Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Season

As the Mizzou school semester comes to a close, it's impossible to ignore the fact that friends and students are still in a phase of transition. Old friends that I've known for years are graduating and moving away, new friends that I've grown closer to are preparing for their last set of finals, and some Navigator students are finishing their degrees in the next two weeks. It's been so comforting to me to know that while the world is ever-changing, the God we serve remains the same.

Our Navigator Christmas party is this Thursday! AWWW YEAH!!! We'll be spending some good time eating homemade desserts (NOM NOM), fellowshipping with one another, continuing to eat desserts, having sweet time in worship, and playing games. Oh, and it's going to be held at THE PLEX, so my roommates and I are hosting. I'm excited to see everybody before break. Also, THE PLEX now has an official mascot named Leonard! He is a gray kitten that was actually born at The Plex while we were babysitting his cat Mom. Rachel T. tied a ribbon with a little bell around his neck so we can always here him bounding down the hall, curiously exploring his giant surroundings. I'm equally curious to know how he will fair with all of the Navigators over for the party.

THEN I'M A TRAVELIN' FOOL.
After that, I'm heading to Colorado Springs for our second EDGE Corps summit training. It will be great catching up with everybody and spending some restful time in Colorado. There are some amazing powerhouse Christian leaders there, and I always desire to soak up the wisdom they have to pass along. The day after I return from EDGE summit, I head to Seattle to spend Christmas with family. My brother BJ and I are going, and it should be an adventure.

With love, a knitted hat, and the joy of Christ!



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Navigators at the 116 Clique Concert

ALL SAVED ALL SERIOUS.

God has brought some new and amazing people to our Navigators group this year, both at Mizzou and CMU (Central Methodist University). Pictured above are Stephanie, Roscoe, Cote, James, and Sean. I'm excited for what the Lord is doing in their lives and the beautiful fellowship that continues to blossom within the group.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How to not cook a yucca


My boyfriend is trying his best to cook a yucca, yet he is unsuccessful in his attempt. I feel kind of bad for him in that regards, as he's taken quite a bit of time peeling off the thick skin, chopping it up, boiling it, adding a touch of salt, etc.

Who am I kidding right now? All Dan had to do for real was boil the sucker and he messed up. Epic fail, yucca style.

This yucca story loosely parallels 1 Peter (a stretch, but stay with me), which is what Dan and I are studying together. 1 Peter 1: 13-16 gives us a series of commands, which include:
1. Setting your hope on the grace of Jesus Christ
2. Not conforming to evil desires
3. Being holy

Seriously, we have a set of instructions that shouldn't be that hard to do. Similarly, Dan had a simple set of cooking directions that should not have been that difficult. However, add our sinful nature and we run into difficulties. Suddenly, "Be holy" becomes quite the hurdle because of our fleshly desires. We want to be holy, but we also want to give in to our struggles, or compromise just a little bit. Or, we'll even try making a step by step approach to how we can "be holy," which includes a long list of dos and don'ts that we can't possibly adhere to. We put a yoke on ourselves that the Lord never intended for us to have!

Dan thought he was following the directions, and technically he was "on the right path" but he ended up overcooking the yucca. He tried adding butter, pepper, and garlic for flavor, but to no avail. It was mushy and he wasn't even able to fry it like he intended. Sometimes I think that I "overcook" or try too hard being obedient to the Lord. I'm too hard on myself and put all sorts of red tape on my relationship with God that shouldn't have to be there. I should strive to follow the recipe in its simplicity. 1 Peter 1: 14, "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance." We don't need to add any extra ingredients. Keep it simply. The Lord says, "Be holy for I am holy."



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Birthday Cake...err, Birthday Concert

So, my desire for my birthday was to have it be completely low key. I definitely wanted my focus to be on God and His sovereignty. However, God in all his sovereignty totally blessed me with the best birthday ever.

All day long I was getting phone calls and texts from family and friends. It was a delight getting to catch up with some, and I got a good laugh from some of my voicemail messages of people singing, "Happy Birrrrthhhday to you!" Korryn bought me breakfast which kick-started a great time of fundraising and ministry work. Afterwards, I met with some friends to drive down to KC for the 116 Clique Unashamed tour. I was literally bouncing up and down in my seat in anticipation. Ever since my friend Megan called me to tell me she got me a ticket for my birthday and that they would be rapping in KC on the day of my birthday...you best believe I was stoked.

To me, God has used Christian rap to really show me how God is the Ultimate Redeemer. He scoops us up in His hands, despite the fact that each of us are a mess, and He transforms us. The struggle with sin is there in the songs, but the highlight isn't the sin, but the fact that Christ saved us from that sin. He took us and clothed us in His righteousness, not because we were deserving by any means, but because He wanted to save us. I feel like I could print out the lyrics to so many songs by the 116 Clique rappers and have a Bible study because it goes so deep into the Word of God.

My friend Angela made us t-shirts that said, "I rove Jesus," with a Hello Kitty decal as the letter "o." For those of you unfamiliar with the fact that I hardcore embrace Asian stereotypes, we were making fun of Asian accents. Angela is Korean. We go to the same church and I have had somebody get us mixed up before. It was great. The shirts were a brilliant idea and a hilarious way to get the concert party started.

I was blessed by the fact that fellow Navigators came to the concert. James Biswell, who I feel like is my partner in "crime" at times (with all the skits and presentations we have done together), ended up driving a car full of Navers. I got to meet one of the new CMU Nav gentlemen, Rosco, one of our freshman ladies named Stephanie accompanied us, and my new friend Cote (who was possibly as excited as I was about the concert) drove out with us. My friends Scott and Angela from church went, as of course did my besties Lis and Megan. One of Megan's Christian fraternity brothers Derrik also came and his company was delightful. My friend Shelbi also drove up from Peculiar. We have been friends since middle school and used to play flute together in band back in the day.

The concert was amazing. They rapped songs that Megan and I used to listen to over and over when we were struggling with certain issues, songs that inspired us to keep running after the Lord and to flee from temptation. They reminded the crowd that it wasn't about the hype, but about giving glory to our Creator. We were all screaming, singing along to the lyrics, and dancing for the Lord and I couldn't help but think, "I will become even more UNDIGNIFIED than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes." (2 Samuel 6:22) The concert blessed and encouraged me, and I pray that it blessed and encouraged the hundreds of people who were also in attendance. I pray that the Believers walked away desiring more of God and to live their lives for His glory!

Afterwards, at about 1am, we all went to Dennys to eat dinner. We shared our testimonies, which was amazing seeing how God has truly transformed each of us, and enjoyed a time of fellowship. I loved getting to know everybody better and it was amazing how God could knit a bunch of rag-a-muffin hearts together and bless our time so richly. Our group was an eclectic mix of people- diverse in color, interests, style of clothing, etc. However, each of us had one thing in common: Jesus. Looking around the table I realized that our identities were truly not in our skin color, what music we liked to listen to, whether we grew up in a Christian home, whatever; but it was in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am still not over the amazingness that is God, and how he uses people to inspire, encourage, and show me love.

I rolled into my apartment at about 3am. My boyfriend had sent me flowers for my birthday (which I didn't get a chance to see because I was gone all day). He sent a funny poem and a verse with them: Psalm 9:10, "Those who know your name trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those that seek You." It really was a sweet ending to a sweet day.

Although it was my birthday, it really was the Lord's day first and foremost, and I just revel in the fact that He loves me so much.





Thursday, November 4, 2010

Excitement

I'm in eager anticipation.

For God's provision, for blossoming friendships, for exciting adventures! Tomorrow, I'm going to KC for the Lecrae concert with some great people. Next week, I fly out to Maryland to see my boyfriend.

Adventure is out there!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Wait, what? Navs is having a Dance Party?

www.midmissourinavs.com/mizzou/mizzouviewer.php?file=96

There is a time to dance, and Mizzou Navigators shall do just that on October 30th. I'm excited to check out everybody's dance moves, and even more excited to check out people's lack of dance moves. Honestly, I can't dance, but I do anyway because it's fun. Seeing people dance who can't dance is more fun than clouds made of cotton candy.

The above video link was edited by Clayton Kreisel, who is awesome. Korryn and I filmed the video at the local Goodwill. Oh yes, we are excited about a dance party.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Power of Testimony

Campus ministry with the Navigators continues to teach me so much about God, people, and myself. It's a challenging endeavor, and I'm thankful to be in an environment where I'm growing exponentially and coming into contact with beautiful individuals who come from various backgrounds. I'm learning that there is power in my testimony, and the transforming power of Christ is evident when it's shared.

The Lord continues to remind me of what He's brought me through, and it's such a beautiful thing to be able to look past some of the darkest times of my life and realize that God has gotten glory through it all. Back in 2007 I could barely see past the fact that I was in and out of psychiatric centers or the fact that I had to take seven medications a day to maintain my sanity. Being labeled "mentally ill," I equated it with brokenness, and was fixated on the hurt, pain, and confusion.

I just met with my friend Brittany, who has literally gone through the same struggle with mental illness. Meeting with her is so refreshing and Proverbs 27:17 (iron sharpening iron) is always in action as we discuss what God is doing in our lives, how treatment is going, and where we feel the Lord is leading us. I am constantly reminded that those dark hours did indeed happen, but God in His ultimate goodness redeemed me (and Brittany as well). I love talking to Brittany about it because I feel completely free to be open and honest to her about details and don't have to side-step any issues or "dumb down" discussion about doctor's visits, medication, the hospitalizations, or whatever. I know that we can share our experiences with each other without fear of judgment and our conversations point to God and how we can use these things to bring Him glory. We've been talking about how our testimony can speak to others who struggle with mental illnesses or how we can help family/friends of people struggling be more supportive and understanding.

Galatians 5:1, "It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. Stand firm then and do not let yourself be burdened again by the yoke of slavery."

As Christ freed me from bondage and captivity, I feel like my mental illness has been an illustration of God breaking my personal chains of captivity. In a lot of ways, my episodes have forced me to drop every single IDENTITY that was not of God and make my IDENTITY Christ. The manic-depressive episodes broke me and brought me to Christ.

When Brittany and I talk about these things, we are not just sharing a common experience, but we are thinking, dreaming, praying through how the Lord can use us for His glory. I pray that God uses both of our experiences to speak truth into the lives of others, and show those suffering that the Lord is sweeter, bigger, stronger than the pain.

He sets you free.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my
fortress, my God, in whom I trust."

Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you make the Most High your dwelling-
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will treat upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in troubke,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Intersection Drama Class

video

After working at the Intersection after-school program for 2 1/2 years, I am currently now a volunteer teaching drama class and helping lead the girls' youth group (called M3 Clique-Matthew 17:20). As long as I'm in Columbia, MO, I desire to continue pouring into these young hearts.

P.S. I wasn't having a really bad day for real. That was just the prompt.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Support Raising: Real Talk

Ok, it's time to get real. REAL TALK right here. I am nowhere near where I am supposed to be in my support raising with the Navigators. Although the last month has been filled with amazing ministry opportunities and times to connect with students, fundraising has taken the back seat and I now understand why it's important to have the funding secured prior to hitting the campus. Once you get on campus and become burdened by the harvest there, it's difficult to remove yourself from that and focus on something that not only seems less important, but it's WAAAY less enjoyable.

I have been attacked all over the place, and have been dwelling on all of the reasons why I'm not at the level I'm supposed to be at. Honestly, they're just cheap excuses that mean nothing to God, who owns the bank. I am giving these excuses up to God, and am not letting lies from the enemy hinder me from what the Lord has in store for my life.

Silly excuses (and even silly lies) that I am giving up to God (deep breath): I wasn't raised a believer, and have no home church or community to support me. My mom's family lives in the Philippines, and they are legit poor. The families/kids I have been serving the past two and a half years (at The Intersection) are low-income, underprivileged. They were my Christian community over the past few years. My non-believer family thinks I am CRAZY for doing this, vocalizing it. People are just going to keep saying "no."

To be honest, all these things are excuses. The majority of my face-to-face appointments have been discouraging to the point where I have been gripped with fear. Fear that Edge Corps is not where I am supposed to be, which is a total lie. The Lord has kept me in Columbia so that I may draw near to Him, learn more about who He is, and develop my abilities as a spiritual leader. Out of the overflow of my personal relationship with Christ, I can help encourage and equip other college-age leaders, and continue to pour into students who need Jesus.

Uh oh- Percentage REAL TALK. I am currently at 26% funded (Insert gasp from other Nav staffers) and have been feeling like the well is dry. I was supposed to be at 75% funded over a month ago. My anxiety has been real in terms of funding, however, I still believe that God will provide all of my funding. Rather than allow my fear to halt me (and the plans to advance the gospel on campus), I have decided to partner with my campus directors and Korryn and take EXTREME measures.

I am currently fasting and praying for God to bring in $10,000 by October 1st. I believe that the Lord is huge and that this amount of money is nothing to the Creator of the Universe. I have been reading and rereading Isaiah 58.

"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard." -Isaiah 58:6-8

I have had to step back from ministry on campus during the day (haha, perhaps way overdue, but God blessed my time on campus) from 10am-3pm in order to work on raising support. I have been forced to be super creative with contacts, and am praying that God prepare the hearts of the people I'm supposed to approach next. I pray that support raising will turn out to be a fruitful ministry, and that people are challenged to give money that doesn't really even belong to them to begin with- it's God's money.

This all has been hard to write down and share. A huge enemy attack has been that I'm a failure. But I continue to seek the comfort of scripture and know that as long as I remain obedient to the Lord, obeying His commands, and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my steps, God will be pleased.

Blessings, love, and God's perfect peace,
Jackie

P.S. I told Korryn yesterday at 3:00pm that I was asking the Lord to bring in $10,000 by October 1st. At 3:37 I received a phone call saying that I would be receiving $5,000 by next week. I am encouraged, refreshed, and expectant that my Father in heaven provides.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Meet Korryn!

video

Improvisation may not be our forte, but I just wanted you all to meet another staff member with the Mizzou Navs. Korryn is a former biology major, an artist, and a devoted follower of Christ.

Don't worry, my favorite medium is still writing so I will continue to do so.

Write on, man, write on.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

That's What's Up!

video

Above is a video about my attempt to teach one of the foreign exchange student friends I met in Navigators American slang. Sometimes I forget that I am a huge nerd and don't speak normal vernacular like everybody else. :)

WOW. I say "um" and "uh" so many times. Don't worry, next time will be slightly less annoying.

Monday, September 6, 2010

For Kathleen

My roommate has informed me that she has been stalking my Edge Corps blog and that I have time and time again disappointed her through my failure to post consistently. I reassured her, and I reassure you as well, that I will be more diligent in posting.

So much has happened in the last few weeks! Two weeks have past since classes at the University of Missouri have kicked off, and it has been a pleasure serving the Navigators on Mizzou's campus as well as helping out with CMU's group. It has been a busy, busy time, and through the business, it has been so important for me to recognize that my time with God cannot be compromised. I seek Him first in the mornings, and despite the hectic schedule, I have been in such a rich time of learning and growing through personal Bible study.

The photo above is of Korryn (left), Ashley (right), and I at a friend's bonfire. Women from different ministries (including Navs) gathered together to worship, pray, and share with each other how God has been working in our hearts and lives. It was so encouraging to hear different women share difficult things in their lives, or struggles that they were completely and totally giving over to the Lord. Then, under a clear sky glittering from shining stars, we were able to lift our voices in worship and give the Creator of the Universe the praise that He deserves. It was such a beautiful thing.

Also a beautiful thing, it has been a delight to see new faces at our Navigator meetings! It's so much fun to me to be able to meet with young women one-on-one (for coffee of course!) and get to know them better. One particular young lady surprised me by sharing that she loves heavy metal screaming music...which goes to show that you definitely can't judge a book by its cover. I never would have guessed that in a million years! I have also had so much fun getting to know some of the foreign exchange students. I had a huge moment of ignorance when I asked one of the new students named Daniel if he knew how to speak Cantonese or Mandarin. He looked at me gravely and said that he was from South Korea.

I FELT SO BAD!!!

I am thoroughly convinced though, that not even Asians can tell other Asians apart. This conclusion was solidified last week, when I was shopping at the Filipino market in town called Meechus. The owner asked me what nationality I was. When I told him I was half Filipino, he acted very surprised. Our exchange has prompted me to start picking up Tagalog again, as I still feel like God is going to bring me back to the Philippines- perhaps even with the Navigators. One can never tell.

New faces at Navigators have been delightful, and old faces have been equally delightful. I love the heartbeat of our Navs group (which is smaller than a lot of the Nav college groups in our region). The willingness to serve and love each other is what drew me in, and that willingness is prompted by a hunger for God. These students are truly devoted to the Lord, and I pray that their devotion is contagious to the new students. My heart has definitely been for outreach (among other things), to go to places that may seem unconventional to share the gospel. However, discipleship has been a huge part of my heart as well, and I pray that as God brings in new people, the Navigators remain faithful to disciple, invest, and teach those who are wanting to learn.

And, I think I've failed to mention THE PLEX, which is the duplex where I live with five other women. They all have been affiliated with Navigators at some point in their lives, or are currently in the ministry. The vision of a house full of Christian women began three years ago, and has continued with new additions until now. The fellowship has been fantastic! Every week (usually on Sundays), we eat dinner together and then a different Plexian will lead our meetings as we get to know each other more intimately, and share what God has been teaching us. I am so thankful to know these lovely ladies.

This post may seem disjointed, and I'm going to continue along those lines and say that a few of my favorite moments from the last few weeks have been playing ULTIMATE frisbee with the Navigators after our Nav nights on Thursdays. We're kind of a motley crew on Stankowski field, as some of us have never really touched a frisbee (and I was barefoot and in jeans). However, the laughs outweigh the number of throws that fail to make it to a partner, and it is a blast watching friends that I worship and serve with running around feigning competitiveness.

Also, I am finding out more and more that Korryn (who discipled me) is a BEAST at sports. Like, DANNNNGGGGGGG, she's so good!

Until I blog again, friend, I will continue to spend my time teaching foreign exchange students useless slang.

Magandang araw po (good day, sir/madam), and I hope Kathleen is now happy. :)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

See More Him



The photo above is of my friend Lis and I up in a tree while we were in Texas. I feel that it is fitting for the message of Zacchaeus out of Luke 19, which has been on my heart for months.

Luke 19: 1-4, "Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way."

I'm just going to stop right there. I would encourage you all to read on and discover (perhaps all over again) how Zacchaeus repents of his sins and turns his life around as soon as he's in the Lord's presence. But I can't get out of my head how Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus so much that he pulled away from the crowd, and shimmied his short self up a sycamore tree just to see Him.

Amazing!

I have to ask myself on a regular basis, "Ok Jackie, what are you doing to see more of God? Are you really seeking and climbing and desiring more of Christ so much that you do something drastic to reach Him? To what length are you willing to make sacrifices to follow?"

There's a song by Flame called "See More Him" that explains the struggle of getting sidetracked or falling into idolatry when the God who is truly satisfying is right in front of us. It's Christian rap, which I understand isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I am a lyrics person and think the depth of the lyrics and the scripture woven tightly in the songs challenges me to think about my faith on a deeper level.

"Though I'm a Christian my vision sometimes even get blurred
When I'm resisting His visits and not reading His Word
Desperate need to be purged
Easy to lose the wonder
Through these daily distractions banging louder than thunder
When I devalue my Savior and start treasuring trash
And longing for mud patches thinking it's greener grass
Exchanging eternal pleasures for the ones that's going to pass
Looking for 'em to satisfy but they lie never last"

The hook proceeds to cry out, "I wanna see more Him, cus I'm sick of more me/ I'm gonna be like Zacchae in that sycamore tree."

What up Flame?

I want to climb higher just to get a glimpse of our perfect Savior who took me in my brokenness and transformed me!

*********************************************************************************************************************************
Ah yes, and I wanted to give a huge praise report as to how support raising for Edge Corps is going. Frankly, I have been blessed by how people are coming together to give to this mission. God keeps surprising me and adding people to my support team daily. It is a tedious, yet exciting journey and I'm thankful even that it hasn't been easy. I feel like I'm being strengthened and prepared to reach some higher branches this year.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Peculiar, Missouri: Where the "Odds" are with You


Many things have changed in Peculiar since I shook the dust of this sleepy ol’ town off the boots I never owned, and left for greener pastures (well…Columbia, MO if you can consider that greener). The house, for one, is in complete disarray as my family renovates with a firm belief that things must get worse before they can get better. My parents are preparing the house to go on the market by September and will proceed to shake the dust of this sleepy ol’ town off their New Balance tennis shoes and move down to Louisiana. From Peculiar to New Orleans, talk about culture shock.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the quiet, serenity that moves in and out of pastures, over ponds, through trees and into my backyard, always to accompany me when I look at the land that is and will forever be my childhood. Such a breathtaking picture of God’s creativity and a marvelous reminder of His majesty!

So tonight, BJ and I decided to cook dinner for my family. This was a daunting task since our Dad is the head chef and hardly EVER allows anybody else in his kitchen to utilize his fancy schmancy cookware. I was feeling ultra self-conscious and thought “He’s totally going to judge this meal harsher than a judge on Iron Chef…” It turned out to be a blast though! BJ whipped up his buffalo dip appetizer, Dalton stirred the dessert rum sauce, Brandon cut and arranged fruit on a platter, while I made a huge mess with everything I touched. Bon appetit!

While I knew I was suppose to go to Peculiar to do more support raising, another big reason I came back was because all of the males in my family had birthdays. Brandon turned 28, Dalton turned 18, BJ turned 21, and Dad turned 50. (Talk about pivotal birthdays: 18, 21, and 50.) We had many a conversation about how my father is older than dirt and how BJ is finally 21 so he can taste his first sip of champagne (TEE-HEE)!

I’ve had time to think here in Peculiar. Time to sit on my parent’s front porch and talk to God as the butterflies fly by (sure to get heat exhaustion from all that flapping in the July heat). Time to work on letters, make a few face-to-face appointments, and learn to trust that all of this humble toil will equate to my ability to labor for the Lord on Mizzou’s campus in the fall. What an honor!

To be completely honest, my heart has not been in a good place since I’ve been home. It’s always difficult to be in Peculiar for multiple reasons. For one, I’m constantly reminded of my “old self” here and I am constantly battling old habits and thought patterns that I don’t really have to deal with in Columbia. In addition, I’m not exactly surrounded by Believers all the time, so my best friends/accountability buddies are not here to lean on. It’s been tough, and I’ve had to reread scripture dealing with spiritual warfare and all that jazz.

But WOW do I have some praise reports. For one, God has showed up in HUGE ways since I’ve been here. People’s hearts have opened up and my support raising has finally started picking up. Best believe that for a while, I doubted God’s provision, as it seemed completely hopeless. But I should have known better! I will continue to work to please the Lord and not man and trust that His plan is perfect.

A few of my favorite stories include meeting with a gym teacher that I haven’t seen since elementary school. What a delight it was to share my life with her and have her do the same! My brother BJ also surprised me with a hand-written note stuck in the bathroom door.

“Dear Jackie,

Here is a little mula-moo for your fundraising. Continue to do God’s work. We need at least one successful person in our family. Uhhh…that’s it. Bye-bye.

Love,

BJ”

I’m not a crying gal, but shoot...

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Working Realization


I love the game Scrabble. The picture above was taken at a bar in Columbia during my friend's 22nd birthday celebration. My friends and I really know how to party. The word "money" was spelled during this game, which has been on my mind a lot lately with support raising and all that jazz. Money reminds me of having a job, and the word job reminds me of all of my past work experience.

I had my first real job when I was sixteen years old. It was at a factory in Peculiar, MO called Sioux Chief Plumbing Manufacturing and I was in the shipping department. I spent every minute of every forty hours a week picking up boxes of plumbing parts, throwing them onto pallet jacks, and consolidating them so they could be transported to their final destination. Sometimes if it was a really slow day, I would spend several hours in a row cutting plastic off boxes with a box cutter while the hum of the warehouse fans seemed to move the heat from one place to the other rather than make it any cooler.

Needless to say, while I was grateful for the paycheck, I despised the monotony of the job.

1. Grab pallet jack
2. Find routing number
3. Pick up box
4. Place box on pallet jack
5. Repeat until the world ceases to be interesting times eighty

I would scribble poetry on the back of shipping orders, cut huge letters in the plastic-covered boxes as if I were Zorro, and find other ways to try and keep my mind from accepting the fact that it truly was mindless work. Once, I had to pick up some parts that were rarely ordered located in the back of the factory. The boxes were on a shelf that was so close to the wall that there was barely enough room for this 5'1" Asian to squeeze into. As I unamusedly stared at the tiny space, I saw spider webs woven all over the place between the boxes and the wall. Unoccupied spider webs are cool with me, but these webs had no vacancy signs. The disgusting creatures had extra long legs that seemed to double dog dare me to try and get back to where my box orders sat. I literally had to walk away and give myself a pep talk before I could brave the spider territory. It was sick...but it helped keep things interesting.

Now, I can see how my experience at a job that I wasn't very passionate about helped shape my decision to find something I was passionate about. Yet, even that road was a long and winding one.

I've had other jobs since my Sioux Chief stunt.

*I sacked groceries at Hy-Vee and would retrieve carts when the managers were feeling extra evil. In the winter, I was terrified the entire time trying to push carts back into the grocery store, anticipating the moment when the ice would cause me to slip and run the carts into somebody's brand spankin' new car or something.
*I completed two internships at law firms: one in downtown Kansas City for two hotshot, young lawyers looking for free labor and the other for the Cass County Prosecuting Attorney's office (which was a delight in comparison).
*I was a waitress at Partner's restaurant in Harrisonville for a long time, filing away memories in my mind vaguely reminiscent of the movie "Waiting." My friend and I would frequently get mistaken for siblings, despite the fact that he's Korean and I'm Filipino.
*And of course, my latest job was at The Intersection after-school program, which served underprivileged youth in the Columbia area. I can write a book about my experiences there. Those kids forever changed me.

I bring up my past occupations because I'm struggling with support raising. I'm used to working for a paycheck and having a stringent schedule of tasks to complete during my work times. For years I have been a multi-tasker, going from school to work to practice to whatever craziness I was involved in at the time, thriving on the business. Now, support raising has been my job and I have yet to learn how to embrace the process. Iknow that I am in the perfect position to be obedient to God and to trust in His perfect provision, but since I haven't seen results, I've already started losing motivation. Sometimes I think it would be EASIER to just get a job like normal college graduates do...why did I have to take such a radical road? However, if I wasn't obedient, I would be ignoring a call that I know I have.

Again, I trust you God. I trust you God. I trust you God. Even when it's hard. I trust you God.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I Trust You, God

My to-do list seems to grow longer and longer each day with support raising, arbitrary errands, and standard move-out procedure. The difficult part of it is, I feel like at the end of each day I haven't accomplished anything. It's been extremely discouraging and I had a few moments within the last few days where I really had to take time to be with God and give all of my frustrations and doubts to Him.

As a senior in high school, I wasn't a believer yet, but I remember being moved by the testimony of a young woman who struggled financially through college. She said that when money got especially tight and she didn't know where her next meal would come from, she would look in the mirror and say, "I trust you God, I trust you God..." five times. Sometimes she would say it quickly, sometimes she would draw out her words slowly and intentionally, but each sentence was a proclamation of faith that would be the foundation of where she put her hope. When I first came to Christ, I put this routine into practice, shaky and uncertain, staring into the mirror and telling God that I trusted Him.

Today, there may be more "Christian-ish" stuff that I do to grow closer to God (Bible study, journaling, prayer, fellowship, etc.), but I most definitely still have genuine moments of desperation where I cry out to the Lord. I feel like I am telling God and reassuring myself that God is the only one I trust completely and totally. It seems so juvenile, but it really isn't. You should try it sometime.

I trust you God. I trust you God. I trust you God. I trust you God. I trust you God.

Yesterday was a full day, and it was full of what I love to do best: be with people. I had the opportunity to spend time with my roommate's younger sister, reconnected with some amazing girls from Navigators (future roomies!), met up with a girl who has a wonderful and sweet spirit who will be staying with us for a few weeks (yay!!), and ate dinner with my roomies/Intersection kids/friends of olde. Oh yes, I also had a "skype date" with my gentleman caller (I stole that phrase from my future roomate). Although it was a lovely day, I didn't get to spend as much time on support raising stuff as I would have liked. In turn, I felt guilty throughout the entire day that I wasn't making appointments and writing letters the whole time. It really made me realize that in order for me to have the freedom to do ministry and spend the quality time with God and with other people, I'm going to have to buckle down and get this support raising stuff done. Sigh...

Support raising has been difficult. I have yet to see the fruit from my labors. In a way, it has been super encouraging because a lot of the people I have met with have agreed to be on my prayer team to support me in that way. I have also had the chance to reconnect with old friends and share my life with them and vice versa. However, I'm still in a position where I have to trust God even though it doesn't look like I'm where I'm supposed to be. (I keep getting the attack, "Jackie, if you were supposed to do college ministry, the money would be coming in easily.") Well, I know this is where I'm supposed to be. I just need to continue to be persistent, consistent, and faithful.

"The Lord is my strength and song; and he has become my salvation." -Exodus 15:2

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Christians and Coffee, Coffee and Christians

Every time I visit family in Seattle, I always have at least one family member act out their seemingly civic duty of taking me to the nearest Starbucks for a caffeinated beverage. (I refuse to say coffee because I don't like coffee unless it is doctored beyond recognition with lots of cream and sugar and other goodness to take the coffee flavor away.) Well, last time I was at a coffee shop with my grandparents, I noticed two girls sipping their caffeinated beverages in a corner. One girl was talking excitedly while the other listened intently, occasionally nodding. Being the avid people watcher that I am, hopefully without being creepy, I spotted a lanyard around Miss Excited Talker's neck that said JESUS. This excited me for multiple reasons.

1. I had the same lanyard that I used to have my keys on before it broke, and I am vain enough to believe that I have very good taste.
2. Miss Excited Talker was a fellow believer and she was possibly discipling or sharing something about her faith with the girl she was with.
3. My suspicion was confirmed that Christians are obsessed with coffee.

Today I spent the afternoon hanging out with one of the young ladies I mentored from The Intersection after school program. She is fourteen years old, is obsessed with Twilight (Jacob specifically) and loves God. Saweeeet combo! After we ate lunch, I asked if she was up for going to a coffee shop and hanging out with me. She could play around on my computer, while I worked on support letters for Edge Corps. Done deal. She got an iced coffee, and I got a green tea latte.

While working on support letters I couldn't help but think about how heavily coffee shops have been influenced by Christian culture, or rather, how Christian culture has been influenced by coffee shops. When I first came to Christ I would have older women ask me, "Wanna do coffee and chat?" which roughly translates into, "Wanna talk about your relationship with Christ and perhaps iron out what you're struggling with?"

At first, (as a freshman and new believer) I wasn't sure what to do, not liking coffee and all. Should I order coffee anyway because we were "doing coffee"? It seemed dishonest to get tea. We weren't "doing tea." Also, should I come prepared with a list of my struggles? You know, a systematic checklist of sins that I was working through. I was unfamiliar with the Christian Coffee Protocol.

Yes, these thoughts and more were running through my head at Kaldis today with my little fourteen year old disciple who is seven inches taller than I am. She was on Facebook, while I was writing personalized notes on my support letters asking people to join my team. Perhaps next year, God will put some freshmen women in my life who are hungry to know more about Christ and the Bible. Perhaps I will call them and ask if they want to "do coffee." Perhaps they will be nervous about it because they will not like coffee. Perhaps I will ease their fears and order a vanilla bean frappe first so that they see that coffee is not a prerequisite for coffee dates in my book.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Moving On

I'm going to miss my apartment. My wonderful roommates and this constant hub of friends and family who can stop by for tea, pasta, or if I'm feeling especially stereotypical, rice. I've spent the last two years on University Avenue and William Street and can truly say that it has become my home. You know, the kind of home where "home is where the heart is" actually makes sense.

I'm currently taking apart my room and it's coming along ever so slowly because I can't seem to get rid of anything. I pick up a piece of paper with arbitrary chicken scratch writing on it and get whisked down memory lane. Oh...this is the to-do list I wrote during finals week. So glad I remembered to buy trash bags and go to my Milton final. Memories, memories. That's my room in the picture by the way. The Happy 21st sign was made by my friends and there are posters of my favorite bands alongside some sweet movie memorabilia (Kung Fu Panda anybody?)

I have a Jesus wall in my room. Sounds weird huh? Well, it might be, but I really like it. I moved into my apartment on this spiritual high from Kids Across America (KAA U KNOW!), and decided to draw on my wall with different colored chalk. KAA's influence is evident: "I don't need no money cus salvation is free because the Lord died for you and He died for me!"/ "God first, Others second, Me third"/ "Jesus is sweeter than honey"/ "It's a good, good morning...it's gonna be a very good day." KAA turned my life around, which is funny because it was for the Intersection kids I brought there as a chaperone. I felt convicted of my sins and had an intense desire to seek out who God truly was. In the middle of my Jesus wall is a red chalk heart reminding me who God is: Living Water, King of Kings, The Beloved, Prince of Peace, Messiah, Morning Star, Alpha and Omega, Light of the World, Savior, Bread of Life...Amen and amen.

I had the pleasant opportunity to attend a fellow Navigator's surprise birthday today! It was so refreshing to be reunited with such a wonderful group of people. I'm getting excited for what is in store next year. One thing is for sure though, the fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ will be phenomenal. Indeed.

Give me a few weeks and I will spin tales about support raising. When I say "spin tales" I mean that I will give praise reports. I have some cool stories now, but I desperately desire the opportunity to spin tales. Be patient. Tales will be spun, oh yes, tales will be spun.

Grace and peace.

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life." -Proverbs 11:30

...and just after that it says, "and he who wins souls is wise." Bam. Money in the proverbial bank.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Answering the Call

Ring Ring!
Me: Hello?
Hi Jackie, this is your official calling to do campus ministry next year on Edge Corps with the Navigators.
Me: Click.

Yeah, that's basically how it went in real life when my mentor suggested that I join Edge Corps back in November. I wasn't sure what I was going to do but I KNEW that I wasn't going to be staying in Columbia and I KNEW that college ministry wasn't where my heart was. I had previously worked with kids for two and a half years and thought that if I was going to pursue ministry, it would be with youth.

However, God has a funny way of directing our steps and after months of searching, prayer, and uncertainty, I knew that Edge Corps was "in the cards" for lack of a better phrase. I found out more about Edge Corps, which is a Navigators ministry that is passionate about sharing the truth of Jesus with college students. My excitement was fueled by the fact that I fell into the University of Missouri's Navigator ministry my senior year, and was able to receive amazing teaching, discipleship and fellowship that helped me in my understanding of God and deepened my relationship with the Lord. Edge Corps was an amazing opportunity to serve the ministry that has done so much for me. Perhaps God will work through me to reach women like me, who were struggling with their faith, and allow my testimony to speak to the transforming power of God.

Currently, I am in transit between Kansas City and Columbia, MO raising a team of supporters who will financially partner with me so that I am able to report to Mizzou's campus in August. The process is not comfortable, nor is it easy. However, I can already see that meeting with people face to face gives me a chance to share in other people's lives in a way that I love doing. Also, it allows me to share my passion for the gospel and has been an "excuse" in some cases to present the truth of Romans 6:26, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Amazing. Unbelievable. Powerful. Truth.

The past few days have been emotionally hard on me. I spent the last month in a half traveling: Seattle, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois and have had a fair share of ups and downs along the way. Please pray that God restores my focus and that the emotional scars that have been afflicted will be healed by the power of the cross. Also pray for my diligence and capacity to work hard despite feeling like my labor is fruitless at times.

If you are interested in joining my support team (prayer or financial), feel free to contact me via e-mail: jedy96@gmail.com and I will give you more information. At Edge Corps we joked that since, "God loves a cheerful giver," (2 Corinthians 9:7), we were looking for "HILARIOUS givers." Indeed, I trust for God to provide and I'm sure the means by which this will happen will be surprising, maybe even hilarious.

Blessings, grace, and peace be to you, friend.