Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I'm Tired, I'm Worn

I sit down to write today, because so much has been bottled up. As the title states, I am worn. This semester is taking a giant, smack-in-the-face, knock-me-down toll on me, and the saddening fact is that it is only half way over. The course loads are tough, the concepts are confusing, the work is never ending, and the cycle continues each and every morning. I have found myself slipping into a state of defeat. I am falling into a position where I am trying to just keep my nose above the water, but struggling to do just that. I have been asking myself the past couple days, "Why have you let it get to this point? Should you even try to keep up anymore? Can you ever catch up and catch a breath?" I am becoming defeated and I am surrendering to the thoughts of "You're not capable," "You can never catch up," and "just reserve yourself to the fact that you are a huge dissappointment."

Wow! Where are these thoughts coming from? Yes, stress is crippling, but I know that these specific thoughts are not what I am supposed to believe. No matter how hard it gets, how behind I think I am, or how worn and tired I am, these thoughts of inadequacy, incapability, and defeat are NOT from The Lord. They are indeed from Satan. 
Why am I believing them? I sit here and know where they originate, yet I am finding them to be true. Hello!!! Earth to Alex! Anything and everything that Satan tells you is a lie!!! So, why do I find it easy to believe these stupid lies?
I am in the world. I am surrounded by things that are created by God, yet are not always acting for The Lord. I am an alien in a foreign land, and I am not guarenteed that just because I believe, it will be easy. In fact, James 1:2 says "consider it pure joy my brothers WHEN you face trials of many kinds." It doesn't say If you face them, it says when you face trials. This tells us that trials will come and more trials are coming. Just because we are believers, does not mean that it is all butterflies and rainbows.
So, we are here facing trials. We are consistently smacked down when we are just beginning to pull our selves up. We are fighting a battle against a world that seems to be out to get us. But wait, The Lord has an answer for this too. He says in John 16:33 "but take heart! I have overcome the world." Isn't that so great?! He has already defeated all of the things that are beating us down. We don't have to fight the fight, because the battle is already won by the mighty God. 

Okay, so we don't have to fight and the things defeating us are already defeated. Why do I still feel so burdened and weighed down? Why do I still have a sense of defeat? 
If any of you know me, you know that I am a planner. I like to make lists, schedules, and plans for the future. I like for everything to be controlled, and to know what is going on or to come and when things are going to happen. I take it upon myself to handle almost everything. Yet, when I do this, it usually does lead to weariness. When everything becomes too much to handle, I don't give it away, so in turn, I just begin to be beaten down. I hear over and over again that I need to give it to God. Let Him handle my stresses. Let Him take it, and trust Him in that. Why is this such a hard thing to do, when I know that if I continue to hold on to it, I will just be defeated in the end? That is where I am sitting today. As the world weighs down on me, I am asking myself why I can't completely give it to Him. Am I really trusting Him? No. I am keeping some things, because then I know they will get done. Am I relieved? Of course not. Then why, since I realize this, do i not surrender it all over to Him? I don't know, and I can't answer that.

My Prayer for Now:

Lord, you are capable to handle all my struggles. You are faithful, and I know that you will do what needs to be done. Help me give everything up. Help me let go of control, and let you take it all from me. I am tired and weary, and I cannot do this any longer. So, help me, please. Take this from me, and help me walk on toward your will and your plan. I pray that I trust in you and trust in your word. You will never leave or abandon me, and you will care for me. I pray that I will believe the truths that you say about me. I am capable. I am a daughter of the most high king, who has overcome the world. I am a conqueror in Christ. I pray that you remind me of this daily. Thank you for protecting me, loving me, and caring for my needs. Lord, I trust you. I pray that you help me give up control and lean on you.


In Him,
-Alex Kate

"Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." -Matthew 11:28

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Wrap Up

So, with all of the craziness of coming back to the States and school starting, I have not had time to blog or breathe for that matter. So, I am finally sitting down to catch up on what we have missed since the last update.

Well, Mexico had a very exciting end. Due to a health related issue, I flew back home a week early to go to doctor's appointments, and to be close to health care here in the states. Unfortunately, this meant that I missed the end of my trip as well as debrief in Alabama. It was tough just being thrown back into normal life. It was hard to process everything that had happened this summer, and to process all that the Lord had taught me. It was hard for everything to just come to a screeching halt and be over. However, the Lord is always faithful to walk with us, and this is just what He did.
Slowly but surely, the Lord helped me process all that I had been through this summer. He helped me realize and remember all that He had taught me, and helped me figure out ways to communicate and tell others all about what He took me through on this journey.
As I reflected, I could not be anymore thankful for the trip He took me on. He showed me so much about the power of prayer, and about patience in His timing. There were many days this summer that the Lord stretched my faith. He pushed me into a corner so that I had no other option than to call on His name. Wow! Prayer has always been an area of struggle for me. Don't get me wrong, prayer totally works, and I did pray before. But I never realized the true power that prayer has and the importance of this awesome gift. The Lord showed me that when we were hitting that brick wall, I needed to pray.
Through prayer, God taught me patience. I like for things to happen, and I am a planner. So, I struggle with wanting things to happen in my timing. God brought me to my knees this summer, and showed me that my timing is never the best. Sometimes were tough this summer, and it was hard to see where His plan was taking us. However, we were faithful in prayer, and He revealed to us what the plan was when He was ready to do so.
These two things are the major things that I took back from this summer.

Soon after I came back, it was time for school to start again. Just as always, nothing too exciting has gone on. However, the struggles of coming back into normal life hit me once again. When school began, so did the distractions. The homework piled on, the relationships demanded more time, and there is never enough time to get enough sleep. So, I let these things take over the time that was set aside for the Lord this summer. Wow, how much of a difference that made. Stress grew, exhaustion hit, and life just piles on the struggles. However, looking back at this summer, I knew what I was missing. I was missing that intentionality with the Lord, and the time in prayer with Him.
So, I encourage you all:
If you are finding yourself in a place where it is hard to keep going. The stress is there, you are tired, you are worn. Look to the Lord. Set aside time for Him, and let Him speak to you. Let Him show you His glory. Let Him renew and refresh you. Go to Him and be still. Rest.

Thank you all so much for the prayers that you sent up on my behalf this summer. Thank you for your faithfulness in the Lord, and in His work. It doesn't stop here. Please continue to pray:
- for my teammates as they are back in normal life
- for the people we reached out to this summer
- for the churches that we worked in to be strengthened and encouraged to go out into their own communities
- for the translation of the bible into zapotec to continue and be fruitful
- for the new ESL class started in my village to be a window for the Gospel
- for distractions to not lead us all astray
- for the new Hands-On girls that are currently in Oaxaca serving
- for the church to be revived, and more people to answer the call to go to the nations until the whole world hears
- for all Christians to be armed with and to share the gospel everyday

-- Alex Kate

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pray and Have Faith

Oh My Goodness, this week flew by!!! It was a great week here in Oaxaca!

The week was focused on one main event for my village team. Monday and Tuesday were spent advertising, planning, and preparing for a soccer tournament that we were putting on in the townhome village. In this village, we have been chipping away slowly at a brick wall. So, we were worried that the tournament would not have many kids attend. So we prayed. We prayed since we started having the idea that the Lord would bring kids and parents too, that the people would hear the Word, and that it would turn out really well.

With Wednesday here, we headed out early in the morning with the other Nehemiah village teams that we recruited for the day. We arrived at the field around 11:45 to begin setting up for the day. We had a bracket made, a new soccer ball, Maria cookies and water, and paint as well. We painted our team color war paint on, and kids began to come. A team of 11 boys entered the field, and told us that three more teams were coming as well. We were so excited, and waited for the teams to come. 12:15...12:30...12:45...we still only had enough kids for one full team and three half teams. We were beginning to wonder where all the kids were that received our 150+ flyers. We stopped, congregated the team in a circle, and prayed. I prayed that the Lord would provide and that many more would come, or that He would show us that this was it and we would just have a two team tournament. Just as the amens rung around the circle and the heads pulled up, two cars full of children drove up to the field! We were so excited!!

We lined them all up, divided into four teams, and war painted their faces for the day! They were all so full of joy and excitement for the tournament to come. The first game played, and then the second, and then the third and fourth. All of these going on while more of the team shared some bible stories and played other games, such as Duct Tape Tag. As I looked around toward the end of the third game, I began to get a little discouraged. I began to wonder if the kids were even having fun, if they were learning anything from the word, and if we would see this as a "success." So I prayed. I prayed that the kids would have a good time, I prayed that the Word would be heard, and I prayed that this would be a "success." After the championship game, we gathered everyone and shared the gospel. We shared the Creation to Church story, and shared the reason for the whole tournament. I watched as many were locked in on what was being said, and also how many were looking around and just ready for the candy at the end. My discouragement continued. At the end, however, they clapped and then went around to each one of us, shaking our hands and expressing their gratitude for a great day and for sharing that story with them.

Needless to say, the tournament was a success. Yes, at times, I began to get discouraged, but I know that those thoughts were not from the Lord. We went, we shared, and the Lord worked. But all of this was done through prayer.

"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." -Matthew 18:20
"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." -Matthew 21:22


This is our last week of village work here in Oaxaca, and our last week and a half in Mexico. Please pray that we would seek out every opportunity, and leave with no regrets. Pray for boldness. Pray that we can focus here in this moment, and focus on what were are doing, not on the things at home. Pray for energy and for encouragement when we are tired or worn down. Pray for open doors and open hearts so that we can get lots of information for future work, and also open ears to the gospel. Pray for homesickness to subside. Pray also for patience and love within the team for our last couple weeks.

Thank you all for your prayers, love, and support.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Toothpick Becomes a Pick Axe

This week has been different everyday! Let me take you on a day by day trip through my week...

Monday: Today we woke up early, and headed you to the townhomes. As we yawned, we walked through the village to one of the believers from the church's house. We were greeted with open arms, and were served a delicious breakfast of "en tomatadas." We sat and chatted with the brother and sister, and learned so much about the culture and life of this village. We were given so much great information that allows us to see the ways in which we will go about ministering here. After filling our stomachs to the brim, she showed us around the village, and introduced us to the other believers from the church. With each house, we were warmly greeted with big smiles. We were so re-energized this morning, and ready to take on whatever God has for us.

Tuesday: We got up and headed to the internet cafe. We began to plan a soccer tournament for next week, and had to come make flyers to pass out. Throughout the day, we got so much done for this. Coordinating with the lady in the village, we made a game plan for this event. We have brackets, games, snacks, prizes, and bible stories ready to share and use to meet this children and families of this village.

Wednesday. We headed out in the morning to pass out more flyers for the tournament. We started off the day with about 70 flyers, and within two hours, God had lead us to many encounters, and we were out of flyers. We were so excited, because the first week here we had to pass out flyers for a sports camp and did not have this same success. With all of our flyers gone, we sat down for lunch at a little "comedor" in our village. We have began a relationship with the woman that runs the comedor, and are welcomed there with open arms everytime we come. We ended the day at cell group with the believers. As we concentrated really hard to understand, the group went over the body of Christ. We talked about how we all have different tasks, we are all needed, we all have different capabilities, and that God has put us in this place for a specific time and purpose. We were so encouraged as we reflected on our team, and how God placed each one of us here with a specific purpose. We stayed in the village that night, and were given a family's home as they went and stayed in the store that they own there. We were overwhelmed at the generosity, and were in awe of their servants hearts.

Thursday: We woke up in the village, and headed out. Since we had passed out all the flyers we had the day before, we were looking for something to do. We stopped and talked to some people, and it was great to once again meet more individuals in this village. We headed back later, and ran errands to prepare for our soccer tournament.

Friday: This is typically our day off, but the evening was a little different. We went out to church in our shanty town village around 6. It was pouring rain once we got under the roof, and so there were only children there this week. We had so much fun loving on them and playing games. Around 7, the kids all put their chairs in rows, and it was time to start. I was asked to play guitar, which i had brought with me, and immediately got really nervous. I had prepared to play for the children, but suddenly playing in front of the few adults there, including the girl who plays on sunday mornings, made me have stage fright. However, once the pick hit the strings and the kids began to sing, it was just as comfortable as it could be. We sang about doing all that we do for the Lord, and being radically different because of His love....okay, well it was more like "Every move I make" and "Undignified." We shared the story of Moses as a baby in the river with them, and then did some activity pages. We sang some more songs like "Father Abraham" and another one about a frog(?) that the women of the church lead. We were so surprised at how well everything went, when it ended up being extremely different that we had planned on. The Lord truly knows all, and we must just follow the path He lays in front of us.

Thank you all for your prayers this week. I have truly felt them. Our village that was a huge brick wall that we were chipping away at witha toothpick, God has given us pick axes. It was a great week, and we are beginning to see that the ground is breaking for this village where none (foreign) have gone before. We have two weeks of village time left, and are excited to see what God has planned for them.


- Wednesday's soccer tournament (kids to come, doors to be opened, and God's word to be heard)
- no regrets or missed opportunities this next two weeks

Monday, July 8, 2013


This past week was sludge. However, at the end of every dark tunnel, there is light waiting to welcome you with warmth.

Going into the week, my team was at medium energy. We have been hitting a brick wall in one of our villages over and over again, and were very discouraged about it. However, we kept trudging through the tough days, and eventually made it to the end of the week. We were exhausted. We were drained. 
Then, on friday after our 4th on the 5th of July party, we had team meeting. We talked about the week, and told our plans for the upcoming week. Listening to all the other groups and hearing about their many open doors, we sunk in our chairs. We dreaded the time when we would have to share our plans and what has been going on, because frankly we could not see any fruit or future. Then, John and Jenny shared some encouragement. They could sense that someone on the team was going through a hard time, and that was because of us. They encouraged us to just take some time to be alone, to be alone with God. This sounds like something so simple and obvious, but to us, it was the game changer.
On saturday morning, the house was quiet. Everyone was sleeping in or reading. This was the perfect time to relax and spend some time with the Lord. We read Acts 17:26-27. God revealed to us that we are not just coming here to see how many people accept Christ, how many people we get to know, or anything of that such. God taught us that we are here to seek Him. He is close to us, and all He wants is for us to reach out to Him. How simple, but how extraordinary! All God wants me to do is seek Him, and walk in obedience to His will.
With this new insight, we were refreshed and renewed. We now realized that we are not here to do anything ourselves, but God is here to do great works in and through us. He brought us here to grow closer to Him and to increase that relationship, and while we do just that, He will use us to bring others toward His glory.
Who were we to doubt that God would show up. Who were we to think that we were doing anything here. When we ended up on our knees before the throne, God began to move and He began to use us.

As we enter these last three weeks, we are ready to accept the challenge. We will go into each day seeking Him, and desiring to grow closer to Him. We firmly believe, and are encouraged that God will use us and that He will reveal Himself to us in crazy ways.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

In Him,
Alex Kate

- open doors in the harder village to become more open.
- sports day that we hope to have next week in that same village
- the believers here to reach out to the communities they live in and spread His glory
- energy and encouragement

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Roller Coaster Ride

"Roller Coaster" is how I would describe this past week. Everything just seemed to go up and then get knocked down over and over.

Starting at the beginning of the week, monday was pretty normal. We went out to our villages, and just sat and talked with some women and children there. It was a great relationship building time, and we got to hear some of the desires for the village. They asked us to teach their kids sports, and to also teach them some english! This is a great opportunity, and gives us a little direction as to what we can do for the remainder of our time.
Tuesday looked very different. My group started the Liter of Light project that we hope to implement into our shanty town village by the end of the summer. It was a great first attempt, but, as with any project, has lots of room to improve. The houses in our village are constructed of corrogated tin, and maybe a little bit of wood. They have no windows or ways for light to come in. So, during the day, their homes are very dark. This project will place a coke bottle light in their roof, providing light for their home. Here is a link to a video and you can check it out:  http://youtu.be/o-Fpsw_yYPg
Wednesday, my village team was beginning to get discouraged. We were questioning what our purpose is here, and how, if at all, we could make an impact. We had convinced ourselves in a way, that because we weren`t seeing success in the same way that other teams were, then we were not being successful. This day, we were supposed to work on the light project again, but ended up not doing do, because we were waiting on the correct tool to come in. So, this left us without a plan. We ended up running errands before having to be in our village at 8pm. However, throughout the day, God continuously showed us that we are not doing anything here. He is. We had four different encounters with people in taxis, restaurants, and at the Zocolo. Each one of these encounters were put in place by God to show us that we must not lean on our own strength, because without His strength, we are weak. After each encounter, we were encouraged to see that God will use us in our weakness. The day ended in our townhome village at a cell group through the local church we attend. We were so overjoyed to finally meet some people in this village, and to see the other believers there.
Thursday, we went into the villages with a changed view. We knew that if we gave it all up to God, He would be faithful and show us where we were supposed to go. As we entered the townhome village, we saw the entire soccer field full of men on break from work. Nick, who plays collegiate soccer, jumps right in to play, and Catherine and I sit and talk with those on the sideline. We found out that every weekday, they play on their break. So we are excited to return and converse again. After break was over, we walked the streets and met two people, a man at a restaurant and a lady that sells paletas on the street. Each of these were great chances that we had to make new aquiantences in that village. After all of this, we headed over to our other village. We sat with a friend we have there and her children, and had a great experience. Nick got to share a bible story with the kids, and the woman shared her testimony with us. It was so encouraging to her to have people share the bible with her kids, and it was encouraging to us to learn that she tries to set an example of Christ and share her story with all those around her.
As the village time rounded up this week, we found ourselves on our knees at the Throne. We are so in awe of how the Lord works, and have realized that we do nothing, but God uses us as His tools to accomplish His tasks.

Then, the downhill slope came. I got word on Thursday night that Kyle's grandma passed away. I was suddenly in a pit as far as struggles go, because I wanted to be home with the ones that I love for support. I found, and am still finding it hard to be away from my best friends and second family. Over this weekend, it has been hard to be strong, and hard to remember that I am supposed to be here. It is hard knowing that people I love are hurting, and I cannot physically be there with them.

Going into this next week, I am praying that I can focus on Mexico and my work here. I am excited to see what God has in store for our villages, and ready to be used as we are on the end half of our trip.

- Kyle and his family
- my focus to be here and knowing that this is where God wants me right now
- courage to get into deeper questions and relationships in our villages
- more relationships in the townhome village
- one of our taxi/bus driving friends and our relationship with him to grow and get to the gospel

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Transformation in Trials

Whew! This past week went by so fast, and I am just now finding a breath to post.

We had a team here from North Carolina. They did a sports camp in one of the villages we are working in. They were such a blessing, because they helped open so many doors for us. We had way over 100 children at the sports camp, and got to meet people who live in the villages we are in. God opened up so many potential opportunities for us to carry on this summer.

At our end of the week meeting, we went over Acts 17. There were two things that stuck out to me that I would like to share with you all: 1. we must contextualize the gospel, and 2. we should not be surprised when we face trials.
First, it is incredibly important to learn about the people and their cultural values. Then, use the things that you learn about them to lead into and relate the gospel. Paul does just this in Acts 17.
Secondly, trials will come if we are being effective. The people are fine and welcoming and open, until change begins to occur. When hearts begin to change and people begin to act different, others begin to fear and persecute those who cause change. At this time, when struggles are invading, this is when we must get on our face before God, and go through the struggle with Him. If we kneel before and cling to Him, He is faithful to bring us out stronger that ever before.

Going into this week, we are ready to dig deep with the relationships we have begun. We are ready and open for God to use us in ways that we cannot fathom.

- relationships from sports camp to grow
- strength when trials come
- openness and boldness to share the gospel
- encouragement for my village team to know that we are being effective

Friday, June 14, 2013

Love Like Him

Let me just start by saying that we serve an awesome God! I am so blessed to be a part of His work here in southern Mexico.

We started in our villages this week. We are getting aquainted with the culture there, and starting to build some great relationships. Our mission this week was to pass out fliers for the sports camp this coming week. It was a great foot in the door to meet the people we will be getting close with this summer. I am amazed by the Holy Spirit. Although none of us in my village group speak fluent Spanish, God truly used the Spanish we have to carry on some great conversations. Without Him, we would have been useless.

We met a lady in our smaller village who quickly became one of our great new friends. She was so helpful in showing us where certain people live, and introducing us all around. We met a woman who instantly offered to show us how to make "real" tortillas. Yum! However, we figured out when we came back the next day and tried, that it is not easy. It is a divine art.

On the second day in the villages, the same day as tortilla making, we met some women in the bigger village. We are very excited to see the relationships to come there. We ended the day with a hike to the top of the hill at the smaller villages. Some of the children lead us up so that we could see God's beautiful creation from high above. It was breathtaking! I was reminded that God created it all, including each individual and unique person. How simple, but amazing is that!

It is so easy to get caught up in the differences between people. However, we are ALL created in the image of God. Whether we are believers or not, we are still created in God's image. Therefore, I am reminded daily to look past any differences or first impressions, and to love each and every person as Jesus would. We are called to love, and in the way that Jesus loves, sacrifically and unconditionally. As I continue on my journey that God has given me,I challenge you and pray that I always walk in the way of love, never forgetting that Christ is my example.

In Him,
Alex Kate

"Keep company with Him, and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious, but extravogant. He did not love in order to get something from us, but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that!"   - Ephesians 5:2

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Obedience is the Center of His Will


I have started my journey in Oaxaca. We arrived here Thursday, and we are all in love with the people, colors, culture, and city!

Let´s rewind just a little bit. Before we even set foot on the airplane, there were many hours of preparation that took place in Alabama. This past week has we were bombarded with tons of information, but it was so rewarding and challenging. One of my favorite things that we talked about at orientation has got to be: Going does not make you effective. Staying does not make you effective. Obedience make you effective. We who go to the nations are not any more spiritual or any better than the ones who stay, just because we go. It is incredibly important to listen to the Lord, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and heed his calling or command. We are to be in the center of His will in all that we do, and to be obedient to His command.

In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus calls three different people to come and follow Him. However, each time the people make up some excuse as to why they are not ready to follow in obedience to what He is calling them to do. I urge you to tune your ear to the calling that God has for you. When He speaks, go and do as He is asking you. When you are in His will, He is faithful to carry out the work He began in and through you.

Thank you all for your prayers as God is taking me on this journey. I am encouraged by you, and I am so glad that you are going on this journey along side me.

- continued growth together as a team
- comfort zones to be shattered
- that God continues to go before us and prepare hearts
- that we will sieze every opportunity He places in our path
- language
- confidence and boldness in sharing the gospel
- comfort and peace in knowing that He fills every area in which we feel inadquate

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Beginning

The Lord is amazing. I stand in awe of Him, and all that He does.

     Wow!! This is all that I can say after coming home from orientation this weekend with Go Now Missions. This weekend, God blew me away! He showed me His power, and truly was present in everything that took place this weekend. 
     At orientation, we were divided up into groups, called tribes. My tribe was made up of teams going to Mexico, Venezuela, Nashville, and Texas. Let me just say, I wish we were all going to the same place! Our tribe meshed together so well. We felt like we had known each other for years and years, when in reality it had only been about 5 hours. God truly placed each one of us together! 
     The weekend flew by, and was extremely busy! We participated in seminars, worship, house church, tribe bible study, travel preparations, prayer walking seminars, commissioning service, and that is just the beginning. Each one of these things grew us so much in Christ! Who knew that in one weekend, my whole view of the Lord and passion for Him could grow so much! 
     I stand in awe of Him, and of His power. I am amazed already at how He is working!! I look forward to this summer serving Him in Oaxaca, Mexico. I am ready for Him to use me in some crazy ways!! 

Thank you all for your prayers and support as God takes me on this journey. 

Prayer requests for now:
- God is preparing the hearts and opening the hearts of those we will meet
- Safety
- Health
- Jeff and Liesa Holeman (career missionaries to Oaxaca)
- Travel (to Mexico June 6)
- God will use us out of our comfort zones
- Discernment of His will
- Team will mesh together well, and we will truly be a team
- Nehemiah Teams Orientation (June 1-5)

In Him,
Alex Kate

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against the flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."    - Ephesians 6:10-12

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

His Ways are Higher than Our Ways

   Hey y'all! So, it has been a while since the last time I posted anything, but like I said last time, college makes you busy. There seems to never be a dull moment or time for rest. Here I am now, though, taking the time to lay out what is on my mind/heart.

   As I am planning for my mission trip to Mexico, I have been faced with many different people and situations that have really got me thinking "Why am I here?", "Why did God place me where I am?", and "What is my purpose here on earth?" As I contemplated these questions, I was encouraged to dig and to ask questions and to figure out the answers to these questions that at first glance seem so simple. As I continued to seek what God has for me, I was deeply encouraged in so many different things. I want to share some of those with y'all, and hope that they encourage you just as they have encouraged me.

- God has a plan for all of us.
         First and foremost, it is important to understand that God truly does have a purpose for each and everyone of use. We were all created by God, for God. He knows the amount of hairs on your head (Luke 12:6-7). He knows your deepest secrets, worries, aspirations, and dreams. He knew all of this before you were even thought of by your parents (Jeremiah 1:5). How amazing is that?! Our God, the Ruler of the Universe, the Ultimate King, the Loving Father loves us so much that He takes to time to intimately care for and know us. Wow! Now, take this in. The King who knows your inmost being, has a plan for you. Not just a plan that is like everyone else's plan. No! He has a specific and unique plan just for you. Made and mapped out with you as an individual in mind.

- God's plan is the ultimate plan
         So many times, we like to think that our plan is higher that God's. As humans, we, by nature, are lead to believe that we know what is right for ourselves. We are lead to believe that we can handle anything that comes our way, and that we know just what the future will hold for us. This could not be anymore wrong! In Isaiah 55:8-9, God says ""My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts." God lays it out for us. He does not leave it to question. His ways are higher than our ways. We can only see one single pixel of the picture, and God can see the entire view. Why would we trust our own selves when we are so blind to what He has for us? We are to seek out and follow His plan for us.

- God's plan is for your best interest
         God knows just what we need. He knows what we desire and want as well. God will not bring us something, or He does not have something in His plan that is not with our best interest in mind. In Jeremiah 29:11 He tells us just this: "For I know the plans I have for you,...Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." He knows what he has for you, and He assures us that it will be good for us and not bring us harm.

- God's plan is not always easy
         So many times, we are told that being a Christian is not easy. Nothing could be any more true. We are not promised a straight path that is clean and fresh. Rather, our path my look a little rough. If you have seen Kid President's Pep Talk he says, "Two roads diverge in the wood, and I took the road less traveled, and it HURT, MAN!! Really bad! Rocks! Thorns! Glass!" He gets it! Just like our walk with faith, we will encounter some struggles, some hurts. We will encounter tough times, and broken hearts. Is this supposed to lead us away from God? NO! NO! NO! It is actually just the opposite. We are to RUN closer to Him. An important thing to remember is that God will not bring us to something that He will not bring us through. He will not leave us either when times get hard. As the boat starts to rock, He will hold our hands as we fear. He will hug us as we cry. He will carry us when we are tired. Trust Him to do just that. Trust your life with Him, and that He will NEVER leave you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

   So, now what? Take this. Take it and RUN! Take encouragement in the fact that you have a purpose. Our ultimate purpose for life is to Glorify God and to Make Him Known. How will you do this? How are you currently doing this? Will you take heart when times get hard, and cling to Him? Will you seek out what He has in store for you? What keeps you from seeking out and living His plan for your life? Are you afraid? Are you anxious? Let all that hinders go away. Run the race that He has marked out for you as it says in Hebrews 12:1. Take courage and sprint to Him.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, Let us throw of everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

                                      -Hebrews 12:1-2