Sunday, June 30, 2013

New Start/New Job

Moving has been a huge part of this new start in life. Although it was difficult to say good bye to those people I am close to, starting anew has been amazing. I am content and happy and even on my off days, I am still the same in a better place than I could want.

I am ready to begin this new season/adventure/journey in my life. I want it to bring forth good change and positive results. I want to become more of me and who I am. I want to share life with others and help out humanity in the process.

My new job is near to my heart. Working one on one with a mentally disabled individual, I feel worthy in some aspects to be able to impact and make a difference not only in his life, but also being able to work alongside of the family. As a Job Coach, the potential is endless and who knows where this will lead me.

I thrive on being able to help others.

Graduation 2013

I graduated from C3 Leadership College with an Associates in Applied Theology.

To say this is an accomplishment is far beyond what it means to me. Struggles and hindrances to me even getting to this point in life very easily could have held me back. I learned a multitude of applicable lessons that will no doubt carry me through in life from this experience itself.

No matter where I am or what I am doing, my work ethic and attitude goes far beyond anything else exemplifying who I am and what I stand for :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Haiti 2013: Departure

After we had gotten our luggage and everything ready, we had our group reflection time for the first time ever. It was refreshing to hear what people I know got out of the trip and it really made me analyze and think about what I was taking away from the trip too. The appreciation we all gained was definitely present in our words and actions.

"When we look at someone else, we are looking at an image of God."
-Remember this when looking at a loved one, a friend, someone you care about.

We learned that the girl who was hit, had not even made it onto the MOH site and had passed away. I was stricken with grief and called out to God why, but I know deep within that for whatever reason He took her home in His time and His reasons are valid.

As we drove to the airport, I wanted to take everything in with my every sense. As much as I yearned to have my "easy" life back, I also couldn't help but think of the little ones and just populations in general that live constantly like this. What right do I have to be blessed and have what I have when so many, not just in Haiti, but all around the world and even WITHIN the US suffer. That has always been a struggle for me to understand. We got out of the bus as we entered the airport. It was stifling and hot as the vendors attempted to make their living. The waiting area for the plane was small. There was literally one room that we all were waiting in so the seats were filled and then many people on the ground.

As soon as we arrived in Miami everyone had their time of realization that we were back in our luxurious world in comparison. From the simple things like air condition which I nearly froze entering back into the world of AC lol and driving smoothly on roads was difficult to assimilate back into. The privileges we have at merely being born in the US are immense and too often not realized.

I want my legacy to be for impacting others in a selfless way exemplifying the love factor to every single person no matter what. Nothing separates my love for someone else because we are all here to fight together.

Haiti Beach/Resort: Friday 5/24

This was a relaxing and fun filled day that I don't even have access to in the US. It was definitely a treat. The drive there was a long ways and I honestly was about to fall asleep on the ride there, but then I felt guilty because I wanted to always take in all the beauty of Haiti as we drove...I still could not grasp the fact that some people simply come to this resort and place only to vacation and not to help in any manner at all of the in depth poverty stricken and hurting nation. We went to the ocean at first and the vendors were everywhere as well. They even had live crabs and were asking if we wanted to buy them and then they would go and cook them...I even witnessed a few vendors coming into the water attempting to sell us their merchandise of seashells and such as we were enjoying the sea. It was a different experience, but nonetheless a lot of fun soaking up the sun.

On our way back, we were all tired, but it was well worth it. The most dreadful thing ever happened though as we were beginning to almost arrive at our destination. I had a window seat. The MOH site has a school and over 3,000 kids attend it. When they let out, the kids file out and wait right outside the gate. There isn't much space between the fence and the road. There are barely any driving laws in Haiti, no speed limits, lanes of usage, rights, etc. I noticed a lot of kids screaming and crowding around and from afar, I had just imagined they were trying to all pile into one of the trucks that was there to take them home, but as we got closer I saw what was happening. The school kids in uniforms were picking up one of their own off the road and pulling her to safety on the dirt. There was blood on the road. The girl's body was lifeless and limp. My heart immediately broke severely. Never in a million years would I have thought I would have seen that happen. We stopped the bus to inform the MOH people so that they could get her immediate help. I began praying to God whom I was calling on to save this child who I knew had friends and family and was cared about.

Haiti Work Projects: Tuesday 5/21 & Thursday 5/23

TUESDAY
We began by working around a house at the top of the site of MOH. They are building a home for pastors and the executive team to live. They wanted it complete by June 2nd which wasn't far off from then. We picked up trash, moved rocks around, and loaded wood to take to the Depot center.
  
After lunch, we worked at the Depot center sorting through the wood and taking nails out of it so it could be used again. It was hot and dead in the heat, which is a bit different than NC weather and hotness, but nevertheless God's earth.

We had church that evening which was mostly comprised of worship which I love to begin with. The Haitians devout passion and sincere joy while in the midst of God's presence left me dumbfounded. As they jumped and shouted to the same God that so many others around the world also adore, I truly saw that our God is One. He never leaves us. He is the same for them as for the lost person in NC. I prayed over individuals in my mind asking God to bless them and their families and whatever circumstances they are in.

THURSDAY
We worked on the MOH house at the top of hill where all in all for the entire day, we moved over 600 cinder blocks from the work site to the truck where we loaded them and then took them to the Depot center where we unloaded them and stacked them neatly into piles. Our assembly line helped, but nevertheless was very challenging.Crossfit prepared us for real life application!

After lunch, we continued to do the same and had to load even more blocks from one side of the house to the other walking across two by four boards of wood over trenches for the house. We also took more down to the Depot and unloaded and stacked them. We had our lifetime full of cinder blocks.

Reflecting upon this time though is monumental because we had an essential part in laying the foundation and even before those steps to building this house. Clearing the debris, rocks, leveling the ground, and yeah...many, many people will come and stay in that home and possibly have their lives radically changed and I/we had a huge part in allowing that to be possible. The impact is way more than the toil and labor produced that day, but will go far beyond what we will ever even know.

Haiti Village Time: Monday 5/20 & Wednesday 5/22

MONDAY
From 9-12, we had 4 translators who helped us navigate through the town of Cabaret. We stopped by visiting families and individuals, making small talk that led to deeper conversations about God and faith as well as their own personal lives. One of the first ladies we talked with, shared that she has 5 children, none of whom she can afford to send to school. After sharing her story and then meeting her sister as well, we prayed with them. She ended up giving her life to Christ right then and there which was the epitome of supernatural and beyond what I could have imagined. Axel led her in the prayer and right then and there on her hands and knees she accepted Christ into her heart. It was powerful and moving. As we walked back to the bus to go back to MOH for lunch, we were able to travel around the city blocks truly getting a feel for the lifestyle and streets that these people live in and endure life in.

We went back to Cabaret to play in the middle of the city where it was blazing hot. Even the kids didn't wanna play soccer or jump rope because of the heat. So we scrounged to a corner under a few trees and took turns in and out of the sun. We came up with some games, both in English and some in French and Creole. The kids were very much so engaged and enticed by us. I met a guy named Liones, who was one of our translators, but I was unaware of that until later lol...he speaks English, French, and Spanish. So we talked about life and things in general in Spanglish, which I found pretty awesome.

WEDNESDAY
In the morning we went back to the same village and walked around different parts. We were able to focus more intentionally on a few families and spend more time with them. We had the chance to talk with one woman, Fabuola, who was beside a street vendor who was her friend. She was our age, 20, and was in college for nursing. I had a lot of questions, some of which I did not ask, but still. A lot of people there aspire to be nurses or electricians. It's a different way of living for sure. There seem to be a lot of different colleges around, but I'm not quite sure how it truly works. We even had the chance to learn 2 songs in French/Creole from a woman and her family while we visited with them. This lady was definitely patient with us as we wrote it out on this chalk board that a lot of the homes there have on their concrete slab outside which I found very intriguing and purposeful in our case lol. As we were leaving, a few people and I met a pastor and his wife who wanted prayer for themselves and their daughter who had an upcoming exam. I had the honor of praying for them and was then thanked immensely which I found stunning because I am not good at praying out loud nor when a translator is doing the talking either. I was appreciative and was thankful to have met them.

After lunch, we went to a different part of the village. The kids here were even more excited and there were lots more. We played a lot more games. We even were able to teach the kids the songs we learned earlier. I was in charge of jump rope this time and really enjoyed it a lot as the girls there were very adaptive and skilled lol.

Almost every evening after we arrived there it rained. It would be extremely hot and sunny during the day and then as soon as we got back to the MOH site, we would be showering and it would begin to pour. Yet soon after, we would see the most beautiful rainbows ever. Several days we even saw double rainbows above the mountains and such. It was absolutely beautiful, like something you would see on a postcard, but in real life daily!

Haiti Mission of Hope Tour/Church: Sunday 5/19

Sunday we had church service which we had been warned was longer than we expected, but for some reason I wasn't worried about this. After traveling down the side of the hill, we arrived hot and yucky lol, but they had begun worship. Mind you, everything was in French and Creole, neither of which I have any whatsoever knowledge or background in. The worship was amazing. It lasted well over an hour, but with interruptions from the pastor who spoke some and then we would all stand and worship again. It was amazing because the worship was to songs I knew in English. However, I did find it hard to recall a lot of the lyrics in English since everyone else was singing in their own language. The people's passion for God and worship amazed me. Not only did it inspire me, but it also made me reflect on my own worship and devotion to God. These people who in our view, have so little, are much more enthusiastic and vibrant in nature in regards to life and church overall than we are as we stand in million dollar facilities.

Sunday afternoon we went to visit a village where MOH has built nearly 500 homes for people impacted from the earthquake. We were able to visit with some children in the area. This was our first real dive into interacting with children outside of MOH. They latched onto us immediately only have dressed and yearning for attention and affection. I loved being able to simply be someone for them to have for just hat moment in time. After we spent a little while there playing and loving on them, it was time to leave and by far the most difficult. I was holding a girl, probably around 8 years old. She didn't want to get down, making it harder for sure to leave. I teared up not wanting to have to put her down, but I think she realized that I had to go and eventually got out of my lap. It still broke my heart having to say good bye, knowing full well that I would never see her again unless I returned to Haiti. As we loaded the bus to the next site, the picture still remains with me of seeing the kids outside of the window, watching, as we all pulled away. The thoughts were rampant in my mind of what they must be thinking and what they faced as we left and they went back to their homes and the circumstances they face day in and day out.

The next place we visited, was the northern site of MOH called Berci. They have some housing for people who come with the organization to volunteer, a school, and a booming agricultural center that is fervently working on helping build a successful and prosperous self sustaining crop yield for Haitians so that ultimately they can produce 100% of their food for themselves as well as the food program they have. It was rewarding to know that people are making steps to further ensue aspirations of helping the people there change their lives for the better in enormous ways.

Haiti 2013: Arrival

We arrived and were definitely aware of our presence in Haiti, a third world country, the minute we stepped off the airplane. Let me rephrase that. As soon as the plane was hovering over the country we could see the poverty and ruins, yet we were also engulfed with absolute beauty of the nature and majestic scenery it held in its captivity. Peering our the window, I saw heaps of dirt, shacks that were homes, and gorgeous mountains in the background. My first thought was how in the world could God create such magnificence, but also allow such travesty to exist? We were directed through customs/immigration and next moved on to getting our luggage. It was quite hectic and hot already. As we were attempting to pull all of our luggage off the claim, the power went out in the entire airport. Needless to say, what a start! We worked through it and it eventually came back on. We hustled through people and were met by some translators and people from Mission of Hope who led us outside through crowds of people and vendors trying to sell us their merchandise. We loaded onto a school bus where we began a journey that will forever be engrained in my memory.

The air was hot, the smells became distinct, the images laid before us were more than breath taking, but also familiar to me in a sense. People everywhere. Vehicles emerging from all places, honking galore, complete chaos. There was no direction, no regulation. It was at your own risk. We drove along a road, bumpy, passing people alongside the road. Their homes behind them, made of tin sheet, tarps, anything that would withstand and make shelter possible. Children, too, were working, standing, walking, and living in this world that in so many ways was foreign to us. My heart broke, but also stood strong, for I know what can come for the better.

Upon arriving at Mission of Hope (MOH), I was greeted by Wesley people from UNC aka Emily my roomate who was also in Haiti at this time :) Such a great surprise! Just to get to MOH, we drove up a gravel mountain hillside. We were greeted by guards who protect the area. As I made my way off the bus, I was wearing my TOMS, and slipped lol...what a way to begin I thought to myself.

The rest of the afternoon we had for free time, to get acclimated with everything. After I settled things on my bottom bunk, I went outside to explore. There were some girls from the orphanage on the basktetball court. After attempting to get to engage with them, they were relentless on badgering us and insisting they didn't speak English. I went to the "baby room" where some of the little ones in the orphanage lived. They instantly took a hold of us and my heart as I looked into the eyes of the young at heart, but at how wise they were simply because of the circumstances they were living in.

Haiti 2013

I went on my first mission trip ever traveling with my college to Mission Of Hope in Haiti. We spent a week there and it was without a doubt, a life changing and eye opening experience that I most definitely will not be forgetting anytime soon. The following posts reflect my time there which consisted of so much, but not is not limited to village time where we went out into the community sharing love and kindness while also presenting the Gospel and work projects where we physically did labor to help proceed the building of bettering a nation that is in real need of help and hope.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 2013 Outreach

Our May outreach was All About the Family. We partnered with a Raleigh elementary school and came alongside of them to host the annual end of year celebration in which over 600 students come and perform in various talents within the talent show as well as a time in which the teacher of the year is recognized and honored. Not only are the students and teachers present, but their families are also invited.

We served this area in need which is also known as a "food dessert" because of the lack of food resources readily available to the impoverished area. We had games for the kids to play and we also served dinner, all of which was completely free.

Overall, we ended up serving over 1300 individuals and made an incredible impact on the Southeastern Raleigh area. I had the honor of being able to supervise and play in the hula hoop game area. The kids were definitely entertaining and I got much more out of it than I anticipated. The smiles, laughs, and atmosphere of being able to provide such a simple yet profound event really puts into perspective what life is about: doing for others...

One of the beautiful faces I had the honor of being able to play with :)




Monday, April 22, 2013

April 2013 Outreach

Our outreach for April was Honor Up, therefore honoring the generations that have gone before us and paved the way. We honored the elderly in our community by going to 5 different nursing homes/assisted living facilities/apartments and visiting with them while handing out free flower pots that we made and cards of encouragement.

My group went to downtown Raleigh and visited Sir Walter Apartments which used to be a hotel, but has since been renovated to apartments for the elderly. We visited the 9th floor and while most of the individuals were either not home or did not answer their doors, the ones whom we did speak with were quite interesting to say the least!

The first lady who we met was dying her hair and it was purple lol...she was a bit on the edge, took the flower pot and card, thanked us, and abruptly closed the door. Then as we moved on to the room from across her hall, she opened her door back up and said "sorry I was rude, but I'm doing my hair." Needless to say, we had a grand ole time. One gentleman greeted us nicely and received the gift and went back inside his home and as we knocked on the door right next to his, he came back out and said "oh, you're knocking on their door" lol! And of course, everyone knowing my luck, and my previous experience in working with the elderly knew I would encounter some sort of odd/awkward situation. I had been designated to knock on the doors, greet them, telling them where we were from, etc. So...I greet this gentleman and the two other interns accompanying me are behind me to the side. I quickly notice that the gentleman is not dressed and I'm like oh boy...then one of the interns behind me continues to offer if we can pray for him in any way (they could not see that he was not dressed) and thankfully he said no because I'm not sure how I would have handled that!

My group had the giggles the entire time and it was quite embarrassing. I apparently almost said breast while in prayer as I was attempting to say 'best'. It sounded like I was crying at one point because I was trying to contain myself as everyone around me was jiggling with laughter and containing it during prayer time.

We had a great time though and I thoroughly enjoyed giving back to the generation before me :)


March 2013 Outreach

Our Project 919 March outreach was a Special Needs Easter Egg Hunt. It was absolutely incredible. My heart and passion I have found is with special needs individuals. We had the Easter egg hunt, inflatables, face painting, games and more for the special needs children and adults as well as a spa and lounge for the parents. We provided free manicures and hair cuts to the parents, guardians, and care takers of the individuals participating in the hunt.

It was beautiful. That in itself describes what it meant to me. The delight I received from watching a child/teenager/adult with special needs walk through the hall finding an egg and the sheer gratitude of everyone there overwhelmed my heart with joy.

We had an impact on so many families that traveled from as far as Durham County just so their child could have the opportunity to engage in such an ordinary event, but one that most special needs individuals get overlooked and trampled upon leaving them hopeless and disappointed.

This sense of appreciation is one that I too deeply understand as having a brother with special needs greatly changes family dynamics. It makes life chaotic and difficult, but it's always worth it. No matter what, you are always willing to do whatever it takes to give them the best of life. Therefore, events and opportunities like this mean all the more.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Chip Judd: Seacoast Church

Recently, we had the honor of hearing from Chip Judd from Seacoast Church which is in Mt. Pleasant, SC although they have many campuses in SC, NC, and GA. The brief message he shared with us was amazing. He touched on so many issues while making key points that hit way too close to home for me.

THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
(The Secret to Longevity of Passion & Purpose)

Know YOURSELF, Like YOURSELF, Be YOURSELF
-comparison is the root of all inferiority
-the ultimate surrender to the sovereignty of God is self-acceptance
-we only have ONE chance at life

What extraordinary measures are we going to take so that we are the 1 in 4 who ends well and successful?
-the kingdom has to come to you before it comes through you
-inner reality creates, shapes, and defines your outer reality
-we can't consistently live in a way that's inconsistent with the way we see ourselves
-whose ever words define you is your God
  • everyone has lies in their mind
  • if we let God deal with them honestly we will be forever changed
-our 1st calling in life is to be OURSELVES



Friday, March 22, 2013

Final Semester!

So...I can't believe I've begun my 3rd and final semester of C3LC. It's hard to grasp for sure. Time has moved quickly, although not as speedily during certain times as I would hope lol...

Classes are a bit more relaxed this semester, but don't worry because they are sure to keep us busy and on our toes otherwise. I have a new ministry track which is Dream Center Ministries(DCM). C3 Church has a vision from the pastor to start a Dream Center in Raleigh, NC to reach those who are in need ranging widely from the homeless to those involved in human trafficking and all in between! This semester I have the opportunity to help partner with DCM and help through outreach, the behind the scene tasks at making things happen, and going into the community as well as finding what the communities around us entail at offering services to those in need.

I am incredibly excited and eager to see what all this semester brings not only for me, but for the surrounding areas and communities. I absolutely LOVE helping and serving others so this fits perfectly. Although I will be challenged and put outside my comfort zone, I know it will be a wonderful experience and reaching the one is what it is all about :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February 2013 Outreach

FREE OIL CHANGE TO SINGLE PARENTS

Our service project for January was to stand in the gap for single parents so as a church, C3, hosted a free oil change for any single parents in the area.

I volunteered in the women's outreach so while the single mothers or widows were waiting while their oil was changed they came to the warehouse and were able to relax. We painted their nails, offered them coffee and/or water, and just sat and talked with them. The stories were incredible.

I had the pleasure of serving 2 older widows who were very nice. Both were living with their children and their families. Among the other single moms I interacted with, were a few trying to find a church and just get planted somewhere. They were all very appreciative and grateful. I heard time and time again that this was amazing because their oil lights had just come on and they weren't sure how they were going to pay for it and so on....It was truly an honor to serve these women and see how we are providing "Real Hope for Real People in a Real World!"

Project 919

C3 Church is involved in Project 919 as part of the Dream Center Ministries. C3 hopes to start their very own Dream Center in Raleigh, NC within the next few years. It would be the first Dream Center in NC!

Project 919 consists of
9 months: January-September 2013
1 project a month: different service areas geared towards different populations of people
9: serving the 919 area code

January: Neighbor to Neighbor
-Reaching out to neighbors doing a good deed in name of Christ's love

February: Standing in the Gap
-Being there for single parents

March: NOW Generation
-Helping special needs children and families

April: Honor up
-Honoring and serving the elderly

May: All About the Family
-Celebrating families

June: Blessed to be a Blessing
-Going the extra mile to reach service people (waiters, waitresses, etc)

July: The Red, White, & Blue
-Honoring people in service (Military, Veteran, Police Officer, Fire/EMS stations, etc)

August: Back to School
-Giving back to teachers and schools

September: Helping Hand
-Reaching out to the homeless

Lastly, on 9/19, there will be a celebration night in Raleigh commemorating all the outreaches completed over the course of the 9 months!