Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Hey guys!  So guess what.  I am catching up!  And I am so excited.  I am so sick of being stressed out from being behind on things.  Emails right now are just taking a long time to reply to, and I REALLY apologize for that.  I am so sorry.  But I plan to do some more catching up in the next few days if it is at all possible.  But yeah.  I will tell you more about my stress in a little bit.  But first, let’s get caught up, shall we?

Oh, and just another little tidbit.  While you read this, pretend it is me speaking to you in an Australian accent…..or British, since I am not so good at the Australian.  And again.  I will explain to you my reasoning for this in a little bit.  But even if you don’t know why, it would still be fun, right?  Right. 

Also, let me warn you.  This post is the longest one yet.  It is filled with some detail of what we have been doing, but a lot of what is inside this post is actually things that I personally have been thinking about and dealing with.  It is my thoughts, and actually, it is a glimpse at my heart.  So, if you don’t feel like reading the whole thing….don’t.  haha.  I am sorry it is so long, but I just felt like I had to say this stuff.  I had to sort through it.  I had to share. 

Ok.  So where did I leave off?  I think that I ended with E coming back that next Friday after he had been gone basically a week on a bunch of random trips.  So that is where I will begin.  That weekend, it was a pretty normal weekend I believe.  I can’t really remember what we did.  I do know that Clay preached that Sunday, so that was cool.  And, we couldn’t find a translator for him, so he had to basically read what he had written in Spanish.  I am so glad that wasn’t me.  Reading in Spanish is hard.  Lol I am not very confident in my pronunciation skills. 

While Clay was preaching, Jeano and I took care of the kids at E’s house.  This is the first time we did it solo.  Usually one of us is with Juanita or Anita.  So that was kind of cool.  I mean, we didn’t do anything spectacular, but now we know that we can keep a Spanish Sunday School class at least a little occupied.  Interacting with kids is SO much easier in a language you actually know.  That has actually been kind of a challenge for me here.  I feel like I have not been able to connect with kids as good as I used to at home.  And to be honest, sometimes it is really hard.  That is something I am usually good at and comes easily to me.  I love kids.  But here, there are always other people with me, and I just can’t seem to connect like I used to be able to.  But, it’s ok.  I am learning a lot about just playing the background in this area.  I don’t have to be the one that the kids jump to hug.  I just have to love and serve, even if that means I don’t always feel loved back.  Does that make any sense?  I didn’t intend for this Sunday school info to go this way, but it seems that my brain has taken it over here.  And I think it is a good lesson.  So often, I find myself loving people and serving people who love me back.  You know?  I love being caring and making people feel special when they do the same to me.  I mean, duh.  Who doesn’t?  It’s easy to love those kinds of people.  But when you aren’t feeling very loved back, I allow myself to just kind of stop loving that person as well.  I mean, I don’t hate them, but I stop being personal and trying with them sort of.  You get me?  Basically, something I am really learning from not being the “fun tia” is that no matter what, I love these kids.  And I need to show them how much I care about them, no matter if they show it back to me.  And that goes for any person, not just kids.  Just something I realized from writing this.  Funny how spilling your thoughts can show you stuff to learn about as well :]

On Tuesday morning, the 5 of us and E left for the island of Tabon.  The purpose of this trip was to help with the church building that they were doing.  Now, this was a new island for us, and we came to find out that this church we were going to was the only Evangelical church on the island.  So it wasn’t a huge island, but bigger than Tenglo where we go quite often.  So we left around 9 or so to catch a bus to Calbuco.  Calbuco is only like an hour from Puerto Montt.  We made it there with no problems, which was really good.  Actually, now that I am remembering, that morning I did not feel very good at all.  And this has seemed to be a theme for our team for the past month or so.  Stomach aches and feeling like throwing up has happened to all of us quite a bit recently.  So while we were catching the next bus, Jeff and Jean just prayed for me and prayed against the attacks of Satan on our bodies.  I truly believe that that is what a lot of this sickness has been.  Every time we get sick, it takes our eyes off of what God is doing around us and puts it on ourselves.  And it has happened so much recently.  So we just all really prayed against it, and I know some of you have also been praying for us.  So thank you so much for that.  In the past week, none of us have been sick at all, and it has been such a blessing.  I felt a lot better after we got off that bus, and I had no more problems the rest of the day or trip. 

So, we got to Calbuco, and we went to visit some friends of E’s there.  It was a really good visit.  They were so hospitable to us.  We stayed there for about 4 hours or so.  We helped with dishes and making lunch.  And I don’t know.  It was just really good.  Andrea, the wife/mother of the house, was just SO friendly.  And she just had so much joy.  Also, while we were there, E, Beth, and Clay went to the store to get food for us in Tabon and for some supplies that the family there wanted us to pick up.  So then, after that, we caught a boat that we rode for about 2 hours and arrived at Tabon around 5 o’clock. 

Now, this trip to Tabon was……just very good for me.  When we first got there, there wasn’t much to do, so we all went out to start working on the church.  So after about 5 minutes of standing there doing nothing, I decided to go inside and see if Alejandra needed any help, and Jeano decided to come too.  And sure enough, she had potatoes for us to peel.  Boy oh boy, are we bad in the kitchen.  Haha.  Neither of us really enjoys being in the kitchen, but just from living here in Chile and not having my mom to make food and stuff, I have realized what a necessity it is that I learn some stuff, even if I don’t enjoy it a ton.  But I am so terrible with a knife.  It is ridiculous and quite pathetic.  But anywho.  After that we just sat and talked with Alejandra.

 It was SO ENCOURAGING!  Seriously.  I was just so happy.  First off, I was the one who took the initiative to go and find something productive to do.  Now, that is not that normal for me, especially on this team.  I am the youngest on our team, and I think a lot of times I let that intimidate me, which is really stupid.  I let that get in the way of taking initiative on a lot of things.  I usually just follow what the others are doing and try not to look stupid while doing new things.  And it’s dumb.  I need to step up and out (thanks Brian, for speaking this to me so often :]  I miss being challenged by you every day).  And I am working on it and learning a lot.  And you know, it feels really good when I actually do.  That may sound kinda dumb to those of you who have no problem with this, but for me, it is quite a challenge at times.  So, just seeing that I have actually have made some progress in this area was good to see. 

And secondly, we got to help her out and learn some stuff ourselves.  And the best part was that when the work was done, we had a really great conversation with her.  Now, it wasn’t like the topic was profound or anything, but I understood everything!  And we actually participated in the conversation.  And I would say that it was not any more awkward than if we were just talking in English and meeting her for the first time.  I was just so encouraged.  But there is one little detail.  Alejandra was used to gringos and their lack of Spanish knowledge.  But still.  It was good to know that we could survive here if for some reason Kevin and Carmal wouldn’t let us back in :]

That night, we had some yummy salmon for supper, and after that, we all just sat around talking.  Well, E talked a lot; we listened :]  Nothing too exciting took place.  Oh, but here is a fun fact.  The outhouse was one of the most outhousey outhouses I have ever been in.  I mean, it wasn’t a squatty potty, and for that I am EXTREMELY thankful.  But it was just very…old and patchy.  Just very crude?  Basically, it was just a rough country outhouse.  Nothing comfortable about it.  And, whenever I was just standing inside of it, my head was against the ceiling.  Haha have I ever mentioned how giant-like I am with short Chilenos?  Well, let’s just say that whenever we see a guy that is more than 2 inches taller than me….aka 5’ 10” ish….we pretty much all stare and make sure everyone else sees the phenomenon :]

The next day, we had coffee and bread for breakfast, and then we got started on the day’s activities.  They had 3 projects to try to get done.  1) the work on the church…..the roof I believe.  2) cleaning up the school yard.  And 3) chopping firewood for them.  So, we got to work.  Jeff and E started working on the church, and Jeano was their gopher and helper.  I don’t think I have mentioned before that she hurt her thumb pretty bad while wrestling with Nacho and Diego, so that has been pretty painful for her at times.  It was all bruised and swollen for the first week and a half, but now she can move it better.  It still hurts and is very sore, but she is tough and refuses to get it looked at… anywho.  She couldn’t really do the other work.  So then Clay and Beth went with Antonio to the school and took out all the thorny blackberry bush thingies.  And I stayed in the house with Alejandra and helped prepare lunch.  Man, if you ever want me to feel bad about myself, put me in the kitchen for 2 hours.  Yikes.  I am just so bad!  We went and bought some onions, picked some things from her garden, chopped up the veggies, and made some bread.  I made the bread :]  that was exciting.  I actually want to do it more here so that I can get a feel for how much of the ingredients I need.  The woman here are professionals at bread and can make it without even thinking.  It’s crazy.  But I want to be able to make it when I get home, so that is a little challenge for me.  Honestly though.  I am awful in the kitchen.  It took me SO long to prepare the cucumbers.  CUCUMBERS!  There is nothing to it!  But I just cant seem to work a knife with any skill.  Haha.  God was teaching me patience through that I think.  Or He was trying to.  I think I failed in practicing it. 

So after lunch, which ended up turning out good even with me helping with it, all the boys went back out to work on the church, and Beth, Jean, Timoteo (their 12 year old son) and I went to the school and did some more work there.  As I had mentioned before, Beth and Clay had been cutting and uprooting the prickly blackberry bush thingies.  So we went back to pick up their piles and wheel them over to a big burn pile just outside of the school property.  When we started this, there was nothing else on the burn pile.  Just the stuff that we were dumping there.  So that took a good little chunk of time, because they cut a lot of that stuff out.  And after we were done I was like, “Cool.  That didn’t take too long.  It looks so much better.  Now we can go home.”  Yeah.  I was WAY wrong.  Lol

After we picked up those piles, we headed over to the edge of the school property where there were these big, prickly bush/tree thingies growing.  I’m serious.  These things were massive and nasty.  And Timoteo said that we needed to cut all those down and out.  I’m thinking……WHAT?!  All we had was a wheelbarrow, 5 gloves (not pairs….just 5 gloves), a hatchet, and a scythe.  And I mean, I really wish I had my camera there so I could show you guys what these horrible things looked like.  They were like 6-7 ft tall and like 5 ft in diameter each.  And they HURT.  I mean, this is no little evergreen with a little bendy prickly things.  No, this was short, hard prickles covering the entire thing.  AWESOME.  And it was the kind of bush/tree thingy that doesn’t just have a trunk and branches attached to it.  Its like, all the hundreds of branches are in the ground, making it have like a hundred little trunks.  HORRIBLE. 

So we got started on these horrible monsters, and it was difficult.  Jeano got a little part started, and we just went from there.  Timoteo, Jean and I just took turn whacking at the branches, and then when we got them off, Beth and Ezekiel (their 8 year old son) hauled them over to the burn pile.  By this time, it was like 4 in the afternoon or so.  And it was HOT.  Whacking at things for long periods of time takes energy, and by the time we got the first beast killed, we were sweating and in need for water.  Granted, I was the sweatiest.  What’s new?  I seem to have an abnormal amount of liquid inside of me.  Reminded me of basketball practices.  Bet you missed my slimy arms this year, didn’t you, girls?  Heehee.  Gross.  But anywho.  We kept going.  The first horrible bush thing we attacked was solo.  But the rest of these terrible things were in a huge clump.  And that is when it started.  The war began. 

We paused, made up our minds that victory was ours, and began doing the unthinkable: CHOPPING DOWN THE FOREST OF DEATH WITH A DULL HATCHET.  (cue loud, ominous music).

Ok.  That was me getting my dramaticness out.  Thanks for sticking with me.  But anywho.  We started on this huge clump of them.  They were like…..all growing together.  It was crazy.  And kind of painful actually.  Jean still has some splinters in her fingers….a week later.  Not cool.  We found 3 soccer balls, a tennis ball, and a chair inside of these awful trees of pain.  And it took a LONG time.  We were working on them for a good 2 hours.  It was crazy and hot and just hard.  And it really showed me what a wimp I am.  Haha.  I need to get back into doing pushups.  I have no muscle.  But yeah.  We had like 1.5 of of the beginning 8 left to do and it was almost 7 o’clock; Timoteo said that we should get going back to the house.  This was kinda of depressing and defeating and at the same time exactly what I wanted to hear.  I really wish we could have finished with those stupid things, but I don’t know how much more swinging I could do with that dull blade.  So we just called it a day and returned. 

When we got back, supper was almost ready.  Then after dinner, we started talking and got on the topic of personal testimonies.  Now, we have been waiting for the past 4 months to hear E’s story.  But, he was making us wait until we were halfway through, and now we are just waiting for a good time to do it.  He doesn’t like to share it a lot; he says it is ugly.  So he didn’t share his, but all of us went around and shared our stories.  And it was really good.  Spanish makes things harder, but it was a good challenge.  It felt good to be able to share something personal and have Chilenos understand it, even though it wasn’t perfect grammar and stuff.  And then we got to hear some of Antonio’s story, and that was super interesting.  God is big and powerful and still does miracles today! 

Then the next day, the boys went to a field and built a barbed wire fence, Beth was helping with lunch, and Jeano and I went to pick apples.  Now, there is a story that I have just been so eager to share.  It just makes me laugh because it is so….ironic.  Ok, so we were picking apples, and at one point, Jean climbed the tree a little to grab some of the high ones and throw them down to me.  If you know Jean at all, this is not abnormal at all.  She LOVES climbing trees.  So she gets all of the ones that she can reach and then came down.  But there was one problem.  She was stuck.  Now, when most people say they are stuck in a tree, they mean that they have gone too high and can’t get back down.  This was not the case, and if you know Jean, you know that would NEVER happen to her.  No challenge is too difficult for her.  She is fearless, and I really do love that about her.  It makes me kind of jealous actually.  So anywho.  Jean is stuck in the tree….literally.  One of her feet was on the ground, but her other one was hoisted in the air, wedged in between two branches.  She’s like, “Oh, great,” and began trying to yank it out.  The sight of her awkwardly trying to free her foot was very funny, so I was chuckling to myself and saying something along the lines of, “You would, Jeano.”  So I went back to my apple picking after a little and continued to talk.  I can’t remember what I was saying, but whatever it was didn’t require much answering from her.  She replied with little words or whatever, but I just kept on talking and picking.  When I had gotten some more apples, I finally turned around, and there was Jean, repositioning herself and grunting, still stuck in the tree!  I lost it.  I mean, she had been stuck in there for over a minute at least.  And her attempts to free herself were futile.  And finally, as I stood there laughing, she asked for my assistance.  So I went over there and told her to knock off her yanking.  We shoved her shoe forward and were then able to lift it out pretty easily.  That’s why we are a team.  I do the thinking and analyzing, and she does the acting and doing.  It was just so funny.  2 minutes of being stuck in a tree….on the ground.  Baha.  I love you, Jeano.  I really do.  Thanks for being you, a best friend :]  But, I gotta say.  I really wish I had had a camera to capture the moment :p

So anywho.  After we finished that, we headed back to the house.  There were a few blackberry vine thingies to remove there, so we worked on that for a little.  And pretty soon, it was time for lunch.  By the time we had everything cleaned and packed up, it was about time to say goodbye and head out.  Luckily, we will be going back there again to cut down a tree and chop firewood, so we didn’t have to say goodbye forever.  It had been a really great trip, and they were such a blessing to have as hosts.  It was just a very encouraging trip, and I am very thankful for it. 

When we left, we waited on the beach for a boat for about an hour.  And around 5 o’clock, it came and picked us up.  The trip was again, pretty uneventful.  Although, after we got to Calbuco, we had to climb a GINORMOUS hill to find a bus.  This slope was intense.  I mean, it was VERY steep.   I would hate to walk up and down that sidewalk every day.  But other than that, there is nothing else really worth mentioning about the trip. 

The next morning, we got to sleep in :]  Yay for sleep!  Then the boys went to someone’s house to work on their house, Beth…..was doing something that I can’t remember, and Jean and I went with Juanita and the kids to visit Anita.  Nothing too exciting.  But, what is yet to come in this story is VERY exciting :]  So stick with me.

So, while we were in Bariloche for vacation about a month ago, we met some very cool people at our hostile.  One girl we met was Rebekah from Australia.  She is 19 and tall, pretty, adventurous, sweet, and has the best accent ever :]  We talked to her a lot in our down time there, and by the time we left, we had exchanged facebook information and even thoughts of her coming to stay with us on her way back up Chile.  You see, Rebekah is backpacking around South America.  She started off at the end of November and had been traveling with her older sister, but then her sister went back home, and Rebekah has been traveling solo ever since.  She had been making her way down, and once she reached the end of Chile, was going to come back up and stop in and see us maybe.  That’s cool, I thought to myself.  But I never really thought anything would come of it. 

Well, long story short, through communicating with Jean through facebook, she actually planned to meet us in Puerto Montt that night.  So, after our visit, we headed to town and met our friend.  Now, God was totally in all of this.  There were complications in dates and trips and just a bunch of details, but Jean really felt like this was supposed to work.  So between her and Rebekah, they made a plan, and it finally pulled through.  You see, when we met Rebekah in Bariloche, she had told us she had gone to a Protestant church in Australia, but that now she didn’t know what she believed.  At this point, we hadn’t heard very much of her story, but we knew she was confused and searching for truth. 

In all of this, I didn’t have the best attitude.  I mean, I liked Rebekah, but I just felt like we were forcing this to happen too much.  Oh, man.  I was way off base, and I realize that now.  Thank you, Jean, for loving me even in all my faults and wrong comments, and thank You, Jesus, for forgiving my horrible attitude and having mercy on me. 

So, we got to town and found Rebekah waiting there, just like they had planned.  It was good to see her again.  We had a few errands to do in town, so we just did some catching up while we walked around.  Also, it was Nacho’s birthday.  Nacho is like my little brother.  I love the kid.  We always pick on each other and fight, but its fun.  He really is like the younger brother I will never have.  So we were going to have a special dinner for him that night and whatever.  The kid doesn’t like cake (which makes no sense to me at all), so we were roasting chicken on the pit out back.  We had to get some vegetables for salads, and try to find something to get him for his birthday. 

Well, Rebekah came prepared.  She made some desert, an herby bread, and even bought Nacho some really good chocolate for his birthday.  She is just so sweet and thoughtful.  And the girl can cook.  She loves it, and so do we :]  She made a meal for us on Bariloche once as well. 

So anywho.  She hung out with us and was going to spend the night at our house and leave sometime the next morning.  As we hung out with her more and talked, it was obvious how hungry she was for truth and answers.  And again, long story short, she is still here with us today.  It has been a crazy change of plans, but God is WORKING.  It has been amazing to see the ways He has orchestrated everything.  I am blown away.  And yeah.  Let me give you a few details and random facts on everything. 

The first two nights she was here, Jeano and I shared my twin sized bed.  This is the 3rd time we have slept in a bed made for one person.  And on my bed, it is even more of a challenge.  It is just a quirky one.  But since then, we have got a mattress from E and J for her to use. 

Since she has been here, she has been cooking most of our meals.  The girl is GOOD.  She makes delicious, new, interesting things that are usually pretty healthy.  And, the cool thing about it is that a lot of times, she selflessly makes things that she herself cannot eat.  She can’t eat anything with glutton in it.  But she has only had this problem for a few months as she has been traveling.  The reasoning for this is somewhat complicated, but basically, she loves all normal food, but she just cant have it without her stomach being seriously messed up.  But, despite all of this, she makes DELICIOUS food for us to eat.  And its new and different things!  Its been quite a blessing to have her here. 

She is so sweet.  Constantly, she is doing things to help out.  After church on Sunday, she had a talk with E, and basically she is going to stay with us for as long as she needs.  She is searching.  She has a lot of hurt in her past and so many questions.  Good, but hard questions.  And she is basically at the place of needing to chose to surrender her life to Christ, or give up on Him and try new things.  I mean, she has been trying new things along the way, but none of them are giving her the satisfaction she is looking for.  And she is so hungry and curious.  It has been just so……awesome. 

It’s really hard to explain the whole situation.  Hopefully next post I will have a better understanding of everything as well.  And I will keep you guys updated.  I am just very excited and expectant at this point.  Nothing definite has happened yet since she has been here, but she is teaching me so much!  It has been awesome.  I will just share a little bit on this. 

Basically, I have been forced to figure out what it is that I believe and share it in a way that another person can understand.  And in my sheltered life, this is like the first time I have done this.  There was one time when it was just Rebekah and I, and we had such a good talk!  I just realized how much more I need to step out and faith and talk to people like this.  I cannot keep quiet.  And I need to be able to effectively share my experiences with the Lover of my soul.  You know?  I have just been made very aware of this.  And it has been so good. 

Also, I have just really been shown how important it is for me to be living a life that is in line with what I say I believe.  This is a critical point in Rebekah’s life.  She is searching, but she has been with Christians before.  She knows what Christianity is about, but she has not been given a picture of what it looks like to live it out.  She has been let down, hurt, and just broken by people who say they love Jesus.  And it has really struck me how important it is for me to live out what I say I am all about.  I am sorry.  I cant seem to find the words I am looking for in describing this.  But, the point is, I am learning lots of stuff about myself in having her stay with us.  And it has been really good for me.  God has worked all of this out, and I am just blown away by the perfectness of our Creator.  He is AWESOME. 

So, as this journey continues, I would really appreciate if you guys could keep my team and Rebekah in your prayers.  God is working, and Satan is mad.  He wants to turn her away.  Please pray that we can give a genuine, accurate picture of what following Jesus is all about, and for open and tender hearts and ears to hear and feel when the Spirit is stirring. 

Now, I apologize.  I know this post is SUPER long already.  I am on page 9 of a Word document.  Yea……CRAZY LONG!  And I am sorry….I think.  Actually.  I don’t think I am.  You have a choice.  You don’t need to read this, and you can quit whenever you want to.  But, it is about to get a little longer.  This is where it gets really personal.  This is my heart.  And I just….I need to sort through it and share.  So, proceed with caution if you dare. 

But ok.  Wow.  Today has been INTENSE in my mind.  Really.  This is crazy.  And I just have to spill all of my thoughts to sort them out.  So here we go. 

This morning I woke up at 6 to do my quiet time.  And I always start with picking a picture on my wall and praying for the people in it.  So I was doing that, and then I just kept going.  My plan had been to read some more of Psalms and then journal some thoughts maybe, but once I brought up my future plans and started asking Him which college He was leading me to, I just got nailed with a thought and then began battling with God.  The thought was, “Since when did I lead you to college?”  It’s a simple thought really, but man, it is rocking my world. 

You know, this whole time I have been saying, “Lord, I will go wherever You lead me.  I mean it.  Just point me in the direction You would have me go.”  But really, in my mind I have been thinking, “Just tell me which college it is that You want me to go to, and I will do it.”  I mean, I knew that there might be other options for things He would want me to do, but I have been rationalizing in my head and basically been trying to reason my way out of it subconsciously. 

I think things like, “God wouldn’t have given me the ability to receive scholarships and then just let them go to waste.”  Or “I really have a desire to learn, and God will use that.”  How arrogant!  I mean seriously, Kirsten.  You are acting like you know how God thinks and can predict what He wants! 

This whole time I have felt clueless as to where God wanted me to go.  I had it in my mind that God wanted me to go to college, because I want to go to college.  I kept saying, “Say the word, God, and I will go to whichever one.”  And you know what?  I have felt no persuasion towards either.  And honestly, I would really enjoy either.  They are very different, but I think that is why I would like both of them a lot.  And so I have been asking God to point me to His choice and I will follow.  I’ve felt nothing. 

So all of this has been happening over the last few months.  And this whole time I have thought that I have until May 1st to decide on a college.  Then I thought I only had until April 1st.  But now I think it is back to May 1st.  And I was like…..freaking out here for about 5 days. 

So here I am, sitting in my bed, arguing with God.  He stumps me with His question.  Let me remind you.  “Since when did I lead you to college?”  So I remind Him of the ability He gave me and my desire to learn.  And then, He reminds me that there are many places and ways to learn things and lots of things to learn.  Why would I need a college?  Then I was back with, “Well, what about scholarships?!”  “And what about them?” He said. 

Now, let me interject something here.  Throughout this whole process, I have known that God doesn’t really care about finance situations.  He is WAY above them.  His ways and thoughts are far above ours.  I know this!  And I believe it.  I really do.  But, I have been so selfish and naïve in my thinking.  I may not have meant to, but I put God into a box.  And now, I am realizing that He just can’t fit.  He is far too big and brilliant for me. 

He basically just stripped me right down to the real motivations of my heart.  All along, I thought I was really seeking the will of God.  I honestly thought I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be.  But He showed me that what I was really doing was pursuing my desires and asking Him to bless them.  I have been planning my future and then asking God where He wants me to go between my options.  And the root of this problem is a lack of surrendering.  …….eeeeek. 

Yep.  That was a slap in the face.  He is asking for my everything, and I have been holding on.  Sure, I have given Him some things.  And shoot.  I thought I had given Him my future.  But I was WAY wrong.  I gave Him the easy part of my future, but I have been holding on very tightly to my selfish desires.  And, as of this morning, He made it very clear that unless I hand it all over to Him, I cannot expect to get an answer in direction from Him. 

Now, I know that being in the center of His will is the best place to be.  My head KNOWS that.  It even believes that.  But, my heart doesn’t want to let go.  I am scared, and I am scared to admit that I am scared.  I know what I want my next year to look like.  And the thought of not having those wants met is scary to me.  But, I don’t want to voice these things because I don’t want Him to take them away.  But He knows me better than I know myself!  He made me!  Stop being dumb, Kirsten.  He knows exactly what you want.  He knows you want to be close to home.  He knows you want to be involved in your family life again.  He knows you don’t want to miss Kaley’s senior year or Kloe’s basketball games anymore.  He knows you want to help kids.  He even knows you want to get involved in outreach opportunities close to home.   And that is all fine and dandy.  But, its not what my life is about. 

The Bible clearly says that as disciples of God, we are not promised the luxury of home.  It also says that anyone who loves his father or mother more than Him is not worthy of Him.  …..Wow. 

“What do you have to say to that, Kirsten?”  He is asking me.  “What are you going to decide?”

And so here I am.  I know the truth.  I know that free falling into the arms of my Savior and giving Him EVERYTHING is the best choice.  And I also know that it is the scariest.  I also know that this whole experience, this WHOLE Reach experience, has had a theme of faith for me.  That is the reason I applied in the first place.  I wanted to increase my faith and strengthen my foundation.  And now, here is my opportunity.  The ultimate test of faith.  GIVE.  IT.  UP. 

And as I sit here typing this, I just yet another slap to the face.  I have my iPod turned to Tenth Avenue North.  I love their sound.  They are soothing and genuine and real and powerful in their lyrics.  And as I typed the previous paragraph, I listened to the words of the song playing in my ear, and I am moved to tears.  God, you win. 

The song is Let It Go by Tenth Avenue North.  PLEASE listen to it.  Or just read the lyrics at least.  I am amazed by my Creator.  He is speaking to me in the clearest way I have ever heard in my entire life.  Today, March 27, 2012, has been a very monumental day in my life.  And I mean this very seriously.  This is….this is God.  And He is personal and unique and perfect.  He is all knowing, and I just can’t help but stand in awe of His Majesty.  Here is the link for the song.  And here is the link for the lyrics.
And it doesn’t stop there.  After I had this battle with God, I was talking with Jean and Rebekah about it all.  And then I began to read my book.  Now, this book has been on my mind for the past week or two.  I LOVE it, and I have been suggesting it to lots of people.  And I am not even finished with it yet!  It is just so full of Truth and Power.  Its called The Bravehearted Gospel by Eric Ludy.  READ IT.  I am not kidding.  It will put passion in your bones.  I am usually not very into books like it.  Most of the time, the writers just go over my head, and I cant follow what they are saying.  But this book……it is speaking to me.  So after I tried to explain what was happening in my head to Jean and Rebekah, I picked up this book and started reading.  And not one minute after I started, this is what I read: We don’t want to face the facts that the Christian life isn’t about me, about my wants, about meeting my desires, or about stroking my flesh.  It’s about Jesus Christ and a radical abandon to His wants, His desires, and adoring the love and power found only in His name. 


So that is where I am at.  I have just spent this time in brokenness at His feet.  And I did it.  I gave it up.  It is not worth me holding onto.  HE is EVERYTHING I need.  He said let it go.  And I finally did.  So whether it seems stupid to the world, whether I end up in Bulgaria next year, whether I work at Der Dutchman the rest of my life, I am going where He wants.  Not my desires, but His.  HE MUST BECOME GREATER; I MUST BECOME LESS!  This is my favorite verse, and I feel as though I finally understand what it truly means.  John 3:30. 

Also, in all of this, I realize He never actually said to me that college was outside of His will.  He was just questioning my loyalty and surrender.  I have NO idea if college is where He wants me or not.  It could be….it could not me.  All I know is that He is asking me to wait on Him and His timing and abandon all of my selfish desires for the sake of following Him, and I’m in. 

So, as I have just unloaded my heart here, I am feeling a couple of things. 
1.       Joy.  I honestly feel so full of just complete joy right now.  I have absolutely no idea what the future is going to be for me.  None.  Not a clue.  But, I know that my life is in the hands of the Creator of the Universe, and that is where it is supposed to be.
2.       Peace.  Like I am finally where I am supposed to be….inside of His will.  And it feels good.  SO GOOD. 
3.       Ready.  I know that I have just waged a massive war on my soul.  The devil is going to be doing everything he can to get me to grab on again.  But I don’t want to.  No way. 

Woah.  This has been a crazy post!  I am awestruck.  I really am.  But I just ask right now that you keep me in your prayers right now.  Pray that God would give me the strength and courage to rest in His arms.  Faith.  I need to actively practice faith.  In each and every moment of every day.  And I just ask that you pray that I would know how to approach the future.  Now that I have truly dedicated myself to go to wherever He calls, I know that I have to be watching and listening for His voice.  But I am not sure I know how to do this without mixing my selfishness with His path.  And I need to practice patience in waiting for His leading, but I also need to be thinking about the next couple of months, as decisions do have to be made on colleges and work, whether I say yes or no. 

So yeah.  I just want to thank you all profusely for sticking with me, if you are still reading this.  This was a hard thing to do, but at the same time, I don’t think I could have sorted it all without doing this.  I guess I wouldn’t have to post it in a blog, but I think that it is my duty sort of.  If God can at all use what I have just experienced to touch the life of someone reading this, then that is all that matters.  So thank you all for your support, encouragement and prayers.  I will be keeping you all updated on everything going on over here.  Hopefully by my next post I will have more information on the Roberto situation, Hopey’s puppies, Rebekah, and even my position in the world.  But, if not, then I know God’s timing is best.  I love you all so much.  Thank you and GOD BLESS!!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Kirsten, Bridget here. You know, just the other day in class, we were talking about college. She asked how many of us knew someone who dropped out of high school, or didn't go to college. I know someone, but I wasn't thinking of you at the time. The stigma in America is that people who don't go to college are stupid and unsuccesful, but all the people who knew someone who didn't go to college, or even finish high school were doing well in life. Granted, my friend is getting her GED, but really. College is an American thing. Not a whole bunch of other countries have that kind of pressure to do it. You grew up thinking about college, and that's why it seemed right. I remember when you were talking to me about it, I think you were still in your junior year at the time. It didn't completely feel right for you then either. God helped you in finding this program, and he will tell you where you need to go. I know it and have faith in that. God bless Kirsten. I miss you, but I know that you are doing good, and I'm sure your family knows the same, even if they miss you even more. Just keep listening. <3