Happy Birthday to a New Year!
It's a new year! Hello 2019!
I know it's been 2019 for almost a month now. It's been a crazy couple months, so get ready for a little update on what's going on with me and what my next steps are with plans to head to Brazil!
Can you believe that this is the year that I will be moving to ANOTHER COUNTRY!?
Well, the first thing I'd like to share is that God has provided me with 84% of my monthly support needed! Due to some changes with cost of insurance, my monthly support required has gone up to $3,672/mo. I am amazed! At the end of October, I felt stuck at 55% of my support needed. I had not gained any additional support in 2 months, but in just 3 months God has provided people to partner with me bringing me to where I am now. I confident that God will meet my needs for the remaining 16% and am excited to see how He will do it and who He will bring to join my support team. If you are interested in partnering with me or would like to hear more about what partnership entails, let me know. I'd love to talk to you. You are also able to give online.
December was filled to the brim! Christmas time was bittersweet for many reasons. It was sweet because it was a time to pause and simmer in the fact that Jesus came and is coming again. He will make all things new. It was also a delight to spend time with family and friends. I'm so grateful for all the marvelous people that God has filled my life with. The tough part is recognizing the numerous lasts that I am experiencing. I mentioned this in my last update as well. I am so grateful and also mourning lost to come. It can definitely be tough, but I am thankful for the time I am given. (Also, my parents loved their gift of plane tickets to come visit me in Brazil. I can't wait for them to visit!)
I went to New York at the beginning of December and spoke at two churches: Pines Brooke Baptist & Sidney Center Baptist. Both were a delight! I almost didn't make it to either of them because my car broke down the day before I was supposed to drive up. God blew me away once again with the generosity of my friends! Traci & Darryl helped me get my car started when it died at their house (I will always be known to their daughter, Callie, as the girl who's car is not working). Then I had friends who sent me money that paid for my car repairs and a rental car!
I had been feeling discouraged at the start of December. I had been wondering why God would want me to go to Brazil because I felt like I was unqualified for the task. I still knew that was where He was leading and trusted He had His reasoning, but, at the same time, I felt like I wasn't cut out for the job based on my resume. A friend told me that maybe God was showing me that He was with me in all of this - the preparing to go, the feelings of lack, etc. And she also said that maybe it was something God was using to show me others were with me too. That I am not alone. God knew what I needed.
I spoke at the Women's Christmas Party at Pines Brooke. These are some really amazing women with beautiful stories about how God has changed their lives. I got to spend time their with my 2nd cousin, Judy, and her daughter, Alisha (that I haven't seen since family reunions when we were teenagers). It was great to catch up and share stories about what God has laid on my heart to do in Brazil and how Brazil even got on my radar. Some of the women came up to me afterwards to encourage me, some teared up, some gave me big hugs. It was certainly an encouraging evening. Pines Brooke provided me with some generous gifts from their Missionary Closet (such a cool thing!) including sheets, towels, quilts, and much more.
Speaking at Sidney Center Baptist Church on Sunday morning was also splendid. My Great Uncle, Kenny, is a deacon at this church. He is so sweet, and I enjoy getting to spend time with him. This church was also very encouraging and is praying through potentially supporting me. We went out to lunch afterwards, and it was a sweet time to hear their stories and catch up with my Uncle Kenny and second cousin, Gary.
January has been splendid! I will be working part-time starting in February. We are currently drawing up the contract. I am so excited to have that extra time to work on my ABWE classes & various trainings as well as have more time to spend with my friends and family. January has included times of laughter, adventure, sickness, tears, and grace upon grace.
There is a song I love that has come to mind a lot in January because of the snow that I've seen and the things I've experienced this month. The song is called "Winter Snow" by Audrey Assad. The lyrics are as follows:
You could have come like a mighty storm with all the strength of a hurricane
You could have come like a forest fire with the power of heaven in your flame
But you came like the winter snow: quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night to the earth below
It was a reminder to me of God's gentleness and kindness with me in all kinds of days that January has held. I have had to learn to lean into God more and trust that He holds all things in His hands, all people.
I also was able to be part of a Vendor Fair today at Calvary Baptist Church in Lynchburg. I make jewelry (Saudade Jewelry Design) as a fundraiser to help pay for the cost of moving to Brazil. The event was great! I earned over $200 in sales and donations! And it was a fun time spent with my friend and coworker, Anna.
Coming in February
I will be going part time, starting my class in Hermaneutics, and speaking at Swift Creek Baptist Church in VA. I'm excited for all that God has in store in the next few months. I'd appreciate prayer in these months ahead as I transition more and more towards officially moving to Brazil. Please let me know how I can pray for you as well.
For God to provide financial partners and allow me to reach 100% by the end of February. Also, that He would provide prayer partners who will pray for South Brazil, the people there who need Jesus, and me as I seek to make known the mysteries of the Gospel with boldness and grace.
For youth ministry and that God would draw more of our teens to Himself as they hear the Gospel week after week. My desire is that they would come to follow Christ and come to understand how He fits into each area of their lives.
For God to continue to guide my steps in all the changes and transitions as they happen.