Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When I Grow Up

One of my goals over the next 11 days (besides drinking as much Coke Light as possible) is to start to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I know that for years now I've been... well not necessarily unhappy, I guess just not feeling like I'm doing God any good. There's more I felt I could do or should be doing and I think I've been afraid to start down this path of what exactly does God want from me because what if it's huge. I mean what if it's REALLY huge?

A few weeks ago I asked the question how big are your dreams. And I guess that's really where this all began to unpack itself for me. Things, ideas, thoughts, and yes dreams, that have been laying dormant in the back of my mind for so long started resurfacing, stealing sleep and productive ebay time. And so now is the time to sort this all out and what better place that a gorgeous country like Belize.

I've been hearing enough about the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan to know that this would be a great resource for me. As if to confirm this when I happened to check Amazon out one day this normally $15 book was on sale for $7. So I bought it and the next day it was back up to $11. Hmmmm. Anyhow, if you've read this book you know how incredibly insightful it is. If you haven't well do.

So this morning, on my first full day here in paradise I started my journey. I am thankful that we are doing our debrief/R&R/whatever on the front end of the trip because it is giving me a chance to dig in and start with reckless abandon this whole journey.

So while I know y'all are hoping to hear the great things God is doing down here through us all, please indulge me for a few days and allow me to share some things from my hike down this trail and up this mountain and through this forest that God is leading me on.

“.... by surrendering yourself totally to God's purposes, He will bring you the most pleasure in this life and the next.”

“It confuses us when loving God is hard. Shouldn't it be easy to love a God so wonderful? When we love God because we feel we should love Him, instead of genuinely loving out of our true selves, we have forgotten who God really is.”

Be blessed my friends!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'm A Leavin' On A Jet Plane

Morning folks!! In just about 90 minutes I'll start my first leg on down to Belize. WOOT!! This is my fifth (!!!!) time down there and my... oh shine.... 12th or 13th mission trip. I can promise you, when I left on my first trip to the Dominican Republic I had no idea that I'd be sitting at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport one day talking about my 12th trip.

WAY back when, I honestly thought God was leading me on that trip because He was going to break my heart regarding missions and quite possibly send me to Pago Pago to witness to the Pago pagans. I was willing to go wherever He wanted me (just PLEASE God, not to a HOT place) and do whatever He wanted. That first trip was with a HUGE group of high school students with Youth For Christ and we had been re-routed to the DR because of a coup going on in Haiti. I had never worked with high school student, but figured I had been one not long before that so how hard could it be, right?

Each morning while in the DR, I would pray, “God PLEASE break my heart regarding missions. PLEASE show me where you want me. Use me God.” Each day I would spend hours with the kids on our trip, laughing, hanging out and serving God. The next day I'd start the process all over again.

The result of that trip wasn't a clear sign to move to Bora Bora (I was into double-named places obviously) but a heart for high school kids and a love for short-term missions. And I have been blessed over the past many years to have been allowed to serve God in a variety of different places and a variety of different ways.

By far the hardest trip was to Iasi, Romania and the few hours I was able to spend in a baby orphanage loving on and helping dozens of babies who didn't know what human touch felt like but after a few minutes of being held cuddled in your arms and screamed like heck when you put them down. I bawled my eyes out for days knowing what was going to happen to so many of them and feeling powerless.

Prior to leaving for Africa I was told that once Africa got into your blood, nothing would ever replace it. That is beyond true, because although I have been to many places since then, there is a special and large place in my heart for Africa. If given the chance, I would go back in a heartbeat.

But the place that God keeps taking me back to is Belize. I love Belize. I have been fortunate enough to have made some wonderful friends there and enjoy being able to go back there as often as I can. I see a serious need down there and hungry, HUNGRY souls. Belizeans have heard the Gospel, many times and in many ways. But so many of these people are so lost and so desperate for something, ANYTHING in their lives to make a difference.

Whatever my role is in all of this, I have no clue, but I'm going to enjoy this opportunity and do my best to serve Him on this trip

Pray for all of us and pray that I would honor Him in all I do and all I say. And pray, that if it is His will, that my heart would be broken for Him.

Love you guys and I'll try to write more soon.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Do You See What I See?

I need to admit something.

Sigh… this is so hard….

My name is Alice. I need reading glasses.

There I said it. I’ve been fighting it for about a year now. But I can’t do it any longer. I need glasses. Just to read, but still. I’m the girl who used a small bible with tiny print with no problem, but now… yeah… sigh…

My eyes are aging. I’m not – just my eyes. I am still perfectly young. And I see perfectly well all other times, it’s just reading things up close. I’m gonna blame all these years sitting in front of the computer. Yeah that’s it. It’s the computer’s fault. It’s not that my eyes are aging, it’s the fact that I have to work for a living and sit in front of a computer all day.

Yeah, that’s it.

But it’s still a fairly tough pill to swallow, this whole needing glasses thing. But I’ve put it off long enough. So there I stood on Saturday afternoon in the middle of Barnes & Noble trying on various styles and strengths of glasses. THANKFULLY I’m only at the point of needing “very weak” ones (I guess they are the +1.0 ones) which is SOMEWHAT of a comfort.

I need reading glasses.


On a brighter note –

11 DAYS!!

Things are progressing along at a snail’s pace. Flights are booked, Caye Caulker details are done, but we’re still lacking a place to lay our heads in Punta Gorda (long story). And it’s raining, but it is the rainy season so I suppose that’s to be expected. But with all the rain comes the chance that the bridge will wash out. I informed our friend down there that he needs to figure out a way to make the van float since flying down and back from PG just isn’t in our budget at this time. I think he thinks I’m joking. I’m not.

Support for me is going well. I’m still about $350 short of my goal (ok, now that I’ve written that, it does seem a bit overwhelming, huh?). PRAY!! I have no doubt that God can and will make this happen.

Now where did I put my glasses?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Let Me 'Splain

(No let me sum up – ok, what movie is that from folks??)

Last night at about 3 AM I sat straight up and thought, “STINKIE!! I’m not being clear on some stuff about my Belize trip!!!” So allow me to apologize for letting y’all think stuff that would be so incredibly wrong. (And, most likely, most of you aren’t even aware of this, so just humor me here.)

As you may (or may not know) a portion of this trip will be spent in Caye Caulker. And, well, if you’ve never been to Caye Caulker, I pity you. It is, hands down, one of the most AMAZING places here on this earth. It easily ranks as one of my top 5 places I’d be more than willing for God to send me to as a full-time missionary. Our plans for Caye Caulker – NOTHING! Four GLORIOUS days of nada, zippo, zilch, and as Kristin would say, “bupkis.” Four GLORIOUS days of sand, sun, Storyville, great friends and lots of laughs. - oh how my soul is yearning for that!!

ANYHOW, what I need for y’all to know is that I AM NOT trying to raise support for this portion of the trip. Obviously since this is personal/vacation time, I’m paying for this. I would HATE for anyone out there to be thinking anything different. So please, if these thoughts crossed your mind, make them go far, FAR away.

And speaking of support, I’m a mere $400 away from my goal with… (drum roll please)

19 days to go!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Say What??

Ok, if I were to ever play the lottery and if I won, I would buy an airline. Someone explain to me how/why at 7:00 AM I can purchase one ticket to/from Belize for $576 then a mere 2 minutes later go to purchase more and SAY WHAT? There are no more seats available at that price. But I do have the opportunity to purchase seats on that same flight for a mere $155 more.


So there I was... going to Belize… all by my lonesome.


Here’s what I don’t get… I paid $576 for seat 16a. I could now buy seat 16B for $731 (16a is a window seat, 16b is the center). Ummm…. How is my seat worth less than someone who would be sitting in the middle getting all scrunched and stuff?

It’s all very confusing to me, actually.

And, if there are seats available, why not sell them all at the same price? Cause ya better believe your ripe patootie that if I find someone on my flight who paid less than me and booked about the same time as me, I’m gonna… well I’m gonna… ok, I’ll probably do nothing, but by golly I’ll have me an attitude!!

AND OH pity the soul who is sitting next to me if any of our flights are even slightly empty!!

The good news is that I am no longer going to Belize by myself. My friends, Greg, Jamie and the girls are flying out of Raleigh and we’re hooking up in Miami. Their tickets were slightly more than mine (amazing what 3 hours can do!) but at least we all now have tickets. The unfortunate part is that the cost of our trip has risen slightly (our tickets, overall, were a tad bit higher than anticipated). But God is good!!

Now if only we had a place to stay…

Oh and now my countdown has changed (we’re leaving a day early).

20 DAYS!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

23 Days!!

I can’t believe I’m typing that again! Didn’t I just get back from Belize? Didn’t I just cancel one trip to Belize? Didn’t I tell Greg 2 months ago that I wouldn’t be going back down to Belize this year?

Oh how God is LAUGHING at me!

But here I go – planning, counting down and yes, putting stuff aside to pack. I’m a bit OCD-ish when it comes to packing. My “2009 Belize 2” packing list has been modified, edited and studied. Shopping, thankfully, is just about complete (with the exception of a travel coffee press and some Storyville, a jar of peanut butter and some Pepsi). Oh my packing issues could be a blog in and of themselves!

Tickets aren’t bought yet, but I think that’s just a formality. I think… sure… Nah – I’m not worried… much…

We’re doing things a tad bit differently this time. Generally you go, work like a dog doing the project (whatever it may be) then go debrief someplace before re-entry. This time, we’re doing the debrief on the front end and we’ll work right up to the day we leave. I’m cool with that. It’s been a tough year personally, and I could use the chill time.

Pray for all of us, if you don’t mind. Greg & Jamie, as always, will be running WIDE OPEN until we leave. Financially this trip will be a stretch for all of us. BUT God is gracious and continues to abundantly provide for each of us.

Pray, also, for the guys down there. They are right in the middle of Summer Camp. It’s hot (duh – it’s the jungle and it’s Central America – what else would it be?) and they’re still dealing with earthquake issues (no more earthquakes, but buildings that are totally repaired yet).

More later!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Here I Go Again!

Yup – I’m going back to Belize. CRAZY!! Just as soon as I think God has closed (ok, sometimes SLAMMED) a door, He opens it right back up in His way and in His time. Most folks are going to get the following via email, but some of you may not. For that reason, I’m posting my support letter here. If you are interested, or if you would like more information, PLEASE let me know.

Thank you!!!

Dear Friends,

Well here I go again!! I am hoping you all know (or at least those of you who got the first onslaught of emails or letters) that my June trip to Punta Gorda, Belize, had to be postponed due to financial concerns with R U Red E (they are FINE – the trip was going to put a HUGE strain on the ministry). However, God has paved away AGAIN for me to be able to go down and minister in Belize. And after much prayer and LOTS of talks, I’ve decided that I should go.


I’ve been asked to accompany my SWEET friends Greg & Jamie Stuckey and their daughters back down to Punta Gorda, Belize. While we are down there we will be doing multiple projects. Greg and several other guys will be teaching college-level classes to the guys who live and work at Machaca Outreach Center as part of their Machaca Ministry Training program. During these classes, Jamie, the girls and I will be doing just about everything and anything at the camp that needs cleaned, repaired (minor), and re-organized after a summer of camps and outreach programs. And because we are handling these tasks, it will free up the guys to take part in this important class. We will also be looking into the possibility of getting a team down there SOON to take care of Miss Shirley’s roof (one of the original projects from the June trip).

So again, I find myself coming to you, humbly, asking for your prayers, and if possible, your financial support. My need for this trip has changed from the June trip. I am only required to raise $1500 to pay for airfare, food, lodging, and to help supply the guys with the textbooks and supplies. Through God’s grace I was able to raise a good portion of what is needed for this trip when I was raising funds for the June trip. Nearly all of that is able to be transferred to The Church At Sandhurst, the sponsoring church for the trip.

For me, the hardest part of any trip is this whole area of fund raising. But God continues to show me again through this process that He is in control. Your participation in ANY manner will be BEYOND appreciated.

Because of the timing of all of this, I’m obviously doing this in a rather unorthodox way. At this point, Sandhurst does not have the ability to accept donations online. If you would like to donate, PLEASE allow me to send you a stamped self-addressed envelope. Email me, Tweet me or just call and I’ll let you know where to mail it to if you’re just itching to do it now. And don’t forget, your donation is completely tax deductible and you will receive a receipt for it from Sandhurst.

In advance let me say thank you, thank you and a million times THANK YOU!! I am trying to keep a blog of this whole process, so check it out or follow me on Twitter. I’ll make every effort to update the site daily on our progress while down there.