Showing posts with label Living water. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Living water. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Remember God's Faithfulness... In the Moments

Hello lovely readers,

Last week I posted "Remember God's Faithfulness...The Blessings in My Life" and I talked about the people who have blessed my life. This week I wanted to talk about the moments in my life that I look back and remember God was with me. But for those moment to make sense I wanted to give you a little insight into my life... I know in the past I have provided insights but I wanted to write them down again.

I have not always been a Christian or Christ Follower (as I like to say). Actually I became a christian after I lied to my dad three times about using his computer and was punished by being sent to my room only allowed to read my Bible or twiddle my thumbs.  I do not know why but I read 2 Peter and chapter 3 really got to me "The Lord is not slow in keeping in his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" -2 Peter 3:9 and next "So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this (Christ's return), make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him"- 2 Peter 3:14. Having just lied to my dad, I felt guilty and I knew that if Jesus came back at that moment he would not find me spotless or blameless and at that moment I prayed for God to come into my life and save me. I was twelve at that time and it would take years for me to even begin living out the faith I proclaimed that day.

Senior Portrait
In my junior year of high school I suffered from minor depression and once thought about killing myself. Those words hurt to write... but as I imagined it, I didn't actually want to die, I just wanted for someone to know how much pain I was in. My thought was to take some sleeping pills (I took occasionally) but then when my mom came to wake me (as she did) she would realize what I had done and be able to get me to the hospital, they would pump my stomach, and they would save me. I didn't do this but just the thought I wanted to do it made me so broken inside... and I blamed myself a lot for these feelings. Anyway, during my senior year I went to therapy and got through some issues... but it still wasn't enough. I was about to move to Boston and I worried what if I move to Boston and slipped back into depression and wanted to kill myself. At home I had the support system of my parents but in Boston I knew no one and it scared me, but I also knew there had to be something bigger out there that could hold me up when I was low.

Because my parents were divorced and living in different states, I spent my summers in Oklahoma and for one week we went to church camp. I love my family so I say this with love but I looked at my dad and sisters and thought "yeah it's easy for them to have faith because they are strong" and I felt so weak and I felt so broken that there was no way that my brokenness could come to God. Well the week God put some amazing people in my life that were honest to me and told me of their brokenness and how God rescued them and saved them. Something I knew I needed because I didn't slip back into depression. So it was then I say I truly gave my life to Christ.

Now I believe if I died in high school I would have gone to heaven but if Christ asked me what I had done for Him? I would have had to say "nothing" because honestly there was nothing in my life that marked me as a Christ follower but that prayer I had said years ago.

My dear friend and I
Anyway after I got back from camp, I asked my dad to help me find a church in Boston and through his guidance and my mom reminding me of Park Street Church, I decided to go there and on my first Sunday there I felt I had come home. Also that first Sunday I met a really good friend of mine... and she allowed me to break down my walls and throw away the masks I had been wearing for so long. Over my Freshman year I felt so much my desperation for God but I felt more than anything His presence in my life.

In my Sophomore year through another girl we met at bible study we learned about Reunion Christian Church, and I remember my friend "C" telling me I had to go and when I asked her if I had a choice she said "no." That was our friendship worked and I am so thankful for that because through Reunion I have found a second family. Also through Reunion I decided to get baptized.

I remember, Reunion, went through this series called "Christian No More" where we talked about what it meant to be truly being a "Christ Follower" and one time my pastor (bald guy in the picture above) told us to "STOP" being a Christian. I didn't know what he meant by that and it was a big struggle for me because I felt he was telling me to stop being who I was. Well that's not what he was saying he was saying to stop calling yourself a "Christian" stop putting rules in the way of faith, and stop putting on a facade if you are not truly loving Jesus. Here is a parody video we watched during the series:

Now I am not saying that being a Christian is bad, because I still declare myself a Christian but I think it is more important to be true to Christ in your heart than just on the outside.

Even through all this, I have had low moments with God. Moments I didn't feel God was with me, moments I thought God had abandoned me or moments I would cry at night believing I was no longer a child of God. It is not because God had abandoned me because He promises over and over again in His word that He will "not forsake you" one of my favorite versed about that is Deuteronomy 31:6- "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (enemies of Israel), for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you."  

One of my darkest moments came after I broke up with a boyfriend, I thought I was going to marry. I realized that I had put my hope in him and in our relationship that I lost my hope in God. I couldn't even tell you what it meant when people said "put your hope in God" so I went back and studied all the mentions of the word "Hope" listed in my Bible concordance and it is still not something I completely understand. But I keep digging, I keep looking for times God provides hope. My favorite verse recently has been Hebrew 10:23- "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." And to me that me that no matter what come our way God is with us. God is with me and He is with you... even if you don't think He is.  

Okay, this post has gotten longer than I originally thought... and after writing out all my thoughts I don't know if I have displayed the moments God has been with me.. and I am okay with that because God is with me at all times. He is with me when I am having good days and I can totally feel His presence and He is with me when I am cannot.  He is with me when I am active and sharing my faith and He is with me when I am quiet and just going about my life. He is with me when I am crying and He is with me when I am crying. That is the amazing thing about Him, He will never leave me because He created me (and you) and He will be with us forever. In this moment God has blessed my life in showing me that. I hope you can find the blessing in knowing He is with you as well and that no matter how broken or shattered your life is, He can heal and mend your life... in fact He is the only One who can.

I am going to step off my preachy soap box now and just say if you are reading this God is with you and loves you.

I did not want to leave this blog post with out sharing this video from my trip to Honduras with Living Water... for me that sticks out as the pinnacle of knowing God was with me because I felt there were so many hoops that if God wanted me on that trip I was going to have to go through and He blessed me through all of them. I am not saying you have to go a trip to know God's presence, you can know it in your living room, on your commute to work, or just making dinner. For me however re-watching that video and actually writing this blog post I think God has shown me that he is with me always. Are there ways or moments you recognize Him? What are those moments you saw as struggle but looking back now are moments of hope? 

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Passions and Impact (pt.2)


I have been thinking and writing about my passion. I think as I face hopefully my last semester it has somewhat been haunting me. I have basically been in school for the last 23 years minus the year I took off in between undergrad and graduate school. When I went from undergraduate to graduate school I was on a plan that I thought about my sophomore year of college. I knew then me majoring in history was not going to get me a career so still following my dream of being Abigail Chase (the girl from National Adulthood Angst) I looked into Library Science school and that was the plan.
Since then things really haven't changed... but my thoughts have changed on life. One that year I had planned to take off became a year and half and during that year and a half I probably faced the hardest heart ache I have had to face. And while I struggled on this side of it I have felt a lot of growth in my life and my faith.
Library of Congress

Well when I started Library School I had my heart set on working in the Library of Congress, I had visited after my senior year of school, and it was just an incredible place of books... and the geek in me could not help but falling in love with it. But over time I discovered that the Library of Congress in all its big and grandness I probably wouldn't be able to interact with people as much as I would like to. Yes some librarian actually want to talk to people. I have had my mind set on being a reference archivist because I figured it would be a nice blend of handling old documents, interacting with people, and helping with research (which I actually like to do). 

Maybe I am just feeling burnt out by school, but while my mind has been set on being a reference archivist, my heart has been longing for something else. Well generically I am passionate about my friends, family and my faith. But yep its pretty generic.  Since I have been thinking, praying and posting about my want of passion, I have been thinking:  When was the last time I was truly passionate about something?  During my prayer time my answer came to me: Honduras, Living Water, those children.
I know I have probably over used this picture but I love it

I have always had a heart for children from my nieces and nephews (biological and the friend's kids I have "adopted") and for a long time it has been on my heart to adopt. I don't want any kid to go through life feeling un-special or unloved. And if I can provide that love and that feeling of special-ness... then what do I care if they look like me or not. That is a long term dream and passion of mine... but what about the present?

We are still going through the book of James in my church. If you know anything about the book of James he is really about doing your faith and not just saying you have faith. My pastor said something that struck me that "we create the kingdom of God here on earth." I had never thought of it that way. I mean I knew "our goal" as Christians was to bring heaven to Earth (typing that out...sounds like weird wording) maybe better to say to represent the Kingdom of God here on Earth. But I never thought about creating that... as a wanna-be-writer I think about creating a lot. So I liked the analogy of creating the kingdom of God here on Earth.

I think that is what I need to do more in my life... doing my faith not just reading my Bible, praying and talking about my faith. Not that those are bad but I don't think they are enough. I am not for sure what that looks like right now so I am just praying about it. But I know being open to God and what He wants will lead me down the right path. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful for the meaning

My nieces first ChristmasDear readers,
I like Thanksgiving, I have some traditions of Thanksgiving that stick with me like watching the Macy's parade and the National Dog Show. Since moving to Boston I have not always had the typical family Thanksgiving, I have made my own traditions of finding friends and spending the day with them. I am not a cook but I love making recipes that I remember from my childhood like pecan pie and sweet potatoes. I love watching my first Christmas movie over hot coco, most of my life we as a family always watched White Christmas, but now as an adult I like to start my season off with A Muppet's Christmas Carol. Sadly however Thanksgiving is often overlooked at least for me personally because it is the start of finals stress season.

Last Christmas...holding nephew
a great gift.
So as much as I like Thanksgiving I love Christmas, so it makes my heart hurt when people say they don't like Christmas. So I will admit I don't like how consumerism Christmas is. I love Christmas because it is a time for me to go home be with family. I will admit even though I hate consumerism, I like picking out gifts for people, this does not always mean buying. My two favorite gifts I have ever given have been to my dad one year it was a photo of us when I was younger and I am just resting my head on his shoulder, another year it was a poem I wrote that made him cry. Now that my niece and nephew are getting bigger I like seeing them on Christmas and seeing the joy they have. So yes I enjoy buying gifts but I set simple rules 1) I don't just buy random gift (usually this means I don't buy everyone I know a gift)... if I buy gifts it means something to me for that person, even if it is a gift card. I gave my friends a gift card to a restaurant so they could have a date night ( and as they had a baby I knew they needed a date night... of course I also offered myself as a babysitter). 2) I don't spend money I don't have... as I am one of the few people in America that don't have a credit card this is easier to do, but I set a budget for myself to keep my spending to a minimum. Yes, Christmas can be tense but it doesn't have to be. Remember a Charlie Brown's Christmas and what Christmas is all about...

I don't mean to stand up on a soapbox... every year my church goes through a series on Advent Conspiracy and it a series that really challenges us to get back to the roots of Christmas (video below explain). The first year we got involved in it... I felt guilty because I like getting gifts, but I mostly like giving gifts, and this felt like more pressure to spend less. I didn't really understand and I couldn't imagine telling my family I wasn't going to buy them gifts especially since I had already sent off my Christmas list.
Over time, I started to understand the idea of Advent Conspiracy. For one I stopped wanting things really. I might want things but instead of asking for things that might seem kind of pointless, I ask for things that I have put a lot of thought into. And as I get older I feel my gifts get more practical, like asking for luggage or shoes. Since I don't buy random gifts I don't like asking for random gifts. Also since I don't buy every body I know I don't expect gifts from everyone. So if you are reading this and think you need to buy me a gift... don't. And if you read that sentence and still think you need to get me a gift... I ask you to give to LIVING WATER.

I don't think I truly understood Advent Conspiracy until my pastor said something to the effect "make Christmas mean something more to others." I have never tried to sugar coat my life on this blog, but I know I am blessed in my life and I thankful that I don't fall into the group of people that just want Christmas behind them (according to a statistic given in my church it was more than 50%). I understand stress can come with Christmas, the travelling, seeing people who you may not want, buying people gifts you don't want and sometimes there is a deep pain if you are alone. I know those feelings even in a small amount, but I want to ask what if we made Christmas about more than ourselves? Christmas is consider the time of giving... what if we could give to others who couldn't give to themselves. I have found my passion for Living Water, but I know there are other organizations out there that are helping others meet basic needs around the world and in our own country... I think if we pushed ourselves to spend less on meaningless things and actually gave to others our Christmas might mean more.
I owe this picture to opening my eyes to the true plight of the thirsty, it was this picture and the fact "A child dies every 15 second because of clean water," and I thought "not on my watch." It was after this I decided to go to Honduras, on a Living Water trip.

Sorry this post was not meant to be a soap box, I just meant to encourage you that if you are feeling down at Christmas, this wonderful time of giving, that we give more than just gifts and presents but we give love... because love can change the world.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Figuring some things out...


I am sorry I have not posted more, I do not know how professional or even non-professional bloggers post every day or even once every week. I did it during the summer but now my brain is frozen. So I posted a life update  in September (actually my only post from September), but looking back on it the post seemed a little light and fluffy and I have been adamant that my blogs are not just going to be light and fluffy. So here is what has been going on behind the scenes...

In August I wrote a "Dear Anne" letter but I never published it because it seemed a bit "boo-me", however I feel I am still working on some of these emotions... 

Dear Anne,

I know it has been awhile since I have written, I was beginning to feel confident in myself and writing about my deeper thoughts without having to write to a fictional person. However, right now I feel I can only express myself if I write to you.

Best Buds
Dearest Anne, I am feeling a little lost, a little lonely, and a little empty. I would like to say my mind is just being overloaded with my move and packing up my place and that could be it... but I think it goes deeper than that. I think it started when I got back from my family reunion, as great as it was, I will say I felt very lonely during it. My younger sister and cousin, I kind of felt we grew up together and whenever our family got together it was the 3 of us together... one year we went to Branson, Missouri and we made the shirts that said "Best Buds". This year I went and my younger sister had her husband and my cousin had her finance... and I didn't have anyone and I think it hit me truly that I am very single and I felt a little left out. I don't want to be all "boo me"... so sorry. (L and C if you read this please know I am completely happy for you and nothing I said about being lonely takes away that feeling of happiness I have for you.)
We so silly

Lately I have been coming to terms with my insecurities and how low I feel about myself. My co-worker and I grabbed dinner one night after work and she called me out. She said "Blaire, your faith is about loving people, but I don't think you love yourself as much as you love others." I couldn't even respond because if I did I would have to say "yes" and then cry. Then in my bible study we are going through some questions we have with our faith and I was inquiring about "humility" vs. "insecurities". I was reminded that 1)God created me in His image 2) God makes His home in us and 3) calls our bodies a temple... I have a warped since of image if I cannot see that and I need to trust my image and hand over my insecurities more and more to God. So I have been reading passages about being made in "God's image" so far my favorite has been from Colossians 3:1-17.

I have also been looking into passages about purpose. After last semester I have felt a little passion-less for Library Science, for school, and really life. I am putting a lot of hope in this semester with taking a children's librarian class and my internship... I am really wanting these classes will spark my passion for libraries. Earlier this summer I was really feeling like dropping out of school, and what was holding me back was the knowledge I only had a year left. Right now my plan is to finish school... hopefully May 2014. Then when I am working full time look into creative writing classes. Even if it doesn't become a profession when I am writing, writing feels like it is the only thing I should be doing. That fulfills one plan and sounds great on paper, but it is not all of me.

Lately (even pre-move) I have had these feelings of being un-settled. I know I am "stuck" in Boston at least until I finish school, but after that I don't know what is going to happen. To be honest I have thought about packing up and moving. I have thought about moving to Texas to be closer to sister and her family, I have thought about moving to D.C. to pursue my dream of working for the Library of Congress, and I have thought about going into overseas missions. I am not sure if I really want to be doing overseas missions, but when I was in Honduras I just fell in love with being in a completely new culture and being filled by giving to others. The other week I was talking to my dad and he joked I could end up in Uganda, he then said "I don't know what library you would work for in Uganda" and I quickly responded "Oh if I went to Uganda, I wouldn't be doing library work, I would be doing Living Water." "So nothing related?" he asked. "Nope, nothing related." There is still so much I want to do with my life. Of course I think about staying here in Boston, sometimes the thought of leaving Boston hurts too much. I have made friends, a second family, I know and love Boston.
old pic...this is my best friend's baby
and my heart melts every time she calls me
"Aunt Bear"
Since the first time I came here I have felt like Boston is my home (where I fit), but lately it hasn't felt true. So I am praying right now for God to direct me, but that is all in the future... 

I am wondering what God wants in my life right now. I know God has a reason for me to here in Boston and in school, even I don't know that that is. I am asking God to show me.

I know one thing I need to work on is being more social. I don't think I need to make more friends, though I have loved the new friendships I have made over this summer, but I think I need to go deeper. I have a hard time being vulnerable with people, and admitting I need help. Lately I have felt very overwhelmed with life and kind of want to run away and hide but that is not a reality and I don't think that is what God truly wants from me. So I have had to ask people for help and it has been really hard, but I am hoping through God is teaching me about his control and to rest in his strength.

Sorry this is so long I guess after not writing for so long, I guess I had some words to say.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My Journey to Honduras!

Aqua Viva Internacional =Living Water International
First of all Honduras is a beautiful country. 

We arrived late on Saturday morning in the town of San Pedro Sula. Then we had to drive four hours to the city La Ceiba. Our stop in Honduras is Burger King... I think they were trying to ease our way into the country. 
Some our gang at BK
After the four hour drive we got to stay in this beautiful hotel.
The hotel was right on the ocean, I loved standing in the warm water. It had lots of fresh pineapple and we were able to take hot showers there as well. We started and ended our week there which was a very nice treat. 

Our team in front of the church
On Sunday we went to this church. Some of the staff/members of this church work with Living Water so they prayed for us and as we left they all gave us hugs and kisses. It was a great encouragement to start off the week. 

Then after church we had to drive another hour and half to a town called Seda. 
Sunset from the roof of our 2nd hotel 
The town of Seda.

On Monday we drove to the sight. So one expectation I had was that we were going to be working in a village, and that it would be a town like you see in "feed the children" commercials. We were in at a school in the town Descrmbro, Honduras, a agricultural town and some of the people are "middle class". I put it in quotes because I don't want people to think of American middle class. It is middle class for Honduras which means they mostly don't have electricity and maybe running water. By running water I mean they have a tank of water in their back yard. The primary water source for this village of apox. 3,000 is a river that serves as a dishwasher, laundromat & waste removal service for the community. The people of Descombro know that the water is unclean but only half of the community can afford to buy purified water and a lot of the students buy soda.

The school
One day these student practiced the drums from the start to end of the day.
The red doors in the back ground the bathrooms.

The windows of the school were covered in wooden planks. 

Inside a classroom. 

The teachers of the school cooked our meals for us while we were a the school. 
I was on the hygiene team which is more like the teaching team. For each class we did two hygiene, one bible story and then a craft. A hygiene story talked about how to wash their hands properly, how to treat diarrhea, what food to eat properly, how to keep water clean and how to use the pump properly. On the first day we talked about germs and we used glitter to represent germs. When we came into lunch with the drilling team, my friend joked that  "the drilling team was covered in mud and the hygiene team was covered in glitter."

On Tuesday our machine was broken so while some of the Living Water staff went to get new equipment we were able to walk around one of the villages the school serves. The school served up to 5 to 6 local villages but this was the closest village.

While there some house like this one (above)... they would sit right next to the mud hut house (below). I will admit when I arrived in Honduras I thought all the houses were going to be like the one below.

The biggest take away I will take away from the walk through the village was just how generous people were.
We stopped by one house that had a few coconut trees. The guy, who owned the house came out and asked if we want some and would not let us pay for them. Then he began cutting them down and taking his machete to cut them apart so we could drink coconut milk. His wife was there holding this little baby and I was saying how cute he was, in my most broken Spanish. She just came and placed him in my arms so I could hold him. I thought "whoa, she doesn't know who I am but she gave me her son." I love little babies, so this was a great moment for me.
I just loved all the horses.
A shot of the main road in the village

 On Wednesday we did what is called a good news bracelet.
My good news bracelet.  

Black- represents the sin that separates us from God.
Red- represents the blood of Christ that was shed for the sacrifice of our sins.
White- when we accept Christ we become white as snow. 
Blue- represents baptism
Green- represents the new creation God makes us.
Yellow- represents the glory of heaven. 

The day we made the bracelets the kids acted like we were passing out candy when we were giving out the beads. Some kids tricked us to giving more beads to It was great to see how receptive to the story of Christ and what it all meant.

I can't talk much about the drilling project as I mostly stood on the side lines and watched. But next year I would love to be part of the drilling team and get my hands, t-shirt, and pants dirty. 

Here are some pictures from the drilling sight...
At the beginning there was just dirt.

LOTS of hard work being done.
Never leave home with out your duct tape
One guy on our team had broken his foot so every day he had to wrap his foot with tape to make sure his boot did not get wet. Well his tape did not always hold up so I told him I had duct tape, of course it was bright pink, but it worked to protect his foot. I must say it looked quite stylish. It was just lucky I had it because I just threw it into my luggage at the last minute.

I know there were a lot of challenges for the drilling team, with broken machine parts, and the fact they kept hitting rock, rock they couldn't get through. So out of faith on Wednesday they had to send down some pipe and then attempt to pump to see if they could get water. God blessed us and we had water! My friend put it best... "Looking back we see this as a blessing in disguise (sometimes God has to slow us down for our own good)."
This was a great relief to all of us!

On Wednesday we also had our intense moment of being stuck on the other side of the border. To read more about that read my Shove comes to Push post. When we finally left on Wednesday we didn't know at that moment if we were able to come back and finish/dedicate the well. I wasn't so concerned about that but I hated not knowing if I was going to come back and see my students. I was amazed even with the barrier of not speaking Spanish how much I loved them and how much they loved us. Fortunately we were able to come back and finish the work we started.

At the end of that was water. 

Both the drilling and hygiene team at the pump. 

At the dedication of the pump. 
Lots of the girls gathered around me and I tried to put my arm around them all.

I can't fully explain how wonderful it was to be on this trip. I knew I was going down to serve them but I felt so blessed by the people I met there. It was a wonderful and amazing journey. I highly recommend that every one go on a mission trip. The best thing to do is find a cause, country, or another area you are passionate about and see how you can serve there. I can't wait to go back to Honduras and if God wants me, I will go back next year. 

When I left Honduras, I told Emmillo (the boss) "I am not going to say Adiós but Hast Luego (see you later)."     

I know these aren't the best pictures... but I am going to miss the beauty of Honduras.