Monday, April 20, 2015

Jr Sr Trip Year 2

I wish I could split my self in two. Our team of Jr and Srs went their separate ways last week. One team back to Volcan another team to Mariato/PaloSeco/LaGigi. I went on the latter. I loved Volcan Last year. That experience with the 7 of those students and two others leaders will never be replicated in my life again. It was a blind adventure that we cooked up together and the Lord blessed it and it is a sweet moment frozen in my heart that will forever make me realize that God KNOWS me.
With all that sap being said this year I went on the new trip. And was blown away in a completely different ways like...

God's creation (Rivers, Mountains, flowing water, loud roosters at 5 in the morning, etc.)
My students know how to work hard! Climbing mountains with PVC pipe or sand bags on their backs they got it! I wonder where that is in math class...? haha
I don't really mind being dirty.
I LOVE rocky rivers.
I can make pancakes with olive oil in an open flame kitchen.
If I need to pee at 1am I will do so even if I'm terrified.

Mostly I was blown away by Rio Missions. In this lovely community we have the Cottons. Dan, Jess and their 4 kids. Dan works at the school part-time and Jess raises awesome children. They have a missions base and run Rio Missions. By far the highlight of this trip was getting to see what they do in real life and not just hearing about it. One day Dan was explaining what Rio does to the team and this one statement he made struck a chord with me: We meet basic needs in Jesus' name.

We climbed a mountain to a water source and bought about a mile's worth of PVC pipe to help the community of La Gigi reroute their water supply. In Jesus' Name.

We also played soccer, by we I mean everyone else. Had field day games. Sang worship at church. Watched Horton Hears a Who. Made a bonfire. In Jesus' name.

So Much Win.

You can totally still support us by going to
Soon we will tally up the bill and the Students' families will have to take on the remaining cost so the more support the less the bill. =)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Panamanian Snow Days and #Restored2k15

Obama shut down Panama because he came for the 7th Cumbre de Las Americas. Because the traffic patterns in the city are rough as it is the Government shut down school and work so people would be off the streets. We affectionately refer to these as Panamanian snow days! On this four day weekend I headed to the beach. It was well timed and well spent. The first two days were chill and quiet the second were #restored2k15

The youth group here had a girls retreat this weekend and I was so happy with the outcome. I was worried like a nut that it wouldn't work out. I mean Obama had the roads shut down and we had to caravan and what if there were too many girls or we left one. A million things and it was prefect. Everyone showed up and made it back in one piece. Some highlights of this weekend:

-a set of parents that  live in Costa Del Este made it safe even though the corredor sur was shut down (this is a big deal and they just moved here like 2 months ago)
-it was beautiful and sunny
-I got to do the first session, we talked about moving on and did some solo time
-we swam A LOT
-we had break out session for the girls about comparison, guilt, the Father's heart, transparency, courage, and giving God your best yes
-sweet mixed small group times
-yummy food
-dancing and singing to Taylor Swift at the top of our lungs
-night session was great, listened to Lisaaaaaa, had great worhsip time, great prayer time and all in the dark because the lights went out
-NIGHT SWIM with awesome pool lights and did the cupid shuffle in the pool (this was one of my happiest moments)
((((Maybe this link will help you visulaize... or not =))))
-morning work outs
-panel sessions
-didn't hit any traffic on the way home!!!

The most terrible small group picture ever

Lauren and I being super cute

SO good so much Jesus. I was just praying for freedom and peace and restoration. I was happy to see it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Jr Sr Trip- Missions Worship Night

I think I am doing a bad job at sharing some sweet things in my life that make it so full.
Lets try to rectify that.

CCA Missions Worship Night
The Jr Sr MIssions trip is fully under way. We are going two places this  year. Back to Volcan and to a new location called Mariato. Both are Mountain towns. Mariato is roughing it though. No electricity no running water. Walking with the team this year has been COMPLETELY different from last year. But I very much know that Jesus wants to do a new thing this year. There are 16 students going. I am very excited about that. More people equals more money. Last year we needed to raise 3500 for 10 people this year we need 6800 for 21. Yikes!
In reading the students' applications I came across an idea from Jason Batchelor. He said we could host a worship night and invite people to give. I brought this idea to the team and they LOVED it. They also thought having a bake sale would be a great idea to couple with the night.
Last night I had the privilege of watching their idea come to life.
There were three groups:
Trin's group. I have bragged about Trin plenty! See Here, and Here!
The Juniors: Okay so I requested an all jr group bc I wanted to empower them. I was hoping they would learn to not rely on our seniors and you know spread their wings and stuff. Boy did they!!! I don't know what I was worried about. I'm pretty sure Jason led this group and they were just amazing. I rest assured that CCA will be in good hands next year. =)
Avery's group: Avery started playing Guitar in January. JANUARY!!! She led a full set yesterday. I love watching people be vulnerable before the Lord. I love watching people grow in the Lord. SO much fun. So proud.

We raised $452.75!!!
Left we have $5726.25.

How to donate:
How To Donate:
2. On the left click “Quick Give”
3. Type in Amount 
4. Choose “Missions Trip” from drop down menu
5. Place student’s name in “Other Comments” box (Optional)
6. Fill in payment info
7. Click submit
We appreciate your support more than you know.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wrestling with Home

Year-one, standing outside the gym office gathering equipment for work out, Danae (my red-headed-English-teacher-friend who is newly engaged :::insert diamond ring emoji:::) and I were talking to Nathan and he was asking how we were settling in. He said something to the effect of, "Are you starting to feel at home." I distinctly remember saying, "I don't think it will every feel like home." He said, "you'd be surprised."
Truer words were never spoken. In that moment I remember feeling a little twang in my heart. I am reminded of that twang every time I land at Tocumen airport.
Here is the other side of the coin... I have never gotten out of the habit of saying Ft. Lauderdale is home. My family is there, my long time friends are there, my car is STILL there, my bank account, my church, heck half my shoes are still there!
A little over a year ago I wrote a post about extending my contract for a third year and at the end of that post I said: "Thinking about all the things I want to accomplish in the next year and a half. All the plans God has laid on my heart. Wanting to pour myself out here in Panama so that if God tells me to leave at the end of next year or any other year I will have had no regrets."

Twang in my heart.

April of last year, Jesus and I started to have talks. I, for once wasn't concerned with my next step but He sure was. I wasn't ready to talk about my possibilities because both of them scared me.
Stay here vs Heading back to the States
Scary for various reasons, mostly because there are things I want from both of them. I can't have them at the same time. I began to wrestle with the Lord. Figuratively of course, not like Joseph when he becomes Israel. Surely I've never wrestled so much. For months. Praying, fasting, seeking wise council. It just seemed like I couldn't shake it.
I'm going back to the States 
(!!!!!!!@(&#$@%!*!#&&*#^&!@#&<--my thoughts exactly)

Why? I get asked that question all too often. I don't have a good answer. Because I prayed about it? Because I feel like its the next step right now? Esther, what if you're wrong? Then I'm wrong. But you know what? My life isn't a sum of right or wrong decisions but rather a multiplication of Jesus. (See what I did there? ;-))
At the end of this school year I still hope to have no regrets. I hope to be poured out and empty of everything that the Lord gave me to offer. And believe me he has done A TON. Over the next couple of months I want to share pieces of my life that make it so full. Things like:
Missions Trips
Communal Dinners
Bible/book studies
Pinterest Club
Hosting in my awesome aprtment
Precalc Parties
My guitar lessons
Chapel creativity team
Weight loss
Basketball and Soccer
My beautiful, wonderful, smart, sassy, annoying, hilarious, stressful, thoughtful, sweet, endearing, thought-provoking, loud, bold, insane, partying, Jesus-loving, shy, quiet, talented students. Who are #myheart.

Should be fun!

Oh you know just a regular day on my awesome job! Our first official missions meeting. Jr Sr. Trip.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Amstutz Iron

The iron that the Lord uses to sharpen me usually doesn't come in the form of a wiser more seasoned human being. I often find that super sad cuz I'm always wishing some older woman would take me under her wing and tell/ show me about life and Jesus. Haven't had someone like that since high school and let me tell you it made all the difference! It is one of the reasons I love spending so much time with my students! Any who in this lovely season I get Lisaaaaaaa!! That's usually how I spell her name when my brain is confuzzled and I need her to impart some Holy Spirit wisdom in my life. She is super good at that.

I could call Lisaaaaaa right now to hang out and she would make time for me. She would not just think through my issues but pray through my issues. She'd sit down with me and hear my heart. I just love to be seen. Though I am pretty in-your-face and in the spotlight a lot, I don't often feel seen a lot and I genuinely feel like Lisa sees me. 

This evening Lisaaaaaaa went running with us and then had us all over her home for salad night. Love being in a home. Seeing how people live and love. Love seeing people use what they have to bless others. It reminds me to do the same. It also allows me to think that if the Lord blesses me like he has blessed them that I should be just as gracious.

So here's to my favorite kind of iron.
Thanks Lisa. :-)