Dinner with Friends

Usually when you invite friends over for dinner there is the assumption that one language that is understood by both parties will be spoken. That was not the case for our dinner last night and it was beautiful! Jeremy and Caitlin invited a family from Birchcroft over for dinner and graciously asked us to join. Biak, McKenzie, Dat, David, and their mother are from Burma and have only been in the US for 2 years. While Biak and her younger sisters can understand and speak English pretty well, their mother still needs the help from her daughters to communicate. Dinner, made up of chicken and veggie skewers and rice was delicious and dessert was a smorgasbord of cupcakes, brownies, ice cream, and donuts. What could be better than finishing up the evening with Biak and Travis leading us with "You Raise Me Up"?

Travis combined all the dessert options:
a brownie, cupcake, ice cream, and donut

David loved the music!


Girl's Night

Let me ask you: what is better than hanging with 20 girls, making delicious treats, and celebrating a 12 year old's baptism? I think you would agree with me and say not much! Last night Heather's home in Birchcroft Apartments was booming with laughter, songs of praise, and the aroma of homemade caramel apple bites and cookies! It was a beautiful display of God's love as the girls insisted on helping with the baking and rejoiced with Tina as she shared Psalm 17 and her story of why she chose to be baptized. 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 
1 John 3:1


This Week in the 'Hoods

This week has been awesome! We visited Grier Heights on Tuesday where we ate dinner, had bible study, and soccer practice. Get this: one of our volunteers called Chipotle Mexican Grill and told them she needed 45 burritos for dinner that night and of course expecting to pay full price. Instead Chipotle was so excited for what she was buying them for they gave all 45 burritos to her at no charge! I knew that place was AWESOME! Wednesday we had bible study in Birchcroft. Travis and Cody (who is Urban Eagles training from Chicago) led worship. The kids were loving it, they were dancing, running, and singing during Marvelous Light!
We are just so blessed to be able to call this our job! How many people can actually say they enjoy what they do for a living? We can't thank God enough for where He has brought us and the path He chose to get us where we are! We also can't forget those who are praying for us and are supporting us every step of the way! You are bringing God's Kingdom to Charlotte and bringing God's love to those who desperately need Him!

P.S. Travis will share his awesome trip to Trinidad soon! I know you all are dying to hear how it went! :)


Spanish 101

Taking 5 1/2 years of French is not paying off! Well I guess it wouldn't considering we don't run into very many people who speak French or are from a French-speaking country. However, a lot of families we come across in Charlotte and in the neighborhoods are Hispanic and their first language is Spanish. So what better way to get acclimated then to learn how to converse with these wonderful people? That is why we are taking Spanish classes once a week through December from our dear friend, Paul Shedd. Here's to feeling like I'm back in the 8th grade! :)

Gracias, Pablo!


A Somali Lunch

I never thought I'd eat authentic Somali food in the heart of Charlotte. I was blessed beyond words today as a Somali family invited Heather, Angela, and me in for lunch. The family showed true servanthood as we sat and fellowshipped with one another and they served us an UH-mazing meal! All we could say was: "Mahad Sanid" (which means "thank you" in Somali). God is present in Birchcroft Apartments and I am humbled and blessed to be a part!

Angela holds baby Ibrahim
my delicious meal

In the Secret Place

I thought this week was going to be hard. I thought I was going to be lonely. I thought I would be sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Boy, was I wrong! I've been super busy, and really it's been a blessing! I've had the chance to hang out with many people, the Auyers are continuing to take care of me, and I've been able to experience the neighborhoods as me and not as Travis' wife. Besides twiddling my thumbs I thought I'd have to opportunity to really sit down and grow deeper with Jesus. Yesterday, after 4 days, I finally got that opportunity. Since Travis left I've been almost afraid to be alone; I've tried to keep myself busy with working out, watching movies, or surfing the web when I am by myself. So when the post office didn't go according to plan and then some lady gave me a nasty look, the only thing I could do is pull over into a parking lot and cry. If you know me, then you know I'm pretty sensitive and when I'm already on the fritz, just a mean look can send me over the edge. I realized at that moment that I hadn't breathed all week! I thought to myself, "I need to find the nearest park!" So I typed it into our borrowed gps and sped off as fast as I could toward the Carmel Rd Park. God knew that I was going to have this break down and would need to get away at that moment because I just so happened to have my bible which I rarely ever carry with me because it's so big. He is so Good! I spent the next 2 hours reading, praying, and worshipping Jesus. While I love the occasions where I can just spend hours with Him, I realized that in order to live life to the full, I need to breathe Him in everyday. I need to allow Him to breathe in me every day too and not just when I have a meltdown and book it to the nearest park. My devotion yesterday (from Oswald Chamber's My Upmost for His Highest) said it best and was perfectly fitting:

Unless in the first waking moment of the day you learn to fling the door wide back and let God in, you will work on a wrong level all day; but swing the door wide open and pray to your Father in secret, and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.


Not the least bit jealous!

I always told Travis that he was never to go on a missions trip without me. Not necessarily because I'd miss him, mainly because I don't want to miss out. I would tell him that I'd be so jealous. I want to explore and see the world with my husband, doing ministry together outside of the USA. And within the first month of us being here who gets the call that he's heading back to Trinidad? Not me! But what was this feeling inside of me? It wasn't jealousy, it wasn't resentment, it wasn't even sadness...I was happy, excited, and not the least bit envious! From the picture above you might be thinking, "What a jerk, he doesn't take Jess with him to this amazing paradise!?" And as I gaze at this picture while typing I'm beginning to think the same thing...haha, j/k! But in all seriousness, Travis, along with 5 other men aren't going to beach it up all week, they are going to be an encouragement and support system for the Kingdom work that is already being done in the orphanages and on soccer teams. They will team up with Coach Allister, who has a heart for kids without parents, to coach and minister letting these kids know that while they may not have earthly parents anymore, their Heavenly Father loves them and cares for them. While Travis is still on the plane as I type I'm reminded of the week we spent in the summer of '09 meeting these beautiful children who crave physical touch and someone telling them how much they are loved. I miss those kids so much! I miss holding their hands, having them sit on my lap, laughing and making jewelry together, telling them Jesus loves them, singing songs about our Heavenly Father. Ok, so maybe I am a little envious that Travis gets to see some of the kids we met a few years back but knowing God will be glorified every step of the way brings so much joy to my heart. Yeah, I cried a bit when I dropped him off this morning, and yeah, I'll miss him like crazy, but this experience will be life changing and I would never want to take that away from him just because I didn't get to go. I've posted some of my favorite pictures below of the beautiful children of Trinidad. More to come in about a week :)

rainy days do not keep these
kids inside! "god made" slide :)