Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Trust YOU!

My "Popcorn Testimony" Sign

Tonight I have spent some time reflecting on today. This morning I had the opportunity to give a "popcorn testimony" at church in how I have seen Emmanuel "God with us" at work in my life in the area of my finances. It was like the cardboard testimony where you put the before on one side and after on the other. Before I was supposed to stand up, I got really overwhelmed in reflecting over the last has been a year of victory for me and I am looking forward to another year of victory. God has brought me through so much this year and I am very very grateful for the financial counselor that He has given to me...thank you Susan...and for all the encouragement of my family and friends. I would not be where I am at if not for them...and for the power of God working in my life. God is good. I have seen that He can be trusted and He does provide. He has provided so much for me this year....I have been on 3 missions trip paid for and bills paid too...I have experienced so much! And I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to stand up today and declare His power in my life. I know that I have not arrived and there is still more debt to be paid, but I am pausing tonight to praise Him for ALL He has done and ALL He will do....

and then, tonight I began thinking again...preparing for the week and wondering how the bills were gonna get paid this week. Seems kinda go from being on a "high" this morning in light of ALL He has done...back to fear. Yes, I am human...I have fears. I found myself getting very overwhelmed tonight...bills to be paid...and no finances....I am so thankful for my 2 roommates who stopped what they were doing tonight to pray with were lifted. I realized that I was trusting in my job...not in MY GOD to provide my need for my bills....why do I stress about it instead of just trusting in the ONE and ONLY Who has NEVER let me down and has ALWAYS provided! Tonight my faith has increased and I loudly and boldly say GOD...MY ALMIGHTY GOD....I TRUST YOU! I TRUST YOU AS MY PROVIDER...I TRUST YOU WITH MY FINANCES...I TRUST YOU WITH MY FUTURE...I TRUST YOU WITH MY LIFE....THANK YOU THAT YOU CAN BE TRUSTED!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm a college student!!!

Well, officially today I am now a college student...took me 12 years to get there! :) Some may say I took the easy way after high school by going to a trade school (cosmetology school)....but I just did what I was led to do and have no regrets from the last 12 years. I have enjoyed the journey so much...I have been exposed to so many new walks of eyes have been opened to a great BIG world that for so long I was sheltered from...I have grown, I have had the opportunity to impact lives...I have seen many lives come to know Christ or come to know Christ in a closer walk...I have had ups and job has given me the opportunity to go places literally that I never dreamed possible...I have my own personal mission field....and I love every minute of it!
However, for the last 5 years God has continually opened so many doors for me to pursue the journey of missions....another journey that I absolutely love. In this journey I have had the opportunity to reach out to others in the medical world....which is something I know very little about but have always been very intrigued by. I enjoy learning new things about the medical world....I have had the opportunities to work in medical clinics and dental clinics...even pulling teeth...and the desire to know more to be able to help more continually grows with every trip I take. 5 years ago after coming home from Africa, I was determined to pursue some type of medical degree...and didn't. This year while in Africa I sensed God's leading me once again to pursue some type of medical training....not to switch careers but to have some knowledge to be able to use on the missions trips that I take....and I was determined this time to do something about it......
I DID! I am going to start by taking an EMT course this spring...a 1 semester class that will give me basic knowledge of emergency medicine...and I am so EXCITED! One of my customers, who also has a mission minded heart...has joined me on this journey! I am a bit nervous...never been to college...but my excitement definitely outweighs the nervousness!!! BRING IT ON! So, as of I come! We'll see where this journey leads! Always an adventure! I am living my dream!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Morning Lessons...

So, this morning, my roomie Robin and I were trying to get the filter out of the refrigerator so we could replace it...however, it required taking off the bottom piece of the refrigerator...and let me just say it was FILTHY down there! Yuck! I was shocked at how much dirt had accumulated down under the fridge and it was unnoticeable. I made the comment that I wonder how many other parts of the house had hidden places of dirt. Robin made the comment that we don't check those places because we don't think anyone is going to look there! So, my wheels in my brain began turning...I've always been one to apply house cleaning to my walk with Christ. There are so many great applications...when I clean at home, I make a conscious effort to ask God to clean my heart and my life out at the same time. This situation this morning brought a whole new thought....what places of my heart/life are hidden that need to be thoroughly cleaned? What places are hidden that I think even God can't see...which is not true, for He sees everything! As I began to run hot water over this piece that was in desperate need of washing...I couldn't help but think about how I need the Water of His Word to run over every area of my life every hidden place of my heart and give a complete cleansing! God I pray that You would take the Water of Your Word today and completely cleanse me of every hidden place that is hiding the dirt and sin. I desire to be completely clean before You. Thank You for the power that is in Your Word and that It does It's job in my life as I allow It to! You are such a Great God, and I praise You!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Empty me...

God, I love You...thank You for waking me up early to spend time with You, thanks for not letting me sleep but for urging me to say no to my flesh and get up and just be still in Your presence. Thank You for loving me so much that you see me in all my sin yet You wont let me stay there. You continually convict me to move from that spot of sin into a place of freedom and peace. I need to be emptied of myself today. Thank You for making it clear to me what needed to be confessed and thank you for your forgiveness...Thank You for the healing that I have found in Your Word this morning...thank You for Romans 12, Galatians 5 and 1 Peter 5....and the promises and rest that I have found in those Words. I desire to be more like Jesus....I need more of Him and less of me today. I wanna walk with You today...I pray that my will gets lost in Yours. I pray that You would show me where You are at work in my world today and I wanna join You there. Jesus, thank You for being willing to deny Yourself for me...thank You for being so willing to go to the cross for this sin that I have been forgiven of this day. Thank You for making Your mercies new this day....I am so excited to spend this day with You....
Please Father, empty me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Greatest Moment...

This morning I have been reading about the moment that God became flesh and dwelt among I have been reading and thinking...I have to ask myself, what was that moment like? We are talking GOD....and I really cannot put into words Who He is...but He humbled Himself and became "God with us"...that is unbelievable.
Matthew 1:22-23 says Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
"When the King of kings exchanged His majestic robes for swaddling clothes, surely it was the most beautiful, awe-inspiring moment in all eternity." ~Jennifer Kennedy Dean
What was that moment like...what did the angels think? I picture it being a real big deal in Heaven, everyone stopping what they are doing...a buzz like electricity is spreading quickly...everyone is standing in's truly unbelievable....yet, what happened when in that moment, Jesus was born on earth....and He truly became "God with us"? What was the reaction on earth? How was He received here? There was no buzz here on glorious entry, just a stable...with animals...did the animals know what had just happened in their world? What was that moment like? Makes me think of much do I miss out on because I don't recognize the activity of God in my I catch every moment that Jesus comes right into my home, at work, in my I catch every time He speaks...announcing His presence in my life? Is it an unbelivable moment or an ordinary moment? God, today I pray that I would recognize your activity in my life and that each moment would be unbelievable...not just another day.
Hebrews 1:6

Monday, November 3, 2008

I feel the need to blog...

This entry is totally random. I've decided that I need to blog more...just to get out what is on the inside. It's been a good day...and it's only 7:58 AM. I made a choice last night after Life Group (small group Bible study) that I was going to deny myself this week...(part of our lesson) and praise God...He was whispering that verse in my head as soon as my alarm went off this morning. I got up, went and worked out, came home, the girls are still sleeping, house is quiet....aaahhhh! Love it!
The last question at Life Group last night...was "how will you seek to imitate Christ this week?" My answer was to be completely focused on the mission He has called me to do and to push everything else aside that tries to get in the way of keeping me on track with the mission I have been called to....
So, what is my mission?
How will I seek to accomplish that mission this week?
1. Be ready and prepared spiritually every day.
2. Look for opportunities to speak His name.
3. Deny myself and imitate Christ.
One thing that intrigues me about the life of Christ is that He was always about His Father's business. Everything else was small in light of Him accomplishing the task before Him, even rebuking His own disciples when they were keeping Him from doing what He had been called to do. So, what needs to be removed from my life in order that I might stay focused in pursuing what I have been asked to do??? That is what I will meditate on today.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Very Thought Provoking!

The Devil's Beatitudes
If the devil were to write his beatitudes, they would probably go something like this:
1. Blessed are those who are too tired or busy to spend an hour once a week with fellow Christians -- they are my best workers.
2. Blessed are those Christians who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked -- I can use them.
3. Blessed are the touchy who stop going to church -- they are my missionaries.
4. Blessed are the trouble makers -- they shall be called my children.
5. Blessed are the complainers -- I'm all ears to them.
6. Blessed are those who are bored with the minister's mannerisms and mistakes, for they get nothing out of his sermons.
7. Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his own church - for he is a part of the problem instead of the solution.
8. Blessed are those who gossip, in the name of "being concerned" -- for they shall cause strife and divisions that please me.
9. Blessed are those who are easily offended -- for they will soon get angry and quit.
10. Blessed are those who do not give their offering to carry on God's work -- for they are my helpers.
11. Blessed is he who professes to love God but hates his brother and sister -- for he shall be with me forever!
12. Blessed are you who, when you read this think it is about other people and not yourself -- I've got you, too!

Monday, July 14, 2008

When Fear and Faith Collide....

I have been wanting to write on here for over a week now, but due to our Internet being down at home, that has not been possible! Last Monday my fear and faith collided big time! I began to get head worms about this trip...asking myself what was I thinking in taking a month off of's it all going to work out? I was in HUGE panic mode! Fear and faith colliding big time! God gently began to remind me....haven't I done this before? Have I not sent you again in 3 weeks time everything paid for? How BIG am I to you? How much do you trust me? I slowly began to calm down. And then that day He used so many people to provide financially for me. Reminding me once more that my faith in Him must stay the same no matter what my circumstances are. He confirmed over and over that this is His plan and He is going to take care of all the details in getting me there! He can be trusted! Praise Him....the journey continues!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Door of Opportunity Awaits.... gets crazy sometimes. Today was a crazy day. In the midst of my "busyness" God has been speaking to me all day today and for once I am listening! All day today (really yesterday seeing as it is 1:50 in the am) I have been reminded of God's promise to me regarding a recent decision to start attending Gateway Church. How I knew I was supposed to change was God showing me in Deuteronomy 28 that when I obey Him, there is blessing, when I disobey...curses. I have to say the last 3 months have been nothing but blessings and open doors of opportunity! Praise God...He is Faithful! The doors of opportunity are so endless when you walk with Him!

My first door of opportunity was to co-lead a missions trip to Chilca, Peru with Gateway Church partnering with ChildReach Ministries. (if you want to read more about our trip in the entirety you can visit and go to the "Trip Updates" for June 7-14 Gateway Church/Livingstones Church.) What a door of opportunity this was for me. It was met with many fears and doubts that I could do it...but I couldn't do it, He did it through me! My joy came in seeing my teammates "get it"! Get what? A vision for the world, a love for people, and a deeper understanding of Who God is and how much He loves them! We even had one guy come to know Christ as His Savior on the trip!!!! WWOOOHOOOO!!! Angels rejoicing! It was such an incredible experience.

The last day of the trip, 2 of the ChildReach leaders approached me and were such a blessing to me. They both pointed out how they saw that Leading in Missions is a gift that God has given to me. Tears were welling up in my eyes as they were talking to me. Confirming over and over that I was in the right place and all that has been building in my life for the last many many years has been a work of Almighty God. I know that I have been called to live a life that is dedicated to helping others come to know Christ and to also lead people in gaining a bigger picture view of what this life is all about. I know that I have been called to mission work and that includes making Christ known wherever I am at whether it is Blue Springs, MO or the farthest corner of the earth where they have yet to hear the name of Jesus. I am called to GO! So to have these 2 men approach me and tell me that they had been watching my life all week and for them to recognize God's gifts in my life was HUGE! They began to offer several options to me to help me get involved deeper in missions and particularly with ChildReach. I have not made any decisions but am prayerfully seeking out what God has for me and am very excited about the opportunity that awaits!

I have also been asked to speak at several different engagements (2 churches and 1 benefit auction) regarding my experiences in missions and how God has personally worked in my life and in the lives of others regarding missions! WOW!!!!

And...the most recent and one opportunity that excites me so much...I have been asked to speak on my trip(s) to Zambia, Africa to an audience of children at my church's Vacation Bible School next week! I am so stoked about this one! To be able to share with children about God's work in another country is an awesome priveledge and blessing and...I choose to dream big...who knows...there may be future missionaries sitting in that audience...that makes my job HUGE...but then is my God! He is so BIG!!! I am so excited to be in this place and I have this overwhelming peace that I am in the right place, I am living my dream and I am exactly where God wants me to be. The best way I can describe it is that I have found the path that has alligned me directly with His plan and His will.
Praise Him!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My mess for His Miracle....

The last couple of days I have had the blessing of hangin out with my dear friends, the Bonners, in Alabama...and it has been so refreshing! I'm yawning alot and I know it's not due to lack of sleep, but due to complete relaxation! Right now as I type this, I am holding a sleeping baby, all wrapped up in a chitenga, how fun is that....there is something about holding a sleeping baby...complete relaxation! He's so sweet! Last night we went to church and it was awesome! The music was so powerful, the people were so friendly and the message from the Word was convicting and challenging! At the end of the message the Pastor was asking us a number of questions but the one that stood out to me was..."Are you ready to trade your mess for His miracles?" That one statement brought victory to my heart. No matter what I am facing, when repentive, I can bring my mess to Him and trade it for His miracles. That is the beauty of the cross, the exchange of death for life. I want to live in the victory that my Savior gave when He conquered death and hell by His shed blood on the cross. Thanks be to God Who gives us the victory!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Gotta get our Visa's!

Each step of the journey is exciting and shows us how BIG our God is! Val and Robin applied for their Visa's Sunday, June 1. I had forgotten all the paperwork involved in getting a Visa, nevertheless, they were mailed off June 2 and we are awaiting the return! One step closer!!!

This journey is definitely one of faith. After arriving home from Peru yesterday, it is difficult to switch gears of one mission to another and I am completely overwhelmed that God allows me to be a part of His mission for the world! Someone asked me today if I loved Peru more than Zambia and I had to reply with..."I love the entire world!" I am humbled that I have been given such great opportunity to see the ends of the earth with my eyes. I was telling another friend that it is overwhelming to see the bigger picture for my life, and at the same time I want all my family and friends to experience the Bigger Picture that God has for their lives too. May we never settle for status quot...may we all strive to have ALL that He has for our lives! I don't want to miss out, do you?

I am thankful for this opportunity to go and serve in Zambia! And to think I get to go with my friends and sisters in Christ! How awesome is that!

Please pray for a quick return of Passports with Visas!!!!

Serving Him,

Amy Hayward

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Do you trust Me?"...

Being a Hairstylist can be intriguing at times and challenging. Coloring clients hair tends to be my favorite thing to do. I love to create and I love to think outside the box and create new colors by mixing colors together. The challenging part of being a hair colorist is trying to explain to the client how you are going to go about achieving the color that they have chosen. Most clients want to see swatches of color which are my least favorite. I hate swatches. Most of the time they pick a swatch and then have the expectation that that is the exact color that they will end up with! WRONG! Or they see one that I point out and hate it and then think that that is what their hair will look like when I am done...WRONG AGAIN! I tend to tell them to show me pictures of other people's hair color that they like and then work from there. However I always assess what the condition of their hair is, the final look that they want achieved and then I contemplate how to get there.

Alot of times I do what I did today...I ask, "Do you trust me?" client tonight was getting confused with all the questions I was asking her and finally just said..."you do what you think is best, I trust you completely." In the moment that she said that I was hit with a very powerful lesson...I love it when God does that! I was reminded of the battles I have been facing lately, questions of the direction of my life and where God is taking me....wondering what is ahead in my future...does He really know what I desire?...and in that moment, God says to me..."Amy, do you trust Me?"....uuhhh...yyeesss???...was my response at first. It hit me so hard. Just as I look at my client's hair, look at where she wants her hair to be...and then think the process through in my head of how to get there...step by step (I know the steps that will have to be taken even though I can't explain them to her, she wouldn't understand)...and then I ask her..."do you trust me?"

....same with my walk with Christ. God says clearly to me..."Amy, I understand your desires, I understand your questions, I know where your heart desires to be and I know how to get you there. It takes a step by step process and only I know each step you must take to bring you there. I do have your best interest at heart and although you can't understand My thinking and My ways...I do have what is best for you...but it comes down to one thing....Do you trust ME?"
Why is it so hard for me to trust the One Who sees from beginning to end of my life . He has the Big Picture view.

Makes me think of my first trip to Victoria Falls in Livingston, Zambia. I remember walking up to the portion of the falls that was behind our hotel and wow, I had never seen anything like it before. Amazing, powerful beauty. The Falls were so loud so striking, HUGE! The next day however, we took a helicopter ride over the Falls. ok, so what I had seen the previous day was huge, but to rise above the Falls and see the Whole picture...the entire Falls. What I had seen the first day was "1/2 inch of a whole foot" of the Entire Falls. Talk about getting a greater perspective on the bigger picture! What I had seen the first day of the Falls was Huge to me, but the Whole Falls was completely overwhelming. The lesson: I can only see what is right in front of my face when it comes to the big picture of my life. God sees the Beginning to End. (The Whole of Victoria Falls) In order to have understanding, I must rise above the view in front of me (get in the helicopter) and get His perspective on my life.

I must trust completely that He knows what the finished product will look like and although He can't explain the step by step details, He can be trusted!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Tonight I find my heart very anxious. I am not one to worry much...but here lately...I have so much on my heart and on my plate that I find myself worrying when I am preaching to others to trust...I need to eat my own words!

Anxiety is defined as "distress or uneasiness of mind caused by apprehension of danger or misfortune..."

My mind is definitely uneasy tonight and I am looking to the Truth to calm my fears and still my heart...the verse that comes first to my mind is:

Philippians 4:6 "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

Turn my worries into prayers...and supplications....(a humble and earnest petition...)...with thanksgiving. I am learning that this is one way to change my frame of mind. When I come humbly before God and lay these requests at His feet...I exchange the worries for His peace...His Joy!

Philippians 4:7-9 says..."And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you."

I cling to the words.."which passeth all understanding..." I don't understand many things right now and have a ton of questions...but those questions fade when I go back and consider the person of God. When I "think on these things...". What is true? God is Faithful, He cannot fail, His Word is true, He can be trusted, He will lead me, He has a future planned for my life, He is Love, He is Peace, He is Joy, He is a refuge and strength...the list goes on and on. "Shall keep your hearts and minds..." I think this was written specifically for girls. I need His Peace to keep my heart and my mind. I like how it says "shall keep..." It's a promise!....through Christ Jesus. He is my anchor to hold onto when I don't understand. He keeps my heart and mind at rest. I need to keep my eyes fixed on Him and Him alone. It's when I look around at everything else that I start to be anxious and to fear. My heart longs for peace.

Peace: calm repose, eternal rest, free of strife or discord, harmony in personal relationships especially with God.

That is what my heart desires tonight...peace from the battle that rages inside of me...I repeat the words " and the God of peace shall be with you." One action is required on my part..."do". Do what? the things that i have learned, heard and received. Simple.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

3+ weeks till Peru!!!

3 Weeks from Saturday I will be heading out with 27 others on a mission to Peru! WOW!!! I stand amazed at the power and presence of God! Since my last post...God continues to's not in His nature to not I don't worry...I trust and believe and consider it done! God has provided every penny I have needed....woohoo!!! He is so Faithful...down to the last $100 needed. Dakota mows my lawn for me every week, he is 13 and will be going on this trip with both his parents, Larry and Laci...he came to me and told me that he wanted to contribute to my trip and asked me to not pay him the amount that I still needed...he would mow my lawn for free to cover that...WOW! God is using him to meet my need and at the same time, Dakota is learning that you cannot outgive God! I pray that God overwhelms him with blessings! preparations will be made in the upcoming weeks...I covet your prayers as things are starting to get CRAZY!!! yea!!!! I am so excited as I see God move in the hearts of people! He is going to do some amazing things....keep us in your prayers!
you can check out Childreach Ministries on their website:
Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Peru Bound!

Can I just say how AWESOME my God is! I love how when you give Him the "reins" of your life that He takes you on an adventure that is truly indescribable! 4 weeks ago, I committed to going on a mission trip to Peru with absolutely no finances in sight. God has used His people to provide what is needed and I am getting ready to GO! This mission is with Gateway Church of Blue Springs and we are partnering with Childreach Ministries. We are going to assist in the construction of an orphanage along with going into schools to lead a Vacation Bible School. One of the schools could have close to 1.000 children! WOW! I love it! I am so excited for this opportunity and am looking forward and expecting great things from God! He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all I could ask or think! He is doing this right now in my life! All praise to Him! Stay tuned...more to come on this amazing adventure!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Will you praise Him?

Dear Friends...

So, today has been a pretty crappy day...pardon my words...and it didn't start off that way, life happens.

So, as I have been "bummin" all afternoon, the Holy Spirit inside me says..."Why don't you leave the "stuff" and come spend some time with me?"...brillant idea!

As I sat down with my Bible, journal and music...I was reminded of what my dear friend had said to me earlier..."you gotta praise matter the circumstances, you gotta praise Him in the bad times too"...(how appropriate the song that is playing on my Ipod right now..."Oh Praise Him..." funny how God speaks!

So, I took my pen out and decided to praise God in the midst of my circumstances today...God changed my whole heart and perspective just by writing down 10 reasons to Praise Him inspite of my circumstances today...He reminded me of Who He is...He is the Almighty God, His power is limitless, He knows all things and is Everywhere...He is the Truth and has the ability to reveal it if He so chooses...He is amazing, He doesn't need me, He wants me...He can do ALL things, He wants to help me out, He desires to show me His power...He deserves all the praise, Every breath I take should be in offering up praise to Him!

I say all this to say, I propose a challenge to you...for one week take 5 minutes every day to write out 10 reasons you have to praise Him no matter the circumstance you are in in that moment and make sure they are different every day. You will find that your perspective on your circumstance will change and your faith will in crease in the God Who is the GREAT I AM!

I leave you with the words of this song...

"Turn your ear to Heaven and hear the noise inside
The sound of angels awe
The sound of angels song and
All this for a King
We can join and sing
All to Christ our King

How constant how divine
This song of ours will rise
Oh how constant how Divine
This love of ours will rise, will rise

Oh Praise Him
Oh Praise Him
He is Holy
He is Holy
Turn your gaze to heaven and raise
A joyous noise
The sound of salvation come
The sound of rescued ones
And all this for a King
Angels join to sing
All for Christ our King

Oh praise Him
Oh praise Him
He is Holy
He is Holy"

Will you join with me to praise Him?
As one let us sing...Oh Praise Him!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Mission to Harmons, much to say!

"God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend." -Job 37:5-

This was the verse that God gave to me before I left for Harmons, Jamaica...and this is the verse that He accomplished that whole week. This trip was amazing and I don't think that I can put into words all God did and showed to me, but I am gonna try!

Oct. of 2006, my friend Laci and my friend Becky from work went to Harmons, Jamaica with their church Gateway Church. I had the opportunity to spend some time with Laci when she returned home and the stories she shared reminded me so much of my own experiences in Zambia, Africa. She told me then that I needed to go with them the next time they cool would that be, I thought at the time...14 months later, God made it a reality!

Laci & I

On Jan. 20, 25 of us left MCI for Harmons, Jamaica. I had many fears but new that God was bigger than them all...He conquered every one of them.

Upon arrival of Montego Bay and the drive to WonbyOne, all I could think about was how this place reminded me so much of Africa. The poverty, the people, the roads, the beauty. I was trying to take it all in.

When we arrived at the Harmony House, we were shown our rooms, 2 large rooms (one for the guys and one for the girls) complete with bathrooms and bunkbeds and then we had our first meal...Hot Dogs and pumpkin soup! mmmyummmy!

We unpacked the 50 suitcases we had brought full of supplies to fill the "Store" that later in the week the Jamaicans would shop at. Our night was completed when Laci got "floured", a tradition in Jamaica that the birthday (girl/guy) gets to become a "Whitee", basically, she got a cup full of flour dumped on her head all while we were singing "Happy Birthday" to her!

Monday morning...the fun begins!

Every morning, we ate breakfast on our own and had an opportunity for quiet time with God...the beauty was unbelievable where we were at! I will cherish those quiet mornings with the Lord! I was in a place where I could be still to hear His voice and see Him in everything! When you see God, you are never the same!

We had our first meeting with Lloyd Jackson, a missionary to Jamaica. He gave us a history of the place where we were at and then we were off for our tour of Harmons. We walked through neighborhoods and were able to meet several people on the way. The Jamaicans are very friendly people. We were shown 2 plants, one called "courage" the other called "leaf of life". Intresting..huh? Courage is like a poison ivy plant, only worse the burning sensation begins immediately, but wherever courage is, there is leaf of life and you are to break up leaf of life and rub it on the rash and it immediatly soothes it...very cool picture! We walked through many villages and met many of the Jamaicans. We were continually asked for "sweeties"...candy. Note to self: don't wear a backpack anywhere...they automatically assume you have some sweeties or something for them! The more I was asked for "things" the more frustrated I found myself becoming...and then God spoke to me...that is exactly how I am to Him...continually asking for things and not just being satisfied with Him alone...I just wanted the Jamaicans to be happy that we were there with them...and that is how God must feel towards me, He just wants me to be satisfied that I have Him and to not continually ask Him for things...He is enough!

After lunch we were off for our first afternoon of "service opportunities". There were several opportunities to keep us all busy all week long. I was on the Marl haul crew...hauling bags of rock up a hill...basically transferring piles of rock so that they would be closer to where they were needed for the foundation for a house to be laid. In our American minds, we sit there and think, you know it would be so much easier to get a bobcat over here and we could transfer the rock so much easier and quicker, but then we all would of missed out on the lessons we learned. Lessons of endurance, team work, unity, patience, not to mention the relationships that were formed in the process!
Marl Haul Crew

After our work afternoon...yeah!!! Shower time!!! It had been 2 days...and I didn't care that I only got 2 minutes in the shower...I was gonna make it work...only the shower didn't water! lol...God is good! So, I bathed in the sink...figured the hair washing would have to wait! :)

After dinner they have what they call "Courtyard" time...a time every night where the Jamaicans come to the courtyard and we hang out with them...tonight was "Dance night"...and we danced the night away! At one point I had a girl on my shoulders and one in my was so much fun...these people are so full of joy and happiness...they blessed my heart so much! At the end of the night, lil Danika wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me on the that moment, I felt the love of God through her arms and saw Him in her smile and in her eyes...

Lil Miss, Alayna and I


Heading out to the Marl Haul again...we finished the pile we had started on Monday and it was rewarding to see the fruit of our labor...on to the next pile, we lined up and began the process. This time the hill was larger and farther....during the process of passing the bags up the line, I found myself asking God...what is it you want to show me in this process? When we got to the finished pile, it hit me, this process was just like my walk with God, the more I add to my time with Him daily, the more my walk with Him will grow. You can't always see the growth process in the midst of it, but the end result is always visible and clearly seen. It takes work and endurance and perserverance, but when you push through it, you can see the end result and it is always worth it. Some times, you have to take time to rest, refresh yourself and then get back in the line to continue the process...just like my walk with Him, sometimes rest and refreshment is needed to continue on but when you don't give up you make it to the end!

Haulin' Marl

Tonight courtyard was men's night so us ladies got together to plan ladies night which would be on Thurs. Emily, a missionary that lives there, came in to visit with us. She is in her mid 20's and her and her husband Mark have given Won by One a 2 year commitment. I am so glad that she came in that night, we were able to get to know her better and that evening was bonding for all of us ladies. It was so much fun to just share Christ with each other.

Today, my service opportunity was to help with the coffee bag sewing...I cut the burlap coffee bags that were to be sewn. Won by One has provided a market for the local farmers to sell their coffee on, they roast the coffee beans there on the mission. I had the opportunity to see the whole process, what the beans look like before and how they roast them and bag them...interesting process. I enjoyed my time alone that morning, I listened to my Ipod while I was cutting away and was just processing everything God had been showing me. Emily came in partway through and sat down and we talked away, sharing our stories and getting to know each other...I found a kindred spirit in her...I enjoyed our time of talking and it left me wanting more...she was such an encouragement to me.

This afternoon was our opportunity to go to the Infirmary, a place I will never forget. I don't quite know how to put it into words. It is like a nursing home but worse than you would ever see here in America. Yet, the people were so full of joy. I felt and saw the presence of God there. He was all over the place and I am sure if He was physically here on earth, this place is where you would find Him. We were instructed to go in, not be afraid and just love on these people...I loved it. I loved being able to go into the rooms and offer a hug, a hand to hold, a smile, a song, words from Scripture, yet what I received was so much more than what I had to give. I received uninhibited love, contagious joy, smiles like you've never seen...I saw Jesus. There is one man that I spent some time with...his joy was so contagious, he smiled like I had never heard before. He wanted me to read scripture to him over and over and his face would light up...wanting more. He couldn't speak, but his actions and his smile and laughter are forever a part of me. I want to spread the same kind of joy that he spread to my heart that day! He impacted me greatly and I will forever remember him.

What "Contagious Joy" looks like!

When we left the Infirmary, I was silent, I had no words to speak of what I just experienced. I had never been to anything like that before. I will never look at the elderly or handicap in the same light. The Scripture echoed in my head....if you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto Me...what makes me think I am any better than them? I'm not. Who am I to choose who receives love or a smile from me....I am no one...Why do I withhold the love of Christ...I am here to give it away freely...what kind of a job of am I doing? Does Jesus smile on me?

Tonight's courtyard was "Movie Night" and we all watched Cuthroat Island...I couldn't quite get into the movie...but it was still a good night to get to know the Jamaicans better. We popped a bunch of popcorn that we had brought down with us...they ate it up, so did we! My lil friend found me again...I let her braid and fix my hair, very lovely job she did! She fell asleep in my arms and I was loving every minute of it! God filled a void in my heart, the one that has not been filled yet by having children of my own. I learned that night that God will fill all the voids I have in my heart. The filling might not come in the package that I think it should, but He will fill it, because He fills it with Himself. She filled the "no children" void that I have and I felt God's love in my arms that night. A memory I will forever cherish!

Customer(s) at the Store, my service opportunity was to help out in the store. We had brought down 50 suitcases filled with supplies for the Jamaicans to shop from. Their names get put on a waiting list and they have to wait for their turn to come up to be able to come and shop. WonbyOne has put alot of thought and organization into this project. I had the opportunity to really connect with the men and women that came to shop. I loved every minute of it! When we took a break, and after the doors had been closed, a woman came who lived about an hour by car away from there. She was crying, her home had burned down 2 days prior and they lost everything. We filled a trash bag and suitcase full for her and her 2 daughters. She was so grateful, thanking us over and over. We were able to pray with her and you could see that she had peace in her eyes that it was gonna be ok. I had to ask myself...would i respond in the same way she did..."Thank You so much, now, go help someone else..." Wow! I loved seeing God use the body of Christ to help her out.

After lunch, it was back to the Marl Haul, again! This one wasn't uphill though, which was nice. I really enjoyed being able to talk with Mike and Susan during this time. He was the leader of our trip, they are a very precious couple. It was another good afternoon of team building and hard work!

Tonight for dinner, we had "Meals on Heels"...where we were able to go eat dinner in the home of a Jamaican. I was with Laci, Vince, Kelly and Veronica and we went to Arlene's house. When we got there, the connection was made that she was Althea's sister, which was the house where Laci had eaten before. The meal was delicious! Fried Chicken, potato salad, coleslaw, green beans...very good! Her house was a "WonbyOne" home, one room. I was amazed at how much she had in her home and she was content with her one room home...very humbling. Laci and I went over to Althea's home, next door, after we ate. She wanted her picture taken and we then had a full fledge was fun!

Althea & Arlene

Courtyard tonight was Ladies night. I found myself on the floor giving pedicures. I loved every minute of it! The little girls were hanging on my back, I can say now that I have given a pedicure with a youngun on my back...there is something about how rewarding it is to make someone else feel better...I loved it!

Me -n- Alayna

After courtyard, Laci and I laid on the back deck just looking up at the stars...something about doing that makes you see how small you truly are compared to our Great God! As we relived the stories of the day, we shared in laughter and I laughed harder than I had laughed in a real long does the soul very good...laughter is like medicine! I will cherish this memory too!

Friday... Today, my service opportunity was to go to the house. It was pretty much finished and what needed to be finished the Jamaicans pretty much took care of. Towards the end, one of the Jamaicans looked at me, looked at the window, looked at the drill and then said....put the window together! I go...I was glad I knew how to use the drill! A while later, after much sweat, dropping the itty bitty screws over and over and a few aaaaarrrggg's....Lauren and I completed the task...YEAH...I had a part in the house! After it was complete, the workers took us on a hike to show us the Bauxite Pit. A place where the land is depleted of alumina (which is in aluminum foil). The beauty was incredible, yet knowing that this process is not good for the Jamaicans, the dust effects their drinking water...was kinda sobering. Some of the Jamaicans and the girls jumped in the was a relaxing end to a great morning!

In the afternoon, we had free time. I found Emily and we spent the afternoon sitting on her roof just talking. I am so thankful that I was able to meet her and form a friendship with her. God is amazing how He allows paths to cross so that the body of Christ can minister to one another! He is amazing! It was an afternoon of refreshment not to mention a great sunburn! Gotta love the white skin!

Me & Emily
After free time, we all walked to the house to dedicate it to the lady who would live was cool to see a project completed!

House Completed and Dedicated!

Friday night was another awesome night, again. God gave me the opportunity to spend some more time with Emily and we were able to just spend time in prayer before His throne, giving our burdens up to Him! I will forever remember those talks on the rooftop!

When we were done, we went back into the meeting room which had been transformed into a "remembrance room" for lack of a better word. There were stations set up all over the room indoor and outdoor on the deck. Stations that had memorabilia and verses to remind us of what we had learned that week. To solidify the experiences and etch them in our hearts. We were able to go from station to station and solidify the memories and the lessons learned. A very powerful moving time. Everyone was quiet and very meditative. There was a station where you could write yourself a letter of the person you were coming on the trip and the person you were in that moment...and although I didn't have the chance right then to write a letter, I did on the flight home Sunday. After a while, we all were sitting in a circle and Joey read the scripture of when Christ washed the disciples feet...he then gave us the opportunity to wash one anothers feet which again was a very moving and powerful experience. It was humbling and uniting. I will never forget seeing the 4 fathers of the trip go and wash their child's feet. Wow! It was such an awesome way to end this trip. Those are memories that I will forever cherish!


Well, Loyd had us all excited that we were gonna be able to sleep in....WRONG! We were frightfully awakened at 6:00 in the morning to excruciatingly loud war cry/chanting a.k.a. sounds that made you think there was an attack of some sort coming through the gates followed by the song "Hey Mickey you're so fine..." yah, nice sleeping in...we then packed up and headed to Ocho Rios!
Laci, Me & Becky

Once arriving at the Silver Seas Motel...a half star motel with a 5 star view! We unloaded, found our rooms and went our separate ways. I went with a group into town to do a bit of shopping and to get lunch then we went back to get in the ocean. The ocean was so beautiful and I enjoyed the rest of the day just doing nothing but relaxing and taking in all God had taught me in the week. I was thankful for this day to soak it all in in such a beautiful place! That night we had some yummy jerk chicken pizza...wish I could find it here! We had our last team meeting down on the pier by the water. I remember Joey asking us...what are you gonna tell people about your trip? This is my answer....

God used Jamaica in my life to shake things up a bit. Before Jamaica, I was too comfortable and apathetic. "Doing Ministry" at the cost of my walk with Christ. God used my time in Jamaica to show me that He has an "out of the box" life waiting for me with my name on it...yet in order to experience it, I must change some, fear of man vs. fearing God; my walk with Christ must come first every day...He is pursuing a love relationship with me; God has a plan for my life including missions right now...I don't have to wait!
Won by One has done an amazing job of providing a mission trip experience where I could be challenged in every area of my life in one week. I made friendships that are very precious to me. Won by One has a mission motto..."Changing lives by changing lives" and that was definetely accomplished in my life. The people of Jamaica are very loving and joyous people and I am grateful that I was able to get to know them. I saw Jesus in and through their lives...I have been changed and I pray that the fire inside me spreads and ignites fires in the lives of others to pursue Him passionately.

Susan, Me and Laci

Thank You God...for an awesome trip!

My God did that!

You can check out Won by One's website....

or read the blog from the team

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Where He is is where I want to be...

This morning in my Bible Study a quote really stuck out to me that said:
" Anywhere Your Spirit's moving, that's where I need to be".
This went right to my heart. The only place my heart desires to be is where the Spirit of God is at work and moving and alive. So I started thinking hard on this thought...Where is He moving and how can I get there...and the conclusion that I came up with is that I must draw near to Him for it is only when I am close to Him and still that I can hear His voice and see from His perspective what He is doing. My goal is to be still and listen today.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

He Is Enough!

Today has been so amazing! Yes, it is Valentine's Day, yes...a holiday that most single people dread....but NOT ME!!!! Today has been a day so full of joy and life for me! I determined along time ago that I will not waller in self-pity over being single...I will use this time to its fullest! Driving to work today I was overjoyed just talking to God all the way there, my best friend had texted me earlier telling me she was praying for me today, she knows me well!!! I was thankful for her prayers! I was just singing praises all the way to work...just happy inside! While I was working on my second customer I looked up and my sister in law and niece walked through the door at work...and it was the best surprise of all! This was the first time that the girls at work got to see Ava and I was so excited! We were able to go lunch with another friend and just hang out together for a couple hours...they brought me a dozen chocolate covered strawberries....mmmm yummy! I was so happy!!!! Then my friend's little boy called my phone and left me kisses over the sweet, and then, my mom brought me a dozen roses from her and my dad...more kisses from Jesus...then my other friend and her husband and boys invited me to go to dinner with them...and now I am home just enjoying my time with the Lover of my soul...I am overwhelmed with God's love for me....He doesn't leave me to myself. He cares so much for me that on a day where I could be feeling alone and down, He put several of His servants in my path to bring me so much of His joy and His love....I am truly blessed! Thank You Jesus for your unspeakable joy and love...You amaze me!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Made me smile....

Today, a good friend and I went to see the movie "Enchanted". A very good movie I must say! It's a cute cartoon/reality fairytale movie....I was waiting for my friend to use the restroom and saw the most precious sight. It was a dad and a little girl about 3 years old that had been to this movie walking down the hallway hand in hand, their leftover bag of popcorn all folded up in daddy's hand and his daugther's little hand in the other. I heard her say..."Daddy, I want to go do some more fun stuff!" her little voice, so innocent and precious and so full of joy. You could tell that spending that time with her daddy had made her day! He grinned from ear to ear..."What do you want to do?" he asked. Although I couldn't hear her response their little conversation made me smile! He was full of joy too...he waited as she went to throw something in the trash, lifting the lid when all she really needed to do was throw the trash through the hole on top...he helped her out not making her feel silly for not knowing how it worked...he was so full of patience and love for his little girl....when they exited the building, he reached down again and grabbed her they went in search of their car just smiling away. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face either. Then the thought came to me...that is what my Father God is to me. He rejoices when I get to have a Daddy date with me. I can hear Him asking me to spend some time with Him just as I am sure this daddy had asked his little girl if she wanted to go to the movies. I forget so easily that He is a Father to me. He rejoices and smiles over me, just like this dad did his daughter. He, my Heavenly Father, reaches down for my hand and wants to walk and talk with me...I was humbled and full of the Father's love for me all over again! It made me smile!!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

What if it's Him???

I wanted to share what God showed me on New Year's Eve at our church's annual card party... Every year, our church clears out the auditorium and sets up a number of card tables all in preparation for our Annual New Year's Eve Card Party! This year, I was supposed to be with the Youth Group at a separate party in a local gym...but asked our Youth Pastor if I could attend the Card Party in effort to reach out to the college group...and I am glad that he said yes. After filling our plates high with food and settling in to our seats, the game began. We play a game called Hokum Bridge which requires you to switch partners and tables every, you are constantly meeting new people. A couple hands into the game, I noticed a new guy walk in the back of the auditorium. He was a big guy and I started to feel very intimidated. One of the ladies and a couple guys went to talk to one knew who invited him or how he knew we were having a party. He went back to the food room and filled a plate of food and then went to our Pastor to ask if he could play in the game...there wasn't a space available right then, but he was welcome to wait and fill in if people needed to leave. I watched as he walked all the way around to the back of the church and sat down at a table by himself. So many thoughts were going through my head...compassion, fear, pity, intimidation....who was this man? I watched as different people would go up to him and sit down and talk to him...again...who was this man? To make a long story short an opening became available in our row, and this man ended up being my partner the next the moment that I realized that he was to be my partner...the scripture that says...if ye have done it to the least of these, ye have done it unto me....hit me like a ton of bricks...I asked myself...what if this man is Jesus? I am not meaning to sound strange...I just realized that God puts people in my path every day and I am being tested as to how I will respond to them....what if it's Him? What if He disguised Himself as this man to see how He would be treated in a church full of believers? What was my response to Him? I learned a valuable lesson that night...Who am I to choose who deserves the Father's love...I can't pick and choose who I reach out to just because of their outward appearance...I need to extend the arms of Christ and His love to every person that I come in contact with...there is a hurting world out there that desperately needs to see and feel the Father's love...what am I doing to share that today? Who knows what this man's story was...but I do know that he was sent to our church that night to remind me that I need to reach out to every person that comes across my path and be an extension of Jesus to them...this world needs I showing them a clear picture of Who my Savior is?