Saturday, August 27, 2011

Five of My Favorites Friday

1. Going to the always wonderful St James Tea Room with my lovely friend Catalina

2. And then immediately proceeding to more fun at my favorite place in Albuquerque. Hello, Flying Star. 

 3. And meeting sweet littles that are less than 24 hours old. Emendy. Is. Beautiful.

4. Pictures of laughing friends

5. And lastly......

Buying tickets to France!!!

I did that. I'm going. It's really happening. My God called. He gave the burden. He gave the resources. And I leave September 16th!

All that's left for me to do is get my visa. (And pack, but we're not thinking about that right now). My appointment at the consulate is the 31st!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Loving the Brown

A couple years ago, we had a group from Belarus named Spasenie play at our church. They. were. amazing. Best part? A couple of them stayed at my house. The evening they first arrived, we were walking from my house over to my pastor's house, which is just over yonder (about a two minute walk). 

I was kind of embarrassed as we were walking and everyone was tripping over weeds, inhaling all sorts of pollen which would soon make them sneeze uncontrollably, and unknowingly picking up all sorts of stickers and goatheads which they would surely have to pick off their shoes later. They were in for a treat. And excepting the watermelon mountains on the horizon, everything was brown, houses included. I didn't think it could make for a more dull view and unpleasant walk. 

I was just wondering how I could possibly make it so that these seasoned travelers could actually enjoy their visit to New Mexico when a most unexpected exclamation came out of the lead singer's mouth. 

"Oh, this place is beautiful!"

Um. What? 

And then, "Yes! I've never seen anything like it!" 

And they started spinning around, taking everything in- from the hills which would probably be described as "rolling" if only they were covered in grass, to the beautiful blue mountains in the distance. I think they even liked the sagebrush. And they were right. There really isn't another state like this one. And sometimes it's hard to look past the brown and see the pretty, but it's there.

So yesterday evening, I had this in mind when I headed off on my walk. It really was beautiful outside, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I decided I would try and look at New Mexico not as someone who has lived here approximately 21 years, but rather as someone who has been surrounded by the same ol' green all my life. What would I see if I were seeing it all for the first time? 

God surprised me, because there was a lot more to see than I had initially thought. My only problem before was that I was never really looking. 

It's not very often that you meet a human being that would not rather be somewhere else. We're always longing for that greener grass on the other side (who says greener is better anyways?). 'If only I lived in Germany.' 'If only I lived in Florida.' 'If only I lived in New York City.' 'If only I lived in France.' 'If only I lived in Texas.' (I never could understand or sympathize with this one).

We all have our 'if only's,' whether they be a relocation of city or circumstance. But what if we decided that we want to be right where God has us? What if, instead of longingly looking at pictures of our 'if only's,' we instead open our eyes to see what we have? Of course, it would be easy for me to say something like this when I'm on the verge of a move to France. But this is something God has been teaching me for a while. 

Perhaps we won't always find the lush, green forest we were looking for in life. But maybe it's better? Because you certainly don't see sunsets like this when you're surrounded by trees all the time. 

Did you ever think about the fact that He doesn't have to make pretty sunsets? It's not necessarily something vital to our lives. We'd die without our hearts beating, our lungs taking in oxygen, our bodies finding fuel in food. But would we die without sunsets? No. Would we die without flowers? Probably not. He surrounds us with beauty all the time. He paints the sky every single day, whether we take the time to gaze upon it or not. He doesn't have to, but He does. I'm thankful for where He has me right now, goatheads, sagebrush, brown, and all. 

And when I'm in France? I'll be thankful for that place too. Crazy french people, funny smells, busy city life and all. (Though none of those really sound that bad to me).

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Do you ever have those moments when you suddenly realize how very much you have and how very little He actually has to give you?

I had one of those moments today. The last year and a half of my life has been packed full of sweet fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Jesus.

God has gifted me with more friends than I can count, really. And despite my tendency for independence and never taking chances with people, they've squeezed their way into my life anyways. I'm grateful for that.

There are a million moments, thousands of hours of sweet companionship that are priceless to me. I'm in awe when I take a step back and look at what God has actually given me. And I'm so grateful for all of it, and all of them.

And the best part? He didn't have to. Goodness knows I'm underserving. I've certainly had my fair share of pushing people away, of expecting too much from them, of being selfish and conceited and only always thinking of myself. But He's blessed me anyways.

And so I want to thank my Jesus today, for the friends He's given me. I almost hate to use that word.... friend. Facebook has taken it and made it a term that refers to an acquaintance or networker. I think God had a different idea for what a friend is. I like His idea of friends better.

I'm rejoicing tonight in who God is. He's the ultimate friend, my perfect companion. I could spend the rest of my life without a single friend like the ones I have now and still have everything I need. But He's good to me and gives beyond what I can ask. Ohhhh thank you, Jesus!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
(James 1:17)

Don't we serve a good God? 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dear France

Dear France,

I don't speak your language.

I don't understand your culture very well.

I think that wearing black all the time in a land where it's always cloudy and drizzly could make life pretty depressing.

There are many hoops I must jump through to live in your country for more than 90 days.

I hate the fact that you think you don't need God.

I love you.

More importantly, God loves you. That's why He's sending me to you.

Can't wait!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Party? I think so.

Six months ago, if you asked me how I was going to raise $33,536 to get to France, I would have said something like, "I don't know. But if God wants me to get there, He'll give me the money."

People asked me that question a lot. Sometimes it was just out of curiosity. Sometimes they were just plain skeptics. I knew my God was able. I knew I was supposed to make my needs known. I knew He is a provider! What I didn't know was how it was all going to work out in the end. The practicals, you know. I wondered that just as much as the next person.

But it all did work out in the end. Believe me, my strategy didn't sound like it would be that successful (more about said strategy another time). But all glory be to God, I'm 95% funded!

There are just a few checks that need to be sent into GEM now. I expect I'll get to 100% before I leave, because why would God stop at 95%? That doesn't make sense. And He owns everything anyways.

He's exceeded my expectations. My prayer was to have 90% by the 15th, and well.... I reached MORE than that by the 11th. We should have a party or something, to celebrate how cool God is.

Monday, August 8, 2011


God is so good.

And in case you ever have any doubt, I'll say it again. God is so good!

This weekend I drove up to Colorado for the wedding of two of my friends. One single moment out of everything that has happened so far would have been worth the 8 hour drive.

Last summer, as the first group of students to ever go through the Ellerslie program, we had something really special. I can't describe it, and none of us are even close to being perfect (it's been proven time and again), but God blessed us with each other, and it was like we instantly were family. And at the end of the summer it was more painful than I can describe to say goodbye to so many people who had wedged their way into my heart forever.

But this weekend? Oh the bliss. A lot of us got to see each other. I've been so overwhelmed with happiness at seeing over half of our class that I don't know who to talk to or what to say and I just want to stare at everyone because they're really there and.... words fail me. Some of them I haven't seen in almost exactly a year, but it was like none of us ever left. I've spent the last two and a half days seeing familiar faces and catching up and being encouraged and giving encouragement and it's been wonderful. I didn't realize how much I love them and how much I had missed them all until I saw them again.

I can't describe the sweet fellowship that we've experienced. But it's really, really good. And it's true we'll have to say goodbye all over again, but it was worth it.

On top of all the familiar faces, tonight I got to meet some new ones. Some of the girls that are current Ellerslie students have showered blessings and love upon me, and I just want to stay here and spend about a month with each of them. I never met them until tonight, but we all love Jesus so much that it causes instant bonding. Just another blessing to add to them all.

And if that wasn't enough at all, God's given me yet more blessings than I expected or deserved. Today there was a girl who gave me all of the money she had apart from $.25. If that's not sacrificial giving, then I don't know what is. I was humbled by it in the best way possible, and I cherish this girl's heart. She's an example to me.

And then those current Ellerslie students I just talked about? Well they bought almost all my flower clips that I was selling. I have about 3 more, but those just might get snatched up tomorrow. I came back to the room and thought, "Wow, I really don't think this weekend can get any better." And just because God sometimes likes to prove me wrong, I find an envelope with my name on it. Inside it was a check for $1,000. That brings me to 81% of my fundraising goal.

I cried.

And I'm kind of crying now. Because God is that good to me. And I don't deserve it for even a second. But He loves me, and He died for me, and He gave me new life, and He showers His love upon me every single day.

I have no more words, because I'm kind of overwhelmed with blessing.

Oh thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ask me how awesome my God is. Go on, ask!

Hello. My name is Kelsey and I have a very, very big God.

I could finish my post there and it would be enough. But let me tell you of how He demonstrated His bigness in my life today. This morning when I woke up, I was at 61% of my fundraising goal with the deadline set for August 15th. Ten thousand dollars in two weeks.... I had no idea how that much money would shop up in that little of time. I was a tiny bit discouraged. But I knew that God wouldn't call me to France, provide more than half of the funds, and stop there.

Within an hour of waking up, I was informed of a person who was going to pledge $100/ month. That's $900 right there! And such an answer to prayer, because I was praying specifically that God would provide several people who would pledge around $1,000 each. I could have spent the rest of the day happy with that knowledge alone.

And then this afternoon I received a call informing me that someone decided to give me $4,000! In cash! I'm not really sure who this person is, and I don't even know if I've ever met said person.... but the Lord provided through him anyways. How amazing is that?

Within 30 minutes of getting that call, I got a text from another person telling me that they were pledging to give $400.

Whaaaaat? That's $5,300 in one day! I was worried about the $9,800 in 14 days, but he provided more than half of the cost within 12 hours.

I'm now at 77% of my fundraising. I'll still need a lot of money in order to get to and survive in France. But my God is big. And He uses humans to accomplish His works. How cool is that? I'm going to go to France. And when I get there? I'm going to tell people about how awesome our God is.