I was afraid to share Christ with others.

As I'm sitting here in my office reflecting over the past few years, I have to say that I am amazed at how the Father has worked in my life. 

Before coming to China, I was afraid to share Christ with others. Yep, I was afraid. 

I used to tell myself "If someone asks, of course I'll share the hope I have in Christ, but I don't want to share unless they ask me." 

What a LIE I was believing. And for years! 

The truth is that people don't know what they're searching for in this life. I was once that person. I was a broken person hiding behind a smiling face. I had no idea what this life meant and I had no idea where to look for the answer. Until someone told me. 

And so I have to ask myself these questions…

Am I ashamed of Jesus?
Do I love Jesus as much as I love myself? 
Why do I fear the reactions I might encounter from others? 

I wish you could experience what I've seen here in China. Even as I write, I am in tears. Sharing Jesus is easy here. Romans clearly says that God has put it in the hearts of all men to know Him and I have experienced that first-hand. Living in a country that has sought to suppress God only intensifies people's hunger for the Truth. 

I have watched the Word of God transform so many lives here. The trials and struggles that our brothers and sisters are facing here in China are so different from my own. When my friends come to me, telling me their families are disowning them for believing in Jesus or blaming them for terrible events because they brought a Bible into their home, I am humbled by their faith. They are truly abandoning all for the sake of knowing Christ.

So I will ask you…what is holding you back from telling others? What do you have to lose? 

We have life in Christ and no fear in death, so let's open our mouths and proclaim His Glory to those who may not even know what they're searching for in this life. 


100 DAYS

As I reflect on this past year, I am overwhelmed with an array of emotions. It's undoubtedly been the most different year of my life and yet, the most rewarding. I never imagined that the Lord would lead me down a path that would leave me living alone in a foreign country, especially China.

I have struggled a lot this past year, only to realize (once again) that Christ is sufficient to meet all my needs. He has been so faithful when I am faithless. He has been so patient when I have been impatient. He has been so good even when I am selfish. My need for Him grows more and more everyday, as I'm shown my own depravity in light of His glory. 

This whole journey started almost 2 years ago. When I felt the Father leading me to China, I was petrified. I literally had to take a blind leap of faith and trust that the Lord knew what He was doing. It was the scariest and most exciting thing I have ever done. I still feel completely inadequate to be bring His message to His people but I am learning everyday that that's how He wants me to feel. Obedience and willingness are two things that I have learned the Father wants from me. He will do the rest. 

I love America but the Father has placed such a love in my heart for the people of China. They are so hungry for the Truth. I have watched the transforming power of God's Word change so many people here. I am left speechless by His saving power. He is good! 

I have just 100 days left in China and I'm going to be completely honest- I am not looking forward to leaving this place. I love my Chinese friends deeply and I know there are going to be many tears shed as the time draws closer for me to board that plane to America. I will never be the same person again because the past two years have taught me that the only thing that matters on this earth is what I am doing for His Kingdom...


It's fun to pretend like you're rich...

My friends and I went to tour this new multi-million dollar neighborhood...


The Great Panda Adventure!


I had to travel to the US Embassy in Chengdu to get a new 
passport but not all was lost. I met up with some friends in 
Chengdu and we went to see the pandas together! This was
something I've been wanting to do but I never thought I would
get the chance. I may have been robbed of all my money and
important documents, but no one can rob me of the experiences 
I've had here in China. Enjoy the photos of all the 熊猫! (pandas)


Back to SCHOOL!

It's my last semester at university here in China! I am both excited and sad because I have some of the greatest Chinese friends in the world!

Studying Chinese has been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life but it's such a COOL language!!

Here are some photos from my "Back to School" Party....enjoy!

M&M oatmeal cookies

Oatmeal cookies

Peanut butter corn flake krispies

Mini pancake stacks

OJ Spring Punch with raspberries 

Peach cobbler

Pac-Man pizza puffs

Apricot Maple Syrup Cocktail Sausages

Sesame-Lime Udon noodles 

Playing games...

Looking at photos....

Aren't these 2 girls just precious?!

Enjoying the party 

Saying Goodbye!

...but not without taking the leftovers! 


Thieves, Forgiveness, and Trust

Today, the unexpected happened.

 I was robbed.

 I never thought it could happen to me, as I am always so careful and conscious of my surroundings, but I guess today was different. I had just come out of Wal-Mart with 2 very heavy bags, contemplating whether or not to take a taxi home or the bus. I decided to take the bus, so as to save money. The bus was crowded, but that's nothing new. I stood in front of 2 people by the door, with my purse on my shoulder and the 2 heavy bags in hand. I noticed the 2 boys standing next to me and I even thought to myself "These boys are acting weird," but still the thought never crossed my mind that they could be targeting me. I was too smart to be robbed. Too careful. If they tried anything, I would definitely notice. Wrong. It took them all of 10 minutes to steal my wallet (as I was able to later see on the video from the bus). I got off the bus to switch lines and that's when I realized what had happened. 

I knew immediately who did it and I burst into tears. My first reactions were not Godly, but raw emotion. I was angry... VERY angry...mostly with myself but I wanted to find those boys and I wanted to punch them in the face. I sat on the curb, cried, and called my friend for help. She immediately dropped what she was doing to come to me. I didn't have any money to take the bus home, so I decided to take a taxi and have my friend meet me at my apartment complex to pay the driver. She called to tell me she was stuck in traffic, so I asked the fruit seller to pay the taxi until my friend could arrive to pay her back. I sat on the curb of my apartment complex, cried some more, and waited for my friend to arrive. I was so angry with myself- how could I have been so stupid? How could I have not noticed them stealing my wallet out of my bag?! Why me, God?! Why would you let something like this happen to me?! Here I am living in a foreign country, where everyday is a struggle...and you let this happen to me! Why, God, why?! 

I returned to my apartment with two of my friends and they called the police to report the theft. If they hadn't been in my apartment with me, I am fairly sure I would've punch a whole through the wall. The police arrived at my apartment 10 minutes later and escorted us to the police station to take down my statement about the incident. 3 hours later and I returned home. I called and cancelled 3 debit cards and 1 credit card. I had lost everything- my passport being the most valuable. All the stamps in my passport from all the places I've traveled... now there was no physical reminder of them. I had also just been paid 2000元 ($330) for teaching 20 classes over the summer at the university. That was gone, too. Not to mention all the other little reminders and cards I kept in my wallet. Gone. I was angry with myself and I wanted justice...and I wanted it now! I wanted this wrong to be righted and I wanted my stuff back!! And yet, God was so patient with me, hearing my plea for justice and my anger boil over into tears. That's when He reminded me of a verse that I will never forget again: 

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

As I calmed down, I began to think about the situation. These boys had taken something from me that was important, but they could never take from me what God has given. I began to count my blessings... I was safe. I wasn't hurt by them. I still had the keys to my apartment. At least my phone wasn't stolen. I had a warm bed and food in my fridge. My treasures aren't on this earth- they are guarded by the One who gave me my life and the One who sustains me day to day. 

I began to feel an overwhelming presence of peace and forgiveness towards my thieves...and I can tell you that this feeling was not generated by me. I am incapable of harnessing such peace and forgiveness on my own...just look at my first reactions to this ordeal! No peace! No forgiveness! And yet God is so good- He grants us peace in the midst of chaotic situations and gives us the ability to forgive others, only because we can see what our own sin did to Him and He first forgave us! 

I fell asleep that night and dreamed that my wallet was found and the boy who has stolen it came to know the Way, the Truth, and the Life, only found through Jesus Christ. I woke up and tried to make sense of this dream, only to realize that the Father was showing me that things don't matter, people do. He would restore everything to me in due time, but even if He didn't, this boy's salvation was far more important than me receiving my wallet back. Since that day, I have prayed that these boys would be caught- not for justice to be granted to me, but for salvation to be granted to them.

It's been almost a week since it happened, and I am able to see that God can use even the most unexpected of situations to draw us closer to Him and teach us what this life is all about. 


Lazy Summer Days

I love being part of a culture that values the nap. In America, things are so fast-paced that we have a hard time just taking a few minutes to relax from the intensity of the day. I am specifically reminded of the words of Jesus..."Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Formy yoke is easy and my burden is light."

 Do you need rest? If you do, turn to the only One who can give it. Turn to Jesus.


Mom in China!!

     My Mom came to visit me in June and we had such a great time together! I am so blessed to have a mother who would travel to the other side of the world to visit me!

Mom and I eating breakfast in Shuhe Ancient Town,
a quaint little place outside of Lijiang, Yunnan, China

We did a lot of shopping on vacation- here is one of mom
trying to decide which scarf to buy...

Enjoying a latte at a local bakery in Shuhe Ancient Town
We met a really neat couple from Canada and had a great
time talking with them! They were biking across Asia,
which I would love to do one day!
Playing a drum inside of a temple in Lijiang...
Mom posing with a tiger at the temple

Drums, anyone?