Thoughts on this year…

I find myself ending my first year as a missionary in the United States instead of Guatemala.  I am continually being reminded that ministry can be done in many different ways. (If you are wondering, we will be returning to Guatemala in January. I am both excited and ready to return.)

I am learning to stop basing my self worth off of accomplishments, or the idea I’m doing something good, worthwhile, or big enough. I repeat this quote often,

“God has not called me to be successful. He has called me to be FAITHFUL.” – Mother Teresa 

Serving the Lord in Guatemala this year has been exciting, new, and everyone naturally treats it as amazing. Even without seeing all the great changes I hoped for, it was easy to feel like I’m doing something worthwhile. 

The last two month I spent most of my time either catching up with supporters, spending quality time with my siblings, or listening, supporting and being a friend for my mom. With seven kids still at home (most of them teenagers), homeschooling and ministry her life, although abundant, is busy and stressful. It has been an unexpected yet precious season. Although simply being a friend and listening ear doesn’t seem huge or glamorous, I am leaning no limit can be placed on its value. 

Me, my Mom, and Evelynn

This month (November) I’ve been spending time with my sister Beth who is expecting her second baby in 3 months. Her husband is working full time and spending every spare minute on renovating a camper. Which will be their new home in three weeks. Although it’s always been one of their dreams to have a mobile home for traveling, they never expected to have to move into one right now. Helping my sister pack up, prepare to move and spending time sitting on the floor playing with our babies together has been so special. I am certain I will look back on this month spent “simply living life with my sis and our babies” and treasure it forever. 

I can hardly believe we both have babies!

Somewhere in the middle of all that, we got to spend time both Michael’s Mom and Dad. Evelynn is their first grand baby so it was an extra exciting time. We also had the opportunity to get all of Michael’s siblings together in one place for the first time in several years. It was a crazy, but super special little family reunion.

With Michael’s brothers and sister

Some days I think what am I doing with my life? I am supposed to be a missionary in Guatemala and I have nothing to show for the last 3 months. But the truth is this isn’t my life, I don’t have to have great works to show off. This life I have is God’s and I am created to point to Him, to bring Him glory. So whether I’m loving the fatherless in Guatemala, listening and encouraging my mom, packing boxes with my sister, or playing with my baby doesn’t matter. 

I never imagined my first year on the mission field ending  with me in being US. I never considered what it would look like to have a pandemic during my first year in Guatemala. I honestly have never ever thought or imagined what it would be like to experience a pandemic in my lifetime.

Here I am in a situation I never dreamed of, seeking, surrendering, and serving, the Lord. No matter where I am or what task is before me, I always have the opportunity to do ministry, to point to Christ which is all I need to both be and believe my life holds worth and is successful.

I encourage you to think about what makes you feel successful and valuable. Then take a few minutes to pray and ask the Lord, “Am I trying to find my worth and success in the right place?”

Lot's of pictures, because I love pictures!
Shopping! Evelynn and her cousin Oliver.

This pic is blurry, but it captures what our time together was like so perfectly that I just had to post it. We did a lot of work with babies strapped to our backs!

With Michael’s Mom
With Michael’s Dad
My Mom when she got to have both her grand babies together for the first time.
My Dad and Evelynn
Evelynn’s first hiking trip with her Aunt and Uncles.

During the spelling quiz Evelynn took every pen and pencil out of the bucket 🙂

Perseverance, Dance, and Memories

Memories are special. I wrote this in August, the week I prepared a party for me students at Hope of Life to perform their dances. In the craziness of changing plane tickets and suddenly having to leave sooner than planned I never posted it. Now over 3 moths later I find myself thinking about my dance students everyday. I miss them. I decided to post this now because it is a special memory to me. 

Shrieks filled the air as I watched my dance students jump up and down with joy. I tried hard not to fall over as I was bombarded by a mob of hugs. All this joy over the simple statement: “I am planning a party so you can perform your dances!”

Everyday since I told my dance students we would be having performance. They have asked me, “what should we wear, what is our uniform?” I don’t have the ability right now during the quarantine to go out and buy matching shirts or outfits for them. So I’m sewing them each a matching hair bow. Some people might think that’s silly. But it’s one of the ways I can show these kids I care about what’s important to them; a way I can help make this day something special for them. Honestly I’ve had a lot fun being creative and sewing again.

This week during dance class we have been learning about perseverance. After practicing a dance one time through I offer some encouragement for sections well done and some correction for sections that need improvement. Then I say, “Let’s do it again!” Usually I am met with several “No’s!” “No not again!” and some of the kids refuse to continue rehearsing. 

In life we must often do hard things, things we don’t want to do in order to be successful. When we live for Jesus we definitely have to do hard and uncomfortable things knowing that in the end it will be worth it. So I asked my students, (with the best Spanish I have)

“Do you think it was easy for Jesus to die on the cross in order to save us? No. it was very hard and painful. But he chose to do it anyway, because he loves God and he loves you. School for example might be hard, but you must persevere and study hard so that you can get a good job when you grow up. Then you will be able to provide for your family, you won’t have to be hungry. So as we prepare to perform this dance, you must be willing to practice the dance over and over again even if you don’t want to. This dance is a place where you have the opportunity to praise the Lord. Let’s persevere and do our best because we love the Lord.” 

Perseverance is a character quality that is an important part of life and walking by faith. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach these kids an important character quality during a fun activity like dance. In the midst of all this joy and excitement for the dance performance my heart also grieves that these precious kids don’t have parents or loved ones to watch and cheer them on, to celebrate and tell them good job.

Pray for me as I strive to share with them a glimpse of the unconditional love God has for each one of them. I feel so unqualified. But I serve a mighty God who can do things that often appear impossible. A God who loves and cares about each of these kids. A God who hears our prayers. 

All dressed up and excited to perform!
The Girls were so excited for a reason to wear make up. They all looked absolutely beautiful. Their smiles just radiated as I told them how beautiful they looked.
Look at those hair bows! The Kids loved them more than I expected. I praised the Lord that I learned to sew when I was young… it’s amazing how the little skills we don’t think much about can be really handy.

I smile at the thought of being  greeted with a bombardment of hugs and shrieks of joy. I look forward to the day we return to Guatemala and I can begin teaching dance again. But for now, I remain in prayer for each of these kids’ hearts that desperately need Jesus. Please pray with me. 

Dancing in the rain!
Learning to skip!

September Snapshot!

I Feel Like That Fish

As I watched the sunrise this morning, I saw a fish jump. 

The fish jumped high, gliding through the air in a graceful ark, before it plunged back into the water. 

I thought, “right now, I feel like that fish.”

I’ve been swimming in turbulent salt water. Although the water is the place where I have everything I need to survive, it can feel dark, cold, rough and scary as the waves push me around. Right now I’ve jumped. I am soaring in the air glimpsing the world, seeing family, enjoying comforts. I am flying high and smooth. I don’t want to leave this place.

Like the fish this is not my home. The fish must return to the water. It may be cold, dark and turbulent, but that is where the fish can breath. The water is where the fish was created to live and like it or not that is where God put it. God has given the fish everything it needs for life, everything it needs to do what it is created to do in the water of the huge ocean. The fish may love jumping out of the water, looking around, and soaring through the air, but it will never thrive outside where God has put it. The fish cannot breathe out of water. 

So it is for me.

God has put me in Guatemala to serve Him, love Him, share His love, and the gospel. It is often dark, cold, rough, and scary. But God has given me everything I need to thrive there. 

It’s so nice to jump out of the water for a brief moment to be refreshed and reminded of my purpose, of who I am, to find a break from the turbulence. But like the fish I cannot survive forever here, on vacation. (though I do love it so much) It is a gift of encouragement. After a time, I must plunge back into the water and trust God has given me everything I need to thrive there. I will keep swimming with vigor. God is with me. He loves me. He knows where He has put me and it is good.

-Rachel Pouchot

The Beautiful sunrise at Cocoa Beach

My Quarantine Buddy

Evelynn is 6 months old today!

Last year this time everyone was asking me the big question: 

Are you gonna give birth to your first child in Guatemala, a third world country? 

Or are you gonna postpone your moving date and have the baby in the US?

Contrary to the popular assumption I chose to give birth to Evelynn in Guatemala. I never second guessed the decision nor did I have fear or anxiety about it. When people really tried to convince me it was a dangerous idea, I often replied, “Guess what? Lots of babies are born in Guatemala everyday!” I usually received that annoyed look of “you’re right, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.” I had peace about this decision because I believed it was where God wanted us to be.

God also knew… 

…I would be stuck in Guatemala during this quarantine. 

…I would be unable to do ministry the way I had expected. 

…I would be far away from family and friends. 

…I would be without work and therefore be tempted to feel purposeless. 

So God gave me a baby. The world would say the timing of my baby was inconvenient. God would say it was perfect and so would I.

My Ministry

This quarantine I have had lots of time to love and nurture Evelynn. Time to learn how to be a mom. Time to be still and enjoy my baby. Time to focus on how amazing life is as I watch my baby grow and change. Time to consider what it looks like for me to raise my child in the ways of the Lord

My Companion

This quarantine I have not been alone. I have had Evelynn. We play together, nap together, laugh together, lay on the floor together, exercise together, and make weird noises together. We watch the sunrise and the sunset, listen to the birdies and go for walks together. During those quarantine moments when I felt sad and alone I had a baby to snuggle. She would always reach for my face with her little hands saying, I want you! One of the best things about having a baby is that they never get tired of you. Evelynn always wants me.

My Work

This quarantine I have had a baby to keep me busy and to remind me I have purpose. 

I am so thankful God gave me Evelynn right when he did. At first, I didn’t think it was good timing to be having a baby 2 months after moving to a foreign country.  Now I know God was looking out for my needs and providing me ministry, companionship, and work in a season where it was easy to feel like I lost all three. I don’t know what I would have done during this quarantine without Evelynn. God knew my needs and he provided good things for me.

My take away

We have the choice to view every situation through the eyes of the world or through the eyes of God. Often the world’s view is easier to see because it is right in front of us and we hear it constantly from other people and social media. Looking through God’s view is more challenging because we often can’t see all the details or the ending, it requires faith, trust, and hope.

Walking into day #122 of quarantine I’m holding Romans 8:28 closely, because I see it fulfilled all around me, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” It wasn’t easy to see, like a baby who wakes up in the night crying because they want to eat. No, I had to actively look, seek, and ask to be shown how God was fulfilling His promise of Romans 8:28 in my life.

Encouragement for you

What is something in your life during this quarantine that the world would say is inconvenient or a bummer? Take some time to seek God and see the situation through his eyes. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”~ Romans 8:28

Lots and lots of pictures!

Little Guatemalan Dress
She was so TINY! (Her toes look black because the hospital needed her foot print and the ink wouldn’t wash off)
So much laughter
Working out with Mommy
Play time!
She’s getting away!
Nap time
More naps!
Nap time with Daddy
Reading time
Evelynn loves stroller rides!
I love Daddy too!
Munching on a cucumber!
Mommy wrote a blog post all about me! Really?!

The dream God fulfilled in the middle of a Pandemic

Hearing a whisper I looked up to see six big brown eyes staring at me through the window. Irritation tempted me to go finish the nap I had recently been enjoying or open the door and holler, “Espera en el comedor, por favor, or I’m not coming outside to teach dance class.” I couldn’t figure out how to complete the statement in spanish. Continuing to tie my shoes, I glanced back at the window and our eyes locked.  I saw so much excitement and anticipation.  Suppressing a smile was impossible. That’s when I asked God to help me love these girls the way He does. 

God is not irritated when we knock on the door, peer through the window, or constantly seek His attention. He is honored. As I strapped Evelyn into her carrier, I told myself, “It is an honor to be wanted. Embrace it.” 

Seconds later, bombarded with hugs and surrounded by smiles I felt the last little bit of Grinch in my heart melt away. Standing tall, feet hip width apart, I leaned to the right and watched as 12 girls followed suit. I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be! Then I realized, I am living the dream birthed in my heart 10 years ago… Someday I want to be a missionary working in an orphanage and I want to teach all the girls worship dance, because there is nothing more wonderful than being able to worship the Lord with your entire being.” My heart filled with emotion: my dream is happening in THIS exact moment!

“Do you remember the bible verse we learned yesterday” I wanted to ask, but all that came out was “la versiculo?” Immediately, they shouted, “Alaben su nombre con danza! Salmo, ciento cuarenta nueve y tres!” (Let them praise His name with a dance. Ps. 149:3) I was blown away. After being asked by these girls everyday for the past month what my baby’s name is, I expected memorizing a bible verse to take at least that long. Giving out high-fives, I thanked God in my heart for this spark of hope and encouragement.

Ten weeks have gone by since quarantine began here in Guatemala, and with the exception of weekends, I’ve taught dance everyday. My students have learned 2 ½ dances and they dance for “la gloria de Dios!” (the glory of God). My attempts to give instructions in spanish often elicit laughter, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to practice and learn more. I treasure the opportunity to build relationships with the sweet girls here at Hope of Life. I’m thankful for how the Lord has used teaching dance to work in my heart and teach me too. I praise the Lord for something that gets me out of the house everyday during the quarantine even if it means cutting my nap short. 

What has God taught you in the last 8-10 weeks of quarantine? 

Heavenly Father, your word says that you work all things together for the good of those who love you. I’m holding on to that promise right now, for everyone walking through this quarantine. Show them your goodness and love even in the midst of so many unknowns and uncomfortable situations. AMEN”

-Rachel Pouchot


Team Raquel! I feel so honored 🙂

Settling into a Rhythm

Well that last four months have flown by! Michael and I have settled into our new home at Hope of Life in Zacapa Guatemala unexpectedly smooth. We would like to share a little peek into our daily life with you.

Settling in…

If I had to give the first three weeks, after we arrived at Hope of Life, a title it would be “21 days of unending blessings”. 

We arrived at Hope of Life after dark to find our new house clean, a fridge full of food and bed made and ready for our exhausted bodies to fall into. After hearing horror stories from almost every single missionary family of their first few weeks and even months here at Hope of Life, I was in disbelief. What a blessing it was to have a house already set up before the arrival of our baby, who was expected in just 4 weeks. Not only that, but having a house meant we had a kitchen which saved us from having to walk up and down 310 steps to the Rancho (cafeteria) before and after every meal.

Within our first two weeks at HOL Michael and I had people come by and hang kitchen cabinets, a group of youth helped paint two rooms in our house, and our living room and dining room fully furnished. We also set up our bed which we hadn’t slept on in 6 months… it truly felt like Christmas! 

The living room before…
and after!

The blessings continued as God provided us with a reliable vehicle for half of what we were prepared to spend. We purchased the vehicle from another missionary family and had the joy of sharing stories and encouraging one another.

And then, the little things I prayed would happen before our baby arrived like having screens in our windows, air conditioning,  and the ability to take a hot shower happened literally between the baby’s due date and the day she actually arrived. What can I say? But I serve a God who listens, cares and has confirmed, 100 times more than I even asked, that this is where Michael and I are supposed to be right now. I praise him for his provision, guidance, protection and I am overwhelmed by how much he has done for us.

A peek into my daily life…

Right now, (well, before the covid-19 quarantine) a typical day for me is mostly occupied by caring for our precious baby girl. Being a mom is by far my favorite job I’ve ever had. Evelynn has almost doubled her birth weight in just 8 weeks, she is starting to smile lots and she almost never cries. Michael and I are beyond blessed to have such a perfect baby. 

Outside of caring for the baby, you can find me swinging a jump rope, playing uno, kicking a soccer ball, making friendship bracelets, or painting fingernails with the kids here at the orphanage. Even my best attempt to communicate in Spanish with the kids makes them laugh; I’m sure my spenglish is quite comical.  These are simple activities I try to get outside and do at least 3 afternoons a week because loving on, and getting to know, and sharing life with the children here is how making disciples begins.

All of the children adore Evelynn

One of the highlights of my life and ministry here at HOL is teaching worship dance again! I just started teaching two classes this week. Over half the kids on the dance team act like they don’t care and are difficult to instruct, but I didn’t expect it to be easy and I accepted the challenge. Thankfully I have a daughter of one of the American missionary families on the dance team who loves dancing and is happy to help translate for me while I teach. I am excited to see how God will use dance to impact the lives of these kids and the people watching.

My favorite part of each week is Sunday night fellowship. Michael and I open our home to all the missionary families here at Hope of Life for worship, a time of sharing, and prayer. Sunday evening has become a time of encouragement, relaxation, and inspiration to continue serving the Lord passionately. Michael and I have been truly blessed to find ourselves surrounded by people with real faith, who are sold out for the Lord. We have been warmly welcomed and already feel like we have real family here at Hope of Life.

Sharing a meal together

Well, I meant to post this blog over a month ago, but I suppose “better late than never” is a timeless saying for a reason. God is good, he is providing for all our needs.  We continue to seek the Lord’s guidance as we learn how to serve him effectively in this new place. It has been a joy to start to settle into a rhythm. It is my hope that this peek into our lives will encourage you to choose to look for and rejoice over the ways God is working in your life and blessing you.

Extra pictures…

Unpacking boxes

More setting up the house
Michael helping some boys fix their bike
Evelynn, when she was just one day old!
6 weeks old!
My favorite baby pic so far!
Snuggles with daddy

His Thoughts and His Ways

I can hardly believe Michael and I have been in Guatemala for almost two weeks now! I’ve been meaning to write this post for three weeks… well better late than never. First off, I want to praise the Lord. These past few months I have seen him working on our behalf so tangibly I don’t even have words to express my thanksgiving and praise. I have learned that as I surrender my will to his I allow him to surprise me with wonderful gifts I didn’t even know I wanted.

I have been in love with this particular scripture recently. 

“ For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are My ways your ways, “ declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

Letting go of control and allowing God to work…
           Throughout the month of September the Lord continually brought Isaiah 55 to my mind as I struggled with being completely at a loss of how to continue raising support. Michael and I had called and meet with everyone we knew and we were still a little ways off from being fully supported. God was asking for me to surrender my desire for control. I had to surrender trying to make things happen my way and in my timing. As I slowly surrendered my will and my timing to His I found my daily feelings of frustration, dissatisfaction, and defeat being replaced with peace, hope, and anticipation. God works in unexpected ways just like Isaiah 55 says, and somehow by October 1st Michael and found ourselves fully supported and awaiting permission for Hope of Life to purchase our plane tickets and officially move.

A challenge to change my perspective…
           As October began, I found myself so excited to set off on our adventure that I began to become upset by the speed bumps inhibiting us from leaving right away. Even worse, I hated the fact that I had zero control over when we could leave for Guatemala. In my annoyance I found Isaiah 55 running through my head over and over again. The Lord was challenging me to not only trust his ways and his timing but to embrace the season of life I was currently in and to praise him for all the good things around me rather being discontent. And as my perspective changed our “speed bumps” began to disappear.

Realizing I was living a dream life…
As I looked around, I realized that for the first time in years I had absolutely no obligations. I had no job, no school, no bills, no house to clean, no support raising to do… and best of all, Michael and I where staying with my family, which is my happy place. I found myself free to hang out with my siblings, go for walks with my mom, help cook (I love cooking), participate in family devotions and take naps whenever I needed (and between being pregnant and having neck/head pain that was pretty much every day:). Wow! What a unique and special season of life to be in. I had a blast taking my little brothers out to get doughnuts, thrift shopping with my sister, playing cards for hours with the older boys and dad. I had the opportunity to paint which is something l love to do but haven’t been able to do much of in the last 2 year. I had the blessing of going on many prayer walks on the nature tail behind the house where I grew up, a trail I have grown to love and treasure. And best of all, I got to walk and talk to my mom almost every day.

My mother-in-love, Kelly!

An unexpected gift…
Not only that but I spontaneously flew to Florida to visit my big sis. I got to experience a snippet of her life. I cheered for her during her CrossFit competition, listened to her harp concert, visited her bible study, attended her work party, and tanned with her on the beach. Best of all we had real heart to heart conversations and watched the sunrise every morning! 

While I was in Florida I also got to see my mother in-law, who told everyone we passed by I was carrying her grand-baby:) We did the Holy Land Experience together. It was breathtaking, convicting, and totally refreshing. It was a really special trip.

Great times with Sisi
A bunch of weirdos having thanksgiving dinner. A bunch of my absolute favorite weirdos. Wouldn’t.Change.Anything.

It’s never too early for Thanksgiving Dinner…
         Michael and I were able to return to Lynchburg one last time. Some of our closest friends cooked us an early Thanksgiving dinner because thanksgiving is’t a celebrated holiday in Guatemala. I LOVE thanksgiving food, so this will always be a special memory. We also visited our home fellowship one last time, they prayed over us once more and I received several words that night. Our final trip to Lynchburg will be one that I treasure.

What is discovered in hindsight…
In the beginning of October I felt so impatient, by the end of October I was overcome with thankfulness. October was a season of unexpected rest, and relationship building. I didn’t know how much I needed that little season of rest but God did and he gave it to me as a gift. I was praying that we would be able to leave for Guatemala immediately. But God knew what was best for me, He didn’t say “no” he simply said,

“ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Isaiah 55:8-9

Inspiration for you…        

I encourage you to contemplate how does Is. 55:8-9 help you to see and believe God is working in your life right now? 
Is there something God is asking you to stop trying to control?
 How can you embrace the season life you are currently in? 
May you find surprises and unexpected gifts from God as you challenge yourself with these questions.

One Month of Answered Prayers

Tears blurred my eyes, “I can’t read my bible like this.” I thought to myself with a twinge of defeat and anger. My head throbbed and the pain in my neck seemed relentlessly, but I was not going to let them steal my sweet morning time with Jesus again. I left the house for a prayer walk. Suddenly, I found myself praising the Lord for singing birds and big shady trees. Distracted from my pain and frustration I began to pray for everything that came to mind. Here are a few of those prayers God vividly answered within the week.

I prayed for the Lord to provide extra financial blessing help cover all of my neck therapy and doctor’s appointments. I am currently seeing two different specialists and I believe for out of all the doctors and therapy I’ve been through in the past 4 ½ years these two may actually help me improve. Only four days later a friend messaged me asking if I needed help covering doctors bills for my neck and expressing that she would like to help if that was a need. What a quick and specific response! Thank you Lord for always being my provider. 

Rachel and Michael with Pastor Mark

Recently I have been feeling sad because it had been over 6 months since I heard anything from pastor Mark. Michael and I had the privilege of having Mark as our Swahili translator when serving in the medical clinic and teaching at the pastoral conference in Tanzania. After hearing Marks testimony and serving alongside him for 2 weeks Michael and I have strongly considered naming our first son after him. I began to pray for Mark’s wellbeing. I asked the Lord for confirmation that Mark was truly the man of God we believed him to be and for solidification of the conviction and desire Michael and I had to name our first son after him. I specifically prayed that Mark would respond to my message within the week. Five days later Mark responded to my message! Mark shared the adversities he faced and spoke passionately of God’s faithfulness. As I read the message my heart was overwhelmed and ecstatic, God answered my prayer completely leaving me with no doubts. Thank you Lord for confirmation and encouragement.

I have prayed quite a bit recently for God to help me have the time, ability or whatever I need to have a basic foundation of Spanish before we move to Guatemala and find myself fully immersed. I have been discouraged in my Spanish studies and feeling like I was stuck in a rut. The next day my sweet friend Caroline who teaches English as a second language and is fluent in Spanish offered to give me Spanish lessons. I couldn’t imagine a better Spanish teacher than Caroline, I finally feel like I understand enough to study on my own again. God is so good to hear my prayer and to answer quickly and perfectly. Thank you Lord for bringing me help and comfort to my worrisome thoughts.

Driving home from one of my spanish lessons with Caroline I told the Lord, “I blew it! I didn’t contact one of my special friends. I’ve been in town an entire week and forgot to let her know I was in town and plan a time we could catch up and encourage each other.” I felt like a horrible friend. I asked the Lord for his miraculous provision to fill in for my failure and make as a way for me to see this friend. As I prayed this prayer I noticed someone standing by a shelterless bus stop in the pouring rain. As it thundered I felt sad and asked the Lord to bless that person. Glancing once more as a passed by I realized that was my FRIEND I had just been praying to see! Turning the car around I picked her up. Since she had just gotten off work I took her home and we played a few games and had dinner together. Well God works in miraculous and unexpected ways! Wow! God thank you for filling in the gaps when I fall short and blessing me with undeserved grace!

“Keep praying, keep listening, keep looking my daughter, for I am near.” I felt the Lord encourage my heart this week. My whole being bubbled with joy and energy as I thought about how clearly I could see God working on my behalf this last week. It is easy to get discouraged when you pray for something for years and don’t receive the answer you hope for. But it is in these precious moments when God reaches down and says, “ Here I am.” that hope renewed, faith is strengthened, and my heart desires to burst into a song about how much I love and trust my Savior.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
    and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

1 Peter 3:12

“I could do this forever!”

The MLT bunch

Following God has been the greatest adventure of our lives. We have a holy calling that isn’t always easy but our lives are full of joy and purpose. Our more recent adventure was leading a 2 week camp known as ministry leadership training camp this July. Just last year we turned down leading this camp because God had called us to visit several countries to decide where we wanted to serve as full-time missionaries. Then, this year, in the thick of our support raising to leave for Guatemala the offer to lead MLT was extended to us just 9 days before the camp was to begin. Now certainly didn’t seem like the time to take 2 weeks leading a camp and we would only have about a week to prepare 20 lessons on christian leadership. However, it wasn’t up to us entirely. We spent time in prayer, asking for conviction and confirmation. The calling to lead was clear and in retrospect it makes perfect sense. 

God is faithful to us. We were greatly encouraged after leading this camp. We spent 2 weeks doing what we hope to be doing on a daily basis in Guatemala. Discipling youth in their faith and teaching them about Jesus! Through this experience there are 3 things God has been teaching me.

1st, we must constantly pray in the Spirit and actively read God’s Word everyday. Without these two things, I think there is a great chance that we would have taken a strictly logical approach and thus decide to not lead MLT. Logically our goal is to get to Guatemala and therefore we need to focus on support raising. This was something we were unable to do at all while leading this 2 week camp. We had 8 youth that we were responsible for at all times of the day. Yet this leads to the 2nd thing I’ve learned even further. 

A practical way to serve on campus, building soccer goals

2nd, if we are faithful to God’s leading then He is faithful to us in His promises. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” The Lord’s desire is that we concern ourselves with His Kingdom, that is the great commission and the advancement of His glory. When we do that He handles the rest. When this verse says “and all these things will be added to you.” we can look at the previous verses and see what it is referring to. Quite simply it is referring to provision. Currently Rachel and I have no place to call home and everything we own has either been sold or shipped to Guatemala. Yet we have been provided for every day. We have been living with friends or family members, my current job has given us the money we need for food and gas. We are provided for. And as we have sought God’s Kingdom first and foremost He has been faithful to us. While we were at camp unable to raise support, we somehow went from 38% to 42% of our monthly needed support. God is faithful. 

The 3rd thing God affirmed in me is my passion and gift for teaching. Sometimes it’s hard to mention these things because it can make one sound prideful. But if i can boast in anything I will boast in the gift that was faithfully given to me. I love teaching scripture and I am incredibly thankful that God has enabled me to teach well. Rachel and I were blessed that the 8 youth we worked with had a desire to learn and gain a deeper understanding of scripture.


These girls were too much fun!

“You can do it!”, I shouted. Fifty feet above me on a tiny wooden platform stood a teenager trembling as she fought to find the guts to take the leap of faith. Even with the knowledge that her harness would 100% save her from falling, fear still paralyzed her as she stared at the obstacle ahead. It is so easy to feel this same way when we are faced with spiritual challenges and decisions that require us to let go of our human logic and trust God completely. The leap of faith was one of my favorite activities at MLT (ministry leadership training camp). It caused me to contemplate how moving to Guatemala (something that most people call a huge leap of faith) doesn’t scare me at all. Maybe it is because I have know doubt that God holds me in the palm of his hand just like a harness is the safety line for someone on the leap of faith obstacle. However it seems to be the simple things in my life right now require the most faith. 

 During MLT I was challenged and given opportunities to teach several hour long session. I don’t like teaching in front of a big groups, I hate being the center of attention. Yet God has given me passion in three specific areas, the value of having a personal relationship with Jesus, having one’s identity rooted in Christ and the ability to effectively solve conflict in a peaceful God honoring way. I never thought I would have enough content to teach for a full hour, but my first session lasted an hour and a half. Also the youth expressed that they felt engaged and not bored at all. Teaching long session was outside of my comfort zone but God enabled me to me successful through faith and prayer. I loved teaching.   

Another area I that requires faith right now is support raising. Making phone calls to set up support raising meetings seems simple enough. After experiencing that only 2  out of every 10 people I call will answer or call me back, it then suddenly takes a lot of prayer and faith to continue to make phone calls.  

Daily I find myself forced to walk forward in faith as I choose to overcome discouragement and lies of the enemy that come after me every time I have neck pain and headaches. But as I speak the truth and seek God I am daily given the strength I need to continue walking by faith even though I can’t see an end to this pain.

These are just a few of the ways I feel challenged to take leaps of faith in more simple areas of life.

 At the end of MLT Michael asked, “What did you learn or want to take away from these leading MLT?” 

“Honestly, I could do this FOREVER and NEVER BE TIRED OF IT! I can’t think of anything profound or specific that I learned. But God encouraged my heart by confirming how much I love doing youth ministry. God rekindled in me the zeal and excitement I have for doing youth ministry. I can’t wait to be in Guatemala doing it full time.”