June 27 Update

"Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

It's been a very reflective week for me. I had a minor "moment" on Monday night, where the enormity of all I am leaving behind really hit me. There is so much I will miss while away from here for two years...birthdays, weddings, reunions, etc. I was reminded Monday just how much "God" this whole adventure and move to Botswana is and how "un-Andrea" it is. Just in my flesh, without His spirit, I would choose to remain here in Austin where I am comfortable, teach at the same school, keep serving in my church, be able to visit family and friends whenever I want, keep my cat and my things, etc. etc. Praise God that my life is now His and He gives me strength do to His will. I was comforted during my "moment" of God's words to Joshua to not be frightened or dismayed and that He is with me wherever I go. When all else is left behind and I am seemingly alone, headed for a whole new world of change, He is with me every single step of the way, strengthening and encouraging me, as well as filling me with such joy and peace as I walk in His will.

  • Praise God for leading me to an amazing community group through my church. I was really hungering for adult fellowship and Bible study, and He definitely led me to the right place! I am thrilled to be a part of this group of amazing people and look forward to new, precious friendships being formed there.
  • Financial and prayer support raising continues to go well as God astounds me with His provision!
  • I have been able to have some amazing fellowship with friends over the past week. Many of you know how much I love having "coffee dates" and great conversation with friends. This is probably my favorite thing to do, and I've been blessed with many of these opportunities recently!

Prayer requests:

  • I have had to fight more this past week to find time to be in the Word and in prayer. It seems that I am working quite a bit and then when I am home, I am overwhelmed with all that needs to be done there. I pray for the diligence and discipline to find that much needed time with the Lord and to not let a day go by without it.
  • I am continuing to pray that God would raise up financial and prayer partners, who will partner with me as God sends me to minister to the people of Botswana. He's provided in amazing ways so far, but there is still quite a ways to go.
  • I am needing a little encouragement and strength from the Lord right now as my move-out date nears (July 31st!) and I begin a whole new season of walking by faith. I am somewhat unsure still how He is going to work all things out, but I have full confidence that He is going to move in ways that I couldn't even imagine.

Thank you so much for walking this journey with me. I stand in awe of how God has surrounded me with such an amazing support structure. I am truly, truly blessed. Please keep me updated on how I may also pray for you.

June 21 Update

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:8

These verses speak volumes to my life right now. I feel as if I am on a freight train, going a million miles per hour. If I look at the window, I see things zooming by...however, if I close the shades and sit down, I can still find peace and stillness amidst the speed of life. Time has been zooming by, taking me with it as I run from one place to the next all day long. However, I have never felt such peace and rest in the Lord's presence as I do right now. I crave the precious alone time I get with Jesus, as He always refreshes my spirit and blesses me with an abundance of peace and joy. I love all that He is doing in me at this time. I pray for you to also find an abundance of rest and joy in His presence as you continue to draw near to Him.

Each day that comes brings renewed excitement and expectancy for my move to Botswana. I love that country! (Have I mentioned that before??) I am overjoyed at the realization that in just six months I will be there and not have to leave after two weeks. I am so ready to love on those Botswana kiddos and to fellowship with and build relationships with the beautiful people of that land. I am anxious to see how God chooses to use me while there, as the possibilities are endless! Again I stand amazed at what God has done to bring me to this point and how He has worked each step of the way. Incredible!

Prayer requests:
  • Finances-Praise God for His provision through His people! Support raising is going great...we are at least a fourth of the way on monthly support and a third of the way with one-time donations. Amazing!! I just ask for prayers for the rest of the financial support to come in easily as God lays it on people's hearts to join the partnership in ministering to the people of Botswana.
  • Time management and rest-As God has continued to bless me with various jobs to bring in extra income, I find a need to be very wise with my time and to manage it in such a way that I maintain the needed energy for the jobs He's given me to do. It is vital for me to carve out time to spend with Him and to fellowship with others. It is equally important to take care of myself, especially with sleep...and to still find time to pack up my apartment! I pray that I would spend each minute of the day wisely...and that He would increase the number of hours in the day. ;)

I appreciate you all so, so much. Keep sending those prayer requests to me. I love being able to pray on your behalf. Thank you again for walking this journey with me!

June 14 Update

Life is officially in full-swing again! This week I began the juggling act of working multiple jobs. I am teaching summer school (more of a tutoring-type setting), part-time nannying, doing babysitting in the evenings, and still selling Avon. On top of that, I am still house-sitting...God has tremendously blessed me in all aspects of these jobs. I am so thankful for the amazing opportunities He's given me. Not to mention that I get to play with kids for most of the time I am awake!

God continues to absolutely amaze me daily just with who He is. I have enjoyed such precious time with Him these first few weeks of summer. He is encouraging my spirit in so many ways and giving me a whole new love for the Word. I cherish the time spent in Bible study and allowing Him to speak to me in such a powerful way. Today I was also ministered to in music. A couple of years ago, during a particularly tough season of my life, God encouraged and strengthened me in an amazing way through Natalie Grant's cd, "Awaken". Today I heard one of the songs on the radio, bringing back so many memories and prompting me to listen to that cd again. I just sat and listened to those songs that have ministered to me in such a powerful way and was absolutely astounded by Jesus. Just thinking of all the seasons of life and how constant and present He is for each and every one...reflecting on His unimaginable grace and unconditional love...it just causes me to stop and praise Him. How could there ever be anything else in life that could come close to the joy found in loving and being loved by Him?

As far as Botswana updates, I am excited to report that financial and prayer partners have come on board and I am amazed at God's provision thus far. There is still quite a ways to go, but He has encouraged me by reminding me of His faithfulness and that this is so much bigger than me. Thank you for your unique and special role in this amazing journey! More updates to come soon!

The Fragrance of Christ...June 8

God has really been ministering to and challenging me over the last couple of days. This morning in my Bible study time, I was reminded of the verses (which I love!) found in 2 Corinthians chapter two, verses 14-15: "But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of Him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ..." I am working through the Beth Moore Bible study, "A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place." I love Beth and the insights she offers. She stated in today's lesson that since we are the aroma of Christ, when we leave a room, the fragrance of Him should still linger. We are like the "tester perfume" for others to decide if they, too, want to have the frangrance of Christ. Are we like a cheap perfume that nauseates people and causes them to be thankful when we leave their presence, or are we more like a delicate, expensive perfume that causes others to want to bask in the beautiful smell and purchase that same perfume for themselves? Such a great thought to ponder. May we truly be the fragrance and aroma of Christ, spreading the knowledge of Him everywhere we go.

June 5 Update

One year ago today I was on a plane on my way to Maun, Botswana for the first time. I was unsure what to expect or how God would use me there, but I was very excited and anxious to see what the Lord had in store for me. Now, a year later, I stand amazed at what God has done!

This past week has been a very blessed one for me. I went to a young adult/singles conference on Friday night and Saturday morning. My spirit was so refreshed by the worship time and messages shared. One of my favorite things I heard on Friday night from the speaker, Ed Gunger, was that God does not just save us so that we can be happier and have more stuff. God loves the planet and all the people on it. He desires to save us, to rescue us, so that we will walk into the places of pain and suffering to tell others about Him, about how He can rescue them, too. He said that we need to not desire to have more power, but to have more influence. (Think Mother Theresa...not much power by the world's standards, but had incredible influence.)

I was again blessed Sunday morning when I attended the first of three leadership development classes at my church. We really went back to the basics of faith to examine how we are doing. I was so convicted in many areas and really reminded of where my priorities need to be. We were encouraged to really examine our hearts to find areas of needed improvement, and then to pray and ask God to work on us in those areas.

Finally, today during my Bible study time, I was reminded in Matthew 5:14-16 that we are the light of the world, that we should so shine our light before men that they would see and praise our Father in Heaven. The only way for us to be a light to this dark world is to be completely surrendered to the Lord and to daily allow the Holy Spirit to fill us up, so that "I may decrease and He may increase." John 3:30 It's such a beautiful process that as we spend time in God's presence and pray for Him to work on our hearts and make us more like Him, we then become more like Him, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit, enabling us to love the people in the world as He does. It's all from Him, through Him, and to Him. May I be filled with more of Him, so that Andrea decreases and Jesus increases. While I am here in Austin and when I am in Botswana, may I have so surrendered to Jesus that when people see me, they see Him. This is the ultimate prayer and desire of my heart.