Monday, December 3, 2012

From Georgia, to Tennessee, and Home!

When we finished in Dalton Georgia God had clearly been working through the lives of the people In Grove Level Baptist. I am glad to report we are still hearing wonderful things from them as God is still working, thank you so much for joining my team and I in prayer about that! We then arrived at the Barn at Buladean where we spent Thanksgiving week together. Here's some pictures leading up to the current!

The Barn at Buladean. ^

Trysta and I on Thanksgiving Day.

Our Thanksgiving Dinner, was very casual and relaxed. We just had a few tables and some good cookin.

Thanksgiving night we watched Elf, which was surprisingly a first for one of our team members!

As we left Buladean we headed toward our next church.

We stopped for some dinner, ^ and then met our host families after we set up!

This last summit of the semester was in Cleveland, Tennessee. I had the privilege of staying with the pastor and his family, where my roommate and I were very blessed! They took us in like real family and even though our short eleven days is up the pastor announced us as additional family members.  

This is my littlest host sister. Her name is Faith :) 

This would be my other host sister. Her name's Payton and on Wednesday she went to school as Cindy Loo Hoo! I lover her for obvious reasons :)

Here's the Church's stage.

And this was our snowman in Happy Heart City! Every Church we set up a tape shape on the floor so that we can direct the kids in a spot that they have to sit in. We make it as fun as possible :) 

The church had an outside theatre with a stage and a seating area! 

Here's a small view of Tennesse, it's a twenty-five minute drive for us from our host home to the church.

My birthday was this summit, and it was my first time spending it away from home and family! I'm so very thankful for my team as they have done so much to make me feel special. They got me a card, made cupcakes for me, and so much more. I'm so grateful for all the friendships God's given me in Life Action!

My parents sent me a package for my birthday! I was excited :)

My roommate Elaine, did this for me so when I opened my door there was this sign that I ran into. Good thing it didn't hurt!

My friend Mark singing to me in Chinese for my birthday. 

Kendra made me red velvet cupcakes! She put edible gold glitter on them, they know me so well!

Anna (Left) Jonthan (Middle) and Landon (Right)
On Sunday morning after the salvation lesson, everyone was leaving the classroom to go do a craft but Landon stayed behind and had several very good questions to ask. One of my coworkers who stayed behind said that, Landon, is getting a very good understanding of God and why we need Him in our lives. Praying this little one will know Jesus one day and if you ask me it won't be too long before he does!

All the kids together on our last night!

Me and Anna, one of the little girls that I taught! 

This is a picture from this morning as I said goodbye to some of the team! They're driving back to Michigan and I'm currently in a very small airport waiting to board my flight! I'm so excited to go home for a little while! I'll get to see my family and help my best friend get married! I'll be sure to keep y'all in the loop! Merry Christmas!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dalton, Georgia

Georgia is absolutely beautiful right now! The leaves are falling and changing like a normal fall season, whereas in Arizona I'm use to... dirt. 

Ashlan helped me pack the night before I left. I greatly appreciated all her help that night :)
My flight the next day had a stop in Chicago 

This is what it looks like incase you were wondering.

When I finally arrived in Atlanta and my friend Katie picked me up from the airport! She was kind enough to drive me all the way to Dalton (which is about a 4 hour total trip) It was so good to see her! Hopefully I will be able to again before I leave!

When I pulled up to my host home it was a farm! It's owned by my host parents who use to own over 100 llamas, but a few years ago they sold all of them.

I took this at the top of their hill. Apparently, if you get there for the sunrise you can see it come over the mountains. I obviously never did that, but if I had a day off I would!  

My host parents home!

They own a couple donkeys... no big deal. 

This is a barn on their property where they hold weddings.

My host mom has a beautiful rose garden!

My host mom, Nanette, loves her dog! 

And my host dad, Joe, reminded me of my dad when he pulled out his big camera! Except he was shooting with a Canon... I know dad, i know, Nikon is "the best" type of camera to shoot with!

Host parents and their host children!

My friend Andrea! We got hot apple cider from the apple farm!

Petting Zoo!

Team picture at the Christmas party!

This is my friend Cameron! He's from Ethiopia :)

This is my good friend Trysta! She understands me :) 

Now we're more than halfway into the summit and on Sunday, our minister, Steve, spoke about salvation. I'm glad to report that a large number of the church went into the prayer room when he was done and about fifteen people made a decision to be in a relationship with Jesus. 
Even more have since then and we are so excited about all that God has done here at Grove Level Baptist Church!
As we continue to minister to the children, teens, and adults here please pray that what God is doing in the church will make long lasting differences and that once we are gone that their lives wouldn't return to the way it use to be before we arrived.  

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Sweet Home Arizona

If you haven't heard, I am currently back home for a few days! I've really missed my family and I'm so glad i get to be home to help plan my best friend's wedding! The wedding is on the 22nd of December and i'll get to watch two of my very good friends finally be wed. I absolutely take credit for introducing them three years ago and now i get to be in their wedding.

Since the soon to be bride has to learn how to cook some meals, my mother decided it would be great for her to know how to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving. So last night, on Halloween, we had a small Thanksgiving meal prepared by the future Mrs. Greenfield! 

She did a fantastic job! It all tasted amazing and we'll be eating turkey for days. 
(considering that's what happens after thanksgiving)

Tomorrow will be my last day at home, and since it is officially the holiday season we will be decorating the house for Christmas. Then, very early on Saturday morning I will fly out to Georgia to be with my team on our fourth Summit of the year! The last summit was is Huntsville, Alabama and had some very cool history. They celebrated the buildings' 113th years of existence and the church was excited to have Life Action, for a second time! Life Action was at the church in 1988 when my parents traveled. Meaning, when I realized what they were saying I was sitting in the very same pews my mom and dad once did. Then, it got even crazier when I found out that my mom's old host parents still went to the church and I got to meet them! 

Twenty-four years later, and they still go to the same church, how many people can say that?

My host mom was also super great! Her name is Suzanne :) 
Maybe twenty-four years from now my kid will get to meet her! 

Anyways, since I've been home God has helped grow me as an older sister and a little sister. The older we get, the more we learn about each other, and without God's help I would never get to know how amazing my brother and sister are! I love them so much :) 

And last but not least, I would never have been able to get home without the permission from my leadership but also from the help of my parents. I love them both so much and am so grateful I got to spend some time with them, I can't wait till it's Christmas break so I can be home again! But for now, my team needs me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

5,000 Lanterns, One City, and One God

Our team's most recent summit was in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and we just finished at the church on Sunday night. When we arrived there we heard about how downtown Grand Rapids was having a huge art festival and on that Friday they were setting loose 5,000 lanterns in the city! So of course as soon as we heard about it the team broke out into, "... and at last i see the light" 
We sang songs from Tangled all week long, and when we got there 5,000 plus people in the city were singing the same thing. 
I promised to upload a video i took of the lanterns and I also put up some pictures from the art festival, big thanks to my friend Joel for letting me use them!

Here's me with the lanterns being set loose behind me!

These are a few of the guys on my team! We lost the rest of our team, as you can see it was kind of crowded! 
Me, Joel, Hunter, and Mark!

This dragon is part of the art festival and is completely made out of buttons!

Downtown Grand Rapids

Love the penguins!

Here's the video i promised! Please pardon how fast I talk :) 

This is what the church looked like

One of the stories I teach is called, "Max and the Big Fat Lie" it's about a boy named Max who wants to watch a movie he knows his mom won't approve of, so he lies to her about the movie, says he's just going to play with his friend in the park and every time he lies to her all these monsters come up in his life and each monster gets bigger with each new lie. So for the craft we have the kids color the monsters from the story and this is one of them. If you can't tell things are moving pretty fast between the two of us and i'm thinking about a wedding in June ;) 
... Just kidding! We're not allowed to date as a first year traveler, and I'm not in love with a monster!

The church building was fairly new and huge! It had plenty of rooms to hide in and a good number of games to play. I got to sit in for testimonies one night and heard about families whose lives were being changed since Life Action arrived. Most of the people who stood up talked about how they realized they had pride and selfishness in their lives and how it was distancing them from God and their family. It was cool to see how the church was growing closer to God and mending relationships that had subconsciously been growing apart. 

My host parents were Kurt and Julie Andrews (Yes, she sings).
Julie is mostly blind and runs a daily bible study through a giant skype call with thousands of other blind people. Here's a picture of our host parents when they were young and married!

This summit i roomed with a girl named, Ashlee, on my team and she has had some problems with her eyes so after the summit ended on Sunday night we drove back to the camp and we took her to the eye doctor today. We don't officially leave Michigan until Thursday so for now, we're just hanging out at the camp!

Our next church is in Huntsville, Alabama! The trucks and other vehicles we use to travel in can't handle very long travel days so we have to leave Thursday morning stay the night wherever we are that night and drive the rest on Friday. Then, our new host parents will pick us up and take us home for that summit (about 21 days)!

Thank you all so much for the prayers, they are greatly appreciated and I will be home in hopefully 55 days!