Thursday, February 28, 2013

Memories from the mission field: "I love you Anna"

Today was another one of my favorite memories in missions. Sometimes I think people forget that there is a mission field at home too.
This picture was from several months ago, from some appreciative foster kids I knew.
Foster care is my mission field at home.
Tonight I went to a shelter for children, and I had one of those sweet little moments that I will remember for a long time. Childhood is hard and often confusing, especially so when you are a foster child. The kids so badly need love and attention that can be hard to find.
One cannot be as open about religion in American foster care as on a foreign mission field, but ones experience can be just as powerful.
Tonight I played games with a little boy, and spun him around in the air, and shot basketball hoops with him.
Bedtime came and he asked me if I would tuck him in. He got all snug in bed and I told him it was time for me to go back to my home.
The boy sat up and gave me a hug and said, "I love you Anna. Your name is Anna right? I'm going to remember you Anna."
The amazing thing about missions, is when I go in wanting to impact, others impact me. This little boy made my day by saying those few words to me.
Just the smallest act of love can change some one's world, and usually that one is yourself.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Memories from the mission field: Mountain

This has been my all time favorite picture taken while on missions. This trip was our church's 1st time ministering on the Nez Perce reservation in Idaho. It was my 2nd missions trip.
This picture was actually taken on the 2 year anniversary of me dedicating my life to God. This photo has been very metaphoric to me.
I had been in a very dark place in my life when I cried out to God to help me. All I could see was the "mountain" of a struggle to get my life in order.
In 2007, Idaho 2 years later, a group of us saw this giant hill, and we wanted to try and get to the top where the cross was. It was so hard climbing up, because it was so steep. I had to cling to grass and roots to stop from sliding back down. But I had the others right there with me, and we all encouraged each other to keep climbing. When we finally made it to the top, we were so excited that we were waving our hands around and cheering, feeling so victorious.
2005, I felt so overwhelmed by what I could foresee in my future. I clung to the Bible just as tightly as I would cling to the grass and roots 2 years later. And days when I thought I couldn't make it, I had Christian family and friends cheering me on just as I did later on that hill.
2007, only 2 years later, my life had already been taken so much further than I thought I would ever go. God began to take me all around the world, showing me what I was made for.
Now, almost 8 years after crying out for help, God has taken me through 6 nations, several states, introduced me to many people, and made all my dreams come true. Just as I stood cheering at the cross at the top of the mountain, I feel I am still jumping for joy at the peak.
Now I prepare to accomplish a dream in the making since I was 4. And I know I never would have made it there, with out first asking God to save me, when I was in that dark place.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Memories from the missions field pt 4: Felipe

This was taken about 15 minutes after I sat to talk with Felipe.
This was Felipe and his baby sister, Alejandra. I met them on my missions trip to Peru in 2008. Felipe didn't speak any English, and I spoke only a tiny bit of Spanish. I could tell something was bothering him, he seemed very anxious.  
So I sat down and tried talking to him with what little Spanish I knew. Before long we were in deep conversation. 
I could fully understand him, and I was speaking words and phrases I had never learned. We ended up talking for an hour about God, and bible stories that showed how he could help in the different struggles Felipe was facing.
For that hour, I was miraculously fluent in Spanish. We prayed together, and by the time he took his sister back home, he had a big bright smile on his face.
Felipe and his sister when I first spotted them.
This was just one of the many amazing things I have experienced on the mission field, and I am expecting even greater things in Uganda.

Memories from the mission field Pt 3: Ms. Sowa

Me in Madrid
Ms. Sowa was my Spanish teacher 9th and 10th grade. By that time I had traveled to Mexico with my family and church, but traveling overseas was still something I thought would only happen many years in the future. 

But at 16 she made it possible for CCS to have a class trip to Spain.

An unexpected twist happened last minute, when Ms. Sowa became too ill to travel. I was faced with the dilemma of skipping the trip and not getting a refund, or traveling through Germany and Spain on my own, unchaperoned. Everyone else on the trip backed out.

I and 1 classmate ended up being the only ones who decided to still go.

Once we got to the hotel in Madrid, we grouped up with another class from D.C. for chaperoning purposes, but somehow traveling with out a parent or teacher made a big impact on me. It made my world a bigger and more fun place, and it sparked a desire in me to make my whole life an adventure.

I gained a sense of great independence and confidence from choosing to go on the trip, and that is helped me know I could handle going to Peru the next summer.

Although I did not do missions work in Spain, it was still a great milestone in my missions experience, for it acted as a sort of catalyst for the future.

Ms. Sowa went to heaven last week, and I am so thankful that she was the one who encouraged me to go to Spain, and broaden my horizon. It really did make a lasting impact in my life, and for that I am so thankful to have known Ms. Sowa.

Memories from the mission field Pt 2: Bill

I met Bill through a class in high school where we would go and visit with the residents at a local retirement home. 
We became very good friends, and he adopted me as his granddaughter.
 I continued to visit him through the years, until he passed away in 2010.
He was so excited to hear me talk about my dream of going to Africa. Every time he introduced me to someone he would say, "You know she's going to go to Africa some day."
He would always end our visit with saying to me, "I'm so proud to know you. And when I get to heaven, I'm going to put in an extra special good word about you to our Father. I'll make sure he takes you to big places. You'll get to Africa."

Memories from the Mission field Part 1: Mrs. Lehman

As I get down to the final weeks before departing to accomplish my life long dream of going to Africa, I want to spend some time sharing about different people who helped motivate me, and share different stories from my time in missions.

This first entry, I will copy and paste something I had written up in 2008 about a teacher who helped inspire me when I was in 6th grade, Mrs. Lehman:

Monday, March 24, 2008
A letter from Mrs. Lehman
Category: Life
A letter from Mrs. Lehman
I had this teacher in the 6th grade. Her name was Mrs. Lehman. It is so funny now that I think back about it. The whole year I was terrified of her! She was probably one of the most strict teachers I have ever had. Like any stupid little kid I thought because she was strict it meant she just hated kids...but that was the farthest thing from the truth. I can now think back to all the times she made me laugh, comforted me as I cried, and supported me in every way possible. By the time I was half way through 7th grade I missed her class.
In 2004 Mrs. Lehman passed away very suddenly. I was crushed when I heard the news.
Time went by and we all grieved and eventually moved on and Mrs. Lehman became a part of my memory. A few weeks ago I was pretty upset about a few situations and was really questioning everything about myself. Now, one of my weirdest quirks is that I clean like crazy when I am frustrated. So I was in my room cleaning it when I found a folded up piece of paper. I opened it up and knew what it was within the first few words, and the tears started pouring. It was a paper Mrs. Lehman had written about her having a conversation with one of her granddaughters 20yrs in the future and they were discussing on where every one in our class was these days.
This is what she had written about me:
"Lindsay and I chatted for a few more minutes, and she shared with me that she and her family were traveling to Kenya, Africa next year to visit former classmate, Savanah. Savanah was a missionary in a small village in the middle of Kenya. She had become a nurse soon after high school and was using her skills to be the only "doctor" of the village, as well as being the deliverer if the good news of Jesus Christ. People loved her and were always coming to her with their problems. Somehow, no matter how difficult the situation, she always managed to make every one feel better. Savanah spent many of her evenings at the local orphanage reading to the children, playing with them, and fulfilling their needs of some one to love them. She often thought of the days gone by at CCS and the friends she made there. She thought of how Mrs. Lehman had told her to listen to the voice of Jesus and do what He says. For a while she was confused on whether she should be a missionary or a nurse, but the Lord revealed to her she could do both. She is extremely happy, fulfilled, and awaits the day of Jesus’ coming"

At the bottom she wrote "You're doing good, Girl!!!!!"
For a while I felt all my frustrations were gone. I really don’t have too much to worry about because it is all going to work out fine.
It was amazing to me how even over 3yrs after her death, and 5yrs after being in her class, she still was helping me. Letting me know that there was some one who was rooting for me, some one who believed in me, even when I do not believe in myself. Her words of wisdom still ring in my ear in times of trouble. A giant smile still covers my face when I think of her roaring laughter. But most of all I still feel the warmth of her love and compassion whenever I picture her face
Let this be an encouragement (aside from my possible bad grammar) to all teachers who may be reading. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, you have an amazing influence on your students. One that will remain for many years after they have left your classroom.
If you have been tagged it's because you were one of my teachers, are a teacher, or are some one who I know has great influence on people's lives

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Prayer Tower

I mention the prayer tower alot in this blog. But I got to thinking today, that most of the people who read this are back in Oregon, and probably wondering what I am talking about. So today I will dedicate an entry to introducing you to the prayer tower.

The prayer tower, also know as the ORU alien spaceship, is one of my favorite places on campus.
There are beautiful gardens surrounding it called the prayer gardens. Often times when walking past the prayer gardens, I will see someone sitting in the grass reading the bible, or pacing around the flowers singing a pretty tune of praise to God. The walk to the prayer tower is half the fun, because of getting the experience of the breathtaking gardens.
When I step inside the prayer tower, I am on the 1st floor.

To my left is the prayer room, which is my ultimate favorite part of the prayer tower. You walk through the prayer room doors and the room is very dimly lit. there is slow paced worship music playing that sets the mood quickly. There is a cross directly across from the entrance and paper to write on set at the feet of the cross. When I get close to the cross, I find holes in the cross, for me to leave my prayers in.

The walls are black, with chalk available to write on the walls. All around are different peoples prayers, scriptures, and words of encouragement posted on the walls. There are leather couches that when you sit, you sink into....which is the way I think all couches should be.
Going back out of the prayer room I have to take the elevator up to the second floor to see the biggest tourist attraction about the prayer tower.

When I enter the 2nd floor, I see windows all around me in a circle. Through them I can see the entire campus, and a large portion of the city of Tulsa.
It is a very quiet and tranquil place. The walls and floor display different quotes and scripture.

As I walk around and view the far out distance, it becomes a rather emotional experience. There is something so beautiful about it.
There are different churches right outside the ORU boundaries, so I can see crosses propped up seemingly all over town. It always makes me want to smile and say, "This is God's country."
There are individual prayer rooms on the second floor too. The have to be checked out to be used, and have a single person couch and coffee table.
Each room has a featured quote.

One of the best features of the prayer tower, is how cool it looks in the beautiful Oklahoma sunsets.

While mentioning sunsets, here is my favorite sunset picture from my time here:

Monday, February 4, 2013

More happy happenings

This meme pretty much sums up my week.
Monday we hit a high of 81 degrees,
Tuesday we had a tornado watch because of a cold front moving in,

Wednesday we only got up to a high of 30,
Thursday was torrential rain,

and Saturday was a sunny and beautiful high of low 60's. So you never know what weather you will get in Oklahoma!
Saturday and last Monday I got out to take a walk in a tank top and worked on my tan a bit. I have the slightest humorous hope that maybe working on my tan in February will be enough to help me in Africa in May.

We had "open dorms" on the 27th where the guys are allowed to spend a few hours in the girls dormitory. I got a text to come to a Lord of the Rings marathon, and when I got there, I was greeted with brownies and "SOME" popcorn.
I admit I had quite a good laugh with this picture.

This past week was homecoming week, so there were lots of festivities to enjoy.
Saturday night was the homecoming basketball game, and there was a dance afterward, each of which I had a blast at!
My hilarious friend Jake didn't know what to do at the dance, so he just did what ever move came to his mind.
Half the battle at a dance is just trying to look like you know what you're doing. Ha, I'm laughing again!
Midweek a new student center opened at ORU, as a massive hangout spot with games, tvs, computers, food, and more. Some of us celebrated the opening by playing the old fashioned video game Mario Cart.

And speaking of games, how could I fail to mention, the big game! A group of about 20 ORU students all piled into 3 cars and we went to an ORU alumnus's home to watch the Superbowl on their gigantic in home movie theater. I am not a big fan of football, but anything is more fun when watched on a massive screen in a comfortable chair, with good food.

This crazy weather tells me that spring is in the air. With spring comes tornadoes, tans, and tanktops.
I first visited Oklahoma in the spring, and I can't wait to live here for the season. Lots of good picture ops.
Infact, here's a rather "springish" picture of me!