Missoula Update

Hi all!
             I have been slacking on updates lately and I am so sorry for that! It has been a crazy couple weeks and months however it has also been an amazing adventure as well!
           Mother’s Day marked the end of my 4th month here in Missoula, Montana interning for Teen Challenge Women’s Center and I was blessed to get to spend the time with my mom and step-dad as they had driven out to spend some time in Montana. It was great seeing them and a time of refreshing for all of us as we took a few days away from Missoula and hiked around Glacier Park. God’s creation is so breath taking out here! We were blessed to be able to see lots of wild horses, the tail end of a bear, a moose and a herd of elk! The visit flew by and I wasn’t ready to see them leave when they dropped me off on Wednesday the 15th however they had a long journey back to New York that they had to get started. I am so thankful that they were able to come out here and cherish the time that we were able to spend together.
           God is doing a lot of work in my life during this time. It is an interesting mix of lessons! As I have shared before I am learning what authentic love looks like as 1 Cor. 13 describes, just how hard that is to live out, how we can’t do it in our own strength, only God in us can work through us to love others effectively, learning to trust, lean on God and rest in Him yet learn how to let Him take you further than you ever thought you could when you are at the end of your rope and unable to do any thing more in your own strength. Im learning to find my value in God and not in others, what they think of me or whether I perform well enough for them. I am learning to try and take each day, asking God what His will for me that day is and trusting Him that He will open and close doors as needed. He’s teaching me that I don’t have to be all to all yet be willing to be used by Him when I don’t necessarily feel like it. Its a combination of resting yet acting when God is calling me to. This is a whole new concept for me as I walk this out. There are days that I find I have to say “no” to things asked of me and that was always so hard for me to do as I thought people would think less of me, that I was lazy or disrespectful if I needed to say no. I grew up in a very active, works based family activity dynamic and I am learning to find a balance in that. In some ways I went to the extreme the other way and I am seeking God to find a perfect balance in my life. There is also times like today where I was technically off and yet found myself helping the volunteers get newsletters ready to mail out. It wasn’t something I had planned for my time off however it was a great time of fellowship with not only some of the ladies but also the volunteers who work so hard every month to get our newsletters out the door.
           My class work is going great as well! I just finished the work book for Experiencing God. It was a challenging work book for me yet I finished the course with an A-. I had some amazing “Aah- haa” moments with God through out the work book so I feel that is what was important. The next course I am taking is Discovering Your God-Given Gifts and I am super excited about this!! I leave this Sunday to fly to Oregon for an Intern training and I am so excited about this! Its a great time for us interns to rest, learn from the teachings they have planned and to communicate with others who are going through the same trials and struggles that I am. We are going to a retreat center out in the country and I am so ready! =)
           Some prayer requests would be continued stamina as the summer months bring about more activities and keeping busy. That I will continue to find a routine to be able to accomplish my school work, plus internship work, ministry to the women, quiet time, and the flexibility to allow change as needed when God says. When you feel pulls from every direction it can be hard to discern which one is God and which is the people pleasing tendency to perform. I not only have the expectations of 16 women that I live with to jump and serve when they need but also the expectations of the staff as well. Living on site is very challenging in this aspect. Please pray that I can continue to work towards a balance.
           Also please keep the ladies in your prayers. We have had some ladies complete which is wonderful! They are now starting their lives over in various places and need the covering of prayer even more as they work to apply the things they have learned during their time at Teen Challenge. We have also gotten some new ladies in this last couple weeks. It is a challenge as new women come into the center it shakes up the dynamics of the center. Truly God uses it for His good each and every time however walking through the times of friction, stress and upheaval can be tiresome for the ladies and myself. It does push the ladies, stop their complacency that can creep in and lead them back to the cross to learn just how broken we all are. Please pray for them during this time!
           The last prayer request is a combination of thankfulness for those who have teamed up with me financially and a request that if anyone else would love to join this amazing opportunity God has opened up for me that would be awesome! God has provided for me each and every step of the way and I am so thankful for His unending supplies and resources. Recently I met a man at a bookstore and got into a conversation with him about how I had always been against the “Prosperity Gospel” type message. He agreed that we should not just have a “give me” attitude when coming before the Father, yet he set me straight on a couple of things. For a long time now I had been living under the spirit of poverty. I didn’t believe that I should have a lot of worldly possessions as my thinking was that was what would corrupt me.
           Also having been to India it was hard to accept having things as so many people around the world live without. This mindset is false though. It says in Matthew 7:7
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
            God is our awesome Heavenly Father that wants to bless His children abundantly. He is extravagant in His giving and wants to give above and beyond what we could ask or imagine. I inhibited this by not asking Him because of those lies that I had believed. In James, though the context is in asking for wisdom it goes to show that our God wants to bless us but we obstruct God from answering our prayers when we doubt the very thing we are praying! James 1:5-7 says:
           5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
            I am not asking to be a millionaire, yet even if I was this would not necessarily be a negative thing because God knows my heart. My heart and desire is for others, to help others, to give abundant gifts and to use my finances for good. I had always read the verses about the rich young ruler or how it was harder for the rich man to enter the kingdom of God and stopped there. It is true that it is harder for rich people to see how blessed they are some times and to lean on their own understanding letting money become their idol. However there are many amazing Christians in the world today who are being blessed financially because of all the things that are giving to further the Kingdom of God. How can I help others or give gifts if I only have enough possessions or finances for myself and nothing more? Do you live like this as well? Im hoping I am not the only one! I am learning to break this poverty mentality, to understand that I am a child of the MOST HIGH, and that He wants to bless and fund the things that I want to bless and fund just as much as I do!
           Back to my story though, the man that I met at the bookstore shared with me this book he had read years ago called the Merchant and the Monk. He explained that it was about these to men that were best friends from birth. As they grew up they had two different callings on their lives. One felt the call to go into ministry and servitude. The other was great in business and became very successful. God made both of them for a purpose and plan! For as the story unfolds you find that the Merchant loved his friend and the friends calling. He was blessed with the opportunity to provide for his friend financially so that his friend would be able to walk out his calling of serving others.
          It really hit home for me! In this world we have to have both types of people. I have the calling to be the servant but was trying to, in my own strength, be both so that I didn’t have to depend on others. In doing this I am robbing someone from getting the blessing, that wants to be a part of something great however is called to a profession or work. The work takes up their time and inhibits their time to serve. Their way of serving IS financial and that was an epiphany for me! So all of that to say, that if you would like to partner with me I would love to have the opportunity to allow God to bless you in that way. You would be helping so many people continue to grow in their faith and knowledge of how big God is and how he will bless his children. Many of these women are coming from a life of prostitution where they averaged $200 an hour. Or they have never had to provide for themselves financially. Many have hopped from one man to another just so they knew they would have a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in. During this time they endured unmentionable emotional, physical and psychological pain from the men that promised to protect them. They are leaving that life and wondering how God is going to provide for them when they can only get a minimum wage job or are called into ministry after their time at Teen Challenge.  How easy it is for the Devil to get in if that trust hasn’t been established in their year here. It would be awesome to be an example of what it looks like to trust God that He will not only provide for his precious daughter but wants to bless her abundantly beyond all that she could ask or imagine!
I would also love to get mail and to send mail to others as well! If you would like to correspond please send me a message and we can coordinate addresses privately! If you would like to team up financially it is tax deductible and can be set up through private messages as well.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! I pray that God will continue to work in each and every one’s lives!