OVERDUE

I can’t help but to breathe a huge sigh of relief as I start to type.

It has been quite the journey and I can’t believe my time in Swaziland (for now) has come to an end.

Truth be told, this blog is long overdue, but every time I sat down at my computer to write it all down I was at a loss for words…

To be honest, I’m still not quite sure what to say.

Which is why most of this blog will just be pictures because the faces and pictures from Swaziland say more than I ever could with words.

B U T

I did want to update everyone on our garden project!

SOOOOOO…

My goal was to raise money for 19 gardens by my 19th birthday

(the 25th of April)

…and

drum roll

you guys gave a little over 1,000 American dollars,

which means we were able to purchase over 100 gardens!!!!!

And YES this was by far the best birthday I’ve ever had(:

I have nothing to say but, THANK YOU!

God has blessed me sooooo much through you guys, a blog really doesn’t do my feelings justice.

I can honestly say, the entire time I was in Swaziland I really never had to wonder if I was cared for or being prayed for. Even on the hard days you guys always heard me out and put up with my emotional nonsense,

for that I am forever grateful.

I AM SO GLAD GOD USES CRAZY MESSED UP TEENAGERS

Even though I am no longer in Swaziland, God’s plan for my life goes on… and the same is true of whatever season of life you’re in right now.

We see such a small snapshot of a huge picture that God has planned for us, I know this journey isn’t always easy, but I can’t wait for what’s next.

Before I start my crazy picture fit, I do want you guys to know that I WILL be keeping my blog and I am starting a new adventure VERY VERY soon that I CAN’T WAIT to tell you guys about sooooo… s t a y   t u n e d

As always, I LOVE YOU GUYS

To The Ends of The Earth

-G

 

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MONDAYS

I THOUGHT IT WAS TUESDAY ALL MORNING.

It really frustrates me when I feel out of control or like I don’t know whats going on,

and all day today, despite other people even reminding me that it is Monday,

I (for some reason) have refused to come to the realization that it is,

in fact…  M O N D A Y.

I’ve been hanging out and working with a World Race team the past week or so and will be with them this week too,

and all morning I was painting and making plans with them for tomorrow…

Only to get in the car and realize that none of what I just planned was going to actually happen

because I help teach an art class tomorrow.

Don’t get me wrong,

I’m not mad about having to teach art tomorrow, that is usually one of the highlights of my week…

but it is really unnerving to me, for some reason, when I feel like I don’t know what is really going on.

(I’m only slightly a control freak)

So surprise you guys! It’s Monday!!!!

I can’t help but wonder if this happens more than I realize.

Like, I bet on multiple occasions I have been sitting around making plans for the rest of my week out of my own agenda and God is sitting there laughing and shaking his head at me because I am so far off.

Today has been a serious reminder that I really don’t know what is going on.

I bet God (lovingly) laughs at me a lot.

I feel like even when I came to Africa I subconsciously made an agenda of what I would be doing when God’s only real instruction to me was to GO.

Sooo many times I make plans without even knowing “the day of the week”.

I am leaving Africa on May first…

and if I were being honest with you guys I would probably say that has really been freaking me out lately.

So recently I have been in this crazy mindset of gogogo and dododo because I only have this amout of time left…

and I haven’t stopped to really pray through what God has planned for me to do in my last stretch, of this season of my life, in Swaziland.

So today I would encourage you to just chill,

and really pray about, not your own schedule, but what Christ is doing in and around you.

And as for me… I think I’ll start with Monday (:

 

To The Ends Of The Earth

-G

AVERAGE

After five airports,

over 26 hours of no sleep,

and some really awesome people holding a full flight out of JFK airport to South Africa for 20 minutes for me (talk about embarrassing)…

I finally made it back to Swaziland!

(I would write about my crazy airport experience but I don’t think words on a screen would do it justice, hahh!)

For the past few weeks I’ve been getting back in the swing of things,

(which I promise I will write about soon).

I seriously couldn’t be happier to be back.

THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU to all the people who came to the events that I got to speak at!

The response from you guys while I was in the States was overwhelming.

I can’t thank ya’ll enough for supporting me.

Whether it was buying a bracelet or just praying over me,

I am so thankful for you.

While I was in the States it was brought to my attention that I have an average problem.

I’m an average singer

an average dancer

an average artist

an average writer

an average speaker

I look average

I’m an average pianist

… the list probably goes on.

It was really hard for me, as an average 18 year old,

to get up and speak about missions in front of people who are much older and wiser than me.

(not that being a fantastic dancer would qualify me to speak in front of lots of people about missions, but you get the point…

I feel average)

The more and more I prayed about what to say to these people and how to say it without sounding like a know-it-all or show off…

the more I really just didn’t want to say anything at all,

I really am unqualified.

This emotional confusion snowballed quickly and left me crying into my journal,

I had hit a wall,

a breaking point.

In my desperation and confusion with Christ,

He taught me one of the most important lessons of my life.

God uses average people. 

In fact, being average is kind of the point.

I was an emotional wreck because everyone was asking for me to talk about me. 

I was freaking out because I have literally nothing ground-breaking and moving to say about myself.

But I was missing the point…

The only reason I could get up in front of people to speak is because I am average.

The only thing that is even remotely interesting about me is that I’m an average teenager serving an extraordinary God.

I realized that I no longer had to talk about myself, but I got to speak about the most amazing thing that ever happened to me…

Jesus Christ. 

After this realization it was soooo easy to begin to figure out what I would be sharing with people.

I shared lots of crazy stories about how God showed up in my averageness

(if that’s a word)

and continually was faithful to me,

even in a hut. (:

I was stoked to be able to share with people how God used (and continues to use) this average teenager.

I know I’m not the only one who feels average!

And the good news is that we are not damned to a life of the ordinary,

but just the opposite.

If God can send me to the other side of the planet,

I know he can (and will) do the same, and more, through other average-feeling people like me,

all we are asked to do is follow.

To The Ends of The Earth

-G

FACES

hellohellohello

While I was in Swaziland it was hard to upload pictures because of my slowish internet,

Sooo I though now would be a good time to post just a few pictures of the people so many of you guys are praying for,

hope you enjoy these sweet faces as much as I do(:

…and please be in prayer for me as I head back to Swaziland a week from today!

-To The Ends Of The Earth

G

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PETA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES

Last night I was being my normal internet-happy self, and looking at videos on YouTube of people meeting their adopted children for the first time, (and crying my eyes out)

I then proceeded to search the word “adoption” on a few different search engines out of pure curiosity and was seriously bothered by what I saw.

There are over 143 million orphans on this planet and most of what I saw on Google when I searched the word “adoption” was a bunch of animals.

Don’t get me wrong; I have a cute fluffy white dog in America that I love very much. But the “in the arms of the angel” abused animal’s commercials that come on television in America, make me want to vomit all over myself… and I got the very same feeling last night when I was on the computer.

It bothers me that I know people that spend more money on dog food than they do on other people that are actually in need.

As much as I would love to rant for days about how dumb it is that we as a society spend so much money on animals when there are people dying…. That is not the reason I’m writing all you lovely people.

… After I called my dad ranting about how dumb people can be sometimes, I really began to feel small,

143 million is a giant number.

Often times I wonder if what I’m doing even matters or if anyone else in the world gets it. If most of us would really rather pamper dogs than feed people.

After I got over myself and realized God has a plan that is much better than mine and that I should stop acting like I know everything… I prayed a lot and asked the Lord to just use me to bring him glory, even if it’s in the mundane.

That brings us to today…

(yay!)

Originally the plan for today was to go to a carepoint and work on updates with a friend of mine…

But it rained quite a bit last night and it was too dangerous to try to drive on the dirt road to get to that particular carepoint.

In other words, God had a different plan for my day.

Before we found out that the roads to that particular carepoint were too muddy, I heard about a few people who were in need in a different community, so after our plans were canceled it seemed like a perfect time to ask a little more about the families I had heard about earlier that day.

After hearing more about these children I felt like the Lord was leading me to action.

In the next hour I was able to purchase a good bit of food for a family and a new, and completely adorable, school uniform for a little girl.

We drove out to the carepoint and immediately found the little girl who was in need of the new uniform; her current one was ripped all over and too small. Her little face lit up when she saw the new dress, jacket, and socks.

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And it fit(:

After she went home, we drove out to the homestead of a family that was in need of food.

Three children, a mom, and a grandmother all live in this very small house that is falling apart.

As soon as we unloaded the food the grandmother was overwhelmed and told us that they had nothing to eat and that we were an answer to her prayers.

God continues to blow my mind…

I couldn’t believe it when this lady said I was an answer to her prayers. All I could say to her was that God is good and that he has not forgotten about her or her family.

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I know I write this in basically every blog, but I really am just a kid. It is so crazy to me that God really does use kids like me to affect his Kingdom (even if it’s in a small way).

The truth is, the little girl in need of a new uniform and the family in need of food, by their smiles alone, were just as much an answer to my prayers as I was to there’s.

God is so good, and I can not put into words how blessed I am to be loved so much by the creator of the universe.

I CAN’T THANK YOU GUYS ENOUGH FOR GIVING! Your obedience to God’s call to give to the least-of-these is what makes all of this possible.

Please continue to pray for me as I will be getting back on a plane soon, and most importantly please continue to pray for these beautiful people in Swaziland.

Thanks again,

To The Ends of The Earth

-G

FOOD

FOOD

THANK YOU SO MUCH to the people who gave so that things like this are possible, these are just a few of the many people that have been impacted by you guys giving! Hopefully more pictures to come!
God is so good, and has blessed me like crazy by allowing me to walk around a grocery store with these smiles, love you guys so much!

Thanks again!

To The Ends of The Earth
-G

UPDATES ARE FUN

Soooo…

it’s only been around a million years since i posted anything so I figured today was a good day for a small update about life and whatnot(:

For the past few weeks I’ve been working primarily at carepoints helping the staff with updates.

This usually means going out to a carepoint and asking the kids to fill out a little booklet about their lives, taking their picture (which they love and sometimes even pose for, haha!)

and then (my favorite part) we paint their lil hands and take their handprint. While this is really fun, it’s very time consuming and can get complicated. The children at the carepoints don’t exactly carry a calendar with them to tell them what days they should be there for updates.

Even though its complicated, I remember getting the most adorable pictures in all the land from my little girls that my family sponsor and it completely making my entire month to see their little handprint or cute coloring sheet.

After being on the receiving end in the States for so long, I have absolutely loved being a small part of the giving side.

You guys are awesome with messaging me on Facebook or Emailing me showing me love.

Recently I’ve been blown up with questions about how to pray for me so I thought the easiest way was to just write it all down in a blog…

November 9th (err something like that) I will be flying back to America for the holidays, while this sounds super exciting, if i were being honest I’d tell you that I’m not ready to leave and I’m super scared about going back to the land of McDonalds and shopping malls.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to see my family but I’ve been really struggling with leaving the people I love here.

The good news is I still have over a month here!

Please continue to pray that God would show me ways I can give and where I’m needed, and that when I do go back to America I will use the time to not be sad, but to be thankful for what he is doing all over this planet,

and to spread the word about how to help with the ministry in Swaziland.

 

Thanks so much for the love, prayers, and support!

To The Ends of The Earth

-G

HUNGRY

Two weeks ago after our staff meeting I overheard a conversation about a few children who were living on their own and had no food.

Immediately I felt like the Lord was leading me to say something and to see what I could do to help out.

A couple days later one of the full time missionaries here planned a time with me to go buy food for the family and bring it to their homestead.

Somehow from the time that I agreed to help out, to the night before, the plan had changed quite a bit. There was no longer only one family that needed food, but three.

Since I’ve been in Swaziland I have practically begged the Lord to show me ways I can be used to help out the needs in the families around me, so when I heard that there was no longer one family but three I knew that God was answering my prayers.

While it was overwhelming at first, my friend who went to the supermarket with me had bought food for needy families before, and she knew the general idea of what they would need.

At the end of our shopping trip I was a little nervous, food was falling out of our two shopping carts they were so full. I don’t have an unlimited amount of resources so I kept trying to remind myself that God provides for us when we are faithful.

After all of the food was rung up and bagged I spent a total of around $60 American Dollars. I nearly cried over how cheap it was. God came through for me once again, and for some reason it continues to blow my mind.

After we bought the food we headed out to the community were the kids live.

The first homestead we went to was a mud hut that was falling apart. The lady that we were with told us that around five kids live there. After we gave them the food and got back in the car she told us their story…

The little boy that was sitting in my lap on the way there is HIV positive. He has been so sick recently everyone in the community thought he would surely die. After he was found and taken to the hospital he returned to the carepoint. Now everytime someone asks the ladies that work at the carepoint about the boy, they tell them that he is the reason they know God can raise people from the dead. He walks two hours to the carepoint everyday to get a meal, by the time he finally gets home I can only imagine that he is hungry again, this time with nothing to eat. His older sister lives at the homestead also. Their parents died when they were young so they moved in with a family that offered a roof over their heads. The girl was 13 and was taken advantage of. As soon as the family found out that she was pregnant they made her leave. So now she is 15 with a small child. She can’t go to school and she has no money to support her family. God lead us to this homestead for a reason, I just wish there was more I could do for them. Food can fill their empty stomaches but it was obvious that there were more problems there than what we could see with our eyes.

After we had given food to the three homesteads I felt like an elephant ran over my heart.

They all had one thing in common… no parents.

I assume that most of the adults in these children’s lives have either died because of HIV/AIDS or have abandoned their children because they simply can not provide.

I want so much to just take these kids in myself, give them chocolate milk and introduce them to fun things like The Lion King and Scooby Doo. That is what kids should be doing, not fighting to survive.

I wish I had a happy ending for you, I wish I could tell you that all of their problems were solved right in front of my eyes that day.

But truth be told, I only gave them food, and they will be hungry again.

It is an everyday battle to trust the Lord with not only my future but the future of these children and this country. I know He loves us, and I know that the battle has already been won and he is King of all of the Universe. But it’s weeks like these when it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I can only imagine how hard it must be for these children.

Please pray for these families and for the families like them all over the planet.

 

To The Ends of The Earth

-G

DAY OF HARVEST

Remember those kids I wrote about last week??…

Well… because of some of you guy’s donations and responses to last weeks blog, I was able to purchase six mattresses and deliver them to some pretty excited faces this week.

The first homestead I wrote about had three children sleeping on the floor.

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The second homestead I wrote about had six children sleeping on a crammed twin size bed, and a mom and sick grandfather sleeping on the cement floor.

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I wish you guys could’ve seen their faces as they received such small gifts that meant the entire world to them.

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These are just a few of the faces that have been impacted by you guys’ giving to the least of these, I’m just happy God is allowing me to be a small part of all that he is doing in Swaziland.

Thanks again for all of your generosity and prayers. To God be the glory.

To The Ends of The Earth

-G