February 27, 2012

has it really been 10 years!?

this weeks tour...The Experience 
this past week my church celebrated 10 years!
a couple of weeks ago my pastor (whom i will call PM) asked if i would share my story of how The Experience has affected my life.
i said yes (but deep inside i was saying no because i do not like speaking in front of large groups-even if i know all the people)
this is my story...
-10 years ago i would have never pictured myself standing up here talking to you, and i am sure many of you would have thought the same thing. i also would have never imagined that the things i am going to share with you, would happen to me

-i think many of you would agree if i said i am not the same person i was 10 years ago

-the truth is i am the same person, just more of who i am in Christ

-yes The Experience has changed me, but i have always been who i am, The Experience and the people in this community have helped me find who i am in Christ

-God gives each of us a toolbox, filled with various tools, to help us get through life
-my toolbox has been filled with many things in life, whether i chose to use them or not was up to me
-The Experience has been and always will be the largest compartment in my toolbox filled with many tools, and each one of you in this community has been a tool, and a blessing, in my life. you all have been vital tools in helping me realize the person i have always been, through experiences and new adventures i would have never thought of doing on my own

-i was and still am a quiet behind the scenes person, even as little as a year ago, i would have never imagined all the things that God has showed me and placed in my life

-here at The Experience you learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. stepping forward in faith is hard and scary, but God never asks us to do easy things when He wants us to follow Him

-for me it all began with hiking...i started to step out of my comfort zone only to realize that i have a love for the outdoors and that is where i feel closest to God. thank you PM for setting these trips up

-i even stepped out on my own and began going to singles groups at other church's and was asked to be a group leader and plan things for the group to do and made many new friends

-then last year, i think was my biggest or most noticeable change, i decided to step out even further and go on my first mission trip to Haiti. who knew? GOD DID!

-i never would have realized before all the things that God had planned for me, but through The Experience i have been given the chance to try things and grow and realize things i love. like hiking, missions, and community

-i have no idea what the future holds, but i do know that God holds my future and He has used and is using The Experience to stretch me

-as PM would say here at The Experience ‘you are changed for the ordinary’ you will never again be the you you were, but the you you always were and meant to be

-my next adventure is the Peace Corps, it is an exciting new adventure, to grow closer to God, and the me that God created me to be

-i saw a t-shirt the other day that really spoke to me as i have fears of leaving my family/community it said... God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called. Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Sarah was impatient, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, and Abraham was old.

-i have been called, and at times it is scary and i have no idea why He called me. but i am choosing to be obedient and with time He will show me

-i am forever grateful for PM and The Experience community, whom i consider my second family, and how it has affected my life

needless to say i am going to miss my church family very much!
i know that Jesus placed The Experience, and all the members of the community in my life to prepare me for this amazing journey with the Peace Corps.

February 20, 2012

the little mermaid - part 1

this weeks tour...SCUBA (part 1)
my favorite movie as a little girl was The Little Mermaid. i always dreamed of living in an underwater castle like Ariel's.
i have always loved water.
i have been a lifeguard, on swim team (even completed my first triathlon last summer!), if Colorado had a beach (i mean a real one with an ocean attached) that is where i would live, but since it really does not have one i live at the pool. (well for 3 months of the year anyways)
do not get me wrong i love Colorado, and personally it is the best place to live! (although i may change my mind after living on an island for 2 years)
i have always thought that i was 'a fish out of water'...i am definitely more of a summer girl than a winter girl.
so when i found out that i would be moving to FSM, and heard through the grapevine, that it was the number one dive destination in the world (in the list of top 10 dives, Micronesia usually holds 8 of the spots) i had to get certified!
part 1...
class time and pool training time.
i am not going to lie i was nervous, and the first day in the water was not the best experience. (actually at the end of the day i kind of hated SCUBA)
breathing underwater is a really weird experience.
day two was much better, i was able to have some one on one instructor time and that helped me a ton.
well good news...i passed! (the written test and the pool training that is)
so the next step is open-water certification. i will be going to Blue Hole. a popular dive site in New Mexico. (that will be a story for another day)
once again Jesus was with me through an amazing experience, now i cannot wait to see His amazing underwater creations!
to be continued...

February 13, 2012

Jesus is my best friend

this weeks tour...friends (and good times!)
i spent the weekend away on a ski trip with some great friends of mine. we were so blessed to be able to enjoy 8" of fresh powder and a beautiful sunny perfect ski day! (while i do enjoy skiing...i am kind of glad i will not see any snow for 27 months! although i may change my mind when i am unable to cool down) to end the day we shared a yummy meal of fish tacos and good conversation by the fire.
it is times like this that i will miss. (and make it a little bit harder to leave)
i have no idea what life will be like in FSM. (but maybe i am not suppose to know...yet)
one thing i know i will miss are my friends, but i know that i will meet and make new ones.
'faith is not knowing what the future holds, but knowing who holds the future'
i have faith that God will provide! 
'a friend is God's way of proving He does not want us to walk alone'
i pray everyday that i will meet and have great friends in my new home.
knowing that i have such an amazing support system here at home, makes it easier (just a little) to leave.
but the most important (and best) thing i know (without a doubt) is that my best friend (Jesus!) will be with me every step of the way on my journey...He is the One who holds my future.

February 6, 2012

what would you bring?

this weeks tour...random thoughts (well maybe not so random)
my mind is in constant thought...about what to bring or not bring, what things will be like, what i am supposed to learn from this experience...(the list grows everyday)
you know the question:
'if you were stranded on an island and could only bring one thing, what would it be?'
it popped into my mind the other day (among a million other things.) 
while i may not be stranded and can bring more than one thing...i will be on an island and will be limited in what i can bring.
without a doubt in my mind i am bringing this...
my favorite item i will be packing
i am so thankful to my dear friends, beth and dawn, for sharing it on our trip to Haiti last year (this daily devotional has been the best and most important addition to my life this past year.)
it is so amazing how each day Jesus is speaking into my life in such a dramatic and particular way. after reading it i usually say to myself 'that is so true, how did You know!?' (His whispers can be really quiet sometimes, but you have to learn to listen)
the truth is that Jesus always knows! He knows what i need at that moment and how to speak to me through this devotional.
just like maybe this weeks tour was not really random, but that Jesus was using the Holy Spirit to lay on my heart (or whisper to me) that He will always be with me.
i know with all my heart that i will never be alone in my new home...my Best Friend will always be with me!
ans so with all that being said...
devotion theme for february
"look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always." Psalm 105:4 
everyday i am being gently reminded that i only need to look to the Lord for the answers to all my questions. when i read todays devotional i had a rather large duh moment!
february 5
"seek My face, and you will find not only My Presence but also My Peace. to receive My Peace, you must change your grasping, controlling stance to one of openness and trust. the only thing you can grasp without damaging your soul is My hand. ask My Spirit within you to order your day and control your thoughts. for the mind controlled by the Spirit is Life and Peace.
you can have as much of Me and My Peace as you want, through thousands of correct choices each day. the most persistent choice you face is whether to trust Me or to worry. you will never run out of things to worry about, but you can choose to trust Me no matter what. I am an ever-present help in trouble. trust Me, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea."
by sarah young
who knew all this? GOD DID!