Tuesday, December 27, 2005

In Memory of Dubya 2004-2005

As you could tell from an earlier blog entry, my kitty Dubya has been sick. I took him back to the doctor last Wednesday since his fever wasn’t improving. She gave me more antibiotic and pain medication and sent him home. Nathan and I started to notice that by Christmas day his stomach was getting swollen… he wasn’t eating so it couldn’t be from food… so I took him back to the Dr. on Monday December 26th. They X-rayed him and found that he was bloating and that nothing was able to get through his intestines and out of his body. Today December 27 they decided that surgery was needed to find out what was constricting his digestive flow. When they opened him up green liquid poured out of his abdomen. Apparently he had a disease called FIP which can manifest itself through liquid in the body cavity and then fibers that grow in that liquid. The fibers are what was constricting his organs making him unable to digest and move food through his body. When the Dr. called me to tell me about the results of his surgery she also said that FIP was fatal and that there isn’t any cures or ways to make it less painful for him. I asked her what she would do if it was her cat, and she said put him down while he is still under anesthesia so he doesn’t feel the pain from the surgery. I drove out to the Vet Clinic and pet him and kissed his little head for the last time while they injected him with the medicine that would stop his heart. I will always remember the joy he brought into my life by waking me up at 3:30 in the morning cuddling my face. How he would always come when I called him and he loved to lay on me and rub his head on my chin. How when you scratched his lower back he would lift his hind end up so you could scratch him easier. How he would play or nap with me. How he would follow me all over the house only wanting to be with me and be loved by me. I will miss his precious face and great cat personality. He was a perfect first cat for me, even if I didn’t get to keep him a long time. I am so thankful for the time that I did have with him. I believe God brought him into my life so that his last weeks would be filled with love.
This blog is in memory of my sweet Dubya whom I will always love.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Prayer Requested

Hello My Friends,

My Dubya is very sick. He went to the vet on Friday and they gave him medicine, and I thought he was getting better, but it seems like he isn't now. I have to take him to the Vet again tonight. Please pray for his health.

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday!


Monday, November 07, 2005

New addition to the Family

this is a quick one but I wanted to let everyone know we have a new addition to the family.... NO, not a baby... a kitty! We have named him Dubya (named after our current president, kind of). He is just a cuddle bug... and I love him to death! Hope you enjoy the pics!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Mother India

I am going to try to tell the story of Amma. She is called Amma because it means "Mother". Amma is a woman who is probably in her 60's but she looks like she is in her 90's because of the difficulty of her life. She was a prostitute in Bangalore. She had a daughter named S. (just calling her S. for safety sake) who also became a prostitute in Bangalore. S. also has a daughter who will be of age to become a prostitute this year. S. ended up marrying the man considered to be the worst drug lord in the province. S.'s husband was hunted down by the police and violently killed, leaving Amma, S. and S.'s daughter caught in a dangerous situation. S., fearing for Amma's life, placed Amma at Rahab's Rope. Our second day in Bangalore S. and her clan of prostitutes that follow her (almost like a gang situtation between rival prostitute groups) was supposed to come to Rahab's Rope but did not make it. That left Amma and the staff of Rahab's Rope. I was pretty disappointed. I mean we came ALL THE WAY TO INDIA and the group of women didn't show up! Well, Jane and Teresa said, "if there is just one we will continue". That one was Amma. We started the time with some singing and then Jane began to share a story that God had given her 3 years earlier for a womens conference. It is the story of the woman at the well. If you are not familiar with the story in is in the book of John chapter 4 starting around verse 7. Jane used the facts that are in the Bible to create a story that "could have" happened to the woman at the well. I am going to try to recount the story as best I can:

"The day I met Him I was finally at the end of my ability to cope with life… I wanted to die. I hadn't always felt this way, no, long ago I had hope of a much different life, a happy life. You see, I was promised to Malpar. He was going to be a good husband to me and take care of me. We were going to have a good life together, but then suddenly my father died. This sent my mother into a deep pit of despair. She didn't eat or drink or move during the day. I would beg her to come back to us, but she couldn't shake herself out of her darkness. I did all I could around the house, trying to help take care of my 4 sisters and my brother. I even began going to market trying to find a way to save money and only buy the food we absolutely needed. I met a man at the market. He was so kind to me, he would talk to me and walk around the market with me. I began to look forward to going to the market so that I could talk to this man, oh, I missed my father so much. One day this man invited me to his house for dinner. We have a good meal and talked about many things. I was enjoying the meal so much until he began touching me. I didn’t know what to think, but he told me that this is what fathers do with their daughters when they are older. I was so confused, I lay their in the darkness, screaming on the inside. He kept telling me that it was a good thing, but if it was a good thing why did I feel so terrible on the inside. When I was leaving he put some coins in my hand and told me that they were for my family. He also said that there was plenty more available. As I walked home trying to grasp all that had taken place I realized, I was ruined. I would never be able to be the woman I was again, all of my plans turned to dust. I decided at that moment that I would die to that part of me. I would do what it takes to care for my family, I was already ruined, I would just close that part of me off completely. Well, it didn't take long for me to become known as "that kind of girl" around our small villiage. The women that used to go to the well with me, now pointed and whispered as they passed by. I began trying to go to the well during the hotest parts of the day just to avoid having to deal with the stares and mean comments of other women. I was on my way to the well that day... the day I met Him. I was crying out in my mind, "God, why won't you just let me die? I just want to die, please, please let me die". Then as I approached the well, I saw that someone else was there, not only was someone there but it was a man and a Jew. Samaritans and Jews do not interact, I could only hope that I could draw my water quickly to avoid this man. Then He spoke to me with a voice that sounds like many rushing waters and said ““Give Me a drink.” I was taken by surprise and said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. He answered and said to me, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” I said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” He answered me again saying, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” I said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” He said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” I answered and said, “I have no husband.” He said to me, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” I said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” He said to me, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” I said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Then He said to me, “I who speak to you am He.” My life was changed that day… I met my Savior.”

As Jane ended the story, Amma began to weep openly. She started saying “that is my story, you just told my story.” Shoba and Jane talked more with Amma about who Christ is and how much He loves her. Then Shoba asked Amma if she wanted to know Christ as her Savior and when she said yes and reached out for Jane’s hand a cry of praise erupted from our group. Shoba was so overcome with emotion that it took her a few minutes just to compose herself enough to translate for Jane. The India team and staff of Rahab’s surrounded Amma, Jane and Shoba and prayed as Amma received Christ. Then when Jane went to anoint Amma’s head with oil Shoba told Jane to pull off the Bendi (dot between the eyes that represents Hinduism). As Jane went to peel off the Bendi, Amma reached up and ripped it off with passion and threw it. Then we all got up and danced, thanking God for our new sister in Christ.

Not only did we get the honor of being there for Amma’s introduction to her new Husband, but we were able to be there for her baptism as well. What a blessing! Praise God! Please join us in praying that Amma's grandaughter will be spared the life of prostitution and that Amma will be able to share her faith with her family.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Looking back...

I have been working on a DVD of the footage of the India trip and it has really kept me in the moments there. I guess in many ways I still feel like I will see those people soon. I know that may sound strange...
I was just thinking about all of the amazing things about the trip that could so easily be taken for granted. The weather! It was monsoon season, and if it had rained the women couldn't have come to see us at Rahab's Rope, but God kept the rain away until we were getting on the plane. It was amazing! Our luggage, only the heaviest pieces that were not needed for a few days didn't show up, what a blessing to not have to carry those around! Over and over God provided for us. The apartment we stayed in was a 3 bedroom, 3 bath, huge living room and dinning area. We had a cook who was used to "American stomachs" ... truly just the logistics and normally pretty basic parts of the trip were so wonderful.
I learned a lot from the women in the BforA team. There were 6 of us. Each of us was so different and yet we all had this powerful, central cord running through us and connecting us in supernatural ways. I have never in my life travelled with a group of girls for 10 days and not had some kind of girly, stupid argument. Not only did this team not have any kind of frustration with eachother, we grew and loved eachother strongly! I learned and experienced so much from each member. From Kathleen I got to experience her overflowing, boisterous, contagious passion for enjoying and loving on people. From Candice I got to experience the sweet sweet spirit of the Lamb of God that flows through her and over all others. I will never be able to get the image of Candice holding Amma's hand while she was crying as she listened to how Jesus wants to love her. From Laura I saw bravery - "raw-I will trust God through everything" bravery. Her trust of our Father was awesome. From Jane I experienced someone who has such an overflowing heart for the restoring and nuturing of women. Her approach to the entire trip was something I will never forget (one reason is that is her approach to all of life and I get to see her almost everyday :). She lays at the Masters feet and drinks in all that He wants His women to be able to experience in their life. It is truly awesome. And Teresa, I saved her for last because although each woman has left an indellible impression on my life. I would say that the largest impression was left by Teresa. I had never been able to spend such large amounts of time around someone so "Spirit led" in my life. Her life was walking in the path set before her by The King. She would pray over us every AM before we began ministering and the Spirit would provide her information to specifically pray over each person. I would have been thinking or struggling with something that I had told NO ONE but God about and as Teresa would pray she would address that and speak what God was giving her for me. I have never experienced anything like it and all I knew was that I wanted it. I didn't want to be like her, I wanted to have that kind of intimate relationship with my Creator, my Daddy. There is so much more I want to write, but will have to wait until later.... I will keep writing though...

In His Glad Service,

Thursday, July 14, 2005

First official story...

I am going to try to start to tell stories about the trip. It all seemed so overwhelming, so I figure I will just start at the beginning of the trip and talk about the stories in order.

Leaving Atlanta was good, but hard. I was so excited about taking this trip, but I was also very nervous about leaving Nathan for that long and being on the other side of the world. I knew that this was an area that I had prayed about and that God would take care of us both. So I left and left Nathan in the very capable hands of Jesus. On the flight we kept one of the ladies in our group talking because she was terrified of flying, but of course another answer to prayer came through because she did not struggle at all with any of our flights! Once we were finally in Bombay (after traveling straight for about 24 hours) we went to gather our bags and go through customs. The only problem was we were missing 4 bags! There were 3 ministry bags that were packed full of antiseptic, shampoos, soaps, and other important medicinal things to get to Rahabs home. The other bag was a personal bag of one of the team members (at that moment we were all glad we packed extra underwear in our carry on). As we prayed about which man in India to approach about our missing bag, Jane (the group leader) made a bee-line to one specific person. As "G" (since the internet is open to everyone I am going to protect his name... just in case, who knows) began to question us about the bags and what their contents were, he got very curious as to why we were in India (and why we had 200 bottles of shampoo and conditioner packed in a bag). Now, our visas said tourist, and we were going to see the sites and meet people, but our plans were a little more specific than tourism. Jane, constantly praying for guidance, began to share why we were really there. We all thought "this could be very good or very bad". After explaining that we were there to share the love of Christ with women that have come out of prostitution, he asked us a very interesting question. "Would you pray for me and my family?" WOW!!! Jane immediately replied, "We will pray over you and your family right now if you want" (remember we are in the middle of customs in a very foreign country). G replied "You have the authority to do that?!" to which Jane answered, "yes, because we are the habitation of the Most High God. Jesus lives in us and we are able to pray with His authority." G was blown away and soon the group began praying for and over him in the middle of customs in the Bombay Airport. We had no idea what God had in mind when we lost 4 bags, which by the way were delivered very quickly to our doorstep in Bangalore (these were the heaviest bags...) right in time to be used. Situations like this happened consistently in India. God placed us in a circumstances that at first glance that did not look very good to us, but He replies with "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11. He knew His plan was for us to be able to pray with G and pray over his family. What a blessing that day was! God is truly a personal, loving God. The God of details and of touching hearts, one at a time.

Travel Pic from Bombay Airport:

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Loading some pics....

Sorry I didn't have these sooner... More to come...

Monday, July 04, 2005

Officially Back

I have been back for 3 full days now. I have wanted to blog, but I am so unsure about what to write. The trip has so many wonderful memories. Even though I am glad to be back with Nathan, I have so much saddness about being away from India. I have so much I want to share, but I am unsure of where to start. It will be a long process trying to sort through memories and find ways to share them. Part of me feels like no one but the group could even understand if I did share... but that is not fair to those that prayed and cared for us as we were gone. I want so much to pass on the precious moments... hopefully soon I will find a way to explain everything... until then...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A quick one...

This is just a quick blog about my trip. I cannot believe how faithful God has been this entire trip! He has given us favor every step of the way. He gave us this trip and has provided consistently for it. I have so many fun stories that I will take the time to write and put up here (but not right now). I did want family and friends to know that we are safe and that the trip has been amazing. We have a tour day tomorrow in France and then we will be flying back home on Thursday. I cannot wait to see everyone and share the way God has shown His love for the Commercial Sex Workers, Orphans and us on this trip. Please pray for a safe flight and I will see all of you soon.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sweet, sweet India

As most of you know I will be heading to India in just a few days. The whole process of this trip is just amazing to me! It all started with a friend of mine (Jane) and me praying one AM of May 2004. At the end of her prayer she mentioned to bless "those girls in India" (talking about girls that are kidnapped and sold into prostitution over there). When I heard that I said "Why are you praying for girls in India? I have been praying for Asian and Indian women for a few months now." She said "Hum, maybe God has us going to India" to which I said - YA RIGHT!

In January of 2005 Jane called me back and said "India is on my mind again - I think we are going." I began to pray about this possibility thinking about all of the reasons why I couldn't go - I mean I wanted to, but EVERYONE wants to do things like that to help others, right? Reason not to go were a short but definite list - first, there was financially - I mean a trip to India would be expensive right? Then there was the fact that I would have to get time off of work and leave my husband for an extended period of time. I doubted that I would be able to go. Even with all of my reasons to not be able to go, I felt a love growing for these women that I didn't personally know... and it kept growing (even now I cry as I think about the abuse they are receiving at this very moment).

God is such an amazing God! He slowly began to chip away at all of my "good reasons" for not being able to go. First, He told me that money was not a concern and that He would take care of it. Second, I found out that I had enough time to take 10 days of vacation as long as I didn't take any more vacation hours between February and June. Third, my husband was supporting me in this! As Jane and I (and a team of awesome women that also wanted to go to India) kept praying it was like God rolled out a red carpet for us. All of the contacts fell into place. It was amazing! We found out about a home that had just opened up for prostitutes to go to so they could get out of the life of prostitution (which was thought about first in May 2004 - same time we were praying!). These women were thrilled at the idea of having a team of women come and love them (more on prostitution in India below). Then, as I began to share with friend and family about my trip I started to figure in my head where all my money could come from. I knew people that could afford to give a good bit towards the trip... I knew "I" had it in the bag. Again, God blew me away - instead of those people that I was "counting on" to support me, He used those people in my everyday life in an extrodinary way! Friends that do not have much extra in their weekly paycheck were giving me thousands of dollars!!! Churches that do not even have an official pastor started sending me checks. God truly humbled me through seeing His people give out of the abundance of their hearts. I can say today June 17th that not only is my $4,000 trip paid for - but I am still receiving monetary gifts that will be able to go towards medical treatment for these women! God has showed me through all of this that He is my Source, not a job or even my husband. God has showed me that when He calls us to do something He will provide the way. All we have to be faithful to do is take the next step forward. I serve an AWESOME GOD.

Prostitution in India:
-Average age of a prostitute in India is 12 years old.
-They start with girls as young as 5 years old.
-Families are either tricked into selling their daughter to a pimp (family thinks they are giving her a home and education elsewhere) or they outright sell their daughter because for many a daughter is a curse in India.
-Men believe that having sex with a virgin will cure them of awful diseases such as AIDS.
-They will starve, rape, beat and burn a girl until she "learns" how to service up to 25 customers a day.
-They keep the youngest in cages so they cannot run away.
-Dogs in India are treated better than these women.
-160,000 women and children are kidnapped a year in India for sex trafficking.
-The police department in Bangalore (where we are going) receive 120 women A DAY that have been kidnapped, raped, or beaten.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

And at the End the Beginning

I am trying a blog for the very first time… hopefully it will be a great way for people I don’t see often to keep up with me:).

I am beginning this blog at the end/beginning of an important part of my life. I have officially resigned from the job that I have worked at for 3 years. This has been such a hard decision because I have been so blessed at UTS. I have had an awesome opportunity to work with great people over these last few years. I have been touched deeply by the things that friends and colleagues have spoken to me as they find out that I am leaving. Everyone that I have come in contact with has helped develop me into the person that I am today and I am truly thankful for each encounter. There were times that I had to be tough and that was no fun for me or the person that I was being tough to, but I truly believe that I was trying to do my job correctly and to the best of my ability. I certainly made many mistakes as I learned to become a supervisor, but I really believe that I learned from each of those mistakes. There have also been more good times than I can count, and I will always remember the fun of almost burning down a building or having a life size paper-doll of me scaring others as they walk through the department. Of course what I will miss the most is just the everyday times with those that I truly call friends at UTS.

I guess if I had one thing that I could say to everyone that I have encountered over the last few years it would be that the good that they have seen is a direct result of the impact Jesus has had in my life. I have tried to be very careful and respectful of working in a place with multiple cultures and religions represented, because I do not believe that offending someone or hitting them over the head with a Bible is a way to reach out to them. I do believe that I have probably been too passive in the way I talk to people about Christ. I get angered by intolerance and people who judge or abuse others because they are different, unfortunately many people think this is the way Christians act. I know that there are many people that call themselves Christians that act this way but if they truly want to be like Christ, then they will do what He did for people that were different. Christ is our example and He didn’t curse or degrade those that were different and imperfect; He loved them, ate with them, prayed for them and eventually gave His life for them.

My biggest hope that those that feel they have seen nice or good things in me realize that truly it is the God that I serve wanting to love them the same way He loves me. There is nothing keeping them from Him, He is already loving them, all they have to do is accept that love and then grow in it.

I will keep everyone from UTS in my prayers (and my lunch plans :).