Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Hello Everyone,

It has finally happened. I made a choice and am now taking action towards this fall and where I will live. I decided to do all I can do to move to San Diego in the fall. Crazy? Probably. Will I mess up and fall on my face? Very likely so. Is it a good decision? I have no doubt about it.

Now that I have that over with, I can move on with writing. I will let y’all know as I know what it is I will be doing there; right now I have no idea.

I realized that a theme of this summer so far has been that good and easy do not mean the same things. This summer has been good, but certainly not easy. I have also been caught with the image of an Ebenezer. We often sing about an Ebenezer in the song, “Come Thou Fount.” “Here I raise my Ebenezer hither by thy help I’m come.” In 1 Samuel 7:12 you can find out what this actually is, The verse says, “Then Samuel took a stone it set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer (which means stone of help), for he said, ‘Till now the Lord has helped us.’” This was during a battle between the Israelites and Philistines and in the next verse it is simply stated that the Philistines were subdued.

This summer has been a great test of my faith as I have put myself in a position where I am completely dependant on God for many things. In the spring when I decided to drop out of school I began making all these great plans to go places and do things I always wanted. One day, however, I clearly understood God telling me to stop planning because good things were coming. I stopped planning; I waited and hoped for good things. In my mind this meant life was going to be easier and happier. It hasn’t been that way, though. Life has not been easier, just different; I have no been happier, only more content and able to find joy in the struggle. Good doesn’t mean easy.

Many times this summer I have been in a place where I could either make my own plans and take charge of my life, or wait on God a little bit longer. Every time I have wanted to take control and do what I thought best. Every time I have also remembered Samuel raising his Ebenezer and saying, “Till how God has helped us.” I have said that to myself as a pep talk, and I have looked back on my life, on the past four years, in order to raise my own Ebenezer and say, “Till now God has not led me astray. Till now God has led me good places.” Good doesn’t mean easy. God has led me to some of the most painful places in the world. God led me to Rwanda and Uganda; God led me to look at what really happened to my family. These were good places, but certainly not easy. I have raised my Ebenezer knowing God is not leading me to an easy place; he is leading me to a good place.

Then God said, “San Diego.” I cried, I mourned the loss of my family and friends in Seattle. Then I set my sights to the south and am now doing all I can to actively prepare for that move, for the next part of my adventure. As I take this next step I again raise an Ebenezer, knowing that till now God has helped me at every point and with that knowledge I am able to take the next step forward. I also raise this knowing God is leading me to a good place, so I can know with complete confidence that it will be anything but easy. Yet I still choose to jump.

Plug my nose, assume the cannon-ball position, and fall into the next chapter of my life. I hope I know how to swim!

Love to all,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Uganda Changed My Life

Lately every time I try and sleep, either at bedtime or to take a nap, my brain goes wild because it finally has a quiet moment to speak. My brain is loud and has a lot to say.

Today I wanted to take a nap. I got up at 5:15, was at work by 5:40, and then worked until 1:30. I was so tired. I got home, changed into comfy clothes, sat down on the couch and my brain took off.

Thoughts about what my life is like right now at camp. I cook, am around people a lot of the time, yet I feel lonely. Yesterday I got to talk to Deanna. She is with people all the time, yet she is also lonely. In our conversation it seemed like everything that felt wrong in our lives went back to Uganda. Everything always goes back to Uganda. Always.

When we got to Uganda our direction told us the Uganda Studies Program was not about Life-Changing experiences, but was instead about 1 degree changes, like on a compass. At the time this was relieving because my life had been noting but change the past 4 years. While talking with Deanna, however, it became apparent that Uganda had changed my life.

Before I got to Uganda I was excited about school, about the major I had just designed for myself, about doing Young Life the rest of life, about my church in Seattle and about my life in Seattle. I felt I had finally crossed enough bridges and processed enough family shit to move into some normalcy. Finally!

When I looked at my life yesterday with Deanna with the hindsight knowledge if what it used to be my life is completely changed. I dropped out of school, I am working at Young Life camp and questioning this ministry I have loved for the first time ever and finding it coming up short, and I am seriously thinking about moving to San Diego. My life is not just 1 degree changed, it’s 720 degree changed. I have been spun around and around and ended up in a very different direction then when I started 11 months ago.

Young Life was my life’s path before Uganda. Every summer since I was 12 or 13 I have done something with Young Life. Young Life camping is where I have found my niche; I love working hard and being with people while working, I like the background of camp and don’t often enjoy the spotlight. I fit well into Young Life camping and I loved it. Until Uganda. In Uganda I saw so many other ministries. I was also taught to question EVERYTHING in Uganda (Thanks for that Mark Bartells). Now I am questioning Young Life. Young Life camps especially. It is always the same thing over and over again. I know Young Life camp structure better than the back of my own hand. No matter what property you go to or what age group is there the same sequence of activities and club talks are given. I used to love this. Now I question it on so many different levels. Young Life’s slogan or motto or whatever is, “You were made for this.” It’s a recent development, but if that’s what Young Life has come to… if Young Life believes every kid was made for this way of presenting the gospel, sharing the good news, do I also believe that?

I looked at my own Young Life experience a little closer and saw a different picture than I often present people. I saw that if I hadn’t been the daughter of a staff person I would have fallen through the cracks of Young Life. I do not fit the formula, I am not a typical Young Life kid, and I was not made for this! Because of my staff connections I was able to connect with a leader from a different school (a staff person, in fact) and therefore felt like I was a Young Life kid. At my school, though, Young Life leaders never pursued me and I even felt like they didn’t want me at club because my parents are my parents. It was awkward, as ministry politics always are. I do not fit Young Life camping as well as I thought; the same formula for every kid, the same pristine grounds and high quality program at every camp. It all looks great at first, but then I went to Uganda and not I wonder if it really does make a difference. In my life Young Life was what made me fit in somewhere, or at least feel like I did, but I had to conform to Young Life, I had to become someone who could fit in Young Life. Young Life was not made for me; I was made for Young Life, right?

When it comes down to it, I don’t fit Young Life. I was not made for it as they claim. I was made for something different. It took Uganda to break that idea in me. It took being shown a different world and asking where I could love people best in the world to realize Young Life is not where that will happen. I am uniquely made to love people in a way no one else can, I just don’t know where or who or how.

Uganda changed my life. I hate saying that, but I have to say it because when I see the direction I was heading before Uganda and the direction I am heading in now, they are drastically different and I know Uganda, and the work God did in me while I was in Uganda have directly impacted me every day since.

Now that my life has been turned upside down and inside out where do I go? What do I do? Do I have to do anything or is it enough to just be? Where are the people I was created to love? In San Diego? Or in some other city? Or in the middle of nowhere?

September is coming soon. I will say goodbye to Young Life, goodbye to being a student as my friends return to school and I don’t, and to what will I say hello? Where will I call home?

God, please show me soon.

*This was not written with the intention of bad-mouthing Young Life or giving a one-sided view of it. It has also done good things for me… I just didn’t see the hard things until now.*