facebook_-227702140 I have learned a lot in the past year. Most of what I learned was the result of taking risks, leaps of faith, making mistakes, and getting lost. Not long ago, I spent some time in Quito (the capital city), Ecuador. Several months ago when I had first arrived, I was afraid to venture out alone; being blonde, blue-eyed, and directionally-challenged didn’t really help me out! But after this past week –after taking many buses, trolley buses, trolleys, and taxis, and asking a lot of questions –I know the city much more and am more confident.

Life is like that. We learn a lot from seeking His face and from being obedient to His word and what He calls us to, yet we also can grow in who we are, in our faith, and in our knowledge of Him, by falling down, being humbled, (getting lost!) and needing His help to stand up and press on. If I had waited to come to Ecuador till I was perfect, I never would have come; if I had not gone to serve in the jungle region because I don’t like bugs or sweating, I wouldn’t have connected with the beautiful kids and people there who have now captivated a huge part of my heart; if I had said “no” to going because of the many challenges and changes, I wouldn’t have reaped the blessings and gifts of the Holy Spirit that I continue to experience more of every day.

facebook_-62351701Before the new year, I started a list of some things I learned or was reminded of in 2013. I agree that it is a good idea to have goals and resolutions for the new year, but also that we will always be aware of how God used the past to bring us to the present. Romans 8:28, says,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to purpose.”

In this new year, let Him take/have YOU, your past, your shame, your dreams, your fears, your heart; let Him be your Father, your Redeemer; He wants to make all things new and beautiful. (:

  • It is more blessed to give than receive.
  • I am a living sacrifice for Jesus (Romans 12:1).
  • The reason I came to Ecuador is the same reason it was hard to leave California: I want to share my life and the Gospel with others. (1 Thessalonians 2:8)
  • A cold creek “bath” is much more enjoyable than a cold shower : )
  • facebook_1847301155I don’t have a phobia of bugs (thank goodness!)
  • The plans of the Lord cannot be thwarted (Job 42:2; Psalm 33:11).
  • I am better for/off waiting (la vida de espera!).
  • All things are beautiful (and the best) in His timing (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
  • How much I love (and miss!) and appreciate my family and friends (and their support!).
  • God’s ways are best; his ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-12).
  • Isaiah 43:18-19

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”

  • Isaiah 54:10

facebook_140569397“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

  • Love has no bounds.
  • Change is better than staying the same, stagnant, without growth.
  • Many times we must let go of our own desires to allow God to reveal to us his plans for our lives (Proverbs 16:9).
  • I am not my own; I am nothing without Him; He chose me first; I need to remain in Him to know Him and to bear fruit

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…

  • You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:5,16).
  • We really can trust Him to provide ALL we need. (Philippians 4:19)
  • The cost of obedience is worth every bit.
  • Happiness and joy is not found in THINGS or MATERIALISM. It is found in Jesus Christ and all that He is and provides. (Philippians 4:11-12; Galatians 5:22-23; Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 30:11-12; Psalm 34:5).

facebook_-1046700638I now find myself in California, which not all of you may know. So the introduction to this isn’t completely accurate (I was in Quito about 3 weeks ago! haha) And in this time, I keep reminding myself of all that God showed me in Ecuador:

  • That His plans cannot be thwarted; He confirmed so many times in the past few months that serving in the jungle region of Ecuador is where He wants to use me most right now. So I will be headed back as soon as possible!
  • That He makes all things beautiful in its time; his timing is different than ours. The missions school (Institute Ninawachi) began last week and we have 13 students (the last my team told me!). I definitely miss everyone there but am so thankful to be here to see family and friends. I am trusting that God will equip me even more now so I will return that much more ready to serve and be a part of the team in Huaticocha! Please join me in prayer for God’s provision. Recently I have become so much more aware of how much I need HIM. Matthew 5:6 says,
  • “Blessed are those who HUNGER and THIRST for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

And I do not know about you, but I am wanting to be FILLED. I am being reminded of how Christ came not only to save, but to heal and to set his people free from sin, from bondage! And as Christians, as followers of Christ, He calls us to be FREED and to help others have freedom that He offers (John 8:31-36; Galatians 5:1; Isaiah 61:1-3). In Him, we have all we could ever need (Philippians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 12:9).
What are some things you learned in 2013? What is God speaking to you about now? I pray that we would all be ready to make good changes in this year of 2014, that we may know Him more, and be more confident in living out his purposes for our lives. (: