My Life Verse

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's next?

I've reached a point in my life where I don't know what's next. I graduated from College last May, took one semester off, and am now completing my Teaching Credential with Student Teaching. I have 5 weeks left of Student Teaching, and then I will officially be a California Credentialed Teacher! I've waited so long for this, however the truth is most Public Schools in California are probably not hiring new teachers in the fall due to Budget cuts and so forth. I always thought I'd finish College, get married, get a Teaching Job right away, and so forth. Clearly, God has shown me He has a different plan for me. Only one of the above has happened thus far, and it wasn't even in my timing. lol. I graduated from College one year later than I hoped, and took one semester off of school to go to Africa, completing my credential and school in a total of 6 years. I obviously am not married and not even close, so that's out of my will. And, the teaching situation for the job does not look so hot at this point. However, when you are Pursuing Him, His purpose and plan will prevail, regardless of the circumstances. I know of two three people who were basically handed jobs. One woman in particular received her dream job in a time where there were many applying and she didn't think she'd get the position because she was fresh out of College. However, God had a plan for her and He did what it took to get her that job. It definitely is a rollercoaster ride though. Some days, I completely trust God's plan and I know He knows what is next for me. Other days, I think about the competition to get in, how it is literally impossible with the circumstances, and I question if I even want to teach in Public School.

Something I've found interesting is my lack of motivation to complete a Resume, Cover Letter, and call schools and apply for jobs, if there are any. I haven't even been on EdJoin (a website with job postings for teachers) and didn't even finish creating/updating my account on Edjoin. How can I expect to get a job when I'm not even prepared with the appropriate paperwork done? I drive past Horizon Prep M-F on my way to work, and I always think about contacting them to see if they have any job openings for the fall, yet I don't get around to actually doing it. I think to myself, maybe Substitute teaching won't be so bad afterall because it is more flexible and maybe God knows I'm not ready to be teaching full time yet for some reason. He does know me better than I know myself, so whatever He has next for me is going to be BEST for me. I just need to constantly remind myself of that. If you're a Christian, you know what I'm talking about. It's hard to give up our lives and follow Him, to let go of our plans and be open to His. We like to be in control and always know what is next, so when we aren't in control and are uncertain of what is next, we get frustrated. (At least that's how it is for me)

All that being said, Africa sure has been on my mind a lot lately. I can't wait to go back. I watched a video of a woman who stayed at the Orphanage I'll be staying at and I love it. The kids are adorable. I have a huge heart for Africa, and would love to possibly teach there or even just help out at an Orphanage. I'm keeping my options open by thinking of staying longer than my team when I go to Ghana in June, applying for Teaching jobs in Africa that are given to me, here or there and praying a lot. Ultimately, I need to remember that God knows what He's up to. :) He has a plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord". I'll be communicating with someone who has been to the Orphanage I'll be going to in June and she will be joining our team as well (She teaches in Minnesota and has been to the Orphanage in Ghana and helped out there in the past, a few times) and seeing what my options are in regards to staying there if they need a helping hand. I emailed someone who my sister gave me info for about Teaching at a Christian School in Malawi, Africa for the 2011-2012 year. I am getting contact info for a Principal at a school in South Africa who may be in need of Teachers in the fall and will be emailing him soon. God is opening National doors it appears, and I'm going to be open to whatever it is He opens and let Him lead me and pave the way.

During the times that I've been discouraged about what's next, I turn to a page in my journal where God spoke to me through worship one night. He said:

Katie, stop thinking so much about others. What I call you to do is not for everybody and not everybody will understand or support you in it. But, I will provide you with everything that you need. Do you trust me? I will provide your needs if I open the door for you to stay in Ghana longer than 2 weeks. Don't try to figure that out now. Just trust me to work it out. Stop trying to figure out what I've got next for you. I know the desires of your heart and I will give you them. You have to rely on me daily though. Stop worrying about your's in my hands. Just be willing and open and I'll take care of the rest.

Wow, how can I argue with that? It would be like slapping God in the face if I ignore all of this. I'm so thankful He gave me this word and I find it so encouraging when I catch myself trying to figure out what's next and worrying about my future. In the meantime, it is my job to simply obey and pursue Him. It's about time I jump on board for this adventure and be excited about what is next in my life, because whatever it is, it will be great since God is leading me and I'm open to His ways.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ghana Bound...and Counting Down...

Just over 2 months; Just over 10 weeks; 73days; each one way to describe the amount of time I have left before I'm Ghana Bound. I know it will come quick! I still can't believe I'm going back to Africa, especially this soon. I honestly can't even fathom it sometimes because I had no desire to go back for a long time after my last trip...until God transformed my heart! I am completely confident God wants me on this team for two main reasons: 1. He provided me with more money than the deposit amount, showing He will provide the funds for the entire trip. 2. He redirected my team's destination from Mozambique to Ghana, where we will be working at an Orphanage...which is right up my alley!

When I think about Africa, I smile really big. How could I not? Look how stinkin' cute this boy is?!? :)

As I think about Africa daily and prepare to go to Ghana in a couple of months, there is a lot on my mind. 

I think about my last experience there and how it was so challenging. Things like going pee in the bush (see picture above of the "toilet") and the bugs are stuff that I do not realize will be a struggle for  me when I'm there because they are not a problem here. The inability to help every child or person in Africa is heart-breaking as well. I understand that traveling abroad and doing Mission's work Nationally is not for everybody, and I'm sorry if I ever made you feel bad for not doing such a thing. There is something special about being out of our busy daily life and serving others in a third world country. I am always amazed at how little they have in Africa and Mexico, yet they are full of joy and make what they do have work for them.  (Above and is a toy car some kids made in Africa with recycled stuff) Below I am playing with the kids with what I found (some fruit) that we rolled back and forth to each other. It is pictures like this one that make my heart melt thinking about the kids in Africa and how different the culture and lifestyle is there than it is here. It's so hard to explain. Pictures really don't do justice. Maybe one day I'll work at an Orphanage and you can come visit me there and see what I mean! ;)

Speaking of working at Orphanages, I am really praying about potentially doing that and staying longer than my team's two weeks stay in Ghana. I believe God placed a desire on my heart to stay in Africa longer to help me be open to His will. Sometimes I think I'm crazy for thinking this, but ultimately I know God will be by my side and He might be preparing me for that in many different ways. When I had this thought, I asked the founder of the organization that I'm going with who is also my team leader, if that would even be an option. She said that if we were going anywhere else it wouldn't be an option. She said that it is actually only $50-100 to change a flight and that could very well be a possibility. She explained to me that it really depends on the Orphanage and their needs. If they are in need of someone to care for the children and be an extra helping hand during the day, and the door opens up while I am there, then I can walk in it. However, that very well could not happen. She said that our contact in Minnesota who is an elementary school teacher and has gone back the past few years to this Orphanage and will be joining us this summer said this is a very safe environment. She said the internet cafe is about five minutes walking distance. At this point I'm getting really excited thinking about this possibility! As of now, the jobs for teaching are not very available so I'm thinking what better time to do something like this? I assumed this would be a paid position. I ended up finding out that it would be an unpaid position and I would need to have people from here supporting me there. It would cost me to stay at the Orphanage (rent) and it isn't cheap. I guess that would mean I'd be a real "Missionary". :) *Out of curiosity, if I end up doing that, would you support me monthly or when you could? I'd have to rely solely on people from here to cover the cost of my monthly needs there. So, shortly after I found this out, I shut down this idea. It wasn't long before a friend asked me "Did God ever tell you "No"? It caught my attention and made me realize that I shut down this possibility because I figured there is no way I'd  be able to get people to committ to supporting me in Africa before I leave in June, especially if I don't even know if I will be staying longer or not. Some may ask, how long will you stay if that opportunity arises? Good question! My answer simply put is however long God decides He wants me there. I've decided since my friend pointed that out to me that I am now going to be open to this idea of staying in Ghana and working at the Orphanage as a Missionary if God opens the door. It does seem as though change and flexibility are big themes for our team's trip, so anything can happen at this point. But, God is teaching me to be open to His will, let Him guide my steps, and follow Him because He knows what is best for me.

Unfortunately, I may not know until I step foot in Ghana about whether or not I will stay. I know God will make it clear to me. In the meantime, I need to trust God to provide everything as if I were to stay there, just in case. That means I'd need a Mac Laptop so I can have skype dates instead of coffee dates. :) And no, I'm not kidding! lol. I'd need a cell phone that has a sim card with a service that works out there so I can keep in touch that way as well. I believe I can receive text messages and something else for free, which is awesome! Another need would be a video camera, such as a bloggie or flip so I can upload videos and not just pictures for you to watch. I hear the internet cafe can be very slow most often (like take one hour to send an email) or could be fast. This is all hypothetically speaking, of course. Those are the three things I'd like to see God provide for me before I go to Ghana, just in case He wants me to stay so that I can keep in touch with you all. If you know of any great deals or anything on any of the above, please let me know! :) I need to raise the funds for my trip first, of course...but I'm confident it's all in God's hands and only time will tell what His will is for me in regards to this.

*If you have any items/stuff you want to get rid of, I'm doing a garage/rummage sale at my church towards the end of April, and I'd love to take your stuff from you and sell it to raise funds for my trip to Africa. Let me know if you're interested or you know anyone who would like to contribute! :)

*Praise Report: Thus far, God has provided me with enough funds to keep up with the payments! He is faithful. I still would like to raise funds for the Talking Bibles, which is an additional $2500 and those little things I mentioned above ;) I am excited to see God provide the rest of the finances and more. :)