Monday, December 31, 2012

Tears, Struggles, and the Calling.


"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands which He is to bless with now" -St. Teresa of Avila

Some days are more difficult than others, I think we can all agree on that. Some days you wake up and think to yourself what am I doing, why am I here. God is this really what you have for me. And then there are days you wake up and are filled with some weird sense of peace and excitement about what God has you doing. Yesterday was not one of those days. Yesterday was hard.

There are many things I struggle with since coming to the missions field. Personality clashes, physically sickness. spiritual weakness. major homesickness and so on. Yesterday I had homesickness and it was bad. I woke up with an intense longing to be somewhere familiar, with the people who deeply love me and understand me and I don't have to explain myself to. I woke up with an intense longing to be comfortable to be able to walk down the hall and plop on my sisters bed. To walk down the stairs and have coffee with my mom and dad. I woke up with that intense longing. I woke up with tears in my eyes and I cried most of the morning. Cried because I miss them, cried because I don't know how to handle it otherwise. Cried because I'm realizing that the most important thing to me is my family and Christ is asking me to put Him before them and I struggle everyday to do that, because I love my family with all my heart. I would lay down my life for them. But God is asking me to love Him with all my heart, to love Him more, to lay down my life for Him. and it's hard.

I struggle to understand what God expects of me. Even being here on the missions field. I struggle to understand what He expects and has called me to do. It's harder to understand when the aching for familiar clouds out His voice. To even be Christians, we must first believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. That in itself is no small idea. So we believe. But God expects more. Much more than church attendance, more than prayer too. More than belief, and even more than self-denial. God asks us for everything. He requires a total life commitment from those who would be His followers. The life-commitment is something I struggle with, every single day. It would be easy to turn my back on God, to throw a temper tantrum and tell Him to take me home from Africa. It would be easy to find a reason to go home but as Rachel, the missionary I am working with said to me "Everyday I ask myself am I willing to accept what God has for me or am I going to be angry and bitter about it?" 

That question hit me hard. Am I willing to accept what God has for me? Yesterday I didn't. Yesterday I through a temper tantrum, yesterday I just wanted to go home. But today is a new day. Today I can choose to accept what God has for me. That is the beauty of my God, that He gives me a choice and another day to make that choice. And through my attitude yesterday I saw that I must accept what God has for me, because what He has is much better than what I want. He is calling me to be a carrier of the gospel, not to live out my faith privately but to shout it from rooftops. To love Him and His people recklessly, why would I choose not to accept that?

Yes some days are going to be hard. Some days I will miss my family and my mom's eggs and pancakes. I'll miss sitting on my sisters bed laughing about nothing, I'll miss my brother's stupid jokes, I'll miss watching pixar movies with my older sister and her kids. I'll miss my dad snoring in his chair. I'll miss my dogs pouncing me as I walk through the door. I'll miss just calling up Kelsey and talking with her. I'll miss those things and more, but here is where I need to be. Here is where GOD is calling me. Here is where I need to be. I am human and I will not tell you that everything is great, everyday is a struggle and everyday is a choice. Someday I will wake up with tears in my eyes and somedays I will wake up with peace. It's all in how I approach each day, approaching with GOD and never ever without HIM. How will you approach today?

  Struggling,

    HIS and yours,

     Cami

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Driving through Sand dunes


The other day we went driving through sand dunes. Sand dunes are beautiful things, and these particular dunes out in the desert looked peaceful and beautiful covered in trees and different types of desert plants. But once we began driving over these dunes the peacefulness that was there was replaced by holes that we couldn't see in the beginning and rough roads and bumps and potholes that caused my butt to leave the seat on more than one occasion. I'm sure there is a permanent place for my head in the roof of the car. And so I've come to the conclusion that life is driving through sand dunes. 

I know it sounds strange, but just hear me out for a second. Life is like driving sand dunes, I looked out into the vastness of the desert and out past these dunes to the mountain we were headed for and thought, this looks like an easy ride, a peaceful ride even, the dust and the wind of the desert blowing through the Land Rover, no problem. And then we began to drive over these sand dunes and I began to see uneven roads that I couldn't see before, holes that a tire could easily get stuck in, so many different path to choose from. And as I flew in the seat and a bruise began to form on my hand and arm from holding onto the safety handle I couldn't believe I thought that this was going to be an easy ride.
Such is with life. At least for me. I look out into the vastness that is my life and think this is a nice path, and easy, peaceful one even and I begin to walk with no idea what I'm headed into because I let myself believe it will be easy. And then I hit that first pothole, that uneven road and I feel like I'm flying through the air with no control, I look at all the paths that are laid out in front of me and I am at a loss constantly on which way to go. I thought it was going to be a peaceful way, the wind blowing through my hair, no problem. But this is wrong, because the way I want to walk, the way I am suppose to go is not supposed to be easy. It is a narrow road that many will follow and few will find. and the many will believe it's easy, but the few will see the difficulty and trust in Christ to bring them through it.

  It is the potholes of life that strengthen and refine us. I mean the potholes in the road made me strengthen muscles I didn't even know I had. These tough moments in the roads ahead are there to make us tougher, make us trust in the Lord, make us follow the way that is narrow. Without these potholes and uneven roads in our journey on the sand dunes I would have nothing to add to my adventure, nothing to come back and say this is how high we flew over the bump, this is how fast we were going when we skidded through the sand. The laughter that came after flying through the air and my butt leaving the seat made the journey that much better.

So it goes with the adventures of life. These potholes make life hard, but Christ makes life livable. No life does not get easy or simple when we decide to follow Christ. The path is narrower and difficult, but these difficulties, these potholes is what makes the adventure with Christ worthwhile. It's what makes me wake up in the morning ready to tackle each day with HIM. Because when I look back, I don't remember the easy days as much as I remember the days I struggled through.

My journey so far here in Africa has felt like it has been filled with potholes. I'm not ashamed to admit that there are many days I wake up thinking "God just take me home to my family, to my friends, to my comforts, I don't want to be here." I sound like a stubborn child. And I struggle with the realities of my calling, everyday. Because it is here I realize, that how much I thought I depended on God was nothing at all. It is here I realize how weak and helpless I am, and how much I cannot do by myself. It is here I see Christ in HIS most distressing disguise. It is here that I find myself, who I truly am, stubbornness and all. It is here that I realize there is more to life than what new movie has come out or who's engaged to who. There is more to life than these things, when my neighbor is literally starving, when one of my new friend's father just died, when the blind man has to walk alone over lava rocks and thorns, because there is no one to guide him and no cars available. There is more to life than me. This life is more and I look at how I have lived and who I am and see that I have not been doing more I have not been living more. It is here I see that I have not served, I have not loved, I have not been Christ. And I struggle with it, wake up crying about it, stress over it, my heart aches over it. 

I am called to be His hands and feet, but I have only been my own. The minute I start over that sand dune of life and see a pothole I try to go around it. The minute I see a person standing on the side of the road begging for a drink of water, I want to drive past them. The potholes of life I want to go around, but I'm not suppose to, I'm suppose to go through them, it's why they are there. I'm suppose to go to these people, Christ is calling me to them and it is time I stop trying to go around them. It is here I see what kind of servant I really am, that many times I serve out of convenience rather than from the depths of my heart. But this is going to change, as I lean on Christ and let HIM drive over these dunes of life, I know that these potholes, though difficult, with be easier to manage. Because at the end of the day Christ has overcome the world, so I know HE can overcome a pothole!

  Driving over sand dunes,

    HIS and yours,




    Cami 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Small Moments with a Great God


"For godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it." -1 Timothy 6:6-7.

  Two months! I can't believe it's already been two months that I have been here in Africa. And though it has been 2 months a part of me feels as if I've hardly done anything. That I've hardly served, hardly given anything. There are times I sit here and say "God have I done enough? have I given enough?" and than I hear His still small voice whisper to me. "It's not how much you give, child, but how much love you put into giving." 


I'm saying, of course I love people, of course I love serving. But is it true? Is this love welling up from the depths of my soul and onto others? Am I really loving, or just saying that I am. And It's not just the love I give the Gabbra people, but the love I give my ministry partner when moments get frustrating. It's the love I give the missionaries and their kids. It's the love I give people at home, who are 8000 miles away. It's the love I give complete strangers that pass me by everyday. And I have realized that I keep to much to myself. I keep love to myself thinking that I need to save so much love for a great person, for a great moment. But God is telling me that each moment is great no matter how small, that each person is great, no matter how unloveable. That I've come into this world with nothing and can take nothing from it, so why must I continue to hold onto to things He has blessed me with to give away. So I must give it away.


I think we are conditioned to think that out lives revolve around great moments. That we feel as if we don't do anything, or nothing happens unless it's something great. But great moments often catch us unaware beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. The smile of a stranger. The whispered hello from a shy child. Sitting in the kitchen cutting potatoes and singing worship songs. Laughter. Before coming here these moments would have seem meaningless and not important, but in reality, these are my greatest moments, the smallest. Our God is great, but even He is in the smallest things. I've realized that the moment, the action does not have to be great, because God is still moving in it, no matter how small. 

We tend to believe that our lives our measured by these great moments, by how much we can accumulate, we measure our lives by things. But the measure of our lives will not be in what we accumulate, but in what we give away. What we give away in each moment, the big ones and the small ones. Because we came into this world a blank slate, came into this world with nothing, and when we leave we will take nothing with us. So why do we continue to grip tight onto things that don't need to be held onto? Material possessions, addictions, and so on. Let go, let go of the things that seem to keep you from Him, keep you from those great and small moments. Stop holding out for something great and jump into something small, into the God moments and I guarantee that small thing will become one of the greatest moments in your life, because God works through it. 
Many times I say to myself, "okay, God I am here, but I don't see anything happening." I find myself waiting for something huge to happen, but He reminds me to stop looking for that one big moment and look at the small things. He reminds me that, just like my faith, even though I can't see something happening does not mean that it isn't there, that He isn't there, moving. I need to stop looking through my own eyes and look through HIS. I need to let go of the things I keep trying to take with me and give them to God, and as I do this I realize I can move a bit faster and stand a little taller. I don't feel as heavy or loaded down, trying to hold onto things that I'm suppose to give away. 
So this is the time, I cut the strings of the things I've tied to myself to keep and I let them float away. It's time to live in those small moments, because this is the place where I am supposed to be, supposed to follow Jesus, obey HIM, and make my best effort with His help to let go of those things and care and love people unconditionally. To love each person that He places in front of me, even in the smallest moments.

Living in the small moments,

   HIS and yours,

      Cami

Friday, December 14, 2012

Story of Realities


All your life you hear stories about other places and other people. Things that happen that are bad, so so bad. You hear these stories, and have no way of identifying with them, no way of understanding them, but you hear them and all you can know is that it's bad and people need to be saved from these actions. 
  
  I remember reading stories about girls who have been through mutilation, and I heard from speakers and people that these things happening are bad and that people need to be saved, but never fully understood because I could never relate. This past week I met 30 of 35 girls who have been through this and my heart was literally broken as I stood asking these young girls between the ages of 13-20 why? how? to help me understand. The realization hit me that these are not stories. This is not just some thing that is bad, but that now I have thirty faces and voices that are attached to this thing and I don't know what to do about it. I don't know how to process, I don't understand why. 
   
  When hearing the stories and listening to the differences of why or because of culture I kept asking God, why? Why and how can He let these things happen to girls as young as 9, why do they see it as a cultural okay, why can I only see it as something terrible? I want to understand but I can't. And I probably never will.

  The truth is, this is a big problem for me. I desire to have understanding. Understanding of so many things and when I can't understand it makes me frustrated and angry. I want to understand the language, I want to understand the people, the cultural traditions, but I can't and sometimes that is hard for me to surrender. To remember that even when I can't understand and I don't know God does, He knows the reasons why things like this happen, He knows the pain and the hurt and the healing that each girl has and is going through and He understands. 
  
  In the middle of trying to understand this heavy topic, a young girl three years younger than me was admitted into a clinic for being cut by her family, they tried to cut her with a thorn, but with no justification as to why. They cut an artery and the girl was bleeding so much, and yet she didn't want to help because she didn't want to go against the cultural, she didn't want to seem different from the other women who have gone through this procedure before her. There is fear there, but there is also so much loyalty, so much respect for the culture that sometimes the right and the wrong things become blurred and for me it's hard to say what is right and what is wrong because I come from such a different culture, from such a different background. It's hard. just hard to help when I can't understand.
   
  Here in this place reality hits me hard in the face everyday and days I wake up and I hate it, I hate that reality is so real! haha. I know, strange. Reality is real and when it hits me, it hits me hard and it has taken a lot of dependence on God and a lot of trust in Him to know that He understands and He is taking care of these women, these young girls. That He is there provider and protecter, that maybe it's not for me to understand, it is just my job to love them no matter what they have gone through and to remind them that they are loved. Loved by me and loved by God. In this moment that is all I know how to do. that is all I can do. and it is all I want to do.

   This week of the youth camp has finished and I met some amazing people. Some Germans, some Kenyans and the girls above as well as all the other male and female youth that were here. It was a great time to spend with great people. God really continues to bless me and I am enjoying the relationships I get to have and build no matter how short they last. He is in all and has all in His hands. His reality is that He is going to take care of me, no matter what and no matter where I am He's got me in the palm of His hands.


     trusting in the reality of God,

  HIS and yours,

    Cami

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Waiting on the Cliffs of Insanity


Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. 

I feel as if that one word could define my time so far in Africa. Waiting.

A part of me feels like Indigo Montoya, in The Princess Bride, when Wesely says "I'm afraid you'll just have to wait." as he is climbing the cliff and Indigo's response is "I hate waiting." That is how I feel, I'm asking God all these questions, pacing back and forth, waiting impatiently for God's plan to come climbing over the cliffs of insanity and He's saying, "Cami, I'm afraid you'll just have to wait." and my reply… "I hate waiting." 

No matter how many words and promises and ropes I throw over the edge He continues to tell me "to wait, to be patient, because is plan is worth not rushing up that cliff." So I wait and pace. I'd like to say that patience has become a goof attribute in me in all this waiting, but honestly I've become more impatient than ever. And I see that and He sees that.

"God, God how long must I wait?" I cry out to Him and sometimes there is silence, and sometimes I hear His still small voice "Trust me child, Trust me dear one." And when I really sit down and think about it no matter how impatient I am or get, I would rather be waiting in God's perfect plan, then working outside of it, then running in the opposite direction just to feel as if I am doing something. 

Yes there are days I want to quit, actually almost everyday, there is no sugar coating this. I am a selfish human being, there days I say "Thanks God but no way, just let me go home." I am weak, so so weak, I know that. and Every single day it's a struggle between flesh and spirit. Flesh calling out at me "Look all your friends at home have forgotten you, you can't do this, you are worth nothing, why would God want to use you. You are helping no one." And my spirit is doing everything it can, in reminding me that my flesh is selfish, that I am selfish, that this is not about me or anyone else. This is about God. this is Kingdom work, not cami work. 

This is His desire for my life. He's prepared me for this journey, from many previous journeys. And in this journey and in this desire, it will come with waiting, it will come with sacrifice, it will come with realizing that life moves on even when I am on the other side of world. realizing that yes, people will forget about me, people you say that will stay in touch will not, and it will come with mountains of struggles. But it will also come with a growth in Christ, a growth in my spirit and my heart, in knowing that in this glory is coming to Christ. It will come with genuine people supporting me, praying for me and loving me despite the distance. 

Yes right now I am impatient, I'm ready to get going to see all the many things God has in this journey, in this season of my life. But in the waiting He has blessed me with getting to know my ministry partner better, and the missionary family we will now be working with better. To connect and grow in the waiting and the resting. Things I wouldn't have been able to do if I had just jumped in right away. So I guess the conclusion is to just wait and see, to pray a ton for patience. 

In the end I know it's all worth the wait. I know that God will grow me and stretch me. And while I wait I'll practice my sword fighting, because I know that when His plan comes climbing over that cliff so will the enemy. In the waiting, I will prepare. 

Impatiently, trying to be patiently Waiting,


  HIS and yours,

    Cami

Friday, November 30, 2012

I am a Chapati


        
   
       Making Chapati is difficult. There are so many steps to go through just to make something that seems so simple (what we would call a tortilla). First you have to buy the flour, which can make or break the whole chapati, because if the flour is bad then the whole thing becomes a disaster. Then you must boil the water, and while it's boiling you mix in some salt and sugar to the flour. 20 minutes later the water is boiling, you pour that into the pan and begin mixing the dough. No, not with a mixer, but with your hands. First of all the water is really HOT, second of all the dough gets stuck all over your hands and it's hard to remove. By hand, mixing the dough takes an hour or more. 
      Once that is finished you can clean off your hands then cover them in flour. You grab a handful of dough and begin rolling them into little balls. Depending on how many you make, depends on how long this takes, because you have to stretch the dough out well so it doesn't get stiff and then wrap it around your fingers, making sure it does not get stuck to your hands, then make it into a ball and set in on the tray. This particular night we made 21, so this process took another 30 to 45 minutes. Especially because the girls I was cooking with had to keep fixing mine. 
      When this is completed you grab your rolling pin and your circular cutting board and one little ball of dough. You cover the cutting board in flour and then the dough and begin rolling it out. Now it HAS to be a perfect circle. Sounds simple enough right? NOT. No seriously no matter how many times I tried I could not get that dough to form a circle. I rolled out about 6 chapati's, which took 20 to 30 minutes each and then Mary, one of the girls I am living with, would cook them on the metal-circular pan over the coals. Cooking one took around 10 to 20 minutes because it's hard to keep the coals/fire even in the little stove. 
After just rolling out 6 I was exhausted so Flora, another one of the girls I'm living with here, took over and roles out the rest as I became the designated torch holder. We did this all in the dark, outside, in their "kitchen." Now what's the point of me giving you a lesson in making chapati, besides showing you how tough it actually is, and the fact that I have never been so covered in sweat and flour and exhaustion from cooking something that seems so simple. 
The point is: I am a Chapati. 
And God, He is this exhausted baker covered in sweat and flour.
He has taken so many steps to prepare me for this journey and He still is preparing me. But I am stubborn just like the dough and many time I refuse to form into the circle He wants me to. Even when I think I am a pretty good looking oval, He tells me "I made you to be a beautiful circle." He tells me that no matter how hard I try to make things works, to push things, to try to hold everything on my shoulders, never asking for help, to roll myself back up into a ball of dough. He knows exactly where I am and where I am suppose to be and He continues to mold me, continues to roll me out and shape me into a beautiful circle. And I know that is what He is doing now. 
Through the past month times have been hard for Miriam and I, no it's not that we are home sick, it's not that we have culture shock, it's that sometimes God places  us in situations where our job is to reveal the heart of man, through Christ, and it's tiring and tough and something we didn't think we would be doing here. There have been many trials, many angry moments, frustrated moments, many tears and many many many prayers. But we know that the trials and the hardship we are facing have grown us together and strengthen us as ministry partners and as friends. The things we are facing now are necessary. Because God is rolling us out, stretching our faith. 
When the Chapati's are finished they are delicious (there one of Miriam and I's favorite thing to eat here). It is worth all that work in the end because when I swallow that Chapati that I worked so hard, the feeling in my stomach of fullness and joy is perfect. And I know when this journey is finished all of the hard times will be worth. I know we will look back and think of these moments and wonder how we made it though. But we know that in the end we will have that feeling of fullness, that feeling of joy. We know, because we will be beautiful circles. 
Just as God intended.

Being rolled out,

   HIS and yours,

      Cami 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Love like Christ. Live like Christ


There is a sign we pass on the way to Mwanza City that reads "A billion reasons to believe in Africa." Most days I agree, there are a billion reasons to believe in Africa. But then there are days like today. Day when I see a women get pulled from our DalaDala and beaten to the ground, because Miriam and I chose her DalaDala over his. When their screaming echoes through my ears, because I chose to ride this one over that. When all eyes are on us because we are the "Wazungu" the white people. Days like today I think maybe there aren't a billion reasons to believe in Africa. 

It's hard not to get discouraged. Katie Davis once wrote "I feel like working in a Third World country is like trying to empty the ocean with an eyedropper." And I would have to say I understand those words and the feeling. It seems that at one moment there can be so much hope and then a second later that hope is dashed by something painful or another problem or sickness. In the month that I have been away from home, I've had many moments like this. Moments of discouragement and moments of hope. This past weeks was made up of those moments.

    
   A moment of hope, when I spend time with the family that I am living with. The girls teach me to cook Chapati and teach me Swahili. I've learned how to cook charoko, rice, chapati and other things… Africa style (cooking over coal stoves). Dancing with them and laughing with them, just brings so much hope and joy to my heart. I also love sitting outside and seeing the stars and talking with Baba Joseph and Mama, talking about work and family. The love and the willingness they have to welcome us into their home is just astounding and brings me so much joy.



 A moment of discouragement, when we visit the village and see the conditions people are living in, and in asking them what they think can be done. They tell us nothing can help them, that they have no hope in themselves or anything to help them pull themselves out. It's hard for me to grasp, because I refuse to believe that the conditions one live in is based on where they are on the map. My heart aches for the children and the families, because I want to do so much, but I know I can do nothing, only God can restore their hope.

A moment of hope, Being with the children on Saturday was so, words cannot even describe how much my heart overflowed with love and joy for these kids. Their white smiles against their ebony faces and the laughter that echoed through the trees as they ran and played with us. The joy that flowed through those voices and in their eyes. God knows exactly where I needed to be and that is right where I am, with those families, with those kids. Loving.




And that is when I realized that my purpose here is simple and I can't believe it has taken me so long to see it. I am here to love. I am not here to change a situation, I'm not here to stop mother's from abandoning their children, or solve any world problems. I am just here to love deeply, love recklessly, Love like Christ. And even if I can love even just one child, one mother, one family, that they can see the hope I have in Christ and their hope may be restored, than I will have succeeded. I know Christ will work in and through me, I just have to continue giving everything to Him. 

God continues to bless me in immeasurable ways, somedays are difficult and somedays are easy, but all the days are HIS. I am just trying to love each person I meet as I attempt to speak to them in Swahili as well as understand what they are trying to say to me. But even through the miscommunication Christ is present. I just challenge each person reading this to love. Love beyond what you love already. Love that person that drives you crazy, love your family more, love your roommate, your friend, love the person who seems like they can't be loved. Love the unloveable, Just love, love like Christ. Live like Christ. Love is a hard thing and love is an easy thing. Sometimes we carelessly give it away when we shouldn't and sometimes we keep it when it's not ours to keep. 

  Look at people the way Christ does and love them. That is what I am trying to do each day. Just to Love.




    Loving like Christ,

   HIS and yours,

      Cami

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Growth Demands Surrender


"Growth demands a temporary surrender of security" -Gail Sheehy. 

Well this is my first blog post from Tanzania. I've been away from home for almost a month and in Tanzania for a little over two weeks now. How crazy good is God. I am learning and growing each day. Some days are harder than others, but in each day there is a lesson to learn and I am beginning to see that.

Since being in Tanzania I have met other missionaries from around TZ with the same heart as mine, to share the gospel and love people, I have stood in the Indian Ocean, I have been in many airports, slowly have been learning to speak Swahili and have been blessed beyond measure by the people around me here. 

Miriam (my ministry partner) and I have yet to begin working, because our Residence Permits have not arrived from the office. So as we wait for those we must wait to meet the people that we have come here to serve. As we wait we have been getting to know the family we are sharing a compound with. They are such a blessing and such a huge help when it comes to learning Swahili and the culture. They speak English and Swahili so we don't feel completely lost. :) 

God has been teaching me so many things. One of the main things comes from Jonah 2:8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs."  I have learned that I have a habit of clinging to things that tend to keep me from serving the Lord fully. It's crazy that I have to be 8000 miles away from home to see that. But even the things that are good in my life become idols and interfere with my service to God. One is my family and letting God hold them in His hands, especially while I am here. Also friends and comforts of home. I never thought that I would cling to a hot shower or being able to just drink water from a faucet the way I did when I first arrived. The silliest things are things that have held me back. It's crazy to see that I measure my life on all the things I have rather than all the things I have given away. 

There are so many things I have to let go of, that each day I find something new that I want to hold onto and God keeps telling me "Child, let me hold this for you, Let me have this, so that you may walk in My way, in My Light." And each day is a surrender. And I have realized that that is something our culture is so keen on. All the things we have. that is what makes a person. We look at all the things a person gives away and think how great they are for giving, but how much does that person give compared to how much they keep?

"How different our standard is from Christ's. We ask how much a man gives. He asks how much he keeps" -Andrew Murray.

And in these past two weeks I see that I give little and keep much. Where I should keep little and give much, because I have been blessed with much. So each day for me is learning a new way of giving more. And I guess that is my challenge to you. to give more and keep less. 

Whether that is giving more of your time to others. giving more of your things to others. Giving without expecting anything in return. Giving freely, because God has blessed many of us with much, and I believe and am learning that these blessings I must give.

So as my journey progresses here in Tanzania I hope that I learn how to give more and keep less. 

   Trying to Surrender More,


  HIS and yours,


    Cami 

Friday, October 12, 2012

He is Greater

He is greater. He is greater. He is greater.

This is what I have been repeating to myself over and over again since orientation began and ended. He is greater. It seems that since I've departed home the enemy has done a good job at attacking my weaknesses. It's getting really frustrating lately. The main thing he has been using to distract me is missing home. Now I am sincerely and truly close with my family. I started missing them the minute I got on that plane. But I've done this so many times I wasn't worried about it. But now still being in the U.S. and not departing for Tanzania until Monday, it has caused me to miss home more. Because I'm still in America and I feel as if I am not doing anything. So the enemy has been flooding me with thoughts of home and tears and it has just been tiresome. Because I love my family and it's inevitable that I am going to miss them, but I want to get to Tanzania and start in on the ministry that God has so graciously called Miriam and I too. These idle hands are tired of sitting around and wondering what family and friends are doing back at home.


So He is greater has become a sort of chant in my head every morning I wake up and throughout the day. To constantly remind myself that HE is greater. "the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." I think all too often people don't talk about or address the heartache that comes with missions work or ministry work at all. Whether it's traveling overseas or working with youth groups or whatever it maybe, a burden gets put on your heart and big one, and sometimes that burden causes you to leave the things behind that you don't necessarily want to or ever thought you would have to. But that is the Cost of the Cross. You see, the cost is greater than what anyone ever talks about. But it says so in the world. We must lay down our lives, leave our families, we must go, and take up our cross and follow Him.

And yet the enemy is very clever at finding the things that are hardest to leave behind and using that against. Finding the weakness in missing home, in our questions, in our lives. The enemy is smart, there  is no denying that, he has been around a long long time, more than any of us. he knows this world well, because he has been cast down into it for so long. Knowing what makes humanity tick, and change and how to cause issues. And yet God is so much greater than him. God has it taken care of, God has already prepared the way. And sometimes there are times when we will question and wonder, and that is okay. But we must seek God even when we think everything is going smoothly. We must seek God even when things are going wrong. Seek Him at all times. Because He is greater than the enemy.

Better yet God knows the enemy better than any one of us. We can not best, we can not fight this enemy alone, only God can help us. So yes, I've been struggling in this waiting period. Trying to patient, trying to remember that what I am doing is for Christ and it is what He has called me to do in this season of my life. despite what people tell me, despite the lies the enemy tries to put in my head. This is where I belong. and I will continue to chant "He is greater. He is greater. He is greater." Because I believe and I want to keep believing, but also I want the enemy to see it. Not only in my life, but in the life of the ministry that God has called me to. because He is greater.

Whatever you are struggling with, whatever doubts or lies the enemy is sneaking in from your weakness. Take it to God, tell Him about it, because in our weakness He is strong, and in that strength He overcomes the enemy... Every time. He is GREATER!


Serving the GREATEST God,



 HIS and yours,


    Cami

Monday, October 8, 2012

Twenty Two to Tanzania; today is a new beginning

Today is the day.

Today I turn twenty-two.

Today I board a plane to begin my journey to Tanzania.

Today is a step forward into a new life, into the life that God has for me.

I have prayed, packed, said goodbyes, prayed, repacked, cleaned, talked, cried, showered, and prayed some more. It seems like time has flown by so fast, this summer feels like a blur and so do all my goodbyes.

But today is about more than just the day. It's about the journey and new beginnings and being able to see for the first time in my life that I am different, that I am called to be the hands and feet of Christ, and that does not make me weird, or strange, or an outcast. Actually quite the opposite, even though at times I feel unwelcome and rejected in this world. God has taken me and brought me into His family and his loving arms.

The crazy thing about this is that through all the struggles and frustrations and happiness and emotions God has brought people into my life and taken people out of it. He has made me see the blessings he has given me, through a random interaction with another missionary on Twitter to long phone conversations from friends at Northwestern, to my family helping me calm my nerves and surprising me, to seeing who is truly there and who God has placed around me as support. And it's awesome. I am so blessed!

Today is a day that I stop looking behind me, stop thinking about what could have been and start thinking about what is now, what God needs me to do and calls me to do. I still believe that I am unworthy for this, but God often used the worthless things, He does not call the equipped but equips the called. And I think that if I thought I was worthy enough to do this, than I would be doing the wrong thing, or the right thing for the wrong reasons.

So my flight leaves in 5 hours and i don't know if I will be getting any sleep. but I just want to thank God and all the people who have been there for me since I mentioned the word Africa! To my mom and my dad and my sisters and brother. my aunts and uncles, my entire church family.to every person who supported me financially and prayerfully to Kelsey, Sam, Danielle, Valor, Jeremy, Adam, Michael, Dan, Sean, Gee, Kate, Kristie, Jean-Jean, Megan, Leslie, Julie, Tj, Laura, Michelle, Laura, Lindsey, Anna, Charlotte, Amanda, Kayli, Nanner, Mario, Amy, Jason, Chelsea, Monsma, Chris, Ray, Hayley, Ben, Asher, Ashley, Val, Sadie, Becca, Jenna, Katie, Greta, Darlene, All the girls and two boys that went to Uganda with me, and so so so many many more people. (If I named all of them we would be here FOREVER!) To women and men on twitter I don't even know who have been praying and talking with me. I just love the way God has, is, and continues to use people in my life. It blows my mind.

I use to think that I wasn't worth anything. I constantly felt rejected by friends and by people in this world. because I didn't laugh at the same things they did, because I didn't get there jokes, because I didn't want to go out and do the things they did, because I dressed differently, because the things that I wanted to do never wanted to match up with the things everyone else wanted to do. But I have realized that I am worth so much more to HIM. that the world can call me worthless and people can reject me, but people's opinions are not important compared to Jesus. I am second next to HIM and I pray that I become more like HIM, that the world see's HIM. He says in HIS word that they will hate me, because they hated Him first, but I can take heart because He has overcome the world!

Life could not be any sweeter. God is calling us all to step out. We all have struggles and difficulties, whatever they may be, it's inevitable we are sinful human beings. But God takes us and tell us that we are worth something and that He has more for us than what we believe or even imagine. And when we take that step, that leap of faith. there is no telling where it may take us.

Might even be halfway around the world to a country called Tanzania. :)


  Soon to be Boarding a Jet Plane,



 HIS and yours,

     Cami

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

He calls you. He's faithful. He'll do it.

It's crazy. Life. It just is. It's an up and down roller coaster of good and bad, mistakes and grace, constantly learning and teaching and never giving up. It's crazy.

I've realized one journey has ended this past May as I graduated college, and life has never felt more crazy. For a while I got home and just laid around my house thinking, now what? At times I felt like that person in the footprints poem. Like I was walking all alone, when God told me that He would always be by my side.

A month and half ago I remember sitting with someone and talking about my journey to Tanzania. Crying and doubting and thinking that it wasn't what I was suppose to. I didn't feel God near me, I couldn't hear Him. I was so frustrated, why at this critical point would He decide to be silent. It wasn't until someone said "Don't do it. Don't go. It doesn't seem right anyway." That I realized I had been drowning God's voice out with everyone else opinions, with everyone else's thoughts.

So I left that conversation, with no funds raised and with no idea what to do and I sat down in my room at home and just talked. "Okay God if this is what you want, let's do it. No doubting. No fear. I will wholeheartedly, without holding anything back enter into this journey, if it is what You want for my life. If this is my calling, then You'll provide, You'll guide, and I'll get to where you want me, despite what others may believe, doubt, or think." And that was that. And here I sit, with almost all my funds raised, a support and prayer team like no other, and 12 days until I board a plane to this new journey of my life.

It's unbelievable, and surreal to think that i have less than two weeks until I leave home, and yet in my heart I know that I am not meant to do anything else. That this is what He has called me to do. Even through the thoughts and doubt the enemy put into my head, God came through, like He always does, He came though carrying me.

Through it, He closed many doors, with a relationship that I really wanted to happen, and with friends I thought were a big part of my life, and jobs that wanted to keep me here at home. But He opened doors with an amazing ministry partner that I will get to spend the next 9 months with, showed me that a relationship is not in this journey, showed me my real friends who are willing to call, to write, to text, to drive as much as possible to see me. and most of all He showed me that He is faithful.

I think that is what scares us to go. Because really the doors that have to close in order for us to move on to where God wants us are typically things that we desperately cling and chase after. Yet they are not what God wants for us, so instead of pushing us closer to Him, they pull us further away. We think that the moment those doors close we will never recieve the desires of our heart. We'll never get that dream job, that certain group of friends, or the significant other. But the truth is, having those doors closed is the most rewarding and perfect thing that could ever happen to us.

When we allow God to carry us, when we allow those doors to close, we allow God to move in our hearts. and that is how heroes are made. They are made because they are moved, not in their heads but in their hearts. They are moved to action, to faith, and to love and service. When those doors close, better ones open, even if it doesn't seem like it. When we allow ourselves to walk through those open doors, our desires and our goal become more like Christ, and our lives improve beyond measure. Allowing our lives to reflect Christ is not a loss, but a gain.

It's scary, but God knows the desires of our heart, and when we trust in Him, when we lean on Him, when we let Him carry us, His desires and our desires will become one. Psalm 37:4 says "Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart." Allow those doors to close, because if it's not helping you grow closer to God, then it needs to go. He is calling you to a new life, a better life, a life with Him. Don't let that go for something that is a fleeting moment. Because people and things come and go, but Jesus comes and stays, for all eternity.

Step out. Feel lead to do ministry. Go. feel called to go overseas. Go. feel lead to change your major. Go. feel called to move, anywhere, anyplace. Go. He's calling us, seek Him, Find Him and Go.

Right now those doors in my life have shut and for a long time I have stood and stared at this open door, scared out of my mind. But I've taken a good look at myself in the mirror because I know the moment that I get on that place, the moment that I walk through that door, I will never be the same.

And that is something I can live with. Because He has called me, and He has been faithful, and He'll provide for this journey and the many more to come.


Walking through that open door,


HIS and yours,


    Cami



"the One who calls you is faithful and He will do it." -1 Thessalonians 5:24

Thursday, September 20, 2012

As the Leaves Change, so do I

This entire summer has been a whirlwind, I have no idea where the time has gone and words cannot even begin to describe the emotional roller coaster I have been on, but through it all. Through happiness, sadness, frustration, laughter, tears, God has been faithful and continues to be.

A lot of change has taken place these past four months. Not only in the beauty of the fall leaves gracing the trees, but in the beauty of God's love and faithfulness gracing my heart.

I can say I didn't realize the amount of change until I made my way back to Northwestern. A trip I had been looking forward to for a long time, to see my friends, the people I love dearly, and who hold a piece of my heart. But upon arriving I felt scattered and out of place. I felt like I was in everyone's way, people trying to do homework, or hang out with their friends that were still in school. I felt like I was just a burden. And I realized that life keeps moving even when I'm not around. Leaves continue to fall even when I do not want them to. Tears were normal, unexpected news and heartache were themes of the weekend. And I left that place feeling more changed than when I arrived.

Seeing my old friends was tough, especially realizing that it may be the last time I ever see them again. I was so upset with myself, because I went there with a mindset of everything I wanted to tell every single person that I saw. What they meant to me, how they have impacted me. But I failed. I never told anyone, anything and I regret that. I regret not sharing my heart and I do not know if I will ever get the opportunity again.

And yet a big part of me was relieved that I didn't share my heart. Because deep down I know that there are certain things I had to tell certain people that would have change the course of our friendship, and in leaving for Tanzania in 9 months, I didn't want to ruin a friendship, so I left it alone. But in doing so God taught me more about change. More about who I am.

I kept looking at these people I love; My roommate in South Dakota, my friends at Northwestern, The girls I spent Labor Day weekend with, my family, all those who have taken the time to call me, to talk to me, to visit me, to pray with me. I looked at them and then to God and said "I am leaving all to follow you, I am leaving ALL to follow you, God." Everything I know, everyone I love, I am leaving behind. And then I read this; "I tell you the truth, no one who had left home or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and in the age to come of eternal life" -Luke 18:29-30.

Then it hit me. I have to leave all. I have to go forward. I must move on. Not forget, but move on. Because the leaves cannot change again, without first leaving the branch. And I have realized that I must leave this branch of my life, my home and family and friends. Because with it as I fall, I will rise with Christ and just like the spring, breath new life.

It's been a struggle to say goodbye and to realize that I may return home with fewer friends, but it's been a blessing to know that I will leave and return with the same God, always and forever, because He is my eternal vine. In two short weeks I will leave Iowa to embark on the journey of my life. I don't know where it will take me exactly and what is to come, but I know I am safe in the arms of God. I know that whatever happens, with me and with friends and with family. That God has provided this far, that He has made a way for me to go to Tanzania for 9 months, and that if this wasn't where my life was headed, he would have shut the door. But the door is still there, standing wide open and I must walk through. This door is not for anyone else but me. More and more I am becoming okay with that. More and more I know that the only way to live my life is to leave all and follow Him.

So I may have left many things unsaid, I may be frustrated with the things I didn't do. But right now all I can do is move forward. Move on and remember and continue to love those I am leaving. It's hard and painful, but it is my calling, it is my life. And if I were to abandon this call, if I were to abandon my God, than my life would have no meaning, because the only meaning there is, is to leave all and follow HIM.



Na Mungu Pendo (With God's Love),


HIS and yours,

   Cami



Friday, August 31, 2012

Being Called Out.

Being Called Out. Called Out. Called...

Am I worthy enough, what if I mess up, what if I lose everything I have, what if it changes me, what if, what if, what if?...

These past couple months have been a whirlwind of craziness. Seriously from graduating college, to becoming somewhat immobile at home, to in a month flying to Tanzania, and then everything in between, many times I felt like I was thrown into the headwind just waiting for someone to catch me. It's crazy all the opportunities I have been given in being called out to move and to serve God and His people. Through talking on the phone with friends, or with people at church it seems that in every moment God is calling me out.

This weekend I get the amazing opportunity to work at a high school retreat, the same high school retreat where God flipped my life upside down. I get to lead a table of teenage girls as well as give a talk about prayer. And in thinking about this the overwhelming feelings come back. "God am I worthy to lead these girls, am I worthy to talk about prayer?" And I've notice that in almost every moment God has called me I stop and question it. Why do I do this? Why do I ask so many questions? Why don't I just jump head first into what He is asking me to do. Not saying that asking questions is bad, but it seems that sometimes the questions slow me down or sometimes even stop me from being called out. And in questioning I miss out on so many things that God has planned for me. And that has really started to bug me.

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light" [1 Peter 2:9]. I read this the other day and got to thinking. Wow, we are chosen, royal, holy, we belong to God, and because of this we are called out to declare His praises, His name, to serve Him and His people; for we are no longer in the dark, blind to the needs of others, but He has brought us into His light so that we may see what He sees. And in that we should have courage, we should have strength, we should have no doubt in our minds that when God calls us out, He is calling us for a reason, for a purpose. He doesn't need us for anything, and yet He wants us. So why do we question?

To be honest I can't tell you, everyone's reasons are different, everyone's questions are different. Each one of us is called to a different thing, to different people, and to different places, and in each calling I think there will always be questions, and that's okay, but don't ever let your questions stop you or slow you down from going and doing what God has called you to do. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" [Romans 8:28]. His purpose is greater than our own, He leads us where He needs us, and there can be no greater call than that.

Sometimes where we are called isn't where we thought or where we wanted, but it doesn't make it any less important, because where we are called is where God wants us to be. It's where the gifts and talents that God has given us can be used and refined for His glory and not for our own selfish desires. Whether it be going or staying in school when your hearts in missions. Or leaving friends and family when you want to stay near to them. Or even doing missions in a country that was never on your radar to begin with. In each moment and in each calling there is something there, something important, something that God will use to teach you and remind you that He is in control and that everything He does is because He loves you and wants you to learn from Him.

It's amazing to me to be called out by Him, through youth ministry here in the states all the way to youth and women's ministry in Tanzania. God's calling exceeds all limits that we try to place it into. In any given moment we can be called out. At the least expected time God will drop the calling into our laps. It's our choice to sit there and stare at it, question it, wonder about it, and never move. Or get up and walk that narrow road.

That's the coolest part about this life with the Lord. and I know i've said this a million times. But that He gives us the choice, the chance to choose what to do, it's amazing. Even though He knows what we will do He gives us choices. It's so amazing. He is so amazing. So unfathomable, I can't wrap my mind around Him. But that's okay, I love His surprises anyways.

Being called out is scary, I'm not going to lie. No matter what it is, there will always be unknowns and fears that will try to tangle us up and slow us down, but always remember that God would not have called you if He thought you couldn't handle it. He's always there, through it all. He carries us, He leads us and all we need to do is trust and follow Him.

It sound easier than it is, but following after Him, I've never regretted, it's been the most crazy, roller-coaster, adventurous time of my life and I wouldn't change it for the world. His love, His grace, His calling is perfect, is amazing and for me to be even a small part of further His Kingdom. Well, I couldn't think of anything else I would rather do with my life.

Being Called Out.



  HIS and yours,


    Cami








Wednesday, August 29, 2012

300 to 3000; fish and loaves.

              In the middle of last week I was struggling. Struggling to be enthusiastic about anything. At one time I got an e-mail about loans, and a credit card bill, and all these other things, but not one letter or one envelope containing what I really needed or wanted. Funds. Fundraising is hard, it's not something that I would choose to do if I had to. It takes a lot of hammering your flesh to the wall and humbling yourself before God and before others to ask for help, to ask for support, and for money. A part of me was wondering, Okay God, if money is not coming in, does that mean I'm not supposed to go, or am I not being patient enough, or what am I supposed to do? I seem to be asking God that question a lot, am  I suppose to go, am I worthy to go. Because if I am honest many times over I do not feel worthy enough to go. So Tuesday night of last week I talked with God. I laid in bed for hours awake before I finally decided that the only person who can help me, is the One who called me to this journey. So there I was three in the morning, talking to the ceiling of my room, talking to God.
                 God, I know that this what You have called me to, because in my heart I can't see myself being anywhere else or doing anything else. I know I'm struggling with leaving behind my family and friends, all the people I love so deeply, but You have showed me that to sacrifice those things is part of this calling, and I know that my family will be here for me when I return, and those friends who truly care and love me will be there for me as well. It's not a convenient relationship to have, a friend being overseas, but I know that you have placed those people in my life that truly will take an effort in being there for me and praying for me, and remembering me even when I am not conveniently around, and I thank you in advanced for those people. God I know that I haven't been trusting you fully, that I haven't been faithfully sowing into my own calling. So God this is it, I will sow what I have into this trip, because if I don't trust and sow into my own journey, why should anyone else. I will give to other's who are doing your work around the world and I will continue to trust you FULLY for everything I need, because You are the provider. Amen.
             So the next morning I got the chance to sit and talk with a girl named Haley who spent 10 days in Africa. I got to hear stories and see pictures and just share in our passion for Africa. We met in my churches coffee shop, where I also have a jar for tips to help me get to Tanzania. Remembering my prayer from the night before I tossed some cash that I had into the jar. That afternoon as I drove home, I checked the mail and had a couple letters. I tossed them on the table not really thinking much about it, and went to check my email. There was an email from one of the ladies at the base telling me that and old short-termer wanted to give a incoming short-term missionary some support as a tithe, and I happened to be the one that got this tither of 500 dollars. The breath was literally taken out of my chest. I ran to open up the letters that I got in the mail and before I knew it I had over 3000 dollars. going from 300 to 3000 in one day. I felt like those people on the mountain when God performed the miracle with the fish and loaves multiplying it so that every person could eat and be full. I felt so encouraged and so thankful for the willingness of people to give.
               And yet God still wasn't finished, that upcoming Sunday we had a breakfast at my church. My church as always been so supportive and giving in missions, especially mine. Now, I live in a small town with a small church. The breakfast was a free will donations and I was just praying for whatever God wanted to provide, I had no specific number in my head, though the last couple ones had raised around 500. So as my mom and I are driving home from church I'm counting the money from the breakfast in the car. I remember saying "okay mom, you'll have to recount this because I don't think I counted right." So we counted again and again. but each time came up with the same number. My church, with such giving and selfless hearts, supported me with over 1000 dollars. I couldn't believe it, and I was just so amazed my the way God moves people and provides in such awesome ways.
                 It's crazy to think that at the beginning of last week I hardly had any support raised for Tanzania and now here I sit a week later and I'm halfway there to having my full support. God is so faithful, constantly multiplying my fish and my loaves of bread even when at times I don't believe He can. Seriously He continues to feed me over and over, when sometimes there isn't enough to feed me. His faithfulness is unfathomable, as is His love. In every moment my faith continues to be shaped and molded, my trust continues to grow. He is never late. He's not on my time, He's got it all planned out.
            Now with a month before I am to leave I know that God will provide for me, that I will get to Tanzania and that I will be able to do what my heart desires. To Share the love of the Lord with so many people. To be a helper when needed, a servant when needed, to be a sister, and mother, a friend, but most of all a follower of Christ. There are a lot of things I still have yet to do before I make my way to Tanzania. And a lot of those things have the word goodbye in them.
           There is never a great time to say goodbye. They are the hardest part of this life and yes I worry that I will lose touch with people I care greatly about, because I know it's going to be difficult to stay in touch easily overseas. But the truth is God is going to take care of me through it all and even in the worrying I know that there are and will be people in my life that will be there for me despite the distance, despite the inconvenience. So for now I will continue to prepare myself in the Lord. I will continue to thank those who have faithfully supported me and I will say goodbye to my family and friends when the time comes. There is much to do, but right now I will just sit in the awesomeness of God's glory and faithfulness.


   In Awe of the Father,


 HIS and yours,


    Cami

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Narrow Door, The Cliff, The Leap.

I have often wondered what I am doing. Lately I've found myself asking that question a lot more. When I look back I see things I did and said to put naysayers and disbelievers in their place and then I see the things I've done to glorify God and I think a lot of time those lines get blurred. But in the case of unblurring them I prayed harder and looked deeper. The things I've done to glorify God I've got nothing in return, not in a bad way, I've got no praise, He has and when I think of the things I've done to prove people wrong I receive the glory. And as I go through those things I realize the happiest I was, was when I got nothing and God got everything. Because that's how it's suppose to be. The glory of man last only a moment, to stroke the ego; but the glory of God last forever, it ignites the soul.

This life is hard and there are many disbelievers and naysayers, Jesus was surrounded by them, the pharisees, the people of the cities, even his own disciples. But the amazing things about Jesus is that He did not heal the blind, stop the bleeding, cast out demons, or raise the dead to put people in their place. He did it to glorify His Father in Heaven. He did so all would know the place of the Lord. And goodness do I want to be like that. To show people the Father. Because if we live by people's praise then we will die by their criticism.

It's not easy, Jesus tells us that plain as day; "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many will try to enter and will not be able to." -Luke 13:24. But the journey is worth it. Jesus only had 12 disciples that followed Him and even in the end at the worst of it all He was left with only God. But He was able to look up to Heaven and say "it is finished." And I want to be able to say those words. To call to my God "it is finished." All that He asked me to do, all that He called me to. "It is finished." Because at the end it's just us and Him. No parents, or siblings, or friends, or significant others. It's only Him there with us.

And yes we'll make mistakes, we're human. "It's okay to not be okay. God never said we had to be perfect and whole all the time. He came for us because we aren't"(@SheHasWorth). But in taking Him into ourselves it is the only thing to do but to be Christ-like. We do not need to compare ourselves with others who seem to have it figured out more than we do. Every person is different, and every journey is different. No one person is the same. and yes, There will always be those disbelievers and naysayers who will try to compare you to someone else, who will try to tell you what is right and what is not. But they are not the voice to listen to. Your head may tell you to listen to them, they may sound reasonable, but don't. Only God can lead us the right way. He's the one who knows our journey, the one who truly takes time to know our hearts. and that is how His heroes are made, because they are moved, not in their heads, but in their hearts.

I don't pretend to have it all together and I shouldn't try. My journey scares me as much as the next persons. But it is my journey, my calling, and for the Lord who has given me everything, I have nothing left to do but follow Him because in my heart I know that there is no better way to live this life. So I jump out in faith, knowing He will catch me.

Listen to your heart, stop standing on the edge and take that leap, the fall is scary at first but God's hands are there to catch you. Truth Him.


Falling into Him,


HIS and yours,


  Cami

Friday, August 17, 2012

Sometimes it's easier to listen, when you cannot speak

I love to talk. Ask anyone that knows me. Talking is one of my favorite things to do. I love deep conversations, I love meeting new people, I love hearing stories and telling stories, and making people laugh. And all things that involve talking. But lately I've realized that maybe I talk to much. You see I haven't been able to talk for about a week now. Mostly by choice, it takes a lot of effort to get few words out and it's extremely painful. Who would of thought a simple procedure like getting ones tonsils removed could cause so much pain... or thinking.

So as I have literally laid around on my couch and done nothing this past week, I've had plenty of time to think. Plenty of time to stare at the ceiling and just listen. And in listening I've learned a few things. I could listen a bit more. I've been working on this talk to give at a high school retreat over labor day weekend. It's on Communication through Prayer and as I laid on my couch today half asleep just listening to the breeze blowing through the trees, my dog snoring at my feet, the ceiling fan rotating, I realized that there is more to communicating than just talking. I know you're thinking, duh Cami, you should already know this, aren't you a college graduate? Yes, Yes I know, but hear me out for a moment.

How much of our time goes into talking? Literally, how many times do we sit in a conversation and instead of Listening with the intent to hear, we listen with the intent to answer. I am so guilty of this when I'm talking with a person I usually sit and try to come up with some witty or appealing to reply, but in reality sometimes the best reply is silence. Sometimes the best answer is nothing right away, nothing but letting them know you're listening. That is what prayer and communication is really about and I haven't realized that until now. Now when I can't speak.

Thinking about it, God always listens with the intent to hear, but He also listens with the intent to answer. I think as humans it's difficult to do both things at once, but we're talking about God here. The Master of all Universe, the Creator of the skies and you and me. He can do anything. But when it comes to my prayer life, God is more of a listener to hear. He hears me and hears me and hears me. I know He does because I talk to Him all the time. Out of joy, out of anger, out of tears, out of frustration. He's heard every octave that my voice can be at, and yet he still listens. He answers when He is ready and the timing is right. Not when I'm ready and my timing is right. He knows when I need what I'm asking for and when I don't. He has the plans, He knows where I go.

But the truth is do I listen to hear from God as often as He does to me. Probably not. When things don't seem to be going the right way I plug my ears and run away angry and frustrated. But I've learned to take my fingers out of my ears and listen because sometimes God is trying to teach me things in the silence. As I have been preparing for Tanzania, silence has been a regular thing, communication is hard, especially when it's new territory and i don't know what questions to ask or things to do. Then I feel like I'm asking to many questions and worrying to much. But through the silence God has taught me to be more faithful. through miscommunications and non communications God has taught me to be faithful to where He has called me. To not back away when certain things aren't in the right order. Because this is life and nothing is ever in the right order. The only thing to do is to have faith and trust in Him.

And in doing so I've been able to have the desires of my heart fulfilled. To be able to serve Orphans and Widows and anyone else I come into contact with in Tanzania. to be blessed with a host family, who is ready to love me and take me in as their own. to be blessed with a training staff who cares enough to get to know me, to answer all my silly questions, to offer guidance and prayer over the phone. And to supportive friends and family, who will watch me leave home, but keep me in their hearts. God is so faithful even when I don't care to listen, even when I don't care to see. He's always hearing me and always answering. I guess sometimes it's easier for me to listen when I cannot speak. But God is always teaching us something, and that's something I've needed to learn. When to speak and when to be silent. God is good, all the time because that is His nature!

Through it all, though right now while all my friends are moving into college or jobs and I'm just hanging out on my couch trying to learn Swahili and fundraise, God is faithful, God is providing, God is paving my road to Tanzania and I trust Him, with all my heart.


Listening with open ears,


HIS and yours,

   Cami

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stop Waiting

Don't underestimate what you, as one person, can do. God will work through anyone who is submitted to Him-- of any age-- to accomplish His will on earth. Just look at what Moses discovered: if one man or woman is willing to obey God, it can change the destiny of millions.

Journal entry 8-5-2011

  It is crazy to see this summer come and go so fast, it seems like just yesterday I was leaving home to head to Uganda and tomorrow, before I know it I will be back in the states for debrief. Words cannot even begin to explain this summer and all that God taught me, through good and bad, expected and unexpected. 
   I know HIS plan for my life is far more than anything I could ever imagine and I will continue to wait on HIM with prayer. I can't even fathom being at home or at school right now and yet that is where I am headed, for I know my purpose is not yet finished, especially at school. I pray that I can make it through this year smoothly and that God will help me to stay disciplines and not be distracted from what HE has fro me.
   The people and love of Uganda has forever left a giant footprint upon my heart and I hope someday I will be able to return to that pale. I've never felt more at home and comfortable then I did there. In my heart Uganda will always be; it's orphans, it's people, it's love, it's culture, and so much more. I praise God for this once in a lifetime opportunity, who am I to be able to be a part of furthering HIS kingdom and yet HE wants me, He's called unto to me and I will continue to serve Him with a heart full of joy and love in whatever HE has me do.
   "If the LORD delights in a man's way, HE makes his steps firm: though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with HIS hand" -Psalm 37:23-24.

It crazy to think that over a year ago I was returning home from Uganda, Africa. It's even more crazy to think that in less than two months I will be leaving home for Tanzania, Africa. God has totally blessed my life in unfathomable ways and words cannot even begin to explain all He has, is and continues to do.

Reading through my journal from last summer I got to see how God confirmed the calling of being a missionary in this next season of my life. It's amazing to see all that I went through to know that God truly is calling me here and how hard it was and sometimes still is to let go of the things that I need to so that I can live the life HE has called me to. The truth is I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, a lot of time thinking about just waiting. Waiting until I had my student loans paid off, waiting until I had that great job I always wanted when I was younger, waiting for that guy to make the first move, waiting for my first house. Just waiting. But I realized that I am not called to wait. No one is called to wait. We are called to move. To move in the direction that God leads. Because I know that if I waited for the things I wanted, they would never come, because they are not in line with God's heart and plan for my life. And since I've stopped waiting for what I wanted I've come to love what God wants. Seriously I couldn't imagine my life any other way. I couldn't wait or wish for a better way to spend my life than serving children and women and whoever comes across my path. Because in learning what God has for me, I learned that my heart is for people not for a job behind a desk.

It takes a lot of faith, and sometimes we don't want to take that leap, don't want to trust in the gut feeling. But I've learned that in every blind leap I've taken God has been there to catch me and lead me through. Tanzania is one of those blind leaps. yes I'm scared it's a long time to not see my family and friends. To be a part of a new culture, a new language, but I can also tell you how excited I am to see all that God has planned. to fall in love with a new place and new people. To learn how universal the love of God really is and to be able to change my life. God has a plan for all of our lives and it's never to late to listen, never to late to follow, never to late to stop waiting.


Diving in,


 HIS and yours,

   Cami

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Afraid of Fear


I am afraid of fear.

Okay, I realize how contradicting that sounds, but really think about it. It makes sense does it not? Afraid of fear. We are constantly told not to be afraid, to buck up and get going. But the truth is fear is always around, is always there and it's something that I am afraid of.

I'm afraid that fear will cripple me, that it will keep me from doing the things God has called me to do. And then I realized that I constantly tell myself to not be afraid of fear, and what do I end up doing. Fearing.

I got a message from a man named Michael, who I met in Uganda last summer. This man, to me, was the epitome of fearless, he preached on the radio, he'd wake up in the morning and take the bota bota into the city and preach on the street corner, he sang worship songs to God when we were digging together. God taught me so much through this man. How to be fearless when it comes to living my life for God. His message came at a perfect time, a time when I was fearing where God was leading me, questioning Him if this is what He really wanted me to do, but I know it was my flesh telling me to run the other way, to hide behind the fear and tell myself there is no way I can do this. But then I got this message, this is what is said "God's grace will never let you down. No matter what it is, you will see God standing by your side. He cares for you, so be strong. (Isa 41:10)."

 So after reading the message I went and looked up the verse in my Bible and this is the verse "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not dismay for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." And then I laughed, seriously I laughed out loud, because God's timing is never too late and is always at the time when I think that I am losing it. With Him I have no reason to fear.

With Him everything happens perfectly and on His time, not my own. It was shortly after that message that I received my assignment for Tanzania, a new ministry partner, and my budget for the trip. God is pretty amazing. He will lead us through the valley of the shadows of darkness, but with Him we have nothing to be afraid of. Even the trivial things of the world are not scary with the Lord. It's pretty cool to be able to see that not only in my own life, but in the lives of others.

Now all my life I've told myself "don't be afraid." And it is only now that I'm realizing how stupid that is. Don't be afraid, is like saying, "don't move out of the way when someone tries to punch you" or "don't flinch at the heat oa a fire" or "don't blink." Don't be human. I'm afraid and you're afraid and we're all going to be afraid, because that's the point, it's bound to happen. What we should be telling ourselves is be afraid but do it anyway, live anyway. And know that God is there with us, guiding us my the right hand, keeping those things, that so easily make us scared, at bay.

Life does not play fair, it's tough and there are many things that are going to frighten us, but we can't let those things keep us from living the life that God has laid out for us. Yes challenge will come, whether that be leaving your friends and family to move away to a place God wants you, whether it comes with just accepting the fact that we are not perfect, whatever those things are, God will take care of us, He will never leave nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5).

"Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement... get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed" -Abraham Joshua Heschel. This is the way I want to live my life, radically amazed, not letting fear way me down. I no longer want to be afraid of fear. Things are going to frighten me, but the courage I have in Christ outweighs anything or anyone that tries to tear me down with fear. And in that I am fearless.


  Trying to live Fearless for God,


  HIS and yours,


     Cami