Monday, October 10, 2011

My 25th Birthday - Slovakia Style

So I turned the big 2-5 a couple weeks ago. For those that know me know I LOVE birthdays. I don't know what it is, but I love being celebrated as well as celebrating others. I feel guilty whenever I forget a friend's bday or miss a new friend's day because no one told me. Some people like to keep to themselves and are not big on partying. But that is totally NOT acceptable when you're with me. I don't like to embarrass people or anything but I do want them to feel special. This is definitely an instance where I treat others how I want to be treated. ;) Since most people aren't like me when it comes to birthdays, on a few occasions I have planned my own birthday party. That was the case this year.

My roommate Miška had just moved in the weekend before my big day and I was still getting to know my team here in Košice, so I took it upon myself to plan a party. We used it as a birthday and housewarming party since most of our friends hadn't been to our apartment yet. To let you know how amazing my roommate and my new friend Zuzka are- on my birthday the girls let me get ready and look beautiful while they decorated with balloons and prepped for the party. Here are some pictures from my wonderful week-long birthday celebration.

On Monday, Miška and I went to our friends Biba and Jarka's apartment. While Miška (R) and Biba (L) worked on something for work, Jarka and I watched the old "Sabrina" movie with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.

On Wednesday a package arrived from Texas. My freshman Bible study leader Laura and her husband Jason sent me a care package with a ton of amazing goodies, including enchilada sauce and salsa from San Antonio. Yum!
On Thursday night I went to dinner with Annette, the girl I stayed with the month of August. We had some great Polish food and ended the evening with Coca-Cola floats.

Saturday night Miška and I went out on the town. First we started at a cafe where I had a delightful cappuccino and she had tea. Then we wandered around town and found a folk band playing at a wine festival. Miška loves folk music and dancing. Somehow we managed to get free wine and cheese. We ended the evening with dancing. Nobody else was dancing but we didn't care. The picture above was taken after our fun hour of dance.
Sunday the 25th was the big day. 25 on the 25th! This is Zuzka. She made me a special cheesecake with chocolate sauce in the shape of a heart. I love this girl!
These are 3 of my favorite people in Košice- (from R to L) Zuzka, Miška and Biba
I'm wearing the scarf they & some of the others got me. Ready for the cold weather now!

These are just some of the birthday week adventures I had and, man, were they fun! To a fabulous year of being 25!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Necessary Learning Curve

I wanted to take a moment and apologize to anyone I offended in my newsletter. My comments about the Catholic church were my own opinion and I realize now that I should have kept them to myself. I apologize. 

It's my first year of full-time ministry, y'all. There are going to be a lot of mistakes made by me. I'm just beginning to learn what it means to be a foreign missionary. I hope you didn't expect this year to go smoothly for me, because it's not happenin'. Let just say, I thought support raising was a faith builder.... We haven't even begun to plan this year's ministry and I already feel like a fish out of water. Do not get me wrong. I love Slovakia, and I can already tell that I am going to love living in Košice (pronounced Ko-SHEETS-say). But there have already been times where I'm sitting in the middle of a group not having any idea what is being said because it's all in Slovak. The team has been great about translating for me, but it is still very hard being the only American on the team. I understand why most stinters go overseas with a team.

Anyway.... All of that to say I appreciate your patience, grace and encouragement. They are all necessary this year. Again I apologize for any offensive comments. It's a learning experience, people. a BIG one!

visual proof I'm still alive- HELLO TEXAS!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Be Strong and Courageous

Last Sunday the singles pastor preached on Joshua 1:1-9. He told the story of a cruise ship. The party was in full swing on the ship. Everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves, except for one old man. He was very embarrassed by the praise that was being heaped on him. You see, earlier in the day a woman had fallen overboard. Moments later the old man was in deep water alongside her. Everyone was rescued. That evening he gave the shortest hero speech ever given. He simply said, "Who pushed me?"

Cody, the pastor, was talking about times where we think the same thing. Situations we've gotten into and are left wondering how we got here. I was brought back to when I started this journey to Slovakia. At first the idea of working for Campus Crusade for Christ sounded great, but then the opportunity came to intern in Slovakia. I was excited to go back and work with the director on the ministry. But then the reality sank in of what I was signing up to do. I was agreeing to leave my family for a whole year. At the time, I thought I was going to miss my dad's 50th and my brother's high school graduation. It felt like I had been pushed into something I wasn't prepared for.

Anyone who knows me well, especially my roommates at the time, knows that I was freaking out. It was totally out of character for me to want to do missions overseas. I never felt called to leave America long-term. God knew what He was doing by calling me to go on the trip with College Life to Central Europe. Slovakia won me over without me realizing it. By the end of the trip I was so tired and ready to go home, it wasn't until I got home that I thought about how much I loved Slovakia. The opportunity with Crusade came along and I jumped at it.

Now a year later, I am 6 days away from the biggest move of my life. It's not so scary anymore. I don't feel like I was pushed into icy water. God took this year to change my heart and my attitude. Moving to Slovakia for a year seems like a natural step in my life. Yes, I have moments where settling down in Fort Worth, finding a job and getting my own place seems like the easy thing to do. But God does not call us to easy living. He calls us to "be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9) Even to Slovakia. I love that I have a God who not only calls me to bigger things, but also equips me to do them. He won't leave me or forsake me. He hasn't gotten me this far in the process just to drop me in Slovakia. He has a plan, and His plan is good. AMEN!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Every week I have to fill out a support raising worksheet listing all the work I did that week. This week's sheet is dated Week 50. Wow. I can't believe I've been doing this for almost a year. This has been a really long process, filled with times of frustration and encouragement. And now it's all coming to an end. That's right. You heard me. The end of support raising and the beginning of ministry is almost here. I can't even begin to describe my emotions at that statement.

This last week, I found out that the details of my internship have changed. Originally I was going to be living in Bratislava, the capitol of Slovakia, and working as the assistant to the Crusade National Director Doug Meyerdirk. Since it has taken me a year to raise support, the director and his family are going to be in Texas on furlough in the fall. This will leave only a small team without any Americans. Campus Crusade wants all their interns to be connected to a team. I really appreciate this about the organization. They care about the staff and interns and want them to have the resources and encouragement necessary to minister.

Now I will be joining the campus team in Kosice, a city in eastern Slovakia. I will still be doing administration, instead assisting the Staff Development Director Tomas Majer. The team in Kosice is made up mostly of former Slovak students who are now on staff leading the ministry. I love that! There are a couple Americans on the team and some American families with other missions organizations in the city. These are exciting changes!

I firmly believe that this was God's plan all along. He is always in control and knows what I need better than I do. This new situation is an answer to many prayers. In Bratislava, there are no singles on staff. We didn't know who I would live with, and I was worried about making friends close to my age. Almost all the staff in Kosice is young and single, and I have met some of them already. Five of them came with Doug in November to College Station for a church missions conference. You can read about my time with them in my Fun in College Station post. I'm still learning all the new details, but I assume that I'll be living with the staff girls. I have never been to Kosice and I have not met my new boss, but I feel ecstatic about this! 

God is so good! This has made me think of Isaiah 55, verses 8 and 9.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts"

I never would have thought of this. After spending time with some of the Kosice team, I was a little sad that I wouldn't be able to work with them. But I didn't think that it would ever be a possibility that I could end up on their team. Like Jeremiah 29:11, God definitely has a perfect plan for me. I called on Him and He heard me (v.12).

Finally after a year of support raising, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have an official leave date, July 2nd, and only $381 left in monthly support left to raise. 

This is it. It's really happening. Praise God!