Monday, February 25, 2008

ponderings of the early hours

It's almost 1:30 am, and I'm awake. Blogging. The day isn't off to the best of starts. I've had a lot of sleepless nights lately, very few of which I'm grateful for. I've had somewhere around a million and one thoughts swirling through my head the past few weeks, and they all seem to vie for my attention in the wee morning hours. Thoughts that can't seem to evade my subconscious, each demanding its right to be made known in waking reality. I have been given some pretty incredible opportunities over the past week, and I am faced with making several big decisions in the upcoming weeks. These are the things keeping me awake at night, weighing on my heart and mind. I love that God never gives us a neon sign, or an email to show us what He wants - rather, He gives us an opportunity to trust Him at all times, not just when life is easy. Don't get me wrong - many times I'd love a simple email: Dear Becky: I'm going to provide for your trip by asking Bobby to send in $1,000, so don't worry about it. Or, in the case of the present moment: Dear Becky: You are going to get sick on Saturday of next week. Please start taking allergy medicine now. You don't want to miss that school field trip on Monday. In the movie Evan Almighty, as Evan is wrestling with what God is asking of him, Morgan Freeman (aka God), essentially tells him this: You don't go to bed one night with no trust, and suddenly wake up the next morning having it. God gives you opportunities to trust. It's what we do with those opportunities that defines our trust in Him. And I love that God loves us so much to give us those opportunities. It's just who He is. Which blows me away most of the time. I've been reordering my life the past few months, to where it is centered around His love. Thinking about things through the lens of His heart for me - such as He loves me so much, that He desires for my imperfections to be melted away in His refining fire. It's hot, and often hurts, but it's because He loves me. And I've realized that it's changing the entire trajectory of my life. It's been the most beautiful part of the journey yet, I must admit. It's not easy, though. Especially at first. But totally, absolutely worth it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Absolutely Unfathomable

This post has nothing to do with my trip, but has everything to do with God's faithfulness, and the ways that He is quietly whispering His love...

I had dinner with a friend tonight - as we talked about our families, she began to tell me about how her parents are foster parents, and the struggles they had at the beginning with their current foster kids. As she continued to tell me about the kids, she told me how malnourished the 7 year old was when she first came into the home. I remarked that we had a child like that last year at my school, and I could relate to the situation. In the very next sentence, Katie used the name of the foster child. I looked at her, and asked her where these kids were from, thinking all the while "the chances of this being the same child is VERY slim," but curious nonetheless, because of the similarities. As she told me where these kids were from, at the same time, we said the same full name. This little girl, who I have wondered about for the past year (she was taken out of her home...long story, unfit mother), has all of a sudden reappeared on the horizon of my life. I never would have dreamed that she would end up in a christian home, much less in the home of a friend of mine! As Katie and I talked and shared stories about this little girl, I couldn't help but cry - it was yet another reminder that God is in control of everything - not that I've ever really even doubted that, but for it to show up in my face was monumental in that moment. Over the past week, God continues to remind me of His goodness, His faithfulness, His love. I can't tell you how many times in the past year I've wondered about this little girl - what happened, where she ended up, and if she was put back into her home. We had no connections, no contact whatsoever with this girl, or her current school. I got to feed her breakfast in the mornings, and snacks in the afternoons, and was able to see her go from a scared little girl, to a girl whose face lit up when she laughed. In a matter of moments tonight, God reminded me of His faithfulness to hear and answer our prayers - not just for ourselves, or our friends, but for people in our lives who constantly live in the margins of our society: people we dare to ask big things for, people who need us to show up in ther lives and make wrong things right.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

History Lessons

1 Listen to me, all who hope for deliverance—
all who seek the Lord!
Consider the rock from which you were cut,
the quarry from which you were mined.
2 Yes, think about Abraham, your ancestor,
and Sarah, who gave birth to your nation.
Abraham was only one man when I called him.
But when I blessed him, he became a great nation.”

3 The Lord will comfort Israel again
and have pity on her ruins.
Her desert will blossom like Eden,
her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found there.
Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.

4 “Listen to me, my people.
Hear me, Israel,
for my law will be proclaimed,
and my justice will become a light to the nations.
5 My mercy and justice are coming soon.
My salvation is on the way.
My strong arm will bring justice to the nations.
All distant lands will look to me
and wait in hope for my powerful arm.

- Isaiah 51

Monday, February 18, 2008

Speechless, Part 2

Not that I've found many words to describe my being speechless of late, however, I've had several people ask me to elaborate. I've been concerned about how I was going to cover expenses here in Kansas City, while I was in Ethiopia. Expenses such as rent, utilities, and a few various financial commitments that I have made. This has stressed me out more than raising funds for the trip itself. I had expressed concern to a group of dear friends of mine (who have agreed to journey alongside me in the process of this trip) last week. On Thursday, I opened up my mailbox to find a couple of checks totaling above and beyond what I needed for this summer. Which, needless to say, left me speechless for awhile. And, my friends, if that weren't enough - Over the course of the past 4 days, I have had people approach me to let me know that they wanted to financially give toward my trip. I know that shouldn't be a big deal, but here's why it is: I have yet to send out any letters, and thus far, $500 has been pledged. I found out on Wednesday that my trip budget went up to $3,740 (an increase of $440), and to be honest, I stressed. Not a little, friends. A LOT. An increase like that is HUGE when you are depending on other people to pay for it. And in a matter of 4 days, God was like "yeah? You think that's a big deal? Let me remind you who's in control."

All of that to say this: I think I've gotten confirmation (in more ways than one!) that I'm supposed to be going to Zeway this summer.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I continue to be amazed at God's faithfulness, and His confirmation of this trip. I've been completely and utterly blown away today - all within a matter of minutes. More to come when I actually can find the words....

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stubborn Prayers

I'm realizing that I'm not so great at updating. Not that there is a whole lot happening right now, but I most definitely have thoughts. The current one is "How am I going to raise $3,300 through the small amount of people I know?!" Tonight has been a fun night of addressing envelopes, writing out prayer cards to go with each letter, and looking for a new place to live (Have I mentioned that I will be moving 4 days prior to leaving the country for 4 weeks?!). I've had amazing friends who have asked me over the past few days how things are going, and my reply has always been "it's going." I'm in the tedious part of sending out letters to anyone and everyone, and praying that God asks someone (or several someones!) to give generously - above and beyond their means (I'm sure as a way of Him teaching them to trust Him!). It's not that I'm doubting God's provisions, rather, I'm doubting that my letter will be convincing enough. Which is quite silly, because I'm not the one doing the convincing! Over the past year, my pastor has talked about praying "stubborn prayers" - and I can honestly say that I never truly understood what he meant - until now. It's funny how you can hear something over and over again, but not really get it until it deems itself necessary for your own life. Such is true in our faith journeys - until we have a great need for ______(fill in your own blank here!), we don't really seek out the true understanding of it. Or perhaps we do, its meaning just can't fully be revealed until our need is so great that we will really get it.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Final Budget

It's here. I received my final budget today for Zeway. And I took a deep breath: the journey into Zeway is just beginning. For those of you that might be interested, here it is:

Dates: June 20-July 16
Minimum Fundraising Amount (MFA): $3,300
Minimum of $2,000 and all trip forms are due by: April 20th
Minimum of $3,300 due by: June 1st

I am excited about beginning the support raising journey. God never ceases to amaze me when it comes to this part. In my past support raising endeavors, the time would come to get the trip financial update, and my stomach would drop, because I would always think my account balance would still be at $0. And every time, I was completely blown away at the faithfulness of God to provide for me in such ways. It shouldn't suprise me, but it always does. EVERY TIME. Once again, I am sitting here, perhaps more nervous than ever, and I am confident in His provisions for this trip. It may not come in ways that I expect or think, but He has used so many of YOU to confirm that this trip is what I'm supposed to be doing this summer, that I have no doubt He will provide. There are times where someone asks if I have big summer plans, and when I reply "I'm spending the summer in Ethiopia," I always smile, because I couldn't imagine anywhere else I'd rather be. Even if it will be the rainy season in East Africa. :-) The process of getting there is going to be simply beautiful - it will require more trust than I've been able to muster up lately, and more stubborn prayers than I know how to pray, but it's a journey that I wouldn't trade for the world.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thoughts, Brooke & Zeway

For the past few months, I've been listening to Brooke Fraser. She has written a song about her journey to meet the child she sponsors in Rwanda, and the lyrics are incredibly beautiful - and true to what I'm feeling about Zeway.
I am on a plane across a distant sea//But I carry you in me//I will tell the world, I will tell them where I've been//I will keep my word//I will tell them, Albertine.
I want the world to know of Ethiopia: her beauty and her people. Specifically, her children. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of Sintayehu, Burtukan, or Masresha. It amazed me at the immense joy these kids have - despite having very little - and the sincere gratefulness of even the smallest of gifts. I can't help wanting to share this - it is something that bubbles in and out of me in ways that affect my thinking, my prayers, and my words.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


I received letters today from Masresha and Burtukan, the two girls I sponsor in Zeway. It always excites me to get them, but especially today - Food for the Hungry has every child write a thank you letter to their sponsor each year. Masresha (who is 6), drew a couple of pictures and her social worker translated the following:

"I would love to express my appreciation to you - it is because of you that I am getting school stationary, school fee, food aid, and mosquito net. I have gotten all this in this year, and I want to say thank you."

It is these letters that remind me of the importance of sponsoring these kids. It was amazing to meet Sintayehu, and it's great to write letters to them, but to be reminded (both by letter and to physically see) that they are getting things they need - their school fees being paid, mosquito nets to prevent malaria, and food assistance - that is the true joy. Their needs are being met because of my mere $28 a month. Incredible.

If you are interested in finding out more about sponsoring a child through Food for the Hungry, please click here.