Monday, July 27, 2009

pretty sunsets and new friends

It's my third full day in Hawaii and I still can't believe that this is real. I'm not just on vacation...I am actually going to LIVE here! It's almost too good to be true. There are definitely going to have to be some adjustments. For example, I'm going to have to be really wise in budgeting my money and I'll have to learn how to cook! But I feel like those are skills that I need to learn now anyways.
The past couple of days have been great. Yesterday was our first Sunday at our new church, International Baptist Fellowship. This church was created for international students and has become a close-knit community of people from all over the world. It reminds me so much of Encounter (the international student ministry at Campbell), so I felt right at home. I went ahead and joined the church and look forward to getting really involved this year. It was wonderful to worship with people from so many different cultural backgrounds and I look forward to getting to know them throughout the year.
Karlie and I have had some free time to explore on our own. We went to Waikiki beach yesterday afternoon and stayed to watch the sunset. It is absolutely gorgeous here. It really looks just like the postcards and calendars that you see...but seeing it in person is just breathtaking! The beach is about a 5-10 minute drive from where we live and so far we have been every day. It's going to be really nice to just drive down to watch the sunset after work whenever we want!
Today was our first official day of work. We are working with Joy Turner and Amy Duncan (in the picture below) and they are both great! Joy is our motherly figure, and Amy is like a fun older sister. I've really enjoyed spending time with both of them so far. I went with Amy this morning to pick up our first international student at the airport! Her name is Ying Hu (though she named herself "Yolanda") and she is from China. I think that the airport shuttle is such a key part of this ministry. These students are coming from so far away and it makes such an impression to have a friendly face greet them and give them a free ride.
I stood outside the airport holding a little sign with her name on it, anxiously waiting to meet her. She walked out with one rolling suitcase and immediately smiled and said, "That's me!" We chatted and I found out that she is 21 years old and is here to pursue her masters and phD in electrical engineering. She will be here for 5 years and she is totally alone. What a brave girl! She told me that I was the first foreigner that she had ever spoken to! She was nervous to use her English, but she did great! She is such a sweet girl. We took her to the place she was staying and helped her get settled in. I've already been e-mailing her and I think we're going to hang out this weekend and hopefully she'll be able to come to church with us on Sunday.
Karlie and I went to a different beach this evening and went for a little swim as the sun was setting. Now we're hanging out at the International Center, drinking some hot tea and relaxing. More airport pickups tomorrow...can't wait to meet these new friends!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Well, friends. The journey has begun!

Yesterday morning, my parents dropped me off at RDU and I said goodbye to mainland America for the next 5 months.

I thought I would get at least a little bit sad, but I didn't. I feel like God has just given me so much peace and excitement about this new experience.

When I hugged my parents and told them goodbye, I turned around and had to contain myself from squeeling with excitement (I figured screaming while in the security line wouldn't be the best idea)...that's when it hit me that I was on my own. Ready to face this new stage of life.

I felt a little bit like Maria von Trapp with guitar in hand, preparing for adventure. I was tempted to click my heels and burst into "I Have Confidence!" but again I refrained (though I really was singing it in my head). When I get really excited I wiggle around and speak in gibberish. I guess that's weird, but I can't help it! Since there was no one there with me to share my excitement, I got out my little journal and wrote, "Oh my goodness, Oh my goodness, OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!!"

From Raleigh to Dallas to Los Angeles to Honolulu, I gained more confidence and excitement. When I stepped off the plane last night my friend Karlie was there to greet me as well as my new friends Joy and Roger Turner and Amy. They each put a flower lei around my neck and welcomed me to Hawaii.
They brought us to our dorm, located directly across from the University of Hawaii. We are staying in the Baptist Student Dorm, which is a really old mansion. It is super cool. Karlie and I will be sharing a room with another girl who hasn't arrived yet. Joy and Amy had been shopping for us and our beds were already made with colorful bedspreads. They are so sweet and thoughtful!

This morning, my internal alarm woke me up before my body was ready, but I didn't mind getting up at 6am because I was excited to look outside! It was dark when I arrived last night, so I didn't really get to see much. I hopped out of bed and looked out the window to see a beautiful sunrise of pinks and blues. I could see Diamond Head Mountain in the distance and the Honolulu sky line. I still can't believe this is where I'm going to live!

K-Love and I (you'll hear me call Karlie this most of the time) decided to start our morning off right, so we hopped in the car that we'll be sharing with Amy and her husband Danny and headed off to Starbucks, which is just a few minutes away. So that's where we are now! I feel like so much has already happened and I haven't even been here 12 hours! In a couple hours we're going to go to the beach with Amy and go to Wal-mart to buy some things that we need. I'll try to update you as much as I can.

Until next time, be praying that God will use this time to challenge me in my faith and that He will begin to work in the hearts of the international students that I will be meeting in the next few weeks. I am so excited to meet them. Oh, I wanted to share one last thing. While I was on the plane, I randomly opened my Bible and found a passage that really spoke to me. It's 2 Chronicles 6:32-33. I don't really know the context of this verse, so maybe I took it completely out of context, but I still felt like God spoke to me clearly through it. It says:

"As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people but has come from a distant land because of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm- when he comes and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your name."

While I was reading this, I began to think about how I am in a way going to experience this in Hawaii. People will be coming here from hundreds of countries- different religions, skin colors, languages and cultures. It is my responsibility to 1. Hear from heaven (pray for them and seek God's guidance) and 2. Do whatever they ask of me (serve them, meet their physical needs, and show them Christs' love). In turn, hopefully they will come to know Christ and fear him, so that ALL may know Him!

Oh man, I'm excited. Thank you Jesus!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Last few days on the mainland

Two days. That's all I have left in North Carolina before I embark on perhaps the most exciting journey of my life! I'm in the process of squeezing a years worth of clothes and chewy sprees into my two suitcases. On Friday morning, I will step on a plane with a backpack and a guitar and land on the island that I will call home for the next year. Hawaii.

I have anticipated this moment for the past year and a half. It hasn't seemed real until now. My mind is racing and my heart is overjoyed to be able to do the ministry that I love for an entire schoolyear.

I have no idea what kinds of experiences I will have in Hawaii. I am blessed to be able to live and work alongside with my dear friend, Karlie. Other than Karlie, I don't know a soul, but that's okay with me. I like the idea of meeting new people. People that God has gathered from all over the world and brought to the University of Hawaii for a specific and divine purpose.

I can't wait to see their faces. To pick them up at the airport and be their friend. I want to learn about their culture and make them feel welcome in America. I want to show them the love of Jesus through my actions and see God work in their lives, some of them for the first time. It blows my mind to think about the miracles that could happen this year...maybe even in the next few weeks!

People keep asking me if I'm sad or if I'm nervous. I can honestly say that I'm not. At least not yet. I have the strangest sense of peace that I know only comes from God. I feel content, knowing that this is exactly where God has called me to be for this season of my life. I don't know His will beyond this next year. But I know that from now until next summer, I am going to rely on God to grow me in my faith and use me as His servant.

I couldn't be any more excited. Your prayers are greatly appreciated as I enter this next stage of life!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Memorable Summer

It's hard to believe my summer at M-Fuge is already over! I have been home for a week now, resting and spending time with family, all the while processing the things that God taught me this summer. I would try to sum it up in words, but I think showing you some of my favorite pictures will help give you a glimpse of what my life has been like for the past two months...a sweet mix of silly, fun, worship, new friends, and life-changing experiences.