How The World Race Changed My Life

It started with the quietest of whispers, “Go.”

Slowly… over days, weeks and months… it grew into a shout.


My curious fingers clicked on the tweet that changed my life.

I saw the World Race website for the first time…and I haven’t been the same since.

The World Race was the catalyst…IS STILL the catalyst. Well, actually, Jesus is the real catalyst. He drew me toward this for years, and still keeps drawing me back toward the community, the intentional, sweet time with Him, that I experienced on my Race.

Even now, a short yet very long 3 years and 4 months after I returned home from my Race, I’m still figuring out all of the different ways that I’ve changed.

I still remember hundreds moments like they happened yesterday.

Like being mobbed by dozens of kids in Tanzania

Like eating the spiciest food I’ve ever tasted in Thailand and laughing and giggling until I couldn’t breathe with the sweetest boys

Like getting to know 5 of the best women on the planet and experiencing a miracle as the Lord turned 6 strangers into family…

Like doing this crazy photoshoot in the middle of the streets of Malaysia and wearing more makeup than I ever have in my lifetime, and YES it happened on the World Race…

Like praying over the sweetest lady named Dora in the Dominican Republic…


Like teaching English in several countries to crazy kids who became our instant best friends…



Like finding out my grandpa died during my month in Romania, and having several close friends on my squad crawl onto my bed and hold me tight and grieve with me.

Like holding Slapping Grandma’s hand as we walked down the dusty dirt road at sunset in Cambodia…and later finding out she had passed away, and grieved as my heart broke for this sweet woman who I desperately wanted to know Jesus’ love.


Like termites eating my pants in Thailand


Like digging up bricks and heaving giant rocks on my birthday in Transnistria


Like hearing the words spoken over me at our first debrief in Haiti (where a LOT of crazy intense things happened that broke everything I thought I knew and created space for the Holy Spirit to move mightily…), words that resonated deep within my soul and have embedded themselves permanently there, “You are NOT a timid spirit.”

Like chopping down the jungle with machetes and axes in Thailand



There are so many moments where time stands still in my mind and I’m transported instantly back to this life-changing, pressure-cooker, sand-paper trip of a lifetime.

I’m not the old me anymore.

I see things differently. I see people through a different lens. I see myself differently.

Before I went on the World Race, I knew it would change me. I knew it would be a stepping-stone for me into full-time missions. I just knew it. It was the craziest, hardest, most difficult, challenging, horrible, hilarious, incredible, spectacular, delightful, joyful, radiant, moving, frightening, eye-opening, chain-breaking, sandpaper year of my life.

When I faced coming home afterwards, I knew I couldn’t “go back to normal.” What IS normal anyway?

God had placed within me this desire for MORE. A desire to use the gift of writing He’s given me for MORE. A desire to follow Him into MORE and seek His face MORE. And while I fail at all of these things daily in one way or another, He still keeps calling me into MORE. He’s so amazing.

Coming home was way different than I anticipated. I struggled with things I just couldn’t put my finger on. I hated being home but the next day I loved it. I was depressed one day and the world was full of vivid color the next. I had so much passion one day and absolutely no motivation the next. I certainly felt out of control, but didn’t know how to put it into words. My brain was a puddle. I was fully in the midst of transition and culture shock. It’s normal, but it didn’t feel normal.

I didn’t expect to be home for long.

I expected to join a wonderful missionary friend and serve with her in a ministry that pulled on my heart.

Everything seemed to point to “yes,” until suddenly all of the doors slammed shut and told me, “No.” I was confused and heartbroken. I desperately didn’t want to stay. And I didn’t know why God did that. He knew my heart. So why stop me from doing what I felt like He had called me to do?

I had amazing family and friends here, but America didn’t feel like home anymore. I didn’t feel like I fit here anymore.

I cringed at America’s affluent way of life. The thought of working in a cubicle in corporate America made me sick to my stomach—it literally made me want to throw a temper tantrum, curl up in a corner somewhere and scream.

With a very dramatic turn of events, drastically shorted for the sake of time (ask me about it!), God placed in my lap an amazing job I never saw coming.

He answered one of my prayers, to write for a purpose, for MORE. I now work as a writer for an incredible food relief non-profit to share stories of how lives are being saved and transformed all around the world with nutritious food and the love of Jesus.

I didn’t know God would close the doors on “going” and call me to stay here in Minnesota for now. And this hilariously means I am working in an office…and I’m actually surviving ;). God’s grace. He provides. With a little sense of humor, of course 🙂

I’m learning to be faithful where I’m at. To be planted and rooted. To make a commitment and be reliable. To serve when it feels good and when it doesn’t. To say yes to things and stick with them, and say no to things I can’t do, even if I want to.

The transition hasn’t stopped. There aren’t enough words to tell you the whole story…because so much has happened between the time I found out about the World Race and now. God keeps calling each of us into more, if we’re willing to listen and let Him catch us when we fall again and again.

But getting out of your comfort zone, experiencing other cultures and ways of life, living life for Jesus and seeing Him work miracles and answer prayers and making Him your focus every day…there’s nothing like it.

If you’re reading this and you’ve made it this far…and you’re still paying attention…and if you haven’t gone on the World Race yet…please, go. It’s one of the most amazing and one of the most challenging things you will ever do. But it’s also one of the most life-changing decisions you could make. Choose in. Choose yes. Ask yourself if you would regret it if you didn’t go, and when you decide that answer is yes, then go.

The World Race changed me in innumerable ways.

The journey is still continuing.

I know I will process the Race for the rest of my life.

I will remember how I lived with intention, and it will motivate me to be intentional here, wherever I am.

I will remember how incredible and incredibly difficult living in community is, and it will remind me to carry this into my friendships and life here, wherever “here” is.

I will remember how “no day is normal,” and it will remind me gently that God is in control and not to walk blindly throughout my day, but instead focus on Him every day and see where He takes me.

I will remember how God answered prayers for healing, and it will increase my faith as I walk the streets where I am.

I will remember how I learned to hear God’s voice, and it will remind me of my identity in Christ – that His promises are good and true. He is faithful.

I will remember how I learned to pray, and it brings clearly to mind the authority I have as a daughter of the Most High, to live with Christ’s authority in me, and not back away.

I will remember I have a voice and it is valuable and deserves to be heard.

I will remember His words, “I am not a timid spirit.”

I am HIS.

And whatever comes next…He will be with me.

This is the longest blog of my life…because how do you answer the question, “How did the World Race change your life?” and it not be the longest blog ever? 🙂

To those of you who are still subscribed to this blog, thank you for following my World Race journey. You are an amazing blessing to me.


[You can read the original post here on my World Race blog.]



The Chase Is On!

“Don’t let the worries of tomorrow chase you through today.
Just do what I’ve told you to do TODAY.”


You know those things the Lord whispers into your heart...that sink deep into your soul? Yeah, those were His words to me this morning.

Oh how my mind can run in so many different directions!
It leaps and bounds this way, then that way.
It stops for a second, as if to catch its breath…than rebounds with increased frequency.

No wonder I am so tired by the end of the day. My thoughts twirl endlessly inside my skull, bouncing and spinning and running over each other until I don’t know which way is up anymore.

Talk about a big headache.

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…do not fret—it leads only to evil.” -excerpts from Psalm 37:7-8

DSC02856 - Version 2I have a love/hate relationship with being still. I yearn for it when I’m in the middle of crazy. Yet when I finally get there, I find myself wanting to find a distraction because I know I have deal with myself and come before God to apologize for not trusting him, again.

Stillness brings focus. Suddenly the stuff I’m worrying about
(aka “not trusting Jesus about”) I am more able to lay at His feet.

My brain is on overdrive and it cries for rest. It needs to peace of its Creator. We weren’t meant to deal with stress. Our bodies protest. Things like pain and sickness and exhaustion all are a result of stress.

Stress doesn’t trust the Lord. Stress strives.

The perfectionist in me comes out this time of year. I want to be intentional. I want to get the right gifts. I miss my friends because I’ve been so busy these past 6 months with travel and settling into work, and at the same time I want to spend all the time with family that I can, because in the coming years, being together will look much different.


I’ll be honest. It’s just a very weird season.
God never stops changing us, and I love that about Him.

I think I didn’t expect this to be so hard. It’s starting to sink in, the fact that my parents are leaving.
I’ll blog more about that later, so stay tuned.

God has been whispering to my soul.

Grace. Rest. Peace.

I need to accept the fact that rest is okay. This season is okay. I need to have grace for myself, too. I’m not going to let my worries chase me. Instead, let’s chase the worries back with grace.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As I am constantly reminded of this Christmas season, “Let it GO!”

A hornet the size of a hummingbird

Do you know what it’s like to get stung by a hornet? I sure didn’t.

I had heard it was far worse than a bee sting…but I never wanted to find out.

For 27 years I had escaped getting stung by any sort of bee, hornet or wasp. I was wary and a bit paranoid around them, and I would commonly run away if they buzzzzed near me. Now I think it’s all so silly! I think the most reasonable explanation was that I just didn’t know how much it hurt to get stung, and I didn’t really want to find out!

imag2138I was minding my own business the day it happened. We were on tour of Jordan, riding camels and trekking through the stunning, colorful, rocky and cave-filled landscape of Petra.

It was beautiful. It was HOT. I could explore that place for hours. Maybe not in the intense heat again, though. 🙂

imag2170 I was vastly enjoying this trek, even though it was so hot. We were walking down an incredible entrance that you could tell would have looked grand in its day. It was reminiscent of what I picture it may have been for Jesus as he rode the donkey into the city…and the crowds waved palm branches on every side of Him. “Hosanna!” Such a beautiful image.

imag2194This was the moment right before it happened. Look at me. So clearly happy…so blissfully unaware!



One minute I was lost in thought as we made our way down the sandy pathway, the next, completely stunned and in pain, with something soft and fuzzy wedged between my sunglasses and my face.

My face jerks hard to the right and my hands frantically try to get whatever has just hit me “off of me,” whatever that means. Nothing worked, the pain began and the dive-bombing bee was still wedged against my face.

I lost all knowledge of my body movements as instinct kicked into high gear and I flung my sunglasses as fast as I could away from my face and into the powdery sand. Aaaaahhhhhh!!! (I think I screamed, or yelled. Who knows? It’s all a blur!)

Most of the people in my group were behind me, and everyone just stopped, totally confused, and stared at me.

“Guys, I think I just got stung!” I said, shakily raising my left hand to touch the side of my face.

Later on they told me it was HUGE. They could see its wings from 100 feet behind me, and unfortunately a couple of them saw it fly off after it remained in the sand, stunned, for a minute.

Man…I wanted that thing DEAD. If I could’ve, I totally would have smashed it. It just hit my FACE…it should have died! Ha!

At this point I had gathered a crowd of curious Bedouin locals, the guys who ride the donkeys and sell “air conditioned taxi rides” to and from different points along the path in Petra.

I knew I needed to sit down, so I wandered over to a bench in the shade. They all clustered around me, jabbering in Arabic, assessing the damage as the left side of my face throbbed in firey pain. I am certainly grateful for high pain tolerance!


I was in pretty intense pain (1, I’d never been stung and 2, my face wasn’t used to being stabbed). That thing sure got me good.

A couple of the ladies on my team were quick thinkers and made some mud from water and sand to put on my face. They didn’t quite have to use spit to make mud, but I imagine it was something like what Jesus did with the blind men, mixing sand and water to make a paste and put on their eyes.


The best part of the day was the old timer who clearly had seen a thing or two in his day. He came up to the group wearing his red checkered turban – his white facial hair highlighted the deep wrinkles in his tan, weathered face. He leans close to examine the problem. Then he squints his eyes and proceeds to tell me, “You must squeeze it, like a thing on your face!”
I am pretty sure he meant “squeeze it like a pimple!”

I laughed, and it hurt, but I couldn’t help but smile at these men who were so kindly helping me.

They didn’t have to help, you know. In Muslim culture, it’s not normal for a man to talk or touch a woman. In fact, one of the Bedouin guys put mud paste on my face, and then the old timer sat down with me to take a picture.


They kept coming back over to check on me, to see if I was okay, the look of concern clear in their eyes. I could see the beauty of kindness in the wrinkles around their eyes as they smiled.

I hope these men saw Jesus in the way we interacted, in the way the men of my team rushed to help me, in the way they gathered around me to pray for me when we weren’t sure if I was going to be okay or not.

It definitely makes my visit to Petra so memorable that I won’t ever forget it.
I also won’t forget my wonderful teammate who sat with me and prayed over me as I cried after the adrenaline ran its course, 1) from pain and 2) from disappointment that I couldn’t climb to the top of the highest point and see the views of all of Jordan. I won’t forget the stories that were told in the days after this happened, and each time the hornet grew bigger, the tall tale was told in larger, more grandeur details. It was the size of a hummingbird! I didn’t see it, but all I can say is…so they say! 🙂

This next part really cracks me up. Logically…this is strangely abnormal. But…I was crying and I don’t cry often, I had just been stung in the face by a giant killer wasp/hornet/hummingbird thing, and that’s not a normal experience either. I wasn’t quite thinking clearly, so the next logical plan of action is to take a picture. Of my face. Haha. I actually took a picture of my face.

imag2195I naturally had to post this…I’m weird, I know.

I look really, really sad! Everytime I look at this now my internal dialogue is something like this, “Oh my goodness! Wow. Ohhh…I look so sad!” And then I laugh. Because that is seriously my reaction to everything. I laugh. No matter if it’s good or bad or funny or not ok…my reaction to it will be to laugh. So…I don’t honestly think everything is truly funny, it’s just the way I react the things.

Oh goodness. So there you have it. I don’t quite know how to end this epic-ly. I’m just very grateful I didn’t see it coming. Best to be blissfully unaware, I guess!

I can probably just say this day was such a mix of awesome and traumatizing and exhausting and memorable that I slept really well that night. I won’t tell you about the part where my face throbbed the rest of the day and night. Ok, I guess I just did.

2 weeks later and I can still feel where I was stung. It’s a bit stiff & slightly sore at times. I have no idea if that’s normal! Quite the way to get my first “bee sting,” I tell ya!

I think I’ll take a bumblebee over a hornet any day. If I act a little jumpy the next time I’m with you and a bee flies by, you’ll know why. Hopefully you won’t laugh at me too much :). Just another interesting day in the life of Jess! I can’t help but wonder what random adventure experience is next…best I don’t know, probably! 😛

More photos and details about my trip to come, I’m sure.

See ya on the next blog!


These are Transitional Years


noun: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

The beginning of a yearning…
…a yearning that burns, leaps at the thought of the World Race.
Oh to be there again.

Memories of ages past. No, not ages, just years…but it feels like ages.
Ages gone; ages home.
Time flies, yet inches along.

When I returned from the World Race, I thought I’d never want to go again.

I was tired. No, exhausted. Longing for the embrace of family and all familiar things.

1077061_10151987629756747_700969046_o - Version 2
Family is beautiful, and I’m so grateful.
Memory tricks us, lures us back to comfort.

But little did I know I would jump right back home into the familiar, but soon into transition. Changes came quickly, and I was swept along in the current. A beautiful, fast-moving, white-water rapids current, splashing me rudely in the face one minute and rushing over me and calming my fears in another.

I was left with little time to process. Or maybe I am a terrible processor. It takes me forever to figure out what I learned from something. Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe this is normal.

I’m still processing the World Race and feel like I will continue to do so for a very long time. I think, that this is ok.

Change comes for all of us. Transition is inevitable.

>>Fast forward to a year after I returned home, and I’m longing for it all over again. The World Race.

TNZ_TTCP1100093 - Version 2DSC_0098
This must be what mothers experience after giving birth to their child…they say they will never do it again, then time forgets the pain and you remember only the joy and long for it again.

Pain is what grows us, challenges us, changes us.

P1100017 - Version 3(the day my Thai pants were eaten by termites…)

Pressure cooker, that was the World Race. We hate it and we love it.
Oh…to be that close to the Lord again. Oh to feel His presence with every breath, every step.

He is still here. Oh so close. Right here.
Just, He feels different.
Grown closer, yet feels farther.
As if that is possible.

I have thought and thought about how these past 2 years have gone since I left for the World Race.

I began a life of transition that has never stopped. Oh how my life has sped through many twists and turns since September 2012.

I should be used to transition by now, but the thing about transition is that each new one brings new challenges. You can get used to moving but constant change brings uncertainty. It requires great trust in the Lord.

 These are transitional years, but these are defining years.
I am learning who I am–who He has made me to be. This is EXCITING, AMAZING, THRILLING, TERRIFYING, WONDERFUL.

Life as I know it now, is not how I thought it would be.
This is okay.
I trust the Lord. He is faithful.
He provided an amazing job and a place to live.
He is making a way for my family.
He will lead us and guide us.
He hears the longing of my heart. He knows it better than I even do.

cropped-cropped-copy-Cambodia2.jpgAnd so I trust Him with my future and the future transitions.

All of the growth and challenge and pain, that will bring more growth and challenges and delights and failures and laughter and hugs and tears and struggles and LIFE, which causes me to go back onto my knees in prayer, giving thanks to my Father for His GOOD gifts, He has given me life and breath and these struggles are momentary.

Our lives are meant to be lived for our King.

I will keep lifting my eyes to Him. Transition means stepping closer to Him.
Focusing my eyes on the Giver of Life.

I trust in the most Trustworthy One. He is my Faithful Guide.

I see these transitions continuing, and though I know it won’t be easy, I’m not worried or afraid.
Instead I am confident in what my Savior will do, in the plans He has for my life.
Transitions require us to move, to take a step, to ACT, to obey.

Transitions move us closer to Him, because they shake us from comfort.

He didn’t say it would be easy, but He said He’d be right here with us. That’s a promise I’m holding onto.

imag2210 - Version 2

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
-Isaiah 41:10


The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
though he may stumble, he will not fall,

    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
I was young and now I am old,

    yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.
They are always generous and lend freely;
    their children will be a blessing.
Turn from evil and do good;

    then you will dwell in the land forever.
For the Lord loves the just
    and will not forsake his faithful ones.
-Psalm 37:22-28

A Waiting Hope

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

-Psalm 27:14

There are certain things that settle me down. Like an oversized mug of piping-hot coffee in hand as I sink into my maroon leather couch and gaze out the window at the fluffy, lazily falling snow. Or as I allow myself a nap, cozying yet again onto my couch under a fleece blanket, nestling in-between two gigantic, soft pillows, and let my eyelids close in blissful slumber.







[a resting place]




It’s in these places, away from the busy-ness and stress of this American dream life, that I am met by my heavenly Father.

As I sit with Him, He doesn’t require me to do a thing. He loves me.
It’s here that I discover a quiet in the waiting.
A calm amidst the storm.
A joy regardless of the stress of the unknown.
A place where striving stops and a gentle assurance of purpose and a perfect plan remains.

There is a deep work happening in my heart. It’s a slow process.
A relinquishing.
Letting go.

A painful yet necessary season where the Lord is tinkering around with my thoughts, my dreams, my desires, my expectations—He’s doing so much that I can’t tell if there’s been real progress made yet, but I know He’ll accomplish the task.

There is a passage in Isaiah written as a song composed to the Lord, created as a proclamation throughout the land of Judah. It’s beautiful.

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.
So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].”
Isaiah 26:3-4 (AMP)

All of this I am mulling over, pondering, wondering about.
My heart is assessing the deep places.
Searching for the things I am still holding onto, the things I need to let go of in order to allow the Lord to move.


My frustration with where I’m at shouldn’t doesn’t matter.

My hope comes from the Lord.
He is my Rock, my Strength, my Redeemer. He will make the path straight for me.
Not all is obvious right now and it doesn’t need to be.
There is a balance between striving way too much and waiting for just the right word from the Lord.

I am moving forward regardless, knocking on the doors and opportunities presented to me, and as I keep stepping forward, He will make my paths straight.


That is a promise.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

-Proverbs 3:5-6

I am so tired, but God isn’t. He never grows weary. He knows exactly where I am. I am not here by accident. This season of waiting will not last forever, and in fact as I write this I realize this is absolutely necessary (thought I don’t yet know why) to walk through, so I learn what I need to learn for where He’s taking me to and what He’s calling me into.


So then I will choose to hope when I can’t see, and trust when I don’t know the way. He will strengthen me.

“…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
-Isaiah 40:31


I’m with the King

So this afternoon I sat down with my Bible and a cup of coffee…it’s been a long few weeks and I just needed some time to myself. It’s raining outside, and sometimes these are the perfect days for rest. I felt like this time was just for me and God, and I really wanted it to be. I haven’t been doing a super great job at spending time with Him lately…so I just knew I needed some time to sit with Him, read His Word, and relax and soak Him in. Sometimes things that you’ve read over and over pop out at you differently all of the sudden, and today was one of those times.

I decided to read Romans 8. I won’t go into a ton of detail, but it was cool. 🙂

One thing that really stood out to me was where it says that through the Holy Spirit we are sons of God, “And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.'” That’s like little kids running up to their fathers and saying, “Daddy! Daddy!” God wants that kind of relationship with us (I’ve been hearing this over and over lately, so that really resonated with me). But then it goes on to talk about us being co-heirs with Christ Jesus. Jesus is God’s son, and through Jesus’ death on the cross, when He defeated sin and rose from the dead in victory (can I get an Amen!), that in that moment, when we accept that gift, we become sons and daughters of God, beloved brothers and sisters to Christ, and become God’s heirs. WHOA baby. Hold up a sec…say whaaaa…? That’s incredible.

So then I was just sitting there and soaking that in. The idea ran around my head for a bit…Jesus as my big brother, the big brother I never had. The one to tell me that I am beautiful and cherished and that He loves me and will protect me like any good big brother would his little sister.

I like that idea…it makes me smile. 🙂

Then something popped into my head. A vision, a thought, a whisper from my Savior – a story, a dream, a poem of sorts. I wrote it into my journal and felt like I also needed to share it with you.

Here goes.

Every part of you is mine.
You are perfect – made in My image.
You are the daughter of the King,
beloved sister and co-heir with Christ.
You enrapture me with your beauty.
You can walk confidently into any room,
knowing I am beside you, walking with you.
Always with you.
I’ll never leave you.

Then this came.

I walk into a room full of people dressed in finery, and I instantly feel unworthy to be there.
I don’t fit in.
“I’m with the King,” I tell those who ask, which should boost my confidence,
but the more people ask, the more I question whether I should be there at all.
I’m not worthy. I don’t fit in. My dress isn’t pretty enough.
Then it happens.
The dancing begins.
But they won’t let me into the ballroom, because no one believes me and the King is nowhere to be seen.
I’m blocked from going inside, and I begin to doubt everything about myself.
Who am I to think I’m worthy of love and forgiveness?
I stand in front of the doors to the ballroom, confused, ashamed, and alone.
The guards ask me to move aside, and that’s when I feel His hand slip into mine
and the other fit tenderly around my waist.
“No, let her through,” he says tenderly, His eyes locked onto mine,
His beautiful face smiling in delight that I am here. His presence and command over the room is so immediate that everything and everyone stops and stares in amazement
as He takes my hand and says, “She’s with me.”
His gaze captivates me, my feet float on air as I follow Him onto the dance floor.
Nothing else matters but Him now.
“I’m so glad you came,” He says. “You are stunning. You are perfect.”
As He holds me close on the dance floor, His eyes sparkle and He flashes a grin.
“And best of all, you’re mine!” His smile grows bigger as he says,
“You’re beautiful, beloved. I am the King and I love you. I have redeemed you.
Be bold and confident in that, beloved. I am always with you.”
I can’t speak, so I nod and put my head to His chest, no words needed, and together, we dance.



The song below fits this perfectly. “I Love the King” by Beth Croft.

City Vision Tour – WHOA

Thursday night at my missions lifegroup, we were talking about this City Vision Tour we went on last week, and I wanted to post my reactions to it. It’s interesting to me that I’ve committed to The World Race, yet even in doing that am learning so much more about my community and my eyes are truly being opened to what’s going on around me and how I can serve HERE while I’m still here. I am being humbled by my blind eyes and praying for them to be opened even more, praying that my heart becomes one with God’s so I can truly be enveloped in His heart for the nations!

Also, in reading many blogs of current World Racers, I ran into this guy, Steven Reed. There’s a point on the World Race when guys and girls split up and the men go off to do “manistry,” which is basically code for getting to do manly things all month long and just be boys 🙂 This manistry month for them is Thailand, with a specific focus on the Karen people of Burma who are fleeing the genocide against them by their own government! So please check out his blog, because I’d love for you to catch a glimpse into my heart and why I have a passion for the Karen. I have a missionary contact who is working with them currently, but it is exciting and encouraging to also see other ministries there and to realize that God is leading more and more people to get involved with helping the Karen and praying for the healing and restoration of the country of Burma!

Okay, so here’s my reactions to this City Vision Tour. Minneapolis, little did I know.

One word. Eye-opening. You think you know your city. You’ve lived there your whole life. You know it’s diverse. But whoa. Talk about tunnel vision!

Just look up. On the top of many street-side businesses are mosques. But you couldn’t tell from the outside, except for little minute details. Like the smoke stacks that really aren’t smoke stacks but little minurets — see? They even have half moons on them. Just look up and pay attention. There are mosques in the back or basements of many restaurants. Then there’s the green awnings that decorate buildings, businesses, restaurants — street after street after street. And no, that doesn’t mean the landowners love green like I assumed…it means the buildings are owned by Muslims, because green is their color, and they dominate the city streets and businesses.

The Somalis that come to Minneapolis are hard workers, entrepreneurs, and between them and the Mexicans and other refugee groups from Asia and Africa, they’re starting plenty of businesses and creating tons of jobs — which is amazing. Minneapolis is incredibly diverse and I can’t believe I have lived this long without knowing the extent of it! But this is also a bad thing. The Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are walking the streets, getting to know the people, learning the languages. Why aren’t we doing this? We NEED to do this. Islam is so close to Catholicism with its rules and lists of dos and don’ts that many Mexicans are converting to Islam in order to marry or just because — hey, it’s just another list of dos and dont’s, so what’s the big deal, right? And then don’t get me started on the number of churches that actually let witches meet inside them…and the whole fact that Minneapolis is on the top of the list for having the most witches in the country. Who knew?


Now that I know, I want to go back. I want to walk those streets, walk under those green awnings, and pray. Lord, please redeem our city. This city is YOURS.

You know, you come back from a mission trip to Mexico or Asia or Africa and you wish that you could go back and experience it again. Well guess what??? You CAN! Right downtown in the Global Market you’ll find authentic food from Eastern Africa (Safari Express owned by Jamal, an extremely friendly guy from Somalia who will talk your ear off if you let him! From, Mexico, Italy, Middle East, Asia. Hop over to the local Mercado Central for some authentic Mexican pastries. You’ll feel like you’re back in the Mexican market again. Walk the streets lined with Vietnamese, Thai, Ethiopian, Mexican shops, stores, and restaurants.

Seriously, I think it was the green awnings that really did me in. I love diversity. But so much is hidden in plain sight. Lord, open our eyes to see the reality around us! This city is ripe for renewal! Help us to reach it for you! This city is YOURS.

I need You

I’ve been struggling a lot lately because…
…I think I’ve been realizing over and over how much

And it drives me nuts, because the ME inside of me just wants to handle things on its own.
But the Spirit inside of me…
that looking to Jesus is best.

But this is not easy.
It’s really really hard.
Because this comes with trusting God…
…to speak through me…
…when I have NOTHING.

Sometimes I wonder what others see in me
because it’s hard for myself to see ME the way they do…
(I know this is a lie by the way, but still…)

Every time I speak I see ME struggle to be confident
the struggle to cover up my insecurity
the struggle to put it in Jesus’ hands
…but why is this so much easier said than done?
I hate that phrase.
Because it’s true.

Public speaking, even to kids, is nerve-wracking.
Yet this is what God has put in my lap without
even me asking.
To tell of His love and speak of my heart for missions to the precious children who are rising up in the new generation to GO.

Lord, please speak through me.
Please give me wisdom beyond my years,
yet wisdom as a child,
to speak life, love, passion, of You and Your mission to rescue the world
and show them how much You love them….

I need You. Desperately.
I can’t do this on my own.
You bring life, your words sustain and renew.
I feel dry right now.
I need You.
Come, fill me so I can pour Your living water into others.

I can’t believe I’m doing this most of the time…
…the World Race thing.
It messes with your mind, because it’s there constantly!
Like whoa.

Lord, all I can say is…
I need You.

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