Thursday, March 31, 2011


my favorite moment from last week's build.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

the best spring break.

Just the update I promised about our build last week!

It was a really great week. We built for the Cabello-Flores family on the south side of Acuña...a single mom, four children, one uncle. This was our church's first time to build a double, which is about 30x14, compared to the 22x11 single that we've built for families in the past. I have to say, I think the house went up REALLY quickly and really well. We had 14 people, five high school students and the rest adults, and everything just went really smoothly. For those of you who've built with Casas before, you know that something usually goes wrong during a build (whether it's a power-outage, a flood, or a broken generator) and you just go with the flow!

It took us about 12 hours to get from Wichita to Del Rio, and we stopped for the night in San Angelo, Texas to stay at a church. We found a closet of rollerskates and basketballs, so we put on some skates and skated around the gym for a while, which I have to say I've never done before a Casas trip. The next day, it only took us a few hours to get to Del Rio and we hit Wal-Mart. Our church family had donated a lot of money for us to spend on the family, so we were able to get them a couple fans, carpets, a table, pots and pans, a bike for transportation, blankets, clothes, and lots of food and decorations for the big party we threw at the dedication.

The first day we poured the slab, and it was our church's first time to have a concrete truck. These things are amazing and I will vouch for a concrete truck any day. Hand-pouring is good, because it's hard work. Like, HARD work. Especially pouring a double by hand. I think I poured one double by hand last summer and it took close to five hours. It was also great to have some nail guns handy, and we put the walls together pretty quickly.

The next day while we were standing walls and putting on blackboard and chicken wire, we realized the family was cooking for us again. (They had made lunch the day before). This is crazy because the family we built for made $45 a week. And to cook for about 15 people twice in a row is a LOT of money. There isn't much price difference at all between the US and Mexico. It was delicious food...she made tacos, gorditas, and posole.

This year we had an all women roofing team (until Brandon got up there to help after a while). Even Mariela, the nineteen year old girl from the family, was on the roof helping. The girls ran out of 8-penny nails and had to use 16s...which are a lot bigger so they had some trouble but still rocked it out! One of our high school girls, Allie, asked Mariela what she enjoys doing. Mariela said she liked music and that she wanted to learn to play the guitar, but that she'd never be able to afford one. With the money the church sent with us, the girls were able to buy her a new guitar.

On the last day, Tim (our pastor) shared Jesus with the family and the many people that showed up for the dedication and the party. The awesome thing is that the Mexican pastor had already shared Jesus with the family even before we got there, and they all had already decided to follow Christ. SUPER cool!

Anyways, that was pretty much the trip. We built right next to another team so I got to see a couple Casas friends, which was good. It was good for me to let others do jobs they had never done and then I'd just work on little things along the way.

Thank you to all who prayed and supported us financially. It was an awesome trip.

You can watch a video of our trip HERE.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

bound for the promised land.

This is quite possibly one of my favorite hymns ever written. I'm not one for posting many songs on my blog, but this one is definitely blog-worthy. I am sad though because I can't find a video of it sung by Jars of Clay :( which is my fave version. But here it is:

On Jordan's stormy banks I stand
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan's fair and happy land
Where my possessions lie

All o'er those wide extended plains
Shines one eternal day
There God, the Son forever reigns
And scatters night away.

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land

No chilling wind nor poisonous breath
Can reach that healthful shore
Where sickness, sorrow, pain and death
Are felt and feared no more

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land
I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land

When shall I see that happy place
And be forever blessed
When shall I see my Father's face
And in His bosom rest

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for the Promised Land

HEY! I found it. Jars of Clay version. El mejor. The best. I don't know the family in the video...but hey the music's good!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

prayer for mexico!

We leave for Mexico in one week! I just wanted to post some things that anyone/everyone could pray about for the trip!!

Daily Prayer:
- Cabello-Flores family. This is the family we are building for. They have four children and make $45 a week.

- Crossing the border each day. Please pray it will be a smooth crossing.
- The scripture we are studying for the week, which is Colossians 4:2-6

Saturday March 19th:
- Travel, Spiritual prep for the week

- Morning worship, travel, evening devotions

- Site prep, beginning construction, evening devotions

- Working on site, devotions

- Working on site, devotions, planning our dedication party and neighborhood outreach, devotions

- Finish the house, HOME DEDICATION PARTY AND OUTREACH! I am so pumped for this. Usually a TON of people show up for the dedication, we grill hot dogs, hand out things for the kids, clothes, share the Gospel.
- Evening debriefing/sharing about the trip
- I will be doing a devo on Thursday but still am not sure what God wants me to share about!

- Travel

This is going to be such a great trip! Please pray for our team of 14 and our leader Tim as we build a warm home for this beautiful family.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

to be your hands and feet.

The story I am about to tell you was actually written about in one of my earlier posts last summer, but it is one of my favorites and God has been using it lately to remind me of my purpose and that I am worth something.

Last summer, I was building in Acuña with a team from Indiana. It had been a rough week, not at all because of the team (they were great) but because of the weather. Hurricane Alex had hit the coast of Mexico and blew tons of rain into Acuñ much that some teams were gathering rain water to pour their slabs because concrete trucks couldn't make it to the sites and there was no running water in the city. It was a hard build and I was exhausted. About halfway through the week the team decided to have a community night. They had brought boxes and boxes of clothes and shoes, so we set those out in the church courtyard and grilled hot dogs while people from all over the neighborhood came to pick out free clothes and have a hot meal.

As I was sitting in the corner talking with some other Casas leaders, I noticed an elderly woman lugging a black trash bag full of clothing in one hand while carrying two plates of hot dogs and chips in another. She started down the street and I got up to go ask if she needed help. She gladly accepted and I took the bag, which was in fact pretty heavy. We talked a little bit as we walked slowly towards her house.

When we got there she had me hold the hot dogs as she unlocked the pad lock on the piece of wood that served as a front door. We went inside and she told me to sit down and cool off, turning the small fan on and pointing it towards me, even though she herself probably could have used it more. She opened the trash bag and dumped all of the clothes into a box. As she arranged them how she wanted I looked around. She lived in a house like many families in that area, two rooms with a dirt floor, one small bed and one small chair, and a few old kitchen appliances.

She talked to me for just a little while, and at this point in the summer my brain was on Spanish overload, so I honestly only picked up a few things. I understood that her husband was abusive and she left but had nowhere to go. The house she was living in had been given to her by a friend and so she told me she got the hot dogs and clothes to give to her friend as a thank you.

She also told me she had diabetes and her feet hurt really bad all the time and sometimes they would bleed or wake her up in the middle of the night because of the pain.

After talking for a few minutes, she told me she had to get back to the church because she wanted to go to the service. She didn't have a fridge, so she put some foil over the hot dogs to keep the flies off and we headed out again.

Without anything to carry, I started off walking my normal pace, which is faster than most people. My best friend always gets peeved because I walk too fast. I didn't realize that my new friend was struggling to keep up until she said, "You walk really fast!" I apologized and slowed way down. She said, "With my diabetes I walk really slow." Then she paused for a second, looked down, and quietly said, "You have good feet for serving God."

I almost stopped dead in my tracks. Because that week I was feeling pretty worthless. I wasn't a builder. I was a shy, insecure girl from Kansas who at the beginning of that summer was terrified and had almost no confidence in myself, and sometimes even less in God. And this woman probably has no idea that I will remember that sentence for the rest of my life. Because through it God reminded me that he has a plan to use my life in some way.

Most of you from Kansas have heard of the Burnhams...Gracia and Martin. They are from a small town just outside Wichita, and they were missionaries to the Philippines. Several years ago they were celebrating their anniversary on one of the islands there when they were abducted by the Abu Sayyaf. They starved and struggled to survive in the jungle as prisoners for a year before Martin was killed in a gun battle, and Gracia was rescued shortly after. And I will always remember watching an interview with Gracia in which she said that she didn't understand why Martin died and she lived, because he was the strong one. And then she said through tears, "I am reminded that God uses the weak things." It is a heart-wrenching interview, which you can watch here.

God can use anyone to do his work. Whether you're young or old, weak or strong. And that is what I believe is amazing about our God.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I found out tonight that Casas por Cristo is for sure expanding to San Raimundo, Guatemala, and can I just say that I am PUMPED! Even though I know I'm most likely not going there anytime soon, I am so excited for what God is doing in the ministry.

So I was reading through the country profile that Casas put up on their site ( and I see this:

"The Guatemalan school year runs from January through October. Students get a break during the harvest season, which is May through December. Most children grow up to work in the service industry in some capacity. Children are expected to attend school for six years, but nation-wide attendance is only 41%, and 70% of the population is illiterate. Rut, the first Guatemalan woman to apply for one of our homes could not even sign her name on the application. We had to take her fingerprint instead."

When I read something like this it's like I get this feeling in my chest. An ache. A longing.

Sometimes I try to convince myself that I could just do a job outside of teaching, which I definitely could...but I don't really know if my heart would be in it. I want to teach. (I say this and part of my mind flashes back to kindergarten agony that I endured last spring. Yeah....)

I want children to feel like they have hope and a future. And here I am again with God saying, "Wait. Just wait. Be patient."

And I get this image in my head of myself yelling, "I DON'T WANT TO WAIT!" and crossing my arms and pouting. I am so mature.

And this is probably because I feel like I'm ready, but God knows I'm not. I have been inspired by so many people who follow God and he takes them to big places and big things. People who get to see the world and spread Christ's love to all different people of all different cultures and beliefs and backgrounds.

One passage comes to my mind as I write this:

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will act...Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him." - Psalm 37:4-7

And so I will wait and try to learn to seriously trust him with everything that I have.

I think my heart's top three desires are these:
1) Serve God with my life
2) Go into missions and/or teach children of poverty (whether that's here in the US or abroad)
3) Get married and have a family. Part of me wants a big know the kind where the front door is usually open and there are people coming and going.

I think #3 is kind of difficult for me though because the whole relationship thing is pretty terrifying to me...Maybe I'll work through that one someday. I better or my sister will keep trying to randomly get guys' numbers for me. I also, for those of you who know me, am pretty stubborn and I like to be the leader of things. I'm not sure how well that works out in the married world.

Random thought of the night: One of these days I am going to wake up and realize that I'm not 18 anymore...that I'm going to be 23 this year. All you older people can laugh, but 23 seems very weird to me. It is INSANE to me that like 50% of my friends are married now and graduated and on to their lives and jobs. That is crazy!

So my point is: I'm ready to grow up, but I'm not. It is a big world out there.
And that is how my crazy mind thinks right now.