August 30 Update

Things have been pretty quiet around me the last couple of weeks as I've enjoyed some wonderful rest time with my family in west Texas. I head back to Austin tomorrow and will be back to work! (babysitting and substituting) I will also begin to diligently prepare for my move, which is now only four months away!!

Here are some quick updates:
1. My shoulder is almost completely healed!! I hate that I had to have the MRI, but I am thankful that I know exactly what is going on with the shoulder and understand how it is healing. What an amazing miracle that it is healing on its surgery or rehab necessary at all! Thank you so much for your prayers concerning this injury. Prayer works!

2. I heard from Love Botswana recently and learned that I will probably be teaching Standard 5 (like our second semester 4th/1st semester 5th grade). This is great since I am so comfortable with this age, after teaching 4th grade for 8 years! I need to plan to arrive in Botswana the first week of January with school beginning January 15th. It also looks like I will indeed be a boarding matron for some of the girls boarding at the mission. I will share more details about that as I get them.

3. I had my huge three day garage sale and was doubly blessed by obtaining finances to go towards my move and to have the opportunity to get rid of so much! It's a huge praise that it is finally over with. Yea!!

Prayer requests:
My prayer requests right now are simple really. I want to have a pure heart for the Lord. I want to seek Him more today than I did yesterday and fight the temptation to fall into complacency. I want to have an abundant, radical love for others, being fueled by His amazing love for me. I want to have a strong, solid faith in the Lord and all His ways. I continue to pray for the needed financial and prayer support as my departure date nears. I am also praying for emotional preparation to leave here for two years and constant physical protection so that I am in the best condition possible to do His work. May I be a vessel, useful for God's purposes and ready for all that He has for me to do, whether here in Texas or across the world in Botswana.

I pray that He continues to equip you and me both to allow our lives to be a daily witness of His amazing glory. What a blessing it is to be used for Kingdom purposes! And what a blessing it is to serve Him alongside one another. You are appreciated!!

August 20 Update

August has been quite the interesting month! I have had many great moments, along with some challenges this month. I have loved the trips I've been able to take to see family and friends and look forward to even more in the next few months.

I am so happy to report that I had my wisdom tooth successfully removed on Friday, with no complications. Healing seems to be going very well, which is a praise! Another huge praise is that I have spoken to the doctor again and he confirmed that the MRI looked very good. All muscles and tendons look fine and any that were injured have healed. The injury I still have is a fracture to the "greater tuberosity". I have learned that it is a small bump on the top of the humerus, which the rotator cuff muscle is attached to. It apparently was fractured by hitting the acromion (a bone above it) when my arm was jerked up. (I have definitely learned a lot about shoulders this month!) I believe it to be a total miracle that in that process the rotator cuff was not torn! In a few weeks I should see complete healing in my shoulder....what a praise!!

Through all of the little bumps in the road, God continues to amaze me with who He is. I've had such a hunger for Him and can't get enough of reading His word and listening to various sermons. He is teaching me so much right now. I am so thankful for Him putting such wonderful people in my life, as well as such a life-giving, truth-speaking church where I can grow in Him and fellowship with others.

Botswana is just a little over four months away!! It is time to start doing some serious preparations. I am heading to Seminole for a week to have my huge garage sale and then after that, it's Botswana preparation time in full gear! I have boxes to ship, paper work to complete, a plane ticket to purchase, a vehicle to order, things to research, and many, many prayers to say. January will be here before I know it!!

Support raising continues to go very well and I am incredibly humbled by the generous hearts of so many. At this time, there is only about 1/10 left to go in one-time financial support! This will cover my plane ticket, vehicle purchase, shipping costs, and various start-up costs when I arrive in Botswana. I am still needing a bit more in monthly financial support, but God has astounded me with His provision so far, so I have NO reason to doubt now.

Thank you so, so, so much for your amazing support, encouragement, and faithful prayers thus far. I'm excited because we've only seen the tip of the iceberg in all that God is going to do on this journey! I couldn't walk this journey out without you....please know how very appreciated you are!!

August 8 Update

It's been pretty busy this past week with lots of movement. Now that I am no longer in my apartment, I am staying in a few different places, depending on the day. I have been so, so blessed with people who have opened their home to me and offered a spare bedroom to stay in when needed. I am kind of "basing" out of the Jones family home: a beautiful home in the country, surrounded with hills and lots of greenery. This will be Hershey's home for the next two years, so what a blessing it is to be able to be there with him to help with the transition. The Jones family has been overwhelmingly welcoming and made me feel like another member of the family. On nights when I have to be out after dark, either to babysit or do something for church, I am staying with my friends Stacy and Nere in a spare bedroom they have graciously offered to me. Eventually we will set into a routine and I will be used to my two new homes. For now I do feel a bit tired of the moving around, but incredibly thankful for the ways God has provided for me. My mom also brought up the point that I will really appreciate when I arrive in Botswana and am kind of settled again into one place. I have learned through this process that "home" is a relative term, and truly our home is not on this earth.

For the rest of August I will be traveling to see friends and family and then will be back to work in September as I begin substitute teaching and regularly babysitting. I am also very excited at new things I will be doing at church and time to devote to Botswana preparations. I have been in contact with the LBOM office and we will begin working on the remaining paperwork this month. It's all beginning to feel very real!

I continue to seek your partnership in prayer for the healing of my shoulder. I have felt so much better recently, but the past couple of days I have been feeling more pain. I think I will have it checked out again, but I pray that it will heal naturally without the need for any more medical intervention. I am also getting a wisdom tooth removed next week, which brings with it some additional anxiety. Needless to say, I am continually praying for lots of healing and financial protection at this time.

My other request for prayer centers on a constant hunger for Jesus. May I never become comfortable or take my time with Him for granted. I want to be so hungry for Him that I can't help but spend time with Him and in His word. I sense that this new season of my life is really going to center on spiritual preparation, especially as I prepare for my time in Botswana.

I praise God for so many things. I have been keeping a list of blessings and am amazed at all the ways He has blessed me just in the past week! I encourage you to do the same when you have a minute. You will undoubtedly be surprised at all the ways He has been blessing you without you even really noticing. (At least that's what I am seeing in my own life!)

Thank you again for your interest, encouragement, support, and partnership. We were not meant to live this life alone, but to live in mutual encouragement and support of all the ways God is using us and directing us. How exciting to be living this life alongside each of you!

End of one chapter and beginning of another...8/1/07

Today I turned my keys in to my apartment complex office and walked away from my home of the past six years. What a reflective time the last couple of days have been as I have finished packing up and clearing out all of my material possessions. I won't lie and say that this is easy because it certainly is not. But God is amazing! I have had many emotional moments as my comfortable, predictable life's been slipping away and I wonder, "Can I really do this?" The answer is always the same as I sense the sweet presence of the Lord: "Yes, with Me". The thing is, I cannot do it alone. How precious those moments are when I feel alone and scared in one minute and such a calming peace in the next. God is here and He is so real. He comforts me, strengthens me, cheers me on, and shows me parts of the big picture from His perspective. Every day, little by little, I am learning to die to self, to my human nature and to allow Jesus to fill me and reflect Himself through my life, showing His glory along the way. I am incredibly humbled right now. What a special privilege to be called a child of incomparable is a life lived for and through Him. What else really matters? When all else is stripped away, He is constant. His love is so much higher and greater than any love we could experience on a human level. The joy He gives is unexplainable, especially when it coincides with times of trial. How is it possible to have such a complete joy and love in the midst of trials? Because in those times we draw closer to the Lord, seeking and grasping for something firm and unchanging. He shows us that whether all is going right in our world or everything seems to be falling apart, He is always the same, always the essence of peace, always the comforting embrace, always the giver of life, always the dispenser of joy, and always a love beyond all comprehension and compare.