SO sorry for the huge delay in updates! This summer flew by! I'll try to update you on all the "highlights" of my summer without making this a novel :)
I started baby-sitting my littlest sister, Cassie, three days a week when she got out of school at the beginning of June. We had a lot of fun this summer! The majority of our summer activities consisted of playing, going to the park, watching movies, painting our nails, & just enjoying LOTS of Sister time! The day before she went back to school, we had one last "Sister Day." I kept the whole day a surprise for her, so she was really excited to see what we would be doing. We spent the whole day in Peoria. Our first stop was the zoo, followed by lunch at Joe's Crab Shack, then painting pottery at Fired Up, finished with a stop for ice cream at Emack & Bolio's! It was a long, fun day! We had a lot of fun this summer! I can't believe she's already in 1st grade!
The second week of June, I spent in Louisville, KY attending a class called Kairos. It is a missions overview class that covers the biblical perspective of missions, the history of missions, and the strategy of missions. I learned SO much during this week-long class! I really liked the style the class was taught because it really made me not only think about what I was learning, but also think about what it means to me & how I'm going to apply what I learned. It was a challenging week, but so worth it!
The third week in July, I went as a chaperone on a mission trip with my church's youth group to Joplin, MO to help with the aftermath from the tornado. We worked at Misti's Mission during the week sorting through donations that Misti had received since the tornado. Her story is really amazing! She started right after the tornado washing people's clothes for them. Within a few days, she had 2 semi-trailers full of donations that people had brought to her. By the time we were there, she had 2 circus tents, 5 carports, 5 semi-trailers, & A LOT of overflow pallets full of donations. She is now becoming a national distributor for disaster relief. (Check out her website for more of her story!) I think the kids really learned a lot this week about service & why we are to serve others!
August started with ACMI's Annual Retreat & Board Meetings. It was a nice break to be able to relax & catch my breath a little while discussing how my preparation for Thailand is going & just spending time with other ACMI missionaries & board of trustees. It's so amazing to see & hear how God is working in all of these ministries & lives!
The day after the Retreat, I left for Fairfield, IL. I was asked to be the missionary for the VBS at First Christian Church. It was such a fun week! There were around 140 kids that came to VBS! I spoke each night to the whole group during the main session about how I got started in mission work, how I got involved in Thailand & about the country itself, what I'll be doing in Thailand, & finished off the week challenging the kids to be involved in missions in whatever way God calls them to be.
This summer has been fun, exhausting, challenging, BUSY, & a big time of growth for me! (I forgot to mention I also took a college class on Foundations of Bible Study at LCU - such a great class!) The one lesson that I've learned over and over and over again is that I can't let myself get distracted & caught up in the busy-ness of each day that I lose sight of the overall picture & goal that I'm striving for. I let the little tasks of each day add up & take priority over what I really need to be doing to get to Thailand. This is something that has been extremely hard for me to admit & makes me feel like I've wasted these past few months. I did learn a lot & experience a lot, but I feel like I'm not where I should be on this journey. That doesn't give me an excuse to give up (don't worry I WILL NOT do that), it just means I have to work that much harder to get where I need to be!
From here on out, my main focus is on getting to where I need to be - both in my relationship with God & in partnership development for my ministry in Thailand. I have seen over and over again these past few months just how faithful God is, even when I am not. One area I have seen this in is my partnership development. In just the past few weeks as I strived to keep the busy-ness & fear from getting in the way & focused on this, my monthly support went from 37% to 57%! God is SO good! May He get all the glory!
So, this is where I'm at - continuing to work on developing partnerships & sharing with anyone & everyone the ministry God has called me to & how He is working in my life. I can't thank you all enough for your continued prayers & support! I'm feeling them :)