Friday, June 29, 2012

from my journal - 6/27/12

Today my heart is full - full of love, full of excitement and full of anticipation. The Kenya 1 team got back earlier this week and pictures and videos are being posted like crazy! Also, my friend Lindsey is currently in Kenya at Naomi's Village. Seeing pictures and reading posts makes me long to be there with the children. Sometimes I think my heart is so full with love for them that it might burst. Today is one of those days.

I've noticed that my emotions towards Africa are kind of like riding waves. On days like today I find myself so excited that I can hardly stand it,  but I know in a few days or weeks I will find myself distracted, pushing my thought of Africa aside for seemingly more important things. But then, soon after that something will draw my attention back to Africa and I'll be on top of my "wave" again.

This is just a testament to how inconsistent emotions are. I am so thankful that my God is a God of consistency and steadfastness. When I waver He is steady, constantly drawing me to himself.

Lord, Help me to trust in your steadfast and consistent nature. Remind me that even though it may not be at the forefront of my mind, you are calling me to something in Africa. Reveal that calling.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

River Trip Y'all!

That's right, just got back from another fantastic river trip! This trip was a bit different from my last River Trip - no camping and no rain, but a good time was had by all. Instead I rented a house for myself and 15 friends and I'll say, that's definitely the way to go!

After numerous lengthy emails on my end and no complaints on everyone else's (thanks for putting up with me, guys) the trip was planned. We got a solid group consisting of friends from my small group and the guys group we hang out with. Although I didn't think it would happen, we got all 16 spots filled at the last minute. Thanks for joining us Kristin, David & Sal!

Lauren, Rachel & Amanda took the day off and went down early on Friday. They braved the task of buying food for 15 people and did a fantastic job! The rest of us left on Friday after work.

First stop - Health Camp - Waco, Texas
I think God spoils us in Texas with all the beautiful sunsets.
Our goal was to get to Gruene in time to go dancing at the historic Gruene Hall. We got to Gruene a little after 11, decided to stop at a gas station to change and booked it to downtown Gruene. Just as we walk up the last song ends and they tell us they're closed. Failed attempt #1. 

We head out to our house to meet up with the girls. The house is fantastic! Couldn't have asked for a better place. We're greeted by a group of drunk guys who are part of a bachelor party taking place next door. The girls, in an attempt to be social, went out to the common area and we find them politely chatting with the bachelor party. They seemed grateful for the rescue. We hang out for a while, Sal and the guys serenade us with some Taylor Swift and then we head to bed. Except we can't sleep because of said drunk bachelor party and their rowdiness. There's a failed attempt to ask them to quiet down along with some crap-talk on their end, but we eventually fall asleep. 

Because I forgot to ask Eric to pick up some tortillas from a tortilla factory near his office, I volunteer to  get up early the next morning to make a grocery run. I actually wake up earlier than my alarm, so that gives me that much more time to sit on the porch reading and journaling. We had quite the view!
My bible reading plan had me in 1 Chronicles 29. My favorite section was 29:10-19 which is David prayer of praise and supplication. Such a great reminder that God is our source of wealth and strength. Even the offerings we give to Him come from God himself. David also reflects on God's examination of our hearts for uprightness and integrity. 

"keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you." 29:18 - such a great prayer.

Probably my favorite part of the weekend.
Eric and I make a run to HEB to get tortillas for breakfast tacos. Once we get there, I realize we should have talked to the group about what we wanted to eat for dinner. We decide to make an executive decision and get chicken, brats & turkey burgers. It takes us forever at HEB. By the time we get back everyone is dressed and ready to float. All they're waiting on are the tortillas, which turn out to be moldy. ugh! Just my luck... We make do, load up and head to Rockin' R Tube Rentals. After waiting a while on the shuttle bus we're ready to float!
The Gang
After our afternoon of floating we head back to the house to shower and make dinner. We had decided we wanted to go to the Ice House on River Road on Saturday night for our second attempt for some dancing. It turned out there was an AC/DC cover band and cover was $12! We said "Heck No, we wanna two-step!" and left. Failed attempt #2.

We make our way into downtown Gruene in hopes of finding something. Gruene Hall had a concert that was $22 and one-in/one-out. We had heard there was a bar across the street, so we try that. It's a full bar that's incredibly narrow - probably not the best place for 15 people to be. Failed attempt # 3.

We end up at a place called Tavern in the Gruene. Walking in, I can tell we've hit the jackpot! 

It's a dive bar with a great atmosphere and a local country band, The Possum Posse. They have a great look and sound pretty good too. Some of us dance, some sit and chat and others play shuffle board. I wish we would have found this place right off the bat! Mary said someone commented on her instagram photo that this place looked like it should have been in the movie Sweet Home Alabama. I think that's a pretty fitting description. I loved it.
The Possum Posse.
The Greatest band in the World. Possibly, Ever.
The plan was to go dancing and then go back to the house and make smores with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. You know, for my Life List. Well, by the time we got back we were too tired to attempt the task of making another fire (after being semi-unsuccessful at dinner). Instead we let Sal serenade us again as we all sit in lounge chairs down by the river. It's so relaxing he puts all of us to sleep. We decide to turn in for the night and at the EXACT moment I get into bed the drunk bachelor party cranks up the radio. They're playing Tootsee Roll. Awful. I finally fall asleep, ears plugged.

I spent Sunday morning down by the river reading and journaling with Jen. We clean up and pack up and make our way back to Dallas. We stop in Round Rock at Rudy's BBQ for some lunch and arrive home around 5pm. Just enough time to go our separate ways, unpack and make our way back to church. 

The weekend was a complete success. I'd say it's one for the books. And you know what, I'd even volunteer to plan it again next year!

My prayer for this trip was that we would grow in community and I feel like that prayer was answered. I know a few of the girls and I got in some good "heart-share" time and I had some good conversations with some of the guys too. As for the drunk bachelor party, I decided we'd just chalk that one up to a community growth/sanctifying experience. 

New friends and new memories made.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

You may or may not know, but I'm officially going back to Kenya in September! The trip this year will be a bit different from last year's trip. Although we will still be staying at Naomi's Village, this year we will be going to support the ministry of Issac and Esther Karanja and the Rift Valley Fellowship church plant. The focus of our trip is to share the gospel with the people of the surrounding area. We will be visiting with people in the IDP camp and in Maai Maihu, a nearby town. We are also hoping to help launch the church plant while we're there.

About 6 weeks ago my team and I met to prepare and send out our support letters.

Here's a few detail shots of my letter design.
As you can tell, I sent out a TON of letters. I can't remember the exact number, but I think it was somewhere around 80 letters.

I guess it's been about 5 or 6 weeks since I sent my letters, and the Lord has already been so faithful to provide funds for my trip. As of Thursday, I had raised $1,750, which is over half of my trip expense! Can you believe how quickly He is answering prayers?! He is SO good!

On Wednesday a few of us went to the Rangers game. Although the Rangers lost BIG TIME, we still had a great time getting to know each other. I'm looking forward to spending more time with everyone! 
Left to right - Hayley, Jake, James, Heather, Julie, Jessica
Don't be fooled, this isn't everyone. There will be a total of 16 members on our team. I hope this is the first of many team hang-out sessions!

Sunday, June 3 is our next meeting. There's not a whole lot going on right now because we're still a few months out, but will you still continue to pray for us? 
Pray for unity for our team.
Pray against attack from the enemy.
Pray for the people in Kenya that will engage.

Just pray.

He is faithful!
Love, Jules