Friday, October 31, 2014

It's Happening!

Hello friends! Well, I did it- I finally booked my ticket to land in the Kilimanjaro airport to Arusha, Tanzania!

My flight is set for December 2, and I will be returning early June of 2015. While I am resting from my wisdom teeth surgery last week, I am busying myself with book illustrations, getting documents together for my arrival in Tanzania, and fundraising. And as always before I go abroad somewhere for a lengthy amount of time, I can't really wrap my mind around the fact that in a month, I will be wandering somewhere in the land of giraffes. Here are some prayer requests that I have for the week:

  1. Although everything else is wrapping up nicely, due to much transition I haven't had much time to dedicate to fundraising. As a result, I am still about $6,000 short of my $12,000 budget (Tanzania is a lot more expensive to live in than you'd expect.) Please pray that God will provide for the remaining funds (as He always does), and that I will continue to have faith in Him in the meantime.
  2. Pray about whether or not you might be an answer to that prayer by partnering with me financially (donation link here:
  3. Pray about my faith, that I will continue to rely on God's strength, not my own, and His wisdom, not my own. Especially post-graduation it is easy for me to see Tanzania as my own self-realization trip instead of a partnership and service to Jesus. I need to "press on towards the goal" (Philippians 3:14)
  4. That I will have ample time to say goodbye to friends and family in Los Angeles before I leave. Part of the challenge of going to Tanzania for so long is that I know I will eventually become very homesick for LA and my friends here. This city has been my home for the past 4 years and doesn't feel quite right to fly off without a proper goodbye. 
from Skid Row to Santa Monica - everything about LA is beautiful to me

Spending time with Jesus: Post-Grad Version
In the meantime, I have been reflecting on my post grad life, which can be summed up into 3 different sections so far: post-graduation, the Los Angeles Urban Project, and pre-Tanzania. Aside from my participation in InterVarsity's Los Angeles Urban Project, it has been very difficult to maintain my spiritual life, and it is only talking to a wise mentor that I realized why this was. Life with Jesus isn't meant to be spent alone, throughout the Bible, starting from Genesis, to Kings, to Paul's letters, to the churches mentioned in Revelations, being a Christian is meant to take part in community.

While I was at USC, I was surrounded by community- my Christian sorority, InterVarsity, the United House of Prayer, etc. I also lived with my accountability partner, whose encouragements to me as a sister was invaluable. Within community I was challenged, pushed to grow, and held accountable for my walk with Jesus. The Los Angeles Urban Project provided me with the same strong community that constantly reminds me of how awesome Jesus is.

all my favorite people #ivtcf
Outside of college, not so much- it's easy to lose the convictions that I held onto so strongly in college. Our culture is full of reminders of how awesome I can be, if I do the right things, work the right job, look the right way, say the right things. It's easy even to twist my trip to Tanzania as something that glorifies myself, not the God who inspired me and challenged me to take this leap of faith. Living apart from community is like fighting a battle uphill because so many things in our culture pushes me to live for myself, when Jesus pushes us to live for others and for Him.

Thankfully, although I am quite the nomad for a while until Tanzania, God has really blessed me by giving me a place to stay at my aunt's, and at my friend Becky's in Los Angeles. In these two places I am able to witness daily the joy that radiates from a household of whom Christ is head. The selflessness that these two families have shown me is a constant encouragement and reflection of the love I experience from Jesus. Furthermore, my aunt is amazing in requesting that we do daily morning devotions together- it's like having a workout buddy who will drag you to the gym on the days when you really don't want to go.

So all in all, I am doing well, a little nervous about the trip, but gradually learning now to manage my many free hours wisely, and keep Jesus in the center of everything I do. It's a struggle, but by now I've pretty much learned that everyday is a day on the strugglebus. :) A note to self is to place finding community as #1 priority when I get to Tanzania. I know that it has made all the difference to me while I lived in Italy!

TZ bucketlist: to walk into a view like this- too hopeful?
p.s. hit me up if you want to hang out before I peace out of the country!

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