Monday, May 28, 2012

We've got each other and that's a lot for love--we'll give it a shot

For my interviewing class, I had to conduct an interview of someone and write up the interview into a narrative. There's this lovely and amazing woman in my life, her name is Jill, and she has been my bestest friend for......several years now. Right now, she's on a mission trip for many many months and will be traveling all across the world. So when I had to interview someone awesome, naturally I thought of her.

Here's Jill's story:

         Sex. To hundreds of young people across the world, sex trafficking is a daily reality. In our globalized world, it has become an even larger problem. People can order sex slaves online and have them delivered within a few short weeks (Not For Sale, 2009). Sex trafficking can be simply defined as people being coerced into submitting to exploitation—specifically sexual exploitation (, n.d.). The U.S. Department of State estimated that approximately 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across U.S. borders each year (, n.d., para 8). This is just the number coming into the United States from abroad. Other estimates say as many as four million people are trafficked every year worldwide.

While on a mission trip to Haiti in 2010, Jill Bakke felt God’s calling to pursue missions. Jill attended University of the Nations, a Christian mission-focused university in Kona, Hawaii, to study photography. Injustices of many kinds frustrate Jill, and she decided to bring awareness to the problems across the world through photography. Unlike other mediums, photography puts a face on an issue. Instead of thinking that human trafficking is a problem somewhere far away, photography shows the pain in the women’s eyes and the poverty in which they live. Jill attributes her skill in photography to a gift that God has given her to use in a way that gives him glory—specifically by increasing awareness to these issues. She wishes that people in the United States realized how prevalent sex trafficking is—not only in other countries but in our own figurative backyard.
            Youth With A Mission and PhotogenX forms trips for students to travel around the world and make a difference through ministry. Jill’s group is comprised of eight women and two men—mostly in their early 20s. Complete strangers at the beginning of the trip, these ten people will visit Thailand, India, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, South Africa, Israel, many countries in Europe, Argentina, and wrap up the trip in Hawaii. Through this journey, the entire team has grown closer together as they share the mission which drives them all—stopping the injustice.

            In Thailand, Jill visited a very small hill tribe to see how the people live, work with a ministry that provides supplies, and photograph what the team discovered. Trafficking can be a problem in this part of the country because the tribes are struck by poverty and need to find a way to pay for goods. Since the ministry has arrived in the village and provided help, the number of trafficking instances has decreased significantly. In this tight-knit community, Jill and her team found that even though they were living in poverty, tribe members were more than happy to share what they had with the visitors.

            Another incredible story came from her visit to Chiang Rai, Thailand. For a week, Jill spent time with a group of monk novices. She heard the stories of why the novices chose the lifestyle and from where they came. According to the head of the group, most of the young men were from the Burma and China areas. To escape the large amount of drug trafficking and avoid being forced into the trafficking lifestyle, parents would send their sons to become monks. After being part of the monkhood for 15 years, the men are allowed to become citizens of Thailand and embark on a lifestyle of their choice. One young man, Tarn, informed Jill that he left his home in China because he desired to have a family and respectable job. The Chinese government had forced Tarn’s father to fight against the drug traffickers, and that life did not appeal to Tarn. Jill explained one of the hardest things was seeing how a young man’s childhood was stripped from him simply because he did not want to live in a place where he could be shot, join the trafficking, or be forced to work in a dangerous government job.

            If people in the United States could know one thing about human trafficking, Jill wishes they knew that it happens everywhere. While most people think it does not exist around them, they have no idea that Seattle is second in the country for sex trafficking—Portland taking first place. This is not a problem that just happens in other places; it is something which affects people all around us. Informed people can help end the problem, and this group desires to start providing the information. To work towards this end, the team will be publishing their photographs at the end of the trip. In the past, publication was a book which compiled photos from all of the photographers. Additionally, Jill and most of her teammates have public blogs on which they publish stories and photos of what they encounter. Those who desire to learn more and become involved in the United States should visit the Not for Sale Campaign website.

            Since she began her trip in Thailand in April, Jill has encountered incredible experiences. She hopes that she can show people Jesus’ love while hearing and documenting their stories. Also, she has a passion for increasing awareness around the world. Her photographs are beautiful and accomplish her goal. As Jill’s work demonstrates, a picture can really be worth a thousand words. 

If you read through that whole thing, here's your reward: some of Jill's other work. Her photos are incredible. As I'm looking to getting my own apartment in the future, I've been trying to figure out which pictures I want to buy prints of to put on my are my finalists :)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

And you'd see me waiting for you on the corner of the street

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
(James 1:5-6)

This is my verse of the day. I'm thrilled that I've been moving very quickly through the hiring process for a certain dispatch department. The department seems great, there's a Mars Hill and guide dog group in the area, there's a police department with a reserve program in the area, and I could work there. There is just so much that I don't know...and I will be relying heavily on wisdom from God to figure this thing out. I don't know why I'm so concerned, I haven't even been made a job offer yet...haha.

When it comes down to it, I find so much relief in the fact that I  don't have to rely on my own abilities and knowledge to make any decisions. If it was all and only up to me, I don't know how I'd survive. I was talking to one of my residents today about the future and I explained to her my viewpoint: I do the best I can, but in the end it's in God's hands. She said that makes sense, and I can't imagine what it would be like to not have that reassurance. I mean, the mind of a man may plan his way but the Lord directs his steps. No matter where I end up, I know it will be doors that God has opened. As my resident pointed out, who knows...the perfect guy [the guy God has waiting for me] might be wherever I get a job and then moving somewhere unknown would be all worth it. I thought that was cute. .......and maybe true, who knows. 

So that's my little thought gush for the day. 

Evidences of God's Grace:
  • The fact that I made it to backgrounds in this testing process
  • Having a 4-day Memorial Day weekend!
  • Feeling so much more at peace about graduating
  • ALmost finishing my Lit Review for my senior thesis
  • Finding a modest and yet cute graduation dress
  • Feeling humbled 
  • Reminders of what it's like to be a godly woman
  • E-mailing with Jill!!! (I love that girl)
  • Talking to Caro on the phone...even though it was brief.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

God is so good, He's so good to me

Not much new...just livin' the dream. Doing homework assignments at the last minute is becoming an art form. I'm not procrastinating--I just have to prioritize things based on deadlines. For instance, I have to get a bunch of pieces of information from people for my personal history statement which has to be completed before or right after my first oral board. And, no big deal, but I got my first oral board set for tomorrow! I tested twice for this agency and I left feeling a little discouraged. I generally don't test well, so I had no idea how well I'd done. But I figured I just have to trust God because He's got it all worked out. Yesterday I received the call that I have and interview, so today I'll be finishing homework that's due today and preparing for the interview. It's a dispatch job that would be great.

So that's where I'm at. Just hanging out in God's love and grace. I've been talking a lot about Jesus and sin and God's love with people recently and when I really stop to realize what Jesus did, like I was hearing it for the first time, it just doesn't make sense. Why would GOD....who is completely awesome and perfect in heaven...come to earth and live a perfect life just to be tortured and die? Every time that I realize the answer is "because he loves me" I'm a little blown away. If that's not radical, I don't know what is.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Seasons come and go, but I will never change

Well let's see...I have 3 weeks till graduation. Crazy. I'm convinced that this entire quarter is one big test to see if we can remember to jump through all the hoops. There are a million things to do before closing the residence hall, I have so many papers due this week, and job applications are exhausting. I shouldn't be blogging, I should be getting paper to finish my portfolio. :)

In a few short weeks these little deadlines and homework assignments won't be a big deal anymore. It's just odd. I'm really really going to miss my residents. They are so fun and just easy to hang out with. I was watching Glee, and one of the characters put it well when she said "I just don't want all of it to end."

BUT, on the cool side, I passed my dispatcher exam with pretty darn good scores. But the best part is that most of the agencies who are hiring are in the same area or city as a Mars Hill church! As scary as re-locating and starting over is, I feel like if I'm in a place where I can be at Mars Hill again, there will be a family there.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

And you take me the way I am.

I can't remember if it was one of the chapters in the Girls Gone Wise book or one of Pastor Mark's Real Marriage sermons that got me thinking about this. Someone said that you need to stop making just the lists of things you want in your future husband, you need to make the list of things you want to BE for your future husband.

Caring, able to accept correction, capable, strong, humble, servant-like, a place of refuge. That's the little list.

I spent this afternoon watching my mentor's 4 and 7 year-old boys . It's weird because I could kind of see what it would be like to be a mom. I've babysat 5 million times, but I've been thinking a lot about marriage, family, and how to prepare myself for my future jobs. Man, I think the biggest thing I need to work on is patience. After losing at checkers, 2 games of Sorry, and a math game I was frustrated. I realized that not only am I really competitive, I'm also really used to getting my own way. As in, if I want to go to my room and watch a movie, I can. If I want to go outside and walk, I can. Pastor Mark says that single people are the most selfish people, and that hit me really hard. I'm really excited to be a wife and mother someday and I'm praying that God will be teaching me the character of a godly one.

It's odd how much my perspective has changed in a couple of weeks spent really looking at marriage and being a woman. Strength doesn't need to be defiant and saying "I can do anything a man can do." Don't get me wrong, I'm still trying to be in the law enforcement field because I really want to help people. But I can do that AND be gracious.

Friday, May 11, 2012

We found love in a hopeless place

Let's be honest. Life gets ahead of you sometimes. In trying to stay on top of everything, I'd lost sight of Jesus. That and I didn't care. Some people call it a "dry spell in your faith" but here's what it was for me. I knew God is awesome. I knew He was always around. I knew He was giving me everything I had. I prayed when I was thankful or needed something. But beyond that I didn't feel compelled to spend time with Him. 

It's like when you're working out every day and then you take a break. That one day turns into two, and since working out takes so much time you realize that you don't need to do it ALL the time. After all, you seem to be in decent shape when you're not a regular visitor. But then you start going back every day because you feel like crud, and the daily workouts feel so good and make you feel solid. That's where I'm at right now. Physically and spiritually.

Ask Jesus to work and He will. I have a list of things I've been convicted of. Want to hear them? Great. I'm glad you do. I need to work on: being a servant, changing my views of femininity, my tendency to jump to defensiveness, using my time well, watching what I say, and more. Pretty good list, I'd say. So far, I've seen tiny little baby steps of progress. 

Also, today my advisor/head of the department/public speaking professor pulled my 2 best Communication Major friends and I aside after class and asked us to help him in a seminar about public speaking. I was blown away. I took advanced public speaking with him, but didn't think I was near one of the top 3 speakers in the department. The other big blessing I got in the mail was a letter saying I'm a Dean's Scholar. Apparently, there are 34 students in the College of Arts and Humanities who qualify. I appreciate that God shows me He notices all the little things I do. 

I think the hardest thing on my list of convictions is the servanthood. It's about doing the extra work and not complaining. It's kind of integrity. Like when I go on duty and there is a week of old posters that haven't been taken down/put up--that's frustrating to me since it's the other RAs job to do that. But just fixing the problem with out whining to people afterwards....that's being a servant. Or talking the people that others seem to avoid. Or helping out wherever I can. It's tough because deep down I have a problem being "inconvenienced". But God is good in helping me change.

Evidences of God's Grace:
  • beautiful weather
  • the Japanese Garden
  • good people winning the ASCWU BOD election
  • raising $45 for an orphanage through our Pie Your RA program
  • class cancelled today
  • my computer is over 4 years old and still working
  • a wonderful chat with Nicole
  • seeing Kelsie even with her new job

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

That was the day I promised I'd never sing of love if it did not exist

I've been watching the Real Marriage series. It's REALLY good. Super practical even for us single people.

Today's is on porn. I'm only 30 minutes in and I had to stop it 1) because I had to go to class and 2) it was such a powerful message. It was interesting because he was talking about how even thinking about a person who is not your spouse in certain ways can be sin. The last one was on sexual assault, and that was also a toughie. If you know someone who is struggling with being a victim of assault, please refer them to this message. It's full of grace, love, and redemption.

Evidences of God's Grace:

  • huge progress on my thesis
  • feeling on top of homework
  • it's Tuesday!!
  • conviction of sin that no one sees, but is impacting my life
  • getting the hall sphere of excellence from a ressie