Sunday, August 31, 2008

Half Way There

This month I reached a significant support raising goal: God has provided over 50% of my support! It has been a tremendous blessing to talk to so many people about Africa, water, and what God has been doing in my life. I am really excited to see how God will continue to provide for me.

Although I enjoy talking to people about these things, some days I am so tired of talking. For a person like me, spending most of my week with people and sharing with them can be exhausting. God continues to provide times of solitude or a good book to sit down and read. Even today I stopped by my favorite used book store with some friends from college who are visiting and picked up Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. As much as I love books, every time I buy a new book, I am now faced with the consideration that I may not be able to finish it before I leave for Sudan. I will miss being able to go to the library or used book store to find new books to read.

Now that my months in Richmond are winding down, I am starting to look for the things I will need to take with me to Sudan. Some things have proven to be more difficult to find than others. I have yet to find a good battery charger than runs on a 12V power source. I was able to find a good headlamp on sale though! I also finally found a few long cotton skirts. I didn't think about how long it would take to find the things I will need for Sudan. It is hard to plan for two years in a continent I have never been to, but I am lucky to have gotten a lot of direction from the other missionaries on the Sudan team.

Now that the fall is here, I am looking at the weekends that I have left and making plans to visit people who mean a lot to me. I have some wonderful friends visiting Richmond even now! Over the last few weeks I have talked to friends and come to the sad realization that I will not be able to see some of them before I leave. I will be working until January and then things will start moving very quickly. I will move the things I am keeping to my parent's house in Florida, visit my grandparents in Brazil, and attend cross-cultural and language acquisition training for several weeks in North Carolina. Then it will be time to start preparing to leave in April or May!

It is amazing to think that this time last year I had just started praying about engineering missions, and I am now over 50% supported and about 8 months away from leaving for Sudan!

For all of my friends who have loved me in different way over the last few years during my journey to Sudan, THANK YOU! I need and appreciate your prayer.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


In my last post I had asked you all to pray for me because I was longing for God. Thank you for praying! I guess this is an update of sorts.

On a particular Sunday over a year ago at church I was talking to a friend about how convicted we had been by the sermon. And then she said something I still remember. She said that the reason that every week she felt like the sermon spoke to her and applied to her life was because every week the gospel was preached.

After work last week I was getting ready to sit down and read, but instead I decided to look over my notes from the recent sermons at church. It was such a blessing to stop and reflect on the truth of the gospel and how the gospel changes everything. I love how God continually brings be back to these truths when I am far from Him.
My faith is like shifting sand
Changed by every wave
My faith is like shifting sand
So I stand on grace
~ Caedmon's Call

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sweet Embrace

I was listening to a song and these lyrics really touched my heart. I long to drown in the sweet embrace of my savior. I am empty this week, and I miss God. My savior hasn't left me, and He promises He never will. Please pray that I would ask God what He wants me to do this week (or not do). Pray that I would rest and delight in God.

When I'm faithless, You are faithful

When I'm lonely, You surround me

And when I am empty, You drown me in your sweet embrace

And when I am broken, You come restore my joy again

~ Ten Shekel Shirt, "Sweet Embrace"

Monday, August 4, 2008

Engineering in Africa

I'm a woman, and I'm an engineer. I get asked a lot about what it is like being a woman who works in an industry that is predominantly male. As a woman engineer, I don't try to be "one of the guys". I am still a woman, and that is inevitably a part of how I do my job and interact with people. As a woman in engineering graduating from Penn State, I was able to learn from and work with many other women in engineering. My senior design group, pictured below, was all women. I have no idea what being a woman engineer will be like in Africa. I am sure that it will present unique challenges, but hopefully it will also present unique opportunities.

I work as an engineer in a job with nearly every resource available to me. If it exists, it can be shipped overnight and installed immediately. There are people with expertise in every practical area of engineering employed to answer questions and solve problems. Things will be very different working in Sudan.

The only things that I know about being an engineer in Africa are the things I have learned from conversations and emails with Michael. It is exciting to be preparing for something that I have been praying about in some way for almost five years. Yet even after all the ways that God has made His will for my life clear, I still have moments of doubt as I follow Jesus to something unknown.

I know that God has called me to serve Him in Sudan, but there are times when I think that I don't have enough knowledge or experience, that I don't communicate well enough, or that I won't be able to handle the challenges. The truth is that I need God, and He is sufficient. I hear the lies so often coming from the world, but when the lies start to go through my mind, I know I haven't been putting on the whole armor of God through prayer.

I am always convicted and encouraged by the words of Oswald Chambers on prayer and the armor of God. It is a little long for a blog post, but I hope it is worth the read for you.

You must learn to wrestle against the things that hinder your communication with God, and wrestle in prayer for other people; but to wrestle with God in prayer is unscriptural. If you ever do wrestle with God, you will be crippled for the rest of your life. If you grab hold of God and wrestle with Him, as Jacob did, simply because He is working in a way that doesn’t meet with your approval, you force Him to put you out of joint. Don’t become a cripple by wrestling with the ways of God, but be someone who wrestles before God with the things of this world, because "we are more than conquerors through Him ...." Wrestling before God makes an impact in His kingdom. If you ask me to pray for you, and I am not complete in Christ, my prayer accomplishes nothing. But if I am complete in Christ, my prayer brings victory all the time. Prayer is effective only when there is completeness— "take up the whole armor of God...."

Always make a distinction between God’s perfect will and His permissive will, which He uses to accomplish His divine purpose for our lives. God’s perfect will is unchangeable. It is with His permissive will, or the various things that He allows into our lives, that we must wrestle before Him. It is our reaction to these things allowed by His permissive will that enables us to come to the point of seeing His perfect will for us. "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God . . ." — to those who remain true to God’s perfect will— His calling in Christ Jesus. God’s permissive will is the testing He uses to reveal His true sons and daughters. We should not be spineless and automatically say, "Yes, it is the Lord’s will." We don’t have to fight or wrestle with God, but we must wrestle before God with things. Beware of lazily giving up. Instead, put up a glorious fight and you will find yourself empowered with His strength. ~ Oswald Chambers