Friday, August 15, 2014


I'm learning so much about HOME. It's definitely not anything to do with a building.

From going from my parents house to the DR, to Brazil, back home, to the Lincoln on Barker, a few months in Guatemala and now getting ready to move a few houses down.....I have been learning a lot.

You have all heard the quote, "Home is where the heart is." I think this is partially true, but a more accurate quote would be, "Home is where God calls you."

I have been called many different places for all different spans of time with all kinds of different people.

I feel like I am home when I am with my family.
I feel like I am home when I am with my community on Bridge.
I feel like I am home when I have gone overseas.

I feel like I am home when I am walking in God's will for my life.

So my house is changing.
From a two story maze of an apartment complex with some great neighbors....
To a 4 bedroom house, well decorated with flowers, on a busier road with new neighbors to meet.

But it's already home :)

---Pictures to come!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

That thing called LOVE

A few posts back, I wrote about how I was learning about LOVE.

A few months ago, I was telling people how I was learning about LOVE.

Still doing it.

Still so much to learn.

Each time an immersion ends I think there is no way the next group is going to be this great! And each week I am amazed at how much I love the 'new' group. There hasn't been one group the same as the other. Out of 5 youth groups, there hasn't been one student the same.

Something that has been surprising is the amount of hurt in high schoolers. It brings me to tears. Pornography addictions, sexual sin, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide attempts, broken relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, the list goes on. It has become increasingly clear that the enemy trying hard to steal, kill and destroy. 

But we have a God fiercely pursuing us even stronger.

We have a God forgiving us, fighting for us, and freeing us.

And that HOPE, that REDEMPTION, that PROMISE, gives me the strength to love all 70+ of them.

I LOVE how God is freeing students, and allowing me to see the change, and the freedom.
I LOVE how God has created each one of these students so differently, yet each in His image.
I LOVE how God is being glorified as each student is made strong in him.

We had an 'ice-breaker' game and one question was to share your dream job. I could honestly answer THIS. Working at BSHOP; whether that's the Mission School or Immersion, I am where God has called me and have never felt more peace, more of His presence, and more of His power than I have while walking in His will.

I'm still learning to LOVE.

LOVE my neighbors, the kids around me, the students spending a week here, the students here for 8 months, the West Siders, my family, strangers, people I don't agree with, and everyone.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

CONFESSION, community, camping

The Camping trip has an intentional time of confession on Saturday night. The last night of the camping trip we spend time in worship, and then break off into youth groups for their leaders to lead their group into this time.

This year we had the privilege of hosting two youth groups in the same week. Forest Hills Bible Church, and Immanuel both came this past week.

As Immersion staff, we take a step back for the youth group to be able to have it's own time. Derek and Chris play guitar, and we keep the fires going.

They all have the opportunity to confess, throw their paper in the fire, and have their youth group pray over them.

What I was able to witness had me in tears.

One student shared what he was struggling with, and started to cry. He was extremely vulnerable, and wanting God to heal parts of his heart. Another student came around him and held him as he cried. His youth leader came behind him and started to pray for him. As he was praying he was crying over his student. The compassion this group had for one another was so powerful!

Confession, COMMUNITY, camping

For this past Immersion, we hosted two youth groups. In years past it has always been one youth group at a time, but we decided to spice it up!

Forest Hills Bible Church came with 13 students&leaders.

Immanuel Reformed Church came with 15 students&leaders.

We got to cram those 28 people in the Lincoln with 5 Immersion leaders and myself. It was so fun!

the trip started out a bit awkward. Both groups standing on opposite sides of the room to chat, riding up in separate vehicles, sitting by their groups around the fire, etc. But as the week progressed that slowly changed.

The guys started hanging out together, long boarding and late taco bell runs.
The girls led drama's for KidsGames together.

soon the youth groups were meshing tables for meal times.

everyone was getting along, hanging out, and enjoying the new dynamics of meshing youth groups.

But the best was Thursday.

response night.

A night dedicated to laying idols down, worshipping together, praying for one another, etc.

What happened that night was awesome!

Kids were going to other students that weren't in their youth group to pray over them. Hugs were exchanged between youth groups. And we all got a taste of the unification of the body of Christ! When it doesn't matter what church, what denomination, or what specific struggle, but instead everyone can support anyone.

Saturday night was another testament to the unity possible in the church. Families from both churches came to Saturday night worship for their child. At the end of students sharing testimonies we have a time of prayer and sending. The two churches prayed over the students as one group of students, one group of their kids, one group of the generation.

then goodbyes.

It's easy saying goodbye at the end of the week when you'll see them tomorrow in church. But for the friendships formed between the two youth groups, the next hang out time is scheduled, and goodbyes are a bit harder.

Overall, combining two groups this week opened my eyes to unity, the body of Christ, and fellowship!

I love these two youth groups, and even though it was only 10 days I feel like I knew some of these kids way longer. I was shocked for the week to end so quickly.

p.s sorry for grammatical errors. I don't re-read and my grammer & speech are terrible to begin with. hopefully you still understand the message :) basically, Jesus is moving in the hearts of young people, and in the West Side!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Confession, Community, CAMPING

Each Immersion trip we start out with 3 days of camping at Nordhouse Dunes. Its 3 days dedicated to building community. We have teachings on hearing the voice of God, times of solitude, times of games, and times of worship around the fire.

Before all of that.....we have to hike out to our campsite.

1.7 miles

some dunes, some sand, some woods

no big deal!

So Derek asked if I would set the pace, lead the group, etc. I started out right on schedule. We were moving nicely, following blue ribbons tied in the trees to mark the path. Josh and Chris (two co-leaders) went out earlier in the day to reserve our spots. We were hiking along and soon we could see Lake Michigan through the trees. We were getting close!! We get out of the trees to a peak of a dune. I look to my left and to my right. This wasn't a dune I had been on before. I make a turn to my left and keep the kiddos moving. Shoot! Where were we? Why didn't this come out near our camp? I call out for a tick check and a water break, set my pack down and go sprinting over the next couple of dunes. It had to be right over this one......more unfamiliar dunes. I keep running, and start shouting, "Josh! Crispy!" Soon a reach a campsite I recognize! This is the campsite we stayed at two years ago!! Dang it, this is the campsite we stayed at two years ago, we still have 15 min of hiking. I sprint back to my group on the beach. We all get our packs back on and start hiking. Up and down sandy dunes. Finally we reach Josh and Chris, who lead us a little further to our camp. Somehow, we were still early.....mission accomplished. I asked Josh about the blue ribbons, he didn't set those out. Oops!

The hike back was a lot easier.
First we loaded up my dad's deer sled with a guitar and Jenny(co-leader with a broken leg). We had 45 minutes to pull her as far as we could before she had to crutch the rest of the way while Chris and I ran the sled back for a big party tent we bring in case of rain.

This deer sled.... 3 feet wide, 4 feet long. A single loop of a black rope to pull with. We put a log through the rope and then stood behind the log while it rested about hip height. 1, 2, 3 PULL! it was like huskies pulling a dog sled. Kelsey and I started while Chris would push from behind to make it up steep hills. We would switch for water breaks. We got her almost al the way back, and then we ran back to the students with the sled so they could pull the giant tent.

I got to hike back with Kenny, and we made back in 34 minutes. The students all loved a 30 min hike over the hour hike out :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Stretch marks

Stretch marks.

I'm guessing a post pregnancy woman just popped into your heads.

Her abdomen stretched so rapidly with the growth of the little baby she was carrying that her skin stretched and left behind off color hues of purple or red but helped produce a precious life.

So my last week - though painful at times, was all worth the life produced in my heart.

Yesterday ended the first week of Immersion. Immersion means we host youth groups for 10 days. 3 days camping for community building, confession, and hearing God speak. Then the next 7 days having teachings and ministry.  I was in charge of launching KidsGames, a global program similar to VBS. KidsGames was the ministry opportunity for our Immersion students.

I started planning in May. Emailing partners, attending events to promote, scheduling meetings and deadlines, canvasing the neighborhood, and collecting materials to launch.

After a month of work, I had 20 kids signed up. I lined up enough volunteers for 100 students, and 6 days before the event I was about to have 20 students. It was stressful. I felt God saying we would have 100, yet we only had 20.
We ended up having 70+ kids Day 1. Immersion students all had a place and a purpose leading the little kids. Day 1 was no easy task though. Sharing the vision, explaining the outline for the day, coordinating and delegating 23 antsy high schoolers, and creating an efficient registration process for the parents and kids made for a long first day.

By day 3, the staff had a meeting to check in on each other spiritual, physical, and emotional health so far. I summarized my health like this,

"I have had my faith stretched and expanded and deepened each day this week. I had to trust God to bring the students He spoke about. I had to trust that He would equip high schoolers with the ability to lead West Side kids well. I had to trust that each day would happen how He wanted it to. I had to trust God's conviction on things I needed to change about how I was leading. I had to trust God with it all. And as I did that each day, He blessed me in new ways. Seeing little kids so engaged with the gospel presented through an evangicube, praying, singing 'Trading my sorrows" on the playground to themselves. I prayed that God's kingdom would come to the West Side and His will be done and I am seeing glimpses each day."

I compare my week to stretch marks because even though the week was exhausting, challenging, even painful and uncomfortable at times I wouldn't trade a second of it because of what God did in my life. He breathed more life into my heart this week and is continually transforming me.

There is so many more things about Immersion I wish to share - hopefully I can update different aspects of this first Immersion while leading up to the beginning of Immersion#2!!

Thursday, June 12, 2014


When does love become more than an emotion? When does love become more than a feeling towards people who already care for you? When does love become more than something given when it's easy and convenient?

When does love become an action to all, not based on your needs or wants?
When does love become something given to all because of an excess and a knowledge of an overwhelming perfect love received from the Most High and Almighty?

I don't have answers to these questions yet.

(A quick update from May 25 I gave at Crossroads Bible Church. Just a few minutes long)

Love is something God has been teaching me a lot about. With a million students coming for immersion, and with running kids programs for kiddos, I want to be able to love them all, and love them all well. I also want to be able to love well my family, friends, and this neighborhood!

I have been chosen and loved. Praise the Lord! Out of that reality I want to be able to love others as we as disciples are called to do. But it's hard!

I don't want to love someone for selfish reasons; for my needs to be met, or to get something from it.
I don't want to love someone out of obligation to 'be a good person'.
I don't want to love someone to boost my reputation, or any prideful reasons.
I don't want to love someone out of my human limits.
I don't want to love someone to find acceptance.

I want to love because Christ loves me and it's overflowing.

I want to love because God has called us to love.
I want to love because God first loved me.

I want to love with the fullness Christ's love.
I want to love because I am accepted as God's.
My word for the summer is conduit.


: someone or something that is used as a way of sending something from one place or person to another

Imagine a vase, on a slight tilt, with water being poured in from the top. Once it is full, the water from the top keeps pouring in, but now it also is pouring the excess water from itself down into more vases. Or! Imagine when you try to put your big water bottle under the sink but the sink is too small. You have to squeeze it in, but it can't stand upright so you can never get it all the way full without water running out and spilling over.

I believe that can happen in our lives. When we realize how much our Father loves us, and start to understand the depths of love, then we can really love others with Christ's love. Not out of a place of need or wants, but out of a place of God first loving us.

I'm learning this. I am far from perfecting this love. I am selfish, and I base decisions of my pride or my desires. But this is one way I hope to grow this summer.

I want to be a conduit of God's love. His good, perfect, and incomparable love!
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!