Beauty from Ashes

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A couple years ago my hometown experienced a pretty extreme wildfire. It went on for a good while. I would wake up in the morning and see the smoke from my doorstep, and go to bed seeing flames rage on as if angry. My family and I know people who live close to where the fire happened, and thankfully they were fine and evacuated before the fire got to them, but for others  homes were destroyed and material possessions were lost. My family and I drove by after the fire was put out, and everything was changed by the fire of course. I almost thought nothing beautiful could come back to life in that place.
I went home pretty recently and when I was home my family took a drive, and as we drove we passed where the fire destroyed land only to find that beautiful grass had replaced the brown. That was the first time I’d drove out to that part of town since the fire took place, and the phrase beauty from ashes comes to mind. It reminds me that God works like that in our lives. God brings beauty from the burned down places in our lives. Life is hard. I say this as a student, daughter, sister, friend, and twenty-something getting through college one day at a time. This journey has not been easy. Its been hard, but God has always brought something beautiful out of the difficulties. God has always been so faithful and so gracious.
That’s one of the things I’ve learned in my short life. Whenever times got tough for me God was a constant. It took me a while to realize this, but when I did it made all the difference. When different doors closed for me in whatever way they closed, God brought beauty from those things. When things in my life got “burned down” in a sense, God brought beauty from the rubble that was left behind. Even when it hurt, and it has definitely hurt, God has brought about so many beautiful qualities to my life, and I have been blessed by it!
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Forever//Brian Johnson & Bethel Music

I have been listening to this song, all day. I don’t really know why really, but then again I do. Over the past few weeks, as I have gotten back into the swing of things with school I have been learning a lot about God and learning a lot about myself in God. The most important thing I have learned these past few weeks is that God truly is worthy of our praise! Not even just because He is good, but because He is God and He sent Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus overcame death and fought for us in a way that is beyond anything we could comprehend. He won the fight and we don’t have to fight any more. So I guess I do know why I’ve been listening to this song all day, I just needed to be reminded of the things I’ve been learning the past few weeks.

Japan, Things Learned & Thank You!!

This will be my last post about Japan and it’s mostly going to be about all the things I learned while being in Japan. I realized I didn’t write a post about what it was like being Japanese for a couple of weeks, but last year Oneida wrote a post about it that you can read here.

So I learned a lot about myself, God & other people while I was in Japan. I learned that sometimes people just need their space, and that leading, whether on your own or with another person, is ALWAYS stressful. I also learned it can be a little lonely being at the top. I learned that being an introvert isn’t always a bad thing, and can in fact be used by God to do some pretty awesome things. I learned that taking the opportunity to do ANYTHING for God will always be INCREDIBLE!! I also learned, no matter the language, and no matter the culture, when you are surrounded by people who love Jesus and seeking His face, you’re always among family!! I learned the enemy is a sneaky sneak who will creep up at any moment!! Without warning!! Sometimes very subtly, but Jesus truly is stronger! I also learned how to fight for people in a way that was once foreign to me. I learned the importance of prayer and intercession, as well as the importance of good communication. I think the biggest thing I learned is when you go oversees with people you form a bond with them nobody else will be able to properly understand. You spend so much time with these people, and you see them in situations that require so much faith. I learned that the easiest way to show God’s love is by loving people! Loving them despite the language barrier.

All of the things I learned, and did, wouldn’t have been possible without your prayers and your support, so from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU!! It truly means so much to me, again I’m sorry it took so long for me to write about Japan but I just wanted to say thank you and let you know that without you, my team and myself would not have been able to go and minister to these people who we love so dearly!! So again, THANK YOU!!

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Japan & Bible Studies

One of the things we did, well one of the things we mostly did is a lot of Bible studies. We were at three universities throughout the week, and we just held a Bible study at each one. These Bible studies were so fun! We got to meet so many new students and connect with some new ones! Hanging out with the friends we made last year and then making new ones was really exciting! A few of the guys we met at these Bible studies were baseball players which was pretty cool!

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At every Bible study we went to we took snacks we brought from home, and my mom bought us a bunch of rice krispie treats so we took some with us almost everywhere we went. So two of the guys tried rice krispie treats for the first time! They both really liked the regular ones, but weren’t too keen on the chocolate ones haha! It was also really cool to see how much has changed in a year. There were new people we didn’t get to meet last year, and old people who we connected with so much last year!

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To have gone back and seen how much the Chi Alpha has changed in the last year, and to have seen the growth in the people we met last year was such a blessing! We got to see one of the girls we met last year again, and it was so great to see her again and to see what God has done in her life in the past year! One of the guys we made friends with last year grew so much in his relationship with God and in his relationship with the people around him as well!

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Besides meeting new people, and making new friends, it was amazing to see how God moved in every Bible study. The way it worked was, one person from our team gave a Bible study at every school we went to and someone gave a testimony. At every Bible study, God moved. Even if it was in a subtle way, He moved and the atmosphere in the room changed. Even in the people who were there just for the fellowship, God moved in their hearts because they were in a community. A lot of these Bible studies have at least a few people who attend who aren’t Christians, yet they still go. I hope and pray that through these Bible studies, they would find a reason to continue going that is far greater than the company; Jesus.

Japan, an Apology & Youth

For those of you who come to read about Japan, sorry it’s been taking me so long to write about it all! I’ve been fairly busy since we got back two months ago, from summer school to family and now regular school. So I’m going to be posting the last few blogs about Japan within the next few days promise! Here is the first of the few!

So while we were in Japan, we had the chance to go to two youth group meetings, and both were so great! We got to meet so many great people while we were there. The youth groups we met are so in love with God and seeking after Him in such a hungry way! It was such a joy to have been part of it. This was the second youth group we went to, and they were so much fun!! After the service we just got to hang out with all of them and have lunch, it was truly a joy! And in the front are the Pastor and his wife who are such a hoot!!Image

The first meeting we went to was actually a Chinese church and we met some super awesome people! A couple of the people we met there we connected with right away! The most amazing thing about being at this meeting was the worship. While we worshiped our team sang in English along with some of the other people there and the rest of the people sang in their native tongue! It was so amazing!! God really moved in that place that night. The Youth Pastor was so great and so encouraging to all of us! As we were wrapping up worship and moving to the next part of the evening he thanked us for being there and said how wonderful it was for us to be able to join them, and no matter where we were in the world, whether in the States or Japan we all served the same God. When he said that I got so joyful because it made me realize that so long as we are part of the Church and we are seeking Jesus, whenever we meet someone else who is doing the same thing and part of the Body, we have a connection. We have an instant brother-/sisterhood!Image

God really showed me that at whatever church we went to in Japan. He showed me that as children of the Most High we all have a bond. We are brothers and sisters in Christ! Which brings so much joy to my heart! 🙂