Saturday, September 8, 2007

Sightseeing on Saturday Morning

We were able to go sightseeing this morning. I also took some pictures of my classroom which is more or less ready for school to start on Monday morning! Enjoy the pictures (they're the first 4 albums in my gallery)!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

One Week In and God Is Still Faithful

It's good to be able to write again after one week. Of course, I've experienced many new things, some good and some frustrating, but God has been faithful and things are going well. I had through about Saturday to get over the jet lag as Sunday was my first day in a Portuguese church and I felt I should be awake for it! It was certainly a different experience and I missed my family at Bethel very much, but it was also funny how some things were similar. The songs we sang were all songs we sing at Bethel... just in a different language, so I was able to hum along and get some words out every now and again. I was able to talk with a few people who spoke some broken English and overall, it was wonderful to be able to worship with other believers. Even if we couldn't communicate with each other clearly, we all have the same connection to God.

Sunday afternoon, Monday, Tuesday and
today were all taken up with preparing for school. On the right you can see a picture of the front of my classroom, pre-decorations and also pre-student desks, actually. I've been able to do a lot of work on it since then and I will be sure to take some pictures of it when it's finished. There is a lot of prep-work that goes into teaching so I have been very busy and actually am going to spend the rest of tonight working on lesson plans. I had the privilege of meeting one of my students today, Noah Thomas. His parents are fairly new church-planting missionaries to the field of Portugal. He seems to be excited about school starting on Monday and was eager to come up to the room to see his new books and check things out. Tomorrow evening we have our Parent-Teacher Tea, where we have an open house for the parents and get to meet them and they can come up and see our classrooms and talk with us. I'm looking forward to being able to this beginning of what will hopefully be a good partnership with my students' parents.

Today I was able to join the ABWE Portugal Field Counsel for their meeting. The field counsel is just all of the ABWE missionaries in Portugal. It was such a great time. They had a luncheon for the new missionaries which include me, Leslie Kidd, who is my roommate and also the 1st grade teacher, and also Brent & Tammy Lowe, new
church-planting missionaries that just arrived yesterday with their 4 children. After lunch we had a time of sharing praise, prayer requests and items of business. After that we broke up and prayed in smaller groups. It was a wonderful time of getting to hear in more detail the work that God is doing in Portugal. Please pray for these missionaries as their work tends to be long and "slow" in human terms. Portugal, and in fact most of Europe, is a place steeped in post-modernism and the missionaries here are doing their best to do God's work in reaching these people. We heard today from Bob & Jo Fry, missionaries supported by Bethel actually, who are working with Answers In Genesis to bring more about Creationism to the people here. They have discovered that a "chronological" presentation of the Bible seems to reach more people here. Overall, I feel blessed to be able to assist these missionaries in any way, seeing their devotion to God to take His Word to these Portuguese people who He loves, and who they have grown to love as well.
Things to praise God for:
My cough is almost gone!!
I have adjusted to the time change
I seem to be adjusting well to other changes, such as driving in a foreign country,
learning to speak pleasantries in another language, shop with different money, etc.
School preparation is coming along well
Things to pray for:

There are a few annoying things (many have heard me talk about the rooster who lives 25 feet from my window!) and our apartment water shuts off for hours at a time. These things are so small but you know how it can be sometimes with small annoying things. I would just like to keep my perspective in the right place!
Please pray for me as school is starting on Monday!! God equips us for the jobs He calls us to do, so I pray that I will have abundant faith in Him for that.
Please pray for the Portuguese people, that God woul
d save as many as possible.

Thanks for all your prayers guys!! I'm going to leave you with just a few pictures so I hope you enjoy.
Love you all,

This is the little road we have to drive down to get to our house.

This is our house!! We live on the bottom floor.

First is the view from our parking lot. Next is the little gate we have to go through to get down to our apartment.
Finally, the view from the front of my classroom.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Made It!!

Well, I'm here!! After about 18 hours of travel, God has brought me safely to Portugal! The flights went very smoothly- as a matter of fact, I don't think they could've gone any smoother really. All my bags made it here and the only damage was one broken picture frame. Cal and Joyce Voelker picked me up from the airport and we went to the mall so I could eat some dinner. I ate at a place called Tosta Mix which basically serves panini-type sandwiches. After a couple of brief stops, they brought me to the apartment which will be my home for the next 9 months. It's very beautiful. It's a 3 bed, 2 bath that I will be sharing with 2 other girls. I'm the only one here so far though, so I have it all to myself! Today I unpacked and went over to Cal and Joyce's for an early dinner, and then Joyce took me to see the school and I experienced my first Portuguese conversation. I say "experienced" not because I spoke at all, but that I just stood there and listened to them. I certainly did feel a bit out of the loop, but I didn't mind. Joyce then took me grocery shopping at Carrefour. We used to have one in NJ... it's like a Super Walmart. It was pretty crowded and Joyce had to explain to me lots of stuff. Overall though, you can get most of the things here that you can get back home. There are a few various things you can't get here of course. The yogurt selection was truly amazing. They had an entire aisle of yogurt.
Next week one of the other teachers offered to take me and Leslie (my soon-to-be-as-of-Monday roommate) sightseeing, so I will be sure to post some pictures and keep you updated!! I also have a couple meetings next week and a classroom to set up, so I will be busy. School starts on September 10th, so please be praying for me! Also continue to pray for my health as the cough has not gone away yet and has migrated a little bit up into my sinuses.
So that is all for now- praise God that everything has been such a smooth transition so far! I pray that it will continue and that He gets the glory!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Let's See What Else He'll Do!!!

Let me tell you what, God is amazing! Less than 24 hours after I added my last post here on this site asking for prayer for my car situation, God has answered! I cannot even begin to reiterate that HE WHO CALLS YOU IS FAITHFUL! We had called 3 different insurance companies yesterday to try and get my car insured just for storage, rather than an entire policy for the time I would be gone and not one of them would do it. On the advice of my mother and Kelly, I called back today and got a completely different answer!! I can now insure my car (which I'm not going to be driving) for less than $75 and let me tell you that is a relief compared to the hundreds of dollars I was looking at having to pay previously. God has answered this prayer in such a great and faithful way. He continues to prove His faithfulness in my life, particularly in so many ways for this trip. I now have even more faith to ask you guys to pray for my health- God can fix that too! I feel like a kid egging his friends on... "Let's see what else He'll do!!" but in a good way. :)
Thanks so much for your prayers- only 5 days away!!!

Final Preparations

As of right now I am only 5 days away from my flight to Portugal. It doesn't feel real yet, actually. Thanks to so many, I am 100% supported. That is a joyful and sobering thought. It is joyful for obvious reasons; it is sobering to know that God supplied that much money and therefore must have some serious work to be done over there. I am ready to do it, though. I honestly don't know what these next 9-10 months are going to bring. I'm expecting trials, to be honest. But with them, I'm also expecting joy!!

During these last few days, there are a few specific ways I could use prayer. Firstly, I need prayer for my health. I developed a cough while with the Student Ministry in Montana and it has yet to go away. I keep telling everyone 3 weeks cause that's about how long it usually takes and this Sunday will be 3 weeks, so we'll see how it goes. Due to health insurance issues, I am very hesitant to see the doctor unless absolutely necessary. Right now, it's more of an inconvenience and energy drainier- I'm sure you all know the feeling. Secondly, I'm having some serious issues in knowing what to do with my car. I tried selling it to several people and no one wanted it (not surprising cause it needs a lot of work), but now that I'm thinking about keeping it, I'm running into insurance issues and frankly, I don't know what to do. The con list in every direction seems a mile longer than any of the pros. I need God's direction. More importantly, I need God to provide me with the faith I need to trust in Him. Amazingly, this is really the first big hitch I've run into and I can feel the stress mounting over it. Many times I have breathed prayers to God that it is in His hands- now I just have to really believe that I mean it. :)
Lastly, I will just need prayer for my emotions in these last few days. I've been able to spend a good amount of time with my family and will continue to do so in these next few days, but goodbyes to people you love are never easy.

"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16b

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pre-AMP Week

On July 15th, I headed out to Harrisburg for Pre-AMP week with ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism) hosted by Messiah College. I can say without a doubt that it was one of the most incredible weeks of my life. My eyes were opened to what it meant to be a missionary. You are probably wondering what on earth "Pre-AMP" week even is! Well, in ABWE words, AMP stands for Assistant Missionary Program. In regular words, it means short-term missionary. Pre-AMP week is an orientation of sorts. It's held in conjunction with ABWE's annual Missionary Enrichment Conference which is a conference for all ABWE missionaries home on furlough. What this means is that there is a big conference going on and there are about 20 short-term missionaries not yet on the field who meet together all week for all sorts of classes. We had classes on everything from safety in foreign countries, to dealing with culture shock, to understanding how to handle finances as a missionary to how to work with different personality types. It was overall a very valuable and informative week for me. We also had the incredible privilege of sitting in on the conference sessions where each morning and each evening national pastors from different countries came to share what God is doing in their country. It was absolutely AMAZING to hear how God is working all around the world and to witness the passion these men have for God's work among their people.

However, the best part of the conference for me, by far, was being around all the missionaries. There were new missionary appointees whose faces reflected nervousness, excitement and anticipation as they are beginning the process of preparing for the field as a lifelong commitment. There were missionaries home on furlough on whose faces I saw both joy to be back in America amongst other missionaries, but also a true homesickness for those they left behind, even for a short time, for their hearts are with those people that they serve. Above all, I saw the veteran missionaries, my earthly heroes, on whose faces I saw joy etched by years of trials, spiritual warfare, and God's faithfulness through it all. I had the unbelievable privilege of sitting with many of these men and women during mealtimes and talking with them, asking them to tell stories of the field. These are people that had to take boats to the mission field! These are the ones that started the hospitals and schools. There were women who had lost their husbands, husbands who had lost their wives. And there was not one person I spoke with who did not radiate God. My eyes were opened that week. I suddenly saw "missionary" as "most awesome person in the world," and my desire to serve God in that way grew. It is funny how we can know what we are to do in our minds, but sometimes our hearts lag behind. I always knew in my mind that if God were to call me to the mission field for good, I would of course obey. But it was not until this week that my
heart was broken wide open, ready to receive the call. I cannot say I have received it yet, but I'm ready to see what God will do, and where He leads, I will follow. There was one old song that we all sang during one of the sessions that I think had special meaning to the 20 of us going short-term. We were some of the only ones there still waiting on God's call to missions for good. All of us were there knowing that this is where God wanted us for now, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say we were all made tender towards any call God may give us in the future. As we were sitting together amongst the hundreds of other missionaries and sang this song I looked to my left and my right, not a dry eye to be found, as the words rang out,
"Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, where you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart."
I grew to love missionaries the week of July 15-21, 2007. They are people who live lives of sacrifice, not to bring themselves an ounce of attention, but without shame and without hesitation, point the way to God. Of all people I know, these are the ones who inspire me most to live my life for God. When I think about the "sacrifices" I have had to make, it's not so much that they seem small in comparison, but much more that I am now eager to give up these things so I can serve God. And I know there will be more. God give me the grace to be more like You, give me the heart to love the people You made, and give me the strength to give You the glory, now and always.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Moving On

Well, today Kelly and I moved out of our beloved apartment. I'm actually sitting here on the floor in the living room by myself right now waiting for maintenance to come and do a walk-thru. They're 20 minutes late hah. Anyway, this is the first big, somewhat sad, but exciting step to going to Portugal. I have the joy of living with my family in my parents' house for the next couple of months! :) Pray for Kelly and I as we begin to adjust to leaving our friends and family for awhile. And you can pray for me that I find all sorts of ways to make myself useful over this time! God has provided for us even in this move in many ways and I give Him the glory!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Building Excitement

So much has happened in this last week it's hard to remember it all! First of all, thanks to so many of YOU, my support level is, as of today, at 92%!!!!!! It is such a joy to experience God working like this. It took a step of faith to believe that He would provide for me- but a LEAP of faith to put that into action in the way that I never had a moment of anxiousness over it. God has provided in my life yet again. As for further excitement, I got to meet more new people over this past weekend, the most exciting being the Voelkers. It was so awesome to finally meet the people that I have been corresponding with and ones who I knew were praying for me. I also had the opportunity to "re-meet" Craig Beatty, a fellow GLCA teacher, on Sunday and also to begin corresponding with my future roommate, Leslie Kidd, who will also be teaching at GLCA this year! It's certainly been an exciting week and to top it all off, thanks to the help of my brother Gordon and Timothy Millek, I have finally completed my video presentation. You can find it by clicking on the link on the top right.
Thank you to all those who continually lift me up in prayer. I know that God is hearing them and you can praise Him for the work He's been doing in my heart, the provision He's sent my way and the joy He's enabled me to experience!

Sunday, June 3, 2007


God has been providing for me in so many ways. Recently, He gave me the opportunity to observe the 1st and 2nd grades at Baptist Regional School for a couple of weeks. The teachers were so gracious in accepting me into their classrooms, talking with me, giving me pointers and letting me see their curriculum and lesson plans. It was an invaluable experience as far as gathering information and ideas- I took pages of notes! But more valuable even than the practical side of it was the absolute excitement and anticipation at being back in the classroom. When the opportunity arose to go to Portugal I thought, they need teachers- I could do that. From that point, I was so excited just to go to a different country and to be able to serve God in such a direct manner full time. But it wasn't until these last couple weeks that I have gotten SO excited to teach again! This is just further confirmation to me that I am where God wants me to be. This is such a great feeling. Circumstances could go downhill- He could even remove me from this situation and it wouldn't take away the fact that I have seen Him working in my life- MY life. That is so unbelievable to me. I know I don't deserve it and I thank God for Jesus Christ who has made this life possible for me. I'm forever grateful!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Meeting New People

Well, it's June now and my preparations for heading to Lisbon at the end of the summer are in full swing. God has provided for me in so many ways- financially, health-wise and time-wise to be able to accomplish everything I have desired to do as far as preparing to go to Portugal. I've been able to meet two sets of missionaries from Portugal- Doug and Sharon Fry and Jon and Marilyn Rust. The little bit of time I got to spend with each of these couples was so valuable to me. In case you don't know me very well, in my human nature I find it difficult to enjoy speaking with people who were previously strangers to me. The Spirit has grown me in that area so much especially in these last three years. Anytime I talk to someone who I didn't know, you can know that is the Spirit doing it because, honestly, it's hard for me. That is why I have been filled with such joy having met all these new people and absolutely loving it! There is truly a family bond between Christians that is wonderfully comforting. Both of those couples got me even more excited to get to Lisbon! As a matter of fact, I can't wait to go to ABWE in July for our pre-AMP week to meet even MORE new people.
God is truly great and to see His working in my life is an unbelievable honor.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Today I got my official approval from ABWE!! Praise God!! They sent me a cool packet in the mail with lots of stuff to look at and lots of information to go through. Needless to say, I am way excited!! Continue to pray for me as my prayer letter is in its last stages and I am in the very beginnings of working on my DVD presentation. You can also pray that I will make wise decisions, and ultimately follow the Lord's leading, regarding my work situation from now through the summer. Thank you all so much for your prayers! God hears!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In Process

Well, just as the title says, I am in process. Thankfully, Philippians 1:6 says that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ! So at this point in process, God is moving me in a big way for, as long as He wills, I will be going to Portugal in September to teach the 1st grade at the ABWE missionary school in Lisbon, Great Lisbon Christian Academy (GLCA).

After approximately 2 and a half weeks of applying with ABWE, I am finished my part for now and waiting on approval. You can pray that God keeps my patience in tact! I am very excited to continue on in the process! I'm also currently working on my support letter and DVD presentation. Pray that I will have the freedom and skill to convey what's on my heart in both of these communications.

The reason why I created this blog is so that I can keep all of you informed with updates about my preparation for, and the progress of my time in Portugal. If you want to know when I put up a new post, you should be able to get this as an RSS feed if you have a reader.

The passage of Scripture that's just kept coming back to me has been one of God's provision and promise in my life, Ephesians 3:20-21-
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen!"