From Training to Missionary Enrichment to New Home to Family Vacation to Now!
In the past two months (that's how long it has been since my last update!), so much has happened! This update will cover part of what I have been doing, how God has been moving, where I am with monthly support, and more.
In short, this is some of what has happened in the past two months. Keep scrolling for more details!
I finished Kingdom Come Training. It helped me a lot in forming some of the stories about how God led me to serve Him in Brazil.
I finished Good Soil Training. This is a great evangelism and discipleship resource for sharing the story of Jesus from the beginning to end of the Bible. I am excited to utilize the book study over the next few months.
I went to Missionary Enrichment where I was recognized as a missionary being sent to South Brazil. I also spent time with some of my future team (which was amazing), took part in a training on how to love and share the Gospel with the LGBTQ community (AMAZING training!), heard numerous stories of the amazing things God is doing worldwide, and explored DC with the Bair family.
I moved in with one of my best friends, Sarah, and she has been a true gift and encouragement to me in the past few weeks. We finally found a place about 5 days before she was needing to move out of her home. It was truly a lesson in trusting God's provision in all things. I have loved creating a space to invite others into where they feel welcomed, loved, safe, free, etc. with Franci. Ultimately, a place where Jesus can be made more known to us and to all who enter.
Vacation was not one thing or another. It was highs and lows. It was laughters and aggravation. It was family and love and grace and forgiveness and walking arm-in-arm. If I’m real and transparent, I’m excited and scared and grieving various things as God leads me to share Him in another place. The end of vacation reminded me that time is short and the people you get to share that time with are a gift.
I am at 40% supported! I am AMAZED at God's provision. I am also grateful for all those who have partnered with me. The team that God is forming to send me is a gift. They are people that I've known since I was a child to people I met in the past month. It is crazy, mind-blowing, and I am in awe of God's work, once again!
I will be doing a September and October fundraiser selling my jewelry! If you would like to see some of my jewelry, check out Saudade Jewelry Designs' facebook page or website. If you would like to sign up to host a party, either online or in your home (if you live in Lynchburg or nearby), shoot me an email!
And that was the short version of my update!! Now for some stories alongside the updates. This is my favorite part to share.
I completed Kingdom Come Training with this crew on July 13th. I loved hearing my classmates' stories about how God was leading them to make Him known all over the globe. I learned some ways to more effectively and fully communicate what God has laid on my heart to do in South Brazil. I share these stories that I put together in training often, mostly in day to day conversations! One of my favorite story boards to write was about my first trip to Brazil and how God changed my whole "life plan" in 10 days from living in Lynchburg, VA to moving to be a part of planting churches in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. So incredible to be reminded of how God began this entire journey and is continuing to meet my every need. If you want to read more about how that all began, check out my first update email on my website under the newly added Updates Tab.
Good Soil Training
In Good Soil Training, I learned a good bit of info and got to see some old friends (almost all of the new missionaries from my March candidate class were there!). It was great to catch up with them, hear how their ministries and support raising is going, listen to the various ways God is providing for them, and to simply see their faces again.
Some of my friends gave me good pointers on ministry visits and information that is valuable to have in a brochure for people to read. They were extremely helpful. If you would like a copy of one document that I made with facts, timeline, partnership definition, support needs, etc. let me know!
On July 16th, Missionary Enrichment (ME) began! ME is a gathering of ABWE missionaries from all over the world for about 4 days. I got to meet some amazing new people as well as some that I've known for the past year and a half. The first evening of ME, I was recognized officially as a missionary along with many others (top two photos of the below pictures)! Lucas and Teresa Bair gave me my towel when I walked offstage which represents being a servant of Jesus in the country each of us are going to. As part of the South Brazil team now (officially), it was so cool to have some of my teammates place the towel over my arm because I am joining them to be the hands and feet of Jesus in South Brazil. How beautiful! I am thankful to be a part of this team and that God is inviting me to serve Him in this way, a delightful duty.
I was able to spend a lot of time with Erin!!!! We started off Monday going to the LGBTQ Heart, Mind, and Soul training. It was amazing, and I highly recommend it for any church! It was led by two men who had each spent 20+ years in the LGBTQ community and then God radically reached into their hearts and, by His grace, gave them salvation in Jesus. Their stories were so insightful and with an understanding that spoke to me deeply. If you'd like to hear more about, just let me know! I'm happy to share more details. Erin was my roommate for the week too (which was wonderful). It was great to be able to discuss the church plant she is a part of, what God is doing in Brazil, what God is doing in my church (Gospel Community Rivermont), and how God is working in both of our hearts. She is a dear, dear friend!
I also loved meeting Heather Amundson and her and Doug's two little ones. It was a delight to talk to her and spend time with the girls. They remind me a lot of my little sister, who is such a gift to our family. I couldn't help but connect with them immediately! And then there were also so many other missionaries, my friends that did New Missionary Orientation with me, and home office people that I have grown to love over the past year (some of them are pictured below). It was so great to catch up with each of them, share stories, hugs, tears, and laughter. Time with each of them was a delightful gift! I learn so much about God through each of their journeys and steps.
The theme of the week was hope. The amazing hope we have in Jesus that goes far beyond our circumstance. It is an eternal hope, one that looks ahead to eternity with great expectation. There were some great speakers and lessons shared over the week. I left so encouraged and my eyes fixed on Jesus with great hope and expectation for all He has in store in this life and the next.
"The hope of Christ is too powerful to allow us to live short-lived, pleasure seeking lives."
- Paul Davis
I spent my last day exploring DC with the Bair family before heading back to Lynchburg. I loved time with them and how they let me be a part of their family for the day. They are a really cool crew. My conversations with Teresa were insightful for some things that are ahead of me. She encouraged me to spend a lot of time on my knees, praying like a crazy person. She told me that it will take that type of surrender to really trust God in the things that are to come. I see that even moreso as my time in the US gets shorter (FYI, the current planned timeline is that I leave August/September 2019). I want to continue to learn to daily surrender and trust the Lord as I walk with Him.
On a funny note, I taught the Bair boys (Nathaniel, Jackson, and Owen) how to finger joust in the DC metro. They loved it and it was so funny to watch them push each other all over the place to try to win.
Here are some pictures of Franci and my new home. I have enjoyed dinners with friends around our table and the conversations that have been had there. I've loved how I see Jesus more clearly and am able to be more open and honest with where I am. I love how I have the physical space to pray in the quiet and allow Jesus to speak to my soul through His Word, the nature surrounding us, and the gift of community. I even learned more about trusting and relying on God to provide a home for use to live in. This home is truly a gift from God, and I'm thankful for this friend I get to share it with (who is willing to press in, knowing full well that in a year, I'll be living in another hemisphere).
I got to spend time at the beach with my family. I’m very thankful for the time God gave me with these people I call family. It was also amazing to see Maddie walk up to the ocean for the first time and hear her thoughts on the beauty and majesty that she took in. “It’s wonderful!”
Vacation was filled with laughter, tears, aggravation, smiles, shrieks, games, crabbing, 100s of sand-dollars (I have never found so many sand dollars in my life!), “lame” cousins, the Kiawah Riders, and so much more!
I also can’t help but think about how I will be living on a completely different continent than my family in about a year. I have shared before, but I'll share again. I’m excited for how God is leading me to share Him in another place. I’m also scared and grieve leaving a lot of things. Especially people!
I am very thankful for vacation because the ups and downs meant something more. The sin, the brokenness, the forgiveness, the reconciliation. It reminded me that we all have Jesus in common, and we point each other back to Him. It's a beautiful gift.
The preparation for going to Brazil is not one thing or another. It’s a lot of different thoughts and feelings all at once. Some days that reality (the exciting and scary) feels closer and more real than others. I love the song How Can It Be Time Already by Adeline Hill.
“Oh the days they take so long, but the years fly by so fast. I hope you make the best of what you get because soon it will be time already.”
So in the days ahead, I’ll embrace the people, the moments, and the memories and aim to trust God with each new thing that comes.
I am at 40% supported and am blown away! God is our great provider. He has reminded me of this in support raising time and time again.
I wanted to also include in this update some key dates and goals that I have coming up. I am close to meeting some of these goals!
September 2018 - Reach 50% monthly support February 2019 - Reach 100% monthly support April 2019 - Field Prep Training with ABWE (must be at 85% supported to attend) June 2019 - Reach 100% outfit & passage July 2019 - Transition to full-time ABWE Missionary July 2019 - Essential Missionary Components Training with ABWE (must be at 50% supported to attend) August/September 2019 - Move to Porto Alegre, Brazil
If God leads you to support me, I do need those commitments soon! These make it so I know where I am in the support raising process and if I will make the deadlines for training. I have deadlines before the actual trainings in which I have to be at a certain percent in my committed support. For example, if I am only at 75% in April 2019, I have to wait until November to be able to attend the Field Prep training.
You are able to commit to a certain amount and either start giving immediately (monthly gift goes into my moving, training, furniture, and car fund) or delay it to begin in August (the month that I plan to move to Brazil). Please let me know if you have questions about this. I am more than happy to clarify any of these details.
Saudade Jewelry Fundraiser
I'm doing a fundraiser in September and October selling my jewelry! I make earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets. You can see some of my jewelry on Saudade Jewelry Designs' facebook page or website. If you would like to sign up to host a party, either online or in your home (if you live in Lynchburg or nearby), shoot me an email!
I would love to host a "Design Your Own Jewelry" Party for you and a group of your friends. It would be a cool way for me to use something God has gifted me in doing to raise support for going to Brazil as well as share some of what I am going there for. If you would like to host a party and would like some specific things pre-made, I can do that as well. Just let me know what you would like, specific dates you'd like to host a jewelry party, and where at.
If you have not yet received a prayer card or brochure or if you would like to have a visit with me so I can share more about South Brazil with you, your small group, your church, etc., let me know! I'm happy to send you more information or get together for coffee, dinner, or whatever, and talk about South Brazil and how God is leading me there. Love you all! If you are reading this portion, you made it through my full update! I know it was long, and it has certainly been a long and full past two months. Thanks for reading along! I hope it showed you even more of how God is faithful, gracious, and patient. He certainly has been so with me throughout this journey as I plan my course but He determines each and every step I take (Psalm 16:9).