|Posted by Alyssa on October 27, 2014 at 2:15 PM||comments (0)|
Haven’t seen a post in a while? Well, as you can imagine, life is a bit hectic right now.
I am currently (a little late, by the way) working on collecting all of my paperwork to submit for my visa. And let me tell you, it’s a lot! But it’s getting done, slowly but surely, and I have every confidence that God will provide my visa just in time.
I am also working on a few fundraising ideas that I’m really excited about! One in particular will be a way you can financially support my ministry without spending any more than you already do! How cool is that? Coming soon.
Now that I am an expert speaker (please note the sarcasm) I want to continue to use my presentation to share my passion for South Africa. I am currently in contact with the pastor of the church I’ve been attending while at school and hope we can work out a time for me to share but I’m also open to suggestions! Are you a part of a small group? I would absolutely love to come and share! Learn about the awesome work God is doing in South Africa and pray about whether or not He has called you personally or your group as a whole to support my ministry.
Oh, yes, and then there’s school. That is also happening.
And working at Jimmy John’s—that is happening too. God provides.
God has been so good to me this semester in particular. I have amazing, supportive friends and roommates; a job with the hours I need; and a class schedule that isn’t trying to murder me. Things may be crazy, they may be downright stressful at times, but things are good. God is good.
|Posted by Alyssa on September 17, 2014 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
Over the past month life has gone into overdrive.
Update: I made it to Cornerstone. The first couple weeks of classes were good. My roommates are great.
It’s good to be back, and, at the same time, it’s been completely overwhelming.
This semester looks a bit different from any of my previous semesters here. I will only be taking four classes (12 credits), I will be working part-time, and I will be continuing my fundraising/preparation for South Africa.
Seems simple, right? Well, I think that’s the problem.
I’m so conditioned to a full schedule of classes that I don’t know how to manage my time. I’m a planner. You can’t plan for the unexpected.
That’s why they call it unexpected.
I also struggle doing many things at one time. Now I will be a student, an employee, and a missionary. I can’t put anything aside this semester as I’ve done in the past. My support for South Africa has come a long way but it has just as far to go in the next four months.
I’m not worried about the money, I know it will come in, but I do stress about my involvement in the process. Am I doing the fundraising techniques God wants me to use? Am I doing enough? Should I have done more? I don’t want to slack on my part. I don’t want to let Him down.
I desire to do well in my classes, work hard at my job, engage in good discussion, and connect with my community.
This semester (Lord willing) will be my last at Cornerstone and I want to be able to do all the things I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time or the guts.
I have fears of being overwhelmed—fears of missing out.
School is a constant battle of priorities; offering countless events to attend, involvement opportunities, chances to connect, classes to attend, requirements to fill, homework to be completed…
I want this semester to be different than all the last. I want to choose wisely. I want to stay on top of my work. I want to avoid stress. I want to meet new people. I want to grow in Christ. I want to enjoy my time left here.
I’m overwhelmed by the possibilities—overwhelmed by the separation between my wants and God’s plans.
I don’t know what this semester will hold. I don’t know why God has put me in this place at this specific time. But He does. Nothing in this life happens without His approval.
|Posted by Alyssa on January 31, 2014 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
I’ve stared at the blank page for far too long, but what can I say? How can one define an experience such as I’ve had? “It was amazing; It was refreshing; It was as if I’d never left.” No, they’re all too cliché. I hate being cliché.
Let me start from the beginning.
During the first week of the past fall semester, I saw Professor Bonzo (who led the trip last year) in the hallway outside his office.
“Hey, are you going to come with us again this year?”
I froze, calculated his seriousness. The last time he asked me this very question it resulted with the belief that a second trip would not be possible. His expression remained, expectant.
“I thought you were teaching the same course?” I asked with hesitancy as I told my heart to slow down.
“It’s going to be a little different.”
This was new information.
“You’re freaking me out.”
“Don’t freak out, not yet. Talk to the registrar. I’ll make sure the course is different enough so you will receive credit.”
As I left the building I pulled out my phone. “Mom? I might get another chance to go to South Africa for J-term.”
I wore the pattern of my Vans tennis shoes onto Cornerstone’s campus as I traveled from office to office, gathering information, checking and rechecking, and rechecking again. I wanted to be sure before I said the words out loud. During the summer, God revealed to me a significant deficit in my understanding of what it means to trust Him and it was showing through once again.
I felt Him leading me to take the class in South Africa but in my desperation to be sure it wasn’t just wishful thinking, I didn’t realize He had already given me the answer to my prayers.
One morning, while praying about whether I should go on the trip again, He finally broke through.
“STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP! I already told you I want you to go. Stop questioning and TRUST ME.”
That day I spoke the words for the first time. “I’m going back to South Africa for J-term.”
My stomach instantly churned. What if I’m wrong? “Trust me.”
I filled out the application, I paid the deposit, I registered for the class. It was happening. And then the migraines came. And they didn’t go away.
I had had a migraine every single day during the two months leading up to the trip. I began to stress. I was confused, once again, and my trust faltered.
Two days before we were scheduled to fly out, my migraines put me in the ER. The doctor was pretty confident that they weren’t being caused by anything life threatening but advised me to cancel the trip. Not only would cancelling the trip have crushed my spirit, it would have also sent my entire spring semester into disarray, no longer allowing me to graduate on time. But if I continued with the trip and my health suffered, it would have produced the same result.
I agonized. Should I risk my health—threaten my carefully micro-managed life?
|Posted by Alyssa on November 8, 2013 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Today I paid the deposit for the South Africa J-term trip this January! I'm still in a daze. It's getting real and I'm getting excited. I emailed a few of the JAM missionaries a few days ago asking if there is anything we could bring with us that would be useful for the ministry. They responded that paper, crayons, paint and brushes, clothes, blankets and any other fun little things would be appreciated. Currently there are six students and two adults going on this trip so we have multiple bags we can add to. If you have any of these things that you would like to donate comment below.
|Posted by Alyssa on September 12, 2013 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
Since being back on campus, life has seemed to accelerate to warp speed. I've been spending my time on homework, in class, filling out my JAM Year and CWO applications, catching up with old friends and making new; it's been hectic and emotional. So many changes, so many new opportunities and I'm still waiting for God to show me when He's sending me back to South Africa.
A couple days ago, I saw the professor that led the trip to South Africa.
He asked, "Are you going back with us?"
My heart leapt. "You mean this J-term?"
"Can I do that?" I asked as I consciously told my heart to calm down.
Yesterday I began to search out the answer to this question, "Can I go back to South Africa this J-term?" I've talked to the registrar and again with the professor and it's beginning to look like a viable possibility. I continually have to keep myself in check. If I freak out now and it doesn't end up working out I'll be crushed. But I have allowed myself to get excited at the possibility.
Maybe this is why God hasn't given me an exact time frame for my return, maybe Satan is trying to torture me; I don't know. All I know is I might be back in my beloved country sooner than I could have ever imagined. Either way, God is good.
|Posted by Alyssa on March 17, 2013 at 11:55 PM||comments (1)|
Returning from South Africa was difficult but I found peace in the knowledge that Cornerstone University is where God wants me for the time being. But this past weekend has been really hard in the I-want-to-be-in-South-Africa department. I don't know if it's because of stress or the sudden influx of random little South Africa reminders by my heart's holding on by a string.
Tonight during CU's praise service I tried to return my focus to God and the present He has for me, not the future that is to come. While singing 'I Surrender All' I tried to focus on the words and their meaning. As I sang I realized that I was squizing the life out of the Africa pendant hanging around my neck. I was singing the words, I even believed them, but my body was telling me I had not let go. It took a moment, but I was finally able to release my death grip and watch it fall from my control.
Do I still believe God wants me in South Africa? Never doubted it. Do I desperatly want to get back to South Africa? You bet. (I have contemplated dropping out of school and sneaking onto a freighter but my plan remains slightly under developed) I know God put me here for a reason; not just on the earth but at Cornerstone specifically. I know I will get to South Africa when I'm ready and the timing is right. I know these things, but that doesn't mean the intense passion God has placed in my bones for South Africa has gone dormant. Trust me, it's alive and well. I'm excited for what God will do with these next few years but I admit that I'm struggling. I will probably struggle until the moment my feet hit that beautiful red dirt.
|Posted by Alyssa on March 13, 2013 at 1:35 PM||comments (2)|
Today is the first day of junior registration for the 2013 fall semester. No matter how much I plan and schedule, something inevitably always goes wrong. Today it was many things (most of which are now sorted). I'm reminded today that my God is a God of impeccable planning. He knew the classes I would need to take to be able to graduate next May and He put them in my path. Naturally I had to search for them, but He provided none-the-less.
The only unresolved course requirement, at the moment, is that of my language requirement. I am currently taking the second semester of Spanish but after God revealed to me His plans to send me to South Africa I started looking in to the possibility of finishing out my language requirement with a class in Afrikaans. As I'm sure you can imagine, Michigan is not teaming with fluent Afrikaans (to my knowledge). This makes finding an accredited Afrikaans course to fill Cornerstone's language requirement a bit difficult. Thankfully, Cornerstone has an amazing staff that are helping me in the search for such a class.
There is also the possibility of taking a Dutch language class (as Dutch and Afrikaans are similar) but, surprisingly, this has also been a difficult class to find in the Dutch riddled Mid-west. For some reason God may not what me to take a class in Afrikaans, and that's okay.
But I'm not going to lie, I desperately want to start learning the language!