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Would You Find a Toothless Woman Beautiful?


IMG_9316I climbed into a ditch yesterday to get eye level with a woman who had been looking my way. I was the only white female around and with my ultra white skin and this long auburn hair, I’m sure that I stood out more than I realized.

It had been a dream of mine for about 2 years to stand where I was standing. There are factories nearby my house and many Malagasy people work there and eat out on the streets on their very short meal breaks.

There is a harvest in my backyard basically and I wanted to go and love on them.

I had just shared with the people on the love of God and the way that it has changed my life. There were tears as I saw glimpses of God’s heart over each one who listened to me.

I spoke with and prayed for several at the end of my sharing time and I kept my eyes open for anyone else whom God might want me to pray with.

My translator stuck by my side and thankfully he is a bold young man who loves Jesus so he went along with my leading him person to person.

After many smiles and warm prayers had been offered, I knew it was time to go and greet this one who was continually looking my way. I climbed down onto her level and smiled.

I began to ask her name and if there was anything that she needed prayer for.

There was indeed, so I asked her like the others I had prayed for if I could hold her hand.

Her eyes widened as she heard my translation come through in her mother tongue. She looked back at me and covered up her smile.

This white girl wanted to hold her hand.

Then I said what a beautiful smile she had. To which she shook her head like any woman who’s insecure and being complimented would do.

The only difference between her insecurities and maybe a friend back home is that she is missing most of her teeth.

Not only that, but the remaining teeth were rotting.

I meant what I said though—that she had a beautiful smile.

She was beautiful. Far more than the so referred to ideals of beauty that only masks what real beauty is.

Here she was not hiding who she really was. There was no escaping that she’s grown up less fortunate than anyone I know from the USA. There’s no hiding the fact that she’s not had access to proper dental care or hygiene. Her wrinkles on her young face reveal many harsh days in the sunlight working and the physical stress her body has endured.

We prayed for her specific needs and I also encouraged her that she is a daughter of God just like me. That there might be differences in our lives naturally, but we are the same value with Him and we are loved by Him.

We continued to talk and I watched as her countenance changed. How her eyes softened more and received more love like sunlight to her heart.

I repeatedly told her how beautiful her smile was and each time it grew broader and brighter.

Her sister came along, not missing any visible teeth and was equally as beautiful. We talked and prayed and then they thanked me and walked away.

I thought about this dear smile.
This toothless face and the precious sight it is to my Father in Heaven.
I thought of the joy that Jesus has over this one who to the best of her knowledge loves Him and worships Him.
This one who He paid the price for in dying on the cross.

Then I thought about the social media world and it’s view on beauty.

I’ve never seen a popular post of a picture of a woman with no make-up and saying many comments of “Wow you’re so beautiful!”, “GORGEOUS!”, “Ow Ow super-model friend”.

I know I’ve often remarked on my friend’s posts of wearing no make-up, but it’s not the normal and pictures of women without make-up is by large, rare.

I’ve never seen people get all excited over some woman’s outfit that is just “plain Jane” or one that is mismatched, has holes, and is tattered like my toothless friend.

The reality is that we don’t see beauty like God sees it.

We look for the no wrinkles, flawless, put together, something we can all desire type of beauty.

We post about the latest trends, style the latest haircuts and colors, and keep one another in a constant comparison trap. All the while the true beauties of the world get pushed out of sight.

Back to my original question, would you find a toothless woman beautiful?

You might answer yes particularly if you can picture this Malagasy woman I have described and have a sense of compassion. BUT is your “yes” based on sympathy and feeling sorry for her? Is your scale of beauty adjusted to fit someone who’s life is lived in the dust and dirt of Africa? Or can you confidently saw yes because no matter if you are looking at this precious one or the woman next to you at work, you see true beauty. You see it in the ones that others would call “ugly”. You see beauty in the faces of those who would never grace a magazine about beauty and style. You see it because you’ve seen the one whom “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him”. (Isaiah 53:2)

There was nothing in Jesus’ nature that marked beauty or denoted an attractiveness like a King, yet the beauty of His love and life is far greater than any person will ever have.

When we see His beauty and gain His heart, we see the beauty in others, even if there is ugliness in their hearts that makes them unkind.

Beauty isn’t in a perfectly set of straight teeth or in a perfectly arched eyebrow. It certainly isn’t in an expensive dress or in the shade of hair dye.

Beauty is in the heart of God who created everything and said that “It is good”. He created you. He created me. He created the sunsets, the rainbows and the stars. And he calls things beautiful like my toothless friend.

Don’t be afraid to climb down into the ditches of life and to search out beauty where few are brave enough to explore. You’ll find great treasures of beauty there hidden just to reveal themselves to you.

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I am not one to use face make-up like foundation or concealer.

If anything I dust some light homemade bronzer on my face for a subtle glow. HOWEVER, I recently bought concealer a couple of weeks ago.

The reason for this is that for the past two years as I’ve had some complications mainly resulting from a car accident and international travel, I’ve had such poor sleep. It’s not that I CAN’T SLEEP, it’s that I have a bleeding kidney and other crazy things so I’m in the bathroom most of the night.

Truthfully I’ve not been very open about what I’ve been walking through because for the most part I look “fine” to the outside eye. It’s been a looooong long road and a few close friends know, but it’s hard to talk about and even writing this much is vulnerable.

I feel cold sweats writing this. Just kidding! :-P

I share this to say that most nights I sleep under 5 hours and sadly, I don’t have an adorable baby/toddler or a PHD for getting this amount of sleep.

I’ve had puffy eyes from the urinary issues and the concealer was a must-grab for the dark circles particularly on days when make-up is more necessary than other days.

That being said, here’s a recap of my morning yesterday…. We were in a town in Oklahoma at one of our supporting churches for a missions convention to help them raise funds for missions in 2015.

I was up all but 3 hours of the night.

Stephen had to speak at 2 morning services and he ingested food he was allergic to and sparing details, it was a fun night for both of us.

I dozed off finally for another 30 minutes before I had to leave for the 2nd, NOT the 1st service because I’m already that cool ;)

I was pushed for time and I had to pack up our hotel room.

It had poured all night and the freshly curled before bedtime hair was now a mess.

On went the concealer and eye make-up.

I went to curl my hair, dropped my curling iron and grabbed it…WITH MY HAND! If I didn’t have my lavender essential oil, I would’ve been in major pain, but I applied it quickly and then I tried to do something with my hair and ran out the door.

((Yes I brushed my teeth too—don’t worry! I lost my toothbrush in all of our traveling on Saturday, but grabbed one at the front desk the night before…actually Stephen did—my hero! ))

I was a hot mess walking out of this hotel and the wind was SO intense that all the attempts at making my hair look in any way decent are now gone…

…and honestly I was not in the best mood. I was trying to think of a worship song and nothing was coming to me. I had just had worship on in the hotel room, but my tired brain was now drawing a blank.

I ended up at a GOLF COURSE, NOT the church and had to drive a little further to get to church late. Awesome.

“Hi! I’m the Guest Speaker’s wife, late and distracting everyone as I make my way to the front row. Keep your eye on me because with my kidney issues, I WILL be distracting you more and going to the bathroom during service.” Sighs.

I took my place on the front row and thankfully worship was absolutely powerful. I immediately was grateful for the words to a song in front of me and my tired brain and I belted out singing SO loudly (and likely off key).

I didn’t want the enemy stealing my praise even after a hard night.

The Senior Pastor got up to pray for healing in the service and instructed people to press in with worship and focus on Jesus.

His wife, who was on the platform directing the choir leaned over and whispered into his ear.

He then called out for a gentleman by the name of “Mike” to come forward.

As Mike walked forward, his wife and a friend assisted him. He is fighting cancer and has been given a short amount of time to live.

A few gathered around him to pray and I darted across the sanctuary.

Compassion flooded my being and I began to weep over this man.

I saw his frail state.
I saw the pain in his eyes.
I felt a glimpse of the hurt he had been walking in.
More than that, I felt the love of God.

I stood adding my faith in agreement for his healing. My heart broke.

I knew my husband’s message would be good and I was expectant.
But I was distracted.

Distracted by the love and compassion that I felt over this stranger I’d never even had the privilege of meeting.

I am far from perfect and have some really rough days especially with crazy sleep, but I can’t hold back compassion. I’m thankful for God revealing His love and heart for others through difficult times.

You see while I might not share the details of my health journey with everyone, I’ve allowed God in to the details.

I’ve allowed His hope, His great love, and His compassion into my heart.

I’ve stood with close friends in desperate need of healing with a greater awareness of their suffering.

I’ve had some ugly things said and done to me during this journey from people who don’t understand what I’ve been walking through. And that has taught me even more so to be aware of what others might be walking through.

In the midst of all of this, I’ve felt God’s love through my suffering in a way I’ve never experienced.

It would be easy to shut down and not feel. It would be excusable to wallow in self-pity all day and not reach out to others.

With minimal sleep, there are so many excuses I could have for not partnering with God in this season.

The easy way would be to conceal what I’m going through and not allow God in.

I think of the song, “Let It Go” and how when the character Elsa is singing it, she looks down at her gloves and recites what her parents told her, “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know….”

While the story line in the movie Frozen is a bit different from what I’m sharing here ;) , I think it’s very telling of where some of us find ourselves.

We conceal our feelings. We conceal our bad times. We shut down. We cut God out of the equation questioning Him and believing lies. We get angry and act from a place of hurt, rather than a place of love and compassion.

This is what the enemy would LOVE for our lives. He would LOVE for us to feel alone.

He fears us feeling the heart of God. He fears what would happen if we will allowed God to turn bad things around for good in our lives.

He wants us to suppress what we feel so that we will never move out of our comfort zones and minister to others with compassion.

And ultimately the enemy wants us to deny God and conceal the hope and confidence we’ve established in Him.

While concealer might be helpful for dark circles under our eyes on some days, it’s not fixing the dark circles. It’s only covering them up.

While we need healthy boundaries in our lives, we need to be an open book to the Lord and allow His purposes and love in our hearts even in difficult times.

There are “Mikes” out there waiting for your obedience to not conceal your love and zealousness for the Lord.

Take off the concealer and/or your Frozen hand gloves and step out and share the love of Christ with someone.

Please agree with me for Mike and his healing as well as peace and grace for his loved ones in this time :)


Seeking Jesus in the New Year Pt 2

Yesterday I shared a quote that is constantly in my head thanks to my husband. “One life twill soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.” -C.T. Studd

This quote helps me put things into perspective for 2015. While I hope to find better health, deepen relationships, spend our finances wisely, I want to be found more in love with Jesus more than all else.

Yesterday I talked about the importance of Prayer in the New Year. Speaking to Him and cultivating His heart to be used in and through our lives.

Today I want to talk about Reaching Others :)

2. Reaching Others

Sometimes the distractions of life keep us from focusing on God and on those around us. I can attest that walking through physical challenges and life adjustments can certainly cloud your responsiveness and interactions with others.

HOWEVER, as believers and Christ followers, we are here to serve others, not ourselves. Yes we need to take care of ourselves, set healthy boundaries so that we don’t burn out, but we need to be looking to serve and love others.

Let’s look at a few ideas of how to reach others with the love of Jesus in the New Year.

1. People who already know Jesus

Just because someone knows Jesus doesn’t mean that life is peachy ;)
Matter of fact these people need encouragement to keep the faith, seek Jesus and love Him rightly. It is in times of discouragement that they need their faith renewed.

Listen to what they aren’t saying. Just because they can keep it together in front of you or smile even in midst of trials doesn’t mean that they aren’t hurting and don’t need prayer.

Remind them of the word of God, include them in social gatherings, give small gifts or gestures of encouragements through the year to remind them that you’re there for them.

Sometimes the easiest thing we can do is to send a text saying, “I’m thinking of you–how are you?” We can’t change people’s lives for them, but we can be there for them in the good and bad days.

Make it a point to pray for your brothers and sisters in the Lord and love on them. We’re in this together! :)

2. People who don’t know Jesus

People who don’t know Jesus certainly need our love and patience. We can reach out to those who are without Him by doing more than smiling and being “polite”.

We can be sensitive during the day to listen to God’s voice over someone. Sometimes people are on the brink of very difficult days and one word from God or one act of His love would change their lives for eternity, not just change their day.


Don’t shrink back in intimidation or let the time constraints of your day keep you from reaching out. If you feel you should encourage someone and be there for them, do it! Jesus wants His heart made known.

If you have daily interactions with people who don’t know Jesus, begin to get to know them! Find out their struggles, hardships and victories. Celebrate and comfort them. Invite them to your local church or your home for holidays.

Some people just feel lonely and want to feel loved and accepted. We are Jesus’ hands and feet–invite them into your world!

Pray…implement yesterday’s post and pray for those you know to receive His love. Don’t take for granted your own salvation

3. The Nations

Of course being a missionary I couldn’t skip reaching out to the nations!!! :-)

You may not be able to GO to Madagascar or any other country for that matter in 2015, BUT you can be a part of what God is doing in the nations.

If your local church is not involved in global missions, I’d recommend connecting or partnering with missionaries you might know or someone your church might be connected to.

If your church is involved in missions, one of the easiest ways is to give finances! Your church is involved in going to certain countries, partnering with certain missionaries, or doing specific projects because they believe in them! Ask your pastor/missions pastor how you can get involved beyond finances.

From working in different missions offices I can tell you, there is always something to help with! Maybe you are creative and can think about how to better promote missions in your church? Maybe you can help assemble packets for a trip or help plan a missions banquet.

However God leads you to partner with His heart for the nations, I promise it will be one of the best investments in your life in 2015!!! There is a LOT of work to be done and people are His heart.

Reach out beyond yourself and encourage others with the love of Christ this year! You’ll be thankful at the end of 2015 that you purposed to start the year off focusing on His heart and growing in love with Him.

Keep Singing Oceans

When I read this blog recently titled “Stop Singing Oceans”, I honestly was bothered a bit by it. While I understand what the author (who clearly loves Jesus) intended to say by indicating we sing songs in worship that we don’t fully act upon, I must say that I have to disagree largely with her thoughts overall.

This blog is not a rebuttal necessarily, but merely a composed testimony of my experiences with worship songs. I wasn’t raised going to church, therefore I am coming at this from both sides of being unchurched and being a church attending gal ;-) .

When I truly met and encountered Jesus, I was wild for Him. In my wildness, I wasn’t mature and said and did things that reflected I was definitely a baby Christian. When I began my walk with the Lord, I didn’t know anything other than that I was so in love with Him. I would attend every possible church service that I could and I absolutely LOVED worship nights! I didn’t know that I could/couldn’t should/shouldn’t do this or that. And I certainly didn’t filter my songs to Him. I sang about surrendering my life when I was selfish and not very surrendered. I sang about only loving Him when really I had many other “loves”. My heart was in the right place though and I kept singing.

I still remember the first time I heard the song, “You Said”, while watching a mission’s video of Haiti at the church I got saved at. The lyrics gripped my heart as Rita Springer’s version of this song filled the footage of many broken lives in Haiti.

I cried and that was the first moment I felt called to the nations as a missionary

I became obsessed with the song and constantly sang with tears in my eyes, “You said “Ask and I’ll give the nations to you…” Oh Lord, that’s the cry of my heart…distant shores and the islands will see Your light…Oh Lord I ask for the nations”.

The truth is I had NO idea what I was praying or singing out literally, but I felt it so deep within my spirit. I didn’t know that in fact my first full-time missions assignment would be to live on the distant island of Madagascar some 12 years later.

Fast forward to 2007 when I wrote these lyrics on my mirror (in hot pink lipstick of course) “Heal my heart and make it clean. Open up my eyes to the things unseen. Show me how to love like you have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause. As I walk from earth into eternity”. These lyrics are from a song called, “Hosanna”, by Hillsong.

I felt those lyrics so passionately in my spirit as I sang them out, but again how could I know the fullness of what I was praying? I’d cry as I prayed and meditated on those lyrics because the truth was, I wanted a healed heart that could understand His heart. I didn’t want to be hardened by the world around me and not be moved in compassion and love for others. I did not know what singing those lyrics would produce in me. When you sing words like that, you can expect opportunity to grow and mature.

Those words ended up launching me into a season of discovering the love of God like never before.

When Stephen and I were getting married, our church wedding coordinator was against us having live worship music for some reason. It was a battle I fought for because we wanted to set the tone of worship for our marriage. We weren’t merely pledging our love to one another, but we were doing so in commitment to the God we love and serve and we wanted to sing about it.

The opening song we sang was by John Thurlow and we sang, “The love that You (Father) have for Jesus. Put it inside of me. Burn it on my heart like a seal, like a seal. That in the famines of Your presence or in the floods of persecution, or in the comfort of the culture, it’s still real…I just want a heart that is fully in love.”

When I had first heard that song, I wrote the lyrics down and knew I wanted to sing it on my wedding day. Stephen and I chose to declare in front of God and all of the witnesses celebrating us that we would stand for Jesus no matter what comforts or what trials we would walk through in our marriage. We had said, “Yes” to Him as singles and we now committing to saying, “Yes” to Him as a married couple.

Little did we know the events that would follow just days after when I got incredibly ill on our honeymoon and then we got into a serious car wreck shortly thereafter. We didn’t know that our “yes” would be tested and tried and that we would spend the majority of our first two years of marriage in doctor’s offices and walking out many physically trying situations.

However even in the darkest and most trying times, our hearts still sing, “I just want a heart that is fully in love”. That song has comforted me more today than when I sung it on the happiest day of my life.

THEN came the time that I first heard the song, “Oceans” by Hillsong at a supporting church of ours that my husband was speaking at. I almost didn’t show up to the services that morning because I was so weak physically. The anointed worship leader and his wife sang this song out with the rest of the band and I let out an ugly cry (kind of like I did the night I met Stephen when he preached about missions ;-)). My spirit came alive and I was infused with this glorious empowerment in my spirit that revived my faith. I knew God was calling me out of comfort. I knew I couldn’t control what was happening to my physical body or anything else in my life, but I could trust in Him. I knew I was being asked to surrender it all. I sang out loudly and boldly. Second service came around and more ugly cries came forth. This song carried me in the following months of our move to Madagascar and it stands as a reminder to many to pray for us whenever they hear that song.

As challenges in life have come, I’ve stood on these lyrics I’ve mentioned above. I believe that God has met me in my places of singing to Him. I believe some lyrics open my heart to cry out to Him and depend on Him to grow and perfect my faith as I seek Him.

I realize that any worship song could be just “lip service” to God and that some people sing “Oceans” and don’t mean a lyric of it.

But what if one person means it? What if one person receives a call into missions because they sing it? What if one person gets freed from an addiction because of it? What if one couple decide to hold onto the covenant they made with one another because of hearing it? What if a brother or sister in Christ sings this to steady their faith in the midst of persecution? Is it worth singing it then??

Worship leaders, I’ll address you and say to you—PLEASE keep singing “Oceans”. You may have a redheaded girl who just needs to remember He’s never failed her and won’t now.

To the worshippers out there, I say to you– sing “Oceans” LOUDLY even if it’s off key ;-)

Maybe the problem is that you aren’t signing it enough! Maybe you just need to sing it more until it becomes so redundant in your head that it finally becomes a conscious thought. As you sing, realize God will honor your words and He will nudge you to step outside of the borders that you’ve erected for your faith. The song says, “there I find You in the mystery in oceans deep, my faith will stand.” You might just be surprised at where you’ll find Him in your everyday life and let’s be honest–everyone’s faith needs to be encouraged. EVERYONE certainly needs to know “I am Yours and You are mine”.

God NEVER says “Stop singing” anywhere in His word.

He loves for us to be free to worship Him and to live lives that reflect His glory and not our man-made statues and limitations. He doesn’t want us to be intimidated by singing songs because somehow we think that we’ll never be able to live extraordinary lives for Him.

If I had not prayed challenging prayers, I wouldn’t have grown in my faith. If I had not dreamed dreams that only God have placed within me, I would be living confined in my own comfort and plans. I certainly wouldn’t be a missionary or writing this blog.

There you have it…My opinion on singing bold and crazy lyrics. Lyrics that our minds may never fully comprehend, but ones that speak life to our spirits and dare us to move beyond our natural lives and into the supernatural ones that depend on a BIG God.

Oh and if you’ve never heard the song “Oceans”, do yourself a favor. Give it a listen.


Observations of a 6 Month Old Missionary

I want to start this entry by removing the “elephant” in the room (which is only appropriate because I’m in Africa ;) ) and say that the challenges that I’ve faced with my health have definitely created an unusual first few months on the field. Instead of settling in and immersing myself in learning languages and a new culture, I was chasing doctors and trying to get out of pain. That being said, there has been a lot of unplanned events, however God has done great things and taught me a lot. Here’s some humorous pictures to illustrate how I feel followed by what I’ve learned in my first 6th months as a missionary in Africa.

be a missionary
photo 2

#1–I confirmed my hatred for bugs…Yes it’s true! I’m a girly girl and while I already couldn’t stand bugs, I’ve confirmed that there is indeed a hatred for them and I’m sure I’ll be asking God one day in Heaven what the purpose of creating them was. The top of my list of questioning is anything that stings, then the newly acquainted bed bugs, closely followed by mosquitoes, safari ants and last by certainly NOT least, cockroaches.

#2—Carpet is now weird to me.
Tonight was the first time in 6 months that my feet touched carpet and it was really REALLY weird! I didn’t even know why I stopped walking and felt weird for a minute or so and then I realized it was because I was on carpet. Everything I’ve walked on has been tile, wood, or rocks.

#3—I have an appreciation for simplicity.
I downsized significantly when we moved to Madagascar. We bought basic things that we would need to live there, but for the most part I had to detach myself from a lot of things and come to terms that it was all just “stuff”. When we came to Kenya for only an intended 8 day trip that then lasted for 10 weeks due to medical reasons, I learned that less is more and I really CAN survive on minimal clothes, no computer, my every day items, etc. We stayed in 10 difference places and being ill in all of that transition was difficult, but certainly not impossible. When we went home to Madagascar at the beginning of July, I was actually overwhelmed with how much I really did have. I sat on the floor in my bedroom more than once and cried because I didn’t know how to decide what to wear. Now that I’m back in Kenya with yet again only one piece of luggage, I’m learning to not hold onto anything I own and it’s freeing in a way. God has continually provided over and over for Stephen and I in our nearly two years of being married and we’ve never lacked in anything from furniture to food. In going through testing, my attachment to material things has changed so much. Just when I think I’m missing out or start to desire things on this Earth, God surprises me with something of more eternal value.

#4–Opportunity is EVERYWHERE!
No matter what difficulty might have been going on personally, people who need Jesus have always surrounded me. This has caused me to continually pour out love. We’ve seen God touch hearts at gas stations, restaurants, hospitals, doctors’ offices and in church services. I just happen to be in Africa, but you don’t have to travel far to bring hope into someone’s life. People need Jesus all around you in everyday situations that you find yourself in.

#5–Being myself is all I need to be.
I stepped into this season feeling uncomfortable in so many ways. I faced leaving all that was near and dear; my hometown, my own background of ministry, my friends and family. I lacked full-time missions experience in comparison to my husband who is a linguistic and is in my opinion a stellar missionary. I compared myself to other missionary women who have raised grown kids, lived overseas for many years, were skilled in sewing, and great cooks. I’m not a Susie Homemaker or from the denomination that I’m currently working for and I felt awkward. To add to this, as a missionary, you’re trying to adapt to a new culture and learn new languages. The art of comparison was a daily challenge and I felt pressured to change who I was. I’m still learning all kinds of new things and I love learning and growing, but I’ve learned most to be content to be who God created me to be. If God wanted to raise me any other way or with any other background and skill set, He would’ve done so. When I operate in insecurity and pressure, I can’t contribute my God-given uniqueness to an environment…and let’s be honest; I will just be really awkward ;) I have my weaknesses, my quirks and shortcomings, but even in this I have to allow God to work on me and through me. If I’m not being true to myself, I’ll fail to represent God rightly to others.

#6—I often miss weird things about home.
The other day I literally daydreamed about donuts…((GAGS))! I can not even tell you the last time that I had one which was 4 or more years ago. There is absolutely no way if I was in the States that I’d get near a donut and be tempted, but literally I desired it the other day. I need help people—keep praying for me! ;) I find that I often miss odd things like that which symbolize home or wish I was home to participate in things that I probably wouldn’t have even done if I was there.

Seriously I’m the type of person that HAS to interact with others. I work better when I am around people. I’ve always thrived in jobs where I was interacting with others. This season of very limited Internet and most of my relationships being thousand of miles away has been more than challenging. I’ve found myself even today completely STARVED for social interactions and upon meeting up with an old friend I just want to chat chat chat. If I come home and talk even more than usual, please extend some grace ;) I’ve been in new culture and foreign languages where I pantomime most of the time…and talk to my sweet patient husband all day. What do I miss most about home? People. What is the best part of every day? People. I guess this just means that I am in the right job to serve and love people :) But really…I need social interactions with peers!

#8–I have my dream job, but it’s not dreamy.
My pictures at the top describe how I feel often. But really, I’ve dreamed of being in Africa since I was a little girl and as a missionary for about a decade. It’s not that I romanticized it entirely, but I have found that I did to a degree. I’ve found that it’s not always easy to be far away from all that was comfortable and facing challenges that you’d never face back home. Yet at the end of the day it is fulfilling, as it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I cry when I think of lost people around me, when I see them hurting, and when I hear stories that demand a response from God. It’s heartbreaking to continue to see pain and lost people and to know that not all will find salvation and freedom. This is why I know this dream to go to the nations is of God and not something that I dreamed up.

#9–Missions is as much for you as it is for me.
I’m not suggesting that everyone reading this is called to go into full-time missions, but I also don’t want to suggest that I’m specially qualified for this. In fact many of you would have slept more and functioned higher here than I have in this season ;) I’ve realized more than ever that I NEED Jesus absolutely EVERY moment of EVERY day. I’m not anyone who is qualified in a special way or permitted more grace than anyone else to be a missionary. God’s heart beats for missions and because I fell in love with His heart, my heart beats for it too. That’s why I am here in Africa and the same can apply to you wherever you are and whatever you’re doing. As a child of God, you too can be whoever He has called you to be by simply loving Him and obeying Him. If he calls you to move your life overseas and do missions work, you CAN do it! If you’re called to start a business or get a higher education to serve Him with, you CAN do it. There is grace to love Him freely and live for Him rightly even when it’s uncomfortable to our flesh and desires. We are living in a critical hour where MANY need to know of His great love no matter where we find ourselves in this world.

*Lastly, I’d like to say that #10—Steripods are a MUST!…they are little sterilizing non-toxic clips to put on your toothbrush bristles and…amen! No ant, cockroach, gecko etc., will crawl on your toothbrush! It is at the top of my list of things to stock up on in the USA :)

Just for more laughs, since SK is an MK (Missionary kid) here’s another pic
photo 1

Rodney & Nathan climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to help raise money for @skuertafrica and I’s car in Africa!!! Thanks you guys!!! We know lives will be greatly impacted in Africa from your obedience& support! #speedthelight #climbKili #missions #unthinkable