Monday, 27 June 2011

Hitting the wall?

I think the title pretty much describes it. The thing is, I think I have already HIT the wall and am now on an upwards recovery of just being able to rest, and steadily realize it's OK that I can't control what is going on. I'm starting to realize even more how little I can actually do, just come back and pray because I can't convict anyone of sin, or persuade them of a truth, or change a heart. Nope. And it's kind of freeing, and "sweet" to be able to just rest in knowing that I am loved and forgiven.. I have been infinetly served by Christ and am now free to serve the others, not to prove myself or show I am the best but just, because I am loved and forgiven, that compels me to love others as I ask God "How could you ever love me?"

There is tons of stuff going on at the moment, but not yet official so it's not up on the blog yet. We are almost halfway through our time here (4 weeks in, 6 to go?) which is crazy and just yesterday I saw so much of my own selfishness in the way I reacted badly to someone. Being in a room is definetly a sanctifying experience hehe. Yesterday after Life Training 8.45am (talk on family), campus time 10am (I joined Sioux Falls Uni this time) and church 11am, Allie and I were going to escape and drive to Atlanta Bread to have lunch and just chat somewhere off Project to rest. (I always say "Proj" coz it is easy but I can't bring myself to type it). But the car was playing up like crazy (indicators not working, accelerator not doing anything really, the car jolted alot and the TRAC OFF light came on) but we got to Atlanta bread and it was closed! So we turned around to go to Sonic but the car started not working and the steering wheel was locking so we stopped at a supermarket and were rescued by Jess and Greta. Greta drove back with Allie (coz it was her car we were using) and I went back with Jess (my team leader) and she just had to ask "How are you?" and it all came pouring out, so we ended up going to Starbucks just to talk through how everything has been going. I think the biggest frustration was that I saw how selfish I was being and I was FRUSTRATED at my frustration with someone else that has been going on. I wanted to love but just feel annoyance and I was annoyed at my annoyance and just wanted it to go away. But there is something much greater than our sin just "going away" (= burying it and pretending nothing has happened). It has been TAKEN AWAY... so as I confessed my annoyance and verbally processed with Jess and then came back home and journalled for an hour I was able to see how horrible it all was, all that was inside me (like an infected wound being revealed or drained or whatever.. yeuch) but then, after all that, to see that it has been FORGIVEN and although I have not talked to the person yet to ask for forgiveness (but will later today) its OK, I am forgiven by God and so I feel free. It is so much better to bring up sin from the bottom and deal with it and know it is done and finished with than bury it very very deep and try to feel better as you try to forget about it. At a camp ages ago a pastor described it as healing an infected wound, treating it, putting antiseptic, etc. as oppose to wrapping it in a bandage to fester so it can't be seen anymore. So yeah, sin abounds, but forgiveness abounds so much more. And that is so restful =).

Thankyou for your prayers for rest, God is definetly showing me alot. And working in the girls as they open up more and we are able to share more in life - even if I can't fix them or don't have a clue what to do. We have had plenty of fun as well.. I do believe I was on a sugar high and climbing onto Rachel's bunk and rolling off it onto our bed, doing some crazy dancing in the room, we were asked on a group date by the A-men (Last year they were called the A-team but now there are no women on the team (coz we were lacking in older women) hence their name: Amen), and then we had a Sadie Hawkins social (where the guy rooms had to plan a synchronized swim to impress the girls who would ask them out on a date). Basically, the guys and girls rooms were assigned a number and after the guys did their performance, the girls could either accept them or swap them. There were some cold-hearted swaps haha including our room, because we were assigned the same number as the Amen and we went on a date with them the night before! So after a harsh rejection, we chose Tim's room and then took them out of a group date. We had a treasure hunt for 2 teams (2 guys and 2 girls per team) and had them running about (in the rain!), then we went to a state park (but it was dark so we ended up going somewhere else), we were all crammed into a van (9 of us) and the guys had to keep their eyes shut as we took them (and they only opened them when Libby (driver) screamed and slammed on the brakes and Taylor described it best "I opened my eyes and saw a deer and saw my life flash before my eyes"... no one (no deer) was hurt though). We had a barbeque and made smores and then took refuge in a nearby shelter from the rain and got out sparklers for the finale. It was great fun.

ANYWAY, this post is getting long, but that's probably enough for now, will be updating soon though :). Sunday to Thursday's are pretty busy and then Friday and Saturday's slow down as everyone is off at work.
Things are moving ahead on the job front (maybe?) The guy working at Fire and Ice (the cafe I am sitting in) asked his brother (a Youth Pastor) about getting work for us legally and just came to tell me to tell Elliot (a leader here) to come and talk to him, so maybe there is a prospect on the horizon? Staff leave on Wednesday so tomorrow is our last babysitting day - which is sad coz I am getting used to have the kids around.
Anyway, thats me off haha before I find something else to write.
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

So I opened up mozilla and my quote of the day (from "" read "The beauty of making disciples: This is the beauty of making disciples. When we take responsibility for helping others grow in Christ, it automatically takes our own relationship with Christ to a new level.")

I thought that was very fitting for what has been going on here! It has been topsy turvy but such an adventure! Still living in a cramped up room (where I, much to my shame am the untidiest of them all (but at least it is confined to my half of the bed most of the time)) but I love getting to know each other girls and go deeper with them. We are being more open and sharing what is on our hearts, and where we are not trusting that Jesus is enough for us (be it in relationships, eating habits, body image and so many other things!). Despite the crazy hectic schedule we have carved out time to hang out and to study through Colossians together.

As a room, one the girls was struggling with homesickness/anxiety and wanted to leave, but after a number of days of praying and thinking through it (today was to be the day she stayed till originally) she has decided to stay on and maybe leave only a week before the end of Project, so that is brilliant! Another one has suddenly burst out in hives and had to go to the doctor's and now has to be really careful so it doesn't happen again... Continue to pray for us!

One thing that hit me from our Bible Study Training is how if we just read the Bible for knowledge, it puffs us up (for example, those that feel they are freed in the gospel to do something i.e. eat meat sacrificed to idols look down on those who abstain from that, and those that abstain look down on those who eat meat). They are both acting in faith but there is no LOVE... If the Bible is sinking down from our heads to our hearts, we will be loving each other and not judging or looking down on others. I was convicted about this in my own life! And it has been good chatting through stuff with the girls too!

We are looking into working voluntarily somewhere and then writing cheques to Campus Outreach as a donation to us and then CO would deduct it from our rent, all this is legal so we are trying to see if that would work and would get us a job, but the staff have been great about letting us babysit the children for some money.

So just a word on what our week looks like:
Monday: Perspectives course and theme training (main meeting, each week has a theme)
Tuesday: Babysitting sometimes, perspectives course, Project meal and small groups (with the room).
Wednesday: Leaders training, Evangelism training, Beach evangelism and free time!
Thursday: Babysitting sometimes, perspectives course, Project meal and social.
Friday: Bible study training, cleaning the rooms, perspectives course, free time.
Saturday: Free time, perspectives course, free time.
Sunday: Life training, campus time, church, free time, optional praise and theology time.

So it is pretty awesome!
Hopefully will be updating shorter posts more regularly! :)
Love from Garden City (I love the summer heat so so very much!)
Kat xxxx

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Viva la Vida

That is the Coldplay song we listened to last night on the way to the hospital! One of the girls in my room, Jo complained of a sore stomach all day and her belly button was bleeding so after the ice-cold shivers going down my spine we went downstairs at 11pm and drove her to the hospital to find out it was an abcess and it's good that it was draining and she needs to take medication for it. Phew.

Rachel (in my room) described STP as "summer camp on steroids" and I can safetly say that I agree very much. It has been absolute insanity and as I described it in our discipleship group today (where Jess, our team leader meets up with myself, Greta, Brittnee and Steph (room leaders) for updates and accountability) as being overwhelming - it probably didn't help that I was sleep deprived after the hospital episode. Since everyone arrived it has been crazy busy but awesome. The girls are all working full time at Walmart (its great so many people can start to work so quickly) and then back for meals and then talks. It has been alot of fun getting to know them, all four of them are introverts but they are so sweet (English language version of the word, not just American "sweeet") and I am getting excited about getting to know them more. We had our own discipleship group as a room last night and basically just shared our stories and how we came to know Christ as Saviour, the only way to God and not the good things we try to do, and it was amazing to hear the different stories, the hard things different people had gone through but then see such love poured out for us. In one of the talks we were reminded that God is a giving God and is most glorified when we receive from him, like an overflowing fountain - we can give nothing to him, to try to is an insult, we can just receive, and rest in that.

I am relying very heavily on myself though and feel stressed out about everything at times. I am to "get in the word" (study the bible, we are going through colossians) with each girls once a week and it just seems so hard to find a time with each of them, as well as have time set apart to get to know them... it's very intentional, but then again, we are only halfway through the week and just getting to terms with stuff, but I feel guilty because I feel I should be DOING DOING DOING and if I am not with them all the time, investing, then I am failing. But it's not about that. It's friendship, living life with them and showing them Christ.. and last year I admired my room leader for just LEAVING and taking time off so it is fine that I am doing that now. I am to stop trying and just receive, and know I am loved and accepted and free to give, it's not about me doing it all. I am sure this is a learning curve, it's just.. sore.

Job-wise, the pizza place guy just wanted to pay in cash (not with a work VISA) so I said I didn't want to do that, and then a woman at the pier filled in our form for us! So we drove 45mins inland to get them approved but the place closed just before we got there so we will try again tomorrow. Hoping to get the job, thankfully the staff at STP need baby sitters so I did that on Tuesday and will do it tomorrow... 4 girls for 6 children under 3 and two babies - it was absolutely exhausting, but fun.

So its hard, but good... I am learning to be a bit more dependent.. I just want to get to the point when I actually register I don't have to DO, I can just BE and that that is such a good place to be in. Just resting. =). Pray for wisdom in how I use my time and in follow up with each of the girls, I really am starting to love each of them!

So goodbye for now from a comfy sofa in Barnes and Nobles bookshop,

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Less than 48 hours in?

Hi y'all! Just to say it is ALOT easier to acquire an accent this time because I already know a lot of the words so if you phone me when I get back you may then be able to be amused by my accent and my interesting choice of words.

So now all the "people-that-are-coming-for-the-first-time" are here (they arrived on.... (I have lost track of the is Saturday morning) ....Thursday evening!). It was insane, cars were arriving all the way from as far as Minnesota, lots of shouting and screaming on our part. My girls arrived =D, they are Rachel, Jo, Kelli and Libby! They had to got to Walmart to get their paperwork in for the job so basically they arrived after a 2 day car journey (car ride!) and had to shove their stuff in the room, get changed into something presentable and pile into the van and go to Walmart! It didn't take too long and they got back and we had dinner as a Project (as in, they gave us a meal), went to an Intro meeting and then went to Walmart to buy food and stuff for the room! On Friday we were all at Okey's church (one of the churches we will go to here) at 7.30am to hear a talk on "Perspectives on Jobs" and then they went to Walmart for the drug tests and Ben, Zara and I (two friends also from the UK! - Northern Ireland to be specific) went to look for jobs! The boss dude wasn't at Piggly Wiggly so we left, and went into Krispy Kreme = it was national donut day so we got free donuts and the guy said they would call us (at first they said no, then they decided we looked nice so changed their minds) and then we went to Kroger (a "grocery store"/ supermarket) and they said no, and just then Judy from Krispy Kreme phoned and was talking about hiring us and filling in our forms to get our work visas.. not sure if it will work out, we are looking at Garden City Inn pizza place and working on the cafe in the Pier because they are closer but I am starting to hope that we may get a job! Today is a chilled day, the girls are at Walmart working and I'll be going to the pizza place to see if they need someone in a bit.

On Thursday we had a leadership talk and one thing that was said is that there is a vertical reality and a horizontal reality. In the vertical reality, the way we relate with God, we can come with trust. In him is our faith and identity and there is NOTHING we can do works-wise in that relationship, it is rest, dependance. And in our horizontal reality, with others, we don't put our trust in them, but work, and serve and love - that is where we toil and struggle, out of love for others BECAUSE of our vertical reality, we have been served and loved by God. The problem comes when we blur the lines of these realities and put our trust in others for fulfillment. Or when we start to work to try to please God. ....
It made it so clear to me and was so FREEING. Nothing I do this summer is to make God happier with me, but as I see more and more of his love, I am freed and overflowing and can overflow into others lives, not seeking my identity in them but serving them, knowing I have been filled by him.

So that was massively encouraging. These days have been less of a routine and more getting stuff set up, but tomorrow we will start to get into the swing of things... in a quiet time, pray for the room, that our relationships may go deep but that ultimately, we would be pointed to Christ and see the truth of the vertical reality. It is HIM and what he did that makes us acceptable, not anything we can do. And that will result in the overflow. =). I am very excited about the summer now, hopefully will get a job too!
Thanks for your support and for reading!
Love, Kat =) xxx

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

In Myrtle Beach!!!

- Monday 30th May: 6am left my Uncle’s and walked (15 mins) to Gatwick. Convenient.
- Check in, coffee and left 8.45am, chatted to a Dubliner for the hour flight (love the accent!) to Dublin.
- Had an abrupt abandoned landing and did a “V” as we went up again because a plane was still taking off where we were supposed land!
- had a faff in Dublin pre-Atlanta flight because my checked in luggage was not photographed and I needed to identify it, so I did and then power walked to the departure gate as the big red capitals letters announced FINAL CALL
- Had a Chick-fil-A in Atlanta airport for my 4 hour layover (apparently 32oC outside = oh yeah, but the air conditioned airport didn’t let that on)
- Arrived in Myrtle Beach, welcomed by Allie and Amanda – bag was either in Atlanta or over the Atlantic ocean so left my number and they said they’d drop it off.
- 18 hours later... Arrived safe and sound!!!

So here I am now, in a bit we have Evangelism Training and then will go out to the beach to talk to people and then we have beach games to bond as teams. It’s only the leaders here at the moment, everyone else arrives on Thursday so there has been a lot of cleaning, making bunk beds and decorating going on, in anticipation of their arrival! Jet lag is OK, it means I am waking up early (7am here is 12pm there!) and this promises to be a busy summer!
- Pray for the girls (there will be 4 in my room, not 3... that was what tipped my balance and made me say “God, I cannot do this on my own”... which is true!), that they would be open to hearing the good news and would settle in well and we would get to know each other... that our relationships would be open and honest.
- No word on the job yet, we are still trying to get a yes from the employers at Piggly Wiggly, and after that they may try Walmart – if it doesn’t work out there is a Mission’s course the internationals that don’t have word VISAs will be doing, so pray that Gods will would be done.

Right, I have to go – thanks for reading =)