I know I have like 3 faithful followers of this blog - but those of you that do. . .

can you please read/view this one?

Thank you, and much love.

rachel goes to africa

Talks With Tori

I love my friends. . . one of the things I love is how they spoil me with quality time like that chubby kid who shouldn't have the ice cream cone, but he is just so cute with those cheeks when he asks for it. They know I suck up waaaay too much of their lives with my whining for quality time, but they cave and give it to me anyway. Love them!

Enter Tori D. Seriously one of the hottest girls you will ever meet. I mean, the girl guys become friends with me for to find out more about. Best thing about all of this? Tori really, I mean REALLY has no idea how freaking gorgeous she is. So she is amazing, and one of my people that I can talk to for hours and we can go from serious to laughing back to serious again in a matter of minutes. One of the people who truly knows my heart, so she calls it like she sees it. Aaaaand I love her for this.

Hang out with me long enough and you are sure to get a post about you. That a total of three people MIGHT read. Because I love blogging, but hate sharing . . . A shy girl trapped in a story-teller's body - something like that. . . .

So I convinced Tori to lavish me with some serious quality time type of love tonight and it made me really think. About myself. My stuff, my life down at the mission.

And how God controls all of it. Lately it has been a moment by moment living out of what God is teaching me. A season where I read a chapter of Scripture, or hear a sermon, or have a spiritual conversation with someone and moments, I am not kidding, moments later, God calls me to put it into use. So talking with Tori helped me to figure a lot of stuff out.

I got to share with Tori for the first time about the real conversations I have with the girls at the Mission.

I just LOVE this picture. I have no idea who wrote this on the steps, but I am sometimes amazed at my cell phone camera and sometimes super annoyed at how it takes the blurriest, worst pictures of all time. This one came out well.

So back to Tori - and how this applies to my recent learn-it-now-use-it season. Tonight in Bible study we talked about spiritual warfare and always being armed and ready. We talked about how each piece of the armor; salvation, peace, righteousnes - all of its components are things we cannot bring about ourselves. We cannot create peace or righteousness or salvation in our own effort. This requires the step asked of us in Galatians 6:18 - PRAY!

So I was talking to Tori about stories of some of the conversations we have had with the girls on Wednesday nights. She was blown away. She had no idea that these were the things that were happening. That girls who have been known to throw bricks at people's heads, are excited to learn about the Bible. They are making references to lessons two weeks prior and they are remembering things about God's grace, and they are excited to learn more. They ask questions, remember things, apply things to their own lives. . . . and no one other then Doreen and I have experienced this.

I was planning on not attending the Tuesday program this week, because its just unstructured time in the parking lot. Fights break out, kids are crying, it can be chaotic most often. . . . but every time I say I am not going to go, I go. And I get a smile from a kid or hugs and I get to see my girls in a non formal setting and get to experience the joy of them running up to me from across the parking lot. I love it. I get frustrated with it, get bored a lot, but all it takes is one hug, or one smile and I am loving Tuesdays again.

I got an email from Doreen today. She might be mad at me for saying this but . . . she wrote this (when I was still planning on not going) -

i will kinda miss you tonight.
but tuesdays are what they are.
wednesdays are the shiznit

And so it sums it up. Tuesdays are nice. We walk around the parking lot, grab a couple short conversations, but something magical, or should I say, SPIRITUAL happens on Wednesdays.

So I am sharing with Tori and she is welling up a little with tears, because the stories REALLY are crazy good. CRAZY God good. Like, girls who used to hide behind the industrial sized fridges in the kitchen because they were DYING for attention are now talking about how Peter rejected Jesus, and Jesus still forgave him. Stuff like that. Or the girl who we worry about with boys the most is talking about God's mercy. And girls are seeing how they live life saying they are a Christian but don't live like it. All of these things are unprompted by human forces, so the only other thing to be prompting them is Spirit, right?

So Tori says two things.
1) I need to share these stories with the group more.
2) There is no way I can leave the mission while these conversations are still taking place. They are the heart and soul of why God keeps us here on Earth. To proclaim His message.

And what I love most about Wednesdays really is that my lesson are lame. I soooo dont do fun games or have crazy pictures and ideas, we sometimes use notecards that I scotch tape to my wall, and journals that they and jot ideas in, but for the most part- the Bible is opened, its read, we talk about it. Simple.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
~Romans 1:16

The Gospel doesn't need fancied up or watered down. It is what it is. We are called to speak it. "How will they know unless they have heard, and how will they hear unless it is preached, and how will they preach unless they are sent?" . . . I am summarizing a huge piece of Scripture, but it is the root of my point.

I really feel like I was 'sent' here for the sake of speaking truth to the girls. And so I am just doing that. I get sooooo caught up in the trials and the hardships that come with me being down here and I have sooooo lost focus on what AMAZING, MIRACULOUS stuff is happening with the girls that I can only chalk it up to not having spent enough time focusing on the Lord and recieving the pieces of the armor - acknowledging my identity as righteous and peaceful and saved.

There are no unwanted adopted children. Adoptive parents go through hell and high water to get their children. As an adopted child I need to remember the pains my Father went through to adopt me. He chose me for good works. I need to focus on the joys of that, on the joys of being used as planned, as designed - not on the millions of things that can distract me.

Talking with Tori helped me clarify a lot of things. The talks with the girls are unheard of type of stuff, and most definitely, in light of eternity, worth breaking through any walls that come up - and it won't be hard to do, because I will be heavily protected with the full armor of God.


None of this is me. . . .

Some of you know that I am madly in love with John Piper. I say this half-jokingly. I just love his passion, his technique and his testimony. He has been doing what He has been doing faithfully through all the drama of all the big names in Evangelical Christianity. You never hint an arrogance, or a thought of deserving to do what he does, just a faithfulness to continue. As I think about how humble Johnny P is, I am severely convicted about how I can try to steal some of the merit away from the Lord for the changes He has made in me.

A little link to Johnny's . . . I think we can call it a poem.



What I Found Cleaning

So I cleaned out some boxes today. . . boxes that have been packed since I moved from Scranton. In one of those boxes was a journal, one of my first where I was really honest with the Lord about my life and where it was going once I had committed it to Him. It was so eye opening to look and see the journey since that point.

I was a sophmore in college. I had started working with the Scranton ministry. . . it had only been a couple of months. This was a month before the summer where I drove two hours both ways just to attend the Wednesday program while I lived in Glenmoore.

Before falling in love with urban ministry.
Before meeting Ebony.
Before God took me on the crazy first parts of my journey.

I just love the answers to the prayers, and the identification of things He is slowly and faithfully working on in me.

April 5, 2003

I look to the future and I see so much space. Where will I live? Who will I marry? Where will I go? What will I do?

My Creator knows.

Swirling, whirling confusion - what do I do next? every step has questions and every turn a surprise.

My Creator knows.

I feel insecure with every move and every breath. I want the world to see strength when they look at me. So I hold all of the tears. These are the tears of impatience and striving. I work so hard and I see no change. I reach out my hand, but there is no one there to grab hold of it.

The future is a wide open white canvas. I am so excited to start throwing down paint and create beautiful pictures. My heart bursts for excitement to get started on the rest of my life.

. . . . But am I ready?


My Day With Myeisha

So here's the story. . . we planned a day painting pottery. As we got to the location of 'Color Me Mine' in Elkin's Park, I called them to tell them we were coming and discovered the number had been disconnected, sooooo we had to go elsewhere. The only place I knew of was The Painted Plate in West Chester. I called Keyhana (Myeisha's mom) and she said that she trusted me, and to not worry about where I took her! HAHA. . . . then I get a message from my Aunt Ginny - asking about my mom's surgery. . . REALIZING that I am the worst daughter ever, I ask Myeisha if she minds stopping by the hospital (on the way to West Chester) to check on my mom. So this clutch picture of my two worlds colliding took place in the main lobby of Paoli Hospital this afternoon.

Don't they both look sooooo cheerful? They actually both enjoyed each other very much. Myeisha was playing with Allie while Allie giggled and snorted away like always :) ohhhh and my mom was great by the way . . . .

Here is Myeisha, reluctantly letting me take her picture while she worked on the cutest little cupcake box.

This is mine. It is what it is :)

Suuuuch concentration. It is always awesome to watch some of the girls 'escape' when you take them to do something out of the neighborhood.

Mine again . . . I painted and scraped and repainted the brown a million times. Myeisha got impatient so I let her do a second piece.

Soooo cute.

Myeisha was in the zone. She would have painted for hours and hours if I let her.

I am so excited to see the final product!

I think we found the thing that keeps Myeisha busy and happy for extended amounts of time. I loved sharing this day with her.

Sooooo, she found my make up bag in the car. So funny. . . . she wanted to put my foundation on too, but was a little confused as to why it wouldn't match. . . . "I'll just keep rubbing it until it blends." - "uhhhh, I still don't think it will work."

:) a great moment.
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My Favorite Parts of the Day

Myeisha found my Israel pictures that were in an album in the back seat. This lead to questions about Jesus. . . . .
- Jesus was born in Israel? Yup. And see that sign that says 'Nazareth Hotel'? He grew up in the town of Nazareth.

- What's this mountain? There's a part in the Bible when Jesus sits down with thousands of people and tells them stories and talks to them about lots of different stuff. Thats the mountain that a lot of people think He did that on.

- Why is there a Jewish sign on this flag? Because that's the flag for Israel. So there is a lot more Jewish people there? Yep. So wait, was Jesus Jewish? Yep. But I thought He was a Christian? Well, Jewish people were always special to God because God knew all along that His Son would be Jewish. So there were no Christians until Jesus came, only Jewish people who believed someone like Jesus was coming. But if you believe in Jesus now, you are a Christian. Ohhhhh.

- When you were saying his friend Peter pretended to not know who He was, this is the same Peter whose house is here? In this picture? Yup. . . well, thats where they think Peter lived. That's so cool. ***statements like this make my teacher's heart flutter, because we had talked about Peter denying Jesus last night, so I loved how she remembered it :)

While at lunch there was a 'What if . . . " game on her menu. Here are some of her answers . . . .
- What if you had a million dollars. How would you spend it? Slowly
- What if you were trapped on a desert island. What one thing would you take? a boat
- What if you could have one animal as a pet, which would you choose? an ox, because its my sign (this one took me a minute until I realized we were both Tauruses . . . err is it Tauri?)

So all in all a great day with my girl. She loves one on one attention. She loves crafty stuff and loves being away from the neighborhood for a little bit. . . and I am finding, which is SO UNEXPECTED and SO AMAZING, she is starting to love asking more and more questions about Jesus, and is excited to share with me what she remembers and is thinking about. THAT is why I keep on, and while I can't help but smile and giggle on the inside whenever I hang out with these girls :)