Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Look back.

When you begin to feel frustration over your shortcomings, remember to look back and see what He's done. The work that's already been accomplished within you. His timing is not our own.

"You cannot amputate your history from your destiny. Because that is redemption." -Beth Moore

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Changing the world.

It's that feeling that sparks a light within you. That childlike spirit of wander and adventure and big-ness. The spirit we too often learn to quench because, well, adults just don't act like that. They're supposed to be proper and poised and organized and in control and in the know. They're always having the answers.

But every once-in-a-while, something happens. Without us really even noticing it. Some truth or beauty or movement within our spirit takes place and we light up. We come alive. We radiate and in that brief moment our mind and faith soar. Suddenly, God is the coolest and hugest thing in the universe and we are unhindered in our passion for Him and what He is able to accomplish. We have forgotten about work, the stack of bills, the emails awaiting return, the messy house, grocery list, and people needing a piece of our time. We are simply here. With Jesus. In His presence. And everything else fades.

That moment is soon forgotten. The tiniest little box stored in the cobwebbed corner of the attack of our mind. Tucked away with the other moments that are nice and give us goosebumps. We return to the bills and lists and emails and work projects. After all, that's just how it is. I mean, just look around you! Everyone else you know is in the exact same position. Feeling the exact same things. So what's the point here? What's the big deal?

Your world gets shaken. You realize in a fraction of a second that it IS a big deal. That despite everyone you know being just like you, maybe you SHOULD be questioning it. Perhaps you could look at things differently. What if.....just maybe.....that box needs to be dusted off and opened? What if that is supposed to be the majority of your experience rather than a rare feel-good moment? What if you weren't MEANT for that long list of focused to-dos? What if there is SO. VERY. MUCH. MORE.

Hi. I'm Elisabeth. I'm a bit nuts. I'm going to move to Africa. And minister to people. And have big faith in a God who is who He says He is. I'm going to believe He can do what He says He can do. I'm going to live against the grain and trust with full, wide-eyed and childlike faith that He will provide for me. I'm going to be weird and misunderstood and anything but normal. But it's going to be the coolest and wildest adventure in the world.

Won't you think about joining me? In what ways are you feeling a tug to follow in a way that is different? Break the mold. I mean, look who's on your side. It's not like you can lose or anything!

*Until we all stop surviving this world and begin to CHANGE it.....*

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In Due Season

"'Due season' is God's season, not ours. We are in a hurry, God isn't. He takes time to do things right - He lays a solid foundation before He attempts to build a building. We are God's building under construction. He is the Master Builder, and He knows what He is doing. We may not know what He is doing, but He does, and that will have to be good enough. We may not always know, but we can be satisfied to know the One who knows.

God's timing seems to be His own little secret. The Bible promises us that He will never be late, but I have also discovered that He is usually not early. It seems that He takes every available opportunity to develop the fruit of patience in us. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit that grows under trial.

Developed potential without character does not glorify God. If we were to become a huge success and yet be harsh with people - that would not be pleasing to the Lord. Therefore, if we get ahead of ourselves in one area, He gently but firmly blocks our progress in that area until the other ones catch up.

Remember: God is never late."

-Joyce Meyer

Monday, July 23, 2012

Who I am

Today, something happened that really hurt. I left one of my "happy, safe" places feeling unwanted, betrayed, un-skilled, out of the loop, and like a failure at one of my favorite things. I had a hard time dealing with it. This song ended up in my head as I attempted to express my frustration to Jesus. I think we all need an occasional reminder of who we are. I know I really do right now.....

When I lose my way,
And I forget my name
Remind me who I am
In the mirror all I see
Is who I don't wanna be
Remind me who I am

In the loneliest places
When I cant remember what grace is

Tell me, once again
Who I am to You,
who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to You,
that I belong to You

When my heart is like a stone,
And I'm running far from home
Remind me who I am
When I cant receive Your love
Afraid I'll never be enough
Remind me who I am

If I'm Your beloved
can You help me believe it

Tell me, once again
Who I am to you,
who I am to You
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to you,
that I belong to You
To You

I'm the one You love,
I'm the one You love
That will be enough,
I'm the one You love
[Who I am by Jason Gray]

Friday, July 20, 2012


Truths that're being contemplated lately......

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


"This may sound presumptuous, but I think I know why God gave me a bold
vision for my life at such a young age. He had to get to me before I was old enough to know any better. See, audacious faith starts with sanctified naïveté. There's an unquestioning optimism that comes as standard equipment when you're young. Honestly, I think it's a gift from God. Time can talk you out of your dreams. Routine can weaken your propensity toward audacity."
-Steven Furtick.

I'm not going to survive this world.
I'm going to CHANGE it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


"Discovering God's vision for your life is one of the primary ways in which God tells you about His character. Seizing His big purpose for our life is not just about figuring out what god wants from you and getting down to business. It's also about becoming intimately aquatinted with who Jesus is. It's about mining the depths of who you are in Him. And out of that revelation, you will fulfill the purpose that He put you on the earth to fulfill"
-Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still

That paragraph is an example of what I call "God-stops". It's that sudden moment in which you're reading a book or someone says the simplest thing; and totally unexpectedly, you are hit so hard with a concept you hadn't thought about that you can't even hear anyone around you. It's like a scene from a movie. You start laughing at the shear perfection of the timing (because it's always perfect timing), and the way what you just heard is going to totally and completely alter your life and even make you seem crazy to other people. You realize that while God is indeed in the middle of an incredible work in your life, it's also hilarious. He is the grand comedian after all. If you haven't experienced these moments, I'm sorry. Ask Him for them.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sun Stand Still

"If you're not daring to believe God for the impossible, you're sleeping through some of the best parts of your Christian life. And further still, if the size of your vision for your life isn't intimidating to you, there's a good chance it's insulting to God."
Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still

Thursday, July 12, 2012

4:00am Scramble. (hold the ketchup)

It's almost 4:00am. My eyes and mind are more awake than a cat coming alive for his nightly prowl because my body doesn't seem to remember that I'm not still in Africa. There is much that swirls and floats and comes alive in my head tonight.

I'm thinking about my baby sister getting married in two weeks.

I'm trying to picture what it would be like to finally study dance, one of my soul's deepest longings. Will i ever be able to enjoy the love & freedom that moving in that way allows? My mind calculates and guesses & buzzes as it contemplates if I will ever be able to afford lessons.

I'm choreographing a new Zumba routine in my mind. Thank you, Ladysmith Black Mambazo for the inspiration. Africa, I love your music more than any in the world.

I'm shedding some tears & wishing with a sore heart that my dear friend who's so special to me wasn't half a world away & that I could hear her voice more often. I'm beyond thankful to be someone's Squirt.

I'm thinking about being single. About being one of the only single people in any of the circles I hang out in. I'm considering the age I'm about to be and how I never talk about how painful the singleness is when surrounded by couples. And how it often leaves you isolated by accident and default. The sting is deep. However, I have to say that there's one thing my Siesta Mama Beth has taught me in the last years. One thing to rule everything. I can state in hope and wonder and trust and faith that The King must have an incredible ministry planned for anyone in order to allow them to walk in painful or difficult seasons. He never wastes anything. NEVER. That's a promise. If you don't know it, I'm telling you now. You'd better learn it. If you don't believe it, start. It's always about Believing God. Always.

I laugh at the fact that I don't know what the heck I'm doing with my life. I don't even know what I'm really good at. I have such talented friends that I always feel I stink at everything I try. I have things I'm struggling with. And I do need help sometimes. But I'm horrible at asking for help when I feel like nobody needs mine. Hmmmm. Anyone else out there? I know I'm not the only one. Yep. I'm kinda a mess sometimes. Okay. A lot of the time. Surprise! (Although you shouldn't be.)

The last thing going through my jet-lagged mind is that part of The Magicians Nephew where Jill is thirsty and needs water, but Aslan is standing by the pool. She asks Him to leave and He refuses, reminding her that if she doesn't drink, she'll die. She asks Him if He promises not to harm or eat her, and he says He can't promise. Jill learns that He's not safe, but He's good. And BAM. There's my Jesus.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

💛Falling in love💛

I am sitting on an airplane somewhere in between South Africa and Germany. With the time changes happening my body only knows it's the middle of the night outside, but I'm wide awake. This is only the first 10 hour flight today. Well, actually tomorrow. Because we're backtracking. My legs are very RLS-y and my mind is reeling.

The last few weeks have been some of the best moments of my life. Moments of God speaking to me in the midst of a lot of busyness and of working and playing with children. Sometimes the most significant ways in which He speaks are in whispers that penetrate deep into your heart and sprit. Whispers that only you hear and that you can't explain to someone with words. In fact, that's one of the largest things Jesus has been saying to me recently. That I need to know and prepare for people not to understand the journey and the choices I am embarking on. And I need to be okay with that. There are a few amazing people in my life who get it, and they are going to be the special blessing along the way. (That's an important thing for all of us to remember. Your journey is you and Jesus. Be bold and stand straight with your head high. Do what you're called to.)

I've always loved Africa. And I've wondered for years if that love could possibly mean I am meant to live there long term. Being able to actually go has been one of my biggest dreams. And I wasn't sure what was going to transpire on this trip.

I've been saying this a bit repeatedly lately, so I apologize if you're reading this for the second or third time:

Being in Africa has been a lot of confirmation. I do believe this place contains the most beautiful people, spirit, culture, and music of all the world. And spending time there is like meeting someone you have grown to love from a distance and realizing they're even better in person. And before you know what hits you, you are falling madly and head over heals in love. I honestly do not have any desire whatsoever to be traveling back to the states. And I want to be back as soon as possible. Don't get me wrong, I know at times the honeymoon wears off and it's not all flowers and sunshine. And I would miss things about home. And there's so much I don't know or understand yet about this nation. But I do believe I would love to commit to long term living here regardless.

My heart has been lost to Africa. And now comes the scary, hard, crazy, abnormal, but exhilarating journey. I have to figure out what the heck I'm gifted at and wired for, who the heck out there needs those gifts on their team, and how to find enough supporters to go do it. I'm terrified. And ecstatic. And curious. And I need to learn how to stop trying to figure it out and have the answers.

I think this is one of those times in life where I need to throw myself at the feet of the King and say "Show me what you're up to. Let me jump in. Take care of me. Provide for me." I am horrible at that. I always try to figure it out and earn it myself. Please, people. Keep me accountable here. If I'm going to do this thing, I want to do it well.

Cheers. Here's to crazy new unknown territory and the adventures that await.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday, July 3rd

Day #2 of work. We continued work on the playground, and did another day of VBS with the children. Katie and I began tracing out letters on the brick wall to paint the name of the center and a picture. Progress has been very good, so we spent a good amount of time simply playing with and giggling with the children.

Monday, July 2nd

Today we began our week at Ithembe La Botwana, the orphan care center Big Valley Grace built some 5 years ago. We began the construction of a playground for the children. And then we began the first day of VBS. We explained how God created the world and all that was in it-and that He created us in His image, and it was good. The children seemed pretty responsive. We played with them
For a while afterwards and went home loving the time we'd had. After dinner, Zumba broke lose in the kitchen for a good while and we watched all the video we've taken so far.

Sunday, July 1st

This morning we attended a church in one of the townships. It was by far one of the most amazing experiences we've had. The church took place in a tin shack. The people had more joy, love for Jesus, and complete in-abandoned faith than anyone I've seen. As I sat there watching the singing, dancing, shouting, and crying out to The King, I my heart was lost. In that moment, I thought that there really can't be a nation, people, or music more beautiful than this. This is it. My heart has fallen in love and been stolen. I never want to leave. I videotaped and audio recorded the singing and dancing. I will share this when we get home. Be prepared to fall on love.

Saturday, June 30

Today was extremely enjoyable. We went to one of the centers and did VBS with the kids. It was so much fun after having gone to the amusement park with them yesterday.

When we returned home, we found that after several days of "you'll get it tomorrow", we FINALLY received our luggage. What a happy day!!!! The evening is filled with laughter and good food and music in the house.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Friday, June 29

We are up and on the road by 7:15. We pick the kids up from both orphanages, (Thanks to the donation of several ministries at BVG and several of our supporters) about 105 in all. On the way to the amusement park, they sing songs and chant these amazing African chants that all kids know (kinda like the hand games us girls play as kids). The bus is roaring with excitement and signing and an incredible amount o energy.

The entire day is filled with the amusement park and rides and bonding with the children and laughter and pictures and fun. It is the absolute best way to bond with these kids before the up-coming week of VBS. Most of them have never done anything like this before. It is a day never to be forgotten.

Thursday, June 28

We land in Johannesburg at 8:00something am to find that only one of us had luggage. They offer no explanation other than that they have no idea why over 85 bags didn't make it. We figure it's because of the Frankfurt curfew-the were trying to take off in time. We stand in a line for an hour and report the luggage. They tell of we'll get it tomorrow.

Lisa and Cristo pick us up from the airport. They take us to a Wild Animal Lion Park. It is AWESOME. We got to do a mini drive-thru where you see different animals like Springbok (The South African National Animal) and Lions and Wild Dogs and Giraffes. The Lions walk up to your car and everything!

After the drive-thru we got to go into an area that contains cubs 6 months old and younger. We petted and played with them. I wanted to take one home. They are one of the most beautiful creatures I've ever seen.

My favorite part came next. We got to feed and play with giraffes. Not from a distance. But actually WITH them. It was one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. Their long tongues are totally gross but it's fascinating at the same time!

We all stopped at the mall on the way to the compound because we needed clothes. Thank goodness when you convert American dollars to rand things like clothes can be so cheap! And thank goodness the compound has a washing machine!

We enjoy a wonderful dinner that Lisa cooked for us and get settled in for the night.

Wednesday, June 27th

We land in London at 7:00something am London time. Tired and sleepless but excited, we are told our luggage will be transferred and we prepare to leave the airport. As we walk to the exit, Jasmine speaks up, "Uh, guys, is that our luggage on the ground next to that carousel?" As she says this we hear an announcement overhead in a thick British accent, "Ladies and gentlemen, any luggage that is un-accounted for will be confiscated and destroyed. That is all." We saw our luggage. Right at the perfect time. Apparently is does NOT automatically transfer to a different airline. The downside to this was that we had to end up paying a lot to store it for the day while we went into London.

The next adventure was taking the train to Paddington Station. Once there, we had to wait in line for taxis that would bring us to the spot where our double-decker bus tour would begin. The tour was incredible. There was so much to be pointed out that it was almost impossible to keep up with the guide. We saw everything from Buckingham Palace (where they were changing guards) to Westminster Abbey to Big Ben, the London Bridge (completely adorned with the olympic arches), the Eye, and Saint Paul's cathedral. I loved seeing famous literary sights like Sherlock Holme's apartment and the streets used for Diagonal Alley and the Ministry of Magic. We even saw the building that the Beatles used for their recording studio, the hotel room that Lady Gaga stays in, and the building that Amy Winehouse lived in. London has SO much history. The icing on the cake was absolutely being able to hear and videotape Big Ben chiming at noon. What a sound!

After eating in a pub and taking some fun pictures in phone booths, we had to take a taxi back to the airport. While checking in, we were told there is no record of our flight. After a few minutes of research, the airline discovered that our flight was booked for a different airport in London-over 2 hours away! We wouldn't be able to make it even if we wanted to. There were a few moments of trying not to panic while thinking about how in the world we would afford a hotel room and a whole extra flight. But the Lord looked out for us once again. They ended up having the same exact flight out of our airport at the same time. And they put us seated near each other too. It worked out well, except for being charged yet again for some luggage. The evening began with that short flight turning into quite a long one. We took off late and landed late. When we landed, we realized rather than having a layover as we thought, our ten hour flight into Johannesburg was already boarding. At the exact opposite end of the Frankfurt airport. As we realized this, our pilot informed us that the plane had to stop in the middle of the taxi area and we had to board a bus to be driven up to the airport. This took a while, and many other people on that plane and bus were also supposed to board the next long flight with us. They were all quite grumpy.

We found out that Frankfurt has an 11:00 curfew, and the plane was not going to wait for anyone in order to take off in time. So we ran. And we ran. And we ran some more. And then realized we were only half way through the danged airport. So we ran even more. By the time we reached security we were dripping in sweat. The employees of the German airport are not very friendly. The one flight we are afraid of actually missing, and security decides that almost all of us need the third degree or a total and complete pat-down. Once we finally get through security and to the plane, we are stinky and sweaty and having to plop into our seats right away for a ten hour flight. The pilot announces that there's a line of planes trying to leave before curfew, and we worry that we won't taxi in time for takeoff. But we make it with just a few minutes to spare. Since we didn't really sleep the last night, most of us conked out for a large portion of the flight. Still.....it felt incredibly long.

Tuesday, June 26th

Barely made it to the airport in time. It seemed nobody at the airport knew where we were supposed to be. At first they told us the airline didn't even open until later in the day. We finally figured it out. Then when we checked in they charged us for some bags despite the fact that Katie had confirmed via website AND phone that there would be no charge. When we boarded the plane, we discovered that our booking things months ago to be seated all together was changed without our knowledge. We were all split up for the 10 hour flight.

I didn't sleep. My body wouldn't sleep. There were a lot of movie choices, though. It was a nice way to pass such a long flight. And I watched the sun set and then rise half an hour later as we passed through time zones. That was a crazy experience!