Monday, December 25, 2006

John the Baptist?!

While prayer walking around Brussels I ducked into a French Bookshop and met this jolly celebrity and his...helper(?)
In Belgium and the Netherlands Santa Claus comes on December 16th to put candy in the children's shoes....
I like that.
Santa comes and blesses the kids, then gets out of the way to make room for the real reason for the season. =) I was raised in a home that hated Santa Claus, believing he steals Baby Jesus' thunder.
When I was little my mission was to tell all my little friends "the truth" about Santa. Sure, they cried their eyes out and hated me for a time, but they got over it so I thought they were better off =)

But you know, as I was reading the Christmas story again, I realized that Santa is alot like John the Baptist!
- stay with me here - especially the one in Brussels. He came to help prepare the way, get people excited about Jesus coming, then said "He must become greater and I must become less".
He loved on people, pointed them to the truth, and then got out of the way for Jesus.
Would that we were all like that Santa.....maybe we should put out locusts and wild honey next Christmas Eve =)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

God save the Queen!

O.k. This may sound a little weird but when I arrived in the London Heathrow Airport I made a bee-line for the bathroom and joyously exclaimed “Yes! They have real western flushing toilets!” My joy was doubled after discovering a sink – with warm water! and soap! And – hark – paper towels! “Oh it's just too much, I am so thankful for this!” I cried to the lady washing her hands next to me. "I bet I can actually drink this water too without fear of strange uncurable diseases right?” “Sure, she replied, edgeing her way to the exit.”

After traveling hither and yon it is nice to be in a familiar culture again. Our mother country England is so charming. I love the people and culture, as well as the amenities of modern civilization....I felt guilty for feeling this way at first. But you know, it's o.k. to be thankful for comfortable things like paper towels!
We're supposed to learn the secret of being content wherever we are right?

The YWAM ministry in London is completely different from YWAM India, because the needs of the people are different. I will post another story about that later, but I just want to say it is beautiful when the body of Christ reaches out to their community in creative ways using their own cultural giftings.

Wouldn't it be boring if we all followed the same model for missions and evangelism? If we all worshipped and fellowshipped the same way? That would be so boring.
I praise God He has allowed us all to live and serve Him in beautiful and unique capacities.

And I praise him for paper towels!
p.s. No, Emily, I have not met Prince William and convinced him that I'm the princess of his dreams....yet.
p.p.s. Here I am sitting next to Buckingham palace.

Back in Mumbai with my girls

After traveling hither and yon across the Indian landscape I have returned to Mumbai, eagerly returning to storytime at the girls home.
Every night from 7-10 I get to take a break from writing, and give the "home mom's" a break. Then "Moma Jen" takes over reading story's, praying, and singing lullaby's with the little girls.

Afterwards I go upstairs for time with the big girls, only we do a little more serious teenage girl "girl talk".
Oh, I love it! It is so fun to get together with girls no matter what culture we're in! We girls just have this unspoken bond - it is so fun to be a girl.

I love being a mentor too. If you have a chance to mentor/disciple young people in your life please do. It's a rich investment neither of you will regret.
Here is a snapshot with a couple of the little girls.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hide it Under a Bushel? No!

It's Wednesday night and the sky is darkening as I squeeze into a small Ram Tekdi slum house with countless other children. They have come for the weekly Bible Club led by Missionaries from the YWAM Pune base. There are thousands of slums just like this in India, filled with thousands of slum children eager to hear Bible stories.

After some rowdy fun worship songs the leaders settle the kids down to learn a new Bible verse: Mathew 5: 14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

”What a perfect lesson for them to learn!” I was thinking as the leaders explained what Jesus meant in this parable.
You see, during my time in Pune I have interviewed several Missionaries and pastors who talk about the “secret Christians”. Many people know God and believe in Jesus, but they are not willing to confess Him to their family or community.

Understandably it would be difficult to proclaim Christ in a Hindu/Muslim country. Many Indian States have anti-conversion laws, and Christian missionaries and pastors undergo tremendous persecution, even death every day.
But if the Christians do not stand up for Christ, how will they be a light to their community? How will they be a city on a hill that points to the Truth?

I pray that this generation of children sitting around me, listening to the Bible story, will be bold and stand up for Jesus. Perhaps when they bring their coloring papers home with the Matthew 5:14-16 verse written on it their parents will be convicted to stand up for Jesus too.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Isaiah 49:15

Do you ever have days where there is so much to do, but everything simple becomes more complicated?
Today was one of those patience testers for me =)
I kept saying "God, I could use a little help here. Where are you? Have you forgotten that I'm doing Your work down here?"

and this is what He told me
"See! I will not forget you....I have you carved on the palm of my hand."
Friend if you want to know perfect peace, His hands are very big.
There is room for your name too.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Beautiful Children of the Slums

Today I helped teach a nutrition class to mothers in a slum area.
I can't believe how little they know about basic health and nutrition. They learned for the first time today why it is important to wash their hands after going to the bathroom and then hand feeding their babies.
And that their babies are probably sick because they crawl all over the slum "streets" which are narrow squeeze spaces between each shanty. Throughout the streets children wander along with AIDS infected animals and raw sewage from thousands of is so heartbreaking.
There are amazing tender-hearted missionaries here who have started a free medical clinic and health classes...but they feel overwhelmed with the surplus of needs.
The other side of the world is so different from home.
We are so blessed.
I know the Missionaries are going to need continued help and supplies. So today I am writing/designing a brochure for their ministry so we can send it out and raise awareness of what they are doing and how people can help...
If you are interested in learning more please e-mail me and I will gladly send you a brochure and information.
For now will you at least please pray for these beautiful children? That as the Missionaries reach out to their physical needs, they will be allowed to feed their spiritual needs as well?

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Namaste! Greetings from India!
I apologize for taking over a week to write. I have been so busy here in Mumbai and Goa setting up interviews with Missionaries, writing stories, taking pictures, helping with the street kids ministry, slums, prostitutes, Bible clubs, hospital visits, orphan homes.....there is always some way to share the wonderful love of Jesus here. Last night I finally went to bed after 40 hours straight of ministry without sleep.
It's been fun though. God is good and is teaching me the mighty greatness of His grace, strength, and joy in my weakness =)
Praise Him!
India is a very sad place. Every city I have seen is dirty, diseased, hot, crowded, and crumbling. I was shocked when told that 40% of Indian people living in cities, stay in slums.
It is heartbreaking. There is such division between the people in castes. Such division between the few very rich, and everyone else who is poor.

Many people have no concept of how miserable their conditions are.
I freaked out yesterday at breakfast when a mouse ran over my feet. But then I went to the market and saw a huge fat rat ambling along in the middle of a restaurant and people noticed but ignored it!
So it’s a little different from Stanwood, but God is doing great things through His people here. He is bringing hope and healing. Everyday when I see people with Siva's ashes rubbed on their foreheads it reminds me of my Father's longing to bring beauty from the ashes of this country.
Thank you for praying for the missionaries here and the people of India.
In this picture some of the local missionaries are teaching me how to eat with my hands - the true Indian way. Then there is another picture of me, Sony, Divya, and Lydia in an auto-rickshaw going to church.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bring it!

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved!
Hebrews 10:39

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Shameless Little Advertisement

Hear ye! Hear ye! Anyone interested in serving in missions I have good tidings of great joy!
With a multiplicity of YWAM ministry locations the world over, there is surely a perfect place for you!
Right here in this photo I am joined by Ellen from Australia who came with a team from her church to do outreach in Chang Mai. Look at how happy she is serving the Lord while painting the kitchen walls of the Home of Joy!
You too can experience such joy serving anywhere the Lord calls you to – it could be in your own city, or it could be on the other side of the world. Pray about it today and ask God how you can use your special talents or learn new ones, to refresh others!
YWAM needs you!
p.s. I get lonely sometimes moving around every week - little vagabond that I am. Soooo if anyone is interested in photo journalism I would love a partner!
(Said partner must be willing to love everyone; move every week; travel daily on dangerous forms of transportation when you usually do not speak the language or know exactly where you are going; sleep anywhere; eat anything; cannot be afraid of cockroaches the size of hotdogs, spiders that will bite you in your sleep, rats that will scurry accrossed your floor, or rabid looking animals in the street. You can take showers sometimes, which are guaranteed to be cold, but that is o.k. because you are guaranteed to be hot and dirty all the time anyways so it's actually a benefit =)
Other benefits include: living by faith everyday, watching God do miracles, meeting amazing people in amazing cultures, and having alot of fun =)

Birthday Elephants and Humility

I had a fabulous 22nd birthday! I signed up for an all-day Elephant ride through the jungle with a tour group of 8 other people.
One couple was from Canada, another was from Malaysia, 3 were from Spain, 1 from Japan, and myself. We all got on splendidly learning about each other’s countries and swapping travel stories. I quickly became known as the “extremely religious bubbly birthday girl Jen from America!” haha. We had fun.
I’m not sure how I feel about the “extremely religious label”. That conjures up pictures of Pharisees – I sure hope I wasn’t giving them the impression that I was more pious just 'cause I’m a missionary working at an orphan home.
I am reminded everyday that the fact God is using little ‘ol me for anything is a testimony to His grace, sense of humor, and that He likes to use small unimportant things and people to shame the “wise” and shine His glory! Yeah God!
Sometimes I set up interviews with people over the phone, and when I meet them in person they’re shocked saying (either verbally or non-verbally) “What?! I thought I was meeting with a highly experienced reporter!
How old are you? Do you know the hierarchy of YWAM leadership and the 7 steps to our visionary strategy with the 4k network….?” and I say sheepishly “Er…well no. But God’s funny with who He calls for His work isn’t He? I mean he used David to slay Goliath, and a teenager to birth the son of God, so surely He can use anyone, right?” =)
Soooo I hope I am quick to give Him every bit of glory if do anything well.
But back to the elephants =)
We sat 2 people in a saddle while a Thai professional elephant rider man led us over a mammoth mountain, through banana trees and dense jungle foliage.
Since it was my birthday and all, the elephant driver let me out of the saddle to ride the elephant’s shoulder!!
He jumped off to smoke cigarettes and beat the elephants butt with a bamboo stick. I do not believe animal cruelty is edifying for anyone so I petted my elephant, rubbed his ears, and told him nice things. I think he responded much better to the positive encouragement, than the stick.
See how happy he looks in the picture?
We ambled down into a valley which was so green and lush, and spent the day there. It was paradise!
But it wasn't over yet....that night at the Home of Joy the children and staff surprised me with a sweet celebration. Here is a picture of some of them looking all cute and covered in cake.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bed Bugs and Birthdays

Two very exciting things have happened to me recently!
Last night I learned how to kill bedbugs – Baby powder!
It’s incredible! I have been dousing the kids with it every night when they jump out of the bath, and last night the Thai staff were singing the benefit’s of the stuff – they say it keeps the baby’s dry, wards off malarial mosquitoes, and also kills bed bugs!
So I also powdered myself liberally, plus the mattress, sheets, clothes, headboard (just in case) and awoke bright and cheery this morning bed-bug free!
Ah, it’s the little blessings in life, you know?
The second wonderful thing is that tomorrow is my Birthday, and I am going to ride an Elephant into the Jungle! Ahhh! It will cut into my budget a bit, but I just won’t eat for 2 days or something, and it’ll be worth it.
I’m so excited!
Thank you so much friends for your love and prayers from home!
The Thai military is still staging the coup throughout the country. We see armed soldiers everywhere, but life seems to be peaceful nevertheless, Praise God.
I miss you all, and hope you are well!
Please let me know how I can pray for you - I feel your prayers everyday.
love and later!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Home of Joy!

Living in the Home of Joy (YWAM's home for orphans in Chiang Mai)has been such a...well a joy!
The children are precious, and the workers inspire me by their dedication and love.
I am so thankful my missions role is not limited to merely writing about ministry. I can actually participate! They let me help feed and clean and read and play with the children from 5:45 in the morning when they all wake up - until...oh around 11p.m. when the adults go to sleep. And sometimes through the night.
It's not always easy, they seem to be louder, wilder, and needier than most children I know. Group mayhem is often the rule of the day, when one toddler starts screaming they all do. Nevertheless, we all get through it, and enjoy several bright spots throughout the day as well!
Here are some pic's of these darlings.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Nakhon Sawan, the Coup, and Chiang Mai

So yesterday in Nakhon Sawan, I met my Compassion Sponsor Child, Keng and his family! It was glorious! Oh he is so darling! His family is huge and extremely poor, but hard working, and love the Lord, and generally happy and healthy. Praise God for them. We all loved on eachother so much, it was great to meet eachother after writing for 3 years.

I left them last night and took the "sleeper" bus to Chiang Mai, and was wondering why we kept getting stopped by soldiers along the way (sometimes it is tough not to know what anyone is saying or what is going on =).
I arrived at the bus station at 3a.m. in the morning, and waited there until 10a.m. when my sweet YWAM Missionary friend, Kathleen (who is head of the orphanage here) came for me.
She said that the Thai military just took over the country last night, threw out the Prime minister, and the constitution, and.....some other stuff.
Thailand is such a peaceful country, and has not had disruption like this in hundreds of years. The news says the invasion and everything was peaceful, but we don't really know what is going to happen.
Soooooo I spent the day getting to know all the orphan children I will be living with for the next 8 days. The coup is happening all over the country, so we are just as safe here as we would be in Bangkok. Maybe safer.
So we'll trust God and watch the news and see what happens. It will be great living here with the kids. We will probably be spending alot of time playing and reading, and feeding and changing and cleaning.....and hopefully I'll get some writing done too =)
then I leave on Sept. 30th to India, Lord willing.
So, busy busy, but "God is in His high heaven and all is right in the world" as they say.
Thankyou so much for praying peace over this country, and safety for us here.

Joshua 1:9

God has been encouraging me with this verse lately. I hope it encourages you as well.
He says "Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9

Monday, September 18, 2006


For our day off Stuart, Larissa, some local friends, and I hopped on their motorcycles and for an adventure in the back-country of Cambodia!
This is the most georgeous country!
We visited some ancient temples, and joined 100 local children climbing the crumbling ruins.
Then we visited some of the horrible killing feilds where Pol Pot murdered 4 million people during the Kmer Rouge regime of the 1970's.
When a warm cambodian downpour started we sought shelter under a hut with some monks and local people.
After the rain stopped we headed home, after buying coconut rice grilled in a Bamboo stalk. It's a local favorite, and here is a picture of us enjoying it together.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Little Princess

It is amazing how God knows the things our heart is missing, without us saying it.
God has been ministering to my heart this week through children. I could give several examples - but today in Cambodia (oh yes, I am in Cambodia now by the way =) I was invited to cross the border and stay with YWAMérs in Battambang for a week, to write a story about the sweet new things God is doing here).
Today they let me go to the orphanage nearby to play with the children! Our first stop was in the baby room, where I held the most beautiful baby girl. The house mother doesn't know her name or how old she is, and says she doesn't like her because she won't stay quiet in her crib.
She didn't cry though when I held her close to me and started talking to her. She reached up to touch my eyes and nose and cheeks - then she held me face in her sticky little hands and searched my eyes with her bewhildered little brown ones. I wanted to keep her so much.
I told her softly "Don't worry Princess. Jesus has a name for you. He knows how old you are. He knows everything about you, and He loves you so much."
I feel like God has been telling me that same thing about my identity. "Don't worry princess, I know you're a stranger in a foreign land where no one really knows you. But I know you. everything about you. and I love you so much.
I asked the house Mother's permission to carry the baby with me for the rest of the day as we visited other children.
She held my fingers and my heart so tight.
They wouldn't let me take her home, but I can visit again tommorow.
Praise God for that precious little one. =) Please pray that she will grow up knowing how much she is loved.
Here is a picture of her and a few other sweet kids we were playing with

Visiting the Monks

My friend Stuart visits the Buddhist monks in different pagoda's every morning. The monks are mostly young men in their 20's who are very friendly and eager to practice their English. Stuart has been making friends with them, and they always talk about the differences between Buddhism and Christianity. We are hoping and praying that they will start to "be enlightened" to the One True God.
Stuart let me tag along today and we all had wonderful conversations!

Day 3 in Cambodia

Yesterday I went with Katie (one of the girls on staff) to visit the sick at a local military hospital where many sick soldiers live and die.
Katie is praying for opportunities to organize more Christian volunteers to visit the hospital. The patients desperately need friends to love them, share the gospel with them, and serve them.
The hospital is filthy. Most of the patients have AIDS and lie on their deathbeds but have no one to help them with their most basic needs. There are no nurses to help them go to the bathroom or walk the half-mile away to the cafeteria, so many of the patients die of starvation. Sometimes people are lucky enough to have their family live with them, to help them, but many do not. Many are at the mercy of any tenderhearted person who will care.
Here are some pictures of the patients, and children who live there.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Please Pray

I have been in Bangkok for 10 days now. It is nothing like I expected.
God has been faithful to keep me busy gathering several good story's/testimony's from the YWAM missionary's here....but I really really need advice and prayer right now.
These past 2 weeks in Bangkok have been the valley of the shadow of death it is so spiritually oppressive here.
When I lived in the ghetto for a year in Chester they taught us spiritual warfare, so I have been putting on my armor and doing battle all day, but I still feel like all the life is getting sucked out of me - or I am swimming in a rip tide. I don't know what's happening. Normally I'm a really upbeat person with tons of energy and humor, but I am so weak and irritated here, I hate it.
I don't think it's just because it's a bug-infested, dusty, sweltering city; and hardly anyone speaks English; and I have no one to hug...I think its spiritual.
So please pray for me friends!
love, Jen

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Muffin Man

Oh! One more thing about Singapore - I need to tell you a story =)
I go running in the mornings here about 5 days a week - which is wonderful because my YWAM office doesn't open until 10a.m. leaving me plenty of early morning time alone with God.
I like to run along the river and watch the senior citizens doing Tai Chi aerobics...they usually smile and wave at me even though it messes up their zen state. They are so cute.
Every time I leave in the morning or return at night to the YWAM house I say "hello" to a sweet elderly chinese man who sells orange chinese muffins and durian fruit outside our door.
Well, he is so sweet, I sometimes buy a muffin from him in the morning. But then I found out the muffins are for idol sacrifices to the hungry/angry ghost the Chinese are celebrating this month. So I have been debating whether I should act like Paul in 1 Cor. 8:4-9 where he says food offered to idols is still just food to Christians, there's nothing defiled about it. I debated this for a few days...Until one day I caught the sweet Chinese man clipping his toenails before serving the next customer! And I figuired, "well God, I think this is a sign. If idols don't defile the muffin toe jam certainly could."
So from now on I think I'll just smile and wave.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I am leaving Singapore and flying to Bangkok, Thailand in 6 hours.
This has been an amazing month. I am so grateful for all the wonderful friends God led acrossed my path this month, and all the ways I saw His glory through the ministry here.
The first week I came here I visited a church acrossed town.
No one knew me, who I was or why I was there, except for the friend who invited me. But after the service a man approached me saying that God gave him a prophetic word for me:
God had told him "I am a writer/journalist and God was going to use my writing to reach the nations and influence people for God's glory.
God wants me to know that He gave me a very creative heart which is very close to His heart, as The Creator. He told me not to despise my youth because I will always be working with people who are older and wiser than me, but God uses the small child-like things to reveal Himself and display His glory...."
He said some other things too, things that only God and I would know. All I could do was cry, I couldn't respond. I was so amazed and broken and humbled and truly believe God sent that man, like an angel, to encourage and confirm what God has been speaking to me.

God is indeed doing a mighty work in Asia. Ezekial 43 says that in the end times the East will be radiant with God's glory. I want the world to see that, and I feel so priveleged to write about it.
So thank you my dear friends for your faithful prayers from home, they are not without effect. I love you and pray that God will reveal His plans and purposes for your life as well, and that your life will be radiant with His glory.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Holy Ground

"Earth's crammed with Heaven, and every common bush afire with God;
but only those who see take off their shoes."
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Let's go barefoot today and look for God everywhere k?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sharon - I love you!

I've finally found another missionary as quirky and spastic as me! yeah God!
My roomate Sharon and I get along splendidly (even though I secretly hate durian fruit but lie to her about it because I don't want to hurt her feelings).
j.k. of course missionary's can't lie =)
I love you Sharon!

Ode to the Samoans

I have been able to spend alot of time this month with a YWAM missions team from Samoa. They are the happiest people on earth, and I am so thankful they let me hang out with them, learning Samoan dances, cooking, and exuberant joy for God.
Talofah Lava - Fasoifua!
I will miss you all!
love, your little palangi Jen.

The past 3 weeks in Singapore (for lack of a better title)

The past 3 weeks in Singapore have been lovely - interviewing Missionary's and writing story's by day and exploring the city with friends by night.
(This is actually a picture of us at the YWAM Singapore staff retreat in Indonesia. They asked me to come along and report on the weekend, and help write a story and video for their base. This weekend's theme is YWAM Singapore's past, present, and future. I am awe-inspired listening to the original base leaders' story's about God's faithfulness when they were pioneering this mission, years ago.
Most of the people said they had no idea what they were doing. They just really loved God, and stepped out in faith and obedience everyday - now, many years later, the fruit of their faith has been incredible .
That is encouraging, because many times in this new mission of mine, I have no idea what I'm doing (what country am I in again? =) or why in the world God would choose little ol' me for such a huge job, but we walk by faith not by sight.
Soooo I'll just keep walking =) doing my best, and enjoying the ride.
I pray that you are feeling the same way with whatever God has called you to do right now friend.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Perfect Timing

Singapore is so-so. The people are great, but the YWAM base where I am living is in the red light district, so it's very shady and dirty, nothing like the beautiful antiseptic city that most people associate with Singapore. 
It's the perfect place for a missions base.
In addition to this - I have realized the past 2 weeks that God has destined me to be here at exactly this time. 
When I met with the YWAM Singapore director, Joseph Chean, he explained this is an epic moment in YWAM Singapore's history; it is perfect that God sent me to witness and document the great miracles happening here. 
See, YWAM Singapore just launched Go Fest Asia, a conference involving YWAM missionary's from all over the world. They were trained in Asian missions, prayer mapped outreaches, then went out for 2-4 week missions trips to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Myanmar, or 20 other Asian nations.
The conference was a huge success, and all those missionary's are just now returning to Singapore.  Guess who's going to be here to track them down and share their story's with the world??

You geography buffs probably know that Singapore is the gateway to Asia, all merchants and travellers from around the world have always stopped in Singapore before travelling to China, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Indonesia ect. People stop here first to rest, refresh, resupply, then go out.
God is using Singapore for that same purpose spiritually to be a gateway to the East.  Singapore is experiencing revival along with all of Asia, and the YWAM base is preparing to be a platform to train, equip, and send the whole world into Asian missions.  
sooooo the Director said he needs me to be the voice of  Singapore, and the voice of Asia to the rest of the YWAM world.  He gave me the verse Ezekial 43:1-2
and commissioned me with a new name/title/theme for this month "Till Asia is filled with Gods glory, promote the love of God for Asia."
So I am quite nervous and shaking with this holy fear and responsibility.  God has a very definite purpose for having me here this month, with the Go Fest Asia happening, and the rebirth of YWAM Singapore....I am so humbled by this task and will be writing every word from my knees.
Please pray that I will be a faithful scribe for the story's God wants told - pray that I will walk very closely to Him during this journey.
Thank you! Praise Him!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fragrance of Christ

Here's a picture of my students and I at the Chang Zhi school.
It is traditional for foreign teachers to give their Chinese students English names. So I named all of my students the first day of class. Strong, attractive names like Brunhilda, Boris, and Gertrude. j.k.
I did entertain the idea of naming them Biblical names but most of those are multi-syllable and difficult to pronounce. I thought it would be funny to imitate some large home-school family's I know and give all 25 students names that started with "J" or "L". Ah, but roll call is not a good time for tongue twisters.
Lucy! Linda! Leanoard!
So in the end I just named them after all of you, my family and friends. =)
It's shocking how they have taken on your personality traits in my mind. (power of suggestion?) Some of them wanted to change their names - much to my chagrin - to Rain or White Lilly. I told them they could call me "Mother Moon Child" and we could all wear tye dye and celebrate woodstock. But they didn't get it.

They did give me a lovely Chinese name though, which I am very thankful for. It is Xiao Fong, which means sweet lovely small fragrant flower. I like it.
I pray God will help me live up to it and be a sweet fragrance to the people here. It reminds me of the verse 2 Corinthians 2:14 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ, and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him." That is my challenge for all of us today: friends, let us be the fragrance of Christ to everyone we encounter.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I have become very good at pantomime since moving to this country.
The language barrier isn't so much a problem as it is an opportunity to practice exuberant gestures and facial expressions!
I had one such opportunity this week when a mouse jumped out of my bag and ran acrossed the floor. I screamed, like the little girl I am, and then also ran acrossed the floor to get help from the Chinese hall moniter.
The woman in uniform could not speak a word of English so I began frantically showing her "BIG TEETH!" "WHISKERS!" "TAIL!" and did my best scurrying mouse impression.
I thought I was doing a pretty good job, but she just laughed and laughed.
"BIG TEETH?!" I tried again sticking out my teeth.
"Whiskers?!" No good.
"LONG TAIL?!" She laughed even harder.
I'm pretty sure the only thing she heard from that conversation was "crazy American" =)
Oh well. It was a good reminder to me that actions speak louder than words. This is obviously applicable to our witness - people want us to show them Christ, show them the love, the peace, the security, and purpose we have as Christians. Without that we're just a clanging Gong or crashing cymbal or meaningless talker.
As a completely unrelated aside - here is Confucious and I

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Laudi Mountain, Sally, and Famous Noodles

This weekend was strange and wonderful. The school officials took us to Laudi Mountain on Saturday where we met confucious, then hiked and explore the ancient gardens there. It was glorious to be up in the fresh air and green trees - away from the smog and noise of the city.
I took several pictures and made several friends; one of whom is a girl named Sally. She is a Senior at Chang Zhi University, studying to be an English/Chinese interpreter. A very bright and charming girl. She wanted to practice her English so we talked and talked all day.
Praise the Lord I was able to share the gospel with her, my testimony, and why I am a Missionary...She wanted to know all about Jesus, so He gave me the right words to say! She wanted to come with me to church the next day =) which she did and acted as my interpreter for the whole 4 hour service. I don't know if that would hinder or help a person decide to go to church - but God works in mysterious ways =)
The pastor shared the gospel again and 100 people were baptized! Incredible.
Sally has not made any decisions that I am aware of, but I don't want to be pushy or anything because I know recieveing Christ is a very important and personal decision, especially in China. She needs some time to think about it, I pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to her heart and reveal her need for Him.
After church Sally and I left the other Americans at KFC and ventured out to a street vendor selling green bean noodles and sauce.
Chang Zhi is famous for noodles, most local people eat them at every meal.
They can be made out of wheat, rice, or bean flour...and cooked a variety of different ways.
At a traditional Chinese meal the host will serve several small dishes of meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables...then after the guests are finished snacking they are served a heaping bowl of noodles and sauce.
This is opposite of how many Americans eat; we like to fill up at the beginning of the meal, then snack a little afterwards. The Chinese save the bulk of the meal for the end as the climax - sort of keeping the best for last?
It has taken our team some time to adapt to this - we're such a quick-fix instant everything culture - when we feel a need we must satisfy it. now! When we're hungry we fill up. The Chinese are more patient.
I'm not sure how I feel about this dynamic. It is a good lesson in self-control, but people are grumpy when they're hungry. So I would think the dinner conversation would be more pleasant if you satisfied people first, then talked over some light snacks. But it doesn't really matter in my case because I have been appointed the taste-tester in the group. I'm the only one who eats anything - or everything so everyone always whispers "Jen...this looks kind of taste it and tells us what it is". So by the time the noodles come around I'm not hungry anymore =)
Wise Confucious say "He who is the taste tester, will never hungry be". =)
The Chinese culture is very old and wise though, so they must have some reason for their dinner traditions. I think I had better ask them.
(p.s. please keep praying for Sally).

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Every Friday I teach a lesson on an American Holiday. Tommorow I am teaching on Thanksgiving. So to prepare for that I let my students browse through some American grocery ads I brought from home (yes, I had intented to use these for lessons not simply because I enjoy reading them for fun). My students also loved reading them and planning their feast for tommorow!
I gave them a budget of $60.00 to spend - with which they must purchase 2 types of meat, 1 seafood, 3 vegetables, 2 fruits, 2 breads/grains, 2 dairy products, 2 drinks, and 2 desserts. =) Enough food for their whole family of three people.
So they got busy clipping cupons, and I taught them the word "Thrifty" =) I hardly had to explain what it meant because it seems to naturally to them. They contemplated each purchase down to the penny!
They had so much fun planning their meal too, I can't wait to see what they bring for out Thanksgiving feast tommorow.
Yesterday I taught them about the American F.D.A. and the Food Guide Pyramid. Then we had a long lesson/discussion on each of the food groups and all about nutrition.
I had brought several magazine pictures of American meals with me which I had them discuss in English. They had to break down each meal into food groups and explain it's nutritional value...
They can see why Americans are so much larger than they are =) We eat so much more fat and sugar... I joked with them saying that Americans eat so many preservatives that when we die, our bodies are preserved forever.
They gaped at me in shock - until I started laughing, then they laughed too.
I just love them, we have too much fun together. The Chinese people love to laugh, which is another reason why I love them so much.
So I wish you some very hearty laughs today my friend! Keep well!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Exerpt from my journal - July 10th

First, I want to tell everyone at home that it is fine and appropriate for me to use e-mails and this website to speak freely about my faith and write about the Chinese church.
We have been given permission by the government officials...things are very different in China than we have been told in the U.S. The chinese church of Chang Zhi has the blessing of the government and believers can worship God and witness to eachother ect. What is illegal is for foreign Missionary's from America or anywhere else to come in and prostheletize their faith on the Chinese people.
Which I agree with and respect.
The Chinese people should be allowed to make their own decisions about their faith and practice. From what I've seen and heard they are doing a much better job of practicing and sharing their faith than foreign missionary's have done in years past, before the Chinese cultural revolution.
I can explain more later, but for now I just want to say the Chinese Christian church here is incredible. I have learned so much from them already and wanted to share with you an exerpt from my journal.

"The church we attended on Sunday was amazing Lord!
I was so encouraged, humbled, and blessed by the whole service.
The church has about 200 members and they meet in an old, smelly, dirty, building. This is located behind a cluster of old, smelly, dirty shacks. Everyone sits on hard stools with fly's buzzing around in 100 degree weather and 100% humidity for hours - enjoying every minute of it.
The worship, communal prayers, and teaching were so passionate and spirit-filled.
I don't think I have ever felt Your presence as intensely as I felt it there.
After singing a few (chinese) worship songs together the pastor prayed, then the whole church prayed together - each one praying to You in their own way. With all the people surrounding me, pouring out their hearts to You in prayer and praise, it sounded like a roar of rushing waters.
It was the closest I have ever been to Pentacost or Revelation when all the saints are worshipping around the throne in heaven. I was in awe of Your presence Father. All I could do was cry, with my eyes closed, and stand in awe of You.
Thank you Father for what you are doing in the churches of Chang Zhi. I know You love these beautiful sweet people so much. Please protect them and help them to spread the good news all over China and the world."

Chinese Television and things less hilarious

Chinese television is hilarious!
I rarely ever watch TV at home or anywhere, I think it's a huge waste of time and I get too fidgety. But I flippped on the TV here in my room a few times while preparing my lesson plans for school and have been fabulously entertained!
The first show I saw was Chinese Teen American Idol with a Chinese dark skinned man doing his best to imitate Mike Tyson. Flexing every major muscle group, let me tell ya. I was rolling of the bed laughing. Thankfully he didn't bite the reporters ear off when he lost. =)
After that I saw a rousing ping-pong tournament videotaped in a stadium as large as the Tacoma Dome. There must have been 5,000 fans cheering on two ping-pongers! That was almost as entertaining as the noodle-eating contest. (Which was appropriately followed by a creative heart burn commercial.)
If that doesn't get you excited there's always the Chinese soap operah: two pretty Chinese girls vying for the attention of one handsome soldier (it's hard to resist a man in uniform). They spend alot of time playing coy, flirting with their fans and such, then one of them just happens to meet him in a bamboo field. They declare their passionate love for eachother, but he chokes on the noodles she brought him for dinner!
So she runs home to get her Daddy who has been arguing all day with a merchant over the price of rice. Oy Vey!
and that is when I changed the channel. The commercials with children in them are adorable. Half the commercials use children to sell something, which I think is effective because they are too sweet. Chinese people hold children very dear because they are only allowed to have one child.
Walking around the city in Chang Zhi or Beijing I do not see many children. It feels strange to see no little people, no "tiny's" as Kym or Cerra would say =)
Out of the thousands of people that walk by everyday, I only see one or two toddlers. I understand why they have to limit their population, but I miss seeing children and wonder what it will be like in a few years when there is an entire generation of people who were once "the only child".
They might turn out spoiled and demanding like Americans =) j.k.
Ah, our American'ness comes out so strongly here: the good, the bad, and the pitiful.
I LOVE America, I am very proud to be an American, but we can be so demanding.
I get embarrassed and secretly angry when I watch these sweet Chinese people bending over backwards to accommodate us (my American teaching team) and we have the gall to complain about minor inconveniences.
Please pray for me because I believe that if we bear Christ's name we ought to be the humble servants doing and saying everying in love.
But not everyone on my team feels that way. I'm not sure what to do about it, besides pray.
If you have any advice I would love to hear it! =)
Until then keep well and beware the Chinese Mike Tyson!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Ni Hao!

I have been in China for a week now and am absolutey loving it!
The 2 day plane ride went well, all things considered.
I was so worried about getting blood clots from sitting so long, as my doctor warned, so I was up every hour doing aerobic stretches with the foreigners and the flight attendants in the back of the plane. They didn't speak English but they knew alot of the same stretches (?) so we had great fun!
Praise the Lord I was seated next to a team of college students from UCLA who were also going to China to teach a summer English program! So we were able to swap lesson plans and ideas the whole time! While waiting in the airport I was also able to witness to a Chinese Morman family from Canada. That was cool. They weren't converted just then, but we had a great spirit-led discussion, so please continue praying for them.
If all is a loss in this whole missionary journey around the world, at least God let me witness to some Canadian Mormans =)
But I digress, China has been spectacular! Our team spent 2 days in Beijing touring the Great Hall of the People, Tinnemens Square, The Forbidden City, the silk market, and of course the Great Wall of China!
After Beijing we took a sleeper bus to Chang Zhi (sounds like chon jur) where we will be spending the remainder of the month teaching English and American culture at the #1 Middle School of Chang Zhi. (Which is really a highschool)
Teaching has been a strange and wonderful challenge. I have rediscovered that I love teaching, although there is a world of difference between teaching Chinese students and teaching inner city American students.
The first hour or two of class was rough because I didn't know what to expect.
I have learned it is best to have no premonitions here because everytime I think I have something figuired out it gets changed on me. I was pretty nervous.
After introducing myself and my expectations for the class I began to ask them questions and was blown away by how advanced they are.
These are some sharp cookies, 16 going on 60.
They already speak and comprehend English very well. Their sentences, grammar, and punctuation are excellent. They have a broad vocabulary and good pronunciation.
So I'm standing their thinking/praying "o.k. Lord, there go my lesson plans for today and the next 3 weeks. What do I do?!"
Thinking "I must not look confused, must not look inept, must look professional and prepared and all those nice things my leader said about me in front of all the students and communist officials this morning. Please help me Lord!
Then the bell rang and it was time for my next class. I cried to God in my desperation and He heard my prayer! He always does. His power is made perfect in my weakness.
So after that brief morning of panic and prayer I returned to the hotel for lunch and spent the whole time on my knees. Giving everything to God again.
When I returned to class for the afternoon session He let the ideas flow. One topic led to another teaching them new words and concepts from American culture, and facilitating small group discussions...
He gave me several new ideas for my class to learn and practice their English. Before I knew it the time was gone, and we all learned something. Praise the Lord!
Thank you so much all of my faithful prayer warriors at home! God is in His high heaven and all is right in Chang Zhi =)

Saturday, July 01, 2006

livin' up the last day of work!

I don't want to sound conceited or anything, but I am definitely the hottest girl on Recreation Staff at Warm Beach Camp.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

last minute things

As precious time at home draws to an end, my ducks are in a row for the next 6 months, so I am trying to spend as much quality time as possible with my family and friends.
Here are some fun pictures of you guys. I will miss you all so much, and will be praying for you when I'm gone. Please pray for me too and stay in touch!
I love ya!

Above is a picture of me, Anne, Egor, Denae, Anna, Derek, and Caleb. We're hiking to Bridal Falls.
Then there is a picture of my amazing family - again, we are hiking =)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

In the future!

I plan to use this blog as a way for friends, family, and prayer/support partners to keep in touch.
For the next 6 months I will be traveling through Asia, India, the U.K. and then Germany staying with YWAM Missionary's and reporting on all that God is doing through their ministry.
Because I will be so mobile, I won't be bringing a computer/printer or really much of anything with me (I am committed to simplicity). So I will not be able to send out monthly paper prayer letters to you all. I will to my best to send out monthly prayer e-mails, and paper letters when I am home in December, Lord willing.
Soooo I will do my very best to keep you updated through this weblog every week with story's, pictures, prayer requests, and random bits of information =)
I am so excited about this adventure and am thankful that in a way you're coming along with me! I really need your continued prayers and would love to hear any feedback or advice you have while I'm out on the field!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

17 days 'till China!

I can't believe I only have 17 days until I leave!
The past 2 months have been crazy trying to work full-time, raise full missions support for life, and plan all the details of a 6 month transcontinental trip.
God has been so amazing multiplying my efforts, and making everything work together in His way and His timing. I was driving home last night talking to Him about it, and just crying. I am so grateful. See all of my perfectly laid plans for raising funds have failed. But the minute I really truly gave it all up to God and admitted that "apart from You I can do nothing" - bam, He provided everything I needed in one weekend.
Amazing. May this encourage you my friend that yes, God helps those who help themseleves, but ultimately our striving alone accomplishes nothing - I think He helps us most when we have the most faith.
Thanks for your ongoing prayers and encouragement!

Friday, May 19, 2006

I now have my dream job!!

Praise the Lord!!!
I am personal witness to the fact that it is possible to have a career where all of my passions come together for God's ultimate glory and my ultimate joy!
I am still in a bit of shock =)
God just laid out for me what I am supposed to do with my life!
I am going to be a Traveling Missionary Journalist with Youth With A Mission!! Ahhhh!

For the past few months I have been exploring different opportunities to use my B.A. in English, my calling to missions, and my weird sense of adventure to serve God.
So on my road trip I stayed in Colorado for two days meeting with the Director of the YWAM International Communications Headquarters. We have been in touch for months now, but were finally able to meet and discuss my vision for missions. YWAM is a evangelical missions organization with a multiplicity of missionary's, churches, and Bible schools all over the world. God is working mightily through their organization, and the world is rife with story's to be written for YWAM books, magazines, and websites.
Sooooo although they have never had an official YWAM traveling journalist before, he caught the vision and let me have the job!
Praise God I am so excited! I cannot say enough about how good God is and how elated I am to dive into this new life!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My very first cross-country roadtrip!

Trekking from Georgia back my lovely home in Washington state taught me a flock of fabulous facts about several midwestern states and truckstops.
Here are a few things I learned:

1. Tennessee is green and georgeouss in the spring, and Nashville is famous for crazyily talented drummers at Belmont University =)

2. Kentucky is apparently the quilting capital of the world. I just happened to be driving through during the quilting festival of the year, where I witnessed swarms of zealous quilters running around toting fabric swatches and selling applique. I was completely enamored.
I even bought a cute little Kentucky quilted apron, because cooking is so much more fun when one is wearing a cute little colorful apron.

3. Never trust a trucker who says there are Jackalopes in Wyoming - it's a lie.

But they truly do have very fine authentic cowboys who open doors for you and tip their hats =)

4. Right now Nebraska has a Rabid Skunk epedemic. Not even joking. =) My friend's dog was bitten by one. It's all over the news, causing Nebraskans everywhere to be on full-alert at a whiff of danger.

5. Missouri truly is the most miserable of all states - this is especially true if you happen to get caught in a 4 hour downpour in the middle of the night, hydroplaning amongst semi-trucks. They say it's the "show-me" state but I couldn't see much through the rain.

6. Colorado - has a great team of YWAM Missionary's at the Youth With A Mission International Communications Network in Colorado Springs where I hope to work someday soon.....

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Back in Georgia once again!

Grandma, Norman and I back at our beloved Union Baptist Church on Easter Sunday! Ah, it makes me want to bust out the hymn "precious memories" - I love you!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Highlights of the past 2 months on the Gulfcoast

I'm a little behind on my weblogging here which irks me because I have so many exciting story's to tell.
I am witnessing miracles everyday, but I just don't have any time to write about it!
So I'll put down the highlights now and fill in the details later =)
1.) Learning very quickly that I definitely do not have the gift of office administration.
Frankly I hate it with unrelenting passion! I'm much to fidgety and hands-on to be sitting at a desk all day answering phones and filling out paperwork...I do love visiting with the people who come in and helping them to fill out paperwork to get help from CBMI. But everything else about this office with no windows is driving me crazy!
So I'm learning alot about the importance of being willing to serve in a position I dislike merely because there is a great need - for the greater good of all/the mission (this sounds kind of like the Communist Manifesto but I'm pretty sure this is something God is telling me =)
2.) About once a week they let me out of here for a few hours, to work outside with a missions team, and this has definitely been the highlight of my trip. So far I have learned how to operate a Bobcat! yes! heavy machinery (I can upload a picture to prove it) and a Chainsaw! I cut down a tree! granted it was a very small tree, but it was a tree! =) I also helped put a roof on a house; measure, cut, and fit drywall; Install fiberglass - itchy but the slap-stapler was alot of fun; Discovered there is an actual tool called a "Stud Finder" ha Becca, I am so buying one for you at Christmas =) and I learned how to wire a house. All in all I had so much fun building the houses I can't wait to build one of my own someday when I grow up.
And it was such a beautiful thing to watch the excitement and hope on the people's faces as their broken homes were put back together. Praise the Lord for this ministry, and all the volunteers who come down every week to help!
3.) Another highlight has been getting to know the people we're helping, outside of the context of work and CBMI. I have been able to have lunch with a few of the sweet older ladies CBMI is helping, and those are friendships I will treasure forever.
One of the Ladies is Miss Gracie Nesbitt. I ran over a turtle in her yard when I was bulldozing/clearing debris. And we (Miss Gracie and I not the men we were with) were mortified. We called all the Vetenarians in Gulfport, but no one could offer any help for the poor little guy. His shell was fractured in 6 places and there was nothing I could do but take him home and wash him and bandage him together with gauze, and give him a little crushed up Tylenol for the pain. I kept him in a box for a few days and he started to get better, so I brought him back to Miss Gracie and she's taking care of him. Since then Gracie and I have become good friends, I'm not sure if she is a believer so please be praying for her salvation, and opportunity's for us to talk about about Jesus because every time we start to talk about spiritual things something else comes up.
4.) Another highlight of this month was going to Billy Graham's final crusade in New Orleans. That was a lifetime experience! I drove down there with my new Big Brother Shannon. We made quite a pair walking in there, he's a huge biker man, all tatted up in his leather gear, and I'm frolicking alongside him in my hot pink sparkly sandals and sunny surfer-girl look. He actually got kicked out halfway through Billy Grahams sermon because he was trying to help a little elderly lady from Germany - and so I went down to look for him during the alter call and I'm sure everyone was thinking I was going to get saved which was ackward because I had just been praising the Lord and totally into the worship before the service.
But anyhow, it was a great experience.
5.) I joined the Grace Memorial Baptist Choir! I have always wanted to sing in a choir, and I learned that I'm a Saprano (surprise?!) It is great fun. I sit next to a lady named Jean Allgood who is 85 years old and has been a missionary all over the world. Jean is going to China to teach English for the month of July, and she asked me to go with her. So I think I will. Why not go to China for the month of July? =)
So these have been a few of the highlights of my last few weeks in Mississippi - it never ceases to amaze me how God will take you crazy places and to meet amazing people.
Isn't God good? =)


about the passover last week.


my post about Passover.

Moving to Mississippi!

Hey ya'all!
I know it's been awhile since my last e-mail from Trinidad, you probably suspected I was eaten by alligators or something - but I haven't. (!)
Actually, you will not believe what has happened these past few weeks!
I left Trinidad on February 3rd, and spent the weekend in Chester packing up my car, saying many sad goodbyes to all my loved ones there, and in the meantime being near death from my very first case of food poisoning. Nevertheless I was on the road by Sunday heading south for my Grandparents house in Georgia.
On the way I stopped in Maryland at the Naval Academy to visit a friend, who ironically took me out to an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet. Yeah, not the best cure for lingering food poisoning, but it was still fun Kyle, thanks! =)
That night I drove down to Virginia-Tech to visit my friend Rob who invited me to stay a couple of days for his superbowl party...Go Seahawks! well...maybe next year.
I eventually made it down to my Grandparents home in Geogia, they live in the cutest little country town called Thomson, where the people are so sweet, and soooo country.
I absolutely fell in love with the people at their little country Baptist church, Union Baptist. Which was good because my Grandma had volunteered me to speak on a couple of occcasions about my experience as a missionary...I hate public speaking with a passion and would never volunteer for it, but for some reason everyone thinks I do.
So I learned some good lessons on humility: learning to do something I hate to do, doing it for Jesus, and thanking people for allowing me to be so uncomfortable. =) But you can't hide your light under a bushel you know? - When God teaches you something or allows you to witness miracles and His've got to talk about it right??
I was just talking with my new Biker friend, and new big brother, about that last night, he was sharing his testimony about how he was a murderer, drug dealer, theif, hitman, and biggest baddest biker dude there was before Jesus saved him. Because of that he has been able to share his testimony at Biker bars and church youth groups...he was telling me that we're all witnesses to God's miracles in our lives, and we need to be sharing it.
Those 2 weeks in Georgia were lovely though.
I learned alot about peace while I was there. I helped my Grandma in her garden everyday, and took long quite walks on lonely dirt roads with just me and Jesus. It was heaven.

I was only planning to stay in Georgia for a couple of weeks to rest and process all that I have been learning this past year, and also to seek and listen for God's guidance on what to do next...I was supposed to be truckin' acrossed country to check out a job I've been offered in Colorado, but the Midwestern winter is getting so bad my parents strongly suggested that I stay in the South for a couple more months.
Soooo I was praying about it, saying "O.k. God why do you have me here for the next couple of months? Two weeks is more than enough rest for me, could you show me specifically what you want me to do/how I can serve or work?" and wouldn't you know it, God answered so fast!
That night I went with my Grandma to a Baptist Womens Missionary Union meeting and after dinner ( let me just interject something really importnant here: =) In the South people are really big on cooking and eating, especially if you're Baptist, apparently "church folk" can't have a Bible study, revival or any gathering without first sitting down to some fried chicken, grits, collard greens, sweet potatoe pie, pickled Okra, and sweet tea! It's a good thing I've been running 6 miles everyday 'cause everyone's always fixin' something to eat. =)
So after dinner we had a guest preacher come to talk to us about the devastation in the Gulf Coast of Mississipppi, from Hurricane Katrina. He said there's a pastor down in Gulfport who is organizing missions teams to work on different projects and people's houses to rebuild the community. The pastor needed someone to come down and help full-time for at least 2 months.
So I'm sitting there thinking "Praise the Lord! Sign me up!"
I called the pastor the next day, he said he and his wife had been praying for me - so this is how God answered both of our prayers!
I packed up my car again, and drove down to Gulfport a day later, after my Grandma's church laid their hands on me and prayed for me.
So I've been living here in the church nursery for the past 3 weeks and it's been Awesome! Hard work, but I get to meet so many great people from all over the country who come and stay with us for short-term missions....
Working in the office gives me a chance to sit down with people from the community as they come in to fill out work orders. I get to listen to them as they tell their story and share their burdens, and pray with them, and cry with them, and just listen. I think sometimes that's the best thing you can do for people who are hurting like this.
All of us in Mississippi sure do need your prayers, please.
There is so much work to do here, we're working 14-16 hours everyday. It is going to take alot of time, alot of prayer, and alot of people to rebuild the homes and lives of the people down here. I think hurricane Katrina may have destroyed Gulfport worse than New Orleans, but for some reason the gulf coast isn't getting much media coverage so most of the nation thinks things are back to "normal".
Hey! If any of you have spring break in the next couple of months and don't have any plans we would absolutely LOVE to have you here. I have some room with me in the nursery, and we would feed you for free, there's so many different interesting projects to do, and you can learn good skills while helping people! I just learned out how to cut, fit, and finish sheetrock in a house the other never know when that'll come in handy.
But good grief I didn't mean to ramble on so long! Thank you always for your love and prayers!I sure appreciate you all and pray for you everyday.
much love!
- Jen
"Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, 'Be strong, do not fear: your God will come'." - Isaiah 35:3-4a

Thursday, April 13, 2006

January 30th - Alligator Hunting!

So the alligators here are called "Caymen", and they live in the swamps and rivers in Trinidad. As soon as I heard about them I started begging the locals to take me hunting, because I plan to experience every source of adventure this Island has to offer! (While continuing on with ministry work which is, of course, the main reason I'm here - just so none of my supporters are worrying about my motives =)
The Caymen hunters refused at first, claiming that Caymen hunting is for big tough men and they weren't going to take some sissy girl along. But eventually I persuaded them.
Whether it was by batting my baby blue's or demonstrating my knife-fighting ability is debatable. In any case I soon found myself tromping through the swamp at night - weilding my AA-flashlight, ready for anything!
We saw several Caymen peeking out of the water. watching us. looking very hungry. making me very nervous. But every time we came withing 15 feet or so - enough to throw out the bait and set a trap, they would dissapear.....
We spent much of the night playing this game before the guys - emphasis on the guys here - gave up.
So, sadly we have yet to catch any Caymen. But I am determined to get one before we leave - and I'll see about getting some Caymen jerky to you through customs, if you want.
Auntie Hazra even promised to teach me how to season and cook the Caymen tail if we catch one.
mmmmm... speaking of cooking =) that has been another major highlight of this trip.
The women have been letting me help them in the kitchen everyday. So they are teaching me how to cook Curried Chicken, and Potatoe Chana, Choka and Roti, Beef/Rice Pilaf, special rice dishes with chicken, spices, and coconut milk, and sweet breads with fruits and coconuts.....mmmm
When I get home you'll have to let me don my colorful little Trinidadian apron and cook you up lots of Trini food. =)
Our ministry and outreaches are still going spledidly.
Thank you so much for your prayers!
Nicole and I actually dropped off the other 10 members of our team at the airport last week, and changed our tickets to stay here until February 2nd. So we've been helping the TTUM missionary's, and different missions teams that come from the States.

We're primarily focusing on how we can help and encourage the full-time missionary's here at the base. Spending the past year as a missionary in Chester has really helped me to appreciate the missionary's for all the daily, less glamorous work they have to do to keep the ministry running, and to cater to short-term missions teams.
So God has really put it on my heart to bring them some cheer and encouragement, and help with whatever needs to be done around here. I am learning so much from them, and am inspired by their steadfast hard work for the Lord.
They have this carefree joy from their love for Jesus (and I think also from all this glorious sunshine that is making me brown as a coconut =) I think Heaven must be a place of constant sunshine, beaches, palm trees, and cheerful little missionary's cooking Roti and Chana and Caymen Stew =)
But I digress.
I should probably go now - thank you for hanging in with me thus far - I'll save my Prison ministry and Steel Pan drum lessons story for next time =)
Until then my friend, God's blessing to you. May you find yourself "Limin' (resting) in His presence" today and always! love, Jen

January 23rd - Trini Style

These past two weeks in Trinidad have been the adventure of a lifetime! I met the other 12 members of our college-age'ish missions team in the airport right before the trip, and I'd say we bonded pretty well during the 6 hour flight.
Upon arrival we stayed our first day with the TTUM missionary's in St. Helena for orientation and planning. Then we drove the two-hour-long-crazy-roller-coaster-make you sick jungle roads ride at night to Toco.
Toco is a beautiful small fishing village on the edge of the Island. We stayed there with a little elderly lady named Auntie Patsy who hosts surfers and missions teams at her home. Auntie Patsy makes green protein shakes out of sea moss which she sells to Nestle in the U.S. =) I think you can even buy them in Stanwood!
She is also an amazingly wise and fiery woman of God. During every delicious exotic Trini/carribean meal she fed us, she preached against the evils of sex and house insurance. no joke. We only spent a couple of days in Toco but it was a great time of ministry. Our team put together dramas and Bible presentations which we led at local schools, orphan homes, and drug rehab centers...
One of my favorite things was doing home visits in the village. Our team split up into pairs and visited different people, talking with them about Trini culture. Once we all became comfortable with eachother we began to ask them about spiritual things, which led to sharing the gospel. I think that is my favorite type of ministry, because I love to meet new people and share with them personally - it was a huge stretch for me to lead messages and gospel presentations in front of hundreds of people at the schools- but the home visits were lovely.

Aside from official ministry time we had countless daily adventures in Toco: some little local boys taught me how to night fish on the beach Trini style. Our team hangout place became the top of a huge lighthouse where you can see some of the other carribean islands acrossed the sea at night - We sometimes do our devotions there at night under the stars. Worshipping and singing so loud up there with the stars and beauty all around us, the wind whipping us around - I'm sure that's what heavens going to be like.
The beaches here are beautiful, and the surf was pretty decent. Much to my chagrin I did not bring a board but I am determined to borrow one from someone while I'm here. I have also gained all new respect for anyone who can husk and chop up a fresh coconut, and some locals let me climb up their mango tree to gather lot's of mangoes for our team (I am in heaven with the hundreds of variety's of tropical fruit). We saw beautiful sunrises on the beach, and hiked out into the jungle one day to a beautiful waterfall.... (sigh)
I could go on forever about this beautiful island and the beautiful people and a million other things I love and am learning but I need to go now because my team is leaving the internet cafe...soooooI'll save my Alligator hunting story for next time =)
Thank you so much for your prayers and encouraging e-mails! The ministry has been amazing so far - God is at work and some people have been saved already, and we are all learning and growing and stretching and having a glorious time doing it!
O.k. so take care my friend and be filled with God's great joy today!
Much love to you,
Zacheriah 4:6
p.s. Here are pictures: 1 of my group and 1 of me with some sweet little girls from Bible Club


I drove to a synagogue last night in Biloxi to celebrate Passover.
It was my first time celebrating a Passover meal, and it was a beautiful experience. I have always had a heart for the Jewish nation, I love their culture, traditions, family closeness, and just their personality. I believe we're supposed to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6) and I love them. So whenever I get the chance I try to visit a synagogue to learn from them and worship God with them.
Last night was quite the experience - I had no idea the meal and ritual was so complicated. They had different types of kosher food which we ate ceremonially at different times to represent different sections of the Exodus from Egypt. We would eat a little something and then drink a glass of (dreadful) wine, then sing a Hebrew song, then someone would share a little anecdote or read from the Torah, and then we would eat another bitter herb, sing a song, drink another glass of wine, and tell another was alot of fun. Oh and I was on TV! I guess they had a video camera there because Jean Allgood told me at lunch today that she watched me on TV eating the Passover with the Jews. Between two very fine single Jewish boys, who were very helpful in explaining all the details of the Passover meal and why Yiddish is a legitimate language =) Maseltoph! Too bad I'm leaving Mississippi tommorow - but they will be in my prayers, and I hope yours as well. Shalom my friends!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


After graduating from Westmont College in 2004 I spent a year as a missionary intern living in the inner city of Chester, Pennsylvania.
This is a city where God is working miracles, everyday bringing beauty out of the ashes.
Chester is the third most economically deprived city in the nation; it has one of the highest crime and drug ratings nationally; and it frequently makes news headlines for it's deteriorating school system and corrupt city government. Most people who know Chester think of it as the city to drive around.
Living in the heat of the projects with 10 other missionary's that year taught me alot about prayer and spiritual warfare. Although there are no easy answers for all the problems of the city, our God is mighty to save. So starting a church and spreading the hope of the gospel is the best place to start.
As an intern I was able to get involved in a little bit of eveything World Impact Missionary's are doing in Chester.
I taught Phys. Ed. at World Impact's Frederick Douglass Christian school. (Here are pictures of my 3rd grade class stretching, and my Kindergarten class). I had a blast teaching K-5th grade classes!
Every week was a challenge coming up with new lesson plans and teaching strategy's but my students and teaching Staff were a joy to work with.
On the days and hours I wasn't teaching I was able to help lead Bible clubs for kids, youth, teens, and family Bible study's every week. Here are some pictures from each of these. Sometimes we picked up the kids around the city and brought them to our houses, and other times we held Bible clubs in empty lots or the FDCS gymnasium.
Throughout most of the year I discipled two teen girls, Ashley and Vera, my dear "sistas". They were saved in our Teen Bible club the month I moved to Chester and I felt like God wanted me to start meeting with them throughout the week. "We was kickin' it together with our other homegirls and homeboys" all the time and studied the Bible together. I would take them places outside the city, and did my best to show them what it means to be a Christian.
In Chester I was also able to help lead a scrapbooking club, and a gardening club most weekends. This was a great way to get to know the adult women in the city to build relationships with them.
Occasionally the other Missionary's and I would take groups of kids and family's up to the Pocono Mountains for summer or winter retreats. World Impact has a camp called Harmony Heart, and they allow us to take family's in our ministry, to gain fun camp memories they may not otherwise be able to have.
God allowed me to see Him work through many other ministries in Chester. I dearly love that city and the people there. Please keep praying with me that Satans strongholds will be broken and be replaced with peace. There are thousands of people there that He loves.
"Should I not be concerned about that great city?"- Jonah 4:11

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Casting My Bread

I just want to start this new Blog by saying what I always say =)
Life in Christ is the most thrilling adventure I could ever hope for!
And after 21 years it just keeps getting better and better!
Since graduating from college I have had this strange and wonderful life as a Nomadic Missionary. I have only served in a few official missions fields so far, but everyday I witness miracles and stand in awe of the way God is working in the world.
I never know where I'll be next month, God just keeps opening doors, and I'm flinging myself through them with wild abandon. Yet everyday I am completely secure, knowing that no matter where I go or what I do I'm never far from His love, protection, and provision.

Life is so short you know? I think we ought to be living it up - being about our Fathers business. He is good and there is a great big world of adventure out there, learning and loving Him!
Soooooo this is a little bit about who I am and why I am starting this Blog.
I never want this to be about "Jens wild adventures" or anything dumb and self-serving like that - I really want it to be about reflecting on God's goodness. To open my eyes and maybe opening yours to see how God is at work in the world.
"Taste and see that the Lord is good!" Gods church and His missions work all over the globe is so diverse and creative it blows my mind. I can't wait to see it all and be a part of it!
I was inspired to name this blog after reading Ecclesiastes 11:1 "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again." My footnotes for that verse said "be adventurous, like those who accept the risks and reap the benefits of seaborne trade. Don't always play it safe". I know that sounds like a fortune cookie saying, but it is so true - and it inspires me.
So I'm casting it all out there!
How are you casting your bread my friend? I would love to hear about it.
I would also love love love your prayers in this new season of my life, and would love to know how I can be praying for you.