Saturday, December 25, 2010

The True Meaning of Christmas

Luke 2:1-20

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
       “ Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Some encouraging moments

One of the things that has helped me get through this long period of support raising has been the unexpected gifts from those you would never guess would or could give. I would like to use this update to share with you these encouraging moments that have kept me going in the last few weeks.

The most meaningful surprise gift was from an old childhood friend of mine. I had been meaning to ask her but I've found it difficult to ask semi-close friends and family. (That's an issue for another day. Anyone with advice on how to get out of my own way would be appreciated.) A few weeks ago when I was looking at my account, I noticed that this friend had given $1000. It was such a surprise, a wonderful, beautiful, encouraging surprise!

My last update was about my trip to College Station. While I was there, I stayed with a young couple from the church having the missions conference. Once I got my missions brochures in the mail, I sent them a thank you and a brochure, asking them to keep me in their prayers. A few days later I received an email from Crusade saying they had signed up to give $100 a month. I hadn't even met the wife or talked to the guy longer than 5 minutes!

One of the most humbling experiences is asking for money. Something even more humbling is receiving a gift from someone you know is giving all they can afford. Like the poor widow in Mark 12, these people give all they have. I assumed Christmas would be a good time for support raising, a lot of people in a giving mood or at least looking for a tax deduction. Instead I have been given the smallest gifts from the biggest hearts. From receiving a $75 check from a loving family to passing a college friend on the street and having her offer me $5. These people are glad that I am doing this and want so much to help. They give all they can freely, even if it's just $5.

I pray y'all understand the true meaning of Christmas today. Whether you are giving to your family or to a missionary, give with a heart of love remembering what has been given to you.

But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
- Mark 12:42-44

Merry Christmas!
To give, please call me (817-586-8092) or visit:

Monday, November 15, 2010

Fun in College Station

Last week I traveled down to College Station, TX, to visit with my Crusade director Doug, his son Michael and 5 Slovak staff members. Every November one of the churches in the area puts together a week-long missions conference. This year's focus was missions in Europe, so Doug brought some of the Slovak staff. I had the privilege of spending 2 days with them. 

I drove down on Tuesday and had a nice dinner with Doug and Michael. We went to Freebirds (of course). It was only my second time to have Freebirds, but I gotta say I'm more of a Chipotle kind of gal. I just can't get over the hot sauce at Chipotle. Yummm....

At the missions night for the college students, there were over 40 missions organizations presenting opportunities for the summer as well as short-term trips. Doug and the Slovaks had a table looking for volunteers for English camp next summer. The trip is 4 weeks long and consists of 2 camps. Next year it will be in eastern Slovakia. I'm excited that I get to help with an English camp again! During the night there were times for the students to attend 2 breakout sessions about the culture of and ministry in all the continents. Doug led the session about Eastern Europe. He spoke about the area being post-Christian and how to minister to the people. It was good for me to hear, too. I am still learning about everything myself. Every time I hear about Slovakia, I get so excited and anxious to get back over there. I just know that God has a place for me there. We also attended their regular meeting time. The worship was good and the speaker was great. Afshin Ziafat was the special guest for the night. He spoke on the story of Jonah and running from God's calling on your life.

The moment I met the staff we clicked. It was so nice to hang out with some Slovaks again and even just to sit and listen to them speaking in Slovak. Wednesday I tagged along with the girls. We went to a couple Bible studies and spent the day with people in the church. We enjoyed some local fare (Coco Loco for lunch and Blue Baker for dinner) and relaxed at the home where the boys were staying.

Overall, it was such a wonderful trip. It was so encouraging to hear everyone's excitement over my coming to Slovakia. The trip was supposed to be a time of refreshing and encouragement, and it was even beyond that! The staff and even some of the church members commented on how much Doug needs an assistant. They were so happy to know that I would be coming to help organize the ministry. I was thrilled to know that I was still needed! After taking so long to raise support, you begin to wonder if this is what you're supposed to be doing. After visiting with Doug and the staff, I have no doubt that God still wants me Slovakia in January.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Plans, God's Plans

After much talking with God and others, the decision has been made to leave on January 1st.

I was getting really overwhelmed with the support raising process. The money wasn't coming in like it was supposed to, and I was getting very frustrated. It wasn't working out and I was ready to through in the towel. People had always told me that if God didn't want me to go, then the money wouldn't come in. We would decide what to do from there. I honestly believed that if God didn't want me to go, then I wouldn't have been accepted to intern. He wouldn't bring me this far and not go. I think I forgot that. Not once in the application process did I think that God didn't want me to go. Not once in the support raising, until now, did I seriously question if God had other plans. I love my church, but I didn't feel like I was meant to stay right now. There are so many things there I would like to help with, but I still felt like God wanted me to go to Slovakia.

When I had the realization that Jan. 1st was the most plausible time frame, I talked to my director in Slovakia and my support coach. My director immediately emailed me back. He said the staff was looking forward to me coming, and there was still an important role for me to play in the office. This was right; I knew it beyond a shadow of a doubt. When I heard back from my support coach, I nearly had a heart attack. She said she didn't know if Crusade would still let me go in January. Everything I had worked for was almost taken away. For 2 days I waited for her to get back to me. Finally, I heard. Campus Crusade was going to let me go. I wanted to sing the Hallelujah chorus!

Now I have until Thanksgiving to get the rest of my monthly support. Everything else will fall into place now that I have a firm deadline. Currently I have 54% of my total support. I need $1350 more per month and about $2500 in one-time giving. I'm also on the hunt for someone willing to donate frequent flier miles to help pay for the plane ticket. Keep praying with me that it all works out!

Very exciting news: My director Doug and his son are coming to Texas next week and they are bringing 5 of the Slovak staff members! I am going to meet up with them in College Station next Tuesday. I haven't met any of the staff members aside from the director, and I am so looking forward to this! It is going to be so neat and I know it will give me that push I need to finish support raising.

Friday, September 24, 2010


So I have learned through this process of support raising that I am not very good at blogging. I don't find myself particularly interesting. I am slowly learning that the point of Twitter is to over-share your life. While I usually use social media to find out what others are doing, I forget that I am in the middle of something big that others want to know about. All that to say, I am trying to be better about updating.

Currently I am at 33% of my monthly and have about half of my one-time needs. It has been a slow process. God is undoubtedly working; it just becomes difficult to see it sometimes. I have been blessed with the support I have received so far, both financially and emotionally. I still have a long way to go and not a lot of time to do it in. I would like to go in October, but as it is the end of September now that is looking less and less likely. It is hard to constantly move your deadline back farther and farther. 

I know the support is out there; I just have to find it. From the stage at church, singing with the praise team, I can see all the members of the church, the old members and the new. Looking out at all the faces, I know in my heart that I can get the rest of my support from that church, if only I could reach them. Herein lies the problem: I don't know how to get a hold of the new members. On many occasions I have been approached by people at church, for one reason or another, who seem to know who I am but I have no idea who they are. Some have even heard about my internship. But I don't know them! 

The growth of Sagamore is a wonderful thing. I have been a member my entire life. Even going away to college, I never even considered changing my membership. Sagamore is the kind of church that, no matter how long you've been away, you always feel like it's home. People who left the church years ago still consider themselves "Sagamorons." With this in mind, I know that the people of Sagamore would help me, a young missionary who grew up in the church they have come to call home. Even the church is supporting me. Unfortunately with the privacy issues of today, I can't ask the church for any phone numbers.

So if you are a member of Sagamore or were looking for a way to give to missions, then I ask you to consider my need. I love that church, but right now God wants me in Slovakia and I believe He wants to use you to get me there. I am also still raising money for a plane ticket. If you are a frequent flier willing to donate some miles, let me know. I accept gifts of all sizes. Please join me in prayer that I can get in touch with the people I need to complete my support team.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What is she babbling about?

I'm sure by now you are wondering what the point is of this long story. Where did the pursuit lead me?
Well, after I got back from Europe I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had to go back to Slovakia. I didn't know how or when I would return; I just knew I had to go. The Lord tended to work in His timing, not mine, so I just waited until He showed me what to do. After months of endless job applications and some interviews, I still didn't have a job at Christmas. But I was a little closer.

This may sound weird, but I promise this is exactly what happened. One Sunday afternoon in November (Nov. 8, to be exact), I was minding my own business, sitting in my room, when all of the sudden the Lord whispered in my ear, "Campus Crusade for Christ." Campus Crusade? Really, God? Huh. I had never done anything with them before, except the English camp in Slovakia. Of course! Campus Crusade was perfect! I would be able to combine my love for missions and my talent for administration if I worked in one of their offices. According to their website, the closest regional office was in Austin. It was only 3 hours from home, and I even had family close by! I even cried as I read the job descriptions for positions available in the office. They described me to a T (for Tiffany, naturally). My roommate, Sara, and I were so excited about the idea that I started work on the application that day!

Since I knew practically nothing about Crusade, I asked everyone I knew that had worked with them in the past. The more I learned about them, the more I loved the organization. They not only worked with college students in America but also around the world, as well as having many other ministries across the globe. 

After a month of researching, God began whispering again. This time it was about Slovakia. I wanted to go back. We had worked with them that summer. Why couldn't I go back with them? The timing seemed perfect. I still hadn't found a full-time job. It would be the last year that my brother would be at home.

When I emailed Campus Crusade about the possibility of going over there for a year, the guy who emailed back had previously lived in Slovakia for 12 years. He was good friends with the director. Of course! It was obvious that this was exactly what God wanted.  They actually created an internship for me. I would go to be the director's assistant. After talking with the director, Doug, and his wife, Patti, while they were on furlough in Texas, I knew everything they were looking for was exactly what God had gifted me in. It truly was tailor-made for me

Everything began to fall into place. I found a temp job with a lady from church. When that job ended, I found a job working for a lady from my Bible study. I was never without income when I needed it. The application process for the STINT (Short Term INTernational) took a while and the waiting process took even longer, but I knew that this was what God had ordained for me.

My love for Campus Crusade for Christ grew with my knowledge of their operation. I even had the opportunity to go to the World Headquarters in Orlando, FL, for free. I spent a weekend making new friends with similar giftings as me. I met the girl who was processing my application, Lauren in the Human Resources ConneXion office. They would be the office sending me to Slovakia. A wonderful surprise of the weekend was having dinner at the Crusade president's house, Steve Douglass. His wife, Judy, was a graduate of UT. We had Texas barbecue and Blue Bell ice cream, flown in specially for the occasion. All in all, it was amazing.

On April 14, I got the news I had been waiting for: I was accepted as an intern for the next school year! I would be returning to Slovakia at last! Now I am in the support-raising portion of my ministry. My goal is to raise all my funds by the end of August and leave in mid-September. I'd appreciate your prayers, as well as names and numbers of interested parties. As if I could make this story any longer.... ;)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Pursuit (Part 2)

After the realization that I no longer knew what I was going to do when I graduated, I looked for ways to use my talents. Every year the college group at my church went on mission trips around the US for the week of Spring Break. My senior year we were all going as a group to a big missions conference in Memphis, TN. Since about 200 people were all traveling together to Memphis, there were a lot small details that needed to be taken care of. After a conversation with one of the staff members, I was given the opportunity to help the coordinator. Kevin was great at big picture things and interpreting the Lord's leading for the group, but he was very disorganized. He gave me free reign over bus seating and room assignments. I also did research on places to stop for food along the way. It was so much fun!

I know it may sound crazy to some people, but I really enjoyed making room assignments. I also helped plan the big fundraiser that we did every year at the church. It may not have seemed like much to some people, but again I really enjoyed myself. I learned that I enjoyed having some control on things behind the scenes. I think it stems from my need to be "in the know."

Every summer the college group went on month-long trips around the world, usually supporting a team of full-time Denton Bible missionaries. Since I was finally going to have the summer free I decided to sign up. God led me to the team going to Austria and Slovakia. I had never been overseas, but boy was I excited! Our leaders, Matt and Liz, were going over to Vienna to live as missionaries with Serve, the Denton Bible mission organization. Since they were leaving 3 weeks before our trip, they asked one of the guys to be a co-leader and asked me to be in charge of the finances. As scary as it was to be in charge of the money for a team of 11, I, again, really enjoyed it!

While we were in Austria, we helped set up a camp for the high school and college students of the Baptist churches. It was such a blast to get to know some awesome Austrians. One of the guys on the team had previously lived in Vienna doing missions and knew some of the students who came to camp. In Slovakia we worked with the national director for Campus Crusade for Christ to put on an English camp. God totally worked it all out, having 9 teachers for 9 students. We were able to have quality one-on-one tutoring time. The students ranged in age from 14-26. It was a wide age range.

I was partnered with a sweet girl named Mirka. She was 24 and has just finished college. She had a heart for the children in Africa and wanted to go on a mission to work as a nurse in North Africa. I loved being able to talk to her about the culture in Slovakia and also her love of Jesus.

Overall, I completely fell in love. Slovakia was one of the most beautiful places I had ever been. The people were so sweet and loved talking about Texas with us. Even though I was homesick and very tired after a month of walking through Central Europe, part of me never wanted to leave. I wished all my friends and family could move to Slovakia. :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Pursuit (part 1)

God is good. All the time.

I want to tell you the story of how God pursued me. This is not your normal pursuit. I'm not talking about a man's pursuit of a woman or even God's pursuit unto salvation. I've been a Christian since I was 14. This is a different kind of pursit.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Tiffany. I am 23 years old. I graduated from UNT last May and still reside in Denton, Texas. I have been a part of the wonderful Denton Bible Church college group for 5 years.

When I was in college, I did the normal "change-my-major-at-least-once" thing. I went in as Theatre and came out as History. For a couple of years, I firmly believed that I would work in a museum. I loved museums and I loved history. I didn't love school, however, and it was going to take an act of God for me to ever get a Master's. But I thought I could be happy working in a museum.

During my junior and senior years, I occasionally judged high school speech and debate tournaments. During the Christmas break of my senior year, I was judging a round of Original Oratory. This is where the kids write a speech about an interesting facet of their life. One kid talked about living in the shadow of his cooler older brother. The one speech that stood out to me was a girl talking about starting ballet at the age of 12. You may think, "Why is this important?" Trust me. This is the catalyst for my whole story. This young high school student looked past social norms and began her love affair with ballet late in life (for a ballerina, that is). She worked hard for it, because it was important to her. She spoke about finding your true passions. Not the ones that society expects, but the ones you have deep down inside. I began to wonder, sitting there in that high school classroom, "What are my true passions? What do I love?"

This is the cool part. God answered! He revealed to me my love for administration and missions. The wheels began turning. God just turned my life upside down only 5 months before I was supposed to graduate. He told me that I wasn't going to work in a museum. I felt that a switch to Business would be a bad idea my last semester, so I finished my degree in History. I had no idea how to combine my newly revealed loves. I talked to everyone about it. They were all really excited about God working in me, but they didn't have any answers.

I graduated with honors on May 16, 2009. But I still had no plan in sight.