A place to share my thoughts on what God is teaching me and other things I am learning through this odyssey called life


Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Voiceless Part Three

Orphans.  This is where my heart truly lies the most.  I’m not exactly sure what stirred up the tug once more.  Perhaps looking back on my pictures from Ukraine.  Since I first learned about the plight of orphans, from Eric and Leslie' Ludy’s books, my heart has been broken for them!  Children have always had my heart.  I love children!  That’s all there is to it.  I wouldn’t have worked at a daycare off and on for four years and worked as a nanny for two if I didn’t.  I would not be working a bunch of crazy, loud, beautiful fourth grade girls in AWANA or spend a week at camp with seventy odd children if I didn’t love them.  And that love extends to a point of pain sometimes.  When I hear of children hurting it breaks my heart to pieces. 

When I found out the statistics on orphans I was crushed.  Approximately 148 million children do not have a mommy and a daddy.  These children are not comforted when they wake up with a bad dream (most of them live a bad dream every day).  They have no one to run to for protection from the school bully.  Most don’t even attend school.  Those that are in an orphanage are actually not much better off than those who aren’t (especially socially).

In Ukraine orphans are considered worthless.  No one wants to hire an orphan even if they did go to school  and even university.  It’s the stigma. And it’s not just Ukraine….around the world.

What are we as Christians doing about it? I like what Eric Ludy shared in one of his podcasts a few years ago.  His son, Hudson, was three at the time and his solution was- “if we bring all the orphans in to our family, they won’t be orphans any more.” From the mouths of babes as the saying goes.

So there are roughly 148 million orphans in the world today and about 3 billion people on earth claiming to be Christians.  If just 30% would take one child there would be no orphans. 

I may not be able to do much now is a single twenty-four year old lady living as a daughter at home, but I can be a voice.  I can advocate their rescue and adoption, and I can support those who are doing what they can. Are you doing what you can?

This is also one reason I am so excited about this mission journey through the World Race.  I cannot wait to love on the orphans!

The Voiceless Part Two

At the beginning of 2013 I was able to take part in Passion via internet.  Once again they highlighted  slavery and slaves. Once again my heart stirred within me.  No man, woman, or child should ever be the property of another person.  Many people think slavery was abolished from the United States 150 years ago, but the truth is as many as 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States annually. That’s nearly 48 people a day.  There are more slaves now, 27 million to be exact, than there were in William Wilberforce’s day. 

At times I feel so apathetic about the whole thing.  What can I do to help them? 

One of the things I heard during Passion was that slaves often ask “Where is God when I am here suffering?”  Where is He?  The only way these people can see God is through you and me so in essence what they are really asking is “Where are God’s people?  Why are the people of God not coming to save me as He saved them?”

So men and women of God, where are we? Are we turning our backs?  Are we turning up the music so we don’t hear their cries? Are we quickly passing them in the streets because we don’t know any better?

We need to be better informed.  In order to fight a battle you must know what you are doing.  Polaris Project has a good article on what signs to look for in a suspected trafficking case.
There are people already on the front lines fighting, but they need our help.  They don’t just need our funds (though greatly appreciated), they need our hearts and our voices.

There are so many ways to help those trapped in the deception and terror of human trafficking.

A few ministries dedicated to this are International Justice Mission, End it Movement, A21, and Polaris Project.

Another way to get involved is to help stop the demand. Find out what products are being produced by slaves (its not just the sex industry, though that’s a big part) and either refuse to buy that product or send the company/producer a letter letting them know your stand. Let major companies know you want their products, all the way down the line, to be made by men and women not in bonds. Slavery Footprint is a good way to do this. While you’re there you can check out just how many slaves are working for you right now. It is eye opening.

I honestly cannot put into words what I want to say in this post. There are men, women, girls, boys, brothers, daughters being used to the point of death both in their bodies and in their spirits. What are we doing to help them? What are we doing to show them that God is indeed there loving them and rescuing them?  What are we doing to be the hands, feet, and heart of the One who saved us?

What are we doing to save those that are enslaved?

Loose Ends

I realize I have left some loose ends here on my humble little blog.  I do not intend to let this blog fall into disrepair while on the World Race and blogging through that.  From time to time I may stop by to let those of you still here know what is going on with me.  When or how often I cannot actually say, but hopefully it will happen. For now though I do hope you will forgive me for the lateness of these next two posts.  I know I started my series on The Voiceless last year and I haven’t forgotten it.  Here now are the last two installments of that series.

Through Christ,
Lady B

PostScript- To get more updates come on over and visit my World Race blog at Build YOUR Kingdom Here

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Support Letter for the World Race

For many years my heart has been burdened for missions.  God began working this into my heart after my first trip to Romania in 2006.  A few months after returning home, I felt God’s call to surrender completely to missions. At the time I wasn't sure what that would entail, and after a few years I believed I had lost the passion I once felt. In October of 2011, God began to reawaken that call. Last year I was able to go to the Ukraine on two separate trips. One was a work trip on a home for graduated orphans, and the other was to help host a camp for orphans. Both trips solidified my desire for missions.  This year, I was able to travel with my church (joined by my mom and brother for their first trip) to Belize and minister to other missionaries there.
I first became aware of The World Race through a friend,  and about a year later I came across a newspaper article about a young lady leaving for the Race. At that point I began researching and reading about the program, but I had to trust God’s timing for when I should go.  After another year, the World Race was again brought to my attention.  This time I began seriously praying and felt it was time for me to step out and take the leap of faith. 
The World Race is an eleven month journey around the world.  In those eleven months I, with my team, will visit eleven countries and team up with ministries already in place to reach that area for Christ. What we will be doing will look different country by country, day by day. Some days we may be in the streets ministering, hosting VBS, or working in construction. Other days may simply encompass the daily grind of grocery shopping and caring for those on my team.  Every day will be full of prayer.
So why go? Ultimately I have been asking God for a long time what I’m supposed to be doing as a twenty-something, and this is an opportunity for me to step out in the call I believe He has on my life. It is a journey to minister to the least, lost, orphans, widows, and poor.  I don’t take this call and trip lightly.  I am essentially committing two years of my life to this endeavor with the hope of making a difference for Christ and being fashioned to look more like Him. With everything surrendered to God, here I am preparing for another, very different, mission trip.
I have signed up to leave in September 2014 for eleven months. Not only will I need a lot of prayer, but I have to raise all financing for the trip.  I will need to raise $15,500 plus $764 for insurance. That is a bit overwhelming, but that’s why I am trusting God and asking if you will partner with me.  Would you consider a monthly donation?  Or even a one-time gift?  If you can help in any way it will be much appreciated.  As I have heard often (and believe) “little is much when God is in it.”  Thankfully, I don’t have to have all of the funds all at once. Here is an actual break down of my financial needs:
§  $150 Deposit - Due 11/11/2013 (2 weeks after your acceptance date.)
§  $3,500 - Due 6/28/2014 (2 weeks before Training Camp)
§  $7,500 - Due 8/18/2014 (2 weeks prior to your trip)
§  $11,000 - Due 12/1/2014 (End of 3 months on the field)
§  $15,500 + $764 (*Insurance) = $16,264 - Total Due 3/1/2015 (End of 6 months on the field)

I cannot begin to thank you enough for taking the time to read this letter, and for your prayerful consideration of helping me reach this goal God has given me.

You may feel free to contact me or check my World Race blog: http://brookeconn.theworldrace.org/.

Through Christ,

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Grand Announcement or Life is About to Change...a lot

Just a few days ago I got a call that I had been praying about for a few months now.
"You've been accepted!"
Okay, let me back up.
At the beginning of this month I applied for a mission trip called The World Race. I wasn't really sure what I was doing, but I knew that God was asking me to take a step of faith (remember this post?).  So I stepped out and waited to see what God would do (here).  Little did I know this is what would happen.  I was hoping but...

So as it stands now I will be leaving in September 2014 for eleven months and each month will be spent ministering in a different country.
Here is my tentative route. To learn more hit the banner above.












To say I'm excited is an understatement!
I am still in shock at times and yet my brain has kicked into overdrive. Yes I have a year but that's really not all that long to get ready for a whole year of travel!
I wish I could say more but time constrains me at the moment.  I will say that in the coming days I will begin blogging on the World Race site.  As soon as I get that set up I will post the link here so you can keep up with me.
For now I ask for your prayers as I start this process.  I do, as any other missionary, have to raise my own support.  This trip will cost roughly $16,000 plus the gear I will be needing. And I know there will be a lot of changes in store for me and those around me.

I cannot wait to see what God does in the coming weeks and months!

Through Chirst,
Lady B

Monday, October 28, 2013

Memories. or The One Where I May Have Lost My Mind

A year ago I was getting ready to leave for the land that stole my heart. Today I am getting ready for a Father/Daughter dance I've been a part of coordinating (that I'm really excited about). Last year my heart was bursting with excitement; this year my heart is breaking with longing. It's odd to be excited about the dance and yet so sad about Ukraine at the same time. So as a way to brighten my mood and let y'all laugh at me I give you the things I miss...

Airports- I know right, but there is something about the adventure and exhaustion of being in them and finally arriving at the destination

Ukrainian food- Oh my goodness, stuffed dumplings (w/ potatoes or cherries, yum), campfire in a cup (aka Uzvar- ошав), the juices, more of this below

Chocolate- the best I have ever had!! I couldn't tell you what kinds I had but they were amazing.

Ukraine Mar 2012 036

The Chocolate Cappuccino- Ukraine has made me a possible coffee drinker, but nothing I've had can compare with the ones there.

Ice cream- I can't even describe it except oh so good!
(see a trend in the last three ;))
Ukrainian bread- Okay I like bread but this had to be my favourite

Tea is better than coffee- No kidding the tea cups were twice the size of the coffee cups, and we got tea every morning with breakfast at the camp!

Salo- (this is one of the parts where you say I'm crazy) Yes. it's nasty (in my American opinion) and yes I almost gagged, but I would eat it in a heartbeat if it meant being back in the Ukraine.

Bogdan's peppers- so hot but so much fun to watch others try to master them.  And the time Alla and I each ate one and then drank our drinks and others because our mouths were on fire.
Photo credit
Squatty potties- (Maybe I have lost it) Okay, I don't actually miss these but just the initial experience (when in Rome...)

The roller coaster drives- rattle your teeth, loosen your joints, and a few bust your head on the ceiling jolts- again the experience

The language(s)- Russian and Ukrainian and something in between. I loved learning new words and just listening to everyone talk, although I hated not being able to reach out and being a listening ear or a word of encouragement.

Futbol- Aka soccer at 7-7:30 in the morning and any other free moment. 

The worship- Some songs I knew (in English) some I only learned a few words (in Ukrainian) but all had the same meaning.  Bringing God the glory and praising Him

Snow- сніг!

More than all the fun and craziness, I miss the people!  I miss getting to know new friends and meeting up with old ones. I miss learning to reach out and be a friend over the barrier of language.  I miss the smiles, the tears, the games, the laughter.  I miss being Jesus to the children and experiencing Him through them. The other counselors were amazing and I'll miss working with them.  I know they are having a great time and I'm praying for them!

PostScript: Since I'm a little behind in posting this I'll say, the Father/Daughter dance turned out fantastic!  Definitely a lasting memory.

Through Christ
Lady B

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Did I?

Did I really just do that? Did I really just take a leap of faith?  
It's kind of odd to take a leap of faith and then have to wait. In a sense it feels like your just hanging out there not sure what is going to happen, but the truth is I have landed just where God wants me to- in His arms resting and waiting.  Who knows what will come of this jump.  Perhaps nothing.  Perhaps everything. Maybe it is just one step on the journey.  Maybe it's the beginning of a whole new adventure. Only God knows and it is in Him I trust!