we are choosing to go without food to raise money and awareness for hunger in Uganda.  We will begin to feel what it’s like to have a perpetually empty stomach, to go to bed hungry.  And as we fast and deny ourselves the pleasure of food, I am asking you to do it with us.

Thirty hours.  That’s all I ask.  When your stomach demands food and you deprive it, think of those people for whom going hungry isn’t a choice.  And pray for them.

Please.

Oh, P.S. if you want to read the details about my past experiences in Uganda, go here.

 

It’s been a while

Since I’ve last posted.  Sorry about that.  I’ve been gone so much lately that I just haven’t had time.

Now I’m here, finally updating my blog…the only problem is that I don’t know what to write.  I guess I’ll just do a quick, incoherent update sort of post.

I got to go to Kentucky!  I was thinking the other day about how I’ve nearly been to more foreign countries than I’ve been to states in my own country.  I’ve set foot in nine different countries (eleven if you count the ones that I’ve only been to the airport in) and yet I’d only been in ten different states before the trip to Kentucky.
I would love to see more of the USA some day.  I want to go to the Grand Canyon, and see the giant redwood trees, and see Mount Rushmore, and hike the Appalachian trail in more states than just Virginia.  There’s so much I haven’t seen!
Anyway, back to Kentucky.  We visited with a good friend, Travis, and had an awesome time just hanging out with him.  He took us to some of his favourite places like a little Christian bookstore, the best Thai restaurant ever, and the zoo.  We had a lot of fun.
We also dropped my brother off in Louisville, because he’s travelling with Lift Ministries this summer, staffing camps in five different states.  So he’s gone now, and I miss him a ton, but he’ll be back in the end of this month.

Then the week after, I went to Lift Camp in Lynchburg, VA, with the most awesome youth group ever in the world.  We had a hugely fun time, and I got to see my brother as he was on staff there.  I met new friends, got to see some old friends, played guitars, took lots of photos, learned more about God, and just had an all-around awesome week.
Oh yeah, and one of my good friends proposed (: It was pretty awesome.

So that was the week in a nutshell.

Then I came home, spent the weekend at home, faceplanted while running, faceplanted while jumping off a swing into a lake, learned to do a backflip into the water, and decided I want to purchase a loop pedal for my guitar.
Then I spent this week at my grandparents’ house in Stafford, VA, and I was able to go in and volunteer at the veterinary clinic for a couple of days (actually I thought I was volunteering, but -surprise- I got paid!  There’s the money I need to buy that loop pedal!)

Now I’m home, and my life is back to normal.  For a few days, anyway.  It’s only fifteen days until I leave for Costa Rica, which I’m super excited about.  I’ve been counting down since there were 125 days, and now there are 15!  I’m soooo excited.  I’ve been waiting for this for a year and a half, and here it is!

Please be praying for our team as we prepare to go.  We’ve still got a lot of work to do before we’re ready for the trip, and not very much time to do it!  Most of the people on this trip are first-timers to foreign missions, and for some it’s their first time leaving the country at all.  I love bringing new people on trips!
So anyway, that’s all.  I hope everyone is having a great summer!

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2011 in Ramblings About Nothing

 

Being Fifteen

Was the best year of my life.  I can’t believe that so much happened over the course of one short year!  I fell in love with new countries and new cultures, I made new friends, I finished high school, I learned about God, about myself, and about life.  I feel like today I am a different person than I was a year ago.

So my birthday yesterday was bittersweet.  I didn’t really want to let go of being fifteen, but at the same time I know that being sixteen is going to be another amazing year!  God has so much planned for me, and I’m excited to dive in!
I think that this year is going to be one of the most influential years of my life.  The decisions that I make this year will shape the rest of my life.  I’m going to college, learning to drive, getting a job, doing lots of travelling.  Everything in my life is changing right now, nothing is certain, and I’m going to have some huge decisions to make.  It’s rather daunting, really.  I’m a little nervous.
But I’m trusting God to guide me in the direction he wants me to go.  Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  At first glance, that verse seems to say that if I love God, he’ll give me anything and everything I want.  But after thinking about it for a while, I realise what it really means: as I delight myself in Him, His desires will become my desires.  I’ll begin to want what He wants.  And when our desires match, that’s when mine will be granted.
It’s not saying that if I ask for a million dollars, God will give it to me.  It means that if I am seeking God’s face and striving to glorify Him, I will live the fullest, brightest, most fun and exciting life I could ask for–because following Him is the adventure of a lifetime.

 

Two Things

I have two very important things to talk about today.

First of all, I finished with high school today!  I will never, ever, ever be in high school ever again.  I will never refer to my grade by its number again, and I will never have to take another math class as long as I live!  (Unless I choose to…but my point here is that it won’t be mandatory.)  Yes!

I’m sure that one day I’ll miss being a young, carefree high school student.  But right now, I’m just happy!

So what’s next, you ask?  Well…this summer I’m going to be travelling a bit and doing other various things, as well as working on my music skills, my anatomy knowledge, and my Spanish conversational skills, and it’ll be awesome.
Then in August I’m going to Piedmont Virginia Community College and doing my general education classes, which will take two semesters.  I’ll also be getting a job, but I probably won’t start until I get my driver’s license in October.
Then I don’t know what I’ll do after that, seeing as I need to be 18 to get into the nursing program and I’ll only be 17 by the time I graduate my second semester of general education, but I’m considering taking a gap year and doing some long term mission work (if I do decide to do that, rest assured that I’ll be talking about it a lot in my blog–you won’t miss a thing!)
Then I’ll come home and begin studying to be a nurse.  And after that, we’ll see what God has planned (:

Now, the second thing that I have to talk about is a bit more serious.

I have several prayer requests regarding Los Anonos, Costa Rica, and I would appreciate it if you would pray for them as well.
There is always the issue of drug use and violence in Los Anonos, and I’ve lost a few good friends to the effects of drugs.  So it hurts me to know that my Ticos are struggling with that.  Please, please pray for the drug addicts of the community.  I wish I could make them see that they can find their fulfilment in Jesus and not drugs.  I wish I could tell them, but for now I’ll just pray.
Also, there was a fairly substantial earthquake last Friday, and several families received a wake-up call regarding the safety of the shacks in which they live.  According to Julie Herrmann (mylifeintupperware.blogspot.com), the earthquake “caused the people living there to panic and question their safety in any subsequent aftershocks.”  So as you think of them, please be praying for their safety and peace.
The river that runs through the community is causing some concern as well.  Last fall, terrible flooding and mudslides destroyed countless homes and lives as seen in the photo below.  I pray that a flood of that magnitude won’t happen again, but the river is still a valid threat to the people near it.

 

World Malaria Day: April 25

More than 1,800 children under 5 die each day from malaria. That’s approximately 1 child every 45 seconds.

Half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria: There are 106 malaria-endemic countries with 3.3 billion people at risk. Malaria infects approximately 250 million people each year.

Malaria has been estimated to cost Africa more than U.S. $12 billion every year in lost economic productivity, and can cost households as much as 32 percent of their entire monthly income.
World Vision

Today is World Malaria Day.  And that, to me, is a big deal.

When I was in Uganda on medical mission, my heart was torn apart by some of the people we treated.  As I wrote in a previous blog post, “They talk about malaria like it’s the common cold.”  I saw so many adults and children, even babies, who were suffering from their first, second, fifth bout of malaria.  To them, malaria has become something that just happens.  It’s become normal.  People die from it every single day, and yet it’s viewed by many as just a normal occurrence.

Insecticide-treated bed nets could prevent as many as 1 million deaths from all causes of malaria for children under 5.
World Vision

What really breaks my heart is that most of the people affected by this disease are completely helpless to fight it.  When I was in Africa, I took my malaria medicine religiously and used my mosquito net every night, but my African friends don’t have those things.  They just have to hope that they won’t get malaria, and if they do happen to get it, they just have to try to survive while it runs its course.

We were able to give out malaria medicine to many of the people that we treated, and I hope to be able to give out more next time I go to visit them.  It’s not much, but at least it’s something.  The small amount of medicine that we’re able to share with them isn’t a permanent solution, but it’s enough for a little while–and more importantly, it shows them that we care.

So today especially, but also whenever you think about it, please pray for the people all over the world for whom malaria is a daily concern.  And thank God that here in the USA, we don’t have to worry about it for ourselves.

 
 
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