a story to tell.

i love knowing where people come from.  hearing people’s stories and understanding how god has worked in their lives is one of my favorite things.  i’ve had the privilege of listening to a lot of my squad share their lives with me.  at eighteen and nineteen years old, these people are no stranger to heartache, pain and regret.  they’re also no stranger to grace, redemption and second chances.

a few of them had asked me to share my story with the squad. ha. no thanks.  it’s just not something i have a habit of doing.  i usually give people the version that goes something like, “i was born.  life was hard.  i found jesus.  the end.”  but, i knew it was something i probably needed to do.  and as much as this thing is about me helping them find freedom – i also wanted a little more of my own.  so i put on my big girl pants and stood up and told the story.  i told the parts that have previously only ever been discussed on a certain red couch.  i cried a little bit and maybe said a bad word.  or two.

i told them about how when i was twelve or thirteen years old i would cry myself to sleep and the only thing i could think to pray was “why me, god?”  i didn’t understand why my life was happening the way it was and i certainly didn’t understand where god was and how he could possibly be good in the midst of such hard circumstances.  i told them about how i spent a lot of years feeling forgotten, abandoned and alone.  how i spent so much of my life choosing to be defined by what was going on around me because there was no settledness within me.

but then i told them about how god has worked.

about how he’s slowly but surely, through a lot of processes and screaming and declare-unto-faithing turned my bitter, confused, angry “why me’s” into “why me’s” that could basically be interchanged with “thank you’s.”

thank yous for the way he continues to redeem the people and situations in my life.  for the experiences i’ve had, the people i’ve met, and the things i’ve seen.  thank yous for how he’s always brought me people to fill the holes.  because he was always there.  thank yous for the ever increasing understanding of who i am.  for the voices that remind me over and over of the things that are true.  thank yous for the ways he continues to use me for the kingdom and the reminder that it’s really not about me.  thank you’s for the scars i carry and the tears that have washed me.

today, i’m thankful for each of those “why me’s.”  because they brought me here.

normal for me.

for whatever reason, it’s harder for me to blog this go around. maybe it’s because i’m not surprised by the “missionary” stuff this time.  the cold showers are still cold, the floor is still hard, and the babies are still dirty.  in some ways, the world is the same everywhere i go.  there’s always poverty, always people who need healing, always people who are desperate for hope.  you still can’t flush the toilet paper or drink the water.  so all of that missionary stuff isn’t so new.  and while it’s novel and exciting and an adventure for the twenty three kids i’m with, it just feels normal for me.

this whole thing feels eerily normal for me.

for someone who generally hates change and doesn’t always do well with adjusting to new normals, this time it feels easy.  it feels right.

one of the greatest parts of being on this side of things is that i feel like i’m getting the best of both worlds.  i get to see and hear and be a part of all that God is doing in the world when i go to the dumps and pray for people on the streets and dig up rocks on our property.  but i also get to see and hear and be a part of these young adults coming alive. we’ve only been on the field for a little more than two weeks, but already the lord has done incredible things.

chains have started falling off, freedom from past wounds and decisions has started to come.  questions about who god is are beginning to be answered.  the realization of how much the world needs hope is being met with bold prayers from the shyest of girls in the middle of plastic shacks.  the identities they’ve always known are being transformed to fit them the way it was always intended.  people who didn’t even know the holy spirit existed two months ago are prophesying like crazy people and running through fire tunnels.

it’s amazing and incredible.  and for as much as i struggled with the decision to do this, for as hard as it was for me to leave; i’m equally thankful that i’m here.  i’m here with these people, in this place, doing the stuff that flows out of who i am.

getting to honduras.

it’s no surprise that me actually committing to this trip wasn’t the easiest journey in the world.  remember that time i said no?  but the deepest parts of my getting to honduras can wait for another time.

after three days in hot cabins in the woods of georgia my squad was off.  we went to airport at 11 pm to catch a 7 am flight.  about an hour of sleep in the airport.  awesome.  from there we flew to miami where we waited for a few hours before finally getting on the long awaited international flight to tegucigalpa, honduras.

we’re working with zions gate ministry for the next few months.  tony and his wife nidia are heavily involved in a close little community called los pinos.  it’s there where they have spent the last few years forming relationships and looking to make an impact.  they’ve taken in over a dozen teenage boys who were once addicted to paint thinner and living on the streets.  today, these boys are in a loving home, learning about jesus, going to school, and learning to be all they were created to be.  it’s incredible to be a part of.

the ministry property is nestled in the mountains, our view is amazing and the weather has been perfect.  rain on a tin roof every night while i sleep? yes, please.  our teams are throwing themselves into all kinds of ministries. everything from teaching english to working in the dumps and facilitating church in the streets.  it’s an incredible thing to watch these guys come alive.  i’m finding so much joy in walking alongside of them as they discover more of who God is and who they are to him.