Thursday, December 27, 2007

January Prayer Letter

I feel as if I'm not posting much of anything here lately, but that is not for lack of having anything to say. Or maybe it is. Or maybe it's just not having words to describe this inbetween place I am experiencing. It's a netherland-type place of not knowing where I belong and really unlike anything I've ever experienced. I'm here, but I'm not and I'm going to a place I've visited, but that is still so foreign to me in so many ways...language, culture, host-families, new community.
I guess at this point I have to be sure of the calling. And I am. Realizing that if I turned around now, my life would be missing something, even if I don't know what that something is and I would be the poorer for it.
So, here's the prayer letter...please pray for me. Thank you, friends...

January 2008
I’ve just said good-bye to my sister and three little faces whose small bodies I held tightly so I could remember how they felt in my arms. I don’t know when I’ll see them again and the weight of our farewell is heavy. Now I find myself waiting for my plane, blinking away tears, hiding my sobs and wondering if my life will be a sequence of heart-breaking farewells in airport security lines. I see me, choking back tears as I give my ID and boarding pass to security, stumbling to a conveyer belt where I lay my bag, pull off my shoes and coat, and walk barefoot through a metal detector. I turn to say good-bye until I can no longer see those faces I love and I hope that time indeed will pass as a mist, a vapor, and I will soon be saying hello rather than good-bye.
Two months ago this scene was first initiated when I left Portland. Another sister, three different little faces, but the ache was the same, the sting of tears, the tightness of throat. Today I wonder if I am up to this task of saying good-bye, of my heart breaking. I keep thinking: I didn’t sign up for this.
I am finding myself humbled by my need for love. Jesus said we must become like children to enter the Kingdom. I used to think that meant having child-like faith, believing with innocence and assurance. I’m reminded that a child not only easily believes and trusts but they are also dependent. Because a child is young and lacks the ability to care for themselves they must rely on others to provide for and sustain them. I’m a fairly independent woman. Asking for help is a big deal to me. I don’t like to be seen as needy, and I certainly don’t like feeling needy. But I feel as if I am becoming a child, one who desperately needs the sustenance of love. And in this child-likeness, I am learning humility.
In church a couple weeks ago, the pastor said when we are humbled we know we are in God’s will. I’ve always equated success or being blessed with being in God’s will, but not humility. My neediness is a blessing? Being seen as anything less than self-sufficient is an indication of where I’m supposed to be? Going from being an independent woman to the dependence of a child is a part of God’s will? Perhaps it’s because when everything is stripped away I am left with nothing less than myself, before God, needing desperately to wrap myself in Him who will provide for all my needs. It is humbling. I feel like a child. And I don’t want to be found anywhere else.
This humility also gives me fresh eyes to see the neediness of those I go to serve. Perhaps the humbleness of their situation is not only about poverty, but a need of the heart. Mother Teresa once said that there is no greater pain than the ache of loneliness. At their very core, these are needs only God in His perfect love can fill, needs I am hoping He will use me to help ease.
So, I humbly say that I need your prayers. Pray that I will say good-bye well. Pray that the time I have left with those I love in California will be sweet. Pray that I will remain humble.
I’d also ask for your prayers in the following areas:
• Adjusting to a new language and culture.
• Protection in travel and health.
• Housing accommodations, lack of privacy, differences in living standards, lack of accustomed conveniences.
• Loneliness and homesickness.
• Developing new relationships with Word Made Flesh community and those we serve.
• The children and families that Word Made Flesh serves in Galati, Romania.
• Need for wisdom, compassion, self-discipline, boldness, power, love, and to be filled with the Spirit of God.
• Future ministry opportunities in Moldova with Word Made Flesh.
I am still hoping to leave for Romania to serve with Word Made Flesh sometime in late February of 2008. Before I can go I need to have 3 months of support raised, as well as the price of a round-trip ticket. My budget each month is set at $1,100, which will cover such needs as housing, transportation, food, and health insurance and other necessities such as taxes and administrative expenses. I would be honored and thankful if you would like to support me financially. Enclosed in this letter is a slip of paper that will help you know how to do that. You can also give online by clicking here.
Another airport security line good-bye looms in my future, only this time I’ll be flying to Romania and the departure will hold a host of anxieties. Still, I’m learning that even an airport security line can be sacred and a place of holiness, where I stumble barefoot and humble before God, holding nothing (because it’s being screened on a conveyor belt), crossing this line (a metal detector) that carries the enormous weight of love and eternity and the glory of a King.

My love,
P.S. I’d love to hear from you! Please email me at If you’d like to learn more about Word Made Flesh and what they’re doing around the world and in Romania, click here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

sweet sleep


you decide...

Saving the World is Serious Business

Friday, November 30, 2007

Who is Jesus to me?

Jesus is the Word made flesh.
Jesus is the Bread of Life.
Jesus is the Victim offered for our sins on the cross.
Jesus is the Word to be spoken.
Jesus is the truth to be told.
Jesus is the light to be lit.
Jesus is the life to be lived.
Jesus is the love to be loved.
Jesus is the joy to be shared.
Jesus is the peace to be given.
Jesus is the hungry to be fed.
Jesus is the thirsty to be satiated.
Jesus is the naked to be clothed.
Jesus is the homeless to be taken in.
Jesus is the sick to be healed.
Jesus is the lonely to be loved.
Jesus is the unwanted to be wanted.
Jesus is the leper to wash His wounds.
Jesus is the beggar to give Him a smile.
Jesus is the drunkard to listen to Him.
Jesus is the mentally ill to protect Him.
Jesus is the little one to embrace Him.
Jesus is the blind to lead Him.
Jesus is the dumb to speak for Him.
Jesus is the crippled to walk with Him.
Jesus is the drug adict to befriend Him.
Jesus is the prostitute to remove from danger befriend Her.
Jesus is the prisoner to be visited.
Jesus is the old to be served.

To me: Jesus is God.
Jesus is my spouse.
Jesus is my life.
Jesus is my only love.
Jesus is my all in all.
Jesus is my everything.

Jesus, I love with my whole heart, with my whole being. I have given Him all, even my sins, and He has espoused me to Himself in all tenderness and love.

Mother Teresa
No Greater Love

Dear Lord:
Help me to spread your fragrance wherever I go.
Flood my soul with your spirit an dlife.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly
that all my life may only be a radiance of yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul
I come in contact with may feel your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me,
but only you, O Lord!
Stay with me, then I shall begin to shine as you
do; so to shine as to be a light to others.
The light, O Lord, will be all from you; none of
it will be mine; it will be you shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise you in the way you love best,
by shining on those around me;
Let me preach you without preaching, not by
words but by my example, by the catching force, the
sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness
of the love my heart bears to you.
John Henry Newman
(One of Mother Teresa's favorite prayers, said every day by the Missionaries of Charity)Quoted here from No Greater Love.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful




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Fun with Papa




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Bathing Beauties

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Getting Ready for church



One Sunday my sister and I were getting ready for church, in separate rooms, when I had to ask her a question. I walked into her bathroom and started laughing because we were wearing almost the same outfits...she has good taste.
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Cousin Brian


I forgot to include this picture of my cousin Brian in the may have heard of him, Brianna Victoria?
Jayden took this pic and I just didn't want to neglect including it. :)
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We spent Thanksgiving at Jamie and Adam's new home in Houston with my parents in from California, Adam's parents, and my aunt and uncle, Jen and Brian and their little Hannah. It was the first time we'd spent Thanksgiving with Aunt Mercy and Uncle Tom in around 23 years. It was a beautiful a great time.
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Such a cute kid...


my nephew Jayden...sorry for the decapitation picture. He loves trains, and this particular picture was of him standing on the track where it said: stay off tracks...
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We make time for what is important're important to me!!!
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Raising Support

Some have asked how they can support me before receiving the official paper letter in the's a link that will tell you how. Thank you...and much love to you!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Copper Coins

Here's my first ever prayer letter...
If you'd like to be put on my official mailing list, let me know.

Dear Friends and Family:

Almost 3 years ago I began one of the most important journeys of my life by traveling to Kolkata, India for 4 months with Word Made Flesh (WMF), an organization that works around the world serving Jesus among the poorest of the poor. Many of you supported me on that journey and know how it changed me. Now, so many months later, I find I am forever altered.

One of the moments that changed me most happened on a train outside of Kolkata when we stopped at one last depot before arriving at Howrah station. It had been a twenty-four hour journey and I’d been sick for the 2 days before we began traveling. I wanted nothing more than to reach home. Sitting in oppressive heat, I put my head against the bars of the window, hoping to catch the smallest gush of air, when a woman stopped outside my window to beg. She was old and wore impossibly thick glasses. The sari she had on was as dirty and thin as she was, and when she asked for money, mimicking the motion of eating, I smiled and said no. I’d already given all my coins to other beggars on the train. But, she kept asking and I kept smiling and saying no.

And then, for a moment, the world stopped. The heat lessened and I had this intense moment of clarity when I heard a voice say: care for the widows.

I took a ten rupee note, the smallest bill I had, and passed it to her through the barred window. It was a large amount to give, but it would buy her at least one meal. She took the bill and pressed it to her forehead, putting her hands together in a gesture of gratitude. I can’t be certain, but I think she began to cry.

Tears filled my own eyes. It was only ten rupees, the equivalent of twenty-five cents. For me it was nothing, to her it was everything. She walked away, the train began to move, and I reached Kolkata, never thinking I would see her again. But now, I see her around every corner; little old women in tattered saris wearing coke bottle glasses. She is haunting me, her tears, her gratitude. She was thankful for so little. And the question that lingers in my soul is this: why wasn’t I willing to give more?

That question has changed my life. In Luke 21:1-4, Jesus told the story of the widow who only had 2 copper coins, all she had to live on, and she gave them both as an offering to God. She gave out of her poverty. I am by no means an impoverished woman. I’ve been blessed with so much, and so, for me to give out of my poverty is a difficult task. I have found that the place where it is most difficult for me to give is the area in which I am the most poor. At 35 I am unmarried and do not have children. In the place of marriage and a family of my own, the relationships I share with my sisters and their children and my dear friends are my most precious treasure. It truly feels as if they are all I have; they are my 2 copper coins. They are the possession I have not wanted to give up. But I no longer want to ask myself why I am not willing to give more…I am willing, and so I give even these, the ones I treasure, knowing that as I give, nothing will ever be the same.

In February 2008 I am moving to Galati, Romania where I will serve with the WMF community in a 3 year commitment that I hope will grow into many more years of service. In Galati, WMF has established a drop-in center called Casa Vale where around 30 impoverished children come each day for tutoring, showers, meals, love, and prayer. Relationships develop that are life-changing. It is my hope to serve in some capacity as a counselor among these kids, many of whom have attachment disorders, suffer from sexual abuse or addictions. Plans are also in the works to begin a job development program that would generate employment opportunities for these kids as they grow, as well as for their parents.

I give my copper coins, and for what? For a Kingdom I believe is more real than anything I can see or hold here. I give in order to serve Jesus by working with children and families in Romania who suffer from poverty and its many effects. I give in the hope that although they are poor materially, they will become rich spiritually. I give all I have because I want to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8).

And I humbly ask you to join me in this giving. I am in need of friends and family who will support me monthly with finances and prayer. I know not everyone is called to go and live among the poor, but I am certain of my calling and have found my deep happiness. I would love if you would join me in this happiness as together we serve Jesus.

Enclosed you will find a card where you can respond as to how you would like to give, whether in prayer or funds. Any checks should be made out to Word Made Flesh, but do not put my name on a check…the response card is for that purpose.

I am grateful for this opportunity to share my life with you, but also to be giving my life away for the gospel. I anticipate great things as we partner together for the Kingdom.

My love,


Please Pray:
…for continued open hands as I say good-bye to friends and family.
…for the quick learning of the Romanian language.
…for wisdom as WMF Romania prays regarding opening a new field in Moldova, of which I may be a part.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


This time last week I was in the middle of the Word Made Flesh board meeting...and freaking out just a bit. On Thursday I could hardly eat because I was so nervous. Ditto for Friday. And Saturday. By the time Sunday rolled around, I was ravenous. However, everything went well. I signed a contract and was commissioned to Galati, Romania for the next 3 years.

These are a few photos of the weekend, which, however much I was freaking out, was also fun. I love being with my Word Made Flesh friends, or 'Fleshies' as they call themselves. Some of those friends I hadn't seen since I was in Kolkata or Sri Lanka, so it was sweet to be reunited. My sister Jamie was able to come to the commissioning service. Her presence there was really meaningful, for many reasons. First, she's my sister, and represented my family. She also brought her baby Norah, who was representing for my other 8 nieces and nephews. And, she's the only one in my immediate circle of friends and family who has had a first hand view of Word Made Flesh, and that was important to me. I wish all my family and friends could have been was sort of my mistake not knowing what a big deal it would be to me to have them there.

So, here are the photos...all taken at the Word Made Flesh office. Some are of Jesse and me, who was commissioned for Nepal (his dad Paul is in the background). Another of Courtney and Angela, who live in St. Louis but I met in Kolkata and are good friends to me. When a Fleshie is commissioned, they receive the San Damiano cross, which hung in the church where St. Francis of Assisi began to hear the call of God to serve the church. So, you'll find a before picture of my sister and I eating dinner, and then one of us where I am wearing the cross. And another when Daphne is giving me the cross. Oh, and Norah had fun with her reflection in the hotel mirror.

Stay tuned for my first ever prayer letter. I'll be posting it soon!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Grace and Norah

Monday, October 22, 2007


I was just checking out my friend's blog at Missions Down Under and discovered that they are expecting a little miracle. Kris and Jason have prayed for a baby for so many years, and we all have prayed with them. So, just wanted to say miracles happen, prayers are answered, and our lives are blessed beyong anything we can comprehend.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Romania and Moldova: photos

So, here they are, the photos I took while visiting Romania and Moldova. The first set are from Moldova. Our first day in the country we visited a little village. Each village or town always has a crucifix of some sort set up as you enter, and so I took a picture of the one tha welcomed us to this little corner of the world. The food is the meal we were served while we visited.

You will also find a photo here of me with Leila, a new friend I met through Leona Bergstrom in Seattle. Leila works for Dorcas International and her husband is a missionary pastor who helps start churches in villages. Our meeting with her was by far one of the best. She was so sweet and humble, but really knew what she was talking about. It is so aparent she has a heart for the poor.

Chisinau is the capitol city of Moldova. It's streets are graced with trees that frame old buildings and beautiful architecture. I took some photos of buildings that caught my eye, both exteriors and interiors.

The city also boasts beautiful iron work and so I took a few photos of a fence that was near a bus stop where we were waiting to meet someone. The men in the photo are David Chronic and John Koon.

At one of the orphanges we visited I discovered an old Baldwin upright, so I took a picture of it in honor of my dad. For those of you who don't know, my dad and grandpa sold Baldwin pianos and organs for many years. This exact piano was one I was really familiar with as my dad sold many of them to Redlands Christian School where I attended.

Unfortunately, and I really don't know what I was thinking, I didn't take any pictures of Galati. I'm shaking my head at myself right now...But, I did get to see a bit of Bucharest before I left and so you'll find them here.

The enormous building is the People's Palace and was built under the communist dictator Chauciscu (I know I spelled that incorrectly, but hopefully you know who I'm talking about). It is one of the largest buildings in the world, second only to the Pentagon (! can imagine what I think about that). The road leading up to it is flanked with trees and fountains on all sides. Besides the trees are more enormous white buildings that look sort of Greek and seem to be mostly used as apartments and retail. When the dictator wanted to build this whole square, he plowed down old living spaces and I guess left 10's of thousands of people homeless in order to do it. It also cost kajillions of dollars to build, was never fully used, and left the country even more destitute. Still, he called it the "people's palace" like any good communist would. It truly is a beautiful setting and yet is shadowed by a sort of sadness that points to a time when the individual was forgotten in favor of the collective good...or at least what one man said was the collective good.

Bucharest had a huge French influence at one time, and so the last place I visited was modeled after the Arch de Triumphe in Paris. (I think maybe I spelled that incorrectly also...sorry).

And there you have it, my trip in a few photos.

I was able to squeeze out a poem during the trip...something that has grown almost as foreign to me as Romania itself. You'll find it below the collage.

Thanks to so many of you who remembered me in your prayers and for your kind thoughts and words via the blog, facebook, or email. I look forward to talking with you soon.

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I Can't Do Anything with this Dark

It's a quarter to 4 a.m.
And I can't do anything with this dark,
sleep, read, pray.
I can see only as far as the bus headlights illuminate,
along a bumpy Moldovan road,
On my way to Chisinau for clarification
or further vision.

My fellow travelers sleep
and I am asleep-awake in the twilight
world of jetlag.
This road leads past the lives of the living poor
whose barren vineyards are eery shadows-
appartitions who trail us, me, mile after mile
in this dark,
and I can't do anything

A fog settles in and not even headlights
are enought to cut through what I cannot see,
along a bumpy Moldovan road
on my way to Chisinau.
The fog breaks
The bumps increase,
We turn a corner
and I find I still can't do anything with this dark.

We pass a man walking in the night
and I wonder where he is going all alone,
so late, so early, without a light.
Perhaps he knows what to do with the dark,
and that is nothing more than go straight.
"Go straight," I hear him say as we speed by,
Our lights catching his eyes reflection,
illuminating. "Go straight," he whispers.
I catch a gleam of his life, and
breathe deeply the beauty of this,
a night when I could do nothing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Romania: A Narrative

It's my last day in Galati and the time has gone so quickly. I knew it would, but I'm still surprised it did. It's been a total of 2 weeks, and in some ways it feels short, but in others long. When I'm back in Houston I'll post some pictures I've taken, but there aren't many so you'll have to rely on my words.

The first couple days in Romania were spent resting and adjusting to the time change. I met Word Made Flesh people and saw the drop-in center, but mostly hung out with Audra and Ron and their boys. Quick note: I interned in Omaha 15 years ago with Ty Schenzel, and Audra was one of my junior high girls! Such a small world, but also an amazing thing to see God weave our stories together again.

I left for Moldova with David Chronic, John Koon, Josh and Robin Fowler, and the Word Made Flesh Servant Team on Sunday. Late. Our bus left at like midnight. So, we didn't arrive in Chisinau until 6am and didn't get to where we were staying until 7.30. It was amazing to see Chisinau come to life in the early morning hours. It's really a pretty city, reminding me a lot of Budapest, only smaller.

David, John, and myself slept for a couple hours and then left for a village where we met with a school principal, a teacher, and some students. In Moldova it seems that most of the poverty is in the villages and not in the city. In fact, I can count on one hand how many people I saw begging in the city and I didn't come across one street kid. We learned that the authorities pick up street kids pretty quickly and put them in orphanages.

In the village we also met very briefly with the mayor. We talked about the needs of the village and what kind of help they would like to receive. It was interesting... and the drive to the village was gorgeous. Moldova is a hilly country with a zillion vineyards and so much potential for farming. However, resources are so limited that it can be difficult to make a living. Ideas of self-sustainability would be interesting in this context.

We were treated to a dinner in the home of a Moldovan woman who made everything we saw on the table right down to the flour in the cake...just not the chocolate in the cocoa. It was amazing...however, since I'd been sick and traveling I just didn't have much of an appetite and my stomach had probably shrunk...I was forcing myself to eat! But it was all very good and I'll have pictures of the feast later.

Other than that, the rest of our week was spent in Chisinau meeting with a bunch of groups who either work with orphans or victims of human trafficking. We learned so much and are of the mind that we'd like to find what God is doing and where we can join Him in that work. It may be awhile...and with that I am fine. I'm really wanting to take any move into Moldova very slowly, with certainty that we are where we should be.

Back in Galati I was able to go to church and hang out at Casa Vale, which is the drop in center. It's been really great.

I wish I had more to say. In many ways I think I'm still in this place of transition and the reality of everything that is happening is so big that I find words difficult to come by. I keep trying to imagine life away and apart from those I love, what it will be like to stay away from them for such long periods of time, not hearing their voices, feeling their hugs. Knowing that as time passes, the ache of my leaving will lessen for them and my memory will soften. I don't say this out of self-pity, it is reality. And it hurts, this thought of not being remembered, of loss of memory. It's sort of sucking me dry...breaking my heart. And I bring it to Jesus, I give it to Him, because it is all I have. I do it for Love.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

new post

I know I haven't been in touch and I'm sorry about that...and this is going to be quick as I'm tired...but wanted to say hi and that I'm doing well. Currently I'm in Chisinau and it is a beautiful city...exploring many opportunities and we'll see what happens. Friday night we head back to Galati, Romania...where I'll hope to catch you up on more of my happenings.

For now, I had to say that before I learned how to say, 'hello' or 'how are you' in romanian, I learned to say beer and wine.

Yep...things are going well. :)

talk soon...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Here's what I know of my schedule for my trip to Romania and Moldova:

Oct. 4: Leave for Romania
Oct. 8: Leave for Moldova
Oct. 14: Return to Romania
Oct. 18: Return to the states

So, it's not a ton of information, but hopefully it's a bit of an idea of where I'll be. I'll try and give some updates via the blog about what I'm learning and doing.

As many of you know, I had the flu yesterday and I'm still feeling not so great. Would appreciate your prayers as I still don't feel much like eating and I have some packing to do.

Right now I'm in Houston staying with my sister Jamie and her family. Yesterday was Jamie's birthday. We had plans to spend the day together, shopping and going to lunch. Instead I was hugging the toilet.She was so sweet and took such great care of me. Even today she's out running errands for me. I think it just speaks to what a great woman and friend and sister she up celebrating her birthday to take care of me. I'm so thankful...Happy Birthday Jamie...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Luggage Shopping with Ava

I had to buy a couple suitcases before I left Portland, so E and I took Ava with us. To keep her occupied I gave her an old tube of are the results.

My favorite moment was when she saw herself in a mirror and said: oh mommy, it's not so pretty...

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