Tag Archives: culture

Day 11: {Jerusalem} Hezekiah’s Tunnel, City of David, Southern Wall steps, & Jewish Quarter

Our last day here was so much fun!!

We started out going through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a cave like thingy, underground the city of Jerusalem. It took like 30ish minutes maybe. This was SO. MUCH. FUN. I love this stuff. We’ve been though a lot of caves the past couple weeks, and I’ve just loved every minute of it. (It makes me feel like a spy or cave diver or something, I don’t know..) This one was the most fun, by far though. The water came up to our hips at some points, we had to duck and turn sideways to get through it.. so awesome. I wish I could post the videos we took because they give a better picture of what it was like (and they’re down right hilarious), but tons of pictures will just have to do..

Because who doesn’t pretend to be Rudolph with their red head lamp?

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sweet, precious family 🙂IMG_9475

the girls were so brave 🙂IMG_9487

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Obviously it looks brighter because of my camera’s flash, but it was pitch black in there. IMG_9489

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We made it 🙂Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

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On to the city of David, the Southern Wall steps, and the Jewish Quarter to eat and shop

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Why is this so funny to me?
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I went on this trip not knowing a single person, and left with a 2nd family 🙂 These folks are awesome and were incredibly gracious & welcoming to me. I’m grateful for the Ross’ example.

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I got to talk to several people here which made me very happy! A lot of conversations were about how they view Americans as hating Israel. Please don’t be scared of this place. The media & government are only going to show & publicize and exaggerate the negative things about foreign countries. This is a beautiful place with beautiful & kind people!!

One thing that surprised me about being in Israel, even though I already “knew” the statistics, was that there are very few followers of Jesus there. To many, everything seems like it’s right in front of their faces, but they put their faith in so many other things, including religion. Many here don’t understand the grace & freedom in the Gospel, and/ or don’t believe Jesus as the Messiah & Son of God, sent to redeem the broken world and bring people back into right relationship with God.

I have absolutely loved every minute of being in this place. It was really overwhelming because we did SO MUCH and learned a TON. I didn’t document even half of the things I saw and learned, just some highlights, but I am so glad that I did! Since we did so much, I was constantly forgetting what we did even the day before and what happened in what place, etc.. So I am really glad that I recorded the highlights of my days on this blog, even though all of them were days late. (Side note, I was totally wrong about the touring thing.. It rocked. There were pros & cons to touring vs being on my own & doing my own thing, but the pros outweighed the cons for sure. Also, I DEFINITELY recommend coming here to anyone!! It’s worth every. single. penny. I promise. I know of a group, with the same awesome leader that I had on this one, going this year, so let me know if you’re interested!)

I can’t even describe what the Lord did in me mentally and emotionally here. Sure, it’s cool to”walk where Jesus walked” or whatever, but the truth is, Jesus lives in me! And you too, if you are in Christ. & we don’t need this place to validate God’s Word. It’s sufficient on it’s own. I learned so much. A lot of times I IMG_1910felt completely stupid, like I don’t know anything/ enough.. it was really overwhelming at some points. But like I said from the beginning, I don’t leave here with a head full of knowledge; I leave here knowing that God had a mission here, and we are living it out.

Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” We are His witnesses! Ambassadors of Christ. If you’re a follower of Jesus, please know that this is for you. Your salvation has nothing to do with you and isn’t about you at all. It’s about exalting the name of Jesus & bringing others to Him. Look at that verse again: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem (the people around you) and in all Judea (the people in your greater area) and Samaria (the people you don’t like), and to the end of the earth. Across the street and around the world. That’s where the Lord wants you. He wants His name exalted in your life where ever you are at. As you’re going, make much of Jesus, making disciples. (If you would like to be trained on how to do this biblically, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE shoot me a text, Facebook message, email, phone call, WHATEVER. I would loooooove to meet up with you. Not that I am perfect at this by any means, but I am walking with Jesus trying to be obedient to His Word & would love to walk along side you. I literally don’t care who you are, please let me know, and we can walk through this, obeying & learning, together!)

I’m extremely, extremely grateful that I was able to come to this place, especially at such a young age. But I’m even more grateful for what happened here. I’m grateful that God wanted so badly to be in relationship with us that He became man, as His Son, meeting every demand of the law so that we might become the righteousness of God. I’m grateful that when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He decided to submit to His Father’s will and go to the cross. I’m grateful that He took the punishment and bore & satisfied the wrath of God.. the wrath that I deserve. I’m grateful that because of what God accomplished through His Son, I never have to experience being forsaken by God, but instead, I get to be in a very personal, intimate relationship with Him. I’m so grateful that Jesus kept every promise. I’m grateful that He didn’t stay in the tomb, but that He rose, is alive, and is at the right hand of God. I’m grateful that in Jesus, there is fulfillment of the law, and that because of Jesus, there is grace. I’m so very grateful. Tears fall when I think about this place. Sometimes, because I am sad and filled with guilt at what I should have to endure, but then I remember that I get to celebrate this place and what God accomplished through Jesus here.

{“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8}

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So a couple weeks before I left for Israel, I wrote about the season of doubting I experienced last semester, and was still working through. I would love to sound super spiritual & write now about how this trip completely & totally changed my life and confirmed every single doubt I’ve ever had and now my faith was solid, but that wouldn’t be the truth. Honestly, I’m still working through all of that. And I’m completely okay with that. Yes, the Lord is increasing my faith, but I still have doubts, questions, & uncertainties. I don’t know everything and that scares me a little lot, but that’s okay! I’m bringing those things to the Lord & believers close to me, working through it all, not ignoring it like before. Walking by faith.. (2 Corinthians 5:7) I’m learning/ realizing that God identifies Himself.. I don’t do that for Him, so regardless of who I say that He is (or who I doubt He is), He is God, and that does not change. I don’t decide who He is. He decides that for Himself. (I don’t have a clue if that makes sense.. Still trying to figure out how to put words together to make my thoughts make sense.) The Lord is molding & sharpening my worldview, and I’m reminded yet again how thankful I am that the Lord continues to change & sanctify us as believers.

I’m extremely thankful for this place and what God accomplished through Jesus here 2,000+ years ago, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11)

Video to come soon.. as soon as I have time to make one..


Day 10: {Jerusalem} Bethlehem, Israel Museum, & Garden Tomb

Today started off with a couple short stops, then to the Israel Museum.IMG_9301

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Original Dead Sea Scrolls!! (They were found by a young shepherd boy in the 1940s I think.. just less than 5 miles from where we stayed one night.) These provide proof of the Old Testament.. even though God’s Word needs nothing to validate itself, it’s still pretty awesome. 

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So crazy! I ran into someone else I know! I met & have only seen this friend in Nepal, and saw him here in Jerusalem! How weird! We’ve yet to see each other in America..

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On to Bethlehem, birth place of Jesus.. (This will definitely give me a different picture when I sing all of those Christmas songs about the birth of Jesus in this place.)

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Waiting in line for an hour & a half to enter the cave at the exact location where Jesus was born.. IMG_9319

The original stone floor of the (now) Church of Nativity, the oldest church in the world still being used today. This church is owned by 3 different religions, Roman Catholics, Greeks, and Armenians. All 3 have services here throughout the day, every day.

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Well, there it is..
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Okay people, this is worth documenting! My first Israel meal that was actually Mediterranean food! It’s called chicken shawarma. Okay, so I got it completely plain with just chicken in bread, but it’s a start, right??

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and some kind of dessert that I kind of, sorta liked.. (don’t judge my ugly finger nails, I’m in Israel, ok)

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We made a quick stop to the Shepherds Field where we talked about the incarnation of Jesus. We read Luke 2:1-21 and Philippians 2:5-11. A lot of times when we think of the birth of Jesus, we think of a barn or stable with hay & wood, but in actuality, all around Him was stone/ rocks.
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The incarnation, the way Christ took on humanity “in flesh,” is beautiful. The mission of the incarnation is to redeem a broken world, rescuing sinners. The manifestation of the incarnation is that we get to live the life of Jesus in the world, on mission with God! We are fleshing out Jesus’ model here on Earth. We are His hands and feet! How awesome! (2 Corinthians 5)

Next we went to the Garden Tomb. Some believe this is where Jesus’ tomb was, but that is most likely not the case. The church of the Holy Sepulcher is much more likely to be the location. The real purpose of this place is to give a mental picture, to show a model of what it would have looked like, with the tomb the way the tomb would have been. But again, just like I said in a previous post, the exact location of the tomb is pretty irrelevant. He’s not in it, He is RISEN! We don’t need proof.. His Word is enough.

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I’m really thankful that “the tomb” is empty, that Jesus is alive, and that He is coming back!! 🙂 I long for that day!!

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We took the Lord’s Super here. Such a sweet, sweet time reflecting on the cross and the Gospel. Being in Israel has been awesome, and I’m thankful that this isn’t just a place with a lot of history and made up stories, but that Jesus really is who He says He is, that He did what His Word said He did here, and that He’s going to do what He says He’s going to do. I’m beyond thankful for what God accomplished through Jesus is this place, and that in Him fulfillment for everything is found!

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Our last stop for the night was the IMB prayer house. Missionaries live & come here often for rest and encouragement. This is also where It Is Well’s writer’s family lived. We sang that song here. While we were there, a believer from the Czech Republic, a pastor at a church in Nigeria, and a missionary from Thailand came by. The pastor in Nigeria told us about how people are dying, getting their kids taken from them, kicked out of there communities, and losing their families where He is pastoring because they are deciding to trust in & follow Jesus. The Lord reminded me here how small I am, and how big He is! There are people following hard after Jesus all around the world, in places where following Jesus costs them everything (some, even their life)! Yet still, it is well.. because He’s worth it all.

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They have a huge prayer room with maps and encouraging signs and prayers filling the walls. It was good to stop, reflect, and pray here.

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Tomorrow is our last day, and I don’t even want to think about leaving 😦

Today we prayed specifically that we would be obedient to the Great Commission and Acts 1:8; please join us & pray that you too would be obedient to the command that is to every follower of Jesus!

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Day 9: {Jerusalem} Bethany, Holocaust Memorial Museum, Mount of Olives, & Garden of Gethsemane

It didn’t rain today, praise the Lord! It was really cold, but it wasn’t raining, so we were thankful!

First, we visited Bethany, which is mentioned several times in the bible, and Jesus was here often. But it is mostly known for being the place that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus’ tomb is here.

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Apparently taking pictures in tombs is normal here.. Weird, but when in Rome, right?

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Jesus said in this place, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Everything that was dead about Lazarus, He brought to life. Thankfully He does the same for us!! We talked about how this is a place of honor, hope, and hospitality.

Next, we went to the Mount of Olives where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray (the Lord’s prayer- Luke 11). This is the last place Jesus was on Earth, and it is the first place He will return to. I was extremely convicted about my prayer life here, and began repenting of a lack of discipline in that area of my life here.. What fueled Jesus’ ministry was His life of prayer. If Jesus’ thought it was necessary to pray to the Father, what makes me think I can do life without communication and dependence on my Father? God wants to have a radical, personal relationship with us, and that can’t happen without prayer.

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We also went to the Holocaust Memorial Museum today. (We couldn’t take pictures inside, but I still got some). This was obviously really really sad. There’s no words I can even say about this, except for the depravity of man is very obvious when thinking about the Holocaust. Thankfully, Jesus died & bore the wrath for that, and in Jesus, there is forgiveness and redemption even for the most seemingly sinful & broken people & situations.

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Beautiful view of Jerusalem & the Dome of the Rock today on our walk..

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Lastly, we visited The Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus agonizes going to the cross (Luke 22:39-46). Jesus modeled submission (to the Father’s will) and suffering. He looks into the cup and sees the sin of humanity. He knows that His Father is going to forsake Him at the cross, but He goes anyways. He leaves this place and is arrested, tried, and crucified.

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Olive tree here on the Mount of OlivesIMG_9276

The beautiful Church of Agony next to The Garden of Gethsemane:

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Being in the Garden was very emotional. Thinking about the Gospel, and that Jesus could have decided in this place not to go to the cross, but that He did, and because He did, the wrath of God was completely satisfied at the cross, that Jesus bore the weight of sin & the depravity of man there, that He experienced being forsaken by the Father (something we never have to because He did)- all so we could be in right relationship with God like He intended for us to be from the beginning.. The Lord went to all lengths to be in a personal relationship with you. You were sinful, completely separated from God.. There was/ is nothing you could do to get back to Him, so God came to you. We are completely undeserving to know God. But because of what God accomplished through Jesus, we are able to be in relationship with Him. In Jesus, we are forgiven, redeemed, & made completely whole. That’s crazy grace! Praise the Lord!

Today we prayed specifically for Iran; please join us!

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Day 8: {Jerusalem} Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, Al-Aksa Mosque, Western Wall, Via Dolorosa, Church of the Holy Sepulcher

I’m not going to lie.. Today was pretty miserable. It poured down rain & was absolutely freezing the entire day, and we were outside the whole time.. After stepping in what felt like lakes of water, my shoes soaking wet & freezing, I was ready to call it a day. I was glad when I found out I wasn’t the only one thinking the same thing.. We ended our day a few hours short because like I said.. it was just absolutely miserable. Our leader, who has been every year for 11 years, said he has never seen weather this bad (cold), and he has actually never seen it rain in Israel more than 10 minutes.. It was just craziness.

BUT thankfully, we did get to visit the places we wanted to. We spent our day at the Old City of Jerusalem. We visited the Temple Mount (believed to be the place where Pilot presented Jesus), Dome of the Rock & Al-Aksa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam & former home of the ancient Jewish Temple. We saw the Pools Beit Hasda, Crusader Church of St. Anne & the holiest place in Judaism today, the Western Wall. We went through the many layers of Jerusalem’s past through the Western Wall Tunnels & stood on the site believed to be the nearest spot to the “Holy of Holies.”

These pictures are all over the place.. Like I said, this day was crazy..

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Dome of the Rock. We couldn’t go inside because we aren’t Muslim.

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On the bright side, we got to go into some underground tunnels, so how cool is that?!

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We followed the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

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Below these lantern things is believed to be the stone that Jesus was laid on.

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In here is believed to be where Jesus’ tomb was, and this place is believed to be where Calvary could have been. Who cares though, we don’t need proof because He’s not in there.. He is RISEN people!! 🙂 The debate over where His tomb could have been is pretty irrelevant to me.. IMG_9120

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Before we left, we visited the Western Wall, a really popular, thought to be holy, significant place. There are hundreds of people praying here throughout the day, and even more on the Sabbath. People come from all over the world and write their prayers down on a piece of paper, roll it up, and stick it in the wall. Thankfully, we know that have access to God through Jesus, and no matter where we are praying, we can be confident that He hears us. There’s nothing special about this place that makes the Lord hear us better or makes us more holy or anything like that. But for tons of people, this place is very significant and they come here every day to pray.

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Thankfully we were inside for a whole .2 seconds..

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How cute are they!?IMG_9061

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When I told them to make a face reflecting how their day was going: IMG_9046

I think this picture is hilarious because it just shows how miserable we all were.. Hahaha IMG_9054

Even though the weather was a bummer today and we didn’t get to have a lot of teaching time at all, it was still a good day (mostly when we all found out we were going back to the hotel early.. haha). But seriously, I’m in Israel.. How can I complain!? Once we got back around 4, I got to spend some sweet time with Jesus and eat a pizza. Now that will make any bad day better. 🙂

Today we prayed specifically for Iraq; please join us!

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Day 7: Beit Shemesh, Eila Valley & Hebron

Some highlights from today:

We visited the Valley of Elah where David fought Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2, 19). We talked about that story here, but focusing on a completely different aspect of the story than what I’ve always heard it told. We talked about how David was first asked to carry cheese to the commander of the unit before he fought Goliath (1 Samuel 17:18). Faithfulness in small things produces faithfulness in big things.

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Next, we went to Beer Sheva (Abraham’s well), in the Negev Desert. This place was a lot of fun because we got to go underground into some caves, and who doesn’t love that? We talked about election here. We have been chosen because of God’s prior choice and initiation. Election is “one on behalf of another,” not one over another. God isn’t showing favoritism through election. If you are in Christ, yes, He has sovereignly chosen you, but you’re election doesn’t make you better. It doesn’t mean you’re special. It was that so through you, the Gospel will go to the whole world.

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A few thoughts about election and what we are chosen for: (#1 God’s glory)

#2: We are chosen in sovereignty for the rebellious. God came and found you. You have not been saved because you thought it was a good idea or you worked your way up. #3: We are chosen for mission for those who are far off/ unreached. #4: We are chosen for suffering for those who are under hardship (Romans 4). #5: We are chosen in faith for those who are faithless (Genesis 15).

What I hope you get from this, believers, is that your salvation is nothing about you. It’s not about how you can be a better Christian and have a better spiritual life. It’s so that God would be exalted and to reach those around you.

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Our last stop of the day was Hebron, Abraham’s hometown & burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob & their wives. Here, we talked about waiting because David waited here for 7 years before He went to Jerusalem to be king. There’s so much sanctification that takes place in the seasons of waiting in your life. Many of the Psalms that David writes are while he is in solitude.. not when he is doing publicly profound things. He worships God during this time of waiting. Sometimes there are things that need to be washed out of your life before you move on.. sometimes these are what those “waiting” times are for. Remember that God’s plan is to glorify Himself through your life. So stop being in such a hurry to get out of the season you’re in. Wait on Him for the purpose of His name being made great in your life and among the nations.

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Today we prayed specifically for Jordan; please join us!

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Day 6: En Gedi, Masada, & Dead Sea

Today was a blast! We did so many fun things and went to so many cool places! We started our day in En Gedi where David hid from Saul (1 Samuel 24), and then went to Masada, a fortress palace built by Herod. The history of this place is really cool. Today we talked about family & marriage and how they exist to put the Gospel on display. This was really sweet for me because I’ve been learning so much about that recently, and I’ve seen evidence of redemption in my heart & life is those areas (not marriage because obviously I’m not married.. haha. but just the thought of one day being married & my attitude, perspective, & expectations towards it..) So being here, in Israel, talking about how Jesus wants to use our families to reach the nations was really awesome. I can’t wait for that day when I get to have the opportunity to do that with my own family.

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Here in the once fortress of Masada, we also talked about how the Lord is our fortress, rock, and cornerstone.

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Yep, we took one of these cool things again.. so fun! IMG_8743

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Next, we got to do some more hiking! My favorite! We hiked up to this beautiful waterfall! Here, we studied Numbers 15:37-41, Ruth 3:9, Psalm 17:8, & Luke 8:41. We talked about how kingdom people trust a sovereign God, endure suffering, can stand alone, and model submission. Where Jesus is the example of submission to authority, Satan is the example of subversion to authority (what got him thrown out of heaven). When we are submitting to authority, we are modeling submission to God. (Ouch.)

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FINALLY, we went to the DEAD SEA! SO. MUCH. FUN! Because it is 30% salt, you are able to float in it! I didn’t exactly know how this would work, but let me just tell you, it was awesome! The water & mud have a ton of minerals that are really good for your skin.. better than any lotion you can buy in America! My skin has never felt so good! (Obviously we had to take a million pictures.. sorry I’m annoying)

Look how gorgeous it is!!

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Look at how gorgeous that view is.. Also I love this sweet family! IMG_8822

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And because I’m actually a 7 year old, I had to bring my paper out there for a typical Dead Sea picture.. enjoying a nice read while floating.. Hehe 🙂 I was really excited to say the least

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Before the mud..

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After the mud.. (RIP my new bathing suit 😥 )

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After such a fun day, we headed to Jerusalem, & on the way, I got to ride another camel!! This was the best day ever.

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Once we got to Jerusalem, we went to see a gorgeous view of the Golden Dome (Dome of the Rock)/ where the Temple Mount is. This is where Abraham brought his son Isaac to be sacrificed until God told him that he didn’t have to (Genesis 22:1-19). Here we discussed how kingdom people and our worldview. We learned that kingdom people have a worldview rooted in faith, defined my action, built on the eternal, and anchored in the promises of God.

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(excuse my Dead Sea hair)

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The Lord is using this place to give me a better understanding and deeper love for the Old Testament, and I’m loving every minute of it.

Today we prayed specifically for Israel; please join us!

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Day 3: Mt. Arbel, Sea of Galilee, Mt. of Beatitudes, Tabga, & Capernaum

Today was literally one of the best days of my life! I’m not kidding. Our morning started off with a 2-3ish hour hike/climb up and down a mountain (Mt. Arbel) in Galilee (where Jesus called His first disciples and where He restored Peter). It was literally one of the coolest and most fun things I’ve ever done. I will definitely be taking up rock climbing more seriously when I get back home. I loved every minute of it, and it was absolutely beautiful.

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and obviously we had to stop and go into every other cave we saw.. IMG_1695

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this is probably what Jesus’ crown of thorns was made from.. IMG_8189

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Then on to the Sea of Galilee.. Crazy that Jesus walked on this water! I tried, but it didn’t work.. IMG_8196

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Then we went to Caparnaem, the home of Jesus after Nazareth.

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While walking back from Caparnaem, I ran into a friend I know from Memphis! How insane! We were both freaking out.. IMG_1690

Once again, I don’t eat food in this country.. Or at least it’s really hard for me to.. Sooo when we went to this DELICIOUS restaurant and there was grilled chicken, I (and my tummy) was ecstatic! And while we ate outside in the flawless weather, we enjoyed a nice view of the Sea of Galilee.. No big deal.. IMG_8238

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Next we went to the Mt. of Beatitudes where Jesus gave gave the Sermon on the Mount. IMG_8253

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Lastly(yes this was all in one day), we enjoyed a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus & Peter walked on water. IMG_8260

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Got to love those awkward tourists pics.. IMG_1672

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Today was seriously perfect in every way. That night, we went to McDonalds.. I know, typical Americans.. I don’t eat it in America, but my tummy is so hungry here.. Haha. While there, I got to have a wonderful conversation with the wife of the leader of the trip, and it was just great. I’m so grateful for today & all the awesomeness it entailed.

Today we prayed specifically for Lebanon; please join us!

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Video from India & Nepal (Summer 2013)


Grace like rain

Just a little over a month ago I got back from India. [Apologies before you even start to read this because it may just be my longest post ever…. sorry.] I lived in Himachal Pradesh, the northern most state in India (aka the foothills of the Himalayas). It was a summer I will NEVER forget. Lots of memories made- good and bad. But overall, I absolutely loved my time there. It was a huge learning experience. Every time I go out of the country, I feel like I’m face to face with all my sin- all my selfishness, pride, self-righteousness, etc.. It’s a love/ hate relationship sometimes, but I am so thankful for how the Lord chooses to teach and mold me to look more like His Son.

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Once I got back to India from Nepal, I only had 2 days there before I flew home. This was very sad for me because the decision to come home early was not made until I was in the capital of India the week before we had to fly to Nepal. So my luggage, with most of my things, were still in HP- about 6-8 hours away from where we were. So once I got back to India from Nepal, there was no time to drive all the way back to our home to get my things, and definitely not any time to see and say goodbyes to any of the people I met 😦 I am still really sad and missing them, but I am hoping to be back and see them again! (Facebook helps too.)

Leaving was definitely bittersweet, but I was ready to be home in a sense because I just wanted to get to the doctor and get better (and who likes being away from home & familiarity when they are really sick?). Thankfully, the flights were smooth back to the U.S., and one of my best friends, Calley, picked me up from the airport! I was overjoyed. She took off work that day so she could hang out with me the entire day to make sure I would stay awake and hopefully get over jet-lag ASAP. We went to my favorite places, Newks and Jerry’s Sno Cones 🙂 and also to get pedicures. My sweet friend Bree met us for our 3 hour lunch. They are 2 of my favorite people, so it was SO good to catch up and talk with them about our summers. I didn’t get to see my family until that night when I got home, but I was so glad to be home. I was SO excited about seeing my baby brother after a whole summer without him!

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The best way I can think of to wrap up this trip is to answer the most frequently asked questions I have gotten since I’ve been home, but if you don’t care to know any of the answers to these questions, just skip to the bottom and read the good stuff- how awesome the Lord is. Plain and simple. None of this really matters.. it’s just to answer questions if you’re curious 🙂

How did I get to go to India? Who did I go through/ with?

-Since last summer, I have been planning on spending the summer of 2013 in Uganda, the same place & with the same people I did last Christmas. I was having some major withdrawals and really wanted to be back there. Like my trip to Uganda, I went by myself to India. I didn’t go with or through any church, organization, or group. I have some friends who have lived there for 4 years, and I have kept up with them since they’ve been there. Facebook stalking them went to an all time high last summer, and that was when I started really fervently & consistently praying for them. I’ve honestly have never really been super observant/passionate about this part of the world. I didn’t know too much about it before preparing to go. The thought of going to visit and serving along side them there in some way came last September/October- ish. I started communicating with them more about the possibility of going to India soon after that, and in late January, we talked over Skype and decided I would come for the summer!

How did a broke college kid like yourself afford it?

-By the grace of God, for real. I wrote about the financial struggle of getting there in a previous post, but sending out support letters are great. I probably won’t do that again since I’ve already done it twice, but I really do believe that is a great way for other people to partner with you in the spreading of the Gospel. Thankfully, I already had money for a plane ticket set aside since I knew I wanted to be somewhere overseas for the summer (I thought it would be to Uganda and/or Kenya at the time). The key really is to just plan ahead and save up. It’s possible. Want to go somewhere? Plan ahead! Set a realistic time frame before you go and budget well until then. (and raise support if you need/want to. The Lord has used the church to meet needs in my life in crazy ways.)

Why travel?

-Why not? Haha no, but really. This is one of my favorite questions. I love to travel because I just LOVE seeing/ learning new things. It’s not so much the places I go as it is the people I meet there. The world is so incredibly different and similar all at the same time, and it literally fascinates me.  I love experiencing different cultures and doing things I could/ would never do in my every day life in America- whether that’s bungee jumping over the Nile River in Africa, backpacking/ climbing the Himalayas, or hanging out in the slums deep in the jungle talking with people I would otherwise never have the opportunity to meet. And obviously, the #1 reason I love to go overseas is because I want to tell people near and far about Jesus. I really really try, though I fail every single day, to live my life exactly the same in Memphis, TN as I would/do overseas. The Gospel compels me to tell others about Jesus and make disciples. I am so unworthy. So unworthy. But the Lord has chosen to use me, and for that, I am humbled and grateful- and I want to go. I want to do exactly what the Great Commission commands all followers of Jesus to do, but that is whether I am in Olive Branch or across the world.

Why now?

-I am absolutely convinced that college is potentially the best time of your life. First of all, college campuses are a minefield for disciple making and rocking the whole world for Jesus. Second, there are not going to be many other times in life for me or most other people to travel completely free of responsibilities and other people relying on you. The independence you have during your college years can’t be beat by any other time in life. I am trying to spend my summers between my college years going to different countries because I know that even though I want to spend my life doing things like this, it will look much different in the future than what it looks like for me right now. Anything can happen. The Lord could completely close one door and open another that was completely off my radar, but in my opinion this is absolutely the most perfect time to do this. I am so so so beyond thankful to have had the opportunity that I did this summer, and I am expectant and available to go wherever He leads next.

Did I/ do I ever get scared when traveling/being in a foreign country?

-I don’t know why, but no, not really at all. Even in India, I never feared for my life or anything. Once I am there, I learn more about the culture and always have someone that has been there who can tell me what to do, what not to do; what to say, what not to say; where to go, where not to go; etc.. And I just have to trust the Lord. If I go overseas and am scared to go anywhere and too scared to talk to anyone, I will miss out on SO much! Obviously you have to be cautious and learn about where you are at and the people there before you go roaming around the whole country by yourself, but for real, I’m pretty confident it’s not any more dangerous than America would be in some places. When I go overseas, I just become this totally different “whatever happens, happens”, go with the flow person. I have to trust that the Lord has gone before me and will protect me, and if not, then He will get the glory from it. No matter what happens, my Father knows far better than I do. He knows what I need long before I even know I need it. So no matter what I try to prepare for, the Lord is the sovereign One.

How does this trip differ from Uganda? And which did you like more?

-This is almost an impossible question to answer. I literally could go on and on about the similarities and differences (mostly differences) in each place and experience, but honestly, I love them both. They were so different that it seems impossible to compare the two, and say which one I “liked better”. Read the 2nd to last post, “Keepin’ it Real”, to hear my heart on my trip to Uganda.. It truly is about the people I’ve encountered. But the Lord taught me SO MUCH before, during, and after each trip. He’s still teaching me so much through my time in Uganda over a year and a half ago. I would say I had more fun in Uganda because I did more touristy things like white water rafting and bungee jumping and probably enjoyed my time there more because hanging out with kids all day was comfortable and fun for me. But on the other hand, I would say that the Lord showed me what it means to live in complete abandonment and reliance on Him more so in India. I just love both places so much, and the people I have gotten to meet. It truly is the biggest blessing.

What did you learn about yourself?

-Ohhhh weeee. Hmmmm. This is a hard and embarrassing one. I learned, yet again, how selfish I am. I learned how I truly have set the comforts of life that I am used to- air conditioning, structure/ organization in life, good food- above the Lord. Really, I have set these things to be gods in my life without even realizing it. And when those are gone, man is my sin right in front of my face. And when I realize it, even more sin shows up because I get defensive and prideful and start to justify it. How silly. Many, many time this summer, the Lord has broken me and brought me literally to my knees and made me realize how much I need Him. How much I need His grace on my life. How much I need to Gospel. When things go wrong, or not the way I plan or expect, I have a tendency to doubt God and think I know what’s best for my life, not Him. How crazy of me. Not that I have mastered this now by any means, but the Lord is continuing to show me different sin in my life that I have to be repentant of- some that I didn’t realize before now.

What was the culture like?

– Oh goodness, this is a big one. One that I don’t really know how to answer.. If you read all of my blog posts you will get a bit of insight into the culture in each one. Asian culture is crazy different than ANYTHING I am used to. There’s so many different things I could say to answer this question, so I will be brief and give you just a few examples. Men don’t approach women. At all. I didn’t talk to any guys the entire time I was there, besides those I lived with. Even if a guy was interested in a woman, he would have to go through her friend. So it was hard to get used to not making eye contact with, not smiling at, not talking to any guys. If a woman did, it would give a guy the wrong impression. And if any man approached you, then it would be completely out of line. India is so populated. There are a TON of people there. All (for the most part) worshipping false gods. And the entire culture/country reflects that. This is hard to explain but let’s just take a small thing like traffic for example.. Their gods are gods of chaos. Whereas, in America there is organization because our God, THE God, is a God of structure and order. It’s okay for them to do certain things in their culture (sleep with multiple partners; smoke harmful things) because their gods did/do it. It is a very dark place.

Favorite thing you did?

– I didn’t really do too many overly exciting things while I was there, so it’s hard for me to think of one specific thing that was my favorite. But I did have a ton of things that I loved while I was there before I got sick. One of my favorite things I got to be apart of while I was there was house church with the people I lived with. We studied 1 Thessalonians while I was there, and the Lord taught me so much about community and loving other believers. I really enjoyed going to the Tibetan Temple on my 2nd full day in India. It was Buddha’s birthday, so there were TONS of people there. We got to meet a lot of girls and even got to go into a home of a few of the girls we met. My favorite day the entire time I was in India was one in which NOTHING went like we planned. I went with the 3 other college students I was working with to go to a college campus in hopes of meeting and hanging out with students there. Once we got there it was pouring down rain and no students available to talk. At all. We ended up riding busses all day, and sharing with whoever sat next to us. Over 10 people heard the Gospel this day. We were made fun of, told to get off a bus, and received awkward/confused looks. This whole day was filled with one awkward, tension-filled conversation after the other, but let me tell you, it was the most rewarding day ever. The Lord taught me SO much. SO MUCH. When I was getting off my last bus ride of the day after a discouraging conversation with 4 women, the Lord gave me the most overwhelming, satisfying peace. Not because I felt better than them, but because the Lord truly did give me confidence in the Gospel and in who He is in that moment. He reassured me through His word that no matter what people’s response is, He has commanded me to make disciples. That I am not responsible for how people respond to truth, but to give it. To go to the ends of the earth. And to share with whoever I come in contact with, simply because He is worthy of it. As silly as it sounds, as I was stepping off that bus, I felt like Jesus was right there with me.

What was a typical day like for you in India?

– My goal for each day was the same: to meet college aged- girls (maybe older) to befriend and share the Gospel with them.. and hopefully spend my summer discipling them. Even though almost every day had the same objective, each day looked totally different. Sometime I would be at a college campus, sometimes a temple, and sometimes just riding busses all day and sharing with whoever I sat next to. For the first month or so I got to work with another team of 3 college students. We lived together & went out together, so that time was the busiest time for me. We traveled to different cities in India, one 10 hours away, and did different things, but no matter where we were we were trying to meet girls and share the Gospel with anyone we could. When that team left, it was a little bit slower just because I couldn’t go out alone and the rainy season had started. There’s no way I could try to tell you what each day looked like. Each one was so different.

Did you get homesick?

-Surprisingly, not hardly at all. Definitely not the first month or so I was there. I guess I did end up missing certain things- the luxuries of America- but I don’t think I got homesick really at all. Once I got sick, I started Facetiming my mom and friends often, but I think that just made it worse. I love my family and friends, but I knew the plan was to be there for 3 months, so home was just off my radar.

How did you get sick? Are you okay now?

-Well, I ended up having a type of parasite/ worm. I know that’s totally disgusting and none of you wanted to know that, but that’s what happened. It was not fun at all. I’ve never been so sick in my life. I could have gotten it from anything. It could have been the water, but it was probably the fruit. I ate a lot of pineapple that didn’t look too appealing, so I’m thinking that was probably it. Whoops. BUT I got home, went to the doctor, and about 2 & a half weeks later I was all better! I am feeling 100% now, and I am so thankful!!

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It feels almost like I wasn’t even there now.. I know that sounds totally outrageous to some, but I’m hoping those who have traveled to do ministry like this will understand it. People stop asking you about it. And when they do, for the most part it’s questions like “How was it?” Then you answer, “Good..” And then it’s over. I longed/long to talk with people in depth about India and my experience there, but the truth is that most people don’t really want to know. They ask about me getting sick and the heat and the food.. But when I start talking about the difficulty of trying to do ministry there, making disciples, and church planting, people (for the most part) shut down, and I can tell they have lost interest. The only people I’ve really talked with in depth about it all is 2 of my best girl friends from home, but besides that.. it’s just surface level conversations that honestly leave me feeling dry and discouraged. Again, this is one of those thing that I have been putting off writing about because I feel like my brain cannot adequately form words in the right order to convey what I’m feeling and what reverse culture shock & the “post India blues” is like, etc.. much less type them out without feeling like I sounds totally ridiculous. But I will still write nonetheless.

Now this is partially out of my longing for close community and largely out of my selfishness. This relates to one of the questions above, “what did you learn about yourself?”  I am so selfish. SO prideful. And for absolutely nothing. Every day, but especially when I go overseas, the temptation to think that I am better than anyone & everyone else, to think that I understand the Gospel & the Great Commission more than other people, to think that I am this super awesome Christian is right in front of me, and I am SO quick to give in. Eeeeek, I am honestly wanting to hit the delete button on every single word as I’m typing this. But the truth is, that I am so stinkin’ quick to believe Satan’s lies. I even want to believe them. It’s so easy. The truth is that when I want to go overseas, it’s largely for my own selfish gain.

I am just scratching the surface here on my prideful tendencies and selfish agendas. I am brought to tears even as I’m typing this just thinking about the grace the Lord has on His children. All of them. No matter what we’ve done or will do, no matter how many times we turn away from Him, no matter how many times we take glory that is His, He still loves us. Not only does He just love me, but He wants to be close with me. He wants a relationship with me, and He pursues it every single day. I wrong Him every minute of every day, and yet a perfect and Holy God still loves ME!? Why?!

It’s so hard for me to even believe that. It’s so hard for me to lay down my pride and my independence to realize that I need a Savior. That I deserve nothing more than Hell. That I really do desire and long for something more in life because one without Him is miserable and unsatisfying. But it’s even harder for me to believe that a perfect, righteous, Holy God would want a relationship with someone like that. Someone like me. Much less just offer me a relationship with Him that requires nothing in return. My entire life, I have felt like I have to do all of these things for people to like me and that if I do anything wrong, they won’t like me anymore.. and then there’s not anything I can do but be really nice to them and impress them, trying to earn their favor again, for them to love me again.. Whatever I do will determine my standing with a person because that’s how earthly relationships are. Since I have decided to follow the Lord, I have struggled with trying to prove to Him and others that I am somehow worthy of Him. That I am worthy of salvation and a life with Christ. He has had to chip away the parts of me that feels like my salvation has anything to do with me.. that I have to do all of these things to earn His love. That I need to go all of these places and lead all of these bible studies and go to church & Sunday school every time the doors are open and be this perfect little Christian girl every where I am. But the truth is that I don’t have to be or do any of those things. He will love me the same regardless. Nothing I can do will make Him love me any more or any less. The Lord knows me. Every part of me. And loves me despite all of me. I was Hell- bound, deserving life & eternity apart from Him, and the Lord chose to save me. He chose to give me the faith to know Him. I can’t earn it. No matter what I do, I cannot and will not ever be good enough, but the good news is that I don’t have to! That’s the Good News of the Gospel, y’all! There is SO MUCH GRACE! The Lord has already given us more grace than we could ever need.

The Lord of the entire universe created me & YOU for Himself, and when man fell, we were completely separated from Him. There was no hope for any of us. But thankfully, our Father provided a way. He sent His Son, perfectly righteous and Holy, to take our sin upon Himself and experience being forsaken by His Father so we would never have to. God did this, not to save us from a hot place with fire, but so that there would be a way for us to be in right relationship with Him. Yes, He wants YOU that much. There was no other way. God’s word says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that “no one seeks God” (Romans 3:11). And in Romans 6:23, God’s Word tells us that because of that, we deserve death (Romans 6:23). So where is there hope? Is there hope for us? YES! Romans 5:8 says that “God demonstrated His love to us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Not when you were acting like you had your stuff together, not when you were in church reading your bible, no, Christ died for you in the midst of your sin and filth. When you were manipulating that guy, when you were at the frat house wasting your life away to alcohol and sex, while you were still a sinner, Christ died. That’s when. He knew all of your sin, and in the midst of that, He died for you. HE. DIED. FOR. YOU. All because the Father wanted to be in right relationship with you. This is not of ourselves. We couldn’t do anything to earn it. And we can’t do anything to lose it. So stop feeling guilt and shame over your past or sin; repent & follow Jesus. Through the cross and the payment He’s already paid, He has already forgiven you. So if you’re like me, stop trying to be “good enough.” You won’t ever be good enough, but the good news of the beautiful Gospel of Jesus is that we don’t have to be. There is freedom and grace in Christ. We do all of the things that God’s Word tell us to because this Gospel compels us to, not because we have to for God to love or save us.

So if you want to follow Jesus, I plead with you to turn from your sin and follow Him! There’s not any special prayer to pray, Jesus just wants you. I would love to talk to you if you have any questions about this Gospel. I know, it sounds too easy. Too good to be true that God would do this. But it is true. He has offered us life and life abundantly through His Son. We just have to take it.

I am in desperate need of the Gospel everyday. I need to be reminded of it every second. It has changed me. I am so grateful for the new things the Lord made me realize about the Gospel this summer in India. He is so abundantly gracious. If you would like to know how to pray for me one last time, please just pray for this time of reflection on my summer and that the Lord would continue to reveal His self to me through it every day. I’m still working through things that I don’t really understand, so I would be so grateful for your prayers!

ALSO- If anyone wants to help me send a package to the family I stayed with in India, please contact me! I am planning to send it in late August/ early September.

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Lastly, but most importantly, PLEASE join me in prayer for India.

  • Pray for the M’s who are currently there and the challenges they have to face on a daily basis: the very real risk of persecution, steep mountain trails to be hiked, and frigid temperatures. Pray that the Lord would give them grace and His strength to press on and remember that their home is not here. Not in India. Not in America. But their home is in heaven with Christ. Pray that they would be reminded of that daily and really trust that truth.
  • Pray for the government and for the leaders of the country.. that the Lord (who is the sovereign one regardless) would put in place leaders who follow God. Pray for the current leaders, that they would come to know Jesus and follow hard after Him.
  • Pray for Bible translation and distribution.
  • Pray for more people to be sent to India to live among the people & spread the Gospel.
  • Pray for the believers there. New and old. Pray that they would be strengthened and encouraged.
  • Pray that Jesus would be lifted high and the millions of idols and demons enslaving this nation would be brought low.
  • Pray for those who heard the Gospel this summer for the first time. That the Gospel that they heard would not be able to leave their mind. Pray that every time they enter a temple to worship one of their false gods, that they would doubt them & be curious about the truth they heard about Jesus Christ. Pray that the Lord would use this to draw them quickly to Himself and that they would turn from their sin and to Christ.
  • Pray for others who do not know Jesus in India. Pray that God would, right now, soften their hearts and prepare them to hear the Good News of Jesus. Pray that they would be receptive and come to know Christ. Pray that people would come to know Jesus and follow hard after Him, reaching the people around them. Pray for churches to be planted, that they would be healthy, Gospel-centered, and reproducing.

Kathmandu, Nepal

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Man oh man, being in Nepal was such a sweet time. I was still not feeling very well, but despite getting sick there only a few times, I felt good most of the week. I knew this week in Nepal was going to be great, but seriously, I just had so much fun.

First of all, I realized this summer how much I need people. I long having good conversations with those I love, doing fun things with them, and just the presence of those important to me make me one happy gal. Now you are all probably thinking, “Well duh, everyone does.” But I love being by myself also. Since I was fine when I went to Uganda by myself a year & a half ago and was there for over a month, I thought I would be just fine on this trip since I had dear friends that I would be living with.. even though it was for a longer period of time. However, I realized that I longed to talk to my closest friends a LOT this time around. I came to the conclusion that I will probably never travel like this alone again. Although I love the adventure, there are just things that you miss doing it “alone.” I want to be able to share that same experience with someone else from now on.. whether that is my best girl friend or my future husband.

I know that sounds silly, but really, many times this summer I felt like I had so much I wanted to talk about, but no one to express it to. Having no one around me my age that I have history with was a challenge, and I had no idea how much I would need that.  Community is so important. Even though I totally had that with the incredible M’s that I lived with (who were such a HUGE blessing to me), it’s different with people your own age who you’ve been doing life with for a while. But enough rambling.. back to Nepal. Because of this, once I finally got to Nepal where there were people I knew from home and some who were my age, I. WAS. ECSTATIC. One of my guy friends from home, Zach, was there with a team of 3 other guys around my age. Zach is the one who led the team on the Honduras trip I went on right before I came to India this summer. They had been in Nepal for 6 weeks, and I was looking forward to meeting up with them the whole summer. Also, a team from a church that I am close to from home, Longview, was there the same week I was, doing the same thing. It was SO GOOD to see some familiar faces. Seriously, so good.

The team from Longview and I got to watch some awesome MK’s during the day while their even more awesome parents were in meetings. It was completely chaotic and loud and obnoxious, and so much fun all at the same time. We had really long days, so most of the time I crashed by.. ehhh, 9 maybe? For real though, 9pm at the latest. But it was so worth it. I mean look at these cute little faces and how much fun we had!

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Thankfully, the team from Longview was so gracious to me and let me stay with them & work with them the entire week. I really could not be more grateful for them. I enjoyed hanging out with them and being apart of their team so much. In my free time, I hung out with Zach and his team (Spencer, Mark, and Caleb) for the most part. It was so good to be around people my age who have the same desire and passion to make much of Jesus in the same way that I do. Plus, we had tons of fun.

On my last night in Nepal we saw Monsters University. (the 2nd time I’ve seen it since being in South Asia 🙂 ) Surprisingly, the theaters I’ve been to in India and Nepal are much nicer than the ones in America.

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Although there are SO many differences between India & Nepal, a similarity is the religions. Hinduism & Buddhism are dominant in this country as well. We visited the Boudha Stupa, the 2nd biggest and most holy Buddhist worship spot. There were several people walking around it, turning the wheels to get credit for their prayers.

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The day before I left, I went with Zach and his team to Pashapati, where one of the world’s largest Hindu temples is. They burn around 70 bodies a day here (for anyone to see), and then put the ashes into a “holy” river which they believe carries them to their next stage of reincarnation.  IMG_6575 IMG_6576 IMG_6578

While the 5 of us were in Pashapati, before we went down to the temple, we spent hours in a park-like area where tons & tons of people were. We got to talk to & share the Gospel with many people. We had a blast playing cricket, trading magic tricks, chasing little kids, and talking with these Nepali’s. IMG_6522IMG_0716IMG_6567IMG_6520IMG_6527IMG_6548photo

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of a sweet 20 year old girl I got to share the entire Gospel with, Roman’s Road, and talk in detail about several things regarding Jesus, His Gospel, and life after death. She was sitting with her 3 sisters, but she was the only one who could speak and understand English. She seemed very interested. She was honest with me and asked several questions. When I talked to her about a decision she said, “I will have to think about it before I make a decision.. I worship this god and my sister worships another, and you worship this Jesus who you say I cannot worship anyone or anything else if I follow him.. So I just have to think about it before I do anything.” That was the most open & honest response I’ve gotten the entire time I’ve been in South Asia. I wanted to talk to her more, but we were interrupted by a man who had been standing beside us listening to our conversation the entire time without my knowledge. He began to raise his voice and get angry at me saying, “You are a missionary!? You are prophesying about Jesus and you are trying to convert! You cannot do that! I know what you are doing! I know that you are a missionary!” Thankfully, one of the guys I was with, Mark, heard the man and came quickly to talk to him, so I had to get up then.

Zach started to show some magic tricks that he knew to just a few guys he was talking to, and it ended up drawing a huge crowd..IMG_6556

He took this opportunity to share with this group his story and God’s story and began telling them how the Lord completely changed his life when he was 16 years old. The group quickly dwindled.. IMG_6565

We have to know that some will walk away and be completely uninterested, but some will stay. Praising God no matter what happens, know that when you share the Gospel with someone, we are to share, and He is the one who saves.

Now encounters with monkeys are inevitable in this part of the world.. They are NOT cute & cuddly. They are mean. They will jump on you and bite you and steal your small children. No joke. The key is to not interact with them.. no attempting to pet or feed these animals.

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And do not.. I repeat do NOT stand in front of one for a long period of time trying to take a picture of it. It WILL make this nasty, scary face at you and run at you. Just trust me.

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So coming from and going back to India, I can’t help but compare Nepal to India. Even though they are so close together, they are SO different. Now this is obviously just my observations from my very short time in both of these places, so I certainly do not claim to know all about neither Nepal nor India. From my experience, the people in Nepal are much more friendly and open. Contrary to the people in India, they tend to not like controversy. They are just much more warm. The people I talked to in Nepal were very curious about this Jesus I was talking to them about. Not once did I get blown off like I did so many times during my time in India.

The day I landed in Kathmandu, Nepal, I spent the day going to and from the airport, picking up and dropping off M’s. I was only in the country for an hour & a half at the most, when on my second trip to the airport, I shared with a 15 year old girl the Good News of Jesus. She had IMG_6242heard a little bit about Jesus before because of some European tourists who came to her school and shared with them. After I shared the Gospel with her, she ended up being a person of peace. The first person of peace I have found the entire time I have been in South Asia. I had been in India for a month & a half and did not talk to a single person who really wanted to know more about Jesus (that I know of). But I was only in Nepal for an hour and a half, and already, someone was open to hear more about Jesus and was genuinely curious about the Gospel. An hour and a half. This just shows the contrast between India and Nepal.

Honestly, this triggered some resentment and frustration towards HP. Now I am not saying this to say that Nepal is better than India or that I liked it more or anything like that. They are just so different. There is so much history between these 2 countries that I wish I could share on here (but let’s be honest, I’m already long-winded enough 😉 ). To be brief, Nepal was once a country completely closed off to the Gospel. No one was allowed in or out. Many years ago, some M’s spent years & years at the border of Nepal praying everyday that God would open the country so that the Gospel would be able to get to the people. A friend who told me this said that one day God did just that. He opened Nepal, and since then, God has had his hand on that country. People travel there to seek out different religions and answers. It has never been the same. Not to say that there are tons and tons of believers in Nepal. That is not the case at all. But it is evident that the Lord has changed the people group as a whole. He has softened their hearts, giving them a curiosity and interest in the Good News of Jesus.

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I know, by God’s grace, that I will be back here. Hopefully in a year. I absolutely LOVED my time there, and I am so so thankful for the opportunity to get to be in this place. Please join me in prayer for this country.

  • Pray for the M’s who are currently there and the challenges they have to face on a daily basis: the very real risk of persecution, steep mountain trails to be hiked, and frigid temperatures. Pray that the Lord would give them grace and His strength to press on and remember that their home is not here. Not in Nepal. Not in America. But their home is in heaven with Christ. Pray that they would be reminded of that daily and really trust that truth.
  • Pray for the government. For more than 200 years, Nepal has been a Hindu country. But through a miraculous turn of events (GOD), changes in the government have paved the way for a birth of a democracy, allowing more religious freedom. Nepal is still in transition, so pray for the leaders of the country.. that the Lord (who is the sovereign one regardless) would put in place leaders who follow God. Pray for the current leaders, that they would come to know Jesus and follow hard after Him.
  • Pray for Bible translation and distribution.
  • Pray for more people to be sent to Nepal to live among the people & spread the Gospel.
  • Pray for the believers there. New and old. Pray that they would be strengthened and encouraged.
  • Pray that Jesus would be lifted high and the millions of idols and demons enslaving this nation would be brought low.
  • Pray for those who do not know Jesus. Pray that God would, right now, soften their hearts and prepare them to hear the Good News of Jesus. Pray that they would be receptive and come to know Christ. Pray that people would come to know Jesus and follow hard after Him, reaching the people around them. Pray for churches to be planted, that they would be healthy, Gospel-centered, and reproducing.

I beg you not to just read these words, but to really join me in praying for this country!

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. -1 John 5:14-15

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. -2 Chronicles 7:14 

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. -1 Timothy 2:1-6

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