Now known as the local “fotografa”! What’s in a name really?…

In the newsletter I recently finished I wrote about feeling like I’m in a place where I’m blessed to be able to grow & flourish in who God’s made me to be. Well… I never expected that to include becoming known as the photographer of the art movement that’s starting here in Jarabacoa! Part of my personality (ENFP for all those who know Myers-Briggs personality types 🙂 is that I don’t like to be put in a box or to put people in a box. In which, I feel humbled to be known as an artist as I sit & draw in the art school helping with classes there, known as the photographer (now with the assigment to shoot the paintings of the real artists around the area & my friends wedding this Saturday), & then again, I don’t know anyone who lives as an ex-patriot from their home country who likes to be known by where they come from or the color of their hair (gringa, norteamericana, rubia, etc. are words I often hear as I walk down the street). I like to be known as a child of God, simply because that’s all I can ever be sure of!

Life in the DR has been good this last month though! Ups, downs, all-overs, but where can you go to escape that universal reality? As I’ve been slowed down more than one would expect with the temporary loss of my computer currently being repaired in the States, I feel like there’s so much to share (& so many pictures I wish I would be able to post…) that I’ll just have to take it all as a lesson in patience & share as circumstances allow.

This weekend starts our vacation time over the holidays. As I already mentioned, a friend of mine is getting married on Saturday (she’s one of the students at the art school & I have more to share with you about dear Nila at another time), and then I will be going on Sunday to spend a few days with my cousin & his family in the capital, Santo Domingo before returning to Jarabacoa right before Christmas & the New Year.

Happy Holidays & know you are in the thoughts & prayers of this daughter of the King who goes by so many different names 🙂

LET US GIVE THANKS

Well, just over a week here in my new home! Everything is going fairly well, expectedly so as life ebbs & flows as it does anywhere else. Today, “Thanksgiving Day” for all of my North American friends, is just another normal day here on the island. I’ve been meaning to write earlier, as well as post some new photos, but so it goes that last Friday my computer fell off of my new nightstand as I was taking the plastic off of my new mattress (maybe the most comfortable mattress I’ve ever owned), and Praise the Lord that everything in the hard drive is still working, but the screen is broken, so there’s slight hassle & inconvenience now for me to have to connect to another screen & work that way so I can see what I’m doing.

I’m realizing as I’m here, a completely different world in which I lay down everynight tired, satisfied & with aching cheek muscles from all the laughing we do (no one would ever be correct in saying Dominicans don’t know how to have fun & laugh), that it truly is beyond me why I’m here. What truly do I have to offer or bring? I’m a sinner saved by grace like any other!

I’m reading a great book right now, Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. In the second chapter Miller includes a poem written by C.S. Lewis:

All this flashy rhetoric about loving you.I never had a selfless thought since I was born.I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through;I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.Peace, reassurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin;I talk of love–a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Miller writes two pages following:

I know now, from experience, that the path to joy winds through this dark valley. I think every well-adjusted human being has dealt squarely with his or her own depravity. I realize this sounds very Christian, very fundamentalist and browbeating, but I want to tell you this part of what the Christians are saying is true. I think Jesus feels strongly about communicating the idea of our brokenness, and I think it is worth reflection. Nothing is going to change in the Congo [or the Dominican Republic or anywhere] until you and I figure out what is wrong with the person in the mirror.

If I may be so bold, I’m in the middle of a battle that each of us has to choose to face or forever run away from. Our purpose, rather, God’s purpose for us, is to be changed by Him, we’re just the broken vessel that by His grace & mercy, as He changes us, the world around us sees Him at work, and so He can touch the world (Congo, Dominican Republic, or USA)! For this I give thanks; if the Lord will change me more into His likeness here in the DR, it’s worth the discomforts of coming & going electricity as the government dictates, a day or two without water & showers, frustration with language as Dominican Spanish is something to adjust to & continue learning, a broken computer screen, and all else that lies ahead to test my patience & character. By His grace may we seek to be faithful to that which the Lord calls us!

 

The last 24 hours Stateside

It’s quite a surreal place knowing that the majority of the last 24 hours in the States before moving to the Dominican Republic, will actually be spent in the air looking over the United States of America (or maybe more like sleeping in a plane while flying between the numerous airports I’ll be visiting). This past weekend was an incredible time. There’s a worship song by Charlie Hall which my a dear friend from MTI blessed us all with at training, and the last few weeks here in Denison, sharing with different churches, being comissioned & blessed by my home church in Kiron, Iowa yesterday, and the time spent with family & friends in person, on the phone & via other modern telecommunication has been a blessing in abundance of ‘sending off’! The lyrics to the song are:

lay down all riches for the pearl of great cost
count it as nothing for the sake of the cross
pour out an offering of our lives for the lost, send us out
YOU’RE OUR GREATEST DESIRE, AND JESUS, YOUR NAME IS OUR GREATEST SONG
SEND US WITH FIRE TO GO LOVE THE WORLD
SEND US WITH FIRE TO GO LOVE THE WORLD
channel our passions into pleasing Your heart
come consecrate us, come and set us apart
hope of the nations, we lift high the cross, send us out

It’s about three hours from when we need to leave for the airport… nice & early! I really am fairly close to ready to go, but even if I laid down to sleep, I don’t know that my body would allow it.

One incredible thing about today, 11.16.04, is that exactly one year ago today, in the middle of a somewhat despairing point with doors all around me recently slammed shut, the God of the Universe reached down & His Holy Spririt spoke clearly into my life as I was crowd control in 3rd Grade Sunday School, reminding me who I was created to be, and in the service at Park Ave spoke to me again sending me to Urbana 03. Here I am, a year later. I’m overwhelmed at the Lord’s faithfulness as I look back at the whirlwind of this last year! Humbled & amazed that the Lord of Heaven & Earth loves each of us, His creations, so much that He desires to have relationship with us broken sinners that He sent His Son to die for us & then everyday is faithful to be the lifter of our heads! Praise the Lord & may we learn a little something about true faithfulness from our heavenly Abba Father whose name is Faithful.

One week from today…

Holy guacamole! One week from today I’ll be waking up in the Dominican Republic! I just received the schedule for my first week of orientation in Jarabacoa. Let’s stay focused on the present though… Many of you may have heard be use the analogy of the perverbial carrot out in front of me. That ‘carrot’ so to speak which has had a date on it for the last two weeks is now about to hit me smack between the eyes. Such a crazy reality! Such a paradoxical reality! I’m so excited, and altogether at the same time mourning all that I’m leaving for at least the next two years, and then there are the moments when I ask God & myself, “WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I DOING?”

All that said, it has been blessing after blessing as details have been falling into place. My insurance was accepted & coverage began yesterday. Time with family & friends in the area has been falling into place to be able to see them. There has been an incredible support network made up of you my friends & family around me who have encouraged me & prayed for me, more faithfully than I’ll probably ever know or be able to thank you for. Jesus has been real & alive to me as everyday, in grace, He’s been showing me how He desires to draw me close in His love. Thank you dear fellow journers in this world that is not our home for lifting me up in your prayers & encouragement! The emails which have filled my mailbox faster than I can reply, the few calls I’ve received, & the simple knowledge that there is such a willing network out there if needed has blessed and strengthened me to press on through this time of transition into so much unknown.

Truly, as my hours Stateside continue to dwindle, I realize that I’m to the point that even with my long list of things I’d like to get done, as long as I get things in a suitcase & get on my plane next Tuesday morning, the rest is not composed of life or death things which can’t be done from the DR or are simply frivolous anyway. With that I’d ask for your continued prayers in the rest of this time & below include my flight schedule. (May all my luggage neede make it along with me through all the flight changes…)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004 
Delta 606 
7.00am Omaha – 10.11am Atlanta 
Delta 206 
11.32am Atlanta – 12.14pm St Louis 
Delta 5651 
12.50pm St Louis – 4.15pm New York JFK 
Jet Blue 425 
9.10pm New York JFK – 1.45am (November 17) Santiago, DR

 

I REALLY AM MOVING TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC!!!

There are sometimes those plans out in front of us that always seem to theoretically seem like they’ll actually come to fruition. Well, as real & exciting as the call I’ve felt to go to the Dominican Republic, it’s incredible to be able to announce that it is a reality with dates and plane tickets as opposed to the “theoretical someday.” Students International’s policy is that financially I be at 90% of my Mandatory Support Goals in order to purchase my tickets. I praise Jesus that I’m able to write that I’m now beyond that! Aleluya, Jehovah Jireh is our Abba who faithfully provides for us!



I just purchased my tickets to make the move to the Dominican Republic! I have a full day of flights NOVEMBER 16 flying from Omaha to Atlanta to St. Louis to New York to Santiago, Dominican Republic (arriving at 1:45am on the 17th). The irony of departing on November 16 is that it is exactly one year from the day Jesus renewed His call on my life in the midst of a few despairing days & He sent me to Urbana ’03! That means three weeks from today I will be starting to settle in in Jarabacoa. I’ve been in contact with our staff leaders on the field. They will be arranging some temporary housing for me as I will spend that first week doing orientation along with some house/apartment hunting, car shopping, getting a cell phone, and everything else involved in “getting settled.”

 

 

As my days Stateside are now numbered, there are also many things that need to be wrapped up here. Highest importance to me is relationships! The extreme paradox of excitement & grieving are swirling about inside me as I’m so excited to go to where I know I’m supposed to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to say goodbye to those who have shaped and formed my life by their presence in it (it’s not death, but there is going to be physical separation, and that is “grieve worthy”).

 

 

THE SOVEREIGN LORD IS MY STRENGTH! HE WILL MAKE ME AS SUREFOOTED AS A DEER & BRING ME SAFELY OVER THE MOUNTAINS. -Habakkuk 3:19


This is a promise that the Lord has sweetly spoken into my life, & it is one of the amazing promise & truths I’m clinging to through all this transition. May it be so in each of your lives too! Thank you for your prayers & support! God bless!

 

Training

I can’t put into words how incredible training was! Friday I flew back to Iowa where I’ll be for the next indefinite amount of time in the end of my support raising process.

As I reflect on my weeks in Colorado, I’m blown away by the Truths that have been brought back into the Light about who the Lord is. God is God! God is good! God is not always safe, but He is faithful! I wouldn’t want to head to the field without going through this training during which I was allowed to grow in self-awareness, and be equipped by hearing stories of the realities of life as a missionary, as well as learning practical ways to deal with different situations as they arise.

So now I’m in the indefinite land of waiting. I have a few speaking engagements set up during which I have more opportunities to share what’s on & in my heart about the Dominican Republic & what I feel called to. I’ll highlight the following prayer requests in more detail on the prayer page, but I ask for your prayers as support continues to come in, that it would all be according to the Lord’s divine timing, as He lays on the hearts of His children when & how much to commit to. Also pray for me in the mundane of the last minute details (ex: immunizations, insurance, packing, housing, etc.), as well as in saying good-byes.

PS – As I know you must care for me if you’re checking this website for updates, I’d encourage you to learn more about how you can partner in this ministry. A great book that’s been brought to my attention is: Serving As Senders Neal Pirolo it focuses on “How to care for your missionaries while they are preparing to go, while they are on the field, & when they return home.”

 

 

 

Fruit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
-Galatians 5:22

Please pray for humility to accept the truths about myself that the Lord wants to continue to reveal to me in this unique time.

The community here amongst us in training has been incredible. Praise Jesus for the friendships & connections in authentic & life-giving relationships between brothers & sisters here. May dissension not be stirred among the ranks, but may we face conflict as it arises in healthy ways. The truth is that the number one reason that missionaries leave the field is that they can’t get along with other missionaries. May the Lord have His way & may what rules our relationships with one another be the love of Christ at work in our lives as opposed to our differences.

Missions Training International

Today I arrived for training in Palmer Lake, Colorado for the beginning of my three weeks of training at Missions Training International (www.mti.org) to go through the SPLICE program. The next three weeks I will be alongside other like-minded Christians in the three-week, pre-departure program to help develop the practical skills and attitudes to help us through the challenging and rewarding process of being interwoven with another culture. SPLICE focuses on skill & character development in the six vital areas of: Spiritual, Personal, Lifestyle, Interpersonal, Cultural, Endure/Enjoy.

Last week I was blessed to be able to spend time with friends and family in Minnesota. I’ll go more into depth of specific prayer requests as they arise on the prayer page, but I beseech you to pray that this will be a time of strong relationships and community and that I alongside the other missionaries in preparation here may be surrendered to our Savior & what HE wants to show and teach us in this time.

Fellowship

I can’t properly express the thankfulness I feel for the blessings I’ve experienced this last week! September 21-26 I was able to travel up to Minnesota to spend quality time with so many important people that God has & does use in my life. As I’ve been preparing to head to the DR, I feel very secure that where I’m going & what I’ll be doing is who, what, when, where, why, & how exactly in all the details, that it wasn’t until I was face to face with the “I love you. See you when I see you,” good-byes that the reality of the sacrifice in leaving hit me upside the head. I thank Jesus so much for the amazing blessings of friends & family that would even check this page to be able to know how to support me on their knees! I praise God for each of you & couldn’t go without your faithfulness in love & support of the work of the Kingdom!

I write this update right now from Missions Training International (MTI) in Palmer Lake, CO where I arrived today & will be until October 15 (visit the news page if you want more info of the program & what’s happening here). Praise Jesus for incredible fellowship experienced already with three other females my age. We just got back from a visit to Colorado Springs where we walked around “Old Historic Colorado City” & then headed into downtown Colorado Springs & parked at a coffee shop where we enjoyed some good Bubble Tea & sharing in learning one anothers’ stories. It never ceases to amaze me when I get to catch a glimpse of God at work in so many amazing & unique ways! We all have quite a few things in common as well which I anticipate continuing to be a blessing for us all in this time of preparation. One of these women and her husband are also heading to the DR. They will be working in a different area of the country with Haitian immigrants through a different organization. There is also another fairly young family who will be going on staff with SI in Jarabacoa, DR! I was able to connect with Brian & Sissy some today & met there two daughters & am very much praying that the Lord would knit us together in preparation for ministry together in the Dominican!

I ask you to pray for the MTI Staff as they lead all of us fresh missionary meat in preparation, each of us present through the SPLICE program- that we would really be able to enter into genuine community of learning, vulnerability, and spurring one another on as the Lord sends us out scattered to the nations,please also pray that the Entrekins & I may connect in a way that may strenghten our future ministry in the DR as well as even be something fresh & encouraging to the rest of the SI staff we will be joining (they will be making the move in January 2005 after I’m there for awhile). 

Jesus has claimed each of the lives and ministries represented in this place & time of preparation, may He have victory in each of the steps along the way as the evil one prowls about seeking to devour & destroy. May our eyes be fixed on Jesus, may He have His way on this earth, in our lives, as in Heaven, and may the name of the Lord be praised!