Dec 22, 2011

Home Sweet Home

A big thank you to my dear sister Amber for so kindly (& bluntly) pointing out that I have been back in the States for almost TWO weeks & still have not bad. It's been a crazy month!

 A lot of mixed emotions during my last week in Peru. We started out with a trip to the nearby city of Arequipa. It was a crazy 7 hour bus ride up into the mountains, & it was an absolutely beautiful city! And guess what? They had a Starbucks!!! I never realized how heavenly the aroma of Starbucks coffee was until I went without it for 3 months. Haha!

 One of the things that impacted me the most about the trip to Arequipa was our trip to the Santa Catalina Monastery. This picture is actually of a different Cathedral; I couldn't get a good pic of the outside of Santa Catalina because it was so massive! The Monastery covered about 5 was crazy. I have a ton to say about that, so I'll save it. Hopefully I'll actually crank out a post about it, but I don't have a great track record for writing what I intend to, so if you feel like it, just ask me about it sometime & I'll share. =)

 I flew out of Tacna the 10th at around 8 am, & I got to my sister's house in Wisconsin at about 4 am the next day. That afternoon my mom & I drove up to school, & that's where the next phase of craziness began. Helloooooo reverse culture shock, climate shock, health issues, FINALS, friends, PIANO, was a bit overwhelming the first few days! This sounds really strange, but on Monday one of the most overwhelming things for me was just how many white people were all around me speaking English! For the past 3 months I had the same 10-12 people around me that I could speak English to, otherwise I was immersed in Spanish. Now suddenly there were a TON of people all speaking a language I could comprehend without having to concentrate on translation. It felt like my brain was trying to take in every word that every person around me was saying all at once...headache!

Besides the initial feeling of being overwhelmed with all the English, It was SO wonderful to catch up with my family (for half a day), and some of my close friends at school that I was able to sit down with & catch up a bit even in the busyness of finals week =)

There were some difficult things though that came along with all of the catching up. Outside of the circle of about 10-15 people that emailed with me & kept up, there were a lot of people who I hadn't seen in 3 months that had no idea what I had been doing all semester! Suddenly I found myself in conversations that went a little something like this: "Hey! You were in....Spain?, wow you're tan! You had a great time, huh?" I hate to say it, but I found myself getting do you sum up the incredible experiences, friendships, trials, growth, pain, & joys of three months abroad? It was one of the best semesters I've had, but it was also some of the most trying 3 months of my life, and I've found that when I try to explain that paradigm I get some blank stares...I need to learn how to communicate! Haha!

I have roughly 200 journal pages from this past semester; some with big, bold, happy letters expressing the joy of new experiences, new friends, glad days.  Others are filled with my "comfort" verses, & stained with tears. There are pages with prayer requests for my new Peruvian friends who live in Viñani; who every day struggle just to get meals on the table. And next to those prayers, I have requests for friends & family who are on the other side of the world, going through trials that are on a different level, but still weigh heavily on my heart. Prayer has never been so "real" to me...whether it's because I finally had no other choice but to pray for the impossible when I was burdened with needs of those around me...needs I could never possibly meet. Needs that only God can meet. Or because I couldn't be there to hug my friends when they were on the other side of the phone in tears because of the pain they were facing...I could not be physically with them, so prayer became a tangible way I could express my love for them even when I was so far away.

The first journal pages after I returned to school expressed my mixed emotions; frustration with feeling like an outsider, but also the encouragement that came after catching up with friends. The busyness of finals is a difficult time to be dropped back into another culture. God has changed me a lot in the past three months, but His work has not been isolated to Peru. All of my friends have changed a lot too! And it's all happened in ways I can't understand because I wasn't there. But it was very encouraging to be able to sit down with 2-3 of my closest friends & hear about the tools God used in their lives this semester to change them to be more like Christ.

My most recent journal pages are covered in "Rock" verses...Verses that affirm God's stability in the midst of never-ending change. I'm still adjusting to some "American" things that I have been around for years, but suddenly view in a new way. And now that I've had some time to sit & really consider what took place over the past three months, how God has worked, and what He has revealed about me, I'm seeing myself in a different way. Finally surrendering to the fact that I have been bought with a price; I am not my own, & my life needs to be a constant pursuit to give God the glory. Even if it means giving up some of my own rights for the sake of serving others.

I want to thank all of you who have kept up with me, & prayed for me. I cannot express how much it means & how thankful I am for that support! It has been the hardest/most incredibly challenging/best 3 months and I can hardly believe it's over, but I am thankful to be home with my family for Christmas =)

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you[...]For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7-18

Nov 30, 2011


Creative title, right? Haha!
Hey everyone! So...I haven't updated in like 3 weeks, and people keep reminding me. So this is me trying to be good and actually let y'all know what's been going on my life. However, I have many mucho school work assignments to complete in not many mucho much time....soooo, this will be a very brief update and I'll try to do a more informative one later =)

 Let us begin! Starting way back at the beginning of the month. We went on visitation to a place called Viñani. It is a very poor part of Tacna. The people who live there have very very little. Thatched walls, dirt floors, a tarp for a roof, and most just got running water this past year. Before that they would have to walk almost half a mile to get water to wash up, cook with, etc.
 Thanksgiving just passed. How many of us simply thanked God for our homes? For four solid walls & a roof? I know I didn't. I was too busy missing my family. Thankfully, the Lord got my focus right again throughout the day & reminded me just how much I had to be thankful for, but otherwise, I don't give thanks often enough for a warm bed or clean water. It's just things that I take for granted because I've never known any different.
 These kids were too cute! They sang us a song & said hello. Many were very shy though. Most of these children do not have a home or a family, so they stay at the orphanage full time, but several of them have parents who drop them off here while they go to work in Chile. The problem in Viñani is that when both of the parents work during the day in the summer, the kids are home from school by themselves. So many parents lock the doors of their homes while they go to work / the children are left there for 12-15hrs in any given day. With the weather so hot & dry, it is not uncommon for their to be house fires. The children would be locked inside with no way to escape. So the orphanage has opened its doors to parents who want a safe place for their children to spend the day while they are away.
 Amazing thought; God chose us to be His children. Before the foundation of the world, He chose you & me. He gave His only Son to make you a part of His family. I still don't understand it; His grace amazes me.
 LOVE these girls! The girl in the light pink is Claudia, and the crazy chica on the right is Michelle. They are SO much fun! I am very thankful I've had the opportunity to get to know them & I am going to miss them SOOOOO much!!!
 Abbey's back!!! Please continue to pray for her as she has been diagnosed (finally), but still does not have a concrete answer on how to treat her sickness. So thankful to have her & Mrs. Earnhart back though =)
 The other day we got a group of girls together for ice cream to celebrate Claudia's birthday. It was so much fun to be able to spend time with the girls from the church =)
 Well, my birthday was this past Sunday. It was a lot of fun! Many people wished me well, gave me kisses on the cheek and what-not. They also warned me about the tradition of smashing eggs & dumping flour on my head for my birthday, but it got to be night time & after all the church services, so I thought I was off the hook...I was mistaken.
 Mrs. Earnhart lulled me into a false sense of security & convinced me to come outside to get a picture with every one...first mistake. Hahaha! We got a picture all right! Lol! it was a lot of fun though, & definitely something I'll never forget!

Nov 15, 2011

11.11.11 ★ Chile Trip!

Well, as I'm sure most of you are aware, this past Friday was the super awesome date of 11/11/11! So, myself, Sarah, & um, Sarah.(Sarah Earnhart & Sarah my roomie =), decided to go to Chile for the day! Arica Chile is only about a 45 minute taxi ride, so it was a very easy trip. Well, started out a little bumpy because I forgot to take my little white visa paper along with my passport, but the Lord worked everything out so I was able to cross the border without even having to pay the fee =) 

We started out with just chillin' on a beautiful beach for roughly 4-6 hrs. It was an amazingly beautiful day! We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather. I was able to journal some, & just rest. It was great. We all got a tad too much sun though, & ended up with some sunburn, but my poor roomie actually got sun poisoning & is just now recovering. But, at least now we all have great tans. Hahaha! 

 After the beach, we walked downtown to a cute little cafe & got some lunch. Super yummy!! The check was a bit difficult to figure out though. As you can see from the picture, Chilean pesos go by the thousands, so a sandwich costs like $12,000 and a drink costs $ get the idea. So needless to say, figuring out our bill got a little confusing when we tried to split it up between us. Haha!

 We walked around & explored a local Cathedral. I always get chills when I walk into places like this. Christ is only ever depicted as a helpless child, or a dead man. Just below this display was a padded stool for kneeling so that people could pray to a dead Jesus statue. It's just sad to me; so empty & hopeless. I'm so thankful I serve a risen Savior, & I know He is sitting at God's right hand because He accomplished His work on the cross & paid the price for my sins! =)

 Shopping!!! I just about died when I turned the corner & saw this's all handmade & all super cheap. But I was good & restrained myself from buying The other shops? That's a different story =)

 We returned to the cute cafe for some coffee, tea, and ice cream. Great way to finish off a great day!! As you can see, we were all a little toasted. Lol!

It was a beautiful night & definitely one of the best days ever!! I am so thankful for the experiences I've had =)

Nov 10, 2011

You Know You're in Peru When...

1. Every time you cross the street, you also say the phrase "we're going to die."

2. You have to pay for toilet paper in a public restroom (or bring your own).

3. You have learned not to make eye contact with anyone who is selling anything on the street, because they will take it as a sign of interest & follow you for the next 4 blocks trying to convince you why you need a fluffy toy that squeaks when you squish it. 

4. You don't stop at stop signs, you honk & if anyone is coming through; they are expected to do the stopping.

5. You have eaten something that would be considered a pet in the States (for example... guinea pig).

6. You automatically try to conserve the water because you never know when the local government will shut it off because they have a beef with the big this affects the big government. No idea! haha!

7. You've learned to ignore whistles, catcalls, honking, and other random gestures of interest from the majority of males walking down the street.

8. Everyone assumes you're rich because you're a gringo.

9. If rice isn't in the meal, potatoes, bread, or some other starch is. 

10. If you don’t greet with a kiss on the cheek, they will find you.

12. Time is more of an idea rather than an actual instruction.

13. Public transportation is a sketchy guy in a sketchy van.

14. You see roughly 48 different stray dogs on any one excursion around town. 

15. You see one man, one wife, two small children, the family chicken, and a loaf of bread...on one motorcycle.

16. If you do not understand someone, it will be followed by louder speaking & bigger motioning with the hands...I have to admit, I'm guilty of this one when it's the other way around. Haha!!

17. Traffic laws are really more like "guidelines." But the real rule is, whoever is bigger wins. 

=) Oh how I love Peru!!!! 

Nov 5, 2011

As of Late

Hey y'all! Just wanted to give you a quick update of what's been going on this past week =)

Last Saturday we started out with visitation, which is always interesting when I'm with Jake or Justin. They definitely keep me entertained, haha! But I am always thankful to have a guy around when we walk through one of the areas with more gang activity. After visitation we came back to the house for about an hour, then returned to the church for a work day. I wish I had pictures to share from that! We got soooooo filthy! Lol. We were scraping paint off the side of one of the buildings. Since it never rains here, the paint isn't exactly water proof, so we would scrape it, get water on it, scrape some more & it would just kind of melt off. Somehow, most of the paint got on me. That always happens! I always end up all dirty from either a paint fight, or just because I have very clumsy moments. Haha!
 This is my new roomie, Sarah! She got here a few weeks ago & has been a HUGE blessing & encouragement to me. She'll be in Tacna for 8 months, helping out with the ministry. I am very, very thankful for her =)
 Monday was Halloween in the States, Dia de los Muertos here. Because of all of the things that go on during the night here, we had an activity to keep the kids and families off of the streets. The girl in the picture there is Claudia; she is super sweet & so patient in teaching me Spanish! Haha =) Everyone was feeling a little crazy this evening, but we had a ton of fun.
 Volleyball tournaments! 'Twas great fun =)
 Those who weren't playing volleyball just kinda chilled & talked. Michelle entertained Maddie, which made for an adorable photo op =)
After volleyball, we returned to the church for snacks, wii, and a movie. It was a great time of fellowship!

This past week has been a little crazy school-wise. My midterms have been kind of dragging out. Everyone back at N-land had all of the midterm fun at once, but since I take tests a few days later than they do on campus, I had papers due last week, & now all of my tests are this week. So staying on top of lectures while also participating in everything else here has been a bit of a challenge. It's all worked out though. I only have 2 more tests to take, then I'm done until finals!! I can't believe I only have one month left here; the Lord has taught me so much...but it's been in ways I never expected. He has given me a deeper burden for youth, and He's really sharpened my focus as to what I would like to do with my degree once I get out of college. I am so thankful for how the Lord uses even difficult situations to accomplish His will, and I am very, very excited for the future =)

I do have some prayer requests if you all think about it. Please continue to pray for Abbey & Mrs. Earnhart. They have been in the States getting tests run at Mayo Clinic for almost 3 weeks & still do not have any solid answers as to what's wrong, let alone how to treat it. Their tickets to return to Peru are for the 15th of November, but it's looking like they may need to stay longer. So please pray for wisdom & peace for them.
I would also ask you to pray for me  as I try to keep my focus right. The Lord is dealing with a lot of things in my life right now. Some hurts from my past that I didn't realize were still affecting me, God has been bringing them to light & compelling me to deal with them & not hold onto that pain & bitterness & it's honestly really hard to deal with on top of everything else that is going on right now. So I would appreciate your prayer with that =)

Thank you all so much for checking in & keeping in touch with me. It means more than you know! I hope that you have a fantastic weekend!

Oct 9, 2011

The Danger of Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
-1 John 4:7-11

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
-Matthew 22:36-39

If I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
-I Corinthians 13:2-3

God's Word is very clear, we are commanded to love; to open our hearts to others & give of ourselves just as Christ gave of Himself to us. But we all know that whenever you let someone else get close to you, then there is a risk of being hurt. I think C.S. Lewis said it well in his work "The Four Loves." Take a look:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I hate being vulnerable. I like to feel independent, self-sufficient, unbreakable. But God calls me to be Christ-dependent, find my sufficiency in Him, & to be broken at the foot of the cross. I've been contemplating this over & over again the past few weeks as I find myself missing my friends back in the States very much, yet somewhat apprehensive to develop deep friendships here because I know that when I return home in December, then I will have more friends that I am missing. Then there's always the possibility of trying to make new friends, & being rejected or hurt. All of this was going through my mind the other day when I was also thinking about Hebrews 12. And these two words stuck out to me: "Consider Him." Speaking of Christ, verse three of chapter twelve says "Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." 

How must Christ have felt? Coming to earth a helpless baby. Creator of the universe, unable even to ask for food or water. Completely dependent on the very fragile human beings he had given breath to. Christ was willing to be vulnerable & broken to restore a relationship with humanity. Yet I retreat behind my wall of insecurity or self-sufficiency all for the sake of protecting my pride. "What if they don't like me?" or, "what if they hurt me?" These are my arguments, but Christ came to earth knowing full well that he would be crushed by the very ones He had come to rescue. Chances are, I will never be physically harmed for sharing Christ, or reaching out to love on others, so what is my excuse? I don't want to love, because love=vulnerability? Unacceptable. 

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." -Ephesians 5:1-2 

Oct 6, 2011

Three Weeks in SA

I have been here in Peru for exactly three weeks and a day. What have I learned so far? I've learned nothing ever goes according to plan. At least not my plan, & that my friends, is a very good thing. God's plans are so much bigger than mine, so who am I to say what should & shouldn't happen? I've learned that there are ways to show love without communicating verbally, as many Peruvians have done for me. I've learned it's not always the big things that matter, but the little every day blessings that bring a smile to someone's face. I've learned that above all, my worth, my identity, & my purpose is not in what I can do, or what I look like, or where I'm from, but it is in Christ alone. A little over a week ago, we took a trip into the mountains, to a city called Juliaca. I didn't know there could be so much variation in culture in the same country, but even the Earnharts kept commenting on how it was completely different than the culture in Tacna. The weather was very cold, about 30 degrees or so. But unlike in the states, the homes have no insulation, there aren't heaters in every car, & very few buildings have any heating system. 

 Unlike the climate, the Peruvian church families were very warm & inviting! Many people invited us into their homes & made amazing meals for us. Keep in mind, me+the Earnharts=9 people! Saturday evening we had a youth activity at the Plaza Vea, which is the Peruvian version of a mall/walmart. It was a lot of fun getting to know the college/career age people from the church, even though I still can't really speak Spanish very well, they all made me feel very welcome. Sunday the altitude sickness that had been plaguing us since our arrival finally leveled me completely that morning. We had just finished breakfast at the church, and all of the sudden I felt like I would  pass out. It was awful! I weird combination of the flu/sea sickness/cold/pure nastiness. I played piano for the special, and then while walking away I blacked out, but thankfully there was a wall there that caught me. Lol! I went into another room during the service & just took it easy, & then by late afternoon felt much better. I am very thankful that I have only gotten sick once since I've been here; God has been so good!

Monday afternoon we went to Juno, & visited Lake Titi-CaCa; the largest, high altitude lake in the world. The locals thrive on superstition, & even when Sarah was teaching the kids classes earlier that week we heard stories of man-eating mermaids that supposedly inhabit the lake. Mermaids or not, we went on a boat tour to visit an amazing cluster of man-made islands inhabited by the Uro people.

It was an incredible experience! An entire village made out of dried reeds...craziness! We had a lot of fun exploring & enjoying the sunshine. Afterwards we made the 10hr bus trip "home" to Tacna. Hallelujah for sleeping pills! We were all very thankful to be back where the sun actually warms the earth; little things we take for granted =) It was an awesome trip overall, & I am thankful for all of the opportunities God has been giving me, & all the little things He is using to open my eyes, & widen my perspective of ministry.

Thank you all for praying! I will definitely try to give a more current update soon, but alas, homework calls. Adios for now!

Sep 18, 2011

Weekend Ministry

I've discovered that the weekends around here are pretty crazy! Friday night there is a ministry called "El Refugio," which is a counseling ministry for women. About 20 ladies attended & Sarah taught a very helpful & applicable lesson about how to handle depression. Depression is a huge problem for our generation! Sarah gave the basics on what the signs of depression are, practical ways to handle depression, & also taught about our most important defense against depression: God's word. It all comes back to focusing on truth. As Isaiah 26:3 says--"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you,because he trusts in you." We also had a great time of fellowship & games. This was the first time since I arrived that I had enough courage to attempt conversation in Spanish. The Peruvian ladies had so much patience with me! I could understand a few sentences & converse a little bit, but I still have a LONG way to go! They kept telling me "Esta bien! Poco a poco! (It's ok, little by little.) One of the ladies after I looked particularly confused laughed & said "Tienes tiempo para apprender." Which basically means "you have time to learn." To which Mrs. Earnhart responded, "yup! And in that time you're going to get laughed at a lot!" Haha! I told them people back home make fun of me when I speak English, so I'm already used to it =)

 Saturdays are very busy around the Earnhart home! We started out bright & early going on visitation; this was an area down town that we went to & either invited people to church who had never been, or went to visit church members. This is considered to be more of an upper-class part of town.
 After visitation in Tacna, we went to Viñani...this is the place that broke my heart in 2009. Those thatched walls that you see in the background are actually homes. There are very few buildings with roofs; there is no running water; there is unbelievable poverty. We visited quite a few church members while we were there & tried to encourage one family in particular that is going through an extremely difficult time. Pray for the family of Ignacio if you could; pray that God would reveal attributes of Himself that Ignacio cannot ignore, & that as a result of seeing God for who He is, that Ignacio would in turn lead his family in a godly way.
 That afternoon we had a ladies activity which was a lot of fun! Some of the younger ladies made bracelets & then afterwards Abbey gave a lesson out of Romans 8; it was so cool because I had just read that passage Saturday morning during my devos! So that helped me follow along better when she was teaching in Spanish =)
 After the lesson, we all went to a nearby park & played volleyball. Those ladies have got some skill! it was a lot of fun, & they all had a great time laughing at me when I got really confused over some directions they gave me in Spanish. I think I'm going to get used to being laughed at -- haha! That's ok though; I don't mind =)
When we got home, we began getting ready for the young-adults activity that evening. We had over 20 young adults & we all had a great time playing games, fellowshipping, & then we had a short challenge from Pastor Cristian. I met a sweet young girl named Sheyda, who speaks English pretty well; so between her good English & my not-so-good Spanish, we were able to have a good conversation =) All in all, yesterday was great! Please pray for those who visited church this morning & responded to the message; pray that it would not be a one time thing but that that would continue to attend & to grow in their understanding of God's word.

Thanks for stopping by!! Hasta luego =)

Sep 16, 2011

Joy in the Journey

Well, I'm here! Here being Peru =) My trip started Tuesday when my wonderful sister, Amber, drove me down to Chicago where I caught the first of my 3 flights. I have to share some of the "little" details that God took care of!

1) Monday night I was FREAKING OUT about luggage weight. I had taken out everything I possibly could, & my suitcases were still both pushing 50lbs. And don't even ask about my carry-on; good thing they don't weigh those things, because it weighed WAY over 50. Haha! Anyways, I was so nervous about checking my baggage in because I was sure they would both be over, but I really didn't know what else I could take out (I was taking some things over for the family I'm staying with that they can't get in Peru). Sure enough, my first suitcase was 56lbs. Not cool!! I was already starting to stress while my mind raced to think of what I could take out. Then we weighed the second one, & it was exactly 44 pounds!! God truly takes care of every detail =)

2) This comes back to my EXTREMELY heavy carry-on. I could barely lift it about my much for P90x! Ha! Anyways, I was attempting to get it up in the overhead & almost dropped it on the nice, unsuspecting lady who was sitting nearby, but my wonderful seat-mate, a kind, older gentleman,  used his man-muscles & hoisted it up there for me. At the end of the flight, he got up right away & got it down for me. The thing that was a rebuke to me about this whole thing that this man was deaf. He was so kind & helpful; looking out for others instead of himself. I definitely need to be more like that.

3) By the time I got to Miami, I was DYING of hunger!! Ok, not quite, but I was pretty famished since I had been too nervous to eat anything (except for a Starbucks Coconut Mocha Frappe...& that doesn't count, right? =) Anyways, I hadn't eaten in like 24hrs, so I had some rumbling in my tummy. I had heard tale that there was a sushi place in the airport, but it was a massive airport! So I walked towards my gate for....well pretty much forever, but not quite, because if that were the case I would still be walking. So it was almost forever...but not quite. AAaaaaand, I'm rambling. Back to the story! I was just about to settle for a nasty, 3-day-old-overpriced-refrigerated-sandwich, when I saw it: the sign that gloriously announced SUSHI!!! Ok, that was a blessing in & of itself, but God gave more. My waitress was a super sweet lady named Mary. She asked me about my trip, & then told me she had a missionary friend in Peru & gave me their contact info. Then she asked me straight up, "so you believe in God? Are you trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior?" I thought it was so great how she just came out & asked so boldly. So many times I find myself dancing around the subject when I first talk to strangers, even though it is the most important question I could possibly ask. Anyways, she was super sweet & gave me a big hug when I left. Blessing!!

4) I MADE MY INTERNATIONAL CONNECTION!!!! Ok, that was a HUGE praise, because the chances of me actually getting on my flight were quite slim. Especially with me navigating an airport I haven't been in for almost 3 years, with my minimal Spanish skills, & less than 6hrs of sleep in the past 48hrs. Thankfully I made it through customs without a hitch, but then when I got to the line to check into LAN, it was an extremely long line of all children! It was so strange; I swear every child in Peru was going on a fieldtrip to Machu Picchu or something. Lol! But nevertheless, by God's grace I made my flight. They were on their final call, & I made it with only 5 minutes to spare before they sealed the entrance. Nothing like cutting it close!

5) I feel at home. The Earnhart family has really gone above & beyond to make me comfortable here, & I really don't feel the dreaded culture shock. I definitely miss my friends & family, but I have loved getting to know the Earnharts & the Peruvians better. God is already widening my perspective of cross-cultural ministry, & He's also driving me closer to Himself. I no longer have my roommates from Northland nearby, or my friends that I have had almost every class with since freshmen year. I can't just pick up the phone & call my family, but my God is always near. One of the verses that has been a huge comfort is Psalm 18:30 "This God--His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him." 

Thank you all SO much for your prayers! I look forward to telling you all about "El Refugio," the women's ministry that I was able to be a part of tonight. And also tomorrow we have a full day, so your prayers are appreciated then as well! We have visitation in the morning, a girl's activity in the afternoon, & then a teen activity in the evening. Please pray that each of these events would make opportunities for the gospel, & also for people to be encouraged in Christ. There are a lot of hurting brothers & sisters in Christ, & you can make a difference by supporting them with prayer. More updates soon! 

Sep 12, 2011

En Route to...PERU!!

Well, I'll be the first to admit that I am terrible at keeping this blog updated. Don't worry, my sister gives me a wonderful little guilt trip about the whole thing! But aside from that obvious fault of mine, I do have exciting news: I finally get to go back to Peru! TOMORROW!! Well, I'll be flying out tomorrow; I don't actually get there until Wednesday....but that's beside the point. Anyways, God has been SO good in bringing this all together! I just wanted to share with you all about how this came about =)

It's been almost 3 years since I first went to Peru. A group of 23 from my home church youth group went on a one week missions trip back in December of 2008. Just to give you a little bit of my background at that point, I was definitely going for the wrong reasons! There were so many things in my life that had my focus off God, I don't really know where to start! But...God gives more grace =) Even though I was living in hypocrisy & going on the trip for the sole purpose of escaping the Wisconsin winter, God had bigger plans. I've talked about this before on this blog, but for those of you who are only reading because I'm doing GSA this semester, this is for your benefit. Lol! Long story short, God used some difficult circumstances back home & some selfless people abroad to start changing my heart. When I got back home I broke up w/my boyfriend at the time; that relationship had been part of the reason for my spiritual nosedive, & I knew that was one of the biggest things that God wanted me to give up. Also over the next 6 months God just started giving me a love for His word & a desire to be changed into Christ's image. I went to Northland for 2 weeks of Leadership camp that summer & that really helped develop a foundation for spiritual growth.

Freshmen year at Northland I learned SO much! Which I guess is the whole point of paying an arm & a leg for college...but not just academically. There were so many people who invested into my life, & I am so thankful for them!   At that time I was still praying about going back to Peru. I really wanted to go back with a better perspective. Hopefully with a less selfish attitude too! But God said no at that time. Instead of Peru, He opened up the opportunity for me to go to Haiti last summer after the earthquake hit. I was very excited, but God had some hard lessons He wanted to teach me. My family always accuses me of being adventurous to the point of recklessness at times. So I was pumped to be able to experience a culture completely different than my own while also having the amazing opportunity of serving alongside an incredible missionary family. When I got to Haiti, I was overwhelmed with culture shock the minute I stepped out of the airport onto the street. Before I even made it to our vehicle waiting nearby, 2 Haitian men tried to grab my arm & pull me into the crowd. The trip up the mountain to the Bower's home took 3 hours, even though it was only 30 miles away, just because of how bad the roads were. The property that the Bower's home, church, & school are on has an 8 foot brick fence surrounding it, due to the violence in the nearby town. While we were there, a young man was killed by voodoo, & as girls, none of us could even walk between the buildings without a guy accompanying us at all times....I HATED it there! The first three days were some of the most miserable that I can remember. I kept telling the Lord, "I know I told you I would go anywhere....but I could never live here! I could never, ever raise a family here." But again--He gives more grace! I had been studying Philippians that week, & the Lord used it to break me. Particularly  chapter 3, in which Paul talks about all that his Jewish heritage had granted him, but that it is all less than nothing in comparison to knowing & serving Christ. For the rest of the trip, the Lord just gave me a joy in serving the Hatians that cannot be explained by anything other than God's all sufficient grace. It was SO hard to leave! I definitely cried. But something interesting happened on our last night there. I can't fully explain it, but the Lord just made it clear to me that He would make a way for me to return to Peru this year! I was pumped!

I was also confused, since I am a music major & study abroad was not an option at that time for my department, I had no idea how the Lord was planning on getting me to Peru. I started praying about changing my major so I could study abroad. That was a big "No." So now I knew that God wanted me to go to Peru, & also remain a music major....hmmmm. Next option, take a year off of school, go home & work for a while, take a month long trip, & come back to school as a music major. I started making plans, & I had talked to our head missions guy at Northland about it & he began talking through logistics with me. Three days after I had decided to take a year off & go, Northland made an announcement that they were changing the music program to allow majors to study abroad!! It was such a clear answer to prayer & I was immediately filled with peace! God truly does have everything under control if we will just trust! Not only to I get to go back to Peru for a whole semester, but I also get to stay with the wonderful missionary family that we stayed with during our trip back in '08. The Earnharts have a great ministry & I am so humbled that they are taking me into their home & allowing me to take part in the work God is doing there. I would definitely appreciate your prayers as I fly out tomorrow. Specifically that I would make my international connection in Lima. I will be updating again shortly with some more specific prayer requests. You can also check out the Earnhart's website if you would like to know more about their ministry or how you can best pray for their family. The address is:

Thank you so much for your prayers & for all of you who have been such an encouragement to me throughout this whole process. I look forward to sharing with you all about what God is doing throughout this semester. My goal is to update once a week, so if I go another month, make sure you send me an angry email or fb message or something. Haha! Peace out for now y'all!

(That y'all was in honor of my little Georgian roomie Miss Betsy Sue =)

P.S. Sorry this turned out so long. I always jabber after I haven't updated in awhile. If you actually made it through that whole thing, you deserve a prize....or at least some ice cream.

Aug 15, 2011

Another End Starts a New Beginning.

Well, LOTS of goodbye's have been said, & lots of hugs given. It's almost the end of the summer, & last Saturday marked the end of my summer at camp. It was definitely the best summer so far! The Lord taught me so much, broke me of several strongholds, gave me a ton of amazing new friends, & allowed me to be discipled by some people that I've looked up to for a long time. Among those was Evangelist Will Galkin & Evangelist Steve Pettit. This summer actually marked the end of Brother Pettit's 29 years as camp director. He has had a HUGE impact on countless lives & his investment into the staff will continue even next summer when he is no longer director. The Lord is moving Brother Pettit into a new ministry! He accepted Christ as his Savior at a state university many years ago as a result of a campus ministry, & now he has been asked to be the director of a similar ministry called Cross Impact. It will be exciting to see how the Lord works through him in this new opportunity.

I had some AMAZING roommates this summer! Sarah, & Betsy were a huge encouragement to me. Sarah actually travels with the Galkin Team, & she was a blessing. She has a beautiful voice, plays flute, & penny whistle, & always had a funny story to share =)

This is my wonderful roomie, Betsy! She's from Georgia & has an amazing southern accent. No joke--you couldn't hang out with this girl for too long without picking up a drawl. I actually had people ask me which part of the south I was from! Hahaha! She had the best attitude even when she went through a very big trial during the summer. Although she was in a lot of pain that even medication would not help, she never once complained. She kept saying over & over that if God was allowing this pain in her life, He knew it was best for her, & that He had a better plan for her than the plan she had for herself. God used Betsy in my life in a big way, by making me more aware of my attitude in trials, & being more aware of the needs of others. She really lived out the concept of faith & grace during trials that we studied in James this summer. She is also the most fun to be around/funniest person I have EVER met & I miss her terribly.

This is my lovely friend, Rophe! We had many good talks, & we also had some adventures trying to catch a fish named Gigantor...with a fork.....don't ask.

These are two of my fellow lifeguards! Zach & Ethan were both a huge encouragement to me this summer! Zach became like a big brother to me, & he always challenged me with his humility, & servant's heart. He would go above & beyond what he was asked to do & he even jumped in to help other departments when he wasn't busy with lifeguard duties. Ethan was such fun to be around, & it was awesome to see how God worked in him this summer! He grew so much! He's always such a gentleman, even to the point of jumping into the lake to search for my earring that fell in. Hahaha!

I can't thank the Lord enough for the AMAZING summer he allowed me to be a part of. As we studied James, lives were changed through God's word. Campers that came into camp hating their parents, hating God, & suffering from depression, came to know Christ as their Savior & finally let go of the bitterness that was eating them alive. Staff members who came into the summer anxious, burdened, & hurting were refreshed by studying God's word & having part in amazing Christian fellowship. I keep saying this, but I really feel like God did a complete overhaul on my heart this summer, & I am just amazed by His patience with me. Some of the lessons I learned this summer, I know God has been specifically speaking to me about those things for years & it took me this long to surrender. But with surrender came the sweetest peace & the deepest joy I have ever experienced. I thought that my plan for my life was good, but God had something infinitely better & I'm excited to see what He has in store for the rest of the year. Thank you for your prayers! I look forward to updating y'all again soon =) 

Jul 16, 2011

Life at Camp!!

Hey everybody! It's me....remember me? Alicia....the dorky piano geek/dark chocolate addict/swimming fanatic from Wisconsin...I know I haven't updated in many moons, but I thought since I'm just chillin' right now, I'd let you know what's been going on as of late.

Well I think most of you know I'm working at Northland Camp this summer as a lifeguard; I love it! We have 2 other girl guards & 3 guys. We have all become pretty tight, & our supervisor, Josh has been a huge encouragement. He travels with the Will Galkin evangelistic team & he has definitely taken the time to invest into our lives. Our lifeguard group gets together every weekend for chips & dip (or campfires) & games. It has been a blast! We also meet every Wednesday morning at 7 for coffee & a study of Galatians 5 & walking in the Spirit. It has really been growing my understanding of what it means to be filled with the Spirit & walk in the love of Christ.

Our theme this year of camp is The Legend of Jack's Gold. It has been so much fun to be involved in all of the crazy, intricate games & see the campers having fun. The best part though is seeing all of the spiritual fruit. Our passage of focus this summer is James 3:13-4:10; wisdom from above, worldliness, & desires of the heart. During staff training we had 3-5 sessions daily on this passage from Brother Will Galkin & Brother Steve Pettit. It has been a huge rebuke & a challenge to be reminded of the massive amounts of envy & worldliness in my own times I felt defeated, like there is no way I can successfully live the Christian life---and I was right. There is no way I  can do it. But it all comes back to Galatians 5 & walking in the Spirit.  James talks about God's jealousy for our affections & how He yearns after a relationship with us; Galatians warns us about the war that take place between our flesh & the Holy Spirit. Our own natural desire is to do whatever "feels" good at that moment, but the Holy Spirit is jealous over us & compels us to use wisdom & make the right choice. And as James reminds us (to paraphrase it) Wisdom is not some mystical, elusive thing that comes once we're old & gray. Wisdom is getting to know God---His laws, His Love, His Character---through His word, & then based on that knowledge, make the right choice right now! These principles had a huge impact in my heart & the hearts of the 150 other staff members, & it has also had a huge impact on the thousands of campers that have already listened to the very same preaching of God's word. This past week we had over 450 teen & junior campers. There were over 30 salvation decisions & numerous other decisions to follow Christ & get to know God in a deeper way. It has been amazing to witness & have a small part in such an obvious work of God!

In other news, I am starting to prepare for this upcoming semester. I feel like God placed me just where I needed to be this summer to be stretched & grown in ways I couldn't have been at home. It looks like everything is starting to come together to study abroad in the fall, even though I still don't feel like I'm actually going back to Peru!!! (finally =) Some of the planning has been on hold as we tried to work it out so I could see my brother when he returns from Afghanistan, but now that we have figured out the dates (I think!) I believe that the rest of the plans are going to start coming together. Please pray that God will continue to work in my heart & prepare me to somehow be a blessing this upcoming fall. Also please be in prayer for the Earnhart family; they have graciously agreed to let me invade their home from September-December even as they are just getting re-settled themselves! Pray that God will bless them in their next phase of ministry & that He will provide everything they need to accomplish His will.

Well, thanks for dropping by y'all! If you could be praying for this next week of camp, that would be much appreciated =) We have around 475 campers coming, including my home youth group!!!! YAY! I can't wait to see them. Anywho, enjoy your weekend!

Peace out, yo =)

Jun 19, 2011

UN-Tangled: Part II!

Oh hey there!! Well, a very near & dear friend/sister recently pointed out to me that I never posted the other part of the UN-Tangled blog entry. It has been a LOOONG time, but I didn't forget, I promise! I've just been very busy with staff training, lifeguarding, sessions, meeting campers, etc. But that is no excuse, so I give you, part dos!! =)

4) The Cross Already Cut the Ropes of Entangling Sin!!

I LOVE this point!!! How amazing to know that those strongholds that so easily ensnare us actually have NO power over us! Colossians 2:13-15 says "And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling dthe record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities2 and eput them to open shame, by ftriumphing over them in him."

Christ canceled not just the debt we owed, but also every record of the debt! His righteousness was transferred to you when you accepted His gift of salvation, so now it is as if you never sinned.

Sometimes we submit to the bondage of sin without even fighting it. Idk about you, but there are some temptations that Satan doesn't even have to try to hard to tangle me in. Take self-consciousness/envy. All that has to happen for me to get caught up in these sins is to see someone who is prettier/skinnier/more talented than me, & I'm throwing the ropes around myself! Why didn't God make me that way? (Discontentment/exalting myself above God.) I wish I looked like that way (Jealousy). I hope she gets fat someday (bitter envy!!).
Do you see how easily Satan traps a lot of us? We trap ourselves! But with Christ, we don't have to submit to our natural sinful tendencies. They are powerless over us. The chains have been broken by Christ's victory on the Cross!

5) Those Once Untangled can be WELL Entangled Again.

Have you ever thought that you have overcome a sin only to find yourself struggling, or falling again? Then what happens? You get discouraged, major guilt complex, etc! Be careful to guard your heart. Be aware of your weaknesses & keep them in regular prayer! Don't just clean up your life, FILL it with all the fullness of God!

6) A Grudge Can Entangle Us Where We Need Untangled Most.

Bitterness comes with holding a grudge bitterness is poison & can only hurt you. Why do we hold grudges? Someone hurts us...we feel like if we distance ourselves & hold out on forgiving them, then we are getting back at them. The OPPOSITE is true! Whoever or whatever you're holding a grudge against, you are bowed down & tied to! Forgive as Christ has forgiven, & the freedom will be a huge blessing to you. You will come to a deeper understanding & appreciation of God's forgiveness when you come to a situation where you have to forgive someone who never asked for your forgiveness. Someone who honestly does not deserve your forgiveness. Ephesians said that we were all enemies of God; our flesh HATES God. But He still loved us & gave His son to die for us, so that we could be forgiven. Can you not forgive?

I hope that these points give you something to think about this week! Lord willing, I'll be able to carve out some time to post an update on my life as of late, & then soon after I'll finish out this Untangled series with the last 3 points =) Have a great week!

May 25, 2011


Ever find yourself in this kind of mood? I know I have!

Do you feel tangled lately? No, I'm not talking about a bad hair day, but rather that inner conflict that we all deal with at some time or another. Sometimes circumstances confuse us, but sometimes we confuse ourselves!!  Or at least I do! Lol. This past weekend I had the privilege of going to a Beth Moore conference in Minneapolis with my sister, my mom, & 41 other ladies from my home church. If you have never heard of Beth Moore, I highly recommended that you check out her blog, Bible study materials, etc. She has a great gift of communicating God's truth in a very clear & profound way. This weekend's conference theme was "UN-Tangled." I'll tell you, I definitely needed to get some things un-tangled & rest in God's peace again. It was a huge blessing to sing praises to God with the 4300 other women that were in attendance & then be refreshed by God's word in the sessions that Beth Moore gave. I would just like to share with you the 9 points that Beth made in the sessions because they were such great reminders! 

1) God can UN-Tangle us when life is about to kills us!

Psalm 116:1-6
"I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.  The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord “O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!” Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me."

I don't know about you, but sometimes I try to put on a front before God....make that a LOT of times! We all do it with people; someone asks you how you're doing, & what do you always say? "I'm fine." Even when the whole world can tell, you are not fine. But why do we always try to tell God, "I'm fine." He knows everything & He's told us to come to him in times of distress; He is mighty to save!

2) God can UN-Tangle us when we are tangled up inside.

Hmmm....I am one tangled up girl on the inside. I feel just like Rapunzel in the clip I shared at the beginning. Especially when it comes to guys!! Haha! What if he likes me? But sometimes it seems like he just wants to be friends. But he took me for coffee! But he's just super nice, he would take a 90 year old grandma for coffee!! Lol! Ok, so maybe not quite THAT bad...but you get my point. I also get all tangled when it comes to more serious things, like, am I majoring in the right thing? Am I where God wants me to be? What will I do after college? How am I going to finish paying for school? 

SO many tangles! But God knows all of them & He has the solution to every tangle in our lives. Ask God for wisdom; ask Him to simplify the situation & make a solution clear to you.  SEEK wise, godly counsel. Also, ask Him for patience to wait on HIS timing in making everything clear to you. 

One of the most amazing passages to me is Romans 8:26-27. Sometimes I get so confused about what would be best, I don't even know how to pray anymore, but God made an amazing promise that we can rest in:

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."

Even when we aren't sure of the will of God, the Holy Spirit makes intercession on our behalf, according to the will of God!! How amazing is that?

3) God can UN-Tangle us when our motives are in tangles.

...this one hit me. I LONG for the day when I will no longer have to battle my flesh & I will have 100% pure motives. Even when I am doing something for someone else, I always feel like there is a small part of me...sometimes even a big part of me, that is doing it for my own good. Pride, to make myself feel better, because I'm expected to...etc! 

God has commanded us to love HIM with ALL of our heart, soul, mind, & might. And, we are to love our neighbors as ourself. Only God & His Holy Spirit can take control of us & allow us to serve Him with pure motives. Walk in the Spirit, & you shall NOT fulfill the desire of the flesh!

Well, if I go through all 9 points, ya'll will have to be reading ALL day! So I'll leave you to ponder these three & I'll share the others soon! Hope that you have a wonderful day! 

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." ~Philippians 1:6

May 19, 2011

Perception of Beauty

This is something I struggle with almost every day...what is true beauty? We are bombarded with images of unattainable beauty every where we look; airbrushed models, anorexic celebrities, etc. This video was an encouragement to me this week as I try to maintain a healthy perspective on what true beauty is:

Apr 24, 2011

Oh Glorious Day!

Best day of the year. Christ is Risen!!

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a Virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me, dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected

Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He's ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my beloved one, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

Living, He loved me, dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He's coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day!

--Traditional Hymn/Casting Crowns, "Glorious Day"

Apr 21, 2011

Limitless Love Born from Limitless Pain: A Crucifixion Narrative

Got this from a friend who got it from Sovereign Grace Church...a powerful, yet somehow still weak description of the weight of the cross:

….after “hours of limitless pain.
Then Jesus is startled by a foul odor. It isnʼt the stench of open wounds. It is something
else. And it crawls inside him. He looks up to his Father. His Father looks back, but
Jesus doesnʼt recognize these eyes. They pierce the invisible world with fire and darken
the visible sky. And Jesus feels dirty. He hangs between earth and heaven filthy with
human discharge on the outside and now filthy with the weight of human wickedness on
the inside.
The Father speaks: “Son of Man! Why have you sinned against me and heaped scorn
on my great glory? You are self-sufficient and self-righteous—consumed with yourself
and puffed up and selfishly ambitious. You rob me of my glory and worship whatʼs inside
of you instead of looking out to the one who created you. You are a greedy, lazy,
gluttonous slanderer and gossip. You are a lying, conceited, ungrateful, cruel adulterer.
You practice sexual immorality; you make pornography and fill you mind with vulgarity.
You exchange my truth for a lie and worship the creature instead of the Creator. And so
you are given up to your homosexual passions, dressing immodestly and lusting after
what is forbidden. With all your heart you love perverse pleasure. You hate your brother
and murder him with the bullets of anger fired from your own heart. You kill babies for
your convenience. You oppress the poor and deal in slaves and ignore the needy. You
persecute my people. You love money and prestige and honor. You put on a cloak of
outward piety, but inside you are filled with dead manʼs bones—you hypocrite! You are
lukewarm and easily enticed by the world. You covet and canʼt have so you murder. You
are filled with envy and rage and bitterness and unforgiveness. You blame others for
your sin and are too proud to even call it sin. You are never slow to speak. And you
have a razor tongue that lashes and cuts with its criticism and sinful judgment. Your
words do not impart grace. Instead your mouth is a fountain of condemnation and guilt
and obscene talk. You are a false prophet leading people astray. You mock your
parents. You have no self-control. You are a betrayer who stirs up division and factions.
Youʼre a drunkard and a thief. Youʼre an anxious coward. You do not trust me. You
blaspheme against me. You are an unsubmissive wife. You are a lazy, disengaged
husband. You file for divorce and crush the parable of my love for the church. Youʼre a
pimp and a drug dealer. You practice divination and worship demons. The list of your
sins goes on and on. And I hate these things inside of you. Iʼm filled with disgust for you
and indignation for your sin consumes me. Now, drink my cup!
And Jesus does. He drinks for hours. He downs every drop of the scalding liquid of
Godʼs own hatred of sin mingled with his white-hot wrath against that sin. This is the
Fatherʼs cup: omnipotent hatred and anger for the sins of every generation past,
present, and future. Omnipotent wrath directed at one naked man hanging on a cross.
The Father can no longer look at his beloved Son, his heartʼs treasure, the mirror-image
of himself. And he diverts his gaze.
Jesus pushes himself upward and howls to heaven, “My God, my God, why have you
forsaken me?”
Silence. Separation.
Jesus whispers, “Iʼm thirsty,” and he sags.
The merciful centurion soaks a sponge in sour vinegar wine and lifts in on a reed to
Jesusʼ lips.
Jesus pushes himself up again and cries, “It is finished.” And it is. Every sin of every
child of God had been laid on Jesus and he drank the cup of Godʼs wrath dry.
Itʼs six oʼclock, Friday evening, and Jesus finds one more surge of strength. He presses
his torn feet against the spikes, straightens his legs, and with one last gasp of air cries
out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
And he dies.
The merciful centurion sees Jesusʼ body fall far forward and his head drop low. He
thrusts a spear up behind Jesusʼ ribs—one more piercing for our transgression—and
water and blood flow out of his broken heart.
In that moment mountains shake and rocks spilt; veils tear and tombs open.
The merciful centurion looks up at that lifeless body of Jesus and is filled with awe. He
drops to his knees and declares, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Mission accomplished. Sacrifice accepted.”